Wednesday, January 10, 2007

HAROLD AND LAUD: Forgive me if you are sick of reading about the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I have to give that old horse one last beating. Among the many oddities in yesterday's results, I can't seem to reconcile how Harold Baines garnered just 29 votes (5.3%). Baines was just two votes away from falling below the 5% threshold required to stay on the ballot.

Now I am not saying outright that Baines is a Hall-of-Famer (a position I will take with Goose Gossage, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, and Ron Santo). But, if Tony Perez is a Hall-of-Famer, then Baines deserves a lot more consideration. Look up similar batters to Perez at Baseball Reference, and the first match is Baines.
Player              From  To Yrs   G    AB    R    H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO    BA   OBP   SLG   SB   CS OPS+
Tony Perez 1964-1986 23 2777 9778 1272 2732 505 79 379 1652 925 1867 .279 .341 .463 49 33 122
Harold Baines 1980-2001 22 2830 9908 1299 2866 488 49 384 1628 1062 1441 .289 .356 .465 34 34 120

The two intangibles between the two, as far as I can figure, are that Perez is associated with the beloved Big Red Machine era and Baines is remembered primarily as a DH, even though he played over 1,000 games in the outfield. In coming years, the Hall of Fame will have to deal more and more with players who spent considerable time at DH, but it is worth noting that Paul Molitor, among other Hall-of-Famers like Eddie Murray and Dave Winfield, spent considerable time playing DH. Also of note, is that Perez batted .238 with 6 HR and 25 RBI in 172 postseason at-bats, while Baines batted .324 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 102 postseason at-bats.

Again, I don't want to say Baines is a Hall-of-Famer, but he deserves a lot more consideration than 5.3%. (For some more background on Baines, including how White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf feels personally responsible for Baines not reaching 3,000 hits, read this. )

And one last note. The Hall has updated the list of potential inductees for coming elections and it looks to be somewhat slim pickings, which bodes well for Dawson, Rice, etc. Of the future eligible players, only Rickey Henderson in 2009 is a slam-dunk (that will be an entertaining induction speech). Roberto Alomar will probably make it too, despite his salivary glands, while Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, will all get a lot of consideration in 2010. And then of course there is Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro in 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment