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Monday, May 14, 2001

Keith Hernandez for the Hall of Fame

Richard Clayton thinks Keith Hernandez should be in the Hall of Fame. Tell him what you think of his reasoning.

In his book Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?, Bill James employs   a variety of methods intended to shed light on who belongs in the Hall and who   doesn?t. These methods include the Hall of Fame Monitor, the Hall of Fame Standards   System, and Similarity Scores. James also uses an approach called the Keltner   List which, rather than providing a quantitative answer to a specific question   (as the above listed methods do), seeks to clarify the discussion surrounding   a player by asking a series of questions that one way or another assess his   viability as a candidate. The List doesn?t produce a score, just a series of   Yes or No answers, together with, in the best case, some justification for those   answers.

I?m going to use the Keltner List to evaluate Keith Hernandez as a Hall of   Fame candidate. Just to lay all my cards on the table, I?ve never been a Mets   or Cardinals fan, and Hernandez was not, while he was active, a particular favorite   of mine. Nevertheless, over the last couple of years (really since reading his   book Pitch by Pitch) I?ve become persuaded that he deserves election,   and moreover that his candidacy hasn?t received due attention from the sabermetrics   crowd. One of the advantages of using the Keltner List is that it pretty much   forces you to approach the question of who belongs in the Hall in an objective   and judicious manner, and specifically to acknowledge a player?s weaknesses   as a candidate.? Consequently, I hope that this assessment will persuade the   skeptical, if not to support Hernadez?s election, at least to recognize that   he is a serious and legitimate candidate.

Anyway, here?s the list, drawn (but not quoted) from James? book Whatever   Happened to the Hall of Fame?:

     
  1. Was he ever the best player in baseball? While he was active, did anyone   ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?
  2.  
  3. Was he the best player on his team?
  4.  
  5. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player   in the league at his position?
  6.  
  7. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
  8.  
  9. If he was the best player on a team, could that team win the pennant?
  10.  
  11. Was he good enough to keep playing regularly past his prime?
  12.  
  13. Does he meet the statistical standards of the Hall of Fame?
  14.  
  15. Are most players with comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?
  16.  
  17. Is there evidence to suggest that he was better or worse than his statistics?
  18.  
  19. Did he ever have an MVP type season, and did he ever win the MVP award?   How did he perform in MVP voting over the course of his career?
  20.  
  21. Is he the very best player in the history of baseball who is not in the   Hall of Fame? Is he the best player at his position who is not in the Hall   of Fame?

As the following discussion will make clear, several of these questions are   intended as a cue to employ one of the methods (HoF Standards, similarity scores)   James has developed over the years. But let?s get on with answering the questions   ?

1) Was he ever the best player in baseball? While he was active, did anyone
  ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

James writes that this is a very tough standard, and that almost every player   who was ever considered the best in the game has already made the Hall (or will   without an argument). Surprisingly, though, there were people around who did   suggest that Keith Hernandez was the best player in the game. In 1979, Sports   Illustrated put Hernandez on the cover, with the headline ?Keith Hernandez ?   Why You?ve Never Heard of Him and Why He May Be the Best Player in Baseball.?   I don?t seriously expect anyone to believe Hernandez was the best player in   the game, but the suggestion was made, and that?s what the question is asking.

2) Was he the best player on his team?

I?d say Hernandez was the best player on the Cardinals from at least 1979 to   1982. He was also, for at least a year or two in there, the best player on the   Mets between 1983 and 1986, but that?s a tough standard for Keith for a couple   reasons. First, when Bill James talks about someone being the best on his team,   he doesn?t mean just for one season: he means, given that player?s true abilities,   and given his age at the time, was he the best player on the team for an extended   period? Second, this standard is fairly easy to apply to the Cardinals when   Hernandez was with them, but very difficult to apply to the Mets. Gooden and   Strawberry were both very young at that time, very promising, delivered on that   promise to a degree, but ultimately did not have the careers one imagines they   were truly capable of having. So, its difficult to say what their ?true abilities?   were, and thus hard to assess who the best player on the team was independently   of a year by year analysis.

Hernandez came up with St. Louis for good in 1976, and was a regular the next   season. At that point Ted Simmons was the best player on the team, but by ?79   Hernandez had overtaken him with an OPS of? .930 to Simmons? .876. From 1979   to 1981, Hernandez?s runs created totals were 135, 122, and 73 (in 103 games).   After Herzog took over the team he made a lot of changes, bringing in Ozzie   Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Lonnie Smith. I would argue that Hernandez was the   best of this bunch in these years, primarily because Ozzie really wasn?t a good   offensive player yet, Lonnie?s offense, while excellent, was about a match for   Keith?s while his defense was not, and Sutter, while still good, had entered   the decline phase of his career. Here?s some evidence:

     






 

Runs Created


TPR

 


?82


?83


?82


?83


Lonnie Smith


102


85


2.3


2.3


Ozzie Smith


58


65


4.4


2.7


Keith Hernandez


101


98


2.4


3.2


Bruce Sutter


8


-6


2.0


-1.0

The numbers for Sutter are his Adjusted Pitching Runs and Total Pitcher Index.   Also, Hernandez?s ?83 season is a composite of his numbers with the Cardinals   and Mets. So, while Lonnie Smith was, for a year, about as good a hitter as   Hernandez, and played a more valuable defensive position, Total Baseball?s methods   show Hernandez to be slightly more valuable. Ozzie in 1982 comes out ahead of   Hernandez in TPR because his fielding runs total (33) is huge and he gets a   big position bonus. One could argue that in 1982 Ozzie was a better player than   Hernandez, but given how weak his offense was, and how wildly Fielding Runs   totals vary from year to year, I?m a little skeptical. A year or two later,   when he ceased to be an automatic out, I?d agree that he was a better player   than Hernandez, but I don?t think he was at that point in his career. Finally,   while he settled the St. Louis bullpen situation, Sutter?s best seasons were   mostly behind him at this point. Keith Hernandez was creating about a hundred   runs a year like clockwork, more in his best seasons, and that was the best   the Cardinals had.

With the Mets, the evidence is more clear:

     






 

Runs Created


TPR

 


?83


?84


?85


?86


?83


?84


?85


?86


Darryl Strawberry


74


87


87


92


2.3


2.3


3.0


2.7


Gary Carter


80*


108*


97


72


2.8


3.5


4.3


2.7


Keith Hernandez


98


108


100


106


3.2


4.6


3.4


4.4


Dwight Gooden



23


59


19



2.9


7.3


1.7

Carter was in Montreal in ?83 and ?84, but I included his numbers because we   want to get a sense of each player?s true ability, not simply his performance   in a given season. I would say that, with the exception of Gooden (and Carter)   in 1985, Hernandez was the best player on the Mets from ?83 to ?86. He was creating   more runs than any of his teammates, and he gets such a boost from his Fielding   Runs that it more than makes up for his position penalty relative to Carter   and Strawberry. Again, Fielding Runs are an oft and fairly criticized stat,   but Hernandez was clearly the best offensive player on the Mets in these seasons.   Starting in 1987, Strawberry and Howard Johnson really come on (while Carter   quickly fades), but I think we can safely answer Yes to question 2: Keith Hernandez   was the best player on his teams over a period of many years, if not the best   by an overwhelming margin.

3) Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best   player in the league at his position?

From about 1977 to 1987, which covers Hernandez?s best seasons, I?d say that   the best first baseman in baseball was Eddie Murray. Cecil Cooper also had some   real good seasons in those years. Again, the evidence, though this time just   the hitting stats:

   





Runs Created

 


?77


?78


?79


?80


?81


?82


?83


?84


?85


?86


?87


Murray


90


104


107


111


70


116


127


130


122


92


103


Cooper


93


69


110


126


70


118


110


70


86


60


27


Hernandez


95


78


135


122


73


101


98


108


100


106


98

Hernandez led this trio in offense four times in these eleven seasons, as against   five times for Murray, and twice for Cooper. In his best seasons in the mid-1980?s,   Murray is 20-30 runs a season better than Hernandez, but Keith?s best years   (?79-?81) match up very well with Eddie?s. Frankly, I?m surprised that the difference   isn?t greater. If park and league adjustments were made, I suspect Hernandez   might turn out to have been the best hitter for at least a couple more seasons.   If Hernandez wasn?t quite the best first baseman in baseball, he was certainly   the best in the National League.

4) Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

In 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1987 Hernandez?s teams were in close races, though   his team only won in ?82 (there was not any kind of pennant race in the NL East   in 1986). I can only imagine that Hernandez had an impact. Yes.

5) If he was the best player on a team, could that team win the pennant?

Well, I?ve already argued that he was the best player on both the ?82 Cardinals   and the ?86 Mets, and they both won the pennant, so the answer is obviously   Yes.

6) Was he good enough to keep playing regularly past his prime?

Frankly, I?ve never been quite sure what James had in mind with this question.   I believe that it?s meant to assess whether a player is able to keep a major   league job after he hits 30, since a player who cannot do so is unlikely to   be much of a Hall of Fame candidate. Hernandez?s ?30 year? was 1984, and he   played regularly for several seasons beyond that. Also, his best season came   in 1979, and he played nearly a decade as a regular after that, if that?s what   the question means. On the other hand, he did not have an especially long career,   all things considered (much shorter than Eddie Murray?s). I?d still answer Yes.

7) Does he meet the statistical standards of the Hall of Fame?

I can think of two ways in which to approach this question. The first, which   I?m pretty certain is the sense that James intended, is to examine how the player   stacks up using the Hall of Fame Standards (or Career Assessment) system. This   system primarily relies on a player?s career counting stats (hits, RBI, etc)   and gives a player an overall score for the number of standards he meets; an   average Hall of Famer will meet 50% of the standards. Hernandez meets 32% of   the standards, decidedly on the low side for a Hall of Famer.

The second way of evaluating a player in terms of the Hall?s established standards   is to compare him to those players at his position who have already been enshrined.   Ignoring the 19th century players (and hence most ?quality of play?   issues) there are 14 first basemen in the Hall of Fame. I have included Harmon   Killebrew and Tony Perez in this list, though each of them played a number of   years at third base. I?ve also included Eddie Murray, who I believe will be   a Hall of Famer very shortly, along with Hernandez. They are listed below with   three statistics from Total Baseball: Adjusted Production (PRO+) which   is league and park adjusted on base plus slugging percentage indexed to the   league average at 100; Adjusted Batter Runs (BR) runs above an average player   adjusted in the same way; and Total Player Rating. I?m only switching from Runs   Created because it?s much easier for me to get a hold of these stats. Here they   are:


         

















 

PRO+


BR


TPR


Gehrig


182


1005


65.7


Foxx


161


746


54.0


Greenberg


157


422


30


Mize


157


490


36.2


McCovey


148


540


36.5


Killebrew


142


482


26.4


Anson


138


418


31.0


Terry


137


338


24.9


Chance


135


208


20.5


Cepeda


133


338


16.7


Murray


130


462


34.1


Hernandez


129


320


34.4


Bottomley


124


247


-2.7


Sisler


124


254


22.7


Perez


122


270


9.9


Kelly


110


68


2.4

I?ve ranked them by PRO+, but it should be pretty obvious that, as a hitter,   Hernandez is well above the level of the least valuable Hall of Fame first basemen.   There are four first basemen in the Hall with lower PRO+ than Keith, and a couple   others (Cepeda and Murray) who are only just above him. There are five first   baseman with fewer adjusted Batting Runs in their careers than Hernandez, with   Cepeda and Terry only a little above him. Now, some of these selections were   clearly mistakes: Kelly and Bottomley, most obviously. However, Hernandez would   by these measures appear to have been a significantly more valuable hitter than   George Sisler (66 BR), Frank Chance (112 BR) or Tony Perez (50 BR). I have never   heard anyone argue that Sisler was a mistake, and if Perez was a mistake he   wasn?t an enormous one; he meets 40.3 % of the Hall of Fame Standards. Chance   was the best hitter on one of the most dominant teams in baseball history, so   I don?t think you can dismiss him either. Cepeda?s selection was more or less   endorsed by James in Whatever Happened, and Murray is going to be elected   as soon as he?s eligible; they?re both only just a hair better than Hernandez   ranked by PRO+, though Murray outdistances both in BR.

??????????? Having said that, it?s clear that Keith Hernandez was not   as good a hitter as an average Hall of Fame first baseman (Cap Anson and Bill   Terry are about average for this group), but he was at least as good a hitter   as many Hall of Famers at his position, players who no one can fairly argue   have no business being in there. I don?t know that we can answer Yes to this   question, but I don?t think a definitive No is appropriate, either.

8) Are most players with comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

This question invites the use of another James method, similarity scores. Basically,   this system takes two players and compares their career hitting stats (again,   mainly the counting stats), subtracting points for increments of difference   in their career statistical lines. The system starts at 1000, and truly similar   players will have scores over 900. Any score under 700 is not really similar   at all. There are special adjustments for position, but you get the idea. Here   are Keith Hernandez?s ten best comps, courtesy of Baseball Reference.com:

     
  1. Mark Grace (930)
  2.  
  3. Wally Joyner (905)
  4.  
  5. Hal McRae (901)
  6.  
  7. Joe Kuhel (898)
  8.  
  9. Ken Griffey Sr (897)
  10.  
  11. Chris Chambliss (883)
  12.  
  13. Cecil Cooper (883)
  14.  
  15. Jose Cruz (877)
  16.  
  17. Joe Judge (872)
  18.  
  19. Cesar Cedeno (871)?

Grace, Joyner, and McRae rate as truly similar players. None of these guys   are in the Hall of Fame. The answer to this question, clearly, is No.

9) Is there evidence to suggest that he was better or worse than his
  statistics?

You bet there is. There are many reasons to believe that Keith Hernandez was   a great deal better than his career offensive counting stats would indicate.   To begin with, rated by those statistics, Hernandez doesn?t look at all special,   and isn?t close to being a Hall of Famer. But using Total Baseball?s   sabermetric stats, Hernandez looks much closer to guys like Cepeda and Murray   than he does to Mark Grace or Ken Griffey Sr. I think part of the reason for   this discrepancy is that Hernandez drew many walks, and consequently had very   high on base percentages, throughout his career: the sabermetric stats reward   him for this performance, but walks and on base percentage don?t get much weight   in James? Hall of Fame Standards and Similarity Score systems (to be fair, the   purpose of these systems is not to tell us how valuable a player was).

Another part of the explanation for this discrepancy is that Hernandez played   in two pretty tough hitters parks (Busch and Shea) during an era when there   was not a whole lot of offense. More than in the ?60?s, to be sure, but much   less than in the ?20s, ?30s, or ?90s. Thus, Hernandez accumulated career totals   similar to those of Grace, Joyner, and Kuhel, but under significantly more difficult   conditions. It is noteworthy that Jose Cruz and Cesar Cedeno show up among Hernandez?s   comps, because their careers overlapped with his, and they played in an even   tougher hitters park (the Astrodome).

But the most important evidence that Hernandez was better than his hitting   statistics, of course, has to do with his defense. Total Baseball rates   Keith Hernandez as the best defensive first baseman in history, and as a result,   his TPR is quite high, 71st all time. His TPR would rank 5th   among Hall of Fame first baseman. Hernandez won 11 Gold Gloves and was universally   regarded as the best defensive first baseman of his era. That may not be saying   a whole lot, but it is saying something, and what it?s saying is that Keith   Hernandez was better than his hitting statistics alone would suggest. And, looked   at with adequate sophistication, his hitting statistics are very good indeed.

10)  Did he ever have an MVP type season, and did he ever win the   MVP award? How did he perform in MVP voting over the course of his career?

Keith Hernandez was the co-MVP of the National League in 1979, his best season.   He did pretty well the rest of the time in MVP voting, finishing second in 1984,   fourth in 1986, eighth in 1985, and eleventh in 1980. He ended up with a career   award share of 2.06. No reason for a Hall of Famer to be embarrassed by that   record.

11) How many All ?Star games did he play in? How does this total compare   to other Hall of Famers of his era?

Hernandez played in five All-Star games in his career, in ?79 and ?80, and   then in ?84, ?86, and ?87. This is not an especially impressive total for a   player of his era: Steve Garvey, who?s career overlaps Hernandez?s to some degree,   played in 10 All-Star games, while Eddie Murray played in 8, and Cecil Cooper   also played in 5. I would argue, though, that in this case, the All-Star voting   didn?t accurately reflect the value of NL first basemen. Let?s compare Hernandez   to the NL All-Star first basemen in the years he had good seasons but didn?t   make the team:

     










 

1981


1982


1983


1985


Garvey


54*


76


57


82*


Horner


46


86*


76


77


Oliver


56


125*


81*


24


Rose


67*


75*


46


59*


Evans


56


74


104*


96


Bench


31


48


37*



J. Clark~


61


101


79


88*


Buckner


65*


98


83


96


Hernandez


73


101


98


100

~ = calculated by the author

*= All-Star

As you can see, in 1981 Hernandez had a better year than any of the three All-Stars.   In 1982, only Al Oliver had a better season, and in 1983, only Darrell Evans.   In 1985, Jack Clark had an excellent year, but Hernandez was healthier than   Clark and a better hitter than Garvey or Rose. While Hernandez does not have   the All-Star record you would expect of a Hall of Famer, that seems more likely   to be a result of questionable selections rather than his failure to be consistently   among the best at his position.

12)  Is he the very best player in the history of baseball who is   not in the Hall of Fame? Is he the best player at his position who is not in   the Hall of Fame?

Not counting 19th century guys like Gorgeous George Davis and Parisian   Bob Caruthers, I?d say the best player not in the Hall is Ron Santo, followed   closely by Bobby Grich and Darrell Evans. None of these guys is currently eligible   for the BBWAA vote. Of those for whom the writers can still vote, I?d say that   only Gary Carter was a better player, and then not by a whole lot. I think Keith   Hernandez is the best first baseman not in the Hall of Fame who is currently   eligible.

However, first basemen who are currently eligible are not really the group   with whom I?d expect most readers to compare Hernandez. Instead, I think many   people will group Hernandez with players like Jack Clark, Will Clark, and Fred   McGriff,? the last two of whom came up when Hernandez was nearly finished. I   can easily imagine a reader pointing out that each of these gentlemen was a   better hitter than Keith Hernandez, and at least the Clarks had good defensive   reputations (though Jack?s was based more on his outfield play). Let?s compare   them:

*????????? *??????????? *

So where does that leave us? On the one hand, Hernandez would not be nearly   the worst hitter among Hall of Fame first baseman, if he were elected, though   he would be a little below average for that group. Hernandez did not play in   many All-Star games, and the players with career records most similar to his   are either not in the Hall or very unlikely to be elected. However, Hernandez   was the best player on his teams for many years, those teams contended and won   championships, and he was the best first baseman in the National League from   about 1979 to 1986. On the other hand, in recent years we?ve seen a number of   first basemen (or 1B/OF to include Jack Clark) with better hitting records than   Hernandez, and who we may safely say at this moment are not considered Hall   of Fame material. Each of these players (the Clarks and McGriff) produced offensive   numbers as good as or better than an average Hall of Fame first baseman, but   Hernandez did not, so electing Hernandez to the Hall would seem to imply either   that a) these three would also have to be elected or that b) Hernandez would   have to get a fair bit of credit for his defense.

What I mean by a ?fair bit of credit? is about 100 runs. If you can believe   that Keith Hernandez saved his teams 100 runs over the course of his career   above that which another first baseman could have been expected to save his   team, then I think you can bump Hernandez above the Clarks and McGriff, and   endorse his election. If you don?t think his defense could have been worth even   close to that much, then you can?t really endorse his election above the others.   Total Baseball takes the former position, crediting Hernandez with 130   Fielding Runs (the best total for a first baseman in baseball history), and   rating him (by TPR) the fifth best first baseman ever.

However, Fielding Runs is not a ideal measure of defense, and for first baseman   the authors of Total Baseball have devised an especially arbitrary system   for calculating defensive value: they give first basemen credit for assists,   but not for putouts. The authors justify this decisions by claiming that most   putouts are routine plays for first basemen, an argument that is not only probably   wrong, but also irrelevant: Fielding Runs compares the number of outs a player   makes to the number of outs an average player would have made in that league   and year, so the statistic already controls for routine plays, that is plays   you would certainly expect an average player to make. So, what if we just compare   the number of outs Hernandez made for his career as a whole with those of a   league average first baseman for the same years?

Well, what you find is that Hernandez made 9.70 outs per game, compared to   8.62 for an average NL first baseman for those seasons. In other words, Hernandez   made 1.08 outs per game above average. Hernandez played 1924 games at first   in his career, so that comes to about 2078 outs above average. Total Baseball   estimates the value of an out to be about a fifth of a run (.2) so using that   coefficient, Hernandez contributed about 416 runs to his team with his defense   above what one would expect from an average defensive first baseman. That?s   a huge, probably unrealistically large number, but even if you only think Hernandez   was ? that good, he still contributed enough defensively to more than make up   for the difference between his offense and that of an average Hall of Fame first   baseman.

 

Richard Clayton Posted: May 14, 2001 at 06:00 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603764)
TPR includes defense, and Hernandez scores very well in that department.
My work with defense indicates that a really great season of fielding
by a first baseman will result in about 15 runs saved above average.
This does not include special abilities such as scooping, nor cutting
down the lead runner on an attempted sacrifice (Hernandez' reported specialty).

In Keith's career, I'd figure him to be really close to 100 runs above
average defensively. As for using his RF, well, that's junk. He had
more chances than everybody else (or he may have).

Should he be in the HoF? I haven't examined all the data enough, but
his work on "Seinfeld" should count for something.
   2. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603776)
Richard's comparison of Hernandez to other 1Bs on the basis of "outs per game"
(RF) is flawed, in that it doesn't take into consideration the possibility that a
number of Hernandez's extra outs were the result of extra ground balls allowed
by his pitchers. We have play-by-play data available from Retrosheet from 1978-1990,
which covers the bulk of Hernandez's career, so it is possible to determine the
extent of this effect. We can also look at the effect Hernandez may have had in
cutting down the lead runner on a sacrifice, and I think we can even get a handle
on the extent to which Hernandez may have affected infielder throwing (see Matt
Welch's article on Mo Vaughn at the SportsJones Web site).

I think 1B defense is underrated by traditional defensive methods, because of
the underlying assumption by analysts that many plays are just routine catches.
But one 1B can make a non-routine play look routine, and another can make a
routine play look non-routine (by being slow to the base, or having poor
footwork or poor positioning around the base). I have no idea how significant
these effects might be - yet.

-- MWE
   3. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603778)
As a followup to my earlier post:

The Cardinals of Hernandez's early years had a staff that was above
league norms in allowing ground balls. In 1982, for example, they
had the fourth highest ratio of assists on balls fielded by infielders
to putouts on balls fielded by outfielders (data from Retrosheet).
By contrast, the Mets were below league norms during Keith's years with
them; in 1986 they ranked fourth from the bottom in the above ratio.

I distinguish between "assists on balls fielded by infielders" and
"infield assists", although the assists infielders pick up on other
plays is probably a relatively small total. The estimator (InfA)/(OFPO)
tracks ground ball/fly ball ratio pretty closely.

-- MWE
   4. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 15, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603789)
Sean:

The point I was making was that - IN GENERAL - the ratio of
a team's infield assists to outfield putouts tracks the ratio
of ground balls allowed to fly balls allowed. The factors you
cite affect that ratio to some extent, but the largest single
factor in that ratio is the pitcher. A Scott Erickson will
consistently allow 2-2.5 ground balls for every fly ball; a
Sid Fernandez will consistently allow around 2 fly balls for
every ground ball. A group of infielders who play behind Erickson
will routinely have higher assist totals than those who play
behind Sid, no matter how good (or poor) they are. The difference
is that Erickson will allow more hits if his infielders are
poor than will Fernandez.

I've looked at this enough to know that team with a high ratio
of infield assists to outfield putouts will NOT allow more fly balls
than the norm, and vice versa. It's not a perfect correlation, but
it's strong enough to be a reliable indicator.

-- MWE
   5. Voros McCracken Posted: May 16, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603803)
The only two Hall of Fame First Basemen I would say Hernandez is
clearly better than are Kelly and Perez. Of course both were pretty
poor selections based mainly on cronyism.

Basically Hernandez belongs in the group with Rocky Colavito, Norm
Cash, Ted Kluszewski, Jacques Fournier, Micky Vernon and so forth.

Basically the Hall of Fame can be as large or as small as the
individual voter wishes. If someone feels the Hall of Fame should
be large enough to include Keith Hernandez, that really is 100% fine
with me...

...basically it's when there are inconsistencies that I would argue.
You can tell me that Keith Hernandez belongs, and that's fine, but
then you need to say that guys like Lou Whitaker, Ron Santo, Wally
Schang and Richie Allen belong as well.

If Hernandez goes in, what do we do with guys like Will Clark and
Rafael Palmeiro when they become eligible?
   6. Voros McCracken Posted: May 17, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603809)
My point with Whitaker, et al, was that if you believe in a Hall of Fame big enough for Keith Hernandez, than that Hall of Fame MUST include Whitaker, Schang and the rest. I agree that Whitaker and Schang are better players than Hernandez. But as far as I can tell, neither one are currently going to make Hall of Fame.

So if Hernandez goes in, than either Hernandez was a bad choice or there has been a clear omission of a qualified player.

Palmeiro and Clark are lumped together, logically, as two recent first basemen, neither of which are shoo-ins for the hall as players at least the equal of Hernandez. When you consider that the contemporaries at their position they have to deal with will include Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell and Mark McGwire...

Throw Fred McGriff on the pile for good measure and exactly how many first basemen born within five years of each other can we induct? Then a few years later when John Olerud and Jim Thome come along with numbers as good or superior to Palmeiro and McGriff?

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