Hall of Fame By the Numbers Pt 3: Middle Infield

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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 third part – Middle Infield. This is where you’ll see the importance of comparing these players to others at their position.

2B/SS
Roberto Alomar
Alomar played for plenty of teams over his career, but he spent a majority of his career with the Blue Jays. Alomar became the prototype for what a second baseman should be in this generation. It was a shame that he didn’t get inducted this year; I’ve ready it was the writers punishment for spitting on that ump when he was with Baltimore.

Alomar is even compared to HOF second basemen overall. When compared to the hitters in general, he’s even for R/AB and behind on everything else. Since he’s at the same level of the guys at his position, he’s definitely in.

Score: 0/-4
Ruling: In the Hall.

Craig Biggio
Biggio played his whole career in Houston. He is with Bagwell as one of the most underrated players of his time. He came up as a decent catcher, and then moved to second base. When you hear about a catcher changing positions, it’s normally to one of the corners. He also logged a couple of seasons in centerfield. Biggio was consistent throughout his career. Bill James considers him one of the top 5 second basemen in the history of the game.

He’s with Alomar as far as second basemen goes; he’s even with the hall of famers. He’s better though when compared to other hitters. He’s a no doubter to me.

Score: 0/-3
Ruling: In the Hall

Lou Whitaker
Whitaker, a IP Sports Hall of Famer, played his whole career in Detroit. He’s got the number to be considered for the Hall, but didn’t make it off the first ballot. It’s really a crime that he has to wait for the veteran’s committee.

Whitaker is slightly below the level of Alomar and Biggio, with only one positive for the position (HR/AB). He’s also a little further back that Biggio as far as an overall hitter goes.

Score: -1/-4
Ruling: In the Hall

Bill Dahlen
I wasn’t familiar with this Cubs shortstop, but I was impressed with the first glance of his numbers.

Dahlen was even with the other shortstops in the hall, which is a good sign for him. He’s also slightly behind overall hitters.

Score: 0/-2
Ruling: In the Hall

Barry Larkin
Larkin, a Red, was in a bad spot in his career; he was second fiddle to Ozzie Smith. Larkin should have gotten more acclaim, as he was a far superior hitter to Smith, and almost his equal defensively. He should have learned how to do a back flip.

Larkin’s numbers go to 2 extremes. He’s by far one of the top shortstops compared to guys already in the Hall. He’s also far inferior to all hitters. He should have been voted in with the previous class.

Score: 4/-4
Ruling: In the Hall.

Vern Stephens
Stephens played for the Browns for a majority of his career. I’d heard his name in the past, but wasn’t familiar with him. I saw the Browns and assumed the worse.

This was one case where I assumed wrong. Stephens rated pretty well compared to HOF shortstops. The only area where he was subpar was batting average, and he was only .001 behind the average. As far as all HOF hitters, he still ranked pretty well.

Score: 2/-1
Ruling: In the Hall

Alan Trammell
Here’s the other half of the ‘80s Tiger’s double play tandem. Trammell was always considered superior to Whitaker, but also didn’t fare well with the writers in the HOF voting (about as well as his managing career).

Trammell only scored 1 negative point versus the other shortstops. He didn’t score a positive point versus the general hitters though; that doesn’t factor in as much since SS have traditionally hit worse than other positions.

Score: 1/-5
Ruling: In the Hall

Maury Wills
Wills was a long time Dodgers shortstop. He played before my time, so I’m not as familiar with him as others are – he was suggested by a reader.

Wills really didn’t do well, not scoring a positive point with either the shortstops or hitters. I really thing he shouldn’t be in the Hall.

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

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