Half-Baked Hall: 1983

2008 Results!

We have four proud new members of the Half-Baked Hall.

Frank Thomas: 100%
Greg Maddux: 100%
Tom Glavine: 81%
Mike Mussina: 75%

Luis Gonzalez, Hideo Nomo, and Jeff Kent each netted one vote.  Kenny Rogers and Moises Alou were blanked.

1983 Ballot

Citizens, Vote!

  • Johnny Bench (22%, 15 Votes)
  • Gaylord Perry (22%, 15 Votes)
  • Carl Yastrzemski (22%, 15 Votes)
  • Fergie Jenkins (19%, 13 Votes)
  • Gene Tenace (7%, 5 Votes)
  • Bert Campaneris (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Jim Kaat (3%, 2 Votes)
  • None of them! (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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38 thoughts on “Half-Baked Hall: 1983”

  1. Gene Tenace is really interesting. Despite debuting at 22, he only received a single season’s worth of plate appearances between 1969–72. In 1970 he was the third-string catcher behind Frank Fernandez & Dave Duncan, then was blocked by Duncan, who was just a couple years older, from 1971–72, and finally played out of position from 1973–74 because Oakland traded Duncan to Cleveland for Ray Fosse. He finally became Oakland’s primary catcher in 1975, when he was 28 years old, and was named to his only All-Star team. His OPS+ never dipped below 130 as a regular from 1973–80. During that span he struck out more than he walked only twice. Tenace averaged over 100 walks per season — leading the league twice — and finished that stretch with 821 walks against 803 whiffs. He also averaged 21 homers per year over that same period.

    Among players who played at least 50% of their games at catcher and accumulated 40+ rWAR, Tenace’s 136 OPS+ is second, behind only Mike Piazza. His 984 walks are first in that group, and his career .388 OBP is third, behind Piazza and Wally Shang. Ultimately, the problem is simply one of playing time — he but doesn’t have the counting stats HoF voters look for. despite his early debut, Tenace didn’t get a chance to be a regular until he was 26, and he was through being a regular at 34. The peak in between, though, was pretty darn good.

    1. I'm considering voting for him for just that reason. If he gets full playing time early on he could be pushing 60 WAR. His low averages were not seen so well, but his walks are power were tremendous. I guess his defense was average at best, but with that bat, who cares? He wasn't Bench or Fisk, but he seems on par with Simmons and I plan on voting for Simmons.

      1. I had felt more sure of voting for Simmons than Tenace, so you raise an interesting point. They earned their value with the bat in different ways — Tenace was a near lock for an OBP in the .370–.400 range every season, while Simmons was likely to rip 30 doubles on the way to a .450 or better slugging percentage. Simmons has over 300 more doubles than Tenace, who never hit more than 24 in a single season. Even when you account for the difference in their plate appearances, because he had a higher BABIP and put balls in play at a much higher rate, Simmons’ counting stats look way more impressive:

        Player PA H 2b HR TB BABIP IP%
        Simmons 9685 2472 483 248 3793 .284 81%
        Tenace 5527 1060 179 201 1882 .266 58%

        But here’s a funny thing: over their respective primes — 1973–80 for Tenace, 1968–83 for Simmons — Tenace has a significantly higher ISO — .193 to .161. Tenace is still ahead — .187 to .152 — when you consider the totality of their careers, in large part because Simmons kept on getting at bats in Milwaukee despite a precipitous drop-off at the plate: almost 1600 PA of an anemic .248/.312/.357 (84 OPS+).

        And here’s the other funny thing: despite Tenace walking at a much higher rate (over double the MLB average rate for his career), Simmons was both harder to strike out and better at taking a walk than Tenace, at least if you measure the odds of walking against striking out:

        Player BB SO BB% SO% SO/W AB/SO
        Simmons 855 694 8.8 7.2 0.81 12.5
        Tenace 984 998 17.8 18.1 1.01 4.4

        This may be driven somewhat by the much greater deference Simmons received from opponents: 188 IBB to Tenace’s 58. Whether that deference may have been unearned, or perhaps was a result of tactical decisions made based on the relative strengths of their teams’ lineups, I’m not sure. But I don’t think I’d be as hasty to give Simmons a free pass as opposing managers were in that era.

        Finally, one more thing. As noted above, Simmons had 4100+ more PA than Tenace. He put balls in play more often. We’d expect, given that profile and the relative foot speed of catchers, that Simmons grounded into more double plays, even though he had a higher BABIP.

        Player PA GDP GDP%
        Simmons 9685 287 3.0
        Tenace 5527 77 1.4

        Grounding into 210 more double plays erases a lot of value. Projecting Tenace’s rate over the same number of PA as Simmons cuts the difference to a mere 152 double plays.

        I’m not sure I was inclined to pick the right guy, if I voted for only one of them (without accounting for the differences in rWAR).

        1. Wow, thanks for this comparison.

          You also bring up a good point about Simmons. Right or not I tend to not count the end of player careers against them if they lose WAR. I do look at peak more for sure, but if I'm on the fence about their WAR total I will add back in my head any negative value if they accrued it long after they should have been DFA'd.

          1. Tenace was an early prototype "true outcomes" hitter. He played his whole career in extreme pitchers' parks (career AIR of 89). That shows in his career splits, with a 415 SLG at home and 441 on the road.

            FWIW, he had a career 921 OPS (481 SLG) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

            He ranks 13th in JAWS for catchers, against 15 HOF catchers. But right at the average peak rWAR for HOF catchers (35 rWAR).

            He is an interesting case. I probably won't pull the trigger, but interesting. (Most similar batter is Mickey Tettleton).

            1. Tettleton is the same shape as Tenace but definitely a poor man's version (offensively and defensively). But yeah. Loved Tettleton's batting stance, but I wouldn't be surprised if it hurt his performance a bit.

          2. I often try to look at only positive WAA. Any season where the player was below average is ignored. This will skip those seasons a the end of a player's career where they are only compiling.

        2. Old timers like me will especially remember Tenace for his MVP performance in the 1972 World Series. He hit 348/400/913 with 4 HRs and 9 RBI to lead the A's over the Big Red Machine.

          He drove in all three A's runs in game 1 with a pair of homers; homered in the 5th and singled and scored the game winner in the bottom of the ninth in game 4; homered in the game 5 loss; and doubled to drive in a run and saw his pinch runner score what turned out to be the game winner in game 7.

  2. So Bench and Yaz are no doubters, Campy not so much, and there is a decent case for Gene Tenace above but I probably will be a no; Gaylord Perry is probably also an easy yes.

    Fergie and Kaat feel like the Hall of the Very Good.

    1. I never saw Fergie, but his numbers pop out at me. Lots of black ink, lots of Top 3 Cy Young finishes, excellent K/BB ratios, tons of innings. Seems a bit worse than Perry, a bit better than Glavine, which I know is right around your threshold.

      1. Held opponents to 244/287/394 in the friendly confines. 244/287/367 in Arlington Stadium's launching pad. And the dude was an innings eater. 5 seasons with over 300 innings and five more over 250.

        I think he's a no-brainer.

        1. 381/462/710 (385 BABIP!) at Coors for his career in 2,501 PA.
          282/372/490 everywhere else in 5,529 PA.

          That is a pretty large difference. tOPS+ of 140 for Coors -- An OPS of 862 is nothing to sneer at, but considering the era he played in, I don't think it was extraordinary. That figure would have been well above league-average every year, but not close to the leaderboards in any season, I think. TBF, most players hit better at home than on the road. For example, Jeff Bagwell (a close contemporary) had a career split with a home OPS about 60 pts higher than his away split. Another close contemporary, Junior Griffey, had a career split with a home OPS 100 pts higher than away.

          Larry's split difference between Coors and elsewhere was 290 points!

          I think Larry was a great player who has a credible argument. But almost all of his black ink occurred on the wrong side of 30 and after he got to Colorado. 1997 to 2002 (his age-30 to age-35 seasons) he hit 353/441/648, compared to his first (and not completely injury-ruined) season in Colorado, when he hit a mere 276/342/570 (with an incredible 142/216/307 on the road!!! Wow did he have a hard time adjusting!) at age-28.

          Counter-argument to this criticism: in his last year in Montreal, he hit 343/401/730 at home and 268/361/484 on the road. That's a comparable home/road difference to his time in Coors.

          I'm gonna have to think a lot more on him.

          1. That's why we have WAR, to help even out parks. His MVP season, rWAR said he was worth +70 runs with the bat from his 366/.452/.720 line. Checking the best player in the game, Trout's 2013 was +68 runs with the bat. He did that with a .323/.432/.557 line. Trout had an additional 50 PAs so it's not a completely fair comparison.

            1. A better match could be Miguel Cabrera's 2013 season. Only 12 fewer plate appearance with a .348/.442/.636 line. That was +66 runs with the bat. Cabrera's OPS was lower but had a higher OPS+ thanks to runs being practically free in 1997 compared to 2013.

          2. Walker, by team:

            Team Ages OPS Plus
            Montreal 22–28 128
            Colorado 29–37 147
            St. Louis 37–38 134

            Walker, by ballpark (too time-consuming to separate out when he was a home or visiting player, so he'll have some altitude-induced lag in Montreal & St. Louis):

            Park PA OPS
            Coors 2501 1.172
            Olympique 1369 .890
            Busch 558 .926

            FWIW, his next three ballparks in terms of plate appearances were 300+ each at Jack Murphy (.927), Wrigley (1.002), and Dodger Stadium (.808).

            Walker's neutralized career line is .289/.373/.522 with 444 doubles, 348 homers, and 216 stolen bases. Here's a list of guys with 400/300/200 and an .360+ OBP:

            Bonds, Mays, Aaron, A. Rodriguez, F. Robinson, Brett, Bagwell, Walker, Sheffield. Nine players.

          3. Also remember that when Walker played in Colorado he didn’t get to play on the road in Colorado 12-19 times per year, which skews his road numbers down from other players

  3. ok, I will at least give Campaneris some love. Despite a career 89 OPS+, the dude had nine seasons with OWAR at or above 3.0, including 4 above 4.0 and his career best 5.8 in 1968. During his 1968-1974 seven season peak, he accumulated a very credible 34.8 rWAR (just under 5.0 per season). He was an excellent glove man (21.1 dWAR, including 16.1 dWAR during that peak and 17.8 dWAR during his 13 seasons with the A's) and a very good base runner (58 Rbaser career, including 62 during his time with the A's before he decided to hang on to make enough money to maybe live on for a few years post-retirement). He is 46th all-time in dWAR and had 9 top-10 seasons (two 2nds as his top years).

    For his career, he had 649 SB against 199 CS. He led the league six times in stolen bases from 1965 to 1972.

    When you look at his career numbers, you'd wonder about his value as a leadoff man. For his career, he hit only 263/312/351 as a leadoff hitter (which was 2/3rds of his career PA). BUT, weirdly, in games won by his team (and they won 52.6 pct of the time overall), he hit 293/346/393 and scored in 16 percent of his PA compared to 221/270/284 and 7.9 percent in losses. Given that he was a leadoff hitter so often, you might interpret that as he was pretty instrumental in a lot of wins. When he was going good, he got on base at a pretty robust clip, stole a lot of bases, and scored a lot of runs for the boppers behind him in the A's lineup.

    And there was the 1973 postseason, when he hit 307/368/538 with 3 HR, 6:0 SB:CS, and 9 runs in 57 PA over 12 games as the A's won their second of three straight WS titles. (in the same WS, Gene Tenace hit 158/467/211 with 11 walks in 30 PA!)

    He ranks 20th all-time in JAWS for SSs (there are 22 in the HOF), well below the average HOF SS, but above the bottom end of them. I think he deserves consideration and may even belong in the Hall of Very Good for his glove work and base running.

    1. I support Campaneris’ inclusion in the Hall of the Very Good. I think I’m somewhat prejudiced against middle infielders because of the overrepresentation of guys like Joe Tinker, Rabbit Maranville, Phil Rizzuto, and Tony Lazzeri. I affirm that Campaneris was better than any of those guys, who were either beneficiaries of Deadball Era sportswriting-driven celebrity or beloved Yankmes, and it seems a bit personally unjust to Campaneris that he’s on the outside while his near-contemporary Aparicio was inducted. That seems like a penalty for spending so much time in mid-century Kansas City & Oakland, rather than Chicago & Baltimore.

      At the same time, when comparing representatives of the two most difficult defensive positions, it’s pretty clear to me that very good shortstops have been drastically overvalued in comparison to catchers with the same WAR totals and peaks. WAR adjusts for position, of course, but I don’t think it does enough to contextualize how difficult (and thus, rare) it is for catchers to pass even 40 rWAR. Here’s a breakdown of rWAR & percent of players at each level inducted into the HoF:

      Position ≥40 rWAR HOF% ≥50 rWAR HOF% ≥60 rWAR HOF%
      C 23 57 9 89 5 100
      SS 41 57 22 80 18 89

      It would be easy to look at the table above and say, “Well, catchers are significantly more likely than their shortstop peers — near-locks, in fact — to reach the HoF if they pass 50 rWAR.” That’s true. But I think we can also see that, over the course of baseball history, the number of catchers who reach the 40+ rWAR threshold is almost exactly equal to the number of shortstops who reach 50 rWAR. And yet, only 57% of 40+ rWAR catchers are inducted, compared to 80% of 50+ rWAR shortstops.

      There’s probably a happy median (which would support a happy medium) between the relative induction rates between the two positions at those two rWAR thresholds. I’m not prepared to suggest what it is, but I suspect that it would support inducting Ted Simmons, Tenace, and Wally Schang, with Thurman Munson & Bill Freehan on the bubble. I’m not sure where that leaves a shortstop like Campaneris, though. He’s clearly better than a bunch of fellow shortstops with plaques in Cooperstown, and if one were to assign a Hall of Stats-style rating, Campaneris might leapfrog those guys into the ranks of inductees. Since we’re doing this organically, we’re all making our votes based on the types of information we find most compelling. I wouldn’t fault anyone for voting for Campaneris, though he won’t get mine this time.

      1. Re: shortstops versus catchers in the Hall, could you include PAs? I've seen the argument that catchers should have a great positional bonus because of this discrepancy but now I'm wondering if it's an aging thing. Campaneris compiled through his 30s versus Bench was done catching at 32.

        1. I looked at shortstops & catchers with between 40–80 rWAR, since there are no catchers with over 80rWAR. There were 19 catchers in the top 50, ranked by rWAR, with the 50th player being Roger Bresnahan (42.5 rWAR). The highest PA total for a catcher was Ivan Rodriguez’ 10,270, and the lowest was Bresnahan’s 5376. The highest PA total for a shortstop was Cap’n Dreamboat’s 12,602, and the lowest was Art Fletcher’s 6035. Here’s a rough breakdown:

          PA range # C # SS
          Below 5500 1 0
          5501 – 6500 6 3
          6501 – 7500 4 5
          7501 – 8500 3 6
          8501 – 9500 2 6
          9501 – 10500 3 5
          10501 – 11500 0 3
          Above 11500 0 3
            1. It would be interesting to examine the career arcs of players by position who achieved some performance standard before age-25 (A-S game or a 5+ WAR season or something).

              I am guessing that we would all expect catchers to age earlier than other positions. But it would be interesting to see the degree to which performance patterns tend to differ.

      2. As one of the few (maybe the only) people around here who can actually remember Campaneris in his prime, I can tell you he was considered one of the top players in the game at the time. He made six all-star teams and was in the top 20 in MVP voting four times. That doesn't prove he belongs in the Hall, but it's not nothing, either.

    2. dude had nine seasons with OWAR at or above 3.0

      oWAR includes the position bonus. As a shortstop, that's an automatic +8-9 runs or so every year. See his 1967 season for an example. He was below average with the bat (87 OPS+) but above average on the bases (+5 for baserunning and another +1 from staying out of double plays) to even out the offense side to be average. But his oWAR that year was 3.1 because of the +9 runs he earned as a shortstop. BR's oWAR is almost never the right tool for this. FanGraphs better separates them, having the position bonus only added to its dWAR equivalent.

  4. for me, the younger brother of Jim Perry is a no brainer. During his peak, he was fantastic. 1968-74, he accumulated 48.8 rWAR for pitchers, nearly 7.0 per season. Obviously, he compiled, pitching until his age-44 season. But during his 40s (1979-83) he compiled a credible 10.2 rWAR over 992 innings. And compiler he may have been, but damn. He compiled a lot. 117 ERA+ and 3.06 FIP over 5,350 innings, 93 rWAR (100 fWAR) and 314 wins.

    Plus, he get mega bonus points for being a crafty SOB about doctoring the ball and not getting caught. I loved how he toyed with the umps and opposing teams' heads, particularly later in his career.

    Former manager Gene Mauch famously quipped "He should be in the Hall of Fame with a tube of K-Y Jelly attached to his plaque."

    Gene Tenace, who caught Gaylord Perry when they played for the San Diego Padres, said: "I can remember a couple of occasions when I couldn't throw the ball back to him because it was so greasy that it slipped out of my hands. I just walked out to the mound and flipped the ball back to him."

    Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski wrote of Perry, "My favorite trick pitch of his was the old Puffball, where he would load up on rosin so that a puff of white smoke would release while he threw his pitches. This was made illegal somewhere along the way (because of Perry, of course), but it's so awesome — it's like the sort of thing one of the villains on the old Batman TV show would do."

    and then there's this:

    He studied at Campbell University in his home state. The current mascot of the Campbell Fighting Camels and Lady Camels is Gaylord the Camel, named in honor of Gaylord Perry.

    Who else has a mascot named after him?? He gets my vote.

      1. I think most players will take edges they can get away with. It may not be drugs, or spitballs. But if a player leaned into the seats and didn't catch the ball on the fly but the umpire called an out, is the player going to protest to the ump that he actually didn't catch it to be honest? What about kicking the chalk away so you can step an inch back in the batter's box? Having a cell phone in the dugout and getting info sent to you? There's a lot of things you can do if you don't get caught, corked bats being one of them. I'm comfortable with punishments in those instances.

        Unless I heard a convincing argument that Perry would have been nothing without the doctored balls, I'm not worried about it.

        1. I always find it interesting that so many people who consider all PED users dirty rotten cheaters also consider Whitey Ford an American hero, given that he admitted to cheating by scuffing the baseball. Human beings draw lines in interesting places sometimes.

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