From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on October 13, 2015, with mention of SABR members John Thorn, Pete Palmer, Lyle Spatz, Bill James, David Nemec, and Keith Olbermann:
Bill Dahlen might be the closest thing to a sure bet on the recently-announced Pre Integration Era ballot for the Hall of Fame.
Sabermetricians have long celebrated Dahlen, with John Thorn and Pete Palmer naming the Deadball Era shortstop one of the 140 best players all-time in their 1984 book, The Hidden Game of Baseball. Dahlen biographer Lyle Spatz sent an essay to the Hall committee that nominated Dahlen this year. That essay included a 1994 quote from Thorn that Dahlen “is not only one of the best players not in the Hall of Fame, but he’s certainly better than at least fifty players already in it.”
Dahlen’s benefited as well from the emergence in recent years of the statistic Wins Above Replacement. Not counting the ineligible Pete Rose, Dahlen’s 75.2 WAR is tops for any player who retired before 2005 and isn’t in the Hall of Fame. As of this writing, 111 Hall of Fame position players have less WAR than Dahlen, and that number is sure to grow.
Originally published: October 13, 2015. Last Updated: October 13, 2015.