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James: Gooden, Cone, and Guidry Belong in HOF

By Mike Silva ~ February 24th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, Sabermetrics, Statistical Analysis.

Bill James is at it again, this time stirring debate on a new way of evaluating pitchers in the Hall of Fame.

The Bill James Gold Mine 2010 compares starting pitchers across history. I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of it, you can read it for yourself, but essentially its system that measures every pitcher against their peers, and creates a top-10 starting pitcher list for every baseball season. These top-10 lists are then adjusted based on the number of teams in the league at that time and what he calls “historic season bonus points.”

James study concludes that 43 “historic season bonus points” puts an individual in the Hall of Fame. Three local pitchers that are currently not in the Hall, but according to James new calculation should be, are:

Doc Gooden: 59 points

David Cone: 60 points

Ron Guidry: 60 points

What I find interesting is James is throwing away total numbers completely and looking at individual seasons. There is nothing wrong with this, but I believe the Hall of Fame is a combination of historic seasons, consistency, and longevity. The final one is subjective since longevity can take on many different meanings.

All three of those pitchers had stretches of historic seasons. For Gooden, a majority of his points came from 1984-1990, with 9 of his points coming from his 1985 performance. Cone had his own breakout season in 1988, but its puzzling how his performances from 1989-1992 didn’t garner more victories. A young Cone often would have “one bad inning” or implode at the wrong time. That changed after his Mets days as Cone become a better all around pitcher later in his career.

The one pitcher that James goes into depth about is Ron Guidry. He was a late starter, as he didn’t really establish himself till age 26, and had about an 8 year period of elite pitching. His total performance doesn’t stake up against most Hall of Fame candidates, but James correctly points out that his numbers are very similar to Lefty Gomez who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. He points out that Guidry’s 1978 season was so good that many are disappointed by his performances after because of it. In short, Guidry is a victim of his own success! The same could be said for Doc Gooden after 1985. Only 12 pitchers have perfect scores under James point system, two of them are Doc Gooden in 85′ and Guidry in 78′. Just goes to show you have great those seasons were.

Some other individuals that score Hall of Fame worthy on James analysis are Curt Schilling, Orel Hershiser, Jack Morris, and Mike Mussina. As a matter of fact, Mussina is ranked as the 15th best pitcher of all time in this study- amazing! Active pitchers such as Roy Halladay, Pedro Martinez, and Johan Santana already have done enough to earn induction.

Great work by Bill James as he gives us another way to evaluate the Hall of Fame. One in which both Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris have the credentials to be inducted.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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1 Response to James: Gooden, Cone, and Guidry Belong in HOF

  1. Juke Early

    This is the first time I’ve agreed w/James since he came out from under a Kansas haystack holding a fistful of mimeographed sheets of paper. Naturally ending up with the Bosux, ended any respect I had for him.

    He’s right now though. Just as long as the next peep isn’t about Bill “Too Much Space Between My Ears Man” Lee making this a foursome.

    BTW Mike - that town in Alabama - it’s pronounced
    Mo - Beel. And Norfolk is Nor -Fick. One more time - I’m begging somebody to EQ the podcasts. It’s Howard at 5 and Mike goes to 11!

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