Disappointed Again

For several years, Braves fans have had two post-season rituals: watching the Braves lose in the playoffs and seeing Dale Murphy fall short of Hall of Fame induction. The Braves didn’t even make the playoffs this year so I thought that might be a good omen for Murphy. But with all the Hall of Fame talk, I soon became scared that Murph might fall off the ballot. That didn’t happen—he garnered 9.2% of the votes—but I’m not sure it’s much of a victory.

Last season, I developed a list of position players not in the Hall of Fame but should be. Murphy was on that list.

Player            	First    Last    P(in HOF)
Bill Dahlen        	1891    1911    80.18%
Pete Rose        	1963    1986    78.39%
George Van Haltren    	1887    1903    72.86%
Keith Hernandez        	1974    1990    70.99%
Dwight Evans        	1972    1991    68.46%
Dale Murphy        	1976    1993    68.43%
Jimmy Ryan        	1885    1903    66.83%
Bob Elliott       	1939    1953    58.84%
Phil Cavarretta       	1934    1955    57.99%
Bob O’Farrell        	1915    1935    55.68%
Vern Stephens        	1941    1955    52.99%
Bob Johnson	        1933    1945    52.79%
Dolph Camilli        	1933    1945    52.59%
Cupid Childs        	1888    1901    51.64%
Larry Doyle        	1907    1920    50.56%
Deacon McGuire        	1884    1912    50.09%

As a side project, I also looked at the Hall of Fame chances of not-yet eligible players.

Player			P(in HOF)
Barry Bonds		100.00%
Rickey Henderson	99.80%
Frank Thomas		97.44%
Ken Griffey		95.63%
Larry Walker		95.03%
Cal Ripken		91.22%
Roberto Alomar		88.01%
Jeff Bagwell		86.85%
Rafael Palmeiro		83.96%
Barry Larkin		81.51%
Alex Rodriguez		74.10%
Ivan Rodriguez		66.90%
Edgar Martinez		64.03%
Tim Raines		63.32%
Fred McGriff		62.86%
Gary Sheffield		60.90%
Tony Gwynn		60.78%
Mark McGwire		58.73%
Craig Biggio		56.77%
Juan Gonzalez		55.64%
Sammy Sosa		51.77%

One year later, Ripken and Gwynn made it, but McGwire did not. I do think that McGwire will eventually get in, but I wonder about Barry Bonds and that 100% probability.

Thinking about who gets into the Hall of Fame is a great way to introduce people to sabermetrics. One of the first books Doug Drinen handed me on sabermetrics was Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? by Bill James. After that, I was hooked.

For more on Murph and the HOF see Mac Thomason’s excellent series.

2 Responses “Disappointed Again”

  1. Jason says:

    Murph is hurt by two things. Right or wrong, his failure to reach 400 homers (he finished with 398) is being held against because voters have proven conclusively that they like milestones. This is why guys like Kaat and Blyleven don’t get in and Sutton did – Sutton won 300 games, they didn’t. The second problem with Murph is that he faded badly. You could argue that he was washed up at age 34 and by 38 he didn’t even have enough power left to hit doubles. Murph and Eddie Murray were very similar players for a long time, but Murray lasted long enough to get 3000 hits and like I said, Murph was toast by age 34.

  2. kevin says:

    I would expect that Murphy is also hurt by his low batting average.

    Interesting that Larry Walker has a higher percentage than Ripken. I don’t see Walker making it – talent was there, but too many short seasons and the Coors effect. While he “qualifies” under the HOF monitor, standards. He is slightly short on the black and grey ink (what he got was driven by Coors field).

    He will be an interesting case.