Friday, January 12, 2007

Thoughts on the Hall of Fame

I've been busy crunching numbers lately and did not say much about the recent Hall of Fame voting. Today, I'll take some time to give a few opinions. First, I thought Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were good and obvious choices. There is not much controversy here.

As for Tigers who missed out, I don't think JackMorris belongs in the Hall of Fame. He was a good pitcher for a long time but was not a great pitcher. He had a career ERA+ (ERA adjusted for league average and ballpark effects) of 104. That means he was just 4% above the average pitcher over his career. He won a lot of games because he played for very good teams who gave him lots of offensive support. He was extremely durable and was a solid pitcher and I'm certainly glad the Tigers had him but he was not an elite pitcher.

Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell are both on the fence. I'd put them in but neither is a slam dunk candidate. They both were good at all facets of the game but neither was outstanding at any one thing. Whitaker also never had a truely great season whereas Trammell had a season in 1987 which should have ended with the MVP award. Their lifetime stats are nearly identical: Whitaker .276/.366/.426 in 2390 games and Trammell .285/.354/.415 in 293 games. A case can be made than neither one was elite enough but there is no excuse for Whitaker failing to stay on the ballot in his first year. That was one of the worst Hall of Fame snubs ever. Ideally, they should go in together. They are questionable separately but as a duo they are unmatched. I still suspect they will be put in together by the Veteran's Committe some day a long time from now.

In actuality though, I don't care too much about who gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. First, I've been to Cooperstown several times and Whitaker and Trammell and Morris are well represented. They don't have a plaque in the offical Hall of fame Room but that room is probably the least interesting of all the rooms in the Hall of Fame. There are plenty of other more entertaining rooms and you'll see all the 1984 Tigers memorabilia there. Pete Rose and Mark McGwire are there too.

The other reason I don't care too much who goes in there is that so many mistakes have been made and so much politics is involved that induction into the Hall of Fame is not the honor that is once was. As US Patriot (ballpark factor guy and writer of Walk Like a Sabermetrician) says it's more fun to decide who should be in that who does go in.

Mark McGwire? I would put him in there without hesitation. A very logical and eloquently written article by Russell Robets (Cafe Hayek) mirrors my opinion about "cheating" and states it better than I could. He says that "cheating" has been part of the game forever and it's really hard to differentiate between real cheating and OK cheating. While use of performance enhancing drugs has become very taboo in the past couple of years, it was much fuzzier back in the 90s and early 00's when McGwire and Barry Bonds were setting home run records. Thanks to US Patriot to pointing this article out.

Another excellent article was written by Jayson Stark who says that performance enhancing drugs were part of the 90s and we just have to accept it. This is something I've been arguing on messageboards for a while so I was happy to read this.


  1. I think it would be cool if Tram and Lou were inducted as a duo. How fitting would it be for them to share a plaque?

  2. I never expected to see Russ Roberts quoted in a Tiger blog. I read Cafe Hayek every day. I'm glad to see other Tiger fans with the same interests I have.


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