Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Good for the Goose

I second Jim's congratulations to Rich Gossage on his election to the Hall of Fame. Unlike Jim, however, I am snarky enough to carp about a few aspects of the vote.

First, Rod Beck, Travis Fryman, Robb Nen, Shawon Dunston, Chuck Finley, David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, and Todd Stottlemyre alll received votes for the Hall of Fame. While these guys were all worthy players in their day, does anyone seriously consider them Hall of Famers?

Especially you lot out there who keep telling me Blyleven and Raines aren't Hall-worthy?

The fools who cast these votes have demonstrated that they don't deserve the honor.

Second, I find it amusing that the inflated numbers of the Steroids Era have turned some members of the BBTAA (Jim calls them the Baseball Reporters' Association of America -- I cannot give them that much respect, and fully believe that Baseball Typists' Association of America is an apter description) on to the concept of statistical context.

The latest to come to this mind-boggling conclusion -- The Sporting News' Sean Deveney. He's exceedingly put out that his good friends Jim Rice, Dale Murphy, and Andre Dawson were left out in the cold again this year:

There was some hope that, after the release of the Mitchell report confirmed the suspicions most had already had -- that steroids were prevalent among every level of player in the last 15-plus years -- voters might reconsider their views on the hitters of the '80s, might be more willing to put their numbers into the right context. Didn't happen.

No doubt, the gaudy numbers put up in the '90s has caused many to shrug off the accomplishments of those toiling in the previous decade. But keep those guys within the context of their decade and you realize that, yes, they did not wind up with enormous home run numbers. That's not because the players weren't any good. It's because home runs were harder to hit.

Putting aside the arugment that the Mitchell Report confirmed anything, I think it's sad that it took this confluence of events for Deveney and his cohort to realize that you just can't compare numbers from one era to another without taking the contexts of both eras into account.

Plenty of other baseball writers have been going on about this subject for years now. Bill James has been talking about it for over twenty years now! Too bad the typists couldn't be bothered to listen.

And if some deserving players from the '80s get hosed because some voters just can't wrap their minds around statistical concepts more complex than "Fifty homers is more than thirty homers"...well, you can't blame that on the juicers.

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