Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Monday, December 10, 2018

Smith and Baines - Chicago Connections

Baines batted seven times against Lee Smith.  He was 2-for-5 with two walks and no RBIs or homers.  Both spent lots of time in Chicago so I was very interested in their selection to the Hall of Fame today by the Today's Game Era Committee.  I was also surprised to see that they were teammates in Baltimore in 1994.

Baines was on the Hall of Fame ballot for five years.  He never received more than 33 votes - 539 ballots were cast that year.  That's barely 6% of the vote when 75% was needed for induction.  He was dropped for not getting enough consideration.

Smith was on the ballot for the maximum 15 years.  He got lots of consideration each year wth his range of votes being between 150 and 290.  That range varied be

tween 30% and 50.6%.

Why the difference?  Baines accrued solid numbers since he played so long, but he managed 384 career homers without ever getting more than 29 in a season.  He exceeded 100 RBIs in three of 22 seasons.  He led the league only once in one category - slugging percentage.  Baines had MVP votes in four seasons.  He finished 9th, 10th, 13th and 20th.

Baines had a great reputation with the White Sox and he's still a big part of their organization.  I happy for him, but is this smaller committee going to compare future nominees to Baines?  That puts a lot more guys in and I'm okay with that. 

Lee Smith was at one point the all-time career leader in saves.  I was all for his entry into the Hall of Fame because he was a league leader.  He led the league in saves four times,   In all four of those seasons he finished in the top-10 in the Cy Young voting - he finished 2nd (to Tom Glavine who I'd not been a fan of since he actively spoke during the 1994 strike), 4th, 5th and 9th.  He also got MVP votes in four different seasons, finishing as high as 8th. 

Baines had a card in the 1983 Kellogg's baseball card set.  Here is an image that I took for an uncut sheet of 16 cards.  Smith was just a bit too late to get included because he first led the league in saves in 1983.






9 comments:

  1. I'm all for Lee Smith's induction. You outlined his credentials and I think he's worthy. As for Baines...I'm really dumbfounded. As much as I think he was a nice guy, etc, etc, his numbers are not close to being Hall numbers. How can they keep out Hodges, Dick Allen, Fred McGriff, etc with Baines in?

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  2. The list of guys who are not going to be kept out when compared to Baines in quite large. I'm rooting for some of them.

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  3. I've got mixed feelings about Baines getting in. I'm happy for him and White Sox fans... but like you mentioned it's really opened the door for Hall of Very Good players. Well... at least you know Edgar will be getting in sooner or later.

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  4. This is a hard one to figure... He did play for 22 years. But his stats put him WAY below most of the outfielders in the HOF. Ross Youngs who played from 1917-1926 is the closest to him statistically. Then there are a bunch of guys not in between Youngs and King Kelly, Sam Thompson and Chuck Klein. Guys I'm rooting for would be Kirk Gibson, Johnny Callison (Dad's favorite player) and Roger Maris (not a Yankee fan but I think he was a good guy.)

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  5. One more comment - RBIs are a misleading statistic - if people don't get on base in front of you you don't get RBIs. It's more of a team offensive statistic. Of course you have to hit when people are on base. But still... seems like a team stat. I feel the same way about ERA. Unless a pitcher is striking everyone out, it's also about the positioning of fielders and how well they make plays...

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  6. Great thoughts. Sure, stats can be misleading a bit. Check out Orel Hershiser from 1988 and 1989 - not a big difference between leading the league in wins one year and losses the next year.

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  7. Baines is 20th all-time in games played, and he averaged more than a hit a game. He also played much of his career at Comiskey, which is where power didn't just simply go to die, but went extinct. Also, without the strikes, he would have had 3000 hits. If you're really beholden to stats, look who his comps are. I'm happy he got in, but he's still pretty marginal. Dave Parker, Dick Allen, and Dale Murphy belong.

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    1. I just checked and I am surprised how many players have over 2000 hits but have more games that hits. I will post that since it will read better.

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  8. I'm not against him getting in, but guys like Minnie Minoso were amazing after their playing days were over. My concern about Baines was really about the other guys who are waiting, some of whom you've mentioned. It's not as special when guys get in posthumously.

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