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What if Dave Kingman had 500 HRs. HOFER?

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  • BaseballHistoryNut
    replied
    Originally posted by TheKid8
    Kingman was home run or strike out hitter. He was the predessor to Sammy Sosa. Sosa does not deserve to be in either
    Poor parallel. I am the resident expert on Dave Kingman. I followed his entire career as closely as I could, watched him religiously when he was with the Giants and, much later, in his final three years with the A's. He was the ultimate one-dimensional man, to steal a title from Marcuse. He was a terrible fielder--perhaps the worst of my life, when you combine LF and 1B--a terrible runner, and had a terrible attitude, but he was #5 on the pre-steroids career HR/AB list, and he hit his HR's so far they destroyed pitchers' spirits.

    And he was deadly in the clutch. He hit 3 walkoff HR's in his final season--Toronto in the bottom of the 10th, NYY off Guidry in the bottom of the 9th, and Baltimore for 2 runs while down a run in the bottom of the 9th. In his rookie year, he hit a division-winning 2-run HR on the final day of the season, to beat the Padres and enable the Giants to beat the Dodgers by 1 game. He hit as many grand slams as Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, including 3 in his first season with the A's (Seattle, KC and the NYY; the Seattle slam came in a 3-HR, 8-RBI game). I remember them all as clearly as I do the 3 walkoffs in his final year. He had 3-HR games for at least the A's, the Cubs and the Mets. He hit a wind-aided HR in Wrigley for a preposterous distance estimated at anywhere from 550 feet to well over 600 feet.

    Dave Kingman did one thing--one very important thing--and he did it better than any non-steroid-cheat in MLB history except Ruth, Kiner (only a 10-year career), Killebrew and Ted Williams. He stunk beyond my powers of description in every other way, including strikeouts, OBP, batting average, etc. In 1983, he won the NL HR title and nearly batted under .200, which would have been the perfect Dave Kingman record.

    I have written about Kingman many times on this site. My feeling is that IF he had played his career entirely in the A.L., never taken the field, and thus not committed many boatloads of egregious errors which cost his innumerable teams (see 1977, for example: four teams in one year) innumerable runs, his HR/AB ratio and total HR's should get him in the Hall.

    But he didn't. He played the vast majority of his career in the N.L., almost never played a full season, due to malingering and pouting and benchings, was called a "clubhouse cancer" and all sorts of other things by teammates after he left, and hurt his teams in lots of ways. It was NOT a simple tradeoff of 2+ singles and 1 titanic HR every 15 AB's, in return for a bunch of terrible looking outs. The downside was a lot bigger than that. So I would not put him in the Hall, even though his HR totals and specific HR feats were so awesome they're awfully hard to overlook.

    B U T . . . .

    Dave Kingman was not a cheater. I would put him in the Hall a thousand times before I would put Sammy Sosa there. Period.

    BHN

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  • Yankillaz
    replied
    We should elevate the standards for the HOF. That's all i can say. There are many undeserving, and as for deserving candidates, i only see Dick Allen and Ron Santo as being of common agreement to be the only ones.

    Who can start a thread of HOF vote off. And to get 25 players out of the Hall, soon.

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  • 538280
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear
    If Kingman had hung out to get 500 HRs, his average would have been HIGHER, because he would have been a better player. Kingman, at the end of his career, was a guy who could only DH with a loser; a team going somewhere had no place for him, not even as a DH. A crummy team could use it's DH spot to give work to an extra corner OF/1B.

    Kingman didn't get 500 because he wasn't good enough to get it. That's something people resist, but he was not good enough to get 500. If Fred McGriff couldn't, Dave Kingman DEFINITELY couldn't.
    I don't understand. I still don't get how getting these milestones means you're a truly great player. Kingman could have easily stuck around a few more years, a team could have easily just picked him up, put him at DH, and he probably would have hit the same as he did the previous year. I suspect, in fact, that no team did because they DIDN'T want him to get to 500 HRs.

    Fred McGriff could have easily gotten it as well. The D-Rays just had to keep the guy in the lineup for the rest of year, and as painful as it would have been, he would have gotten there. I really just don't see it, I don't get how you magically become a great player once you get to a milestone. Lou Brock got 3000 hits, I don't consider him to be a great player (but he is HOF worthy).

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  • Fuzzy Bear
    replied
    Originally posted by Brooklyn
    Agreed, and how low would his average have been if he hung around long enough to get to 500 HRs?

    If you assume he would have had two more years identical to his last season in 1986, he would have wound up with 512 HR's, but his average would have drooped to .232. And his OBP percentage would have fallen below .300. This is obviously speculation, but while his GR totals would have increased, his ugly numbers would have kept getting uglier
    If Kingman had hung out to get 500 HRs, his average would have been HIGHER, because he would have been a better player. Kingman, at the end of his career, was a guy who could only DH with a loser; a team going somewhere had no place for him, not even as a DH. A crummy team could use it's DH spot to give work to an extra corner OF/1B.

    Kingman didn't get 500 because he wasn't good enough to get it. That's something people resist, but he was not good enough to get 500. If Fred McGriff couldn't, Dave Kingman DEFINITELY couldn't.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brooklyn
    replied
    Originally posted by Sliding Billy

    A batting average of .236 was every bit as much of a magic number back then as 500 was. Kingman wasn't hurt by his poor walk totals, because no one was counting walks.
    Agreed, and how low would his average have been if he hung around long enough to get to 500 HRs?

    If you assume he would have had two more years identical to his last season in 1986, he would have wound up with 512 HR's, but his average would have drooped to .232. And his OBP percentage would have fallen below .300. This is obviously speculation, but while his GR totals would have increased, his ugly numbers would have kept getting uglier

    Leave a comment:


  • Sliding Billy
    replied
    The question was, "Would he have gone in if he had hit 500 homers?" No. He might have gotten 53 instead of 3 out of 403 votes.

    A batting average of .236 was every bit as much of a magic number back then as 500 was. Kingman wasn't hurt by his poor walk totals, because no one was counting walks.

    In one of his Baseball Abstracts, or maybe the first Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James commented on the way hitting stats outlast all other estimates of a player's value, and he said, "Yes, even Dave Kingman will have his HOF defenders," as an example of an event incredible to contemporary readers, but which would eventually occur.

    By the way, the magic number comparison to Don Sutton is completely unfair. Sutton had 318 career win shares, Kingman 193. Yes, I know, Sutton had a lifetime ERA+ of only 110, he only won twenty once, and his record wasn't all that better than his teams. But a pitcher who virtually never misses a start for 22 straight years and never really has a bad year is of immense value.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fuzzy Bear
    replied
    Originally posted by Sockeye
    Dave Kingman actually did try to continue his career. He signed a minor league contract with the Giants in 87 but got off so a slow start in AAA then decided to retire. Similar to that of Jose Canseco, Kingman was blackballed by baseball owners. The general thought at the time was that 500 home runs would make him a lock for the HOF and since he wasn't very popular in the baseball community the owners didn't want that to happen.

    Dave Kingman was mishandled as a young player not given regular playing time which stunted his growth as a player. If he would have been handled properly he very well could have hit 40-50 a year (maybe even 60 home runs as Bobby Bonds suggested) This is of course speculation on my part but as many baseball experts agree on the importance of young players playing everyday an opinion that I strongly agree with.

    In a very lean offensive era from 71-86 when home runs were down Kingman still managed to hit 442 home runs with a OPS+ of 115. He was a smart baserunner with good speed for a player his size and a strong throwing arm (was a pitcher in college at USC).

    Personality wise Kingman was a very shy person that wanted to be left alone. With the media being what it is this caused a clash. From what I've read he wasn't so much of a jerk as he was just anti-social. I have no problem with that. Just another case of a player being misunderstood (same way as Barry Bonds)

    I feel that Kingman deserves to be in the HOF even without 500 home runs but that's not why I'm voting yes. It's because of the general consensus at the time that if Kingman reaches 500 home runs he would be a lock for the HOF which led to directly to Kingman being blackballed.
    All of this may be true. Kingman would have had a better career if he had just been given the 1B job, but the Giants had McCovey. Kingman couldn't play 3B, although the Giants tried, and after that, he was terrible everywhere on defense. He was an awful outfielder, with terrible reflexes for fly balls, but he kept landing on teams that had first base filled.

    That still doesn't make him a HOFer. He hit for too low an average coupled with a poor walk rate for such a slugger. He didn't get on base enough. Kingman is a unique and unusual player; the only thing he could really do was hit HRs. He couldn't put the bat on the ball; he didn't have the skill to make contact enough. And he was a defensive MINUS; he hurt the team in the field. For all his HRs, he had only 1,200 something RBIs; not real impressive.

    Where would you bat Kingman in the lineup. He didn't get on base enough to bat leadoff, he didn't make contact enough to hit in the 3-4-5 holes, and he really couldn't bat second. That means Kingman is a career 6th through 8th place hitter when optimally used. Only losing teams made him their cleanup hitter.

    It is possible that had Kingman been treated like a potential superstar as a young player, given a job and allowed to develop, he may have developed more patience at the plate. That's a maybe, and it didn't happen. He had the career he had.

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  • brett
    replied
    Considering that it was 1986, his 94 RBI's showed he was productive. It may even make him the answer to a trivia question. With the juiced ball the first half of '87, and Canseco and McGwire in the lineup he might have had a career year.

    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
    Yes, he hit 35 HRs in his last season but he only hit .210 that year. What team would want a .210 hitter in their everyday lineup?

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Yes, he hit 35 HRs in his last season but he only hit .210 that year. What team would want a .210 hitter in their everyday lineup?

    Leave a comment:


  • Sockeye
    replied
    Originally posted by johnny
    I always thought -given his last season output of 35 hrs- that it was weird he didn't try and come back to get to 500 homers.
    Anyone have the story on that?
    But yeah, he was always my argument against 500 homers and still not going to the HOF.
    Dave Kingman actually did try to continue his career. He signed a minor league contract with the Giants in 87 but got off so a slow start in AAA then decided to retire. Similar to that of Jose Canseco, Kingman was blackballed by baseball owners. The general thought at the time was that 500 home runs would make him a lock for the HOF and since he wasn't very popular in the baseball community the owners didn't want that to happen.

    Dave Kingman was mishandled as a young player not given regular playing time which stunted his growth as a player. If he would have been handled properly he very well could have hit 40-50 a year (maybe even 60 home runs as Bobby Bonds suggested) This is of course speculation on my part but as many baseball experts agree on the importance of young players playing everyday an opinion that I strongly agree with.

    In a very lean offensive era from 71-86 when home runs were down Kingman still managed to hit 442 home runs with a OPS+ of 115. He was a smart baserunner with good speed for a player his size and a strong throwing arm (was a pitcher in college at USC).

    Personality wise Kingman was a very shy person that wanted to be left alone. With the media being what it is this caused a clash. From what I've read he wasn't so much of a jerk as he was just anti-social. I have no problem with that. Just another case of a player being misunderstood (same way as Barry Bonds)

    I feel that Kingman deserves to be in the HOF even without 500 home runs but that's not why I'm voting yes. It's because of the general consensus at the time that if Kingman reaches 500 home runs he would be a lock for the HOF which led to directly to Kingman being blackballed.

    Leave a comment:


  • leecemark
    replied
    --As I recall Kingman didn't retire by his choice. Nobody offered him a contract that offseason. He had the 35 HR, but he couldn't do anything else. The A's replaced him at DH with Reggie Jackson (who also had little left to offer) and apparently nobody else saw him as the answer for their DH needs. At that point he couldn't play the field (not that he ever did so very effectively).
    --His lack of ability to play any position combined with his personality made him an unattractive bench option. Why put up with a collosal pain in the ass who could only PH or maybe platoon at 1B/DH? Unless somebody wanted a DH who could hit a bomb once or twice a week and contribute nothing else then he had no value.

    Leave a comment:


  • Yankillaz
    replied
    Originally posted by leecemark
    --Killebrew was a much better hitter for average than Kingman (not that he should brag about that), it was just hidden somewhat by the extremely low league averages during his career. Combined with his great plate discipline that made Killebrew a big plus in the OBP department, while Kingman was a minus.
    --Kingman had more raw speed than Killebrew, but he didn't get much out of it. Killebrew was a smart, hustling player, while Kingman was not. He was also a great team player, shifting all over the diamond (or to all the spots he could handle) to where the Twins needed him, whereas Kingman was one of the handfull of worst team players ever (he also moved around alot defensively before settling at DH, but that was just teams trying to figure out where he would do the least damage).
    --It would be a disgrace to Cooperstown if Killebrew were left out. It would be equally disgracefull if Kingman were inducted.
    Let me see:

    POWER: Killebrew
    PATIENCE: Killebrew
    SPEED: Kingman
    AVERAGE: Killebrew
    DEFFENSE: Killebrew

    Ok, OK, So Killebrew was a better player. But still, I put him in, if he had reached the milestone.

    Leave a comment:


  • brett
    replied
    I always figured (jokingly) that if he deserved to get in, it was for saving the purity of the 500 home run club by retiring. Maybe Bonds could do something similar. If he had gotten 500 AT THAT TIME he would have gotten a lot of votes.

    Originally posted by johnny
    I always thought -given his last season output of 35 hrs- that it was weird he didn't try and come back to get to 500 homers.
    Anyone have the story on that?
    But yeah, he was always my argument against 500 homers and still not going to the HOF.

    Leave a comment:


  • leecemark
    replied
    --Killebrew was a much better hitter for average than Kingman (not that he should brag about that), it was just hidden somewhat by the extremely low league averages during his career. Combined with his great plate discipline that made Killebrew a big plus in the OBP department, while Kingman was a minus.
    --Kingman had more raw speed than Killebrew, but he didn't get much out of it. Killebrew was a smart, hustling player, while Kingman was not. He was also a great team player, shifting all over the diamond (or to all the spots he could handle) to where the Twins needed him, whereas Kingman was one of the handfull of worst team players ever (he also moved around alot defensively before settling at DH, but that was just teams trying to figure out where he would do the least damage).
    --It would be a disgrace to Cooperstown if Killebrew were left out. It would be equally disgracefull if Kingman were inducted.

    Leave a comment:


  • Yankillaz
    replied
    I beg to differ with all of you guys. I do think he would've been a HOF'er. I don't see much difference betweem him and Killebrew. He had more speed, Killebrew was more patient and less worse in hitting (both were awful). He wouldn't have been a First Ballot, neither a second or a third, but by the time a weak class comes in, he would've gone in.

    If Kingman doesn't deserves it, why does Big Mac??? Ohh, 70 hrs? PED's. 500 homers? My point exactly.

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