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Thank God, a coherent Hall of Fame column at SI

Jan 5, 2010, 4:20 PM EDT

Yesterday Sports Illustrated upchucked Jon Heyman and Dan Shaughnessy’s Hall of Fame columns on an unsuspecting and unprepared populace. To atone for those sins, they run Joe Posnanski’s today.  Ahhh, sweet, fresh coherence . . .

Best part: he comments on all 26 players on the ballot, including the Kevin Appiers and Eric Karroses (Karroi?) of the world.  Coherence and comprehensiveness.  You’d think it would be a prerequisite for getting a gig at a big fancy magazine like Sports Illustrated, but apparently Posnanski’s hiring represented SI moving into that territory for the first time.

Anyway, I agree with seven of his eight selections: Trammell, Alomar, Larkin, Blyleven, Martinez, Raines and McGwire.

I don’t agree with his eighth selection: Dale Murphy.  Even as a Braves fan who loved, loved, loved Murph back in the day, I can’t bring myself to support him for the Hall. The peak was great, but it was really five or six elite years surrounded by one or two good years surrounded by an abyss that no one has ever managed to explain. I won’t rage against the fates if Murph makes it in one day — I got that out of my system with Jim Rice last year — but Murphy fell right off the cliff, and in my mind he falls just short.

Beyond that, though? Excellent ballot and an excellent column supporting it.  But whaddaya expect? It’s Posnanski. 

  1. Crash - Jan 5, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Bert Blyleven definately belongs. He has pretty big numbers for a guy who mainly played on bad teams, ala Robin Roberts. Jack Morris also belongs. He was one, if not, THEE, dominant pitcher of the 80′s. Had Mattingly not played in New York he wouldn’t be mentioned. No DHs belong in the Hall (take Molitor out). The others need a little more simmering.

  2. Nick - Jan 5, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Thanks for the link to the story – but you might want to know that it goes to page 2 of 3 of the story instead of the possibly more logical page 1.

  3. The Great Dane - Jan 5, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    - Jack Morris also belongs. He was one, if not, THEE, dominant pitcher of the 80′s.
    Sorry, no. Go read some more Poz.

  4. smokehouse - Jan 5, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Trammell, Alomar, Larkin, Blyleven, Martinez, Raines and McGwire.
    It seems to me we might be scrapping the bottom of the pot with all of these players. McGwire is a cheat, Larkin never, ever dominated and neither did Raines. That leaves Alomar, Blyleven (who is now pleading his case on a web site) and Martinez. Those three are the bottom of the pot. What’s the difference? The HOF turned political long ago.

  5. ecp - Jan 5, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Pos is a treasure.

  6. JBerardi - Jan 5, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Smokehouse, maybe you should try actually reading the Poz article, where he carefully explains how incredibly wrong you are about this.

  7. Eric Solomon - Jan 5, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Pos belongs in the Hall of Fame

  8. Oldtimer - Jan 5, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    What credibility Baseball has left, will go up in smoke if McGwire is put into the HOF. Condoning a cheat, who’s stats are, in no way comparable to the players who came before or after, is a travesty.
    Anyone thinking that the rules were different back then is, sadly, rationalizing a means to do, what is to me, the unthinkable.
    McGwire KNOWS he cheated.

  9. DantesWitness - Jan 5, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    Oldtimer, you help them get rid of the amphetamine users, the spitballers, the corked bat users, the racists who supported segregation, etc, and then we’ll talk about how a steroid user hurts the credibility of the hall of fame.

  10. largebill - Jan 5, 2010 at 10:51 PM

    Craig,
    Sure, Murphy probably falls short. However, if we can agree that the BBWAA makes some mistakes shouldn’t he be one of them? He damn sure wouldn’t be the worst choice and if character is part of the equation he has a 189 in CHAR+. CHAR+ is a sabermetric measurement of character adjusted for park and time frame. Hell, if Rice and Morris get votes based on FEAR+ well above average then Murphy should get the CHAR+ points.

  11. DiamondDuq - Jan 6, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    What is with all this garbage about Martinez and his OBP?!?! Is that the only argument? Sure he has 2 batting titles, so does Willie McGee and he’s certainly not a HOFer, and by the way Willie also has an MVP and 3 Gold Gloves! Martinez has a career OBP over .400, so does Nick Johnson, who if he was a DH 95% of his career to this point may not have had so many injuries and could have played in far more games to this point, and in anyone’s wildest imagination he would never receive a single HOF vote. Of players in the HOF that played at least 2000 games only 10 have fewer hits than Edgar Martinez and of those 10, 8 have more HR and the only 2 who didn’t have more homeruns were Pee Wee Reese and Bill Mazeroski, 7 have more RBI with Gary Carter in addition to Pee Wee Reese and Bill Mazeroski. Pee Wee Reese never got voted into the HOF, he was put in by the veterans committee in 1984. The same can be said for Bill Mazeroski who was put in by the veterans committee in 2001. Gary Carter was voted in but as a catcher playing predominantly in the 70′s and 80′s he was in a primarily defensive position, not offensive, where he won 3 Gold Gloves and was an 11 time All-Star compared to Martinez playing an exclusively offensive position with fewer homeruns, just 36 more RBI, no Gold Gloves and 4 fewer All-Star appearances.

  12. The Great Dane - Jan 6, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    You too should read more Poz. Edgar, when healthy, was a special, special hitter. Don’t compare him to Willie McGee. Why not just say that Eckstein is better than Rodriguez, because he has one more ring? You’re just distorting fact.

  13. Lawrence From Plattekill - Jan 6, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    I’ve always thought it a bit odd that guys who are great for 5 years and then not bad for another 10 or 15 are shoo-ins, while guys who are great for 5 years and then either gone or terrible for another 5 years are out of the running. I can understand separating them, it’s a legitimate way to look at it, but I feel that the part that makes them Hall-worthy–the great 5 years–is the same in either case.
    Is that how you see it, Craig? That along with the 5 great years, you need the added longevity to make it in?

  14. DiamondDuq - Jan 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    I wouldn’t use a team achievement to compare a role player to a superstar, that’s as absurd as using OBP to trump actual production, it nonsensical. No one ever won a game by getting on base the most, that’s why they have LOB as a statistic, but in the history of baseball no team ever lost when scoring more runs. The only number that is remotely defensible for this guy is his OBP, or other random sabermetric statistics that rely on OBP. Production-wise he’s an All-Star but not a HOFer and there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t try to make him into something he’s not and he’s not a HOFer. How can a guy who was never even the best offensive player on his team be one of the best offensive players of all-time? Griffey Jr. was better than him, then A-Rod was better than him, then Brett Boone and Ichiro were better than him!

  15. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 6, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Lawrence — I do think that the decline phase matters. If you’re merely good but not great, you’re still contributing to your team and helping them win. If you fall off a cliff, you either have zero value or negative value to your team.
    I’m not a nazi about this — if I was I’d be against guys like Koufax or Puckett in the Hall — but I prefer to see a mix of greatness and longevity in my Hall candidates.

  16. TigerS Boy ToY - Jan 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I agree Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris belong, I don’t agree with your Mattingly/ New York remark and I agree he does not belong but
    your New York remark is a low blow, but we New Yorkers can take it
    and we can throw them back as well.

  17. TigerS Boy ToY - Jan 6, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Juan Marichal was not a first ballot hall of famer because the holier than thou baseball writers wanted to send him a message about cracking Dodger Catcher Howard in the head with his bat.
    Hall of fame voting is now a popularity contest.
    Tim Raines numbers are better than Lou Brocks except for the
    150 more stolen bases.
    Either you are or not, there is no middle and why should a writer
    decide oh, this guy never gave interviews to me so I will teach him
    and he will have to wait til next year.Half these guys should lose their vote, they are bias.

  18. TigerS Boy ToY - Jan 6, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    You talk WITH A CONFIDENCE, DO you have PROOF ?

  19. rcbuss - Jan 6, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Playing devil’s advocate here…
    Would PEDs have helped prolong Dale Murphy’s career long enough to give him the counting stats that some HOF voters like to see (“I know a HOFer when I see one.”)? As I recall, Murphy is a noted non-user, and has been a vocal critic of those who have.
    –and–
    Should voters take into account the supposed non-use by borderline cases for the Hall, where an end-of-career “boost” might have been enough to get them over the hump (or, at least, lessen the steepness of that cliff)?

  20. Oldtimer - Jan 6, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    You’re pretty gullible if you believe he didn’t use them. He was just given bad P.R. advice. A-hole will probably get in because he will be forgiven. He “came clean”. McGwire hasn’t, and can’t now.

  21. backlinks - Feb 8, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    Very good post. Thanks for sharing.

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