Subscribe via RSS Feed

Larkin

[ 98 ] January 9, 2012 |

Congrats to a very deserving Hall of Famer.

The rest of the ballot has two encouraging signs, in that both Raines and Bagwell had major jumps which make it likely they’ll get the honor they’ve been denied too long.  My sentimental choice Edgar Martinez  will have a long wait but has enough support that he can’t be written off. On the other hand, Jack Morris will now almost certainly be enshrined, which would be a poor selection (although I suppose not much worse than Rice or Dawson.)

Comments (98)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Robert Farley says:

    But if you ever saw Morris pitch, you could just tell he was dominant! And he won lots of games in the 1980s /moron>

    • Paul Campos says:

      Morris is admittedly a marginal candidate but back in my day we put a pitcher in the HOF if he won 250 games and won a big game on TV everybody remembered and had an intimidating moustache — and we liked it that way.

      Also Phil Rizutto.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Interestingly, although he got voted in for the wrong reasons, new sabermetric evidence suggests that Rizutto really was a tremendous defensive shortstop; if you give him credit for his missing war years it was actually a reasonable selection (if by accident.) He was a better player than the cronies that Frankie Frisch bullied into the Hof in the 70s.

      • R Johnston says:

        Morris isn’t even a marginal candidate. He was an average plus pitcher who accumulated wins on good teams and had a couple of notable post-season performances despite being thoroughly mediocre over the total course of his post-season career. At his best he wasn’t even close to being the best pitcher in the league.

        To be a marginal Hall of Famer a pitcher would have to be something like a top-100 all time. Morris clearly isn’t one of the 200 best pitchers of all time–WAR, ERA, ERA+, WHIP, K/9, K/BB, etc. all agree here–much less close to being a Hall of Famer.

        • John F says:

          . Morris clearly isn’t one of the 200 best pitchers of all time–WAR, ERA, ERA+, WHIP, K/9, K/BB, etc. all agree here–much less close to being a Hall of Fame

          141st by WAR
          50th by IP
          32nd in Ks
          42nd in wins
          You can make an easier argument that he’s top 200 than you can that he’s not.

          • R Johnston says:

            I did make a boo-boo on the WAR number–I had the wrong list. But when you look at rate stats rather than counting/accumulation stats it still doesn’t matter whether your stats are traditional or sabrmetric: Morris was not a top 200 of all time type pitcher. He was a somewhat better than average pitcher who stuck around for a while and played on good teams.

            141st in pitching WAR, btw, still isn’t an even marginal HOF number.

            • snarkout says:

              Is there any decent argument that even someone modestly stats-inclined would accept that Morris was a better pitcher than Kevin Brown? Bummer that Morris is going to be in the Hall and Sweet Lou isn’t, although it looks like Trammell has a puncher’s chance now.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      I generally support an inclusive Hall, so if Moris gets in! I guess it’s OK though I wouldn’t vote him. That Raines remains under 50 per cent is discouraging.

      • howard says:

        fwiw, i oppose an inclusive hall: i think the hall should basically be the top 1% of players of all time, and it currently contains 1.25% (in round numbers), which is roughly a 40-player surplus.

        and once those 40-players are in, you start getting people saying “well, he’s as good as jim rice” or “he’s as good as don sutton” or what have you, and the next thing you know, jack morris is a hall-of-fame candidate rather than a pretty good pitcher who threw the greatest game i’ve ever seen by a pitcher who had his stuff (as distinct from luis tiant, who in game 4 of the 1975 world series – since this is ostensibly a hooray for barry larkin posting, i feel free to bring this up! – threw the greatest game i’ve ever seen by a pitcher who had no stuff at all, a 163-pitch complete game 5-4 win over the big red machine).

        • c u n d gulag says:

          As I’m sure you know, Bill James did a pretty good job of ridiculing that ‘he’s as good as ___________________” argument in his great book, “The Politics of Glory” – sadly renamed “Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?”

          Based on that argument, Mario Mendoza could earn placement in the HOF because he was a good defensive SS, and Hell, Rabbit Maranville’s in, and he couldn’t hit a lick either!

          I’m hoping James updates that book, and his “Historical Baseball Abstracts” sometime soon.
          After all – the great man’s not getting any younger.

          • Hogan says:

            The line I saw was that by the logic Ken Keltner supporters were using, Walt “No Neck” Williams should be in the HOF because he hit more home runs than Rabbit Maranville, stole more bases than Harmon Killebrew and hit for a higher average than Luis Aparicio.

      • That is basically the way I’ve come to look at the Hall. Though I would never vote for him, if Morris gets enough votes to get in, it won’t really hurt my feelings any, and I’ll feel good for all the people who go to see his induction. I get much more animated about deserving guys being excluded than vice versa.

        As for Raines, he’s only on his 5th balloting, and considering how underrated his skills were, his showing is actually quite encouraging. If he cracks 50% next year he’s probably going to get in after a few more years.

    • R Johnston says:

      Upon taking another look over the numbers, I think the best way to look at Morris is as a lower peak version of Jamie Moyer. Moyer’s 1997-2003 was distinctly better than any comparable stretch of Morris’s career, and between that and sticking around forever he accumulated distinctly more WAR than Morris, but overall they’re very similar, average plus guys who pitched a lot of innings without ever being dominant.

    • Safari says:

      Either way Morris deserves the HOF enshrinement for the games he played and the powerful pitching.

  2. Kurzleg says:

    That game 7 of the 1991 WS was pretty impressive. Not that it alone qualifies Morris for the Hall, but I do hope that performance is celebrated in coming years.

    • strannix says:

      It’s been celebrated non-stop since it happened.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Right. And while it was a great game, Mickey Lolich once went 3-0 with an under-2 ERA in the World Series including winning Game 7, and nobody wants him in the Hall (although he was as good or better than Morris.)

        • Paul Campos says:

          One of my favorite baseball stats is that Lolich threw 376 innings in 1971, including 29 complete games. That’s the second highest total since WWI — Wilbur Wood threw 2/3rds of an inning more the next year.

          Both fat guys no less. (And Lolich was a flamethrower unlike the knuckleballing Wood.)

        • howard says:

          not only did lolich have a great series, but: a.) that was the year that mclain won 30, but lolich obviously outpitched him in the post-season; b.) in winning that third game, he beat bob gibson 4-1 (complete game for both), who otherwise would have won his third game.

        • BobS says:

          He won that seventh game on two days rest.

      • L2P says:

        I know this is a separate deal, but it IS the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Bestest Players Ever. Those are usually the same people, but I think there’s something to be said for players that are are Really, Really Good, AND Really, Really Popular or did Really, Really Cool things. I really have no idea if Mark McGwire would be Hall-worthy based on his stats (he’s out, right, because of roids?) but I’d put him in regardless because he was kind of awesome.

        • strannix says:

          I don’t disagree, but I don’t think Morris even qualifies on this level. Take away his one great WS game, and it’s hard to imagine him having more than token support for the HOF.

          I’m more sympathetic to guys like Mattingly and Murphy along these lines, both of whom fall short to me stats-wise but who both had very good (but short) peaks. Dawson, like I said elsewhere in this thread, is a player like that for me.

          Morris, by contrast, never even had a really great year. At some point his candidacy has to be about more than one game.

          • Amanda in the South Bay says:

            I dunno, Mattingly and Murphy seem more like the “I grew up in the 80s and am now a late 30/early 40 something baseball geek who wants to remember my 12 year old self” picks.

            • strannix says:

              … says the person who just compared Murphy to Dave Kingman.

            • c u n d gulag says:

              Mattingly was considered to be the best player in the game for a number of years by his peers.

              Let me repeat – by his peers!

              That’s nothing to sneeze at.

              And sure, he had a short peak due to injury, but, and I HATE this argument, there are people who were nowhere near as good in there.

              He wouldn’t even be anywhere near to being close to the worst one in the HOF.

              Usually, though, they had Frankie Frisch advocating their candidacy, and he’s long dead, so “Donnie Baseball’s” probably SOL.

              • howard says:

                c u n dgulag, i’m going to have to differ with you on this one: mattingly really only had 4 superior seasons, ’84 – ’87, with OPS+ numbers of 156, 156, 161, and 146.

                once he hurt his back in ’87, he was never the same as a hitter: his ops+ numbers thereafter were: 128, 133, 81, 103, 107, 120, 112, and 97.

                so even though his peers still respected him, and giving him full marks for fielding, i still don’t see that as hall of fame material.

                for comparison, ralph kiner, who had, i’m pretty sure, the shortest offensive career of hall of fame calibre, had a career ops+ of 149 in 6256 plate appearances with a home run every 14.1 at bats (in comparison, mattingly’s career ops+ was 127 in 7721 plate appearances, with a home run every 31.5 at bats).

                • c u n d gulag says:

                  howard,
                  To be honest, I don’t think that he was a HOFer after he got hurt either His peak was too short, so I don’t have a problem with him not being in there.

                  Like I said, I used the ‘he’s as good as ________, so why isn’t he in?” argument, which I usually hate.

                  All I can say is, “Ah, what might have been…”

                  In his prime, he was near Keith Hernandez-like defensively, and a far more superior hitter – though Keith wasn’t half-bad at all with a bat in his hand.

                  I’ll never forget Bill James, in one of his annual abstracts, when he set out to prove that Kirby Puckett was a far better player than Mattingly, but proved to himself and others that the opposite was true.

                  Gods and Goddesses, I wish I still had those abstracts – but those that weren’t lent out to people who never returned them, were lost in some move or other.

              • Rob says:

                By his peers? So by people who basically never saw him play and got their information via a New York dominated sports media?

                • strannix says:

                  Ha ha, Palmeiro’s peers gave him a Gold Glove when he was a DH.

                  That’s nothing to sneeze at!

                • c u n d gulag says:

                  strannix,
                  Are you sure?

                  I thought after the infamous Reebok Uniform Riots in Cooperstown, the SCOTUS decided to give the award to Palmiero – right after their Bush v. Gore decision?

  3. djw says:

    Also nice to see Trammell’s support jump by 50%, although it’s probably a lost cause.

  4. strannix says:

    On the other hand, Jack Morris will now almost certainly be enshrined, which would be a poor selection (although I suppose not much worse than Rice or Dawson.)

    Jim Rice:
    OPS+: 128
    bWAR: 41.5
    fWAR: 56.1

    Andre Dawson:
    OPS+: 119
    bWAR: 57.0
    fWAR: 62.3

    Jack Morris:
    ERA+: 105
    bWAR: 39.3
    fWAR: 56.9

    Damn it, I was preparing to argue against that statement, but it turns out to be pretty much right. Although I’d take Dawson pretty easily over the other two based on peak value.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Agreed. Dawson was a legitimately great two-way player before he hurt his knees, although the stats in the pre-dome Olympic STaidum don’t look all that impressive at first glance.

      • howard says:

        the young dawson was an outstanding player, but the young jim rice was the guy who i truly felt could break aaron’s record: i didn’t see any reason why rice couldn’t play 20 years at fenway and average 40 home runs a year.

        but, in fact, his skills declined much more rapidly than that….

    • Rich C says:

      I think you go to easy on Scott: Dawson was a much better player, and a better HOF candidate than either Rice or Morris. I’m not totally sure why the bWAR/fWAR gap is so much bigger for Rice and Morris, but I suspect that its an indicator of their lower value. Dawson’s about even with Dave Winfield.

  5. Jeffrey Beaumont says:

    No respect for Dale Murphy. I actually met him this year, great guy. Mormom or no, he deserves to be in the HOF.

    • Amanda in the South Bay says:

      My impression of Murphy (granted I’m a bit young to have grown up with him; that’s more of a Lemieux/Loomis generation thing) is that he’s just a warmed over Dave Kingman who declined rather quickly after his (back to back?) MVP awards.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        KIngman comp is unfair. He was an excellent hitter and a decent CF in his prime.

        • R Johnston says:

          Murphy had a phenomenal peak. From 1980-87 he put up clearly HOF worthy numbers. He just had absolutely nothing outside of his peak and his peak, while great, wasn’t enough on its own for the HOF when the rest of his career consisted almost exclusively of being a burden to his team.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            This is exactly right. He had the HOF core; had he just been an OK player for a few years before and after he’d be a no-brainer. Very unusual case.

            • DivGuy says:

              This is why, for me, he’s a Hall of Famer. I’m a more peak-focused voter, and I think that if you were legit great for eight years, you don’t need to be average for five more to be a Hall of Famer.

              There’s also some evidence that the game in the early 80s was harder to dominate, which would suggest that Murphy’s peak, in context, is greater than his value stats suggest.

            • Bill Murray says:

              sounds like Chuck Klein

      • strannix says:

        Not quite. Aside from 1981 and to a lesser extent 1986, Murphy was one of the best players in baseball from 1980 to 1987.

        He did decline very quickly (i.e., immediately) after 1987, but he won the second MVP award in 1983. I don’t think I’d vote for him, personally, but I have no real argument for those who would.

      • proverbialleadballoon says:

        wow, that’s not even close amanda. dale murphy was one of the best players in the 1980′s, period. kingman hit some home runs and struck out a lot.

        that’s like saying all curtis granderson is is a slightly better adam dunn; an adam dunn who can hit, reach base, play the outfield, and run the bases.

        murphy didn’t string together enough elite seasons over the course of his career to position himself as a shoe-in hof’er. which is why he isn’t in the hall of fame. but man, that’s way off.

        dave kingman anecdote: when kingman was on the cubs, my family went to see a game on ‘dave kingman day’. joker didn’t even show up, rumor was he took the game off to go fishing and drinking beer.

      • John F says:

        Dave Kingman was my favorite player growing up, and I hate the Braves, but, this is completely insane.

      • Murphy was one of the best players in the game for a short stretch. That could never be said of the one-dimensional Kingman.

      • Marek says:

        Dave Kingman hit a homerun in the first ballgame I ever attended.

        Of course, he probably struck out three times also.

      • Erik Loomis says:

        Murphy was the best player in baseball for about 4 years, Kingman was never very good.

        • Not to pick on you all the time, but people say stuff like this all the time, and it never fails to amuse me how much they overlap. I’m pretty sure there were about five “best players in baseball” in 1983.

          Murphy was very good at his peak, but I don’t think he was ever the best player in baseball. Schmidt, Yount, Ripken and Henderson were all generally slightly above Murphy.

          • If the only players better than you during any given season are Schmidt, Yount, Ripken and Henderson you are probably a HOF player. I don’t think Murphy qualifies, quite, for the same reason Mattingly doesn’t– neither were able to sustain at that level. It’s a close call, though. I know that when I was in the stands and Dale Murphy came up I had a good chance of seeing something special.

            The case that continues to baffle me is Raines. When the player that you are most comparable to is Rickey Henderson you should be a mortal lock. Granted, when he was at his best Henderson was the most exciting player in baseball, and Raines wasn’t quite that, but he was still thrilling, and the numbers are all there.

  6. wengler says:

    Hell, I’m in favor of anyone who wasn’t a Yankee or Red Sock(that’s right just one) at this point.

    • efgoldman says:

      Who you looking for? Those immortal Seattle Pilots? The 1961 Washington Senators?

      • proverbialleadballoon says:

        no, it sounds like he’s looking for anyone that’s not a yankee or red sock, since that’s what he said. and i can’t blame him, i don’t know if the rest of the country outside the northeast is tired of hearing about those teams as though they were the only two teams in the league, but i sure am.

        white sox fan here, and it’s always been tough to say ‘he’s my favorite white sox’, cuz it makes no sense, so it always ends up ‘he’s my favorite player on the sox’, or something like that.

        • strannix says:

          i don’t know if the rest of the country outside the northeast is tired of hearing about those teams as though they were the only two teams in the league, but i sure am.

          white sox fan here

          Ha ha, a White Sox fan with an inferiority complex. #walkingstereotype

          • proverbialleadballoon says:

            no, just tired of the yankees and red sox being portrayed as the only two teams that play baseball, nationally. i doubt that i am the only one who feels this way. does that mean everyone who is not a yankees or red sox fan is jealous or something? or just white sox fans, being the second team in the second city and all that. can someone be sick of something not because they like something else but because they are simply sick of something? thanks in advance for your internet psychoanalysis.

      • rea says:

        Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker would be in the Hall right now if they’d played for the Yankees rather than the Tigers.

        • R Johnston says:

          I think that Willie Randolph would like to have a word with you.

          Sure, his case isn’t as good as Trammel’s or Whitaker’s, but he’s as close as you get to a comparable Yankee–60.5 career WAR, played the vast majority of his career at middle infield for the Yankees through some good and some rather lean years for the team, and he was an all around very good player without being known as dominant in any one aspect of his game–and he’s really not that far behind Trammel and Whitaker. Randolph’s exclusion from the Hall of Fame is hardly controversial, but neither would his inclusion particularly dilute the overall quality of the list of Hall of Fame second basemen.

          Randolph was one and done with 1.1% of the vote.

      • Njorl says:

        “Those immortal Seattle Pilots?”

        When is Bouton getting in the HoF?

  7. efgoldman says:

    From the link, this is freakin’ amazing (emphasis added).

    An aside: one of those players was Dave Concepcion, who was the Reds’ shortstop from 1970 until Larkin’s emergence in 1987, which means that the Reds had two different shortstops over a 35-season stretch.

    • howard says:

      as i recall, ef goldman, you’re a bostonian, so of course you realize that williams to yaz to rice was an even longer amazing stretch of people at one position.

      • Mike Schilling says:

        Alston to Lasorda, 1954-1996. That’s almost Connie Mack numbers.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Joe Torre as Yankee Manager for 12 seasons – 1996 – 2007.

          Under Steinbrenner, that record puts Connie Mack’s years as a Manager to shame! ;-)

        • efgoldman says:

          But neither Alston nor Lasorda ever had to dive for a grounder, or make an arm-bending throw from deep in the hole, or face a 90+ mph fastball. Their terms are amazing, true, but Larkin and Concepcion played shortstop for FSM’s sake.

            • Woodrowfan says:

              and Concepcion replaced Leo Cardenas who was a gold glove shortstop and Cardenas replaced Roy McMillan who won 3 gold gloves, including the 1st one which was for both leagues. So for over 50 years the Reds usually had a shortstop with at least one Gold Glove at the position.

              To be fair, there were some short transition periods where the new guy competed for his spot with some big names as Eddie Kasko in 1959, Woody Woodward in 69, and Kurt Stillwell in 86. But still, from 1951 through 2004 there were four quality starting shortstops in Cincinnati in a row. And Larkin was the best.

        • Njorl says:

          IIRC, Alston’s 23 years with the Dodgers were in 23 one-year contracts.

  8. R Johnston says:

    I pretty fully agree with the commentary in this post. I’d like to add that it’s time to start preemptively complaining about the writers next ridiculous decision, which will be to not vote in Mike Mussina who’s at least as clear cut a Hall of Famer as Bagwell and Raines. Moose will immediately top the list of deserving eligibles not elected to the Hall of Fame for reasons other than confirmed steroid use as soon as he hits the ballot.

    • wengler says:

      There are some real no-doubters coming up in the next couple years, so fringe candidates are just going to have to live a little longer.

      • R Johnston says:

        There’s nothing at all fringe about Bagwell or Moose, for whom there are no good faith arguments against enshrinement, and Raines, while not as clear cut, is at least as good a choice as everyone other than Rickey Henderson and Bert Blyleven who’s been enshrined since Raines has been on the ballot (Gossage, Rice, Dawson, Alomar, Larkin).

        While there are a lot of worthy HoF candidates hitting the ballot in the next few seasons, the only ones with distinctly stronger cases than Bagwell and Mussina are Bonds, Clemens, Maddux, and Johnson, the real inner-circle types.

        • wengler says:

          If Ken Griffey Jr. isn’t a first ballot HOFer, I’ll eat my hat.

          • R Johnston says:

            Griffey had a better peak, but he also had a shorter peak and an exceedingly long decline phase to his career. Everyone remembers Griffey from his first decade in the league, when he projected out to be one of the top few players of all time. His career, however, didn’t quite turn out like that. He still ended up a no-doubter Hall of Famer, but he’s not Ruth, Williams, or Bonds even if that’s how some people remember him.

            If you look at career value Bagwell and Mussina are comparable to Griffey. Their peaks are a bit lower but they both have easily Hall of Fame quality peaks.

            • R Johnston says:

              Just to clarify, while Griffey has a somewhat better case for the Hall of Fame than either Mussina or Bagwell, it’s not distinctly better, not in the same way that the Maddux, Johnson, Clemens, and Bonds cases are. If your standards for the Hall say that Griffey’s a shoo-in no-brainer then Bagwell and Mussina clearly belong in your Hall as well even if you have to think about it a little.

              • wengler says:

                Nah, you’re wrong. Griffey never even had the suspicion of roids and great numbers despite his injuries and decline period.

                He was the young face of the league for his years in Seattle, and remained a potent threat before he got hurt in Cincinnati.

                Possibly the best all-around player of the ’90s and no tint of roids? 630 HRs, 2781 hits, inner circle HOFer.

            • mark f says:

              I had this conversation with DJW in the Bagwell thread a few weeks back. I was shocked at how much my memory had inflated Griffey (NB: in Cincinnati, where he was terrible, he was mostly invisible to me). Obvious HoFer; not the guy I remembered him to be. And I never even liked him.

  9. Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Poor Fred McGriff, 7 home runs shy of automatic acceptance.

    • mark f says:

      You might want to ask Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro about that.

      Even aside from direct implications I don’t think 500 is automatic anymore. I’ll bet $5 Jim Thome’s 600 doesn’t get him in on his first ballot.

  10. Chris says:

    Congrats to Larkin. He now becomes the only hall of famer I’ve seen play in the minors, when he did a few games (rehab, maybe?) at Nashville in the late 80s.

  11. timb says:

    This entire thread is supposed to be about my last baseball hero, before I realized there are damn few heroes in life and in baseball maybe none since Clemente.

    Celebrate the first 30/30 SS in baseball. A gracious loyal leader of a World Series winner who played with class and flair and power and speed and — for a damn long while — had superior range and a cannon for an arm.

    My hero makes the Hall.

    Meanwhile, this season the Reds say they want to contend with either the great Zack Cozart at SS or the strong bunting ability of Paul Janish…how the mighty have fallen

  12. mark f says:

    I remember watching the 1999 All Star game at my friend’s house. Mark McGwire struck out to lead off the top of the second. I turned to my friend and said, “Pedro just struck out four consecutive Hall of Famers,” since in the first inning Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa went down, as Don Orsillo would say, by way of the K.

    My friend’s response? “Larkin ain’t no Hall of Famer.” Now it seems he’ll wind up the only one out of those four.

  13. Slocum says:

    I did not know Philip Larkin played baseball. Strange, didn’t seem the type.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Switch to our mobile site