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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Is the Hall leaving out too many players?

You should have two takeaways from these:

1) The lowest points in the first nine decades or so of the 21st century came during the two World Wars, understandably so. Bob Feller, for example, missed all of 1942-44 in America’s service, while Ted Williams missed all of 1943-45. Dozens of Hall of Famers missed the primes of their careers serving, plus several more (including Williams again) in the Korean War. The talent level had a meaningful drop.

2) The last three decades have consistently had the lowest Hall of Famers-per-year numbers in history outside of those wars, and it’s not just because not all of those players are eligible yet.

Taken all together, it does appear we’re being too stringent with the recent decades. We’re not hitting the “1.5% of all players” or “4.3% of regular players” thresholds, and the only times in history we’ve seen such a low percentage of Hall of Famers was literally during two world wars.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 10:27 AM | 423 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   101. Hank Gillette Posted: December 03, 2020 at 03:03 PM (#5992293)
Koufax is the sole(?) member of the "he woulda been an all-time great if not for ..."


Dizzy Dean?

The writers seem to give credit for a missing part of a career if there is a easily defined reason for the career termination: Koufax, Dean, Greenberg, Puckett, maybe Rizzuto?

When the injury is less obvious, like Don Mattingly’s back problems, not so much.
   102. DL from MN Posted: December 03, 2020 at 03:12 PM (#5992295)
When the injury is less obvious, like Don Mattingly’s back problems, not so much.


David Wright is not going to get much extra credit.
   103. chisoxcollector Posted: December 03, 2020 at 04:23 PM (#5992309)
Nick Madrigal might end up fitting the bill of a high average, low power hitter. I don't ever see him developing any real power, so if he keeps his average up he can do it.
   104. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 04:42 PM (#5992314)
Bert Campaneris is another player who doesn't look like a Hall of Famer until you add in his baserunning and defensive contributions. He was a plus defensive SS in the 1970s when everyone was sacrificing offense for defense. He's also still in the top 15 for stolen bases and has 57 career RBaseR.


Loved the 70's A's, and Campy was my favorite player! Would be very happy for him to get a VC selection.
   105. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 04:47 PM (#5992315)
At 53 WAR and 21 WAA, Campaneris is still probably a bit shy of serious HOF consideration.

I do love his 22 homers in 1970, though.


Come on, there's your speed candidate ;-)

That is a great fluky fluke, wow! That's 28% of his career HR in just the one season!
   106. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 04:52 PM (#5992316)
Campaneris is also like Lofton in that he was snowed under by one of the strongest debut classes ever: Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, and Jim Kaat.


Wowza! And a big backlog of 19 which included Santo, Cepeda, Mazeroski, and Bunning who all had to wait for the VC to put them in. Bunning really had his chances crushed by Perry, Jenkins, and to a lesser extent Kaat coming on right at the end of his eligibility. Wilbur Wood received the same number of votes as Campy in his debut. Bet he would have lasted a little while if not for all of those pitchers hitting at the same time. HOF candidacies can be quirky like that.
   107. Zach Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5992317)
Pedro is not remotely like Koufax.

He's a short career, massive peak guy who got treated like a no doubter by the voters. Not the same thing, but not that different, either.

   108. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5992318)
Gwynn though? No chance. He was obviously too good for the low minors at 21, hit .462/.490/.725 in a short trial at AA and was in the majors within a year. I can't see his career arc going differently.


Totally agree on Gwynn. He actually hit .331 in 42 games in the Northwest League before getting promoted to AA and ripping off that .462 in Amarillo, and actually had 16 HR in just 301 PA's. The next year .328 in AAA Hawaii over 93 games the next year before his call up. If there was any team out there that would have messed with that, it would have been the Padres, but thankfully they didn't!
   109. DL from MN Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5992321)
A version of Chase Utley who is only average on the bases probably isn't worth electing. Carlos Beltran is borderline without baserunning wins, so is Roberto Alomar. Bobby Abreu isn't even borderline without his speed.
   110. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5992323)
Not sure if it was intentional or not, but that's exactly what's happened with Jose Altuve. We went from being Tony Gwynn in 2014 (.341 with 7 HR and 56 SB) to being Eddie Murray in 2019 (.298 with 31 HR and 6 SB).


This is not a very reasonable characterization of Altuve. He hit well over .300 each of the next four seasons along with two more Batting titles, and 15, 24, 24, 13 HR. Also, his SB dropped off significantly in 2018 and dramatically in 2019, along with some missed playing time. Likely his legs were beat up, and so it was an intentional adaptation. Not an unusual one for an aging player to shift more towards power and away from speed.

Francisco Lindor is another. His first two seasons, he averaged .306 and 13 HR. I thought he'd be a Jeter/Molitor type who would hit .320 or .330 with 15-20 HR every year. But then his next 3 years he averaged .278 and 34 homers.


He hit 33 HR in only his second full big league season, at just 23. He obviously has legit power, so why not use it? And let's not forget how difficult it is to hit .300 against major league pitching, even more so now with bullpens being so full of live arms these days. I keep thinking of the pool hall scene in Bull Durham where Costner talks about the difference between .300 and .250. Lindor would only need another 42 hits, in 460 games, to go from .278 to .300. It's a really small difference.
   111. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:20 PM (#5992324)
Interesting to see if he can keep the average up, and if the Twins try to change his swing for power.


Hopefully someone in the organization still remembers Rodney :-)
   112. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:22 PM (#5992325)
Along the lines of my post above, I would guess throwing errors made up a smaller percentage of the total for infielders in earlier eras. First, infields weren't as well conditioned..


Umm, I hesitate to make sweeping generalizations but you may have a pt.

Are we ready for the legendary Arky Vaughan 52 error 1940 season? How many throwing errors did Vaughan commit? How many PIT defensive runs ended up in the box seats near the first base line in 1940. Ive done the math anyone want to make some guesses?
   113. Booey Posted: December 03, 2020 at 05:59 PM (#5992329)
#110 - I'm fine with guys increasing their power, as long as they're not doing it at the expense of batting average. Altuve, for example, was still one of the most exciting players in the game in 2016-2017 when he doubled his HR while still winning batting titles. It wasn't until 2019 that I started to feel "meh" about his trajectory.

Basically, if it has to be one or the other, I'd rather have more .300 hitters (the higher the better!) and less 30 HR hitters. The current game has plenty of the latter, and not enough of the former. If someone can do both, that's great, but very few seem to give a damn about batting average anymore (or stolen bases), and that's a shame because high average guys who put the ball in play are so much more fun to watch than TTO sluggers who flail away in every at bat.
   114. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 06:07 PM (#5992332)
Pedro is not remotely like Koufax.

He's a short career, massive peak guy who got treated like a no doubter by the voters. Not the same thing, but not that different, either.


I went back and added some length to Koufax's peak in my earlier post, but I still don't buy this at all. Koufax was a starter for only 6 seasons, 2 were injury shortened, and a swing man for 3 others with an average of 162 IP, plus his first 3 seasons which totaled only 204 IP, that's 12 seasons and that's it. Pedro was a starter for 12 seasons from 1994-2005, had two injury shortened seasons of 20 and 23 starts at the end of his career, 1 season as a reliever and 3 other seasons with insignificant innings. Pedro's first big season was 1997 and his last in 2005, Koufax was only really Koufax from 1963-1966. Yes, his 1961-62 seasons were very good, but they don't leap off the page the way his big seasons do. And even if you insist on counting them, Pedro's peak is still 50% longer, and his career is 50% longer as well in terms of seasons. Pitching across 18 seasons, 136th on all time IP list, and 125th on all time GS list doesn't look like a short career to me. Koufax is below 300 on the all time lists for both of those for reference.
   115. alilisd Posted: December 03, 2020 at 06:11 PM (#5992334)
Altuve, for example, was still one of the most exciting players in the game in 2016-2017 when he doubled his HR while still winning batting titles. It wasn't until 2019 that I started to feel "meh" about his trajectory.


Yeah, the slacker only hit .298 while missing about 30 games to injury. ;-)

I feel you on the absence of high average speedsters though, honestly. They're fun to watch! I just think there's a TON of young talent in the game who are a lot of fun to watch as well, so maybe I'm not so down on them as you. Anyway, always enjoy your perspectives, cheers!
   116. Mefisto Posted: December 03, 2020 at 07:27 PM (#5992341)
Are we ready for the legendary Arky Vaughan 52 error 1940 season? How many throwing errors did Vaughan commit? How many PIT defensive runs ended up in the box seats near the first base line in 1940. Ive done the math anyone want to make some guesses?


I don't have the faintest idea, but I'm very interested in the answer.
   117. BDC Posted: December 03, 2020 at 07:55 PM (#5992343)
The Koufax discussion is interesting. I think there are other peak candidates who are analogous, but they did not have the career shape of Koufax; Koufax was pretty much unique in retiring at the absolute top of his career.

Koufax had four 7-WAR pitching seasons, 53 pitching career. Joe Medwick had two 7-WAR seasons, 54 career. (Koufax had 49 career WAR overall, but I doubt any HOF voter considered his batting. HOM voters did but Koufax still made the HOM easily. Medwick is also HOF/HOM.)

Medwick was for a while a big star and (briefly) a great hitter. Structure Medwick's career differently so that, instead of peaking at 25 and being just another good player through age 32, he is a good player through age 28, has three great years culminating in an 8.5-WAR, Triple Crown, MVP season, and then abruptly retires. Then he's basically the Koufax of outfielders.

I guess you can say that Medwick added "bulk" to his career 1938-48, helped the '41 Dodgers win a pennant, and thereby ratified the Hall case he'd made through 1937. But he is in the Hall of Fame for the 1934 World Series through the end of the 1937 season, essentially.
   118. Rally Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:42 AM (#5992389)
I’ll take a wild guess and say 20 throwing errors for Vaughan. I see his TZ for that year is zero. Not really surprising to me because his range was a bit better than average, and even his fielding percentage wasn’t that much worse than the league. In fact, earlier in his career he had a 46 error season and his fielding % was exactly league average. Just a lot more errors back then.
   119. Hank Gillette Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:32 PM (#5992518)
I'm fine with guys increasing their power, as long as they're not doing it at the expense of batting average.


Can anyone actually do that? Even Babe Ruth (who had a pretty good batting average) said that he could hit for a higher batting average if he wasn’t trying for home runs.
   120. Mefisto Posted: December 04, 2020 at 08:45 PM (#5992520)
Willie Mays was hitting .316 in July 1954 with 36 HR. Durocher went to him and told him he'd help the team more if he stopped trying to hit HR and raised his BA. Mays hit just 5 HR the rest of the way but hit .345 on the season and won the batting title.

Although this isn't part of the story, I'm convinced that Durocher did this because he didn't want a young black man to face the pressure of challenging Ruth's record.
   121. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:19 PM (#5992530)
Although this isn't part of the story, I'm convinced that Durocher did this because he didn't want a young black man to face the pressure of challenging Ruth's record.

From what I know about Durocher I'm pretty sure he didn't give two shits about anyone not named Leo Durocher. The world probably would have been better off if they let Ruth throw him out that hotel window.
   122. Ron J Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:28 PM (#5992531)
#119 Long story but that's sort of at the heart of the "Ty Cobb could have hit home runs if he wanted to" claim. He supposed told some reporters before a series with the Browns that he was going to try to hit home runs. And hit 5 over the two games. Went 6-6 with 3 HR in the first game and 3-6 with 2 HR in the second.

So if he'd really wanted to he could have batted .750 with 2.5 HR per game.
   123. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 05, 2020 at 08:12 AM (#5992553)
COming back to the Arky Vaughan thing....

Well I have to say I was very much surprised he really didnt make that many throwing errors. I was thinking with that many errors he had to be some super putz with the ball.

A total of 10 throwing errors, resulting in a mere 11 bases advanced. Four of these games we do not have the complete game score but Retrosheet to the rescue. At least three of those games show that no one advanced (typical no one on situation). NOt sure if Retrosheet actually distinguishes throwing errors from other errors, presumably it would. But in any case Im merely looking for egregious errors that might do worse damage than the nominal -0.7 runs we/I are assigning for errors.

JUne 8 is hard to score. Two on and a single that Vaughan boots in some way. Pinky May on first, advances to third on throw and scores on E2. So it looks like Vaughan over threw the ball to second but it was ruled a base hit. May rounded second, got third and went for home and would have been out if the catcher had held on. Im scoring it as one base added. WE're going to see more plays where the throwing error guy gets bailed out or not on a subsequent throw.

July 6 the dreaded "unknown out" in the score sheet. One on no out, and PIT trying to turn two. It looks like it's going either 4-5 or 6-5 and Vaughan throwns the ball away after making first out. Credit one base advance by batter Mize.

July 23rd. I'm not sure how to score this. Two on, one out and there's a throwing error on a fielder's choice, Whitehead "advancing to third on the throw". But he would have made it to third on a standard error, so I dont feel its fair to credit this as an egregious error with an extra base advance. So its a throwing error, with no base advance for my purposes.

I wasnt sure if there was a throwing error in the July 27 game (from retrosheet) but in any event the runner on second moved up one base, so its not an egregious error. the other retrosheet games even if not certain its not a throwing error these werent egregious errors.

So there you have it, a total of perhaps 3 defensive runs lost on errors. I dont have a conclusion yet on whether TZ is treating Vaughan fair or unfairly. So far it seems fair. Overall, I'd like to identify sources of where defense is being won/lost that might not be showing up in the advanced metrics. I've come up with four likely areas:

1 Double plays. If a guy makes a great play to start a DP and the middle guy made a routine play, the first guy only gets credit for an assist but not for the out at second. So he's perhaps losing credits there.

2 Catches/tags near the bag. Presumably this show up as error or PO so it doesnt effect say TZ. BUt as we look at statcast and see its measuring OAAs, then perhaps these are outs that wont show up in stat cast and its worth trying to figure out how much they contribute to an infielders job.

3 Relay throws. Same thing. Presumably shows up as a traditional data pt. but not in statcast. Its worth knowing how much might be won or lost here.

4. Bad throwing errors. Looking for egregious errors that are more costly.

OK that was fun. Lets do some more.

NEXT UP: A young infielder with Superpowers is called on to lead his team to the championship. But deep down he has a secret that might destroy the world: He can make the killing throwing error any time ANY PLACE!

tune in again next time.



   124. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 05, 2020 at 09:09 AM (#5992555)
That is a great fluky fluke, wow! That's 28% of his career HR in just the one season!


I got curious reading this. Maris hit 22% of his career homers in one season and the guy the Babe took the record from, Ned Williamson, his 42% of his career homers in one season.
   125. alilisd Posted: December 05, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5992584)
Long story but that's sort of at the heart of the "Ty Cobb could have hit home runs if he wanted to" claim.


Don't you mean Ichiro? ;-)
   126. alilisd Posted: December 05, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5992585)
I got curious reading this. Maris hit 22% of his career homers in one season


Well, yes, but Maris only played 12 seasons, Campaneris played 19. How about 40% for Maris in only 2 seasons, 1960-1961? :-)
   127. alilisd Posted: December 05, 2020 at 01:53 PM (#5992587)
the guy the Babe took the record from, Ned Williamson, his 42% of his career homers in one season.


One of the historians here ought to be able to address this as it was a bizarre anomaly which surely had a particular reason. Ned hit 27, Pfeffer 25, Dalrymple 22, and Anson 21, all Cubs. The Cubs also had the 6th, 7th, and tied for 9th spots on the top 10 HR list that season. Their team total was 152 (edit: typo there, it was 142), the next highest was 39, followed by 36, and 31, none of the remaining 4 teams reached 30. They had 44% of the NL Home Run total that seasons!
   128. McCoy Posted: December 05, 2020 at 01:59 PM (#5992590)
Stadium. Home field had a ridiculously short field. Up until 1884 balls hit over the fence were counted as doubles. Changed the rules and home run records were shattered.
   129. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 05, 2020 at 02:02 PM (#5992592)
Im pretty sure BIll James mentioned this in one of the books. The Gaavy Cravath situation was one thing. But I think in the CUbs case they were temporarily moved to a different park with a ridiculous dimension? Correct me if Im wrong.
   130. alilisd Posted: December 05, 2020 at 04:28 PM (#5992621)
Yes, McCoy and sunday seem to have it. The Cubs/White Stockings played in Lake Front Park II in 1883 (had been in Lake Front Park I the year before) with only 13 HR, but 277 doubles, and then in 1884 it was 142 HR with 162 doubles. The next season they were in West Side Park I and had 54 HR and 184 doubles.
   131. cardsfanboy Posted: December 06, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5992740)
Any time I see one of these graphs about percentage of playing time vs hofers(or whatever method) I want to shout, how about we look at just percentage of eligible hofers vs hofers... 10 years, not 2 full seasons, is needed to become eligible for the hof, so we need to consider how many players are making it to the minimum eligible, and even after we do that, we somewhat need to eliminate those who barely made it simply because of the "relatively" new union rules of retirement options.

Simply speaking what percentage of eligible candidates are making it in per five year stretch (not per year, you have to do a range with this)

I don't doubt that the percentage is going down, that seems pretty obvious to me, but in reality are we actually keeping out hofers or are just not enough players having hof careers??? I mean we talk about the hof all the time, and there isn't really a strong argument made for under represented players, outside of maybe from the 70's to mid 80's. (excluding those being kept out for stupid reasons like ped's)
   132. AndrewJ Posted: December 06, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5992755)
I do love [Campy's] 22 homers in 1970, though.


There was something in the water in 1970. One of the SABR annuals ran a piece in the 1990s about the number of good-but-not-great players who had their one monster season in 1970, including Campaneris, Wes Parker, Tony Taylor and Billy Grabarkewitz.
   133. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 06, 2020 at 03:37 PM (#5992790)
Egregious throwing errors continued...

JIM RAY HART. Im gonna try to do two seasons for these guys just to get more data points into the mix. Jim Ray Hart is a 22 year old rookie in '64 thrown into a full time position at 3b. He had 20 AB in '63.

The 64 pennant chase was epic of course. CIN STL and SFG are all trying to catch PHI who began a swoon on Sep 21 leading these teams by 5.5 6 and 7 games respectively. The SFG lost a double header to the lowly Colt 45s on Sep 27 which dropped them to 4.5 back and pretty much out of it. Hart hit 5 HRs in the last 13 games of the season including the first game of that DH that put the Giants up 1-0 until Staub tied it w HR the next inn.

Hart's errors seem to come in waves, like 3 in the first 3 games of the season (there seems to be more errors in early April in general) and 5 in the last 4 games. He also got bailed out by teammates on a few occasions. Alvin Dark moved Hart to RF for the first week of Sept and not sure why. Mays missed a couple games there so M ALou played CF but there's tons of guy to play OF: Duke Snider, Harvey Kuenn and Jose Cardenal are backups here! He puts Hart out there and Davenport gets to play 3b for a week. I really dunno its not like Hart was making errors there.

anyway back to highlights or rather lowlights in terms of errors:

Hart did really well, only 6 throwing errors resulting in one extra base. Basically his throws did no damage on defense.

the 65 pennant chase was also great but it was two teams SF and LA. SF had mounted a 14 game win streak to take over the lead in mid Sept up 4.5 w/ 15 games to go but LAD mounted a comeback. LA finally caught up when the Giants lost 9/26 to MIL getting the tying run to 3rd in the ninth but failed to plate him. seven to play. They lose to the Cubs next day, Ernie Banks a grand slam in the 5th. LA pull ahead on 9/28 by a game w/ 5 to play, and the next day the Giants lose an almost must win against STL to go down by two with two to play. Two days later they were eliminated down 2 w/ one to play.

This season Hart has lots more throwing errors 18 throwing errors out of 32 errors on the year. (again 6 errors in April) Despite this he managed to keep the damage down as he missed throws usually when nobody was on base (9 times actually) so those are no more damage than a normal error.

July 7 I charged him one base probably should have been two bases but backup Bob Schroder nailed Dick Groat at the plate as he tried to score. That was an OUTSTANDING GAME and primates should look that one up. This is one type of play that relates to my scoring methodology; without seeing the play it seems to me that the runner would not have tried for home unless he thought he could make it. So...perhaps Hart should be charged for nearly two bases and Schroder saves a full run with an outstanding throw.

July 27 a strange play: Flood scores AS the BATTER on a play with two errors. Im crediting Hart with two of those bases, as Im guessing the batter already got to third on Hart's throwing error (its not clear to me from game score which error resulted in two bases )

Aug 26 two errors/one game. Early in the game his throwing error results in 3 base advances, Bailey would not have scored from third as it would have been the last out so I guess Im blaming that on the error as well. One of several bad plays that lost a key game to PIT.

Finally here it is: Sep 29 vs STL, SFG down one game to LAD both teams have 5 to play (LAD had taken over first the night before with a 12th inn HR from Lou Johnson). Almost a must win. Down by one in the fifth, Hart makes a standard error on Floods GB (something like half of GB errors are committed with DP situation). Now two away, first and third and Boyer is credited as hit to third base and throwing error, Flood scores from first BOyer goes to second. Debit 2 bases (this brings up another scoring methodology issue but more later). The Cards later tack on 5 more in the 8th on a Bob Gibson GRAND SLAM to go up 8-0. But it STILL WASNT OVER... you'll have to look up the finish.

Well that pretty much killed the season. The throwing error was a huge part of that game. Totals:

Hart made 32 errors, 18 throwing errors, but this only allowed 17 base advances. So I would deduct approx 4 more def runs from Hart's totals.
   134. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 06, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5992796)
OK so what of Hart's defense vis a vis what TZ is telling us?

So Im gonna base the bulk of this on fielding range (insert mandator disclaimer here) with adjustments for DPs made/not made and the aforementioned egregious throwing errors.

1964. His range is right near average; he participated in 3 more DPs than expected. Im crediting him +1 run for that (if indeed he was the major reason for the DP, then standard Rf would be omitting the last PO from his total. Assign that PO as .5 runs). And egregious throws: zero basically. Total defense +1 run.

1965. His range is down 0.1 so Im deducting 14 hits for that, multiply by .7 and -10 runs. DPs: 5 below normal, Im deducting 1 run for that, and egregious throws: 17 bases (18 if you count that throw that nailed Groat) or 4 runs. total defense -15 runs.

What did TZ come up with? The VERY SAME ! Ha ha. Thats never happened before. I swear that came as a total shock as I didnt look at the TZ nubmers till I did mine.

NOTE: TZ uses a positional adjustment (3 runs/2 runs respectively for those years) to get that outcome. I dont like those prefer to just evaluate players vs same players at same position.

Anyhow, that was pretty funny cause my numbers dont usually come out the same. But perhaps we can gain some insight into the TZ system. I really have no idea. Im still in shock. Perhaps it was just coincidence.

   135. alilisd Posted: December 06, 2020 at 04:56 PM (#5992801)
Any time I see one of these graphs about percentage of playing time vs hofers(or whatever method) I want to shout, how about we look at just percentage of eligible hofers vs hofers... 10 years, not 2 full seasons, is needed to become eligible for the hof, so we need to consider how many players are making it to the minimum eligible, and even after we do that, we somewhat need to eliminate those who barely made it simply because of the "relatively" new union rules of retirement options.

Simply speaking what percentage of eligible candidates are making it in per five year stretch (not per year, you have to do a range with this)


I don't really have a problem with looking at it in terms of total players who have appeared in MLB. I think this really helps reflect how extraordinarily difficult it is to make the HOF, on top of how hard it is to even get to the top level of professional baseball. But it's an interesting idea, so I tried to use Stathead to get at it just for position players.

I asked for all players 10th season, and then broke that down to 19th Century players, because I just didn't want to look at the real old timers that granularly, and then by decade (beginning from 1900-1909, then 1910-1919, etc.) because I just didn't feel like looking at 5 year stretches either. I tried to rule out pitchers by asking for only non-pitchers and unchecking the Pinch Hitter/Runner box. This returned 160 players who had at least 10 seasons in the 19th Century, then by decade (meaning their 10th season falls into that decade) it is 78, 98, 109, 109, 97 (makes sense as some players would have missed 10 seasons in the 40's due to WW II), 121, 155, 220, 228, 267, 261, and finally 251 from 2010-2019.

I then asked for just HOF whose last season came during a particular decade, or the 19th Century in total, and I made a few adjustments such as moving Dan Brouthers and Jim O'Rourke from the 1900-1909 period back to the 19th Century, as they both played a few games in 1904 but had clearly retired in the 19th Century, and Hughie Jennings and Johnny Evers (both of whom came out of retirement for just a few games in the decade after they truly retired).

So as a percentage of total players with at least 10 seasons, those who made the HOF from the 19th Century is 6.9%, and then by decade after that 11.5%, 10.2%, 7.3%, 22.9% (thank you Frankie Frisch!), 13.4%, 11.6%, 5.2%, 6.4%, 4.8%, 4.9%, 5.0%, and that's the end of it for now because not all of those players who finished their careers from 2010-2019 have had a full shot at the ballot yet. Excluding the anomalous Frisch selections the 1930's would still have been high at 17.4%, but you can clearly see a big drop in the percentage of players being elected who ended their careers in the 1960's, and that has continued forward for every decade since.

Could be a backlash to Frisch as the Hall did really clamp down on the VC selections after he ran wild in the 70's. If you look back to the 1960's, there were a LOT of VC selections, and then Frisch's crew in the 70's, but that slowed down a bit in the 80's and 90's, and considerably in the 2000's. At first blush, it seems like it's probably the more marginal selections not getting in via the VC route who are being excluded, other than the obvious PED slights, as CFB mentioned.
   136. cardsfanboy Posted: December 06, 2020 at 05:04 PM (#5992804)
Thanks Alilisd....
So as a percentage of total players with at least 10 seasons, those who made the HOF from the 19th Century is 6.9%, and then by decade after that 11.5%, 10.2%, 7.3%, 22.9% (thank you Frankie Frisch!), 13.4%, 11.6%, 5.2%, 6.4%, 4.8%, 4.9%, 5.0%, and that's the end of it for now because not all of those players who finished their careers from 2010-2019 have had a full shot at the ballot yet. Excluding the anomalous Frisch selections the 1930's would still have been high at 17.4%, but you can clearly see a big drop in the percentage of players being elected who ended their careers in the 1960's, and that has continued forward for every decade since.


To me that is the strongest evidence that they are not inducting enough or adjusting their standards as the years go on, obviously you have the ped guys (and we'll have to include them in the math good or bad) and we don't have the veterans committee selections, which we will need to look at historically to figure out how many they average and make a future assumption with going forward... along with those who will still be elected who haven't been yet etc.
   137. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:01 AM (#5992850)
136: You're welcome. I hope to give it a go for pitchers if I have time, I'll post it here.
   138. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 07, 2020 at 09:19 AM (#5992861)
To me that is the strongest evidence that they are not inducting enough or adjusting their standards as the years go on

Or you could say the 5% standard is right, and the previous standard was too lax. If the standard deviation of talent has tightened, which is what most people believe, there should be fewer stars per team, and fewer scrubs, and a lot more averagish players.
   139. Howie Menckel Posted: December 07, 2020 at 11:16 AM (#5992873)
One of the SABR annuals ran a piece in the 1990s about the number of good-but-not-great players who had their one monster season in 1970, including Campaneris, Wes Parker, Tony Taylor and Billy Grabarkewitz.

Jim Hickman would have asked for a word with you, had he not died four years ago...
   140. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5992875)
If you add the PED(locks if not for ped) guys to post 135, what percentage are we looking at, that would be Bonds, Sosa, Palmiero, McGwire and Manny Ramirez off the top of my head. (not including pitchers as the list only included position players) (you can debate Manny if you want, but I think without the stain of PED potential he goes in easily enough)


Or you could say the 5% standard is right, and the previous standard was too lax. If the standard deviation of talent has tightened, which is what most people believe, there should be fewer stars per team, and fewer scrubs, and a lot more averagish players.


And that is a discussion to be had.
   141. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 12:03 PM (#5992880)
#140 - Sheffield too.

Tightening the reigns of the HOF now and making it harder to get in than ever before serves no purpose but to screw over modern players and fans. Large inductions are exciting for fans and good for the Hall's bottom line (look at the attendance figures from the past 6 induction ceremonies).
   142. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 12:05 PM (#5992881)
#140 - Sheffield too.


I debated him... not sure he's a lock though, but if you want to include him, it wouldn't bother me.
   143. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5992887)
I don't think even a PED free Sheffield would have gone first ballot, but I do suspect that he would have been in by now (this will be his 7th attempt on the ballot). His numbers are just too high to ignore, especially now that the backlog is thinning (and of course the backlog would have never been much of an issue in this hypothetical world where voters don't penalize for PED's).
   144. SoSH U at work Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:12 PM (#5992888)
,and of course the backlog would have never been much of an issue in this hypothetical world where voters don't penalize for PED's


What if a voter doesn't penalize for PEDs but does for claiming a player made errors on purpose? I know the record itself doesn't support the specifics of his statement, but I've always felt that simply suggesting it demonstrates a disregard for the game that should be difficult to live down.
   145. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:31 PM (#5992891)
#140 - Sheffield too.


I debated him... not sure he's a lock though, but if you want to include him, it wouldn't bother me.


Including Palmeiro, McGiwre, Bonds, Sosa, and Sheffield takes the 2000-2009 decade up to 6.9%, still low relative to all periods prior to the 1960's. It's always hard to predict the BBWAA vote, but I think Sheffield, if they could overlook the prickly personality, which they don't always (see K Brown and D Allen), would be impossible to hold out. Sure the defense is bad to horrendous, and he doesn't actually score well in the Ink categories, but when you start looking at career numbers he becomes pretty overwhelming. "Intangibles," subjective recognition, are pretty solid, too, with 9 All Star, 5 Silver Sluggers, a 2nd and two 3rds, along with four other down ballot MVP finishes. On the numbers side I think it would be too hard to ignore top 100 for OBP, SLG, and OPS, 39th runs, 70th hits, 35th total bases, 26th HR, 30th RBI, and 39th extra base hits to name some of the more notable.

I think the interesting thing, which would be purely speculative of course, would be the trickle down effect. What would have happened down ballot, so to speak, if the writers hadn't had such a hard on about first ballot recognition/honoring and making players spend time on the ballot to earn their due. I assume Raines and McGwire would both be off the ballot in 2011, and Palmeiro goes in first ballot the same way Murray did. Larkin goes in along with Alomar, Blyleven, and Bagwell is first ballot. Maybe McGriff and Walker are in before the tidal wave of 2013, and Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, all go in first ballot, maybe Schilling, Sosa and Biggio as well. Lofton stays on the ballot then? Do Delgado and Edmonds get extended looks?
   146. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5992894)
So as a percentage of total players with at least 10 seasons, those who made the HOF from the 19th Century is 6.9%, and then by decade after that 11.5%, 10.2%, 7.3%, 22.9% (thank you Frankie Frisch!), 13.4%, 11.6%, 5.2%, 6.4%, 4.8%, 4.9%, 5.0%, and that's the end of it for now because not all of those players who finished their careers from 2010-2019 have had a full shot at the ballot yet. Excluding the anomalous Frisch selections the 1930's would still have been high at 17.4%, but you can clearly see a big drop in the percentage of players being elected who ended their careers in the 1960's, and that has continued forward for every decade since.


I'm 46 years old, and have been a baseball fan since the early 1980s. Based on the above data, this suggests that roughly one out of every 20 players in my lifetime who have played 10+ seasons have been Hall of Famers. Does that sound about right to you? I mean, what percentage of players end of lasting 10+ years - it is the vast minority, correct? So this would be ~5% of a pretty small subset of all the players, right?

Let me ask this: What percentage of MLB players end up playing 10+ years? Is it 20% of players?

Note: A 2015 study included the following stats:
- About 23.3% of MLB players played 10+ years
- About 23.1% of MLB players play for only one season.

So if ~5% of ~23% of players end up in the Hall of Fame, that's about 1.15% of all players who appear in at least one game.

So, if you think the Hall of Fame should represent roughly the 1% best players ever, that's about what they are doing over the last 30+ years.

In 2019, for example, 1410 players appeared in a game. For 172 of them, 2019 was at least their 10th season appearing in at least one game.

So, let's say that, out of 1410 players, about 16-17 of them will end up in the Hall of Fame someday, including definitely/maybe some of these guys:

Pujols
Suzuki
Cabrera
Molina
Verlander
Kershaw
Scherzer
Sale
Trout
Stanton
Sabathia
Greinke
Cano (PEDs end his chances?)
Betts

I know I'm missing a bunch, but you could probably get to 30+ players who played in 2019 who you could see being Hall of Famers. Some will flame out, get hurt, get caught up in PEDs, etc. I also think the difference between the eventual number being, say, 5% vs 10% is the kind of standards future voters use for starting pitchers. I struggle with this.

Take a guy like Chris Sale. He'll be 32 in 2021, and he has a total of 109 wins. 7 ASGs, 7 straight top-6 CYA finishes, four straight years getting MVP support, 2000+ Ks in only 1629 IP...but unless he pitches well until he is 40 or something, how do you get a HOFer out of that?

Cole Hamels? King Felix? Will you have to win 200 games to get in? Scherzer is at 175 entering his age 36 season. Greinke is at 209, etc.

Or will the standards for pitchers likely be more along the lines of Koufax or Pedro, where inductees will tend to be more of the short career, high peak model? This is what allows Kershaw to glide in, for example.

Because forget 300 wins - the only pitchers active today with any chance of 250 would seem to be Verlander (if his TJ surgery goes well and he can come back as at 39 in 2022 and get another ~25 wins), or Greinke (208 wins). Can Scherzer win another 75 games - because he is at only 175.

   147. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:44 PM (#5992895)
#144 - Yeah, that's a tougher one. Is that common knowledge, though? Have any voters mentioned that in their articles explaining their votes?

I personally wouldn't even have remembered that if people here didn't bring it up.
   148. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5992898)
In an era where the managers have stopped caring about pitcher wins it would be really stupid for voters to use that as the basis of determining the best pitchers. Managers want pitchers who rack up strikeouts while avoiding walks. Judge the pitchers based on that criteria.

Pitcher K rank
Sabathia 3093 16th
Verlander 3013 18th
Scherzer 2784 23rd
Greinke 2689 25th
Hamels 2560 32nd
Kershaw 2526 36th
F Hernandez 2524 37th
Sale 2007 82nd

It looks like 3000K could be the new 300W or the equivalent of 3000H.


   149. SoSH U at work Posted: December 07, 2020 at 01:51 PM (#5992901)
#144 - Yeah, that's a tougher one. Is that common knowledge, though? Have any voters mentioned that in their articles explaining their votes?


I couldn't tell you. I would have a hard time voting for him, as it's not like this comment runs counter to the general sense he was a pain in the ass, that of a Dick Allen without the Sixties in Philly backdrop.
   150. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: December 07, 2020 at 02:02 PM (#5992905)
Can Scherzer win another 75 games - because he is at only 175.


Maybe Kershaw? Kershaw also has 175 and is 3 years younger than Scherzer.

   151. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 02:03 PM (#5992906)
When it comes to pitchers, there will have to be a sliding standard, and an acceptance that fewer starting pitchers as a percentage are going to be worthy. As a Cardinal fan, look at Adam Wainwright, this is the guy with the most cy young win shares to not win the award, he's 24th all time in cy young shares and will not receive more than two votes when he becomes eligible...

He's not worthy of hof status obviously, but he's indicative that the standards need to change or accept the fact that there will be a significant drop off in starting pitchers making the hall going forward. (Chris Sale will probably pass him in cy young shares with the next ballot) I can see an argument for both...The percentages that alilsd is showing, doesn't include pitchers, it's pretty obvious that pitchers important over the past two decades has diminished, so you would expect a drop in hof likelies going forward.

That is something that can't be changed, a higher reliance on no-name relievers to cover the 6th-8th innings, guys who will stick around and pitch a decade for 4 different teams, is something that is inevitable.... starting pitchers of substance will be reduced, it's not going to be a 5 man rotation for many teams, it's going to be a two man good starters, with 3 pitchers who are designed simply to get to the 5th inning for the relief core to take over (or even 3 out of 5 starts being the ways the Rays do it, with an opener to cover for the lack of quality for the third-fifth starters)

either way, the role and value of a pitcher is being diminished on an individual level.
   152. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 02:22 PM (#5992913)
For the pitchers who debuted in the 2000's, I don't think the voters will need to adjust their standards much if at all, since there's at least 5 (Sabathia, Greinke, Verlander, Kershaw, Scherzer) who have or will have traditional HOF numbers: 3000-ish innings, 3000+ k's, 200 wins, and a dominant peak (CYA or at least serious CYA contention in their best years). That's why I'm not sold yet on the idea mentioned sometimes here and elsewhere that the voters need to start including guys like Hudson and Buehrle; that argument jumps the gun by about 10 years, IMO.

For the pitchers who debuted in the 2010's however, it's looking like the voters absolutely will need to adjust their standards. 150 wins and 2500 innings might need to be seen as a long enough career if the peak is there (Sale, deGrom, maybe Kluber). Hell, if he'd debuted a decade later, maybe even Johan Santana's 139 wins and 2025 innings would warrant serious consideration with the peak he had.
   153. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 02:52 PM (#5992916)
For the pitchers who debuted in the 2010's however, it's looking like the voters absolutely will need to adjust their standards. 150 wins and 2500 innings might need to be seen as a long enough career if the peak is there (Sale, deGrom, maybe Kluber). Hell, if he'd debuted a decade later, maybe even Johan Santana's 139 wins and 2025 innings would warrant serious consideration with the peak he had.


I think the argument should be more centered on starts, not innings pitched (I get that they are tied) but you want a somewhat healthy starting pitcher for a decade plus to be in the discussion... I'm thinking the starting point will be about 300 starts, if you assume 6 innings per start that puts you at a minimum of 1800 innings. I think that is the opening salvo for starting pitchers going forward, obviously quality, peak and other factors are needed but that should be the starting point of discussion, while in the past 300 starts put you on the list, Innings pitched outside of Dean or Koufax was at least 2500 if not closer to 3000 (Halladay, and Pedro both had less then 3,000 but for the most part if you look at hof pitchers, 54 of them have over 3000 innings, that is out of what can be called 67 starters. Ultimately we (or the voters) have to decide what level of drop in longevity still constitutes a current hof pitcher.... era+ might not go up for these guys relative to other pitchers, simply because they have the disadvantage of still being expected to pitch three times through the lineup, while the game is relying on relievers who won't pitch more than one time through.

I did a small study where I examined how era has changed over the years (pretty much since 1920) from then until the mid 60's era for pitchers was pretty static... first inning the highest (not counting the ninth inning for various reasons) the second was the lowest and 3rd through 8 was pretty much the same, around the 60's the era in the 8th started to drop, and in the mid 80's era for the 7th started to drop. I did this in about 2015, and I think that if I look again, that we'll see era dropping in the 6th inning also. The point is that it's actually tougher to stand out relative to era as a starting pitcher now than it was in the day, and that we are not properly adjusting for it in assessment of the quality of a pitcher.
   154. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 02:55 PM (#5992917)
For the pitchers who debuted in the 2010's however, it's looking like the voters absolutely will need to adjust their standards. 150 wins and 2500 innings might need to be seen as a long enough career if the peak is there (Sale, deGrom, maybe Kluber). Hell, if he'd debuted a decade later, maybe even Johan Santana's 139 wins and 2025 innings would warrant serious consideration with the peak he had.


Santana deserves serious consideration regardless, his one and done was a travesty. Relative to era, Santana was Koufax.
   155. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 03:02 PM (#5992919)
RIP Dick Allen, he was mentioned in this thread, so figured it was appropriate.
   156. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 03:11 PM (#5992923)
#154 - Santana would be Koufax if you tacked on say, Curt Schilling
or Madison Bumgarner's World Series stats. It's not just regular season dominance that makes Koufax KOUFAX.
   157. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 03:33 PM (#5992928)
#154 - Santana would be Koufax if you tacked on say, Curt Schilling
or Madison Bumgarner's World Series stats. It's not just regular season dominance that makes Koufax KOUFAX.


For the record, I'm in the camp that argues that Koufax is unfairly represented by current stats, I think his dominance is diminished by the numbers etc. But if you adjust for eras, it's tough to fully deny the argument that Santana was essentially Koufax in regards to his era, obviously Pedro is the better example, but Pedro doesn't really match up as well as Santana does to Koufax.

But the point is that Koufax really only had a 5 year career, in those five years he was probably the best pitcher on the planet, at the same time Santana really had a five year peak, and relative to his league, he was the best pitcher in the AL. I'm not saying Santana is equal to Koufax, as I'm one of those guys who thinks era+ penalizes pitchers who pitch complete games, I'm just saying relative to eras, Santana was the Koufax of his era in the AL. And deserves more consideration for the hof than a one and done vote.
   158. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5992938)
For the pitchers who debuted in the 2010's however, it's looking like the voters absolutely will need to adjust their standards. 150 wins and 2500 innings might need to be seen as a long enough career if the peak is there (Sale, deGrom, maybe Kluber). Hell, if he'd debuted a decade later, maybe even Johan Santana's 139 wins and 2025 innings would warrant serious consideration with the peak he had.


I think this is where we may be heading - or, at least, this is where the HOF voters will have to make a choice. Either:

1) Lower the standards of a HOF starting pitcher to something like 150 wins with a great peak = HOFer, or

2) Acknowledge that if a pitcher throws a lot fewer innings, they are - by definition - less valuable than starting pitchers used to be. Most saber-minded baseball fans think closers are overrated, in terms of their perceived value. A big part of that is that they simply do not pitch enough to be HOF-valuable. But the same is true for starting pitchers, as well. There was a thread about Blake Snell a few weeks back where I (and others) quantified how few times Snell has pitched into the 6th inning, much less later. Last week, there was news that the Rays were open to trading Snell - but if he is only going to give you 150 innings over 28 starts or something, then he is obviously less valuable than a pitcher who could give you 32 starts and 200 innings, even if the ERA+ was somewhat lower.

I can't imagine HOF voters will one day start electing the "greatest bridge relievers ever", and it is not clear that they are about to elect a lot more closers, even. (We'll see about Billy Wagner, but he is not exactly on the doorstep.) I actually think next year's ballot, which is incredibly weak, and has both Joe Nathan and Jonathan Paplebon on it, is an interesting temperature check on the HOF's take on relievers. In the absence of quality candidates, one could imagine enough voters giving Nathan and/or Papelbon a vote to get them to 5%. I could also imagine neither of them getting anywhere near 5%, and being off the ballot without a word written about them. But if starting pitchers are pitching fewer and fewer innings, and the HOF voters are not redirecting some of their accolades to the pitchers getting those innings, then it is totally possible that a lot fewer pitchers will be getting serious consideration for the HOF over the next few decades.
   159. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:05 PM (#5992939)
For the pitchers who debuted in the 2000's, I don't think the voters will need to adjust their standards much if at all, since there's at least 5 (Sabathia, Greinke, Verlander, Kershaw, Scherzer) who have or will have traditional HOF numbers: 3000-ish innings, 3000+ k's, 200 wins, and a dominant peak (CYA or at least serious CYA contention in their best years). That's why I'm not sold yet on the idea mentioned sometimes here and elsewhere that the voters need to start including guys like Hudson and Buehrle; that argument jumps the gun by about 10 years, IMO.


I think if those pitchers are all elected it will actually reflect a change in standards, or an acceptance of a different career type than typical at least. Sabathia is the worst of the lot, in my view, but the most HOFamiest of the bunch due to his career length. He's the only one with sort of career length/bulk we've generally see in HOF pitchers: 19 seasons, nearly 3,600 IP, 251 W's puts him in the respectable category for W's. Verlander is a stud given nearly 3,000 IP in only 16 (really 14 as 2005 and 2020 are only 17 IP combined) seasons, but he's light on W's, in the Hunter/Bunning/Ford/Martinez range, and very likely done. Next year he'll be recovering from TJ surgery and it's the final year of his contract. Why not just stay home and make babies with Kate Upton? I think he should sail in, but he's more like Pedro than a traditional HOF pitcher. Greinke is similar to Verlander, he's got the IP but is really light on W's. Will he pitch beyond 2021 and build some bulk? Again, I think he's a great candidate and will likely go in, but he's going to be light on W's, and look more like Bender/Coveleski/Ford/Haines from an old school IP and W's stand point without another 3 to 4 full seasons.

Kershaw is another Pedro. He has the extraordinary, dominant peak, but he's going into a contract year already having been limited in starts and IP in each of the last 4 seasons (excepting 2020). If he could repeat his 2017-2019 over the next three seasons he'd just get to Pedro's IP and W level, but that could be a big ask given his injury history. And even if he does it reflects that adjustment, or acceptance of a different type of pitcher than is typically recognized. It's amply justified, but I think can be viewed as a shift, particularly if Verlander, Greinke, and our next candidate, Scherzer, are also elected. Scherzer is just as short on the traditional career as Kershaw. He definitely has the great peak as well, but he lost time to injury in 2019, and of course lost out on bulk in 2020. He's also four years older than Kershaw, so it will be harder to add that career length in all likelihood. Still, even with another 3 or 4 seasons of bulk he comes up looking like Kershaw/Martinez, which would be unusual if not a changing standard of acceptance.

I don't know if they will elect the Buehrle's or Hudson's going forward, but I'd certainly prefer that to them continuing to elect guys like Hoffman, Sutter, Fingers, and giving significant support to the Wagner's of the world.
   160. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:08 PM (#5992941)
I think the argument should be more centered on starts, not innings pitched (I get that they are tied) but you want a somewhat healthy starting pitcher for a decade plus to be in the discussion... I'm thinking the starting point will be about 300 starts, if you assume 6 innings per start that puts you at a minimum of 1800 innings. I think that is the opening salvo for starting pitchers going forward,


I think this sounds quite reasonable.
   161. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5992942)
RIP Dick Allen, he was mentioned in this thread, so figured it was appropriate.


Ah damnit!! A helluva player, wish he hadn't been overlooked by the Hall for all these years!!
   162. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:28 PM (#5992944)
But the point is that Koufax really only had a 5 year career, in those five years he was probably the best pitcher on the planet, at the same time Santana really had a five year peak, and relative to his league, he was the best pitcher in the AL. I'm not saying Santana is equal to Koufax, as I'm one of those guys who thinks era+ penalizes pitchers who pitch complete games, I'm just saying relative to eras, Santana was the Koufax of his era in the AL. And deserves more consideration for the hof than a one and done vote.


Totally agree on the Koufax analogy for Santana. Also, one of the things that bugs me about the Koufax worship is people who focus on his peak while ignoring his peak wasn't unique or otherworldly relative to other pitchers. Look at Robin Roberts from 1950-1955. Look at Gibson from 1965-1970. Look at Marichal from 1964-1969. And these are just contemporaries of Koufax who also had far more length to their careers. Great, but not exceptional peak, really short career, raw numbers distorted by park and era, but very HOF worthy especially, as Booey pointed out, with the post season success.
   163. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 04:42 PM (#5992948)
I actually think next year's ballot, which is incredibly weak, and has both Joe Nathan and Jonathan Paplebon on it, is an interesting temperature check on the HOF's take on relievers


This was my soapbox with Padres fans when we'd discuss Hoffman. Love him on a personal level, but not so much for the HOF. I would point out the number of one inning closers coming up with lots of saves, better ERA+ numbers, or similar enough to make them comparable. Basically saying it's a slippery slope with Fingers, Sutter, Smith, and then Hoffman going in. It opens the door to too many relievers. But then again it only does so if you use a reasonable, systematic approach to voting, which it does not seem to be the case for a large number of HOF voters :-)
   164. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 05:05 PM (#5992953)
#159 - I think that shift has already happened, at least as far as dropping the acceptable bar to 200 wins with a great peak/interesting hook rather than 250-ish (obviously it was never really 300, even for the writers). Pedro (219 wins), Smoltz (213), and Halladay (203) were all elected on the 1st ballot, and Schilling (216) looks likely to go in this cycle and would probably have already been elected if it wasn't for the "colossal d!ckweed" penalty. The win totals and peak dominance of Verlander, Greinke, Kershaw, and Scherzer will all fit in nicely with this group, and I don't see any of those 4 struggling to get the necessary support as soon as they're eligible (maaaaybe Greinke will take an extra year or 2 if he debuts with one of the others).

Beyond that though, the Sale and deGrom types are gonna have to use Koufax (165 wins), Dizzy Dean (150), and Dazzy Vance (197) as their models for BBWAA election (and even Vance had almost 3000 innings).
   165. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2020 at 05:28 PM (#5992956)
All of these pitchers are going to make David Cone look a lot better in comparison.
   166. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 05:37 PM (#5992957)
#165 - Not really, since the voters should be comparing them to their own contemporaries. They can ignore someone with Cone's numbers and still have several better 1990's pitchers to induct instead. They won't have any other options when the Sale/deGrom types hit the ballot.
   167. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 06:03 PM (#5992965)
Cone is an interesting case though. I rarely hear him mentioned as one of the biggest victims of the 1994-1995 strike, but without them he likely has 2 more 20 win seasons and tops 200 for his career. Does 200+ wins, four 20 win seasons, a CYA, a perfect game, 65-ish WAR, a 3.46 ERA (121 ERA+), leading the majors in k's 3 straight seasons, and a 2.12 ERA in 5 World Series (4 wins) look like a HOFer? Innings are still a little light for a HOF candidate of that era (sub 3000), but that's a lot closer to a typical HOF resume than I would've guessed. Looks like a slightly poor mans Halladay.
   168. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 06:54 PM (#5992970)
Totally agree on the Koufax analogy for Santana. Also, one of the things that bugs me about the Koufax worship is people who focus on his peak while ignoring his peak wasn't unique or otherworldly relative to other pitchers. Look at Robin Roberts from 1950-1955. Look at Gibson from 1965-1970. Look at Marichal from 1964-1969. And these are just contemporaries of Koufax who also had far more length to their careers. Great, but not exceptional peak, really short career, raw numbers distorted by park and era, but very HOF worthy especially, as Booey pointed out, with the post season success.


As a guy who worships and loves Gibson, the thing is that nobody who played during that time period disputes Koufax as the greatest, yes we have era+ that fixes some of the issues of the perception of the time, but even Gibson himself has basically said Koufax was the greatest, you look at the guy retiring at age 30 with a 190 era+ and you absolutely know he probably still had something in the tank etc.

Koufax has the reputation he has, because he was that dominant, whether it was park effects helping him out or whatever, the guy was genuinely perceived to be the greatest living pitcher at the time, (and unlike Nolan Ryan, he actually was that good)
   169. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 07:28 PM (#5992975)
Pedro (219 wins), Smoltz (213), and Halladay (203) were all elected on the 1st ballot, and Schilling (216) looks likely to go in this cycle and would probably have already been elected if it wasn't for the "colossal d!ckweed" penalty.


Hmmm, maybe to some extent. All three of those guys have hooks though. Pedro is Pedro, Smoltz became a Closer(!) and then went back to being a starter, Halladay got a death bump. Even Schilling benefits hugely from post season narrative. Verlander actually looks pretty horrible in the post season, Kershaw's post season struggles are well documented, although he turned it around somewhat in the WS this year, Greinke doesn't have any big post season story, Scherzer was pretty impressive in 2019. They do all have such exceptional regular season success though to make some good narrative. I see your point though.
   170. alilisd Posted: December 07, 2020 at 07:30 PM (#5992976)
As a guy who worships and loves Gibson, the thing is that nobody who played during that time period disputes Koufax as the greatest, yes we have era+ that fixes some of the issues of the perception of the time, but even Gibson himself has basically said Koufax was the greatest,


Doesn't mean he isn't overrated.
   171. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5992993)
#169 - There's a lot more that goes into "narrative" than just postseason heroics. I'd say that Kershaw, Verlander, and Scherzer are bursting with it. They dominated the leader boards in their era more than Smoltz, Schilling, or Halladay did.

CYA shares:
Kershaw - 4.58 (4th)
Verlander - 4.21 (7th)
Scherzer - 4.07 (8th)
Halladay - 3.50 (11th)
Schilling - 1.85 (27th)
Smoltz - 1.19 (54th)

Black Ink:
Verlander - 66 (16th)
Kershaw - 65 (17th)
Scherzer - 51 (28th)
Halladay - 48 (29th)
Schilling - 42 (39th)
Smoltz - 34 (50th)

Verlander - ROY, 2 CYA's (plus 3 runner ups), pitching triple crown, MVP (first starting pitcher to win since Clemens in 1986), 3000+ K's, 300 k season, 3 no hitters, 2017 WS champion, Kate Upton (probably won't mention this on his HOF plaque, but still...)

Kershaw - 3 CYA's (plus 2 runner ups), MVP (first NL starter to win since Bob Gibson in 1968), pitching triple crown, 5 ERA titles (including back to back seasons of 1.83 and 1.77), lowest career era of any starter since the deadball era, 300 k season, likely 3000+ k's, no hitter, 2020 WS champion

Scherzer - CYA in both leagues (3 total, plus a runner up), 2 no hitters, 20 k game, 300 k season, likely 3000+ k's, 2019 WS champion

Those guys have plenty of "hook". Greinke has a lot less (only 14 pts of black ink, no 20 win seasons), but he's still got a CYA and a runner up, 2 crazy low (205 and 222 ERA+) ERA titles (none of Schilling, Smoltz, or Halladay ever led the league), and he'll likely reach the 3000k milestone. Plus he helps his own cause with the gold gloves and silver sluggers.

And for the SABR crowd, Greinke, Verlander, and Kershaw already have more WAR than Smoltz or Halladay.
   172. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 07, 2020 at 09:51 PM (#5992999)

Doesn't mean he isn't overrated.


Indubitably. Whitey Ford is no one's idea of an inner circle HoF and has Koufax beat on ERA and ERA+ (as well as wins and IP) while pitching in exactly the same era, and pitching his home games on a legal mound.
   173. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 07, 2020 at 10:00 PM (#5993005)
Indubitably. Whitey Ford is no one's idea of an inner circle HoF and has Koufax beat on ERA and ERA+ (as well as wins and IP) while pitching in exactly the same era, and pitching his home games on a legal mound.

And while pitching in a weaker, less-integrated league while never having to face the team that generally had the league's best offense.

(Not saying that Koufax isn't overrated, he definitely is. He's just not the only pitcher to benefit from a favorable context.)
   174. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2020 at 10:04 PM (#5993008)
or Madison Bumgarner's World Series stats


Interesting you mention that. I'm not sure Bumgarner surpasses Jon Lester's career at this point.
   175. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 07, 2020 at 10:05 PM (#5993009)
And while pitching in a weaker, less-integrated league while never having to face the team that generally had the league's best offense.

I'm not arguing Ford was better; by the advanced stats they're effectively equal. That's my point. They're pretty much equally good, yet people will call Koufax "the greatest ever" or at least one of, while arguing if Ford really deserves to be in the HoF.
   176. Booey Posted: December 07, 2020 at 10:21 PM (#5993012)
#174 - Lester is indeed a very underrated postseason performer. If he or Bumgarner finish with borderline HOF career value, their postseason numbers would probably put them over the edge for me.

Hudson and Buehrle's regular season stats with Lester and MadBum's postseason resume? Sure, why not?
   177. taxandbeerguy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 10:37 PM (#5993016)
#152 - You definitely got the right 5.

Sabathia came the earliest, had a nice typical prime years at 25-31, won a world series, a Cy Young, lots of bulk and graceful decline. Win totals certainly helped by playing for the Yankees, but hits lots of the magic numbers, like 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts where good cause now has to shown as to "why not?" From a SABR perspective, he's over the line, not that far over the line, but far enough for those who like both peak and career, while neither stratospheric, both were sufficient. Looked like a hall of famer since maybe 2009-10 but needed until 2017-18 and the graceful decline to get all the way across.

Greinke starts next and has an unusual career. Starts off good as hotshot prospect, then declines and spends time in minors. Comes back at 23 and is solid then has a monster season for a terrible 09 Royals team that has shades of Carlton's 72. SHould be in his prime but then is just a guy for 3 years. By 28 he's got a peak season for the ages but is missing most of the shoulder seasons. Puts together two solid shoulder seasons then blows 'em all away in the unreal Cy Young race of 2015 (other than Kershaw and Arrieta and losing to Arrieta). It's only since then that he's added more peak and prime seasons as a consistent legit ace. Looked like a hall of famer as early as 2009, but it's also only been the last couple of years, where everyone's now impressed with his WAR and his non-SABR career totals are improving in retrospect.

Verlander starts out also as a hot prospect and is basically a stud from day 1, has some issues in 2008 but otherwise completely legit ace pitcher. Has an MVP season in 2011 and repeats with an almost equally good 2012. ALso has shoulder seasons by then. Had a distant shot at the inner-circle at about this time, but injuries and decline the next three years dropped him off that pace. Massive rebound in 2016 and following it up in 2017 based locked him in the Hall in my head. 2018 and 2019 are just gravy as far as moving up the all time rankings.

Kershaw - Also super hyped since day one and is the only guy on this list younger than I am. Started great, got better, won 3 Cy Youngs an MVP before he was 27. Looked to be inner-circle path. Then injuries hit, never really affecting his effectiveness all that much, but just taking away from the bulk and combined with a superlative team defense in recent years, chipping away at his value to the point that Verlander and Greinke have passed him from a bWAR perspective. Still a good shot at putting up close to 85 bWAR, but 4 or 5 years ago, he legitimately had a shot at 100 bWAR if he could avoid injuries. Hall of fame path since 2011 and crossed the line in 2017 when he played a game in his tenth year, but realistically probably got across the line in 2014-15 with his run of Cy Young's.

Scherzer - Also started in 2008 but was considerably older than Kershaw and didn't really get going until about 2012. Had his Cy Young year in 2013, and I imagine lots of people thought that was great but he still had a long way to go. Well Seven years later has kept that form shown in 2013, picked up another couple of Cy Young and probably entered the "Future Hall of Famer" status in 2018.

There's a couple other guys who fit this timeline, King Felix who started great but didn't have Sabathia's graceful decline after 30, Jon Lester who isn't really in these guys class, but isn't that far off on a season basis and has been part of some pretty great world series winning teams and Cole Hamels, who up to a couple of years ago had almost identical bWAR to Verlander and Greinke (all are 1983 birthdays) but never had the peaks that they had although there weren't any valleys either. Since that time, Verlander and Greinke have continued to be aces, whereas Hamels has been injury plagued and not quite what he used to be. David Price is another who is technically in this mix, but besides his less than stratospheric peak his shoulder seasons also vaguely resemble Greinke's early non-peak seasons with a lot of 2-4bWAR seasons. MadBum and Sale are a couple of years later although good contemporaries for most of these guys as is DeGrom.
   178. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2020 at 10:49 PM (#5993017)
I'm not arguing Ford was better; by the advanced stats they're effectively equal. That's my point. They're pretty much equally good, yet people will call Koufax "the greatest ever" or at least one of, while arguing if Ford really deserves to be in the HoF.


Koufax is great and all, but it's hard to realistically call him the greatest ever, it's more about greatest peak ever (and you can debate that, but Koufax had a five year stretch where he led the league in era every single season, led the league in wins 3 out of 5 seasons, had 100 complete games over 176 starts etc)

I'll take Maddux or Clemens over Koufax, and as a Cardinal fan Gibson also, and of course you have Randy Johnson and Cy Young, and Walter Johnson and about a dozen others.... I don't think anyone really thinks Koufax is the greatest of all time, but he is on the list of greatest peaks of all time.
   179. Howie Menckel Posted: December 07, 2020 at 11:16 PM (#5993021)
I'm not arguing Ford was better; by the advanced stats they're effectively equal.

any stat that doesn't adjust significantly for Ford not ever pitching against the NYY dynasty while ignoring that he pitched almost exclusively against whites-only hitters vs NL counterparts who faced many HOFers of color cannot properly be called "advanced."

I think "primitive" would be a better description.

:)

now, if you want to call ERA+ and such "traditional," then sure. but Ford was pitching to checkers compared to Koufax pitching to chess (while granting Koufax's enormous park advantage and even his historically dreadful batting as factors as well).
   180. baxter Posted: December 08, 2020 at 01:02 AM (#5993029)
Also, as mentioned in 179, when comparing Gibson/Koufax, Gibson was a very good hitter; Koufax a poor one.

Greinke's also a pretty good hitter (in addition to being a great fielder). A good hitting pitcher adds more value. If I remember my 1960 Jerry Casale card, all the highlights on the back were from his hitting.

I don't know if Bumgarner will bounce back; I'd like to see it (even as a somewhat Dodger fan); great to watch him pitch a big game.

With pitchers (is it more so than w/hitters?), they can adjust their style to compensate for declining skills. That (and staying healthy) is Kershaw's challenge.
   181. yest Posted: December 08, 2020 at 01:38 AM (#5993030)
The only recent era (not including 19th century) that gets shortchanged is those centered around the 60s.

They lost most of their veterans committee opportunities since 2002. First they make it impossible or essentially impossible to get elected in most years from 02 to today. Only in 12, and 15 was it really possible for them to get elected. (Either not eligible or too many hofers voting)

If the hall kept the old veterans system that was used back in 94.
If in 02 they go back to maximum one player of any era and one non player per year. There would a few more hofers from this era (assuming hodges, oliva, allen, and kaat all easily make it, And baines doesn't)
   182. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5993062)
#169 - There's a lot more that goes into "narrative" than just postseason heroics.


Yes, I acknowledged that. Just comparing other more "traditional" metrics where they differ from the "standard."
   183. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 11:19 AM (#5993064)
Greinke starts next and has an unusual career.


Yes he does. I wonder if it may hurt him with the voters who have not always shown the ability to deal with players who don't have a nice, easy to read career path.
   184. DL from MN Posted: December 08, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5993066)
Hudson and Buehrle's regular season stats with Lester and MadBum's postseason resume? Sure, why not?


That could be where Strasburg ends up.

Tim Hudson's postseason accomplishments aren't bad - above average pitching and 75 innings. Not Lester or Bumgarner but definitely a mark in his favor rather than a demerit.
   185. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5993067)
I don't think anyone really thinks Koufax is the greatest of all time, but he is on the list of greatest peaks of all time.


I posted a while back in a different thread about this exact topic. The only way you get Koufax on the list is by leaving out Deadball pitchers, which is fair, I think, and then defining it as consecutive five year peak. Many other pitchers had better peaks, but they didn't do it in five consecutive years. They may have had a down year, or an injury season mixed in, or strike seasons. Koufax 40.7 WAR, 1,377 IP, and led the league twice. Vance has a comparable period from 1924-1929 with an injury shortened 1926 breaking it up. I already mentioned Roberts, Marichal, and Gibson, but Niekro has a comparable peak from 1974-1978 with three more very good seasons preceding it. Perry from 1969-1974, Jenkins from 1968-1972 is not quite as good, but also had a 5 WAR season in 1967 and 7.7 in 1974. Seaver from 1971-1975 is comparable, and from 1967-1975 is never lower than 5!

Santana, who we've talked about already, doesn't have quite the WAR, but also didn't have quite the innings pitched either, still he led the league 3 times to Koufax's 2. Look at Verlander from 2011-2019. He has some injury shortened years in there, but healthy seasons give him a great peak while leading the league 4 times. Kershaw has a massive peak as well. Scherzer is great although less IP equates to lower WAR than Koufax.

But the guys who are really at the top are Clemens, Maddux, RJohnson, Pedro, and the best of all for peak at least would be Grove. Feller should get an honorable mention for having his peak interrupted by WW II. Remove that consecutive season constraint, and look at longer periods, and Koufax loses a lot of luster.
   186. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5993070)
With pitchers (is it more so than w/hitters?), they can adjust their style to compensate for declining skills.


I think so, definitely. A pitcher can adapt to throw more types of pitches if they're able to learn a new one. Lose 3 MPH off your fastball? Well, if you have a good changeup, you still have the contrast between a 90 MPH fastball and an 80 MPH change, just as you did from 93 to 83. Lots of ways for a pitcher to add deception and disrupt timing of hitters. But if you're a hitter and your eyesight diminishes slightly such that you can't recognize a pitch as quickly, there's no way to make up for that. If your reflexes slow slightly and you can't start your swing as quickly, there's no way to make up for that. Late, or later, developing power sometimes makes up for some decline in hitting ability, I believe, but it's definitely harder for a batter to adjust to declining skills than it is for a pitcher to adapt.
   187. Booey Posted: December 08, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5993076)
#183 - I was initially a little worried about Greinke's chances with the voters, because yeah, his career really is rather oddly shaped. I think in the end though there's just going to be too much there to ignore. He'll likely finish with 240-ish wins and well over 3000 innings, which will both be rare totals going forward. He has a good ERA and should have the 3000 k milestone. 2 seasons as the best pitcher in baseball should keep him mostly safe from the compiler label. And the hitting and fielding bonuses are just gravy. He'll also likely top 80 WAR for the SABR friendly voters, which is an ever growing number. His career is at the point where I'm finally confident he'll be a pretty easy selection (within 3 years or so of hitting the ballot, depending on who else is on it).
   188. cardsfanboy Posted: December 08, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5993088)

But the guys who are really at the top are Clemens, Maddux, RJohnson, Pedro, and the best of all for peak at least would be Grove. Feller should get an honorable mention for having his peak interrupted by WW II. Remove that consecutive season constraint, and look at longer periods, and Koufax loses a lot of luster.


I wouldn't remotely argue for Koufax over any of what I consider all time greats, such as Maddux, Clemens or Randy or even Pedro(who is in a lower tier, and yes I know I'm a minority on that, but he just doesn't have the career, in another thread we are talking about Dick Allen and a comparison list that puts him on the same level in one way with Mays, That is how I feel about Pedro, he just doesn't have the longevity or even the in season durability to be an all time top tier great)

I'll say the same thing about Koufax, he's not an all time great pitcher, he's an all time great peak. I'll be the first to argue for non-consecutive peak, and absolutely have made that argument multiple times.

But you will be hard press to find a five year consecutive peak remotely on the level of what Koufax did, which is why he is rated and regarded the way he is. I get (and again have made the argument) that consecutive peak isn't a real thing, at the same time, going in and knowing you are absolutely going to get 30+ starts, 15 complete games and a league leading era is a good thing for a team to know when they have their ace on the mound. The off years of other great pictures means you are dealing with a larger level of variance in confidence... you still trust them of course, but there is still that uncertainty (same with Kershaw in the post season, we know it's probably not true, but at the same time we are talking about a season of innings where he didn't perform to expectations)

   189. Rally Posted: December 08, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5993094)
it's definitely harder for a batter to adjust to declining skills than it is for a pitcher to adapt.


I'm not sure. Sounds good in theory but other than knuckleballers, batters or pitchers who last past 40 are extreme outliers. Nolan Ryan and Julio Franco were once teammates.
   190. cardsfanboy Posted: December 08, 2020 at 02:00 PM (#5993104)
I'm not sure. Sounds good in theory but other than knuckleballers, batters or pitchers who last past 40 are extreme outliers. Nolan Ryan and Julio Franco were once teammates.


declining skills start in the early 30s.
   191. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 02:02 PM (#5993105)

now, if you want to call ERA+ and such "traditional," then sure. but Ford was pitching to checkers compared to Koufax pitching to chess


Well, when Whitey faced the "vastly superior NL" in the World Series, he pitched even better.
   192. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 03:53 PM (#5993167)
@ 187 - Yes, I think so, too, certainly hope so anyway
   193. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 03:58 PM (#5993170)
I'm not sure. Sounds good in theory but other than knuckleballers, batters or pitchers who last past 40 are extreme outliers.


Hmm, I wasn't looking at it from that perspective. I was really thinking more about pitchers who start to lose something off their fastball in their early or mid 30's who adapt and become a different sort of pitcher still with success. Greinke, for example, doesn't throw nearly as hard now, but he's changed his repertoire and is still pretty successful. Some hitters do tend to develop more power, and maybe more patience, with age, but seems more difficult for them to adapt an approach to offset when the eyesight and/or reflexes start to go.


Nolan Ryan and Julio Franco were once teammates.


I love this!
   194. alilisd Posted: December 08, 2020 at 04:08 PM (#5993176)
But you will be hard press to find a five year consecutive peak remotely on the level of what Koufax did, which is why he is rated and regarded the way he is.


Disagree. He's on the list, but it's not that hard. This is the post I mentioned earlier in its entirety.

Let's begin by recognizing some of the assumptions used. First is that Dead Ball pitchers need to be left out because, presumably, their larger IP totals. That's fine, it is tough to compare across eras, but then it needs to be recognized that the great pitchers of the last 3 decades, roughly, need to be given some consideration for working in a 5 man rotation with vastly different bullpen usage than prior to the 1990's. In some instances I'll look at IP versus total WAR to help with this. Second, by limiting it to 5 consecutive years you ignore those pitchers who had peaks longer than that, and arbitrarily, I would say, remove pitchers who had legitimately great peaks, comparable or better peaks than Koufax, but who might have had an injury shortened season or two within those peaks, or who were hurt by strikes in 1981, 1994 and 1995. This should be considered, and I'll attempt to do so. For reference, Koufax 40.7 WAR, 1,377 IP, led the league in WAR twice.

I'll try to go more or less chronologically, and start with guys who didn't make the 40 cutoff. Then I'll discuss the more recent pitchers who deserve consideration although they don't amass the same sort of totals due to 5 man rotations and bullpen usage, before finishing with some discussion of the other pitchers who do make the 40 cutoff. Feller, IMO, deserves an Honorable Mention as he has 32.4 from 1938-1941, then a 10 in 1946, his first full year back from the war. You missed Newhouser from 1944-1949 when he had 40.9, though I could understand if you wanted to discount him for pitching some of those years against a lower level league due to the war (although maybe that is reflected in the WAR calculation already?). So there's, perhaps, two more to consider.

Vance from 1924-1928, which includes and injury shortened 1926 season of 2.5 WAR, totaled 36.6, and followed with seasons of 5.2 and 7.3. If we use 1924-1929, leaving out 1926, he'd have 40.3 in 1,359.2 IP. Spahn from 1947-1953 has 46.7 WAR. His 5 best seasons in that span are 38.1, although he threw 81 more IP, too. Pretty comparable, but maybe slightly lower peak, but a LOT more bulk to the peak as well. Although he only led the league in WAR once, he finished second 3 times in that span.

Just from Koufax's own era, and direct contemporaries we have 3 guys who should be considered, plus Roberts and Gibson who made the 40 cutoff (does this indicate an era effect which diminishes Koufax's peak? I don't know, but maybe some of the more savvy posters here could comment). You missed Niekro from 1974-1978 with 40.1 (also with 39.7 from 1975-1979); in fact, from 1971-1973 his seasons are 5, 5.4, and 4.4 (same as Koufax's 1962), so you might say his peak is from 1971-1979 totaling 62.4 and averaging 6.9, led the league twice. This is a much better peak than Koufax, IMO. Marichal just misses with 38.5 from 1963-1968, subtracting 1.8 for his off season in 1967, and then he tacks on another big season of 7.8 in 1969. This seems pretty darn comparable to Koufax, and has more bulk. Perry just misses from 1969-1974, but his best 5 in that span are 41.2, he just had an off year in 1971. From 1966-1976 he has 71.1, with the 1971 season being the only one below 5 WAR; that's a massively better and longer peak than Koufax. Jenkins is just a bit lower at 36.5 from 1968-1972, with 1967 being 5 WAR, and has another season of 7.7 in 1974, so again pretty comparable at least given the extra bulk, IMO.

Seaver, same era though not a direct contemporary, I get his 1971-1975 at 40, from 1967-1976 is never lower than 5, has two seasons of 10, and a total of 71.2, including leading the league 3 times. I'd say that is a much better peak.

Wilbur Wood had 39.1 from 1971-1975, though he only led the league once. If only someone had figured out he could be a starter sooner.

More recent pitchers who have great peaks, but don't meet the 40 in 5 seasons cutoff: Brown has 36.7 in 1,209.2 IP, led the league twice, from 1996-2000.

Schilling from 2000-2004 has 36.3, 1,121 IP. He also four 5 to 6 WAR seasons just prior to 2000, from 1996-1999 (now two of those seasons are "just" 4.9, so I'm rounding to call them 5 WAR seasons). He did not lead the league at any time from 2000-2004, but did finish second twice. Clearly Schilling's peak is lower, but this is partly due to pitcher usage as mentioned above, and then he adds so much more length to his than Koufax has. I wouldn't be quick to say Koufax has the better peak.

Santana, who I think is the 5 man rotation/Closer bullpen "era" equivalent of Koufax, has 35.6 from 2004-2008 in 1,146.2 IP, and led the league 3 times. Pretty darn comparable given differences in pitcher usage.

Kershaw from 2011-2015 is "just" 36.3, but led the league 3 times (1,128 IP), and has seasons of 5.6 and 5.8 on either side of that period (including those would be 47.7 WAR in 1,418.1 IP).

Verlander's peak is really from 2011-2019, to date, with two injury shortened seasons in the middle of it. In total it's 51.7 WAR in 1,917.2 IP, but 48.5 with 1,578 IP without those injury seasons, and led the league 4 times. Given differences in pitcher usage I'd say that's as good, if not better, than Koufax.

Scherzer's last 5 seasons have been 34.9 in 1,050.2 IP, while leading the league twice, and the 2 seasons immediately prior add another 12.1 (7 year peak of 47 in 1,485.1 IP). So a slightly lower 5 year peak, but basically due to era differences, as he also led the league in IP and GS twice, and CG three times, with more bulk, and still pitching.

Now let's look at the guys on your list who made the 40 in 5 years cut: Grove 1926-1930 = 38, 1927-1931 = 40.9, 1928-1932 = 44.7, 1929-1933 = 46. He was injured in 1934 pitching only 109.1 innings at -0.4 WAR, but 1930-1934 = 39.3. 1931-1935 = 37.3. 1932-1936 = 38.1, 1933-1937 = 38.3, 1934-1938 = 35. 1935-1939 = 42.5. 1926-1939 108.4 for an average of 7.7, no seasons below 5 besides 1934, led the league 8 times. Enough said.

Roberts 42.6 from 1950-1954 in 1,632.2 IP. I'd say he's the only guy on the list you might say Koufax stacks up to.

Gibson 42.5, led league 3 times from 1968-1972. He also had 3 straight seasons of 6 from 1964-1966 while being injured in 1967, which would be a 9 year run of 63.4, averaging 7 per season. Clearly better than Koufax.

Clemens 1986-1990 = 41.4, 1987-1991 = 40.5, 1988-1992 = 39.9. 1986-1998 = 96.3 for an average of 7.4 (only 1993 and 1995 below 5 WAR), led the league 6 times in that span. Clearly better than Koufax.

Maddux 1992-1996 = 40.3, 1993-1997 = 39, 1994-1998 = 39.8, 1995-1999 = 34.5 (he had a down year in 1999), but 1995 was a strike year, and he led the league in WAR, as well as 1992 and 1994. Total from 1992-2000 is 64.4, an average of 7.2, and only one season below 5, the aforementioned 1999 of 3.2. Clearly better than Koufax.

Big Unit 43.8 from 1998-2002, and led the league 4 times. 2001-2005 36.7 in 1,095.7 IP. He was hurt in 2003, but led the league in 2004. 1997-2005, leaving out the injury season, he has 66, average of 8.2 in 1,958.2 IP while leading the league 5 times. If insisting on consecutive years, 1997-2002 51.8 for a 6 year peak, average of 8.6 in 1,487.1 IP. Clearly better than Koufax.

Pedro 1997-2001 = 42.8, 1998-2002 = 40.3, 1999-2003 = 41.1, and 1997-2005 69.7, average of 7.7 in 1,842 IP, led the league 3 times in the 1997-2001 period (also has a second and 2 third place finishes between 1997-2005). Clearly better than Koufax.

Sure, you can put Koufax on a short list if you define it closely as a consecutive 5 year peak with at least 40 WAR from 1920 forward (I think your list of 8 is short, and should be 12 with Feller, Newhouser, Seaver, and Niekro added, or at least the latter 3), but it's also clear that if you look beyond 5 years, nearly everyone on your list is better than Koufax, as are Seaver and Niekro.

Wes Ferrell makes an interesting footnote. He suffered 2 injury shortened years in the middle of his peak, but has 36.4 from 1930-32 plus 1935-36, and if you add his offensive WAR to the 36.4, he ends up with 43.3. He also had 6 WAR season in 1929. Thanks for engendering this search! It included lots of other names (I just did 5 WAR seasons from 1920 forward sorted by Name) who were really interesting, guys I'd never heard of who had quite nice, short peaks of 3-4 years, other names I was familiar with where it was fun to review and reminisce on. Super fun to look through!
   195. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 08, 2020 at 07:08 PM (#5993221)
Well, when Whitey faced the "vastly superior NL" in the World Series, he pitched even better.

Arguably. His ERA is 4 points lower; his RA is the same. If you adjust for the fact that Ford tended to be a better pitcher in the years the Yankees made the Series (by removing his regular season starts in '54, '59, and '65-'67 from his career totals), then his RA and ERA numbers get infinitesimally worse in the Series, though his FIP components are uniformly better.

This is kind of turning into the argument from the Andy Pettitte thread again though. Ford was good in the regular season, he was good in the playoffs. He belongs in the Hall of Fame; he isn't generally regarded as Koufax's equal because Koufax's value is more peaky. Both Ford and Koufax benefited from context in various ways. (Unmentioned as yet, Ford under Casey Stengel had comparatively limited workloads, only exceeding 30 regular season starts once through 1960. On the other hand, Ford also served in Korea for two years and missed out on a healthy chunk of value as a result.)
   196. sgt23 Posted: December 09, 2020 at 01:06 AM (#5993268)
I'm so sick at my stomach of writers dissing on Andruw Jones. He is better than half the players that are getting more votes that him.
   197. EddieA Posted: December 12, 2020 at 01:45 PM (#5993802)
As this apparently became the current year, HOF ballot discussion thread.

I voted for Andruw Jones because of the high peak extraordinary defense. He was a true superstar. Too bad he didn't last past 30.

I voted for Sammy Sosa because I think anybody whose picture is on the baseball-reference single season hr leader page most often and more often than Babe Ruth's is a HOFer. So, because home runs.

I did not vote for Bobby Abreu because there was no real superstar hitting peak. His consistently very good counting stats came in an era when they relatively easy to come by compared with other eras. If he had kept his defense at the high level he had ages 24-26, he would have been a no brainer - or if he had kept his 130+ OPS+s into his 30s - or had any monster seasons.
   198. alilisd Posted: December 12, 2020 at 05:22 PM (#5993822)
As this apparently became the current year, HOF ballot discussion thread.

I did not vote for Bobby Abreu ...


This is interesting because I've found myself thinking I wish there had been one, although it's not necessary as it's not HOM so just for fun. But when one person in the HOF voting thread said,

Small-Hall guy here.

Abreu gets my vote


I was thinking, wow, that's really inconsistent. Absolutely nothing wrong with voting for Abreu, but I don't think you can call yourself small hall if you do. He's definitely a medium Hall selection at best. Low-ish peak (5 seasons in top 10 for WAR but "only" 7th, 9th, 10th, 10th, 8th, black ink 8, grey ink 88; still WAR7 shows him with an average HOF RF "peak"), but long, healthy career (82nd all time in PA's) gives some good counting stats, and average HOF Standards. JAWS has him fitting right in with Winfield and Guerrero, although outwardly their careers look quite different. JAWS also has him fitting right in with Sheffield and Sosa, as well as Bobby Bonds, Reggie Smith, Ichiro, and Dwight Evans.
   199. bachslunch Posted: December 12, 2020 at 06:02 PM (#5993829)
There's no Thibs Tracker thread up yet, but this seems likely on-topic.

It's very early yet, but after 34 ballots, we're on track to have no one elected as of now:

Barry Bonds 67.6%
Roger Clemens 67.6%
Curt Schilling 67.6%
Scott Rolen 61.8%
Omar Vizquel 55.9%
Todd Helton 52.9%
Manny Ramirez 47.1%
Billy Wagner 38.2%
Gary Sheffield 32.4%
Andruw Jones 29.4%
Andy Pettitte 26.5%
Sammy Sosa 20.6%
Bobby Abreu 17.6%
Torii Hunter 11.8%
Jeff Kent 8.8%
Tim Hudson 5.9%
Mark Buehrle 5.9%
Aramis Ramirez 2.9%
Shane Victorino 0.0%
A.J. Burnett 0.0%
Barry Zito 0.0%
Nick Swisher 0.0%
Dan Haren 0.0%
Michael Cuddyer 0.0%
LaTroy Hawkins 0.0%

We'll see if that holds up, but Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling are leading the pack with 67.6%. Usually by now, we see the leaders notably over the 75% threshold and falling back some. It's surprisingly early for everyone to be below water.
   200. John DiFool2 Posted: December 12, 2020 at 06:08 PM (#5993830)
I'm so sick at my stomach of writers dissing on Andruw Jones. He is better than half the players that are getting more votes that him.


I still can't pull the lever on him because (as this and other threads have indicated) the error bars on his D are simply too wide. Yeah, on average (of all of the relevant metrics), he would seem to squeak over the line [thus making him borderline anyway]. But if there is a 33% chance his D wasn't nearly as valuable as advertised, he slips clearly below the line. So I thus can't be sure, they can't be sure, and neither can you. [certain in my uncertainty] Once he's in, he's in--if we find out via some superduper advanced metrics 30 years from now that he wasn't quite all that, we can't very well drag him and his plaque back out of the Hall.
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