Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lenny Harris for the Hall

David Ortiz says he's going to retire in about a year, so in the spirit of putting up Christmas decorations on November 1, it's time for Hall of Fame arguments.

I don't know if Ortiz should be in the Hall. Craig Calcaterra thinks he should be. He may well be right, but in mounting his argument he strung together some impressively illogical blithering about whether all of Ortiz' designated hittering should factor into it. I quote the entirety of the "The Designated Hitter Factor" section of his piece (except for the end).
He has played a mere 277 of his 2,257 career games in the field, spending the rest of his time as a designated hitter. 
The notion, however, that just because one has zero defensive value means one has no Hall of Fame case is silly.
No one is arguing that, right? Well, I'm sure you could find someone who refuses to consider DHs for the Hall, but this is certainly not engaging the real argument.

Baseball players' offensive output is graded on a curve. 300 home runs from a catcher means more than it does from a first baseman, right? Then it follows that those same dingers from a DH mean even less.
The DH has been part of the game for 43 seasons. It is not some novelty anymore.
OK. So? This is not an argument.
Relief pitchers are routinely inducted to the Hall of Fame now and they are specialists too. Many — specifically, one-inning closers — are the sorts of specialists that have only existed since the 1980s, really. If no one knocks them for not being all-around players no one should knock the DH.
Things that are different are different. Is this an argument that people should like the DH, or an argument that being a DH should have no bearing on a player's candidacy? Either way is dumb.
And the fact is that, with the possible exception of Edgar Martinez — who should be in the Hall of Fame in my view — David Ortiz has been the greatest (mostly) full-time DH in baseball history.
This is begging the question - "Ortiz is the best at something, so he's a HOFer." Being the best thing something - anything - is not a criterion for election. Being the best hitter or pitcher gets you in, sure. But it doesn't work for the best pinch hitter or defensive first baseman or third base coach.
It’s also the case that Paul Molitor and Frank Thomas would not likely have lasted long enough or produced enough as players to make the Hall of Fame without the aid of the DH as well.
Then it seems like the voters have already managed to factor designated hitting into Hall of Fame candidacies, huh?

What I suppose Calcaterra is doing is arguing against the ideological anti-DH case for keeping Ortiz out of the Hall. In doing so, he ignores more reasonable arguments, which I guess makes it a lot easier for him.

No comments: