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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Baseball Hall of Fame tracker 2022

DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2021 at 11:35 AM | 1188 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   101. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 12, 2021 at 06:25 PM (#6057116)
• Eliminate the 5% rule – create a system that considers all the candidates for inclusion on the ballot.
• Eliminate the 10-player voting limit – create a system that trusts the voters to have their say on every candidate nominated.
• Limit the ballot to 20 players – create a system that focuses only on the best candidates.


These are good ideas, except the last one. Why have a list of eligible players at all? Why not just let the voters vote for anyone they want to? Scrap the era committees, if the writers think Bill Dahlen is qualified, let them put him on their ballot next to David Ortiz. (Like the HOM does.) With no limit to the number of players you can vote for, this doesn't mean that we risk a split vote leading to a shut out. And if we eliminate the VC, it cuts down on the horse-trading and back-slapping that gets you Harold Baines in the hall. Minoso (and other older deserving players) can get in if somebody starts to vote for them and writes convincing columns, and they start to build support, just like what happens in regular BBWAA elections.
   102. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2021 at 08:10 PM (#6057118)
A phrase which could be used to describe pretty much any HOF article written by Jeff Blair…


Haha! I should have kept that in mind :-)
   103. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2021 at 08:28 PM (#6057119)
88. The Duke Posted: December 12, 2021 at 01:02 PM (#6057085)
If you had to choose who was more Hall-worthy, would you choose Sheffield or Ortiz.


That is a really tough call. To try to draw a line between them I think you'd have to go to post season heroics, clearly going with Ortiz. But if you're not a fan of using post season for HOF consideration, probably too close to call. Or if you don't consider post season AND you're not a fan of the DH, you go with Sheffield. Honestly, I'd just say they're both over the line for me and I'm not going to try to say one is more worthy than the other. Interesting question though.
   104. The Duke Posted: December 12, 2021 at 08:43 PM (#6057121)
Nightengale appears to be out but behind paywall. Can anyone see it ?
   105. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 12, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6057123)
you're not a fan of the DH


Shef was -195 rField for his career. Ortiz, DH or not, didn't hurt his teams as much with his "defense" as Shef did.

Sheffield was worth -1 rField per 71 innings. Ortiz was worth -1 per 135 innings. Limited innings for Ortiz of course, but still >2000 in the field.

(Decided to check some other famous defensive hacks. Dunn was even worse: -1/55; Allen was -1/61; Manny was -1/126, but diving to intercept the cut-off through is still the greatest thing I've ever seen on a baseball diamond.)
   106. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 12, 2021 at 09:39 PM (#6057124)
Shef was -195 rField for his career. Ortiz, DH or not, didn't hurt his teams as much with his "defense" as Shef did.
That’s not the only way to look at it, nor the best way, IMHO. Sheffield’s teams mostly opted to play him in the field even when the DH option was available. Ortiz’s teams almost never did, and went to great lengths to avoid that - tolerating Manny Ramirez in the outfield, going with mediocre Kevin Millar at 1st, then shifting Kevin Youkilis to 1st, and eventually trading for Adrian Gonzalez. The obvious conclusion is that Sheffield was good enough to play the field, even if not well, while Ortiz wasn’t.
   107. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 12, 2021 at 09:46 PM (#6057125)
but diving to intercept the cut-off through is still the greatest thing I've ever seen on a baseball diamond.)


That's not even the best Manny thing you saw on a baseball diamond. Remember the catch, high fiving the fan, then continuing the play and getting runner on first doubled up? Most fun double play ever.

Sheffield was good enough to play the field, even if not well, while Ortiz wasn’t.


Yes, that has merit. However we have also seen that being a full time DH is hard and most players actually hit worse as a DH(or am I misremembering this?) rather then a full time player so maybe Ortiz actually gains some value for actually being able to do it so well for so long.
   108. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 12, 2021 at 09:47 PM (#6057126)
Nightengale appears to be out but behind paywall. Can anyone see it?
On Twitter he teases:
Why I’m voting for Bonds, Clemens, Ortiz and others linked to PEDs, but not A-Rod or Manny
Link goes to his USA Today column. Surprised a newspaper that’s given away free in hotels has a paywall.
   109. DanG Posted: December 12, 2021 at 10:05 PM (#6057127)
Why have a list of eligible players at all? Why not just let the voters vote for anyone they want to? Scrap the era committees, if the writers think Bill Dahlen is qualified, let them put him on their ballot next to David Ortiz. (Like the HOM does.)

I had the same thought about 25 years ago. In a perfect world, under an excellent election system with voters qualified for the task, considering all players on one ballot and dumping the era committees would be the right way to do it.

In reality, we have an electorate generally lacking in the necessary qualifications, saddled with a poor election system. Given this, the last thing we would want is to see the BBWAA try to deal with all players in baseball history. Talk about chaos! No, a 20-man ballot of recent players is about all I would trust them with.

So why not just do away with the BBWAA and appoint a carefully chosen panel of electors? This will never happen. The partnership between the HOF and the BBWAA seems to be permanent.

Although I think I would favor expanding the BBWAA window from ten years of retirees to twenty, thus eliminating the Today’s Game era committee.
   110. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 12, 2021 at 10:14 PM (#6057128)
Shef was -195 rField for his career. Ortiz, DH or not, didn't hurt his teams as much with his "defense" as Shef did.

This depends on how much you believe the -195 number.

However we have also seen that being a full time DH is hard and most players actually hit worse as a DH(or am I misremembering this?) rather then a full time player so maybe Ortiz actually gains some value for actually being able to do it so well for so long.

I haven't checked in a while, but the counterargument I've heard to this is that most players who would be sampled for a study like this (that is, players who split time between DH and a fielding position) are DHing either when tired, or when working through a nagging injury, and that would bias their performance downward.
   111. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 12, 2021 at 10:25 PM (#6057129)
That’s not the only way to look at it, nor the best way, IMHO. Sheffield’s teams mostly opted to play him in the field even when the DH option was available. Ortiz’s teams almost never did, and went to great lengths to avoid that - tolerating Manny Ramirez in the outfield, going with mediocre Kevin Millar at 1st, then shifting Kevin Youkilis to 1st, and eventually trading for Adrian Gonzalez. The obvious conclusion is that Sheffield was good enough to play the field, even if not well, while Ortiz wasn’t.


Ortiz may well have been an even worse defensive player than Sheffield. Whether that's relevant depends on what you're trying to measure. I'm not much interested in how talented a baseball player is (or isn't), but I am interested in how much a player did (or didn't) do to help his team win. That may be unfair to Sheffield, but I don't care about fairness. Sheffield hurt his team with his glove, Ortiz (mostly) didn't.
   112. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2021 at 10:54 PM (#6057131)
It’s a bit early to write off A-Rod. Let’s see if he does better than Bonds & Clemens in his 1st year of eligibility. Bonds & Clemens debuted at only 36.2% & 37.2%, respectively, and both received fewer votes in their 2nd year. Despite the poor starts, they both received ~ 62% of the vote last year, so some voters changed their mind, and there was some turnover among the voters, too.

A lot of that was the purge which hit non-B/C voters much harder than B/C voters. Per Thibs spreadsheet

2016: picked up 14 votes plus 5 of 10 newbies
2017: picked up 27 votes plus 13 of 15 newbies
2018: picked up 1/3 votes plus 11/12 of 13 newbies
2019: picked up 4/3 votes plus 8 of 10 newbies
2020: picked up 3 votes plus 8 of 9 newbies
2021: picked up 0 votes plus 13 of 16 newbies

So that's 49/51 votes picked up over 6 years, about 12% of the electorate, 2% per year. That's not a pace that gets you elected. Note the newbies don't help that much ... 73 newbies, 75% is 55 votes, they got 58/59 so that only adds 3 towards the goal ... and that's assuming they've kept voting for them. At this point, those 73 newbies represent about 18% of the electorate, assuming all still voting. Somebody else can track them down individually to see if they are still voting B/C and whether they end up voting for ARod.

My guess (and just a guess) on the 2017 jump is that voters saw the 2016 jump in %age, didn't realize that was mostly due to the purge and jumped on the "bandwagon." They haven't jumped off but nobody's jumped on since then.

If ARod starts at 40%, he's toast. His only advantage over B/C is that the ballots will be less crowded -- presumably it was easier to leave B/C off the ballot when you were inducting 2-4 guys a year. Pressure will be different if this year is another shutout.

I will say Ortiz is off to a worse start than I expected (only 16 votes). With Schilling and Omar losing support, this is a quite weak ballot with Rolen, Wagner and Helton leading the non-roid backlog. Ortiz beats them in milestones, narrative, personality and even I might put him in over Helton (I'd put in almost anybody over Wagner). I expected/expect voters who are borderline on Ortiz to be attracted to an early yes. Cuz 2023 doesn't look better -- Beltran is the big add and he's a Rolen-y type with baggage. (He is way less Rolen-y than Rolen but probably not enough so to overcome the baggage.) 2024 finally brings Beltre (and Mauer and Utley) and 2025 brings St Ichiro to save baseball once again (also CC).

I would bet no but Felix has a shot to gain enough momentum before Verlander et al hit the ballot to squeak over eventually or at least enough he'll be a quick VC selection. He could also disappear in one ballot.
   113. The Duke Posted: December 12, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6057132)
I don’t remember Sheffield being THAT bad a fielder. He certainly wasn’t good. But was he that bad?
   114. Jaack Posted: December 12, 2021 at 11:13 PM (#6057134)
My guess (and just a guess) on the 2017 jump is that voters saw the 2016 jump in %age, didn't realize that was mostly due to the purge and jumped on the "bandwagon." They haven't jumped off but nobody's jumped on since then.


I don't disagree with any of your analysis, but the big thing that year was Selig getting elected, which was a big deal to a group of voters. Is there a sizeable shift along those lines that could give A-Rod a boost? I could see him getting a bit more support if a VC elects Bonds and Clemens, but that's about it. If A-Rod can get the 2-3% annual gains that Bonds and Clemens were getting, he'd need to start at 50% to even feel safe.
   115. The Duke Posted: December 12, 2021 at 11:27 PM (#6057135)
A-rod seems like a harder case. Caught red handed. Caught after you were not supposed to be doing PEDs. Seems like a longer putt.
   116. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 13, 2021 at 12:28 AM (#6057136)
A-rod seems like a harder case. Caught red handed.


This is the difference. He and Manny were caught and suspended. Bonds, Clemens, Ortiz, etc...lots of suspicion, but not actually caught and punished.

We KNOW A-rod and Manny cheated(according to the rules at the time), the others are in a different basket. It just is what it is.
   117. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2021 at 12:47 AM (#6057137)
The obvious conclusion is that Sheffield was good enough to play the field, even if not well, while Ortiz wasn’t.


The other obvious conclusion is that Sheffield would have ####### and moaned and made himself a nuisance if the manager started slotting him to the DH role when he thought he was a competent fielder. Which is a pretty good bet given Sheff's history as a pain in the ass.

   118. NaOH Posted: December 13, 2021 at 03:06 AM (#6057138)
The other obvious conclusion is that Sheffield would have ####### and moaned and made himself a nuisance if the manager started slotting him to the DH role when he thought he was a competent fielder. Which is a pretty good bet given Sheff's history as a pain in the ass.


In terms of Sheffield’s AL years, it’s hard to blame Sheffield’s ego for too much time in the field. Teams don’t give up on a player’s fielding from ages 19–22. Even now, when teams are much more knowledgeable about assessing defense, we don’t see that happen. So that’s his Milwaukee years.

He didn’t return to the AL until he was 35. And the 2.25 years he played with the Yankees, the problem was those teams’ rosters. Sheffield in RF was understandable, if not advisable.

2004: NY had 38-year old Ruben Sierra, half a season of Giambi (already being relegated to DH), the shell of Tony Clark for 1B, and the final two months with Olerud for 1B. That’s how you get 136 games of Sheffield in right (18 at DH). And the more fragile ego in play here is Boss George’s, as he chose to pursue Sheffield that prior winter instead of Cashman’s recommendation of Vlad.

2005: NY had Tino Martinez, Giambi, and Sheffield. Ruben Sierra was still around, too, missing about 100 games while splitting 60 games between DH and LF. All told, that’s how you end up with 131 games of Sheffield in right (23 at DH).

2006: The NY roster was even more messed up. Giambi is still there, and NY is so averse to him at 1B that the team’s primary 1B is Andy Phillips, he of the 5-season, 259-game, 0.4 bWAR career. Damon was brought in to play CF even though aging and declining Bernie Williams was still around. The year starts with Matsui in LF (before injury leads to the young Melky). So NY, for 39 games before Sheffield gets hurt, is trying to figure out how to play all these guys. Sheffield played 21 games in RF, 9 as DH, and the only 9 games he ever played as 1B. NY would later that year acquire Abreu to play RF.

All told: 347 games with the Yankees, 8.7 bWAR, 6.5 fWAR.

He spent 2007–08 in Detroit where he was almost exclusively a DH (225 as DH, 18 as OF). By then, ages 38–39, he produced 2.8 bWAR and fWAR.

Those are his AL years. NY is the only place that can really be accused of misusing him as a fielder instead of as a DH, but the problems there were roster construction, not babying his ego.

Someone else can figure out what San Diego, Florida, LA, Atlanta, and the Mets should have done to get him more time as a DH in the 1700 games he played in the NL. And seriously, kudos to Boston for seeing the potential of Ortiz and helping him reach it, even if it was almost exclusively as a DH, which he already was before leaving the Twins.
   119. TJ Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6057161)
Question- what is the chance that voters who keep their ballots private will add Bonds and Clemens figuring that they have served their sentence by waiting until their last year for induction? No one will know who specifically changed their vote...
   120. RJ in TO Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6057163)
Question- what is the chance that voters who keep their ballots private will add Bonds and Clemens figuring that they have served their sentence by waiting until their last year for induction?
Small, as voters who keep their ballots private have historically had lower numbers of votes than those which were public.
   121. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:11 AM (#6057167)
As a Braves fan, I always thought it was interesting that Sheffield was able to battle right field to a draw during his two seasons with the Braves -- B-Ref has him just barely below average in that time, while Fangraphs and UZR actually rates him slightly above average. UZR has him immediately becoming terrible in the field with the Yankees, while B-Ref says he was terrible his last season with LA (playing LF), then terrible again once he left the Braves and joined New York.

I don't think this has any particular relevance to the ongoing discussion about Sheffield's Hall of Fame worthiness -- like I said, just thought it was interesting, in the "telling the story of the player" sense. Maybe Sheffield just gave more of a damn playing for a manager he liked and with free agency looming after 2003.
   122. TJ Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:19 AM (#6057169)
I find it difficult to have a scintilla of faith in any defensive system which regards Gary Sheffield as anywhere near average…

That statement is not meant as a HOF disqualifier for Sheffield. He had a HOF-level bat, and Cooperstown has plenty of inductees who were DHs but were forced to go stand around with a glove on due to the rules of the game at the time. As the old saying goes, you can shake a tree and have ten gloves fall out of it. But you would have to shake the entire Amazon rain forest to find ten bats as good as Gary Sheffield’s during his time…

   123. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6057175)
As a Braves fan, I always thought it was interesting that Sheffield was able to battle right field to a draw during his two seasons with the Braves -- B-Ref has him just barely below average in that time, while Fangraphs and UZR actually rates him slightly above average. UZR has him immediately becoming terrible in the field with the Yankees, while B-Ref says he was terrible his last season with LA (playing LF), then terrible again once he left the Braves and joined New York.

In those four years (2001-04) Sheffield played next to a 34 year-old Marquis Grissom (-5 TZ runs), Andruw Jones (+19 and +14), and late career Bernie Williams (-20). Intuitively, having a great CF play with you should hurt your fielding numbers since they'd take discretionary FBs away. But maybe there was a comfort level for Sheffield when he played next to someone who could chase anything down in the gaps.

Also worth noting that Sheffield played LF to a near draw in LA in 2000 (-3), when the Dodgers' CF was ... Todd Hollandsworth? I never thought of him as a plus CF but he did notch +7 TZ runs in CF that season (as did Tom Goodwin).
   124. villageidiom Posted: December 13, 2021 at 12:58 PM (#6057179)
Sheffield’s teams mostly opted to play him in the field even when the DH option was available. Ortiz’s teams almost never did, and went to great lengths to avoid that - tolerating Manny Ramirez in the outfield, going with mediocre Kevin Millar at 1st, then shifting Kevin Youkilis to 1st, and eventually trading for Adrian Gonzalez. The obvious conclusion is that Sheffield was good enough to play the field, even if not well, while Ortiz wasn’t.
That's a pretty disingenuous argument there.

"Shifting Kevin Youkilis" = filling 1B with Gold Glove caliber defense, while making room for Gold Glove caliber defense at 3B.

"Trading for Adrian Gonzalez" = filling 1B with Gold Glove caliber defense.

"went to great lengths to avoid that" = hasn't seen who had the most starts for Boston at 1B in interleague games in any given year of Ortiz's career, despite the above moves.

I mean, in the past I wouldn't stand in the way if people referred to Ortiz's defense at 1B as "slightly worse than somewhat competent", as that's probably the worst-case picture of it. That the team chose Gold Glovers ahead of him says nothing about his skill other than that it wasn't better than Gold Glove. That they chose Kevin Millar ahead of him says something, and Millar was somewhat competent - he was good with the glove and the arm, and had decent range but bad instincts, especially on plays to his right. (That's as a 1B. As a LF, he was materially worse than Manny.) Ortiz at 1B had worse range and a worse arm than Millar but much better instincts. But what it says could be something about their defense, or maybe nothing about their defense. It could say something about how they approached the DH role. It could say something about Francona's unwillingness to have Millar on the bench half the game, not shutting up for one second. We don't know.

Arguing that Ortiz should be demerited because he frequently wasn't given the opportunity to play 1B is like saying "Mariano Rivera, failed starting pitcher". Like, the fact of the opportunities given is irrefutable, but the opportunities *not* given isn't a meaningful part of the story. it's all about what the player does with the opportunities they're given, and whether the opportunities themselves are worthy of consideration. A high-leverage relief role is worthy of consideration, given enough volume. A full time DH, yes. A full time RF, yes.
   125. Buck Coats Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6057180)
Arguing that Ortiz should be demerited because he frequently wasn't given the opportunity to play 1B is like saying "Mariano Rivera, failed starting pitcher".


I agree with this, in that I also think Mariano Rivera shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.
   126. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6057183)
Ortiz was a DH because it was a position that had to be filled, he was perceived as an injury risk (though he was generally pretty healthy other than the wrist), and because he would fill it without complaint (much like Edgar, but unlike Bonilla, Giambi and some others).

If there had been no DH, the Sox would have simply stuck him at first and lived with the mediocre defense. Just as they did in every World Series game they played during his years with the club, including 2013 when he was 37 and replacing the club's second-best hitter (and, despite predictions of doom by BTF's most dead-certain wrong person, he acquitted himself just fine. Earlier, in 2004, he was part of the most important defensive play of the series).

   127. Ron J Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:46 PM (#6057198)
#117 He did piss and moan when Bill Spiers was given the SS job that he thought he had the right to by seniority. His complaints never addressed the issue that Spiers was a better SS. Just that he'd been there longer and deserved the job.
   128. TJ Posted: December 13, 2021 at 02:11 PM (#6057204)
I look at Ortiz the same as I do Sheffield- no one cares about how bad their defense was if they had a HOF bat.

No one cared about Harmon Killebrew's glove, no one cared about Willie Stargell's glove, and no one should care about David Ortiz or Gary Sheffield's glove, at least from a traditional HOF viewpoint.
   129. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6057208)
As a Braves fan, I always thought it was interesting that Sheffield was able to battle right field to a draw during his two seasons with the Braves -- B-Ref has him just barely below average in that time, while Fangraphs and UZR actually rates him slightly above average. UZR has him immediately becoming terrible in the field with the Yankees, while B-Ref says he was terrible his last season with LA (playing LF), then terrible again once he left the Braves and joined New York.


I wonder how much of his defense in Atlanta was impacted by having Andruw Jones next to him in CF. Sheff may not have accumulated much positive value, but his negative fielding could have been mitigated by better positioning or balls assigned to his zone being caught by Jones instead of being missed by Sheffield (if that's a thing in defensive stats). His fielding in 2000 was decent as well when he was next to a surprisingly decent Hollandsworth/Devon White combo.


Also - re: 106 - I've pointed out many times that Sheffield was public about not wanting to play DH and only finally acquiesced to the suggestion when he was 38. And note that he did not sign with an AL team for his last contract.
   130. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 13, 2021 at 02:45 PM (#6057210)
And I probably should have refreshed a while ago. Cokes to #123.
   131. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 13, 2021 at 03:26 PM (#6057217)
Arguing that Ortiz should be demerited because he frequently wasn't given the opportunity to play 1B is like saying "Mariano Rivera, failed starting pitcher".
It’s fair to consider both by the role that they actually played. Rivera was better than most closers for his entire lengthy career, and if that isn’t enough, there’s his even better postseason. Ortiz will clear the HoF bar for most non-Small Hall, non-anti-PED, non-DH Penalty, or non-WAR Determinative voters. I didn’t say that his defense was disqualifying, just that Ortiz shouldn’t be given higher defensive marks than Sheffield, who played 2210 games in the field to just 278 for Ortiz. It really wasn’t a matter of Ortiz being ‘denied the opportunity’ to play 1st base, any more than every benchwarmer was ‘denied the opportunity’ to play regularly. The management of his team over a long period of time thought they were better without him playing the field.
   132. villageidiom Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:04 PM (#6057222)
I didn’t say that his defense was disqualifying, just that Ortiz shouldn’t be given higher defensive marks than Sheffield, who played 2210 games in the field to just 278 for Ortiz.
I thought the argument being made here (that you were responding to) was that Sheffield would have helped his team more if he'd been a DH like Ortiz, not that Ortiz deserved higher defensive marks.
   133. alilisd Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:16 PM (#6057224)
If there had been no DH, the Sox would have simply stuck him at first and lived with the mediocre defense.


Agree, SoSH. I'm curious about the unknowable, unanswerable question though as to would he have lasted? It's moot to this discussion, I know, but had he been required to play defense, would he have broken down sooner? Would he have been injured more frequently? He didn't, though, and so was he a HOF as a DH is the only relevant question. Still interesting to discuss other scenarios though.
   134. alilisd Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:18 PM (#6057225)
128. TJ Posted: December 13, 2021 at 02:11 PM (#6057204)
I look at Ortiz the same as I do Sheffield- no one cares about how bad their defense was if they had a HOF bat.

No one cared about Harmon Killebrew's glove, no one cared about Willie Stargell's glove, and no one should care about David Ortiz or Gary Sheffield's glove, at least from a traditional HOF viewpoint.


Yes, I think this is the correct perspective to take when assessing the two from a voting perspective!
   135. Adam Starblind Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6057227)
And note that he did not sign with an AL team for his last contract.


And his at bats were still must-see TV. Sheff was one of those "stop everything and watch" hitters.
   136. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:41 PM (#6057228)
Agree, SoSH. I'm curious about the unknowable, unanswerable question though as to would he have lasted? It's moot to this discussion, I know, but had he been required to play defense, would he have broken down sooner? Would he have been injured more frequently? He didn't, though, and so was he a HOF as a DH is the only relevant question. Still interesting to discuss other scenarios though.


Obviously it's possible, and more likely than hitting alone, but it strikes me that he was already doing the thing that was more likely to lead to injury when he was in the batter's box. I don't think first is that physically demanding, and rarely (the occasional Derrick Lee ugliness excepted) puts players in line for collision-type injuries.
   137. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6057229)
Sheff was one of those "stop everything and watch" hitters.


Especially if you were the third base coach. Lord help the guy whose attention was diverted before one of Sheff's pulled rockets was headed his way.
   138. alilisd Posted: December 13, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6057230)
I don't think first is that physically demanding


Oh, it's not, but it's certainly more demanding than hanging out in the dugout or the clubhouse for half the game.
   139. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6057232)
Oh, it's not, but it's certainly more demanding than hanging out in the dugout or the clubhouse for half the game.


Of course. I just think the injury risk, including wear and tear, from playing position is very low. But as long as you've got a DH to fill, it makes sense to put your Edgarian types there, particularly if they're the kind of guys who won't make a stink about being "half a player."
   140. The Duke Posted: December 13, 2021 at 05:20 PM (#6057234)
No one used to care about Stargell and killebrews glove. But these days WAR, JAWS, and Jaffe all care and that changes the dynamic. Sheffield must be leagues ahead of most inductees on the offensive side but gets dragged back to the middle of the pack by JAWS. So people do care now. Should they ? Probably not
   141. alilisd Posted: December 13, 2021 at 06:36 PM (#6057236)
140. The Duke Posted: December 13, 2021 at 05:20 PM (#6057234)
No one used to care about Stargell and killebrews glove. But these days WAR, JAWS, and Jaffe all care and that changes the dynamic. Sheffield must be leagues ahead of most inductees on the offensive side but gets dragged back to the middle of the pack by JAWS. So people do care now.


I don't think it's that simple. He debuted in 2015 with three 1st ballot HOF and Biggio was also elected, followed by Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Schilling, Clemens Bonds. That's a crowded ballot. Also, he received just one fewer vote than Walker in his 5th year on the ballot. If people did care, then Walker ought to have polled a lot higher, right? His support, or lack thereof, is much more due to the sheer numbers of qualified players on the ballot, compounded by people being stuck on the ballot due to PED and personality concerns.
   142. GregD Posted: December 13, 2021 at 06:39 PM (#6057237)
Surely there's a better way to capture this but just as a stupid way, there's a 24 oWAR gap between Sheffield and Ortiz and a 5 WAR gap; that just seems absurd to me. Sheffield was one of the top 40 non-pitchers by oWar and Ortiz is top 120; that seems about right. Equalizing them based on defense....I just can't see it.
   143. LargeBill Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:13 PM (#6057240)
142. GregD Posted: December 13, 2021 at 06:39 PM (#6057237)
Surely there's a better way to capture this but just as a stupid way, there's a 24 oWAR gap between Sheffield and Ortiz and a 5 WAR gap; that just seems absurd to me. Sheffield was one of the top 40 non-pitchers by oWar and Ortiz is top 120; that seems about right. Equalizing them based on defense....I just can't see it.


Agree 100%. Defense is of some importance, but I don't agree with how the attempts to quantify it rate it so heavily. A guy who plays in the field, even if he is Manny Ramirez level indifferent can't be less valuable defensively than a guy who doesn't play any position.
   144. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:16 PM (#6057241)
Surely there's a better way to capture this but just as a stupid way, there's a 24 oWAR gap between Sheffield and Ortiz and a 5 WAR gap; that just seems absurd to me.

oWAR includes the position adjustment, so it gives Sheffield credit for playing the field but doesn't penalize him for his defense. However, the overall point is a fair one: Sheffield was as good as or better than Ortiz as a hitter - by adjusted batting runs/wins, WPA, base/out performance, etc. All of these are compared to average and therefore don't inherently give extra credit for Sheff's additional 850 PA.
   145. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:29 PM (#6057244)
Someone else can figure out what San Diego, Florida, LA, Atlanta, and the Mets should have done to get him more time as a DH in the 1700 games he played in the NL.

Not signed/traded for him to begin with or traded him to an AL team after seeing his defense upfront. That they did acquire him and not trade him away to AL teams suggests they weren't concerned enough about his defense nor were the teams trading for him ... and that AL teams weren't sufficiently thrilled with the prospect of him as their DH to beat other offers. Of course, with his reputation, teams had plenty of reasons to avoid him and especially if it was widely believed that he would complain about DHing.

The fact is that AL teams have never paid (intended) DHs the big bucks. They seem to be in rough agreement with WAR on the heavy positional penalty. Yes, stars with big contracts may end up there for the last year or two of their contract (or longer for not-so-wise contracts like Pujols). I suppose Miggy might be the exception ... surely the Tigers realized he'd be at DH for at least half that contract.

On how much more strenuous 1B could be than DH ... we'll never really know of course but Stargell's last year of 600+ PA was 34, last year of 500+ was 35. Killebrew was 35/36; McCovey managed just a couple of 500 seasons after 32. Of course there are plenty of examples the other way -- Rose, Yaz, Winfield (DH at 40), etc. The DH slot is of course also useful for getting those totals up even for guys who are spending most of their time in the field, surely McCovey would have topped 500 PAs a few more times with at least 20 "days off" at DH.

As to the "DHs hit worse penalty" applied to "full-time" DHs -- let's be clear that in the nearly 50 years of DH play, there have only been 198 qualified seasons (here using 502+ which will lose 81 and 94) with a player spending at least 75% of their time at DH. The median age of these seasons is 34, only 15% of them under 30. The median OPS+ is 120. It is rare to find a HoVG slugger spending a significant portion of their prime as a full-time DH. So the vast majority of DH PAs are being taken by part-timers, platooners, rotaters and injured guys to begin with.

There are only a handful of guys with 5+ seasons meeting that definition -- Baines, Baylor, Chili, Edgar, VMart, McRae, Molitor, Kendrys, Ortiz and Thomas. Baines (early), Horton (mixed), Baylor (kinda late), Brett (late), Molitor (late) and Parker (late) are the only guys allowed to have a below-120 OPS+ for more than 2 full seasons.

So it's a position rarely played on a full-time basis (and 502 PA is not particularly "full-time"), mostly played by old farts, only played by guys on a repeated basis if they can really hit. The age thing is a particular problem ... maybe (say) Vlad Guerrero hit worse than expected in his first full-time-ish DH season at 34 ... but we suck at projecting aging, it is common for players to go off a cliff anywhere from ages 33-37 and of course the team might have good reasons not picked up by a ZiPS for thinking it's time to move the guy to DH and those good reasons (if we knew them) would probably let us know a cliff-dive was more likely.

It makes perfect sense to me that guys rotating in/out of DH would struggle with their hitting -- e.g. we know PHs struggle massively so there seems merit in the idea of hitting without playing isn't "natural." It might then make sense that a player might struggle in their first year as a full-time DH. But guys who can hit hit and, after an appropriate adjustment period, it doesn't matter much where they play. So it makes even more sense to me that guys moved to full-time DH at 34-36 are usually headed for the cliff anyway. The number of guys who get shifted, don't hit that well and are retired in the next year or two is quite high -- it's possible DHing broke them or the DH penalty made them look more cooked than they were so didn't get another chance but I'm going with the simplest explanation that it was the end of the line no matter where they played and the team was just hoping to get the last bit of positive production out of them ... sometimes they had some left and sometimes they didn't. (That and "former star" value.)

In short, I'm asserting that a "big" slugger (esp a declining one) in his mid-30s being moved to full-time DH is usually an indicator of a pending plummet not the cause of one. And regardless, if you want to hold a full-time DH position, you'd better be able to hit at least a 120-125 OPS+ consistently. The leash is short.
   146. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:39 PM (#6057248)
#144: the bWAR way to measure that is Rbat which is also relative to leagu average. Sheffield leads 561-455 in about 900 more PA. That works out to a gap of about 4 WAR/650 which works out to about a gap of 6 wins over Ortiz's PAs. Of course the total WAR gap is 5 wins so that's pretty similar. We still need to give credit to Sheffield for another 900 PA of above-average production though which gets us back to around the 10 wins that raw Rbat suggests. Sheffield was also the better baserunner.

So, very close as hitters though you'd give Sheff the slight edge. Very hard to argue that Ortiz deserves it more than Sheff, at least until you get to postseason.
   147. GregD Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:43 PM (#6057251)
oWAR includes the position adjustment, so it gives Sheffield credit for playing the field but doesn't penalize him for his defense. However, the overall point is a fair one: Sheffield was as good as or better than Ortiz as a hitter - by adjusted batting runs/wins, WPA, base/out performance, etc. All of these are compared to average and therefore don't inherently give extra credit for Sheff's additional 850 PA.
Thanks! I forgot that, and that's an important point. I wouldn't give Sheffield much credit as a fielder. That said isn't Sheffield getting a positional adjustment downward even in oWAR? Corner outfield spots start with a positional adjustment of -7 runs per season, right? (That's less than Ortiz's -15 positional adjustment in oWAR so that does overstate the gap.) By rBAT Sheffield beats him 561 to 455, and 590 to 542 in adjusted batting runs. I'm fine with Ortiz in....after Sheffield gets in.
   148. Howie Menckel Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:22 PM (#6057255)
just getting back to adjusted OPS+, some numbers:

Palmeiro 132 in 12046 PA
Reggie 139 in 11418
Sheffield 140 in 10947 PA
McGriff 134 in 10174 PA
Ortiz 141 in 10091 PA
Vlad 140 in 9059 PA
Killebrew 143 in 8933 PA
   149. I don't want to talk about Rocco Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:45 PM (#6057260)
I think all sports would be way better off if they just had museums celebrating the sports history and did away with conferring any so called honor on players and non-players. Plus the sports are big enough that the attention generated isn't really necessary. I mean sure you can claim that any attention is good attention but what is fun about the Schilling BS? And today's players don't need any validation of their careers. If they were awesome they know it.

Everything else can stay the same. You have your plaques. Jerseys. Memorabilia of all kinds. Just no induction stuff.
   150. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:47 PM (#6057262)
#144: the bWAR way to measure that is Rbat which is also relative to leagu average. Sheffield leads 561-455 in about 900 more PA.

Yeah, Rbat works fine as well.

As you mention later, the only reason one might prefer Ortiz over Sheffield purely as a hitter is the postseason. Which is not an unreasonable position to take, but I have a hard time thinking it's enough to turn "slight but clear advantage Sheffield" into "Ortiz definitely in, Sheffield definitely out."
   151. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:49 PM (#6057263)
Jay Cohen: Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Ortiz, Rolen, Schilling, Wagner. No changes in his votes on the holdovers.
   152. John Northey Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:26 PM (#6057269)
Funny. A decade ago we should've been celebrating one of the strongest HOF classes of all time with Clemens & Bonds going in with Schilling and Sosa there too, along with whoever else was on that ballot. 9 guys have made it off that ballot so far (first year guys that year were Biggio and Piazza, along with the 4 mentioned before and Kenny Lofton among others). Instead so far we've seen Biggio, Morris, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Trammell, and Walker get in. Only 2 of those I'd put in the questionable category (Smith and Morris). Forgotten from then are guys like McGriff, Lofton, McGwire, Palmeiro. All guys who'd get in by most systems without PED considerations (McGriff's numbers would've been a lock in any era but the PED one - no rumors even about him but his numbers look pedestrian vs his 'roided up competition). Potentially 17 HOF'ers on that ballot, yet the voters put no one in.

This ballot is the final chance to get more in from it but I suspect we will see the 10 year Bonds/Clemens/Sosa window end as it began - with 0 going in. Kind of appropriate. The vets committee will be interesting in a few years when they get to make a call on these guys. Clemens/Bonds/Schilling/Sosa/Lofton all worthy but how much longer will they wait?
   153. The Duke Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:36 PM (#6057275)
Sosa isn’t really in the same camp. I question whether McGwire or Sosa would make it without PED allegations. It seems the voters have doubts about them beyond PEDS
   154. Booey Posted: December 13, 2021 at 10:51 PM (#6057277)
I question whether McGwire or Sosa would make it without PED allegations. It seems the voters have doubts about them beyond PEDS


Do they? They're 9th and 11th all time in homers (and were a few spots higher when they first hit the ballot). McGwire has the best HR rate of all time, and is on a short list of the all time leaders in slugging (.588) and OPS+ (163). They own 5 of the top 6 single season HR totals between them. And as much as people like to downplay it now, the Maris HR chase of 1998 was HUGE. I can't imagine any baseball event ever captivating the nation - even non baseball fans were talking about it! - like that ever again.

It's the 'roids. It's always been the 'roids.
   155. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:35 PM (#6057286)

Sosa isn’t really in the same camp. I question whether McGwire or Sosa would make it without PED allegations. It seems the voters have doubts about them beyond PEDS


It's possible they don't make it without roids, if they do work really well. But if people didn't care about the juice, both those folks are going in right away (well, Sammy might have to wait an extra year given his ballot class, but there's no chance either guy was coming up short.
   156. The Duke Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:50 PM (#6057288)
McGwire was on 10 years and never got more than 23%. Compare that to other roiders and you can only conclude PEDs weren’t the only reason for low vote totals. Sosa has never gotten more than 17%.
   157. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 12:02 AM (#6057290)

McGwire was on 10 years and never got more than 23%. Compare that to other roiders and you can only conclude PEDs weren’t the only reason for low vote totals. Sosa has never gotten more than 17%.


You can't draw that conclusion. McGwire admitted to roid usage, something none of the other guys did.

Sosa was clearly inferior to Bonds and Clemens, and thus wasn't going to make any headway as long as they were sitting above him (in the same way Palmeiro never did).

Mac would have sailed in first ballot. Sosa quite possibly takes a more Eddie Mathews-like route to Cooperstown, but only because of the stacked ballot issue. Bonds-Clemens in 13, Glavine-Maddux-Thomas in 14, Unit-Pedro-Smoltz in 15 all might have kept him on the outside, but he would have made it by 16 when Griffey was the only ballot newcomer lock. There's simply no reason to believe 600-homer club members, guys who were part of the most historic single-season chase of the last 60 years, would have been ignored by Coop.
   158. Booey Posted: December 14, 2021 at 12:07 AM (#6057291)
With their pedestrian batting averages (nevermind that Mac's on base percentage is higher than Tony Gwynn's, Rod Carew's, etc), I think McGwire and Sosa are being viewed as one dimensional products of PED's more than anyone else. Without the epic homer numbers, they're not being seen as having a lot else going for them.

Compare them to say, Manny Ramirez, who hit .312 career and is still basically Vlad Guerrero if you struck 100 homers and 300 rbi's off his record.
   159. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 12:18 AM (#6057293)
With their pedestrian batting averages (nevermind that Mac's on base percentage is higher than Tony Gwynn's, Rod Carew's, etc), I think McGwire and Sosa are being viewed as one dimensional products of PED's more than anyone else. Without the epic homer numbers, they're not being seen as having a lot else going for them.

Compare them to say, Manny Ramirez, who hit .312 career and is still basically Vlad Guerrero if you struck 100 homers and 300 rbi's off his record.


I'm not really think that's much of it (maybe with Sammy, just because he's actually borderline on the merits*). But Bonds/Clemens, who were always going to represent the ceiling for support as long as they were on the ballot, didn't crack 50 percent of the vote until their fifth year on the ballot. The percentage of voters who are staunchly anti-roids usage has declined significantly, so it's not surprising a known roider like Manny is going to do better than one like Mac did a decade earlier.

* Even there, he was always going to sit well behind the big two, and it's not surprising he never built any momentum.
   160. LargeBill Posted: December 14, 2021 at 08:36 AM (#6057299)
157. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 12:02 AM (#6057290)

McGwire was on 10 years and never got more than 23%. Compare that to other roiders and you can only conclude PEDs weren’t the only reason for low vote totals. Sosa has never gotten more than 17%.



You can't draw that conclusion. McGwire admitted to roid usage, something none of the other guys did.

Sosa was clearly inferior to Bonds and Clemens, and thus wasn't going to make any headway as long as they were sitting above him (in the same way Palmeiro never did).

Mac would have sailed in first ballot. Sosa quite possibly takes a more Eddie Mathews-like route to Cooperstown, but only because of the stacked ballot issue. Bonds-Clemens in 13, Glavine-Maddux-Thomas in 14, Unit-Pedro-Smoltz in 15 all might have kept him on the outside, but he would have made it by 16 when Griffey was the only ballot newcomer lock. There's simply no reason to believe 600-homer club members, guys who were part of the most historic single-season chase of the last 60 years, would have been ignored by Coop.


I have to disagree on McGwire. He, and his alleged PED usage timeline, have a far different narrative than with Bonds, Clemens, etc. One of the biggest arguments used to dismiss the allegations against Bonds or Clemens is the assumption that they were well on their way to HOF careers before it is assumed they started juicing. In McGwire's case, by the mid-90s, his career was stalled as he was beset with injuries (foot, I think, but maybe back as well). He had a couple seasons with just 9 homers and there was even talk of retirement due to the nagging injuries. Suddenly, he had a major resurgence and a 5 year stretch of healthy seasons. He went from very good/borderline great to very great/borderline Ruthian. Right or wrong, voters are going to view the impact of McGwire's alleged usage different from Bonds' alleged use.
   161. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 09:04 AM (#6057301)
I have to disagree on McGwire. He, and his alleged PED usage timeline, have a far different narrative than with Bonds, Clemens, etc. One of the biggest arguments used to dismiss the allegations against Bonds or Clemens is the assumption that they were well on their way to HOF careers before it is assumed they started juicing. In McGwire's case, by the mid-90s, his career was stalled as he was beset with injuries (foot, I think, but maybe back as well). He had a couple seasons with just 9 homers and there was even talk of retirement due to the nagging injuries. Suddenly, he had a major resurgence and a 5 year stretch of healthy seasons. He went from very good/borderline great to very great/borderline Ruthian. Right or wrong, voters are going to view the impact of McGwire's alleged usage different from Bonds' alleged use.


You're misunderstanding. Duke questioned whether they would make it without PED allegations, not whether the PEDs made it possible for them to be Hall of Famers.

If no one cared about PEDs, Mac and Sammy would have sailed into the Hall. If PEDs didn't exist, or those gents didn't use/allegedly use them, it's certainly possible, though unknowable, that their careers would have ended short of Cooperstownian timber.
   162. The Duke Posted: December 14, 2021 at 09:32 AM (#6057308)
Just using JAWS neither is a slam dunk. This puts aside PED stuff and just looks at their numbers. I can see voters not getting excited about McGwire only getting 1600 hits. Sosa looks like a slightly better candidate
   163. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6057309)

Just using JAWS neither is a slam dunk. This puts aside PED stuff and just looks at their numbers. I can see voters not getting excited about McGwire only getting 1600 hits. Sosa looks like a slightly better candidate


I'm not using any numbers more exotic than the 583 homers (sixth at the time of his retirement) that Mac finished with or the 609 and fifth that Sammy reached. Those are Hall of Famer numbers, even if the two hadn't been the key players in the most famous baseball summer since 1961, which, of course, they had.
   164. HGM Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6057312)
It's extremely funny that there are people that think McGwire and Sosa might not have made the HoF if PEDs weren't an issue.
   165. Booey Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:27 AM (#6057314)
As far as pure sluggers go, Thome is probably a good reflection of how Mac/Sammy would have fared if voters didn't care about PED's. If either of them even needed a 2nd ballot, it would only have been because of who they debuted with (Sammy with Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Piazza, and Biggio, McGwire with Ripken and Gwynn).
   166. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6057317)
Killebrew took four years to get in. He's probably the best non-PED comp for McGwire so maybe it takes Big Mac a few tries but he's in pretty quickly and with minimal fuss in a world where PEDs are non-factor.
   167. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:02 AM (#6057320)
Killebrew took four years to get in. He's probably the best non-PED comp for McGwire so maybe it takes Big Mac a few tries but he's in pretty quickly and with minimal fuss in a world where PEDs are non-factor.


I think the '60s voters were more likely to get hung up on batting average. Reggie and Schmidt had no trouble getting in.
   168. alilisd Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:03 AM (#6057321)
164. HGM Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6057312)
It's extremely funny that there are people that think McGwire and Sosa might not have made the HoF if PEDs weren't an issue.


Ya, it feels like getting trolled. "Just using JAWS neither is a slam dunk. This puts aside PED stuff and just looks at their numbers." Just looks at their numbers? But not numbers like McGwire setting the rookie HR record, leading the league in HR 4 times, breaking the single season mark of 60/61, being the first to hit more than 70 in a single season and following it up with 65 the next season. JAWS? He retired with roughly a top 10 ranking for 1B, probably a tick above average for a HOF 1B. Bagwell and Thomas were in front of him by then, but not Pujols, Thome, Cabrera, Votto, nor Helton. He's virtually a lock with Palmeiro and Murray for the 10th spot in 2001. Sosa is a bit weaker through the JAWS lens, but all you need to know about that is how Vlad did when he came on the ballot. With 609 HR and no PED discussion the writers would have been gushing about him hitting 60+ HR 3 times but never leading the league when he did so! Averaged 58 HR across 5 seasons and 141 RBI! Had at least 35 HR and 100 RBI in 9 straight seasons, averaging 49 and 127!

Ya, feels like getting trolled.
   169. alilisd Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6057323)
I think the '60s voters were more likely to get hung up on batting average.


They could also be stingy with the votes. He debuted with Gibson, in first ballot solo inductee, and received five more votes than Marichal, also on his first ballot, to finish fourth. That's an excellent debut, but then he has to wait because the next year it's Aaron and FRobninson going in first ballot. The following year it's BRobinson in first ballot along with Marichal and Killer misses by only 12 votes. Low BA probably played a bit of a role, stingy voters a bit, and timing also coming on with Gibson and Marichal and the year before two guys like Aaron and FRob.
   170. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:26 AM (#6057327)
They could also be stingy with the votes. He debuted with Gibson, in first ballot solo inductee, and received five more votes than Marichal, also on his first ballot, to finish fourth. That's an excellent debut, but then he has to wait because the next year it's Aaron and FRobninson going in first ballot. The following year it's BRobinson in first ballot along with Marichal and Killer misses by only 12 votes. Low BA probably played a bit of a role, stingy voters a bit, and timing also coming on with Gibson and Marichal and the year before two guys like Aaron and FRob.


It also took Mathews five tries, and a few backloggers were eleced before they got around to the greatest third baseman in history at the time of his retirement.
   171. The Duke Posted: December 14, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6057330)
Sosas similarity scores are littered with HOFrs. McGwire not so much. Aside from Killebrew and Mccovey you get Frank Howard, Adam Dunn, canseco, giambi, teixera, Nelson Cruz and Delgado - a decidedly HOVG list

Sosa has thome, Jackson, m Schmidt, Griffey jr, Mathews, mantle, Killebrew, Stargell, Sheffield and McCovey. That’s a very different neighborhood
   172. SoSH U at work Posted: December 14, 2021 at 12:43 PM (#6057331)
McGwire not so much. Aside from Killebrew and Mccovey you get Frank Howard, Adam Dunn, canseco, giambi, teixera, Nelson Cruz and Delgado - a decidedly HOVG list


You can keep trying to make this argument a bunch of different ways, and it's not going to get any less ridiculous Duke. He's similar with all the other guys who hit 586 career homers and 70 in a season. That's his comparison set.



   173. DanG Posted: December 14, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6057337)
McGwire's similarity scores make the same point in a different way, SoSH: there is NOBODY really similar to Big Mac, with the highest score being only 801.

One only needs to look at McGwire's HOF Monitor score of 170 (tied for #69 among position players with Ernie Banks) to see that the Hall voters would have elected him pretty quickly sans PEDs.
   174. Booey Posted: December 14, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6057338)
The fact that McGwire has no close comps is a point in his favor, not against it. He hit 583 homers in only 6187 AB's. That's insane. Most the comps on Duke's list are 100-200 homers behind Mac in a similar number of AB's. IOW, they're not that similar at all. Mac didn't just surpass Maris' hallowed mark of 61 homers, he AVERAGED more than 61 homers over a 4 season span.

He also managed a .588 career slugging percentage and a 163 OPS+ despite a .263 batting average. It's just crazy sauce how far ahead of everyone else McGwire was at mashing dingers.

Edit: Even Sosa was only close to McGwire in 1998-1999 because he got over 100 extra AB's each season.
   175. JJ1986 Posted: December 14, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6057342)
Similarity score is not any kind of measure of value.
   176. alilisd Posted: December 14, 2021 at 01:58 PM (#6057347)
173. DanG Posted: December 14, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6057337)
McGwire's similarity scores make the same point in a different way, SoSH: there is NOBODY really similar to Big Mac, with the highest score being only 801.


Yes, and I believe James said a similarity score below 900 means nothing, IOW a similarity score below 900 means the players really are not similar at all.
   177. alilisd Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:10 PM (#6057349)
It also took Mathews five tries, and a few backloggers were eleced before they got around to the greatest third baseman in history at the time of his retirement.


Yes, Mathews was a really strange one! Was there a personality issue with him not getting along with the writers? The overall pattern of elections, in terms of who went in, between when he debuted and when he was selected is pretty odd, too.

I think it's possible there was also a large block of curmudgeonly old guys sort of like Murray Chass during those 1970's elections. Mathews was elected in 1978, so a voter who was 78 that year was born in 1900, probably started covering the game watching Ruth and Gehrig, and had been voting for literally decades at that point. "Eddie Mathews? He was no Pie Traynor I'll tell you what! Why I once saw Home Run Baker hit a ball clear over the pasture fence! Knocked out old farmer Johanson's prize bull!"
   178. Howie Menckel Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6057352)
I do recall a batting AVG bias from 1970s HOF voting (while walks were somewhat ignored).

agree on below 900 in Bill James' toy said to be not relevant (or, even more irrelevant, if you prefer).
   179. JJ1986 Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:55 PM (#6057362)
Like Mathews, Gary Carter also took a long time to get in despite being obviously qualified in every way.
   180. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6057366)
You need only look at Palmeiro -- a guy with 3000 hits and 500 HR -- to see what effect roids (and crowded ballots) had on voting.

Mathews ... always a strange case. If you've ever seen the cringe-worth Dean Martin roast of Hank Aaron (it's on youtube), Mathews was the only non-comedian (and arguably comedian) who knew how to tell a joke. So he seemed affable enough. He was also the Braves manager in those first years on the ballot, that would keep him in touch with the press. Seems he'd have the extras going for him. It can't have been just the BA since Kiner got in and Hodges always did well. Anti-3B bias maybe. Or maybe seen as a guy who did nothing but hit HR (just like Kiner).

It was Banks who really provided the final push for him over the line -- if Ernie's 512 HR were good enough, surely Mathews 512 HR were too. He was probably already on his way but he had a nice bump in Ernie's election year and a bit over-the-line jump the next. This is when the 500-HR milestone really became established -- not that there had been much need for a 500-HR milestone before that given how few made it.

On Mac ... there are only three players who should even be considered as comps, Greenberg, Mize and Kiner. All three had short careers. Greenberg was just a beast with the bat, Mize also hit over 300 with 4 HR titles and a 50-HR season, Kiner led the league in HRs 7 times. Greenberg's career was short due to the war but his HoF voting history makes it hard to argue that the writers ever gave any kind of war credit. That's even more true for Mize who they didn't elect at all. The writers of the time didn't really have any clue what they were doing -- they were electing virtually nobody in those days, couldn't decide when players were eligible ... then somebody lit a fire under their ass and they elected 7 in 54-55, clearing out the pre-war backlog so Greenberg was the last guy standing. Also when they finally got around to really voting for DiMaggio, that may have set a precedent for "war credit" although DiMaggio didn't need it and Greenberg may be the only example of somebody who got it.

Unfortunately, that supports the absurd notion that McGwire wouldn't have cruised in. He would have easily but more because voting has changed substantially since the 50s to early 70s (and his fame). But, historically, hitters like McGwire have struggled. You could add Allen and that nobody even considered Howard a remotely serious candidate. The writers in those days were stingy or possibly scattered ... 32 guys got 5+% in 1949. For a while there, they couldn't even be bothered to vote every year. Even into the early 70s, Yogi took 2 ballots, Snider was mired in the 20s, they coudln't even elect Mize (no substantial war credit there).

Bob Lemon in, Johnny Mize out -- god only knows what they were up to. In his first year on the ballot in 69, Hodges was 10 points behind Mize (on his 7th ballot but 11th year). The next year, the writers put Hodges 6 points ahead of Mize and Mize stayed stuck where he was while Hodges mostly crept forward until Mize's final ballot in 73. Mize never topped 44%. (Hodges jumps "explained" by the 69 miracle then dying a couple of years later.)
   181. DL from MN Posted: December 14, 2021 at 03:27 PM (#6057367)
I remember when Killebrew was elected in the early 80s and there definitely was a bias against him because of his low batting average.
   182. RJ in TO Posted: December 14, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6057369)
I remember when Killebrew was elected in the early 80s and there definitely was a bias against him because of his low batting average.
To be fair, he did have (and still does have) the lowest BA by any player elected by the writers, so it was fair for them to notice it. Only Ray Schalk is lower, and he was a catcher, who played much of his career in the deadball era, and was elected by the VC. Before him, the lowest average for a player primarily elected for his offensive contributions was Eddie Matthews, who hit 0.271 to Killebrew's 0.256.

He really did fit the stereotype of the one dimensional slugger, but he was very, very good at that one dimension.

   183. LargeBill Posted: December 14, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6057372)
175. JJ1986 Posted: December 14, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6057342)
Similarity score is not any kind of measure of value.


I don't think most people use it to determine value. It serves as a quick check to see which ten players had careers that were most similar to a player. If none of the ten are Hall of Famers, it could be a potential down check. If most of the ten are clear HOFrs, that may indicate that his selection would not be out of bounds. Also, some players (Ruth, McGwire) have such careers that no one is truly similar. It is nothing to make any final decision based on since it does not adjust for era or for home park, etc. Batting .325 is obviously more meaningful in the 1960s than in the 1930s. Pete Rose's .335 that lead the league in 1968 wouldn't be in top ten in any season in the 1930s.
   184. TJ Posted: December 14, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6057373)
Four ballots just poured in to Thibs, including one first timer. The scores are Bonds (4), Clemens (4), Ortiz (4), A-Rod (4), Manny (3), Schilling (3), Andruw (2), Rolen (2), Sheffield (2), Wagner (2), Kent (1), Vizquel (1), Helton (1).

The first timer went with- Bonds, Clemens, Helton, Ortiz, Manny, A-Rod, Rolen, Schilling, Sheffield and Wagner, meaning a pickup of one vote for each...

   185. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6057374)
As near as I can tell, Kiner in 1975 is the first writer-elected player under 280 (maybe even 285). That seemed to open the gate:

Kiner 279 in 75
Banks 274 in 77 (1st ballot but a "SS")
Mathews 271 in 78
Brooks 267 in 83 (1st ballot)
Killebrew 256 in 84
McCovey 270 in 86 (1st ballot)

Certainly once you ticked the box for Killebrew, you'd have zero logical reasons not to tick it for McCovey. Other than Brooks, it's a list of sluggers and may also represent the writers' recognition of 500 HR as a big deal.
   186. alilisd Posted: December 14, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6057375)
179. JJ1986 Posted: December 14, 2021 at 02:55 PM (#6057362)
Like Mathews, Gary Carter also took a long time to get in despite being obviously qualified in every way.


Catcher has definitely been a bit odd, at least during those days. Maybe it still is. It will be interesting to see how Mauer and Posey* are treated. As mentioned by Walt, even Yogi didn't go in first ballot although first ballot was not nearly as much of a thing as it has become. In fact, he received the most votes that year, 1971, but it was a shutout. It was still a time when HOF elections were getting sorted out. Again, as Walt noted, the 50's and 60's the elections were not standardized, and not yet well established. Voters were trying to sort out norms, how often to vote, who is eligible, how long are they eligible, when would they drop off the ballot. Things were still in a good bit of flux in 1971.

After Yogi though it seems the writers were still unsure of how to rate a catcher. Bench was clearly in, but Simmons, Munson and Freehan got no love at all. Fisk went in easily, but as you said Carter had to work his way up. Some of it was bad luck. He debuted strongly, but then got caught behind three first ballot guys and Fisk the next year. Why was he stagnant in 2000 when Fisk and Perez went in though? Then 2001 it's two more first ballot guys holding him back (although neither are terribly strong candidates though from today's perspective at least). But in 2002 he can't get in with Ozzie? Very strange.

* Is it mandatory to have a funny nickname if you're a Posey? Buster, Cum?
   187. Booey Posted: December 14, 2021 at 04:52 PM (#6057384)
The best McGwire comp is probably Kiner, if Ralph added 2.5 extra seasons of 200 OPS+ play, including one where he broke the single season HR record.
   188. DanG Posted: December 14, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6057385)
As near as I can tell, Kiner in 1975 is the first writer-elected player under 280 (maybe even 285). That seemed to open the gate:
The writers elected Maranville and his .258 BA in 1954. Obviously a special case and doesn't invalidate your statement.
   189. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:22 PM (#6057400)
#187: I think you under-rate taking the league title for 7 straight years. Even Ruth didn't do that, granted 3 of Kiner's were ties. Also Kiner missed the NL season record by just 2, a record that stood until Mac. And his OPS+ mattered to his election about as much as his power/speed number. But sure, it was an even shorter career than Mac's with a dramatic decline. You'll probably have to find somebody even older than Andy to comment on their relative fames but I assume Kiner was a pretty big deal back then.

The man did have seasons of 313/417/639, 310/432/658, 309/452/627 -- not exactly shabby. Mac's 96 and 98 are his only two full seasons that top those. He was Mac for about 10 full seasons (5 WAR/650), Mac was Mac for about 12 (5.3 WAR/650). Career slash lines: 263/394/588 for Mac; 279/398/548 for Kiner ... it's 4 TB per 100 AB. Mac is #1 all-time in AB/HR, Kiner is #6 all-time and 3 of the 4 guys between them are Mac contemporaries and Stanton ... in other words, he was #2 to Ruth until sillyball. You really think Kiner wouldn't have gone nuts in the sillyball era?

But sure, being Mac for 12 seasons is better than being Mac for 10 seasons. But how close do you think comps need to be?
   190. John Northey Posted: December 14, 2021 at 10:25 PM (#6057401)
McGwire was a one of a kind talent - perfect place, perfect time in 1998 - he had built up hype by hitting over 60 HR over 162 games before that but it was over 2 seasons. His dingers starting going so far that people came for batting practice to watch him hit them. He was a legend in his own time. When drugs were found in his locker the other writers blasted the guy who reported it. In '98 McGwire was king as far as almost every last writer was concerned. Without PEDs becoming an issue he'd have been one of the easiest to vote for candidates as far as writers were concerned - single season record for HRs, Paul Bunyan looks, a legend in his own time ala Nolan Ryan.

Was he as good as many others? No. But he had the story (which writers love) and the records (again, writers love that). Sosa would've been in fairly quickly too imo but delayed thanks to the corked bat if PED's didn't count against you. Palmeiro would've been a lock on the first ballot but instead was off quickly.

   191. chisoxcollector Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:16 PM (#6057402)
Eddie Mathews was an alcoholic with a temper. He may not have had the best relationship with the press.
   192. Howie Menckel Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:31 PM (#6057404)
the SABR bio

for once, a SABR bio isn't at all dispositive, but it's a good read nonetheless on Eddie's background and career and a little post-career as well.

of course wikipedia is never wrong (rolls eyes emoji), but

"Sportswriter Bob Wolf of the Milwaukee Journal indicated that Mathews' election to the Baseball Hall of Fame may have been delayed because of his cool relationship with the media. Mathews seemed to resent the intrusion of reporters in his personal life, especially early in his career. He gestured with his fist at a reporter when he was in court on charges of reckless driving. He was angered by the presence of the media at his 1954 wedding ceremony at a county clerk's office."
   193. Booey Posted: December 14, 2021 at 11:42 PM (#6057406)
#189 - I don't think I was underrating Kiner. I said basically the same thing you did; that he was Mac with an even shorter career. Give him another 2-3 peak seasons and they're basically even (and likely a closer comp than anyone else in history is to McGwire).
   194. Moeball Posted: December 15, 2021 at 02:32 AM (#6057411)
Ortiz is an interesting case; his raw HR and RBI #s make him look like an easy automatic HOFer. Add in his postseason heroics and I think he's similar to Reggie Jackson. But I'm curious about the DH treatment on the positional adjustment per B-Ref. He loses so much value there that he only has a WAA of 20, which really shouldn't even receive serious HOF consideration. Is it really saying that, yes, he was a great hitter compared to the average player, but only HOVG when compared to others of his position?
   195. The Duke Posted: December 15, 2021 at 09:21 AM (#6057421)
Mark Saxon who used to be a beat writer for the Cardinals drops Rolen for no reason (ballot only has 9).
   196. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6057423)
Eddie Mathews was an alcoholic with a temper. He may not have had the best relationship with the press.


Sounds like he'd fit right in with the sportswriters of his era
   197. The Duke Posted: December 15, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6057426)
Ortiz is racking up an enviable size of votes so far. The writers love this guy and seem
Happy to overlook the PED stuff. I wonder how he will do with public-private split.

A-rod doing quite well too. That really surprises me.
   198. SoSH U at work Posted: December 15, 2021 at 09:48 AM (#6057429)
Ortiz is racking up an enviable size of votes so far. The writers love this guy and seem
Happy to overlook the PED stuff.


He's doing well with the voters who support PED guys (he trails Bonds and Clemens by one). He's gotten a couple of votes on ballots that didn't have other PED guys, which is what he's going to need to do in greater numbers once the larger anti-roids contingent (more of the private voters) are tabulated.
   199. John DiFool2 Posted: December 15, 2021 at 10:08 AM (#6057431)
Is it really saying that, yes, he was a great hitter compared to the average player, but only HOVG when compared to others of his position?


Several people recently when discussing his candidacy, here and elsewhere readers and pundits, have indicated that the positional adjustment there was more or less an educated guess (being a bit diplomatic today note).

If the PA really was comparing him to other DHs, welp he should get a sizable bonus because oftentimes teams struggle to find a good hitter to put into the DH slot. And there may be a bunch of valid reasons for that (discomfort with not playing the field, age or injuries or just pure scarcity), but either way he usually was way ahead of other DHs. Yeah anyone can play there but not anyone can hit there.
   200. Howie Menckel Posted: December 15, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6057434)
per Post 195:

Mark Saxon
@markasaxon
·
16h
I dropped Rolen because I rethought it. Zero bold-faced numbers on his b-ref page. 122 OPS+ good/not elite. Excellent D but doesn't measure up to guys like Vizquel/Jones, who played more premium positions. Great player, but not dominant and just short, for me.
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