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Statistically Speaking: Baseball Hall of Fame Voting

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Baseball Hall of Fame Voting

The Baseball Hall of Fame voting has always perturbed me just a tad. It seems to me that these so called 'experts' have no idea why teams win and lose. For some reason, if a starting pitcher fails to win 300 games, he's gotta go through Hell to make it into Cooperstown. These writers also hold grudges against guys who may have been surly or aloof in the locker room. The Hall of Fame is not designed to be a place for athletes who gave great interviews. It is a place to honor the very best who played the game of baseball. That being said, the voters screwed up big time yesterday. Here's the complete voting rundown. As you probably already know, Bruce Sutter was the only player elected. While I am happy that a full time reliever has finally been elected (they have been ignored for far too long), the voters didn't even elect the best relief pitcher. By any metric you care to use, Rich 'Goose' Gossage is a better choice than Bruce Sutter.

Conventional Stats

Bruce Sutter 1042.3 innings pitched, 2.83 ERA, 861 strikeouts (7.4 per nine innings), 68 wins, 71 losses, 300 saves, 40+ saves once, 30+ saves 4 times, 20+ saves 9 times

Rich Gossage 1809.3 innings pitched, 3.01 ERA, 1502 strikeouts (7.5 per nine innings), 124 wins, 107 losses, 310 saves, 30+ saves twice, 20+ saves 10 times

By conventional stats, Gossage has more innings, more wins, a better winning percentage, and more saves. Sutter has a better ERA, and more 40+ and 30+ save seasons.

Esoteric 'Nerd' Stats
each stat is highlighted, click to read a brief synopsis of what they measure
WARP1, WARP3, Win Shares, PRAA, PRAR, ERA+

Bruce Sutter 54.5 WARP1, 55.2 WARP3, 168 Win Shares, 168 PRAA, 507 PRAR, 136 ERA+

Rich Gossage 83.8 WARP1, 84.0 WARP3, 223 Win Shares, 252 PRAA, 787 PRAR, 126 ERA +

When adjusting for season or all time, Gossage is worth about 30 more wins more than a 'replacement level' player is than Sutter. A replacement level player is the theoretical contribution of a marginal major league player. He saved his teams about 70 more runs than Sutter did over an average player and 280 more runs than Sutter over a replacement player. Sutter did have a better ERA (36% better than league average versus 26% for Gossage), but this is more than offset by the gap in innings pitched (767 more career innings for Gossage). Bruce Sutter was a fine reliever, and is a marginal Hall of Fame choice (there are certainly lesser candidates in Cooperstown-- Lloyd Waner, Dave Bancroft, and George Kelly to name a few), but if a full time reliever was to be elected this year, it should have been Rich Gossage.

3 Comments:

Blogger Joshua said...

I agree. What about Dunston?

9:03 AM  
Blogger STR said...

Which is worse, the voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, or having the public vote for the AllStars every year?

10:03 AM  
Blogger matt said...

Joshua:
Shawon Dunston should not even be allowed to tour the HoF. Andre Dawson on the other hand is not a HoF'er in my opinion. His career OBP is 323 and the league average for his career is 332. So he was below average in getting on base (not making outs). His power (slugging) somewhat made up for it. But he was a below average defender.
Reese:
I would rank them both right behind the electoral college for electing my man GW for 2 terms.

4:21 PM  

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