As of today, January 1, 2019, both baseball and football are missing a number of players from their respective Halls of Fame. Examining the reasons for the oversight of players being left out shows that the process, league appearance, team owners, era, position and favoritism are at fault.
Baseball offers a load of statistics. We saw how well these statistics played out during a five game World Series this year with the Red Sox beating the Dodgers. Some stats are very useful to look at over a 162 game season and many others are game to game and at bat to at bat or even every pitch.
Every plate appearance has an outcome. Ideally 4 bases are produced, batters box to home, 4 bases, however this is accomplished safely. Of the 7 ways to get on base safely, only 3 really have to do with the batter (hit, walk, hit by pitch) as the other 4 involve the defense making an error, dropping the third strike, interfering, or choosing to take another out and failing. Some of the new stats do not value stolen bases (even though it is an extension of the hit, a single becomes a double, a double a triple). The stolen base and the mere threat of it is a pitching disruption (also if you are counting pitches and the pitcher is having to throw over to first base, those are effectively pitches too). Some stats are better looked at over a career.
Total Bases + Walks + Hit By Pitch + Stolen Base – Caught Stealing equals Value Bases (VB). Dividing VB by Total Plate Appearances is my Value Plate Appearances (VPA). There are only 94 players in MLB history to have at least 5000 VB with a VPA of 0.5 or higher. 20 are currently eligible for the HOF.
Barry Bonds has the highest VB of 9013 with a VPA of 0.71, Babe Ruth has the highest VPA of 0.74 with a VB of 7904. Bonds of course is not in because of PEDs just as Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in the group of 94. Assuming the HOF will not budge on this (like haven’t for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose), that leaves 15 players to choose from. Let’s look at the top 5 VB from the 15. Fred McGriff, Dwight Evans, Todd Helton, Luis Gonzalez, and Harold Baines.
Fred McGriff played on 6 different team (no more than 5 years with each which hurts his chances – which team will push for him). As such he made only 5 AS appearances. He hit 493 homers. He should be in the HOF.
Dwight Evans played all but one season in Boston. He won 8 golden glove awards, patrolling the vast right field in Fenway (he is 3rd all-time in putouts, 14th all-time in assists and 8th all-time for double plays for a RF). He had 806 more VB than his HOF teammate Jim Rice and the same VPA of 0.54. He should be in the HOF.
Todd Helton hit 0.316 and had a VPA of 0.60, and spent his entire career with Colorado. He should be a lock for the HOF.
Luis Gonzalez played on 6 different teams. His 2001 season was one of the best a player has ever had. He needs to wait.
Harold Baines played on 5 different teams. He was a steady player. He needs to wait.
Baseball has had its share of controversy from gambling to PEDs. It’s been 100 seasons since the Chicago Black Sox scandal of October 1919. In that World Series (the series was extended to a best of 9 games because of money), Joe Jackson had 32 ABs, 12 hits (average 0.375), 1 walk, 3 doubles, the Series only homerun, 6 RBIs and 5 runs. Eddie Collins and Ray Schalk combined for 54 ABs, 14 hits (combined average of 0.259), 5 walks, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs and 3 runs. Both Collins and Schalk on that White Sox team are in the Hall of Fame. Shoeless Joe is not. Jackson’s career batting average of 0.356 alone deserves enshrinement. The players were acquitted. Jackson has been dead 67 years. Time to put him in the HOF.
Pete Rose, like Jackson before him, also deserves enshrinement for what he did on the field, not in the club house.