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MLB HOF 2019 Ballot

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1 hour ago, OSJ said:

This actually surprises me as I know you saw a lot of Lofton's career with a knowledgeable eye. Elite defensive player, (better than Edmonds by a hair), a terror on the basepaths and always a formidable offensive threat. The biggest knock on Lofton is the number of teams he played for, which on one hand can be said to mean that his teams considered him expendable; yet the flipside is that he was great trade bait because everyone wanted him. 

107, 121, 145, 110, 107, 119, 102, 112, 100, 89

Those are Lofton's OPS+ numbers in Cleveland.  I don't consider anything under 120 to be "formidable".  100 is, obviously, average.  100-120 falls in the "pretty good" category for me.  That leaves you with two seasons of "formidable", barely.

Lofton is one of the last of the "fast and gets on base" guys, basically.  Except his .372 OBP is not all that special.  And, for all his speed, and the lineup he played in, he didn't score all that many runs.  One great season (1996), the rest nothing special.  

Lofton was a very good, sometimes excellent, player.  He wasn't a HOFer.

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15 minutes ago, Tabe said:

He managed the '27 Yankees?

I know you are joking but the 69 Miracle Mets are absolutely in the conversation for that title. Not only were they the most shocking champion in baseball history they are probably the most shocking champion in American major pro sports history. The joke back then was that man will set foot on the moon before the Mets win the World Series, and that's exactly what happened.

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22 minutes ago, sabremike said:

I know you are joking but the 69 Miracle Mets are absolutely in the conversation for that title. Not only were they the most shocking champion in baseball history they are probably the most shocking champion in American major pro sports history. The joke back then was that man will set foot on the moon before the Mets win the World Series, and that's exactly what happened.

Half-joking.  Obviously, I knew what team you were referring to.  But, by far, the most legendary team in baseball history is the '27 Yankees.  The '69 Mets are "celebrated" and whatever but "legendary"?  That's the '27 Yankees all  the way.

I'll give you "most shocking" champion in baseball history though the '06 White Sox and '14 Braves might argue with you.

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2 hours ago, Tabe said:

That just shows what a joke WAR is.  Yeah, Lofton was worth more wins than the guy who had 40 homers in 2/3 of a season, and an OPS+ nearly 30 points higher, while playing the same position at nearly (if not exactly) the same level of competence.  Put another way: Is there a single GM that's ever lived who would trade Griffey's 1994 season for Lofton's?  Of course not.

I'd argue that Lofton's base stealing put his team in a better position because of the number of great hitters they had behind him.  Griffey was better, but having a great leadoff hitter who will steal his way into scoring position is really valuable when you have Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome hitting after him.  There is only one word that explains how those loaded Indians teams didn't win a World Series, and that word is...Cleveland.

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1 hour ago, supremebve said:

I'd argue that Lofton's base stealing put his team in a better position because of the number of great hitters they had behind him.  Griffey was better, but having a great leadoff hitter who will steal his way into scoring position is really valuable when you have Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome hitting after him.  There is only one word that explains how those loaded Indians teams didn't win a World Series, and that word is...Cleveland.

And for all those steals, he scored 11 more runs than Griffey in 30 more PAs.  28 more homers (and 15 more XBHs total) more than offsets the steals.  Steals are incredibly overrated.

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13 hours ago, sabremike said:

Davey Johnson belongs in and fuck anyone who disagrees. And Gil Hodges not being in is a crime against humanity. I think he probably belongs as a player alone but his being the manager of arguably the most legendary and celebrated team in baseball history makes him a slam dunk in my eyes.

Okay, this is one that I'm more than happy to debate because until around twenty years ago I was a huge supporter of Gil Hodges for the HOF. 

Gil is a real unique sort of entity (and yes, I know that the true greats tend to be unique in some way, but hear me out). As a first baseman for one of the most beloved teams in history he had an good/excellent career. Remember the post where I talked about what we'd been conditioned to expect from a first baseman pre-McCovey? Yeah, Gil was the template for the big, slow white dude with an atomic bat. 

I'm not a huge fan of the player comps that Baseball Reference uses as position is so important in evaluating a player, however, it is telling that not a one of Gil's top ten comparable players is in the HOF, not a one. Instead, the list is filled with guys like Norm Cash, Rocky Colavito, and Willie Horton. Good players all, but none of them are getting in the HOF, not now, not ever. Another thing that hurts is his last four years as a player, we expect to see a drop-off as a player nears the end of their career. Hodges didn't just drop off, he jumped off a fucking cliff. Lots of players go from great to very good to just okay. Gil went from great/pretty good in Brooklyn to very good for two seasons in LA to bloody fucking awful. I can't think of another player who fell from grace quite as hard as Gil Hodges unless it be Graig Nettles.  If we evaluate Gil as a player, I don't see the argument for induction unless you want to put in Joe Adcock, Boog Powell, & Tino Martinez.

Okay, he managed the Miracle Mets, that's obviously good for something, but how much value does it carry? I don't think anyone can seriously say that Gil was a HOFr as a manager, there's just not enough there. He only managed for nine seasons and granted, he had shitty teams to work for the most part, but he still has a losing record (by a significant amount) as a manager. One fluke season does not qualify him for the HOF.

Now here's the real crux of the matter and why his name keeps getting brought up. I don't know first hand, (the man died when I was 15), but I have never, ever heard anyone say a bad word about Gil Hodges as a player, manager, or human being. I think when we're talking about players/managers that were genuinely loved by fans and colleagues alike, Gil Hodges is pretty close to the top of that list. Sadly, a very good career as a player a short, mostly ineffective turn as a manager and a really nice man does not make a HOFr.

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9 hours ago, Tabe said:

And for all those steals, he scored 11 more runs than Griffey in 30 more PAs.  28 more homers (and 15 more XBHs total) more than offsets the steals.  Steals are incredibly overrated.

I personally don't think Lofton was quite as good as Griffey that season, but the idea that Lofton putting up 60 steals in only 109 games while also playing better defense doesn't even put him in the argument seems silly. And steals are only incredibly overrated if a player doesn't do the other stuff to make him valuable. Having 600 steals in combination with over a .370 OBP (Which is actually very impressive, as he's 8th among Center fielders with more then 400 PA's in the last 50 years), and also being one of the defensive center fielders you will ever find. 

 

I think this is one of those cases were neither side will agree. If you asked me to make prototypical Center Fielder, I'd probably pick a speedy, great defensive, leadoff hitter type who puts up a good OBP. Lofton is literally the best type of that player that has existed in a very long time.

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16 hours ago, Tabe said:

And for all those steals, he scored 11 more runs than Griffey in 30 more PAs.  28 more homers (and 15 more XBHs total) more than offsets the steals.  Steals are incredibly overrated.

Steals are overrated, true. However, the THREAT to steal is not. One of the best weapons a manager has at their disposal is a guy that's fast enough to be a threat on the basepaths. Pitchers lose focus, get behind in counts and waste throws to first trying to prevent a steal. It's impossible to say exactly how much damage a player like Lofton could do because the answer is going to vary by pitcher. 

I would submit that the greatest value that the Loftonesque player brings to the table is not how many bases they actually steal, but how frustrated they get an opposing pitcher who is trying to contain them.

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When the standard at CF is Mays, Mantle, Dimaggio, Cobb, Speaker and Griffey, you have to be REALLY great to make the Hall. Lofton's numbers are nice, even great. But there is a gap between great and HOF and I think he's just short.

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1 hour ago, Kuetsar said:

When the standard at CF is Mays, Mantle, Dimaggio, Cobb, Speaker and Griffey, you have to be REALLY great to make the Hall. Lofton's numbers are nice, even great. But there is a gap between great and HOF and I think he's just short.

However, is that the standard or is the standard Ashburn, Duffy, Averill, Roush, Combs, & Waner? I'm not about to play the "if so-and-so" card, (you know me better than that); but to look at either the upper echelon as you did or the lower as I did isn't giving us a clear picture of a HOF Center Fielder.

I'm going to go with the same sort of cop-out that I use describing Fred McGriff, Lofton's induction would hardly be an embarrassment but there's really no crime in keeping him out either. Making a case for Lofton on his own merits is quite doable without anyone needing to resort to playing the "if-so-and-so" card. (Damn, I hate that whole line of reasoning, that's what gets guys like Jim Bottomley and Hack Wilson in the HOF.)

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7 minutes ago, Kuetsar said:

When the standard at CF is Mays, Mantle, Dimaggio, Cobb, Speaker and Griffey, you have to be REALLY great to make the Hall. Lofton's numbers are nice, even great. But there is a gap between great and HOF and I think he's just short.

The standard at shortstop is Honus Wagner, Derek Jeter, and Cal Ripken, that doesn't mean Barry Larkin, Robin Yount, or or Alan Trammell were not worthy Hall of Famers. The only difference between Lofton and those types is that they played there entire career on one team were as Lofton was a bit of a journeyman.

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I think we may have beaten the Lofton horse to death (and it's been great discourse, but he's not under consideration this year, whereas Rippa pointed out that there are ten names being considered from "Today's Game" that we should prolly talk about a bit more than I did with my single line comments a page or so back. Let's start with two controversial names (and they are controversial for entirely different reasons): Albert Belle and Harold Baines.

As for the latter, he went from a pretty decent RF to a sometimes incredible DH, to a pretty decent bat. "Pretty decent" is not the description of a HOF player. The controversy with Baines comes from the fact that he really made his bones as a DH and that's something that the BBWA seem to have trouble getting their heads around. Paul Molitor was sort of a hybrid in that his career was pretty much 50/50 position player and DH. The real HOF standard for the position is Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines was no Edgar Martinez. You factor in that by all accounts Baines is a super nice guy always willing to help young players and so on, and it's easy to see why his name gets brought up. However, it is telling that when he was on the main ballot he never garnered more than 9% of the votes. In short, very few writers thought Baines was anything special as a hitter, and he really wasn't, he was very good at what he did for a long time, but that isn't enough. Put Edgar Martinez in and then we can talk some more about Harold Baines.

Albert Belle - A short career, but what a career it was. Belle averaged more HRs a season than most guys hit at their peak. To find a real comparison, you have to go back to Ralph Kiner and Hank Greenberg, both of whom were pretty good dudes by all accounts and I don't think anyone is going to say that about Albert Belle. (When I met him he was still going by "Joey" and was nice enough to sign a '90 Fleer for me and seemed like an okay guy, not super friendly, but he signed for a bunch of people until a teammate called him away.) What turned him into the biggest prick in baseball this side of Roger Clemens? Who knows? The thing is, if you leave his surly personality out of it, there is no question but that he's a slam dunk for the HOF.

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18 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Steals are overrated, true. However, the THREAT to steal is not. One of the best weapons a manager has at their disposal is a guy that's fast enough to be a threat on the basepaths. Pitchers lose focus, get behind in counts and waste throws to first trying to prevent a steal. It's impossible to say exactly how much damage a player like Lofton could do because the answer is going to vary by pitcher. 

I would submit that the greatest value that the Loftonesque player brings to the table is not how many bases they actually steal, but how frustrated they get an opposing pitcher who is trying to contain them.

This, especially on the team he was on, was made Lofton great.  A speedy leadoff hitter who is a constant threat to steal bases, followed by a run of good to great power hitters is extremely valuable.  If you are pitching to Albert Belle, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez, would you like to be concentrating on not being shelled or the little dude who just put himself in scoring position?  Wins above replacement is a stat that takes that into account.  They didn't really need another power hitter in the lineup, they already had plenty of them.  They needed someone on the bases who could get into scoring position so that the power hitters were driving in runs.  Having the player with the most hits, the most stolen bases, and is 5th in the league in doubles, is extremely valuable...especially when Albert Belle is hitting .357 with 36 home runs hitting a couple batters behind him.  

1994 could have been an all-time great season for multiple players...and Lofton was as valuable as anyone in the league that year.  Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Albert Belle, Jeff Bagwell, etc. were all having incredible seasons...and then the strike happened.  I don't think I've cared about baseball the same since.

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32 minutes ago, OSJ said:

I think we may have beaten the Lofton horse to death (and it's been great discourse, but he's not under consideration this year, whereas Rippa pointed out that there are ten names being considered from "Today's Game" that we should prolly talk about a bit more than I did with my single line comments a page or so back. Let's start with two controversial names (and they are controversial for entirely different reasons): Albert Belle and Harold Baines.

As for the latter, he went from a pretty decent RF to a sometimes incredible DH, to a pretty decent bat. "Pretty decent" is not the description of a HOF player. The controversy with Baines comes from the fact that he really made his bones as a DH and that's something that the BBWA seem to have trouble getting their heads around. Paul Molitor was sort of a hybrid in that his career was pretty much 50/50 position player and DH. The real HOF standard for the position is Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines was no Edgar Martinez. You factor in that by all accounts Baines is a super nice guy always willing to help young players and so on, and it's easy to see why his name gets brought up. However, it is telling that when he was on the main ballot he never garnered more than 9% of the votes. In short, very few writers thought Baines was anything special as a hitter, and he really wasn't, he was very good at what he did for a long time, but that isn't enough. Put Edgar Martinez in and then we can talk some more about Harold Baines.

Albert Belle - A short career, but what a career it was. Belle averaged more HRs a season than most guys hit at their peak. To find a real comparison, you have to go back to Ralph Kiner and Hank Greenberg, both of whom were pretty good dudes by all accounts and I don't think anyone is going to say that about Albert Belle. (When I met him he was still going by "Joey" and was nice enough to sign a '90 Fleer for me and seemed like an okay guy, not super friendly, but he signed for a bunch of people until a teammate called him away.) What turned him into the biggest prick in baseball this side of Roger Clemens? Who knows? The thing is, if you leave his surly personality out of it, there is no question but that he's a slam dunk for the HOF.

 

While I think Baines is a good player, I just can't see the argument for HOF.

As for Belle, imo, the career is just too short. And as good of an offensive player he was, he really should have been a DH. He somehow was a worse defender then Manny Ramirez in his career.

Basically, if Belle had lasted longer, probably? But Brian Giles had a career with just a slightly less high peak that lasted longer, and nobody really argues for him to get into the Hall.

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Belle's career is just too short for me. Baines has 600 more hits than edgar and 400 more RBi's, but I don't think either of them belong. The first DH type player in should be Big Papi. . .

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2 hours ago, Kuetsar said:

Belle's career is just too short for me. Baines has 600 more hits than edgar and 400 more RBi's, but I don't think either of them belong. The first DH type player in should be Big Papi. . .

Okay, I'm just going by the HOF rules when speaking of Albert Belle, the rules say ten years. He's eligible. 

As for the first DH-type player to go in being Big Papi, I would call your attention to the presence in the HOF of one Paul Molitor. 

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10 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Okay, I'm just going by the HOF rules when speaking of Albert Belle, the rules say ten years. He's eligible. 

As for the first DH-type player to go in being Big Papi, I would call your attention to the presence in the HOF of one Paul Molitor. 

Of the players on the veterans list he's the only one that would deserve a vote. If he goes in, I wouldn't have a huge complaint, the only one on the Veterans list I would vote for is Piniella. . . 

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17 minutes ago, Kuetsar said:

Of the players on the veterans list he's the only one that would deserve a vote. If he goes in, I wouldn't have a huge complaint, the only one on the Veterans list I would vote for is Piniella. . . 

What, did we forget that Lee Smith is also on that ballot?

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Belle played 12 years, 10 of them full seasons. Of those 10, he was a superstar for 9 of them. He retired from a major injury as surely as Puckett or Koufax. He had more great seasons than Koufax and was out of this world great at his peak. Belle is an absolute no-brainer. 

Brian Giles? C'mon. 

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12 hours ago, Tabe said:

Belle played 12 years, 10 of them full seasons. Of those 10, he was a superstar for 9 of them. He retired from a major injury as surely as Puckett or Koufax. He had more great seasons than Koufax and was out of this world great at his peak. Belle is an absolute no-brainer. 

Brian Giles? C'mon. 

Yeah, I sort of wondered about the Brian Giles thing myself as Dragon usually knows his baseball and should certainly see that Giles and Belle are about as comparable as Ty Cobb and Gabby Harnett. Averaging 25 HR's is quite commendable and Giles was certainly a good player, but 25 ain't averaging 40 for a fucking decade which is what Belle did, putting himself in company with Ruth, Foxx, Aaron, Mays, Kiner & Greenberg among others; yeah, he's a no-brainer and if he wasn't such an unpleasant dude he'd already be in.

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23 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Yeah, I sort of wondered about the Brian Giles thing myself as Dragon usually knows his baseball and should certainly see that Giles and Belle are about as comparable as Ty Cobb and Gabby Harnett. Averaging 25 HR's is quite commendable and Giles was certainly a good player, but 25 ain't averaging 40 for a fucking decade which is what Belle did, putting himself in company with Ruth, Foxx, Aaron, Mays, Kiner & Greenberg among others; yeah, he's a no-brainer and if he wasn't such an unpleasant dude he'd already be in.

 

12 hours ago, Tabe said:

Belle played 12 years, 10 of them full seasons. Of those 10, he was a superstar for 9 of them. He retired from a major injury as surely as Puckett or Koufax. He had more great seasons than Koufax and was out of this world great at his peak. Belle is an absolute no-brainer. 

Brian Giles? C'mon. 

 

Yes, Belle hit more homers then Giles, but he was not a better baseball player then Brian Giles was. Giles was one of the better players in in baseball for his entire run on the Pirates and nobody really noticed because outside of him and Jason Kendall, the 3rd best player on the Pirates in his run was Jack Goddamn Wilson. Giles was a consistently great hitter for 10 years, just like Belle, just doing most of his work with OBP instead of Power. But they are still pretty damn comparabale

Giles career numbers: 299 BA, 400 OBP, 501 slugging percentage, 136 wRC+ 

Belle career numbers: 295 BA, 369 obp, 564 slugging percentage, 139 wRC+

Add in that Giles has 3 years of decline to lower his stats Belle really didn't have, and yeah, they are basically a wash. Just trading OBP for Slugging. Add in that Giles had more truely elite years (7 to 5) and I'd rather have Giles.

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48 minutes ago, El Dragon said:

 

 

Yes, Belle hit more homers then Giles, but he was not a better baseball player then Brian Giles was. Giles was one of the better players in in baseball for his entire run on the Pirates and nobody really noticed because outside of him and Jason Kendall, the 3rd best player on the Pirates in his run was Jack Goddamn Wilson. Giles was a consistently great hitter for 10 years, just like Belle, just doing most of his work with OBP instead of Power. But they are still pretty damn comparabale

Giles career numbers: 299 BA, 400 OBP, 501 slugging percentage, 136 wRC+ 

Belle career numbers: 295 BA, 369 obp, 564 slugging percentage, 139 wRC+

Add in that Giles has 3 years of decline to lower his stats Belle really didn't have, and yeah, they are basically a wash. Just trading OBP for Slugging. Add in that Giles had more truely elite years (7 to 5) and I'd rather have Giles.

My friend, they are not comparable at all,  a difference that great in SLG % is barely in the same universe.  One was a fine, fine 5-tools player for a full career, the other was a HR machine the like of which hadn't been seen since the days of Ralph Kiner. They are about as similar as Lee Smith and Harold Baines, which is to say, not at all.

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1 hour ago, OSJ said:

My friend, they are not comparable at all,  a difference that great in SLG % is barely in the same universe.  One was a fine, fine 5-tools player for a full career, the other was a HR machine the like of which hadn't been seen since the days of Ralph Kiner. They are about as similar as Lee Smith and Harold Baines, which is to say, not at all.

it's estimated now a days that each point of OBP is worth about 1.8 times as much as one point SLG,  as getting on with regularity is the most important thing a hitter can do. So basically the 30 point game in OBP is just about the same as the 60 point gap in slugging. 

So yeah, one more, give me Giles who gives just about equal value as a hitter, and plays solid defense.

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2 hours ago, OSJ said:

My friend, they are not comparable at all,  a difference that great in SLG % is barely in the same universe.  One was a fine, fine 5-tools player for a full career, the other was a HR machine the like of which hadn't been seen since the days of Ralph Kiner. They are about as similar as Lee Smith and Harold Baines, which is to say, not at all.

While Brian Giles and Albert Belle aren't comparable types of players, we absolutely can compare their value as players--and hitters, of which wOBA and wRC+ do a great job.  Those metrics show they provided similar value with the bat, but Giles was a superior baserunner and defender which is why he has a 10 to 12 win advantage in WAR(depending on your bWAR vs. fWAR choice) over Belle in about two more years worth of plate appearances--which is equal to about two years of elite production.  If Belle is a no doubter, then Giles is probably a borderline guy--but I don't think Belle is a Hall of Famer , so Giles would fall short as well(though I tend to think they're pretty even).  Not that it will probably shift anyone's opinions but here is a couple of articles from Jay Jaffe covering each guy(plus Harold Baines).

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/sluggers-harold-baines-and-albert-belle-likely-to-whiff-on-todays-game-ballot/

https://www.si.com/mlb/2014/12/24/jaws-2015-hall-of-fame-ballot-brian-giles

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