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    ARTICLES — He Raines With Other Kings of the Diamond...

    © John Brattain

    It’s hard to believe actually.

    I simply cannot fathom the BBWAA’s voting habits in recent years. Generally they do a good job in assessing true Hall of Fame talent--most of the worst selections originated with the Veterans Committee and not the writers. I had the good fortune to witness the careers of the men that were under consideration for baseball’s highest honor in 2007-08. This allows for both objective and subjective data to be analyzed as well as having contemporary accounts of their careers available for perusal.

    Most folks into sabermetrics understand what Cooperstown numbers look like; some players may look like HOFers using modern measures but not necessarily with traditional metrics--an example of this being Bobby Grich. It works the other way as well--Jack Morris’s totals look far more impressive using mainstream numbers but not so good when filtered through sabermetric matrixes.

    Quite frankly, I have no idea what to say when the voters miss guys who look like Hall of Famers regardless of the statistical measurement used.

    To begin with (before we get to the meat of today’s topic); let’s have a look at two teammates: The one on top is an eight time Gold glove winning right fielder--the other and unremarkable defensive left fielder:


    AVG OBP SLG Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI RP* OPS+ RCAA BR** GIDP
    .272 .370 .470 1470 2446 483 73 385 1384 2469 127 378 362.4 227
    .298 .352 .502 1249 2452 373 79 382 1451 2318 128 270 294.7 315
    *Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)
    **Batting Runs

    One is on the cusp of Hall of Fame induction, the other fell off the ballot in his third year of eligibility when he failed to garner the necessary five percent. As we see above, it doesn’t matter which metric you use it’s easy to tell who was the better player. For whatever reason, Jim Rice may well be elected next year while Dwight Evans has to wait for the Veterans Committee.

    Which brings us to today's rant.

    Here are a trio of first ballot Hall of Fame corner outfielders (and members of the 3000 hit club) that played between 1955-2001. Again, we’ll use a mix of traditional and sabermetric measures:

    AB XBH TOB* OPS+ RCAA BR** SB SB% RP***
    9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386
    10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361
    9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481
    *Times On Base
    **Batting Runs
    ***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

    Any guesses as to the trio? Again, they’re all first ballot HOFers with 3000 or more hits.

    Let’s add another player to the mix, another corner outfielder pretty much within the same time period mentioned at the outset. We’ll list him at the top …

    AB XBH TOB* OPS+ RCAA BR** SB SB% RP***
    8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381
    9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386
    10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361
    9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481
    *Times On Base
    **Batting Runs
    ***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

    He doesn’t really stick out much--does he? While he’s last in extra base hits, third in runs produced and batting runs don’t forget that he’s dead last in at bats--by over 400 AB. Despite that, he’s first in reaching base, first in runs created above average (RCAA), and second best in stolen bases but tops in success rate. The simple fact is, he’s not ‘in the group’ in the sense that’s he’s at the bottom of it (and a good distance from the rest)--he’s right smack in the middle of them. No apologies are required for his entry in ‘the club.’

    Let’s make still another addition to the group--once again, a corner outfielder (same time period) and we’ll add him in at the top as well:

    AB XBH TOB* OPS+ RCAA BR** SB SB% RP***
    8225 834 3186 128 270 294.7 58 34 2318
    8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381
    9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386
    10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361
    9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481
    *Times On Base
    **Batting Runs
    ***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

    He’s in the mix as well. His extra base hits are second in the group despite the lowest number of at bats. He’s dead last by a good margin in reaching base, a distant fourth in RCAA, and a notable distance out of third in batting runs. Defensively he’s probably dead last and close to that as a base runner. Now we’ll add one final wrinkle:

    AB XBH TOB* OPS+ RCAA BR** SB SB% RP*** GIDP
    8225 834 3186 128 270 294.7 58 63 2318 315
    8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381 142
    9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386 260
    10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361 114
    9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481 275
    *Times On Base
    **Batting Runs
    ***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

    Oooo … despite having the fewest at bats of the group, he grounded into 40 more double plays than the rest. He’s one of the two worst in the grouping. So, now let’s see who our contestants are:

    Player AB XBH TOB* OPS+ RCAA BR** SB SB% RP*** GIDP
    Jim Rice 8225 834 3186 128 270 294.7 58 63 2318 315
    Tim Raines 8872 713 3977 123 516 332.8 808 84 2381 142
    Tony Gwynn 9288 763 3955 132 504 437.6 319 71 2386 260
    Lou Brock 10332 776 3833 109 223 107.4 938 75 2361 114
    Roberto Clemente 9454 846 3656 130 409 355.4 83 64 2481 275
    *Times On Base
    **Batting Runs
    ***Runs Produced (runs + RBI - HR)

    Three first ballot Hall of Famers, three members of the 3000 hit club, a probable Hall of Famer in 2009 and Tim Raines--who didn’t even get 25% of the vote.

    It doesn’t matter whether you use traditional or sabermetric statistics, Tim Raines deserves closer scrutiny by those entrusted with the vote. He is overqualified for the honor.

    Best Regards

    John