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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

BPP: Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Will Clark

“Although I’ll still live on
But so lonely I’ll be”

Current Hall of Fame eligibility: Clark received 4.4 percent of the vote in 2006, his only year on the Cooperstown ballot for the Baseball Writers Association of America. Clark will be eligible for enshrinement through the Veterans Committee in 2020.

...Clark seemed on-track for Cooperstown early on before derailing around 30, yet another Don Mattingly or Rocky Colavito or any number of other would-be legends. Clark’s career lines of 284 home runs and 2,176 hits seemed pedestrian, especially for his era.

A decade on, the number of star players from the 1990s who were on steroids continues to rise, and Clark’s lifetime numbers look better (assuming he was clean, of course), like his .303 batting average and .880 OPS. Other stats that have gained significance like his 137 OPS+ and his 57.5 career WAR seem to place Clark on the fringe of Cooperstown, a Veterans Committee candidate better than many enshrined. Clark was also a crack defender, had the throwback personality, and this 2007 Beyond the Boxscore post noted his five-year prime was better than Hall of Famers like Eddie Murray, Willie McCovey, and Harmon Killebrew.

Repoz Posted: November 03, 2010 at 10:15 AM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, hall of fame, history

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   1. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: November 03, 2010 at 12:37 PM (#3682957)
No.
   2. Banacek Posted: November 03, 2010 at 12:43 PM (#3682962)
Big fan but no way.
   3. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: November 03, 2010 at 12:48 PM (#3682965)
Absolutely he should be. And I bet a lot of primates will agree.
   4. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: November 03, 2010 at 12:57 PM (#3682967)
Not before Trammell, he shouldn't be.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 03, 2010 at 01:09 PM (#3682975)
What does it mean to have a "throwback personality"? Does it mean you never try make yourself a better player, but just spend the off-season hunting and fishing?
   6. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: November 03, 2010 at 01:14 PM (#3682977)
What does it mean to have a "throwback personality"? Does it mean you never try make yourself a better player, but just spend the off-season hunting and fishing?

It means you don't like black people.
   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 03, 2010 at 01:46 PM (#3682986)
Absolutely he should be. And I bet a lot of primates will agree.


I think Will Clark is in the range where your position on his HOF candidacy boils down to the size you think the Hall should be. He's in the Hall of Merit and I think if you look at the discussion of him and the ballots around where he was elected, they got his value pretty much right. But he's kind of the upper-edge of the group of Hall-of-Meriters who seem to me like the best argument that the Hall-of-Fame is probably a bit too big - along with Keith Hernandez, Ken Boyer, Willie Randolph. I'd probably put Clark in, maybe Hernandez, and shrink the Hall just enough to leave out Boyer and Randolph.
   8. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 03, 2010 at 01:56 PM (#3682994)
I think Will Clark is in the range where your position on his HOF candidacy boils down to the size you think the Hall should be. He's in the Hall of Merit and I think if you look at the discussion of him and the ballots around where he was elected, they got his value pretty much right. But he's kind of the upper-edge of the group of Hall-of-Meriters who seem to me like the best argument that the Hall-of-Fame is probably a bit too big - along with Keith Hernandez, Ken Boyer, Willie Randolph.

I think this sums up Clark's candidacy at a high level very well.
I wouldn't have Clark or Hernandez in my Hall of Fame - but I can at least see the argument for them.
   9. JoeC Posted: November 03, 2010 at 02:01 PM (#3682999)
I think Kiko has it assessed about right... and I think it's a little tough to advocate for those guys while so many bigger omissions are still out there. Get some of Santo/Trammell/Raines/Blyleven/Grich/Whitaker/Evans/Allen in, then worry about guys like Clark. But that doesn't mean you can't express an opinion that he's one of the 238 best players in baseball history, of course.
   10. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 03, 2010 at 02:16 PM (#3683008)
But that doesn't mean you can't express an opinion that he's one of the 238 best players in baseball history, of course.

That's a filthy lie. Top 241, maybe. 238, never.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: November 03, 2010 at 02:29 PM (#3683018)
I'm guessing that if we did a poll here, it would reveal that Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, and Jim Thome are no-brainer HOFs; Will Clark, Edgar Martinez and Todd Helton are borderline, but should be in; and Fred McGriff, Jason Giambi and John Olerud are at the tippy-top of the Hall of Very Good.

I will say that this doesn't make any sense to me at all. If everyone has a great 1B/DH, then no one does. Either that, or there was something in the water in that era that makes 1950s center fielders look like a talent drought.
   12. Qufini Posted: November 03, 2010 at 02:42 PM (#3683027)
Add Carlos Delgado to your list for an even dozen. He's right on the heels of Giambi.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 03, 2010 at 02:51 PM (#3683032)
I will say that this doesn't make any sense to me at all. If everyone has a great 1B/DH, then no one does. Either that, or there was something in the water in that era that makes 1950s center fielders look like a talent drought.
...pauses...

Doesn't that kind of maybe sort of look like a steroids / PEDs effect? If steroids plus intense workouts boost power significantly and help a player recover faster from injury, but cost a bit of agility and speed, it would make sense that first basemen in the era of widespread steroid / PED use would outperform other positions significantly, since they'd be getting the most out of the drugs.

...ducks...
   14. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 02:53 PM (#3683033)
I'm guessing that if we did a poll here, it would reveal that Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, and Jim Thome are no-brainer HOFs;


Yes.

Will Clark, Edgar Martinez and Todd Helton are borderline, but should be in;


I have these players all as borderline, but should be out.

and Fred McGriff, Jason Giambi and John Olerud are at the tippy-top of the Hall of Very Good.


I have McGriff in. Good career value. Very nice peak. Though WAR doesn't like him.
   15. Downtown Bookie Posted: November 03, 2010 at 03:25 PM (#3683055)
I will say that this doesn't make any sense to me at all. If everyone has a great 1B/DH, then no one does.


Doesn't that kind of maybe sort of look like a steroids / PEDs effect?


Perhaps; but I think it's more of a case of firstbasemen being overly represented in the Hall (though I do understand the probable reason why; that being, raw offensive numbers trump defense/positional adjustments when HOF ballots are cast).

For example, the above mentioned five sure HOFers, plus another three as maybes; let's just say eight total HOFers at 1B/DH more-or-less simultaneously at their peak. Now that's in an era of sixteen National League teams and fourteen American League teams; so that's eight out of a possible forty-four. Even if we add in those mentioned as Hall of Very Good (both by the DA and CF) we're still only up to twelve of forty-four.

Now, compare that to the 1969 National League, where you have HOFers Ernie Banks, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda, plus borderline misses/HOVG Dick Allen and Joe Torre. That's five in a twelve team league. Or jump ahead ten years to 1979. You then have HOFers Willie McCovey (still!), Willie Stargell, and Tony Perez, plus borderline misses/HOVG/extenuating circumstances Pete Rose, Keith Hernandez and Steve Garvey (not to mention Cesar Cedeno, Dale Murphy and Gene Tenace; all three the primary firstbaseman for their respective teams that year, though you usually don't think of them as firstbasemen (well, except maybe Tenace)).

So anyway, my point is that a glut of HOF/HOVG players at firstbase isn't unique to the steroid era; it's more a product of the live ball era, and the way offensive stats are viewed when selecting the game's best players.

DB

EDIT - cleaned up some spelling/grammar and clarified a point
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 03, 2010 at 03:31 PM (#3683059)
I'm guessing that if we did a poll here, it would reveal that Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, and Jim Thome are no-brainer HOFs; Will Clark, Edgar Martinez and Todd Helton are borderline, but should be in; and Fred McGriff, Jason Giambi and John Olerud are at the tippy-top of the Hall of Very Good.

I will say that this doesn't make any sense to me at all. If everyone has a great 1B/DH, then no one does. Either that, or there was something in the water in that era that makes 1950s center fielders look like a talent drought.


I think that part of it is that you're drawing your era a little too broadly. Clark played from 1986 - 2000. Helton didn't debut until 1998 - they barely overlapped (less than Clark overlapped with, say, Eddie Murray). Thome didn't become a first baseman until 1997. Giambi's first season as a starter was 1996 - Giambi's peak ('99 - '03 or so) was more than a decade after Clark's peak ('87 - '92).

There was a period of time for which you can make an argument that Will Clark was the best firstbaseman in major-league baseball. It's not a very long time period (maybe '87 - '90 or so), and it's not an ironclad argument (McGriff's peak, in particular, overlaps pretty perfectly and Frank Thomas takes over the title almost from the day of his major-league debut (August, 1990)). But I think it distinguishes him from, say, Giambi and Delgado at least a little bit.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2010 at 03:33 PM (#3683061)
So anyway, my point is that a glut of HOF/HOVG players at firstbase isn't unique to the steroid era; it's more a product of the live ball era, and the way offensive stats are viewed when selecting the game's best players.


It's probably also a product of players with Hall of Fame offensive ability getting moved to first base at some point in their careers, often before their defense requires such a shift but done as a way to protect their superstar-quality bat.

And I'm with Ray. I'd take McGriff over Clark.
   18. RJ in TO Posted: November 03, 2010 at 03:40 PM (#3683074)
And I'm with Ray. I'd take McGriff over Clark

As would I.
   19. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:02 PM (#3683096)
Lumping Clark and Giambi together generationally isn't really fair. If you're advocating clark, for the most part you're talking about a run of play that ends in 1992 at the latest. By my count there's a dozen years separating the Clark's best 5 year peak and Giambi's. That's the same gap as say Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, or Joe Morgan and Lou Whitaker or Tim Raines and Barry Bonds. Close enough to where their careers overlap briefly, but certainly not players from exactly the same era.

Roughly speaking if you're looking at electing, on average, three and a half players a year, then within a 20 year range of birth years, you should have five first baseman (assuming 4 to 3 ratio of hitters to pitchers and the hitters distributed evenly across the eight positions). So here are the top five career WAR leaders among guys who were primarily first baseman and born from 1963-1982 (encompassing everyone on the above list):

1. Albert Pujols
2. Jeff Bagwell
3. Frank Thomas
4. Jim Thome
5. Edgar Martinez

The closest active player to Edgar is Helton at a little under 10 wins away. Berkman is about 19 wins away, but it's arguable whether he qualifies as "primarily a first basemen." Teixeira is over 30 wins away and Miguel Cabrera is too young. Morneau and Ryan Howard are over 45 wins away and would need to play quite well for a long time in the future to catch Edgar's total. And that covers most every first baseman with a chance.

Of course that assumes Career WAR is the be-all and end-all of the discussion. I'm a peak guy myself and that hurts guys like Thome, Palmeiro and McGriff and helps guys like Clark, Edgar, Helton and Giambi. IE, at his peak Giambi was a better player than Thome at his peak (it was at the same time in the same league and Giambi's was clearly superior).

In any event, that many guys from that span of time being Hall of Famers from the same position isn't really out of line. But it also menas if you're dedicated to only having five, you'll need to make a case for Clark over four of Thome, Martinez, Palmeiro, McGwire and Helton and every player below him in career WAR. Without getting into steroids, I can see making a case for two or maybe a third of the five, but four seems like a stretch. Pujols, Bagwell and Thomas should be pretty much unassailable.
   20. DanG Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3683103)
First basemen with 30 WAR 1986-95

Rk              Player WAR/pos OPS+   PA From   To   Age    G
1           Will Clark    43.9  143 5884 1986 1995 22
-31 1393
2         Fred McGriff    38.1  149 5318 1986 1995 22
-31 1291
3         Frank Thomas    36.2  183 3491 1990 1995 22
-27  789
4         Mark McGwire    34.1  148 4428 1986 1995 22
-31 1094
5      Rafael Palmeiro    33.5  133 5457 1986 1995 21
-30 1300 
   21. JoeC Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:12 PM (#3683107)
But it also means if you're dedicated to only having five, you'll need to make a case for Clark over four of Thome, Martinez, Palmeiro, McGwire and Helton and every player below him in career WAR.


Edgar Martinez played 28 career games at first base.

If you call DH half of a position/role, Edgar/Frank can go in that way and leave room for two more guys without even having to challenge the positional quotas.
   22. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:16 PM (#3683112)
Lumping Clark and Giambi together generationally isn't really fair. If you're advocating clark, for the most part you're talking about a run of play that ends in 1992 at the latest. By my count there's a dozen years separating the Clark's best 5 year peak and Giambi's. That's the same gap as say Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt, or Joe Morgan and Lou Whitaker or Tim Raines and Barry Bonds. Close enough to where their careers overlap briefly, but certainly not players from exactly the same era.

Roughly speaking if you're looking at electing, on average, three and a half players a year, then within a 20 year range of birth years, you should have five first baseman (assuming 4 to 3 ratio of hitters to pitchers and the hitters distributed evenly across the eight positions). So here are the top five career WAR leaders among guys who were primarily first baseman and born from 1963-1982 (encompassing everyone on the above list):


I don't understand where you're going here, Voros. You start out by criticizing the idea that Clark and Giambi should be considered generational peers and then you build a list of first basemen for Clark's generation that includes a player 16 years younger than Clark whose major-league debut came the year after Clark retired.
   23. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:26 PM (#3683117)
I don't understand where you're going here, Voros. You start out by criticizing the idea that Clark and Giambi should be considered generational peers and then you build a list of first basemen for Clark's generation that includes a player 16 years younger than Clark whose major-league debut came the year after Clark retired.

Yeah, it's kind of confusing.

What I mean is that if you want to expand an era to the kind of size that encompasses all of these guys, then there should be roughly at least five first basemen who go in. That would seem to be too many if you think they were all playing at the same time. But as we both pointed out, they really weren't, at least not the parts of their careers that really matter for the Hall of Fame.

Edgar Martinez played 28 career games at first base.

I'm counting DH as a sort of subgenre of first base. Before 1973, that's where all of the DHs would have likely played (and the ones who wouldn't have played at all aren't in the HOF discussion). Plus he's the only one who really counts purely as a DH, it seems silly to create a whole new category for him rather than put him here and give him extra punishment. The Frank Thomas that put himself in the Hall of Fame did it while playing first base. Playing it poorly, of course, but playing it nonetheless. Electing Thomas as a DH is like electing Ernie Banks as a first basemen.
   24. OCF Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:42 PM (#3683130)
Clark is a peak value candidate whose peak fell into the 1988-1992 trough in offense. How you judge rests mostly on just how high you think that peak was, and perhaps even more narrowly, on how good you think his 1989 season was.

As a HoM voter, I was sold by that peak and voted for him. I agree with what Voros just said - I'd take him over McGriff.
   25. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:46 PM (#3683133)
And I would certainly take Clark over McGriff. Looking at peak Clark was a better fielder and a better base runner than McGriff and roughly his equal as a hitter (McGriff's slightly better raw stats are balanced by Clark's slightly worse hitter's parks).


They were similar hitters (setting aside baserunning for a moment), and were similar hitters at their peaks. The thing is that McGriff's career is almost 500 games longer. 500 games may not seem like much, but since position players in the HOF generally range from 1500 games on the low end to 3,000 games on the high end, 500 games is pretty significant. (And a lot of the 1500-game players have short careers because of war/segregation, so you're really talking about a low end that is for the most part a bit more than 1500 games.)

Clark also has the Larry Walker problem, which is that his career not only was short, but he also wasn't playing full seasons.

As to defense and baserunning (it's worth noting that WAR isn't thrilled by Will's defense), McGriff is hugely penalized in WAR for things like baserunning/reached on errors/double plays. I would need to be persuaded that McGriff really was that bad at those things, was really costing his teams to that extent, before I accept that Clark, despite having around the same OPS+ as McGriff (both peak and career), makes up 500 games of play, including shortened seasons, by virtue of being better at them.
   26. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3683137)
I agree with what Voros just said - I'd take him over McGriff.

I would too, but I have no idea where my post went.
   27. OCF Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:53 PM (#3683140)
I would too, but I have no idea where my post went.

That is bizarre. I certainly saw that post - I replied to it. And Ray quoted that post. How did it disappear?
   28. Downtown Bookie Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:54 PM (#3683143)
(it's worth noting that WAR isn't thrilled by Will's defense)


I see what you did there.

DB
   29. DCW3 Posted: November 03, 2010 at 04:56 PM (#3683145)
Is Palmeiro really a "no-brainer," even setting steroids aside? He's got 66 career WAR, which is not really slam-dunk Hall-level, and a lot of that is just due to having an extremely long career--his peak isn't all that impressive.
   30. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:01 PM (#3683152)
The double play disadvantage for McGriff is legit, but that has more to do with the fact that McGriff hit more groundballs than Clark. Clark's career LD% is a staggering 27% which allowed him to hit for high averages despite hitting so few grounders. Watching Clark's swing that makes sense as I don't know how you'd ever hit a groundball with that type of swing. He was faster than McGriff as well, but I don't think that's the reason for the big double play difference (a rate of about half as many).

Just a lot of little things like that for Clark that I think make him a better player. WAR isn't thrilled with Clark's defense but it likes it considerably better than McGriff's, and that matches contemporary opinion as well.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:03 PM (#3683153)
Is Palmeiro really a "no-brainer," even setting steroids aside? He's got 66 career WAR, which is not really slam-dunk Hall-level, and a lot of that is just due to having an extremely long career--his peak isn't all that impressive.


I'm the certified automatic milestone doubter around here, but I think when he doubled up on 3,000/500 club membership, it pushed him over. If he had just hit one of those numbers, however, I think his path to Cooperstown would been considerably more uncertain.
   32. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:05 PM (#3683156)
Is Palmeiro really a "no-brainer," even setting steroids aside? He's got 66 career WAR, which is not really slam-dunk Hall-level, and a lot of that is just due to having an extremely long career--his peak isn't all that impressive.


He's a textbook career candidate. He's what you want to see in a player whose career doesn't blow you away. 2800 games of a 132 OPS+; consistently very good, with some excellent (though not historically great) offensive seasons thrown in.

You have to convince me that a player like that doesn't belong. What's the argument against him? It can't be short career, because he played 2800 games. It can't be that his peak wasn't high enough, because he's a career candidate and had a number of nice peak seasons. Defense? He seems to have been a very good fielder. DH? He played 2300 games in the field.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3683162)
I don't really understand the argument of too many players at a position so he doesn't get in, (ok I understand it, but don't remotely agree with it) First base is the safest position for longevity, always has been, the hof is a combo of peak/career values so you are going to get some peak candidates(Clark) and career candidates(Palmiero)from the position, other positions are going to be lacking in the career candidates, but so what. First base isn't overrepresented, it's just that all positions are not equally valuable. First baseman get better health and longer careers, if the hof had a quota system saying that the positions had to be roughly equally represented, then you would see a hof that would be more peak oriented, as positions like catcher, secondbase and possibly third and center would have to rely on shorter career players to make up the gap.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:15 PM (#3683164)
Doesn't that kind of maybe sort of look like a steroids / PEDs effect? If steroids plus intense workouts boost power significantly and help a player recover faster from injury, but cost a bit of agility and speed, it would make sense that first basemen in the era of widespread steroid / PED use would outperform other positions significantly, since they'd be getting the most out of the drugs.


Seems reasonable. Steroids/workouts lead to bigger/bulkier elite hitters, which forces them away from 3B/RF/LF towards 1B.
   35. JoeC Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:32 PM (#3683182)
I'm counting DH as a sort of subgenre of first base.


Don't you have to give them more players than the other positions then? Maybe not 1.5 times as many, because fewer teams have a full-time DH, but some larger allocation.

And then of course there's this:
First base isn't overrepresented, it's just that all positions are not equally valuable.


But that's a different discussion.
   36. John DiFool2 Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:39 PM (#3683186)
Is Palmeiro really a "no-brainer," even setting steroids aside? He's got 66 career WAR, which is not really slam-dunk Hall-level, and a lot of that is just due to having an extremely long career--his peak isn't all that impressive.


What everybody else said: I'll add that there can be tremendous value in a player you can (more or less) consistently depend on for between 4 and 5 WAR for a long period of time (I argued this in another thread over at BBRef this week c. Lou Whitaker). He has the counting stats: Clark doesn't. And Clark's peak is basically a mere 2 seasons near the beginning of his career, followed by a couple of mid-4's, followed by several in the 1-4 range. That simply isn't good enough for me on either count (and I'm a pretty big Hall-60% of the actual size would be my standard if I became the God of Baseball); there's simply too many guys at the left end of the defensive spectrum who had similar, if not better, peaks for me to single out Clark for the Honor above all others (Norm Cash anyone?).
   37. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 03, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3683191)
It can't be that his peak wasn't high enough, because he's a career candidate

That does makes much sense. In Palmeiro's case it's precisely because his peak isn't high enough that I wouldn't vote for him, I don't have separate categories for career and peak candidates. I wouldn't choose based _only_ on peak but it certainly accounts for well more than half of what I consider. Palmeiro is pretty much dead last of the players mentioned in that regard, including Olerud. And so to make up that gap by playing forever (which he did) is a tough ask for me.

I suppose I'd personally strike the balance such that Giambi and Palmeiro are roughly equal candidates. Giambi's big advantage in peak, is balanced out by Palmeiro's longevity. But I don't think that puts either one of them in.
   38. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:01 PM (#3683201)
That does makes much sense. In Palmeiro's case it's precisely because his peak isn't high enough that I wouldn't vote for him, I don't have separate categories for career and peak candidates.


Stated differently, I meant that the very good level of value he produced over a very long career makes up for a peak that is good but not great.

Who are your career HOFers or HOF candidates, Voros, if Palmeiro isn't one?

And so to make up that gap by playing forever (which he did) is a tough ask for me.


You make it sound like he's Bill Buckner.
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:11 PM (#3683205)
Who are your career HOFers or HOF candidates, Voros, if Palmeiro isn't one?


As far as I can tell, Voros is the most peak-heavy Primate* when it comes to Hall of Fame worthiness. He's oft stated that career value doesn't do much for him.

* Outside of any possible HoMer who wouldn't deign to reduce himself to trafficking in a typical Hot Topics thread.
   40. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:13 PM (#3683208)
I'm a pretty big Hall-60% of the actual size would be my standard if I became the God of Baseball.


The hall at its current size enshrines roughly the top 1.5% of players--in theory, anyway. Cutting it to about 175 members would set the threshold at top 1%. If my numbers are right, that is. Seems to me that the hall started out honoring a greater percentage of players but hasn't kept up with growth. As such, I'm in favor of an even bigger hall.

In discussions like this one, it'd be useful if people started off by saying where they think the bar should be set--top 1%, top 2%, or whatever. I don't just mean here, but in the media. If voters declared where they stood on this, or were at least forced to confront their Hall of Fame definition so concretely, we'd have better results, I think.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:13 PM (#3683209)
when you consider defense does Giambi really have a big peak advantage? Yes he has a peak advantage, but Palmiero was widely considered a very good defensive first baseman, and Giambi was considered piss poor, 800 games is a lot of games to make up, and it's not like 132 ops+ is anything to sneeze at for that longevity and in season health that Palmiero gave you, which Giambi couldn't give outside of his 27-32 peak years. I just don't really feel a 6 year healthy peak is even remotely comparable to Palmiero's career value.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:23 PM (#3683217)
In discussions like this one, it'd be useful if people started off by saying where they think the bar should be set--top 1%, top 2%, or whatever. I don't just mean here, but in the media. If voters declared where they stood on this, or were at least forced to confront their Hall of Fame definition so concretely, we'd have better results, I think.


that is a good point, but I doubt that anyone would really off the top of their head, truly know what percentage they favor. I'm in the camp that thinks that at any point in time there are roughly 20-30 hofers playing the game, going with a percentage means that you automatically have to assume that there are roughly 40% more hofers playing today than there were in the 50-60's, not a bad or incorrect assumption, just not sure people feel comfortable with making that type of statement.


I wouldn't even have a guess to the percentage of players that I would consider, if I base it upon only players eligible(10 or more years playing career---of course the proliferation of relievers has really upped the number of players that are "eligible"--so the percentage may still be consistent with pre-expansion years)
   43. Scott Lange Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:39 PM (#3683233)
What does it mean to have a "throwback personality"?
It means you don't like black people.


Quite so. Just ask Jeffrey Leonard about Will Clark.
   44. DCW3 Posted: November 03, 2010 at 06:47 PM (#3683236)
   45. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 07:19 PM (#3683259)
I'm not saying anyone should set a percentage arbitrarily, but anyone talking about the Hall of Fame, and certainly anyone voting on prospective new members, should at least reflect on the Hall that exists and how he feels about its size and composition. Should it be bigger? Smaller? Same size? If the last is true, am I comfortable with imposing an increasingly restrictive standard on recent players? And so on.

You'd still have plenty of room for debate on who the best players really are, but it would be a more rational debate.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: November 03, 2010 at 08:02 PM (#3683290)
his five-year prime was better than Hall of Famers like ... Willie McCovey

Either somebody mis-typed or somebody is on crack:

Clark's 5 best (not even consecutive) by OPS+: 175, 160, 153, 152, 150
McCovey's (consecutive): 209, 181, 174, 163, 159 (and he had 3 more years over 160, one full)

Clark by WAR: 9.4, 7.1, 4.9, 4.6, 4.4
McCovey: 8.9, 7.1, 6.4, 6.2, 5.3 (with 2 more years better than that 5.3)

That's a 34-WAR peak for McCovey compared to a (non-consecutive) 30-WAR peak for Clark.

Clark having a better peak than Murray or Killebrew I can believe and am not going to bother to check. But there are very few players, especially very few 1B, with a better peak than McCovey.
   47. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 08:15 PM (#3683298)
Either somebody mis-typed or somebody is on crack:


Couldn't it be both?
   48. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: November 03, 2010 at 08:20 PM (#3683303)
Clark having a better peak than Murray or Killebrew I can believe and am not going to bother to check. But there are very few players, especially very few 1B, with a better peak than McCovey.


Murray 5 year consecutive (adjusting 1981 for the strike): 6.9, 6.8, 6.0, 5.8, 5.5 31 total, plus seasons of 5.6, 4.7, and 4.4

Killebrew best 5 non consecutive: 7.1, 6.1, 6.0, 5.8, 5.5 30.5 total, plus seasons of 4.7, 4.3, 4.3

Looks like a push to me.
   49. Graham Womack Posted: November 03, 2010 at 10:10 PM (#3683361)
Either somebody mis-typed or somebody is on crack:

You're a #########.

Seriously, just read my post, it makes it perfectly clear.

#######.
   50. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 10:12 PM (#3683364)
You're a #########.


#######.


So it's crack, then.
   51. Graham Womack Posted: November 03, 2010 at 10:31 PM (#3683377)
So it's crack, then.

No.

I've been up since 5:30 this morning, I'm tired, and I'm sick of taking #### on this stupid Web site.

I swear to God, every time I get linked to here....
   52. jingoist Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:05 PM (#3683408)
To tired and cranky Graham I would just say..."Aw, Lighten up Francis"
   53. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:05 PM (#3683409)
I've been up since 5:30 this morning

My every day 5 am waking up ass is breaking out the world's tiniest violin for you.

Naw, I kid, but you must be tired as this thread has been pretty soft. I'm usually terrified to make any factual claim with this group. Get some rest and come back fighting tomorrow. Because, damn it, Will IS a HOFer. Fred McGriff over Clark. Please!
   54. Greg K Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:07 PM (#3683413)
Upon looking up Eddie Murray's career recently his WAR numbers seem to synch up with Palmeiro's.

Murray/Palmeiro
Career WAR 66.7/66
Best 3 years sum 19.7/19.6
Best 5 years sum 30.8/30

Murray has 800 more PA, but strictly by WAR they seem quite similar. What is the common perception around these parts? I always assumed Murray was quite a bit better than Palmeiro.
   55. Greg K Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:10 PM (#3683418)
In discussions like this one, it'd be useful if people started off by saying where they think the bar should be set--top 1%, top 2%,

I arbitrarily consider it to be the top 10% of hitters with 4000 PA (3500 for catchers) and 1500 IP for starting pitchers, as that seems to be roughly where the Hall is now. This assumes that it will expand as teams have expanded, which probably won't be the case, but that's how I'd do it.
   56. Graham Womack Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:10 PM (#3683420)
@Shooty thanks, I'm going to take a nap

@Greg be sure to read my "Does he belong in the Hall of Fame?" post on Palmeiro next Tuesday
   57. Greg K Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:16 PM (#3683424)
Greg be sure to read my "Does he belong in the Hall of Fame?" post on Palmeiro next Tuesday

Can you just tell me know?
I swear I can keep it under my hat.

EDIT: hopefully not taken as giving you a hard time. Anyone who's stuff gets posted here and then participates in the discussion gets my respect. I'm just glad none of these vultures have access to my banal facebook baseball related notes.
   58. Repoz Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:19 PM (#3683426)
I'm just glad none of these vultures have access to my banal facebook baseball related notes.

Link please...:)
   59. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:23 PM (#3683431)
Link please...:)

Only if you introduce it with an esoteric allusion to 17th century British jurisprudence.

edit: not sure why I needed to throw in "esoteric" in that sentence...
   60. Srul Itza Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:32 PM (#3683440)
at his peak Giambi was a better player than Thome at his peak


But it wasn't a very long peak, and the difference is based on one great year.

Giambi's Peak was all of 5 years, from 1999 to 2003, during which he produced 36.9 WAR. His best years are 10.3, 8.7, 7.3, 6.0, 4.6 and 4.3. That is just not that impressive to me as a pure peak candidate, and outside of it he produced only enough to get up to 52.8 WAR.

The difference between Thome and Giambi is that Thome never had that big 10.0 season, but he produced a lot more value over all, with his best seasons at 8.1, 7.1, 6.0, 5.9, 5.9, 4.9, 4.6, 4.6, 4.2.
   61. zenbitz Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:32 PM (#3683441)
Clark is clearly borderline. However, it's quite weird to me that his number (22) is not retired in SF (it was also worn by another HOVGer named Clark in SF, Jack).

I think they won't retire his number unless he makes the HOF. Gotta have standards, I guess.


And since there was a Jeffrey Leonard reference, he was at the Giants WS Parade today. No Clark (that I saw, or heard about)
   62. Greg K Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:37 PM (#3683446)
In re-reading them now my favourite one is from November 2008 in which I spend an ungodly amount of paragraphs going over Cliff Lee's groundball/flyball/line drive rates, pretty much all the pitch f/x data available and end up with the bold conclusion that while he had a breakout season, he'd probably settle in to being just a fairly good pitcher rather than a top class one.

Heh
Oddly enough, after a friend of mine immediately commented that he thought Cliff Lee WAS in fact a great pitcher going forward I responded with this gem "Yeah I don't think Lee is in the top class of pitchers"
   63. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:43 PM (#3683450)
Murray has 800 more PA, but strictly by WAR they seem quite similar. What is the common perception around these parts? I always assumed Murray was quite a bit better than Palmeiro.


Murray had a sustained run of excellent seasons but (like Palmeiro) nothing approaching historic. And then Murray had a number of bouts with uselessness after age 34. Murray played until he was 41, but had you said goodbye and thank you very much to him after age 34, you'd have been better off. All told after that age, he was near replacement level.
   64. JoeC Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:57 PM (#3683460)
Seriously, just read my post, it makes it perfectly clear.


Well, you have to track that post back to an earlier post, but it *does* appear that Will's 5-year peak is better than Willie's by WARP3. It's just that, well, WARP3. Before getting too harsh on Graham for that though, the original comparison is from 2007.

(Extra fun with that table: Apparently Willie McCovey is tied with Will Clark and behind Tony Perez by 2007's version of WARP3. That was before they brought their replacement level up a little, right? Either way, thank goodness they have Colin over there now.)
   65. Greg K Posted: November 03, 2010 at 11:57 PM (#3683461)
Only if you introduce it with an esoteric allusion to 17th century British jurisprudence.

Now that you mention it...
As it happens I did just read a passage about Edward Coke painstakingly defining what legally constituted sodomy. Apparently the key ingredients are "emissio seminis" and "penetratio". I usually plug any Latin I come across into a translator, but in this case I think I can guess.
   66. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2010 at 12:41 AM (#3683479)
WARP3 has a quite large era-adjustment factor. The stat does not think that Clark's peak was more valuable, in its time, than McCovey's - it just thinks that the league got harder (by a pretty steep factor, iirc) and so Clark's less valuable peak was actually better because of the increased difficulty.
   67. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 01:52 AM (#3683525)
Who are your career HOFers or HOF candidates

Where on the ballot does such a distinction exist. There's Hall of Famers and not Hall of Famers. Not two separate categories of guys running in different subsections according to career shape.

Hank Aaron qualifies as a career Hall of Famer. Carl Yastrzemski. Ty Cobb. Cal Ripken. Mike Schmidt. If you want me to list guys I'd pick as Hall of Famers who didn't have Hall of Fame peaks, my answer is simple: I don't have any. I view adding countless numbers of seasons onto an established peak as background information. Enough to influence an extreme case like an Al Rosen to keep him out, or an arguably borderline peak guy like Pete Rose (he's actually a little above borderline but he'll do for now) to put him in.

If I say Giambi and Palmeiro are equal and wanted to express it in some sort of mathematical formula using WAR it might look somthing like:

(5 year peak WAR (consecutive) * 0.65) + (Career War * 0.35)

Adjusting for the strike (giving Palmeiro some extra credit) that makes Giambi and Palmeiro essentially equal. Normally I'd place that career percentage a little lower but for now we'll leave it at that. Of the above players that would put Bagwell, Thome, Thomas, Edgar and Helton ahead of them. That leaves five guys ahead of them where by my own logic I'd only be electing four first baseman from that time frame (or five if you extend the range more, but then Pujols jumps in and it becomes a wash).

And that means out. Now I actually wouldn't use this method to pick players as I'd be concerned about just how easy it might have been to rack up WAR in certain leagues at certain times, but that's not going to help Palmeiro any.

Now if I were to be persuaded on one of the two, it would be Giambi and not Palmeiro. Giambi for a period of time (roughly three years or so) was indeed the very best first baseman in baseball (Palmeiro never was). Yes he posted a 10 and a 9.4 and other than that not much different than the others, but that's pretty much the definition of "other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?" Those sorts of seasons are precisely the sorts of seasons that should count the most toward Hall of Fame credentials, not downplayed. Just because he's washed up now and it's hard to envision him as such, the last two years he had in Oakland were just obscene. And although we don't think about it right now because of his current condition, there was nothing horribly wrong with Giambi's defense during his peak (by statistics or reputation). Wasn't great, but WAR seems to think he was essentially a league average guy over there. His brother couldn't catch a cold, but for a while Jason acquitted himself passably in the field.

To me a Hall of Fame credential for a firstbaseman is something like "for a while you were the closest thing baseball had to Lou Gehrig" and not "you accumulated X amount of value over replacement over your career and so you're in." It's little more than personal preference I know, but I think it's a completely defensible one. Rafael Palmeiro being the 3rd or 4th best first basemen in baseball for 10 years and above average for 9 more isn't nearly as impressive a credential as being the very best there was for three to five years. At least to me anyway. I don't completely discount a lengthy career, but I refuse to give it anywhere close to equal weight to the player's ability at his sustained peak.
   68. Srul Itza Posted: November 04, 2010 at 01:58 AM (#3683528)
Just because he's washed up now and it's hard to envision him as such, the last two years he had an Oakland were just obscene.


This is carrying "peak" consideration to the level of a fetish. One or two great years, however great, do not a Hall of Famer make.
   69. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 02:28 AM (#3683545)
But it wasn't one or two, It was two obscene years surrounded by OPS+ of 153, 172 and 148. Even outside of that five year peak, there was a 161, 148 130, 128, 126. Giambi was legitimately a big time hitter for a good long while.

If a combined 171 OPS+ over a period of five years where you played 150+ games in all five years doesn't count as a fantastic sustained peak, what does? That's fantastic. According to WAR that's better than Willie McCovey's and McCovey had a hell of a peak.

I think what some folks seem to be arguing is that there should be a "median peak" or something, that if you have a five year peak, you rate the player according to the third best of the five years. I fail to see the logic in that. If a guy has a monster year, that ought to count.

My point is simply that you can't just be Hack Wilson and be a good Hall of Fame pick. Unless your peak is truly legendary, that's not enough. And that's precisely where Giambi gets into trouble (though his non-peak career is much better than Wilson's). But I also think that the fact that Hack Wilson was one of the best players in baseball for five years from 1926-1930 is a major credential in his corner. Unfortunately it's the only credential he's got, and that's why he's probably not a Hall of Famer.
   70. cardsfanboy Posted: November 04, 2010 at 02:36 AM (#3683550)
I don't think he is saying that his peak argument is just those two years, just that those two yeas were even better than just great years, I mean we are talking about ops+ of 187(with a .476obp) and a 198(with a .477 obp) he book ends those years with a 172 and a 153 for a 177 ops+ with a .452obp--- and still had a few more good years in him)


I still disagree with Voros on Giambi over Palmiero, but don't think he is being fetish about his peak argument. (also think that Helton is less than Palmiero
   71. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 02:49 AM (#3683556)
And like I said, I'm actually rating them as roughly equal. I'm just a lot more likely to listen to an argument for Giambi than Palmeiro. IE, I'm willing to be convinced that I'm not giving him enough credit for a Hall of Fame peak by just about anyone's standards. That's an average of over 7 WAR a year for five years and basically nothing you could point out as possibly unjustified with those numbers (unlike say maybe Helton where you can at least try and argue that WAR can't accurately capture the effects Coors had on his stats). Basically the only way to discount Giambi's peak is steroids, and if you wanted to do that you could.

It's not a "peak only" argument, because if that were the case Giambi would be a definite 'yes'. Sans steroids, that looks abundantly clear to me. The lack of much of a career outside his peak does matter and that's why I'd probably say 'no.' To the benefit of Jim Thome most likely. Thome can essentially claim a career at the very least on par with Palmeiro with a slightly better peak even if not quite as good a peak as Giambi. I suppose him and Edgar are really the two to matchup with them where you can take two of the four. I'd probably take Edgar and Thome. Better peaks than Palmeiro, better careers than Giambi. I also happen to think we should take roughly the same number of catchers as first basemen (though I'm a little less doctrinaire when it comes to second base and shortstop and right and left field).
   72. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 04, 2010 at 03:02 AM (#3683561)
Where on the ballot does such a distinction exist. There's Hall of Famers and not Hall of Famers. Not two separate categories of guys running in different subsections according to career shape.


Again, as you know, it's more of a philosphy for how one approaches HOF issues. If you don't think the approach is valid, that's fine, but to me your position doesn't make sense since you seem to ignore not only average but above-average seasons also, and I can't think of a reason why we would want to do that. Average seasons have value; moreso for above average and good seasons.

Is Dave Winfield a deserving HOFer in your view? Tony Gwynn? These players were not high-peak players.

Hank Aaron qualifies as a career Hall of Famer. Carl Yastrzemski. Ty Cobb. Cal Ripken. Mike Schmidt.


Hmm. You've listed the best 3B of all time, the 2nd best RF of all time, maybe the 2nd best CF of all time, maybe the 3rd best SS of all time, maybe the 5th best LF of all time. That seems like a rather high bar for players who you're letting in through your back door.

If you want me to list guys I'd pick as Hall of Famers who didn't have Hall of Fame peaks, my answer is simple: I don't have any. I view adding countless numbers of seasons onto an established peak as background information. Enough to influence an extreme case like an Al Rosen to keep him out, or an arguably borderline peak guy like Pete Rose (he's actually a little above borderline but he'll do for now) to put him in.


Again, this approach ignores average and even good seasons. I don't see how it's valid.

If I say Giambi and Palmeiro are equal and wanted to express it in some sort of mathematical formula using WAR it might look somthing like:

(5 year peak WAR (consecutive) * 0.65) + (Career War * 0.35)


Don't _both_ parts of this formula count the 5 peak seasons? So you're effectively making the 5 peak seasons something like 75% or 80% of the analysis, not 65%.

Now if I were to be persuaded on one of the two, it would be Giambi and not Palmeiro. Giambi for a period of time (roughly three years or so) was indeed the very best first baseman in baseball (Palmeiro never was). Yes he posted a 10 and a 9.4 and other than that not much different than the others, but that's pretty much the definition of "other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?" Those sorts of seasons are precisely the sorts of seasons that should count the most toward Hall of Fame credentials, not downplayed. Just because he's washed up now and it's hard to envision him as such, the last two years he had in Oakland were just obscene. And although we don't think about it right now because of his current condition, there was nothing horribly wrong with Giambi's defense during his peak (by statistics or reputation). Wasn't great, but WAR seems to think he was essentially a league average guy over there. His brother couldn't catch a cold, but for a while Jason acquitted himself passably in the field.


I agree that Giambi deserves a serious look, though I think he falls short. People do underrate him, though.

I don't completely discount a lengthy career, but I refuse to give it anywhere close to equal weight to the player's ability at his sustained peak.


You're almost completely discounting it. Not quite, but when you don't distinguish between the non-peak seasons of Harold Baines and those of Rafael Palmeiro, you've got a problem.
   73. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 03:48 AM (#3683582)
Average seasons have value

And that's why you don't understand my viewpoint. I agree 100% that average seasons have value. I disagree 100% that aggregating value should determine a Hall of Fame candidacy. I's obviously a major consideration, and one of the reasons why I use a construct like "peak value", and that's all it really is, is so that I can use the concept of value in a way that matches my idea of what a Hall of Famer is. IE, a guy who was on a shortlist of the very best players in the game for a sustained period of time.

And such a view, of course, is not foreign in a substantial number of actual Hall of Fame inductees like a Hank Greenberg (or Koufax or whatever).

It's just not about a concept of career value. Eric Davis was a valuable hitter in the 90s and helped several teams win important games. But to whatever extent Eric Davis has a Hall of Fame case (he really doesn't), it has absolutely nothing to do with whatever he did in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. If Eric Davis was a Hall of Famer, that ain't the guy I'm talking about. Just like the guy with two bad knees playing first base for the Cubs in 1969 wasn't a Hall of Famer. The guy who was 2-6 with a 4.38 ERA for the 1986 Chicago White Sox was providing value to that team, but he ain't a Hall of Famer. Hall of Fame cases, IMO, are based upon Hall of Fame performance not based upon an aggregation of value.

You are free to disagree and you are. It's possible to convince me of the merits of any possible number of players. I'm quite open-minded on that subject. But on the subject of the accrual of career value being definitive, you are simply never going to change my mind. That's not what being a Hall of Fame player means to me.

But Tony Gwynn had a very good peak. Back when Gwynn could run the bases and play defense he had a very good peak, a little better than Palmeiro's. With a little better total career and Palmeiro on the 'out' side of the borderline, that puts Gwynn in, I think. Dave Winfield? Probably a little short but I would have to look at it a little harder to be sure. The 70s may have been a tough time to dominate a league and that might push him over. I know I'd vote for Jimmy Wynn before him though. But then there'd be guys from his era with better peaks who I'd take him over: George Foster being an obvious one, Dave Parker being another.
   74. OCF Posted: November 04, 2010 at 03:48 AM (#3683584)
Of course, Henry Aaron, Ty Cobb, and Mike Schmidt had fabulously high peaks, peaks that dwarf the likes of a Will Clark. I think what Voros is saying by including them is that "career candidate" to him is someone who is already qualified for the HoF by a peak standard who also happens to have also had a long productive career as a bonus. Of course, for the most part, players of that description are the "inner circle." Or maybe that's not what he meant.

Some cases to test just how "peaky" your HoF criteria really are:

Hugh Jennings - pretty much all he's got as a case is five years at SS. He hung around after that, but the rest of his career isn't worth much.
John McGraw and Frank Chance - these two bring up a different issue, that of in-season durability. When they were in the lineup, they were very effective, but they were often not in the lineup.
Al Rosen - he's been mentioned in this thread.
Dwight Gooden - while his career went on for a while, basically we're talking about his first 3 or 4 seasons, and especially his best one season.
Dale Murphy - OK, we can argue about how high his peak really was. But his MVP's don't seem all that fluky. What he mostly doesn't have is "shoulder" seasons, transitions between his peak and the outer, lower value parts of his career.

(Personally, I lean a little more to the career side - I'm not really agreeing with Voros here.)
   75. DCW3 Posted: November 04, 2010 at 04:27 AM (#3683590)
What everybody else said: I'll add that there can be tremendous value in a player you can (more or less) consistently depend on for between 4 and 5 WAR for a long period of time (I argued this in another thread over at BBRef this week c. Lou Whitaker)

I don't know that Palmeiro was really that kind of player, though--he had eight years with a WAR over 4, which is actually only two more than Giambi.
   76. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3683595)
Rosen is essentially the peak litmus test. Rosen for five years was truly a fabulous player. And that was pretty much the sum total of his career. If the above formula is a rough guide than Rosen would probably come up short and that would tend to match my gut feeling on the issue. I guess my matched opposite to Rosen would be someone like Paul Molitor. Molitor is seen like an easy slam dunk Hall of Famer and Rosen a no-hoper, but Molitor was never really even close to being as good as Rosen was during what was essentially the entirety of his career. Shouldn't that matter?

I'm not saying Rosen is a HOFer and Molitor is not, but I think the above represents a significant advantage for Rosen that Molitor should have to overcome to be ahead of him. He probably does but IMO he needs a huge chunk of that remaining career value to get it done.
   77. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: November 04, 2010 at 08:02 AM (#3683613)
I'm gonna go with no strictly on the basis of what I think a HOFer's numbers should look like for a 1B and what Clark produced (leaving out the political or aesthetic stuff). Career high OPS+ of 175 is good but he never was able to sustain that high peak. Career OPS+ of 137 in 14 years (as a solid 1B) is not HOF worthy IMO. Good player, very good player, just never had the peak or longevity to get into the HOF.

If you compare a player like Big Frank, who had more than 1700 career PA than Clark, and who had 7 straight full seasons of over a 170 OPS+ it really puts into perspective how amazing Frank was for a stretch and how much of a no doubter he is when compared to a very good but not HOF worthy player like Clark.

Not that Clark should suffer from the comparison, but he's not a HOF given my standards, which are arbitrary but at least based on era adjusted stats.
   78. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 04, 2010 at 12:00 PM (#3683632)
And since there was a Jeffrey Leonard reference, he was at the Giants WS Parade today. No Clark (that I saw, or heard about)


The Giants had a Win Shares Parade? That's so 2002...
   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 04, 2010 at 01:44 PM (#3683665)
And that's why you don't understand my viewpoint. I agree 100% that average seasons have value. I disagree 100% that aggregating value should determine a Hall of Fame candidacy. I's obviously a major consideration, and one of the reasons why I use a construct like "peak value", and that's all it really is, is so that I can use the concept of value in a way that matches my idea of what a Hall of Famer is. IE, a guy who was on a shortlist of the very best players in the game for a sustained period of time.

I agree with Voros here. If you were never one of the handful of very best players in baseball, you shouldn't be in the Hall.

I also think WAR should be replaced with WAA(verage) for HoF discussions.

A mythical player who put up 20 years of 3.0 WAR seasons shouldn't sniff the Hall of Fame, no matter what his WAR totals.
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 04, 2010 at 04:08 PM (#3683786)
A mythical player who put up 20 years of 3.0 WAR seasons shouldn't sniff the Hall of Fame, no matter what his WAR totals.


well that mythical player would be a robot.

but... eyeballing the 60 war set for the closest match..
well between 55-70, Billy Herman's peak of 6.3 was the lowest...

Johnny Damon is at 48.3, he has 10.5 his past 3, I suppose it's possible he could get within spitting distance of 60- but even so, his high is 6.6 and he has 5 other seasons over 4.
he could become the closest to your mythical 60/20 at 3.0 per year guy. (and of course if he does play 4 more and accumulates 12 WAR he's going into the HOF- but methinks not the HOM)
   81. Ron Johnson Posted: November 04, 2010 at 04:55 PM (#3683841)
Steroids/workouts lead to bigger/bulkier elite hitters


Nonsense -- and MCOA (whom you were responding to) knows it.

Training decisions have led baseball steroid users to be bulkier -- but many documentable steroid users were sprinters. Speed kind of matters to them. Football steroid users have come in every position grouping.

All of the athletes in the study covered in the documentary "High Performance" were trained in some form of track and field. Testosterone helped sprinters. Did zip for distance runners.
   82. Ron Johnson Posted: November 04, 2010 at 05:08 PM (#3683861)
#67 My take on peak is that you have to be at or near inner circle by peak to qualify on peak.

At the same time I don't vote straight career value. To my mind anybody who thinks Craig Biggio added to his HOF case after 1999 is ... (which is another reason that I don't care about his hit total)

Extended prime. Informally, value in seasons of 4+ WAR (though I'm playing around with the definition)
   83. Baldrick Posted: November 04, 2010 at 05:10 PM (#3683864)
This is really the Jamie Moyer case, right? No All-Star appearances, highest WAR is 5.7 and only two other seasons even topping 4. But if he can pitch at better than replacement til he's 50...
   84. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 04, 2010 at 05:20 PM (#3683877)
#65:
Only if you introduce it with an esoteric allusion to 17th century British jurisprudence.

As it happens I did just read a passage about Edward Coke painstakingly defining what legally constituted sodomy. Apparently the key ingredients are "emissio seminis" and "penetratio".


You were actually reading some of the spells from Harry Potter slashfic.
   85. CrosbyBird Posted: November 04, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3683959)
And that's why you don't understand my viewpoint. I agree 100% that average seasons have value. I disagree 100% that aggregating value should determine a Hall of Fame candidacy. I's obviously a major consideration, and one of the reasons why I use a construct like "peak value", and that's all it really is, is so that I can use the concept of value in a way that matches my idea of what a Hall of Famer is. IE, a guy who was on a shortlist of the very best players in the game for a sustained period of time.

I think that's certainly a fair and reasoned position. I definitely agree in large part with the idea that a HOFer should feel like a HOFer, and players generally do that with eye-popping seasons. I think players that have sustained runs of very good are exceptional players, though, and merit some consideration.

You are free to disagree and you are. It's possible to convince me of the merits of any possible number of players. I'm quite open-minded on that subject. But on the subject of the accrual of career value being definitive, you are simply never going to change my mind. That's not what being a Hall of Fame player means to me.

This I would almost completely agree with. I would say that if a player accumulated a ridiculously high amount of career value, I'd probably have to accept him flat out. I can't imagine a player with, say, a 75 WAR, that wouldn't be a clear HOFer, even if it was 37.5 2 WAR seasons... that's the sort of near-unique career that represents a player doing something that distinguishes himself from the pack.

But Tony Gwynn had a very good peak. Back when Gwynn could run the bases and play defense he had a very good peak, a little better than Palmeiro's. With a little better total career and Palmeiro on the 'out' side of the borderline, that puts Gwynn in, I think.

I'm not sure how you define "very good." Gwynn's peak seems pretty pedestrian for a HOFer: according to WAR, he's got 1 MVP-type season and 4 All-Star-type seasons. That seems pretty soft. Is Gwynn a borderline HOFer by your standards?

I get the sense that you DO consider career value, but I'm not sure how you do that. Would you elaborate?
   86. SoSH U at work Posted: November 04, 2010 at 06:31 PM (#3683979)
I think players that have sustained runs of very good are exceptional players, though, and merit some consideration.


Me too. It's impressive to be one of the best players in baseball for some meaningful length of time. It's equally impressive to be a well-above average player for an exceedingly long time. Fashioning a Sutton-type career seems to be equally as rare as putting together a Koufaxian one, and thus neither type is more deserving of enshrinement than the other in my book.
   87. Rally Posted: November 04, 2010 at 06:39 PM (#3683992)
well that mythical player would be a robot.


Actually, that description is not too far off Lou Whitaker. He did throw in WARs of 6.9, 6.5, and two of 5.1. Also had 8 years between 3.0 and 4.0. Whitaker's big years spaced apart as well, so he doesn't have a clear peak like Giambi does.

Take Whitaker's best 5 year consecutive peak, and then take any random starting point between 1978 and 1990, and the 5 year peak will not be much different.
   88. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 04, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3683995)
It's equally impressive to be a well-above average player for an exceedingly long time. Fashioning a Sutton-type career seems to be equally as rare as putting together a Koufaxian one, and thus neither type is more deserving of enshrinement than the other in my book.


I agree. I think it's a little unfortunate that we feel the need to rank all players against each other. I understand that the voting structure of the Hall of Merit forces you to put Koufax or Sutton higher on your ballot (in theory: they were never both eligible), but the Hall of Fame doesn't. I understand that Jamie Moyer won't deserve to get into the Hall-of-Fame on a pure value basis even if he pitches until he's 55, but if he does that, he'll have done something uniquely valuable and, as such, I think I'd vote for him for the Hall of Fame.
   89. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 08:45 PM (#3684109)
I get the sense that you DO consider career value, but I'm not sure how you do that. Would you elaborate?

Well I had that BS formula above, which is a starting point.

If you look at a guy's consecutive 5 year peak, usually a HOF candidate (position player from 162 game schedule era) should have at least 25 WAR for those five years combined (with exceptions for certain scenarios). But if you have like a 25.5, you're really going to need to do an awful lot outside of your peak to convince me. IIRC that's around where Winfield is but Gwynn was something closer to a 29. Something like that is anything but a lock, but if you have the kind of career Gwynn had outside of it, that should put you in good shape. Guys like Giambi and Rosen had peaks well above that, but had nothing much outside of it. They're very difficult to judge for me. Then if you had some guy with a five year peak with a WAR in the 40s, as far as I'm concerned if he never played a single game outside of those five years he should be a Hall of Famer even though HOF rules don't actually allow it. I think it would be absurd to say "well sure he had as good a peak as Hank Aaron but he didn't have the career value so I vote 'no'." That strikes me as missing the point.
   90. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 04, 2010 at 09:25 PM (#3684148)
Then if you had some guy with a five year peak with a WAR in the 40s, as far as I'm concerned if he never played a single game outside of those five years he should be a Hall of Famer even though HOF rules don't actually allow it. I think it would be absurd to say "well sure he had as good a peak as Hank Aaron but he didn't have the career value so I vote 'no'." That strikes me as missing the point.


A guy with Aaron's five year peak but little else doesn't do it for me. Aaron had a _ton_ of value outside his peak, and while a player obviously wouldn't need _as_ much off-peak value as that (or really even close to it), he would need _some_ decent bulk value outside his peak. At least to me.

Would you support Pujols after his first five years? I wouldn't. I support him _now_, but he needed almost all of the ten years for me to support him.
   91. cardsfanboy Posted: November 04, 2010 at 09:54 PM (#3684169)
Guess this is where I disagree vehemently with Voros, I think of Koufax as a possible borderline pick, as the rules of the hof ballot states 10 year requirement so I like to consider that the player has to have been good in at least ten seasons(and yes I think Dean is a bad pick) and I really disagree with the notion that all positions should be represented equally, there is no reason to think that there are roughly equal number of hof players at each position, the wear and tear on catchers inherently means they aren't going to last as long, there is a very good possibility that there might not be a catcher capable of producing 5 years of hof talent or even 10 years as a player.

(technically I'm fine with Koufax, but don't think he approaches inner circle or even close)
   92. cardsfanboy Posted: November 04, 2010 at 09:59 PM (#3684172)
Would you support Pujols after his first five years? I wouldn't. I support him _now_, but he needed almost all of the ten years for me to support him.


agree, people kept saying hof bound Pujols and I felt he needed at least his first eight years, plus two average years for me to consider him.
   93. Danny Posted: November 04, 2010 at 10:59 PM (#3684203)
Would you support Pujols after his first five years? I wouldn't. I support him _now_, but he needed almost all of the ten years for me to support him.

Pujols passed 70 WAR midway through his 9th season. There are 53 position players who have at least 70 WAR for their careers: 44 are in the HOF, 8 are ineligible, and one is Bill Dahlen. At that point, Pujols had a rock solid case for the HOF based solely on career value.

If that was the turning point at which you would support him, then you don't actually give any weight to peak performance. You're evaluating him purely on career value.
   94. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 04, 2010 at 11:24 PM (#3684214)
It says you have to appeared in 10 different MLB seasons. So 1 game counts as a season. And by that standard, Al Rosen is actually eligible.

And it's a rule they've obviously been willing to wave in special circumstances with the Nergo League players being the obvious example. If Pujols had been struck by lightning midway through his 9th Season, you better believe there'd be plenty of people pushing to have it waived in his case as well.

I'm guessing the rule was designed to keep people from voting for guys like Roberto Petagine. Keeping voters from arguing "this guy would have been a Hall of Famer if they let him play enough."

As for players being equal at each position, I didn't say that. I said between cacther and first base it should be roughly equal. I strongly believe that there shouldn't necessarily be an equal amount of left fielders and right fielders or relief pitchers and starting pitchers. In those cases, one of the positions is sort of the "junior varsity" version of the other and so it's perfectly reasonable to elect more of one than the other. I'm willing to listen to arguments about that for shortstop and second base as well. But catching represents a unique set of skills on the baseball diamond and should be considered a fully functioning position of its own at least on par with first base. It's physical demands tend to keep guys from playing as often as other players and so cuts into their aggregation of value, but it's nothing at all similar to the relationship between relief pitchers and starting pitchers. Catchers who stay on the field more often than other catchers definitely deserve the extra credit that should provide, but punishing catchers for not playing as much as firstbasemen doesn't fly with me.
   95. cardsfanboy Posted: November 04, 2010 at 11:42 PM (#3684218)
But catching represents a unique set of skills on the baseball diamond and should be considered a fully functioning position of its own at least on par with first base. It's physical demands tend to keep guys from playing as often as other players and so cuts into their aggregation of value, but it's nothing at all similar to the relationship between relief pitchers and starting pitchers. Catchers who stay on the field more often than other catchers definitely deserve the extra credit that should provide, but punishing catchers for not playing as much as firstbasemen doesn't fly with me


I agree to an extent in that the standards for catchers should be lower, but the problem is that there just aren't enough catchers to produce at a high enough level for a long enough time to really be hofers. The position just wears players out, how many catchers have 5 true all star seasons and last ten years in the league, relative to first baseman? I agree that there should be more catchers in the hof(Ted Simmons is my favorite player of all time) but I don't think there is any inherent reason that positions should be considered equal in number.

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