May 21, 2024

The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 4

September 19, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

In this article (the last in this series), I will present the Level 5 players who posted Hall of Fame numbers during the 20th century.  In Levels 1 through 4, there were eighty-eight (88) position players who had a CAWS career score of at least 280.  In Level 5, we have the other twenty-eight (28) players who posted HOF numbers even though they did not achieve the 280 mark – those players who might be considered the “marginal Hall of Famers.”

I will also list in this article those forty-seven (47) major league position players who are in the Hall of Fame – but who did not post HOF numbers according to the CAWS Career Gauge.

Level 5  -  Players with HOF numbers and a CAWS score <280

According to the CAWS Career Gauge, there are twenty-eight (28) players since 1901 who have posted HOF numbers during their playing careers but who did not register a CAWS score of 280 or more.  The CAWS benchmark for each position for obvious HOF numbers is as follows:

  1. Left fielder, right fielder, first baseman and designated hitter = 280
  2. Center fielder and third baseman = 270
  3. Second baseman = 260
  4. Shortstop and catcher = 250.

The following players have Hall of Fame numbers according to these benchmarks.

In terms of their career numbers, some fans would probably call these Level 5 players borderline Hall of Famers.  And that may be a fair assessment of players like Jimmy Wynn, Stan Hack, Lou Whitaker and Ted Simmons.  But recall that the CAWS Gauge has identified a total of only one hundred sixteen (116) 20th century position players who have HOF numbers – and these twenty-eight (28) players are among this special group.

All numbers include the 2010 season

Bold  =  Hall of Famer
CWS  =  Career Win Shares
CV      =  Core Value (sum of win shares for 10 best seasons)
CAWS  =  Career Assessment/Win Shares  =  CV  +  .25(CWS – CV)
*  =  deadball era

Center Fielders: CAWS = 270

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
Jimmy Wynn 1963-1977 305 269 278
Richie Ashburn 1948-1962 329 257 275
Max Carey* 1910-1929 351 245 272
Earl Averill 1929-1941 280 268 271

Jimmy Wynn is in very good company here with three current Hall of Famers. Yet, when he was eligible for election to the Hall on the 1983 BBWAA ballot, he got no votes at all. You will note that for his ten best seasons he averaged almost 27 win shares per season – a very impressive number and better than any of the other three center fielders here. And you will also note below that there are four other center fielders in the Hall whose career achievements do not come close to Wynn’s.

Jimmy Wynn is the only 20th century center fielder who has HOF numbers and has been eligible and is NOT in Cooperstown.

Third Basemen: CAWS = 270

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
Brooks Robinson
1955-1977 356 247 274
Stan Hack 1932-1947 316 256 271

Brooks Robinson is in the Hall primarily because of his defensive skills – and he deserves his spot. Many consider him to be the best fielding third baseman ever.

Stan Hack is the only third baseman with HOF numbers who has been eligible and who is not in the Hall.

Second Basemen: CAWS = 260

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
Jeff Kent 1992-2008 339 252 274
Bobby Grich 1970-1986 329 253 272
Lou Whitaker 1977-1995 351 232 262

Here we have three second basemen with HOF numbers and a CAWS score < 280.  Jeff Kent is not yet eligible for the Hall while Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker have been passed over for the honor.

In terms of who is and who is not in the Hall of Fame, this position may be the strangest of all.  Below you will see that there are eight (8) second basemen in the Hall whose numbers do not come close to Bobby Grich (or Lou Whitaker).  How could they all be elected ahead of Grich?

Shortstops:  CAWS  =  250

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
Ernie Banks
1953-1971 332 247 268
Pee Wee Reese
1940-1958 314 246 263
Lou Boudreau
1938-1952 277 255 261
Alan Trammell 1977-1996 318 238 258
Bobby Wallace*
1894-1918 345 227 257
Miguel Tejada
1997- 279 243 252
Ozzie Smith
1978-1996 325 226 251

Alan Trammell is the only shortstop in this group who has so far been snubbed by the BBWAA (Miguel Tejada is not yet eligible). Trammell was on the 2011 HOF ballot but received only 24% of the vote in his tenth year on the ballot.

Catchers: CAWS = 250

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
Carlton Fisk
1969-1993 368 240 272
Joe Torre 1960-1977 315 244 262
Ted Simmons 1968-1988 315 240 259
Mickey Cochrane
1925-1937 275 250 256
Bill Dickey 1928-1946 314 235 255
Gabby Hartnett
1922-1941 325 229 253
Ivan Rodriguez
1991- 334 225 252

Joe Torre and Ted Simmons both have HOF numbers for a catcher according to the CAWS benchmark.  We can only hope that the Veteran’s Committee will do its homework and elect these two worthy players sometime soon.  IRod, of course, is not yet eligible.

These five groups above contain the names of twenty-three (23) additional players who posted Hall of Fame numbers during their playing careers (since 1901).

The final group of five position players in Level 5 who have HOF numbers represents a very special category.  Only eleven players in the 20th century managed to post a CAWS score of 255 while playing in fewer than 1800 games.  And all eleven are in the Hall of Fame.  The CAWS Gauge suggests that all eleven have HOF numbers.  Here are the five players (of those eleven) who have not yet been mentioned in Levels 1 to 4 discussed earlier.

Short but Great Career:  CAWS = 255 in Fewer Than 1800 Games

Player Years CWS CV CAWS
Hank Greenberg
1930-1947 267 262 263
Bill Terry
1923-1936 278 255 261
Larry Doby
1947-1959 268 257 260
Jackie Robinson
1947-1956 257 257 257
Kirby Puckett
1984-1995 281 247 256

These six groups represent the twenty-eight (28) players in Level 5.  When added to the eighty-eight (88) players from Levels 1 through 4, this gives us the 116 position players since 1901 who have posted obvious HOF numbers according to the CAWS Career Gauge.

Note that of these twenty-eight (28) players all but seven who have been eligible have been elected to the Hall of Fame.  The seven who have been snubbed so far are: Jimmy Wynn, Stan Hack, Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Joe Torre and Ted Simmons.

What this means is that of the 116 20th century position players identified by the CAWS Gauge as having HOF numbers, a total of twelve have been passed over completely for election to the Hall (that is, have been eligible and not still on the ballot).  That would include six of those in the previous paragraph (Trammell is still on the ballot) plus these six: Dick Allen, Ron Santo, Will Clark, Darrell Evans and two from the deadball era: Sherry Magee and Bill Dahlen.

In light of these worthy players NOT being in the Hall, it is disappointing to find that there are forty-seven (47) position players who are in the Hall of Fame but who do not have the performance numbers to be there according to the CAWS Career Gauge.

The 47 Hall of Fame Position Players Who Do Not Have HOF Numbers

The CAWS Career Gauge has identified forty-seven (47) 20th century position players who are in the Hall of Fame but who did not post obvious HOF numbers during their playing careers.  Keep in mind that in an exceptional case a player may be a worthy Hall of Famer even though he may not have HOF numbers.  Roy Campanella, for example, was a great player whose career was seriously affected by the “color barrier.”  His on-field performance in his ten-year major league career certainly attests to the fact that if he had not been unjustly deprived of his opportunity to play, he would have posted HOF numbers.

CWS = Career Win Shares
CV  =  Core Value (sum of win shares for 10 best seasons)
CAWS = Career Assessment/Win Shares  =  CV  +  .25(CWS – CV)

The Right Fielders:  CAWS needed  =  280  =  8 Players

Willie Keeler
Enos Slaughter 323 246 265
Andre Dawson 340 234 261
Kiki Cuyler 292 244 256
Sam Rice 327 228 253
Harry Hooper 321 221 246
Chuck Klein 238 217 222
Ross Youngs 206 206 206

The Left Fielders:  CAWS needed  =  280  =  5 Players

Joe Medwick
267 278
Heinie Manush
236 248
Jim Rice
233 245
Ralph Kiner
242 242
Chick Hafey 186 176 179

In these two groups, only Joe Medwick came very close to reaching the CAWS 280 benchmark for obvious Hall of Fame numbers.  With a core value (CV) of 267, an argument can certainly be made that he belongs in Cooperstown.  You will note that the next best CV in these two groups is just 246.

Jim Rice and Andre Dawson were elected by the writers to the Hall in 2009 and 2010, respectively – meaning that the BBWAA continues to elect some players who are not truly worthy.

The Center Fielders:  CAWS needed  =  270  =  4 Players

Edd Roush 314 250 266
Hack Wilson 224 220 221
Earle Combs 227 217 220
Lloyd Waner 245 207 217

Edd Roush could be considered a borderline Hall of Famer with a CAWS score of 266 and a CV of 250.  But what about Jimmy Wynn with a CAWS score of 278 and a CV of 269?  That is significantly better than any of these four.

The First Basemen:  CAWS needed  =  280  =  6 Players

Tony Perez 349 249 274
Orlando Cepeda
310 251 266
George Sisler
292 239 252
Jim Bottomley
214 225
Frank Chance
206 214
George Kelly
177 181

Tony Perez is close to the benchmark with a CAWS score of 274.  And Orlando Cepeda has a very respectable CV of 250.  But none of the other four is even close to reaching the 280 benchmark.  And how was George Kelly ever elected to the Hall of Fame?

The Second Basemen:  CAWS needed  =  260  =  8 Players

Nellie Fox
304 242 258
Billy Herman 298 243 257
Bobby Doerr
281 223 238
Johnny Evers
268 226 237
Joe Gordon 242 233 235
Tony Lazzeri 252 215 224
Red Schoendienst 262 204 219
Bill Mazeroski
173 185

Nellie Fox and Billie Herman are relatively close to the 260 benchmark for second basemen – so, their elections are not too much of a surprise.  But what about the other six players?  Joe Gordon was elected by the Veteran’s Committee in 2009 – which means that mistakes are still being made in the election process.  Meanwhile, Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker (who have HOF numbers) are still on the outside looking in.

The Third Basemen:  CAWS needed  =  270  =  4 Players

Jimmy Collins 274 242 250
Pie Traynor
274 228 240
George Kell
192 201
Fred Lindstrom
182 190

None of these four players came close to the benchmark of 270. And yet Stan Hack’s 316 win shares, 256 core value and a CAWS score of 271 have him sitting on the sidelines.

The Shortstops: CAWS needed = 250 = 7 Players

Joe Sewell 277 233 244
Dave Bancroft 269 222 234
Rabbit Maranville
302 206 230
Joe Tinker
211 223
Phil Rizzuto
218 221
Luis Aparicio
193 218
Travis Jackson
191 196

As you can see, there are seven questionable shortstops on this list who are in the Hall of Fame.  Rabbit Maranville and Luis Aparicio were both exceptional fielders whose election is almost certainly a tribute to their glove work.  But none of these seven really has the combination of offensive and defensive skills that would truly justify his place in Cooperstown.

The Catchers:  CAWS needed  =  250  =  5 Players

Roy Campanella 207 207 207
Roger Bresnahan
231 191 201
Ernie Lombardi
218 167 180
Ray Schalk
167 173
Rick Ferrell
150 164

As mentioned earlier, given what he did accomplish in his ten years in the major leagues, Roy Campanella almost certainly would have posted true Hall of Fame numbers if he had not been prevented from playing earlier by the infamous baseball “color barrier.”

These then are the forty-seven (47) 20th century position players who are presently in the Hall of Fame – but who do not appear to have the career numbers that would really justify their being in Cooperstown.

Thanks for your time.

Mike Hoban
Professor Emeritus – City U of NY
Author of A GOOD CAWS: A Hall of Fame Handbook (2011)


5 Responses to “The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 4”
  1. David says:


    One of the things many of the non-HOF-worthy players have in common is a CV over 200, which is pretty excellent. 20 WS a year for ten years is quite an accomplishment. I think it may be that some great primes (as well as noise like high batting averages in the 1930s) may have been more memorable, particularly to the VC, than collecting a high CAWS score, which also usually necessitates a pretty darn good career WS total. Just a thought.

  2. David says:

    Are we ever going to see the list of pitchers? Soon, I hope, because I would be VERY interested to see what that looked like. Thanks for all your work on this, Mike. It was really fun to read!

  3. Mike Lynch says:

    The list of pitchers would have been posted by now but Mike went with an article about Mo Rivera instead. It’s coming soon, I promise!

  4. AaronB says:

    Tremendous work, I love these analysis. On Enos Slaughter, he lost significant time due to WWII, 4 years I think. So, if you were to estimate his #’s, like you did with Dimaggio & Williams, I’d suspect that Slaughter is deserving.

    How does Jim Edmonds rank out of curiosity? Thanks much!

  5. I don’t suppose you ever read poetry, Mike?

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