Laurila: Reputation and the Hall of Fame, from the players’ point of view

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on August 14, 2013:

I recently posed a question to nine players and three coaches. It was a question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Given the subjectivity involved, it doesn’t even have a right answer.

Should reputation and “fame” play a meaningful role in Hall of Fame voting, or should it be based almost entirely on statistics?

Their responses are listed below in alphabetical order. 


Don Baylor, Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach: “The writers vote, and at times, how a player treated them influences whether they vote for him or not. That’s what I’ve sensed over the years, from hearing people talk. You also have the steroid era, and guys saying ‘I’m not going to vote for him; I don‘t care what type of numbers he has.’ We’re in that era now. There are guys who put up big numbers and probably won’t get in during our lifetime.

“Pete Rose probably isn’t going to get in, because of gambling. Not too many guys are going to get 4,000 hits. You could play 20 years with 200 hits and still be short of his numbers. Reputation is a factor, and there are guys in the Hall of Fame who don’t have sterling credentials, too.

“During his time, Jack Morris was feared for staying out there and winning. You can look at Tommy John; he had over 280 wins. Jim Kaat had over 280 wins. They’re not in. So there’s a lot of injustice, especially when it comes to pitching. Roger Clemens, because of his reputation… he’s another one in this era — the steroid era.”

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Originally published: August 14, 2013. Last Updated: August 14, 2013.