View Full Version : Hall of Fame debate

Olympic Fan
05-25-2007, 01:10 PM
I've enjoyed some of the baseball debates we've had on this board and since it's that time of year when baseball is in the forefront, I thought I'd try a thread about on-going Hall of Fame debates.

I was thinking about it last night when all the commentators were gushing about John Smoltz after he beat Tom Glavine and the Mets to reach 200 wins -- making him the first pitcher in baseball history to get to 200 wins and 150 saves.

Everybody I heard on TV and almost everybody I've read on the message boards this morning agrees that Smoltz is a lock Hall of Famer. While I totally agree with that assessment, I'm not as sure he'll make it -- I keep thinking back to Jack Morris, the best pitcher in the 1980s and one of the great big-game pitchers of all time and how he's been forgotten by the voters. In the first blush of a great accomplishment -- as when Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout to beat the Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series -- Morris seemed a lock for the HOF. Today, with Smoltz the big news on ESPN GameNight, he appears to be a lock ... we'll see.

But it got me thinking -- the Braves have had one of the great runs in baseball history. True, they've only won one world championship in modern times, but their streak between 1991 and 2005 is one of the most consistent performances by any franchise in baseball history. So, I wondered, which players off the great Braves team will be honored by the Hall of Fame?

Obviously, you start out with the Big Three -- Greg Maddox is an absolute lock and Tom Glavine is going to clinch his spot with his 300th win in a month or two. I think Smoltz will make it -- his 200 wins/150 saves is unique and his 15-4 postseason record is eye-popping. Still, it wouldn't hurt to have another couple of solid seasons ...

But what about the position players? Will any Brave players of this era make it?

I think Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield have a chance, but both were just passing through Atlanta and hardly count as Braves. McGriff pplayed 4 1/2 of his 19 seasons in Atlanta. Sheffield played two of 20 (and still counting) seasons in Atlanta.

I think just two real Braves have even a chance -- the Jones boys.

What do you think their chances are?

Chipper is a career .304 hitter -- with a .402 OBP and a .544 SLUG. He's coming up on 2,000 hits and he's at 369 home runs. He has one MVP award, five top 10 MVP finishes and 10 top 25 MVP finishes.

His offensive numbers are pretty good for a third baseman (he's played 1350 career games at third/341 in left field), but he's played in an explosive offensive era.

Personally, I think he's on track for the Hall, but has a bit more to do -- he's 35 years old and he's starting to break down a lot physically.

I can't help thinking about two of my favorite players from the 1980s: Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy. Both were clearly on track for the HOF, but both lost it suddenly -- if either had had a normal decline phase to his career, he'd be in the Hall.

I think that's Chipper's situation. If he can play another 4-5 seasons and can add another 500-600 hits and another 100 home runs without seriously damaging that glittering career OBP, I think he can make it. Even if he finishes up in the AL as a designated hitter, he'll still be remembered and judged as a third baseman (although he won't get points for his defense, he was merely an adequate defender).

Andruw Jones both has farther to go, but is, in my mind, more likely to make it. He has 348 career home runs and 1054 RBIs at age 30 -- unless he has a Mattingly/Murphy career collapse, he's got a real shot at 600-plus home runs and 17-18,000 RBIs.

In addition, he's working on a streak of nine straight gold gloves in center -- I know there's some debate as to how great he still is, but he's still widely regarded as the best defensive centerfielder of his generation.

Interesting note -- at Baseball Reference, they do comparison scores with various players. None of the 10 most similar career players to Andruw are in the HOF, but when you do the comparison by age, his 10 most similar batters are ALL HOFamers -- Frank Robinson, Eddie Matthews, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey (well, he will be in the HOF), Al Kaline and Henry Aaron!!

Just curious what you guys think ... and who else do you see as a borderline HOF? Maybe Curt Schilling -- the reincarnation of Jack Morris?

05-25-2007, 01:56 PM
While the power numbers of the era skew unfavorably for Andruw and Chipper, both have remained well clear of the steroid taint and I could see that, fair or unfair, helping their HOF viability a lot. When comparing the two players, I actually see Chipper having a better chance to make it then Andruw because of the "best player" argument. Chipper has been pretty much the backbone of the Braves throughout their historic great run and is/was the undisputed offensive leader each and every year. When you think of the Braves on the offensive side of the diamond, you think of Chipper first and foremost. I think voters will look back on those Braves team and feel a need to reward someone.

There was also a period of years where Chipper was the best third baseman in the league. The best. While Andruw may put up better career numbers (from a HR and RBI perspective), I don't think there has been any point where baseball people thought that Andruw was clearly the best CF. The best defensive CF? Sure. Best overall CF? Maybe...

I am admittedly biased as a Braves fan. I believe Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz are shoo-ins and *hope* both the Jones boys make it. But if I had to pick one, it would be Chipper. He has meant more to the Braves and has been more "great" than Andruw.

As for Morris, the argument against his candidacy has always been the high ERA (3.9) and the inflated record thanks to the high-powered offenses behind him. Smoltz suffers from neither of those detractions. Morris, like Smoltz, is revered for his big-game reputation. What people do not know is that Morris had average postseason numbers (7-4 3.80 ERA). Again, a far cry from Smoltz. Outside of the obvious names, I think the pitcher with the best chance to make it to the HOF is CC Sabathia. He's going to need Johan Santana to get injured so he can win a few Cy Youngs but he has the stuff and the durability to be great...

Hector Vector
05-29-2007, 06:17 PM
Maddux, Glavine are locks.

After that, the braves are an odd bunch of candidates.

McGriff is probably not in. Many sluggers with good, but not overwhelming records are not in -- rice, dawson, murphy. McGriff was as steady as they come, but never hit more than 37 HR, or a 110 rbi (he was above 30, 100 a lot though). With all the bonds, ramirez, griffey, bagwell, thomas, etc. coming through he will not grade. He is probably clean however.

Smoltz -- an odd resume. 200 W, 160 saves, and a great 3.28 career era (that is Morris' achilles heel; he is almost 4.00). Remember Eckersley was around 190 w, 300 S. I think smoltz could get in with two more good years, but no guarantee after age 40. He and Schilling will be interesting cases, behind sure SP HOF Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, Pedro, Glavine.

Andruw Jones -- a stat accumulator (unless bad start to this year portends a decline), but other than 2005 did you ever really think of him as a great player. Low BA and OBP; he will need 600 HR to make my HOF, but he might get it.

Chipper -- one of the best offensive 3b ever. He is not a lock, but if he gets 400-450 HR he should be in.

New Brave Renteria is on pace for 3000 H. I would not project him as a HOF, but 3000 H from a shortstop is pretty great.

Who makes it next year: McGwire, Rice, Gossage, Raines?

05-29-2007, 10:19 PM
I think Smoltzie makes it. And I hate the Braves.

I did attend this game, however.


Yes, Braves fans, baseball really did exist before 1991.

05-29-2007, 10:55 PM
I think Smoltzie makes it. And I hate the Braves.

I did attend this game, however.


Yes, Braves fans, baseball really did exist before 1991.

that box score is a fraud - the braves didnt draw 36,000 fans all year, let alone one game, in 1989.

back on point - as much as I like Chipper and Andruw - I dont think either should get in the hall. Both are excellent players, but I dont think either can be classified as one of the best ever. Chipper was awesome offensively at third, but I think his inability to stay healthy late in his career will hurt him, and I dont think position players will be given the Koufax treatment. Throughout this run the braves had - i think the big 3 pitchers are the only ones in.

05-29-2007, 11:13 PM
that box score is a fraud - the braves didnt draw 36,000 fans all year, let alone one game, in 1989.

There was a Beach Boys concert after the game. The best seats we could find were in the upper deck.

05-30-2007, 09:21 AM
Chipper Jones is a lock for the Hall.

Folks here forget that he is a switch-hitter. He is easily the greatest switch-hitter of his generation and goes alongside Eddie Murray as the 2nd greatest switch-hitter ever behind Mickey Mantle. Chipper is the only switch-hitter in baseball history to hit .300 for his career and also hit more than 300 homeruns.

He has won an MVP award and been in the top 10 in the MVP balloting 5 other times. And he has played in a sick number of post-season games. Guys on the Braves are going to get an extra push for the Hall because of the team's amazing playoff run and because, for a long time, the Braves were the most nationally televised team around. There are sportswriters across the country who watched 100+ Braves games a year and knew the Braves as well as they knew their hometown team. That will help Chipper a great deal.

I think Andruw is in if he does not slump badly over the next few years. His rep as perhaps the best defensive CF ever will be his calling card along with some sick career offensive stats (though I agree that he is a strikeout machine and swings for the fences too much).

Smoltz, like Chipper, is a virtual lock. His career numbers are quite good and his post-season success is unmatched. It will carry some weight that he is still a dominating pitcher at the age of 40. He would seem to be likely to make his 8th All-star team this season... at the age of 40.

--Jason "then again, I am a Braves homer ;) " Evans

mr. synellinden
05-30-2007, 10:16 AM
I think Smoltz and Chipper will make it. Smoltz will make it if he retires today based on his consistency, longevity, big game performances, character and the fact that he was one of the best in the game as a starter and a closer.

Chipper will be in unless he goes Mario Mendoza for the next three years.

I think Glavine is a lock if he retires tomorrow also.

Andruw Jones is a little uncertain only because he is relatively young so you don't know what's gonna happen during the next 8-10 years. However, I'd bet on him getting in for two reasons. First, he started his career so young that he is likely to put up very gaudy career numbers (like Robin Yount). Second, he is considered the premier defensive outfielder of his generation and many people conisder him the best or second best (behind Mays) defensive outfielder of all time. He plays a position that is so crucial that it can be a major factor in the HOF voting.

As far as other borderline candidates, Gary Sheffield comes to mind. Players who are on track to be borderline candidates: Andy Pettitte (34 years old - 189 wins; 3.78 ERA in a home run era - I think he makes it if he gets to 250 career wins - his winning percentage is great); Carlos Delgado (great HR and RBI stats and could finish with 550 career HRs - also 34); David Ortiz (that will be an interesting case depending on what he does the next 5 years - unlikely to make it because of being a DH primarily and "starting" his career late - but has put together as dominating a 3-4 year stretch as anyone in the current era other than Bonds); Miguel Tejada (only 31, very consistent stats the last 8 years, hasn't missed a game in years); Mussina (already has 240 career wins and a 3.66 ERA - double digit wins every year since 1992 but never won 20 - a strike three against Everett would have sealed it);

Other locks who are still playing:

Vlad (.325 career ave. - 350 HRs - only 31 - unless he pulls a Murphy)
Frank Thomas
Big Unit

If I had to pick two guys younger than 30 who I think are locks, I'd go with Pujols and Johan Santana. And the best bet in the under 25 group is Miguel Cabrera - he's 24 with a .312 career ave. and already has 112 HRs.

I'm sure I'm leaving some obvious ones out.

05-30-2007, 11:36 AM
I agree with what I think is the emerging consensus on '90's-era Braves: Maddux, Glavine no-brainers, Chipper and Smoltz in, Andruw Jones a tougher call. Will have hit a ton of homers for a CF and obviously patrols the outfield as well as anyone, but if you're going to be a power hitter gunning for the Hall of Fame, I'd suggest something better than an .848 career OPS. His career batting average is just .265.

I agree with all the locks on Mr. Synellinden's excellent rundown. Great call on Vlad - his career numbers are pretty eye-popping. A couple of the other borderline guys that he didn't mention include Jeff Kent (350 homers and 1400 RBI for a 2B is a lot), Jim Thome (will have 500+ homers, .975 career OPS) and Lance Berkman (he's been quietly racking up some very impressive stats the last 6 years, leading to 3 top 5's in MVP voting in the Pujols-Bonds era, and is only 31).

Feelings on the other borderline names:

I think Delgado is marginal at best. His career HRs and OPS won't be quite as high as Thome's, so they'll both have to go for Delgado to be in, and I think their numbers will be seen as era-inflated and a little one-dimensional.

If Andy Pettitte makes it, (a) I will cry, and (b) it will be solely because of his Yankee status. He's never been dominant, with an ERA under 3.25 just two seasons in his entire career (one of those in a weak, no-DH NL of 2005). If he has another 5 effective but not dominating years, he will get a lot of East Coast votes, given his pinstripes (and WS rings). But he is not, in my humble opinion, a Hall of Famer by any stretch. Even on all those championship Yankees teams, his postseason career record is just 14-9 with a 4+ ERA.

Mike Mussina will not make the Hall of Fame before Bert Blyleven. If he does, I will personally see to it that Canton goes up in flames.

Interesting inclusion of Big Papi. If he can do what he's done the last 4 years for the next 4, I say he's in despite the DH status. He's been a notch above Edgar Martinez at his peak, and he's apparently the textbook borderline DH - I think Ortiz could establish what it takes for a career DH to make the Hall. I would, however, say that Mr. Synellinden forgot Pujols when making the statement that Ortiz's stretch of dominance the last few seasons has been matched only by Bonds :^)

05-30-2007, 11:40 AM
Mike Mussina will not make the Hall of Fame before Bert Blyleven. If he does, I will personally see to it that Canton goes up in flames.

Interesting application of the Bush Doctrine.

Hector Vector
05-30-2007, 02:02 PM
What difference does it make that Chipper is a switch hitter? It's like suggesting that the 3d best Jewish second baseman ever should make the HOF (if there have been that many). If he's not more productive hitting from both sides than others are hitting from one side, I can't see how being a SH makes a difference. Plus you are forgetting a pretty good SH named Pete Rose in your list.

That said, I think Chipper is on his way, although not done, nor a lock, to the HOF. A big reason is a distinction that does matter -- he played 3b. Getting that much production from a position with specialized and significant defensive requirements is very important.

Hector Vector
05-30-2007, 02:11 PM
Great, very complete list synell. Few others to consider:

Trevor Hoffman: near lock
Roy Oswalt, 29 years old, around 110 wins, with two 20 W and a 19 W season
few marginal guys: Renteria, Damon, both with chance at 3000 H

And the reactivated Sosa -- once Bonds goes in, do the voters accept Sosa, McGwire, Palmiero and Jason Grimsley

05-30-2007, 02:28 PM
Fred McGriff should be in just for the Tom Emanski videos (http://espn.go.com/page2/s/caple/030709.html)

Olympic Fan
05-30-2007, 02:30 PM
It's going to be interesting to see how the era impacts Hall of Fame voting. We are in the midst of the greatest homer-friendly era in baseball history. It's like the '30s with high averages or the pre-WWI era with low ERAs -- the gaudy numbers are to a great degree a function of how the game is played.

For now, it's not necessary to debate WHY this is happening -- expansion, steroids, lively ball, smaller stadiums, corked bats ... maybe it's some of all of these, but the undeniable fact is that home production soared in the early 1990s and has continued at a historically high levels.

How does that impact the traditional HOF milestones?

Other than the McGuire steroid controversy, Dave Kingman has the highest HR total of any HOF candidate that isn't in -- 442. He never came close. Of course, Dave Kingman is a unique case in that he brings nothing to the table except his HR total. He was a defensive liability (when he wasn't DHing). He battled .236 and didn't even walk that often (.302 OBP -- amazingly low for a slugger).

But in the context of his times, his 442 career home runs are far more impressive than guys playing today who will hit 500-plus.

The first real test of the modern era will be Fred McGriff (Palmero will be a test too, but he's tainted with the steroid debate). He finished with 493 home runs -- a total that would have made him a lock in any other era. Now, I agree that he's iffy. And he's going to be more iffy as more and more guys fly past 500.

500 home runs has always been one of those magical milestones -- like 3,000 hits and 300 wins. In the past it would be unthinkable to suggest that a player with 500 home runs NOT make the Hall.

Is that going to change?

As far as Andruw is concerned, I think 500 is still the magic number. I agree that most of his value is concentrated it two areas -- his home runs and his defense in center. But he's not Dave Kingman ... or even Fred McGriff. If he gets to 500 home runs -- which he'll do, barring a physical collapse -- I think he'll make it.

Hector Vector
05-30-2007, 03:01 PM
What makes McGriff an even more interesting case is that while his numbers are not extraordinary for this era, he probably was not availing himself of the steroids that pumped up the numbers. If that is right, how do you value a clean 493 against Palmiero's and Sosa's likely dirty 550+? If voters punish suspected abusers, do they reward the clean players? And will there be a sliding scale for cheaters -- off the charts greats like Bonds get in, but closer to the margin candidates like McGwire, Sosa, Palmiero candidates not? Is that logical?

05-30-2007, 03:05 PM
We had this debate on the old boards.

My points were: (1) you can't separate the effects of steroids from the effects of expansion and new hitter-friendly ballparks and (2) nobody is capable of discerning exactly who was on steroids and who wasn't and when they were or weren't taking them.

Hector Vector
05-30-2007, 03:18 PM
Very few clear cut candidates coming up in next few years. Will be interesting to see who gets in:

2008: Only new legit candidate is tim rainses, who has a case, but won't get in first ballot. This is perhaps last best chance for holdovers Rice (64 of required 75% last year), Gossage (64), Dawson (61), Blyleven (53). McGwire will get serious consideration down the line, but not until steroids era is better sorted out. I think Gossage will get in, Rice maybe, but not shocked if no one makes it.

2009: Unless he unretires again, the unique Ricky Henderson is first ballot.
2010: An interesting class of Alomar, Larkin, Edgar Martinez, McGriff. There will be diverging views that result in no first balloters except possibly Alomar, a truly great player for 14 years, looking like a HOF lock with 3000+ plus hits, many GG, and a lot of winning, who suddenly stopped producing.
2011: Palmiero, Bagwell. A perfect template for the steroid controversy. We know Palmiero did, but how confident are you that Bagwell didn't. Bagwell is the better player, but both HOF, unless steroids are factored in.
2012: Nobody

05-30-2007, 03:41 PM
Terry Pendleton, whenever he decides to leave the dugout.

05-31-2007, 10:16 AM
Mike Mussina will not make the Hall of Fame before Bert Blyleven. If he does, I will personally see to it that Canton goes up in flames.

I hardly think that burning the football Hall of Fame would be an appropriate expression of your disappointment with a potential Mike Mussina enshrinement.

05-31-2007, 10:54 AM
That would be like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Olympic Fan
05-31-2007, 11:32 AM
.... Or like attacking Iraq in response to 9/11 ... oops, I guess I better take that one over to the public policy board.

05-31-2007, 11:47 AM
Terry Pendleton, whenever he decides to leave the dugout.

Wait, are you suggesting Pendelton for the Hall of Fame? Look, I like the guy and appreciate the leadership he brought to the young Braves in the early 90s but no way is he a HOFer.

He had 2 great seasons for the Braves in 1991 and 92, MVP in 91 and 2nd in the MVP balloting in 92, but hit over .300 only three times in his career. He never hit more than 22 homers in a season and had over 100 RBIs only once. He was a good fielder, a very good one (3 Gold Gloves), but it is not like he was a legendary 3B glove. He was an All-star only once in his entire career.

There is nothing about his career that screams HOF. Aside from 2 exceptional seasons, he was really just an average 3B for most of his career.

-Jason "TP's career as a batting coach is not the stuff of legend either" Evans

05-31-2007, 11:49 AM
2 more Braves to add to the Hall of Fame list-- both are locks too.

Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone -- unless Leo's years in Baltimore have tainted his legacy. And is John Schuerholtz gonna go in? Do GM's make the Hall the way managers do? Has there ever been a pitching coach to make the Hall?

-Jason "Leo will leave Baltimore after this year, when his buddy gets fired as manager... I wonder if he comes back to ATL?" Evans

05-31-2007, 12:47 PM
1. Oh, lord, I just realized my Canton/Cooperstown gaffe. What a fool! Not sure what I was thinking - if it were October, I could understand having football on the brain, but it's May, for crying out loud. Glad to provide you all with a nice lob down the middle, though. I love the "interesting application of the Bush Doctrine" comment - ha! Well done, Duvall.

2. Jason, Leo Mazzone's not getting enshrined. No non-manager coach ever has. The MLB Hall of Fame is all about the players, to the point that, if my recollection is correct, only ten or twelve actual managers have even been inducted. Bobby Cox maybe, but no way on Leo.

3. I think Hector's right about Trevor Hoffman. He compares favorably to just about any closer in the game's history except Rivera, who happens to be his contemporary and in the New York market. Thus, Hoffman's been incredibly underrated most of his career. Other guys have dominating runs as closers but fade fast (Brad Lidge, anyone?), but Hoffman's been consistently one of the best 4 or 5 in the game for 15 years.

05-31-2007, 01:13 PM
A career pitching coach in the Hall of Fame? For a club whose endless string of postseason flameouts can be directly attributed to crappy middle relief? You braves fans never cease to crack me up.

05-31-2007, 01:58 PM
A career pitching coach in the Hall of Fame? For a club whose endless string of postseason flameouts can be directly attributed to crappy middle relief? You braves fans never cease to crack me up.

Yeah, it is just Braves fans who think Leo is great. No one else could possibly think that.





As an aside, the Braves endless post-season flameouts were generally a result of horrible offensive performances, particularly clutch hitting, not middle-relief pitching or any pitching problems. Take a look at what guys like Sheffield, Andruw, and others do in the playoffs at the plate with the Braves and you'll see why the Braves have only won one World Series in the looong playoff run they have had. As a general rule, the Braves playoff pitching is excellent.

-Jason "look at 1998 vs. the Padres, the Braves lost games 3-2, 3-0, 4-1, and 5-0... yeah that's the fault of the pitchers all right" Evans

05-31-2007, 03:49 PM
When the going gets tough.......
the tough get going!
Now, who's with me?

05-31-2007, 05:26 PM
If I had to pick two guys younger than 30 who I think are locks, I'd go with Pujols and Johan Santana. And the best bet in the under 25 group is Miguel Cabrera - he's 24 with a .312 career ave. and already has 112 HRs.

I'm sure I'm leaving some obvious ones out.

Adding to the "obvious ones out", I'm obviously a biased Astros fan, but Oswalt should also be mentioned if you're going to say Santana - Oz has a better ERA and more wins (in 1 fewer years I might add) than Santana.

mr. synellinden
05-31-2007, 05:36 PM
Adding to the "obvious ones out", I'm obviously a biased Astros fan, but Oswalt should also be mentioned if you're going to say Santana - Oz has a better ERA and more wins (in 1 fewer years I might add) than Santana.


What's amazing about Oswalt is that his highest season ERA is 3.49. His first full season was 19-9; 3.01; 228 K's. He's proven to be consistent and durable so far. His K/BB ratio is astounding.

The problem with pitchers is they can go south at any time. There are probably 100 pitchers who had stats like Santana and Oswalt at age 29 and fizzled.

That being said, I like Oswalt's HOF chances as much as any pitcher under 30.

06-01-2007, 08:32 AM
I'm a little weary of Oswalt because his pitching motion is a little too herky-jerky and at least on the surface, looks like it produces a lot of unnecessary torque on the body (Tim Hudson, anyone?). In addition, Oswalt is very slight of frame so I just can't see him having the longevity necessary for a HOF run.

Olympic Fan
06-01-2007, 11:57 AM
As a Braves fan, I agree that I should have mentioned Bobby Cox ... he will PROBABLY go in. His record is far superior to Earl Weaver, who had no trouble getting in:

Cox 1 World championship; 5 pennants; 15 division titles; 2207 wins
Weaver 1 World championship; 3 pennants; 6 division titles; 1480 wins

As for Leo, no chance. I'm not ripping on you for suggesting him -- I agree that he's the most highly regarded pitching coach of this generation and one of the greatest all time. But no pitching coach has ever been elected to the hall. Johnny Sain and Roger Craig -- two previous pitching coaches with similar reputations -- never made it (and Craig later won a NL pennant and two division titles as a manager).

I like a lot of the suggestions I've seen in this thread -- Oswalt, Pujols, etc. I agree that they are on track to the HOF candidates. Just a few worlds of caution -- Don Mattingly, George Foster, Dale Murphy. For someone like Pujols, he's clearly HOF material, but he's not there yet. I think he will be, but ...

Go back and look at Frank Thomas' career. He was an absolute, no-brainer HOFer through 2000 -- very comparable to Pujols. Then his play took a big dip before his strong comeback year last season. Personally, I think that 2006 season was enough to clinch his election, but without it, I don't know if he would have gotten in.

Projecting pitchers is especially risky -- they break down far more often than hitters.

For the record, in my arguments for Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, I was assuming normal career paths. I don't think either is in the HOF at the moment. Maddox and Glavine are in, no matter what (barring a cheating or drug scandal of epic proportions) and I think John Smoltz is very, very close -- a maybe if his career ends tomorrow ... very likely if he adds just a little to his resume.

06-01-2007, 12:24 PM
A guy named Frank Bisogno, who compiled a book of famous people from the great state of Brooklyn, NY (for those of you who are interested, it is titled "Is Anyone Here From Brooklyn") has made it his mission in life to have justice done and get Carl Furillo inducted. Unfortunately, I lost the leaflet that came with the book that made the case in detail. However, Furillo had much better numbers that any number of luminaries of his era that made it to the Hall, including star outfielders like the Duke himself. Career batting average over 300 (in '53 lead the league with 353 or so), best right fielder in the game, clutch hitter (he won the 59 series for the then (ugh) LA Dodgers, and the best throwing arm ever.

So why ain't Carl in. Seems that he didn't like what the Dodgers offered him following the '59 season, and refused to take it. He was blackballed from the game. Ended his career years early and died a bitter man, managing a ma and pa grocery store in Brooklyn. A few years after Furillo's holdout, Sandy and Don held out together, and got paid what they demanded. Then came Kurt Floyd, who was able to get the publicity that Furillo never could for his fight, and the legal support too.

But Furillo was the real pioneer in the fight, and he was a terrific, terrific ball player too. I'd hope that some day Bosogno wins his battle; until then, this little shout out is the least an old Dodger fan can do.

06-01-2007, 12:43 PM
Best rightfielder of all time. Threw out numerous batters at first on what should have been routine singles to right. First to third was almost unheard of against him. .299 career hitter with 1058 rbi's and 1910 hits in 15 seasons.
I agree...he belongs in the HOF!

06-01-2007, 12:50 PM
Best rightfielder of all time.

I don't think so. (http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/clemero01.shtml)

He assisted on his share of 9-3 groundouts, too.

06-01-2007, 01:29 PM
I don't think so. (http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/clemero01.shtml)

He assisted on his share of 9-3 groundouts, too.

Sounds like you was from da Bronx to me.

Hector Vector
06-01-2007, 01:35 PM
And wouldn't have been if he played another 5-6 years. Even if one assumes he was the greatest defensive RF of all time, that is a position with only moderate defensive impact (not like C or SS). He was a .300 hitter with less than 200 career HR who didn't draw walks. He made only 2 all star games his whole career! There are many, many non-admitted OF with a better case than him: Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Kirk Gibson, Vada Pinson, Tony Oliva, and I'm sure I could make a longer list.

If you are looking for a Brooklyn Dodger with a better case, its Gil Hodges, 7-8 100 rbi seasons in a row, several 40 hr seasons, drew many walks, plus managed the miracle Mets to a WC.

06-01-2007, 03:06 PM
Sounds like you was from da Bronx to me.

No, although the Bronx Bombers have had their share (http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/jacksre01.shtml) of Hall of Fame right fielders (http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/ruthba01.shtml). Not that they were known for their fielding prowess.

Olympic Fan
06-01-2007, 04:39 PM
I'm sorry, but the idea that Furillo's exclusion from the Hall of Fame is an injustice is a joke.

He was a very good player on a famous team. Period. I don't know what the gossip is about him being "blackballed" -- he was 38 when he retired after playing eight games in 1960 (he was able to play just 50 games the year before). He was played out.

Furillo is a .299 career BA with 1,910 hits, 192 HRs and 1,058 RBIs and a career .813 OPS. That's a HOF resume?

Compare it with Dave Parker, a better defensive rightfielder, who finished with 2,712 hits, 339 home runs and 1,493 RBI and almost exactly the same OPS.

I know Furillo was regarded as a good defensive outfielder, but the best defensive rightfielder of all time? Give me a break. He had 151 assists in 1,739 career games -- good. He also had a career .979 fielding percentage ... not good. His range factor for his career was .013 worse than the league average.

Now Parker "only" had 143 assists in 2,000 games and a slightly lower FA, but his range factor was .11 higher than Furillo and was .17 better than his league average.

A better comparison for Furillo is Paul O'Niell, who just finished his career with the Yankees a couple of years ago. He finished with 2,105 hits, 281 HRs,1,269 RBIs and a .833 OPS. Like Furillo, O'Niell won one batting title. He didn't have nearly as many assists as Furillo, but his FA was slightly higher and his range factor was .20 better than his league. He had five all-star appearances to Furillo's two.

Then there's Roger Maris, whose career was a little shorter. But he was a good enough defensive rightfielder to play center when Mantle was hurt. Again, he didn't match Furillo's assists, but he owned a better FA and a much better range factor (.07 better than his league average) ... as a hitter, it's not close -- 275 home runs in 800 less games and an .824 OPS.

Maris won two MVPs -- Furillo finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote twice (never higher than sixth).

Or how about Tommy Heinrich -- another very good player on great teams (actually on greater teams than Furillo's). His career was cut short by WWII and he ended up playing about two-thirds as many games as Furillo. Yet he averaged more assists per game, more home runs per game, a better fielding average, a better range factor and his OPS of .872 was significantly better. He also made five all-star games in less seasons than Furillo made two.

And as for the comparison for Snider -- that's ridiculous. In a very similar number of games, Snider had more hits (2,116), more RBIs (1,333) and more than twice as many home runs (407). His career .920 OPS is more than 100 points higher than Furillo's.

Tough to compare a centerfielder with a rightfielder on defense, but Snider's fielding percentage was better and his range factor, compared to other national league CFs was .14 OVER the league average).

Snider is a no-brainer Hall of Famer, whose stature is somewhat diminished because he was usually compared to contemporaries Mantle and Mays. Furillo is a good player, but not a Hall of Famer.

PS I agree that Gil Hodges has a better case. His problem is that he almost makes it as a player and he almost makes it as a manager. Put the two parts of his career together and he's in ... seperately and it's a tough sell.

06-01-2007, 09:06 PM
Furillo, Parker, Oliva, Pinson, Rice, Evans, O'Neill, and Gibson for their careers. Gibson was injured so much that in 17 seasons he averaged 96 games/year and hit only .268. Therefore, I'd rule him out of HOF consideration. Evans is the only one in the group to average less hits than games played per year and hit .272. Other than average, Oliva fell short of Furillo in games, AB's, runs, triples, and RBI's/year.

So, after reviewing all of these stats, I believe that Rice, Parker, and Pinson are the only 3 from this group that deserve HOF consideration, with Rice having the strongest case all together.

But, having seen Furillo play righ field at Ebbetts Field, I still marvel at his prowess and will always consider him one of the best (but not the best, I stand corrected). I know, there are some gentlemen named Ruth, Aaron, Clemente, and Kaline that are well ahead of Furillo overall. Plus others, but I'll leave it at that.

Olympic Fan
06-02-2007, 10:40 AM
Please, I don't mean to disparage the guy. Carl Furillo was a very good player.

Can I speculate (based on the numbers, not personal observation) that as a rightfielder, he had a great arm, one of the outstanding arms of all time. That's a big part of a rightfielder's job, but not everything ... and the numbers seem to show that in the other areas (range and consistency), he was at least a little below par.

The problem is, as Hector points out, that right field is an offensive position -- you need offensive production there more than a slight improvement in defense. And as an offensive player Furillo (who played almost half his career in that offensive paradise, Ebbets Field) is a very average --maybe slightly above average player.

The impact of defense on a player's selection is an interesting subject for debate. I think it's positional -- you'd give up a lot of offense for a GREAT defensive shortstop ... hence, Ozzie Smith.

Statistically, Bill Mazeroski is the best defensive second baseman of all time -- in fact, he has the best defensive numbers of any player at ANY position. Apparently, the Hall of Fame veterans committee eventually decided that was worthy for induction, despite very average offensive numbers (and one memorable WS moment).

At the other end of the spectrum is Keith Hernandez. Offensively, he's above average, but not HOF quality. But he was the best defensive first baseman of his era and one of the best of all time. Does that make him Hall worthy?

I would argue no -- based on the idea that the difference between a great defensive first baseman and an average one has only a limited impact on the game (although a lousy one can have a huge impact!).

Bill James once listed defensive positions in descending order of difficulty, noting that most players could move left to right on his list with ease, but that it was rare to see a player move right to left:

shortstop>second base>centerfield>third base>rightfield>first base>leftfield

catcher was a different story ... it's a key defensive position that usually goes: catcher>first base>leftfield. Somebody like Craig Biggio (catcher-to-second base) is a freak of nature.

The point is that positions near the left end of the James scale are the ones that reward the best defensive performance, while those on the righthand side are those that demand offense.

PS Jhoagland: two quibbles with your RF list (which I mostly agree with). You list Evans AND Rice ... but they were contemporaries at Boston. My memory is that Rice was basically a leftfielder.

Also, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Vada Pinson was mostly a centerfielder. I know that's the position he played when he and Frank Robinson were together in the Cincinnati outfield. He may have played right late in his career when he slowed down, but I think that for the bult of his career he was in center.

06-02-2007, 07:47 PM
that list of players came straight from Hector's post...I realize that Rice was a LF'er and Pinson played CF...it was just a list of players and their stats.

And, of that list I believe that Rice is the most HOF worthy...enough said?

Olympic Fan
06-03-2007, 11:53 AM
Fair enough ... sorry for the confusion ... I thought we were talking rightfielders.

But you know, outfield positioning is not always easy to nail down. For some years, we don't have a breakdown on which OF position players played. For others, it's not always simple ...

Take Babe Ruth, for example. We use list him as a rightfielder, but that's not strictly accurate. He played in the same outfield with Long Bob Meusal, a natural rightfielder with -- by all contemporary accounts -- the best arm in baseball. Ruth's arm was good (he had been a pitcher after all), but everybody agreed that Meusal was better.

So why wasn't he in right?

The answer is that Ruth was so valuable as a hitter that the Yankees played him in left or right to protect his eyes from the sun field (remember, that was the era of all day games). In Yankee Stadium, left field was the sun field, so Ruth played in right for half his games. He played in right in two other stadiums and in left in the other five stadiums. That still worked out to playing the majority of his games in right.

I've never been able to figure why Joe DiMaggio played mostly left field as a rookie in 1936. He only moved to center fulltime in 1937.

But I do know why Ty Cobb started his career as a rightfielder. He had a violent personal clash with the incumbent centerfielder, Marty McIntyre. They couldn't play side-by-side, so his manager played Cobb in right and McIntyre to left and played Sam Crawford, who played most of his career in left, in center!

PS I can see the support for Rice from among the list of near-miss outfielders, but in a way, he represents an interesting angle on the question I raised about the value of defense at various positions.

Compared to his old teammate, Dwight Evans, Rice has eeriely similar offensive numbers: 2,542 hits, 382 HRs, 1451 RBIs, .854 OPS; to Evans' 2,446 hits, 385 HRs, 1384 RBI, .840 OPS. Rice won an MVP in 1978 and finished top 10 six times; Evans never won an MVP, but finished top 10 four times (and 11th once).

Similar -- but a slight edge to Rice (although I'd have never guessed that Evans hit more home runs).

The kicker could be defense -- Rice was a very average leftfielder; Evans was a superior right fielder, one of the best in his era.

Does Evans' defensive superiority at a less-than-vital defensive position give him enough of an edge over Rice to off-set his ex-teammates very slight offensive advantage?

Interesting (to me, anyway) question.

06-03-2007, 01:02 PM
The answer is that Ruth was so valuable as a hitter that the Yankees played him in left or right to protect his eyes from the sun field (remember, that was the era of all day games). In Yankee Stadium, left field was the sun field, so Ruth played in right for half his games. He played in right in two other stadiums and in left in the other five stadiums. That still worked out to playing the majority of his games in right.

I thought Ruth played right at home because left in Yankee Stadium was huge back then (like 480 or so to left-center) and his range wasn't the greatest.

As for Jim Rice, that '78 season was a monster (pun intended). Four hundred total bases in those years was unheard of.

06-03-2007, 03:35 PM
Since using stats entirely for determining HOF status has become a bit problematic in the steroid era, I think that the look test needs to get substantial consideration as well -- when you go out to the park and watch him does the player strike you as a freakish talent who clearly stands out? In that light, Smoltzie is a slam-dunk first ballot -- about the best stuff in the game for years, the sweetest motion, big, strong, super-competitive, just the textbook pitcher. Morris, by comparison, while big, strong and competitive, had bad arm action and simply didn't look like a HOFamer. Andruw does well with the look test, and also guys like Rice (ungodly natural power) and Parker (who was probably the most notable talent in the game circa late '70s to mid '80s).

I'm interested to see some regard Trevor Hoffman as clearly in. He's the leading exhibit in my case for having a HOF eye for talent. I saw him play shortstop for the Univ. of Arizona in 1989, and after seeing him throw over to first twice decided that he definitely needed to be on the mound -- the velocity, overhand point of release and downward trajectory, great balance in his legs. A couple of years later, after he was flaming out in the minors as an infielder, it finally occurred to someone else to try him on the mound. Especially given that he came to pitching late, I give him great credit because he apparently lost that gun he had early on to an injury about ten years ago, but became dominant by developing the best change in the game.

Finally, a freak alert to the board, since I haven't seen his name mentioned here yet: Tim Lincecum, brought up a couple of weeks ago by the Giants. He's about five-ten, 160 lbs,and looks ten years old. Has hit 101 on the radar gun, and has a vicious 12-6 curve when it's on. Totally dominant in the minors, in the majors has out-dueled Oswalt twice. I saw Lincecum in spring training this year, watching from close and behind him as he warmed up in the bullpen. I had watched Oswalt and Ben Sheets from a similar vantage point before they came to the majors, and I think this kid has a better arm than either one of them. Also has an interesting full-body motion designed by his father (who supposedly was still throwing 85 mph at age 50), patterned after old-timers from the full wind-up era, such as Koufax, Marichal and Feller. I think too many guys these days are using the Clemens "tall-and-fall" minimalist motion. Lincecum may end up being a revolutionary.

Hector Vector
06-04-2007, 05:45 PM
While rice and evans have similar career stats, Rice was for about a 12 year period (75-86) a giant superstar in baseball, a status Evans arguably never achieved, or certainly not for more than 2-3 year period.

In fact, if you asked baseball fans in 1986, at age 33 whether Rice would be a HOF, it would have been an absolute no brainer. 350 HR, 8 100 rbi and 4 200 hit seasons, average over .300. one mvp and many high finishes With just a decent end of career he looked like a 450-500 HR, 2800 H, 1700-1800 rbi guy.

But from age 34-36 he accumulated only 180 rbi, and 31 HR, and then was out of baseball. Voters have to weigh medium term dominance against failure to accumulate huge career stat totals.

06-05-2007, 09:43 AM
Voters have to weigh medium term dominance against failure to accumulate huge career stat totals.

This has always been my beef with the Hall of Fame, especially the baseball hall where stats seem to take on such a huge role.

Is it better to be a great player for 8-10 years and then leave the game or is it better to be a good player for 15+ years?

Which is better, a guy who hits 40 homers and 120 RBI for 10 years (400 homers, 1200 RBI) or a guy who hits 30 homers and 90 RBI for 15 years (450 homers, 1350 RBI)? When it comes to HOF debates, the guy who did 450 homers and 1350 RBI is probably going to get a lot more support, but I think the 10 year stud is more worthy of the Hall of Fame.

I might add that if you are considered one of the top 3-5 players in the game for more than a few years, regardless of the rest of your career you deserve to be in the Hall. That's why I think it is a shame that Dale Murphy will never make it.

-Jason "MVP balloting and All-star appearances should certainly play a larger role in Hall voting" Evans

06-05-2007, 02:36 PM
David Ortiz is almost a shoo in, a couple more good years or one more post-season walk-off hit and he's in. There are some players whose ability to come through in the clutch define their careers more than their stats. David Ortiz might get in over some players with similar career stats because of those hits in late October 2004. I think Carlton Fisk, whose numbers while solid but not shoo in level, got the extra push because of his iconic World Series moment. We remember Carlton Fisk and we will remember David Ortiz, that counts for something in HOF balloting.

Team you play for, unfortunately, matters a lot too. Yankees get more benefit of the doubt than Royals. If Ozzie Smith had played his entire career in San Diego, I doubt he makes it, not just because the Cardinals are the better known team but also because he never would have gotten the chance to shine in a World Series with San Diego.

Speaking of career numbers, one of my favorite trivia questions - see how many you can get before you start looking! The last time I checked in detail, 8 players had career numbers of at least 2500 hits, 250 HRs, and 250 stolen bases. Hint: some have been mentioned in this discussion. There is only one member of the 3000, 300, 300 club but there's one guy who is only 3 HRs short.

Olympic Fan
06-05-2007, 04:06 PM
I thought Ruth played right at home because left in Yankee Stadium was huge back then (like 480 or so to left-center) and his range wasn't the greatest.

Sorry, this is one of the great misconceptions about Ruth. I think the image of the big, fat, immobile guy with the skinny legs comes from all the newsreels from late in his career.

The fact is that a lot of people think Ruth is the greatest player ever because he was such a great all-around player. Bill James, in his historical baseball abstract picks Ruth as the best baserunner of the 1920s. His outfield arm was judged at the time as second only to Meusel's.

Ruth's range had nothing to do with his assignment to play right. As a matter of fact, he had better range numbers than Meusel in the first seven years they played together ... only in 1928 did Meusel finally pass him. Ruth also led the Yankees in stolen bases five times in his first six years with the team.

The flipflop of Ruth from left to right to protect his eyes started in 1920, when the Yankees were playing their home games in the Polo Grounds (which had similar left- right- areas). It had nothing to do with range.

PS: I think Ortiz is definitely on track for the HOF, but he's still got a ways to go. I know his reputation as a clutch hitter will help, but Mattingly was regarded as a clutch hitter and he has much better career numbers than Ortiz. Okay, he doesn't have that WS moment -- but Joe Carter, who finished with 1,000 more hits and 150 more home runs that Papi, had a more dramatic WS moment than Ortiz and he's not going in anytime soon.

Again, Ortiz is on track -- but so were Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly, George Foster and a bunch of others. All I'm saying is that as great as we think he is today, he's really only had four exceptional seasons -- plus he's a DH and some voters are going to hold that against him.

By comparison, he's a year older than Andruw Jones, who has more than 100 home runs more, more hits and more RBIs -- plus he's a great defensive player at a key defensive position ... and for all that, I think Jones has a way's to go too.

06-05-2007, 04:12 PM
MVP balloting and All-star appearances should certainly play a larger role in Hall voting

I strongly disagree. Especially as someone who roots for a small media market team. MVP and Cy Young balloting invariably end up helping guys on major market teams that make the playoffs. All-Star appearances are far too reliant on (i) ignorant and/or big city homer fans (this is not to say I'm against fan voting - that's another discussion, but you cannot deny that multiple players at the All-Star game every year are having average seasons at best), and (ii) the previous year's World Series managers stacking their squads with guys from their own team.

Perhaps more importantly, MVP and Cy Young voters (Cy Young especially) rely on outmoded statistical analyses (where wins are heavily overweighted) and fuzzy elements, like the very individualized notions of what "valuable" is.

There already exists a layer of imprecision and outmoded statistical analysis and individual notions in Hall of Fame balloting, based on the fact that it's a bunch of sportswriters voting. Having the previous votes of those same sportswriters taken into account in Hall of Fame voting adds another institutionalized layer of imprecision, by essentially double-counting the individual biases and axes to grind of the voters.

Back on the old board, I spent a lot of time pushing for Blyleven. Part of his case is that voters keep saying "He wasn't high enough in the Cy Young voting often enough." Well, a run through individual season stats, while he was playing on crappy Angels, Twins, and Indians teams, reveals that, probably due to his membership on said squads, he got hosed in Cy Young voting at the time in multiple seasons. Your proposal would justify perpetuating those injustices.