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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Lou Whitaker snubbed from the Hall of Fame again

Long time Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker has long been one of baseball history’s most underrated players. He and Hall of Fame shortstop Alan Trammell formed one of the best up-the-middle combos ever, teammates since Whitaker’s debut in 1977 to his final year in 1995.

Trammell is actually a great jumping-off point to support Whitaker’s candidacy. Here are their career counting stats:

Whitaker: .276/.363/.426, 420 doubles, 65 triples, 244 homers, 1084 RBI, 1386 runs, 143 stolen bases, 1197 walks (9967 plate appearances)
Trammell: .285/.352/.415, 415 doubles, 55 triples, 185 homers, 1003 RBI, 1231 runs, 236 stolen bases, 850 walks (9376 plate appearances)

Whitaker also had slightly more Wins Above Replacement over his career according to Baseball Reference, besting Trammell 75.1 to 70.7. FanGraphs’ version of WAR puts both players slightly lower but with Whitaker still in the lead, 68.1 to 63.7.

On the bright side, this does give us an idea as for who to campaign for in three years’ time, particularly given the nature of who was inducted this time around.

 

QLE Posted: December 08, 2019 at 11:26 PM | 150 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, lou whitaker

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   1. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: December 09, 2019 at 08:25 AM (#5906974)
The Hall gave this explanation this morning:

"Sorry, although Whitaker was probably better than Trammell (and Sandberg, for that matter), we can't let him into the Hall of Fame, 'cuz he's like black and stuff. Also, he played for Detroit, which is filled with scary black people, and Whitaker is like black and stuff. Also, we hate the Tigers organization and their fans with the fire of a thousand suns. Did we mention Whitaker is black?"
   2. The Duke Posted: December 09, 2019 at 08:43 AM (#5906979)
I’m not sure this is a snub. It’s possible the vets committees are teeing people up for the next group. It’s hard for this structure to ever elect more than two so it will be interesting to see how they handle Evans, Garvey, Parker and Whitaker next time. I would say Evans will go in next time and one of the other three will get close.

If Evans goes in that will be good for Whitaker as it will be recognition of similar skill sets.

I’m torn on Parker. He has a Sandy Koufax kind of case. He was simply an awesome player for about 5 years and then nothing. But he did ultimately compile some good numbers. If I had to pick him or Garvey, Parker would win every time.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 08:58 AM (#5906981)
"Sorry, although Whitaker was probably better than Trammell (and Sandberg, for that matter), we can't let him into the Hall of Fame, 'cuz he's like black and stuff. Also, he played for Detroit, which is filled with scary black people, and Whitaker is like black and stuff. Also, we hate the Tigers organization and their fans with the fire of a thousand suns. Did we mention Whitaker is black?"

Not a good look: accusing a bunch of people you've never met of being racists.
   4. Rally Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:32 AM (#5906990)
I’m torn on Parker. He has a Sandy Koufax kind of case. He was simply an awesome player for about 5 years and then nothing.


He was a great player for a short time, but nowhere near worth comparing to Koufax. Koufax had a short peak that puts him on a small list of best pitcher ever (for peak consideration only). Parker is a right fielder who for 5 years had a 147 OPS+, and was a good defender during that time.

Another Pittsburgh outfielder, Brian Giles, had a 157 OPS+ for a 5 year stretch. Of course single dot is going to show up on this thread and claim Giles was nowhere close to Parker because he spent so much time unathletically drawing walks. But for athletic accomplishments, Giles had 4 years in a row with 35 to 39 homers. Parker topped out at 30 in his peak years.

Some other guys who had as good or better peaks as Parker are Darryl Strawberry, George Foster (almost at the exact same time), Pedro Guerrero, Kevin Mitchell, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, and Jose Bautista.
   5. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5906992)
I’m torn on Parker. He has a Sandy Koufax kind of case. He was simply an awesome player for about 5 years and then nothing.


Not as awesome as another Pirate OF who got 0 votes from the BBWAA and will never appear on a vet ballot.

Dave Parker 1975-1979: .321/.377/.532 147 OPS+ 3200 PA

Brian Giles 1999-2003: .307/.426/.588 157 OPS+ 3200 PA
   6. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5906993)
Curse you rally
   7. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5906996)
Not a good look: accusing a bunch of people you've never met of being racists.


You're right. Only Democrats are allowed to do that.
   8. rr: calming the thread down with my arms Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5906999)
7-
There is an off-site OTP thread where the yappy lefties like me and the aggrieved righties like you are both welcome. I get that you are all goth and emo and stuff about 2020 US politics, but you need to take your shitt there and keep it there.
   9. rr: calming the thread down with my arms Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5907000)
As to Whitaker, I think he eventually gets in.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5907002)
You're right. Only Democrats are allowed to do that.

Cause I'm know to be the wokest of the woke, right? LMFAO.
   11. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:12 AM (#5907012)
I think what really hurts Lou is that he got tabbed with a not-altogether-undeserved reputation as a platoon player... By age 27 - Sparky was constantly sitting him against LHPs for the likes of Tom Brookens, Doug Flynn, and Jim Walewander.

To be fair, he was pretty bad against LHP - but I think Sparky played as much a role in torpedoing his HoF case as anyone... His short-side platoon mates hardly lit the world on fire and Lou's glove was more than sufficient to have kept him in the lineup.

His slash line probably loses a notch, but it becomes trivia that he had really pronounced platoon splits rather than the excuse that exists...
   12. JRVJ Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5907017)
Anybody who's read about the Veterans Committee in the past knows that the math is complicated for getting players in (read Posnanski, Joe's take on this from 2014).

Having said that, the Modern Era committee has inducted two players in the 2018 cycle (Morris & Trammell) and an executive and a player in the 2020 cycle (Morris and Simmons). That's actually not bad at all.

The question now is if anybody is well positioned for the next iteration. Dwight Evans seems to be in the best of shapes for that next round (in 3 years time), though I could see Whitaker getting close if the same candidates remain on the ballot and a big push is made by Morris and Trammell.
   13. alilisd Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5907022)
Hate the deification of Koufax. He had a great, and short, peak, but nowhere near the level which would put him in the greatest ever discussion. Looking at WAR 7 and removing all the 19th century pitchers in front of him gets him to around 30th. He has 46 for said WAR 7, and there are plenty of guys over 60 in front of him , several above 70, and Johnson clearly leading the pack above 80. His stadium and era grossly distort his raw numbers, and even with ample postseason credit he doesn’t measure up to the very top guys
   14. Greg Pope Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5907023)
I could see Whitaker getting close if the same candidates remain on the ballot

Isn't this kind of a problem? It seems like these committees will just put the same people on the ballot and eventually they'll all get in.
   15. cookiedabookie Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5907024)
Honestly, I'm not sure why the Era Committees don't just go to a Yes/No vote. No ballot limit, just answer the question of if each player belongs in the HoF with Yes or No. 75% gets you in. What's the worst thing that could happen? 4-5 guys get elected? Even Garvey, the worst guy on the ballot, wouldn't be the worst guy in the Hall.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5907029)
the Modern Era committee has inducted two players in the 2018 cycle (Morris & Trammell) and an executive and a player in the 2020 cycle (Morris and Simmons)
OK, maaaaaybe electing Jack Morris once could be seen as something other than a giant F You to the stats geeks. But the second time??
   17. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5907032)
What's the worst thing that could happen? 4-5 guys get elected? Even Garvey, the worst guy on the ballot, wouldn't be the worst guy in the Hall.


The Hall needs to balance how many people get elected. They want to stay in the news cycle, they want big turnouts for induction weekend ... but they also don't want to diminish the honor. Or at least shouldn't want to.
   18. The Duke Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5907044)
There’s no world where Brian Giles equates to Dave Parker except in green eye shade world. Parker was considered the best player in the game by many people during his run - I’m sure The different eras had something to do with the math.
   19. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:36 AM (#5907048)
Parker was considered the best player in the game by many people during his run -


In 1969, Joe DiMaggio was considered the "Greatest Living Ballplayer". Doesn't mean it was true. I'm sure you can find a lot of people who considered Jeter the best player in the game .
   20. Qufini Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5907051)
What era is up next year? If it's Today's Game, I like the chances for McGriff and Walker (assuming he falls short this year).
   21. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5907052)
Ah Brian Giles, once perennially baseball's "most underrated player."

So this is an example where I might agree with SBB's point about the legacy value of different performances. Giles was probably a better hitter than Parker - I think we can trust that our adjusted numbers are capable of making this distinction. Parker was more prominent, for several reasons, and one of them was that he was a high-AVG hitter. He led the league in both AVG and SLG, in H and RBI. Giles never did, but he led once in BB.

I would rather have the HOF honor Parker - a legitimate star - than Giles.

Now I don't mean that BBs should actually be worth less for HOF accounting than they are in real life. To the contrary, if there were a strange player whose entire candidacy relied upon a phenomenal BB ability, I'd be happy to reward him extra for the memorable and unusual shape of his performance.

I just believe that the opinions of the time - even if they were flawed - deserve some weight.
   22. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5907053)
I think what really hurts Lou is that he got tabbed with a not-altogether-undeserved reputation as a platoon player...


I think the bigger problem is that he didn't have anything approaching a peak. He got MVP votes in exactly one season of his entire career. In terms of WAR, he cleared 6 WAR in two seasons - eight years apart. He led the league in one offensive category - games played in the strike season of 1981.
   23. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5907056)
I find it hard to call it a "snub". We're seeing the absolute best HOF support that Lou has ever received.

This is a step in the right direction.

Ted Simmons credited statistical analysis with helping him be elected.

Lou is our next Simmons or Blyleven. Get to work.
   24. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5907057)
No peak and no flash. Whitaker, like his contemporary Bobby Grich, was a generalist. He wasn't a .300 hitter, he wasn't a slugger, he wasn't a flashy glove man (though very good of course). He didn't have a hook. Guys like that typically get a bit of a short shrift when it comes to the Hall and awards in general.
   25. JJ1986 Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5907059)
I do think Giles (who was never really one of the few best players in baseball) isn't a great comp for what people think Parker was, but there are a ton of guys who were superstars for a bit and hit as well as Dave did with similar career numbers. Strawberry was the first one to come to mind. Juan Gonzalez is probably a good comp for Parker. Will Clark was better. Ryan Braun probably won't make the Hall for other reasons, but he was better.
   26. The Duke Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5907063)
I’m not saying it was true but you really can’t compare Giles and Parker in terms of “fame”. Parker has an “X” factor.

In looking At the all time hits leaders it looks to me that 2750 hits is the de facto cut off for automatic entry. Everyone above that line is either in or will be in or has A PED/gambling issue. It explains in large part why Vizquel is doing well and will certainly get in either via the writers or the vets.

2750 and below starts to require a narrative or other stats or position adjustments.

I will be fascinated to see what happens if nick markakis hangs around long enough to get over 2750, or even better, 3000. Joey Votto and Molina will creep over 2000 this year and Cano and Braun have PED issues.

If you go lower, it looks like about half the crowd between 2250 and 2750 are getting in. Pretty interesting that the rate of hall admission is still so high at these levels.
   27. JJ1986 Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5907064)
Everyone above that line is either in or will be in or has A PED/gambling issue.
Or is Johnny Damon.
   28. ajnrules Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5907065)
What era is up next year? If it's Today's Game, I like the chances for McGriff and Walker (assuming he falls short this year).


Next year would be a double dip with Golden Days (1950-1969) and Early Baseball (before 1949), two groups whose predecessors did not vote anybody in the last time they met.

And when Today's Game meets again in two years, McGriff and Larry Walker would have to deal with Bruce Bochy and his three World Series titles.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5907067)
I think Allen goes in the next time the Golden Days committee meets.
   30. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5907069)
What era is up next year? If it's Today's Game, I like the chances for McGriff and Walker (assuming he falls short this year).


You're going to be a sad boy when you wake up Christmas morning and learn they elected Steinbrenner and Hershiser.
   31. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5907071)
I’m not saying it was true but you really can’t compare Giles and Parker in terms of “fame”. Parker has an “X” factor.


Relative to their leagues, Parker at his best was probably a better hitter than Giles. Parker's best three finishes in OPS+ were 1, 3 and 5, while Giles' were 2, 5 and 6. It was a lot easier to post lofty OPS+ in the sillyball era.
   32. The Duke Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5907074)
Strawberry is a great Comp for Parker in more ways than one but he only has 1400 hits. Parker got to 2700. Braun and Gonzalez and will Clark weren’t ever close to being considered the greatest in the game. George foster and Dale Murphy are pretty good Comps. But there aren’t many who shined as brightly as Parker, still got almost to 3000 hits and still aren’t in the hall.

Johan Santana on the pitching side might be a good comp as well.
.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5907076)
Relative to their leagues, Parker at his best was probably a better hitter than Giles. Parker's best three finishes in OPS+ were 1, 3 and 5, while Giles' were 2, 5 and 6. It was a lot easier to post lofty OPS+ in the sillyball era.


On the other hand, the league Giles played in was 33 percent larger than Parker's.

   34. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5907078)
Few argue that the HOF should be time-lined, and if you're not time-lining, then those 33% extra players are more or less the worst 33% of the league, easily ignored. If we suddenly promoted AAA to the majors and doubled the teams, it wouldn't make Mike Trout any better. His OPS+ would go up, but not his rank.
   35. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5907079)
Was a fan of Whitaker and think he should be in, but I do hold it against him that he had to be platooned - and I don't get the impression that many of his other supporters do.
---
"It was a lot easier to post lofty OPS+ in the sillyball era."
I might agree with you but am not sure what you mean - could you elaborate?
   36. The Duke Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5907081)
27. You are right I drew the line wrong . 2800 is the automatic entry line. Damon and Pinson will never get in
   37. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5907082)
I would rather have the HOF honor Parker - a legitimate star - than Giles.


I do think Giles (who was never really one of the few best players in baseball)


You people are ####### cracked if you don't think Giles was a legitimate star in his prime. Having the misfortune to play for crap-ass McClatchy-era teams in Pittsburgh that nobody watched is literally the only reason that he doesn't have a bunch of award hardware and All-Star appearances under his belt. There was one year where he finished second in MLB in raw OPS, behind only Barry Bonds at his juiciest, and he didn't even make the All-Star team. 38 home runs, 15 steals, a 135/74 BB/K, 100+ RBI in a lineup where the table was being set for most of the year by stiffs like Adrian Brown, Chad Hermansen, Jack Wilson, and Pokey Reese, and still no love from the media because who gives a #### about the Pirates, anyway?

That said, it also came out after town that he has a history of domestic violence, so he can eat #### as far as I'm concerned, and I shed no tears over him being slighted when it comes to the Hall. But yeah, he was a fantastic ####### ballplayer.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5907083)
what people think Parker was


Parker was basically Darryl Strawberry if Strawberry had had a better, and longer, second act to his career.
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5907084)
He was a fantastic ballplayer, and should have been a star. But playing for crap-ass McClatchy era teams kind of prevented him from achieving that status.
   40. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5907088)
"It was a lot easier to post lofty OPS+ in the sillyball era."
I might agree with you but am not sure what you mean - could you elaborate?


I haven't done a systematic study of it, but during Parker's career, it was very common for the NL Leader in OPS+ to be somewhere in the 160s or even 150s. From 1993-2005, the lowest league-leading mark was Mike Piazza's 172 in 1995.
   41. . Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5907090)
Why should Parker be downgraded just because what he did led to actual wins and what Giles did, didn't? Why should taking advantage of opportunities be downgraded just because the opportunities aren't available to everyone? Do we do that to Bobby Thomsen or Joe Carter?
   42. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5907091)
Of course Giles was a fantastic player. It's not fair that he wasn't a huge star, but it is true.
   43. . Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5907092)
The sillyball era obviously lent itself, for whatever reason(s), to outlier performances and wider deviations from the mean.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5907094)
I haven't done a systematic study of it, but during Parker's career, it was very common for the NL Leader in OPS+ to be somewhere in the 160s or even 150s. From 1993-2005, the lowest league-leading mark was Mike Piazza's 172 in 1995.


Something similar was true with ERA+, I think. I don't know what the explanation is. Maybe it's just that in a bigger scoring league the performance standard deviation widens.
   45. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5907095)

Braun and Gonzalez and will Clark weren’t ever close to being considered the greatest in the game.

I think Will Clark was in that neighborhood during his peak. Not that he was the greatest in the game, but he was in the neighborhood and was thought of that way and treated that way by the media. And it wasn't crazy, either. 1987-1991 he was second in MLB in Batting Runs, 6th in WAR. 1988-1989 he was second in WAR.
   46. . Posted: December 09, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5907101)
Maybe it's just that in a bigger scoring league the performance standard deviation widens.


It's almost certainly this, plus boom and bust approaches by hitters are more easily taken advantage of by elite pitchers. The saber era has favored approaches that work well in aggregate over long periods of time. Hitters aren't aiming at maximizing performance against great pitchers; they're aiming at beating the ever-living #### out of the far more prevalent Mass Man Pitcher. Truly elite performers will shine more brightly on a relative basis when that's the case.
   47. Ithaca2323 Posted: December 09, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5907117)
I think 22 and 24 basically tell the story on Whitaker.

His candidacy basically comes down to his career bWAR number
   48. JRVJ Posted: December 09, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5907118)
14, it would be a problem if there weren't a backlog. But there is a backlog, and it'll still take a couple more elections to clear it up.
   49. alilisd Posted: December 09, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5907121)
35: Whitaker wasn’t platooned during what is typically considered prime seasons/ages though. Looks like he was a bit during his first few seasons, but then not again until his mid-30’s. His WAR seems to reflect this. Instead of several 5-7 peak seasons in his twenties we see several which are “just“ 4-5. And then he has a few more of those along with a couple more higher WAR seasons in his mid-30’s as his Rbat is much higher when being platooned. Doesn’t seem necessary to hold it against him or penalize him further. To me it just seems like a question of whether you think he had enough peak to go along with what is frequently thought of as enough career accomplishments for a HOF player
   50. Ithaca2323 Posted: December 09, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5907122)
Johan Santana on the pitching side might be a good comp as well.


Santana's career was much too short to be a good comp for Parker.

Mickey Lolich would be my choice. Had a few great years, made 500 starts
   51. QLE Posted: December 09, 2019 at 01:39 PM (#5907125)
Some notes on various points raised:

Honestly, I'm not sure why the Era Committees don't just go to a Yes/No vote. No ballot limit, just answer the question of if each player belongs in the HoF with Yes or No. 75% gets you in. What's the worst thing that could happen? 4-5 guys get elected? Even Garvey, the worst guy on the ballot, wouldn't be the worst guy in the Hall.


It's one of the contradictory pressures present on the Era Committees- on the one hand, no one wants to go back to them going years without inducting anyone, but past experiences with them make one doubtful on wanting them to induct people in large numbers- it's the sort of thing that runs the risk of serious log-rolling, like that of the Frisch years.

I find it hard to call it a "snub". We're seeing the absolute best HOF support that Lou has ever received.

This is a step in the right direction.


Quite, quite- and the Simmons induction is positive as well, both in clearing him and also demonstrating that this Era Commitee will be able to function independently of how the BBWAA voted.

Next year would be a double dip with Golden Days (1950-1969) and Early Baseball (before 1949), two groups whose predecessors did not vote anybody in the last time they met.


True, but, in the case of the Golden Days committee, two different candidates came within one vote of induction, so I don't think we can rule out them inducting someone, especially in a circumstance where the longer time between meetings seems designed to focus attention.

And when Today's Game meets again in two years, McGriff and Larry Walker would have to deal with Bruce Bochy and his three World Series titles.


Kevin Brown, Rafael Palmeiro, Kevin Appier, and John Olerud will also be eligible for consideration for the first time, though none of them (for various reasons) are likely to figure much in the balloting.

You're going to be a sad boy when you wake up Christmas morning and learn they elected Steinbrenner and Hershiser.


Not sure about that- note that neither of them have received considerable support the two times they were already on the ballot, and Lou Piniella (who came close to induction last time) would be a more likely candidate in those terms.

   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5907127)
I think 22 and 24 basically tell the story on Whitaker.

His candidacy basically comes down to his career bWAR number


A good defensive 2B who put up a 117 OPS+ across 10,000 PA should be in the Hall.
   53. Manny Coon Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:02 PM (#5907136)

Kevin Brown.... will also be eligible for consideration for the first time, though none of them (for various reasons) are likely to figure much in the balloting.


Why is there so little support for Brown? He had a great peak, a lot of career value, a good winning percentage and pitched for good teams. He seems like an obvious choice.
   54. cookiedabookie Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5907140)
Kevin Brown, Rafael Palmeiro, Kevin Appier, and John Olerud will also be eligible for consideration for the first time, though none of them (for various reasons) are likely to figure much in the balloting.

You forgot Fred McGriff, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets inducted that year. And Kevin Brown is probably the best pitcher not pitching or on the ballot that isn't in the HoF. Sadly, he has no chance.
   55. DL from MN Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5907141)
Why is there so little support for Brown?


Everyone who knew him personally is still alive.
   56. cookiedabookie Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5907142)
I think Allen goes in the next time the Golden Days committee meets.

I think he and Oliva only missed by one vote, so they have to be favorites to get in.
   57. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5907143)
Braun and Gonzalez and will Clark weren’t ever close to being considered the greatest in the game.

I disagree.

Will Clark had MVP finishes of 5th, 5th, 2nd, and 4th.

Gonzalez had MVP finishes of 4th, 1st, 1st, and 5th. You can't really win two MVPs without people considering you one of the greatest in the game.

Braun 3rd, 1st, and 2nd.

Giles' best were 9th and 13th.
   58. The Duke Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5907145)
22 and 24 have it right on Whitaker. I don’t think the platoon issue is relevant. He just doesn’t have a peak and these players have a tough time. For me guys like Omar Vizquel, Jim Kaat, Tommy John struggle because you can’t get 75% of any group to value sustained very good play. I think it is well with rewarding. It takes a ton of dedication and training to keep your mind and body playing at an elite level for 15-25 years ( and a lot of luck).
   59. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:23 PM (#5907149)
I haven't done a systematic study of it, but during Parker's career, it was very common for the NL Leader in OPS+ to be somewhere in the 160s or even 150s. From 1993-2005, the lowest league-leading mark was Mike Piazza's 172 in 1995.


League leading NL OPS+ from 1974-1989

168
169
186
168
166
166
171
198
161
156
154
182
153
176
165
192

median OPS+ 168

Fun fact. The 4 lowest ones were all Mike Schmidt.
   60. flournoy Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5907151)
Besides the personality issues, Kevin Brown's career has poor optics. He was a high draft pick by the Rangers and pitched for them for a long time, but was mostly mediocre. (He did have 1992, where he won a league-leading 21 games and made the All-Star team.) Then he spent the prime of his career (after people's opinions of him had already been formed) bouncing around from team to team, not really building up an identity. In a way, sort of a lesser Zack Greinke.
   61. Zonk didn't order a hit on an ambassador Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5907153)
35: Whitaker wasn’t platooned during what is typically considered prime seasons/ages though. Looks like he was a bit during his first few seasons, but then not again until his mid-30’s. His WAR seems to reflect this. Instead of several 5-7 peak seasons in his twenties we see several which are “just“ 4-5. And then he has a few more of those along with a couple more higher WAR seasons in his mid-30’s as his Rbat is much higher when being platooned. Doesn’t seem necessary to hold it against him or penalize him further. To me it just seems like a question of whether you think he had enough peak to go along with what is frequently thought of as enough career accomplishments for a HOF player


I don't think that's true -- I don't injury reports handy, but relying purely on team starts at 2B - Whitaker at age 27 in 1984 was already losing a lot of starts against LHP.... Brookens got 22 at 2B, near as I can tell.
   62. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5907154)
Gonzalez had MVP finishes of 4th, 1st, 1st, and 5th. You can't really win two MVPs without people considering you one of the greatest in the game.


Well, sort of. The writers were engaging in some enthusiastic cognitive dissonance about RBIs and the MVP award. If you asked who the best player in baseball was in around that time, the answer might well have been Alomar, IRod, Larkin, Nomar, someone like that, in addition to the sluggers, Manny, McGwire, and so on.
   63. . Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5907155)
Lou couldn't hit left-handers for ####; his career slash line was 239/323/334.
   64. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5907160)
Then he spent the prime of his career (after people's opinions of him had already been formed) bouncing around from team to team, not really building up an identity.

I think Brown had an identity -- as a mercenary who was a bit of a jerk.

Between that and being named in the Mitchell Report, he doesn't have much chance of making it.
   65. JJ1986 Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5907161)
If you asked who the best player in baseball was in around that time, the answer might well have been Alomar, IRod, Larkin, Nomar, someone like that, in addition to the sluggers, Manny, McGwire, and so on.
I think it probably would have overwhelmingly been Griffey around then.
   66. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5907162)
Even Garvey, the worst guy on the ballot, wouldn't be the worst guy in the Hall.


I presume we're talking about the Hall of Mass Murderers here, because otherwise you're indulging in crazy talk & are yourself generating real doubt about your worth as a human being or any other type of entity.
   67. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5907164)

Lou couldn't hit left-handers for ####; his career slash line was 239/323/334.

He was a GG-winning 2B who hit for a ~130 OPS+ against RHP and a ~82 OPS+ against LHP. (The latter is equivalent to Omar Vizquel's career line, FWIW.)

I'd still vote for him, even if the true value of his 117 OPS+ is a few points lower.
   68. Sunday silence Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5907165)
...what people think Parker was, but there are a ton of guys who were superstars for a bit and hit as well as Dave did with similar career numbers. Strawberry was the first one to come to mind. Juan Gonzalez is probably a good comp for Parker. Will Clark was better. Ryan Braun probably won't make the Hall for other reasons, but he was better.


One other thing about Parker, he had a cannon for an arm at least in the early part of his career. He threw out two guys in the All Star game one year and that sort of cemented his rep.

I was a pirate fan and watched a lot of baseball during those years. Parker doesnt seem like a HOFer at all. His early years were great and then the rest of it was just frustrating to watch. Im open to listening to the alternative though.
   69. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5907167)
I think it probably would have overwhelmingly been Griffey around then.


Good call. And Griffey won his MVP the one year that he took the RBI title.
   70. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:04 PM (#5907170)
Re 8: Gee whiz, friend, did they at least give you an anesthetic before they removed your sense of humour with that rusty knife? (Or as a "yappy lefty" did you just never have one in the first place...?)

As far as #1 goes, it's obviously a joke...but it's worth noting that a black Hall of Famer hasn't played regularly for Detroit since Turkey Stearns...
   71. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5907173)
I can assure you, there was nothing humorous about your posts in this thread.
   72. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:14 PM (#5907180)
I can assure you, there was nothing humorous about your posts in this thread.

Beat me to it.
   73. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5907181)
Besides the personality issues, Kevin Brown's career has poor optics. He was a high draft pick by the Rangers and pitched for them for a long time, but was mostly mediocre. (He did have 1992, where he won a league-leading 21 games and made the All-Star team.) Then he spent the prime of his career (after people's opinions of him had already been formed) bouncing around from team to team, not really building up an identity.


Plus, people's final memory of Brown is him getting bombed in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, finishing off the Red Sox' comeback from down 3-0.
   74. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5907183)
Parker has an “X” factor.

It's called "cocaine".

I can assure you, there was nothing humorous about your posts in this thread.

Yes, Mother.
   75. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:31 PM (#5907197)

Plus, people's final memory of Brown is him getting bombed in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, finishing off the Red Sox' comeback from down 3-0.


I'd put him in the Hall of Fame for that.
   76. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5907201)
Kevin Brown's 0-3 record and 6.04 ERA in four World Series starts don't help either.
   77. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5907202)
And, crikey, if we're putting people like Harold Baines in, then we might as well induct the entire damn 1984 Tigers roster. (Yes, including Rusty Kuntz, because [1] he had the GWRBI in Game 5 of the WS and [2] he was named "Rusty Kuntz"...)
   78. PreservedFish Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5907207)
Also hilarious. You're on a roll! Rusty Kuntz, man, that's a kneeslapper. Never heard that one before.
   79. QLE Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5907210)
You forgot Fred McGriff, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets inducted that year.


He was mentioned in the quote, so there was no need to repeat his name, but, yes, he does seem to be a leading candidate based on his BBWAA support.
   80. QLE Posted: December 09, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5907211)
Sorry for the double-post.
   81. RoyalFlush Posted: December 09, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5907229)
Rusty is back on the Royals staff this year after being out last year with eye issues. Good to have him back.
   82. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5907235)

Plus, people's final memory of Brown is him getting bombed in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, finishing off the Red Sox' comeback from down 3-0.

That was only a month after he broke his hand punching the clubhouse wall in frustration after a poor start, right?
   83. flournoy Posted: December 09, 2019 at 04:45 PM (#5907245)
I think Brown had an identity -- as a mercenary who was a bit of a jerk.


Touche. I misworded my post, by "build up an identity," I meant, "create a positive image." It's hard for a player to build a support base if he isn't closely associated with any team and thus doesn't have any team's fans really backing him. Gary Sheffield has a lot of the same problems as Kevin Brown, including personality issues and the Mitchell Report.
   84. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: December 09, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5907250)
Also hilarious. You're on a roll!

Bootlicker.
   85. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2019 at 06:05 PM (#5907274)
I don't think that's true -- I don't injury reports handy, but relying purely on team starts at 2B - Whitaker at age 27 in 1984 was already losing a lot of starts against LHP.... Brookens got 22 at 2B, near as I can tell.

But that sort of usage is pretty common for LHBs, even stars. First, very few players start more than 150 games a year anyway, for whatever reasons. In his prime, Lou started 143, 151, 131, 146, 136, 145, 103 (surely an injury), 137. In his prime, when he was the greatest player on the planet, Joe Morgan started 131, 141, 153, 148, 151, 140, 141, 130. I don't have injury lists either and I'm not going to dig into their yearly game logs to check but that's pretty similar.

For ages 25-32, for Whitaker I get 1092 starts at 2B and for Morgan I get 1135 (+ 13 in the OF). About half of that gap is 1988 when Whitaker missed nearly a month. You're gonna hold a guy out of the HoF because over 8 seasons he had 25/43/56 fewer starts than Morgan?

You want to give guys days off -- keep them fresh, keep the bench active, double-headers back in the day -- and if he's a LHB a discretionary non-start will almost always be against a LHP. Thome usually started about 145 games a season (including DH); Dave Parker had a couple of years of 158 starts in his prime but 141, 134, 147, 129 too; Stargell's career high in starts seems to be 141; Brett started nearly every day at 22-23 but after that only occasoinally topped 150.

If you skip his 37 PA debut, Whitaker averaged 552 PA per season played. If you ignore Morgan's two cups of coffee, he averaged 563. For ages 24-38, Thome averaged 578; over a similar period, Whitaker averaged 564. We're talking 3 fewer starts a year. Leaving aside strikes, cups of coffee, injury considerations, looking at players first 19 "seasons", Whitaker's PA total ranks 58th in the post-war era. He's within 100 PA of Schmidt, 105 of Frank Thomas, more than Morgan, more than Manny, Sheff, Kent, Thome, Bagwell, way more than Stargell ... and of course more than Sandberg, Cano, other guys who didn't (yet) have 19 season.

The guy made it to nearly 10,000 PA. I fail to see why it matters how he got there really. Maybe he was a bit less useful in his prime than some players but then getting to 10,000 PAs means he must have been more useful in non-prime. And nobody's arguing for him as best 2B ever but as borderline HoFer.
   86. caspian88 Posted: December 09, 2019 at 06:09 PM (#5907277)
Brown also signed a then-huge contract with the Dodgers (where he could have made an identity), but kept missing time.

Brown basically did everything possible to hurt his reputation with the writers this side of violence (at least to other people), though not all of it is actually his fault.
   87. SoSH U at work Posted: December 09, 2019 at 06:13 PM (#5907280)
Brown basically did everything possible to hurt his reputation with the writers this side of violence (at least to other people), though not all of it is actually his fault.


From Ken Davidoff's Hall of Fame ballot column in 2011:

Kevin Brown: Ah, Brownie. How often do you hear that a guy is a big jerk, and then it turns out that he isn’t as bad as advertised?

Well, that wasn’t the case with Brown. Man, was he unpleasant.


And that's one of the few guys who voted for him.

On top of what others have said, Brown's reputation wasn't the greatest in his two most high-profile stints (LA, where he got the massive contract and the team foundered {though he pitched well}, and New York), while putting up better numbers in smaller markets.
   88. alilisd Posted: December 09, 2019 at 06:13 PM (#5907281)
61: I haven’t delved into it to see who else started at 2B, but I was looking at his splits on BR. Even in 1984 he had 45 starts against LH starters versus 86 against RH starters. That doesn’t look like an extreme platoon situation to me. Trammel started 60 times against lefties, Gibson 45, same as Whitaker. Parrish started 67, while Evans only 27. Lemon had 63, and Bergman 0. Just trying to show right handed versus left handed hitter splits for the team in 1984. It doesn’t really look like Whitaker was being platooned per se. Sort of looks more like a Sparky Anderson managerial approach. No one played 150 games and Whitaker ties with Parrish for most PA at 629, which is about 30th in the league
   89. alilisd Posted: December 09, 2019 at 06:30 PM (#5907287)
58: But he did have a peak, it wasn’t an overwhelming peak, but it was pretty good. Using WAR 7 as a shorthand, and because it’s really convenient, he is 20th for 2B, and with 38 he’s below the HOF average of 44.4. But looking below him there are Fox and Doerr with basically equal peaks and he dwarfs them in career. Herman and Lazzeri have slightly lesser peaks and again are blown away on career. Looking above Biggio and Alomar only have slightly better peaks but Whitaker still has solidly better career numbers than either. Even Frisch, who has a WAR 7 dead on the average, has about 4 fewer career WAR than Whitaker. Not an overwhelming peak to be sure but comparable to several HOF 2B, all of whom he excels on career. In fact by career he’s 7th in WAR.
   90. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 09, 2019 at 06:39 PM (#5907288)
What's WAR 7?
   91. ajnrules Posted: December 09, 2019 at 08:47 PM (#5907313)
What's WAR 7?

The cumulative Baseball Reference WAR a player has in their seven best (not consecutive) seasons. It makes up half of the player’s JAWS score and is an attempt to quantify the player’s peak.
   92. SoSH U at work Posted: December 09, 2019 at 09:07 PM (#5907316)
The cumulative Baseball Reference WAR a player has in their seven best (not consecutive) seasons. It makes up half of the player’s JAWS score and is an attempt to quantify the player’s peak.


Isn't that measuring prime, rather than peak?
   93. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:17 PM (#5907333)
I don't think that's true -- I don't injury reports handy, but relying purely on team starts at 2B - Whitaker at age 27 in 1984 was already losing a lot of starts against LHP.... Brookens got 22 at 2B, near as I can tell.

Whitaker sat out five consecutive games from August 17-24, probably due to a slight injury, and only played three of the team's last 11 games (two starts) because they had run away with the division.

There were, however, twelve games in which Whitaker came off the bench to play, and in all 12, the opposing starter was left-handed.

For the sake of overall career comparison, Whitaker faced right-handed pitching in 73.1% of his career PA; fellow left-handed 2B Nellie Fox faced right-handers in 71.5% (and had a much smaller platoon split).
   94. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:54 PM (#5907339)
The cumulative Baseball Reference WAR a player has in their seven best (not consecutive) seasons. It makes up half of the player’s JAWS score and is an attempt to quantify the player’s peak.


Yeah, SoSH U is right, that's not a peak.
   95. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 09, 2019 at 11:05 PM (#5907342)
Yeah, SoSH U is right, that's not a peak.

It's certainly not a good way of looking at Koufax's peak in particular; nobody who thinks he's the best ever is basing that opinion on his 1959 season.
   96. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 10, 2019 at 08:41 AM (#5907362)

What's the difference between peak and prime? I always thought those terms were interchangeable.
   97. Howie Menckel Posted: December 10, 2019 at 08:45 AM (#5907364)
I've always thought of prime as longer.

"peak" of 5 years and "prime" of 10, for example.

Koufax is a peak and many HOFers are almost purely prime cases - the extra stats they rack up as mediocre regulars not necessarily adding a ton to their body of quality work.
   98. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: December 10, 2019 at 08:56 AM (#5907366)
What's the difference between peak and prime? I always thought those terms were interchangeable.


I don't know if there is a good definition for either one, but I think of a player's peak as his best season or three and his prime as his best five to seven seasons.

Somewhat tangentially, I recall someone thinking about Hall of Fame worthiness by condensing a player's case to his value across X seasons. (I'm pretty sure it was Tango but don't want to put words in his mouth.) His starting point was a player who had something ridiculous like 20 WAR in a single season. If that player was never better than average (at best) or replacement level in his other seasons, then would he deserve induction based on that one season? If the answer is no, would you change your mind if he was worth 25 WAR? Regardless, you then extend the criteria out season-by-season. I would argue that there are no players that meet some of these.

1 season: >20 WAR (or some other theoretical number)
2 seasons: >28 WAR
3 seasons: >35 WAR
4 seasons: >40 WAR
5 seasons: >45 WAR
6 seasons: >48 WAR

And so on until you get to some ridiculous, theoretical number on the opposite end of the spectrum. If someone played 30 seasons and compiled 60 WAR (more or less evenly) across those years, would he warrant induction? How about 70 WAR over 35 seasons (Julio Franco reference here)?
   99. DL from MN Posted: December 10, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5907382)
I usually add WAA to WAR to get a rough estimate of HoF worthiness. I think a long career as a contributor has value but I wouldn't induct anyone who was never above average.
   100. SoSH U at work Posted: December 10, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5907389)
What's the difference between peak and prime? I always thought those terms were interchangeable.


This is how I think of it:

Peak - a player at his absolute best, typically 3-5 years. You have to have a really high peak to warrant election on peak alone - Koufax.

Prime - Sustained excellence for slightly longer. 6-10 years. With nothing else, you can have a little lower quality of play, but for longer. Kiner.

Career - With not much of a peak or prime, you can make it with good to very goodness for a very long time. Don Sutton.

Obviously, most Hall of Famers are some combination of the three.
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