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Hall of Fame Twitter Chatter

January 19, 2018

We are very close to finding out who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018. Thanks to some writers releasing their ballots publicly, we know just about half of the results, and there are a number of candidates who we know for sure won't make it this season. We wanted to shine a light on two of those guys who have been the subject of extensive Twitter discussions recently: Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen.

Let's start with Jones. Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times discusses Andruw at length in this article, which includes information provided by us at Sports Info Solutions. We've included one of the tables from that piece below. It lists Jones as the fourth-best defensive outfielder of all time by the fielding portion of Bill James' Win Shares system, which is the best way to compare defense across eras. Ben quotes me in his article: There is no question that Andruw Jones was one of the best defensive outfielders of all time.

Career Fielding Win Shares Leaders, Outfielders
Player Fielding Win Shares
Tris Speaker* 117.8
Willie Mays* 103.6
Max Carey* 94.8
Andruw Jones 85.5
Ty Cobb* 82.6
Marquis Grissom 79.2
Torii Hunter 78.7
Willie Davis 78.3
Curt Flood 75.1
Richie Ashburn* 73.8
*Hall of Famer


Jones is one of those rare candidates who was so good in one aspect of the game that a case is being made for him based on that alone. That said, his injury-riddled thirties robbed him of the opportunity to achieve the longevity and late-career consistency that might have made him a shoo-in.

As for Rolen, he played the hot corner as well as or better than anyone of his era. He still ranks second among players who have played in the last 16 years in Defensive Runs Saved at third base despite being retired for five years and the statistic not existing for the first six-plus years of his career. Moving to Win Shares as a way to compare players' overall value to their teams, Rolen falls in the group just below the inner-circle Hall of Famers at the position.

Career Win Shares Leaders, Primary 3B
Rank Player Win Shares
1 Mike Schmidt* 467
2 Eddie Mathews* 450
3 George Brett* 432
4 Chipper Jones 416
5 Wade Boggs* 394
6 Adrian Beltre 366
7 Darrell Evans 363
8 Brooks Robinson* 356
9 Ron Santo* 324
10 Graig Nettles 321
11 Stan Hack 316
12 Scott Rolen 305
T-13 Home Run Baker* 301
T-13 Buddy Bell 301
T-15 Toby Harrah 287
T-15 Bob Elliott 287
*Hall of Famer


With Chipper Jones' expected election next week, seven of the top nine third basemen in Win Shares will be in the Hall of Fame, and Adrian Beltre could make it eight when he calls it a career. Only Darrell Evans would be missing. Unfortunately for Rolen, he falls below that group, but is very much in spitting distance of those already enshrined.

Several very interesting articles on this topic were recently posted by Bill James at Bill James Online.

About Win Shares: Developed by Bill James to assess a player's value to his team, one Win Share is set equal to one-third of a win. If you add up all the wins a team has, the team Win Share total is exactly three times that number. A player's hitting, fielding, and pitching performance are each taken as a separate component of Win Shares, the sum of which is his overall Win Shares total.


COMMENTS (10 Comments, most recent shown first)

Darrell Evans - as a player of average ability but with above average production over a long period of time, does anyone have any information about his intelligence? It seems to me from my memory and his stat line that he must have been a very smart player on the field, he just knew how to play. I have seen or read very few interviews or anything else about him.
11:01 AM Jan 23rd
Marc Schneider

I strongly dispute that Koufax's 1964 season was "injury ruined" even though he did miss the last part of the season. He still started 29 games, completed 15, 223, IP, pitched 7 shutouts, won 19 games (ok, old-time stat, 186 ERA+, 0.928 WHIP. To me, that's still a Hall of Fame caliber season, even if injury shortened. I understand it was a pitcher's era, in a pitcher's park, but still, I don't see how you can simply discount it.
9:08 AM Jan 23rd
Koufax's many great regular seasons (1961-66, total of six) add up to some kind of "career" -- especially considering he was taking the ball up to 41 times per year, plus five postseasons (adding 59 and 62 to the three Series of this period).

It's the bulk career NUMBERS, the decline phase, that are missing from Koufax. Not the career.
3:41 AM Jan 21st
Kaiser, since when did the Hall of Fame become about individual seasons and not career accomplishments?​
12:52 PM Jan 20th
Kaiser: I was only comparing Rizzuto and Jones in terms of their impact on the great teams they played on.

I agree Jones is a greater player, and should ALSO get the benefit that Rizzuto got from playing on a great team.
11:00 AM Jan 20th
I decided to check my A Jones numbers in more detail. The view of him presented by some--totally a defensive player--is not entirely accurate. His four top seasons were 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002. (He did have a rather weird career path--he was only 25 in 2002 and was never that good again.) In the first of those two seasons the vast majority of value was as a fielder although he was an above average offensive player. In the second two seasons, he was more valuable, and then just as valuable, offensively than defensively. But I have to say, looking at how quickly his value fell off, I can see a strong case for not voting for him for the Hall.
7:24 AM Jan 20th
Using lifetime stats to evaluate players from Gen X leads to a lot of overrating.

As I pointed out in response to Bill's post, Andruh Jones had 4 seasons of 4 WAA or more, and that matches up with quite a few Hall of Famers already, including Tony Gwynn--although a lot of people with 4 such seasons are not in. Rolen has three such seasons; Marquis Grissom had 1 and thus, for me, clearly doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with A. Jones. Chipper had only 3, mainly because he was a severe defensive liability.

Phil Rizzuto had one such season and does not deserve to be compared with A. Jones either.

7:17 AM Jan 20th
How is Jones more of a candidate than Marquis Grissom? And what sets Rolen apart from Toby Harrah? If the argument is "practically as good as a Hall of Famer based on this statistic" than if Jones and Rolen are in, Grissom and Harrah must follow. I don't think of these as Hall of Famers, but that is just a matter of opinion. To be logically consistent, though, you must argue for them as well.
2:42 PM Jan 19th
Jones also has a case not unlike players like Phil Rizzuto. He was a key part, but clearly not the best player on an historically great team.

Rizzuto's teams got to play in a 1 round playoff in 8 team leagues. Jones' teams had to fight through 3 rounds in 14/16 team leagues.

If the Braves of Jones' era were in the World Series essentially every year, then Jones would have much better visibility in the eyes of the voters.
1:12 PM Jan 19th
"Jones is one of those rare candidates who was so good in one aspect of the game that a case is being made for him based on that alone."

Well unless that aspect is hitting for average, hitting for power or pitching.
12:39 PM Jan 19th
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