Regular HHS contributor “no statistician but” (or nsb) continues his series examining where the Hall of Fame cutoff line really lies with his look at marginal HoF inductees. If you missed his Part 1 introduction, you can read it here. In Part 2, nsb looks at the positions of catcher and first basemen. More after the jump.
The question of who does or doesn’t belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame, encompassing a variety of points of view, notably the “Small Hall” and “Big Hall” perspectives, is at the heart of what I want HHS followers to consider here. When you exclude Negro League inductees; non-playing inductees such as managers, executives and broadcasters; marginal 19th century stars; talented inductees whose careers were blighted by injury, illness, or even death; and lastly, the notorious ‘Friends of Frisch,’ what remains is a group of forty-eight players who by one standard, at least, that of the
Hall of Stats, fail as individuals to measure up. These forty-eight (identified in Part 1), it seems to me, are at the heart of the conundrum of how to define a Hall of Fame player.
To lay the groundwork for discussion, I’m going to begin with the positions of catcher and first baseman where there are just six players—three of each— who make the HOF but not the HOS. The listing below provides what I think are the most relevant stats for overall comparison: first the Hall of Stats rating, where 100 rings the bell automatically; then the number of career plate appearances and career OPS+ and WAR figures—with dWAR added for catchers; and finally the JAWS position rating (JAWS rating combines career WAR with WAR for a player’s best 7 seasons). As a further point of comparison I’ve appended the name of and figures for the player at each position ranked 6th by JAWS.
- Roger Bresnahan 94—5376 PA; 126 OPS+; 42.5 WAR; 6.5 dWAR; JAWS 20th
- Ray Schalk 52—6240 PA; 83 OPS+; 33.2 WAR; 18.3 dWAR; JAWS 30th
- Roy Campanella 78—4815 PA; 123 OPS+ 37.0 WAR; 8.5 dWAR; JAWS 21st (MVP Award 3 times)
JAWS #6: Yogi Berra 136—8359 PA; 125 OPS+; 59.8 WAR; 9.2 dWAR (MVP Award 3 times)
- Frank Chance 94—5112 PA; 135 OPS+; 45.7 WAR; JAWS 35th
- Orlando Cepeda 84—8698 PA; 133 OPS+; 50.2 WAR; JAWS 33rd
- Tony Perez 96—10861 PA; 122 OPS+; 54.0 WAR; JAWS 28th
JAWS #6: Jeff Bagwell 165—9431 PA; 149 OPS+; 79.9 WAR
The challenge I want to issue to HHS followers is this, to argue for (or against) the presence in the Hall of Fame of any or all of the six players listed here with a HOS rating below 100. One argument is disqualified: saying that Richard Roe doesn’t belong because John Doe, who was better, has been passed over for inclusion, fails on every count to meet the terms of the challenge. The merits or demerits of the listed players, comparisons to other HOFers, the use of more detailed statistics, historical and biographical information—these and similar bases for argumentation are all welcome.
So: who belongs? I personally see three players who pass a basic test, but I’d prefer some discussion before I chime in.