On Jeter’s Hall of Fame Credentials

Update: Nephtuli and EDS have taken up the cause.  See their excellent posts from several more statistical perspectives.  Basically, not only is this not even an argument, the side that thinks Jeter’s not a Hall of Famer doesn’t even have a legitimate leg to stand on.  It’s that obvious.

My friend Kenny, who sometimes comments here, was the only one to heed my call for a guest post.  Unfortunately, his post was so bad, I couldn’t in good conscience post it without taking the time to research the issue with some real statistics and analysis and prepare a cogent counter-argument that exposes all the major flaws in his rant.

First, Kenny’s argument (the relevant part of the anti-Jeter rant): Like it or not, stats say a lot.  What does Jeter have in comparison to SSs and hitters who played while he played?  3000 hits?  Whoop-dee-doo.  The guy also has a ton of at bats.  According to baseballreference.com, Jeter is #16 on the at bats list for active players.  Jeter is between two and nine years younger than each of the individuals who comprise #s 1-15.  The next youngest is 35 and Jeter will surpass that player’s at bats easily by the time he is 35.  So without getting into a debate about OPS and VORP and WARP and SCHWARTZ, because Yankees fans have pointed to the 3000 hits, I just want to say that that is a joke – he also has tons of at bats.  Yes, he has to be very good to get 3000 hits but he’s not putting up the batting averages that Tony Gwynn put up.  .317 or .315 just doesn’t do it for me today in terms of validating an entry into the hall of fame.

My turn: Your argument doesn’t hold water. If you had looked at numbers even a little bit (even without your unecessarily derogatory dig at valuable statistics) you’d see the vast gaping holes in your argument (aside from it not being the “Hall of As Good As Tony Gwynn”).

Go to Baseball reference and spend a few minutes perusing the at bats, hits and batting averages of all the players who have 3000 hits in their career (all 27 of them, all of them Hall of Famers, except Pete Rose).  You will see that Jeter’s career .317 average ties him for 12th on that list with Roberto Clemente, ahead of such HOFers as Paul Molitor, Hank Aaron, George Brett, Pete Rose, Willie Mays, Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Rafael Palmeiro, Eddie Murray, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount, Dave Winfield, Craig Biggio, Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken.

B,b,b…what about at bats?  He has so many at bats.  Actually, at his batting average, if he reaches exactly 3000 hits and no more, he’ll do it 9454 at bats, fourth fewest on the list.  But wait, that’s not really likely, is it.  Clemente’s career was stopped short.  What if Jeter plays 18 seasons?  19?  20?  Well, at his current pace (which I admit may dwindle just a touch) after18 seasons (at age 38, the expiration of his current contract) he’ll have 3490/11013, putting him at #6 on the all-time hit list, and seventh on that list in at bats.  If he plays 19 seasons (until he’s 39), he’ll have 3684 hits in 11624 at bats, good for fourth all time on both lists.  And if he plays 20 seasons (until he’s 40), he would be third on both lists.  You really think #3 all-time hit leader doesn’t deserve admittance into the Hall of Fame (or even the “Hall of As Good As Tony Gwynn”)?

B…b…but….what about power, you’ll stammer?  Of the list of people who have 3000 hits, Jeter’s likely career-ending number of about 300 homers would put him in the low teens, or 12th, depending on the exact number.  Not too shabby.  Not exactly punching judy.

B…b…but, some of those people are old, played in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when power numbers were down.  Excellent point, I say.  We really should have a number, some statisitc, that gauges batting average and slugging and the whole shebang.  And while we’re at it, we should adjust the number for ballpark influences and balance it for all time, so that players from different eras can be measured against each other.  That would be fantastic.  Know what?  There is such a stat.  It’s called Adjusted Equivalent Average, or AEqA. Know what Jeter’s AEqA is for his career?  .304.  Yes, his numbers (his batting average) take a hit because he doesn’t have commensurate power numbers (that you would expect from his era) with his batting average.  But, know where that puts him on the all-time hit list?  15th.  That’s right.  Of the 27 players who currently have 3000 hits, all of them Hall of Famers (or soon-to-be, with the exception of punitively kept out Pete Rose and Rafael Palmeiro) he would be 15th.  Better than Lou Brock, Cal Ripken, Craig Biggio, Robin Yount, Pete Rose, Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente, Eddie Murray, and Cap Anson.  And only .003 points behind George Brett, Tony Gwynn and Paul Waner.  (In case you, or anyone else, is interested, here’s a link to a great article explaining why EqA is a much better statistic than batting average.  In a nutshell, it correlates much more closely to run scoring, which is the essential goal of baseball.)

I think your irrational hatred of Jeter blinds you to a lot of things.  But the “argument” you emailed me last week really has no merit.  There’s no question that if Jeter continues his career at his current pace, he will be, and he will deserve to be, a Hall of Famer.

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29 responses to “On Jeter’s Hall of Fame Credentials

  1. Effin A, Cotton… Effin A!

    You just got me so pumped… Freakin Kenny spent all day arguing this one with me on Saturday.

    Good timing too as I am leaving shortly to go to the Yanks game tonight and am now in the mood for it. Bigtime.

  2. Hey, I’d have considered it, but haven’t even had time to post much on my own blog!

  3. OK, I’m still in the middle of reading this, but I have to pause to remind you that Rafael Palmeiro is NOT a hall of famer and never will be.

  4. OK, I have to take another pause. There might have been an ambiguity. Rafael Palmeiro is not being kept out punitively. He just wasn’t good enough to begin with, and the positive steroids test further puts a cloud over his inflated statistics. Maybe you were only referring to Pete Rose.

  5. Noam, I’m all for using statistics that try to account for different eras. But sometimes with these sabermetrics you need to worry about people inserting values on which parts of the game are more important than others. It’s very difficult to have a truly bias-free statistic that fairly compares players of different eras.

    That said, Jeter is definitely a hall of famer. I don’t care how you play with the numbers. Besides which, even if you wanted to argue that Jeter doesn’t rank among the best of the hall of famers, you’d have to concede that he’s better than many middle-infielders (the lower ranks of the hall of fame) who are already in.

    But I would go a step further (and this upsets sabermetricians) and argue that his intangible qualities make him one of the best PLAYERS, not just shortstops, that I’ve seen since I’ve been a baseball fan. He is incredibly consistent, and there’s nobody you’d less rather face in a postseason game. He comes up with the big play at the needed time. His head is always in the game, and he is very “baseball smart.” The fact that we even debate which player we’d want more on our team, A-Rod or Jeter, shows how much Jeter’s non-measurable qualities impact his value as a player. The man will deservedly be elected on his first ballot.

  6. Adam: Re: Palmeiro, I think 3000 hits and 500 homers (Being only the fourth in history to reach both numbers) would otherwise get him into the hall of fame. If he’s kept out, it’s due to the suspicion (100% justified, imho) that steroids played a large part in acheieving those numbers.

    That’s all I meant. And, of course, Rose.

    Biggio and Rickey Henderson haven’t been elected yet either. But they will be.

  7. http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft/?year_ID=1992&round=1

    This has got to be one of the best #6 picks, relative to other draft picks. Wow – what a weak first round. You got Jeter at #6 and then some decent years from Nevin, Stewart, Kendall, and Helling – and that’s it.

  8. Noam inappropriately left out important parts of my post. I actually think my arguments are quite rational if you’re not a biased Yankees fan. Again, I don’t think he’s definitely not Hall-worthy. I just think it’s a joke to say that a perennial border-line all star definitely deserves it, despite the fact that I know he’ll get in. If he didn’t play in New York, it would be much more difficult. The stats that you show me on Jeter are stupid. I watch him play year after year and without question if your argument is for him to enter the Hall it cannot be based on piling up stats. He never overwhelms you with his stats and a statistical HOFer should overwhelm you with his stats year after year. I think to make the argument fair, Noam should post my entire guest post to his blog without interspersing his comments. Let him comment like everybody else. Anyone agree?

  9. Also, please don’t argue that Jeter is great based on the fact that people debate if they’d prefer Jeter or A-Rod. If you debated that at any time in the last 10 years, that is your problem; it was silly and remains silly to debate that. That is one thing that I will never get over and that was part of my proposed post. Who was better? Michael Jordan or Clyde Drexler? I’ll bet some people in Portland think it was Clyde. Peyton or Troy Aikman? I guarantee Dallas fans say Troy was better than Peyton ever will be. The fact that people make the argument does not give any credence to the argument.

  10. I watch him play year after year

    If this is meant to be persuasive, it’s weak. Your opinion on his “overwhelmingnessosity factor” (which is a great stat, I admit) isn’t exactly subjective or informed. Do you really watch every at-bat Jeter takes? Not bloody likely.

    Which ignores the fact that HIS STATS ARE OVERWHELMING. Hank Aaron never hit 50 homers in a season. Does that mean that 755 isn’t overwhelming? 3000, 3200 or 3500 hits is an overwhelming number, not to mention being one of only 4 shortstops all-time to have an OPS+ over 120 and an EqA over .300.

    You just don’t see it. And you call me biased?

  11. You keep insisting on comparing Jeter to A-Rod. As if A-Rod is the minimum standard to achieve. Do you realize how ridiculous this is? A-Rod is possibly the best player of all time. That Jeter doesn’t measure up doesn’t mean anything. Nobody in the history of baseball will measure up to A-Rod when his career is done. Stop blabbering.

  12. The stats that you show me on Jeter are stupid. I watch him play year after year and without question if your argument is for him to enter the Hall it cannot be based on piling up stats.

    What else would it be based on? The color of his eyes?

    He never overwhelms you with his stats and a statistical HOFer should overwhelm you with his stats year after year.

    Like Noyam, I never heard of the “overwhelmingnessosity factor.” When did that become the standard for HOF admission?

    I think to make the argument fair, Noam should post my entire guest post to his blog without interspersing his comments.

    I actually agree. Let’s see what he anti-Jeter people have got.

    Also, please don’t argue that Jeter is great based on the fact that people debate if they’d prefer Jeter or A-Rod. If you debated that at any time in the last 10 years, that is your problem; it was silly and remains silly to debate that.

    I agree. Jeter is nowhere near ARod’s equal. ARod is one of the best hitters of all-time.

    Jeter is at once overrated and underrated. Yankee fans overrate his defense and “winning ability.” Jeter is a smart player and a historically good hitter for his position, but he’s a terrible defender. When it comes down to it, he’s a clear HOFer. But he’s nowhere close to ARod’s league.

    On the other hand, Mets fans hate Jeter constantly underrate him. I had one friend tell me that Jeter is no bette than Ray Durham. About the same number of HRs, SBs and maybe a few less runs and hits. This comparison, which amazingly Baseball-Reference makes as well, shows a serious lack of understanding of which statistics are valuable. Jeter’s OBP is 40 points higher and that’s why his EQA is 25 points higher. 25 points is a huge number.

    People underrate Jeter because they feel he is overrated, so they go all the way to the other side.

  13. not to mention being one of only 4 shortstops all-time to have an OPS+ over 120 and an EqA over .300.

    Who’s the fourth? I have Vaughan, Wagner, and Jeter. Only Appling even reaches 290. Guillen is right on the cusp of 290 and Tejada might get there, but that’s a long way from 300.

    Nobody in the history of baseball will measure up to A-Rod when his career is done.

    I disagree with this strongly. ARod has a long way to go before he can touch either Williams or Ruth, despite the positional differences. Arod’s career EQA is .325 to Ruth’s .368 and William’s .364. That’s a mammoth gap. 40 points of EQA is the difference between ARod and Miguel Tejada. I’m not even sure ARod will be able to top Bonds (.357) when everything is said and done.

  14. Nephtuli:

    Three, four. Whatever. Close enough.

    Re: A-Rod. You’re right. I was employing hyperbole to make the point that comparing Jeter and A-Rod is dumb, and using that failure against Jeter is even dumber.

  15. I hate the Yankees. My dad hated the Yankees. My dad’s dad hated the Yankees. My dad’s dad’s dad hated the Yankees.

    I think Derek Jeter’s defense (as judged by his GG awards) is overrated. I think that his stats would be weaker if he played for another team. Fuck, I hated the fact that I was at Nobu the other night and as soon as my girlfriend saw him, she started swooning over him and I had to take the picture (Johnny Mac apparently doesn’t do it for the ladies).

    But you cannot possibly look at his stats and argue that he hasn’t had a career that, should he continue to play at his current pace for a few more years before beginning to tail off, makes him a lock for the HOF. We’re talking first ballot and if not that, second ballot, HOF career too.

  16. Pingback: Kenny’s Ridiculous Rant « The Noy G Show

  17. Ken-

    There are maybe 5 players that you can compare to A-Rod.

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Lou Gherig
    3. Ted Williams
    4. Lou Gherig
    5. Barry Bonds*

    All time, he is arguably the greatest player that ever lived. If not, he is top 5 or so. Jeter is not. Not sure where you hear that argument about A-Rod vs. Jeter. It’s a no brainer. That said, until this year, if you had one at bat to live, you were picking Jeter. As much as you hate him, until this year, that’s your pick. Doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s not nearly the player A-Rod is. Then again, 95% of the Hall of Famers weren’t nearly the player A-Rod is.

    Funny thing though, and you can see all the numbers on my blog, aboput 85% of the Hall of Famers aren’t nearly the player Jeter is. Sucks for you since you hate him so much.

  18. There are maybe 5 players that you can compare to A-Rod.

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Lou Gherig
    3. Ted Williams
    4. Lou Gherig
    5. Barry Bonds*

    I’d consider putting in Mays, Mantle, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, and Rogers Hornsby off the top of my head. ARod has a good shot (because of position) of finishing in the top 10. Let’s not overrate him so quickly though.

  19. Sorry, but I disagree respectfully, other than Mantle. I stand by my statement of the 5 players that you can compare him to. and add Mantle (for now…)

    Alex Rodriguez – .306 lifetime average – 516 Homers (and counting everyday) – 1487 RBI’s (and counting everyday).

    Tris Speaker – .345 (very nice) – 117 Homers (not close) – 724 RBIs (not close)

    Mantle – this is a somewhat fair comparison, though I still give A-Rod a MAJOR edge IF he stays healthy and puts up the numbers everyone expects, so this one is somewhat fair.
    .298 Average – 536 Homers – 1509 RBI’s.

    Honus Wagner – .329 (very nice) – 101 Homers (doesn’t cut it) – RBI’s Unknown – By the way, doesn’t mean he wasn’t a top 10 player all-time. Just means though his average is nice, and he stole plenty of bases etc, there is not near the same kind of production that the 5 guys above, and A-Rod have put forth.

    Rogers Hornsby – .358 (ridiculous) – 301 Homers – 1318 RBIs. These are phenomenal numbers. But to think that ultimately A-Rod may double the numbers (other than average of course), just adds to A-Rod’s legacy and does not detract at all from Hornsby’s.

    Ruth, WIlliams, Gherig’s numbers are insane. Average is ridiculous, Homers are ridiculous, RBI’s are ridiculous.

    A-Rod will never be there in average. But RBI’s and homers he will pass them all (again, assuming he is healthy).

    If he pulls a Griffey, then the Mantle comparison will be right on point.

  20. It’s a little unfair to say Hornsby and Wagner don’t measure up because of the homers. They played in a dead-ball era. You can’t compare strictly power numbers from today. Take a look at a Baseball Prospectus stat sheet for those two, and they both hit the equivalent of over 600 homers, if you adjust their stats for all-time production.

    Which is how Hornsby has an EqA of .338

  21. Offensively Mantle was ridiculous. He had a .340 EQA which is a good ten points better than Cobb, Speaker, Mays or DiMaggio, and 15 points better than A-Rod. A-Rod will definitely have a better WARP3 and total runs above average, so it depends on whether you value longevity or peak. Speaker and Cobb have EQAs right around A-Rod’s. Hornsby’s EQA is much higher, as Noyam pointed out. I think A-Rod could end up being better than these guys, but they will certainly be in the picture.

  22. Two words why Derek Jeter makes the hall. Ozzie Smith. If a shortstop with a carrer average of .262 and a whopping 28 career homeruns gets into the hall then Derek makes it in with ease. Oh but Ozzie was a much better fielder you say! Well Ozzie had a career fielding pct. of .978. Derek is .975. Thats huge! right? Also, Ozzie played most of his career in St Louis where it was all carpeted making it much easier to field ground balls.
    Need I say more.

  23. Compare A-Rod Vs Manny

    Games—- Both at 1900+
    Hits—- Both at 2200+
    Avg lifetime—– Manny 311 to A-Rod .306
    Doubles—– Manny 470+ A-Rod 400
    RBIs—- Manny 1600+ to A-Rod 1500+
    A-Rod has 300 more at bats than Manny too.

    HR 497 to 521 A-Rod wins this one.

    I Still say I take Arod for being a 5 tool player. .
    I want Manny anytime at the plate with runners on when game is on line.

  24. Miggy will make hall of fame like Jeter.

    1550+ games ( 155 by162 is 9.7yrs of games played)

    10 full seasons+ plus 26 games year before).

    Avg .287 (The last 4 of 6 seasons .300+ avg )
    Hits 1750+ (3 x 200 hits 1 x 199)
    Doubles 341 (8 years of 30+ Doubles with highes of -40-42-50 in Balt)
    Hr 261 (8 years x 20 Hrs 4 of the 8 he had 30+)
    RBIs 1,040+ (6×100 RBIs and 3×85)

    Not many SS in HOF in 10 full season have numbers
    300+ Doubles
    1000+ RBIs
    250+HR
    1000 Double plays so fast

    5th longest games played in a row 1150+
    AL MVP
    4 X ALL star
    his 150 RBIs as a SS was most in 55 yrs (was not in MVP year it was next yr after LOL)
    2x sliver

    And for the ones that thing hes done

    Oakland he hit .300 AVG once.
    Since left in 04 for Baltimore first 3 of 4 yrs in Balt he hit .300+ AVG, He hit .296 last yr due to broken hand to bat with 2 months
    .
    Oakland he had 200 hits once since left in 04 for Balt he does it 2 more times plus missed 200 by 1 hit

    Doubles he avg 32-37 in Oakland in Balt he has had highes of 40-42-50

    Walks/Ks same

    OBP is good 350+-370 a season better than Oakland

    glove wise hes 1033 double playes

    Now last 2 teams one Balt 100 mill a year and still 90 loses and Astros started to make buzz as a good team 2000-05 but again in last on new park.

    As for MIGGY glove takes a back see for Jeter but no bum

    Jeters 1800 +games Miggy 1550+
    take alook at
    TC=total chances
    A= asst
    putouts
    doubles plays
    and then think Jeter has 300 games more too after you see

    Please when it comes time you got to let the 4-6 best hitting SS in SS history after Jeter as well
    Both have rought same statd7200 total chances

  25. Miggy will make hall of fame like Jeter.

    1550+ games ( 155 by162 is 9.7yrs of games played)

    10 full seasons+ plus 26 games year before).

    Avg .287 (The last 4 of 6 seasons .300+ avg )
    Hits 1750+ (3 x 200 hits 1 x 199)
    Doubles 341 (8 years of 30+ Doubles with highes of -40-42-50 in Balt)
    Hr 261 (8 years x 20 Hrs 4 of the 8 he had 30+)
    RBIs 1,040+ (6×100 RBIs and 3×85)

    Not many SS in HOF in 10 full season have numbers
    300+ Doubles
    1000+ RBIs
    250+HR
    1000 Double plays so fast

    5th longest games played in a row 1150+
    AL MVP
    4 X ALL star
    his 150 RBIs as a SS was most in 55 yrs (was not in MVP year it was next yr after LOL)
    2x sliver

    And for the ones that thing hes done

    Oakland he hit .300 AVG once.
    Since left in 04 for Baltimore first 3 of 4 yrs in Balt he hit .300+ AVG, He hit .296 last yr due to broken hand to bat with 2 months
    .
    Oakland he had 200 hits once since left in 04 for Balt he does it 2 more times plus missed 200 by 1 hit

    Doubles he avg 32-37 in Oakland in Balt he has had highes of 40-42-50

    Walks/Ks same

    OBP is good 350+-370

    In OAKLAND they wanted double plays
    Hrs
    RBIs
    as one of the 3 bigger batts
    Then the last team Balt was in last so he became the compete hitter that can do it all.
    Just look Avg,double,hits,extra base hits are even up.

    Now last 2 teams one Balt 100 mill a year and still 90 loses and Astros started to make buzz as a good team 2000-05 but again in last 2yrs removed from WS

    Jeters 1800 + games
    Miggy 1550+
    take alook at
    TC=total chances
    A= asst
    putouts
    doubles plays
    Miggy has more errors due to to very bad First baseman big back and Jason G both unflexabler to catch a baseball.Never a Tino like in nyc

    If he ends with ATLEAST
    .285 AVG
    1200+ runs now has 960
    2400-2600 now has 1752
    440+2B now has 341
    345+Hrs now has 261 he needs 345 he have most as SS Arod cal have 344 345 at SS
    1400 RBIs now has1043

    So 18/85/300 5 more yr hes in and 2 bigor 3 big hes for sure going
    1400+ double plays now has1033

  26. Miggy reach his 1000 runs
    Reach already 1800 hit and 65 more give 1900 hits
    350+ doubes
    265+HR
    20-23 to reach 1100th RBI
    The 155 RBIs yr after MVP was the most by a ss in 55
    Toss in
    AL MVP
    5x ALL star
    1 time AS game MVP
    HR DERBY winner
    5th longest games played streak
    over 1000+double plays

    All the
    200 hit seasons
    many 20-40 doubles Season
    Many 20-30+hrs season
    many 100 RBI 6x 3×85

    By the end hes in hall if

    Jeters in with 14th seasons is
    200+hr
    2400 hits
    1000 RBI
    in 14 yrs
    He just got the 1000 D.P turned
    1000 RBIs
    200+ all in 14th yr

  27. There should be a category for “class act”, because Jeter is one and always has been one. He’s the face of the Yankees and has represented them in a classy way. He’s the type of player that you want your kids looking up to, right? These sort of things should be considered when talking HOF. And yes, I’m serious. No, they should have more weight than numbers, the numbers are of course the most important. But if a guy is borderline on numbers, the “class act” or “face of the game” stat should push him over the edge. Just like a guy like David Wright. These guys respect the game and its history and are almost surely clean players, therefore good role models. We need more guys like this in our great game.

    And what about Mattingly!?! HOF?

  28. I would like to start by saying that i have despised the yankees for a very long time. With that being said if it were released that Derek Jeter did steroids it would destroy the way that baseball in the 90’s and early 2000’s is seen way more than any of the other players that have been named so far. After Canseco came out with his book a lot of the players that have been released were immediately under a microscope so none of them, except for maybe A-Rod and Ortiz, were a surprise to me or any of my friends. I do not believe that Jeter would be the only player that would have this effect on the league. I think that Jeter, Chipper Jones, and Greg Maddux would all have that effect but also players like Pujols, Micheal Young, Ichiro, and even Josh Beckett. I believe if any of these players that are known for their sportsmanship and integrity were named it would destroy the game!!

  29. 289 LT avg
    1100+runs
    2100+hits
    420+Doubles
    287Hrs
    1192 RBI
    3 ss ever 5 season in a row 100+RBIa
    5th longest game streak played
    a mvp
    2xss
    6xAS
    AS MVP
    for 2000 decade 4th hits 4th in rbis
    also 2123 hits 700+extra base thats 1/3

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