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The most important thing about being a Hall of Fame voter

Dec 20, 2010, 8:44 AM EDT

Bruce Sutter Hall of Fame

Bill and The Common Man from The Platoon Advantage make so much sense in their Rights and Responsibilities in Hall of Fame Voting post from over the weekend that the thing should be sent via certified mail to every eligible voter. Of their four rules for voting, the key, I think, is something I touched on in my Jack Morris/Bert Blyleven post last week: intellectual consistency.

Contrary to what some reactionary types will be saying in the coming weeks, there is no one who matters who seriously advocates some strict orthodoxy of who should be and who shouldn’t be a Hall of Famer and disdains all others who do not follow suit. I will disagree with a Hall of Fame voter if he votes for Jack Morris or Don Mattingly, for example, but I will not say they are stupid or irresponsible or wrong or out-of-touch or demand that their vote be taken away simply because they have voted for Jack Morris. It is their opinion. Unless they admit to the contrary — which some have, sadly enough — I will assume that their choice was a considered one. That they looked at the data available, made an informed choice and voted their conscience. Hall of Fame standards are broad enough that reasonable people can have considerable disagreement over who is a Hall of Famer and who isn’t. You like Jim Rice, I don’t. I like Tim Raines, you don’t. Unless your reason for voting for a guy is just really nuts — like a protest vote or it’s based on some narrow, random reason with no precedent whatsoever — it’s all good.

All that I ask is that those who vote do so in a consistent manner. That the standards you cite for Player A are applied to Player B.  If — to use a current example — you excuse Jack Morris’ high ERA because of how you believe he pitched in blowout games, consider how Bert Blyleven pitched in blowout games and apply the same credit to his account.  If you voted for Bruce Sutter despite the fact that his performance came while filling a newly-created and limited role in baseball history) (one-inning closer) don’t withhold your vote from Edgar Martinez simply because he filled a newly-created and limited role as a DH.*  If you give Dale Murphy extra-credit because you believe he eschewed steroids when they were pervasive in the game, give the same credit to others for whom you have similar evidence regarding their drug use. Similarly, if you won’t vote for Tim Raines because of his admitted cocaine use, please, dear God, do not vote for Dave Parker.

Unless you’re going totally nuts and writing in Buddy Biancalana, there are no Right and Wrong Hall of Fame votes.  There are right and wrong approaches to voting however.  If you have the franchise, please, keep that in mind.

*Which is not to suggest that Bruce Sutter was a Wrong choice or Edgar Martinez a Right choice. It simply means that their role, in and of itself, should not be the basis for withholding a vote for one of them if you didn’t do so for the other. Rather, simply be sure that your choice is made by comparison to other who fill those roles. Is Bruce Sutter a Hall of Fame one-inning closer compared to others. Is Edgar Martinzez a Hall of Fame DH compared to others.

  1. largebill - Dec 20, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    Craig,

    I agree with your points, particularly regarding consistency. One I would add is a request that voters not rely on their memory. No one, I repeat NO ONE, watches every game. To help fill in the blanks on the games people may not have watched or which didn’t seem important at the time we compile statistics. Statistics are the games history. They let us go back and verify if our recollections are valid. I could see someone who just watched their home team and the Saturday afternoon game of the week remembering announcers telling them how great Morris was and dismissing Blyleven or whatever. However, there is no way to hold onto that opinion if the voter was responsible enough to give even a cursory glance to the players actual accomplishments.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:48 AM

      One I would add is a request that voters not rely on their memory. No one, I repeat NO ONE, watches every game.

      QFT, or to put it another way, one of my favorite quotes from Memento:

      Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 20, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    And before anyone accuses me of inconsistency myself, yes: I have changed my thinking on all of this over the past couple of years. There indeed was a time when I would accuse someone who thought about things differently than I did as being stupid or demand that their vote be taken away. I’ve thought a lot more about it in recent months, however, and realize that such an approach is (a) not productive; and (b) ignores the fact that so many Hall of Fame choices are apples-and-oranges.

    In other words: I’m no longer going to tear what’s left of my hair out simply because Jim Rice made the Hall of Fame. Rather, I’m going to concentrate on the rationale his supporters gave for voting Jim Rice into the Hall of Fame and demand that they apply the same rationale to others. Such an approach could potentially lead to a large and diminished Hall of Fame as a whole, but at least it would be a coherent Hall of Fame. And coherence is what is most important in my view.

    • BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:16 AM

      Hey there’s no arguing that for an 8-or-so year stretch that Jim Rice was the most dominant hitter in the game. And people rip his fielding – he was in my estimation, not looking at stats but observation, a B+ outfielder. Not a gold-glover but not 1973 Willie Mays either.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:21 AM

        oh, there’s lots and lots of arguing that. I don’t know which stretch you’re even thinking of, but I don’t believe there is one in which you could argue he was more dominant than Mike Schmidt, just for example.

      • BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM

        I’ll give you Schmidt, no argument there. But look at Rice from 1977 to 1986 (he was hurt in 1980). As good as anyone in the game. Remember there were years where 33 HR’s lead the league back then. And his three year rampage from 1977-1979 is ridiculous, then another monster year in 1983.
        Also the only guy I’ve ever seen hit a broken bat homerun. That makes him HOF worthy by itself.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:46 AM

        Well, no, he wasn’t as good as anyone in the game, because he wasn’t as good as Schmidt. Or George Brett, and I’d argue Winfield and Keith Hernandez were better, too (once you adjust for the huge advantage Rice got from Fenway).

        And 8 years is a very long time in baseball; I’d argue that there were lots and lots of players who were better than he was during that time, but that their careers or peaks either ended or started during that stretch. From 1977-82, for instance, Reggies Smith and Jackson and Ken Singleton and Rod Carew were certainly better hitters than Rice was, and George Foster and Gene Tenace was about as good. Then from 1982-86, Eddie Murray, Jack Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson, Robin Yount, Dwight Evans and Cal Ripken, among others, simply blow Rice out of the water.

        So while Rice was pretty good for that whole pretty long period, I don’t think he deserves extra credit for the fact that only a couple of guys whose peaks fully overlap that eight-year stretch were better, when there were many, many players who were better and whose careers only partially (but significantly) overlap.

      • BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:20 AM

        Carew was a better hitter for average and had a ton of speed when in his prime, but he was past his prime in the 80’s. So was Reginald Martinez Jackson. Brett is the only one in the AL during the timeframe I referenced that I’d put in the discussion with Rice. Mattingly, Gwynn and Boggs got going as Rice’s career was winding down – if you consider 1986 the last big year Rice had, then he and Boggs only overlapped by 3 years, same with Gwynn.
        Just to shift the subject – Dwight Evans – now there’s an interesting case. Piled up some good numbers, was a walk machine as he got into his prime. Won something ridiculous like 9 gold gloves. Was not the hitter Rice was but blew him and pretty much everyone else away in the outfield as a fielder.
        And hey, I’m a Mets fan, but I wouldn’t put Keith Hernandez in the HOF. Incredible fielder. But at the top of the class for the Hall Of The Very Good. He and Steve Garvey can have coffee together.

      • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:10 AM

        “Also the only guy I’ve ever seen hit a broken bat homerun. That makes him HOF worthy by itself.”

        Congratulations Jose Canseco, you are Cooperstown bound because the bar has been lowered to exactly your height. Also, David Ortiz once hit a homer with a broken wrist. Does he get in too? Sheesh.

  3. BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    I’m a big Raines HOF supporter. But if Raines gets in, Kenny Lofton should get in. Check the numbers. And Lofton was a much better fielder.

    • BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:01 AM

      PS. That was my opinion. I’m sure someone will dig up UZR or VORP or WARP or BURP stats that say Raines blows Lofton away. Whatever.

      • mrfloydpink - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:20 AM

        Awesome. So we are suppose to “check the numbers,” as long as we don’t check any that might disprove your point. Got it.

      • BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:27 AM

        Go ahead and check the numbers. If Raines gets in, Lofton should get in. That being said, I don’t think either of them will sniff the HOF and I’d consider them both borderline at best.
        It’s like, Tony Perez is in, and you’re telling me Fred McGriff or Jeff Bagwell shouldn’t be in? To quote Mark Twain, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. You can make numbers say anything you want.
        The MLB HOF is just a weird thing. I mean, someone somewhere is going to vote for Bobby Higgenson this year just beacuse they’re a Tigers fan or they feel sorry for the guy and want to give him a vote. That’s just wrong on so many levels (no offense Mr. Higgenson).
        I actually wouldn’t mind it if they changed it to the way the NFL does it, kind of cloak and dagger – here are the finalists, and then everything goes into secret caucus, and you wait until the white smoke comes out the chimney to see who gets in.

    • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM

      I totally agree — once Raines eventually gets in, the big push might be for Lofton. Raines has better numbers once you consider the eras they played in, but Lofton’s being a center fielder (and a pretty good one) help his case a lot. The advanced stats you’re trying to make fun of are actually completely on your side, but very few people seem to have noticed, yet.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM

        Incidentally, I didn’t write any of the linked post (except where I’m quoted), but I do feel I inspired TCM to write it, so I don’t have a problem taking credit. :)

      • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:16 AM

        People haven’t noticed yet because Lofton isn’t eligible yet. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy out there or anything.

        I bet Lofton will have to overcome a “he played for 1000 teams, so there was obviously something wrong with him” argument. May be outweighed by the “he was one of the only guys stealing tons of bases during the steroids era” thing.

        Whatever the case, I agree, he’s way better than people give him credit for. Haven’t looked at him too closely yet, but I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be seriously considered.

    • Roger Moore - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:22 AM

      I respect your opinion, but you need to put their numbers in perspective better. Lofton has triple crown numbers that look similar to Raines (.299/130/781 vs. .294/170/980), but Raines is a lot better when you look deeper. Things that make Raines better:

      1) He put up his numbers over a substantially (~400 games) longer career. 400 extra games as an above average player is a substantial advantage to Raines.
      2) He walked more than Lofton, so his OBA is distinctly higher (.385 vs. .372) even though his batting average was lower.
      3) He put up his numbers in generally tougher hitting environments. The mid 1980s when Raines was in his prime was a much lower scoring environment than the mid 1990s when Lofton was in his prime. After adjusting for that environment difference, Raines was a much better hitter (OPS+ 123 vs. 107).
      4) He was an even better base stealer than Lofton. Raines stole 186 more bases but was actually caught stealing 14 fewer times.

      • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:33 AM

        All of those things are true. But Lofton also played a more important defensive position (and played it very well for much of his career). I don’t believe that Lofton was better than Raines, but I think that Lofton was probably (especially in a Hall that includes Jim Rice) good enough to get in.

  4. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    I am one of the few that stands on the nobody gets 100% unless they are far and beyond the greatest ever.

    I also like running down the dirt street in my knickers playing with a hoop and a stick. and like the 10 Cent candy cigarettes they sell at the old country store.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:03 PM

      “I also like running down the dirt street in my knickers playing with a hoop and a stick. and like the 10 Cent candy cigarettes they sell at the old country store.”

      Dad? Is that you?

  5. mrfloydpink - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Not sure I buy your Martinez-Sutter comparison, Craig. Your parallel assumes all specialty roles on the field are equal, and that the best players at each role should therefore be in the Hall of Fame. But if that’s true, should Manny Mota (best pinch hitter ever) be in the HoF? What about the best middle reliever? Best left-handed platoon guy? Best super-sub? Best LOOGY?

    Undoubtedly, a good DH is worth more than a good middle reliever. But I think it’s also possible to feel that a good closer is worth more than a good DH, and so to be completely consistent in voting for Sutter and against Martinez.

    Mind you, I have no real opinion on Sutter or Martinez. I am speaking only to your general logic.

  6. 18thstreet - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    I realize this comment is going to get buried in a blizzard of other comments, but I disagree about the idea that someone shouldn’t have his/her vote taken away for voting incorrectly. This may apply to the borderline cases — Jim Rice, Jack Morris, etc.

    But there are those writers who refuse to vote for anyone on the first ballot on the justification that Babe Ruth (etc.) wasn’t a unanimous choice, so no one should be. Anyone who didn’t vote for a player FOR THAT REASON should have his vote taken away. That person is ignoring the voter guidelines. I’m not saying Cal Ripken (or Tom Seaver or Nolan Ryan …) is the best ever at their craft. But there is no excuse for not voting for each of these men on the merits.

    Ignoring the rules of voting should be grounds for disqualification. Anyone who doesn’t vote for a candidate who received more than 95 percent of the other voters’ support should have to justify his continued membership in the Baseball Writers of America.

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:31 AM

      There’s definitely a difference between deciding someone is “unworthy” of induction and deciding that you won’t vote for them, out of principle, on the first ballot. In the latter case, I would agree with you that that voter is not taking his or her responsibility seriously and should be stripped of the vote.*

      *Quick caveat, I can see making an exception for this if there are so many qualified players on a ballot that a writer wants to make sure to vote for the players who have been on longer first.

  7. rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    i made the comment that raines was not only less valuable than lofton while, apart from 5 great years, was basically the same as marquis grissom, and craig lit me up for it. Now he talks about consistency. I don’t think raines, or lofton, or grissom, are hall of famers, but if raines is in based on 5 years, lofton has to get simply because he was a better player for his whole career, not 5 great years and 18 years of marquis grissom.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 20, 2010 at 9:54 AM

      To the extent I or anyone else “lit you up” it was for the ridiculous notion that taking away a player’s five best years is a useful exercise in considering their Hall of Fame case. No one — or certainly not me — lit you up for talking about Kenny Lofton. My memory of that thread was that you brought up Lofton on your own, no one refuted your reference to him, yet you kept mentioning him as is someone was arguing with you about him.

      Moreover: the people mocking you in that thread were doing so in the interests of consistency: asking you to consider other players with their five best years taken away. It was shown though those comments to be a silly exercise.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:50 AM

        Take away Sandy Koufax’s best five years and he’s no one.

  8. rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    really? i think one of my points was that raines was anything but consistent. He had 5 great years, and 18 grissom years whereas a player like Lofton was consistently really good his whole career thus outshining the seemingly beloved Mr. Raines. Consistency in voting is great, but consistency throughout a players career should also matter, no? And not just consistently average or average+.

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:14 AM

      “I think one of my points was that raines was anything but consistent”

      Wait a second, are you saying that a player has to have all of their great years in a row? Because 1983-1987 looks consistently pretty wonderful to me. Plus, he had another great year in 1992. Perhaps he was consistently great and inconsistently really good.

    • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:20 AM

      Well, first, no, I don’t think that’s necessarily true as a general proposition, but first I’m wondering where this idea comes from that Raines “had 5 great years, and 18 grissom years whereas a player like Lofton was consistently really good his whole career.”

      I agree–most of Raines’ value comes from five straight really, really great years, after which he was just a pretty good player for the rest of his career. But then most of Lofton’s value comes from eight straight very-good-to-great years; a slightly longer peak, but he was only very rarely as good as Raines was at his best. And then after those eight years, Lofton spent the rest of his career as just pretty good. Their careers are actually remarkably similar, and I don’t see how one can look at it and get the impression that one was more “consistent” than the other.

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:28 AM

      Also, Marquis Grissom was actually pretty terrible aside from 4 seasons. On second thought, your equation of even Raines minus those five years to Grissom is pretty outrageous.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:33 AM

        they were almost as valuable, that’s the point i’m making. Sometime it takes something outrageous to show how outrageous another idea truly is. The idea that Raines is a Hall of Famer is truly outrageous to me and like 68% of the voters.

      • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:07 AM

        Actually, they were not. Over the 17 years in question, Raines was worth, on average, about half a win better per year than Grissom was. Plus, you can add five seasons of playing like Jackie Robinson or Charlie Gehringer on top of it. So, even accepting your faulty comparison to Grissom, the equation is not Tim Raines = Marquis Grissom + 5 years of Tim Raines. Instead, it’s Tim Raines = Marquis Grissom + 5 years of Jackie Robinson.

  9. rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    I love the debate! And i love the passion the raines guys have; its truly remarkable. Looking at their WAR numbers, for an overall career Lofton blows away Rock and Grissom. Lofton played tremendous defense which, as we see in Bill Mazeroski’s hall of fame resume, is exceptionally important. Raines was definitely a better player than Grissom, i’m not saying they are the same, but while Grissom is nowhere near a Hall of Famer, Rock was only slightly more valuable over, and even closer still without his 5 great years. I’m a small hall guy. I like only the truly transcendent icons of baseball to be enshrined in the Hall, but one main point is, if Raines is a hall of famer based on those 5 great years, then several other player who were great for at least 5 years should also be in, rather than being discarded.

    • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:47 AM

      It doesn’t count as “debate” to ignore everything the other side is saying, then mock the other side and keep insisting on things that are unsupported and patently untrue.

      Anyway, by WAR:
      Marquis Grissom 25.6
      Tim Raines (minus five best years for some reason): 33.2
      Kenny Lofton (minus five best years for the same inscrutable reason): 33.3

      So.

      Looking at their WAR numbers, for an overall career Lofton blows away Rock and Grissom
      65.3 to 64.6 is “blowing away”? To me, it’s more like “easily within the margin of error.” By FanGraphs’ WAR, Raines has him 71 to 65.

      but one main point is, if Raines is a hall of famer based on those 5 great years, then several other player who were great for at least 5 years should also be in, rather than being discarded.
      But those just-pretty-good years have value, too. It’s all part of the package. Anyway, find a player who had five years as great as Raines’ best, and the odds are very good that he’s in the Hall already.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:54 AM

        dale murphy, albert belle, don mattingly, dwight evans. Lofton—65.3 for an average of 3.84 while raines had 64.6 for an average of 2.93. That’s for an entire career. That is why Lofton BLOWS away Raines.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM

        and Kenny Lofton should definitely not be in the hall of fame.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:03 AM

        Deftly abandons the ridiculous “take away five best seasons” argument. Nice.

        WAR per season? So Raines gets penalized because he played “seasons” where he got 27, 164, 109 and 114 plate appearances? Makes sense.

        How about WAR per full season (660 PA)? Raines: 4.12; Lofton: 4.67. About five runs a year, negated by the fact that Raines was able to play longer. And by FanGraphs WAR, it’s 4.52 to 4.65.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:08 AM

        thats the case i’ve made all along. Without HIS (meaning Raines) 5 best years, he’s Grissom and Lofton blows him away. For a career, Lofton was better and we all know defense is important. So, if Lofton and Raines are EQUAL, is Raines still a hall of famer? No, not by a long shot. And I love your stats, mine were incomplete, you’re right, but yours still show Raines as NOT a hall of famer.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:14 AM

        WAR of some pretty uncontroversial Hall of Famers if you arbitrarily remove their five best seasons (remember, Raines and Lofton were both at 33):

        Eddie Murray 35.9
        Johnny Mize 35.1
        Tony Gwynn 36.7
        Willie McCovey 30.1
        Derek Jeter 35.9
        Goose Goslin 31.2
        Yogi Berra 31.9
        Harmon Killebrew 30.6

        and then:
        Dale Murphy 10.8
        Albert Belle 7.4
        Don Mattingly 10.6
        Dwight Evans 34.2

        I think it’s pretty clear to which group Raines and Lofton (and Evans, who I think should also be in) belong. That should be enough of this silliness now.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:18 AM

        should the baseline for hall of famers be 5 great years and their in? If so, put in Raines. If it takes more than that, don’t put him in.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:19 AM

        So, if Lofton and Raines are EQUAL, is Raines still a hall of famer?
        Yes, both are. See, the difference between us is that I’m working with the Hall of Fame, and you’re working with some imaginary institution that only exists in your head.

        Just among outfielders already in the Hall, by WAR, Lofton and Raines both had careers that were comparable or superior to Heilman, Gwynn, Snider, Simmons, Goslin, Winfield, Ashburn, Wheat, Stargell, B. Williams, Medwick, Slaughter, Hooper, (Sam) Rice, Carey, Clarke, Roush, Kiner, Averill, Puckett, and on and on. And that’s before getting to the really ridiculous/controversial choices like Jim Rice and Chick Hafey. If by “is Raines still a hall of famer?” you mean “does Raines fit in in the Hall of Fame, as in, the one that exists?” the answer is obviously yes.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:22 AM

        should the baseline for hall of famers be 5 great years and their in? If so, put in Raines. If it takes more than that, don’t put him in.

        If it takes more than that, eliminate everyone on the list I gave you above. That’s the whole point of Craig’s and TCM’s posts: it’s about consistency. If you want to argue it should take more than what Raines has done, fine, but then you also have to remove/not consider Murray and Gwynn and Killebrew and Jeter and so on.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:28 AM

        silly eh? I compared Rock to Lofton and Grissom because their all leadoff hitters and outfielders. If you compare similar players at similar positions, Murphy, 44.2 over 18, Jim Rice 41.5 over 16. Without their 5 best years, Murph 10.8 to Rice 13.5. So, by comparable players, Murph an outfielder/1b to Rice OF, both middle of the order type guys, Murphy should be in, no?

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:33 AM

        The nice thing about WAR is you don’t have to limit yourself to similar players at similar positions. But since Raines and Lofton are both obviously much better than Grissom with or without their five best years, try Richie Ashburn or Billy Hamilton or Tony Gwynn or Zach Wheat or Max Carey.

        Yes, Murphy was a better player than Rice, whether you arbitrarily remove five years or not. But this isn’t about comparing to the Hall’s very worst choices, it’s about where they fit in to the Hall as a whole.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:36 AM

        Belle, over a career, was 3.11, since he only played 12 seasons. One can argue that for 7 or 8 of those years, he was one of the most feared hitters in the game. He put up ridiculous numbers over 12 years. Now, is Belle a hall of famer? No, but he certainly was more dominant that everyone else on your list and was nowhere near the Hall. Of course, that also has something to do with his corked bats and being an overall jackass, but still, numbers are numbers.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:40 AM

        the entire thread was about consistency, sooooo if Rice and Dawson are in, which they are, then Murphy/Belle/Mattingly/Evans/even Dave Parker have to get in. I think there can be no Middle Hall, either it has to be a large hall or a small hall. Making the case for a middle hall leads to arbitrary exclusions. And you’re right, WAR is a great tool to compare players, and I used it to compare what I feel is the ridiculous candidacy of Tim Raines as related to Lofton and Grissom without his 5 years. Numbers are still numbers, and Gwynn hit .336 for a career and had over 3100 hits. That is Hall Worthy and great, WAR be damned.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:40 AM

        Your own numbers show that that’s not true, as I’m pretty sure 3.11 is less than 4.12 and 4.67. Belle didn’t play defense or run the bases well at all, and Raines and Lofton were better players both at their peak (with the exception of one or two ridiculously great years by Belle) and for his whole career. Again, all those other years they played count for something, too.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:43 AM

        3.11 counts all the seasons, i’m just a poor boy from a poor family, what is it per plate appearance because for the career, including the tiny plate appearance seasons, its 3.11 Belle, 3.84 Lofton, and 2.93 for Raines.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:44 AM

        No, the thread is about consistency in voting. So if you think Rice is a Hall of Famer, you will probably have a hard time arguing that Murphy doesn’t belong (Dawson was better than both, though I still wouldn’t have voted for him), and you can’t really argue with a straight face that Raines doesn’t belong.

        Meanwhile, I’d never have considered voting for Rice, so I don’t consider him in deciding whether any other players are Hall of Famers. But I’d have voted for Gwynn and Snider, so I think Raines and Lofton belong too.

    • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:55 AM

      lofton was a good player, no doubt, but not a hall of famer. I used him to show how Raines is also not a hall of famer and lol now both are! So what is belle over 660 PA? I would wager he has a higher WAR than Raines.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:58 AM

        You’d lose that wager. 3.69. About half a win per season lower than Raines (and again, you can’t just ignore all those extra seasons).

        So just to be clear, by claiming Lofton and Raines are not Hall of Famers, you’re also saying that neither are Gwynn, Killebrew, McCovey, Simmons, Goslin, Berra, etc.?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:06 PM

        Lofton—65.3 for an average of 3.84 while raines had 64.6 for an average of 2.93

        Quoting from an earlier post, but don’t do this. If you are going to create a WAR/season stat, you can’t include the years that he had the following # of PA: 27 (’80), 164 (’99), 97 (’00), 12 (’01) and 114 (’02). It’s badly skewing the data. That changes his 64.6WAR to 64.4/18 = 3.58WAR/season.

        Doing the same for Lofton (eliminate first and last) brings him to 65.3/18 = 3.63WAR/season.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:16 PM

        Poop. To be clear, of course not. I don’t think any of the guys I have mentioned are or should be in the hall. 3k hits and 500 homers are still a big deal, and an even bigger deal in the pre-roid era. With the ways of evaluating a ballplayer being an ever evolving thing, I simply used WAR to highlight the ‘sillyability’ of Raines’ candidacy. WAR is cool, its a good way to see value in players, but stats are none-changing. Raines and a very good career, with 5 years being really really good/great. I had always considered McCovey as the bottom of the hall of fame, he is a hall of famer, but barely, but Rice/Dawson have lowered the bar to the very good level. There are many more very good players than simply great players. I saw gwynn play and his average and hits speak for themselves. I guess you’d vote for Jim Edmonds too, right?

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:18 PM

        Yah and i agreed, that’s my bad, i don’t see a per 660 plate appearance chart. And still, lofton is just as good as raines.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:29 PM

        Tim Raines reached base more times than Tony Gwynn did. I’d just like to point that out.

        I simply used WAR to highlight the ‘sillyability’ of Raines’ candidacy.
        And all you did was show how comfortably he belongs.

        I guess you’d vote for Jim Edmonds too, right?
        No question. He’s in the top 10 all-time among center fielders. That ought to be good enough for anybody.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:33 PM

        love the debate, as i said before. you’re obviously a Big Hall guy. Thanks for the discussion, looking forward to the next one, but look out Hall of Fame, here comes Edmonds, Buddy Bell, and Craig Nettles!

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:37 PM

        The Hall is a Big Hall. Under the standards that have been established over the last 75 years, Raines, Lofton and Edmonds all comfortably belong.

        I wouldn’t put (Graig) Nettles or Bell in though, FWIW.

      • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:09 PM

        “you’re obviously a Big Hall guy…but look out Hall of Fame, here comes Edmonds, Buddy Bell, and Craig Nettles!”

        Opening up the Hall of Fame to Jim Edmonds (or Tim Raines, for that matter) does nothing to make the Hall any “bigger” in terms of who can get in. As Bill pointed out, Edmonds is pretty clearly a top 10 centerfielder when we account for his defense. And Raines is more than qualified. Perhaps the debate isn’t “big Hall” and “small Hall,” but with people who recognize the value of certain players and those who do not.

  10. BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    Here’s an interesting test case that’s coming up: Craig Biggio. You put him in? He played forever and piled up numbers, but…. jeez I don’t know. 3000 hits still punch your ticket?

    • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:49 AM

      Yes. And being one of the eight or ten best ever to play your position ought to be enough to punch your ticket, too (but isn’t always, see Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grich).

      • BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM

        I’m not disagreeing with you. I just think people don’t realize it, other than for the 3000 hits and playing forever. His last 7 years or so were very meh. From 1992-1998 he was pretty much ridiculous. I’d vote him in when eligible. Just unsure others will.
        AND, I think Grich should have gotten more of a look than he did, though his BA is pretty terrible.

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM

      Yeah, that really shouldn’t even be a debate.

  11. rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    of course, he was really good and some exceptional years whereas Rock had some exceptional years and 18 years of average+.

  12. largebill - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Raines’ case can stand on its own against other corner outfielders.
    Lofton’s case can stand on its own against other center fielders.

    The admittance of one does not necessitate the admittance of the other.
    The exclusion of one does not necessitate the admittance of the other.

    What I’m attempting to demonstrate is Raines v. Lofton is not the same as the Morris v. Blyleven comparison. The second group were both starting pitchers with the same responsibility (keeping the opposition from scoring by keeping them off the bases). Unlike Raines & Lofton who a reasonable argument can be made for both, there is no statistical way to conclude that Morris was a great pitcher. He was much, much worse at a pitchers primary responsibility than Blyleven. A voter can make an argument to vote for both (though that would require voting for Jamie Moyer amongst others). A voter could make an argument to vote for just Blyleven. No one can make an intelligent argument to justify voting for Morris and leaving Blyleven off their ballot.

    Lastly, just to repeat what was said earlier, Lofton has not been on the ballot and has not been rejected or disrespected. I could be wrong, but I expect Kenny will get 10-15% when he hits the ballot.

    • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 10:58 AM

      exactly right. lofton getting 15% is right and raines should get about the same and NEITHER should be nowhere near the Hall.

      • rockycolavito - Dec 20, 2010 at 11:03 AM

        “neither should be anywhere near the hall”

  13. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    This is why WAR absolutely blows. One minute, I hear “It isn’t the be-all end-all of stats” The next minute, there’s a 66-post thread where WAR is spouted like it is the “be-all, end-all” of stats. And it is such a highly subjective stat that it drives me insane. I’m definitely finding myself coming around to all this sabremetric thinking, but I don’t really see myself ever spouting WAR as a preferred stat. I really don’t. Why? Because of threads like this.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

      It’s not really a be-all, end-all of stats, but probably the best we have currently. The one point you’ve brought up before, either here or at JoePos’s site, is that we shouldn’t cite WAR as gospel. The defensive compenent is constantly being tweaked, and there are some discussions about blowing it up and starting over (see the huge threads on Tom Tango’s website).

    • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 3:14 PM

      It’s not even really a stat. It’s just shorthand, because it’s a lot easier than arguing about all the litlte components that go into it individually.

      I look at it as kind of a ballpark figure, a good first step. Of Raines and Lofton and McCovey and Santo and all the guys between like 60-70 career WAR or so, WAR itself isn’t going to tell you who’s better. Between a guy with 65 and one with 30 or 40, however, that’s a pretty significant difference, and if it doesn’t necessarily tell you who’s better, it’s worth looking into to figure out where that huge difference comes from.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:15 PM

        I agree with what you both are saying…however, there are people who say that player A was better than player B because his WAR is 1/100th better on average over a 21 year span of their careers. It is ludicrous. Yeah, I posted it on Joe’s site, and he quoted me on it. I was the non-stat guy, but I’m coming around. Just can’t give any respect to WAR whatsoever. Dewan? BABIP? OPS+? OK, I’m starting to like thee. WAR? It’s good for absolutely nothing.

      • billtpa - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:23 PM

        I agree with what you both are saying…WAR? It’s good for absolutely nothing.

        That doesn’t work (and the joke is getting a bit tired, IMO). I just explained what WAR is good for, and you just said you agreed with me.

        however, there are people who say that player A was better than player B because his WAR is 1/100th better on average over a 21 year span of their careers.
        I don’t believe these people exist. Need some examples.

  14. bigtrav425 - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Is anyone else still surprised the Giants won the world series?? lol..that being said With Jim Rice gettin in all hell is going to break loose now as it should of yrs ago with the way the voting goes in baseball. Anyone who thinks 5 great/good yrs should get someone into the hall is REgoddamndiculous! I am a Tim Raines Fan ( and a Lofton 1 as well) but im not sure Raines gets in because if you ask me who i would take between the 2 in the prime of there careers id take Lofton for his Center field play alone. a few other tidbits..WTF is WAR? Edmonds doesnt even get close to the hall! you people are nuts! he had a few pretty good batting yrs other then that he was all D.Morris does not deserve to get in either but Blylevin deserves to be in for sure

    • The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:32 PM

      Trav, nobody thinks just 5 great/good years should get you in. But Raines had 7 elite seasons (1981 was shortened by the strike, then ’83-87, and ’92) in his career and surrounded them with a lot of seasons in which he was really good. Also, you’re way off on Edmonds. His offense was spectacular (career .284/.376.527, 132 OPS+, 393 homers), especially for a CF, and he was an elite defender. Again, 7 fantastic seasons, with a ton of good ones around them.

      re: WAR
      Wins Above Replacement or how many extra wins a team would have had over a guy they picked up off the scrap heap. Do a Google search or something.

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