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Should Bill Freehan be in the HoF?

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  • Should Bill Freehan be in the HoF?

    In reasearching catchers recently, I came across his stats. They are pretty impressive for the 1960s. His 1968 seasn was pretty amazing

    .263/.366/.454, 25 HR, 85 BRI, 73 runs, 65/64 BB/K, 145 OPS+, Gold Glove winner, 2nd in MVP voting.

    The 1968 AL average was .230/.294/.339.
    59
    Yes
    50.85%
    30
    No
    49.15%
    29
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    Yes, absolutely. Any player who's ever had a pretty good year or two belongs in the Hall of Fame. That's what it's for, isn't it?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by westsidegrounds
      Yes, absolutely. Any player who's ever had a pretty good year or two belongs in the Hall of Fame. That's what it's for, isn't it?
      Well, Freehan had more than one or two good years...
      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

      Comment


      • #4
        Very good catcher and very good man. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, and I think Freehan is below that.
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        • #5
          He was a fine catcher, I don't want to pick on him or anything, but look at his leaderboard appearances to get a feel for where he stood in his time & there's just no way.

          There's plenty of room for a guy to put together a fine career, a career to be proud of, without being so outstanding that he belongs in the HOF.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by westsidegrounds
            Yes, absolutely. Any player who's ever had a pretty good year or two belongs in the Hall of Fame. That's what it's for, isn't it?
            Assuming I'm correct in assuming your reference....

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            • #7
              I wouldn't have a problem with Freehan's induction, but I can't support his candidacy until Torre and Simmons get in.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by abacab
                I wouldn't have a problem with Freehan's induction, but I can't support his candidacy until Torre and Simmons get in.
                That's my ranking as well. I've got Freehan and Munson in about a third place tie behind Simmons and Torre. All are deserving in my view.

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                • #9
                  Sometimes I'm for Freehan in, and sometimes for him out.

                  All I know is that my 14 and 15th ranked catchers (Fisk and Torre) are in my HoF, and that my 18th and 19th (Lance Parrish, Johnny Roseboro) aren't in my HoF.

                  My 16th and 17th are Freehan and Elston Howard. Some days I'm for them, some not. The thing that you have to take into account, is that Howard didn't get to play full time until he was 31, becuase he was shuffling around at other positions since the Yankee's had Berra.
                  AL East Champions: 1981 1982
                  AL Pennant: 1982
                  NL Central Champions: 2011
                  NL Wild Card: 2008

                  "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

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                  • #10
                    Although he was a great leader for the Tigers, I'd say no.

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                    • #11
                      I decided to look at one version of the Keltner List questions and answer them for Freehan.

                      1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

                      No.

                      2. Was he the best player on his team?

                      From 1967 to 1971, quite possibly. He was the only position player on the Tigers to have made the All-Star team on a regular basis during those years, and he was the top Tiger in the 1967 MVP voting.

                      3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

                      During the 1960s, baseball’s top catcher was either Freehan or Joe Torre, so Freehan was the AL’s best catcher during that time. Torre was a better hitter, but Freehan was better defensively, winning five gold gloves during his career.

                      4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

                      The Tigers ran away with the pennant in 1968, so nobody on that team really had an impact. He was good in 1972, when the Tigers edged out Boston (by 1/2 game!) for the division title, and in 1967, when Detroit lost the league by one game.

                      5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

                      No. His end came pretty quickly.

                      6. Is he the very best baseball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

                      No.

                      7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

                      If you go by batting similarity scores, none are. You have Darrell Porter, Terry Steinbach, Sherm Lollar, Elston Howard, Benito Santiago, Thurman Munson, Tim McCarver, Del Crandall, Tony Pena, and Dick McAuliffe. But only Munson had a higher career OPS+, and Freehan had more all-star appearances and more gold gloves than anybody else on the list.

                      Now let’s look at 4 win share lists for catchers. He’s much better than Lombardi in all 4 categories, by the way.

                      Career (+/- 30): Cochrane 275, Freehan 267, Parrish 248, Schang 245, Ewing 241. Freehan trails nearly all post-1920 HOF catchers.

                      Top 3 seasons (+/- 10): Torre 98, Berra 97, Campanella 94, Fisk 94, Carter 94, Freehan 90, Howard 89, Cochrane 89, Dickey 87, Simmons 86, Bresnahan 83, Tenace 83, Daulton 83, Hartnett 80. Freehan’s near the cutoff. (Torre’s fluke 1971 season, when he had 41 win shares while playing third, pushes him up.)

                      Top 5 consecutive seasons (+/- 15): Carter 141, Campanella 134, Dickey 132, Tenace 127, Simmons 127, Freehan 126, Torre 126, Howard 119, Bresnahan 116, Hartnett 114, Munson 111. He’s in a pack with other potential HOF candidates.

                      Average per 162 games (+/- 2.5): Bench 26.72, Hartnett 26.46, Bresnahan 25.88, Freehan 24.38, Tenace 24.07, Bennett 23.95, Fisk 23.86, Carter 23.78, Munson 23.45, Torre 23.10, Haller 22.41, Daulton 22.19. Freehan’s in good shape.

                      8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

                      No. His HOF Standards number is 28.1; the HOF Monitor is 83.5.

                      9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

                      Freehan played during one of the worst eras for hitters, and thus his raw numbers don’t look very good. Also, Freehan was considered the best defensive catcher of his generation; his defense doesn’t appear in the offensive numbers.

                      10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

                      I’d say Mackey and Santop were better catchers. If you look at only eligible MLB players, it’s possible; he’s in a pack with Simmons and Torre as the best not in. Neyer claims that Freehan is the best eligible major league catcher not in the Hall.

                      11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

                      Freehan had 2 seasons with at least 30 win shares, which is good for a catcher – only eight major league catchers have managed it. Campanella and Cochrane had 2 such seasons each, Dickey just one, and Hartnett none.

                      In actual MVP voting, he finished third in 1967. He was second in 1968, the highest position player in the voting.

                      12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

                      He made 11 All-Star teams, just like Carter, Dickey Fisk, Piazza, and Rodriguez. Freehan is the only retired catcher in MLB history to have appeared on at least 10 All-Star teams to have not made the Hall of Fame.

                      13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

                      Well, one could argue that he was the best player on the 1968 team that won 103 games and the pennant.

                      14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

                      I can’t think of any major impact. He does hold an obscure record: Freehan was once hit by pitches in three consecutive at bats.

                      15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

                      As far as I can tell, yes.

                      Looking at the Keltner List, I’d say Freehan is a borderline HOF candidate. Perhaps he belongs; perhaps he doesn’t. I’d have to think about it.

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                      • #12
                        Denny McLain was the best player on the 1968 Tigers...no question.
                        Freehan was a great catcher but not a Hall of Famer.

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                        • #13
                          He had a very good peak in the late 60s, but just couldn't sustain it. Torre and Simmons are clearly more deserving, so I'd have to say no.
                          "The numbers are what brought me here; as it appears they brought you."
                          - Danielle Rousseau

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paulmcall
                            Denny McLain was the best player on the 1968 Tigers...no question.
                            Freehan was a great catcher but not a Hall of Famer.
                            Who was his catcher?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is pretty much a moot point, though. Looking at how the vets committee went down this year, I don't see Freehan ever making it.

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