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HoF debate: Kirby Puckett

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Postby ukrneal » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:19 pm

The issue for me is that the stats only get you so far. I would not choose to set cutoffs or something like that (which some people seem to have in their heads).

In the case of Puckett, he was the unquestioned leader of his team and he was able to take them to two rings. He put up great numbers and did the most important stuff right. He played the game right and he was not a huge ego (in the bad sense). He differs from many teams in that he didn't have the tremendous supporting cast that some other teams had (Yankees, Reds, etc.). Take Bench out, you still have Morgan, Perez, Rose. Take out Jeter, you still have Arod, Giambi, Abreu. Take out Puckett, you've got Hrbk, and..um...? Anyway, I'm glad he's in.
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Postby joshheines » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:46 pm

I wanna put this to bed, but I can't. I respect Puckett as much as I respect Mattingly. However, the thing they have in common is that they don't belong in the Hall. It just cheapens the Hall to me.

You asked who Puckett had on his team? Well, on 1987 he had Hrbek, Gaetti and Brunansky. By nearly every metric and stat, Hrbek had a better year than Puckett did. All Gaetti and Brunansky did was hit 30 HR, drive in nearly 100 RBI each and had a SLG of about .485-.490. Hrbek had a 141 OPS+, Gaettei had an OPS+ of 101 and Brunansky had an OPS+ of 117. Puckett had an OPS+ of 117. That team had some decent pitchers by the name of Bert Blyleven and Frank Viola. Not too mention Jeff Reardon in the pen.

On 1991, the team might have been better. The primary catcher on that team, Brian Harper posted a .311 AVG and a 111 OPS +. Hrbek was strong again posting a 125 OPS+. Puckett as always was good with a 119 OPS+. A guy I don't remember by the name of Shane Mack posted a 141 OPS+ along with a .310 AVG and .529 SLG. Then Chili Davis had a 140 OPS+. And, again, not like the 1991 Twins were hurting for pitching with JAck Morris, Kevin Tapani and a young Scott Erikson. Those 3 won a combined 54 games with a combined ERA under 3.20 The 1991 team OPS+ was 107 and the ERA+ was 115.

Tough to say that Puckett was alone on anyone of his teams.
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Postby joshheines » Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:52 pm

Frank Viola won the 1987 WS MVP.

Jack Morris won the 1991 WS MVP.

Despite heroics and memorable players, at the time it doesn't appear as if MLB thought Puck put the Twins on his shoulders to win the game.
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Postby BritSox » Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:10 pm

Armed and Hammered wrote:If this debate is just based on stats then I could see some argument. I see the HOF as taking into account more than what can be determined using a calculator though. Intangibles cannot be found on the stat sheet and this guy had just about every one in his favor. I say he shoulda been a no-doubter as he was. 10 time All-Star during 11 yr career. 6 time gold glove. Don't they take into account that his career was cut short by injury?


Why should they? You either have HoF numbers or you don't. Hall of Fame numbers to me means either accumulating one of the milestones, or being utterly dominant for a shorter period (ie ARod if he retired today).



giants! wrote:
joshheines wrote:
To what extent was this because Puckett was able to retire in his prime instead of playing three, four or even five years past his prime? Let's say Kirby played three years past his prime and average .280 per year past his prime. He averaged about 600 ABs per year. Given those static numbers, if Puckett played three years past his prime his career average would be .310. Nice. Four years past prime? .308. Five years past his prime? .306. That's a mighty big difference. Coincidently, it would have taken Puckett about four or five more years to get to 3000 hits.


Not a good argument. Your using the fact that his career was cut short to diminish his achievements but someone will say that since you are bringing his short career into the conversation that if he woudn't have been injured, he would have accumulated the stats to make hima sure fire hall of famer.


Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

He didn't.
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Postby Armed and Hammered » Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:00 pm

BritSox wrote:
Armed and Hammered wrote:If this debate is just based on stats then I could see some argument. I see the HOF as taking into account more than what can be determined using a calculator though. Intangibles cannot be found on the stat sheet and this guy had just about every one in his favor. I say he shoulda been a no-doubter as he was. 10 time All-Star during 11 yr career. 6 time gold glove. Don't they take into account that his career was cut short by injury?


Why should they? You either have HoF numbers or you don't. Hall of Fame numbers to me means either accumulating one of the milestones, or being utterly dominant for a shorter period (ie ARod if he retired today).


Not saying they should or shouldn't. I just think that when you have a voter sitting down and looking over Kirby's career that the voter would take that into account when matching his career numbers verse others.

Let's just say Kirby didn't have the career ending glaucoma and played 5-6 more years but struggled and only hit .260 for the rest of his career when he retired at age 40. He would then be a HoF because he had 3,000 hits even though he did nothing in those extra years? How does that add up? If it was just adding up numbers there would be no debates.
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Postby Armed and Hammered » Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:10 pm

joshheines wrote:Frank Viola won the 1987 WS MVP.

Jack Morris won the 1991 WS MVP.

Despite heroics and memorable players, at the time it doesn't appear as if MLB thought Puck put the Twins on his shoulders to win the game.


What does this have to do with it?

Did you watch these series?
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Postby noseeum » Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:18 pm

Makes me wonder why Thurmon Munson never got any votes.

ROY, MVP as a catcher, 3 consecutive pennants, two time WS champ, all star 7 of 10 years. I'd say he's better than Fisk, but he was just cut down too early.

From my perspective, he's out and Puckett's out. It's a shame injury or death is a contributing factory, but not all things go everyone's way. If I DID have sympathy, I'd probably place Munson ahead of Puckett. The guy died after all.
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Postby looptid » Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:15 pm

joshheines wrote:
looptid wrote:
joshheines wrote:His career OPS+ is +124. Which means his OPS was 24% higher than the average player of his time. His career RC/27 was 6.34 over about 7800 plate appearances. Mattingly had a career OPS+ of 127 and 6.29 RC/27 of 7700 career plate appearances. They both played about the same defense over their careers too.

I don't think he's in either, but don't compare the defensive contributions of a center fielder to a first baseman. Being a great defensive first baseman is like being the prettiest girl at fat camp.


According to Baseball Prospectus, when Mattingly is compared to 1b of his time and when Kirby is compared to other CF of his time, the two's defensive prowess is equal and BP calculates that each saved their teams comparable runs with said defense.

Josh, you can't have it both ways. In the same paragraph you directly compare the offensive statistics of Puckett and Mattingly and then compare the two defensively relative to their position. Compare the two offensively relative to their positions if you are going to do so with their glovework. First basemen aren't expected to be able to man center, and center fielders aren't expected to hit like first baseman.
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Postby looptid » Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:16 pm

Armed and Hammered wrote:
joshheines wrote:Frank Viola won the 1987 WS MVP.

Jack Morris won the 1991 WS MVP.

Despite heroics and memorable players, at the time it doesn't appear as if MLB thought Puck put the Twins on his shoulders to win the game.


What does this have to do with it?

Did you watch these series?

Yeah, Morris doesn't throw a 10 inning shutout in game seven if Puckett didn't save and win game six.
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Postby ukrneal » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:04 am

I can't put this to bed either, because I see everything pointing to a HOF career.

Stats will only get you so far. You can make them say whatever you want in the end in some cases. In the case of Puckett, you have one of the best hitters of his generation. If he had had the longevity of Boggs or Gwynn, he would have easily hit the 3000 hits mark. There's no guarentee he would have lasted quite that long, but there is nothing to show he would not.

As to career ending injuries or death, I think that should be taken into consideration. Let's assume that Pujols continues his current production for 2 more years,giving him 8 years of MLB service, and then cannot play for some reason. Would you leave him out? I would vote him in even though he didn't quite get as much time as some voters would like. So Munson, when you look at his career, should have his premature death taken into account. Each voter will have to decided this for himself or herself.

As to the teams he was on, of course he wasn't the only decent hitter. What I am saying is that if you take him away, you have a team that probably doesn't go to the series, because you can't replace his offense, defense, and leadership. In many other teams that won two or more series in a short period, you can take away a player and they still have a dominant team. The Twins relied much more on Kirby.
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