SocraticGadfly: Cooperstown veterans committees are fuck-ups again

December 06, 2021

Cooperstown veterans committees are fuck-ups again

Buck O'Neil? Hellz, yes. But none of the others they voted in deserve there.

Oh fuck, for fuck's sake.

(And, and to deliberately redouble on something? Contra one commenter, it is NOT the fucking official job description of various incarnations of the veterans committees to "elect" more people. It IS their job to "reconsider" people not elected by the BBWAA.

Now, the capitalists running the HOF will deny that's the unofficial job description; they're deny that's why they tweaked the three committees into four. But, they're lying out their smokestacks.

The whole reason the HOF exists is built on a legend, and the HOF and Cooperstown's wallets are heavily invested in that. I have a late friend who was born and raised there; I know whereof I speak on this sidebar. IMO, overall, hoops and football have better processes.) 

This guy GETS IT:

At the end of the day, it is a plaque in the gallery…and lots of merchandise sold for MLB teams, and the Hall of Fame. It also allows the newly elected Hall of Famer to charge extra for appearances and autographs.

Nothing to add.

Minnie Miñoso ain't a HOFer, and Gil Hodges ain't even a AAA HOFer. Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva don't belong in either.  

(Update, Dec. 22: I now have more detailed looks at the cases against, especially, Oliva and Hodges, and also against Miñoso.)

Same shitheads who voted in Jack Morris and Harold Baines proved they're even more stupid than the Bill Terry and Frankie Frisch veterans committee, notorious for putting in undeserving people like Jim Bottomley. (For that matter, there's a damn good argument writers fucked up voting in Terry, with less than 60 WAR, basically just because .400.)

Seriously, as batters, did committee members Ozzie Smith or George Brett ever think they were watching a HOFer in Kaat? (Sorry, Brett wasn't on this year's committee; Wikipedia's page was kind of confusing. Anyway, he's tagged, and was on previous veterans committees. Besides, that was a sidebar observation that is still valid of Ozzie, who played both with and against Kaat, and doesn't change the larger argument of "you saw X play, did you really think he was a HOFer"?)

Bud Fowler? With basically no stats to consider, he's anecdote and legend. Wouldn't have voted him in. Is he being voted in for being "considered" the first black professional baseball player? That's about as sketchy as his lack of stats. And, yes, I'm being curmudgeonly. Besides, I've always heard Moses Fleetwood Walker was the answer to this question. Fowler only counts if we're talking about minor leagues. Comes off as tokenism, especially if Walker is NOT in. (I had very honestly never heard of Fowler before a week ago.)

Let's tackle these individually, setting aside O'Neil, who we all know should have been in, and Fowler, who I just dealt with.

Miñoso? (Per the third commenter's note, B-Ref's linker runs his name WITHOUT the tilde. But, I have changed that. It still doesn't change my argument or its strength.) 50 WAR. (For various reasons, rightly or wrongly, I don't generally count Negro Leagues numbers on a player considered primarily for his MLB time. A Red Satan piece on Oscar Charleson spells it out for me. B-Ref has scanty enough info on Negro League parks that it cannot park-neutralize OPS+, per the story — and on the flip side, presumably can't park-neutralize ERA+, or calculate FIP, let alone to do a FIP+ like Fangraphs. Because of not having the same minor league structure and individual teams not having minor league systems, B-Ref also can't calculate WAR for Negro Leagues players. For him particularly, he didn't play full time in the Negro Leagues before being signed by the Indians in 1949 at age 23 and put an asterisk on that.)

He was a below-average fielder (he was). He got thrown out on the bases a lot. One 8-WAR, one 6-WAR year. He's not a horrible inductee, but not great.

Back to that asterisk? For anybody talking "but include the Negro Leagues"? Fine. Per B-Ref, he's still under 55 WAR. Given that those were young years, he probably wouldn't have been in MLB's majors most that time were this 20-30 years later and discrimination in playing weren't such a problem, so I still don't see him as much more than 55 WAR. Remember, that when he DID get his initial shot, with the 1949 Indians, he was sent ... to the minors, not back to Negro League ball ... because he wasn't good enough. (The Undefeated, in its fellation of Miñoso, admits that Cleveland was [ahead of the Dodgers!] baseball's most integrated team in 1949. It then raises the "Gold Gloves" argument; well, in two of his three winning seasons, he had a negative dWAR. They didn't exist back then, but that's why cognoscenti look at Fielding Bible awards today.)

Gil Hodges? No 7-WAR seasons. Only one 6-WAR year. Under 45 WAR. Never a top-5 MVP. Not that much as a manager. And, per my response to the first commenter? Alleged sabermetric genyuses like Jay Jaffe are selective on sabermetrics. What good is it appealing to metrics if you're going to ignore or fudge them, Jay? (That's why it's funny as hell to use the cover of his book as illustration for this post.) And, per my crack above? Under 45 WAR and no 7-WAR seasons, yeah, maybe you are a AAA HOFer, but you're NOT a AAAA-replacement level HOFer let alone the real deal.

Would he have been a great manager had he lived? Sabermetrics say no; the 1970 Mets finished 5 games under Pythag; the 1971 Mets were 3 games under. The Senators were over Pythag in 1964-67, but stayed over when jumped to the Mets in 1968.

Kaat? Flat 50 WAR. Look up "compiler" in the MLB Encyclopedia. His picture is there. He even admits it. Falls below 1.10 ERA+, one of my benchmarks besides WAR for a pitcher.Also fails the second, with a WHIP above 1.25. (Black Jack Morris also failed these.) To be a bit charitable, he did have two 7-WAR seasons.

Oliva. Under 50 WAR. Almost EXACTLY another Harold Baines. I don't care if he won three batting titles. Bill Madlock won four and he's not in the HOF either, and he shouldn't be in the HOF either. (Madlock might be an even better comp than Baines.)

I write this as MLBTR's piece on the election has idiots galore in the comments. Beyond the idiots touting candidacies of the undeserving, there's the "greenies were as bad as roids' idiots. They're not and I tackled that six years ago. That said, per the old "Canseco milkshake" and related, there is probably at least one roider already in the Hall. Click the link for my guess on who.

Oh, I've battled the "Big Hall" issue for more than a decade. See here, for example, when Red Satan writers and others complained about a "backlog." Red Satan has tainted a lot of minds, and amplified others, obviously. Jaffe, mentioned above about being sabermetrically selective, was another whiner about an alleged "backlog."


Meanwhile, the biggest travesty continues in that Danny Murtaugh was STILL not voted in as a manager. Two WS champs, two other NL East champs, all while battling multiple rounds of the disease that would kill him. 

Bad Bill Dahlen also robbed. Over 70 WAR. Actually deserving.


Notes on commeters: "Unknown" had one reasonable comment on Pinson. Other than that, he (I presume) is hitting an increased level of smugness and worse, as well as willfully reading past my comments that I don't want anybody in the Hall, and also not commenting back on the worthiness of those I mentioned, such as Dahlen and Murtaugh on this vote, or Munson and Whitaker elsewhere.

Comment moderation exists for a reason.

No, WAR is not perfect, but, in an actually good piece at Red Satan, I quote:

The goal of WAR is to give the most complete sense of a player's value to his team, and it's perhaps the best piece of data to compare the greatness of one player to the next.
There you go. Couldn't have said it better myself. Now, get off my lawn.


Joel A. said...

stupid, angry, profane opinion. bad day?

Gadfly said...

I have a tone troll?

You're free not to read if you don't like the profanity, which started with the header, and thus gave you warning.

Angry? Of course. What's "profane" is the profaning of (an admittedly capitalist driven and self-profaned) Hall of Fame.

Stupid? Nope. All documented and informed. If you don't like sabermetrics, that's your problem, until you try to make it other people's.

Unknown said...

Thoughts on Vada Pinson? War isn't everything. Remember, Eddie Stanky couldn't run, throw, or hit but he was the best player on the team -
according to his mananger anyway.

Gadfly said...

Pinson? Still short, but probably better than everybody voted in this year, O'Neil excepted. Solid, and a long career, but never an outstanding type.
True that WAR isn't everything, but it is something. On batters that don't play D-first positions, 110 OPS+ is another guide. He was right at that with 111.
So, again, solid. Hall of the Very Good, as I see it.

Unknown said...

Question: Who was the best AL LF'er of the 1950's? A: Minnie Miñoso, (and it's NOT close). My point is - you misunderstand the Era Committees; their job is not to elect the obvious HOF'ers, it's to elect the BORDERLINERS, and frankly, they're doing a great job at it, as usual. The 'borderline' gets re-drawn all the time, and it's not the tragedy you think. *sidenote: if you're going to analyze/argue a discerned opinion, get ALL your facts straight ahead of time, and FCOL, spell their names right! **sidenote: vulgarities are the tool of the ignorant, ... so you might want to abandon that.

Gadfly said...

I get more stupid arguments I might need a new blog post!
1. Being the best position player of a league for a decade is no guarantor of HOF entrance. Anybody who knows baseball knows there have been periods when one league, or both, have been talent-thin at a position.
1A. This assumes that being the best at position X is a guarator to enter the Hall when issues such as standards for closer relievers are still in the air.
B. Who says that's the job of the various veterans committees? I don't, and I don't think that's their official job description, either. The reality is, their job is to RECONSIDER people not voted in by writers. It is NOT to ELECT anybody. IF "reconsider" leads to "elect" then it does. The point is that not everybody fellates a big Hall. Is that so hard to understand? Maybe it is.
C. So, let's redraw the borderline the OTHER way. Big Hall people are IMO like conservative Republican Overton Window shifters in politics.
D. On spelling? Can't be any linked players, or they wouldn't link. So, where? Your acronym doesn't ring a bell.
D1. I noted the Brett issue; doesn't undercut my argument.
E. People who think vulgarities are the tools of the ignorant have never listened to George Carlin

Gadfly said...

Oh, while I'm here, IMO (a common, well-known acronym), using a pretty unknown acronym like FCOL (it IS ... I'm heavy on Twitter and had to think and head-scratch, re above comment) might itself be seen as the font of various arguments.

Anonymous said...

Kenny Lofton - dropped after his first year - he started late but was still effective at 40 - if Tim Raines is in, so should Lofton.

Gadfly said...

Most recent Anonymous @3:25? No argument here. Both are borderline-yes guys.

There are other people who I say should be IN, as well as OUT, contra the earlier, "Big Hall" anonymice.

I've long argued for Thurman Munson and Sweet Lou Whitaker. I argued for Blyleven long before he got in.

Unknown said...

'Click on the link' it said, so I did, and then I saw - "Ryan Sandburg" It's Ryne Sandberg, and since he's in the Hall, may want to memorize the spelling.
And, all the 'Era Committee' selections have been reasonably fine, unless you insist on weighing some decades less than others. If between 2030-2040, post-apocalyptic-America, you're discouraged by the new player's stats not measuring up to the last century's worth, then I guess you'll have to wait another 100 years before you can elect anyone. I.e., your HOF-analysis is adolescent. If the object of the game is 'to win' (and believe me, it is!), then each decade is of equal value, no matter how the player's stats skew. Try looking at the positives of all the inductees you don't like (for a change), you may discover quite a bit you didn't realize about them, (and why they are, indeed, deserving.)

Gadfly said...

I can fix that, but I'll add that it comes off as playing "gotcha," especially since it means that YOU missed me missing the tilde on Miñoso, and therefore you undercut yourself.

And, if that doesn't make it clear, this "unknown," I'll fire back if you want to go into gotcha.

And, "winning" is not the same as "HOF worthy." In that case, we'd put the best squeeze bunters from pre-1900 in the Hall. Instead, as I noted, a VERY deserving real hitter from pre-1900 GOT LEFT OUT.

So, there's THAT, TOO.

You've never addressed the ACTUALLY DESERVING PEOPLE this and previous VCs have NOT voted in.

Since I have touted players for admission, as already noted in the last comment?

No, your claim that I'm adolescent on this is both adolescent and grifting.

andy t said...

I think Minoso's credentials can be summed up in "Grey Ink."


Average HOFer?


That's a pretty solid number, doncha think? 3 times he was top 5 in MVP voting. In the ten seasons that matter, 1951-1960, his OPS was .873.

I'm not arguing FOR him, just saying I think you overstate his undeservedness. The VC has done much worse.

My only other disagreement with you is Blyleven. He's a classic stat compiler. I saw him pitch many times, and I never thought, "there's a HOFer." His W/L % says it all for me. It's sad. He pitched 22 years and made TWO All Star teams. TWO. That's weak sauce, sir. He pitched on many very good teams, too. He pitched in an era when 20 win seasons were commonplace for great pitchers. He went 20-17 one time. He was a very good pitcher, but not a HOFer. IMHO.

It's a crime that Whitaker isn't in. A travesty, really. He and Trammell should have gone in together.

While I'm here, I'd vote for Kirk Gibson, too. I don't care about compiled stats for a guy like him. He made every team he played on better, and his "moment" is probably the greatest individual effort I have ever seen. I didn't believe it as I watched it. (see what I did there?) He's far more deserving than Cryleven, who was universally disliked. That 1988 season Gibby had for LA to win the MVP? He'd had almost exactly that season for 5 straight seasons, 1984-1988. Those years were bookended by WS titles. His postseason OPS was .957 with 21 RBI in 78 ABs. Hella impressive.