Congratulations to Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar on being inducted to the Hall of Fame today. Both well deserved. I didn’t formally write up a ballot like I did last year, but that vote pretty much stands. In addition to Alomar, Blyleven, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell as returning players, I would have voted for Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Rafael Palmeiro, and Kevin Brown as well. That’s 11 guys, but seeing as how I don’t have an official ballot anyway, it doesn’t much matter. Heck, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, and Ron Santo would be on there too.
Kevin Brown only getting 2.1% of the vote and dropping off the ballot is a travesty (he got less than half as many votes as Juan Gonzalez!). He actually had a pretty similar career to Curt Schilling (with fewer K’s, but also many fewer home runs allowed – check out the graphs). From 1996 to 200, Brown had a streak of seasons with 230+ IP, an ERA of 3 or less (including a 1.89), and over 6 fWAR (including a 9.3). I get that the contract and attitude stuff might knock him down a peg or two, but that only gets him into borderline territory.
Bagwell came on with a decent showing, so I think he’ll get in. All the stupid steroids whispers are terrible though (and not just because of the results – “I heard he may possibly be guilty of doing something I don’t like at the moment, so I’m going to punish him” is an awful process). If I had a vote and didn’t vote for Jack Morris because I thought he used PEDs I would be torn apart by the people voting for Morris (who also happen to be many of the same people voting against Bagwell because of something they have no evidence of). Was he a great player? Most definitely. Then he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Speaking of Morris, it was great to see that his support didn’t jump much. If he doesn’t get voted in next year with a weak incoming class then I don’t think it’ll happen. He just wasn’t an all-time great pitcher. He was a good pitcher who pitched a lot and had one great and meaningful game. You know who was at least as good as Jack Morris? Orel Hershiser. Bret Saberhagen. Dave Steib. Kevin Appier.
Quick, which one of these guys should go to the Hall?
245-193, 3.70 ERA, 106 ERA+, 3999 IP, 4.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9, 47 fWAR, 39 brWAR
254-186, 3.90 ERA, 105 ERA+, 3824 IP, 5.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9, 52 fWAR, 39 brWAR
239-157, 4.13 ERA, 108 ERA+, 3439 IP, 5.8 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 61 fWAR, 51 brWAR
None of them seems like the correct answer to me. The third guy seems the best of the bunch, with the first two being very similar. They are Dennis Martinez, Morris, and David Wells. Heck, Jack might not even be the best Morris amongst pitchers not in the Hall!* Ed pitched from 1884 to 1890, but he out brWARs him 43.2 to 39.3.
I almost wish I personally knew someone who would vote for Morris, so I could debate them on the issue. Almost. Moving on…
Edgar dropping some wasn’t encouraging. Dude could flat out rake, but it looks like the voters are doubling or tripling the DH penalty in the positional adjustment portion of WAR (not really, but you get what I’m saying).
Larry Walker is probably seeing the same kind of thing with Coors. WAR already penalizes him for it – and still finds him deserving. He hit .282/.372/.500 outside of Colorado in his career, which is better than, I don’t know… Jim Rice* (career .298/.352/.502 hitter, including .277/.330/.459 away from Boston). Plus Walker was a good fielder and base-runner. Players in Major League history with 350 home runs (Walker had 383), 200 stolen bases (230), and a .310 batting average (.313): Larry Walker. That’s it. If you drop the batting average down to .300 you add Hank Aaron, Willy Mays, and Alex Rodriguez. Dropping the steals to 150 makes it Walker and Vlad Guerrero. The home run level needs to drop all the way down to 234 before we add another name… Derek Jeter (I hear he’s OK). I know, I know, Coors Field (and arbitrary limits). But still, no baseball player in history with 200 steals and a .310 batting average is within 98 home runs of Walker.
* No, I don’t think I’ll let it go.
McGwire apologized for using steroids like so many people wanted, and his support dropped. At this point it doesn’t look like he’ll get in. Same with Raffy. Trammell continues to be criminally underappreciated. Raines too, though he’s making some steady progress.
I’m just waiting for Mike Mussina to get on the ballot so I can bring back all my Mussina-Palmer comps. He’s my Blyleven (though Bert was a clearly superior pitcher). It’ll be a loaded few years though.