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Dawson Was Great, But Not Hallworthy

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With the election of Jim Rice, the grumbling from the "new school" became audible in earnest. Now that Andre Dawson is set to be the only player enshrined in this year's class of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the aforementioned grumbling has reached a feverishly roaring pitch.

Like Jim Rice before him, Andre Dawson is the latest representation of the schism in baseball analytics. The "old school" voters blindly following the ancient benchmark statistics like a pack of sheep. And the sabermetric "new school" analysts favor an evolution in statistical evaluation to determine the true value of a given player. But once again the old school has won out, as players like Roberto Alomar, Tim Raines, and Bert Blyleven remain unelected while cosmetic favorites like Rice and Dawson continue to receive baseball's ultimate honor.

I love the Hawk and will gladly admit that in his best five seasons, Dawson was phenomenal; a combination of power, speed, and determination rarely seen in a ballplayer. Considered a warrior on the field, despite his Mantle-esque knees Dawson was, at times, devastating at the plate and a force in the outfield. But unfortunately, the man who will always be remembered as one of the greatest fan favorites in baseball history — held in near-heroic regard, especially by Cubs fans — is not a Hall of Famer. And statistical analysis clearly shows this:

As Rob Neyer noted, Lou Brock previously held the lowest OBP of any Hall of Fame-elected outfielder. Dawson will now supplant Brock in this dubious distinction, registering an OBP twenty points lower than that of the former stolen base king.

Brock: .293, 3,023 hits, 149 HR and .343/.410/.753 (938 steals)
Dawson: .279, 2,774 hits, 438 HR and .323/.482/.806 (314 steals.

While obviously Brock was a leadoff man with speed and Dawson was a power hitter who happened to be able to run when healthy, the batting average, hit totals, and OBP are strong indicators that if Dawson cannot live up to Brock's production (generally considered one of the weaker Hall of Fame selections) than he just doesn't belong amongst baseball's elite.

Comparing Dawson to Alomar (another top-of-the-lineup guy) further shows that while Andre could hit for power, he was far less valuable than the player whose statistics rank him among the greatest second baseman ever to play the game.

Alomar: .300, 2,724 hits, 210 HR and .371/.443/.814 (474 steals)
Dawson: .279, 2,774 hits, 438 HR and .323/.482/.806 (314 steals)

Alomar tops Brock in batting average, home runs, OPS, and most notably OBP (by 48 points) and bests Dawson in batting average, OBP, steals, and shockingly OPS. He also created 6.1 runs per game as apposed to Dawson's mark of 5.4. Any way you slice it, Alomar was easily the more valuable player to his teams' victories throughout his entire career. He may have never ripped out 49 home runs in a season but Robbie was a far more productive player, contributing in a much more important and relevant way to his teams' run scoring capabilities on a consistent basis.

And then there is the yearly elephant in the room: Tim Raines. Once again receiving just over 20% of the vote, Rock challenges only Dick Allen for the greatest player not in the Hall of Fame (and the best man still eligible for general election). Raines was a pure, all-around athlete that was immensely valuable where ever he played.

Raines: .294/2,605/170 and .385/.425/.810 (808 steals – 85% success rate).
Dawson: .279/2,774/438 and .323/.482/.806 (314 steals)

His 6.6 rc/g mark is easily above each of the other candidates mentioned, as is his 6.1 rc/g mark. In addition Raines dominates Dawson in batting average and OBP and tops Dawson by four points in OPS despite Dawson's apparent Hall of Fame worthy power. Whether this point is taken as proof that Raines was still more productive despite has lack of power or that Dawson simply never got on base if he wasn't hitting for power, the same conclusion can be derived. There is no more qualified player for election than Tim Raines (he was on base more often than Tony Gywnn) and he is far more qualified than Dawson. But this is a point that has been dissected to intensity, and so I'll digress.

The general thesis is that there needs to be an immediate change in the voting process for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame or it will fall the way of the likewise institutions of the other sports and become largely irrelevant. Dawson was a fan favorite by all perspectives. He was an outstanding ambassador to the game and epitomized the idealistic mentality that the general public fantasizes about, the injury-riddled hero beating the odds and flashing greatness despite crippling physical limitations.

But Dawson was no Mantle, nor was he Ken Griffey Jr. He was a very good ballplayer that should always be remembered and likely deserves some sort of display of recognition in a wing of the institution devoted to the very good players in the history of the game (which should be established).

But enshrinement in the most hallowed wing? Unfortunately the numbers just don't add up. As Neyer again astutely noted, when a player is liked he is compared to mistake elections like Orlando Cepeda or Bill Mazeroski. But when he is disliked the player is shown to not measure up to Ruth, Mantle, or Williams as a means for arguing against induction. But to reiterate a point I've made in so many articles on the topic, the mistakes of the past do not justify degrading the standards of the future.

Oh and Cepeda… he has a batting average 18 points higher than Dawson, an OBP 27 points higher, and an OPS 43 points higher. Ouch.

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About Anthony Tobis

  • Matt

    I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with it.

    Dawson was just too good not to let in. He hit for power, was an outstanding fielder, had the best arm in the league, stole bases and was an all around great ballplayer. He was a much better ballplayer than Rice and played most of his career in a terrible park.

    Yes, he didn’t take many walks but I don’t think that should exclude him from the HOF. He was just too good in other areas.

    You also have to take his numbers in context. His critics always attack him for playing in Wrigley, they seem to forget that he spent his prime in the worst ballpark in the league. Go look at his home and away split in ’83 when he lost the MVP to Murphy. You have to be fair here and put it in context. Back in the early 80s (when Dawson was in his prime) you were a power hitter if you could get 25 homers. 30 could win you a homerun title. It was a completely different game back then. 8 gold gloves, 3 top 2 MVP finishes and the 2nd guy in history to acheive 300/300 are huge accomplishments. Was he perfect? No. But apart from Willie Mays, nobody is. He was certainly deserving of the Hall and you won’t find too many of his peers who disagree.

    And yes, Tim Raines deserves to be there too.

  • Tony

    Just watching him I felt the same way about Dawson, much like I do Mattingly (as both a Yanks and Cubs fan). And I never even mentioned anything in the positive or negative about Wrigley.

    The thing is, the way you win in baseball is by scoring runs and the best chance a team has to maximize their run scoring potential is with player who get on base most frequently. Sure Dawson hit home runs in usually an average of 35 at bats out of maybe 600 a season, but in the rest of those at bats he was an out far too often.

    The top 10 players in OBP are Williams, Ruth, McGraw, Hamilton, Gehrig, Bonds, Joyce, Hornsby, Cobb, and Foxx.

    The top 10 players in OPS are Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Pujols, Bonds, Foxx, Greenberg, Hornsby, Ramirez, and Helton.

    While the steroid era has messed up this list a bit (as it has every MLB leader board), its pretty obvious that these stats are good barometers of who the best ball players are/were.

    Yes Dawson hit home runs. So did Dave Kingman. And he was a power hitter with speed, but so was Canseco. And he was a great outfielder for much of his career, but so were many players not in the Hall of Fame. I wish Dawson had stayed healthy and put up the numbers he was capable of but it just didn’t happen for him.

    Its not that I don’t understand what 40 home runs or 400 home runs use to mean. Its that I simply place far less value on stats like batting average, home runs, and RBIs than many analysts still (incorrectly) do. Its about accepting an evolution of statistics that show more about the real value of a player. Its no different than any other analytical advancement in science, math, physics, ect.

  • Tony

    It would be one thing if his OBP and OPS were just “kind of” low but Dawson’s .323 mark isn’t even in the top 100 of all time (more than 100 players since many are tied at certain marks). Brian Jordan had a better number. And his .806 OBP is 362 all time just below Robin Ventura and Dick Stuart and below such marquee names as Bobby Higginson, Chili Davis, and Sean Casey. And the problem wasn’t just that he didn’t walk. His 589 walks are 469th all time above Cedpeda (mentioned for his better stats at the end of the article) and Don Mattingly. Dawson just made a lot of outs.

  • Matt

    Scoring runs isn’t the only way you win ball games.

    RBIs count for a lot and very few of his contemporaries (and you have to look at him vs. his contemporaries, its silly to do otherwise) have the RBIs that Dawson did over the course of his career. Ditto with homers.

    Another way you can win games is by playing incredible defense. Nobody, absolutely no one had a better arm than Andre Dawson did. Not only was it a canon but it was right on the money every time. He was also a brilliant fielder and played outstanding in center for the Expos for years. His arm was so feared that runners just stopped running against him. Some (Vince Colman) found out the hard way. Most learned not to test him.

    And that’s the thing about Dawson. There was so much more to him than just one aspect of the game. His OBP is bad? Okay, but playing in Olympic Stadium all those years had something to do with it. Again, go look at the splits on a year by year basis. By the time he got to Wrigley he actually wasn’t as good a ballplayer but he finally arrived in a hitters park. If he’d played there his entire career he’d have 500 hrs and over 3000 hits easily. You have to take this into account.

    Most of the folks who say he doesn’t belong are those who’ve never seen him play and are stat geeks. They look at the game with blinders on. One guy actually tried to make the argument that Tim Raines must have had a better arm because he had more outfield assists one year… there’s a glaring example of how numbers don’t tell the whole story.

    Numbers will tell you want you want to hear. They can be manipulated anyway you want. The bottom line though is that when you compare Dawson to his contemporaries he’s well worthy of the HOF. There isn’t a single HOF player who would argue otherwise. Most were shocked he wasn’t let in long ago.

  • Matt

    I also figured that I’d provide the splits for you since you seem to be hung up on numbers.

    79
    +17 on OBP
    +9 on BA

    80
    -14 on OBP
    +10 on BA

    81
    +60 on OBP
    +100 on BA

    82
    +11 on OBP
    +22 on BA

    83
    +85 on OBP
    +50 on BA

    84
    +49 on OBP
    +71 on BA

    85
    +3 on OBP
    +12 on BA

    86
    -36 on OBP
    -13 on BA

    Those numbers aren’t just a smidge higher, its a dramatic difference. The Big O was a cavernous stadium and in 1983 Dawson set a record for most sacrifice flies with a mind blowing EIGHTEEN. If he’s in any other ballpark those balls are out of the park.

    What’s really scary about these numbers is that you’re supposed to have a home field ADVANTAGE. Dawson never had this benefit. Normalize his numbers for ’81 and ’83 and he might’ve finished his career with 3 MVPs instead of just one.

    He was much, much better than you’re giving him credit for.

  • Matt

    Okay, last post and I’m going to bed.

    1981. Road stats over the season:

    Dawson actually wins the batting title. In fact he blows away Madlock with a 10 point lead. He also beats out Pete Rose for 4th in OBP.

    He just misses out on Schmidt for the OPs lead and ties him for runs scored as 1st in the league. He gets one less homer than Schmidt and 21 less RBI’s. He also adds 20 steals. It also should be noted that he plays three less games on the road than he does at home and I haven’t factored this in.

    In short, his numbers are almost identical to Schmidt’s but he gets the batting title and his team wins the playoff spot. He probably wins the MVP in ’81 if he plays anywhere other than the Big O.

    1983

    Dawson just misses out on the batting title by one point.

    He’s 75 points higher than Murphy for 1st in slugging.

    He’s 33 points higher than Murphy for 1st in OPS.

    He leads Schmidt for the HR title by 4 and blows Murphy away with 142 RBIs (21 more) AND he does this while getting a gold glove and stealing 28 bases. With those numbers he’s hands down the MVP of ’83.

    I’ve also shown you the other seasons (some of which have 50+ swings in OBP) you still think this guy is unworthy?

  • Tony

    You didn’t have to go through those home/road splits. OPS+ is adjusted for the ballparks. His mark of 119 makes him just 19 points better than the average player he played with a tied for 358th all time with the likes of Sal Bando and Chris Hoiles. So no, I do not think the 358th best hitter of all time should be in the Hall of Fame.

  • Tony

    Its nice that, like Rice, he had some really great seasons. But the Hall of Fame is supposed to consider the entire career and for his entire career Dawson was just better than average as a hitter (adjusted for parks) and his outstanding fielding was greatly compromised by his injuries.

  • Matt

    Folks just look at the Bill James stats and take it as gospel. I’m not sure how the OPS adjustment works, but it’s plain as day when you look at those splits that Dawson was almost 2x better on the road. And those seasons happened over his prime.

    As for it only being a few good years, sorry but that doesn’t wash either. Put him in another ballpark for those 11 seasons and he’s well over 500 HRs and 3000 hits. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  • Tony

    Those aren’t Bill James’ statistics. I guess your argument is with sites like baseballreference.com and Rob Neyer also. Essentially the entire new school of analysts. Its not coincidence that Babe Ruth and Ted Williams lead all of baseball in these stats. They were the greatest hitters ever. Now Williams doesn’t lead in home runs so I guess he’s not one of the top three greatest hitters ever despite his OPS, OBP, and OPS+. I mean you can look at tons of stats; wins shares, runs created, runs created per/9 and Dawson doesn’t measure up. The only way he measures up is by looking at the same old tired stats. what a guy does in 40 at bats a season. Whether or not their happen to be men on base when he was sucessful 3 out of 10 times (less in Dawson’s case).

  • Matt

    Nobody can measure up to those old ballplayers. It was an entirely different game. We can only measure players vs. their contemporaries. Late 70s and early 80s ballplayers were a low scoring era. Bigger ballparks and no steroids led to smaller numbers. Dawson was one of the best players of his generation.

    I’m talking about your ‘adjusted OPS’ stat. I’m sorry but when you look at the guy’s splits over his career in Montreal its a black and white split.

    In ’83 he gets more than double the amount of homers. Heck, he might’ve had two batting titles to his credit. In both ’81 and ’83 he wins the MVP and then we’re talking about 3 of those trophies instead of one.

    People just go and look at the numbers without any context. You have to put it in the proper perspective of his era and where he played. Its the same with Todd Helton. His numbers are absolutely sick. Should we forget about where he played too? Of course not.

    Did you ever see Dawson play in his prime or are you just looking at a spreadsheet here?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “Nobody can measure up to those old ballplayers. It was an entirely different game. We can only measure players vs. their contemporaries.”

    Matt, this is exactly what OPS+ is meant to do. It normalizes hitting stats based on the year and park one played in. How much better were they than everyone else? Think of it as standard deviation.

    There’s also WARP2 (Wins Above Replacement Player), which factors in defense as well as league averages. Some sample WARP2 numbers:

    Ty Cobb: 129.9
    Ted Williams: 110.9
    Cal Ripken: 102.9
    Hank Aaron: 150.9

    Barry Larkin: 84.2
    Tim Raines: 79.6
    Robby Alomar: 77.8
    Edgar Martinez: 67.2

    Andre Dawson: 57.3
    Fred McGriff: 57.3
    Will Clark: 64.4
    Keith Hernandez: 64.7
    Robin Ventura: 64.7
    Willie Randolph: 66.1

  • Matt

    This is exactly my point. Somebody throws out a formula that “normalizes” things and they figure that’s the end of the debate. It isn’t.

    If we just take face value of Bill James’ numbers and WinShares are what determine how good a player is two things become apparent:

    1. Craig Biggio is the 5th best 2nd basemen and the 35th best player ever. According to the 2001 book he put out.

    Do you agree with this? Neither do I.

    2. Even if we go with James Win Shares, Dawson’s STILL a HOF player. James said that if a player has 300+ win shares, that is the standard for a HOF player. Dawson is 319. That puts him in the HOF.

    People throw around terms like WARP and Adjusted OPS but there’s no critical thinking behind it. Sorry, it makes no sense in the in the world that Dawson can be adjusted that low when its crystal clear that his road numbers were absolutely stellar on the road. Based on what I’m hearing here, James’ stats don’t give an accurate picture of this.

    Again, I ask if you guys have actually seen him play.

  • Tony

    Yeah I saw Dawson play a lot since we have always gotten WGN out of Chicago in Detroit. He was a very good hitter who either hit for power or made an out, which his stats show.

    There is a lot of critical thinking behind the newer statistics. The thinking is that people are looking past cosmetic numbers like home runs and RBIs and trying to find out who truly contributed to winning. Why hold so tightly to home runs and RBIs? Because they’ve been used for a long time? Because they show up on the back of baseball cards from the ’60s?

    I mean there is an impass if you insist that stats like home runs are paramount or that awards like gold gloves mean anything. The idea that getting on base is the most important thing in baseball makes sense to me. Maybe it doesn’t to some? That’s fine. But when I look at the list of players with the highest OBP and OPS stats I see the best players who ever played. And when I look at teams that had players who did well in these statistics, I see wins. That’s all the critical thinking I need. What did the Cubs do with Dawson, Rhino, Grace and those guys? One division title? He batted .105 in that series against the Giants and .186 in 15 postseason games.

    The “did you ever see him play” argument is tired. Perceptions are deceiving. I watched Dawson play all of the time and was a huge fan. But just because I enjoyed watching him play and could tell that he was a good ball player doesn’t mean he produced on the level of a Hall of Famer. Just watching the Tigers, Whitaker, Trammel, and Jack Morris all “looked” like Hall of Famers to me. Doesn’t mean they are.

  • Matt

    A few things,

    RBIs and HRs aren’t the be all and end all of things but neither is OBP. It seems you want to dismiss those other accomplishments entirely and it makes no sense to do this either. Is Wade Boggs better than Mike Schmidt because he’s got a higher OBP? You’d have to be out of your mind to take Boggs over Schmidt.

    Secondly, its great that you got to see him in his 30s. In his 20s he was a much better ballplayer. And when you look at his OBP and batting average numbers when he wasn’t stuck playing in the Big O, those numbers are stellar.

    As for the playoffs, sorry but baseball isn’t like hockey. Its not nearly a big enough sample to be worthy of anything. Its not like Joe Thornton choking every year in the NHL.

    As for the “seeing him play argument” I was actually just curious. But yes, there is validity to this and its not ‘tired’. The fact that I watched him play and followed him is why I know more about his earlier career than you do. It was well known that Dawson was a much better player on the road back then because he was stuck in an awful ballpark, but this gets lost in the sands of time. Folks just look at the totals and that’s it.

    Again, numbers need context to be meaningful. Otherwise we might as well just say that Todd Helton is among the top 10 ballplayers of all-time.

  • Matt

    I’m going to bow out of this now. While I disagree with your arguments, you presented them well and respectfully. Hopefully I’ve at least given you pause to take a second look at Dawson in a different light. The players themselves felt he was the best player in the league.

    I think he’s a HOF no question, I think those ballplayers would too.

  • Tony

    No, you’re right Matt. I’d take Schmidt because, despite the OBP he has a higher slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+,and more RC/G.

    Lets take that a step further. We’ll take the worst stats of the two a compare them to Dawson’s numbers. Mike’s .380 OBP is 57 points higher than Dawson, Bogg’s .858 OPS is 52 points higher than Dawson’s, Boggs’ 130 OPS + is 11 points higher than Dawson, and Boggs 7.1 runs created per game destroys Dawson’s mark of 5.4. Its not that Andre falls just short of the best in these categories. If that was the case they could dismissed. The problem is he isn’t even close.

  • Matt

    And again, he’s not close because he played in a terrible ballpark during his prime. That’s why I showed you the road numbers and that’s why I included the link showing you how he was regarded by his peers (and it included both National and American leagures) back in the 80s. They understood something that you don’t seem to acknowlege here, the ballpark he played in was awful. Outside that ballpark he was head and shoulders the best player in the game and the road numbers I’ve given you show this. His road numbers make him the MVP in ’81 and ’83.

    I know you want to use some kind of formula to show that this isn’t the case but the raw split numbers are there. He wasn’t just a very good ballplayer, he was arguably the best player in baseball for a four or five year stretch, he was just stuck in the Big O. Then he went to the Cubs and finally got into a decent hitters park and managed to put up good numbers into his 30s.

    Take a step back from the formulas and go look at the splits from those years. I already showed you the differences in OBP and BA (where he would have won at least one batting title and in a dead heat for a second) but look at the HRs too. He’s got more than double the amount of HRs on the road in ’83. The guy had to actually go on the road to get a break, imagine if he had the advantage of playing in a decent hitting park.

    Do Todd Helton’s numbers warrant him being among the greatest ever? I guess they do if you ignore where he played, but put him in the Big O or the old Astrodome and he wouldn’t be nearly as impressive. You can’t just ignore this and I’m sorry but Bill James’ adjustment for ballpark doesn’t nearly do justice to the inequities in the parks.

    You’ve cited OPS+ as a means of taking things into account. Okay, so then why is Dawson’s OPS+ rating 127 at home vs a sickening 203 on the road in 1981? And its 63 points higher in ’83?

    You just lump it all together though and say ‘end of argument’… sorry dude but throwing a formula at something is oversimplifying it. Those numbers only tell half the story, you have to take all the facts into account. The only reason his OBP, BA, HR and the rest aren’t higher is because of the crappy ballpark he was playing in.

    And as I showed you, his peers voted him the best player in Major League baseball back then. They seemed to understand this.

  • Tony

    Unfortunately guys don’t get elected to the Hall of Fame because they were outstanding on the road or put up 4 or 5 good season. Tim Raines hit in the same ball park Dawson did but it didn’t seem to effect his ability to get on base or hit for average. A lot of great players have played in terrible ball parks. They overcame it. As did Tim Raines.

    Dawson hit .300 only 5 times in his entire career. And the year he won the MVP his OBP was .328. That was in Wrigley. And a bad ball park doesn’t prevent you walking.

    Your argument is basically this Dawson’s career numbers don’t matter because of his ball park, therefore he is a Hall of Famer because he “looked” like one and his hit good for what are essentially half season because his homefield was SO much worse than any other park in th national league. That it was playing in Montreal that caused him to hit .248 when he was 29. This obviously didn’t effect him the three years he did hit .300 with the Expos, but apparently towards the end of his run there the park got more difficult to hit in because his last three season in Montreal were horrible.

    And again, I guess this makes Tim Raines superman because somehow he was able to overcome the insurmountable odds the ballpark set in place and actually get on base. Home/road splits don’t do it for me and neither does the opinion of people he played with (who saw him at most like 8 times a season). Like I said, an impass.

  • Tony

    And I’m not looking for a magic formula. I take the statistics that are in place, evaluate their logic, apply them to other real world examples, and see if they hold up. When a guy can’t even crack the top 300 of statistics that a majority of the baseball community find important (they post OBP on stat lines for televised games now) I refuse to believe it was just some oddly horrific ballpark that made him look so much worse than he was.

    If it was a hard place to hit home runs, maybe he should have hit more line drives. Or taken more pitches. In fact, if he would have taken more pitches, maybe he wouldn’t have post averages sub .260. Or struck out nearly 100 times a season.

  • Tony

    I mean don’t you have to do something exceptional to get into the Hall? At least one thing? He doesn’t have 500 home runs, doesn’t have 3,000 hits, doesn’t have a .300 batting average, never got on base, struck out too much, but that’s all ok because he played in a bad ball park. I just don’t buy it. I’ll conceed that maybe if he played somewhere else he would have gotten those 500 home runs. But he didn’t. And its not the Hall of What Could Have Been. Bad ball park, bad injuries, things happen that mess up careers.

  • Tony

    I mean he’s in so you win but he will go down as one of the weakest inductions along with Bill Williams, Mazerowski, Cepeda, ect.

  • Matt

    1. Dawson’s numbers were obviously good enough to get in as/is. What I’m trying to show you is that he was much better than you’ve claimed. Numbers need context to have meaning and I think I’ve proved that here. And my argument is that he put up great numbers in SPITE of that ballpark. Again, if you just want to look at raw stats without context then Todd Helton is probably a top 10 hitter of all-time.

    2. The guy’s a HOFer anyway. Should he have made adjustments for the Big O and just not bothered trying to hit homers? Maybe. Back then though, it wasn’t really an option. There’s no doubt though that his road numbers show just how amazing this guy really was. I hope I have at least proven this to you.

    3. Fine, take the statistics that are in place. But look at ALL the statistics. I came in with legitimate stats that you dismissed with a formula. The stats I’ve shown you are real. Any reasonable person would take those stats into consideration when making a rational judgement on how good a ballplayer was.

    4. Being the second player to get 300/300 and (now) being one of only three players to get 400/300 is exceptional. Getting 8 gold gloves is exceptional. Being voted the best player in the majors by your peers is exceptional. Finishing top 2 in MVP voting three times is exceptional. Add in the fact that he’s in the top five in HRs and RBIs vs his contemporaries over his career and yes, he’s a HOF player for sure.

    5. We aren’t talking about what could have been or might be’s. If we were then we could talk about his bad knees and how that affected him. I’m not doing that here.

    I’m simply asking you to put the numbers in context for where he played just like I would if we were talking about Todd Helton.

  • Tony

    How are OBP or OPS any different than batting average? They just tell you different things. OBP tells you how many times the player was on base. Its not some complicated formula. Its a math problem. The same applies to OPS. You take the players ability to get on base, add it to his ability to slug, and figure out how complete a hitter he was. Its a math problem, plain and simple. Just because its slightly more advance than counting the numbers of baseball that fly over a wall or counting the number of people that happen to be on base when Dawson got his hits (unless you believe in that mysterious intangilbe “clutch”), doesn’t mean its abstract.

    Like I said. Build two teams. You can have the leaders in home runs and RBIs and pitchers with wins and a good era and I’ll take my guys with high OBP, OPS, and my pitchers with good WHIPs and K/9 inning mark, and I’ll put a lot of money on my team doing far better over the course of a season.

    The Red Sox learned this and two championships. The A’s learned it and stayed competative despite a low payroll for many years. The Yankees learned it and finally got their 25th championship. The Tigers didn’t learn it and totally collapsed after one really great half season because players like Pudge and their miniscual OBPs didn’t provide them with consistent run scoring opportunities. And their pitchers? Well, if one would have examined Nate Robertson’s numbers a little closer it was pretty obvious the guy got lucky on year.

    We are both using mathmatics here buddy, its just which equations you apply to the problem.

    And really Matt, I don’t think even you would make an argument that the gold glove is worth a shit. And even the MVP award is pretty suspect. Ted Williams hit over .400 in a season and didnt win an MVP.

    I really like Dawson and have a lot of respect for what he did. Baseballreference compares him statistically to the closest to Billy Williams and I can accept that. He is about on the level with Williams (also a Hall of Famer). Like I said, he’s in so you won. The old analysis wins out once again. Baseball has always had issues with change.