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The New (old) Hall of Famers


DrungoHazewood

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In a year where we have one of the stronger HOF ballots in recent memory and yet there's a good chance the BBWAA will elect nobody, we get the latest incarnation of the Vet's Committee bestowing their honors on three guys who've been dead since my grandfather was a little boy.

Two of them are just kind of strange - a Yankee owner, Jacob Ruppert (yippee, let's honor yet another big money guy who orchestrated the Yanks dominance), and an umpire. Hank O'Day would have been completely anonymous had he not been the head ump in the Merkle's Boner game, but I guess he has as good a case as any long-dead umpire.

And also Deacon White. At this point its impossible to say with any certainty we know how to value 19th century catchers. He played in a league that was probably on par with A ball today (that's being really generous), with no glove, with field conditions that would make the groundskeeper at your local Little League park blush. But he seemed like an interesting guy. He was the subject of an essay in Bill James' Historical Abstract, and was the guy who was quoted as saying "No man is going to sell my carcass unless I get half" when a team tried to sell him without his consent.

But all this post was really getting at was this Deacon White bit of trivia: In 1871 he played 29 games in the National Association as a catcher. He had 34 errors, fielded .821, and had 109 passed balls. This was a good catcher. He had 505 PBs in 458 career games. In 2011 Matt Wieters was credited with allowing one passed ball all year. White probably had innings where he had three or four. It was just a different game. It would be fun to see Wieters in one of those Old Time Base Ball leagues trying to catch bare-handed, setting up in a half-crouch 15-20 feet behind the plate.

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Interesting stuff. I remember Ruppert being made out to be the bad guy in that horrible John Goodman movie where he played Babe Ruth. Surprised all the vet committee guys elected were from pre WWII. It's always interesting for me to see who gets in and how the writers differ from how I would have voted. As for Deacon White. I can't imagine catching period- only position I never played in LL though ironically I did play it in my first ever softball game. Can't imagine catching bare handed!

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Could also be titled "Drungo's annual thread complaining about letting old fartknockers that weren't very good into the Hall of Fame"

:D

I like most of the old fartnockers and I'm endlessly fascinated about embryonic baseball. It's just that we've gotten to the point, 80 years after the Hall was invented, that there just aren't too many old, dead, fartnockers left who deserve to have their great-great grandchildren stand up and give a speech about careers their grandparents were too young to have seen.

One day the Hall will realize they need a business model that's more based on inducting players most people remember, rather than guys who were dead when WWII started. This year we really might have the best HOF ballot in generations, and the induction class will be headlined by Jack Morris and Deacon White.

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I wonder if we will start seeing some guys voted in by the Veterans Committee that weren't thought of as being a consideration for the HOF in their day, but looking now. with the value now placed on OBP and OPS, their stats look for more impressive than when HR, BA, and RBI were the all-important stats.

For example, look at Eddie Yost. Nobody thought of him in HOF terms ever, but "The Walking Man" has some very impressive numbers. Lifetime OBP of .394. Led the league in OBP twice, runs once, and walks 6 times. He scored more than 100 runs in five 154-game seasons. Jeez, 151 walks in 1956!

For comparison, Rod Carew had a lifetime .393 OBP and scored more than 100 runs once in his career of all 162-game seasons. I was surprised to find that Carew had, in fact, only scored 90+ runs 2 other times. I would have figured him for multiple 100+ run seasons and a lock for 90 almost every season. I know runs scored largely depends on your teammates, but lets face it, the first step to scoring is getting on base. Carew was a clear HOF choice in the minds of most, mainly because of his .328 lifetime BA and seven batting average titles.

Interesting, because I can't seem to get my head around any chance of considering Eddie Yost for the HOF, either, but I've got to admit his get-on-base and run-scoring abilities were impressive.

I'm sure there are probably other such players that, when viewed in the light of today's slash lines, may have in fact had more brilliant careers than anyone realized at the time.

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I wonder if we will start seeing some guys voted in by the Veterans Committee that weren't thought of as being a consideration for the HOF in their day, but looking now. with the value now placed on OBP and OPS, their stats look for more impressive than when HR, BA, and RBI were the all-important stats.

For example, look at Eddie Yost. Nobody thought of him in HOF terms ever, but "The Walking Man" has some very impressive numbers. Lifetime OBP of .394. Led the league in OBP twice, runs once, and walks 6 times. He scored more than 100 runs in five 154-game seasons. Jeez, 151 walks in 1956!

For comparison, Rod Carew had a lifetime .393 OBP and scored more than 100 runs once in his career of all 162-game seasons. I was surprised to find that Carew had, in fact, only scored 90+ runs 2 other times. I would have figured him for multiple 100+ run seasons and a lock for 90 almost every season. I know runs scored largely depends on your teammates, but lets face it, the first step to scoring is getting on base. Carew was a clear HOF choice in the minds of most, mainly because of his .328 lifetime BA and seven batting average titles.

Interesting, because I can't seem to get my head around any chance of considering Eddie Yost for the HOF, either, but I've got to admit his get-on-base and run-scoring abilities were impressive.

I'm sure there are probably other such players that, when viewed in the light of today's slash lines, may have in fact had more brilliant careers than anyone realized at the time.

I was thinking about this when I was finally reading Bill James' Whatever Happened to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It does make you wonder about how many players have been overlooked due to reliance on the traditional stats though and likewise how many players get overrated due the same reliance. I'm always interested in seeing who the Vets committee and later the BBWAA elects. I was honestly disappointing all the vets committee guys were turn of the century guys. No one from Yost's era which is one of my favorite eras in baseball history to read about that.

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For example, look at Eddie Yost. Nobody thought of him in HOF terms ever, but "The Walking Man" has some very impressive numbers. Lifetime OBP of .394. Led the league in OBP twice, runs once, and walks 6 times. He scored more than 100 runs in five 154-game seasons. Jeez, 151 walks in 1956!

Ed Yost had a career rWAR of 31, which is about 75% of Jim Rice's, which is about 75% of John Olerud's. So he's not getting any traction there. Yost might be the 500th or 700th best player of all time, and a 200-and-some players are in the Hall.

I was thinking about this when I was finally reading Bill James' Whatever Happened to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It does make you wonder about how many players have been overlooked due to reliance on the traditional stats though and likewise how many players get overrated due the same reliance. I'm always interested in seeing who the Vets committee and later the BBWAA elects. I was honestly disappointing all the vets committee guys were turn of the century guys. No one from Yost's era which is one of my favorite eras in baseball history to read about that.

I think the Vet's Committee(s) have painted with so wide a brush that almost everyone with a really good case is already in. The exceptions seem to be mostly people caught in the expansion era glut, where they're clearly better than an average HOFer, but not getting any traction from the BBWAA (Whitaker, Grich, Trammell, Randolph, Dewey, etc). I never want to guess what crazy stuff the HOF will eventually come up with, but those kind of guys might be eventually put in by the 2050 versions of the Vet's Committee.

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