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  • dgarza
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    At that late stage of his career, Whitaker was heavily platooned, rarely facing left-handed pitching. That gave his rate stats a big boost, as he struggled against LHP for much of his career.
    Thanks for pointing that out. Looking at his splits, I can see that his LF PAs dropped dramatically in the 90s, falling from a customary ~30% of his PAs, to 20% and then 10-15%.

    Still, to his credit, he started hitting both righties and lefties better. In 3 of his 90s seasons, he was batting LHP better than his career Average, twice batting over .300, hitting .355 against LHP in 1992. His LHP slugging was up as well. This might have been a result of selective lineup matches, but since his numbers vs RHP was also up, it really looks like he was just hitting better overall.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by dgarza View Post
    I noticed that Whitaker's rate stats went up towards the end of his career and he ended up finishing his career strong. So strong that many of his numbers in the 90s were noticeably better than his numbers in the 70s and 80s. How did that affect the view of him as HOFer or not? On one hand, intuitively, finishing strong can't hurt a player's HOF case, right? But on the other hand, people tend to remember a player from his days in the limelight. It was in the 80s when Whitaker was perennial All Star and winning GG and SS awards. He won ROY in the 70s and was considered for an MVP in the 80s. But these were also the years when his batting rates where lower. So did that color and solidify people's perception of him? And caused them to not really notice Whitaker when his rates were up in the 90s, but he was no longer an All Star?

    What further hurts him is that some of his best rate seasons were his last two, which also happened to be the strike years, 1994 & 1995. Surely those two (plus 1981) cost Whitaker a few cumulative stats, even though he was only a part-time player in 94-95.

    1977-1989 (age 20-32)
    .276/.357/.412/.768
    112 OPS+

    1990-1995 (age 33-38)
    .277/.379/.464/.843
    129 OPS+

    Career stats
    Runs - 1386
    Hits - 2369
    Doubles - 420
    Triples - 65
    HRs - 244
    RBIs - 1084
    Stolen Bases - 143
    BBs - 1197
    .276/.363/.426/.789
    117 OPS+
    WAA - 42.8
    WAR - 75.1

    Strike adjusted projections
    Runs - 1440
    Hits - 2459
    Doubles - 435
    Triples - 66
    HRs - 251
    RBIs - 1123
    Stolen Bases - 145
    BBs - 1235
    .276/.363/.425/.788
    117 OPS+
    WAA - 44.5
    WAR - 78.0
    At that late stage of his career, Whitaker was heavily platooned, rarely facing left-handed pitching. That gave his rate stats a big boost, as he struggled against LHP for much of his career.

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    I noticed that Whitaker's rate stats went up towards the end of his career and he ended up finishing his career strong. So strong that many of his numbers in the 90s were noticeably better than his numbers in the 70s and 80s. How did that affect the view of him as HOFer or not? On one hand, intuitively, finishing strong can't hurt a player's HOF case, right? But on the other hand, people tend to remember a player from his days in the limelight. It was in the 80s when Whitaker was perennial All Star and winning GG and SS awards. He won ROY in the 70s and was considered for an MVP in the 80s. But these were also the years when his batting rates where lower. So did that color and solidify people's perception of him? And caused them to not really notice Whitaker when his rates were up in the 90s, but he was no longer an All Star?

    What further hurts him is that some of his best rate seasons were his last two, which also happened to be the strike years, 1994 & 1995. Surely those two (plus 1981) cost Whitaker a few cumulative stats, even though he was only a part-time player in 94-95.

    1977-1989 (age 20-32)
    .276/.357/.412/.768
    112 OPS+

    1990-1995 (age 33-38)
    .277/.379/.464/.843
    129 OPS+

    Career stats
    Runs - 1386
    Hits - 2369
    Doubles - 420
    Triples - 65
    HRs - 244
    RBIs - 1084
    Stolen Bases - 143
    BBs - 1197
    .276/.363/.426/.789
    117 OPS+
    WAA - 42.8
    WAR - 75.1

    Strike adjusted projections
    Runs - 1440
    Hits - 2459
    Doubles - 435
    Triples - 66
    HRs - 251
    RBIs - 1123
    Stolen Bases - 145
    BBs - 1235
    .276/.363/.425/.788
    117 OPS+
    WAA - 44.5
    WAR - 78.0

    Leave a comment:


  • jjpm74
    replied
    Originally posted by Jar of Flies View Post
    I'll 3rd the comments, nice work putting these together dgarza.
    I will 4th this. Those articles really put Lou's HOF case into a better generational perspective.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jar of Flies
    replied
    I'll 3rd the comments, nice work putting these together dgarza.

    Leave a comment:


  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    Dgarza, great work pulling those together! Thanks

    Leave a comment:


  • PVNICK
    replied
    Thanks for sharing those contemporary articles dgarza. They also give an insight into how players were evaluated at the time.

    Leave a comment:


  • walter sobchak
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    Great point!

    There is voluminous research by elections scholars that indicate that candidates at or near the top of the ballot have a systemic advantage over candidates lower on the ballot. It can create differences of several percentage points

    Some states have taken measures to combat this. For example, California randomizes the letters of the alphabet for each election to create a new "alphabetical order" for ballots to follow, basically randomizing ballot placement.

    Obviously, the HOF does nothing of the sort.
    In Australia this is called the "donkey vote" and refers to people simply filling in their ballot 1,2,3 etc. from the top down. In the past this has decided the outcome of close races. So the Australian Electoral Commission has instituted procedures to minimise its effect on outcomes, including the randomisation of candidates.

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Some observation concerning the articles above :

    1. There certainly were some proponents of Whitaker for the Hall in the 90s. More than I had remembered. And more than Whitaker's 2001 2.9% would indicate.
    But once we get closer to Whitaker's eligibility, I can see that the comments become much more of a mixed bag, leaning towards "No, he didn't do enough, wasn't great enough, to be a Hall of Famer."

    2. I never considered this, but there may have been voters who didn't vote for Whitaker in his first year because they wanted to vote for both Whitaker AND Trammell together, so as to have the two players go into the Hall together (Trammell was on the ballot in 2002). At least one voter indicated this, so there might have been others thinking the same thing.

    3. Several of the players on the 1984 Tigers retired at the same time. Lou Whitaker, Howard Johnson, Kirk Gibson, and Lance Parrish all played their final year in 1995. And with Jack Morris retiring after the '94 season, there were 5 of the main Tigers all on the 2001 HOF ballot.

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    During the 80s and first half of the 90s, I don't recall anyone really talking about Whitaker as a future HOFer. If there were people talking about as a potential HOFer at that time, I must have missed it. It's also possible that people were considering him more strongly towards the end of his career, the last half of the 90s, a time when I was paying less attention to the game.

    I decided to look up articles in NewsBank about Lou Whitaker and the HOF from 1990-2002, to see what people thinking...

    1991


    SWEET LOU AND TRAMMELL STILL TOGETHER
    NewspaperMarch 17, 1991 | Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
    Author: Harry Atkins Associated Press | Page: S7 | Section: SPORTS

    Since then, Trammell's batting average has climbed to .288. He is considered one of the best shortstops ever and already is being mentioned as a candidate for the Hall of Fame.
    [In a story about both players as a tandem, Whitaker is not mentioned as a candidate for the HOF.]


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    WHITAKER
    STILL HAVING FUN AFTER 14 YEARS WITH TIGERS

    NewspaperSeptember 29, 1991 | St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
    Author: BYLINE: Steve Kornacki, Knight-Ridder News Service | Page: 4C | Section: Sports

    Whitaker, 34, has 188 homers, more than 850 runs batted in and nearly 2,000 hits after 14 seasons in Detroit. Only three hall-of-fame second basemen have more homers, and only nine of the 13 enshrined at that position have more RBIs. He also has won three Gold Gloves.

    And yet Whitaker's name is seldom associated with future plaques in Cooperstown, N.Y.
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    Anderson said Trammell was a lock for the Hall of Fame, but he added that Whitaker's only chance might be eclipsing Joe Morgan's homer record for second baseman of 266. Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs likely will do the honors before Whitaker.

    ``Lou has never brought attention to himself and gets no recognition,'' Anderson said. ``Nobody in Los Angeles knows him. So Cooperstown will be tough.''

    Whitaker reacts to missing Cooperstown and a bus in much the same manner.

    ``It's a wonderful honor, but not meant for everybody,'' he said. ``Look at Vada Pinson's numbers and he's not even close. And Bobby Bonds did it all, became a 30-30 guy before it was common, and he's not there.''

    What about Whitaker's chances if he surpasses Morgan, which would require four more 20-homer seasons?

    ``That's too much for me, and I'll probably only play three more years,'' he said. ``But hey, I might have five more years of 20 homers in me. I might get 30 or 40 one year.''

    He was joking. Maybe.




    1993


    Numbers aren't Whitaker's game
    NewspaperAugust 4, 1993 | Tampa Bay Times (FL)
    Page: 4C | Section: SPORTS

    If history is any gauge, Lou Whitaker will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame one day.


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    Tigers duo still has act together - Whitaker, Trammell going strong
    NewspaperAugust 10, 1993 | USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
    Author: Chuck Johnson | Page: 4C | Section: SPORTS

    "I don't think about baseball history stuff," says Whitaker, who after Monday's opener of a four-game series against Baltimore has 982 RBI, needing 18 to become only the ninth second baseman in history to reach 1,000. The other eight are in the Hall of Fame.


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    WHITAKER FOCUSES ON PLAYING - VIRGINIAN KEEPS COOPERSTOWN, KUDOS IN CHECK
    NewspaperAugust 4, 1993 | Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
    Author: HARRY ATKINSThe Associated Press | Page: D-4 | Section: Sports

    When they finally do enshrine Whitaker at Cooperstown, maybe they should put an asterisk beside his name. That's because he never wanted to be a second baseman. He began his career, as a youngster in Martinsville, playing third base.
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    Yet he is a second baseman now. And it will be as a second baseman that he travels to Cooperstown. The only real question is when.

    A player can't be voted into the Hall of Fame until five years after he stops playing. With Whitaker, it's hard to tell how much longer that might be. He just signed a three-year contract. And, even though he is 36, he shows no sign of getting ready to quit.




    1994

    WHITAKER: AGED TO PERFECTION - DETROIT VETERAN BACK HOME FOR EXHIBITION
    NewspaperApril 1, 1994 | Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
    Author: JOHN O'CONNORTimes-Dispatch Staff Writer | Page: F-1 | Section: Sports

    Sweet Lou turns 37 next month. He said he'll play out his contract -- this year and next -- then call it a career. Next stop: The Hall of Fame. Whitaker and Joe Morgan, who's already been inducted, are the only second basemen in major-league history with 2,000 games, 2,000 hits and 200 home runs.


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    TRIBE WIN STREAK STOPPED AT 10 ON WHITAKER'S SLAM
    NewspaperJune 22, 1994 | Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)
    Author: Mike Sullivan, Dispatch Sports Reporter | Page: 01F | Section: SPORTS

    Whitaker, the Hall of Fame-bound Detroit second baseman, brought the Tigers back from beyond the grave last night in front of 24,955 delirious fans.





    1995

    CAREER COMBO// AFTER 19 YEARS, ALAN TRAMMELL AND LOU WHITAKER ARE ENDING THEIR DOUBLE-PLAY DAYS IN DETROIT
    NewspaperAugust 18, 1995 | St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
    Author: BYLINE: SCOTT MILLER, STAFF WRITER | Page: 1C | Section: Sports

    Both are legitimate Hall of Fame candidates, though their numbers don't ensure first-ballot election. Both probably will fall short of 2,500 career hits, but their longevity and solid numbers will be hard to ignore.

    Whitaker and hall of famer Joe Morgan are the only second basemen in major league history with 2,000 games, 2,000 hits and 200 home runs. Whitaker's 240 home runs place him fifth on the all-time Tigers list. Only hall of famers Ty Cobb and Al Kaline have played more games for Detroit than Whitaker (2,307). He has hit .276 for his career and is at .281 this season.
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    ``It's been phenomenal. They've had outstanding careers. Possibly Hall of Fame careers. They've handled themselves with a lot of dignity both on and off the field.''



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    A SECOND-BASEMAN WORTH A SECOND LOOK
    NewspaperMay 21, 1995 | New York Daily News (NY)
    Author: BILL MADDEN | Page: 64 | Section: SPORTS

    THE TIGERS' 37-year-old second baseman, Lou Whitaker, plagued by injuries, announced last week he plans to retire after this season. That got us to thinking: Is he a Hall of Famer? Maybe the best yardstick would be to compare Whitaker to his 1980s second-base counterpart in the National League, Ryne Sandberg, who was said to be a sure-fire Hall of Famer upon his retirement from the Cubs last year.

    Because he was never the dominant offensive force on his own club as Sandberg was we never thought of Whitaker as an automatic Hall of Famer. We also had problems with all those times Sparky Anderson let him sit out against tough left-handed pitchers. Still, the overall Whitaker record especially when compared to all other second basemen past and present would seem to merit serious Hall of Fame consideration. ​​​​​​​



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    Infield pairs often spark debate
    NewspaperJuly 17, 1995 | Denver Post, The (CO)
    Author: Jerry Crasnick Denver Post Sports Writer | Page: D-4 | Section: Sports

    Five years after Trammell and Whitaker retire, the baseball writers will debate their qualifications for the Hall of Fame. The numbers say they are borderline candidates.

    Whitaker has a higher career batting average (.276 to .271) than Morgan, considered by many the standard against which second baseman are measured. But Morgan has more homers (268 to 235), RBI (1,133 to 1,058) and stolen bases (689 to 141). Morgan won back-to-back most valuable player awards in Cincinnati on teams that included Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, George Foster and Pete Rose.
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    "I would say Trammell's chances are better than Whitaker's, in part because shortstops seem to get more respect than second basemen," Steve Hirdt of Elias said. "Plus, he's hit .300 seven times. If you look up any shortstops who have hit .300 seven times, I would bet they're in the Hall of Fame."​​​​​​​



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    Tigers tandem at end of the line
    NewspaperOctober 1, 1995 | Washington Times, The (DC)
    Author: Thom Loverro | Page: C1 | Section: CSPORTS

    Like Ripken, their production also warrants attention, perhaps even Hall of Fame attention. Certainly, Whitaker's production does. The 38-year-old's numbers are rivaled only by Morgan, the other great second baseman Anderson managed. In 19 seasons, Whitaker has 244 home runs, 1,084 runs batted in, 143 stolen bases and 1,386 runs. He entered the season with a .276 career batting average and has only enhanced that number with his .294 average this season in 83 games.


    2000

    Reader's rant: Stackhouse will be better than Hill

    NewspaperDecember 3, 2000 | Detroit News, The (MI)
    Author: The Detroit News Terry Foster | Page: 02D | Section: Sports

    * Lou Whitaker has been virtually ignored regarding his Hall of Fame credentials. I was always afraid Tigers players would be ignored when Hall of Fame voting for 1980s Tigers took place. Lou won Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards. He played in several All-Star Games. He won a World Series.

    Whitaker's career statistics compare favorably to most second basemen in the Hall of Fame. Please don't let him fall through the cracks. The city of Detroit, Tiger fans and most importantly Lou Whitaker deserves a spot in Cooperstown.​​​​​​​

    Greg Siwak​​​​​​​



    2001


    Web tour of 2001 Baseball Hall of Fame choices

    NewspaperJanuary 9, 2001 | USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
    Author: GERRY STORCH | Page: ARC

    Lou Whitaker for the Hall of Fame?

    Pardon us if it may seem a bit of a stretch. The Detroit Tigers' second baseman (1977-95) had a fine career, but he exceeded .300 only once in a full season, never led the American League in any offensive category and though he won three Gold Gloves, he was usually beaten out for that honor by Kansas City's Frank White.

    Nonetheless, Keith Woolner, writing an article titled "One Man's Ballot" on the erudite Web site www.baseballprospectus.com, hopes he will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame's Class of 2001.

    He says Whitaker "ranks sixth all-time among second basemen in career VORP (behind just Collins, Hornsby, Morgan, Lajoie and Gehringer)."

    Hmmm, that would mean Whitaker was better than traditional greats such as Frankie Frisch, Jackie Robinson, Rod Carew, Nellie Fox and Tony Lazzeri, all of whom of course are already in the Hall of Fame.



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    Will Hall of Fame be sweet on Lou?
    NewspaperJanuary 14, 2001 | Detroit News, The (MI)
    Author: Lynn Henning | Page: 1A | Section: Fron


    But a reality as this year's Hall of Fame balloting wraps up is this: Whitaker is not expected to come close to winning election in his first year on the ballot.

    Harsher yet, at least in the eyes of those who worshiped Whitaker and his Tigers double-play partner, shortstop Alan Trammell, Whitaker may have a difficult time reaching Cooperstown in ensuing years.

    Despite having numbers that compare favorably with the likes of Joe Morgan, the great Cincinnati Reds second baseman who was elected in his first year of eligibility (1990), Whitaker -- who did not respond last week to Detroit News requests for an interview -- appears to have fallen shy in too many offensive categories to have wooed a sufficient block of Hall of Fame voters.
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    "Whitaker was the top second baseman of the 1980s, and stands second to Morgan as the best pure second baseman since 1950," said Chris Kahrl, an editor and writer for the respected Baseball Prospectus Web site (baseballprospectus.com).

    "Whitaker may not be an inner-circle Hall of Famer, but he's got a legitimate case when you consider his consistent level of excellence over an extended period of time. He compares favorably with other second basemen in the Hall."
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    The man who was Whitaker's manager for nearly all of the second baseman's career believes that Whitaker faces -- at least in his first year on the ballot -- a tough assignment.

    Sparky dubious, too

    "I think his record, no question, it's going to be a Hall of Fame record, but I just doubt at this moment that he's going to be a first-ballot choice," said former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, speaking last week from his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

    "I think Lou will be in the same line as Tony Perez (Cincinnati Reds great who was elected last year after repeated near-misses). But I believe (Whitaker) will make it. His statistics are Hall of Fame statistics -- his credentials will wake people up when they take a look at them closely."

    Whitaker's challenge was summed up repeatedly by writers who voted in this year's election:

    "I think he's a strong candidate, but not strong enough," said Jerome Holtzman, the retired Chicago Tribune baseball writer, who now works as a historian for Major League Baseball.

    Doesn't measure up?

    Ross Newhan, national baseball writer for the Los Angeles Times, and himself scheduled for induction in the Hall of Fame's media wing in 2001, said: "He's one of those guys whom I certainly admired for his long and distinguished career, but when you try to equate his numbers to Hall of Fame statistics, I don't think he quite measures up."

    In Whitaker's defense, various Web sites have been arguing that he deserves election.

    Keith Woolner, who along with Kahrl writes for Baseball Prospectus, believes Whitaker belongs in Cooperstown.

    "I'd take Winfield and Whitaker, with Puckett just falling short," Woolner wrote last month. "Whitaker probably belongs in the Hall on his own merits, without help from (former Tigers shortstop) Alan Trammell."

    Others are less convinced that Whitaker is absolutely up to Cooperstown standards.

    Rob Neyer, whose baseball insight has made him a favorite on the ESPN.com Web site, leans more toward the side of Holtzman and Newhan.

    "Whitaker's biggest problem is that he never was a truly great player," Neyer said. "He was an All-Star five times, which isn't a lot for a Hall of Famer. He never finished higher than third in a statistical category (except games played). He scored 100-plus runs twice, but never drove in more than 85 runs."

    'Morgan did it better'

    Comparing Whitaker with Morgan, Neyer added: "Morgan did everything that Whitaker did, and did it better. Morgan's two MVP seasons were absolutely incredible, and Whitaker simply never had any seasons like them."

    Should Whitaker, in ensuing years, fail to make Cooperstown by way of the writers' ballots, the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee -- instituted to correct oversights or perceived mistakes -- could enshrine Whitaker down the road. Trammell, too, could be looking at a Veterans Committee election should the writers turn him down.

    Newhan, though, suggests the door won't necessarily shut on Whitaker, at least, should he fall short Tuesday.

    "Do I make mistakes? Sure," he said, after reflecting on Whitaker's career numbers. "Do I re-evaluate players every year? Sure.

    "Maybe," Newhan said, "I didn't take a hard enough look in Whitaker's case.
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    Joe Falls

    "All things considered, I never felt Lou Whitaker was a Hall of Fame player. I know that people will compare his statistics with other second basemen and they will be impressive. I saw him through that entire career and never felt he was at the level to be included in Cooperstown."

    Tom Gage

    "I'm a very strict first-ballot voter. Whitaker's not automatic to me. He might be a Hall of Famer, but not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There are no stats by which I measure Hall of Famers, where he qualifies. No 500 homers, no 3,000 hits, no .330-plus batting average. He was an excellent player, but not one who jumps out and says, I'm a definite Hall of Famer."

    Jerry Green

    "I'm going to wait a year to vote for him so that Trammell and Whitaker can go in together. Probably, his statistics aren't high enough for him to win this year -- he played in only one World Series. But I always regarded Whitaker as better than Ryne

    Sandberg, and I thought Trammell was better than Cal Ripken, other than Ripken's consecutive-games streak. And I'll vote for both on that basis."

    Lynn Henning

    "In this book, Whitaker is caught in a group of very good players -- Jim Rice, Gary Carter, Ron Santo, Don Mattingly, Tony Oliva, Keith Hernandez, Steve Garvey, etc. -- who fall just shy of election. I figure Whitaker and Trammell will be Veterans Committee selections, which won't be at all disappointing
    ."


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    Eccentric baseball writers weigh cases for first-timers
    NewspaperJanuary 14, 2001 | Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
    Author: Toni Ginnetti | Page: 125 | Section: SPORTS | Column: BASEBALL INSIDER

    The rest of the first-timers probably don't measure up: outfielders Andy Van Slyke and Kirk Gibson, pitchers Tom Browning, Steve Bedrosian, Jim Deshaies, Ron Darling, Tom Henke, Dave Righetti, Jose Rijo and Dave Stewart, catcher Lance Parrish and infielders Howard Johnson, John Kruk and Lou Whitaker.


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    SHUT OUT OF HALL, THEY STILL MAKE THEIR PITCH
    NewspaperJanuary 18, 2001 | New York Daily News (NY)
    Author: BILL MADDEN | Page: 76 | Section: SPORTS

    There was especially a hue and cry over Whitaker's failure to make the cut.
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    AS FOR WHITAKER, he was a good second baseman for the Tigers for 20 seasons, but only four All-Star nominations would suggest he wasn't exactly dominant. If nothing else, he'll at least rate a line in the trivia books for having hit more home runs than both Puckett and Don Mattingly.

    I had to laugh, however, at Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell's cries of outrage over Whitaker not making the cut. "It's a joke," said Boswell, who then admitted that he didn't vote for Whitaker either and didn't believe that he's a Hall of Famer.​​​​​​​



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    Gibson should be in hall for big gamers - 'Gibby,' Whitaker, Parrish gave us good memories, but didn't make Hall
    NewspaperJanuary 18, 2001 | Grand Rapids Press, The (MI)
    Author: Bob Becker / Press Sports Editor | Page: C1 | Section: Sports

    There are a lot of Tigers fans who were shocked Wednesday morning to find out that being "part of the best double play combination" in baseball wasn't enough to get Lou Whitaker a spot in the Hall of Fame.
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    But to be listed among the brotherhood, with the likes of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Johnny Bench and Sandy Koufax, the voters said that you needed a whole lot more.
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    I saw them take the Tigers to a World Series title and I saw them play in all-star games.

    But I never thought at the time that I was seeing Hall of Fame performances.
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    He wasn't surprised that none of the former Tigers made it. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't think at least one of them should have.

    "There's a big gap between the good players and the ones who are really great," Sullivan said. "Nobody who ever saw Whitaker, Parrish or Morris play could ever say they weren't good, solid major league ball players.

    "They lasted a long time, put up decent numbers and gave the Tigers some successful seasons.

    "But the one I really think got missed was Gibby.​​​​​​​




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    Whitaker lacked the aura of a true Hall of Famer

    NewspaperJanuary 18, 2001 | Detroit News, The (MI)
    Author: Joe Falls | Page: 2E | Section: Sports BASEBALL

    DETROIT -- Why did Lou Whitaker get so few votes in the Hall of Fame election?Our town thought he was a legitimate contender, but few writers from around the country thought so and he was knocked from all consideration for a place in Cooperstown.

    I didn't think he'd make it but I never dreamed he would be so completely rejected, and embarrassed. It was pretty bad what happened.

    The reason is simple. He wasn't a Hall of Fame player and the voters knew it. So let's forget this stuff that they didn't go for him because they didn't like the way he treated them.
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    What did the fans call Whitaker? It was "Sweet Lou." They had it backward. It should have been "Sour Lou."

    He never seemed to care about anyone. He could be rude, curt, abrupt and, at times, nasty. I generally left him alone because I knew he preferred it that way.

    No player on the Tigers was more difficult to deal with than Whitaker. He lived in his own world, shutting out almost all around him.
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    Whitaker didn't make it because he didn't have that special aura about him that most Hall of Famers do -- such as Dave Winfield, who hit, ran and threw on a grand scale, or Kirby Puckett, who played a lot like Minnie Minoso, with joy, in the dirt, and an enthusiasm that lit up the whole ballpark.

    Whitaker did it all easily, almost as if he weren't trying. He would show up on the first day of spring training and field the ball with no effort and do the same at the plate. If anything hurt him, it was his nonchalance.​​​​​​​



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    Fans are outspoken about how Whitaker was treated by Hall of Fame voters
    NewspaperJanuary 19, 2001 | Detroit News, The (MI)
    Author: Terry Foster | Page: 2H | Section: Sports BASEBALLAWARDS

    I thought Whitaker should have gotten more votes, but is not a Hall of Fame player.

    [Letter from Mike McGlinnen] - "You hit it right on the head. While I loved Lou as a player and thought he was a borderline candidate for the Hall of Fame, I think he was horribly overlooked by voters. Maybe he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, but he should not have been dismissed so quickly."

    [Letter from Tony Suszek, Alpena] - "What a joke on the vote for the Hall of Fame. Although I don't think Lou should have made it this year, I do believe him and Trammell should have went in together at a future date. Lou had excellent offensive numbers but let's not forget his defense. He was a Hall of Famer defensively. If they played for New York, Trammell and Whitaker would get voted into the Hall. It just continues to show me what a joke the Hall is."​​​​​​​​​​​

    [Letter from Alex Bensky, Detroit] - "That Whitaker may not be Hall of Fame caliber is one thing. I'm not sure, but there are worse guys in there now. But it does seem that failing to get as much as 5 percent, when Keith Hernandez, for one, is still in the running, does not reflect the player's true merit."

    [Letter from Paul Jonas] - "Whitaker does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Good? Yes. Great? No way. He didn't deserve more votes. He didn't play hard and could have been better with more intestinal fortitude. They can't allow mediocre players in the Hall. He played like he didn't care, and now the writers show they don't care. He got what he deserved.

    [Letter from Mike Manley, Saginaw] - "Neither Lou or Trammell had pure Hall of Fame credentials, but together they were arguably the best double-play combination in baseball history. There ought to be a place for them together somewhere in the Hall. Their combined greatness ought to be recognized."

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________


    Poll matches writers' results
    NewspaperJanuary 22, 2001 | Detroit News, The (MI)
    Author: Tom Gage | Page: 4E | Section: Sports BASEBALLAWARDS

    * No, I didn't vote for Lou Whitaker for the Hall of Fame. But I never thought he'd not get enough votes to stay on the ballot. Before you rip the writers, though, consider that with more than 14,000 fans participating in an ESPN poll, Whitaker was named on only 13 percent of the ballots -- and that Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett again would have been the only players elected.* ​​​​​​​


    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________



    Whitaker still has a chance at Hall of Fame
    NewspaperJanuary 30, 2001 | Detroit News, The (MI)
    Author: Lynn Henning | Page: 1E | Section: Sports BASEBALL

    Whitaker can take consolation in this: Everyone agreed it was a fluke that caused him to miss the 5-percent minimum necessary to keep his name on future ballots. Everyone agreed Whitaker deserves further consideration down the line.
    .
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    .
    Baseball statisticians have argued that, next to Joe Morgan, Whitaker can be regarded as the best second baseman of the modern era (post-1950). Even Morgan has said he could not believe Whitaker's vote.

    Hall of Fame custodians have acted before when names slipped off ballots (Ron Santo and Ken Boyer were restored after missing 5 percent, as was ex-Tiger Billy Pierce) and it is now suggested by some observers that a "Lou Whitaker Clause" could evolve that would save his candidacy, at least for Veterans Committee review.

    Jerome Holtzman, a longtime Chicago Tribune writer and baseball historian who serves on the Veterans Committee, talked Monday about the Santo-Boyer-Pierce restoration and how he could imagine Whitaker being part of a similar crusade.

    "I think so," Holtzman said, acknowledging what everyone else thought when votes were disclosed Jan. 16: Whitaker's demise was an unintended slight. No surprise if, down the road, amends are made.






    2002

    Some tough decisions on Hall of Fame ballot
    NewspaperJanuary 4, 2002 | Journal Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, IN)
    Author: Ken Rosenthal Sporting News | Page: 2B | Section: SPORTS

    Trammell was one of the best offensive shortstops of his era, but nothing like an Alex Rodriguez.

    There seems little dispute that Trammell is one of the top dozen shortstops of all-time. But does that make him a Hall of Famer? His career virtually is indistinguishable from that of second baseman Lou Whitaker, his double-play partner with the Tigers. Whitaker failed to receive even 5 percent of the vote in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility and was dropped from the ballot.
    Last edited by dgarza; 09-25-2020, 06:40 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • jjpm74
    replied
    There were 32 names on the 2001 ballot. Puckett and Winfield both made it in 1st ballot that year. 19 players in total hit the 5% threshold. I don't know who cast full ballots that year. Given that Winfield made it in, I do not know how much influence ballot fatigue played, but it could have been enough to knock Whitaker off the ballot. Assuming the three column layout was in effect in 2001, Whitaker's name would have been at the bottom of the 3rd column between Van Slyke and Winfield.

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    Every HOF ballot I've ever seen was alphabetized by last name.
    I just looked up some images of the ballots. At least the names are not all in one column. The recent ballots are in 3 columns. That should help with any sort of "list fatigue" bias to some degree.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by dgarza View Post

    I was going to ask if we knew for sure that HOF has their ballots in alphabetical order and not randomized.
    Every HOF ballot I've ever seen was alphabetized by last name.

    Leave a comment:


  • dgarza
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post


    Some states have taken measures to combat this. For example, California randomizes the letters of the alphabet for each election to create a new "alphabetical order" for ballots to follow, basically randomizing ballot placement.

    Obviously, the HOF does nothing of the sort.
    I was going to ask if we knew for sure that HOF has their ballots in alphabetical order and not randomized.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

    His last name starting with a W on a stacked ballot probably didn't help, either.
    Great point!

    There is voluminous research by elections scholars that indicate that candidates at or near the top of the ballot have a systemic advantage over candidates lower on the ballot. It can create differences of several percentage points

    Some states have taken measures to combat this. For example, California randomizes the letters of the alphabet for each election to create a new "alphabetical order" for ballots to follow, basically randomizing ballot placement.

    Obviously, the HOF does nothing of the sort.

    Leave a comment:

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