2024 BBHOF Tracker Summary and Leaderboard

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  1. Here it comes again, the great debate over everything out of our control. We know who’s deserving and who’s not and none of it will matter as the new generation of insanity continues and the guys who are truly the best of a generation get left out of the new Hall of Smoke and Mirrors while the strange, hypothetical brand of statistical analysis grants entry to the “almost-good-enough-but-we-can-make-them-look-good-enough-with-engineered-stats” guys.

    The 7 who belong: Sheffield, Beltre, Beltran, Manny, Helton, Wagner and Rodriguez.

    It’s the Hall of Fame though, not the Hall of Greatest Players so that has become the new standard and the gauge by which the best will be ignored.

    Steroids, WAR, couple of bad postseasons. Whatever. That’s all nonsense.

    But it should be a fun couple of months.

      • Not sure what you mean hear Ron. Walker struggled because much of his greatness was tied up in defense and base running, which writers struggle with, and because they also struggle with hitting/offense in Coors as their not sure how to adjust it. He also struggled a bit due to a perceived lack of durability, but IMO the writers have long put far too great an emphasis on career counting numbers, and Walker was not lacking in durability. From 1990 to 2003 he only missed significant playing time in 1996 and 2000, 2 of 14 seasons. The other 12 seasons he averaged 135 games and 551 PA’s per season, but two of those seasons were strike shortened, but he was quite healthy those years so that average is a bit low. That leaves a player without big landmark counting stats, but very good stats and tremendous rates stats. A career 141 OPS+ and a 6 year peak of 153 (heck, you can take it out to 9 years and 150) is a HOF hitter. But, again, this is masked to voters who have difficulty adjusting for Coors or who need to see BIG round numbers like 500, or 3,000, or 1,500 RBI. That’s why Walker struggled.

        As for Helton, he has a peak (best 5 years of WAR) as good as Bagwell, the best peak of HOF 1B post integration, and a prime (best 10 years of WAR) comparable to Thomas, Thome, and McCovey, better than Murray. If you want pure hitting, his 8 year peak of OPS+ is 160, and a 10 year prime of 144, both are outstanding. By the numbers he’s better defensively than any HOF 1B post integration and only two are positive in fielding runs, Bagwell at 54 and Murray at 61, while Helton is at 76. Helton is a clear HOF 1B. True, he is a different player than Walker, but both had HOF caliber careers.

        • You should be ecstatic then because the “career counting numbers” (which equals actual stats) seem to have a very minimal place in today’s voting. Which is sad because doing something great and maintaining it is far more impressive than 5 year flash-in-the-pan accomplishments. These little peaks followed by dramatic drop-offs are the equivalent of Stone Temple Pilots vs The Rolling Stones. (I’ll leave it to you to know which one is actually great). A lot more players can have and have had these peaks in the midst of mediocrity than have sustainable success at the highest level of the sport. This means an awful lot more guys should have been in long ago and an awful lot more should go in going forward. At which point, where is the exclusivity? Where is the separation between the top tier and the rest. Was the hall of fame supposed to be for the best of the best or the better of the pretty good? If it’s just some museum to educate the consumer on the history of the game then it should also contain the worst of the worst and everyone in between so everyone can learn about everyone who ever played. Oh wait a minute, I think they have produced a baseball almanac for decades now that allows you to do that from the comfort of your couch.

          If it’s not for only the greatest then what’s the point of this thing anymore?

          • “You should be ecstatic then because the “career counting numbers” (which equals actual stats) seem to have a very minimal place in today’s voting. Which is sad because doing something great and maintaining it is far more impressive than 5 year flash-in-the-pan accomplishments.”

            Those are some great straw man arguments there. The former is clearly not true, and the latter has not been presented by me. Peak performance and prime performance are, IMO, very important to look at for HOF credentials. If a guy never played at a high enough level, I am not inclined to enshrine him. That’s why peak is used, and five years is a nice way to look at it. In fact, very few players have five truly great/HOF level seasons, but even if they do, looking at prime, IOW including the next five best seasons, separates the wheat from the chaff. After that it’s fine to look at career numbers, but generally if someone has played at a HOF level for 5 to 10 years, they’ll also stick around for enough time after that to have some HOF length to their career.

            “A lot more players can have and have had these peaks in the midst of mediocrity than have sustainable success at the highest level of the sport.”


            “This means an awful lot more guys should have been in long ago and an awful lot more should go in going forward. At which point, where is the exclusivity?”

            That’s not what I said at all. Five great seasons, and another five more perhaps at the same or similar level, perhaps a bit lower level, plus more after that to round out a career. That’s what I look at to determine HOF credentials. The exclusivity is in the fact that despite all of the lousy VC picks over the years, the Baseball HOF still has enshrined only about 1% of the players. It is far and away the most exclusive HO, and most difficult HOF to be enshrined in.

            “Where is the separation between the top tier and the rest. Was the hall of fame supposed to be for the best of the best or the better of the pretty good?”

            The separation between the top tier and the rest is below the top tier. It’s not that hard to envision. There are clearly players who are generally recognized as “Inner Circle” and there are clearly players who are HOF players below that level. The lower you go, the closer you get to the borderline, and that’s where the interesting discussions often lie. And below the borderline is where you’ll frequently, unfortunately, find the VC picks. But feel free to ignore them in your analysis of who should be in and who out. It was, and still is, to anyone who cares to look at it closely enough, and thoughtfully enough, the best of the best. One can hardly argue that the HOF is overpopulated with unworthy candidates (at least as far as the BBWAA selections go) when it’s only enshrined 1% of the players (and frankly it’s dipped below that level in recent years because the BBWAA became too stingy and/or didn’t recognize that going from 16 teams to 28 teams in a bit over 3 decades [and then to 30] created a larger pool of HOF level players.

          • Straw man arguments? They could have been had I blown your rhetoric out of proportion such as “what do you mean writers only use big round numbers and nothing else? Why would you say people who play at Coors Field will never get in because the writers are stupid?”. Not even close to what I said so valiant attempt at deflection but no cigar.

            What I did say however, is that the writers are clearly not using big round numbers anymore. If they were, we wouldn’t have all the guys with big round numbers still on the ballot and guys like Schilling on the outside. You specifically referred to big round numbers and then proceeded to spout off a litany of analytics as though they came from the bible.

            As for where the line between the top tier and the rest is, figuratively, you’re right, it would be between the best and the rest but it wouldn’t all lie in the hall of fame, creating the illusion that those who are enshrined belong there. Modern society has sadly granted a sense of false ethos on sinners who cast stones. Mortal men who, no doubt, have made mistakes should not be allowed to control the destinies of men whose accomplishments dwarf the aspirations of their judges.

            As to your answer that “clearly” there have been many more guys with short peaks, you added in the part about five more years or more perhaps etc the second time around. Your initial arguments about five-year peaks did nothing to differentiate from long careers of sustenance. I’m sure many of us can engage in mathematical equations, especially those of us who received mathematics scholarships to major universities, but baseball’s beauty has always been in its pure simplicity. Big round numbers were always a guideline for the most obvious guys but they certainly should not be a guideline to keep people out. That has always been accomplished by the martyrs, saints and blue-nosed puritans mistakenly given the power to control fates. A la McGriff waiting as long as he did with 493 home runs and now Schilling sitting on the outside with 3,000 strikeouts.

        • Not sure why these modern numbers that make a guy look better than he was are so important. Big round numbers as you say, show what a guy really did over a long period of time. These other numbers basically are being used to justify why guys with less impressive big round counting numbers should go into a museum they don’t belong in.

          • They are important because they help people analyze/understand the whole player. Just as scouts assess all five tools when projecting a player, we should consider all five tools when looking back on a player’s performance. There’s nothing wrong with big counting numbers, unless that’s all your relying on and anyone who falls short in some category is rejected out of hand. Helton, for example, was not a big HR hitting 1B, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great player. He hit a ton of doubles, he regularly drew 100 or more BB while hitting for high average, he was an excellent defender albeit at a traditionally offense first position, and he was a pretty good base runner and pretty good at staying out of the double play, especially for a 1B. Put that altogether and you have a HOF caliber 1B, but it’s not obvious to folks who only want to see someone with over 10,000 or 11,000 PA’s in their career and stuck around long enough to cross some magical threshold.

          • I hear you Joe. Don’t need to be beat over the head with nonsense to know who’s great and who’s not. If you know the game you don’t need help understanding it. If you don’t know the game these silly numbers won’t show you how it’s really played.

        • I’m not sure what point you are trying to make HERE, Patrick. I will grant you that LW was much better on defense (a near all timer) and on the bases, but you seemingly act that (that’s) a point against him. The offensive numbers are very similar (and while l’m aware that Coors (may) have played differently and that Walker put up HUGE numbers in Colorado), his career stats were generated across three teams. Conversely, Helton accumulated ALL his home numbers in hitter’s haven Colorado. Furthermore LW is one of a very select group of players with top 100 WAR #’s in all three scored elements of that calculation (hitting, defense and b/r). Finally LW is a member of the exclusive 300/400/500 slash line club. All of whom (that were eligible) had been enshrined at the time Larry hit the ballot. There is simply no reason for his 10 year struggle to reach Cooperstown especially when juxtaposed against the relative smooth path afforded the lesser Helton (and no. I don’t think anyone considers him an all time defensive great at first base. Least of all apparently the GG voters who presumably watched both he and Larry play on a regular basis).

          • I hear you Ron. It does seem like it took too long for Walker to get in especially based on the way the voting has gone the last several years. His numbers we’re definitely right there when you consider they pushed Rolen in. Helton is also in the 3-4-5 club and his home/away splits aren’t quite as far apart as Walker’s but Walker did have base running over him and was an awesome outfielder. Not to mention he put up some of the most ridiculous batting averages of the era, reminiscent of old-time eras when hitters were hitters. I’m not a big fan of making anybody wait since their stats don’t change once they are retired so that’s all garbage and I do think Helton should go but I definitely agree Walker waited way too long.

          • Hi Ron, I’m sorry. Let me take another crack at it.

            “I will grant you that LW was much better on defense (a near all timer) and on the bases, but you seemingly act that (that’s) a point against him.”

            It’s absolutely a point in his favor, for people like you and me who are aware of it and willing to consider it, but I was trying to explain why he took a while to build momentum and get in. For the voters, the majority of them just don’t care about things like that, nor are they willing to look into it and consider it. In hindsight it probably would have just been easier to say Walker had unfortunate timing for his eligibility, and that’s really the biggest reason he took so long, but I was also trying to point out that, IMO, Helton is pretty similarly qualified.

            “Finally LW is a member of the exclusive 300/400/500 slash line club. All of whom (that were eligible) had been enshrined at the time Larry hit the ballot.”

            But to his struggling to get in, voters may have looked at that, but most of them would simply shrug and chalk it up to Coors. If they bothered to look at it at all, and that’s a HUGE if because most of them are lazy AF in their HOF analysis, they might have seen his slash in Montreal was 287/357/483, which would have only reinforced their perception he was a product of Coors as a hitter, and that’s all they really care about.

            “There is simply no reason for his 10 year struggle to reach Cooperstown especially when juxtaposed against the relative smooth path afforded the lesser Helton (and no.”

            As I mentioned above, the biggest reason is almost certainly just bad timing. He came on the ballot in 2011 with 3 other guys who made it to their second year Morris, McGwire, Murphy and Mattingly are all still lingering around sucking up votes, and Tim Raines and Alan Trammell are languishing. Still he got 20%, which honestly isn’t bad for a first year guy who’s not a completely obvious choice. I mention all of those people on the ballot because voters are limited to 10 people, and many of them had engrained habits of turning in ballots with very few names on them, also this was before the HOF and the BBWAA got together and cut out a lot of deadwood in the electorate, 581 ballots were cast that year! The next year he made a little progress, it was a weak debut class, and guys like Walker typically build up over time. The next year was Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, and Sosa. Lofton got less than 5% in his debut and fell off, no one was elected, and still Walker’s percentage went up a bit. But at that point there was a logjam that only time could clear, and he had to wait for it to clear.

            Second point is that Helton is not all that “lesser” if you look at them. Very different players, different shapes to their careers, but overall production/value is quite similar. Career WAR is an edge to Walker 73 to 62, but keep in mind that’s over a pair of 17 year careers, so season to season it’s much closer. For example the WAR7 Jaffe uses is pretty much dead even, 44.7 Walker and 46.6 Helton, so peak is a dead heat. His JAWS ranks Walker 12th for RF and Helton 15th for 1B, each are both a tick above the average HOF for JAWS score. Walker’s Black Ink is 24, Gray 116, Helton’s are 16 and 143. Edge to Walker for times leading the league, but edge to Helton in terms of more time being in the top 10. No problem saying Walker is a better player than Helton, but it’s not by much.

            “Least of all apparently the GG voters who presumably watched both he and Larry play on a regular basis).”

            Ugh, awards like that are terribly subjective and horrible ways to judge defense. They’re better now that they’ve started to incorporate statistical data into the voting process, but remember the peope you’re talking about gave Palmeiro the GG in 1999 when he played 1B 28 times while being a DH 128 times!

        • I don’t know why you keep saying big counting numbers like they are not the real stats but it sounds pretty stupid. Did you just start following baseball in the last decade? Were you not able to tell who was good before these weird analytic numbers? That’s too bad.

      • Helton was actually pretty comparable to Walker production wise overall. The fact that it took so long to put Walker in was hardly an indictment on Walker or a reason to keep Helton out longer. It actually has everything to do with how bad the voting has been for several years now. We all know it yet it keeps going on. It’s not going to stop because most of the fans of actual baseball know who’s great and memorable and don’t need the “so-called” hall of fame to validate memories and experiences of reality, so they don’t bother arguing with the senseless rhetoric of today’s voting. Phony analysis, personal feelings, political beliefs, etc are all nonsense. Baseball is not a hypothetical idea, it’s a real thing and, after a century and a half, we know what greatness really looks like. More than enough to set a certain standard and realize who belongs and who doesn’t. But instead we have talking heads spouting off “numbers” in place of actual statistics. They attempt to belittle the actual stats by calling them “counting stats”. I still haven’t realized that they are pretty close with the name because they are the stats we can actually count on. If baseball could be solved by mathematical equations then it would be very easy to win championships. But the intangibles and realities are what keep these new silly numbers from actually bearing fruit. Following the Bill James message, why has no one just reeled off 10 straight World series wins?
        The Coors Field argument has become inane. Is the altitude helping? Sure. Do we hold it against guys who made a career out of launching balls 314 ft to right field in Yankee stadium? They do that in little league. How many people are aware that the average wind speed on any given day is over 10 mph in Chicago? Are Chicago players penalized for the assistance of the wind helping them along? How about playing the majority of your games, including early spring and late fall, in Florida, Texas or California? Is there not an advantage to playing all of your home games in a comfort zone as opposed to trying to hit balls when it’s 35° in Boston or New York?

        In another time, neither of these guys may have been hall of famers , by the standard sent the last several years where people like Harold Baines and Scott Rolen are now Hall of famers, these guys should be shoo-ins. Not to mention, Carlos Beltran who is a hands down Hall of famer. In any era. But somehow he didn’t go in.

        First ballot, second ballot, it’s all nonsense. Nobody’s stats are changing once they hit the ballot so that means voters’ minds are changing, which is not how greatness is determined.

        • The point IS (for probably the third time) Walker put up his stats across 3 teams (but seems to be dinged hard for having played in Colorado). Helton played ALL his home games there and doesn’t seem nearly as impacted.

          • Believe me, I get it Ron. I think if you are going to have places like Colorado that are going to count against someone in the end, then why have the team there in the first place? But it is there so, just like the Little League fence in Yankee stadium, it’s part of the game and you can’t hold it against people and be fair at the same time. The argument against walkers three teams is that he barely played a full season worth of games in St Louis and in 6 years in Montreal he batted .281 with only 99 homers so the huge majority by far of his production came with Colorado. Obviously in away parks as well but that’s the argument you will get from the writers. And he certainly batted a lot higher in Colorado than anywhere else. But like I said, don’t get me wrong, I think he was a Hall of famer no matter what and should have been in a long time ago.

          • LDD,
            And ALL of Todd Helton’s home production was in Colorado. Not sure why that’s hard to understand. Furthermore, Larry Walker spent the beginning and end of his career outside Colorado when you would naturally expect less production. His prime IS when you’d expect big numbers.

            And if hitting there is a huge advantage, then similarly playing defense there is tougher, ie a disadvantage and he deserves MORE credit ……..which he never gets. Finally, as his case, is predicated on his defense as well as hitting, trying to disparage him by quoting his offensive #’s only outside Colorado is rather, well Weak Sauce. (And that’s not directed against you)

          • Excellent point Ron, you never hear anyone make the argument that a guy who is a great defender must be a supernatural defender at Coors since it’s such an “easy” park to hit in. And he was a great defender, no doubt about it. Coors is a silly argument. It may be an advantage atmosphere-wise but you still have to be able to hit for it to matter. Look how many crappy hitters Colorado has had. They’ve been to the World Series once in their history. Wouldn’t you think they’d have a lot more postseason appearances if their “magic” park made everyone so much better? And then of course, look at how many of their guys have been good in other places. Is there a boost there? Maybe but it’s not turning Craig Counsell into Call Ripken.

          • I agree with all of this. If you’re going to keep holding Coors Field against the players, why would anybody want to sign there going forward? If I were a guy with the potential to be a Hall of famer and I start getting the picture that playing at Coors is going to hurt me in the long run, I would not sign there. I imagine that has already happened though no one is really going to tell us that, but it can only hurt the Rockies in the long run to show why bother having a team there?

    • Andruw Jones and his 10 consecutive gold gloves is about the easiest pick for me. Far and away the best dWAR over a ten-year period. (For the record, Pudge Rodriguez was 2nd in this category, nearly 10 points behind). Over his career he had 235 runs saved, that’s 50 more than Willie Mays. Mays had a career dWAR of 18.1; Jones 24.2. I don’t know we are still debating him.

  2. I raise you Andruw Jones and his 10 Gold Gloves. Far and away the best CF of his generation. Compare his early years to Mike Trout; you’d be surprised.

    • Jones was a very nice player. Excellent defender and a reliable power source for about a decade, but …

      Trout has played 140 games once in the last 7 seasons. When he does play, he’s still awesome so his numbers would badly dwarf Jones by now if he was consistently healthy. He’s already easily comparable/better as it is. And he’s only around halfway through his expectable career.

      Comparisons for Trout should be Dale Murphy, Jim Edmonds, Torii Hunter and even Kenny Lofton.

      The first 3 are within striking distance of Jones’ homers and pretty much blow him out in all other categories except maybe Gold Gloves.

      Murphy won 5 GGs and 2 MVPs. Played multiple positions well, including catcher and probably was kept out by a mediocre at best batting average.

      Edmonds was comparable in every category to Jones, batted about 20 points higher and won 8 GGs.

      Lofton won 5 GGs and, while he didn’t match the power of Jones, he stole more bags than only 14 people in the world, outhit Jones by nearly 50 points and amassed 500 more hits overall.

      Most interesting is Torii Hunter. These guys are pretty neck and neck in most categories including Hunter’s 9 GGs. Hunter also had 500 more hits than Jones and blew him away in doubles while batting 20+ points higher.

      And for the WAR mongers out there, hold Jones’ up to real greats of the game like Speaker, Mays and Mantle and it’s not even the same conversation. DiMaggio, Cobb etc.

      Lastly, 10 GGs are wonderful and 400+ homers are pretty nice but the rest of his numbers are pretty so-so for his career length. And his .254 average would, by far, be the worst for a center fielder in the Hall. Only Dawson at .279 is below .280 and even that would have once been pretty borderline for these conversations.

      • Jones has a career dWAR of 24.2. Willie Mays’ has a career dWAR of 18.1. Jones has 235 runs saved over his career, That’s 50 more than Willie. Jones has a 2.5 more career WAR than Edmonds and 40 more homeruns.

        Some other facts:

        10-time Gold Glove Award winner (tied for 3rd most for any outfielder behind Clemente and Mays)
        5th most HR for CF all-time (Mays, Griffey, Mantle, Beltran) (min 50% starts in CF)

        At the end of the 2007 season, Andruw Jones, still just 30 years old, had already won 10 Gold Gloves and already hit 368 home runs with 1,117 RBI. In the entire history of baseball, only eight players have hit more than 368 long balls through their age 30 seasons. The eight: Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jimmie Foxx, Pujols, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Frank Robinson, and Mel Ott.

        Consider this as well: thanks mostly to his off-the-charts defensive numbers, Jones posted the 3rd best overall WAR from 1997-2006, behind only Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. If you believe the numbers, Jones was the best non-PED-linked player in baseball for a ten-year period. If you believe those numbers, that’s a Hall of Famer.

        “I have voted for Andruw Jones, the former Braves centre fielder, every year he has been eligible. I’ve never quite understood why he hasn’t done better in the voting. For some reason, defence never gets judged the way offence does. Offence is easy to quantify. Defence, not so much. Jones was a brilliant outfielder.”

        — Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun (Dec. 27, 2022)

        • Jones had 50 more home runs but in 600 more plate appearances. In spite of the 600 plate appearances, Edmunds beats him in most other categories and, importantly, outhit Jones by 30 points! Two less gold gloves, 50 less homers and about 90 less rbis. In 600 less plate appearances and still beats him everywhere else. Jones was a great defensive player but there’s only so much “great defensive player” you can be. The hardest part for me is, his homers might be right in line with the center fielders you named but his everything else is really not close to them. .254? I don’t know how anyone reconciles that. If he had 500+ homers, another 3-400 RBIs and maybe 400 steals with all the speed he had then I’d be more likely to overlook the hits and average but his biggest accomplishment is 400 homers and great defense? That’s a tough one for me. I think a lot of guys put up reasonably borderline stats in similar fashion and get ignored so that’s a tough one.

    • Then again, hilariously, Scott Rolen is now a hall of famer. God I still can’t say it with a straight face. Ken Boyer is not a Hall of famer and Rolen is? They’re almost the exact same guy. And Jeff Kent is not a Hall of famer? What a clown show.

  3. The hall is badly damaged and really has become a relatively meaningless conversation piece at this point so it doesn’t actually matter who gets in or doesn’t anymore. There are unarguable greats not getting in and definitely arguable somewhat-above-average guys in their places.

    The power is in the hands of people who believe they are truly worthy of judging other men’s character while sorting through statistics and justifying which ones matter for which player so they can have someone “clean” to vote for.

    Certainly doesn’t smell remotely like an Olympus for the greatest of all time anymore.

  4. Pedroia, Conigliaro, Mattingly, Garciaparra, Stieb, Strasburg, Tulowitzki, JR Richard, Santana and more, insert favorite Hall of Fame-trajectory player who’s career was prematurely derailed by injury. These are all why David Wright shouldn’t be taking votes from guys who probably deserve them.
    I loved Wright and truly enjoyed watching him play but a spade is a spade and he, through no fault of his own, did not compile a Hall of Fame career. If Mattingly isn’t a Hall of Fame guy then neither is Wright. Great as he was in the time he was healthy.

      • If Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be one. Mauer’s numbers compare to Posey are not quite there. Mauer surpass 2,100 career hits, Posey only had 1,500 career hits. Plus Mauer won three batting titles and an MVP, Posey won one MVP and I think only one batting title. Even Mauer’s lifetime batting average was better than Posey. So, again if Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be one.

  5. Confused by the support for Mauer. Admittedly, Jason Varitek was not quite a Hall of famer, but comparatively, in 2100 less at bats, Varitek hit 50 more homers than Mauer, 120 less doubles and only about 160 less rbis. He didn’t make the contact Mauer made but his run production was just as good if not better. Sure, three batting titles are nice, but the guy only batted .300 in 6 of his full seasons so we are not talking Ty Cobb here. He caught less than half his games so the catcher argument goes out the window and when he completely stopped catching, he basically went in the toilet. A few batting titles and a few gold gloves? Kind of sounds like less than Mattingly, who is not in the hall. This guy is not close to a hall of famer.

    • Mauer was not a home run hitter, but he won three batting titles, one MVP, like three gold gloves and went to six all star games, plus he ended with a lifetime batting avergare of .306, Varitek was not even close to that. Besides, first base it’s super easy compared to the position of a catcher.

    • Posey was great in the regular season as well. Those other guys had up and down regular seasons so a combination of them and great pitching got the Giants to the postseason in the first place. Varitek went to college so he didn’t get started until he was 25 and even then had to platoon with Hatteburg in Boston after spending his Seattle career in the minors since the Mariners had Dan Wilson. He had 2,000 less plate appearances than Mauer, more home runs and less than 200 less rbis. With those extra 2000 played appearances I’m sure his run production numbers would have blown Mauer out of the water although he probably never would have hit more than .260 for his career. The point wasn’t that he should be in the Hall of Fame it was that, aside from a .300 batting average and a few gold gloves, the rest of Mauer’s numbers don’t spell Hall of fame. Maybe Posey’s don’t either because the guy actually played the equivalent of about seven and a half seasons with all of his injury time but his overall numbers don’t really pale in comparison to Mauer’s considering how much less time he played. And regardless of who else was on the team, Posey was a huge reason the Giants won three World Series in 5 years. Honestly, wouldn’t bother me to see either of them in the Hall of Fame but I just wouldn’t go crazy trying to get them there either.

  6. Interesting takes here.
    1) “The 7 who belong: Sheffield, Beltre, Beltran, Manny, Helton, Wagner and Rodriguez.” Wagner, no, not even close.

    2) “Comparisons for Trout should be Dale Murphy, Jim Edmonds, Torii Hunter and even Kenny Lofton.” Not sure what this even means. Trout needs no comps, he’s inner circle without playing another game. Jones is perfectly reasonable for a CF given his combination of excellent defense and pretty good bat. Edmonds and Lofton fell victim to the crowded ballots they came onto. Using them as examples/reasons to keep someone else out is not valid. Look at what the standards are as the HOF stands, adjust for unworthy VC picks if you like, and use that to judge a player.

    3) “And for the WAR mongers out there, hold Jones’ up to real greats of the game like Speaker, Mays and Mantle and it’s not even the same conversation. DiMaggio, Cobb etc.” Why? If that’s the standard, what the heck are you arguing for Hunter for? And that’s not the standard. There’s more to the HOF than just the inner circle, all time greats. Jones is perfectly reasonable in that category, as are Edmonds and Lofton, Murphy is below the line, IMO, and Hunter does not even come close.

    4) “Then again, hilariously, Scott Rolen is now a hall of famer. God I still can’t say it with a straight face. Ken Boyer is not a Hall of famer and Rolen is? They’re almost the exact same guy. And Jeff Kent is not a Hall of famer?”
    Rolen is a worthy HOF player, as is Boyer. It’s not laughable that Rolen is in and Boyer is not, it’s simply unfortunate. Back in the 60’s and 70’s writers didn’t know what to do with 3B and didn’t have access to the sort of defensive data available now. Hopefully Boyer will get his due one day. Kent is a marginal, at best, HOF candidate. So he hit a lot of HR, big deal, everyone did. It was the biggest HR era in baseball history, bigger than the 20’s and 30’s by a good ways. Look at his first 6 seasons, nothing resembling a HOF there. He had a nice, late peak, but he wasn’t particularly valuable defensively. Put that all together and he’s not any better than mediocre VC pick Billy Herman and he’s a good bit behind excellent VC pick Joe Gordon, who deserves two years of credit for WW II.

    5) “Confused by the support for Mauer.” What support is that, there’s barely any ballots available? But if you mean in HOF discussions like this one, it’s easy to understand. Mauer was a catcher for 10 seasons (his first season was a short “cup of coffee” year and 2011 was injury shortened) and he won 3 batting titles. That’s extraordinary! Catchers don’t win batting titles, the position beats them up and wears the down. It’s highly unusual for a catcher to produce significantly above average offense due to the demands of the position, but in Mauer’s years as a catcher his OPS+ was 135 across 5060 PA’s, including a league leading 171 in 2009 (he swept the triple slash stats that year 365/444/587)! You have to go to Piazza to find a better hitting catcher, and Piazza is the gest hitting catcher of all time (props to Josh Gibson though, who by most accounts would be if we had a sufficient record of his hitting). Mauer is essentially Ernie Banks at catcher. He was a HOF catcher for 10 years and then moved off the position due to wear and tear and was only a mediocre player for the last 5 years of his career, just as Banks was a HOF shortstop for the first 9 years of his career and then a medicore 1B for the last 10. I’m sure there will be plenty of people, and voters, who still won’t go for Mauer due to the short career relative to HOF players, but he definitely has a HOF peak/prime as a catcher and 5 more years of counting stats as a 1B/DH (a few more PA’s than Piazza, few less than Berra, and more than the pre-war catchers Dickey, Cochrane and Harnett). Varitek was a really good player, has some nice accolades as Captain and a couple of WS, but he doesn’t have the peak Mauer does, and he has a very short career with only 5839 PA’s. The only HOF catchers with that little playing time are 19th century and very weak 20th century VC selections, or Roy Campenella who deserved credit for being excluded from MLB due to segretation.

    • So, you’re right about one thing. The standards have vastly changed and you cannot possibly vote for today’s player against the greatest of all time because we would have no one going in. That being said, over 20,000 men have played Major League baseball and eight of them have saved 400 games. You can pull out playoff stats or whatever else you want but Wagner is a Hall of famer. A closer’s job is to close. Shut down the other team and save the win. Only five guys out of 20,000 plus did it more than Wagner. Did he blow a few important games? Sure, but not nearly enough to wipe out 422 saves.

      “Comparisons for Trout” is misprinted. The answer was for someone who was comparing Trout to Jones. Not even a realistic comparison so the point was comparisons for Jones in place of Trout. If you are going to use an argument like, “look at the first 6 years of Kent’s career”, then look at the first two and the last six of Jones’ career because they were far from Hall of Fame as well. He was not a good hitter, just a good power hitter. By which standard, you really can’t discount Kent since no other second baseman ever, that’s EVER, like in all time, hit more home runs than he did. Sounds like Fame to me. Also, sticking with today’s ballot as you say, Tori Hunter is still there so how he can possibly be nowhere near the voting numbers for Jones is a joke in it’s simplest form. Other than home runs, Hunter equals or outpaces Jones everywhere.

      WAR is a very hypothetical analogy and, therefore, I can’t take it seriously. History is littered with people and generations who have relied on hypotheticals and ended up nowhere. Many of the new generational stats may have some meaning to some but basically come down to telling us something that we all had figured out years ago without them. They also need to exist in a vacuum or a perfect scenario to be accurate or close to pretending to be. You can’t mathematically decipher defense without all the intangibles. How can a statistic determine what balls someone should be able to get to and then tell them they are not receiving a high grade because of their zone whatever or defensive war? These numbers can’t possibly take into account how fast an individual player is, the shoulder impingement or small ligament tear in the knee the guy may be dealing with for months that no one is aware of, how slippery the dirt or grass is on any given day and so on and so forth. A statistic like war is the same thing. You hypothetically gauge someone’s value based on who else might have played in their place. Who is that? How can you know who might have played in their place? In any given time or space, someone who sucks under his given circumstances may have outperformed those circumstances had he played in a different time and place. Look how many games have been played by otherwise forgettable players and they had an amazing performance. Now imagine that guy is given the opportunity to play every day and maybe his rhythm changes, maybe having the confidence of the manager behind him because he is viewed as a future star gives him the time to develop and correct his flaws. And maybe not. That’s too many maybes for me to take seriously. A million reasons exist as to to how the stat means nothing.

      War was a big argument from many people as to why Rolen was Hall of Fame worthy. The rest of his statistics barely back that up against the greats of all time. 500 homers? Nope. 400? Nope. 375? Sorry. Oh well, how about 3000 hits? Nope. 2500? Nope. Barely 2000? Ok. How many guys have done that? Who cares, he has some gold gloves and a fictitious war number that sounds great. Oh, ok then.

      As for Mauer, “great hitting catcher” is a very old time argument which hardly fits in such a modern defense of all these points. But to stay within the argument, yes he won three batting titles, but that’s about all he did. You can say “second greatest hitting catcher of all time” but was he really? A great hitter does more than just win batting titles for 3 years. Regardless of position. He then only batted .300, three other times so I’m not sure where the 10 years of Hall of Fame catcher come from. As a run producer, he was fairly average. He produced a fluke 28 homer season once and then his greatest output was a blistering 13. In fact, if I were building a team, I would insert obviously Piazza, and then Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, Ivan Rodriguez, Roy Campanella, Buster Posey and probably even Jason Varitek before Joe Mauer. Runs win games and therefore, guys who produce runs are more important to I have in my lineup.

      In Mauer’s entire career, the Twins won exactly one playoff game. Guess when it was. It was in that cup of coffee season you speak of and he didn’t even play in the game, so Mauer’s “hall of fame career” produced three batting titles, mediocre run production and zero postseason victories. Doesn’t sound too amazing to me. Definitely doesn’t sound like Ernie Banks either.

      And arguing “big deal so did everyone” hit home runs, fails to negate Kent’s accomplishments. If it wasn’t a big deal, why does no other second baseman have more?

      As far as I’m concerned, the whole point of the game is to win. If you produce the necessary magic exactly zero times when it counts the most, I can’t really take your 6 .300 seasons and talk you into a hall of famer. Same with Jones 433 home runs and not much else. Gold gloves not withstanding but they seem to have become far more “important” in recent years in lieu of guys being truly well-rounded, actually great hitters.

          • I hardly think it goes over the head of someone with a 170 IQ and mathematics scholarships to major universities. But typical millennial type answer. If you don’t agree you must be an idiot. That’s brilliant.

          • Way over your head? What a stupid answer. How can it go over your head? Do you think it’s rocket science? It’s definition tells you it’s hypothetical and you think it’s the best? Who is this “replacement”, some hypothetical punching bag whose career you demean by referring to him as the middling point? I assume Ohtani and Trout would have some of the highest “war” numbers in the game and how many “wins” is that worth? The Angels suck and haven’t been to playoffs yet with Ohtani and only once with Trout. They haven’t even had a winning record since Ohtani’s been there so those “wins” are extremely worthy over whatever replacement player could be there doing just as much “winning”. If you like that kind of hypothetical statistic great, but don’t demean over a century of fans who know just as much baseball as you think you do and in most cases, probably more.

    • This is why I love this stuff. It makes me have to figure out if people actually watch the game or just read modern analytics and pretend to like baseball.

      Nice little peak at the end? Kent was a solid hitter and and run production guy for 16 seasons once he got straightened out. Hardly a nice little peak.

      Hunter is not even close? He has Jones by 50 steals, over 100 doubles, 100 rbis, 27 points in batting average and 500 hits. Not sure how much closer you could get if the argument is that Jones is worthy and Hunter is not. Jones has him in homers and that’s pretty much it.

      • Well said Norman. Watching games leads to fandom which leads to wanting your team to win which leads to caring about how that happens. Hits, extra base hits, home runs and RBIs are what makes that happen because they put runs across the plate. Strikeouts and solid defense stop runs from scoring. It’s simplicity is one of the most beautiful aspects of the game. It doesn’t need to be over analyzed, especially by things that are basically guesses and predictions and don’t guarantee anything at all. This leads to putting hypothetically great players into the Hall of Fame even though their numbers don’t bear out.

        The next time I am watching a game with a bunch of fans and someone yells out “holy whip, did you see that amazing piece of war” or “what an unbelievable zone defensive rating play that was” will be the first time ever. Probably the first time ever anywhere.

        Watch the games or at least launch the highlights every morning. You’ll be amazed how 20 years from now you will remember who did what the most often in the most important moments and be able to translate it to who was the best in their time and for an amount of time that made them one of the best ever.

      • “Nice little peak at the end? Kent was a solid hitter and and run production guy for 16 seasons once he got straightened out. Hardly a nice little peak.”

        Read more closely. I said nice, late peak, not little. IOW most HOF players start out at a high level, and start early. It’s almost a necessity because it’s so difficult to play at a high enough level for a long enough time to accrue the bona fides necessary to qualify for the HOF. So Kent for the first 7 years of his career has an OPS+ of 106 across over 2900 PA’s, which is over 1/3 of his career. It’s pretty near impossible to hit like an average player for 1/3 of your career and still end up with a HOF level career. For example, the HOF 2B with OPS+ of 106 or lower during their first 7 seasons: Evers, Fox, Maz, and Schoendienst. All VC selections. Now Sandberg was only at 109, but Sandberg came up at 21 and was still learning how to hit, he was up because he was already a great 2B. If you look at Sandberg at the same age as Kent, 24-29, his OPS+ was 123, much better than Kent.
        But, yes, Kent from 30-39 was a much better hitter, an OPS+ of 133, that’s definitely in the range for a HOF 2B, but as I said he didn’t bring much defensive value at that time. He was fine through the first half of that decade, but as you’d expect of a player in his mid to late 30’s, he was a liability in the field in the second half of the decade. So you end up with about 3 or 4 peak seasons, seasons at the level I’d expect for a HOF, and 5 or 6 very good seasons. That’s not what a clearly qualified HOF player looks like to me.

        As to the “so what” on the HR, context matters! Anyone who knows baseball and baseball history recognizes that, despite the seeming continuity of the game, it has gone through many phases or eras. Deadball Era, the offensive explosion of the 20’s and 30’s, an odd phase in the middle of the 20th century when players missed significant time to military service. The second deadball era of the 60’s all the way through the 80’s. Believe me if you look at runs scored, HR, BA, etc. offense didn’t come back when they lowered the mound after the year of the pitcher in 1968. Then we went into Sillyball in the 90’s and early 2000’s, which is exactly when Kent started to hit a lot of, for a 2B, HR. And to contextualize this more specifically to Kent and the HOF, look again at Sandberg, who he supplanted as the 2B with the most career HR. Sandberg actually led the league in HR in 1990, and he finished in the top 10 for HR 5 times. Kent never led the league and only finished in the top 10 once. As I said, yes he hit a lot of HR, but he was hitting them during the era in baseball when it was easier, FAR easier, to hit HR than ever. OPS+, a better measure of overall offensive production than simple HR totals should be looked at as well if we’re trying to determine a HOF case based on offensive production. Kent finished in the top 10 once, Sandberg 3 times, and again Sandberg was a great defender, he’s not an offense first or offense only case like Kent. Take a look at their Ink Scores (Black Ink and Gray Ink are a scale used to compare players to HOF players that assign points to the times leading the league, Black, or top 10, Gray, for HR, RBI, BA, runs, hits, SLG, 2B, BB, SB, games, AB and 3B, IOW good old traditional stats). Kent has no, zero, zip, zilch, nada Black Ink, Sandberg has 14, a bit low for a HOF, but not unusual for an up the middle defender as offense is often sacrificed for defense at SS and 2B. Kent has 71 Gray Ink, an average HOF has 144, and Sandberg has 134. This is why I say Kent is a borderline, at best, HOF. The level of play to be qualified, for me, has to be at a high level in more than just one area. Most HR by a 2B doesn’t equate to a HOF career, to me, there needs to be more. Would Kent be a terrible HOF selection? No, but he wouldn’t be a great one.

        “Hunter is not even close? He has Jones by 50 steals, over 100 doubles, 100 rbis, 27 points in batting average and 500 hits. Not sure how much closer you could get if the argument is that Jones is worthy and Hunter is not. Jones has him in homers and that’s pretty much it.”

        No, Hunter is not even close. He has a career OPS+ of 110, that would be the lowest of any CF in the HOF except for Max Carey and Paul Waner. Now Carey is a pretty weak VC pick, but he did lead the league in runs, triples twice and SB 10 times, in fact he’s still 9th all time. Let’s see Hunter led the league in, ummm, hmmm, ahhh NOTHING EVER. But let’s give Hunter some consideration because during his career he was playing in 14 and 15 team leagues while Carey was in an 8 team league. Looking at Gray Ink, finishing in the top 10 in a statistical category, shows Hunter with 29, that’s really low, while Carey is at 148, above the HOF average of 144. Even adjusting for league size we can see Hunter is far below even one of the weaker VC picks for CF.

        As for Jones to Hunter, Jones has 10 Black Ink and 47 Gray. While Hunter stayed healthier longer and played longer, which is what you see when you focus on career counting stats, Jones was as good or better during his peak seasons. Jones is widely considered the greatest defensive CF not named Willie Mays, and Hunter is widely considered to have been a great CF for a large part of his career, but not in Jones’ league. Put together comparable in season offense with significantly better defense and, to me Jones, is a clearly better candidate. I mean look at the beginnings of their careers. Jones has a 113 PA’s at 19 and is a full time player at 20, Hunter had no PA’s at 21, 19 at 22, was a more or less full time player at 23, got sent down at 24, and then becomes a full time player at 25. That ought to tell you something about the difference in their talent levels.

    • Speaker, Mays, Mantle, Cobb and DiMaggio are not the standard? Why not? Because it makes it impossible to argue for guys like Jones? They are the reason a guy like Jones doesn’t belong there. Their numbers are ridiculous because of what they did and for how long they were able to do it.

      • “Speaker, Mays, Mantle, Cobb and DiMaggio are not the standard? Why not? Because it makes it impossible to argue for guys like Jones?”

        No, they are not the standard. Why not? Largely because the HOF is a business and a money maker for the Clark family, and the biggest money maker is induction week. I don’t think they would be happy if no CF since Mays had been elected. Now for your personal HOF, if you want to ignore all the VC picks for CF, all the great Negro League CF like Charleston and Bell, lesser lights like Dawson and Puckett, and just keep it Speaker, Mays, Mantle, Cobb and DiMaggio, that’s fine. But for an honest, realistic look at what the HOF is, who’s in, who’s not, and consider someone’s candidacy in that light, Jones deserves careful consideration. By the way, if that is your standard, DiMaggio is on the outside looking in because he’s doesn’t meet the standards set by the other four., and so are Griffey and Snider. And if Trout doesn’t get healthy again, sorry Bub, no HOF for you.

        • And I didn’t say only the standard should be elected. If your personal hall of fame doesn’t include a guy with 630 home runs then good luck drawing flies buddy. You seem to have a penchant for ignoring context and suiting your argument by rephrasing the previous points in verse, verbatim. You must be a blast at parties. By the way, you are actually the classic example of your aforementioned “straw man argument”.

          From the “stating the obvious” department, you mean the hall of fame exists to make a profit and they make a higher profit when they are packed for induction week? Wow! Who knew? That changes the whole conversation then. Maybe the standard should be Marty Barrett or Mendoza.

          They obviously are the standard. Standard doesn’t mean exclusivity or sole inhabitants, it means the benchmark by which others are judged. Sorry for the 4th grade definition but just trying to stop this runaway, out of context problem.

          Good luck with your personal hall of fame though. I’m sure plenty of people will be glad to come in and be bored to death with analytics and excuses.

        • And once again, hypotheticals. Yes Jones has the second highest total zone run rating in history. A concocted statistic that didn’t even exist three decades ago and cannot be relied upon due to the fact that, admittedly by its creator, the same data doesn’t exist to apply to every fielder ever in history. Take the number of balls hit to any given position and assign it a rating and then make up a rating to adjust for different parks and fields and so on? This seems like a good idea? All these made up ratings, like most of these so-called analytics, are exactly that. The real statistics bear out real numbers and they are not based on someone’s guess or an idea someone has on what is a good way to figure them out. Paul is hit to player player either makes play or makes error. Very black and white and pretty much unarguable outside of the average fan saying “come on he should’ve had that”. But somehow the voters have been able to determine who great defensive players were before the Advent of all this insanity. Otherwise, Brooks Robinson may have been on the outside looking in. Ozzie Smith too. But you didn’t need made up numbers to tell you those guys were great defensive players.

      • There is a popular misconception that Jeff Kent was Buddy Biancalana until he was 29 or 30 and suddenly figured out he was Jeff Kent. Not remotely accurate. Kent put up 20 homers and 80 RBIs with a respectable batting average in, what amounted to, his first full-time season at 25 years old. He then proceeded to maintain relative growth for a few years before becoming an even better hitter and finishing his career at .290. Regardless of the era, his home runs were a great accomplishment because, no one else did it. Granted it was a great power era but it’s not like Kent leads all second baseman and there are 10 other guys from his era right behind him. As for his defense, he was not a liability. Once again, all these other modern analytics might be fun little favors at a boredom party but the guy fielded at a .978 percentage in 10,000 chances. Basing his accomplishments on hypothetical statistics doesn’t make him actually a bad fielder, just one of the unfortunate souls who fall victim to the modern need to ruin something beautiful. Those who don’t like baseball, simply don’t like baseball. Changing how it is viewed and measured doesn’t actually change reality, it only ruins the game.

        For instance, though he didn’t hit all the big round numbers, Helton’s case is pretty straightforward to anyone who actually knows baseball. Ridiculous amount of doubles, very solid home run production for his era, great overall batting average (in spite of the drastic splits home and away but you can’t help where he played his home games), good defender and definitely higher end all around producer. If the contest was Helton versus Lou Gehrig, Gherig wins but that’s not the contest. If the case is, does Helton get voted in based on his accomplishments in the era in which he played then I’d say the numbers tell the story.

        By the same token, ignoring Torii Hunter’s overall body of work and dismissing it when he very clearly stacks up against Jones is not even worth arguing. For those who watched the games and highlights, there was no point in time where Jones was so far and away out of this world in centerfield as to render Torii Hunter a defensive afterthought. And if you can’t compare Jones to Speaker, Cobb, DiMaggio etc because of the difference in eras, how can you talk out of both sides of your mouth and compare Hunter to Carey and Waner? Jones’ joke of a batting average should render him an afterthought before the conversation even gets off the ground. But this is the result of ignoring “Big round numbers” and trying to base reality in fiction. We’re now excusing a bad hitter, without 500 home runs or even 2500 hits (nevermind 3000) and pretending he’s the greatest centerfielder not named Willie Mays to justify his inclusion. If the question is this convoluted, the answer should be no.

    • The support for Mauer is from people talking. Various talking heads. I didn’t even notice the ballots but he’s not a Hall of famer. Three titles are nice and pretty good defense but just not enough to make a Hall of Fame career case. Rolen is definitely laughable. His complete lack of ANY of the traditional benchmark numbers shows just how flawed analytics are. If the analytics can’t keep up with the real production what’s the point?

      • “Rolen is definitely laughable. His complete lack of ANY of the traditional benchmark numbers shows just how flawed analytics are. If the analytics can’t keep up with the real production what’s the point?”

        What are the traditional benchmark numbers then? What metrics do you have to have to be qualified for the HOF in your opinion?

        How do you come to the conclusion that modern metrics don’t keep up with “real production?” You do realize that every single team in MLB uses analytics like WAR and its component parts to make draft decisions, player development decisions, trade decisions and salary decisions, don’t you?

        Let’s do a thought experiment. Who are your top 10 players of all time? You can go deeper than 10 if you like, but it’s up to you. You can list your top 10 pitchers, too, if you like.

        • Norm I hate to jump your gun but ….

          First, I’d think we all know the traditional benchmarks are 500 HR, 3000 hits, 3000 Ks, 300 wins….

          This only broke at the point of the Salem witch tria–er, PED era. Which is a joke because, suddenly, everyone pretended to not know this has gone on for decades and adopted attitudes that rendered the voting panel all but a spineless, unrespectable cult flock.
          I don’t think everyone has to hit the benchmarks for enshrinement but I’ve always thought one or two would be nice. Overall, I think I look for attributes that lead to winning, since that’s the point of the game in the end. I think a hall of fame player is undeniably, consistently awesome at whatever his position is, at the plate, on the mound etc. 4,5,6 years of above average play is not that. Longevity is important because the whole point is to put the best ever in the hall and getting it done 30 percent of a career isn’t quite that amazing.
          In lieu of the traditional benchmarks, the guy should be undeniably one of the greats. Memorable. I’ve always followed the game as a whole and Philadelphia is one of several teams I’ve always liked. I recall the guy playing but never heard much talk of this hindsight brilliance then. Last few years, suddenly Rolen started showing up on all these lists and honestly, I barely remembered the guy playing. I remember Scott Coolbaugh coming up in Texas and becoming nothing before I can remember Scott Rolen being amazing. He was good. Better than average. But I just don’t see hall of famer there. If a guy hits a traditional benchmark with an otherwise well-rounded body of work then I’m usually pretty all for it. If a guy hits no benchmarks but comes pretty damn close to several then I think there’s usually a pretty good case there. Helton is a great example. Not a huge homer total, but batted .300 with a crazy amount of doubles, not 3000 hits but more than enough and, overall, pretty easy to get behind.

          A guy badly misses all of them and somehow his 70 war and some Gold Gloves make him a shoo-in? I don’t see it and that’s why the metrics don’t add up to greatness my friend.

          There are guys with great boxing records but if you watch the fights, they have fought basically no one. Built up an undefeated tab against 20+ ham-and-eggers who couldn’t punch their way through a puff of cigarette smoke. Then they fight real competition and get destroyed. Not that Rolen was destroyed by anyone in particular but his career in reality was just good. Not, better than the best or even close.
          Also, I have to think not every team is relying solely on crazy metrics because, if they are, something is amiss. Why go to all that trouble guessing to still not win? If Texas was paying some group of pinwheels and pocket protectors to sit around doing math problems, they wasted their money. Any idiot could tell you just by watching the game that piling up guys like Seager, Semen, Jung, Heim, Garver and Garcia I was going to get you run production. And I highly doubt Jordan Montgomery was a metrics darling more than the best they could grab at the deadline to fill holes. Not much about Nate Eovaldi’s career spelled out this performance and all in all, this was a classic example of the true beauty of baseball. But you have to actually enjoy baseball and just watch it to get that.

        • By the way, here are my top guys. Some I’ve seen, some I’ve seen in footage and some are just undeniable. Regardless of error or competition, they did it so well, for so long and against so many guys they couldn’t possibly be products of a generation.
          Young, Big Train, Big 6, Clemens, Gibson, Koufax, Pedro, Maddux, Seaver and Schilling
          Closers: (Yes it’s a position, yes it takes skill and yes, there are great ones)
          Gossage, Lee Smith, Eckersley, Franco, Wagner, Hoffman, Rivera, K-Rod, Radatz and Sutter

          I’ll give you a top 3 at each position:
          Foxx, Gherig and Bagwell
          Hornsby, Morgan and Robinson
          Wagner, Ripken and Larkin
          Schmidt, Robinson and Jones
          Ruth, Aaron and Robinson
          Mays, Speaker and Griffey Jr
          Williams, Musial and Yaz
          Piazza, Bench and Berra

          Guess I could go on adding a guy at each position but these are the first that come to mind and I trust my mind pretty well.

          • Hey, cool, this will be fun! I know you don’t like me quoting posts, but I do so for accuracy, so the person I’m responding to knows what I’m responding to, and so others can see what specifically I’m responding to without trying to go back to the post and figure it out. I hope you’ll bear with me.

            “I’ll give you a top 3 at each position:
            1B: Foxx, Gherig and Bagwell”

            Just by career WAR, no refining for peak/prime/career you would get Gerhig, Foxx and Pujols, but Bagwell would be next if you rate 19th C. players separately like I do (otherwise it would be Anson and Connor).

            “2B: Hornsby, Morgan and Robinson”

            Hornsby, Collins (he does tend to get overlooked by a lot of people in these sorts of discussions, but the guy played forever, 12,807 PA’s and he was still good in his late 30’s although he didn’t play as much) and Lajoie. Robinson is a great choice, but he didn’t play long enough, for obvious reasons, to make it that high on the career ladder.

            “SS: Wagner, Ripken and Larkin”

            Wagner, [A-Rod], Ripken and George Davis. Now A-Rod is in there because they count him as a SS, but obviously, like Banks, he played a lot of 3B as well. Davis is probably surprising, he was a great 19th C. SS who played the first decade of the 20th as well. You’d probably throw him out because a lot of his value is defense, and how well can we judge his defense? This is part of why I just consider 19th C. players separately. Anyway, you’d then get to Arky Vaughn, another truly great player lots of people overlook, but really it’s a cluster of Vaughn, Old Aches and Pains, Yount, The Wizard, and another 19th C. guy, Bill Dahlen. Larkin is down the list a bit due to his relatively short career and we’re looking at career WAR. But if you take out A-Rod and Yount, take out the 19th C. guys, you’ll see Larkin is basically tied for 4th with Jeter, Trammell, and Pee Wee Reese.

            “3B: Schmidt, Robinson and Jones”

            Schmidt, Mathews and Beltre. But there’s not a lot of difference between Beltre and Boggs, then comes Brett (but he has the A-Rod issue of moving to 1B/DH), followed by Jones, then Robinson who despite his great defense was often a mediocre bat, even so he’s not meaningfully behind Jones.

            “RF: Ruth, Aaron and Robinson”

            Ruth, Aaron and [Musial] Ott, but Ott is not meaningfully better than Robinson. Musial is difficult to categorize by position because he was so versatile he played all over the OF and a lot of 1B.

            “CF: Mays, Speaker and Griffey Jr”

            Hmm, that’s an interesting Big 3 with no Cobb, but WAR has it Mays, Cobb and Speaker (then Mantle, Trout and Griffey).

            “LF: Williams, Musial and Yaz”

            Bonds, Williams and Henderson. Yaz comes next. If you want to count Musial as a LF, he’d be second although I think it’s perfectly reasonable to acknowledge Williams would have more than Musial but for the military service.

            “C: Piazza, Bench and Berra”

            Bench, Carter and both Pudge Fisk and Pudge Rodriguez are indistinguishable for 3rd. Piazza and Berra (and you could add Dickey and Hartnett) are really tied for 4th.

            So just a simple look at career WAR lines up incredibly well with your picks. This is why I’m always surprised people are so skeptical of WAR. If it reflects what most people already believe at the top, why would you think it fails further down? And for the crotchety, Get Off My Lawn crowd who will say, “Then we don’t need it!” Fine, don’t use it. But for some people who care about the HOF and evaluating candidates (and those already inducted) for what it realistically is, WAR is useful to allow greater refinement of judgment. Now I know you’ve said you don’t believe, or can’t rely, on the defensive component, and I know it’s a work in process and it’s not as precise as we’d like, but it is a tool to use to give credit to more well rounded players, who tend not to do as well in voting. You could try the above experiment with defensive metrics, too. Maybe throw out 10 guys who you think were all time greats in the field. Obviously Brooks would be in there. Well guess what? He’s first all time in Total Zone Runs, not at 3B, first for every position. So maybe it’s not as accurate as we would like, but maybe it’s not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water and being open to using it. After all baseball has two sides of the game for position players, and if you’re not quite a HOF with the bat but you played excellent defense, that could be the factor to push you over the line.

          • OK, on to the pitchers.

            “Starters: Young, Big Train, Big 6, Clemens, Gibson, Koufax, Pedro, Maddux, Seaver and Schilling”

            OK, keeping in mind that this is just career, so Koufax won’t do well since he’s a real peak guy, and we need to exclude the 19th C. guys who threw 500+ innings per season (it was just too radically different). By Career WAR:

            Big Train, Young, Clemens, Pete (Grover Cleveland) Alexander, Seaver, Lefty Grove, Maddux, Mathewson, Randy Johnson and Spahn. I honestly don’t know who Big 6 is. Schilling is in there, but he’s down the list a little bit because his IP totals are a good bit behind some of the guys who pitched in the 60’s and 70’s. Gibson is just behind Spahn in a group of about 4 guys who are not really that different from Spahn, maybe just a tick behind and it’s really due to IP difference. Gibson just didn’t throw as many as the others. But of course if you look to peak, he obviously looks better there because if he has 89 WAR in 3,279 IP, he must have been as good or better at his peak than Spahn with 100 WAR in 5244 IP. Still, this is a very similar result to what we saw with position players, and again I would say if WAR returns these sorts of results at the top, there’s no reason to believe it will somehow fail to be accurate further down the scale.

            “Closers: (Yes it’s a position, yes it takes skill and yes, there are great ones): Gossage, Lee Smith, Eckersley, Franco, Wagner, Hoffman, Rivera, K-Rod, Radatz and Sutter”

            Ah, here we go. No, it’s NOT a position; sure it takes skill; and yes, there are great ones relative to what they do, which is not significant enough, IMO, to warrant inclusion in the HOF. Clearly PITCHER is the position. Starter, Swing Man, Mop Up Guy, Middle Reliever, Fireman, Set Up Man, LOOGY are all roles a pitcher may fill. Heck Opener is now one of the roles a pitcher can fill, but they are ALL still pitchers. For the HOF judge pitchers against pitchers and adjust for era as needed, but don’t make up a new position and create a new standard for guys who are still pitchers.

            Let’s stick with Wagner since he’s about to become the latest abomination. Up above you said 4, 5, 6 years of above average play is not enough for HOF consideration. Well, 903 IP is maybe 3, 4 or 5 seasons of work for a starting pitcher depending on era. So how does Wagner have enough career to be considered? Now that’s 903 IP in 853 games, he truly fits the definition of 1 inning closer/reliever. He made 504 appearances in a Save situation, in other words as a closer, which means 399 IP (44% of his total IP!!) were just plain old relief pitching. Are you really going to tell me a guy who has only about 504 IP in the role he’s being given a HUGE amount of undeserved extra credit for, is worthy of the HOF? That IP is maybe two seasons of work for a SP.

            I get a LOT of push back on guys like Rolen, people saying he doesn’t meet the standards of the HOF, he didn’t play enough. He played in 2038 games, over twice as many as Wagner, and had 8518 PA’s, Wagner faced only 3600 batters in his career, Rolen had over twice that many plate appearances. Rolen played 17,479 innings in the field! Let’s see, that’s over 19 times as many IP as Wagner, and nearly 35 times as many innings as Wagner pitched in save situations. But guys like Rolen didn’t play enough to meet the standards? Now I don’t know if this is your perspective. I’m adding this because I know there are people who believe certain position players don’t warrant consideration because of shorter careers, yet their playing time and contribution absolutely dwarfs guys like Wagner. And those same people will sit there with a straight face and say Wagner is a shoo in. I cannot fathom how they reconcile these two positions. I think someone up thread mentioned it was important that players actually contribute to winning games for their teams. Does anyone honestly believe that a guy with 903 career IP in 853 games contributed more to winning games for his team than someone with 17,427 innings in the field and 8518 PA’s? I can’t see it, even if you give Wagner credit for his career 2 hits, 1 run and 1 RBI

          • So I will probably jump around a little here but, beginning with closer not being a position, it certainly is a position since it is a viable spot that many guys fill as their only position. Your argument would basically be the equivalent of telling the NFL that there are no flankers, no wide receivers and no tight ends since at one time everyone was an end. Or everyone who lines up behind the quarterback is a tailback and they cannot be separated into halfbacks running backs or fullbacks. The defenseman in soccer are also split up as left or right full back at times, stopper or sweeper. Sounds like we will probably agree to disagree. We will also agree to disagree on the importance of a closer. I played with a lot of guys growing up who could not successfully close out a baseball game. There are also a lot of guys in the history of Major League baseball who could not successfully close out a baseball game. The amount of pressure on a guy coming in in the last inning with a small lead and 30,000 people in the stands is pretty intense. If you don’t think so, then you’re a better man than me and all of those guys I guess. Wagner’s job was not to go out and play 9 innings a day at third base, nor was it to start a game and pitch for seven innings. His job was to go in and get the outs. Which he did. So in a nutshell you are saying that a guy who pitched far less innings then most guys in his statistical categories accomplished more than just about anyone who pitched the small amount of innings he pitched. I’m not sure why you don’t recognize that as pretty damn awesome but I guess it is what it is. Scott Rolen was a good player but my point is, if war says he was a Hall of Fame player or great, then I really have no use for such a number. The lists I gave you were the top guys I like the best to play each of those positions based on what I know of them, have seen or learned of them or, in some cases, was able to watch a lot of them. As I stated in the beginning, if I was building a team to win these would be the guys I would be pulling out. Which means, in essence, you’re telling me that war basically takes people and their statistics and assigns a value to them based on what we already know those people have done in which case, what do I need war for? Redundancy?
            It’s very definition gives it a sense of guesstimation which is not a statistic in my mind. Replacement? Who is this replacement? Who gets to decide the value of the replacement? Nobody gets to decide what a home run means or an RBI or a stolen base or striking out the side or even a save. They are self-explanatory and the more of them you have, especially vast amounts more than your peers, means you outplayed an awful lot of people. Not sure why I need a hypothetical statistic to tell me that. It seems the equivalent of the drunken, pie-eyed, beer guzzling putz sitting at the bar next to me saying “Aw I could have told you that” in response to every bit of information I feed him that he didn’t know before. I heard war thrown around more often when discussing the legitimacy of Rolen’s candidacy then I ever had before. So knowing that his actual statistics don’t add up to a Hall of famer as in, hands down no question Hall of famer, I’m assuming his Gold glove awards go into boosting that number. Since defense has proven extremely immeasurable and always will be, I just can’t apply a value like that to overcome everything measurable the guy didn’t do. These zone ratings are based on values made up by a man and are affected by excuses made for ballparks and eras etc. Until that man can judge unforeclosed injuries, wind direction on every given day or night, divots in the grass or dirt, softness of the sand and so on, he is not, in my eyes, someone whose values I value. I played every position on the diamond and I worked very hard at them all. I had no choice, my father drilled me and drilled me until I could play them all to the best of my possible ability. So I can also state that, while there were games where I made diving plays and some of the greatest throws of my life, there were days where I was so sore I felt like I slept on a lounge chair upside down the night before and as a result, could barely field a ground ball. Whoever is applying these values can’t possibly know when those days are over the course of 162 games for every given player. Therefore, fielding percentage is the only defensive stat I trust. You have your chances, you field them or make errors. Maybe it’s not perfect but it’s far closer to perfect than the complete amalgamation of bullshit that equals zone rating. Also, baseball is their job. If you go out to dinner the night before work with some friends or family and have a couple of extra drinks, you go to work the next day and no one really knows the difference because maybe you sit in a chair or do whatever you do and it’s not so difficult to get through the day. If these guys do that, they’re going to tend to look a little off the next day and your zone reading and war aren’t going to know why. Too many intangibles for hypotheticals statistical guesses.

            At any rate, if the point of this was to see how close I would get to the highest war ratings, by now I could have easily guessed that Cobb Bonds etc would have been in the top of those categories based on the fact that clearly the higher ratings are given to the guys with the higher numbers overall and both of their numbers are ridiculous. However, as I said, I was drawing from the history of the game to put together a team that would win. Bonds and Cobb were both complete a-holes who no one liked to play with so that weighs heavily for me as a bad clubhouse presence I don’t want on my team. Besides, how much overall team winning did either of their statistics contribute to? If their statistics added up to the actual value of a great player, they should both have several World series attached to their names.

            And, Big six was Christy Mathewson. Apparently it was a nickname they gave him because it was the name of the biggest fire engine in New York at the time.

          • Good list LDD. I wouldn’t have Bonds or Cobb on my team either. And as great as Eddie Collins was, what do you do with that guy? With a nickname like “Cocky” he wouldn’t seem like a real good clubhouse guy. Plus the racism stories but who knows if that was true or not? Everything I’ve ever seen on it seems to indicate the lack of verifiable rumor so there’s no way to know. I guess keeping him out because of suspicion would be just like how silly it is to keep out Roger Clemens over suspicion.

        • Hey not a problem. Pretty much agree on the traditional benchmarks. I also think there’s great value in base running so a guy without a ton of power or rbis but hits well, gets on base and steals everything that isn’t nailed down is pretty high on my list. Raines, Brock, Henderson come to mind and Henderson was a great all around package. I know it’s no longer popular but I value wins for a pitcher. If he’s getting the wins, he’s pitching deep enough into games to get it and also pitching well enough to hold the other team down. Pretty simple really.
          Far as the list man, I don’t know that I would change much there. I do like Henderson in left but hard to argue with those guys. Nap Lajoie always sticks out at second in my mind. Add Mantle to the centerfield mix. Frank Thomas as a fourth at 1st though I do like Palmeiro for overall production too. Campy was great behind the dish. Starters look pretty scary but I also like Randy Johnson and Carlton. No really big problems with the closers either. Couple of guys have looked dominant for shorter periods like Nen, Myers, Papelbon, Rocker, Kimbrel but either not for long enough or just too many implosions.

      • If Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be a hall of famer. Mauer’s numbers compared to Posey show that he was better than Posey. Hits and lifetime batting average. Again if Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be a hall of famer.

    • I agree with almost everything you said except the part about Wagner. He gets in this year and deservedly so. The guy was lights-out. Take this stat…. Wagner’s 11.9 K/9 and 33.2% strikeout rate total batters faced are both the highest in major league history. Opposing batters hit for only a .187 average against him, lowest in MLB history with 800+ innings pitched. 6th All-time in saves. Three ahead of him are in the hall, the fourth is currently on the ballot, and the fifth (John Franco) probably deserved more respect than he got. Wagner is in.

      • Wagner is pretty hard to argue with logic but unfortunately not everyone sees it. I’ve thought those numbers made him pretty obvious all along but instead you keep hearing about postseason failures and other strange reaches to tear the guy down.

  7. Utley better than Mauer? Lol! A lot of people out there are saying oh Buster Posey is a first ballot hall of famer, but Joe Mauer is not. Wrong! Joe Mauer had over 2,100 career hits, three batting champs, an MVP, three gold gloves and has a .306 lifetime average. Buster Posey had only 1,500 career hits and yes he won three World Series with the Giants, but it was not only him there. There were several great players with the Giants back then, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Posey, Mad Bum, Matt Cain and so on. They didn’t win those championships because of Buster Posey only, they won because they played great as a team, but people seem to not understand that fact. So again, who was better Posey or Mauer? Mauer was better by the classic mile. The Twins didn’t have a great team back then, while the Giants had a heck of a team, plus great pitching. Another thing Utley only had about five great seasons, that’s not even close to a decade. Also if Jeff Kent couldn’t make the hall while should Utley make it? It doesn’t make sense…at all.

    • Mauer is better, by a bit, but not by a huge amount, than Posey. Posey burned out too early to be a legit HOF, IMO, and I do lean towards peak over prime, but it’s tough to look at all of the modern catchers (post 1950) with over 8,000 PA’s and see Posey with 5,607 and think he has sufficient career. But on peak Posey looks pretty similar to Mauer. Best 5 year peak OPS+ for Mauer is 143, for Posey it’s 144, but that includes his injury shortened 2011, so if you include another season for him it becomes 141 in comparable PA’s, that’s darn close! By WAR peak 5 for Mauer is 30.6, for Posey it’s 28.8. A very slight edge for Mauer, and maybe no edge at all as WAR may not be precise enough to differentiate less than a 2 WAR difference over a 5 season span.

    • Belt and Crawford we’re not on the team yet when Posey won his first in 2010. Aubrey Huff had a really good year for the Giants in 2010 and Posey was obviously Posey. In 2012, Belt and Crawford almost combined to achieve Posey’s run production and Power without the batting average. In 2014, Posey again was the man with the help of Hunter Pence having a nice season. Sandoval was a piece of those teams but hardly the performer he was in the World Series, which has served to somewhat falsify his status as a player. That was cemented when Boston was stupid enough to hand him a huge contract when everyone else in baseball knew what somehow, the Red Sox did not

      At any rate, you really can’t take those accomplishments away from Posey and he was pretty awesome for the stretch he had. Accordingly though, these five or six year peaks have become ridiculously weighted in the Hall of Fame discussion. Maybe if baseball careers were expected to average 7 years, these peaks would make sense but when we are talking about guys that play 10 to 15 seasons, five or six year peaks like Posey or Mauer had seem to pale in the overall scheme of things. In the Hall of Fame catcher discussion, neither matches up to the long productive careers of Bench, Piazza, Fisk, Berra, etc.

      • Pablo Sandoval or Panda was a huge reason of why the Giants won those championships. I remember him hitting two home runs against Justin Verlander in one of those games. Posey was great, but he was not the only great hitter there, besides you cant win games without great pitching.

        • You’re right, I believe I said Sandoval was huge in the postseasons for them. But the postseasons wouldn’t matter if they didn’t get to it in the first place and Posey was a huge reason for that. Of course they had great pitching but even 162 shutouts would require at least some offense to win the game.

          • Posey was great in the post seasons, but no, I can’t agree. All those players I mentioned, plus the pitchers were also a big reason why the went to the playtoffs.

    • Guess it depends what you value. Seems pretty straightforward to me but I’ll take the guy that gives me a solid average, dependable power and RBIs and please solid defense behind the plate for a dozen years or so over the guy that wins three batting titles and fades into the fabric after 6 years.

  8. The voters need to recognize what kind of a closer was Billy Wagner. The guy was better than some of the closers already enshrined. I mean, come on, voters look at his numbers, his lifetime ERA will tell you that. Yes, I know he didn’t perform well in the post season, but those were not a lot of innings. If you guys take that into account as well, then Clayton Kershaw could be in trouble as well when his time comes, cause he haven’t perform so good in the post season either, and don’t get me wrong I’m a big Clayton Kershaw fan.

    • Agreed. Kershaw just blew up badly this past postseason so I guess he’d have to be out.

      Wagner is a hall of famer no doubt. Only 5 guys ever saved more games and that’s pretty unbelievable all by itself.

      • “Wagner is a hall of famer no doubt. Only 5 guys ever saved more games and that’s pretty unbelievable all by itself.”

        What’s unbelievable to me is that so many people place so much credence in a garbage stat like Saves. The reason very few people have high career Saves totals is because bullpens didn’t become structured around a one inning closer until the 80’s. And doesn’t anyone who watches baseball recognize the majority of innings, far and away the majority, have zero runs scored? It’s simply not that demanding to come into a game with a lead, no one on base, and get three outs before giving up the lead. And one inning closers do that so few times in their careers that it’s comical to even consider voting for them to be in the HOF, and worse to actually induct them. The HOF would be fine with Hoyt Wilhelm as the Old Time Reliever, Goose Gossage representing the Fireman, and Rivera representing the one inning closer.

        On Wagner specifically, only 903 IP, no offensive contribution whatsoever, 504 Save Opportunities out of 853 games pitched, so a big chunk of those paltry 903 IP were not even in Save situations. Then look further at the Save itself and ask does it truly measure a level of performance that is HOF worthy. What about a Save with a 3 run lead? Sheesh, any bullpen arm ought to be able to get 3 outs without giving up 3 runs. Wagner had 131 three run Save Opportunities (that’s 26% of his total opportunities) and converted at 97.7%. From his own era Troy Percival had 81 and converted at 97.7%, Isringhausen had 106 and converted 98.1%, Gagne converted all 63 of his, Steady Eddie 51 at 98%, Benitez 90 at 98.9%, the great Joe Table 102 at 99%! Altogether there were 22 guys who had at least 50 chances at a 3 run Save during Wagner’s era, the average number of opportunities was 72, and the average conversion in those 1,593 chances was 96.9%. That means in 100 chances, or the entirety of most of these guys careers, Wagner might have saved one more than pretty much any other closer around.

        Don’t buy all the BS the writers peddle about the closer being some mythical being who has to have incredible resilience to come back after blowing a save, and how incredibly difficult it is to get those last 3 outs! Neither is true. Wagner’s career Save rate is 85.9%, 7 of those other 22 relievers have that good or better a Save rate. If they can’t deal with failing 5 or 6 times a season, they never would have made it into AA, let alone MLB. Remember the greatest hitters fail 7 out of 10 times every year! Each game they’re likely to fail to get a hit more often than they succeed. And clearly if Jose Mesa can convert 101 of 102 three run save opportunities, it’s not that hard!

        • Bullpen “structure” is also why starters are a microcosm of what they once were. No one completes games anymore, throws shutouts, strikes out 350 batters and the new generation of fan thinks wins don’t matter for pitchers. Really strange.

          If Wagner was the only guy closing games as long as he did, you might argue his stars weren’t a big deal but a pretty large quantity of closers have played this game in the 40 years you’re talking about and only 5 other guys saved more games than Wagner in all of history (and there were closers before the 80s by the way but whatever man) so it quite obviously isn’t that easy. Especially when you do it for big market teams with rabid fan bases hanging on every pitch. Saves are certainly not a garbage stat. Hell, it’s not even easy to save a big game in high school, how much easier can it get at the top level man?
          2.31 era, 422 saves, 1200 Ks and 12/9 against 3bb/9? Looks pretty damn good to me and, as you mentioned, it only took him 903 innings to put up a career like that.

          Baseball is not an easy game to be good at. The craziest part of all these modern numbers is people talking about them like they mean more than real stats and using them to detract from what’s actually happening on the field.
          I’d suggest you become a major league closer and rake in the millions since you think it’s so easy but by the look of this page, you have all the fun you can handle throwing batting practice lobs to everyone without your opinion brother.

          • “If Wagner was the only guy closing games as long as he did, you might argue his stars weren’t a big deal but a pretty large quantity of closers have played this game in the 40 years you’re talking about and only 5 other guys saved more games than Wagner in all of history (and there were closers before the 80s by the way but whatever man) so it quite obviously isn’t that easy.”

            Actually it has not even been 40 years. There were relievers around, there were guys who were used situationally in more crucial situations, high leverage situations, The Fireman type guys. But one inning closers did not exist until the late 80’s early 90’s. Look at Lee Smith. He first got double digit saves in 1982. He threw over 100 IP that year and in 1983, 1984, then over 90 the next two years and over 80 the two years after that. Wagner threw over 80 IP only once in his career, generally he was around the mid 60’s. Smith didn’t start being used like a one inning closer until 1991. You can see this in the IP compared to Games pitched, too. Smith pitched 830 innings from 1982 to 1990 in 592 games, Wagner from 1997 to 2008 threw 766 in 720 games. That’s only 46 more innings than games/appearances, he even had as season in there with MORE games than innings pitched. Smith had 45 more innings than games in 1982 alone!

            All of history, for baseball purposes, goes back over a century. One inning closers have been around not even1/3 of that time. That Wagner has a lot of saves does not impress me, and certainly doesn’t warrant HOF consideration.

            “Especially when you do it for big market teams with rabid fan bases hanging on every pitch. Saves are certainly not a garbage stat. Hell, it’s not even easy to save a big game in high school, how much easier can it get at the top level man?”

            It’s absolutely a garbage stat, especially when it comes to something as significant as the HOF. The fact that most guys convert a 3 run save 97% of the time show how worthless it is as a measurement of pitching quality. How can it be a worthwhile stat if it shows you that for over 100 Saves Jose Mesa was just as good, better actually, as Billy Wagner? And if it’s SO hard, why do they convert at an 85% rate when we know baseball is a game of failure? Heck the best WPct for a starter who you’ll recognize (IOW someone who didn’t play in the 19th C or the Negro Leagues) is Kershaw at 69.5%. The best Save % for anyone with at least 300 Saves is 89% by both Joe Nathan and Rivera. How do you explain this? Saves are SO hard to come by, yet they are converted far more often than Wins by even the best pitchers.

            “2.31 era, 422 saves, 1200 Ks and 12/9 against 3bb/9? Looks pretty damn good to me and, as you mentioned, it only took him 903 innings to put up a career like that.”

            It’s the “only 903” IP that’s the key. Compiling a 2.31 ERA in only 903 inning is FAR easier to do 1 inning at a time than when you have to pitch 6 or more innings per game and face a hitter 3 or more times in a game. We all know the adage, “Hitting is timing, pitching is disrupting timing.” Hitters may not be able to adjust and time a guy they face only once in a game, but they are much better at doing so against a guy who they face 3 or more times. Pedro has a 2.16 ERA in 905 IP from 1997-2000 and led the league 3 times, but he was throwing 7 1/3 innings per game, that’s HOF stuff. Randy Johnson has a 2.48 ERA in 1030 IP from 1999-2002 and led the league 3 times, that’s 7 1/3 per game. Maddux 1.98 in 946 2/3 from 1992-1995 led the league 3 times, 7 2/3 per game. Clemens 2.54 in 999 2/3 from 1989-1992 led the league 3 times, a bit less than 7 2/3 per game. And these are only 4 seasons out of their careers.

            Do you know how many times Wagner led the league in ERA? Never. Do you know why? Because he didn’t pitch enough innings to qualify. Same applies to his HOF qualifications!

  9. Here’s my problem with metrics and modern analytics. Like most things in this day and age, it’s unnecessary. It purports to fix a problem that never existed. For decades upon decades before anyone ever heard of this, winning teams were built and sustained by baseball minds who put together the right combinations of guys and coached, inspired and led them to prominence. The great Yankees teams who ran away with all of it for years did it all without war, whip, zone rating nonsense or any of this other silliness. How did they ever figure it out without taking a calculus class?

    Today, teams are built using different methods and combinations of methods and the end result always comes down to what happens on the field. Guys who don’t remotely meet the standard of the modern metric come through with the biggest hits at the most opportune times. Guys with high end metrics on paper, fail at the most inopportune times. It’s quite often a crap shoot and always has been. It always will be because the game is played by human beings who cannot be measured mathematically. There are way too many intangibles and, far too many of these metrics are based on ratings determined by some human being who does not possibly possess the omniscience to determine what that standard needs to be for everyone.

    I’m not going to convince an entire generation of people that what they are looking at is wrong because it seems to be the only thing that keeps them interested in the game to begin with. We also now exist in a time filled with things being fixed for no reason and things that should be fixed being left alone because to really fix something that is an actual problem takes much greater effort than just trying to change it for no reason. If a guy averages 30 home runs or 60 stolen bases or 250 strikeouts per season, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect he will continue to do that until he shows signs of decline. We have known that and how to look at that for over 100 years now. There was nothing to fix because that will never change.

    I understand the argument that there are people who just enjoy making up funny little ways to overanalyze the hell out of the game. I’ve heard it a million times and, though I find it useless, I get that it makes you happy to do this weird little thing. It’s an indictment on the human psyche that so many people have just willingly jumped on board and accepted that this has changed anything where it clearly hasn’t. But, my life doesn’t change because of any of this so I really don’t care how you look at it. What makes it annoying is that, the majority of people who have latched on to this nonsense, preach it as though it is some cult religion and they are banging on your door relentlessly to show you the light. As though the rest of us have been stumbling around in darkness for decades wondering why we don’t understand the most beautiful game in the world. I have spoken with people who spout off analytics as though it were the alphabet. But they don’t actually watch games. Maybe once in a while but generally they like to read statistics, follow standings and attempt to sound intellectual about something that doesn’t require it for enjoyment.

    Baseball has been here forever now, or so it feels, and somehow it has continued to function without having to break it down in ways that explain nothing and create complete boredom. To listen to a baseball debate and have nothing more than theoretical crap thrown at you is like buying an album just to stare at the cover. Or discussing the great classic muscle cars with someone who only wants to tell you about power windows and fuel economy. But it has become the way in the current climate to completely ignore people who are fine with their lives the way they are. They’re now existing overwhelming sense that, new ideas are the only ideas and if you don’t accept them, you are a bad person or you need to be canceled or your opinion doesn’t matter. Sorry dude, my life doesn’t exist on the internet and if you care to come and cancel me in person I’ll be waiting. Otherwise, let’s just accept the fact that baseball was not built for a mindless, attention span lacking crowd who need everything to be scientific or mathematical to make sense. It was built for pure enjoyment. For people to sit around and watch and lose themselves in. For people to follow without having to feel like they are at school or at work in order to do so.

    Such an approach only serves to amalgamate a series of tensions brought on by sheer disagreement. But it’s not a normal disagreement. A normal disagreement involves multiple flashing opinions and often can be amicably resolved by either explaining in depth one side to the other or agreeing to disagree. The first solution requires open-mindedness, a lost art in this day and age so the second solution should be good enough. It’s the constant in your face brashness and belittling of actual statistics that makes the metric argument unbearable. If for no other reason but because it is not the equivalent of replacing wooden beams with steel girders on a falling bridge. That actually fixes an existential problem.

    • Yeah I can’t get onto the fiction train man. If you look up supposed statistics and they explain themselves with “attempts to normalize” or “adjusts for external factors”, it’s crap. Adjust for ballpark and era? If the wind blows into Wrigley at 30 mph on Tuesday and blows out at 20 on Wednesday, good luck with that dude. You can’t know what Dan Brouthers would do at Yankee stadium in 1995 if he had access to a Soloflex that didn’t exist in his time and worked out everyday or what Jose Canseco would do in 1882 with no anabolic steroids and a guy throwing underhand. And if you say status quo then you’re just dealing in fairytales anyway.

      • “Yeah I can’t get onto the fiction train man. If you look up supposed statistics and they explain themselves with “attempts to normalize” or “adjusts for external factors”, it’s crap. Adjust for ballpark and era? If the wind blows into Wrigley at 30 mph on Tuesday and blows out at 20 on Wednesday, good luck with that dude. You can’t know what Dan Brouthers would do at Yankee stadium in 1995”

        Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not valid. But I love the Dan Brouthers reference!

  10. There it is, the typical answer from the sabermetric analytics witnesses religion. “If you don’t agree with us it’s because you’re stupid.” Very millennial of you dude.

    How do you get to decide who understands it? I just told you exactly what it says if you look up what does that means and those terms were taken right from the definition. I didn’t make them up. Because you don’t like that I am right you resort to insults. What’s next, I will be lambasted all over the internet and told that I don’t matter anymore? That should get you pretty far.

    I also understand herpes and train wrecks, should I want those to happen too? You’re just another example of people who don’t really love baseball but they love being able to talk nonsensically about something and pretend it makes them intellectual.

    If the modern generation actually loved baseball, there would be no reason for change. Up until the digital age wiped out everyone’s brains and attention spans, baseball was fine for well over a century. Now it needs to be sped up all of a sudden? For what reason? The game was the game and that’s how it was played forever. But if it’s too relaxing and too slow for people who don’t enjoy such things, they’ll just complain until it’s changed. That means you really don’t like the game because what’s happening now is not the game. Now it needs to be explained by ridiculous equations? To who? Only people who don’t already know the game.

    There is no analytic that tells you something a real baseball mind doesn’t already know man. I’m trying to sound smarter than people who don’t agree with you by insulting them should win you a lot of friends in life. But at least you’ll be buried with your analytics I guess.

  11. My 10 votes are:
    Alex Rodriguez
    Andy Pettitte
    Gary Sheffield
    Billy Wagner
    Todd Helton
    Adrian Beltre
    Jose Bautista
    Bobby Abreu
    Carlos Beltran
    Joe Mauer
    And I hope the Veterans Committee puts Lou Pinella in too.

    • Looks good Victor. I would definitely go Manny Ramirez wait before Jose Bautista and then Abreu, Pettitte and Mauer could go or not, either way wouldn’t really change my life. But I think Piniella, Johnson and Leyland all deserve heavy consideration. They each won one World Series, got to the playoffs at least six times a piece and all have winning records. Piniella and Leyland were just barely over .500 with Johnson being closer to .600 in less games than either of the other two but it would be pretty cool to see the three of them go in together.

        • Jim Leyland got 15 of 16 votes and will go to Cooperstown.
          Lou Pinella: 11 votes.
          Bill White: 10 votes.
          The others: each less than 5 votes.

          • Good for Leyland. Thought Johnson and Piniella should go too but I guess they don’t agree. Very similar records between Piniella and Leyland overall but I guess Leyland’s two more pennants must make the difference for the committee.

          • Lou Piniella should be in the Hall. He managed the 1990 Reds and led the Mariners late 90s teams as well as the 116 win 2001 team. Honestly, though, Jim Leyland did manage some pretty good teams.

          • Agreed. Sweet Lou knocked off Leyland’s Pirates on the way to winning the ’90 World Series with cincinnati, took the Mariners to 3 ALCSs including the ridiculous 116 win season and even took the Cubs to the playoffs twice. Aside from a couple of extra pennants (and World Series losses) for Leyland, they have extremely similar records and overall accomplishments. I think Johnson deserves a better look as well though. 100 games twice with the Mets and the ’86 World Series, took Cincy to the’95 NLCS, jumped to Baltimore and immediately took them to a pair of ALCSs. 5 LCSs and a World Series win with three teams. Also had a. 562 winning percentage which all classes Piniella and Leyland. I’m glad Leyland is in but would have liked to see all three go together.

          • AND Johnson took Washington to the playoffs for the first time ever since they went to the NLCS as the 1981 Expos.

    • My 10 votes would be:
      And Piniella does belong.

  12. I know a lot of you here will disagree with me here, but Victor Martinez (V Mart) was not good a hitter, but a great one! Nobody talks about V Mart, I don’t get it. The guy was a great hitter, look up his numbers. The guy could hit for average and power as well. V Mart deserves strong consideration, yeah and I know, you are going to tell me that his problem is WAR. Yeah and I know WAR matters, but come on take a close look at his numbers and tell he was not great, because he was. He was a great hitting catcher and/or DH. There were not too many players that could hit like him in both leagues (AL/NL).

    • I don’t disagree with you. Victor Martinez is just as solid a candidate as Mauer. They’ll say he caught less games (only about 100 apart), he played less games than Mauer at 1st as well and he played almost 900 games as a DH. Personally I’m of the thought train that a guy who can play multiple positions well at the top level of the game is of great value but they’ll tell you he did win gold gloves (though he fielded both positions at a .993 clip). Somehow, his 100 more homers and 250 more RBIs than Mauer, in 300 less at bats will be ignored and the response of ignorance will be his war is too low. But you can bang your head off the wall forever, talking sense to the war crowd is useless.

  13. Bartolo Colon was a fun player to watch back in the day. I get that he won 247, which is not an easy task at all and he also won a cy young award as well, which is kind of a little questionable for me, cause I feel that Johan Santana should’ve won that Cy Young instead, not to take anything away from Bartolo, but I think Johan Santana’s season was a bigger one (16 wins, 2.87 ERA, 238 ks). Also Bartolo Colon 4.12 ERA is a little high as well. I don’t think there is a pitcher in Cooperstown that an ERA that high. Again, he was a great guy with a great personality. I just don’t think he was a great pitcher. He played a long time and won 247 games, and struck out over 2,500 batters, but I’m not sure he belongs.

    • Yes Colon put up some numbers but, I agree. I don’t know if he’s there. He’s always reminded me of Julio Franco but a pitcher obviously. A guy who stuck around long enough to pile up the borderline numbers but doesn’t feel like a guy who had a long duration of greatness. Sure he won a Cy Young just like Franco won a batting title. But while they each had some really good seasons, they were mixed in with so many mediocre seasons they kind of get lost. In the flip side, I think maybe we don’t often give enough consideration to guys like that who, maybe didn’t stay at the top of the game all the time but certainly put a lot of work in and performed more than well enough for a long time to play that long. That’s quite a feat that not many people reach. And I agree, Santana should have won the Cy Young that year but the Twins finished third and kind of out of everyone’s minds while the Angels won the division and went to the ALCS with Colon winning 21 games being at the forefront.

  14. If I had a vote:


    • Everyone has the right to their opinion but just curious, why not Ramirez or Rodriguez?

        • Then Sheffield wouldn’t be on his list. He was not only in the Balco report but he told Sports Illustrated himself that he “unknowingly” used them before the 2002 season while he was living with Bonds. Honestly I’m of the mindset that the peds were just another part of the history. Then again I was also a fan when we all knew it was going on and people were razzing the muscle guys at every park. I don’t ever believe in pretending we didn’t know and joining the bandwagon to act shocked like MLB and all the fairweather fans did. There were a huge number of guys doing it in both sides of the ball so there’s no way I can hold it against the few guys who put up historic numbers when all those other guys using still didn’t get close.

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