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As you surely know by now (and as is being discussed on another thread, the new Hall of Fame ballot is out and the discussions have revved up around the usual suspects -- Blyleven, Sandberg, Trammell. Just one new name on the list: Wade Boggs.

Boggs, of course, made his name on stats -- seven straight 200-hit seasons, 3,010 career hits, .328 career batting average, etc. Do those numbers get him into the Hall of Fame, or if he had retired with 2,987 hits, would he be there anyway? We've looked at "number milestones and millstones" for Hall candidates before, such as in Mike Green's Hall Watch/1B: Fred McGriff thread. Which brings us to our Tuesday ...

Question of the Day: Are there any magic numbers left that "guarantee" Hall of Fame entry? Is 250 wins the new 300? Is 600 homers the new 500? Why isn't 3,000 strikeouts as sexy as 3,000 hits?(There are less than half as many pitchers with the former as hitters with the latter, 25-12). Do any career "counting stat" numbers punch the proverbial ticket to Cooperstown any more?
QOTD: Magic Numbers and Hall Passes | 15 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 10:30 AM EST (#12139) #
The counting stat numbers still matter to most baseball writers. The only counting offensive stat that really should matter is plate appearances, but most baseball people don't see things this way.

The question really is "what inroads has sabermetrics made?". The lack of support for Whitaker and Trammell is pretty good indication that sabermetrics hasn't made much of an impact yet, at least on the consciousness of the average writer. This may be changing.
_Matthew E - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 10:34 AM EST (#12140) #
I don't think there are any magic minimum numbers that guarantee Hall of Fame membership. Yes, 300 wins or 3000 hits will get you into the Hall, but they aren't the minimum, and never were.

I would also take issue with the idea that Boggs made his name on stats. He didn't. He made his name and his stats on his extraordinary hitting ability, and I think he'd be good Cooperstown material even if he fell short of, say, the 3000-hit mark.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 10:38 AM EST (#12141) #
I don't think Mick was suggesting that Boggs wouldn't be meritorious if he ended up with 2,900 hits. He's a clear "yes" based on quality of performance, position and longevity. It was just a lead-in to the general question of standards.
_Mark J - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 11:12 AM EST (#12142) #
I was kind of hoping Harold Baines would have made the a test case of the 3000-hit / automatic entry theory. It seems to me another 134 H would not have made him a HOFer, not even close, but it would have been interesting to see how the voting and popular support went.

For all the common minimum milestones, I think you can construct a career that doesn't meet normal HOF standards, so I don't really like the concept.
_David C - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 11:14 AM EST (#12143) #
Well on the offensive side of things 3000 hits is still an automatic however someone will get 500 hr and not make it (at least not on the first ballot). I thought Canseco was going to be that test case, then McGriff but both fell short. Now that homeruns have crested it will be interesting to see if anyone of questionable worth gets there.

I don't see 250 wins as an automatic in a Don Sutton kind of way. The guys who are entering that nexus - Johnson, Glavive, Pedro all have 20 win seasons, Cy Young awards etc. to bolster their case. Mussina is the guy to watch here - if he falls off a cliff he's out but if he can hang around long enough to reach 300 he's in. 287 wasn't enough for Blyleven...
_Matthew E - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 11:30 AM EST (#12144) #
287 wasn't enough for Blyleven...

1. That doesn't mean Blyleven isn't good enough; I think he is good enough.

2. Anyway, that sentence should read, "287 wasn't enough for far."
_Kevin Pataky - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 02:06 PM EST (#12145) #
Mussina will be 36 in a week - and has 211 wins. He's pitched in the bigs for 13 1/3 seasons and averaged about 16 wins a season. This past year he only won 12. It would take Mussina 6 years averaging 15 wins to make 300 at this point (at age 42). Without any 20 win seasons, MVPs or any other MLB hardware, I wouldn't think he'd get into the hall w/out reaching 300 (at least I hope he wouldn't).
_Mick - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 02:49 PM EST (#12146) #
Nobody's addressed this yet:

Why isn't 3,000 strikeouts as sexy as 3,000 hits?

So let me take a stab. It's Nolan Ryan's fault.

Even though far fewer pitchers have reached 3,000 K than hitters have 3,000 hits -- with a scant few having scaled the 4,000 level (Rose, Cobb; Johnson, Clemens, Carlton, and if you count him, Ryan) ... then there is Nolan.

To catch Ryan in strikeouts, you'd have to strike out as many batters as Lefty Grove did (2,266) THEN strike out the number of hitters Bob Gibson did (3,117), then hang around for a season or so and punch out another 331 hitters. Oooookay then ...

Ryan's dominance has diminished the milestone. Imagine for a moment that Random Young Hitter came up to the majors in '0 and ripped off 25 consecutive 243-hit seasons; that would put him approximately as far ahead of Rose as Ryan is in front of long-time "unbreakable" leader Walter Johnson's 3508, with more than 6,000 hits.

Imagine how ho-hum a 3000th hit would be if someone had twice that many.
_Daryn - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 02:53 PM EST (#12147) #
I think I have determined the "gold standard" for pitchers anyway...

If you look at the Career Stats, the leaders in:
Losses, Hit Batsmen, and Home Runs Allowed are ALL in the Hall of Fame (actually I didn't chech each and every name, but its sure an impressive list)

Hit Batsmen
1. Walter Johnson+ 203 R
2. Eddie Plank+ 196 L
3. Joe McGinnity+ 182 R
4. Chick Fraser 177 R
5. Charlie Hough 174 R
6. Cy Young+ 163 R
7. Jim Bunning+ 160 R
8. Nolan Ryan+ 158 R
9. Vic Willis+ 157 R
10. Randy Johnson (40) 156 L
11. Bert Blyleven 155 R
12. Don Drysdale+ 154 R

HR's Allowed
1. Robin Roberts+ 505 R
2. Fergie Jenkins+ 484 R
3. Phil Niekro+ 482 R
4. Don Sutton+ 472 R
5. Frank Tanana 448 L
6. Warren Spahn+ 434 L
7. Bert Blyleven 430 R
8. Steve Carlton+ 414 L
9. Gaylord Perry+ 399 R
10. Jim Kaat 395 L
11. Jack Morris 389 R
12. Charlie Hough 383 R
13. Tom Seaver+ 380 R
14. Catfish Hunter+ 374 R
15. Jim Bunning+ 372 R
15t Dennis Martinez 372 R

1. Cy Young+ 316 R
2. Pud Galvin+ 310 R
3. Nolan Ryan+ 292 R
4. Walter Johnson+ 279 R
5. Phil Niekro+ 274 R
6. Gaylord Perry+ 265 R
7. Don Sutton+ 256 R
8. Jack Powell 254 R
9. Eppa Rixey+ 251 L
10. Bert Blyleven 250 R
11. Bobby Mathews 248 R
12. Robin Roberts+ 245 R
12t Warren Spahn+ 245 L
14. Steve Carlton+ 244 L
14t Early Wynn+ 244 R
16. Jim Kaat 237 L
17. Frank Tanana 236 L
18. Gus Weyhing 232 R
19. Tommy John 231 L
_Daryn - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 02:53 PM EST (#12148) #
The last group is "Losses"
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 03:17 PM EST (#12149) #
Why isn't 3,000 strikeouts as sexy as 3,000 hits?

So let me take a stab. It's Nolan Ryan's fault.

3,000 hits was sexy and 3,000 Ks wasn't before Ryan. Hits, homers, RBI and batting average were the hitting stats in wide use in the 60s and before. Wins and ERA were the pitching stats. My theory is: "history molds us".
_Mick - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 03:22 PM EST (#12150) #
Mike, really? I remember there being a pretty huge honkin' deal when Gibson reached 3000 K, only the second pitcher to do so, even though he would obviously never approach the "unbreakable" Johnson record.

I dimly recall a Baseball Digest story that ranked the unbreakability of records,shortly after Aaron passed Ruth. If I recall they said Johnson's strikeout record was probably out of reach for anyone then active, but clearly the only record that would NEVER be broken was Gehrig's consecutive game streak.

Heh. So, yes, I guess history molds us but I'm drawing a different, nearly opposite conclusion to yours.
_Magpie - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 05:29 PM EST (#12151) #
the unbreakability of records

Cy Young's 749 complete games looks pretty safe, seeing as how its extremely unlikely that any active pitcher is going to make that many career starts....

It looks like 300 wins is still automatic, but 250-299 is a grey area. It includes Blyleven and Tommy John, of course; but also Jim Kaat and Jack Morris. I expect Mussina to finish up in that group.

Glavine still has a fighting chance to make it to 300, but leaving Atlanta for New York has set him back. He needs another 38 wins, he's 38 years old, and despite pitching very well this year he went 11-14.

The other guy with the best shot at 300, and this surprises me a little, would be Pedro Martinez. He's got 182 through age 32 (he turned 33 last month.) He's got a long way to go, but he's still younger than almost all of the top 30 active pitchers in career wins. Andy Pettite is eight months younger and 27 wins behind; Hampton, Radke, and Colon are all a year younger and even further behind.
_Andrew S - Tuesday, November 30 2004 @ 09:41 PM EST (#12152) #
Cy Young has a stack of records that look essentially unbreakable, basically all the "career X stat" for pitchers, with a couple of exceptions: HRs, BBs, Ks he doesn't have, but I can't imagine any other pitcher hitting his wins, losses, starts, complete games, hits allowed, innings pitched, batters faced, et al being knocked down unless some major revamp comes along.
_John Northey - Wednesday, December 01 2004 @ 08:01 AM EST (#12153) #
I suspect the 3000 hits/500 HR/300 Wins will hold up for awhile more. 300 wins looked doomed to no longer make it with Neikro and Sutton for awhile, and might have ended as a magic number had all of the '280 crew' from the 60's-80's (Blyleven, John, Kaat and Jenkins) made it. If that happened (as it almost did) 300 wins might have looked as 'irrelevant' as 500 HRs are starting to look (from early-80's to early 90's having 10 make it rather than the actual 6). However, now that McGriff and Canseco (both marginal HOFers in the eyes of many, rightly or wrongly) both failed to get to 500 and others might also fall short should the game change in the upcoming years (a return to pitching and 30-40 HR leading the league) 500 may regain its luster much like 300 wins did.

Should be interesting to see where it all is in 10-20 years.
QOTD: Magic Numbers and Hall Passes | 15 comments | Create New Account
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