Baldest Truth

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Why no Hall call for McGwire? He wasn't good enough!

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Mike Nadel

Storyteller, wise guy, observer, analyst, husband, dad. One-stop shopping, baby!

The Bald Truth

I didn't check the box next to Mark McGwire's name on my Hall of Fame ballot and the reason is pretty simple:

I don't believe he is a Hall of Famer, steroids or no steroids.

He was a plodding, no-range, .263-hitting, injury-prone first baseman who played only 10 full seasons and did just one thing of note: hit home runs.

Here's my favorite stat to illustrate just how one-dimensional McGwire was: Although he averaged 61.25 home runs from 1996-99 - the top four-year HR stretch ever - he never once accumulated enough total bases to rank in the top 55 single seasons in that category.

And that was McGwire at his performance-enhanced best.

He was the classic all-or-nothing hitter ... and far too often he produced nothing.

The peer to whom he'll be forever linked - both in power and in syringe use - Sammy Sosa, had shortcomings, too. For all of his warts, however, Sosa's ability to drive the ball into the gaps resulted in more doubles and his speed let him turn doubles into triples. As a result, Sosa had the No. 7 total-bases season ever in 2001, the 14th-best TB year in 1998 and the 34th-best in 1999. Sosa also could steal bases and he had a strong outfield arm (even if he often took, um, interesting routes to the ball).

Barry Bonds was playing on shot knees and was walked constantly in 2001, when he hit 73 HR, and he still produced the 16th-best total-bases season in history. 

Among those with more career extra-base hits than McGwire: Vada Pinson, Garret Anderson, Steve Finley, Juan Gonzalez, Dwight Evans, Gary Gaetti, not one of whom can get into the Hall without buying a ticket.

As powerful as he was, McGwire ranks only 66th all-time in RBI. Five players on this year's ballot drove in more runs: Andre Dawson, Dave Parker, Harold Baines, Fred McGriff, Andres Galaraga. And Dawson, the only of these five with a chance for enshrinement, was so superior to McGwire in every way (other than raw power) that I'm kind of insulting the Hawk by mentioning him in the same paragraph with Mr. I'm Not Here to Talk About the Past.

Yes, 583 is an impressive number - albeit less impressive now than 15 years ago, before the Brady Andersons of the world started making a mockery of 50 HR seasons.

And yes, you could use stats such as HR percentage and OPS to make a case for McGwire's Hall candidacy.

But why would you want to?

Hey, I'm only human. So I'll admit that when filling out my ballot, it was in the back of my mind that 42 percent of McGwire's HR total came during the four-year stretch in which he turned out to be the Better Slugging Through Chemicals poster child.

Still, unlike some of my colleagues, I don't reject Hall candidates just because of the substances they put into their bodies. (I absolutely understand why those voters feel the way they do.) I fully expect to vote for Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens. For that matter, Sosa is a more deserving Syringe-to-Hall candidate than McGwire for the reasons stated earlier.

Indeed, when I sat down with ballot and pen, I couldn't convince myself that McGwire ranked among the elite Steroid Era players.

Which made leaving his box unchecked - purely on baseball grounds - easier than I thought it would be.

For more on my vote this year, read on ...

The Process

So, who are these mysterious keepers of the Hall?

Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who have been active writers for at least 10 years are eligible to vote. (I've been in the BBWAA since 1985.)

Each voter is allowed to select from zero to 10 players per year.

Players are eligible only if they participated in at least 10 big-league seasons and if they have been retired for at least five years.

To gain enshrinement, a player must receive at least 75 percent of the votes in a given year. Any player who fails to receive at least 5 percent of the vote is dropped from the following year's ballot. A player cannot appear on the ballot for more than 15 years.

We are instructed to vote "based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the teams on which the player played."

Many voters ignore the integrity, sportsmanship and character guidelines, arguing that if such things were considered, there would be about five players in the Hall. I consider those traits and use them to help decide borderline cases.

The Balder Truth

Others on the Hall of Fame ballot who didn't get my check mark (in alphabetical order):

Kevin Appier: Averaged about 10 wins.

Harold Baines: Any DH will have to wow me with his numbers - think Frank Thomas when he becomes eligible. Harold's career average was under .300, he never hit 30 HR in a season, he had only three 100 RBI years and he was never a serious MVP candidate. Baines is a perfect example of a guy who deserves to be in the Hall of Very Good.

Ellis Burks: A real good player who never could be called dominant, with just one top-10 MVP finish in 18 years.

Andres Galarraga: With nearly 400 HR and a courageous comeback from cancer, the Big Cat was an excellent story. That doesn't make a guy a Famer, though. He did his best work at the Coors Field launching pad and never finished in the top five in MVP voting. His numbers are similar to Andre Dawson's but Galarraga didn't have the Hawk's all-around game. He also batted .095 in his lone NLCS.

Pat Hentgen: Like Appier, but maybe not as good.

Mike Jackson: Had a rubber arm. That and 5 bucks gets him a value meal at any Mickey D's in Cooperstown.

Eric Karros: A productive player and a good guy.

Ray Lankford: Nice all-around ballplayer.

Edgar Martinez: Why would I vote for this DH when I wouldn't vote for Baines, whose career numbers are better almost across the board?

Don Mattingly: Good at many things but great at too few. Kind of Steve Garvey Lite ... and Garvey's not in the Hall, either. Mattingly had the misfortune of arriving in Yankeeland right after the Thurman/Reggie Era and right before the Derek/Mariano Era, so he never even won anything.

Fred McGriff: His stats are better than many current enshrinees but he simply doesn't pass my "feels like a Famer" test. For one thing, I have never seen a worse-fielding first baseman in my four decades of baseball observation. And the Crime Dog gets a thumbs-down for those Emanski commercials alone. He wouldn't have received my vote even if he had 7 more HR for 500 career, but I'd have been curious to see how that would have affected other BBWAA voters. We'll never know.

Dale Murphy: A class act who had a very nice run in the '80s but falls short in pretty much every statistical category. Because of his fielding prowess in his prime, I'd pick him over Baines and McGriff ... but I'm not taking them, either.

Dave Parker: It took Jim Rice 15 years to get in and Parker, who kind of was the NL version of Rice in that era, had numbers that weren't quite as good. He really could rock those yellow pants, though.

Tim Raines: More than anyone on my blank-box list - including McGwire - Raines came closest to getting a check mark. As the No. 5 base-stealer ever and with a solid .385 OBP, Raines ranks among the top leadoff men. He was a stud for the talented Montreal clubs of the '80s and a solid role player for two Yankee title teams. Still, he didn't average 70 runs, didn't bat .300 and he hung around padding his stats for six years.

Shane Reynolds: Like Hentgen, but probably not as good.

David Segui: Numbers aren't good enough. He was a notorious juicer, too. The easiest guy on the ballot to ignore.

Lee Smith: If you are a closer, you had to have been special. Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage were; Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are. Smith falls just short, though I certainly can see why some of my peers vote for him.

Alan Trammell: A superb player who along with Cal Ripken Jr. helped set the stage for the great shortstops of the '90s. Still, he was not quite as good at most things as Barry Larkin was, and Larkin's only a borderline pick.

Robin Ventura: A great guy who could really play 3B.

Todd Zeile: He'll have to settle for being the best player whose last name starts with Z.

THE BALDEST TRUTH

Here are the five players in the Class of 2009 who got my Hall of Fame vote:

Roberto Alomar: One of the best players in the '90s and the very best second baseman I've ever seen. With the ability to catch anything hit in his zip code, he was to 2B what Ozzie Smith was to SS. Alomar also was a dynamic offensive player. He could steal bases, he had nice pop in his bat and he finished with a .300 average. The star of Toronto's two championship teams. On the down side, he hung around too long. And he once spit in an umpire's face, not exactly making him the role model for integrity, sportsmanship and character.

Bert Blyleven: His advocates want to know how voters can ignore his incredible strikeout and shutout totals as well as his impressive 287 wins. But as one who hasn't voted for him every time, it's because he also has so many negatives. With 250 losses, he ranks much higher in that category (10th) than in wins (27th), and he's 8th in most HR allowed. Blyleven had a good-but-not-great 3.31 ERA and he had the same batting-average against as Kevin Appier. He also had only one 20-win season in 22 years. That latter stat, however, was adversely affected by the fact that he toiled for many mediocre (or worse) teams. He worked a lot of innings and he was an important pitcher to champions in Pittsburgh and Minnesota. And, yes, there are all those K's and ShO's. He has earned my check mark, albeit just barely.

Andre Dawson: If Mark McGwire did only one thing well, Dawson did pretty much everything well, as illustrated by his top-25 ranks in total bases and extra-base hits as well as his 438 HR and 314 SB. He drove in nearly 1,600 runs and scored almost 1,400. He also won eight Gold Gloves and lasted 21 seasons despite playing more than half his career on Montreal's horrible artificial turf. And if you want to talk integrity and character, there isn't a smudge on this man's record. I'm trying to figure out how this un-McGwire has been on the ballot for eight years without getting elected. He came close last time, so hopefully 2010 will be the year.

Barry Larkin: This is the former Cincinnati shortstop's first year on the ballot, and I admit that when I first saw his name I said to myself: "Barry Larkin? Hmmm. Nice player. Not a Hall of Famer." Then, as I do with every candidate, I gave him my full consideration and decided he was a borderline case who fell on the right side of the border. In a nutshell, he brilliantly overlapped the era from Ripken to A-Rod, and though his numbers aren't as good (especially compared to Rodriguez), he was a difference-making SS for a long time. Larkin was the first 30 HR-30 SB shortstop, he won an MVP, his postseason numbers were outstanding, he helped the Reds win the 1990 World Series, he had more career walks than strikeouts and he was a 12-time All-Star who won nine Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves. Plus he was a leader and a class act - and that matters.

Jack Morris: His ERA was quite a bit higher and his win total was a little lower than I normally like in a Hall of Fame pitcher, but there's little doubt that he was one of the dominant hurlers - and personalities - of his generation. He finished in the top five of Cy Young voting five times, started three All-Star Games and played a prominent role for three different World Series-winning teams. His 10 innings of shutout ball in Game 7 of the 1991 Series was among the grittiest postseason performances ever and the perfect capper to one of the best Fall Classics in history. When I covered him, I thought he was a jerk. But he was the kind of jerk I'd want pitching a big game for my team.

Todd Hundley: Hey, I just wanted to make sure you read this all the way to the end.

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19 Comments

Eugene Freedman said:

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You seem to be crafting an argument for Raines and then say he stuck around 6 years too long. Two of those years he was a platoon player for the World Series Champion Yankees with a sandwich year in between. I don't think that counts as padding, especially when his OBP was close to .400 those years and his BAvg was around .300. In 1999-2000 he had lupus. Not exactly sticking around to pad his stats. He was very sick and didn't know what was wrong with him. Then, he came back to finish his career in Montreal where it all began in a classy move by both especially after what he had gone through. He didn't feel like he was done and felt like his body betrayed him prematurely. He asked to be traded to the Orioles to play along side his son. Maybe selfish, but he can't be blamed too much for that. Then, he stuck around too long by signing with the Marlins for one last season.

I think you need to seriously reconsider your treatment of Raines in next year's balloting. I recommend reading http://raines30.com/ to learn a lot more about how great he was. Better than Lou Brock by leaps and bounds and equal to Tony Gwynn. On the surface it doesn't look like it's true, but after careful analysis Raines shines.

Plus, he suffered more than any player from the labor rancor of the 80s and 90s. He missed a month in his best season because of collusion (nobody made him an offer even though he was the best player in the NL at the time), missed a chance at the single season stolen base because of the strike his rookie year, and considerable time in 94-95.

Feel free to e-mail me to discuss more. Eugene Freedman, Baseball Think Factory, writer.

Bill@TDS said:

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There's just no point in responding to the silliness of the McGwire "analysis." No one who thinks (a) that McGwire was one-dimensional or (b) that being one-dimensional is necessarily bad when the one dimension is the best thing a hitter can do is qualified to have a discussion about him. (Anyway, I have to assume you'd vote for him immediately if not for the PED issue and are just trying to stir stuff up by constructing a bogus argument against him; you just did a really, really poor job of it.) But even worse:
Dawson is a borderline candidate and a defensible choice. Except that Raines was much, much, much better. You just can't vote for Dawson and not Raines. Makes no sense at all.
If you think Baines was better than Edgar Martinez in any way, you should just give up. Baines was a mediocre DH for 20+ years and managed to compile lots of hits. Edgar Martinez was one of the best hitters in baseball in almost every year he played.

Mike Nadel said:

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Eugene: As I said in my piece, Raines was a very difficult non-choice. And, yes, I will revisit his candidacy in the future, as I always do with each potential Famer. It hasn't happened often, but I have changed my mind over the years on players. Regardless, Raines is lucky to have such a staunch, loyal, knowledgeable advocate like you.

Bill: Obviously, I disagree with your Dawson/Raines argument. They were different players and I believe Dawson is more Hall-worthy. And judging by the vote totals for both, I am not alone - not that that makes me right or wrong, of course. Martinez had an excellent stretch of seasons but Hall voting requires consideration of a whole range of things and I believe he falls short (as does Baines). As for McGwire, no, I would not have voted for him even if he hadn't been a juicer. And I said so. Having discussed this with numerous ballplayers and fellow BBWAA members, I'm not alone in this belief. I've been in this business for three-plus decades and I learned long ago never to write something just to stir things up; I believe every word I write. If you think that McGwire's dimension was "the best thing a hitter can do," you have an interesting perspective on the value of HRs above all else - which weakens your argument for non-HR hitters such as Raines and Martinez.

I appreciate that so many people care about the Hall of Fame and I do take my Hall vote very seriously. Thanks to these gentlemen and to everyone else for taking the time to read my stuff.

valuearb said:

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Big Mac did two things well, hit home runs and walk at one of the highest rates in baseball history. Clearly you should understand that Total Bases is a junk stat because it doesn't include walks, if it did McGwire would have the 7th greatest TB season of all time. He was also considered a good defensive player early in his career. And while 40% of his HRs came in 4 late career years, almost 10% came his rookie season in only 150 games when it's pretty clear he wasn't using steroids. According to Canseco, McGwire's worst years occurred after his adoption of steroid use, so if his injuries were caused/accentuated by his steroid use it might have cost him home runs.

And clearly you can't be so dense to assume that all these high home run rates are related to steroids. HR rates doubled from the 70s to the early 2000 seasons. When testing was introduced, HR rates declined a microscopic 5%. Clearly steroids impact was pretty small. And we know it wasn't HGH either, since the Mitchell report itself confirms that HGH is a do nothing placebo.

Big Mac had tremendous natural power that he showed well before he was ever juicing. He played in a league where steroid use was accepted and allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, and he hit against pitchers who were using it as well. And he still dominated. His OPS+ is the 13th highest of all time, meaning he is one of the 20 most valuable hitters in baseball history, short career or not.

If that's not a hall of famer methinks you don't want to allow anyone in. I'm not even going to talk about one of the greatest players ever, Tim Raines, since I can only do so much re-education in one day.

Oh, and Jack Morris? LOL. The "big game" pitcher who only had one big game. His performance that day was HOF worthy if you could make the HOF for one day, but his total post season performances average out to mediocrity, just like his regular season performances do. He's the clearest example of the infatuation sportswriters have with magic moments and scorekeepers rules such as "pitchers wins". They love guys like Morris who got 4.9 runs of support per game during their career, and under-appreciate guys like Blyleven who worked wonders with only 4.1 runs of support per game.

Eugene Freedman said:

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Mike,

Thanks for responding. I'm glad to hear you change your votes periodically. Many writers don't reconsider players once they've made their gut-reaction call. That's unfortunate because we learn more about player valuation every year and it's best to study history with hindsight- not the he didn't feel like a hall-of-famer to me when he was playing. I applaud you for re-evaluating your ballot annually.

I really hope you review Raines and rethink your vote for next year and all subsequent years. His vote total is alarming low each year for no reason other than he wasn't the most visible star of his era, even though he was one of the best. When compared to Rickey Henderson he falls short, but so does every other player of their type.

Tom Tango's website, which I cited earlier, is by far the best resource. On it Raines is compared to other HOF leadoff hitters, HOF non-traditional (power) #3 hitters, and other HOF hitters who crossed Raines' era. Tangotiger's statistical analysis is second to none and he writes without convolution. They are probably the best research you can read on Raines' career.

I don't know where you fall on the question of Lou Brock as his candidacy was probably well before you began voting, but Brock, despite his 3,000 hits, was not the player that Raines was.

Raines got on base 3977 times
Brock 3833
Raines made 6670 outs
Brock 7823
Raines 2551 Runs+RBI
Brock 2510
Raines 808 SB and only 146 CS
Brock 938 SB and 307 CS

Essentially they were the same player except Brock contributed two entire seasons' worth of outs to his side of the ledger. And, it wasn't like Raines played his career in a high scoring era. The vast majority of his plate appearances occurred in the 80s and early 90s. By the mid-late 90s he was a platoon player.

I'd be happy to continue this dialog via e-mail or on this site if you want.

Maybe if I'm able to convince you to include Raines on your next ballot we could move on to Alan Trammell and making positional adjustments that value the middle of the diamond more than the corners because of defensive value. Just consider one thing with regard to Trammell. If Dawson is the 10-12th best centerfielder of all-time and he made your ballot (with almost half his time in RF where he wouldn't crack the top 20), shouldn't the 10-12th best shortstop make it as well, even if his career totals aren't as high? But, let's leave that for another day, after you feel strongly enough about Raines.

Best,

Eugene

doug nicodemus said:

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holey moley nadman you have a fan base...yAavfm

bachslunch said:

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A couple things to consider re Bert Blyleven, who by the way I'm glad you're voting for.

Pitching on mediocre to bad teams much of Blyleven's career definitely affected how many wins and losses he ended up with -- had he pitched on better teams, he would surely have gotten better run support and had more wins and fewer losses, likely hitting that magic 300 win number some consider overpoweringly meaningful along the way.

It's also risky to compare numbers for two players from different eras -- for example a 3.00 ERA in the 1960s is less impressive than the same ERA during the late 1990s. The stat of ERA+ is one that adjusts for park effect and era, with a number of 100 being league average. Note well that Blyleven's career ERA+ is 118 while Jack Morris's is 105, which is one of several things that would make voting for the latter but not the former a head-scratcher.

Also consider similarity scores. Of those for Blyleven, 8 of his 10 most similar are in the HoF and two others have good cases. With HoF-ers starred, they are: *Don Sutton, *Gaylord Perry, *Ferguson Jenkins, *Robin Roberts, *Tom Seaver, *Early Wynn, *Phil Niekro, *Steve Carlton, Tommy John, and Jim Kaat.

Note also that if one values Jack Morris's postseason pitching, that should go at least in equal measure to Blyleven:

Morris: 13 G, 7-4 W-L, 3.80 ERA
Blyleven: 8 G, 5-1 W-L, 2.47 ERA

Baseball Reference does not list ERA+ for postseason play. Morris had both Kodak moments and bad games, while Blyleven was consistently good.

As far as voting for or against Mark McGwire, poster "valuearb" argues well pro-McGwire. Those large numbers of BBs he drew have significant value. Whether one thinks McGwire belongs in or not in the abstract depends in part on how one feels about the two HoF-ers on his similars list, Harmon Killibrew and Willie McCovey, as well as others on his list who have entered into such discussions in other forums such as Jim Thome, Juan Gonzalez, Gil Hodges, and Norm Cash.

RobertMontgomeryQ said:

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Wasn't McGwire basically just Dave Kingman on steroids?

valuearb said:

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Sure, Big Mac and Kong were so similar.

Career OPS+/OBP/SLG
Big Mac 163/.394/.583
Kong 115/.303/.478

Big Mac is the 12th best hitter of all time ranked by OPS+, which is adjusted for parks and leagues he played in. Kong is tied for 469th. Kong is an prime example that controlling the strike zone and drawing walks is a skill. Pitchers feared both power hitters, but walked Big Mac 709 times more in almost the same amount of plate appearances (7429 & 7660). Big Mac walked almost 20% of the time!

RobertMontgomeryQ said:

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Excellent points, but I wonder what Kong's numbers would have looked like had he used PEDs. You can love Mac all you want, but there is no question he was not a complete ballplayer. Mike is right on in his assessment of Mac's HOF qualifications.

Mike Nadel said:

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I appreciate McGwire's on-base pct, but unless he's a leadoff guy, I don't want my superstars walking their way to the Hall of Fame. Ruth, Williams, Mantle, Bonds ... these guys walked an awful lot. They also did a few other things McGwire could only do in his dreams. I feel comfortable with his Hall admission.

bachslunch said:

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Mike, thanks for the reply.

Here's the thinking on the desirability of walks as I understand it: walking is for the most part far preferable to making an out -- anytime you draw a walk, you keep the inning going and maximize chances to add runs. Anytime a player gets on base, he might score. No way that happens if he makes an out. And while some types of outs are more useful than others (sac flies, sac bunts, right side of the infield grounders with players at 2nd or 3rd base can produce helpful results), you pay a price for them -- getting yourself one out closer to ending the inning than before.

Drawing a lot of walks shows solid command of the strike zone, which a good hitter should have. Am hard pressed to think of exceptions to this beyond Vladimir Guerrero.

And players who draw a lot of walks usually make the pitcher in question throw a lot more pitches sooner than they want, which normally gets that hurler out of the game faster -- something you especially want to do in the case of a good starter so you can get to the not-always-so-great bullpen guys. If you have 5 at bats where 10 pitches each are thrown at players, that's half the pitch counts most starters are allowed these days -- and an advantage to the hitters. Guys who swing at everything don't tax the pitchers as much.

Ultimately, there are going to be at bats for every hitter where they just don't get something to hit. Am thinking it's far better to get a walk than nothing at all.

john brown said:

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People walked McGwire because he couldn't run. It would take three singles to get him home from first.

He was also well on his way to being thought of as an all-time pain in the butt like Kingman until Sosa pulled him out of it during their big season together.

Dawson, on the other hand, did something that I have never heard of in sports. He showed up at the Cubs headquarters with a blank check. Will anybody ever do that again?

I also remember his last at-bat his MVP season in Wrigley. As the crowd is chanting,"MVP.MVP", he hits his last home run of the season.

Imagine Dawson playing his whole career on natural turf instead of concrete.

I like your picks.

DrewS said:

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I don’t think you will find a more intellectual pursuit in professional American sports than the discussion of who gets into Cooperstown. Just look at the arguments presented in response to this column. Most fans of sports will offer passionate opinions, but the vast majority of these observations are devoid of logic. To borrow a paraphrase from Al Davis, the modern sports mantra should be “Just spin, baby,” since raw emotion and blind devotion seem to matter more than the ability to reason.

But when you talk about who gets into the baseball HOF, you see a style of dialogue that doesn’t really appear anywhere else in the American sports universe. All of a sudden, being the loudest voice in the room doesn’t guarantee that your point is accepted.

That’s the blessing and the curse of baseball. No other team sport relies so heavily on so many solitary achievements. It’s why we can so easily compare one player to another. Running backs’ yardage totals can rise or fall drastically with the quality of the offensive line, quarterback, and receiving corps. Send Kobe Bryant to the Nets, and his stats change dramatically. But Joe Mauer and Brandon Inge had pretty much the same overall opportunity to contribute to their respective teams last season since they each faced almost identical competition. So the fact that one managed to reach base more than 50% as often as the other is significant. (Sure, the quality of teammates affects this, but not nearly as much as in other sports.) Baseball allows us to isolate variables more completely than other team sport, making the comparisons among players less susceptible to rickety reasoning.

The drawback to this style of comparison is that we can fool ourselves into believing that we’ve magically made the leap from subjectivity to objectivity. It reminds me of the process the Supreme Court uses to make decisions. By recognizing legal precedent, it’s easy to justify B if it shares certain characteristics with A. And C can be justified via its relationship to B. But by the time you get to L, it could be in direct opposition to A and be perfectly allowable provided each step before it has been sufficiently justified.

When a HOFer is voted in, he automatically lends credence to his statistics, even if those particular statistics were a detriment to his candidacy. This is how discussions like “So-and-so’s Stat1 and Stat2 are more impressive than these HOFers, so he should be in, too” arise. It’s bothersome to me that statistics like these can be cherry-picked to support a conclusion, particularly when (a) you almost never see the same set of cherry-picked stats applied across the board, and (b) you aren’t told whether those stats you’re using as a yardstick were considered significant back when they were applied to the HOFers.

I don’t mean to bag on the stat hounds. Heck, statistical analysis is a significant part of my job. But you have to know when to apply statistics and what their limitations are. They are a useful tool and can be easily manipulated if you aren’t carefully paying attention. That’s why I give more weight to the grizzled media veterans who aren’t afraid to play the “feels like a Famer” trump card. If you spend decades intimately acquainted with the game, then you are going to see intangible qualities that cannot be defined statistically, or at least not according to the traditional statistical categories of baseball. Since the decision on whether to include a player on the HOF ballot is subjective, I’m willing to accept some impartial subjectivity in the decision.

On a side note, I don’t like it when HOF voters use the MVP award – or any award that is voted on by the media – as a measuring stick. I wouldn’t call it a conflict of interest, but it just feels funny to me. Let’s omit from the process the media’s opinions of the media’s opinions.

RobertMontgomeryQ said:

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Excellent post!!

doug nicodemus said:

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i am of 2 minds here...the nadman knows my opinion on this...i think they should throw out half of the people in the hall (it can be done...christopher USED to be a saint) and then only vote in ONE person per year...if that were the case these conversations would be attenuated..on the other hand mike hardly ever talks about my beloved st. louis so i will add that i think big mac will make a very good hitting coach - especially if he repeatedly says "don't do what i did" as far as better living through chemical adjustment goes....haaaapy new year mike keep up the funny (and good) work

jdrio said:

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I just want to get this straight - you think .289/.356/.465 for an OPS of 820, OPS+ 120, is better than .312/.418/.515 OPS 933, OPS+ 147? Because you stated Baines numbers (the first set) were better almost across the board than Edgar's (the second). Edgar's OPS is 34th all-time, ahead of Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Mike Schmidt, among others. Baines is 279th, right behind Milton Bradley. Baines wasn't near the hitter Edgar was, and the numbers prove it.

DrewS said:

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"The nadman"? That doesn't read too well. :D

Eugene Freedman said:

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Mike,

I wrote a piece on Raines30 attempting to convince you and other open minded writers about why Raines deserves induction. I hope you will read it and pass it along to your colleagues. It uses only traditional statistics and avoids complex formulae, linear weights, and other things that can be off putting to many voters.

http://raines30.com/c47.shtml

Thanks again for your consideration of Raines' candidacy.

Eugene
erf1@cornell.edu

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