Friday, December 30, 2005

ESPN Front Page: Andre Dawson for HOF?

ESPN has as its top baseball story today a plea for Andre Dawson to make the Hall of Fame in 2006:

"Nobody played on sheer guts and bad knees longer than Hawk," said Baker, the Chicago Cubs manager. "He could have had a lot bigger numbers. He was a big-time player."

Is Dawson a Hall of Famer? Not yet, but he should be.
If Kirby Puckett is in the Hall, if Tony Perez is in the Hall, if Gary Carter, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith are in the Hall, Dawson needs to be there, too.

Ok, so if anyone read my piece yesterday about Don Mattingly's Hall eligibility, you already know I've done the Puckett comparison. Now ESPN is throwing out other player names in comparison to Dawson (with, as usual, no statistical data to back up such an assertation. Let's take a look.

Player Career OPS+
Smith 87
Sandberg 114
Carter 115
Dawson 119
Perez 122
Puckett 124
Mattingly 127

Ok, so in fairness, Smith was (obviously) not inducted based on anything he did at the plate (100 is a league average adjusted OPS. Smith was an above average hitter just four times in his 19 year career). I'm also going to take Carter and Sandberg out of the discussion, since they both played positions (catcher and second base, respectively) at which offense (especially during their eras) was considered a plus and not a requirement.

I know what the Dawson defenders are going to say: "but he had over 400 home runs!" Ok. Let's look at a few of Dawson's contemporaries:
Player HR Career OPS+
Dawson 438 119
Dave Kingman 442 115
Jose Canseco 462 131
Fred McGriff 493 134

Does anyone honestly consider Kingman a Hall of Famer? His stats are very close to Dawson's. Before the Juiced scandal, was Canseco being given serious consideration? Will McGriff? Both of their stats are better than Dawsons. McGriff blows him out of the water. Now Dawson did win eight Gold Gloves and the 1987 NL MVP, so we'll give him some extra consideration for that... but outside of that spectacular 1987 season, he didn't ever lead the league in any significant category in his entire career.

Ok, so where am I going with all of this? I'm not so much running down Dawson as I am trying to make the argument that if Andre Dawson makes the Hall of Fame, and Mattingly falls off the ballot, an injustice has been done. Again, whether or not Mattingly should be a Hall of Famer is open for debate.. but what isn't is that he was a better player than a number of gentlemen already enshrined.

I'm sure ESPN wouldn't ever have any bias whatsoever against the Yankees, so I'll just accept that their push for Dawson and not Mattingly was just an oversight. I will thank them though for an important piece of information I should have mentioned in my previous article: how the hell is Tony Perez a Hall of Famer if Mattingly is not? Well, besides the fact that he had a slew of his old teammates on the Veterans' Committee (Bench, Morgan, etc) who basically greased the wheels for him.

A final comparison:


Perez played in a lot more games, but doesn't have much more to show for it.

To sum up, if you're considering or inducting Perez, Puckett, Dawson, etc... Mattingly needs to be a major part of the discussion.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:23 AM   0 comments


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