Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Comments for Jason

Been liking the Win Share analyses as they relate to eligibility for the Hall of Fame. I want to take issue with a couple things in your last post and thought I would post because 1. That's sort of the idea of this, 2. I haven't been moved to write anything related to baseball and 3. I'm still recovering from the tiger bite and need something to do.

First, what is Andre Dawson doing in that last post? 171 career games at DH as opposed to 2323 in the outfield qualifies him? The man never saw an inning at first base. I demand a retraction!

Second, you have fallen victim to that most cursed of baseball analysis fallibility, the fallacy of recency. Frank Thomas has never been a "consistently great" player. From 1991 to 1997 he put up seasons that were unparalleled. His combination of walks, average and power had only been seen in Ruth and Williams. He could have retired at age 29 and had a legitimate shot at the Hall with 257 career homers plus his astounding average.

In those seven years he won two MVP's, finished third twice in the voting and eighth the outher four seasons. Led the league in OBP four times and was never lower than fourth in the league. Was top ten in batting average in six of those seasons. Was top ten in homers in six of those seasons. 100+ runs and RBI in all seven seasons, even the strike-shortened one. For those seven years he was the best hitter in the American League and maybe the major leagues.

In the seven years hence he has developed into a more lackluster player. He strikes out more now. Doesn't hit for average and has health problems. I really think that if he had pulled a Barry Sanders and quit in 1997 his odds of being in the Hall would be greater than they are now.

As for Bagwell, I don't know that you can call two seasons consistently good. Oh wait, that's Bill Bagwell I'm looking at. Silly me. Although Bill hit .294 in his career and jeff is a .297 career hitter. Almost spooky. Jeff is consistently great. I'd be interested in seeing where he stands among first basemen in career steals. Did you know he's been a 30-30 guy twice?

Project for you and I. I'll take AL, you take NL. From 1990 to 2004, who had the best win share season for a first baseman in each season. I think that's one of the things that hurts a lot of these guys: Clark, Palmeiro, Mattingly, Grace. They were consistently the third or fourth best first baseman in their leagues. In another era, they'd be the tops but the 1990's were a great era for first basemen. Report back what you find, dude.


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