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Would you believe a Hall of Fame ballot with Don Mattingly and no one else?

Jan 9, 2012, 1:14 PM EST

Don Mattingly

Better believe it because it’s true. It belongs to Rick Carpiniello. He’s a hockey blogger, by the way. Still gets to vote for the baseball Hall of Fame because, well, I have no idea, but one must not question the logic of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. They’ve been there and you haven’t and you can’t possibly understand. Or so I’ve been told.

Anyway, after a lot of ham-fisted slippery slope rhetoric regarding steroids (fact: if we find out we accidentally voted in a steroid user to the Hall of Fame the End Times will be nigh), he explains how he voted:

So my ballot, on which you can vote for as many as 10 players, went in this year with one name checked: Don Mattingly. I know he’s not going to get in because a lot of voters think his career body of work wasn’t good enough. But when he played, in his prime, he was the best player in baseball. And there are guys in the Hall, and guys on the ballot now, who were never that. Never considered dominant, or among the top two or three players in the game at any point in their career. And I’m pretty sure Donnie Baseball didn’t juice.

And yes, I find this way worse than a single token vote for Bill Mueller.

(link via BTF)

  1. alang3131982 - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    During Mattingly’s best stretch (184-1987), I’d argue that Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, tim Raines and Al Trammel were better.

    We can quibble about the last few, but there’s no way he was better than Boggs/Henderson.

    • dohpey28 - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Cal Ripken is up there as one of the most overrated players in baseball. The only player on the your list who can say they where equals of Mattingly is Henderson. Boggs was a great slap hitter, but that’s it.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

        Let’s see:

        1. “Cal Ripken is up there as one of the most overrated players in baseball”

        Go to Baseball Reference. Pick the best shortstop in the league every year from 1900 to the present day. Count how many times you picked Cal Ripken and notice that no other shortstop not named Honus Wagner came close. Do you know how many shortstops were excellent fielders and hit 20 homers and hit .280/.350/.450 for 12 or 13 years in a row? None. Zip. Zilch. You know how many 1st baseman posted a .900 OPS 4 years in a row? Many.

        2. “Boggs was a great slap hitter, but that’s it”
        List of things Wade Boggs was better at the Don Mattingly
        1. Being good for a much longer period of time
        2. He got on base WAY more often. During Mattingly’s best years, he posted an OBP of .372. Boggs’ was .446 during that same span.
        3. He played a tougher defensive position. C-SS-2B-CF-3B-LF-RF-1B goes the defensive spectrum.
        4. He hit for a higher average. Mattingly won a batting title in 1984. Wade Boggs won it in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988.

        Boggs hits doubles at about the same rate, which is to say a shitload. Meaning Mattingly hit more home runs. That’s it. That’s the one thing he did better than Wade Boggs. And before we pretend that makes up for everything else, Don Mattingly wasn’t exactly Barry Bonds. He hit 30 home 3 times and 20 homers two more times. Wade Boggs was better than Don Mattingly.

  2. alang3131982 - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I mean, if the criteria is “best player in baseball” he really should have voted for Dale Murphy….

  3. randomdigits - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    There is exactly as much proof that Mattingly didn’t use steroids as there is Bagwell did.

    I look forward to the day it is revealed that a Puckett, a Gwynn or a Ripken used steroids.

    Or better yet someone like Aaron so they can just move the whole “steroids era” back 20 years.

  4. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    “And I’m pretty sure Donnie Baseball didn’t juice.”

    …seems to be just a little too much doubt right there. Let’s give him the Bagwell treatment.

  5. Kyle - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Gooooooooooood times.

  6. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    “But when he played, in his prime, he was the best player in baseball.”

    I would say, for a few years, this statement is certaintly true. Mattingly for a few years was putting up Ted Williams’ type of numbers. But, when he injured his back, he was never the same player. Shame, really. If healthy, he would have probably had a Hall of Fame career. He doen’t have the longevity to be considered for the Hall.

    As far as the hockey guy having the ability to vote for the Hall of Fame, I am indifferent. Many of the Baseball Writers have covered other sports throughtout their careers. So, this doesn’t really strike me as odd. But, I do disagree with him putting in a vote for Mattingly.

    • Paul White - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      “…Mattingly for a few years was putting up Ted Williams’ type of numbers…”

      If you mean that Mattingly once posted a career-high OPS+ of 161 while Williams reached or exceeded that mark 17 different times, then yes, you can squint hard enough to make your statement true. Otherwise, no, not really factual in any way.

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        1984 – .343, 23 HR, 110 RBI’s, 44 doubles
        1985 – .324, 35 HR, 145 RBI’s, 48 doubles
        1986 – .352, 31 HR, 113 RBI’s, 53 doubles

        Those numbers that he put up were freakish in the 1980’s in comparison to any other ballplayer. He was pretty damn good. Looking at his BA and gap and HR power, it’s pretty close. Of course, he didn’t do it long enough.

      • Paul White - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        Mattingly’s bWAR marks those years were:

        1984 – 6.3 (T-5th in the AL)
        1985 – 6.4 (7th in the AL)
        1986 – 6.9 (5th in the AL)

        His numbers weren’t “freakish”, for the 80’s or any other timeframe.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Yes, BA/HR/RBI/2B totally are the best way to compare hitters. But since you’ve decided to go that way, here’s Teddy Ballgame’s 162-game averages: .344/37/130/37. At Donnie’s best, he was better at hitting doubles than the Splinter was over the course of his career, barely reached his career batting average, and didn’t really have as many homers and RBI despite playing in a much better hitters park for a lefty. And that’s without using numbers that do a better job of showing a player’s offensive production or adjusting for era.

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        What’s bWar? Not familiar with that.

      • Paul White - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        bWAR is the Baseball-Reference version of Wins Above Replacement. Not a perfect tool by any means, but wildly more useful than the standard triple crown numbers.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        And since we’re talking about bWAR now, Donnie averaged 710 PA those three seasons. Williams’ bWAR/710 PA? Slightly more than nine. Donnie’s best stretch simply couldn’t compare to Williams’ average performance, and I say this as a huge Yankee fan.

      • jwbiii - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        Except for the RBIs, thst looks a lot like prime Pedro Guerrero. As for the RBIs, Rickey Henderson and Willie Randolph were a lot better at not making outs than Mariano Duncan and Ken Landreaux.

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Thanks guys. My point I guess I’m trying to make was that Mattingly, for a few years, hit a ton of extra base hits and hit for a very high batting average. He certainly didn’t walk as much as Williams nor was the caliber player that Williams was. But, Mattingly still was pretty darn good for a short period of time. Wasn’t trying to compare both of them for the total of their careers.

      • Detroit Michael - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        bWAR is Wins Above Replacement as reported on baseball-reference.com. Sometimes it is also called rWAR because the guy who devised the statistic is nicknamed Rally and he used to get by his nickname instead of Sean Smith at the time.

        The prefix is intended to differentiate it from Fangraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement, which is abbreviated fWAR.

        If someone is claiming that x is the best player in baseball, looking at something like a 3-year or 5-year rolling average of bWAR is perhaps the best statistical evidence that we have for supporting or refuting that claim.

      • mondogarage - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        [ ] – Mattingly had Ted Williams numbers

        [ X ] – Mattingly wore Yankees pinstripes

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        phillieschamps2012…please give it up now. You might as well beat your head against your keyboard then try to debate anything here without having an Excel Spreadsheet handy.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        Forget the spreadsheet jokes, Chris – his comparison didn’t even make sense using triple crown stats. Are you saying anybody should be able to claim anything without backing it up?

      • wlschneider09 - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        Well, this is the internet….

  7. deathmonkey41 - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Donnie Baseball! It’s a shame he had so many back issues- I really think he’s a sure fire HoF’er if his career wasn’t hampered and cut short like that. Back in the dark days of Yankees baseball- all we had to cheer for was Don Mattingly….and Mel Hall when he blasted that 9th inning HR off Jeff Reardon and then proceeded to take 3 hrs to round the bases, but I digress because he’s now a convicted felon pediophile.

    • davebrownspiral - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      Ha…I was actually at that game. I was 11. If memory serves, I believe Barfield went deep 2x as did Big Mel. Sadly, the game was the highlight of my childhood Yankee fandom.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jan 9, 2012 at 8:21 PM

        You are correct, sir. I wasn’t much older than 11, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Probably because the good times were few and far between then. They used it for the MSG intro the following year.

  8. kidcleveland77 - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    He had a nice prime, but did he have TEH FEAR?!?!

  9. CJ - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    more proof. If voters don’t get on the same page next year, there will be many quiet Januaries in Cooperstown over the next few years.

    • hystoracle - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      There are several voters who should have their votes rescinded. If they aren’t using it to fulfill some personal agenda, then they are abusing it and then making public statements in their blogs and columns about the stupidity they employed when completing their ballot.

  10. cur68 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    My dog, what would we do without random BBWAA votes? The off season has been much enlivened by this stuff. Well, thanks hockey guy. Next time I want an opinion on a football player I’ll be sure and ask you. Glad you did something worthwhile with your HOF vote and your PEDS reasoning is as spot on as that of some of your equally vote-challenged colleagues.

    • vikesfansteve - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      shut up blowhard

  11. nategearhart - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    NOT the best player of the mid-80s. Brett, Schmidt, Murphy, Henderson…several better. I AM struggling to think of a better first baseman during that stretch though. Is that enough to put him in the Hall? Prolly not. I wouldn’t be real upset if he got in though.

    • CJ - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Maybe he meant the best Yankee and therefore the best player? All the voters know that you can’t be the best player in baseball unless you play for the Yankees.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        The Yankees were the best team in the eighties (by winning percentage). Obviously, as the best player on the best team, that makes Donnie the best player of the eighties.

        Right?

      • jwbiii - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        Fan Graphs has it
        51.7 Eddie Murray
        50.9 George Brett
        44.4 Keith Hernandez
        35.2 Jack Clark
        35.0 Don Mattingly
        31.5 Kent Hrbek
        Brett didn’t become a first baseman until 1987, so throw him out. The difference between Mattingly and Clark is negligible. So in the decade where Mattingly had his very impressive peak, he still comes out as the third or fourth best 1B.

      • dohpey28 - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        To say the difference between Clark and Mattingly was negligible might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Ever.

      • jwbiii - Jan 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM

        In the 1980s, Clark and Mattingly hit
        4422 PA, .368 OBP, .521 SLG, 144 OPS+
        4428 PA, .389 OBP, .484 SLG, 144 OPS+

        Which is which?

      • jwbiii - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:17 PM

        Don’t you just hate when you get all loaded up for troll and he doesn’t take the bait?

    • aleskel - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Eddie Murray was probably the better 80’s first baseman, but it depends on how much value you place on consistancy. And Keith Hernandez might have been better too, if you believe what they say about his defense.

  12. alara07 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    HOF is so complex, It is not as easy as saying he was the most dominant for a season or a couple of seasons, as there have been many dominant players for a few seasons such as Albert Belle. The HOF RULES for chosen player state the following : Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
    So if He fits the critiria, which appears so then I believe yes.I agree that He was dominant during those years and did contribute to his team. one interesting stat was His WAR during 84-87 years was 5.9 -6.9 which is about the WAR of Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto from last year , not bad.
    Aside from that He did more than what shows on paper or stats.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      So…he should go to the hall because he was really good during a three year stretch?

      Yes, for four seasons, Mattingly was *one* of the best in the game. But those were his very best seasons, and over that exact same stretch, Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken and Tim Raines all topped him in WAR. These were not their best seasons…this excludes Ripken’s 83 MVP (and his almost equally great 84 season), Boggs’ 1988…Henderson 1990. And you know who sits just 3 WAR behind him during those years of greatness? Jesse Barfield!

      Many players have done what Don Mattingly did over the course of four years. He was great, but it was nothing historic.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        By unfairly manipulating alara’s argument, here are players that would be in the hall of fame four ranking in the top 5 in WAR over a 4 year period

        Fred McGriff: 1989-1992, 1988-1991
        Alan Trammel: 1986-1989 (I think he SHOULD be in the hall)
        Jesse Barfield: 1985-1988
        Buddy Bell: 1979-1982, 1978-1981
        Keith Hernanez: 1978-1981
        George Foster: 1977-1980, 1976-1979
        Willie Randoph- 1977-1980
        Dave Parker: 1986-1979
        Graig Nettles: 1976-1979, 1975-1978
        Ron Cey: 1974-1977
        Cesar Cedeno: 1972-1975
        Bobby Bonds: 1971-1974
        ETC

  13. thefalcon123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Hmm, let’s compare Don Mattingly and say…mystery player, who we’ll call player A

    Both played between 1700 to 1800 games
    Player A topped Mattingly in career OPS at .840 to Mattingly .830
    Player A hit 16 more home runs
    Player A had a career OBP of .364, compared to Don .358
    Player A stole 244 more bases
    Mattingly had an oWAR or 36.4, compared to player A’s 38.4

    Player A did not receive single hall of fame vote, nor do I think anyone has ever seriously made the cast that he belongs in the hall of fame. Yet over the course of their career’s, Ray Lankford was almost as good.

    • mondogarage - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Player A never wore Yankees pinstripes.

      Player A did play a premium defensive position for several years.

  14. johnchesterny - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Perhaps if Mattingly HAD juiced he’d receive more support on this page!

  15. baseballisboring - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Awesome…a HOCKEY BLOGGER gets to vote, and he uses his ballot to vote for one guy even most of the BBWAA dinosaurs and skeletons know shouldn’t be voted in. Fuckin’ embarrassing.

  16. wegonnadoitbaby - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Having sportswriters be the arbitrators was, is, and always will be a recipe for jackassery at it’s ego driven finest.

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