2020 Baseball Hall of Fame "Modern Baseball" Era

The ballot for modern baseball is out. Which of these men should be elected? You may select any number of these from zero to ten.

This is really tough. A whole lot of very good for awhile guys or transcendent for a year or two and then Poof!

BB Reference’s spreadsheet stats for this ballot: https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2020.shtml

First instinct was Whitaker, Parker, Mattingly, Murphy, Evans. But I just don’t know. At least Whitaker.

Definitely Lou Whitaker and Marvin Miller. I threw in a sentimental vote for Munson. Hell, he was top 10 all-time in WAR7, so his peak was good enough. If he hadn’t died, it’s safe to assume he would have padded out his stats enough to get in.

Unfortunately, now we have the ‘Harold Baines’ and ‘Jack Morris’ standards. By those measures, all of these guys sail into the Hall.

Anyway, my thoughts:

Dwight Evans

Evans does very well by modern metrics; he is a player whose Hall of Fame case is stronger now than it was when he retired. A better player, to be honest, than his teammate Jim Rice, who is in the Hall of Fame, but there are somewhat more deserving outfielders; if he gets in someday he’ll be a good choice, but he would not be an outrageous omission.

Evans is interesting in that his best years, by far, started when he was 29; in what a player’s prime years usually are, he was largely a defensive outfielder, good but not great with the bat. Starting in 1981 he was suddenly an excellent hitter. I don’t know why.

Steve Garvey

While he was active, I would imagine 96 out of 100 baseball fans would have just assumed Steve Garvey was going to the Hall of Fame. He was a huge, huge star, won an MVP Award and a number of Gold Gloves, and regarded as a big clutch player, with justification; Garvey hit .338 with 11 homers in 55 playoff games, and was NLCS MVP twice. He was handsome and played in LA, which helped.

Since then his candidacy has fallen on hard times. There was something about an extramarital affair which hurt his image, I guess, but mostly it’s statistical. Garvey is now regarded as an overrated hitter because he didn’t get on base much for a first baseman, which is quite true. His defense has also become a matter of controversy, with a lot of sabermetricians claiming he was an awful fielder, a position I think is totally wrong. Either way, he is a weird candidate. I wouldn’t vote for him. I don’t even think he;s the best Dodgers first baseman on the outside looking in; I think Gil Hodges is, though of course Gil isn’t literally looking at anything anymore.

Tommy John

The extreme case of “Good for a long time but never great.” Baseball Reference credits John with 61 career WAR, which is into the “probably a Hall of Famer” range for a pitcher, but never having had more than 5.5 in a season, which is not really spectacular. To use some comparisons,
Luis Tiant was better in BOTH respects. David Cone about the same career WAR but had three years well above 5.5 and one at 5.5. Dave Stieb had 56 career WAR but five years well above 5.5. I am not sure a guy is a Hall of Famer if it’s easy to construct an argument that he isn’t any better than Kevin Appier, Mark Buerhle, or Kevin Brown.

Don Mattingly

Excellent player for six years, then got hurt. The fact his career is during the weakest Yankee era since before Babe Ruth sure doesn’t help. I guess he’s the opposite of Tommy John.

Marvin Miller

I have no idea why anyone who isn’t a major league player would give a shit if Marvin Miller is in the Hall of Fame. He had a lot of impact on MLB and I’m glad the players are paid what they’re worth; better them than the owners. But Miller has nothing whatsoever to do with baseball; he was a businessman doing a job off the field he was hired to do. If you put Miller in the Hall of Fame because his “impact” was significant, you also need to induct Bud Selig and Scott Boras and Dr. James Andrews and a bunch of other guys, and who cares about them? I don’t want owners and crap in the Hall, and I’m glad they put sportswriters and broadcasters in a separate part, too.

Thurman Munson

Not in the Piloting Hall of Fame. Pretty similiar resume to Don Mattingly despite a very different statistical appearance. I’d induct Munson first.

Dale Murphy

Another huge-peak candidate, Murphy just stopped hitting in 1988, going from a perennial MVP candidate to a .220 hitter in the course of one offseason. I don’t know what happened. He is in a sense comparable to Mattingly and Munson but is probably better. Murphy during his career was sort of famous for being very clean-cut; he was (well, I guess is) a Mormon, and would not drink, swear, stuff like that. It was regarded as kind of admirable but also kind of odd. I don’t know why anyone would care about that.

Dave Parker

Parker’s career was derailed midway through by, among other things, cocaine, which was a plague on the Pittsburgh clubhouse. Maybe he should have been more like Dale Murphy. Parker has two peaks; the late 1970s, when he was an exceptional all around player, and the mid 1980s, when he drove in a lot of runs though he wasn’t really a great player. Not a Hall of Famer.

Ted Simmons

Another player who was HUGE in his prime, and since people have kind of forgotten about him. As catchers go he would be an okay pick. Like Mattingly, he is a player on a storied franchise whose time there precisely coincides with that franchise not winning anything.

Lou Whitaker

The best player on the list; underrated because he did everything very well, rather than any one thing exceptionally well. He was the best second baseman in the league. Whitaker is, arguably, the BEST player on the 1984 World Series champion team. He should be in the Hall. Interestingly, he never played a single inning at any position except second.

Whitaker was famous during his career for being kind of odd; the most famous case was in 1985, when he failed to bring a uniform to the All Star game. He had to take the field wearing stuff borrowed from other players and, hilariously, in a souvenir jersey that someone drew a “1” on the back of with a magic marker.

So when Tommy John underwent Tommy John surgery, was that a significant risk on his part or was it pretty much “this or just stop pitching”? It’s obviously the thing he’s most known for nowadays. He looks worse compared to his direct peers - his career overlapped with a million guys who all pitched a million innings and were mostly more effective.

(I voted Whitaker, Evans, Miller though I see RickJay’s point about non-players.)

My recollection is that it was “you tore your UCL, your pitching career is over, but we’re going to try something, which might work.” Note this line from the Wikipedia entry on the surgical technique:

I voted for Whitaker, Simmons, and Mattingly, though Mattingly probably has the weakest case of the three. I agree with RickJay that Simmons was a very good catcher, who had the misfortune of playing for some bad teams, and was also playing in an era where there were several other really good catchers, who probably overshadowed him (Bench, Fisk, Munson, etc.)

I voted for Whitaker and Simmons, but I really don’t like the perpetual re-voting on rejected candidates. When does a “no” vote have any meaning? Should those elected have to periodically have their inclusion re-validated?

Well, the fact it was called that probably told him it was just meant to be.

Well, if a candidate in the general voting gets less than 5% of the vote in any given year, he’s permanently removed from the ballot (though he may still be later considered by the Veterans Committee). And, once a guy is on the ballot, he only has 10 years to be considered; if he can’t make it to 75% of the vote within 10 years, he’ll also be permanently dropped from the ballot. (The window used to be 15 years; it was lowered to 10 a few years back.)

There have been a few cases of guys who were elected to the hall despite very low votes when they first were on the ballot; Bert Blyleven is probably the archeytpical case here (in his first two years on the ballot, he only got 18% and 14 % of the vote).

Much like Lou Gehrig being doomed to contract Lou Gehrig’s disease? :wink:

This is a really good question, in part because it means you’ll likely up up with more Harold Baineses. That’s the bad part. The good part, of course, is that you might end up with more Lou Whitakers.

This is in theory, anyway. In practice, this new committee system has given us a very poor return; they have a lot more terrible picks than good ones, and have clearly missed a lot of worthy Hall of Famers. The old Veterans Committee had a bad record, but honestly I think this new system has been worse. They have chosen:

Lee Smith (2019)
Harold Baines (2019)
Jack Morris (2018)
Alan Trammell (2018)
John Schuerholz (2017)
Bud Selig (2017)

I mean, shit. In order I’d call those choices bad, terrible, mediocre, good, and two irrelevants.

kenobi 65:

I’m fully aware of the BBWAA procedures and rules, but since the Veterans Committee can just step in and re-nominate anyone they want, no matter how little approval they’d gotten from the writers, my point still stands.

My favorite way to illustrate this is that Ron Santo, in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, got 15 votes…and was “permanently” removed from Hall of Fame consideration. After years of failed re-considerations (through a re-instatement by the BBWAA and then several Veterans’ Committee votes), he ultimately was elected in 2011, receiving…15 votes. The outcome is pretty much the same as throwing out 369 of the 370 “no” votes that Santo received in his first election!

I voted for Dewey, Murphy and Whitaker. Honestly, none of the guys on the list is a travesty of an omission. But I’m not totally opposed to a big HOF.

I never even heard of Marvin Miller. So, he was the head of MLBPA for a long while. I don’t care one way or the other if he’s in the HOF, but I didn’t vote for him.

None of the above. I watched a ton of Braves games with Dale Murphy. A few more good seasons and he’s a lock. But, those seasons didn’t happen.

Munson was amazing, but not long enough of a career. I know that sounds cold, but he’s not Roberto Clemente either.

Marvin Miller, no. If him, then why not the architect of Camden Yards?

They’re all the Hall of Very Good, but none make my Hall.

I voted for Whitaker. Terrific player, should’ve been in long ago. 75 WAR is pretty damn good, whatever you may think about the validity of that stat.

I voted for Simmons. Never a great defensive catcher but man, could he hit. I think he was better than Munson, and while I’m not quite sure where the HOF line ought to be drawn regarding catchers. for today I’m choosing to draw the line just behind Ted and just ahead of Thurman. Tomorrow I might change my mind.

I voted for Dwight Evans. His career was long and his overall record impressive!

I voted for Marvin Miller. I know the arguments against, but he’s on this ballot, and I think his impact can’t be undersold.

You think Munson probably overshadowed Simmons, but you’re voting for the latter and not the former?

By the way, I know next to nothing about baseball and don’t follow it, I just find these threads interesting :).

Simmons played for longer than Munson, although Munson’s peak performance was higher than Simmons. Simmons never had a WAR over 6, even by how Fangraphs measures WAR, whereas Munson had one year with 6.6 WAR. Baseball Reference’s numbers have an even greater split between Simmons’s peak and Munson’s.

Munson would have played for longer, but was a much worse small jet pilot than he was a ballplayer. (And his instructor really should have realized that the Citation was improperly configured for landing and was too slow.)

I am voting for Whitaker. I’ll listen to arguments for including Evans. It’s interesting, how much better he was defensively early (Fangraphs numbers in '74 and '75 of +16.8, and 18.1, much better than his offensive numbers.), and then in '81-'82, he put together back to back years of >6.5 WAR. With only OK to meh defense.

If you like big peaks, then I’d put Dave Parker’s four years of '75. '77-'79 against anyone else’s we’re looking at on this list. 6.5, 7.7, 6.8, 5.7. Plus one amazing throw in the All-Star Game. (And some stellar blocking by Gary Carter, back when men were men.) Thanks Cocaine! 40 ish WAR ain’t enough though for my Hall.

The Hall voters do dump people way too fast some times. Kevin Brown and his 76.5 WAR should have been considered for much longer than he actually was. And while I get that Raffy was an ass, his numbers don’t merit being dumped like fish heads in the garbage.

Garvey - Rookie of the Year, MVP, 10 All-Star games (2 All-Star MVPs), 4 gold gloves, NL record for consecutive games played (1,207), 2-time NLCS MVP. Even had a 163-game errorless season.

Marvin Miller. While I can see RickJay’s point, the fact is that there are owners in the HoF, and if there are owners, then the guy on the other side of the table from them ought to be in as well. It’s hard to imagine free agency happening without Miller, and IMHO free agency played a huge role in reinvigorating the game in the late 1970s and 1980s. Miller belongs.

Among the players, I voted for Lou Whitaker and Dwight Evans. I seriously considered Munson, and while I didn’t vote for him, I’d hardly object if he got into the HoF.

Tommy John really shouldn’t be in the HoF per se, but should have a plaque somewhere there for being the first pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery. :slight_smile:

The others? Nah. Just one thought about one player: Steve Garvey.

As Bill James noted a long time ago, Steve Garvey’s numbers lined up almost perfectly with the so-called Triple Crown stats of BA, HR, and RBI. As a result, his numbers were much more impressive to people back in the days when you’d only see this thin slice of a player’s stats in the Sunday sports section.

One example of this: looking at his career summary at the link in post #2, one thing that jumped out at me was that he only got 479 BB in 19 years - that’s just 25 walks a year, which is fucking terrible for a slugging first baseman. But if you were following sports in 1978, you might well not see this at all.

Selig is in the hall of fame already though as are other owners and commissioners, so the hall already answered the question that influential non-players/management should be enshrined. Given that, it seems hard to rationalize Miller did not have the impact on the game that those already elected had. I think Boras and Andrews should be in too, but I don’t think that implies there are a bunch of others. No one else had the impact that these three have had on modern baseball.

Miller was my only vote. All of the players got rejected handily by the writers and I don’t see any compelling reason to overturn those results.