Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanks Moose!

Moose is calling it a career.

The biggest question around the blogosphere and MSM today is "Is Moose a Hall Of Famer?" Personally, I have wavered on this. Was he ever THAT guy, the truly dominant pitcher of his era? Well, maybe back in his Baltimore days and maybe a bit in his earlier Yankee days, but generally speaking, no he wasn't.

But what really got me leaning towards answering that question with a "yes" was the fact that he spent his entire career in the AL East through what will go down in baseball history as "The Steriod Era".

The knocks on him include:

  • Only one 20-win season
  • No Cy Young awards (though he finished 2nd in 1999)
  • No gaudy strike out numbers/ratios (roughly 7 K/9 IP over his career)
  • No defining post-season moment (his bullpen/teams let him down more than a few times)
  • Never thought of as a true #1 ace of his era
  • 7 Gold Gloves
  • .638 winning %
  • 117 wins over .500
  • ERA+ of 123 [ERA+ - the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. > 100 is above average and <>]
  • Career 3.68 ERA in the AL East during "The Steroid Era"
  • Entire career in the 5-man rotation era
  • Top 6 in Cy Young voting 9 times

Now, using B-R's wonderful HOF standards "tests":

  • Black Ink: Pitching - 15 (141) (Average HOFer ≈ 40)
  • Gray Ink: Pitching - 244 (23) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
  • HOF Standards: Pitching - 54.0 (28) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
  • HOF Monitor: Pitching - 121.0 (67) (Likely HOFer > 100)
  • Overall Rank in parentheses

The "black ink" test has Moose well below the average HOF'er. What's that mean? "The essential point is to measure how often a player led the league in a variety of "important" stats. This method penalizes more recent players as they have 14-16 teams per league, while the older players had just 8. To get a point you must lead the league in that category." I think this speak to the fact that Moose was rarely a league leader in many of the most focused-upon stats. Fair or unfair, that's what many writers hone in on in determining HOF or not.

The balance of the tests all firmly point Moose to Cooperstown. The "gray ink" test is similar to the "black ink" test but it uses Top 10 rankings rather than leading the league in a particular category. The HOF standards test and HOF Monitor test are all points-based given several different areas of achievement. And all three of these tests indicate that Moose is HOF-worthy.

Lastly, B-R also has a list of comparables
. This is tricky and the group seems to highlight the fact that Moose appears to be straddling the line of HOF/not-HOF.

So of the Top 10 players that B-R deems as most "comparable" to Moose, half made the HOF while half have not (noting also that Wells, Schilling and Pettitte are obviously not yet under consideration). If you make the leap that Schilling will eventually make the HOF, that tips the comparables scale in Moose's favor, for whatever that tidbit is worth. [Did you know Jim Palmer had a nearly identical W/L record as Moose? Palmer was 268-152 while Moose is 270-153. Neat.]

To conclude, I think Moose will eventually be elected to the HOF. I don't think he'd be in on the first ballot, unless, it happens to be a weak class. Given that Maddox may join him, along with some others, he might have to wait a bit.

Last week, I posted something about Jack Morris and his HOF chances. I viewed him as a borderline HOF, but ultimately not a HOF'er. I think Morris' career is enhanced through the lens of one magnificent post-season, namely the game against Smoltz. I differentiate Morris and Moose by the era in which they pitched. That's not insignificant, to me.

Then there is the Bert Blyleven case. In short, Blyleven was a product of the 4 man rotation. I don't view him as a good comparable to Moose.

Lastly, I am open to discussing Moose's HOF chances. I want to hear the arguments pro/con. I keep an open mind to these things. What say you?

1 comment:

Watson said...

I agree with you.