December 02, 2002
My Hall of Fame ballot

If I had a ballot in the Hall of Fame voting, I'd cast it for Bert Blyleven, Gary Carter, Rich Gossage, Eddie Murray, and Tommy John. Frankly, it's a crime that Blyleven, Carter, and the Goose aren't already enshrined, and I'll keep plugging them until they're in or they're no longer eligible.

Eddie Murray is the only sure thing among the newly eligible. I'll probably vote for Ryne Sandberg next year, but I want to take some more time to look at his record first. He's not going anywhere. Alan Trammell is more of a borderline case, and he's probably hurt by the fact that doubleplay-mate Lou Whitaker is off the list after mysteriously failing to garner 5% of the vote last year.

As for Lee Smith, he's the poster boy for Why The Save Is A Vastly Overrated Stat. If Smith gets in before Gossage, I'm leading a pitchfork-and-torch charge on Cooperstown.

If you're a fan of Jim Kaat, Dave Parker, Don Mattingly, Andre Dawson, Jack Morris, Steve Garvey, or Jim Rice, I feel your pain but your guy doesn't make the cut. Sorry. And guys like Vince Coleman and Mark Davis are on the ballot as a test - anyone who actually votes for either of them should be excluded from voting for anything related to baseball ever again.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 02, 2002 to Baseball | TrackBack

Where do you stand on Fernando? He saved baseball, but injury reduced him to a journeyman. Mark Fydrich? There should be a special place for saviors like Ichiro, who keep the old gal from going down for good.

Posted by: Mike Finley on December 2, 2002 10:33 AM

Fernando's career numbers just don't add up. Over a 17-year career, he averaged a 10-9 record per year, and his ERA overall is no better than league average for the time. He was a dynamic player, but as my friend Syd put it, he belongs in the Hall Of Very Good.

Fidrych is ineligible, as the HoF requires a ten-year career. Like Fernando, if Fidrych didn't wear his arm out early he coulda been a contender.

Much too early to tell if Ichiro will be a Hall-worthy player or not. Hall voters tend to like high batting averages and lots of hits, so if he plays long enough he my well have the "right" stats to get the voters' attention.

Go find yourself a copy of Bill James' book "The Politics of Glory". It's far and away the best thing ever written about the Hall of Fame.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 2, 2002 10:43 AM

Goose over Smith??? Start cracking with some stats and pronto! I clock Goose as having seven seasons of 25+ saves. Smith has 15. State your case, bub!

Regarding Trammell, is a little kinder to him than Lou Whitaker. Its not a magic wand, but its a nice omen. I'll predict Trammell beats the 5% mark and might even make it after several more ballots. Granted, it might take some letter-writing crank to point out that SS's are highly underrepresented in the Hall, but Trammell's got a case to make. In the end, I think the SS curse will keep him out, though.

Bert Blyleven, I'll take you to task on. How many Cy Youngs does he have? (Hint - 0) He was only an All Star twice, for crissakes. And a 287-250 record is a FAR cry from what one would term dominating. Nevertheless, has the highest correlary player as being Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, and Fergie Jenkins. Three pitchers who symbolize everything that is wrong with HOF voting. If Bly makes it, I'll be the one with a pitchfork.

Tommy John is a tough one. Ironically,'s HOF Monitor score is dead even with the HOF cutoff point. I think his vote will come up shy, but he may eventually get in.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on December 2, 2002 2:20 PM

Look at innings pitched for Gossage vs. Smith, not to mention how many saves the league leader had in a given year. Gossage regularly pitched 2-3 innings per save, and regularly pitched over 100 innings per year. Smith generally went one inning per save. It's not a fair comparison - it's like taking a 1970s player to task for not hitting 40+ homeruns in a season.

As for Blyleven, he's seriously underrated. Check out the following articles:

By any comparison to pitchers not in the Hall of Fame, and pitchers of his era, Blyleven is among the best. He's been shafted, and he deserves much better.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 2, 2002 8:50 PM

When he was with the Pirates, in that famous upset series (We Are Famalee) with the Orioles, Frank Robinson said Bert Blyleven had the best curveball in the history of baseball.

Posted by: Mike Finley on December 3, 2002 12:22 AM

While I share a healthy loss of my adolescence to the devotion of my life to Sabermetrics, I would contend that if you have to resort to a Bill James stat to prove someone as worthy, he's not. Blyleven had his moments of greatness, no argument, and just like Don Sutton, he may yet get in. I'll be the one cursing at the television when it happens, though.

Back to the Smith-Gossage debate. To me, it does come down to a difference in era, and sure, Goose threw more innings. But let's look at their primes. Goose had 12 consecutive seasons in which he had 20+saves, Smith 13. Goose threw in 716 games for 1264 IP (1.77IP/G). He had 275 saves. Smith, meanwhile, threw in 940 games for 1147 IP (1.22IP/G). He threw for 453 saves.

No way, no how, nuh uh, are you going to tell me that a difference of a HALF inning makes up for the fact that Smith had 65% more saves than he did. I think the standard should be pretty high for relievers to get into the Hall, but if Lee Smith doesn't belong, then I'm not sure who does. Goose is arguable and will likely get in due to his affiliation as a Yankee.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on December 3, 2002 7:08 AM

I visited the Hall this summer. I did not realize that Cooperstown was named for James Fennimore Cooper's father, and that Cooper wrote his books there.

And the Hall itself is nicer than I thought it would be -- less gung-ho, and pleasantly moldy.

What a horror to live there, though, with all the Home Base Cafes and Pinch Hit Taverns.

To me, the Hall that matetrs is the Hall Inside Your Head. That's where I enshrine Fydrich (sp) and Valenzuela (and Jim Kaat, bless his soul).

Hey ... isn't it funny how Kirby, my guy here in Minnesota, was waved (waived?) into the Hall because he was such a great guy, and now is in the dock for sexual assault.

While poor unappealing Pete Rose twists in the wind ...

Will Billy Martin ever make it to the Hall? He sure was more repulsive than Rose ever was.

Posted by: Mike Finley on December 3, 2002 9:05 AM

The Kirby Puckett sexual assault issue is like the controversy that surrounded Lawrence Taylor's enshrinement in the NFL Hall of Fame: Other than the explicitly mentioned exceptions, there's no law saying that a bad person (or a generally-well-liked person who's done a very bad thing) is ineligible.

As for Billy Martin, a number of statheads (primarily Bill James) make a case for Martin entering the Hall as a manager. I find it fairly persuasive, but even as a Yankee fan I can't quite bring myself to push for it. Whether Billy makes it or not someday, I'm okay either way.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 3, 2002 10:04 AM

Ty Cobb being a far more extreme case than any name mentioned on here.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on December 3, 2002 10:42 AM

Go find yourself a copy of Bill James' book "The Politics of Glory". It's far and away the best thing ever written about the Hall of Fame.

"The Big Show," a book ostensibly by Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann marketed to Sportscenter fans a couple years back, contains a lot of random stuff including a 50+ page essay by Olbermann on who should and shouldn't be in the HOF. Interesting reading if you can find a remainder copy.

P.S. re: Fidrych. The Bird is the word. Every couple years the Detroit papers check in on him, and at last report he's doing OK: he's retired to a rural area in Michigan, he's in good health, he's got enough money, and he's happy to have played the game.

Posted by: alkali on December 4, 2002 2:30 PM

How you could not vote for Sandberg in his first year on the ballot? He set the fielding standard for secondbaseman and set many records as well. Many of those records still stand today so what does that tell you? It tells you that despite the 30+ homeruns and 100+ rbi's that today's secondbaseman do not have the fielding talent of Sandberg. Sure some of them have better range then he had and they may be faster but he played smart, consistent, and played well. He was a true professional on and off the field. He retired because he felt that he was not earning the money that he was being paid, something that you will probably never see again. Just because he wasn't outspoken or a primadonna baseball millionaire brat does not mean that he doesn't qualify for the HOF. He was the greatest secondbaseman of his time and one of all time. It made me sick to see that he didn't make it. I have followed him since I was 10 years old and had been looking forward to yesterday for a very long time because I knew he deserved to get the call telling him that he's in.

Posted by: Tony on January 8, 2003 8:37 AM

The important thing in reviewing qualifications for future HOFers is not to compare them to the lowest common denominators already admitted. Gary Carter is a pretty marginal selection (although far from being a disgraceful one), but he is an example of what I'm talking about. Five years from now, some mediocre catcher is going to be offered up as a candidate on grounds that his stats were "almost as good as Carter's."

Posted by: Jerry on July 7, 2003 7:56 PM

JIM RICE and BERT BLYLEVEN both deserve the hall. Jim Rice had 2400 plus hits, won a MVP award in 1978 finished in the top 5 in MVP race 6 times. He gets punished for playing in Boston, and for not having 500 home runs. First, Jim was leading the league with 30 plus homers when 30 really meant something. Sometimes I think these measuring sticks we use for Baseball players are too stringent. No everyone shouldn't get in. But if you gave up 16 years and wacked out nearly 2500 hits, and you're FAMOUS for it. Shouldn't you be in the HALL of FAME. Okay maybe he's not a first balloter, but denying him is wrong.

Okay I get it...If your a pitcher, the only way you get in is if: YOU WIN 300 or SAVE 300. Hmmm, thats funny because Blyleven could have done either, he won 280 plus and from looking at John Smoltz, does anyone think Blyleven couldn't have saved 300 plus games? I listened to a guy on ESPN give his argument against his Bert's face!. First of all...the balls! But his arugment was lame he argues that Bert had almost as many lossess as wins (uh so does Nolan Ryan)and he argues he only won 20 once...(um he won between 15 and 19 13 times) doesn't that count for something. And again 287 wins! Lest we forget that LORD CHARLES curveball also.

BERT AND JIM for the Hall of Fame!

Posted by: Thomas R. Turner on August 18, 2003 4:11 PM

Blyleven certainly deserves hall of fame. It is a crime he isn't in it already.

Posted by: chad on June 10, 2005 1:19 PM