The Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing for Long and Meritorious Service

December 29, 2018
 
Harold Breaks the Internet
 
That’s right….it turns out it wasn’t Wreck-It Ralph after all. ….
 
The recent announcement that Harold Baines was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era Committee caused a great deal of commotion in the baseball world for a few days. At least that’s the way it felt. Everyone had a reaction to it, most of it negative towards his selection, the committee, and the Hall of Fame process.   I felt like we needed Aaron Rodgers to step in and tell everyone to R-E-L-A-X.
 
Based on various accounts that I’ve seen, here’s a quick summary of the various takes on the subject. I certainly don’t agree with all of these, but these are observations that I heard others make:
 
  • Baines wasn’t nearly good enough
  • It was a horrible selection
  • It may have been the worst selection ever
  • It lowers the bar for future elections
  • Baines wasn’t a great player since he almost never led the league in any hitting categories
  • Baines didn’t get much MVP support during his career
  • Baines was primarily a DH during his career and therefore didn’t bring any defensive value to the table, and didn’t generate enough offense to justify electing him on hitting alone
  • Baines didn’t get selected to many All Star Games
  • The writers soundly rejected Baines when he was on the BBWAA ballot
  • The selection reeked of cronyism at its worst, as Tony La Russa, Jerry Reinsdorf, Pat Gillick, and Roberto Alomar (all of whom had professional relationships with Baines on various teams) were on the committee, and they surely must have influenced the committee’s vote
 
That last point certainly generated a lot of commentary, as many wondered how can you, on the one hand, have entry to the Hall of Fame determined by an initial vote of 400+ writers who possess a fairly diverse set of opinions and vote fairly independently from one another from all over the nation, and then on the other hand have another door controlled by a relatively small group of 16 people who congregate in person to discuss the matter at hand, many of whom may have had close, professional relationships with some of the candidates? 
 
Suppose, for example, if Dave Concepcion were up for review (as he has been from time to time on various Veterans Committees) and Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Tom Seaver, and Hal McCoy were among the committee members? Don’t you think there’s a decent chance that they would be successful in convincing enough of the other committee members to put Concepcion in? I mean, those of us here in Reds Country would no doubt celebrate Concepcion’s honor, but is that a process that we should encourage?
 
In any case…… Baines, the committee, and the Hall of Fame process all took a beating.
 
Would I have voted for Baines? No. 
 
Am I all that bothered by his selection? To tell you the truth, not really. 
 
Should Baines feel bad? Absolutely not. He as much as acknowledged that he gained an advantage by having people on the committee advocate for him, but that’s not his fault. He should feel proud of the honor, and deserves to be treated as a full-fledged member of the Hall of Fame.
 
Well, it’s over. It’s done. Welcome to Cooperstown, Harold. 
 
So, I don’t really want to dwell on the negatives.   There’s nothing I can add to it. There must have been 1,000 articles written attacking this selection in particular and the Hall of Fame process in general. I don’t see any value in making it 1,001.
 
So, is there another angle? Something I can contribute? I think so. I decided to turn it into a fun "what if" exercise.
 
That led me to this……
 
The Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing for Long and Meritorious Service
 
First, I want to be very clear on 2 things in this article.
 
1)      Although it may appear so at times, I am not trying to be critical or condescending towards the selection of Harold Baines to the Hall of Fame

2)      Although it may appear so at times, I am not advocating for any the players mentioned in this article to be inducted into the real Hall of Fame
 
Please keep those in mind as you proceed.
 
Here’s the concept: what if there were a wing of the Hall of Fame dedicated to players like Harold Baines? In my opinion, and the opinion of many, many others, Baines was not a great player in the normal sense that we think of that term. But, that’s focusing on what he was not. What if we focus on what he was?
 
So, what was Baines?
 
  • He was a very good player
  • He played for a very long time
  • He compiled a significant volume of basic stats, including games played, hits, and RBI.
  • He was well respected as a professional and as a teammate
 
Now, the descriptions above apply to a lot of players. Nevertheless, those are all good things, aren’t they? Serving your profession honorably for a long time and achieving a certain level of proficiency, honor, and respect? That’s worth recognizing in some manner, is it not?
 
So, is there a way to honor the best of those types of individuals without implying that they’re as great as Ruth, Mays, or Maddux? Is there a way to identify players like Baines, not just looking for purely statistical comps across basic stat categories (like Similarity Scores does), but maybe coming up with players who are similar across some other criteria? 
 
I decided to try.
 
So, who would make for good candidates for the Harold Baines Wing of the Hall of Fame? I decided to use the following 10 guidelines (understanding that it’s difficult for any individual to meet all 10). You may notice that some of these are somewhat "negative", or at the very least not very positive, such as "received low BBWAA support". Remember, I’m trying to find comparable candidates to Baines, and part of that involves identifying candidates who didn’t fare too well by certain measures. We’re not looking for the best players not currently in the Hall of Fame. This is a different exercise.
 
The Baines criteria I’m using are:
 
  • Played for a lot of years
  • Had a high number of games played
  • Accumulated a large number of hits (or wins for starting pitchers)
  • Had rWAR in the 30 to mid-50’s range (I didn’t want it to be too high, as we’ll see below)
  • Was named to a few All-Star games (but not "too many")
  • Preferably had a Hall of Fame Monitor score below 100, or at least not too far above
  • Had moderate "black ink" (league leadership in certain categories)
  • Didn’t get too much support in annual awards (MVP or Cy Young)
  • Received little BBWAA support while on the writers’ ballot
  • Has notable or unique "positives" that would look good on a résumé
 
Does that sound like a Harold Baines type of Hall of Famer? I think so. You can add in "was respected" or "was considered a good professional" if you like, although that’s certainly subjective.   Still, I think that counts for this exercise.
 
To elaborate a little on each criterion:
 
1)      Number of seasons – Preferably 20 years or more, but I cut some slack to allow 18 or 19 depending on the candidate or the situation.  I tried not to go below 18.

2)      Games played – Generally looking for 2,000 or more (for hitters), or a high number of starts or relief appearances (for pitchers).

3)      Hits (or Wins for Pitchers) – Looking for 2,000 hits or more, but will cut some slack depending on certain positions (like catcher) or circumstances. Over 2,500 hits is even better, as one of Baines’ strongest selling points was his hit total.

For starting pitchers, even though pitcher wins are falling out of favor, I’m generally looking for 220 or more wins, but, again, I will cut some slack depending on the situation. For future elections, we might have to reduce the threshold. We’ll cover relievers later.
 
4)      For rWAR, I’m mostly looking in the 30 to mid-50’s range, but I didn’t want to go much above or below that if I could avoid it. 

Here’s my thought process on that front. Once players start getting much above 50, and especially when they get above 60, they tend to receive a fair amount of recognition and advocacy for their cases already.   I’ve seen where many people have indicated that they consider 60 to be kind of an unofficial "Hall of Fame level". Not a hard and fast rule, of course, but more of a guideline that the player has achieved a certain threshold of quality. Although I use rWAR for a great many things, I don’t adhere to that guideline myself when considering Hall of Fame candidates, but certainly some do.

Players with more than 60 rWAR that are not currently in the Hall of Fame include Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Scott Rolen, Larry Walker, Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, Kenny Lofton, Jim Edmonds, Willie Randolph, Reggie Smith, Buddy Bell, Rick Reuschel, Graig Nettles, Keith Hernandez, Tommy John, and so on.   Several of these players fell off the ballot after one try, but they also generally have their own advocacy campaigns already, as they are often in the discussion when people focus on "overlooked" candidates, in large part due to their relatively high rWAR figures and/or JAWS rankings. They get a lot of attention already.

A lot of these players certainly meet several of the Baines criteria outlined above. However, I didn’t want to turn this into an article where all I do is select a team that suggests players like Whitaker, Nettles, Lofton, Tiant, and Evans. There are other times and places for their cases, and I think several of them will eventually land in the Hall of Fame anyway. I’m not looking for the "best" players who are not currently in the Hall, and I’m not looking for the ones with the most quantifiable value. In this article, I wanted to focus on other players that are more in line with the Harold Baines concept.  
 
5)      All Star games – Baines had 6, so I’m generally looking for players who had somewhere between 1 and 8 (unless they played in a non-All Star game era, in which case I cut them some slack). 

6)      Hall of Fame Monitor Scores – Baines had a score of 66. I don’t want too high of a figure. Preferably something below 100.

7)      Black Ink – Baines only had 3 points of Black Ink. We’re generally looking for others that didn’t have real high Black Ink scores either. 

8)      Award Shares – Baines had only 0.31 MVP award shares, generally receiving very little mention in the annual award voting. We want similar players, with similar award (MVP or Cy Young) track records. If a player won an MVP or Cy Young, I eliminated him from consideration.
 
9)      BBWAA support – Looking for players who were largely rejected by the writers, generally looking for 20% or less, and especially 10% or less. 
 
10)   Notable Positives - Anything that looks good or interesting on a plaque. For example, when Baines retired, he was top 20 all-time in RBI (he’s now down to #34). Also, you can point out that Baines may have very well reached 3,000 hits without the 2 work stoppages that interrupted his career, or that he’s still top 20 in games played. You get the idea. 
 
Note that not meeting one or two criteria doesn’t eliminate you from consideration. We’re trying to look at the overall spectrum.
 
So that’s the quest….to find the "Harold Baines" of each position on the diamond.
 
Around the Diamond
 
So, who would be the best candidates for the Baines Wing of the Hall? For each position, I’ll name:
 
  • My suggestion for the player who best epitomizes the criteria and the spirit of the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.

  • A few notable names who were not considered because they didn’t really meet the criteria of the exercise (such as not having enough years or games played, having too much rWAR, too much BBWAA support, etc.)

  • A few runners-up who were under consideration for the honor.

  • Also, as a reference, I’m also going to include the career leaders for defensive games played at that position.
 
As a benchmark to reference as you look at the other candidates, here is how Baines’ line looks across the criteria we’re reviewing:
 
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
Highest BBWAA %
Harold Baines
22
2,830
2,866
38.7
6
66
3
0.31
6.1%
 
Let’s begin….
 
Catcher
 
I cut some slack on catchers for hits and rWAR, because the standards for catchers are less in those areas than for other positions, in part due to the challenges of the position. 
 
As another observation, a lot of catchers have some pretty decent Hall of Fame Monitor scores, where 100 is considered to be a good (though not automatic) total. Part of the reason is that the point system really rewards catchers with long careers. The system awards 60 points if you catch more than 1,800 games, and also awards a 20-point overall position adjustment for catchers, so if you’re a catcher with a really long career, you’re already at 80 points. Of course, that system was originally designed a long time ago, when 1,800 games at catcher was pretty rare.
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Bob Boone
19
2,264
1,838
27.4
4
102
0
0.03
7.7%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Ted Simmons, Bill Freehan, Jorge Posada, Thurman Munson, Jason Kendall, Jim Sundberg
 
Simmons actually is a pretty good fit on several criteria – he had nearly 2,500 career hits and played 21 seasons, both important criteria for this exercise. However, he’s basically too good for this exercise, and I suspect he’s going to be elected to the real Hall of Fame soon anyway. His last time on a Veterans Committee ballot (the one where Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected), Simmons received 11 of the 16 votes, narrowly missing induction by a single vote.   I suspect he’ll get in soon, so I eliminated him from this exercise.
 
Posada, Freehan, Munson, and Kendall came up short on the longevity front (although Kendall is very high up on the defensive games list), plus Munson won an MVP. Kendall would have been a pretty good fit had he been able to play 3 more years.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
A.J. Pierzynski, Benito Santiago, Lance Parrish, Tony Pena
 
Santiago got in 20 seasons before calling it quits, Pierzynksi and Parrish had 19 each, and Pena had 18. 
 
Pierzynski is a pretty good fit for this exercise, as he appeared in over 2,000 games and generated over 2,000 hits. In addition, he was a pretty good performer in the postseason.
 
Santiago had a period (1987-1992) where I believe he was the best young catching asset in the game, when you combine his value and his youth (22-27 over those years). He took home a Rookie of the Year award, as well as 3 straight Gold Glovers and 4 straight All Star games.
 
Parrish would have been a decent selection as well. There are only 7 catchers with 300 or more home runs – 6 of them are in the Hall (Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter, and Ivan Rodriguez), and the other one is Lance Parrish. Parrish also played in a fairly high number of All Star games (8).
 
Pena also managed a long, productive career behind the plate. He’s 6 in defensive games at catcher with 1,950, was a 5-time All Star, and a 4-time Gold Glove winner. He was a very valuable player in his 20’s, but once he reached 30 he dropped way off.
 
Career leaders for defensive games at catcher:
(*=Hall of Fame)
Player
Def. Games as C
Ivan Rodriguez*
2,427
Carlton Fisk*
2,226
Bob Boone
2,225
Gary Carter*
2,056
Jason Kendall
2,025
Tony Pena
1,950
Brad Ausmus
1,938
A.J. Pierzynski
1,936
Jim Sundberg
1,927
Al Lopez*
1,918
 
Boone’s strong suit is defense, and lots of it – he’s a 7-time Gold Glove winner. The only catchers with more are Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, and Yadier Molina. Boone was held in very high regard, and had a reputation as a very intelligent player.   
 
A big point in his favor for this exercise is that, at the time he retired, Boone held the record for the most games as a catcher with 2,225, having broken the long-standing (about 40 years) record held previously by Al Lopez (note from the table above that Lopez is now down to #10)
 
Carlton Fisk broke Boone’s new mark a few years later, and then Ivan Rodriguez broke Fisk’s record. Boone sits at #3 on the list, and still holds the record for most games as a catcher who’s not nicknamed "Pudge". Boone also was a bit of a pesky hitter in the postseason, where he hit .311 over 36 games, including a .412 mark when the Phillies defeated the Royals in the 1980 World Series.
 
Also notable for his narrative is that he’s part of one of the great mutli-generational baseball families – the son of Ray, and the dad to Bret and Aaron. 
 
Bob Boone gets my nod as the inaugural catcher for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
First Base
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Mickey Vernon
20
2,409
2,495
34.5
7
72
14
1.02
24.9% *
(see below)
 
I put an asterisk next to Vernon’s BBWAA % because he really didn’t receive much support until very late in his time on the ballot. In his first 10 years on the ballot (1966-1975), Vernon peaked at 7.8% before he started getting some double-digit support. So, I cut him some slack on that category.
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Keith Hernandez, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Fred McGriff, Steve Garvey
 
The first 3 above had too much rWAR, and it wouldn’t shock me if any of them eventually makes it in the Hall, although they all have their obstacles.   Also, Hernandez won an MVP, McGwire had 12 All-Star games and his career wasn’t long enough. 
 
McGriff ended up with a little too much BBWAA support, and I think he’ll probably make it in on a Veterans ballot in the future, but otherwise he would have been a viable candidate. 
 
Garvey would have been a good Baines-type candidate except that he had way too many honors – he won an MVP, he had 10 All Star Games, he peaked at over 40% of the writers’ vote…..he ultimately didn’t fit the bill.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
Andres Galarraga, Stuffy McInnis, Bill Buckner, Charlie Grimm, Joe Judge
 
Buckner’s a pretty good match on most of the criteria, but his rWAR is painfully low (only 15.1), as is Charlie Grimm’s (13.4)
 
Career leaders for defensive games at first base:
Player
Def. Games as 1B
Eddie Murray*
2,413
Jake Beckley*
2,383
Fred McGriff
2,239
Mickey Vernon
2,237
Todd Helton
2,178
Mark Grace
2,162
Cap Anson*
2,152
Rafael Palmeiro
2,139
Lou Gehrig*
2,137
Charlie Grimm
2,131
 
 
Vernon had a fascinating career. He was a .286 lifetime hitter. He hit over .300 in only 5 of his 20 seasons, but in two of those he went kind of nuts, winning batting titles in 1946 (.353) and 1953 (.337). 
 
Vernon ended up just shy of 2,500 career hits, but he also served in the military in 1944 and 1945. Those were his age 26 and 27 seasons, and (presuming he would have had good health) he’s probably missing around 300 hits. He was a regular first baseman for the 3 years that preceded his military service, and he averaged close to 160 hits per year during that time, and when he returned in 1946, he posted a 207-hit season, so I think 300 is maybe even a little conservative. That would have put him around 2,800 career hits and a 22-year career, right in that Baines sweet spot.
 
Vernon is 4th in career defensive games at 1B with 2,237. It’s quite probable that, absent the military service, Vernon would sit at the top.
 
Also notable for his narrative is that he played in 4 different decades (1939-1960). OK, some people don’t care for that kind of trivia, but it’s a nice little fun fact for the kiddies….
 
Mickey Vernon gets my nod as the inaugural first baseman for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
Second Base
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Frank White
18
2,324
2,006
34.8
5
81
0
0.00
3.8%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Willie Randolph, Jeff Kent
 
This group meets a lot of the criteria, but the first 3 all compiled too much rWAR for this exercise, and they all get mentioned frequently as overlooked candidates, and Kent won an MVP.

It’s funny, but in a lot of ways, Whitaker embodies a lot of the Baines characteristics – he had a really long career, didn’t generate much support for annual awards, and received very little BBWAA Hall of Fame support. To tell you the truth, I’m one of those who doesn’t really think of Whitaker as a great player in the normal sense. His career rWAR is impressive, but I don’t think of him as a great player – I think he was a good player for a really long time, and had a ton of "good" years, but didn’t really have "great" years. 

Whitaker, however, is a bit of a cause célèbre in Hall of Fame discussions, and I suspect he’ll get in at some point. I think Alan Trammell’s election a year ago is an encouraging sign for his candidacy, as there will be a lot of pressure to have him join his keystone partner in the Hall. Randolph’s case is kind of similar, and he gets mentioned as an overlooked candidate frequently as well. Again, either of them would have made a fine Baines candidate if I didn’t apply the "too much WAR" criteria.
 
Runner-up for the Baines honor:
Tony Taylor
 
I had trouble finding a lot of good alternatives at second base. Either they were short on years, or on games, or on hits, or they were really more suited to "multi position", such as Julio Franco and Tony Phillips, whom I’ll review later.
 
One player that might end up in this category is Brandon Phillips. Phillips is currently at 17 years, 1,902 games, and an rWAR of 31.1. He didn’t play much in 2018, but if he can get in another year, he’s shaping up as a possible contender.
 
Career leaders for defensive games at second base
 
Player
Def. Games as 2B
Eddie Collins*
2,650
Joe Morgan*
2,527
Roberto Alomar*
2,320
Lou Whitaker
2,308
Nellie Fox*
2,295
Charlie Gehringer*
2,206
Willie Randolph*
2,152
Frank White
2,151
Bid McPhee*
2,129
Bill Mazeroski*
2,094
 
As you can see, most of the leaders in games at second base are already in the Hall, the exceptions being Whitaker, Randolph, and White, and, as mentioned earlier, I eliminated Whitaker and Randolph. 
 
The player White is most often compared to is Bill Mazeroski.  If we polled experts on the greatest defensive second baseman of all time, I’m pretty confident Maz would win, and I think second place would be a battle among Ryne Sandberg and Frank White, with maybe Roberto Alomar in the mix, although Alomar’s defensive metrics don’t stack up to the others.   Maybe Joe Gordon, maybe Nellie Fox, maybe Willie Randolph, maybe Nap Lajoie. I personally would go with White as the #2.   The Gold Glove leaders at 2B are Alomar (10), Sandberg (9), Mazeroski (8) and White (8).
 
Near as I can tell, White was a respected ball player and exhibited great joy when he played. He wasn’t much of a hitter, although he did develop some pop as he aged.
 
Frank White gets my nod as the inaugural second baseman for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
Third Base
 
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Gary Gaetti
20
2,507
2,280
42.1
2
52
1
0.26
0.8%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Graig Nettles, Buddy Bell, Ken Boyer, Sal Bando, Dick Allen, Scott Rolen
 
Allen could be listed under either 3B or 1B, but either way, he did win an MVP (as did Boyer) and I think he’ll eventually be elected. He’s out of the running.
 
Third base is overflowing with players like this…..players with high career rWARs who didn’t get much in the way of support from the BBWAA, but all of whom have their advocates for the real Hall. I think at least a couple of this group might eventually be elected by a Veterans Committee. 
 
In some ways, I kind of regret not selecting Nettles for this honor because he fits a lot of the criteria, but I personally think he’s the best 3B not currently in the Hall, and I think he eventually gets in (although the committee members might have trouble getting past his .248 average).
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
Lave Cross, Jimmy Dykes, Aramis Ramirez
 
Career leaders for defensive games at third base:
Player
Def. Games as 3B
Brooks Robinson*
2,870
Adrian Beltre
2,759
Graig Nettles
2,412
Gary Gaetti
2,282
Wade Boggs*
2,215
Mike Schmidt*
2,212
Buddy Bell
2,183
Eddie Mathews*
2,181
Ron Santo*
2,130
Aramis Ramirez
2,112
 
So, even with my regrets over Nettles, I think Gaetti is a good option here (Nettles is Gaetti’s #1 comp on Similarity Scores, and Gaetti is Nettles’ #2 comp). Gaetti is 4th in career defensive games at 3B, had a 20-year career, was a 4-time Gold Glove winner, and is top 10 among third basemen in both HR and RBI.
 
Gary Gaetti gets my nod as the inaugural third baseman for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
Shortstop
 
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Bert Campaneris
19
2,328
2,249
53.1
6
76
18
0.42
3.1%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Omar Vizquel, Bill Dahlen, Jimmy Rollins
 
VIzquel has already received too much support from the BBWAA (nearly 40%) for this exercise. Dahlen would be a good choice, but his rWAR is over 70, and he gets mentioned frequently as an overlooked candidate from baseball’s early years. Rollins won an MVP.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
Dave Concepcion, Dick Bartell
 
Career leaders for defensive games at shortstop:
Player
Def. Games as SS
Omar Vizquel
2,709
Derek Jeter
2,674
Luis Aparicio*
2,581
Ozzie Smith*
2,511
Cal Ripken*
2,302
Jimmy Rollins
2,227
Larry Bowa
2,222
Luke Appling*
2,218
Dave Concepcion
2,178
Rabbit Maranville*
2,153
 
Bert Campaneris is #14 on the list.
 
Campaneris was a similar offensive shortstop to Luis Aparicio. They both compiled around a .260 average and .310 OBP with league-leading base stealing skills, and usually hit in the #1 or #2 slot in the batting order.   Aparicio led the AL for 9 straight seasons (1956-1964) in steals, and then Campaneris took over from there, leading the AL in 1965-1968, and again in 1970 and 1972 (hence Campy’s relatively decent black ink score above). Between the two, one or the other led the league for 15 out of 17 seasons (Campy was 2nd to Tommy Harper in 1969, and was 4th in 1971 behind Amos Otis, Freddie Patek, and Sandy Alomar Sr.).   Although Campaneris was considered a decent defensive shortstop, Aparicio was generally considered much better.
 
Campaneris and Concepcion were 2 of the more prominent shortstops of my youth, each one considered a key component of talented dynasties. Campy’s A’s won 3 straight championships in ’72-’74, followed by Concepcion’s Reds in the next 2 seasons. Campaneris appeared in 6 postseasons in the ‘70’s, and Concepcion was in 5 (he was injured in 1973). Campaneris has kind of faded behind more prominent stars on those A’s team - Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Rollie Fingers are in the Hall, while Sal Bando and Gene Tenace have gotten some notoriety post-career as being more valuable than generally given credited for during their careers, no doubt helped by their JAWS rankings (Tenace is 13 among catchers, Bando is 16 among third basement). At the time, though, I remember a lot of credit and respect being thrown Campy’s way as being a real key to the A’s success. He’s probably not a legitimate Hall of Famer, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to consider him a top-20 to 25 shortstop.
 
Campaneris’ display can call out the time he played all 9 positions in a game, as well as his status as one of the all-time great bunters. Again, fun facts for the kiddies…..
 
Bert Campaneris gets my nod as the inaugural shortstop for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
Left Field
 
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Luis Gonzalez
19
2,591
2,591
51.8
5
103
5
0.62
0.9%
You can give Gonzo some bonus points for having exactly the same number of games played and hits.
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Manny Ramirez, Minnie Miñoso, Sherry Magee, Bob Johnson
 
It is one of my ongoing hopes that, someday, Miñoso will be inducted into the real Hall of Fame. He’s been close in recent Veterans Committee results, getting 9 votes in 2011 and 8 votes in 2014 (he needed 12). 
 
Johnson was a terrific player, but his career was just a bit on the short side. Same goes for Magee. Manny’s rWAR is way too high.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
Dusty Baker, Jose Cruz
 
Career leaders for defensive games in left field:
 
Player
Def. Games as LF 
Barry Bonds*
2,715
Rickey Henderson*
2,421
Luis Gonzalez
2,418
Zack Wheat*
2,328
Lou Brock*
2,161
Ted Williams*
1,982
Tim Raines*
1,961
Goose Goslin*
1,947
Carl Yastrzemski*
1,912
Joe Medwick*
1,790
 
Gonzlalez is the only one from the above list not in the Hall.
 
Gonzalez had some suspicion surrounding him around his late career power surge. Gonzalez didn’t generate much excitement through age 30 – he was roughly a .270-type hitter, about 10-15 home runs a year. For Arizona, though, he turned into a near .300 hitter, near .400 OBP, averaging around 28 home runs a year, peaking with his eye-popping 57 home runs in 2001. In subsequent years, suspicion began to arise about his sudden spike, but Gonzalez always denied doing anything wrong, and I don’t believe anything was ever proven. 
 
Luis Gonzalez gets my nod as the inaugural left fielder for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
 
Center Field
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Steve Finley
19
2,583
2,548
44.3
2
72
4
0.13
0.7%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Kenny Lofton, Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds, Fred Lynn, Dale Murphy, Willie Davis
 
Lofton, Jones, Edmonds, and Davis are all north of 60 rWAR. Lynn and Murphy are both MVP winners.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
Vada Pinson, Johnny Damon, Torii Hunter, Doc Cramer (Al Oliver too, but see below)
 
Career leaders for defensive games in center field:
Player
Def. Games as CF 
Willie Mays*
2,829
Tris Speaker*
2,691
Steve Finley
2,314
Willie Davis
2,239
Ken Griffey Jr.*
2,145
Ty Cobb*
2,096
Doc Cramer
2,027
Brett Butler
1,987
Kenny Lofton
1,984
Richie Ashburn*
1,980
 
Lots of really good candidates at this position. Oliver, Damon, and Pinson all have over 2,700 hits, so they rate really on the Baines scale in that category, but they don’t match quite as well on some of the other criteria.  
 
Oliver might be just a bit "too good" for this exercise. He actually had some pretty decent MVP finishes during his career, and he also had some pretty good black ink numbers, mostly stemming from his stellar 1982 season where he led the league in hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, and batting average. In any case, since Oliver split his time among CF, 1B, and LF, I decided to move him to the "multi position" category later in the review rather than slotting him here.
 
Hunter would have fit the bill too with 19 years, over 2,400 hits, and a stellar defensive rep (9 Gold Gloves), although he moved to RF for the last 5 years of his career, so he’s nowhere near the top of the defensive games in CF list.
 
Doc Cramer is a good fit too, although his rWAR is exceedingly low at only 8.5. I wondered at first if that was the lowest ever for any player with a 20-year or more career, but I did find a couple lower – Jack O’Connor, who played from 1887-1910 primarily as a catcher, outfielder, and first baseman had 8.3, and Luke Sewell (Joe Sewell’s brother and Rip Sewell’s cousin) who played mostly for Cleveland in the 20’s and 30’s had a miniscule 3.8 figure despite being a pretty decent defensive catcher by reputation.
 
I think any of the contenders would have been a fine selection. Finley did end up with a 19 year career, he is #3 on the defensive games list for CF, and he fit the other criteria pretty well, so I went with him.
 
In one of those "we can make a club" distinctions, Finley’s narrative includes membership in the exclusive 300 HR/300 stolen base/2,000 hit club (Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran). Finley is surely the "worst" relative member of that club, as Bonds, Mays, Dawson, and A-Rod all hit a lot more homers, but it’s still a pretty nice accomplishment. 
 
By the way, if you change the parameters a little to 250/250/2,500, it’s a little larger group (12), and I would say that Finley (and probably Pinson) are the ones that seem a little out of place relative to the others:
 
Name
H
HR
SB
Derek Jeter
3,465
260
358
Willie Mays*
3,283
660
338
Alex Rodriguez
3,115
696
329
Craig Biggio*
3,060
291
414
Rickey Henderson*
3,055
297
1406
Barry Bonds
2,935
762
514
Andre Dawson*
2,774
438
314
Vada Pinson
2,757
256
305
Carlos Beltran
2,725
435
312
Gary Sheffield
2,689
509
253
Steve Finley
2,548
304
320
Joe Morgan*
2,517
268
689
 
Steve Finley gets my nod as the inaugural center fielder for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
Right Field
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Rusty Staub
23
2,951
2,716
45.8
6
59
4
0.37
7.9%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Dwight Evans, Gary Sheffield, Reggie Smith, Bobby Abreu, Sammy Sosa, and Dave Parker
 
Evans, Sheffield, Smith, and Abreu are 60+ in rWAR. Sosa and Parker both won an MVP.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
There weren’t a lot of great candidates outside of Staub who qualified. The best I could find were Ken Griffey Sr. and Ruben Sierra. Sierra is a player that looked like he could become a Hall of Fame type early in his career, but he basically peaked at 23. He had a few good years after that and did end up with a 20-year career, but spent the last decade of his career bouncing around the Majors.
 
Career defensive games leaders in right field
 
Player
Def. Games as RF 
Roberto Clemente*
2,305
Paul Waner*
2,250
Harry Hooper*
2,183
Hank Aaron*
2,174
Mel Ott*
2,161
Tony Gwynn*
2,144
Dwight Evans
2,092
Al Kaline*
2,031
Sammy Sosa
2,015
Bobby Abreu
1,990
 
Staub didn’t make the right field games leaders, but he did play more right field than anything (including DH), and ended up with almost 3,000 games in total. Staub is #13 on the list of overall games played (disregarding defensive position).
 
Staub is probably the quintessential member of the Baines Hall of Fame. He’s a great match for Baines across the board. Here, take a look at them next to each other:
 
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Rusty Staub
23
2,951
2,716
45.8
6
59
4
0.37
7.9%
Harold Baines
22
2,830
2,866
38.7
6
66
3
0.31
6.1%
 
Hard to find a better match than that.
 
Staub only played in one postseason (1973 with the Mets), but performed well, hitting 4 HR’s over 11 games with a .341/.413/.683 slash line.
 
By the way, an active player that we’re keeping our eye on is Nick Markakis. He already is 12th on the all-time list in defensive games played in RF with 1,942, and he’s reached that level in only 13 seasons. If he plays three more full seasons in RF, he would surpass Clemente in the top slot on the list.  
 
Markakis is shaping up as an outstanding candidate for this honor – he already has over 2,200 hits, he only has 1 All Star game, and has appeared in only 1 MVP voting (last year, when he finished 18th).   He just turned 35 last month. He has a shot at 3,000 hits, but my guess is that he comes up short. 
 
Nick, we’re watching you closely…..
 
Rusty Staub gets my nod as the inaugural right fielder for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
 
Designated Hitter
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Hal McRae
19
2,084
2,091
27.9
3
49
9
0.77
0.0%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Let’s see….Don Baylor won an MVP (he was more LF than DH at least for that year). He’s eliminated. Travis Hafner’s career was way too short.
 
It’s been a good year for DH’s with Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines both going into the Hall this year.
 
I like McRae for this spot. My earliest memories of him were when he was part of a strong rookie class in 1970 with Cincinnati (McRae, Bernie Carbo, Wayne Simpson, Don Gullett, Milt Wilcox, Dave Concepcion), and he was a fun, hustling player. Chili Davis is a good fit as well, but he split his time between outfield and DH, so I listed him under the multi position players.
 
McRae was essentially the first DH for whom you could say that he made the role his own. By my count, there are only 3 players who combined a long career with playing primarily (which I’m defining as 60% or more of their games) at DH: David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez, and Hal McRae (Brian Downing was about equal parts DH, LF, and C). Martinez is well on his way to being elected this year, and Ortiz will likely go in pretty quickly once eligible (I think he’ll be a first ballot inductee.  I guess this can be McRae’s consolation prize.
 
Hal McRae gets my nod as the inaugural designated hitter for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing.
 
Multi Position
 
My picks for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
 
I picked 6 multi-positional players. These are players who weren’t able to accumulate a lot of games at a single position because they tended to split their time among 2 or more spots. I also did so in such a way that, if this were a real "team", we’d have one or capable "backups" at each position.
 
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Julio Franco
23
2,527
2,586
43.5
3
58
5
0.18
1.1%
Tony Phillips
18
2,161
2,023
50.9
0
26
7
0.03
0.2%
Al Oliver
18
2,368
2,743
43.7
7
116
16
1.25
4.3%
Chili Davis
19
2,435
2,380
38.3
3
30
0
0.06
0.6%
Darrell Evans
21
2,687
2,223
58.8
2
42
8
0.17
1.7%
Brian Downing
20
2,344
2,099
51.5
1
20
2
0.14
0.4%
 
I almost put Franco at second base, but he’s really more of a multi-position player. He had between 300 and 800 appearances at shortstop, second base, first base, and DH. 
 
Franco is a great fit for this team. He had almost 2,600 career major league hits in a 23-year career, making his final appearance at age 48.   However, he also played many other seasons in other leagues, including time in Mexico, Japan, and Korea. If you count players’ total professional hits (which includes minor leagues and other professional leagues, as well as MLB postseason hits), he’s part of the very exclusive (9 members) 4,000 hit club.
 
From the "BR Bullpen" section on baseball-reference.com, here are the current members of the 4,000 hit club, along with the hits that they have tallied in their various forms:
Name
Years
Major League Hits
Minor League Hits
Other Hits
Postseason Hits
Total Hits
Notes
Pete Rose
1960-1986
4,256
427
-
86
4,769
 
Ichiro Suzuki
1992-2018
3,089
-
1,278
27
4,394
1
Ty Cobb
1904-1928
4,189
166
7
17
4,379
2
Hank Aaron
1952-1976
3,771
324
125
25
4,245
3
Derek Jeter
1992-2014
3,465
554
-
200
4,219
 
Jigger Statz
1919-1942
737
3,356
-
-
4,093
 
Minnie Minoso
1945-1993
1,963
1,144
966
-
4,073
4
Julio Franco
1978-2014
2,586
980
442
22
4,030
5
Stan Musial
1938-1963
3,630
371
-
22
4,023
 
 
Elaboration on the Notes Column, per baseball-reference.com:
1 - Other hits are in Nippon Pro Baseball
2 - Other hits are in professional games in Cuba
3 - Other hits include 84 in Puerto Rican League and 41 in Negro Leagues
4 - Minor league hits include 715 in Mexican League; other hits include 838 in Cuban League and 128 in Negro Leagues.
5 - Minor league hits include 348 in Mexican League; other hits include 286 in Nippon Pro Baseball and 156 in the Korea Baseball Organization
 
As mentioned in the CF review, Oliver, who primarily split his time between CF, 1B, and LF, is almost "too good" for the criteria, as he actually did pretty well on black ink and he did have some decent MVP ballot finishes. But, I think he’s a good overall fit.
 
I had to find a place for Phillips even though he never made an All Star team. I think he’s the best true multi-positional players (or whatever term you want to apply to him) that we’ve seen. Well, I guess it depends how you define it – certainly Honus Wagner, Pete Rose, Jackie Robinson, and Stan Musial, among others, were all-time greats who could be considered in that vein as well, but I think a distinguishing factor is that Phillips rarely went through a season with a regular, established position, and was a true wonder who rotated all over the diamond on a regular basis. Ben Zobrist, who’s still active, is wonderful too, but he hasn’t quite reached Phillips’ longevity yet (Zobrist has played 13 seasons, and is 37 years old).
 
Davis nearly made this squad as the DH, but I decided to go with Hal McRae instead and put Davis (who split his career fairly evenly between the outfield and DH) in this category.
 
Evans split his career mostly between 1B and 3B, and was the epitome of an underrated player, as highlighted by Bill James in the New Historical Abstract. He stretches the rWAR limits of the players I was considering.
 
Downing had one of the great transformations of all-time, starting off as a relatively light-hitting catcher with the White Sox, but eventually becoming a consistently productive left fielder and designated hitter for the Angels, generally hitting 20-29 home runs a year drawing a good number of walks, enough to result in a healthy .370 OBP. Downing ended up with his career games split fairly evenly between left field, DH, and catcher
 
Starting Pitchers
 
My picks for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
I allowed 7 starting pitchers:
 
Player
Years
Games Started
Wins
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Jamie Moyer
25
638
269
49.9
1
56
3
0.20
2.4%
Charlie Hough
25
440
216
38.5
1
56
7
0.00
0.8%
Dennis Martinez
23
562
245
49.0
4
67
17
0.05
3.2%
David Wells
21
489
239
53.6
3
87
24
0.55
0.9%
Frank Tanana
21
616
240
57.6
3
55
9
0.23
0.0%
Jack Quinn
23
443
247
57.2
0
63
10
0.08
3.4%
Bobo Newsom
20
483
211
47.9
4
69
15
0.74
9.4%
 
Top players eliminated because they didn’t fit the Baines criteria well: 
Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, Rick Reuschel, Tommy John all had too much rWAR. Jim Kaat would be a really good fit, but he had a little too much support from the BBWAA, so I eliminated him.
 
Runners-up for the Baines honor:
Jerry Reuss, Sad Sam Jones, Jerry Koosman
 
Leaders in career starts by pitchers:
 
Pitcher
Games Started
Cy Young* 
815
Nolan Ryan* 
773
Don Sutton* 
756
Greg Maddux* 
740
Phil Niekro* 
716
Steve Carlton* 
709
Roger Clemens 
707
Tommy John 
700
Gaylord Perry* 
690
Pud Galvin* 
688
Bert Blyleven* 
685
Tom Glavine* 
682
Walter Johnson* 
666
Warren Spahn* 
665
Tom Seaver* 
647
Jamie Moyer 
638
Jim Kaat 
625
Frank Tanana 
616
Early Wynn* 
611
Robin Roberts* 
609
 
Moyer is my favorite pick among the pitchers as a Baines honoree. I think he epitomizes the spirit of this exercise. He was never a great pitcher, but he had a fascinating career, and he eventually became a good pitcher, and managed to hang around for 25 years, pitching until he was nearly 50 years old, and finishing in the top 20 of career starts.
 
I cut Hough a little slack on the wins category because he didn’t really become a full-time starting pitcher until his mid-30’s. Most pitcher wins in age 35 season or older:
 
*=Hall of Fame
Yellow=Harold Baines Honorees
 
Name
W
Phil Niekro*
208
Cy Young*
192
Jamie Moyer
180
Warren Spahn*
180
Jack Quinn
163
Randy Johnson*
160
Charlie Hough
147
Roger Clemens
141
Gaylord Perry*
137
Nolan Ryan*
135
 
Hough could have been listed as a "hybrid" pitcher, as he had 440 starts with another 418 appearances in relief.
 
Martinez gained a lot of notoriety in recent years by having career totals similar to Jack Morris, and he was often brought up as a counter-example when people would make a case for Morris for the Hall of Fame:
 
Martinez 245-193, 3.70, 106 ERA+, 4,000 innings pitched over 23 seasons, 4 All-Star appearances
Morris 254-186, 3.90, 105 ERA+ 3,824 innings pitched over 18 seasons, 5 All Star Appearances
 
Morris, of course, generally did better in Cy Young Award balloting (though he never won one), and Morris had a much higher Hall of Fame Monitor 122-67. Morris did the things that get you noticed, including being a key member of 3 World Champions.
 
Martinez has his own accomplishments, of course, including leading the league in ERA in 1991 at age 37.   From ’87 to ’92, he was one of the stingiest pitchers around, yielding an ERA of 2.81 (only Roger Clemens was lower among starters over that span.
 
Wells had a long, interesting career. He gets a little overlooked because his career ERA is over 4.00, but his ERA+ is a decent 108. He only received support in 2 Cy Young Award votes, but in both cases he finished in third place (1998 with the Yankees, and 2000 with the Blue Jays). Late in his career, he led his league 4 times in a 7-year span in fewest walks per 9 innings. The 4 times leading the league in this category ties him for 9th all-time, with the likes of Juan Marichal, Robin Roberts, Babe Adams, Fred Hutchinson, Cliff Lee, and Ted Lyons.
 
Tanana had one of the great transformations of all time. He started as a young, dynamic, strikeout pitcher (peaking at 9.4 K/9 as a 21-year old, led the league in ERA as a 23-year old), and formed a dynamic duo on the Angels with Nolan Ryan for several years, but he eventually relied more on guile to survive, striking out closer to 5 per 9 innings over the balance of his career.
 
Quinn pitched from 1909-1933, mostly with the Yankees, the Athletics (Philadelphia), and the Red Sox, making his final appearance just after he turned 50 years old. Like Mickey Vernon, he’s one of the few players whose career spanned 4 decades.
 
Quinn tallied 0 All Star appearances, but the All-Star game didn’t exist until his final season. His best professional season was 1914 for the Baltimore Terrapins of the Federal League when he went 26-14 (he then followed up by leading the same league in losses the next year with 22).   He is the oldest player to start a World Series game (1930 for the Athletics, age 47). Interestingly enough, until Julio Franco hit one at age 47 in 2006, Quinn previously held the distinction of being the oldest player to hit a home run (age 47, in 1930).
 
Newsom is one of my favorites, and he had a wild ride over his 20 year career. Like Vernon and Quinn, his career spanned 4 decades (1929-1953). You can get dizzy just looking at his baseball-reference.com page, as it’s one of the longer ones you’ll see, not just because he pitched 20 years, but because he changed teams in mid-season 8 times, so there are a lot of lines in his record. He won 20 games 3 times….and lost 20 games 3 times. As someone once noted (I’m not sure who it was), it takes a pretty good pitcher to keep getting enough opportunities to lose 20.
 
Newsom pitched 8 seasons for the old Washington Senators, spread out over 5 different stints with the franchise. Seems they couldn’t get enough of him (or they easily tired of him, or both). He had a career ERA of 3.98, but his career ERA+ was a decent 107.  
 
Newsom’s peak was during the 1939 and 1940 seasons, when he was probably the second best pitcher in the league behind Bob Feller. He played a major role in the 1940 World Series. Newsom’s Tigers lost 4-3 to the Reds, but he was one of the big stars, throwing 3 complete games (including a shutout), ending with a 2-1, 1.38 mark for the series. 
 
Relief Pitchers
 
 
My picks for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
 
I allowed myself 3 relievers:
Player
Years
Games
Saves
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
John Franco
21
1,119
424
23.5
4
109
9
0.01
4.6%
Jesse Orosco
24
1,252
144
23.2
2
49
1
0.16
0.2%
Lindy McDaniel
21
987
174
27.9
2
38
12
0.06
0.7%
 
Leaders in games pitched:
 
Pitcher
Games Played
Jesse Orosco 
1,252
Mike Stanton 
1,178
John Franco 
1,119
Mariano Rivera 
1,115
Dennis Eckersley*
1,071
Hoyt Wilhelm*
1,070
Dan Plesac 
1,064
Mike Timlin 
1,058
Kent Tekulve 
1,050
LaTroy Hawkins 
1,042
 
For relievers, I primarily focused on pitchers that played for 20 seasons or more.
 
I think Franco is probably the best fit for a Baines honor – he pitched a very long time and is high up in a couple of key basic categories (5th in saves, 3rd in appearances), but generally wasn’t thought of as a "dominant" type reliever. He wasn’t a come-in-and-blow-the hitter-away kind of closer – he had more of a normal-level fastball but with a change-up that acted a bit like a screwball. Where as most of the all-time saves leaders struck out more in the range of 8 to 10 batters per 9 innings, Franco was closer to 7 per 9. But, he was a pretty effective pitcher for a really long time.   As a Reds fan, I’d choose him as my all-time Reds closer (over the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Clay Carroll, Francisco Cordero, and Danny Graves).
 
Orosco and McDaniel didn’t accumulate a ton of saves relative to some others, but they were both successful in their roles for a long time. After about a 5-year period where Orosco was either the primary or co-closer for the Mets (typically sharing opportunities with Doug Sisk or Roger McDowell), he embarked on a 16-year tour around the Majors as perhaps the quintessential LOOGY, averaging around 55 appearances, 44 innings, and 2 saves per season, changing teams every 2-3 years or so. Orosco remains the all-time leader in pitching appearances. 
 
McDaniel had a long career and led the NL in saves 3 times in a 5-year span, but pitched in an era when relievers might lead the league with 20 or so saves, but would generally accumulate more wins. In the 3 years that McDaniel led the league in saves, he saved 16, 27, and 22 games. In those same 3 seasons, he had 14, 12, and 13 wins. His best season was in 1960 as he led the league in saves with 27 and winning percentage with .750 (12-4 record), and finished 3rd in the Cy Young award voting and 5th in the MVP.
 
Hybrid/Swing Pitchers
 
My pick for the Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing:
Player
Years
Games
Wins
Saves
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
BBWAA %
Tom Gordon
21
890
138
158
34.9
3
44
3
0.00
0.4%
 
You ready for a new junk stat?  I’m sure you’re familiar with Power-Speed Number, a Bill James creation which combines home runs and steals into a single figure, placing weight on the balance of the two things being measured, so that you have to do well in both to rate well. Power-Speed Number is the harmonic mean of home runs and stolen bases.
 
Not sure if anyone has calculated this before, but I was looking for something that could give me a quick and dirty measure of pitchers that were utilized a fair amount in both the role of a starting pitcher and (specifically) the role of a closer. So, I calculated the harmonic mean of games started and saves. I’m calling it "Start-Save Number".
 
Well, as you probably would have guessed, Dennis Eckersley dominates this measure or that another Hall of Famer (John Smoltz) is a solid #2, but there are some other interesting names as well. Gordon is a solid #3 in this metric:
 
Name
Start-Save Number
Games Started
Saves
Wins
Dennis Eckersley*
374.9
361
390
197
John Smoltz*
233.3
481
154
213
Tom Gordon
177.7
203
158
138
Jose Mesa
146.6
95
321
80
Ron Reed
143.4
236
103
146
Ron Kline
141.0
203
108
114
Derek Lowe
140.1
377
86
176
Ryan Dempster
139.4
351
87
132
Rick Aguilera
139.1
89
318
86
Dave Giusti
138.7
133
145
100
Dave Righetti
131.5
89
252
82
Firpo Marberry
131.2
187
101
148
Stu Miller
116.0
93
154
105
Ellis Kinder
111.1
122
102
102
Jeff Russell
110.9
79
186
56
 
Of course, this stat doesn’t necessarily reflect how well they may have pitched, just the fact that they combined a lot of starts with a lot of saves, in a decent balance. Smoltz, Eckersley, Reed, Gordon, Kline, Marberry, Giusti, and Kinder are the only pitchers to start 100 games or more and save 100 or more games. 
 
So, I’m going with Tom Gordon as my "hybrid" pitcher for this exercise. He pitched a long time (21 seasons), and had some degree of success in both roles.
 
Recap
 
To recap, here is the inaugural roster of The Harold Baines Hall of Fame Wing for Long and Meritorious Service. Now, this is a lot of players being honored at once (26), but once I got going, I found it hard to stop.   It was kind of like eating Lay’s potato chips.
 
I’m really just trying to get the wing established and populated so that there are enough displays to look at. After this, if it took hold, we could add to it slowly.
 
Position Players:
Pos
Player
Years
G
Hits
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
Highest BBWAA %
C
Bob Boone
19
2,264
1,838
27.4
4
102
0
0.03
7.7%
1B
Mickey Vernon
22
2,409
2,495
34.5
7
72
14
1.02
24.9%*
2B
Frank White
18
2,324
2,006
34.8
5
81
0
0.00
3.8%
3B
Gary Gaetti
20
2,507
2,280
42.1
2
52
1
0.26
0.8%
SS
Bert Campaneris
19
2,328
2,249
53.1
6
76
18
0.42
3.1%
LF
Luis Gonzalez
19
2,591
2,591
51.8
5
103
5
0.62
0.9%
CF
Steve Finley
19
2,583
2,548
44.3
2
72
4
0.13
0.7%
RF
Rusty Staub
23
2,951
2,716
45.8
6
59
4
0.37
7.9%
DH
Hal McRae
19
2,084
2,091
27.9
3
49
9
0.77
0.0%
Multi
Chili Davis
19
2,435
2,380
38.3
3
30
0
0.06
0.6%
Multi
Julio Franco
23
2,527
2,586
43.5
3
58
5
0.18
1.1%
Multi
Tony Phillips
18
2,161
2,023
50.9
0
26
7
0.03
0.2%
Multi
Al Oliver
18
2,368
2,743
43.7
7
116
16
1.25
4.3%
Multi
Darrell Evans
21
2,687
2,223
58.8
2
42
8
0.17
1.7%
Multi
Brian Downing
20
2,344
2,099
51.5
1
20
2
0.14
0.4%
 
Starting Pitchers:
Player
Years
Wins
Games Started
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
Highest BBWAA %
Jamie Moyer
25
269
638
49.9
1
56
3
0.20
2.4%
Charlie Hough
25
216
440
38.5
1
56
7
0.00
0.8%
Dennis Martinez
23
245
562
49.0
4
67
17
0.05
3.2%
David Wells
21
239
489
53.6
3
87
24
0.55
0.9%
Frank Tanana
21
240
616
57.6
3
55
9
0.23
0.0%
Jack Quinn
23
247
443
57.2
0
63
10
0.08
3.4%
Bobo Newsom
20
211
483
47.9
4
69
15
0.74
9.4%
 
Relief Pitchers:
Player
Years
Games
Saves
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
Highest BBWAA %
John Franco
21
1,119
424
23.5
4
109
9
0.01
4.6%
Jesse Orosco
24
1,252
144
23.2
2
49
1
0.16
0.2%
Lindy McDaniel
21
987
174
27.9
2
38
12
0.06
0.7%
 
Hybrid Pitchers:
Player
Years
Games
Wins
Saves
rWAR
All Star
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Award Shares
Highest BBWAA %
Tom Gordon
21
890
138
158
34.9
3
44
3
0.00
0.4%
 
Welcome to Cooperstown’s newest attraction
 
Now that we know who’s being honored, it’s time to have some fun and try and attract some visitors.
 
Here’s what I’m thinking…… I think it would help create a friendly atmosphere if we had a theme song playing as you enter the exhibit. Imagine, if you will, Arlo Guthrie doing the intro:
 
This song is called "Harold’s Hall of Fame"
It's about Harold…..and the Hall of Fame 
But "Harold’s Hall of Fame" is not the name of the exhibit,
That's just the name of the song
That's why I call the song "Harold’s Hall of Fame"
 
Thanks, Arlo.
 
Then he kicks into the actual song, sung to the tune of his epic "Alice’s Restaurant":
 
We honor those who played the game
At Harold’s Hall of Fame.
Praising longevity is our aim
At Harold’s Hall of Fame.
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from those other plaques.
No one will think your heroes are lame
At Harold’s Hall of Fame.
 
You don’t have to feel any shame
At Harold’s Hall of Fame.
You will never feel the same
After Harold’s Hall of Fame.
Just walk right into our gallery
(we won’t ask for much of your salary)
You’ll be awfully glad you came
To Harold’s Hall of Fame.
 
Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, that is, two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went to visit Harold at the Hall of Fame…..
 
I’d better stop there before I get off on a 20 minute tangent…….
 
As far as player displays, because this would be a special wing of the Hall of Fame, I’m thinking maybe we shouldn’t opt for actual, high quality, expensive plaques like the ones in the real Hall. That might not be in the budget. Maybe Cooperstown could hire a caricature artist from a local amusement park to do drawings of the inductees, and next to each one we display a nice, laminated printout of each player’s Wikipedia page. You know, something classy……
 
Next, we’ll need some interactive exhibits….. 
 
One could be the "Bert Campaneris Bat Toss", where a pitched ball hits visitors in the ankle, and they can then hurl a bat at an image of Lerrin LaGrow. Prizes are awarded based on accuracy and speed of the bat hurl.
 
We also could have "Charlie Hough’s Knuckleball Station", that lets you simulate throwing a knuckler, complete with a radar gun that records how slow you can throw it and as well as how much movement you can generate. You get to select your catcher to throw to from one of the 3 primary receivers for Hough in his career: Jim Sundberg, Steve Yeager, or Gino Petralli. Bonus points are awarded if your pitch results in a passed ball.
 
Also, the "Tony Phillips Diamond Challenge", a small-scale baseball field where you try your hand at playing every position on the diamond. If you’re lucky, fellow Harold Baines inductee Bert Campaneris will be there to give you some tips based on his one-game experience in this specialty (Cesar Tovar, Scott Sheldon, Shane Halter, and Andrew Romine have been seen hanging around the exhibit as well).
 
We’ll also need a snack bar for visitors who work up an appetite. Some possible menu options:
 
  • Chili Davis Chili
  • Gary Gaetti Spaghetti (served in Al Oliver Oil)
  • Frank Tanana Banana Split
  • Rusty Staub Orange Juice (served only in the large size, known as Le Grand Orange)
 
OK, I think we have a winner guaranteed to attract, oh, dozens of visitors. See you soon at Cooperstown.
 
P.S. – this is the type of topic where it’s easy for me to overlook players, and surely you’ll have your own suggestions, which I fully expect to see submitted in the comments section. I welcome your thoughts.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Dan
 
 
 
 
 
 

COMMENTS (26 Comments, most recent shown first)

hortonwho
The most obvious thing this article show is how many players there are who are more deserving than Harold Baines of being in the Hall. And that's the problem with his election -- not so much that's he's in -- I liked him (I was in Chicago during the early stages of his career), he was a very good player, etc. etc.

But he's in, and not (sticking to Cardinals now) Jim Edmonds? Larry Walker? Ted Simmons? Scott Rolen? It's just wrong. And if you let everyone in, then the Hall becomes meaningless.

I don't want to kick Baines out (nor even Travis Jackson), but mainly out of courtesy. They really do devalue the honor for the truly great players.
9:26 AM Jan 6th
 
LesLein
DMBBHF,

Thanks. I should add that I enjoyed the article.

Les
1:32 PM Jan 3rd
 
DMBBHF
LesLein,

Callison didn't get a mention because he was short on some of the basic criteria I was looking for Baines-dom. He had 16 seasons, fewer than 2,000 games played and fewer than 2,000 hits. He didn't really meet the longevity and compilation thresholds I was looking for.

Thanks,
Dan
8:47 PM Jan 2nd
 
LesLein
I'm surprised Johnny Callison didn't get a mention. He was a top flight right outfielder from 1962 through 1965 and had other good years. He doesn't belong in the HOF but is better than some players who get mentioned.
6:58 PM Jan 2nd
 
steve161
sthar, I don't think anybody wants to throw Baines out--well, except perhaps for the extreme Small-Hall types, who want to throw out anywhere from a third to a half of present membership.

Most of the rest of us are less bothered by who's in than who's out: for all the snark directed at the BBWAA, they miss few if any of the slam dunks, and the number of marginals they let in is far smaller than the number of marginals they leave out. Which is why there are all these various incarnations of Veteran Committees that inevitably let in marginals whose omission by the BBWAA seemed reasonable to many of us.

Granted, Baines seems to some to lower the standard from the Hall of Very Good to the Hall of Pretty Good, but I think the outcry has less to do with the fact of his election than with the arguably better candidates he's jumped in front of.
9:05 AM Dec 31st
 
FrankD
I forgot to add that for the Gold Watch Wing, no plaque, just a large calendar with their face on every month (like the old bank calendars that the banks would give away) .......
10:34 PM Dec 30th
 
DMBBHF
Thanks, Frank. That works too..... :)

Manush,

I was real close on Davis. I eliminated him only because I was excluding players that have more than 60 rWAR, since those players tend to get a lot of attention as "overlooked" players for the real Hall of Fame.

He definitely meets the other criteria, and he's 4th in defensive CF games, nearly 2,600 hits. Davis is at 60.7, so he was over my threshold, but he was just barely over, so I could have cut him some slack. I don't think he gets the attention that some of the others like Dwight Evans and Lou Whitaker seem to get, so I could have considered him more than I did.

Center field had a lot of strong candidates.

Thanks,
Dan
10:29 PM Dec 30th
 
FrankD
Great article ..... I would suggest a new name for this HOF wing: The Gold Watch Wing. To get a gold watch when you retire you have to have served the company (MLB) for a long time, served the company honorably, and contributed to the growth of the company ....... instead of an HOF ring they get an HOF Gold Watch
10:18 PM Dec 30th
 
Manushfan
How close were you to putting in Willie Davis? He seems to fit the Vada Pinson part of things
10:04 PM Dec 30th
 
DMBBHF
Dave,

Yeah, I see your point. McGee won an MVP, but since that's the only year in which he ever got even a single MVP mention, I could have factored that in, since that year was a bit of an anomaly in that regard.

If I cut him some slack on that point, I'd say he'd be among the contenders, but I would still put him behind others like Finley, Pinson, Damon, and Hunter among center fielders, as I think they fit a little better with the concept.

Thanks,
Dan
8:55 PM Dec 30th
 
DaveNJnews
When it came to MVP awards, I was thinking of someone like Willie McGee, who was around forever and would have seemed to fit a lot of your criteria, except that he ended up with an MVP award in 1985.


7:03 PM Dec 30th
 
shthar
No matter how many of these articles people crank out, Harold Baines is in the Hall of Fame.

And there's nothing you can do about it.
4:19 PM Dec 30th
 
bertrecords
I would visit that HOF!

11:31 AM Dec 30th
 
DMBBHF
3for3,

Thanks for the reply. I had a tough time deciding on Pinson vs. Finley in CF. I didn't realize until now that they are each other's #1 similarity score comp. Either one would have been a good option.

Thanks,
Dan

10:13 AM Dec 30th
 
3for3
Loved the article. These were all very good players for a very long time. My first thought when seeing the criteria was Vada Pinson, though I agree Rusty Staub is the best match for Baines.
9:55 AM Dec 30th
 
DMBBHF
Hi guys,

Thanks for all the nice comments and feedback.

rstattler1,

I agree, Myer's a good suggestion. I guess that's one of the issues with applying firm cutoffs in certain categories like I did, is that there tend to be some really good candidates who come up just short. If I don't cut it off somewhere, I tend to keep looking forever. But, I think Myer is probably as reasonable as suggestion at 2B as Frank White is.

DaveNJNews,

I agree it wasn't essential to exclude MVP winners, but since one of the defining characteristics of the discussion around Harold Baines' Hall of Fame case was his lack of MVP support, I felt that anyone who had actually won the award even once kind of took him out of the running for being very similar. I agree it could have been done without that restriction and applied more case by case.

MWeddell,

Agreed about Baines....I think he was certainly very promising early in his career, and expectations were certainly high since he was a #1 overall draft pick, but didn't seem to progress like he could have. Seems like he had some good early success, but then didn't step it up. His peak (by rWAR) was at age 25, and he just never seemed to be able to lift above that level.

Bruce,

I did actually have Cavaretta on my original list until I looked at his record in detail and was reminded of his MVP (I had forgotten he had won one). So, I hope he's not too miffed. I was surprised I didn't upset Garret Anderson too. I expected to get a note from him :)

I also think you're right about the era representation. There's probably some kind of bias related to games or length of career that favors more recent players, and I probably could have incorporated some adustments to pull in a few more candidates from earlier eras.

Thanks all,
Dan
9:18 AM Dec 30th
 
rstattler1
Buddy Myer at second base would be a good fit, though he had only 17 seasons and 1923 games. As Bill has pointed out, his career stats were almost identical to Billy Herman's but he never generated any support.
6:47 AM Dec 30th
 
DaveNJnews
I am not sure it is essential to exclude an MVP season for this exercise.

I do like the whole idea though.
9:20 PM Dec 29th
 
MWeddell
Thank you, Dan. Another typically superb article: good idea, great execution, and entertaining writing.

One other criterion, although it’s subjective, about Baines is that he seemed like a great player early in his career and the veterans committee sort of ignored whether he actually became one to some extent. We’ve been reminded about the Paul Richards quote about Baines and he was the presumed face of a franchise. Of the players mentioned in the article, I’d say that Steve Garvey, Dave Concepcion, Vada Pinson and Rusty Staub all kind of meet that criterion.

7:44 PM Dec 29th
 
bearbyz
Wow, what an article. I really like your prospective on the election of Harold Baines. That is basically what I thought. I like this team a lot. You did an excellent job with your selections. This is one of the most enjoyable articles I read here. Thank you.
5:26 PM Dec 29th
 
evanecurb
Also, Phil Cavaretta won an MVP.
3:32 PM Dec 29th
 
evanecurb
Lots of fun, Dan. Well done. I really enjoyed this. As you said in the piece, third base is really loaded, as is (I think) first base. I'm proud to say that, without peaking at your list (or at BBRef.com), I picked Boone, Vernon, White, Staub, Al Oliver, Jesse Orosco, and David Wells as members of this team.

I did notice there are a lot of players from 1960-2000 and not so many before that. Phil Cavaretta is pretty upset. Just wanted you to know. In reality, the reasons for this are probably that (1) Frankie Frisch's committee selected all of the 1920s and 30s guys who would otherwise be qualified for your list (Maranville, Lloyd Waner, etc.) and (2) it was tough for guys who went to war (Vernon being the exception) to play long enough to make your list.

Great job.


3:32 PM Dec 29th
 
Manushfan
Oh this was great. I had a ball reading it, and I appreciate your write ups of Gaetti, Baines, Oliver, etc. All of these guys were really good and worthy of acknowledging. And as you said, the usual suspects-Grich, Whitaker, etc always getting pushed now-so it's great to see say Staub or Moyer or Vernon get write-ups.

I remember Bob Boone being touted as a future HoF constantly while he was still playing in the 80's, his glove and all that. Was surprised he didn't get more of a push there.

As far's Baines going in--I saw what Jim Caple said-he was glad, surprised but thought he was a good choice. I kind of agree, personally I think he's an outlier here, but I don't mind. He was a really good player forever and him going in isn't exactly the end of the world you know.

Nice job.
2:27 PM Dec 29th
 
MarisFan61
(typo: then sure)
1:55 PM Dec 29th
 
MarisFan61
Neat article, and love all the picks -- except LF and CF.
Dunno how many others here might feel this way, but it's impossible for me to get excited about picking position players of that era for much of anything (with a few exceptions; I'd vote yes on Bonds and Clemens for the Hall of Fame).
I'd put guys like that in a separate wing.....um, y'know. :-)

No need for anything else here about the subject; it's just that those guys stuck out like a proverbial sore thumb to me. If we forget about that, they sure, they're good picks.
I LOVE all the others, and love the article.​
1:55 PM Dec 29th
 
MarisFan61
BTW, dunno if it ever worked for Aaron Rodgers to step in and tell a COACH to relax... :-)
1:42 PM Dec 29th
 
 
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