Friday, December 27, 2013

Breaking Down This Year's 50 Best Not in the Hall: Which Team Gets Snubbed the Most?

I may as well continue with the Hall of Fame theme I have going on. One thing that I always wonder when filling out my 50 Best Players in the Hall of Fame ballot is if there’s any noticeable bias in who gets snubbed from the Hall. Like, whether there’s a specific position that the voters overlook, or if certain teams get passed over more often than others. I guess it’s also possible it’s my bias, but I’d like to think I’m objective in filling this out.

Anyway, if you need refreshing, here’s the selection of 50 Players I ended up going with this year. I wanted a quick number to look at for Hall worthiness, so I went with Adam Darowski’s Hall Ratings, since 1) that’s exactly what they were designed for, and 2) he includes breakdowns of how much of a player’s Hall Rating came in each season, with each team in total, and so on.

First, we have the straight number of players each franchise had on the list:

Arizona: 1
Atlanta: 11
Baltimore: 8
Boston: 8
Chicago (NL): 7
Chicago (AL): 11
Cincinnati: 3
Cleveland: 10
Colorado: 2
Detroit: 3
Houston: 7
Kansas City: 3
Los Angeles (AL): 5
Los Angeles (NL): 12
Miami: 3
Milwaukee: 4
Minnesota: 3
New York (NL): 9
New York (AL): 15
Oakland: 10
Philadelphia: 5
Pittsburgh: 6
San Diego: 4
Seattle: 1
San Francisco: 8
St. Louis: 11
Tampa Bay: 0
Texas: 7
Toronto: 4
Washington: 4

Obviously, there are some issues with this method. First, it treats every franchise as equal, when some have had much more time to accumulate snubs. For reference, six teams come out to greater than one snub per decade of play. From highest rate to lowest, they are the Mets, the Marlins, the Astros, the Yankees, the Rangers, and the Blue Jays. However, even that is misleading. For example, the Marlins get to third place because, in under three decades of play, they have had Tim Raines and Mike Piazza for brief stretches (as well as Kevin Brown, who actually did stuff with them). Yeah, any system that gives equal weight to Tim Raines the Expo and Tim Raines the Marlin should be re-evaluated. For reference, though, the Mets contributing to their lead are Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, David Cone, Willie Randolph, Bret Saberhagen, Ken Boyer, Keith Hernandez, Kevin Appier,* and Joe Torre. Obviously, that only strengthens the need for a new system; Ken Boyer and Keith Hernandez were not “Mets” to the same degree.

I didn’t want to just narrow each player down to one team, either; for every Bagwell, where there’s a clear team, you have a Darrell Evans (Brave? Giant? Tiger?). Which is where the Hall rating splits came in handy. Here’s each team again, this time just with the Hall Rating points earned by snubbed players while they were on each team:

Arizona: 57
Atlanta: 419
Baltimore: 226
Boston: 527
Chicago (NL): 353
Chicago (AL): 376
Cincinnati: 162
Cleveland: 390
Colorado: 103
Detroit: 312
Houston: 408
Kansas City: 216
Los Angeles (AL): 83
Los Angeles (NL): 279
Miami: 33
Milwaukee: 37
Minnesota: 7
New York (NL): 213
New York (AL): 499
Oakland: 195
Philadelphia: 249
Pittsburgh: 140
San Diego: 39
Seattle: 135
San Francisco: 433
St. Louis: 387
Tampa Bay: 0
Texas: 190
Toronto: 176
Washington: 137

Boston has a commanding lead, thanks to Roger Clemens (174), Dwight Evans (122), Luis Tiant (71), and Reggie Smith (65), with smaller contributions also coming from Curt Schilling (37), David Cone (3), Bret Saberhagen (12), and Wes Ferrell (43). The Yankees are similar, with two major contributors (Willie Randolph and Thurman Munson, each just over 100), another solid pair (Mike Mussina at 68 and Graig Nettles at 83), and then a lot of spare parts. It still feels odd to think about the Red Sox and Yankees as the two most neglected franchises, though. What about if we looked it on a per year basis?

Arizona: 3.6
Atlanta: 3.0
Baltimore: 2.0
Boston: 4.7
Chicago (NL): 2.6
Chicago (AL): 3.3
Cincinnati: 1.2
Cleveland: 3.5
Colorado: 4.9
Detroit: 2.8
Houston: 7.8
Kansas City: 4.8
Los Angeles (AL): 1.6
Los Angeles (NL): 2.1
Miami: 1.6
Milwaukee: 0.8
Minnesota: 0.1
New York (NL): 4.1
New York (AL): 4.4
Oakland: 1.7
Philadelphia: 1.9
Pittsburgh: 1.1
San Diego: 0.9
Seattle: 3.6
San Francisco: 3.3
St. Louis: 2.9
Tampa Bay: 0
Texas: 3.6
Toronto: 4.8
Washington: 3.0

Houston absolutely dominates this category, getting an average 7.8 points of Hall Rating in snubbed players per year of existence. Getting two greats who are not in the Hall in a 50 year span will help with that. Now, that’s not to say that this method doesn’t have its flaws. For example, a relatively new team with a single good candidate can leap up the list (hello Rockies and Larry Walker!). Also, long-running teams are at a bit of a disadvantage; the earlier days are much more picked over than today, but most of their fans today won’t care that their early stars are elected, only that their modern deserving ones aren’t (to put it another way, most Tiger fans will probably feel a lot stronger about Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker not being in than they will about the Tigers not having many big snubs from 1901 to World War II, but the latter still drags down the impact of the former).

I could look at the average Hall rating of the snubs of each team to sort of correct for this. A team with a lot of big contributors would score well then, regardless of how old the team was.

Arizona: 57.0
Atlanta: 38.1
Baltimore: 28.3
Boston: 65.9
Chicago (NL): 50.4
Chicago (AL): 34.2
Cincinnati: 54.0
Cleveland: 39.0
Colorado: 51.5
Detroit: 104.0
Houston: 58.3
Kansas City: 72.0
Los Angeles (AL): 16.6
Los Angeles (NL): 23.3
Miami: 11.0
Milwaukee: 9.3
Minnesota: 2.3
New York (NL): 23.7
New York (AL): 33.3
Oakland: 19.5
Philadelphia: 49.8
Pittsburgh: 23.3
San Diego: 9.8
Seattle: 135.0
San Francisco: 54.1
St. Louis: 35.2
Tampa Bay: 0
Texas: 27.14
Toronto: 44.0
Washington: 34.3

Again, there’s some weirdness here. Teams with one solid player (Edgar Martinez, say) get a boost, while teams with a couple of good players can be dragged down by one or two players with minor drop-ins (for example, Schilling, Kenny Lofton, and Buddy Bell all had stops in Houston with Hall ratings of 0).

The only other way I could think to divide this would be to just look at the players each team had over a certain level. I cut it a bunch of ways, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll just share the players who got 50 and 100 Hall Ratings with individual teams. Players that cleared 100 first, followed by players that cleared 50:

Arizona: 0, 1 (Curt Schilling 57)

Atlanta: 2, 3 (Greg Maddux 146, Tom Glavine 120, Joe Torre 70, with a near miss by Darrel Evans with 48)

Baltimore: 0, 2 (Mike Mussina 96, Bobby Grich 74, with Palmeiro falling just shy at 45)

Boston: 2, 4 (Roger Clemens 174, Dwight Evans 122, Luis Tiant 71, Reggie Smith 65, with Wes Ferrell also getting 43)

Chicago (NL): 1, 4 (Sammy Sosa 116, Rick Reuschel 99, Greg Maddux 66, Bill Dahlen 66)

Chicago (AL): 1, 3 (Frank Thomas 132, Minnie Minoso 80, Shoeless Joe Jackson 57, plus Tommy John with 43)

Cincinnati: 1, 1 (Pete Rose 146)

Cleveland: 0, 4 (Kenny Lofton 97, Shoeless Joe Jackson 74, Wes Ferrell 66, Luis Tiant 53, plus Buddy Bell at 40)

Colorado: 1, 1 (Larry Walker 103)

Detroit: 2, 2 (Lou Whitaker 144, Alan Trammell 143)

Houston: 2, 3 (Jeff Bagwell 164, Craig Biggio 126, Jim Wynn 81)

Kansas City: 1, 2 (Kevin Appier 101, Bret Saberhagen 83)

Los Angeles (AL): 0, 1 (Bobby Grich 66)

Los Angeles (NL): 0, 1 (Mike Piazza 83, and near misses Kevin Brown 43 and Reggie Smith 40)

Miami: 0, 0

Milwaukee: 0, 0

Minnesota: 0, 0

New York (NL): 0, 2 (Mike Piazza 57, Keith Hernandez 50)

New York (AL): 2, 4 (Willie Randolph 103, Thurman Munson 101, Graig Nettles 82, Mike Mussina 68, as well as David Cone 43)

Oakland: 1, 2 (Sal Bando 101, Mark McGwire 83)

Philadelphia: 0, 3 (Sherry Magee 92, Curt Schilling 76, Dick Allen 71)

Pittsburgh: 1, 1 (Barry Bonds 108)

San Diego: 0, 0

Seattle: 1, 1 (Edgar Martinez 135)

San Francisco: 1, 2 (Barry Bonds 254, Bobby Bonds 76)

St. Louis: 2, 3 (Ken Boyer 111, Ted Simmons 100, Keith Hernandez 66, plus honorable mention Mark McGwire 41)

Tampa Bay: 0, 0

Texas: 0, 2 (Rafael Palmeiro 77, Buddy Bell 76)

Toronto: 1, 1 (Dave Stieb 116, as well as Roger Clemens 45)

Washington: 0, 1 (Tim Raines 95, also Larry Walker at 43)

Now, obviously, there’s no hard and fast conclusion, but there are a couple of teams obviously in the discussion. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, White Sox, Indians, Rangers, Royals, Mets, and Phillies all have claims of different extents. I’m not sure I’d throw the Blue Jays, Mariners, or Braves in there yet, as their sufferings seem relatively new. However, I think at this point, it’s basically a duel between the Tigers and Astros. Each has a one-two punch that’s hard to beat. I’d give the edge to Houston I think, but only barely. Whitaker-Trammell and Bagwell-Biggio are about equal in quality I think. Jimmy Wynn (with a strong fourth from Roger Clemens at 37) is a much stronger third place than Darrell Evans (at only 25 from his Detroit days), but you also have to consider that Bagwell and Biggio are both pushing close to induction with over 50% of the votes, while Whitaker immediately fell off the ballot and Trammell has leveled out around the 40% mark after over a decade. In a few more years, this could easily swing back to Detroit’s “favor”, but I’m also not sure when that happens with the crush of candidates hitting the ballot (another thing I want to look at soon). Until then, enjoy the title Houston, since you seem to have such little luck in other areas.

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