Hall of Fame By the Numbers Pt 2: 1B

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One time, I had a friend ask me if I thought Jim Edmonds was a Hall of Famer. I really didn’t think so, but I wanted to compare his stats to others in the Hall. As a result, I wanted to know about other players who weren’t in the Hall or seemed questionable.

I had a problem deciding what would be the best way to determine who would be in, so I created a few different ways.

First off, I decided to look at rates rather than most stats. While not all players have over 500 home runs, they could average more home runs per at bat than other players; this was useful for players that had great careers but missed time for various reasons, like being drafted into the military or injured. So, I took various rates and gave a point for being above the average and took a point for being below average.

I also looked at the player versus Hall of Famers at their position and versus Hall hitters/pitchers as a whole. This would give a position specific score and a general score.

The score is in 2 points; first is the position score and the second is the general score and both are based off the point scale listed above.

So, this is the second part – First Basemen.

This was one of the positions that had a lot of potential candidates (15), since this is a hitting first position. I found that the average first baseman was in the Hall hit better than the average Hall member in general.

Dick Allen
Allen would go in as a Phillie. He was a well rounded player that many feel should be in the Hall. I really didn’t know much about him prior to looking at his numbers.

Allen makes a solid case; he’s even compared to other first basemen and above the other hitters.

Score: 0/2
Ruling: In the Hall.

Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell played his whole career with the Astros, so there is no controversy as to which hat he’d wear. I think he’s underrated; now and during his career. He’s not the guy that grabbed headlines.

If Bagwell’s shoulder would have held up for 2 more seasons, he’d have made it to 500 homers and people wouldn’t question him. Even being on the cusp of that, he’s got the rates to be in. He should be a first ballot guy, but we’ll see.

Score: 3/3
Ruling: In the Hall

Andres Galarraga
Galarraga played for a few different teams, but he spent most of his time with the Expos. He’s best known for beating cancer and continuing his career. He had some really good years, but he also had some mediocre ones.

Unfortunately, Galarraga probably wouldn’t qualify. He’s got the HR/AB, but everything else is subpar; he was close in Slugging. He did better being compared to the rest of the hitters, where he adds RBI/AB and SLG.

Score: -3/1
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Steve Garvey
Garvey spent a majority of his career with the Dodgers. I’d always considered him a good player, but never HOF quality. He was requested, so I was a little curious to see how he did.

As a first baseman, Garvey doesn’t cut it; he was below average in all 5 categories. As a hitter, it wasn’t much better; he exceeded the RBI/AB and was even in HR/AB.

Score: -5/-2
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Keith Hernandez
Hernandez spent more time with the Cardinals than the Mets, so he’d go in as a Redbird. He won an MVP and a World Title (as part of the Pond Scum team). I always saw him as Garvey: good but not great.

Again, much like Garvey, he doesn’t qualify. He’s got nothing on the HOF first basemen and only gets the RBI/AB category over all HOF hitters.

Score: -5/-3
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Gil Hodges
Hodges would be a Dodger if he made it into the Hall. I’d only heard of him, so I didn’t know much about his numbers (looking at some of these guys numbers was a good way to learn about them and the eras before I followed baseball).

Hodges falls into the good but not great category, which is becoming a theme with first basemen. He got his only positive in HR/AB for first basemen. For hitters, he also got RBI/AB and SLG.

Score: -3/1
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Ed Konetchy
Konetchy would be another Redbird first basemen; he was suggested so I don’t want to hear about being a homer. He was from before my time, so I had little info prior to this.

This was an easy one. He didn’t get positive points at position and as a hitter. He looks a little out of place at first, since his power numbers are down and he had more stolen bases than average (for both comparisons).

Score: -5/-5
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Tino Martinez
Martinez spent most of his time in New York, and also spent the best years of his career there. Outside of NY, he was rather unspectacular. I always considered him a borderline HOFer.

And he will still be considered borderline at best. He has the power numbers, but everything else was lacking. He did better against the other hitters though.

Score: -3/1
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Don Mattingly
Donnie Baseball would be in as a Yankees. He was another very good player, but not one I considered to be a great. Most Yankee fans will disagree though.

As a first baseman, he was subpar; he didn’t have a positive number compared to the HOF first sackers (he was close in average). As a general hitter though, he was positive in everything but R/AB and HR/AB, where he was even. As I said before, he’s very good, but not great.

Score: -5/2
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Fred McGriff
McGriff played for a bunch of teams, but he spent most of his time in Toronto. There was much talk this year about McGriff’s credentials, which people were divided on. I was on the not a HOF caliber player.

I’d still consider him a borderline guy. Adding those extra 7 homers would have gone a long way for votes. It’s not the worse thing if he were to be inducted, nor would it be a crime if he wasn’t.

Score: -1/1
Ruling: Not in the Hall – Borderline.

Mark McGwire
McGwire spent most of his time in Oakland, but you could equally push for St. Louis; I’m going with Oakland at this point. I have no doubt that he deserves to be in, steroids or not.

He’s a no-brainer; he’s positive in everything but average for both comparisons. He also has those magical 500+ homers. He gets comparisons to Dave Kingman, which makes me wonder how he would have compared; I’ll have to do him when I get more suggestions for the next series.

Score: 3/3
Ruling: In the Hall

John Olerud
Olerud is another Toronto first baseman. He was an annual batting champion contender earlier on in his career. Unfortunately, he stayed around a little too long.

That long stay may have cost him; his average dropped 15 points below the average HOF first baseman. He ranks below the first basemen in all categories. As a hitter though, he’s even with the HOF. It’s not quite enough to get him in.

Score: -5/0
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Rafael Palmeiro
Palmeiro bounced around a little bit, but spent most of his playing time with the Rangers. He was a sure Hall inductee before he tested positive for PEDs; adding that with what he said to Congress, he’s going to have problems getting in with the writers.

First thing, he has 500 homers and 3000 hits; each stat alone normally gets a player in. Only Eddie Murray and Willie Mays have accomplished both. His numbers compared to position and hitters are pretty much a wash. To me, he’d be in; I feel that while he did test positive, most of the era has been tainted by Steroids. Now with McGwire admitting it and Clemens and Bonds being retired, it’ll make the argument for the “steroid era” and the Hall more prevalent.

Score: -1/1
Ruling: In the Hall

Frank Thomas
Thomas spent the bulk of his career with the White Sox. Since he’s officially retired as of yesterday, he’s not going to improve on his impressive numbers. The real discussion will be will he be a first baseman or DH.

No doubt he’s in. Bill James considers him one of the top 10 first basemen in the history of the game, which I agree with. His only negatives come from average, and he’s pretty close to both comparisons.

Score: 3/3
Ruling: In the Hall

Mickey Vernon
Vernon played most of his career with the Senators. Again, I see Senators and can’t help to feel negative; they were not very good. I’m not optimistic about his career (I’m not saying that bad teams can’t have good players though).

Vernon misses the cut, since he’s below the first basemen and only has 1 positive with hitters in general (RBI/AB). He did have a pretty decent career over all though.

Score: -5/-3
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Tomorrow is the middle infield.

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