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Joe Posnanski is going Hall of Fame crazy this week

Dec 27, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT

hall of fame

If you’ve grown weary of all of the Hall of Fame posts I’ve been writing over the past couple of weeks you may not want to read Joe Posnanski this week. He’s doing a lengthy Hall of Fame post each day, starting with today’s introductory post in which he talks about his Hall of Fame philosophy.  Tomorrow he’ll write about his “easy nos,” on Wednesday will be his close calls, on Thursday his stone-cold-locks and on Friday he’ll have the ones who really drove him nuts to leave off his ballot.

The key takeaway from today: despite people going on about letting every Tom, Dick and Harry into the hall these days, the electorate has gotten way, way tougher over the past couple of decades than it used to be. He takes a look at the number of players who got 5,000 plate appearances in their career and counts the Hall of Famers by decade:

The stunning takeaway is that half of the sturdy everyday players who retired sometime in the 1930s are in the Hall of Fame. This, of course, is absolutely ridiculous. If you raise the bar to 8,000 plate appearances, an almost unbelievable 17 out of 20 are in the Hall of Fame. In the 1980s, only 10 out of the 40 players who retired with 8,000 or more plate appearances are in the Hall, and this leaves out some very good players who will likely never get any more consideration for the Hall of Fame, players like Ted Simmons, Dave Concepcion, Graig Nettles, Bobby Grich and, of course, Pete Rose.

And in the 90s, if the steroid hysterics carry the day, it will be even less.  Makes me wonder if, in an effort to keep the Hall of Fame “pure,” today’s electorate is really killing the damn place.

  1. Jack Marshall - Dec 27, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Suely, Craig, you don’t mean that the Hall standard applied to the 30’s players was the correct one? The over-representation from that era was the product of a bad mix of ignorance (by voters who were impressed by high averages that didn’t mean what the voters thought they did) and cronyism. I’d rather see the Hall be over-exclusive than a cheap honor.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 27, 2010 at 4:38 PM

      No. I think there is some balance between the 1930s and, say, only electing Andre Dawson. Just instructive to look at.

  2. Brian - Dec 27, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    The HOF opened in what, 1939? I wonder how many of those “sturdy everyday 1930s players” were inducted either A) to put bronzed asses in the seats or B) because they were a familiar nostalgic choice to get the Hall rollin’.

    Also, Craig, remember that at that time, the pool was much shallower so everyone looked better in comparison. Now, we have a deeper pool to choose from, and a larger number of great players. Obviously, with more players in the league, and approximately the same percentage of guys going into the Hall, more players are going to be left out, right?? Obviously this doesn’t account for every issue with the Hall of Fame selection process, but it’s interesting to consider.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 28, 2010 at 2:29 PM

      A lot of players back then also did it without extensive trainers and medical treatments, or luxurious transportation, and did it while working day-jobs on the side during at least the offseason.

      Guys had to pitch 3 days a week or play almost every game of the year every year. If they couldn’t, they fell off the map.

      My only point here, I guess, is that those guys played under very rough circumstances where they didn’t have all the money and resources in the world to be uber-athletes, and to do what they did when they did it was outstanding. I don’t have an argument with almost any of the players from the early 20th century in the HoF.

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