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January 12, 2014

BP Unfiltered

Nominations Needed For The Hall Of Famously Weak Arguments

by Ken Funck


You just can’t get it out of your head, can you?

That ridiculous baseball argument your friend just made, or you read on some blog, or you heard on sports radio or television. An argument that is so clearly, demonstrably false you never imagined it would ever be necessary to argue the other side of it. An argument supported by the type of flawed reasoning that causes our old friend Steven Goldman to recommend that you “tap out, call a cab, walk away.” And worst of all, an argument that is being made not by just one temporarily logic-resistant human specimen on one unfortunate occasion, but by a large group of people, and frequently.

For me, Hall of Fame voting season seems to bring out the worst of these, so two Januarys ago I started my very own “Hall of Famously Weak Arguments” to document and honor the most unsupportable, cringe-inducing baseball opinions of them all. I deputized the BP readership as honorary members of the BBWAA—Baseball Weak Argument Arbiters—and put you all to work nominating and voting on the foundational class of logically unsound baseball canards. We identified and discussed no fewer than 15 nominees, and voted in these five:

  1. “You can’t know how good he was unless you saw him play.”
  2. “He’s one of only a small number of players to reach this (random collection of stat thresholds).”
  3. “Slow players that draw walks merely clog the bases.”
  4. “He’s a winner!”
  5. “Sabermetrics takes all the fun out of the game.”

Those five are all no-doubters, but there are plenty more deserving candidates out there. It’s time to give a few of them their due and, in the process, perhaps achieve some level of catharsis over of this year’s HOF debate. So consider this a call for nominations. Please let me know the worst baseball arguments you’ve heard—not limited to the Hall of Fame—either in the comments below, or by e-mail to kenfunck@gmail.com. I’ll take a few of the holdovers from last time, add in a few that our staff find particularly objectionable, put together a ballot, write up a few arguments for and against each entry, and give you the opportunity to vote in a new class. Or not—maybe all but one of you will decide to send in blank ballots as a form of ironic protest, and the only actual vote I’ll get will read “Armando Benitez.” It’s all up to you.

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

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