Friday, January 6, 2012

HoF talk

Look, it's very nice that the A's signed Coco Crisp and the Marlins traded for Carlos Zambrano, but the real  baseball talk going on right now -- amid NFL playoffs, NCAA bowls and hoops, NHL, and NBA -- is Hall of Fame talk.

I like this.

I enjoy reading all sorts of different baseball writers' Hall of Fame ballots.  (For example:  CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, Scott Miller and Jon Heyman.)

* Barry Larkin deserves to go in.  This is firmly agreed upon by all manner of rational folks, even those who might consider voting for Rick Santorum.

(Yes, I am among those who cannot understand why Republicans are falling all over themselves to support liars, bigots, and fools rather than someone who actually seems like a good choice for the nation's highest office.  I have great friends who are members of the GOP, and I am embarrassed for them.)

Seriously, Rick Santorum?

* Alan Trammell deserves to go in, according to smart people and also biased boyhood Tigers fans like me.

(By the way:  Would you like to read a poor column advocating for Larkin and against Trammell?  Here you go.  Apparently the fact that Alan Trammell was not demonstrably better than Hall of Famers Cal Ripken and Robin Yount is not enough to put him in Cooperstown.  Oh, Devon Teeple.  It's even worse to compare his stats to Tony Fernandez's stats and think that the two were equals.)

* Tim Raines deserves to go in, according to smart people.  They've convinced me.  He had a very nice career and were he to be elected, he would not bring down the HoF standard at all.  If you had to name the top leadoff men in baseball history, Raines has to be in the top five, right?

* Jack Morris is borderline.  Some smart people think he should be, most think he shouldn't.

Look, here's my problem with Morris supporters.  They all say, to a man:  Forget about the high ERA.  He won the most games of any pitcher in the 1980s and he pitched the most brilliant World Series game of our time in 1991.

Well...

1)  You can't forget about the high ERA.  It's part of his record.  It shows that he tended to give up a lot of runs.  That's like saying about a hitter -- forget about his low batting average.  Well, you can't.  It shows that he didn't tend to get too many base hits.  You can counterbalance it with stats showing a man's effectiveness, sure, but you can't make them vanish.

2)  Yes, Jack Morris did have the most wins from 1980-1989, but that's an arbitrary span.  Are you going to collect every single ten-year span and induct the winningest pitcher?  Who had the most wins from 1977-1986?  How about from 1973-1982?  (I'd love to find out and tell you, but I'm stumped by how to do so on BaseballReference.com.)

3)  Yes, Jack Morris was stellar in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.  That's great.  Hey, check out this World Series pitching performance.  Or this one from a non-HoF'er.

On this list of the best pitching performances in World Series games through 2007... Jack Morris rates 39th, right behind Josh Beckett beating the Yankees in 2003.

I somehow doubt that Beckett's going to Cooperstown.

1 comment:

Craig Wieczorkiewicz said...

I agree that allowing Jack Morris in the Hall of Fame just because he had the most wins in the 1980s is too arbitrary. If he goes in based solely (or mostly) on that stat, then Mark Grace belongs in the Hall of Fame too because he had the most hits in the 1990s - and nobody in their right mind (including this lifelong Cubs fan) thinks Grace belongs in the Hall of Fame.