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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Here’s Why Gary Sheffield Will Never Be Elected to the Hall of Fame

He may have looked like “The Natural” when he debuted as a 19-year old with the Brewers, but in the end too much of what Sheffield accomplished came about in “unnatural” ways.

He may have looked like “The Natural” when he debuted as a 19-year old with the Brewers, but in the end too much of what Sheffield accomplished came about in “unnatural” ways.

No longer interested in this website Posted: January 03, 2015 at 03:45 AM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: January 03, 2015 at 08:41 AM (#4872026)
Sheffield seems like a "Hall of Merit/not Hall of Fame" player.

BBRef has Sheffield and Frank Thomas virtually tied in oWAR (79.9 & 79.8), and very close to Manny (81.2). That's a lot of righty slugging with atrocious defense in one little bunch.
   2. rudygamble Posted: January 03, 2015 at 10:00 AM (#4872029)
Quoted from my post on Razzball

Sheffield definitely passes the HOF bar based solely on offense. His WAR is crushed by astronomically bad defensive ratings. His Fielding Runs Above Replacement numbers on FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference (which are rooted in UZR and TZ, respectively) peg him as either the least or 2nd least valuable defensive player of all-time. (Note: Manny Ramirez is #2 on FanGraphs, Frank Thomas #3). If you were to give him Jim Thome’s defensive value (with the requisite DH penalties), he is a 70+ WAR player. If you were to give him Jim Rice’s defensive value, he is an 80+ WAR player. I trust the defensive numbers enough to believe that Gary Sheffield was a lousy fielder but, much like with Manny Ramirez and Frank Thomas, I think his incredible offensive value overcomes his bad defense and should be in the HOF.
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 03, 2015 at 10:07 AM (#4872030)
Steroids.
   4. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: January 03, 2015 at 10:14 AM (#4872033)
Steroids.


Yep, that's pretty much it. Nothing more to say on the subject really, try as this article does. It reminds me of the Dave Barry joke playing on how people have written entire volumes about what caused the Civil War: "Kids, gather round while grandpa explains to you what caused the Civil War. Slavery. Now go fetch grandpa some more bourbon."
   5. rudygamble Posted: January 03, 2015 at 10:27 AM (#4872035)
To be fair, he has two points:
1) Selfish A-Hole
2) Steroids

I think we should honor our nation's fine media and add an 'Angry Black Man' exhibit to the Hall of Fame. Look kids, it's Dick Allen. He was divisive! Barry Bonds insisted on having his own corner of the clubhouse! Gary Sheffield played the race card!

   6. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 03, 2015 at 11:39 AM (#4872061)
Yep, that's pretty much it. Nothing more to say on the subject really, try as this article does. It reminds me of the Dave Barry joke playing on how people have written entire volumes about what caused the Civil War: "Kids, gather round while grandpa explains to you what caused the Civil War. Slavery. Now go fetch grandpa some more bourbon."


The Simpons Did It First.
   7. NattyBoh Posted: January 03, 2015 at 11:52 AM (#4872063)
Didn't he admit to deliberating making poor plays in the field so he would be traded?
   8. toratoratora Posted: January 03, 2015 at 11:56 AM (#4872064)
When he was reminded that Derek Jeter was bi-racial, Sheffield said that Jeter wasn’t “all the way black.

One does not anger the Gods...


   9. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:11 PM (#4872070)
Sheffield is the future generations Dick Allen. They might have better luck with Sheffield than the current generation has had with Allen.

note: ignoring the onus of roids of course, obviously Bonds and Clemens need to go in before Sheffield will ever be seriously considered by a future group.
   10. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:13 PM (#4872072)
I seem to remember the admission of intentionally flubbing plays as well. Presumably Harvey can give us the low down. If so, that's about as terrible a thing as a baseball player, qua baseball player, can do. I don't mind corked bats, spitballs, or steroids. In each of those cases at least you are trying to help your team. But I do mind intentionally losing games. It undercuts the whole rationale for competitive sports.

That aside for a minute: why didn't Sheffield end up on an AL team (for which he wasn't playing shortstop) real quick? He was traded thirty seven times, and it was no secret that he was a very bad fielder. You would think that some AL team, which could DH him and not pay the penalty of having him in the field, would have been willing to trade more for him than an NL team, which wouldn't have that option.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:14 PM (#4872073)
The hugely negative defensive ratings never matched his apparent ability, in my opinion. Always seemed like an average fielder. Never a plus, of course, but not a butcher. Rfield gives him many seasons as bad as Pat Burrell's worst, Raul Ibanez's worst, and Adam Dunn's prime as an outfielder.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:20 PM (#4872076)
The intentional flubbing of plays is a real thing, Harvey will confirm that.

The other thing about Sheffield's defense, is that it was a concentration/caring issue, when he cared his defense wasn't horrible, but who knows when he was willing to put the effort out there.
   13. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:31 PM (#4872080)
The intentional flubbing of plays is a real thing, Harvey will confirm that.
I don't remember who it was, but ISTR someone here writing a fairly convincing breakdown arguing that Sheffield said something to that effect, once, but that game logs don't support it and that in context it may have just been puffery/braggadocio from a young kid anyway. Wish I could remember what thread it was.
   14. Yellow Tango Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:33 PM (#4872082)
There are several reasons Sheffield won't make the Hall of Fame, but this article is a racist hack job. Sheffield accused the Brewers and Dodgers of racism. The only counterargument here is, "Obviously they weren't racist." There might be compelling evidence to support that claim, but it's not here.

He's a borderline candidate and there are plenty of reasons he won't go in. To be honest, I'll admit I think he's an #######. Disregarding that, sportswriting really needs to get past this point.
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:35 PM (#4872085)
I don't remember who it was, but ISTR someone here writing a fairly convincing breakdown arguing that Sheffield said something to that effect, once, but that game logs don't support it and that in context it may have just been puffery/braggadocio from a young kid anyway. Wish I could remember what thread it was.


The game logs don't support it. Of course, merely suggesting he did it, even facetiously, is a black mark on him.

Dick Allen likely had legitimate reasons for his anger, given the time and place. AFAIC, Sheffield was just an #######. As for defense, both fwar and bwar are in agreement that his defense was legitimately atrocious, pulling him down to borderline territory. Considering all the other negatives, I hope he never gets in.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 12:39 PM (#4872088)
I don't remember who it was, but ISTR someone here writing a fairly convincing breakdown arguing that Sheffield said something to that effect, once, but that game logs don't support it and that in context it may have just been puffery/braggadocio from a young kid anyway. Wish I could remember what thread it was.


All it takes is one intentional flub. Nobody is saying he did it on a routine basis or a lot, but even just once is enough to condemn a player.
   17. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:02 PM (#4872098)
i have spoken to the error nonsense previously. sheffield was (and is) an immature young man desperate to tell the organization 'blank you' in a 100 different ways.

was he a poor defensive player sulking over not being positioned at shortstop? yes. did he overtly throw a ball (or balls) away to lash out at the organization? no way to tell. his defense was so abysmal there would be no way to tell between what was intentional and what was sheffield just being bad at defense

my two and a quarter cents was that he was just blabbering and didn't realize how this would be received.

as to racism by the brewers that is complete and utter b.s.

tom trebelhorn couldn't have been more accommodating to sheffield. and trebelhorn is the guy that rickey henderson said gave him the confidence to play the game the way rickey wanted to play it. and there are a number of players of color who have said good things about trebelhorn. trebelhorn had his failings as a manager but creating an atmosphere hostile to players of color was not one of them

as to sheffield's accusations toward yount and molitor as being some form of ringleaders there are elements of truth to this statement in that certainly yount, who is as blunt as the day is long, and to a lesser extent molitor, both gave sheffield direction on what is and is not successful on a baseball field. gary was not inclined to take feedback. and when yount pressed the matter and told him among other things to run and not 'drag 8ss' on the bases that pretty much sent gary over the deep end

certainly gary alienated jim gantner when gumby followed tom's requests and attempted to help gary with his defense at third base and gary pretty much told jim to take his advice and stick it up his you know what.

the brewers also signed dave parker to mentor sheffield. within five minutes of meeting parker gary told dave he didn't need any help from a 'has been'.

i have recounted this stuff before so apologies for anyone having to read it again.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:14 PM (#4872102)
as a follow up i am sure sheffield heard terrible things from the stands at times. but not in 1990 when he played well and local fans were thrilled to see someone of so much talent on the team.

as to 1991 sheffield missed a lot of the season to injury. there was no public internet. certainly on the limited talk radio of the time people were talking about how much better the brewers would be once sheffield got back.

though leadership certainly noticed that with sheffield on the bench the team finished over .500.

i can tell you the pitching staff noticed. wegman, bosio and navarro all needed gloves behind them to have a chance.

in 1990 milwaukee was one of the worst defense in the a.l. in 1991 milwaukee was about league average.

   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:15 PM (#4872104)
i always believed gary had the skills to play defense. i just don't think he was willing to apply himself.

maybe not defense at third base but certainly right field
   20. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:16 PM (#4872105)

The Simpons Did It First.
No they didn't.
   21. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:18 PM (#4872107)
All it takes is one intentional flub. Nobody is saying he did it on a routine basis or a lot, but even just once is enough to condemn a player.
It was a stupid, stupid thing to say, no question. I'm just not inclined to give it much weight when:

1) There's no real evidence to support it.
2) He was 19 years old. 19 year olds say dumb #### all the time.

For me, sure throw it in the bucket with other examples of general unpleasantness, I just don't see it as much (if any) of a factor in his HoF case, even if I considered him right smack dab on the borderline. Others obviously disagree, which is their prerogative.
   22. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:28 PM (#4872109)
i will remark that sheffield finishing second in the 2004 mvp balloting for the american league still mystifies me.

there were easily a half dozen better candidates and only one of them beat out sheffield for the award.

on his own team i would have voted for a-rod or jeter before gary
   23. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: January 03, 2015 at 01:55 PM (#4872117)
i will remark that sheffield finishing second in the 2004 mvp balloting for the american league still mystifies me.

He led a 101-win team in RBIs. In the proper hands that seven word sentence can be unzipped with a couple of clicks into a 1,000-word paean of clutch-ness.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 03, 2015 at 02:04 PM (#4872120)
green

sad but likely true
   25. dlf Posted: January 03, 2015 at 02:20 PM (#4872124)
I don't have the exact quote but basically Sheffield said that when the MIL wicketkeeper would assign him an error, he'd get passed and throw the next one into the stands to show him what a real error was. There is no such occurrence in his game logs. That being said, it's telling the world the same thing HW references regarding Yount and Molitor's attempts to get him to play hard - sometimes he just didn't care to even show an effort. Great hitter but I'd rather root for someone who tries.
   26. Ray K Posted: January 03, 2015 at 03:48 PM (#4872144)
It's better for the ego to claim that you made an error on purpose to stick it to the man rather than just because you suck with the glove.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 03, 2015 at 03:51 PM (#4872147)
Never is a long time. If a viable Veterans Committee process ever gets going, and elects any players currently barred by PED "issues", the dam might burst fairly rapidly, and could eventually include Sheffield.
   28. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:02 PM (#4872153)
Never is a long time. If a viable Veterans Committee process ever gets going, and elects any players currently barred by PED "issues", the dam might burst fairly rapidly, and could eventually include Sheffield.

I don't see it. Even if the steroids hurdle comes down, somebody would have to campaign for Sheffield. Sheffield is a jerk; there have been times where maybe he was simply honest, but he didn't serve any other constituency besides himself. So it's hard to see a campaign driven by, say, a former teammate. He can't be identified with one team, so there won't be a Jim Rice-style (or the BBTF-centric equivalent of Jack Morris) campaign for him. His defense was so awful that most of the numbers guys can be ruled out as possible flag-bearers. Maybe some doofus like the dumber Joe Sheehan would start a campaign, but he's going to be horribly isolated.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:17 PM (#4872165)
Have to somewhat agree with Greenback, even if the roid controversy goes away, then there will be a huge influx of players into the hall, the likes which haven't been seen before, even the Frisch era isn't going to compare to a roided up allowed hall.

Sheffield is eventually going to get a Dick Allen type of support, but considering how many other great names, without the baggage of Sheffield, who haven't gone in, it's going to be a long time before Sheffield is seriously considered by a veteran's committee.

Just for the record, we are talking about beyond Dick Allen, here is a probable list of future/current fan favorites who will have a constituency arguing for them. (this is assuming Raines does go in with the bbwaa)

1. Ted Simmons(he's first because he is my favorite player growing up...not because he's the most deserving)
2. Bobby Grich
3. Lou Whitaker
4. Bill Dahlen
5. Lou Whitaker
6. Alan Trammell
7. Scott Rolen
8. Kenny Lofton
9. Edgar Martinez
10. Jim Edmonds(he isn't going in through the writers)
11. Andruw Jones(see 10.)
12. Fred McGriff
13. Kevin Brown
14. Roy Halladay(he isn't going in through the bbwaa)


And this is making a lot of assumptions that if the roiders get in on who will eventually get in before the argument begins with Sheffield. (and it's ignoring a lot of other deserving guys like Evans, Freehan, Munson, Reuschel, Tiant who may not get a strong group of people supporting his candidacy)

If Sheffield ever goes in, it will be long after he's dead.
   30. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:21 PM (#4872167)
1. Ted Simmons(he's first because he is my favorite player growing up...not because he's the most deserving)
2. Bobby Grich
3. Lou Whitaker
4. Bill Dahlen
5. Lou Whitaker


You just named Lou Whitaker more often in one post than the BBWAA did on 500 ballots.

(What was that supposed to be Morris?)
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:34 PM (#4872176)
You just named Lou Whitaker more often in one post than the BBWAA did on 500 ballots.

(What was that supposed to be Morris?)


No, I'm just stupid. (for the sake of my ego, we can assume I made the mistake on purpose to have a spot for someone I probably clearly forgot)

I'm assuming that Morris goes in long before the roid issue goes away.
   32. John Northey Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:36 PM (#4872178)
Surprised seeing Dick Allen and attitude comments but no one has mentioned Albert Belle yet. 381 HR, career cut short due to medical reasons after his age 33 season. Just 40 WAR, lower than I expected for a guy with 4 years of 5+ WAR including 50 HR in a strike shorted season (1995). He was paid over $12 mil a year for 3 years after that final season. If he was a cute & cuddly black man ala Kirby Puckett he probably would be in, but instead was the angry black man thus isn't. Belle got just 2 ballots on the HOF - 7.7% year one, 3.5% year two.

Easy to find black guys who were knocked down for attitude, are there white guys with the same issue?
   33. Jacob Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:40 PM (#4872179)
14. Roy Halladay(he isn't going in through the bbwaa)


I'm pretty sure he's going in through the BBWAA.
   34. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:40 PM (#4872181)
The Jeter comment was really out of line. It's well documented Jeter dealt with racism growing up in Michigan. That being said, Sheffield was a great player and had a harder life coming of age than any of us could probably understand. (definitely myself, anyway)
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:42 PM (#4872182)
I'm pretty sure he's going in through the BBWAA.


I hope so, but I just don't really see it. Which is weird, because 3 years ago I thought he was a hit by a bus candidate, but now it seems to me that after five years he's just going to be forgotten to an extent. 203 wins and not Pedro/Koufax doesn't really strike me as any type of lock. Yes he's better than Hunter/Dean, but being better than one of the worst hofers isn't really a good argument. I'm not sure he's significantly better than Kevin Brown who was one and done.
   36. Jacob Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:46 PM (#4872186)
Easy to find black guys who were knocked down for attitude, are there white guys with the same issue?


Kevin Brown? Roger Clemens, maybe? Curt Schilling? Maybe, Jeff Kent?
   37. zachtoma Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:52 PM (#4872187)
14. Roy Halladay(he isn't going in through the bbwaa)


If the BBWAA can't elect Halladay, I don't see how they can manage to elect any SP who debuted between 1995 and 2004 (which is a very distinct possibility). I could maybe see the BBWAA going for Sabathia before Halladay even though he's an objectively worse candidate.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:52 PM (#4872188)
I'm pretty sure he's going in through the BBWAA.


I hope so, but I just don't really see it. Which is weird, because 3 years ago I thought he was a hit by a bus candidate, but now it seems to me that after five years he's just going to be forgotten to an extent. Hasn't that always been the case for products of mixed couples?

The Jeter comment was really out of line. It's well documented Jeter dealt with racism growing up in Michigan. That being said, Sheffield was a great player and had a harder life coming of age than any of us could probably understand. (definitely myself, anyway)


agree with the first part. the thing about the 'race card' is how easy it is to throw it out and not realize that the thrower is being the ass. (I worked retail and had a customer who pulled it on me by saying I helped someone before him because he was black...his black wife told him to shut the f up, because I helped people in the order they arrived at the counter...but sometimes it is easy to see things you want to see) The point is that Sheffield might have had a hard life that colored his perception of the world, but he held onto that perception a lot stronger than he probably should have.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 04:57 PM (#4872189)
If the BBWAA can't elect Halladay, I don't see how they can manage to elect any SP who debuted between 1995 and 2004 (which is a very distinct possibility). I could see the BBWAA going for Sabathia before Halladay even though he's an objectively worse candidate.


What pitcher debuted between 1973-1982 is in the hof?(just to save you time, Sutter, Eckersleys and Wade Boggs...lol at that last one)

Why is that 1995-2004 particularly important?
   40. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:00 PM (#4872190)
What pitcher debuted between 1974-1983 is in the hof(just to save you time, Sutter, Fingers and Wade Boggs...lol at that last one)

Wrong moustachioed A's reliever.

   41. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:02 PM (#4872191)
I don't know about Halladay. Pedro is going in because he was, while he was pitching, maybe the best ever. The knock on him is that he didn't pitch that much. But even Pedro has a 70 IP lead on Halladay. To go along with 23 points of ERA+. (Though yes, I realize that not all points of ERA+ are made the same, and that the difference between 154 and 131 isn't as great as the difference between 123 and 100. It's still a big difference.)

Halladay did some cliff-diving very very fast. Does 150 more innings and 5 points of ERA+ get Bret Saberhagen into the hall? If David Cone had pitched 170 fewer innings but put up an extra 10 points of ERA+, would he get in instead of being one-and-done? What about if you take off his years as a reliever, dock him 700 innings, and give him 6 extra points of ERA+, does Smoltz still get into the hall? (Smoltz also doesn't get his famous teammates, FWIW.)

The danger with rhetorical questions is that other people might not answer them as you intend, but I think that some of these answers are pretty clear. Saberhagen (also a 2x CYY winner) doesn't get in even with the extra 150 innings and slightly better pitching. He got 1.3% his only year on the ballot. Maybe the better-if-slightly-shorter-career Cone would get in, but he would still need to go from <5% in his only year on the ballot to getting elected. That's a long way to go. Smoltz is less clear, since he is getting elected, but 700 innings is a big deal. Halladay really needed two more productive years, and he didn't have them. I don't know if he'll get elected or not, but it's at least not clear that he will.
   42. Squash Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:02 PM (#4872192)
I'm 50/50 on Halladay's chances with the writers. He does seem to be in the process of being forgotten, possibly because he just sort of disappeared in the middle of a season and that was that so he didn't get the superstar ride into the sunset. At the same time I can see him gathering steam in year 3 or 4 with people talking about how he was considered the best pitcher in baseball for a long stretch. I think it's going to be tough for him and he'll have to go in on the backend of his eligibility.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:02 PM (#4872193)
Wrong moustachioed A's reliever.


I fixed it and even changed the years since I didn't want Clemens on the list.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:04 PM (#4872195)
I'm 50/50 on Halladay's chances with the writers. He does seem to be in the process of being forgotten, possibly because he just sort of disappeared in the middle of a season and that was that so he didn't get the superstar ride into the sunset. At the same time I can see him gathering steam in year 3 or 4 with people talking about how he was considered the best pitcher in baseball for a long stretch. I think it's going to be tough for him and he'll have to go in on the backend of his eligibility.



By the time he becomes eligible, Kershaw among others will probably have dwarfed him. And that is all it probably takes. Again, I think he is hof worthy, I just do not see a world where he gets the votes.
   45. spike Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:05 PM (#4872196)
He was a model citizen during his time in Atlanta and hit the hell out of the ball. Made a fan out of me, and he sure looked like a HoFer during that admittedly small sample.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:08 PM (#4872200)
The danger with rhetorical questions is that other people might not answer them as you intend, but I think that some of these answers are pretty clear. Saberhagen (also a 2x CYY winner) doesn't get in even with the extra 150 innings and slightly better pitching. He got 1.3% his only year on the ballot. Maybe the better-if-slightly-shorter-career Cone would get in, but he would still need to go from <5% in his only year on the ballot to getting elected. That's a long way to go. Smoltz is less clear, since he is getting elected, but 700 innings is a big deal. Halladay really needed two more productive years, and he didn't have them. I don't know if he'll get elected or not, but it's at least not clear that he will.


Exactly... the thing about recent retirees is that it seems they are very likely, but the five year wait(the single best thing that the hof has done in regards to voting) gives us a better perspective.
   47. PreservedFish Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:11 PM (#4872205)
I could maybe see the BBWAA going for Sabathia before Halladay even though he's an objectively worse candidate.


Oh no, they would go for Halladay first. Halladay was, at least for a year or two, acknowledged to be the best pitcher in baseball. That seems significant. He undoubtedly felt like a HOFer.

However, I could see this recent era as a repeat of the 80s. The most excellent pitchers (Saberhagen, Gooden, Stieb / Halladay, Verlander, Santana) weren't quite durable enough, or seemed to belong to another era entirely (amazingly this describes Clemens for both of these different eras, but probably eventually Kershaw too). And then who steps up to play Jack Morris for the era? Buerhle? It might as well be Halladay himself.

On edit - I see that taking 10 minutes to compose this allowed others to make exactly the same point.
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:17 PM (#4872209)
spike

gary would have had a better chance at the HOF if he had been with a strong manager for the majority of his career

He did well with guys like cox and leyland who gave gary structure
   49. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:28 PM (#4872211)
Saberhagen (also a 2x CYY winner) doesn't get in even with the extra 150 innings and slightly better pitching. He got 1.3% his only year on the ballot.


Saberhagen and Halladay seem similar except that Halladay beats him in everything. Yes, they both won 2 Cy's, but Saberhagen only got Cy votes 3 times, only made 3 All-Star teams, and was probably never really viewed as the best pitcher in baseball (Gooden and Clemens were in their young superstar periods during Saberhagen's prime). Halladay got Cy votes 7 times, made 8 All-Star games, and was very clearly viewed as the best pitcher in baseball when he was traded from the Blue Jays to the Phillies. He beats Saberhagen in traditional pitcher wins 203 - 167 - and note that this difference crosses a pretty round number (200). They're not terribly far apart in bWAR, but, again, Halladay beats him and crosses a "magic number" in doing so, 64.7 - 59.1. It may take him a few years, but I think it's more likely than not that Halladay gets elected by the BBWAA.
   50. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:32 PM (#4872214)
The Simpons Did It First.
No they didn't.


What I'm getting out of this is, you have your history, and I have mine. ;)
   51. flournoy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 05:45 PM (#4872219)
here is a probable list of future/current fan favorites who will have a constituency arguing for them. (this is assuming Raines does go in with the bbwaa)

1. Ted Simmons
2. Bobby Grich
3. Lou Whitaker
4. Bill Dahlen
5. Lou Whitaker
6. Alan Trammell
7. Scott Rolen
8. Kenny Lofton
9. Edgar Martinez
10. Jim Edmonds
11. Andruw Jones
12. Fred McGriff
13. Kevin Brown
14. Roy Halladay


What a bizarre list.

If Ted Simmons and Bobby Grich were favored enough to have constituencies arguing their cases, those constituencies are pretty late to the game. Bill Dahlen died 64 years ago - I think his "fan club" is pretty low on membership these days. Trammell and Whitaker, maybe, although where have their constituencies been for the last decade and a half?

How popular is Scott Rolen? Phillies fans hate him, and I didn't think Cardinals fans were too thrilled with him either, or maybe that was just LaRussa. Kenny Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Jim Edmonds... sure. Andruw Jones was never all that popular with Braves fans. I love Fred McGriff and I've voted for him on every mock ballot, but I don't see it. I like Kevin Brown since he went to Georgia Tech, but nobody else likes him, certainly not enough to start a Blyleven-esque movement. Roy Halladay will go in on the first ballot.
   52. Swedish Chef Posted: January 03, 2015 at 06:26 PM (#4872228)
The best thing with Gary Sheffield is that I could use the handle Swedish Sheff when he was in the news. Also how many ballplayers have the same name as post-industrial English cities?
   53. Baldrick Posted: January 03, 2015 at 06:39 PM (#4872236)
Sheffield is basically Edgar Martinez without the defense. Yes, really.

Sheffield fielded like a DH for his entire career. Edgar at least had 500 games as a plus-3B.
   54. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 06:55 PM (#4872245)
If Ted Simmons and Bobby Grich were favored enough to have constituencies arguing their cases, those constituencies are pretty late to the game. Bill Dahlen died 64 years ago - I think his "fan club" is pretty low on membership these days. Trammell and Whitaker, maybe, although where have their constituencies been for the last decade and a half?


Have you paid attention to any debates around here for the past decade? Grich is massively supported and most around here fully acknowledge that Simmons is the best catcher not in nor likely to go in(Freehan is the only other debatable) Dahlen does have his support in hom posters, but yes you are right he's very unlikely to get a huge upswing in people pushing his case.

And the Trammell and Whitaker comments by you is pretty bizarre. I'm not talking about the writers, I'm talking about people getting up in a crusade for those players, and to think Trammell and Whitaker doesn't have a large population pushing their induction is just silly.

Popularity doesn't matter, and Rolen is going to get the same type of support from the knowledgeable as Santo did. I'm not sure why you are focusing on popularity instead of understanding guys who have a strong statistical case, 20-30 years from now are going to have their supporters regardless of popularity.

Roy Halladay will go in on the first ballot.


There is zero chance of that happening.
   55. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: January 03, 2015 at 07:00 PM (#4872246)
Also how many ballplayers have the same name as post-industrial English cities?


Dave Bristol?
   56. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 03, 2015 at 07:04 PM (#4872252)
Popularity doesn't matter, and Rolen is going to get the same type of support from the knowledgeable as Santo did. I'm not sure why you are focusing on popularity instead of understanding guys who have a strong statistical case


But Ron Santo was also extraordinarily popular. He was a beloved radio color man for the Cubs and had the universal support of Cubs fans and the Chicago sports media, regardless of how "knowledgeable" they were. And even with all of that, he wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until after he died.
   57. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2015 at 07:11 PM (#4872261)
I don't know about Halladay. Pedro is going in because he was, while he was pitching, maybe the best ever. The knock on him is that he didn't pitch that much. But even Pedro has a 70 IP lead on Halladay. To go along with 23 points of ERA+. (Though yes, I realize that not all points of ERA+ are made the same, and that the difference between 154 and 131 isn't as great as the difference between 123 and 100. It's still a big difference.)

Of course Pedro is going in 1st ballot with probably 90+%. There's a lot of room between "not a HoFer" and "not Pedro."

Schilling: 3261 IP, 213 wins, 3.46 ERA, 127 ERA+, no CYA, 4 top 5, 6 AS games, stellar postseason
Halladay: 2749 IP, 203 wins (659 WP), 3.38 ERA, 131 ERA+, 2 CYA, 5 more top 5, 8 AS games, 1 perfect game, 1 playoff no-hitter, short but stellar postseason record

Schilling should make it and he had to deal with Maddux, Glavine, Johnson, Unit, Smoltz, Mussina and Clemens eating up 30-40%. You could make roughly the same comparison of Halladay to Smoltz (with Halladay more the Pedro version of Smoltz). Halladay will hit the ballot in a relatively fallow period for SPs. Schilling might be in by the time he hits the ballot, he'll debut behind Mussina but will rise from there.

In short, I have a hard time seeing Halladay doing worse than Morris and I expect him to do better and make it in. The 10-year thing makes it harder to have confidence -- Mo will eat up a lot of votes in his first year, Jeter and possibly Ichiro in his second year so he may get off to too slow a start to make it in 10 years.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 07:11 PM (#4872262)
But Ron Santo was also extraordinarily popular. He was a beloved radio color man for the Cubs and had the universal support of Cubs fans and the Chicago sports media, regardless of how "knowledgeable" they were. And even with all of that, he wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until after he died.


And I just don't see how popularity matters in one bit. Dick Allen a super not popular guy gets a #### ton of support for the hall. It has zero to do with popularity 20 years down the road. Jim Rice a complete and utter ass hat, a guy hated by the media when he played, went in on his last ballot, simply because they forgot how much they hated him. Popularity doesn't matter one bit 20 years out. And this is what we are talking about 20-30 years out, not the first few years on the ballot.
   59. Tony S Posted: January 03, 2015 at 07:32 PM (#4872276)
White guys with attitude reps: Both Mike Marshalls. (Neither one anywhere close to a Hall of Famer, of course.)

Ted Williams. Of course, that was at a whole different level.

I think Sheffield gets in once he becomes nothing more than his line of stats. It will probably take a couple of generations.
   60. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: January 03, 2015 at 08:32 PM (#4872314)
How popular is Scott Rolen? Phillies fans hate him, and I didn't think Cardinals fans were too thrilled with him either, or maybe that was just LaRussa.

His shoulder fell apart because he busted his ass running out a groundball to the pitcher. That kind of effort was quintessential Rolen, and most Cardinals fans noticed. For better and for worse Cardinals fans never questioned Rolen's decision-making either, even after his career took a noticeable turn downwards as a result.
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 08:38 PM (#4872316)
His shoulder fell apart because he busted his ass running out a groundball to the pitcher. That kind of effort was quintessential Rolen, and most Cardinals fans noticed. For better and for worse Cardinals fans never questioned Rolen's decision-making either, even after his career took a noticeable turn downwards as a result.


Agreed. Rolen and TLR's tiff never diminished Rolen's reputation in St Louis, he was slightly hurt because he insisted on playing while hurt and arguing against common sense(when he was rested a couple of days he looked a lot better) nobody is going to hold against a player, his willingness to play hurt.
   62. Howie Menckel Posted: January 03, 2015 at 08:47 PM (#4872319)
"most around here fully acknowledge that Simmons is the best catcher not in nor likely to go in(Freehan is the only other debatable)"

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/election_results_hom_voters_think_gibson_bench_berra_and_carter_are_the_fin

Simmons did fare the best in HOM catcher voting among those who aren't in HOF, though Charlie Bennett and Cal McVey (a UT guy really) nosed out Freehan. Torre as "catcher only, no MGR" also rated ahead of Freehan

   63. Swedish Chef Posted: January 03, 2015 at 08:51 PM (#4872322)
Press the <a> to insert a link...
   64. cardsfanboy Posted: January 03, 2015 at 08:51 PM (#4872323)
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/hall_of_merit/discussion/election_results_hom_voters_thinkn



uggh.... Not to be too mean...but it's not that hard to make links clickable...

there is an <a> at the top of the box where you put comments in... you click on that <a>
, and then you put in the link. here is the link to click
yes, I fully acknowledge I'm being an ass about this. (or see Swedish Chef's comment)


Edit: Sorry if it seems too "mean" I like you and all, but it's frustrating how often people put links on here and don't bother with the effort.
   65. kthejoker Posted: January 03, 2015 at 11:52 PM (#4872421)
   66. Sunday silence: Play Guess How long season lasts Posted: January 03, 2015 at 11:56 PM (#4872422)
perhaps Sheffield is the black version of Dave Kingman? Just a suggestion, Kingman is probably even more detested and based mainly upon his attitude if I recall correctly.
   67. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: January 04, 2015 at 08:55 AM (#4872457)
Jim rice was tailing off by the time I was old enough to really follow the game, but Sheffield surely inspired "teh fear". I hated seeing him come up against a team I was rooting for
   68. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 04, 2015 at 09:35 AM (#4872463)
Jim rice was tailing off by the time I was old enough to really follow the game, but Sheffield surely inspired "teh fear". I hated seeing him come up against a team I was rooting for.

And if he was on your team, "teh fear" was replaced by "teh excitement". In the three years he played for the Yankees, I can't think of a hitter I enjoyed watching more, in spite of the 50 or 60 foul ball home runs he'd hit every year. Has there ever been a player with a quicker bat than Sheffield?
   69. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: January 04, 2015 at 11:28 AM (#4872489)
Has there ever been a player with a quicker bat than Sheffield?


None that I've ever seen. Even through this whole thread, as people are talking about his defense/attitude and making generally excellent, reasoned points, I sit here quivering with fear imagining another crappy Cubs reliever attempting to try and bust Sheffield in on the fists in the 8th inning of a tie ballgame.

I enjoy the moments when my fanboyism creeps back into my consciousness, if only for a moment. It's more fun than logic.

Carry on.
   70. jingoist Posted: January 04, 2015 at 02:57 PM (#4872579)
Where - Pittsburgh, and when - 1950's, I grew up, we had a name for the Gary Sheffields of the world: knucklehead.
Not sure that personality defect should that disqualify you from the HoF but it cant be helpful.
   71. Booey Posted: January 04, 2015 at 05:05 PM (#4872645)
And if he was on your team, "teh fear" was replaced by "teh excitement". In the three years he played for the Yankees, I can't think of a hitter I enjoyed watching more, in spite of the 50 or 60 foul ball home runs he'd hit every year. Has there ever been a player with a quicker bat than Sheffield?

Agreed. He was never even one of my favorites but that bat waggle and his ridiculously quick swing made him look absolutely bad ass at the plate. His at bats were always must see TV.
   72. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 04, 2015 at 05:49 PM (#4872689)
I always figured he was the least favorite batter of his team's third-base coaches.
   73. Ron J2 Posted: January 05, 2015 at 01:30 PM (#4873310)
The actual quote was: "The Brewers brought out the hate in me. I was a crazy man... I hated everything about the place. If the official scorer gave me an error, I didn't think was an error, I’d say, 'OK, here’s a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose."

I ran a tracer on the specifics of the claim. Never happened as claimed, ie while playing for the Brewers he never made errors on consecutive chances.

And as Harveys notes he made a ton of errors at third (career .932 F%) including a .899 F% in 132 games after having left Milwaukee.

There's ample evidence he was a terrible teammate in Milwaukee and as Harveys notes he was in full petulance mode after Bill Spiers got the SS job. (Spiers only got the SS job because he was white according to Sheffield)
   74. Ron J2 Posted: January 05, 2015 at 01:45 PM (#4873336)
Easy to find black guys who were knocked down for attitude, are there white guys with the same issue?


Carl Mays?

This isn't 100% clear in that he's not overwhelmingly qualified and in addition to being a major jerk he has some other major issues. Aside from killing somebody (and being insensitive about it), he was also accused of throwing a World Series. And he was notorious as a head hunter before killing Chapman. (Hurt Tris Speaker pretty badly, beaned Ty Cobb)

I think Bill Dahlen is the clearest case. Coverage of Dahlen focused on his being an airhead with anger management issues rather than his being a genuinely good player for a long time.

EDIT: In case it's not clear, I'm talking more about a possible use of the character clause in a HOF debate.

Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb (among others) were seen a inner circle players who were terrible teammates. Jim Palmer had problems with more than a few of his teammates. The list of excellent players who were jerks is not a short one.
   75. The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2015 at 01:50 PM (#4873349)
Ron, interesting note about Dahlen, given that he seems to have become the "guy we need to elect before we finally shut the door on the old-timers" guy. Can you expand?
   76. Ithaca2323 Posted: January 05, 2015 at 02:27 PM (#4873424)
I've always thought that when it comes to ****ing off/being loved by the writers, there were three groups of HOF candidates:

1. Guys who had no hope anyway
2. Guys who you couldn't keep out anyway
3. Guys who were borderline enough that a writer needed a reason to go to bat for them

Between whatever happened with Sheffield and PEDs, and however bad his defense was—intentionally or not, those two things probably give anyone who didn't like him the ammo to withhold a vote, especially given how crowded the ballot is.

Don't you think Albert Belle would have gotten a sympathy vote had he been universally loved like Kirby Puckett? Writers would wax about how he was one of the game's elite hitters, a feared combination of average and power, they'd go on about how he could have hit 600 home runs, how he averaged 130 RBIs a season, and how a degenerative hip injury robbed us of more of his greatness. But he was loathed, so hey, did you know he really only played 10 full seasons, and he was a lousy defender, and his team only made the playoffs twice, where he hit just .230?

Same with Kevin Brown. You could absolutely make a case for him in the Hall, and I'd bet if he were loved, a lot more people would have been inclined to. But no one really liked him, and in that case, why do all the heavy Sabermetric lifting when you could simply point out that he won just 211 games, won 20 games just once, never won a Cy Young, and went 0-3 in the World Series?
   77. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2015 at 02:36 PM (#4873439)
Don't you think Albert Belle would have gotten a sympathy vote had he been universally loved like Kirby Puckett? Writers would wax about how he was one of the game's elite hitters, a feared combination of average and power, they'd go on about how he could have hit 600 home runs, how he averaged 130 RBIs a season, and how a degenerative hip injury robbed us of more of his greatness. But he was loathed, so hey, did you know he really only played 10 full seasons, and he was a lousy defender, and his team only made the playoffs twice, where he hit just .230?


He is far, far short of Hall worthy, and he a bit of a sociopath. Why in the hell would it matter whether he got a sympathy vote that his playing record didn't warrant.

Brown deserved a better fate. Then again, he was also in the Mitchell Report, which is thus far dooming better players than him.



   78. Ithaca2323 Posted: January 05, 2015 at 03:43 PM (#4873535)
Why in the hell would it matter whether he got a sympathy vote that his playing record didn't warrant.


First, I'm not sure why you're swearing at me.

Second, I know he's short of being Hall-Worthy. But that's due almost entirely to the degenerative hip condition, and defensive metrics that some voters may not put a lot of stock into—and probably weren't helped by that hip.

Had he not been, as you put it, a sociopath, I think voters would have viewed him as one of the best hitters of his generation who got robbed due to injury. And they might have chalked up his defensive/baserunning issues to that as well. And I think they absolutely could have found reasons to vote for him.

The guy put up the first, and only, 50 HR/50 2B season in just 143 games, and then nearly did it again a few years later. He is one of just six players ever to have eight straight seasons of 30 HR/100 RBI. The other five? Ruth, Foxx, Gehrig, Pujols, and A-Rod. And as many an MVP vote has shown us, they're naturally biased towards big time HR/RBI guys, and Belle was the epitome of that for a solid decade.

You make think those are lame reasons, and frankly so do I, but Jack Morris picked up a lot more votes for being the "Winningest pitcher of the 80s". Writers use dumb justifications when they want to go to bat for a player.

I'll venture a guess that ultimately means nothing since it can't be proven or disproven: Had voters liked the guy, I think Albert Belle would be in the Hall of Fame. Would he deserve it? Probably not. But he wouldn't be the first
   79. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2015 at 04:15 PM (#4873593)
Had he not been, as you put it, a sociopath, I think voters would have viewed him as one of the best hitters of his generation who got robbed due to injury. And they might have chalked up his defensive/baserunning issues to that as well. And I think they absolutely could have found reasons to vote for him.


It just seems like a question you've already answered. Albert Belle's career was too short, his peak not great enough for a Hall of Famer. On top of that, he was someone who fired a baseball at the chest of a heckler, went on a dugout tirade at Hannah Storm, chased down trick-or-treaters with his SUV, got charged with domestic violence and got busted twice on stalking charges (though they came between his first and second years on the ballot). Why would the writers want to go looking for a reason to vote for that guy?

I'll venture a guess that ultimately means nothing since it can't be proven or disproven: Had voters liked the guy, I think Albert Belle would be in the Hall of Fame. Would he deserve it? Probably not. But he wouldn't be the first


Perhaps. But I don't see him being a whole lot different than Mattingly - great player, career cut short by degenerative condition. Maybe the fact that Mattingly was liked got him 15 years on the ballot rather than the two Joey received, but it wasn't nearly enough to carry Donnie to Cooperstown.

Puckett is different from these guys in several ways. First, the voters respond better to immediate injuries that end careers rather than degenerative ones. Puckett was still viewed at near his peak when his career suddenly ended. That resonates. Second, Puckett was seen as the best player on two World Series-winning teams, which neither of those gents managed. Finally, he managed a significantly better career than both of them.
   80. Ron J2 Posted: January 05, 2015 at 04:28 PM (#4873605)
#75 Consider the intro to a review of "Bad Bill Dahlen"

"He was often nonchalant and unfocused, showing up minutes before a game. He was rumored to get himself ejected so he could get to the racetrack."

(Another advocacy article calls him "anti-social" -- I think it's easy to substantiate this, but there's another side to the story. He was the go to guy for charitable events as well. Assuming it didn't conflict with his time at the track.)

He got ejected an awful lot. I believe the 65 that's generally quoted just counts his total as manager but I'm not sure. "Bad Bill Dahlen" notes that he was "frequently accused of not having his head completely in the game" and one example that was a series in which Dahlen got caught by the hidden ball trick (and was ejected arguing the play), next game he made 4 errors and ... well you can call it a baserunning error I guess. He was tripped rounding third and tagged out (ah, 1890s baseball). There were stories that he was talking to his wife (trying to reconcile) rather than paying attention to the game.

He actually picked up a team suspension when he had a clump of ejections (seemingly not all his fault. He had a lot of problems with one ump in particular and that guy was fired at the end of the year)

That said, frequent ejections hurt the team. Fighting with the manager? Reputation for goofing off during the game? Reputation for being more interested in getting to the track than in the game? Well none of that is positive, that's for sure. His rep was a mixture of Milton Bradley and ... I don't know maybe Hanley Ramirez, with a seasoning of Rogers Hornsby or Dick Allen.

As the review I cited notes, voters who were familiar with him as a player generally didn't care about his on-field play.

EDIT: Fixed reference
   81. Booey Posted: January 05, 2015 at 05:58 PM (#4873696)
Had he not been, as you put it, a sociopath, I think voters would have viewed him as one of the best hitters of his generation who got robbed due to injury.


Eh. Belle was a very good hitter, but he wasn't even top 10 of his generation. To make the HOF with such a short career - he really only had 4 seasons as one of baseball's best players (1994-1996, 1998) - and with no defensive or baserunning value, you need to be better than the 12th best or whatever hitter of your era. I was one of the few 1990's fans that really seemed to like Belle, and even I don't think he has much of a HOF argument. He probably would've without the injury, sure. But as it is it's not just his personality* that cost him election.

* And SoSH didn't even mention the bat corking incident
   82. Ithaca2323 Posted: January 05, 2015 at 06:03 PM (#4873699)
Why would the writers want to go looking for a reason to vote for that guy?


That was my point. That if you're an ***hole, and there's any
other
reason to not vote for you, the writers won't go to bat for you. Belle was an ***hole, there was another reason not to vote for him (short career), and off he went. Sheffield is dealing with the same fate. He was an ***hole, there was another reason to not vote for him (PED smoke, awful fielding), and off he goes.

But if you're beloved, writers will go looking for reasons to vote for you. Sometimes, enough of them find a footing that you get elected (Kirby Puckett), and other times not (Don Mattingly).

I think this goes back to one of my earlier posts on the gizmo thread. While we might like to believe otherwise, for a lot of voters, many of these players aren't obvious calls. Regardless of the personality of the player in question, there are checks marks they can put in the pro and con columns. And if you can do that, you can probably defend your choice on some grounds other than "I liked/didn't like the guy" even if that's what makes the final call for you.

Sheffield, Brown, and Belle were all doomed from the start. Their candidacies all had varying strengths (I'd put them in that order, best to worst) but each of them had enough holes that it'd be easy to hide behind a "I hate that guy" vote if you were so inclined. Puckett, as you pointed out, had career achievements that made it easier to hide behind a "He was a great guy" vote.

   83. Booey Posted: January 05, 2015 at 06:23 PM (#4873709)
Puckett, as you pointed out, had career achievements that made it easier to hide behind a "He was a great guy" vote.


Puckett no doubt did get some sympathy votes for the way his career ended, as well as bonus points for "da ringzz!" and for supposedly being a nice guy, but I've always thought that people scratching their heads over his election were overlooking one very obvious factor - dude hit .318, the 4th highest batting average of anyone who debuted post WWII. And the 3 players ahead of him (Gwynn, Boggs, Carew) were singles and doubles hitters without Kirby's power. So for voters who overvalue BA, to have one of the highest averages of the last 40 years - AND decent power? No brainer.

   84. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 05, 2015 at 08:48 PM (#4873811)
Dude wouldn't have hit .318 if he'd played another five years, and voters were all too happy to pencil in the counting stats they wanted to for those five years.

Puckett hit 207 HR in 7244 AB. That's one HR every 35.00 at-bats, good for 600th on the all-time list. See, voters like round numbers.

I'm pretty sure that Puckett's election was 100% about the way his career ended and his nice guy image. If the domestic violence stuff had come out before he was eligible, things might have gone very differently.
   85. toratoratora Posted: January 05, 2015 at 09:22 PM (#4873834)
This isn't 100% clear in that he's not overwhelmingly qualified and in addition to being a major jerk he has some other major issues. Aside from killing somebody (and being insensitive about it), he was also accused of throwing a World Series. And he was notorious as a head hunter before killing Chapman. (Hurt Tris Speaker pretty badly, beaned Ty Cobb)

There's a great book out there called The Pitch that Killed. Carl Mays figures prominently. He was an ass. His teammates thought he was an ass. Other players, press and management thought he was an ass. Hell, he even thought he was an ass, and, being the ass that he was, was kinda proud of it.
He was hard man who played a hard game and didn't much give a damn about most anyone else.
Yeah-he was really disliked, and that was pre-Chapman.
   86. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2015 at 10:04 PM (#4873858)

I'm pretty sure that Puckett's election was 100% about the way his career ended and his nice guy image.



No, it wasn't. It was about being the best player on two World Series-winning teams. That counts. It was about being a genuine star, among the biggest of his era (he was an all-star his last 10 seasons, usually starting). It was for being a great hitter who was also perceived as a great fielder in center (his many grabs over the baggie). And it was about an abrupt ending to his career while he was still going strong, rather than a prolonged one caused by a degenerative condition. And yes, he was well-loved and fun to watch play, his uncommon shape contributing to his appeal. It was for all those reasons he was inducted on the first ballot. Writers really liked Don Mattingly. He didn't get in. Writers loved Sean Casey. He got no votes. There are a lot of guys the writers liked that didn't go anywhere, and a lot they hated that they elected (Carlton, Murray and Jim Rice), and one they almost did (Jack Morris).

Kevin Brown didn't make it, largely because the writers a) didn't appreciate how good he was, b) his best success were in lower profile places, while he was perceived to be overpaid in his big market stops (though he pitched well in LA, the team wasn't good and he was eventually sent to NY in a salary dump. And he did not pitch well with the Yankees and it ended quite badly), c) he was in the Mitchell Report. For a majority of voters, that last fact was all that was needed.

That he was also a legendary ####### probably made them enjoy not voting for him. But mostly Kevin Brown was not perceived as a Hall of Famer when he retired, the same fate that befell Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker* and Dwight Evans, all of whom had no major issues with the press but got the exact same treatment.

* Sweet Lou was a bit of an odd duck, but his relationship with the press wasn't antagonistic, to the best of my knowledge.
   87. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: January 05, 2015 at 10:30 PM (#4873881)
Bit of an odd duck seems like a nice euphemism for Scientologist or some such.
   88. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2015 at 10:54 PM (#4873901)
Bit of an odd duck seems like a nice euphemism for Scientologist or some such.


Jehovah's Witness. And odd duck wasn't a euphemism for it.
   89. Baldrick Posted: January 05, 2015 at 11:03 PM (#4873911)
Dude wouldn't have hit .318 if he'd played another five years, and voters were all too happy to pencil in the counting stats they wanted to for those five years.

Puckett hit 207 HR in 7244 AB. That's one HR every 35.00 at-bats, good for 600th on the all-time list. See, voters like round numbers.

I'm pretty sure that Puckett's election was 100% about the way his career ended and his nice guy image. If the domestic violence stuff had come out before he was eligible, things might have gone very differently.

He was a perpetual All-Star, got MVP votes in almost every season of his career, including seven top ten performances over a nine year period. He was considered to be a huge star, and was inducted on the principle that if you have a good enough prime it doesn't matter whether you accumulate anything else.

Now, it's not actually TRUE that he was a mega-star. He was 'merely' an All-Star quality player for a decade, not a perpetual MVP candidate. But people at the time certainly thought he was, and that's why they inducted him. I'm sure it didn't hurt that he came off so likably, and that probably is what got him in on the first ballot. And I suppose it's possible that the good feelings toward him meant that people weren't inclined to dig any deeper to discover that he was never quite as good as people thought at the time.
   90. Booey Posted: January 06, 2015 at 01:51 AM (#4873982)
Dude wouldn't have hit .318 if he'd played another five years


But then he'd have just had 3000 hits instead. You think a .310 avg and 3000 hits wouldn't have been enough? (and Puck hit .314 and .317 his last two years; I'm not sure his lifetime average would've even dropped as far down as .310).

#89 says it well. Most of the SABR stats that show he was overrated came out after the fact. During his career, Kirby WAS viewed as a major star - 10 straight AS selections, 7 top 10 MVP finishes (all top 7 actually, including a 2nd and two 3rds), 6 gold gloves and silver sluggers, led league in hits 4 times in 6 years, including averaging an Ichiro-esque 220 a year from 1986-1989.

Puckett hit 207 HR in 7244 AB. That's one HR every 35.00 at-bats, good for 600th on the all-time list. See, voters like round numbers.


I never said he was a great HR hitter, just that he had more power than the only 3 post WW2 debuting hitters to surpass him in batting average. Puckett had six 20 homer seasons. Carew, Boggs, and Gwynn had one combined. In 3 years from 1986-1989, Kirby hit .339 and slugged .539, while averaging 221 hits, 28 homers, 105 rbi, and 108 runs scored. (oh, and winning a GG every season). There just weren't a lot of offensive seasons that looked like that in the 80's.
   91. Cooper Nielson Posted: January 06, 2015 at 04:06 AM (#4873996)
On the subject of Kirby Puckett, it's fun to see that his career totals include 4 games at 3B, 4 games at 2B, and 3 games at SS (but adding up to a total of only 6 innings in the infield). Does anyone remember the details?

I have a vague recollection of an extra-inning game where the manager ran out of infielders so Kirby was cycled through the positions, placed wherever the ball was least likely to be hit for each batter. But it's weird that this would happen 4 times.

He only played OF in the minors, so it's even stranger than seeing Mark McGwire's 24 games at 3B or Tim Raines' 53 games at 2B.
   92. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 06, 2015 at 08:25 AM (#4874017)

I remember a lot being made of Puckett's hit totals and postseason heroics. I think he was clearly perceived as a "future HOFer" prior to his retirement, and he never had a decline that would enable people to change that perception. I remember as a kid hearing that Puckett had the most hits through his first N seasons, something not terribly important today but which seemed significant to me as a 10-year-old in the 80s (Looking it up, it appears he was actually #2 through most values of N, to Paul Waner. Now Ichiro has surpassed them both).
   93. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 06, 2015 at 08:31 AM (#4874025)
kirby puckett's career had so many 'extras' there was no way he was NOT going into the hall of fame.

first and foremost he was the best player on two rather pedestrian teams that won a championship. he led the league in all kinds of categories. he played a key defensive position. he was beloved by his teammates and his fans

sure it came out that he was a bum. unless that was revealed prior to the voting puckett goes in on the first ballot where he was eligible.

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