Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Why is Larkin in HOF and Trammell Isn't?
But I’m not talking about MY idea of the Hall of Fame today. I’m talking about the actual one. And the fact that Barry Larkin made it in with 86.4% of the vote and Alan Trammell only got 36.8% is ridiculous and makes no sense. If you’re going to let a very good, but not great, player like Larkin in, then Trammell should be enshrined right next to him. They were practically the same player, for crissakes.
So the question is, why is Larkin such a favorite of the voters, while Trammell might as well be Joe Blow? Well, let’s try and figure that out.
Regular Season Stats
Larkin has better offensive numbers than Tram in almost every category. Quite simply, Larkin was the better offensive player. But not by THAT much. Trammell, however, had better defensive numbers. For the record, let’s run through a bunch of lifetime stats for comparison.
Average: Larkin .295, Trammell .285
Home Runs: Larkin 198, Trammell 185
RBI: Trammell 1003, Larkin 960
WAR: Larkin 68.9, Trammell 66.9
Offensive WAR: Larkin 66.6, Trammell 59.4
Defensive WAR: Trammell 7.5, Larkin 2.3
OBP: Larkin .371, Trammell .352
SLG: Larkin .444, Trammell .415
OPS: Larkin .815, Trammell .767
OPS+: Larkin 116, Trammell 110
Total Bases: Larkin 3527, Trammell 3442
Hits: Trammell 2365, Larkin 2340
Doubles: Larkin 441, Trammell 412
Triples: Larkin 76, Trammell 55
Stolen Bases: Larkin 379, Trammell 236
Walks: Larkin 939, Trammell 850
Fielding Percentage: Trammell .977, Larkin .975
So offensively, Trammell only tops Larkin in hits and RBI. Tram played 20 seasons and had 8288 at bats. Larkin played 19 and had 7937 trips to the dish. So they’re pretty even there and even in every statistical category with the exception of Larkin’s sizable OPS and SB advantages. But I really don’t see many crusty old white guys (aka Hall voters) making OPS the deciding factor in who they do or don’t vote for. Thus, we need to forget these regular season numbers when trying to figure out why Barry’s in and Tram is out.
Both men won a World Series title. So that can’t be it. How did they perform in when it really mattered?
Larkin: 17 games, .338 Avg, 0 HR, 3 RBI
Trammell: 13 games, .333 Avg, 3 HR, 11 RBI
Yikes. Tram’s got him beat there. Plus he was the MVP of the ’84 World Series. Larkin, in the postseason, was the MVP of jack and shit. So the playoffs are out in why Larkin gets the nod, it seems. I guess deciding the greats of the game on postseason success only counts in football and Derek Jeter.
America likes their sporting heroes to be handsome. From the days of Teddy Baseball and Joe D up to now with Tom Brady and Lord Jeter, the pretty boy players tend to get more coverage on TV and in the media.
Larkin is a good looking guy. He meets the criteria for what a baseball star is SUPPOSED to look like. Trammell, however, has a pockmarked complexion that more resembles the ass of the average Brandon Inge fan than that of a sports hero. Alan looks like a white version of the singer, Seal. Thus, I began to think that Barry’s appearance might have given him an edge with voters. (Notthatthere’sanythingwrongwiththat???)
Then I saw this picture on Deadspin of Larkin.
Also, since both players spent their entire careers in mid-market cities in the Midwest, their looks were probably irrelevant. They were ignored in the national media for not playing in New York, LA, or Boston. Perhaps they should have done cartwheels and backflips like Ozzie Smith did to get noticed.
I’ve argued that Trammell’s numbers have been hurt by the fact that he was injured so much during his career. Was Larkin a healthier guy, thus putting up better numbers? Not really. Tram played more than 120 games in 12 of his 20 seasons. Larkin only did it in 10 of 19. This is just another factor that I see in the men that make them equals, not separate. I just wanted to establish that before moving on.
I have a feeling we are going to get our answer here and it’s going to piss off anyone that roots for men wearing the Old English D.
Gold Gloves: Trammell 4, Larkin 3
Silver Sluggers: Larkin 9, Trammell 3
All Star Games: Larkin 12, Trammell 6
MVP Awards: Larkin 1, Trammell 0
Well, there you have it, I think. Larkin’s got a lot of fancy Cub Scout badges there compared to Trammell. I think this is where the voters have looked in deciding Larkin is an immortal and Trammell is an also-ran.
By the way, the voters are all fucking jackoffs.
Trammell played the majority his career in the same league with Cal Ripken, Tony Fernandez, and Robin Yount as his contemporaries. Larkin had light-hitting, overrated showoff Ozzie Smith and a bunch of scrubs like Jeff Blauser in his league. Larkin was going to win Silver Sluggers and All Star Appearances by default. Trammell was up against much higher competition. I’d love to see how many Sluggers and ASG appearances Tram would have wound up with if he played for, say, the Cubs.
And the MVP? Fuck and you, voters. Let’s look at Larkin’s MVP season up against Trammell’s 1987 when he got jobbed out of the award in favor of George Bell.
1995 MVP Barry Larkin: .319 Avg, 15 HR, 66 RBI
1987 non-MVP Alan Trammell: .343 Avg, 28 HR, 105 RBI
So shove that MVP award up your ass if that’s what you used to decide on your vote. (As an aside, in 1995, Colorado's Dante Bichette hit .340 with 40 homers and 128 RBI, somehow losing to Larkin. Are you serious, bro?)
Overall, once again, in my pig-headed view of what the Hall of Fame should be, neither man makes the cut. They were both very good players that had their numbers hurt by injuries and perhaps the eras they played the majority of their careers in. I want my Hall of Famers to be standing ovations, not polite golf claps.
But in what constitutes the actual Hall of Fame? The fact that Larkin makes it by such a big number and Trammell isn’t even close?
That’s a load of shit. I hate baseball writers more than childhood cancer sometimes.