Friday, April 15, 2005

 

The Last Step for Hitters in the RLWHF

4/16/05 afternoon: Since plans A-D didn't work, I moved on to Plan E. This consisted of replacing Johnny Pesky with Jim Fregosi to up the average on Win Shares and allow me to stay at players 90% the value of the Filter Lineup for now. The limit is roughly 200 Win Shares now to get in, unless your Mickey Tettleton and your JAWS score is better than many players with more WS. So basically what I'm going to do is figure out all of the 200+ Win Shares players first, and leave the other ones for a second round of induction afterwards when I check their JAWS scores. That leaves 219 players, a far cry from the 534 and 377 of before. The good news is, that is over with. The bad news is I'm going to calculate JAWS for all of these players now, and then get their links and induct them if worthy, or throw them on the voting list if not. It might be that no one but Mickey Tettleton has the JAWS score to make it in under 200 Win Shares. Darren Daulton, a similar player to Tettleton, also had a low WS total and his JAWS didn't crack 45, making me sadly kick him off the list. JAWS has to be done for a few reasons, and here is why: Greg Vaughn and Travis Fryman both have 199 Win Shares, but there JAWS scores are over 8 points apart. Fryman's is 52.55, making him eligible for auto induction at third base, while Vaughn's JAWS of roughly 44 does not qualify him for any of the three outfield positions. So I have a lot of work to do now. I apologize for the lack of posting, but this project is taking up a lot of time, not to mention I work all weekend.

4/16/05: I weeded out all the players below the 85% threshold, and that left me with 413 players....I'm not very amused. So it looks as if I'm moving up to 90% right now, or a 190 Win Shares cutoff...I'm not even posting this until I counted..............377 players, damnit. 200 WS cutoff? I'll see after work.

4/15/05 Afternoon: This paragraph has been added on since the post this morning after I came to realize my list was much too big. I have 534 hitters on my list using 157-161 as the bottomline, so I am going to have to shave it off some. There are 260+ guys in Cooperstown, and I don't mind surpassing that at all, but not by 500 guys (remember I have not done pitchers yet). So instead of players who hold 75% of the value of the Filter Lineup, I will use players who are 80% as valuable, or maybe even 85%. This has to be done to cut the number down. Basically, if it is 80%, no players under 172 Win Shares will be allowed to enter the voting pool, and an 85% limit would raise that figure to 183 Win Shares. A separate figure will probably be instituted for pitchers. Basically, I'll go through the list and count the players below 172...if the figure I end up with minus those players is still too high in the end, I'll add the guys below 183 Win Shares to the list of castoffs as well. The players do get a 5 Win Share minus bonus, so 167 and 178 would be acceptable respectively until I get to figuring their JAWS scores. If the JAWS score for the players I have allowed to linger on the list is not adequate, than they will get their final push out the door. Basically, I'm trying to make it so that the wrong people do not come in here and devalue the RLWHF as a whole, but I want to make sure I do not miss out on too many people, or guys who look borderline via Win Shares but JAWS sees them as legit and vice versa. Just so everyone knows, Smokey Joe Wood has enough Win Shares as a hitter to enter the RLWHF that way...ahh the good old days, when many pitchers could hit.

As I was going through my 2003 edition of Total Baseball, and my list kept growing and growing since I arbitrarily picked 135 as my cutoff point for Win Shares, I did not think too much of it. Then I came to Scott Fletcher's name in the book. I realized at that point, that since Scott Fletcher was going to be allowed into the RLWHF, it was time to mathematically figure out a cutoff point, even if it is done simply. So here is what I did.

I took the average of the Win Shares of the Nine Man Filter Lineup I built yesterday, with Mickey Tettleton, Mo Vaughn, Frank White, Todd Zeile, Johnny Pesky, Ray Lankford, Ellis Burks, Eric Davis, and Hal McCrae. This figure came out to be 215.5555556. I then multiplied that by .75 to come out to a Win Shares total for players that would be 75% the player my filter lineup is as a collective unit. This brought me to a figure of 161.6666667, or for Win Shares purposes, 162. I will use 161 as the figure though. This will be used as my guideline; if anyone has around 157 or 158 Win Shares, I will list them from Total Baseball just incase their JAWS score is adequate for induction. I have a lot of name crossing off to do for now, so you should get an article later tonight, something along the lines of an AL Roundup thus far.

By the way, for pitchers (to save a post for later) will probably be gauged off of Win Shares as well, and I'll see if I can find 5 pitchers who fit the bill much like my lineup, and then proceed to average them out and come out to a bottomline figure as well.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

 

I've Got It...I think....

I think I have it figured out, as to what the qualifications are going to be for automatic induction into the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame. Ray Lankford has 227 Win Shares in his career (and if he adds anymore it is likely the number will only top 230) and a JAWS score of 52 on the nose. What does it all mean Basil? Well, I think since the RLWHF is named after Ray Lankford, you should only get automatic induction if you happen to be, well, as good as Ray Lankford. Which means I have a lot of research and math to do, but at least I do not have to figure out exactly what number of hits or steals or what not goes into the equation. Two, easy and shiny numbers for me to figure it out is what I'll use. On that note...the RLWHF is not official or accurate yet, because I have to weed out anyone I might have assumed belongs in...I want this to be perfect, and without any blemishes. I might even split it up into a "Elected" and "Merit" sections or something silly to that effect. The elected members do not have to be Ray Lankford in order to join the RLWHF, because if only guys like Lankford were in the number of guys would be too small (I could be understating but I don't feel like looking that up), but they do have to be players we (as in reader and slightly crazed sportswriter) agree on as far as career achievments go. I do not think I will have to do much editing to the current form of the RLWHF, but just know that a few names will probably be taken out. I have not figured out a way to gauge the pitchers yet though, so no one there will move. I can use Win Shares and then find another statistic (I'll see if Jay Jaffe has done anything with pitchers) but I need to find the player to use as the benchmark. If I pick David Cone or the like the standard could be too high, where as if I go with a Danny Darwin it could be too low...know what I mean? If anyone has any suggestions feel free to chime in at any time.

Of course, as good as Ray Lankford is a relative term. Catchers will not be punished for not being as good at hitting as Ray Lankford, but instead I have to find the JAWS qualifications I used in the Tim Raines article yesterday and see what the differences are between Catcher and Left Field and Left Field and First Base and so on...so I have my work cut out for me. Or I could do this instead; set a position player for each position as the gauge for each position. I do not have to pick the best player, just one who will keep me from embarassing myself.

Just so we can see what the relative difference between Cooperstown Hall of Famers position by position are, here are Jaffe's figures:

Position and JAWS
C - 68.1
1B- 70.7
2B- 70.4
3B- 71.2
SS- 71.9
LF- 73.3
CF- 77.6
RF- 76.8

So we can see here that the catchers I select can be (relative to Ray Lankford at LF with a 52 JAWS) about 5-6 JAWS points less. This applies to everyone else as well. Of course with the sample of players I have and the fact I'm doing this now, it won't be the same as Jaffe's numbers above; for example, my catcher had a better JAWS career than my first basemen. That point brings us to here:

C - Mickey Tettleton (184 Win Shares; 50.3 JAWS)
1B - Mo Vaughn (200 Win Shares; 49.15 JAWS)
2B - Frank White (211 Win Shares; 54.9 JAWS)
3B - Todd Zeile (217 Win Shares; 43.35 JAWS)
SS - Jim Fregosi (261 WS, 53.25 JAWS)
LF - Ray Lankford (227 Win Shares; 52 JAWS)
CF - Ellis Burks (260 Win Shares; 55.7 JAWS)
RF - Eric Davis (224 Win Shares; 55.2 JAWS)
DH - Hal McRae ( 230 Win Shares; 46.7 JAWS)

Another note, as I was figuring the JAWS score I noticed that Will Clark would be a slightly above average first basemen in Cooperstown with a JAWS score over 72...go figure huh? Just more stuff to write about come inductions in the summer.

Take that team I just made in its prime and it would be pretty hard to beat by the way.

So now that I have this list, what do I get to do? Sift through all the players who are currently in as well as the 275-300 names on my computer right now to see who is eligible. Luckily, this will be great when it is completed, especially now that I am not just throwing guys in on a whim.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

 

Tim Raines and the Actual Hall of Fame

I had a few readers send me comments regarding Tim Raines as a candidate for the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame, and in some ways that disapointed me greatly. I think Tim Raines belongs in Cooperstown, not just stuffed onto some list of really good players (no offense to my own invention here; it has a purpose and it is going to do it, but Tim Raines is part of something greater I think.) But to check this out, I am going to do a few things:

1) I'm going to check out Baseball References Black Ink, Gray Ink, HOF Standards and HOF Monitor scores on Raines.

2) I'm going to get Tim Raines' career Win Shares, a Bill James invention that is great for evaluating contributions of the past. Basically, a nice shiny simple number I can use to compare some players to Raines.

3) I'm going to get the Win Shares for comparable or similar players to Raines who are in the Hall of Fame, as well as some other outfielders who are in who Raines either stacks up to or is ahead of in career Win Shares.

4) I will also use the WARP3 statistic, which is "WARP-2, expanded to 162 games to compensate for shortened seasons. Initially, I was just going to use (162/season length) as the multiplier, but this seemed to overexpand the very short seasons of the 19th century. I settled on using (162/scheduled games) ** (2/3). So Ross Barnes' 7.4 wins in 1873, a 55 game season, only gets extended to 15.2 WARP, instead of a straight-line adjustment of 21.8." In a nutshell...it is an adjustment for all-time.

5) Use Jay Jaffe's JAWS score to determine his worth versus the average left fielder in the Hall of Fame.

Now as of right now, I do not know how Raines stacks up against these other players and on these HOF scores, so if I am proven wrong in the end I might admit it, depending on if I am far off or not. The thing is, I don't think he is far off. Before I delve into this, let me just say he is probably one of the greatest leadoff men of all time who had the misfortune of being a contemporary of the greatest leadoff hitter of all time in Rickey Henderson, as well as Hall of Fame leadoff man Paul Molitor. You know how that voting committee loves their contemporaries; no way three men can be Hall of Fame worthy at the same position in the same era! Blasphemer! Granted, Henderson is way above the two of them in my mind, but I think Raines and Molitor are relatively similar in total career worth. Let's put it this way: If Rock Raines is not a Hall of Famer in your eyes, then Paul Molitor better be a fringe one, which would call the BBWAA's thoughts into question (Tony Perez and George Kelly anyone?)

First off, here are Raines HOF scores as seen on Baseball Reference:

Black Ink: Batting - 20 (Overall rank 103) (Average HOF'er ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 114 (Overall rank 171) (Average HOF'er ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 46.8 (Overall rank 92) (Average HOF'er ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 90.0 (Overall rank 165) (Likely HOF'er ~ 100)

So according to the average Hall of Famer, Tim Raines is basically there. Paul Molitor is way ahead using this metric:

Black Ink: Batting - 24 (78) (Average HOF'er ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 145 (95) (Average HOF'er ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 59.1 (27) (Average HOF'er ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 165.5 (58) (Likely HOF'er > 100)

So using these standards, I look slightly (to be kind to myself) dumb. But luckily I have backup plans. Also, one note on these forms: they have not been reevaluated since 1994, and a lot of thought and development has been done since then. Jay Jaffe used the phrase, "Bill James' Hall of Fame Standards and Hall of Fame Monitor tools have reached their sell-by date." He has a point, as his system using JAWS (a modified version of the WARP3 statistic Clay Davenport created) is more in depth and more accurate in many ways. Read the article from the link above to get an in-depth view of it.

Tim Raines has 390 career Win Shares, while Paul Molitor has 414. Basically, that is one really good season more than Raines, or can simply be attributed to the fact that Molitor stuck around to get 3,000 hits and so played for 21 seasons. Well, 20 seasons technically, as he only played 13 games in 1984. Tim Raines has 23 seasons under his belt, but he lost 2000 and didn't get to play much for his last few teams. So they are roughly in the same area for career length. Molitor did accumulate more Win Shares, but he was an important part of his team in Minnesota at the end (more a tribute to Minnesota's bad teams than to Molitor's greatness) while Raines spent his 2002 on a team fighting for the playoffs. So I guess we can either call this a draw or hand a slight edge to Molitor, although the difference in their Win Shares is small...the point of this discussion of course is not me trying to prove Raines belonging OVER Molitor, but showing how closely related they may be in order to prove how Raines belongs when Molitor is so sure of a true Hall of Famer. This isn't me saying Don Mattingly should be in because guys like Ralph Kiner, who had less win shares, are in because of a mistake made by the committee in voting. This is me saying Tim Raines belongs because he meets the qualifications of a Hall of Famer, not a fringe one, but a real Hall of Famer.

In The New Bill James Historical Abstract, James has Tim Raines ranked as the 81st greatest player of all time, while Molitor is not on the list...or on his consensus list of guys left off the Top 100 of 20 more players. Bill James has Tim Raines as the 8th best left fielder of all time, ahead of Hall of Famer Willie Stargell and directly in front of Hall of Famer Al Simmons. He has Paul Molitor ranked as the 8th greatest third basemen of all time, but his lack of inclusion on the Top 100 does away with what might appear to be equality. Left field traditionally has better hitters than third base does, so this is apples and oranges, not apples to apples. As far as apples to apples comparisons go, I give you this:

"Tim Raines has been overlooked by everyone else except Total Baseball", which rates him much higher than I do. Raines, in my opinion, is the second-best leadoff man of all-time, behind Rickey Henderson, but had the misfortune of being an exact contemporary not only of Henderson but also of Paul Molitor, the third-greatest leadoff man ever."

That is straight from Bill James' Player Rankings and Comments section of the New Abstract, and gives more kudos to Raines in his argument for the Hall. Also, if Raines is the 81st greatest player of all time (from a 2000 book) and there are 260+ Hall of Famers...then isn't he technically better than roughly 180 of those guys? 44 guys had totaled 400+ Win Shares at the time the book Win Shares was published, with 39 of them in the Hall (and the other 5 listed below in the excerpt from Baseball-Fever.) Tim Raines just misses being one of those 44 players by 10 win shares, or one season by the 2004 version of Reed Johnson.

I found this searching on Google at Baseball-Fever.com, posted by user Appling:

"Bill James has outlined a number of "qualifications" for potential members of the Hall of Fame -- His Black Ink Test, Grey Ink Test and the like. But perhaps the most simple and accurate test is the player's Total Win Shares for his career. In his book "Win Shares" Bill James lists 44 players with career "Total Win Shares" of 400 or more. 39 of this group are already in the Hall of Fame -- and four of the other five are stars who who should be elected on their first HOF ballot:Barry Bonds 572 (thru 2002)Rickey Henderson 530 Cal Ripken, Jr. 427 Paul Molitor 414. Of course, the fifth player over 400 is Pete Rose (547 WS)
IMO there should be no question on the HOF qualifications of anyone with 400+ Win Shares. In fact, most eligible players with 350 WS or more are already in the Hall of Fame. The most contraversial members seem to be players with less than 300 career Win Shares (Luis Apparico 293? Kiki Cuyler 292? George Sisler 292? Kirby Puckett 281? Bill Terry 278? Ed Walsh 265? Lloyd Waner 245?) Players with fewer than 300 Win Shares may still belong because of a few great seasons, but anyone over 400 should be almost automatic."

Most players with over 350 win shares are in the Hall of Fame already, and Tim Raines has 390. Using this system, it is obvious he belongs. But how does he stack up all-time in ways other than win shares?

Using Baseball-Reference's Similarity Scores, we see this:

1) Lou Brock*
2) Max Carey*
3) Willie Davis
4) Jimmy Ryan
5) Jose Cruz
6) Fred Clarke*
7) Harry Hooper*
8) Enos Slaughter*
9) Mickey Vernon
10) Rod Carew*

Six of those players are Hall of Famers, and the rest were very good players. Is Raines better than any of these players who are already in the Hall of Fame by a substantial margin? His career OPS+ bests any of the hitters except Fred Clarke and Rod Carew, so there is a plus. He stole more bases than anyone on the list except Lou Brock. Let's take a look at their Career WARP3 scores to get a look and see where Raines ranks among the 6 Hall of Famers he is supposedly similar to:

Lou Brock - WARP3: 86.3
Max Carey - WARP3: 93.2
Fred Clarke - WARP3: 100.6
Harry Hooper - WARP3: 86.5
Enos Slaughter - WARP3: 96.6
Rod Carew - WARP3: 112.3
Tim Raines - WARP3: 124.1

And just for kicks, Paul Molitor's WARP3 score is 127.2...barely ahead of Tim Raines, who bests the crowd of his similar Hall of Famers by a very good margin, an extremely good margin after Rod Carew.

And now, I will use Jay Jaffe's JAWS score (JAffe WARP Score) to see where it is Tim Raines stands among leftfielder in the Hall of Fame.

Here are the left fielder averages calculated by Jaffe:

WARP - 103.8; Peak WARP - 42.8, JAWS - 73.3

For Tim Raines career, he had a total WARP3 of 124.1 (a difference of 20.3 in Raines' favor), a peak WARP3 of 50.6 (a difference of 7.8 in Raines' favor) and a JAWS score of 87.5...a difference of 14.2 in Raines' favor.

What does this tell us? Well, since those scores for the left fielders are the average score of all the left fielders in the Hall of Fame, we can see that Tim Raines is an above average Hall of Famer. Now what will all of these numbers do? Nothing except on a few ballots, such as Peter Gammons, where sabermetrics and the like have been accepted as a great resource. You may be reading this and wondering, "why is he even questioning if Raines belongs in the Hall?" Well, I'm not. I know he does, and I just want to reinforce how much he deserves it, because there has been little mention and fanfare of his place on the ballot come 2008. We might see a great player slip through the cracks. Here is his competition on the 2007 and 2008 ballots:

Harold Baines, Derek Bell, Dante Bichette, Bobby Bonilla, Jeff Brantley, Jay Buhner, Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Eric Davis, Tony Fernandez, Tony Gwynn, Darryl Hamilton, Pete Harnisch, Charlie Hayes, Glenallen Hill, Ken Hill, Stan Javier, Wally Joyner, Ramon Martinez, Mark McGwire, Paul O’Neill, Gregg Olson, Cal Ripken Jr., Bret Saberhagen, Jeff Shaw, Kevin Tapani, Devon White, Bobby Witt

And 2008:

Shawon Dunston, Travis Fryman, David Justice, Mike Morgan, Tim Raines, Randy Velarde

2008 shows Raines to be far and away the best player, with a career that may have more Win Shares and a better JAWS and WARP3 score than the rest of them possibly combined.

The names in bold in 2007 are those who I think will either make the Hall of Fame (you know who they are) or at least be sticking around in 2008 as competition with Raines or someone who might take votes away. Raines could get lucky if McGwire, Ripken, and Gwynn all get elected in 2007. Why? Because then his biggest competition is Jose Canseco (yeah right), Bret Saberhagen (I wish) and Paul O'Neill, who may get a lot of support because he was a Yankee on one of the teams that can be classified as THE Yankees. We'll have to see,but raising awareness for the vote for Tim Raines is of the utmost importance if we want the Hall of Fame to represent what it claims to: the greatest players in the history of the game.


 

Obligatory Rantings

Normally, I try and steal from one of my favorite writers, Bill Simmons, and try and start my columns with something witty or satirical to peak your interest and grab your attention. I digress from this trend, and start my article with a giant WTF.

Man, that felt good. Onto the rantings.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

 

RLWHF Update...and a Thank You

I apologize for not posting as of yet today, but I am compiling the entire list of nominees and players eligible for voting for the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame using Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups, The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, The Bill James Historical Abstract, baseball-reference.com, my Total Baseball Encyclopedia, as well as players nominated by minorleagueball.com and athleticsnation.com readers. So if you'll excuse me, my head is spinning with the names of very good (remember, not amazing) players. I promise I'll be back soon, I just want to get this done and prepared (at least the definites) so that I can start the voting process for everyone else on a regular basis, as well as be prepared and set when new names arise (newly retired, new suggestions, whatever). I'm trying very hard to make this as complete a list as possible, which is going to be extremely hard and time consuming, but thankfully I have a lot of people cooperating and lots of sources to look through. When the time comes that this is all done I'll be sure to mention how the list was created by myself, a few friends, and the names of those who took the time to do some research and find players for me via comment and post, because I appreciate the time you spent on it a great deal.

Thanks everyone for helping out so far!

-Marc Normandin

Monday, April 11, 2005

 

New Additions to the RLWHF

There are ten new additions to the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame:

Mark Grace, Will Clark, Matt Williams, Darryl Strawberry, Cecil Fielder, Frank Viola, David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser and Darryl Kile.

I had a huge post detailing all of their careers, but Blogger decided to eat it, so I'm slightly demoralized.
The players are all linked up to their Baseball-Reference cards, so you can see their peaks and career statistics from there. I promise I won't make this a habit, but seriously, it took me an hour to write that in detail and I'm a little annoyed at Blogger for erasing it. A few notes:

  • Mark Grace was used incorrectly in his career and if viewed as a #2 hitter he was almost as successful as could be.
  • Will Clark is the closest thing to a Hall of Fame teammate Barry Bonds has had to this point in his career, and if Jason Schmidt doesn't make it someday then Bonds will never have played with a HoF'er.
  • Matt Williams could have broken the homerun record in 1994 if not for the strike, and his career ending with injuries and poor play was a disapointment to me.
  • Darryl Strawberry, off the field behavior aside, had the potential to be one of the very greats...instead my favorite memory of him is from his appearance on The Simpsons when he wept.
  • Cecil Fielder was a large man, and I still talk about how he was screwed out of the MVP Award in atleast one of his 50 homerun seasons. No one else was hitting 50 homeruns, wasn't this important to anyone outside Detroit? I'll get to this later, as I just decided where to focus a future post.
  • Frank Viola was an innings horse that had his career ended early because of it. 240-250 IP were more than frequent, they were commplace in his career. He was a dominating changeup artist, and would still be pitching today, ending his career gracefully with the likes of Roger Clemens on his way to the Hall of Fame. Sigh, what could have been...
  • David Cone should make the Hall of Fame, but he probably will not. His entire career looked like a peak, minus the very end with Boston and the Mets.
  • Dwight Gooden flamed out much too early for his own good, hurting his Hall of Fame chances; but that is why I've created this RLWHF.
  • Orel Hershiser, based on his 1988 season alone would make the RLWHF. One of the all-time great seasons, with a Cy Young, the scoreless innings streak, the World Series victories, the World Series MVP, the NLCS MVP, the Gold Glove, the fact that an entire Dodgers' team rode on his back, and the fact he outhit Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire combined in the World Series makes for great everything. Sometimes you spend too much of your talent or luck in the same year though, and 2 years later Hershiser was an effective slightlt above league average pitcher after the culmination of his peak in 1988.
  • Darryl Kile was one of my favorites growing up, and I was saddened by his passing. Career wise, when he hit his stride in Houston he was signed by Colorado and effectively ruined what would have been his peak years. Figure in all the wins, strikeouts, and low ERA's he lost by pitching in Colorado rather than in Houston or St. Louis and you would have yourself an extremely good career, rather than a pretty good one.

There you go, 10 new members of the RLWHF. This is the plan going forward though. I am going to induct all of the shoe-ins I have on lists now (remember I only have the 90's and a lot of the 80's covered, with some random 70's names sprinkled in), so the list will swell quickly. I will then pick a few to write about on occasion so that I don't bore all of you with a new article everytime I come up with 5 entrants. I will also start the voting process for the fringe RLWHF'ers, starting with polls at www.minorleagueball.com until I get the new site setup with its own poll features. Plus, with the traffic that goes there, it makes it easier to amass large vote totals.


Link

Sunday, April 10, 2005

 

A New Hall of Fame?

After reading my Baseball Prospectus 2005, and seeing the section on Ray Lankford and the fact that he had a Not Good Enough for the Hall of Fame, but Really Damn Good career, I've decided I want to make up an entire list of that type of player. I want to make an Almost Hall of Fame, a Hall for the Very Good, for the guys who had great peaks but short careers, long careers but short peaks, 3 year peaks with good careers rather than the standard 5; in a nutshell, I want to make a Second Tier Hall of Fame and post it online. I can link to it, and edit it as time goes on, including new players. They won't have to wait 5 years for inclusion for my Poor Man's Hall of Fame. What do I name this great list of players though? I cannot call it the Poor Man's Hall of Fame, or the Hall of the Very Good, or the Hall of Modest Fame...so what do I do? Maybe I should name it after the man who has inspired me to do this whole silly thing: Ray Lankford. We are about to embark on the first ever Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame (RLWHF) induction ceremony. As the season goes by, I will throw 5 guys in at a time as I find them worthy of this very good, sometimes great honor. It'll be fun I promise. Of course, if you readers have any suggestions as to who should be in, then please mention their names, and I will see what I can do. Now, for the first 5 members of the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame (by the way, the first 5 players will most likely be players from the 90's, I might tackle this by decade for awhile to get some starting ground in):

Ray Lankford, LF: Of course Ray Lankford is going to make it, the place is named after him. Lankford has not officially retired yet, but no one has signed him this season, and I have to include him since it's his wing. Here are Lankford's career stats, with his peak years separate:

.272/.364/.477 238 HR's, 874 RBI, 1561 H, 258 SB

Lankford had a 5 year peak (it could be 6 years with the power spike in 2000, but his average dropped).

1995: .277/.360/.513 25 HR, 35 2B, 24 SB, 63 BB
1996: .275/.366/.486 21 HR, 36 2B, 35 SB, 79 BB
1997: .295/.411/.585 31 HR, 36 2B, 21 SB, 95 BB
1998: .293/.391/.540 31 HR, 37 2B, 26 SB, 86 BB
1999: .306/.380/.493 15 HR, 32 2B, 14 SB, 49 BB (122 games)

WARP1 score, with the definition straight from BP: "Wins Above Replacement Player, level 1. The number of wins this player contributed, above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done, with adjustments only for within the season."

Career WARP1: 67.3
Career EqA: .291
WARP1 during peak seasons (1995-1999): 5.8, 8.6, 7.0, 7.6, 4.4.
Single season WARP1: 1992; 10.1
Single season EqA: 1997; .325
Awards: All-Star, 1997

Lankford was the real hero in the St. Louis outfield in the 1990's, no matter how many Brian Jordan stories you hear. Lankford will wear a St. Louis Cardinals hat into the RLWHF.

Andres Galaragga, 1B: 399 career homeruns is hard to argue with, not to mention his career didn't peak until he was 32. A very good player who was sometimes very scary; the key to being a member of the RLWHF. Career stats, then 6 year peak:

.288/.347/.499 399 HR's, 1425 RBI, 2,333 H, 444 2B

1993: .370/.403/.602 22 HR, 35 2B
1994: .319/.356/.592 31 HR, 21 2B
1995: .280/.331/.511 31 HR, 29 2B
1996: .304/.357/.601 47 HR, 39 2B
1997: .318/.389/.585 41 HR, 31 2B
1998: .305/.397/.595 44 HR, 27 2B

Career WARP1: 62.3
Career EqA: .281
WARP1 during peak seasons (1993-1998): 7.3, 4.7, 2.8, 5.1, 4.3, 5.8
Single Season WARP1: 1988; 7.7
Single Season EqA: .324; 1998
Awards: All-Star in 1988, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000. Gold Gloves in 1989 and 1990. Silver Sluggers in 1988 and 1996. Batting Title in 1993. 4 Top Ten MVP finishes. Highest Placing was 6 (twice).

Galaragga did something not many players do; build an entire successful career after turning 32 years old. Commendable indeed, and sadly one shy of 400 HR's. A Colorado Rockies hat for you.

David Justice, OF: His teams always made the playoffs...coincidence? Probably. But that does not take away from what was a very good career, one that had 305 HR's and a .279/.378./.500 line...nothing to sneeze at.

.279/.378./.500 305 HR, 1571 H, 280 2B, 903 BB, 1,107 RBI

1993: .270/.357/.515 40 HR, 15 2B (odd), 78 BB
1994: .312/.427/.531 19 HR, 19 2B, 69 BB (104 G)
1995: .253/.365/.479 24 HR, 17 2B, 73 BB
1996: .321/.409/.514 6 HR, 9 2B, 21 BB (40 G)
1997: .329/.418/.596 33 HR, 31 2B, 80 BB
1998: .280/.363/.476 21 HR, 39 2B, 76 BB
1999: .287/.413/.476 21 HR, 18 2B, 94 BB
2000: .286/.377/.584 40 HR, 31 2B, 77 BB

Career WARP1: 63.5
Career EqA: .294
WARP1 during peak seasons (1993-2000) 8.5, 5.4, 4.9, 2.3, 6.7, 3.6, 4.3, 6.1
Single Season WARP1: 8.5; 1993
Single Season EqA: 1997; .324
Awards: All-Star in 1993, 1994, 1997. NL Rookie of the Year in 1990. ALCS MVP in 2000. Silver Sluggers in 1993 and 1997. Two Top Ten MVP finishes, highest 3rd.

Justice made the playoffs every year from the start of the Braves' division dynasty until his retirement with Oakland in 2002. Justice will wear an Atlanta Braves cap to the hall.

Chuck Finley, SP: 200-173 career record with a career shortened by injuries. 21st overall in career strikeouts. A very underrated career for Finley, now he gets to enjoy his place in the Halls of Some Glory.

1989: 16-9 2.57 ERA, 156:82 K:BB, 9 CG
1990: 18-9 2.40 ERA, 177:81 K:BB
1991: 18-9 3.80 ERA, 171:101 K:BB
1992: 7-12 3.96 ERA, 124:98 K:BB
1993: 16-14 3.15 ERA, 187:82 K:BB, 13 CG

A pretty good peak, excellent in spots.

Finley's best season came in 1990, with his 18-9 2.40 ERA, 177:81 K:BB. 1993 was also exceptional, due to the high K's and high CG totals.

200-173 W-L record, 3.85 career ERA.

Clay Davenport DT Card Adjusted: 265-155 W-L record, 3.44 career ERA.

Awards: All-Star in 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000. 7th place in Cy Young in 1990.


Chuck Finley will wear a California Angels hat to the hall.

Bret Saberhagen, SP: One of the greatest control artists in baseball history, Bret Saberhagen would be a Hall of Famer if injuries were not on a par with success in his career. One of my favorites.

1985: 20-6 2.87 ERA, 158:38 K:BB, 10 CG
1986: 7-12 4.15 ERA, 112:29 K:BB
1987: 18-10 3.36 ERA, 163:53 K:BB, 15 CG
1988: 14-16 3.80 ERA, 171:59 K:BB, 9 CG
1989: 23-6 2.16 ERA, 193:43 K:BB, 12 CG

That peak, along with a 14-4 2.74 ERA, 143:13 K:BB ratio in 1994 with the Mets and a 10-6 2.95, 81-11 K:BB ratio season in 1999 (along with his Game 5 playoff start against the Indians which was gutsy considering his arm condition) gives you an excellent career brought down only by injury and half a season in Colorado. Saberhagen had many other very good to excellent seasons with the Royals and Mets, and a pretty good 1998 in Boston, so his career was fulfilling enough.

167-117 W-L, 3.34 ERA

Clay Davenport DT Card Translation: 211-105 3.16 ERA.

Awards: All-Star in 1987, 1990, 1994. Cy Youngs in 1985 and 1989; 3rd place in voting in 1994. Gold Glove in 1989.

Bret Saberhagen will wear his Kansas City Royals cap to the RLWHF.

So there you go folks, the first 5 members of the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame (RLWHF). I will have many more 5 person inclusion ceremonies in the future, as I have just completed my preliminary list covering the 90's and some of the 80's players. The inclusion of these 5 first means nothing, as there may be more deserving out there, so don't take it to heart too much if someone isn't here you want to see yet. There time will come. Of course, please share who you think deserves to be here. I'm going to develop a system (that may be bendable) overtime, and I plan on holding votes between groups of players for inclusion. It should be a fun exercise for both reader and writer.

As of now, I am thinking of something like having x number of things on your resume from this list:

.275 career average, 250 HR, 300 SB, 300 2B, 2,000 H (might be 1,750; not sure), 1,000 RBI, 750 BB, and a few other things. It will develop over time to be more strict, and we'll have ourselves our very own Hall of Fame that we can vote in and decide on without having to be a sportswriter for however many years in an exclusive club.

I know Ray Lankford doesn't fit the bill exactly so far thanks to my stat layout, but since he was the inspiration, he needs to be there. I could even lower it to 1,500 hits, but that might be pushing it. We'll see as the list grows and grows.


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