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Keeping on with old guys, we now turn our gaze to Fred McGriff. Crime Dog was always the strong, silent type, and that might eventually be what keeps him out of the Hall. It certainly won’t be the merits of his cause.

McGriff was drafted by the Yankees in 1981. He spent 2 years in rookie league. In December, 1982, Pat Gillick pulled off a heist, obtaining McGriff as a throw-in in the Dale Murray for Dave Collins trade. McGriff would spend 4 more years in the Jay minor league system before getting his first serious shot at a major league job in 1987, when he had 350 plate appearances before winning the first base job in 1988 from Willie Upshaw. He immediately hit for average and power with fine plate discipline, and continued doing so consistently until 1997. With a couple of off years (for him) in 1998 and 2000, he continued at essentially the same level through his age 38 season in 2002. He has not done much the last 2 years, with a .181/.272/.306 in 2004 in 72 at-bats, probably signalling the end of his career.

Putting his career in perspective is a challenge. He was clearly the best first baseman in the majors from 1988-90 before Frank Thomas came along. This period was not a hitter’s era- league on-base percentages were in the .325-.330 range and slugging percentages were in the .380-.390 range. Despite his clear superiority at the position from 1988-1990, he was not named an All-Star until 1992. He has been a consistent and durable player, although not quite at the level of Palmeiro and Murray. Interestingly, he’s actually been a somewhat better than either per at bat (OPS+ failing to account adequately for the differing incremental values in OBP and slugging percentage).

With that in mind, the chart follows. It does not include McGriff’s 2004 year, but his stats are essentially unchanged.

Player    G     AB     H     HR    W     BA    OBP   SLUG   OPS+
Palmeiro 2721 10103 2922 551 1310 .289 .372 .517 132
Murray 2819 10603 3071 479 1257 .290 .362 .482 133
McGriff 2433 8685 2477 491 1296 .285 .378 .511 134
Terry 1721 6428 2193 154 537 .341 .393 .506 137
Bottomley 1991 7471 2313 219 664 .310 .369 .500 125

Should McGriff get the call to Cooperstown? Will he? It is pretty clear to me that he should. The marker, as I mentioned in the Palmeiro piece, is Bill Terry. Terry was the best first baseman in the National League for a year or two. McGriff was the best in baseball for at least that long., and McGriff sustained his excellence for much longer than Terry. While he is Hall-worthy, my gut tells me that he won’t be elected. Bill Terry hit .401 in 1930, and I don’t think that Hall voters appreciate that this was not an awe-inspiring achievement due to the batting averages of that year, and really McGriff’s performance in 1988-90 is about as impressive. McGriff just didn’t put up the shiny numbers that capture the attention. His lack of All-Star recognition in 1989, 1990 and 1991 presages, I think, what will come when the Hall votes are taken. If it is perceived that there are a glut of first base candidates from the 90s, McGriff’s name will be the easiest to ignore.

Other first baseman in this series: Rafael Palmeiro

Next up: Frank Thomas
Hall Watch 2004- The First Basemen- Fred McGriff | 44 comments | Create New Account
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_Nolan - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 12:27 AM EST (#18899) #
Wow! I just had a revelation...every time I read about the McGriff heist from the Yanks, I always read Dale Murray as Dale Murphy...I've have always wondered about why it never showed in Murphy's stats that he was a Jay. I always just kinda glossed over it thinking it might have been a 3 way trade or something

Anyway, this has solved on my life's little know the ones that irk the heck out of you but aren't important enough to actually research or actively pursue

Anyways, this was probably as great a moment for me as it will be a boring comment for you to read.
_David C - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 01:28 AM EST (#18900) #
I remember recently reading that the Jays were given credit for having produced more current major league players than any other team. However I can't think of any player from the Jays system who went on to have a hall of fame career - what are the odds? McGriff has the best care so far but it is unlikely he will make it being just shy of 500 home runs and technically he would be considered a Yankee anyway.
_Magpie - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 02:08 AM EST (#18901) #
This is my memory speaking, so take it for what it's worth...

The Yankees may have regarded McGriff as a throw-in, but I'm pretty sure that Gillick always saw McGriff as the center of the trade. McGriff's two years in rookie ball were age 17 and 18 (I'm thinking the first one is not really a year - it was 29 games in the Gulf Coast League, and for all I know they were playing in the winter. McGriff's birthday is in October.)

But anyway, McGriff was hyped by the Blue Jays for some time before he ever arrived. Still a teenager, he hit 28 HRs and drew 75 walks in A ball, and made it to Syracuse at age 20 in time to hit 13 HRs in 70 games. Much of 1985 seems to have lost to an injury, which I dimly recall hearing about at the time. But when he made his ML debut in May 1986, I was excited. My father was visiting from Winnipeg that weekend and we were at the Ex when he made his first ML start, on a Sunday afternoon against Don Schulze and Cleveland. We were somewhere down the RF line. He led off the second inning with a little humpback liner over the infield for his first career hit, and I thought I was seeing history being made. (Retrosheet says single to left, although my memory says center.)

It was McGriff's misfortunes to be one of the very best hitters in baseball at a time when offensive numbers were depressed. Unlike, say, Palmeiro, McGriff never would hit 40 HRs in a season. But then, Palmeiro would never lead the league in HRs either.

On the other hand, the decline of McGriff's skills coincided with the inflation of hitting numbers, which disguised his dropping production.

I think he's a Hall of Fame quality player. I don't much like his immediate chances, but I think in time his excellence will be recognized.

My favourite line about McGriff came from Bill James years and years ago, when he was trying to explain just how consistent Freddy was: "Trying to tell one of McGriff's seasons from another is like trying to tell apart different episodes of Gilligan's Island."

At his peak, I think he was very very similar to Delgado. Carlos has more impressive HR numbers, but that's likely to be a function of coming along ten years later. McGriff has a .284 BAVG and .377 OnBase; Delgado is at .282 and .392. Delgado's career sluggin is .556 to McGriff's .509 but Delgado of course has yet to enter his true decline phase.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 11:02 AM EST (#18902) #
I agree that Gillick probably saw McGriff as the main item. Smart man.

Y'know, I really love Bill James' work, but I gotta say that I must be from a different world. Gilligan's Island episodes as an analogy for great seasons? The man loves Jethro Tull and finds jazz boring. Sorry, great baseball intellect he may be, but if I'm looking for entertainment reviews, I think I might ask someone else.
_Jim - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 03:35 PM EST (#18903) #
I think James means that the seasons are all the same - like Gilligan's Island. He's not saying that Gilligan's Island is a great show.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 04:42 PM EST (#18904) #
Fair enough, Jim.

The man still has to answer for the Jethro Tull, in my books. Wait a second, you're 30, correct? Does Tull even register on your radar screen?

Anyways, I thought that McGriff might generate some discussion. If everyone agrees on McGriff, I'd better keep the Thomas and Bagwell pieces really short because they're clearer cases.
Pistol - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 04:49 PM EST (#18905) #
I think McGriff is going to be hurt by having his best seasons prior to the offensive era (beginning in 1994) we're in now. Leading the league in HRs with 35 doesn't look very impressive these days.

Not getting to 500 HRs isn't going to help.
_Mick - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 06:09 PM EST (#18906) #
I dunno ... McGriff has 493 dingers, which is a respectable and historically important number for first basemen (See Gehrig, Lou.)

Besides, I suspect he will catch on with still another team and get the final 7. Hey, how about Toronto?
_David C - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 07:18 PM EST (#18907) #
Put a fork in him - he's done. He had his chance ;ast year with the Rays & it didn't work out.

With McGwire, Thomas, Bagwell & Palmero all ahead of him I don't see how he has a chance. Lower average, fewer RBIs & less than 500 hr. I know those are fluff stats but that's what the voters like. No MVP awards, the closest he got was 4th in the voting. No playoff heroics, he's only got the one ring with Atlanta & was never seen as their big stud.

I mean if a player like Ryne Sandberg gets very little support -McGriff doesn't stand a chance.
_Paul D - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 07:42 PM EST (#18908) #
I can't imagine having 493 instead of 500 homers makes any difference. Hanging on like he's done in pursuit of 500 might hurt him though.
_Magpie - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 08:10 PM EST (#18909) #
Wond'ring aloud...will the years treat Fred well?

Obscure Tull reference for the other senior citizens...

Yeah, the context was every Gilligan's episode is just like every other one.

I think he's going to have to wait to get into the HoF, because of the logjam of great first basemen from this era. But later rather than sooner, he should get the call.
_David C - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 08:28 PM EST (#18910) #
Yes 7 hr do make a difference - you have to draw the line somewhere. McGriff was never a first ball guy anyway. He made only 5 All Star teams in his career so he needs all the padding he can get on his numbers.

12/13 more wins and John & Blyleven are both in the hall
_Mick - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 08:43 PM EST (#18911) #
To be fair, those comparisons are not of the same scope. John fell 12 wins short of 300, and 12 times in his 26 year career, he didn't win 12 in an entire season; for Blyleven, who was 13 wins short, he didn't reach that total for a full season 10 times in his 22 years in the majors. For their careers, John averaged almost exactly 11 wins a season, while Blyleven was around 13 on the nose.

So for those two guys, you're talking about hanging around interminably trying to recapture a full season's worth of wins from when they were in their prime. For the in-his-prime McGriff, it would not have been unusal for him to hit seven homers over a two-week span. He didn't average that, of course, but it was a different era.

For the record, I think both Blyleven and John -- particularly the former -- should be no-brainers and in the HOF already.
_Magpie - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 08:44 PM EST (#18912) #
you have to draw the line somewhere

The thing is, hasn't the line already been drawn? At a level significantly lower than Fred McGriff (or Bert Blyleven, for that matter.)

The notion that Jim Bottomley is a Hall of Famer but Fred McGriff is not... well. there's no case. In no universe known to any of us was Jim Bottomley (or a good many other HoF players, many of them first basemen as well) a better player than Fred McGriff.
_Magpie - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 09:01 PM EST (#18913) #
No playoff heroics, he's only got the one ring with Atlanta & was never seen as their big stud.

McGriff wasted his most heroic performances for Atlanta teams that just fell short. He was traded to Atlanta on July 18 1993 - the Braves were 8 games behind the Giants at the time. In 68 games, McGriff hit .310 with 19 HR and 55 RBI and the Braves won the divison on the last day of the season. But then they lost to the Phillies in the LCS (although McGriff hit .435 in that series.)

He then had what was shaping up to be the best year of his career in 1994 before the season ended in August...

He also made some large contributions to the Braves climbing out of a 3-1 hole to beat St Louis in the 1996 NLCS, and then had himself a nice WS (.300 with a couple of HRs) - but the Braves blew a 2-0 lead and lost to the Yankees.

The one year the Braves actually won it, McGriff had his worst season since becoming a regular. Not that .280 with with 27 HR and 93 RBI is bad...

His overall post-season numbers - well, its two episodes of Gilligan's Island. He played 50 games, and hit .303 with 10 HR, 37 RBI.
Mike Green - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 09:16 PM EST (#18914) #
Blyleven and John are interesting cases. I think that they're a lot closer to the line than McGriff is. Blyleven had a better career than John, but the comparable players to both are Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton (who both had significantly longer more innings than the Blyleven and John) and Jim Kaat, who is not in the HoF.

With Blyleven, there is an additional problem that is not reflected in the basic statistics. Studies have been done that show he made less than optimal use of his run support over his career, and that his W-L record is in fact a useful (although not determinative) indicator of his performance.

There are certainly many worse pitchers than Blyleven in the Hall, and I'd have no problem with his election, but for me, it is not as clear-cut as it is for Fred.

There is no one reasonably comparable to McGriff who is not in the HoF. To be fair, there are players who had similar but shorter careers offensively who are not in the Hall (Jack Clark, Boog Powell). In terms of players of the past, the most comparable player to McGriff would probably be Billy Williams, who is of course in the Hall.
_Mick - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 09:21 PM EST (#18915) #
Given Mike's analysis of Crime Dog's (bonud HOF poitns for good nicknames!) post-season results, I'd like to take the liberty of re-posting something I posted in the Palmeiror thread, verbatim:

I'm looking forward to your McGriff entry. Apparently, the only real differences between him and Raffy are the minor lead Palmeiro has in counting stats and Palmeiro's tainted "gold glove DH" status. And yet Palmeiro is a lock -- and I think he is -- for Cooperstown while many people see McGriff as the poster boy for the HOF not letting someone in because they reached a previously holy milestone.

And why doesn't McGriff get the extra credit many players do for consistently being associated with (and performing well for) a winner?

Post-season batting
50G 188AB .303/10/37 OPS .917 1.48 K/BB
(6-4 in 10 series, 1 WS title)
22G 82AB .244/4/8 OPS .759 3.83 K/BB
(2-3 in 5 series, 0 WS title)
_Mick - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 09:36 PM EST (#18916) #
The comparison to Williams is a good one; of course, Williams only made the post-season once, at the age of 37 in his pemultimate season with the A's after they'd finished their World Series run. He was 0-for-7 against the Fisk Sox in '75.

I have yet to find a comparable borderline Hall 1B who McGriff doesn't
at least match up well with, and in many cases, destroy in post-season numbers. Along with Palmeiro above, here's two more:

Tony Perez:
47G 172AB .207/3/12 .649OPS 2.64 K/BB
(7-4 in 11 series, 2-3 in World Series)

Orlando Cepeda:
10G 76AB .234/3/14 .669OPS 4.33 K/BB
(1-3 in 4 series, 1-2 in World Series)

Okay, his "Most Similar," Willie McCovey, did fine,
.310/3/7 1.102 OPS, but that was in just one WS and one NLCS, both losses.

His second-most-similar, Willie Stargell, is remembered as being far more successful in post-season than he was, though he did just fine:
.278/7/20 .679 OPS in eight series (4-4) including two World Series, both victories. At the very least, McGriff compares favorably with that.
_David C - Saturday, November 06 2004 @ 11:51 PM EST (#18917) #
Don't get me wrong here I'm not saying that he shouldn't get in the hall I'm saying that he won't.

I subscribe to BP, I've read everything by Bill James, Rob Neyer, etc however I don't have a vote in these matters. If I was a betting man I put my money on him not getting in.

As far as past players inducted the standards have toughened up recently. That being said Perez made it in solely on his great RBI total (thanks Rose, Morgan & Bench) and Cepeda gets a little extra credit for being a better hitter than McGriff whose career was cut short because of injury (not saying that's fair). Look at Darrell Evans - McGriff has a lot of the same characteristics - multiple teams - a lack of flashy numbers and nothing that really makes him stand out.
_Mick - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 01:05 AM EST (#18918) #
Don't get me wrong here I'm not saying that he shouldn't get in the hall I'm saying that he won't.

I agree with that, as a matter of fact. Interesting you bring up Evans; other than Blyleven, who was mentioned earlier, I happen to think he's the singlemost deserving player not in Cooperstown -- yes, ahead of that other 3B, Santo.
_Master of the Z - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 02:10 PM EST (#18919) #
Do you mean Darrell Evans or Dwight Evans. I only ask because I would say Dwight belongs in the hall far more than Darrell does. Darrell career average was under .250 and his career OPS didn't even crack .800!

Dwight may have been one of the slowest baserunners of his era; but he hit for power and average as well. He was also a multiple Gold Glove winner.

I would go with Dwight anyday.
_David C - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 03:02 PM EST (#18920) #
Darrell Evans - read page 546 of Bill James New Historical Baseball Abtract for the full explanation.
_Master of Zubaz - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 04:59 PM EST (#18921) #
Hi; I haven't been able to pick up the Abstract just yet...... can anyone clue me in?
Mike Green - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 05:53 PM EST (#18922) #
I don't have the new HBA, but I do have the old one. The argument for Darrell Evans runs as follows. His OPS+ was 119 in a long career. He was the second best defensive third basemen of his day, behind Mike Schmidt. Here are his stats. He was clearly better than George Kell, who is by no means the least qualified third baseman in the Hall.

Third base was not really a power position until after the war, and the great post-War third basemen-Schmidt, Brett, Matthews, and even the lesser ones like Evans were better than most of the "great" third basemen of the pre-war era.

For myself, the greatest omissions from the Hall are at second base, beginning with Grich and continuing with Lou Whitaker. We'll get to that in a week or so.
_Master of Zubaz - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 06:33 PM EST (#18923) #
Sweet Lou Whittaker's and Ryne Sandberg's exlusions really stick out in my mind as well.
_David C - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 06:43 PM EST (#18924) #
James doesn't argue so much that Evans belongs in the hall - just that Evans was better than Tony Perez.

James makes 7 points (paraphrasing a longer article here)

1. He did a lot of things very well but didn't have one facet of his game that really stood out.

2. Lower batting average (but a higher on base percentage)

3. Didn't play on championship teams in his prime

4. Didn't play in New York or LA

5. Not notably glib or quotable

6. Didn't play in good home run parks in his prime

7. Career broken up by playing on multiple teams

As you can see a lot of these same points apply to McGriff and hurt his hall of fame chances
_Nolan - Sunday, November 07 2004 @ 06:55 PM EST (#18925) #
Personally, I think its awful that Alan Trammel is not in the HOF...
_Magpie - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 02:22 AM EST (#18926) #
OK, here ya go. Bill James on Darrell Evans.

James ranks Evans as the 10th greatest third baseman of all time, behind (in order): Schmidt, Brett, Mathews, Boggs, Baker, Santo, Robinson, Molitor, Hack. He has Evans ahead of HoFers Traynor (17), Collins (19), Kell (30), Lindstrom (43).

The gist of his argument:

Darrell Evans is... the most underrated player in baseball history, absolutely number one on the list.

James then identifies ten characteristics that commonly lead to players being underrated, and then notes how Evans shares seven of the ten. David C lays them out above...

Hidden behind all of these screens, Evans completely failed to convince the American public that he was anything special as a player - yet he was. Among the 100 third basemen listed here, Evans is eighth in runs scored, sixth in RBI, and he was a very good defensive third baseman.

James then compares Evans at length to Tony Perez, a Hall of Fame first baseman of very similar career length, who was also an NL player of the same era, who moved to the AL to finish his career, and who also started as a third baseman and finished as a first baseman.

As offensive players, James notes, "they're basically even." Perez had 500 more hits, but Evans had 700 more walks. Evans OnBase is 31 points higher, although Perez BAVG is 220 points higher. Evans hit a few more HRs (414-379). Perez grounded into twice as many double plays; Evans stole twice as many bases. Magpie says Evans was probably better, but let's call it a wash.

On defense, however:

Evans is better. Perez played a few years at third base, and he wasn't awful, but it gradually became clear that as a third baseman, he was a better first baseman. Evans, on the other hand... was a good third baseman until he was into his thirties.

So if Perez wasn't a better hitter, and he wasn't a better fielder, and he wasn't a better baserunner, then why was he a better player? Was he a better player because he played with great teams?...because he had a higher batting average and more RBI?...because he had a cool nickname and a gregarious personality?

Perez is in the Hall of Fame, and I'm happy that he is, and Evans isn't going to go there, and I'm OK with that, but the fact is that Darrell Evans was a better player than Tony Perez.
_Magpie - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 02:25 AM EST (#18927) #
The problem is that the HoF has no known standards. What makes a Hall of Famer? Who knows?

But if Fred Lindstrom is a Hall of Fame third baseman, what does that make Ron Santo or Darrell Evans, both much better players?

If George Kelly is a Hall of Fame first baseman, then what? Fred McGriff was a much, much better player. Its not even close.
Mike Green - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 09:39 AM EST (#18928) #
It just shows you. I don't even think of Tony Perez as a third baseman. He played the grand sum of 5 years there, and was definitely unmemorable there. My memories of the 1970 Reds team were Bench catching and Lee May hitting scorching line drives in the general vicinity of Brooks Robinson. Perez actually had a great year, but the revelation in looking back was Bernie Carbo's line in 125 games- .310/.454/.551.
_Kevin Pataky - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 03:18 PM EST (#18929) #
I vote 'No' on McGriff making the HOF. He may of hit 493 HRs (if he made it to 500, I might say maybe), but his defense (range particularly) was suspect, and he never even had one huge year. The most RBIs he ever had in one season was 107. He didn't even make it to 2500 hits, so again, I say 'Close, but no cigar!'
_Jonny German - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 04:07 PM EST (#18930) #
Kevin, which was the better season: McGriff's 1990, in which he had 88 RBIs, or Tony Batista's 2000, in which he drove in 114?
Mike Green - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 04:08 PM EST (#18931) #
I figure that 40% of Hall of Fame voters will probably take Kevin's view of it. Red Schoendienst is in the Hall of Fame and Bobby Grich isn't. The only explanation for this is a tremendous amount of attention being paid to the career hits and career batting average figures.
_Mick - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 04:34 PM EST (#18932) #
The only explanation

Not that it matters more than at a "general impression" level, but Grich's teams lost all five post-season series they played (all ALCS) while Red's Redbirds won two of their three (all World Series).

I think that "he's a winner" impression has much more of a latent effect than we realize.
Mike Green - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 05:00 PM EST (#18933) #
Maybe, but then you'd figure that Joe Carter might have lasted on the ballot more than a year. Not that I'm arguing for him...Or that Joe Rudi or Sal Bando (who were cogs in the Mustache Gang that dispatched Grich's Orioles) would be Hall of Famers.

For the record, Schoendienst hit .269/.288/.352 his 3 Series appearances. The 46 Cardinals featured Musial, Slaughter, Marty Marion, and 3 pitchers who were more important to their success than Schoendienst. The 57 Braves had Matthews, Aaron, Spahn, and Buhl who were more important to the team's success than Schoendienst.

I've always found the "he's a winner" theory to be a dubious proposition. The only case that I'm really comfortable with is the 50s Yankees of Berra, Mickey and Ford. Great ballplayers but the team won so consistently with secondary talent that was only so-so that I think that you have to give the stars some additional credit for it.
_Magpie - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 05:09 PM EST (#18934) #
He may of hit 493 HRs (if he made it to 500, I might say maybe)

Well, another seven HRs really means nothing whatsoever as to how good his career was.

I agree that McGriff is going to have trouble getting in to the HoF - but obviously he's a much better player than many, many players who are already in...

he never even had one huge year.

Well, he never had a year like Norm Cash did in 1961. Or like John Olerud did in 1993. I don't know that this puts Cash or Olerud in the HoF. (Actually, both Cash and Olerud are also better players than a number of HoF first basemen, but that's another story.)

But year in and year out, McGriff was one of the very best hitters in baseball. For seven years in a row (1988-1994), McGriff was one of the top 5 guys in his league in OPS. People may think Rafael Palmeiro has had "bigger" seasons than McGriff, but Raffy has only cracked the top 5 twice in his career. McGriff had lots and lots of great seasons.

McGriff never drove in 100 runs in a season until he left Toronto. He spent three years batting behind George Bell. I loved George, but by 1988 Bell had become Joe Carter - an RBI guy who didn't get on base all that much. How you gonna drive in any runs hitting behind him? The only guy who got on base often enough to score 100 runs on those teams was.... Fred McGriff. The only regular to manage on OnBase percentage better than .350 in those three years was Fernandez (.352 in 1990)... and Fred McGriff (.376, .399, .400).

Basically, if he wanted to drive in a run, he pretty much had to hit a HR.
_David C - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 07:10 PM EST (#18935) #
You know if there is a big debate about your candidacy do yo really belong? has a couple tools:

Black Ink Test (league Leader)- Average HOF > 27 (hard to get now)

36 - McGwire
24 - Bagwell
21 - Thomas
16 - Helton
13 - Thome
09 - McGriff
08 - Palmeiro
08 - Delgado

Grey Ink Test (top 10) Average HOF > 144

189 - Thomas
183 - Palmeiro
157 - Bagwell
125 - Helton
110 - McGwire
105 - McGriff
094 - Delgado
091 - Thome

Hall of Fame Standards (see website for details) - Average HOF > 50

59.0 - Bagwell
57.0 - Palmeiro
56.5 - Thomas
47.9 - McGriff
42.7 - Thome
42.0 - McGwire
39.0 - Helton
31.0 - Delgado

Hall of Fame Monitor (see website for details) - Average HOF > 100

179.0 - Thomas
169.5 - McGwire
156.0 - Palmeiro
152.5 - Helton
149.5 - Bagwell
114.5 - Thome
100.0 - McGriff
080.0 - Delgado

Some of these benifit guys with high peaks other with long careers but as a whole who is the weak sister here? Remember too that all but McGriff & McGwire are still playing and will move up.
_Paul D - Monday, November 08 2004 @ 08:24 PM EST (#18936) #
I've been thinking about the Hall for a while, and wondering, would it be fair to punish great hitters because they play first base?

The Hall is already skewed towards first baseman... is this because there really are more great first baseman than any other position, or is it because the bar is too low at first base?

I don't have an answer to that, but I think it's interesting to think about.
_Mick - Tuesday, November 09 2004 @ 04:28 PM EST (#18937) #
Paul, I think you are answering your own question, but it's not because "there really are more great first baseman than any other position" or because the bar is too low ... it's just a fact that in order to keep great hitters in the lineup, teams will find a defensive position for them, and by default it has often been 1B. A "great" well-rounded 1B -- above-average hitter, excellent glove -- usually falls short of the Hall (see Mattingly, Don; and Hernandez, Keith) because the HOF is skewed toward hitters regardless of position, the occasional Bill Mazeroski and Ozzie Smith excepted.

Tony Perez was a 3B. Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey both toyed with the OF early in their careers, with the Baby Bull even getting an aborted short tryout at 3B. Mark McGwire came up as 3B. Do you think of Ernie Banks as a SS, and Rod Carew as a 2B? Both spent more time at 1B. Jimmie Foxx started out behind the plate. Hey, this would just about make a great Hall of Names team ... Hall of Fame 1B who started out elswhere. Pete Rose played at least 600 games at four positions, with the second most coming at 1B.

All of these were offensively-driven decisions.
_Kevin Pataky - Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 08:13 AM EST (#18938) #
The bottom line for the Hall of Fame, is this. Did this player dominate his competition during the time he played? Can you honestly say McGriff was a dominant player for any 5-7 year stretch during his career? No. Did he ever win an MVP? No. How many times was he actually even in the top 5 in his league for MVP voting? Just once in 1993 he was 4th. How many All Star game selections did he garner? Five. How many World Series rings does he have? 1 in '95. How many times did he lead his league in HR? Twice.

Are these numbers reflective of a guy who dominated during his career? Come on Guys. The Hall of fame doesn't exist for guys who have good careers. Its there to enshrine the guys who have great ones.
_Jonny German - Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 08:38 AM EST (#18939) #
Can you honestly say McGriff was a dominant player for any 5-7 year stretch during his career?

Year   OPS   Rank
1988 .928 4
1989 .924 1
1990 .930 3
1991 .890 3
1992 .950 3
1993 .924 5
1994 1.012 5

Whether or not that's a dominant 7-year stretch depends on your definition of dominant. I don't think there's any room for debate, however, that those are great numbers, not just good ones.

The answer to all of your other questions is that those are indeed reasons McGriff won't get in, but they have everything to do with the viewpoints of the voters and very little to do with McGriff's on-field performance. Of course, it's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of The Best Players.
_Mick - Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 09:46 AM EST (#18940) #
Of course, it's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of The Best Players.

Very cogently put. The Baseball Think Factory via Primer has started up something called the
_Mick - Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 09:47 AM EST (#18941) #
Sorry about the errant post; I need to be more careful with HTML. Trying again:

Of course, it's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of The Best Players.

Very cogently put. The Baseball Think Factory via Primer has started up something called the Hall of Merit which is really what we're talking about here, but they made a tactically suicidal PR decision (if that mattered to them) by starting, according to their own "bylaws," with this approach: "We will start with the 19th century players on the first HoM ballot, and then step through baseball history one year at a time." By the time they get to McGriff's case, it's going to be 2011.
_David C - Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 11:01 AM EST (#18942) #
Usenet ( has a similar thing - it is a lot tougher to get in and McGriff doesn't stand a chance.

I would provide the link but the VHOF website appears to be down - however you can veiw the cached version on Google.
Hall Watch 2004- The First Basemen- Fred McGriff | 44 comments | Create New Account
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