Hall of Fame Thoughts
Another Hall of Fame vote, and another year of people fighting over the process: the whole PED question, Pete Rose, why do voters only get ten votes each, the real value of wins, the qualifications of the voters themselves, etc., etc. I don’t remember it being like this when I was younger. I guess that’s because it was before people realized that players were using PEDs and advanced metrics became vogue.
This post is not really about all that. I have written about the PED issue and the Hall in the past. I can’t seem to find the link to it right now, but in the meantime, read this excellent article by Tom Verducci. I agree wholeheartedly with what he has to say on the issue.
I can’t really argue with the four guys who were elected. The three pitchers were pretty much no-brainers. I am on record with saying that Pedro Martinez’s 2000 season was probably the most dominant for a starting pitcher in the modern era. Randy Johnson was obviously great. One interesting thing that jumps out looking at his stats is how he cut down on the high number of walks he issued early in his career almost overnight (meaning from one season to the next). In 1992 he led the league in walks with 144. The next season it dropped down to 99 and never really got close to that for the rest of his career.
Craig Biggio is a borderline guy in my mind. Yes, he has 3000 hits, but was only above 200 in a season once. He does have a good number of home runs for a small guy, mostly a second baseman and his OPS is pretty good. He’s not far off the WAR and JAWS averages for the average HoF second basemen. It should be noted Utley’s WAR and JAWS numbers are similar to Biggio’s. I’m not going to argue that Biggio shouldn’t have been elected, because he was a good player, but compared to the other three that went in, he was just not as good.
One player I do want to write about is Mike Mussina. I was looking at his numbers and found something kind of interesting. His ERA of 3.68 is a little on the high side for a starting pitcher, although he did pitch during the Steroid Era in the AL East. It would be the second highest ERA of any HoF starting pitcher, after that Red Ruffing. On the positive side, his ERA+ compares more favorably to other Hall of Famers (although not as good as Curt Schilling; see my post about how Schilling should be elected). What I think is interesting about Mussina’s numbers is that while his ERA is on the high side, his FIP is lower that his ERA just about every year. This implies he was somewhat better than his ERA suggests. In the end, of course, FIP is not reality, and ERA is, but it is interesting. His WHIP is also pretty good, too, so this also supports the idea that he was a little better than his ERA would suggest. Mussia is a tough call; I’ll have to think about this one.
If I had a vote (still waiting on that one), the following ten players would have been on my ballot.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez.
Yes, Martinez was mostly a designated hitter, but his ability to hit the ball and get on base was amazing and I just can’t ignore that. I’m sure there are a few hitters in the Hall who were terrible fielder, so what’s really the difference. For his career he was .312/.418/.515. That’s a career .933 OPS; pretty darn good.