Circle of Greats 1959 Ballot

This post is for voting and discussion in the tenth round of balloting for the Circle of Greats. This round adds players born in 1959. Rules and lists are after the jump.

As always, each ballot must include three and only three eligible players. The one player who appears on the most ballots cast in the round is inducted into the Circle of Greats.  Players who fail to win induction but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast win four future rounds of ballot eligibility. Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots, but less than 50%, earn two years of extended eligibility.  Any other player in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances (or who appear on at least 10% of the ballots) wins one additional round of ballot eligibility.

All voting for this round closes at 11:00 PM EST on Sunday, February 24, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EST Friday, February 22.

If you’d like to follow the vote tally, and/or check to make sure I’ve recorded your vote correctly, you can see my ballot-counting spreadsheet for this round here: 1959 COG Vote Tally . I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes. Initially, there is a row for every voter who has cast a ballot in any of the past rounds, but new voters are entirely welcome — new voters will be added to the spreadsheet as their ballots are submitted. Also initially, there is a column for each of the holdover players; additional player columns from the born-in-1959 group will be added as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players. The holdovers are listed in order of the year through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the eligibility year is the same. The 1959 birth year guys are listed in order of the number of seasons they played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.

Curt Schilling (eligible through 1952)
John Smoltz (1953)
Tom Glavine (1954)
Craig Biggio (1955)
Tony Gwynn (1956)
Barry Larkin (1956)
Larry Walker (1956)
Roberto Alomar (1957)
Edgar Martinez (1959)

Everyday Players (born in 1959, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Harold Baines
Tim Raines
Tony Phillips
Otis Nixon
Brian Harper
Ryne Sandberg
Jim Eisenreich
Wally Backman
Kevin Bass
Tom Foley
Rich Gedman
Junior Ortiz
Milt Thompson
Mitch Webster
Jesse Barfield
George Bell
Kevin McReynolds
Lloyd Moseby
Geno Petralli
Brook Jacoby
Luis Aguayo
Mike Davis
Terry Francona
Jose Uribe

Pitchers (born in 1959, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Mike Morgan
Alejandro Pena
Mike Bielecki
Jim Gott
Bill Gullickson
Mike Moore
Bob Patterson
Richard Dotson
Dave LaPoint
Dennis Rasmussen
Danny Cox
Ken Dayley
Joe Hesketh
Todd Worrell
Oil Can Boyd
Don Carman
Mike Jeffcoat
Tom Niedenfuer

For anyone who votes with an eye on what is likely to happen in future rounds, note that next week’s regular induction round of voting will phase in only half of the group born in 1958 — those whose last names begin with the letters A through H. The round after that will be part two of the 1958 round, bringing in players born in 1958 with last names starting with the letters I through Z. If this approach works as planned, these split birth year rounds will occur every three birth years or so. The idea is to get us to our goal of 112 inductees without going too far back into the 19th century birth years. The really old, old-timers of 19th century baseball will be the subject of a separate wing of the COG.


Circle of Greats 1959 Ballot — 170 Comments

  1. Oily Sofa Circle of Jheri Curls: George Bell, Jesse Barfield, Otis Nixon.

    Circle of Greats: Curt Schilling (to win the round), Tim Raines, Ryne Sandberg (to keep them eligible, nobody else deserving this year).

    Shoutouts: Oil Can Boyd, Jim Eisenreich.
    Apologies: Edgar Martinez

  2. As I usually do, I’m going to make an initial vote based on my method for determining the top three (using primarily WAR/162 games during a series of 5+ “peak” seasons, along with a series of tiebreakers), and make any strategic changes later. Additionally, I am not considering PROVEN cheaters.

    So, after running this method, here’s my initial vote for 3 candidates:

    1. Curt Schilling (7.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 2001-06)
    2. Larry Walker (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)
    3. Barry Larkin (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1988-99)

    This time, I’m definitely supporting Schilling for the win. As much as I detest the guy off the field, he was a great ballplayer and deserves to get in the COG more than anyone else on this ballot.

    Meanwhile, the other HOF-quality candidates rank as so:

    4. Ryne Sandberg (6.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1988-92)
    5. Tim Raines (6.5 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1983-87)
    6. Craig Biggio (5.6 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1991-99)
    7. Edgar Martínez (6.1 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1995-2001)
    8. Jesse Barfield (5.8 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1985-90)
    9. Roberto Alomar (5.7 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1996-2001)
    (The following are borderline HOFers: )
    10. John Smoltz (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99)
    11. Tom Glavine (5.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1995-2000)
    12. Tony Phillips (5.2 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1990-95)

    • Did you forget Tony Gwynn? I have him as 6.2 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak 1984-88. So I would slot him in 8th. Note that Raines is better, in the same league in almost exactly the same time period.

      • As I explained in the last ballot, Gwynn has a 4-year peak of of 1984-87. The peak must begin and end on 4-WAR seasons and contain no intermediate stretches of consecutive sub-4-WAR seasons where one of that stretch is below 3 WAR.

  3. Larry Walker, Tom Glavine, Ryne Sandberg
    As a side note, when I attempt to go the vote tally link, it asks me to sign in to google every time. It’s never done that before.

  4. Here are the top players using a modified version of the Actual Value formula I introduced in a previous round. The Actual Value number is equal to the sum of (WAA/WAR)*50 (for peak performance) and WAR (for longevity). The previous incarnation of the formula used (WAA/WAR)*100, but I realized that giving WAA so much weight may overvalue players like, say, Ralph Kiner, who accumulated a lot of peak value but had unusually short careers, while punishing guys like Nolan Ryan who are regarded as “compilers” but still generated solid value outside their peaks:

    Schilling 112.0
    Walker 104.3
    Larkin 98.7
    Glavine 97.5
    Sandberg 94.5
    Martinez 94.4
    Gwynn 93.4
    Smoltz 93.0
    Raines 92.9
    Alomar 88.8
    Biggio 85.5

    So who do I actually vote for? Well, Schilling looks to me like a no-brainer and I will support him come hell or high water. Glavine, although he is third on the list, gets priority over Walker because this number doesn’t take into account his significant (for a pitcher) value at the plate, as well as my belief that he is overly penalized for his team’s defensive performance.

    This third vote may be the most difficult I’ve faced so far. I have no interest in keeping Martinez on the ballot so it won’t be a strategic move. Walker has the highest remaining AV, but I’m becoming more and more skeptical of him with each ballot. The evidence suggesting that Coors Field numbers are still inflated in spite of park effects looks compelling, and the general trajectory of his career doesn’t pass the smell test. I feel okay subtracting at least 5 points from his A-V number. That puts him basically dead even with Larkin. I also find Smoltz compelling due to his versatility, excellence in multiple roles, and career renaissance, which makes him a great human interest story if nothing else.

    I feel comfortable eliminating Walker for now. Between Larkin and Smoltz, I can’t really decide, so I will defer to the player who currently has fewer years of eligibility, which is Larkin.

    So my ballot is: Schilling, Glavine, Larkin.

  5. – Biggio
    – Sandberg
    – Alomar

    Crunch time – thre’s 12 players worthy of serious consideration, and at least six other players (bsides the above) that I would feel comfortable voting for.

    Wow, I just noticed all of the above are second basemen, I swear that I didn’t plan it.

      • Having 2B’men Biggio, Alomar, Sandberg all on the same ballot, as well as Larkin at SS, is probably not helping any of them get elected.

        • Perhaps, although are there really any of our inductees so far that you would have knocked out for one of the second basemen? Maybe it’s just that these guys while being close to the best each round, have not really quite been the top.

          • @28, birtelcom, probably not. Some could argue that a Biggio or an Alomar might be more deserving than Mussina, but that’s the only case so far. It’ll just be interesting to see what happens to this cluster of players who will increase its ranks when Lou Whitaker joins with the the class of ’57.

  6. Continuing with my premise, I will only choose those born in 59′. The easiest two are Sandberg and Raines. But really had to think out side of the box on the last one, first there is H. Baines who IMO was one of the best DH ever to play the game and the DH award could just as easily be named after him instead of E. Martinez. Secondly I see a name of one M. Morgan who some how managed to hang on for 22 season in MLB. Then there is one of my all time favorite stories in the history of MLB and Mr. Eisenreich and his battle with tourette syndrome that forced him to retire from 84′ – 87′ while undergoing treatment, only to come back and have a respectful career and be the first winner of the Tony C. award. Terry Francona is also on this ballot, but should he be in the COG for his management career, but definitely not for his playing career? I personally am on the fence and say no, at least for now. Finally there is a much malingered veteran on this ballot who could have, should have had a very successful ML career, his ops + is better then the man (Cal Ripken) that we just inducted in the COG (113, 112 respectively). This MLB veteran also was once traded for Ken Patterson which would have been a pretty even trade if it weren’t for this guy named Sammy Sosa. George Bell also has one MVP on his resume. Even though Bell was well known about his sometimes if not always thorny personality with the fans, I feel he should at least get one shout out, and since I abstain from voting for any of the hold overs. No disrespect meant to Harold, Jim, Mike and Terry, but my ballot this rounds looks like this;
    Sandberg, Raines, Bell

      • Going based only on games as DH, Edgar’s superiority (over Baines and all other great DHs) is even more obvious:

        Martínez: .314/.428/.532, .959 OPS, .340 BAbip, 986 BBs vs 913 K’s, 33 SB in 49 attempts
        Baines: .291/.370/.467, .837 OPS, .304 BAbip, 752 BBs vs 845 K’s, 5 SB in 19 attempts

        In my opinion, David Ortiz is a better challenger for best DH, although Martinez still comes out on top:

        Martínez: .314/.428/.532, .959 OPS, .340 BAbip, 986 BBs vs 913 K’s, 33 SB in 49 attempts
        Ortiz: .288/.384/.557, .941 OPS, .305 BAbip, 876 BBs vs 1174 K’s, 9 SB in 17 attempts

  7. This is the hardest one, as far as I am concerned, because, as we partially move out of steroid-land, I’m finding the comparisons more difficult. It will get easier in another decade. Sandberg, Gywnn, Larkin. I’m being an “old stats” person with Gywnn, I realize, but eight batting crowns, eight times better than everyone else in a recognized category, has to count for something.

  8. Curt Schilling
    Larry Walker
    Tim Raines

    Once one of these three gets elected, then I will start showing Tom Glavine the respect he is due.

  9. Tim Raines, Tony Gwynn, Curt Schilling(despite my hatred for him).

    I still can’t believe Larry Walker is getting so much love. I see the WAR and the flattering numbers at/near the top of most people’s lists but his numbers AWAY FROM COORS FIELD are not HOF worthy.

    • I can believe it. First of all, saying, “But take away the guy’s home games in his prime, and he’s NOTHING!” is a specious argument. Lots of players are better at home than away. This was basically the argument against Ron Santo forever: he wasn’t as good away from Wrigley. But a .282/.365/.866 line on a really wonderful defensive player is nothing to turn your nose up at.

  10. Career Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Schilling 56.2
    Walker 48.6
    Larkin 45.5
    Glavine 42.2
    Martinez 41.6
    Smoltz 40.2
    Sandberg 39.1
    Alomar 37.3
    Raines 37.2
    Gwynn 36.8
    Biggio 36.7

    Schilling. Walker. Larkin.

    • I think my next challenge is adjusting for Smoltz’s time as a closer. Despite pitching very effectively (especially in ’03) for four years, Smoltz only earned 4 WAA from ’01 to ’04. This may accurately reflect the value he provided to the team, but it underscores the greatness of his career, since he averaged 3 WAA in the three healthy seasons before ’01 and the three after ’04. If we assume he could have been as great as a starter over those four years, we could add as many as 8 WAA, which would put him at the top of the list. Of course, we can’t prove he would have been that effective over 200+ innings per season, so it isn’t fair to the guys ahead of him to make that adjustment.

      Smoltz would be my fourth choice this time around.

      • Why adjust for Smoltz’s time as a closer?

        First off, Smoltz couldn’t have been a starter, at least the first year. Second, it’s quite possible (I’d say likely) that Smoltz pitching as a closer saved his arm and helped him be more effective the years after he returned to the rotation.

        And effective he was. The three years after returning to the rotation, from ages 38-40, Smoltz won 44 games, had a 135 ERA+ and 14.6 WAR.

        For perspective, that’s the eighth highest starter ERA+ since 1901 for that age period and the fifth highest WAR total (for pitchers). So, he was one of the best late-30s pitchers ever, and I firmly believe not logging the 800+ innings he would have pitched as a starter from 2001-2004 played a big part in that success.

        Sure, he lost some WAR (but gained some ERA+ points) while relieving, but I’m not convinced he didn’t get most of that back by having a fresher arm for his later years. On top of that, having the distinction of being a great starter and a very good reliever to boot has made Smoltz’s career look much better and his Hall of Fame narrative has gotten a tremendous boost for it.

        I’d say the benefits of Smoltz closing for a few years actually outweigh the slight loss of WAR.

        • The question to me comes back to whether WAR adequately measures the comparative value of relief and starting pitching. It’s now generally acknowledged, I think, that differences in leverage mean that you can’t necessarily treat a late-and-close relief inning as equal in value to to the average inning pitched by a starter. That means making an adjustment for leverage if you want to compare starters and relievers on the same scale of wins added. Does b-ref’s WAR make the “right” adjustment for leverage? That’s not easily answered, I think.

          • I think there’s a very good argument that rWAR completely misrepresents Smoltz’s relief value in 2002 specifically. (bstar may have made this point before.)

            55/59 save chances, leading MLB in both saves and SV%. Just 2 losses. 80 innings. #1 in high-leverage games, #3 in WPA among all pitchers.

            But just 1.1 rWAR, tied for #54 among relievers.

            Fangraphs gives him 2.6 WAR that year, #5 among relievers.

            I don’t understand the rWAR mechanics enough to know if his score was skewed by his relatively high 3.25 ERA — 0.88 of which came from one horrific game.

            Fortunately, in my view, Smoltz is a no-doubt HOFer even without any “correction” for that season. And rWAR did rate him #9 among relievers for 2003-04 combined, which seems to be in the ballpark, at least.

          • Three days later, I finally find where I had posted this Smoltz comment.

            No, I never made that point, JA. I would argue the opposite. WAR is WAR. It doesn’t misrepresent one player and favor another.

            You hit the nail on the head–it’s all about ERA, or more correctly RA9. IP and RA9 are the only performance-based inputs into rWAR for pitchers. So, yeah, Smoltz got killed by that disaster outing. But even without that mulligan outing, like you say his ERA might still be close to 2.50, which is only good but not great for a closer. Saves, save percentage, and WPA don’t factor into WAR at all.

            As for leverage index, WAR doesn’t give his performance in those high LI outings any more weight, but he is given a boost for simply pitching in them. His gmLI is 1.9, so Smoltz 2002 was given a pretty big leverage adjustment.

            To me, Smoltz had one great year as a closer (2003) but was barely above average in the other three. His impressive saves total in those years is more of a coincidence based on the Braves playing more close games than normal.

            JA, what do you mean #1 in high-leverage games? There were a few other RP’s that year that had a higher average LI, like Robb Nen, Hoffman, Jose Mesa, etc. I’m not sure if that’s what you were saying.

            birtelcom, the fact that it’s easier to post a lower ERA for relievers vs. starters is covered by the role adjustment for WAR (RA9role). As for the leverage, you’re asking whether we should consider giving MORE of a leverage boost to relievers than we already do. I agree that’s the issue, but I think if you go any higher than a possible 2.0 with the leverage bump, it gets harder to justify it mathematically.

            As for fWAR for relievers, oh dear. Not a fan. Look at Mariano Rivera’s career fWAR and remember that generally fWAR is higher than rWAR for pitchers. He’s not getting any credit for his low BABIP, which, after 20+ years of pitching, we can safely say has nothing to do with luck. That’s fWAR’s problem right there.

  11. Tony Phillips has the most career WAR among players who never played in the All-Star game. (post 1931 players obviously). He has a pretty substantial lead over second-place Tim Salmon (48.2 WAR vs. 37.1). And WAR probably understates Phillips’ value to his teams given his ability to play multiple positions and play them well.

    • Notable players with fewer WAR than Tony Phillips:

      -Nellie Fox
      -Jim Rice
      -Evers and Chance (but not Tinker)
      -Travis Jackson (and several other of Frankie Frisch’s Friends)
      -Phil Rizzuto
      -Catfish Hunter
      -Pie Traynor

    • Phillips ranks high on the list of all-time great multi-taskers along with Gil McDougald, Junior Gilliam, Cesar Tovar and now maybe Ben Zobrist.

      Anyone I’m forgetting?

      Does Jackie Robinson belong in this category? If so, does Pete Rose?

      • Honus Wagner in his first six years (1897-1902); he played some at every position except catcher. Surprisingly, he never played short til1 1901.

        Jackie Robinson from 1953-56 belongs, but while Rose played a number of positions regularly, he didn’t multi-task in any one particular year; he had one dominant position most years.

    • Is anyone else surprised that more Tony Phillips-like players haven’t been developed over the years? (and I do mean “developed.”) The expansion of the bullpen has squeezed bench players, so that should place a premium on players who can play multiple positions. I would think teams recognizing this would try to create more multi-position players.

      Tony Phillips kind of stumbled into his role, increasing his value and playing time as his hitting increaed. If he was the hitter in his 20s that he was in his 30s, he probably would have been given a set position. So perhaps it’s finanically driven. Even though a multi-position player should be more valuable, he may not be paid as well on the open market as a player recognized as mastering one, set position. That means the player will demand a set position to increase his value. Second, perhaps it’s not as easy as many think. Teams also don’t like moving prospects around, preventing them from developing multi-positional skills.

      Yet, it seems like teams should be developing more of these players.

  12. This round I’m weighing in early.

    I’m breaking these 11 (9 holdovers plus Sandberg/Raines) guys down into 3 categories:

    Pitchers (pretty obvious) 3

    I don’t know what to do with them (Walker/Martinez) 2

    Too close to call: I wrote about this in comment 62 under the redemption round- I’ll lump Larkin in with this group (144/54.4)- 6

    I think Schilling ranks at the top of the pitchers- I think it’s closer that many if not even most believe but nonetheless he still comes out on top.

    I still don’t know what to do about Walker & Martinez but I was happy to see Martinez finally get a little love in the last election.

    Finally the too close to call— the same 2 guys rank #1 or 2 among the 6 by both ranking systems (Larkin is #1 in the HOS/Sandberg in JAWS) plus both of them have a lot of other factors working for them as well: MVP’s, gold gloves, excellent post season numbers, well liked & respected, smart, team leaders and even a bit of the “what if” factor (injuries or the year off)

    I’d like to vote for Martinez because with each passing round I’m becoming a little more sold on the idea that he belongs. I’m just not quite all the way there yet.

    That leaves:
    Larkin, Schilling, Sandberg

    • I would guess that if Tim Raines had gone into the Hall of Fame on his second ballot, he wouldn’t have half the support he has in this vote. I think there’s a tendency to latch on to someone’s underratedness and start overrating him to compensate.

      Getting into the CoG would be a nice consolation prize for Rock, whom I’m sure whiles away his weekday mornings sifting through HHS comments like the rest of us. That said, I think Raines is a worthy Hall of Famer, but not one of the five best players on this ballot.

      • If you follow Tom Tango’s blogging, you know that he (one of the leading sabermetrics writers and innovators around) is a passionate advocate for Raines in the Hall. It would be interesting to know how he sees Raines fitting in among the current candidates on our ballot.

        • True, Tango is a passionate advocate for Raines, for a Hall of Fame which ALREADY includes Tony Gwynn and Ryne Sandberg. Obviously, I think Raines is a better fit than Gwynn. But I’d give the edge to Sandberg in comparing the two. I perceive Sandberg’s peak value as great than Raines’s. I, too, am a big advocate of Raines’s induction into the Hall of Fame. But the CoG is NOT the Hall of Fame. Among position players, I would view Walker, Larkin, Martinez, and Lofton above him. Since that doesn’t even factor in pitchers, I can’t really see how he would get in. I think Bryan nailed it on the head: the discussion around Raines is so positive from the sabermetric community has been so pro-Raines, that it’s now impossible to look at him more objectively.

          • Just curious, why is Raines obviously better than Gwynn?

            Gwynn: 65.3 WAR in 10232 PA, 3.83 WAR/600 PA
            Raines: 66.2 WAR in 10359 PA, 3.83 WAR/600 PA

            Gwynn: 127 H of Stats / 52.5 JAWS
            Raines: 129 H of Stats / 53.7 JAWS

            Hard to get much closer. Gwynn has 3000 hits, 8 batting titles, and more black ink. Raines has one batting title, 4 SB titles, and 2 rings as a Yankee bench player (although he was left off the ’98 WS roster). Gwynn has 7 top-10 MVP finishes and Raines 3, for whatever that’s worth.

            Really close, but I think I’d take Gwynn on this one.

            But I agree about Lofton over both of them.

          • Bstar – I’m curious…why would you put Lofton ahead of Raines and Gwynn? I don’t have an opinion on this, just interested in hearing yours.

          • bstar, “obviously” was too strong a word. But I’m a little skeptical of Gwynn’s defensive numbers in his 1988-1990 seasons (I recall there being some real issues with TotalZone in Jack Murphy those years – maybe they fixed it and I’m wrong to be skeptical). And Raines gets extra credit from me for 1987, because it was his best season and he missed a month due to collusion, AND Gwynn gets no extra credit in 1981 because he wasn’t yet in the Majors, but Raines lost serious value. Both players lost value in 1994. So I see Raines as a superior player. But that’s just my thought on the issue.

          • Ed, your @95 slipped by me, sorry. Didn’t mean to ignore your request!

            Lofton has more WAA and a similar peak to Gwynn and Raines.

            He was robbed of playing out his greatest season (1994) and, prorating that truncated season to a full year, I get 10.2 WAR for Lofton in ’94.

            For some perspective, consider that Rickey Henderson never had a 10 WAR season. Raines’ personal high was 7.3 WAR, and Gwynn’s was 8.3. I think Lofton was one of those guys whose speed and athleticism just overpowered the game. Since Rickey’s prime, I don’t think anyone’s come seriously close to matching Henderson’s impact from the leadoff spot except Lofton in his brief early prime and Mike Trout last year (with a shout-out to Craig Biggio in ’97). Kenny Lofton, to me, was can’t-miss TV in those early years.

            As for a direct comp to Gwynn and Raines, I admit they’re very close in value, so it’s more personal preference. Lofton is still undervalued and Raines just might be a little overrated by the sabermetric community after all those years of it being pointed out how great he was. So it’s more of a subjective thing. If Lofton was on the cusp of the Hall of Fame after years of being touted by the sabermetric community and Raines was off the ballot, I’d probably be stumping for Raines instead.

            As for Gwynn, I just think Lofton was a better overall player. The numbers at least slightly bear that out:

            Lofton WAR/150: 4.63
            Gwynn WAR/150: 4.01
            Raines WAR/150: 3.97

            I was startled when I first heard that Lofton had more WAA than Raines because with Tim we think about his fantastic 1987 and how he should have won the MVP that year. We also probably know that Raines just wasn’t that effective the second half of his career. With Lofton, my thought on him has always been that, even though he got shuffled around the league the second half of his career, he still was producing value to his teams, all the way to the end of his career. So I thought Raines would be the guy with the higher peak and Lofton the more consistent compiler of the two, but Lofton’s peak actually rates out above Tim’s.

            You didn’t think you were going to get a short answer from this bag of wind, did you Ed? :-)

          • Nice analysis Bstar! My guess is that Lofton was hurt quite a bit by playing the heart of his career during the steroids era (assuming Lofton himself wasn’t on steroids). Despite fairly similar OPS, Raines has a fairly large lead in OPS+ and Rbat. Which is probably mostly due to Lofton playing in the high-offense steroid era. Move Lofton to Raines’ era and Raines to Lofton’s era, and Lofton likely gains 5 WAR and Raines loses 5 WAR. Right?

          • I don’t know, Ed, WAR and park effects and offensive context are supposed to take care of those types of things.

            Of course, the basis of our anti-Larry Walker argument is very similar to what you just said, so I can’t harshly disagree.

            I think Raines was definitely a better hitter than Lofton. Overall, though, they’re very similar.

          • I think we’re talking past each other a little here Bstar. WAR/Rbat can’t adjust for the fact that Lofton had the misfortune of playing in an era of inflated offensive numbers (due to PEDs). Had he played in an era of lower offense and produced the same numbers (which seems possible given his skill set) he would have had more Rbat and thus more WAR.

          • Rbat IS context-adjusted, Ed. So is WAR. Having the same offensive numbers in 1985 is going to give you a higher Rbat than the same numbers in 2000.

            Rbat is basically weighted runs above AVERAGE, and that average changes over time.

            Steve Schaude’s recent series of articles on Fangraphs (you linked to the first one) is discussing whether or not these context adjustments go far enough in extreme environments (and that’s my Larry Walker argument, basically). So, yeah, the entire “steroid era” might be an example of that.

          • Bstar: “Having the same offensive numbers in 1985 is going to give you a higher Rbat than the same numbers in 2000.”

            Um yes, that’s the exact same point I was making in comment #150. And yet for some reason it sounds like your comment is disagreeing with mine. Again, had Lofton played in Raines’ era and put up his same numbers (more or less) he would have more Rbat and more WAR. And if Raines had played during Lofton’s era and put up his same numbers, he’s have less Rbat and less WAR.

          • Ed, I’ve tried typing three different times where I actually think we are disagreeing and where I think your logic @147 is different from your last two comments, but I think it would just start an argument when really we’re probably as you say talking past each other, so I’m just going to drop this. I don’t want to argue if we’re actually not disagreeing. I’m not really sure.

          • No worries Bstar. I was mostly trying to compliment and complement your analysis re: Lofton by pointing out that Lofton is underrated due to the era he played in. If one could subtract out the “PEDs effect”, Lofton would certainly have more Rbat and therefore more WAR.

        • I don’t think that Tango necessarily thinks Raines is ostensibly better than Gwynn, Sandberg, Larkin, etc. I think he set up his Raines website more because Tom is Canadian and reveres all things involving the Expos.

          • And, as Dr. Doom correctly points out above, Tango is advocating for Raines in the Hall, a position that does not require that he support the proposition that Raines is ahead of Gwnn or Sandberg or Larkin. That’s why I find the COG debates more interesting than the Hall debates; the COG structure requires player to player comparisons (one induction per vote) in a way that the Hall voting structure does not. And that’s why I’m curious how Tango would actually compare Raines to Gwynn, Larkin, Sandberg, etc., and Lofton as well (Raines and Lofton may be going head to head in the next induction vote).

      • Bryan – There’s an error in your sentence. I’ll fix it for you:

        “I would guess that if Larry Walker had gone into the Hall of Fame on his second ballot, he wouldn’t have half the support he has in this vote. I think there’s a tendency to latch on to someone’s underratedness and start overrating him to compensate.”

        There…much better now! :)

        • Have I overrated Walker to compensate for his general underratedness? Possibly. But I try to stick to a framework in voting for the CoG. My framework says Walker’s the second-best candidate this time around. My framework may not appeal to everyone, but I wonder what framework supports a vote for Raines, aside from “he’s so underrated and all the SABR people think he should be in the Hall” (and he should be).

    • I’m a little surprised by Sandberg not seeing a little more love on this ballot. Maybe it’s because there are 3 second basemen on there at the same time.

      • I think that might be the same effect. Sandberg sailed into the Hall, and was certainly worthy, but SABR types often talk about him as less valuable than Lou Whitaker when trying to sell Whitaker’s case (or Bobby Grich’s, for that matter). In our heads, Sandberg was “good, but no Sweet Lou”, while Raines was “as good as Gwynn, but without the fanfare”. Without context, we bump Rock ahead of Ryno.

      • I find it hard to believe that any of these guys are going to be left out eventually. I am just sick of voting for Schilling so lets get this over with.

  13. For the 1959 election, I’m voting for:
    -Tony Gwynn
    -Edgar Martinez
    -Roberto Alomar

    Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):
    -Biggio (He’s still temporarily off my ballot, but I hope I can eventually go back to voting for him again.)

    Sentimental favorite former Brewers:
    –Terry Francona (I literally have no memory at all of him finishing his playing career with the Brewers. Nonetheless, he’s my best option for this honor and I appreciated watching his Red Sox break “the curse”.)

  14. George Will’s outstanding book Men At Work is a must read. Re-read for
    most here.

    The last ballot got me thinking about it again.

    Will goes to great lengths in examining the game.

    Manager-Tony LaRussa
    Pitcher-Orel Hershiser
    Hitter-Tony Gwynn
    Fielder-Cal Ripken

    The takeaway with Ripken is simple, the man knew where to position himself
    on every pitch. Why dive when you can already be in position before the

    Gwynn, a pioneer in the use of video to perfect his ability as a hitter.

    Both great players, and yet here is George Will making the case for both,
    in a far more eloquent manner than I could hope to do.

    Ripken got his deserving spot last round.

    As for Gywnn, put WAR aside and honor someone who won 8 batting titles. I know that BA must be taken with a lump of salt, but even so.

    Combine this with an amazing dedication to improve as a hitter, and you get
    someone who is my top choice for 1959.

    In order of preference…

    1. Mr. Padre or Captain Video if you prefer.
    2. Rock Raines
    3. Ketchup stained sock. (I hate voting for him, but must remove emotion).

  15. Ok, now I really have 4 guys I think should get in. Raines is clearly getting enough support to last so I can pass on that.

    Gwynn, Schilling, Larkin

  16. Curt Schilling: still the best player here.
    Barry Larkin: The pick of the infielder bunch.

    The third is proving difficult, as always. I think I’ll throw a bone to…

    Edgar Martinez.

  17. I am an unabashed supporter of the speed game.
    If I were in charge of a team,
    I would acquire the four fastest outfielders on the planet,
    have them rotate through DH to stay fresh,
    and I would push my home fences back to 499 feet all around,
    forcing visiting teams to bench their fat, old, $15 million dollar leftfielder.

    My team would shatter the 1976 Athletics’ stolen base record.
    In July.

    But, I am learning the importance of intolerance from the fine contributors here at High Heat Stats.
    Intolerance for druggie cheaters.
    With that in mind, here’s some (perhaps forgotten) information about the fantastic Tim Raines:

    Tim Raines was an admitted cocaine user.
    He testified in the Pittsburgh Drug Trials that he “used” before, after,
    and DURING games.
    He also testified that he slid head-first so as not to break the cocaine vial in his back pocket.

  18. So I’m changing my ballot one last time.
    Instead of:


    Tony Gwynn
    Larry Walker
    John Smoltz

  19. Schilling — at this point he seems to be clearly the best player on the ballot. It seems personality more than anything else is keeping him out.
    I’m mulling over Edgar Martinez a lot more now. I still can’t quite get past how many games he played at DH. Perhaps being a lifelong National League fan is clouding my vision.

  20. schilling ,Larkin, walker– I love the speed game, thought a lot about Raines, but no. Had a look at Gwynn, but he had , according to BR , 12 assists playing right field in 1984, but 11 total outfield assists that year. that negative assist in his one game at cf disqualifies him from my ballot 😉

    • I wonder if he pulled a Walker & flipped the ball to a fan with less than 2 outs or a Canseco and “assisted” the ball over the fence with his head?

  21. 1) Captain Video

    2) Robbie “Catch Da Taste” Alomar

    3) The Schillster. I am so tired of seeing his name on the ballot, let’s just push him over the line and get it over with.

    Voomo, you mean to tell me that Raines wasn’t nicknamed “The Rock” because of his ridiculously sculptured thighs?

  22. Schilling, Glavine, and still not a clear candidate for the third spot. Gwynn and Sandberg muddy the water further.

    I think I’m going to stick with my shout-out to counting stat extraordinaire Craig Biggio again. 3000+ hits, 15th all-time in runs scored, and 5th all-time in doubles. Considering I followed those last two stat totals for the last 10 years or so of Biggio’s career, I’ve got to pretend here like they’re really meaningful.

    Schilling, Glavine, Biggio

    • Biggio is also first or second all-time in HBP. The only player ahead of his is Hughie Jennings who got most of his in the 1890s. And I’m doubtful whether Jenning’s count is actually accurate.

      He also had the incredible ’97 season in which he didn’t ground into a single double play in 78 opportunities.

      • Don Baylor deserves honorable-mention here: 4th all-time with 267 HBP, and the one player who seemed to be trying the hardest to actually get hit by a pitch, probably because of his body type. Well, maybe him and Ron Hunt.

        Not that he was _fat_ , but he was solidly built and could absord a HBP in most places. He’s listed at 6′ 1″, 190, but he had to be well over 200 lbs by the mid-80s.

        He’s also the only 30 HR/30 HBP player, in 1986 (31 HR/35 HBP), when he set the AL HBP record.

        • I personally think umps shouldn’t award first base to a batter who refuses to get out of the way of an inside fastball or curve. You’re supposed to attempt to avoid the pitch. It’s a discretionary call, so make it.

          The worst offender I’ve ever seen is Fernando Vina (I said this a few weeks ago). He actually would lean his elbow INTO the strike zone to get a HBP. How can you award first base to the batter when he gets hit by a ball in the strike zone? Bobby Cox got ejected more than once arguing this same thing.

          • Chase Utley doesn’t lean in but he sure as hell doesn’t flinch. And he has been known to crowd as well. I’ve never seen an ump call back a HBP against him but there were certainly some deserving.

            Jeter also has a twist move he does which makes it looks like he’s getting out of the way when really he’s just getting his hands protected when he takes it on the arm/elbow area while keeping his feet planted. He makes a living hitting balls off the outside of the plate though so this is probably not that intentional. Also gets his face out of the way, so yeah. No Jeter hate from me.

  23. Since 1959 is also my birth year I thought about voting for Alaska and Hawaii and giving myself a vote, but alas, none are eligible.
    I have always been a Raines fan and as a Cub fan those first 2 votes are easy for me. My sentimental vote, and probably the only vote he gets, will be for Bill Gullickson who like Santo, played with diabetes. It’s not as uncommon as it was in Santo’s days, but it’s in my family so I appreciate that extra detail in the quest to get to the Major Leagues.


  24. The top 9 position players on the ballot range in career WAR from 62.1 (Biggio) to 69.7 (Walker). The average WAR among the top 9 is 65.3, which is exactly the same as Gwynn’s 65.3 WAR.

    The top 3 pitchers on the ballot range from 62.6 WAR (Smoltz) to 76.9 (Schilling). The average WAR is 69.6, just a shade over Glavine’s 69.3 WAR.

    Overall, Schilling is the most deserving, like him or not. Walker’s 69.7 is 2.6 more than Larkin, but that’s not enough to make me want to pick Walker, especially considering the skepticism that surrounds the metrics involving Coors Field. And finally, I like Sandberg at 2nd over Biggio and Alomar. As much as I love Edgar, he’s just too one-dimensional. Gwynn hit for a high average, but his defense was poor for more than half of his career, and I rate defense very highly.

    Strong up the middle: Schilling, Sandberg, and Larkin

  25. I remember 1987 George Bell. He was a force. Such plate coverage and a vicious swing. He was a hot prospect who had bloomed into a true stud. Who would have thought then that the 27 year old MVP would play nearly replacement level ball the rest of his career and be gone at age 33. I see bell got a vote (ooook…) but I thought some remembrance would be nice.

    Otis Nixon deserves some attention on the all time “batters most hated by third basemen” list. He could bunt and had speed enough to rack up dozens of errors by third basemen trying to gun him down at first. Shudder. Anybody have a stat of the positional fielding split for each player? I bet Otis Nixon is way up on the third basemen’s fielding chance list.

    Jim Eisenreich is always a painful what if for me. I have fond memories of his Phillies years (I do live in philly and watch occasionally even if I’m unashamedly a yankees fan). Still, a guy who had to overcome a lot more than “reaching his potential” to succeed and a worthy guy to remember.

    • The son of a woman that I knew through work had Tourette’s Syndrome. I was really just an occasional acquaintance of his mothers and didn’t know him personally at all but I knew who he was and he was aware that I knew his mother so on the less than a handful of occasions that I encountered him in public we would say hello and a couple of those times we had brief conversations of the “Nice day” and “What’s your mother been up to?” kind. But even those brief encounters gave me a small sense of an incredible struggle life must have been for him. I wasn’t aware of Eisenreich until the Twins called him up but he would have still been in college at St. Cloud State when I played rugby against them in the late 70’s. I won’t pretend that I can even imagine how hard his struggle must have been but I do know that there were an awful lot of Twins fans pulling for him to succeed. I’m glad that he made it back to the majors and stuck around as long as he did.

      And speaking as someone who wanted to grow up to be Alan Trammell- even though I’m actually a few years older than him- I consider George Bell in 1987 to be a four-letter word. OK, so Bell actually IS a four-letter word but you get my meaning… we wuz ROBBED!

  26. Raines, Sandberg, Edgar.

    Curt Schilling now holds a clear lead in our polling and looks to be on track for induction. Curious: how is it that Mr. Schilling has avoided the speculation and innuendo that surrounded other players who turned in their peak performances past a certain age during the steroid era? I might answer my own question by noting the vehemence with which he has denounced the cheating that we now know was rampant throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, but how is that any different from Palmeiro wagging his finger at a Congressional panel? Knowing a bit about the narcissistic attitudes commonplace among athletes and celebrities, his outspokenness only served to make me suspicious. “Methinks thou dost protest too much, Mr. Schilling.”

    Of course I don’t know anything except what the numbers show: Until he arrived in Arizona, Schill was a good pitcher with some really good years (and some clunkers) on his resume, but no one was talking about him for the Hall of Fame. Up to the age of 33, Schilling received Cy Young votes in exactly one season, finishing fourth behind Pedro, Maddux and Denny Neagle (!) in 1997. Between 2001 and 2004, Schilling’s age 34-37 seasons, he turned into a worldbeater: 74 wins. 150 ERA+ (well above his career mark of 127). Three second-place Cy Young finishes in four years. And 30.1 WAR, almost 40% of his career total.

    Schilling didn’t have the well-muscled physique of a Jose Canseco, but we know that’s not dispositive–look at Roger Clemens. What Schilling did have was stamina, pitching almost 50 innings in the 2001 postseason after a league-leading 256.2 in the regular season. This is a known advantage of the ‘roider: they can keep going strong when others fall flat from the grind of the season.

    Let the whisper campaign begin!

    • Gootch, I’m no fan of Schilling. I’m a Yankees fan and a Democrat, so that’s reason enough beyond the “gentlemans” personal qualities. And the story of the blow up of 38 Studios and the huge cost to the taxpayer is really tawdry. Ask yourself how one guy gets $75 Million in loan guarantees from a state program that totals $125M, and that’s only months after the state cuts $68 million from schools, roads, sanitation, etc. I’m sure the political fundraiser he held at his estate shortly before was just a coincidence.

      That being said, while I agree with Andy’s comment in “Perfect Player” that everyone is a suspect, until there’s credible evidence linking that overstuffed jerk to PED usage, he’s innocent until proven guilty.

      And I don’t feel good about saying it.

      • Mike: with you on the baseball and the politics. I also totally agree that he’s innocent until proven guilty…but so are Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza and all the other guys whose numbers have started the rumor mill circling absent even a shred of evidence. I just really asked somewhat rhetorically why the same rumors haven’t been floating around about Bloody Sock.

        • Schilling did recently admit to taking Toradol for the last 10 years of his career. Toradol’s not classified as a PED but I see that as splitting hairs and in my opinion, Schilling now looks like a complete hypocrite.


          “More than 300 Toradol shots over his career taught Schilling their vitality. He said he experimented with different times of injection before settling on the optimal one: 5:25 p.m., exactly 100 minutes before a 7:05 start. Even though it’s neither considered nor classified as a performance-enhancing drug, its ability to help pitchers perform isn’t in doubt. Schilling remembers one particular game, a 2002 Sunday getaway day in Milwaukee with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
          “I slept on a pillow wrong,” he said. “I woke up at 5:30 [a.m.]. I couldn’t move my head. I went to the ballpark at 6:30 for a 1:30 [p.m.] game. Worked for four hours on it. I literally couldn’t move my head. I went to the bullpen and started throwing and I didn’t think there was any way I could pitch.
          “Then the Toradol kicked in. I threw a one-hitter and struck out 17.””

    • Schilling was anti-social as a player. He preferred to hang out in his hotel room and play everquest on his laptop. He wasn’t a gym rat. Even if he took steroids, he didn’t work out enough to bulk up. He had many flaws, but pitching wasn’t one of them. I don’t see a late career surge when I look at Schilling, I see a bunch of injuries and a guy who for several post seasons put together some of the best pitched games against some of the best roided linups ever. He did improve his control throughout his career, fairly dramatically changing when he arrived in Arizona mid-season (he would walk just 13 in his 13 starts for the 2000 dimamondbacks). His strikeout rate went up slightly (8.9 2000+ from 8.4 before) but not dramatically. He was always a high K guy and batters were league wide swinging more every year during that period. I think Schilling battled injuries and was able to settle into a mechanical place that he found much better control with (and less velocity it should be noted. Young Curt was a fireballer). Many pitchers improve their control as they age. Most are not of the big fastball/big slider variety like Schilling. He also developed his changeup throughout his career, another hallmark of old fashioned improvement with age. No, I don’t buy the steroids one bit.

      • He was not durable, regularly showed up to camp out of shape, and did not dedicate himself to rehab the same way some players do (leading to longer injuries). Those are significant flaws that held him back, but they’re also ones that point directly away from Steroid use.

  27. Wow! This is strange, I mean, rooting for Curt Schilling. Tim Raines was a great ballplayer, but the difference between Raines and Schilling is way out of wack with the voting this round. I just don’t see Raines as a 1st ballot COGer. Kenny Lofton was a better all around baseball player than Raines, and here he is on the Redemption ballot while Raines is close to getting voted in on the 1st try. Hah!

    Anyway, I’m going Schilling, Smoltz, and Sandberg.

    • There is a single vote separating the top two in the balloting at the moment. Remember, voting for this round closes at 11PM EST tomorrow night.

        • That 1912 election was something. Wilson got 435 electoral votes with 41,8% of the popular vote. Now if there were a I could quickly find out if that’s the highest number of electoral votes per vote percent, or EPVP, as it’s known.

  28. In the 80’s, Ryne Sandberg was to the 2B position what Cal Ripken was to the SS position. I’m not saying that Ryno was “as” good as Cal, but they both represented what was thought of as the “new breed” of middle infielder; big, strong, athletic types who could change the outcome of a game in many ways. Cal was a superior fielder, but Ryne was also very good. Plus Ryne averaged around 30 SB’s from 1982 to 1992. During that span, the STANDARD BATTING numbers are pretty close:

    Ripken – 6903 AB, 1042 R, 1917 H, 369 2B, 34 3B, 272 HR, 1014 RBI, 32 SB, .278 BA, .348 OBP, .460 SLG, 124 OPS+

    Sandberg – 6699 AB, 1074 R, 1938 H, 320 2B, 67 3B, 231 HR, 836 RBI, 314 SB, .289 BA, .349 OBP, .461 SLG, 120 OPS+

    Obviously, we all know that “WAR” don’t lie, and due to the defensive components Cal’s 71.2 WAR during the ’82-’92 period eclipse Ryne’s 57.4.

    So, if you love WAR, then Sandberg’s 64.9 in 16 seasons is a whole lot better than Raines’s 66.2 in 23 years and Tony Gwynn’s 65.3 in 20, right?

    Anyway, my votes are for Schilling, Sandberg, and Walker.

        • Oh well. Now I’m hoping that Schilling wins, so I don’t have to read about him everyday anymore. He’s really the only guy who bothers me. I’d rather have dinner with Clemens, Bonds, Albert Belle, and the Ghost of Jimmy the Greek – and have Hanley Ramirez as our busboy, chasing the meatball that rolled off of the table… than wait behind Schilling for ten seconds on line at the coffeeshop.

          • Voomo @138, have courage. Think of it as an unpleasant, albeit necessary medical procedure. After all, it is the prep that’s the worst part of it. Once it’s out, it’s out.

  29. Hmm, I personally prefer Glavine over Schilling, but as much as I like Raines personally, I don’t think he should get in before Schilling. So, what to do? Semi-protesty vote?

    Sandberg (ballot extension)
    Martinez (needs more love)

    Congrats to whoever gets in; in a way I hope it’s Schilling so I don’t have to face the choice of putting him on the ballot anymore. Returning players and a stacked birth year coming up, things are getting even more exciting!

  30. Schilling, Glavine, Raines.

    And yes, I’m still irrationally punishing the middle infield candidates for the sins committed against Whitaker & Trammell.

    BTW, this must be the weakest “born-in-year” for pitchers so far — the only 3 with 20+ WAR all have ERA+ below 100.

    • I think it’s more circumstance than anything that we have a glut of middle infielders awaiting election. That, and maybe there just aren’t that many SS or 2B with over 70 WAR. The only one we’ve encountered so far, Ripken, got elected.

      I also think it’s entirely possible that we will end up with fewer 2B, 3B, and catchers than any other positions. Is that because we have a blind spot regarding these positions? No. It’s simply because, over the course of MLB history, fewer great talents have manned those positions compared to other spots on the field. I think it would be a slight mistake to vote someone in by this process on the basis of, “well, we don’t have a second baseman yet..”, or some similar logic.

      • Bstar: “It’s simply because, over the course of MLB history, fewer great talents have manned those positions compared to other spots on the field.”

        That’s a fairly unprovable assertion Bstar. My guess is that middle infielders “suffer” in a few ways relative to other non-catcher position players.

        1) I think middle infielders are at a much greater injury risk than other positions (again catchers excepted).

        2) Middle infielders have very little position flexibility compared to outfielders (for example). What can you do with a middle infielder who’s lost his skills? Not much. A shortstop could conceivably be moved to 2nd. But that’s about it. Most of them don’t have the offensive talent to play other positions so once their defense is gone, they’re finished. Outfielders though have lots of position flexibility. Not just within the outfield but many of them can also be moved to 1st and post-1973 to DH.

        • I’m not married to this theory, Ed.

          I got that idea from an article Bill James wrote a few years ago on his site. He was pointing out that the reason so few catchers are in the Hall of Fame isn’t so much because they’ve been ignored by voters but because catchers are very rarely the best hitter or the best athlete on the team, and this goes all the way back to little league. Catchers often don the tools of ignorance simply because they can’t play anywhere else.

          One could apply the same logic to second basemen. A lot of the time, aren’t they playing second because they’re not athletic enough/don’t have good enough hands to play SS and don’t have a good enough arm to play third?

          This is merely a theory of mine and it’s hardly set in stone, but it just makes a lot of sense to me. I admit it’s “unproven”, but it’s still worth positing.

          • Fair points Bstar. On the other hand, take someone like Frank Thomas. Would he have nearly 70 career WAR (and induction into the Circle of Greats) without the DH? Seems unlikely. Granted that’s just one example but the DH definitely helped some types of players more than others.

          • If it’s worth positing, it must be worth shooting at. :)

            Talking strictly of catchers, now:

            The dual physical toll of catching — shortened careers and diminished offense — is something that everyone acknowledges in the abstract, but fewer act upon when it comes to HOF voting.

            5,000 PAs is a virtual minimum for HOF election; only Campanella made it in with less.

            In all of MLB history, the number of players at each position with 5,000 PAs:

            SS – 120
            OF – 118 (total divided by 3 positions)
            1B – 115
            2B – 111
            3B – 99
            C – 61

            Now, HOFers by position:
            SS – 20
            OF – 20 (total divided by 3)
            2B – 18
            1B – 17
            3B – 12
            C – 12

            It seems clear that the number of HOF catchers is directly related to their shortage of counting stats, in relation to the general population.

            But since every team needs a catcher, and teams certainly invest as much time and effort in developing that position as they do the other positions on average, isn’t it reasonable to judge catchers on a scale that acknowledges the difficulties of the position?

            If you rank every player with 5,000 PAs according to his OPS+, you’ll find the first catcher at #47, the next at #86, then #145.

            bstar, you seem to think that is because the population of MLB catching prospects starts out with less hitting ability than the other positions. Broadly, I don’t buy that, but I’ll try to come up with some proof.

          • Shoot away, John. I’m more interested in the truth here than in me being right. I think my idea is just PART of the explanation. Your facts about a low # of PAs is probably a BIGGER part, at least for catchers.

          • Another thing about catchers: no lefties need apply. Also true about 2B, SS, 3B, true, but with catching being a special skill, denying all lefties who might otherwise fit the position cuts the batting talent pool considerably.

            I once tried to interest my daughter—who was and still is engaged in challenging prejudicial practices—in joining me in a lawsuit against organized baseball for discrimination against left-handers, since they (including her father) were denied the right to play four of the nine positions. Being right-handed, though left wing, she failed to grasp my point.

          • nsb, is it need not apply, or show up throwing RH’d? I can think of many lefty hitting 3B’men and 2B’men who threw right handed. Some catchers, too.

          • I was a left-handed 2nd sacker for nine years of little league.
            My final season I posted an OBP of .800

            Wade Boggs is up next year.
            Did you know that the two batting average phenoms of the 1980’s, Boggs and Gwynn, played the exact number of regular season games: 2440

          • Damnnit Voomo, I just discovered (and posted) the exact same thing five seconds ago! I’ll have to be quicker on the draw next time.

          • Another thing to consider…many players are drafted at one position and then moved to another, particularly if they can’t handle the defensive demands of their original position. (though injury fear is another concern for catchers). So guys like Biggio, Zeile, Surhoff, etc. were originally catchers and then were moved to other positions. Guys like Sheffield, Tartabull, Cory Snyder etc. were drafted as middle infielders and then later moved to easier defensive positions. Sometimes these guys get moved in the minors, other times they get moved after they’ve reached the majors. So a lot of the best hitting catchers and middle infielders end up playing a lot of their career at other positions.

            And you obviously don’t see much of the opposite. If a guy is drafted as an outfielder, it’s not often that they’ll be moved to catcher or middle infield. Center fielders may be an exception. For example, I believe that Jason Kipnis was a CFer in college.

    • I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing.
      Their raw counting numbers are virtually even.
      Their postseason numbers, also, comparable.

      I would think that Schilling’s hero narrative and douchebag narrative should zero sum.
      (I’m a Yankee fan, so I withdraw from objective discussion on the matter.)

      But I don’t get it.
      (Okay, I do get it. Schilling had more “great” 5+ WAR seasons. He was “great”, and Smoltz was just really good.)

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