Yankees, though easily baseball’s best team, are 3rd in Hall of Famers

20 02 2011

I love it when a Yankee hater inadvertently makes my case for me. A blogger attempting to diminish the achievements of the Yankees cited a statistic that absolutely proves the anti-Yankee bias in Hall of Fame voting.

Someone named Chris, blogging as Carrot League Baseball Today, dropped a link to a blog post in the comments on my post about why Graig Nettles belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Chris makes a lame attempt to argue that Nettles doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. He compares him to some good third basemen who aren’t in the Hall (Ron Santo, Buddy Bell and Darrell Evans), cherry-picking the stats that look worst for Nettles (RBI and walks not included). I always think it’s better to compare someone to people in the Hall of Fame and see whether Nettles belongs there (and he absolutely does), as my blog post showed. No need to re-argue that.

Santo, Bell and Evans may or may not be worthy of Hall of Fame induction (I expect Santo to get in soon). But they aren’t being kept out by any kind of bias. They were good players who made it into that borderline area where some players get in and some don’t. Nettles surpassed the defensive and offensive achievements of most Hall of Fame third basemen and is being kept out of the Hall of Fame because of anti-Yankee bias that keeps many worthy Yankees out of the Hall of Fame.

Chris inadvertently provided a great statistic that helps prove this bias. He says, as though addressing Nettles, that his exclusion from the Hall of Fame “has nothing to do with you being a Yankee (as many NY fans claim) as they have 15 players enshrined, good for 3rd among teams with players represented.”

I haven’t verified that stat (and I’m not sure how he assigns players to their primary teams), but I found it in Baseball Almanac. I love that he cites the fact that the Yankees rank high in Hall of Fame selection as proof that the process isn’t biased against the Yankees.

The Yankees have won 27 World Series, more than twice as many as any other team (the Cardinals are second with 10). Wouldn’t you think that the team that is far and away the best in baseball history would be first in Hall of Famers. The Giants, with 23, are way ahead of the Yankees (and just won their first World Series in nearly 50 years, their sixth overall). The Cardinals, at 16, are also ahead of the Yankees. The Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series in a century, are just one behind the Yankees. Supposedly the Yankees win all these World Series because they can “buy” the best players. But somehow those “best” players aren’t good enough to make the Hall of Fame.

As I’ve noted again and again on this blog, comparing achievements of Yankees not in the Hall of Fame to players from other teams in the Hall of Fame, many Yankees worthy of Hall of Fame selection have been excluded: Roger Maris, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Tommy John. I haven’t gotten around to making the case for Allie Reynolds yet, but he certainly belongs on the list.

I can’t find similar lists of basketball or pro football Hall of Famers broken down by team, and no team in those sports has dominated its sports championships through the years the way the Yankees have dominated baseball. But the great teams in football (Packers, Bears, Steelers) have lots of Hall of Famers. And the Celtics and Lakers, who have dominated NBA championships, have lots of Hall of Fame selections.

I suspect the Yankees are the only team in pro sports history with more championships than Hall of Famers. (Can you name another?) Thanks, Chris, you didn’t make your case very well. But you certainly helped make mine.

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13 responses

20 02 2011
Chris

This is exactly why we blog, I love it. Thanks! Chris

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20 02 2011
Chris

Also, to be fair, an addendum to the Nettles post now includes data on walks and RBIs at the bottom…enjoy.

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20 02 2011
Chris

Sorry, I hadn’t realized my blog did not allow comments to outside readers, I’ve lifted that as I welcome any comments.

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20 02 2011
hatedyankees

Thanks, Chris! I have commented on your blog. You’re still cherry-picking. Gold Gloves is the only defensive figure you cite, and only one of the third basemen you cite overlapped in his prime with Brooks Robinson. Robinson is the only third baseman who tops Nettles’ defensive stats.

I also should add that Nettles does not have the strongest case of the Yankees waiting to get into the Hall of Fame. Maris, Mattingly, Guidry and Munson are the most outrageous Yankee snubs. And I’d also place Tommy John above Nettles.

And you’re not even going to address the disparity between championships and Hall of Fame selections, because it’s obvious that I’m right about that.

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20 02 2011
Chris

Championships are the icing-on-the-cake that often give that push to “iffy” Hall of Fame stats. A guy like Nettles would benefit had his playoff/WS offensive numbers been better (which I noted in my blog). No question Nettles came up with some huge plays at 3rd in the WS, I like him as a player…I really do. Jack Morris is in that gray area where his numbers don’t quite make the cut, but his World Series outings were legendary…and he’s only now at 53% of the vote. I think Pettitte and Morris will mirror each other somewhat when the time comes. Please know this, I think Don Mattingly was AWESOME and might just be one of those Yankees who get in via Veterans committee.

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20 02 2011
hatedyankees

Chris,

You’re getting way beyond the facts here. Championships push “iffy” players into the Hall of Fame in football and basketball, but what borderline Yankees have been pushed into the Hall of Fame? Doesn’t happen. Yes, lots of borderline Packers, Steelers, Celtics and Lakers got into their halls of fame based on championship play. But if that were true, Allie Reynolds would be a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. So would Roger Maris, who wasn’t even borderline as a player. The only Hall of Famers from the great Yankee teams of the ’70s and ’80s (two World Series titles, four AL championships, five division titles in six years), Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson, had their greatest years with other teams.

But here’s the fact: Championships are won by teams with great players. The Yankees couldn’t have won 27 championships without a greater percentage of baseball’s best players than represented in the Hall of Fame. Maybe they just play way above their heads, led by great managers (then why aren’t Ralph Houk and Billy Martin in the Hall of Fame?). But consistently, throughout baseball history, writers have whined about how the Yankees get to assemble so many great players. But when it comes time for Hall of Fame voting, the writers suddenly decide they weren’t so great.

And yes, Morris ought to be in the Hall of Fame. Did his post-season play, including the best 7th game ever, get him there?

And for Mattingly, his career achievements were nearly identical to Kirby Puckett’s: http://bit.ly/aWvu6J If he has to wait until the Veterans Committee, that proves the Yankee bias. Puckett got in on his first year of eligibility, as Mattingly should have.

And don’t forget that Nettles was MVP of the 1981 ALCS, in addition to lots of great defensive play in the post-season.

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16 06 2011
Herb Smith

Nettles is actually the MOST deserving Yankee not in the hall already.

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16 06 2011
Herb Smith

I thought the blog about Nettles’s HOF credentials was excellent. For some reason, HOF voters don’t understand the contributions of 3rd basemen; there are fewer HOFers from that position (by far) than from any other spot on the diamond.

However, I’m pretty curious how you can claim ANY of those other guys (Maris, Mattingly, Guidry, Tommy John and Munson) are more deserving than Nettles, or even deserving at all. If the Hall was strictly a popularity contest, then I’d see your point…Maris’s rep has steadily risen through the years, Tommy John’s name has actually entered the lexicon, and Mattingly and Guidry were positively BELOVED.

However, take away the purely “fame” element, and all those guys come up a bit short of typical HOF criteria. It’s easy to cherry-pick a couple guys who were terrible Hall selections, and then say, “Hey, my guy was better than Freddie Lindstrom!” But compared to typical HOFers at their positions, none of those great Yankees are deserving. The fact that none of them have come close to getting in, despite playing for the most famous team in pro sports speaks for itself.

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16 06 2011
hatedyankees

Thanks for the comments, Herb. Actually, I don’t compare any of those guys to marginal Hall of Famers like Freddie Lindstrom. I compared Guidry directly to this year’s Hall of Famer, Bert Blyleven, and he blew him away in every respect except longevity. I compared him directly to Koufax, and Koufax was better but Guidry was clearly close. Koufax is in the greatest-ever conversation and Guidry is demonstrably in the same class. Compare Guidry to two other Dodgers, Drysdale and Sutton, and he blows them away in every measure except longevity. Your remark that Maris’s rep has “steadily risen through the years” is funny because that reflects the fact that the sports writers who dissed him because he was surly have been dying off. He is more famous than most Hall of Famers, won more MVPs than most Hall of Famers, won and played in more World Series than most Hall of Famers. His omission makes a mockery of the Hall of Fame. And my post about Munson doesn’t compare him to the Freddie Lindstroms of catching but to all Hall of Fame catchers. These guys didn’t come close to getting in “despite playing for the most famous team in pro sports,” but because of playing for the most hated team in pro sports. That fact — and the disparity between the Yankees’ achievements on the field and their treatment in the Hall of Fame — speaks for itself.

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19 10 2011
Jorge Posada has been better than most Hall of Fame catchers « Hated Yankees

[…] The only catchers in the Hall of Fame with more World Series championships than Posada are Berra and Dickey. However, championships don’t count at all in Baseball Hall of Fame voting. I’ll blog on this sometime: If you played a key role in an NBA or NFL dynasty, you’re going into the Basketball or Pro Football Hall of Fame. But championships don’t help borderline Hall of Fame candidates in baseball (or some borderline Yankees would be in the Hall of Fame). As I’ve noted before, the Yankees have far and away the most championships,  but two teams have more Hall of Famers. […]

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11 12 2012
I cross the streams, discussing Hated Yankees and journalism « Hated Yankees

[…] name in the headline. The other two headlines have good keywords people might search on (Yankees and Hall of Famers in one, strategy and National League in the […]

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9 01 2014
Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly’s best years compare well to new Hall of Famers | Hated Yankees

[…] of America, the first group responsible for the inconsistent Hall of Fame voting and the consistent anti-Yankee bias in Hall of Fame […]

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24 07 2015
Tommy John paved the way to Cooperstown for John Smoltz | Hated Yankees

[…] That’s not going to get you into Cooperstown, or even keep you on the ballot long. He had a sterling 12-4 post-season record, but as I’ve noted before, if post-season performance counted for anything in Hall of Fame voting, we’d see more Yankees there (see my posts about Bernie Williams or about the Yankees being only third in Hall of Fame). […]

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