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POLL: Mike Mussina and the Hall of Fame

Posted by Andy on June 27, 2010

It seems logical that we should have a poll about Mike Mussina's HOF chances, given that his name got brought up quite a bit during the recent Curt Schilling HOF debate. For Schilling, nearly exactly 2/3rds of voters believe he deserves to be in the HOF while 1/3rd do not. (Interestingly, 73% think Schilling will get in while 27% do not.)

Anyway, let's see what folks think about Mussina.

Here's a quick summary of the argument, as I see it. Please add your own comments and then vote in the poll below.

In favor:

  • 270 wins (33rd all-time)
  • 74.8 WAR for pitchers (24th all-time) including top AL pitcher in WAR in 1994 and 2001.
  • .638 W-L% (37th all-time)
  • 3.58 K/BB ratio (14th all-time)
  • Career ERA+ of 123.
  • 57 career complete games including 23 shutouts
  • 5-time All-Star, 7-time Gold Glove winner, 9 top ten Cy Young finishes
  • 3.42 career post-season ERA over 23 games (21 starts)
  • Led MLB with 19 wins in strike-shortened 1995 season, won 20 games in 2008.

Against:

  • Neutralized pitching numbers show that his stats benefited tremendously due to playing for powerhouse teams--Orioles of the mid 1990s and Yankees of the 2000s. His neutralized W-L% is .544 which based on the same number of career decisions would lead to a record of 230-193. That's 40 fewer wins and 40 more losses than he actually got. His seasonal neutralized win totals have him with 18 wins in 1994, 17 wins in 1995 (assuming those were both 162-game seasons), and no more than 16 wins in any other season. His 2008 season is at 12-9 instead of his actual 20 wins.
  • His post-season numbers were very up-and-down. The cumulative 3.42 ERA is deceptive. He had some great games but also got bombed fairly frequently. Despite making the playoffs seven times with the Yankees, Mussina's team did not win the World Series once while he was on the team. (Nor did the Orioles in two post-season trips with the Moose.)
  • While Mussina was often regarded as being among the best pitchers in the league, he never won a Cy Young, coming close only in 1999. ("Close" is a relative term here...nobody was beating Pedro for the Cy Young that year but Mussina came in a strong second.)
  • He started 536 games (33rd all-time) but pitched only 3,562.2 innings (66th all-time) with his 6.6 IP/game start well above average but lower than a lot of other star pitchers. (Curt Schilling averaged 7.1 IP/game start, for comparison.)

In some ways, Mussina is hurt tremendously by two things that really aren't hist fault:

  • He never had a peak since he pitched quite well his entire career. If he had the same cumulative stats but pitched a bit better in the middle of his career and a bit worse later, somehow that might seem more impressive.
  • He never won a World Series. He does deserve some of the blame here as he lost some big games, but there are plenty of pitchers who get credit for being on championship teams who didn't help all that much. If a ball bounces the other way, he could've had a ring in 2001, for example. It just seems a shame to hold this against him.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2010 at 8:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

156 Responses to “POLL: Mike Mussina and the Hall of Fame”

  1. Mussina should be a first ballot HOF but Mussina is an underrated pitcher for some reason. It's almost as if his entire time in Baltimore is forgotten. The writers and baseball fans kind of forget that Mussina was one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball from 1992-2001.

    Here's how Mussina ranks in WAR from '92-01:

    1-Greg Maddux-64.4
    2-Randy Johnson-60.2
    3-Roger Clemens-56.3
    4-Pedro Martinez-51.4
    5-Kevin Brown-51.2
    6-MIKE MUSSINA-48.9
    7-Curt Schilling-44.1
    8-Kevin Appier-43.1
    9-David Cone-41.9
    10-Tom Glavine-40.8

    All those guys should be HOF, IMO.

    picking Eckersly for the Cy Young in 1992 was dumb. Either Mussina, Clemmens or Appier should have won it that year. Ironically Clemmens '01 was one of the only seasons where he won a Cy Young and didn't deserve it.

    What hurts Mussina like what hurts David Cone was the strike of 94-95, where both he and Cone lost two 20 win seasons because of the strike.

    What also hurts Mussina's ERA/ERA+ was that he pitched on a bunch of Below Average/Terrible Defensive Yankee Teams. And some of the Baltimore teams weren't that great on defense either.

    Mussina also pitched in a pitcher's park (Baltimore) during a big offensive time period.

  2. Moose should have won the CYA in 2001, but the writers of course looked at WINZ

  3. In your negatives section, you said he "got bombed fairly frequently" in the postseason. However, looking through his postseason record in the link, it looks pretty solid to me. Note the following:

    -The most runs he ever gave up in a game was five.
    -He pitched at least 5.2 innings in 18 out of his 23 starts.
    -His game ERA is over 4.50 (which is a quality start) for only 6 of the 23.
    -He has eight games where he pitched at least 7 innings and gave up 2 runs or fewer.

    All this adds up to a pretty solid looking postseason resume to me. 23 starts constitutes about 2/3 of a regular season. Over the course of 2/3 of a season, if a pitcher put up these numbers, we'd say he's doing a solid job. Yes, he may not have been the ace that he was supposed to be, but I think your wording was a tad misleading.

  4. rico petrocelli Says:

    If he hadn't lost his perfect game w/2 outs in the 9th to the Sox would we think differently?

    Yankee championships bookend his tenure, making him feel like a loser. But as one of the best of his generation (along with schilling, appier and Cone) he is worthy

  5. Derek, I went by gut feeling on that. It's probably worth looking at other pitchers over the last 20 years with a similar number of postseason starts for comparison. I have no time at the moment to do that but will try later.

  6. @1

    Kevin Appier for the hall of fame.... woah

  7. No doubt we'd feel differently if not for the heroics of Professor Dinosaur.

  8. Allied belongs in the Hall about as much as I belong in the BBWAA.

  9. For more HOF polls visit my blog: brettkiser.wordpress.com to vote for the best player by position currently not in the HOF. Mussina will eventually make the HOF but if Robbie Alomar isn't a first ballot guy than there's no way Mussina is. Also, Bert Blyleven has waited a long time and he rests higher than Moose in many career departments. I feel Mussina will get in, but he'll have to wait awhile.

  10. Moose is a borderline case to me. In his era, he was clearly never quite in the top, top tier - Johnson, Clemens, Maddux, Martinez - but was firmly in that second tier of great pitchers, along with Glavine, Smoltz, Schilling (also a borderline case IMO) and Brown (who was a borderline case until injuries). Cone, Saberhagen and Santana belong in the conversation depending on how you define the era. My personal guess:

    IN FIRST BALLOT - Johnson, Maddux, Martinez, Glavine, Smoltz, Santana
    IN EVENTUALLY - Clemens, Schilling
    CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR - Mussina, Brown, Saberhagen, Cone
    HELL NO - How did Appier get in this conversation? :)

  11. Forgot my obligatory plug for Blyleven. Jack Morris is starting to look better to me, too, probably belongs in the HOF before Schilling or Mussina.

  12. Don Sutton.

    On pure numbers, Moose was probably this era's Don Sutton. If you like that, he's in. A lot of people complain that Donnie never won a Cy, only won 20 once, and was really good, without being Hall great.

    Moose never won a Cy, won 20 just once (and then walked away!), and was really good. If you like him, he's in.

    Sutton won between 16-19 games eight times; Moose also did it eight times.

    Sutton won 19 twice, also possibly missing out on 20 wins because of a work stoppage (1972 lost teams about seven games). It happened twice to Moose.

    However, Sutton also lost about 11-12 starts to the 1981 strike. He finished 11-9 that season, so it's a stretch to say he would have won 20. A slim chance, yes. But certainly 7-8 more wins for the ledger, which would push his career total to over 330.

    I don't know how illustrative this is, but Moose was 17-11 in 2001, with an outstanding 3.15 ERA. Roger Clemens' ERA that years was .36 higher, yet he was 20-3.

    True, the Yankees scored way more runs for Roger, but I dug a little deeper and found something interesting.

    In Mussina's career, he was just 78-60, 3.97, with medium-range support (3-5 runs). Competitive, yes, but not great.

    In Clemens' case, he was 144-66, 2.88, in those games. That is a huge difference when a pitcher may not on top of his game, yet has to compete in a tough, close, contest.

    To me, it is the difference of pitching great when your team needs it, and simply making another "quality start".

    It's obvious that Clemens rose to the occasion.

    A look at other top hurlers from those years in similar scenarios (ranked in order of wins):

    Greg Maddux: 140-75, 3.14

    Tom Glavine: 130-71, 3.35

    Randy Johnson: 105-49, 3.23

    Jamie Moyer: 83-72, 4.14

    Curt Schilling: 80-52, 3.54

    Andy Pettitte: 79-47, 3.64

    Moose is closer to Moyer than some of the others on this list. Even in his widely-varied, up-and-down career, Jamie is not that much worse that Mussina. The WHIPS are competitive (1.326 for Moyer; 1.263 for Mussina), batting averages against are within four points.

    It can be argued that the bulk of Mussina's career has been with better teams, though Moyer has had two nice runs in his career.

  13. Matt Young Says:

    While I don't think numbers alone prove someone as a hall of famer or not (i.e Catfish, and Morris should go in), a look at Mussina's numbers (i.e. wins, ERA+, WAR, Win%, Gray Ink, HoFM, HoFS) put him in the hall as a near no-brainer. Mussina is hurt a lot by the fact he had no period of dominance, but you'd be very hard-pressed to find someone that was as consistently very good year in and year out for 18 years. Given we just saw a nearly unprecedented offensive era (enhanced by steroids), it's also amazing to see the number of hall of fame worthy pitchers during the same 1988-2005+ period.

    Hall of fame pitchers 1985-2010:

    Clemens
    Maddux
    Glavine
    Smoltz
    Schilling
    Pedro
    Mussina
    Johnson
    Hoffman
    Rivera

    Borderliners:
    Pettitte
    Wagner
    Brown

    I think Pettitte's case will end up being one of the most difficult ones to evaluate. Either way, I still think he needs to get into that 260+ win category, 20+ post-season wins and perhaps add a 1st or second place Cy Young or another World Series to get in. To do this he'll need one more season after this one assuming no injuries. I must say, he looks to be the early Cy Young leader for this year though. Right now I'd put Price and Pettitte in the lead. Of course HGH is a wild card with Pettitte.

  14. Scott Horsfield Says:

    I wouldn't vote either in. The unfortunate thing I think is I hear more people talk to me about Andy Pettite being more deserving then I do about Mussina. Now there is a crime against baseball... and I am a Yankees fan.

  15. He has the most wins of any pitcher whose career began after 1990. I know wins aren't a very popular stat, but I think that in this case they show us one of the most consistent pitchers in the last 2 decades.

    I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned that he played his entire career in the AL East. That's often discussed, although not sure how important it is.

    Here's what I've always thought about Mussina's case: if he's not a Hall of Famer, then who are we going to let in that began pitching in the 90s--after the Maddux/Clemens/Johnson generation? Kevin Appier?

  16. Matt Young Says:

    It's too early to consider Santana-- he still has lots of work to do. Appier isn't even in the discussion. Coney should have gotten enough votes to stay on ballot long-term --he's not a hall of famer though --he needed another 20+ wins which he probably lost b/c of work stoppages. I actually don't think Glavine will be a first ballot--I'd say second-ballot. These are my guesses on how it will unfold and not necessarily how'd I'd vote.

    My predictions:
    Ist ballot--Maddux, Johnson, Martinez, Rivera and maybe Clemens (depends on steroid case, but he'll get in either way eventually)
    2nd ballot -- Glavine and Hoffman
    3-5th ballot -- Smoltz and Schilling with probably Smotlzy before Schilling; Clemens and Hoffman might go here as well.
    5-8th ballot -- Mussina
    10+ ballot: Pettitte and Wagner, but both likely need this year and another year unless Pettitte wins 20 plus Cy and World Series this year.
    Brown --just out--I hate to say it, but being such a jerk will probably hurt him.

    Future guys to watch:
    Santana, Halliday, Oswalt, Sabathia, Hudson, Buehrle and I guess Moyer (he absolutely needs to get to 300 to be considered though). There are big differences between Moyer and Mussina. I also don't like how Neutralized Numbers are calculated!

    Look for Blylevyn and Alomar to get in next year and Morris to get in in 2012 with perhaps Bagwell. It gets real interesting in 2013 when lots of potential juicers start to become eligible. I think Morris needs to get in in 2012-- Sorry, he should be in. Numbers don't tell the whole story with Jack. Kaat and John both eventually get in via Veterans Committee, although I don't think I'd vote for either, but can understand why they would be voted in. I would vote Tiant in via Veterans Committee though. Some of the pre-war guys should also probably be re-evaluated. Does the Veterans Committee vote every 2 years?

  17. Matt Young Says:

    Scott: Given you're a Yankee fan, I'm a bit surprised you wouldn't vote Pettitte or Mussina in -- obviously you're a small hall guy. :-) That's cool with me. I agree Mussina has a better case, but that could change if Pettitte gets into that 260+ win category. Would you have voted for Catfish or Gossage?

  18. Mussina is definitely deserving and I think he will get in eventually, though he might end up being the Bert Blyleven of his era in terms of how long it will take. There are nine guys from Mussina's era that I think are Hall-worthy:

    1st tier:
    Clemens
    Maddux
    Johnson
    Pedro

    2nd tier:
    Schilling
    Mussina
    Brown
    Smoltz
    Glavine

    Next in line would be Pettitte. Currently he's on the outside looking in, but if he pitches a few more years at his current level, he could get to 60 WAR (right now he's at 50 on the nose) and put himself in the discussion. Of course, he's also an admitted juicer, so that could complicate his case.

    As for Jamie Moyer, I don't think there's anything he can do to make himself a Hall of Famer, including reaching 300 wins. He'd have to pitch into his 50s--and at a much higher level than he has been--to get anywhere near 60 WAR, and in any case, he was never anywhere as dominant as the guys listed above. His career will be fondly remembered, but there are just too many guys from the last 25 years (including many non-HOFers) who were much better pitchers than Moyer.

  19. Ricky Ledee Says:

    If Bert Blyleven can't get in, Moose sure as hell can't, and both deserve it a lot.

  20. If you have to even go to the stats, the guy does not belong in the Hall. Rankings, lists, you can have 'em. All you have to do, especially for a pitcher, is ask, "Was there any five year span where he was in the Top 5 in all pitchers?" The answer for Mussina is a definite yes, even if it was in The Chemical Era, and that means he's in.

  21. My favorite Moose stat: 1 career balk, which came in his tenth career start (9/22/91). Even with that quirky dip motion he did while in the stretch, he pitched 527 consecutive games without balking.

  22. Appier is one of the most underrated pitchers of the last 40-50 years. He played most of his career for some mediocre Royals teams who were mostly average defensively. W/L record is overused and overrated.

    He was one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball during the 90's-early 00's. He ranked 6th in WAR from 1990-1999. He ranked 8th in WAR from 1990-2004. He had an excellent 166era+ in 1992, either he or Clemens or Mussina should have won the Cy Young that year. He should have won the Cy Young in 1993 with his 179era+ and 8.4 WAR season. His 1993 season is one of the top 40 seasons of the last 40 years.

    He had 50 career WAR, he probably need something like 55 career WAR to be a solid HOF candidate.

  23. After my near-obligatory plugs for Blyleven and Kaat {and, of course, Count Mullane}, let me say that Mussina is in my opinion a pretty good pitcher whose stats are padded through having a really good team behind him. I am certain that he WILL make it; I am sort of wishy-washy about whether he DESERVES to make it, though,

  24. Mike from Ma Says:

    Mussina's numbers are better than Jim Bunning. Bunnig is in the Hall of Fame.

    Moose is borderline since there are so many greats he us ip against over the next 10 years of voting

  25. Based on the numbers Mussina is a third tier HoF and depending on how the voters sort out the steriod era could very easily make it in his second five years on the ballot .

    He will be aided greatly because he played for the Yankees. If I'm correct, a larger percentage of voters are based on the East Coast and will have seen Mussina in the magical pinstripes (note. magical pinstripes are like rose colored glasses in that whomever wears them appears better than they actually are). Mussina was the bride's maid to many great pitchers of his era. IMO he is a notch below Schilling/Glavin/Smoltz (who themselves are a notch below Clemens/Maddux/Johnson/Pedro, but he is a notch above Pettite/Cone/Brown.

    I believe the first seven will get in - Maddux/Johnson/Pedro/Schilling/Glavin/Smoltz/Mussina on BWAA vote, with the eighth -Clemens- getting in by the back door Veterens' vote. Pettite may sneak in because he was a Yankee lifer, but Brown was a malcontent and Cone didn't pitch long enough and I don't see them getting in.

  26. Matt Young Says:

    Is the above post from the Ricky Ledee that was on one of the Yankee World series teams? Appier is underrated for sure, but he just doesn't have enough. For the record, Coney didn't even get the needed 5% of vote the first year to stay on the ballot ----a crime!! If he played two more years (actually have the two years lost to work stoppage back) he likely ends up with 220+ wins and 3000 K's --he would have then went from first ballot drop to very likely hall of famer. Go figure! He ended his career with 194 wins and 2668 k's. The two years he lost he just needed to average 13 wins and 166K's. Given those two years were in Coney's prime, in all likelihood he gets something more like 30+ wins and ~400 more K's.

  27. Come on. This type of argument--the woulda coulda shoulda based on injuries or labor stoppages--is silly. Virtually all players faced or both in their careers. Moreover, I doubt 220 wins would've gotten Cone into the HOF.

  28. BTW the voting results on Mussina are nearly identical to those of Schilling, insomuch as two-thirds think he deserves HOF and one-third does not.

  29. Also similiar are the votes that believe he and Schilling will get in without deserving it {As I voted}. And as far as saying that his numbers are better than HOF member Bunning, I agree -- but then, I found it less than appropriate for him to be in as well.

  30. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Just remember HOF votes are exactly like MVP votes, which BTW, both cause many fun-filled debates on this site, insomuch as they, despite our nerdy stat driven minds, are often decided by quite a few factors that have nothing to do with stats. A players personality, relationship with press & teammates, public perception and sportsman are part and parcel.
    1. HOF voters, and I think the rest of us, don't like to think of one place that elevates everyone to the same status. It is hard to think Ruth and Mussina were the same caliber of player, so often, a deserving player will be left off ballots because he is not as 'great' as the GREATS. Empty ballots and years waiting, are ways the BBWAA establish a hierarchy of 'greats'.
    2. Moose was an intellectual and behaved rather aloof when answering questions. I believe reporters like to think of Jocks as jocks, and themselves as their intellectual superiors. Mike took that away from them. Most times, he was the smartest guy in the room.
    3. I know everyone, including Andy, hate what-if scenarios, but graduating Stanford cost Mike one season of pro-ball, and the '94 strike and '95 short season cost Him two 20 win seasons and possibly 8-10 wins. I do think, what-ifs on injuries are a bit of a stretch, but the strike was truly out of a players control. Would those extra Ws of put Mike closer to 300 and 3000? and would that been enough to keep him around to catch those milestones? 300 and 3000 are locks.
    4. I'm sure there is a precedent, but I can't think of anyone walking away from the game with such an accomplished season behind them. Mike bowed out with grace, not looking for another payday or #300, knowing full well what it might cost him.
    5. Playing in New York for as long as he did, I never once saw him in anything except the boxscores. He stayed out of the limelight on a team and in a city that has some bright lights.

    I say yes, but second or third year.

  31. Mussina has 100 more wins than losses, but I agree with Ricky Ledee on this one. Bert Blyleven has the numbers and HE belongs in Cooperstown just a little more than Mussina. If Mussina had just thirty more wins, he would be a lock.

  32. Matt Young Says:

    Agreed to some degree, however, compare Schilling's, Brown's and Smoltzy's numbers to Coney's --first add 2 more average years to Coneys numbers and then let me know what you think. Really my bigger complaint is Coney not getting enough to stay on the ballot for at least 5 years. I really do think 220 would have done it, but your point of woulda-shoulda-coulda is not lost.

    If you add two average seasons here is what Coney's final numbers would have looked like:

    David Cone (17 seasons):
    WAR: 57.5 would have been at least 62-63+
    ERA+: 121
    Wins: 194 but would have been 224
    ERA: 3.46
    Win%: 606
    CY Young Shares: 1.38 with 1 Cy Young and 5 years in top 6
    5 All-stars
    1 Perfect Game!
    KO's: 2868 but would have been 3,087
    Gray Ink: 168 but would have likely topped 185
    HOFM: 103 but would have been a minimum of 133
    HOFS: 39 but would have been at least 46
    5 World Series with 5 wins and 0 losses --8-3 record with 3.80 ERA playoff stats

    Even without the two average years added it seems like this is at least worthy of someone staying on the ballot for a while?! Sorry, I don't get it.

  33. Matt Young Says:

    Shoot, I think even one more year getting Coney to 210 wins and 2800 K's could have done it. Oh well. I'll move on, but am curious to what others think.

  34. What about the whole racist thing? Pretty much shuts him out in my book.

  35. Bill Johnson Says:

    Jim Bunning gets unfairly maligned, I wonder how many wins he would have had playing for play-off teams every year? He was a 7 time all star, 7 times top 8 in ERA, 9 times top 8 in wins, 9 times top 9 in WHIP, 11 times top 5 in Ks, 7 times top 6 in shutouts, 13 times top 9 in K to BB ratio. he was not top tier HOF but he was one of the top pitchers of his day.

  36. FWIW, while Clemens didn't deserve his 2001 Cy, I'm not sure Mussina did either. I always thought (then and now) that Freddy Garcia was probably most deserving that year.

  37. Matt Young Says:

    I forgot about the racists stupid comment he made. He was great with the media overall though, but who was the one that sprayed Chlorox (??) or something at reporters? Was it Coney or Saberhagen. Also, I read on another blog about active hall of famers that poll numbers like this one show that Moyer has a better chance of making the hall than Pettitte. However, when I went to look at results it had Pettitte at 42% yes and Moyer at 19% yes.

  38. Vido, if we rule out people because they're racist, then let's do it right.

    1> Sorry, Ty Cobb -- no HOF for you. Join Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson over there in the rejects pile.
    2> Rogers Hornsby? Well, who wants a Hall of Famer who has a plural first name, anyway.
    3> Jeptha Rixey? Out, man ... you're not supposed to hate people who whistle "Dixie" {Which would always guarantee that the whistler would be in for a fight}.
    4> Cap Anson ??? Are you kidding ??? Who do you think drew the "Color Line" that Jackie Robinson finally removed -- a half-century later.

    I despise racists, perhaps more than is "politically correct". But to rule out an otherwise deserving player because of his attitudes is achieving a level of intolerance that would make Marge Schott proud.

  39. what's this about Mussina being racist? i've heard allusions to it before, but where exactly does it come from?

  40. Matt Young Says:

    No, I think it was Coney that said something racist. I could be wrong, but I vaguely remember it as someone brought it up.

  41. I think Mussina and Schilling with both get in, but neither one is a lock. Each one is a compelling HOF case, which I think will become more common for pitchers the next 10-20 years. There will be fewer 300 game winners, fewer 20-win seasons, but bigger K numbers (and K/BB ratios) and the potential for higher WAR values depending on the state of the league any given year.

    Mussina is an AL East version of Don Sutton - above average, good stuff, pitched very effectively for a long time, and even though he pitched for very good offenses, he also pitched in a hitters' heaven (Camden) and a pretty neutral park for righties (Yankee Stadium, post renovation) in the most challenging division in baseball. If Carl Everett and Luis Gonzalez's bloopers don't fall in back in 2001, is he even a borderline case (he'd suddenly have a perfect game and title on his already good resume)?

    Schilling is a classic "high peak, high exposure" player that was also a late bloomer. Aside from a semi-out of nowhere 1992 followed by a Mussina-type 1993 (albeit with a bit higher ERA), he was unable to make 30 starts until the age of 30. Go figure, he then turned in brilliant 2001/2002/2004 seasons (with 2004 also proving that he was not a product of the NL). The "clutch" stuff, and being one of the best "big game" pitchers of the last 20 years, will give him a huge, huge boost. His attitude doesn't bother me one bit - anyone who gets hung up on his politics should also be bothered by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox owners stumping for the Dems in recent years.

  42. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Why do people keep adding two seasons to Cone's resume? The '94-'95 strike cost about 70 games, not two seasons.

    Vidocq, please illuminate me on what "racist thing" you are referring to.

    I doubt completing the perfect game would change Mussina's likelihood of induction at all.

  43. Matt Young,

    I agree with you as far as Cone is concerned. He has 57.5 WAR (47th all time). He had (4)-6+WAR seasons, (1) 5+ season, and (3)-4+WAR seasons. He probably would have had a 7+WAR season in 1994 without the strike. He should be in the HOF IMO. There's about 29 HOF pitchers with more WAR and 32 HOF pitchers with less than 57 WAR so Cone looks about a Median HOF for career value.

    One of his best seasons is 1993 (6.6WAR)-138era+ and he doesn't get any credit for it because writers/fans look at W/L record, which is crap. In '93 Cone only received 2.9 runs/per game (Lowest in the A.L.). He lost two (20) win seasons because of the '94-95 strike and his 1995 season kind of gets overlooked because he was traded.

    As far as Garcia and the 2001 Cy, I don't see it. It was a good year, he had a very good ERA but only a 4+WAR. He got a great benefit from pitching behind the 2001 Mariners which may have been the greatest defensive team of the last 40-50 years, Cameron, Ichiro, Bell, Olerud, Boone, Javier, Guillen and Wilson all at their peak. 101 Fielding Runs which is just amazing.

  44. I never heard about Cone making a "racist" statement. I know he made some on-air comments about the Yankees that the top Yankee Brass didn't like and that's why he is no longer a broadcaster for YES.

    The story about Cone was that he masturbated in front of 2 women in the Bullpen at Shea Stadium. And then their were plenty of stories of Cone being a big time drinker and womanizer. As far as how much is true who knows?

  45. I'd err on the side that he deserves it - I like his sub 1.2 WHIP, his K/BB, WAR, Gold Gloves, his surprisingly good strikeout figures, and his awesome knuckle curve (my personal out pitch) - but I can understand the opposition. If you're a big hall kind of guy, there's really no justification for keeping him out; you could viably argue that he's one of the top six or seven starters of the last 20 years. After Unit, Maddux, Clemens (hate him, but still), and Pedro, it comes down to personal taste. Do you take Schilling for his on and off brilliance over 15 years? Santana for his four or five great years? Halladay for his consistent top-end quality? Moose has as good an argument as any of them. The wins may be inflated (still a lot even so), but his peripherals range from are all shades of good and great. There's plenty to like as a stathead and as a traditionalist.

    I tend to think that he'll have some trouble - like Schilling, he was overshadowed for much of his career, but unlike Schilling, he never had his heroic moment. He'll probably get in - 270 wins, a Yankees cap, decent and well-liked guy - but it wouldn't surprise me if it took a while. I will say this: if Moose misses out, I'll be mildly disappointed, but if he misses out and Pettitte gets in, I'll be irate.

  46. if mike mussina makes the hall of fame, bert blyleven should be given permission to burn the building down

    17 more wins than mussina, more than twice as many shutouts (60 to 23), retired third all time in strikeouts (now 5th all time) despite playing on some awful teams. and when he did get on good teams and play in the postseason, he performed well. he gets jobbed for the hall b/c he didn't win 300, but now we are calling guys 1st ballot who didn't even come close to 300?

    kevin brown, kevin appier and david cone are also not close to being hall of famers

  47. jdf,

    Blyleven will get in next year, no one had gotten that close that hasn't gotten in.

    Kevin Brown was better than 2/3 of the pitchers in the HOF.

    David Cone was better than 1/2 of the pitchers in the HOF.

    Kevin Appier was better than 1/3 of the pitchers in the HOF.

    The HOF Pitchers are more than Mathewson, Johnson, Seaver, Gibson, and Young. You have your Herb Pennock, Chief Bender, Rube Marquard, Jesse Haines, and Addie Joss as well.

    Blyleven was better than 85% of the pitchers in the HOF, so him being left out is just ridiculous.

  48. Matt Young Says:

    No worries, Blyleven will get in this year for sure!!!!

    Getting in from 1985-2010+ era:

    Clemens
    Maddux
    Glavine
    Smoltz
    Schilling
    Pedro
    Mussina
    Johnson
    Hoffman
    Rivera

    Borderliners:
    Pettitte
    Wagner
    Brown

    Brown's WAR is great, but his hall of fame stats are all marginal and below average. I think his attitude will hurt him as well.

  49. I like talking about Blyleven, but aren't we getting off topic? Mussina has good numbers, but I agree that Blyleven belongs in first. It would have helped if either man had 300+ wins. However, Blyleven has two WS rings (1979 with Pittsburgh and 1987 with Minnesota), while Mussina has none. Do you get the impression if Mussina had pitched until 2009, he'd be in better shape to join the ranks of Cooperstown?

  50. Mike Felber Says:

    Many on the Yankees teams w/great run support & w/an inflated W-L record are wholly undeserving of the HOF. Numbers tell most ALL of thge story for Catfish & Morris: & the more you look at just how they pitched, when, w/what run & defensive support, the more we see that they were undeniably overvalued due to lucky circumstances.

    Looking deeper at Moose, it supports his HOF worthiness. We should DISTINGUISH shat stats someone is good at: it does not matter if you are high in awards, wins, what others are usually judged by-these things are infamous for being weakly correlated for what a pitcher actually contributes. Look at the relevant "peripherals", which perhaps should be relabeled "primaries", if we select the right ones. K's, BB, K/BB, HRs allowed, ERA + & factoring in defense that effects it...He clearly was good enough. I am not a "Big Hall" guy, but yes, most of the pitchers considered above are worthy. Not every one.

    He did not have the best peak, & peak is an important consideration, but quite good enough.

  51. Bill Johnson Says:

    Mike Felber, I know I could never convince you on Jack Morris so I won't keep trying but can't I get you to say something good about Jim Bunning?

  52. John Q,

    You are right, not every pitcher in the HOF is a Christy Mathewson, but not every one is an Addie Joss, either. It was a brief career in an era we have trouble fathoming, but the sheer numbers, compared to his contemporaries, are overwhelmingly amazingly awesome. That's an incredibly inappropriate comparison. Addie Joss is an all-time great; Mike Mussina is nowhere near that level.

  53. I think the fans worry about it more than most players. I'm still waiting for Jim Kaat to make it.

  54. Bureaucratist,

    My point is that writers/broadcasters/players/fans create the image that Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver and Cy Young are the pitching standard for the HOF while completely ignoring the fact that there are about 64 pitchers in the HOF that range quite drastically in talent. Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance and Vic Willis are the Median HOF pitching talents. So when looking at K. Brown, M. Mussina, and D. Cone, people should compare them to Vance, Willis and Lyons not Young, Johnson and Seaver.

    Addie Joss was a great pitcher but had an extremely short career and only pitched about 8 1/2 years in the big leagues. His era+/era was helped by playing on some of the best defensive teams of the time period. Also because his career was so short, he never had a decline phase that normally increases a pitcher's ERA.

    Mussina was just a much better both in peak and especially in career value. He's probably better than 80% of the current HOF pitchers and should be a solid HOF choice.

    Mike Mussina:

    Career WAR: 74.8 (24th All time)
    1-7+WAR season
    2-6+WAR seasons
    4-5+WAR seasons
    5-4+WAR seasons

    Probably lost at least one maybe two 6+WAR seasons because of the '94-95 strike.

    Addie Joss:

    Career WAR: 40.9 (124th all time)

    1-7+WAR season
    0-6+WAR season
    2-5+WAR seasons
    4-4+WAR seasons

    Ron Guidry retiring after the 1985 season would be a good modern comparison to Joss.

  55. @JohnQ, I could not disagree more vehemently. Using the least qualified inductees as your baseline will only cheapen the HOF. At last half of today's starting shortstops will end their careers with better numbers than Joe Tinker, so does that mean they all should be in the Hall? (Granted, it's tough to include "Tulowitski" in a poem).

    Addie Joss is a lousy example anyway, seeing as early voters never thought he belonged in the HOF (peak vote for Joss was 14% in 1942). The Old-Timers voted him in in 1978, I suspect only because of the misuse of statistics. Few if any of the 1978 voters could have seen him pitch, but they were wowed by his 2nd-best all-time ERA. Joss was plainly a good pitcher but has no business being in the HOF, so "he's better than Joss" is no basis for voting someone in, unless you just want to throw the doors open.

  56. Moose to me is how I feel about Larry Walker. I would like to see both of them get in, but I don't think they will.

  57. Kelly,

    I agree with you that "baseline" shouldn't be used as a HOF entrance.

    I never suggested using a "baseline" as entrance into the HOF, I suggested using the Median: pitchers who had about 55-57 career WAR like Willis, Lyons and Vance. There's roughly 29 pitchers with more than 57 WAR and about 34 with less than 57 WAR. Mussina had 74 career WAR which is roughly better than 80% of the pitchers in the HOF.

    The Mussina/Joss comparison was a reply to Bureaucrat who said that the Mussina/Joss comparison was inappropriate because Joss was so much better which he clearly wasn't. Mussina had a longer slightly better peak and was almost double in career value.

  58. Ridiculous. You put Mussina in, you better put Kaat, John, and a slew of other pitchers in. Morris too. He's not a HOFer, and clearly got wins because of playing for great offensive teams. Put him on crappy teams his whole career and he'd be under .500. The facd this many guys think this guy belongs in the Hall because of his "WAR" depressess me, literally.

  59. Addie Joss was a highly-respected pitcher in his day. Fact is, he died just before his 10th season, after contracting meningitis. He was 31.

    The players organized a tribute game, played in mid-season, to raise funds for his widow.

    Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Walter Johnson, Nap LaJoie, Cy Young, and many others played in that game. It was practically the first All-Star Game. It's said that Cobb made the largest monetary donation, though he wanted that fact to be kept quiet.

    Among Addie's feats was a 1-0 perfect game, thrown Oct. 2, 1910, against Eddie Walsh and the White Sox, who were in a three-way battle with Joss' Cleveland Naps and the Detroit Tigers for the pennant. Walsh threw a one-hitter in that contest, rated as perhaps the greatest pitching duel in Major League history.

    He threw a second no-hitter in 1910, before being sidelined for much of the campaign by an elbow injury.

    Joss won 20 or more games four straight seasons, 1905-'08. By year, he was 20-12, 2.01; 21-9, 1.72; 27-11, 1.83; 24-11, 1.16. In '09, he dropped to 14-13, but still posted a 1.71 ERA. That's a sustained peak.

    He is also the all-time leader in WHIP.

    From '02-'09, he never finished worse than seventh in ERA or adjusted ERA+. From '04-'08, he ranked no worse than fifth in adjusted pitching wins. He was second in the A.L. for three straight years ('06-'08).

    When neutralized, his ERA climbs to 2.41, but he gains 25 wins. His 1908 mark of 24-11 rises to 30-5, and he is credited with two more 20-win seasons. That's six, in his eight full seasons.

    When neutraized, he is credited with seven seasons of plus-.700 win percentage, peaking at .857 with his magnificent '08 year.

    The quandary regarding his admission likely has more to do with time in service than the quality of his record. According to BBR's own entry, sportswriters Jerry Nason, Joe Reichler and Fred Leib campaigned for years to get him included.

    In just eight-and-a-half season, Joss was already knocking at the door of Hall caliber in the Gray Ink, Hall Monitor and Hall Standards categories.

    If you're looking for an argument against someone who is in the Hall undeservedly, Joss ain't it!

  60. Joe, Mussina's WAR total has nothing to do with playing for great offensive teams. A pitcher's WAR is based on his runs allowed. Run support doesn't factor into it. Mussina was in the top ten in ERA eleven times; nine of those times he was in the top six; six of those times he was in the top four. Mussina was consistently one of the best pitchers in his era at keeping runs off the board. That's why his WAR total is so high, and that's why many people think he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

  61. Matt Young Says:

    I understand how people have some issues with Mussina going in because he had no period of dominance, but he was well-above average over the long haul --he was ridiculously consistently very good! A closer look at nearly every metric shows Mussina is a near no-brainer for the Hall. While not dominant, he was an expert at his craft and the numbers show that. Sorry, his numbers are a good full step or so above John, Kaat and Morris. As someone else noted, HoF votes are like MVP votes, and whether you agree or disagree, Mussina left us all with a great taste (20 wins his last year) in our mouths unlike Kaat and John's lets hang on a do anything for 7 years so we can get to 300 mentality. Unfortunately, I actually think if John and Kaat had retired 3-4 years earlier with win totals in the 260's that they would have had a better chance at induction. I still think both will eventually get in via Veterans Committee, although I'm on the fence whether they should be in or not.

    Some of Mussina's numbers (the last 5 numbers below tell the story --these are the numbers that I think are most critical when assessing candidacy; I do not like how Neutralized Numbers are calculated here and it seems others calculations of this number are better):

    1. 638 win% and 117 games above 500 (was way lower for both Kaat and John with both being around 540%) --everyone more than 100 games above 500 are in --it's a bit of a holy grail number.
    2. 123 ERA+ (was way lower for both Kaat (108) and John (111)
    3. 74.8 WAR (Kaat's 41.2, John's 59.0)
    4. Gray Ink 250 (was way lower for both Kaat and John with both being below 135)
    5. HoFM 121 (this is the only stat that Kaat beats Mussina with a 130, but John is at 111)
    6. HoFS 54 (both John and Kaat are at 44)

    I think John has a bit more of an argument than Kaat for induction. As for Kaat and John having a few more wins, well, they both played 7-8 years longer than Mussina.

  62. David - his career ERA is 3.68.

    NOT a HOF ERA. End of story.

    He was in 5 All star games. Never won a Cy. Won 20 games once. Was never the best pitcher or close to it. He's the perfect example of a Hall of Good pitcher. Hall of Fame. Absolutely not.

  63. Matt Young Says:

    Sorry, ERA+ is a much better number than ERA. 3.68 isn't too high especially for someone that pitched his whole life in the AL east during the "juice" era. Please, the median (WAR 55-57 or ERA+ of around 120-122), as John Q points out, is the realistic way of looking at who's in and who's out. There will always be the very small, small, medium and large Hall arguments. I would have loved to have seen what Glavine's ERA would have been if he pitched in the AL East his whole career. Shoot, if he was in the Al East he wouldn't have won 300 games or any Cy Youngs, thus hurting his WAR and hall of fame numbers. Basically Glavine and Pettite are nearly the same and that's reflected by both having basically the same ERA+ (118 to 117). Obviously, Glavine is a no-brainer Hall of famer whereas Pettite is borderline and still has some more work to do. The Hall, IMO, should be large enough to let in more than Johnson, Pedro, Maddux and Clemens. Besides, it's going to get increasingly more difficult for pitchers to get in.

  64. Joe, it's silly to use All Star selections and Cy Young awards as criteria. Surely you realize that those have frequently been awarded to good-but-not-great pitchers who got a lot of wins playing for great offensive teams--exactly the criticism you made against Mussina--who, though you don't think so, was one of the best pitchers for many years. As Matt just pointed out, Mussina's ERA, when taken in the context of the era and league he pitched in, is up to Hall of Fame standards. By WAR, he was the top pitcher in the American League in 2001 and was in the top three four other times. (Of course, WAR obviously doesn't mean anything to you, though you haven't explained why.)

    If you're simply a small-Hall guy, and only think the Clemens-Maddux-Johnson-Pedro types belong, that's fine. Just realize that probably 75% of the pitchers already in the Hall aren't up to your standards, either.

  65. Matt Young Says:

    Given that some have argued that Clemens-Maddux-Johnson-Pedro are in perhaps the top 10 best pitchers of all time, I'd say that using them as __The Line__ would exclude something like 90-95%+ or more of those already in the Hall. This would meet the criteria for the "very small-Hall IMO. That's fine, and I understand the arguments, but the reality is the Hall will always be bigger than this.....and should be. Shoot, Mussina's WAR is better than 80% in the Hall. With all that said, I do not believe WAR is the only thing to look at. I would tend to leave Kevin Brown just out of the Hall, but he's on the fence and he might make it. His WAR is great (65), his ERA+ is great (127), but his overall numbers are all below standards (Wins, Gray Ink, HoFM and HoFS). I basically throw Black Ink out at this point-- It's much harder to lead the league today in anything than it was 60+ years ago. Gray ink is similar, but it's more forgiving. Maybe I want to leave him out because he basically was a malcontent that punched a wall and broke his hand -- what a .......

  66. Matt Young,

    Valid points all around. There's a real disconnect in Mussina's production and the way he's perceived. He was a much better pitcher than John, and Kaat's not even close.

    I don't think there's another sport where the disconnect between great players and their perception is as great as it is in baseball. And that disconnect seems greatest with Starting Pitchers. I blame the media/baseball establishment for continuing to place too much value on W/L record. Also any stat whether it's B.A or ERA has to be put in the context of the time period the player played in.

    Joe B.

    Saying "A Career ERA of 3.68" means nothing without context. What time period did this pitcher pitch? Dead Ball era? Live Ball Era? WAR-Time, post-integration-50's?, 60's dead-ball era 2?, 70's-80's?, 90's-00's?.

    Mussina's 3.68 is an excellent era when you put in the context of the time period he played and the ballpark he pitched in as an Oriole, and the general below average defense he pitched in front of for most of his career, especially his time with the Yankees.

    To put it in context, if you take 1992-2001 in the American League, there are no pitchers who had lower than a 3.19 ERA with at least 1000 innings pitched. Mike Mussina is THIRD during this 10 year span with a 3.52 ERA. Here's the top 3 cumulative top three A.L. ERA from 1992-2001:

    Randy Johnson-3.19
    Roger Clemens-3.31
    Mike Mussina-3.52

  67. Matt Young,

    I would say when pitchers get to 65WAR there usually a virtual lock. Put Brown's career and especially what he did in '96-'98, he should have won 2 Cy Youngs, and then say his peak and he should be in the HOF. Again the media/baseball establishment have done a poor job acknowledging excellence when it comes to starting pitching.

    I think what hurts Brown is that he moved around a lot, which tends to give people the wrong impression that he was moved because he wasn't that good. The same thing happened to Roberto Alomar. And he didn't have a very reputation with the media.

  68. I would say when pitchers get to 65WAR there usually a virtual lock. Put Brown's career and especially what he did in '96-'98, he should have won 2 Cy Youngs, and then say his peak and he should be in the HOF. Again the media/baseball establishment have done a poor job acknowledging excellence when it comes to starting pitching.

    I think what hurts Brown is that he moved around a lot, which tends to give people the wrong impression that he was moved because he wasn't that good. The same thing happened to Roberto Alomar. And he didn't have a very reputation with the media.

  69. Matt Young Says:

    Agreed, but Brown's Wins, Gray Ink, HoFM and HoFS all fall short. I'll admit that WAR and ERA+ are two key stats to look at for Hall Candidacy, but there's more to it than _just_ that. Agreed that the media plays a part in this, but his attitude will hurt and is a big reason why he was moved around a lot. Shoot, I'll take Morris over him even with his 40 WAR and ERA+ of 105. At least Morris' Gray Ink (193) and HoFM (122) meet criteria in addition to 254 wins and a 7-4 3.70 ERA playoff stats with perhaps the best (one of) playoff pitching performance in history. He also has 3 World Series wins. Brown was actually pretty torched in the playoffs even during his Florida World Series run. Overall Brown was 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA in the playoffs. He might get in, and Ill understand why, but I don't think I'd vote for Brown.

  70. Mussina should be considered for the Hall of Fame because he pitched his whole career
    in the American League East. The most competitive division in baseball. Any pitcher
    who can win 270 games during the steroid era deserves to be in. Blyleven,Kaat,John
    pitched a long time but were compilers.

  71. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Please stop citing HOF Monitor and Standards as qualifications for induction. They are intended to approximate the likelihood of induction, they are not intended to measure one's worthiness.

  72. I would vote vore Mussina. I've always been a big fan of his, I admit, but one of the stats that really impresses me is that only he and Marichal -- among pitchers since WWII -- were the winning pitchers in at least 50% of their career games. That's saying something regardless of the limitations of the W stat. Comparing career Ws or 20-W seasons doesn't account for the difference between the 4-man and 5-man rotation eras.

  73. Wow, this is already such a long thread that I'm sure I'll be repeating stuff others have already said, but so be it. I've already said some of this stuff as well in other HOF question posts. Anyway ...

    Yes, Mussina deserves to be in the Hall. I don't know if he'll be a first ballot guy, but as others have said, when you realize that he pitched his entire career in one of the most offense heavy eras in history, and in probably the most offense heavy division in baseball, his numbers start to look a lot better. Didn't have the 'peak' of some guys, but in exchange for that, he had great consistency and longevity. Was a quiet guy with a good character, and while certainly a pitcher's W-L isn't as meaningful as many think, 270 wins and a .638 W-L will look very good to the voters.

    As for the other names that have been brought up on this thread and others, I think everyone assumes Blyleven will be in next year. Tommy John and Jim Kaat, good pitchers for a long time, but just never as dominant as they needed to be. Schilling, borderline, but I think yes. Pettitte simply isn't there yet, but maybe if he pitches effectively for a few more years. As for Kevin Brown, just on the wrong side of borderline. And wow, David Cone and Kevin Appier? Sorry, but no. Not even close. Especially Appier. How do these guys even get brought up?

  74. Matt Young Says:

    Johnny Twisto Says:

    "Likelihood of Induction (HoFM and HoFS)" is tallied by qualifications though. Point taken, but they're not mutually exclusive.

    I'd say if Pettitte gets a third place or better in Cy Young this year, 2 more playoff wins to get to 20, keeps his ERA+ at 116-117 or higher and gets to 260+ wins he'll get in. If he and team keep up pace this year and he has one more good year next year he'll end up with 260+, likely 20+ playoff wins, 100+ wins over 500 and a WAR of 56-58. HGH will complicate things, and he'll end up being one of the most difficult to rate overall. I know those that think wins are overrated or ones that have the small-Hall idea will have no problem voting no. I'm on the fence either way. Do you think these numbers above get him in?

  75. Matt Young Says:

    Of course this while remembering Pettitte already has 5 World Series wins, 8 World Series appearances and playoff signature moments such 8 shutout innings in Game 5 World Series in 1996 when series was tied 2-2 with Atlanta, last year's playoff run when he went 4-0 in 5 starts with a 3.50 ERA and the 2001 ALCS MVP --however, he stunk it up in the 2001 World Series.

    While wins are certainly a bit overrated, he also has the most wins in decade (2000-2009) with 148 and most wins since 1995 with 238.

  76. I haven't seen anyone mention it yet, but in addition to his impressive WAR total, Mussina also fares very well when you look at Win Probability Added. After the "Big Four" starters plus Mariano Rivera, he has the highest career WPA of his era, and 8th all-time (though "all-time" for WPA only means 1952-present):

    1. Clemens 78.32
    2. Maddux 59.94
    3. Seaver 56.12
    4. Pedro 54.14
    5. Johnson 53.62
    6. Rivera 49.99
    7. Palmer 45.84
    8. Mussina 40.94
    9. Smoltz 40.58
    10. Gibson 39.56

    12. Glavine 35.88
    14. Schilling 35.58
    16. Hoffman 34.70
    20(t). Brown 33.82

    Every eligible pitcher with 30+ WPA (the top 27) is in the Hall of Fame, except for Blyleven (who's a lock to go in next year) and Billy Pierce. There are very few HOFers below that number, so it seems like one decent gauge of HOF-worthiness (or at least HOF-likelihood) among others. Here's the complete ranking:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/wpa_def_career.shtml

    Incidentally, Jack Morris only ranks 90th with a career WPA of 14.98, which suggests that he perhaps did not "pitch to the situation" as well as some people seem to believe.

  77. Mike Felber Says:

    Hey bill! Bunning looks borderline to me over a career. But examining his peak, i would have put him in. He had many at best mediocre years, mainly his last 6, but his peak is quite good.

    There are many measures that are not relevant. Wins, & so much of what goes into HOF Standards & Monitor. Likewise, WHAT goes into, say, gray ink? If someone is high in it due largely to things outside of his control, no credit accrues to him. Better to examine just what a pitcher does compared to his peers that is relevant. Morris is a great case to consider in this regard. Even his total playoff production compared to peers/era are not especially impressive: not that a few games should make much difference.

    Someone can be MORE a compiler than a peak guy, or vice versa, & still be good enough. But it depends on what he is compiling, are they things that reflect his true value, or more good fortune for him? Blyleven was a "legitimate" compiler, that is, in the stats that matter/what he controlled he was good for years. AND he also had an excellent peak when actually picking his best years, considering IP & how good he was for best 5, best 5 straight, best 7, or whatever measure you choose. Unless you only choose to compare him to the best pitchers in the HOF, which is not fair. Does you favorite under recognized position player need to stack up favorably to Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Aaron Ruth Wagner Pujols?

  78. Mike Felber Says:

    Wins are massively overrated. Still Moose is deserving, since era, ERA +, run support, infield defense & assorted relevant "peripherals" show him to be very good over a career, & a decent peak by any measure too.

    I would like to know more about win probability. It needs to be taken in conjunction w/longevity, or at least considered over peak years, since as a rate stat it favors those with a shorter career. Thus it is especially impressive for Clemens to be SO much better than everyone else: does he really warrant THAT much superiority? In their best years, did not Pedro & Maddux at least do as well as him, & Johnson not far behind? WHY is Don Sutton so highly ranked at this over a long career, about 34, & SIXTH all time in situational wins saved, & Phil Neikro, who has a higher wins above replacement & seems better over an even longer career. WHY is Neikro so paltry in WPA, 109, even lower than Morris!

    I really do not know, & am trying to understand the stat, put it in context, & see if it is likely a good measure of pitching efficiency. But Sutton Dwarfing Neikro in this stat makes it suspect, pending a good explanation.

  79. Matt Young Says:

    I would extend the WPA limit down to 28 to include Jenkins, Drysdale and Carlton. Saberhagen would be the only exception with a 28+ WPA and Wagner with 28+. I, however, tend to think that after Mo and Hoffman, that Wagner could be the next reliever to get in if he puts in another year or so and gets to 450+ saves. His ERA+ is also 186, but Wagner doesn't have enough innings to qualify. Lee Smith will continue in limbo. Saberhagen's career ended too short. Pettite's WPA was 23.2.

    I disagree, the HoFM and HoFS are based on career stats and are therefore quite useful when assessing a candidate.

  80. Matt Young Says:

    1988 BBWAA (74.2%) Who got this % in 12th year of eligibility, but still had to wait until Veterans committee? Jim Bunning --deserves in be in!!

    1988 BBWAA (30.9%) Who got this % in first of eligibility but never got above 20% in years to follow? Luis Tiant-- A Veteran Committee induction down road?

    1993 BBWAA (41.6%) Who got this % in first of eligibility but never came close to getting in? Steve Garvey A definite no

    Interesting.

  81. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mike Felber, that is interesting that Niekro's WPA is so poor (relatively speaking). He played for a long time, so it goes down a bit by virtue of his below-average seasons at the end of his career. But even in his prime, his WPAs were consistently lower than expected. I'd guess a big part of that is because it doesn't separate defense. Niekro pitched in front of some terrible defenses. Every time a ball drops in that another team might have caught, every time someone even reaches on an error, WPA counts it against Niekro. Also, though I'd need to think this through a bit, I wonder if pitching for bad teams costs him. Here's a random game from 1978 http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SDN/SDN197804200.shtml
    Niekro pitched 7 scoreless innings, gave up 2 runs in the 5th inning, Braves never score and lose 2-0. Good game for Niekro, but he is saddled with -.006 WPA. So if he pitches well, but his team doesn't hit, every run he allows becomes more costly.

  82. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Matt, everyone got pushed down in '89 because Bench, Yaz, G. Perry and Jenkins all came on the ballot that year. Then over the next few seasons more of those great '70s pitchers kept coming on the ballot, so Tiant just got buried.

  83. I can't stand the "context of the era" argument.

    If there are HOF quality pitchers putting up a great ERA during the same span as Mussina, the context of the ERA for that time period isn't a valid argument. Either you're a HOFer or not. Maddux - 3.16 ERA, P. Martinez, 2.93 ERA, R. Johnson 3.29 ERA - in the same time frame as Mussina.

    I'm not going to convince anyone who uses WAR as a measuring stick, I know that - but either you're a HOFer or not. The "there are far less guys in the Hall" should not be an excuse to put a good but not great pitcher in.

  84. Joe, Maddux and Johnson both have below average ERAs by Hall of Fame standards (Clemens, too). Pedro's is only about average. Do you really think that looking at the raw ERA out of context tells the whole story? Would Maddux, Johnson, and Clemens be in the lower tier of HOF pitchers, in your eyes? You still haven't really defined what your Hall of Fame standards are.

  85. Matt Young Says:

    If you don't want to look at the WAR then remove it Joe and focus on his Moose's ERA+ of 123 (median starting hall of fame pitcher has a ERA+ of 121). This number takes into consideration the division you played in.......and this was in the juiced era. Also, you continue to bring up 3 of the BEST pitchers in the history of the game. IMO, that should not be the benchmark, unless you think 90%+ of hall of famers are undeserving? I guess to you you either make it the first vote or not. The argument now stands that Mussina (270 wins) has at least good enough overall numbers to be equal with Glavine (118 ERA+ with 305 wins), Schilling (128+ and 216 wins), and Smoltz (125+ and 213 wins and 154 saves), I guess you think none of them are qualified either?

    IMO, context of era should at least be weighed in --it shouldn't carry the most weight by any means, but it should carry some. I think this is one reason why Morris is still being pondered. From 1980-1995 Jack won more games than anyone, and this is evidenced to some degree by his Gray Ink Value ....and, after the pitchers to come out of the second deadball era of 63-76, there was few pitchers on par with Morris during the same time period. All the HoF from the second deadball era were in the twillight of their careers during Morris' time---one big reason why Blyleven has been unfairly treated is because he was somewhat the least dominant of the HoF to come out of the second deadball era.

  86. Mike Felber Says:

    Thanks J.T. I wonder how many times WPA, or for that matter ERA +, varies greatly from reflecting a pitcher's real contribution. Hopefully it is unusual for there to be such a disparity. Also, HOF S & HOF M reflecting career value? That so clearly begs the question already broached: WHAT are we valuing? WHich of those things are relevant in reflecting your performance? You can even rack up points by leading the league is something bad, walks, wild pitches, HRs allowed...

    And of course a stat is only really meaningful when we compare it to league averages. What, all the best pitchers ever were in the early days of baseball? None of the rule changes that impacted balance of offense & defense mean anything? The truth of relative quality is in the details.

  87. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Joe B, obviously Mussina wasn't as good as Maddux, Martinez, or Johnson. Those three have arguments as the best pitcher of all time. If you only want to vote for the elite of the elite, that's your prerogative. That doesn't mean it's crazy for others to support Mussina, considering the HOF has more than 200 players in it, not 20.

    "either you're a HOFer or not" WTF does that even mean?

  88. Matt Young Says:

    Getting back to the "context of era argument" --- As Johnny Twisto said above (thanks by the way), Tiant got buried because of all the HoF's that pitched sizable chunks of time during the second deadball era of 63-76 --many of these guys were on the ballot at the same time. Hall of Famers from the second deadball era are (pitched at least 5 years during this time): Jenkins, Carlton, Ryan, Gibson, Seaver, Palmer, Perry, Niekro, Sutton, Hunter, Bunning, Drysdale and lets add Blyleven (unless they pull a Bunning on us). Koufax pitched 3 years during this time as well. 10 of these pitchers overlapped quite a bit (minus Drysdale and Bunning) --this is why ERA+ is a great metric to look at! Out of these HoF only Hunter would really make some cringe. It was indeed a deadball era and likely not due to inferior offensive talents. Out of all 12 of these HoF's Mussina had a ERA+ better than 9 of them (he's above the medium of 121)!! Only Gibson, Seaver and Palmer (and Koufax of course) had a better ERA+ than Mussina. Tiant's ERA+ was 115, and equal or better than 7 of these guys ---better than Carlton, Sutton, Bunning, Jenkins, Hunter, Ryan and Niekro.

  89. Matt Young Says:

    You do not pick up any HoFM or HoFS numbers by leading the league in walks, wild pitches, HR allowed etc. This value is reflected by all worthwhile stats.

  90. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Matt Young - WAR adjusts for Al vs. NL league quality so Glavine and Pettitte are not nearly the same. Glavine had 72 WAR (including his offense) and Pettitte 48. Huge difference. You site ERA+, but fail to mention than Glavine has 1,300 more IP than Pettitte - which is why the large difference in WAR. Glavine also has a 12-13 point lead in WPA.

  91. rico petrocelli Says:

    Seeing the description of macdux-clemens-pedro-johnson as 4 of the alltime best makes me wonder. have we defined smaall hall? i f there were only 50 members -- 5 from each position and 19 pitchers -- who would they be??? even using only WAR -- who are the elite?

  92. Using WAR, my bet would be that most of the old-timers -- the Youngs, Mattys, Johnsons, Chesbros and Browns, for example -- would be somewhat further down in the pack because of the conditions they performed in. Is there some way to compensate for such things as this {as well as such things as newer medical techniques, et al}? {This was a rhetorical question; I am just trying to point out that trying to compare pitchers from different eras is, as my old dear Grandmother would say, "tryin' to chase the Moon". No matter how far you go, you won't get bthere.

  93. Matt Young Says:

    Matthew Cornwell, True and point taken to a small degree because the comparisons you mention aren't completely legit for a variety of reasons. As much as you site his ERA+ being the same b/c he pitched more years than Pettitte, his WPA and WAR are also higher to a good degree because of the same reason. Also, you pick extremes in WAR (using Glavine's with offense included) --rated as pitchers only(!!), Glavine's WAR is 67 and Pettite's is ~50. He certainly won't pitch as long as Glavine, but if you took Pettitte's average WAR of ~3.2/season and add 5.5 years to Pettitte's 16.5 year career you'd have a WAR of 67.7 for Pettitte! I understand he could flame out on any pitch and so Glavine pitching 22 (to Andy's 16.5) years should count for sure (Glavine's average WAR is 3.05/season). Lastly, while a very small sample size, Pettitte's ERA+ was 129 in his 3 years in NL. They are very similar, it's just Glavine will have 4-5 more years tacked on which boosts his WAR, Wins, and WPA. His ERA+was hurt a bit, but the trade-off in more wins was surely worth it for Glavine! Andy has the 5 rings though!

  94. Matt Young Says:

    Actually strike that, Andy has pitched 15.5 years and so Glavine pitched 6.5 years more. You could add another 3 in WAR putting Andy over a 70 WAR. With that said, I know that's ridiculous since 6.5 more years is a lifetime and Andy could get hurt at any time. Also, it's likely his WAR/season would dip to more 2/season. Again, they are very similar, it's just Glavine will have 4-5 more years tacked on which boosts his WAR, Wins, and WPA.

  95. Frank, the old-timers are actually well represented at the top of the WAR leaderboard--in fact, four of the six pitchers with 100+ WAR played before 1930:

    1. Cy Young 146.00
    2. Roger Clemens 128.40
    3. Walter Johnson 127.70
    4. Tom Seaver 105.30
    5. Pete Alexander 104.90
    6. Kid Nichols 102.30

  96. Slam dunk Hall of Famer

  97. Mike Felber Says:

    OK Matt, I stand corrected in that the clearly NEGATIVE stats do not make up the leader boards. Fair point.

    Though my other objection stands: even though it takes out the distinction of era & league, there are still context dependent stats that have much to do with team performance. And awards,(ROY, CY Young, Gold Glove, MVP) SO often contaminated by prejudice & ignorance. And post season performance, which depends overwhelmingly on the whole team whether you even GET there. AND it heavily weighs total stats accumulated, whether bogus one like Wins, win %, or good ones like ERA, but not adjusted for context. The career Standards has many more criteria, hence more dubious comparative measures, but examine how heavily weighted the HOF monitor is towards things much effected by team, era, etc-even though it does not factor in the often dubious awards:

    * Pitching Statistics One point for each 10 wins over 100, limit 25.
    * One point for each 20 games over .500, limit 10.
    * For each of the following a minimum of 500 innings is required before these points are added.
    o One point for each .013 of winning percentage above .500, limit 15.
    o One point for each .20 of ERA below 4.00, limit 10.
    o One point for each 200 strikeouts over 1000, limit 10.
    o One point for each .30 of BB/9IP below 4.00, limit 10.
    o One point for each .30 of H/9IP below 10.00, limit 10.
    * One point for each 1000 innings above 1000, limit 5.
    * One point for each 100 complete games above 200, limit 5. Changed from James's slightly
    * One point for each 30 shutouts, limit 5. Changed from James's slightly

    Unless youy adjust for drastic distinctions in teams & era, it is not just incomplete, AND not consider peak value- a major measure of greatness-but stands as a highly flawed measure of anything but how LIKELY someone is to make it. Though even in this it is somewhat flawed, because even before modern sabermetrics, many give a rough calculation or intuitive sense of how context skews what you are cerdited with.

  98. Rico Petrocelli,

    That's an interesting idea, but would it be 59 players? 40+19. I'll make it 20 pitchers. Here's a list using just career WAR no peak, no adjustment for War-Time service or segregation in the case of J. Robinson for all 8 positions and the 20 top pitchers:

    LF:
    Bonds
    Musial
    T. Williams
    R. Henderson
    F. Clarke

    CF:
    Cobb
    Mays
    Speaker
    Mantle
    Joe D.

    RF:
    Ruth
    Aaron
    Ott
    F. Robinson
    A. Kaline

    3B:
    Schmidt
    Mathews
    Boggs
    Brett
    C. Jones

    SS:*
    Wagner-134
    A-Rod-101
    G. Davis-90
    Ripken-89
    Yount-76

    Short Stop is tricky because A-Rod has played about 40% of his career at third. 1/3 of Yount's career was in Center. Here's a list of short stops who played about 85-95% of their games at short:

    SS:
    Wagner-134
    G. Davis-90
    Ripken-89
    A. Vaughn-75
    D. Jeter-70

    2B:
    Hornsby
    Collins
    Lajoie
    Morgan
    Gehringer

    1B:
    Gehrig
    Anson
    Foxx
    Connor
    Brouthers

    C:
    Bench
    Fisk
    G. Carter
    Berra
    Piazza

    All the eligible guys are in the HOF. Pujols isn't far away from the 5th spot at first. A lot of old time players, Jeter and Chipper Jones are the only active players. T. Williams & Joe D. would have ranked higher witout the War.

  99. Here's the top 20 pitchers, just career no peak, no batting just pitching WAR:

    Top 10:

    C. Young
    R. Clemens
    W. Johnson
    T. Seaver
    P. Alexander
    Kid Nichols
    L. Grove
    G. Maddux
    P. Niekro
    G. Perry

    11-20

    W. Spahn
    R. Johnson
    B. Blyleven
    C. Mathewson
    B. Gibson
    N. Ryan
    S. Carlton
    T. Keefe
    J. Clarkson
    F. Jenkins

    Keefe spent two years in the American Association during the 1880's, Clarkson was an 1880's pitcher as well. If you want to make the list from 1890-present you can take Keefe & Clarkson out and put in Robin Roberts and Eddie Plank. All the eligible pitchers are in the HOF except Bert Blyleven. Also, Spahn lost some years because of WW2, Bob Feller lost some years because of WW@ otherwise he probably would have made the top 20.

    If I have time tomorrow, I'll make a peak list.

  100. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    "it's just Glavine will have 4-5 more years tacked on which boosts his WAR, Wins, and WPA. His ERA+was hurt a bit, but the trade-off in more wins was surely worth it for Glavine"

    4-5 more years of above- average pitching is very significant when comparing players. I guess we can agree that their rate stats are similar, but overall career value is not to this point. And I wasn't cherry-picking - offensive stats should be included in all pitcher to pitcher comparisons.

  101. Mike Felber Says:

    I reiterate my questions (see main paragraph post #78) about win probability. WHY does it vary significantly from ERA + in many cases? Does Pedro not dominate in this stat because he did not pitch quite as long per start as those rated above him, & are there other factors? The 1st 7 are significantly better than the others, & Clemens DEGREE of dominance per start over a career remains unexplained to me.

  102. rico petrocelli Says:

    John Q

    Thanks for making this public.

    Great context on the greatest. yeah Arod must be included, guess at short.
    That Blyleven us in there confims all the love he gets on this site.

    Major surprises:
    G. Davis-90
    A. Vaughn-75
    Not ernie Banks?

    And how has Cap Clarke escaped my scrutiny? He was a 20 year teammate with Honus Wagner and appears to have torn up the league with him

    He had one of the greatest debuts in major league history. Using a small, light bat and facing the veteran Gus Weyhing of the Philadelphia Phillies, Clarke proceeded to hit four singles and a triple in five at bats.

    Great bio here http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&pid=2513&bid=893

  103. rico petrocelli Says:

    Question

    Which is the greatest outfield in baseball history?

    Some would say Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann and Heinie Manush from 1923-27. Anyone who can weigh in?

    In 1926, Manush hit .378 to lead the American League. On the last day of the season, Manush trailed Babe Ruth and Heilmann in the race. but went 6 for 9 in a doubleheader to overtake them and win the batting title.

  104. Mike Matthews Says:

    We too often look for failure. The article points out negatives like being on powerhouse teams. His greatest accomplishment was being so successful in the American League "Beast" his entire career. I doubt any pitcher's numbers compare to his if you base you information there. Quite remarkable actually.

  105. Matt Young Says:

    Mike,

    Again, points well taken, but all I'm arguing for is this is one number to look at, NOT THE ONLY number to look at. I'm a big picture guy, and I don't think anyone can say that the numbers needed listed below are worthless. Shoot, complete games and shutouts have become almost irrelevant, and b/c the era we're now in today --so, yes, you have many good points including biases when voting for awards. I'm just saying it shouldn't be disregarded. This idea that this number is useless is just not accurate. In order to get a high HoFS or HoFM number you have to rack up some impressive numbers. Certainly this number points a bit more to the "career type" HoF and not the guy that dominated for 8-12 years. Glavine is a good example. Also, if the guys HoFM number is 130+, I think it's saying something. 100 is too low a cutoff.

    Again, it's one number to look at and somewhere down on the list. WAR, ERA+, and yes wins/win% are probably the most important. Wins can be overrated, but still, you have to win.

    Mike Felber Says:
    June 28th, 2010 at 11:34 pm
    OK Matt, I stand corrected in that the clearly NEGATIVE stats do not make up the leader boards. Fair point.

    Though my other objection stands: even though it takes out the distinction of era & league, there are still context dependent stats that have much to do with team performance. And awards,(ROY, CY Young, Gold Glove, MVP) SO often contaminated by prejudice & ignorance. And post season performance, which depends overwhelmingly on the whole team whether you even GET there. AND it heavily weighs total stats accumulated, whether bogus one like Wins, win %, or good ones like ERA, but not adjusted for context. The career Standards has many more criteria, hence more dubious comparative measures, but examine how heavily weighted the HOF monitor is towards things much effected by team, era, etc-even though it does not factor in the often dubious awards:

    * Pitching Statistics One point for each 10 wins over 100, limit 25.
    * One point for each 20 games over .500, limit 10.
    * For each of the following a minimum of 500 innings is required before these points are added.
    o One point for each .013 of winning percentage above .500, limit 15.
    o One point for each .20 of ERA below 4.00, limit 10.
    o One point for each 200 strikeouts over 1000, limit 10.
    o One point for each .30 of BB/9IP below 4.00, limit 10.
    o One point for each .30 of H/9IP below 10.00, limit 10.
    * One point for each 1000 innings above 1000, limit 5.
    * One point for each 100 complete games above 200, limit 5. Changed from James's slightly
    * One point for each 30 shutouts, limit 5. Changed from James's slightly

    Unless youy adjust for drastic distinctions in teams & era, it is not just incomplete, AND not consider peak value- a major measure of greatness-but stands as a highly flawed measure of anything but how LIKELY someone is to make it. Though even in this it is somewhat flawed, because even before modern sabermetrics, many give a rough calculation or intuitive sense of how context skews what you are cerdited with.

  106. Matt Young Says:

    "it's just Glavine will have 4-5 more years tacked on which boosts his WAR, Wins, and WPA. His ERA+was hurt a bit, but the trade-off in more wins was surely worth it for Glavine"

    4-5 more years of above- average pitching is very significant when comparing players. I guess we can agree that their rate stats are similar, but overall career value is not to this point. And I wasn't cherry-picking - offensive stats should be included in all pitcher to pitcher comparisons.

    Matthew: Agreed, 4-5 more years pitching at an above-average level at near 40 years of age is significant and I pointed this out. All I'm saying is they have very similar numbers through 16 years. I can buy your argument of using the WAR with offense included if both pitchers were lifer National Leaguers. However, the WAR with offense is not what people will generally look at when comparing pitchers. Glavine was quite good with the bat though, didn't he win a Silver Slugger one year?

  107. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mike Felber: I reiterate my questions (see main paragraph post #78) about win probability. WHY does it vary significantly from ERA + in many cases? Does Pedro not dominate in this stat because he did not pitch quite as long per start as those rated above him, & are there other factors?

    WPA is sort of a counting stat (although it can go down as well as up). Pedro has a short career by elite pitcher standards. I'm sure if you calculate his WPA per IP, it rates as well as anyone. He led the league three times.

    And if WPA never varied from some other stat, there would be no point to it. It measures something different.

    Wait a second, I just checked...Martinez is 4th in career WPA, despite such a short career. I'd say that was pretty dominating.

  108. Rico P.,

    You're welcome. I'm going to look up the peak HOF either "Best 7 consecutive WAR Seasons" or "The 7 best WAR Seasons"

    Davis and Vaughn were just completely overlooked and I'm not sure why exactly. I remember reading about Davis during the early 90's before he was in the HOF. Maybe Vaughn was overlooked because he played in Pittsburgh during the 30's.

    Ernie Banks's career has been misinterpreted for a long time and he's such a beloved figure that few people tend to look at him objectively.

    Few people realize that he played more games at First base than he did at Short. Basically there are two Ernie Banks: The SS who played in the 50's who had 7 of the best consecutive seasons at the position OR The Ernie Banks who played from 1962-1971 who was essentially a mediocre 1B. His batting line from 1963-1971 was .257/.307/.440 with a ops+ of 105. He had a 106ops+ from 1962-1971. There are very few 1B who are kept on a major league roster with an ops+ of 106 for 2000-3000 plate appearances let alone 5000 plate appearances.

    So basically you have to look at Banks from 1953-1961 as Alex Rodriguez or Cal Ripken and the Ernie Banks from 1962-1971 as Sid Bream, J.T. Snow or Greg Brock.

  109. Rico Petrocelli,

    I forgot Ivan Rodriguez on that WAR list, he should be 2nd behind Bench.

    I don't think the Tigers from '23-27 would be considered the Best in a five year span. Cobb was at the end of his career at that point. It's an interesting question though: what was the best Starting outfield during a 5 year span?

  110. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It's pretty rare for an outfield to stay together 5 seasons.

    Some combination of DiMaggio/Keller/Henrich/Selkirk was pretty great from around '38 to '48, minus some time out for wars and injuries.

    Delahanty, Hamilton, and Thompson for the Phillies 1891-1895

    Evans, Lynn, and Rice with the late '70s Red Sox.

  111. Rico Petrocelli,

    Here's the top 5 "Peak" (Best 7 Seasons) WAR players:

    LF:
    Bonds
    T. Williams
    Musial
    R. Henderson
    J. Jackson

    CF:
    Cobb
    Mays
    Mantle
    Speaker
    Joe D

    RF:
    Ruth
    Aaron
    Ott
    Yaz
    F. Robinson

    3B:
    Schmidt
    Boggs
    Mathews
    Brett
    Santo

    SS:
    Wagner
    A-Rod
    Ripken
    Banks
    A. Vaughn

    2B:
    Hornsby
    Collins
    Morgan
    Lajoie
    J. Robinson

    1B:
    Gehrig
    Pujols
    Foxx
    Bouthers
    Connor

    C:
    Bench
    G. Carter
    Piazza
    I-Rod
    Berra

    Santo is the only eligible player not in the HOF. It's kind of forgotten that J. Robinson was a great player. Pujols is already second as far as 7 best seasons at first base. Shoeless Joe makes an appearance. Mantle was better than Dimaggio. Yaz makes the top five on the strength of those amazing '67-68 seasons. Why did it take G. Carter so long to get elected to the HOF?

  112. Here's the top 21 pitchers, Best 7 WAR-seasons since 1890, Koufax was the 21st, Spahn in the post 1901 so I increased it by one pitcher. I left off the pitchers from the 1880's because the game was so different. Just pitching not batting.

    1890-present Best 7 WAR Seasons:

    C. Young
    W. Johnson
    K. Nichols
    P. Alexander
    R. Clemens
    L. Grove
    A. Rusie
    C. Mathewson
    B. Gibson
    R. Johnson

    T. Seaver
    G. Perry
    E. Walsh
    P. Niekro
    B. Feller
    J. Marichal
    W. Spahn
    G. Maddux
    P. Martinez
    R. Roberts
    S. Koufax

    Since 1901 Best 7 WAR Seasons:

    W. Johnson
    P. Alexander
    R. Clemens
    L. Grove
    C. Mathewson
    B. Gibson
    R. Johnson
    C. Young
    T. Seaver
    G. Perry

    E. Walsh
    P. Niekro
    B. Feller
    J. Marichal
    W. Spahn
    G. Maddux
    P. Martinez
    R. Roberts
    S. Koufax
    W. Spahn

  113. Matt Young Says:

    Awesome post John Q. Agreed, Carter should have gone in before he did and you could argue he was every bit as good as Fisk. Fisk was a no-brainer HoF, but Carter should have been too --I think the waving arms and playing in Boston helped Fisk --it was a signature moment for Fisk. The funny thing is many remember Game 6 and the waving arms more than they do who won that series. Fisk was slightly better offensively, but Carter was clearly better defensively --for such an important defensive position, I actually might give the slight nod to Carter. Both of their WAR's are in the upper 60's I believe.

  114. I messed that up, Spahn should be behind Koufax in the post 1890 season and I listed him twice in the post 1901 section. Jim Bunning was the next on the 1901-present list.

  115. John Q how do you figure stuff like that out? Do you have a database of some sort?

  116. dukeofflatbush Says:

    Rico,
    Your very own Red Saux had some great players, while not all in their prime, in the mid to late 70's.
    In '76 they had a mix of Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Yaz, Bernie Carbo, and the most underrated player of his era - Dwight Evans.
    In '78-79, Carlton Fisk joined the crew for a few games in Left field.
    '73 - Reggie Smith -150 OPS+.
    '73 - Tommy Harper led the league in SB.
    '73 - Ben Ogilve & Cha Cha Cepeda.

  117. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Glavine won 4 Silver Sluggers.

    One last thing... 3-year WAR: Glavine 21 - Pettitte 18, 5-year WAR, Glavine 31- Pettitte 25, 10 year WAR: Glavine 50, Pettitte 40. Also, Sean Smith came up with WAE, or wins above excellence, which raises the baseline even higher than wins above average. To achieve a WAE, you need to have more than 3 WAR in a give season. Glavine wins here 20 to 12. Looks like at their very best, Glavine edges Pettitte too.

    Either way, Pettitte is making an interesting HOF run. But back to the original topic, Moose was a little better than either.

  118. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "Agreed to some degree, however, compare Schilling's, Brown's and Smoltzy's numbers to Coney's --first add 2 more average years to Coneys numbers and then let me know what you think."

    Matt: Every single one of the pitchers under discussion from this era lost the same opportunity that Cone did. Schilling. Brown. Smoltz. Mussina, Pettitte. You name them, if they are in this generation, they lost those games as well. Everybody we are talking about (except Blyleven who is only discussed now because the writers inexplicably failed to recognize him at the appropriate time) was pitching during the 94-95 strike. On top of the fact that it was more like 1/2 a season missing, rather than 2 full seasons, it's ridiculous that you would add that to Cone's numbers, and not anybody else's. It could only make any *possible* sense if you comparing him to a pitcher who didn't lose time to that strike, which is going to include close to zero pitchers with realistic hall chances coming up for vote in the last 5 or next few years.

  119. Andy,

    If you go to the player page on BB Reference, There is a section called, "Player Value-Batters" or "Player Value-Pitchers". Click on the word, "WAR", then it will list the player's best seasons in descending order. I went to each player and added up the top 7 seasons with a calculator and wrote it down on a piece a paper.

    5th place was going to be about 50WAR for 7 seasons so I could eliminate any player who didn't get at least 50 WAR for his career. Then I just went down the Career list and clicked on the name. The 20th pitcher with 7 WAR seasons was going to be around 50 so I did the same thing.

    For A-Rod I just took his best 7 seasons from 1994-2003 when he was a SS. It's possible A-Rod could reach 5th place for 3B as well.

    The tricky thing is to miss a season where a player gets traded. It's extremely rare that players of this caliber get traded in season and that season ends up being one of the player's 7 best. Seaver's 1977, Henderson's 1989, are two instances when it happening and Piazza was on three teams in 1998.

    Santo is the big HOF omission.

    Banks had a very odd career. The first half he was essentially A-Rod the second half he was Sid Bream.

    Clemente was very close to the fifth spot in Right. Griffey jr./Snider for the fifth spot in Center. Fisk/Cochrane were very close to the fifth spot at Catcher.

    Pujols is just amazing that he's in second place for First Base.

  120. Matt Young Says:

    Michael E Sullivan ---you're right! My man point was however that Coney should have received enough support to stay on ballot for a few years. Coney was a perfect example of someone that flamed out a year or two too early. If he got to 210+ wins he would have had a pretty good case.

    David Cone (17 seasons):
    WAR: 57.5
    ERA+: 121 (at median)
    Wins: 194
    ERA: 3.46
    Win%: 606
    CY Young Shares: 1.38 with 1 Cy Young and 5 years in top 6
    5 All-stars
    1 Perfect Game
    KO's: 2668 but would have been 3,087
    Gray Ink: 168
    HOFM: 103
    HOFS: 39
    5 World Series with 5 wins and 0 losses --8-3 record with 3.80 ERA playoff stats

  121. Matt Young Says:

    Matthew --does your WAR's from above include offensive numbers? It looks like they do?

  122. Matt Young Says:

    I agree Moose was a little better than Glavine and Pettitte. Glavine hit the magic mark and will go in a few years before Mussina though!

  123. "I reiterate my questions (see main paragraph post #78) about win probability. WHY does it vary significantly from ERA + in many cases? Does Pedro not dominate in this stat because he did not pitch quite as long per start as those rated above him, & are there other factors? The 1st 7 are significantly better than the others, & Clemens DEGREE of dominance per start over a career remains unexplained to me."

    Mike, as Johnny Twisto said, WPA is a counting stat (like WAR), whereas ERA is a rate stat. Also like WAR (and unlike traditional counting stats such as strikeouts and innings pitched), it's possible to get negative WPA, which is a why a very bad game or a very bad season can lower a pitcher's total (for example, John Smoltz lowered his career WPA by 1.8 with his disastrous season last year).

    You'll find that Clemens's dominance in WPA is pretty similar to his dominance in WAR. In both stats, Clemens, Maddux, and Seaver are the top three modern pitchers, with Clemens having a sizable lead in each case. Keep in mind that the data used for calculating WPA is only available since 1952. If we had it for all eras, it's likely we'd find a few more pitchers (such as Walter Johnson) with totals rivaling Clemens's.

    WPA differs from ERA in that how well you do depends on the game situation. WPA rewards pitchers who pitch very well when the game is close. And unlike ERA, it will not penalize a pitcher much for giving up a few meaningless runs when he has a huge lead. (This is why it's so significant to note that Jack Morris does not have an impressive WPA total--if he truly did "pitch to the score" as well as many people claim he did, that would show up in his WPA, since "pitching to the score" is pretty much exactly what WPA measures.)

    As for Phil Niekro, I'm really not sure why his WPA is as low as it is. He certainly is an outlier in that respect. It's possible that he really just did pitch as well in tight games as other pitchers of his stature, though the other possibility (probably more likely) is that the teams he played on were so bad that he had an inordinately small number of opportunities to pitch with a small lead (which is the kind of situation that presents the best opportunity for accumulating WPA). I am curious now, so perhaps I'll look into his game logs to see if that was the case.

  124. Whoops, in my last paragraph about that should read "It's possible that really just did not pitch as well . . .".

  125. Michael Sullivan,

    Andy Pettite didn't play in 1994 and started 1995 in the bullpen so the strike had little to no impact on him.

    '94-95 were relatively down years for Schilling, Brown and Smoltz.

    The strike cost Mike Mussina two 20 win seasons.

    David Cone had two of his best seasons during the strike of '94-95 and it cost him two 20 win seasons. So in a way the strike was more costly to Cone and Mussina in the way they are perceived. If Cone had two more 20 win seasons, that would give him four for his career. I think with four 20 win seasons, Cone would still be on the ballot and looked upon much differently.

  126. Matt Young Says:

    John Q --My points exactly with Cone --him being off the list is a joke. I wouldn't vote for him, but yes, how would he be looked at if he had 20 more wins. The rest of his numbers are good except not having enough wins. He needed the strike time back and another year. What was really crazy, he was never the same pitcher after the perfect game. He just burned out. Anyone know how many pitches he threw that game?

  127. Cone threw 88 pitches in his perfect game:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA199907180.shtml

    Pitch counts in perfect games tend to be low what with the no baserunners and all...

  128. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    My numbers do include offense. The value/production is real and really valuable...I will include it. Even if I didn't, Glavine still comes out on top in every aspect I mentioned.

  129. rico petrocelli Says:

    John Q

    Just enormous stuff. Thank you

    Amazing how the PEAK yields a lst you might expect but cvareer WAR brings in some surprises.

    Yaz though is a lF not RF -- does he still make peak?

    Next debate....Dewey Evans for the Hall? Ron Santo/

  130. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Somebody mentioned Niekro and his WAR vs. WPA. His defense and park are the bigest culprits. WPA does not consider team defense behind Niekro, but WAR does. In fact, TZ has Niekro picking up over 100 runs lost by the rotten defenses behind him. That number seems extreme and I would like to delve deeper into it a bit. WPA also does not adjust for his tiny park, where WAR does.

  131. Matt Young Says:

    Matthew: But again, you just can't compare them equally unless you just think all National League pitchers have an edge because they hit. If that's your opinion, that's fair enough. Glavine certainly has the edge, mainly b/c of 5 more years though --that is significant in itself for sure. I just don't like the idea of trying to compare them including the offensive numbers when one has them and one doesn't. It's not an equal comparison in IMO. Glavine knew his butter was in the National League for many reasons --he liked to hit and was good at it (great for him), and he got a huge strike-zone --perhaps one of the biggest ever. Sorry, he was crafty, but I use to shake my head at the pitches he got. Personally, i like the national league game more, but I like how it's split.

  132. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Fine, but Glavine still edges Pettitte in 3 year (which becomes pretty close), 5 year, 7 year, and 10 year WAR - just take 1-2 WAR off to barely change the gap. Glavine would still lead in WAE 18-12. If you prefer WAA, Glavine leads 30-20 without any consideration of Glavine's offense.

    Plus, Pettitte does look like a poor batter in the opportunities that he has had. Granted small sample size, but chances are decent that not hitting helped Pettitte's WAR (a majority of pitchers with high IP totals have below average WAR compared to replacement pitcher).

    I refuse to not include real value that any player created for his team. It would be different if Glavine could only accumulate positive offensive WAR, but he could have been detrimental just as easily. In fact a majority of pitchers with lots of innings have negative offensive WAR. It is likely that Pettitte's WAR benefited from not hitting much - granted small sample size.

  133. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Oops - sorry for the repeat in there.

  134. Rico Petrocelli,

    My bad on Yaz, Oh man, how the heck did I put him RF. Yaz wouldn't make the top 5 in left, Yaz had 51.8 WAR, Joe Jackson had 53.5. F. Robinson should be the 4th right fielder, Clemente should be the 5th Right Fielder.

    Matt Young,

    Also what hurt Cone was the 1993 Season. He had one of his best seasons: 6.6 WAR, 138era+ and had a losing record because he had the worst runs/per game average in the American League, "2.9" runs per game. 2.9 runs per game is brutally low for that time period. Cone's career runs per game average was 4.7 runs per game.

    Check out Cone's game log for 1993, it's just bizarre and incredibly unlucky. He had 9 games that he gave up 2 earned runs or less and either got a no decision or a loss!!

    One of the games he pitched 9 innings, four games he pitched 8 innings, 3 games he pitched 7 innings, and one game he pitched 6 innings. 7 of the games he gave up 2 earned runs, 1 game he gave up 1 earned run, 1 game he gave up 0 earned runs. He lost 5 of those starts and got no decisions in the other four! He easily could have won 18-20 games and gone 18-9, 19-9, or 20-9.

    I really don't know what happened to Cone after 1999, it's like he hit a wall or something. I remember reading something like his 70era+ in 2000 is one of the worst pitching seasons for a starter with 20+ starts on a World Series Team. Then he went to the Red Sox in 2001. Then he retired, then he played for the Mets for a month in 2003. Just a very bizarre ending to a career.

  135. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    I have no problem with Cone in the HOF, personally.

  136. Matt Young Says:

    Thanks for the insight Mr. Petrocelli! Coney just completely flamed out after his perfect game. He was right there knocking on the door with similar careers to Smoltz and Schilling and he just couldn't seal the deal with another 20+ wins (half which were lost due to strike). However, given his big game prowess (yes Coney pitched in some very big playoff games and won), that he might have went in 50 years ago. He just flamed out so badly that the voters just forgot about what a good pitcher he was. He should have stayed on the ballot for a decent look IMO though.

    In reality Coney was a better pitcher than Pettitte, but Pettitte will get a long look at from the Hall. If Bill James had Mussina's chances at 70% induction the year before he got 20 wins (he had 250 wins at the time), then I wonder what Mr. James thinks of Pettitte's chances if he finishes this year at 245-250 wins and retires, which I think he will (One more year Andy!)? Mussina was also clearly better than Pettitte, particularly in-season, but those playoff numbers will likely play big with voters ....and they should. I know other statheads don't like playoff numbers being considered much, but again, I'm a big picture guy, and I don't like it when someone goes in only b/c they have numbers (i.e Kevin Brown if he goes in) or when someone goes in b/c of mystique (you could argue that Catfish was a mystique guy)- Both count, numbers and signature moments IMO. Yes, Pettitte's numbers in season are average at best for the hall (he'd be in the lower third, but arguable), but how will his post-season play out with voters. Even if he finishes this season at 246, I'd really be on the fence (likely the wrong side) of him getting in unless he wins another World Series and pitches well again or comes close to winning a Cy Young at 38. If he pitches one more year and gets to ~260 I think he chances go up significantly. Glavine pitching past 40 certainly helped him.

    Lastly, the more I look at Tommy John's Career, I think he should go in, but not Kaat (sorry Jim). I'd put Tiant in before Kaat. Overall, and I know some take shots at the Hall, I think they do a good job of inducting the right people. There are some questionable ones put in, and some questionable ones left out, but overall, I think the masses would agree on the vast majority that are in.

    Sorry for the long blog, but it's obviously a great game which such a rich history!

  137. I always thought Cone wasn't the same after the aneurysm in his arm--I know he had some good games after that, but for me it was the dividing point in his career.

    By the way, if you cut and paste this entire thread into MS Word, it's more than 50 pages and 18,000 words long.

  138. Johnny Twisto Says:

    In 83 starts after the aneurysm, Cone went 45-18, 3.12 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, 9.1 K per 9 IP, 6.7 IP per start. Except for the IP per start, those are all better than his career numbers. He pitched great after the aneurysm. He pitched lousy after the perfect game. I don't think the perfecto had anything to do with it, but it just marks the beginning of the end.

  139. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    point: I think Cone got a raw deal being dropped in his first ballot. I see him as out, but his WAR total is pretty good, especially considering his career was short for a HOF potential pitcher. Rate stats and DICE put him at or above the HoF average. It would certainly be no travesty for him to go in, and I'd take him long before I took Jack Morris. I was *very* surprised to see him drop of the ballot so definitively and quickly, but honestly, I wouldn't vote him in.

    I can see your point about having 2 more 20 win seasons affecting the writer's thoughts, but personally, whether a guy has one or two or ten 20 win seasons is completely irrelevant to my estimation of their hall-worthiness. It does affect the vote counts though. Even though it would only mean another 5-10 wins in his career total, and probably not make an appreciable difference to ERA+/DICE/WAR, it could easily have made the difference to a bunch of writers and kept him on the ballot.

    But it makes no difference to whether he belongs in the hall, IMO. By my lights, he's a borderline out candidate. Better than some who are there, but not good enough for me to support. Moose and Schilling haven't gotten 75% support from the BR crew, but they go before Coney, IMO. So does Brown who I suspect will poll lower still. He's still ahead of Pettitte, but not by a ton. TBH, I think it would be a useful sanity check to poll Coney (or did you do one when he came up in 2008 that I wasn't around for?), and I assume you will be doing KBrown at some point.

  140. Matt Young Says:

    Johnny Twisto says: I don't think the perfecto had anything to do with it, but it just marks the beginning of the end.

    I agree, but it was even more than the beginning of the end in ways --he freakin' went off a cliff in a matter of 15 starts after the perfecto. He could have hung on, but he wasn't the same, he knew it, and he retired --retiring when he did hurt his chances in a big way. He went from knock-knock to goodbye. He had a decent at best year with Sawx. He was such a combination of craftiness and power. I think Coney was better than Brown and Pettitte. Looking at WAR and ERA+, Brown is better, but stepping back and looking at the whole picture, Coney was better for sure. IMO, Pettitte is a better comparison to Brown than Coney. Pettitte to Brown is similar to Mussina vs Schilling. Statheads would clearly choose Brown, but I bet writers and hall of famers would clearly pick Pettitte. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my hunch. Interesting.

  141. Hmm clearly my memory of Cone's downturn is wrong.

  142. Michael E Sullivan,

    You make some good points and you obviously look at this much more objectively and with a keener eye than the baseball writers do.

    Unfortunately the writers are kind of lazy when it comes to HOF stuff and mostly rely on "gut instinct". Then they'll look at the traditional stats and over-emphasize W/L record. Also, they still put way too much emphasis on 20 win seasons discounting the fact that 5 man rotations, bullpens have drastically changed the meaning of 20 win seasons. Catfish Hunter is extremely overrated but got in the HOF because he had 5 20 win seasons when he really only deserved about 2 or 3.

    Cone gets hurt because his best season was in the strike and cost him a big 23-7 type season. Put that together with a 20 win season in 1995, and then take an objective look at his 1993 season and he is perceived differently. Even if he just had league average run support in 1993, he's a 18-20 game winner.

  143. You guys are all forgetting something. Cone can never be in the Hall of Fame because he played for the Mets!!!!!!!!!

    (In case you're not laughing, this is just a joke relating to other threads...)

  144. Matt Young Says:

    As for the Hall being lazy and voting on gut-instincts alone, I don't know if I agree with that. It's not that simple, and I think more voters are crunching numbers now more than ever (a big thanks to sites like this). There should be a combination of number crunching and gut-instinct. Gut-instinct really comes down to those signature moments --those are what hit the gut.

    As convoluted and inconsistent as it might sound, yes, I think Coney was a better pitcher than Pettitte and Brown (perhaps even Glavine that's a shoo-in). However, I understand why both Pettitte and Brown have better chances at the Hall. Getting into the Hall isn't as black and white as many want to make it. Sorry, it just isn't IMO. I get the complexities.

    Cone's inability to get over 200 wins was too large an obstacle for anyone to vote for him -- It's that simple, I get that and I agree with that. However, that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't a better pitcher than Brown and Pettitte. Brown's lack of wins (213) and lack of signature moments will ultimately hurt him IMO and keep him on the wrong side of the line. I think it will hurt him more than Andy's high ERA of 3.86 and CG 25 and SO of 4. Andy's ERA+ of 117 will somewhat neutralize the high ERA, and his lack of CG and SO will be somewhat passed off as a sign of the times. Whether there are holes in Andy's HGH story or not, the way he handled it was infinitely better and perhaps more justifiable than just about any other accused juicer. This is a wild card for sure. This could work to his advantage (or hurt him )as we go through the years and players like Palmero, Sosa, McGwire, and perhaps Sheffield (I know he only used the cream) and other juicers fail to get significant votes. Perhaps this is unfair. When all said and done, I think Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, Pedro, Mussina, Schilling and Smoltz all will somewhat easily get in from this era with Brown and/or/neither Pettitte being the line as to who gets in and who's left out. I would guess that only one of these guys or neither will get in, not both though. It should be interesting to see how it unfolds

    As for Morris, which I think should get in, he's a pretty good comparison to Pettitte as well. Pettitte's WAR and ERA+ will both be substantially better, and both have playoff signature moments (Jack's perhaps the best in the history of the game), and both lead their decade or time-period in wins with high ERA's, but Jack was an ace (I know some want to debate that, but there's really no debate) and Andy wasn't. As for Andy, he's on the wrong side right now, but that could change if he finishes this year with a bang or comes back and pitches effectively for one more year.

  145. Matt #136: "Mussina was also clearly better than Pettitte, particularly in-season, but those playoff numbers will likely play big with voters ....and they should."

    I'm not convinced that Pettitte was a better postseason pitcher than Mussina:

    W-L:
    Pettitte: 18-9
    Mussina: 7-8

    G/GS
    Pettitte: 40/40
    Mussina: 23/21

    IP, IP/GS:
    Pettitte: 249, 6.23
    Mussina: 139.2, 6.29

    ERA:
    Pettitte: 3.90
    Mussina: 3.42

    WHIP:
    Pettitte: 1.333
    Mussina: 1.103

    K/9, BB/9, K/BB:
    Pettitte: 5.9, 2.6, 2.31
    Mussina: 9.3, 2.1, 4.39

    QS%:
    Pettitte: 60%
    Mussina: 62%

    GmScAv:
    Pettitte: 51
    Mussina: 58

    GmSc 60+:
    Pettitte: 14/40 (35%)
    Mussina: 8/21 (38%)

    GmSc <40:
    Pettitte: 9/40 (22%)
    Mussina: 4/21 (19%)

    WPA/G:
    Pettitte: 0.082
    Mussina: 0.076

    Pettitte has made about twice as many starts and has the better W/L record, but I don't see much to suggest that he was a better postseason pitcher than Mussina. I think this is a case of people only remembering Mussina's Yankee days, and forgetting how good he was with the Orioles, especially in the '97 postseason, when he was just ridiculously good--though even if you look at just his time with the Yankees, he still has a slightly better postseason ERA (3.80) than Pettitte.

    As for whether or not Pettitte's postseason performances bolster his HOF resume, I'm not sure they really do. His postseason numbers are pretty much exactly the same as his regular season numbers--very good, but not spectacular. He's not in the same class as Schilling and Smoltz, who were legendary postseason performers, going above and beyond what they did in the regular season.

  146. Matt Young Says:

    But that's my point exactly to a degree. Numbers don't tell the whole story. They are a big part, particularly at sites like this, but not the whole story. 18-9 is 18-9, 5 World Series Championships in 8 world series to 0 world series wins is a difference. Pitching 8 innings of shutout ball out-dueling Smoltz in 96 in the swing game is a signature moment. Going 4-0 with a 3.50 era at 37 to get a 5th championship is a signature moment. Even winning the ALCS MVP in 2001 is a signature moment, but to be fair he got torched in the world Series that year. In fact, if they gave out MVP's for the entire playoffs last year, Pettitte or A-Rod would have likely gotten it. I agree that Smoltz and Schilling were perhaps the two best post-season studs ever along with Whitey --Pettitte is after them, but in that argument though. Again, we all agree that Schilling and Smoltz were better and had excellent careers with great playoffs. Mussina pitched well in the playoffs, especially with the O's, but his best signature moment was perhaps his relief effort against the Sawx. Too much on signature moments and you end up with Catfish in the Hall, too much on numbers and you end up with Kevin Brown in the hall. Numbers can water things down too much IMO. To be fair, going on only signature moments can exaggerate a case as well. I want to look at the entire body of evidence, and that takes looking at both and often re-looking and re-examining.

  147. Matt Young Says:

    Morris' numbers are another good example of a post-season mixed bag--nothing spectacular. They are something like 7-4 with a 3.80, but when the biggest stakes were on the line he mostly showed up in a huge way --at least for two of those championships. He literally brought them across the finish line as an ace should do. When looking at the numbers in such fine detail (and I do this as well), one can "lose the forest through the trees".

  148. I guess I just don't put as much stock into "signature moments" as others do when it comes to HOF consideration. Brown to me is a HOFer, even though he wasn't great in the postseason. Morris to me is nowhere near being a HOFer. Game 7 of '91 was obviously an extraordinary moment, and nothing can ever take that away from him, but it doesn't make him a HOFer, any more more than Game 1 of '88 makes Kirk Gibson a HOFer. (Gibson, incidentally, accumulated nearly as much career WAR as Morris--37.1 to 39.3.) And in any case, as you allude to, Morris's overall postseason record is much spottier than his reputation seems to suggest. He was great in '84 and '91, but he was bad in '87 and '92. In one big game in particular he "showed up in a huge way," but in many others he didn't. Like his reputation for "pitching to the score," his reputation for being a big-game pitcher just doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

  149. Matt Young Says:

    Morris pitched more than one good big game in the playoffs. I'm just saying somewhere in the middle is good --Stat-people want to say the numbers tell the whole story and they don't like that the voters use signature moments in the equation. Perfect example was equating Gibson to Morris. They clearly aren't equal to me. Voters say there's more than just crunching numbers --I'm saying you have to look at both, step back and evaluate both several times, and make a decision. I think that's largely going on now.

  150. Why are Gibson and Morris "clearly not equal," though? Both had about the same career value, and both had an extraordinary "signature moment." (I know that the answer is that Gibson just wasn't durable enough and played very few full seasons, whereas Morris was a workhorse, as durable as they come. Still, the fact that Gibson had nearly as much career value despite that is hard to ignore.) And how about Bobby Thomson? He was a good-but-not-great player for fifteen seasons (also in that 30-40 WAR range), and had probably the greatest "signature moment" in the history of the game. Should he have been considered for the Hall more seriously than he was? He never got as much as 5% of the vote during fifteen years on the ballot.

    I suppose it's admirable to want to look at more than just the stats--everyone who loves baseball, even the "statheads," know that the game is more than just numbers--but the problem you run into is that the process starts to become rather arbitrary. How do you decide whose "signature moments" count, and whose don't?

    (And I know that Morris had other great postseason games. My point is just that he had many bad games as well, and that his reputation seems to rest disproportionately on Game 7. I guess my real point is that I don't think Morris's career as a whole is borderline HOF to begin with, which is probably where we differ most. I suppose if I thought he was truly a borderline case, I could better understand the argument that the "signature moment" puts him over the top.)

  151. Matt Young Says:

    I know some don't want to use these numbers, but I think they're quite telling of the big differences between Gibson and Morris IMO. Jack was consistently on the leader board throughout 1980-1995 evidenced by his Gray Ink Value. Shoot, by today's standards his Black Ink is pretty good too. He's clearly borderline, but I think statheads short-change him sooo much he's not even borderline. They think he's basically the same as Martinez or Tanana and they are just not even remotely the same. In fact, evidenced that WAR is not the a holy grail as some think, is Tanana's WAR is 55 and Martinez's WAR is 47, but Jack's was 37. See numbers below for the differences in these players. ERA+ was basically the same for all 3.

    Morris:

    Black Ink Pitching - 20 (92), Average HOFer ≈ 40
    Gray Ink Pitching - 193 (48), Average HOFer ≈ 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching - 122 (64), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Pitching - 39 (74), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Gibson:

    Black Ink: 0
    Gray Ink Batting - 44 (569), Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 16 (907), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Batting - 22 (624), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Tanana:

    Black Ink Pitching - 9 (266), Average HOFer ≈ 40
    Gray Ink Pitching - 85 (275), Average HOFer ≈ 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching - 55 (228), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Pitching - 35 (96), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Martinez:

    Black Ink Pitching - 17 (122), Average HOFer ≈ 40
    Gray Ink Pitching - 135 (119), Average HOFer ≈ 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching - 67 (171), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Pitching - 37 (86), Average HOFer ≈ 50

  152. Matt Young Says:

    Ah, lets Kaat, Tiant and John into the mix as well.

    Kaat: WAR 42

    Black Ink Pitching - 16 (135), Average HOFer ≈ 40
    Gray Ink Pitching - 125 (140), Average HOFer ≈ 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching - 130 (57), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Pitching - 44 (53), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    John:WAR 59

    Black Ink Pitching - 8 (300), Average HOFer ≈ 40
    Gray Ink Pitching - 131 (127), Average HOFer ≈ 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching - 111 (80), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Pitching - 44 (53), Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Tiant:WAR 60

    Black Ink Pitching - 13 (167), Average HOFer ≈ 40
    Gray Ink Pitching - 115 (167), Average HOFer ≈ 185
    Hall of Fame Monitor Pitching - 97 (99), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards Pitching - 41 (66), Average HOFer ≈ 50

  153. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    And Tiant did that in far less time than Kaat and John. Much, much better WAE and WAA too. Tiant is an easy HOFer for me. John is right on the bubble, and Kaat is a tad behind.

  154. Matt Young Says:

    Morris did his in a year less time than Tiant, He also lost out on 6-7 wins and a 20 win season b/c of the 81 strike.

  155. Matthew Cornwell Says:

    Yeah, Morris did his 21 fewer WAR in one fewer years.

  156. [...] readers have already had a ton to say about Morris. You can go back and read comments on the Mike Mussina HOF thread or the Mussina/Schilling debate. For some reason both of those threads led to lots of discussion [...]