Baseball HoF 2009

Rickey Henderson is in, though not unanimously for some weird reason. Jim Rice just squeaked in. Bert Blyleven is still not in. Any thoughts?

The guy who left Rickey Henderson off of his ballot should have it taken away.

Yeah, Rickey not being unanimous is madness. Of course, Ripken and Seaver and Schmidt and Mays and Aaron should have been unanimous, too.

I’m torn on Rice, since he was clearly THE MAN for a good six or seven years, but as statistical analysis gets better, he fades into a world where maybe Dwight Evans was actually a better player.

I’ve been an Andre Dawson fan since I was ten, so I can’t pretend to impartial about him getting just over 60% of the vote. It’s both a good sign that he’ll eventually be admitted and a worrying sign that his weaknesses will be enshrined as the new low bar.

Raines should have gotten more support, since he was neither one dimensional nor boring.

Blyleven will eventually make it.


Rickey must be pissed that Rickey wasn’t unanimously voted in, at least Rickey must think so.

Now may be a good time to unload those Ricky rookie cards I’ve got collecting dust since the great baseball card bust of 1991-1992.

Go Rickey!

Rice getting in is a fucking joke. Bert Blyleven not getting in is also a fucking joke. 287 wins, and he’s the only guy in the top 10 in career strikeouts recorded (5th on the list at 3701) eligible for the HoF and not in there.

Nope. He was THE MAN from 1977 through 1979, and then again in '83. take those four years out of his 16 year career and he was a .290 hitter (in a hitter’s park) who averaged 23 HR a season.

Rice’s career home/road splits:

Home: .320/.374/.546
Road: …277/.330/.459

Based on that criteria, I can make a case for Dante Bichette being more deserving than Rice.

By THE MAN, I meant that it was how he was seen. Take 75 through 83 and you have a time period before Sabermetrics, when he was the most feared hitter because people kept being told he was feared.

Sure, take into account the home/away split and all of a sudden you get Jose Cruz in his league, which is fine with me. But when I was growing up, there was “no doubt” who was most valuable.


I grew up in the same time period, and thought that guys like Cecil Cooper, Ben Ogilvie, Andre Dawson, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Tony Armas, and yep, Dewey Evans were far more fearsome.

Cooper, Oglivie and Armas? Really? I never heard anyone mention them in the same league as Rice. Maybe your local broadcasters were on the leading edge of baseball criticism. I remember the late 70s and early 80s being full of power, batting average, doubles and intangibles. Get three of those four and you would be God. Hence, Enos Cabell’s career.

Jackson and Schmidt were clearly superior players in their prime, and Schmidt’s prime was longer than most 3rd basemen.

I’ve already said that it was impossible for me to be impartial about Dawson.

Anyway, I don’t think we are disagreeing. Rice was overvalued at the time, and is probably a borderline case at best.


Even as a Boston fan, I gotta say that Rice’s case is kinda shaky. Blyleven, on the other hand, is fucking ridiculous. The “argument” against him is solely based on win-loss record. You don’t have to be a sabermetric stats-guru to realize that win-loss record doesn’t really tell you much of value about a pitcher. You just need to not be a complete fucking idiot.

Hear, hear. Unfortunately, the BBWAA is full of crusty old fucking idiots. And some legitimately good reporters of course, but man.

This is the same organization that gave Jason Fucking Bartlett a 5th place MVP vote. I mean, come on!

As a lifelong Yankee fan, I just want to say what the hell took the voters so long to induct Jim Rice?? Great hitter, as scary as Reggie in his prime. Congrats to him!!

Rice is marginal, but I can live with it. Blyleven is a tougher question. It’s one thing to have a lot of wins and it’s another to have a lot of wins because you were around for so long. The question is whether players should get into the HOF because they had long careers or if they should also have at least several years where they were clearly a dominant player. Blyleven had only one 20 win season and 12/22 of his seasons he either had one more win than losses, was .500, or had a losing record. Plus, only two all-star appearances in 22 seasons. It’s hard to argue he was ever dominant. Consistently solid, sure. But that’s not necessarily HOF material.

Edit: Link to Blylevens career numbers.

Longevity is a problem if a player is just stringing it out. Blyleven was 17-5 and a run under the league ERA average at 38 years old. The case for Blyleven is bigger than simple longevity.

Wins is a bullshit statistic on a seasonal basis. If you go 17-17 with an ERA of 2.73, I would say it’s not entirely your fault that you didn’t win 22 games that year. Give the man a stable offense in his early 20s and the W-L looks at least ten games better. He won games for very marginal teams, and has a career ERA much better than the league average. In fact, he was never even close to the league average in ERA until he was washed up. 20 wins isn’t some magic number when you win 17+ regularly for the 1970s Twins and 19 for the 1984 Indians.


Actually, I think we will see more and more that stats will take a back seat to gut feelings re: the HOF, as the steroid era skews stats…

Rice passes the gut feeling test by far for me.

I don’t disagree, but everytime Blylevens name comes up, people point to his career win total as proof of why he should be in the HOF. And it’s not like he’s the guy with the most wins who is not in the HOF. There are two guys with more wins not in and a few others just a few wins behind him. If Blyleven deserves to go, what about Tommy John, Bobby Matthews, Tony Mullane, and Jim Kaat?

So if wins aren’t what justifies him, then what is? As I said before, he had only two all-star appearances. What about career ERA, which you mentioned? His career ERA was 3.31, which means there are 300 (exactly) pitchers in MLB history with a minimum of 1000 innings pitched who had better career ERA’s. And no, they aren’t all in the HOF.

I could probably make a case for Mullane.

1000 innings pitched is a pretty low bar. If you are a starter who pitches only 200 innings a year, that’s five years. Not enough for the HoF. Make it 2500 innings and you get a different picture, especially if you focus on the years Blyleven played.

Of course, you have to make the cut somewhere. Not every pitcher better than Jesse Haines should be in the HoF, because the place isn’t big enough. But judged against his peers in the years he played, Blyleven compares to Carlton, and Carlton was no Haines.


The wins thing is bullshit with Blyleven, and comparing him to Kaat is ridiculous.

Kaat’s career started a full 12 years before Bert’s, and as such Kitty benefitted from two things:

  1. He was a good pitcher on some very, very good teams (the mid-'60’s Twins are like the great unknown almost-dynasty of baseball; that team was stacked with talent).

  2. He pitched in a “dead ball” era that makes his ERA’s in the mid-3.00’s look a lot more impressive today than those who played against him thought they were back then.

Kaat was a decent pitcher, but you look at his career stats and you see a guy who gave up over a hit per inning even in his prime, didn’t strike out a whole lot of guys, and who put up ERA’s that were league average at best, pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark. Kaat spent the last 6 or 7 years of his career as a spot starter and mop-up reliever trying to get 300 wins.

Blyleven on the other hand pitched for some absolutely dreadful teams in Minnesota and Texas and Cleveland, but still posted winning records despite not ever getting much run support and not having any sort of bullpens behind him. From the moment he came into the league, people were talking about Blyleven’s arm, and specifically his curveball, which was regarded around baseball as the best of his era, and perhaps the best of all time (Blyleven is #5 overall, but the first guy on the list who didn’t live and die behind a 95 mph plus fastball). Bly also lost the better part of three seasons in the middle of his career (age 29-31, which is usually the prime for most pitchers) due to an elbow injury. After going 17-5 at age 38 with the Angels he tried to pitch through shoulder stiffness and ended up with a torn rotator cuff that pretty much ended his career…but for all the talk about Blyleven being a bad teammate in Minnesota his first go-round there and in Pittsburgh (Blyleven thought Chuck Tanner was an idiot; history has proven that impression to be correct), he became a model citizen later in his career as a mentor to Frank Viola among others.

He won Rookie Pitcher of the Year in the AL and Comeback Player of the Year in '89. He got jobbed out of the Cy Young in '84 in Cleveland when he was clearly the best pitcher in the league (19-7 for a 75-win team; yeah). Blyleven belongs in.

Don’t even play like you haters have anything to counter this with.