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Card of the Week (and Hall of Fame poll): 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractors #127 Andruw Jones

Posted by Andy on September 8, 2011

So much to say about this card...

I better keep it in bullet format so that we can get to the Hall of Fame poll below:

  • By 1997, the card industry was way into overload production with all sorts of ridiculous variations. For this card, there was the regular Bowman base card, the Bowman chrome card, the Bowman international card, and the Bowman international chrome refractor card shown above. At the time, people loved these gimmick cards. They are still made today, but interest seems to have waned significantly.
  • Bowman became the card issue dedicated to rookie and propsect cards and remains as such today. They also liked to make cards of young stars, as Jones was in 1997.
  • The background of the card is meant to feature the flag of the home country of the player. Many of you probably know that Jones is the most successful big-leaguer from Curaçao (and kudos if you can name the first big-leaguer from Curaçao.) Interestingly, if you do a Google image search for "Curacao flag" you'll see that the flag is nothing like what's shown on the card. That's because until 2010, Curacao was actually considered a territory of the Netherlands Antilles, and that's the flag shown on the card.
  • This card probably looks a lot better in real life. It's shiny. In these scans, it looks remarkably drab. The one thing I like about the design is the use of dual photos, especially with one being an action shot and one a closeup.
  • The copy on the back is simple and I do enjoy the witty "Yes--all of them". (Does this remind anybody else of the scene in Austin Powers?)

Now let's talk about Jones and his qualifications for the Hall of Fame.

I'll just put out some quick bullets and let you folks take it from there.

For Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame

Against Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame

  • Because so much of his WAR came from defense, it means that his oWAR isn't all that impressive. At 36.4, he's right around Don Mattingly, Greg Luzinski, and Tony Oliva. Those guys certainly aren't slouches, but none of them is in the Hall of Fame.
  • His career OPS+ of 111 is nice but not particularly special. Here's a list of 20 guys with a similar OPS+ in a similar number of career PAs. There are 4 Hall of Famers on there but they are all infielders from the first half of the 20th century. Similar outfielders include Dusty Baker, Carlos Lee, and Amos Otis.
  • Other than dWAR, his only top-50 career stat is HR, and he's played during a HR-heavy era.
  • It's going to be hard to overlook his bad 2007 at Age 30 and his horrendous 2008 at Age 31.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2011 at 7:00 am and is filed under Card of the Week, Hall of Fame. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

121 Responses to “Card of the Week (and Hall of Fame poll): 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractors #127 Andruw Jones”

  1. good player on a great time with one great season and some memorable postseason heroics.

    Fun to watch...but not a Hall of Famer.

  2. I see the poll isn't showing up. Since we updated the blog software there have been some issues with embedding that sort of code...I am working on it.

  3. OK I think the poll is there now.

  4. He certainly would be the worst center fielder in the Hall of Fame and he was a genuinely outstanding player for about a decade but I still don't think I could bring myself to vote for him, largely because of his performance as a Dodger in 2008. I just can't get my mind around the idea that a Hall of Famer's performance could fall that far that fast that young. I don't recall any major injuries so was it drugs? Demonic possession? Alien abduction? I know that many great players have not put up great numbers in their last years but it's usually related to age (Mays), injury (Mantle) or perception (Mantle again). I can't think on any who were the worst full time regular player by a considerable margin for no apparent reason.

  5. Sorry, make that: "wouldN'T be the worst"

  6. If defense is important, which i think it is, Jones should get into the HOF

    there is also a very good chance he hangs around and hits a bunch more home runs over the next 2-3 years.

    sure there may never have been a hall of famer who sucked so badly for a number of years late in his career, but because of how young he started, if jones had left baseball in 2007 due to a tragic and sudden injury, he may have been put in anyway

  7. Are OFs with a career .256 avg (and declining) eligible for the HOF??

  8. He put up some nice numbers, but he never matured as a hitter. He got by for a lot of years on mostly raw talent. If he had learned to stop chasing terrible pitches when he was young, he would have had even better numbers and probably not such a precipitous decline. Then, he'd be a hall of famer.

  9. I know it isn't a Hall of Fame standard, but I didn't know Andruw has over 400 career home runs.

  10. I think the Donny Baseball comparison is a good one here. From 84-89, he dominated the game and comparisons w/ Joe D. were common. If he'd had a run of 6 more such years ... HOF for sure. Didn't happen. Toward the end, his aching back cut his production roughly in half. He was a brilliant defender his whole career, but that stat's usually overlooked UNLESS players are solely defensive specialists. He's never been a serious HOF candidate, and he was a far more disciplined, well-rounded player than Andruw. Jones' defense was peerless for 10 yrs. and he deserves credit for that. But apart from 1 MVP-level year and maybe 2 others truly of note, he's comparable to Torii Hunter. No hall for either one, I'm afraid.

  11. Personally, I don't see Jim Edmonds as a hall of famer, and Jimmy had a better career War by almos 8 points, 8 Gold Gloves, won a World Series and was in the playoffs 6 times, with a World Series ring. And Jimmy made a bunch of amazing plays in both the 04 and 06 playoffs. I just don't see how Jones could be a hall of famer without even discussing Jimmy.

  12. 6- look up the offensive numbers for Brooks Robinson's last five years or Ozzie Smith's first five. Ozzie was terrible offensively when he started out- (in 1981 he made the all star team with an OPS lower than Mike Schmidt's SLG) Neither of these guys would be in the Hall without their defense. All the evidence suggests that Andruw Jones was one of the greatest defensive centerfielders ever and was a good hitter. Probably deserves to be in.

  13. My list of guys with a similar career OPS+ is somewhat deceptive since Jones' comps are all guys who retired with those numbers, but Jones will likely play at least another season or two. Here are guys with similar PAs and OPS+ through their Age 34 season"

    Rk PA OPS+ From To Age
    1 Buddy Bell 8970 110 1972 1986 20-34
    2 Lou Brock 8144 114 1961 1973 22-34
    3 Max Carey 8664 112 1910 1924 20-34
    4 Willie Davis 8689 107 1960 1974 20-34
    5 Bobby Doerr 8028 115 1937 1951 19-33
    6 Frankie Frisch 8710 113 1919 1933 20-34
    7 Billy Herman 8080 111 1931 1943 21-33
    8 Harry Hooper 8502 115 1909 1922 21-34
    9 Andruw Jones 8361 111 1996 2011 19-34
    10 Clyde Milan 8236 109 1907 1921 20-34
    11 Ivan Rodriguez 8320 113 1991 2006 19-34
    12 Joe Sewell 8329 108 1920 1933 21-34
    13 Alan Trammell 8155 112 1977 1992 19-34
    14 Lou Whitaker 8290 114 1977 1991 20-34
    Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 9/8/2011.
  14. Gordon Lyons Says:

    Outstanding defenders that are OK with the bat are rare in the HOF, but they are there (Ozzie Smith and Brooks Robinson come to mind). Jones is in that class, but maybe a better offensive player (400 + HR, 1000 + RBI, 1000+ Runs is significant).

  15. That's a somewhat better group, I think, in my previous comment.

  16. It looked like he was a solid HOF candidate around 2006 and then his career just fell off a cliff.

    He had a somewhat odd skill set in that he was a tremendous defense player with great power (.488 lifetime Slugging pct) yet he didn't draw a ton of walks (.339 on base percentage), and he didn't hit for a high average (.256 lifetime batting average).

    From 1998-2006 he was one of the best players in baseball. His war of 55.3 ranks 3rd only behind A-Rod and Barry Bonds. He probably should get in just based on his peak value from 1998-2006

    His 55.3 WAR ranks 11th all time among CF. Usually a score of 55 was more than enough for a CF to get elected.

    Not counting Doby, there are 7 HOF CF with less career WAR than A. Jones: Ashburn, Rousch, Averill, Puckett, Combs, H. Wilson, and L. Waner.

    Two things going for A. Jones is that every eligible position player with 10 or more GG except for K. Hernandez has been elected to the HOF: Mays, Schmidt, Bench, Clemente, Alomar, O. Smith, B. Robinson and Kaline.

    And every position player with 10 or more GG & 400+ HR has been elected to the HOF: Mays and Schmidt.

    Also he's 4th all time among CF in HR (418) behind Mays, Griffey and Mantle.

    Every eligible player that played 50% of their career at CF and hit 400 or more HR has been elected to the HOF: Mays, Mantle and Snider.

  17. Only Ray Schalk has a lower batting average of any HOFer than Jones, and Schalk certainly doesn't belong to be in there. Killebrew is also at .256, but with 573 HR's before the steroids era, does belong. If you just want to look at defense, Jim Kaat has 16 GG's to go along with 283 Wins and Keith Hernandez and Omar Vizquel each have 11. None of them are in and only Kaat has even a remote chance. Greg Maddux has 18 and will make it shortly. Ivan Rodriguez has 13 and has a decent enough shot unless any steroids rumors carry any weight. Bottom line, no, Jones does not deserve to be in there unless he hits a lot more HR's if he can find teams willing to continue to give him AB's.

  18. Vizquel has a shot at HOF for sure, and I-Rod is in unless something major comes out about steroids.

  19. was Jones really the best defensive centerfielder ever over a 10 year span? or was he excellent but waived off a lot of the other guys?

    I honestly don't know the answer. I just don't know how to take those dWAR numbers in centerfield. I'm sure he was good. But was he really better than Mays and all the rest? For a 10-year span his dWAR numbers say yes.

  20. Since Jeff Bagwell only got41% of the vote in his first year, I would think that would spell doom for Andruw's candidacy. Bagwell's overall career value (WAR of 79.9) blows away Jones's, yet, because of the era he played in, didn't even come close to making it in his first year on the ballot. So, if a guy like Bagwell is tainted by plaing in the "Steroid Era", think about how much Jones will be. To the naked eye, his career arc looks much more suspicious.

  21. Brooks Robinson is an excellent comp for Jones. Robinson was a great hitter at his peak, but his skills with the bat diminished well before his skills with the glove. As a result, he has a career OPS+ of 105 despite having a 4-year peak (1964-1967) with an OPS+ of 129 over 622 games. From 1968 on, though, he had a 97 OPS+ over 1332 games. As a result, a lot of fans forget how good he was as a hitter before his decline.

    Jones is much the same way--a fantastic players on both sides of the ball for a number of years, but a lingering career with declining skills hurts his reputation.

  22. omar vizquel is going to to to walk into the hall one far as jim kaat i never understood why he's not in the hall and andrew jones might have close to 500 home runs before he's done that and his defence i don't know you keep him out................granted all this is barring any steroid revelations that includes vizquel...

  23. Great points on both sides. The proverbial fence must run right through his clubhouse locker. It's too bad you couldn't include "I Have No Freaking Idea" as a poll option. He's like the Jack Morris of hitting candidates.

  24. Omar should be in. He was one of the best defensive players at a one of the hardest positions. Andruw will probably not get in. Yes, he was a great defensive player and had some good offensive years but I just can't see him in the hall

  25. Glad to see the poll and the Brooks Robinson comparison.

  26. A .256 career hitter, who more that likely used steroids will never be a HOF'er. He was a great defensive player, but his offense was okay at best.

  27. andruw will obviously not get in via the writers. we are going to see some glaring names fail to make it in the next five years. the 2013 and 2014 ballots are loaded. i think pedro and john smoltz aren't going to be first ballot HOF because the 10-15% of voters who are voting for the PED guys (and i am on their side) will have close to ten "very obvious HOF if not for PED" guys they need to keep on the ballot. sheff, palmeiro, sosa, mcgwire, clemens, bonds, manram. seven votes gone just like that. we have already seen guys who in the past would have been ten year ballot arguments like kevin brown and big cat galarraga fail to stay on for even one year. juan gonzalez barely got 5%, and he will be gone in 2013. then you add in other candidates like hoffman, wagner, walker, mussina, schilling. andruw, like all other traditional borderline HOF guys of his era, will be kicked off the ballot when it gets crunched.

    however, the vet's committee has a record of electing whomever was the defensive standout for his era at his position. furthermore the vet's committee is players who are more sympathetic. i therefore think that andruw will be a vet committee induction many years from now, along with the mentioned in these comments, jim edmonds.

  28. notice how in my comment i didn't even mention piazza, the greatest hitting catcher ever, arguably, pudge the greatest defensive catcher ever, arguably, or tom glavine, a 300 game winner. and none of those guys will be first ballot either.

    it is my hope that bonds and clemens make it anyway on the spurious "they were HOF before roids" argument, and the writers dispense with the "not a first ballot HOF" argument also. that would possibly allow for some room.

  29. @ 27 & 28-

    With the exception of Glavine and Martinez, I believe you are correct that none of those guys will get in on the first ballot. To me, Mussina and Schilling are no-brainers, but they do stack up. Hoffman will get in eventually. Larry Walker is the most puzzling as his numbers indicate he is among the elite, however he did it in Coors.

  30. In regards to HOF candidates, it is getting harder to compare players of
    different generations.

    The emergence of advanced statistics makes this so. Candidates today
    are being judged more and more based on metrics that didn't exist even
    ten years ago.

    Brooks Robinson is a fascinating example. He rose to national prominence in the 1970 World Series. Although obviously well
    known prior, the defensive display he put on during that WS
    probably cemented his HOF resume for many writers of the time.

    I am quite sure that most baseball writers if asked the question, "Is Brooks
    Robinson one of the top 5 third basemen of all time?, in the spring of 71,
    would have said yes.

    As to Andruw Jones, I am on the fence. My initial reaction is no. But
    the more I think about it, especially when factoring in defense. I might
    be convinced.

  31. Omar Vizquel in the HOF? Yuck. We've got enough undeserving guys, particularly at shortstop.

    As for Andruw Jones, I'd say he's very much borderline, and I'd have to lean no.

  32. Fascinating to me that as much as baseball lends to objective statistical analysis, the conversations still always gravitate to the subjective.
    There's no clear cut criteria for being a HOFer, and it is done by vote.
    Same with the MVP.
    And CY.
    And GG (Palmiero '99!)

    The strike zone may be tracked and charted by computer, but the calls are variable and ultimately subjective.
    That's certainly true for balks (thank you Joe West).
    And even perfect games (poor Armando).

    And as for the Hall of Fame, we find ourselves trying to compare players of today to the friends of Frnakie Fisch of whom we don't don't even have video. All we have are the numbers. And yes, OPS+ and ERA+ and WAR are handy recent developments, but nobody would suggest that they tell the whole story.

    There was a recent blog here discussing Defensive statistical analysis, and how it is still in it's infancy. That sure would be handy if we had some numbers that believably describe different generations with which to compare A.Jones to W.Mays to T.Cobb in centerfield (Cobb had 30 assists and 12 DPs in 1907).

    We don't have that, though.
    We have our perceptions, and our emotions, and our ability to argue over a beer. And those things are as much a part of baseball as anything else.

    Oh, and first big leaguer from Curacao, I remember it to be one of many over-hyped Yankees prospects during the 'dark years':
    Hensley Bam Bam Meulens
    (how could someone named Bam Bam not make it?).

  33. oop, sorry I didn't spell check Frankie Frisch.

  34. I thought Fnarkie Firsch was a joke.

  35. I expect this will be the only time I'll ever see the names of Andruw Jones and Joe Sewell mentioned together--unless you contrast them. Sewell never whiffed while Jones always struck out. And the Brooks Robinson/Jones comparisons have some merit but remember the eras in which they played. Brooks played when pitching dominated the game while Andruw was in his prime when offense was the name of the game.

    I wouldn't even consider Andruw Jones for the HOF--not even on my most liberal of days. Amos Otis, Jimmy Ryan, George Van Haltren, Dominic DiMaggio, Vada Pinson--those guys would get my vote before Andruw, as well as Jim Edmonds. Also, don't forget about Brett Butler, Doc Cramer, Roy Thomas (I know, those guys are singles hitters but they had value) and I always liked Garry Maddox and Marquis Grissom who both proved to be more reliable than Jones. For my money, a player that's relaible for 12-15 years is a better man to have than one whose career is a rollercoaster of production.

    Andruw might actually be best compared to Dale Murphy. They were both exceptional defenders with plus power and great raw skills. They both flamed out early.

  36. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Doc Cramer? Good lord...

  37. @ 36

    If Lloyd Waner is a Hall of Famer, and a person subscribes to the "since-he's-in-the-Hall-than-he-should-be-also" argument, than Cramer is a no-brainer.

    I just recently wrote an article on Doc detailing his credentials on my blog: I won't say that I'd put Doc in as much as I'd rather remove Little Poison. But we can't remove players--only add.

  38. Yeah, I'm scratching my head at all of 35. We use normalized stats like OPS+ for a reason.

  39. I love stats but they're utterly useless if they make Andruw Jones and Joe Sewell comparable. Night and day, those two.

  40. "Larry Walker is the most puzzling as his numbers indicate he is among the elite, however he did it in Coors."

    I don't think players should be penalized by the stadium in which they played half their games.

  41. C'mon. Doc Cramer led the league in AB's 7 times. That counts for something...doesn't it?

  42. @40

    For Larry Walkers career, his batting average at home was .348, .278 on the road

    His OPS at home was 1.065, .865 on the road

    Those are pretty big differences.

  43. Andruw still has a ways to go. This season, he's proved to be at least a workable reserve/part time outfielder, what if he becomes a John Jay for the next few years manning the outfield and reaches 500 HR's?

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I love stats but they're utterly useless if they make Andruw Jones and Joe Sewell comparable. Night and day, those two.

    I don't even know how to respond to this. There's a difference between OPS+ and a portrait.

    Those are pretty big differences.

    Well, yeah. You already observed that he played in Coors. Wouldn't you expect a big difference?

  45. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    Abstract question - is there a HOF outfielder whom a substantial part of his HOF qualifications was percieved as his defensive value? I'm not referring to DWAR or any statistical analysis, but that the perception was that a good chunk of their value was their defensive play.

    Looking over the OF HOF list, I come up with:
    -Ashburn (Vet)
    -Carey (Vet)
    -Roush (Vet)

    Mays and Speaker were already absurdly overqualified on the basis of their overwheming offensive stats. Clemente, Dimaggio, Kaline, and Yaz were somewhat less overqualified, but still cleared the bar by plenty just on their hitting stats.

    Puckett had a good case just on his hitting, but his defensive reputation
    might have put him "over the top". I do believe the case for the three Veteran's Committee picks of Ashburn, Carey, and Roush were helped a lot by their defensive reps, as their hitting probably wasn't enough to get them in.

    Of course, we are talking about the BBWAA voting tendencies now, and I think the "one of the greatest fielders ever at position X" argument helps a lot only if "X" is shortstop; Brooks seems to be a unique case. Maz had that argument but he's a rather controversial Vet's pick.

    I think that if Jones plays another four/five years and gets near 500 HR/ 1500 RBI he will get serious consideration from the writers, but not get close to 75%.

  46. Gordon Lyons Says:

    I've been tracking this discussion about Andrew Jones (I even commented earlier for the first time ever!), and I got curious so I checked. He has the second highest defensive WAR ever, for any position (second to Brooks Robinson)! I think that says a ton about his value. In addition to 400 + HR and 1000+ RBI, how many runs did he save with his defense over the course of an average season and over the course of his career? A run saved is equal to a run created at the end of the day. Hall of Fame? Yes.

  47. Gordon, thanks for joining the discussion. I'd like to point out that his first name is Andruw, not Andrew, and that I mentioned his overall #2 ranking in dWAR in my original post.

  48. if Andruw Jones makes it at CF then shouldn't Buddy Bell, Scott Rolen, and Robin Ventura make it at 3rd Base?

  49. Suspicion of steriods is enough to keep a player out.

    While we as a collective group may know things some one else can only speculate at, and may "demand" proof during a debate, the BBWAA does know who used and who didn't.

    There are people on this blog who would have willingly bet their 401k's on Bagwell being first ballot, and he barely broke 40%.

    There's a reason for that.

    And it's the same reason that will kick Jones off the ballot after a couple of years regardless his undeserved defensive reputation or his homer totals.

    Good player?

    Most definitely.

    Great player?

    Even WITH steriods, the answer is no.

  50. Gordon Lyons Says:

    Over 60% of the polling currently showing he is not HOF. Let me ask, is defense in baseball really THAT less important than offense, that the #2 all-time defender in terms of WAR is not HOF? There are many HOFers who have great offensive WAR but actually low or negative defensive WAR, and it's never even a discussion-they're in.

  51. @ 42

    I'm aware of those numbers and those differences. I'm just saying (typing?) that when the writers send their votes they should consider the total numbers the players put on the field, regardless of the park they played. Just my opinion.

  52. I like the design of the 1997 Bowmans. I would like the player's position on the front, though (always a personal preference).

    The many variations is a little tedious, but the bowman sets were pretty nice those years.

    Bowman History:
    - They were the main BB Card company of the late 1940's thru 1950 (Topps' first set was 1951-horrendous and then they released the best set of all time in 1952)
    - Bowman has Mickey Mantles true Rookie card (1951 - topps did not have a mantle card that year)
    - Bowman's last 1950's set was 1955 (which included the hobby's only umpire cards).
    - Bowman came back in 1989 with a large-format card (reminiscent of the 1950's size). This was a PITA as it was the only set from post 1956 to be that large and cause numerous Griffey Jr rookie cards to be bent during storage.

  53. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @49/ Chuck: "Suspicion of steriods is enough to keep a player out. While we as a collective group may know things some one else can only speculate at, and may "demand" proof during a debate, the BBWAA does know who used and who didn't..."

    This is not the first time you have made claims of inside knowledge here, but I don't believe this for a second, I do not think there is some sort of SSO-MLB-SUL (Super Secret Official MLB Steriod Use List) that only they as BBWAA members have access to. I think that are like the rest of us and are basing their steroid suspicions on a combination of who actually failed the tests (a very small % of MLB players at any time), plus their vague suspicions, looking at a player's physical shape and career progession and rumors started by other writers, of who "feels like" they were a PED user.

    In short, their opinions on who did or did not use steriods are just that - opinions.

  54. Love defense, but too much of his WAR is made up defensive WAR...which is a very suspect number anyway.........and while WAR is the single best stat, is it very far from perfect or being a number that should be used to almost solely decide a hall of famer like some here at this site would like it to be. I agree that if his career didn't fall off a cliff at the age of 30 at the end of the steroid era, that he would have had a better chance...perhaps better than 50%. He'll get some votes, hang around a for ~5 years, and drop off the ballot. And, to whoever wrote about Bagwell only getting 41% his first year on ballot, you do realize that 41% your first year is a really good indicator that you'll get in?.....unless, you think Bagwell should have been a first or near first balloter?...which, he is NOT. Bagwell will get in years 5-10 if nothing about steroids comes out, Jones will hang on ballot for a few years and then disappear.

  55. Omar has a solid chance, but I'd say it's 50/50 or slightly less than 50% like 45% IMO. I wouldn't vote for him.

  56. I apologize for my ignorance, but what does PITA means?

  57. Your statement here Gordy says it all:

    "Let me ask, is defense in baseball really THAT less important than offense, that the #2 all-time defender in terms of WAR is not HOF? Defensive WAR should be taken with a "boulder of salt". It's in its infancy. If his offensive WAR was around 45, then sure. There's no way he hangs around to get to 500 hrs.

  58. #53,

    Thanks Lawrence, for sharing.

    Your opinion.

  59. Best center fielder of the late 90's and early 2000s? No. Not at all. Griffey was better in the late 90s and Edmond was better in the early 2000s.

  60. Wow it only took 52 comments for someone to actually comment on the card.

    What Chuck suggests goes directly against what some BBWAA members say in terms of knowledge. I suspect it's more a case of BBWAA members assuming that they know without having actual proof--classic cognitive dissonance there.

  61. Atom, I didn't mean to suggest that Jones was the best each and every year, but from those 10 years as a whole he's the best over that whole period. (I also wonder how you are measuring performance of Griffey and "Edmond" since Jones' dWAR numbers are miles better than either guy for virtually every year. I wonder if you are looking through Sportscenter-highlight-tinged glasses.

  62. @48

    Scott Rolen probably does deserve to go to the hall at 3rd base.

  63. @62

    The only way Rolen gets into the Hall is if he buys a ticket.

  64. While he might deserve to be elected based on standards, I don't see him making it. He played during a high offensive period, and while good, he wasn't a standout with the bat, and CFers aren't elected to the HOF based on defense. Also working against him is a variation of the "die young, stay pretty" factor. His peak was his 20s, and he's stuck around in his 30s as a lesser player and a part-time player. That memory will linger with many voters.

  65. There are reasons to be sceptical about defensive ratings. But, I think this is less so for outfielders than infielders, and less for CF than corners.

    For his time in CF Jones made on average .18 more plays per 9 innings than the average CF. Multiply by his innings/9 in CF and we get 294 more plays than than the average CF in the same number of innings. Turning a single into an out is on average a swing of about .8 runs. Of course, some of the catches he made saved extra base hits, so his average would be higher. Thus, using only "traditional" defensive stats, we get that he was probably at least 250 runs above an average CF. This is just about exactly the number Total Zone calculates and is used in dWAR.

    Defensive stats can be suject to some biases, but do any apply here? Atlanta was usually at or near the top in strikeouts, leaving fewer balls for the defenders to handle. And there is no reason to believe that Maddux, Glavine etc were extreme flyball pitchers. Jones was getting fewer opportunities than average, not more. The only remaining issue that I can see is the possibility that Andruw was pirating chances from the other outfielders. I think the general rule is that CF is in charge, and can call off the LF or RF. But absent strong evidence that he did this much more than other CF, I think that we have to conclude that the many extra catches he made were a product of his ability, not the result of a favorable context.

  66. PITA = Pain in the as*

  67. Do people actually remember how crucial he was to the success of guys like Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine? Do people actually remember how good he was playing CF in his prime outside of the numbers? Because he was frighteningly good. Played shallow to take away bloops and liners, but you still couldn't hit it over his head. And he was good at the plate - some have strangely noted that he didn't walk much. He was never a top ten guy there, but also never was a "swing at everything" guy. He was a good hitter with top-five all time defense.

    I've seen it written elsewhere - Jones HoF case suffers, right now, because of the ages of his achievements. If you put his last four years at the beginning of his career (For imaginary Jones, 2008 was a terrible callup year, the last three years are when he was platooned by a manager not willing to play him full time yet), and he was now in the midst of his first bad season (2007 in reality), that makes him 34, coming off of 11 great years from ages 23-33, and it all looks more normal. An extended decline/loss of playing time on a career makes it easy to forget how good he was for so long. It's not clear as of now that he couldn't be a decent (1-3 WAR) full time player for a few more years, but will anyone take the chance, and does he want it (he may like being a part-timer on a winning team)?

    He's a lot like Tim Raines (except Raines never had a completely terrible year) - Raines stuck around for six years playing part time, and people don't remember part time players as hall of famers.

  68. Andy @60,

    I might be the last holdover of the COTW fan club. Keep those cards comin'!...:)

    BTW, I voted No and No for Jones HOF (gut reaction).

    But if we do feel that Jones is in the same class defensively as B.Robby and Ozzie Smith (I am definitely not qualified to make that decision), then I guess he should go in. I always thought of him as another great CF (Devon White, Torii Hunter, etc.), not a position "definer" (a word?), hence my initial gut reaction.

  69. @60. That's what you get when you lump a HOF poll for a polar pick in with a baseball card post.

  70. @65
    "Hey, Tanner, does he go to the bathroom for you too?"

  71. Robin Ventura? no...I think Nolan Ryan already made that vote :)

  72. "What Chuck suggests goes directly against what some BBWAA members say in terms of knowledge." really think they'll say anything?

    Key word being "some."

    The BBWAA is different now than it was even a dozen years ago. The next time Rob Neyer steps foot in a ML clubhouse will be the first time.

    I know of a BBWAA writer who hasn't been to a ML game in two years; he has a subscription to and season ticket and writes his syndicated game reports and stories from the comfort of his sofa.

    But there are still enough old school guys out there like Madden and Gammons and Conlin who would go to the park and see see the funny looking vials in lockers and the secret early morning FedEx deliveries.

    You think Manny Ramirez or Sammy Sosa shows up at the park at 8am the morning after a night game just to hit off the tee for fifteen minutes?


    Bagwell was supposed to be first ballot and he ended up getting half the votes expected.

    Not a coincidence.

    I agree there's no concrete proof on him, but that's not going to prevent him from getting "punished."

    I believe the writers' will keep him out until the beans are spilled, it's a lot easier at that point to justifiy them keeping him out than putting him in.

  73. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Especially since calculating dWAR is still so controversial ... not a HOFer.

  74. Wow, amazed by the negativity towards Jones. From 21 to 29 his WAR was: 7.2, 7.0, 7.9, 4.8, 6.1, 5.1, 3.6, 7.1, 6.5.

    That's a hell of a 9 year prime and a 4 year peak of seasons all 7 WAR or better. What more do you want from a HOF player? He was on the field everyday, too. At least 154 games and 659 PA's every season at a very demanding defensive position, which, btw, he played at an exceptional/historicaly great level as measured by both popular acclaim and by the best metrics we have.

    Yes, he's stunk since turning 30, but he was a HOF before he turned 30, too.

  75. @ 10: No, the comparison of a 1B to a CF is not a good one.

    Comprable to Torii Hunter? The Torii Hunter who's hit 30+ HR once in his career vs. the 7 times Jones has? The Torii Hunter who has only 4 seasons of positive dWAR in his entire career and who is negative 3.2 dWAR for said career? You've been watching too much Baseball Tonight. Web Gems does not equal defensive value.

  76. If people are looking for third basemen after Santo, Graig Nettles has a higher bWAR and fWAR than Bell and Ventura. I'm not advocating them, but I find it funny that there seems to be some movement slowly bubbling in the sabermetric community for Bell, yet I never hear Nettles mentioned.

  77. "Yes, he's stunk since turning 30, but he was a HOF before he turned 30, too"

    Then I point you to Tim Raines' vote totals.

  78. @76

    Nettles is a .248 lifetime hitter. That is enough for me for him not to be in the Hall of Fame.

  79. Most HR's without scoring 100 runs in a season?Jones hit 51 but scored 95.

  80. @74

    You just can't take 10 years and put guys in the HOF for that. There has to be a whole career evaluated in the process.

    This is where you have the "since Puckett is in the HOF, Mattingly should be there too because their stats are similar". Mattingly had a top heavy career and faded his last 5 years. If Puckett isn't forced to retire, he passes Mattingly in leaps and bounds in the offensive categories.

  81. @76

    the reason I made the comparison to Rolen, Bell, and Ventura is that they each had very good but not all-time great offensive stats and had very good gloves.

    so they seemed similar to Jones. Those 3 are all in the range of +15 dWAR and +40 oWAR. So should they get in?

  82. and yes... Nettles is also along those same lines. You are correct. A very good but not HOF bat with a very good glove. Does that = HOF? Maybe.

    there are so few 3B in the hall that it always amazes me that Santo never got in. And now that seems to drive it foward... well if Santo didn't get in then how can we add Bell, Ventura, Nettles, or Rolen? Stan Hack, Sal Bando, Ron Cey, Ken Boyer... Not ONE of these guys? Sigh.

    And yet Mazeroski is in. Don't people realize that not everyone can play third base?

    (ok, sorry for the off track comments)

  83. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    Jr Says: "@74
    You just can't take 10 years and put guys in the HOF for that. There has to be a whole career evaluated in the process..."

    Many players have been been elected to the HOF for ten good years or less, quite a few considerably less than ten years. The majority of them were Veteran's picks, but there are also some high-profile HOFers of this sort elected by the BBWAA.

    Elected by the BBWAA:
    Dizzy Dean - the classic short-career pitcher, five full years total
    Hank Greenberg - nine full years
    Ralph Kiner - ten years total
    Sandy Koufax - really, only six good years and three full HOF-level years
    Duke Snider - played many years, but done as a full-time player by age 32

    Veteran's Committee selections:
    Earl Averill
    Earl Combs
    Elmer Flick
    Joe Gordon
    Chick Hafey
    Addie Joss
    Chuck Klein
    Tony Lazzeri
    Rooss Youngs
    (not a full list)

    As you said, you need to evaluate the whole career. There are numerous players above who had enough value for ten full years or less. Jones certainly has had an unusual career progression, but that shouldn't kill his HOF chances.

    @81/ Doug B - HOF voters aren't sure how to evaluate 3Bmen - they want them to be good fielders, but also hit like corner outfielders or first basemen. Ron Santo and Stan Hack should go in before Bell and Ventura. Realistically, only Santo has any chance.

  84. @ 77: Then I point you to the poll options, which include, "Yes he deserves it, but he'll never get enough votes," and which has received fewer than half the votes than straight out No.

  85. @ 80: The point is he has a HOF peak and prime. How do you evaluate his whole career then to say he's not a HOF? Out of all CF (played at least 60% of games in CF) he's currently 10th in career WAR and he has the same OPS+ as Ashburn and sllightly better than Carey. It's not hugely lower than Roush, Puckett and Combs (I mention all of these names as they are all already HOF). So if he outperformed them in WAR, was at least somewhat comparable at the plate, and is widely acknowledged as superior to them defensively, how is he not a HOF when you evaluate his career?

  86. Jones has a very strong argument for best defensive center fielder in history, and isn't that just as impressive an accomplishment as being the best defensive shortstop? I think Jones should be a Hall of Famer based on his defensive brilliance alone, but his overall offense has been above average with plus-power.

  87. @83.

    Good comp with Duke Snider - "played many years, but done as a full-time player by age 32"

    Snider had 40 homers and 143 OPS+ in his age 30 season (last year in Brooklyn - hmmm). After that, he kept up a decent OPS+ (until cratering in his final season), but his power disappeared - 23 homers in his best of 7 subsequent years, and every other year 16 HRs or less. Guess it's debatable whether his playing time fell off because his power did, or vice-versa, but I'll go with the former.

    Similar pattern for Jones. Last really good year in his age 29 season (41 HR, 126 OPS+). Still getting similar OPS+ in a part-time role (this year and last, anyway), but power down (26 HR in age 30 season, everything else under 20).

    Snider had to wait a long time to get in. With that precedent and Jones' defense, he should probably make it someday, but somehow I don't think he will.

  88. Jones offensive achievements might have worked against him, at least in terms of perception. Yes, he was celebrated for his defensive abilities, no doubt. But because he also had amazing offensive abilities and tantalizing potential, many people feel there is a, "What could have been?" aura around him. If Jones simply played defense at the level he did and was a decent hitter, he'd be viewed as an Ozzie Smith type. albeit with a shorter career. But because his offense was good-to-great at times, people expected/wanted him to be more and he started getting compared to the Griffey's of the world, didn't measure up, and now is looked at as a failure.

  89. 83 What about Harland Clift?

  90. #16: "yet he didn't draw a ton of walks (.339 on base percentage)"

    Jones actually has an above average walk rate for his career (10.3%, compared to a league average of 8.7%), and has had several years in 11-12% territory. That's not a Thome-esque walk rate, sure, but it's still very solid.

    You can't just look at a mediocre OBP and assume a lack of walks. Sometimes a low batting average is to blame, and that's the case with Jones.

  91. @88, BSK.

    "If Jones simply played defense at the level he did and was a decent hitter, he'd be viewed as an Ozzie Smith type."

    Actually, more like Paul Blair, don't you think?

  92. Griffey jr. was an overrated Cfer.

  93. Pat@#84.

    Neither Jones, nor Raines, is deserving, regardless of their peaks.

    Different reasons, yes, but out is still out.

  94. I like to emphasize the "F" in the "HOF." When it comes to a player, ask yourself "Can you imagine the sport at that time without that player?" For instance, can you imagine the 50s-60s without Mantle, or the 60s-70s without Seaver, or the 70s-80s without Schmidt, or the 80s-90s without Ripken? No way -- ergo, they belong in the Hall of Fame.

    Now, can you imagine the 90s-00s without Andruw Jones?

  95. A little off topic, but I find people base their opinions off WAR way too much. Does anyone here actually know the complete formula? It's fun to use, but it's being used as the be all to end all and I think that's fairly foolish for a stat no one completely understands.

    As for Jones, this is a tough one. If this was asked 2004-2005, the answer would be yes. But he had such a drop off. He's helping his case with this recent comeback, but since his career is seen as a letdown I'm going to have to say no. Maybe he deserves it, but he won't get in.

  96. Pat: The problem is WAR is the best single metric but still flawed, and 40%+ of his total WAR was made up of the very flawed defensive WAR. He needs an offensive WAR of 45 and to not have fallen off a cliff at the age of 30 at end of steroid era.

  97. @94

    I've never liked that interpretation of the Hall of Fame. I've always felt the term 'fame' was used because induction would ensure a kind of baseball immortality, that being a permanent station in the annals of history. Contemporary opinion isn't irrelevant, but it should be used to illuminate what is rather than replace careful consideration. If we went exclusively by a thing's popularity at the time, Van Gogh would only be an exhortation yelled at large, slow-moving vehicles.

    Andruw Jones is perhaps the greatest defensive center fielder of all time and he's an above average hitter thanks to impressive power. I fail to see why Jones' superior hitting doesn't make up for the longevity difference between him and other glove wizards like Ozzie and Brooks.

  98. #8 brings up a good point, i think. Jones was hyped a lot. He was supposed to be a superstar. But he never matured. In fact, he didn't really seem to want to (and with Bobby Cox as manager, I'm not surprised.)

    Should this hurt him? probably not. Will it? I dunno.

  99. I grew up in Atlanta in the '90s, and I watched probably 75 percent of the games Jones played from 1996 to mid-2005, when I moved away. I remember clearly the day Jones was called up in 1996 (after starting the season in Single-A, and compiling a 30/30 season over three different levels by mid-August). It was said by baseball people, seriously at the time, that he could have a Willie Mays-type career. He was that good defensively and there wasn't a pitcher alive who could throw a fastball past him.

    It's because of those lofty expectations that his career is seen by some as a disappointment. And his immediate fall from grace after 2007, at the relatively young age of 30, only enhances that mind-set. I can understand it, but I can't agree with it. I know what my eyes saw, and I know what the numbers say.

    Others say Griffey or Edmonds or Hunter or Devon White or Paul Blair were better center fielders. They're wrong.

    It's Mays, Speaker and Jones in the upper tier, and no one else.

    You all won't believe me when I say I used to buy tickets for the center field stands at The Ted just to watch Andruw play defense. But I did, numerous times. I've never bought a ticket to see anyone else play defense. But I did for Andruw Jones. It was special to watch him every day.

    Is he a Hall of Famer? I have no idea. Maybe if he has another serviceable 4-5 years in him, gets past 500 homers, makes people forget just how bad he was with the Dodgers. But I know I'll never forget how good he was in his prime. I never got to see Mays play, but I'm glad I got to see Andruw Jones.

  100. He could have been a hall of famer if he didn't get fat and lazy.

  101. @83

    I should have clarified my point a little better. The guys you mentioned all had short careers, unlike Andruw Jones who had a good career run 10 years and has been miserable for the last 5 seasons. All of the guys you mentioned not only had short careers, but were DOMINANT during them. Andruw Jones maybe had 2 seasons that were the equivilant of Kiner and Greenberg.

  102. Andruw Jones has been a pretty good player for a long time, minus '07 and '08 (which hurts). But 400HR playing most of his career in the steroids era is not good enough to get you in. Had he racked up those stats playing in the 70s and 80s while still experiencing the level of postseason exposure/success I would think he would get in. There are probably a few HOF's who are marginal who he compares favorably to, but I couldn't vote him in.

    As for the card, the late '90s baseball card industry got like the NBA dunk contest - yeah it was cool at first now everyone is tired of it and doesn't pay attention. When I collected a lot of cards in the late 70s and 80s with only 3 companies to choose from it seemed much more special. Plus the cards were only 25-35 cents per pack and my allowance would go a long way. If I was a kid I couldn't fathom shelling out $4-$7 per pack for a 10-card special edition gimmick pack.

  103. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @89/Steve Says: #83 What about Harland Clift?
    Steve, Clift had a nice five/six year peak as the first modern power-hitting third baseman, but his career was just too short (1582 G), plus his peak was very good but not great. He would be one of the best players never to get a HOF vote (my choices: J. Wynn, C. Cooper, M. Cuellar)

    In this way he is similar to his #1 comp, Ken Keltner, except Keltner played on mostly good/excellent Indians teams, while Clift had the misfortune to play mostly for Browns teams that not only never contended (except 1942), but were often amongst the worst teams in the AL (90+ losses four years). Bill James does an excellent job putting Clift's career in context in the NBJHA.

    @101/ Jr: "...@83 All of the guys you mentioned not only had short careers, but were DOMINANT during them. Andruw Jones maybe had 2 seasons that were the equivalent of Kiner and Greenberg."

    Jr - yes, I thought of the same thing; I also should've added that, although Jones was the _offensive_ equal to Greenberg and Kiner only a few times, if you add in his great defense, his peak years look a lot more "equivalent" to those two .

    Sorry to bring up WAR again, but by total WAR (offense + defense), both Jones and Greenberg have 6+ WAR six times, Kiner four times. As several people have noted upthread, this is the Brooks Robinson HOF arguement :

    decent bat + all-time great defense = HOF CASE

    I guess that would depend on whether you think Jones' defensive value was roughly equivalent to Brooks'.

    I am not saying that he's a lock HOFer, just that his HOF case shouldn't be dismissed so quickly.

  104. While it's a decent comparison, Brooks Robinson did have WAR near 70 (69.1), whereas Jones' is 60(60.1). In the WAR-world, 60 is borderline HoF, whereas near 70 is basically a lock. The difference in WAR can be mostly attributed to Brooks maintaining for longer than Jones did....of course the eras were completely different as well. Yes, WAR tries to account for differences in era, but Brooks played most of his years in the second dead-ball era, whereas Jones played in an inflated offensive era tainted by steroids.

  105. @89 or Bob Elliott or Joe Torre or even Darrel Evans.

    You'd think 1 borderline guy would have made it at 3rd base in the last 20 years.

    Maybe they realized how bad a goof Freddy Lindstrom and George Kell were and therefore Santo et all had to suffer for it.

    I count only 10 third baseman in the Hall, two (Lindstrom and Kell) do not deserve it. I count 21 shortstops.

    When you look at that disparity and see 10 borderline candidates it seems crazy not to take the guy who is clearly the best of those on the outside (Santo).

    And I hate the Cubs. But c'mon man. Santo was 1 of the 10 best third baseman of those that have already retired. That's hall of fame in my book.

    If you can convince me Andruw Jones was 1 of the 10 best centerfielders of all-time I'd have to give him my vote as well. He'll be up against Kenny Lofton, Carlos Beltran, and Jim Edmonds.

  106. 105 I agree on Santo and Lindstrom is one of the worst guys in the HoF.Torre also caught and played 1st base.If he'd stayed a catcher and kept his production he'd be in.He'll be in as a manager though.

  107. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Doug and Doug B both have good points. And, comparing Andruw to the Wiz? Nope. Ozzie is slightly ahead defensively for career, and has MUCH longer consistency. Post-trade to St. Louis, he also improved himself offensively.

    As for all the people who are in the Hall but shouldn't be, that's no excuse to vote new ppl in. And, here's my list of all of the position players it would be easy to dump (post-1900 only):

  108. I am very much scared by the 2013-2017 influx of candidates. Let's assume nobody gets in between now and 2017 (Which won't happen, of course). Here's the list, with Mattingly, Trammell, Smith, Murphy, and Morris off, and doesn't include one and dones Brown, Cone, Saberhagen, Appier, Clark, Belle, Olerud, Galarraga, Ventura, Hershiser (those two might have been two and dones), Baines (3 and done or did he last longer?):
    Barry Larkin
    Edgar Martinez
    Fred McGriff
    Mark McGwire
    Rafael Palmeiro
    Juan Gonzalez
    Larry Walker
    Jeff Bagwell
    Tim Raines
    Bernie Williams
    Curt Schilling
    Kenny Lofton
    Sammy Sosa
    Mike Piazza
    Roger Clemens
    Barry Bonds
    David Wells
    Craig Biggio
    Kenny Rogers
    Tom Glavine
    Frank Thomas
    Jeff Kent
    Mike Mussina
    Moises Alou
    John Smoltz
    Pedro Martinez
    Nomar Garciaparra
    Billy Wagner
    Trevor Hoffman
    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Gary Sheffield
    Randy Johnson
    Jim Edmonds
    Andy Pettitte
    Jamie Moyer
    Let's say Andruw Jones, Jorge Posada and Jim Thome retire after 2011, which is quite possible on all three accounts, especially Jorge. Add them and Manny Ramirez in 2017. Now go vote for 10 of these players. And only 10. That is a major problem..

  109. Steve @ 79 dunno if this has been addressed but McGwire hit 58 and only scored 86 times...

  110. @ 108 In my opinion there are only about 6 HoFers on that list, with about 2 or 3 borderline players. Adding in Thome and Jones would only put it up to 8.

  111. @108

    How could you leave Greg Maddux off that list?

    The guys on your list who should be HOF'ers are:

    Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Thomas, Bagwell, Pedro, Kent, Mussina, Schilling, Biggio, Piazza, Griffey, Larkin and Johnson.

    I have 14. Not sure @110 who his 6 would be

    Your borderlines are:

    Walker, E, Martinez, Hoffman, McGriff

  112. @108. Larkin gets in next year. He won't be on the 2013 list. Raines, probably. Bags, possibly.

    @111 Schilling is also borderline, as is Smoltz. Schilling's not a likely first-year candidate and Smoltz definitely isn't.

  113. I find the Schilling and Smoltz comments here somewhat surprising. They have pretty similar numbers but Smoltz has an overall more impressive career thanks to his dominance as a starter and a closer and his post-season success. I see Smoltz as an early-ballot HOFer--within his first 5, and Schilling as a late-to-never guy.

  114. @ 110, what is your list?, because as I see it, at least 8-9 are locks at getting in the Hall. You must be a very, very, very small hall guy. 50-60 guys is about the size of your Hall.

    locks are:

    add Maddux

    and several others that are very very likely to get in (I would agree pretty easily with all of them except Bagwell b/c of potential steroid issues, and Martinez for being a 80% lifer DH--still on fence with Raines, but he probably should go in):

    Kent (he's a jerk, but still will get in IMO)
    Bagwell (steroid issue perhaps)

    and many more that are clearly borderliners for number of different reasons (not sure if I would vote for any of these guys--steroids is still an evolving issue regarding how to vote) :

    Piazza (steroids?)
    other steroid users on list

    ....and, Maddux was left off list and he's an automatic.

    Either way, we can quibble over a few here and there (i.e Hoffman, Thomas) but as the Hall is currently constructed, there's 13-15 of these players that will fairly easily get in....and, rightfully so!

  115. Andy, if Smoltz and Schilling had "pretty similar careers, then how is Smoltz an early in guy (first 5 years), and Schilling is a late never guy? That's a huge difference to me, and didn't these guys Poll about the same(~75%)?..are you banking on Schilling's big mouth hurting him that much? They both had great post season careers. I see Smoltz going in in years 4-6, and Schilling 6-10. I would actually give Schilling the slight nod for in season numbers as a starter) and post season numbers (3 chips vs 1 too). Yes, Smoltz save numbers mean alot, but still, overall, Smoltz get in a few years before Schilling unless big mouth aspect hurts Schilling alot. Schilling has bloody sock thing too.

  116. Of the three that generally get compared to one another, I see Smoltz going in years 3-5, Schilling years 6-10, and Mussina years 8-13.

  117. As much I think Hoffman will have to wait a good number of years, I still see him as a lock getting in somewhere between years 5-10. Yes, the save has issues as a stat, and yes, relievers are hard to gauge and bit enigmatic, but still, 601 save is 601 saves.

  118. If steroids are not an issue at all, then Bagwell and Piazza are locks too. Both seem to have swirling rumors surrounding them. I could certainly buy it that both were users. If nothing more comes out to tie them to steroids, I'd vote both in.

  119. I'd vote for:
    Barry Larkin
    Edgar Martinez
    Mark McGwire
    Larry Walker
    Jeff Bagwell
    Tim Raines
    Curt Schilling
    Kenny Lofton
    Mike Piazza
    Roger Clemens
    Barry Bonds
    Craig Biggio
    Tom Glavine
    Frank Thomas
    Jeff Kent
    Mike Mussina
    John Smoltz
    Pedro Martinez
    Billy Wagner
    Trevor Hoffman
    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Gary Sheffield
    Randy Johnson
    Jim Edmonds
    Jim Thome
    Andruw Jones
    Manny Ramirez
    Greg Maddux

  120. Anthony --now that's a great example of a very, very large Hall. :-)

  121. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I find the Schilling and Smoltz comments here somewhat surprising. They have pretty similar numbers but Smoltz has an overall more impressive career thanks to his dominance as a starter and a closer and his post-season success.

    Based on this comment, I'm not sure where you're seeing the difference. Schilling was a dominant SP who could have won a couple CYA if not for his teammate. He was one of the great post-season performers. The difference you seem to be identifying is Smoltz's closing gig, and I can't see why that would give him an advantage. (Schilling shouldn't have had to prove he was capable of closing -- obviously he was, if his team had ever needed it.)