Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?

Shoutout to Bill James for the title, a man without whom this piece (and site) would never have existed.

Anyway, let’s get into it. Last two elections, I’ve come here to offer predictions, put forth compelling(?) arguments and complain about the BBWAA. To be honest, I’m tired. Tired of refreshing Baseball Think Factory’s Ballot Collecting Gizmo. Tired of getting worked up about writers leaving open space on their ballots. Mostly, I’m tired of the “whispers” about several players on the ballot when it comes to alleged PED usage.

Why, then, do I allow myself every year to focus so much time and energy into the Hall of Fame ballot? As much as I may wish I did, I don’t have the clout to change anyone with a vote’s mind. Individual players will likely never know of my love for their on-field performance and support for their candidacies.

I do it simply because I love the game.

There are few things in life more enjoyable to me than the game of baseball. As a result, I take very seriously the thought of which players deserve enshrinement in Cooperstown. It pains me to see the (10-plus-year) members of the BBWAA, as a collective, significantly blot out a sizable chunk of baseball history with their votes. Superstar-caliber players I grew up watching and rooting for or against are falling short of election to varying degrees. Effectively, the writers are choosing to believe that this era hardly ever happened. The Baseball Hall of Fame is a museum and should reflect history, for better or worse.

This year’s ballot bears 34 names, 17 first-timers and 17 holdovers. Two players, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez will sail in, likely receiving percentages in the low-mid 90s. John Smoltz, the third piece of an incredibly dominant Atlanta triumvirate, will almost certainly be enshrined. Craig Biggio, who missed induction by a scant two votes last cycle, is currently polling at 84 percent among voters who have made their ballots public (or at least available to ballot aggregators). He won’t end up with that percentage, but it is fairly safe to say he will get in.

Four inductees sounds fine — it would be the most we’ve had from the writers since 1955. But the ballot is crowded more than likely any of us have ever witnessed. A case can be made for, by my estimate, 24 of the 34 names on this ballot. (My apologies to Darin Erstad, Tom Gordon, Jason Schmidt, Cliff Floyd, Jermaine Dye, Rich Aurilia, Troy Percival, Aaron Boone, Tony Clark and Eddie Guardado.)

Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez may have been the two most dominant pitchers I’ve ever seen. Their seven-year peaks nearly overlapped and are pretty much unparalleled in the sport. To wit, Pedro was 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA (213 ERA+), 2.26 FIP and a 5.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio from 1997 to 2003. Johnson had 51+ WAR in any seven-year block you care to choose between 1995 and 2005.

So much ink has been spilled about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. They’re far and away the two best players on this ballot and will very likely not get the 75% from the BBWAA. No point in talking about either of them. Even if Bonds would still have more WAR than Don Mattingly if the seven-time MVP were a league average hitter. Even if Clemens had about five greater WAR in the 80s than Jack Morris despite not debuting until May 1984. Ah, but there I go again. Some things are just too good to not print.

Moving down the ballot a bit you’ve got Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling and Jeff Bagwell. Why the BBWAA passes Smoltz with flying colors and continues to stymie Moose and Schill is beyond me. The postseason argument in favor of Smoltz is often cited, but Schilling’s time in the playoffs was just as good, if not better. As far as the regular season is concerned, the divisive Schilling notched six 6 WAR seasons to Smoltz’s one. And for the traditionalists among you, Schilling has three 20-win seasons to Smoltz’s one. Speaking of one 20-win season, let’s move on to Mussina. Moose may have won 20 games just once, but he won at least 17 on eight separate occasions and notched 35 victories in the strike-shortened 1994-95 seasons. And as a frequent visitor to the site may note, this is a weak argument for him. The longtime Oriole/Yankee has 10 five-plus-WAR seasons and registered a 123 ERA+ in perhaps the hardest pitching environment in history: the AL East from 1991 to 2008. With Bagwell, you’re looking at the best first baseman not named Albert Pujols since World War II. Enough said. Whisper this, BBWAA.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to blitz through a few players, highlighting the best arguments for and against their candidacy.

Tim RainesFor: Second-greatest leadoff man of all-time, best SB% among players with over 800 (or even 311) steals. Against: No “magic” numbers and largely unspectacular after age-27 season.

Edgar MartinezFor: One of 17 players with over 500 Batting Runs and a career .300/.400/.500 line. Against: Didn’t play the field for the bulk of his career.

Mike PiazzaFor: Most Batting Runs by a catcher in history, surpassing the runner-up by over 150. Against: I dunno, bacne?

Alan TrammellFor: One of just four shortstops since integration to post four six-WAR seasons. Against: Not spectacular in any one area.

Larry WalkerFor: Slashed .353/.441/.648 over a six-year period, great defensive right fielder to boot. Against: Coors effect (tackled at length here by Adam Darowski), lack of longevity.

Jeff KentFor: All-time home run leader at his position. Against: Not a particularly great fielder.

Mark McGwireFor: Best at-bats-per-home-run of all-time, first man to break Maris’ record. Against: Admitted steroid user, relatively one-dimensional.

Gary SheffieldFor: Over 500 homers, one of 10 retired players with over 9000 ABs and a .900 OPS. Against: BALCO connection, dreadful in the field.

The four guys who will make it (Johnson, P. Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio) and the 13 analyzed above all would have my vote on an unlimited ballot. That’s bananas.

But let’s take a moment to step away from the numbers. Could the bulk of us who frequent sites like this be looking at the whole situation the wrong way? Consider for a minute the “WOW” factor. This is something we often rail against, for better or worse. This is what put Bill Mazeroski in the Hall of Fame and kept Jack Morris threatening to sneak in (Sidenote: Are we happy or sad he’s off the ballot? Sure, he really shouldn’t be in, but isn’t there some fun in having an easy target in the battle against traditionalists? Who fills that role for us now, Lee Smith?). The word “Fame” is in the building’s title — should the votes have as much to do with fame as they do for tangible on-field performance?

For example: the numbers say that Brian Giles was worth about six-and-a-half wins more than Carlos Delgado. If you’re being honest with yourself, was there ever a moment in their careers where Giles blew you away and Delgado didn’t? Delgado, although in an incredibly slugging-heavy era, did belt 473 career home runs. That’s amazing. People remember him for being a power hitter. Maybe not the best, or even close, but still. That’s a lot of dingers.

Lee Smith was once the all-time leader in saves. That’s a WOW fact, but when you realize saves are somewhat of a junk stat, it falls by the wayside. Plus, he now sits third on that list, a position he will stay in until he falls off the ballot. Fred McGriff is another player where the 493 home run figures is incredibly impressive, but for a guy whose best case for induction is his power to never top 37 long balls? No WOW from me. Sammy Sosa had the WOW alright. 600+ homers? Should be a shoo-in, but he rests on the borderline for me. A player that goes from 20 Batting/107 Fielding Runs from 1989-97 to 313/-22 from 1998-2007 is too much of a PED red flag to get over. This case, though, someone could sway me the other way.

Personally, I would never let the WOW factor alone dictate the way I would vote. Could it be used one way or another to tip a close call? Absolutely. Jeff Kent would be the kind of player to test this. The numbers say he’s a borderline Hall of Famer, but there’s no WOW to him. Granted, there’s no notable WOW to a guy like Mike Mussina, but his numbers are far too good to ignore. Nomar Garciaparra and Don Mattingly both had this factor to a degree, putting up tremendous peaks. However, they combined for -3 WAA apiece outside of their peaks. In fact, let’s take a look at the two peaks, because in my mind, you can’t vote for one and not the other and still be taken seriously:

Garciaparra peak (904 games, 1997-03): 169 HR, 653 RBI, 77 SB, .325/.372/.559, 41.0 WAR.

Mattingly peak (917 games, 1984-89): 160 HR, 864 RBI, 8 SB, .327/.372/.530, 32.8 WAR.

Both will fall off the ballot this year, Garciaparra in his first attempt, Mattingly in his 15th.

We’re hovering around the 1500-word mark at this point, and I know you’re all busy people. But for fun, let’s take a look at the upcoming ballots and the five most qualified players (ranked by how I assume they’ll fare with the writers) on each:

2016 – Ken Griffey, Jr., Trevor Hoffman, Jim Edmonds, Billy Wagner, Jason Kendall

2017 – Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Magglio Ordonez

2018 – Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Scott Rolen, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel*

2019 – Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton, Roy Oswalt

*Replace with Johan Santana if he never pitches again.

This logjam isn’t going away any time soon, but neither are the growing legions of forward-thinking baseball fans in spaces like these. Will we push Larry Walker into the Hall of Fame? No. But without people like us, would Tim Raines have a legitimate chance?

For those who scrolled here immediately looking for a “tl;dr” or have arrived naturally, here’s my Hall of Fame hierarchy:

What do you think this is, xkcd? No neat alt-text here!

Note: Tier 6 consists of McGwire, Kent and Sheffield, all of whom I’m 50-80% sold on.

Please comment below telling me I’m great or short-sighted or what-have-you. Point is, let’s get a civil discussion going.

Leave a Reply

58 Comments on "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jeff Self
Guest

Of all the upcoming players you mention, here’s my list:

Griffey
Hoffman
Rodriguez
Guerrero
Ramirez
C. Jones
Thome
Rivera
Halladay

Maybe Pettitte and Helton. But honestly, I don’t pay attention to the players as much as I used to. I feel I would only be qualified to judge players from the 80’s and 90’s.

Dr. Doom
Guest
MLB.com showed teh votes of their writers today (http://m.mlb.com/news/article/105597840/mlbcom-reporters-reveal-their-hall-of-fame-ballots). I can understand that some people will have differences of opinion with me regarding certain candidates. But what I can’t understand is the comment by Marty Noble. Noble voted for only three players: Johnson, Martinez, and Smoltz. Fine. He assessed the players, took his vote seriously, and those were the only three he found deserving. That’s fine. But is that what happened? No. Here’s the quote: “For the second year in a row, no need to study the ballot existed. I voted for the three no-brainer candidates — Johnson, Martinez and… Read more »
mosc
Guest
I would vote for: 1) Bonds 2) Clemens 3) Johnson 4) Martinez 5) Schilling 6) Smoltz 7) Biggio 8) Piazza 9) Trammel 10) Raines and be somewhat conflicted I left off Mussina, mostly because of his defense and longevity. I’m not sold on Walker or Martinez or Sheffield (though closer than most I’d say) but would want more time to consider them. I’d give a solid “NO” to Kent, Mattingly, Garciapara, McGuire, Sosa, Smith, McGriff, and Delgado. I’d tell Rose that in exchange for falling in line with the front office I will re-instate his baseball status posthumously but ban… Read more »
Joseph
Guest
My opinion, for what it is worth, is that there needs to be a wow factor. Of course, wow factor should rarely be the only thing considered–but in some cases, it is enough for me. For example, Hack Wilson. His story is unusual, sad, and compelling and his stats so amazing for those few seasons, that I’m glad he is remembered and in. Guys like Mattingly, although probably my favorite player in the 80’s and 90’s, not enough wow and not enough stats. Only my opinion also, regardless of PEDS, Clemens and Bonds were so good that you know they… Read more »
Doug
Editor

And the winners are: Pedro, Big Unit, Smoltz and Biggio

Dalton scores 100% as a prognosticator.

mosc
Guest

69.9% for Piazza, sad. Take good care of the skin on your back kids!

…and thus starts a year long crusade for JA to drum up some Alan Trammell love.

Baltimorechop
Guest

Tho Nomar stayed on the ballot somehow.

Paul E
Guest
Is the steroid issue an “all or nothing” proposition? Like Bonds was a HoF’er before steroids, no doubt. But, if you’re OK with steroids and/or OK with a suspicion of steroids, then they all get in based on incredible numbers for their careers: McGwire, Sosa, Bagwell, Bonds, Delgado, Giambi, Manny, Sheffield, Palmeiro, Piazza, Biggio, Clemens, and the rest: Johnson, Pedro, Mussina, etc…Forget about WAR, some of the counting numbers they reached all earn them some sort of acknowledgment of the highest order. The only problem is that when you acknowledge these players and their incredible numbers with the legitimacy of… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest
That’s why counting numbers are stupid as a measure of a career, because the game changes. If you want to use them as some kind of tiebreaker, fine, but putting in everybody who reaches a certain number (or denying everybody who doesn’t) is a really foolish way to go about things, if you aren’t ever going to reevaluate the line in response to changes in the game and how good you have to be to hit said number. Delgado and Giambi had numbers that would put them in for sure if he played in the 1960s/70s. But they didn’t. They… Read more »
PaulE
Guest

War?
it’s gospel….for now-just like win shares.
for a true measure of helton and walker’s offensive value, just double their road numbers. Coors is so ridiculously skewed, even OPS+ can not adjust enough
As for steroids, they work. Perhaps we can adjust Bonds 2000 and beyond stats downward bya factor of 75% ( adjustment foroverall increase in shoe size from 10.5 to 14)?

RJ
Guest

Alternatively, playing at Coors puts Colorado players at the biggest road disadvantage in baseball, as they struggle to adapt to ballparks at lower altitudes.

I’d love to see a follow-up to this article:

http://www.purplerow.com/2014/5/15/5712224/the-numbers-are-lying

David P
Guest
RJ – Here are two follow-ups to that article. http://www.rockieszingers.com/2014/05/19/splitting-difference-rockies-home-away-2009-2013/ http://checkswingroller.com/2014/05/16/mind-the-gap/ Honestly the “Coors Hangover Effect” has been studied to death and there’s simply no there there. To the extent that there is such an effect, we’d expect the effect to be greater on newer Rockies, who haven’t had time to adjust to the effect. Let’s look at 4 players. In his first year as a Rockie, Justin Morneau put up a .839 road OPS, exactly in line with his career road OPS of .841. This despite the fact that he was 1) past his prime, 2) had been struggling… Read more »
David P
Guest

Here’s another post-humidor player. Drew Stubbs. Last year he put up a .999 home OPS and a .616 road OPS.

Coors hangover effect? Hardly. In his final two seasons with the Reds, Stubbs put up Road OPS of .618 and .595. So his .616 road OPS with the Rockies is about what we would expect if the hangover effect is a myth.

RJ
Guest

Thanks for the links and discussion David. I figured someone would have looked into it.

mosc
Guest
RJ and David P, thanks for the good Coors Field reading. I think I’m of the opinion that both sides are partly true. The park adjustment for the benefit it gives hitters is understated, so too is the difficulties of hitting on the road if you’re used to it. Overall, I think the adjustment is correct so I tend to believe Tulo’s OPS+, for example despite a big home/road split. In the pre-humador era though I think it’s just too extreme. The era was as hitter heavy as we’ve ever had in the most hitter heavy park we’ve ever had… Read more »
brp
Guest
Let’s just get this clear – Larry Walker was a damn fine player both BEFORE and AFTER he played in Colorado. He was a legitimate 5-tool star in Montreal before he went to Coors. His OPS+ in Montreal was 128. He put up 81 Rbat, 52 Rfield, and 11 Rbaser in 5 years + a cup of coffee as a rookie. That’s impressive stuff. How about when he went to St Louis at AGE 37 – he had a .908 OPS or a 134 OPS+ in a year-and-a-half. So sure, his Colorado numbers are inflated. But he would have been… Read more »
Michael Sullivan
Guest

Doubling road stats is a really poor way to estimate, and IMO has much bigger problems than the adjustments done in rBat.

Most players (park-adjusted) perform better at home than on the road. That’s why they call it home field *advantage*.

Richard Chester
Guest

Based on non-park-adjusted data for players with 5000+ PA in the searchable era, 618 players out of 798 have a higher OPS at home than on the road. Biggest beneficiary is Bobby Doerr whose ratio of home OPS to total OPS is 112.8%. On the other end of the scale is Gil McDougald at 88.7%.

Paul E
Guest
Michael Sullivan: Thanks. And here I thought “home field advantage” meant last at-bats in the bottom half of the ninth or extra innings. Larry “Booger” Walker: in COLO .380/.461/.709 Elsewhere .282/.372/.500 If you go to the Dick Allen (career OPS+ 156) player page and put him in an environment of Colorado NL 1999, he breaks Hack Wilson’s RBI record in 1972 and Babe Ruth’s runs scored record in 1964. Larry Walker – nice player. I just don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer. I didn’t even bother figuring the difference between the above environments on a RC/27 basis. It’s got… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Michael Sullivan:
So, I did figure it out using the bastardized RC formula (TB x OBA x 27)/Outs Made.

in Colo 13.41RC/27 versus 6.71RC/27 elsewhere. THAT, is some home cooking. But, of course, that’s in Colorado as a visitor and a home ballpark. So, per the theory that everybody hits better at home, the numbers might be even more skewed for his days solely as a Rocky (Rockie?)

I hope this helps

Doug
Guest

With Smoltz’s election, the 1990s Braves (1993, 1996-97) join the 1903-07 As (Bender, Plank, Waddell), 1950-51 Indians (Feller, Wynn, Lemon) and 1966 Dodgers (Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton) as the only teams with three HOF pitchers logging 200+ IP.

Of those teams, only the 1996-97 Braves had all three pitching in their peaks (the 1907 As were close with Bender, though only 23, arguably entering his peak, but Waddell’s last peak year was clearly the season before).

Hartvig
Guest
I kind of doubt that most sportswriters understand math well enough to appreciate what kind of a corner that they’ve painted themselves into. I’m kind of a big Hall guy if for no other reason than it is what the various voting fiascos of the past 80 years have sort of created. The problem (or at least part of it) is that too many of the BBWAA writers vote with the idea that it’s a far, far more exclusive club than it is in reality. How in the hell can you call it fair when you vote to exclude (or… Read more »
mosc
Guest

I could have the same argument about Schilling. I mean he wasn’t Martinez, Johnson, Clemens, or Maddux but it’s hard to say he wasn’t as good as John Smoltz. Not that I think Smoltz shouldn’t get in, just that Schilling should too. I can at least understand a traditional stats argument when I read one but is there one against Schilling? I haven’t read it. His worst attribute is he wasn’t much better or worse than Mussina, Pettitte, Glavine, Smoltz, Brown, or Cone who he opposed I guess.

Doug
Editor

I suppose the WOW factor for Smoltz is that he had a unique career in that he excelled as a starter, then as a closer, and then as a starter again. Whatever the team asked of him. I can’t think of a comparable career.

Also, since Smoltz averaged 14 wins in the 3 seasons both before and after his years as a closer, you can feel pretty confident about penciling in 260+ wins had he not moved to the bullpen (if you prefer to look at his career that way).

David P
Guest

The best part is that we get to add 4 more inductees to the COG! And Griffey is automatic for 2016 with Piazza well positioned to join him. And perhaps Raines or Bagwell “sneak-in” now that the ballot is a bit cleared off. So potentially 2-4 more COG inductees added in 2016.

Dr. Doom
Guest

I think Raines could be a likely candidate next year. He did SHOCKINGLY well this year. If there’s enough of a push, he could definitely make a run. And I, for one, would be glad to see it.

David P
Guest

Doom: Consider me skeptical re: Raines. Going back to 1990, I could only find one player – Barry Larkin – who made a 20%+ jump in order to get elected. But Larkin made that jump on a fairly “empty” ballot. Three years later he’s still the only person from the 2012 ballot in the HOF.

JasonZ
Guest
Craig Biggio had 3,060 hits. That and how the BBWAA has interpreted the steroids era are the culprits. Biggio is in because he got one extra hit about every three months over the last 19 years of his career. Wonderful. It is fitting that on the 60th anniversary of the 1955 election, a classic, that gave us Gabby Hartnett and Dazzy Vance, we have today added another enshrinee who is destined to join them. Craig Biggio’s election is a reminder that a reliance on round numbers stinks. If you want Biggio in, that is ok. But these are the players… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Biggio played 50 games as a rookie. From his 2nd – 12th year, he did this: G … 1649 R … 1106 H … 1842 2B .. 383 HR .. 149 SB .. 340 BA .. .294 OBP . .383 TB .. 2746 HBP . 153 ___________ Here’s where he ranks in years 2-12, among all Second Basemen since 1901: (he was a Catcher for the first three of these eleven years) G 1692 … Sandberg 1674 … Sax 1656 … Mazeroski 1649 … Biggio 1607 … Herman _______ R 1113 … Frisch 1106 … Biggio 1097 … Gehringer 1075… Read more »
PaulE
Guest

VoomoZ:
Interesting stuff.But, just wondering where he would rank in those categories compared to other leadoff batters.

PaulE
Guest

JasonZ:

Agreed on Sheffield. He could flat-out hit and was typically the best hitter on the field on any given day he was in the lineup- at least 75% of the time. What is the difference between him and Bagwell? Public relations. Sheffield bitched to anyone who would listen about racism and contract extensions ad nauseum.
Biggio? Nice player who accumulated counting stats that sportswriters/electorate wouldn’t ignore. He was not Ryne Sandberg or Joe Morgan and, obviously his peak was not better than Chase Utley. But, he got 3000 hits in an extreme offensive era and played for good ball clubs

Doug
Editor

Counterbalancing Biggio’s counting stats in a high offensive era was doing so for the bulk of his career in a bad hitters ballpark. He moved to an outstanding hitters ballpark later, but only during the down-side (age 34+) of his career.

Jose Altuve’s 200 hit season last year was only the second in the 53 years the Astros have played. Biggio had the other, playing in the Astrodome.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@15,

Biggio is a totally deserving HOFer; the 3,000+ career hits are just confirmation of that The only reason he doesn’t make your ‘Top 10’ is because the current HOF ballot is clogged with suspected PED users.

Go ahead, find a somewhat comparable player to Biggio who doesn’t belong in the HOF. You won’t, because there aren’t any.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Most career hits, with at least 400 games played at Catcher:

3060 … Biggio
2844 … Ivan Rod
2472 … Simmons
2356 … Fisk
2342 … Torre
2326 … Surhoff
2195 … Kendall
2150 … Berra (Yogi, not Dale)

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

It is easy to overlook that he was a Catcher, because it was before we even had the internet. But, on the subject of ‘there’s nobody like Biggio’:

Most SB, career, at least 400 games at Catcher:

414 … Biggio
212 … Roger Bresnahan
189 … Kendall
177 … Ray Schalk
141 … Surhoff
133 … Red Dooin (1st to wear shinguards)
128 … Fisk
127 … Ivan
124 … Johhny Kling (116-36)
121 … Wally Schang

Doug
Editor

One and done for Delgado is a crime. A victim of the crowded ballot syndrome. Get used to it – there will be others similarly afflicted.

He and Thome are the only players with four consecutive 4×100 seasons (4 WAR and 100 R/BB/RBI/SO).

RJ
Guest

Does the 4 WAR stipulation actually rule anyone out Doug? As far as I can tell, only four 100 R/BB/RBI/SO seasons have not been worth 4 WAR, and none of them interrupted four consecutive seasons of the 100 component.

I’ll leave it to our readers to guess who those four seasons belong to (three different players).

Doug
Editor

You’re right.

4 WAR is not a determinant for a streak of these seasons. Just thought I’d mention it for context.

RJ
Guest

Gotcha.

Since no one was biting, Adam Dunn (twice), Bobby Abreu and Jay Buhner are the only ones with 100 R/RBI/BB/SO seasons worth less than 4 WAR. Buhner never had a 4 WAR season of any sort.

PP
Guest

.280 .383 .546 .929 over 8657 PAs should be worth a couple of years on the ballot anyway.

PP
Guest

McGriff’s hanging on at .284 .377 .509 .886

I understand the WAR issues with both of these guys

JasonZ
Guest

Lawrence:

PED usage aside, I place Biggio about 13-14th on this ballot.

A HOF with him in before the 10 above and even Trammel, Walker and maybe Raines too just smells wrong.

We don’t know who did what for sure and for how long.

Sports writers making judgements based on rumor and innuendo stinks.

Michael Sullivan
Guest
But the problem isn’t that biggio got in. Getting any deserving player in is always a good thing, as it lightens up the ballot. The problem is the guys who didn’t get in back when they should have, when the ballot was less clogged up. Bagwell, Trammel, Raines, Martinez and Walker all had multiple elections where there only 1-2 players equal or better on the ballot, and they all have very clear cases that would raise the level of the hall. That they were still on the ballot in 2015 and not already in is a travesty. I understand how… Read more »
JasonZ
Guest
Craig Biggio had his career high in homeruns at age 39 and his second best single-season homerun total at age 38. I am not making an accusation I am only stating a fact. I wonder who else in the history of baseball can say that. His last three full seasons make up his best three-year running home run average for his entire career. Maybe he went to St. Augustine before his age 38 season and drank from the fountain of youth. My obvious point is that I think it is dangerous to assess who deserves to be in the Hall… Read more »
David P
Guest

Jason Z –

Biggio’s homerun totals went up because the Astros moved from a pitching friendly park (The Astrodome) to a hitting friendly one (Enron field). He had 4 seasons of 20+ homeruns in each park. Here’s the breakdown of how many homeruns he hit home vs. road those seasons:

Astrodome (home, away)
1993: 8, 13
1995: 6, 16
1997: 7, 15
1998: 10, 10
Total: 31, 54

Enron Field (home, away)
2001: 10, 10
2004: 13, 11
2005: 19, 7
2006: 15, 6
Total: 57, 34

I’d say this pretty clearly shows that Biggio’s increase in homeruns was greatly or entirely due to the change in ballparks.

Joseph
Guest

Ty Cobb could say that his best HR season was at 38. If he were still alive, anyways. Hank Aaron could almost say that. His highest was at 37. Ted Williams could almost say it too. His 2nd highest was at 38. 😉

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Cy Williams has his best HR season at age 35 (41 HR), 2nd best at age 39 (30). Of course, that’s due in large part to the ‘live ball’ era not starting until he was age 32 in 1920.

Richard Chester
Guest

Rico Carty and Darrell Evans each had their second highest HR totals at age 38 and Harold Baines had his second highest at age 40.

Artie Z.
Guest

Omar Vizquel hit twice as many HRs (14) in his age 35 season (2002) as he did in any other season except 1996 when he hit 9.

Vizquel played with Manny, who has twice been suspended by MLB, and Omar had a huge power surge at age 35 (though it disappeared the next year – didn’t they start testing around that time … hmmm …), therefore he must have been using PEDs. QED. Well, QED at least for some sportswriters.

JasonZ
Guest

Thanks David P. It is hard to keep track with all the new stadiums going from hitters to pictures park and back-and-forth

JasonZ
Guest

Let me be crystal clear. I believe that Biggio should be in the Hall of Fame. I am probably a big hall guy. But I do believe that there are 13 to 15 players on this ballot that you could argue are better than Biggio.

bells
Guest
You probably won’t get much argument here, given that 12 players from the current ballot (and certainly Pedro if he’d been born early enough) got voted into the CoG before Biggio, and all of them (save Piazza and Bagwell who were elected before Biggio got on) were considered with Biggio on the ballot. Piazza, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson all got on first ballot, Bagwell second, Trammell, Raines, Walker, Schilling and Mussina took a bit of persuasion (8-12 rounds I believe), and Edgar and Smoltz had a long and winding road, but both were in before Biggio. So yeah, HHS in general… Read more »
MikeD
Guest

I’m all about the peak, ’bout the peak, ’bout the peak.

Compilers need not apply.

Seriously, though, people have lost track of why the HOF was created and its purpose. It’s about marketing the game of baseball. When John Thorn was asked if Jack Morris should be in the Hall, he said sure. He has a point.

Darien
Guest

Eddie Guardado was once traded for a Hamburger. That is one of my favourite baseball facts. I don’t know that it’s enough to get him into the Hall, though.

MikeD
Guest

I just finished looking at a list of the top 25 burger places in America. I’m now hungry, so to me that’s enough for Eddie to make it into the HOF.

tunatuna
Guest
Great discussion and I love this time of year. The Hall of Fame matters – A lot! I am more of a big Hall guy because as one of the above mentioned – that is what the voters have made it become. I don’t have a problem with Biggio making it. I am more of a counting numbers guy – 3,000 hits are wonderful and my hat is off to him. That being said I am warming up to WAR and such and I use both the old and new in judging players. I love strong peak performers and WAR… Read more »
wpDiscuz