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All-Star Game Selection as a HOF Criterion

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  • All-Star Game Selection as a HOF Criterion

    In an effort to bolster their claim that a favorite player is “HOF worthy,” some members of this Forum have argued that because the player was selected for the All-Star Game “five years in a row," or "seven times in his 10-year career,” he was “highly regarded by his contemporaries as one of the best at his position.” And therefore that stat (number of All-Star game selections and frequency over a career) should be considered when evaluating a player’s HOF credentials.

    Well…maybe. And maybe not. At the very least, we should consider the WAY in which a player was selected for the All-Star Game, because the method has changed several times over the years, and, in my opinion, leads to different conclusions as to the reliability of those All-Star game stats as a criterion for Hall of Fame consideration:

    Specifically (from the All-Star Game section of the baseball almanac website):

    All-Star teams were originally selected by Managers and fans for the 1933 and 1934 games.

    From 1935 through 1946, Managers selected the entire team for each league.

    From 1947-57, fans chose the teams’ starters and managers selected the pitchers and remaining players.

    From ’58 through ’69, managers, players and coaches made the All-Star team selections.

    In 1970, the vote again returned to the fans for the selection of the starters for each team, and remains there today.

    So depending on the era in which a player performed, he COULD have been the choice of his peers (’33-’46, ’58-‘69) or the beneficiary of overzealous fans voting in a popularity contest (’47-’57; ’70 through today).

    In 1957, fans in Cincinnati stuffed the ballot box, electing EIGHT Reds to the starting lineup and leaving Hank Aaron and Willie Mays on the bench. The player who was elected by the fans to center field was Gus Bell and the player selected to right field was Wally Post. However, due to the unexpected avalanche of votes Commissioner Frick named Mays and Aaron to the starting positions on his authority!

    As for using All-Star game selection stats as a measure of HOF worthiness, I’d put more weight on players who were selected by managers and other players rather than by the fans.

  • #2
    Both are relevant, but indicate different things -- standing among peers vs. standing among fans. The measures are correlated, but imperfectly. Both are important.

    The ballot stuffing from 1957 is unusual in its degree -- while fans make mistakes, usually ballot stuffing in different cities cancels each other out more or less. Not that it doesn't happen sometimes, but usually the system has a rough justice to it.

    Managers make "mistakes" too, either out of pique -- Valentine's snub of Cliff Floyd a couple years back come to mind -- or as a result of a numbers game -- the requirement that there be a player off of every team meant that, say, Robert Fick and Randy Winn were All-Stars last season and Magglio Ordonez and Bernie Williams were not.

    I think All-Star picks need to be evaluated continuously. One or two all-star picks really mean almost nothing for a position player. But if a guy makes 8, 9, or 10 all-star teams, you're probably looking at a HOF caliber player, or at least you need a real good explanation why not. In between is where you get into borderline territory. Much more than 10 is a automatic type like a Mays or Mantle (or Ripken).

    I think the standards are lower for pitchers in general; there are fewer slots and practical problems with rotation order, etc., so often good pitchers get tabbed less often. For example -- Roger Clemens, probably one of the top 5 or so pitchers ever (maybe higher), has made 8 all-star teams. Cal Ripken, one of the five or so best shortstops ever, made 19. Ripken also benefited from wild popularity with the fans; he made a few teams he probably shouldn't have. But again, pitchers can't enjoy that advantage.
    Last edited by Cougar; 03-10-2003, 12:47 PM.


    • #3
      The trouble with that is ..................

      twofold ................

      One, no matter if it's players, managers or fans, SOMEONE'S VOTING. Being selected is a popularity contest.

      Plus, baseball has always insisted (wrongly, IMO) that EVERY team be represented ............. do you think EVERY team always has a all-star? A great player (or an older one) on a bad team may get a spot on the roster undeservingly. And vice-versa - a great player on a great team may get left off if 5 of his teamates have already been selected.
      Living with the Curse of Keith Hernandez since 1982


      • #4
        Do you feel that Cal Ripken ....

        was all-star calibre when he made his last two appearances? No, I don't. It was a courtesy afforded to pay tribute to one of the greatest players of his generation.

        But he was LONG PAST his true all-star status at that time.
        Living with the Curse of Keith Hernandez since 1982


        • #5
          All-Time All-Stars

          Interesting comment on the flaws inherent in both AS and HOF selection. I remember the Cincinnati Reds sanctioning of blatant ballot stuffing, not only in '57, but for years before that as well. Moreover, I remember Willie Mays in the twilight of his career, in the midst of a miserable season, getting more votes at his position than any one in the league. Sentiment for past performance runs deep in the minds of fans, and the rule of including at least one player from each team poses another real sticky wicket. Perennial All-Stars that come to mind, that are perhaps not having their best seasons also include Robin Yount. He was an All-Star at short, but was struggling with his new center field assignment when he was selected. He is still one of the best two position players in history, and I think he had a solid HOF career, but he struggled in his first season in the outfield. Or has my memory clouded some facts, here?
          Baseball is a ballet without music. Drama without words ~Ernie Harwell


          • #6
            Hmmm... if we were to take the "Hall of FAME" at face value, then # of all-star appearances would be the best benchmark for who's in and who's out. Fortunately, I think we can all agree that the Hall is for the greatest players--greatness measured as some part fame, some part performance and some part "impact on the game" (exact percentage left up to each individual).

            Also it is fortunate that despite obvious outliers, there is a strong correlation between performance and an all-star apearance.

            I agree that it does mean something if a player strings together a bunch of AS appearances (Andre Dawson, anyone?), but it just depends on the situation.


            • #7
              This thread reminds me of a question I've wondered about:
              If a player is VOTED IN as an AS game starter but for some reason does not (perhaps injured, perhaps he chooses not to participate) does he still get "CREDIT" for being voted as an All-Star?

              We learned two years ago that managers and some players don't really care who WINS the AS game. All that matters is the honor of being chosen and/or of actually getting into the game.

              When each league had just eight teams, perhaps it was good for every team to be represented; but with 16 teams now in the NL alone that rule no longer makes sense. The present rules might well result in a mediocre player being always the "best' on his team, and thus get a string of AS selections on his resume -- but he might not be among the top 30 in his league (and in no way be worthy of the HOF).

              It just occured to me, however: if a player on a good team has the advantage of post-season play on his HOF credentials, perhaps the AS games for a player on a bad team is some compensation for the missed opportunity of playing in a World Series. (I think of Luke Appling as the "best player" on the White Sox in the mid-1940's -- being chosen for the Annual AS game every year but never sniffing a World Series.)


              • #8
                Let's start a Hall of Popularity for the All-Star selections.

                Bill Nicholson was selected 5-out-of-6 years, 4 in-a-row.
                Elston Howard, 9 consecutive seasons
                Fred Lynn, ditto
                Larry Bowa, 5 straight
                Harold Baines, 6-out-of-7 seasons

                Leave the Hall alone.



                • #9
                  Jose Canseco and Ken Griffey Jr. were voted in when they were injured alomost the entire first half of the season

                  Mike Schmidt was vited in after he retired

                  There are all sorts of voting discrepencies and AS games made alone is not a good number to look at, but it can give you an indicator...

                  A guy like Tony Pena made 5 AS games and won 3 GG in an 8 year span not because he was so dominant but because the competition wasn't there.

                  AS appearances for pitchers are a littlle bit better of an indicator because those guys are chosen by the MGR who should have a better grasp...

                  AS games started is also a good indicator but you have to accept the best pitcher may not have started because of his team's schedule so it too can be taken with a grain of salt.
                  GO CARDINALS!!!!


                  • #10
                    No. A player should not get into the hall of fame based on any all star appearence, or any MVP/Cy Young award.


                    • #11
                      I am now convinced that "number of AS game appearances" by itself is not a good indicator of a HOF career. But why exclude Cy Young Awards and MVP? They should be great indicators that a player is considered outstanding compared with his contemporaries. (Not having a CYA may be the main reason that Blyleven has not been voted into the HOF.)

                      By the way, maybe we SHOULD select our own "Hall of POPULARITY" (HOP for short). All Star appearances would be a great credential for this honor.

                      Should this mean Popularity with the FANS? with the media? with other players? Most of all, it must mean popularity with the contributors to Baseball Fever!


                      • #12
                        Juan Marichal .............

                        never won the CY and he's in the hall ........................

                        It's been said that Ted Williams alienated much of the press during his career, and that if he'd have been nicer, he probably would have won 5 MVP's instead of 2.

                        Another popularity contest.

                        Ozzie Smith got RAPED in 1987. Should have been MVP in a landslide, but they gave it to a player on a last-place team who had big power numbers.

                        Then the very next year, they gave it to a player would hit 26HR, 76 RBI and around a .270 BA .....................

                        There's no rhyme or reason to the voting.
                        Living with the Curse of Keith Hernandez since 1982


                        • #13
                          This is for Blue:

                          Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


                          n 1: the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed [syn: celebrity, renown] [ant: infamy] 2: favorable public reputation [ant: infamy]

                          Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
                          Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
                          Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
                          [Buy it]


                          \Fame\, n. [OF. fame, L. fama, fr. fari to speak, akin to Gr. ???? a saying, report, ????? to speak. See Ban, and cf. Fable, Fate, Euphony, Blame.] 1. Public report or rumor.

                          The fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house. --Gen. xlv. 16.

                          2. Report or opinion generally diffused; renown; public estimation; celebrity, either favorable or unfavorable; as, the fame of Washington.

                          I find thou art no less than fame hath bruited. --Shak.

                          Syn: Notoriety; celebrity; renown; reputation.

                          which is why I think they should rename the Hall of Fame.


                          • #14
                            Re: All-Star Game Selection as a HOF Criterion

                            Originally posted by shlevine42
                            As for using All-Star game selection stats as a measure of HOF worthiness, I’d put more weight on players who were selected by managers and other players rather than by the fans.
                            I think it should be kept in consideration, but should not be the sole criterion. Robin Yount was only chosen to three All-Star games; he's in the Hall, and deserves to be. Steve Garvey was chosen to ten; he's not in the Hall, and shouldn't be.

                            However, repeated appearances in the midseason classic are an indicator that one was considered a dominant player at his position in his time. I'm thinking of Bill Freehan, the only eligible player who was chosen to more than 10 (11, to be precise) and isn't in the Hall. Freehan was the best catcher in the AL in the '60s, with Elston Howard his only real competition (and not even Elston after 1964). I think Bill should get more HOF consideration than he has, and one reason why is those 11 stars on his stat sheet in Total Baseball.

                            It is, and should be, A factor. But not THE factor.
                            the ubiquitous Bly11


                            • #15
                              Re: Re: All-Star Game Selection as a HOF Criterion

                              Originally posted by bly11
                              It is, and should be, A factor. But not THE factor.
                              I couldn't have said it better myself.
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