A few thoughts and points of clarification before I give you what you’ve been waiting for:
- If you think players who used or were suspected of using PEDs should not be in the Hall of Fame based on that alone, you really haven’t thought this one through. It’s OK, it doesn’t make you a bad person. But it does mean if you want to join the discussion you’re going to need to do better than “Cheater!!!”.
- The Character clause, as I understand it, is both very vague and completely up to the voter’s (or hypothetical voter’s) discretion. It would be difficult to convince me that any of the players below should be excluded based on character as long as racists, cheaters, and women beaters are in. (And when I say cheaters, I mean literal rule-breakers, not “greenie” and steroid users who didn’t break any MLB rules.) Don’t forget the guy who oversaw the “steroid era” and looked away, and the guy who slid headfirst because he didn’t want to break the cocaine vial in his back pocket are both recent inductees.
- “JAWS” is a measuring tool designed by Jay Jaffe in the “Cooperstown Casebook”. The link is on the right side of the page – any baseball Hall of Fame fan needs to read it, it’s the best of its kind – if you don’t have it grab a copy. In addition to a treasure trove of other information, one of the things Jaffe does is use both career totals and peak totals (the player’s best seven seasons) of a player’s career. This way, both the Sandy Koufax’ and the Don Suttons can be evaluated fairly.
- As always, this may be slightly different than what I’ve written previously. As more information comes out over time and as more perspective is added one should be open to changing one’s mind. If not, I believe that makes one an idiot.
The My Baseball Page 2020 Hall of Fame ballot:
Bobby Abreu. I already discussed this HERE.
Barry Bonds. Fun fact: If Bonds retired after the 1998 season, he would have finished with over 400 HR and 400 SB and had more WAR than every left fielder in history besides Ted Williams and Rickey Henderson. He is easily one of the four best players of all time, and it would be easy to argue he’s the best.
Roger Clemens. Clemens might be the best pitcher of all time. Of the top seven pitchers in career WAR, all but Clemens and one other pitched before 1930 (the other was Lefty Grove who finished in 1941). You think Clemens had an “advantage”? Imagine if he threw a brown mud ball at dusk against only other white players.
Derek Jeter. Two things can be true simultaneously: 1. Jeter was not as good a player or as a team leader (frankly he was pretty damn selfish) as many Yankee fans would have you believe. 2. Jeter is somewhere between the 5th and 10th best shortstop of all time and is a clear and obvious 1st ballot HOFer.
Manny Ramirez. Right-handed batters since integration, highest adjusted OPS, minimum 9,700 PA: Frank Thomas 156, Willie Mays 156, Hank Aaron 155, Manny 154.
Scott Rolen. Of the top 11 third basemen in both career WAR and JAWS, 9 are in the HOF. The others are Rolen and Adrian Beltre (not yet eligible).
Curt Schilling. Curt Schilling was better than Verlander and CC, both of whom are considered HOF locks. There are 42 (FORTY-TWO) starting pitchers in the Hall with fewer JAWS than Schilling. He’s held back by two things: One, he’s an a-hole (see character clause above). Two he pitched with Clemens, Pedro, Maddux, and Randy Johnson and pales by comparison – who didn’t? Half the pitchers already inducted couldn’t hang with those four. Trust me, Schilling (along with Mussina) were closer to those guys than everyone else of that era was to him.
Larry Walker. Walker is why we need comprehensive, objective advanced metrics. If you use the “eye test” to pick your players, you’d take Gwynn, Winfield, Vlad, and Ichiro ahead of him. The reality is that Walker was as good, probably better than all of them.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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