PDA

View Full Version : Marty B: Elect Davey to HOF



redsmetz
12-02-2006, 09:12 AM
From this morning's Enquirer, this op-ed piece by Marty Brennaman


It's past time to put Concepción in Hall
BY MARTY BRENNAMAN

"Time is so old and love so brief," Ogden Nash once mused, then rhymed it with: "Love is pure gold - and time a thief."

If the lyric is right, then somebody ought to be arrested, because the last 30 years have been stolen out from under us. Surely it hasn't been three decades since Cincinnati's beloved Big Red Machine swept the New York Yankees, winning its second successive World Series and triggering one of the great celebrations in this city's history.

Wasn't it the day before yesterday that Tony Perez was blasting late-inning homers, Johnny Bench was throwing base runners out by the bushel-ful, and Sparky Anderson (aka "Captain Hook") was patting Don Gullett on the back as he signaled to the bullpen?

Don't tell me that 30 years have elapsed since second sacker Joe Morgan would feed perfect throws to his double-play partner, a skinny shortstop from Venezuela, who would then leap over the sliding runner while tagging second and firing toward first - all in the same exquisite motion.

I refuse to believe it, but that nimble-footed youngster, David Ismael Concepción Benitez, is now 58. Talk about thievery: Concepción stole hundreds of would-be hits in his 19 years at shortstop, not to mention pilfering 321 bases. Talk about artistry: I've seen a lot of gifted middle infielders in my time as a broadcaster, but none played with Davey's cunning or guile. Davey "deked" so many runners into stopping at second base while the ball was still rattling around the outfield that they should sue him for false representation.

It's not a coincidence that Sparky named Concepción the captain of those great squads. Davey was skipper Sparky Anderson's alter ego - the leader who kept his gifted teammates in line. My old friend, the late columnist Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times, was awed by Davey's defensive genius. If a Reds pitcher wanted a shutout, Murray once wrote, "all he had to do was keep the ball left of second base all night" - and let Concepción's glove vacuum everything in sight.

Davey was every bit as important to the Big Red Machine as shortstop Pee Wee Reese was to the great Dodger teams of the '40s and '50s or Phil ("The Scooter") Rizzuto was to the championship Yankees of the same era. But here's the rub. Pee Wee and Scooter are in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Davey isn't, even though he more than earned a ticket.

All three shortstops were scrappy "glue guys" who propelled talented teams to greatness. Davey's career fielding percentage was significantly better than Reese's or Rizzuto's. Their batting averages and on-base percentages were comparable, although Davey had more extra-base hits. And Concepción's post-season batting average - perhaps the best barometer of a ballplayer's capacity to deliver when it matters - was a heady .297, far superior to the other two.

Davey played on nine all-star teams and won five Gold Gloves. He would have earned even more acclaim had it not been for a certain Padre and Cardinal named Ozzie Smith, who came along in the late '70s and was - without question - a defensive marvel. Ozzie, too, played shortstop with great flair - but Concepción was the better all-around player. Yet the same baseball writers who elected Smith to the Hall of Fame with plenty of votes to spare haven't accorded Davey the same respect. Why?

Part of it is that it was tough for a Latino kid with a limited knowledge of English to merit attention in a clubhouse dominated by the likes of Bench, Morgan and one Peter Edward Rose. Reporters and cameras naturally gravitated to the big-name stars. In the second game of the '75 fall classic, Davey's clutch ninth-inning single, stolen base and run scored saved the day - and possibly the Series - for the Reds. But it was his more celebrated teammates who got the attention and the big endorsement deals.

Indeed, Concepción played in an era when Latino ballplayers - especially middle infielders - were often overlooked and underappreciated. Here's a revealing fact: had Davey played in 50-plus more games, he would have broken the National League record for most games at shortstop.

No ballplayer ever had a sweeter disposition than Davey Concepción. His smile was as unrelenting as his glove. Cincinnatians took Davey to their hearts. Davey is also an icon in his hometown of Maracay, Venezuela, where he played winter ball for more than 20 years. There's a statue of Davey there and a boulevard named in his honor. Concepción's generous contributions to Venezuelan youth baseball sharpened the skills of such current major leaguers as Carlos Guillen, Miguel Cabrera, and a slick fielder named Alex Gonzalez. Reds fans will have the pleasure of watching Gonzo operate at short, a la his hero Davey, for the next three or four years.

Without Davey, the Big Red Machine would never have won those four pennants or back-to-back Series. He was the engine that made the Machine go and go.

Concepción is in the Reds Hall of Fame, along with the Caribbean and Venezuelan halls. His plaque should hang in Cooperstown, too, near those of Sparky, Joe, Johnny and Tony. Check out www.ConcepcionforCooperstown.org.

With apologies to Ogden Nash, time may have thieved the last 30 years. But it can't steal our memories of Davey Concepción turning a double play. Now that, my friends, is pure gold.

oneupper
12-02-2006, 09:16 AM
Dave wasn't the best defensive SS of his era (albeit more than adequate), but IMO he his offensive skills (for the position) and longevity merit him much more consideration that he has been given.

But I'm biased.

redsmetz
12-02-2006, 09:28 AM
Dave wasn't the best defensive SS of his era (albeit more than adequate), but IMO he his offensive skills (for the position) and longevity merit him much more consideration that he has been given.

But I'm biased.

From Baseball-reference.com, the list of multiple Gold Glove winning Shortstops


13. Ozzie Smith
11. Omar Vizquel
9. Luis Aparicio
8. Mark Belanger
5. Dave Concepcion
4. Tony Fernandez
4. Alan Trammell
3. Derek Jeter
3. Barry Larkin
3. Roy McMillan
3. Rey Ordonez
2. Gene Alley
2. Larry Bowa
2. Don Kessinger
2. Edgar Renteria
2. Cal Ripken
2. Alex Rodriguez
2. Zoilo Versalles
2. Maury Wills

Davey started in 1970 and won the GG from 1974 thru 1977 and again in 1979. It's hard to say what "his era" viz shortstops because some, like Trammel and Ozzie Smith started seven years after him. Mark Bellanger preceded him by about five years. Larry Bowa, the only player whose playing time coincided with Davey's won in 1972 and 1979.

The only match to him was Ozzie Smith who dominated the position through the second half of Davey's career, much like he dominated the first part of Larkin's career. I'll grant that he wasn't the best once Ozzie Smith showed up (and that, IMO, is only missing by a tiny bit - he lacked the flash of Smith), but he stands shoulder to should with other players of that era and most likely, heads above them.

steig
12-02-2006, 09:52 AM
In my opinion Davy Concepcion should not be in the HOF. I'm not the greatest person to ask on this because he played most of his career before I was born or when I was very young. However, I do not consider him to be one of the greatest shortstops of all time. I would prefer if the HOF was only for the very best players and not players who accumulate above average stats for longer periods of time. I also do not believe you can look at Gold Glove totals b/c those are more of a popularity contest than an actual look at defensive skills. If Jeter can win multiple Gold Gloves at shortstop with limited range and diving capability over ARod then I have to consider it a bogus stat. Davey was very good but not good enough for the HOF.

I didn't believe the Tony Perez should have been elected into the HOF either and I am not a supported of McGwire or Ripken for the HOF this year. Ripken only hit over .300, 3 times in his career and batted under .260, 7 times. If the first thing you think of for a players career is continuous games played rather than some dominating stat or capability then how can he be considered one of the greatest.

redsmetz
12-02-2006, 10:20 AM
In my opinion Davy Concepcion should not be in the HOF. I'm not the greatest person to ask on this because he played most of his career before I was born or when I was very young. However, I do not consider him to be one of the greatest shortstops of all time. I would prefer if the HOF was only for the very best players and not players who accumulate above average stats for longer periods of time. I also do not believe you can look at Gold Glove totals b/c those are more of a popularity contest than an actual look at defensive skills. If Jeter can win multiple Gold Gloves at shortstop with limited range and diving capability over ARod then I have to consider it a bogus stat. Davey was very good but not good enough for the HOF.

I didn't believe the Tony Perez should have been elected into the HOF either and I am not a supported of McGwire or Ripken for the HOF this year. Ripken only hit over .300, 3 times in his career and batted under .260, 7 times. If the first thing you think of for a players career is continuous games played rather than some dominating stat or capability then how can he be considered one of the greatest.

I think, though, that too often, folks believe HOF election is solely about certain statistical categories. I'm not sure I'm going to articulate this well, but I think it's more than just the standard stats. What did the player mean in his era, what were the intangibles he brought to the game itself.

Shortstops in particular are tough to judge viz the HOF. You've grown up in a time of beefier shortstops, home run hitting shortstops, etc. It wasn't always that way, in for that reason SS's get short shrift when it comes to the HOF.

There are others on thsi board who can speak more thoroughly on the merits of shortstops and the history of the position offensively versus defensively. But I'll respectfully disagree.

I'm one (and this is no knock on others) who would cast a wider net for the Hall. But that's just me. I love it all.

RedsBaron
12-02-2006, 10:29 AM
Brennaman's article has some factual errors. Sparky Anderson never named Concepcion team captain. One of Sparky's first moves as Reds skipper was to name Pete Rose as team captain shortly after Sparky was hired following the 1969 season, and Rose remained the captain through the 1978 season. Sparky never had another Reds team captain as Rose left the Reds via free agency after that season and Dick Wagner fired Sparky.
I have also never before read anything suggesting that Concepcion was Sparky's "alter ego" or the leader of the Reds who kept the others in line. From all the biographies and other books about the BRM, it appears that Rose, Bench, Morgan and Perez were the team leaders, and that Tony Perez, more than anybody else, kept his teammates in line.
As for Concepcion's HOF credentials, while not overwhelming, they certainly are better than a number of shortstops already in the Hall of Fame. Probably the best argument for Davey's HOF induction is that he was baseball's best shortstop of the 1970s. Being the best at your position during your prime is a good argument for HOF induction.
In his original Historical Baseball Abstract published two decades ago, Bill James ranked Davey in a tie with Pee Wee Reese as the 10th greatest shortstop ever. In his more recent version of the book, James, perhaps in part because of his development of Win Shares, had dropped Concepcion to 26th in his rankings, a ranking that is too low IMO. He still had Reese 10th and had Phil Rizzuto 16th. At that time, he wasn't fully ranking A-Rod, Nomar or Jeter, as it was still early in their careers.
I'd rank Concepcion as roughly the 20th best shortstop ever, ahead of Dave Bancroft, Joe Tinker, Rabbit Maranville, Travis Jackson, all of whom are in the HOF. If Davey was elected, he would hardly be the worst guy there.
I'm really conflicted regarding Davey's HOF qualifications. I'd love to see him inducted, as he was one of my favorite players. He is at best a borderline candidate IMO. I do believe that in voting for HOF candidates, you should first vote for the guy at each position who is the best qualified candidate not already in. At present, the line of HOF eligible candidates at shortstop begins with Alan Trammell.
Oh, by the way, James ranked Cal Ripken, Jr. as the third greatest shortstop ever. He without question should be in the top 5. That's a Hall of Famer.

TheWalls
12-02-2006, 10:31 AM
Dave wasn't the best defensive SS of his era (albeit more than adequate),

I'd like to know who was better. Remember the Wizard of Oz didn't come along until late in Davey's career and is very much a COncepcion admirer.

westofyou
12-02-2006, 10:47 AM
I'd like to know who was better.

Mark Belanger in the field would be a a possibility.

oneupper
12-02-2006, 11:22 AM
Davey was known to make an error or two. Bowa IIRC was more sure handed, but didn't have Concepcion's range. Smith did come later on, but he raised the bar in terms of "HOF-caliber glove man" for everyone.

In any case, I have no problem conceding the point (that Davey glove's was very good), since it only reinforces my opinion that he should get more consideration.

paulrichjr
12-02-2006, 12:29 PM
I'm at the elect Davey to the Hall press conference now. Marty, JBench, Nux, BobC and Davey are on stage. There are charts comparing Davey to Maz and Reese, Ruzzuto and Ozzie..looking at them you can only come to the conclusion that if Davey had flipped backwards are won the WS with a homer you know that Davey would be there.

Patpacillosjock
12-02-2006, 02:18 PM
am i the only one perplexed at the Rey Ordonez listing? lmao i dont rememberr him winning a GG at all..

but nonetheless, dave concepcion is before my time so i have no idea

Cyclone792
12-02-2006, 03:32 PM
I think, though, that too often, folks believe HOF election is solely about certain statistical categories. I'm not sure I'm going to articulate this well, but I think it's more than just the standard stats. What did the player mean in his era, what were the intangibles he brought to the game itself.

The problem with that argument is it's just not a very good one. When the campaign for a player starts to focus on intangibles, or what a player meant to an era in the eyes of their team's fans, or what a player meant to the team in terms of leadership, etc., then there's almost the assumption that the player's statistical record and history wasn't great enough to support the argument for their election into the Hall of Fame.

Immediately jumping to intangibles and ignoring a player's statisical record and history then becomes a massive problem, because outside of the Cincinnati Reds and their fan base, nobody will care. If Davey Concepcion means a great deal to Reds fans because of his perceived intangibles, well why should a Yankees fan care? Why should an Indians fan care? Why should a Cubs fan care? They won't care, and most don't care. Each team's individual fan base has players who also lack the statistical qualifications to reach Cooperstown, but are believed to have so-called important intangibles. There aren't too many Reds fans who care about players with a great deal of intangibles from other teams, and there won't ever be many Reds fans who care. If a player meant that much to a specific team and its fans, then great, put that player in that individual team's Hall of Fame.

Now, if a player meant all the above to its specific team and its fans, and meant many of those same attributes to all of baseball and its fans, then the argument for inclusion into Cooperstown becomes much more realistic.

What this means for Davey Concepcion is I'm almost certain any campaign for him centered around intangibles is doomed to fail from the start. If fans want to legitimately campaign for him, they need to identify him with a level of greatness that all baseball fans could recognize and understand.

And for Davey Concepcion, that means defense. More specifically, it means persuading all of baseball that Concepcion was one of the all-time great defensive shortstops.

At the premier defensive positions - catcher, shortstop, second base, and center field - most people are open to the idea that an all-time great defensive player at one of those positions is worthy of Cooperstown so long as that player wasn't a liability for his team offensively. Ozzie Smith was a below average offensive player vs. the overall league average, but compared to other shortstops he was a good offensive player. Bill Mazeroski was a below average offensive player vs. the overall league average, but compared to other second basemen he was an average offensive player. Rabbit Maranville was an early 20th century player that also fits that mold (sans Rabbit's entertaining antics). Offense, however, wasn't what got those guys into Cooperstown. It was defense, and the fact that both those players are arguably the greatest defensive players ever at two premier defensive positions in the game.

Davey Concepcion really isn't all that different from those guys. He was below average offensively vs. the league average yet above average offensively vs. the league average at his position. He wasn't anywhere near great offensively, but he wasn't a liability. What he did that few others have accomplished is he played some of the best shortstop defense the game will ever see - and even the few historic defensive metrics available for Concepcion's era support that claim.

If the Davey Concepcion Hall of Fame campaign fires up the same gravy train that Bill Mazeroski rode, he's got a chance. People can be, and have been, persuaded that being an all-time great defensive player at a premier position such as shortstop or second base is worthy of Cooperstown, so I have to believe it can be done again. Focus on Concepcion's defense, and persuade baseball fans and Hall voters that Concepcion was one of the greatest defensive shortstops the game has ever seen. Certainly being one of the greatest defensive shortstops ever is worthy of enshrinement, and if the voters can be persuaded to believe that, then they'll start to cast votes in support of Concepcion.

mth123
12-02-2006, 03:38 PM
If the Davey Concepcion Hall of Fame campaign fires up the same gravy train that Bill Mazeroski rode, he's got a chance. People can be, and have been, persuaded that being an all-time great defensive player at a premier position such as shortstop or second base is worthy of Cooperstown, so I have to believe it can be done again. Focus on Concepcion's defense, and persuade baseball fans and Hall voters that Concepcion was one of the greatest defensive shortstops the game has ever seen. Certainly being one of the greatest defensive shortstops ever is worthy of enshrinement, and if the voters can be persuaded to believe that, then they'll start to cast votes in support of Concepcion.

Good post, but Davey would have a better chance if he'd won a World Series with a HR. I think that for all his defensive greatness, that HR went a long way toward Maz being in.

George Anderson
12-02-2006, 03:39 PM
At the very least the Reds need to retire Daveys #13. Not only is he deserving to have his number retired but it also will help give him the publicity needed to remind the rest of MLB and the HOF voters what a great player he was!!

vaticanplum
12-02-2006, 03:52 PM
The problem with that argument is it's just not a very good one. When the campaign for a player starts to focus on intangibles, or what a player meant to an era in the eyes of their team's fans, or what a player meant to the team in terms of leadership, etc., then there's almost the assumption that the player's statistical record and history wasn't great enough to support the argument for their election into the Hall of Fame.

On a general level, not specifically related to Concepcion, I don't know about that, Cyclone. I agree that a campaign on intangibles is rough going, but I think that because it's subjective and people have different tastes, not necessarly for the reasons you listed. Specifically your last sentence there: sometimes the player's statistical record and history AREN'T enough alone to get him in there. And I don't necessarily see that that's bad. There's room for players who don't absolutely qualify on that level in the Hall of Fame. There must be, or else there'd be set numbers to qualify for inclusion and no voting. As it stands, the statistical standards for the HOF are more or less set by the players already inducted. Those can shift at any time with any new induction.


Immediately jumping to intangibles and ignoring a player's statisical record and history then becomes a massive problem, because outside of the Cincinnati Reds and their fan base, nobody will care. If Davey Concepcion means a great deal to Reds fans because of his perceived intangibles, well why should a Yankees fan care? Why should an Indians fan care? Why should a Cubs fan care? They won't care, and most don't care. Each team's individual fan base has players who also lack the statistical qualifications to reach Cooperstown, but are believed to have so-called important intangibles. There aren't too many Reds fans who care about players with a great deal of intangibles from other teams, and there won't ever be many Reds fans who care. If a player meant that much to a specific team and its fans, then great, put that player in that individual team's Hall of Fame.

I could be wrong, but I don't think the original poster was referring to intangibles in a way that meant that Concepcion was particularly valuable to the team or to the city. I think he meant the intangibles that he brought to his position and to the game as it was in the 70s (and the Reds were a very important part of the game in the 70s). Voters are, as far as I know, supposed to be objective about those things. A Cubs fan isn't going to vote Kerry Wood into the Hall of Fame no matter how much he is revered by Cubs fans, or at least he shouldn't. But a Cubs fan may believe that, say, Don Mattingly deserves to be in the Hall, based partly on numbers but greatly on intangibles as well. That's ok. I mean, ideally these voters are looking at numbers first, but if they're torn beyond that they look at general across-the-board "intangibles", not at which players they personally rooted for.

mth123
12-02-2006, 04:00 PM
On a general level, not specifically related to Concepcion, I don't know about that, Cyclone. I agree that a campaign on intangibles is rough going, but I think that because it's subjective and people have different tastes, not necessarly for the reasons you listed. Specifically your last sentence there: sometimes the player's statistical record and history AREN'T enough alone to get him in there. And I don't necessarily see that that's bad. There's room for players who don't absolutely qualify on that level in the Hall of Fame. There must be, or else there'd be set numbers to qualify for inclusion and no voting. As it stands, the statistical standards for the HOF are more or less set by the players already inducted. Those can shift at any time with any new induction.



I could be wrong, but I don't think the original poster was referring to intangibles in a way that meant that Concepcion was particularly valuable to the team or to the city. I think he meant the intangibles that he brought to his position and to the game as it was in the 70s (and the Reds were a very important part of the game in the 70s). Voters are, as far as I know, supposed to be objective about those things. A Cubs fan isn't going to vote Kerry Wood into the Hall of Fame no matter how much he is revered by Cubs fans, or at least he shouldn't. But a Cubs fan may believe that, say, Don Mattingly deserves to be in the Hall, based partly on numbers but greatly on intangibles as well. That's ok. I mean, ideally these voters are looking at numbers first, but if they're torn beyond that they look at general across-the-board "intangibles", not at which players they personally rooted for.

I think intangbles help more when you play in the media spotlight like NY. (Phil Rizzuto is an example.) Concepcion is the opposite. Not enough media around day-in and day-out to appreciate him and on a national level he was overshadowed by Rose, Bench, Morgan, etc. That leaves voters looking at the stat sheet and Davey struggles a but there as far as HOF goes IMO.

Cyclone792
12-02-2006, 04:26 PM
On a general level, not specifically related to Concepcion, I don't know about that, Cyclone. I agree that a campaign on intangibles is rough going, but I think that because it's subjective and people have different tastes, not necessarly for the reasons you listed. Specifically your last sentence there: sometimes the player's statistical record and history AREN'T enough alone to get him in there. And I don't necessarily see that that's bad. There's room for players who don't absolutely qualify on that level in the Hall of Fame. There must be, or else there'd be set numbers to qualify for inclusion and no voting. As it stands, the statistical standards for the HOF are more or less set by the players already inducted. Those can shift at any time with any new induction.

I could be wrong, but I don't think the original poster was referring to intangibles in a way that meant that Concepcion was particularly valuable to the team or to the city. I think he meant the intangibles that he brought to his position and to the game as it was in the 70s (and the Reds were a very important part of the game in the 70s). Voters are, as far as I know, supposed to be objective about those things. A Cubs fan isn't going to vote Kerry Wood into the Hall of Fame no matter how much he is revered by Cubs fans, or at least he shouldn't. But a Cubs fan may believe that, say, Don Mattingly deserves to be in the Hall, based partly on numbers but greatly on intangibles as well. That's ok. I mean, ideally these voters are looking at numbers first, but if they're torn beyond that they look at general across-the-board "intangibles", not at which players they personally rooted for.

Well, outside of the Frankie Frisch chaff that walked through the doors 30-40 years ago, there's very, very few players who've managed to be elected when their statistical records weren't enough to get them in on their own. If one were to eliminate players from the Hall using strict statistical guidelines, almost all the players who'd be cut out were Frankie Frisch teammates/friends. The BBWAA has been exceptionally strict in its standards; it took Eddie Mathews several seasons to get elected, and he's arguably the greatest third basemen the game has ever seen.

Even intangibles related to shortstop and the game specifically during Concepcion's time presents us with a problem. If I threw a bunch of shortstops in a basket, say Davey Concepcion, Jim Fregosi, Maury Wills, Bert Campaneris, Tony Fernandez, Johnny Pesky, and Vern Stephens, what sort of things did Davey Concepcion bring to the game outside of his statistical record that differentiates him from all the others to the level that Concepcion should be a Hall of Famer, but the other guys shouldn't be?

That's a question that's basically impossible to answer, because of two things. For one, nobody has any idea what those answers are, and secondly, the people who believe they do know are usually in a minority, and that poses a problem when 75 percent of the voters need to support each player for election.

It's interesting that you bring up Mattingly, because I think it's that type of argument that's preventing him from being elected into the Hall moreso than it's helping him. If people supporting Mattingly just sat down and attempted to persuade voters that Mattingly was simply a greater player than x number of first basemen already in the Hall, such as maybe a George Sisler, Orlando Cepeda, Bill Terry, etc., then I'd think he'd have a better shot at being elected.

Handofdeath
12-02-2006, 04:28 PM
Good post, but Davey would have a better chance if he'd won a World Series with a HR. I think that for all his defensive greatness, that HR went a long way toward Maz being in.

I don't think it has anything to do with it. Check out Bobby Thompson's stats, they are pretty damn good. But he's not in the HOF. Fisk isn't in the Hall because of his W.S. homer. Maz got in because he was the best defensive player at his position ever. He also had over 2,000 hits and, believe it or not, between 1957 and 1968 no middle infielder had more RBI's. If Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew can be inducted simply because of the number of HR's they hit, then Bill Mazeroski belongs for being the best at his position ever.

vaticanplum
12-02-2006, 04:35 PM
Well, outside of the Frankie Frisch chaff that walked through the doors 30-40 years ago, there's very, very few players who've managed to be elected when their statistical records weren't enough to get them in on their own. If one were to eliminate players from the Hall using strict statistical guidelines, almost all the players who'd be cut out were Frankie Frisch teammates/friends. The BBWAA has been exceptionally strict in its standards; it took Eddie Mathews several seasons to get elected, and he's arguably the greatest third basemen the game has ever seen.

Even intangibles related to shortstop and the game specifically during Concepcion's time presents us with a problem. If I threw a bunch of shortstops in a basket, say Davey Concepcion, Jim Fregosi, Maury Wills, Bert Campaneris, Tony Fernandez, Johnny Pesky, and Vern Stephens, what sort of things did Davey Concepcion bring to the game outside of his statistical record that differentiates him from all the others to the level that Concepcion should be a Hall of Famer, but the other guys shouldn't be?

That's a question that's basically impossible to answer, because of two things. For one, nobody has any idea what those answers are, and secondly, the people who believe they do know are usually in a minority, and that poses a problem when 75 percent of the voters need to support each player for election.

All of this encompasses a lot of what is MY problem with the Hall of Fame: can we really trust people to vote in the appropriate players if subjective criteria is allowed? And I don't mean "trust" snottily...you CAN'T argue subjective criteria, really. If the standards really have been entirely statistical for the last 40 years, then why don't they just set up numerical standards, make sure they're relevant every ten years or so, and be done with it?

Well, the answer is that it's not quite as special then, I guess. Or lacks human interest. Or something.


It's interesting that you bring up Mattingly, because I think it's that type of argument that's preventing him from being elected into the Hall moreso than it's helping him. If people supporting Mattingly just sat down and attempted to persuade voters that Mattingly was simply a greater player than x number of first basemen already in the Hall, such as maybe a George Sisler, Orlando Cepeda, Bill Terry, etc., then I'd think he'd have a better shot at being elected.

I actually think what hurts Mattingly the most is the length of his service time. He was as good as a great number of players, many already in the HOF, but not for as long a time.

mth123
12-02-2006, 04:51 PM
I don't think it has anything to do with it. Check out Bobby Thompson's stats, they are pretty damn good. But he's not in the HOF. Fisk isn't in the Hall because of his W.S. homer. Maz got in because he was the best defensive player at his position ever. He also had over 2,000 hits and, believe it or not, between 1957 and 1968 no middle infielder had more RBI's. If Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew can be inducted simply because of the number of HR's they hit, then Bill Mazeroski belongs for being the best at his position ever.

Not saying Maz isn't good, but that HR added to his legend and helped to differentiate him from other borderline guys. Most voters aren't as knowledgeable as posters on this board IMO.

redsmetz
12-02-2006, 04:58 PM
Davey Concepcion really isn't all that different from those guys. He was below average offensively vs. the league average yet above average offensively vs. the league average at his position. He wasn't anywhere near great offensively, but he wasn't a liability. What he did that few others have accomplished is he played some of the best shortstop defense the game will ever see - and even the few historic defensive metrics available for Concepcion's era support that claim.

This is the sort of thing I mean by intangibles. I really don't believe statistical records are meaningless, but I think they must be looked at in context, which I think you're saying here too. And I think your finish hits the nail on the head, that "he played some of the best shortstop defense the game will ever see" and I think that overrides the somewhat weaker offensive stats in making Davey a Hall of Famer.

Cyclone792
12-02-2006, 05:05 PM
All of this encompasses a lot of what is MY problem with the Hall of Fame: can we really trust people to vote in the appropriate players if subjective criteria is allowed? And I don't mean "trust" snottily...you CAN'T argue subjective criteria, really. If the standards really have been entirely statistical for the last 40 years, then why don't they just set up numerical standards, make sure they're relevant every ten years or so, and be done with it?

Well, the answer is that it's not quite as special then, I guess. Or lacks human interest. Or something.

I actually think what hurts Mattingly the most is the length of his service time. He was as good as a great number of players, many already in the HOF, but not for as long a time.

IMO, character issues, intangibles, subjective criteria, etc. seems to have a bigger impact in keeping players out of the Hall of Fame than it does in putting guys in. Dick Allen was a helluva hitter, but I'd be shocked if he ever makes the Hall. Based on what I've read this year, it's not looking too good for Mark McGwire, either. Will Clark wasn't the most friendly guy on the field. Based on statistical measures alone, all three of those guys were as great as or better than many Hall of Fame first sackers. But other factors outside their raw statistics are likely going to keep them out of the Hall. Meanwhile a guy like Gil Hodges was loved by many, doesn't quite have the stats, and still hasn't been elected.

Kirby Puckett is one guy who was loved by many fans while I think he was actually kind of overrated a bit as a player, but Puckett got in with ease. Then again, Puckett's on the same statistical center field tier as Richie Ashburn, Larry Doby, Earl Averill, and Hack Wilson, and they're all in the Hall of Fame (Doby may have also benefitted from being the first African-American player ever in the American League). Meanwhile, guys like Jimmy Wynn, Dale Murphy, Vada Pinson and Wally Berger are all guys probably on that same tier or very close, and they're not in. You're a Bernie Williams fan; he's probably on the same tier of center fielders as all those guys above. Maybe Bernie gets in, maybe he doesn't.

Like many Reds fans my age, my favorite player growing up was Barry Larkin, and Larkin will probably be my favorite player in all of baseball history for well ... forever (heck, I just shelled out some $$$ for an authentic Larkin jersey down at RedsFest yesterday). While I'll vehemently believe that Larkin is one of the five or six greatest shortstops in the game's history and absolutely deserving of a spot in Cooperstown, it saddens me to think that he may have a tough road for election.

That's why right now, as a full-fledged Barry Larkin hero-worshipper, I'm in full support of Alan Trammell making the Hall of Fame. I do believe Trammell deserves the Hall on his own, but if Trammell's elected then it should be a cinch that Larkin gets elected.

redsmetz
12-02-2006, 05:42 PM
I wonder sometimes about the problem of the longevity of players and the newness of some baseball writers. And maybe it's a problem of how long a player is on the ballot (and I'm not suggesting it be shortened), but how can we expect new beat writers to know some of these players if they've never seen them. And I'm still not clear on what the new rules are for the Veteran's committee. Maybe I'm just blowing smoke here. I've been known to do that.

Red in Chicago
12-02-2006, 05:46 PM
Kirby Puckett is one guy who was loved by many fans while I think he was actually kind of overrated a bit as a player, but Puckett got in with ease.


personally, i never like puckett as a player and found his happy go lucky character to be full of it...i agree with you in that he was overrated as a player and got in easily because of his persona, much the same as ozzie got in...players shouldn't ride into the hall of fame just because of their personalities...i'm not saying they both weren't good, i'm just saying they weren't as good as the media portrayed them...

count me as one who wants davey in the hall...i enjoyed watching him pick it at short many years...he was my second favorite player after pete...davey was a much better overall shortstop than the likes of russell, bowa, etc...

Cyclone792
12-02-2006, 05:53 PM
I wonder sometimes about the problem of the longevity of players and the newness of some baseball writers. And maybe it's a problem of how long a player is on the ballot (and I'm not suggesting it be shortened), but how can we expect new beat writers to know some of these players if they've never seen them. And I'm still not clear on what the new rules are for the Veteran's committee. Maybe I'm just blowing smoke here. I've been known to do that.

Here's all the pertinent Veteran's Committee (http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/veterans/index.htm) information.

Ltlabner
12-02-2006, 08:23 PM
The HOF issue is a tough one for me. You have to reach a statistical benchmark to be considered better, yet if they set a standard baseline (say +20% than the historical average for your position for example) and admitted everyone over that mark it leaves out other considerations that fall more towards the "intangables" equation. Length of carear, did his controbutions define a time period/position, did he help propell his teams to playoffs and WS's, etc.

But as has been mentioned, the second you start down the "intagables" path you quickly run into a mess because you can't quantify anything and comparisons are nearly impossible.

But I still have a hangup with the idea that you strictly look at the numbers and the best numbers = HOF idea. For example, the salesman in our company with the largest sales territory is not the most valuable salesman in our team. Actually, it's the guy with the 3rd biggest territory. Why, because while his sales are not significatly less than the #1 guy, he has less customer turn over, he's been around longer, has more profitable business, and perhaps most importantly has helped salesmans #4, 5, 6, etc improve their skills and increase their sales. All told, the #3 guy has actually done more for the company in total sales, profit and building a stronger overall team, and has done so for longer, than the #1 guy.

If you went strictly by the numbers you'd say the guy with the biggest territory was the best. But you have to look at other facts. But as I said before, the second you do that you open a huge can of worms.

Not sure there is any easy answer.

Always Red
12-02-2006, 10:34 PM
based upon the SS's that are in the HOF, and his career, I believe, and will UNTIL THE DAY I DIE, that Dave Concepcion is a Hall of Famer.

In the 1970's, Davey changed the way that SS was played, with his arm (on astroturf), and with his bat

...and Barry Larkin, pride of Cincinnati, is also a HOF'er.

:)

M2
12-03-2006, 12:25 PM
Concepcion should get in for three reasons:

1) He was the best SS of his era and he achored the IF for the dominant team of the era.

2) His numbers are well above the bar of what's been set by HOF shortstops (at least seven, possibly as much as 10 dependent on where you fall on career vs. peak value).

3) He literally changed the game of baseball. Prior to Concepcion people didn't think a guy with his height could handle the defensive rigors of the position. Concepcion proved them beyond wrong, bringing a much better bat to the position than the Judy hitting shortstops who proliferated the game before him (he finished in the league top 50 in VORP seven times). He paved the way for players like Robin Yount and Cal Ripken Jr., two guys who would have surely played 3B in the BC (Before Concepcion) era.

And, just as a side note, Concepcion's counting stats took a serious blow by being a member of the BRM. While offensively putrid players, like Larry Bowa, spent much of the 1970s hitting near the top of other teams' lineups, Concepcion got stuck down at the bottom of the Reds lineup during his best seasons. It cost him something like a season's worth of plate appearances, not to mention protection (his career numbers in higher batting slots dwarfs his numbers in lower batting slots). Would 2,500 hits and more than a 1,000 runs and RBIs help his candidacy? Of course they would. Mind you, I regard this as a nothing more than an interesting detail in that the above three reasons are more than enough to enshrine him.

I've always said Dave Concepcion will have a plaque in Cooperstown someday. The only question is whether he or anybody who got to watch him play will be around to see it.

Chip R
12-03-2006, 01:53 PM
Is it just me or does anyone else not see an online petition on that web site? :dunno:

RedsBaron
12-03-2006, 02:59 PM
Concepcion should get in for three reasons:

1) He was the best SS of his era and he achored the IF for the dominant team of the era.

2) His numbers are well above the bar of what's been set by HOF shortstops (at least seven, possibly as much as 10 dependent on where you fall on career vs. peak value).

3) He literally changed the game of baseball. Prior to Concepcion people didn't think a guy with his height could handle the defensive rigors of the position. Concepcion proved them beyond wrong, bringing a much better bat to the position than the Judy hittings shortstops who proliferated the game before him (he finished in the league top 50 in VORP seven times). He paved the way for players like Robin Yount and Cal Ripken Jr., two guys who would have surely played 3B in the BC (Before Concepcion) era.

And, just as a side note, Concepcion's counting stats took a serious blow by being a member of the BRM. While offensively putrid players, like Larry Bowa, spent much of the 1970s hitting near the top of other teams' lineups, Concepcion got stuck down at the bottom of the Reds lineup during his best seasons. It cost him something like a season's worth of plate appearances, not to mention protection (his career numbers in higher batting slots dwarfs his numbers in lower batting slots). Would 2,500 hits and more than a 1,000 runs and RBIs help his candidacy? Of course they would. Mind you, I regard this as a nothing more than an interesting detail in that the above three reasons are more than enough to enshrine him.

I've always said Dave Concepcion will have a plaque in Cooperstown someday. The only question is whether he or anybody who got to watch him play will be around to see it.

You raise some good points, especially the "side note." I don't usually buy the "if he's in, then this guy should be in" argument---but if Phil Rizzuto was qualified to be a Hall of Famer, then Concepcion should be in.

Handofdeath
12-03-2006, 03:03 PM
[QUOTE=Red in Chicago;1203625]personally, i never like puckett as a player and found his happy go lucky character to be full of itQUOTE]

I think in Kirby's case it was not happy go lucky that was his true character, but more like happy getting lucky. If there is a more tragic story in baseball than Pete Rose, it is Kirby Puckett's.