Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Baseball..

Friend Keith Raffel says that Jim Rice shouldn't be in the Hall - I say "fie!" The comparison is made to Albert Belle. Frankly, I don't remember Belle as well as I do Rice. Not sure why. Still, I've looked up the numbers and they are impressive. So if asked whether he deserves the Hall of Fame, I'm not sure why I would say no. There's a trick here.

The rules, as I recall them though I'd be happy to be corrected, say a player has to have played ten years of which at least five were great years in order to merit consideration. (this is along with other things like a morality clause if my memory serves) Both Belle and Rice fit that criterion. In fact, I'll go a step further - both Belle and Rice had more great years than one of the most beloved Hall of Famers ever - Mickey Mantle. Or Ernie Banks. Or Billy Williams. (Is he in the Hall?)

There are probably a dozen guys in the Hall of Fame who are less deserving than Rice when it comes down to numbers. But it's not all about numbers of course. Pete Rose isn't in the Hall and there's a question about whether Barry Bonds will be. Or Roger Clemens. Or Rafael Palmiero.

I guess I'm wondering what is the cutoff point? Does any number - 350 wins, 700 home runs, 4000 hits - mean you should automatically get in? Tommy John and Bert Blyleven would probably be in the Hall if they'd been able to hang around another year or two, get a dozen or so more victories and cross the 300 win mark. Jim Kaat, too. Maybe they shouldn't be in the Hall - but what about Koufax? He didn't reach the 200 win mark. What if Clemente had flied out in his last at bat instead of hitting a double and getting to hit number 3,000? Would he be out in the cold?

It gets weird.

2 Comments:

Blogger Keith Raffel said...

OK, Steven, let's keep arguing. Here's what Rob Neyer, the ESPN writer, has to say about Rice's candidacy:

"Was Rice the "dominant slugger of his time"? Of course he wasn't. In Rice's time, slugger Mike Schmidt hit 548 home runs and won three MVP Awards. In Rice's time, Reggie Jackson hit 563 home runs. Rice hit 382 home runs.

"He did amass 400 total bases in one season, which is impressive. Roger Maris once hit 61 home runs in one season. Rice did hit 35 homers with 200 hits in three straight seasons, which is impressive. It's also only three seasons. And in all the rest of his career, Rice topped 35 homers exactly once more and never did get 200 hits in another season. So really, it seems that Rice's entire case, his time as a dominant hitter, rests solely on three seasons....

"Rice's supporters like to cite the elections of Perez and (especially) Orlando Cepeda, but those were mistakes. Seems to me if your case relies upon repeating mistakes, you might ought to take a new tack."

January 10, 2008 9:05 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Clemente would have made it if he'd finished with 2,999 hits. The real question is whether he would have made it had he died in a car crash rather than on an earthquake mercy mission.

He would have, though after the normal waiting period and without such a flood of emotion and schools being named after him and the like.
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January 11, 2008 1:00 AM  

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