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Best baseball article on the Internet today? Aaron Gleeman's Class of 2003 on his blog. There's already a lengthy and spirited discussion on Primer, but if Batter's Box regulars want to take a swing at this one, go right ahead.

I have trouble leaving Bruce Sutter out if Tommy John gets in, and I'm prone to thinking of players from the "wouldn't it be great to have him on my team" perspective, so Mattingly is a hero. And Jack Morris would beat Kaat or Blyleven in any meaningful game; he just would. So it's not necessarily Aaron's conclusions I'm applauding, but it's recommended as an enjoyable read.
Aaron's HoF Ballot | 4 comments | Create New Account
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_Shrike - Monday, December 09 2002 @ 06:04 PM EST (#101634) #
I too spent a few minutes digesting Aaron's breezily-written thoughts on the Class of 2003. Without parsing out a full critique of Aaron's lists and comments, I'll just say that Andre Dawson was perhaps my favourite player growing up, and I've heard scores of anecdotes from broadcasters about how his fellow players revered him. So my objectivity is suspect, but I'd give the Hawk the benefit of the doubt and vote for him. That said, I generally agree with Aaron's views.
_Kent - Monday, December 09 2002 @ 06:42 PM EST (#101635) #
I didn't mean to imply in my intro that I think Morris or Sutter "should" be in the Hall. I'm not sure about Kaat and Blyleven belonging, and I don't give Tommy John extra credit for becoming a household word; I'm an exclusionist who thinks far too many undeserving players are in Cooperstown already.

Murray, Carter and Sandberg are no-brainers for me, then the debates start. None of them were guys I particularly admired, but all three are great players and the Kid's been treated horribly by the voters.

I think Sutter and Gossage combined to define a "new" position, and are worthy of recognition, but because they were brilliant over a shorter time, does that outweigh the longevity, consistency and "career value" of the starters being considered? It's a tough call, but I believe you have to be the absolute best at your position for some period of time to warrant the honour, not among the best for a long time. So scratch Lee Smith, too.

Mattingly detractors cite his interrupted career to support their argument, and some writers refuse to vote for Keith Hernandez because of his off-field issues. Both were magnificent fielders and team leaders who could really hit. I don't think "Mex" will ever get elected, though he deserves it via the "who's already enshrined" comparison, and my heart overrules my head on Donnie Baseball, so I hope he's chosen, but doubt it will happen.

Dawson and Trammell are right on the threshold for me, and again some inferior players preceded them into the HoF, so a case can be made for their qualifications. I put them at the top of the "no cigar" list along with Dave Parker and Dale Murphy, but when it's too close to call, the voters should pass.
Craig B - Monday, December 09 2002 @ 09:43 PM EST (#101636) #
Unlike the Coach, I'm not an exclusivist. I like a good-sized Hall of Fame, and since I'm also convinced we have more truly great players in the modern era, I would like to see as many get in now as got in before.

I spoke about my ballot on another site, and unfortunately mucked up the post I had made and wound up posting a draft instead of my final comments. At any rate, I usually have ten guys on my ballot but this year I had nine.

Like Kent, I considered Murray, Carter, and Sandberg to be no-questions-asked. Bert Blyleven is also in that category for me... not necessarily as the best of the pitcher eligibles, but as a guy who (1) I loved as a kid; (2) has gone long enough without recognition already; and (3) is properly comparable to pitchers that I think are no-questions-asked Hall members.

My other votes were to two similar pitchers (Tommy John and Jim Kaat), Goose Gossage, Dave Parker, and Alan Trammell. I'd probably be happier in voting for Andre Dawson and Dale Murphy rather than John and Kaat, because both guys should probably get in, but I can't have eleven and I'm not going to decide between those four. I'll take the pitchers so as not to make my ballot too hitter-heavy.

My toughest ones to leave off were Lee Smith, along with Dawson and Murphy. Garvey I would love to throw a vote to, because he is legitimately hard done by thanks to 20/20 hindsight, but the fact remains he's a notch below the Hall of Fame.

I can understand the support for Dave Concepcion. Essentially, Concepcion has tons and tons of defense to offer, and not much else. He's an interesting case.

Concepcion's ten most-similar players (scroll down to see the list, which is made using Bill James's similarity scores) illustrate the point nicely. Concepcion's list of players who have similar career numbers (nine shortstops and a second baseman) is, in general, a good defensive list. Frank White, Ozzie Smith, Tony Fernandez, and Luis Aparicio (at least by reputation) were all superb defenders, and the other six are all good shortstops.

Still, out of that list, only Ozzie Smith (and Frank White at a less demanding position) has enough defense to actually stay with Concepcion. But when you look at the list as hitters, you get a different picture.

One player on that list, Alan Trammell, is actually a good hitter for the standards of his time. There's another group, led by Bobby Wallace and including Fernandez, Reese, and Dick Bartell, who are just about league-average over the duration of their careers. For shortstops, these guys have good hitting numbers.

Then you get Concepcion's group. Camapneris, Aparicio, Templeton, White, Ozzie Smith. These guys are all quite a ways below the league average offensively throughout their careers. Two guys who were really really famous, Aparicio and Ozzie, are in the Hall. The other three are a very very long way away.

It's a tough call! I say "out", but a good argument could persuade me that he's in. The main problem I have with Concepcion is that he essentially had Rick Burleson's career, and then he had Burleson's career again right after it. Since "Rick Burleson" doesn't say "HALL OF FAME!" to me, I have a tough time with Concepcion, just like I had a tough time with Ozzie.

In the end, if Concepcion goes in, people are going to have a tough time keeping Cabeza out. That's not too bad, because I love Fernandez, but it's really hard for me to see Fernandez as a Hall of Famer.
_NIck - Saturday, August 16 2003 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#101637) #
Concepcion will be just another example of why sportswriters shouldn't be picking members of the hall. He was the best at his position for over a decade, a perenial all star and a winner of games. Unfortunately, he'll have to wait until the veteran's committee takes him, but noone who understands the game would vote him down.
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