Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Rare Text-Only Post: Hall Of Fame Argument Starter Edition

Because I think too much about some museum in upstate New York that has its vision out of whack, I sat down over the past week, crunched numbers and really thought about who, out of the guys who've fallen off the Baseball Hall Of Fame Writers' ballot, but who I feel should already be in. The lists below do not cover guys currently on the ballot (go Team Blyleven!), and they stay in the post-WWII neck of the woods, because it's really tough to get any accurate perspective on pre-war baseball, and especially on pre-1900 baseball.

Here's what I've got, in no particular order. We'll get into how and why I arrived at these decisions in the comments, if folks are interested.

Position Players:

Dwight Evans (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Ted Simmons (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Steve Garvey (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Lou Whitaker (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Ron Santo (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Gil Hodges (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Dick Allen (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Maury Wills (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Keith Hernandez (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Tony Oliva (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Joe Torre (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Rocky Colavito (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Thurman Munson (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Roger Maris (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Jose Canseco (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Albert Belle (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Andres Galarraga (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)

Starting Pitchers:

Tommy John (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Jim Kaat (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Luis Tiant (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Ron Guidry (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Mickey Lolich (Baseball-ReferenceWikipedia)
David Cone (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Vida Blue (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Dwight Gooden (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Don Newcombe (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Sam McDowell (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Orel Hershiser (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Chuck Finley (Baseball-ReferenceWikipedia)

Relief Pitchers:

Jeff Reardon (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Dan Quisenberry (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Dave Righetti (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Sparky Lyle (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)
Tug McGraw (Baseball-Reference | Wikipedia)

Round one! FIGHT!

(Oh, and Happy Holidays.)

(Note: forgetting that he's on this year's ballot, I had John Franco listed initially. I'd totally vote for him, but for the purposes of this part of the discussion, which focuses on guys who aren't on the BBWAA ballot and fall on and off of the Vets' Committee ballot, he's off.)


  1. I'd have to look deeply at some of these. As much as I like Orel, I don't really know that he has the career to make it in. His late 1980s years were fantastic.

    I didn't know that Dock Ellis threw three more complete games than Orel did.

    But if Eppa Rixey is in the HoF then Orel should be as well.

  2. I try not to think too hard about what BBWAA voters and the Vets' committee in all its incarnations were thinking when they voted for pre-WWII players. Makes my head 'splody.

    Orel Hershiser's one of those guys that, every time I think about the greats of the game...well, he just sorta sneaks into the conversation. On paper, he wasn't that much better than a Bret Saberhagen, for instance (and Saberhagen's '94 is a tough act for anyone to match), but there was something about Hershiser that screamed "big game" even when he wasn't pitching well. Maybe it was hype. Maybe it wasn't.

    There's certainly been similar discussion about Jack Morris, who a sizable faction of the number crunchers love to dismiss (for my part, I think he's a Hall Of Famer), and I think that, when the time comes, people will razz each other plenty about Andy Pettitte since he and Morris are almost exactly the same discussion.

    Do I think Hershiser's as good as Morris was? No. Do I think Hershiser's good enough to be a Hall Of Famer. Today, I think I do. Ask me again in a week, and I may think that the December 23rd, 2010 version of me is on crack.

  3. I am curious about Chuck Finley. He is the one guy that seems out of place to me. I could argue one way or the other on the rest of the players, but Finley I have a hard time making a case for, unless he gets bonus points for being married to Tawney Kitaen.

  4. This'll be a multi-part comment, just because I'm still going through data on this.

    Let's start with the closest comparison I can find on short notice here, since I also used him for Hershiser: Jack Morris. You may or may not think Morris is a Hall Of Famer either, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's say he is.

    Chuck Finley and Jack Morris each spent 13 years (in Morris' case, '78 was a partial year) as starting pitchers with one team; in Finley's case, the Angels, and with Morris, it was the Tigers. Yes, this is some anecdotal evidence to start, but I think it does an OK job of illustrating what Finley and Morris (who very well may be voted in by the writers one of these days) had to work with.

    Angels With Finley Starting (87-99):

    979-1062 (.480) 2041 Games

    87: 75-87
    88: 75-87
    89: 91-71
    90: 80-82
    91: 81-81
    92: 72-90
    93: 71-91
    94: 47-68
    95: 78-67
    96: 70-91
    97: 84-78
    98: 85-77
    99: 70-92

    Angels' average runs per game by year (so far, haven't tracked down an easy source for Finley's or Morris' average run support per game; send it my way if you find it)

    87: 4.75 9th
    88: 4.41 6th
    89: 4.13 12th
    90: 4.26 8th
    91: 4.03 13th
    92: 3.57 14th
    93: 4.22 13th *
    94: 4.72 14th
    95: 5.52 2nd
    96: 4.73 12th
    97: 5.12 5th
    98: 4.86 10th
    99: 4.39 13th

    (* Note the bump as expansion and steroids take hold here.)

    Tigers With Morris Starting (78-90):

    1089-962 (.531) 2051 games

    78: 86-76
    79: 85-76
    80: 84-78
    81: 60-49
    82: 83-79
    83: 92-70
    84: 104-58
    85: 84-77
    86: 87-75
    87: 98-64
    88: 88-74
    89: 59-103
    90: 79-83

    Tigers' average runs per game by year:

    78: 4.41 5th
    79: 4.78 5th
    80: 5.09 1st
    81: 3.93 10th
    82: 4.50 7th
    83: 4.87 4th
    84: 5.12 1st
    85: 4.53 6th
    86: 4.93 4th
    87: 5.53 1st
    88: 4.34 8th
    89: 3.81 13th
    90: 4.63 2nd

    We'll start there, just as opening food for thought, and I'll see what else I can come up with over the weekend.

  5. Some more data, not really building to any particular point beyond illustrating similarities...

    Finley as starter: 467 Career Starts, 195-166 (.540), 3.84 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 2516 K

    Morris as starter: 527 Career Starts, 251-182 (.580) 3.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2443 K

    Finley no-decisions as starter: 106 starts, 4.24 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 609 K

    Morris no-decisions as starter: 94 starts, 4.74 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 406 K

    Career Hits Allowed:

    Finley: 3069 in 3197.1 IP (8.6 H/9)
    Morris: 3567 in 3824.0 IP (8.4 H/9)

    Career Walks Allowed:

    Finley: 1332 in 3197.1 IP (3.7 BB/9)
    Morris: 1390 in 3824.0 IP (3.3 BB/9)

    Finley: 63 CG (21 Losses)
    Morris: 175 CG (64 Losses)

    Finley: 15 SHO
    Morris: 28 SHO

    Finley Average Innings Per Start: 6.581 IP
    Morris Average Innings Per Start: 7.109 IP

    Finley Career Wild Pitches: 130
    Morris Career Wild Pitches: 206

    Finley: 158 Games, 138 Starts with 2 or fewer runs worth of support, 22-104 (.175) in those games (32 No-Decisions)

    Morris: 143 Games, 138 Starts with 2 or fewer runs worth of support, 17-110 (.134) in those games (16 No-Decisions)

    (Editor's note: I found this one especially interesting, because of Jack's "Game 7" pedigree.)

    Finley: 195 Games, 171 Starts with 3-5 runs worth of support, 74-52 (.587) in those games (69 No-Decisions)

    Morris: 216 Games, 203 Starts with 3-5 runs worth of support, 98-66 (.598) in those games (52 no-decisions)

    Finley: 171 Games, 158 Starts with 6+ runs worth of support, 104-17 (.860) in those games (50 no-decisions)

    Morris: 190 Games, 186 Starts with 6+ runs worth of support, 139-10 (.933) in those games (41 no-decisions)

    Again, not totally sure where this is leading, but I think the two were comparable pitchers, and I also think Finley, for his time and place, was a damn good pitcher. Keep in mind, he also pitched against the Cansecos, McGwires, and such way more than Morris did.


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