Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Do I Let Myself Get So Worked Up Over Hall of Fame Voting?

The recent induction of Andre Dawson to the Hall of Fame accomplished one thing: it made the induction of Jim Rice not seem so bad.

About the only thing Dawson has going for him is his rare standing as one of the few players with 400 homers and 300 stolen bases. But because counting statistics are so often misleading you should look at the averages, and almost all of Dawson’s are terrible.

His .279 lifetime batting average is one of the lowest in the Hall of Fame and it’s almost Mazeroski-ish when you consider Dawson was an outfielder. I’ve always said batting average is an overrated statistic so let’s look at something that really matters: on base percentage. Specifically, that’s the ability of a hitter to not make an out, a pretty important thing in baseball. He has a lifetime OBP of .323. That’s terrible, also one of the lowest among Hall of Famers. Even his OPS is well below-average.

I think what really drives me nuts is when people get in the Hall of Fame just because they’re not that much worse than someone who is already in. Never was Andre Dawson one of the best players in the game for more than a couple seasons at a time, and none of his stats (other than homers and stolen bases) measure up to the greats of the game.

Even more galling than Dawson’s inclusion is the exclusion of Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez.

Believe it or not, Raines actually has a higher career OPS than Dawson, he had more top seasons than Dawson and is superior to him in almost every area except for home runs and RBI.

And against Edgar Martinez it’s not even close.

For this we’ll use a stat called OPS+ which compares players to the league average and therefore adjusts for differences between eras. 100 is essentially league average, 150 is great. Dawson’s best year was 157, Edgar had 157 once too, was above it 6 other times, including a sick 185 in 1995..

I know the knock on Edgar is that he was mostly a DH, but if you are going to have a position you can’t just exclude everyone who plays it (though the NFL does it with punters). As long as there is a DH in baseball Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall.

how does Edgar Martinez get fewer than half as many votes as Andre Dawson?

And a quick note on the two most prominent pitchers on the ballot. Bert Blyleven doesn’t deserve to get in because he has a lot of negative stats (losses and home runs allowed) and the numbers in his favor (wins and strikeouts) are somewhat inflated by his long career. He never had that many great individual seasons as evidenced by how seldom he received Cy Young votes.
I used to be in favor of Jack Morris getting in because he was one of the top pitchers of the 1980s, until I read that if he did get in, he’d have the highest career ERA in the Hall.


jleary said...

I can't believe Alomar didn't get in. Overall one of the best 2nd baseman to play the game (discounting his Mets years of course). I guess the spitting incident cost him the hall, but if Mcclelland forgave him the BBWAA should have as well

Scott said...

Statistically, Alomar is in the top 3 second basemen of ALL TIME... add in his world titles with the Blue Jays, a highlight reel of awards and high finishes, and it's clear only the spitting/Mets run kept him out. You needed 405 votes to get in and he got 397... ridiculous.

Scott said...

I'm not done... from 1989-2001, he was clearly one of the best players in the game - his seasons are remarkably consistent. That's a longer run of dominance than Jim Rice or Andre Dawson, and Alomar had to play defense (and never got hurt)

Freedo said...

Stop worrying about the hall of fame and focus on the Massachusetts Senate race. We need Scott to win to save the country. It's our only hope.

Nails said...

Reggie Roby HOF

Paul said...

Robbie even has a better career OPS than Andre Dawson. He'll get in eventually. You think voters also held it against the rumors he is gay and infected his girlfriend with HIV?

The Concierge said...

Andre Dawson was however the Rookie of the Year in the same year that all the other players in major sports who were MVP had the initials A.D. Tony Dorsett for the FL and Adrian Dantley for the NBA. This is what got him in for sure.

Alomar clearly was excluded because he purposely disgraced the game of baseball by playing like shit for the Mets.

master bates said...

The HOF is an absolute joke. Explain to me how a player doesn't desrve to get into the hall of fame his first year on the ballot, but in subsequent years he does? They stopped playing so there statistics haven't improved.

If you have to think about it (Rice, Dawson, Puckett - sorry Poop) then they're not Hall of Famers. How absolute superstars don't get 100% of the vote on their first ballot is ridiculous?

As I said earlier the HOF is a joke.