March 30, 2020

The 2010 HOF Ballot – How Many REAL Hall of Famers?

December 14, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

The BBWAA 2010 Hall of Fame Ballot contains the names of twenty-six players that the baseball writers may vote for if they feel they belong in the Hall of Fame. Of the twenty-six players, nineteen are position players and seven are pitchers.

As we all know, the writers will vote for the candidates based on many different reasons – some of which will be objective and some subjective. But here is the question that I will address here: Based only on the numbers that these players achieved during their seasons in the major leagues, how many of them belong in the Hall of Fame?

Please look carefully at this question. I have NOT asked: Who belongs in the HOF? That question is open to many subjective answers. What I have asked is how many of these players posted what could be considered obvious HOF numbers during their careers.

The CAWS Career Gauge (Career Assessment/Win Shares) is based on win shares. It assesses a player’s career contributions by first focusing on the player’s Core Value (his ten best seasons). It then accounts for a player’s longevity by awarding points for win shares earned outside of the player’s ten best seasons.

The Gauge suggests that only seven of these twenty-six players posted obvious HOF numbers during their careers. Five of these were position players and two were pitchers.

Please be careful here. I am NOT saying that only seven of these players deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. That is a different statement. Since many subjective factors are used by different people to assess HOF “worthiness,” there may be other players besides these seven who deserve induction into the Hall (for reasons other than their career numbers).

What I AM saying is that these seven players (at least) deserve to be in the Hall of Fame if we look ONLY at what they did on the playing field.

The Position Players

According to the CAWS Gauge (based on win shares), there have been only 96 position players in the modern era (since 1920) who have posted obvious HOF numbers during their careers. And these five players are among those ninety-six. That is very select company indeed. Here they are in alphabetical order.

1. Roberto Alomar – According to the CAWS Gauge, there are only four second basemen in the modern era who have put up better numbers than Roberto Alomar. They are Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Craig Biggio and Charley Gehringer. That is very select company. All are in the HOF except for Biggio who is not yet eligible. Roberto Alomar should be elected to the Hall on this his first year of eligibility.

2. Barry Larkin – According to the CAWS Gauge, through the 2008 season, there are only six shortstops in the modern era who have achieved better numbers on the playing field than Barry Larkin. They are Alex Rodriguez (yes, he has still played more games at short than at third), Arky Vaughan, Robin Yount, Cal Ripkin, Luke Appling and Joe Cronin. Of course, all of these are in the Hall except for ARod who is still active. This is Barry Larkin’s first year of eligibility. He should be elected now – but who knows?

3. Mark McGwire – There are only nine first basemen in the modern era who had better numbers on the playing field than Mark McGwire. They are (in order) Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Thomas, Willie McCovey, Dick Allen, Eddie Murray, Jeff Bagwell, Johnny Mize and Harmon Killebrew. All of these who have been eligible have been elected to the HOF except Dick Allen. Of course, McGwire suffers from the “steroids stain.” And, judging from how the voting has gone in his first few years of eligibility, there is no reason to believe that Big Mac will ever be elected to the Hall.

4. Tim Raines – According to the CAWS Gauge, in the modern era, only eight left fielders have put together better numbers on the playing field than Tim Raines. They are (in order) Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Pete Rose, Rickey Henderson, Carl Yastrzemski, Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez. All of these players who have been eligible are in the Hall of Fame. During his career, Raines was never a “big name player.” And during his two years on the ballot, he has not gotten more than 25% of the vote. It is very uncertain whether he will ever be elected to his rightful place in the Hall.

5. Alan Trammell – According to the CAWS Gauge, in the modern era, there have been only thirteen shortstops who have put together HOF numbers on the playing field. We have mentioned seven of these above when discussing Barry Larkin. The others are: Derek Jeter, Ernie Banks, PeeWee Reese, Lou Boudreau, Alan Trammell and Ozzie Smith. All of these other players who have been eligible are in the Hall. Only Alan Trammell among this elite group has been eligible and has not been elected. It is true that his credentials are not as strong as the four others on this list. But he still has the numbers and deserves election.

Of the other position players on the 2010 Ballot, only three have a CAWS score above 260 and can be considered serious candidates – based solely on their numbers. However, each of the three falls well below the benchmark CAWS score of 280 which would signify that they have obvious HOF numbers. Here are the numbers for these three players. The first number is career win shares, the second is the core value (win shares for the ten best seasons) and the third is the CAWS score.

Player CWS CV CAWS
Dave Parker 327 248 268
Fred McGriff 326 240 262
Andre Dawson 340 234 261

In 2009, Andre Dawson got 67% of the vote so there is a chance that he may be elected in 2010 or soon thereafter. If this should happen, he will join a sizable number of players who have been elected to the Hall of Fame who do not really have the numbers to be there. Jim Rice, who was elected in 2009, is the latest example of such a player being honored.

The Pitchers

There are seven pitchers on the 2010 ballot. According to the CAWS Gauge, in the modern era, only 39 pitchers have accumulated HOF numbers on the playing field. And two of those pitchers are on this ballot. Here they are.

1. Bert Blyleven – According to the CAWS Gauge, Bert Blyleven is the #14 most effective starting pitcher of the modern era. His numbers put him just behind Randy Johnson and Bob Feller and ahead of such Hall of Famers as Early Wynn, Juan Marichal, Don Drysdale and Nolan Ryan. It is inconceivable to serious baseball analysts how he could be on the ballot for eleven years and not yet be in the Hall. In 2009, he got 62.7% of the vote so we can hope that he will be elected to the Hall sometime soon.

2. Lee Smith – The CAWS Career Gauge suggests that there are only five “true relief pitchers” (maximum of 1700 innings pitched) who have obvious Hall of Fame numbers. Here they are (in order): Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Dan Quisenberry and Rollie Fingers. Lee Smith is in very select company here. Sutter and Fingers are already in the Hall and Mariano is still active. (Dennis Eckersley, Hoyt Wilhelm and Goose Gossage also have HOF numbers but do not fit into this category of pitchers.) In 2009, Smith got 44.5% of the votes in his seventh year on the ballot. Let’s hope that the voters see the light soon and elect him to the Hall of Fame where he belongs.

Of the other five pitchers on the ballot, Jack Morris is the highest ranking according to the CAWS Gauge. But his CAWS score of 185 falls well short of the 235 benchmark for starting pitchers. By contrast, Bert Blyleven has a CAWS score of 248.

If anyone would like to receive a free e-copy of Michael Hoban’s 100-page monograph: A HOF HANDBOOK: Who Belongs and Who Does Not, on the right sidebar click on Hoban’s HALL OF FAME HANDBOOK.

Comments

2 Responses to “The 2010 HOF Ballot – How Many REAL Hall of Famers?”
  1. Devon Young says:

    Lee Smith has some counting stats in his favor, true, but he was just not dominant…and I feel one needs to be dominant in a closer role, to be in Cooperstown.

    Surprised Trammell’s in the mix! That’s awesome. I remember pretending to be Trammell in my backyard when I was a kid.

  2. Mike Hoban says:

    Devon,

    I am curious. Not counting Hall of Famers, who would you say was/is “dominant” as a closer other than Mariano Rivera?

    Mike

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