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POLL: Lou Whitaker and the Hall of Fame

Posted by Andy on October 26, 2010

I know, I know, you Alan Trammell fans are angry that I'm doing a poll on Whitaker and not on Trammell. Deal with it.

Lou Whitaker played his entire 19-year career with the Detroit Tigers as their second baseman. Despite playing almost entirely prior to the recent high-offense era and at a position not normally associated with offensive production, Whitaker was an above-average hitter for his career, to the tune of a 116 OPS+ and peak years in the 130-140 OPS+ range.

Whitaker was AL Rookie of the Year in 1978, a 5-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove winner, and a 4-time Silver Slugger winner.

He walked more than he struck out and got on base a lot usually as the Tigers' leadoff or #2 hitter.

However, in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Whitaker received just 2.9% of the vote and was removed from the ballot. Was this an oversight? Let's discuss and vote in the poll.

For Lou Whitaker in the Hall of Fame

  • Whitaker has played the 4th-most games in history at second base. He's just behind Roberto Alomar. You might think Alomar was a much better offensive player than Whitaker but in fact they have identical career OPS+ of 116.
  • Among 2B, minimum 5000 career plate appearances, Whitaker's OPS+ is in the top 20, ahead of Ryne Sandberg and Alfonso Soriano.
  • Whitaker's defense gives him a boost in WAR. Despite having very little in the way of Gray Ink or Black Ink, Whitaker's WAR of 69.70 is 84th all-time among position players. That puts him ahead of a lot of HOFers including Brooks Robinson, Tony Gwynn, Carlton Fisk, and Eddie Murray.

Perhaps the best argument is that Whitaker's career totals were not achieved through a few great seasons or a really high peak. Rather, he was consistently good for a long, long, time. Check out the leaders among most career seasons with a WAR of at least 3:

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Barry Bonds 20 1987 2007 22-42 Ind. Seasons
2 Ty Cobb 20 1907 1927 20-40 Ind. Seasons
3 Hank Aaron 19 1955 1973 21-39 Ind. Seasons
4 Willie Mays 19 1951 1971 20-40 Ind. Seasons
5 Tris Speaker 19 1909 1927 21-39 Ind. Seasons
6 Frank Robinson 18 1956 1974 20-38 Ind. Seasons
7 Eddie Collins 18 1909 1926 22-39 Ind. Seasons
8 Stan Musial 17 1942 1962 21-41 Ind. Seasons
9 Mel Ott 17 1928 1945 19-36 Ind. Seasons
10 Rickey Henderson 16 1980 1995 21-36 Ind. Seasons
11 Mickey Mantle 16 1952 1968 20-36 Ind. Seasons
12 Babe Ruth 16 1918 1934 23-39 Ind. Seasons
13 Lou Whitaker 15 1978 1993 21-36 Ind. Seasons
14 Joe Morgan 15 1965 1983 21-39 Ind. Seasons
15 Al Kaline 15 1955 1971 20-36 Ind. Seasons
16 Ted Williams 15 1939 1958 20-39 Ind. Seasons
17 Rogers Hornsby 15 1916 1931 20-35 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/26/2010.

That's right: this list of 17 players, a virtual who's who of the greatest baseball players of all time, includes Lou Whitaker.

Against Lou Whitaker in the Hall of Fame:

  • The best argument against Whitaker is that while nobody would argue against him being a good player, he was merely good for the majority of his career. He had 3 or 4 standout seasons (1983, 1989, and 1991 certainly) but at his peak was regarded as among the best few second baseman in the game. He certainly never carried the reputation that Joe Morgan, Jeff Kent, or Roberto Alomar carried at times as a major offensive force in the game.
  • As mentioned above, Whitaker rarely was among the league leaders in anything. He was a steady offensive player but cracked the top 10 in the AL in RBI, HR, runs, hits, doubles, and triples just 9 times total (with zero first-place finishes.) It's tough to put a guy in the HOF when he wasn't great at anything, just good at most things.

Let's debate and vote!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 11:33 am and is filed under Hall of Fame. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

147 Responses to “POLL: Lou Whitaker and the Hall of Fame”

  1. Lou was kind of a poor man's Pete Rose. A good table-setter although not nearly as durable. And some of those Tiger teams he played on were woeful. Batting leadoff or second on a decent offensive team and he's probably in. As it is, I think he's on the outside looking in.

  2. Growing up loving the middle infield positions, I can't tell you how many times I pretended to be Lou Whittaker in my backyard.

  3. Lou Whitaker not on the HOF ballot is a disgrace.

    He's a very underrated player and he retired at the wrong time.

    When he retired in 1995, he 5th all time in HR.

  4. Given that he was a regular for 16 straight seasons, I don't think you can ding Whitaker on his durability. His argument is of the Don Sutton or Nolan Ryan variety (or, conversely, the Rusty Staub or Harold Baines variety)--rarely or never great, but very good for a very long time.

  5. Mike Felber Says:

    Doing these polls helps me realize I am a bit of a big Hall guy, though it is partially due to the nature of the candidates we discuss here. We look at more guys who have values under recognized byu traditional stats than those quite over rated by circumstances like Morris & Hunter.

    I vote yes on Whitaker. It IS a fair objection that his peak is not very high. But Sweet Lou's overall value seems high enough to warrant induction. I really would like to see his other WAR, WARP, VORP & Win Share values, to see if there is a big variation in his ratings at other places-I think that these articles should ROUTINELY feature these listings, since even on this site I have not heard arguments made why one is necessarily better than the other. At least we should have the information on hand to consider & debate.

    To reject an argument not made above against Whitaker; that he was commonly platooned the last several years. He actually had a BETTER OPS + in every one of his last years than over a career, very unusual for a good length career. If anyone can still have some value while avoiding lefties or righties, that is useful for a team. In his last 2 strike shortened years, in limited time, he still averaged a 2 WAR.

    He also lost time to the '81 strike, when his defensive value seems at its peak. So where is he in other total achievement modern metrics? For example, does he get 16 seasons of 3 + WAR also?

  6. The thing is, you don't even have to be a "big hall guy" to put Whittaker in. It was a disgrace that he only got 2.9% of the vote. He's one of the all time best second basemen (better then several that are in the Hall) and the baseball writers completely missed it. As it is, Sweet Lou is right there with Santo and Dick Allen as players that are better then half the Hall of Famers, and yet are still on the outside looking in.

  7. I voted "Yes", but I do think that the durability issue is legitimate. From 1978-1993 (excluding the strike-shortened 1981 season) he averaged only 127 starts per season at 2B, with only one season at 150+.

  8. Lou Whitaker was a very very very god ballplayer, but I don t think he is deserving of the HOF, That said there a bunch of infielders in the HOF who I DON T think deserved enshrinement. Schoendienst, Evers, Tinkers, Kell, Maranville, Rizzuto, etc. I m not sure aobut Nellie Dox, but he is in.

    I think that for me to vote for a infielder (2B, SS, 3B, he has to be a great offensive contributor in addiiton to his more then decent glove OR his abilities with the glove are so outstanding that his offense is not as important. And by defensive ability, I mean that he is recognized as the best defesnive player of that position at least in his generation. Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith and Bill Mazeroski are in that category.

    Whitaker was like Frank White or Dave Concepcion, very good for a long time, but not an outstanding offensive contributor. And Im sure we could debate Omar Vizquiel in a few years and have the same result.

    Hornsby, the greatest hitter of the National League for a ton of years

    Jackie Robinson the driving force behind 6 pennants in 10 years, a lifetime 311 hitter, exciting base stealer...and I wont mention his accomplishments as a man

    Morgan, a snall package of power, arguably the best all around player in baseball between 74 and 78 incredibly efficient and prolific base stealing and an exceptional BB to K ratio

    Those are HOF second basemen, Whitaker isn t.

    Alomar will get in... I was surpirsed that he got so many votes his first year, but if he loses support on the 2011 ballot, a lot of writers will be embarrassed. Kent may not be such a shoo in.....his personality issues may be an excuse for many writers not to vote fo rhim.

  9. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    I think he is deserving of the HOF, being one of the top 10/12 best second basemen ever. However, the standards of the BBWAA have risen in the past 10/15 years, and the Veteran's Committee doesn't seem to want to elect ANYBODY, so I'm afraid it'll be a long wait to even get selected by the Vets. Roberto Alomar, who was commonly referred to as one of the best 2nd basemen ever when active, was not elected last year (I know, he'll probably make it this year), and Barry Larkin, whom I consider about as qualified as Alomar, got only about 50% of the vote.

    Sweet Lou isn't seen as being close to the quality of those two (even though they are both on his "most similar" list), and that'll definitely hurt him if and when he comes up before the Veteran's Committee. The only positive I see going for him is that (in the future) the writers will gradually become more statistics-savvy, and put forth a coherent argument for him based on more than Triple Crown stats and awards.

    Ragarding the chart of seasons of 3+ WAR,that's an interesting statistical grouping, but I do not think it will convince many people of his HOF qualifications; of the 17 players listed, he is by far the least impressive.

  10. #5 Mike,
    I agree, I would like to see some where Whitaker is on some of the other ratings.
    I also think its a crime that Whitaker scored so low on his first HOF ballot that he was dropped off future ballots. I had always thought of him as a potential HOF'amer when he was active. Granted I was grading on a curve as he was a second baseman, which seems to be a strange position. By that I mean (and I am parphrasing Bill James here) few players enter pro baseball as a second baseman. They are usually shortstops or third basemen who are a little "short" in some category and get moved to 2B. But while Whitaker was always good to above average at many different parts of the game, he was rarely if ever considered the best 2nd baseman in his league. But having Whitaker for all those years would have/should have been a cornerstone to build a winning team around. I would still vote for him, but I don't see him getting in, unless the Veterans committee completely reforms. Which it could do, as its history is one of change.

  11. There are quite a few other long tern career infielders who were rejected in the HOF process, Alan Trammel, Darrell Evans, Frank White, and Greg Nettles come to mind. I know Bill James argument that Darrell Evans is the most underrated player in baseball history and as a Yankee fan I loved to watch Nettles play....but I couldnt make a really strong HOF case for any of them.

    and while we are it...lets not forget Eddie Yost, the Walking Man!!! Also not a HOfer!!!!!!

  12. re 3

    John Q, Im not sure what your stat quote is...but it sure doesn t sound right.

  13. It doesn't make sense to me that the HOF has room for both the offensive star whose defense is an afterthought (Hornsby, Lazzeri, presumably Kent) and the defensive wizard whose offense is subpar (Mazeroski, Fox, Schoendienst) -- but no room for a player who was consistently good at both for a very long time.

    By my count, there are 16 modern second basemen in the HOF on the basis of their playing careers.
    Among these HOF 2Bs, Whitaker would rank:
    -- 3rd in total games played.
    -- 9th in OPS, ahead of Bobby Doerr, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Herman, Frankie Frisch, Johnny Evers, Nellie Fox, Red Schoendienst and Bill Mazeroski. And Whitaker played more games than all seven of those guys.
    -- 6th in Runs scored.
    -- 9th in RBI.
    -- 5th in HRs.
    -- 9th in Isolated Power.
    -- etc., etc., etc.

    -- Whitaker had 16 seasons with at least 100 games at 2B; only Morgan and Collins had more.
    -- Though he was named to just 5 All-Star teams, he should have made about 4 more. Compare Whitaker to the starting or backup All-Star 2B in these seasons: 1979 (Frank White started), 1981 (starter Willie Randolph, backup Frank White), 1989 (backup Steve Sax), 1991 (starter Roberto Alomar).

    On the question of great seasons: Where is it written that a Hall of Famer must have had great seasons? How many great seasons did Bobby Doerr have, once you acknowledge that in 1944 he was competing against a decimated talent pool? How many great seasons did Red Schoendienst have? His best year was 1953, with a 135 OPS+; if that's a great season, fine, but Whitaker topped that twice and had 2 other years at 133.

    Lastly, I'm convinced that the perception of Whitaker vis-a-vis the HOF is severely hurt by bad timing. His career was winding down just when offensive totals began soaring. If you objectively compare Whitaker as a hitter to, say, Alomar and Kent, they're pretty even; Kent is a bit ahead, but gives back that edge on the defensive side. But the raw numbers make Alomar and Kent seem better.

  14. So basically Whitaker actually had the career that voters thought Bill Mazeroski had when they put him in?

    It's a disgrace that Sweet Lou was eliminated from the ballot so quickly, but I don't think he's in the egregious omission group of Blyleven, Allen, Santo, etc. I wouldn't be against it if he were to someday make it but I'm also not bent out of shape that he's not in.

  15. Not every good and very good player gets to make the HOF. It's their exclusion that gives the HOF it's special meaning. Whitaker certainly wouldn't lower the standards as I know there are lesser players in the Hall, but that reasoning doesn't work for me. Let's not add another border line player just because mistakes have been made, especially by the Vet Committee. I like to see a period of dominance for a HOFer. Whitaker was good, but more of an accumulator. I know there are big Whitaker fans who will disagree, but we all have our lines on who is a HOFer and who is not. Mine just happens to be a little higher.

  16. @7 JDV --
    Your knock on Whitaker's durability lacks a sense of context. Whitaker had 11 years playing 130+ games at 2B. Only 4 players had more. (I used games played b/c the Play Index can't measure starts.)

    If we raise the standard to 140+ games at 2B, Whitaker's 8 such seasons are tied for 10th.

    And the term durability also applies to career length and total games played. Few at the position can touch Whitaker in that regard. Second base is a tough position; it's uncommon for a 2B to play 95% of his team's games. And of those that did average a lot of games per year, a good number burned out early; Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch spring to mind.

  17. @15 Mike D -- Which second basemen would you have in the Hall of Fame?

  18. Michigan and Trumbull Says:

    Actually, the case for Whitaker is understated with WAR -- he ranks 84th among all players, and 56th among position players.

  19. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #13/John Autin Says: "On the question of great seasons: Where is it written that a Hall of Famer must have had great seasons?"

    Well John, unless a player is elected as a defensive superstar, like Ozzie Smith or Brooks R. or Luis Aparicio, I think there's a perception that they need at least a few seasons when they were regarded as "great". And even those three all had a season where they won the MVP, or finished close; 1987, 1966, and 1960 respectively.

    I know that there are marginal Veteran's picks that wouldn't meet your definition of having a "great season", but they probably had an extremely high BA, or RBI total, or win total, for at least a few years that impressed people.

  20. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #19/OOPS, I meant Brooks Robinson was the MVP in 1964, not 1966.

  21. Todd Morgan Says:

    Lots of good info in the comments, but one has not been brought up yet:

    As a Jehovah's Witness, Sweet Lou basically didn't talk to the media. He'd pose for pictures with Tram and very rarely drop a sound bite, but he basically had no media presence. He wasn't overly surly or anything, just not available. I think this kept him from being recognized as the great talent he truly was. Tram can't get in, either, so it's not like Lou was ever going to reach the level needed, but him dropping immediately off the ballot is just plain wrong.

  22. Whitaker had the bad fortune of following one of the position-defining great 2B-ers, Joe Morgan. I'm a small Hall guy and I think Whitaker is probably deserving.

    "Whitaker's defense gives him a big in WAR."

    A big _____? A big nothing, really. His WAR is offense, and his career dWAR (7.7) is 129th, lower ranked than his oWAR (62), ranked 77th. I remember him that way as well. He was an offense guy at a position where that was still unusual. He was a good-hitting 2B when 20 homers was pretty amazing at 2B. His D was good, but not why he was special.

    Whitaker's range/9ip is very good, but ranked 19th career for 2B-men.

    I guess my point is: Whitaker is not an easy vote, probably good enough. He's not a lock, and if he doesn't make it, I'll understand.

  23. Michigan and Trumbull Says:

    Whoops, accidentally hit "send" before I was finished...

    Getting back to WAR, Whitaker is 56th all-time among position players, and among second basemen, he trails only the usual suspects (Hornsby, Collins, Lajoie, Morgan, Gehringer and Frisch).

    I think that the durability issue is overstated. Yes, he was platooned fairly extensively in the latter years of his career. From 1980 through 1989, however, he missed less than twenty games 8 out of 10 years -- one of which was the strike year, 1981, when he led the league in games played. In addition to that ten year stretch, he also had six additional seasons averaging over 130 games on the front and back ends (1978-79 and 1990-93), and then in 1994, he was on track for another 130-game season before the strike. He ranks 80th all time in games played-- pretty impressive for having purported "durability issues".

    I believe he's amply qualified for the Hall, given his comparison to other second basemen, and as noted above, he suffers by having retired shortly before the era of inflated offensive statistics (and in particular, power-hitting middle infielders). As a player, his biggest weakness was his struggles against left-handed pitching. Given the body of work that he put up, however, that alone should not keep him out.

  24. Whitaker has a high career OBP than Sandberg does.

  25. Whitaker was a solid player. Unfortuantely, not a "great" player. I agree that there are a few guys that do not deserve to be in the HOF (Maz, Scooter and Pee Wee), but that should not mean other guys get in for that reason. As far as Whitaker having a better career OBP than Sandberg, how many actual fans would take Whitaker over Sandberg? That answer is probably zero. With regards to the chart of WAR above 3, again, there is not a single player on that list that I would take Whitaker over at any given point. I know alot of guys on this thread really look at WAR, but here is a case where it is flawed. To compare Whitaker to guys like Musial, Ruth, and Barry Bonds on that level is a joke.

  26. @17, John Autin -- Off the top of my head, and not in a specific order, I'd say Hornsby, Collins, Morgan, Robinson, Lajoie, Gehringer, and Carew (I slot him a 2b, but some have him at 1B). I might be missing one or so, but it gives you the idea that my Hall is more restrictive than many. I purposely did not include Biggio or Kent here since they are not yet eligible. I'll reserve final judgment once they come up. I'm not supportive of the recently elected Joe Gordon, or the likes of Bill Mazeroski, or Bobby Doerr (horrible choice, IMHO) or Red Schoendienst, or Johnny Evers, etc. I did not forget Sandberg. He doesn't make it. I saw Bobby Grich play and recognize he was tremendously underrated, but he still sits on the other side of the line for me along with Lou.

  27. #25, Jr., I think you are making a mistake lumping Scooter and Maz with Pee Wee. Reese was a much different offensive player than Scooter and Maz, and while I am happy that all three are in the Hall, I think Scooter and Maz were boarderline, while Reese should have been in years earlier.

  28. @16...I looked at everyone who's played 1,500 G at 2B in the 162-game era. It could be argued that all of them are durable, but on a seasonal basis, Whitaker is on the low end of seasons with 140+ starts at 2B.

    10 - Alomar
    10 - Sandberg
    10 - Sax
    9 - Biggio
    8 - Mazeroski
    8 - Morgan
    7 - Grich
    7 - White, F.
    6 - Boone, Br.
    6 - Durham
    5 - Randolph
    5 - Trillo
    4 - Castillo
    4 - Whitaker
    3 - Javier, J.
    3 - Kent

  29. For better or worse, the offensive bar really seems to have risen in recent years. You need to have corner-outfielder hitting numbers in order to get inducted these days. The BBWAA may eventually get around to inducting borderline OF/1B types like Dawson, Rice or Perez but guys analogous infielders get discarded pretty quickly.

  30. The comparison between Whitaker and Sandberg is an interesting one in that it illustrates the difference between someone who was a very good player with an excellent body of work and someone who was a great player in his prime.

    When looking at their career numbers and career averages, there really isn't much of a gap between them. Sandberg has the power/speed and batting average edge, and Whitaker has an advantage in OBP and career length, but looking purely at their career totals or seasonal averages, there's not a big gap there.

    They're in the same ballpark for career WAR and OPS+, with Whitaker having the advantage in both. However, Whitaker built his career by sustaining a level of about 3.5-4.0 WAR for a very long time with occasional spike seasons, whereas Sandberg sustained a level of about 6.0 WAR through his prime, with occasional valleys and a steeper rise and fall on both ends of his career. Whether you go by advanced metrics or popular opinion at the time, the conclusion is that in their primes, Ryne Sandberg was the better player by a reasonable margin, whereas Whitaker sustained his performance over a longer career.

    Whitaker's inclusion on the list of 3.0 WAR seasons shows just how unusual of a career he had, rather than putting him in the company of the other players on the list. Almost every player who manages to be a sustain true-talent WAR of 3 or higher from 21 to 36, as Whitaker did, was a player who managed that level during his rise and decline while performing at a considerably higher level through his prime. He wasn't an accumulator in the sense of sticking around to build numbers after his prime, but rather he maintained a near peak level for almost his entire career.

  31. @12 Dennis, I was kind of in a rush when I wrote that one. I was referring to Whitaker being 5th All time for Home Runs by a second baseman when he retired in 1995. I think he's ranked 9th now.

    I think what hurt's Whitaker was the home run explosion from middle infielders since 1995. To put it in perspective, From 1901-1995 a second basemen hit 30+ home runs only 9 times in a single season and 40+ only 3 times. Since 1996 a second basemen surpassed 30+ HR 19 times!!

    Lou Whitaker's 28 HR in 1989 was 11th all time in a single season by a 2b when he retired in 1995. From 1996-2010 second basemen have hit 28+ HR 26 times!! Whitaker went from 11th place to tied for 34th place in only 15 seasons.

  32. sometimes a statistic like whittaker being among the highest WARs overstates his value.....

    Sammy Sosa has the sixth highest HR total of all time....or Jim Kaat won 16 consecutive GGs as a pitcher.

    I like Kaat for the HOF, but not jsut because he won the GGSs dont like Sosa....thought Whitakker was a excellent ballplayer but not quite HOF.

    Re the argument that Hornsby and lazzeri and presumably Kent are offensiver stars....that s understating Hornsby. Hornsby wasmt a star.....he was a hitting GOD....and GODS are elected no matter what theuir personality because to keep them out destroys the integrity of the HOF process, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb are in the small GODS group of hitters....Bonds was a great player without the juice and after that he was a FALLEN GOD!

    Bobby Doerr has more then the 1944 season, 47 48 and 49 when the competiton was keen and the Yankees, Indians and Red sox has terrific teams were terrific offensive years for Doerr. he garnered support during his 15 years on the ballot and Schoendiesnt even more support.....but they were helped by the old boys of the VC...Musial and Wrlliams who swunng a lot of doubt about it.

    I ll agree that Blyleven and Santo have been unjustly overlooked......and I hope that the VC does right by them thsi time...but Dick Allen.....? why Dick Allen?

  33. Mike Felber Says:

    @ Dennis #8: White & Concepcion were not nearly as good as Whitaker. Neither had even 1/2 the WAR of Whitaker, & they had OPS + of 85 & 88, vs. 116 for Sweet Lou. Neither were nearly as consistent too, in terms of years where they added significant value. I also disagree with this:

    "I think that for me to vote for a infielder (2B, SS, 3B, he has to be a great offensive contributor in addition to his more then decent glove OR his abilities with the glove are so outstanding that his offense is not as important."

    Why cannot a guy be just quite good at both? And if he played about as long as Yaz or Rose, almost nobody would dent him. Now, if Whitaker had a 10 point higher OPS +, he would not be a "great" hitter either, but I'll bet you would accept him as HOF worthy. Which leads me to another objection: even for 2B, even the greatest glove ever (Maz) cannot compensate for a poor enough all around game. Maz has a WAR of 26.9! Offense just is very important: it should primarily be about TOTAL & PEAK value created. Oz played longer, had some decent hitting years, stole very well, AND was a superb SS.

    So whether it is from adding up the whole game, or a guy is good enough to create enough value with a one dimensional game, let us see how much a guy contributed. It is just that unless it is as a catcher, it is extremely hard to create enough value ONLY being great at one thing, & mediocre or below at the others. Unless that one thing is being a great offensive run producer, as reflected in a stat like OPS +.

    John Q., Whitaker does not do as well if you use your measure of career WAR averaged with top 7 years. And that is a pretty good formula, yet if anything it under values peak, since it is the longest plausible peak-I would mix in at least top 3 peak years too with top 7, averaging those 2 & career value.So I can see arguments against Whitaker as valid-I think peak value should be 1st amongst equals. He is not the travesty of an Allen or Blyleven. But I think he is good enough to go in.

    Again though: since so many here go so strongly by WAR: if you are using that to make a case, let us look at other WAR formulations. VORP & WARP & win shares...& do we not need to include a peak year rating for each of these?

    But if Sweet Lou is somehow even 10-15% different in other WAR measures, that changes significantly WAR arguments for & against him.

  34. Mike Felber Says:

    Because Dick Allen was a great hitter. He is # 19 all time in OPS + at 156. He was a "little" hitting God, as good a hitter in his prime as Mays & Aaron, in a shorter career. His era & park also minimized his raw #s. And while a deficient fielder (& decent runner), his bat produced enough value to (HOF) compensate. Parenthetically, was amongst the top 5 all time in how far he could hit the ball, as per baseball historian Bill Jenkinson's "Baseball's Ultimate power".

  35. BTW I've read by some (not necessarily on this board today) that Sweet Lou was not treated fairly since he dropped off the HOF ballot in one year. I understand this in spirit, but if virtually all the voting members don't think he's a HOFer, how was he treated unfairly? Are BBWAA members supposed to vote for a player just so he stays on the ballot????

    I do think, however, they should change one rule. The automatically off if a player doesn't generate 5% of the vote should not apply to the first year on the ballot. Give the player to the second year before the 5% rule comes into play. The reason why is we know there are some BBWAA members who just won't vote for a player on his first time on the ballot. Plus, if there really is a potentially worthy candidate, like Whitaker, who only generated 3% of the vote in year one, at least people will know he's about to drop off and the public dialogue might help the player move up so he isn't dropped. My guess is this rule was in play then Whitaker would never have dropped off. Just a thought.

  36. Lou Whitaker:

    B-R WAR: 69.7 (borderline solidly in)
    Fangraph WAR: 74.3 (soildly in)
    Baseball Gauge WAR: 67.2 (borderline solidly in)
    B-P WARP: 75.9 (solidly in Hall)
    Win Shares: 346.2 (borderline solidly in; Win Shares Above Bench(WSAB) 142.4 if you like this stat better --he's still solidly in)

    Overall, it looks like Sweet Lou would be a solid Vet pick. It was a crime he fell off the ballot in one year!!! I would still vote for Trammell first.

    With all that said, there are some borderline legitimate reasons Lou didn't get play for the Hall --

    1) he platooned his last 4 years and even sat against some of the best lefties in the game even during his prime (I suspect his "lack of durability" was partly because he was sat against the best lefties)

    2) He was very good for many years and never was really great

    3) Defensive WAR accounts for nearly 8 points, which is a lot!! Defensive metrics are to be taken with a big grain of salt. Even if you look at Sweet Lou's offensive WAR though, he'd still be borderline mostly in.

  37. Phil Haberkorn in Indiana Says:

    A POEM got Tinker-Evers-Chance into the HOF. A STINKIN' POEM. Meanwhile, the real killer double play combinations don't get recognized for their far superior defensive work ever since. Concepcion-Morgan. Alley-Mazeroski. Kessinger-Beckert. It's time for congressional hearings to be held into this conspiracy. After all, they're electing RELIEF PITCHERS, aren't they? Isn't that a defensive specialty? And they only have to pitch ONE INNING per game.

  38. Based on his stats, it looks like he hurt himself by retiring too soon. He put up the best OPS of his career in his last season. Getting older, and being an infielder, he could've made the switch to first base more easily than many outfielders who try.

  39. On the contrary #38, he was platooned even more those last years leaving the image of a platoon player in minds of voters. You could also argue that he should have a higher OPS+ when feasting on the pitchers he can best hit. It's all relative and context matters. With all that said, I personally don't think this should have hurt him nearly as much as it has. However, I'm afraid if he continued as a platoon player for more years it would have hurt even more.

  40. John DiFool Says:

    "BTW I've read by some (not necessarily on this board today) that Sweet Lou was not treated fairly since he dropped off the HOF ballot in one year. I understand this in spirit, but if virtually all the voting members don't think he's a HOFer, how was he treated unfairly? Are BBWAA members supposed to vote for a player just so he stays on the ballot????"

    The theory goes that few voters thought he deserved election "on the first ballot", so were holding their votes for the next year. Well he didn't reach the 5% level and that was that. I snipped your excellent suggestion that nobody should be one and done like that.

    Again, as I've argued before, I dislike the idea of a Hall with only 4-6 electees per position, which is basically what a lot of people are arguing here (would make for a pretty empty place, among other things). Lou is pretty clearly top ten, even if he doesn't have the high peaks that the top tier do (Hornsby, Morgan, Lajoie, Collins, maybe Gehringer and arguably Jackie Robinson), and fits in quite fine with the 2nd tier (Sandberg, Biggio, Alomar, Kent, Frisch, etc.), and is clearly ahead of the 3rd tier (the so-called mistakes like Red & Lazzeri). While he may not have had the peaks that most of these other 2B had, there is definite value in going out and being significantly above average every year. Other arguments can be made against the 2nd tier guys too-only the Inner Circle guys are lacking those so-called fatal flaws. Carew's iron glove, Ryno's inconsistency & help from Wrigley, Frisch's lack of power & walks, Alomar's overrated glove.

    The peak argument basically boils down to whether a player will help you get into the postseason when he's at his best. Who would you rather have for 13 years:




    The second one is Ryno, who just so happens to be one of my favorite players of all time, just in case anyone wants to accuse me of bias. I'd still take Sandberg, partly because of the big seasons, partly because of the glove, but having someone regularly churning out 3-5 WAR seasons like clockwork is a huge advantage over the long run too, and will probably give you some pennants here and there.

    Lou is also a victim of the lack of respect paid to the awesome 1984 Tiger squad; for some reason, among the great teams of the last half-century they seem pretty much forgotten for some odd reason.

  41. @Mike Felber, those are some good points you bring up. I remember when I was trading cards in the late 80's/early 90's and Whitaker was considered a borderline solid HOF candidate. I think what hurt him is that he played until 1995 and he wasn't eligible for the HOF until 2000, right in the middle of the steroid era. Suddenly his power numbers seemed less impressive.

    The writers did no homework and didn't even give him a second thought. Part of the problem is the whole notion of the "first ballot HOF" Many players who are not considered "First Ballot" are often not given votes during their first chance and kicked off the ballot, which really doesn't make sense. O.K. he's not a First ballot, but he definitely belongs on the ballot.

    I think his batting average hurt him among the writers who put way too much emphasis in B.A. and hardly any or none at all on the more important On Base Percentage and Slugging percentage.

    If the writers would have done their homework, they would have found one of the best 2b from the 80's to the mid 90's who combined power and on base ability and very good defense for a difficult position. He simply was one of the best 2b during a 15 year period from the early 80's to the mid 90's.

    From 1982-1995 he hit 232 HR, second only to Ryne Sandberg among second basemen. He had a .365 on base percentage from '82-95 among second basemen which ranked 4th overall. He had a .447 slugging percentage from '82-95 among second basemen which ranked 3rd. He had a 122 ops+ from '82-95 which ranked 1rst overall.

    And this doesn't even take into account that he was one of the better fielding 2b from the late 70's to the late 90's.

  42. Not to derail the Whitaker debate, but these comments have made me wonder who else has been unfairly tossed off the ballot on the first try.

    Off the top of my head, I remember thinking David Cone got a raw deal. He's not on the level of the other great starting pitchers of his era and I'm not surprised that he fell short, but I did think he'd get a lot more consideration than he got.

    Who are other examples of notable players that were eliminated on the first ballot?

  43. "Who are other examples of notable players that were eliminated on the first ballot?"

    Bret Saberhagen.

  44. Mike Felber Says:

    Good points Matt & both Johns. I think there should be no votes required in their 1st year. Since too many voters use the irrational "no 1st ballot" rule. Who is elected depends on so many, often purely emotional factors, & who is on the ballot, esp. new guys. The logic that you need to be a top tier guy to get in right away is foolish. Besides that many senseless decisions were made in the past, the standard should NOT be to vote based upon how good a guy is compared to when/how someone got in, but look at the worth of the player-whether he is the greatest ever, or clearly just good enough to be deserving, he should get the vote.

    So Whitaker does a little better when computing those other measures of total career performance. Seems to me that you need to be a real big "peak" proponent to deny him the Hall. And though I would make peak slightly more important than overall career, he still seems good enough. Though the lack of a high peak at least makes arguments against him sensible.

  45. I believe that Whitaker's failure to gain enough votes to continue on the ballot was down (among other things) to unfortunate timing. Throughout their careers - and right to this day - Whitaker and Alan Trammell were inextricably linked. You rarely talk about one without mentioning the other.

    Whitaker retired after the 1995 season, while Trammell hung on until the end of '96. This meant Whitaker appeared on the HOF ballot one year prior to Trammell. I'm convinced that had they initially appeared on the ballot at the same time, both would have received sufficient support to remain in consideration for at least several years.

  46. @42:

    The best hitters, by WAR, who were one-and-done:

    2B Lou Whitaker
    2B Bobby Grich
    OF Reggie Smith
    3B Buddy Bell
    3B Sal Bando
    CF Jimmy Wynn
    1B Will Clark
    CF Willie Davis
    3B Darrell Evans
    RF Jack Clark

    Starting Pitchers:

    SP Rich Reuschel
    SP David Cone
    SP Frank Tanana
    SP Chuck Finley
    SP Bret Saberhagen
    SP Dave Stieb

    Relief Pitchers:

    RP John Hiller
    RP Kent Tekulve
    RP Dan Quisenberry
    RP Tom Henke


  47. I crunched some numbers a while ago, looking for players who were objectively "Good at Everything". I came up with a list of 40 players who were, quite literally, good at everything. The player on the list with the highest career WAR who's NOT in the Hall of Fame was Bill Dahlen. Next came Whitaker and Trammell, followed by Sal Bando.

    The idea was that this is the type of player who is often overlooked because they are missing that one defining skill. Good at everything doesn't often translate to best at anything.

  48. Yeah, give Coney back the 94 strike year and he hits 200 wins --with one more decent year after that he ends his career at ~215 wins and looks nearly the same as Schilling, Smoltz and Brown. Coney got a bad deal falling off the first year, however, with that said, I still think narrative should matter --his narrative was --just when he was edging in the Hall discussion he fell off a cliff exactly coinciding with his perfect game. His numbers after the perfect game are scary.

    I completely agree that both Trammell and Whitaker have been hurt badly by retiring at a bad time ---right when SS and 2B became offensive positions.
    I would still vote Trammell before Whitaker though.

  49. Whitaker:

    Hall of Fame Monitor: 92
    Hall of Fame Standard: 43

    These are a bit on the low side, but still nothing too glaring that he wouldn't make solid Vet pick. I'm not saying Morris should get in, but maybe if he does get in he'll be able to lobby for Trammell and Whitaker. To me Trammell not getting in is perhaps the biggest Hall mistake of the last 10 years --Cryleven aside.

  50. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "John Q., Whitaker does not do as well if you use your measure of career WAR averaged with top 7 years. And that is a pretty good formula, yet if anything it under values peak, since it is the longest plausible peak-I would mix in at least top 3 peak years too with top 7, averaging those 2 & career value.So I can see arguments against Whitaker as valid-I think peak value should be 1st amongst equals. He is not the travesty of an Allen or Blyleven. But I think he is good enough to go in."

    Whitaker does decently by John Q's standard. His peak 7-year stretch was 30.9 WAR which is not great for a 7 year peak as HoF guys go, but it's enough that his (7yr + career) / 2 == 50.3, which is comfortably over JQ's threshold of 47 WAR for a borderliner. Closer than his raw WAR, but not bad at all.

    Trammell looks better than Whitaker by the John Q measure, at around 53, despite having a lower career WAR. I'd agree with those who say Trammell is a bigger mistake (assuming the writers do not come to their senses and elect him in the next few years).

    I would say both are being killed by a lack of appreciation among the writers for era adjusted stats, and for contributions on multiple levels. For all the talk of loving "five-tool" players, it seems that it's much easier to get into the hall if you are one or two-dimensional as a player. To make it as a player who contributes on many levels, it seems you have be close to an inner-circle guy (morgan, schmidt, ripken).

  51. Matt Y, The strike of 94/95 also cost Cone a 20 win season in 1995 as well.

    I think Cone should be a HOF. He had 57.5 career WAR which is 47th all time. Usually if a pitcher gets to 55 War he's a HOF.

    You really have to look closely to Cone's career because its kind of odd for a pitcher of that caliber to move around so often in-season. Cone also played on some lousy teams and for some reason did not receive decent run support with several good teams he played for. He's also another good example of the problems of judging a pitcher by w/l record.

    He was 11-14 for the '93 Royals but deserved a much better fate. Here's where he ranked in several categories:


    He was very good in clutch situations in '93:

    Cone got terrible run support in '93, Only 2.9 runs per game which was Last, 53/53 out of qualifying pitchers.

    He was 12-6 for the 1997 Yankees but deserved better:


    Cone only had 4.7 run support per game in '97, which was 36/55 among starting pitchers.

    He deserved better than a 12-9 record in '99 as well:


    He received 5.5 runs per game in '99 good for 24/61 qualifiers.

    Also he was only 4-3 in 7 game starts for the '92 blue jays but had a 162 ERA+. He only received 3.6 runs per start. He was 13-7 for a terrible '92 Mets team.

    What gets lost is his contribution to the '96 Yankees. He came back from his Aneurysm in the end of August and went 7-2 in 11 starts with a 175 ERA+.
    Cone also won a pivotal game 3 in the '96 series with the Yankees down 0-2.

  52. Wow, you're a big Cone fan as I am too John Q. However, he's just short of my line. I don't think wins are the best metric, but they are underrated by some as well as if they don't matter. Cone is on the line in my book, but just on the wrong side. As for Saberhagen, unless you have a Koufax peak career, you're not getting in with less than 180 wins. That's just the way it is, and I'm OK with it. With a little better peak Cone would be in in my book.

  53. While I believe Whitaker should be in the Hall of Fame, I don't think he will ever get in unfortunately. I think his situation is a lot like Ron Santo, who also belongs in the Hall of Fame. Both Whitaker and Santo were very good players who were the best three at their position in the League during their careers, but they were both overshadowed by superstars at their positions, Whitaker by Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg, Santo by Eddie Mathews and Brooks Robinson. Like Santo, Whitaker was quiet and unassuming and unflashy. Hall of Fame voters love those kind of players, and they don't pay much attention to value statistics like WAR. It's truly a shame, because both Whitaker and Santo are deserving of enshrinement as they are among the best ever at their positions.

  54. Any argument I could make for Sweet Lou for the HOF has already been made (in particular by JohnQ & Adam @ 47) so I'll just say the he and Alan Trammell both belong & in a fair & just world would go in together.

  55. David Cone (17 seasons, 2900IP + 111 playoff Innings)

    BG WAR: 55.4
    Fangraph WAR: 58.3
    B-R WAR 57.5
    B-P WARP: 53.9
    Win Shares 207.2
    WSAB: 115.9
    HoFS: 39
    ERA+ 121
    ERA: 3.46
    WPA: 25.6
    Wins: 194 + 8 in playoffs
    PlayoffWAR: ~2.3 at ERA of 3.80

    Pettitte (16 season 3055IP and 263 playoff IP)

    BG WAR: 51
    Fangraph WAR:66.9
    B-R WAR 50.2
    B-P WARP 58
    Win Shares 210
    WSAB: 116.1
    HoFM: 123
    HoFS: 42
    ERA+ 117
    ERA: 3.88
    WPA: 23
    Wins: 240 + 19 in playoffs
    7 best+career/2=47
    PLayoff WAR: ~5.0 at ERA of 3.83

    Overall, these guys are much more sabermetrcially close than many want to admit. Cone has the better peak, but this IMO is somewhat offset by the playoffs --I would add the playoffWAR (yes a better formula would help, but my estimates aren't off by much) to career WAR and the 7best+career/2 wouldn't be as different.

    Cone is just on the wrong side of the line as Pettitte is too. However, if Pettitte puts up one more really good year or goes two more pretty good years he can pitch himself to the right-side of the line.

  56. @26, MikeD -- Thanks for listing your HOF second basemen. I certainly agree with all 7 you listed; even though Carew played more games at 1B in his career, the fact that he played 9 solid years at 2B and won 5 batting titles there makes him more than qualified, in my opinion.

    But ... wow. Only seven HOF second basemen, in roughly 100 years of modern baseball? If that standard were extended consistently across the diamond, your HOF would have less than as many modern players as the actual HOF (not counting 19th-century and Negro Leagues stars).

    Well, you have every right to your opinion of what the Hall should be. And in principle, I might even agree with you. But isn't it just a little out of place to apply a "small-Hall" philosophy to a discussion about the actual Hall? To paraphrase Bill James, the Hall is a self-defining institution, and they're simply not going to evict any of the guys who've already been inducted. I'm not advocating a "lowest common denominator" standard; I don't want to see anyone inducted just because he was as good as Rabbit Maranville or Lloyd Waner. But it's not just one or two players on a par with Whitaker who are in the Hall; it's the majority of such players. So applying a "Joe Morgan" standard to the Lou Whitaker HOF debate doesn't seem quite fair to me.

  57. Another really good player who only lasted one year on the ballot is Al Oliver. I'm not sure he deserves to be in the Hall, but I think he deserved to at least stay on the ballot.

  58. @40, John DiFool -- I thought your post was nicely balanced, and I'm certainly not knocking you for being a Ryno fan. But I couldn't help wondering about your question, "Who would you rather have for 13 years".

    Why 13 years, specifically?

  59. Another Hall of Fame argument? How about Keith Hernandez? Career WAR of 61.0. .296 Career Batting Average. 11 Gold Gloves. Perhaps the greatest fielding first baseman of all time. NL MVP in 1979. So many people argue for Steve Garvey for the Hall of Fame but I think Hernandez was decidedly better than Garvey. I realize he's probably borderline at best but he at least deserves more consideration than Garvey.

  60. John DiFool Says:

    "Why 13 years, specifically?"

    No real reason, other than to keep an already long post from getting longer. :) If you do go longer Whitaker of course kills Ryno in the added seasons, so I wanted to be fair to both players. The way I see it, Ryno gives you a great shot at a pennant in 5 seasons, good shots in about 4-5 more, and doesn't help you much in the remainder, while Whitaker will give you a good shot, at least, in just about all 13. It's not 100% clear to me then that Ryno deserves to rate higher (tho I do anyway, in the end analysis)-guess I am challenging the conventional sabermetric wisdom that a high peak needs to be restricted artificially, to like his top 5 seasons (as many do).

  61. Should have read:


    7 best+career/2=47.0

    with playoff WAR added to Career WAR it would = 48.50


    7 best+career/2=41.2

    with playoff WAR added to Career WAR it would = 43.75

  62. Johnny Twisto Says:

    But isn't it just a little out of place to apply a "small-Hall" philosophy to a discussion about the actual Hall? To paraphrase Bill James, the Hall is a self-defining institution

    I don't think it's out of place. The HOF has defined itself based on the consensus of its many different voters, who all have different opinions. I see no reason why someone who thinks the HOF should only honor the best 0.1% should vote for lesser players simply because the consensus has decided to honor the best 0.2% (numbers for illustration only). The HOF is its current size because its electorate has included voters who would have it smaller. If voters adjusted to try emulating the standards of the HOF, rather than their own standards, the HOF's standards would actually change as well.

  63. @62 -- JT, nice explanation. I see the point.

  64. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #8, #13,#26 (esp.); #40,#56
    Everybody loves a list - let's bring this back to Sweet Lou's HOF candidacy...

    BEST SECOND BASEMEN ALL-TIME, Top-25, retired (loosely based on Bill James' NBJHA)
    #1-3. Collins/Hornsby/Morgan - not in any order, that is a whole separate debate...
    4. Nap Lajoie (clearly better than everyone below, but not in the best-ever discussion)
    5. Charlie Gehringer (very consistent for a long time)
    6. Craig Biggio (hard to know how to factor in time at catcher/outfield)
    7. Jackie Robinson (combined wartime/NeL credit for age 24-27)
    8. Ryne Sandberg
    9. Rod Carew (offensive level was lower for some of his career)
    10. Roberto Alomar
    C) QUALIFIED, but not overwhelmingly
    11. Frankie Frisch (like Alomar; higher BA but less power + walks)
    13. Nellie Fox
    14. Jeff Kent
    15. Joe Gordon (park factors made Doerr look like a better hitter than Doerr, but the opposite is true)
    16. Bobby Doerr

    D) OUT - sorry, gotta draw the line somewhere
    17) Bobby Grich
    18) Tony Lazzeri
    19) Buddy Meyer
    20) Willie Randolph
    21) Red Schoendienst
    22) Billy Herman
    23) Johhny Evers
    24) Frank White
    25) Maz

    I believe the top-dozen at a position (not including pitcher) should be easy HOF choices; below top-twenty are probably not good enough. It's the 13-19 that are borderline - I think Whitaker is qualified, but barely. One negative I just discovered is that he got MVP votes in just ONE year (1983). Is that true for anyone else in the HOF whose career is entirely covered by MVP voting?

  65. Apologies for using this Whitaker discussion to talk about Cone, but since it has come up, I've got to mention a few things on Coney. JohnQ, I am glad to see your support of Cone. SP seem to need longevity to get in (short of the absolutely dominant Koufax/Pedro types) and unfortunately that hurts Cone in the eyes of voters. He "only" made 419 career starts.

    I'm surprised Cone didn't get more discussion because even if you think he falls short his career has been anything but non-descript and it's filled with stuff the writers usually eat up. I'm not saying any of this stuff enhances him as a candidate, just that it made his career stand out.

    Consider that he played a villain on the supposedly delinquent Mets (dubbed the "worst team money could buy"). He got in trouble for his comments during the '88 NLCS and was accused of some pretty terrible things by women (none of which ever went to court and were found to be bogus). Yet he also played the classy veteran on the supposedly classy Yankee teams, as the sympathetic figure after his anuersym and subsequent comeback. All this after playing the well-spoken player's union representative alongside Tom Glavine during the turmoil of the strike. The guy had range.

    It doesn't stop there. He had lots of memorable comebacks. In his prime he returned to his hometown Royals, the team he'd first come up with. At the very end, he returned to Shea to finish his career with the Mets. And he was even traded TO the same team (Toronto) twice in 30 months. And yet while he had a lot homecomings, he was also a prominent hired gun, acquired at the deadline by both the '92 Jays and 95 Yankees to help push them into the playoffs.

    He had plenty of signature games. Everybody knows about the perfect game, which speaks for itself. Every Met fan remembers the final day of the 1991 season when Cone struck out 19 Phillies at the Vet on Sunday afternoon. Then there's the 1996 game in Oakland, his first game back from the anuerysm (he hadn't pitched in four months), when he had a no-hitter through seven innings and was pulled from the game after 85 pitches. (Mariano allowed a hit in the 9th to blow it.) If you want to talk playoffs, there's the big Game 3 in Atlanta in the '96 World Series, the clinching game in Atlanta in Game 6 of the '92 World Series, the big Game 6 against the Dodgers in the '88 NLCS to force a game 7, etc. And there's the crazy fact that he was pitching for Boston on the other end of Mike Mussina's famous near-perfect game at Fenway. He was one out away from having thrown a perfecto and having one thrown against him.

    He even had the cool name and the Coneheads in the stands. He had the cool Laredo pitch. He has the Cy Young, the All-star games, the World Series rings, etc. He has the Hutch Award, which is basically the Good Guy Award. He played on exciting teams, often as the ace. I am not arguing that all this stuff is what makes a Hall of Famer. But it's the type of stuff that makes his career stand out. His career was never boring, never under the radar, sometimes controversial, filled with memorable moments. I'm shocked that he fell off the ballot so quickly.

  66. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Lawrence/64, I'm interested why you feel Lajoie is clearly behind Collins, Morgan, and Hornsby. That is surprising to me. Without a close look, I feel like one could defend choosing any of those as the top guy.

    FWIW, the Hall of Merit did rank Lajoie 4th, but very close to the other three.

  67. I agree on all Conehead. Unfortunately I think the writers have at least 200 wins as a litmus test. Coney is someone basically right on the fence in my book, and I see arguments as to why he should go in.

  68. Conehead, #65, very interesting post, I didn't know all those tidbits about Cone. He has a very interesting storyline. Plus, Roger Angell wrote a book with/about him, "A Pitcher's Story." Not many players can say that.

  69. It is interesting to compare Cone and Jack Morris. I have never supported Morris for the Hall, but most seem to agree that he is borderline, he has a ton of vocal supporters and the voting patterns suggest that he will probably eventually get in, right or wrong.

    I know you can take any number of the lower-end guys who are in the Hall and use them to make arguments for people who aren't in. And I know that today Morris is not even in the HOF. I'm not interested in it from that perspective. I'm interested in how players are perceived by the public. If you ask 100 baseball fans, ranging from casual to semi-hardcore, about the careers of Morris and Cone, Morris will usually at least be in the HOF discussion whereas Cone is more likely to be completely dismissed. But if you look at the numbers, does that make any sense?

    Cone's career boils down to 12 really good seasons from 1988-1999. His longevity is hurt by the fact that he didn't get a rotation spot in the big leagues until age 25 and he was essentially done by age 37 (though he had a decent rebound season at age 38). Even within that twelve year period, he lost starts to the strike and the aneurysm. Still, those 12 years were very, very good.

    Here is what Cone's 12 years from 1988-1999 look like compared to Jack Morris' 1979-1988. (I used 12 years of Cone and 11 years of Morris so that the GS and IP would be comparable. As mentioned, Cone lost starts due to the strike and the injury and also didn't join the rotation until midway through the '88 season, and Morris pitched in the era of more GS and more CG.)

    Cone, 88-99:
    358 G, 348 GS, 175 W, 96 L, 77 ND, 3.15 ERA, 55 CG, 22 SHO, 2468 IP, 2028 H, 951 R, 863 ER, 199 HR, 928 BB, 2331 SO, 131 ERA+, 1.198 WHIP, 7.4 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.5 K/9, 2.51 K/BB, 56.3 WAR, 229 QS, 23 wins blown by bullpen

    Morris, 79-88:
    335 G, 335 GS, 173 W, 112 L, 50 ND, 3.55 ERA, 132 CG, 21 SHO, 2471 IP, 2202 H, 1059 R, 975 ER, 260 HR, 858 BB, 1627 SO, 114 ERA+, 1.238 WHIP, 8.0 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.1 BB/9, 5.9 K/9, 1.90 K/BB, 33.4 WAR, 206 QS, 13 wins blown by bullpen

    Now before we analyze those numbers, let's address the rest of their careers. 88-99 represents basically all of Cone's productivity. Morris did have a longer career, but the above period starts with 1979, which is his first full season in the rotation. It encompasses his prime perfectly because he had an awful down year in 1989 (6-14, 4.86 ERA, 79 ERA+). After that season, Morris played five more seasons from 1990-1994, which break down as follows: bad, good, decent, awful, awful. His year with the 1991 Twins was good and should not be discounted. And he pitched solidly enough for the 1992 Blue Jays. Still, from 1989-1994, even including his rebound in 1991 and 1992, he had just a 91 ERA+, a 4.58 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Despite the bad numbers, he was 77-68. Even the biggest Morris supporters who believe he's a HOFer would certainly not argue that he's deserving based on his 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1994 seasons. That leaves just two seasons outside the 79-88 period we looked at above that even factor in to his HOF case. Cone also had a steep decline, but a much shorter one. After his 12-year prime, he had an awful 2000, a decent 2001 and an 18-inning comeback attempt. The point is, if we're talking about the bulk of their careers, both pitchers at their best, the parts of their careers that their HOF candidacies hinge on, we can look at 88-99 for Cone and 79-88 for Morris.

    And getting back to those numbers, it is pretty clear that Cone was the better pitcher. Yet Morris is universally be seen as a borderline candidate and Cone is given virtually no consideration.

  70. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #66/Johnny Twisto Says: "Lawrence/64, I'm interested why you feel Lajoie is clearly behind Collins, Morgan, and Hornsby. That is surprising to me. Without a close look, I feel like one could defend choosing any of those as the top guy."

    Thanks Johnny T.; I was also looking for the baseballthinkfactory list, where I've been "lurking" for a number of years but haven't joined. I put Larry Lajoie 4th because for several of his best years (1902, 1903 and especially 1901) he dominated an inferior league, plus his lack of walks make his .338 somewhat less great than it sounds. Also, he had several good but partial years. Even though he and Morgan are about even with WAR, I'd put Morgan ahead because while Lajoie was a great hitter, he was more of an impatient slow slugger, while Morgan was a great all-around player who did everything superbly.

    I don't mean to denigrate Lajoie in any way; he, Wagner and Mathewson were the three greatest stars in the first decade of the 1900s.

  71. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Fair point about the partial seasons, I hadn't realized that. I'm no expert on the subject, but it's my impression that while the AL started as an inferior league (letting some air out of his .426 BA in '01), it quickly caught up to and even overtook the NL. His monster seasons in '04 and especially '10 are dominating what may have been the better league.

    Of course, regardless which league was better, the "major" leagues did double in size in 1901, so the overall competition was watered down for a bit and probably easier to dominate.

  72. Just a few statistical notes on Cone that people may not realize:

    - Led all of MLB in strikeouts in 1990, 1991 and 1992. (The next ten years only three guys ever led the AL in strikeouts - guys named Johnson, Clemens and Pedro.)

    - Six 200-strikeout seasons (and 191 in the strike-shortened 1995)

    - 8 years in a row with an ERA+ between 125 and 175.

    - 11 seasons with an ERA+ above 111.

    - Would have had 8 straight 200+ IP seasons if not for the strike (had 171.2 IP through 23 GS in 1994)

    - His two 20-win seasons are ten years apart, which is the longest such gap between 20-win seasons.

    - Without the strike it's very possible he would have had four 20-win seasons including two in a row in 1994 and 1995.

    - Never allowed more than 25 HR in a season despite pitching in the AL during the steroid era.

    - Had a 6+ WAR four out of five years, which include both strike years. The fifth year was his aneurysm year where he had a 2.6 WAR in just 11 starts.

    - Best seasons in terms of WAR: 6.7, 6.6, 6.2 (1995), 6.1 (1994), 5.8 (28 GS), 4.9, 4.6, 4.2, 3.7, 3.7, 2.6 (11 GS)

    - At different times, led the league in W, IP, SO, K/9, K/BB

    - Hits per 9 Innings from 1988-1999: 6.9, 7.5, 7.5, 7.9, 7.2, 7.3, 6.8, 7.7, 7.3, 7.2, 8.1, 7.6

    - Finished 2nd in ERA twice (including to Pedro Martinez in 1999)

    - Finished 2nd in ERA+ twice (to Clemens in 1994 and Pedro in 1999) and 3rd once (to Clemens and Johnson in 1997)

    - Top 10 in ERA and ERA+ seven times

    - Top 10 in WHIP six times

    - Top 5 in H/9 eight times (also finished sixth once)

    - Top five in K/9 eight times, sixth another time, and 1st three years in a row

    - Top six in strikeouts 11 out of 12 years (his 11 GS season the only exception)

    - 22nd in career strikeouts and K/9

    - 148th in career IP, but only 224th in career H and 22nd in career K

    - All five of his World Series starts came on the road and his team won all five (Cone was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA).

    - Threw the famous perfect game but also had a 7 inning, 0 hit, 0 run, 85 pitch game at Oakland in his first start back from the aneurysm. Was lifted from the game with the no-hitter in tact, but Rivera allowed a hit in the ninth. Also threw three complete game one-hitters (all of them shutouts). One of those was broken up in the 8th. In another, the only hit was off the bat of Tony Gwynn.

    - In the 19-strikeout game in Philly, he actually had 15 strikeouts through 6 innings.

    - Had five years where he averaged 32 GS, 3.39 ERA, 125 ERA+, 227 IP, 193 H, 213 SO, 1.20 WHIP, and made the All-Star team in zero of those five seasons.

    - Tom Henke blew his win in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1992 World Series in Atlanta. He would have won the clinching game of the World Series if not for that. As it was, Toronto won that game in the 11th inning anyway, but Cone got the no-decision.

    - Had the 1996 Yankees not clinched the World Series in six games, he would have started Game 7 the next night. It's too bad we never got to see this because it would have been an opportunity for another "career-defining" game.

    - Down the stretch in September for the '92 Blue Jays after they traded for him: 6 GS, 4-2, 1.62 ERA

    - Last three starts for the 1995 Yankees after they traded for him: 3 GS, 3-0, 24 IP, 1.50 ERA

    - Cherry picking? Sure, but these are impressive nonetheless...

    - From 1988-1999, 3rd in WAR (Clemens 75.2, Maddux 71.3, Cone 56.3; Johnson, Finley, Brown, Glavine, Appier, Smoltz, Mussina, Saberhagen, Pedro had between 36.7 and 49.1)

    - From 1990-1992, 1st in strikeouts: (Cone 735, Johnson 663, Clemens 658, Ryan 592, Langston 552, Maddux 541)

    - From 1988-1995 (from the time he first gained a rotation spot to the time he had the aneurysm), 1st in strikeouts: (Cone 1652, Clemens 1639, Johnson 1624, Langston 1469, Maddux 1350, Finley 1269, Smoltz 1252)

    - From 1988-1999, 3rd in strikeouts: (Johnson 2693, Clemens 2622, Cone 2331, Smoltz 2098, Finley 2051, Maddux 2039)

    - From 1988-1995, 2nd in shutouts: (Clemens 26, Cone 21, Drabek 20, Maddux 19)

  73. Did I miss something or is the site a lot slower when looking up players stats?

  74. if you guys can tal aobut Cone is a Lou whittaker thread, i can talk about some of Mike Felbers comments.

    Mike, ) ick Allen was s very, very good player who had maybe three or 4 years great years in what (I assume you cocnsider was the 11 year meat of his career, 64 through 74. he missed chunks of seasons and he struck out a lot!!!!!! 1556 ...much more then either Aaron and Mays.30 more strikeouts then mays ansd Mays had more then 5000 PAs then Allen!!!!!!He wasnt even close to Aaron or mays or even Frank Robisnon even during those 11 years although his 66 and 72 seasons were excfpetional.

    There are no HOFer is his similar players list, but if I had to ocmpare him to anyone, i think of Reggie Jackson Dick Allen plus 5 soper productive seasons and maybe he is close to Jackson. Allen was out of baseball buy the tinme he was 35... whether he had personality issues or hwe was misunderstood...I don t t know and certianly Jim Kaat thought he was a great player andf a great teamate....but he was a marginal player during his last three years.

    I just dont see it....The Hall has made mistakes, but putting Allen in wold be another rone.

    On the othe rhand the Hall has made an egregious mistake in denying Ron Santo for so long. You wrrte why can t an infuielder be very very good with the glove and the bat and still be inducted? And that is exaclty my poibnt about Santo. He was better then very good...he was an an excellent fielder and a terrific consistent hitter,

    At his peak the only better every day players in the NL were Mays Aaron, Clemente......Frank Robinson went the Al in 66 and I don t think there was a lot of difference between Santo and his teamate Billy Williams

    If you tsake Santo and Dick allen I think Santo was a better VALUE to hos team....Allen left baseball because he lost interest or some BS..... Santo left because he had to, he was a diabetic, he put his numers up with dibetes!ยฐ!!!!!

    Someone wrote that he was oversahdowed by Eddie mMtthews, and the young Eddie matthews at his peak may not have been far from Mickey mantle, but Santo overhadowed by Brooks Robinson. Please!!!!!! Robinson is in the HOF because he was the greatest fielding 3B who eever lived, he played 4 pennantt winners and he is the ultimate nice guy....

    lets not forget that Santo hit 63 more HRs and only 26 RBIS less and did it in 8 less years then Brooks
    8 less years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ony Robinsons 62 64 and 66 seasons are ocmparable to a typicla Santo year.....

    Santo not in the HOF is an injustice, but Dick Allen not in the HOF...he never got more then 19% for fiteen years....there has to be a good reason....

  75. Dennis, I didn't say that Brooks Robinson was a better player than Ron Santo, if it's my post you are referring to. I said he "over shadowed" him, meaning that fans and sportswriters in general thought he was a better all around player than Santo. I agree with you that Santo was better than Robinson. Unfortunately, the inept Hall of Fame voters failed to see that when the time came to vote them in. However, Eddie Mathews was a better player than Santo, but not by a lot.

  76. ......and Nettles was better defensively than Robinson too.

  77. Mike Felber Says:

    The value of offense even at 3b does make Santo more valuable than Robinson, especially at their peaks. Though I do not see a justification for saying Nettles fielded better than Robinson. What metrics support anything like that.

    Dennis, you are unintentionally arguing a Straw Man. I did not say that Allen was the player of any of these guys-even Robinson was likely top 20 all time, so it is not close. I said that at his best his bat was around at the level of these immortals. Take his offensive WAR for his best 6 years, from 6.1-10.0. This is comparable to the big 3 you chose, & if you choose rate stats he will tend to do slightly better, since he tended to miss at least a few more games, even at his peak. His peaks of OPS + reflects this.

    Strikeouts do slightly deflate his value-but not by a lot. Ks are a bit worse than regular outs, like singles slightly better than walks. It can add up, but run the #s: not a great deal, in terms of offensive contributions. That his last year was at 35 & he added little his last 3 is not relevant. Tons of superb players did little after even 33, or declined massively (Foxx, Hornsby, to some extent Mantle). We are looking at his total contributions & his peak. You average that in & he is one of the most egregious omissions from the HOF: I wonder how his (WAR) advanced metrics list him? I bet at least similarly qualified.

    You are correct you do not know what happened with him, during his career or why he left. But a large part of it at least involved racism, & an overgeneralized bad rap by Nill James-who has since changed his opinion on Allen: James' own stats always showed him very qualified, but he used an unjustifiable, large subjective penalty against him. read this site by the sponsor of Allen's player page on this site to see B.J.'s former case against Allen destroyed. See what those close to him like his Managers actually thought, & how he was mistreated by some.

  78. I should have clarified that IMO Nettles was better defensively 1970-75 when they overlapped. The GG went to Brooks, but many of them should have went to Nettles. Through their entire careers, Brooks was better though.

  79. chrisput1024 Says:

    I think that "Lazy Lou" really let a great career slip through his fingers. He was never really in that great of shape, smoked like a chimney, and never cared about getting better. Trammel doesn't belong either because he was too fragile. By the way, I watched them their whole career as a Tiger fan. Very good players, but not nearly hall of famers. I would put from today's game a guy like Jorge Posada or Alfonso Soriano in their category. Posada may get in because he gets the New York halo-effect.

  80. Detroit Michael Says:

    Sweet Lou really was platooned a lot. He enjoyed the platoon advantage in 73% of his career plate appearances. To pick another modern LH 2B for comparison, Joe Morgan enjoyed the platoon advantage in only 68% of his career plate appearances.

    I'd put Lou into the HoF (not surprisingly given my user name) but I do think it's a closer case than is indicated by his career WAR.

  81. #79: "Posada may get in because he gets the New York halo-effect."

    Meaning what, exactly? Would that be the same halo-effect that's gotten Bernie Williams, Don Mattingly, David Cone, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, John Franco, Keith Hernandez, John Olerud, Paul O'Neill, Chuck Knoblauch, David Wells, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson, Dave Kingman, Robin Ventura, Willie Randolph and Graig Nettles into the Hall of Fame?

  82. Johnny Twisto Says:

    No, no, no, he's obviously referring to that other halo effect, the one that got Charlie Keller, Tommy Henrich, Roger Maris, Elston Howard, Bobby Murcer, Jerry Koosman, Bret Saberhagen, Bob Shawkey, Allie Reynolds, Carl Mays, Larry Doyle, Gil Hodges, Jimmy Sheckard, and Don Newcombe in the the Hall.

  83. "Posada may get in because he gets the New York halo-effect".

    Really, when it comes to the Hall this is the BIGGEST freakin' myth out there!! The Yankees might get a lot of things, but they don't get special treatment when it comes to Hall of Fame merits. Shoot, Munson isn't even in, and he's deserving given how his career was cut short.

    I get why Whitaker is actually closer to the line than his WAR indicates, but sorry, Trammell would make a great pick.

  84. Year by year, who had a better career -- the 2B of the WS champions, or Lou Whitaker?

    1978, Willie Randolph -- Whitaker. Randolph was a terrific player, but power does matter.
    1979, Rennie Stennett -- Whitaker.
    1980, Manny Trillo -- Whitaker.
    1981, Davey Lopes -- Whitaker.
    1982, Tommy Herr -- Whitaker.
    1983, Rich Dauer -- Whitaker.
    (1984, Tigers won)
    1985, Frank White -- Whitaker. No disrespect to Frank.
    1986, Backman/Tuefel -- Whitaker.
    1987, Steve Lombardozzi -- Whitaker.
    1988, Steve Sax -- Whitaker.
    1989, Tony Phillips -- Whitaker.
    1990, Mariano Duncan -- Whitaker.
    1991, Chuck Knoblauch -- Whitaker. Knobs burned out too soon.
    1992, Roberto Alomar -- Alomar.
    1993, Roberto Alomar -- Alomar.
    1995, Mark Lemke -- Whitaker.

    Out of 16 possible years, only twice was the WS-champ 2B a better player than Whitaker. (And though I don't mean to compare each individual season head-to-head, Whitaker wins most of those matchups, too.)

    What this all means to me: For a baseball lifetime, Lou Whitaker was a championship-caliber second baseman.
    That's why I consider him HOF-worthy.

  85. Mike Felber Says:

    I never heard about Whitaker being lazy. But either way, the question is did he do enough to deserve admission. When someone says that he is not even "nearly" a HOF, i question their objectivity. Few would say he is not even close, even if you find it debatable. Even looking at peak as a priority, he is not a just decent player. Unless you pretty much completely discount the value of what is done over a whole career-itself not a rational position-I do not see how anyone can say not even in the proverbial ballpark.

    And the difference between 68% & 73% of the times platooned is small.

  86. #84,

    I don't really get you're argument. So, he was better than second baseman that were on championship teams. Many on your list are decent players at best. Some were quite good, none, except for Alomar were even close to Hall of Fame players. Sorry, Randolph is a weak borderline case at best in my book. Also, I do remember Lou being called Lazy. I think Lou would make a decent Vet pick, but I get why he's closer to the line than the WAR indicates and I don't think it's some injustice if he doesn't make it.

    I was looking at the Hall of Merit last night, and I completely get how everyone's Hall would be a bit different, but it seems to me that the Hall of Merit elected the defensive high walk positional players and the high peak short career pitchers. Again, I understand how there will always be a bottom 10-20% we can quibble over, but the Hall of Merit has put in the Evans', Randolph, Nettles, Saberhagen and Steib. I know they were trying to match the same number of players in the Hall too --I don't want people to think they did a bad job --I think they did a good job, but again, there will always be a bottom 10-20% that will raise eyebrows. Out of the guys above, Dwight Evans is closest to the line IMO, but still on the wrong side. Either way, I love looking at the arguments made for players in the Hall of Merit --a great project to be applauded.

  87. Oh, Whitaker is also in the Hall of Merit. Lou was another high walk guy. Does the WAR take into account quality outs. I know sacrifices would be accounted for, but is the simple groundout moving the player over accounted for?

  88. Sorry, I have no idea how the last post happened.

  89. Johnny Twisto Says:

    No, WAR does not account for productive outs. I am not sure how much difference that really makes. I don't think we can look up leaders over any multi-season span, but I did check a couple guys who I thought had a reputation for being good contact hitters who make productive outs:

    According to the definition used by B-R, Placido Polanco has made 263 productive outs in 675 opportunities over his career, 39%. The league average is 33%, so Polanco has made about 40 more productive outs than average. What is an advanced base worth, about 0.2 runs? So over his career, Polanco might be worth 8 more runs than typical run estimators say.

    David Eckstein is at an impressive 49%, in fewer chances. So he's made about 75 more productive outs than an average player, or about 15 runs over his career.

    Depending on your point of view and what you want to measure, you might find that significant or worthless. The run estimators will miss some things by assuming all players make equally (un)productive outs (as well as equally valuable singles, homers, etc etc). You can look at run- or win-expectancy if you want to account for that stuff. In the case of Eckstein, perhaps it is useful to look at the context of his performance. Regular batting runs has him 7.2 wins below average over his career and WAR batting has him about -6.2, compared to run expectancy has him -6.7, and WPA has him -4.5.

  90. Thanks JT. Yeah, I'm not sure either, but thought it was at least worth pondering. I know there's been a lot made of Texas leading the league in productive outs. Seems like it could make a difference with some players (and with Teams overall success to a degree) for sure --this is another point about boiling the context down so everything is equal. I think one major flaw in th Yankees (perhaps Blue Jays and other teams too) is yes, they work counts, they walk a lot, they have a high team OBP, but they also strikeout a lot. So, they have a high team OBP, but they probably rank near the bottom in productive outs? I think this hurts them a lot, at least at times it does.

    As for my last two posts, seems when I looked at them they had been truncated. However, they look to be in full now. I'm having some weird computer issues.

  91. I never heard any mention of Whitaker being a Lazy player. Whitaker was usually referred to as a "Flakey" player. The famous story is during the 1983 All Star Game at Comisky when Whitaker forgot to pack his uniform. Whitaker went to a concession stand and bought a replica jersey and wore it during the game.

    John Austin,

    I'm a pro Whitaker for the HOF guy but I don't think your (Whitaker better career than 87% of the WS champion second basemen from 1978-1995) holds much weight. You could probably make a HOF case for hundreds of players using that logic.

    Let's take Roy White using his career WAR of 44.5 and compare him to every WS Champ LF from 1966-1978:

    1966-Curt Belfry-White
    1967-Lou Brock-White
    1968-Willie Horton-White
    1969-Cleon Jones-White
    1970-Don Buford-White
    1971-Willie Stargell-Willie Stargell
    1972-Joe Rudi-White
    1973 -Joe Rudi-White
    1974-Joe Rudi-White
    1975-George Foster-White
    1976-George Foster-White
    1977-Roy White
    1978-Roy White

    Now Roy White has more career WAR than 10/11 LF (90%) from 1966-1976. Roy White was a very underrated player 227th all time in Career WAR probably top 20-25 LF of all time but I think making a HOF case for him would be very hard.

  92. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The 2010 Yankees actually don't strike out that much. They were around average in the AL this season in both K and productive out %. Certainly productive outs are better than unproductive ones, but not by as much as non-outs are better than outs. I doubt there is a high correlation between productive outs and runs scored. I'm sure this has been looked at before. Boston scored the 2nd most runs in the AL and was 2nd to last in productive out %.

    You are right that particular offensive approaches are more useful in certain situations, but generally, a team or a player is what it is and has to win the way it knows how. A team of Mark Reynoldses would score more runs than a team of David Ecksteins, but in specific situations you might prefer to have an Eckstein batting. That doesn't mean if the season came down to a big AB where Reynolds couldn't put his bat on the ball, you should go trade all your Reynoldses for Ecksteins before next season. You can't predict the specific scenarios that will occur in any one game, but you can project that over a full season your Reynoldses will score a lot of runs. And even if you try to balance your lineup by trading half your Reynoldses for Ecksteins, the batting order is what it is, and you might find yourself with a Reynolds batting in a spot when you'd prefer your Eckstein.

    Getting way off on a tangent here...........

  93. Thanks again JT. Good points. I'm surprised the Yankees aren't at least in the top 1/3 in K's. I consider Jeter (not a really high K guy), Swisher, Texieria, A-rod, Posada, and Granderson to be higher than average K guys. I guess I'm wrong.

  94. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It seems like they are all high-K guys, but everyone strikes out so much these days that they aren't, relatively. Jeter struck out over 100 times this season yet K'd in a substantially smaller % of his PA than the average player (14.3% vs 17.8%).

  95. Yeah, that makes since given how many PA's Jeter gets. Are walks up in today's game too? Seems to me there's a fairly strong correlation between this high K environment with a high BB environment. I wonder how highly the two are correlated?

  96. On top of that, I wonder if there was a greater % of productive outs in 1975 compared to 2005.

  97. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Walks were up a bit in the late 90s (over 3.5 per game), but now they are about where they've been for most of the past 40 years, fluctuating around 3.1 to 3.4.

    You can get those numbers here:
    Strikeout percentages are here:
    Productive out numbers here:

  98. Johnny Twisto Says:

    1975 AL productive out % was 35
    2010 AL productive out % was 32

    Not sure what the long-term trends are. I don't think that's available on one page, you'd have to click through year-by-year.

  99. Seems like these ideas are at least weakly correlated.

  100. Honolulu Blue Says:

    @ #79: Page 176 of Bill James' "The Baseball Book" covers the whole laziness topic much better than I ever could.

    On topic, Whitaker was/is hurt by having his best years ('83, '89, early 90s) coming in the years the Tigers didn't win, while Trammell had his biggest years in the Tigers' biggest years - namely '84 and '87.

    Whether Whitaker belongs in the Hall depends on how big you want to make it. One way to look at it is like this - baseball has been around in modern form for about 125 years, give or take. A fairly small, exclusive, Hall, to me, would be to induct one player per year - 125 players. This would be roughly 10 players per position, plus pitchers. Is Whitaker one of the top 10 2nd basemen of all-time? Probably not. The historical standard is two players per year - 250 players. I happen to think this is about the right number of Hall of Famers among the players. Is Whitaker one of the top 20 2nd basemen ever? I think so.

    Anyway, I think I will live to see Lou Whitaker get his just reward, and I plan to be in Cooperstown for the event.

  101. @91, JohnQ -- One big difference between Whitaker and Roy White: Lou played 27% more games and had 29% more PAs. White's 1,881 career games would rank 37th out of 46 HOF outfielders; Whitaker's 2,390 games would rank 4th out of 16 HOF second basemen. That's a veritable chasm when we're comparing the HOF credentials of guys who had relatively low ceilings.

    But you probably meant only to counter my little exercise of "Lou vs. the WS champ" and show that it was not, in and of itself, very compelling. And that's fine; I certainly wouldn't call that post my Exhibit A in Lou's HOF case. Maybe Exhibit G.

    I posted that table because I'm trying to figure out how to generate discussion on this question:

    Why do so many people feel that a very long career, made up almost entirely of good seasons but with few or no MVP-caliber years, is inherently un-HOF-worthy? Why is "accumulator" or "compiler" a dirty word in the HOF debate, when the seasons involved are all good ones?

    Among HOF voters and also fans, there is a preference for high-ceiling players, which seems to be based on the assumption that such players are more integral to winning pennants. I want to challenge that assumption. Consider two second basemen with long careers and a 115 career OPS+:
    -- Player A has a couple of MVP-contender years, but also a few below-average seasons.
    -- Player B is a Whitaker type who has virtually nothing but good seasons, with several of All-Star caliber, but is never an MVP contender.

    It is not self-evident to me that a team's pennant expectation would be greater with Player A than with Player B.

  102. Mike felber
    yes superb players have decliend after age 33. Yor examples of Foxx and Mantle are valid Hornsby isn t.
    he spent most of his last years as a manager, although he appeared ins ome games very year. In 1930 he had a season long feusd with the manager, Mccarthy who sat him on the bench, he supplanted MCarthy as the manager at the ndo of the season in 1931 ahe was the player manager and for a guy in decline, he led the league in OBP, OPS and OPS plus....16 HRS 90 RBIs and 331. BA in 418 PAs, not too shabby for a guy in decline. The following eyars he was the manager of the Browns..enough said....

    Dick Allen doenbt belong in the same paragraph with Hornsby or Foxx or Mantle, they are among the pantheon of players.

    And why Mays and Aaron were so much better for 5 years or 6 years or 11 years or any part of Allen s career you want to choose? Those guys put up numbers and they played 150 or more games every year for 13 or 15 years conseecutively. THEY PLAYED!!!!!!!!!!!! After 65.....Allen didnt want to play a lot of the time.....and God knows how much motivating and or ass kisisng Chuck Tanner had to do in 72 to get an MVP season out of Allen

    part of my definition of a great baseball player
    he wants to play every day................he doesnt have to be motivated to an undue extent.

    Racism? You dont think Aaron amd Mays suffered racism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!They both played in the Negor Leagues edured racism and hostility for years in the majors and what Aaron endured in 73 was terrible.
    Just like Allen, mays and Aaron got called nigger...and worse...and they played 9 innings the next day and they hit the crap out of the ball and eventually the name calling stopped.

    Aaron amd Mays were GODS also.....Allen was a very, very talented player who oculd have been so much greater and the he didnt want to be.....

    Very, very good, occasionally great, yes.......but a

  103. Autin, that's a fun game but it's not really a good HOF test. All it really tells me is that most WS teams in those years didn't have great 2B. No WS team as a stud player at every position. You could do this with any above average player, especially at the defensive positions. This makes sense when you think about it, because an above average player at any position could easily contribute to a championship team. The best teams are usually about who has the most above average players.

    Let's take Michael Young. He was better than 02 Eckstein, 03 Gonzalez, 04 Cabrera, 05 Uribe, 06 Eckstein, 07 Lugo, and if SF wins this year he'll have been better than Sandoval/Uribe at 3B. He wasn't better than 08 Rollins and 09 A-Rod, but had the Rays won in 08, and the Phillies had won in 09, he'd have been better than Bartlett and Feliz.

    Derrek Lee was better than 00 Tino Martinez, 01 Grace, 02 Spiezio, (03 he won it himself), 04 Millar, 05 Konerko, and 07 Youkilis. 09 Teixeira is pretty close, and if Texas wins this year he'll have been better than Mitch Moreland.

    Jason Varitek was better than 99 Posada/Girardi, 01 Damian Miller, 02 Bengie Molina, 03 Pudge, 05 Pierzynski, 06 Yadier Molina, and won it himself in 04 and 07.

    You can do this with plenty of guys who aren't Hall of Famers.

  104. BBWA is such a joke.

  105. John Autin,

    I was kind of playing devil's advocate with my Roy White comparison. I wasn't making a case for Roy White HOF or that Roy White was remotely as good or better than Lou Whitaker. Like I said I'm a pro-Whitaker guy for the HOF.

    I'll put it this way. Lou Whitaker had 69.7 career WAR. From 1975-2010 He's #1 among second basemen in career WAR. That's a 35 year sample size. I can't think of another player that was #1 in WAR at his position for 35 year stretch who isn't in the HOF or not even on a HOF ballot!

    Another way to look at it is Whitaker is second only to Joe Morgan among second basemen in Career WAR from 1930-2010. That's an 80 year sample size. I can't think of another player that's #2 in career WAR at his position and is not in the HOF or HOF ballot.

  106. Gabbo,

    I don't get your point against John Autin. Michael Young is playing 3b this year and yet you are comparing him to former WS SS until 08 and then a 3b in 09-10?

    If you go by career WAR, Derrek Lee has a 30.2 career WAR, Mark Grace had a 47.1 career WAR, Tex already has a 36.7 WAR and Youk is still relatively young and already has a 25 career WAR.

    Varitek has a career 23.1 WAR, I-Rod has a 67.7 career WAR, Posada has a 46 career WAR.

  107. What's not to get? Young played SS up through 2008 so I compared him to the shortstop for the World Series winners until then. The last two years he has played 3B so I compared him to the respective 3B.

    I wasn't going by career anything. I was going by each individual season, which is what I thought Autin did when he was comparing Whitaker to the 1985 WS Champ 2B, the 1986 WS Champ 2B, etc.

  108. Mike Felber Says:

    Lou was not a high walk guy Matt. His 162 game average was 81, most ever was 90, & only twice was in the top 10-7th each time. He was a moderate BB guy.

    James claims that more peak seasons/less consistency tends to lead to more championships. Either way, having a high peak for a # of years seems to be a good measure of excellence. As is sustained quality play.

    I will acknowledge that it is unclear how much Hornsby declined. He just did not play enough to know how well he would do in a full year. By far had the most GP in '31, with 100. He was actually below his career average then, still excellent.

  109. Upon re-reading Autin's post, I do see that he was comparing their careers, rather than their year by year performance. I guess I skimmed over that part so I admit that I misunderstood the point of his post. I did think he was doing a year-by-year comparison.

    The fact remains though, that both methods are not a great way of measuring someone's Hall of Fame chances. Alfonso Soriano has probably had a better career than most of the 2B/LF of World Series winners during his career. Doesn't make him a Hall of Famer. Carlos Beltran has probably had a better career than every World Series winning CF.

    You could take almost any really good or above average player to make that argument and most of them would probably look pretty good. Do it for Jorge Posada, Jason Varitek, Bobby Abreu, John Olerud, Lance Berkman, Johnny Damon, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, etc. and I bet they compare pretty favorably to their WS-winning positional counterparts. This is especially true for those that play 2B, SS, CF or C, because then you're comparing them to players like Damian Miller, Julio Lugo, Adam Kennedy, David Eckstein, Juan Uribe, Alex Gonzalez, Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre, Craig Counsell, Devon White, Carlos Ruiz, Manny Lee, Pat Borders, Mark Lemke, Greg Gagne, etc. It's an invalid comparison.

  110. Mike Felber Says:

    Dennis: please save us time by responding to my specific arguments, to avoid knocking down Straw Men.

    Again, I did not claim that Allen was as good as the ones you mentioned. I specifically said they were great much longer, & clearly better all around players. But the "not in same paragraph" trope is not rational. Yes, if like me you accurately delimit your claims, you can & should have players in the same paragraph. If it was pure distance hitting, Allen would easily beat Mays, Robinson, & Aaron. And all but a max of a handful of humans, ever. Context in claims is everything.

    How much have you read about Richie Allen? Where do you get support for the idea that after '65 he often did not want to play often? Why do you come up with the insulting idea that Tanner had to motivate him immensely to "get an MVP" season out of him? Give your sources if you have any. Have you checked out the opinions of many of his team mates? His Managers? You know about the fight he was excoriated for, & prevented from speaking up for himself, after he was attacked with a bat by a racist teammate?

    Yes, Aaron & Mays faced racism. And Richie was sensitive sometimes, & had some personality issues. But Philly was a particularly virulent environment of bias at that time. I just said it was difficult for him, & give just a hint of it above.

    I have never even heard the claim though that this made him not want to play when under contract or try his best. Bill James (who overall I much respect) gave him, at the time, a big bum rap based upon 2nd hand & not well researched information. He did have injuries too. It is fine to not want him for the HOF, but please do not make strong damning claims about his character absent evidence. Write to the guy who runs this site if you think he was so lazy & difficult. He will set you straight.

    Lastly: tell me precisely why you think that all systems of modern overall & peak productivity are wrong. They put him at least near the very top of qualified HOF players not inducted, & better than a lot of guys already in (not just the clearly unqualified ones). Even in a relatively short career.

    The case is clear. And only more so if you value peak years. If you look at peak bat hitting, he is clearly the most qualified batter eligible who is not in. Not only by his massive career OPS +, but even choosing peak offensive years.

  111. Mike
    you re entitled to your opinion about Dick Allen. I am entitled to mine. I think he was probably misunderstood, Mauch and Tanner thought he was a valuable player and not a divisive force.

    As for my one of my sources, I read Crash his autobiography...and I thought it was incredibly self serving and disingenuous.......but thats my opinion. he had problems off the field as well, with the IRS, he also deserted his wife for a youger woman, etc.

    If you think Dick Allen should be in the HOF how aobut Albert Belle or Jose Canseco?. ...OK, OK its a rhetorical point...

    but based on his career and his career alone, is Albert Belle qualified to be in the HOF?

    How about Dale Murphy or Juan Gonzalez? I dont think Gonzles is eligible yet.....

    And , if we elected only squeaky clean good guys to the HOF, the plaques would fill an overnight Fed Express envelope...Dalke Murphy would be int he envelope.......

    My point is that if Allen was that great a player....and he was incredibly strong and could hit the ball a ton, why didn t he have more great years? he had enormous talent...and he had some great years...but I don t think he did those 15 years. If you want to call him a IB I would rather see Keith Hernandez or Gil Hodges in the Hall, if you want to call him a 3B, Iwould rather see Ron Santo or................. Aurelio Rodriguez....

    I m kidding about Rodriguez...

    I dont discount modern stats.....some of thim I htink are valuable...but stats do not always measure the true worth of a player.

    Nuf said..... .

  112. @110, Mike Felber -- You clearly know a lot of Dick Allen bio. I know just a little; I know he had a very bad experience in the minor leagues (Arkansas?), and of course what Bill James wrote in the Historical Abstract (which is apparently not entirely reliable). I heard about a good, eye-opening biography of Allen from quite a while ago -- the name escapes me now -- but it's out of print & I couldn't find a copy to buy. I don't automatically buy into the "bad attitude" rap that is part of the mainstream take on Allen.

    But when I read this statement of yours, I did a double take: "I have never even heard the claim [that he did] not want to play when under contract or try his best."

    What about 1974, when (from what I've read) Allen simply left the White Sox with about 3 weeks left in the season, when he was apparently healthy and having another great year? I believe he even said at the time that he was retiring. Is there an untold story about that incident that makes it seem less damning of Allen? And if not, how do you factor that into your view of him, and of his HOF case?

    And in the bigger picture: What do those things have to do with his performance and his HOF credentials?

  113. Mike Felber Says:

    That may be true re: '74 John Austin. I am unclear on the incident-would need to research it, & see what his side was I was thinking about skipping games & did not consider that early season exit. Let us look at that-though that is very distinct from not playing when he was not in the mood from ~ a decade earlier.

    But you are very right that these things should NOT muddy the waters of his HOF credentials. Dennis, we do not know the IRS story, why he was not paying-neglect or cheating. And did he just leave his wife cold heartedly? Very well may be, but was it just a betrayal for a shinier toy, & he wholly at fault? Some are in deadened & bad relationships & find love, & some are liars & abusers. Unless you know a lot of pretty solid other things to judge "Crash" so negatively by, I would reserve judgment.

    But again, that is besides the point. Unless we find proof he hurt his teams-& there is evidence that he was a leaser & inspiration in addition to his problems-we judge him by on field performance. Some of the lack of longevity was his reaction to things-he has been postulated as Bipolar, undiagnosed. Whether true or not, adding the stresses & conflicts together, he did not last so long. That is his choice.

    Though we need to be more specific. All that stuff is unresponsive, likely unintentional obfuscation of his performance. And do not dismiss WAR, or all other measures of career & peak performance, absent a rationale. He is more qualified than all you mention. Murphy likely no, good enough peak, but really ONLY 6 good years, & raw #s overrate him compared to rate & true value stats. J.G., not enough value. Hernandez you can make a good case for, Santo definitely.

    Even absent considering 'roids Canseco was only excellent briefly. Belle is a GREAT comparison, & I will throw in Jim Rice. All 3 short named, allegedly & sometimes really short tempered power hitting black men. All best at slugging, & at best mediocre at other aspects of their game. Careers short to average length, Allen in the middle.

    While Allen was the worst Fielder-& best runner-looking at any advanced metric of total contributions tells you the same thing as reasoning it out does. belles raw stats were inflated by era & line up, significantly. He was still an excellent hitter, but look at era, park, teams-Allen's real contributions were understated by context. It would be hard to pick a more run depressing career span...Rice of course had the park & certainly powerful team offense advantage-even his best years he did not hit like the other 2, despite many RBIs. Also huge in GIDP.

    So the essential question remains: given his 156 OPS +, 19th all time, & great peak year hitting, & all the measures I have ever seen of career & peak value: what decent evidence can be presented that he did not create enough runs/wins per best season & career, to merit the HOF?

  114. Mike
    The previous poster pretty much made my remaining points

    You wave the OPS plus stat like a magic wand. Allen had a point highter OPS then Aaron, Mays and DiMaggo. is he in that category of ballplayer?

    Not hardly...

    McGwire had a lifetime OPS of 161...higher then Allen.....Does he deserve induction ot the Hall of Fame? You should be able to guess my response...

    OPS plus is what?. its an average of the addition of 2 lifetime averages? somehting like that....? Somtimes the stats are so overwelming that is a good guide....See George Herman, see Theodore Samuel.....

    But it doesnt measure heart and it soesnt measure desire and it soesn t measure ability to react to adversity....

    Rice got in on the 15th eyar, Belle was rejected after two years, it seems to me that Allen got his full 15 years on the ballot. And consistent black ink stats certainly make up for shortcomings, but Allen didnt have enough of the former and had way too much of the latter. And when you have to massage stats and says things his best...Allen hit like Aaron and Mays...OK, but for how many seasons was he like them....2, maybe three?

    He was a terrible fielder and he was never very good at third or fist of in LF.

    Their is the classic jolke of the Philadelphia life insurance saleman who called on a Phillies fan in 1964 and when the fan told him that he had season tickets behind first base.....the salesman said...sorry, but we cant cover you.

    Yes, Allen had some very good to great years, but in my judgement not nearly enough to make him a HOF inductee.



  115. Dennis, Allen did plenty statistically to get into the Hall. You just need to accept that.. we don't need to compare Allen to Aaron or Mays.....but, he clearly was better statistically than Rice or Dawson or Perez. Is he an inner-cirlce guy, no, but statistically he'd be a solid mid-tier guy as evidenced by these names. In short, there's really no reasonable argument to be made that Allen didn't do enough statistically.

    Now, did he do other things to taint his image that perhaps went above and beyond. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Should these "other things" matter. Yes, they should, but only if we have definitive evidence and not just a hodgepodge of perspectives.. seems Bill James has reversed his feeling on the matter. It seems he's likely done this because of new information came to light? We also only know part of the story. Was he bi-polar, what specific kinds of racial things did he have to put up with (maybe he wasn't equipped to handle these kinds of situations as well as Aaron or Mays)? We don't know these things for sure, but i can say one thing though -- if he was indeed bi-polar (I can't remember specifically where I read it, but there does seem to be evidence to support this diagnosis) playing America's game during these racially-intense times, then he clearly should go into the Hall.

    Seems to me that Allen let some people down, and some perhaps haven't gotten over that. In closing, I think enough time has passed to recognize him at this point.

  116. John Q or JT (can't remember who's formula this is) -- and I apologize if this has already been done in this blog, but where does Allen rank using the 7 best+career WAR/2? I suspect he's somewhere between 45-75th all-time? Somewhere in the very outer edge of the inner-circle guys to relatively high up in the mid-tier guys?

    To me, Allen's career is a bit short (not way too short though), but he did more than enough peak wise to overcome this somewhat slight deficiency.

  117. Matt Y

    What you ve written is fair. I don t agree with it...but its fairminded. I went back and looked at Allens stats and yes, he had enough black ink then I thought.

    Two flaws in your say that someone has the statisitcs to get in the HOF doesnt work...Unless the stats are irrefutable, then it is a political process....adn every year baseball writers and VC gets lobbied......and sometimes its just a question of time and momentum.....I can imagine conversations in VC meetings like...Jesus...if we don t let him in this year, we re going to look like complete assholes. Lets hope thats the ocnversation for Blyleven and Santo.

    And.....I do think that saying this guy or that guy belongs in the HOF because these other guys are in......isnt a valid argument. Bill James made that point in The Politics of Glory.

    But, for the record.....I wouldnt ahve voted for Dawson or Rice...But Perez was part of the Big Red Machine one of the great dynasties of history and he contributed to the 83 Phillies...Doggie was a winner. I would give him an edge.

    But that s me.

    And heres 3 guys I would rather see in the HOF then Allen ......Ted Kleuzewsli, Indian Bob Johnson, and Gil Hodges...Hodges neve rhad quite enough votes, Johnson one of the great players of the 30s and was completley overlooked and Kluzewsi for all of his power, hardly ever struck out..


  118. Dennis,

    I'd like to speak to your two points below.

    "And.....I do think that saying this guy or that guy belongs in the HOF because these other guys are in......isnt a valid argument. Bill James made that point in The Politics of Glory".

    I get this point, but I used inner-inner circle guys (Mays and Aaron), and bottom very outer ring guys (Rice, Dawson, Perez) as my examples though. Allen statistically, any way you want to slice it or dice it, isn't part of the bottom outer ring guys. So, given the examples I use, you're argument still is rather hollow. Additionally, and you have the right to feel that the Hall is too large, but the reality of it is, it is what it is-- it's large enough so that Allen should be in. Any reasonable logical argument has Allen better than at least 1/3 of the guys already in. 1/3 isn't 10%.

    "to say that someone has the statisitcs to get in the HOF doesnt work...Unless the stats are irrefutable, then it is a political process....adn every year baseball writers and VC gets lobbied......and sometimes its just a question of time and momentum.....I can imagine conversations in VC meetings like...Jesus...if we don t let him in this year, we re going to look like complete assholes".

    Stats are the guiding force here, and i'm someone that looks beyond the stats more than many in this forum. Again, statistically, Allen did plenty, and any reasonable stat-driven argument would not be able to refute that..... but you're entitled to your opinion. Also, it seems pretty clear that some new things have come to light about Allen since he fell off the ballot. It's not a great leap that almost no one would lobby for a guy that always seemed angry or helter-skeltor like b/c of a bi-polar disorder. This speaks to his probably bi-polar disorder, a disorder that almost no one new anything about 30+ years ago. It's pretty clear Allen was misunderstood , and to deny him his place in history is to misunderstand him yet again.

  119. Mike Felber Says:

    I have a few points to make. With respect Dennis, you often are inexact in responding to claims. Like continually arguing against the Straw Man that Allen was as good as Mays or Aaron, even though we repeatedly tell you that is NOT the claim. And if that was the standard we would admit less than 2 dozens players to the HOF. So please save our time & show us that you see & understand the particulars of our cases by responding with more intellectual rigor. This is NOT a critique against a different opinion, but the means of effectively & fairly addressing each other. Thank you.

    1) I see no previous poster who made your remaining points. Who, where? You conflated a few points, & the SINGLE thing that anyone said that could conceivably support your case is John Austin saying that he thought Allen quit in '74. But it actually provides no support for your position. He did not say Allen does not belong, ASKED me what I though about that 1 incident, did not claim not wanting to play was a pattern of Allen's (let alone going back to '65), & finished by asking what do these things have to do with his performance & HOF case?

    2) Big Mac WOULD deserve induction if not for the PED scandal. Because if you measure how many runs/wins he created in his overall game, & peak performance, he easily qualifies. His disgraceful clamming up when called to testify ABOUT the past is enough reason to think he violated the rules/cheated. And PEDs were illegal through the start of the '90's, just not tested for & punished. And his performance was almost certainly greatly assisted by them.

    3) You will find almost universal contempt, or at least exasperation, amongst folks who are rational & knowledgeable about baseball for the "heart, desire & reacting to adversity" argument. And deservedly so: these ideals are subjective, & what should be measured is what was done on the field. Plus some, largely white athletes, are demonstrably given these chracateristics throughout sports (oh, & "gritty" is another one), while black & minority athletes have "natural talent". Huh.

    4) Allen had problems AND was an inspiration to some, admired by his Managers & fans. He had a limit to what adversity he faced, but dealt with a LOT, more than the vast majority of players. Being black, esp. in Philly is one. Apparently you are unmoved by him being attacked with a BAT by a (cowardly) white racists teammate when he was doing the right thing/defending a team mate. And then he & everyone was forbidden to speak of the incident, & pain of severe punishment, & ALLEN was villainized. Could make anyone bitter, & few, certainly not the likes of a Bonds, endure things like that.

    5) I told you already Dennis, yet you ask me again: he had at least six (6) seasons where he hit like Mays & Aaron at their peak. And other seasons still productive, but not as sublime offensively. Check the #s I gave. This is part of a larger issue:

    6) I challenged you to look at ANY of the advanced metrics that credit him with even enough career value, & great peak value, to tell me WHY they are wrong. You have refused to engage that at any level. Nor have you provided a common sense reason why he is not good enough. throwing up vague statements about "heart" is NOT examining what he added or did overall.

    7) All versions of WAR, WARP, Win Shares, VORP, etc...Factor in glove work. So even when he gets a significant ding for a pretty bad defense, he is shown to be easily good enough.

    8) You are incorrect re: saying Matt Y's arguments are flawed. You mistook his 1st point: he did NOT say or imply they were good enough to get in politically/in reality. He clearly made the argument re: whether Allen is deserving to get in.

    9) Matt will undoubtedly speak about this too, but he clearly did NOT make the fallacious argument that Allen should get in because this or that particular guy should get in. That should have been obvious: he never mentioned particular players. Instead he made the quite valid claim that when you consider overall value & greatness/peak value, he seems AT LEAST in the top 1/2 of current HOF members.

    10) None of the final 3 guys you mentioned created the value of Allen, nor even approached his peak value. If you want to make a case for any one of them, it requires more than generalities. And while not striking out often as a power hitter is an impressive skill, it adds some, but limited value. All measures confirm this-Kerry (Physicist you recall from also wrote about this.

    11) The 'winner" argument is an unfair & pernicious one in most all cases. Players "win" due to how good the team is & what they can contribute, & we properly measure the latter. IF ANY player with whatever value that we can measure is put in their position, they will "win" the same amount. Perez was on great teams.

    In about a 1/3 of a season of NLCS & World Series competition, Perez did not do well in either. As a player, perhaps he is borderline, that is all. He had a decent peak, & seems to fall short in career value, despite having a pretty long career. One reason is i can take his worst 10 seasons, & they add up to a negative WAR. He was a very good player, but not as good as Allen even (adding up all contributions) over his much longer career!

    12) Peak value comparison? Fuhgeddiboutit.

  120. Mike Felber Says:

    Oh, & OPS + is an excellent measure of overall offensive quality per PA. It can be tweaked to be made more exact: weighted OPS + is better, & you can look at Ks, sacs & GIDP. Though those who K more tend to get more of the latter 2, so it tends to balance out. Even when it does not: it would be an unusual case indeed when OPS + is not even close to showing what a player does to add runs at the plate per time played.

    And usually it is quite close. Getting on base & slugging is the vast majority of what someone does to create value in batting. And offense adds MUCH greater value for almost all than defense: even Ozzie Smith with his 87 OPS + (& very good thefts stats) still added virtually precisely TWICE the offensive value as defensive value. And he was likely the best ever at the 2nd most important fielding position!

    Check the 2nd table:

  121. Mike Felber Says:

    Sorry, I meant those who K more hit the ball in the air more than grounders & tend to get sacs, & especially avoid GIDP.

  122. Johnny Twisto Says:

    even Ozzie Smith with his 87 OPS + (& very good thefts stats) still added virtually precisely TWICE the offensive value as defensive value.

    It appears that way due to the questionable choice of including the positional adjustment in oWAR as opposed to dWAR. Really, I think the best way to look at it is (according to WAR) he was 47 runs below average on offense (batting + baserunning) and 386 runs above average on defense (being a shortstop + being a great SS).

    If you split his runs above replacement (which is essentially for playing time) between the two, he is +108 on offense and +541 on defense. Or if you put all the runs above replacement on the offensive side, assuming a replacement SS will play average defense, he is +263 on offense and +386 on defense.

  123. Mike Felber Says:

    OK Johnny, that seems reasonable. I do not know which of the last 2 choices in better. So how about this postulation: that given equal quality on offense & defense, even in the most important defensive positions, offense is worth a lot more? So if a SS or CF is about equally great at all sides of the game, the offense will contribute a lot more runs/wins/value.

    Catcher could be the only exception, at least if you factor in the impossible to fully quantify value of handling pitchers & calling games well. Mays was great at both saving & adding runs, & had a negative Rpos (-15) for a career, & clearly created so much more value at bat than in the field. If we had a similar SS, even adding the positional adjustment either of your 2 ways, would not a "Mays at SS" clearly create significantly more value at the plate?

  124. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    Why do so many people feel that a very long career, made up almost entirely of good seasons but with few or no MVP-caliber years, is inherently un-HOF-worthy? Why is "accumulator" or "compiler" a dirty word in the HOF debate, when the seasons involved are all good ones?

    Good question.

    I always thought those terms applied to guys who ran up traditional counting stats (like wins/Ks for pitchers or hits/runs etc. for position players) to levels normally thought of as automatic, but where they accumulated many/most of their stats over a long stretch where they were just average, or even below. Jim Kaat is a classic example. He got 283 wins which impresses a lot of people, but had only 4 years out of 25 where he pitched at a high level, and nearly half his career, he was below average for a starting pitcher. But of course, WAR systems don't give you much credit for mediocre performance, and Kaat's WAR shows him clearly out of HoF territory at 41.7.

    OTOH, Lou's career WAR is 69.7, which is way, way ahead of the borderline point (55-60 normally -- dick allen, who most here agree is plenty qualified has 61.7, and his John Q number is about the same as lou whitaker's), and other WAR systems seem to rate him similarly high. Think about the wailing and moaning that would ensue if Jeter doesn't make the hall -- his WAR is 70.9. A fair assessment of career value puts him in the range of guys whose hall credentials hardly anybody questions.

    Being definitely better than average for 20 years is not accumulating stats, it's building a hall of fame career. Whether somebody is an accumulator matters if you are looking at their hits, or home runs, not their WAR, because HELLO: accumulating wins for you team is what you are supposed to be doing!

  125. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mike, I would say generally you are correct, hitting is the most important ability and the one where players can add the most value. Offense is half the game, while fielding might be something like 15% (with pitching making up the rest of the other half).

    Yes, if we had someone who hit like Willie Mays and played SS, he would be even more valuable. (I wouldn't say more valuable at the plate; he'd be the same person at bat but more valuable defensively and thus overall.)

    Of course, this depends on our converted Mays's ability at SS. If he played SS his entire career, the positional adjustment would be about +182 runs, or 197 more than the real Willie. (There is certainly room to quibble about these adjustments -- it looks like a difference of about 10 runs per year.) The real Willie was a superb CF and rates 185 runs better than the average CF. So if our new Willie was merely an average SS over his career, the total defensive contribution is estimated to be about equal.

  126. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes Johnny. I just meant that in any position except perhaps backstop, an equally proficient hitter & fielder would yield the vast majority of his value at the plate. Though what you describe also makes sense.

  127. Mile
    1. the points I wanted to make ina future post.....
    1. I,m aware of one major injury in Allen s career, he cracked his fibula...what accounts for all the games he missed starting in 1966?

    2. If stats are inlfated by roids or HGH or pEDS or whatever....tehn what the hell good are they? How do you separate Big mac beofre and after andy. Bonds and Clemensa re different they were HOFers before they took stuf, its not moral but its the truth.

    3. Mike with respect, you want to suck the marrow out of baseball with your tone that stats tell the story of what was done on the field. Baseball is about winning games and going to the playoffs and then hopefully to the Series, desire heart and the will to overcome adversity are colorblind, so stop the insinous Dennis is a racist crap....For Christ sake, the black Gibson tried to pitch on a broken leg and the white Gibson took Eckersly downtown and barely hobbled around the bases. That s what Im talking about. And that doesnt show up in OPS or WAR or anything esle.

    4. The bat incident doesnt have any bearing on whether he does or doenst belong in the HOF.

    5. Youre the one who initiated the Allen at his besr was equal to Aaron and Mays...List the at least 6 seasons, please that you think he was equal to those guys..

    6. As Ive told you I htink certainss tats are important , otherrs are nto so important. Allen was a 292 hittler with an OBP in the 37s, and he struck out a lot.....admittedly during a period when offesnve wa sharder to come by. heis plate discolpine was poor. He won a couple of slugigng titles, a couple of HR titles...he was an outstanding power hitter but not enough of the time and not for enough years.

    7.If I mis represented Matt Ys argument then I apologize.

    baseball is aobut winning, period. Preference and I do believe this should be given to players who ocntributed a lot to winning teams....teams that won pennants, won championships....Those players should be in the Hall, and no Hank Bauer shoukldnt be in the Holl, but you know what Charlie Keller had a hell of an OPS plus of 141, but I don t think he belongs in the HOF
    Allen played on one playoff team at the end of his caqreer. And you know what i can probably find a couple of seasons or more in which Tony Perez hitr like Allen.

    Perez wasnt a bad choice for the HOf, wouldnt be my top pick, but I odnt think he was a mistake.

    Sometimes HOF players are judged by their stats because they played on teams that never went to playoffs, Ernie Banks, Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime come to mind and they won trophies, I don t think the young Dick Allen was a good as the young Ernie Banks and certainly not the Griffey who played for the Mariners.

    And Im sorry that Dick Allen may have had bi polar disease and it wasnt understood 30 eyars afo...Santo played with diabetes and Ty Cobb was probably a world class psychotic personality, and Hornsby was a misanthropic, mean tempered degenerate gambler.....etc. etc.....and Pete Gray played with one arm......and if a frog had wings it wouldnt whomp its ass every time it jumped...

    So youre championing a player for the HOF who was a talented power hitter, misunderstood, doesnt compare ot any other HOFer in hs similarity scores, didnt play on any pennant or chanpionship teams and for his own reasons didnt play every day even when he was physiclaly healthy.

    I just dont agree with you

    .Take care.

  128. Mike Felber Says:

    Here you go Dennis:

    1) I do not know all the reasons he missed games in every year. But there is only evidence of his "refusing to play" re: his leaving the Cubs 2 weeks early due, he said, to his feud with Ron Santo. He had a debilitating hand injury due to the pushing a stalled car incident in '67, & late missed time & had subsequent nagging injury due to a broken leg in '73. So no cause to impugn his willingness to play or toughness in general. Check out the Wikipedia entry for basics like wearing a helmet in the field due to being pelted with heavy objects in addition to racial slurs, & the attendent nicknames he garnered.

    2) 1st, the relevant question is does he deserve it due to his stats: since your initial claim seemed to only suggest that, not PEDs, & that the answer was no.
    Clearly you pointed to only his OPS + & on field performance. And if you use any modern matrics like WAR, more so if you add in the crucial consideration of peak value: of course he did enough to deserve the HOF! Dennis, you just do not grasp how difficult it would be to have a just 1/2 way decent length career, 162 OPS +, & NOT create enough runs/wins to deserve the Hall!

    Refer just above, or to any informed debate about baseball-anywhere, for the relative impact of hitting. maybe if he was a historically bad fielder he could have not deserved the HOF. That is all.

    It does not effect the point I was making, but in IMHO we have no reason to assume that Bonds-unlike the 2 you mentioned-would have done enough absent/before PEDs. Though I would have guys confess to usage & express remorse AND need to be good enough without the cheating & lying.

    3) I did not mean to imply at all that YOU were a racist. If i believed that I would say it outright! But you may very well have absorbed the general prejudice against HIM that others gave inarguably due to his race. Exhibit A is unwarranted assumptions about refusing to play often, for most of his career. And negative assumptions about his "heart" & "desire", when many who played with & managed him felt otherwise. Black athletes generally get less credit for hard work & playing hurt.

    3 a) That is an undiscerning, unfair accusation. There are many meaningful & moving things not covered by stats (& many misleading & misapplied stats. I did zero to "suck the marrow" out of the game. But you cannot use an illogical argument re: what determines value, like unsupportable cliches about toughness. MOST of value can be noted quite well by sensible stats. You can love winning, drama, rooting: but you mix up the paradigms: some often confuse reputation & the TEAM who wins with what an individual player does. Clearly my defense of Allen is impassioned, not "bloodless": but not muddle-headed.

    4) I did NOT say the bat incident had to do with his HOF credentials. Re-read the context of what I said. It spoke to evidence of great hardship he sometimes faced, & something like that (an injury too) made his reputation & life worse. It is meant to erode your content-light presumption that he was lacked "heart". And stimulate more of a heart felt sympathy for his situation.

    5) You AGAIN missed what I repeatedly have said. And my words were not ambiguous at all. Must I invoke a crying baby Jesus to get you paying attention? ๐Ÿ˜‰ OK, Once Again, with feeling:

    I SAID he was the equal of those immortals in BATTING (where most value is created, by the way). For six (6) years. You could easily have looked it up, since I refrred to his offensive WAR range AND which table I meant on his player page here. But it is '64-'68, & '71' & '72. Actually, that is seven years, & clearly his best couple he was around as good as Mays & Aaron in their BEST years ('64 & '72), even considering his whole game/subtracting for his glove.

    6) Your selective facts do not support your case. Besides omitting his slugging, & that average is NOT a good stat to determine offensive value by any means-that is elementary-his stats, for his era & park, even the ones you chose, are very good. But his OPS + is a much more fair measure of how good he was offensively. And it was 3 slugging titles...Not enough years? He had more than HOF average in gray ink, average HOF black ink: in a fairly short career. AND all measures of what he did for a career shows how he created value in the top 1/2 of current HOFers!

    That does not count peak value. I am SURE there are players who you accept a primary case based upon peak value.

    7 & forward) Please ask anyone here if your "baseball is about winning" trope is applied in a rational way. I am saying, & all sensible measures from sabermetrics on down, that players get tremendous UNWARRANTED credit for being on "winners". As posted in tremendous detail on a link: Morris did NOT pitch to the score. He had great run support. He did not do very well overall in the post season. It is wholly unscientific & unfair to call someone like him & Catfish & Perez a "winner". No. They were good players SIGNIFICANTLY over valued due to fortunate circumstances!

    Charlie Keller: you would have done yourself better service if you correctly noted that Keller had a 152 career OPS +, not 141! But you seriously had no idea about the length of his career? 4604 PA. And he had no peak years, especially full years, where he put up an OPS + like Allen's best. Thus your example does not refute OPS +'s accuracy one little bit.

    "Probably" you can find years where Perez hit like Allen? Then you both have no intuition about how good each was at hitting, + you did not bother to look it up. Check out his very best years, by OPS + or offensive WAR, or base out wins added or wins added or situational wins added or win probability added...Allen led multiple times in each, Perez NEVER.

    When you add in total game, you can argue that Banks & Griffey were a little better at their peak. The latter is still a pretty high level HOF player, though he did not do so much after 30. Banks? Check out his page: he was a great player from ages 24-29. Other years, just decent. Enough to warrant the Hall.

    Lastly: it is untrue that he did not play every day "for his own reasons". That implies he did this regularly, when no evidence is presented but him taking off 2 weeks early one year. So stop suggesting he regularly refused to play.

    You need an education on similarity scores: they not only are not taking account for peak value, OR measuring value in any scientific way, but do not adjust for era or park. Click on what they compute: 16! measures of raw data, & only one, OPS +, of an adjusted #! Thus they are not good measures of overall value for players in "bad" parks, eras, & do not credit peak value. They are not intended to show scientifically how good these guys are: they show who produced similar raw #s, that is all.

    See if you can find anyone here who finds my points invalid. Or believes you are making a good case re: Dick Allen.

  129. Mike Felber Says:

    Correction on #2: I meant to type that with Big Mac, not Bonds (or Clemens), we do not see that he was good enough without/before PEDs. Though the main, relevant point remains: it would be quite an "accomplishment" to have a massive 162 OPS + & even his unremarkable 7660 PA & not be qualified for the HOF based upon total contributions. It could be done with one of the very worst gloves ever seen, or a poor glove & no significant peak.

  130. Mike Felber Says:

    From Wikipedia. Red Schoendienst also spoke highly of Allen:

    But according to the two managers for whom Allen played the longest โ€“ Gene Mauch of the Phillies and Chuck Tanner of the White Sox โ€“ he was not a "clubhouse lawyer" who harmed team chemistry. Asked if Allen's behavior ever had a negative influence on the team, Mauch said: "Never." According to Tanner, "Dick was the leader of our team, the captain, the manager on the field. He took care of the young kids, took them under his wing. And he played every game as if it was his last day on earth."[4]

    2008 Hall of Fame inductee Rich Gossage confirmed Tanner's view during ESPN's interview show with Gossage and Dick Williams. Gossage talked about how Dick Allen had worked with him to learn more about the league's hitters, to help make him a more effective pitcher. Also in 2008, another of Allen's ex-White Sox teammates, pitcher Stan Bahnsen, said, "I actually thought that Dick was better than his stats. Every time we needed a clutch hit, he got it. He got along great with his teammates and he was very knowledgeable about the game. He was the ultimate team guy." [5] Another Hall of Fame teammate, Mike Schmidt, credited Dick Allen in his book, "Clearing the Bases," as his mentor. In a Mike Schmidt biography written by historian William C. Kashatus, Mike Schmidt fondly recalls Dick Allen mentoring him before a game in Chicago in 1976, saying to him, "Mike, you've got to relax. You've got to have some fun. Remember when you were just a kid and you'd skip supper to play ball? You were having fun. Hey, with all the talent you've got, baseball ought to be fun. Enjoy it. Be a kid again." Mike Schmidt responded by hitting four home runs in that game. Mike Schmidt is quoted in the same book, "The baseball writers used to claim that Dick would divide the clubhouse along racial lines. That was a lie. The truth is that Dick never divided any clubhouse."

  131. Dave Kingman Says:

    Great thread. I've really enjoyed all the comments, especially those about David Cone. I always enjoyed watching him play, even though I realize I would strike out 4 times a game if I had to face him.

    One comment though about players who may deserve to be in the HOF, if only their "projected stats" during the strike years were taken into account....

    Hey buddy, YOU struck. YOU decided not to play. It wasn't as if aliens came down from Mars, and forced MLB into strike-shortened seasons.

    It was you.

  132. Mike
    Ok,let me make a few points..
    The example of Charlie Keller was meant as a bit of sarcasm. I tried ot make the point that while Keller did have a high OPS...he wasnt worthy of the HOD, Of course didnt have enough numbers or enoigh PAs to make a HOF case...although he was a hell of a hitter.

    If youre comparing Allen 64 to 68 and 72 seasons to Mays and Aaron during those exact years, then that isnt a precise comparison.. But If you compare those years to mays and Aarons years at the same ages, they were both so much better or to make a stronger point, their best career years against Allens career years.. Allen never had a year close to Aaron s MVP year or Mays in 1954 or 1962 when he SHOULD have won the MVP
    And theser guys didnt strike out as Allen did!!!! I doi have aprejudice, i dont think that much of guys who can and should imporve their plate discipline...

    I NEVER claimed that Allen didnt have heart or desire or the will to overcome adversity. the fact is I don t know if he did. I don t think too much of someone who leaves a team early and bails on his contract......but thats me,.

    Yes, I made the point that stats like OPS plus dont measure heart desire and the will to overcome adversity l, I was careful NOT to tie Allen into that inferred that and ran with it.

    Dick Allen played for five teams during the reserve clause era. Phillies,Cards, White Sox, Dodgers, Philles again and the As. He played one year for the Cards and the Dodgers. My question ....if he created much value...why was he traded. I undertood why the White Sox trade dhim, they probalby neededd money and though that Jim Essian would save theior franchise. That s more sarcasm. It seems to me that at least two teams wanted to unload him and took the short end of trades to get rid of him. Was it all the personal issues that he had?

    When someone like you hollers stats....stats...stats....I point to the 69 Mets.. That was a team that had great pitching, a couple of good players and a bunch of has beens, never wases and really marginal role players. But they WON!!!!!!!!!! And teams like the 69 Mets and last eyars Twins are what makes baseball so fascinating.

    Final point....Mike, probalby your are right, maybe Dick Allen with all the modern metrics did enough) to be considered as a HOF candidate. But is the national Hall of Fame, not the National hall of Baseball Sabremetrics. Fame is nebulous and it can be fleeting. For 15 years the writers never gave0 him more then 19% of their voutes and here it is almost 35 years after he is retired, and I don t think the VC will give him very serious consideration.

    You re passionate aobut his write letters to Tom Seaver and the other guys on the VC adn see how far you get.

    Good luck

  133. Tony Perez had great years in 69, 70 and 73, 69 and 70 were not that far from Allen, but he didnt have black ink and yes, Allen was a better hitter then Doggie.

  134. Mike Felber Says:

    "Not that far" from Allen? Tell me why. WAR & just looking at everything they did those years does not support this. And thank you for noticing that Allen hit better-he was not even close. You chose Perez for his top 5. I will tell you that if you look at the % difference in win share, WARP, any version, WARP, VORP, etc: it is not even close.

    But your case re: Keller was flat out wrong. Not only on his career OPS +: you WROTE that he did not deserve it DESPITE his high OPS +. When it is clear that the exact opposite is true: his OPS + is a chief indicator of offensive dominance & he would have been a good HOF candidate: if he played a few more good years/how he was doing generally when he had full years.

    I said Allen in '64 & '72, considering total play/value, was comparable in value to the best years of Mays & Aaron. And that his top 6, then changed to 7, were similar to Aaron & Mays quality years-in offense only. Just check-compare these guys in these SPECIFIC ways using WAR. Or I can walk you through other ways to do so.

    That he did not have years when he was robbed of the MVP (though you can make a case for '64 too) is besides the point. You certainly do not know enough to say Allen lacked plate discipline: did Mike Schmidt? Mickey Mantle? Don't admire these guys either? Check their K's/AB. Very few players can produce like these guys can, & even they may not be able to avoid high Ks. You assume he swung tool freely: how about that it is extremely hard to hit well & for power & avoid the Ks? You have a bias against high K guys, 1) assuming a negative cause for high Ks instead of that it may be unavoidable, & 2) that any MEASURE of how much worse Ks are show it is not a huge difference at all!

    My point is you do NOT know, & acknowledge, that these teams unloaded him due to his issues. So it is just wrong to assume it was that. You do understand that before modern metrics, when offensive #s are depressed by era & often park for him, his true value would not be fully appreciated? When Ks are taken as too important, for another example.

    Here is your quote from #102 suggesting Allen lacked heart or ability to overcome adversity: "Allen was a very, very talented player who could have been so much greater and the he didnt want to be....." Do you respect the opinions of Schmidt & Mauch, guys he played for or mentored, as seen in #130? They say the exact opposite of what you did.

    Their is not a contradiction between stats & appreciating the '69 Mets. I am saying you have the lower old fashioned tendency: to assume those who win are better than they are. The 69 Mets were efficient in how much they won by/what they did with their talents. They deserved to win. Conversely, you CANNOT FAIRLY judge how good a player is by how often his team wins, or for similar reasons how often a pitcher wins. King Felix deserves the Cy Young w/ 13 wins, Randy Johnson did with a LOSING record (over Clemens) & Ryan had an excellent year at 8-16.

    Thanks, I will decide if I want to appeal directly for Allen's induction. But common sense & the bylaws of the HOF should tell you that it is not actually LITERALLY supposed to be much about "fame", or popularity, deserved or not. It is how good a player WAS, which can mean peak & a career. "Fame" is just a colorful shorthand for what the best players deserve.

  135. Mike Felber Says:

    While Schmidt & Mauch supported Allen's character/good effect on a team, Tanner especially is relevant in contradicting the irrational notion that he "did not want to be greater". How unfair. Tanner said: "he played every game as if it was his last day on earth".

  136. Mike

    We can go arouind and around on this...

    Your point that its extremely difficlt to hit for power and avoid Ks is nonsensical. Albert Pujols, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds (even before the juice), not to mention Aaron and Mays and DiMaggio ad Kluzewsli all swing or swung hard and didnt strike out very much. Let me suggest that you check their stats sheets.

    Ted Williams once wrote that Mantle made a career of swinging hard at every pitch. and he did strike out a lot, 1710 times but only 164 times more then Allen in 2600 more career PAs then Allen!!!! And I don t think he ever And he also walked a much as he struck out, he had a much higher OBP then Allen. Schmidt over the years cut down on his strike outs, they were both much, so much greater players then Allen......

    I simply don t think Allen had good plate discpline.....

    There is NO case for Allen as the MVP in 64, Kenny Boyer won it as the Cardinals made a stretch run for the pennant. and Johnny Callison finished a decided second in the voting. I assume the voters felt tthat a third baseman who committed 41 errors could be the MVP. Allen did receive the ROY which was justfied.

    And agian you were too literal in your take on what I said about Keller, yes I agree he wasnt a viable candidate for the HOF because he didnt play enough games. he played with Dimaggio and Berra and his last good year was 46....after 46 he was platooned and used as a pinchitter, especially after 49 when Stengel became the manager. And OPS plus is misleading if is being applied to a season where a player appears in just some games....Keller has very high OPS plusses in three eyars but he only played 40 to 50 games in those three seasons.

    And if I recall....there is some language int he Hall of Fame standards for a player aobut sportsmanship or the highest ideals of the game.....something like that.. many players are inducted because of the mumbers that they put up and the highest ideals of the game is ignored....

    But..............Im going to say htis one mroe time. Perceived personality issues are an important factor when a player is not a clear choice for the HOF and Allen wasnt a clear choice. If he had hit 450 or 500 homes runs in those 15 years and played more games we might no be haivng this discussion... but he didn t ....You ve made a statisitcal case that he did enough to get in......using modern metrics......

    but the voters had two outs, their perception of his personality and the language about the highest ideals of the game.

    Now if you want to educate the VC about modern metrics, knock yourself out. we arent goint to convince each other of anything , so its best to sadlde up and ride off. Take care, have a good day.

    Regarding tanner and mauch s comments, Tanner was a sunny natured guy who tried never to criticize anyone publicly. And Mauch wanted very much to be int he HOf as a manger, Im not saying that is why they made such positive comments about Allen Im suggesting it only as a theory And you may we be right. that both thought Dick Qllen was the grestest thiNG since creem cheese on a toasted bagel.

  137. Mike Felber Says:

    You can addle up & ride up if you like Dennis. though I want to set the record straight for anyone who reads this, & correct misperceptions about Allen, what I said, & mistaken logic. Nothing is taken personally, though it would be the definition of closed minded to assume nobody could change their minds about anything. You have adjusted/changed some thoughts, like comparing Perez & Allen's offense.

    1) It makes no sense to point to a handful of players & say it is not extremely difficult to hit for power & avoid Ks. This was covered not long ago on very few humans can even play/last in MLB, & it is exponentially rarer to hit very well, for power, & not K often. While some who K a lot could do so less, you need to see them/what they swing at & when, look at the mechanics of the swing & head movement itself. It is folly to assume that just due to many Ks that a guy can retain his power & K more often. Averaging about 1 K a game max is more than understandable against top pitchers. It is overwhelmingly accepted power hitters K more. Sloppy thinking, or just a lack of knowledge of the difficulties of the game, to assume absent looking at the particulars, that a guy can do better at Ks & not lose anything. When guys K less their power often declines.

    2) Red Herring alert: nobody would say Allen was about as good as Mantle or Schmidt. Though he WAS at least as good a hitter as the latter, certainly for a peak had the advantage-but the difference in longevity & fielding means it was not close. Mantle was even better. I am very familiar with all the player stats you list.

    3) It is a category error of reasoning to say there is no MVP case to be made, & then use as evidence only what the voters did & why! That does not take into account what SHOULD be used, & the particulars of their cases. Allen was close in total value to all the top people-so rationally we can make a fair case for him-his team's collapse in the stretch was not his fault. That is different from saying he should have gotten it. Many realize that MVP should be overwhelmingly about what a player DID. You have internalized the unfortunate paradigm that like "just win, baby", gives great unwarranted credit for a player being on/getting much help from a team. Those players & teams get more than enough credit already. if it is really close, & a guy does especially well during a Pennant race, OK, give him an edge,

    Mays had the highest league WAR 11 times, including in '64. But as James & others noted, voters get tired of giving the award to the same guys every year.

    4) I was never "too literal" re: Keller & OPS +. Review what you initially wrote. The wrong OPS +, but used it as evidence that OPS + may not show HOF eligibility. SO of course it should be pointed out that you did NOT point to a flaw in OPS + as an arbiter of offensive prowess, but that he had very limited longevity. If he had the PAs, as OPS + suggests & proves, he should have been put in the HOF.

    5) You are correct that OPS + can be a bit misleading re: platooning when you are pulled against difficult pitchers. But not that much: 'cause if you are missing that many games, you are putting up a lot less PAs. Thus not getting as much credit for your hitting as a f/t player. And most are noit platooned for mots of their career. Keller had an excellent OPS + in his few full years too. The amount you "dinged" Whitaker for his late career platooning? Was small, judicious, & very fair.

    6) There is language about character. It is widely disregarded, unless someone commits cardinal sins like betting on baseball, or something that much effects on field performance unethically & illegally, like PEDs. I agree with this standard. Otherwise we should not have in many of even the greatest players ever-Ruth, Williams, Cobb-these Gods just for ways they acted on the field or against Managers.

    7) You are correct, though stating the obvious, re: why Allen was not put in. Except you miss that before modern metrics, it was not fully realized too how good Allen was in his era/park context.

    8) That theory does not hold water. They could have said nothing, or been more measured in their praise. Even the reasons you present are very broad. And their were others like Red & Schmidt who also thought highly of Allen.

    9) So you think that almost all of us are wrong re: Allen being deserving of the HOF. O.K. But you really have not refuted how valuable his bat was, & how there is never any arguments where he is penalized for his glove, consider his career & peak value, & find him wanting of the HOF.

    Talking about why he was not put in, cherry picking something small in impact like Ks, & comparing him unfavorably to top 20 all time/baseball immortals do not amount to a relevant case against Allen. Unless you philosophically are a very "small Hall" guy, & think at least 1/2 the guys in are undeserving, & want the standards raised much higher:

    There is no fair rationale to keep Allen out. If even bill James can change his mind, you can too. Just like you saw (I assume since you did not debate my explanation) you were wrong that I was accusing you personally of any racism.

  138. Who wants a Dick Allen HOF poll?

  139. Mike Felber Says:

    Sure. I also had suggested Reggie Smith, who I feel is borderline.

  140. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    why not?

  141. OK, Im in favor a Dick Allen Hall of Fame poll...but we re all on our honor that we can only vote once!!!!

    Mike, I dont want to rain on your parade...but no one besides us and maybe one more poster is too involved in Dick allen yes or no...And I tried to saddle up and disengage once.

    Basic rule of thumb of voting for Rookies as MVP...their team should win he pennant or a conference title. See Fred Lynn, Ichiro Suzuki You claimed that it wasnt Allen s fault that the Phillies collapsed in 64. Well, whose fa<ult was it? Mauch because he pitchedf Bunning and Short with short rest? Allen shares in the responsibuility, he played every 64

    Lots of playeras are rejected for the are passionate about Allen, i feel strongly about Santo and Blyleven and Tommy John and luis Tiant and Jim Kaat I dont think that Tony Oliva who was the ROY in the AL in 64 got the credit that he a matter of fact he got much more support then Allen did for the HOF balloting for 15 years and he s got some impressive black ink, but agreed he doesnt quite have the metrics that Allen did and he wasnt a strict power hitter. But if i had a choice between the two I owuld choose Oliva....

    You say its quite rare for players to hit for power and not have a lot of Ks. A power hitter can choke up, protect the plate and gasp...maye go to the oppositve field ....He doesn t always have to try and pull the ball. And maybe is someof these yahoos who strike out 175 times a year....studied more video and were more defenive at the plate, they would cut down on their strikeouts. A strikeout is only a good AB if the hitter can work the pitcher into a high pitch AB, foul balls....

    There is a big difference between you and I. I love baseball, like to discuss it, like to weigh in on Hallof Fame candidates...but I won t get too upset this year if my guys arent elected by the VC. This is a hobby for me, its not reality....and respectfully, I think you take this way to SERIOULSY!

  142. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    "Mike, I dont want to rain on your parade...but no one besides us and maybe one more poster is too involved in Dick allen yes or no...And I tried to saddle up and disengage once."

    the right way to disengage from an argument is to stop posting. nothing else actually works.

    Saying the other guy is taking things way too seriously looks a little silly when you are spending just as many pixels on the argument as he is.

  143. Mike Felber Says:

    Really Dennis? Read what Mr. Sullivan said for a reality check. I like to debate. I am not personally upset, just taking strong & well delineated positions. I never have had ANY emotional angst due to "my guys" not being elected. Break down the word assume, a.k.a what doing it does.

    You are free to disengage or not. I said I would answer you to set the record straight & support what I considered a rational argument. The threads we discuss these on were already old, so i cannot gauge lack of interest from others not jumping in-they may have already been off & on to other things. But I will bet a D.A. for the HOF thread attracts triple digit interest!

    Your idea(l) about reinforcing an honor system re: 1 man 1 vote I wholeheartedly support.

    You are a big HOF guy: Blyleven is a huge rhetorical cause I support, Santo sure...The others are more borderline to no for me. Case by case.

    It should not make much difference that a guy happens to be on a team where he goes to the post season for an MVP, absent some unusual "clutch" play. Same goes for rookie MVP: though again, I do not think Allen was the very best in '64, just that a case could be made. The collapse? It was all of the player's fault whose performance lagged, over those limited # of games. You cannot avoid looking at individual players actions and assume blame is due all, or spread equally.

    Lastly, I urge you to really listen to what I am saying, especially in a case like Ks & power hitters. Again: some players are too much free swingers or reckless with the count/strike zone. But 1) It is extremely hard to hit so well, let alone do so & strike out seldom. 2) Whether it is worth it to do other things like choke up for a power hitter is dubious-how much power & confidence will be lost? 3) It comes down to WHY a hitter Ks often, & if it is easily minimized with little bad secondary effects. Like so many things in life, the same things can be done-like K often-for distinct REASONS, & with different CONSEQUENCES if the strategy is changed.

    Ks are just not that much worse, in any worthwhile strategic measure, than other outs. Note I did not say meaningless. And many who K often have more fly balls/sacs/less GIDP.

    Lastly: are you aware that Allen was more of a "line drive" HR man? And that renowned baseball Historian Bill Jenkinson said he lost less power than anyone else (of the top power guys) going to the opposite field! While being in the top 5 EVER in pure power. You assume too much absent evidence re: how bad ks are, + assume unwarranted negatives about his plate approach, discipline & overall effort.

  144. OK, let me put the comment aobut the 9 inches in context because i realize it means nothign without some context...I wanted to say that a statistic pulled out of context means little.....A well endowed man isnt necessarily a good lover or attractive to woman.

    And yes Dick Allen won 3 slugging titles two HR titles and had the 19th highest OPS plus average in the history of baseball.

    And Dick Orr had a higher OPS plus, so how do you compare Allen to Orr? or Orr to any modern player....the contexts are totally different and so I don t think much of adjusted OPS as a stat..

    I might think of Allen with as Ive said....Reggie Jackson Jm Rice
    maybe Garry sheffield or Willie Stargell... But because they ar ein...and I didnt support Rice (I dont know what to think of sheffield, yet) but the others played longer............had some higher numbers and it doesnt man that Dick Allen gets a plaque.....

  145. Dennis, I appreciate the fact that you're making genuine arguments, but you just can't use that kind of language. (I am referring to a comment that has since been removed, and it wasn't removed by me.)

    Please keep your word choice away from anything vulgar, and there's no reason to refer to body parts like that.

  146. Andy, my apolgies.

    Let me make my final comment about Dick Allen.

    Mike Felber gave us int his thread a link to a Dicj Allen page. In the transcripot of an interview onthe front page of the site....Allen is quoted assaying that maybe he could have treated a writer differently or been nice to some people,but overall he was satisfied what he had done.

    OK; if he is satisfied.

    then why should the VC orr baseball fans lobby for him to enter the HOF? . why should any of us knock ourselves out for Dick Alllen?,


  147. Lou Whitaker certainly belongs in the HoF, but he'll never be voted in. He had a negative reputation, both as a player and with writers, who found him to be aloof and unfriendly. He also has the stigma of having played for the Detroit Tigers, who are probably the least-respected team in MLB. The last Tigers player to get voted into the HoF was Hal Newhouser by the veteran's committee, and the last one who got voted in by writers was Al Kaline (way back in 1980). The Tigers were one of the most successful teams of the 1980's but they won't get a single player into the Hall out of those teams, or they will be old and gray when the vet committee finally vote them in.