TURES COLUMN: Those Atlanta Braves who belong in the Hall Of Fame
Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021
On Jan. 25, 2022, the BBWAA will announce who will go into Major League Baseball’s Hall-of-Fame next season. For the past few off-seasons, several players did not get their proper recognition, or even a spot in Cooperstown, New York. If there’s any justice, they should get in. Here’s a compelling case for each player.
4) Billy Wagner: There’s nothing wrong with Billy Wagner’s pitching. He was outstanding. The trouble with this 6th place vote finisher is that his “WAR” is 27.7 while every other player who got votes has a WAR of over 50. Why? Because WAR and a lot of other statistics aren’t perfect stats. They take on the air of legitimacy. But what WAR counts for pitchers is FIP (infield fly balls, adjusted for ball parks) and “scaled to how many innings the pitcher threw,” which has a built-in bias against relievers. His saves, strikeouts for a reliever and ERA are better than others like Joe Nathan and Jonathan Papelbon, who were pretty good sharp themselves.
3) Tim Hudson: Pitcher A had 216 wins, 146 losses, 3.46 ERA, gave up 2,998 hits and 347 home runs. Pitcher B had 222 wins, 133 losses, 3.49 ERA, gave up 2,957 hits, and 248 home runs. Which one is Tim Hudson, and which one is Curt Schilling? Oh yeah, Schilling is the one who got 71.2% of the vote, while Hudson got 5.2% of the vote. Sure Schilling had 1,000 more strikeouts, but Hudson got a lot of ground ball outs. Does Schilling really deserve 13x more votes as a result? Writers need to give the classy Tim Hudson, a fan-favorite, his due.
2) Andruw Jones: There’s a push for two defensive whizzes, shortstop Omar Vizquel and 3B Scott Rolen to get into the Hall-of-Fame. Well, why not vote in one of the best defensive center fielders ever, who could actually hit pretty well? Vizquel has 11 Golden Gloves in 24 years, while Jones got 10 Golden Gloves in 17 years. Rolen got 8 in 17 years. Jones hit 434 home runs to 80 for Vizquel and 316 for Scott Rolen. Vizquel has a higher batting average than Jones (by 18 percentage points), but when it comes to on base percentage, the two are identical (.336 to .337). Jones’ slugging percentage of .486 is close to Rolen’s .490. So why is Jones getting 33.9% of the vote, while Vizquel gets 49.1% and Rolen gets 52.9%? Stop the charade, get more defenders in the Hall-of-Fame, and give more love to Jones, who hit just as well if not better, and covered far more real estate on the field.
1) Dale Murphy: I have written so many times about the travesty of overlooking one of two 2-time MVPs, Sports Illustrated “Sportsmen of the Year” for his charity work, a stack of Gold Gloves and All-Star selections, who had to watch as steroid users and manufactured statistics told baseball writers that one of the game’s best ambassadors just didn’t measure up. I’ve run analyses of ball-parks, baseball numbers, and virtually every indicator says stop disrespecting the man. I know he’s not on the ballot now, but he will be still considered before other special committees in the future, and this needs to be on their minds. Give this living role model for the game his long-overdue place among those who truly made the sport “America’s Pastime” and stop voting in those who did not do the same over their careers.
Honorable Mention: Gary Sheffield: If you know me, you know I am not a fan of putting any steroid abusers in the Hall-of-Fame. But I would say this much: if Major League Baseball does decide to go this route, they should put Gary Sheffield and Andy Pettitte, stars who actually admitted what they did, ahead of those who brought shame to the sport with their denials. Sheffield claimed to have only used steroids one year, but really provided a lot details about the process and links to other players who allegedly did. He’s also spoken out against steroids, which is better than steroid defenders. There should be a section in Cooperstown about the evils of steroid use, and those side effects, as well as a spot respecting the honesty of some users.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.