Coppola: Still Scratching My Head About The Hall Of Fame

Here we go again and talking about the Hall of Fame voting. This year, the voters are being asked to evaluate catcher Ivan Rodriguez for induction and worthy with a very good career and “Pudge” should get in.

Yes there is some mention of possible PEDs with “Pudge”, but who doesn’t have those questions hanging over them in baseball today? We hear all the pros and cons as to who should get in and who should not, and we all look at stats to help with our decision.

My problem, is that there are so many new scientific stats being used to evaluate players and the fact that now they are being used to evaluate the careers of legends, like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and other greats of the game, well that just makes me cringe.

Seeing that Rodriguez is being talked about, lets look at HOF catchers. I just read a list of the greatest catchers ever as per Baseball-Reference, (the know all stat guide to baseball) where they use saber metrics to evaluate players.

They list the best catchers ever as follows: Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, and Mike Piazza. In that order. Yes you heard it, Berra at number five. I saw everyone of these players, before all of these new stats were the tools for evaluation. They were all great players. BUT !!

If scouts had used saber metrics to evaluate Yogi, he would of been a second string catcher for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan. And boy would that of been fun listening to his Yogisms about the customs over there.

It worries me to think that a possible great player will be passed over today, because his numbers are not good. Did any of these stat-men ever see Yogi play? Under the new stat for “Plate Discipline”, Yogi would of scored very low as he would swing at lots of pitches out of the strike zone.

What it doesn’t tell them is that he would hit them for extra bases. Hence the term, “Bad Ball Hitter”, something Yogi made into an art form.

How about calling the only perfect game in a world series for Don Larson, a journeyman who didn’t even know he was pitching that day until he saw the game ball in his glove in front of his locker. Yogi guided Larson through a lineup of future Hall of Fame, heavy hitting Dodgers, who were coming off of their first WS win the year before.

Yogi only caught one HOF pitcher over that long stretch of Yankee championships (Whitey Ford). Most of the rest were middle of the road pitchers, who he made into winners.That my friends is a great catcher. Without Yogi, the Yankees don’t win all those pennants and World Series championships. 

All of the catchers ranked by stats ahead of Berra were great, but how about these stats: Bench 2 MVP’s, 4 World Series and 2 rings, Carter zero MVP’s, 1 WS and 1 ring, Rodriguez 1 MVP, 2 WS and 1 ring, Carlton Fisk zero MVPs, 1 WS and no ring. Yogi amassed three MVP’s, 14 World Series and 10 rings. Combined, those guys had  three MVP’s, eight WS and four  rings. I rest my case!

So take your WAR and piece this together stat-men. Add up all those rings, multiply it by all those pennants, factor in those MVP’s and there you have your new mathematical formula or stat for evaluating a real Hall of Fame Legend.

Take all those other pie charts and scientific, complex math formulas and use them to find a way to make me grow hair being that I lost it all scratching my head, while trying to figure out all these stats about the game of baseball.

William Coppola is in is 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and advanced scout

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