ukrneal wrote: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.
What about the most comparable player, Donnie Baseball? The career numbers are strikingly similar and Donnie had a higher peak than Puckett did. The fact of the matter is that neither Mattingly or Puckett did have the longevity. Your giving Puckett credit for things he didn't accomplish. Lot's a players have been great for a short period of time, but it is greatness and longevity that get you in the HOF. Puckett was missing one of those ingredients.
ukrneal wrote: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.
Pujols is a different beast than Puckett all together. Pujols is on pace to go down in the pantheon of the greatest players of all-time. Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Mays, Williams, Bonds and Pujols. I'm sure I'm leaving some off, but you get the gist. There is the "inner circle" of the HOF and Pujols is on track to get there. Now, if Pujols retires for some reason in two years, he does probably get in the HOF, but not in the inner circle. You just can't compare Pujols and Puckett, but I will.
Puckett, again, wsa great early. Puckett only finished in the top 5 in MVP voting three times in his career and never won an MVP. In the five years Pujols has played, he's finished in the top 5 all 5 times. Including the NL MVP last year. It would be ridiculous to think he wouldn't finish in the top 5 this year too. If the Cards hang on to win the Central, Pujols probably wins another MVP. If they don't make the playoffs he easily finishes in the top 5. So let's just say he gets in the top 5 6 times in his first 6 years.
Pujols career adjusted OPS is 169. Puckett's adjusted OPS is 124. Puckett cracked an adjusted OPS of 150 just once and of 140 an additional time. So far Pujols "worst" season was better than Puckett's best season.
The career trajectory is just not comparable. It's telling that Pujols' most similar player by age is Joe DiMaggio. Puckett's most comparable players are guys like Don Mattingly, Mike Greenwell and Al Oliver.
ukrneal wrote: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.
You think the Twins would have made the playoffs let alone the World Series without Hrbek? Or Gaetti? Or Brunansky? Or Viola? Or Morris? Or Blyleven? No way. You take one cog out of that machine and it doesn't work as well. In 1987, the Twins only finished 2 games ahead of the Royals and 4 games ahead of the A's.