Friday, February 10, 2012

An open letter to the MLB Hall of Fame

Bill James has published An open letter to the MLB Hall of Fame about Dwight Evans' rightful place in Cooperstown.
Look, I have not said that either Parker or Cedeno does not belong in the Hall of Fame. With a career won-lost contribution of 262-153, Cesar Cedeno was, in my view, a better player than many Hall of Fame outfielders, and there is a good case to be made for him as a Hall of Famer. With a career won-lost contribution of 300-201, Dave Parker is right on the boundary of being a completely qualified Hall of Famer in my opinion. He was a great player, and if he'd had one more outstanding season, one more outstanding month, I think there would be no doubt that he belonged in the Hall of Fame. Even without that, I think he was probably a Hall of Fame–caliber star.

But of the three, it is my opinion that the most worthy Hall of Fame candidate was Dwight Evans. With a career won-lost contribution of 323-183, Dwight Evans is comfortably above the Hall of Fame line.
What can I say? I agree, and have agreed for years. When the Jim Rice HoF debate was going on, I said that
Career OBP: Evans .370, Rice .352
Career OPS: Evans .840, Rice .856
When you take into account that OBP is more valuable than SLG, and that Evans played over 600 more games of better defense at a tougher defensive position, I think it's pretty clear that Evans had a signficantly better career than Rice did. BP's WARP3 (Wins Above Replacement Player, adjusted for all-time) has Evans at 119 and Rice at 89.2. Bill James Win Shares had Evans with 347 and Rice with 282.

As to the peak, that's debatable.

Rice Evans
158 163
154 156
148 149
141 147
137 137

Evans' best year was 1981, which makes it tough to evaluate, but it's a legitimate discussion as to peak, and a no-brainer as to career.
It's too late, of course, unless the Veterans Committee some day does the right thing. James' support is the kind of thing that could bring Evans' case to the attention of that committee, though I don't know how long he has to wait before they can consider him.

Anyway, James agrees with me, and it's a good piece...

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