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.

Edgar Martinez > Dan Shaughnessy

Somebody named Dan Shaughnessy hacked into on Monday and posted an article about why he’s not voting for Edgar Martinez for the Hall of Fame.  I suggest you read the article now, before it gets taken down by the site admins.

Shawnhessy doesn't like numbers

Oh wait, seems like Dan Shaughwhatever is a columnist for the Boston Globe.  Huh, that’s weird, I thought Sports Illustrated catered to a national audience.  Oh well.

Here is a tasty sample platter of Shoonbussy’s reasoning for not voting for Edgar (with acknowledgement to the Fire Joe Morgan guys for pioneering this style of textual rebuttal):

I just can’t bring myself to put him in Cooperstown alongside Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
But how about putting him next to Carlton Fisk, Lloyd Waner and Joe Medwick?  They’re all there, too.

Each Hall voter applies his own standards, and mine often references the famous line that Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart applied to pornography. Stewart argued that he might not be able to define what was pornographic, “but I know it when I see it.”
Ah, okay, so you’re making shit up as you go along.  I’m glad you’re in charge of enshrining people.  I’d hate for those hallowed halls to be defined by some kind of rigorous bar against which players are measured.

Edgar Martinez was a very fine hitter, but I never said to myself, “The Mariners are coming to Fenway this weekend. I wonder how the Sox are going to pitch to Edgar Martinez?”
Oh wait, I think we’re getting to the gist of it here.  Let’s keep going.

It was different with players like Eddie Murray and Jim Rice.
The reasoning emerges.  See it yet? 

A lifetime .312 average is impressive and Edgar’s OPS puts him in an elite class. But he wasn’t a home run hitter (309), he couldn’t carry a team, he didn’t scare you, and (sorry) he rarely played defense.... Edgar Martinez was a fine hitter and got on base a lot. But he was a corner infielder who didn’t hit a lot of homers and then he became a guy who spent the majority of every game watching from the bench.

Okay.  So Dan Shooboody thinks that teams weren’t afraid of Edgar Martinez, he didn’t hit home runs, and he didn’t play defense.  Let us address this, as succinctly as we possibly can.

Not photoshopped.

1)  Dan Shudthumper thinks Edgar is not a Hall of Famer because The Red Sox weren’t afraid of him.  I looked up numbers, and that’s valid.  Edgar only hit .299/.395/.469 in 69 games in Fenway.  However, how did The Edgar do against some other teams (in away games)?

Angels (.319/.423/.489) in 97 games
Rangers (.282/.381/.508) in 78 games
Orioles (.327/.436/.574) in 56 games
Red Sox (.299/.395/.469) in 69 games
White Sox (.315/.423/.514) in 68 games
Twins (.371/.454/.610) in 69 games
Yankees (.337/.439/.545) in 68 games

You can bet that sports writers in St. Paul and New York knew when The Edgar was coming to town.  And if one team can get a player out, then surely Jim Rice is not a Hall of Famer, having hit only .264/.305/.449 against the Angels in 148 games.

2)  Edgar did not hit home runs.  Well, he hit 309 in 7,213 at bats, or 1 per 23 at bats.  Jim Rice hit 382 in 8,225 at bats, or 1 per 21 at bats.  The big difference?  Jim Rice hit them in Dan Shankapotomus’s home town

Our boy pulls out the ol’ calculator-hate-card in this article (quoted below), but he does mention Edgar’s .300/.400/.500 career line.  So on the off-chance that he actually knows what slugging percentage means, let’s point out that Edgar’s career was .515.  Jim Rice’s career slugging was .502.  Slugging is a rough measure of your power.  Edgar didn’t hit 500 home runs because he was busy hitting 500 doubles.  Jim Rice hit 73 more home runs and 141 fewer doubles in 1,112 more at bats.

Corner infielder needs to hit home runs, eh?  Perhaps you would have preferred Vinny Castilla, or Ken Caminiti?  Are you suggesting they were more appropriate corner infielders?  That they knew their roles better?

3)  Edgar didn’t play defense.  Yeah, he was a DH for much of his career.  But Paul Molitor, himself a DH and a Hall of Famer, put it nicely.  Speaking about being a DH and under Hall consideration, he said: “They’re not going to hold it against you.  It’s part of the game and should be included as such.”

It’s part of the game.  It’s patently unfair to deny someone membership in the Hall because they played your least favorite position.  To Dan Shawshank, The Edgar’s real sin was not being a DH in Boston. 

Here, again, is David Schoenfield’s great article laying out Edgar’s case for the Hall.  He includes all those numbers which Dan Shawnofthedead thinks are ruining the game (if analysis is ruining the fun of a game for you, you must not like the game that much).  But, as Dan Stickinthemud says,

The stat geeks, those get-a-lifers who are sucking all the joy out of our national pastime, no doubt will be able to demonstrate that Edgar was better than Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby. I’m not buying. Stats don’t tell the whole story.

And for Dan Shouldntbevoingforthehall, the whole story is that Edgar didn’t play in Boston.

Edgar for the Hall

Edgar Martinez Drive runs along the south side of Safeco Field

Do the right thing: Edgar in 2010

ESPN editor David Shoenfield does us all the service of laying out the case for Edgar Martinez’s rightful place in the Hall of Fame:

Griffey’s race home from first in 1995 may have saved baseball in Seattle, but it was Edgar who lined the double down the third base line which sent him home.  While Griffey will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, it would be perhaps more fitting that Edgar be the first player elected to the Hall as a Seattle Mariner.

Do it.