Wheel of mystery Hall of Fame contenders

DMZ · January 12, 2009 at 5:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I wanted to talk about something in the context of the Rickey-inspired Rice and Tim Raines discussions. Here’s a couple of players, but you have to promise you’re not going to hit Baseball Reference and work out who they are before it’s time.

Player A: 12 seasons, .271/.390/.406. 5,015 at-bats, 1,051 hits, 221 doubles, 34 triples, 129 home runs, 974 walks. 100th-best OBP ever (just behind Dave Magadan!). 119th all-time in walks. Five all-star games, finished second in one MVP vote.

Player B: 13 seasons, .291/.401/.444 line. In 6,483 at-bats had 1,888 hits, 311 doubles, 51 triples, 184 home runs, and 1,1191 walks. That’s 60th on the career OBP list, 57 on the career walk list, down in the mid-300s for doubles, the HRs almost doesn’t count. Nine all-star game appearances, one MVP.

Player C: 23 seasons, .294/.385/.425. 7 all-star game picks. OBP is ~130 all-time career. SLG almost #600. 113 in doubles (about to be passed by Alex). 33rd in total walks.

Player D: 16 seasons, .298/.352/.502. Eight all-star games, one MVP. SLG is the 89th-best career mark. HRs the 55th-best ever.

Player E: 13 seasons. .279/.399/.419. 255 doubles, 33 triples, 149 HR. 1,095 walks. 60th-best career OBP. 74th all-time walks. Seven all-star games, one MVP.

A – 638 SB, 174 CS (15th all-time)
B – 994 SB(!), 229 CS (2nd all-time)
C – 808 SB, 146 CS (5th all-time)
D – 58 SB, 34 CS
E – 703 SB, 168 CS (11th all-time)

So which of these guys belong in the Hall of Fame? Player B is clearly deserving, obviously one of the best hitters and base-runners ever. Player A, Player C, Player E… depends, but those are pretty good cases. If you’re taking the top 100 hitters ever, you’re going to be waffling over whether they get on the list. Maybe you wouldn’t shed a tears if they didn’t make it, but clearly you’re going to look when they played, how great their defense was, and so on. Player D, when you put it like this, and knowing you’re leaning towards denying A, C, and E… well, no.

Player A is 12 randomly-picked Rickey Henderson seasons (79, 81, 82, 86-88,91, 92, 94, 96, 01, 02). Player B is the first 13 years of Rickey Henderson played. Player C is Tim Raines’ career. Player D is Jim Rice, who was just elected. Player E is half of Rickey Henderson’s career numbers.


43 Responses to “Wheel of mystery Hall of Fame contenders”

  1. msb on January 12th, 2009 5:55 pm
  2. Shrike on January 12th, 2009 6:12 pm

    I’d vote for Tim Raines every day and twice on Sunday … I’d argue he’s clearly the second-best leadoff hitter of all-time. He got on base and scored runs without making a lot of outs. What else could you ask for?

  3. Breadbaker on January 12th, 2009 6:18 pm

    I think the James quote came from about 2000; Rickey wasn’t quite done even then.

    Another thing James said, I think about Nolan Ryan, with which I completely disagree, was that the legends of players would be forgotten but the stats live on. We still learn about the antics of Babe Ruth and I suspect that the legend of Rickey Henderson will be equally indelible (sadly, including the urban legend about Olerud). And for that matter, the legend of Nolan Ryan.

  4. msb on January 12th, 2009 6:22 pm

    sigh. when the topic of defense at 1st base came up on saturday, I was thinking about how much I miss Olerud.

  5. Conor on January 12th, 2009 6:23 pm

    This is awesome.

  6. Conor on January 12th, 2009 6:29 pm

    Also, if anyone’s interested, here’s a great article on Rickey from a few years back in The New Yorker

  7. JI on January 12th, 2009 6:50 pm

    I said it before at LL, but the other day at BTB the readers were mocking Pedro Gomez for voting for Jay Bell (on the first ballot no less), and Jay Bell was probably equal to / better than Jim Rice.

    *As were Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans

  8. Johnny Slick on January 12th, 2009 7:12 pm

    I dunno… I know I just wrote a book on the HOF being about fame and not stats, but I think people have pretty much forgotten how big an a-hole Ty Cobb was. Oh, occasionally his name is brought up in a “hey, players today aren’t THAT bad” sense, but this is a man who beat up a handicapped person because he thought that the handicapped person called him the n-word. Most people nowadays, I think, just see his name almost at the top of the hits list and think of him as the 2nd best hitter of all time.

    OTOH, I can think of all sorts of players whose fame I remember but can’t think of a statline from them to save my life. Rod Carew and George Brett had those years where they almost hit .400; I guess that’s sort of like a stat. How many wins did Hal Newhouser get, and how many homeruns did Dave Kingman hit (NOT that I think Kingman is a HOFer!)? I could look them up on bbref but that’s not the point; the point is, there are all kinds of guys whom you remember for stuff other than their stats.

    In the case of Nolan Ryan, is it just me or is he rated lower nowadays than in 1993? I know I’ve gotten on the bandwagon of thinking he was mostly an above average pitcher who pitched for a very long time, but I haven’t heard nearly as much talk of him being the GOAT now that we’ve witnessed Clemens and Maddux.

  9. davesmith1983 on January 12th, 2009 7:18 pm

    And I think you’ve shown why these things are so subjective. I immediately pegged Player B & D as definite HOF picks and the others as borderline.

  10. PaulMolitorCocktail on January 12th, 2009 7:41 pm

    There is one huge difference between Rice and Raines: This was Rice’s last year of eligibility for the writers.

    Rice got under 30% of the vote his first year of eligibility, not that far from Raines.

    Hopefully Raines will beat the upcoming tide of certain hall-of-famers. Next year doesn’t have a particularly strong class – Alomar is weak in the Black and Grey Ink tests.

  11. Milendriel on January 12th, 2009 8:40 pm

    1,1191 walks

    Bonds must be jealous.

  12. Spanky on January 12th, 2009 10:01 pm

    Rice only makes it because he played in Boston. If he plays out west…he’s not making it.

  13. Conor on January 12th, 2009 10:04 pm

    Bonds must be jealous.


  14. Johnny Slick on January 12th, 2009 10:17 pm


    It would take him at least 2 full seasons to reach that total, silly.

  15. niko on January 12th, 2009 10:32 pm

    I’m sure someone’s already figured this out but I feel it needs to be stated: those 12 random seasons don’t include Rickey’s 7 most productive seasons, at least according to wRAA. Essentially, a random selection of 12 seasons from Rickey’s 18 least productive.

  16. gwangung on January 12th, 2009 10:33 pm

    Player E is half of Rickey Henderson’s career numbers.

    THAT…..had me grinning from ear to ear.


  17. AdamN on January 13th, 2009 12:49 am

    I know I’m opening a whole closet full of skeletons probably discussed, but I think it is worth being mentioned.

    Name this player: I have a higher career on base percentage than both first time HOF players Cal Ripken Jr and Tony Gwynn and is only 6 points lower than Rickey Henderson. However, my OPS is 160 points higher than Ricky. I’m a gold glove winning first baseman. . . . . . . . . Not to mention I was the first player to hit 50 home runs in a season 3 times in a row and set the HR record and walk record at the time.

    Yes boys and girls that’s right the best player on the list today and arguably better than Mr. Henderson was not even invited into the hall. But hey last time I checked, steroids didn’t affect you seeing the ball and walking a major league record of times nor did a person with 49 hr as rookie need the extra power. It’s an absolute joke to the system that Mark McGwire is not in the HOF on the first, second, third, etc ballots. If MLB wants to remove his hof status or others because of steroid use that is their business like they did with Pete Rose. So I say do your job sports writers and vote for the player for his performance on the field and stay out of politics. If I want politics I turn to the A section not the C section of the newspaper. You don’t go to a dentist for heart problems just like I don’t go to a sports writer for political judgments.

  18. Johnny Slick on January 13th, 2009 1:17 am

    The MLB didn’t remove Pete Rose’s HOF status. The BBWAA continue to have the ability to vote Rose in. They choose not to.

  19. iceman21287 on January 13th, 2009 5:00 am

    Next year doesn’t have a particularly strong class – Alomar is weak in the Black and Grey Ink tests.

    And that whole spitting on the umpire thing…

    Really though, I’d like to hear an argument that Roberto Alomar is NOT a hall of famer. I know a lot of people who are kind of waffling on him, but I personally don’t see how he isn’t.

  20. msb on January 13th, 2009 7:09 am

    So I say do your job sports writers and vote for the player for his performance on the field and stay out of politics.

    per HOF voter Thom Loverro, “four of the criteria for election have to do with integrity, character, sportsmanship and contributions to the game” so apparently they are doing their job.

  21. DMZ on January 13th, 2009 7:28 am

    w/r/t Rose: no they don’t. It’s not MLB, it’s the Hall. You can go look this up..

  22. AdamN on January 13th, 2009 8:32 am


  23. DMZ on January 13th, 2009 8:39 am

    Allright, I’m declaring an end to the Bonds-steroid part of this conversation: I wanted to try and let this grow from the initial post, but the black hole of McGwire-Bonds-steroids is too powerful. Soooo… sorry, but no. We need to stop at the brink here.

  24. msb on January 13th, 2009 8:50 am

    I’m not sure if it is Player A, B or E playing, but the free morning game on mlb.com is the 1989 ALCS Game 4:

    “Hall of Fame electee Rickey Henderson hits a pair of two-run homers, giving the A’s a commanding 3-1 ALCS lead over the Blue Jays.”

  25. Johnny Slick on January 13th, 2009 8:52 am

    How about: why don’t Trammell and Whitaker get more love? Both really good players. Trammell should have won the MVP in ’87. An awesome story to tell (they were the longest-running DP combo in major league history). And yet, not only does neither get in, they don’t even get close. I hate to say it, but that’s probably a mess the Veteran’s Committee will have to clean up.

  26. msb on January 13th, 2009 9:06 am

    ooh, online coverage of the press conference introducing Rickey & Rice!

  27. Breadbaker on January 13th, 2009 9:06 am

    How about: why don’t Trammell and Whitaker get more love?

    Whitaker in fact got knocked off the ballot the first year. He may not even be eligible for the Veterans Committee. Although one hallmark of the Hall of Fame is that there is never a final “no.” They can always change the rules. His numbers and Trammell’s are nearly identical, so it never made any sense.

  28. msb on January 13th, 2009 9:13 am

    Larry Stone this morning:

    “… five-year waiting period expired. Which, by the way, occurred completely against Henderson’s will — he played independent league ball right up until last season, fully believing he was still major-league worthy into his late 40s. Even Monday, he refused to concede that he has officially retired.

    “They said I had to be retired to go into the Hall,” Henderson said, while expressing a desire to suit up again for his hometown Oakland A’s. “I guess once I get inducted, they can give me a day or two to come back and it wouldn’t mess up anything.”

  29. Paul B on January 13th, 2009 9:21 am

    It comes down to most of us having favorite players. Personal memories, maybe from childhood, that would cause us to vote for a particular player that most would say is not worthy of the HOF.

    A lot of the arguments are stretches to try to justify a particular selection.

    I’m reminded of the quote in Ball Four:
    “Tell your statistics to shut up.”

    Oh, is Rickey the second player in the HOF who ever played, however briefly, for the Mariners?

  30. Evan on January 13th, 2009 9:22 am

    The commissioner banned Pete Rose from baseball and it made him inelligable to be put into the HOF.

    This is just patently false. Being banned from baseball doesn’t necessarily exclude you from the HoF.

    The HoF, on its own, chose to exclude Pete Rose because he’d been banned from baseball, but they were not compelled to do so.

    As such, when I say that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, I blame the Hall of Fame for his not being there. It was the HoF who decided to exclude Pete Rose.

    As Derek says, you can look this up.

  31. georgmi on January 13th, 2009 10:03 am

    Rickey’s the third Hall of Famer to have worn a Mariners uniform, I think–Gaylord Perry and Goose Gossage both played for the M’s.

    I remember going to games with Perry and Rickey as M’s (I was sitting in the Diamond Club when Carlos Guillen bunted Rickey in to end Game 3 of the ALDS against the White Sox), but I missed Gossage’s tenure.

  32. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 13th, 2009 10:13 am

    Oh, is Rickey the second player in the HOF who ever played, however briefly, for the Mariners?

    Rickey is actually the third player and fifth baseball personality overall.
    Here’s the list:
    Gaylord Perry (M from 82-83), Goose Gossage (M in 94), Rickey (M in 2000) then Dick Williams (managed Ms in 86-88) and [Niehaus]
    Aside from the obvious (Grif, Randy, Arod, Ichiro, Sweet Lou and Edgar), can anyone think of other worthy contenders?
    What about Little O?
    Aaron M.

  33. Paul B on January 13th, 2009 10:40 am

    What about Little O?

    I was watching MLBN last night on their Hot Stove program (with Harold Reynolds, Barry Larkin, a sportswriter who has a HOF vote, and another person I didn’t recognize) when they were going around the table voicing opinions on future HOF candidates. Their consensus was that Omar would not make it (FWIW). And that Barry would, not sure if him sitting there influenced them or not.

    I had forgotten about Gossage. Man, that’s a trivia question I can play on my family today.

    Harold told a story about Rickey. After Harold clinched the AL stolen base crown, he got a phone call that night from Rickey. “Harold? It’s Henderson” “Rickey, how are you man?” “Harold, you should be ashamed. 60? Rickey have that many by the all star break/” (Click)

  34. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 13th, 2009 11:50 am

    Thought this was interesting too…a quick look at the 2010 first-year nominees includes a few former Ms as well:
    The list of players who will be eligible for election into the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2010 includes (in alphabetical order): Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Andy Ashby, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Shane Reynolds, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile.
    In addition to Edgar, Mike Jackson was an M from 88-91 and in 96. His 14 saves in 91 were a then-team record before Bobby Ayala shattered that mark in 95 with 19! (Had to throw in a little Ayala love) 🙂
    Aaron M.

  35. Conor on January 13th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Rickey is actually the third player and fifth baseball personality overall.

    Don’t forget about coaches Paul Molitor & Bill Mazeroski!

  36. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 13th, 2009 1:38 pm

    Good call Conor! I forgot to mention Molitor but have to admit, I never knew we ever had Maz on a staff (79-80 for those of you wondering). Which I guess makes sense, since I was born in 81! lol Thanks for the history lesson though…my fun M’s fact o’ the day!
    Aaron M.

  37. ChuckWalla on January 13th, 2009 3:35 pm

    Mike Schooler had 33 saves in 89. I had more fun watching Jackson and Ayala pitch though.

  38. Breadbaker on January 13th, 2009 5:50 pm

    I had more fun watching Jackson and Ayala pitch though.

    An interesting definition of fun, I suppose. Do you also have fun rubbernecking at accidents on the freeway, or watching buildings blow up?

    Mike Jackson, though, was indeed to fun to watch, and the only value we got for trading Phil Bradley. Of course, we then included him in the Kevin Mitchell trade . . . .

  39. kevinzelko on January 13th, 2009 11:04 pm

    I don’t think Rice got in just because he was in Boston-he got in because he was a major player in the era. Compare his numbers to other players of his era and his numbers stand out. He also was a clutch player (outside of the playoffs) in so many ways….and I think he also played in an organization that hadn’t opened its doors to African Americans previously, yet he was one of the main faces for that team.

  40. Johnny Slick on January 13th, 2009 11:21 pm

    I don’t know that it’s fair to give Rice credit for Pumpsie Green. The Red Sox organization of the mid-70s was completely different than the one of the late 50s and early 60s. As for his numbers, once you take Fenway into account (and before around 1982, you absolutely have to take Fenway into account) they are decent, befitting one of the better if not the best outfielders of his era. I don’t think there’s any point in his career where I’d rate him ahead of the likes of Reggie Jackson and Rickey Henderson (1986 alone, maybe, but that was a major outlier).

    He was a major cog on the 1975, 1978, and 1986 teams, was a very good corner OFer if never the best in the American League, didn’t really have any lasting impact on the game outside of being the guy who manned the Green Monster in between Yaz and… Mike Greenwell. He’s far from the worst player to ever make it in but he wouldn’t make into my Hall.

  41. eponymous coward on January 14th, 2009 8:23 am

    Rice got in because HOF voters, like MVP voters, overrate the triple crown stats (batting average, home runs and RBIs), and underrate things like walks and defense.

    There are any number of players who have substantially similar or better resumes than Rice who won’t likely be in the Hall, and his election was a mistake… but that’s basically been the history of the Hall of Fame since nearly it’s inception.

  42. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 14th, 2009 11:49 am

    Mike Schooler had 33 saves in 89. I had more fun watching Jackson and Ayala pitch though.

    That was my brainfart of the week! How could I forget Schooler? Ugh.
    Thanks ChuckWalla!
    Aaron M.

  43. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 15th, 2009 1:33 pm


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