Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats
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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game
Friday, January 10, 2003
Alan Trammell and Dave Concepcion
The two shortstops on the ballot fell short on Tuesday. Did the Hall make a mistake?
We’re going to discuss the Shortstops on the 2002 Hall of Fame ballot, Alan Trammell and Dave Concepcion. It’s a split decision. We’ll start with the Keltner List
1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?
Trammell was likely the best player in baseball in 1987, when he finished 2nd in the AL in the MVP voting. His 35 Win Shares (WS) were the most in baseball that year, George Bell won the award with just 26. A case could also be made for Tim Raines, Wade Boggs, Jack Clark and Ozzie Smith, but I’d give the edge to Trammell.
Trammell was a very good player from 1983-90, but no one would have suggested he was the best player in the game, except for his incredible year in 1987 (where he was not only a SS, but he rated, according to WS, as the best hitter in the AL, 3rd best in baseball). It was a quite a year, and the Tigers won a Division Championship as a result.
Other seasons where Trammell was a top 10 AL player include 1983 (9th), 1984 (5th), 1986 (10th), 1990 (3rd). In addition to his 2nd place finish in 1987’s MVP voting, Trammell finished 9th in 1984 and 7th in 1988.
Concepcion’s best year was 1981, where WS shows him as the 4th best player in the NL. He was not one of the best players in the NL during any other season.
Concepcion was not a top 10 player in the NL during any other season, although he was 9th in the 1979 NL MVP vote, he probably wasn’t quite that good.
2. Was he the best player on his team?
Tough standard for both players, as they were both on very good to great teams for a large portion of their careers. Concepcion was the best player on the Reds in 1979, when they won the division and lost the LCS. In 1981 he was second to George Foster, who was the 3rd best player in the NL. He was the 5th or 6th best player on the team during the World Championship years of 1975-76, behind Morgan, Rose, Bench and Foster, about even with Ken Griffey Sr..
Trammell was the best player on the Tigers from 1983-90, although in 1983 and 1989 Lou Whitaker had a better year, in 1985 Kirk Gibson was about even with Trammell and in 1990 Cecil Fielder and Trammell were about even. After 1990 Trammell was no longer one of the best players on the team. If you stretch the period from 1978-96, I’d say Whitaker was the best Tiger, he was better than Trammell in the early years, and the later years. But from 1983-90, Trammell was the best Tiger.
3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
The mid-1970s through early-1980s was a weak era for shortstops. The best SS in the game during that time was probably Dave Concepcion. Garry Templeton would have a case in the late 1970s, but his run as a good player was short (1977-79), and Concepcion was probably his equal during that run anyway. Concepcion’s run as a good player was from 1973-81, in 1982 he started to slip. I’d say around 1980 the title passed to Robin Yount, and on to Cal Ripken in 1983. Overall, if I were drafting from all the SS’s from 1973-81, I’d take the Concepcion package over anyone else’s.
As we just said Robin Yount was the best SS in baseball from 1980-82. In 1983 Cal Ripken took that mantle and overall, from 1983-90 (covering the rest of Trammell’s really good years), Ripken was the best SS in baseball. With Yount moving to the OF in 1985, Trammell was probably the second best SS in the game over the rest of the decade, although an argument could be made for Ozzie Smith. Trammell was better than Ripken for sure in 1987 and 1990, he was close in other years, but Ripken was the better player.
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
The Tigers started September 1987 with a 1 game lead on the Blue Jays. The Jays played incredibly down the stretch, going 19-5 through September 26. The Tigers were able to hang on, as they went 15-10 over the same period, and Trammell was a huge part of that, hitting .417 (53-for-127), scoring 25 runs, with 10 2B and 7 HR over the last 33 games. He was also 6-for-6 as a base stealer. The Jays were swept in Milwaukee, the Tigers split 4 with Baltimore, then went to Toronto and won the pennant with a 3-game sweep. If Trammell hadn’t gotten hot when he did, there’s no way the Tigers win the division.
In 1981 the Tigers lost the 2nd half division title to Milwaukee by 1 1/2 games and Trammell did not have a good September. In 1988, the Tigers lost the division by 1 game, and Trammell was injured in September, only playing 16 games, hitting .196/.317/.275. With a healthy Trammell in September, the Tigers likely win the division. They held a 2 game lead heading into September.
In 1984 Trammell was the best player on the best team in baseball, but they won the pennant by 15 games, they would have won without him.
5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?
Yes, Trammell was good enough to play regularly, he posted OBPs of .370 and .388 in 1992 and 1993, .345 in 1995; the fact that he didn’t play regularly (except 1993) was a function of injuries and Sparky’s revolving lineups of the early 90s. He continued to play SS through the end of his career, although he was spotted in the lineup from 1991-96, and often was just a defensive replacement for Travis Fryman. In 1993 he had his best ‘post-prime’ season, hitting .329/.388/.496 in 401 AB, playing 63 G at SS and 35 at 3B.
Concepcion also played past his prime, but wasn’t a very good player after 1981. His prime did last until he was 33 though, so it’s kind of a loaded question, the answer, while a “no” is a little misleading.
6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
Another tough question. Now that Gary Carter and Eddie Murray are in, I think you could say to Trammell, though I probably wouldn’t. The eligible (BBWAA) players on the ballot that could be considered better than Trammell are Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven and maybe Goose Gossage, despite the fact that 7 others received more votes this year than Trammell. I’d put Trammell behind Blyleven and Sandberg, ahead of Goose and Dawson.
Among players no longer eligible for BBWAA voting there are several near Trammell’s accomplishments who have been overlooked, such as Darrell Evans, Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans, Dick Allen, Bobby Grich, Ron Santo, Graig Nettles, Jack Clark, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Jose Cruz, Willie Randolph and Jimmy Wynn.
Concepcion is clearly behind all of the players mentioned so far, and is absolutely not the best player not in the Hall of Fame.
7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?
Trammell scores 119 on the Hall of Fame Monitor, designed to predict Hall of Fame voting (100 is a HoFer, 70-130 is the grey area). That being said, of the 10 most similar players to Trammell (offensively, with a factor built in for position, but not quality of defense), only Pee Wee Reese is in the Hall of Fame (Barry Larkin, Ryne Sandberg and Roberto Alomar are also strong candidates).
There are very few SS’s in the history of baseball that were similar to Trammell as a hitter, that’s why 4 of the 10 players are 2B (Biggio, Whitaker, Sandberg and Alomar) and another played 3B (Buddy Bell). The fact that half of his most similar players played an easier position says a lot about his quality as an offensive shortstop.
Of the SS’s on Trammell’s list, Barry Larkin, should be a Hall of Famer, it’s ludicrous if he isn’t (although I think his candidacy is a long shot in the BBWAA), Jay Bell compiled his stats in an offensively inflated era, Tony Fernandez and Julio Franco, were similar, but not as good as Trammell. Pee Wee Reese is in.
Though he wasn’t nearly the player Trammell was, four of the players on Concepcion’s list are in the Hall of Fame. Bobby Wallace is #1, Pee Wee Reese is #4, Luis Aparicio is #5 and Ozzie Smith is #10. Others on his list include Tony Fernandez, Bert Campaneris, Alan Trammell, Garry Templeton, Frank White and Dick Bartell.
It’s funny that Trammell is on Concepcion’s list, but Concepcion doesn’t make Trammell’s. That’s because players that hit like Concepcion can only have a long career if they play SS or are as good as Frank White defensively at 2B, while Trammell was a good enough hitter that he was able to be compared to others at easier positions.
Concepcion scores a 107 on the Hall of Fame Monitor, so players with a similar statistical record (including All-Star Games and awards) to Concepcion are a little better than 50/50 to make the Hall of Fame eventually.
8. Do the player?s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
Trammell scores 40.4 on the Hall of Fame Standards Test (avg HoFer is 50). With the average Hall of Famer at 50, a player at 40.4 is a strong candidate. As a general rule, I consider anyone over 35 to be a viable candidate, although you have to account for era, i.e. hitters from the current generation are overvalued by this test, as are pitchers from the 1960s.
Concepcion only scores a 29.1 on the Hall of Fame Standards Test. That would lower the standards of the Hall of Fame in my opinion.
9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
The big issue here, for Concepcion is the 1981 strike. It was Concepcion’s best year, and the Reds might have won another World Series if the season had played itself out. He lost 10 WS, he might have driven in 100 runs that year. In Baseball Prospectus’ WARP ratings, he only adjusts from 6.0 to 7.9 because of the construct of the formula, but he might have had as many as 9 had he maintained his level over the course of the season.
Trammell lost 7 WS for the 1981 strike, it was a average year for him, he had a good year but not a great one.
I’ll also use this section to address defense, since none of the other questions specifically cover this area.
Defensively, Trammell rates a B- according to WS, Concepcion an A+. Charlie Saeger’s methods confirm that Concepcion was probably historically great with the leather. Trammell finished with 93 dWS, Concepcion 124 dWS. Ozzie Smith had 140 dWS for comparison.
According to Baseball Prospectus, Trammell rates as 563 runs above replacement defensively for his career (as a SS), Concepcion 598. The two played about the same amount at SS, between 2100 and 2200 games. By comparison, Ozzie Smith was 914 FRAR, in just over 2500 games. Per 162 games Ozzie saved 59 RAR, Concepcion 44 RAR, Trammell 43 RAR. I’m not sure why WS and Saeger see Concepcion closer to Trammell than Ozzie, I’ll just present the information here and let you draw your own conclusions.
I’ll use WS to show how many Gold Gloves the players should have won, since the leaders are easily identifiable by running a “find” on the digital update. I’m willing to take WS over the conventional voting for Gold Gloves, which is seriously flawed.
Concepcion led the league in dWS in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, he was second in 1980, 1981, 1982 (at the age of 34, for the worst team in baseball), third in 1978, fourth in 1985, at the age of 37. According to WS, Concepcion deserved 5 Gold Gloves, and lost 3 more to Ozzie Smith. Concepcion won Gold Gloves each of the years he was ‘supposed’ too, so the general impression of him as a great fielder is accurate.
Trammell led the league in dWS in 1981, he was second in 1978 and fourth in 1982, 1986, 1987. According to WS, Trammell deserved one Gold Glove, and he was generally one of better defensive SS’s in the league, but he was not a great fielder. He actually won 4 Gold Gloves, meaning he was generally recognized as the best defensive SS in the AL from 1980-84, a title that should have been passed from Rick Burleson to Cal Ripken Jr. during that timeframe (with Alfredo Griffin slipping in the transition year of 1982).
10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?
For Trammell, unequivocally this is a yes. If you don’t count the shortstops currently in their prime, Trammell is probably the 8th to 11th greatest shortstop in the history of the game.
Historically, I’d say he’s behind Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, Arky Vaughn, Ernie Banks, George Davis and Luke Appling. He’s in the same group as Barry Larkin, Ozzie Smith, Joe Cronin and Pee Wee Reese. He’s significantly ahead of Hall of Famers like Lou Boudreau, Luis Aparicio, Phil Rizzuto, Joe Sewell, Dave Bancroft, Joe Tinker, Bobby Wallace, Rabbit Maranville and Travis Jackson. He’d be middle of the pack among Hall of Fame SS’s, and he’s clearly the best eligible.
Concepcion would fit in the middle of the lower group, he was similar to Joe Sewell, but also on the same level as guys like Tony Fernandez and Bert Campaneris. Very good players, but not the best available SS’s.
11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
We’ve already covered 1987. Other seasons where Trammell was a top 10 AL player include 1983 (9th), 1984 (5th), 1986 (10th), 1990 (3rd), using WS for the rankings.
In addition to his 2nd place finish in 1987’s MVP voting, Trammell finished 9th in 1984 and 7th in 1988.
Concepcion’s best year was 1981, where WS shows him as the 4th best player in the NL, he was also 4th in the MVP vote.
Concepcion was not a top 10 player in the NL during any other season, although he was 9th in the 1979 NL MVP vote, he probably wasn’t quite that good.
12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?
Trammell played in 6 All-Star Games. Other position players that played their entire productive career in the All-Star Era, and played in 6 (not counting two in one year) were: Sandy Alomar Jr. (not another one, please!), Harold Baines, Bobby Bonilla, Lou Brock (BBWAA), Smokey Burgess, Bert Campaneris, Jose Canseco, Ron Cey, Will Clark, Rocky Colavito, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich, Frankie Hayes, Don Kessigner, Ralph Kiner (BBWAA), Kenny Lofton (active, but won’t get another), Frank Malzone, Don Mattingly, Willie McCovey (BBWAA), Jo-Jo Moore, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Moose Skowron, Rusty Staub, Billy Williams (BBWAA).
That’s 25 players, in addition to Trammell. Four are in the Hall of Fame. A few of the others are good enough to be Hall of Famers but are overlooked (Grich, and Nettles, maybe Will Clark), but 6 all-star games, in and of itself, is low for a Hall of Famer.
Concepcion played in 9 All-Star Games. Other position players that played their entire productive career in the All-Star Era, and played in 9 (not counting two in one year) were: Bobby Doerr (Vets), Joe Gordon, Elston Howard, Fred Lynn, Eddie Mathews (BBWAA), Frank McCormick, Ron Santo, Joe Torre and Arky Vaughn (Vets).
Three of the nine are in the Hall of Fame, and I expect Santo and Torre to join them someday. Torre should be in even if his managerial record is not considered. Nine all-star appearances is impressive, but does not, by itself, indicate a Hall of Famer.
13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?
For Trammell, the answer is absolutely yes. He was the best player on two division champions. If Concepcion were having a season like 1979 or 1981, he could be the best player on a championship caliber team. In a typical season for him from 1973-81, it’s likely he could be the second or third best player on a championship team, but if he was the best player the team probably wouldn’t be good enough to win a pennant.
During his career, the only years where Concepcion was as good as the best player on a division champion were 1978 (he was as good as Lopes, Cey, Garvey and Smith, the best players on the Dodgers), 1979 (best player on the Reds), and 1981 (he was as good as Hernandez on the Cardinals). In 3 different seasons, and on 3 teams in baseball over his career Concepcion would have been the best player on a team that actually won a division title.
On the other hand, Trammell was as good as the best player on the 1983 White Sox (Fisk); he was the best player on the 1984 Tigers (would have been the best player on the Royals or Blue Jays, who were 2nd in the AL East, too); the 1986 Angels (Downing, Witt or Joyner); any team from 1987 (best player in baseball); and he would have been the best player on the 1990 Red Sox (Clemens, questionable, but he only threw 31 starts, 228 innings that year), or Reds (Larkin). That’s 10 teams that won pennants during his career where he would have been as good or better than the best player on a division champion, during 5 different seasons.
14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?
No and no. Bad question in my opinion, I agree with Don Malcolm here . . .
15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?
Both players were never arrested as far as I know, so I assume they were both good sports. To be honest, I don’t really care all that much.
I think Trammell does pretty well on this test, Concepcion comes up short.
Trammell gets positive responses to almost every question. Where he falls short, on number 3 for example (best player in the game at his position) it’s because he’s behind two of the 6 best ever at the position (Yount and Ripken). This also affected his All-Star Game total as well.
Concepcion has the exact opposite results on the test. Where his answers are positive, they are weak positives, like being the best SS, but in a very weak decade for SS’s. He could have been the best player on a championship team—if he was having a career year. He was never considered the best player in baseball and almost every team that won a division during his career had a better player than him on the team. He was a very good player, not a great one. If the Hall of Fame added an ‘outer circle’ or something, for players just outside, Concepcion would be one of those players.
Trammell, while not an inner circle Hall of Famer, was clearly good enough to be as good as your typical Hall of Fame SS, and better than at least half of the current SS’s enshrined. His induction should be a no-brainer.
My beef comes when people compare him to Ozzie Smith. Trammell helped the Tigers to just as many wins as Ozzie helped the Padres and Cardinals to. The only thing that Ozzie has on Trammell is the “Fame” part of the equation. Ozzie was the greatest defensive SS ever, and he was a great interview. But he didn’t do a damn thing to win more games than Trammell did. I don’t think Ozzie deserves any extra credit for being the ‘best ever’ at one aspect of the game (fielding at SS), just like I don’t think Bill Mazeroski deserves to be in only because he’s the greatest defensive 2B ever. The whole package should be what we grade.
So how can two players who basically won the same number of games for their team be viewed so differently?
I’ll admit, I was guilty. When this topic first came up, I quickly perused the ballot (which is more than I’d bet some of the real voters do) and said Ozzie Smith was definitely in, I lumped Alan Trammell in with the group of players that could someday make it.
Then someone asked me to re-evaluate. What about Trammell, he’s pretty close, isn’t he?
I dug further, and I came to realize Trammell was just as good as Smith. I have no personal stake in this argument, other to present the facts, I’m not a great fan of either player. As Bill James (or someone analyzing his comments) said, I’m playing judge, not lawyer here. It’s close enough that I would call them even.
One theory, is that the edge Smith holds is really because of the back-flips, the flash. To measure this, we turn to the Hall of Fame Monitor, which is an amoral system. It’s amoral, because it doesn’t tell you who should be in the Hall of Fame. It predicts who will get into the Hall of Fame. Over 100 you are in. 70-130 points is the grey area. Ozzie scores 142 points here and Trammell earned ‘only’ 104.
The difference must be Ozzie’s incredible fielding, right?
Only 9 of the 38 points that separate them are for Ozzie’s extra Gold Gloves (which usually mean little to Hall of Fame voters), there’s still 29 points that are unexplained. Those nine extra all-star games that Ozzie played in are worth 3 times the gold gloves, or 27 more points. Remember the points for their accomplishments are pretty much the same . . . why would Ozzie have beat him in all-star games 15-6? Ozzie was a fan favorite, and he wasn’t competing with Cal Ripken, Robin Yount (through 1984) and Tony Fernandez much of his career like Trammell was. Barry Larkin did not come on the scene as a viable candidate until 1988. After that, in most years they both went. If Ozzie had competition from 2 or 3 viable candidates instead of one every season (and if he hadn’t made 3 gift appearances as a part time player late in his career) he’d have been able to play a little more golf in July.
Trammell beats the Wizard on the Hall of Fame Standards Test, 40.4-35.0. This generally sums up the argument for equality. Ozzie did more things that traditionally impress All-Star/HoF voters, but Trammell produced just as much value for his teams. The sizzle is enough to push Ozzie over the hump from the middle grey area to Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame Monitor system comes up roses here. James could not have designed it better for this comparison.
I know many of you feel that Ozzie was better. I simply don’t see it. There are more comprehensive metrics than those mentioned above, let’s really crunch the numbers now.
Trammell’s offense is light years ahead of Ozzie. Ozzie was helped by his park (which played to his talents, turf, line drive bad HR park - Ozzie lack of HR isn’t as important) relative to the average player, whereas Trammell was hurt because he played in a HR park that played to most of his disadvantages. The park adjusted numbers don’t account for this and Trammell still has a huge offensive edge.
I’m not saying there should be a massive adjustment, real wins and less real wins result from an ability to take advantage of a park, or lack thereof. But I agree with James that the question does change a little when evaluating the immortals, especially since they can’t control the environment they play in, except for free agency.
I believe taking advantage of the park is an asset. But I don’t see it as Ozzie’s skill adjusting to what the park would give him. I see it as Ozzie’s results adjusting to the park effects. Ozzie did what he did. He moved from a grass, pitcher’s park to a turf park that killed HR and inflated 2B and 3B. So his speed became a much bigger asset and his lack of power didn’t hurt nearly as much. If you take Trammell and Ozzie and put them in the same park, the gap (or Trammell’s advantage) would widen.
How much better was Trammell offensively? Ozzie’s career high slugging percentage was .383. Trammell beat that 11 times.
Win Shares sees the offensive edge as 225-187 for Trammell. Those numbers peg replacement level very low, so they understate the marginal difference. Ozzie had 15.8 seasons of PA, Trammell 13.7. Both are low relative to their games played because of batting lower in the lineup early in their careers, and because they were used as defensive replacements more often later in their careers.
Why is this important? A replacement level hitter in Ozzie’s PT would have 95 oWS. A replacement level hitter in Trammell’s spot would have 82 oWS. So Trammell was 143 oWSaR (above replacement), Ozzie was 92 oWSaR. 143-92 is an edge of 17 team wins (WS are 1/3 wins) over the course of their careers. Trammell’s offense was worth more than a win per season above Ozzie’s, which is huge when you have almost two decades of data to go on. Ozzie wasn’t in Trammell’s league offensively.
Trammell created an estimated 106 more runs while making 1494 fewer outs. Yes, his park and league were better for a hitter (ever after adjusting for the DH). Trammell’s environment was 4.32/g, Ozzie’s was 4.07. Trammell created an estimated 1248 runs in a 4.32 RPG league. That’s the equivalent of 1176 runs in Ozzie’s environment. Ozzie created 1142 runs, so Trammell is still 34 runs ahead of Ozzie with 1494 less outs made.
An average player makes about 486 outs in a full 162 game season. Since Ozzie played 2.1 full seasons more, we can assume 1021 of the outs Trammell didn’t make went to a replacement level SS, the other 473 went to average teammates, because Trammell simply made fewer outs than Ozzie, one of the reasons he was a much better offensive player.
Let’s say the replacement shortstop would have created 2.5 r/g over those 1021 outs. That’d be 95 more runs, pushing Trammell’s advantage to 129 runs. The other 473 outs that Trammell gave his teammates would have resulted in another 71 runs. Trammell’s advantage over Ozzie is now 166 runs. 10 runs is generally enough to swing one game in the standings. We get 16.6 additional wins for Trammell using this method. Two distinct methods, one says 17 wins, the other 16.6, I think we’re onto something here.
I have computed career offensive W-L numbers as well, based on James’ New Runs Created formula. Trammell’s edge is obvious there also. I adjust every season to 162 team games, adjust for ballpark, DH, etc.
Ozzie comes out at 140-150, OW% .483. At his peak he was very good for a SS, from 1985-87 I get 30-17, .631. For a 5 year peak, from 1985-89 he was 48-32, .603.
Trammell was 141-106, OW% .570. That is a massive difference. The 3-year peak for Trammell was 32-13, .707 (1986-88). His 5-year peak (1983-87) was 52-27, .654.
Concepcion’s career mark was 118-144, .451. He wasn’t as good as Ozzie with bat or the leather, he’s clearly a notch below the level of these two.
Think about it, a .570 team is about the level of the 2002 Red Sox, Mariners and Dodgers. A .483 team is the 2002 Reds, Marlins or Blue Jays. That was the difference between these two offensively over the course of their careers.
I realize we’ve mostly talked about offense. Ozzie was the best defensive SS ever, I don’t think anyone would question that. His range factors are phenomenal. He also played on turf, behind staffs that didn’t strike a lot of people out, things which might cause his range factor to be overstated a slightly.
The real question defensively is how much better than Alan Trammell was Ozzie, in terms of wins and losses? Win Shares and Baseball Prospectus’ FRAR, though both are flawed in spots are, in my opinion, the best widely available defensive metrics that cover the players’ entire career.
Ozzie earned 140 WS with his flashy leather, Trammell 93. Ozzie had a longer career, so the 48 WS difference needs to be nudged down a little, due to the understated replacement level of Win Shares (for fielding the replacement level isn’t zero, but it’s still too low). Even if we don’t nudge it down, we give Ozzie a 16 win edge with the glove. Trammell’s 93 are very good (25th all time), but significantly behind.
Switching to the Davenport system, Ozzie was 914 FRAR, Trammell 569. I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. FRAR could be pegging the replacement level too low, and WS arbitrarily caps the fielding credit given to a team, at around 52.5 dWS per team season. Ozzie’s teams approached this cap a few times, but never hit it, so I don’t think that’s an issue. dWS probably understates Ozzie’s contribution a little because it doesn’t adjust enough for extremely low strikeout staffs. Best guess, 20 wins for Ozzie defensively over Trammell.
Their peaks were probably even. Both had their best year in 1987, Trammell had 35 WS, Ozzie 33, both were at 11.8 WARP3. Want best 3-year run? It’s even. Both had 84 WS from 1986-88, Ozzie had 30.7 WARP3 to Trammell’s 30.9. For a 5-year run, Trammell rolled up 132 WS (1983-87) to Ozzie’s 123 WS (1985-89). Trammell had 46.9 WARP3 from 1983-87 or 1984-88, Ozzie had 49.5 WARP3 from 1985-89, but again, I think WARP3 might be overstating the Ozzie’s defensive contribution.
We are pretty confident Trammell was 16-18 wins better as a hitter. We’re making an educated guess that Ozzie was 20 wins better with his glove, I don’t think 2-4 wins here are enough to separate the two, it’s easily within the margin of error. Ozzie should not have gone into the Hall of Fame without Trammell. It’s that simple. There’s no way in hell he should get five times the number of votes Trammell did. It’s amazing what a few back-flips and a guest shot on The Baseball Bunch can do . . .
I’d call career value even. I’d call peak value even also. Their contributions are as even as can be in my opinion. Even if you have Ozzie slightly ahead of Trammell, I can’t see justification to put one in without the other, they are both well over the line.
I’d vote for them both.
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