Guru, I would have no problem with your thoughts, except I look in the hall of fame and see McGwire is more talented, not to mention more influential (transcendent, if you will), than many of the people there. Some examples:
Lou Brock(1961-1979)- Average hitter at the peak of his career (.293 career average, 149 home runs) but he stole a lot of bases (938) at a time when stolen bases were common. Much like McGwire's home run hitting.
Al Lopez(1928; 1930-1947)(manager, 1951-1969)- .261 average, 1500 hits, 52 home runs. In 18 years, he had a managerial qinning percentage of .584. He is in the Hall because he played more games (to that time) at catcher than anyone else.
Ralph Kiner(1946-1955)- .279 average, 369 home runs, 1015 RBI, 1451 hits. But he won 7 straight HR titles.
Jackie Robinson(1947-1956)- I list him only to show that there ARE people in there because of their influence on the game and little else. Robinson's numbers (.311, 137, 1518 hits, 734 RBI) are good but hardly spectacular.
George Kell(1943-1957)- .306, 78 HR, 870 RBI, 2054 hits. But he was a good fielder for his time. His record fielding percentage for third basemen has been eclipsed by six players.
Red Schoendienst(1945-1963)- .289, 84 HR, 773 RBI, 2450 hits. Basically here because he was the best fielding second basemen of the 1950's.
Enos Slaughter(1938-1959)- .300, 169 HR, 1304 RBI, 2383 hits. Here because he "hustled." You know, ran hard all the time.
Dizzy Dean(1930; 1932-1941)- Hard to compare a pitcher to Big Mac, but Dean (150 wins, 83 losses, 3.02 ERA) is a similar case. He would have probaably gone on to win 300 games, but he broke his toe in the 1937 all star game and never recovered. His career was cut short by an injury, and we can only imagine what his final numbers would have been.
It's hard for me to argue that Brock shouldn't be in the Hall. He was the career leader in steals until Rickey obliterated it... and I think that is an important category. I would argue that career records are more important than season records.
The other guys - I'm not familiar with them to make a case against or for and I don't have the time to research this - so I will end my involvement with a shrug.
In my opinion, to be in the Hall, you need to be either the best of all time, or one of the best of all time in a category.
Brock was the best of all time of stolen bases... Jackie Robinson was the first of something - and it was an important something. I'm sure the guy that threw the first curveball or splitfinger is probably in the hall too.
The argument for McGwire would be his home run pace. I guess that may be good enough. I personally think that stat is tainted, so I don't give it the weight that you do. I don't credit McGwire for saving baseball in 1998 - I think it took the hard work of many owners and many general managers to get a product that people were interested in. The Padres had 2.5 million fans that season, coming off of a last place finish, and McGwire was only here for 6 games that year I believe. The other 2.3 million fans watched other teams play.
Again - I'm probably done with this argument It comes down to the fact that the stats that you feel are important are not stats that I feel carry as much weight now.
Of course if Rickey starts a game this year, Mac probably makes it in first ballot anyway
Well, one more thing Guru: it just occurred to me that you are saying he is Hall bound, but not first ballot (right?). In that case, you might have an argument. I was simply saying he should be in the hall, the first ballot doesn't really matter, IMO.
Also- first curveballer was Candy Cummings, and yes he is in the hall.
Man, talk about inconsistent I originally stated that I thought he was a lock, then I started arguing against it, then I went back to I don't think he's a first ballot candidate.
So. I do think he will make it. I don't think he makes the first ballot unless Cal, Tony, and Rickey also make it (or if Rickey starts a game this year and is not eligible).
He's probably my fourth pick to go in of those guys... but I can see how it would be possible to leave him out forever. If, in the next 5 years, someone hits 70 for three of those years, how impressive is McGwire then?
//edit: Not necessarily the same guy doing 70 each year, but if the 70 mark isn't as impossible to hit as we thought it would be in 1998
This is ridiculous. Before power numbers became inflated, McGwire was still hitting them out! How many pitchers through over 90 mph fifty years ago? How many pitchers hit 100 mph twenty years ago? The quality of pitching is much higher today, despite the watering down of expansion. Plus the idea of the bullpen has only come into play for about twenty years now. Back in the 40s and 50s you would face a pitcher 3 or 4 times. There were no righty lefty situational matchups. Today you're lucky to face the same pitcher twice! Do I even have to bring up that baseball records should not count pre-1947? We are in a golden age of baseball and I think that should make McGwire's achievements hold more weight.
If, in the next 5 years, someone hits 70 for three of those years, how impressive is McGwire then?
So, if a few people pass Ricky Henderson's stolen base record, is it less impressive?
So, if a few more people top 700 home runs, does Babe Ruth's legend diminish?
So, if...you get the point.
Something must be said for being the FIRST to do it. In track, a four minute mile is an accomplishment to be proud of, but is not exactly rare anymore. However, the man who first accomplished it (Roger Bannister) is a legend among those who care about these sorts of things, while the second (John Landy) did it just one month later, beating Bannister's time, but nobody remembers him.
Originally posted by Guru ZimIn my opinion, to be in the Hall, you need to be either the best of all time, or one of the best of all time in a category.
I would like to add one more qualification, and probably the most important qualification, that you have to be one of the best players during your era.
By that token, I put McGwire in the Hall. Granted home runs aren't what they used to be, but he still hit more than 50 4 years in a row.
For your all time record, I believe he has the fewest AB/HR ratio.
And if homeruns mean less now, do ERA's from the 1960's matter less? I don't remember anyone questioning whether Bob Gibson was a Hall of Famer....
Before looking at the statistics, I didn't want to put McGwire in. I remember his rookie season, and then becoming a Rob Deer type player for a while (lotsa home runs, really bad average), eventually being traded to St. Louis where he became good again. Which is the case, for the most part, except that he was the best player in the game for the above 4 seasons.
I always said that McGwire should get in after Maris. Maris was the HR king, and should be in. Maris had 2 MVP's to McGwire's none. But Maris' career doesn't cut it. He was a great player for 2 years, a good player for 3/4 others. That's not a HOF'er. McGwire was a great player for about 7 years. With the records he held/holds, that's good enough for me.
"Disillusioned words like bullets bark as human gods aim for their mark Made everything from toy guns that spark to flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark It's easy to see without looking too far That not much is really sacred." - Bob Dylan
A few notes on those listed in comparison to McGwire re:HOF
Lou Brock: Don't forget he also topped 3000 hits, which was (and still is) a big HOF benchmark.
Al Lopez: I think he's really in the hall for his managing (being the only non-Yankee manager to win the AL in the 50s) than his catching.
Red Schoendienst: More for his managing and "contributions to baseball" I imagine.
Ralph Kiner: Total numbers are low, but averages per year are amazing for the time.
Enos Slaughter: 22 years and a .300 average? Sounds like HOF. Was helped because of his "three-bases-on-a-single" World Series play in '46, plus the fact he was still a fairly useful played for the Yankees at the end of his career.
George Kell: I was told by someone that he got in because there were so few true third baseman in the Hall. No one seems to squawk about him being in, so....
I can't compare pitchers to hitters here, so i won't.
McGwire's case is probably similar to Kiner's if you compare generations and numbers.
I think you get on a very slippery slope when you start comparing players that are already in the Hall to those that might be enshrined. By using this "lowest common denominator" theory, then nearly every player will get in since there are some very questionable players in the Hall. Go check out the list. There are literally dozens of players elected by the Veterans Committee that have no business being there.
So, be very careful, when comparing current players to HOFers. You may get Frank Duffy enshrined since he was as good as Rabbit Maranville.
He's Rolie Polie Olie - and in his world of curves and curls, he's the swellest kid around.
All three of Ripken, McGwire, and Gwynn should and will go in on the first ballot. Rickey should and will go in five years after he retires, whenever that is. Raines deserves to make it, but will likely never be elected because he played in a relatively low-offense era and because he played in Montreal (if Gary Carter has problems, that means to me that Raines probably doesn't make it at all). And that's all I've got to say about that ;)