Tuesday, January 13, 2009

At Last

The third straight Red Sox LF from 1939-1987 (Williams, Yasztremski, Rice) headed into the Hall. It only took 15 years to get him in. Only nine other guys have as many home runs and a higher career average. Those names read like a who's who of the best the game has to offer: Aaron, Foxx, Gehrig, Mantle, Mays, Musial, Ott, Ruth and Williams. Rice, despite the wait and despite this being his last HOF ballot, undoubtedly deserves his place among them. The ONLY player with three straight seasons batting .315 or higher, 39+ HRs, 100+ RBIs and 200+ hits. He was straight dominant for 12 seasons in the AL, as the ONLY player of his generation (1975-1986) to hit over .300 while clubbing 350+ HR. During the same span he amassed 6 Top-5 finishes in AL MVP voting, and, in 1978, he was the first AL player since Joe DiMaggio in 1937 to accumulate more than 400 TB in a single season (even in the steroid era, no ALer has done it since). And did we mention the broken bat check swings? There's no stat for that, but...

ESPN noted that he joins Bobby Doerr, Ted Williams, and Carl Yasztremski as the only members of the Hall of Fame to spend their entire career with the Red Sox. "That's, I think, one of the biggest accomplishments," Rice said.

One other interesting note: Joe Gordon got in on the Veterans Commitee ballot. This is well deserved and I only bring Joe Gordon's name up, because of the 1942 MVP voting in 1942. Ted Williams hits for the fucking Triple Crown and they give it to Joe Gordon? Granted this was decades ago and Ted was how he was with the press, but you have to be kidding me. The same goes for the 2 morons that voted for Jay Bell on this HOF ballot, and the 5 that didn't vote for Rickey Henderson...Outrageous. We're going to vote for a guy (Jay Bell) with less than 200 career HRs and a sub-.270 career BA and leave the guy with the 5th highest mark in career Ks out in the cold (Bert Blyleven)? My only rationale for the 2 Jay Bell votes is that someone is rubbing it in with Blyleven...Bell was part of a three player package that sent Blyleven to the Twins in 1986. Abstract yes, but there really is no defense for the votes that Jesse Orosco, Mo Vaughn, Jay Bell and Matt Williams received. None.

The system is officially broke.


Pat said...

Honestly the HOF voting is one of the few aspects of modern sports that seems to remain pure. 5 voters didn't vote for Rickey Henderson because he was an asshole during his playing career and those 5 people assumed their vote would have no factor in him getting in the Hall they were right.

Bert Blylevyn will eventually get into the Hall. But it may be a long wait just as it was for Jim Rice, the single most undeserving Hall of Famer in history.

In the past baseball greats have been defined by their ability to do a number of things, the accumulation of stats, the ability to lead teams, clutch performances, winning championships, and defense. Jim Rice did a couple of these things okay but for the most part he was a below average fielder that never won anything more then an American League Pennant. There are far more deserving players then he is to have been enshrined by the Hall of Fame.

Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Goose Gossage, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell all should probably have been enshrined ahead of Rice. But it wasn't their year.

Jim Rice was a very good baseball player for his career and a great player for at least half of it. That is not enough to be a Hall of Famer alongside Ted Williams and Carl Yazstremski.

NF said...


Thanks for visiting and thanks for leaving a comment. I completely disagree with a number of things.

First, I think the system is broke when voters are using this as an opportunity to prevent a unanimous decision or simply air a grievance instead of strictly determining through a player's performance, statistics, etc. as to whether or not they belong in the Hall of Fame. When politics, grudges, and the like come into consideration just as much as a player's stats there is something wrong.

Second, I hear your argument with The Hawk. Loved him then, love him now. One of the most feared arms in the bigs. Ever. And some great career numbers. I don't put him ahead of Rice, but I believe he deserves his place. Likewise Goose Gossage. And the list ends there.

I'm going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that you're a Yankee fan and therein lies the disconnect (and the Mattingly, Torre love). Who knows, maybe you're a Dodger fan?

Below are the Bill James HOF monitors for Rice and Mattingly...

Black: Batting - 23 (85) (Avg HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray: Batting - 111 (187) (Avg HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Std: Batting - 34.2 (201) (Avg HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Mon: Batting - 133.5 (98) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Black: Batting - 33 (49) (Avg HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray: Batting - 176 (57) (Avg HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Std: Batting - 43.0 (114) (Avg HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Mon: Batting - 144.5 (89) (Likely HOFer > 100)

**Overall Rank in parentheses.

This is Bill James at his best, and also, speaks, to a large degree, to offense. But it does factor in defense, team performance, etc. In no case does Mattingly surpass Rice. Rice was better, for longer, no ifs ands or buts. Despite his struggles with the press, Rice was in the Top 5 in MVP ballots 6 times (3.15 shares, 29th all time). Mattingly, 3 times (2.22 shares, 74th all time). Mattingly was great for 6 straight years, whereas Jim Rice was the most feared hitter in the league for 11 straight. In fact, Mattingly reminds me a lot of Nomar. That early burst of excellence and then an injury...and I guess you can thank Bob Shirley for that.

In terms of least deserving HOFers: Rube Marquard, Bill Mazeroski and Phil Rizzuto come to mind. Marquard had 3 20 win seasons and then a handful of decent seasons after that. His ERA v. the league ERA of the time, doesn't do much for me. Mazeroski had that hit and a slew of Golden Gloves. Rizzuto had an MVP and came in second to Williams once. Other than that, the career .706 OPS is abysmal and the career stats just don't add up to HOF-caliber.

While I can buy your contention that Mattingly deserves more attention I can't agree that he deserves it more than Rice.

Pat said...

Let's face it Scooter got in because of the way the position was when he played. In his time he was probably the best Shortstop of the day.

I'm still voting for Mattingly every year (if I hypothetically ever get a vote).

My only true contention with your rebuttal is the opening paragraph. This statement seems to say that would vote for players of the steroid generation like Palmeiro and McGiwre because they certainly have the numbers. I kind of hope that's not true as you obviously seem to be a fan of the game and hopefully you don't support that shit which has nearly destroyed the pastime.

The voting system is this way because there are intangibles that cannot be quantified by statistics. Bill Mazerowki drove his team to a championship, you can't quantify that but you can certainly add it in to consideration. I think that will eventually play in favor of folks like Andre Dawson and Bert Blylevyn and Lee Smith where it might keep losers like McGwire and Palmeiro out despite their lofty stats.

I'd love to hear what you would propose as an alternative voting system. Oh and you guess right Yanks all the way!