March 27, 2017

The Best of the Best Hall of Fame Outsiders

September 17, 2010 by · 6 Comments 

Last month Bobby Aguilera posted an article in which he listed a roster of players who he feels are the best at each position who aren’t in the Hall of Fame, including two of the biggest snubs of all time, Dick Allen and Ron Santo.  Then Graham Womack responded with a roster of his own, which included pariahs “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and Pete Rose, and effectively challenged Aguilera’s team to a one-game playoff.  Eventually that may happen, but for now I’m going to take a look at the two batting orders to see who has the upper hand, at least offensively.

Aguilera’s Nine Womack’s Nine
Name POS AVG OBA SLG Name POS AVG OBA SLG
Tim Raines LF .294 .385 .425 Maury Wills SS .281 .330 .331
Edgar Martinez DH .312 .418 .515 Roberto Alomar 2B .300 .371 .443
Reggie Smith CF .287 .366 .489 Joe Jackson LF .356 .423 .517
Dick Allen 1B .292 .378 .534 Albert Belle DH .295 .369 .564
Dwight Evans RF .272 .370 .470 Dave Parker RF .290 .339 .471
Joe Torre C .297 .365 .452 Don Mattingly 1B .307 .358 .471
Bobby Grich 2B .266 .371 .424 Thurman Munson C .292 .346 .410
Ron Santo 3B .277 .362 .464 Pete Rose 3B .303 .375 .409
Bill Dahlen SS .272 .358 .382 Spottswood Poles* CF .327 .401 .405
Expected R/G 5.96 Expected R/G 5.63

Based on the above it looks like Womack’s squad is outgunned by Aguilera’s.  But according to the lineup analysis tool at Baseball Musings, Womack has a chance to add an eighth of a run to his run expectancy with some adjustments.

Aguilera’s Nine Womack’s Nine
Name POS AVG OBA SLG Name POS AVG OBA SLG
Tim Raines LF .294 .385 .425 Spottswood Poles* CF .327 .401 .405
Edgar Martinez DH .312 .418 .515 Joe Jackson LF .356 .423 .517
Reggie Smith CF .287 .366 .489 Don Mattingly 1B .307 .358 .471
Dick Allen 1B .292 .378 .534 Roberto Alomar 2B .300 .371 .443
Dwight Evans RF .272 .370 .470 Albert Belle DH .295 .369 .564
Joe Torre C .297 .365 .452 Thurman Munson C .292 .346 .410
Bobby Grich 2B .266 .371 .424 Pete Rose 3B .303 .375 .409
Ron Santo 3B .277 .362 .464 Dave Parker RF .290 .339 .471
Bill Dahlen SS .272 .358 .382 Maury Wills SS .281 .330 .331
Expected R/G 5.96 Expected R/G 5.76

It’s closer but Aguilera still has the edge.  One reader commented that he’d rather have Ted Simmons behind the plate than Munson, so let’s see how much Simmons’ bat improves the Womack Nine’s expected run production.

Aguilera’s Nine Womack’s Nine
Name POS AVG OBA SLG Name POS AVG OBA SLG
Tim Raines LF .294 .385 .425 Spottswood Poles* CF .327 .401 .405
Edgar Martinez DH .312 .418 .515 Joe Jackson LF .356 .423 .517
Reggie Smith CF .287 .366 .489 Don Mattingly 1B .307 .358 .471
Dick Allen 1B .292 .378 .534 Roberto Alomar 2B .300 .371 .443
Dwight Evans RF .272 .370 .470 Albert Belle DH .295 .369 .564
Joe Torre C .297 .365 .452 Ted Simmons C .285 .348 .437
Bobby Grich 2B .266 .371 .424 Pete Rose 3B .303 .375 .409
Ron Santo 3B .277 .362 .464 Dave Parker RF .290 .339 .471
Bill Dahlen SS .272 .358 .382 Maury Wills SS .281 .330 .331
Expected R/G 5.96 Expected R/G 5.79

Despite a better career OPS, Simmons didn’t make much of a difference.  Not to mention Munson was a much better defensive catcher—Bill James grades Munson a B- and Simmons a C, but Munson had 34 career fielding runs above average and threw out 44% of opposing base stealers while Simmons was -8 and 34%, respectively.  You could argue that Munson died before entering his decline phase, making his numbers artificially high, but Simmons didn’t catch much past the age of 32 either, so the comparison is apt.

Of course, I haven’t taken pitching or defense into account, and anything can happen in a one-game playoff, but it appears that Aguilera has the advantage when it comes to lumber.

* Poles’ Negro League statistics are from 1916-1920 (provided by Gary Ashwill and Scott Simkus in conjunction with a project they’re working on for Baseball-Reference.com).

Comments

6 Responses to “The Best of the Best Hall of Fame Outsiders”
  1. Hi Mike, very cool.

    A few thoughts…. I have to think that in the current era, Joe Jackson would put up much better power numbers and be a more-than-capable third hitter. I have a feature in my blog every Thursday called “Any player/Any era” where I look at how a ballplayer might have done in an era besides his own. I think Jackson may be my next subject.

    Also, if Maury Wills isn’t going to lead off, I think I might prefer to have Cecil Travis at shortstop. And if the name of the game is strictly producing runs and winning a slugfest, Mark McGwire is probably a better choice than Don Mattingly at first base, who played far better defense but offered only modest power. Gil Hodges could be a better pick as well.

    Anyhow, thanks for doing this and letting me be a fellow Seamhead.

  2. Mike Lynch says:

    Graham,

    Agreed about Jackson and I’m looking forward to your next “Any player/Any era” article. In my “It Ain’t So” book, Jackson produced slugging percentages from .512 to .591 between 1921-1924 and would have been a very good #3. As I mentioned in the article, pitching and defense weren’t accounted for, mostly because I don’t really have a way of measuring either and because full pitching staffs weren’t provided. If you send me a full staff, I’ll set up a best-of-seven series on my computer to see who wins this match-up. I can also set it up so that Wills leads off, if you prefer.

    You’re very welcome.

  3. @Mike Lynch – I think for the Best of Seven series, I’d prefer to keep Poles leading off and use Cecil Travis at short, anywhere in the batting order.

    Since this is a playoff series, I’ll go with a four-man pitching staff. Here it is, based on who wasn’t in Aguilera’s starting rotation:
    1 – Deacon Phillippe (to maximize the number of times I can use him)
    2 – Jack Morris
    3 – Dwight Gooden
    4 – Eddie Cicotte (assuming he’s on the level)
    Extra starter, long reliever: Urban Shocker

  4. I think you guys are fantastic and I have a question for you, unusual but sound I play a lot of games with apba but since the 90s have problem with stat sheets and scoresheets do you know of a good stat shhet and scoresheet, I really appreciated your columns and love commendig.

  5. Hi Dave. I will defer to Mike. I have no idea.

  6. That WAS fun. Thanks, Mike & Graham. Keep in mind, Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose were not eligible for my team because they were never eligible for the Hall. Good to see that Tim Raines and Ron Santo were able to defend their selections. thanks again

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