Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michael Schur would tolerate this post

I didn't say he'd like it; I'd need to provide a link to Fire Joe Morgan at the top of our blog to receive that level of approval.  (Chris W once emailed him to let him know we were fans of theirs, and that we meant only respect as we cribbed their style.   KT replied by saying he didn't understand why Chris would have done this if we were fans, and that he wanted us to link his jillion hits a day blog at the top of our 150 hits a day blog.  True story.  Guy did not come off as a prong at all, not one bit.  Maybe I'll make a post about that email exchange one day.  MAYBE.)  Anyways, the reason I say he would tolerate this is because it's more in the "shitty sportswriting about baseball" vein of Fire Joe Morgan that Fire Jay Mariotti never does anymore, and less in the "fucking dammit I fucking hate fucking ESP fucking N" vein of what Fire Jay Mariotti has become.

This a piece from the Chicago Tribune about one Paul Konerko.  Their whole staff of baseball writers with HOF votes (they still employ at least nine of these fuckers, which kind of erases the mystery of how that paper could be losing money) was asked if Paulie is an HOFer.  Most of them responded somewhat rationally.  Not brilliantly, mind you; I'm just not covering their takes on Konerko because I don't have enough time, and because the two below are leaps and bounds better than any of the others.


In my quest to bolster Paul Konerko's Hall of Fame chops, I did a little research. Now I wish I hadn't.

Numbers are scary and confusing!  Whether or not a player gave a ball from the World Series to his team's owner at the championship parade is fun and accessible!  (Don't get the reference?  Google it, or just ask White Sox/Konerko fan Chris W about whether or not Konerko gave the damn ball to Reinsdorf.)

Konerko actually fares well in the traditional categories, especially if he hits 93 more bombs to reach 500. 

He's playing extremely well for his age, hitting 39 HRs at age 34 and 31 at age 35, but there's just no way he gets 93 more.  I'LL SHUT DOWN THE BLOG IF THAT HAPPENS.  Nevermind, no.  No I won't.

But in the new-school category of WAR (Wins Above Replacement position player), Konerko rates 45th among active players at 26.0.

He somehow trails Orlando Hudson, 

Who is/was an elite defender, and had good OBP skills and decent pop during his prime

Mark Ellis 

Same story

and Grady Sizemore, who had four good seasons. 

Konerko was a decent but unremarkable 1B until his age 29 season in 2005, and is awful on defense both by numbers and by the eye test.  Every Sizemore season from 2005 through 2008 was better than Konerko's best season.

Jim Thome, fourth among actives, has a comparatively Ruthian 67.4 WAR.

Because he's got 10,000 PAs, a career .403 OBP, and 600 HRs.

Of course, that stat does not measure this: Which teammate would you want to go to WAR with? 

Stop the internets.  The competition for greatest turn of phrase (or turn of term?) ever is over.

Konerko is off the charts there.

So if he continues to rake, I'll continue to look for reasons to check his box. He brings every intangible. He's an A-plus guy in the clubhouse.

Like I said, vintage 2005/2006/2007 Fire Joe Morgan stuff.

I covered his dreadful 2003 season (.234 average, 18 homers), and he did not snap at the media once.

A spot in Cooperstown?  HOW ABOUT HIS OWN WING!  IS THERE ANYTHING THIS GUY CAN'T DO (to make fart sniffing sportswriters adore him)?

He has been terrific nearly every year since. 

He was "eh" from 2007-2009.

I would like to think that's good karma.

And I would like to think good people deserve to have good things happen to them, bad people deserve to have bad things happen to them, and that everything in life turns out to be perfectly fair.

/drinks dish detergent


I would consider Paul Konerko seriously for the Hall of Fame even though his career stats are excellent but not head-turning (.284 BA, 407 HR, .863 OPS).

Of his baseballreference top ten most similar batters, exactly one (Orlando Cepeda, #9) is in the Hall.  His top three are Tino Martinez, Gil Hodges, and Derrek Lee.  Doesn't really scream enshrinement.

Konerko is a good fielder 

/game show buzzer

with an offensive consistency (eight seasons with 97 to 117 RBIs 

Measuring offensive performance with RBIs?  dak is tearing out his hair right now.

in a lineup often devoid of table-setters; eight seasons of 30 or more doubles from a guy with no speed)

I guess he chose the "X seasons with Y or more Zs" construct rather than just going with the raw total, because Konerko's raw doubles total of 377 isn't even in the top 200 all time.

and a professionalism that make him far more than the sum of his stats.

Junior just threw his laptop through his TV.

I said no to a similar player, Jim Thome, when we asked the Hall question about him five years ago, 

Two Paul Konerkos comes somewhat close to being as good as one Jim Thome, so I can see why you'd come to that conclusion given the relatively unamazing number of seasons in a row in which Konerko has hit 30 or more doubles.

and I cited his huge strikeout totals as a negative. 

Another old FJM favorite.

(I since have changed my mind on Thome; 604 home runs erase a lot of K's.)

Good news, Jim: you've won over Phil Hersh.  Put the bubbly on ice.  Cooperstown will be calling in 2018 after all.

With Konerko, it may be a case of familiarity breeding respect: Watching him over 14 seasons with the Sox, my appreciation of his contributions has grown steadily. 

And that's what the HOF is about, right?  Voting in guys you've personally interacted with and who seem like decent fellas.

And his last two full seasons have been his best; another couple like 2010–11 (so far, 2012 is one), and Konerko is a Hall of Famer on my ballot.

Would you go to WAR with him though?  That's the real question.


CHart said...

I love that we got a glimpse into the old school comment battles that used to take place in the old school fjm days. Take THAT eriz!

Chris W said...

I love how a .283 average and an .860 whatever OPS is "excellent" but it GOES RIGHT OVER THE HEADS OF US PLEBES WHO NEED HEAD TURNING NUMBERS.

Excellent? Sure, compared to the general population. I would think excellence in a field, however, might be limited to the 85th percentile, though. I haven't crunched the numbers, but I have a strong suspicion that Konerko's FUCKING AVERAGE AND OPS TOTALS don't rank up there. Excellent but not head turning. I don't even know what to make of that

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

The name Gil Hodges doesn't "scream enshrinement"? That guy was one of the Boys of Summer! He was from the era when ballplayers lived in the neighborhood and were, to a man, true heroes you'd want your son to emulate! Walter O'Malley should rot in hell!

(All right, who let that whiny old Brooklyn fan near my keyboard?)

Chris W said...

Man...the thing about this article is people call Hawk Harrelson a homer, but I tell you, if someone ever asked him if Konerko belongs in the same HOF as THE CARL YASTRZEMSKI he would tell you the only modern era players who belong there are Shannon Stewart, Bobby Kielty, and Mike Sweeney

Chris W said...

Check that: also Brad Radke

Biggus Rickus said...

I think you're ignoring that Konerko led the league in GDP in 2003. First. Ballot.

CountdownRecap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pnoles said...

Chris -- you forgot Carlos Gomez