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The Hall of Fame Value Standard

January 10, 2019
 In the 2019 Bill James Baseball Handbook, Bill introduced a new stat meant to evaluate worthiness for induction to Cooperstown. He’s called it The Hall of Fame Value Standard.
The Hall of Fame Value Standard (HOF-V) combines two statistics that assess player value -- Win Shares and Wins Above Replacement (the latter is multiplied by four to put it on a similar scale as Win Shares). Summing them produces the stat. A score of 500 is considered to be the bar for Hall of Fame worthiness.

This stat is a good tool to evaluate the position players whose candidacy inspires considerable debate on the most recent Hall of Fame ballot. (We'll look at pitchers next week.)

For example, Larry Walker has an HOF-V of 599.4. On a leaderboard, he would be just behind Hall-of-Famers Willie Stargell (599.9) and Andre Dawson (599.2). Bill rates Larry Walker sixth-best on the list of Hall-worthy position players who are or were eligible, but are not yet in the Hall of Fame (excluding special-circumstance players, such as those suspected of PED use).

Third base is a position that has historically been shunned by Hall of Fame voters. Only 17 third basemen are in Cooperstown, the fewest of any position.Scott Rolen would be a worthy addition by the HOF-V (584.8). Rolen’s combination of offensive and defensive skill is one that is hard for others at the position to match.

The early returns on Edgar Martinez’s vote total indicate he should get elected this year, his final year on the BBWAA ballot. But his candidacy was a polarizing one in previous years. It shouldn’t have been according to this stat. Martinez’s HOF-V is 578.6. For those who say David Ortiz was the best DH of all time, keep this in mind. Martinez has him beat in the HOF-V by 41 points.

As Bill notes, Todd Helton is a challenging case. He’s at 562.8, which easily clears the HOF-V bar. However, his vote total may be kept down by his having played his entire career in Colorado. He will be an interesting candidate to watch over the years as people fully consider his body of work.

Jeff Kent’s voter support has been minimal during his time on the ballot, but by the HOF-V, he’s in, with a score of 560.6. That’s not in the territory of Craig Biggio (690) and Roberto Alomar (645.4), but is still enough to clear the electoral bar.

Fred McGriff hit 493 home runs but wasn’t flashy or a headline-grabber. He just did his job and did it very well. That’s enough to merit election by the HOF-V (552.4), but with this being McGriff’s last year on the ballot, he still doesn’t have the voter support to match his numbers.

Two players barely slide over the 500 line -- Andruw Jones (527.2) and Lance Berkman (521.4). They are among a crowded field of players whom the system deems Hall of Fame-worthy, but by just a little bit. Jones had both a great peak (51 home runs in 2005) and a great defensive reputation (10 straight Gold Gloves). Berkman was a standout middle-of-the-order hitter on an Astros team with two Hall of Famers in Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio.

If you want to check where your favorite player stands in the Hall of Fame Value Standard, go to Bill James Online. The BBWAA will announce the newest inductees on January 22. Happy debating!

2019 HOF Eligible Position Players
Name HOF-V
Barry Bonds 1355.2
Manny Ramirez 685.2
Gary Sheffield 672.0
Larry Walker 598.8
Scott Rolen 584.8
Edgar Martinez 578.6
Todd Helton 562.8
Jeff Kent 560.6
Sammy Sosa 555.4
Fred McGriff 552.4
Andruw Jones 527.2
Miguel Tejada 477.2
Omar Vizquel 464.4
Placido Polanco 383.0
Michael Young 340.4
Vernon Wells 295.0
Kevin Youkilis 288.4
Jason Bay 258.4
Juan Pierre 251.4
Travis Hafner 238.2
Rick Ankiel 95.6

COMMENTS (14 Comments, most recent shown first)

Brock Hanke
I feel like an idiot, but I can't figure out why you multiplied WAR by four instead of three. A Win Share is a third of a win, not a fourth. I am absolutely sure you know this. Can you smack me upside the head with what is probably sitting there two inches in front of my eyes, but still invisible to me?
3:51 PM Jan 23rd
Yeah, I read it the way Mike did, as being prescriptive rather than descriptive, whereas with the earlier standard it was the other way around. Not that many readers didn't regard the earlier standard as prescriptive, as well...
3:32 PM Jan 13th
Thanks, Bill. That makes sense. The article only said "A score of 500 is considered to be the bar for Hall of Fame worthiness" which I read as above that level the player ought to be in.
12:57 PM Jan 13th
500 is not an arbitrarily drawn line. 500 (actually about 505, I think) is the point at which more players are in the Hall of Fame than not. Players around 500 include Jim O'Rourke (512), Orlando Cepeda (511), Joe Kelly (508), Elmer Flick (504), Nellie Fox (500), Edd Rousch (495), Bill Terry (495), Joe Sewell (492), Jimmy Collins (487), Bobby Doerr (486) and Kirby Puckett (485). The line is drawn at 500 because that is the point at which the data breaks in that direction.
11:32 AM Jan 12th
I suspect 500 is more of a "it's not a disgrace to have you in" then a "you definitely deserve to be there" sort of thing

11:32 AM Jan 12th
Looks to me like 500 is rather too low.
5:54 PM Jan 11th
2:25 PM Jan 11th
Potential new stat: CPSAP; Crossword Puzzle Solutions Above Replacement
2:23 PM Jan 11th
Nice to see my favorite non-Hall-of-Famer, Keith Hernandez, clear of the barrier at 552. Throw in his hard-to-quantify leadership skills (the Mets never would have won in '86 without this, if you ask me), the fact that he actually changed the way first basemen played the game and may well be the best defensive 1b of all time, not to mention his superior mustache and top flight crossword-solving ability, and he's well worthy, in my opinion.
1:06 PM Jan 11th
Regarding Munson vs. Simmons: a quick check of Baseball Reference for their respective age 23-31 seasons (1970-77 for Munson; '73-'80 for Simba) reveals a slight edge in offensive WAR for Munson (37.9 to 37.3). Batting lines for this period (.292/.349/.420 for Munson, .300/.374/.472 for Simmons) show Simmons to be the superior hitter. (I assume Munson's speed and Ted's high GDP totals are responsible for the former's edge in WAR).
Conversely, defensive WAR favors Munson more strongly (9.5 to 6.4), as Munson was clearly better at stopping the stolen base.
To me the two players appear to be somewhat comparable overall with a moderate edge to Munson for his defense. Simmons had just a few good years following his age 31 season, while of course, Munson's career ended when his plane crashed during his age 32 season.
12:23 PM Jan 11th
Rolen autocorrects to Rolex. That’s what I get for trying to be funny.
9:07 AM Jan 11th
We, the undersigned, hereby do heartily and unequivocally endorse this method. We recommend immediate instatement of all players with a value over 500.


Larry Walker
Scott Rolex
Gary Sheffield
Lance Beckmann
Jeff Kent
Barry Bonds
Manny Ramirez
9:05 AM Jan 11th
Setting aside which player was actually better, I think the system accurately reflects that longevity works to the advantage of candidates for the Hall. Obviously, a short career isn’t always a hindrance but it certainly doesn’t help.
7:25 AM Jan 11th
Hi, I have to admit that I enjoyed searching for players to view their HOF-V. The problem I have with this stat in looking for potential HOF's, is the longer you play (in most cases), the higher your HOF-V gets. Example, Ted Simmons gets a 516.2, where Thurman Munson gets only a 390.4. Simmons played 10 more years than Munson, which drastically inflates his his HOF-V. Munson was a ROY, MVP and 7x All-Star. Yes, Simmons was a 8x All Star, but in almost double the time as Munson. To me, the stat can be useful if you divide it by the # of eligible seasons. Using the same subjects, Simmons' HOF-V avg over 21 years is 24.58. Munson earns a 35.49 in only 11 years. Munson, a much more dominate player in his sort tenure than Simmons...not even close IMO.

HoFers in my opinion not on this years ballot: Bill Dahlen, Sherry Magee, Lou Whitaker, Dick Allen, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Minnie Minoso and Roger Maris. Oh, and how bout a "hell yeah" for Buck O'Neal!!

Thanks for posting, that was fun to look at.
9:22 PM Jan 10th
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