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When considering a player for the Hall of Fame, do you value peak performance or longevity?


wsnydes
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Which do you value more, peak performance or longevity?  

40 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you value more, peak performance or longevity?

    • Peak Performance
      1
    • Longevity
      3
    • Both
      20
    • Neither, context is more important
      9
    • Other
      1
    • Yes
      6


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There's been a lot of discussion recently about Hall of Fame voting and how many view a player.  Everyone appears to have different ways to evaluate and view a player and whether or not they belong in the Hall.  So, I pose the question; what do you value more in your evaluations on what a HoF player is?

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I'm a small Hall guy, but I tend to view a player in context of their era.  Or, at least I try to as best I can.  I think there's a place for players that have really long careers and amass counting stat numbers, like Jim Kaat.  I'd leave a guy like Jack Morris out, believing that much of his resume is aided by his team's success in the 80s.  He's absolutely a guy I'd want on my roster, but not HoF worthy in my opinion.  I also believe there's a place for shorter careers that had exceptional peak performance like Kirby.  In those cases, I do like them to have at least a 10 year career, so that would exclude Tony O unfortunately.  A line should be drawn somewhere.  

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I think being in he hall requires you to be one of the best of the best in your era.  To prove that I think you have to have some longevity otherwise it seems hard to prove you are a dominant player to me.  I get that injuries happen and great players careers get cut short but I still think you need play for a long time to prove you belong in the hall.  You need to have some counting stats that prove you were one of the best in your era.  If you are a dominant player you should be better than average for a long period of time.  How long that needs to be I don't know exactly but 10 years seems like a minimum to me and would need extra context to get in.  The Hall seems like a place for those who stand out in their generation.  The rest can still get recognition by being All-Stars or having a great season here or there. IMOm Leave the hall for the consistently great performers.

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Both for me as well.  Guys like Kaat and Don Sutton were always GOOD pitchers, but probably not GREAT pitchers.  Both Kaat and Sutton belong in the Hall in my opinion.  Kaat as much for his 17 (SEVENTEEN) Gold Gloves in addition to his broadcasting excellence.  Sutton, because he was GOOD for that long.  I agree about Morris as well.  I'll always love him for the thrills of 1991 but I thought Kaat was more deserving all along.  Tony-O did have more than 10 years so I've always thought he belonged all along as well.  I thought he should have been the MVP in 1965 instead of Zoilo and being the only player with batting titles his first two years is a unique accomplishment.  Tony-O is MUCH more deserving than Harold Baines (for Pete's Sake...Harold Baines ???).  This is why guys like Oliva, Puckett and Johan Santana are Hall worthy.  But long term GOOD also needs to be considered (guys like Sutton and Kaat).   

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I tend to think you need both.  You have to have a 3-5 year stretch where you were legitimately one of the best in the league in that era, and you have to be an above average player for 10-12 years (unless your peak was 6-8 years, and the lack of longevity was due to retirement/injury/tragedy).  For example, Sandy Koufax played 12 years, but was only above average in 7 of them, but had a 6 year run where his WAR was never below 5.7, and his average war was 7.7--that stretch was good enough on its own to make him a top 60 pitcher of all time by WAR when he retired.

Harold Baines is a great example of why longevity isn't enough--he amassed over 2800 hits, almost 400 homers, 1300 runs and 1600 RBIs (47th, 67th, 128th, and 34th all time), but he never had a 5+ WAR season.  In fact he only had one season above 3 WAR, and had as many seasons below 2 WAR as above.  He put up nice cumulative numbers, but because he was able to play for all or part of 22 seasons, not because he was ever actually all that great of a player.

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That's not quite fair to Baines. He was very good. Career OPS+ of 121 and he was productive with a OPS+ 136 age 40 season. A 5x All Star, 4 consecutive years being in the MVP voting, not to mention Baines was an average-ish right fielder. Baines managed an average of 3.0 WAR per season for a 5 year period 1982-1986, but as his bat developed, he was moved to DH. With the same bat in RF, Baines would have been putting together 3-4 WAR campaigns on a perennial rate. So had Baines played in the National League, he'd probably have more like 48 WAR than the 38 in his career. Still not enough for the Hall of Fame in my opinion, but better than I feel like you're stating.

As far as I'm concerned, there needs to be a dominant 5-8 year stretch (depends on how dominant) and the player needs to be well above average for 10+ or so.

There's also the problem of the good 'ol steroid era and how it really screwed players who didn't cheat when it comes to stats. A player with 55 WAR and an OPS+ of 135 would have probably had 70 WAR and an OPS+ more like 150 across their career had their competition not been able to inflate their accomplishments with the needle.

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I think Roger Maris should be in the Hall for achieving a monumental record in baseball. The Babe held the record for 30 some years and Roger held the record  longer than Ruth. That’s a remarkable achievement. And he was one best players in his era. 

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I grew up with the bar pretty much being set at 300 wins for pitchers and 3,000 hits for hitters, and players were judged by how close they came to those parameters.    This criteria  leans heavily on longevity.   When I see recent players elected, such a pitcher Roy Halladay, who barely scraped out 200 wins, and who falls far short of that criteria.  I think this is a near-sighted approach by the HOF, looking a shorter period of time or based more at post-season performance (like the NFL often does), rather that the big picture of the player's career.  Making it to the post season is just as much a reflection of the performances of the teammates you're lucky enough to have around you, than it is of any one player's performance IMO.

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42 minutes ago, lecroy24fan said:

He played 11 full seasons though.

Yeah, I admit that I worded that very poorly/incorrectly...

...I was trying to say something along the lines of half of those seasons were brilliant but not long enough of a run in my view to warrant the call.  

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We talk about someone like Maris...he had that record. Well, folks, he is in the Hall of Fame with that record. Immortalized. Just not in the room with the plaques.

The Hall of Fame does recognize achievements. You are somewhere on the walls or trophy cases if you won a batting title, rookie of the year, Cy Young, MVP, etc. 

Who should be on a plaque? According to the Baseball Writers Association, someone who had an impact on the sports of baseball, usually tied to longevity and overall excellent stats. Some get in  because they just excelled in everyway during a short career (Koufax, Puckett would apply here). Some, like Ernie Banks, did the best possible with the team he represented, and he represented baseball well for that team. 

There always was numbers, before, that pretty much guaranteed success. But then you start to look at players of the decade, players of the team, players that bring as much off the field as they do on the field. 

For the longest time it seemed the Big Market dominated. Look at the Twins. Harmon Killebrew WAS the biggest name in the franchise until Puckett came along. If Santana had pitched his career with Minnesota, and won that third Cy Young, he would probably be a shoo-in. Too bad he was a one year and gone candidate.

You had workhorse pitches like Morris, Blyleven, John, Kaat...all that would've thrived in different locations, but you actually look at the numbers and they are Hall of Famers. Not maybe the flash, and always playing second or third fiddle to others of their era, but they are Hall of Famers. 

If Harmon Killebrew or Reggie Jackson had retired from the game today with their numbes, would they be as popular shoo-ins as they were when elected to the Hall of Fame?

Why does it work for some players in some decades but not others nowadays.

No thought it given to bullpen arms, and here were some great workhorses before the popular invention of the save. And as starting pitchers fail to even approach 200 innings a season, will we ever see the win/loss records of old, yet alone the strikeout marks of the past.

David Ortiz brought love for the pure designated hitter. Again, he was good, but was he super great (just barely getting the vote tells us what the writers think). But, if you look at his career, his work for the team, his effect on the game of baseball...he excelled.

So many players are ignored or forgotten because of the market they played the game. You have to become the total face of the franchise. Joe Mauer is an example. He wilal get in as the Face of Minnesota Twins abseball, he had a solid career as a catcher, and his overall numbers are worthy. Every player needs to be carefuly evaluated, looking at what they do best, and what they brought to the game. Not where they played, how they dominated because of the team, and what they did with their time in baseball.

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6 hours ago, nclahammer said:

I grew up with the bar pretty much being set at 300 wins for pitchers 

This benchmark was certainly considered in the past but is now obsolete. The 5-man rotation has been in place for most teams for nearly 50 years. Starters are pulled earlier than ever before because most baseball people believe that using a fresh reliever is more likely to result in a win than using a starter who has thrown 80-100 pitches. For these and other reasons, pitching wins has become an increasingly unimportant statistic, especially regarding relievers. If you want to consider a simple counting stat, innings pitched is probably a better indicator of overall effectiveness, especially for a starter, and even that is overly simplistic.

The active leader in wins is Justin Verlander with 226. The only other pitcher over 200 is Zack Greinke with 219. (J.A. Happ, nobody's HOF-er, is 9th on the list.) I don't think it's a stretch to predict that no pitcher will ever again register 300 wins.

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I am waiting for the next revolution in baseball - when they discover pitchers who can go nine innings!  I am waiting for speed and fun to come back.  What makes a HOF player - I do not know except that when I watched Ortiz he felt like a HOF.  In the PED era I am filled with mixed emotions because I saw a player of great ability get jealous of McGwire's 70 HR total and suddenly changed physically so that he could produce 73.  This was too much for me and he tainted all the numbers I grew up memorizing.  I just cannot handle the PED players and they are not in the hall except where their records and awards are recognized.  Now I wonder how a pitcher will ever be judged hall worthy.  It is too confusing.  The only thing I really like about the Hall vote is that it brings out lots of discussion (and disgust for many), but baseball has always had controversy so I do not care.  

I like good stories like Kaat and Oliva.  

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6 hours ago, wsnydes said:

Yeah, I admit that I worded that very poorly/incorrectly...

...I was trying to say something along the lines of half of those seasons were brilliant but not long enough of a run in my view to warrant the call.  

8 seasons he received MVP votes along with being an all star.  I guess that is not enough sustained greatness. 

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10 hours ago, nclahammer said:

I grew up with the bar pretty much being set at 300 wins for pitchers and 3,000 hits for hitters, and players were judged by how close they came to those parameters.    This criteria  leans heavily on longevity.   When I see recent players elected, such a pitcher Roy Halladay, who barely scraped out 200 wins, and who falls far short of that criteria.  I think this is a near-sighted approach by the HOF, looking a shorter period of time or based more at post-season performance (like the NFL often does), rather that the big picture of the player's career.  Making it to the post season is just as much a reflection of the performances of the teammates you're lucky enough to have around you, than it is of any one player's performance IMO.

Baseball as a league sport dates back, literally, 151 years and the National League dates back to 1876 (146 years). During that span, players of the sport meeting those figures are exceptionally rare. There are 19,969 baseball players who've played since the creation of the National League.

24 pitchers in history have 300+ wins 0.12% of all players. 4 pitchers who have played in the past 20 years are on the list. Zero who've played in the past 10 years.

  • Greg Maddux
  • Roger Clemens (was not elected to HoF)
  • Tom Glavine
  • Randy Johnson

32 batters in history have 3,000 hits 0.16% of all players. 8 players who have played in the past 20 years are on the list. 5 batters who've played in the past `10 years.

  • Derek Jeter (2014)
  • Albert Pujols (2021)
  • Adrian Beltre (2018)
  • Alex Rodriguez (2016) (will not be elected to HoF)
  • Ichiro Suzuki (2019)
  • Craig Biggio
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Rafael Palmeiro

300 wins is no longer possible. Pitchers skip starts or go to the short IL any time there's an issue and they make a maximum of 33 starts a season. Usually, the best pitchers give you 30-32. Extended bullpens are called upon quickly, reducing the innings pitched or the ability to earn come from behind or late game wins. Andy Pettitte is the closest with 256 and he played until 9 years ago. CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon follow closely with 251 and 247 and then far behind them is Justin Verlander with 226. Justin Verlander only has 226 wins. Verlander played on good teams making the playoffs 8 times in his career. 1x MVP as a pitcher. 2x Cy Young (10x he received votes), RoY, 8x All Star. Led all of MLB in wins 3 times. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest pitchers of all time with a long and storied career. His name is synonomous with Cy Young, Ace and Dominance. 

Baseball has changed over time and what players are allowed to do has changed with it. Sometimes making goals easier (500 home runs) or impossible (300 wins). What I don't think has changed is how well players performed against their peers. The truly great players usually have a 7+ or so year span where they are truly elite. The career WAR bar is set around 60 for people... but that was supposed to be an automatic election at 60 WAR, not a qualification. I'm a small hall guy... but not a micro hall guy.

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5 hours ago, Rosterman said:

...You had workhorse pitches like...Blyleven...

Blyleven was no workhorse. Maybe you could call him that late in his career, but Blyleven was a very dominant pitcher early in his career.

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1 hour ago, old nurse said:

8 seasons he received MVP votes along with being an all star.  I guess that is not enough sustained greatness. 

Sure, but only 4 of those were top 6 vote years.  The rest were 10+ years.  It's not like he was a perennial MVP threat.  If he was top 5 every year, I'd be inclined to agree with you.  Not looking to debate Tony's case here.  

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2 hours ago, wsnydes said:

Sure, but only 4 of those were top 6 vote years.  The rest were 10+ years.  It's not like he was a perennial MVP threat.  If he was top 5 every year, I'd be inclined to agree with you.  Not looking to debate Tony's case here.  

It wasn’t his case I was arguing

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On 1/28/2022 at 7:34 PM, bean5302 said:

That's not quite fair to Baines. He was very good. Career OPS+ of 121 and he was productive with a OPS+ 136 age 40 season. A 5x All Star, 4 consecutive years being in the MVP voting, not to mention Baines was an average-ish right fielder. Baines managed an average of 3.0 WAR per season for a 5 year period 1982-1986, but as his bat developed, he was moved to DH. With the same bat in RF, Baines would have been putting together 3-4 WAR campaigns on a perennial rate. So had Baines played in the National League, he'd probably have more like 48 WAR than the 38 in his career. Still not enough for the Hall of Fame in my opinion, but better than I feel like you're stating.

As far as I'm concerned, there needs to be a dominant 5-8 year stretch (depends on how dominant) and the player needs to be well above average for 10+ or so.

There's also the problem of the good 'ol steroid era and how it really screwed players who didn't cheat when it comes to stats. A player with 55 WAR and an OPS+ of 135 would have probably had 70 WAR and an OPS+ more like 150 across their career had their competition not been able to inflate their accomplishments with the needle.

If if if…

Baines played DH for the last decade of his career. If he played OF for his whole career, who’s to say he would have played 17, or even 10

players need to be evaluated on their accomplishments not their potential 


personally i agree with the both crowd, and voted yes because the poll on the forum page didn’t give any context to the question that the post provided.

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On 1/29/2022 at 5:18 PM, bean5302 said:

Blyleven was no workhorse. Maybe you could call him that late in his career, but Blyleven was a very dominant pitcher early in his career.

97 complete games in his first six years, 44 in his last six years. Mixing species here but I think you got the workorse bit a** backwards

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On 1/29/2022 at 5:18 PM, bean5302 said:

Blyleven was no workhorse. Maybe you could call him that late in his career, but Blyleven was a very dominant pitcher early in his career.

Seasons 2-7 his lowest IP was 275.2. If that's not a workhorse then I don't know what possibly could be.

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2 hours ago, lecroy24fan said:

Seasons 2-7 his lowest IP was 275.2. If that's not a workhorse then I don't know what possibly could be.

Workhorse is generally a term reserved for a solid, but unspectacular innings eater. Blyleven pitched a ton of innings, but the innings included dominant performances.

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On 1/28/2022 at 5:34 PM, bean5302 said:

That's not quite fair to Baines. He was very good. Career OPS+ of 121 and he was productive with a OPS+ 136 age 40 season. A 5x All Star, 4 consecutive years being in the MVP voting, not to mention Baines was an average-ish right fielder. Baines managed an average of 3.0 WAR per season for a 5 year period 1982-1986, but as his bat developed, he was moved to DH. With the same bat in RF, Baines would have been putting together 3-4 WAR campaigns on a perennial rate. So had Baines played in the National League, he'd probably have more like 48 WAR than the 38 in his career. Still not enough for the Hall of Fame in my opinion, but better than I feel like you're stating.

As far as I'm concerned, there needs to be a dominant 5-8 year stretch (depends on how dominant) and the player needs to be well above average for 10+ or so.

There's also the problem of the good 'ol steroid era and how it really screwed players who didn't cheat when it comes to stats. A player with 55 WAR and an OPS+ of 135 would have probably had 70 WAR and an OPS+ more like 150 across their career had their competition not been able to inflate their accomplishments with the needle.

He was surely good; I don't think I would say very good (but wouldn't get into an argument with something who was convinced he was).  But this is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good.  Getting MVP votes is not an HOF-worthy accomplishment--Brian Dozier got MVP votes for 3 consecutive seasons after all.  If Baines had been top 3 in MVP for 4 consecutive seasons, that would be something (but then he also would have had more than one season above 3 WAR).  He also would have had a lot more WAR had he played catcher--why should we give him credit for something he didn't do?  I'm sure the White Sox didn't put him at DH simply because his bat developed; it was because he wasn't good enough to play literally the easiest defensive position in baseball.

Even if we did give him that unearned defensive credit, and bump him up to 48 WAR, he's still 214th all-time in WAR; that is nowhere even close to being HOF-worthy.  I agree with you that to be in the HOF a player needs a 5-8 year stretch of dominance--for me, that means minimum 5 WAR (seems a reasonable threshold, given that 19 hitters did it last year, and 3 more were at 4.9.  Even in Baines best year, 1984, 22 hitters achieved 5 WAR, and he himself finished 25th in WAR for hitters).  By that metric, Baines never even had a 1 year stretch of dominance.  As I stated, he is in the Hall because he played for 22 years, and was therefore able to acquire significant enough counting stats, without ever being great for even one year.

The fact that Baines is in, and Bonds is not (who put up more WAR in his first 6 seasons, 1986-1991, than Baines did in his entire 22 year career), is simply amazing to me.

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18 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Workhorse is generally a term reserved for a solid, but unspectacular innings eater. Blyleven pitched a ton of innings, but the innings included dominant performances.

That's your opinion. A workhorse IMO is any pitcher that eats a ton of innings, no matter the performance.

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4 hours ago, lecroy24fan said:

That's your opinion. A workhorse IMO is any pitcher that eats a ton of innings, no matter the performance.

It was the opinion being given by the person ( @Rosterman ) I was responding to when I disagreed that Blyleven was essentially an innings eater/journeyman/workhorse/accumulator whatever term you like the most. You made a hot take on my post without context. When I explained, you made another hot take without context.

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19 hours ago, bean5302 said:

It was the opinion being given by the person ( @Rosterman ) I was responding to when I disagreed that Blyleven was essentially an innings eater/journeyman/workhorse/accumulator whatever term you like the most. You made a hot take on my post without context. When I explained, you made another hot take without context.

It's not a hot take when it is commonly considered to be accurate. Also I read everything you claim I didn't. 

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On 1/31/2022 at 1:48 PM, bean5302 said:

Right... as I said, still not enough to be in the Hall of Fame. Not deserving of the title never actually all that great of a player which to me implies he was average-ish, maybe a little better.

Isn't that close to what Baines was, though? A little better than average for a DH?

The guy had essentially identical career value to Kent Hrbek except it took Baines an extra 4,000 plate appearances to accumulate that value. As a comparison point, Brian Dozier had 4,900 career plate appearances and accumulated 60% of the career rWAR of Baines.

Harold Baines isn't even close to being a legitimate Hall of Famer, in my opinion. Not by a long shot.

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Bendy, bend bend bend. Baines had a period of time he was good. Well better than average and his bat got better from that point; however, the AL had the DH and his team chose to move him to DH despite adequate defense which hurt his production value. If you can't understand this, I can't help you.

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