Monday, April 24, 2006

Stop the Madness


The Hall of Fame is clearly one of my favorite topics. I've talked about the push for mediocrity in the Hall before and I really wanted to stay away from that topic for the most part, but when I read an article like the one that Joe Sheehan wrote for SI.com on Sunday, I just have to say something. First of all Joe Sheehan writes for Baseball Prospectus, which provides some of the most in depth analysis of baseball available. They provide stats on just about everything that you could ever want to know about baseball. I have nothing but good things to say about the site, however just looking at statistics can lead to some strange conclusions. Joe's article on Sunday was based on the idea that Jim Edmonds is going to be a Hall of Famer.

Jim Edmonds has been a very good player for the last 12 years. He's hit 334 home runs, he has 1,010 RBI's, he's scored 100 runs 4 times, he's won 8 gold gloves, and has a .925 OPS. He's had a very good career. However, he has never lead the league in anything, he has only 2 top 10 finishes in MVP voting and he only has 1,600 career hits. Mr. Sheehan pre-supposes that Edmonds will continue to be a productive player for three or four more years, which may or may not be true. Even if we give him that production, I don't see him being any more qualified for the Hall of Fame than Dale Murphy or Andre Dawson. At least you could make the argument that both of those players were at least considered at one time, the best players in their respective leagues. Both won MVP awards (Murphy won two) and both retired with numbers that would put them solidly in the second tier of Hall of Fame outfielders. The problem is that those second tier hall of famers shouldn't be in the HOF either. Murphy and Dawson were very good players, but they were not among the best players of all time and neither is Edmonds. It's a ridiculous argument to make that a player who has never led the league in anything or even come close to winning an MVP award belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Mr. Sheehan mentions two other retired players who by the numbers could be Hall of Famers. They are Bobby Grich and Dwight Evans. They were both fine players in the seventies and early eighties. The problem with their candidacy is the same as Edmonds'. They never led the league in anything and they never came close to winning an MVP. To be a Hall of Famer, you should at least have come within sniffing distance of an MVP and you must have been considered at least among the two or three best players in the game. I'm not talking about at your position, I'm talking about among all players in the game. Mr. Sheehan's argument for Edmonds talks about him being the 2nd best centerfielder in the majors during his career. Now I'm sure you could make an argument for Bernie Williams, but I'm not going to get into that right now, but being the 2nd best player at your position DOES NOT QUALIFY YOU FOR THE HALL OF FAME! Who was the 2nd best third baseman during Wade Boggs' career? Robin Ventura? Does that now qualify him for the Hall of Fame? It's a ridiculous argument and the kind of things that just drags the HOF down.

The problem is that there are now so many undeserving people in the HOF that you can make an argument for anyone who has had a good career. You can point to a host of people who had similar careers and have been enshrined in the Hall. That really isn't the point. Come on people, let's stop the madness. We can't kick people out of the HOF at this point, but lets try and do the right thing from now on.

Sorry, Jim.

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