Introducing the Hall of Stats: An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula

The Hall of Stats

I’ve been in a bit of a baseball-writing hibernation lately. Today I’m happy to show you why.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a Hall of Fame populated by a single statistic. I whipped up a little stat called wWAR and built a small site called The Hall of wWAR. But I wasn’t done yet. The formula needed tweaking. The site could be better.

I enlisted the help of a couple dear friends who happen to be the best software developers I’ve ever seen—Jeffrey Chupp and Michael Berkowitz. We’ve been hard at work and have a little something to share with you.

The Hall of Stats

There are so many things here that I’m proud of, so I’ll just share a few in some bullets…

  • Like the Hall of wWAR, the Hall of Stats kicks everybody out of the Hall of Fame and re-populates it based on a formula.
  • That formula is expressed as “Hall Rating” and uses WAR and WAA (from Baseball-Reference) as the main inputs.
  • A Hall Rating of 100 represents the Hall of Fame borderline. Over 100? You’re in. Under 100? You’re out.
  • The site features every player in history, from Babe Ruth to Bill Bergen.
  • Every player page features visualizations of the player’s career run values and year by year WAR and WAA stats.
  • Some players (just a few so far) feature a short bio and (around 400) a photo.
  • Perhaps my favorite part of the project is our value-based similarity scores. While Bill James’ scores are based on raw statistics, these are based on WAR run value components.
  • There are a bunch of other articles so far, too.
  • If you’re into the nitty gritty, there About page is super-detailed.

I invite you to take a look, poke around, and let me know what you think. Thanks!


Introducing the Hall of Stats: An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula — 139 Comments

  1. Adam – I only have to glance at the site but look forward to spending more time on it later. General reaction is…..kudos!!!!! One comment, one question:

    1) I really like the idea of value based similarity scores. The Bill James formula is clearly outdated and I’m surprised it’s taken so long for someone to develop an alternative.

    2) What happens when BR tweaks their WAR formula and someone goes from being above 100 to below 100? Will you give them the boot from your HOF?

    • Thanks Ed!

      Yes—the Hall of Stats is organic. With the Hall of wWAR, when tweaks were made, we adjusted accordingly. The thought is that we will always use the best data available. If you’re near the borderline, you’re on notice. 😉

  2. Awesome!!

    Is there somewhere on the site that we can see the guys who just missed the cut? I am sure that list is interesting too.

    • That was the first question that popped into my head as well. And any HOF that still excludes Minnie Minoso needs a bit of tweaking as far as the membership requirements go. But it’s on the margins where the best “discussions” happen.

      And Adam, this is great stuff. I can hardly imagine the amount to work, time and energy everyone had to put into it. At a glance, my only criticism so far is that whatever criteria you are using seems to be over-representing pre-1893 pitchers considerably (and that leads me to conclude that it’s weighted WAR where the problem lies). Is there any sort of time frame adjustment being made?

      • Hartvig, thanks for the comments.

        Excluding Minoso was tough. He was included in the Hall of wWAR and was REALLY close here. But those couple years he missed at the beginning cost him.

        I’m planning to do some research on players who just missed for reasons like that and where they could have been.

        And 19th century pitchers are a problem, still. I’ve been thinking about some weights based on where the mound was. I have an article about them here:

      • I agree with Harvig. Almost every 19th Century pitcher of note seems to be here, and the placement of several so high on the list, given the relatively little we know about the finer aspects of how the game was played early on—a baldfaced opinion on my part, true—makes me less than sanguine.

        I’m carping and complaining as usual, but another problem with numerical rankings based on formulae, is that they boil down to this conundrum: which do we believe? The formulaic statistics, especially when accumulation enters in, or what we and thousands of others have observed. Tenace is a better player, more worthy than Koufax?

        • On that 19th century article, I’m discussing some ways I might be able to handle those pitchers a bit better (spoiler alert: perhaps by doing a negative weighting on years where the mound was closer).

          And point taken about what to believe. I do happen to think that a Hall of Fame based on (adjusted) WAR is better than the actual Hall of Fame. But there are cases where it isn’t perfect, like war years or the color line.

          Koufax is interesting. We have to admit that a lot of why he’s so highly thought of is “what could have been”. The Hall of Stats simply doesn’t take this into consideration.

          But regarding Tenace… I just happen to think Tenace is terribly underrated. His Hall Rating should actually be higher. His skillset was so undervalued that he wasn’t played as much as he should have been. I wonder what his numbers would have been if his skills were truly appreciated.

          I mean, come on—his OPS+ was 136!

          • “I do happen to think that a Hall of Fame based on (adjusted) WAR is better than the actual Hall of Fame”

            You are absolutely, positively 100% correct about that. I think that you’ve done an incredible job in identifying who almost all of the greatest players in baseball history really are and how they compare to one another while at the same time acknowledging where the method may be flawed or at least somehow incomplete. And best of all, there may actually be mathematically based methods to correct or make adjustments for some of these issues.

          • Tenace is underrated. No argument. But the statement that Koufax is highly thought of for what might have been is a mistaken evaluation. Koufax is highly thought of for what he did—dominate as a pitcher for five years in a way that only one other pitcher, Lefty Grove, has come close to. The year prior to that streak wasn’t shabby either.

            I don’t believe this is a different conundrum, peak vs. career. I think it derives from different ways of looking at the world. Some think everything can and ought to be quantified and viewed coldly as numbers. Others think there are real people out there doing real things. In my first posted comment on HHS I cited Alfred Korzybski’s dictum that “the map is not the territory.” Statistics, like a map, help us to find our way, but they aren’t a substitute for the real thing.

            Or so say I.

          • But the statement that Koufax is highly thought of for what might have been is a mistaken evaluation.

            I’m saying that in those five years, he was as good as anyone. But most pitchers that had a five year stretch like that (Pedro has to be in this conversation) added other value that Koufax just didn’t.

            I know numbers are cold and there is more to this than just numbers. But this is an exercise—an exercise to see how good of a job numbers can do. I think they do a pretty good job, but they don’t handle Koufax well. And that’s because it doesn’t give him credit for his career being cut short, as every human does.

          • A few points re: Koufax:

            1) I assume Adam is including his hitting stats which definitely “harms” Koufax. If so, I believe it’s the right call. If we’re going to give Koufax credit for the things he did to help his team win then he should also be “credited” for the things he did to keep his team from winning.

            2) Was his peak really 5 years? Seems to me it was “only” 4 years. I realize he led the league in ERA ’62 but he pitched less than 200 innings that year and the quality of that season is definitely less than the 4 subsequent seasons.

            3) And I definitely disagree that only Grove equaled his peak. Walter Johnson, Pedro Martinez, probably a few others. Still a select group but definitely greater than 2.

          • I see Koufax as an outlier. If he hadn’t had the elbow troubles and retired at 30, there’s nothing to say he couldn’t have had a career like Grove or Pedro. But he had the elbow troubles, and so he can only evaluated on what he actually accomplished. His highest similarity score (904) is Guidry, and while I would never compare the two, it’s the concentrated peak and the abrupt end that puts him where he is.

          • @74 Koufax did “dominate as a pitcher for five years in a way that only one other pitcher, Lefty Grove, has come close to.”

            That’s just not correct. I’d rather use ERA+ than WAR here, because the counting stat aspect of WAR is going to give Koufax a big boost for pitching in an era where starters could compile over 300+ innings a year. nsb, there are 3 pitchers in the last twenty years who were as good/better than Koufax according to ERA+:

            1. P Martinez 228 ERA+ ’99-’03
            2. Greg Maddux 202 ERA+ ’94-’98
            3. R Johnson 174 ERA+ ’97-’01

            Koufax’s 5-year run produced an ERA+ of 167. Lefty Grove had two separate 5-year runs better than that (173 in ’35-’39 and 171 in ’28-’32). Walter Johnson had a 193 ERA+ from 1912-16. I’d guess there are a few others.

            Koufax’s five-year run was great but there were at least a few pitchers who possessed a 5-yr period that was better.

          • bstar et al:

            I don’t insist on the five year dominance by Koufax comment at all. I was merely going by what was in a post here in the spring about how no one else in the live ball era had as high a WAR for five years running. Grove came closest. The revamped WAR at B-ref now puts Grove ahead and maybe others too. Doesn’t really impact on my point, which was to question a methodology that places Tenace ahead of Koufax in the greater scheme of things. The fact that Koufax is mentioned by bstar in the company of Martinez, Maddux, Grove, and a couple of Johnsons is telling in itself. In what company of similarly outstanding position players can one mention Tenace except to his extreme disadvantage?

            Although I’m skeptical of WAR as an absolute measure, sometimes the evidence is too strong not to pay attention to: Koufax 4 top ten finishes in the league overall, including one first, six top ten finishes in the league in pitching, two firsts, two seconds. Tenace, one top ten finish overall, three as a position player, highest finish sixth. Awards: Koufax 3 CYs, 1 MVP, several other high finishes. Tenace: 2 finishes at 18th in the MVP balloting.

            Post season play: Koufax: 4-3 record only because his team was shut out once or twice. O.95 ERA. 0.825 WHIP. Tenace one outstanding WS, mediocrity to embarrassment otherwise.

            Yes, Tenace was undervalued, but he was never better than good.

          • Best 5-year ERA+ peaks using B-Ref’s ERA+ numbers:

            1. P Martinez 228 ’99-’03
            2. Greg Maddux 202 ’94-’98
            3. Wlt Johnson 193 ’12-’16
            4. Mord. Brown 182 ’06-’10
            5. Rnd Johnson 174 ’97-’01
            6. Lefty Grove 173 ’35-’39
            7. C Mathewson 170 ’08-’12
            8. Sandy Koufax 167 ’62-’66

            To identify the eight best, only the best 5-yr peak of each pitcher is included.

          • I reiterate…

            Gene Tenace had a 136 OPS+. Gene Tenace was sooooo valuable and they just didn’t know it.

            Guess how many players in history…
            – had a 130 OPS+
            – had at least 5000 PAs in their career
            – played half of their career games at catcher?

            Two. Mike Piazza and Gene Tenace.

            Expand it to a 125 OPS+ and he’s still one of just eight.

            Picture, if you will, what it would look like if Gene Tenace lived in a different era… the Fangraphs era.

            Picture 23 year old Gene Tenace posting a .305/.430/.562/.992 OPS/176 OPS+ line in 128 plate appearances. Imagine the posts written about him over the offseason.

            The next season, he only goes up to 211 plate appearances, but still has a .387 OBP. The next season, at 25, he slumps to a slightly below average batting line, but still in only 258 PA. Then, in the World Series that season, he again shows what he can do by clouting FOUR home runs with a 1.313 OPS.

            There would be daily “Free Fiore Tennaci!” posts written daily.

            Then he finally plays daily. And over the next seven seasons he…
            – walks 729 times
            – posts a 139 OPS+
            – clubs 152 Homers and drives in 499.

            Why wasn’t he a star? In those seasons, he hit .243. That just wasn’t acceptable. But he had a .390 OBP with power. 139 OPS+! From a catcher!

            We’re talking mega-star.

            But he was an All Star once and was barely a whisper in MVP voting. That would be different.

            More than just about any player I can think of, Gene Tenace got screwed.

          • nsb: closet WAR monger. I love it!! :-)

            FWIW, I agree with you to an extent regarding Tenace. I definitely think Gene Tenace is a Hall of Famer but let’s be honest for a minute: the man barely reached 1,000 career hits!(1,060 to be exact). I find it hard to call anyone an all-time great based on 1,000 career hits. Johnny Bench had very close to twice as many; Mike Piazza DID have twice as many.

            Yes, I know he had a superhuman amount of walks and his OPS+ is great. But it’s far easier to maintain a 136 OPS+ over only 8 full seasons and 5500 PA. In this sense, Tenace and Koufax are comparable: Sandy pitched only 10 full years.

          • Again, not Fury’s fault!

            One might think he didn’t get the plate appearances because he didn’t last. But let’s look at his age 34 and 35 seasons.

            He had a motherloving 146 OPS+.

            But he only hit .243, so they only gave him 339 PA (in two years!). He should have played more.

            The fact that he STILL provided that much value despite not being used (again, this isn’t injury or any other circumstances—that I know of) shows me that he definitely would have been a Hall of Famer, given the playing time.

            But he was never given the time. He just wasn’t appreciated.

          • Again, not his fault. And he still provided the necessary value needed anyway.

            If you could magically give him 3,000 PAs at replacement level, there would be no question.

          • So he was screwed and wasn’t given a chance? So what? We can’t use “what-if’s” to form HOF arguments.

          • Anybody know why Gino was given so few PAs? He wasn’t being platooned. Was it injuries, or did they just misinterpret his stats due to low BA, low scoring league, Oakland park effects?

          • My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the A’s couldn’t figure out where to play Tenace. Look at 1972 when he was 25 years old. He logged innings at 5 different positions: catcher (405.3), right (58), first (55), 3rd (10), and 2nd (6). Yes, they actually tried using Tenace at 2nd base!

            He was blocked at first base by Don Mincher (118 OPS+ in ’70) and Mike Esptein (130 OPS+ in ’71, 163 in ’72). At catcher he was blocked by Dave Duncan (OPS+ above 100 each year ’70-72). Duncan, I assume, had the better defensive reputation given that Tenace was converted to catcher. And the A’s had some guy named Reggie as their right fielder so that was a non-starter.

            Going over Tenace’s minor league record seems to confirm that the A’s couldn’t figure out what to do with him. Although he primarily played OF and catcher in the minors he also logged time at 2nd and 3nd and…are you ready for this….pitcher! Tenace appeared as a pitcher in 3 different seasons, logging a total of 28 innings with a 1.61 ERA. He even started two games!

            Tenace was hurt at the end of his career by being traded to St. Louis, a team that already had a regular catcher (Darrell Porter) and a regular first baseman (Keith Hernandez). So while Tenace could still hit (131 OPS+ at age 34, 161 at age 35) he barely played (less than 200 PA’s those seasons).

          • @106-107 — I think Ed’s explanation looks quite reasonable but doesn’t actually fit the details. And I don’t think the general idea that Tenace did not have a lot of PAs fits, either.

            To the broader point: When Tenace reached 5,000 PAs in 1980 at age 33, he was then just the 17th catcher in MLB history to reach that milestone so young.

            To the first point:

            – Catchers tend to be a little older than others when they first become regulars.

            – Tenace reached the A’s for good in August 1970, age 23, and became the regular catcher right away, starting 28 of the last 40 games.

            – Duncan retook the starting job in ’71, for reasons unknown, and for the first half of the year Tenace played sporadically and hit nothing. He did hit well over the 2nd half, but by then the A’s were running away with the division title and getting strong pitching, and Duncan had a solid year with the bat — and made the All-Star team — so there was no incentive to make a change. Tenace did start 1 of 3 playoff games behind the plate.

            – In ’72, Duncan’s BA slumped, but Tenace also got off to a terrible start. On August 27, with the A’s in a 3-game slide that had dropped them 1.5 games behind the surprising ChiSox, Williams made the switch to Tenace — even though he was hitting just .189/.561 on the year — and Gino held the job the rest of the way, starting 29 of the last 35 games (all but 3 as catcher). He also started 11 of the 12 postseason games at catcher (the other at 1B). Tenace, of course, was named MVP of the World Series — and by the following spring, Oakland had traded away the incumbents at both C (Duncan) and 1B (Epstein), who together had produced 1/3 of the team’s HRs.

            – Over the next 3 years, Tenace averaged 159 games and 624 PAs, averaging 89 starts at 1B and 65 at C. He ranked 11th in the AL in PAs over those 3 years.

            So I don’t think the “didn’t know what to do with him” explanation really works. Except for Duncan getting the starting nod at the outset of ’71, everything else about Tenace’s playing time for 1970-72 makes perfect sense to me. And once they realized how good he was, they cleared a path for him to be a full-time 1B/C.

          • Responding to John @109

            John: To the broader point: When Tenace reached 5,000 PAs in 1980 at age 33, he was then just the 17th catcher in MLB history to reach that milestone so young.

            My response: Nearly half of Tenace’s PA’s were at first base so I don’t see that as a valid comparison.

            John: Catchers tend to be a little older than others when they first become regulars.

            My response: Sure, particularly when as I pointed out, Tenace was a converted to catcher in the minors. Tenace played OF in high school. Some of his minor league information is missing but the first year we know for sure that he primarily caught was at age 22, though it’s possible it was at age 21. Tenace hit very poorly early in his minor league career which may have been the reason for switching him to catcher and (as I pointed out) trying him at pitcher.

            John: “Duncan retook the starting job in ’71, for reasons unknown,…”

            My response: John McNamara was the A’s manager in 1970. Dick Williams was the manager in 1971. That may have factored in. Plus, Duncan had a reputation as a much stronger defensive catcher than Tenace who has still very new to the position.

            John: “In ’72, Duncan’s BA slumped, but Tenace also got off to a terrible start.”

            My Response: Duncan’s batting average slump mostly occurred late in the year. At the All-Star break he was hitting .236 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs and was considered an All-Star snub. But he hit .163 in August and .162 in September. Which is what led to Williams giving Tenace a shot at the job.

            John: “So I don’t think the “didn’t know what to do with him” explanation really works.”

            My Response: Again, I think it’s pretty clear it does. They tried him at multiple positions in the minors before finally settling on catcher. But they weren’t confident enough in his defense to play him there full time. And when they finally did create room for him, it wasn’t at catcher. It was at first base, a position he never played in the minors and had only 55 innings of experience in in the majors. In trading away Dave Duncan, they acquired Ray Fosse who became their primary catcher in ’73 and ’74 (Fosse missed substantial time in ’74 due to injury but when he came back he played regularly at catcher even though he had a horrible season).

        • From 1915-1919 Pete Alexander had an ERA+ of 175 but it includes 1918 in which he only pitched 26 innings (WWI service). From 1915-1920 his ERA+ was 173.

        • Sorry, a little late to the party…..Re Tenace, I remember Ray Krok bitching, after signing Tenace as a free agent, that “all he can do is walk”.

          Even better still, I remember, years later, Krok witholding beer from the Padres’ clubhouse and Goose Goosage aaying something about “Ray’s worrying about adults consuming beer while he poisons choldren all over the world with fast food”

  3. Nice to See Whitaker and Trammell comfortabley in the Hall in the low 140’s. And darn near right next to each other, like they should be.

  4. Adam, congratulations on the launch! It looks like a winner.

    I’m curious about how you tailored the formula to make 100 the standard for admission — specifically, did you aim to include roughly the same number of players as in the actual HOF, as you did with the HOwW? I couldn’t find that info in a quick tour of the site, but maybe I didn’t look in the right place.

    • John,

      Adam has this note under the “Getting a Head Start on the 2013 Ballot” page.

      The Hall of Stats will always contain the same number of players as the Hall of Fame..

      Thus the HOS will grow in size in lock step with the HOF.

  5. Okay, I’m playing with the site rather than what I’m supposed to be doing!

    Noticed that Will and Jack Clark are #2 on each other’s list of similar players. I had mentioned a few weeks ago that they had some superficial similarities. So nice to see that it extends beyond what I had noticed.

    • I love these similarity scores. I even just noticed this morning that Victor Martinez, Mike Stanley, and Mickey Tettleton are all very similar. So weird how it captured their C/1B/DH-ness.

  6. There goes my weekend. And my December. This is amazing, Adam. A few observations:

    Kevin Brown 136
    Carl Hubbell 135
    Yogi Berra 134

    Yup, Brown was that good.

    Kevin Appier 110
    Don Sutton 107

    I’m not surprised these two are in this order, but I’m a little surprised they’re both this far above the line.

    Tommy John 102
    Sandy Koufax 100

    One argument for subjective adjustments to the stat-based WAR, I suppose. A few more inductions and Koufax is on the outside looking in with Dizzy Dean, Goose Gossage, and Roy Campanella. Every new induction will reduce everyone’s Hall rating, right? Seems like you throw in Maddux and Unit and everyone below them drops a point or two.

    Also, to pick a nit, you’ve got High Pockets Kelly listed as High Pickets.

    I’m so glad this is finally here. And that you waited for the World Series and election to end before launching. Well done.

    • Thanks for the comments, Bryan. Yeah, the Koufax thing stands out. But I’m purposely not getting subjective here. What I may do is keep a running list of these players with subjective arguments (like, really good ones) on top of their stats. War folks, Minoso, Campanella, Koufax, etc.

      Not sure how High Pickets happened. I thought I simply pulled B-R’s data. Fixed now though!

      The goal was to get it out before the Hall of Fame ballots go out later in the month. We made it!

  7. Great stuff, Adam.

    How long does a player have to be retired to get on the honor roll?

    Also, would be interesting to have a companion list of active players currently at HOS induction level.

    • There’s a drop-down next to “208 inductees”. You can choose “Active and Hall-Worthy” or “Not Yet Eligible But Hall-Worthy”.

      And with Bonds/Clemens/Piazza in, but Maddux Not Yet Eligible, it looks like Adam uses the same five-year requirement the Hall of Fame uses, only his calendar turns before the Hall of Fame voting.

  8. I love this idea! Awesome! I’m gonna check out the site in a moment, but first I want to suggest you tweak the Hall Rating to include input from RE24 & WPA (if they’re not already used in the WAR or WAA calc — I’m not sure if they are). I think those are really important stats for seeing who was really great. It could be used at least in tie breakers or when two players are very similar, to determine if one really ranks higher than the other or not.

    • I’ve used WPA to try to gauge playoff value in the past. I didn’t love my implementation, so it didn’t make it through. I might tweak it to add later. A postseason component would be nice to have again.

    • That appears to be the WS reacord for most TOBs without scoring.

      Marty Barrett of the Red Sox scored only once in 18 TOBs (.514 OBP) in the 1986 WS. His one run came in game 6 when he was 3 for 4 with 2 walks.

      • Looking through the box scores, Tenace made it to third several times, but was always stranded. The strangest occurrence was in game two where he was caught trying to steal home with one out. I assume that MUST have been a busted squeeze play.

  9. Great stuff! I’m going to enjoy going through this. Right now, I am happy to see David Cone, Orel Hershiser and Tim Hudson in the Hall of Stats :)

  10. Adam – Can you comment of the “peak vs. longevity” and how that’s calculated? For example, I was surprised to see that Jim Rice was 43% peak and 57% longevity. I would have expected the opposite.

  11. Adam,

    What a great idea. I’ve been following your Hall of wWAR, and am excited to spend ample time at your new site. I appreciate you unveiling it close to the holidays, so I have more free time to do so. Now my family on the other hand…

  12. Congratulations on an excellent piece of work Adam! I’m trying to get a better idea of how the HOS Similarity Scores work. Earlier you mentioned Trammell and Whitaker, who each have Similarity Scores of 202. My question is this: are John Titus and Topsy Hartsel even more similar due to their respective Similarity Scores of 29? Is that what you mean when you say, “The closer a pair’s score gets to zero, the more similar the players are.”? Or by “closer to zero” do you mean closer to equal?

    • Thanks Mick!

      So, the closer players are to ZERO the more similar they are. Basically for every run differential the players have, points are added. So, the closer they are to zero, the more similar their run values are.

      Now, since the run values are centered around league average (meaning 0 is average), average players have much lower similarity scores than Hall of Fame-type players. For example, two league average players having a similarity score of 60 isn’t a big deal. Two players well above average with a score of 60 is indeed a big deal.

      • Well Adam, I’m having loads of fun browsing around the Hall of Stats. I’ve been making an informal list of players whose careers are most similar, that is, Player A’s career is most similar to Player B, AND Player B’s career is most similar to Player A. I won’t list them all, but here are a few:

        Cy Young and Walter Johnson (618)
        Pedro and Schilling (298)
        Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams (281)
        Stan Musial and tris Speaker (262)

        • I wish there was a modify or edit feature…didn’t mean to press submit. In any event, to continue:

          Tom Seaver and Greg Maddux (243)
          Mel Ott and Jimmie Fox (223)
          Boog Powell and Moises Alou (80)
          Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton (80)
          Hank Greenberg and Shoeless Joe Jackson (79)

          The Greenberg-Jackson comparison is interesting since they were very different types of players. Same with Boog-Moises and Seaver Maddux. Also, I wonder what it means that Spahn and Carlton’s similarity ratings are so much lower than Seaver and Maddux.

  13. Omar Vizquel….13% peak, 87% longevity. Not surprising but still…wow! Definitely puts his career in perspective. Wonder if that’s the largest peak/longevity discrepancy? And who has the largest discrepancy going the other way? (lots of peak, little longevity).

    • So, a player with negative total WAA won’t have a peak percentage at all, so we have to factor that in. So, we’re looking for guys who are the closest to average without being below.

      First, the good guys. I’m looking at 3000+ PA:
      Ted Williams 79%
      Barry Bonds 78%
      Rogers Hornsby 78%
      Ruth 76%
      Pujols 76%
      Dave Orr 76%

      More interesting names:
      Chase Utley 75%
      Charlie Keller 72%
      Pete Browning 71%
      Benny Kauff 71%
      Joe Gordon 69%
      Ryan Braun 69%
      Joey Votto 69%
      Troy Tulowitzki 68%

      Now, for the “bad” side (again, still average players), here are the ONE percenters:

      Tony Pena
      Germany Smith
      Adam Kennedy
      Carlos Baerga
      Sam Chapman
      Lyle Overbay
      Ivey Wingo
      Paul Schaal
      Ray Mueller

      • Thanks Adam! Never heard of Dave Orr before but I guess he was a little before my time. :)

        Was surprised to see Carlos Baerga on the 1% list. I think of him as a guy who had a solid peak and then quickly faded away. I completely blocked out the last 5-6 years of his career.

  14. Great to see Indian Bob Johnson make it.

    Mr. Consistency has positive WAA seasons (that’s WAA, not WAR) all 13 years of his career. His WAA scores are all 1.2 and up, and WAR all at 2.5 and up. His top season, by WAR, WAA and OPS+ was his second-to-last, at age 38.

    How the Veterans Committee continues to overlook Bob is baffling.

    • They may be applying a big discount to his success when most of the good players were away during WWII. He came up pretty old, and his rate stats aren’t as gaudy as those playing 10 years before.

  15. Telling commentary, Adam.

    I’m actually not sure what type of adjustment relievers should get (if any). Without an adjustment, we would have no relievers in the Hall of Stats.

    Something to think about fixing. I see Mariano will make it. But, until he does, all we have is Wilhelm and Eckersley, and Eck only made it because of his years as a starter.

    If 80% as good as Mariano is the standard for getting in, we’ll be waiting a long time before seeing another reliever in the HOS.

    BTW, a nice design improvement would be to have a player search bar on every page.

    • “Eck only made it because of his years as a starter.”

      The same is true of Wilhelm. Over 15% of his career WAR (and 20% of his WAA) come from his one year as a starter, when he led MLB in ERA and ERA+. Without that year, his career WAR would be virtually identical to that of Gossage.

      I have mixed feelings about the dearth of relievers in the HOS. Part of me feels that a greater allowance should be made for the fact that, for good or for ill, the position of “fireman”/”closer” was created, and many talented pitchers were assigned that role and executed it very well for many years. As this line of reasoning goes, they shouldn’t be punished for doing the job they were given, one that almost the whole baseball community agreed was a vital one.

      On the other hand, we all know that most star relievers began their careers as starters — at least, most of those who are already in the HOF or eligible for it — and were shifted to relief because they weren’t very good as starters. So while I think it’s a shame that Rich Gossage’s 9 All-Star nods and 5 times in the top 6 of MVP voting mean nothing to the HOS, what evidence we have suggests that he would not have been a star SP, and so the HOS treatment isn’t depriving him of anything he might otherwise have earned.

      • I’m for finding a way to include an appropriate number of relievers – not many, but certainly the elite of that craft. I look at a Trevor Hoffman and think he should be a sure thing – yet he scores only 63.

        In the early days of closing, the broken-down starter mold may have been the norm. But, even as relatively long ago as the early 1980s, a promising young (25) starter like Dave Righetti was switched to relief precisely because he was virtually unhittable in his first couple of innings of work. In other words, there was some purpose in matching the role to the player, not just trying out relief as a last shot at staying in the show.

      • Re: the search function

        Right in front of me, and I couldn’t see it because I was looking for a bar to type into. Good stuff.

        The site really looks sharp. And the large type is great for old farts like me.

    • One other piece of constructive criticism, Adam: I want to go to a player page on Hall of Stats and see his final Hall score front and center. Is there any consideration you would give to putting that number on the player’s main page instead of having to click on “about stats” to get the number? Even then, you have to read through the explanation to get the one number that means everything. I think maybe displaying it more prominently would add to the site’s appeal.

  16. For years, I’ve said that John Olerud is the perfect yardstick to measure a Hall of Famer. Essentially, I don’t feel like he’s a Hall of Famer, but he’s got to be one of, if not THE best player who isn’t. Anyone who had a better career than John Olerud belongs in the Hall of Fame.

    So of course, the first thing I did when I got to your site was type his name in. Imagine my satisfaction when I saw that 99.8.

  17. You’ve got Pete Rose in there, so you’re doing it wrong.

    And, for folks who want to explain to me that it’s all about numbers, I get that and I’m saying that, clever as it is, it’s insufficient.

    Oh, and something in your code is breaking the lines for guys named Eddie.

    • You’ve got Pete Rose in there, so you’re doing it wrong.

      I’d prefer to say “I’m doing it differently than you would.” This is actually an exercise that’s all about the numbers by definition. So, there’s that. You don’t like Pete Rose. I don’t like Barry Bonds. Those are not objective measurements of their career value.

      Not sure I get the Eddie comment. I’m not seeing an issue. Where’s this?

      • Yeah, but you’re proposing an “alternate Hall of Fame”, not just a ranking of career value and you invite the comparison about which hall is better. It’s fine, I don’t need to argue about it, just wanted to say I disagreed. Without tone of voice to soften them a bit the words were certainly more abrasive than necessary and I do apologize.

        About the Eddies, it loads fine now, so I guess it was a one-time hiccough? Anyway, if it recurs I’ll grab a screenshot or something. It was pushing their names to the right and splitting the first name around the last name.


        Like that, and it was super-imposed over the number.

        • Yeah, but you’re proposing an “alternate Hall of Fame”, not just a ranking of career value

          Actually, I’m doing both. It is “An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula.” If someone fits the criteria, they get in. Even if they’re a jerk.

          you invite the comparison about which hall is better. It’s fine, I don’t need to argue about it, just wanted to say I disagreed.

          So, Pete Rose is a deal breaker, then? Doesn’t matter who else received the honor? I mean, that’s totally fine. I just want to be clear. I think there are some flaws, but overall it’s a better Hall. I don’t care for Pete Rose, but I certainly don’t have the hatred others do.

          • Oh, there are others. But Rose is something of an exemplar for the guys who, despite brilliant careers, have forfeited the honours they would have earned with their play. I’m saying that if you don’t draw lines for guys like Rose, then you’re, well, not doing it right. If it’s a list of career value, great! Put Rose on that list. If it’s a list of the men to be honoured for their baseball careers, Rose doesn’t belong anywhere near it.

            It sounds like you’re saying that a mathematical formula can determine a proper list of who should be honoured. If so, then I disagree with your fundamental premise.

            Sure, you may have a better Hall in regards to baseball performance, but it would be inferior in regard to who ought to be honoured for their achievements. I don’t have to hate Rose to think that he deserves the punishment he was given. In fact, I pity the man. But that doesn’t mean he’s been treated unjustly.

          • I’m saying that if you don’t draw lines for guys like Rose, then you’re, well, not doing it right.

            See, I can’t understand that because this exercise is all about the numbers.

            If it’s a list of career value, great!

            It is!

            If it’s a list of the men to be honoured for their baseball careers, Rose doesn’t belong anywhere near it.

            But I never said that’s what it is. I said it’s “An alternate Hall of Fame populated by a mathematical formula.”

            It sounds like you’re saying that a mathematical formula can determine a proper list of who should be honoured.

            I’m just trying to see if the list of players chosen by a mathematical formula would be more deserving than the list voted in. I get that you don’t agree with Rose. But I think a list that includes Rose but also includes Jeff Bagwell, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Deacon White, Graig Nettles, and others is better than the group of players the Hall of Stats boots out.

            Sure, you may have a better Hall in regards to baseball performance

            And that’s all I’m saying.

  18. I had a lot to get done today, so I’m grateful I didn’t log on to HHS until very late – the HoS would have sabotaged the day’s work. Apart from the pleasure of a new and improved Hall of Adam (& Friends) in terms of metrics, the presentation is elegant, and a pleasure to encounter – *great* use of the Jones archive. I look forward to watching the blurbs and features grow.

    PS: Please make sure Koufax does not slip off the chart. If my head explodes it will ruin the screen.

    • Thanks, munu. Already getting some good ideas for ways to expand it. But I’d better take some time to help one of my co-creators with his own side project. :)

      Man, I do love building stuff. When it’s about baseball, though, it’s sooooo fun.

  19. Adam, could you explain more about how you’ll keep the HOS population equal to the HOF population? Hypothetical examples:

    — HOF inducts 3 players, only 1 of whom meets the HOS threshold. The remaining 2 HOS spots will be awarded to ___ ? Will you take the 2 eligible players with the highest Hall rating, and then tweak the formula so that their Hall rating is now 100 (and everyone else’s goes up a little bit)?

    — HOF inducts 1 player, but the ballot includes 2 more who meet the HOS threshold. Will you then evict the bottom 2 players by Hall rating, then tweak the formula so that the “worst” guys rate exactly 100?

    Or am I missing something obvious?

    • You’re right on both counts.

      In fact, this is why I inducted the worthy 2013 guys already. Seven are Hall-worthy, so I didn’t want to have to immediately remove five or so guys from the newly minted Hall of Stats (since I think only a couple will get in).

  20. Adam, Great work you guys have done!! I don’t agree with all of it but I like it and I like the site. A technical point which may help a bit with 19th cent pitchers: the figures given in the values tables for pitchers under WAA is not wins above (park adjusted) league average. Every year the league total comes to something like +12 to +18 or so. Since this should = 0, by definition, there is applied an adjustment, (WAAadj) is added to WAA to get it to balance. The league amount is split among the pitchers, based on their IP. (WAAadj is also used to apply leverage for relievers.) Counting this adjustment as part of their WAA will affect 19th cent pitchers much more than more recent ones since they were pitching a much larger % of their teams innings. I checked the top pitchers in the 1884 NL, most of whom are on your list with 100+ HoS rating. Their career WAAadj varies from -4.2 to -7.8. Multiply by 1.68 and subtract from their adjWAA and it will reduce their score by about 7 to 13 points. Whether this is enough to get rid of the perceived overpopulation of 19th cent pitchers remains to be seen.

      • I went and checked every year that ended in a 4, from 1874 to 2004, NL only in 1884 and ’94, MLB from 1904 to 2004. The WAA was always positive with the WAAadj exactly the negative of the WAA. (Usually 10 to 20 wins per season.) RAA always zeroed out. I don’t know why the WAA doesn’t zero out at the league level. Modern starting pitchers max at about 17% of team innings, so their WAAadj is usually -0.1, not much importance. In the last 100 years the max has been around 25% of team innings pitched so not a great effect if we add in the WAAadj to get the WAA you use to get wWAR. But before 1893, with each pitcher pitching more innings in a shorter season, their % of team innings is much higher, so the difference in applying WAAadj to calculate WAA is much greater, to the detriment of pitchers of that era.

        Unless we find something in the calculation of WAA from RAA that tells us otherwise, it seems correct to me to use WAA + WAAadj as the true difference between replacement level and average. That is what we want isn’t it? If my theory is correct we are using too low a figure for average, and thus including as above average performance that is above replacement level but not above average. And this can have a big effect on wWAR.

  21. Adam, I have enjoyed every article you have posted at several sites the past few years, and like before, you have out done yourself again. The Hall of Stats is great, and as a lifelong Tigers fan, your praise of Kaline, and Tram and Lou makes me very proud. The about page and similarity scores with Defense gives the complete picture of a players all around greatness.
    A hearty thankyou!!

  22. Just catching up on the past couple days.

    Adam, the site looks great. Easy to navigate. Nicely done! I can see myself getting lost in it (in a good way) over the winter months.

    Quick question. I might have missed it, but is there a quick pull down of which players in the Hall didn’t make your Hall, as well as which players are in yours and not the one in Cooperstown?


  23. You’ve already heard this from me 100 times, Adam, but fantastic work. As the President of the Adam Darowski Fan Club, I was lucky enough to get to see the sneak previews along the way, and I was/am amazed at how, with each tweak, it just kept/keeps getting better.

    I love that it now includes every player in baseball history. I also second a comment made previously about making a list of just-under-the-borderline candidates available.

  24. Adam, what’s going on with Lefty Carlton? His WAA is 46.1, which is what I get within rounding error. But his adjWAA is 46.0. He was -5.9 WAA his last 3 seasons, I thought therefore his adjWAA should be about 51.9? The (few) other players I’ve checked don’t have this problem.

    What did you do about Bagwell in the shortened 1994 season? He was injured and out for the rest of the year, a day or so before the season was prematurely ended.

    • 6.2 of Carlton’s WAA came as a hitter. Since he already gets credit for 6.0 WAR as a hitter, I don’t count that WAA. There’s more info about this in “adjWAA” section here:

      As far as Bagwell’s 1994… I treat it the same as other years. I try not to do such one-offs. But if it made a difference for his placement, I might look into it. As it stands, it doesn’t really change things much.

  25. Ed @110: “Nearly half of Tenace’s PA’s were at first base so I don’t see that as a valid comparison.”

    Ed, you’re right on that one. I guess I’d thought there were more catchers like Tenace who spent a big chunk of time at another position. But now I see that in the modern era, only Tenace and Joe Torre had 500+ games at both C and 1B; only Torre had 500+ at C and 3B; only Surhoff and Downing had 500+ at C and LF; only Downing had 500+ at C and DH; and we’ve yet to see a guy with 500+ at C plus any of RF, CF, 2B or SS. (I can’t figure out how to do a search requiring 500+ at both C and all OF spots combined.)

    I still don’t think Tenace’s late assignment to catcher significantly delayed the start of his MLB career. He just didn’t hit enough in his first 3 years in the minors to move up quickly. And while Duncan and others probably did cost Tenace some playing time in 1970-72, Gino also didn’t seize his chances with slow starts in ’71-72.

    And then he played a LOT from 1973-80, averaging 147 games and 559 PA over those 8 years. He ranked 3rd in total PAs among all catchers in that period, just 3 PAs behind Bench.

    As to whether his total of 5,527 PA should affect his chances for the HOF (or HOS), I think it’s clear it should not. His last 3-WAR season came at age 33. Only 5 HOF catchers had any 3-WAR seasons beyond that age, with Fisk owning 5 of the total of 11 such years. And the median total WAR for HOF catchers from age 34 onward is less than 4 WAR.

    • John:

      Here’s what I did. I got a list of all players with 500+ games at catcher and saved it. In order to play 500+ games in the OF a player has to play at least 167 games at one of the three OF positions. I searched that list of players to see who had at least 167+ games at any one of the three positions. I found Downing, Surhoff and Elston Howard for left field and Joe Ferguson and Charley Moore for RF and no one for CF. I then went to each of their stat pages on BR and searched for 500+ games in the OF. I found Downing with 777 and Surhoff with 991.

  26. And to bstar’s comment @91 re: the ease of maintaining a 136 OPS+ through a mere 5,527 PAs — Not so easy. In fact, not one of the 12 modern HOF catchers could match Tenace’s 136 OPS+ either through 5,000 PAs or through their age 33 season (Tenace’s last full year):

    Bresnahan — 132 through age 33 / 129 through 5,120 PAs (age 35)
    Bench — 129 through age 33 / 131 through 5,194 PAs (age 27)
    Carter — 120 through age 33 / 120 through 5,025 PAs (age 29)
    Cochrane — 129 through age 33 / 128 through 5,383 PAs (age 31)
    Berra — 128 through age 33 / 130 through 5,541 PAs (age 31)
    Dickey — 127 through age 33 / 131 through 5,508 PAs (age 32)
    Hartnett — 123 through age 33 (same year he crossed 5K PAs)
    Fisk — 125 through age 33 / 123 through 5,283 PAs (age 34)
    Lombardi — 126 through age 33 / 128 through 5,146 PAs (age 35)
    Campanella — 131 through age 33 / 123 career (4,815 PAs)
    Ferrell — 98 through age 33 / 97 through 5,224 PAs (age 34)
    Schalk — who cares

    P.S. re: Tenace’s hit total, I counter that he had more times on base than 3 of the 12 modern HOF catchers (Schalk, Bresnahan, Campanella), scored more Runs than Campanella, Schalk and Lombardi (and barely less than Ferrell and Bresnahan), and hit more HRs than 3 of the live-ball guys (and just 1 less than Dickey).

    • You took my comment out of the context in which it was intended. I said Tenace WAS a Hall of Famer, John, just not an all-time great. Your analysis confirms my statement.

      Yes, I agree he was better than Ray Schalk and Roger Bresnahan.

      I also didn’t say maintaining a 136 OPS+ was “easy”, I said it was “easier” than over a career with more PA than Tenace had.

      Mike Piazza OPS+ thru age 33: 154. Why is this meaningful? Because Piazza was viewed as a negative-value fielder(like Tenace), was of little value on the basepaths(like Tenace and virtually all catchers), and derived most of his worth from his offense(like Tenace).

      Clearly we can see for an offense-only catcher to be an all-time great at his position he needs to either play longer than Tenace did or have a higher peak than Tenace did (that’s the only way Piazza is an all-time great; his peak is totally off the charts).

      • b, I didn’t realize I was missing any context. It was not intentional. Taking a second look, I don’t see what I missed.

        The business about “easier” (your original), “ease” (mine) and “easy” (your reply) is not the point.

        You said @91: “But it’s far easier to maintain a 136 OPS+ over only 8 full seasons and 5500 PA.”

        That’s literally true, of course: It’s easier to maintain any exceptional performance over a shorter period of time.

        But I thought you clearly implied that several others have done what Tenace did. And I showed that not one of the HOF catchers maintained Tenace’s OPS+ through a comparable length of time. To me, that seems like a solid point.

        And I’m not clear on the distinction between HOFer and all-time great. How many catchers do you consider all-time greats?

        We probably agree that Schalk and Ferrell don’t even belong in the Hall. I don’t want to overinterpret your tone as regards Bresnahan, but you sound rather dismissive of a guy with a .386 OBP in the dead-ball era. But moving on, I think Tenace also had a more valuable career than Campanella and Lombardi. I would rank him behind 7 of the 12 HOF catchers. Certainly, I would rank Tenace behind Piazza. But if he comes out top-10 all-time, that seems pretty great.

        • J, the context that you missed was that we were arguing whether or not Tenace was an “all-time great”, not whether he was a Hall of Famer. I think he belongs in the Hall and said so. Yes, to me there’s a distinction between a Hall of Famer and an all-time great. I think Rick Reuschel, Gene Tenace, Alan Trammell, etc. are HOF’ers but not all-time greats at their position.

          Maybe “inner circle” is what I’m implying by all-time great. Does that work?

        • OK, re-reading your 118 comment, I think all we’re disagreeing on is where to rank Tenace among all HOF catchers or those Hall-worthy.

          Bench, Carter, both Pudges, Yogi, Piazza, and Dickey are just better. Throwing Cochrane in, maybe that’s your seven as well plus Piazza. I would put Thurman Munson and Joe Torre over Tenace as well. That puts Gino at #11 on my list. I don’t think that’s radical thinking there.

          I’ve said too much, but I’m going to continue because maybe it can shed some light on why I objected to Tenace being called one of the greatest ever. Remember Graham W’s Inner Circle project? Well, I tried to participate but quickly realized that my Inner Circle Hall of Fame doesn’t have 50 people in it and I couldn’t continue. To me “inner circle” implies no-doubt, one of the very best of all-time at your position. To me, this club does not have 50 members. And Gene Tenace is not a member of that club either.

    • Also consider this point that Ed brought up earlier, about Tenace’s actual time behind the plate:

      % games played at catcher:

      Cochrane – 100%
      Dickey – 100%
      Lombardi – 100%
      Campanella – 100%
      Ferrell – 100%
      Hartnett – 98.2%
      Fisk – 96.9%
      Carter – 90.5%
      Bench – 79.4%
      Bresnahan – 70.4%
      Tenace – 57.5%

      Which career would you pick to have a high OPS+, the one where you wear the tools of ignorance every day or the one where you’re basically a catcher/1B hybrid?

      • I grant that Tenace’s 136 OPS+ would have been even more valuable had he played 90% of his games behind the plate. But I think you’re giving too little weight to a 136 OPS+, period.

        Relative to the 10 good-hitting HOF catchers, Tenace’s OPS+ rates:
        +7 to Cochrane
        +9 to Dickey
        +10 to Bench, Hartnett, Lombardi, Bresnahan
        +11 to Berra
        +13 to Campanella
        +19 to Fisk
        +21 to Carter

        In the 4 full years that Tenace played more 1B than C, his ranking in WAR among his league’s 1Bs:
        1973 — 4th
        1974 — 1st
        1976 — 2nd
        1978 — 1st

        WAR from 1B counts the same as WAR from C.

        • No, JA, my point is that his OPS+ wouldn’t be 136 if he were a full-time catcher.

          Gene Tenace only had two seasons of over 100 games at catcher.

          Think about what I said this way: it’s easier to post an OPS+ of 136 after 6000 PA than with 10,000 PA. Here I’m comparing Tenace’s career to all others, not just catchers. I don’t see the difficulty or the invalidity of my statement. In fact, you yourself said it was literally true. Trying to find some hidden meaning that I didn’t intend, well, I don’t know what to say to you, honestly.

          Adam was touting Tenace’s 136 OPS+ as spectacular and other-worldly. I disagreed. That’s about it.

          To me, about the only really, really good comp position-wise to Tenace is Joe Torre. Torre played just over 50% of his games at catcher and Tenace 57%. Is it really a shock that Torre(another HOF’er in my book) also has a higher OPS+ than any other Hall of Fame catcher by age 33 (except for Bresnahan)?

          I’m sure you agree with me that catching drags your offense down. Tenace didn’t catch as often, so in his and Torre’s case, we can see their offense shine without as much wear and tear on their bodies that other HOF catchers endured. At some point, I think you have to take that into consideration before you call Gene Tenace one of the best catchers ever.

          • Adam was touting Tenace’s 136 OPS+ as spectacular and other-worldly. I disagreed. That’s about it.

            Okay, I’ve got to get back into the discussion now. :)

            I’m not saying Tenace is an all-time great either.

            I just think he should be a Hall of Famer. Every complaint against him is something that I believe is captured well in WAR, wWAR, Hall Rating, what have you.

            Here’s the thing. 100 is borderline. I have him as 103. Just barely in the Hall of Fame. My passionate case for him was NOT to say he’s an inner circle guy. He just gets no respect as an actual candidate, so I really wanted to make the point that he was.

            I have him after Bench, Carter, Fisk, Rodriguez, Piazza, Dickey, Hartnett, Cochrane, Ewing, Simmons, and Torre. I have him about on the same level as Munson and Freehan. But to me, he’s just barely a Hall of Famer. That’s the point I was trying to make.

            The other point I’m trying to make is that he was underutilized. I don’t think his career got off to a particularly late start. I also realize he was well-used in his young prime.

            It’s age 34-36 that I have a problem with. In those seasons TOTAL, he had 417 plate appearances and a 131 OPS+. I mean, that’s good. I don’t care what position you play. If you’ve got a 131 OPS+ you should be getting some playing time.

            I wonder about the “negative defensive value” comment. I see him as pretty much about as average as you can get, according to every metric I can get my hands on.

          • b, you have clarified your meaning and I think we’re on the same page.

            But just so you know that I have not been deliberately misunderstanding you in order to stir up an argument, note that your comment @91 says nothing about Tenace not being a full-time catcher. It only talks about career length, and that’s what I addressed @118.

          • @126 Yes, a 131 OPS+ for age 34-36 is good. But keep in mind that Tenace batted primarily against left-handed pitching in those years.

            He was not a full-time player.

            I’ve got Tenace with 265 PA from 1981-83 against LHP and only 152 against righties. That’s 63% of his PA against lefties. It goes without saying that your OPS+ is going to be higher if you have the platoon advantage in most of your at-bats(unless you have a reverse platoon split, which Tenace did not). And at the end of the day, Tenace only had 417 PA over those last three years of his career combined, so we’re not even talking about a full season’s worth of work there.

            You may not have mentioned the words “all-time great” about Tenace, Adam, but you did imply strongly that he should have been a “mega star” for his hitting exploits @90.

            You’re right about the defense. Tenace grades out slightly negative according to TZ and BPro’s FRAA but not enough to call him a “negative value” fielder. He’s far closer to average than a bad fielder.

            But it sounds like we have about the same general impression of Tenace overall in regards to his rank amongst the best ever, so I don’t know that we’re really that far off on this issue.

          • Also, I’m a little confused with your proclamation that Tenace should have gotten more playing time in his age 34-36 years.

            He was playing for the Cardinals in those first two years. Where do you play Tenace? You’ve got Gold Glover Keith Hernandez at first and an also-underrated Darrell Porter behind the plate. Porter was a better defender than Tenace and was a plus offensive catcher as well. Porter put up a 7.4 WAR season in 1979, a mark Gene Tenace never achieved. It’s hard to see Tenace getting playing time over these two guys. It looks like he was Porter’s backup and played a few games at first against lefties to give Hernandez an occasional day off.

            How was Tenace getting a raw deal here? Porter had a higher OPS for 81-82 combined than Tenace against RHP, and since Darrell was also the better defender, I see no argument for playing Tenace over Porter as the everyday catcher. And certainly you can’t boot Keith Hernandez off first base. And the Cardinals won the World Series in 1982. It’s hard to make an argument that such and such should have gotten more playing time when the team in question won the whole enchilada. So where is the injustice regarding Tenace in those final years? I don’t see it.

          • Hmmm… yeah, probably more a victim of circumstance than anything else. Perhaps he just had shit luck. I think he should have had more playing time than he did, but I can see why a low average guy (despite great OBP and SLG) won’t get the playing time in the 1980s.

            I also don’t think it was anything in his control. He played well enough to start. It’s a shame he didn’t get the opportunity elsewhere. It’s probably what pushed him from the game too early (the idea that he was no longer a starter).

            All that said… he still did enough in his limited playing time to be a borderline selection. :)

        • He is part of the conversation, Mike, but the fact that his time behind the plate is lower(significantly so for most) than anyone currently in the Hall as a catcher must be in the discussion as well.

          • bstar, yes. To be clear in case it wasn’t, I was agreeing that the amount of time he spent behind the plate needs to be part of the conversation here about Tenace.

            His career OPS+ of 136 is quite good, but context is required. It’s the onion that needs to be peeled as we also have to factor in playing time, which clearly impacted his career counting stats. Barely 1,000 hits; less than a 1,000 walks, even though that was his strength as a batter; RBI and runs scored only in the 600 range. Only once did he ever catch more than 100 games.

            So just as his lower playing time as a catcher needs to be discussed, so does his overall career ABs (4300) and PAs (5500). Obviously, catchers outside of Ivan Rodriquez are not going to rack up the high playing time of other position players because of the in-season and career physical demands of catching, yet that forces us to circle back to his playing time at catcher. His lower game totals at catcher should have allowed him to be more rested compared to other catchers, helping his hitting stats. And when not catching, he spent a lot of time at 1B, and that’s the toughest compare of all when trying to make a case for the HOF.

            The first two years he played reguarly for the A’s, he was mostly at 1B. In 1973, his first year of playing full time, he appeared 134 games at 1B, 33 at catcher. The next year it was 106 1B, 79 C. So while he was a valuable member of the ’72-’74 world championship A’s, he wasn’t the starting catcher for those teams.

            Tenace is also known for his great ’72 World Series in which he blasted four HRs, yet he was a poor performer overall in the postseason, triple slashing .158/.338/.289 across nine postseason series. Tip of the hat to the ’72 series, but it’s not like we can award him bonus points for his overall body of work in the postseason, as would make sense with a Curt Schilling or a Reggie Jackson.

            Anyway, starting to ramble off course here, but Tenace is not a HOFer to me. I’m open to persuasion, but I always start out and end the same way with Tenace. I start out believing he belongs, but then I dive into the numbers and walk away with a clear no.

          • Since we’re getting all hung up on OPS+, let’s look at a context-adjusted counting stats. WAR Batting Runs.

            PAs should not matter at all here. This is a counting stats.

            Hall of Fame catchers with more WAR Batting Runs than Tenace’s 259:
            270 Mickey Cochrane
            269 Johnny Bench
            262 Bill Dickey

            That’s it.

            I can see one argument here—he wasn’t always a catcher. Combine his catching and his first base-ing and you have a positional adjustment of +14.

            So, how many players have a higher WAR batting run total and equal-to-or-higher positional adjustment to Tenace?

            23 players.

            Rogers Hornsby
            Honus Wagner
            Alex Rodriguez
            Eddie Collins
            Mike Schmidt
            Eddie Mathews
            Joe Morgan
            Mike Piazza
            Charlie Gehringer
            Derek Jeter
            Arky Vaughan
            John McGraw
            Joe Torre
            Jim Edmonds
            Jeff Kent
            Bernie Williams
            Ron Santo
            George Davis
            Denny Lyons
            Mickey Cochrane
            Johnny Bench
            Jackie Robinson
            Bill Dickey

            That’s 14 Hall of Famers.
            3 are easily Hall-worthy: A-Rod, Piazza, Jeter
            4 more are statistically Hall-worthy: McGraw*, Torre, Edmonds, and Kent

            Bernie Williams is close (91 Hall Rating), but his defense kills him. Denny Lyons is the odd duck. His WAR is much lower than Tenace and he was a negative fielder and baserunner.

            Torre, as mentioned before, is probably still the best comp.

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