CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run... (01/12)
<< Previous Column
Prospectus Q&A: Rickey... (01/12)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Wes Li... (01/18)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Indefens... (01/14)

January 13, 2009

Prospectus Q&A

Chaz Scoggins

by David Laurila

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America since 1974, Chaz Scoggins of The Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun has been casting Hall of Fame votes for nearly three decades. This year Scoggins was one of 539 BBWAA voters to fill out a ballot, with Rickey Henderson (511) and Jim Rice (412) being the only two players to cross the 405-vote threshold needed to earn an invitation to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown on July 26. Scoggins, a former president of the BBWAA, and a longtime official scorer at Fenway Park, explained who he voted for on this year's ballot, and why.

David Laurila: What did your ballot look like this year?

Chaz Scoggins: You can vote for as many as 10 players, and I voted for seven. I voted for Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson, along with Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, Mark McGwire, Lee Smith, and Tim Raines.

DL: Rice's candidacy has elicited a lot of debate. Why did he get your vote?

CS: Having been one of the writers who was fortunate enough to have seen him play, I saw the impact he had on the Red Sox, and the American League, in the 1970s and 1980s. Back in those days, when you'd talk about what a franchise player was, Jim Rice was a franchise player. There wasn't any doubt in my mind that he was a Hall of Famer.

DL: Two things that Rice's critics point to are park factors and the number of double plays he hit into. Did either give you pause?

CS: Really, no. With the double plays, he hit the ball so hard it was inevitable he was going to hit into a lot of them. Certainly, had he played another year, he would have set the major league record for grounding into double plays, which is not a record he would have wanted, but he would have had it. As far as Fenway goes, people think it is a right-handed-hitters' park, but really, it's not. It's a left-handed-hitters' park, so it didn't really help him. He was not a pull hitter. Most of the home runs he hit, I'd say, went from left center to right center. Very rarely did he ever get what I would call a cheap home run in Fenway.

DL: Andre Dawson's critics point his low on-base percentage. Did that give you any pause?

CS: Well, I'd have liked to have seen it be higher, but some guys are just hitters. Rice was pretty much the same way. You would have expected that a guy like Rice would have walked 100 times a year, like a lot of power hitters, and usually he only walked a little more than 50. But he was just a hitter, as was Dawson. The reason I've always voted for Dawson is that while his numbers aren't exactly all that eye-popping, I take into account his defense, with all the Gold Gloves. He had a terrific arm, and before his knees went bad he could steal bases; he was one of those five-tool players that rarely come along.

DL: Tim Raines received only 122 votes, one of which came from you. What impressed you about Raines?

CS: I look at Raines in a lot of the ways I look at Rickey Henderson. The thing I really look for in a leadoff hitter, aside from the ability to get on base and score runs, is that he can also drive in runs. That's something that Rickey Henderson certainly did, and Raines did it too. He could do that, because he had some pop; he could hit some home runs. He was also a good defensive player, so he put the whole package together. But I did have to think about him; he didn't come as an obvious pick. When I got the ballot, I had to think about it for a couple of days, but I ultimately decided that Raines fit my criteria for a Hall of Famer.

DL: You didn't vote for Bert Blyleven. Why not?

CS: I just feel that Bert Blyleven was a little better than a .500 pitcher. I just never felt that he had the fortitude that it takes to win big games. People say that he had the misfortune of playing on a lot of mediocre and even bad teams, but to me, if you're a Hall of Fame pitcher you're able to lift your team up; you can win the close games that bad teams need to win, and to me, he just never did that. I know that he lost an awful lot of 1-0 games, but I just felt that, despite all his terrific numbers, he just wasn't quite good enough.

DL: You also didn't vote for Alan Trammell. Did you give him serious consideration?

CS: I really gave him no thought. To me, Alan Trammell was just a very nice player. He was a good player, but not one of those players who was head and shoulders above everybody else. Actually, I voted for Lou Whitaker, his double-play partner, when he was on the ballot. I thought that Whitaker was more of an impact player than Trammell was.

DL: Mark McGwire is obviously a controversial topic. What went into your decision to mark his name on the ballot?

CS: It's a case where I just feel that he wasn't breaking any rules at the time; he wasn't breaking any baseball rules or any laws. I also think that baseball is just as complicit in the steroids issue as the players are; they turned a blind eye to it as long as people were hitting home runs and the stands were being filled. Baseball didn't want to know. So I feel that, in a lot of ways, baseball used guys like Mark McGwire, and I'm not going to punish him for something that wasn't against the rules at the time.

DL: Why did Lee Smith get your vote?

CS: Smith was one of the last Gossage-type relievers. In the early years of his career he was one of those guys who often went more than one inning to pick up a save, while they're awfully cheap nowadays in comparison. Smith didn't do it as long as Gossage did, but at the time guys often had to pitch one and a third, two and a third, or two innings, so he earned his saves. And over the course of his career, he had a lot of saves.

DL: How about Dale Murphy?

CS: Murphy is a guy who started out as a catcher and went to center field, and what put me over the line with him, because his batting average wasn't as high as Rice's-but the home runs were almost the same-was that at the peak of his career he was great. He was a five-time Gold Glove outfielder in addition to his power, and he was a two-time MVP. I always look at the 10 best years of a player's career when I decide who I'm going to vote for, for the Hall of Fame. I'm also not one of those guys who votes for a player one year and doesn't another year. Once I decide that someone is a Hall of Famer, I keep marking him on my ballot. Murphy is actually the one exception, but only because one year there was a really stacked ballot and I didn't have room for him. Other than that, I've voted for him every year he's been eligible. I've always thought it was important to be consistent.

Related Content:  The Who,  Player Ballot

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

BP Comment Quick Links

Rob_in_CT

"...if you're a Hall of Fame pitcher you're able to lift your team up; you can win the close games that bad teams need to win, and to me, he just never did that. I know that he lost an awful lot of 1-0 games, but I just felt that, despite all his terrific numbers, he just wasn't quite good enough"

Apparently, Bert Blyleven's stupid terrific numbers were insufficiently inspiring to his teamates, as they failed to score runs for him. You suck, Bert!

Jan 13, 2009 10:20 AM
rating: 5
 
gophils

ugh reading "i just felt" so many times drives me nuts.

so lets get this straight...you have no numbers or statistical evidence to support your statement, you just go by feel??

Jan 13, 2009 10:33 AM
rating: 2
 
awayish

you the arrian on tl?

Jan 13, 2009 10:37 AM
rating: -1
 
awayish
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

lol. a pitcher that has an offense modifier is like, omghax.

Jan 13, 2009 10:36 AM
rating: -8
 
BaseballGod
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Call me a naysayer, but I'm not sure how this qualifies as a BP article. Maybe they just want to get the readership angry.

Jan 13, 2009 10:38 AM
rating: -10
 
cubfan131

So if Greg Maddux played for a bunch of crappy teams and had no run support he isn't a Hall of Famer?

Jan 13, 2009 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
ozjunx

Correct; however, we know that Maddux had the fortitude necessary to lift up his teammates and compel them to score.

Unfortunately, it's a factor that too often is ignored.

Jan 13, 2009 11:22 AM
rating: 4
 
juiced

I know I am on the extreme side of this argument, but in all honesty I believe that the 5% of voters who failed to include Rickey Henderson on their HOF ballots should lose their voting privileges. At a minimum they should be subjected to a relentless collective interrogation by sabermetric analysts and the blogosphere as to the reasons for their vote. There is NO rational argument against putting Rickey in the Hall.

Jan 13, 2009 10:44 AM
rating: 2
 
BaseballGod

At least one voter that left Henderson off his ballot considers himself a "big Hall" guy. He argued that Henderson was getting in anyway, so he could vote for 10 other guys that he likes. I personally would not take such an approach, but at least it is a defensible argument.

This taken from a recent Keith Law chat.

Jan 13, 2009 10:57 AM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

I bet many who didn't vote for Rickey just wanted to preserve the unofficial "no unanimous pick" rule- that is, if Babe Ruth wasn't unanimous, no one less than him will ever be.

Jan 13, 2009 14:28 PM
rating: -1
 
WickDeer

This a.m., Mike and Mike had a response from one voter who did not vote for Henderson was that he withheld his vote from Ricky because he had seen Ricky "dogging it" in too many games.

Jan 13, 2009 17:16 PM
rating: 0
 
Charlie

The interrogation shouldn't be done by bloggers and sabermetricians, it needs to be done by anyone BUT those people.

There is always going to be a traditional movement against the stat-guys, Henderson is one of the exceptions where traditionalists love him because of all his personality and "grit" and all that crap.

Sabermetricians love him because the more they look at his career, the better and better it gets as you dig deeper.

Also, lets kep in mind that some people simply don't vote for people on the first ballot. It's not an indictment of their ability to analyze potential HoF'ers, its a question of whether or not their self-imposed rules are worthwhile or not.

They aren't.

Jan 14, 2009 07:52 AM
rating: 1
 
Randy Brown
(189)

I don't agree with all of the opinions expressed in the interview, but I am compelled to point out that I was impressed with two of them.

First, his rationale behind voting for McGwire; it is unfair to brand him and a few others for a problem that was widespread and generally ignored for several years.

Second, his consistency in either voting for a player or not voting for a player. Even acknowledging that the electorate changes slightly from one year to the next, it never ceases to amaze me when a player picks up 20 or 30 votes from one year to the next. Are we evaluating players whose careers have been fixed for at least five years, or deciding what color to paint the living room? I can understand the occasional voter changing their mind on a player, but not 50% of the electorate over the course of 15 years.

All in all, I feel a lot more comfortable with Chaz Scoggins having a HOF vote than the 28 knuckleheads who didn't think that Rickey Henderson merited a vote.

Jan 13, 2009 10:50 AM
rating: 6
 
RedsManRick

Can't let facts get in the of a good opinion... It's shocking how willing people are to ignore information that doesn't fit in their existing narrative. Double plays don't matter because Rice hit the ball hard. Fenway doesn't really help righties (because he says so, I guess). Blyleven lost a lot of 1-0 games, but I guess he should've "lifted up" the offense too.

The reality is that there are a lot of guys like this who just aren't interested in objectivity. They aren't interested in correcting their own biases. It's about what they see and what they feel. When the stats (any stat will do) back up the feeling, that's great. When they don't, they're irrelevant.

But I guess nobody said the HOF was supposed to have the best players...

Jan 13, 2009 10:53 AM
rating: 2
 
Mike W
(830)

Painful. Really.

Why isn't this guy on Baseball Tonight?

Jan 13, 2009 10:53 AM
rating: 2
 
John from Bel Air

Atleast he didn't vote for Jack Morris. Maybe there is a God after all.

Jan 13, 2009 11:17 AM
rating: -1
 
krock27

Can anyone with more time find Blyleven's 1-0 record?

Jan 13, 2009 11:22 AM
rating: 1
 
salvomania
(449)

" I just never felt that he had the fortitude that it takes to win big games."

Except, I guess, for the ones he pitched in during the postseason, in which he went 5-1 with a 2.47 era. And oh yeah, his 5-1 record probably had something to do with why his teams won four of the five postseason series they went to, including two World Series.

"I know that he lost an awful lot of 1-0 games"

No pitcher EVER had more 1-0 WINS than Blyleven (15).

And, after Spahn, Seaver and Ryan---the latter two who bested him by 1---he also threw more complete game shutouts than any pitcher whose career began after 1915, including (by my count) 35 Hall of Famers. He's 8th alltime behind those three plus Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, and Eddie Plank. Nice company.

I wonder what pitchers, since 1900, have more wins, strikeouts, and shutouts than Blyleven... Let's see...Nolan Ryan...and...nobody.

And there's Nolan, with a lower winning percentage than Blyleven (the voters didn't seem to hold his barely-over-.500 record against him), sitting in Cooperstown.

Jan 13, 2009 11:26 AM
rating: 8
 
alanbw
(111)

" I just never felt that he had the fortitude that it takes to win big games."

What an absurd, asinine, brain dead comment. I'm speechless.

Jan 13, 2009 11:58 AM
rating: 0
 
dp

His comment about home runs to the opposite field is weird. Is there any way to look this up? I'm sure there is but I don't know it.

Jan 13, 2009 11:27 AM
rating: 0
 
chuckbrownson

According to b-r, Rice had 162 homers to left field in his career. He had 32 to right and 4 to right-center so clearly, the man was an opposite field hitter. There's no doubt that the Green Monster played no role whatsoever in his clearly Hall-of-Fame career.

Jan 13, 2009 20:27 PM
rating: 2
 
tbraxton34

I just hate that Scoggins can express so many things that are not only wrong but easy to disprove: that Rice didn't benefit from Fenway being only the most obvious example.

Really, is it too much to ask that somebody voting for the HOF do just a little bit of work? If a writer can't take his task more seriously he doesn't deserve a vote.

Jan 13, 2009 11:30 AM
rating: 0
 
archmandrate

The problem is not that they don't take it seriously -- it's just that they don't understand that there's more to the game than the sight. They don't understand how faulty the human memory is, and don't realize that if they used the numbers to bolster what they remember, they'd come far closer to creating a Hall full of worthier players.

But that means being conscious of the fact that all that "baseball knowledge" they have stored up is essentially not as valuable as a stat-sheet that anyone with the Internet can look at, and who wants to admit that?

Jan 13, 2009 11:48 AM
rating: 1
 
jnossal

I'm sure Mr. Scoggins is a very nice man and that he loves baseball, but I had to stop reading after the "he hit the ball so hard it was inevitable he was going to hit into a lot of (double plays)" comment. There was just no point in going on after that.

If this interview doesn't bring Fire Joe Morgan out of retirement, nothing will.

Jan 13, 2009 11:44 AM
rating: 1
 
Schere

That's funny...I thought the hard-hit balls comment is probably the most accurate thing that he said in the entire piece. Or course, Rice hit a lot of hard hit balls and a lot of softly-hit balls, and a lot in between. He put the ball in play. And what more can you ask, really, than that?

All snarkiness aside, a side point: I'm not sure we want to live in a world where beat writers don't vote for their very very good hometown players for the HOF. There's nothing wrong with that.

Jan 15, 2009 14:06 PM
rating: 0
 
baserip4

zxdSBJK

That's my head hitting the keyboard.

Jan 13, 2009 11:44 AM
rating: -1
 
fishtaco

The abject subjectivity of both the HOF and the annual awards are precisely why I have no interest in either one as a fan. Neither the Hall or the awards have any real criteria other than the biased views of a group of sportwriters who happen to work for major media outlets.

Jan 13, 2009 11:49 AM
rating: 0
 
russadams

Then when the writers mess up the awards they get to use their own mistakes as "evidence" why a player does or doesn't belong in the hall of fame.

Jan 13, 2009 11:58 AM
rating: 1
 
salvomania
(449)

Correction to my earlier comment: Blyleven's 15 1-0 wins put him 3rd on the all-time list, behind Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.

I guess he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame after all.

Jan 13, 2009 11:49 AM
rating: 5
 
Evan
(47)

I understand this guy's argument for not voting for Blyleven (it's crazy and stupid, but I understand it), but if that's how he feels doesn't he have to votefor Jack Morris?

He can't have it both ways. This is cognitive dissonance at its finest.

Jan 13, 2009 11:50 AM
rating: 0
 
Slingerland65

Almost every sentence made me wince. I think we all need to learn to care to care as much about the Hall of Fame, because Chaz demonstrates what a sham the voting system is. But having been to Cooperstown, I can't make myself stop caring about the Hall of Fame. I think we're stuck feeling dejected.

Jan 13, 2009 11:50 AM
rating: -1
 
RallyKiller

Born in 1948 in Canada. Became a newspaper sportswriter in 1968. Covered Expos first home game. No matter the sport, in that era it was all about what you saw and the perspective you could supply. Counting stats were prized, as was recall of stats, what we would call trivia today, which helped provide perspective. The Triple Crown categories were BA, HR and RBI. They still are, but, if we were starting over in this era of statistical analysis, you can bet you butt that BA and RBI would not be chosen, and HR might not be either.

Is it really all that surprising that writers of different generations have different perspectives and use different tools? I think not. Eventually, the vast majority of writers will be stats savvy and the HoF elections will reflect that fact. Hell, we might even see an expansion of voter eligibility as statheads gain a greater degree of respect throughout the industry.

RallyKiller


Jan 13, 2009 12:11 PM
rating: 3
 
salvomania
(449)

I was just checking out Blylevens' 16-15 '71 season because I read a post mentioning that the Twins only scored 18 runs in his 15 losses, which I found pretty hard to believe. As it turns out, they scored 32 runs in his 15 losses, which is still pretty bad.

It's instructive to look at another Twins' pitcher in '71, Jim Perry, to see why the votes of the writers and the baseball establishment becomes a sort of self-reaffirming thing: Perry, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, had 12 wins by the All Star break and was named to the All Star team, despite an era over 4.00. Blyleven was just 7-12---but with a 3.13 era. Bert didn't deserve a spot on the All Star team, but did Perry? People talk about BB's lack of All Star appearances, but if he had done better in Cy Young voting, thus raising his profile, maybe he, like Perry, would have made additional AS teams. And if he'd made more AS teams, maybe he'd have been thought of more as a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, and done better in the voting, which would have made him more Hall-worthy in some voters' eyes as well.

For the record, in that '71 season, the Twins averaged 4.15 rpg, but only 3.51 rpg in Blyleven's starts. He ended up over .500 with a strong finish, but Perry still won more games, with 17---and with the Twins scoring 4.36 rpg for him, almost a run more per start than for Bert.

Jan 13, 2009 12:17 PM
rating: 0
 
gronberg

Tom Seaver failed to "lift up" any number of mediocre Mets teams. So someone obviously made a mistake voting him into the Hall, eh?

Jan 13, 2009 12:25 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

I guess his CY Young seasons in 1969 and 1973 count for nothing???????

Jan 13, 2009 14:34 PM
rating: -6
 
gronberg

I was being sarcastic.

Jan 13, 2009 17:12 PM
rating: 1
 
Vinegar Bend
(477)

lessons to learn here for how to get into HoF:

ERA, shutouts, strikeouts...don't waste your time on those trivialites. Pitchers need to demonstrate sufficient 'fortitude' and figure out some way to make their teammates play better.

If you're going to hit into a zillion DPs, make sure they are hard ground balls. Those don't count against you so much.

Jan 13, 2009 12:36 PM
rating: -1
 
David Laurila

A small clarification: Scoggins actually said, "he logged an awful lot of 1-0 games" rather than "he lost an awful lot of 1-0 games." It was a little unclear during transcription due to background noise, but relistening, it does appear that it should be "logged." I apologize for the error.

Jan 13, 2009 12:54 PM
rating: 0
 
Llarry

Thanks for the clarification, but I don't think it really helps the argument any. Give me a pitcher who "logged an awful lot of 1-0 games" and I throw wheelbarrows full of money at him. I don't care if he lost them all -- if so, I go get better hitters...

Jan 13, 2009 14:11 PM
rating: 7
 
Bill Parker

Kudos to him for venturing into hostile territory, I guess. Pity he had no idea whatsoever what he was doing with that ballot in his hand, though.

Jan 13, 2009 13:01 PM
rating: 0
 
fawcettb

And hopefully, this will be the last of the blathering on about the HOF for another year. Enough already! Let's get on with what really matters: the pre-season...

Jan 13, 2009 13:06 PM
rating: 1
 
R.A.Wagman

His vote wasn't that bad. Most, if not all of the BP readers would have added in Blyleven, but that's about it. Maybe Small-Hall believers would have removed a few as well.

You know who he is, you know where he works. It shouldn't be difficult to find out his email address and write to him, advocating your position. The chances that he is reading these comments is probably below 5%. Like everything else, this is politics. If you have an opinion, advocate it to your local BBWAA scribe.

Jan 13, 2009 14:17 PM
rating: 3
 
agblock
(582)
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

You can't get much more ill-informed than Mr. Scoggins and still be considered more animal than vegetable. His casual dismissal of Burt Blyleven as not having the guts to win big games is demeaning, as well. I'm actually surprised he was so candid. These aren't comments I'd want my editor to read.

Jan 13, 2009 14:32 PM
rating: -4
 
Peter Benedict

Terribly irritating article, primarily due to the Blyleven stupidity. The double standard for the hall (hitting bar = low enough for Rice, pitching bar = too high for Blyleven) is extremely irritating. I wish someone would do an article correlating WARP or EQA values of hitting and pitching cusp players... I imagine the latter are better.

Jan 13, 2009 14:52 PM
rating: -2
 
HonusCobb

Although I wouldn't vote for Blyleven either....I'm still annoyed about his reasoning for not voting for him.

Also, Trammell should have received more votes in my opinion. I put him as a top 10 shortstop of all time. Is there any reason that a top 10 player at a position shouldn't be in the HOF (excluding DH because there hasn't been 100+ years of DHing)?

Jan 13, 2009 15:03 PM
rating: -1
 
calhounite
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

So Bly didn't slosh down the chuzpah vat..Should had told him that would keep him out. Wudve downed a swig.

The only thing I agree with this guy about is his willingness to open the floodgates - excepting poor, unfortunate Bly. Should let every Tom, Dick, and Harry in.

It's like if track hadnt awakened to roids until yesterday. Ok that 7.2 in 100 meters...hmm guess we'll have to assume 15 good's in a hypothetical roidless universe.

Only integrity view of this is too accept that baseball's lacking any. Only difference between Selig and your average drug pimp is the set of bars they're viewed through. Oh yea, let Rose in since baseball's unqualified to set distinctions.

Jan 13, 2009 16:01 PM
rating: -5
 
drmorris

I just feel that none of these thread comments have the fortitude necessary to be Hall of Fame comments. I just feel that they never rose to the occasion to win the big thread. Hall of Fame comments find a way to win those threads.

Jan 13, 2009 16:14 PM
rating: 5
 
drmorris

P.S. I'm not sure which is the more painful transcript, this interview or the Nixon Tapes.

Jan 13, 2009 16:16 PM
rating: -1
 
mark1623

Steroids have been banned in baseball since at least 1993, although I'm not sure that alleged use should keep McGwire out of the Hall.

Jan 13, 2009 16:56 PM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

What would be truly interesting is having an ongoing email exchange, if not interview, in which each of the points made in his comments was rebutted with evidence, where appropriate. We end up spending so much time/energy talking right past each other. I would love to see a purposeful attempt at truly engaging an "old-school" guy and pressing on the "I thinks" and "I feels".

There is value to the vast amount of experience these individuals have in watching the game. But unless this generation attempts to engage them on those facts which can be isolated from mere opinion, we'll simply have to wait until that generation has moved on. I see a lost opportunity for a teaching event, if an old school guy would be willing to swallow a touch of pride and let down his guard and the person on the stat side were able to approach the conversation with sufficient earnestness and patience.

Jan 13, 2009 17:21 PM
rating: -1
 
WholeLottaGame
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

I realize that Scoggins' comments seems somewhat heretical given current analysis of the sport, but it helps to look at it in the context of the times. Back in the day, I feel like there was more emphasis on hitting than getting on base, and walks were just a by-product of not getting any good pitches to swing at. So, you can't accuse a player (or a sportswriter analyzing players of a different time period) of not being decades ahead of his time, nor is it fair to retroactively deduct a player for not maximizing his skills based on today's analysis.

Jan 13, 2009 18:17 PM
rating: -4
 
eighteen

[walks were just a by-product of not getting any good pitches to swing at.]

That argument would have some validity if you could show overall walk rates during Rice's career were lower than at any time since.

But you can't, because they weren't.

[I feel like there was more emphasis on hitting than getting on base]

Yes, because baseball players of that era were too stupid to realize making outs was worse than being on base.

Those arguments have been soundly disproved in several articles on this site alone.

Chaz Scoggins is the poster boy for everything wrong with entrusting MLB awards to the BBWAA.

Jan 13, 2009 21:29 PM
rating: 0
 
schneidler

His time isn't frozen - it continues. NOW is his time as much as 1980 was. In many professions you are expected (required even) to keep up with the latest discoveries and innovations in literature and practice. You're right that he is a product of his time, but he should continue to expand his knowledge of the game and allow his time to be today as well as yesterday. I too was distressed and dismayed to read his rationale for not voting for Blyleven.

Jan 15, 2009 15:37 PM
rating: 0
 
ksidders

Awright, I'm going to run my annual comment around HoF selection time:

The ultimate question is really what defines the Hall of Fame? Is it the "Hall of the best baseball players evaluated statistically," or the Hall of the most "Fame"-ous baseball players?

I think we all here agree that the best players evaluated statistically ought to be the "most famous," but we've all been at this long enough to know that's not been the case in the past, and while it's getting better, it's still not the case today.

I'm not defending this guy's opinion -- I think his selections are mostly nonsense as other have described. But perhaps we understand where he's coming from IF he's applying a different definition of "Fame". Given that he (and the other selectors) are lifetime sportswriters, they helped create the very "Fame" they are now evaluating. So while Rice's stats may not add up as impressively in retrospect as they did then, I'm sure Rice was the opposing player most often profiled when the Red Sox came to whatever local market, given his counting stats and prodigious power. Similarly, the Blyleven/Perry example above demonstrates that, in the context of the time (that season), Perry was viewed as the better pitcher. Of course now we know that's wrong, but one could certainly view Perry as being more "famous" that year as a result (e.g., the All-Star vote). That's what James' Hall of Fame Monitor and Grey/Black Ink data are getting at -- they attempt to measure what the Hall voters perceive as "Fame" more than strict statistical performance.

It's clear to us here that the best performing players ought to be the most "famous," and we all share the frustration when great players fly under the radar.

That said, I strongly disagree with, but I think I can understand, someone taking the position that a statistically lesser player (Rice) was more "famous" than a statistically better player (Blyleven).

Let's hope the the diligence of stat-heads everywhere help to further close the gap between fame and statistical performance going forward...

Jan 14, 2009 06:51 AM
rating: 1
 
gjgross

I'm appalled at the hatred spewed at this guy. Just because you disagree with his choices and his explanations, is no reason to call him stupid or subhuman. Scoggins' opinions are different but necessary. There is a need for both objective and subjective opinions on the hall or fame. Many of the posters above believe that Sabermetrics are infallible, but ignore that the sabermetric stats are changing and evolving every year. "Our" stats are not perfect, I don't think we should treat them as such.

Jan 14, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 2
 
eighteen

I agree both objective and subjective opinions are needed. But when "subjective opinions" are based on de-bunked assumptions, 30-year-old memories, and a total fabrication of actual events - all of which are then served up as "objective" analysis; then what you get are the ignorant rantings of Chaz Scoggins, and Jim Rice in the HOF.

"Opinions" that perpetuate falsehoods, miunderstanding, and ignorance of the game are not "necessary" to baseball.

Jan 14, 2009 12:10 PM
rating: 2
 
Bucky17

Why would we need both objective and subjective views?
Do I want how my mechanic "feels" about my engine, or what the facts tell him is needed for my car to run?
Should my cardiologist use his guts and fortitude, or should he maybe use medical knowledge and training?

I fail to see any logic in saying that there is a "need" for this. I would certainly listen to/read an argument on this, but it doesn't magically appear out of thin air.

Jan 20, 2009 13:46 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Hit and Run... (01/12)
<< Previous Column
Prospectus Q&A: Rickey... (01/12)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Wes Li... (01/18)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Indefens... (01/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Player Profile: David Robertson
Fantasy Article The -Only League Landscape: National League ...
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape, Dynasty Edition: Nick Burd...
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 50 R...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Huston Street Might Have Reli...
Pitching Backward: In Search of the Winninge...
Rubbing Mud: A Solution Does Not Exist


MORE BY DAVID LAURILA
2009-01-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: John Walsh
2009-01-20 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Brendan Harris
2009-01-18 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Wes Littleton
2009-01-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Chaz Scoggins
2009-01-11 - Prospectus Q&A: Justin Masterson
2009-01-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Tony Blengino
2009-01-02 - Prospectus Q&A: All the Lettuce
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS Q&A
2009-01-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: John Walsh
2009-01-20 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Brendan Harris
2009-01-18 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Wes Littleton
2009-01-13 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Chaz Scoggins
2009-01-12 - Prospectus Q&A: Rickey Henderson
2009-01-11 - Prospectus Q&A: Justin Masterson
2009-01-04 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Tony Blengino
More...