Who doesn't belong in the baseball HOF?

Here is the current thread on the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Who doesn’t belong in the Hall? Why?

You mean, that is there now? Because otherwise I’m gonna put Pete Rose at the top of the list.

For starters, Luis Aparicio and Phil Rizzuto- neither hit for power, or average, or extra base hits (Aparicio lifetime OBP of .311) and both averaged 20+ errors a season. Rizzuto probably got in as he was on many championship teams, which is bunk, as so was Billy Martin. No idea the rationale for Aparicio.

Rabbit Maranville always sounded like a horrible pick, and while he was a strong defensive player I’ve heard he only got in because he later became a broadcaster and got chummy with the sportswriters.

Jesus, I thought my above two had a lot of errors- 65 in one season for this guy? Was there a different criteria for errors back then? I know, inferior gloves and field and all, but geez.

Yes, I meant of those who are currently enshrined in the Hall, who does not deserve to be there.

Here is a list of all the members.

They all do.

Statistics never tell the entire story; by statistics alone, Jackie Robinson wouldn’t make it.

Take Luis Aparacio. He was the greatest basestealer of his age. If you want to kick him out, you might as well kick out Lou Brock or Ricky Henderson.

You can find a rationale for kicking out just about anyone in the Hall.

Ultimately, people who argue about kicking a player out have no real feel for the history of the game.

Ricky isn’t eligable until next year anyway.

2001 has got to be the worst class ever.

Bill Mazeroski by the Veteran’s committee and Kirby Puckett by the writers.

Before we kick out Luis Aparicio and Phil Rizzuto, lets consider these two.

Phil won a well deserved MVP and while he probably was not a Hall of Famer, both Puckett and Maz were less deserving.


Yes, there was. Players in Maranville’s day committed about two and a half times as many errors as they do now, almost all of those extra errors occurring in the infield. Seasons of 40, 50, and 60 errors by middle infielders were common. In 1914, the year Maranville made 65 errors, his fielding percentage was only .938… but the average fielding percentage of a major league shortop was just .925. Maranville, in fact, was more sure-handed than most (not only that year, but over his entire career.)

Maranville was probably the best defensive shortstop of his era. Whether that makes him a Hall of Famer is a different matter.

I guess the OP’s question could be answered any number of different ways, but there are clearly some players whose performance is not even close to the general standard of the rest of the Hall of Fame players. Some are the so-called Frish selections - George Kelly, Jesse Haines, Chick Hafey and guys like that who aren’t any better than three or four hundred other players who aren’t in the Hall of Fame.

As to some of the other selections people question, like Rizzuto or Aparicio, well, I guess they’re in for various reasons and that ship has sailed. I could make up a list with 20 names on it, or 40, or 60, depending on how I interpreted the question. I’m not going to dig through the list right now, but

  1. There are definitely some players who stick out as being very poor selections, such as Kelly, Haines, and Hafey.

  2. That said, I’m inclined to err on the side of generosity; I would not classify marginal picks like Kirby Puckett, Tony Perez, or Phil Rizzuto (let’s bear in mind the Scooter missed his prime years to World War II, which I think deserves some consideration) as being in the same category as really dumb Veteran’s Committee selections like George Kelly. I might not be totally sold on Puckett or Rizzuto, but I could construct an argument in defense of their selection. George Kelly is indefensible; it’s like they put Wally Joyner in the Hall of Fame. Actually, Wally Joyner was quite a bit better than George Kelly.

And, RealityChuck,

But you’re in here arguing.

Please, there’s no lamer argument when debating sports greatness than “people who disagree with me are lesser fans than I am,” which is what you’re saying. It’s insulting, counterproductive, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s just plain wrong. I find this debate very interesting and if you don’t mind me saying so, I think my “feel” of the game’s history is pretty damned good.

Yes, he would.



I gotta agree with Rick, Chuck. I bow to no one at all about my knowledge of the game and its history. And saying that all who are in are deserving ignores several levels of league politics and favoritism to an astonishing degree.

I recommend ‘Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?’ by Bill James. In it, James makes the case for the players who were ushered in more for who they knew that what they did. He also makes the statistical case that the closer you were to major media centers such as New York or Chicago the higher your probability of eventually being inducted. It’s an interesting read and quite damning towards the Veteran’s Committee.

His stats by themselves without context would not have gotten him voted in, but his numerous reasonably high MVP votes and MVP award, would have helped. He mighted have got voted in, even if he was white or the 20th black.

But on pure stats:
Black Ink: Batting - 8 (271) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 121 (156) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 38.0 (162) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 98.0 (155) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Overall Rank in parentheses.

There really is no other player in major league baseball history who is statistically similar to Jackie Robinson, so it’s quite impossible for any of us to say. Robinson’s numbers are very weird, because he didn’t get to play until he was 28, so his rate stats are really awesome but his career totals are low (well, by Hall of Fame standards.) The closest match under the “similarity score” system is George Grantham, who

A) Isn’t THAT close,
B) Put up his numbers in a time when players had much gaudier batting averages, and
C) Was a poor defensive player.

Other than that there are only sort-of-similar players. Unless you can point to some guys who were substantively similar to Robinson in terms of their numbers, you CAN’T really say for sure.

My guess, though, is that no, a white guy with the same numbers would not be in; everyone would talk about what a great player he was but he didn’t last long enough, like Don Mattingly. Of course, Jackie Robinson’s career is short in part BECAUSE he was black, and when you take that into consideration his accomplishments are quite remarkable. He was a phenomenal ballplayer; if he’d been white he would have been in the majors two years earlier (he was in the Army until 1944) and might well have played a year or two before his Army service. And you’d have to take that into account too.

Alexander Cartwright wouldn’t make it based on statistics alone.

Lloyd Waner wouldn’t have come close to election if not for his brother Paul.

If it wasn’t for the, “Tinker to Evers to Chance” poem, do you really think any of the three belong in the Hall?

Frank Chance probably most clearly deserves it based on his batting and fielding. You also need to take into account his managerial record, which is pretty impressive.

As for determining who belongs and who doesn’t, it’s probably best to split it into two groups

  1. Players elected in the course of normal, yearly voting.
  2. Players elected by the Veteran’s Committee.

Sure, both sets have their shares of “What the heck were they thinking” choices, but the Veteran’s Committee has an amazing number of completely indefensible choices. A lot of this is due to who the chairman is. Look at the people elected during the times Frankie Frisch and Bill Terry were wielding power, see how many were teammates, and then how many pop up on the list of least deserving candidates. It’s a pretty clear indictment of cronyism on their parts.

Based on the number of truly mediocre (but small, gritty, and gutsy) shortstops erroneously elected, I await with equal parts trepidation and wonder at the future vote totals of Mr. David Eckstein. He is average, almost as average as can be. But, he clearly has captured the fancy of dumb sportswriters, “plays the game the right way” (even if that way is average or worse), and has accumulated the right types of honors that are the wrong types of criteria to use for election. I know he won’t be elected, but he also shouldn’t get a single vote and I’d be willing to bet he ends up with greater than 10% the first year.

A smattering of reads on the topic:



I think a good comparison (setting aside the historical significance of breaking the color barrier) is Ichiro Suzuki. He also came into MLB at age 28 with a number of years of superlative performance under his belt, albeit in a league that doesn’t count, stats-wise. Both were Rookie of the Year and won an MVP (Robinson in his third year). Both eventually led the league in significant statistical categories and were regarded as one of the best players in the league. Neither has/will have the “traditional” career qualifiers that more or less automatically give one HOF entrance.

Jackie Robinson was always going to have a spot in the Hall of Fame regardless of his numbers, but his numbers might have been good enough if were able to play in the league through his most productive years. Age 28 is when the average players production starts to decline, and usually quite rapidly. Ichiro’s continued high level of production, plus his 2004 season of 262 hits, has cemented him as a first ballot HOFer, IMO.

I don’t see how anyone can discount Robinson’s Negro League stats when there are players in the hall who played their entire careers there.