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January 4, 2011

On the Beat

One Man's Ballot

by John Perrotto

As I pondered my Hall of Fame ballot, my initial reaction was to make an exception to my policy regarding players from the Steroid Era. While I have decided not to exclude players who were found to have use performance-enhancing drugs from my ballot since we really have no way of knowing who used and who didn't, I paused for a long time when I came to Rafael Palmeiro's name. Palmeiro is different than the other sluggers from the Steroid Era. Who can forget when he went before a congressional subcommittee in 2005 and pointed as he adamantly insisted he had never used PEDs. Five months later, of course, Palmeiro was suspended by Major League Baseball when he tested positive for steroids, though he still insists it was tainted B-12.

My initial reaction was to not vote for Palmeiro. Then I did some soul searching.

I covered baseball throughout the Steroid Era and I fell for the lines that came out of various players' mouths during spring training. Invariably someone would report to camp 25 pounds heavier than the season before, but look at Mr. Universe. I'd ask him about his new physique and he would talk about a new workout regiment, better nutrition, and so on and so forth. Not once did I ever have the foresight to ask, "Did steroids make you this big?"

Reporters are supposed to know the right questions to ask and not be afraid to ask the tough questions. I failed on both counts. Thus, it would be hypocritical to punish someone for using PEDs now when I never questioned him about it at the time it was happening and, in retrospect, was so obvious.

Oh, and one other thing, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association didn't think steroid use was a very big deal in 2005. All Palmeiro got was a 10-game suspension, the same he would have received if he used a corked bat or was found to use a foreign substance on a baseball if he were a pitcher.

So, I voted to induct Palmeiro. I know it won't be popular and that I'll be in the vast minority of the voters, but the guy had 569 home runs, 3,020 hits, a .371 on-base percentage, and a .515 slugging percentage. Those are Hall of Fame numbers. As far as how he might have achieved them, well, I'm not the morality police.

In all, I voted for eight players, but let's first look at those that didn't get my checkmark. I quickly passed on Carlos Baerga, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Al Leiter, Tino Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, John Olerud, Kirk Rueter, and B.J. Surhoff. Good players all, to be sure, but not good enough to affix HOF at the end of their autograph.

After more debate, these players didn't make the cut: Harold Baines, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell.

And the other seven, in alphabetical order, who got my vote:

Roberto Alomar—It was a crime he didn't get in last year in his first year of eligibility, and that should be rectified when this year's results are announced Wednesday. It's hard to say no to someone who was selected to play in 12 All-Star Games and won 10 Gold Gloves.

Jeff Bagwell—His numbers and his character have come under scrutiny for no other reason than playing in the Steroid Era, but there is no doubt in my mind he belongs. He hit 449 home runs despite playing much of his career in the Astrodome, a rat-infested pitchers' park. Throw in his .297/.408/.540 slash line and it says Cooperstown.

Bert Blyleven—It has become the cool thing to vote for him in recent years and that makes me chuckle inside. I was voting for Blyleven back in 1998 when hardly anyone was in his corner. Two numbers always seal the deal for me: 3,701 strikeouts and 60 shutouts. A 3.31 lifetime ERA makes a strong case that he deserved a far better record than his 287-250 career mark.

Barry Larkin—Put it this way: If Derek Jeter had range, he'd be Barry Larkin. That's not a knock on Jeter, just how little Larkin was appreciated because he played away from the spotlight with the Reds during his entire 19-year career. He won nine Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves, and had a .371 OBP.

Edgar Martinez—The only reason he doesn't get more support is because some voters stubbornly believe that designated hitter isn't an actual position, though the rule has been in effect for nearly four decades. Martinez wasn't flashy and didn't hit a lot of home runs, but he did go deep 309 times while posting an outstanding .312/.418/.515 slash line in 18 seasons with the Mariners.

Tim Raines—Our own Jay Jaffe has swayed my opinion on Raines, who was truly an unappreciated great player as he had the misfortune of being just the second-best leadoff hitter of his generation behind the great Rickey Henderson. Raines had 300 more walks than strikeouts, a .385 OBP, and stole 635 bases at an outstanding .847 success rate.

Larry Walker—He is interesting in the fact that he is the first Hall of Fame test case of a player who built a sizeable portion of his numbers while calling Coors Field home. My initial reaction was to not vote for Walker but the more I studied his numbers and thought back on his career the more I realized he belongs. The .313/.400/.565 slash line complements seven Gold Gloves quite nicely.

---

There may not be a more entertaining baseball-connected Twitter account than that of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's middle son. Oney Guillen lost his job with the White Sox in spring training for blasting general manager Ken Williams, and he went after former closer Bobby Jenks last week.

Jenks signed a two-year contract with the Red Sox last month after becoming a free agent in November when the White Sox non-tendered him. Jenks took a shot at Ozzie Guillen in an MLB.com story, saying, "I'm looking forward to playing for a manager (Terry Francona) who knows how to run a bullpen."

Oney Guillen fired back at Jenks with a series of tweets. Guillen accused Jenks of having drinking and marital problems as well as punching a clubhouse attendant in the face during spring training. The most cutting tweet read: "u cried in the managers office bc u have problems now u go and talk bad about the sox after they protected u for 7 years ungrateful."

That tweet brings up the issue of manager-player confidentiality. However, Oney Guillen said he does not feel his attack on Jenks will affect his or his father's relationships with the players.

"I grew up around clubhouses my entire life," Guillen told the Chicago Sun-Times. "My relationship with players will not change one bit. They know what I'm about. They know why I said what I said."

Oney Guillen also wouldn't apologize for his attack on Jenks, claiming he was defending his father.

"Maybe in hindsight I shouldn't have said a couple of things, but I did," Guillen said. "The reason I got so mad about what Bobby said was he is basically saying my dad is a (terrible) manager. Sorry, but no one knows what will happen with the Sox this year, and who knows how a statement like that could affect my dad's future? That's my dad. If anyone heard someone talking (stuff) about their dad, and it was stuff that wasn't true or stuff from a guy that their dad did a lot for the past six or seven years, how would they react?"

---

The Rays have lost seven players to free agency this winter, and seven more are still on the open market. Conversely, they've added just three major-league players, all relievers, by signing free agent Joel Peralta and acquiring left-hander Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell from the Padres in a trade for shortstop Jason Bartlett.

Not surprisingly, the Rays have a long shopping list. They would like two experienced late-inning relievers along with a pair of hitters who could fill holes at first base, left field, or designated hitter.

The challenge is fitting those players into a payroll that will be significantly lower than last year's $73 million figure. Thus, the Rays are looking for players who, in executive vice president Andrew Friedman's words, are "under-the-radar type guys that we feel fit us well and have a lot of upside."

"Right now, we're upside players," Friedman said. "That's what our mindset is and what we're going to aggressively try to accomplish."

The Rays, as always, are trying to compete on a tight budget in the American League East against the game's two biggest spenders in the Yankees and Red Sox. Yet after winning two division titles in the last three years, the Rays believe they will be competitive again this year.

"You can just interchange the names; we go through this conversation every offseason," Friedman said. "It just accentuates what we're up against."

---

While it's at the expense of plenty of offense, the Marlins' infield defense figures to get better with Omar Infante replacing Dan Uggla at second base. However, the outfield defense is a different matter, as the Marlins will have converted infielders at two of the three positions.

Logan Morrison will again play left field; he moved from first base last season for fellow rookie Gaby Sanchez. Chris Coghlan, who was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2008 as a third baseman, will be the center fielder. That leaves Mike Stanton as the only natural right fielder.

The makeshift outfield is seemingly a concern considering the Marlins were 11th in the NL and 22nd in the major leagues last season with a .683 defensive efficiency. However, the Marlins are quick to point out that Coghlan did make the transition to left field last year before injuring his knee in July, which prompted the call up of Morrison from Triple-A.

"There is not great concern on the club's part with those three guys in the outfield," baseball operations president Larry Beinfest said. "With Chris, we have to take what we know: he made himself a left fielder in a short period of time, so we believe he'll be able to take that over to center field."

Coghlan is looking forward to the move despite not having played center field during his five professional seasons.

"Center field is going to be fun," Coghlan said. "I've got confidence in my ability to be able to play that position at a high level."

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who,  Managers Of The Year

90 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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JosephC

Thanks for the thoughtful ballot and comments, John. If you're up for it, I'd love to hear why some of those borderliners (especially Trammell, McGwire, and Brown) fell short for you - and maybe in general what makes a Hall of Famer in your opinion.

Jan 04, 2011 00:51 AM
rating: 3
 
McNulty

I'd also like to hear why you chose Palmeiro but not McGwire.

Jan 04, 2011 01:45 AM
rating: 16
 
Meurso

Thirded.

Jan 04, 2011 06:13 AM
rating: 0
 
Lyford

Ditto.

Jan 04, 2011 06:18 AM
rating: 0
 
jlefty

5th'd

Jan 04, 2011 07:31 AM
rating: 0
 
JimmyJack

Piling on

Jan 04, 2011 09:01 AM
rating: 1
 
CRP13

McGwire: 16 seasons, 1626 Hits, 1167 Runs, 583 HR, 1414 RBI, 12 SB, 263/394/588
Palmiero: 20 seasons, 3020 Hits, 1663 Runs, 569 HR, 1835 RBI, 97 SB, 288/371/515

The answer is sustained excellence. Palmiero was steadily elite for over ten years, while McGwire had ups and downs over a shorter career. His traditional numbers make him a borderline candidate at best. He has just too many seasons where he was a merely above-average slugging 1B, and not a HOF-bound one. His career before age 30 has more in common with Jack Cust than it does with the HOF 1B's.

The fun thing is comparing those two guys to Bagwell, who had only 15 seasons.

Bagwell: 15 seasons, 2314 hits, 1517 Runs, 449 HR, 1529 RBI, 202 SB, 297/408/540

Crazy to think what HE could have done with 20 seasons.

Jan 04, 2011 10:37 AM
rating: -1
 
vertumnus

"He has just too many seasons where he was a merely above-average slugging 1B, and not a HOF-bound one."

You are saying this about McGwire, but it actually applies to Palmeiro.

The sum of McGwire's best 10 years are considerably better than Palmeiro's 10 best. McGwire - 60.5 WARP, Palmeiro - 50.3.

The only reason Palmeiro's career WARP is sort of close to McGwire's is because of Palmeiro's 10 seasons where he posted WARPs in the 1-3.5 range. Those are not "elite" seasons.

Jan 04, 2011 12:25 PM
rating: 2
 
Dave Holgado

Kind of baffled by your argument. First, I don't think comparing their hit totals is that instructive. Why are you ignoring walks? Despite the shorter career (Raffy had over 50% more PA), Mac had more walks than Raffy, who admittedly was no slouch in that department (McGwire was pitched around constantly during the latter half of his career). And does the 96 point advantage in career OPS (34 pts over Bagwell, even) mean nothing? It seems to me that Palmeiro got John's vote where McGwire didn't purely because of the 3,000 hits. Not knocking the guy, 3K is a heck of an accomplishment. I just think they both should be in.

Jan 04, 2011 13:51 PM
rating: 1
 
CRP13

My argument was intentionally constructed like a typical HOF voter, not a BP reader. Sorry if I wasn't more clear on that.

My point is that every year, the same arguments come up for various players: He wasn't good enough for long enough, hurt too often, too many bad seasons (McGwire had more "average" seasons than Palmeiro did), blah blah blah. You can throw WARP around all you want, and I'll agree with you, but unfortunately only a handful of actual voters give a rat's patootie, and so the argument is sadly irrelevant. By today's standards, with today's voters, with today's arguments, Palmeiro has a better HOF case than McGwire does. Incidentally, WAR (sorry to drag in a competitor, BP!) rates Palmeiro higher than McGwire, with a 66 WAR to Mac's 61.

I'm ignoring walks because it's a direct function of his being an extreme power hitter (one tool). Adam Dunn gets a lot of walks for the same reasons, but that doesn't make him a Hall-of-Famer. Actually, to this point in his career (age 30), Dunn has a stronger HOF case than McGwire did by that age (go check his stats) yet who has mentioned Dunn in the same sentence with Cooperstown? Also, Palmiero's career contact rate is 85%, compared to McGwire's 71%, meaning he was apt to take less walks because he was more likely to put a pitch outside the zone into play and didn't NEED to watch them all go by waiting for that meatball he could knock out.

It seems to me that you're giving Palmiero credit for his Hits, but not the rest of what he's done, while McGwire is getting credit for his homers, but people are ignoring the fact that the rest of his game was no better than above-average for his position.

Jan 05, 2011 06:19 AM
rating: -1
 
BurrRutledge

Thanks for sharing your ballot again, John. And for keeping an open mind and changing your vote on Raines. Good job.

I, too, am curious about what tipped your vote against some of those borderline players, if you choose to share your decision process. Thanks again.

Jan 04, 2011 04:56 AM
rating: 0
 
baserip4

In addition to the McGwire and Trammell comments above, I'd love to hear why you didn't consider Olerud a bit longer.

Jan 04, 2011 06:29 AM
rating: -3
 
dREaDS Fan

Maybe a bit on how you thought about including Larry Walker but not Alan Trammel?

Jan 04, 2011 06:50 AM
rating: 0
 
lemppi

General voting incompetance leads voters to exclude Alan Trammell. John P isn't alone unfortunately.

Jan 04, 2011 06:53 AM
rating: 0
 
rcrary
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shouldn't need to be persuaded of Tim Raines, either

Jan 04, 2011 06:58 AM
rating: -4
 
R.A.Wagman

What a small-minded comment. Someone publicly admits to making a mistake that nearly 70% of his colleagues also made last year and all you do is excoriate him for having been in the majority last year?

Jan 04, 2011 07:16 AM
rating: 5
 
rcrary

I give him props for admitting his mistake, but I maintain that you should be able to see that Tim Raines is a slamdunk hall-of-famer, especially if you also happen to be a regular contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

Jan 04, 2011 08:25 AM
rating: 5
 
dianagram

You may be a paying customer of the site, but calling one of the site's writers "incompetent" (and spelling "incompetence" incorrectly, to boot) doesn't push your opinion forward with any confidence.

Jan 04, 2011 07:19 AM
rating: 6
 
lemppi
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You act like it was a comment that really cuts to the bone. John's a big boy...that was a softball. Get over yourself.

Jan 04, 2011 07:30 AM
rating: -4
 
jedjethro

He didn't say the writer was incompetent ... just showed incompetence with his HOF ballot and that he's not alone in that. At least the writers are consistent in quality with the Veterans Committee.

Jan 04, 2011 13:24 PM
rating: 2
 
jedjethro

I guess anybody who expresses an opinion not agreeing with the writer gets hunted down and torn to shreds by the minus-rating-clicking pack.

Jan 04, 2011 13:22 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess
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That's why this rating system is beyond ridiculous. That's pretty much how it goes....dissent and get a -5 within ten minutes.

Jan 04, 2011 13:56 PM
rating: -4
 
Matt Kory

I don't like the rating system either, but in fact, that isn't how it goes at all.

Jan 04, 2011 23:23 PM
rating: 1
 
Jim Ferguson

"If Derek Jeter had range he would be Barry Larkin". Amen, brother!

Raines should have been a 1st-ballot guy.
Trammell Yes.
Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker, Yes.

Jan 04, 2011 07:15 AM
rating: 3
 
RedsManRick

As a person who grew up with Larkin as my hero, some might say that if Larkin had health he would be Derek Jeter. I agree on the defensive difference (Ozzie Smith won at least 2 or 3 GGs on reputation in the early 90s when Larkin was the better defender), but give Barry the 2,000+ PA he lost to injury and he would have cleared a few round number hurdles and gotten a bit more public recognition.

Jan 04, 2011 08:09 AM
rating: 4
 
CRP13

Probably very true, however how good a player might have been had he been healthy figures into the vote. Mark Prior should have been amazing, if only.....doesn't make him a Hall of Famer.

That all being said, I'd vote for Larkin in a heartbeat if I had a vote.

Jan 04, 2011 10:40 AM
rating: 0
 
JayhawkBill

Is there another player who played enough to be HOF eligible with such an unusual ratio of MLB home runs to MiLB home runs as Jeff Bagwell? Bagwell hit 449 MLB home runs and 6 MiLB home runs, a ratio of almost 75:1.

Bagwell was a fourth-round draft choice, picked 110th overall, and was never higher than #32 on Baseball America's top prospects list. Few players go from such modest college and minor league careers to contend for the Hall of Fame, especially with a comparatively short MLB career. Whatever the circumstances were that allowed Bagwell to do that, they were unusual.

Jan 04, 2011 07:36 AM
rating: -1
 
Jay Taylor

Dave Winfield had infinitely more major League homers then minor league homers, seeing as though he never hit one in the minors (nor did he play a minor league game).

Jan 04, 2011 08:14 AM
rating: 0
 
AdamSt

Off the top of my head, Mike Piazza -- did have some power at A ball, but likewise a low, low draft pick and never a top prospect. Ryne Sandberg. A lot of guys blossom after 24.

Jan 05, 2011 22:55 PM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

Curious on the exclusion of Trammel. By most objective measures, his career is right on par with Larkin and Jeter's, particularly given his era.

Jan 04, 2011 08:10 AM
rating: 3
 
JayhawkBill

Jay, several players have no minor league playing time. Al Kaline and Winfield had none; John Olerud had one MiLB home run in the last year of his playing career. An "n to zero" ratio isn't unusual. One could call Olerud's career ratio "unusual," but it's essentially an outlier of "no minor league playing time." Bagwell played in MiLB for two full seasons with three teams and amassed only six home runs: that's unusual for a HOF-candidate power hitter, as is the ratio.

Jan 04, 2011 08:37 AM
rating: -1
 
Jay Taylor

Yeah, I know, I meant that post to be tounge in cheek.

On a more serious note, Willie Mays only had 12 MiLB homers in two partial seasons, which is a 55 to one ratio, not as big as Bagwell, but still significant.

This doesn't count what he did in his short tenure in the Negro League though, and I can't find any record of what he did there, so I don't know if he showed more power then.

Jan 04, 2011 11:25 AM
rating: 0
 
bozarowski

Jeter is .314/.385/.452 for his career with 70.4 fWAR, 70.1 rWAR and 64.3 WARP.

Larkin is .295/.371/.444 for his career with 69.8 fWAR, 68.9 rWAR and 86.2 WARP.

I being up the other non-BP metrics to point out that, basically, Jeter has been a better hitter throughout his career and it isn't particularly close. While WARP has a ton of value as measuring stick, it's hardly determinative. For Jeter to be slightly better than Larkin in 2 of 3 evaluations it means his offense has been far superior to make up for his highly negative defense.

Looking at all the fWAR SS qualifiers with at least 25 wins, Jeter has BY FAR the worst defensive numbers. Only Michael Young (-71.6) and Toby Harrah (-97.0) (Harrah spent more time at 3B) have worse than a -50 run value for defense, Jeter's is -113.4. Jeter overcomes that to lead Larkin in the overall evaluation.

So, basically, if Jeter retired today I can see your point - but Jeter has at least 3 more years to accumulate offensive numbers while likely limiting the defensive damage as he'll probably move off short at some point in the length of his current contract.

Jan 04, 2011 09:07 AM
rating: 0
 
bozarowski

All that said I think Barry Larkin and Derek Jeter are both clear Hall of Famers. Alan Trammell is a bit less clear, but I think he should be in as well.

Jan 04, 2011 09:11 AM
rating: 2
 
jonathanaustin

I'm not sure how you get that Jeter has been the better hitter. Their adjusted rate stats are pretty close - .290 TAV for Jeter and .291 for Larkin.

Jeter comes out better in 2 of the 3 statistics you cited because he's had almost 1500 more PAs than Larkin in three less seasons. While staying healthy has value, it doesn't make Jeter a better hitter when his rate stats are pertty much the same as Larkin's (plus assuming he plays till 40 his rates will likely drop a bit).

Thus, the comment that Jeter + range = Larkin is fairly accurate (although you can argue that it should be Larkin + health).

Jan 04, 2011 15:08 PM
rating: 1
 
bozarowski

My point is more that Jeter in 16 seasons (granted help means many more plate appearances) has outperformed Larkin's 19 seasons by both WAR systems while needing to overcome the worst career defensive performance ever for an elite SS.

Jan 05, 2011 04:57 AM
rating: 0
 
mattseward

Thanks for sharing your ballet John, a brave thing to do with such opinionated commentators!

I'll echo Dianagram's comments on people being rude, if you disagree just be respectful as the HOF discussions are supposed to be fun.

I think John's ballet shows someone that has thought about the process, considered each candidate on their merits and voted accordingly.

It would have been the easiest thing for him to take the JAWS analysis and put his ballet in as a group think of BP. John clearly is his own man but is prepared to listen to reasoned arguement. Isn't that what you want in a HOF voter?

Jan 04, 2011 10:23 AM
rating: 0
 
flyingdutchman

Voting for Palmeiro and not McGwire makes no sense.

Walker is being rewarded for playing in just about the best hitting environment ever, and Trammell is being punished for...I don't know what for.

Jan 04, 2011 10:35 AM
rating: 2
 
CRP13
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McGwire was a better slugger, but Palmeiro was a better baseball player. I don't see the reasoning for awarding a one-tool player with the Hall of Fame, when his numbers (HR aside) are borderline at best.

Jan 04, 2011 10:42 AM
rating: -6
 
Dave Pomerantz

McGwire hit HRs at a higher rate than anyone in history - 1 every 10.6 ABs. #2 on the list is Babe Ruth. One dimensional, maybe (he's also 10th in career OPS and 12th in career OPS+, so he apparently was decent at getting on base, too) but if you're the very best ever at that one thing, that's Hall worthy. Nobody's saying Palmiero was not as good as McGwire. Only reason to compare him to Palmiero is that the ONLY conceivable reason not to vote for McGwire is steroids. If Palmiero's in despite positive test, so is McGwire.

Jan 04, 2011 10:57 AM
rating: 2
 
CRP13
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"but if you're the very best ever at that one thing, that's Hall worthy."

When has that ever been the case, if the player excels at nothing else? Does Kenny Lofton have a real HOF case, since he's 15th all-time on the stolen base list?

People can't look past the homers.

Jan 05, 2011 06:30 AM
rating: -5
 
mrdannyg

Only if he finishes career with the most stolen bases ever. Or to be more precise with the previous poster, if he finishes with the best stolen base rate in history, over a significantly long career. I don't see how pointing out someone not even in the top-10 in one category compares to McGwire, #1 in an even more important category.

Jan 05, 2011 06:58 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13
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All it does is prove my point that he was a one-trick pony. Where does he stand in the other stats? Not as high. One skill does not a hall-of-famer make.

Jan 05, 2011 08:00 AM
rating: -4
 
Dave Pomerantz

He is 10th ALL TIME in OPS, 8th in SLG, 10th in HR, 1st in HR/AB, and 38th in BB. He also won a Gold Glove, so at one point his defense was respected. As for other WAR stats, Fangraphs has McGwire at 70.6 and Palmiero at 75.5, and Baseball Reference has McGwire at 63.1 and Palmiero at 66.0. Considering Palmiero played 4 more seasons and nearly 1000 more games than McGwire, this would seem to point to McGwire being the better player. McGwire's average season was worth 4.4 wins by Fangraphs and 3.9 wins by BR. Palmiero is at 3.8 by FG and 3.3 by BR. Keep in mind, I'm NOT arguing against Palmiero being in, his sustained excellence is Hall worthy. Just saying if you accept Palmiero and his steroid use, you HAVE to accept McGwire and his steroid use. The "one trick pony" argument doesn't hold up.

Jan 05, 2011 10:02 AM
rating: 3
 
CRP13
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OPS, SLG, HR, HR/AB, BB - All stats associated with power hitters. You do not mention ONE stat in any other category, and Gold Glove is a joke and you know it.

He's a one-trick pony, period.

Jan 05, 2011 14:02 PM
rating: -6
 
jlefty

And his "one trick" (which is actually two tricks: getting on base and hitting for power) is the very best trick to have.

Jan 05, 2011 14:11 PM
rating: 3
 
smallflowers

Dave, I made nearly the exact same post as yours 12 hours earlier!

CRP13, whether or not we're talking SABR or traditional voters here, there are essentially just 2 real tricks for any position player: offense and defense. Just because Bags stole 200 bags (at an extremely sub-optimal rate, btw) doesn't mean that he was a more valuable than McGwire. And while there are no truly trustworthy defensive metrics that we can lean on, McGwire has a much better defensive reputation than you are giving him credit for.

For all the teams that LaRussa has fielded, and all the HoF players that have played under him, Big Mac is still in his top 2 favorite of his own guys, only behind Big Albert. More than Rickey, more than Eck.

Jan 05, 2011 19:31 PM
rating: 0
 
vertumnus

CRP13 - you mention WAR in a number of your posts, but it's obvious you don't understand the concept at all.

You keep insisting McGwire is a "one trick pony" over and over, but who cares about that? Your point has no significance.

Hitters can contribute in a number of ways - they can get hits often, they can walk a lot, they can hit extra base hits, they can steal bases. In the end, things like HRs, SBs, singles, walks, advancing from 1st to 3rd on a single, etc - these things all contribute to scoring runs.

Stats like WARP and WAR directly compare a "one trick pony" like McGwire against a well rounded Palmeiro. WARP says that McGwire was clearly better than Palmeiro. WAR from BRef still has McGwire's peak better than Palmeiro's, and career WAR is very close.

Why do you think that a player whose value comes entirely from hitting for power is worse than a player whose value comes from different areas, assuming that their overall value is the same?

Jan 05, 2011 19:43 PM
rating: 2
 
CRP13

That's a very good point. Here's the irony of all this. I personally WOULD vote for McGwire. I was trying to answer the original question about why some people don't think he makes the hall on merit, from what I've read.

People act like I called the dude the antichrist or something.

Jan 06, 2011 09:47 AM
rating: 1
 
jlefty

Rephrasing your argument: "So if someone is the very best at something that is a very important aspect of offense, are they equal to someone else who was not even close to the very best at something that is much less valuable?"

Answer: No.

Jan 05, 2011 14:08 PM
rating: 2
 
CRP13

I said nothing like that at all. I said I valued players like Palmiero and Bagwell who do everything well over players who do only one thing well. I never implied, suggested, or said that I value players who aren't any good.

Minus away, you're reading only what you want to read instead of what I actually am saying.

Jan 05, 2011 15:53 PM
rating: 0
 
mrdannyg

Now you are misquoting. You implied that McGwire was equivalent to Lofton, a not particularly valuable player, because they shared an attribute of being exceptionally good at one skill, without being exceptional at any others. You proved yourself wrong by suggesting his summary indicated one player was no good.

Yes, McGwire was a power hitter, and not much else. Being a power hitter is an excellent thing to be, if you are really good at it. And he is one of the best ever.

Jan 05, 2011 17:21 PM
rating: 0
 
jlefty

Echoing what mrdan said, I was talking about your McGwire to Lofton comparison, not Mark to Raffy.

Jan 06, 2011 06:30 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

1 tool player?

I guess if McGwire had a better arm he might have gotten your vote.

Jan 04, 2011 11:07 AM
rating: 2
 
Dave Pomerantz

Also, see Jay Jaffe's JAWS article about first basemen on this year's ballot. McGwire had a higher career WARP and higher peak WARP. So, maybe Palmiero's NOT a better baseball player?

Jan 04, 2011 11:33 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

other WAR stats just don't agree.

Jan 05, 2011 06:20 AM
rating: -4
 
jlebeck66

Trammell and Murphy were my favorite players from my youth. Once I resigned myself to accept that they aren't getting into the HOF it has made this time of year less painful. Sure I'd be happy if they made it to Cooperstown, but I can be satisfied having the memories of the joy I received from watching them on the ballfield.

Jan 04, 2011 10:36 AM
rating: 2
 
R.A.Wagman

I have long felt the same about Will Clark. I was momentarily stunned when he dropped off the ballot on his first go-round, but have since learned to sit back and enjoy the debate. At least until Roy Halladay hangs up his spikes...

Jan 04, 2011 11:11 AM
rating: 2
 
HeavyHitter

Good ballot JP. You get high marks from me for including Palmeiro and Raines. To pick nits, I would have used my other two votes for McGwire and Trammell. I would not have agonized over Palmeiro and McGwire easily tops him in terms of his historic effect on the game. On top of his performance, he was agreat ambassador for the game when it truly needed one.

Jan 04, 2011 10:44 AM
rating: 0
 
Doom Service

Chris Coghlan won the rookie of the year in 2009, not 2008, and played mostly left field, not third base.

Jan 04, 2011 10:58 AM
rating: 0
 
Bill Parker

I love when people label McGwire a "one-tool player." If getting on base isn't a "tool," your whole toolbox is useless.

Jan 04, 2011 12:12 PM
rating: 10
 
jedjethro

Palmiero was never considered one of the handful of truly elite players at his era ... just another guy putting up outstanding stats in an era of outstanding stats. Even in a post-steroid era, a .288/.371/.515 slash line for a 1B-DH doesn't sound out of this world. Plus, how does he get points for being this "well-rounded" skill set player compared to McGwire. McGwire was at least the best at what he did. Walker was an excellent player who put up hall of fame numbers because of his home park. Not that he was as good of a player as Walker, but too bad Dante Bichette didn't play more of his career in Coors. He'd probably get voted in, too.

Jan 04, 2011 13:20 PM
rating: -1
 
irussma

Uh. Larry Walker's career OPS+ is 140, and his career TAv is .303. Bichette's numbers are 106 and .262. Park-adjusted, Walker was still an elite hitter. Bichette was an average-ish hitter.

I'm sure your comment was facetious, but making such a claim about Dante Bichette is absurd. The man hit 274 home runs in his actual career. Let's give him the balance of his career, which is parts of 7 seasons, in Colorado instead of Milwaukee, Anaheim, Boston and Cincinnati (a hypothetical, given that the Rockies didn't even exist for the first five years of his career). He may have reached 300 HR, perhaps even a few more. Certainly nowhere near enough to get any serious consideration.

Jan 04, 2011 14:42 PM
rating: 0
 
smallflowers

McGwire won ROY. He led the league in homers - during the home-run era - 4 times. He hit more homers in a single season than any player in the 120 previous years. And he did it twice. He led the league in homers when he was 23 AND when he was 35. He was a 12 time All Star, 3 time Silver Slugger, and won a Gold Glove (despite apparently being a 1-tool player). He is 10th ALL TIME in OPS, 8th in SLG, 10th in HR, 1st in HR/AB, and 38th in BB. Those are all-time numbers for all position players. He's won the World Series and played in few more as part of a few different truly storied lineups/teams. Additionally, he and Sammy put the game back on the map at a time when it really needed it.

Like Jeter, he is a historic player. If we're setting aside the steroid judgement for Raffy - who *never* led the league in HR, BA, RBI, BB, OBP, SLG, or OPS (when Mac did so 15 times, cumulatively speaking) - McGwire is in the Hall. Period.

Jan 04, 2011 19:45 PM
rating: 3
 
Worthing
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Can I cancel my BP membership early?

Jan 04, 2011 14:55 PM
rating: -10
 
greenengineer
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Why is this guy the one BP writer with a ballot?

Jan 04, 2011 16:23 PM
rating: -4
 
Llarry

Because the BBWAA lets you start voting for awards right away, but not for the Hall for ten years. John's been an "official" writer for a longer time, since the Association only recently figured out that this Internet thing is real...

Jan 04, 2011 17:10 PM
rating: 5
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

It's a long way off, but Christina will probably be the first person originating with BP to get a ballot. Should be 2018 unless the rules change, which isn't outside the realm of possibility as the ballots get weird and Cooperstown is threatened with an empty dais.

Jan 04, 2011 22:49 PM
 
JohnnyB

Interesting ballot. Always been a Larry Walker fan. Complete ballplayer. I hope he gets in the 30% range so she can start the climb to induction.

Jan 04, 2011 18:48 PM
rating: 0
 
mattesf

Mr. Raines actually has 811 career SB, not 635. And of course he belongs.

Jan 04, 2011 22:38 PM
rating: 0
 
ChicagoOriole

I look at Edgar Martinez and say to myself "him ahead of Alan Trammell?" Because Cal Ripken is enshrined? How can you take a DH and move him ahead of a shortstop with offense and defense adding up to so much? It is easy now to say that Trammell did not play in an exceptional age for shortstops, but that's not true. Trammell was one of the players who changed the expectations and perceptions of shortstops, along with Ripken and Yount.

Jan 05, 2011 08:07 AM
rating: 0
 
lonechicken

Compare Ozzie Smith's final 3 gold glove years to Larkin's defensive numbers those years. Smith won those on reputation. So it should be Larkin with 6 gold gloves, really.

Jan 05, 2011 13:22 PM
rating: -1
 
CRP13

Here's something else for people to minus me for:

How come NOBODY's talking about how Alomar played during the steroids era and had his best years between 1995 and 2001, same as Bagwell, McGwire, and Palmeiro?

I'm not insinuating anything about Alomar, I'm just asking the question: Do huge home run numbers really indicate who was or who wasn't taking PED's when there's little evidence otherwise? It's not like Jason Grimsley was a flamethrowing 350-game winner, after all.

This smells like a double-standard to me, or at least hypocrisy.

Jan 05, 2011 16:09 PM
rating: 1
 
jlefty

I know this wasn't your main point, but I hate the "Player X (in this case, Grimsley) took PEDs and player X was not very good, so PEDs don't really enhance performance?" argument. I don't think anyone from the camp that believes PEDs really do enhance performance believe that it is a magic become-awesome-at-baseball-drug. A bodybuilder on steroids isn't going to be any better at hitting a baseball than he would be clean. But if you take a guy who is already good at hitting a baseball far, and make him stronger and less likely to be fatigued day to day, that's a clear advantage. And just because Grimsley stunk, doesn't mean we can say he wasn't better off using PEDs.

On to your point about Alomar... The fact that nobody is "talking" (as you put it, I'd probably phrase it another way: irresponsibly insinuating made-up narratives) about Alomar using is a GOOD thing, because there's no reason to believe he did. Even the awful look-at-these-before-and-after-pictures "proof" doesn't apply to Alomar. I'd hope the reason behind finger pointing would be reasonable, public evidence and not big home run numbers or hunches.

Jan 06, 2011 06:29 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Joe, I DO believe that PED's improve a player's performance in a number of ways, in power (hitting and pitching) but most appreciatively in healing recovery, physical health (not including aftereffects later in life), and strength and endurance. So really, your first paragraph has nothing to do with what I was saying at all.

Not all the benefits of PED's will show up in home run or strikeout numbers (see Grimsley, Jeremy Giambi, Brian Roberts, etc).

With the circumstantial "evidence" surrounding Bagwell just because he played with Caminiti, is it a stretch to say that Alomar, who played during the same period and had no more or less evidence against him than Bagwell does, and whose peak years coincided with the heyday of the steroid era, MAY have been a user as well?

You're looking for an argument where I'm not making one. Steroids are bad. Steroids help players in various ways. My point is home runs don't indicate who took what, and Alomar's career was SMACK in the middle of the worst of the controversy, so whose to say he wasn't a user also? And nobody is mentioning it.

Jan 06, 2011 07:27 AM
rating: 0
 
jlefty

Not all the benefits of PED's will show up in home run or strikeout numbers (see Grimsley, Jeremy Giambi, Brian Roberts, etc).

This is exactly what my first paragraph was arguing against. You can't say that PEDs didn't show up in these guys' HR or K numbers just because that didn't have a ton. Who's to say they wouldn't have had even LESS than they already did if not for PEDs. Conversely, I can't say they definitely would have, as there is NO way of knowing.

The rest of your post is just you taking stabs at the dark. What evidence is there that Bagwell juiced? He looks bigger than he used to be? Not nearly good enough. Your logic condemns everyone who played during the era as a user without having ANY evidence whatsoever.

My point is home runs don't indicate who took what, and Alomar's career was SMACK in the middle of the worst of the controversy, so whose to say he wasn't a user also? And nobody is mentioning it.

I don't think anyone is saying "He definitely did not use PEDs." We can't say that with any certainty. Nobody is mentioning it at all, however, in light of the fact that there is not a single bit of reasonable evidence to do so. NONE. You seem to take exception to this for some reason, and I can't figure out why anybody would be in favor of MORE slanderous, baseless finger pointing from the media than there already is (see: Bagwell).

Jan 06, 2011 07:49 AM
rating: 1
 
CRP13

My God, Joe you just didn't read anything I've written. I DON"T think there's any evidence that Bagwell juiced. But that's the argument most people are making for keeping him out of the hall of fame. My POINT is that there's no evidence that Alomar juiced EITHER, but he played during the peak of the steroid era.

So how is making assumptions about Bagwell solely on his production during the steroid era and association with Caminiti OK, while it's NOT okay to make the same assumptions about Alomar?

That's the double-standard I'm talking about.

Damn, read before replying! You and I are saying the same things!!!

Jan 06, 2011 08:42 AM
rating: 0
 
jlefty

I understood that you recognized a double standard, but where your point is lost on me is when you seem to be pushing for people to question Alomar's legitimacy instead of not questioning Bagwell's (to eliminate said double standard). My point about the Grimsleys and Jeremy Giambi's still stands.

Jan 06, 2011 08:49 AM
rating: -2
 
CRP13

"I'm not insinuating anything about Alomar, I'm just asking the question" - from my original post you replied to.

I have no idea whether Alomar took PED's, nor do I care. I'm pointing out the double standard of accusing Bagwell (and others who have no evidence against them) while voting Alomar into the Hall in a landslide.

Jan 06, 2011 09:38 AM
rating: 0
 
Dave Pomerantz

Ugh. You guys are saying the same thing, but CRP13 is couching his comments in a weirdly negative fashion.

Jan 06, 2011 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

That's nothing but a failure of grammar, not any insidious personal issue, I assure you.

Jan 06, 2011 10:22 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Hilariously, somebody minused me for the "failure of grammar" post. I think somebody doesn't like me.

Jan 06, 2011 14:19 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

This thread is great evidence that BP's rating system needs to be re-done. My suggestion: The ratings should be moved to the left side of the post, as more of a like/dis-like option. So readers can express agreement/disagreement without actually typing. The likes/dislikes would never hide a comment, but the inappropriate button would signal to a BP CSR that the post needs to be looked at and maybe removed.

Jan 06, 2011 08:47 AM
rating: 4
 
CRP13

THIS is the smartest comment in this thread. I don't think I said anything mean, spiteful, arrogant, or insulting in any of my comments. Yet my collective "rating" is somewhere around -1,928,149,871,982,759,898,175 just because people disagree with some points I'm trying to raise. "minusing" also encourages piling on...people who don't read the entire post think it's crap because others have disagreed.

It's absurd. What's funny is somebody actually -1'd you for YOUR comment here before I read it.

Jan 06, 2011 09:40 AM
rating: -1
 
R.A.Wagman

That is funny

Jan 06, 2011 09:56 AM
rating: 0
 
Dave Pomerantz

I think I've been among the more vocal in arguing against everything CRP13 is saying in this thread (though I think more than anything else, he's playing Devil's Advocate just to advance debate) but I would NEVER negative one of his comments just because I don't agree. In fact, I've clicked the plus sign on a few that were hidden, just because I don't think they should be.

Jan 06, 2011 10:02 AM
rating: 0
 
Dave Pomerantz

Youtube, which has a serious spam problem, seems to have a good system - a thumbs up/thumbs down for the comment, and a "spam" flag that automatically hides comments once they reach a certain level. Doesn't require any employees to actually

It seems like BP's system might have been designed to avoid comments of the level of stupidity seen on ESPN boards, but I don't think that's an issue among BP subscribers.

Jan 06, 2011 10:07 AM
rating: 0
 
Patrick

Who cares if they get "minused?" Does it hurt anyone's feelings if some stranger on an internet message board doesn't like something you've said?

Jan 07, 2011 07:50 AM
rating: 2
 
R.A.Wagman

The 'minus' isn't the problem - the problem is that 4 minuses, made because (usually) someone doesn't agree with you, causes the post to disappear. There must be (there is, really) a better way.

Jan 07, 2011 12:25 PM
rating: 0
 
frampton
(870)

Well, they don't actually "disappear" -- they can be viewed with a single click. I do always click on the minimized posts; if I were to suggest a small improvement to the function, it would be a "view all" button.

Jan 08, 2011 08:15 AM
rating: 1
 
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