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Baseball Analysis  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     

Chipper Jones                          3B                   423                  281                  317 

                                                                           CWS                CV                CAWS 

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.



The Pitchers



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

Randy Johnson                     326                  230                  254

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). 

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