NY Sports Dog: 2009 Hall of Fame Ballot: Time to Right Some Wrongs

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Hall of Fame Ballot: Time to Right Some Wrongs

I was over at the Mets website this morning over a nice cup of coffee and read the article on Mo Vaughn's addition to the HoF ballot.

While I don't believe Vaughn has any chance whatsoever of enshrinement to Cooperstown, there are a few guys on this list who I feel are overdue: Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven.

An 8-time All-Star, Rice was a feared slugger that hit for average. He drove in 100 or more runs 8 times in his 14 full seasons and finished with a lifetime .298 batting average and 2,452 hits.

Last year Rice was named on 72.2% of the ballots, just a few votes shy of the 75% he needs to gain entry into the hallowed hall. This year is his year.

Bert Blyleven's case for the Hall of Fame sets baseball people into a tizzy--half think it's ludicrous that he hasn't already gained entry, while the other half point to a pitcher who had "stat compiler" numbers that aren't enough to push him over the edge. They will say, "It isn't the Hall of Very Good."

Both groups have their points, but please put me into the more gentile and sophisticated group that thinks he belongs.

Blyleven, 16 years after he retired, is still:

5th all-time in strikeouts
9th all-time in shutouts
14th all-time in innings pitched
27th all-time in wins

Couple that with a superb 3.31 lifetime ERA and 3-1 K to BB ratio and he is clearly deserving of entry. Moreover, he completed 242 of the 682 games he started, and threw 60 shutouts. Put another way, Blyleven threw a complete game once every 2.8 starts, and a shutout once every 11.4 starts over a 22-year career.

For all those who don't think Blyleven belongs, I'll only ask you to compare him to Catfish Hunter, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry and Don Drysdale and see where you think he stacks up.

So we have one shoo-in, Ricky Henderson, and a whole bunch of "maybe's", including Lee Smith, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines--but those players should wait and the votes from the BBWA should put Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame.

Let the booing, hissing, and egg-throwing begin.

Hall of Fame BBWAA ballots
2009 candidates
Harold Baines
Jay Bell
Bert Blyleven
David Cone
Andre Dawson
Ron Gant
Mark Grace
Rickey Henderson
Tommy John
Don Mattingly
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Dale Murphy
Jesse Orosco
Dave Parker
Dan Plesac
Tim Raines
Jim Rice
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
Greg Vaughn
Mo Vaughn
Matt Williams

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Mets Tailgate said...

You're right on about Blyleven, but take a 2nd look at Rice. He was by all accounts awful defensively (stats back it up: he had a -60 FRAA). Plus he played 1/4 of his games as a DH.

More startling are his home vs. road splits for his career:

Home: 4507 plate appearances, .320/.374/.546
Road: 4551 plate appearances, .277/.330/.459

(this means batting avg/on-base percentage/slugging percentage)

He was a product of Fenway. In all other stadiums he was a below league average player. HOF inductees this year should be Blyleven, Raines, Henderson, Trammell and McGwire (although if you're strongly opposed to McGwire because he's a cheater, that's fine by me).

NY Sports Dog (Dave) said...

I agree that Rice was something of a product of Fenway, but the fact of the matter is he played 50% of his games there, and his overall numbers support his induction.

There have been many HoF players who were far superior at home than on the road.

Take a look at Yaz, George Brett, Ryne Sandberg, etc.

Mets Tailgate said...

Check out Newsday writer Ken Davidoff's ballot - it's brilliant:


Can only hope Rice doesn't make it.

NY Sports Dog (Dave) said...

Did you look up the home and away stats on Yaz, Brett, Sandberg, and even Ernie Banks.

Anyway, let me know if you want to continue the discussion.

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