Rice, Andre, and My Retroactive Hall of Fame Predictions

Rob invited us to pitch in with our Hall of Fame predictions on Sunday night, but I didn't have a chance to reply until now. Here goes:

I predict Ricky Henderson will receive somewhere around 511 votes, Jim Rice will finally get in the Hall with, oh, I'll say 76.4% of the vote, and two clowns will even cast ballots for Jay Bell.

Speaking of Rice and the Hall, Dan Turkenkopf of Beyond the Box Score came up with the 10 best player comps for each of this year's leading HOF candidates.

(Turkenkopf tweaked Bill James' formula for player Similarity Scores to better account for park effects and playing era, thus the differences between the lists below and what you'll find at Baseball-Reference.com.)

Rice's comps, starting with the most similar hitter, include: 

1. Willie Horton
2. Frank Thomas
3. Ellis Burks
4. George Hendrick
5. Vic Wertz
6. Bobby Thomson
7. Roy Sievers
8. Fred Lynn
9. Andres Gallaraga
10. Gil Hodges

Here is what Turkenkopf has to say about the Rice comparisons:

Not a Hall of Famer on the list.  In case you were wondering, that's
not the Big Hurt in the number two spot.  Rice's most similar players
were all very good players, but no one really is pushing any of them
for the HOF except for Hodges.  There's been a lot of virtual ink
spilled discussing whether or not Rice deserves to be elected and I'm
not going to rehash them here, but I will say that I think Rice will be
one of the least-deserving players elected when he goes in.

Now here are Turkenkopf's 10 best comps for the guy who finished third in this year's HOF balloting, former Cub Andre Dawson:

1. Billy Williams
2. George Foster
3. Goose Goslin
4. Chuck Klein
5. Dave Parker
6. Tony Perez
7. Dave Winfield
8. Duke Snider
9. Juan Gonzalez
10. Al Simmons

And his commentary:

Dawson's top ten strongly suggests he should be elected.  However, this
is one of those cases Bill James warned about where similarity scores
can be deceiving.  All of the Hall of Famers on the list were
substantially better offensive players than Dawson.  I think Dawson is
helped by the lack of an explicit category for OBP in the sim score
one of those players who almost perfectly represents the dividing line
between the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Very Good.  He doesn't make my
Hall, but I don't begrudge any one who would vote for him.

For the record, the Dawson list includes seven Hall of Famers--Williams, Goslin, Klein, Perez, Winfield, Snider, and Simmons.

You can look up Jay Bell's  top 10 comps on your own.


Thanks, Cubnut.

And Jay Bell's comps:

1. Toby Harrah
2. Ray Durham
3. Bobby Grich
4. Benito Santiago
5. Devon White
6. Alan Trammell
7. Frank White
8. Edgar Renteria
9. Alvin Dark
10. Andre Dawson

Kidding about Dawson.

Bell's number 10 is Amos Otis.

James came up with these Comps for TL:

10. Achilles
9. Suleiman the Magnificent
8. Theresa, Mother
7. Apollo, God of the Sun
6. Floyd Bannister
5. Ted Williams
4. General George Patton
3. Mr. Universe
2. Confucius
1. Ted Lilly

Interestingly, when James tried to come up with comps for Ted's abs and biceps, none were found.

Confucius--part of the first wave of Asians to join the Major Leagues, back in the 530 B.C. season.

Couldn't get used to the harder, larger American baseball, and petered out after 2 1/2 seasons with the New York Highlanders.

I really don't like similarity scores. I think you have to be really careful about how you use them. This guy has identified some of the principal flaws, like park effects and era. They also do not factor in defense or OBP, which this guy's tweaks do not purport to fix.

Plus, I don't think enough focus goes into what the actual scores are. Scores less than, say, 900 are not all that similar. You see some players where the tenth player is above 900 and some players where the most similar player is at 875. Ron Santo's most similar player is Dale Murphy, who is at 875 (which, among other things, gives effect to a postional adjustment of minus 36 for Murphy because Santo played third and Murphy played the outfield).

Every year at Hall of Fame time the newspaper articles are full of references to similarity scores and the HOF monitor, without the writers knowing how they are calculated and what they mean. As quick and dirty measures go, I think they may have done more harm than good. Perhaps they can be helpful in being the start of an inquiry, but they're really pretty superficial.

I have to disagree about the HoF monitor, because it does measure to some degree the things that make a player famous. MVP votes, Cy Young votes, All Star games, batting titles etc.

A lot of people want to turn the hall of fame into the hall of SS's who had 8000 PA's and an OPS+ of 110, but I think that player popularity should be worked into something called 'Hall of Fame' - it's not the Hall of WARP1, after all.

i'm so looking forward to rickey's HOF speech. i hope he brings dramatic background music to play on a boombox while he speaks...that would rooooooock.

Off topic - but Braves high on Lowe. He signs. 60/4 also the fabulous Craig Monroe signs with the...



linkish on above:


A nice staff now assembled in Atlanta. They did a "Hendry" from 2007.

Frank Wren finally can get a cup of coffee.

LOL. I just got that!

*golf clap*

Oh ROB G....


Dempster still deciding about WBC, Cubs probably won't let Harden pitch


sale delayed...ever so slightly..

"sale delayed...ever so slightly.."

Wow! I am shocked!

Squeezing the last penny out...


Bud Selig delaying the process, so that his boy Canning can jump in.

Anything to help the Brewers and the White Sox!

Man, I LOATHE him, Dr.

In another signing:

I did NOT SEE this on the blog - but, Jerry Hairston, Jr. re-ups with the Reds?! Did not anyone see the significance of this??

Will the Cubs have an answer for this?


hairston's finally got his back fixed and it's a world of difference in his game.

his middle-IF days may be numbered, but he could become a hell of a #2 hitter if his back stays healthy.

for years he thought he had an untreatable back condition...last year he got a new diagnosis and got it treated. he's a much more comfortable player with the bat now.

One word: Miles.

AZ Phil:

What is the current assessment of Ascanio? Ohman and Infante were certainly usefull players last year, and it doesn't seem that Ascanio is ranked anywhere among the Cubs' top prospects.

Is he still a significant prospect, and if so, what's his ceiling?

As always, thanks for the knowledge.

Eligible players who got zip, zero, nadda..


Proposed rule change would make home teams for play-in games decided by head-to-head record rather than coin flips.



"But now teams would rather have it based on head-to-head records, records within division play, etc."

I think coin flips may be more fair. If you're playing a team six times, the chances for a 3-3 split is relatively good. Then you've got situations where a team in a tougher division gets punished. First they had to play in a tougher division and they have to play a 163rd game because of it, and then because they played in the tougher division they've got to play it on the road.

I would say for the wild card it should at least be record versus the league as the #2 tie-breaker. For a division championship the divisional record would be good.

I would agree with that vis a vis the wild card and division. I really can't think of anything more fair than head-to-head record to determine who gets the advantage of being the home team (and the extra $).

#18 of all-time broadcasters


Joe Buck #31, Milo Hamilton #32 (vomits)

Any list with Bill Walton on it, is bunk.

Bradshaw, Morgan etc...

Sort of bizarre list.

Hamilton, other than always being amazed that the strikeouts for a pitcher were coming via call or swing, was actually pretty good - Harry Caray pettiness aside.

well for the last 15 years that I've had the rare occasion to catch Milo Hamilton, he is nothing less than awful, Cubs hatred notwithstanding...

other than being incredibly dull, he misses a ton of the game on the radio.....

Brickhouse # 13


totally missed him...whoops.

at least they gave bob costas his props.

damn you NBC and damn you bob for taking their money.

i miss him calling baseball games. hope he had fun calling olympic men's water polo at 3am in the morning for the 20 people that followed it.

Back on topic.

Dawson was generally accepted to be a Hall of Famer as his career wound down. That's one of the criteria that I've never been able to get an answer on about Santo. My dad says he wasn't.

Hard to think back that far, but I would agree with your dad. More than Williams, Banks, and Jenkins, who all had such clear HOF qualifications, I think Santo suffered from the stink of 1969. Later he was known for being the first or one of the first guys to invoke a player's no-trade clause (the "Santo Clause") when the Cubs tried to trade him to the Angels and eventually he had that ugly final season with the White Sox. In other words, not a Hall of Fame wind-down by any means.

Santo retired years before I was born, but from what I understand, his showboating (or hot-dogging, if he was hypocritically describing a modern-day celebratory Cubs opponent) was a sticking point for a lot of people. It's been said that's why there's been some opposition to the outside-the-lines aspects of his candidacy (along with the shameless self-promoting).

And in all seriousness, clicking your heels is absolutely one of the lamest ways to celebrate in the history of baseball and the Western world.

I believe the story was that he did it once and then Durocher kept telling him to do it during home victories....


there's a longer version of that story somewhere that I know I've read...

Silly Cubnut. I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no Santo Claus.

In my recollection he constantly hit into DPs. I used to root for a strikeout by Ronny to give the next guy a chance. But I was a kid, maybe that wasn't fair.

It's also my recollection that Santo heard a few boos at Wrigley. Those were less common back then.

Not very athletic but he had the softest hands, and could have fielded a smash cleanly with a ping-pong paddle instead of a glove. His reputation in the field was not helped by Brooks Robinson's playing at the same time.

he was?

my recollection was of a guy that stuck around 5 yrs too long trying to get 500 HR's or 3,000 hits....

rafeal palmeiro? fred mcgriff?

...poor fred mcgriff...

and yes, i know these are baaaaad examples...just "fun"...

if palm would have just walked away 1 year earlier rather than getting caught up in roid-gate it might not be so bad on him. he had to get that 3000th hit, though.

designated for assignment by the Rays...

7.39 ERA so far as a major leaguer...karma's a bitch.

Does Iowa need more pitching?

Maybe, but I would advise against it for the betterment of our winged bretheren.

unless he's wanting to go home or simply broken down he might be an option for hendry.

hendry loves those athletic types and ryu is a hell of an athlete who's gotten bigger and stronger since he left the cubs...too bad that's about all that's gone right, though.

That'd be awesome. I miss Ryu. Hadoken!!!

chances are he just clears waivers and stays with the Rays...

But a boy can dream, Rob. A boy can dream.

probably...they'd love to have him back in durham.

Submitted by Seamhead on Tue, 01/13/2009 - 1:41pm.

AZ Phil: What is the current assessment of Ascanio? Ohman and Infante were certainly usefull players last year, and it doesn't seem that Ascanio is ranked anywhere among the Cubs' top prospects. Is he still a significant prospect, and if so, what's his ceiling? As always, thanks for the knowledge.


SEAMHEAD: Jose Ascanio is one of the top two or three closers in the Venezuelan Winter League (1.17 WHIP/.194 OBA) and I have him in my Top 20 Cubs prospects for 2009 (I only listed my Top 15 here). Right now his future would probably be as an MLB middle reliever (if he stays with the Cubs), but he could be an 8th inning guy or a closer with another club.

Ascanio is only 23 (he'll turn 24 in May) and last year was his first season in AAA, so it's not like he's a 4-A guy. His brother was killed in a car crash in mid-season last year and so he was away from the I-Cubs for a couple of weeks because of that, and he's had back problems throughout his career, so (like Sam Fuld) he mainly just needs to stay healthy.

The problem for Ascanio (and for Jeff Stevens and Kevin Hart, too) ref 2009 is that the Cubs have three RHRP bullpen candidates who are out of minor league options (Chad Gaudin, Michael Wuertz, and Angel Guzman), while Ascanio gets a 4th minor league option in 2009. But the Iowa Cubs should have one outstanding bullpen in 2009, with some combination of Hart, Ascanio, and Stevens likely pitching 7-8-9, Rocky Roquet will be there, too, and Roquet is another late-inning RHRP with upside. 

AZ Phil:

Might they have Hart starting at Iowa, or is he locked in as a reliever this year?

Submitted by Charlie on Tue, 01/13/2009 - 6:44pm.

AZ Phil: Might they have Hart starting at Iowa, or is he locked in as a reliever this year?


CHARLIE: If the Iowa Cubs bullpen is really stacked, then Kevin Hart could be in the I-Cubs starting rotation with Jeff Samardzija, Mitch Atkins, Randy Wells, J. R. Mathes, Justin Berg, and/or Esmailin Caridad.

Hart certainly has the stamina to start, although he was "lights out" as the Iowa closer in 2008, and then he pitched well out of the bullpen the last month of the season with the Cubs (especially the last two weeks).

Too bad the I-Cubs don't seem to have too many strong position players--that pitching staff would be wicked in AAA.

Wait...Dawson hung around too long, absolutely...but he wasn't near 500 HR, or near enough 3000 hits to say that's why he was ghanging around

His last year with the Cubs, at age 37, he hit .277/.316/.456, with 22 HR, and 90 RBI. He DH'd with Boston, where he sholda realized he was done after 1993, but hung around to play parts of 3 seasons. If he'd have retired after 1993, he wuold have had 399 HR, and 1492 RBI's, with a .281 batting average.

I can see he came back to get 400 HR's, but a player would have to be clinically delusional at that point to think he could get another 100 HR's the way he was playing. or 370 hits. (from totals after 1993 season)

he's a professional athlete that was use to playing at a high level....

obviously I can't speak exactly to Dawson's mindset, but it's more likely that he thought he would bounce back at any moment and the last year or two with Chicago or Boston were an aberration.  He certainly wasn't playing for Florida to win a title.

if he had played 130 games or more in '93 or '94, he would have probably been right on the cusp of 3000 hits.

Well if he had Rob..if.

I just don't think he was trying to get to 500 or 3000...sometimes it's just hard to let go of something you've done for so long, even harder to realize it's for the best.

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