January 12, 2011

Hall of Fame Leftovers

BaseballHallofFamelogo.pngSo after all the Hall of Fame ballots were counted, Tigers fans could only take solace in that Jack Morris saw his percentage of votes jump to 53.5 percent. That could bode well for the future but probably not next year.

Anyway, all the debates about whether Morris or Alan Trammell belong in Cooperstown got me wondering who the most-similar players are two these Tigers greats.

Thanks to the invaluable Baseball-Reference.com, we can get a quick look at how a player’s stats compare to others in baseball history.

I decided to look at how Baseball Reference compares Morris, Trammell and the BBWA-voter-shafted Lou Whitaker.

Jack Morris: Similar Pitchers — *indicates Hall of Famer

  1. Dennis Martinez (903)
  2. Bob Gibson (885) *
  3. Luis Tiant (873)
  4. Jamie Moyer (873)
  5. Red Ruffing (860) *
  6. Amos Rusie (859) *
  7. Chuck Finley (859)
  8. Burleigh Grimes (855) *
  9. Bob Feller (855) *
  10. Jim Bunning (854) *

So of the 10 in the list, Morris, who misses the cut for so many writers, actually aligns closely in career numbers with statistically to six Hall of Famers. Six!

Lou Whitaker

  1. Ryne Sandberg (901) *
  2. Alan Trammell (868)
  3. Roberto Alomar (857) *
  4. Buddy Bell (850)
  5. Joe Morgan (849) *
  6. Joe Torre (846)
  7. Ray Durham (845)
  8. Brian Downing (843)
  9. Barry Larkin (841)
  10. Julio Franco (834)

Sweetness compares to three Hall of Famers and one soon-to-be, Larkin. It’s astounding to me — and should be shameful to the writers — that Whitaker was one-and-done on the ballot.

And finally, Alan Trammell

  1. Barry Larkin (914)
  2. Edgar Renteria (895)
  3. Jay Bell (876)
  4. Lou Whitaker (868)
  5. Ray Durham (866)
  6. Tony Fernandez (865)
  7. B.J. Surhoff (860)
  8. Ryne Sandberg (859) *
  9. Pee Wee Reese (850) *
  10. Julio Franco (849)

Seeing Renteria on this list is painful if not appalling. And, it might just have obliterated any credibility of these comparisons. Nevertheless, Tram compares to a pair enshrined players and, like Whitaker, to Larkin.

What does this all prove? Probably not much. However, if, as we so often hear, writers must look at how a player compares to his contemporaries — or even to others across the history of the game — this trio of Tigers legends certainly deserve much stronger support than they’ve received to this point.

What do you think?

5 Comment(s)

  1. Lee Panas | Jan 13, 2011 | Reply

    I think the Baseball-Reference similarity scores are fun, but they’re are outdated and unscientific. They were invented by Bill James about 20 years ago. They don’t make era adjustments and are too heavily weighted to counting stats, rather than rate stats. Morris is similar to a pitcher like Gibson in counting stats, but is way behind in ERA. His high ERA is what’s keeping him out.

    I believe that Whitaker and Trammell are strong candidates and it’s a crime Whitaker got bumped the first year. It’ll be cool if Morris makes it but I don’t think he belongs. So, I won’t be upset if he continues to fall short.

  2. Mike McClary | Jan 13, 2011 | Reply

    Lee, you’re killing me on the Morris comments! ;)

  3. Matt Nemec | Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

    Mike, love the site read it when I get the chance. A couple of comments related to the HOF debate, To me the Baseball Ref ratings are a good starting point but the debate goes so much further. I could go on for hours but the postseason matters, see Pee Wee Reese based on sheer appearances. Tram was unreal in 84 and Morris in 91, untouchable, literally. Hopefully that factors in and they get in some day. Lou was far from a one and done, he was among the best at his position for a sustained period.

  4. tommy | Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

    These lists are fascinating. At one time I thought all three would be enshrined, and still believe Morris makes it.

  5. Lee Panas | Jan 16, 2011 | Reply

    Yes, I know I spend way too much time denigrating one of my childhood heroes! :-)

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