Michael Hoban, Ph.D
Part 2 - The Players
3000 Hits – All Have Hall of Fame Numbers
500 Home Runs – Sammy Sosa, Odd Man Out
300 Win Shares - The New “Rule of Thumb”
“All In” – Starting Pitchers and the Hall of Fame
The 21st Century Hall of Famers
The 2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot
The 21st Century Hall of Famers
Michael Hoban, Ph.D.
Here is an interesting question. How many of the “great baseball players” of modern times (those with Hall of Fame numbers) have played during the 21st century (since 2001)? Let’s first take a look at this question for position players and then for pitchers.
The Position Players
At the end of the 2014 season, there were only one hundred (100) position players from the modern era (since 1920) who had posted Hall of Fame numbers during their playing careers. That is the conclusion of the CAWS CAREER GAUGE.
Of those one hundred “modern” position players with HOF numbers, only five were still active during the 2014 season. (I consider Alex Rodriguez to have been an active player even though he did not play in 2014 because of his ban.)
And nineteen other players (with HOF numbers) were still playing in 2001 or later. That means a total of twenty-four (24) players or 24% of the “great” position players of modern times were still active in the 21st century.
Here are the five position players who were active during 2014 and who have HOF numbers. The first number is career win shares, the second is core value (the win shares for the ten best seasons) and the third is the CAWS score.
CWS CV CAWS
Albert Pujols 1B 429 347 368
Alex Rodriguez SS 480 330 368
Derek Jeter SS 415 275 310
Miguel Cabrera 1B 324 295 302
Robinson Cano 2B 263 263 263
CAWS = 260 is the benchmark for HOF numbers for a second baseman.
Here are the nineteen retired position players who according to the CCG have HOF numbers (and played during the 2001 season or later). Bold print = Hall of Famer.
Barry Bonds LF 707 427 497
Gary Sheffield LF 430 305 336
Craig Biggio 2B 428 294 328
Frank Thomas DH 405 301 327
Jeff Bagwell 1B 388 287 312
Ken Griffey Jr CF 403 278 309
Tim Raines LF 390 275 304
Roberto Alomar 2B 375 278 302
Jim Thome 1B 392 270 301
Mark McGwire 1B 342 283 298
Manny Ramirez LF 394 263 296
Rafael Palmeiro 1B 387 257 290
Mike Piazza C 325 273 286
Lance Berkman 1B 311 276 285
Vladimir Guerrero RF 333 269 285
Barry Larkin SS 347 258 280
Jeff Kent 2B 339 252 274
Ivan Rodriguez C 345 234 262
One might be inclined to argue about the appropriate position for Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas. But the fact of the matter is that through 2014 ARod had played more games at shortstop than anywhere else and Thomas played more games at DH than at first base.
Through the end of the 2014 season, the CAWS CAREER GAUGE suggests that there have been only forty (40) pitchers since 1920 who have posted Hall of Fame numbers during their careers.
Of these forty “modern” pitchers with HOF numbers, none were active during the 2014 season. However, eight of these pitchers had played in 2001 or later. So, eight pitchers or 20% of the “great” pitchers of modern times were still active in the 21st century.
Here are those eight pitchers. Bold print = Hall of Famer.
CWS CV CAWS
Roger Clemens 432 260 303
Greg Maddux 398 246 284
Tom Glavine 314 203 231
Pedro Martinez 256 206 219
Roy Halladay 226 199 206
Mariano Rivera 272 175 199
Billy Wagner 182 151 159
So, the CAWS CAREER GAUGE has identified a total of 24 + 8 = 32 players who have played in the 21st century and who have HOF numbers. Of course, most of these players began their careers well before 2001.
Since 1920, there have been a total of 100 + 40 = 140 players who have posted such numbers during their careers.
The question could be asked: Is this number of Hall of Famers in this time frame “reasonable?” And the rough answer would be: Yes, it seems so.
1920 to 2010 is a 90-year period. If we take any 20-year time frame, it seems that approximately 20/90 = .22 = 22% of the HOF players from the whole period should be playing during that time frame.
Well, 22% of 140 players = 31 players. So, when the CAWS Gauge suggests that there have been 32 such players in this time frame, this certainly is within the realm of “reasonableness.”
Unfortunately, some of these thirty-two (32) 21st century players who have put up HOF numbers during their careers may have been tainted by the steroids scandal. Whether or not they will ever be elected to the Hall of Fame is at this point a matter of conjecture.
Michael Hoban, Ph.D is Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the City University of N.Y. He has been an avid baseball fan for over 60 years and has become a serious baseball analyst, since joining SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) in 1998. He is the author of five baseball books including: DEFINING GREATNESS: A Hall of Fame Handbook (Booklocker, 2012) BASEBALL'S COMPLETE PLAYERS (McFarland: 2000) and FIELDER'S CHOICE (Booklocker: 2003).