Monday, May 03, 2004
A few weeks ago, someone in the blogosphere (I was thinking it was Jeff, but I couldn't find it in his archives, so maybe it was someone else) in passing mentioned the Hall of Fame Monitor scores on Baseball Reference and Albert Belle's score of 134.5. A score of over 100 means "likely Hall-of-Famer," so statistically, this means Belle should be a lock. The author of the post expressed surprise at this. A long-running argument of Pete's and mine is Belle's HOF worthiness, so I wanted to comment, even if it is a little bit late.
From the years 1992-1999, Albert Belle was one of the best few hitters in baseball. The players of comparable offensive value over that time period fall into three categories:
|Ken Griffey Jr.|
No one (at least no one that matters) would argue against the HOF candidacy of any of the above men. Just look at those numbers (and Piazza's a catcher!). Griffey and Bonds are two of the best outfielders ever, McGwire one of the greatest sluggers, and Piazza is probably the best hitting catcher ever.
The Argument Could Certainly Be Made:
We've heard the case for Edgar, and Thomas's follows a similar line of logic. I'd vote for both, but that's just me.
And now the final category (at least in terms of the voters' perception), with only one entry:
Stupid Jerk-Heads That Had No Business Playing This Game In The First Place:
The only difference between Belle and the others is his rep. If he wasn't such a gaping asshole, we'd all be really sad that his career was cut short and be forecasting what his career numbers would have been with a couple more years of big league service. Speaking simply as a Mariners fan, I hid my eyes when Belle came up in his prime. Especially if Jeff Nelson was on the hill. Belle hit in the neighborhood of 8 thousand jacks against Nellie, travelling an average distance of 893.83 feet.
Albert Belle seemed to hate everybody equally -- teammates, umpires, opponents, fans, hot dog vendors, etc. Kind of like the drill sargeant in Full Metal Jacket. His anger seemed to fuel his fire, though. The only other player I can think of that played better with a chip on his shoulder was probably Jackie Robinson. Granted, Jackie's motivation was a wee bit more noble. The question that bears asking is: How much does attitude matter? For every voter, the answer is a little different. For me, if I had a vote, I'd leave Albert Belle on the outside looking in.
EDIT 10:46 AM -- Sorry about all that space between the tables. No idea why that happens, or how to fix it.
EDIT 12:14 PM, 5/5/04 -- Thanks for all the suggestions on repairing my tables. Much appreciated to all who responded so quickly.