Regular HHS contributor no statistician but (or nsb) has authored this series of posts on the Hall of Fame, and the perennial questions of which players are there who shouldn’t be, and which aren’t but should. Unlike some debates on this topic, though, nsb applies a metrics-based approach to this task, and invites you to do the same in contributing to the discussion. So, without further ado, here is nsb.
Adam Darowski’s Hall of Stats is a reasoned, statistical attempt to evaluate top performers across baseball history by recognizing any player who scores 100 or better on the scale Darowski and his cohorts have created. The aim is to provide an alternative to, if not a correction of, the amorphous baggy monster that is the official Hall in Cooperstown. Like any such attempt, it shows a few built-in biases and, as a result, generates some results that seem partially illusory, but it does, I think, come as close to an impartial view of evaluation as exists. Importantly, even when I disagree with its rankings, I understand the basis of the disagreement.
In a sub-feature of the Hall of Stats called the Hall of Consensus, Darowski supplies an expanded look at all players who have been enshrined, either by himself, the official Hall of Fame, or a selected group of other ‘personal’ Halls of Fame. In this easy-to-follow listing, one can readily determine the sheep and the goats from Darowski’s point of view, and it is to the goats that I want to bring some attention.
It’s common nowadays to sneer at the notorious ‘Friends of Frisch’ in the Hall of Fame, for example, but how many are there in reality? I find nine—George Kelly, Freddie Lindstrom, Rick Ferrell, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Jim Bottomley, Travis Jackson, Dave Bancroft, and Lloyd Waner. Waner and Ferrell have no direct connection to Frankie Frisch, but they are low performers of that era and so come under the larger umbrella.
A tenth, Ross Youngs, falls into an overlapping category among Darowski’s under 100 group: those players in the Hall of Fame whose careers were blighted by injury or terminated by untimely death, with the result that their cumulative stats fail to attain the requisite level. Among these, only Youngs seems questionable. Addie Joss, Chuck Klein, Dizzy Dean, and Kirby Puckett, all with Hall of Stats ratings of 85 or better, would undoubtedly have surpassed 100 had their careers gone on in a normal manner. Youngs at a 61 rating might or might not have made it.
What remains is a group of forty-eight post-1900 players, elected either by baseball writers or various veterans’ committees, who have been or are about to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but who fall short of the Hall of Stats cut-off. These are the players I want to bring forth for discussion.
In subsequent postings, I will provide some comparative statistics for these forty-eight players, occasional observations that seem pertinent, and a challenge to HHS contributors.
For now, consider players not yet in the Hall of Fame, but who make the grade in Adam’s Hall of Stats, our own Circle of Greats, or maybe just your personal favorites. Are any of them better Hall of Fame choices than any of the forty-eight players above? If so, why is that?