I’ve read probably 100 articles/blog posts in the past two weeks dissecting this year’s Hall of Fame ballot candidates. Funny thing is I can’t get enough of reading everyone’s different point of views. Below is my perspective on the key candidates.
But, first a few thoughts I want to get across on Andre’s candidacy.
1. Andre’s low career on-base% (OBP) shouldn’t keep him out of the Hall. OBP can be a misleading stat, if it is low than people assume you weren’t on base enough to give your team a chance of winning. But, I think people tend to forget that things like sacrifice flies don’t count in the OBP formula, but they can affect an outcome of game as much or even more than taking a walk. For example, a man on third base, one out, Andre is up at the plate. He could go deep in the count and walk, keep the inning alive and raise his OBP. The next batter could ground into a double-play ending the inning without the run crossing. Or Andre could sacrifice fly, knock in a run and lower his OBP. Which outcome is better for his team? Andre is 10th all-time in sacrifice flies with 118.
2. How many players have had at least 400 HRs, 300 SBs and 2,500 hits? Three and Andre is one of them. It is an accomplishment that Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams never achieved.
I just can’t see how you can keep Andre out!
Onto the rest of the ballot:
Bert Blyleven – 287 wins, impressive, 250 losses, not so much. You got to feel bad for a guy who pitched for only 3 play-off teams in a 22-year career. His career win total, ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts could pose a threat in tempting voters, but I think that close won/lost % hurts him in and is unlikely to jump Andre in the vote totals. Wouldn’t you like to see these two long-time balloters get in together though?
Harold Baines – I love Harold Baines, so don’t get me wrong here. His career RBI total was slightly higher than Andre by playing one more season (1628 to 1591). He could hit, but couldn’t steal a base or field a position well and that won’t allow voters to put him in over Andre who could do both of those things really well.
Lee Smith – What can you say about the guy who sat the saves bar for Trevor Hoffman and Marino Rivera to reach (478 saves)? Unfortunately the importance of the closer was coming in while Smith was going out. If he started his career five years later who knows? Biggest knock, more losses than wins (71-92). It would be great to see two former Cubs get in together in 2010, but only room for one I’m afraid this year and that’s The Hawk.
Mark McGwire – Yeah, I’m not going to waste space on this one, aw crap, I just did!
Jack Morris – Before I took a close look at his stats, I assumed because of Blyleven’s win total and reputation he was more qualified for the Hall than Morris. I was wrong, Blyleven’s does have 33 more wins (287 to 254), but Morris pitched 4 fewer seasons. However, Morris’ career ERA of 3.90 is higher than I like for a Hall of Fame pitcher and I think voters would feel the same; he won’t receive more votes than Andre.
Tim Raines – If there was never a Rickey Henderson, Raines would be in the Hall of Fame by now, .294 avg., 808 SBs and 1571 runs. Raines was the 2nd best lead-off man in the 80s and didn’t self-promote how great he was (Rickey’s “I’m the Greatest!” speech). I truly hope that one day Raines and Dawson, who are best friends, are reunited in the Hall, but it won’t be this year.
Alan Trammel – His 1987 season is the only season that really jumps out at me, (.343 avg., 28 HRs, 108 RBIs, 205 Hits, 109 Runs) well above his career averages. I just don’t know if I could put someone in the Hall for one outstanding season, a couple of really good seasons and the rest just good to average.
Dave Parker – 339 HRs, 1493 RBIs, 2712 Hits, 1272 Runs, and 154 SBs, all lower than Andre’s totals. Sorry Cobra, but The Hawk is higher on the food chain and all-time totals, no threat here.
Don Mattingly – If not for a shortened career by injuries, we wouldn’t even be discussing this, he would be in. Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame is based on career totals and not potential of what could have been. Donny Baseball won’t receive a call this year or any other year I’m afraid.
Dale Murphy – See Parker’s comment, ditto.
Roberto Alomar – If Alomar was an outfielder no. If he was a 1B, no. But he was a 2B, so yes he will get in. Does he get in before Andre, no. I think because of the type of hitter Alomar was, voters expected him to have gotten to that 3,000 hit plateau like a Rod Carew or Tony Gwynn. I think voters in 2010 are going to award two long time balloters which leaves Alomar waiting until 2011.
Fred McGriff – The Crime Dog has similar numbers as Andre except for hits and stolen bases. If you put him in the hall on the first ballot, than questions are going to arise on why they didn’t Andre. Mr. Consistency will have to wait.
Edgar Martinez – The best thing Edgar has going for him is his career average of .312, but I’m sorry he was primarily a DH and if you look at his numbers when he played 3B the only category that stands out was batting average. If fielding a position hampered him from hitting homeruns and knocking in runs, than in my opinion, he shouldn’t be considered one of the elite.
Barry Larkin – During the 80s and 90s, Larkin played second fiddle to Cal Ripken offensively and Ozzie Smith defensively. Is he a first-year ballot Hall of Famer? I don’t think so, but possibly in the next couple of years.
Andres Galarraga – The Big Cat was Montreal’s replacement in the line-up after Andre left for free agency. He was good at that time, but not HOF caliber until he moved to Colorado. You could make the argument playing in Colorado is like playing on steroids but he followed up with a great season in Atlanta before battling cancer. One of the arguments against Andre Dawson has been his strikeout to walks ratio, but Andres struck out almost 500 more times while walking almost the identical amount (2003/583 to Andre’s 1509/589).
Ellis Burks – Burks had one memorable season (1996) and wasn’t considered one of the game’s best during his career, so why would he be considered one of the all-time best players?
Robin Ventura – When I think of Ventura, I think of a guy who got his butt handed to him by a pitcher (Nolan Ryan) almost twice his age when he charged the mound one time. Shouldn’t I remember more? Hall of Shame, yes, Hall of Fame, no.
The other first timers won’t probably reach the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot for next year and this post is already long enough so I won’t continue. If you have read this whole thing, thanks!
My assessment, it will be Andre and a pitcher, most likely Blyleven with Morris or Smith being the longshots that will be the 2010 HOF inductions.
Agree, disagree, let me know…..