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BBWAA to Larry Walker: “Sorry For The Confusion”

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America do not have much respect for Larry Walker‘s hall-of-fame candidacy.  This year the Canuck garnered fewer HOF votes than Jeff Kent and Fred McGriff.  His future chance of election by the writers is very slim.

The lack of support for Walker can be explained partially by the ten player ballot limit and mostly by anti-Coors Field sentiment.  Writers point to his monster season of 1997 and say “He benefited from hitting baseballs in Denver so he really wasn’t that great”.

If he wasn’t that great then why did you select Walker as MVP that very season?

Despite the Rockies 3rd place finish LW received 92% of the writers NL MVP votes.

Maybe instead of Slugging .720 and hitting 49 home runs the right fielder should have only slugged .600 and hit 40 bombs.

Walker’s video game-like numbers are used to justify not voting for him as a hall-of-famer when the very same numbers were used to justify voting for him as MVP.

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What In the World Are These Voters Waiting For?

Great post by Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs on the dearth of baseball hall-of-famers elected recently.  Myself and many others have been saying for years that the writers need to begin voting great players into the HOF. Isn’t that the point of The Hall?

Writers have made clear that the only late 80’s stars that need apply are Kirby Puckett and Dennis Eckersley.

Let’s hope that we see Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Mark McGwire, Larry Walker get some major vote totals increases this year.

Finally, how they whiffed on Kenny Lofton is just beyond me.  According to fWAR Lofton provided as much value as Duke Snider.  Would these voters not put Duke Snider in if he had played during the “steroid era”?

‘Hall-of-Famer Sammy Sosa’ makes room for…

I have no problem with this player in the HOF:

.284 BA/.377 OBP/.509 SLG, 493 HR

or this player

.266/.353/.515, 462 HR

and finally this guy

.291/.363/.510, 352 HR

So who are these three players?

Fred McGriff, Jose Canseco and Ellis Burks respectively.

Here is someone who some sportswriters are lobbying to get into the Hall this year…

.273/.344/.534

I left off the HR total because you would probably catch on pretty quickly if it was included.

So knowing that all 4 of these guys had long careers as productive sluggers which would you vote into HOF?

The fourth player is Sammy Sosa.  While I wouldn’t vote for him based on his overall contribution to his teams I don’t have a major problem with those who would check Sosa’s name, these voters are simply “big hall” guys.  Those who vote for Sammy should also vote for Fred McGriff who was clearly a better hitter than Sosa.

McGriff had nearly 400 more walks than Sosa while striking out 400 fewer times.  Crime Dog posted more hits and doubles than Sosa in nearly the exact same number of at-bats.

Sosa has an advantage in home runs, stolen bases and overall defensive value.

FanGraphs WAR appears pretty accurate on this tale of the tape:

Sosa – 64 WAR

McGriff – 61 WAR

Crime Dog peaked with 137 HOF votes in 2012.  If the voters are honest with themselves then Sosa won’t get to 138.

How many HOF votes will David Wells receive?

David Wells pitched 21 big leagues seasons including 11 years in the playoffs.

His career totals:

  • 239-157 W/L
  • 108 ERA+
  • 2201 Ks
  • 3/1 strikeout-to-walk rate
  • 10-5 in playoffs
  • 3.17 playoff ERA

How many Hall-of-Fame votes will Shawn Green get?

Shawn Green played 15 MLB seasons and accumulated:

  • .283 Batting Average
  • 328 HR
  • 445 Doubles
  • 2003 Hits
  • 1129 Runs

 

Does Roger Maris deserve a plaque in Cooperstown?

Bud Selig believes that Roger Maris should gain induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The BBWAA were asked to consider Maris’ candidacy 15 times.  His peak vote total of 43% was well short of the 75% required for election.

Q: Why is this even a discussion?

A: 

There are two items worth noting on the BBWAA election rules http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/rules-election/bbwaa

  • “5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
  • “6. Automatic Elections: No automatic elections based on performances such as a batting average of .400 or more for one (1) year, pitching a perfect game or similar outstanding achievement shall be permitted.”
When the veterans committee debate Maris they need to determine that the writers overlooked a perfectly qualified candidate.  It’s abundantly clear that outstanding single season performances are not alone basis for election.
That leaves rule #5.  Let’s assume the writers of the ’70s and ’80s knew much more than we do about Roger’s integrity, sportsmanship and character. All we can review is the players record, ability and contributions to the team.  “Ability” fulfilled should equal performance (“players record”).  I don’t know what in addition to record we can consider as a “contribution to the team”.  Baseball teams win games if they score more runs than their opponents.  Contributions to runs scored and prevented are all included in Maris’ record.  If you can think of any other contributions worth considering please share (don’t say “chemistry”).
Distilling a players record down to a single number doesn’t provide a narrative but it does give us a very good idea of overall ability.  Leave it to the sportswriter to romance over double-play turning combinations or sweet swinging “Yankee Clippers”.  WAR, WARP and Win Shares level the playing field and are more inclusive than pinpointing batting average, stolen bases or home runs. 61 is an awesome number but it only tells us about one aspect of a players game (ability to drive the ball over the fence).  It doesn’t tell us about their ability to make contact, get on base, drive the ball to the gaps, run, field or throw.  The comprehensive numbers we will look at include all aspects of a players contribution.  Even if you disagree with the formula’s output it must provide a more complete view of player performance than any single number in the formula.
Comparing Maris to his right field contemporaries:
                         WAR*     Win Shares Above Bench**
Rocky Colavito      52              129
Vada Pinson          52              114
Tony Oliva            46              124
Frank Howard        45              160
Roger Maris           41              112
Felipe Alou            41                95
Bob Allison            41                89
*average WAR(P) from FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference and Baseball Prospectus
**from The Baseball Gauge
Rocky Colavito clearly had a better career than Roger Maris yet he finished dead last, 37th out of 37, the last time he appeared on a HOF ballot.  “The Capital Punisher” fell off the ballot after just one year. Pinson peaked at 16% in 1988. Only Tony Oliva received support (47%) on the Maris level.
I don’t mind if Roger Maris is given credit for holding the single season HR record but for Bud Selig to tout him as Hall of Fame worthy is flat out irresponsible.

Why Ron Paul is anti-Cobb, Ruth & Wagner

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the ‘National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act

GovTrack.us shares with us the following details of the bill:

  1. 14,000,000 baseball fans have visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
  2. There will be a surcharge of $35 per coin for the $5 coin, $10 for the dollar coin and $5 for the half-dollar coin.
  3. All surcharges shall be promptly paid by the Secretary to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to help finance its operations.
Congressman Richard Hanna, a graduate of the same college in Oregon that Steve Jobs dropped-out of is sponsoring the bill. He now lives 50 miles north of Cooperstown…..
BTW: Ron Paul (TX) was one of only three U.S. Reps. to vote against the bill. What does Rachel Maddow think about that?!?!