MLB Roundtable: HOF Discussion

The Baseball Guys of Inside Pulse Sports proudly present…

Baseball Roundtable: 2010 HOF Inductee Edition

A refresher on the new candidates can be found here.

2010 Candidates: Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Andy Ashby, Dave Burba, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McLemore, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, Fernando Vina, Todd Zeile
Existing Candidates: Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Harold Baines, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Tim “Rock” Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell

Eugene: So, each member of the Baseball Writers Association has a ballot that can have up to 10 people. My ballot would include:
Alomar, Dawson, Blyleven, McGwire, Smith

Alomar is a given – he was the elite second baseman for most of the ’90s and early ’00s.

Dawson is no different to me than Jim Rice – low end HOF material.

Blyleven had a good career and his numbers come close to the guys already in the HOF.

McGwire should be in period. He should have been first ballot; instead he’s being made an example of. Did he do the right thing at the Congress Hearings? Maybe not. Has he lived up to his pledge to educate children about steroids? Not really. Did he do steroids? We can only assume at this point, but he never tested positive for them (granted, there wasn’t testing at the time). He was one of two men who brought the fans back to baseball.

Smith was like no other reliever; I think of him as the Nolan Ryan of relievers. He could throw hard, but you never quite knew where the ball would go.

I’m borderline on Larkin; he’ll probably get in, but not on the first ballot.

Chad: I agree with you on Alomar, he changed the way second base is played.

Dawson might have the low end numbers, but in the end I don’t see him as an elite player deserving of the hall.

Blyleven suffers from playing on some terrible teams. That’s the only reason he didn’t finish his career with closer to 350 wins. He should have made it in years ago and should make it this year.

Here’s where my thinking is going towards McGwire. I was originally in the no steroid players in the hall, but when you look at the way the voting is supposed to go, you’re supposed to vote for the best players of the generation. And in the 90s and early 00’s steroids had a role in the generation. And I am starting to lean towards a very high percentange of players were using them including most of the top players. Since so many were using, they weren’t really giving anyone an advantage, the best players were still the best players, they were just better than they could be on their own. And Big Mac could still hit a baseball with or without help. He does deserve to get in, and I will say the same when Bonds comes up for a vote.

I think Smith deserves to be in. He was a dominate closer and was unhittable for a time.

Daniels: Of the people who there’s even an argument for:

McGwire would be the first on my list for reasons I think we’ve discussed here before. When there’s something more then conjecture maybe we can revisit this.

Alomar should probably be a given but for the insane “can’t vote for a guy in the first year” rule.

I’ve never been part of the Blyleven bandwagon. I’ve always kinda felt like if there’s this much debate over a guy, then he’s not in.

Travis: I’ve been from the school of thought that steroids happened and there is no reason that these guys should not be in the hall of fame (in my mind). In which case, my ballot would look like the following

Robert Alomar – No argument, hands down first-ballot

Barry Larkin – One of the greastest shortstops who ever lived. Didn’t get the glitz and glamor that Ripken and Ozzie got, but he holds up to both. I’ll point to Jayson Starks rant on Larkin (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hof10/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=4777032) for further proof.

Fred McGriff – If you take out the arbitrary numbers levels (i.e. 500 hrs) or if McGriff would’ve played another year, he would be in the 500 homerun club, 2500 hit club, and 1500 RBI club. 134 OPS+ career. Led the league in HRs twice. The guy could rake.

Edgar Martinez – Greatest DH ever. 147 OPS+ career and if you doubt his stats, just look at the time period of 1991-2003. Dominance.

Andre Dawson – ROY, MVP (finished 2nd twice), Gold Glove (8), All-Star (8) – He’ll be in within a few years.

Bert Blyleven – I can’t believe he wasn’t elected 10 years ago. His numbers speak for themselves (5th all time in strike-outs – The only guy in the history of baseball who has over 3000 K’s, is eligible for the hall, and not in (Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and John Smoltz are among those not eligible yet)). Compiler or not, Bert had one of the best curveballs in history and like already mentioned, his bad luck has something to do with not hitting that 300 win mark.

Mark McGwire – Like I said, I don’t believe in the “he probably did steroids so he’s out” talk, so I’d have to say he should be in already.

Eugene: I forgot about Martinez; he’d have been on my ballot too. He’s the prototypical DH from that period.

McGriff is borderline to me. He’ll be like Rice (and Dawson, once he gets in) and will stick on the ballot until a weak class comes along.

Alex: I tend to be a big hall sort of guy. Of the new guys on the ballot, I would vote for the following: Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff

Of the guys who have been on the ballot before, I would vote for: Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Mark McGwire, Dave Parker, Lee Smith

Here are my explanations:

Roberto Alomar was one of the greatest offensive second basemen of all time, with a .300 average, 2,724 hits, 210 home runs and over 1,500 runs scored. Not only that, he was a solid base stealer, with 474 swipes over the course of his career, which is about 28 a year. In addition, he was a 12-time All-Star and a 10-time Gold Glover. If he wasn’t a five-tool player, he sure was close. According to the Baseball-Reference Similarity Scores, he is most similar to another future Hall of Famer: Derek Jeter. He is also similar to Hall of Famers Frankie Frisch, Ryne Sandberg, Joe Morgan, Charlie Gehringer and George Davis. The Hall of Fame Monitor gives him a score of 194, where a likely Hall of Famer has a score of 100. Add to that an ALCS MVP award and an All-Star Game MVP award, and you got yourself a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Barry Larkin represented the transition shortstops made during the 1990s, from them being mostly a defensive position to them being a defensive and offensive position. He had over 2,300 hits to complement a .295 average, 198 home runs and 379 stolen bases. Like Alomar, Larkin was a 12-time All-Star. Unlike Alomar, Larkin won a league MVP award, in 1995. Furthermore, Larkin had a knack for putting the ball in play – he averaged less than 45 strikeouts a year, despite averaging over 415 at-bats a season. Add to that Larkin’s three Gold Gloves and you got a guy who may not have been a five-tool player, but he was close. According to the Baseball-Reference Similarity Scores, he is similar to three Hall of Famers: Ryne Sandberg, Joe Cronin and Pee Wee Reese. Through age 40, his final year, he was most similar to another Hall of Famer: Luke Appling. The Hall of Fame Monitor gives him a score of 118. He belongs.

I’ve gone back and forth on Edgar Martinez, mostly because he was a DH for the majority of his career. I’m not a fan of DHs, and I normally say they need to reach a milestone number, like 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. That’s why I don’t think Harold Baines belongs, because Harold Baines was mostly a compiler, and he didn’t reach either of those milestones. However, there is always an exception, and for now Edgar Martinez is it. He had a .312 average, 2,247 hits and 309 home runs – the latter two of which are lower than Baines. So why should Martinez be in and not Baines? OBP, OPS and OPS+. Martinez had an on-base percentage of .418, where Baines’ was only .356. Martinez had an OPS of .933, while Baines’ was only .820. And Martinez had an OPS+ of 147, while Baines had an OPS+ of 120. Anyone with an OPS+ of over 100 is “above average.” Get higher than 125, and you start getting into borderline Hall of Fame territory (especially for people like Martinez, who don’t have other assets like defense to push them over the edge if they don’t have a terribly high OPS+). 140 or greater normally means they should be a Hall of Famer, and Martinez should be a Hall of Famer.

Fred McGriff should be a Hall of Famer because, had he hit seven more home runs, he would be in without a doubt. I don’t think he should be penalized just because he didn’t hit seven more home runs. He’d probably be in the middle of the pack when it comes to members of the Hall of Fame – not the greatest of the great, but certainly not an embarrassment like George Kelly or Rube Marquard. Statistically, he is similar to Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, Billy Williams and Eddie Mathews. McGriff isn’t as deserving as Alomar or Larkin, but he does have nearly 2,500 hits and nearly 500 home runs to his name—not to mention a 134 OPS+, five All-Star Games and three Silver Sluggers—so he belongs.

It’s puzzling why it has taken Bert Blyleven this long to get into the Hall of Fame. I’m going to post an analysis of him I posted on another website:

“Bert Blyleven. Had a better career winning percentage than Nolan Ryan. Only player with 3,000 plus strikeouts not in the Hall or headed to it. Had 287 wins. Besides Bobby Mathews and Tommy John, that is the highest win total of any pitcher not in the Hall. Now don’t give me this mumbo jumbo that he did all this just because he played a long time. Mike Morgan played a long time and finished with a 141-186 record. And if you think he only got those numbers because he played a long time, then same goes for Ryan. Anywho, grey ink has him at 237 points, which is over 50 points higher than the average Hall of Famer. Hall of Fame monitor has him at 120.5 points, which is 20.5 points higher that the likely Hall of Famer. Eight of the 10 players most statistically similar to him are in the Hall. HE BELONGS, 100%.”

I’ll do the same for Dawson:

“A member of the 400 home run, 300 stolen base club – one of only three ballplayers in that club. According to the Similarity Scores, five of the 10 most statistically similar players to him are in the Hall, with the top two being in the Hall. He has the grey ink of a Hall of Famer and then some. The average Hall of Famer’s grey ink is 144, his is 164. The Hall of Fame monitor says his score is 118, while the likely Hall of Famer’s is 100. He definitely belongs, 100%.”

And McGwire:

“[I used to not support him], but I’ve had a change of heart. Basically he was just a Dave Kingman with more power and a better eye at the plate (who could hit for higher average), but he was a good player. Only two of the 10 most similar players to him are in the Hall, but his black ink is higher than the average Hall of Famer’s and his grey ink isn’t much lower. The Hall of Fame monitor says he should be in. The dark cloud of steroids looms however, so I don’t think he’ll get in. He should get in eventually, I think he belongs, but he will have to wait a few years.”

And Parker:

“He reminds me of Al Oliver, who I wouldn’t mind seeing in the Hall. I wouldn’t mind seeing Parker in the Hall either. Him, Harold Baines and Andre Dawson are the only players with 2700+ hits and 300+ home runs who are not in the Hall of Fame. Two of the 10 most similar players to him statistically are in the Hall. His black ink score (26) is only one point lower than that of the average Hall of Famer’s. His grey ink score is higher and the Hall of Fame monitor has him as a likely Hall of Famer. Parker belongs in the Hall of Fame one day.”

And Smith:

“The man held the record for most career saves for goodness sakes! 478 is a lot in a career, even for today. Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter both compare to him, although Jeff Reardon is the most similar. Reardon was great too, but not a Hall of Famer. However, Reardon saved over 100 games less than Smith and had an ERA .13 points higher. Hall of Fame monitor says Smith is a likely Hall of Famer. He belongs.”

Eugene: Boo HOF – only the Hawk gets in. Is there a contingent of writers still mad at Alomar for spitting on the ump?

Daniels: Or they’re remembering his pitiful years on the Mets.

Eugene: Either way, there should have been no way that only Dawson got in. Who really cares if Alomar or Martinez were first ballot inductees? I haven’t had a chance to see how many votes everyone got, but the process needs to change. Why do Baseball Writers get to decide? Shouldn’t the other Hall of Famers have some say other than the couple that are on the veteran’s committee?

Daniels: At some point, the writers were probably the right guys to do it. The HOF committee probably expected that baseball players were likely to hold grudges against each other and the writers would be able to do it. Now, you have guys like Jay Mariotti who use it as a pulpit to proudly say they will turn in a blank ballot every year because of PEDs… even if there are guys on the ballot who didn’t play in the steroid era. For me, Dawson’s not even a Hall of Famers, so clearly I’m disconnected from today’s writers.

Or maybe I’m just romanticizing writers of the past.

Chad: I agree, I didn’t really think Dawson was a Hall of Famer. From what I’ve heard today he basically got in because he was a really nice guy and with all the negativity around the sport recently they wanted to get him in since he’s such a polite guy.

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