Hawk Flies In

Andre Dawson, a brief member of the Red Sox toward the tail-end of his career, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, both of whom should have been first-ballot enshrinees, barely missed the cut, setting up their likely entrance in 2011.

Dawson received 420 votes for 77.9 percent of the electorate. Blyleven received 400 (74.2 percent) and Alomar garnered 397 (73.7 percent). Jack Morris, who does not deserve election, remains stuck around 50 percent, while Barry Larkin, who does, received 51.6 percent. Lee Smith was the only other player breaking 40 percent.

First-timer Edgar Martinez has a tough row to hoe, getting just 36.2 percent, and Tim Raines is still criminally low, with just 30.4 percent. Deserving enshrinees Mark McGwire and Alan Trammell are stuck around 23 percent, and first-timer Fred McGriff got 21.5 percent. Don Mattingly, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy and Harold Baines live to fight another year. Barely.

Among those who missed the 5 percent cutoff are two first-timers who had better cases for the Hall than many realize — Robin Ventura (7 votes) and Kevin Appier (1 vote).

29 comments… add one

  • I am not old enough to truly remember if Andre Dawson is or isn’t a HOF’r, but I do think Roberto Alomar should be. I saw enough of his career to know he should be there.
    I think eventually Edgar Martinez gets in, it’s just going to take the voters some time to adjust to the idea that DH’s have a place in the hall.

    John - YF January 6, 2010, 2:51 pm
  • The fact that Raines is only at 30% is appalling. It’s borderline criminal.

    attackgerbil January 6, 2010, 4:53 pm
  • Wait, Paul already called it criminal. I’ll change my opinion of the voters to “heinous”.

    attackgerbil January 6, 2010, 4:59 pm
  • I’m curious if Raines and Trammell, who both deserve election, can survive the glut of new deserving arrivals in four-five years. Smoltz and Maddux and Schilling and Brown and Clemens and Bonds and Kent and Williams and Johnson and probably Martinez… The list is going to be insane. Just insane. The guys still in the backlog are going to see significant losses in their percentages at that time, and I think quite a few will fall off the list then.

    Paul SF January 6, 2010, 5:01 pm
  • Hey don’t piss off John Smoltz, he may be pitching for the Mets this season…Don’t nail his career coffin shut just yet! Pedro too!

    John - YF January 6, 2010, 5:05 pm
  • time to adjust to the idea that DH’s have a place in the hall…
    Do they? I don’t really buy into creating new category in the hall for the DH position. The Hall should be reserved for the greatest players of all time..not the greatest hitters. This is just my opinion, and matters not, but I have a hard time with the DH role in the hall.

    Brad January 6, 2010, 5:10 pm
  • You guys are all baseball dudes, question…
    Why do they elect people EVERY year? Shouldn’t they only elect people that are truly worthy? It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Really Good. Is it more of an era thing? I mean is the Hawk one of the greatest baseball players of all time?
    I guess this goes for all sports now that I think about it?

    krueg January 6, 2010, 5:14 pm
  • Brad – do you have a hard time with relievers in the hall as well? Do you not think Mariano Rivera or Dennis Eckersley belong? One could argue, along the same lines, that these players are also not ‘true’ baseball players, in that they are not ‘true’ pitchers, just failed starters that don’t pitch all that many innings.
    Frank Thomas, he played first base for a little bit (really poorly), but was eventually primarily a DH. Does he not belong in the Hall, even though he is one of the greatest hitters, with one of the greatest peaks of all time? Why should hitters be punished for playing the game of baseball by the rules? If they were back in the days without the DH, you can be sure they would have just played a terrible first base, or corner outfield spot, which actually would have made them less valuable than they actually were in reality.
    Sorry, I have no understanding of those who choose to deny the DH spot into the Hall of Fame. Is it not a legitimate part of the game of baseball?

    AndrewYF January 6, 2010, 5:50 pm
  • is there a difference between a first ballot and later ballot enshrinee? if you’re in you’re in, right?
    all i know is that i’m glad i don’t make my living handicapping/analyzing the vicissitudes of this election process, which seems to be more and more about itself than anything that ever happened on the field of play.
    this should be a celebratory day but it’s kind of depressing.

    YF January 6, 2010, 7:09 pm
  • also, it seems to me that the level of candidates will forever be dropping, just on a statistical basis. because voters will always compare candidates to the pool of enshrinees, and inevitably there will be more candidates who compare with the lower half of the enshrinee distribution. so the hall is going to be watering itself down constantly and perpetually, heading from the hall of initial greats to include both the greats and the very goods, until you can read a statement like this “Among those who missed the 5 percent cutoff are two first-timers who had better cases for the Hall than many realize — Robin Ventura and Kevin Appier” and not immediately discredit it as ridiculous. because it isn’t, even though it is.

    YF January 6, 2010, 7:17 pm
  • Charlie Pierce is blogging, must-read/bookmark. This one on-thread-topic.
    http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/pierce/2010/01/just_shut_up_now_please.html

    SF January 6, 2010, 8:43 pm
  • Can Charlie Pierce shut up now, please? His writing is about as petulant as the baseball writers he derides. Holy hell. Talk about a self-defeating article.

    AndrewYF January 6, 2010, 10:11 pm
  • I read the first paragraph of that article and wanted to claw my eyes out. However, once you get past the crap he makes a good point. I can’t stand the BBWAA, and wish there was another system in place to elect members (and vote on things like MVP, for instance).
    Regarding Robin Ventura: he will always be known as that guy that got put into a headlock and beaten up by Nolan Ryan, a man twice his age. He deserves a corner of the HOF for that alone.

    Atheose - SF January 7, 2010, 7:58 am
  • so who the hell is charlie pierce, and why is he relevant?
    i grew up about a leisurely hour away from cooperstown, but only made it there twice, even though i always thought it was cool to have it [almost] in my backyard…once i visited with my dad, and later with my 2 kids…there are some other things to do besides the baseball museum, but just that can take a couple of days to get through, even back then…i would hope that most of you who have visited this gem of a small town would agree that its laidback, peaceful setting, is the perfect backdrop for a shrine dedicated to the memory of baseball…guys like charlie miss the point, that baseball memories for many of us isn’t just commercial big city major league style, but a bunch of local kids getting together as soon as the weather broke in spring at a cow pasture, somebody’s backyard, a parking lot, city parks, whatever, to spend hours of fun all summer long…his opinion of cooperstown and what it represents is irrelevant…

    dc January 7, 2010, 8:33 am
  • Andrew,
    I don’t have a problem with relievers or anyone else being in the hall of fame..I just have a hard time (in my own head, albeit) making the destinction between what I consider a Hall of Fame athlete, and someone who did exactly half of what a baseball player (or pitcher) does.
    A HOF baseball player should encompass being a all-time great baseball player. So yes, I guess in the end I feel less for Edgar Martinez and Mariano than I do for, say, a player on both sides of the ball and a starting pitcher.
    I don’t hold any reservations that both of those players are deserving of high accolades, and in Mariano’s case, an immeditate induction, but that’s because Mariano has essentially put himself in another stratosphere as a reliever; the case for Mariano is that no other player may ever do what he’s done – the same cannot be said for a handful of DHs.
    I guesss it boils down to personal preference, and I’m not trying to start anything, but no way would I ever vote for a DH or any “closer” not named Mariano.
    I can agree to disagree very easily on this one, bud.

    Brad January 7, 2010, 9:01 am
  • I played at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown when I was thirteen years old. It was a thrill. I loved the town, all the small memorabilia shops, the museum. I guess it’s hard to get to but maybe that’s one of the things that makes it special. I disagree with Pierce then.
    I’m fine with a DH making the Hall but I think the bar has to be set very high for induction. His offensive numbers have to be ridiculously great to counter the lack of value he have in all other parts of the game.

    Nick-YF January 7, 2010, 10:48 am
  • I agree, Nick, with the higher bar. That’s why Edgar Martinez (147 OPS+, tied with A-Rod for 39th overall) and Frank Thomas (157(!) OPS+ tied with Willy Mays for 19th overall) get in, and David Ortiz (134 OPS+, tied with Fred McGriff and Boog Powell, who were first basemen, for 114th overall) doesn’t.

    AndrewYF January 7, 2010, 11:04 am
  • Wow! Just looked at Martinez’s stats. I forget that he was an unbelievable hitter even at the end when he was 40. Yeah, I think those numbers make the grade. I guess he didn’t accumulate a lot of the numbers (maybe he didn’t do it long enough?) but I think he seems deserving anyway.

    Nick-YF January 7, 2010, 11:12 am
  • You can read a statement like this “Among those who missed the 5 percent cutoff are two first-timers who had better cases for the Hall than many realize — Robin Ventura and Kevin Appier” and not immediately discredit it as ridiculous. because it isn’t, even though it is.
    Except the statement isn’t ridiculous because it’s true. They received a combined eight votes, which indicates we need not even look at their stats to know they don’t deserve enshrinement, and this is just not true.
    At third base, in fact, the Hall of Fame is the exact opposite of the alleged problem you cite. The worst post-WW2 third basemen in the Hall (by OPS+) are Wade Boggs and Brooks Robinson. Robin Ventura’s 114 career OPS+ is well above Robinson’s 104, and Ventura was also apparently considered an excellent defender (six GG in a nine-year span, understanding the flaws inherent in using the award). On top of that, in that same nine-year span (1991-99), he had peak seasons of 132, 129, 127, 127, 126, 120 and 115 OPS+ with an injury shortened-season immediately followed by a subpar 105 for a total nine-year peak OPS+ of 122. From third base, which in 1991 had a league-average OPS of .714 and in 1999 had a league-average OPS of .764. Ventura had an OPS in that span of .838 — 100 points better than the league average at that position.
    What third basemen were better than him in the 1990s? Not Boggs, who was a shell of his former self. Not Jim Thome, whom the Indians quickly moved to first. I honestly cannot find any other candidates who were nearly as good for nearly as long at both hitting and fielding as Ventura for the decade of the 1990s. Maybe you think Ventura isn’t elite enough by historical standards, but perhaps the historical standards for third basemen are simply too high. Are Boggs and Robinson really the least-qualified third basemen from the past 70 years? And again, my initial argument wasn’t that Ventura belongs in the Hall. It was that his case was stronger than one might expect. And he does indeed have a strong case.
    ppier’s case is based even more on brightness of peak than duration of career, and it’s not as good as Ventura’s. And, granted, his ERA+ over that peak (1990-97) is 140, good for third over that span. But he finished his career with an ERA+ over 120, better than contemporaries David Cone (who at least received 21 votes despite a nearly identical ERA+ in just 400 more innings), John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. Better than Andy Pettitte, who will certainly get more than one vote despite a worse ERA in 600 more innings. Are two or three fewer years’ worth of innings enough to even making a case for Appier, as opposed to Cone or Pettitte? Maybe, given that Pettitte is borderline himself, but I think the question is closer than many realize, which again was my point, NOT that he absolutely should go in the Hall. And, for what it’s worth from a pure peak perspective, Appier had two of the 25 best seasons of the 1990s. The other pitchers with multiple appearances are all, with the possible exception of Kevin Brown (who deserves it though he’s more borderline), future Hall of Famers.
    So, again, you’re right that the statement was not ridiculous, but that’s because the statement was not ridiculous, not because you feel the Hall isn’t living up to its historic standards — which itself is not a proven or even undisputed statement.

    Paul SF January 7, 2010, 12:00 pm
  • Does anyone seriously think Ortiz is a Hall of Famer? I’m not sure why he was even brought up. The thought in years past was always that he would need to continue his 2003-07 run at least until 2009 and probably 2010 to have a chance at a peak-based argument, and even then it would depend on how much voters credited him for his postseason heroics. His 2008 really hurt his chances, and 2009 buried them for good.
    As it is, 2003-07 will simply have to be remembered as one of the most awesome stretches by a hitter in our collective memories, but simply too short to garner induction.

    Paul SF January 7, 2010, 12:04 pm
  • “What third basemen were better than him in the 1990s? Not Boggs, who was a shell of his former self. Not Jim Thome, whom the Indians quickly moved to first. I honestly cannot find any other candidates who were nearly as good for nearly as long at both hitting and fielding as Ventura for the decade of the 1990s. ”
    Chipper Jones? I think he fits the bill although I know he was moved to LF for a year or 2 and he started in 1993.
    It’s an interesting point you make about 3b. FWIW when looking at the CHONE WAR data for 1955-2009. and the top 500 position players during that time, there seem to be a very small number of third basemen who make the list. This is just a cursory list. Wade Boggs, by the way, is close to inner-circle based on WAR. He was just an amazing player. Robinson is a bit ahead of Ventura but not as much as conventional wisdom would have one believe. Ventura registers as the 140th best position player during this period. He’s something like the 10th best 3b on the list. Not too shabby.

    Nick-YF January 7, 2010, 12:13 pm
  • I should say this is just based on a cursory look at the list. Unfortunately the positions are not given so I’m doing my best to match names to positions. It looks like Mike Schmidt was the best during this period. Boggs and Brett follow.

    Nick-YF January 7, 2010, 12:14 pm
  • Chipper Jones? I think he fits the bill although I know he was moved to LF for a year or 2 and he started in 1993.
    Good catch. Of course, he was in the other league, and he’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer, so he doesn’t really hurt Ventura’s case. Also, his first full season was 1995.
    Schmidt, of course, retired in 1989.

    Paul SF January 7, 2010, 12:20 pm
  • Oh, I meant Brett was best during the 1955 to present period. Yeah, it seems the 90’s was a relatively weak period for the position.

    Nick-YF January 7, 2010, 12:21 pm
  • Oh, I see. Yeah, it was, and I’m not inclined to think we should elect someone from the 1990s just because everyone else sucked, but Ventura is just a much better player than I had ever thought until I looked at what he actually produced.

    Paul SF January 7, 2010, 12:23 pm
  • sorry again, I meant he was one of the best! Again, it looks like Schmidt was the best.

    Nick-YF January 7, 2010, 12:26 pm
  • To come back to the Edgar Martinez question: IIRC, David Pinto (baseballmusings.com) recently made the point that he could live with one DH being inducted about every 30 years. Seems about right to me.
    Should Martinez get elected eventually and Frank Thomas as well that would make it two in a relatively short span of time. Unless, of course, we look at Thomas as a first baseman.

    pale blue eyes January 7, 2010, 3:57 pm
  • The Pierce one-off ain’t watershed. But it was truly funny. I like his sacrilegious dagger. It relieved my suffering. I do not have the ability to fathom any structure / system / collusion *ahem* between the immediacy/consistency of the pinnacle talent that was Tim Raines to what I thought was the pinnacle recognition of the game. Now that I know I don’t get it and never really got it in the first place when it didn’t mean what I thought it meant. wait. huh? Feck Cooperstown.

    attackgerbil January 7, 2010, 4:04 pm
  • “2003-07 will simply have to be remembered as one of the most awesome stretches by a hitter in our collective memories”
    Ortiz had a nice, although not exactly unprecedented nor historic run, but he will (rightly, I think) be remembered moreso for his clutch playoff performances, and being part of a 3-4, righty-lefty tandem with an even more impressive Manny Ramirez.
    His career is somewhat similar to Mo Vaughn, I think (kind of funny, both of them being Boston-famed), although it had a slightly greater peak and will probably end up lasting a bit longer. And of course he will have at least two championships.

    AndrewYF January 7, 2010, 4:10 pm

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