Tagged: Hall of Fame

Bert Gets Ignored Again!

Those who are qualified to vote for players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and did not vote for Bert Blyleven, shame on you! Your privileges should be revoked.
I am not going into all of the reasons this man deserves to be in, that was detailed in an earlier commentary but I would certainly like to hear some VALID reasons as to why he was denied again.
No I am not his press agent and I do not know him. I never met the man personally and I doubt if he is even aware of me. But I do recognize a monstrosity that needs to be corrected.
When matched against his peers he was as good as and better than most. I don’t know what criteria voters use but they belie common sense. OK so he did not pitch for any “glamor” teams, never won a Cy Young, and had one 20 game winning season. But neither did Don Sutton. So why is he in and not Blyleven? If Bert spent the bulk of his career in Boston or New York you might think he’d be in by now?
The fact that Jim Rice just missed this year and will probably be voted in next year, his last year of eligibility, shows me that the voters will always go with the “popular” choice especially if he played on a “glamor” team regardless of whether the player deserves it.
If Rice gets in, then so should Andre Dawson. While neither is worthy, you can’t vote one in and not the other since their raw stats are similar.
Congratulations to Goose Gossage whose entry was long overdue. But shame on the voters for again denying Blyleven. You need to closely examine your criteria.

The Case For Bert Blyleven…

And Rich Gossage. While there are many things going on in baseball right now worth commenting on, it’s Hall of Fame voting time soon and even though I cannot vote, I can certainly make a case for who should be voted in and who shouldn’t.
There are several stars eligible this year and all except Mark McGwire and Tim Raines have been on the ballot before. The others are Bert Blyleven, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Rich Gossage. Let’s take each one.

Mark McGwire
McGwire forever tarnished himself with his hypocritical comments during the Congressional hearings on steroid usage. The fact of the matter is that he cheated and like Barry Bonds and others soon worthy, he should be banned. The only way he should get in is if he passes a lie detector test. If the voters are sightless enough to put him in, then Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson should go in as well. Otherwise it’s a double standard.
So voters, DTRT.

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Tim Raines
Raines played 23 years hit .294, stole 808 bases, had an OBP of .385 and a fielding average of .988. In 1993 while with the White Sox he didn’t commit a single error. In 1986 while with Montreal, he won a batting championship, hitting .334. In 1983, again with the Expos he stole 90 bases. These statistics reflect all around skills. But the real measurement of a player’s worth is in a statistic created by Pete Palmer and listed in the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. This is the players BFW (Batting Fielding wins). Without being too technical since it is hard for me to grasp it, this is the annual sum of a batters batting wins, basestealing wins and fielding wins. Each category has a mathematical algorithm that equalizes players values. The higher the BFW the more valuable a player is.
Measuring a player’s worthiness this way is certainly more valid than what the writers typically use as measurements – batting average, hits, HR, SB and any awards won. (The awards are all subjective, there’s nothing subjective about this stat.) During the course of his career Raines’ BFW was an impressive 38.8 which means he was responsible for almost 39 more wins than the average player. By comparison, HOF’s Ernie Banks BFW was 27.2, Rod Carew, 40.3 and Roberto Clemente 34.0
So, yes, Raines would get my vote.

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Bert Blyleven
Blyleven is long overdue to be inducted. I hear really lame excuses for keeping him out – he played for too many teams, he never won a Cy Young Award and so on. But again let’s look at some stats. Using raw stats which the voters normally do, let’s compare Blyleven to another HOF, Don Sutton, who by the way never won a Cy Young Award either.
Career Wins Sutton 324, Blyleven 287 SO Sutton 3574, Blyleven 3701
ERA Sutton 3.26, Bleleven 3.31 20 win seasons Sutton 1, Blyleven, 1
Shutouts- Sutton 58, Blyleven 60. Complete Games – Sutton 178, Blyleven 242.
So by raw stats, Blyleven is every bit as worthy as Don Sutton.
But there’s a stat similar to BFW for pitchers. It’s called PW (Pitching Wins) and again is a measurement of a pitchers value to his team. In a nutshell, this means that if a pitcher reduces the number of runs scored by the opponent in his games, the value of each run is increased by a reduction in the runs per win figure which when calculated averages 10 runs per win. It’s a lot more complicated than this, but it is worthy since it is one measurement that equalizes the value of all players.
Now let’s compare the two again. Sutton was worth a respectable 16.8 additional wins over his career than the “average” pitcher. Blyleven? 31.1. By comparison, other pitchers in the HOF and their PW. Steve Carlton – 33.2, Whitey Ford 37.2, Ferguson Jenkins 30.3, Sandy Koufax 22.3, Warren Spahn an incredible 51.4 and Bob Feller 31.6.
So an argument now can be made that maybe Sutton is the one who doesn’t belong.
Bert Blyleven’s stats stack up with other HOF pitchers. It’s about time he’s voted in.
I hope this wrong is made right this year.

Jim Rice and Andre Dawson
While Rice had an impressive career, his BFW stats are a respectable but not Hall-worthy 18.6. By comparison, his team mate for many years in Boston, Fred Lynn has a higher BFW of 19.7. The same goes for Andre Dawson who’s BFW is 18.3. Last year’s inductees, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn had BFW’s of 44.1 and 38.5 respectively.
While both Rice and Dawson were extremely popular, their career productivity does not warrant induction.

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Rich Gossage
If Bert Blyleven has been long neglected the same can be said of Rich Gossage. After beginning his career as a starter ala Dennis Eckersley, he became a superlative closer with a lights out fastball and a nasty demeanor. Let’s compare him to the two most recent closers to be inducted, the aforementioned Eckersley and Bruce Sutter. We will compare the raw stats of total saves, blown saves, ERA and winning %.
Eckersley 390/71/3.50/.535
Sutter 300/101/2.83/.489
Gossage 310/112/3.01/.537

So Gossage compares quite well with the other two. Now for the player value stat PW.
Eckersley 29.8
Sutter 17.9
Gossage 29.5
Based on both the raw and theoretical stats an argument can again be made that maybe Sutter should not have been voted in.
Gossage deserves to be in the HOF and now is the time to put him there.

So, if this writer could vote, it would go to Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven and Goose Gossage. For those of you who can vote, please go beyond emotion, popularity and the same old tired stats and put these three excellent players where they belong — in the Hall of Fame.