Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Five (Really Eight): Cardinals on the Hall of Fame Ballot

The results of the Hall of Fame balloting are a ways away, but it's one of the funniest things to debate as a baseball fan.  Sure, there are always a few slam dunks and a few obvious duds.  It's the middle ground where the fun debates take place.  I will do a post later on about the players on the ballot I would vote for if I were allowed to vote, but for this blog post I am going to focus on the eight players who appeared in a Cardinals uniform.  I will go over a few key stats and give you my take on whether or not they deserve any consideration.

Players are listed in alphabetical order, not by their actual chances of making it into the Hall.

David Eckstein (2005-2007)

Pros: Eckstein won two World Series rings, one with the Angels in 2002 and another with the Cardinals in 2006.  This diminutive shortstop played with a lot of effort and made up for some of the physical gifts that he lacked.  His biggest accomplishment was winning the 2006 World Series MVP.

Cons: Eckstein only played 10 years and had a career slash line of .280/.345/.355 with an OPS+ of 87.  His career WAR is 25.8, not close to Hall of Fame standards.  Surprisingly, his dWAR was in the positive in spite of the fact that he had to shot put the ball to first base.  JAWS rates him as the 112th best shortstop of all-time sandwiched in between Ozzie Guillen and Jeff Blauser

Chances of Hall of Fame:  (0.01%) Thank you for the 2006 World Series and that cool stretching routine you did in front of the dugout before games.  Enjoy your retirement.

Jim Edmonds (2000-2007)

Pros: Edmonds helped the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series and the 2004 National League Championship.  He was the premier defensive centerfielder in the National League for almost a decade.  Overall, Jimmy Ballgame won 8 Gold Gloves manning center for the Cardinals.  His career slash line of .284/.376/.527 is fairly impressive when added to his 393 home runs and 437 doubles.  His career 132 OPS+ and 60.3 WAR show that Edmonds had a very good career.  JAWS rates him as the 14th best center fielder of all-time.  He is really hurt by the fact that he was very good during his peak years.

Cons: The biggest knock against Edmonds is his longevity in the game.  If he had just a few more years at, or close to, his peak production numbers I think he is a slam dunk Hall of Famer.  He rates on the outer edge of the Hall of Fame center fielders in the JAWS rankings and is also below the mark in all of the Hall of Fame Statisical measures such as Grey Ink, Hall of Fame Monitor, and Hall of Fame Standards.

Chances of Hall of Fame: (50%) It should be much higher than that number, but I do not think that certain factions of Hall of Fame voters will ever get past the fact that Edmonds does not have a single Hall of Fame 'benchmark" and some of his counting numbers, like he's under 2000 career hits, and I am not sure he will ever pass.  If I had a vote I would put him in, but I think Edmonds sits on the ballot for awhile.

Troy Glaus (2008-2009)

Pros: Glaus had some really nice years while he was with the Angels.  His best moment was easily the 2002 World Series where he was named the Series MVP and helped finish off a huge rally for the Halos in Game 6.  His lone full season in St. Louis was actually pretty decent with 27 home runs, 99 RBIS, 33 doubles, and a slash line of .270/.372/.483.  

Cons: There is not much bad to say about Glaus, but he was just simply a nice player during his 13 year career.  He was a decent third baseman and had some pop.  Nothing wrong with a third baseman that can hit 30 home runs and give you a slugging percentage around .500.  Thirteen years of above average is still not good enough for the Hall.  Sorry Troy.  

Chances of the Hall: (5%) There are innovators in the Hall of Fame.  I am pretty sure that Troy Glaus was the first player to ever get equestrian fees for his spouse covered in their baseball contract.  If that's not Hall worthy than Troy is likely going to be off the ballot after this vote.  

Mark Grudzielanek (2005)


Pros: One of my Friday Five posts needs to rank the players from the Cardinals revolving door era at second base.  Mark Grudzielanek had a name that Harry Carey could not pronounce, he once led the National League in doubles with 54 in 1997, and he played for the Cardinals for one summer.  He had a long name....I got nothing.

Cons: His career OPS+ is 90 and his career WAR is 26.3.  JAWS ranks him as the 76th best second baseman of all-time slightly ahead of my favorite Pirates second baseman Johnny Ray.  He's just behind Steve Sax and Bret Boone.  

Chances of the Hall: (0%) Next.  

Mark McGwire (1997-2001) 

Pros: Home Runs and Home Run Records.

Cons: Steroids with a side of strikeouts.

Chances of the Hall: (Sigh)

Lee Smith (1990-1993) 

Pros: Lee Smith record 478 career saves.  Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times was originally one of the biggest proponents of Smith being in Hall called him the best one inning pitcher in the history of the game.  He had several great seasons as a closer.  Most notably his 193 season with the Cubs when he posted an ERA+ of 229 and a WAR of 4.8, and his 1990 season when he split time between the Cardinals and Red Sox.  There were other good years in there where he recorded a lot of saves, but that was his real dominate statistic.  He did strikeout almost a batter per inning during his career.

Cons: So much to put here, but I am going to be nice.  One of my biggest problems with Lee Smith was the latter years of his career.  I hate to rely on anecdotal observations on a post dealing with Hall of Fame credentials, but I am going to good ahead and do it.  I was a sixteen year old high school kid in 1993.  It was lean times to be a Cardinals fan.  I used to go to games with my dad every Sunday.  It didn't matter if the Cardinals got the lead in the game, you know Lee Smith was going to find a way to blow it.  The most painful I recall was a game against the Dodgers where Rene Arocha, imagine his name dropped in a post about the Hall of Fame, pitched a great game.  Smith came in walked a few people, threw a few wild pitches, and the Cardinals lost.  It was actually pretty common at the end of his career.  JAWS rates him as the 14th best relief pitcher of all-time.  He's behind Greg Swindell and Kerry Wood.

Chances of Hall of Fame: (No) Let me fix that since this is a nice post.  (Please, not Lee Smith)

Larry Walker (2004-2005)

Pros: There are many things to like about Larry Walker's candidacy for the Hall of Fame.  His career slash line of .313/.400/.565, an OPS+ of 141, and a career WAR of 72.6 merit consideration.  JAWS has him rated as the 10th best right fielder of all-time and two of the Hall of Fame Statisitics, the Monitor and Standards both score him above their likely to average Hall of Famer.  Black and Grey Ink have him just short.  Comparing him to some of his right field peers, he has a WAR and an OPS+ in the neighborhood of Al Kaline and Reggie Jackson.  He's slightly ahead of those two in OPS+, but behind them slightly in WAR.  He ranks higher than Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, and Ichiro in both statistics.   Walker also won a National League MVP in 1997 along with seven Gold Gloves, and three Silver Sluggers.

Cons: Some of the arguments against Larry Walker are similar to Jim Edmonds.  He played 17 years, but had several seasons where he missed half of the year.  When you compare his counting numbers against his right field peers he doesn't have a benchmark number to grab a certain group of Hall voters.  There are not 500 home runs or 3000 hits.  He played in almost a 1000 games less than both Jackson and Kaline who both reached one of the old-school "automatic" numbers.  Then there is Coors Field.  His home away slash line at home for his career is .348/.431/.637 versus a road slash line of .278/.370/.495.  That's a pretty big gap.

Chances of Hall of Fame: (50%) I would put Larry Walker into the Hall of Fame, but I am doubtful that certain voters will go for a player without a benchmark number who played a large number of games in Coors Field.  He definitely ranks favorably amongst Hall of Fame right fielders.

Randy Winn (2010) 

Pros: He was once traded for Lou Pinella and he was also on the Durham Bulls for awhile.

Cons: Why was Randy Winn on the Cardinals again?

Chances of the Hall: (0.00001%) He did hit for the cycle once.


  1. I think Edmonds may have lost a little too much time to injury to get in. He is definitely a fringe guy. Saber guys will probably be kinder to him than the traditional counting stats guys.

    I think Walker should be in. His career numbers are crazy good. He had a stretch where his obp was around .450!

    1. I agree with you on Edmonds. He could someone who does better in time, especially as some of the older writers move along, and younger voters who look at Saber and different metrics start voting.

      Walker was awesome. Loved watching him, more so on the Rockies, but he played on two really good Cardinals teams.