The Expansion Era Ballot Part III

November 18, 2013

The First Seven Candidates

In Alphabetical Order

1.  Dave Concepcion

                The shortstops on great teams sometimes are granted Hall of Fame stature, even if their hitting numbers don’t make this inevitable.   The 1950s Dodgers and the 1970s Cincinnati Reds, as teams, match up extremely well.    Johnny Bench, Roy Campanella.    Tony Perez, Gil Hodges;  Perez is in the Hall of Fame and Hodges is not, but it is not entirely clear why this should be the case.    Joe Morgan, Jackie Robinson.    Unimpressive starting pitching on both teams. 

                Concepcion’s answer on the 1950s Dodgers was Pee Wee Reese, who is in the Hall of Fame.   This, in essence, is the argument for Concepcion.    Reese played 2,166 major league games, which would probably be about 2,600 were it not for World War II.    Concepcion played 2,488.   Reese had a .743 OPS, against a norm for shortstops in his era of .680; Concepcion had a career OPS of .679, against a norm of .629.     Concepcion hit a career-high 16 home runs, and a career total of 101; Reese hit a career-high 16 homers, and a career total of 126.  Reese was selected to ten All-Star teams and was mentioned in the MVP voting in thirteen seasons; Concepcion was selected to nine All-Star teams, but was mentioned in the MVP voting in only three seasons.

                Pee Wee is not the only Hall of Fame shortstop whose most obvious credential is being a part of a great team; the same can also be said of Phil Rizzuto, Joe Tinker, Hughie Jennings and perhaps others.

                Of course, being part of a great team is not a real qualification for the Hall of Fame to serious analysts; it is, rather, a part of the haze that surrounds the discussion, and prevents us from seeing the players clearly.   In my view, Concepcion fell substantially short of a Hall of Fame career.    I credit him with a career won-lost contribution of 264-242, a winning percentage of just .521:

 

                 

Batting

Fielding

Total

Winning

YEAR

Team

AB

HR

RBI

AVG

OBA

SLG

OPS

W

L

W

L

Won

Lost

 Pct

1970

Reds

265

1

19

.260

.317

.324

.641

4

8

3

1

6

10

.404

1971

Reds

327

1

20

.205

.251

.246

.496

2

14

4

2

6

15

.267

1972

Reds

378

2

29

.209

.270

.272

.541

4

14

5

1

8

15

.360

1973

Reds

328

8

46

.287

.433

.327

.760

9

5

4

0

13

5

.710

1974

Reds

594

14

82

.281

.397

.335

.732

15

11

8

0

22

12

.659

1975

Reds

507

5

49

.274

.353

.326

.679

10

13

9

-1

19

11

.621

1976

Reds

576

9

69

.281

.401

.335

.736

14

11

9

-1

23

10

.686

1977

Reds

572

8

64

.271

.369

.322

.691

11

14

8

0

19

14

.569

1978

Reds

565

6

67

.301

.405

.357

.763

14

9

6

2

20

11

.646

1979

Reds

590

16

84

.281

.415

.348

.764

15

10

8

1

23

11

.669

1980

Reds

622

5

77

.260

.360

.300

.660

11

17

6

3

17

19

.464

1981

Reds

421

5

67

.306

.409

.358

.767

11

6

5

1

16

7

.700

1982

Reds

572

5

53

.287

.371

.337

.707

12

13

7

1

18

13

.586

1983

Reds

528

1

47

.233

.280

.303

.583

6

19

4

2

10

21

.317

1984

Reds

531

4

58

.245

.320

.307

.628

8

16

3

4

11

20

.356

1985

Reds

560

7

48

.252

.330

.314

.645

8

17

4

4

12

21

.368

1986

Reds

311

3

30

.260

.344

.314

.658

5

9

3

1

8

10

.426

1987

Reds

279

1

33

.319

.384

.377

.761

6

5

3

1

9

6

.592

1988

Reds

197

0

8

.198

.244

.265

.509

1

8

2

1

3

9

.266

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
                 

166

219

98

23

264

242

.521

 

 

                Concepcion won five Gold Gloves in his career, in the years 1974-1977 and 1979.    My method agrees that those are his best defensive seasons, and agrees that he was a spectacular shortstop in those years, with a won-lost record 42+1.   Negative one losses; the credit he is assigned for defensive successes is larger than the space allocated to represent his defensive responsibility.   In the rest of his career, his defensive won-lost record was 56-24, which is still extremely good. 

                But he was, at his best, little more than an average hitter, and for his career much less than an average hitter, with a won-lost contribution of 166-219, a winning percentage of .430.   If he was relying on his bat to keep him in the league, he would have had about a ten-year career, 1973 to 1982.     Putting offense and fielding together, I credit him with won-lost contributions of 22-12 (1974), 19-11 (1975), 23-10 (1976), 19-14 (1977), 20-11 (1978), 23-11 (1979), 16-7 (1981) and 18-13 (1982).   That’s a very good player.   But it is not a Hall of Famer.  

                Among the 12 candidates listed here, I would rank Concepcion 11th.

 

2.  Bobby Cox

                Bobby Cox is one of the most successful managers of all time, and an obviously well-qualified Hall of Famer.

                My best effort to discern the Hall of Fame standards for a manager was a three-part series posted here on February 18, 19 and 20 of this year (2013).   The article argued that there are five accomplishments that put a manager in the Hall of Fame:

                1)  Winning Games,

                2)  Winning more games than you lose,

                3)  Winning more games than your team could be expected to win, given their performance in the previous seasons,

                4)  Winning championships (that is, winning the league or the division), and

                5)  Winning the World Series.

                That article. ..that series of articles. ..set up Hall of Fame point totals for managers based on these accomplishments, and the method resulting generally predicts Hall of Fame selection for managers, with some very minor discrepancies and one serious anomaly.   The one serious anomaly is the 1945 selection of Wilbert Robinson, whose record falls far short of the standards met by every other Hall of Fame manager.

                Anyway, Bobby Cox ranks (by that method) as the #3 manager of all time, the third most-qualified manager ever, behind John McGraw and Joe McCarthy.    Among the 12 candidates listed here, I would list him second on my ballot.

 

3.  Steve Garvey

                This is Steve Garvey’s career record, stated as Win Shares and Loss Shares:

 

                 

Batting

Fielding

Total

Winning

Year

Tm

AB

HR

RBI

AVG

OBA

SLG

OPS

W

L

W

L

Won

Lost

 Pct

1969

LA

3

0

0

.333

.333

.333

.667

0

0

0

0

0

0

.521

1970

LA

93

1

6

.269

.355

.310

.665

2

2

1

0

3

2

.516

1971

LA

225

7

26

.227

.382

.290

.673

4

6

3

1

7

7

.516

1972

LA

294

9

30

.269

.422

.312

.734

7

5

3

2

10

7

.588

1973

LA

349

8

50

.304

.438

.328

.766

8

6

2

2

11

7

.590

1974

LA

642

21

111

.312

.469

.342

.811

21

5

5

4

26

9

.748

1975

LA

659

18

95

.319

.476

.351

.827

21

5

5

3

26

9

.750

1976

LA

631

13

80

.317

.450

.363

.813

19

7

6

3

25

10

.715

1977

LA

646

33

115

.297

.498

.335

.834

17

9

5

4

23

13

.638

1978

LA

639

21

113

.316

.499

.353

.852

21

5

5

5

26

10

.719

1979

LA

648

28

110

.315

.497

.351

.848

18

9

4

5

21

14

.597

1980

LA

658

26

106

.304

.467

.341

.808

19

8

4

5

23

14

.624

1981

LA

431

10

64

.283

.411

.322

.732

11

7

3

3

14

10

.572

1982

LA

625

16

86

.282

.418

.301

.718

14

12

5

4

19

16

.535

1983

SD

388

14

59

.294

.459

.344

.802

10

6

2

3

12

9

.571

1984

SD

617

8

86

.284

.373

.307

.680

11

15

4

4

15

20

.435

1985

SD

654

17

81

.281

.430

.318

.748

14

14

5

5

19

18

.506

1986

SD

557

21

81

.255

.408

.284

.692

10

14

2

5

11

19

.372

1987

SD

76

1

9

.211

.276

.231

.507

0

3

0

1

1

4

.132

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
                 

228

141

63

58

291

199

.594

 

 

                Garvey has, by my math, a .617 career winning percentage as a hitter, .522 as a fielder, .594 overall.

                My criteria state that if a player has neither 300 Career Win Shares nor 100 more Win Shares than Loss Shares, that he is not a viable Hall of Fame candidate. . .

                except that that logic fails to persuade, in this particular case.   Those guidelines are intended to help us clarify our thinking about Hall of Fame candidates.   They are not intended to be statistical fiats which we must obey when it is too close to call.    They are not intended to be fiats which we must obey because, to re-state my earlier point, we could be not exactly correct.    We do our very best to calculate precisely what a player’s value to his team has been—I do, Tom Tango does, Sean Foreman does--but our calculations are not perfect.  

                Garvey is the odd case where a player is not only right on the Hall of Fame line with regard to one standard, but very near the line with regard to both standards—300 Win Shares (he has 291) and +100 (he is +92).     In the ordinary case, if we have made a small error in designing our method, the player who is in the gray area might be a fully-qualified Hall of Famer, or he might be a non-qualified.    Garvey is the odd case where our math says that he is not a viable Hall of Fame candidate—but that if he was just a little bit better then he would be not merely a candidate, but a no-questions-asked Hall of Famer.   That’s a logical absurdity; a player can’t be outside the gray area but a small distance from being an obvious Hall of Famer—thus, we have to conclude that Garvey actually IS in the gray area, even though the letter of the law would say that he is not.     Garvey in his career played in 50 post-season games—a lot for his era—and hit .335 in the post-season.   He had the reputation of being a clutch hitter.   If he is given credit for either one of those benefits, he could well be seen as deserving of a plaque. 

                Garvey and Dave Parker. . .Parker is also right on the line with regard to both standards, even more so than Garvey.   Garvey and Parker are contemporary players, both National League Most Valuable Players in the 1970s.   In some ways they are opposites:  an infielder and an outfielder, a right-hander and a left-hander, white and black.   In more profound ways they present the same problems.

                Both Garvey and Parker come with a lot of baggage, and I suspect that most of you know what that is.   They are both flawed human beings, as we all are.   A few years ago, maybe ten years ago, I participated in a made-for-ESPN production in which both Garvey and Parker were also participants.    We spent a day or so spending hours sitting around the green room telling stories, or in my case listening, and I liked both men very much.     I thought then, and I think now, that guys like me have talked too much about their personal failings, that it is really none of our business and we really don’t know that much about it, and we should just shut up about it.

                That is still what I think, and if it seems to conflict with what I am going to say next, I don’t mean it that way.   I am not talking about their personal failings.   But when I am making recommendations for the Red Sox, I don’t recommend that they sign players like Steve Garvey and Dave Parker; I recommend that they avoid signing players like Steve Garvey and Dave Parker.    Garvey and Parker, once they got past their MVP seasons, were pretty good ballplayers who had the reputation of being superstars.   It is my opinion, and I suspect that 99% of General Managers would agree with me, that when you are putting together a championship team, absolutely the last thing you want is a pretty good ballplayer who has the reputation of being a superstar.   What you want is a pretty good ballplayer who will do whatever he has to do to help you win a game, like Ron Cey or Phil Garner or Jonny Gomes.

                In my opinion, Steve Garvey is in the gray area with regard to the Hall of Fame, but would I vote for him?  No.    On this list of 12 candidates, I would rank him 9th.   

 

 

4.  Tommy John

                I know a lady who was going to have Tommy John Surgery, and asked me who Tommy John was.   Tommy John, of course, has given his name not only to the language of baseball but to the language of medicine and to the English language.   John is also the archetype of a family of pitchers:  left-handed, good control, controls the running game, gets ground balls.   A pitcher of that type can win 70% of his decisions with a good team behind him, and John, because his ground ball rate was exceptionally high, defines the category better than any other pitcher.

Tommy John is the polar opposite of Nolan Ryan—Ryan being right-handed, John left, Ryan’s game being dominated by strikeouts and walks, John’s game focused on avoiding them, Ryan getting fly balls, John ground balls, Ryan allowing many, many stolen bases, John relatively few.    In careers of comparable length, Ryan allowed 757 stolen bases; John allowed 240—and with a stolen base percentage far below the break-even point.    Ryan struck out 5,714 batters; John, 2,245.   Ryan walked 2,795; John, 1,259.    Ryan got 314 double plays in his career; John, 604.

 

                 

Batting

Pitching

Total

Winning

YEAR

Team

IP

W

L

PCT

SO

BB

ERA

W

L

W

L

Won

Lost

Pct

1963

Indians

20

0

2

.000

9

6

2.21

0

0

1

1

1

2

.362

1964

Indians

94

2

9

.182

65

35

3.91

1

1

3

8

4

8

.308

1965

Whitesox

183

14

7

.667

126

58

3.09

2

1

11

9

13

10

.584

1966

Whitesox

223

14

11

.560

138

57

2.62

2

1

14

9

16

10

.617

1967

Whitesox

178

10

13

.435

110

47

2.47

1

1

10

8

11

10

.539

1968

Whitesox

177

10

5

.667

117

49

1.98

2

1

15

4

17

5

.765

1969

Whitesox

232

9

11

.450

128

90

3.25

2

2

16

10

18

12

.590

1970

Whitesox

269

12

17

.414

138

101

3.27

3

2

17

12

20

14

.583

1971

Whitesox

229

13

16

.448

131

58

3.61

2

2

9

15

11

17

.388

1972

Dodgers

186

11

5

.688

117

40

2.89

1

2

12

8

13

10

.578

1973

Dodgers

218

16

7

.696

116

50

3.10

2

1

14

8

16

9

.629

1974

Dodgers

153

13

3

.813

78

42

2.59

1

2

11

4

12

6

.650

1975

R e c o v e r I n g   f r o m   t h e   f a m o u s   s u r g e r y

1976

Dodgers

207

10

10

.500

91

61

3.09

1

3

12

8

13

11

.537

1977

Dodgers

220

20

7

.741

123

50

2.78

2

2

16

6

18

8

.702

1978

Dodgers

213

17

10

.630

124

53

3.30

2

2

12

10

14

13

.518

1979

Yankees

276

21

9

.700

111

65

2.96

 

 

18

8

18

8

.700

1980

Yankees

265

22

9

.710

78

56

3.43

 

 

15

9

15

9

.638

1981

Yankees

140

9

8

.529

50

39

2.63

 

 

9

5

9

5

.662

1982

Yankees

186

10

10

.500

54

34

3.66

 

 

9

8

9

8

.540

1982

Angels

35

4

2

.667

14

5

3.86

 

 

2

2

2

2

.536

 

Totals

221

14

12

.538

68

39

3.69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1983

Angels

234

11

13

.458

65

49

4.33

 

 

9

13

9

13

.410

1984

Angels

181

7

13

.350

47

56

4.52

 

 

7

11

7

11

.381

1985

Angels

38

2

4

.333

17

15

4.70

 

 

1

3

1

3

.361

1985

A's

48

2

6

.250

8

13

6.19

 

 

0

5

0

5

.000

1875

Totals

86

4

10

.286

25

28

5.53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1986

Yankees

70

5

3

.625

28

15

2.93

 

 

5

2

5

2

.726

1987

Yankees

187

13

6

.684

63

47

4.03

 

 

10

8

10

8

.581

1988

Yankees

176

9

8

.529

81

46

4.49

 

 

7

11

7

11

.389

1989

Yankees

63

2

7

.222

18

22

5.80

 

 

1

6

1

6

.123

                               
   

4710

288

231

.555

2245

1259

3.34

24

24

267

209

291

233

.555

 

                I mentioned earlier that pitchers often have about the same Win Shares/Loss Shares as their official won-lost record, and John illustrates the point, with an official won-lost record of 288-233, and a Win Shares won-lost record of 291-233.    In his case, what you see is what you get.

                In 1970 John had a 12-17 won-lost record, but earned 20 Win Shares for the only time in his career.   That team lost 106 games; 12-17 was a pretty good record with the 1970 White Sox.   John was 12-17, 3.28 ERA in 1970, 13-16, 3.61 in 1971, which looks pretty much the same—yet we credit him with a .583 winning percentage in 1970, .388 in 1971.   Why?

                The league ERA in 1970 was 3.71; in 1971 it was 3.46.   John’s ERA went up 33 points while the league went down 25.    More significantly than that, the Park Run index was 118 in 1970, 94 in 1971.   The park was hurting John badly in 1970—and perhaps hurting the team.   The White Sox may have moved some fences back, I don’t know, but in any case the park was pitcher-friendly in 1971, hitter-friendly in 1970.     John’s OPS as a hitter dropped 109 points in 1971.   When you add it up. . .he looks the same in 1971, but the impact is quite a bit different.

                I could make an argument, knowing my Win Shares/Loss Shares system as I do, that it discriminates against Tommy John and against Dan Quisenberry.    The argument is this.  The Win Shares/Loss Shares system assigns responsibility to a pitcher based, in part, on his strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed.    Since John had few strikeouts and walks, he is assigned less responsibility, per inning pitched, than Nolan Ryan would be, or Randy Johnson or Tim Lincecum.    Suppose that two pitchers are teammates, and that each of them is 16-11 with a 3.30 ERA.    The Win Shares system might assign the power pitcher a Win Shares won-lost record of 18-12, and the Tommy John type pitcher a record of 14-10.  

                Some people will say, "What kind of sense does that make.   If what they DID was the same, why shouldn’t their records be the same?

                But I know the answer to that argument, and I’m comfortable with my answer to that argument.    That two pitchers may have the same won-lost record and the same ERA does not mean that THEIR performance was the same.   It means that the performance of their TEAMS while they are on the mound happens to be the same.    But if you moved those two pitchers to a different team, the performance of THAT team (with this pitcher on the mound) not only might be different, it would be different.   On a bad team, the power pitcher has a better chance to overcome his team and struggle to a .500 record.   On a good team, the power pitcher will lose more games because he will walk people, and there is nothing the rest of the team can do about it.   So the performance of those two pitchers is NOT really the same; it merely appears to be the same, in this particular context.

                I buy that argument absolutely—except in a few cases, like Tommy John and Dan Quisenberry.   The argument is that the Power Pitcher is controlling the action to a greater extent—but Tommy John (and Quiz) were also controlling the action.   They were controlling the action by forcing the hitters to hit ground balls.    "Getting a ground ball" is different from simply "putting the ball in play".    I buy the argument above when it comes to putting the ball in play; I am less convinced that it accurately describes the expected outcomes for a ground ball pitcher.

                But Tommy John pitched for a lot of really good teams in his career.   He pitched for thirteen teams in his career that won 89 or more games, whereas he pitched for only five teams that finished worse than 79-83.    Most of his career was spent pitching for good teams.   His career won-lost record was 288-233.    We’re crediting him with a won-lost record of 291-233.   I think it’s a fair representation of his skills.

                Would I vote for him?   Well. ..I’m on the fence.  Tommy John is a terrifically nice person, and, as a college math major, was one of the first major league players to express an interest in sabermetrics.   If I heard that he was elected to the Hall of Fame, a smile would break out all over my face.    But I don’t honestly think that I could vote for him, and I would rank him about 10th out of these 12 candidates.  

 

5.  Tony La Russa

                La Russa’s record as a manager is well above the established standards for selection to the Hall of Fame—96% above, according to my math.   He is almost two Hall of Famers.    He should be elected to the Hall of Fame, and on this list of 12 candidates I would rank him fourth.

 

6.  Billy Martin

                Like Dave Parker and Steve Garvey, Billy Martin appears to have squatted directly over the line which is supposed to divide Hall of Famers from non-Hall of Famers, leaving us with little methodological guidance as to his place.   I’m really not anxious to see him in the Hall of Fame, and I would rank him 8th out of these 12 candidates.

 

7.  Marvin Miller

                As most of you know, I knew Marvin Miller, and I admire him greatly.    If the Hall of Fame had a Hall of Fame, Marvin should be in it.

                But Miller, in his last years, stated quite clearly and many times that he did not wish to be in the Hall of Fame.    I first heard him say that maybe fifteen years ago, over lunch, but at the time I took it to be a casual statement.   In the end, it wasn’t a casual statement; Marvin was a fierce person, sometimes, and this was a fierce sentiment.    He told people quite clearly that if they were asked to accept the honor on his behalf, after he was gone, they were to tell the Hall of Fame not "No", but "Hell, No."

                To disregard that clearly expressed sentiment, within months of his passing, would be extremely disrespectful, and it absolutely should not be done.   It should not even be on the table.   Marvin was a great man—but among these 12 candidates, he doesn’t rank in spots one through eleven as a candidate for immediate selection.

 
 

COMMENTS (34 Comments, most recent shown first)

lidsky
Bill,

If your win-shares method undervalues the value of the ground ball pitcher, it seems like it could be adjusted to take into account the value of a groundball. I'm guessing that is "easy" to do mathematically by factoring in the ratio of groundballs to flyballs, but I doubt it was tracked well enough for most of baseball history. Still might be worth adding for the times where it has been tracked.

I also guess for those on the borderline when it wasn't tracked, it may be estimated from box scores.
7:40 PM Nov 23rd
 
lidsky
Tommy John was more than a cooperative patient according to Dr. Jobe. He pushed for it before the Dr. knew what to do. Here is a great short on it:

espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9518611


7:37 PM Nov 23rd
 
hankgillette
Perhaps, in a twist of the old Groucho Marx quip, Miller didn't want to be a member of any club that would accept Bowie Kuhn as a member.
11:40 AM Nov 23rd
 
CWright
How odd that the justification of dishonesty would be respect, but I guess that can happen. But what really bothers me is the assumption without any basis for it is that Miller would want such dishonesty.

I respect Marvin Miller's wish not to be in the Hall of Fame by defending him against criticism for having such a wish. But I understand the distinction that being elected to the Hall does not force one to accept the honor. I don't believe it has ever happened with the baseball HOF, but there are lots of cases of people declining this or that honor for reasons of their own. I've done it twice in my life myself. Miller appears to have had that same awareness in his instructions to his proxies if it came up after his passing. If an electee or their proxy responds to the induction invitation with 'Forget it. the honor is not accepted," then I would not see them as a member of the HOF.

As I wrote, I do not believe Miller would have a problem with people voting for him for the HOF. He simply made a decision that he doesn't want to be a member of the HOF. I don't see these two things conflicting. I personally think that presuming what Miller really meant is that he wanted to impose his will on the judgment of voters -- to pervert their honesty and integrity -- is disrespectful of the man.

To accept the task of voting on these candidates, you are agreeing to make an honest, unbiased, judgment on whether their contributions to the game are worthy of the Hall of Fame.
What would you think of someone who accepted that duty who then allowed their judgment to be swayed by a candidate saying it was their wish to be in the HOF? That would obviously be wrong and show gross disrespect for the task you accepted. How would that be different from allowing your judgment to be swayed by a candidate saying it was their wish NOT to be in the HOF?

That would be just as wrong and I've seen zero evidence that Miller was seeking that. I strongly suspect that if he were still with us, Miller would be perfectly fine with being the one person who was elected to the Hall of Fame but chose not to be a part of it.

9:04 AM Nov 23rd
 
TheComplication
The story I read, for what its worth, is that Mr. Miller and Bowie Kuhn were both being considered for selection by one of the Hall's special committees. Bowie was selected (surprise, surprise) and Marvin was bypassed. Mr. Miller reportedly was incensed by this.

Seems like he had a valid reason for his anger.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong on this.
3:01 AM Nov 23rd
 
OldBackstop
The heavy emphasis that Tommy John had a great record holding runners and preventing steals, specifically comparing him to Nolan Ryan......is that more of a lefty/righty thing? I would like to see numbers comparing lefties as a group to righties as a group in pick offs and steals....poked around a bit but they weren't obvious.
7:52 PM Nov 22nd
 
Steven Goldleaf
The futile part of Miller's pre-emptive rejection of any HoF election he might earn someday is that he has failed to enlist in his campaign to turn down the honor everyone on this planet who might someday accept it in his stead. All the HoF needs is one person to accept it for Miller, and somehow I think the HoF is capable of finding that one person.
3:43 PM Nov 22nd
 
Steven Goldleaf
OK, so John's on the fence and he was a cooperative patient. So: say he had accumulated his stats and THEN had the operation, was a terrific patient, but the arm was no capable of pitching more innings than the Frankenstein monster was of winning "Dancing with the Stars"--does he still get into the HoF for accumulating those stats and also being an excellent patient? Still seems to me you're crediting him with doing something he had only a little input into but which yielded great, long-lasting and influential results, the credit for which goes 99% to Dr. Jobe.
12:39 PM Nov 22nd
 
colbycosh
I take it we understand the difference between a new life form being assembled from existing components and a grown man consenting to a risky, untried experimental surgery--which, incidentally, involved a particularly agonizing recovery because the ulnar-nerve issues weren't yet understood. If the discussion is whether Frank Jobe should be in the Hall, that's another issue altogether...
11:35 AM Nov 22nd
 
Steven Goldleaf
Colbycosh-would you give the Nobel Prize for "creating a life form" to Dr. Frankenstein or to the monster? Or maybe to both? (Hell of an awards ceremony, I'll tell you that.)
10:36 AM Nov 22nd
 
colbycosh
If Tommy John is "on the fence" by virtue of direct on-field contributions anyway, shouldn't the surgical-guinea-pig contribution make him a slam dunk? As I recall, Hall of Fame voters are instructed to consider both personal character and achievements redounding to the benefit of the game as such; plus, as they say, it is a Hall of Fame. I am still surprised and annoyed he isn't in.
9:40 AM Nov 22nd
 
chuck
Awhile ago, Bill wrote a blog article in which Aparicio and Campaneris were compared. Campaneris’ win-loss share record (261-245) is quite close to Concepcion’s 264-242.

Their career groupings of win-loss shares are similar, too:
Campaneris through his 1st 13 seasons, was 223-185 (+38), then was below .500 in each of his last 6 seasons. (I don't have Bill's decimal places for the shares, so these numbers may be off by a little bit).
Concepcion was +57 through his first 13 seasons, then below .500 in five of his last six years.

Campaneris' best stretch was 171-126 (+45), but one has to take out his first four seasons and his last six to get this. Concepcion's best stretch was somewhat better, +77; 190-113 from 1973-1982.

Aparicio’s record was given as 294-292. Close to the 300 win share mark but nowhere near 100 more win shares than loss shares. He had 15 seasons before his decline phase really set in. But over these 15 years he had just +15 more win shares than loss shares, and the best stretch I can find for him was just one more than that, if one removes his rookie season (246-230).
1:12 AM Nov 22nd
 
tangotiger
I don't particularly like the idea of including Dennis Martinez two horrible years in the middle of his career as he battled his demons. I think it's easy enough to suggest that a "unit" is at the seasonal level.
12:22 AM Nov 22nd
 
tkoegel
Bill, could you post Reese's Win Shares-Loss Shares record? Does he look like more of a HOFer than Concepcion?​
12:12 AM Nov 22nd
 
johnc
"Maybe Miller's HOF candicacy should not be on the table, but given that it is, how could you justify the dishonesty of not voting for him when you are so certain that he qualifies?"

Respect.

It isn't complicated.
12:05 AM Nov 22nd
 
CWright
Maybe Miller's HOF candicacy should not be on the table, but given that it is, how could you justify the dishonesty of not voting for him when you are so certain that he qualifies? Is that really what Miller wanted? I don't think so, and my memory of him would be considerably tarnished if it was.

Plain and simple, I would vote for Marvin Miller, and I do not see that at odds with his expressed wish that he did not want to be in the Hall of Fame, and made it clear to those who may be his proxy in dealing with it as a posthumous honor, to firmly not accept it.

I suspect if Mr. Miller was still with us and were elected to the Hall, that in turning it down, he would not criticize those who voted for him and respect that they did their job to their honest best.

6:36 PM Nov 21st
 
hankgillette
Pee Wee is not the only Hall of Fame shortstop whose most obvious credential is being a part of a great team

Perhaps this was not your intent, but your article leaves the impression that Reese, Rizzuto, and Concepción were equivalent players. This is not true.

Using rWAR (since Win Shares are not available), Rizzuto and Concepción total 40 WAR for their careers, although Rizzuto compiled that in over 800 fewer games. Reese, with 66 WAR, is a full 65% better than Concepción in 300 fewer games.

I could see Rizzuto as a marginal HOFer, giving a lot of credit for missed war time service. But Reese missed three full seasons also, and is fully qualified even without extra credit.
5:32 PM Nov 21st
 
hotstatrat
Re: skipping negative WAR seasons. I agree it makes sense to skip negative WAR at the beginning and ending of a player's career - but eliminating negative years in the middle is questionable. You could take that further and eliminate negative months from a player's career - take it further and eliminate bad games. So, the question is where to draw the line. Once a player has established himself as a positive force, it is probably more his own fault if he backslides into negative value or plays hurt as it is a manager's for assuming he was still a good player. If another player can play well enough to avoid being a drag on his team, he deserves credit for that.
4:48 PM Nov 21st
 
Steven Goldleaf
Excellent point about Garvey--a better methodology would have us examine a player's peak WS-WL, not his final numbers. If Willie Mays has gone on playing long enough (and God knows, the mid-70s Mets needed a CFer) he might have passed below the gray area, but he still accomplished what he accomplished.​
3:37 PM Nov 21st
 
jdw
Bill: your OBA and SLG headers are reversed. I was wondering why Davey got on base a lot more than I remembered, then looked a little closer. :-)
3:26 PM Nov 21st
 
Brian
I root for the Cowboys, and my criticism of Troy Aikman over the years was that he needed things to be perfect around him. He wasn't the type to take a mediocre team and get it to overachieve. But when the Cowboys had the pieces in place, he was the perfect quarterback to put them over the top. Thus, 3 championships. So ultimately, despite that criticism, I felt that was a great tradeoff.

It is why I think Tommy John and Dan Quisenberry get a little bump. The better the team was, the more valuable their skillset was. Doesn't that have more value in a franchises' history? A TJ family pitcher putting a contender over the top in their division versus a power pitcher "overcoming a bad team and struggling to a .500 record?"

I stress this is a marginal accounting consideration with a small bump up for Tommy -John- family pitchers already in the gray area . Not looking to revamp the whole sytem.


3:20 PM Nov 21st
 
izzy24
Hi Bill. As far as trying to see if someone is a Hall of Famer, I liked the Win Share Value formula you used in your 2011 HOF ballot articles (Win Shares+(win shares-loss shares)/2). For example, Steve Garvey at 291-199 comes out to a value of 337 which you classified as a type D player. Under type D players (300-349 win share value) you wrote,"Qualified Hall of Fame candidates of a type that are selected more often than not, often after a long wait. In my view there are some players in this range who are good Hall of Fame candidates, and some who are not." That seems to sum up Garvey pretty well.
1:47 PM Nov 21st
 
tangotiger
"Also, this highlights a problem I have with WAR. Many players have negative WAR in their worst seasons, many of which occur when they are near the end of the line. "

How is that a problem with WAR? Why don't YOU simply only count the positive WAR seasons? This is something I personally do.

And when it comes to Hall of Fame, I only count the positive WAA (wins above average).​
12:11 PM Nov 21st
 
tigerlily
I agree with joedimino & chuck that a player should not be allowed to play their way out of HOF status if they had at one time attained that level. For Garvey, he really never got above the gray line at any point in his career. Also, this highlights a problem I have with WAR. Many players have negative WAR in their worst seasons, many of which occur when they are near the end of the line.
12:03 PM Nov 21st
 
sokho
Hmm. The Marvin Miller question is interesting. I am speaking from ignorance as I don't know the context of his wish to not be enshrined, but my first thought is that it is the job of the Hall of Fame (or those it designates to be its decision-makers) to do their best to identify those worthy of the honor, and this is independent of whether an honoree (or his representatives) choose to accept it. Imagine a veteran of an American war who served with great distinction. Suppose this veteran, for whatever reason, becomes disenchanted with the war to such an extent that he proclaims loudly and vigorously that he will never accept any honor bestowed upon him by our great country and, furthermore, tells his friends & family that they should maintain this position on his behalf after he passes. Suppose further that our government chooses to award him the Congressional Medal of Honor to recognize one of the instances during that ware in which he exhibited great valor. It doesn't seem to me that congress would be acting wrongly. In fact, I think there might be a possibility that it would be acting wrongly if it did NOT award him the Medal. Of course, this veteran (or his representatives) need not accept the honor--but it feels like that decision is outside the purview of Congress. If I were a Congressman, I believe (with my limited current perspective) that I would not hestitate to vote for the award's bestowal because I would view my job as identifying those deeds worthy of honoring--while taking as a matter of course that the honoree could refuse the honor.[CR][CR]Obviously, I see the other point of view as well. This is a delicate issue and I recognize that reasonable men could reach different conclusions--or need more time to reach a conclusion (as I probably do--I'm just jotting down my impressions here...).
11:40 AM Nov 21st
 
chuck
I think joedimino has a good point- what was the highest career level of win shares above loss shares that a player achieved before going into his decline? And did the player ever have a stretch in his career where he was 100 WS more than LS?
For the players listed here, Concepcion got to +57 up through 1982 and his best stretch was 1973-1982 (+77).
Garvey was +109 from 1969-1983, also his best stretch.
John was +73 through 1982; his best stretch was 1965-1982, at +78.

John, by the way, also had 1,028 assists to Ryan’s 547, but just 49 errors to Ryan’s 90.
11:27 AM Nov 21st
 
enamee
I'm really surprised to see Garvey do so well in the Win Shares/Loss Shares system (although I shouldn't be surprised, since Bill has published his numbers in previous articles on this site). I personally don't think he quite meets the standard of a Hall of Famer, but I do agree with Joe Dimino's comment -- if your numbers reach a Hall of Fame level, your end-of-career struggles shouldn't drag you back below that level.

Matthew Namee
9:50 AM Nov 21st
 
sbromley
Bill could answer this better and I could be wrong but I thought Miller had said he didn't want to be voted in posthumously.


9:42 AM Nov 21st
 
raincheck
Thanks Bill.

I'm curious. Why did Marvin Miller object to the Hall so? I could understand disliking the owners he negotiated against for so many years (though he beat them so soundly... ), but why the Hall?
9:26 AM Nov 21st
 
DanDanDodgerFan
As a real fan of Steve Garvey and the excellence he brought to my Dodgers, it was disheartening decades ago when I first read Bill's criticism of Garv's low OBP; indeed, at times it seemed as if he considered Garvey the poster child for plate impatience. Thus began my education--it was my introduction to looking past batting average and the Triple Crown numbers generally. So it's ironic that here Bill has inadvertently switched the column headings for OBP and SLG, so that Steve is shown to be getting on base at Ruthian rates. If only it were so...
9:18 AM Nov 21st
 
rgregory1956
Well, Bill, once again you're making me have to think. If I were on the Expansion Era Committee, Marvin Miller would be #1 on my ballot. I already knew that he preferred not being elected, and I respect that sentiment. Still, I find it odd that to honor the man we choose not to honor the man. There's a logic there that seems somehow illogical. I'll probably spend half the day stewing over that. Thanks a lot, Bill.
8:27 AM Nov 21st
 
joedimino
Garvey was 279-173 after 1985 ... That right there puts him in the grey area, and I don't think you should be allowed to play your way to a lower Hall of a fame status once you've established one level - think forward progress as an NFL analogy.

If they are playing you, you have value, and if you are playing below replacement level (not that 11-15 is below, but just in theory), that is the GM/manager's fault not the player's.
8:20 AM Nov 21st
 
3for3
If you cut off Concepcion after his 1982 season, he was 211-142. Still not a HOFer by these methods, but looks a lot better. One of Bill's main criticisms of Palmer's work was that a player can't or shouldn't have negative value. Concepcion seems to have a lot of it.

On another note, why not combine the 2 numbers, WS, and WS over .500? Now the standard would be 400. This is what JAWS does on BB reference. I know, that Bill would rather look at more data, and the 2 numbers would tell a different story. One could get to 380 or so, which would be in the gray area with a very long career, or with a very high peak, and we would want to see that.
8:19 AM Nov 21st
 
ksclacktc
"More significantly than that, the Park Run index was 118 in 1970, 94 in 1971. The park was hurting John badly in 1970—and perhaps hurting the team. The White Sox may have moved some fences back, I don’t know, but in any case the park was pitcher-friendly in 1971, hitter-friendly in 1970."

My recollection having been to a few games there at the time. They put in artificial turf in the infield for a few years (69-75). This of course would impact a ground ball pitcher. They also were moving the fences around in those days. Moving them in after the 68 season and moving them back out again about 1971.
7:41 AM Nov 21st
 
 
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