Every year, sportswriters and fans alike regurgitate the same tired debate. What constitutes a Hall of Fame-worthy career? Do otherwise outstanding players deserve accolades if they used, considered, or looked at performance-enhancing drugs? If no players are inducted in a given year, has the system failed? Does the Hall of Fame even mean anything anymore?
In an attempt to level the playing field, baseball saberhistorian Adam Darowski developed the Hall of Stats, a system that establishes a statistical threshold for entrance to the Hall of Fame. Players are given a Hall Rating based on weighted Wins Above replacement (wWAR), which takes both Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Wins Above Average (WAA) into consideration, while adjusting for positional difficulty, strength of schedule, infield dimensions for 19th century pitchers, and the different scales on which WAR and WAA rest. The end result is that a player is evaluated not only by his overall career value, but also by his peak value.
A player can be inducted into the Hall of Stats if his Hall Rating is 100 or greater, while those with Hall Ratings of 99 or less are excluded from consideration. Players with Hall Ratings of 200+ are worth as much as two Hall of Famers, those with Ratings of 300+ as much as three Hall of Famers, and so on. Naturally, Babe Ruth tops the list with an astronomical Hall Rating of 395 -- worth nearly four of his fellow inductees.
Because the Hall of Stats is meant to be comparable to the Hall of Fame, it only grants access to 211 members, expanding whenever the Hall of Fame admits a new member. As may be apparent from its statistical basis, it eschews all grey areas of Hall of Fame evaluation, including PED usage, lifetime bans, time served in the military, and subjective assessments of character, sportsmanship, and integrity, among other factors.
Using these parameters, I set out to find which Mariners -- past and present -- deserve admittance to the Hall of Stats. Nine players made the cut, and of those nine, only Edgar Martinez is currently eligible for the Hall of Fame. Gaylord Perry was inducted to Cooperstown in 1991, and John Olerud was eliminated from the ballot after his first year of contention in 2011 when he received four votes, falling short of re-election by 4.3% (of the requisite 5% minimum). Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey, Jr. will be up for consideration in the next two years. Here is the full list of Mariners, sorted by Hall Rating:
|Gaylord Perry||172 (44th in Hall of Stats)||90.8||43.0||92.6||51.2|
|Ken Griffey, Jr.||170||83.4||46.7||84.9||54.8|
|Edgar Martinez||134 (88th in Hall of Stats)||68.4||38.7||69.4||41.6|
|John Olerud||102 (197th in Hall of Stats)||58.1||27.3||58.8||28.1|
*Asterisks denote active players with Hall of Stats-worthy numbers. All data supplied by HallofStats.com.
While each player has made significant contributions on the field, not all of them have done so in Mariners uniforms. Gaylord Perry is eligible primarily through his performances in San Francisco and Cleveland, with Seattle accounting for approximately 1.74% of his eligibility. Despite his decade spent in the Pacific Northwest, Randy Johnson's eligibility is skewed in favor of his time spent in Arizona, which makes up approximately 52.9% of his Hall Rating (his contributions with the Mariners generate just 36.4%).
Taking this into account, only three of the nine players listed above -- Edgar, Ichiro, and Junior -- are Hall of Stats-worthy because of their performances in Seattle, having played the bulk of their careers (or in Edgar's case, the entirety of his career) with the M's.
Usually, the Hall of Stats welcomes players who have notable careers yet, due to voting restrictions and various biases, have been excluded from Cooperstown. There is one former Mariner, however, who was inducted to the Hall of Fame without placing in the Hall of Stats: Richard "Goose" Gossage. Like many of those listed above, Gossage is not remembered for his time in Seattle (36 appearances in the final season of his career), but for his contributions elsewhere.
Goose holds a Hall Rating of 89, keeping company with other borderline candidates like Toronto right-hander Pat Hentgen and reliever Tom Gordon. On the Bill James Hall of Fame Career Standards, which measures a player's career stats against Hall of Fame standards, Gossage scored just 19, well under the "average" Hall of Famer's score of 50. It should be noted that the Hall of Stats is primed to assist both relief pitchers and catchers reach induction, bringing them up to par with starting pitchers and other position players by a 20% boost in adjWAR. (Without the positional adjustment, Darowski found that few, if any, relievers and catchers would make the cut.) Although the Hall of Stats has not yet perfected its valuation of relievers, Gossage remains on the fringe.
The Hall of Stats may not be the be-all, end-all solution to the problems facing Hall of Fame voters, but it goes a long way toward establishing a reliable standard for induction. Of course, its favorable inclusion of Edgar Martinez doesn't hurt, either.
Your turn: What parameters would you set for Hall of Fame nominees? Are you satisfied with the current voting system, or could the BBWAA benefit from a more objective method of player assessment?