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  • Gary Carter

    Since there's been some discussion on the Hall of Fame qualifications of Gary Carter, I figured he deserves his own thread.

    Before I ever heard of Win Shares, I thought Carter was a borderline Hall of Famer. He won three Gold Gloves and hit over 300 homers, something few catchers can claim. He also showed good durability for a catcher and played on a championship team.

    Measures like Win Shares and WARP turn a borderliner into a no-brainer. In their "opinion," Carter was an all-time great defensive catcher who should have won a lot more Gold Gloves. He was also a better offensive player than he appears to be, since his best years came during the low-offense environment of the early '80s.

    So is there any argument against Carter? The only one I've heard is that his batting average is only .262. But that's only five points lower than Johnny Bench, and I don't believe anybody questions Bench's Hall status. In fact, Carter caught about 300 games more than Bench did.

    Any other arguments for or against Carter?

  • #2
    I don't see any. How could anyone possibly think he's not HOF worthy? He should have been first ballot IMO.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by abacab
      Any other arguments for or against Carter?
      I'm working on it.
      Baseball articles you might not like but should read.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's what I've posted in some other threads:

        He's listed as the catcher of the 1980-1989 all-star team in Bill James latest Historical Abstract. He was an all-star 11 times, 10 of them consecutively. This last point fits well with something James wrote about him in his second Abstract:

        With the exception of Yogi Berra, no catcher in [ed major league] baseball history can match Gary Carter in terms of year-in and year-out offensive and defensive performance . . . . Only Carter and Berra were among the best players in the league year-in and year-out for a period longer than three years.
        That post brought the following response from 2Chance, which I answered:

        Originally posted by 2Chance
        Gary Carter didn't impress me as much as he did many sportswriters. The fact that he made every All-Star team in the 80s is more an indictment of the dearth of talent at that position than an endorsement of his skills.

        I need a lot more convincing before he ever makes my ballot.
        Well, 2Chance, I'll try to convince you with this:

        Bill James in his latest Historical Abstract uses win shares in several different ways to rate players. Three of them are career win shares, win shares in his three best seasons, and win shares in his best 5 consecutive seasons. Let's look at how Carter does in each. I will tell you that I'm a Carter backer at this point, and even I'm surprised at how well he does.

        In career win shares, he's fourth among the catchers listed among James' top 100 with 337. This total is also 105th best overall all time.

        In win shares for his best five consecutive seasons, he had 141, which is good for fifth among those same 100 catchers.

        In his three best seasons, he totalled 94 win shares, which is good for a fifth place tie with Campanella and Fisk among that same 100 catchers.

        In MVP Award shares, he's 91st overall, and he was a catcher who finished in the top ten in HR in seven seasons.

        In light of this, I don't think your argument about the weakness of the catching field of Carter's time holds water.

        Jim Albright
        Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
        Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
        A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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        • #5
          Another thing about Carter is that a lot of his best years were spent in obscurity in Montreal.

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          • #6
            The only argument against Carter would be one coming from a position neutral perspective. I know a lot of knowledgable fans who do not subscribe to the top X from each position need to go. They feel no remorse about a personal HOF that would include 5 times as many 1Bs as SSs.

            I don't follow the positional adjustment rubric dogmatically, but I do recognize the different expectations for HOF candidates at different positions. Carter certainly clears the bar for a HOF catcher, IMO.
            THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

            In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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            • #7
              As many of you know, I'm not a big believer in most of the modern systems for analyzing the "value" of ballplayers. I'm not into win shares and many other Jamesian stats. Having said that, though, even without the benefit of those numbers, Gary Carter is definitely Hall worthy. As someone who actually followed his career as it was transpiring, and not just in retrospect using dry stats and formulas, I can tell you that he is a no-brainer here. By perhaps '81 or '82 most baseball fans knew that he was on track to be a Hall of Famer if he kept going at that pace. By the late '80s, especially after helping the Mets to win it all in '86, it was basically a given. Anyone who tells you that Carter is not Hall worthy probably never saw him play that much. I can see how by simply taking his stats off the page his career may certainly lack a certain degree of lustre. However Carter was one of the best players in the game during his era, a great catcher, and a great leader. Frankly, I was shocked that it took him so long to make it to Cooperstown.

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              • #8
                Oh, and before anybody decides to "pile on" it should be noted that the "more convincing" that I required came about from Jim and probably others in that same thread.

                It's still hard for me to think of him in the same class as a Johnny Bench or Yogi Berra, but really now...who is? Considering the other catchers in the Hall, yes, he definitely belongs. Maybe part of my prejudice was just that I didn't like him, or didn't like the Mets of the 80s.

                But you know about prejudice: it's something that is not reasoned in, and has an uphill battle being reasoned out.*

                * ( The way I first heard this is that it can not be reasoned out, but that's not entirely true. )
                "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
                --Bob Feller

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                • #9
                  I think he is a definite Hall of Famer. I think that one of the reasons that he doesn't get as much credit has to do with the fact that he was not well liked by opposing teams and fans when he played.

                  When the cameras were on he came off as a "Mr. Aw Shucks" pretty boy who said all the right things. But on the field he did a lot of things to get on other player's nerves. Kind of like an AJ Pierzinski. He would pump his arms after called 3rd strikes and other little things to show teams up. Once against the Cubs he broke Bill Buckner's bat while Buckner was running to 1st on a groundout. They got in a fight after that happened.

                  He was so perfect as a player that it made him easy to dislike as a fan of an opposing team. I think a lot of people rooted against him and when he started to fade he lost his luster quickly unlike Carlton Fisk who was productive into his early 40s.

                  I couldn't stand him when he played but now that he's retired I admire his accomplishments and agree that he deserves to be in the HOF.
                  "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                  Rogers Hornsby, 1961

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    originally posted by Bench 5
                    ...he was not well liked by opposing teams and fans when he played.

                    ...He would pump his arms after called 3rd strikes and other little things to show teams up.
                    .....
                    I couldn't stand him when he played but now that he's retired I admire his accomplishments and agree that he deserves to be in the HOF.
                    Gotta agree with all this, JB.

                    One of the "other little things" that he did was squeal with glee when a batter struck out. As a batter, it would be difficult to imagine anything more annoying, especially when you consider some of the great strikeout pitchers Carter had to work with. ( That might've been one of the few things that I loved about him. )
                    "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
                    --Bob Feller

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bench 5
                      When the cameras were on he came off as a "Mr. Aw Shucks" pretty boy who said all the right things. But on the field he did a lot of things to get on other player's nerves. Kind of like an AJ Pierzinski. He would pump his arms after called 3rd strikes and other little things to show teams up. Once against the Cubs he broke Bill Buckner's bat while Buckner was running to 1st on a groundout. They got in a fight after that happened.
                      Originally posted by 2Chance
                      One of the "other little things" that he did was squeal with glee when a batter struck out. As a batter, it would be difficult to imagine anything more annoying, especially when you consider some of the great strikeout pitchers Carter had to work with.
                      This is good stuff. It's nice to get info from people who actually saw Carter play. Squeal with glee, really? Weird.

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                      • #12
                        A popular challenge I've seen in trying to make a case for Carter not being in the Hall is naming ten better catchers. I can start with Bench, Ivan Rodriguez, maybe Fisk, and maybe Piazza (offensively, of course)

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                        • #13
                          originally posted by abacab
                          This is good stuff. It's nice to get info from people who actually saw Carter play. Squeal with glee, really? Weird.
                          Like a little girl. That's weird, all right. I imagine it took all some of those guys could muster to keep from hitting him on the head. But what a "head game" if you can get away with it!
                          "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
                          --Bob Feller

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by futurehalloffamer
                            A popular challenge I've seen in trying to make a case for Carter not being in the Hall is naming ten better catchers. I can start with Bench, Ivan Rodriguez, maybe Fisk, and maybe Piazza (offensively, of course)
                            Bench and Berra certainly. I think Piazza and Rodriguez are both locks to be ahead of Carter as well. Fisk moves ahead on the longevity factor. I also have Campanella firmly ahead of Carter. After that you get to the 30's trio of Cochrane, Hartnett, and Dickey. I think there are good argument going both ways for all of them. Personally, I tend to put Cochrane and Hartnett ahead of Carter and Dickey behind Carter, but my mind is always changing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              --I think the absolute lowest you could logically put Carter amoung MLB catchers would be 11th. Berra and Bench obviously. Piazza and probably Rodriguez. Probably the three 30s guys, Fisk and Campanella. You can push him out of the top 10 if you want to include 19th century great Buck Ewing. Personally I have him ahead of Dickey and Ewing at #9, but the case for anybody other than those above would be pretty hard to make.

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