By In Stuff

The New Mays Hall of Fame

OK, here’s a little game to play in the comments – a few years ago, you might remember, I jokingly wrote about the Willie Mays Hall of Fame. At that time, numerous people asked me what a REAL Willie Mays Hall of Fame might look like.

So I tried something here. I have created a Willie Mays type Hall of Fame using a system you can probably figure out. There are 80* players in this Willie Mays Hall of Fame – with two more active players (Albert Pujols and Adrian Beltre) already locked in.

*It was supposed to be 75 but as a couple of early adopters noticed that a few slipped through the cracks because they played multiple positions. There might be more to add …

I’ll write a second part about this later, but for now, ask yourself some questions: Do you like these Hall of Fame standards more or less than the current Hall standards? (Note: steroid players are eligible here so you might not like that part … but let’s try to leave that aside for this experiment). Would you prefer a Hall of Fame with these standards? Would you like standards somewhat in between these and the real Hall? Who are the biggest snubs in this version of the Hall? Who are the worst inclusions?

Oh, and just so you know – I avoided 19th Century players and Negro Leagues players. They are a different category.

Have fun.

* * *

At catcher (8): Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, Ivan Rodriguez, Bill Dickey and Roy Campanella.

(This would leave out six Twentieth Century players: Gabby Hartnett, Mickey Cochrane, Ernie Lombardi, Roger Bresnahan, Rick Ferrell, and Ray Schalk)

* * *

At first base (6): Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Johnny Mize and Hank Greenberg. (Albert Pujols would enter this when he retired).

(This would leave out ten players: Bill Terry, Willie McCovey, Frank Chance, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Murray, George Sisler, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Jim Bottomley and George Kelly).

* * *

At second base (6): Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, Joe Morgan, Nap Lajoie, Rod Carew and Jackie Robinson.

(This would leave out 13 players: Charlie Gehringer, Frankie Frisch, Ryan Sandberg, Joe Gordon, Robbie Alomar, Craig Biggio, Bobby Doerr, Billy Herman, Johnny Evers, Tony Lazzeri, Nellie Fox, Red Schoendienst and Bill Mazeroski).

* * *

At shortstop (10): Honus Wagner, Alex Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Arky Vaughan, Barry Larkin, Lou Boudreau, Ozzie Smith, Luke Appling, Ernie Banks and Alan Trammell.

(This would leave out 11 players: Robin Yount, Joe Cronin, Pee Wee Reese, Joe Tinker, Bobby Wallace, Joe Sewell, Dave Bancroft, George Davis, Phil Rizzuto, Luis Aparicio and Rabbit Maranville Also, upcoming, Derek Jeter).

* * *

At third base (7): Mike Schmidt, Eddie Matthews, Wade Boggs, Chipper Jones, George Brett, Brooks Robinson and Paul Molitor. (Adrian Beltre would enter when he retired).

(This would leave out six players: Home Run Baker, Ron Santo, George Kell, Jimmy Collins, Pie Traynor and Freddy Lindstrom).

* * *

In leftfield (5): Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, Rickey Henderson, Carl Yastrzemski.

(This would leave out 13 players: Al Simmons, Goose Goslin, Zack Wheat, Joe Medwick, Billy Williams, Willie Stargell, Ralph Kiner, Fred Clarke, Jim Rice, Heinie Manush, Chick Hafey, Lou Brock and, yes, Tim Raines).

* * *

In centerfield (6): Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Ken Griffey.

(This would leave out 11 players: Duke Snider, Larry Doby, Andre Dawson, Richie Ashburn, Kirby Puckett, Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, Max Carey, Edd Roush, Earle Combs and Lloyd Waner).

* * *

In rightfield (7): Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Larry Walker.

(This would leave out 12 players: Paul Waner, Harry Heilmann, Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Sam Crawford, Dave Winfield, Enos Slaughter, Elmer Flick, Chuck Klein, Ross Youngs, Sam Rice and Harry Hooper).

* * *

Right-handed starters (13): Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pete Alexander, Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Christy Mathewson, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Cy Young, Curt Schilling, Bert Blyleven and Phil Niekro.

(This would leave out 28 pitchers: Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Dazzy Vance, Robin Roberts, John Smoltz, Ed Walsh, Stan Coveleski, Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Mordecai Brown, Juan Marichal, Red Faber, Don Drysdale, Jim Bunning, Ted Lyons, Dizzy Dean, Vic Willis, Addie Joss, Don Sutton, Joe McGinnity, Waite Hoyt, Chief Bender, Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Red Ruffing, Burleigh Grimes, Jesse Haines and Catfish Hunter).

* * *

Left-handed starters (8): Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson, Eddie Plank, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Tom Glavine, Carl Hubbell.

(This would leave out seven pitchers: Hal Newhouser, Rube Waddell, Whitey Ford, Eppa Rixey, Lefty Gomez, Herb Pennock, Rube Marquard).

* * *

Relief pitchers (4): Mariano Rivera, Hoyt Wilhelm, Billy Wagner, Goose Gossage.

(This would leave out three pitchers: Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers).

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205 Responses to The New Mays Hall of Fame

  1. Michael Warwick says:

    There’s nothing about the DH one way or another so Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor aren’t accounted for

  2. Fireball Fred says:

    Too tight. You can’t really have a HOF with historical meaning and exclude, most obviously, every C and 3B from the first half of MLB history.

    • SDG says:

      You’re getting into that in the old days, Cs had really short careers because they had to catch two handed and would always get injured. Same with catching legal dirty balls. So catching was a more important job (the running game was a huge deal so catchers needed an arm and prevented runs) but they didn’t hit as much (partly because of the injuries) but a combination of light hitting and short careers mean it’s hard to compare them to outfielders.

      And if we’re going back to the deadball era, 3B is the same. More like 2B or SS in terms of fielding. We underrate fielding because it’s hard to see and it’s hard to measure.

  3. David says:

    I am not a very big baseball fan- most of my fandom revolves around the stories that people like Joe tell. This hall of fame, I’m almost sheepish to admit, fits what I think about when I hear hall of fame. However, I also recognize some pretty big names in the exclusions, and if I* do I would think big baseball fans would have huge objections.

    • moviegoer74 says:

      Of course. Joe stipulated that PED users are eligible. That issue aside, ARod is one of the 3 to 5 greatest players in the history of the game, at any position.

      • moviegoer74 says:

        Never mind. Based on subsequent comments by others, I assume you were questioning his initial exclusion. Carry on. nothing to see here.

      • invitro says:

        Say what? ARod isn’t even the best SS ever. How are you getting him in the top three players ever?

        • Bpdelia says:

          He’s actually around the 10th to 12th best position player in the games history. Objectively based upon production. It’s kind of easy, with all the drama, to overlook how ridiculously historically good he was.

        • SDG says:

          He put up outfield-level offensive numbers while playing GG-level defense at an important position. And he’s the best SS since one other guy who played in the deadball era. That’s pretty impressive.

          • invitro says:

            I’ll just copy and paste: “I’m well aware he’s that good; what I asked was how he gets in the Top 3.”

  4. larry byrne says:

    I like the Willie standard in the main Pantheon, but with minor gods worshiped from afar in in the anterooms. Negro leagues? After all I am in KC? Really I think Josh Gibson has to make the cut here at the very least. We got Jackie and Larry Doby I see, but…and does there need to be an asterisk next to Jackie? Great, yes, Significant? Absolutely! but lifetime stats? hmm, tough one

    Is there room for Buck?

    Lake Lotawana, MO

    • SDG says:

      If you look at Jackie’s stats in a vacuum, he does have an astronomical peak. His counting stats are low because his career was short, but he has a legit argument at being the best player in the league from 1949-1952. And very good the 4 years after that. (Keeping in mind the league includes Musial). Add to that he was versatile defensively and you can certainly make an argument he’s like the Koufax of infielders. So dominant that you can overlook the short career.

      Besides, the job is to find the best players. Unless you’re willing to say that no one who played during WW2 is in the greatest ever conversation because their counting stats are low, that’s missing the point.

  5. Jaunty Rockefeller says:

    No ARod? He’s not dinged for steroids (see Clemens & Bonds), or for recency (see Pujols & Beltre). Not good enough? Or is it because his career was split across two positions? An oversight? Something else?

    • KHAZAD says:

      Arod is there.

      • invitro says:

        Khazad, Joe has made many changes in his list since first posting it: ARod, Banks, Niekro, Killebrew, and more. Don’t take my word for it, though, just read where Joe says “It was supposed to be 75 but as a couple of early adopters noticed that a few slipped through the cracks because they played multiple positions. There might be more to add”. If a poster said something a few hours ago which is no longer true, this is almost certainly the reason.

  6. Lou Mindar says:

    I like the HOF the way it is. I think your Mays HOF has a snub or three, but nothing egregious. The thing I found most interesting was that your Mays HOF included Barry Bonds (LF), Larry Walker (RF), Curt Schilling (RHP) and Billy Wagner (RP), four guys who are unlikely to get into the current HOF, at least this year. Billy Wagner in particular intrigued me. You just wrote a piece saying Wagner and Trevor Hoffman have the same basic HOF case, but you included Wagner in the Mays HOF and snubbed Hoffman completely. Is there a reason for this?

  7. Ross says:

    Blyleven and Schilling? All I can say is if they are in, the standards are too low for Willie Mays.

  8. Andy G says:

    Great list, but would add just a few more names. So I prefer something in between. (Perhaps add Gehringer, Yount, Alomar, Gwynn, Jackson, three or four pitchers, maybe a few others…) Love that you added in Trammell and Bagwell.

  9. rick Vanian says:

    I’d swap out
    Mize for Sisler at first base-
    Trammel and Larkin for Jeter and Yount at ss-
    Walker for Gwynn in RF-
    Blyleven for Palmer at RHP-
    Wagner for Eckersley at RP

  10. Daniel Newman says:

    I think it’s interesting you chose Larry Walker over Reggie Jackson. I would think Reggie’s performance in the post season trumps any of Walker’s accomplishments. Reggie’s 563 home runs plus 18 in the post season make him an all time great.

    • otistaylor89 says:

      I can’t of two guys that played the game in the past 50 years in completely different environments- Reggie in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum and Walker in the thin air in Colorado. Having said that, I don’t see how you can’t pick the 70’s player who the dominant force on 5 WS winning teams.
      Plus hitting the transformer in Detroit has to count for something.

    • Kuz says:

      I agree……Larry Walker over Reggie doesn’t pass the smell test.

      • invitro says:

        If you can’t smell well-roundedness and being great at every aspect of baseball (OK, except pitching, probably).

        • otistaylor89 says:

          Look at Walker’s Home/Away splits and try to see the well rounded part.
          I see a guy who was great when hitting a baseball with little resistance and good to sometimes very good when not.

          • invitro says:

            There’s no need; WAR handles any Coors Field factors.

          • Bryan says:

            Walker .865 career road OPS
            Reggie .860 career road OPS

            You would still have to adjust for era for a fairer comparison but it’s probably closer than you would expect.

        • invitro says:

          You’re using OPS, and talking about era adjustments, so why aren’t you using OPS+ instead? Walker beats Jackson by a hair on OPS+, 141 to 139. Walker beats Jackson on Rbat/PA by quite a larger margin (52 to 42 Rbat/(1,000 PA)). Of course, Walker destroys Reggie in baserunning and fielding. Walker was just a much better player than Reggie per PA. Reggie of course was good for more games per year (134 to 117). I don’t think that makes up the difference, but I’m too lazy to think about it further. It’s 117 games of 6.0 WAA/(1,000 PA), versus 134 games of 4.1 WAA/(1,000 PA).

          I think it’s rotten that Walker hasn’t gotten more HoF support. Well, I think it’s rotten that he didn’t go in first ballot, but oh well.

          • Otistaylor89 says:

            Yeah, I’m sure WAR takes that in consideration and he had a favoable Home/Away split in his best season (1997), but come on those Rockies teams made all those journeymen into Mickey Mantles before the humidor. His top WAR was 5.4 before coming to CO and then he explodes in his age 30 season.
            I’d still take Reggie for being the straw factor alone.

          • invitro says:

            I see. Larry should’ve had a candy bar named after him. 🙁

  11. invitro says:

    Well, this will be fun to play with. I just skimmed, but I already have a big question: Billy Wagner is in Joe’s top 75 players, but Joe’s not even voting for Wagner for the regular HoF? (Wagner is Ballot 16, which may not mean that he’s exactly #16 on Joe’s mental ranking of the 2017 candidates, but certainly means he’s not in the ten players Joe will vote for.)

    Also, not having Negro Leaguers in the “real” HoF was tried already, some 45 years ago. I suspect there would be about the same uproar if it were tried today. Probably Joe just finds it too difficult to decide just how many of the 75 players should be Negro Leaguers & 19th-century guys, but maybe he could’ve shot a quick email to Bill James and gotten a quick answer. 🙂 (I wonder if in 100 years, people will think about 20th-century players as being decidedly substandard, like “Willie Mays? He couldn’t even make my college team now. And he didn’t have to play against women, Aborigines, or Martians, and was profoundly dezperphobic and henniblist to boot.”)

    • SDG says:

      I know you’re joking, but Mays actually did play with “aborigines” (or, as we usually say, Native Americans). I think the reason Joe didn’t include 19th century or NeL players is this is a statistical exercise and we don’t have complete stats (and the games were sufficiently different to make comparisons difficult) to say which players were the best with any degree of certainty. Those clever people at Seamheads are compiling complete box scores of those leagues so who knows what we can do in the future.

  12. Dano says:

    Drop Schilling and Blyleven as pitchers? Folks that aren’t first ballot are not ones I think of as worthy of the Willie Mays Hall of Fame. I think of WMHoFers as no brainers. Blyleven and Schilling are borderline guys that I’d rather see in the Hall of Very Good. Blyleven has 2 All Star appearances in a 20 year career. Ryan Dempster has as many All Star Game selections.

  13. Pak says:

    What about Harmon Killebrew? I’m not saying he belongs, but I wonder why he is not in the “left outs”.

    Wagner and Gossage surprised me in the relievers, I thought Fingers was unique as a fireman and would have been my 3rd (and borderline) choice.

  14. invitro says:

    Looks like someone forgot about poor Ernie Banks. 🙁 (He’s not even in the “would leave out” part.)

  15. Alejo says:

    A Hall of Fame with Schilling and Blyleven but not Ryan and Palmer.

    Not credible, is it?

    • Jamie says:

      Ryan had some huge weaknesses as a pitcher that would keep him out as a true great, while still being probably a top 5 choice in “watchability.” And Palmer’s WAR puts him more in the range of Dwight Gooden than Walter Johnson. He just didn’t get enough strikeouts or play long enough. He had remarkable luck with the bases loaded and often had quality defenses behind him in Baltimore, he also doesn’t get the bonus points here that we give him for playing for 1 team.
      Schilling and Blyleven both have lots of strikeouts and pitched for a long time while keeping their walks to a minimum and don’t get penalized for spending large chunks of their careers on bad teams.
      To me Schilling is clearly the best of these 4 pitchers with Blyleven and Ryan being a really close call. Palmer doesn’t seem to be in this conversation to me.

  16. Steve H says:

    Is Ernie Banks in or out?

    • John A says:

      Banks has a clear dividing line in his career. Prior to 1961 he was a stellar, transcendent talent at SS, with an OPS of 292/.355/.563. In 1961 he played his first game at 1b and almost instantly became mediocre. His career slash line at 1b was .260/.308/.450. (He had an .874 OPS in 61 games at 3b in 1957).

      He clearly belongs in the HoF as currently structured but isn’t a top-tier talent IMO due to the sharp decline in the last more than half of his career. Some of that is attributable to the decline in offense overall but most of it was due to the nagging knee injuries that caused the shift to 1b in the first place.

    • Rich says:

      Joe put him IN at SS.

  17. Alejo says:

    Miguel Cabrera should be here?

    • Gabe says:

      I agree. He’ll be among the top 5 first basemen ever in JAWS by the time he’s done.

      • invitro says:

        You guys are probably right. Miggy has 39.6 WAA, which beats Frank Thomas and Greenberg among first basemen. If he retired right now, he’d be in. If he hangs around many more years and starts putting up negative WAA’s, he could fall out.

  18. Douglas Bisson says:

    I agree with much of this. I cannot envision an elite HOF that leaves out George Sisler and Derek Jeter. I do not think Lou Boudreau (the best shortstop of the 1940s) ranks ahead of Jeter, and I don’t believe Trammell is so much better that he would make the inner circle while Jeter is left out. There is little to choose between Smoltz and Schilling, and Mussina is better than both. I think Rivera and Wilhelm are the only relief pitchers who belong in the Hall of Fame.

    • SDG says:

      My guess would be this is an exercise that looks at wins above average or similar. Jeter was solid for a long time, which is certainly valuable, but that kind of statistical breakdown would eliminate someone like him.

      Question for the room: If the Yankees didn’t swallow their own hype and keep Jeter at short, a position he really wasn’t suited to, would that make him a better candidate for the Hall of Mays (better defense stats) or worse (his offensive numbers look less gaudy relative to the rest of the players at his position)?

      • Darrel says:

        I would say yes probably but lets consider. First Jeter was an embarrassing defensive SS for many years. By some ranking systems the worst Defensive player in the history of the game and its not close. Those systems are counting stat oriented so he gets punished for longevity but still he was truly awful. Now that Yankee fans see what a real SS looks like everyday you don’t see quite the outpouring of support for his D that you used to. So having said that LF Jeter might have had a better case as the defensive side of the game wouldn’t be held against him so much. The problem there is that his offense, particularly late career, only played as a middle infielder. You just cant have a 10HR 10SB LF in the American League and compete.

        Jeter simply wasn’t the player many like to remember. There is a reason Joe made up the word “Jeterate” after all. Just not sure that Yankee LF is as sexy as Yankee SS and that could have hurt his case as much as the D improvement would have helped.

  19. AlbaNate says:

    The first big shock for me was seeing McCovey left out…which I guess is why I wasn’t so shocked to see Reggie Jackson out.

    Also, I can’t imagine the hall without Nolan Ryan in it, even though I recall that there was great debate during his career as to whether he was really a Hall-of-Famer or not.

  20. Richard Aronson says:

    There is an inevitable nature of HOF lists where peak and longevity matter. You don’t get in without a good or better peak, but you also don’t get in without lasting at least ten years at a decent level. I argue that players with a good peak and great longevity deserve consideration; your list strongly favors peak over longevity.

    I was concerned at Ernie Lombardi. He won an MVP. He had a career batting average of .306. He also had 11 seasons throwing out 45% or more of the opposing base stealers. As a catcher with a career before modern protective gear, he missed a fair number of games, but still was valuable when he was healthy in a 17 season career, and got MVP votes five times, so he had at least a decent peak and good longevity. He never struck out more than 25 times in a season. But he also only had one year with over 500 plate appearances (his MVP season) so if you consider his career is just two empty aside from batting average and arm, I’ll give you Lombardi.

    You lost me when you left out Eddie Murray. Murray had everything you want in a first baseman, but not playing for a large media market meant that his eight straight seasons with MVP votes didn’t get him any wins. He led the league in OPS+ one season (finished fourth), led in homers and RBI another (strike shortened 1981) and finished fifth. You might consider him a grinder, but he ground his way to 9th all time in Intentional Walks (so other teams feared him), 500 homers, 3000 hits, tenth in total bases, while playing in a relatively strong pitching time. The advanced defensive stats don’t like him, but he won three gold gloves, was first all time in games at first base, and they could have hidden him at first base his entire career, but didn’t. Counting stats matter, and Murray makes my cut where McGriff just doesn’t; not quite as good, not quite as long.

    Others, like Nolan Ryan, also really bother me; if Bert Blyleven gets in for his strikeouts while pitching for mostly bad teams (only three seasons reaching the playoffs in a 22 year career) then Ryan has the same arguments (only five seasons with postseason play in a 27 year career) and a lot more. Ryan has a higher recognition factor for greatness (9 seasons to 5 with ranking in either or both of MVP and Cy Young), plus three huge all time records (strikeouts, hits per 9IP, and no-hitters) to none for Blyleven. Ryan even twice led the league in WHIP (and got no Cy Young votes either season) to one for Bert. Ryan walked a lot more than Blyleven, but Blyleven gave up more homers. Blyleven’s argument is he got a lot of strikeouts pitching for a lot of bad teams (19 seasons out of the playoffs). Ryan got more strikeouts pitching for bad teams (22 seasons out of the playoffs), plus has three positive (and one negative: walks) all time records. People came to see Ryan pitch; Blyleven, not so much.

    If greatness is the goal, then you have to replace Blyleven with Ryan; Blyleven was probably the better pitcher, but Ryan had far more greatness. I have no objection to including both of them, but you can’t pick Bert over Nolan.

    • NevadaMark says:

      Trust me, Eddie’s problems with publicity had nothing to do with playing in a small media market. Jim Palmer played in the same market and the media never shut up about him. Eddie almost never spoke to the press, and was seen as somewhat of an intimidating figure. The media was quite respectful of his skills (obviously), but the man had no wish to be a public figure outside of the lines. Whether his churlish or withdrawn attitude had anything to do with his MVP voting is hard to say; I think the fact he never had that one magical season was a bigger problem. Consistently excellent, he was, but never a season where you’d say “My God”.

  21. Craig says:

    DId you choose 75 because it made a nice number or is that where your rankings left you?
    Raines belongs on the list of no-doubt first ballot players. Perhaps I overrate him, but he’s the 2nd best lead-off and basestealer on this list. Sandberg seems like a tough call, but I don’t take too much issue with it. I don’t think Jeter nor Blyleven makes the cut. Seems to favour High Peak while maintaining high performance for at least a few years. I have always thought HoF players need to have a few HoF seasons and a couple of exceptional tools, not only longterm very good seasons nor compiled counting stats alone. I like Bill Simmons model for the NBA HoF. It’s a series of levels separating levels of greatness. You could probably cut this list in half or smaller and have a pantheon of the elite. Maybe 2 or 3 per position

  22. Howard says:

    Schilling and not Ryan?

  23. Brian says:

    Mike Trout should certainly be an anticipated add (since some others – albeit older- were mentioned S anticipated adds) when he retires, no matter what happens the rest of his career.

    • invitro says:

      I checked on Trout first thing. It looks like if he was replacement level for the rest of his career, actually he wouldn’t quite make this HoF. One more Troutlike season will be enough. I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Kershaw is already in or very close.

    • SDG says:

      I agree but I think the exercise is based on available stats. As in, Pujols and Beltre could retire tomorrow and make the Hall of Mays. Trout couldn’t.

  24. Alejandro says:

    I´m having trouble with Tony Gwynn, Miguel Cabrera, and Trout who is already on pace to break a lot of records with a “peak” which is his entire carreer higher than most hall of famers. For the rest I like it better than the actual.

  25. invitro says:

    Molitor over Santo might be a big mistake. Santo’s WAR7 is 53.8 (#4 3B, even higher than Brett), Molitor’s is 39.6. But Molitor was a playoff hero in 1993, and was great in 1982 also, so that might make up the difference. Santo needs to be here, in any case.

  26. Paul White says:

    Roy Campanella being in and Thurman Munson being out doesn’t compute for me. Yes, Campanella gets bonus points for lost seasons he would have played if not for segregation, and then had his career cut short. But let’s just do a bit of presumptive math on that. First, Campy was putting up seasons in the 4.0 WAR range when he joined the NL. Presuming he could have started at age 22 absent segregation – same age as Munson’s first year – that’s roughly 18.0 WAR he lost, along with roughly 500-600 games, 100-120 homers, etc. Add those to his career and he’s at 52 WAR, 350 HR, 1200 RBI, etc. That’s in the Ted Simmons/Gabby Hartnett range, only with more power, and we’ve already left them out. Second, the premature, tragic end of his career largely hides the fact that he was pretty much done as a player anyway. He only posted 6.5 WAR combined in his final 4 seasons, over 5 of that coming in his final MVP season, 1955. In other words, once we account for his lost segregation years, we don’t really need any further adjustments.

    As for Munson, he’s at 46 WAR before we do anything, so he already compares well to even a segregation-adjusted Campy. Now take into account Munson’s lost seasons. He had just turned 32 when he died, and was still a productive player, turning out seasons in the 3-5 WAR range even as he declined a bit in his 30’s. If he’d been able to play through age 35, as Campy did, he’d have likely added 10-12 WAR to his career total, putting him at roughly 56-58. He wouldn’t have had Campy’s homer and MVP totals, but he was a better defender, won more championships, and was a far better post-season player. He’d be a pretty good comp for Bill Dickey, actually, and we’ve already decided he’s in.

    Seems to me that they should both be in, or both be out. But if you put only one in it should be Munson and not Campanella unless you assume some extraordinary things for Campy – like being a regular at age 19, or posting 6+ WAR seasons in his 22-25 year ranges – that aren’t supported by the evidence.

    • the_slasher14 says:

      I’ve seen this argument before and what it fails to take into account is that the WAR Campanella would have picked up if he’d had more seasons aren’t the only thing he lost. He ALSO lost the growth that goes with them, which would have augmented his WAR is the years when we do have his numbers. His 1950 breakout season, for example, might have come at age 24 or 25 instead of age 28. Also he had seasons at 32 and 34 when injuries ruined his numbers when he was at his peak. A younger man might have recovered better and faster. You’re right that after 1955 he was cooked, of course, but the point is that if a career has an upslope and a downslope, obviously the upslope rises higher if it begins in normal fashion than if it is, as was the case with Campanella, foreclosed. In the case of Robinson this is obvious because he missed so many more seasons, but it applies to Campanella as well.

      I also wonder how much of Munson’s WAR are defensive. Campanella was known as the best defensive catcher in the NL in his time, but catcher defense was far less important than in Munson’s, since there was so little base stealing. If Munson is getting an advantage here, it’s not completely valid in a comparison with Campy.

      As for Munson’s offense, 14 points of OBP isn’t too much but 90 points of SP is, and Munson was already under .400 SP and down to single digit HRs for the season plus before he died. You’re saying Campanella was cooked after 1955 (true) and that Munson would have racked up 12 more WAR. There is no evidence to support that.

      • Paul White says:

        There’s actually ample evidence of it. When he died, Munson was in the midst of a season that would have finished in the 3.5-4.0 WAR range. He posted 3.2 the year before, and 4.9 the year before that. While his power was reduced from earlier seasons, most of his value had nothing to do with his HR total. He was remarkably durable for a catcher, having played over 90% of the Yankees games in his final year, and between 149 and 157 each of the 4 previous seasons. Absent the plane crash that took his life, there is no reason at all to assume he wouldn’t have continued that pace, with some normal decline, for another 3+ years, which is all I projected. Another 10-12 WAR is a really fair estimate, as is 450-500 more games, and 600 or so hits.

        Your points about Campanella’s development have some truth to them, but also grossly underestimates the quality of play in the Negro Leagues if you’re presuming his full-time duties for the Baltimore Elite Giants didn’t constitute adequate “growth” as a young player.

        • Paul White says:

          Typo alert…meant 500 add’l hits for Munson.

        • KHAZAD says:

          I am not arguing that Thurman Munson was not awesome, or does not deserve at least to be discussed for the more exclusive Hall (because no matter how high or low you put the border, there are still borderline players to argue about)

          But assuming 10-12 more WAR from him after his age 32 season is a bit extreme. There have been 17 catchers that have put up 10+ WAR after age 32. On average they had played 452 less games than Munson through age 32. (The only one to play as many was Yogi)

          There are 11 catchers (whose careers have concluded) who played at least as many games as Munson through age 32, including four in Joe’s more exclusive hall and another who is in the regular hall. They averaged less than 4.2 WAR from age 33 on.

          • KHAZAD says:

            Even if you limit it to the five hall of famers, the average is still less than 5.8, with only one breaking 10.

        • NevadaMark says:

          Do we give credit to players who miss (in Munson’s case) years do to a severe injury? An extreme injury to be sure, but still. Or does he get special consideration because it was so tragic? I don’t know.

    • SDG says:

      Campy WAS a regular at 19. He started playing with the Elite Giants at age 16, and was Biz Mackey’s backup for a bit, but by his age 18 Biz Mackey was traded and he was the regular catcher for the highest league available to him. And given that in the majors, he posted WARs of 7.1, 6.7, and 5.2, I think he quite easily could have had 6+ WAR seasons at ages 22-25. He made the Negro League All-Star teams and was heavily scouted by Jorge Pasqual, so that was certainly his reputation.

      Also, he was a big, physically mature kid who started his career early, and for the first half of his career played deadball-style ball (playing every day, catching spitters and scuff balls, no training, getting right close to the plate, throwing out runners on every play) and deadball catchers tended to burn out early. Give all that, I think his peak would be earlier than that of the average player. (Like you, I’m not giving him any credit for what he might have done after the accident).

      The reason Campy is in, I’m assuming, is that from 1948-1953 he was as good, or slightly better than, Yogi, the arguable best catcher ever. The reason he didn’t play as long as Yogi (or technically, the reason we aren’t counting half Campy’s playing time) was for reasons that had nothing to do with his play. So we extrapolate based on that.

      • Paul White says:

        I can buy part of this argument, but not all of it. Presuming that a major league team would hand their pitching staff over to a 19 year old kid is a big stretch. Even granting he’d start earlier than age 22, which was my original presumption, I just doubt it would have been three full additional seasons. Let’s split the difference, say he came up at 20, started at 21, posted 5 total WAR in that extra year and a half. That gets him to 57 total WAR. Then let’s say he peaks sooner, as you suggest, starts posting 6 WAR seasons at 23 or 24, etc..That’s an extra 5 or so total WAR over the 4 WAR average I presumed he’d have posted in those years. Let’s give him all 5, putting him at 62 overall. Now, we’ve pushed his overall career forward 5 full years, presuming full time duty and associated wear and tear. Does he still post his 1955 MVP season if he had 700 more big league games clocked on his legs before that year? Does his decline phase start at 30 instead of 32? Maybe, maybe not. Even presuming he doesn’t decline sooner, and we give him the credit for all sort of suppositions that didn’t happen, he’s still only at 62 WAR and Munson is in the ballpark of 57 using my prior assumptions. Now both are north of the Bill Dickey line Joe used as a cutoff, approaching or exceeding both Berra and Piazza. So, again, even with all of the suppositions we just used to justify Campanella’s inclusion, what’s the argument to exclude Munson? I mean, as long as we’re making projections for players who lost time beyond their control, shouldn’t a (very fair) projection for Munson also have brought him across the line, too?

        • invitro says:

          “shouldn’t a (very fair) projection for Munson also have brought him across the line, too?” — Short answer: no. Longer answer: I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but Joe’s list is based on WAA, not WAR. Munson had 25.3 WAA, and Dickey had 31.6. That’s 6.3 WAA to make up. Munson had 1.0 WAA in his last two seasons. It’s not reasonable to assume he would’ve collected 6.3 more.

          • Paul White says:

            I am aware. I’m also aware that Campy had 15.7 WAA for his career including -0.2 in his final 4 combined seasons. So he had 15.9 from age 26 to 31 and would need to have compiled 15.7 additional WAA before age 26 in order to pass the total Dickey compiled. In his five season peak, ages 27-31, he totaled 15.5. So basically Joe is assuming that Campy would have been exactly the same player at ages 21-25 as he was from 27-31, with no drop off for the additional wear and tear, and no ramp up time as he developed as a young player. Which, ok, he can do that. I just don’t buy it.

  27. Jesse says:

    “I have created a Willie Mays type Hall of Fame using a system you can probably figure out.”

    I can’t figure it out. Anyone?

    • Bryan says: WAA with minimum 1500 games at a position the names are mostly in exact order, Campanella is 20th with 1000+ games at C and does not have 1500 games. A-Rod would have appeared in the 75 (as opposed to 79) if he had used 1000 as a cut-off.

      Wagner has 903 IP so the cut-off for relievers was lower than that. Kershaw is tied with Hubbell at 38.8 WAA but “only” has 1760 IP so the cut-off for starting pitchers was higher than that as he doesn’t even get a mention.

      • Paul White says:

        Which still leaves me lost on Campanella v Munson. Campy’s WAA/162 was 2.09; Munson’s was 2.89. Some sort of massive adjustment was made for Campanella, and it’s not clear why.

        • invitro says:

          Joe probably just added Campanella manually.

        • SDG says:

          If we insist on comparing players across eras, I’m inclined to give a significant adjustment for catchers who played with the pillow mitt and had constant durability-sapping injuries as a result.

      • Brian Rostron says:

        Which is why it works against players who played significant time at multiple positions, right? Yount, Rodriguez? Wouldn’t it make more sense to take the top 75 players overall by some version of WAR/WAA/etc. perhaps separated by pitchers (and then maybe relievers) and position players?

        • Bryan says:

          No, it counts their entire career as long as they appear on the list.

          The main thing that “punishes” a player is having a long career and not being Barry Bonds, David Ortiz, Roberto Clemente or a handful of other players who were above average right to the end of their careers.

          Pete Rose has 42.3 WAA after the 1979 season and 28.6 at the end of his career. Setting aside the off-field stuff he was a Hall of Famer during his career but retired not good enough by the way Joe made his list.

          • SDG says:

            Which makes sense to me. That’s what we think of when we think “great player” – high peak.

            Pete Rose was an above-average player for a long time (longer than he should have been playing). But he was the third-best player on his own team. I think he deserves to be in the real Hall, given their standards, based on his stats and stats alone. But he wasn’t among the greatest ever at any point during the time he was playing.

          • invitro says:

            “But he was the third-best player on his own team.” — You know, I debunked this exact claim a year or two ago. Did you make it? So I’m not going to revisit the details, but IIRC, you’re nuts. Rose was pretty much always the #1 or #2 player on his teams with the Reds, going by WAR for a particular season. (You seem to like to make claims that are factually wrong and easily checked; I really wish you’d try to stifle your desire to do this. It’s not a good look.)

          • BobDD says:

            I assume he means Morgan and Bench were #1 and #2. You could call me names too, but I’m pretty sure that would vote out overwhelmingly.

          • invitro says:

            “that would vote out overwhelmingly.” — I can’t parse this.

          • SDG says:

            invitro –

            I don’t actually write down every pearl of wisdom that drops from your mouth, write it in my diary and remember it forever. And since I wasn’t posting here a year ago, it’s possible you didn’t aim that at me. And just blindly looking at bWAR isn’t “analysis”. Since I would assume the majority of baseball fans see Bench and Morgan as better (peak) players than Rose, your assertion is, at best, counterintuitive. In any regard, it is neither easily checked (it involves interpretation and opinion as to weighting different aspects of the game, positional assumptions, etc), nor factually wrong. The reason we have these discussions at all is, other than extremes, these things ARE open to interpretation.

            And more people would agree with me than would agree with you. That itself doesn’t make me right but it means your claims about Pete Rose relative to Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan are not “easily checked”.

            Seriously, what’s your problem?

          • invitro says:

            My problem is that many people make silly factual claims that are wrong, and can easily be seen to be wrong with a few seconds of research. And then when someone points it out, they get mad. Anyway… since you’re lazy, I checked and Rose was #1 or #2 in WAR on the Reds at least seven times. He’s also #1 in career WAR in the 135 years of Reds franchise history. You tell me how those things are possible if Rose was never more than the third best player on his team.

          • SDG says:

            I can’t tell if you’re trolling or just stupid. Career WAR is irrelevant. OBVIOUSLY the guy who played forever will have greater counting stats. That means nothing when I was talking about the best player for a specific period of time. Wow, a guy who played a really long time holds counting records! Do you also think Rose is a better hitter than Cobb?

            For heaven’s sake, who cares who the franchise leader is in career WAR. Morgan spent less than half of his career in Cincy.

            We are looking at their peak years. For the years they were on the same team
            Rose OPS: .712
            Bench OPS: .948
            Morgan OPS: .881
            (I assume I don’t need to remind you I’m comparing an OF/3B with no fielding rep to gold glove winners at important positions. Morgan was also an elite baserunner.

            For each of their top 5 seasons (that’s what a peak is), Rose’s WAR is lower than the other two (one year he’s basically tied with Bench who, need I remind you, is a catcher, a position notoriously underrated by WAR).

            And if all you’re going to do is pull up bbref pages, and blindly compare WAR without looking at context, don’t go calling other people lazy.

          • invitro says:

            “Do you also think Rose is a better hitter than Cobb?” — Well, at least Rose can swing a bat. Cobb is probably even lazier than you right now.

  28. Dan Meyer says:

    I am of the opinion that the actual Hall of Fame roster is more appropriate than this one. Right Field really seems to omit people who should even make this list [especially Gwynn and Jackson]. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Gossage is in the present HOF, no less this version.

  29. DjangoZ says:

    I far prefer this Hall of Fame, but I think you could take out another 6-10 players and it would be perfect.

  30. Alejo says:

    I think baseball is funny and peculiar in that it is possible to say “Clemens, Bonds,etc, belong to the Hall of Fame”.

    I think no one could seriously say “Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist ever”, or “Ben Johnson is the fastest man ever” or even “Marion Jones is the best athlete ever”

    It is understood that all their achievements are false, because they took drugs that really enhance your performance.

    But in baseball science doesn’t apply (then again, maybe the problem is America, a country where scientific data is more akin to opinion than fact).

    It is also curious that sympathetic journalists discriminate between the “pre-testing” and testing eras, as if the use of PED had not been penalised by Federal law.

    Even a notional hall of fame like this one is too weird for me, because it accepts as true results that are spiked.

    • invitro says:

      ‘I think no one could seriously say “Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist ever”, or “Ben Johnson is the fastest man ever” or even “Marion Jones is the best athlete ever”’ — I think this is a very good point. 🙂 I’d like to know if Joe considers Armstrong to be the greatest cyclist ever, etc…

      • DB says:

        Ben and Marion (Marion was never even the best with drugs) are obviously different answers but I think you could very easily list Lance as number two. He is probably never going to pass Eddy Merckx but I cannot list anyone else above him. LeMond (too short a career due to the injuries/gunshot), Indurain (talked about him before), Hinault (way too many other issues). Cycling has had cheaters since almost day one and peak and longevity favor Armstrong. Once again, I hate the gay and always did but you cannot erase what he did on a bicycle.

        • Alejo says:

          You cannot erase those tours, and that is not what they tried to do.
          They took them away from him, which is different. They are void.
          Marion, Ben, Lance, Barry, Roger… they are the equivalent of 13 dollar notes.
          Nominally they are more valuable than a 10 dollar note, but they are fake and therefore worthless.
          If you can’t see that you may suffer from the problem I just mentioned: you have a problem accepting reality.

          • DB says:

            Wow, I would love to see your house. Must be hard to clean though.

          • SDG says:

            Except cycling/running (solo events) are different than pitching/hitting (dependent on other people). If juiced hitters have to play off juiced pitchers, does it balance out (statwise, if not ethically)? Do steroids help everyone in a consistent, measurable way we can account for? How many players got big and started to suck? How many were always bad? Obviously steroids had an effect for some people, but in a complex system it’s hard to exactly say how or why.

        • james faragher says:

          A cycling HOF aside-In my HO, the top of the crop is Beryl Burton,closely followed by the currently competing Marianne Vos. On the mens side I favor Sean Kelly who has excellent taste in Irish whiskey and could ride some as well.A Baseball HOF w/o Robin Yount lacks another ‘Kid”.

    • SDG says:

      I think the issue is baseball, as a game, is more complex than running or cycling until you hit the finish. There are no variables. Your performance is not altered by, or affected by, anyone else’s. It’s just you and the clock. But baseball is different. People who act like PEDs mean your homers don’t count never say that the Giants should have their division titles taken away. Juiced players change everything. Not just one player’s stats but the style of play, the strategies, even the construction of ballparks and equipment. It affects the style of play of the non-juiced players. You can’t separate one player who uses PEDs from the game as a whole, the way you easily can with Johnson and Armstrong. Because Johnson and Armstrong competed individual events measured against the times of other completing those individual events.

      I’m not making a moral argument, but a practical one.

      • Alejo says:

        There is a problem with this line of reasoning.
        Both cycling and track and field are team sports.
        More specifically, Ben Johnson and Marion Jones competed in relay dashes (4×100, 4×400)
        So their performance and behaviour have a direct impact in other athletes.
        Route cycling of course is also a team sport. TEAMS compete and the head racer totally depends on team performance. Actually, team tactics and strategy are most of what route cycling is.

    • Brent says:

      Mike Webster is the greatest Center ever. I guess baseball is not so peculiar.

  31. Jason says:

    Why is it that longevity – that thing where you play, play good to great for 2/3x the average career – is so damn underrated? Nolan Ryan out?

    Longevity should be considered a skill in and of itself. There is something to be said for a guy who can take the punishment for 20 years. It’s something altogether different if the skills he employ are still good to great in the 4th quarter, 9th inning, or 3rd frame of his career!

  32. speaking of ways of automatically filling the HOF, here’s a pretty cool graphic showing what it would look like if you let in the top 5xN players by sum of best N years WAR; for example, for every player add up their best 5 years by WAR, take top 25 from the list, add up every players top 6 years by WAR, take top 30 from the list, etc… So it counts longevity (after 20 years it’s essentially top career WAR) but also high peaks (you can get in on best 5 or whatever seasons if the peak is really high)

    • Marshall Vance says:

      I really like this–thanks for sharing! My ideal HOF standards would revolve around looking at how a player’s 10 best years stack up (e.g., using WAR or WAA). I don’t know what the cutoff should be, but probably something like 50 cumulative WAR from the ten best years. At the margins maybe longevity would factor in, but in general I don’t like that the presence or lack of average years after a player is past his prime too often decides a HOF case.

  33. roger martinie says:

    Interesting that Lou Whitaker, who Joe has at number 97 on his top 100 didn’t make this list, but Trammell does. As a Tiger fan I’m happy any time they get any respect, but I’d still take Gehringer before either of them.

  34. Bryan says:

    Relying on WAA which excludes negro league play and choosing to ignore 19th century play as Joe has done the quick way is number of seasons at an “MVP” level of a play (5+ WAA), to get around 50 position players the cut-off is 3+ such seasons which gives you 55 players:

    C (2): Bench, Carter

    1B (6): Gehrig, Pujols, Foxx, Bagwell, Greenberg, Helton

    2B (9): Hornsby, Collins, Morgan, Gehringer, Utley, Jackie, Frisch, Sandberg, Cano

    3B (7): Schmidt, Mathews, Boggs, Brett, Brooks, Santo, Donaldson

    SS (4): Cal, Arky, Boudreau, Yount

    LF (6): Barry, Ted, Rickey, Yaz, Al Simmons, Kiner

    CF (9): Mays, Cobb, Speaker, Mantle, DiMaggio, Griffey, Trout, Andruw, Snider

    RF (4): Aaron, Ott, Clemente, Kaline

    Did not play 50%+ of their games at any position (8): Ruth, Musial, A-Rod, Frank Robinson, Carew, Shoeless, Dick Allen, Banks

  35. William J VanDewater Jr says:

    I thought the last story on the Willie Mays Hall of Fame ended with the concept that because the 1951 Giants cheated to win the pennant, so that not even Willie due to this cheating, did not even get to be in the Willie Mays hall of fame. I kinda liked that logic 🙂

  36. AdamE says:

    Frank Thomas is not a HOF First Baseman. He played more games as a DH from 1998 to the end of his career than he did at first. (and 98-08 was 3/4 of his career)

    He is however a HOF DH.

    • invitro says:

      Is there a reason you’re ignoring Frank’s career before 1998?

      • AdamE says:

        I wasn’t ignoring it probably just badly worded. What I meant was though his career was from 90-08 he was primarily a DH. He played 970 games at first and 1379 at DH.

        More than half his career he played as a DH not as a First baseman.

    • invitro says:

      Also, how are you figuring that 98-08 was 3/4 of his career? It was actually 59% of his career (based on PA), closer to 1/2 than 3/4.

  37. Gary Schroeder says:

    How about a vote for the punch and Judy hitters Pete Rose and Tony Gwynn. Tony’s batting average alone .338 over twenty years should be a no brainer? I think we all know what Pete did after his retirement but his numbers (4256 hits) will eventually let him in. Maybe, after he is six foot under?

    • Larry byrne says:

      I hate agreeing with you

    • Darrel says:

      Because BA is an overrated and largely useless statistic. Ben Revere hits .300 nearly every year but you wouldn’t want him playing in place of .260 hitting Jose Bautista. Don’t get me wrong hits are important but more context is needed than just citing a players BA.

  38. Marco. says:

    Id add Killebrew and Ryan. (Yes, im aware of the statistical arguments against Ryan, but i struggle to construct a HOF without the all time leader in strikeouts.)

    Id also omit Schilling. For me, he’s Kevin Brown with some postseason heroics. And yes, im aware of his sterling K:BB ratio, but i only care about that if im projecting a guy. (Not looking retrospectively)

  39. moviegoer74 says:

    I do not think who is in and who is out of the Willie Mays Hall is the point. At all. The point is a that a Willie Mays Hall would look fairly close to what Joe has done. We can argue all day on the margins, just as we argue on the margins of the actual Hall. The point is, having seen the Willie Hall laid out, knowing it looks roughly like this, is it preferable to the actual Hall?

    I think it is not. Although there are a number of players in the actual Hall that really have no business there (nearly all put in by the old Vets Committee) I think the Willie Hall leaves out too many great players. I’d rather live with a Hall that includes Catfish Hunter (who really, really doesn’t belong) than one that excludes Ralph Kiner.

    • invitro says:

      Well, Joe did write “Who are the biggest snubs in this version of the Hall? Who are the worst inclusions?”, so who is in or out is indeed one of the points of Joe’s post, according to Joe. 🙂

  40. the_slasher14 says:

    Omissions that bother me:

    Cochrane was a central figure on offense and defense AND leadership for two powerhouse teams. His career numbers suffer from a career-ending injury but he was still posting OBPs well over .400 in the years before that injury at age 35. Bill Dickey was essentially cooked after age 32, in spite of playing in a ballpark designed to favor his lefty swing. I’d take Cochrane over him in a heartbeat.

    McCovey was a part-timer for four years while the Giants tried to figure out what to do with him and Cepeda. His career doesn’t really begin until age 25, just in time for the offensive cold snap that was the 1960s. He still got to 521 HRs somehow. I’d rate him better than either Mize or Greenberg. Their careers were dinged by WWII but McCovey’s was, too, though for different reasons.

    Barry Larkin and Lou Boudreau were not in the same class as Jeter. Boudreau had only one great season — 1948 — and his best seasons other than that came during WWII, when most players — Pee Wee Reese among them (lost three years) — were in the Army. As for leadership, Boudreau led the Indians and Larkin led the Reds to one pennant each but Reese led his team to seven and Jeter to six. I’m not arguing for Reese to be in but Jeter should be and these two shouldn’t.

    Among pitchers, the ones that I’d include are Roberts and Marichal. Roberts simply dominated the NL for the first half of the 1950s. NOBODY would have taken Spahn over him, and although Spahn’s longevity rightly earns him extra value, Roberts still won 286 games with teams that often stunk, whereas Spahn pitched for a contender most of his career. Marichal’s career gets less notice than it should because guys like Koufax and Gibson were around, but he was clearly in that class. If they’re in, he should be too. He benefited from being on a frequent contender but so did they.

    • invitro says:

      “Boudreau had only one great season — 1948” — I don’t know what you consider “great”, but most people would consider a 7.5 WAR season to be great. Boudreau had four of those, and Jeter had two. But the reason Boudreau is here and not Jeter is because the former had 42.2 WAA, the latter 30.4 WAA, and that’s all there is to it.

      • the_slasher14 says:

        I said his 1948 season was great; it’s also wildly out of line with the rest of his career. He hit 18 HRs — in his entire career he hit 19 in TWO consecutive seasons only once. He had only one other season with an OBP over .400 and it was 47 points lower; his SP was .534, his next highest was .443. It’s an outlier. Do we rate Brady Anderson based on his 1996 season?

        I suspect — correct me if I’m wrong — that two of Boudreau’s other high WAR seasons were 1943 and 1944, when replacement levels were at an all-time low. Jeter’s achievements came against the best players in the world. Boudreau was playing against scrubs for those years (and only white scrubs at that) and I think we must recognize that those numbers were achieved against inferior competition.

        I’m not saying the man wasn’t HOF worthy but it’s absurd to put him in the same class as men like Vaughan or Trammell. Yount, who also had an outlier season (1982) but backed it up with other years much closer to that year than Boudreau did to 1948, has a better case. Larkin’s case is far better. Boudreau gets a lot of credit for leadership and indeed one must admire his winning 1948 as a player-manager. But as I noted he’s far from the only SS in the HOF for whom “leadership” was a contributing factor to their election, and others have as good or better a case to bring on that score.

        • invitro says:

          “Yount, who also had an outlier season (1982) but backed it up with other years much closer to that year than Boudreau did to 1948” — You’re lying again. Yount’s best WAR’s go 10.5, 7.2, 7.1, 5.9. Boudreau’s go 10.4, 7.9, 7.9, 7.5, 6.0. 7.9 is much closer to 10.4 than 7.2 is to 10.5, and than 7.1 is to 10.5. 7.5 is MUCH closer to 10.4 than 5.9 is to 10.5. (It’s really a bad move to make a false factual claim that is easily checked.)

  41. Rob Smith says:

    I see what you did with Alan Trammell, Larry Walker and Billy Wagner. Wasn’t the point to remove the borderline candidates? Kinda hypocritical to call it a Wllie Mays HOF and then include these guys. I like them all for induction, but no real Small HOF advocate has these guys in their Hall.

    • invitro says:

      Those three guys aren’t borderline anything if you look at their WAA. Any small HoF advocate who uses WAA will have them in their HoF.

      • Rob Smith says:

        So, you’re saying that it’s implied the WAA is the authority for a Willie Mays HOF? I think there are a variety of barometers to use, and if you have to squeeze the “Willie Mays case” into one of those barometers, then aren’t you implying there are flaws to see if you use other barometers. And doesn’t that make them clearly not Willie Mays HOF members? In effect, isn’t a Willie Mays HOFer a HOFer by any measure? A clear no doubter. One that the “case against” consists of “ummmmmm… maybe their shirt was untucked a couple of times. And oh, they weren’t always nice to sports writers”?

        • invitro says:

          I don’t quite understand what you’re saying. Joe has decided to use WAA for his version of the Willie Mays HoF, and so I’ve been mainly talking about that. I personally would use other stats. I haven’t argued that Joe’s metric is superior (or inferior, I think) to other metrics anywhere on this page. There isn’t a lot of content to what I said in the post you replied to. I just pointed out that those three guys aren’t borderline when it comes to WAA. Although I think I was wrong; Walker isn’t borderline, but Trammell is the last SS in Joe’s list, and Wagner is just a notch above Gossage from being the last RP. I hadn’t drug out my WAA database when I posted that.

    • Anthony Calamis says:

      Rick Morrissey, an actual no-PED small Hall voter in the real HoF election, included Walker despite voting only four this year. So, I wouldn’t say nobody.

  42. Jamie says:

    Too many relief pitchers

  43. Wes Tovich says:

    Stupid list. Joe just stop while you are behind.

  44. Matt says:

    A-Rod is weird. I get he has to be in. But is he more valuable w/ 8 years at SS than Jeter w/ 20?

    I’m not saying Jeter is better so don’t start. LOL. I’m just saying if you have A-Rod in as SS, you kinda need Jeter in too since he played SS 2x as long.

    • invitro says:

      Sigh. ARod’s being listed at SS just means that that was his most-played position. And Jeter isn’t in because his WAA isn’t high enough. (But yes, ARod’s 9+ years at SS were probably (?) more valuable than Jeter’s 18+ years at SS.)

      • Bryan says:

        A-Rod through 2003 – 44.5 WAA (handful of DH games, rest SS)
        Jeter through 2009 – 35.1 WAA (last season he had positive WAA)
        Jeter entire career – 30.4 WAA

  45. Adam says:

    Ryne Sandberg belongs.
    And also, maybe I missed this, but was Phil Niekro accounted for? I’m not saying he belongs in this group, but I didn’t see his name among the pitchers that were in or out. Correct me if I’m wrong …

    • invitro says:

      Good catch on Niekro. Joe missed him. His WAA is behind Blyleven and ahead of Perry, so he’s probably right on the border line of this HoF.

      • Dave says:

        Niekro is in the WMHoF.

        To follow up on other comments, I concur that Roberts should be in it, as dominate over his string of best years as Koufax was in his.

        Raines in. And although I’m a Larry Walker fan–it wasn’t all Coors–I’d have both Gwynn and Reggie ahead of him.

  46. DBA says:

    If I understand the rules as Joe set them up, Trammell can’t be in the Willie Mays Hall of Fame … because he’s not in the *actual* Hall of Fame.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Neither are Walker or Wagner.

      • invitro says:

        Or Schilling, to wrap up the guys who aren’t real-HoF locks, for non-PED reasons. (But also… I don’t think Rolen will make the real HoF, and Joe just made a mistake with him, his WAA is plenty high enough for this list, so he might be in this group if Joe makes another edit. Same stuff for Thome though Thome has a better real HoF shot.)

  47. Rich says:

    Joe, I think you overestimated us, I don’t think anyone actually figured out your standards. That aside, I’m wondering why you included such different numbers at the different positions? Especially only 6 1Bmen and CF’ers? 5 LF’s Really? Why?

    • invitro says:

      Did you read the comments? Several people have identified the rankings as just being by bb-ref WAA, with an exeception for Campenella and the relievers. I can’t verify this as I don’t have a bb-ref paid account, but I can verify it for the few dozen players I have looked at. I’m guessing there is probably a single threshold for batters (somewhere around 40 WAA?), and 10 SS and 5 LF cross it, etc.

  48. MikeN says:

    I don’t know anything about a majority of the people you leave out. About 50 know vs 70 no-know, even after stretching and counting in know Tinker Evers Chance and some others. So I prefer Willie Mays, especially if it leaves Jeter out.

  49. steve says:

    OK, I’m old school and still think of baseball as a team game.
    I’d guess the Willie Mays HoF has 75 members because it reflects three 25 man rosters. Plus you get to bring a few guys up as injury replacements, so that gives you 80. You don’t need a special DH because almost all of your position players can do that. You don’t need as many pitchers as rosters commonly carry, because they will all reliably give you 6 – 9 innings. You don’t need “specialist” relief pitchers because your starters can serve on off days; but you do have a fireman or two around for emergencies (which are few).
    Then in 2050 you bump the HoF up to four team rosters. Or not. That would be something to argue about when the time comes. Or before.

  50. Kuz says:

    As an admitted, proud, old, life long Yankee fan, I cannot abide exclusion of Ford and Jeter.

  51. invitro says:

    OK, I’ve checked the hitters, and they go exactly by WAA with these few exceptions:
    C: Campanella (15.6) is not remotely close to having enough WAA; Joe added him “manually”.
    1B: Joe should have Thome (37.4 WAA) instead of Greenberg (37.0), unless this is a manual change due to WWII for Greenberg. McGwire also has 37.0.
    2B: Jackie Robinson (39.9) is behind Carew (46.1), so this is a manual addition.
    3B: Joe should have Scott Rolen (43.9) instead of BRob (39.6). Beltre is currently at 39.1, and can go either way.
    SS: I’m the person who pointed out Banks (28.6), but I meant that Banks wasn’t mentioned at all; he’s way too low to be in (Trammell is 40.1). Banks is probably the biggest “mistake” Joe has among the hitters right now. George Davis (48.1) has way more than enough to be in, so should probably not be mentioned, as the other players who are not in because they were born too soon are not mentioned.
    LF: Exact.
    CF: Kiki Cuyler should be mentioned in the “left out” list; Willie Keeler is on the 1900 boundary and maybe should be.
    RF: Exact.
    Whew. I did this manually so I might have mistakes, and I welcome corrections of those. I’ll look at the pitchers in a minute.

    • invitro says:

      Forgot to mention: I was wrong about there probably being a single WAA number as a standard. I should’ve known this couldn’t be true with so many catchers listed. Anyway, the WAA requirement varies widely among the positions. For C it’s about 30; the other positions range from about 37 (1B, 3B) to about 46 (2B). I can’t figure out why both the number of players at each position, and the WAA standard for each position, vary quite so much.

      • invitro says:

        The top player not in at 2B (with the strangely super-high standard) is Gehringer (45.5 WAA). Joe absolutely needs to put him in, and remove Banks. The next-most needed change is to add Rolen (43.9) instead of BRob (37.2) or Greenberg (37.0) or Dickey (31.6) or Campanella (special case). The next and last one is Thome (37.4) for one of these guys, but then we’re getting very close.

        • Ben Smeal says:

          It is weird that Gehringer is not in as 7th 2B when SS’s #6-10 all have lower WAA than him. Joe had Gehringer as #63 in his top all-time 100 players, and it’s not like there is anything particularly cheap about his candidacy. Super-consistent, MVP, World Series Champ, great counting stats, great fielder, etc.

  52. EnzoHernandez11 says:

    Wow. If this were the actual method we used to populate the Hall of Fame, I think it would even turn me into Murray Chass. (I’m not being critical; I know it’s just a thought experiment.) The big problem, though, is that it’s not nearly exclusive enough to satisfy the real-life advocates of a “Willie Mays Standard,” while leaving out too many no-brainers to satisfy the rest of us. I would guess that the real “Willie Mays Standard” folks would argue for a Hall of Fame made up, give or take, of the following:

    CATCHER: Bench, Berra, Dickey, Piazza (*)
    FIRST: Foxx, Gehrig, Greenburg, Mize, Pujols
    SECOND: Collins, Hornsby, Morgan
    SHORT: Ripken, A-Rod (*), Wagner, maybe Ozzie
    THIRD: Brett, Matthews, Schmidt, maybe Brooks
    LEFT: Bonds (*), Henderson, Musial, Williams, Yaz
    CENTER: Cobb, DiMaggio, Griffey, Mantle, Mays, Speaker
    RIGHT: Aaron, Ott, F. Robinson, Ruth
    RIGHTY: Alexander, Clemens (*), Feller, Gibson, W. Johnson, Maddux, Martinez, Matthewson, Seaver, Young
    LEFTY: Carlton, Grove, Hubbell, R. Johnson, Koufax, Spahn
    What would the standard be? Greatness, dammit! If someone is among the very best ever to play the game, you shouldn’t have to look them up on BR. You just *know* it.

    • invitro says:

      “If someone is among the very best ever to play the game, you shouldn’t have to look them up on BR. You just *know* it.” — You know, this is precisely how people viewed the world prior to Galileo launching the Age of Reason. There was no need to perform measurements and scientific analysis; it was obvious that the sun orbited the earth, that most diseases were caused by Satan, etc. In their honor, we should refer to your list as the Ptolemaic Hall of Fame. 😉

  53. Rick Rodstrom says:

    To be clear, this is not the Willie Mays Hall of Fame, this is the Joe Posnanski Hall of Fame. Which is fine. It’s his column. But any Hall that omits Mickey Cochrane, Willie McCovey, Charlie Gehriniger, Derek Jeter, Home Run Baker, Lou Brock, Willie Stargell, Duke Snider, Paul Waner, Harry Heilmann, Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Sam Crawford, Ed Walsh, Nolan Ryan and Jim Palmer, while including Alan Trammell, Adrian Beltre, Curt Schilling, Bert Blyleven and Billy Wagner is not my Inner Circle Hall of Fame.

    Judging by the discussion, others have problems with it as well.

    But that’s the point. It’s the exact same discussion about who merits selection in the Hall of Fame, but with a different cast.

    So the only real question is Joe’s original—which do you prefer? Arguing about more candidates, or fewer?

    If Ross Youngs existence was wiped off the earth, I don’t think anybody would notice. But there are a lot of players who don’t make the inner circle who made significant contributions that the story of baseball is poorer without. Larry Doby, Whitey Ford, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Juan Marichal, Eddie Murray, Chief Bender, Gaylord Perry, Roberto Alomar and more deserve attention, and arguing over their relative merits does nothing but add enjoyment to the pastime. In general, the more the merrier. I hate those boring Hall of Fame ceremonies that only honor managers and executives.

    What I would like to see is a Deadwood Committee charged with getting rid of that bottom rung of who-cares super-marginal candidates that just waste peoples time. The Ross Youngs and Jim Bottomleys and George Kellys. It would have to limit itself to players whose careers ended at least 75 years ago, so as not to hurt anybody’s feelings. They could even do it in secret. Like I said, if Ross Youngs suddenly disappeared from the Archives, I don’t think anyone would notice.

    • invitro says:

      Do you really think Lou Brock was one of the 75 greatest baseball players? The same Lou Brock that ranks #36 LF by JAWS? The same Lou Brock who had a 109 OPS+ and was a horrific fielder?

    • SDG says:

      Yes they would. If anyone would notice that, it’s the kind of obsessives who decided to enshrine someone 123 years after he died.

      If people know that they can be taken out, then the Hall loses its lustre as an honour. It’s by definition not supposed to be temporary. Yes, I think the Hall would be better without the Frisch picks (and who knows what we’re doing with managers or umpires).

  54. Jon K. says:

    The debate on whether or not this list reaffirms for me that i like a bigger hall. Admittedly, the current hall voting system is horribly flawed, but I would rather celebrate a larger swath of baseball history. The WM hall would bore me.

  55. Stephen says:

    Fun stuff.

    Since you asked…I think I like the bigger hall of fame better. There are certainly players currently in the Hall who shouldn’t be…Freddie Lindstrom, anybody? Phil Rizzuto, Jim Bunning, Jim Rice were all more recent choices that didn;t impress me. But on the whole I don’t think the HoF is “too big.” I actually like it that there’s room for Billy Williams and Tony Perez and Don Sutton and a bunch of other folks who were not the very best at their positions but who were wonderful players.

    The “Willie Mays Hall” just seems little too constrained. A few specific players who are out, but who I think really need to be in: Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks (if he’s out; I can’t figure out if he’s in or not), Jim Palmer, Reggie Jackson, Charlie Gehringer, Tim Raines, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn. I applaus the additions of Trammell and Walker btw but it doesn;t feel like a true Hall of Fame without some of these other guys.

    And there are a handful of players I wouldn’t put into such a small Hall. Lou Boudreau, as mentioned. Not sure about Campanella. Curt Schilling. Rich Gossage.

    But a fun exercise. Thanks!

  56. Stephen says:

    In case anyone is interested–the baseball fans at the Straight Dope Message Board are currently building a baseball Hall of Fame from scratch. We chose 15 “inner circle HOFers” (including Mays, you’ll be delighted to know) and have also selected ten catchers and a bunch of first basemen; we are now voting on second basemen. If any Brilliant Readers (or Joe P himself) are interested in participating, you’re certainly welcome, and registration is free. The more, the merrier.

    A link to the second baseman balloting is here:

  57. Tom says:

    Overall a great list and I’ll only list one glaring omission that I see: Nolan Ryan. I was shocked to see him left off. If you’re talking all-time greats, feared by opponents, and unique dominance, then he has to make it. 6 seasons of 300+ Ks (tied for first all time), 15 seasons of 200+ Ks (first all time), 215 games of 10+ Ks (first all time).
    And if you’re still having doubts – just google his fight with Robin Ventura when he charged the mound….that definitely puts him over the top 😉

  58. Alejo says:

    Personally, I prefer a big Hall that admits 2-2,5% of all players.
    Now we are going to a hall that admits less than 1% of all players.
    While the excellence of such a small Hall is beyond question, much is left out. Without much delving in this list, you see how people like Nolan Ryan, Willie McCovey, Pops Stargell and Jim Palmer would be out. That is practically tantamount to an insult aimed at Texas, Baltimore, San Francisco and Pittsburgh fans.
    And I would say something here: Catfish hunter was a capital fellow. His pitching was what it was, but he personally was quite a player and a mensch. Excluding him feels unfair to baseball, even if he was in many ways sub-standard. I would actually prefer to see him in, along with Tiant, for example.
    Many cherished moments and memories would be exiled out because advanced accounting systems enforce a standard that is, in my opinion, too high.

  59. Allegedly Brilliant Reader John Leavy says:

    Yay! I finally get a chance to compliment Joe and to demonstrate Im not (solely) a contrarian jerk who lives to plague him with “gotcha” questions.

    Overall, I like Joe’s minimalist Hall a lot more than the real one. I think there are far more UNdeserving players IN the Hall of Fame than deserving ones left out. Joe’s list isn’t perfect, but everyone in his Hall is undeniably worthy.

    The problem with his list is the same problem we’d have with ANY list. No matter what criteria we use, inevitably there will be somebody left out whose qualifications are very similar to those of somebody who’s been included. But since THAT kind of argument is inevitable, I’d much rather be arguing “Why Jim Palmer and not Ferguson Jenkins” than “Why Bill Mazeroski and not Frank White?”

  60. JaLaBar says:

    I am fine with pretty much everything but the last three right handed pitchers. To start with, I am on record that I believe that Mike Mussina is every bit the pitcher Schilling was, and would have been every bit as successful in Schilling’s situation. Jim Palmer won 20 games 8 times. I know wins have been devalued, but how many 20 game win seasons did Schilling have? Palmer won three Cy Youngs, how many did Schilling win? Palmer was an integral part of three World Series winners, and I believe is the only pitcher to win a WS game in three different decade. Schilling does not belong if Palmer isn’t in. And Blyleven and Niekro are pretty much the same as Schilling to me, save that they are in the Hall. But none of those three should be an inner-cirle HoFer by an judgement, and it SHOCKS me that Joe so greatly overvalues Schilling. I am hoping it is just a blind spot on Joe’s part and not because he’s a supporter of Schilling’s positions/values/opinions/personality/etc.

    • JaLaBar says:

      Let me be clear: I do think Schilling is a HoFer, and should be elected when there aren’t others more deserving who have been waiting longer. But he definitely isn’t an inner circle guy. I know, I know… best K/BB ratio, one of the best post-season pitchers, etc. Yeah, Raines was the most efficient base stealer in baseball history, but that didn’t make him an inner circle guy either.

    • invitro says:

      Schilling is in because he has 53.3 WAA, and the cutoff is 46.0. Mussina should be in; he’s a ways below Schilling, but his 48.9 is good enough. Palmer has 34.1 WAA, and he couldn’t carry Schilling’s jock strap. The reasons you give for Palmer over Schilling are all things that are at least half due to Palmer’s teammates, and not Palmer himself: wins, Cys, World Series appearances. You’re saying Palmer should be in because he had better teammates than Schilling.

      “he’s a supporter of Schilling’s positions/values/opinions/personality/etc.” — You must be new to reading Joe.

      • Mysterio says:

        It’s important for me that you know that you are by far the worst commentator on this website, and this might be your new low score. To say that Palmer is in because of his teammates or that Schilling is obviously better is downright laughable. Absolutely nothing supports that and the fact that you just go along with WAA without giving it a moment’s thought speaks poorly of your intellect. Think for yourself, don’t let some terrible stat do it for you. 🙂

      • Karyn says:

        Joe is definitely not a supporter of Schilling’s statements. He might (quietly) agree with the underlying issue, but Joe is about kindness. Schilling seems to find the most unkind way to express his beliefs that he possibly can.

        • JaLaBar says:

          Yes, I read all of Joe’s stuff, and thought I knew where he stood on some things. I was actually taken aback by this line in Joe’s page on Schilling: “I should add that I’m not offended and don’t particularly care about Schilling’s opinions.” I found Schilling offensive, and figured Joe would too. Not that he’d let it affect his opinion of Schilling’s HoF chances, but that he’d be at least offended by some of the garbage Schilling has spewed.

          As to Palmer and Schilling, I watched both of them play. I have been watching baseball for 45 years and am knowledgeable about the game. The two pitchers I saw were at best equals. Schilling had more power and strikeouts, and Palmer was a ground ball pitcher on a team with great infield D. So, if you want to think Palmer couldn’t carry Schilling’s jock, feel free. The results don’t mnatch your opinion, nor did the eye test. So I’ll continue to believe that Schilling does not belong in the Mays Hall. Or that Palmer does.

  61. invitro says:

    Here’s my audit of the pitchers. All the SP’s with 46 WAA are in, and all with fewer are out, except for:
    – Mussina (48.9) is ahead of LHP’s Glavine (46.6) and Carlton (46.0). Maybe Joe has a lower standard for LHP’s, though that doesn’t seem sensible.
    – Hubbell (38.4) is in for reasons I can’t determine. Hubbell got a late start, but so did a lot of other players.
    – Feller (32.4) is in due to missing war years.
    – Koufax (26.5) is in for being a special snowflake.

    All relievers with 16.5 WAA are in, and those under are out, except for:
    – Eckersley (31.0), half-starter & half-reliever, and
    – Shantz (18.9), ditto.

    • Bryan says:

      Relievers are using the default cut-off built into play index of 80% of pitching appearances in relief and probably a 15 pitching WAA cut-off: Mariano 32.7, Hoyt 26.9, Wagner 16.5, Gossage 16.3, Hiller 14.3, Nathan 14.2, Hoffman 13.7, Lee Smith 13.7. Gossage is at 16.5 total WAA but it’s quite likely Joe only looked at pitching WAA for pitchers.

      Eckersley’s split in pitching WAA is 23.1 WAA (359 starts & 17 relief app) and 7.6 WAA (2 starts & 693 relief app). Or Al Leiter 22.9 WAA (382 starts & 37 relief app) and Troy Percival 8.1 WAA (1 start & 702 relief app).

  62. Ross says:

    I think I like the real HOF better. I say that bc the Willie Mays HOF has names that most casual fans already know. While some in the real HOF are less known. And if part of the reason to make a trip to Cooperstown is to learn more of the history, then the bigger, actual hall makes sense.

    • Chris Smith says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I want to take my kids to Cooperstown someday, and I would rather have the non-Mays-HOF guys in there if it means they can learn about important players of their times. You can’t just see the greatest and include those….

      And who the heck wouldn’t put Nolan Ryan as one of the greatest? CRAZY!!!

      • Bryan says:

        Among pitchers who debuted since 1920, Roger Clemens has some ridiculous numbers by just about any standard if you’re going to focus only on what happened on the field. By pitching WAA it’s Clemens 94.5, Lefty Grove 72.2, Randy Johnson 68.1.

        Then comes Seaver 65.5, Maddux 64.9 and Pedro 61.3. Kershaw through Age 28 has 38.8 pitching WAA the most of any pitcher who debuted since 1920, Pedro and Clemens both have 38.5 and Feller has 35.7 even though by that age he has missed 3 seasons and most of a 4th for military service.

        Every pitcher listed above it’s incredibly difficult to make a case for Nolan being the equal of that pitcher or better as even if Kershaw goes off a cliff and relatively speaking Feller did drop off a cliff, Nolan simply never pitched anywhere near as well as a young Kershaw or Feller and it’s a big stretch to place a lot of really good years ahead of a decade or so of dominance for Kershaw or Feller when talking about greatest. Let alone if you give Feller some credit for his military service.

        Even ignoring Walter Johnson and earlier pitchers now it’s the battle for 9th best pitcher of the last 100 or so years and Nolan still has a lot of competition. Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax could easily complete the Top 10.

        I think Nolan is likely in the Top 20 if your definition of “one of the greatest” is loose enough. But Hubbell, Newhouser, Spahn, Perry, Niekro, Carlton, Jenkins, Blyleven, Reuschel, Saberhagen, Cone, Brown, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Schilling, Mussina and Halladay in chronological order of debut finished with more pitching WAA than Nolan Ryan by also being really good pitchers.

        • Bryan says:

          As well as Satchel Paige and other negro league pitchers if you want to consider all potential candidates for the greatest pitchers of the last 100 or so years.

  63. shagster says:

    Think Gomez makes the cut. While acknowledged, his contribution to 30’s Yankees championship teams is underrated. List is also good example of why DH makes these cross timeline lists hard. It fundamentally changed the game.

  64. Mark Daniel says:

    It probably helps to see who would be enshrined (and who wouldn’t be) by year using Joe’s criteria. Below is what would have happened since 1980.

    2016- Piazza, Griffey
    2015- Pedro, Randy Johnson (Biggio, Smoltz left out)
    2014- Glavine, Maddux
    2013- none
    2012- Larkin (Santo left out)
    2011- Blyleven (Roberto Alomar left out)
    2010- none (Andre Dawson left out)
    2009- Rickey (Jim Rice left out)
    2008- Gossage
    2007- Ripken (Gwynn left out)
    2006- none (Bruce Sutter left out)
    2005- Boggs (Ryne Sandberg left out)
    2004- Molitor (Eckersley left out)
    2003- Gary Carter (Eddie Murray left out)
    2002- Ozzie Smith
    2001- none (Puckett and Winfield left out)
    2000- Fisk (Tony Perez left out)
    1999- Brett (Ryan and Yount left out)
    1998- none (Sutton left out)
    1997- none (Phil Niekro left out)
    1996- none
    1995- Schmidt
    1994- Steve Carlton
    1993- none (Reggie Jackson left out)
    1992- none (Rollie Fingers left out)
    1991- Carew (Fingers and Gaylor Perry left out)
    1990- Morgan (Palmer left out)
    1989- Bench
    1988- none (Stargell left out)
    1987- none (Catfish and Billy Williams left out)
    1986- none (McCovey left out)
    1985- Hoyt Wilhelm (Lou Brock left out)
    1984- none (Drysdale, Aparicio, Killebrew left out)
    1983- Brooks Robinson (Juan Marichal left out)
    1982- Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson
    1981- Bob Gibson
    1980- Al Kaline (Duke Snider left out)

    Looking at this info, I don’t think this criteria would last. The number of years with no BBWAA enshrinees goes from 2 since 1980 to 13. That’s not good. If you look at 1984 thru 1998, 9 of the 15 years would have had no players elected. That just wouldn’t last. The writers, the HoF and the fans are simply not that disciplined.

  65. shagster says:

    Oops. And one more. Ichiro.

  66. Keith says:

    Whatever you think of Joe’s list here, you gotta go back and read his brilliantly subversive “Willie Mays Hall of Fame” article from a few years back, linked in the first paragraph. One of my favorite Joe pieces ever — he kept me going with him right up to the end.

  67. Adam S says:

    I think it’s pretty clear, across many comments, that this is too small of a Hall with only the top 6 or 7 people per position going in.

    My take is that the current Hall is the right size but the selection of players outside your top 80 is pretty poor. At every position, your “leave out” list includes a couple of players who don’t really belong in the Hall — outside the top 25 at their position — and there’s at least one player in the top dozen who IS NOT currently in the Hall of Fame.

  68. Darrel says:

    I like this HoF better but would prefer to determine it in a different way. I know this will not be a popular decision on this site but any HoF that has Blyleven in it is too big for me. But really that comes down to how you value the HoF player. My personal hall would be filled with guys who would have had a legitimate argument as one of the top 3-5 players/pitchers in the game for some period of time with wiggle room for a top 10 guy who does that for 15 years. Lets call my HOF the Koufax hall of fame.
    To me an above average compiler who was healthy enough to pitch for two decades is not my idea of a hall of famer. In my hall you would get only those who were truly elite even if the burned out relatively quickly. In this hall Mike Trout could retire tomorrow and might get elected. One or two more years like he’s had and he would be in for sure. The Glavine’s and Blylevens of the world are out.

    • invitro says:

      Bert has a legitimate argument for being one of the top five pitchers in baseball over the 1971-1974 period. And also for the 1981-1985 period. Maybe you should call it the Blyleven Hall of Fame?

      • Darrel says:

        No I shouldnt. If you have to argue that for a very specific cherry picked point in time there might be an argument that he maybe should included amongst the top 5 at his position then that falls short of the line for me.

        Now I also understand that hindsight can provide a clearer picture of a career than sometimes happens in the moment. Having said that the paucity of black ink under Cy Young, MVP, and All Star tells me that those in his era never saw Blyleven at that elite level. I agree. He was very good for a very long time but that doesn’t get you in to my Hall.

    • Bryan says:

      Since it’s the Willie Mays Hall of Fame, starting from when Willie has his first big year in 1954 and using WAA as the article does and pitching WAA only for pitchers and using 5 year intervals and using 20 WAA for the cut-off and x# indicating the number of appearances to that point:

      1954-58: Mantle, Mays, Ted, Mathews
      1955-59: Mantle x2, Mays x2, Banks, Aaron, Kaline, Mathews x2
      1956-60: Mantle x3, Mays x3, Banks x2, Aaron x2, Mathews x3
      1957-61: Mantle x4, Mays x4, Aaron x3, Banks x3, Mathews x4
      1958-62: Mays x5, Aaron x4, Mantle x5, Mathews x5, Banks x4, Boyer, Frank Robinson
      1959-63: Mays x6, Aaron x5, Mantle x6, Mathews x6, Frank Robinson x2, Boyer x2
      1960-64: Mays x7, Aaron x6, Frank Robinson x3, Mantle x7, Mathews x7
      1961-65: Mays x8, Aaron x7, Koufax, Frank Robinson x4
      1962-66: Mays x9, Koufax x2, Aaron x8, Marichal, Frank Robinson x5
      1963-67: Mays x10, Santo, Aaron x9, Koufax x3, Clemente, Yaz, Marichal x2
      1964-68: Mays x11, Santo x2, Clemente x2, Yaz x2, Aaron x10, Brooks Robinson, Dick Allen
      1965-69: Clemente x3, Yaz x3, Aaron x11, Santo x3, Bob Gibson, Mays x12, Marichal x3, McCovey
      1966-70: Yaz x4, Clemente x4, Bob Gibson x2, Aaron x12, Santo x4, McCovey x2
      1967-71: Yaz x5, Clemente x5, Bob Gibson x3, Aaron x13, Seaver, Jenkins
      1968-72: Bob Gibson x4, Clemente x6, Jenkins x2, Seaver x2, Wilbur Wood, Yaz x6, Aaron x14, Bench
      1969-73: Seaver x3, Bob Gibson x5, Wilbur Wood x2, Jenkins x3, Bando, Perry, Reggie, Morgan, Bench x2
      1970-74: Seaver x4, Morgan x2, Wilbur Wood x3, Perry x2, Bench x3, Jenkins x4
      1971-75: Morgan x3, Seaver x5, Wilbur Wood x4, Blyleven, Bench x4, Reggie x2, Perry x3, Grich
      1972-76: Morgan x4, Perry x4, Seaver x6, Carew, Bench x5, Blyleven x2, Cedeno, Rose, Reggie x3
      1973-77: Morgan x5, Carew x2, Seaver x7, Schmidt, Blyleven x3, Niekro, Grich
      1974-78: Schmidt x2, Niekro x2, Morgan x6, Carew x3, Seaver x8
      1975-79: Schmidt x3, Niekro x3, Brett, Carew x4, Morgan x7, Dave Parker
      1976-80: Schmidt x4, Brett x2, Niekro x4, Reuschel
      1977-81: Schmidt x5, Brett x3, (Reuschel x2 19.8, Niekro x5 19.7 + strike)
      1978-82: Schmidt x6, Brett x4, Yount, Carter, Buddy Bell, Dawson
      1979-83: Schmidt x7, Brett x5, Yount x2, Carter x2, Dawson x2, Buddy Bell x2 (Rickey 19.2 + strike)
      1980-84: Schmidt x8, Yount x3, Rickey x2, Carter x3, Dawson x3, Stieb, Buddy Bell x3
      1981-85: Rickey x3, Carter x4, Schmidt x9, Stieb x2, Yount x4, (Boggs 19.4, Cal 19.1 + strike)
      1982-86: Rickey x4, Boggs x2, Cal x2, Carter x5, Schmidt x10
      1983-87: Boggs x3, Rickey x5, Cal x3, Raines, Trammell, Schmidt x11
      1984-88: Boggs x4, Rickey x6, Clemens, Trammell x2, Cal x4
      1985-89: Boggs x5, Rickey x7, Clemens x2, Ozzie, Saberhagen
      1986-90: Clemens x3, Rickey x8, Boggs x6, Barry, Trammell x2
      1987-91: Clemens x4, Barry x2, Rickey x9, Boggs x7, Cal x5, Saberhagen x2
      1988-92: Barry x3, Clemens x5, Rickey x10, Cal x6, Sandberg
      1989-93: Barry x4, Clemens x6, Rickey x11, Cal x7, Sandberg x2, Rijo
      1990-94: Barry x5, Clemens x7, Griffey, Maddux, Appier, Rijo x2, (Rickey x12 19.6, Cal x8 19.4, Frank Thomas 19.2 + strike)
      1991-95: Barry x6, Maddux x2, Griffey x2, Frank Thomas x2, Cone, Appier x2, (Bagwell 19.0 + strike)
      1992-96: Barry x7, Maddux x3, Griffey x3, Appier x3, Bagwell x2, Lofton, Cone x2, (Frank Thomas x3 19.6 + strike)
      1993-97: Barry x8, Maddux x4, Griffey x4, Bagwell x3, Piazza, Cone x3, Unit, Clemens x8, Biggio, Frank Thomas x4, Appier x4, (Lofton x2 19.8, Knoblauch 19.0 + strike)
      1994-98: Maddux x5, Barry x9, Griffey x5, Clemens x9, Bagwell x4, Biggio x2, Piazza x2, Kevin Brown, Unit x2, (Cone x4 19.1, Pedro 19.0 + strike)
      1995-99: Barry x10, Maddux x6, Pedro x2, Kevin Brown x2, Unit x3, Griffey x6, Clemens x10, Biggio x3, Piazza x3, McGwire
      1996-00: Pedro x3, Barry x11, A-Rod, Kevin Brown x3, Griffey x7, Clemens x11, Bagwell x5, Unit x4, Maddux x7, Piazza x4
      1997-01: Pedro x4, Unit x5, Barry x12, A-Rod x2, Kevin Brown x4, Clemens x12, Bagwell x6, Schilling, Walker, Andruw
      1998-02: Barry x13, Unit x6, Pedro x5, A-Rod x3, Schilling x2, Andruw x2, Sosa, Chipper, Giambi
      1999-03: Barry x14, Pedro x6, Unit x7, A-Rod x4, Schilling x3, Giambi x2, Helton, Andruw x3
      2000-04: Barry x15, A-Rod x5, Unit x8, Pedro x7, Schilling x4, Helton x2, Edmonds, Pujols, Rolen
      2001-05: Barry x16, A-Rod x6, Unit x9, Pujols x2, Pedro x8, Schilling x5, Helton x3, Edmonds x2
      2002-06: Pujols x3, Barry x17, A-Rod x7, Santana, Schilling x6
      2003-07: Pujols x4, A-Rod x8, Santana x2, Barry x18
      2004-08: Pujols x5, A-Rod x9, Utley, Santana x3, Beltran
      2005-09: Pujols x6, Utley x2, A-Rod x10, Santana x4
      2006-10: Pujols x7, Utley x3
      2007-11: Pujols x8, Utley x4, Halladay, Sabathia
      2008-12: Pujols x9, Utley x5, Halladay x2, Braun, Cliff Lee, Longoria
      2009-13: Kershaw, Cano, Miggy, Votto, Cliff Lee x2, Longoria x2, Zobrist
      2010-14: Kershaw x2, Cano x2, Beltre, Miggy x2, Trout, McCutchen
      2011-15: Trout x2, Kershaw x3, McCutchen x2, Miggy x3, Beltre x2
      2012-16: Trout x3, Kershaw x4, Donaldson, Cano x3, Beltre x3, Scherzer

  69. Tampa Mike says:

    I like this version of the Hall of Fame. I feel like the current standards are a little too loose and let in some people that don’t really deserve it. I would be willing to slightly loosen things, but I don’t have a problem with a small HOF.

  70. Dan says:

    Since this Hall is based on the top players by WAA, which has changed over time, how would this Hall have changed over time? What would the membership roster have looked like in, say, 1970, who would have been added and who would have been bumped in the years since then, and at what particular point in their careers would they have gotten in?

    And would there be anyone who would have been in at one time, but held on too long as a sub-average player, and taken themself out?

    • invitro says:

      “And would there be anyone who would have been in at one time, but held on too long as a sub-average player, and taken themself out?” — I can’t find any. Joe made a -lot- of editorial decisions here with this list; WAA is the starting point, but there are still heaps of Joe. Joe chose places where there are large gaps in WAA between players, and that makes it hard for your scenario to take place. I thought of Rose, who ended with “only” 28.6 WAA, but had 42.4 WAA at the end of 1979. Well, 42.4 WAA is more than enough to make this HoF at most positions, but not at LF, where since there are only 4.3 players, the bar is an incredible 49.7 WAA. To be fair to Joe, there’s a huge gap between Yaz’s 49.7 and the next 20th-century guy: Al Simmons at 35.7. Maybe Joe would’ve put Rose’s 42.4 in… who can say.

      Anyway, I can’t find any, but I didn’t look at too many players. Current players Beltre and Miggy (Joe doesn’t mention Miggy, but he’s in by WAA, as much as Beltre is in) are currently in by about 2 WAA… it’s possible but unlikely that they would fall out.

  71. Luis says:

    I guess my only surprise was to see Blyleven and not Marichal.

  72. Chill says:

    It’s nearly perfect. Maybe it is perfect. These are exactly the people, the standards, that make me think hall of famer. Without any analysis applied, I was surprised Reggie! didn’t make it. Also, I would ditch a reliever or two if I had to. But I don’t think I could improve on what you’ve got here.

    • Rich says:

      I’m seeing a lot of dissing of the relief pitcher here. Anyone care to expound on why you don’t feel they belong in a Hall of Fame?

      • Bryan says:

        Trevor Hoffman: 1089.1 IP, 141 ERA+, 67 OPS+, 28.0 WAR, 13.7 WAA
        Dave Stieb 1982-85: 1098.1 IP, 148 ERA+, 69 OPS+, 29.4 WAR, 19.8 WAA
        Why would Hoffman’s entire career be worthy of the HoF when Stieb did that in 4 years and had a decent rest of career to go with it and isn’t worthy of the HoF?
        Mariano is a special case because to match his regular season career you basically need peak Koufax, Pedro or Unit and that’s a solid basis for induction all on it’s own and then on top of that you have the playoff resume.
        Any other reliever and there are guys like Stieb, Saberhagen, Rijo, Webb, Tanana and others who matched the entire career of relievers and had thousand(s) of league average innings on top of that career segment which matches up with the reliever’s entire career.

        • Rich says:

          So I take it that means you don’t think relievers (not named Rivera) shouldn’t be considered because they don’t pitch enough innings? If so, is it right to hold it against them that they were asked to perform a certain role (and did so extremely well) instead of demanding to be used only as a starter? There has to be a place for them in the HoF.

          • Rich says:

            * should

          • Bryan says:

            Relievers should be considered, it’s just that with the advantages of only facing the same batter one per appearance and the light workload of 50-70 IP per year they should have really good rate stats.

            1100 IP and 140 ERA+ is simply not a Hall of Fame case on it’s own. Brandon Webb has 1319.2 IP and 142 ERA+ for his entire career.

            Hoffman has about 200 fewer innings and 824.2 IP of his career was outings where he recorded 3 or fewer outs which by all logic should be easier. If Hoffman has better rate stats than Webb or peak Stieb.
            Kimbrel and Chapman have incredible rate stats but currently have the equivalent of Roger Clemens’ career only in Toronto:
            Kimbrel: 401.1 IP, 210 ERA+, 36 OPS+, 14.3 WAR, 8.6 WAA
            Chapman: 377 IP, 192 ERA+, 13.4 WAR, 7.9 WAA
            Clemens 1997-98: 498.2 IP, 196 ERA+, 49 OPS+, 20.1 WAR, 15.3 WAA
            If Dave Stieb’s entire career was 1982-85 and then he made 1 pinch running appearance in each of the next 6 Septembers to have 10 years and HoF eligibility would you vote for him? If not, in what way do you consider Hoffman superior to that career?
            If Roger Clemens’ entire career was 1997-98, it was proven he didn’t take PEDs and he then made the pinch running appearances to reach 10 years would you vote for him?
            Billy Wagner: 903 IP, 187 ERA+, 49 OPS+, 27.7 WAR, 16.5 WAA
            This is roughly 4 elite years from a recent pitcher or 3 elite years if you go back to 4 man rotations and less bullpen usage. Kershaw had 4 elite years by the end of 2014, if his career ends that off-season due to injury does he just need some pinch running appearances to get inducted in the Hall of Fame or will he fall short and people will refer to Kershaw as a “could’a’been”.

          • invitro says:

            “If not, in what way do you consider Hoffman superior to that career?” — One answer is that Hoffman’s innings were of much higher leverage; much more important to wins than Stieb’s were. This is measurable with WPA. Hoffman had 34.1 WPA for his career. Stieb had 14.0 WPA from 1982-5. So that’s one way Hoffman’s career might be thought to be superior.

  73. Kevin says:

    I don’t see how Curt Schilling and Billy Wagner could possibly make it in to the Willie Mays HoF. How does Schilling get it ahead of Nolan Ryan? And Billy Wagner was a very good closer, but I’ve never heard anyone say he was better than Eckersley.

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