The Greatest Game

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Sandberg, second basemen, and the Hall of Fame 

I was wondering how Ryne Sandberg, elected into the Hall of Fame today, measured up against all the other 2B'ers. Here is a list of the top 20 second basemen rated on RCAP* (bold names in Hall of Fame). The second stat column is OPS, and it's just there for curiosity's sake. It's amazing that no 2B'er had an OPS in the .900s. Besides Rogers Hornsby (one of the top 5 players who ever lived), the highest OPS is Charlie Gehringer at .884.
     Name                       RCAP      OPS

1 Rogers Hornsby 1094 1.010
2 Eddie Collins 822 .853
3 Joe Morgan 820 .819
4 Nap Lajoie 766 .846
5 Charlie Gehringer 581 .884
6 Craig Biggio 445 .807
7 Roberto Alomar 404 .816
8 Lou Whitaker 369 .789
9 Bobby Grich 355 .794
10 Cupid Childs 354 .805
11 Tony Lazzeri 325 .847
12 Jackie Robinson 323 .883
13 Fred Dunlap 311 .745
14 Billy Herman 298 .774
15 Frankie Frisch 291 .801
16 Hardy Richardson 289 .779
17 Larry Doyle 273 .765
18 Jeff Kent 272 .856
T19 Ryne Sandberg 259 .795
T19 Joe Gordon 259 .822
[RCAP: Runs created above average at his position. It's just like RCAA, except the comparision is to players at his position.
RCAA: Runs created above average. It is the difference between a player's RC total and the total for an average player who used the same amount of his team's outs. A negative RCAA indicates a below average player in this category.
RC: Runs created. A stat from Bill James that projects how many runs a player created. There are a couple of dozen different formulas throughout history, with the appropriate one being in each case. (from Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia)]

As you can see, Sandberg is tied for 19th in the list of all time RCAP. Lou Whitaker is 8th. Bobby Grinch is 9th. Think either of those two guys will ever get in to the Hall? Probably not. In Sandberg's defense, his career was shortened, but I think that should only be taken into account a little bit when deciding a Hall of Famer. His career wasn't so unbelievably fantastic that it can make up for his shortened career. I know RCAP is only one way of measuring a player's numbers, but using it shows that his career may not have warranted his induction.

Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio have a good chance to both make it into the Hall, and by the above numbers, they should make it. RCAPs over 400 and OPSs over .800. But Lou Whitaker and Bobby Grinch played before the juiced ball era, so their numbers just don't look very impressive, and they'll probably never make it in. But Jeff Kent? He's got a couple more years left in him probably, so his RCAP should go up a bit, and his OPS is very impressive for a 2B'er. Of course, the guy can't field a lick, so he'll probably never make it. And who is on the horizon? Are there any young players that are on the path for the Hall? Well, of course it's almost impossible to say, but there really doesn't seem to be much there at all. Soriano, perhaps, but I would tend to think not, unless he learns how to hit (and field). Look at the list of guys playing the position nowadays: Luis Castillo, Marcus Giles, Mark Loretta (who is probably the best of the sorry bunch), Alex Cora, Tony Womack, Rey Durham, Jose Vidro, Ron Belliard, Mark Bellhorn, Orlando Hudson, and the list goes on and on. Really no one of note is left playing 2B. It looks like the lost position. (Maybe Nomar should have tried harder to play 2B for the Yanks - he'd have a better chance to win a ring, and he'd improve his chances of getting into the Hall, all in one fell swoop.)

I'd really like to see a list of second basemen and their respective career Win Shares. I don't know where to find career WS, so if anyone knows, I'd love to know.

(As an aside, who were the voters who DIDN'T vote for Hank Aaron in 1982? He received 98% of the voters. I hope that whoever didn't vote for him got banned from ever voting for the Hall of Fame ever again. It's shameful.)

Just in case you're curious, here are slots 21-30 for RCAP by 2B:
21   Tom Daly                    236     .748

22 Willie Randolph 235 .724
23 Bobby Doerr 234 .823
24 Bid McPhee 230 .727
25 Buddy Myer 214 .795
T26 Davey Lopes 207 .737
T26 Chuck Knoblauch 207 .783
28 Eddie Stanky 195 .758
29 Dick McAuliffe 187 .746
30 Tony Phillips 167 .763
It makes you think a little bit, eh?

# posted by shawn : 1/04/2005 07:42:00 PM -
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