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Roger Maris is not a Hall of Famer

Jan 15, 2010, 8:29 AM EDT

After McGwire started talking you just knew this was coming:

If nothing else, Maris should at least have a spot in the Hall of Fame . . . Maris doesn’t have incredible career numbers — 275 homers and 851
RBIs in 12 seasons — but a few things stand out other than the 61
homers in ’61. Maris won consecutive American League MVP awards, in
1960 and ’61. He was a star performer on five consecutive
pennant-winning Yankee teams, 1960 through ’64. He appeared in seven
World Series, more than any other player in the 1960s. He won a Gold
Glove. He was a four-time All-Star, a two-time RBI champion. He had six
20-homer seasons and three 30-homer seasons. He drove in 100 runs three

Please. Roger Maris had two great seasons — although it’s worth noting that in both 1960 and 1961 Maris was not even the best player on his own team — a couple other good ones, and a lot of innocuousness in a short and otherwise pedestrian career.  If you put him in the Hall of fame you are essentially saying that overall career value doesn’t matter, and then you’re inducting guys like Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Tony Conigliaro and Bob Horner. I think Magglio Ordonez has a better Hall of Fame case than Maris, and I won’t ever be in the induct-Magglio camp.

This is not to say that Roger Maris isn’t worthy of recognition. Indeed, he’s been recognized plenty, both in the museum portion of the Hall of Fame and by biographers, filmmakers and just about every Baby Boom-vintage sportswriter that grew up within 200 miles of New York.

But even those guys decided that he wasn’t worthy of a plaque, and just because someone screwed with his legacy after he died doesn’t make him any more worthy of the Hall of Fame than he was before.

  1. Chadillac - Jan 15, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    @FAN – wow, what an argument. I bet you were the captain of the debate team while in college. Please sign me up for your newsletter; I want to hear more of your interesting theories.
    Seriously, though. I’ve never been to Cooperstown (yet!) but is there an area dedicated to current/past records? Is there a display on the 1961 HR chase? That’s about as far as Maris should be in the HOF. …and 91% of us stat geeks already know that.

  2. nfieldr - Jan 15, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Murphy’s the stronger candidate by far IMO. He WAS the best player on his team (even when Horner was at his best). And he had a generally bad team around him for almost all of his career.

  3. FAN - Jan 15, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    OK, Didn’t know where you were going with that but apparantly you are one of those people that don’t care about anything but stats, especially lifetime stats. There is more to baseball. And I wasn’t expressing a theory, merely stating what is becoming obvious. As far as Roger Maris goes, he was before my time. I am not arguing for or against him. I didn’t see him play, not on TV or in person. But that doesn’t matter to a stat guy does it. All you need are some numbers to boil a player’s career down to it’s most simplistic value. There is more to a player’s contribution to his team than the numbers he puts up. Watch or listen to a few hundred games a year for a few decades and you might reach some different conclusions. Or as I stated prevoiusly, we can put all the numbers in a computer and see what they spit out. Taking the human element out of the equation probably won’t yield a result we can agree with, but who cares, as long as we can wrap it up in a nice, neat, sterile little package that stat boy loves.

  4. Motherscratcher - Jan 15, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    @ FAN – Why does it have to be an all or nothing proposition? It seems like you are arguing that we all boil down to 2 groups.
    1 – the group that only looks at stats and doesn’t watch or care to watch the games.
    2 – the group that watched all of the games an just knows intrinsically who was good and who was great and don’t let any numbers get in the way.
    Why can’t I love baseball, and watch a lot of it and use stats and numbers to help inform my opinion and make me consider possibilities that I might not have otherwise?

  5. FatherFlayer - Jan 15, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Because everything is getting so damn polarized. Only those shouting on either extreme can be heard above the din from Babel. You’re only going to end up hurting yourself if you keep trying to make sense.

  6. steve richards - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    What i am trying to say to you azzscratcher is that the current system does not work therefore someone has to do it. With that being said i do not believe current HOF’ers would make the mistake of selecting guys like Perez and Puckett which is why i think they should be doing the voting. Now lets see if that sinks into your thick head, i doubt it but lets see.

  7. Motherscratcher - Jan 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    You’re really quite emotional, aren’t you Steve?
    That might be what you are trying to say, but that is NOT what you did say. What you said was this: “I am sure there will be many more mistakes as long as unqualified people like sports writers are doing the voting. To correct this it should be left up to the current HOF members to do the voting, they played the game, they know a HOFer when they see one.” Let me try to present your own logic to you in a simple way so that you can understand.
    1 – HOFers are the only people qualified to elect players to the HOF.
    2 – Kirby Puckett is not qualified to be in the HOF.
    If we accept both of these (your) assertions as true, then we MUST come to the conclusion that either (A) You are a Hall of Famer, or (B) You are a hypocrite.
    I’m fairly certain that you will not label yourself as a hypocrite. Therefore all that remains is for me to guess at your true identity. I’m just going to take a shot in the dark and say Bob Feller.

  8. Reflex - Jan 16, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    Stop being so darn reasonable! You are either for sabermetrics or against it!
    Its no coincidence that the most successful teams are those that combine sabermetric analysis with advanced scouting. There is little reason for the fans to be treating this like its an either/or proposition when the teams certainly use both..

  9. hop2171 - Jan 16, 2010 at 3:53 AM

    Hey mamatoucher, what are you talking about? I keep reading what you are saying but you are not making any sense junior! Why dont you take up needle point little man cause you have nothing even remotely useful to say here.I mean that seriously too, why do you pretend to be a baseball fan? Really? Anyone with a brain can see you dont know squat. Choose another sport, i bet you are a redsuk fan am i right? Sure i am, it all makes sense junior

  10. MVD - Jan 16, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    “We’re clearly the conscience of baseball. Our BBWAA card gives us supreme moral authority and free admittance to a game at any major-league stadium.” – from the linked article
    What a pompous, p-o-s, prick!

  11. tball - Jan 16, 2010 at 6:04 AM

    Why is there still a debate on Maris getting into the Hall?? There are many others that have much better overall numbers: Ron Santo, Gil Hodges, Greg Luzinki, Jim Wynn, Dwight Evans, Reggie Smith, George Foster, Dick Allen, Dave Parker, etc, etc, etc, and etc. The New York machine is relentless in giving undeserving players there due (Don Mattingly). Yes, he had a couple of good seasons but the overall number are not good. .260 ave, 275 HR, Less that 1000 RBIs. Kirby Puckett had a short career also, but was dominate throughout.

  12. Mark Joynson - Jan 16, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Sorry, aber das bezweifel ich ganz stark…



  13. Motherscratcher - Jan 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM


  14. Motherscratcher - Jan 16, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I was talking about my rug.

  15. FatherFlayer - Jan 16, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    That’s the CTB comment board’s “Grumpy Old Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge.” Lucidity is not one of his strong points – don’t feed the trolls.

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  17. Waschbeckenunterschrank - Jan 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

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  18. Stats - Jan 17, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    That is a reasonable argument. Enjoy the game as much as possible because there are always disagreements. I would rather have just the players vote on HOF inductees but that won’t happen. I am not arguing against using stats, but object to that being the only criteria for judging a player. The argument doesn’t have to be either for or against one or the other, but a balance between the two.

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