Thursday, July 26, 2007

jonah keri tries to write a "who belongs in the hall of fame" article

and just like everyone else who's ever tried to do this, he fails miserably despite his best efforts to not sound stupid. i think the FCC (if they are allowed to set standards for print media... are they?) should ban sportswriters from ever writing these things. it's a total train wreck every single time. even when they're right, as keri (in my opinion) is in many cases here, they still manage to provide such piss-poor analysis that the whole purpose of writing the article is defeated. let's let jonah take us on a one way trip to non-analysisville, with a stop at cliche junction on the way.

A dozen for the Hall

Craig Biggio's announcement that he'll retire at the end of the season should have Astros fans making plans to hit Cooperstown in 2013. Biggio is one of a dozen eligible or soon-to-be eligible baseball figures deserving of election. The 12 noted here are ranked by strongest case for induction, given their eligibility dates.

Marvin Miller: Father of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Ended the system of indentured servitude the players had served under for nearly a century.

never heard of this guy, but that's pretty awesome. he should definitely be in the hall in some way shape or form. you think donald fehr will join him one day? mwah mwah. *rimshot*

Mark McGwire (583 home runs, seventh all-time): Suspect whatever you want -- his 583 homers and .982 career OPS are what matter here.

aaaaaaaaaaaand we're already in trouble. like i said, it's not that i think keri is wrong. i think mcgwire, sosa, and bonds should all be in the hall eventually (because we don't know for sure who did roids and who didn't, and punishing those guys, just because their usage was more obvious than others, is wrong). but what an atrocious sentence! when you use the format "say what you will about [A], but [B]," [A] and [B] cannot be related. here, i'll demonstrate:

right- "say what you will about the strong possibility that he probably killed 2 people, but oj simpson was one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time."

wrong- "say what you will about the strong possibility that he probably killed 2 people, but due to his performance in lethal weapon 2 and a half, it's clear that oj simpson was a good guy."

jonah, when a guy in all likelihood accumulated the numbers he did due to steroids, you can't dismiss the issue by saying "say what you will about steroids, BUT..." that's not how logic works. again, i think mcgwire does belong in. but don't write poorly when you try to explain why, that's all i ask.

Goose Gossage (nine years of 150 or better ERA+): One of the most dominant relief pitchers of all time. A true fireman who'd often come in with the game on the line, rather than being pampered and rested until his team was up two or three runs in the ninth.

again, good selection, dumb analysis. as if "modern" relievers never ever ever enter games in tight situations, and "old skool" relievers never ever ever got multiple days rest between appearances or entered the game when their team was up 2 or 3 runs. puh-lease. i'm officially declaring it cliched and hacky to write about "the good ol' days" of pitching. "back when men were men! and starters finished what they started! and relievers only pitched in high pressure situations! and a soda only cost a nickel." baseball writers of america: shut. up.

Bert Blyleven (287 wins; 3,701 strikeouts, fifth all-time): Blyleven played for some lousy teams, in ballparks that significantly favored offensive production. Adjust his stats to neutral run-support and park-factor levels and he's well over 300 wins with an ERA near or under 3.00.

good selection, good analysis. but jonah's only 1 for 3 when it comes to actual players so far.

Ron Santo (125 OPS+, five-time Gold Glover): Sentiment aside, Santo was one of the best offensive and defensive third basemen of all-time. The Hall needs to go beyond handing out tickets to one-dimensional home-run hitters at non-premium positions.

sentiment included, ron santo doesn't belong in the hall. the gold glove is a joke. check out the HOF monitors and "similar batters" on his baseball reference page. when gary gaetti is your #1 most comparable player... it's a bad sign for your HOF chances. and all the guys on his top 10 list who made it in were catchers. it's not an exact science, of course. but if santo wasn't a wildly popular cub and didn't contract lupus, he wouldn't be getting talked about at all these days. here, i'll explain it in terms other sportswriters can understand: he belongs in the hall of very good, not the hall of fame.

2008 Tim Raines (808 SBs, fifth all-time): Lou Brock with a better batting eye, Raines had tons of pop for a leadoff hitter, but he hit a lot more doubles than homers due partly to Olympic Stadium's high fences. Rickey Henderson played in the same era, but that doesn't diminish Raines' greatness.

raines's hall candidacy has been discussed extensively by dan-bob here on fjm in a previous post. but its borderline nature aside- are you kidding me? that thing about the doubles and homers and olympic stadium's high fences? what? that might be some of the most anecdotal anecdotal bullshit i've ever read. for what it's worth, olympic stadium was a fantastic hitter's park (for both doubles and home runs) in its waning years. check out its numbers in 2003, the last year the expos played there full time. i don't know, maybe at that point they had lowered the fences since when raines played there. probably not; more likely, jonah keri (i think he's in his late 20s) went to a bunch of expos games as a small child, and remembers a couple times raines doubled off the top of the wall. therefore- this happened to him during his entire expos career.

2009 Rickey Henderson (2,295 runs, 1,404 SBs, both first all-time): The best leadoff hitter of all time and one of the biggest characters the game will ever know.

doesn't jeff pearlman know it.

2010 Roberto Alomar (10-time Gold Glover, 12-time All-Star): A rare combination of power, speed, great batting stroke and dazzling defense, Alomar ranks just below the Morgan/Hornsby class on the "best second basemen of all time" list.

that makes 2 out of 7...

2010 Barry Larkin (1995 MVP, 12-time All-Star): Similar profile to Alomar's, only at shortstop. The prototype for the A-Rod/Nomar/Jeter class that took over the position in the mid-'90s.

sort of, not really. not at all. larkin finished his career with 198 HRs. all 3 of those guys will probably have over 300 when they hang up their cleats. arod may have 800. jeter's career slugging percentage is only slightly higher (.463 vs. .444), but nomar and arod are crushing it (.528 and .577). just because larkin was one of the best SSs in the game for the 10 or so years preceding those guys' rise to stardom doesn't make him the "prototype" for them.

2010 Edgar Martinez (.312/.418/.515, two-time batting champion): I agree with the general sentiment that DHs should be penalized for not having any defensive value. But that doesn't mean no DH should ever be allowed in. Edgar was one of the best hitters ever to play the game. That's good enough for me.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jonah keri, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. 1- horrendously anecdotal. 2- best hitters ever to play the game, compared to who? anyone who's ever played little league? he's MAYBE a slightly better candidate than santo. MAYBE. hard to say, when you factor in santo playing 3B. but check out martinez's "HOF monitor" and "similar batters." is this a guy that should be mentioned as an all time great? really? that is not rhetorical, the answer is no.

2011 Jeff Bagwell (.948 OPS, 1994 MVP): In an era clogged with slugging first basemen, Bagwell's on-base ability (.408 career OBP), handy glove work and huge peak seasons stand out against his peers.

3 for 10. good batting average. atrocious "reasonable analysis" average.

2013 Craig Biggio (3,014 hits, 1,826 runs): Another all-around threat who did everything well, and for a long time. Sabermetrician Bill James famously called him the second-best player of the 1990s. Not sure about that, but you could make a strong case for top five.

4 for 11. maybe. at least keri didn't say something stupid like "say what you will about him sticking his elbow way out over the plate whenever possible, but biggio gets hit with a lot of pitches" or "the turf at the astrodome turned a lot of potential doubles into singles for him because they got to the outfielders too fast." keep trying, jonah. you're not in that groove just yet.


Chris W said...

the sad thing is, you know this douche is going to argue against frank when he comes up for ballot

Chris W said...

i also really love the 1826 runs stat

runs are nice, but they don't mean much as an individual stat.

especially in terms of HOF

pnoles said...

Frank Thomas, between 1991 and 1997, was easily the 2nd best player in baseball. Bonds had a significant WARP edge on him because he was an well-above-average glove at a tougher defensive position, but when you look at the EqA's, Thomas was a better hitter in his prime compared to the league than Albert Pujols is today.

If Frank Thomas does not make the Hall because of morons like this, that is 100% horrible. Move over Frank Thomas, make some room for Barry Larkin!

What a stupid douche.

Chris W said...

but but but he was a dh

but but but clubhouse cancer

Chris Hart said...

Hey guys, we know you're white sox fans... we get it. Frank Thomas was (kind of still is?) a great baseball player. Don't get yourselves too worked up now. Take it easy.

Also, check out Thomas CUBP+ (clogging up base paths), 168 for his career. I don't want someone like that in my HOF.

pnoles said...

HAH! Joke's on you Chris Hart, you just misused your own fake stat!

168 OPS+ represents a higher than average OPS

168 ERA+ represents a lower than average ERA.

So regardless of whether the ACTUAL stat number is good when it is low or high, 168 in a (stat)+ category is well-above average.

So Frank Thomas's 168 CUBP+ shows that he, in fact, is one of the very best players in baseball at NOT clogging up the basepaths!

pnoles: 1
Chris Hart: 0

Chris Hart said...

Considering we're using my metric, I think I know how it works. And it works like this: Frank Thomas sucks. Get fatter.

PS. Try opening the shades in your parent's basement pnoles. Looks like you could use some sun.

In all seriousness though, someone explain to me why I (as a theoretical HOF voter) shouldn't be much more critical of DHs. They only play half the game. So unless they hit at an extremely high level, like well higher than a HOF caliber OF, why should they get in? And yes, for the record, Frank Thomas probably was good enough at hitting to get in, but is it so clear cut?

Chris W said...

you're no longer an honorary beat burglar

dan-bob said...

barry larkin was CAPTAIN of the reds.


we talkin bout CAPTAIN.

now itd be different if he was a JETER.

but we talkin bout CAPTAIN.

also he was much slimmer than frank thomas and was beloved by the children of cincinnati, who wore his #11 with pride.

Jonah said...

Frank Thomas hasn't retired or announced his retirement yet, guys, that's why he wasn't included in this article. If I had a Hall vote (I don't), he'd be a mortal lock on my ballot. Inner Circle Hall of Famer.

tangotiger said...

From 1981 to 1990, there were 1800 doubles+homeruns hit at Olympic Stadium by Expos hitters. In Expos road games, those hitters hit 1797 doubles+homeruns. (i.e., virtually the same).

The split was 1318/482 at home (2B/HR) and 1198/599 away. I think it's easy to see how some 10% of Expos doubles would have otherwise been HR away from Olympic Stadium.