THE ARGUMENT

Scribes have been referring to baseball as the National Pastime since the Civil War. (give an example)

But our favorite sport isn’t baseball. It’s arguing. There is nothing we love more than a hot, passionate argument.

So baseball became the National Pastime, in large part, because baseball generates arguments like babies “generate” dirty diapers. Every hit, every out, every ball and strike is a success on one side and a failure on the other. Every run is “in your face!” on one side and “get that pitcher out of there!” on the other. Every out, every inning, every game, every hot and cold, contending or trailing, winning or losing stretch of weeks, months, years, even decades sets up an argument between you, dad, Uncle Jethro and the butler.

You don’t have a butler? There’s another argument. Is baseball a finely tuned, strategically balanced chess match, or a brawling free-for-all? Is baseball best enjoyed in a luxury box, dipping shrimp and sipping microbrews, or in the bleachers with the rest of your derelict friends, washing down hot dogs and peanuts with tap beer? There is a form for every sensibility; a style for every palate. Fanhood is as egalitarian as it gets. All walks of life can talk baseball as if they were equals, from boardrooms to boiler rooms.

Arguing is the national pastime. And arguing about baseball is as American as apple pie.

We will will argue about anything. Flip a coin and call it;  the chances are 50-50 you’ll argue with the result. Is it going to rain today? Ask two people and you’ll get two answers, even on a cloudless day. Google “which Olsen Twin is hotter” and you’ll generate over 1,500 hits. Ginger or Mary Ann? Peanut butter or chocolate? Are you a little bit country, or a little bit rock-n-roll? I may be dating myself with my pop culture references, but you get my point.

Arguing has been around forever. What is Hamlet’s soliloquy but a man engaged in an impassioned debate with himself? Julius Caesar’s debate partners disagreed (with a whole lot of sharpened steel). Original sin may have been the first debate. Good? Evil? Let’s discuss. Want an apple?

County fairs are arguing conventions. Which tomato is the reddest? Which pie is the sweetest? Which truffle-sniffing side of bacon has the shiniest coat? Which one of these games is beatable? Which ride is the scariest? Does the whole elephant taste like that? Would you rather have the plastic key chain or the little rubber ball?

One argument leads to another. We’ll argue about the relative merits of a plastic key ring versus a rubber ball – combined value 3 cents – and forget the 40 bucks we blew,  tossing 4-inch rings at a 5-inch spike to win a 75-cent stuffed giraffe

We argue about everything, whether we understand it or not. I don’t know what cereal brands are popular in Uzbekistan – I don’t even know if they eat cereal in Uzbekistan –but show me two boxes and don’t even tell me what’s inside. I’ll choose one anyway. If you don’t believe me, watch an episode of “Let’s make a Deal.”

We’ll argue about anything, but there are three arguments that rise above the fray. These three overarching arguments have become national Arguments; politics, religion, and sports. We all have an opinion, whether we know anything or not

Why do I love to debate about baseball? Why do I love to debate over the contents of some dusty old museum about baseball? I’m not alone; there are millions of people who love to debate about baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Why do otherwise normal human beings, who really should have better things to do, care so much about baseball’s Hall of Fame? It’s just a list of names. Why do sports news outlets waste so much space on baseball’s Hall of Fame? It’s only in the news a couple of times a year. Why are so many people still yelling about Pete Rose not getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame? He hasn’t played a game in over 30 years. Why do they care?

Why do I care?

To answer that, I need to explain a couple of things. First, I need to explain what I mean when I say baseball’s Hall of Fame, or “the Hall.” Second, I need to explain how all the little Hall of Fame debates around the country melded together and became one great national debate – a never-ending, unsolvable debate at that. Finally, once I have convinced you beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are no final answers – that the Hall of Fame’s Great Debate can never be settled – I’ll present you with a template you can use to settle it.

I’m just kidding; it really can’t be settled. Frankly, I don’t think it should be settled, but I designed a template that you can use to carve out and organize your section of the greater Debate. My template – grandiosely named “The Test” – shapes and frames the Great Hall of Fame Debate into a simple, logical format with a common language. The Test won’t definitively solve anything – nobody “solves” music, either – but it’s more fun to play a song together if our instruments are in the same key.

We are getting ahead of ourselves, though. Before we can organize the Debate, we need to know what all the fuss is about.

***

Cooperstown Village sleeps at the end of a two-lane road, nestled comfortably within the boundaries of Otsego County in upstate New York. The village lies partially in the town of Otsego, partially in the town of Middlefield. Otsego and Middlefield combined have a population of just over 6,000 people. Cooperstown village is home to a hair under 2,000.

The village, founded by the family of 19th century author James Fenimore Cooper, has long been known for its historical attractions. The Clark family – half-owners of the Singer sewing machine patent – established a family foundation in Cooperstown shortly after the end of the Civil War. The Clarks built most of the village’s attractions.

Cooperstown was home to Civil War general Abner Doubleday, who reportedly fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter and played a prominent role in the battle of Gettysburg. It was believed for several decades that Doubleday invented baseball in a Cooperstown cow pasture in 1839. The myth was later debunked, but the Clark family opened the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1939 as part of a centennial salute to Doubleday’s invention.

The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is home to the Hall of Fame library, research center, gift shop and theater. It is home to dozens of rooms full of baseball artifacts and memorabilia. And it is home to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

It can be confusing, keeping baseball’s Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum straight. It might be easiest to think of them as “the Hall” and “the museum.” Baseball’s Hall of Fame is a roll call, a list of names. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the brick-and-mortar home of a gallery, built to honor and exhibit baseball’s Hall of Fame. Nearly 300,000 visitors a year come to see the exhibits, because they care about the list.

Why do they care so much about a list?

The United States Constitution is a list, a list of rules – and one apparently so boring that most of the millions of people who purchase and devour novels like “50 Shades of Gray” and “The Scarsdale Diet” have never taken the time to read it. Having never read the Constitution doesn’t keep us from arguing about it, though. Like I said, we will debate anything – and American politics debates center on the Constitution like Christianity centers on the Bible.

We love to argue about who should be on the list. We quibble over who gets in now, and who gets in later. We argue about how long the list should be. We fight about how the list should be sorted. Every argument, every debate, every fight about baseball’s Hall of Fame is part of one gigantic Debate.

The Hall of Fame Debate sprang into existence in 1939, about 15 minutes after the Hall of Fame list came into existence, and it has been resonating off the walls of barrooms, libraries, restaurants, construction sites, offices, convention halls and living rooms ever since. Where baseball fans meet, the Debate lives.

Here is an example:

“Hey, did you hear? The Veterans Committee just elected Joe Shlabotnik* to the Hall of Fame!”

“The Hall is meaningless now, man. They’ll let anybody in.”

“Are you kidding? It’s harder than ever to get in. Look at Harold Baines – 2,866 hits, 384 homers and he hardly got a vote. What about Rusty Staub? La Grande Orange got almost 3,000 hits, too, and he was a hero in the 1973 World Series for the Mets, and they laughed at him, too. Tommy John? They named a freakin’ surgery after him. He won 288 games, played for 27 years, and he’s still not in.”

“The Hall of Fame ain’t for the good players like those guys, it’s for the great players. Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Stan the Man – those guys. You put Rusty Staub in with the Babe, all you are doing is insulting the Babe.”

“So there should be what – ten players in the Hall of Fame?”

“Naw, maybe a hundred. We can elect guys like Harmon Killebrew and Gaylord Perry, guys who hit over 500 homeruns or won 300 games, but Don Drysdale? He only won 209 games. He shouldn’t be in.”

“So we should kick him out?”

“Well, I dunno about that … maybe they should have two rooms. They can put the Babe and Willie Mays in a fancy room, guys like Drysdale and Tony Perez in another one, not so fancy.”

“What about the guys who got elected by the Veterans Committees? Some of those guys were bad picks. George Kelly, Freddy Lindstrom … maybe we need three rooms.”

“Maybe … how many should be in the main room? Should Stan the Man be in the same room with Killebrew? Musial hit .331, Killer only .256. And we haven’t even gotten to Ty Cobb. Cobb’s batting average was over a hundred points higher than Killer’s. They can’t be in the same room.”

“Fair enough, but do we put Killer in with Drysdale? He hit 573 homeruns and Major League Baseball modeled their logo after him.”

“Yeah, if he’s good enough for MLB’s logo, he shouldn’t be in the cattle car. Maybe we need four rooms.”

* – Joe Shlabotnik, Charlie Brown’s favorite player, is not in the Hall of Fame. Not yet, anyway.

***

Individual debates like this one are united into one, overarching Debate by a pair of basic questions:

In or out?

Big or small?

The in or out argument invariably flares into the argument about big or small. The small Hall advocates – the exclusivists – want the Hall of Fame to be limited to the greats of the game. They think the Hall of Fame is supposed to be for guys like Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, but they are usually willing to erode the standards enough to include players like Harmon Killebrew and Gaylord Perry. They aren’t happy about it, though.

The other side of the argument comes from the big-Hall advocates – the inclusivists – who want everyone to get in. Where the exclusivists want a modest little cocktail party, with Norah Jones whispering her way through her latest album at the piano bar, the inclusivists want a luau of a Hall-a-Palooza with six pigs in the ground, a keg of beer on every table and a Jimmy Buffet tribute band blaring from the main stage.

Like religion and politics, everybody picks a side of the argument and sticks to it. The inclusivists want Harold Baines and his 2,866 hits in. The exclusivists want Pud Galvin’s 361 wins out because he only led the league in ERA once and he threw underhand. Inclusivists love Willie McGee; exclusivists laugh at Willie McGee. Inclusivists see the Hall of Fame as a big tent. The exclusivists see the Hall as a secluded tower.

It seems impossible to satisfy everyone. The exclusivists are in a permanent state of depression because the old-timers committee elected Tommy McCarthy and Roger Bresnahan in 1946. I’m not making that up; it’s been 70 years, but the curtains are still drawn and they keep replacing the candles. The inclusivists, on the other hand, want to replace the voters with rubber stamps and load them into cattle cars because the place isn’t filling up fast enough.

To satisfy everyone, the Hall of Fame needs to be small yet large, full of famous yet underrated players held to demanding yet forgiving standards. The Hall can induct several players every year, as long as they don’t induct anyone. Neither side wants to give in.

***

“All those religions … Is it possible that I was searching them the wrong way? Could it be that every one of all religions is true?”

“Point to the shortest direction around the universe. It doesn’t matter where you point, it’s the shortest … and you’re pointing back at yourself.”  – Valentine Michael Smith, “Stranger in a Strange Land”

In a widely ridiculed act of accidental genius, the Clark Foundation trustees handed the human resources aspect of their Hall of Fame to the Baseball Writers Association of America without giving them specific parameters. They told the BBWAA to elect 10 original members, 5 from the 19th century and 5 from the 20th century, and hold periodic elections to populate the list. They added just two rules: a player should have played at least ten years, and at least 75 percent of an official BBWAA body should agree on his election.

I should emphasize the word “should.” In the 80 years since the BBWAA was given the authority to hold Hall of Fame elections, the Museum trustees have never told them who to elect. They have made periodic changes to control how many new members were elected at any one time, but they have never shown the slightest interest in who they were.

The confusion might seem annoying on the surface – countless writers, including Bill James, have put their kids through college complaining about it – but the ambiguous selection process is the Debate’s Golden Goose. The illogical, disorderly system is the magic potion that gives life to all the little Debates, turning them into the Debate. And perfecting the selection process would kill the Debate faster than you can say “computer dating.”

Barstool arguments about baseball are usually either “I sure wouldn’t have voted for that bozo” or “Those snooty fools didn’t vote for that hero?” Every fan knows what’s wrong, and how to fix it. If the Hall of Fame’s parameters were clearly defined, those conversations would never happen. There would be nothing to argue about.

Case in point … barstool pundits can argue about whether the Supreme Court would work better with seven members – or that the justices should have to take a shot every time somebody mentions Roe v. Wade – but those arguments never build up any steam because the Supreme Court has specific rules. It takes a lot of hubris to claim to know how to design the Supreme Court better than the Founding Fathers. The Hall, on the other hand, is a big herking mess that every drunk knows how to fix. And they don’t mind sharing, either.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Hall of Fame eligibility process has a list of 27 criteria that need to be met before a player becomes eligible for a vote. The standards are so high that few players ever make the ballot, and every player who has made the ballot has been immediately voted in. There has never been a debate, let alone a Debate about the LPGA Hall of Fame. Even a hard-core debater would have trouble getting that argument off the ground.

Subjectivity is the very lifeblood of baseball’s Hall of Fame. Without subjectivity, the arguments end. Without the arguments, the Hall of Fame’s lofty pop culture status goes up in smoke faster than a lazy mosquito on a barbecue grill. Without its overly subjective, endlessly confusing, perpetually annoying lack of definition, and the Hall would just be a list. And the Cooperstown museum would be nothing more than a dusty, out of the way storage bin for the game’s discarded past.

The Hall’s voting protocol needs to be flawed; it needs the human element. The arguments bring life to what would otherwise be a staid, somnolent list of names. Besides, what if they are all correct? What if every baseball argument is a vital piece of the Debate? Baseball’s Hall of Fame is a subjective list, not a stone tablet. All the arguments can be correct, just like all of Valentine Michael Smith’s religions can be correct. What if the Debate is the thing? What if the Debate about the Hall of Fame is more important than the Hall of Fame itself?

If the Debate is the thing, then every argument becomes its own Hall of Fame. Make your own list; we have room for endless lists now. If you believe the Hall of Fame should be limited to 30 players, then your list will hold 30 players. If you think the Hall of Fame should include 1,000 players, then your list will hold 1,000 names. The Hall is whatever your side of the Debate wants it to be. It’s your Hall, your rules.

If you think Maury Wills was the greatest shortstop in history, put him at the top of your paper. If you think Ray Oyler was the greatest shortstop in history, you can – well, there are limits. But even if you aren’t always right, you always have the right to your opinion. I’m sure there can be a universe where Ray Oyler was the greatest shortstop ever.

Maybe in yours. Let’s go see how lists are made.

*** 

THE LINE

Every Hall of Fame list needs a line at the bottom, whether it’s drawn under the 30th name or the 300th name. Your bottom line will be defined by how you answer the in-or-out question for a pool of players large enough to represent a meaningful sample. Meaningful to who? Meaningful to you. It’s your Hall, your rules.

There are as many ways to make an in-or-out argument as your imagination can conjure up. Here are a few I like to use:

  1. He should be in because he had more hits than that preening schmo who got in last year.
  2. He should be in because he has a high WAR1 total.
  3. He should be out because he was never great.
  4. He should be out because nobody thought he was great.
  5. He should be in because he had one of the highest batting averages ever.
  6. He should be out because other players at his position are more qualified.
  7. He should be in because his type always gets in.
  8. He should be in because everybody knew who he was.
  9. He should be out because nobody remembers who he was.
  10. He should be in because the Hall of Fame would look silly without him.

Let’s mold those ten arguments into ten questions:

  1. The baseball card: Where does he rank on the counting stat lists?
  2. The number crunch: Where does he rank according to the popular analytics?
  3. Peak value: How good was he at his best?
  4. Established value: Where was he in the pecking order during his prime years?
  5. Rate value: Where does he rank in the percentage stats?
  6. Position value: Where does he rank at his position?
  7. Respect: How did the Hall of Fame voters treat him?
  8. Prominence: How newsworthy was he?
  9. Impact: How will the history books treat him?
  10. Relevance: How would the Hall of Fame look without him?

If all the arguments are true, then theoretically a yes answer to any one of the questions means “in.” Conversely, if all the arguments are true, then theoretically a no answer to any one of the questions means “out.” I have a sneaking hunch this is how government works, but we don’t have to limit ourselves to a single yes or no question for every snowflake – or baseball card – that drops from the sky.

Should Harold Baines be in because he had 2,866 hits and 384 homeruns? Question one is designed to give long career compilers like Baines a chance. Should Bobby Grich be in because he has a really high WAR total? Question two gives him his due. Roger Maris? Questions three, seven and nine. Riggs Stephenson? Question five. Charlie Bennett? Questions eight and nine. Who is Charlie Bennett? Charlie Bennett was a 19th century catcher, known for his defensive wizardry, who lost his legs when he fell while trying to board a train. Bennett Park in Detroit (later Tiger Stadium) was the only major league stadium ever named for a player.

Is Bennett in the Hall of Fame? Nope. But he’s in mine.

***

Remember, the Debate is the bastard lovechild of these two questions:

  1. In or out?
  2. How big?

“In our out?” invites the innies in and puts the outies on a bus. To answer “how big?” I designed a multiple choice quiz to sort the innies into clubs. My theoretical Hall of Fame consists of four clubs and a bar. Let’s take a look.

***

The top floor will house a private “Pantheon club” of 30 original members, with one new member elected every few years. Downton Abbey’s wait staff will pour corked wine out of dusty bottles and serve hors d’ oeuvres, made out of snails and fish eggs, on crystal platters. The napkins will be silk, the chairs upholstered in aged leather.

The VIP club’s original 90 can add a new member every other year. Off-duty White House staffers will pour the best craft beers and serve seafood appetizers on the good China plates. The napkins will be linen, the chairs upholstered in crushed velvet.

The restaurant will seat the All-Star club’s 180 original members, with plenty of space to accommodate the one new member brought in each year. Retired flight attendants will pour capped wine and ice-cold light beer to wash down artichoke pizza bagels and deep fried zucchini, served on Martha Stewart commemorative plates. The napkins, like the chairs, will be made out of freshly bleached game-worn uniforms.

The cafeteria will have room for several hundred people, but they will only be allowed to add new members by permission of a special committee. Lunch ladies will serve meatloaf every Tuesday and new members have to bring boxed wine and do the dishes. Diners are encouraged to wear long sleeves and thick pants; the benches have exposed nails and somebody keeps stealing napkins from the bathroom stalls.

The rest of the candidates have to wait in the bar next to the lobby (there’s a 2-drink minimum) or stand in line outside, behind the velvet ropes. We encourage hopeful candidates to bring food for the doorman. It won’t help you get in, but he gets surly when his blood sugar tanks.

Once the place is built, we will need a way to sort the members into the appropriate clubs. After years of experimenting with tarot cards, tea leaves and Ouija boards (don’t ask) I settled on a modified scholastic system.

I designed my system with 6 grades. The A grades should follow Babe Ruth’s entourage to the Pantheon while the B grades are escorted to the VIP club. One of our trusty guides will lead the C grades to the All-Star club, and directions to the Old Timers Cafeteria are prominently posted in the lobby. The E grades can drink in the bar or loiter in the parking lot, but they have to stay behind the ropes.

The F grade stragglers, if they refuse to leave, will be chased off with a hose. Well, except for Ray Oyler. He can drink in the bar for free, as long as he helps clean up after last call.

***

Now that we know where they go, who are they? How do we tell them apart? What makes a grade A Hall of Famer an A, and a grade D Hall of Famer a D?

Welcome to the Test.

THE TEST

Like peanut butter and chocolate, the Test combines my in-or-out questions with my graded club system to create a product superior to the sum of its parts. The ten-question, multiple-choice Test will spit out what you really think in the form of a scholastic grade-point average.

The Test is designed to separate the men from the boys, but it also gives the boys a chance to play. The greats of the game compete for the A and B grades while the more rank and file stars compete for the C and D grades and jostle for position in the Hall candidate pecking order. The Test will help you define your in-or-out line, but it won’t make you live on one side of the line like most in-or-out debates do, continually rehashing the merits of the -outs while the –ins rot in obscurity.

You can use the Test to analyze everyone from the Babe to the peanut vender, giving each his due without denying others theirs. The system is designed to have both vertical and horizontal integrity, so if you wind up careening into the Test-ational woods it’s fairly easy to figure out where you lost your bearings.

The Test works vertically for individual players and horizontally for groups, generating a grade point average for each player and collating groups on each question into the proper numbers for the respective grades. I use a specific set of numbers that you will see next to the grades in my template, but you can use your own. Just replace my numbers with yours.

The Test works on a grading curve. Baseball itself is one giant curved grading system, if you think about it. There is one champion every year, and teams are sorted from top to bottom. The top half of each subset, whether it’s a league or a division, is called the first division. And last place is always last place.

Let’s see how the grading works before we go over the rules and tackle the questions:

THE GRADES

  1. A. One of the top 30 players ever. He was a winner. He was the best of the best. He was the MVP favorite every spring, and either the MVP or the guy who got shafted in the MVP voting every fall. He lasted long enough to rank near the top of the cumulative lists, and his rate stats were as impressive as his counting stats. He reached the top of the game and he stayed there for years.

He was a household name and the face of the game. No history of baseball could be told without him. When he became eligible for the Hall of Fame he was voted in immediately by virtual acclimation, and the sports magazines were flooded with angry letters, demanding to know why some arrogant writer refused to vote for him. Baseball spits out a grade A player about once every five years.

  1. B. One of the top 90 players ever. The grade B grade player was king of the playground when there wasn’t a grade A player around. He was a grade A player, but with a weakness. He was the wise guy pick to knock off the reigning grade A player (Frank Robinson), or he was a grade A player with a short career (Sandy Koufax), or he dominated a comparatively weak group of players (Hal Newhouser).

He wasn’t a household name, but he was universally known within the sporting world. The Hall of Fame voted him in quickly, usually within 2-3 years. Nobody would picket Cooperstown if he wasn’t elected right away, but there would be letters. Baseball spits out a grade B player every couple of years.

  1. C. One of the top 180 players ever. The grade C player might have been the star on a bad team, like Richie Ashburn with the 1950s Phillies, or just one of the guys on a great team, like Tony Perez with the Big Red Machine in the 1970s. A grade C player couldn’t win without help from at least one A or B player. A grade C player was a perennial all-star who could win an MVP in a career year, but not a consistent MVP contender.

He was a big name in the baseball universe, but anonymous elsewhere. The BBWAA voted him into the Hall of Fame, but it took a while. Grade C Hall of Fame bandwagons generally start out slowly, as the Debate splits on the merits of his case, and gain steam towards the end of the player’s eligibility.

  1. D. One of the top 400 players ever. The D players can be sorted into three groups: grade C producers who had really short careers, grade E producers who had really long careers, or star players with an obvious weakness. The grade D player might have never put up that one big year, or that one big second year to “prove” the first one. His career might have been interrupted by a rash of injuries, or truncated by substance abuse issues. He might have been a grade C offensive player but a terrible defender, or a tremendous defender but a god-awful hitter.

A grade D player would have been known to the hometown fans, hard-core fans and fantasy baseball fans. Baseball spit out about one grade D player per year before expansion, or about one per 16 teams. With 30 teams, the number is up to about two per year.

The E players are the rest of the regular players. If a player survived for ten years and played regularly for five years he was an E player. A total of 741 pitchers have thrown at least 1,500 innings and 1,548 position players have played at least 1,000 games since the National Association opened for business in 1871.

According to the Baseball-Reference database, 16,982 players have gotten into a major league baseball game. Out of that pool 2,579 position players played at least 600 games, 958 starting pitchers took the ball for at least 125 games and 796 relief pitchers got into at least 250 games. That’s 4,331 out of 16,982, a little over 25 percent. If a player manages to get onto a major league field – make it to the show – he has about a one in four chance of establishing himself as a regular player.

THE RULES

Before we go over the individual questions, I need to explain the grading rules:

  • Rule one: It’s your Test, your rules.
  • Rule two: There is no second rule.

If you think Willie McGee was better than Willie McCovey, mark it down. If you think Roger Maris was more famous than Stan Musial, grade accordingly. If you are absolutely convinced that Ray Oyler was a better hitter than Ted Williams, knock yourself out. It’s your Test, your rules.

You may be thinking to yourself, “but what’s the point in that?” Call it step one in the process. Give all your favorite players A’s, give all your sworn enemies F’s, and get it out of your system. Share your results with your friends and have a good laugh. It’s your Test, your rules. There are no wrong answers in love and the Test.

Are you ready to take your opinions to the Debate stage? Not so fast, Batman. There is, of course, a catch.

An opinion, in and of itself, ain’t worth the air your lungs gave up to push it past your teeth. You can say Eleanor Roosevelt was a beauty queen, but sooner or later somebody is going to produce a picture. You can claim the Pittsburgh Steelers won the 1936 World Series, but it only takes a couple of mouse clicks to make you look foolish. You can claim Abner Doubleday invented baseball, but even gum salesmen aren’t buying that one any more.

Courtrooms feed on evidence, not opinion, and an opinion without supporting evidence is as worthless in the bar as it is in the courtroom. Your argument will be as toothless as a band saw in a blast furnace.

If your opinions are too far from reality they will be worthless in a serious Debate – Test or no Test – but the Test can mold and refine your opinions into strong, defensible stances. The Test can’t tell you if Willie Mays was better than Mickey Mantle any more than a systematic grading system for music can tell you if Beethoven was better than Bon Jovi, or a feminine allure scale can tell you if Raquel Welch was hotter than Kate Upton. But it will tell you if you think Willie Mays was better than Mickey Mantle, and by how much.

Let’s take a look at the questions.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Baseball Card – Where do his career totals put him?
  2. In the Top 25
    b. In the top 75
    c. In the top 150
    d. In the top 300
    e. In the top 1,000
    f. In the Navy

“Roger “Doc” Cramer played for 20 seasons … and had 2,705 lifetime hits. If he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, I don’t know who does!” – Scott Lehman, Delta, Ohio in a letter to Baseball Digest, March 1981, published in The Politics of Glory.

I try to look at everything and grade the players on a balance of statistical evidence. Some players rank about the same in everything, but you have to strike a balance for the rest.

Doc Cramer ranks 67 in hits, 105 in runs scored and in the top 200 in doubles and triples. Most outsider arguments (“my guy should be in because”) focus on the player’s best feature. If a player has one attractive statistic, that’s the one that gets perfumed, buffed and presented in a low cut dress.

If the rest of Cramer’s statistical profile was as good as his hit total, he would have been put on the list decades ago. And if Phyllis Diller could sing she wouldn’t have owned so many ugly hats.

  1. Baseball Reference – According to the metrics, where is he?

In the Top 25

  1. In the top 75
  2. In the top 150
  3. In the top 300
  4. In the top 1,000
  5. Standing next to Waldo

“Bobby Grich’s 125 OPS+ (OBP+SLG adjusted to his era and ballpark) is higher than eight second basemen who have plaques in Cooperstown.” – Dan Holmes, 10 most deserving players who are not in the Hall of Fame

“In a career that spanned from 1970-86, Grich compiled a 70.9 Wins above Replacement score — per Baseball-Reference — that ranks eighth all time at his position. His .371 on-base percentage is higher than 12 other Hall of Fame second basemen. And his OPS-plus of 125, a stat that adjusts for league and park effects, is better than 15 second basemen in Cooperstown.” – MLB.com

There are people, especially in the SABRmetric crowd (SABR is the Society of American Baseball Research, baseball’s Comic-Con) crowd, who think question two is the only question that matters.

“For a whole generation of fans and fantasy players, stats have begun to outstrip story and that seems to me a sad thing. Even the unverifiable hogwash that passed for fact or informed opinion in baseball circles not so long ago seems today wistfully enticing, for its energy if nothing else.” – John Thorn

  1. Peak – At his best, he was
  2. The best of the best
  3. The best, other than that one guy who ruined the curve
  4. One of the best for a while
  5. One of the best for a moment
  6. One of the best of the rest
  7. One of the rest

“He was Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Albert Pujols all wrapped into a solid 5’11”, 185 lb. frame.” About Pete Reiser, by Joseph Del Grippo, POG

Peak value is a slippery concept that often provokes good, lively debates. Why ruin the fun by defining it?

Pete Reiser was a truly great player, but for a moment so short that he could be reasonably given any grade. There has to be some minimum length requirement, though, or the greatest player in history was Jon Paciorek*.

*- Jon Paciorek retired with 3 hits in 3 atbats, the only player with as many as 3 atbats who did not make an out. His brother Tom played 18 seasons, retiring with a .282 career batting average in 4,121 atbats. What a schlump.

  1. Prime – Pick one:
  2. He should have won the MVP award in every good year
  3. He could have won the MVP award in every good year
  4. He should have been an all-star in every good year
  5. He could have been an all-star in every good year
  6. He could have been an all-star in a career year
  7. He could have saved a ton of money on his car insurance

Until Barry Bonds nobody had won more than three MVP awards, and until Roger Clemens no pitcher had won more than four Cy Young awards. The writers don’t like to vote for the same player every year.

The first MVP award wasn’t invented until 1911, and it wasn’t a permanent part of the game until 1931. Several players who might have won several MVP awards either played when there weren’t MVP awards or weren’t eligible because the rules at the time excluded them.

The first MVP award, called the Chalmers award after the automaker and given out from 1911-1914, could only be won once. The League award, given out by the American League in the 1920s, could only be won once and could not be won by a player who was also a manager.

Honus Wagner was 37 years old when the first MVP vote was held. Babe Ruth, who won the League award in 1923, wasn’t eligible again until 1931, when he was 36 years old.

Ty Cobb, whose bitter, controversial battle with Napoleon Lajoie for the 1910 batting title led Chalmers to create the first MVP award, won in 1911 – the only year he was eligible until he was past 40 years old. Cap Anson, whose career ended in 1897, was never eligible for an MVP award.

  1. Rate – Ignoring volume, he is
  2. In the Top 25
  3. In the top 75
  4. In the top 150
  5. In the top 300
  6. In the top 1,000
  7. Alarmingly concave

The fifth question helps counterbalance the first question. By rate I mean the slash statistics: batting average, onbase percentage and slugging. Babe Ruth “slashed” .342-.474-.690 over his 22-year career. He ranks, respectively, tenth, second and first on the career lists. For contrast, Ray Oyler slashed .175-.258-.251 in his 6-year career. He ranks lower than Babe Ruth on the career lists. Ruth isn’t the only pitcher who ranks ahead of Oyler.

  1. Position – He was in (or on) his position’s
  2. Throne
  3. Mt. Rushmore
  4. Sweet 16
  5. American Top 40
  6. Hot 100
  7. Do not resuscitate list

“Bid McPhee qualifies for Cooperstown ad nauseam. In just about everyone one of his eighteen years before 1900, he ranked as the best second baseman around. – Bob Carroll, “For the Hall of Fame: Twelve Good Men” – The National Pastime, Winter 1985 (POG)

There are any number of ways you can to sort the candidates by position. You can use one of the various forms of WAR, the career methods from question one, or you can invent your own. You can lean on Pete Palmer’s linear weights formulas or you can lean on the positional top 100 rankings published in The New Bill James Historical Abstract in 2001.

You can rank them by shoe size, or you can rank them by salary adjusted to the stock market index. Rank them phonetically, genetically, frenetically – whatever suits you. Repeat after me: It’s your Test, your rules.

Be prepared for a little blowback, though. Your friends might not consider shoe size an official statistic.

  1. Precedent – How did the Hall of Fame voters treat him?
  2. They voted him in immediately by acclimation
  3. They elected him within 2-3 years
  4. The BBWAA elected him
  5. An old-timers committee elected him
  6. He got at least one vote from somebody
  7. Like a fool, mean and cruel

If you are grading an old timer you can just use his own Hall of Fame voting history. If a player hasn’t been on the ballot yet, or has only been on it a short time, you need to find a comparable player (comp) to argue his case.

Be careful, though. Baseball Reference lists Sammy Sosa as Mike Schmidt’s second closest comp. Their raw numbers might be similar, but they weren’t comparable players. Sosa was a right fielder. Schmidt was a third baseman. Sosa never won a gold glove award. Schmidt won 10. Sosa hit at least 60 homeruns three times without leading the league, while Schmidt won eight homerun titles, seven of them with less than 40 homeruns.

  1. Prominence – What would this player have to do to make the news?
  2. Throw out his garbage
  3. Throw out a runner
  4. Throw out his back
  5. Throw out his wife
  6. Throw out his probation officer
  7. Throw out a Kardashian

I designed the Test with the more objective questions towards the top and the more subjective questions toward the bottom for a reason. By the time you get to question eight you will have a pretty good idea where you think the player ranks. If you think he was more (or less) famous than his stats indicate, you can make an adjustment. If not, you can simply match his fame grade to his body of accomplishments. There is no reason to overthink it.

The most famous players have regular beat writers following them around, shooting pictures of their cars as they drive away, and in extreme cases sorting through their garbage.

The B players don’t get that much attention, but they are usually the first locker the writers stop by after the day’s game. The D players will get their share of postgame attention from the beat writers, but the C players will get into the magazines far more often.

  1. Impact – What would it take to explain him in a history book?
  2. A chapter
  3. A chapter section
  4. A page
  5. A paragraph
  6. A sentence
  7. A bribe

The eighth question asks if a player was famous. The ninth question asks if the player was memorable. Most players leave some sort of mark on the game, something to remember them by. For most it’s just a smudge – maybe a key hit in a pennant race or a running catch to cost some unfortunate soul a batting title – but a viable Hall of Fame contender will have left big sloppy footprints all over the game’s carpet.

  1. Relevance – If he isn’t in the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame is:

a- Pointless

b- Deluded

c- Exclusive

d- Behind

e- Discerning

f- Closed

Again, don’t overthink it. If museum visitors take selfies in front of his plaque, he’s an A grade. If he’s one of the guys whose name always comes up during the in-or-out section of the Debate, he’s a D grade. You can probably tell the B’s from the C’s once you sift out the A’s and the D’s.

Once you grade a player on all ten questions, simply divide by ten and that’s his grade point average.

Technically, anyone who receives even a single D grade is a Hall of Fame candidate. I added the F grade as insurance against the occasional clubhouse lawyer who might want to take advantage of the Test’s good nature. If a player gets a D and no F’s, he’s a viable Hall candidate. If, however, he has an F on one of the questions, he’ll need to make up for it elsewhere. This keeps Jon Paciorek and his career 1.000 batting average out of the bar.

PITCHER TEST DIFFERENCES

The position player Test and the pitcher Test use the same basic template, but there are a couple of minor differences that need to be addressed.

The pitcher-to-hitter (position player) Hall of Fame ratio is roughly 3-8 – three pitchers for every eight position players – a handy ratio because there are eight position players on one full team. This means for every Hall of Fame “team” there should be roughly three pitchers. The hitter template, for example, has 25 A grades while the pitcher template has 10 a grades.

I’ll explain it all in a table to show my work. The rounded numbers are the ones I used for the Test template. Major League baseball is about to begin its 147th season; I rounded up to 150 to make the math a little easier to follow. Here is the ABCD logic again, for reference:

A – One every five years (30)

B – One every other year (75)

C – One every year (150)

D – Two every year (300)

E – You can hang out in the lobby (Don’t touch anything)

Grading Table.

Grade Hitters

(exact)

Pitchers

(exact)

Total

(exact)

Hitters

Rounded

Pitchers

Rounded

Total

Rounded

A 22 8 30 25 10 35
B 54 21 75 75 30 105
C 109 41 150 150 60 210
D 218 82 300 250 100 350
E 727 273 1000 750 300 1050

 

I should explain why I rounded up so much. Unless you are the type who would be willing to slam the gruel-pot lid down on Oliver Twist’s bony little fingers when he’s two minutes late to dinner, your curve is going to get stretched. Having a hefty fudge factor built in allows you do draw your lines ruthlessly, without feeling like you left an empty seat on the last chopper out of Saigon.

The sixth question on the pitcher Test is different from the hitter Test. The sixth question on the hitter Test, the position question, doesn’t make sense for pitchers. They are all pitchers. The black and gray ink question provides pitchers one more layer of context-adjusted analysis, something that isn’t always easy to incorporate into the pitcher’s records across eras, and the fact that they are pitchers makes it a fair question.

Now that we have an idea how the system works, let’s run a few players through the Test.

THE BETA TEST

Let’s meet our guinea pigs:

Adrian “Cap” Anson began his career with the birth of the National Association in 1871, and played through 1897. He was a controversial force of baseball nature who played so long ago that the statistics are almost as fuzzy as the memories. His Test will help us conjure up a mental picture of 19th century baseball.

Pete Rose played more games and came to the plate more times than any other player in the game’s history, so he’ll dominate the counting-stat questions. His Test will help us see how cumulative and rate stats interact.

Willie McGee was a good player for a long time, but he was never considered a great one. His Test will help us find the line at the bottom of the D grade.

Chuck Klein’s short, dynamic career will provide the yin to Rose’s yang in the cumulative vs. rate stats debate. The Depression-era Phillies star put up spectacular numbers, won an MVP award and earned a triple crown during his years in the hitter-happy Baker Bowl, but he became an ordinary player after he left. His Test will give me a chance to address a few extreme statistical illusions.

Willie McCovey spent the first few years of his career competing with Orlando Cepeda for the Giants’ first base job, so I let’s Test both. Cepeda will help us define the line at the bottom of the C grade while McCovey explores the boundaries of the B grade.

  1. Where do his career milestone numbers put him?
  2. In the Top 25
    b. In the top 75
    c. In the top 150
    d. In the top 300
    e. In the top 600
    f. In the Navy

Table 1.

Category

Name

Plate

App.

Hits Home

Runs

Runs RBI Total

Bases

Walks Grade
Anson 28 7 877 9 4 48 123 A
Rose 1 1 456 9 4 8 14 A
McGee 246 166 1000+ 316 409 283 866 E
Klein 393 243 141 204 152 164 493 D
McCovey 105 183 20 164 44 71 34 B
Cepeda 182 136 71 224 87 95 517 C

 

The National Association teams played just 30 league games each in 1871, and Anson didn’t play in a league with a schedule of as many as 100 games until 1884, when he was 32 years old. He played 1,993 out of a possible 2,052 official league games during the first 22 years his career, riding to wooden, lightless stadiums in horse-drawn wagons where he caught hard grounders and screaming liners without a glove.

Cepeda’s counting stats show a clear bias toward the back end of the offensive equation where the sluggers reside, rather than the front end where the table setters live. He ranks comparatively low in runs scored, walks and times on base compared to homeruns, runs batted in and total bases.

Klein was nearly 24 when he first came to the majors and his bat was dead by the time he was 35, so his counting stats are a little light in the seat.

McCovey, blocked by Cepeda at first base when he came up with the Giants, couldn’t play anywhere else without looking like a crippled tree sloth waddling off with Charlie Brown’s mitt. The Giants tried him in the outfield for 275 games from 1962-64 so they could get both bats in the lineup, and he led the National League in homeruns in 1963, but he was so bad in the field that the Giants eventually threw up their hands, traded Cepeda away and planted McCovey at first base. He played 16 more seasons, but he never played another inning in the outfield.

  1. Baseball Reference – According to the metrics, where is he?
  2. In the Top 25
    b. In the top 75
    c. In the top 150
    d. In the top 300
    e. In the top 600
    f. Standing next to Waldo

Table 2.

Player WAR Winshares Grade
Anson 23 45(35) B
Rose 29 11(13) A
McGee 412 321* E
Klein 188 273* D
McCovey 52 34(27) B
Cepeda 163 123(73) C

* – estimated

I listed the two most prominent metrics in table 2. The first is wins above replacement, commonly known as WAR. I used the version published by Baseball-Reference.com. The second metric, Winshares, is the brainchild of Bill James. James published the formulas in The New Bill James Historical Abstract (Free Press 2001) and in Win Shares (STATS 2002).

  1. Peak – At his best, he was
  2. The best of the best
    b. The best, other than that guy who ruined the curve
    c. One of the best for a while
    d. One of the best for a moment
    e. One of the best of the rest
    f. One of the rest

Table 3.

Player Grade
Anson B
Rose B
McGee D
Klein C
McCovey B
Cepeda C

 

There were a couple of moments when Cepeda might have been the best player in the league, but they were fleeting and probably an illusion.

Klein’s huge peak numbers were largely an illusion. He batted .395 and slugged .705 in the Baker Bowl, .281 and .458 everywhere else. He was Babe Ruth at home, Babe Dahlgren on the road.

McCovey’s best historical comp might be Hank Greenberg, the Tiger star of the 1930s. Greenberg won a pair of MVP awards, hit 58 homeruns one season and set the American League single-season record for RBI in another, yet he was the third best first baseman in an eight team league, behind Lou Gehrig and Jimmy Foxx. Those A grades are hard to get.

I wasn’t thinking about it when I chose my Test subjects, but each won a single MVP award except Anson, who played before MVP awards existed.

  1. Prime – Pick one:
  2. He should have won the MVP award every good year
    b. He could have won the MVP award every good year
    c. He should have been an all-star every good year
    d. He could have been an all-star every good year
    e. He could have been an all-star in a career year
    f. He could have saved a ton of money on his car insurance

Table 4.

Player Grade
Anson B
Rose B
McGee E
Klein D
McCovey D
Cepeda D

 

One of the constant balancing acts in every Hall of Fame Debate is the weighing of quantity versus quality. Klein put up huge numbers for a very short time, then played at what appeared to be a much lower level for several years after. If we didn’t know better we might think something happened to him in 1934, but we know that wasn’t the case.

In Klein’s case there is a handy statistic that helps tell us the story of his prime: onbase plus slugging (ops+). Klein’s ops+ with the Phillies from 1928-34 was 160. He moved to the Cubs and Wrigley Field – another good hitters park – in 1934 and his ops+ numbers over the next few years were 136, 123, 124, 130 (back in the Baker Bowl), 81 and 127. Ignoring the off-season in 1938, Klein’s typical ops+ was in the mid-120s outside of the Baker Bowl.

Rate – Ignoring volume, he is:

In the Top 30

  1. In the top 90
  2. In the top 180
  3. In the top 400
  4. In the top 1,000
  5. Alarmingly concave

Table 5.

Player Ranks BA OBA SLG OPS+ Grade
Anson 24 83 442 62 B
Rose 175 215 888 422 E
McGee 293 1000+ 1000+ 1000+ E
Klein 50 182 32 97 C
McCovey 992 220 72 43 B
Cepeda 255 658 106 134 C

 

Ops+ is a useful statistic for players – like Anson – who played in statistical conditions out of whack with the rest of baseball history.

  1. Position Rank – He was in (or on) his position’s
  2. Throne
    b. Mt. Rushmore
    c. Sweet 16
    d. American Top 40
    e. Hot 100
    f. Do not resuscitate list

 

Table 6.

Player Position* James

Rank*

My

Rank

Grade
Anson First Base 11 4 B
Rose Right Field 5 5 C
McGee Center Field 43 53 E
Klein Right Field 40 46 E
McCovey First Base 9 11 C
Cepeda First Base 17 20 D

* – according to The New Bill James Historical Abstract

The latest edition of James’ Historical Abstract came out in 2001; the past 15 years are included in my rankings.

James ranked Anson 11 in his book and there have been a couple of new 10 players since 2001, but I moved him up to the fourth spot. There are three things James incorporated in his rankings that I don’t incorporate into mine.

First, James does not count the National Association as a major league. Second, James “charges” the players from the distant past with a timeline penalty. Third, James makes no allowances for the shorter 19th century schedules. I see no reason to penalize players for when they were born, and the National Association was more of a major league than the Union Association or the Federal League, both of which James does count.

Anson is the only player affected in our Beta Test, but there are dozens of star players from the 19th century who would be affected if we let 21st century sophistry throw dirt on their legacies. Baseball is baseball, and pennants fly forever.

My top 4 at first base:

  1. Lou Gehrig
  2. Albert Pujols
  3. Jimmy Foxx
  4. Cap Anson

James ranks Pete Rose in right field, but he could have ranked him at any of several positions. Rose played at least 500 games at first base, second base, third base, left field and right field.

  1. Precedent – How did the Hall of Fame voters treat him?
  2. They voted him in right away, and somebody complained because he wasn’t unanimous
    b. They elected him within 2-3 years
    c. The BBWAA elected him
    d. An old-timers committee elected him
    e. He got at least one vote from somebody
    f. Like a fool, mean and cruel

Table 7.

Player Year

Elected

Wait

years

Comps

years

Grade
Anson 1939 42* 1-3 B
Rose N/A N/A 1 A
McGee N/A N/A N/A E
Klein 1980 35 20+ D
McCovey 1986 5 1-3 B
Cepeda 1999 25 15 D

 

Anson had been retired for nearly 40 years when the inaugural Veterans Committee election was held in 1936. He tied 19th century catching great Buck Ewing for the most votes with 39.5 out of 78 (50.6 percent), well short of the 75 percent needed to be elected.

The Hall’s centennial celebration in 1939 was set to go off without any 19th century players involved, so a small committee – Commissioner Kennesaw Landis, National League President Ford Frick and American League President Will Harridge – chose three players: Anson, Ewing and Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourne, a 300-game winner who will holds the major league record with his 59 wins in 1884.

Anson’s closest statistical comps are the high average hitters with 3000 hits, like Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn, though Anson would likely have been a power hitter had he played in another era. He was a huge man, though, and his skill set was probably more like Willie McCovey than Rod Carew. He was an unusual man, living and playing in unusual conditions.

Anson’s best comp, combining his playing record, his managing record and his longevity, might be Pete Rose. Rose is not eligible for the Hall of Fame because he is on baseball’s ineligible list. Had he been eligible and untainted by scandal, he would have been a near-unanimous selection.

The Hall of Fame rarely intervenes directly in the selection rules and they have never shown the slightest interest in who gets elected, but they made a point of telling the voters that Rose would not be eligible until he is reinstated to baseball’s eligible list. The hue and cry surrounding his candidacy, even 30 years later, tells you all you need to know.

Cepeda received 73.5 percent of the vote in 1994 – his final year of BBWAA eligibility – and was elected by the Veterans Committee ten years later. His closest historical comp is probably Tony Perez, the first baseman on the Big Red Machine. Perez was elected by the BBWAA in his final year of eligibility. The BBWAA drew a line between Perez and Cepeda – the C/D line.

McGee isn’t in the Hall of Fame and none of his good comps are in, but his case isn’t hopeless. He won two batting titles, three gold glove awards and an MVP. He was part of a famous team – the 1980s Cardinals, who reached the World Series three times between 1982 and 1987 – and he played long enough to reach a few milestone numbers, including 2,000 hits and 300 stolen bases.

  1. Prominence – What would this player have to do to make the news?
  2. Throw out his garbage
    b. Throw out a runner
    c. Throw out his wife
    d. Throw out his back
    e. Throw out his probation officer
    f. Throw out a Kardashian

Table 8.

Player Grade
Anson A
Rose A
McGee D
Klein C
McCovey C
Cepeda C

 

Anson was the face of baseball between 1880 and the 1895. He was a force of nature, dominating everyone and everything he touched, and he was a natural and enthusiastic showman. He began his career as “The Marshalltown Infant” in 1871, grew into “Cap” – for captain, managers were called captain in the early days – and eventually morphed into “Pop” near the end of his 27-year career. The Chicago team in the National League was nicknamed the Cubs because of Anson. He was Pops; they were his cubs.

The Cubs, as you may have heard unless you were somewhere in the Congo, won the 2016 World Series. Anson was in attendance the last time they had won, in 1908.

Cepeda and McCovey were practically a matched set with the Giants, and they both won an MVP award after they were separated. While they were active they were about equally famous, but in different ways.

McCovey was beloved as the Gentle Giant, a human manta ray with a permanent smile pasted on his comically wide, pleasantly round face. He was a frightening hitter, a long, lanky lefty who hit line drives that screamed so loud they almost drowned out the screaming infielders. He was as graceful as a ballerina with a bat in his hands, but chronically bad feet made it painful to watch him run.

Cepeda was built like a fire plug, and by the end of career his butt was wide enough to advertise on. He was a notoriously bad sign reader. His manager in San Francisco, Alvin Dark, developed a racist reputation among Latino players because of his exasperation with Cepeda’s sign-reading adventures. With the Cardinals, where Cepeda won his MVP award, he built a reputation as a cheerful eccentric.

Their post-career fortunes diverged, then converged. San Francisco’s Pac Bell Park named the cove behind the right field wall “McCovey Cove.” McCovey, now 77 and mostly confined to a wheelchair, is still as beloved as ever in San Francisco. He can be seen at Pac Bell nearly every home game, shaking hands, signing autographs and smiling his Giant smile.

Cepeda’s life spiraled out of control in the decade after the end of his playing career, and he spent time in prison for a drug conviction in the early 1980s. After his release, he returned to the Giants as a scout and goodwill ambassador and rehabilitated his image. His Giants number 30 was retired in 2008, and hangs from the rafters next to McCovey’s 44.

  1. Impact – What would it take to explain him in a history book?
  2. A chapter
    b. A chapter section
    c. A page
    d. A paragraph
    e. A sentence
    f. A bribe

Modern research tools make Anson a tempting subject for a fresh biography. He was at the center of any number of significant events in baseball history. Bill James once suggested that Anson may have been the most important figure in making the National League the true major league, and popularizing baseball as a spectator sport.

Table 9.

Player Grade
Anson A
Rose A
McGee D
Klein C
McCovey B
Cepeda C

 

Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose are the Mt. Rushmore of 20th century baseball legends. The stories told about them alone could fill the next Ed Burns 18-hour documentary.

  1. Relevance – If he isn’t in the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame is:

A- Pointless
B- Deluded
C- Exclusive
D- Behind
E- Discerning
F- Closed

Table 10.

Player Grade
Anson B
Rose B
McGee E
Klein D
McCovey B
Cepeda C

 

Many experts dismiss 19th baseball, calling it inferior. I wouldn’t make that argument; do we dismiss wars fought with spears? But it’s a reasonable argument to make. The Hall of Fame could exist without any of the 19th century players, hence the Hall of Fame could exist without Anson.

The Hall of Fame does exist without Pete Rose, and it’s closed to Pete Rose, but if he was eligible the Hall of Fame would not exist without him. Pick your poison.

Cepeda rides the border between C and D all the way down the Test. I like to call the players near the C/D line contrarian players, because they are the subjects of most contrarian debates. If a contrarian player is in the Hall, he’s overrated. If a contrarian player is not in the Hall, he is underrated. Cepeda was underrated until 1999, when the Veteran’s Committee elected him and made him overrated.

Klein waited 36 years to be selected, and he is filed under “S” for “Sure, why not?” in the Hall’s archives. If you write a book about the D grade Debate, the camera is always outside the door where the arguments take place. When a D grade player enters the Hall, he might as well be one of the “Field of Dreams” players, disappearing through the Ivy.

Report card.

question 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 GPA
Anson A B B B B B B A A B 3.3
Rose A A B B E C A A A A 3.2
McGee E E D E E E E D D E 0.3
Klein D D C D C E D C C D 1.3
McCovey B B B D B C B C B B 2.6
Cepeda C C C D D D D C C C 1.6

 

Anson played during the game’s infancy and a lot of the guys he dominated weren’t all that good. Anson was universally known, but he wasn’t universally liked; his personality was so big that it would be strange to discount it, but one man’s charismatic promotor is another man’s overbearing blowhard.

I ignored Anson’s controversial role in establishing baseball’s color-line when I ran him through the Test, but you might choose to include them. It’s not my place to tell you how to deal with the Hall’s cryptic character clause, or how to go back in time and put on a judge’s robe. It’s hard enough to judge racism in 2016, let alone going back to 1887.

You’ll have to choose how to deal with players like Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who are ineligible for the Hall of Fame. Some Testers might give them F’s on questions seven, nine and ten, because they are ineligible (seven, ten) or violated the character clause (nine).

Cepeda earned a lot of C grades, but most of them are in the lower half, which brings up a point. Each grade has a natural line in the middle. The A grades include around 15 no-doubters and another 15 or so who are honored to hang out in the pantheon with them. The B grades include around 30 obvious B grade players and another 30 who are honored to hang out with them.

I think it’s a human condition. No matter what group you belong to, half of the group owns it and the other half are just happy to be there. Both halves think they are the good half, too. Charlie Manson’s family members all maintain that they are much better people than that horrible manipulator Charlie, while Charlie thinks his followers are a bunch of psychotic sycophants who never learned how to shut their gaping maws around the Man.

The mid-point separation in the C grade is defined, in part, by the exclusivist angle in the Debate. The mainstream exclusivists want to limit the Hall’s list to about one player for every year or so, and they like to begin in 1901. This means the typical exclusive Hall of Fame includes the A grades, the B grades and about half the C grades. The BBWAA line doesn’t define the middle of the C grade but the bottom, so the bottom of the C grade isn’t at 2. It’s at 1.5.

Klein’s grade is a couple of ticks below the bottom of the C bin, right around the bottom line for players can count on being chosen eventually. The players below that point will need an advocate to bring their case to the forefront – otherwise they might as well head for the soda fountain wearing a tight-fitting sweater.

Willie McCovey’s Test lurches up and down within the B grade and down into the C grade, settling about halfway in between. The B grade might be the most difficult to define, because B players are known more for what they aren’t than what they are.

The A, B and D grades all have specific identifying characteristics. A players are the best of the best. C players are the borderline BBWAA choices. D players are the stars of the old timer committees. B players are loosely defined as “too good to be C’s but not good enough to be A’s.”

McGee’s 0.3 sounds terrible compared to the rest of the Beta Test, but it puts McGee among the top 400 or so position players in the game’s history.

***

     There you have it. I included blank copies of the hitter and pitcher Test templates, so you can conduct your own Tests, and a larger sample of 210 players I ran through the Test, so you can see how the players compare. Thanks for reading.

The Test: Position Players

  1. Baseball Card – Where do his career milestone numbers put him?
  2. In the Top 25
    b. In the top 75
    c. In the top 150
    d. In the top 300
    e. In the top 1,000
    f. In the Navy
  3. Baseball Reference – According to the metrics, where is he?
  4. In the Top 25
    b. In the top 75
    c. In the top 150
    d. In the top 300
    e. In the top 1,000
    f. Standing next to Waldo
  5. Peak – At his best, he was
  6. The best of the best
    b. The best, other than that one guy who ruined the curve
    c. One of the best for a while
    d. One of the best for a moment
    e. One of the best of the rest
    f. One of the rest
  7. Prime – Pick one:
  8. He should have won the MVP award in every good year
    b. He could have won the MVP award in every good year
    c. He should have been an all-star in every good year
    d. He could have been an all-star in every good year
    e. He could have been an all-star in a career year
    f. He could have saved a ton of money on his car insurance
  9. Rate – Ignoring volume, he was
  10. In the Top 25
  11. In the top 75
  12. In the top 150
  13. In the top 300
  14. In the top 1,000
  15. Alarmingly concave
  1. Position Rank – He was in (or on) his position’s
  2. Throne
    b. Mt. Rushmore
    c. Sweet 16
    d. American Top 40
    e. Hot 100
    f. Do not resuscitate list
  3. Precedent – How did the Hall of Fame voters treat him?
  4. They voted him in immediately by acclimation
    b. They elected him within 2-3 years
    c. The BBWAA elected him
    d. An old-timers committee elected him
    e. He got at least one vote from somebody
    f. Like a fool, mean and cruel
  5. Prominence – What would this player have to do to make the news?
  6. Throw out his garbage
    b. Throw out a runner
    c. Throw out his back
    d. Throw out his wife
    e. Throw out his probation officer
    f. Throw out a Kardashian
  7. Impact – What would it take to explain him in a history book?
  8. A chapter
    b. A chapter section
    c. A page
    d. A paragraph
    e. A sentence
    f. A bribe
  9. Relevance – If he isn’t in the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame is:

a- Pointless
b- Deluded
c- Exclusive
d- Behind
e- Discerning
f- Closed

The Test: Pitchers

  1. Baseball Card – Where do his career milestone numbers put him?
  2. In the Top 10
    b. In the top 30
    c. In the top 60
    d. In the top 100
    e. In the top 300
    f. In the chorus
  3. Baseball Reference – According to the metrics, where is he?
  4. In the Top 10
    b. In the top 30
    c. In the top 60
    d. In the top 100
    e. In the top 300
    f. On a milk carton
  5. Peak – At his best, he was
  6. The best of the best
    b. The best, other than that one guy who ruined the curve
    c. One of the best for a while
    d. One of the best for a moment
    e. One of the best of the rest
    f. One of the huddled masses, yearning to find the strike zone
  7. Prime – Pick one:
  8. He should have won the Cy Young award in every good year
    b. He could have won the Cy Young award in every good year
    c. He should have been an all-star in every good year
    d. He could have been an all-star in every good year
    e. He could have been an all-star in a career year
    f. He could have had a V8
  9. Rate – Taking volume out of the equation would move him to
  10. The top 10
    b. The top 30
    c. The top 60
    d. The top 100
    e. The top 300
    f. Tears

 

  1. Dominance – This player’s black and gray ink totals most closely resemble players in the:

a- Top 10

b- Top 30

c- Top 60

d- Top 100

e- Top 300

f- Witness protection program

  1. Precedent – How did the Hall of Fame voters treat him?
  2. They voted him in immediately by acclimation
    b. They elected him within 2-3 years
    c. The BBWAA elected him
    d. An old-timers committee elected him
    e. He got at least one vote from somebody
    f. Like a northbound football in southbound boot factory
  3. Prominence – What would this player have to do to make the news?
  4. Throw out his garbage
    b. Throw out a runner
    c. Throw out his back
    d. Throw out his wife
    e. Throw out his probation officer
    f. Throw out a Kardashian
  5. Impact – What would it take to explain him in a history book?
  6. A chapter
    b. A chapter section
    c. A page
    d. A paragraph
    e. A sentence
    f. An act of charity
  7. Relevance – If he isn’t in the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame is:

a- Pointless
b- Deluded
c- Exclusive
d- Behind
e- Discerning
f- Patrolled

THE TEST – 210 MORE PLAYERS

Test Question Number
Pos Player Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 GPA
0 David Ortiz 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 3 3 2.2
0 Paul Molitor 3 3 1 2 1 2 3 2 2 2 2.1
0 Edgar Martinez 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 1.7
2 Yogi Berra 3 2 3 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 3.5
2 Johnny Bench 3 3 3 3 2 4 4 4 4 4 3.4
2 Mike Piazza 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2.9
2 Ivan Rodriguez 3 3 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 2.7
2 Carlton Fisk 3 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 2.6
2 Mickey Cochrane 1 1 3 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 2.4
2 Roy Campanella 1 0 4 3 1 3 2 4 3 3 2.4
2 Bill Dickey 2 1 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.0
2 Gabby Hartnett 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 2.0
2 Thurman Munson 0 1 2 2 1 1 1 3 2 1 1.4
2 Ted Simmons 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 1.3
2 Roger Bresnahan 0 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.2
2 Ernie Lombardi 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
2 Wally Schang 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.0
2 Jorge Posada 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 0.9
2 Elston Howard 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0.7
2 Bill Freehan 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.4
3 Lou Gehrig 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
3 Albert Pujols 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 3.6
3 Jimmie Foxx 3 3 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 3 3.5
3 Frank Thomas 3 3 4 4 2 3 3 3 3 3 3.1
3 Miguel Cabrera 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3.1
3 Hank Greenberg 2 2 3 3 3 2 3 4 3 3 2.8
3 Harmon Killebrew 2 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 2.7
3 Johnny Mize 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 2 2 3 2.6
3 Eddie Murray 3 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 2 2.5
3 Gary Carter 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 3 2.4
3 Mark McGwire 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 4 3 3 2.4
3 Jeff Bagwell 2 3 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.3
3 Jim Thome 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.3
3 George Sisler 2 2 3 2 1 2 3 2 2 2 2.1
3 Bill Terry 2 1 3 2 1 2 2 3 2 2 2.0
3 Keith Hernandez 0 2 2 2 2 1 1 3 2 2 1.7
3 Steve Garvey 1 0 2 2 2 1 1 3 2 2 1.6
3 Tony Perez 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1.6
3 Will Clark 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.6
3 Jason Giambi 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1.4
3 Rafael Palmeiro 2 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.4
3 Todd Helton 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.2
3 Jim Bottomley 1 0 2 2 0 0 1 2 2 1 1.1
Test Question Number
Pos Player Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 GPA
3 John Olerud 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.1
3 Fred McGriff 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
3 Gil Hodges 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.0
3 Lance Berkman 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
3 Mark Teixeira 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
3 Carlos Delgado 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0.9
3 Paul Konerko 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0.8
3 Al Oliver 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0.6
3 Frank Howard 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0.6
3 Norm Cash 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0.6
3 Adrian Gonzalez 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.5
3 George Kelly 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0.5
3 Frank McCormick 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.4
4 Rogers Hornsby 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3.9
4 Joe Morgan 3 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 3.8
4 Eddie Collins 3 4 3 3 4 4 4 3 4 4 3.6
4 Nap Lajoie 3 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3.4
4 Rod Carew 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 3 3 3.0
4 Frankie Frisch 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 4 3 3 2.4
4 Charlie Gehringer 2 3 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.3
4 Craig Biggio 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.2
4 Roberto Alomar 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.2
4 Ryne Sandberg 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 2 2.2
4 Robinson Cano 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 2.0
4 Johnny Evers 0 1 2 2 2 1 1 3 2 2 1.6
4 Nellie Fox 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 1.6
4 Jeff Kent 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1.5
4 Joe Gordon 0 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1.4
4 Larry Doyle 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1.4
4 Billy Herman 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1.3
4 Chase Utley 0 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1.1
4 Lou Whitaker 1 2 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1.1
4 Red Schoendienst 1 0 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.1
4 Tony Lazzeri 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
4 Bobby Doerr 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.0
4 Willie Randolph 1 2 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
4 Bobby Grich 0 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0.9
4 Julio Franco 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0.9
5 George Brett 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 4 3 3 3.1
5 Brooks Robinson 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 2.9
5 Chipper Jones 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 2.8
Test Question Number
Pos Player Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 GPA
5 Eddie Mathews 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 2.7
5 Wade Boggs 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2.6
5 Home Run Baker 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 3 3 2 2.0
5 Adrian Beltre 3 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 1.8
5 Ron Santo 1 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 1.7
5 Pie Traynor 2 0 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 1 1.5
5 Ken Boyer 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.3
5 Graig Nettles 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.2
5 Darrell Evans 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 0 1 1 1.1
5 Stan Hack 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.1
5 Heinie Groh 0 1 2 2 1 1 0 1 1 1 1.0
5 Matt Williams 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
5 Scott Rolen 1 2 0 1 0 2 1 1 1 1 1.0
5 David Wright 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0.9
5 Bob Elliott 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0.7
5 George Kell 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0.7
5 Aramis Ramirez 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.3
5 Larry Gardner 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.3
6 Honus Wagner 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
6 Alex Rodriguez 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3.8
6 Derek Jeter 3 3 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 3.3
6 Cal Ripken 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 4 3 4 3.2
6 Ernie Banks 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 3 3.1
6 Robin Yount 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 2.9
6 Ozzie Smith 1 3 2 2 2 3 3 4 3 3 2.6
6 Barry Larkin 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 2.2
6 Joe Cronin 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2.1
6 Luke Appling 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2.1
6 Arky Vaughan 2 3 2 2 2 3 2 1 1 2 2.0
6 Luis Aparicio 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1.9
6 Lou Boudreau 1 2 3 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 1.8
6 Pee Wee Reese 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 1.8
6 Alan Trammell 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 1.5
6 Rabbit Maranville 1 0 2 1 2 1 2 2 2 2 1.5
6 Bobby Wallace 0 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.2
6 Joe Sewell 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
6 Vern Stephens 1 0 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.1
6 Bert Campaneris 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.0
6 Travis Jackson 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0.8
6 Edgar Renteria 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 0.4
6 Jim Fregosi 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.3
7 Barry Bonds 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
Test Question Number
Pos Player Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 GPA
7 Stan Musial 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
7 Ted Williams 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
7 Rickey Henderson 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 3.7
7 Carl Yastrzemski 3 3 3 2 3 2 3 4 3 3 2.9
7 Al Simmons 3 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 2.7
7 Manny Ramirez 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 3 3 2.6
7 Willie Stargell 2 2 3 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2.5
7 Jim Rice 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 3 2 2 1.9
7 Joe Medwick 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 3 2 2 1.9
7 Billy Williams 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 1.8
7 Fred Clarke 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 1.8
7 Tim Raines 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 1.8
7 Gary Sheffield 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 1.7
7 Goose Goslin 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1.5
7 Heinie Manush 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.4
7 Ralph Kiner 1 1 2 2 0 1 1 2 2 2 1.4
7 Sherry Magee 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.4
7 Zack Wheat 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.4
7 Albert Belle 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.3
7 Bobby Bonds 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.1
7 Jose Cruz 0 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
7 Minnie Minoso 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
7 Luis Gonzalez 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0.9
7 Bob Johnson 1 2 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0.8
7 Matt Holliday 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0.7
7 Moises Alou 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0.7
7 Bobby Veach 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0.6
7 Bobby Thomson 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 0.5
7 Bob Meusel 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.3
8 Ty Cobb 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
8 Willie Mays 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
8 Mickey Mantle 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3.8
8 Tris Speaker 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 3.8
8 Joe DiMaggio 3 3 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3.7
8 Ken Griffey, Jr. 3 3 4 3 3 2 4 4 4 4 3.4
8 Kirby Puckett 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2.4
8 Duke Snider 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 3 3 3 2.3
8 Andre Dawson 2 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 1.8
8 Carlos Beltran 1 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1.8
Test Question Number
Pos Player Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 GPA
8 Larry Doby 0 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.3
8 Richie Ashburn 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1.3
8 Earl Averill 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.2
8 Torii Hunter 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.2
8 Andruw Jones 1 2 1 1 0 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
8 Bernie Williams 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 2 2 1 1.1
8 Max Carey 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
8 Edd Roush 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
8 Hack Wilson 0 0 2 1 0 1 1 2 2 1 1.0
8 Jim Wynn 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1.0
8 Johnny Damon 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.0
8 Fred Lynn 0 1 2 0 0 1 1 2 1 1 0.9
8 Willie Davis 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 1 0.9
8 Earle Combs 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0.8
8 Vada Pinson 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0.8
8 Dom DiMaggio 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.5
9 Babe Ruth 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4.0
9 Hank Aaron 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3.9
9 Frank Robinson 3 4 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 3 3.4
9 Mel Ott 3 4 2 4 4 3 3 4 3 3 3.3
9 Reggie Jackson 3 3 3 2 3 2 3 4 4 4 3.1
9 Roberto Clemente 3 3 3 2 3 2 4 3 4 3 3.0
9 Al Kaline 3 3 2 2 3 2 4 3 3 3 2.8
9 Sam Crawford 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 2.8
9 Paul Waner 3 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 2.7
9 Tony Gwynn 3 2 2 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 2.6
9 Vladimir Guerrero 3 2 2 2 3 2 3 2 2 2 2.3
9 Dave Winfield 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 2 2.2
9 Harry Heilmann 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2.2
9 Sammy Sosa 3 2 2 2 1 1 2 3 3 2 2.1
9 Enos Slaughter 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 1.7
9 Sam Rice 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.4
9 Larry Walker 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.3
9 Tony Oliva 1 0 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 1.3
9 Juan Gonzalez 1 0 2 3 0 0 1 2 2 1 1.2
9 Dave Parker 2 0 2 2 0 0 1 2 1 1 1.1
9 Jose Canseco 1 0 3 0 0 0 1 4 1 1 1.1
9 Ken Singleton 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.1
9 Rusty Staub 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.1
9 Bobby Abreu 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1.0
9 Darryl Strawberry 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 1 1 0.8
9 Harold Baines 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0.7
9 Harry Hooper 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0.7
9 Babe Herman 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 0.6
9 Magglio Ordonez 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.5
Advertisements