Monday, January 3, 2011

Should WS titles factor in to the HOF??

Increasingly an argument is being made that championships should be a factor when determining hall of fame status. More specifically, if a person is a borderline hall of famer, World Series championships should be a significant factor in the decision process.

The idea that whether or not a player possesses any World Series rings should help determine the legitimacy for the Hall of Fame is just preposterous. First of all championships, in any sport, are a team effort. Baseball isn't the Olympic high jump. A player is not an island. There are so many diverse components that make up a championship caliber team. One strong starting pitcher or one strong clean-up hitter isn't going to help you in October if you have no defense and no bullpen.
When you examine it from a team perspective, championships contributing to hall of fame status just isn't logical. Basically you are saying that if you don't get in it is the eight other players fault and vice versa.

I look at it from the perspective of one of our other contributors who wrote that dominance at the position, and during the era, should determine a player's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. That is why I have such a problem with Kirby Puckett being in the Hall of Fame. I don't think you could really call Puckett dominant. In twelve seasons (a short career I might add) he only hit over a 100 RBI three times and hit over 30 HR once. Although he did have an OBP of .360 and a SLG of .477, he never reached 3000 hits and hit just barely over 200 HR. Furthermore, twelve seasons I think is way too short a career to be considered dominant. I honestly believe that if Puckett had never won two World Series and played well in those World Series, he would not be in the Hall of Fame today.

Even now people are trying to make the same argument to get Jack Morris in the Hall of Fame. Granted he won twenty games three times and had a career WHIP of 1.296, but he also has almost 200 losses and his career ERA is a paltry 3.9. Furthermore, he never won a Cy Young and never reached the 2500 mark in strikeouts. Yet because of his dominating performances in the World Series (particularly game seven in 1991) there is always constant talk of him getting into the Hall of Fame. Jack Morris was a very good player for a long time but he was never dominant.

Using championships as a measuring stick for the Hall of Fame should never be a factor even in a last ditch effort. If the deciding factor needs to be whether or not the person won a title, you probably shouldn't even be considering him for the Hall of Fame. That's why I, a Yankee fan, laugh when people think Jorge Posada should be a future Hall of Famer. What the catcher who couldn't throw anyone out at second and was a double play waiting to happen? Emmmm...that's not what I mean by dominant.

I wish I could cast a magical spell around the Hall of Fame committee that would prevent them from taking championships into account when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, I'm not in the dark room making the decisions and drinking the coffee.

Or the Kool-Aid for that matter.

1 comment:

  1. With regards to Kirby Puckett, I agree with you to an extent. First of all, we need to remember that he played primarily in the pre-strike era, which wasn't as conducive to big time offensive production.

    Second of all, if we're going to look at championships as a team effort, don't we also need to look at RBI as a team effort? Getting on base is just as important, if not more important, than driving in a run. Why do I say that? The ability to get on base is a measurable skill. Hitting with runners in scoring position is not only a function of luck and opportunity, but also not a repeatable skill.

    Thirdly, Puckett was a center fielder, so he gets a few extra points because it's so physically demanding. Few players were able to put up similar numbers over the period of twelve years while playing that position. While his triple slash line might seem a bit pedestrian, we need to take a look at it in the context of his position and era. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Total Zone shows that he may've been significantly overrated as a defender being worth -15 runs in the field over the course of his career.

    Lastly, don't forget that a freak case of glaucoma cut his career short at 12 years. This wasn't the case of him simply burning out. He seemed to have plenty left in the tank when his poor vision forced him to retire.

    All-in-all, despite what I wrote above, it was a great argument. Championships should never be the "tie-breaker" in terms of HoF voting. I just had the desire to talk about Puckett for a moment.