Posted December 14, 2012

JAWS and the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot: Dale Murphy

Atlanta Braves, Dale Murphy, Hall of Fame, JAWS

The following article is part of my ongoing look at the candidates on the BBWAA 2013 Hall of Fame ballot. For a detailed introduction to JAWS, please see here.

Dale Murphy won back-to-back NL MVPs in 1982 and '83. (Andy Hayt/SI)

Dale Murphy won back-to-back NL MVPs in 1982 and ’83. (Andy Hayt/SI)

For as long as I’ve been analyzing Hall of Fame ballots — 12 seasons, including my initial foray at my Futility Infielder blog — Dale Murphy has appeared to me to be a candidate who falls short enough of the standards for inclusion that I’ve resisted going through his career with a fine-toothed comb. 

When I started this endeavor for the 2002 ballot, Murphy looked to be the weakest among a quartet of outfield candidates whom I had grown up watching and to some extent revering: Andre Dawson, Dave Parker, Jim Rice and Murphy himself. He had the fewest career hits, the lowest batting average and slugging percentage, and the lowest scores via the Bill James Hall of Fame Standards and Hall of Fame Monitor tools. A fine and memorable player he may have been, but not one worthy of a bronze plaque in Cooperstown.

When I introduced the system that would eventually become JAWS, I found that all four outfielders fell shy of the standards at their positions, and even with revisions to my methodology and the underlying WARP currency, that held true.

The BBWAA voters disagreed with me on Rice, whom they elected in 2009, his final year of eligibility, and Dawson, who followed a year later, and who at least ranked as the most qualified of the bunch according to JAWS. They agreed with me on Parker, whose eligibility expired in 2011; he hadn’t even broken 20 percent since the 2000 vote, and never topped 25 percent. They have agreed with me on Murphy, who’s in a very similar boat as Parker, which is to say up the creek without a paddle: going into his final year of eligibility, he has never reached 25 percent, topped 20 percent only in 2000 (23.2 percent) and received 14.5 percent last year.

Murphy is about to become the 35th player who lasted on the BBWAA ballot long enough for his eligibility to expire. Seven of those players gained entry via one iteration of the Veterans Committee or another, including the late Ron Santo in 2011, but the lowest percentage any of those players received in their final year was Richie Ashburn, who got 30.4 percent, down from 35.4 percent the year before. No, it’s not looking good for the Murph.

Player  Career Peak JAWS HR  SB  AVG  OBP  SLG  TAv
Dale Murphy 42.6 39.0 40.8 2180 2111 398 161 .265 .346 .469 .285
Avg HOF CF 67.1 42.5 54.8                
Avg HOF OF 66.3 41.2 53.7                
Avg HOF Hitter 64.7 41.3 53.0                

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Murphy was the fifth overall pick of the 1974 draft by the Braves, a 6-foot-4 specimen whom the team saw as a catcher thanks to a strong arm that some compared to Johnny Bench. That 1974 season was Hank Aaron’s final one with the organization, an 88-win aberration that marked the Braves’ only winning season between 1971 and 1980. Murphy would help change that eventually, but only after abandoning the tools of ignorance. He debuted with the Braves on Sept. 13, 1976 as a 20-year-old, enjoying the proverbial late-season cup of coffee, and did the same thing the following year.

By the time of his true rookie season in 1978, Murphy was transitioning away from catcher due to a mental block involving a sudden inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher; that year, in which he played 129 games at first but just 21 behind the plate, he hit .226/.284/.394, with 23 homers but a league-leading 145 strikeouts thanks to his long swing.  He took a giant step forward the following year, hitting .276 /.340/.469 with 21 homers and just 67 strikeouts, but he missed roughly two months due to a knee injury; though he started the season as the regular catcher, he never played another inning at the position after returning.

The Braves made him their regular centerfielder in 1980, and he rewarded them with a 33-homer campaign in which he made the All-Star team and was 6.2 Wins Above Replacement (fourth in the league), with a .281/.349/.510 line accompanied by defense that was 13 runs above average overall according to Total Zone, and 11 above average in center. With his help, the Braves broke out of their long slide with an 81-80 finish.

After a down 1981 season (.247/.325/.390) shortened by the strike, Murphy bounced back in a big way in 1982: .281/.378/.507 with 36 homers, a league-high 109 RBIs, 23 steals and 93 walks. Under new manager Joe Torre, the team started the year 13-0 and withstood a late charge by the Dodgers to win the NL West for the first time since 1969. Murphy beat out the Cardinals’ Lonnie Smith (who was drafted two picks before Murphy) and the Dodgers’ Pedro Guerrero for the NL MVP award, though his 5.8 WAR was outdone by both, as well as five other players, hardly an uncommon occurrence in the annals of the voting. He also took home the first of five straight Gold Gloves, though his defense in center was only two runs above average (again, hardly uncommon).

Murphy won a second MVP award the following year, with an even better individual season: .302/.393/.540 with 36 homers and 30 steals; he led the league in slugging percentage and ranked second with 6.8 WAR. This time, the 88-win Braves lost out to the Dodgers in the NL West, and in fact Murphy would never make it back to the postseason.

He would continue to crank out strong years through 1987, his age-31 season; that year — a season that previewed the higher offensive levels of the next decade, and that also marked his move from centerfield to rightfield — Murphy set career highs with 44 homers, 115 walks (29 intentional), .417 OBP, .580 SLG and 7.4 WAR, the league’s third-highest total. Alas, Dawson won MVP honors for a 49-homer season that was nonetheless vastly inferior (.287/.328/.568, 3.7 WAR), and in fact Murphy didn’t even break the top 10 in voting.

At that juncture, Murphy looked like a Hall of Famer in the making, with a career .279/.362/.500 line, 310 homers, five 30-homer seasons and six top-three finishes in homers from 1980 to 1987. Over that eight-year span, only Mike Schmidt (295) hit more homers than Murphy’s 264, and only six players exceeded his 40.0 WAR: Rickey Henderson, Schmidt, Gary Carger, Wade Boggs, Robin Yount and Alan Trammell; all but the last are in the Hall.

Alas, Murphy’s career quickly fell off the table. He hit a combined .238/.311/.403 over the next four seasons and was worth just 4.9 WAR in that span, a hair less value than the 5.0 he had averaged during that eight-year run. Traded to Philadelphia in August 1990, he exceeded 57 games just once over his final four seasons due to knee troubles, and played in just 44 games combined in his final two years with Philadelphia and Colorado.

As with Larry Walker, Murphy’s key counting stats (2,111 hits, 398 homers) eyeball as rather light for a Hall of Famer. But even in a lower-run environment than that in which Walker played, with most of his time spent at a tougher defensive position, and with the benefit of 1,011 more plate appearances, Murphy comes up nowhere near the JAWS standard for centerfielders, or the slightly lower standard for outfielders in general; 49 percent of his career plate appearances came while playing center, another 34 percent as a rightfielder, and 87 percent at any outfield position.

Even by the most generous standard, measured against all Hall of Fame hitters, he’s 2.3 WAR shy of the average Hall of Famer on peak value, and 22.1 WAR shy on career value. Among centerfielders, he ranks 25th in JAWS, below 12 Hall of Famers as well as several other very good players including Kenny Lofton, Andruw Jones, Carlos Beltran, Jim Edmonds, Jimmy Wynn, Willie Davis, Cesar Cedeno, Vada Pinson, Chet Lemon, Johnny Damon and Fred Lynn.

Murphy’s collection of hardware — five Gold Gloves, two MVP awards, seven All-Star appearances — is often offered as a counter to the lightness of his numbers on both the traditional and sabermetric fronts. Most of that stuff is well-captured by Bill James’ Hall of Fame Monitor and Hall of Fame Standards metrics, which give credit for awards, league leads in key categories, postseason performance and so on, and there, Murphy is nothing special. His Hall of Fame Monitor score, which measures how likely (not how deserving) a player is to be elected, is 116, with 100 representing “a good possibility” and 130 “a virtual cinch”; that score centered at 100 for the average Hall of Famer when James designed it, but the average has risen over time, and it’s not hard to find players on the 2013 ballot with much higher scores, led by Jeff Bagwell (150) and Walker (148).

As I noted in my article on the latter, the Monitor and Standard weren’t built to cope with the extreme offensive environment of the 1993-2009 period, but even contemporary candidates on the ballot (Trammell at 118) or now off it (Parker at 124) rank higher. As for the Hall of Fame Standards, which attempt to measure Hallworthiness based upon career levels, Murphy scores 34 where the average Hall of Famer is supposed to be at 50; Trammell (40) and Parker (42) have him beat there, to say nothing of more modern players whose offensive contexts essentially broke the system such as Walker (58). JAWS was built specifically with an eye towards improving upon these metrics.

Murphy’s two MVP awards alone have been offered as evidence he belongs in Cooperstown. Twenty-nine players have won multiple MVP awards; eight of the 10 players with three are already in Cooperstown, with Barry Bonds (the only player with more than three) on this year’s ballot and Alex Rodriguez not yet eligible. Of the 19 players with exactly two MVP awards, Juan Gonzalez, Roger Maris, Frank Thomas and Murphy are the only ones not in. Thomas hits the ballot next year, Gonzalez fell off after two years due to his short peak and his connections to performance-enhancing drugs, Maris topped out at 43.1 percent of the vote in his 15th and final year of eligibility in 1988 and has since failed to gain entry via the Veterans Committee several times.

Of those 19 two-time winners, the only ones who don’t exceed the JAWS standard at their position besides Gonzalez, Maris and Murphy are Hal Newhouser, Carl Hubbell and Hank Greenberg, all of whom are within four points of the JAWS standard. Newhouser and Greenberg both have peak scores above the standard but are short on the career mark; the latter missed three full seasons and parts of two others due to World War II, so he’s excused. Hubbell is the worst of the two-time winners in terms of JAWS, and he’s only 2.5 points short, while Murphy is 12.2 points short.

Murphy was one of the best players of the 1980s, but both his peak and his career were too short to measure up to the average Hall of Famer. In his final year on the ballot, I’ve given his case the most complete airing I can within this context — a viking funeral for his candidacy, if you will — and I still can’t see a strong enough argument in his favor. In recent weeks, his adult children have taken to the internet and social media to urge voters to see the light. One of them even took aim at “statistic nerds” and specifically called out JAWS. In addition to his numbers, the Murphy brood highlighted their father’s anti-steroid stance as well as his strong record of sportsmanship and community service.

It may be true that Murphy has led a more virtuous life than Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, but he’s neither being sized up for sainthood nor even measured against those less-than-saintly types. He’s being measured against the players already in the Hall of Fame, sinners and saints alike, for his tangible accomplishments on the field, and by those standards, he simply falls short.

37 comments
peacemate
peacemate

you are wrong, sorry. anyone who watched or cared about baseball during the late 70s and all of the 80s knows that any statistical measure that favors Rice, Raines, Baines, Murray, Dawson, Parker, Sandberg, Gary Carter as Hall of Fame worthy while considering Murphy less than HOF worthy is bunk.  If Jim rice and his useless defense, andre dawson and tim raines and their massive blow consumption, dave parker/gary carter and their massive track record of everyone else in the game flat-out HATING interacting with them--and also Massive Blow Consumption--all are legit hall of famers, then dale murphy is the most unfairly overlooked and sadly denied player EVER.  Ask anyone who watched games--Dale murphy was the BEST player in baseball for no less than 4 and perhaps 6 consecutive years.  If he played in boston, chicago, or new york, theres no debate. 

Keepin-It-Real
Keepin-It-Real

Players played the game. Writers didn't. Not to be disrespectful, but Murphy was the ONLY silver lining for a team that had maybe a couple good seasons. He never left the team when he was in his prime for a team that was poised for the playoffs. He kept the Braves in Atlanta and gave the fans something to cheer about. Not only that, he was pretty much the only consecutive All Star representative for the Braves every year. If the criteria includes, "Sportsmanship", "Character", and "Contributions to the team" then Murphy should have been in 15 years ago. He was a 1st class act his entire career. "Contributions to the team??" WOW!!! Really?? There was noone that contributed more than Murphy. I guess the new criteria is, the use of PED's (very unsportsman like, and no character ) DUIs, Times aressted and most times in the news for negative reasons, then yes... Murphy should not be in. Get it straight people, during the 1980's there were very few hitters whos name struck fear into opposing pitchers. Yount, Brett, Pucket, Molitor and Murphy are just some of the big ones to name.  Oh yeah... and just to jump on the band wagon ... Back-to-Back MVP's?!?!  How about the 30/30 club?? Not many people are apart of that ether. It's common sense, he should be in!!

 

I live in California and i can appreciate the game. If Murphy doesn't get in, then the HOF criteria and ballots are about as dependable as the BCS computer rankings in College Football. 

JohnG1
JohnG1

While I agree that someone's character really shouldn't be a big factor in whether or not they make the Hall of Fame, the fact remains that there *is* a character clause. And Murphy should definitely get some bonus points because of it, or the clause should be done away with. It seems completely asinine for Jaffe to just dismiss it. Perhaps he should double check the ballot. It's part of the voting criteria.

JasonFlook
JasonFlook

I forgot sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team, were also used to value if a player should be in the Hall of Fame. I guess we should just eliminate those 3 completely off that statement?

daniel_b
daniel_b

MLB provides the criteria for induction:  "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

 

Using statistics as the sole criteria ignores the other criteria, which MLB does not designate as secondary.  If a player's poor integrity, sportsmanship, and character can be used to keep them out (see: Bonds, McGwire, Clemens), then should exceptional integrity, sportsmanship, and character also be considered for Murphy?  Why should these elements be criteria for exclusion but not for inclusion?

GaryCorfitzson
GaryCorfitzson

B2B MVP's have been acomplished by 9 players and as fate would have it, only one at each position on the field given outfielders as a group; and all three outfielders names begin with "M.".

 

SamRowland
SamRowland

Back to back MVP's? How many players have been able to accomplish something like that? Especially in the modern era? The HOF is about the special among the exceptional. Back to back MVP's is as special as it gets in my book.

SamRowland
SamRowland

Whoever the fellow is that wrote the article obviously does not understand or can identify with the kind of talent Dale showed on and off the field. MVP, led the the league in several categories for several years, and was just an outstanding example of what "good people" means. Its a sham and a shame we are even having this discussion.

BruceBernard
BruceBernard

Writers should NOT be allowed to vote. I say let the current members only vote. THEY know baseball, not some writer trying to make a name for  himself, a stat geek or one that just has a distaste for a player.

HOFPufnstuf
HOFPufnstuf

All stats come with a bias. At some point you have to interpret a stat and render a verdict. That makes even the most contrived meta-stat like War or Jaws some what subjective. So players like Murphy can get devalued because they didn't walk enough compared to henderson or the latest stat darlings, trammell and raines. But Murphy and guys like Jim Rice were there to drive in runs. So with guys on first and second, they are swinging. If you played or managed against them, they scared the crap out of you. But if you aggregate their stats 20 years later, well, according to the WAR models, all they did was drive in runs. Or they grounded into too many double plays. Some long time hall of famers and dominant players are being tested and failing based on this bias towards walk and obp. Two examples are Al Simmons and roberto Clemente. The people who saw them play were amazed by them. Decades later, the stat guys think clemente didn't walk enough. People who saw Murphy were blown away by him. His opponents pitched around him constantly. Honestly we need to step back a little with the stats craze. Part of the fun of baseball is that the question of who is better is debateable. Settle the argument and you lose a lot. You lose the art. We actually have writers out there who think Kevin Brown wa better than Christy Mathewson or Bob feller because he had a bettr whip or WAR. Come on. How crazy is it to value theoretical wins (WAR) over actual wins??

PadraigHansen
PadraigHansen

I'm a huge of fan of data analysis - except in these types of cases.  Murph is a HOF player - and there shouldn't be a doubt.  This is ridiculous.  

 

 

Sharon1
Sharon1

well your right the hall numbers are not phenomenal. So what exactly makes a hall of famer ?if its stats then bonds, rose,mcgwire, sosa, should be in. Or is it character longevity stats? Then he should be in. IN the 80s dale murphy single -handly kept baseball afloat. With tbs dale was the most recognized athlete in baseball and one of the biggest stars. No matter what people knew murph and the braves. His homeruns, rbis, gold gloves, and mvps dominated the league without substance abuse. Going into the 90s a trade and some physical problems later the murph dwindled and eventually retired. By then drugs were rampant, the braves were off tbs and baseball was in the middle of a so called homerun barrage. I hear the same about if he had just hit a couple more homeruns or atlanta had won more doesnt matter now. But he did it clean! good or bad steroids could have jacked those extra homeruns and extended that career five or six years longer but he did it right whether it hurt his hall chances or not. SO my thought is if your voting stats vote for the drug infested players with guady stats or if you wont an honest player who did it right whose numbers might not be perfect then he gets your vote. My thought is murphy will fall short and a drug addict will get the numbers. Baseball will further entrench itself in the drug world while leaving the honest players wondering if they made the right choice. As far as Im concerned dale murphy is a hall of famer regardless and come the announcement I will probably take a minute and think maybe he is just too good of a guy for this hall. Like Martin Luther King Jr would say I would judge a man by the contents of his character than the color of his skin. Years from now when bonds and murphy are mentioned at least dale can hold his head high regardless of what a bunch of out of touch writers think.

JimKirkwood
JimKirkwood

Would Murphy get your vote had he retired 4 years earlier?

John19
John19

Wonky SABR stats can eat my shorts and die in a fire. For four years in the '80s, Murph was feared by pitchers and desired by managers. Twice MVP at a time when dozens of HoFers were in their prime. He was one of a handful of marquee players at his position for nearly a decade. 

C-Diddy
C-Diddy

Most of Murphy's production came as an Atlanta Brave and THAT's why he doesn't get the votes.  If he had the exact same career as a Met, Phillie, Red or Cub he would have been in the hall a long time ago.

shingen
shingen

I agree that the numbers are problematic. But the sentence about how saintly he is poses a problem. If one can be so morally bad to be excluded, then we MUST be putting a high premium on morality. If the combination of numbers and ethics is important, then Murphy's case to get in must be as good as keeping Bonds out. If the baseball writers stopped being ridiculous hypocrites, then maybe people wouldn't keep brining up his moral standing.

HOFPufnstuf
HOFPufnstuf

I think he's a unique case. I don't buy into new meta stats like JAWS or even WAR becasue the discount the when and the how of a players career. When did he hit those homers? In tight games? In october? How did he get his gold gloves? By not making errprs or by makimg smart anticipation plays? Or spectacular plays? Or timely plays? I think modern writers all want to be the next bil james and create their own brand of stat. I think any common sense fan could agree with whatever JAWS would say. That parker is not a HOFer. But what about Murphy?? People who saw him play will swear he was an impact player. Why do we now discount that if it doesn't fit into WAR?? So he still feels borderline so in a case like this voters should ask "is baseball a better game because Dale Murphy played" and will the Hall of Fame be better for his inclusion. To me the answer is yes, so given that and borderline stats, i say HE BELONGS

benback2cu
benback2cu

I have no reason to doubt the writer has analyzed Hall of Fame balloting for a dozen years.  I DO have reason to believe he has missed the boat in life if he thinks there's a good reason for wasting all of that time.

 

You can analyze all the numbers of the world, and for what purpose?  Is there a set of criteria anywhere that spells out exactly what numbers are required for Hall of Fame admittance?  If so, how did Phil Rizzuto sneak in?

 

Whenever I see these long-winded statistical justifications for or against a player, I think about the line in "Moneyball" when Brad Pitt (as Billy Beane) said, "It's hard not to be romantic about baseball."  That, folks, is what it's all about.  If we listened to accountants, no one in their right mind would be a Cubs fan or a believer in the Cleveland Indians.  But still, romantics persevere.  We don't pick out out clothes, car colors or spouses on the basis of what everyone else thinks.  We go where our heart tells us to go.

 

How does these number nuts not realize that?  No one really cares how compelling their case for or against someone is.  They remember hustle plays and loyalty and whether or not a player smiled when he was photographed with their kid at spring training.  It's romance that makes baseball what it is--not spreadsheet comparisons.  There's little enough to love in the world today.  Why insist on forcing people to have numeric proof for what's in their heart?

jarob54
jarob54

I don't know if this cat was old enough to have watched Murphy his entire career. I watched  Murphy from his rookie season to his last, and in my opinion he is deserving of the HOF. Pitchers need not fear pitching around Murphy for most of his Braves career, as Atlanta did not have a robust batting line up. Other than Bob Horner, Murphy was the long ball threat on the club. I suppose if one looks for reasonS not to include a player in the HOF, one can conjure up enough to satisfy one's own conscience and sleep well at night, Seems reading this article this is what I take from the writer. He has done his best to convince himself that excluding Murphy makes his vote seems more important. Should one include Jim Rice, Dave Parker, one should include Dale Murphy.  Murphy was one of the games best year after year for a decade.

CaBBFan
CaBBFan

Like you, I love stats. Numbers don't lie, however how you manipulate or spin them can lead to false conclusions - ask any politician. So is JAWS or any other stats reporting an compilation system the sole determining factor for a player to be voted into the HOF? I think not. If it was, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro would be in as well as Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemmens. But there is hesitation by the BBWAA to vote for these players, because of their moral character, not because of their stats. The hesitation comes from the negative impact the player has on the game of baseball.

The HOF currently has a program promoting fitness, nutrition, character, and fair play. Doesn't Dale Murphy's career exemplify what the HOF is promoting? Not only did he have HOF worthy awards: consecutive MVP's, 7 All-Star appearances, 5 Gold Gloves and 4 Silver Sluggers. He led the NL in HR's and RBI's twice. He also played in 740 consecutive games - 11th longest in baseball history. Even one of your fellow SI writers Joe Posnanski endorses Murphy, " . . . a larger-than-life character who signed every autograph, spoke up for every charity and played brilliant baseball every day for mostly doomed teams."

Dale Murphy was and is highly regarded and respected by his peers for his play on the field and his character off. He may not have the "stats" to push him over the top, but combined with the "impact" he had on the game, Dale Murphy certainly deserves induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

HookemHelwig
HookemHelwig

Created a profile just to comment as well.....Stats are important but not as important as timely hitting, key strikeout etc.  EX: Bucky Dent, carried the Yanks one WS and was ave statistically at best...clutch player.  Josh Hamilton, great stats but can't use the nickname Clutch for sure.

Murphy was an excellent player playing loyally for very poor teams and was rarely protected in the batting order.  He was also a unique for his time player with 30 pops and 30 steals.  Yes those are stats, but they show his great range of talent and versatility. Had the cheating era not occured his #'s would have served him better (less multiple MLB MVP's for example) and sportsmanship does have some say in the HOF vote.   Bottom line, he is not a slam dunk in, nor should he be a slam dunk out either.

gbkenion
gbkenion

Lies, dam$ lies, and statistics. HOF should be decided by players 80 percent, fans 15 percent, and writers 5 percent.

gregc
gregc

Sabermetrics aren't necessary to decide on Hall of fame voting. The votes should only go to all-time greats. Guys like Rabbit Maranville or Paul Molitor shouldn't have been admitted. Dale Murphy is not an all time great. In fact neither are Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell, even though they're likely to be voted in. On the other hand Hank Greenberg and Carl Hubbell were two of the all time greats who absolutely deserve to be in the Hall. Of all the inductees in the past 5 years only Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken, Rickie Henderson and Jim Rice actually belong in the all time great category.

Scott1
Scott1

Having a bunch of hack journalist vote for inclusion into the MLB HOF is why it is such a farce.  They don't understand the beauty of the game, but instead try to put a number on everything to justify their choices.  Numbers and statistics are certainly part of the game, but statistics are for losers and don't determine the outcome of the games.  I just don't trust members of the media to be unbiased to those outside of their region who they might not be as familiar with and who might use statistics to justify not voting a particular player into the HOF.  If the MLB HOF had any guts, they'd  toss the current selection process and instead mirror the NFL HOF which uses a committee to make selections.

natureguy
natureguy

I created a profile here just to tell you how much I think of these types of articles and stats are a detriment to the game. Can't we just enjoy baseball for the fun game it is and not crunch algorithms to justify their existence in the HOF? 

 

This stuff is ridiculous. And the author is a ridiculous person for wasting our time with it. When did math geeks take over baseball anyway? Baseball shouldn't be analyzed to death...repeatedly, by a bunch of so-called journalists trying to make a name for themselves. Unreal. 

 

Your stat is completely bogus and only factors in 2 of the 5 voting criteria. And even then, you put your own personal biased in the article. Who made you judge and jury? I'm rooting for you Murph!! Don't let idiots like this author bring you down!

Ron aka Buddy
Ron aka Buddy

If you're only going to use JAWS, WAR, blah blah blah; you're forgetting there are other standards used for criteria and your vote is severely flawed and you're ignorant. I believe it's criteria 5 that deals with character and sportsmanship. 

 

The HOF isn't just about statistics, or at least it's not supposed to be as this moron writer suggests. Based on his article, Barry Bonds is a first-ballot HOF'er. That's BS.

JoeyBagadoughnutz
JoeyBagadoughnutz

HOF is a joke.  look up the current HOF, you morons, and compare

 

oh sorry, that would require actual research, and my bad, who gives a shiite anyways

Michael10
Michael10

Guys like Dale Murphy and Kirby Puckett are the reason I can't put all my eggs in the sabermetric basket as much as I am enamored with stats like WAR and OPS+ (haven't come around on True Average yet).  My gut tells me guys like this are HOFers; the advanced metrics say "no way."  The same metrics tell me guys like Grich, Blyleven, and Trammell meet the standard; my gut says "When, at any time, did you ever watch one of these guys play and say 'There goes a Hall of Famer'?"

 

There are others like Stargell and Brock and Dean and Koufax that the new math folks would love to bounce out of Cooperstown, but these guys player like Hall of Famers and not like Hall of Quiet and Underappreciated Excellencers (sorry, Lou Whitaker).  I'll admit, my stance flipflops -- sometimes the gut loses and I say sorry Jim Rice and Don Mattingly, the numbers just aren't there.  Sometimes I wonder if players I champion like Lee Smith and Tim Raines aren't HOQUErs (don't try to pronounce that).

 

But that's part of it, that's what makes it the Hall of FAME and not the Hall of WAR -- the human element, the memories and the reputations, the diving catches, the moonshots, the All-Star appearances.  Who honestly, after following them for a decade, would have told you at the turn of the century that Albert Belle would be forgotten after the two ballots and that Craig Biggio would be a HOFer on the first?  Who over the age of 27-and-a-half would concede that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper's combined contribution to baseball in a SINGLE season outstrips Joe Carter's entire CAREER? 

 

Yes, the numbers support it, but my gut knows better.  And I think most fans and players and coaches and sportswriters do, too.  This is why Rice and Dawson and Sutter finally got in, why Jack Morris probably will.  Though I'm still not on board with that last one, I'm glad to see some people are still willing to go with their intuition, even when the numbers refute it -- even when that intuition does not line up with my own, because I know it's coming from the same place, a place that values greatness over algorithm.

wyocoug
wyocoug

Love this series but think this analysis has some serious flaws and biases. 1) Murphy is severely downgraded because of his defense under the JAWS system. His overall defensive WAR for the seven seasons is a negative. Doubtful that many of the comps used in the article are penalized for defense. I, like many fans, can understand that the offensive WAR is much more accurate than the defensive WAR. It seems counterintuitive that a player who was winning gold gloves year after year could be so bad defensively. I would love to see a similar analysis based solely on hitting. My guess is that Murphy would look much better. 2) The question here is whether Dale Murphy belongs in the Hall of Fame, not whether Alan Trammel, Jeff Bagwell, etc belong. I doubt that anybody is claiming that Murphy is better than Willie Mays. But if Dale Murphy were elected to the Hall would that be an embarrassment like some others? Doubtful in my mind. 3) Murphy was perhaps THE dominant offensive player in the NL over an eight year period. That has to count for a lot. How many players who were similarly dominant are not in the Hall? 4) While the author glosses over it, the fact that Murphy is one of the better human beings to put on a uniform has absolutely got to count for something. The game has never had a better ambassador.

I really don't know whether Murphy should be in the Hall. I would say yes but I can see the arguments against him. I think his eight season stretch of greatness, two MVPs, Gold Gloves, etc are more than enough to punch his ticket. But I am sure that a blind adherence to a flawed defensive WAR model is hardly a valid reason to keep him out.

John NoLastName
John NoLastName

 @HOFPufnstuf Excellent post. I especially agree with you about the walks, and that too many writers have fallen in love with them in recent years.

 

The value of a walk depends on who the player is. If it's Mantle or Williams or Aaron or Bonds, then a walk has to be weighed against the likelihood of those players clearing the bases with one swing. For those guys, a walk is almost a triumph for the opposing team. 

 

On the other hand, if the player is a .middle infielder hitting .220, then squeezing out a base on balls may be the biggest offensive contribution he makes all day.

 

To put it another way, Mantle, Williams, Bonds, etc walked a lot because they were great hitters. They weren't great hitters because they walked a lot.

Michael10
Michael10

 @gregc Rice isn't even close to the group you put him in.  His case is very similar to Murphy's.  Had the HOF ballot not thinned in the early part of this century, or had he not played in Boston, he'd have never made the cut.  "All-Time Greats" don't sneak in on the 15th try...

Mel
Mel

 @gregc First you need to at least learn how to spell these guys names. It's Rickey. With a Y. Secondly, prior to the steroid era, EVERY player that got 3,000 hits got in. Molitor got 3,000 and had a similar career to Gwynn. So how does one belong and one does not? Especially when you say a guy like Jim Rice belongs. LOL.

JohnG1
JohnG1

 @Michael10 Great comment. I couldn't agree more. I think it's nice that the advanced stats have been used to build up less appreciated players and to confirm what we already thought about all-time greats (people like Babe Ruth), but I also find it to be sad that they're also used to tear down other players who were celebrated as greats in their time.

HOFPufnstuf
HOFPufnstuf

@John NoLastName bingo John. And if you remember Clemente would swing at anything because he didnt want to be pitched around. And yes, Gehrig and Ruth were walked alot but many times the opposing pitchers reaction was "phew". Getting back to Murphy, if he didn't drive in the run, then who did for those atlanta teams? There is this idea that drawing the walk is the real skill and an rbi is an inevitability, thanks to the obp guys. The rbi guy is the real meal ticket. He's the real skill player. The biggest bat held by the strongest hitter. So Murphy was one of the biggest rbi threats in the bigs for about 8 years. Let the kid in. Getting back to my original point, was baseball a better game because he played? Did he leave a positive imprint? Yes. Was he a winner? Yes. Is the Hall diminished by his inclusion? Certainly not. Is it better with him? Yeah i tend to think those Braves should be recognized.