By In Stuff

Hall of Fame Survey II

Another Hall of Fame Survey

This one is more of a “test your knowledge” kind of Hall of Fame survey, though there are a few opinion questions in there.

You might wonder where all this is leading. So am I.

No, wait, that’s not right — I know where it’s leading. In July, as part of the Hall of Fame celebration, I’m going to give you this massive Hall of Fame idea that I’ve been working on. It’s not actually for a NEW Hall of Fame. It’s more like a new way to look at the Hall of Fame. Maybe. If it comes out right.

In the meantime, I’ll post some results here as we go. Some of them are pretty interesting though I know enough to know not to put all that much stock in them since the study is naturally biased toward people who come to this blog or follow me on Twitter.

Anyway, I think the survey is kind of fun.

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94 Responses to Hall of Fame Survey II

  1. Dr. Baseball says:

    Keep these coming! These are super fun. I’d love to know my answers and the results for the “Is he in the hall”questions. I believe I did very well there. I did not look-up any players.

    I also have a theory on what Joe is looking for in the “Rank the players” sections…and it was set-up (if I’m correct) for that to occur. I’ll just keep this vague, for now, for those who haven’t taken the quiz.

    Is it July yet? I want to see what this is all about!

    If it’s a book, I’ll buy it!

    • David says:

      It took me a little while to figure out that you could drag the boxes into the order you wanted. I kept getting frustrated with the annoying drop-downs.

    • invitro says:

      “I also have a theory on what Joe is looking for in the “Rank the players” sections…and it was set-up (if I’m correct) for that to occur.” — Someone else said he thought he knew what Joe was getting at with the questions, in a previous article. I’ve tried to deduce something from the questions, and I’m at a loss. If Joe has any hypotheses he’s working out, I can’t find them. I hope you and the other guy are around in six months to tell us what you were thinking, because I’m stumped right now :).

      • SDG says:

        I think the first survey was the standard Hall controversies (PEDs, Hall size, character, non-PED cheating, comparing offensive vs defensive eras, career vs. peak). Don’t remember any relief pitcher or DH questions though.

        The second one? I have absolutely no clue. The only explanations I can think of are gotcha ones, and that doesn’t seem like Joe’s style.

  2. AaronB says:

    One thing I’d like to mention is how do we recognize the length of a career and how it impacts our image of a player? You have stat compilers like Don Sutton and people who exalted greatness, albeit for short periods like Sandy Koufax.

    Going through the survey I see a few players I’d place in either category, short, but excellent careers, versus those who were good players, but sustained health helped them pile up large numbers of counting stats. Take a look at these players:

    Player A: .298 BA, .352 OBP, .502 slug, OPS+ of 128, ISO of .204 (HOF)

    Player B: .272 BA, .370 OBP, .470 slug, OPS + of 127, ISO of .198 (not HOF)

    Player C: .317 BA, .359 OBP, .475 slug, OPS+ of 130, ISO of .158 (HOF)

    Player D: .317 BA, .372 OBP, .526 slug, OPS+ of 133, ISO of .209 (HOF)

    Player E: .265 BA, .346 OBP, .469 slug, OPS+ of 121, ISO of .204 (not HOF)

    Player F: .334 BA, .380 OBP, .535 slug, OPS+ of 133, ISO of .201 (HOF)

    Player G: .262 BA, .356 OBP, .490 slug, OPS+ of 139, ISO of .228 (HOF) and one more

    Player H: .292 BA, .393 OBP, .514 slug, OPS+ of 140, ISO of .222 (not HOF, but on ballot)

    I think some of them are considered sure fire HOF’s, when you hear their names, while others are viewed as no way. Some are borderline guys. The players above go represent a variety of eras.

    • AaronB says:

      Here’s who the above players are:

      A is Jim Rice.
      B is Dwight Evans
      C is Roberto Clemente
      D is Chick Hafey
      E is Dale Murphy
      F is Al Simmons
      G is Reggie Jackson
      H is Gary Sheffield

      Anyway, thanks for doing this Joe!

      • invitro says:

        “I think some of them are considered sure fire HOF’s, when you hear their names, while others are viewed as no way” — Which ones are the “no way” guys? Because someone who’s in can’t be a “no way”, and each of the ones that aren’t have a heapin’ helpin’ of supporters (and got at least 50% I think except maybe not Evans?). 🙂

        • AaronB says:

          I guess I’m thinking the no way guys are Hafey, Murphy, and Sheffield. I was actually pretty stunned when I looked up Sheffield’s #’s, they are much better than I’d realized and I’d actually put him in the “maybe” category now.

          Rice and Evans – I really don’t think either them should be in either as I view them as borderline guys at best.

        • SDG says:

          The no way guys? Hafey is the poster child for the Frisch Picks That Ruined Everthing. I don’t think Cardinals fans think he belongs. Rice is probably a test case for saber-fans vs saber-haters. Evans too, but from the other side. Murphy is probably about Big Hall guys and people who think character counts extra. I’ve never heard anyone seriously argue that Clemente, Simmons, or Jackson didn’t belong, unless they were trying to be contrarian.

          Sheffield? It’s about how to account for good offense in an era of crazy-good offense, and the general sense that if he really were that good he wouldn’t have been traded so much.

          • Nick S. says:

            The good thing about those terrible Veterans Committee picks is that everyone either acknowledges that they were mistakes or doesn’t know about them in the first place. At least future voters are highly unlikely to use Highpockets Kelly or Rube Marquard as standards for future voting.

          • Patrick says:

            I have to agree with Nick. I bet most fans who go to the Hall have no idea who some of these terrible old selections are, and they’re not held up as the standard for induction. That doesn’t excuse their terribleness, but it sort of mitigates the damage

    • Bryan says:

      Age 23-32:
      Jim Rice: 301/353/526, 134 OPS+
      Dwight Evans: 271/366/483, 128 OPS+
      Roberto Clemente: 324/365/482, 132 OPS+
      Chick Hafey: 324/381/543, 139 OPS+
      Dale Murphy: 278/365/503, 135 OPS+
      Al Simmons: 359/403/589, 151 OPS+
      Reggie Jackson: 273/366/515, 152 OPS+
      Gary Sheffield: 303/417/556, 157 OPS+
      Min 3000 PA Age 23-32:
      170+ OPS+ – 10 of 13 (77%) in HoF, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and Shoeless Joe Jackson not in
      160-169 OPS+ – 11 of 14 (79%) in HoF, Dick Allen, Dave Orr and Miguel Cabrera not in
      150-159 OPS+ – 13 of 30 (43%) in HoF, 7 players whose career ended before 1920, Charlie Keller, McGwire, Belle, Sheffield, Thome, Giambi, Manny, Vlad, A-Rod and Votto not in
      140-149 OPS+ – 28 of 60 (47%) in HoF, 16 of 41 (39%) who didn’t play 500+ games at 2B/3B/SS/CF/C at those ages in the HoF, 12 of 19 (63%) of those that did in the HoF, Paul Hines, Benny Kauff, Wally Berger, Reggie Smith, Edgar Martinez, Chipper Jones and Andrew McCutchen not in among the 19
      130-139 OPS+ – 25 of 105 (24%) in HoF, 11 of 32 (34%) with 500+ games at 2B/3B/SS/CF/C at those ages in the HoF, 14 of 73 (19%) that did not in the HoF, those 14 are Willie Keeler, Fred Clarke, Kiki Cuyler, Bill Terry, Jim Bottomley, Goose Goslin, Chick Hafey, Joe Medwick, Enos Slaughter, Roberto Clemente, Billy Williams, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Rice and Tim Raines
      Rice and Raines two players who got in on their last year on the ballot who hit about as well in their prime (134 Rice, 131 Raines) highlights a limitation of such simple tiers as Raines provides a lot of extra value with speed even if you agree with WAR that neither added all that much value to their teams after their Age 33 seasons. But it does explain most of your list.
      Genuinely elite hitters of the last 100 or so years get into the HoF if they are eligible and lack PED issues with apologies to Charlie Keller and Albert Belle as I assume voters would consider Belle’s career to fall short even ignoring PED and off-field issues.
      Excellent hitters it’s a good idea if you played a valuable defensive position, had a great defensive reputation, provided value with base running, had playoff success, got MVP votes and/or had a reputation for intangibles.
      Clemente 153 OPS+ is one of the best ever hitters for Age 33-37 and then dies. Dwight Evans 137 OPS+ is an excellent hitter at those ages but then has 110 OPS+ for Age 38-39 and retires. There are a lot of parallels in on field performance up to Age 37 for Clemente and Evans and very few players have a bigger off-field adjustment than Clemente.
      LF/RF/1B/DH who are in the 130s for OPS+ in their prime really need an extra hook because around 3/4 of them aren’t in the Hall of Fame and most likely don’t deserve to be there unless you want a much bigger Hall of Fame.

      • AaronB says:

        Good stuff, thanks. A few of those guys I mentioned clearly didn’t age well for various reasons, such as Hafey, Murphy, and to a degree, Rice.

        I didn’t do a real good job of explaining it, but I’m trying to figure out how you compare a short, but really good career to that of someone who compiles #’s over the long haul.

        To me, it’s part of what separates the inner circle HOF guys from the standard HOF from someone on the outside. Players like Mays, Aaron, Musial, Williams are clear inner circle guys because they were great, and their greatness persisted over many years. Others were excellent ballplayers and most likely legit HOF’s who have tremendous counting stats in part due to the length of their careers. Sorry Pete Rose fans, he was great, no doubt about it, but his hit totals are clearly inflated because of him playing for so long.

        Chick Hafey often gets mentioned as one of the worse entries in the HOF. Based on the counting stats and his career WAR totals, that’s a fair statement. However, when looking at his numbers closer, you see that he was an excellent ballplayer, even in the age of offense of the 20’s & 30’s. His problem were health and aging poorly. He had just six seasons where he qualified for the batting title. Six. Overall Hafey only has 4625 career at bats compared to 14053 for Rose. Nearly a 10,000 at bat difference!

        So, how do you compare someone like him to the others?

        • Bryan says:

          1968-1973 – Pete Rose 4345 PA, 139 OPS+
          1927-1937 – Chick Hafey 4398 PA, 140 OPS+
          Which leaves:
          1924-1926 – Chick Hafey 717 PA, 89 OPS+ vs
          1963-1967 – Pete Rose 3362 PA, 110 OPS+ &
          1974-1981 – Pete Rose 5714 PA, 121 OPS+ &
          1982-1986 – Pete Rose 2469 PA, 86 OPS+
          So something like Chick Hafey + Richie Sexson (5604 PA, 120 OPS+) + Ron Kittle (3013 PA, 110 OPS+) + Ruben Rivera (1818 PA, 82 OPS+)
          Hitting like Ruben is about health and opportunity and I don’t feel it adds much if anything to a HoF case but Sexson had a very nice batting career and Kittle is a decent hitter. In terms of batting Pete Rose has a very large edge over Chick Hafey by matching his peak and then many additional years of effective hitting.
          If you’re instead comparing Rose and Edgar Martinez as hitters it’s a judgement call of how much of Rose’s career does it take to match up to 1995-2001 4477 PA, 164 OPS+. Rose 1968-1976 is 6639 PA, 136 OPS+ do you think that’s about as valuable as 2/3 of PA but higher quality hitting?

    • SDG says:

      It depends on whether you stayed on one team or moved around (the former is looked on more favourably by voters) whether you hit the milestone numbers (benefits long-career guys) whether you played in an offensive era (benefits hitters except, weirdly, hitters in this era since no one is sure what to make of the numbers), whether you or the team you played for had a nickname (helps), and whether you had a public profile and if so, a positive one. Not just a nice person, but a gritty gamer.

      Having a short career is borderline OK if you missed time to military service or segregation. And even then you’ll probably have to wait. Missing time for injury hurts you. People might argue that Mattingly “would be in the Hall if not for his back . . . but he won’t get in). Puckett’s the one exception (although I wonder if some future VC comes around on Munson). Either way, I expect random tragic accidents are less likely to keep you out of the Hall than baseball-related wearing down, although we can both think of exceptions on both sides.

    • steve says:

      It is the Hall of the Famous. Consider another entertainment field: movies. Cary Grant never won an Oscar for Best Actor (or Best Supporting Actor). He was nominated only twice, which is sort of like coming in somewhere in the top five for MVP. But he is a Famous Actor, a Star, with a long career and who many of us still enjoy watching. Consider others like Ernest Borgnine or Broderick Crawford who actually won Best Actor awards, and also had long careers, but are at best members of only the Big Hollywood HoF. No, not completely analogous, but similar.

      • Brent says:

        The problem with the Famous standard is that Ken Burns, an eminent historian with an East Coast pedigree, can write a 1000 page book about baseball and not mention Stan Musial, one of the 20 greatest players ever in baseball and an icon in one of the greatest baseball cities of the world. So who decides who is Famous? Sportswriters and fans who grew up in the great NY or Boston area (since there are a LOT more of them than any other group of fans in America)?? Or the rest of us too?

      • Nick S. says:

        The idea that fame is actually supposed to be a standard for the Hall of Fame really bugs me.
        Is it really part of a player’s job to make sure sportswriters notice them? Was it, say, Jim Wynn’s job to call up newspapers and say “Hey, guys, just reminding you that despite playing in a terrible hitter’s park I hit for power and get on base as well as anyone in baseball. Bye now.”
        Kardashians are famous. Cooperstown can do better than that.

  3. PhilM says:

    If Buck O’Neil can’t be in the Hall, then Red Dress certainly should be. . . .

  4. Scott says:

    Like Joe, I’ve been thinking about the Hall of Fame a lot recently. I think that while we’re often too hard on the writers, especially some of the recent exclusions (Mussina, Schilling, Edgar), many of the lines that they have drawn are largely correct. For example, Ozzie Smith’s defense was great enough to overcome his comparatively poor hitting, while Mark Belanger’s wasn’t good enough to overcome his worse hitting. Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter, all contemporaries, can be seen as the three best in history and are in the Hall, while Ted Simmons’ career wasn’t good enough and Thurman Munson’s death prevented him from induction.

    • Patrick says:

      I think what’s frustrating are the puzzling inconsistencies. Mike Mussina is substantially better than Jack Morris in nearly every way, standard and saber, except in winning Game 7s of the World Series, and yet Morris got like three times the votes Mussina did when they were on the ballot. Likewise, what are 280 voters seeing in Barry Larkin that they’re not seeing in Alan Trammell in 2012? Like, if you want to say the standard for a starter is 300 wins and/or a bunch of Cy Youngs, and vote for neither guy, okay fine. That’s too steep in my opinion, but at least it’s consistent.

      • Scott says:

        Well Morris isn’t in the Hall of Fame, and I still think both Mussina and Schilling will be elected by the writers.

        Trammell is a more interesting argument, but in my mind he is no clear cut, but it isn’t what I would consider a glaring omission. I feel the same way about Kenny Lofton and Jim Edmonds. Incidentally, I think the more interesting Trammell comparison will be Derek Jeter, who will get one of the highest vote totals in history despite providing an almost identical career and peak WAR (and lower WAA).

        • Patrick says:

          When Mussina and Morris were on the same ballot, Morris got 351 votes and Mussina 116. Hundreds of the same people looked at Mussina and Morris at the same time and picked the clearly inferior pitcher. Mussina is going to be elected by a drastically different voting body than the ones who didn’t vote Morris, so it’s not really an apples to apples comparison like the 2014 vote was.

          • Dan says:

            Eh, you can’t look at the year they were on the ballot together in 2015 as indicative of the fact that many more voters thought Jack was a HOF’er and Mussina was not. It just doesn’t work that way. Jack was in his 15th year, Mussina in his first. Yes, it is ridiculous that HOF candidates have to build steam like that, but that’s the nature of the beast.

            Take a look at their Year 1/2/3 percentages –

            Mussina 20.3, 24.6, 43.0
            Morris 22.0, 19.6, 20.6

            It just takes the voters a while to come around, and they’re coming around a lot more quickly for Mussina than they did for Morris. He’s a lock.

        • Patrick says:


          “Eh, you can’t look at the year they were on the ballot together in 2015 as indicative of the fact that many more voters thought Jack was a HOF’er and Mussina was not”

          That’s literally *all* it’s indicative of. You can’t explain away 230 votes by “Well, it was his 15th year on the ballot” or “The ballot was too crowded.” That might explain some of it, yes. But when two guys appear on the same ballot and one gets three times the number of voters to vote for him, then yes, that’s exactly what it’s indicative of. More voters thought Morris was a HOFer.

          Why would you compare the 2001 vote to the 2015 vote? They were drastically different voting bodies

  5. invitro says:

    I scribbled down the questions/answers, in case anyone wants to discuss them. Sorry for the non-formatting though…

    1. who’s in the HoF? – Cuyler, Flick, Deerfoot Milan, Schalk, ? [I didn’t start until #2.]
    2. rank: Ruth, Williams, Mays, Cobb, Aaron
    3. who’s in the HoF? – Chief Bender, Doc White, Burleigh Grimes, George Uhle, Ross Youngs
    4. rank: Walter Johnson, Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax
    5. choose: Definite Hall of Famer; Eh, I guess so; Hot in my Hall, Who? for:
    Bagwell, Dawson, Winfield, Yount, IRod, Snider, Boggs, Fisk, Lajoie, Ott
    6. choose: Definite Hall of Famer; Eh, I guess so; Hot in my Hall, Who? for:
    Blyleven, Hunter, Niekro, Sutton, Smoltz, Drysdale, Robin Roberts,
    Jenkins, Bunning, Lefty Gomez
    7. who’s in the HoF? – Skeeter Kell, Pat Kelly, George Kelly, George Kell, Joe Kelley
    8. who’s in the HoF? – Rick Ferrell, Elmer Flick, Goose Goslin, Harry Hooper, Heinie Manush
    9. rank: Rickey Henderson, Schmidt, Brett, Clemente, DiMaggio
    10. rank: Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Pedro Martinez, Cy Young, Joe Morgan
    11. who’s in the HoF? – Edd Roush, Ed Walsh, Eddie Plank, Eddie Yost, Edgar Martinez
    12. rank: Ryan, Mathewson, Grove, Palmer, Ford
    13. who’s in the HoF? – Red Rolfe, Red Lucas, Red Faber, Red Dress, Red Schoendienst
    14. choose: Definite Hall of Famer; Eh, I guess so; Hot in my Hall, Who? for:
    Al Simmons, Chuck Klein, Gabby Hartnett, Puckett, Arky Vaughan,
    Luke Appling, Tony Lazzeri, Travis Jackson, Waite Hoyt, Chick Hafey
    15. who’s in the HoF? – Tinker, Evers, Chance
    16. rank: Billy Williams, Ozzie Smith, Fisk, Murray, Hornsby
    17. rank: Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Yastrzemski, Foxx, McCovey
    18. who’s in the HoF? – Freddy [sic] Lindstrom, Earle Combs, Roger Bresnahan,
    Jack Chesbro, Jesse Haines
    19. which have you definitely, absolutely heard of:
    Home Run Baker, Dave Bancroft, Eppa Rixey, Zack Wheat, Lloyd Waner, Paul Waner
    20. rank: Speaker, Killebrew, IRod, Frank Thomas, Sandberg
    21. choose: Put him in NOW!; Belongs in Hall eventually; Whatever;
    Nah, not a Hall of Famer; NO! for: Bonds, Clemens, Whitaker, Dwight Evans,
    Edgar Martinez, Murphy, Garvey, Rose, Trammell, Jack Morris
    22. Frank Thomas is strongly against steroid use and is angry about steroid users
    being inducted into the Hall but he freely admits using amphetamines when he was
    a younger player. Is this a logical argument for you?
    Yes, amphetamines and steroids are entirely different things
    It’s not entirely logical, but steroids are the much greater sin
    No, it’s not logical, both are illegal drugs used to boost performance
    23. rank: Campanella, Ashburn, Greenberg, Boudreau, Gary Carter
    24. How did Harry Houdini die?
    From a series of punches to the stomach
    Inside the Chinese Water Torture Cell
    Drowning after being trapped under ice
    Natural causes
    None of the above
    25. If the Hall of Fame had an inner circle — that is to say the greatest of the
    greatest players — which of these players would you put in it? Click as many or as few you as want:
    Roberto Clemente
    Nolan Ryan
    Sandy Koufax
    Bob Gibson
    Ernie Banks
    Al Kaline
    Warren Spahn
    Ozzie Smith
    Carl Hubbell
    Rod Carew

    • invitro says:

      Learn something today! If you’re like me and thought Kiki Cuyler’s name was pronounced “Kee-Kee”, well, it’s not. From Wikipedia: ‘Two explanations have been given for the origin of Cuyler’s nickname, “Kiki”. In the first version, he had been known as “Cuy” for a long time. When a fly ball was hit to the Nashville outfield and it was judged to be Cuyler’s play, the shortstop would call out “Cuy” and this call would be echoed by the second baseman. The echoed name caught on with Nashville’s fans. In the second explanation, “Kiki Cuyler” came from the player’s stuttering problem and the way it sounded when Cuyler said his own last name.’

    • Gary says:

      Invitro – I’m not sure where Joe is going with these, but I particularly found #25, Greatest of the Greatest, to be interesting. Personally, I chose none of those listed. To me they’re all greats but not Greatest of the Greatest. Earlier someone mentioned Mays, Aaron, Musial, Williams. Those four would be inside though. I’d be interested to hear what others chose for question 25.

      • Nick S. says:

        I didn’t pick anyone either.

      • Patrick says:


        He’s 26th all-time in WAR for position players. And he was still productive at the time of his death (4.8 WAR in just 102 games). Probably is 20th all-time were it not that. I also give extra credit to post-integration players who played against a deeper talent pool. And I like players who are all around talents, and Clemente was an all-time elite fielder, plus baserunner and great hitter—even if we’d ding him today for the OBP being so low.

        He just checks all my boxes

  6. David says:

    That WAS fun! Would gladly do another!

  7. nycgeoff says:

    I’m not sure about how serious you want to get, but Amazon’s Mechanical Turk can be an inexpensive way to get a broader sample of people to answer the survey. Would be interesting to see the differences in answers, especially for this second survey.

  8. nightfly says:

    I knew the Houdini answer. I won’t spoil it for everyone else.

    • Marshall says:

      I kind of suspect it was a trick question (based on what I think I know about how he died), but at the same time I don’t think Joe would write a question like that.

      • Karyn says:

        Joe would totally write a question like that. I don’t think he’d use the answers to shame people, but he’d want to know how many people believed the common myth, for example.

      • MCD says:

        I’m totally intrigued by the Houdini question now. There is the obvious choice (i.e. the way you always hear how he died). But based on comments here, that is a myth? However, via Googling, I can’t find *anything* to the contrary.

    • Pat says:

      Haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m guessing it’s that Houdini’s real first name was “Leslie”?

  9. Karyn says:

    So, Joe, How come the question about Houdini? You writin’ a book or somethin’?

  10. Pat says:

    Well, there’s my office productivity for the day.

    … also, I’m still in the middle of the quiz, but I believe some of these are made-up names. Nobody spoil it for me.

  11. KHAZAD says:

    I truly enjoyed the “ranking players” questions. I think Joe made interesting choices that made you think. I guess there were a couple that (I thought) had a clear #1 and #5, but even on those the middle was hard to rank.

    • Sadge says:

      I felt the same way. There were several that I wanted to put two or three in a tie and eventually realized that it didn’t matter what order I put some of them in because I would be ok if they were switched around, too.

  12. JGZ says:

    Why not share how you would rank certain players?
    Using invitro’s question recap above as a guide, I’ll start with q’s 2 and 4.

    2: Ruth, Mays, Cobb, Williams, Aaron. (But all inner-circle guys)
    4: Walter Johnson, Seaver, Randy Johnson, Maddux, Gibson, Koufax. (first four inner-circle, last two definite HOF’ers but not inner-circle, in my view. Could easily flip Unit and Mad Dog)

    • invitro says:

      Mine almost match yours. I put Williams second after Ruth, and switched Randy and Seaver. Here are all my ranking answers, and my HoF picking answers, and the amphetamine answer. I didn’t look anything up to answer any of the questions, so I may have gotten several “wrong”! 🙂

      2. rank: Ruth > Williams > Mays > Cobb > Aaron
      4. rank: Walter Johnson > Randy Johnson > Tom Seaver > Greg Maddux > Bob Gibson > Sandy Koufax
      9. rank: Rickey Henderson > Schmidt > Brett > Clemente > DiMaggio
      10. rank: Mantle > Cy Young > Pedro Martinez > Joe Morgan > Reggie Jackson
      12. rank: Grove > Mathewson > Palmer > Ryan > Ford
      16. rank: Hornsby > Fisk > Billy Williams > Ozzie Smith > Murray
      17. rank: Ripken > Yastrzemski > Foxx > Brooks Robinson > McCovey
      20. rank: Speaker > IRod > Frank Thomas > Killebrew > Sandberg
      23. rank: Gary Carter > Ashburn > Greenberg > Campanella > Boudreau

      5. definite: Bagwell, Yount, Snider, Boggs, Fisk, Lajoie, Ott
      I guess so: Dawson, Winfield, IRod
      not in my Hall: –
      6. definite: Blyleven, Niekro, Robin Roberts, Jenkins, Bunning
      I guess so: Smoltz, Drysdale, Lefty Gomez
      not in my Hall: Hunter, Sutton
      14. definite: Al Simmons, Gabby Hartnett, Arky Vaughan, Luke Appling
      I guess so: Chuck Klein, Tony Lazzeri, Travis Jackson
      not in my Hall: Puckett, Waite Hoyt, Chick Hafey
      21. Put him in NOW!: Whitaker, Dwight Evans, Edgar Martinez, Dale Murphy, Pete Rose, Alan Trammell
      Belongs in Hall eventually:
      Whatever: Garvey
      Nah, not a Hall of Famer: Jack Morris
      NO!: Bonds, Clemens
      25. If the Hall of Fame had an inner circle — that is to say the greatest of the greatest players — which of these players would you put in it? Click as many or as few you as want:
      YES: Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Nolan Ryan
      NO: Ernie Banks, Ozzie Smith, Carl Hubbell, Rod Carew

      22. Frank Thomas is strongly against steroid use and is angry about steroid users being inducted into the Hall but he freely admits using amphetamines when he was a younger player. Is this a logical argument for you?
      THIS ONE -> Yes, amphetamines and steroids are entirely different things
      It’s not entirely logical, but steroids are the much greater sin
      No, it’s not logical, both are illegal drugs used to boost performance

    • Nick S. says:

      2) Mays, Ruth, Williams, Aaron, Cobb
      4) Seaver, W. Johnson, R. Johnson, Maddux, Koufax, Gibson
      9) Schmidt, DiMaggio, Henderson, Brett, Clemente
      10) Mantle, Morgan, Young, Jackson, Martinez
      12) Grove, Mathewson, Palmer, Ford, Ryan
      16) Hornsby, Murray, Wiliams, Smith, Fisk
      17) Foxx, Yaz, McCovey, Ripken, Robinson
      20) Speaker, Killebrew, Thomas, Sandberg, Rodriguez
      23) Greenberg, Boudreau, Campanella, Ashburn, Carter

    • Pat says:

      I had a very hard time with the rankings, especially across eras. While I know Walter Johnson accomplished a career that’ll never be matched, say, there remains the following niggling question: Could he actually have struck out the guys that, say, Seaver or Clemens did? Could Babe Ruth have hit Maddux, Pedro, Unit like he hit the guys in the 20s?
      ‘Nother way to put it: Does anyone really think Time Machine Ty Cobb in the 70s does anything close to what Rickey Henderson did? Just consider: Before the 1950s, nobody had run a 4 minute mile. It’s done routinely now. Nobody in the 20s was lifting weights (they earned a couple of bucks from baseball and had other jobs they had to do).
      So here’s my question: If an Early Guy who couldn’t have managed physical feats routinely done by Later Guys, but had managed more success in a career facing only other Early Guys, how do you say the Early Guy was “better”?

      Anyway, I think I put Walter Johnson second.

      • invitro says:

        ‘how do you say the Early Guy was “better”?’ — Well, to me, “better” means in comparison with your contemporaries; the better player is the one who was more above the average of his peers. And sure, I think Ty Cobb would’ve done as well in the 1970’s, if he had access to the training, nutrition, and medicine of the 1970’s. Saying that Cobb would’ve sucked in the 1970’s is exactly analogous to saying that Isaac Newton would’ve been a crap physicist in the 1900’s — that dummy didn’t know any relativity or quantum physics at all!

        • Contrarian says:

          There’s an old joke—a retired ballplayer who played way back is asked how Ty Cobb would hit in today’s game (this was supposed to be somewhere around 1950, I guess). The old player says, I would guess he’d hit about .260.
          “Really? Why so low?”
          “Well, you have to remember—he’d be about 70 years old.”

  13. MCD says:

    I’m not exactly how enlightening the results of the “inner circle” question will be. It speaks as much to how big one regards that circle as opposed to what one might think of those players. I sort of ball-parked “inner circle” to mean top 10% of the HOF (making the inner circle about 25 players), meaning none of those guys would make the cut. Those guys were all clear-cut HOFers, but not (by my criteria) inner circle.

    • invitro says:

      I was thinking an “inner circle” of about 75 to 100 players. I don’t know if my choices are logical, but that’s the number I had in mind. Maybe Joe intentionally left the size of an inner circle up to the answerer on purpose?

    • Brent says:

      If my roster is 25 guys, I could see Spahn and Gibson on my pitching staff, but none of the rest of them make my team. Maybe Ozzie as a back up infielder, except he would probably pitch a fit about me wanting him to play 2nd or 3rd at some point in the late innings of a game, so I guess not.

      • Patrick says:

        My personal inner circle is done relative to a player’s position in baseball history, regardless of position. I think Clemente might be one of the 20 or so best position players ever, even if his ranking among OFs is a bit low compared to say, Wade Boggs and 3B

        • invitro says:

          Clemente vs Griffey? Clemente: 130 OPS+, 12 GG, 18 yrs, 94.5 WAR, 54.3 WAR7. Griffey, 134 OPS+, 10 GG, 22 yrs, 83.6 WAR, 53.9 WAR7. Is Griffey far behind Clemente?

          • Patrick says:

            I don’t care for Gold Gloves. The day Rafael Palmiero got one for playing 28 games at first base and 124 at DH, it was clear managers were just not taking it seriously. Also, relying on GGs makes it seem like all non-gold glovers are equal. BRef gives Griffey +3 fielding runs over the course of his career, and Clemente +205. Certainly being a CF is much harder than being a corner OF, and Griffey should have been moved long before he was. Still, the numbers say he was a lousy fielder the second half of his career

            Overall, Clemente has 11 more WAR in 1,000 fewer plate appearances. I don’t know if that qualifies as “far”, but it’s enough that I’d take Clemente, overall. Griffey was better in his prime, but I’m more of a career guy myself.

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          Roberto Clemente is one of the best humanitarians MLB has ever had. He’s a hugely important figure in baseball history and he’s a towering figure in terms of respect. However, I don’t think Clemente was anywhere near the Top 20 best position players ever, just as I don’t think Jackie Robinson was. I was surprised when I was looked at Clemente’s career and compared it to other OFers like Puckett and Gwynn. Puckett, in particular, put together a more complete career (with roughly 4 seasons fewer) than Clemente did. I was shocked by that. Roberto had a great career and was a fabulous humanitarian, but his numbers just don’t stack up when compared to other “inner circle” HOFers.

          • Patrick says:

            “Puckett, in particular, put together a more complete career (with roughly 4 seasons fewer) than Clemente did. ”

            Clemente: 94.5/54.3/74.4
            Puckett: 50.9/37.5/44.2

            Not even close

          • invitro says:

            I’m also wondering about that “more complete career” claim.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Patrick: sabermetrics isn’t the only stat to use when comparing careers. So let’s break down a few things, shall we?

            Puckett: .318/.360/.477
            Clemente: .317/.359/.475

            That’s AMAZINGLY close!

            Per 162 Games:
            Puckett: 97 R, 209 H, 38 D, 5 T, 19 HRs, 99 RBI, and 12 SBs

            Clemente: 94 R, 200 H, 29 D, 11 T, 16 HRs, 87 RBI, and 6 SBs

            You might not care about the per-162-games stats, but it’s important because if Puckett’s career had lasted as long as Clemente’s, his numbers would’ve looked pretty similar in some ways, if not superior in some ways. Clemente had 650 more games and 2200 more ABs, so roughly 3 1/2 more years. If we do some math, we can see that if Puckett had played in a similar number of games/ABs, his career numbers would match or surpass those of Clemente’s.

            I think WAR is a bit generous in terms of defense (a common complaint). Clemente was clearly a superior defensive player to Puckett, but Puckett also played a tougher position (CF) and still did a great job. Yes, Clemente was a better defender overall, but not enough better to justify the 12+ points in WAR that goes to Clemente.

            So there you have it: Puckett was better on offense in nearly every way though Clemente was a bit better on D. Both had their careers cut short. Both were faces of their franchises, both were larger-than-life, both were tremendous ambassadors for MLB during their playing days.

            As great as Clemente was, I think Puckett was just a little bit better.

          • invitro says:

            “Puckett was better on offense in nearly every way ” — Puckett had a 124 OPS+, Clemente a 130. You can’t just ignore era and park effects, unless you believe that hitters actually get better when they play in Coors Field, and worse when they go to another stadium.

          • invitro says:

            “Clemente was a bit better on D” — Understatement of the year? Clemente was one of the greatest fielders ever (+205 Rfield). Puckett was below average (-14 Rfield). That makes up a lot more than 12 WAR… it’s more like 20 WAR. Now, I loved the 1987 Cards and really, really loved the 1991 Braves, so I might be a little biased. 🙂 (Puckett’s 6 GG don’t agree with Rfield… he has a below-average Rfield in 4 of those 6 seasons.)

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Invitro – what gets lost in that 1991 WS is just how good of a game John Smoltz pitched. Jack Morris won, yes, but Smoltz was dynamite. And just to be clear, I’m not trying to discredit the great Roberto Clemente. He’s one of my favorite players ever, actually. Rather, I’m trying to put Puckett’s career in perspective. The guy was awesome and deserves a bit more praise than I think he normally gets =)

          • invitro says:

            Puckett’s top-10 AL WAR seasons:
            – 1988, #3
            – 1992, #4
            And that’s it. Not so impressive. (Jim Rice/Hunter were both #3 once and #8 once.)

          • invitro says:

            Clemente’s top 10 NL WAR finishes: #2, #2, #6, #6, #7, #7, #7.

          • invitro says:

            Mookie Betts’ top 10 AL WAR finishes: #2, #8. Mookie Betts is already ahead of Jim Rice/Hunter at age 24!!

  14. Crazy Diamond says:

    Fun stuff! Here are mine. (Thanks to Invitro for making this easy to edit.)

    2. rank: Ruth > Cobb > Aaron > Mays > Williams
    4. rank: Walter Johnson > Greg Maddux > Tom Seaver > Randy Johnson > Bob Gibson > Sandy Koufax
    9. rank: Schmidt > Henderson > Brett > > DiMaggio > Clemente
    10. rank: Cy Young > Mantle > Joe Morgan > Pedro Martinez > Reggie Jackson
    12. rank: Mathewson > Ryan > Grove > Palmer > Ford
    16. rank: Hornsby > Fisk > Murray> Billy Williams > Ozzie Smith
    17. rank: Yastrzemski > Ripken > Foxx > McCovey > Brooks Robinson
    20. rank: Speaker > Frank Thomas > Sandberg > Killebrew > IRod
    23. rank: Campanella > Gary Carter > Greenberg > Ashburn > Boudreau

    5. definite: Yount, Snider, Boggs, Fisk, Lajoie, Ott, Winfield
    I guess so: Dawson
    not in my Hall: – Bagwell, IRod
    6. definite: Robin Roberts, Jenkins,
    I guess so: Sutton, Smoltz, Drysdale, Lefty Gomez, Niekro, Bunning
    not in my Hall: Blyleven, Hunter
    14. definite: Al Simmons, Gabby Hartnett, Arky Vaughan, Puckett
    I guess so: Luke Appling
    not in my Hall: Waite Hoyt, Chick Hafey, Chuck Klein, Tony Lazzeri, Travis Jackson
    21. Put him in NOW!: Whitaker, Dale Murphy, Alan Trammell
    Belongs in Hall eventually: Pete Rose
    Whatever: Garvey
    Nah, not a Hall of Famer: Jack Morris, Dwight Evans, Edgar Martinez
    NO!: Bonds, Clemens
    25. If the Hall of Fame had an inner circle — that is to say the greatest of the greatest players — which of these players would you put in it? Click as many or as few you as want:
    YES: Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Nolan Ryan, Ernie Banks
    NO: Ozzie Smith, Carl Hubbell, Rod Carew

    • Crazy Diamond says:

      Actually I wouldn’t have Kaline in the inner circle. And there’s something oddly pleasing about putting Pete Rose in the HOF after he’s passed on. It’s the type of spitefulness (or stupidity) that the Hall has grown to promote. Remember Santo getting in right after he died? Cold stuff. The difference with Pete, I guess, is that he’s so arrogant that it’d be poetic justice for his fans to appreciate his HOF statue and not Pete himself.

      • invitro says:

        I’ve finally arrived at the point where I think Rose’s positive contributions outweigh his negative ones, plus his “time served”, and I’d put him in now. I think I’m about the only one, so I’m not willing to fight about it. But I’ll sign a petition if anyone has one. 🙂 (I still think betting on your own team is a big deal, but not -that- big of a deal, and far, far lesser than throwing the Series (in case anyone was going to ask about Jackson).)

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          I agree in regards to Jackson – that was far worse than anything Rose did. And I go back and forth on Rose. I mean, he’s such a tragically flawed guy, but it’s almost like he can’t help himself. And I’m pretty sure that being a HOFer means more to Pete Rose than anyone else on the planet. The guy would CHERISH it. So I dunno, maybe it is time to finally put him in…

        • Not the only one, I said put Rose in now also.

      • invitro says:

        I looked at my own pick of Kaline for inner circle, and thought “oh, really?” So I think I’d retract that one, too.

        My toughest ranking questions was #23. I don’t remember the numbers of Ashburn or Greenberg, I really need to think to know where to put Campanella, and I remember that Boudreau is probably a lot better than his general reputation. I also couldn’t remember the details of Foxx or McCovey for #17.

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          I think Greenberg and Campy were both high-peak kinds of guys whose impact in a short amount of time was far greater than their numbers. Greenberg was one of the first Jewish baseball superstars (Koufax followed in that tradition) and was nicknamed the Hebrew Hammer. He faced anti-Semitic slurs and taunts throughout his career. Jackie Robinson specifically credited Greenberg as someone who went out of his way to help him (Jackie) deal with the racial backlash that came with breaking the color barrier. And of course after spending time in the Negro Leagues, Campy came along about a year after Jackie did and faced some tough discrimination. But don’t forget: Greenberg and Campy were BALLPLAYERS and had great careers. Yes, they were important in a social aspect, but man could they hit!

  15. Rory says:

    I think that there should be a survey ranking the 32 greatest players of all time.

    • Richard says:

      How about non-players? Last year, Graham Womack published a list of “The 40 most important people in baseball history, ranked”

      As he says, “It’s not just players, but top executives, media members and even Supreme Court jurists helping craft baseball’s story.”

      • invitro says:

        I get excited about things like this :). The top 14 looks pretty solid, but other than that, it’s kind of an antihistoric list, more left-wing political than anything. To wit: #37 is the first female locker room reporter. Just tell me how the heck she influenced baseball history in any way? 🙂 There are a bunch of people like that on the list. 🙁

        • invitro says:

          Also… any list like that that doesn’t list Ted Turner, or Sy Berger & Woody Gelman, in the top 20, let alone the top 40, is really begging hard not to be taken seriously… 🙂

          • invitro says:

            Rabbit hole time… not listing Cartwright is just stupid. He should be in the top 10. (Apparently Melissa Ludtke was more important to baseball than Alexander Cartwright.) Several of the honorable mentions have much stronger claims than many in the top 40: Ford Frick, John McGraw, Bill Veeck, maybe Vin Scully. Also: Red Barber, Mel Allen, and Harry Caray for broadcasters. I looked for who got baseball going at the MLB level in the Dominican Republic, and I’m not sure who’s most responsible… the Dodgers’ Campo das Palmas, founded in 1987 by Peter O’Malley and maybe Rafael Avila (“Avila helped form the baseball academy system in the Dominican Republic”) seems high on the list. Others… maybe Al Reach of the Reach Guide. Probably Lee Allen (HoF historian during the 1960’s). Hell, the article’s author probably doesn’t even know who Lee Allen is… 🙂

        • MikeN says:

          Theo Epstein is less important than the female sports reporter in the locker room?
          Reminds me of Jack Morris’s three qualifications for making the Hall of Fame:
          Game 7
          Winningest pitcher in a decade
          “Only time I want to be naked around a woman is if I’m on top of her or she’s on top of me.”

          • invitro says:

            Well… I’m not saying she wasn’t important in general. I’m saying I can’t see that she’s important in any way *to baseball*. She probably belongs on a list of people most important to sports reporting.

      • Bryan says:
        Nearly 40 years after the ruling and the curtains and/or swinging doors that were recommended still haven’t been installed in the Yankee’s clubhouse.

        • invitro says:

          If I were a player or coach, I’d probably advocate for keeping them all out all of the time. As a fan, locker room interviews are almost always just dumb and worthless. The players and coaches should be the ones who decide when and where reporters can pester them, not the other way around.

  16. MikeN says:

    I’m guessing Joe is looking at how people prioritize different facets of the game for making the Hall of Fame, including Fame(how recent is he).

  17. Mark Daniel says:

    Since I grew up during the 70s/80s, I have always been fascinated by that era. It has been my belief that players don’t get enough credit for playing in that era. This stems from the fact that those who are considered the greatest players ever are not from the 70s and 80s (unless it’s an underrepresented position, such as catcher, Bench; 3B, Schmidt). But neither Schmidt or Bench are considered the greatest players ever. The all-time greats I’m thinking of generally come from other eras, such as Ruth, Williams, Bonds/Clemens, Mays, Mantle, Aaron, and so on. So I always believed the 70s and 80s got the short shrift. But that appears not to be the case. Looking at the careers of BBWAA elected HoFers, players who played the entire decade of the 70s are the most numerous (there are 21 of them) and those who played the entire decade of the 80s are the second most numerous (17). Overall, the decades go like this (decade- # of HoFers who played the entire decade):
    70s- 21
    80s- 17
    60s- 15
    90s- 14
    30s- 13
    20s- 11
    50s- 8
    40s- 6
    00s- 5

    Granted, the 90s may get close because of some of the steroid guys like Bonds and Clemens, but who knows if they’ll get to 21.
    And the ’00s, may get there too, but again, who knows.
    Anyway, I find that interesting. Here I thought the 70s/80s were underappreciated, but as far as HoF voting goes, they are most definitely not.

    • invitro says:

      “The all-time greats I’m thinking of generally come from other eras, such as Ruth, Williams, Bonds/Clemens, Mays, Mantle, Aaron, and so on. So I always believed the 70s and 80s got the short shrift.” — It may not have been their best decade, but Aaron and Mays played plenty of years in the 1970’s, and several highly notable ones, too. And you don’t have to go “so on” too much farther before getting to Henderson, Schmidt, Bench, and Maddux. And Seaver’s best decade was the 1970’s, and he’s often listed as an all-time great — he was on a few of our all-time rosters of 25 players, along with Schmidt and Bench. Basically, there are about twice as many decades as there are players like Ruth, Williams, Mays, and Mantle — not every decade gets one of them, and some (the 1960’s) get more than one…

    • Bryan says:

      50 WAR over a 10 season span suggests HoF quality, pitching WAR only for pitchers, those not elected by BBWAA:
      1970-79: Rose and Nettles
      1971-80: Grich and Nettles
      1972-81: Grich
      1973-82: Grich
      1974-83: none
      1975-84: Buddy Bell
      1976-85: none
      1977-86: KHernandez
      1978-87: KHernandez
      1979-88: KHernandez
      1980-89: Trammell
      Bobby Bonds, Ron Cey, Rick Reuschel, Ron Guidry and others were also really good and just miss that arbitrary cut-off but 5 WAR per season for a decade is somewhere close to the actual HoF “quality” cut-off as opposed to “felt like a Hall of Famer” inductees like Jim Rice.
      Elected by the BBWAA with 50+: Morgan, Bench, Carew, Reggie, Schmidt, Brett, GCarter, Yount, Rickey, Boggs, Ozzie, Cal, Seaver, Niekro, Perry, Blyleven, Palmer, Jenkins and Carlton. Guidry and Stieb lead a 10 year span for pitching WAR without breaking 50. Nolan tops out at 46.6 for his career in a consecutive 10 year span, 50 WAR is a very high standard.
      The BBWAA didn’t appreciate defense/position as much as WAR implies it “should” with Rose being ineligible and the rest of the 50+ snubs having a case which requires the voter to consider overall value something the BBWAA still struggles with, even with all the information currently available 7 out of 10 still place a check mark simply because of a .318 batting average or 601 saves.
      The perception of under-appreciation of the 70s/80s likely comes from it being the earliest that pretty credible defensive analysis is commonly available.
      The BBWAA does have a high volume of inductees from that era because Lou Brock had the stolen base and caught stealing records at the time of his induction, it inducted some relievers for no particular reason and Jim Hunter had the foresight to not use his given name which apparently swayed a lot of voters.

  18. Brent says:

    If I were to pick a 25 man roster of the greatest players (which is not the same as picking the 25 greatest players), picking a starter and a backup at each of the positions and one hitter of any position to DH, plus 7 starters and 1 reliever this is what I would envision:

    C: Bench and Berra
    1B: Gehrig and Pujols
    2B: Hornsby and Morgan (apologies to Eddie Collins)
    3B: Schmidt and Brett
    SS: Wagner and ARod
    LF: Bonds and Musial
    CF: Mays and Cobb
    RF: Ruth and Aaron
    DH: Williams

    Pitchers: W. Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Seaver, Maddux, Clemens, R. Johnson, Rivera

    Now, that isn’t necessarily the best by WAR, but it’s pretty close. I reached for Morgan over Collins, but I think that isn’t that much of a stretch, considering Little Joe’s peak has to be very similar to Collins and considering era. Speaker and Mantle would be in the top 25 in value but lose out because of their position.

    I notably did not pick Young or Nichols. Call it a bias against pitchers who could pitch 300+ innings a year for decades, just obviously a different game. Other than picking Rivera, I pretty much otherwise picked by WAR. Spahn could take R. Johnson’s place if you wish

    Berra probably has a couple RH catchers ahead of him in WAR. Having Carter or Fisk (both RH hitters) seemed redundant when JB is my starting catcher. I wanted a LH hitting catcher.

  19. Matt Vandermast says:

    Hope it’s not too late for my results to be counted. I haven’t gotten a blog notification since January 6th, and things were busy enough with me that I haven’t been checking in here. Apparently I’m still subscribed to get notifications. Glad things are otherwise OK.

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