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2016 HOF Debate: Garret Anderson

Last year, we did our first ever debate on where we tackled the Hall of Fame merit of twenty-four men who are on the Hall of Fame ballot, in what was in our opinion the most loaded ballot in our lifetime.

Since it was so much fun last time, we thought we would do it again!

One thing that has not changed is the number.  We will again debate twenty-four men who are on the ballot.

What has changed are the ones debating.  Last year I had the pleasure of having DDT, the curator of DDT’s Pop Flies blog and D.K. of the Phillies Archivist blog.  This year, Spheniscus, who has participated in past Rock and Roll discussions, will be joining me.

Chairman: Sometimes I just don’t know any better.

I know that Garret Anderson is not going to go to Cooperstown without a ticket.  However, this is a guy who had over 2,500 Hits in Major League Baseball and while that is not a number that makes people salivate, I think it is still one hell of an accomplishment and one that makes him worth a deeper look; even though I know this is a one and done candidate. 

Spheniscus: I agree that he is never probably getting in, but I give him a shot of sticking around at least a year on the ballot. But I do have to say coming into this, I expected him to have better numbers than he actually does. 

We are both AL East fans, so our exposure to Anderson was limited to maybe nine games a year. But it seemed that every time the Red Sox were out in Anaheim, Anderson just killed us. He is 5th on the ballot in hits, behind only Bonds, Griffey, Sheffield, and Raines. He is also 9th in RBIs. That is where the good news for him ends.
Using the HOFm metric, created by Bill James, Anderson is 24th of the 32 players on this ballot. He is behind other first timers like Billy Wagner and Brad Ausmus. He never walked much and his OPS is well behind guys like Mike Sweeney and Troy Glaus. Hell, he actually has a lower WAR than Randy Winn, who probably needs a ticket, an ID, and a copy of his birth certificate to get into the Hall.

So no, he’s not getting in. But he does have 2,500 hits. And his similar are guys like
Steve Garvey, Dave Parker, and Bernie Williams, which may hold some sway for some people. Ultimately, if Nomar can get 5% last year it is entirely possible that Anderson could get 5% this year. But I put his chances at around well, 5% of that happening.

Committee Chairman:  I loved the Steve Garvey reference.  When I was going through his stats, I kept having the same thought process.  Garvey had seven seasons batting over .300 but his highest On Base Percentage was .361.  Anderson hit .300 five times and his highest OBP was .345.  This stat matters. 

When I was a kid, walks were met with polite applause from the crowd and for a missed pitch with no real action involved, a savvy baseball crowd (which is more and more the case) gives a bigger reaction because they appreciate the impact.  Anderson’s low OBP is a turn off and a big one at that.

Spheniscus: Not to get back to the Red Sox again, but the lack of appreciation for walks is why Wade Boggs was not nearly as beloved as he should have been in Boston. Boggs was a man ahead of his time, a modern stats darling. A man who we all hated every time he took a walk in a big spot rather than swinging the bat. Doesn’t he know how good he is? Why is he leaving it to Marty Barrett all the time? We didn’t know any better. We do now. And consequently the Sox just announced that they are retiring his number (after such luminaries as: Wes Chamberlain, Lee Tinsley, Alejandro Pena, Aaron Sele, Chris Snopek, Orlando Merced, Rob Staniford, Sean Berry, Lou Merloni, Freddy Sanchez, Ramiro Mendoza, Scott Podsednik, and Brock Holt have worn in the intervening years).

Anderson would have had a better chance of getting in when Garvey was on the ballot than he does now. Back when walks were unmanly. And unlike Garvey, he is probably not going to stay on this ballot for 15 years and certainly never getting over 40% of the vote. His OBP is WTL (way too low). Like Garvey, he is not getting in without a ticket.

So what is your prediction for Anderson? Would you vote for him and what percentage does he get?

Chairman:  Never apologize for bringing it back to the Red Sox!  I have to say that because I am always going to bring it back to the Blue Jays! 

He doesn’t get my vote, and not because of the crowded ballot.  I just don’t see him in the elite, and I think the voters will agree.  Prediction: 1.4% of the ballot, and that is very generous!

Spheniscus: That seems a little low. While he is a no for me on this list, there are approximately 550 voters. That means only 8 would vote for Anderson? Eh… there have to be at least that many homers from the Anaheim area right? Man, looking at it he’s probably not getting much more than that. But let’s round up. I give him 10 votes, which is approximately 1.8%. Thanks for playing Garret! You get Hall of Fame votes as your parting gift. Very few players can say that.

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