Yes, the 70s and 80s were low-offense eras, and he played in Dodger Stadium. Still, a 1B with less than 300 HRs and barely 1,300 RBIs? Plus, he didn't deserve a single one of his Gold Gloves. I guess Mr. Sabermetric Guru Bill James missed that he had a negative dWAR every one of his Gold Glove seasons.
He was NOT "an excellent fielder."
Here's the reality. A career Wins Above Average of 7.0. Zero WAR years above 5. That's not even close to a HOFer. I mean, while Keith Hernandez also isn't a HOFer, he's a hell of a lot closer than Garvey.
Hernandez would at least, realistically, make my Hall of the Very Good. Garvey? He wouldn't even get to breathe that room's air.
I grew up in the 70s. In New Mexico. Got KTLA on our cable. Saw Steve Garvey (while hearing Vin Scully). Saw minor leaguers move up from AAA Albuquerque.
And. I. Never. Never thought Garvey was a HOFer. Never.
Anyway, here's the crux of Wulf's stupidity:
But he's also one of the great players from that period who have been hurt by the inflation of statistics fueled by the increasing use of PEDs, which happened to coincide with the HOF eligibility for the earlier era.Well, maybe that's true for writers who aren't sabermetric-friendly.
But Wulf, and James, both know that WAR and WAA are measured only against a player's peers on the field from year to year. So, to the sabermetrically minded who are also sabermetrically honest, we know that Garvey isn't deserving.
And, per the comments thread, I think James was touting as well as predicting. And, he's been wrong on other touts.
Stuff like this is also why I turn to Yahoo Sports for real sports news and to ESPN, with exceptions here and there, for laughs.
ESPN is better on golf still, I'd say. But, on the major sports? Not even close.
Oh, and despite his guru-like status, this is far from the first "howler" out of Bill James' mouth, too. Indeed, in the same article, Wulf quotes him as touting Dave Parker and Dale Murphy. Both are better candidates than Garvey, but no better than Hernandez, if that.
As for Parker, I think that reflects my stance that James was touting, not predicting. Anybody who looks at Parker vs. Dale Murphy and was a fan back then knows that Parker carries more "personal baggage" than Tim Raines or Jim Rice, as I blogged about.
And, with Murphy, it's clearly an emotional choice.
Anyway, can't some people simply accept the contributions Bill James has made while at the same time not putting him on such a pedestal?
(Beyond this ESPN piece, Dick Allen is another player that James gets TOTALLY wrong on touting — yes, touting, not predicting — him as a HOFer.)
And, click the "MLB Hall of Fame" tag for more on other candidates on this year's ballot and my thoughts.
Also, per the commenter below, Bill James gets Jack Morris very wrong. And Bill Mazerowski, too, if James really claimed he was the greatest defensive player of all time.