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The smallest Hall of all
January 10, 2013 10:51 AM   Subscribe

For some reason, this year no one was elected to the Hall of Fame.
posted by RogerB (65 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I was going to put money on it, I would have pegged Biggio as a first balloter without a second thought. While a quiet year for Cooperstown isn't unheard of, it just seems kind of odd.
posted by holmesian at 10:58 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is absolutely criminal that Kenny Lofton got Lou Whitaker'd. He got less than 5% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, and is thus off the ballot, despite deserving serious consideration for enshrinement.

Lofton was worth 64.9 Wins Above replacement over his career, according to Baseball Reference. That's tied with Carl Hubbell and Ryne Sandberg (both HoFers) for 104th best of all time. He's ahead of (among others) Craig Biggio (who got 68% this year), Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and Roberto Alomar.

Even if you come down on the side of leaving Lofton out of the Hall, there's little doubt he deserved much more consideration than he got.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:00 AM on January 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


Maybe they thought they were voting on Kenny Loggins.

My only wish (as a Cubs fan, no less) is that Sosa had fallen below the 5% threshold.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2013


If I'd had a ballot, my ballot would look like this:

Tim Raines

And I would not even have a discussion about Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens before talking about Rose.

All of this cheating shenanigans has made the Hall of Fame even less interesting. And it wasn't that interesting to begin with.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:09 AM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


While the process is arbitrary and should probably be reformed I can't say that I'm too upset about what the first link calls "intellectual inconsistency" on ballot choices if it keeps guys like Bonds and Clemens out. I'm not a fan of the steroid era and I don't think the argument that Aaron and Schmidt used amphetemines so they too should have been excluded really holds much water. Maybe the benefits of steroids can't be specifically quantified, but one can look at statistics and know that Luis Gonzalez hit 50+ home runs one season. I think there is a valid argument to be made that steroids enhance performance in a far greater way than Aaron's diet pill habit did.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:10 AM on January 10, 2013


Among other things, didn't Sosa get caught with a corked bat or something?

What a difference a few years makes. For the longest time, Roger was the ultimate shoo-in.
posted by Melismata at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nobody gets in the first time they're nominated. It's sort of a baseball HoF thing. Ty Cobb, Sy Young, Ruth, Aaron, not one of them made it the first year they were nominated.

The HoF is so very very strict about who gets let in. It's a point of pride for them that they're 50 times tougher than every other US team sport HoF. According to this list, this is far from the first time no one got inducted.

I can't remember who it was, maybe Klosterman, who said that baseball is a sport about history and math, and that environment naturally attracts fuddy-duddity, particularly among nostalgic writers.

Not to say that it's not bullshit, but this kind of thing happening really shouldn't be surprising to anyone.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The front page of the NY Times Sports section
posted by Rhaomi at 11:14 AM on January 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Nobody gets in the first time they're nominated. It's sort of a baseball HoF thing. Ty Cobb, Sy Young, Ruth, Aaron, not one of them made it the first year they were nominated.

That's absolutely not true. A fair number of players don't get in on their first chance. I think you're conflating two different (stupid) customs that HoF voters have: 1) no one gets in unanimously; and 2) only the very best players get in on their first go 'round.

Rickey Henderson was a victim of the first "rule." That is, he got in on his first try, but some voters refused to include him on their ballots even though he is obviously a HoFer on the grounds that "if Ruth and Cobb weren't unanimous, no one should be." Biggio is a victim of the second "rule," that is, probably well over the required 75% of voters feel he is worthy, but many of the old school voters didn't deem him worthy of a first ballot inclusion, as they consider that a separate honor.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:16 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nobody gets in the first time they're nominated. It's sort of a baseball HoF thing. Ty Cobb, Sy Young, Ruth, Aaron, not one of them made it the first year they were nominated.

Well, they do. Including Aaron. A partial(?) list. (I don't pay that much attention. Anyone go in on the first ballot in the last five years?)

I agree, though, that it's hardly shocking no one got elected. It happens.

Among other things, didn't Sosa get caught with a corked bat or something?

That he did. As a Cubs fan, I find it really hard to see Sosa as a Hall of Famer.
posted by hoyland at 11:17 AM on January 10, 2013


Way more criminal is Ron Santo not getting in while he was alive.
posted by hoyland at 11:18 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The front page of the NY Times Sports section

*snort* I can't tell if this is lazy journalism, cutting-edge art, or a tight deadline (i.e. they prepared a big space to feature the honorees, but there weren't any and there was no time to redesign the page).
posted by Melismata at 11:20 AM on January 10, 2013


And I would not even have a discussion about Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens before talking about Rose.

There's objective criteria for excluding Rose, at least; someone should not be simultaneously banned from and venerated by the sport.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2013


In light of all of the hand-wringing about Sosa and McGwire (and continuing my rant from above), I'd like to point out that Kenny Lofton was worth more Wins Above Replacement than either of those players.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, you're correct. I conflated those two things in my mind. It was unanimity I was thinking of.

I think my point still stands, though -- this hasn't happened for a long time, but it has happened a bunch (one two-year period, according the Wiki list I linked above), and this is pretty much the voters just blindly following a tradition of being hardasses.

I understand why people are pissed that their favorite deserving player didn't get in, but some are acting shocked and outraged, which strikes me as a bit surprising, given how predictable a scenario like this should be.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:22 AM on January 10, 2013


Regarding the "no one gets in unanimously" tradition...

Bill James once opined that not only was Rickey Henderson (who, as mentioned, did not get in unanimously) clearly deserving of the Hall of Fame, if you could split him in half, you'd have two Hall of Famers. Fangraphs gives it a shot and finds: yeah, that's pretty much true.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:28 AM on January 10, 2013


And I would not even have a discussion about Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens before talking about Rose.

I think we have a conversation about people who are merely accused of breaking the rules(Sosa, Clemens) before talking about someone who definitely broke the rules.

The voters decided they wanted to make a stupid statement about steroids, which led to them excluding people who either no connection to steroids (Biggio) or a connection so tenuous as to be meaningless (Piazza). Good for them, I guess, they got what they wanted, but if they keep this shit up people will stop caring about them entirely.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:29 AM on January 10, 2013


Made sense to me. If Yogi Berra wasn't a first balloter then Biggio sure as hell isn't. You got to be Ted Williams or Tony Gwynn or Rickey Henderson to get voted in on the first ballot.

Still, maybe it would be better if baseball went to a committee style process like NASCAR uses.
posted by zzazazz at 11:32 AM on January 10, 2013


The problem with the "Biggio isn't a first balloter" argument is that he is about to go up against some of the most stacked Hall of Fame ballots in history, with Maddux, Glavine, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson all joining the steroid tainted guys in the next two years. Voters may have been intending to ease guys like Biggio and Tim Raines up the the magic 75% threshold gradually, so as to show they may be Hall-worthy, but they're not upper echelon. But the crowded coming ballots are going to start to squeeze some guys off of ballots, which only have ten spots. Biggio will probably survive this onslaught, but guys like Raines may not.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:38 AM on January 10, 2013


And Dale Murphy quietly lost eligibility.
posted by Cranberry at 11:41 AM on January 10, 2013


And Dale Murphy quietly lost eligibility.

Murphy was kind of a test case for Andruw Jones. What happens when a seeming HoF talent goes off the rails in his early 30s for no good reason but still has the first two thirds of a no-doubt-about-it HoF career on his resume? The test did not go well for Jones.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:45 AM on January 10, 2013


One of the linked articles talks about a possibility of expanding the ballots, because even "small-Hall" voters are saying there are more than ten legit HOF members on next year's rolls. But that would involve the writers as a whole doing something sane.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:45 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Made sense to me. If Yogi Berra wasn't a first balloter then Biggio sure as hell isn't.

Alternatively, the idea of being "worthy" of first-ballot election is a stupid one.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:47 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not that being a first-ballot electee shouldn't be a distinction. But it should be a distinction earned because everybody agrees the player deserves to be in the Hall. Not because everybody agrees he transcended some nostalgia-fueled, inconsistent Ruth-Young-Aaron threshold of mega-greatness.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:52 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


people who are merely accused of breaking the rules

....riiiiiight

Aren't we to the point yet about stipulating PED use amongst these guys?

Pete Rose by all accounts bet on his own team, while coaching. This is blatantly against the rules, and deserved punishment. The difference of that with PED use is that it actually changes the outcome of games. That is direct cheating. See also: superballs flying out of Sammy Sosa's bat.

I have no problem with keeping both Rose and the whole host of PED shooters out of the hall. But if we're talking about the greater sports sin, it's not even close. As a sports fan, the one thing that you place your faith in is that the competition itself has some level of integrity. I'm not under any illusion that's always, or even usually true (e.g. NBA ref scandals, NCAA point shaving scandals, etc.), but when we find evidence that it's going on, it needs to be dealt with as the damnable offense it is. If Rose was so ultra-competitive he thought he'd put money down on the team he was managing, that's a bad thing, but ultimately forgivable. Or at least more so than actually cheating.

There's probably already a PED shooter or two in the Hall. If they are found out, take the plaque down. It's like making up a story and winning a Pulitzer or falsifying a resume. Relatively easy to get away with, deserving of a colossal smack down when caught.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:53 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Other than his mother or really good friend, why on earth would anyone vote for Aaron Sele to be in the Hall? How did he ever get on the ballot? The only credential he has on his resume is two All-Star Game visits.

I want to know who the one person who voted for him is.
posted by dios at 11:54 AM on January 10, 2013


That Edgar Martinez isn't really ever going to really be considered is all you need to know about HoF voters.
posted by maxwelton at 11:56 AM on January 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Biggio should be in just for getting hit by so many pitches.

The big mystery on this ballot isn't why nobody was elected, but what joker voted for Aaron Sele.
posted by indyz at 11:56 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alternatively, the idea of being "worthy" of first-ballot election is a stupid one.

This is what gets me. The BBWAA believes so strongly that they and their voting patterns are a crucial element in the legacy of Hall of Famers that they've managed to convince plenty of fans that you can actually meaningfully compare the greatness of players based on how some writers collectively voted years after the fact. Get over yourself, guys.
posted by nave at 11:58 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you don't let Bonds and Clemens in, I'd say you shouldn't let anyone else from the steroid era in. My proposal is that we keep McGwire and Sosa out as examples, since their success was largely roid-based, and let everyone else in. Besides, I like seeing McGwire cry.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:59 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The big mystery on this ballot isn't why nobody was elected, but what joker voted for Aaron Sele.
why on earth would anyone vote for Aaron Sele to be in the Hall?

Something like this happens pretty much every year and it virtually always turns out to be a gesture of kindness and respect from a beat writer who had gotten to know the player very well and wants to tip his cap at the guy on his way out. Last year, Eric young and Javy Lopez got one vote each. The year before Benito Santiago and Bret Boone got one vote each.

Cases like that one aren't about seriously suggesting the guy belongs in the Hall. They're about making sure a friend doesn't go out with a goose egg.

I don't have a problem with using an empty slot on your ballot for a symbolic gesture like that. Unless of course, you didn't find room to vote for someone like Tim Raines or Alan Trammell, in which case, fuck you.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:01 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


mcstayinskool: Jonah Keri, in the first linked article, makes the point that a pretty vast number of players before the mid-1980s used amphetamines to help them overcome fatigue, which in turn allowed them to play baseball better than a comparable athlete who was not on speed. Amphetamines and steroids were treated equally under league rules (along with non-performance-enhancing substances like pot) until quite recently. He names Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and Mike Schmidt as inductees who are known to have used stimulants in their playing days.

Should Aaron, Mays, et al. have their plaques taken down?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:01 PM on January 10, 2013


Aren't we to the point yet about stipulating PED use amongst these guys?

Well Roger Clemens was found not guilty in a court of law, so I'm not sure why I'd stipulate to something on the basis of accusations. This is one reason why caring about PEDs is moronic in the first place. Tons of guys were using, and we don't really know who. There's plenty of accusations, though. I guess we could keep out everyone who was ever accused, but that's silly. There's not a way to know who was using them and keeping people out because we choose to believe some accusations, but not others doesn't seem tenable to me.

That's also leaving to one side that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are Hall of Famers without steroids or that tons of current Hall of Famers polished their credentials with drugs like amphetamines without the whole enterprise of baseball falling into disrepute.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:03 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Rose was so ultra-competitive he thought he'd put money down on the team he was managing, that's a bad thing, but ultimately forgivable. Or at least more so than actually cheating.

No way is it ultimately forgivable. You might be able to make that argument if Rose bet equal amounts on every single one of his team's games (in much the same way that company insiders schedule stock trades in advance, so as to avoid the appearance of insider trading), but he didn't. He varied his bets, which gave him an incentive to make different managerial moves during the games he bet or bet more on than he would have otherwise.
posted by asterix at 12:15 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amphetamine use as a performance enhancer I don't like at all, but steroid use makes me think I'm not being delivered a legitimate product. Maybe my opinion is flavored by how I thought baseball legitimately sucked during the juice era, specifically because of the juice. I am willing to admit my litmus test is flawed, because clearly it is, but that's how I feel about it.

On gambling, I hear what you are saying astrix, it's a good point and I hadn't thought of it that way.

After reading the discussion here my main takeaway is that the HoF is a really pointless thing that gets undue attention.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:24 PM on January 10, 2013


Baseball writers shouldn't be the ones deciding this stuff. Let some managers, coaches, and players vote on the actual Hall of Fame.
posted by mattbucher at 12:31 PM on January 10, 2013


Let some managers, coaches, and players vote on the actual Hall of Fame.

That seems like, to me anyway, that it would be rife with problems concerning bias and favoritism. Not that I agree the current system is working at all.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Baseball writers shouldn't be the ones deciding this stuff. Let some managers, coaches, and players vote on the actual Hall of Fame.

Those are the characters who have produced the equally laughable Veteran's Committee results.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:41 PM on January 10, 2013


I have a coworker who contends that Pete Rose blasphemed the baseball gods only while serving as a coach, and should therefore be allowed into the Hall as a player. This argument has never held water with me.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:16 PM on January 10, 2013


Joe Posnanski's take on the situation.
posted by TedW at 1:40 PM on January 10, 2013


> Baseball writers shouldn't be the ones deciding this stuff. Let some managers, coaches, and players vote on the actual Hall of Fame.

Nah, that wouldn't work either, but the hypocrisy of the writers is so disgusting I find it hard to take the Hall of Fame any more seriously than I take the Oscars. Bonds is arguably the greatest hitter ever to grace the game; I don't give a good goddam if he wound up using steroids out of jealousy or whatever the story is, if he doesn't belong in the Hall, nobody does. All those sanctimonious writers tapping out their high-minded stories about the pristine purity of baseball before going back to getting shitfaced and cheating on their wives make me sick. But hey, I'm a Mets fan, so it's not like I'm not gonna be sick anyway.
posted by languagehat at 2:58 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does baseball actually ban steroid use now? Do they actually take it seriously at all? I think probably not, but some documentation would be appreciated.

As for all this WAR talk.. Can somebody explain to me how Joe Carter comes out with half the score Dave Henderson has? And for that matter, how the hell is Dan Quisenberry a better pitcher than Dave Stewart? When I first started looking today, I thought the WAR thing was aligning okay with expectations, but now it just looks like one more flawed statistic...
posted by Chuckles at 3:35 PM on January 10, 2013


Oh, and while we are on the topic of drugs in sport, Lance is going on Oprah next week :)
posted by Chuckles at 3:38 PM on January 10, 2013


Can somebody explain to me how Joe Carter comes out with half the score Dave Henderson has? And for that matter, how the hell is Dan Quisenberry a better pitcher than Dave Stewart?

WAR is based on both offense and defense. The stat rates Carter as somewhat better than Henderson on offense but absoutely awful defensively. Carter's lifetime OBP was only .306, which wasn't that good; Carter also spent more time in left and right while Henderson was mainly a centerfielder, where good offense is more scarce.

I don't know about Quisenberry and Stewart, it looks like Quisenberry is getting a lot of credit for being a closer and pitching in high-leverage situations. Stewart's ERA was apparently only average over the course of his career.
posted by leopard at 4:27 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nah, that wouldn't work either, but the hypocrisy of the writers is so disgusting I find it hard to take the Hall of Fame any more seriously than I take the Oscars.

It's not just the writers who are hypocritical, it's everyone: the players, teams, organization, and fans. People wanted more home runs and turned a blind eye to how the home runs happened. Bonds had a Hall of Fame career well before steroids.

This era happened, people loved it at the time, the games are in the books, and the top players should be in the Hall of Fame.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:28 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a newbie I am bemused. Baseball for me has little history in the way it's conventionally understood, and a definite plus in this last season for me was the widespread local disinterest in my local team, the Mariners.

I would say that this Hall of Fame thing is a reasonable bellwether for declining interest in the sport. Which means the conditions I will associate with my first year's serious interest should hold for a few years. I am reasonably confident that should the Mariners start winning my interest will decline. This is borne out by my very early childhood interest in the early 1970s Cubs and Bears, the Cubs interest continuing well into the Reds / Rose era. I don't much care for winners, I think.

Also, a tangent from up top, Andruw Jones was signed to the Rakuten Eagles just (a day or so) before he was arrested on a domestic battery charge, iirc. The Japanese team has not released definitive info about the contract status, but his wife is definitely filing for divorce.
posted by mwhybark at 4:34 PM on January 10, 2013


Ken Burns on Clemens, Bonds and the Baseball Hall of Fame: 'Those Motherf---ers Should Suffer':
The Hollywood Reporter: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza are all on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Would you vote for them?

Ken Burns: No.

THR: Ever?

Ken Burns: I want them to suffer for a while.

THR: Even if they were good before they allegedly used steroids?

Ken Burns: I think the argument is that without a doubt Clemens and Bonds should be in there, and at the highest levels. Barry Bonds may be the greatest baseball player of all time, and Roger Clemens -- maybe you'd get some arguments from the [Sandy] Koufax/[Pedro] Martinez sector and the Walter Johnson segment and the Nolan Ryan crowd -- but they are two of the very, very best. And before when we think they began taking, they're Hall of Fame caliber. But at the same time, the problem is we don't know who didn't at all. I mean, I know one person in all of the Major Leagues I'm absolutely certain didn't, and that's Ichiro Suzuki. But other than that, I have no guarantee that anyone you loved and think is way above that didn't do it. And that is why they need to wait and wait and wait. Because it makes it impossible for us to judge excellence in this era.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:35 PM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Andruw Jones posts on the indispensable Yakyu Baka.
posted by mwhybark at 4:37 PM on January 10, 2013


well, he doesn't post, but the posts are about him. Apologies for the indeterminate syntax.
posted by mwhybark at 4:39 PM on January 10, 2013


Ichiro! neener neener. except he's a Yankee now. Years late. See? SEATTLE!
posted by mwhybark at 4:40 PM on January 10, 2013


Biggio is an interesting case. Hall of fame discussions are usually pretty dumb, but here is my case against Bigge: his main qualification is 3000 hits. His 3000 hits ought to be asterisked as he was below 3000 at a time when his value plummeted below replacement level and he would have been out of a job if he didn't have 2900 hits and the Astros had no chance of winning so the org treated him as a special needs player.

I won't complain if he makes it but the people saying he is a first ballot guy are wrong. Also I am an Astros fan I swear.
posted by bukvich at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2013


Is there are rough estimate of when Clemens and Bonds started using? Because Clemens pitched his first 20 strikeout game for Boston in 1986 and his second in 1996, still 11 years before he retired. (I don't know much about Bonds, but I remember him being my neighbor's favorite back with Pittsburgh.)
posted by maryr at 7:35 PM on January 10, 2013


I'm all for excluding steroid users from the Hall of Fame. But the real solution would be to exclude steroid users from baseball. Like it or not, McGwire and Bonds made baseball history. At the same time, players who choose not to use don't have much chance at fame. It's great to protect the integrity of the Hall of Fame but we wouldn't even need to have these discussions if we could protect the integrity of the sport.

For me it's all about the health of the players. We have created a culture where they are encouraged to take harmful drugs. I don't have a problem with people choosing to take drugs but for these guys it is their job. They deserve a work environment where staying clean does not compromise their economic livelihood.

P.S. Pete Rose will always have a place in my own personal Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a legend and he deserves better than he got.
posted by foobaz at 10:07 PM on January 10, 2013


Biggio was an all-star at catcher and second base I believe. Rare combo. +1 for that. I don't know enough of the stats and can't be arsed to look 'em up to make any sort of informed opinions any which way, but that won't stop me.

It might seem preposterous that Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell and Curt Schilling and Tim Raines aren't already in...

The problem with Tim Raines (and Kenny Lofton) is Ricky Henderson. Too soon. Ridiculous, but too soon.

Those other 3 seem like automatic selections to me.

I know one person in all of the Major Leagues I'm absolutely certain didn't, and that's Ichiro Suzuki.

I call bullshit.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:07 AM on January 11, 2013


Is there are rough estimate of when Clemens and Bonds started using? Because Clemens pitched his first 20 strikeout game for Boston in 1986 and his second in 1996, still 11 years before he retired. (I don't know much about Bonds, but I remember him being my neighbor's favorite back with Pittsburgh.)

The story told about Bonds is usually that he started using in 1998 because he was jealous of the attention McGwire and Sosa got. Clemens is accused of starting to use around the same time, even if you cut them both off at '98, they're Hall of Famers.

I also read this article today, and I think it's worth reading if you want to engage with the steroids issue beyond just saying "they're cheaters" and leave it at that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:24 AM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


His 3000 hits ought to be asterisked as he was below 3000 at a time when his value plummeted below replacement level and he would have been out of a job if he didn't have 2900 hits and the Astros had no chance of winning so the org treated him as a special needs player.

What??

Anyway, 2900 hits is a HOF credential - Biggio also hit almost 300 home runs, stole 400+ bases and had more than 600 doubles (a stat he is 5th all-time in). He is 20th all-time in hits, even if he hadn't reached 3000 hits, at 2800 he would have still been in the top 50 all-time.

Asteriked? Because he "plummeted below replacement level"? Insanity.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:40 AM on January 11, 2013


130 31 3 10 50 23 112 4 3 .251 .285 .381 .666 -2.3

is Biggio's stat line for his last season when he played 141 games.

-2.3 is wins above replacement. Negative. He played until he was a mediocre player to eke out 3000 hits. If the Astros had tried to trade him, they would have gotten no offers. If they had waived him, he would not have been claimed. This is how I remember Craig Biggio.

I didn't say he wasn't a Hall of Famer. I said that is the argument against. Not my argument. The argument.
posted by bukvich at 10:34 AM on January 11, 2013


If we judged players on what they did their last year before riding into the sunset, the hall would be a lot smaller than it is now. How brilliant was Pedro's last season? Henderson's prolonged refusal to retire? "He got worse when he was really old" is not much of an argument.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2013


-2.3 is wins above replacement. Negative. He played until he was a mediocre player to eke out 3000 hits. If the Astros had tried to trade him, they would have gotten no offers. If they had waived him, he would not have been claimed. This is how I remember Craig Biggio.

I get that it's not your argument, but it's a silly argument, not least because he still has a Hall of Fame quality WAR with the negatives from that last season. Taking into account that he spent a year as a subreplacement level player, he's still HOF caliber based on WAR.

3,000 hit isn't his claim to the Hall of Fame. The fact that he was a very good player is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:48 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I think of Craig Biggio, what springs to mind is him standing there at the plate: Filthy batting helmet, dusty uniform. He's going to get on base. Maybe by getting hit by a pitch, because Craig Biggio is not afraid of getting plunked. Maybe by legging out a ground ball, because Craig Biggio always did. If he doesn't hit a double, which Craig Biggio did more than any other right handed player who ever played, as soon as he gets on first, he's going to look to steal second. Craig Biggio got thrown out at second trying to stretch his 3000th hit into a double. That's how the man played the game, that's how I remember Craig Biggio.
posted by IanMorr at 12:15 PM on January 11, 2013


Craig Biggio got thrown out at second trying to stretch his 3000th hit into a double.

I guess that would have hurt his WAR?
Ya, I'm still marvelling at how Joe Carter ranks as a below average (though slightly above replacement) player..
posted by Chuckles at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't say he wasn't a Hall of Famer. I said that is the argument against. Not my argument. The argument.

It would probably have helped if you hadn't said: "but here is my case against Bigge", that's what made me think you were arguing against his inclusion. Now you're not? Just playing devil's advocate?

Either way, he does belong in Cooperstown.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:05 PM on January 11, 2013


Chuckles--maybe hang out at Fangraphs.com or Baseball Think Factory.org for a bit. There's more to WAR and other modern stats than we can do right by in a few MeFi comments. But if you checked out some of the talk there you will see these are sharp, serious people doing real work.

Consider that Nate Silver, late of NYT's FiveThirtyEight blog and best known for correctly predicting the results in all fifty states in the 2012 presidential election, comes from this community of researchers...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:27 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe by getting hit by a pitch, because Craig Biggio is not afraid of getting plunked.

I changed my mind. Any ballplayer willing to get hit by a pitch instead of hitting the ball should NOT be in the Hall of Fame. So one hard and fast rule is OK by me. (I would disagree with your characterization. He wouldn't mind of course, but I think he'd always rather hit it. My2c...)

Ya, I'm still marvelling at how Joe Carter ranks as a below average (though slightly above replacement) player..

because he was a mediocre ball player?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:14 PM on January 22, 2013


Any ballplayer willing to get hit by a pitch instead of hitting the ball should NOT be in the Hall of Fame.

Given that your objective is to get on base and if you don't get a lot of extra base hits (so you're not Craig Biggio with all those doubles), getting hit is as good as anything else. If you don't attempt to avoid getting hit, you don't get the base. (Sure, there's a gray area as to what 'makes no attempt' means--is an obviously half-assed attempt enough?) Is getting walked not good enough for the Hall of Fame? Okay, you probably exercised some restraint in getting walked, but fundamentally your base is due to the pitcher's incompetence, as it is when you get hit.
posted by hoyland at 11:59 AM on January 23, 2013


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