Friday, July 22, 2005

HOF's and MVP's

There's been quite a bit of discussion around about Rafael Palmeiro's credentials for the Hall of Fame lately. Oddly enough, as more hitters reach 500+ home runs and start passing some of the older greats, now there is a...subtle push, I'll call it, to raise the standards of the Hall -- a raising that could exlude someone with as distinguished a career as Palmeiro's.

Marty Cortinas over at Across the Seams recently chimed in incredulous over a piece written by Bruce Jenkins a couple of days ago. The article is here, and Marty's reaction is here. I am in total agreement with Marty -- Jenkins thinks Palmeiro is Hall worthy, and good for him, but his reasoning behind why Palmeiro is worthy is very, very flawed, and is indicative of what is wrong with HOF voting and MVP voting, as well.

To summarize, Jenkins gives himself and other baseball writers significance over statistics as a measure of whether or not players are worthy of those honors, which is complete and utter balderdash. Statistics, to me, are about 75% of what makes a player worthy of these awards, plain and simple. The stats are a record of what the player has accomplished, with no room for embellishment or the nuances of opinion and hearsay to negatively or positively affect the player's production.

This isn't to say that stats are everything -- defensive statistics are still spotty at best, and there are always intangibles some players have to help them rise to the occasion when it's important or when the pressure is on. By all means, rely on the baseball writers to determine these things and judge them significant or not. But to use those factors to overwhelm the stats and render them less significant is idiotic, self-serving, and arrogant.

Here's my reply to Marty on his site:

See, Marty, this is why most of these sportswriters shouldn't be entrusted with voting for MVP's, HOF, etc. Because with their infinite wisdom (read: EGOS), they believe they can ~feel~ their way to figuring out who should win what, rather than relying on the numbers to tell the majority of the story (like it should be).

Using the stats, I'm sure, seems like some sort of non-intellectual cop-out to them. They don't want their vote handed to them on the silver platter of OBP and SLG, WHIP or k/9. They want to philosophically figure these things out, when those types of arguments should only be used when the numbers are borderline, or when there are two candidates with fairly even numbers.

Joe Morgan is the prime example, using won/loss record to figure out his Cy Young candidates rather than simple ERA, and heaven forbid something as "deep" into the stats as k/bb ratios.

It'll be better in about 10-20 years when some of these old-schoolers aren't in these positions. God Bless Peter Gammons, though -- he isn't afraid of the numbers.

How does everyone else feel about these things? It comes up for us Giants fans almost every season, as writers and such try to figure out a reason to not give the MVP award to Barry Bonds year after year. Fortunately for him, the numbers have been overwhelming, which I think would keep most writers from voting for another player out of sheer shame. Sure, you want to vote for another player, but you just can't vote for another player. The numbers haven't allowed the voters, as a group, to vote for someone else.

Time to use that thar comment section, people.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I agree, agree, and agree some more with you. Hall-of-Famers shouldn't be chosen on what we FEEL like they accomplished, but what they DID accomplish.