Consider the case of the following two first basemen.
Player A played 18 seasons and was an eight-time All-Star. He received MVP votes in nine different seasons with a top finish of 7th. His Career Shares MVP score as calculated by baseball-reference.com is .65, which ranks 402. He made seven post-season appearances and was part of two World Series winners.
He won three Gold Gloves, but never topped his league in any fielding category in any season. Twice he led the league in sacrifice flys, twice in games played, and once in strike outs.
For his career, he hit 370 home runs and tallied 1,274 RBI. His career slash line was .273/.359/.487.
Player B is Player A’s 7th most comparable hitter according to baseball-reference.com
Player B played 17 seasons and was a four-time All-Star. He received MVP votes in five different seasons, winning the award once and finishing 2nd and 3rd in two other seasons. His 1.95 MVP Career Shares ranks 107th. He made five post-season appearances and was part of three league championships and two World Series winners.
He never topped his league in any fielding category in any season. Once, he led the league in slugging percentage.
For his career, he hit 339 home runs and knocked in 1,187. His career slash line was .266/.361/.462.
Player A is Player B’s 9th most comparable hitter according to baseball-reference.com
Player A played the majority of his career in the late 1940s through the 1950s. Player B played the majority of his career in the 1960s through the mid-‘70s.
Is there that much difference between these two players that one should be in the Hall of Fame and the other should not?
Player A is Gil Hodges. Player B is Boog Powell.
The only discernible difference that I see between these two players is Hodges played on the Brooklyn Dodgers, the most romanticized team in baseball history, about which multiple books have been written, and many of those are coming-of-age baseball love stories. Boog Powell played 14 of his 17 seasons in Baltimore, where people named their kids after a certain third baseman.
Interesting comparison. Given the HOF announcement of last night, injustice has been rectified with Hodges finally getting his due. Going strictly by the batting stats, neither man was HOF material but there is more than offense involved. Although the may not have been the best with the glove they were still superb fielders and locker room leaders, invaluable for their teams success. Case can be made that even with the other stars that shared the lineups, without Boog and Gil, the Birds and Da Bums might not have had the success they did enjoy.
I always thought of them as belonging to the Hall of Very Good. Same with Kaat. A case could be made that the HOF has been too selective, but I think I’d rather have that than otherwise. Take the Rock ‘n’ Roll HOF, for example; if you had a record on the chart for a week you’ll get in sooner or later!