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Should Bill Freehan be in the HoF?

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  • #31
    rankings are similar

    13th Torre 8539
    14th Simmons 8532
    19th Munson 7565
    21st Parrish 7421
    23rd McCarver 7189
    26th Tenace 6850
    27th Freehan 6780

    Catchers by H-Factor all-time. I've got him out.

    Comment


    • #32
      I waffle between Torre and Simmons. Simmons was the better catcher, Torre the better player, if that makes sense.

      Freehan is probably #3, although I think it's pretty much a dead heat between Freehan, Munson, and Howard for the bronze. (Howard's getting some pioneer credit [first black Yankee] and some pity for being stuck behind Yogi, and I'm cutting Munson slack for low counting numbers because the plane crash cut short his career [and his life]. They both were better hitters than Freehan, and gold glovers in their own right.)

      I'd admit all of them without batting an eye. Parrish too (he may have been hurt by the mid-'80's collusion re. free agency more than any other player in baseball), and I'd think about McCarver (more as a contributor...he'll get the broadcasting award someday; what's it called, the Frick?)

      Comment


      • #33
        It's funny how the vast majority of comments state that Freehan should NOT be in the HOF and yet the voting is so close. I guess the ones who think he should be don't have a lot to say on the subject. I voted no. Bill Freehan was a very good player but was never 'HOF great'.
        Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
          I'm bumping this thread, in the hope that the two threads of the same title can be combined.
          Done. Thanks.
          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.

          Comment


          • #35
            I am not really sure. I don't think so, but it's not like he doesn't have a case.
            Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

            Comment


            • #36
              I'm a little more sold on Freehan's case than I was a few years ago.

              Freehan not only played in a terrible HR era, he also played in a terrible hitter's park for RH hitters. He was a tremendous defensive catcher, but he was just establishing himself as the best defensive catcher in baseball when he was suddenly overshadowed by Bench.

              Freehan was the Tigers' best player in 1968. McLain won 31 games, but some of that was luck, and some of that was Freehan. Indeed, Freehan's best seasons coincided perfectly with the Tigers' best seasons, so he clearly gets credit for contributing to a winning team.

              In ranking Freehan, it does seem that his peak was a little short. Torre, Simmons, and even Parrish and Munson had longer peaks than Freehan. I rate Freehan ahead of Elston Howard and Sherm Lollar.

              Does that put him in the HOF? I would say "yes" to the guys ahead of Freehan, but "no" to the guys behind him. How much better than Elston Howard do you have to be to make the HOF?
              "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

              NL President Ford Frick, 1947

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                Arguably (I don't think so, but people I respect do) the best catcher eligible for the HOF who's not in.

                Great defensive catcher, plainly hurt by his era offensively, quite possibly the most valuable player on the great Tiger teams of the late 1960's -- teams that included Kaline, Cash, McLain, and Lolich. Solid power bat, especially for the era and position. Took walks. Somewhat short career in terms of seasons (15) but not games played (almost 1600 caught) -- very durable. His 11 All-Star Game appearances are the most by any eligible player who is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

                Yes, I would induct Freehan.
                Couple Freehan's bat, with numbers racked up during a pitchers era, with 11 All-Star Game appearances and 5 Golden Gloves at perhaps the most demanding defensive position on the diamond and you have a HOF-er, unless you are a super small hall backer.

                Looking at the actual standards of the HOF, Freehan qualifies with ease, IMHO. He wouldnt be the worst catcher there by a longshot. And even if you subscribe to the theory that mistakes were made in the past but those should be disregarded when enshrining future candidates (IOW, the bar ought to be set higher today and going forward than it was for Ferrell Schalk Marquard Hooper etc ("Insert Favorite Undeserving Player Name here") Freehan wouldnt disgrace the Hall even if such players had never been selected. I voted yes he should be in and would like to see it happen one day. Just as an aside, Ron Santo Minnie Minoso Joe Gordon... I'd like to see those 3 players in as well. There are quite a few I'd take out too, but thats another thread...

                Add thoughts... In a perfect world I might prefer a small very selective HOF... but as we all know, we dont live in such a world. And with the Hall not solely reserved for Ruth Williams Mays Young Johnson Grove etc... and having not been reserved purely for such caliber now for a very long time.. .I think its wrong to hold some men out when there are many of lesser caliber in the HOF. The horse has flown in my view... there isnt any point to guarding the barn door anymore. I guess I am a large Hall man now, when I really think about it.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                  Arguably (I don't think so, but people I respect do) the best catcher eligible for the HOF who's not in.
                  I think so in the same way that I prefer I-Rod over Piazza as a catcher. In terms of total value, I'd probably have to give the nod to Simmons, but for aesthetic purposes, it's Freehan all the way!
                  "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                  "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                  "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                  "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    --There are 16 catchers in the Hall of Fame. Freehan is clearly better than 2 of them; Ray Schalk and Rick Ferrell. I would also take him over 3 more; Bresnahan, Mackey and Lombardi although some would disagree on one or more of those (some may disagree on Schalk or Ferrell too, but they would be wrong:cap. That would make Freehan the 12th best of 17 catchers in the Hall if he were selected. A solid Hall of Famer.
                    --Of course the complicating issue is that Freehan should not be compared ONLY to Cooperstown catchers - they are not the best 16 catchers of all time. Deacon White, Charlie Bennett, Joe Torre and Ted Simmons all have solid arguements for being more deserving than Freehan. If you think they are all better than not only Freehan not at the front of the line, but that would make him 16th of 21 if he got in and not quite such a solid choice. Personally I think this group is fairly tightly bunch and rankingthem would not be so simple, but it does muddy the waters for Freehan. Some people might also prefr Elston Howard or Thurmon Munson or somebody else (although I don't know who the somebody else might be). And Piazza and Rodriguez are both clearly better than Freehan and will push him further back in line when they become eligible/get inducted.
                    --I do support Bill Freehan, but htis is not a case like Ron Santo where there is somebody so obviously at the front of the line at his position that you just can't understand hwo they keep getting overlooked. What catcher and thirdbase do have in common is that both positions have proven a challenge for Cooperstown voters to judge.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      [Some people who voted in the new poll will find that they have not voted in this old one.]

                      Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                      I'm a little more sold on Freehan's case than I was a few years ago.
                      . . .
                      Freehan was the Tigers' best player in 1968.
                      I agree. One might say Kaline or Cash over Freehan during his career with the Tigers but not in 1968. I would say Freehan for 1967-1972. The team carried the '67 and '72 pennant races to the final game, winning one and losing one.

                      In ranking Freehan, it does seem that his peak was a little short. Torre, Simmons, and even Parrish and Munson had longer peaks than Freehan. I rate Freehan ahead of Elston Howard and Sherm Lollar.

                      Does that put him in the HOF? I would say "yes" to the guys ahead of Freehan, but "no" to the guys behind him. How much better than Elston Howard do you have to be to make the HOF?
                      Bench, Fisk, and Carter are in the Hall of Fame. Torre, Simmons, Parrish, Munson, and Freehan would make eight with major league catcher debuts 1961 to 1977 --and eight between Berra/Campanella in the late '40s, Piazza/I-Rod in the early '90s. That is legal; there are six with debuts 1922 to 1931.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Timeline - HOFers and top 50 by time fielding catcher

                        Consider the top 50 catchers by playing time (full seasons equivalent). This wrapped timeline shows their major league catcher debuts by year and decade. For example, there were two debuts by the top 50 in year 1884 and three in decade 1880s, plus Buck Ewing 1880 who is in the Hall of Fame but not in the top 50 by full seasons.
                        Code:
                        [U]Timeline, catcher debuts, top 50 by full seasons fielding catcher[/u]
                        .1.1.1..1. = 4       (1871 is Deacon White, pro catcher debut 1869)
                        [COLOR="RoyalBlue"]e[/COLOR]...2.[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]1[/COLOR]... = 3       ('e' is Buck Ewing, not in the top 50)
                        .......... = 0  1890s
                        [COLOR="RoyalBlue"]b[/COLOR]......... = 0       ('b' is Roger Bresnahan, not in the top 50)
                        .1[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]1[/COLOR]1.2.... = 5 
                        .1[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]1[/COLOR]1.[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]1[/COLOR]..[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]31[/COLOR] = 9 
                        [COLOR="RoyalBlue"]11[/COLOR].1...... = 2  1930s
                        .1....[u][COLOR="RoyalBlue"]2[/COLOR].[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]c[/COLOR]1[/u] = 4       ('c' is Roy Campanella, not in the top 50)
                        [u]...[B]..h.1.1[/B][/u] = 2       ('h' is Elston Howard, not in the top 50)
                        [u][B].2.....[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]1[/COLOR]1[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]2[/COLOR][/B][/u] = 6
                        [U].11.[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]2[/COLOR]..[/U]11. = 6  1970s
                        2.....2... = 4
                        .121..1... = 5       (1996 is Jason Kendall)
                        Someone younger than Kendall, debut 1996, may now be in the top 50.

                        Bill Freehan and Johnny Edwards debuted in 1961. Underline marks 15 years before and after; bold marks 8 years before and after. That 31-year underline is one year short of catching everyone named by FB, Sherm Lollar 1946 to Lance Parrish 1977.

                        Note, 23 of the 50 catchers made their debuts in two periods less than 15 years long, 1921-1933 (11 including 6 in the Hall of Fame) and 1967-1980 (12 including 3 in the Hall, Torre will be four). But there were only six 1934-1956, or ten 1934-1966, or seven 1946-1966.

                        Hall of Fame catchers
                        Royal blue marks the major league catcher debuts for the major leaguers in the Hall of Fame (15). Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez will add 1991 and 1992 to the bluelight district.

                        Every highlight represents one Hall of Famer, not the numeral that counts top 50 debuts in that year. Al Lopez played three games all at catcher in 1928; in order to make him visible I have moved him to 1930 when he returned to the majors at age 20. (There were four top 50 debuts in 1928 including HOFers Lopez and Bill Dickey.)

                        Hall of Fame "Managers" Wilbert Robinson and Al Lopez were star catchers with long careers (top 50) and they are marked blue. Connie Mack was a mediocre player for less time and he is not on the timeline at all. A few catchers from outside the top 50, including three Hall of Fame "Players", are marked by their initials because they are not in the count.

                        The HOF catchers who played only in the Negro Leagues are not marked. Their debuts with major teams were Louis Santop 1909, Biz Mackey 1920, Josh Gibson 1929. (Roy Campanella 1937 is on the timeline at his 1948 major league catcher debut.)

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          I go back and forth about Freehan, and I still think his case is better then a lot of catchers' outside the HOF.

                          I still put Torre and Simmons behind Freehan. I rate Freehan about even with Elston Howard, but behind Lance Parrish. Most people here put Parrish behind Freehan because of defense, but I can't see giving Freehan the edge when Parrish had a longer peak and, arguably, a longer run as the best catcher in the AL.

                          Freehan deserves the lion's share of success for the Tiger successes in 1968 (WC) and 1972 (AL East Champs), and he was also vital to the Tigers finishing one game out in 1967. Had the 1967 Tigers won a pennant, Freehan would then be associated with a team that won multiple pennants, and his candidacy would have been looked upon more favorably.

                          Freehan's star was eclipsed, somewhat, by the emergence of Bench during Bench's second season in 1969. Bench has a case of being the greatest catcher of all time, and he was superior on defense to even Freehan. Had Bench's star not ascended until, say, the mid-seventies, Freehan may be more prominently remembered than he is today.
                          "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

                          NL President Ford Frick, 1947

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            He's borderline in.

                            I remember when Jorge Posada was about to retire when everybody mentioned that he had a HOF career. Then I went about to see if this was true. The Argument? He was the best catcher in the AL for the 00's, a whole decade. And i thought that was interesting.

                            So if Posada can be in the HOF, so does Freehan, the best catcher in MLB in the 60's.

                            We had previously stated that the HOF has a bias against Detroit players (must be a Ty Cobb thing): Norm Cash, Bill Freehan, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell...Borderline HOFers, sitting outside while others with a worse career are sitting comfortably in.

                            I agree with KCGhost that he will never make it, but if would've been in, we wouldn't been the worst selection.
                            "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
                            George Brett

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by yankillaz View Post
                              He's borderline in.

                              I remember when Jorge Posada was about to retire when everybody mentioned that he had a HOF career. Then I went about to see if this was true. The Argument? He was the best catcher in the AL for the 00's, a whole decade. And i thought that was interesting.

                              So if Posada can be in the HOF, so does Freehan, the best catcher in MLB in the 60's.

                              We had previously stated that the HOF has a bias against Detroit players (must be a Ty Cobb thing): Norm Cash, Bill Freehan, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell...Borderline HOFers, sitting outside while others with a worse career are sitting comfortably in.

                              I agree with KCGhost that he will never make it, but if would've been in, we wouldn't been the worst selection.
                              Freehan was the best catcher in the AL from 1967-72. Elston Howard was, clearly, the best catcher in the AL from 1961-64, and Earl Battey was, arguably, the best in 1965 and about even with Freehan in 1966. Freehan was, however, the best catcher in baseball during 1967-68, all things considered; he was better than McCarver and Torre, who were good in 1967 but slipped in 1968. He was better than Bench in 1968.

                              Freehan MIGHT have been the best catcher in the AL during 1965-66, but that's if (A) you put his defense ahead of Battey's offense, and (B) you take into account that the AL field of catchers in 1965-66 was pretty weak.
                              "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

                              NL President Ford Frick, 1947

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                --Well, of course, he wasn't the best catcher every year of the 60s. He definately was the best AL catcher of the 60s though. Definately might be a little strong for best MLB catcher of the 60s, but he'd be my pick. Now being the best at your position for a given decade is not by itself an iron clad arguement that you belong in the Hall of Fame, but its a nice start towards making your case.

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