Posted October 31, 2013

How much should October factor into Hall of Fame case for David Ortiz?

Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Hall of Fame, World Series

David Ortiz’s role in helping the Red Sox win their third championship of the past 10 years earned him World Series MVP honors and carved him several spots on the all-time Fall Classic leaderboard. Over the past couple of weeks, many national writers have suggested that his postseason performance should clinch him a spot in the Hall of Fame. In the past, I’ve pointed out some obstacles with regards to Ortiz’s candidacy, but the bigger question is the extent to which any player’s postseason credentials should boost his Cooperstown case.

The Hall of Fame is a collection of 300 individual honorees. By my count, 215 of them are there as major league players and another 85 as pioneers, executives, managers, umpires and Negro League players shut out of the majors. I’ve spent more than a decade studying the statistics and accomplishments of that former group — which was elected via a variety of voting rules and methodologies over the past eight decades — in an attempt to outline the standards and extrapolate them as they apply to new candidates via my JAWS system. In all of that, I’ve never come to an entirely satisfactory answer as to how much postseason excellence should boost a player’s candidacy.

Ortiz would appear to need just such a boost. His most prominent counting stats — 2,023 hits and 431 homers — don’t guarantee induction, particularly as they were accumulated in a high-offense era. In recent years, we’ve seen contemporary sluggers with even better numbers in those categories fall off the ballot or linger in its lowest reaches because they’re alleged to have used performance-enhancing drugs along the way. Like Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Jose Canseco and Sammy Sosa, Ortiz has a PED allegation against him, though perhaps the most tenuous one from among that group. Until the BBWAA voters start admitting otherwise qualified players with PED connections, his candidacy may be at a standstill, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to set that aside.

A more advanced accounting of Ortiz’s body of regular season work, using tools to adjust for the context in which he’s played, suggests he’s still a ways off. As so often happens in these discussions, I prefer to rely on JAWS, which uses Baseball-Reference.com’s version of Wins Above Replacement, to compare each candidate’s value — career and peak (best seven years) — to the players already in the Hall of Fame at his position. Ortiz has 44.2 career WAR and 33.4 peak WAR for a JAWS (the average of the two) of 38.8. There are no full-time designated hitters in the Hall yet; Paul Molitor, the player with the most plate appearances at the position (5,344) who’s in Cooperstown, spent more than half his time at other positions, including more than 1,200 games at second base, shortstop or third base.

Because of that problem, I’ve chosen to measure players at the position they most commonly played, since they did accrue some value there beyond what a DH provides. Molitor is measured against third basemen, as is Edgar Martinez, who hasn’t gotten more than 36.5 percent of the BBWAA vote in four years on the ballot despite strong qualifications. Ortiz (who has spent about 86 percent of his career as a DH) and 2014 candidate Frank Thomas (who spent about 57 percent of his career at DH) are measured against first basemen. One can reasonably measure such candidates against all Hall of Fame hitters, but either way, the verdict in these cases doesn’t change:

Player Career Peak JAWS
Avg HOF 1B 68.2 43.2 55.7
Avg HOF 3B 67.4 42.6 55.0
Avg HOF hitter 66.9 42.1 54.5
Ortiz 44.2 33.4 38.8
Thomas 73.6 45.3 59.5

One of these things is not like the others, and that’s Ortiz’s line, which is 15.7 points shy of the mark for all hitters and 16.9 points shy for first basemen. Among Hall first basemen, only Veterans Committee choices Jim Bottomley (35.4/28.7/32.0) and High Pockets Kelly (25.2/23.9/24.6) have lower scores, with Frank Chance (45.8/35.7/40.8) and Orlando Cepeda (50.1/34.4/42.3) the closest above him. The closest BBWAA-elected first baseman is Tony Perez (53.9/36.5/45.2).

For all that it captures, JAWS can’t incorporate everything that goes into a player’s Cooperstown case. It makes no attempt to account for postseason play, awards won, times leading the league in important categories or career milestones. Those accomplishments are better handled via the Bill James Hall of Fame Standards and Hall of Fame Monitor metrics, which award points for things like seasons hitting .300, winning an MVP award, earning All-Star honors, playing regularly for a championship team, leading the league in key categories and reaching certain milestones in a season or career.

Ortiz has a resumé that includes nine All-Star appearances, three championships, a .295/.409/.553 line in 357 postseason plate appearances and a searing .455/.576/.795 in 59 World Series PA, with each of those rate stats a record among players with at least 50 PA, plus one home run crown and two RBI titles. He has 132 points by the Hall of Fame Monitor system, which ranks 16th among active players, well short of Alex Rodriguez (363) and Derek Jeter (334) but above the line (100) that’s supposed to be the Hall average, though two decades of inductions and inflated offense have blurred that line. Those 132 points are tied for 104th all-time; 77 of the 105 players with scores as high or higher are enshrined already, and most of those who aren’t are on the way, though the PED issue stands as a roadblock for some. Of the 50 players who are within 20 points of his score in either direction, 28 are in, split about evenly on either side of his score.

At this point, it’s worth considering how Ortiz stacks up on the JAWS and Monitor fronts compared to other notable October heroes. Combining a top-of-my-head list with cursory peaks at a few leaderboards, I drew up a list of 10 hitters with cases worth investigating. I excluded obvious Hall of Famers such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and (with one exception) players with 3,000 hits, because Ortiz’s case is far removed from theirs. I also avoided Deadball Era players — who entered the Hall via the Veterans Committee and its precursor, the Old Timers Committee — and active players. What I want to get a sense of, without employing a bank of mainframes to systematically evaluate hundreds of players, is what kind of gap an outstanding postseason resume can close.

Lou Brock (1961-1979). LF, 38.6 JAWS (14.5 below average), 152 HOFM. Brock is in the Hall because he collected 3,023 hits and retired as the single-season and career stolen base leader, but he was also an October superstar, hitting .391/.424/.655 with four homers and 14 steals in 92 PA for the Cardinals in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 World Series. Though the shape of his production is vastly different from that of Ortiz (he was a career .293/.343/.410 hitter), their actual JAWS and Monitor scores are reasonably similar. The boost Brock receives from the postseason helped position him as a much more reasonable Hall candidate than he might otherwise be, milestones aside; if Ortiz follows that pattern, he’ll be in Cooperstown some day.

Steve Garvey (1969-1987). 1B, 33.0 JAWS (22.7 below average), 130 HOFM. The longtime Dodgers first baseman was a perennial All-Star who hit .300 and collected 200 hits like clockwork. He was part of five World Series teams, though just one winner; he hit .319/.342/.407 in 118 PA in the Fall Classic but a more robust .338/.361/.550 with 11 homers in 232 PA for all of the postseason. Even so, and even after accumulating 2,599 hits, he never polled higher than 42.6 percent in 15 years on the ballot. Maybe he’s not a great comparison for Ortiz except based upon the Monitor stuff, but he’s proof that such a score doesn’t necessarily translate to a plaque.

Reggie Jackson (1967-1987). RF, 60.4 JAWS (4.0 above average), 170 HOFM. Mr. October was part of five world champions and six pennant winners (he missed the 1972 World Series due to injury). He hit .278/.358 /.527 with 18 homers — a record for the era of the two-tiered playoff system — in 318 postseason PA, and was the MVP of the 1973 and 1977 World Series, capping the latter with a three-homer game. With 563 career homers and a strong JAWS score, the Hall was an inevitability.

Still, the fact that a controversial, often divisive player who was regularly criticized for his strikeouts and his outsized ego received 93.6 percent of the vote on the first try testifies to the power of shining in the postseason spotlight. Some will classify Ortiz’s postseason performance as similar, though Jackson had the much deeper resumé.

Bill Mazeroski (1956-1972). 2B, 30.9 JAWS (26.1 below average), 71 HOFM. Maz was a fielding whiz who was part of two championship Pirates teams and hit .323/.364/.581 in 34 PA, punctuated by one of the most famous home runs in World Series history, the Game 7 walkoff that defeated the Yankees in 1960. A VC honoree who never received more than 42.3 percent on the ballot, he benefited thanks to that homer as well as an outsized estimation of defensive value. If Ortiz is anywhere close to that lucky with voters, he’ll wind up with a plaque.

Thurman Munson (1969-1979). C, 41.4 JAWS (1.7 below average), 90 HOFM.  He died tragically at age 32, but before he did, Munson was part of three pennant winners and two world champions. He hit .357/.378/.496 in 135 postseason PA and .373/.417/.493 in 72 World Series PA while playing the most defensively demanding position. Even with a shortened career, he’d seem to have some advantages over Ortiz, but he received more than 10 percent of the BBWAA vote in only the first of his 15 years on the ballot, and has been bypassed by various Veterans Committees since.

Fred McGriff (1986-2004). 1B, 44.3 JAWS (11.4 below average), 100 HOFM. McGriff bashed 493 homers and collected 2,490 hits in his career while batting .284/.377/.509 at five different stops. He made his postseason mark primarily with the Braves, hitting .303/.385/.532 with 10 homers in 218 PA and .279/.385/.605 with four homers in 62 PA in the 1995 and 1996 World Series. Despite all of that, he’s well below average on the JAWS scale, and has gotten lost in the shuffle in the voting, topping out at 23.9 percent in four years on the ballot. His resumé might have more substance than Ortiz’s, but a lack of pizzaz may be why he can’t get any traction.

Kirby Puckett (1984-1995). CF, 44.1 JAWS (13.2 below average), 160 HOFM. Though his career was shortened by vision problems, Puckett packed a lot into his 12 seasons, racking up 2,304 hits and leading the Twins to World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. In those series, he hit .308/.393/.519 in 62 PA and for the entirety of the postseason, he hit .309/.361/.536 with five homers in 109 PA. An enormously popular player due to his outgoing personality (albeit with some ugly allegations that only came to light later) he was elected to the Hall on the first ballot with 82.1 percent of the vote. Excluding the unsavory stuff, he’s not a bad parallel for Ortiz when it comes to closing the gap.

Enos Slaughter (1938-1959), RF 45.0 JAWS (11.4 below average), 90 HOFM. Slaughter wasn’t the caliber of bopper that Ortiz is; he homered just 169 times in his career but did have 2,383 hits and a career .300/.382/.453 batting line. His totals were suppressed by missing his age 27-29 seasons due to military service, though he did stick around as a part-timer through his age-43 season. He was part of five World Series teams for the Cardinals and Yankees, hitting .291/.406/.468 with three homers in 96 PA. The best of those performances came in 1946, when he hit .320/.433/.560 and dashed home from first base with the winning run in the eighth inning of Game 7 against the Red Sox.

Slaughter got as high as 68.9 percent of the BBWAA vote before running out of eligibility, and he was eventually inducted by the VC six years later. He’s not a great parallel for Ortiz, but he’s not a bad one either.

Willie Stargell (1962-1982). LF, 47.5 JAWS (5.6 below average), 106 HOFM. A masher who hit 475 home runs and set distance records in multiple parks with a few of those blasts, Stargell was a key component on Pittsburgh’s 1971 and 1979 title teams. Overshadowed by Roberto Clemente in ’71, he earned regular season, LCS and World Series MVP honors in ’79 while serving as the team’s emotional center as well. He hit .315/.381/.574 in 63 World Series PA, and .278/.359/.511 with seven homers in 153 PA for the postseason as a whole. He was elected on the first ballot. He’s not a bad comparison for Ortiz, though he was closer to the position average.

Bernie Williams (1991-2006). CF, 43.5 JAWS (13.8 below average),134 HOFM. Williams collected 2,336 hits and 287 homers and was a starter on four world champions and six pennant winners for the Yankees during the Joe Torre era. Thanks to that perennial participation, he ranks second only to Derek Jeter in postseason plate appearances with 545 and to Manny Ramirez in homers with 22. He fell a bit short of replicating his regular season line (.297/.381/.477) in the postseason (.275/.371/.480) because he hit just .208/.319/.358 in 141 World Series PA; his best series came in a losing cause in 2003. All of that — not to mention his fade in his mid-30s — probably hurt his cause when he reached the ballot; he fell of after just two election cycles. His JAWS and HOFM are close to those of Ortiz, but as a quiet player who shunned the spotlight, he fell from memory fast.

In this admittedly non-random sample of October heroes, that’s nine players who were below the JAWS standard at their position, many by similar amounts to Ortiz. As a group, they average 42.9 JAWS, 11.6 below the standard at their positions (a bit better than Ortiz), and had Monitor scores of 120 (a bit worse than Ortiz)

All of which is to say that anecdotally speaking, the postseason and other considerations can certainly close the gap when a player’s regular season resumé is substantially short of Hall standards. Ortiz appears to be within hailing distance, but he’s by no means a sure thing. A couple more strong regular season performances accompanied by additional October appearances — hardly out of the question given that he’ll be part of next year’s defending champions and is still an elite hitter — could help his cause considerably.

Until the voters set a precedent by admitting any player with the faintest connection to PEDs, I’m still skeptical that Ortiz will get in, but given that we’re at least six years away from voting on his candidacy for the first time, it hasn’t been ruled out. Big Papi may end up in Cooperstown after all.

100 comments
faheydj1
faheydj1

  I believe Ortiz will be a HOF. The whole DH argument is kinda invalid since no other DH other than Martinez (who will get into the HOF within the next year or 2) and Frank Thomas (will be a first ballot next year) have had  numbers even close to Ortiz. A lot of People are arguing that if Martinez isn't in then Ortiz doesn't have a chance. Well Ortiz has a couple of things on his resume that Martinez doesn't. Ortiz has hit already over 130 more hr's, he is considered one of the most clutch hitters of all time, a career WS batting average of .455, and most importantly he has 3 world series titles along with a World series MVP. Meanwhile, Martinez never made it to the World Series.

     Obviously the biggest argument against Ortiz is his suspicions of PED. First off, Ortiz has never been proven to be a PED user. His ties to PEDs are very loose and almost completely based on speculation. People should also keep in mind that it will be at least 6 to seven years before his name comes up on the ballot. I wouldn't be surprised if by then there will already be a couple of people with similar ties to PED's in the Hall. 

    When it comes down to it David Ortiz is 

     1. A 3 time World Champion and World Series MVP

     2. Arguably the greatest clutch hitter of all time

     3. Considered by many the greatest DH of all-time

     4. A beloved player who has been a leader of his team for the past decade 

     5. Statistically one of the greatest world series batters of all time

 Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if Ortiz got to, or at least very close to, 500 home runs. He currently has 431 and if he could put up another season like this past one followed by a couple of 15-20 home run seasons he would be right at 500. So I don't think the idea of Ortiz reaching 500 home runs is as out of the question as people act.

HF4th
HF4th

Just open a PED wing in the Hall of Fame, give Jose Canseco a special plaque for coming clean early and let all the other fake power hitting video game offensive bums in. Grade Big Papi as the most clutch roider. The Hall of Fame is a historical museum of baseball. Better to embarrass cheaters by inducting them as such than to draw a blank in denial and pretend that the ongoing Steroid Era never happened.

RafalPruszyn-ski
RafalPruszyn-ski

He CHEATED, right? Oh what? NO MORAL INDIGNATION for Big Papi? Where is the stake for his burning? His statistics PALE in comparison to dozens of guys being lept out now for doing what Papi did. As it stands, if Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens are not in, Papi isn't in either.

tony34
tony34

If you let papi in the hall you have to let anyone who tested positive in.  It is not a personality contest and just because reporters like Big papi and dont like others cant let him in.  Either all PED users in or all out, cant have it both ways.  it is like being a little pregnant.  If he used he used period.

Michael10
Michael10

Ortiz's PED link is no less "tenuous" than much more qualified HOF candidates like Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker and Mike Piazza. Edgar Martinez (the original "Papi") produced at least 50% more value than Ortiz over the course of his career. Carlos Beltran -- not eligible yet, of course -- has also produced at least 50% more value than Ortiz with a much better postseason line.

Until all of these guys are in, it seems awfully silly to humor Ortiz's chances. He's Bernie Williams with a PED taint, Jim Rice with a much bigger defensive liability (and that's really saying something...)

newt
newt

I never viewed that picking players for the Hall of Fame was a math problem.  It also does not make sense to compare a player today with a player from seven decades ago.  Baseball is a very different game today than it was even a decade or two ago.   For example, there are differences in the size of the strike zone, player conditioning (your opposition) is significantly better now, specialized pitchers, the number of pitchers now that throw near 100 mph, decades ago many more games were played during the daytime, elaborate farm systems and scouting nowadays, etc.   A Hall of Fame nomination should be about if you stand out amongst your peers at the time that you played not measuring the player against someone who played in 1938.  The quantity of quality players far exceeds what was in the major leagues decades ago.  If you're a stand out in your time, that should be the basis for your selection.  Not a math analysis of stats. 

LA_renter
LA_renter

Baseball writer of the past did not have computers and were unfortunate enough to live before the digital revolution.  Should we now correct their mistakes?  Would it be possible to "un-induct" Hall-of-Famers, those who we now realize with the power of statistical precision were frauds?

LA_renter
LA_renter

David Ortiz failed one test out of God-knows-how-many tests.  Thus, statistically speaking, David Ortiz is on average, relative to comparable sluggers, a clean athlete.

laurielynn78
laurielynn78

How much should failing a test for PED's factor into Hall of Fame case for David Ortiz..........................

memberofsociety
memberofsociety

It's not called the "Hall of Stats".  Papi's clutch performances, leadership, and overall impact put him in.  Papi is probably the most beloved athlete in Boston over the last 10 years(perhaps second to Brady).  He was instrumental in 3 Championships for a cursed team and city.  His "This is our f'n city" moment is worth 300 home runs worth of stats.

LA_renter
LA_renter

Statistically speaking, SI is not a reputable baseball authority because every writer at SI except one picked the Cardinals.  A higher percentage of ESPN writers picked the Red Sox.  So, statistically speaking, should we all go to the ESPN website for baseball news and analysis?  

TheRippinAndTearin
TheRippinAndTearin

As a huge Cards fan I want to hate on the Red Sox but I just can't. This is a team I respect for the grit and determination I saw during the World Series. Seems like they go about their business and walk the talk. As for the fans, it nice to actually have knowledgeable baseball discussions. Wish the same could be said during NLCS. As for Big Papi, he has cemented his legendary status in Boston. Also, the one guy I so wish the Cards had their team was Pedroia. The guy plays his guts out every play. Such a gamer. Congrats Boston and here's to a great 2014 for both teams! Go Cards!

LA_renter
LA_renter

Statistically speaking, the Red Sox should have not made the playoff in 2013.

Statistically speaking, the Red Sox should not have won the ALDS.

Statistically speaking, the Red Sox should not have won the World Series --and virtually all the Baseball "experts" at SI favored the Cardinals (relying on statistics, no doubt).

So, maybe statistically speaking David Ortiz should not be in the Hall of Fame.  But in the REAL world, Ortiz will be in the Hall of Fame.


ineedataxi
ineedataxi

Stats geeks unite !! NO WAR ! PEACE !!

Bostonguy
Bostonguy

Isn't the HOF supposed to include the players who were the best at their positions? I am not a David Ortiz fan, I think he was a juicer and may still be, and on his best days he is a whiner. But, that having been said he is still the best DH who has ever played the game. Citing his statistics as opposed to first basemen is misleading at best and ludicrous at worst. Following your logic, shouldn't Paul Molitor be required to qualify at every position he has played? Take Mike Napoli as a current example, (and yes I know he won't make it) should his stats be compared to first basemen or catchers? Is Yogi Berra a catcher or an outfielder? Is Cal Ripkin a shortstop or a third baseman? Ortiz has been the best at his position, and that should be enough.


And yes, Edgar Martinez should be there too, and will be when the BBWA finally pulls it's head out of it's nether regions (see how respectful I am of such an august organization?) and joins the twenty first century.

JE2
JE2

Ortiz is an overrated blowhard who believes the sun rises and sets on him. Remember a couple of years ago when he told his manager that Boston would live or die with him? And let's not forget his absurd tantrums when things don't go his way. A Hall-of-Famer? Not in my book...not even close.

DarrellStanaford
DarrellStanaford

I don't think anyone who is not anti-BoSox believes Ortiz is a player tainted by PEDs. Definitely class counts for something in HoF voting and the way he has matured and respects the game will be remembered by the voters.

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

his career line: 

287 BA- less than 500 homers (prob wont get there)- played in a super friendly hitters park for most of his career...  is a DH and been connected to PEDs?  sorry boston- the answer is no.   his career numbers dont stack up - if youre only a DH you should have numbers out of this world.... and 3 WS rings are nice- yes.  but there are plenty of guys who have alot of rings that arent in the HOF.  not a good enough reason.   

Rilla
Rilla

Of course he is getting in. 

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

everyone keeps pointing to the post season as justification for Ortiz to get into the HOF..  

lets see- career Post Season numbers: 

295 BA- 409 OBP - 553slugg...   17 hmrs (82Games) -  good - very good - but enough to put someone in the HOF that been connected to PEDs?  not so sure.  


memberofsociety
memberofsociety

@Michael10 Another stat geek confusing stats with winning.  Papi is clutch...he's a leader...he's a winner.  It's called the eye test.  Its the reason we watch baseball.

Michael10
Michael10

@LA_renter And yet there are plenty of others who have never failed a test but are still being held to the fire...

Thats a fact
Thats a fact

@memberofsociety and yet stats is what many of the voters use when considering a candidate for HOF - so yeah stats wil count - but regardless - unless they are going to "change their tune" he most likely wont get in because of PED - ala Bonds, McGuire, Clemens, Petite  - Clemems never failed a test and was arguably the best pitcher in baseball in the last 20 yrs - yet I doubt he gets in

LA_renter
LA_renter

@memberofsociety It's funny you should mention Brady (but, of course, what New England fan could mention greatness without using his name in vain).  This WS, unlike the other two in 2004 and 2007, felt like the 2001-2002 Superbowl.  The Patriots sucked the year before, there was low expectation, and then a pleasant surprise (on the heels on 9/11).

LA_renter
LA_renter

@memberofsociety 

I agree.  You recognize greatness in context.  Statistics take baseball out of context, and geeks imagine that one single = another single, one error = another error, without any context.  For example, can you really compare pitching statistics in the AL and NL (or historically), with and without the DH?

Michael10
Michael10

@LA_renter ESPN also had the Dodgers ranked #1 at the end of the regular season, the favorite to win it all. SI had the Red Sox and Cardinals ranked #1 and #2.

LA_renter
LA_renter

@TheRippinAndTearin From a Red Sox fan, thank you very much.

I know Cardinals fans are wonderful.  I was born in St. Louis (but moved to Boston when I was two).  My grandfather was the biggest Cardinals fan, and I inherited his Cardinals cap.  Heck, I wanted to see them in the World Series with the Sox.

The Cardinals had opportunities but did not finish in critical situations.

Luther
Luther

@Bostonguy I totally agree.  And what if Ortiz had played 12 years of mediocre first base.  Suddenly he qualifies?

BigJimmy
BigJimmy

@JE2 So your judgment against his HOF creds are:

1.  Blowhard

2.  Ego

3. Tantrums

Therefore, he's not worthy, "in your book."  

JE2 everyone!  Let's bow to his wisdom!


Luther
Luther

@JE2 so you're saying we vote HOF on quality of character?   Hmmmm.. what to do about blatant racist Ty Cobb.....

faheydj1
faheydj1

@jimmyjon_55555 Ortiz is at 431 hr's, so lets say he can achieve another two seasons like this past one next year he would be around about 480-490 then another year or two of hitting at least 10. I think the idea of Ortiz reaching 500 isn't as out of the question as people act like it is.

BigJimmy
BigJimmy

@jimmyjon_55555 Jimmy, Fenway is a friendly hitters park?  For lefties?  You don't know anything about baseball do you?  Zero credibility, just sit down and be quiet.  Fenway is not particularly friendly  for LH batters. Yankee stadium?  Easy.


jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

@Rilla nope...   over a guy like fred mcgriff who was a better player??  def not.  

faheydj1
faheydj1

@jimmyjon_55555 I agree with you that those stats you mentioned alone will make much of a difference. The argument is more of his WS performances and all of his clutch hits. 

tony34
tony34

@memberofsociety @Michael10 the eye test tells me the guy never hit more than 12 home runs until he came to Boston and met manny.  he used get used to it.  RED SOX fans want to seem holier than thou.  he used and you won 3 world series for it, you are as guilty as any other team that has won with cheaters.

Thats a fact
Thats a fact

@Michael10 

so was mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens etc etc etc - all have the same claim as Ortiz - great players with immense talent- and its not the eye test he has to pass - it's the reek of PED that keeps him from passing the "smell" test

Michael10
Michael10

@memberofsociety @Michael10 To pass the "eye test" a player has to stand out among the elite players of his era, and Ortiz doesn't. There are plenty of other guys from this era like him -- Berkman, Giambi, Texeiria, Holliday, Dunn, Sheffield, Fielder, Howard. He certainly does not stand among obvious "eye test" players like Griffey, Thomas, Bonds, Pujols, Cabrera, Chipper or Rivera -- or even other players on his own teams like Manny and Pedro. Even Schilling has a better HOF case than Ortiz. He's Bernie Williams or Paul O'Neill or Andy Pettitte or Jorge Posada -- the third or fourth best player on a team that enjoyed a long string of success.

So, no, he doesn't pass the "eye test." Nor does he pass the numbers test. And number DO matter in baseball -- whether it's 300 or .300 or 3.00, 56 or 61 or 500 or 3000 or 4192. It's why we record the history of the game. 

And David Ortiz is not among the 200 greatest players in that history...

BigJimmy
BigJimmy

@Thats a fact @memberofsociety the circumstantial and eyewitness cases against Clemens, clear (see what I did there?) connections with known steroid abusers... make it virtually certain he used them, fancy lawyer tricks aside.  Contrast that with Ortiz, who (allegedly) had one positive test (allegedly) in 2003--His teammate Nomar Garicaparra said many on his team (Red Sox) skipped the test and requested to be put down as positives to make sure testing was implemented.  Ortiz could be one of those--Nomar's point, or it could be a supplement.  It's never been revealed.  So to say slam-dunk Ortiz is or was a roider is just unfair and irresponsible.  All the hubub is based on ONE NY Times article, that was very short on facts, btw.

LA_renter
LA_renter

@Michael10 @LA_renter You do realize that my post was farcical.  I used a statistic that supported my position.  Yeah, it was absurd, just like most of the statistical nonsense that is used in this sport.... just like you came up with a statistic to make your point.

Michael10
Michael10

@Luther @Bostonguy The point is, Ortiz would not have had nearly the numbers or career length if he had played the field. Players who take the field have to expend effort somewhere other than the batting cage and their bodies break down sooner. Designated hitter isn't a position, it's a role relegated to the best hitter on a team who isn't good enough to play the field regularly. It's very similar to relief pitching in that regard.

If all a player does it hit, he should be among the greatest hitters of all time to be considered for the Hall. If we are to compare Ortiz to any set of fielders, first base makes the most sense. Assuming he would be any everyday first baseman if not for the DH is still pretty generous. Given his skill set and body type, Ortiz may well have followed Mo Vaughn's career trajectory if he'd not been relegated to the DH role almost from the get-go. 

But, HAD he managed to play first base for the majority of his 17-year career with no dilution of his performance at the plate, he still falls well short of guys like Frank Thomas and Jim Thome (who should be a borderline case himself given the era). He's a great hitter, but not one of the all-time greats...

faheydj1
faheydj1

@jimmyjon_55555 @Rilla McGriff would be in the HOF if he had stuck with any of his teams longer than he did. When you look at both of their regular season numbers they are very similar. The difference I between the two besides the PED suspicions is that Ortiz has stayed with one team for the majority of his career and has become a hero for his entire city. Meanwhile McGriff bounced around the league playing for 6 different teams.

faheydj1
faheydj1

@tony34 @memberofsociety @Michael10 He hit 18 home runs in 2001 only playing 89 games. If he had played a full season that year at that rate then he would have had 32 and that was at age 25 in Minnesota. In his 5 years with Minnesota he only had 2 seasons where he played over 90 games. He came to Boston at age 27 which is generally considered the age at which most baseball players hit there "prime"

BigJimmy
BigJimmy

@Thats a fact @Michael10 you have evidence?  No one else seems to...I guess you're the missing link that can put this to bed. Please, enlighten us on how you know it wasn't a supplement he tested positive for, or that he didn't take the test at all and was put down as positive, as Nomar said many players did... If you can't, you're just another blowhard.

BigJimmy
BigJimmy

@Michael10 @memberofsociety Ortiz doesn't, huh?  What are you smoking?  He didn't stand out at all this postseason?  Nah, you're right.  Didn't notice him at all.  How about 2004 or 2007, didn't notice him then either?  Ok, you have 0 credibility.  How about every other player you mention?  Were they integral parts of 3 world championships?  Maybe combined.

BigJimmy
BigJimmy

@LA_renter @Michael10 And...no matter what the stats say, if the world series is on the line, do you want Papi or Beltran or another known clutch player up, or do you want to go with stats?  Right?  Stats can be helpful, but far from definitive.  

LA_renter
LA_renter

@Michael10 @LA_renter I enjoy statistics, they're useful parameters to reference.  I just think it's crazy that people think they're comparing apples with apples, when they're not.  Also, people choose the particular statistics that make their point, which is a no-no in formal statistical analysis.

Michael10
Michael10

@LA_renter @Michael10 I didn't use a statistic, I referenced each site's end-of-year power rankings article. But I get it -- you don't like statistics and believe they have no place in a sport like baseball. To each his own -- or none, if you prefer...