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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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   401. Booey Posted: December 24, 2020 at 05:41 PM (#5995885)
Flip
   402. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 25, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5995995)
GuyM in 394 and 399:

But the positional adjustment is there for a reason....


Clearly there is not just a single dimension to fielding skill.


Asking anyone, not doubting GuyM or anyone: When it comes to the positional adjustment, for center fielders we're really separating them from other players because of range, correct? Sure, it can happen, but we don't typically talk about any outfield position player in terms of his glove work, like saying Hicks is in center because he's got a better glove than Judge who then goes to right. Arm, maybe some, but most of that focus seems to be on right fielders.
   403. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 26, 2020 at 10:57 AM (#5996019)
Asking anyone, not doubting GuyM or anyone: When it comes to the positional adjustment, for center fielders we're really separating them from other players because of range, correct? Sure, it can happen, but we don't typically talk about any outfield position player in terms of his glove work, like saying Hicks is in center because he's got a better glove than Judge who then goes to right. Arm, maybe some, but most of that focus seems to be on right fielders.

People who know WAR better than I do can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the position adjustment is based on composite RField difference from people who play multiple positions in a single season - which is to say, it should be based on both range and arm in the outfield positions. Range is likely to be the bigger factor, though.
   404. GuyM Posted: December 26, 2020 at 11:31 AM (#5996025)
402: Yes, the main reason for the adjustment is that CFs have more range on average. You can see that confirmed by looking at Statcast data, which does not include any position adjustment -- it just measures how much time and distance fielders had to reach balls. Of the 20 top OF over the past 4 years, 17 are CF (the other 3 are Betts, Heyward, and Bourjos). In contrast, only 2 of the bottom 20 played mainly in CF (Jay, McCutchen) and neither still play the position. On average, CF are about 5 plays/season better than a RF, and 9 plays better than the average LF. I don't know for how many years it's been true, but MLB teams today clearly put much better fielders (not just arms) in RF than LF. I believe RFs hit a little better too, suggesting that LF is the corner OF spot that you put good hitters who are older and/or inferior athletes.
   405. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 26, 2020 at 11:32 PM (#5996091)
Thanks Eric J and GuyM.

On average, CF are about 5 plays/season better than a RF, and 9 plays better than the average LF.


Without poking around right now, I'd guess in most stadiums left field is typically larger than right field (Fenway excepted, of course) just because there are more RHB. If so, I wonder if that contributes to why CF are so much better than LF than RF.
   406. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2020 at 09:13 AM (#5996100)
Teams like arms in RF. LF is where noodled armed speedy players and slugging statues get stashed.
   407. EddieA Posted: December 27, 2020 at 12:00 PM (#5996107)
Teams like arms in RF. LF is where noodled armed speedy players and slugging statues get stashed.


There you go. Bonds, Henderson, Brock, Raines, Wilson shouldn't be described as inferior athletes.
   408. GuyM Posted: December 27, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5996123)
Bonds, Henderson, Brock, Raines, Wilson shouldn't be described as inferior athletes.

A description of an entire position obviously doesn't apply to every single players who has been positioned there. And in any case, the data I cited on LFs having less range than RFs applies only to the past 4-5 years. I have no reason to think this has been true historically, though that's an interesting question.
   409. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2020 at 07:45 PM (#5996167)
Hell, nowadays you can be somewhat noodle armed and play center. Bonds would have been a CFer for a long time during the era of now.
   410. EddieA Posted: December 27, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5996174)
Was there a different reason Bonds was moved from center? His CF stats are good. Van Slyke's weren't that much better.

Looking up these athletic leftfielders was interesting.

Brock was moved from center because he was bad. He didn't get better.
Raines never got good.
Henderson was great.
Wilson was great in left and got moved to center, where he was still ok.
Lonnie Smith got pretty good in left from pure athleticism.
Ron Gant was moved to left because he couldn't defend in the infield or centerfield and he got pretty good in left.
   411. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 27, 2020 at 10:46 PM (#5996182)
[409] That’s been true for a while, Juan Pierre had the worst arm I can remember and he played center field for many years.
   412. SoSH U at work Posted: December 27, 2020 at 11:08 PM (#5996184)
[409] That’s been true for a while, Juan Pierre had the worst arm I can remember and he played center field for many years.


Pierre's arm was about on par with Bernie Williams' and definitely better than Johnny Damon's. I don't think a weak arm has ever been a dealbreaker for a center fielder if he could go get it.

Of those guys, Henderson was great.


Rickey could have played center, but there was no shame in not displacing Dwayne Murphy in center.

   413. Rally Posted: December 28, 2020 at 08:25 AM (#5996193)
Was there a different reason Bonds was moved from center? His CF stats are good. Van Slyke's weren't that much better.


Andy's the reason. He was as good as Bonds in range and had a much better arm. At the time the switch was made, May 1987, Bonds was a second year player and Andy was a bit more established. So there was no chance Bonds was going to pull a Jeter and ego-block the move.
   414. McCoy Posted: December 28, 2020 at 08:34 AM (#5996194)
Re 411. Yes I've been saying Barry would be playing center nowadays for 20 odd years.
   415. Ron J Posted: December 28, 2020 at 04:25 PM (#5996274)
#413 And there was never any real consideration of rearranging positions in the OF considering the arm strength of Bonilla (and Wilson before Bonilla took over in RF). Reynolds, fine. He didn't have a great arm but there's no way Wilson would have played any position but right and Bonilla's arm would have been wasted in LF.

Basically the Pirates had two guys with plus RF arms, two guys with the range for CF and one guy who didn't throw well. The alignment of that talent was always pretty obvious.

Then he move to SF and they had a young Darren Lewis. By the time he was gone the had a young Marvin Benard. Again, given the people who were going to play, the alignment pretty much chose itself.

Oh it would never have been a surprise if the Giants had picked up a LF who could hit and moved Bonds to CF but Bonds may actually have been better served by being in LF. The Sid Bream play notwithstanding, people didn't run much (or with any particular success) on him in LF -- at least not in his defensive prime.

   416. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 28, 2020 at 08:46 PM (#5996302)
So there was no chance Bonds was going to pull a Jeter and ego-block the move.


As far as I'm aware, Jeter was never asked to move off shortstop. And if he were going to volunteer, I've got to think the only other viable positions on the field with his skills would have been 2B or CF, where NY already had Soriano and Bernie. Considering the age difference—Jeter 30, Williams 35—I could see putting Jeter in CF, but I don't know what NY then does with Williams. DH, I guess. It's all a little tougher for NY since ARod was acquired at the beginning of spring training, when offseason roster moves are generally done. All in all, though, it's never been clear to me that Jeter made some bad decision when NY traded for ARod. That's not to say ARod wasn't a better shortstop, just I have trouble seeing what Jeter or the front office should have done differently.
   417. Rally Posted: December 28, 2020 at 08:51 PM (#5996303)
At the specific time where a move off SS would have been feasible, Soriano was not blocking Jeter from 2B. He was part of the trade to bring over A-Rod.
   418. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 28, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5996304)
At the specific time where a move off SS would have been feasible, Soriano was not blocking Jeter from 2B. He was part of the trade to bring over A-Rod.


Yep, my mistake while looking back at the NY rosters. Still, from an SI article, here's how it went down from NY's perspective:

After the Boston talks [to trade for ARod] died, [Tom] Hicks had given Rodriguez a let's-make-up bouquet: On Jan. 25 he named A-Rod captain and promised a long-term relationship. It lasted three weeks. On Feb. 8 Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, called Yankees general manager Brian Cashman about another client, free-agent first baseman Travis Lee. Cashman mentioned how much trouble he was having trying to replace Boone. He had failed to get Adrian Beltre from the Los Angeles Dodgers, for instance. Then it hit Boras: Why not Rodriguez? A Mets fan growing up, Rodriguez had always wanted to play in New York. Boras made a joke about it to Cashman to plant the seed of an idea, then immediately called Rodriguez.

"You'd have to decide what the [shortstop] position means to you," Boras told him, "and understand what you'd be giving up for a chance to win. Think about it."

Rodriguez called Boras back the next day and said, "Let's do it."


NY had no thought of moving Jeter and got ARod to play third, so it's just never come across to me as Jeter's ego being the problem here.
   419. Howie Menckel Posted: December 28, 2020 at 09:37 PM (#5996306)
well, if a diva isn't asked to play a different role in a performance because of the arrival of a younger, more talented ingenue, does that mean the diva doesn't have an ego problem?

I guess that's one interpretation.

but I can think of others.
   420. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 29, 2020 at 12:19 AM (#5996327)
well, if a diva isn't asked to play a different role in a performance because of the arrival of a younger, more talented ingenue, does that mean the diva doesn't have an ego problem?


I haven't said Jeter didn't have a big ego, but the above to me would suggest a greater problem with Cashman, and it's hard to imagine he'd last so long as GM of the Yankees if taking charge were an issue. If there were an exchange like this

Cashman: "Hey, Derek. Good news, we traded for ARod to play third."

Jeter: "You know, I could play second if you want to put him at short."

all indications are this would have helped the team. But I just don't know why we'd expect Jeter (or pretty much any player) to respond that way. Maybe it's happened, but I can't think of a similar act of volunteerism from any player that compelled a team to change its plans after a trade.
   421. Howie Menckel Posted: December 29, 2020 at 12:30 AM (#5996330)
if Cashman "took charge" of trying to move Jeter, THAT is why he wouldn't have lasted so long.

#knowhentoholdemknowwhentofoldem
   422. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:08 AM (#5996337)
And yet, when Jeter was a free agent in 2010:

In the middle of contentious contract negotiations with Derek Jeter in 2010, Yankee GM Brian Cashman told the pinstriped icon that he would prefer to have Troy Tulowitzki playing shortstop the next season, according to a new Sports Illustrated profile of Cashman.

The story, written by S.L. Price, says that in one of their final face-to-face meetings, Jeter asked the GM, "Who would you rather have playing shortstop this year than me?"

Cashman replied, "Do you really want me to answer that?" Given the go-ahead, Cashman named Tulowitzki, then a star with the Colorado Rockies, and was prepared to rattle off a list of others, the story said. Cashman also added, "We're not paying extra money for popularity. We're paying for performance."


Yankees Gm Brian Cashman Told Derek Jeter in 2010 That He’d Rather Have Troy Tulowitzki at Short

Or a few years before:

The dinner with Jeter before the 2008 season was, Brian Cashman says now, "no big deal." But how effortless could it have been to tell one of the great players in team history he was deficient in one area of the game? Especially with Jeter's contract expiring in three years and speculation already percolating that most popular Yankee one day might have to shift to the outfield.

It was already a tumultuous off-season for the Yankees with Joe Torre recently departing as manager. But when Cashman and Jeter sat down at an Upper East Side restaurant, the GM found a willing worker. Jeter, whom Joe Girardi describes as a master at self-evaluation, understood. He wanted to find a way to improve defensively, too.

"Like with every player, you have a strategy about how you attack areas of perceived weakness," Cashman says. "I talked to him specifically about lateral range and improving quickness to the left and right. It was an area of assessment that our manager, coaching staff, scouts, previous regime, all had identified."


Through Hard Work and Lots of Listening, Yankees' Derek Jeter Is Turning Back the Clock at Short

Bring some evidence that Cashman cowering to Jeter or anyone is why he's lasted. This is the same guy who sat on the dais as the team introduced free-agent signing Rafael Soriano, against his recommendation, and said,

“I didn’t recommend it just because I just didn’t think it was an efficient way to allocate the remaining resources we had,” Cashman told reporters. “We had a lot of debate about it. Like everything on the free-agent market and trade market, you discuss it, make your recommendations to ownership, and they choose what direction they prefer to go given the circumstances.


Cashman Explains Stance as Yanks Introduce Soriano

The same guy who on the radio told ARod to "Shut the [eff] up."

All signs are Jeter had ample ego a a player, but Cashman's no coward, and from everything I've ever read that's why he's lasted.
   423. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 31, 2020 at 11:37 PM (#5996964)
Keith Law over at The Athletic bolstered his case for Andruw Jones with the rarely used contributions to the game angle, bringing up something I'd never heard mentioned with Jones:

The second [reason for my Jones vote] is Jones’ outsized impact on the game beyond his own play. MLB has benefited from a wave of extremely talented players from Curaçao, where Jones was born, and the neighboring island of Aruba, both of which are constituent countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Jones was the prime mover behind this explosion. Kenley Jansen, Jonathan Schoop and Ozzie Albies all credit Jones with inspiring or mentoring them as youth players or prospects, and if you watched any Little League World Series games with Curaçao involved in the years after Jones appeared in the 1996 World Series, every kid’s favorite player was … Andruw Jones. The post-Andruw player boom from Curaçao and Aruba also includes Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius (born in the Netherlands but raised in Curaçao), Jurickson Profar and Jair Jurrjens, among others, and the stream of talent hasn’t stopped. One star player can influence a whole country, and in this case, Andruw Jones’ impact on MLB has gone well beyond what he did on the field for Atlanta.


Paywall, of course: Our 2021 MLB Hall of Fame Ballots: The Athletic’s Voters Share Their Picks
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