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 Post subject: Hall predictions?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:25 pm 
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I have a feeling Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage might all get in tomorrow. If not all three, two of the three--and if I had to pick the two, I'd probably pick Rice and Gossage.

I've heard and read a lot of commentary in the past month or so about how weak a class it is this year, with no surefire picks, and how this weak crop is allowing voters to re-evaluate the stats of the players who have come close to election in past years.

Especially in view of the steroid debacles of the past year or so, Rice's stats seem to look much gaudier. And we've covered here at TCE in past years the reasons Gossage should be in.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 8:20 pm 
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I haven't drifted far from previous years. Gossage and Sutter are more than deserving, and probably Lee Smith, too. No one else is very close.

We ran a good wire feature on Gossage this weekend, not sure of the source. He was a monster. And Sutter was an innovator as well as unhittable for about five years in a row.

Sentimental choices, sure, but overdue.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:04 am 
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I would vote for Blyleven and Gossage. But I won't be too surprised if nobody makes it this year.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:08 am 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
Sentimental choices, sure, but overdue.


Sentimentality factors in the voting on most non-superstars.

Rice and Sutter were as good as anyone of their time during their prime seasons. In his early years, Rice was overshadowed by flashy teammate Fred Lynn, another incredibly talented player whose effectiveness was diminished by injuries.

(As a youngster, Lynn played centerfield like a young Ken Griffey Jr., hit with power, and compiled high batting averages. He was incredible until about the 100th time he crashed into an outfield wall. Seemed bound for a Hall of Fame career.)

Gossage and Smith were overpowering relievers for many, many years.

Blyleven compiled high totals in career wins and strikeouts, largely through guile.

None of these players was an attention-getter off the field or especially charming with the media.

So we're comparing apples, oranges and watermelons--or some such twisted analogy/cliche. Maybe that's what makes the voting so interesting for many people.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:42 pm 
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And Jack Morris is in line ahead of Bert Blyleven.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:02 pm 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
And Jack Morris is in line ahead of Bert Blyleven.


Morris was a monster big-game pitcher and always a guy teams never wanted to face.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:05 pm 
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TCE News Alert: Bruce Sutter made it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:23 pm 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
TCE News Alert: Bruce Sutter made it.


I think Gossage was more deserving, but Sutter's making it probably ensures Gossage will someday too. I hate to admit that the Hall's entrance standards have been lowered by some of the players the Veterans Committee has elected (i.e., Mazeroski), and that this sets up the argument, "Well, if Player X is in, then Player Y has to be in." Gossage doesn't deserve to have his accomplishments diminished by being "Player Y."

In the end, though, the player is forever known as a Hall of Famer, and that's probably all that matters.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:48 pm 
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I too would have guessed that Gossage would get in with or ahead of Sutter, but I'm usually wrong.

Have we discussed the idea of having two or more "tiers" within the Hall? As in, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron being on one and Dave Winfield and Mazeroski on another?

Or perhaps a system, based on Bill James' (and perhaps others') grading of players at their "peak" and "career" values? As in, Sutter was great for several years, while Gossage and Rollie Fingers were good to great for many years. Koufax was awesome for several years, but Warren Spahn was very good for more than twice as long.

I care less about the Hall every year. Still, I don't know that I'd change the process of selecting and honoring members.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:26 pm 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
Have we discussed the idea of having two or more "tiers" within the Hall? As in, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron being on one and Dave Winfield and Mazeroski on another?


I think most baseball fans have their own mental tiers of Hall of Famers, Wayne. It's sad that they are necessary, but the Veterans Committee has made them so because of its poor decisions.

Yet, ironically, if everything I've read is accurate, the Veterans Committee will probably keep a candidate who deserves to be in on the basis of what he did on the field, Pete Rose, out of the Hall. The 2006 election was Rose's last chance to be on the ballot, and he wasn't. There's a lot of enmity toward Rose among many Veterans Committee members for his gambling on the game, and from what I understand, there is no way the vets will elect him.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:25 pm 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
I too would have guessed that Gossage would get in with or ahead of Sutter, but I'm usually wrong.


I agree that if Sutter belongs, Gossage belongs. Or as Rob Neyer recently put it, the line for relievers to enter the Hall should form behind Gossage, not Sutter.

Sutter gets too much credit for innovation (he was shown the split-finger by a coach, he didn't "invent" it) and Gossage gets too little credit for innings pitched (a stat that is perenially underexamined as an indicator of a pitcher's longevity, stamina and reliability). Look at the list of pitchers with the most innings pitched in baseball history, and you'll find few near the top who aren't deserving of Hall admission. As Gossage understandably complains in today's New York Times, how can you call Mariano Rivera "the greatest reliever of all time" when he pitches one inning (occasionally two), and Gossage pitched three-inning saves as a matter of course?

Gossage outpitched Sutter as well; Gossage pitched about 1,800 innings in his career, if memory serves, and Sutter only about 1,000.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:06 pm 
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The fact that Gossage keeps getting shut out of the Hall makes me wonder, Is there any possible way Mariano Rivera won't be voted in? Any POSSIBLE way? I mean, there's surely no debate about whether he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer (he is). Rivera's career could end today, and he should be voted in on the first ballot.

But I wonder, are there enough of the same moronic voters who wrote in Walt Weiss' and Hal Morris' names this time around who just don't know what Rivera meant to his team's success?

If so, that would be a shame.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:21 pm 
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I doubt Rivera would get in on the first ballot without all of his prime-time World Series heroics. Pitching for, say, the Royals would have cut his saves totals by a third or more.

But I can't imagine that Rivera will be left out for as long as Gossage has been. And given that he took advantage of his situation to excel, a first-ballot victory seems probable.

Might the final years of a career cloud voters' thinking? Nolan Ryan was almost as good when he finally quit as he was in his prime--and better than he was for many of his seasons. Koufax was in his prime, though forced to quit because of injury. Eckersley was still pretty good at the end.

Gossage hung on as long as possible. I don't think that should be held against him.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:12 pm 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
I doubt Rivera would get in on the first ballot without all of his prime-time World Series heroics. Pitching for, say, the Royals would have cut his saves totals by a third or more.

But I can't imagine that Rivera will be left out for as long as Gossage has been. And given that he took advantage of his situation to excel, a first-ballot victory seems probable.

Might the final years of a career cloud voters' thinking? Nolan Ryan was almost as good when he finally quit as he was in his prime--and better than he was for many of his seasons. Koufax was in his prime, though forced to quit because of injury. Eckersley was still pretty good at the end.

Gossage hung on as long as possible. I don't think that should be held against him.


I don't think so either, Wayne. Gossage was clearly not a "compiler"--he had the extended period of dominance necessary for induction.

On a point unrelated to your post, I would go so far as to say that whoever voted for Morris and Weiss should have his Hall voting privileges revoked. You make a joke out of voting for the Hall, you're gone. The BBWAA shouldn't tolerate such nonsense.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm 
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I'm among those who felt that Gossage should have gotten ahead of Sutter (but would have put Blyleven above both). However, Gossage — rightly or wrongly — is blowing it for him self by blasting off to anybody who'll listen:

Here's one example:

Quote:
"You know what, I never hear from these guys who don't vote for me," Gossage said. "But I'll take on any writer, anywhere, on any show, and I will bury him."


Quote:
"The job is so easy because they're only pitching one inning," Gossage said. "Writers have forgotten how the role has changed."


Quote:
"Hitting in a game is no different than hitting in a home run contest," Gossage said. "It [ticks] me off to say Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter. He's playing in a wussy era. The game is soft. You never get thrown at today. Last thing a hitter has to worry about today is getting hit. The first thing Hank Aaron had to worry about is: Am I going to survive this at-bat because I'm black."


I don't agree with the last quote, but he's right — and it's sad that he's making it beside the point. There are a lot of writers out there who vote based on images, not reality; on counting stats (as with Jack Morris and Jim Rice), rather than stats that reflect quality; on grudges and prejudices rather than objectivity.

I'll be there are some HOF voters who see these quotes and think: "Well, screw him if that's how he feels. I've got feelings too. Let's see how he likes it when I let mine out."

That's not right, either.

Nothing about what's taken place — Gossage being voted down, Gossage sounding off, the way Gossage is evaluated — is right. (Or Blyleven, either, for that matter.)

But how to undo all these wrongs?

I'm not sure it can be done.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:18 pm 
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I can't really argue with Sutter's selection, and it does imply that Gossage should be next. Are you guys in favor of Lee Smith?

If Sutter begins to set a new tone for closers, what happens when we get to the "cheap save" closers of the more recent era. A dominant team (Yankees, Braves) has three runs on a weak team (hapless Tigers, Pirates or Royals) and the closer jogs in for his inning. How close does Smoltz come to Gossage?

Yet this brings up the argument that dominant starting pitchers would make great closers, but they are too valuable eating innings as a starter. This theory lost a lot of credence thanks to Schilling, not really a fair test.

On the validity of saves, Jose Mesa piled up saves during his first two years in Philly with plenty of shaking outings -- just like Wild Thing did about a decade earlier. Can you think of any truly dominant closers who pitched on hapless teams and got little credit, or average closers who pitched for winners?

Regarding these elections, I would like to see more years where nobody gets in.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:19 pm 
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Gossage was on with Dan Patrick this afternoon, along with some writer whose name I didn't catch. The writer sounded like a goof, claiming he votes for only one player each year. What sort of arbitrary conceit is that? What will he do next year, flip a coin between Ripken and Gwynn? No, actually. He's going to vote for McGwire.

Go back a couple of years on this board, and you'll see I was on the strict side, with a high threshold for enshrinement. (Let's keep Winfield out of this.) But this year, I would have allowed in Sutter, Gossage, Jack Morris. I'm coming around on Andre Dawson. I still think Rice falls barely short. Blyleven, too (I equate him with Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton).

And does anyone want to explain Lee Smith? He saved a hell of a lot of games and fired heat for many years. He's right up there with the game's great relievers. But very few people champion him. I'm on the fence with him, too. It's hard to keep him out, but it's not that easy to make a convincing argument on his behalf, either. Why is that?

Rivera is in Sutter's category. Unhittable for a considerable string of years. No matter how cushy his role, his streak in the postseason was brilliant.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:00 am 
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Quote:
"It's something I thought was never going to happen," Sutter said. "I'm humbled. It still doesn't sound right: Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bruce Sutter."


Yes, so humble.

Can we blame Gossage for speaking through clenched teeth?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:50 am 
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jj ...

I think the problem a lot of writers have with voting in relievers has to do with the slippery slope they represent (in the writers' minds). The thinking might go:

If Sutter, then Gossage;
If Gossage, then Lee Smith;
If Lee Smith, then Jeff Reardon;
If Jeff Reardon, then Jeff Montgomery;
If Jeff Montgomery, then Jeff Shaw.

And so on and so on ....

Just exactly how should the line be drawn?

All that is a devil's advocate argument for me. Personally, I think tfar too many writers are silly, self-righteous jerks who can't resist the one chance they have to power-mongering payback with their vote. That pompous ass who only votes in one player a year is a prime example.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:17 am 
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One a year?
Johnny Bench or Carl Yastrzemski?
Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount or George Brett?

I am all for keeping it a rare honor, but some of these writers are pompus...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
jj ...

I think the problem a lot of writers have with voting in relievers has to do with the slippery slope they represent (in the writers' minds). The thinking might go:

If Sutter, then Gossage;
If Gossage, then Lee Smith;
If Lee Smith, then Jeff Reardon;
If Jeff Reardon, then Jeff Montgomery;
If Jeff Montgomery, then Jeff Shaw.

And so on and so on ....

Just exactly how should the line be drawn?


The same reasoning can be applied to any position. The line will always be subjective, and we'll always argue about it. I like Bill James's rating of players according to peak value and career value (see Wayne's post). It helps clarify what we're talking about. Koufax had a greater peak value than Marichal did, but Marichal had a greater career value.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:23 pm 
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One could make the case that Sutter revolutionized pitching by coming up with the splitter, thus giving his candidacy a dimension that Gossage, Lee Smith and the other relievers don't have.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 8:29 pm 
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But that case would be wrong because, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, Sutter didn't come up with the splitter.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:02 pm 
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Sutter was the one who went out to the mound and threw the pitch. A coach taught it to him. He perfected it. He used it to become unhittable. It took years for any other player to master it, and now it is a part of the game.

Sutter changed the game.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:03 pm 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
Sutter was the one who went out to the mound and threw the pitch. A coach taught it to him. He perfected it. He used it to become unhittable. It took years for any other player to master it, and now it is a part of the game.

Sutter changed the game.


JJ, I heard Sutter interviewed on a local talk-radio show the other day about his election, and he sounded so genuinely down to earth about how easily he learned to throw the split that it made me want to try to go out and throw one. To think about the untold millions that could be had if one could only perform the simple act of spreading one's fingers across the seams of a baseball and push with one's thumb and then throw said baseball in such fashion 6 million or 8 million times.

It sounds easy, doesn't it? Sigh.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:34 pm 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
[...Rice was overshadowed by flashy teammate Fred Lynn, another incredibly talented player whose effectiveness was diminished by injuries.

(As a youngster, Lynn played centerfield like a young Ken Griffey Jr., hit with power, and compiled high batting averages. He was incredible until about the 100th time he crashed into an outfield wall. Seemed bound for a Hall of Fame career.).


In his fascinating Baseball Historical Abstract, the only sports book I have read cover-to-cover since I was in high school, Bill James tells of asking a 90-year-old fan who'd been going to games at Fenway Park forever who the greatest player he ever saw was.

The guy answered, without hestitating, "Fred Lynn."

Seems to buttress your case, Wayne.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:30 am 
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Here are some stats for Lynn and Rice from 1975, when they were rookies:

Lynn: .331 batting average (2nd in league); 103 runs; 105 RBIs; 47 doubles (batting lefty at home in Fenway); 1.188 OPS; Gold Glove; Rookie of the Year; MVP.
Rice: .309 BA, 92 runs, 102 RBIs; 22 HRs.

That was the Red Sox team that lost to the Big Red Machine in one of the greatest World Series. Rice broke his wrist in September, which hurt his season's stats and the team's chances in the Series:

Here are some of Lynn's stats from 1979:
.333 BA to win title; 116 runs; 122 RBIs; 39 HRs; first in OBP; 1.059 OPS; Gold Glove.

Some of Rice's stats from 1978:
.315 BA; 121 runs; 213 hits; 139 RBIs; 46 HRs. MVP

Rice wasn't very fast but he scored a lot of runs and had four 200-hit seasons while batting righty. A mediocre fielder, though. He's the first batter I know of to snap a bat on a check swing. The violence of his swing and the many games he played while young took a toll on his wrists and other body parts.

For several seasons the Red Sox had one of the greatest outfields ever: Rice, Lynn and Dwight Evans, who used to get a fair number of votes for the Hall.

Rice and Lynn suffered too many injuries to get near the 500-HR 3,000-hit level that seems to guarantee Hall of Fame membership. When healthy, there were feared.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:06 pm 
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Evans, for sheer longevity of excellence, should enter the Hall before Rice. That, and he had better secondary skills — he had a better throwing arm and took bushels of walks.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 5:07 pm 
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Evans was an excellent all-around player for many years. Probably one of the best glove/arm combinations ever in right field. That's a tough sun field in Fenway, and oddly shaped. He had decent power--used to hit lots of doubles against the Green Monster. Not much of a base stealer, but a pretty good base runner who got on and scored often.

The Rice-Evans comparison pits someone whose prime as a hitter was tremendous vs. a player who did almost everything well or better for many, many seasons. Excellent subject for a Hall qualifications debate.

I won't argue against Evans being more worthy than Rice. Either is better than some players already in--but that isn't a great recommendation. Better than others not in yet, like Mattingly or Jack Morris or Gossage or Blyleven? It's all a matter of what you value in a player.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:40 am 
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In a harbinger of a pennant-winning season for the Red Sox, Jack Morris threw the first pitch of the '86 season (I believe it was the first game in both leagues that day), and Dwight Evans whacked it out of Tiger Stadium.

One pitch, one run. Very economical.

Not sure why Dewey was batting leadoff that day, but there you have it.

The Tigers went on to win the game, 6-5, but the Sox won the league championship. And we all know what happened after that.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:16 pm 
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It's just interesting to me that people think Jim Rice is, at the very least, a borderline Hall of Famer ... but nobody talks up Dwight Evans. That tells me that people who should know better are still wedded to outdated, illusory, empty statistics like batting average and runs batted in ... that they value "counting stats" over numbers that actually provide an accurate measure of offensive value.

Batting average summarizes only one way to get on base. If you hit .320 but only get on base at a .340 clip, for instance, you're probably not helping your team.

Runs batted in are more an indication of how well the batters just ahead of you in the order are at getting on base. I'd more interested to know how well you did at advancing those runners via walks and batting average with runners in scoring position.

In much the same fashion, wins and ERA have very little to do with pitching excellence. Wins are about half a function of offensive support — something a pitcher doesn't control — and ERA is at least half a measure of the quality of your defense. The emphasis should be on strikeouts, walks, the ratio between the two and other factors, such as home run prevention and groundball/flyball ratio ... in other words, how well a pitcher did at the things he alone can control.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:41 pm 
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Evans could bat anywhere in the lineup.

In 1987, at age 35, he scored 109 runs, drove in 123 and batted .305. While hitting 34 HRs and compiling a .569 slugging percentage he managed a .417 on-base percentage. Fewer strikeouts than walks--he moved runners along.

Evans won eight Gold Gloves as an outfielder during the primes of Dave Winfield and Dwayne Murphy.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:16 pm 
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I wouldn't put too much stock in Gold Gloves, either. Recognition usually lags either a few years before the fact, and several years after the fact.

That being said, there's no question that Dwight Evans was a premium defensive player. Just watching him was evidence enough of that. He had good range for a big guy, and his arm was one of the strongest and most accurate in the game. He took very compact routes to fly balls (watch other celebrated outfielders do loop-de-loops getting to them), too.

Jim Rice, by contrast, was no better than average in left. Average-to-weak arm, loping routes to fly balls, and even seeing him on TV just a dozen times a year or so, I remember wondering how one guy could miss his cutoff man so often.

Defensive value is half of a player's value, which is why focusing on a player's batting stats as the leading HOF criteria is like batting with one eye shut.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:58 pm 
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Isn't "half" a bit much?

Perhaps for catchers and shortstops. But for most positions, offensive ability really is more important than defensive ability.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:19 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
I wouldn't put too much stock in Gold Gloves, either. Recognition usually lags either a few years before the fact, and several years after the fact.


Yes. Gold Gloves are like boxing titles--reputation counts too much. It's tough to win the first one, but a player might win another 10 in a row unless he becomes terrible or disabled. I do like that they're not based solely on fielding percentage; a player shouldn't be penalized for having good range or taking a risk at the right time.

Rice was never better than mediocre in the outfield. He had the Green Monster at home to reduce the need for great range, but as Wabber says, he didn't cover much ground or throw well.

I agree with Matthew that defense is less important than offense at most positions. Depending on a team's corner outfielders, I might add centerfield to shortstop and catcher as exceptions.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:35 pm 
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To Wayne's and Matthew's list, I would add first base, as anyone who has watched Jason Giambi blow countless regular-season and postseason games with his lack of artistry around the bag could attest. George Vecsey described Giambi's first-base play as resembling a man eating a cheeseburger while trying to parallel-park an SUV.

Mr. Giambi has no business bringing a fielder's glove with him to work.

I would gladly trade Giambi's steroids-aided offensive output for Tino Martinez's or J.T. Snow's greatly superior defensive output.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:48 pm 
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Giambi's defense is a liability, but to suggest that it's bad enough to outweigh his offense is going too far. A first baseman's errors will loom large in the mind because they are unexpected and often momentous (Bill Buckner wasn't that bad a fielder for most of his career), but the actual number of games Giambi has cost the Yankees by his fielding nowhere near approaches the number he has won with his bat.

I'm always resistant to using anecdote in evaluating players. Giambi gets too much criticism for occasional errors in a relatively unimportant defensive role, and his teammate Derek Jeter gets far too much credit for occasional highlight-reel plays (many looking impressive primarily because he made the play harder than it should have been) in the most important infield position.

(In Giambi's case, I'm speaking agnostic of his steroid use. That's a separate issue that could be a perfectly valid reason to jettison him.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:53 pm 
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Jason Giambi, should he have five more good seasons with the bat, would make one hell of an interesting Hall of Fame case.

One of the biggest storylines near the start of 2007 will be how voters decide to deal with Mark McGwire in his first year of HOF eligibility. That will have all the impact in the world on Giambi when he becomes eligible.

How do you feel about it?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:02 pm 
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I would not vote for any player for the Hall of Fame, regardless of his career performance, if I believed it was at least 51% likely that he used steroids. That includes (but is not limited to) McGwire, Giambi and Bonds.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:08 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
Jason Giambi, should he have five more good seasons with the bat, would make one hell of an interesting Hall of Fame case.

One of the biggest storylines near the start of 2007 will be how voters decide to deal with Mark McGwire in his first year of HOF eligibility. That will have all the impact in the world on Giambi when he becomes eligible.

How do you feel about it?


I wouldn't ever vote for McGwire. He was an above-average, not a great, one-dimensional hitter when he wasn't on steroids. Then he had the steroids seasons in which he "broke" Maris' record a couple of times. And he refused to talk about steroids under oath in Congress last March, an appearance that won't soon be forgotten by Hall voters. And I think it's a sure thing that the Veterans Committee will not elect him.

I wouldn't ever vote for Giambi either, even with those five more great years, and I'm fairly sure his link to BALCO is always going to haunt him with Hall voters. He too won't get past the Veterans Committee. He might even have trouble garnering the 5% necessary to stay on the writers' ballot, a la Albert Belle, who got 7% this election.

What do you think, Wabber?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:17 pm 
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Matthew Grieco wrote:
... Derek Jeter gets far too much credit for occasional highlight-reel plays (many looking impressive primarily because he made the play harder than it should have been)...


I grind my teeth when TV news shows lavish praise on players who, if they were good fielders, would be waiting for fly balls or gliding to grounders instead of making desperate dives.

[I know, I know, I shouldn't watch TV.]

On another note: As much as I dislike Bonds, McGwire and the Yankees' current first baseman, I give them credit for not becoming strictly DHs despite injuries.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:47 pm 
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I agree about McGwire. Really, his sole HOF credential is his 586 home runs. He doesn't have any other impressive "counting stats," his secondary value was marginal and he had virtually no defensive value. Really, it's all about his 1998 season. To me, that lack of markers keeps him out on his own merits.

If he did in fact use steroids AND lied to Congress about it, then he should almost get the Pete Rose treatment.


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