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Kenny Lofton HOFer?


Stradling

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When you look at Lofton’s offensive numbers and compare them to Ichiro Suzuki, who is almost certainly a HOFer, Lofton, should have been given much more consideration.

Ichiro was on base 363 more times than Lofton, but Ichiro played in 550 more games. 

Career OBP:

Ichiro .355

Lofton .372

Career BA:

Ichiro: .311

Lofton: .299

Doubles:

Ichiro: 362

Lofton: 383

Triples: 

Ichiro: 96

Lofton: 116

Home Runs: 

Ichiro: 117

Lofton: 130

SB: 

Ichiro: 509

Lofton: 622

Runs:

Ichiro: 1420

Lofton: 1528

Ichiro struck out more often as well 

They both had identical lackluster OPS+ of 107

This should be fun.  

 

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One of the main reasons Tony Gwynn is in the HOF is because he led the league in hitting 8 times. He was the best hitter in baseball in 8 seasons of his career. That means something. 

There isn't one set of criteria used to determine HOF worthiness. Players get in for different reasons  (right or wrong).

Gwynn was great. 

Lofton was very good. Bobby Abreu was very good. 

The HOF means different things to different people. 

Heck, since Harold Baines is in, does it really matter?

 

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9 hours ago, T.G. said:

One of the main reasons Tony Gwynn is in the HOF is because he led the league in hitting 8 times. He was the best hitter in baseball in 8 seasons of his career. That means something. 

There isn't one set of criteria used to determine HOF worthiness. Players get in for different reasons  (right or wrong).

Gwynn was great. 

Lofton was very good. Bobby Abreu was very good. 

The HOF means different things to different people. 

Heck, since Harold Baines is in, does it really matter?

 

Tony Gwynn wasn't mentioned in this thread.

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Comparing Lofton to Raines, Baines, and  additionally Ichiro:

Lofton’s OPS+ (107) is significantly less than that of Raines (123) and Baines (121), and the same as Ichiro (107).

Raines and Baines, like Lofton, didn’t reach 3000 hits, but still got in.

Lofton’s SBs total is a couple 100 under Raines’ total.

Lofton, unlike Raines and Baines, was great defensively with the 4 GGs.

3000 hits (Ichiro) has always been automatic HOF induction (unless you’re Rose or a roids cheater).

Edited by Angel Oracle
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“If so-in-so is a HOF, then so-in-so should also be in.  Look how similar or close they are.”

There are true oversights like Bobby Grich.

And then you have these borderline guys where the exercise is to just keep lowering the bar to include one more guy that “seems” deserving compared to the last borderline guy.

If Harold Baines is a HOF, of course Kenny Lofton is.  And so is Carl Crawford, Jake Peavy, Jesse Barfield, Rafael Furcal, Reggie Sanders, Ryan Zimmerman, David Price, Andy Van Skyler, Jason Kendall. . .

At least if they were going to put 1/2 a player into the HOF, instead of Harold Baines, it should have been Omar Vizquel.  At least Vizquel was truly special at what he did while Baines was never special at what he did.

Edited by Dtwncbad
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1 hour ago, Erstad Grit said:

Hahaha

You got me with Abreu and now Lofton. You're running down my list on underrated guys who I'd want in the HOF.

Also Frankie Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, and Carlos Delgado

I think Helton gets in this year. And yes, he is EXTREMELY underrated, most likely due to spending his career playing home games at Coors. 

 

He was such a well-rounded player though. 

 

Lofton should be in, too. 

Edited by Mark68
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8 minutes ago, T.G. said:

IMO, one of the great things about the HOF is that fans can argue the merits of who should or shouldn't be in. 

Agreed.  But we are also at the point where fans can argue what it really means to be in the HOF.

Does it still mean you are one of the greatest players of all time?

Or does it mean you were at least almost as good as another guy in the HOF?

The HOF has basically set itself up to invite another private entity to be created that only honors the highest tier, slotting itself above the HOF due to its exclusivity.

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All day in my book. 

Look at where he ranks among all MLB batters during the first 10 years of his career.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders/major-league?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&month=0&ind=0&startdate=&enddate=&season1=1991&season=2000

Pretty much everyone ahead of him falls into the "sure" HOF category and the one guy that doesn't (Ventura) was trending as one until he blew out his back.

His greatest fault was having played the game at a time where everyone was juiced up.  

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1 minute ago, Dtwncbad said:

Agreed.  But we are also at the point where fans can argue what it really means to be in the HOF.

Does it still mean you are one of the greatest players of all time?

Or does it mean you were at least almost as good as another guy in the HOF?

The HOF has basically set itself up to invite another private entity to be created that only honors the highest tier, slotting itself above the HOF due to its exclusivity.

All true. 

I kind of like that it's subjective. I would hate to see a system that uses AI/Machine Learning to develop an algorithm to determine who gets in.  

I tend to view the HOF as a cool museum. 

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 BTW, he will never get in, there are a ton of legit reasons why but Albert Belle is maybe the most underappreciated hitter of that era.  Mo Vaughn winning the MVP over him in 1995 is maybe one of the best examples of a guy who was hated by the media losing to a guy that was loved by the media.

RJ, Edgar -- even John Valentin could make a case for having been more deserving than Vaughn.

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4 minutes ago, T.G. said:

All true. 

I kind of like that it's subjective. I would hate to see a system that uses AI/Machine Learning to develop an algorithm to determine who gets in.  

I tend to view the HOF as a cool museum. 

I always ask myself to view the HOF as a museum with a purpose, rather than an award to a player.

Obviously a player will FEEL honored and I get the induction ceremony and the jacket. . . .I get all that.

But I don’t like that so many people primarily view it as a lifetime achievement award to the player and therefore their interest in including them or excluding them is tied to wanting that player to FEEL honored or not.

The vast majority of people against Bonds or Rose are against it because they want to starve those players of the personal satisfaction (how the player FEELS) of getting in.

From a truly historical perspective, that shouldn’t matter.  In 100 years when these guys have been dead for decades, what you have left is basically an inaccurate museum.

I choose accuracy as a historical museum over trying to manage it to produce the “correct” feelings of inclusion or exclusion in the individual player as an individual reward or punishment.

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Part of the "problem" is that there is no objective criteria for the Hall of Fame -- or, as @T.G. said, it means different things to different people. This applies to both fans and the actual voters, with the only criteria really being "Do I think this player is good enough to be recognized as a Hall of Famer?" So we have three parts:

"Do I think..."

"Is good enough..."

"Hall of Famer..."

The first is subjective determination: what do think? The second follows on the first, but posits some kind of (arbitrary) degree of accomplishment (how "good"), which also depends upon the individual making the determination. The third is, well, an absolute shit-show. The Hall of Fame itself has a wide assortment of players, from borderline stars to Babe Ruth. I don't remember who coined the phrase (Bill James, maybe), but a lot of Hall of Famers probably belong in the Hall of the Very Good, and there are some not in the Hall that probably belong.

In WARspeak, there's a nebulous zone of approximately 40-70ish WAR in which there is almost no rhyme or reason as to who gets in (and some old-time Hall of Famers are below 40 WAR). That includes guys like Abreu and Lofton. Above 70 and almost everyone is in, below 40 and it is more exceptions, Old-Timers, a few relievers. And really, in the modern era, the "questionable zone" is more like 50-70, though a recent inductee has muddied the waters a bit.

Or compare two players:

Player A: 38.4 WAR, 119 wRC+ in 2830 games (2.2 WAR/162 games)

Player B: 69.1 WAR, 129 wRC+ in 2008 games (5.6 WAR/162 games)

Player B was much better, accruing almost double WAR in 71% of the games played. 5.6 WAR per 162 games over 2008 career games is a bonafide star for a dozen years - a Hall of Famer by just about anyone's determination (or should be). 2.2 WAR per year for 2830 years is impressive in terms of longevity, but kind of average overall (though this player was a DH primarily, so should be judged more on hitting stats than WAR, but 119 wRC+ is just solidly good). Player A is basically the DH version of Rusty Staub, who is not in the Hall of Fame pretty much defines the "Hall of the Very Good." Player B has the 8th highest JAWS (average of career WAR and best 7 years) of all players at his position, with 7 of the 9 eligible guys below him in the Hall and 15 Hall of Famers below him, just 6 above him.

A is in the Hall, B is not. Guess who those two are? 

Now WAR isn't everything. I would also emphasize the importance of being a league leader in various stats - like Gwynn's batting titles. Awards, voting, peak level, etc. The whole picture matters, or should matter. But I think WAR is a good baseline to start the consideration (even better yet, JAWS).

As for Kenny Lofton, here are the CF JAWS leaders: https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/jaws_CF.shtml

As you can see, he's 10th among CFers with 55.9 JAWS, a bit below the CF average of 58.1. Of the nine players above him, 7 are in the Hall, and the other two are Mike Trout (a lock) and Carlos Beltran, who missed the cut in his first year of eligibility of voting (46.5%), though I think has a good chance of getting in at some point during the next few years.

As with Player B above, there are a lot more players below Lofton than above him, but not as many as Player B. In other words, if Lofton deserves to be in (and I think he does), Player B should be a lock, and he's been largely ignored for decades.

 

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30 minutes ago, T.G. said:

All true. 

I kind of like that it's subjective. I would hate to see a system that uses AI/Machine Learning to develop an algorithm to determine who gets in.  

I tend to view the HOF as a cool museum. 

Finally got to see the museum when Vlad Sr. was inducted in 2018.

Took me 3 hours at least to go through it.   Could have spent more time, but it was right before the HOF ceremonies.

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19 minutes ago, Inside Pitch said:

 BTW, he will never get in, there are a ton of legit reasons why but Albert Belle is maybe the most underappreciated hitter of that era.  Mo Vaughn winning the MVP over him in 1995 is maybe one of the best examples of a guy who was hated by the media losing to a guy that was loved by the media.

RJ, Edgar -- even John Valentin could make a case for having been more deserving than Vaughn.

Belle was sort of the Dick Allen of that era, although Allen was even better. From 1964-74, Allen had a major league best 163 wRC+, better than Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Willie McCovey (all 158), and everyone else. His career wRC+ of 155 is 27th best all-time, tied with Johnny Mize and just ahead of Frank Thomas, Mel Ott, as well as his best contemporaries like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. He didn't get in for two reasons, imo: One, his career was cut short and he was done as a star at age 32, out of baseball at 35. He actually initially retired after 1974 but was convinced by the Phillies to come back, but was never the same - nagging leg injury. Two, his surly attitude, which was particularly frowned upon if you were black during that time (and still in Belle's day, though probably to a lesser degree).

Fun fact about Allen: He was part of a doo-wop group called the Ebonistics.

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