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February 6, 2012

BP Unfiltered

The Weakest Of The Weak

by Ken Funck

The votes have been tabulated, and five nominees have been deemed worthy of enshrinement in the Hall of Famously Weak Arguments. Here they are in descending order of support:

  1. “You can’t know how good he was unless you saw him play.”

By a wide margin, voters chose this most subjective of arguments as the weakest of the bunch. With so much objective evidence available to judge players over time, there’s no need to rely on the vagaries of inexpert observation to determine whether Jack Morris was a truly great pitcher.

  1. “He’s one of only a small number of players to reach this random collection of stat thresholds.”

Bacon is bacon. Mayonnaise is mayonnaise. Having properties that allow you to be described as both bacon and mayonnaise does not somehow make you better than very good bacon or very good mayonnaise. Or, to put it another way, blends are fine, but they can't really compare to a great single malt.

  1. “Slow players that draw walks merely clog the bases.”

We all knew Dusty’s utter misunderstanding of the value inherent in avoiding outs was clearly a first ballot Hall of Famer, and BP voters have now branded it as such.

  1. “He’s a winner!”

Or, “Hey kids, let’s just ignore everything we’ve ever learned about correlation and causation!”

  1. “Sabermetrics takes all the fun out of the game.”

Just like physics takes all the fun out of space travel.


Additionally, these four nominees didn’t garner enough support to remain on the ballot:

  1. He was the most dominant player (on his team/at his position) during his era.
  2. Anyone can close.
  3. Home runs are rally killers.
  4. Baseball players are overpaid.

My thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

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

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

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I'm not sure how much I like #2. Granted, I do hate the random category collections - "He was one of only three players to hit 17 home runs, steal 23 bases and have more than 84 RBIs every year in the 15-year period from 1977 to 1991" so I guess it makes sense to hate it, but I also think that players that are genuinely good at multiple things deserve more recognition and acclaim than they currently get.

Feb 06, 2012 20:10 PM
rating: 0
John Collins

The problem, as Bill James showed, is that you can do this for any good player with a long career: Pinson, Oliva, Reuschel, etc.

Feb 12, 2012 16:44 PM
rating: 0

I nominate "Lead the league in productive outs multiple times."

Feb 06, 2012 21:03 PM
rating: 1
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