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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Don Mattingly, Dusty Baker deserve second Hall of Fame look: Sherman

“Baseball life” was purposefully used, because for the last quarter of a century I have recommended that the various committees that judge candidates after they leave the standard Hall of Fame ballot should be thinking of the whole baseball life. The standard group that votes (of which I am a member) are charged with judging just a playing career and, anyway, often lack the information that will come post career and in a full baseball life.

I wrote about this first in 1996, suggesting that if Joe Torre’s Yankees were to win the World Series that year (which they did) that when he passed in front of the then-Veterans Committee, they should take his cumulative career into account. Torre was a borderline Hall of Fame player who by 1996 was in the 14th of the then maximum 15 years on the regular ballot, and it was obvious that he was never getting the votes to enter that way.

To me, this is why Gil Hodges is such a no-brainer Hall of Famer. His stats are similar to Torre’s as a player, plus as manager of the 1969 Mets Hodges steered one of the most improbable, iconoclastic champions of all time. His full “baseball life” deserves recognition in Cooperstown.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2020 at 12:23 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: don mattingly, dusty baker, hall of fame

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   1. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 15, 2020 at 02:33 PM (#5988838)
I think Mattingly & Baker both midly improved their HOF cases in 2020. The HOF Era Committee doesn't really seem to take a combined player/manager career into account. Baker will be a difficult case when he eventually shows up on a ballot--particularly if he's on a ballot with Jim Leyland or Lou Piniella who have similar managerial career lengths but also each won a ring unlike Baker.

Mattingly probably won't ever get in as a player as he shares the Modern Baseball Era Committee ballot with several strong candidates like Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker & Dale Murphy not to mention guys like Dave Parker or Steve Garvey who get their fair share of attention. I think Mattingly or Baker might need to win a ring as a mgr to have a chance
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 15, 2020 at 03:33 PM (#5988846)
I think Mattingly & Baker both midly improved their HOF cases in 2020.
By leading their teams to a combined .500 record and sneaking into expanded playoffs?
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: November 15, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5988854)
By leading their teams to a combined .500 record and sneaking into expanded playoffs?


I don't know if Dusty improved his chances much with a visit to the ALCS, though I do think if the Astros had won game 7 it would have put him in pretty good shape. Two pennants with two different teams, on top of the rest of his record, might have separated him from that group he's in with (Piniella, Leyland, Johnson).

   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2020 at 04:27 PM (#5988857)
#2: Well, in one sense, every game managed, every game won adds to the manager's HoF case. It's a long haul. Beyond that, I agree that they "added." Mattingly was in charge of a team expected to be terrible and then they had to play with only about half the regular roster for a week and they had to play whatever crazy number of games in small number of days. Getting that team to 500 was quite the achievement and then they won their first-round series. Baker's job was different -- a very talented team that underperformed on paper but of course taking over a scandal-ridden team under a lot of pressure. Then while the regular season performance was weak, they got hot at the right time and nearly made the WS.

On the road to the 3,000+ games you generally need to manage to get into the conversation, those are a blip but they were positive blips. Further of course the article isn't arguing they should go in on managerial achievements alone but on combined achievements. Baker was just a very good player who never had any great seasons nor much AS, MVP love (and we have to wonder about a LF winning a GG at age 32 especially in an era when they frequently gave them out to 3 CF) but he's got the bigger managerial career of these two. Mattingly was the better player ... and I can't say there's much about his managerial career that adds a lot to that legacy but, a bit like his playing career, he's got 3 division titles and 3 2nd-place finishes in 10 seasons which looks nice on paper.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2020 at 04:35 PM (#5988858)
On the point of the article -- I'm fine with the idea of a VC taking into account both playing and managing. I'd have pretty high standards on the managing side assuming the player clearly didn't deserve it but would also side more with peak managerial rather than length. If Mattingly had a high WP and a couple of titles in his 10 years, that's the sort of candidate I might look for. If Torre had started his managerial career with that Yankees run, I'd have been fine with the VC putting him in after just a few years since, IMO, he only just missed as a player. Baker wasn't a good enough player, he was gonna need a fine managerial career to get on my combined-case radar. Still, I'd rather see Baker in the HoF than Baines.
   6. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: November 15, 2020 at 04:36 PM (#5988859)
By leading their teams to a combined .500 record and sneaking into expanded playoffs?

Yes but just a mild improvement. Some members of the press like Sherman here latched onto the two manager's narratives. Mattingly led a covid affected team to an unexpected playoff appearance (the club's first since 2003) & beat the Cubs to advance to the NLDS. At the end of the season, Mattingly is award as NL MGR of the Year.

Baker squeaked the hated Astros into the playoffs now making it so he's managed 5 different teams to the playoffs. The Astros came from a 3-0 deficit to force a Game 7 which helped erase some of Baker's memorable playoff disasters. Ultimately while Houston underperformed in the abbreviated regular season, Baker led them to one win away from a Pennant.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: November 15, 2020 at 04:44 PM (#5988862)
Torre made it into the HOM without any managerial or executive credit, fwiw - although kind of on the "well, there are about 40 or so bad HOF picks, so we are finding 40 better ones to take those lockers" front.

Mattingly has quite a peak but lacked in prime and career as a player.
   8. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 15, 2020 at 04:57 PM (#5988864)
Mattingly and Dusty might get the love for a "baseball life" because they're still alive, but if this is a door to the HOF, I think Lefty O'Doul has to be first in line.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: November 15, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5988872)
I think Lefty O'Doul has to be first in line.


The O' boys, Lefty and Buck, are the two most obvious "full baseball life" guys.
   10. BDC Posted: November 15, 2020 at 08:31 PM (#5988879)
One can do a comps search with a very generous range of PAs and OPS+ centered on the player in question, and then pick out guys with substantial managing careers and try to get a sense of Hallworthiness in terms of how much managerial success the guy might need to compare to HOFers.

Baker is on Mattingly's comps list under this approach, so to save time let's just look at Mattingly;'s:

Player           dWAR OPS+   PA
Lou Boudreau     23.4  120 7025
Jimmy Collins    16.8  113 7448
Joe Cronin       14.3  119 8840
Gabby Hartnett   13.3  126 7297
Yogi Berra        9.2  125 8359
Joe Torre        
-0.3  129 8802
Bill Terry       
-0.3  136 7109
Felipe Alou      
-3.2  113 7907
Dusty Baker      
-6.0  116 8022
Don Mattingly    
-6.2  127 7722
Kirk Gibson      
-6.4  123 6656
Mike Hargrove    
-9.0  121 6694 


Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2020.

And ... I dunno. Cronin, Hartnett, Berra, and Terry are in as players even without their managerial feats. Boudreau and Collins won World Championships as managers. Alou, Gibson, and Hargrove did not (though Hargrove came about as close as Baker has), and are not in the HOF. Maybe Hall voters really need that WS ring to ratify a case like this.
   11. caspian88 Posted: November 15, 2020 at 10:08 PM (#5988884)
A few years ago, I looked at the candidacy for Gil Hodges as a combined player/manager by looking for people who were reasonable comparisons. I found three good comparisons for Hodges by WAR and by managerial success:

Gil Hodges - 2071 GP, 43.9 WAR, 1414 GM, .467 W%, 1 Championship, 1 Pennant
Red Schoendienst - 2216 GP, 44.2 WAR, 1999 GM, .522 W%, 1 Championship, 2 Pennants
Fielder Jones - 1788 GP, 43.2 WAR, 1297 GM, .540 W%, 1 Championship, 1 Pennant
Alvin Dark - 1828 GP, 43.8 WAR, 1950 GM, .510 W%, 1 Championship, 1 Pennant, 3 Postseasons

GP = Games Played; GM = Games Managed

Don Mattingly actually fits pretty well in that group, except for the ring:

Don Mattingly - 1785 GP, 42.4 WAR, 1515 GM, .497 W%, 4 Postseasons

Mattingly had the highest peak as a player, and Hodges and maybe Dark deserve some postseason credit as a players.

Dusty Baker is pretty close to this group as a player, but his managerial record is much different - more than twice as many games managed than Mattingly or Hodges.

...

I tend to fall on the side of Hodges falling short, because two of his three best comparisons are not and likely never will be Hall of Famers, and the third had a very lengthy coaching career to add (plus, he's generally regarded as a mistake). Mattingly, I think, also falls short right now - however, give him another five years and a ring and I think his case is much better.

Dusty Baker is closer - a ring would seal the deal, I think.

Philosophically, I tend to believe that we should elect the person, not the player or the manager specifically. Most players' cases are pretty straightforward, but a borderline player who adds a borderline managerial career should generally be inducted (if Gil Hodges was more like a 50-55 WAR player, I'd vote for him). A totally non-deserving player, but one with a pretty substantial career (like Mattingly or Baker), who add a successful managerial career, probably deserves induction as well, but the managerial bar should be higher.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2020 at 10:09 PM (#5988885)
Of course most of Boudreau's managing career was during his playing career.

I guess my general approach would be strong but not HoF-worthy peaks as player and manager should probably be in if we allow combo cases.** Matttingly's managerial peak is pretty weak through. Baker is very good at both but not that impressive at either but 2000 games as a player and 3500 as a manager is a lot of career value and compiling. If Dag wants to do the work, we could possibly even add manager WAA to player WAR.

Anyway, if Bobby Abrue (to pick a guy) added Francona's Red Sox tenure to his resume, I'm fine with calling that a HoF career.

** I'm not sure what a HoF-worthy manager's peak-only case looks like.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2020 at 10:17 PM (#5988886)
Philosophically, I tend to believe that we should elect the person, not the player or the manager specifically.

I think I disagree. What I'd argue for is "inducted as player" with the BBWAA only ever considering playing careers; "inducted as manager" and "inducted for playing and managerial contributions." (Or "playing and other contributions" if you want a Buck O'Neill in consideration.) I don't think there's much need for it but if they want to induct somebody as a player first then induct them as a manager independently, I suppose they don't have to be mutually exclusive.
   14. Rally Posted: November 16, 2020 at 09:58 AM (#5988921)
Red Schoendienst - 2216 GP, 44.2 WAR, 1999 GM, .522 W%, 1 Championship, 2 Pennants


My understanding is that you get inducted as a great player or a great manager, not a hybrid. Being a good player and good manager is not enough. Red is a possible counterpoint to this. He's listed as being inducted as a player, but his playing career seems to fall a bit short, as does his managing career which was only about a decade long.

As a hybrid or some sort of lifetime achievement award he makes more sense.

Joe Torre was near the top of the HOVG list as a player alone. He eventually made it in as a manager. His managing career needed no playing career boost. Only 4 other managers won more games than Torre did, he's got the rings, and each of the top 10 in manger wins are in the hall. It will be each of the top 12 if Bruce Bochy is inducted.

Dusty Baker is 15th in career wins as a manager. In the first month of next season he will likely pass 3 men to move into the top 12. (needs 14 wins to do that.) He'll be the only one in the top 12 without a ring, which probably makes Gene Mauch his top manager comp. A single ring would tie him with Durocher and Cox among the top list.

His chances of getting one don't look so great given his age and the direction of the Astros. Depends on what Jim Crane is willing to spend. If he's willing to spend big and keep Springer while bringing in Bauer to replace Verlander then they'll be favorites for the division and a viable ring contender. But if they feel the need to cut costs and stick with young pitching and let 2/3 of their outfield go, then even playing to their 2020 level will be a challenge. And 2021 probably won't let a losing record into the playoffs again.

Mattingly? He's 85th in career wins, has a losing record and no pennants. His managing career at is not going to get him in at this point, or even contribute. Who knows what the future holds. Joe Torre's managing record after 10 years was no better than Don's.
   15. chisoxcollector Posted: November 16, 2020 at 10:15 AM (#5988923)
bringing in Bauer to replace Verlander


Bauer on the Astros would be VERY entertaining.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 16, 2020 at 10:25 AM (#5988925)

Baker squeaked the hated Astros into the playoffs now making it so he's managed 5 different teams to the playoffs.


This. The early narrative that Baker only accomplished anything because he was riding Bonds' coattails can now hopefully be put to rest.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: November 16, 2020 at 12:12 PM (#5988975)
Bill Shaikin
@BillShaikin
·
8m
First-timers on Hall of Fame ballot: Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramírez, Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito.
   18. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 16, 2020 at 12:32 PM (#5988982)
First-timers on Hall of Fame ballot: Mark Buehrle, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, Dan Haren, LaTroy Hawkins, Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramírez, Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino and Barry Zito.


How many of these guys get a vote or stay on the ballot? Buehrle, Hudson, and Hunter maybe stay.
   19. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 16, 2020 at 01:50 PM (#5989012)
Baker is on Mattingly's comps list under this approach, so to save time let's just look at Mattingly;'s:


Wow, that table in #10 is about as clean a "find the Hall-of-Fame line" as you'll ever see. Top 7 guys on the list are in the Hall of Fame. Bottom five are out. And within that bottom five, the first three seem like they have plausible candidacies; bottom two not at all.
   20. Adam Starblind Posted: November 17, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5989282)
I see Mattingly and Baker differently. Baker wasn't a good enough player to make the HOF. Mattingly was, but he suffered debilitating injuries. Tacking on a successful managerial career would probably get him over the line for me.
   21. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:33 PM (#5989392)
Mattingly was, but he suffered debilitating injuries.
He was a great player for awhile, but it was overblown because New Yawk and Donnie Ballgame and holy #### did his eye black and floppy glove look cool. He's as peak as peak can be and his 3-year peak is almost as good as Kris Bryant's.
   22. Zonk Opposes Trial by Combat Posted: November 17, 2020 at 04:56 PM (#5989403)
I've been OK with the idea of Dusty in the HoF (based mainly on his managerial career) for some time now.

I don't think the pennants/WS stuff is as amenable to pre-division play (much less pre-WC) comparisons.

The only managers ahead of him on the wins list that aren't in are Gene Mauch (who just managed forever and is under .500) and Bruce Bochy (who likely goes in as soon as whatever).

He's been successful with 4 different franchises - just never got the ring. He's not Connie Mack or even Sparky Anderson (though I'd have to think about that), but he's at least the equal of Whitey Herzog if not Tommy Lasorda with more teams. If we're going to put managers in the Hall of Fame, then I think Dusty Baker belongs in.

   23. Adam Starblind Posted: November 17, 2020 at 05:00 PM (#5989404)
He was a great player for awhile, but it was overblown because New Yawk and Donnie Ballgame and holy #### did his eye black and floppy glove look cool. He's as peak as peak can be and his 3-year peak is almost as good as Kris Bryant's.


I don't really disagree with any of this. I'm not sure my way of looking at it would work with a player who wasn't a peak candidate. But Mattingly also played long enough at an above-average level that you can see what his path to the HOF would have been with average health--he retired at age 34, 850 hits shy of 3000. Not a lock, but realistic. He put together about 60% of a HOF career. Nobody's idea of inner circle, but it's easy to see how it might have gone but for his back.



   24. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: November 18, 2020 at 08:48 AM (#5989493)
Nobody's idea of inner circle, but it's easy to see how it might have gone but for his back.
And I hate like hell to sound like I'm talking bad about him. One of the great shocks I had going from a teenage fan to an adult coach was that he wasn't *quite* what everyone (including me) thought he was. He was, when healthy, an MVP-quality player - but he felt like an all-timer. Everything he did was impressive: he hit homers despite not being very big; his base hits just seemed inevitable and looked better than other guys'; he played first despite being athletic enough to play some outfield early in his career - which was impressive if not terribly valuable; even, as you say, he was a productive player for a decade or so with a bad back. It is tempting to put him in the bucket with guys like Pete Reiser who were legitimately great, but only briefly. But he was better than that, because he managed to have a long career despite his problem - and it's not like he became record-chasing Pete Rose, playing because he happened to be his own manager.
   25. Adam Starblind Posted: November 18, 2020 at 04:55 PM (#5989644)
Mattingly's batting averages made him seem more special than he was. I was a school-aged Mets fan at the time, and I would almost definitely have conceded if pressed that Mattingly was better than Hernandez--only later to find out that he really wasn't. Just a different shape of production.



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