5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
For years, the Baseball Writers Association of America has voted in players of multiple positions based on this criteria. They have carefully look at the player's stats, judged if they thought this player was Hall of Fame caliber, made sure the player never cheated, that the player was always being fair no matter the situation, and that the player was a good person. What a bunch of bullshit.
Unlike the BBWAA, I'm not going to lie and act like I'm grading a player's integrity, sportsmanship, or character since many men in the Hall are racists, cheaters, and huge assholes. I'm just going to grade his ability to play the game of baseball. Steroid users are also welcome into the Hall since eventually someone who took steroids but was never caught will get in. It's basically impossible to know whether a player did or did not take steroids. It's also incredibly ridiculous to leave out an entire era just because of that as well.
So I'm going to attempt to make my vision of the Hall of Fame come true through this fanpost. I'm a small Hall of Fame fan so I'm hoping to weed out not only the atrocious choices (Bill Mazeroski...), but also players who deserve to be in the actual Hall of Fame just not my ideal one.
Since I have such a mass quantity of players and haven't seen most of these players play, I'll largely be basing it off of a player's wins above replacement. However, I've always had issue with people who say "This player has been worth 60 WAR, he should be considered." It really means nothing without any context. Does the player have a peak? How many plate appearances did he have (This is the part usually glossed over that bothers me)? For example, a player worth 60 WAR who had 12,000 plate appearances does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. That same 60 WAR over 7,000 plate appearances though? Yeah that's a Hall of Fame player. (It depends on why it's low of course. Did they come up late in the majors? Retire early? Have huge injury problems?)
Before I started deciding on who to let in and who to let out, I wanted to know how the current average Hall of Fame player performed. So in order to grade players with different WARs, I took their WAR/PA figure to see who performed the best, position-by-position.
A catcher should clearly be graded on a different scale than a left fielder as you can see. One position is rough to play and usually results in a significantly less amount of plate appearances while the other is relatively easy and keeps the player mostly injury-free. In fact, catchers mostly accrue the same value over their careers as the rest of the Hall of Fame players on a WAR/PA basis. The two worst positions, shortstop and catcher, both feature players valued for their defensive contributions. Is this an inability by WAR to fully capture how much of an impact defense makes or simply the voters' tendency to overrate a player's defense based on what they see? Obviously that's an unanswerable question.
Next I looked a player's peak seasons - I settled at their five best instead of picking a five-year stretch. I took their average WAR for each of their five best seasons, and chronicled their best and worst of that five-year stretch. For example, a player who averaged 6 WAR with the highest being 6.5 and lowest being 5.5 had a better peak than a player with the same cumulative WAR but their best being 8 WAR and worst being 4. I view being consistently a great player over a player who had one ridiculous season and then several good ones. Here's a similar chart to the one above:
Catchers usually have less plate appearances in their "peak" years so that's a huge portion of why their average peak WAR is so low. Perhaps unsurprisingly center fielders have ridiculous numbers that are far ahead of the pack. Third base, on the other hand, seemed right in line with the other positions. With the recent inclusion of Ron Santo, I see no tendency to underrepresent that position at all. Jim Edmonds could be in trouble. Scott Rolen should not be though.
I figured I can't grade players purely on a WAR scale. That would be wrong. Instead, I'll separate the players into three groups and include players who did not make the Hall with over 60 WAR (Over 50 WAR for less populated positions such as catcher) with them. The first group is the "No Doubt" group. They clearly are on another level, somewhere above .00800 WAR/PA, with a clear identifiable peak, about 7 WAR. Then I took the players who clearly have no place in the Hall - the players with a WAR/PA less than .600 and a peak less 6. I called that group the "What the fuck" group, which is usually what is emitted from the mouths of people who see that player in the Hall. In between is the "Borderline" group where I look at each player's case carefully and decide if they did something better than the rest. If you are elite at one thing, I'd consider you more strongly than if you were merely above average at multiple things.
Five catchers belong in this category all of which are in the Hall. Johnny Bench (.0094 WAR/PA; 8.1 Peak), longtime Cincinnati Reds catcher, is surely the best catcher of all-time with his durability (only Gary Carter had more plate appearances) and obvious skill. Bench had, by the slimmest of margins, the second best WAR/PA and the best peak of any catcher by a good margin. (Next highest is Mike Piazza with 7.3 Peak). Mickey Cochrane (.00965; 5.92) comes in next with a higher WAR/PA surprisingly than Bench but much less of a peak.
Probably the most surprising player on this list is Gary Carter (.008; 7.1) and how he fared. This is mostly to due to bias however. I feel like anytime Ted Simmons name got brought up in my household, my dad was there sure to inform me that Carter only made the HOF because he begged his way on and Simmons would be there too if he begged. Begging or not, Carter was an amazing catcher, perhaps unappreciated in his time. (I'm basing this off my father of course so I could have this generation completely wrong). Bill Dickey (.009; 6.28), who is the only catcher on this list I've never heard of, was a true Yankee who was one of Lou Gehrig's best friends. He won eight championships, batted a lifetime .313, and was a catcher. He didn't make the Hall until the seventh ballot however which is a bit surprising. [Needless to say, I'm almost sure there is no Yankees bias in the Hall]
The catcher who replaced Dickey, Yogi Berra (.0085; 6.46), was born in St. Louis in the Hill. In what is probably one of the worst decisions in Hall of Fame GM Branch Rickey's career in a career spanning five decades, he chose Joe Garagiola over Berra. Garagiola was worth a composite 4.2 WAR over five seasons with the Cardinals while Berra was worth 71.4 WAR in 19 seasons with the Yankees. Can't win every move you make, although Rickey certainly tried.
Edit - SouthsideCardsFan mentioned that this was not entirely accurate. "As the story goes, Rickey knew that he was about to leave the Cardinals to go to the Dodgers, so he sandbagged Berra by offering him a low bonus, then hoped to sign him for the Dodgers in a few days after he switched allegiances. The Yankees beat him to the punch however." Thanks for the input.
Borderline - Yes
The easiest choice, if only because his only detraction was a serious lack of plate appearances (4,816), was Roy Campenella (.0089 WAR/PA; 6.34 Peak). He started his career at the age of 27 when baseball was first integrated. I'm going to say there was nothing he could do about that so it's hard to hold his plate appearances against him. He was also very durable as well for a catcher with over 460 plate appearances seven of his ten seasons. (Two of the three were his rookie and final years; the other was 446 plate appearances). Once plate appearances is taken out of the equation, there's little doubt he should easily make the Hall.
Carlton Fisk (.00756; 6.22) was the next easiest because neither of his stats put him in the obvious Hall of Fame category, but both were very solid. Then there's also the home run that he hit which would probably push any borderline candidate into a yes. Roger Bresnahan (.0087; 5.32) lacks a convincing peak that would normally lead me to say no to his candidacy, but his WAR/PA is so overwhelming that his less than ideal peak is better able to handle. That WAR/PA number, for those who can't calculate math in a Beautiful Mind kind of way, would be about 6.2 WAR per 700 plate appearances. Of course, he's a catcher so he doesn't get near that amount of plate appearances in a season, but that's kind of the point.
Both Buck Ewing and Gabby Hartnett were difficult choices that ultimately I'm surprised I let them in. I went back-and-forth on both players, but ultimately they had that "elite" unique talent that I was looking for. Gabby Hartnett (.0077; 4.96) was a .390 career wOBA hitting catcher with about average defense. I'm struggling to figure out how that good of a wOBA with average defense never produced a season above 6.3 WAR. Buck Ewing (.00823; 4.6) had elite defense being 74 runs above the average catcher over the entirety of his career including a stretch between 1881 and 1885 where he was worth 46 runs above average, or 9.2 a year. I'm sure they probably undervalued his defense in fact if that's possible. Even if they didn't he had a .376 wOBA to go with it for his career. If that's not Hall worthy, I'm not sure what is.
Just one catcher, who wasn't really a catcher for more than half of his career, made it in yet was never voted in. Joe Torre (.008; 6.84), who played his most games at catcher in his career, was snubbed. The difference between him and other catchers was that he accrued a lot of plate appearances, most likely because he was only a catcher for about 2/5 of his career. Still, his WAR/PA peak would probably get in no matter the position. He just happened to play the most games at catcher.
Borderline - No
I'm sorry to my father for leaving out Ted Simmons (.0063 WAR/PA; 5.9 Peak). He's so close in each category, but he falls just short of just about every meter that I was looking at. His peak average of 5.9 isn't actually that bad and would be fine if his WAR/PA wasn't so low at .0063. His peak wouldn't keep him out, but it's certainly not gaining him entrsy (I actually value peak over career value). Bill Freehan (.0077; 6.12) is much the same way. Technically, his .0077 and 6.12 peak average could get in on that basis alone. But I didn't see anything particularly impressive when looking closer. He has just a .339 wOBA and his fielding value of +27 was well short of elite. Basically, his peak wasn't elite, his fielding wasn't elite, and his hitting wasn't elite. I think one of those things is necessary in electing a player.
What the fuck
Not much point wasting too much time on these guys so I'll just share the sheer mediocre-ness of their numbers. Ray Schalk (.0047 WAR/PA; 3.46 Peak) barely beat out Rick Ferrell (.0046; 3.36) for worst Hall of Fame catcher. Ernie Lombardi (.0068; 4.0) wasn't near as egregious as the other two, but still perplexing nonetheless.
Players soon eligible
Mike Piazza (.0086 WAR/PA; 7.3 Peak) will enter easily in the "No Doubt" section of players. As said above, he has the second best peak of any catcher, going by WAR behind only Johnny Bench. Piazza was famously drafted in the 62nd round as a favor to his father by Tommy Lasarda, otherwise we never would have had his greatness. Ivan Rodriguez (.0071; 6.18) is technically a Borderline as neither his WAR/PA nor peak average scream Hall of Fame player, however, he's probably the best defensive catcher ever.
Get ready, there's 11 of these guys at first. Jimmie Foxx (.0116 WAR/PA; 10.3 Peak) has the highest WAR/PA of any first baseman. He had a .458 career wOBA and 534 homers before it was cool thing to do (In fact, it placed second alltime behind just Babe Ruth at the time). The luckiest man of the face of the Earth (.0113; 11.08) had by far the best peak at 11.08 on AVERAGE. Yes, folks it is possible to be a Yankees and underrated. (Goes without saying I suppose but that was Lou Gehrig if you didn't get that reference). Dan Brouthers (.0105; 7.4) and Roger Connor (.0098; 7.38) are sure to surprise you with their numbers if only because they are mostly unknown and retired BEFORE the Deadball Era.
Frank Chance (.0105; 6.98) was the premier first baseman of the early 20th century as a member of the Chicago Cubs. George Sisler (.007; 8.26), longtime St. Louis Browns player, had an amazing peak average of 8.26. Bill Terry (.0086; 7.06) was a good player who spent his entire career with the [New York] Giants.
Contemporaries Hank Greenberg (.0112; 8.56) and Johnny Mize (.0098; 7.24) competed with each other but it wasn't much of a competition. Mize was good in his own right to be sure, but Greenberg was just better. Greenberg won two World Series with the Detroit Tigers as their main hitter for what it's worth in addition to his career numbers. Mize did win three World Series - all three with the Yankees in the last part of his career where he had less than 200 plate appearances in two of them. (In a cruel twist, he left the Cardinals after the 1941 season before they won a bunch of championships). Both had careers cut short because they entered the war unfortunately.
Harmon Killebrew (.0078; 7.22)and Willie McCovey (.008; 7.16) are eerily similar. I always end up grouping them together when I think about Hall of Fame players and it appears I am justified for thinking so looking at their numbers side-by-side. Both also hit over 500 homers. I even, for the longest time, thought that Killebrew was black, largely based off his name and his association with McCovey in my mind.
I got two players who aren't in who are obvious Hall of Fame players and you could probably guess one of the players. Mark McGwire (.0092; 6.96), short-time single season home run record holder and known steroid user, definitely deserves to be in. His 583 homers are nice and all, but he was a great defender early in his career and he had a career wOBA of .415. Someone who watched this next player will have to explain to me how he got so screwed. Dick Allen (.00819; 7.88) had a career and peak that aren't even close to borderline. I'm so confused how he didn't make it in. He had a .292 average, .378 OBP, and a .402 wOBA. He was pretty awful defender to be fair I guess. He had 351 homers, which answers my question I think.
Jeff Bagwell (.0089; 7.8) isn't in the Hall because he looks like he took steroids. He may have taken steroids. I wouldn't be surprised if it came out that he did. But if he's clean, this is a much bigger mistake than leaving out Ron Santo until he died. His candidacy has been well talked about so if you want something more in depth, it won't be hard to find.
Borderline - Yes
Jim Thome (.00706 WAR/PA; 6.4 Peak) is a borderline if only because my rate HOF stats don't statistically value him as well as I thought. Neither his WAR/PA or his peak are all that impressive compared to other Hall of Fame players. But he hit 600 homers and that is a truly elite skill. There's no doubt he deserves to be in of course.
I'm also allowing in Cap Anson (.00783; 6.06) because he played a long time and had a .389 wOBA (131 wRC+) with above average fielding at first base.
I'm only allowing one other borderline player in. However, I must compare two players here, one of which I'm voting in and the other I'm not. They seem virtually identical, but I'll attempt to explain my reasoning. Player A has a WAR/PA of .0061. Player B a WAR/PA of .0062. Player A has a peak average of 6.6. Player B has a peak average of 6.72. I'm voting in Player B. Player A is Tony Perez. Player B is Eddie Murray. Now the reasoning here is that Murray has 12,817 plate appearances, which is about 2,000 more than Perez. I feel like Murray's WAR/PA should be weighted differently because of this. Longevity means something. Murray had five seasons between 6 and 7.4 while Perez had a ridiculous 9.0 WAR one year and then averaged 6.15 his other four years. Murray has 11 seasons with greater than 4.0 WAR. Perez has just 8.
Murray had a .365 wOBA with +61 fielding. Perez had a .356 wOBA with +14 fielding. So Murray was better in my mind and barely crosses the threshold.
Borderline - No
I already made my case against Perez. Orlando Cepeda (.0067 WAR/PA; 5.9 Peak) appears to be overrated. It's bad enough to not have one of the categories down pat such as Murray and Perez, but to have both against you. He wasn't a longevity guy either with "only" 8,695 plate appearances (below the average Hall of Fame 1B plate appearances).
Then you have Rafael Palmeiro (.00615; 6.32) who is similar to Eddie Murray in being a good fielding first baseman (+46.1) with lots of plate appearances and an underwhelming WAR/PA. Trouble is, he has a worse peak and had less plate appearances (just over 12,000 of them). i had trouble letting Murray in so Palmeiro, who's kind of clearly worse than Murray, is easy to say no to. (I guess there's the steroid angle too if you want. I think he's a no if I disregard the steroids though.)
Norm Cash (.00819; 6.32) is a weird case. He had a great WAR/PA, one which normally I'd let in. His peak is pretty small - for a first baseman - to begin with at 6.32. Outside of his ridiculous 10.8 WAR season, which is bizarre, he had zero peak. That's pretty much my only reasoning. I hate taking away seasons, but then again I don't want to let anyone in for just one season. (or one game *cough Jack Morris*)
Then there's mustache man Keith Hernandez (.00696; 6.36) who was last seen making corny commercials about hair products with Walt Fraiser. He's pretty easily a no in my book, but definitely worth mentioning.
What the fuck
Thankfully, first base has few candidates here. Longtime Cards player Jim Bottomley (.0059 WAR/PA; 4.44 Peak) won three World Series... and that's about it. Fair warning: I'm developing a theory that there's a Cardinals bias in the Hall of Fame. Bottomley certainly isn't the last Cardinal I'm kicking out. Then there's Jack Beckley (.00509; 5.24) who played in the late 1800s. He had a .300 average, but his WAR/PA and peak were clearly not Hall of Fame caliber. George Kelly (.00409; 4.4), owner of .342 OBP, is probably the worst Hall of Fame first baseman ever.
John Olerud (.0067; 6.48), who's probably more borderline than what the fuck, has not and should not gain steam for his candidacy. Fred McGriff (.0059; 5.9), who I've seen mentioned a few times that he came at the wrong time and would have made it if he was eligible in an earlier. Thank god he wasn't. He shouldn't be in at all.
Hopefully VEB is mature and can appreciate this but Albert Pujols has a WAR/PA of .0118, which would kind of be better than Gehrig although he's going to regress hard over the rest of career. His peak average of 9.02 only places third all-time among first baseman and that won't change anytime soon.
Frank Thomas (.0076; 7.36) has a a good WAR/PA and a good peak. In other words, bring on the HOF. Unfortunately, he's probably connected to steroids in some imaginative way like Bagwell to which I say fuck you future random writer. Todd Helton (.00703; 7.34) has an amazing case for the Hall, but I don't think he's getting in. He has a WAR/PA of .00703 and a peak average season of 7.34. Pretty good huh? I was surprised. When I get my vote in 15 years, he's getting elected if he's still on.
Lastly, Lance Berkman (.00806; 6.86) should probably play a few more seasons just to be safe but he should probably get in as well. He has a WAR/PA of .00806 and a peak season average of 6.86. His plate appearances is a little low compared to other first baseman so that could be enough to keep him out, but he's still playing at a high level so it's very possible.
Pardon my french on this one, but HOLY FUCK ROGER HORNSBY (.0142 WAR/PA; 11.48 Peak). He's one of those examples of the Article #5 of the Hall of Fame requirements just being plain ignored as he was a KKK member. Eddie Collins (.0115; 10.08) was on a similar level to Hornsby which surprises me. I guess second base used to be the premier position or something. Jackie Robinson (.0108; 8.34) should get in the Hall of Fame regardless of his stats, but his stats were extremely good. He played good his entire career and had a wonderful peak. He didn't have that many plate appearances, but that's not his fault obviously.
Nap Lajoie (.0103; 9.28) is another amazing player, who apparently played for a team called the Naps. Rod Carew (.0076; 7.18) was pretty good on my Nintendo '64 All-Star Baseball 1999 Hall of Fame team if my memory serves correct. Then there's perennial walk hater Joe Morgan (.0095; 10.1), owner of a 16.5% BB rate. I guess this a classic case of not following the advice you give apparently.
Charlie Gehringer's (.0086; 8.5) numbers look modest compared to the other second baseman I've mentioned, but he's pretty good on the surface. Gehringer, who played his entire career for the Detroit Tigers, had an amazing peak of 8.5.
Bobby Grich (.00901; 6.86), seems to be a no doubt guy on the surface. He didn't even make the Hall of Fame however. Again, I've never seen him play so I would like the opinion of someone who has. But his numbers are so ridiculously good. He had a WAR/PA of .0901 (which is 6.4 per 700 plate appearances) with a peak season average of 6.86 (lowest being 6 WAR). What's wrong with him? Aw damnit, he has a .266 average. I guess that 13.2% BB rate went unnoticed.
Also what the fuck Joe Gordon (.0103; 7.72)? He played for the Yankees, had a WAR/PA of .0103, and had a peak season average of 7.72. What the hell? Can voters please stop looking at batting averages????? He must have been a ridiculously underrated fielder as well worth 150 runs in just 11 seasons. And he went to World War II so you can't fault him for his plate appearances or you hate America.
Borderline - Yes
Here are two players whose peaks put them over the edge: Ryne Sandberg (.0067 WAR/PA; 6.96 Peak) and Frankie Frisch (.0078; 7.72).
I rarely do this, but since he was such a universally accepted choice among the saber community and the traditionalists, if you take away Roberto Alomar's (.00651; 6.48) last season of -0.6 WAR in 190 plate appearances when he was clearly toast, his numbers are much much better. I certainly don't understand why people were mad when he wasn't a 1st ballot guy. I mean I'm a person who'd vote you in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd time if you deserved it, but he isn't a "1st ballot HOF guy" on the spectrum. His original WAR/PA of .00651 raises to .00674 removing his last awful season. His peak seasons of 6.48 is more than acceptable (especially since his lowest was 5.6) with that WAR/PA.
Tinker to Evers to Chance. In this case, Evers (.00799; 5.98) deserves to be in with five seasons over 5 WAR. Tony Lazerri (.00776; 6.04) is similar in that his WAR/PA off-sets his relatively mediocre peak season average of 6.04. Lastly, I'd put Bobby Doer (.00756; 6.28) as he has solid numbers across the board.
Borderline - No
Lou Whitaker (.00745 WAR/PA; 5.78 Peak) is really close, but I just can't let him in. He has a great WAR/PA, but his peak season average of 5.78 is hard to get over. To be honest, in the current state of the Hall of Fame, I think he should be in. Willie Randolph (.718; 5.62) was pretty good for a long time, but he didn't have a period where he was one of the best players in baseball. His peak season average of 5.62 including a 4.8 WAR season is just not impressive in a Hall of Fame sense.
Huge asshole Jeff Kent (.0064; 5.84) is barely borderline and I mean that in a negative sense. He was a great player, but I don't think he belongs near the Hall. Lastly, I'm leaving out Larry Doyle (.00769; 5.76) Again, I take issue with his peak at 5.76 including a 4.8 WAR season. I think it's necessary to have at least 5 seasons above 5 WAR so I can't let Larry in.
What the fuck
I regret putting Billy Herman (.00658 WAR/PA; 5.82 Peak) on this category but it's been done. Neither his WAR/PA or his peak are worthy of yelling expletives about. His peak of 5.82 isn't terrible, but with that WAR/PA, he shouldn't be in the Hall. Nellie Fox (.00534; 5.96) is the rare player to have a peak but not much of a case when you look at his career. His peak of 5.96 isn't great though it includes a 7.7 WAR season, but his WAR/PA of .00534 is at a pretty atrociously bad level on a Hall of Fame scale.
Beloved Cardinal Red Schoendist (.00513; 5.38) could go in the Hall for a multitude of reasons... just not as a player. I love Red, but he was pretty overrated in his time. For better or worse, Bid McPhee (.00546; 4.46) reminds me of the movie Nanny McPhee which I've never seen oddly. Lastly, Bill Mazeroski, in the Hall for one hit apparently, has a WAR/PA of .0047 and a peak season average of 3.98. He might just be the worst Hall of Fame player ever.
Hmm, should I go with well-known or in alphabetical order? Trick question. Literally every no doubt Hall of Fame third baseman is well known. Most people even somewhat familiar with the Hall of Fame have heard of Frank "Home Run" Baker (.00988 WAR/PA; 7.6 Peak) Baker's 65.8 WAR really doesn't do him justice to show how good he was. (Another reason using arbitrary career WAR is just a bad idea) He accumulated just 6,660 plate appearances. A confluence of minor injuries (played over 140 games seven times but never more than 150), a short career (12-year career), and randomly sitting out seasons (1915, 1920) in the middle of his career caused his small plate appearance total.
Mike Schmidt (.011; 9.18) is pretty easily the best third baseman of all time using WAR. The career Phillies player hit 548 homers and played elite defense for much of his career. Why Ron Santo (.0844; 8.76) didn't get in earlier is beyond me. Though completely different players, he is nearly on the same level as Wade Boggs (.00883; 8.96). Boggs managed to hit just 118 homers in his career but he batted .328 with a 13.1% BB rate. The fact that he was such a non-threat, power-wise, makes his plate discipline all the more impressive.
Eddie Matthews (.0106; 8.58) is a lot better than I thought he was. That makes me wonder if he doesn't get 500 homers, does he get in? He had a .271 average so the answer might not be as obvious as you think unfortunately. Lastly, Brooks Robinson (.00808; 8.6), the best fielder of all time possibly, has an amazing feat. Robinson has a very low wOBA in the Hall of Fame at .322, however his wRC+ is 105 so he was above average relative to his peers. Think about how good his defense had to be in order to make an essentially league average bat become one of the most valuable players in the league.
Borderline - Yes
There's only one borderline Hall of Fame player who I think should be in the Hall and that's Jimmy Collins (.00733 WAR/PA; 5.96). Collins career started before even the Deadball Era. Despite his lack of a true peak, he was an elite fielder at +121 fielding.
There are actually a few non-Hall of Fame players however that should be in. First, Graig Nettles (.00702; 6.78), a longtime Yankees player, should probably get in because he was a good fielder. Surely if he made it, there would be cries for Yankees bias in the Hall however. While he was only a .336 wOBA hitter, that's good for a 111 wRC+. Plus, he had seven seasons above a 120 wRC+ which is what I would consider a good batting year. Considering Nettles had crazy elite defense to go with an above average bat, I'd say he should get in. Nettles was a +141 for his career fielding including a stretch of nine seasons where his worst was +9 and his average was 16.9 per season. 16.9. He was worth +17 runs with the glove per season essentially.
Kenny Boyer (.00766; 6.76) is a tricky player. His overall career statistics feature nothing really that spectacular: a .366 wOBA and +73. However, both of those figures are very good and together form a Hall of Fame player. Boyer, not currently elected but with comparable numbers to Santo which makes me think he'll get in, has a pretty good peak as well with five seasons above 6.3 WAR.
Alright this player came out of nowhere for me, but the numbers pretty clearly support him in the Hall of Fame. Robin Ventura (.0074; 6.48) debatably deserves to be out of the Hall on principle for challenging Nolan Ryan and getting absolutely humiliated for it. However, all of the ingredients are there. He was +155.9 in the field with five seasons of +10 or more. In fact, he was never negative in any season defensively. His .350 wOBA and +112 wRC+ are good enough that his defense gets him.
Borderline - No
Let's start with Paul Molitor (.00618; 5.98) because he was pretty close. Scratch that, he wasn't. But he's well known and the only player I can imagine outrage over on this list (who didn't make it). He was an average fielding third baseman with a .366 wOBA (+125 wRC+) who played DH for a period in his career. The problem is that doesn't have anything elite to off-set both a really low .00618 WAR/PA and a lack of a true peak. I can't really find a legitimate reason to let him in the Hall.
I don't know why I'm leaving out Sal Bando (.00757; 6.9), but here I am doing that. The reasoning (actually I do know...) is that he wasn't really elite at anything. Hell, he wasn't even "very good." Despite a good peak, he had a .346 wOBA and +36 fielding. He was a very inconsistent player for what it's worth. He sandwiched .369 and .390 wOBAs with a .322 wOBA season. Then he sandwiched .357 and .365 wOBAs with a .329 wOBA. I just got to say no on this one.
Here are some not-really close players that you may recognize: Darrell Evans (.00632; 6.44), Buddy Bell (.00665; 6.4), and Tommy Leach (.00671; 5.56).
What the fuck
Well I have no idea who George Kell (.0057 WAR/PA; 4.98 Peak) is, but wikipedia tells me he played for five teams during a time when players rarely changed team unless you came across a Branch Rickey team. He batted .309 and somehow made 10 All-Star teams, which is surely why he made the Hall. Freddie Lindstrom (.00564; 5.32), who batted .311 but had just a .351 OBP, shouldn't be in either. Pie Traynor (.00509; 4.58) is debatably the worst third baseman in the Hall with neither a great career or a good peak.
Here we have a trio of future Hall of Fame players who I no doubt will let in when the time comes. First, Alex Rodriguez (.0106 WAR/PA; 9.66 Peak), one of the best players of all-time, is an easy "No Doubt" selection. Chipper Jones (.0086; 7.32) is a lot better than I thought. He's been a player who has also lasted a long time and been good for a long time. Scott Rolen (.00902; 7.28), former Cards player, is a lot better than I think people realize. The only question is if he goes in as a Phillie or a Cardinal.
Adrian Beltre (.00698; 6.34) shouldn't get in because while his peak overall looks good, his fifth best season was 4.2 WAR and that's pretty low as part of you "peak" as a Hall of Famer. He's the Hall of Very Good in my mind.
I'll name these shortstops chronologically because I honestly doubt many people have even heard of the majority of these shortstops in the Hall. In the DeadBall Era, we have one very good shortstop and a candidate for the best of all time. Since I'm a fan of the best for last, let's start with the very good. George Davis (.00851 WAR/PA; 6.88 Peak) was both a very good fielding shortstop (+146 Total Zone over career) and a very good hitter (.370 wOBA). His peak is very impressive as well since the majority of shortstops I came across had weaker peaks, in general, than other positions.
Honus Wagner (.0128; 11.2) was Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols in his time. The man was easily the best in baseball at the time and he played the hardest position on the field excluding catcher. Just stew over a few of his stats for a minute: +85 fielding shortstop, .414 wOBA, 152 wRC+. He was the best HITTER and compared more than favorably against other people at his positions, where they typically placed the best fielder. Wagner also had 13 seasons with 7 WAR or more in his lengthy career. He hit double digits FIVE times.
The War Era featured a slurry of great shortstops, oddly none of them were MVP Marty Marion (that was slightly uncalled for). Joe Cronin (.00853; 7.68), who played the majority of his career with the Senators and Red Sox, gets in mostly for his hitting. His fielding was sporadic and inconsistent. One year, he was worth +20 in the fielding, another year, he's worth -12 runs. Aging took a toll on his defense, but not his hitting. He had a .391 wOBA for his entire career, which is oddly enough only good for a career 120 wRC+.
His counterpart Arky Vaughan (.00962; 7.84), who played most of his career with the Pirates, was another elite hitting shortstop. There's no question, he was about average on defense in this case as, with the exception of one fluky +18 season, he was never worth more than 4 runs or less than -4 runs. He had a .402 wOBA and a 139 wRC+ for his career. White Sox lifer Luke Appling (.00827; 7.42) is a very interesting player in my mind. He had a .088 isolated power, but he wasn't exactly Ozzie Smith with the bat. Thanks in large part to a 12.7% BB rate, Appling had a .370 wOBA. Lastly in the War Era, we have Lou Boudreau (.00994; 8.84), who was an elite fielder with a .372 woBA. I'm kind of shocked at the number of elite shortstops in this era. I mean Marty Marion was no slouch either in addition to these four.
In the more modern era, there are just two shortstops: Iron Man and Mr. Cub. Both had great careers, but their peaks are what made them who they were. Cal Ripken, Jr., (.00774; 8.82), who was a career Oriole, was an amazing fielder and a good hitter. In his prime, he was an elite hitter and elite fielder as evidenced by his 11.1 and 10.3 WAR seasons. Ernie Banks was a good fielder, good hitter, and just overall solid player. Despite a .330 on-base percentage, he hit 512 homers which is what made him get in the Hall.
Borderline - Yes
I'll just start with the Wizard. He's partially the reason I didn't do arbitrary WAR cutoffs to make my decision. Ozzie Smith (.00652 WAR/PA; 6.06 Peak) grades out surprisingly low on a career level. He does have five seasons above 5.4 WAR so it's obvious he has the peak necessary. Plus, there's the fact that he was maybe the best fielder of all time. At +239, he places fourth all-time on fangraphs fielding behind players who did not play shortstop.
Then there's Barry Larkin (.0078; 6.24), career Reds player, who is a clear Hall of Fame player. He had five seasons above 5.6 WAR that made his choice pretty easy. His .295 career average and lack of home runs exited him from suspicion from steroid use. Larkin also had a .366 career wOBA, including six seasons above .380.
The next two shortstops suffered from lack of plate appearances with both having less than 7,000 in their career. Hughie Jennings (.0078; 7.62) just has a really odd career trajectory. He played from 1893-1903 and then made four plate appearances in 1907 and 1909, one plate appearance in 1912 and played in one game but recorded no plate appearances in 1918 at 49-years-old. Travis Jackson (.0078; 6.12) was elite when he was healthy. He had just five seasons with over 130 games played. Despite that, he had five seasons with 5.5 WAR or more.
Playing his whole career with the Dodgers, Pee Wee Reese (.00736; 6.62) managed a .354 wOBA, +117 fielding, and 232 stolen bases. He only had a .269 average and a .105 isolated power so how did he have a .354 wOBA? He walked. Walking is key to almost every career it seems. He walked in 12.8% of his plate appearances, which is ridiculous considering how unthreatening his batting game was.
I'm going to have to let in longtime Cubs player Joe Tinker (.0087; 5.66) based on his fielding alone (+180). He had just four seasons above 5 WAR, but he did have that truly elite skill that I look for and he had a ton of seasons above 4.0 WAR. Bobby Wallace (.00712; 6.2) is probably the worst player I'll let in. He was a league average hitter (103 wRC+), but his fielding made most of his game (+133).
Bad Bill Dahlen (.0077; 6.38), not currently in the Hall, probably deserves to be in here. He has a .360 wOBA (109 wRC+) and +139 fielding starting his career before the turn of the century for the Colts. Alan Trammel (.00741; 6.74) gets no love despite having a lengthy career and a great peak. It's probably due to his .285 average and 185 career homers. Jack Glasscock (.00779; 6.04) has to get in for his defense (+149) and his name. He retired in 1895 before the first World Series, but his .712 OPS is good for a .339 wOBA and a 111 wRC+.
Borderline - No
Robin Yount (.00605 WAR/PA; 7.18 Peak)may have gotten shafted on this one. His whole game was his peak at least as for arguments for the Hall are concerned. But he was a -47 fielder with a .344 wOBA (good for 115 wRC+). You could make a good argument for his peak, but that's about the only argument. The problem is he started his career slow (.270/.308/.364 for first five seasons) and ended it slow (.257/.330/.381 for last four seasons).
Joe Sewell (.00652; 5.78) is virtually identical to Ozzie Smith but with a worse peak and no truly elite skill. He did have a .376 wOBA, but that was only good for a 111 wRC+ for his entire career. He was also an average fielder for his entire career. Yankees lifer Phil Rizzuto (.00703; 5.66) is close, but he had kind of a short career and his peak was kind of unimpressive given those constraints. He had a 97 wRC+ for his career with +108 fielding.
Vern Stephens (.00742; 6) and Jim Fregosi (.00728; 6.74) both grade out well on the surface. Stephens had a short career with a 118 wRC+. That'd be fine if he wasn't completely average at defense. His peak is on the borderline limit as well. Fregosi had a .332 wOBA (112 wRC+) and an average fielding. He was also a part-time player 11 years into his career.
What the fuck
There is a serious lack of WTF candidates given that there are 22 shortstops here. Luis Aparicio (.00566 WAR/PA; 5.38 Peak) has elite defense but his .302 wOBA was good for a really low 88 wRC+. Dave Bancroft (.00653; 6.06) has a very misleading peak. His fifth best season was 4.3 WAR so the peak he had was very short-lived. Lastly of the HOF candidates, Rabbit Maranville (.00449; 4.96) had shockingly atrocious numbers for a HOF player. He was also voted in for his defense, though his 84 wRC+ is pretty bad.
Two players who acquired over 50 WAR landed on this list. Tobby Harrah (.00581; 5.62) and Bert Campeneris (.00558; 5.52). Not really much to say about them.
Derek Jeter (.00667 WAR/PA; 6.64 Peak) is somehow simultaneously underrated and overrated. His WAR numbers bear that out where he's sort of an average Hall of Fame player (which is no small feat), but I get the feeling people think he's one of the best shortstops of all time.
I originally had the entire post published on this page, but it was WAY too long so I decided to make it into two parts so people would actually read it. Part 2 features the outfield and the final results. Pitchers were not included in my study since WAR numbers are not completely figured out on fangraphs.
(to be continued...)