Requirements for BBWAA: Inability to Apply Reason and Logic

leave all jokes about women at the door. (you can find my reference)

Andre Dawson flew into the Hall of Fame on just about the flimsiest batting percentages this side of…Jeff Francouer? I’ve heard several arguments for Dawson’s election involving him being ROY, MVP, 400HR-300SB, he played CF on injured knees (oh, the grit). Now we debunk:

Rookie of the Year
1977, a time before anyone knew about OBP and everyone just cared about HR. There were three players deserving of honors and a Floyd Bannister receiving attention.

Player Games Runs HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG
A 146 79 5 32 56 .290 .363 .390
B 139 64 19 65 21 .282 .326 .474
C 99 67 12 65 6 .297 .372 .480

Player A is Gene Richards who didn’t do much else besides put up more of the same types of seasons for a few more years. You’ll notice that Player C had more runs and the same RBI total as Player B in fewer games, but B did hit 7 more HRs in those 40 more games. So yeah, Dawson squeaked by because, surprise, surprise, the BBWAA deemed him better than Steve Henderson (who never did much else, nor hit more than 10 HR in a season following his shun). And hey, Bobby Crosby, Walt Weiss, and Chris Sabo have all been ROY because there was literally no one better than them (and they had worse seasons than Dawson). So yeah, ROY election is a great attribute to mention.

Most Valuable Player
Over the years there have been several players who have had anomalously productive seasons. Andre Dawson had one of those where he hit almost twice as many HR as his career 162 game average and 39 more RBIs.
Writers like to whine about how the MVP should come from a playoff team or at least a contending team. Dawson’s Cubs finished last in their division. So way to go there.
Dawson was ahead of the other considered players in only HR and RBI. 10 players had more Runs, 12 had more SB, 11 had a higher BA, ALL 17 of the other hitters had a higher OBP, 5 had a higher SLG, 2 were better in all five of those categories, and another 4 in four of the five.
There was literally no one else close to Dawson on the Cubs that year (Sandberg and Sutcliffe were distant stars) and I can see a case made for MVPness (say it aloud and at work), but if you harp on disregarding non-playoff contending players for MVP, then don’t use that as a case for HOF when you can look it up and see that they were wrongly (in your stupid, stupid eyes) MVPed (aloud again).
Edgar Martinez was once not given enough attention for MVP in 1995. Reason? People like to pay attention to HR and RBI. By “people” I mean shells of human beings who ply their trade in the sports “writing” industry.

The 400 HR, 300 SB Club
…of which there are two others, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. Arbitrary stat plateau groupings are fun. A-Rod is about to join that group (3 more SBs) and Carlos Beltran could feasibly make it if he refrains from random injuries and freak head collisions. All four mentioned players are way better than Dawson. Chase Utley could make it if he steals more and David Wright could make it if he hits somewhere other than Citifield. Ryan Braun and Hanley Ramirez also have the opportunity and years ahead of them. Those four players are also way better than Dawson in terms of BA and OBP…plate discipline in general.

Playing CF on injury ravaged knees
…is a good way to ruin them even more. Oh right, after several years of Gold Glove (hey, another arbitrarily voted award, but this time by the managers, who focus more on building and running their team than thinking “that player can really flash the leather”) defense in CF, Dawson had to switch to RF because his knees really sucked and an OF can spend a lot of time sucking in RF without negatively impacting his team as much. So Dawson went and sucked a bunch in RF (where he logged more seasons and innings than he did in CF).
You want admirable? How about a player who wasn’t the greatest fielder so he sacrificed playing time in the field and switched to DH, becoming one of the best hitters in the game. Yeah, Edgar Martinez can swat the crap out of Dawson.

Everything Else
We can take a look at Win Shares, WAR, RARP, FRAR, OPS+ and wOBA to get a better look at the HOF candidates. The first four will be averaged for 162 game average, since Andre Dawson’s balky knees somehow managed to allow him to play 21 seasons giving him extra stat padding over other players. A quick briefing assuming you understand or just read the links attached to those odd looking words: all of these attempt to compile stats into one complete valuation of a player. It is no small surprise that Babe Ruth usually finishes atop all other players (his average seasonal WAR was 11.13!). Some take into account defense or position on the field. The batters are presented in order of HOF voting percentage.

Player WinShares WAR RARP FRAR OPS+ wOBA
Andre Dawson 20.97 3.50 33.42 18.99 119 .352
Roberto Alomar 25.54 4.33 43.85 27.31 116 .365
Barry Larkin 25.79 5.11 53.50 30.02 116 .366
Edgar Martinez 24.04 5.30 48.96 1.73 147 .405
Tim Raines 25.25 4.20 44.81 15.60 124 .374
Mark McGwire 29.56 5.45 56.36 9.34 162 .415
Alan Trammell 22.47 4.72 41.90 33.91 110 .343
Fred McGriff 21.47 3.33 36.02 8.63 134 .382
Don Mattingly 23.87 3.62 29.77 14.07 127 .361
Dave Parker 21.48 2.49 28.12 11.04 121 .352
Dale Murphy 21.87 3.30 34.78 18.28 121 .357
Harold Baines 17.57 2.12 21.64 8.07 120 .356
Andres Galarrage 18.02 1.92 18.09 8.47 118 .363
Robin Ventura 21.20 4.29 30.16 25.56 114 .350

Crapping on baserunners from great heights is also something Alomar could do that Dawson couldn't.

Not one of them has even half of Ruth’s average WAR!

No player trumped Dawson in all six categories, but several players didn’t spend most of their time fielding or were more known for a much more (than Dawson) prolific bat than glove. 11 (of the other 13) players had better Win Shares, 8 had better WAR, 8 had better RARP, 4 had better FRAR, 8 had better OPS+, and 10 had better wOBA (one matched Dawson). 5 players (Alomar through McGwire) were better in five of the six and another 4 better in four of six. The averages hide the fact that some players suffered from short careers or injury trouble (Mattingly had 11 seasons of 162 and McGwire 11.5), but they also reveal just how much a few more seasons or a couple more sets of 162 games can boost a player’s stats. I would like to point out that it is criminal that Baines and Galarraga received more votes than Ventura, none of whom are HOF worthy, but if Baines is due for repeated ballots then Ventura deserves the honor also. Alomar, Larkin, and Trammell get positional boosts to some of the categories, but in all honesty SS and 2B are more difficult than CF and way harder than RF. Fred McGriff is a close comparison to Andre Dawson, albeit with worse fielding (1B, DH) and lower SB, but way better percentages. Tim Raines is a better player than Dawson and it is no coincidence that Dawson’s first 100-plus RBI total (113) matches up with then teammate Raines’ 133 Run season. By the way, Dawson only posted four 100-plus RBI seasons.
His five highest HR totals are: 49, 32, 31, 27, 25 (twice). Huge drop-off? Yup. Despite his combination of high SLG and competent SB his five highest Run totals are: 107, 104, 96, 90, 90. Granted, he played on bad (losing) teams 10 of the 17 seasons he received 400+ ABs.
Let’s mention (limited) postseason experience. In 15 games Andre went 3R, 0HR, 3RBI, 2SB, .186BA, .238OBP, .237SLG. That is a small sample size of sucking. (That’s what she said)

There is a whole slew of BBWAA writers out there defending faulty and misguided opinions (they can be wrong in the face of mountains of evidence) over why Dawson is a HOFer and so-and-so or whosiwhatsit isn’t. Or why Jack Morris is and Bert Blyleven isn’t. And getting made fun of for it. And then basically regurgitating the same story two years later. But more on that later and how one game is all the judgement needed. I have to run the numbers.

WordPress has this spellchecker…that doesn’t contain WordPress apparently, but also dislikes ‘judgement’ in favor of ‘judgment.’ This is just wrong (even though judgment is apparently allowable). The freakin’ ‘e’ is what softens the ‘g.’ Under this spelling, applying English word pronunciation guidelines (yes, not always following stringent rules (look at that g-e combo)), we should say “jud-guh-ment” which could be a nice breath freshener. Fuck you, word bastardizers.

I am always right. Right? Right. OK, lesson adjourned.


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