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MLB.com: Olerud and Brown are “Fringe Candidates”

Posted by Sean Forman on November 30, 2010

Beloved Tino debuts on Hall of Fame ballot | MLB.com: News.

MLB.com is running full profiles on the top candidates for the HOF (like Tino Martinez) and then lumping "fringe" candidates together (like Kevin Brown and John Olerud).

Kevin Brown and John Olerud are both essentially twice the player that Tino Martinez was. No plausible HOF case can be made for Martinez, but Olerud and Brown are both better than perennial candidates like Jim Rice and Jack Morris.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 9:32 am and is filed under Announcements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

206 Responses to “MLB.com: Olerud and Brown are “Fringe Candidates””

  1. @197, Tmckelv -- Not at all! I'm thrilled to be relieved of the dual title of Most Long-Winded & Least Patient commenter in these blogs!

    But seriously ... The young man (?) expresses himself well and has a point of view worth hearing, even if he did alienate roughly half the audience with his opening salvo. I hope he's not discouraged by the vitriol & mockery that may be unleashed upon him ... but I also hope that he soon realizes that "it's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

    P.S. Thanks for the reply on Willie Randolph.

  2. Well, after reading this whole thread over a cup of tea I must say that I tend to agree with Pratt. For the most part, when it comes to HoF consideration I tend to think the most important consideration is how they stacked up against players of the same time period. Mattingly was more-or-less in the top 5 non-pitches for several years. Also, when they talk about intangibles I think that is more a reference to if you would want to build a team AROUND that person, which the Yankees did despite not having much success. Combine that with the fact that if it weren't for his balky back, he probably could have played until 1999 or so, and with him the Yankees likely won in 97, at least considering what a down year it was for Fielder.

    Olerud never has, never will be considered one of ANY time periods top 5-10 players. I actually was a fan of him too, despite being a Yankees fan I would tune in to Mets games during that time just to see him play. It was nice to see a guy who actually was a hitter and not just some freakishly large ogre swinging a telephone pole at a little leather ball. Hall of Fame though? No, maybe Hall of Really Great players.

  3. @Tmckelv and Jeff, 174, 175 and 177:

    Jeff, I hope that cough gets better. Bonds didn't start playing until 1986, so he certainly wasn't considered the best hitter for the entire decade of the 1980's.

    Indeed, the 1980's was rather weak for hitters. only 8 players with more than 3000 PA's posted an OPSPlus of > than 140 for the decade--4 in the HOF. (Mattingly OPS Plus for 1980's = 144, seventh best).

    Mike Schmidt was probably the best hitter for the decade, but he trailed off in 1988 and 1989--and he still lead the decade with the most HR's.

    The 1990's had 12 hitters over 140 OPS Plus.

    1970's: 11 (8 in the HOF)

    1960's: 11 (9 in the HOF)

    50's: 8 (every one of them in the HOF)

  4. @203

    My bad, I read it as any hitter the best for an entire decade :-(

  5. @202 -- "Mattingly was more-or-less in the top 5 non-pitchers for several years."

    Are you sure you don't want to hedge that some more?
    Seriously -- "more or less"? "several years"?

    I honestly don't know what you're trying to say about Mattingly.

    As far as his back problem shortening his career, how long he might have played otherwise and what additional championships the Yanks might have garnered ... Look, I felt bad about Donnie's decline, too -- but yowza, hasn't it occurred to you know that if it weren't for career-shortening injuries, the Hall of Fame would have about 5 times as many players as it does? (Or else it would contain nothing but super-duperstars.) Injuries are a part of the game, man. There are probably 50+ players who were as good as or better than Mattingly in their prime but suffered even more abrupt career termination. Nobody gets extra credit in the career-evaluation sweepstakes for the fact that they might have done X-Y-Z if they hadn't been injured. That way lies madness.

    I think perhaps another cup of tea is in order, and a re-reading of Pratt's final sentence -- the one where he states his ambition. Then, try to think critically about what is required to actually qualify for that title.

  6. @ 56: O'Doul is a guy like Hack Wilson; a hard luck story with a few years at an amazing peak. But O'Doul didn't start his career as a batter until he was in his 30's. Many of the players of his era were nearly washed up by the time they hit 33.

    Indeed, for all eras, for full time players, there are only a hand full of players who managed to have an OPSPlus of at least 145 after the age of 33. It makes me wonder what he would have done in his 20's. I'm not saying that alone should get O'Doul in the HOF, but when you add in the other factors of his amazing performance in the short amount of time he had, his minor league managerial record, and his work in popularizing baseball in Japan, he should be in.