The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Baines' HOF election shouldn't justify a degradation of Hall standards

Harold Baines’ election to the Baseball Hall of Fame last month by the Veterans Committee still has a lot of people scratching their heads about the criteria some of the voters used to evaluate candidates.  It seems to be inconsistent with current thinking that utilizes more than the traditional metrics used since the beginning of the Hall in 1936.

On the other hand, if Baines is truly Hall-worthy, then perhaps some of the players, who fell off the ballot without receiving the required minimum of 75% of the votes during their years of eligibility, should be re-evaluated.  There is a formal process to do this through the Hall of Fame Veterans Committees, which is how Baines was elected last month and Allan Trammel and Jack Morris were elected a year ago.  However, the integrity of the process was called into question in Baines’ case.

The following tables illustrate the stats of some of the position players from Baines’ era (Group 1) that could be reconsidered.

Table 1 shows selected stats from an analytics standpoint, including the usual slash line (Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage), Adjusted On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS+), Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and Top 7 Years for WAR (WAR7).

Table 2 shows traditional stats (Batting Average, Hits, Home Runs, and Runs Batted In) for the same grouping of players as Table 1.  The Awards column includes All-Star appearances (AS), Gold Glove Awards (GG), first-place finishes for Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) and the number of finishes in the Top 10 for Most Valuable Player (MVP10).

For comparison purposes, Group 2 shows the same stats for Baines, as well as several other recent HOF inductees.  Group 3 contains retired players who will be coming up on the ballot within the next few years.  The players in this group are generally thought of as being sure-fire electees when their eligibility comes due.

The data shows there are a number of players in Group 1 who had better careers than Baines.  Dale Murphy and Bernie Williams are two that stand out based on a combination of their analytics and traditional stats.

Murphy was frequently among league leaders in home runs and RBI.  However, he suffered from playing for some poor Braves teams, as they had only three winning seasons in his 15 years with them.  When the Braves finished first and second in their division in 1983 and 1983, Murphy was the National League MVP.

Williams played during the Yankees dynasty years of 1996-2006, when they won six World Series.  He played in the shadows of the Yankees’ popular Core Four consisting of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettite.  The group really should have been called the Core Five, with Williams as an integral part.  Williams was their regular centerfielder throughout the dynasty years.  He was a five-time all-star that earned four Gold Gloves.

But then when Murphy and Williams, as well as any other players from Group 1, are compared to other recent Hall of Famers in Group 2, they don’t quite measure up.

Putting the Group 1 players up against the future Hall of Famers in Group 3 yields similar results.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voters got it right with respect to the Group 1 players when they were on the ballot.  Baines should be considered an anomaly and not be used to justify a degradation of the standards for getting a bronze plaque in the Hall.  As good as players like Murphy and Williams were, they belong in the Hall of Very Good, not the Hall of Fame.

Table 1 – Selected Analytics Stats

Name

Years Played

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

WAR

WAR7

Group 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver, Al

1969-1985

0.303

0.344

0.451

121

43.7

28.1

Murphy, Dale

1976-1993

0.265

0.346

0.469

121

46.6

41.2

Hernandez, Keith

1975-1990

0.296

0.384

0.436

128

60.4

41.3

Mattingly, Don

1982-1995

0.307

0.358

0.471

127

42.4

35.7

Williams, Bernie

1991-2006

0.297

0.381

0.477

125

49.6

37.6

Parker, Dave

1973-1991

0.290

0.339

0.471

121

40.1

37.4

Grace, Mark

1988-2003

0.303

0.383

0.442

119

46.4

29.7

Garvey, Steve

1969-1987

0.294

0.329

0.446

117

38.1

28.8

Clark, Will

1986-2000

0.303

0.384

0.497

137

56.5

36.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baines, Harold

1980-2001

0.289

0.356

0.465

121

38.7

21.4

Biggio, Craig

1988-2007

0.281

0.363

0.433

112

65.5

41.7

Bagwell, Jeff

1991-2005

0.297

0.408

0.540

149

79.9

48.3

Piazza, Mike

1992-2007

0.308

0.377

0.545

142

59.6

43.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos Beltran

1998-2017

0.279

0.350

0.486

119

69.8

44.4

Adrian Beltre

1998-2018

0.286

0.339

0.480

116

95.7

49.3

Ortiz, David

1997-2016

0.286

0.380

0.552

141

55.3

35.2

Jeter, Derek

1995-2014

0.310

0.377

0.440

115

72.4

42.4

 

Table 2 – Traditional Stats

Name

BA

H

HR

RBI

Awards

Group 1

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver, Al

0.303

2743

219

1326

7 AS, Bat Title, 3  MVP10

Murphy, Dale

0.265

2111

398

1266

7 AS,  2 MVP, 4  MVP10, 5 GG

Hernandez, Keith

0.296

2182

162

1071

5 AS,  1 MVP, 4 MVP10, 11 GG

Mattingly, Don

0.307

2153

222

1099

6 AS, 1 MVP, 4 MVP10, 9 GG

Williams, Bernie

0.297

2336

287

1257

5 AS,  1 MVP10, 4 GG, Bat Title

Parker, Dave

0.290

2712

339

1493

7 AS,  1 MVP, 6 MVP10, 3 GG

Grace, Mark

0.303

2445

173

1146

3 AS, 4 GG

Garvey, Steve

0.294

2599

272

1308

10 AS, 1 MVP, 5 MVP10, 4 GG,

Clark, Will

0.303

2176

284

1205

6 AS, 4 MVP10, 1 GG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group 2

 

 

 

 

 

Baines, Harold

0.289

2866

384

1628

6 AS, 2 MVP10,

Biggio, Craig

0.281

3060

291

1175

7 AS, 3 MVP10, 4 GG

Bagwell, Jeff

0.297 

 2314

449 

1529 

 4 AS, 1 MVP, 6 MVP10, 1 GG

Piazza, Mike

0.308

2127

427

1335

12 AS, 7 MVP10,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group 3

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos Beltran

0.279

2725

435

1587

9 AS, 2 MVP10, 3 GG

Adrian Beltre

0.286

3166

477

1707

4 AS, 6 MVP10, 5 GG

Ortiz, David

0.286

2472

541

1768

10 AS, 7 MVP10,

Jeter, Derek

0.310

3465

260

1311

14 AS, 8 MVP10, 5 GG

 

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