Change-UpJanuary 09, 2008
The Votes Are In
By Patrick Sullivan

The votes have been tallied and a most deserving Goose Gossage will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer. Nobody else will be going in with him. Here is how the votes broke down, with players who received less than 5% of votes not listed (don't worry, there are two BBWAA writers out there who saw fit to throw their support behind Travis Fryman).

              PCT
Gossage       85.8
Rice          72.2
Dawson        65.9
Blyleven      61.9
Smith, L.     43.3
Morris        42.9
John          29.1
Raines        24.3
McGwire       23.6
Trammell      18.2
Concepcion    16.2
Mattingly     15.8
Parker        15.1
Murphy        13.8
Baines        5.2

Immediately leaping off the page to me is the outfield vote. Consider these five players, and tell me how 72.2% of voters can give the nod to one of them and just 13.8% to another.

         PA     AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS+  RC/G
Rice    9,058  .298  .352  .502   128   6.0  
Dawson  10,769 .279  .323  .482   119   5.4
Raines  10,359 .294  .385  .425   123   6.6
Parker  10,184 .290  .339  .471   121   5.5  
Murphy  9,040  .265  .346  .469   121   5.7

To my eye, these guys look pretty comparable. Tim Raines was by far the greatest offensive force of the bunch and as Rich Lederer and others have pointed out, should have been a slam-dunk first ballot selection.

While Jim Rice has the next best offensive resume, it seems that the defensive contributions of Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy and Dave Parker - all Gold Glove level outfielders - have been far too heavily discounted by the electorate. I am not sure that Parker's case is as strong as Rice's, but Murphy's and Dawson's are. It's just too bad people don't fear solid hitting center fielders who can shag fly balls and don't play with a wall in left field that's just a knock-down sandwedge away (remember, Rice hit .277/.330/.459 away from Fenway). I will spare readers further snark and just point to Joe Posnanski to help address Rice's candidacy once and for all. Here he addresses the "dominantest hitter ever for 12-years" Rice crowd:

For instance, what (if) I told you there was a player who, over a 12-year period, led all of baseball in home runs and RBIs? I’m talking all of baseball. Even Rice did not do that. And what if I further told you this guy played center field for much of his career, he stole more than 200 bases (31 in his best season) and hit one of the three most famous home runs in baseball history. That guy would be a SURE Hall of Famer, wouldn’t he?

Joe Carter (1984-1995 — that’s 12 years for you)
Homers (327), 1st in baseball
RBIs (1172), 1st in baseball

Carter was so highly thought of by voters that he couldn't even muster 4% of the vote in his one and only year on the ballot. Meanwhile, Rice looks like he is going to get in, which is fine I guess. But boy are there a lot of other players who should be in there before him.

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Bert Blyleven is up to 61.9% and on the right track. Hat tip to Rich, there.

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Poor Alan Trammell.

- A career 110 OPS+, good for 11th all time amongst shortstops with 6,000 PA's through 2002.

- A career .333/.404/.588 hitter in the post-season and the 1984 World Series MVP.

- Four gold gloves

- Should have run away with the 1987 MVP award, when he hit .343/.402/.551. Showing there is something of a longstanding tradition of BBWAA, um, confusion, George Bell won the award that season (RBI's are the best!).

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The following link is definitely parody, but have a look and decide for yourself if the divergences in logic between this spoof piece and the general electorate are all that vast.

Check out Art Garfamudis's ballot
.

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Update: Here's exhibit A for what's wrong with the current voting system: Dan Shaughnessy, in one of his more odious pieces of blatant deceit in quite some time, chimes in on what a travesty it is that Rice was not elected. A snippet for you:


He hasn't cried about racism or favoritism (he'd probably already be in Cooperstown if he'd had the disposition of Kirby Puckett or Gary Carter), but he knows he was a better hitter than former teammates Perez and Wade Boggs and he suffers in silence while inching excruciatingly close to election.

Comments

To my eye, these guys look pretty comparable.

The difference between Raines SLG and the lowest of the other four is 44 points. The range for those other four is 33 top to bottom. Raines is not remotely comparable to the others. It just demonstrates how some statistical measurements seem to have been created to obscure the differences between players rather than illuminate them. OPS+?

Is there any good reason why playing on winning teams shouldn't be a criteria for the Hall of Fame? After all, the whole purpose of baseball is to win games, not to accumulate personal statistics. Players who do that are known as selfish.

Note the corresponding advantage in OBP. That matters - a lot. More than even OPS+ gives it credit for, even. So does Raines' baserunning ability, which was phenomenal.

As for winning - the purpose of a team is to win, and that takes 25 (actually probably closer to 40) guys to do. If that's the criteria, fine, elect teams to the hall of fame, but not individuals. So long as you're putting individual players in the hall of fame, the criteria should be about the players' individual performance.

You can measure an individual's contributions to winning, but it requires a little work in order to cancel out things that are a product (in whole or in part) of teamates, home ballpark, etc.

Oh, and regarding players being "selfish" for "acumulating personal statistics" ...

How, pray tell, does one acumulate stats? One gets a hit (or a walk). This is selfish how? Is is somehow noble to give away an at-bat? WTF?

If a player is in the game, the player should be playing hard. If the game's outcome has become a fait accompli (which, as most of us know, is not always the case even when it seems like it should be), the manager can remove the player from the game. Until then, however, I want that player to, I dunno, TRY.

But Raines was a star on some very good Expos teams in the 80s, an important regular on some good White Sox teams in the early 90s, and an important contributor to two Yankees World Series winners in the late 90s. I agree wholeheartedly with what Rob in CT has to say about team vs. individual performance; however, even those who want to look for "winners" cannot ignore Raines.

I just don't get how 3/4 of the voting writers could find Raines not worthy of the Hall. He seems like a candidate who should satisfy everyone. The statheads have done an excellent job of arguing for his rate states. The OBP is excellent. He was the most efficient base stealer ever. For those who like counting stats look at the number of stolen bases, runs scored and times on base. He was a "winner." He even passes the impressionistic smell test. During his peek years in the early 80s, he was considered one of the great stars of the game. Indeed because of guys like Raines and Dawson, the Expos even got a significant portion of Game of the Week and TWIB in those pre-MLB/Sportscenter days.

By any measure, Tim Raines was a great ballplayer.

I find it's a shame that many voters won't vote for any player for this "steroid era".
I applaud they won't vote for presumable steroid consumers (Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa).
Also, I understand they won't vote for players that have been barely mentioned as cosumers (Sheffield, Ivan Rodriguez, A-Rod).
But it's a shame that some players that deservely would recieve 98-99.9% of votes in their first year of eligibility will be punished by some voters and will only recieve around 90%. Think about Griffey and Maddux.

Quote:

Also, I understand they won't vote for players that have been barely mentioned as cosumers (Sheffield,

... Sheffield has admitted to doing it "unkowingly" but there's plenty of evidence with BALCO there.

Is no one going to comment on Shank (Shaughnessy) stating that Rice was better than Boggs? Someone needs to throw that guy off the Tobin and think of the children... or my sanity.

Shaughnessy is one of the many (probably, majority) of "reporters" who create controversy to sell newspapers, or to get people to listen in during the drive home. He's a shock-jock, except that instead of swearing and having naked women in his studio, he says outrageous things to get people to talk about his articles. There's no such thing as bad publicity, right?

TT... you're either going to get an eye-opening experience on this site, or you're completely wasting your time and ours. It's all a matter of how much you want to open your mind up to hear people out, and how much you just want to remain ignorant and convinced you're "right" without considering the time and effort the rest of us put into learning.

Cesar Crespo has one more world series ring than Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Ken Griffey Jr, and Alex Rodriguez combined. THAT's why playing for winning teams shouldn't be a consideration for an individual award like HOF induction.

Now if we could only get Miguel Cabrera to stop piling up all those selfish home runs he hits for his losing team...

Although we tend to categorize all hitters similarly (using OPS+) strategically there are two types of hitters: those that set the table (OBP), and those that clear it (SP), with both types gaining advantages from skills in the other ranking, and both gaining defensive credibility from how and where they played. Whitey Herzog's Cardinals of the 1980s showed that a team of mostly table setters could be effective; their only decent table clearer was Jack Clark. In general, though, it's much easier for table clearers to make it to the big leagues: you can't walk off the island, as they say. Keep in mind also that players tend to get encouraged to concentrate on the primary skill. Rickey Henderson's crouch helped him get walks. Andre Dawson eschewed walks because his job was to hit the ball hard and drive in runs. Tim Raines may have been able to improve his SP, but it would have been detrimental to his OBP.



Tim Raines is clearly one of the top five table setters in history. Rickey Henderson is almost certainly the best, and Ty Cobb might be second best, and some of those really high BA old timers like Rogers Hornsby might get into the top five. But I doubt on a comparison basis to his peers that you could put Raines lower than fifth; I put him third. Raines was, of course, the finest percentage base stealer in history, and no slouch for volume either. People argue whether the stolen base has real value for some players or teams with relatively low success rates, but nobody argued that about Raines. With most baseball teams over most of history having generally three table setters (batting first, second, and eighth) and six table clearers, then that means that you'd have to go to the top 15 sluggers to get comparable strategic value of the top 5 leadoff types.



Fond as I am of Rice, Murphy, and Dawson, and I would not fault any HOF voter who decided to vote for them, I doubt anybody would put any of them in the top 30 sluggers all time, and 30 might be too small a number. I'm not saying they weren't HOF worthy; I'm saying that compared to the greats who provided the same kinds of value to their teams, they are second echelon hall of famers. But when choosing sides for teams in heaven, circa 2100, Raines will be leading off for one of the teams even if there are only four teams. I'm not sure any of the others will even be on a roster.


Rice a better hitter than Boggs!?!?!
I do think Rice is a legit Hall of Fame player, but comparing the two is just plain odd because they were such different hitters....but c'mon! Boggs was a 12 time All-Star, won FIVE batting titles, 2 Gold Gloves, led the A.L. in OBP 6 times (ranked 26th All-Time in OBP at .415). Boggs didn't hit for "power", but he had 578 doubles (Rice had 373). Boggs is also ranked 20th for Times On Base, for which he led the A.L. 8 times...IN A ROW! So while Rice was an excellent and feared hitter, Boggs was just better. He hit .328 for his career and scored a ton of runs (1513 total)...Shaughnessy is crazy for even suggesting it.

By the criteria of being on a winner, Ernie Banks should not be in the Hall of Fame. Nor should Ted Williams who got into just one post-season which his team lost at least partly because he played so badly.

And before we suggest Raines had the opportunity as a free agent to select more successful teams (a not very worthwhile point anyway in my view), let's remember that at the peak of his career, collusion barred him from exercising his free agent opportunity.

As for discriminating between steroid users and others in the recent past, how do you know neither Griffey or Maddux has used PEDs? Would you have pegged Pettitte as a user? He is known as about as straight arrow as you can get. Or will we now distinguish players based on how often they used them or for what purpose or under what conditions or what excuses they come up with? For that matter, how can you be certain that Murphy and Musial and-well you name the impeccably clean player-do not share the same secret "guilt" of Pettitte in some way?

It is true that the steroid users have besmirched the reputations of everyone and injured innocent people, just as the amphetamine users and gamblers did. Of course, it is the public perception that is at fault for identifying the action as a moral rather than a health issue, but nonetheless, the suspicion is now there and everyone playing recently is under the same cloud. Exempting your favorite good guy disregards the evidence that lots of good guys were involved.

I think the argument for Rice would be more persuasive if people stopped lying about him. The most feared? More than George Brett?

I think am changing my mind about Rice. I always say there are a whole bunch of comparable or better players not in the HOF, but now that I think about it almost all of them are National Leaguers.

Rice was not the number one best offensive force from the AL of that time, but he is way up there on AL players from the DH era not in the HOF. I would take Dewey over Rice, but his supporters should stick to the "best of the AL not in" approach.

P.S. All OBP is not created equal. A slow catcher batting 7th or 8th will do much less damage than a supreme baserunning OF batting 3rd and 4th, which explains a little why Dawson had as few walks as he did.

I am not sure how you get into the Hall of Fame other then lobbying for the sportswriters to vote for a player. I went into the Hall of Fame Pitchers and found some interesting stats. In our modern era pitchers are attractive for several reasons, such as an inning eater, strikeouts, complete games and obviously won and lost percentages. Many people have noted if Bert would have been on winning ball clubs he would be in the hall of fame probably with 300 plus wins and his winning percentage would be higher.

In my research I find Bert averaged 226 innings per year. (What an innings eater)

Bert completed 242 games which equals 35% of the games he pitched in. (Who in the hall of fame can make this claim?} I tried to get these stats of current hall of fame members but was not successful.

Bert's pitched into the 7th inning per game over his career. (Dividing 4970 total innings pitched by 692 games pitched.

Here is an interesting stat and a good arguement if Bert would have been on better ball clubs. His lifetime ERA was 3.31. There are 8 members in the hall with higher era's. Lefty Gomez, Burleigh Grimes,Jesse Haines, Fergie Jenkins, Waite Hoyt,, Ted Lyons, Red Ruffing, and Early Winn.

Cal Ripken set the record for his durability in playing in so many straight games. Cal will someday be in the hall but most notability other then his playing stats will be setting that record on so many straight games without missing.

When you talk about durability and being valuable to a team, you cannot overlook Bert averaging 226 innings per year during his career. Who wouldn't want a Bert Blyleven on their team in this modern day era when pitchers are often times rewarded in their contracts if they pitch 200 innings in a year. Not many can say they average 200 innings a year.

Now for last stat I would like to mention, there are four pitchers in the hall of fame that have a worse winning percentage than Bert. Ted Lyons (didn't I mention Ted before having a higher ERA?), Rube Marquard, Eppa Rixey and Nolan Ryan.

Not only does Bert have some impressive stats other than where he ranks in strikeouts, he represents baseball and sets an example on and off the field for children who are so much influenced by the game they love to play.

Often wonder where some of these guys who get to vote for the hall of fame participant heads are.

David Stein,
Cal is in the Hall.
I agree in general terms with your defense of Blyleven, but you can not defend him comparing his ERA with pitchers of different eras. It would be better to utilize ERA+.

Bert's pitched into the 7th inning per game over his career. (Dividing 4970 total innings pitched by 692 games pitched.

That's an average of more than 7 innings per start, meaning he pitched into the 8th inning, on average (barely). However, without a breakdown by innings started and innings in relief, we can't be sure of these numbers. We can be sure of 9 seasons with an ERA+ of 125 or higher AND 240 innings or more (quality AND quantity) and with 17 seasons with a winning record, he seems to have always helped his team.

But he seems to have been Mr. Invisible. I mean, one year he had an ERA+ of 151, 234 IP, 1.065 WHIP, 2.72 ERA (*lgERA was 4.11) and got zero votes for Cy Young consideration. His best ERA+ year, 158, earned him 7th place in the Cy Young. 142 ERA with 281 IP and an ERA better than a run under *lgERA also got him no consideration.

Season by season, Blyleven got snubbed. 1973, he was 2nd in WHIP, 3rd in ERA (2nd if you throw out John Hiller), and only 7th in CYA. 1974, 3rd in WHIP, 4th in ERA (again, John Hiller was there), and no CYA points. 1977, led all CYA points getters in WHIP, was 3rd (Sparky Lyle was first) out of 9 in ERA, zero CYA points. 1984, Bert finally got some recognition (3rd in CYA) but despite an ERA under 3 and 19 wins, finished behind two relievers (to be fair, 129 and 140 IP by Quiz and Willie Hernandez gives them more value than most relievers). 1985 Bert probably didn't outpitch the two guys ahead of him, but you saw a big market pitcher named Britt Burns get enough CYA points to finish 7th with only 227 IP and an ERA of 3.96; Blyleven had EIGHT seasons with more innings, a better (usually much better) ERA, and NO CYA points at all. And so it goes.


And now idiots like Jon Leyman cite historic abuses of Cy Young voting as reasons for why Blyleven had no "impact" and thus should have to watch Jack Morris go into the HOF. It's a shame that one of the paths to becoming a BBWAA member is to get jocks to like you enough to get decent interviews and thus baseball writing jobs even if you're not smart enough to understand park neutral and season neutral numbers, than an ERA+ score is a pretty good comparison of pitchers from any two years, be one DH/steroid and the other the high mound 60's.

Here's why I think Jim Rice ranks higher on the voting lists than any of the guys listed in the article -

I base this on the four HOF prediction methods used on Baseball Reference. I list test, (average HOF), Rice's score and (his rank) within the following range of players (Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Dave Parker, Joe Carter, Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Dwight Evans)--

-Black Ink Test (27) 33 1-
-Gray Ink Test (144) 176 1-
-HOF Standards (50) 43 3-
-HOF Monitor (100) 146.5 1-

Incidentally he outranks Boggs on all of those except the HOF Monitor where Boggs scores a 267.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Rice deserves to be in the HOF, although if you put stock in these rankings he ends up as a slightly above average Hall of Famer. Of course none of this takes into account Home/Road Splits.

I take it back about Boggs, my notes were all crunched together for him, Rice tops Boggs in Gray Ink only, Boggs is ahead on everything else.

Incidentally Boggs' HOF Monitor score is 17th best of all time, imagine if the Sox had called him up after his first two 300 seasons in the minors instead of his fourth.

Josh,

The Red Sox definately could have put Boggs in the majors as early as 1978...at least as a pinch hitter/substitute. Of course, who would have guessed that he'd actually have a much HIGHER BA in the majors compared to his minor league career right away. He went from .335 at AAA in 1981 to an eye-popping .349 in the majors in 1982. Oh, then he won the batting title the next year at .361!

Wade Boggs was a contact hitter of the highest order. If some less talented team had drafted him, he could have even ended up in the majors right away in 1976. I bet he would have had better numbers than Robin Yount's first several seasons. The Red Sox were really stacked with talent when they got Boggs, so I guess it was tough finding a place for him.

Jim Rice a better hitter than Wade Boggs? Sorry to hear about Shaughnessy's unsuccessful lobotomy.


Rice was a solid RH power hitter in a park built for RH power hitters. He was certainly an all star caliber player, but Hall of Fame?


He hit 383 HRs. Norm Cash hit 377 in 1,500 less at bats. And Norm was an excellent defensive player who won a batting title (albeit with a corked table leg ;-) If Rice gets in, Norm should be right on his tail. His batting average was less, but he played in a pitcher's era, and his on-base% was better. He didn't hit into nearly the amount of DPs that Rice did.


I'm not really promoting Norm Cash for the HoF, I'm showing that Rice was just another solid slugger, not a HoFer.


Trammell is the one really getting ripped off. Blyleven and Raines are at least within reach of enshrinement now, Trammell is still off the radar screen. He already got rooked of the MVP in '87 in one of the worst cases of highway robbery in AL history. His own team added insult to injury by not even retiring his number (though they retired Willie Horton's number).

BBWAA is a joke.

"...defensive contributions of Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy and Dave Parker..."

Dave parker?

DAVE Parker?

Dave PARKER?

Nope, no matter how you say it, it just don't make sense.

Parker won three gold gloves.

I know nothing about Dave Parker, but citing Gold Gloves in order to claim someone was a good defender just isn't good enough. Derek Jeter has multiple GGs. I love the Captain, but he's not a plus defender by any stretch of the imagination. The GG results are replete with examples like that. The best defender almost never wins.

Understood, Rob. It's not a good measure, but it is a measure. There are always terrible choices but there is some correlation between fielding quality and gold glove awards.

All Shthar did was imply that because Dave Parker was Dave Parker he was not a good fielder. Sure the GG's tend to be a little all over the map, but I thought my retort was an uptick in terms of discourse quality.

Dave Parker had one of the best throwing arms of his era. Some might say he had a feared throwing arm.

Didn't Dave Parker throw out someone from right field on the fly once, in an All-Star game or maybe a playoff game, or possibly the Game of the Week, or maybe just a game I happened to see on TV once? Still, I sort of remember it, and it was really cool, even though it might have been Dave Winfield. Either way, it makes Parker a good fielder, doesn't it? And possibly a Hall of Famer.