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Affirmative Action and the "Domination" Clause

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  • Affirmative Action and the "Domination" Clause

    I've heard many writers vote on players for the HoF based on whether or not they "dominated" their era/competition.

    Affirmative action is the consideration of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. when hiring, promoting, or performing other such functions.

    What are your thoughts on affirmative action in Cooperstown? Should players be bestowed the honor if their era or position is lacking in HoF players? Does dominating an era, even if the player wasn't superb in the long run, merit induction?
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

  • #2
    Dominating an era or position for a significant enough period of time proves that a player was superb, to my mind. My case for Lee Smith absolutely includes this argument. To me it matters less that a players' acheivements seem lesser in retrospect after oft-duplicated than it does that they accomplished something unique or important. It does have to be over a period of time for me, but I do value 'the first to___' very highly. Setting the tone for future players is to me as big an accomplishment as 3,000 hits or K's. DHs not included, unless they really show me something. Smith's ahead of E. Martinez in my pecking order.
    Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

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    • #3
      Dominance is typical of a great player, and it's certainly a favorable indicator for a players' HOF case. However, that alone can't be the whole case for a guy to make the HOF. If he's dominating a Babe Ruth league or even a very mediocre set of players without meeting other HOF standards doesn't merit induction. Also, if a guy dominates over several years on a league-wide level, that's far more impressive than dominating a league at a position, especially if there were only eight teams in the league.
      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by jalbright View Post
        Dominance is typical of a great player, and it's certainly a favorable indicator for a players' HOF case. However, that alone can't be the whole case for a guy to make the HOF. If he's dominating a Babe Ruth league or even a very mediocre set of players without meeting other HOF standards doesn't merit induction. Also, if a guy dominates over several years on a league-wide level, that's far more impressive than dominating a league at a position, especially if there were only eight teams in the league.
        So should Jim Creighton be as revered as he is in some circles?
        Last edited by jalbright; 10-12-2012, 08:20 AM.
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        • #5
          Creighton is worthy of the HOF as a pioneer, the guy who made pitching as a key part of the game. As a player, a guy who dies at 21 can only have a brief period of dominance, and I'm not inclined to support him solely for his play.
          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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          • #6
            I go back and forth on this very issue when it comes to Lave Cross. Cross was among the best of his era at his position, but mainly because of a lack of great players at his given position. Wally Schang is another player I usually am on the fence with for the same reason.

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            • #7
              Maybe for Barnes, Spaulding, and a few 1870's guys.
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              The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
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              • #8
                --Dominating your league (even it was the NA or AA or the weakest period of AL or NL) for any length of time is a pretty strong Hall of Fame indicator. You need a good reason NOT to support such a player. Being the best at your position for a few years or even over a decade is a point in your favor, but by itself doesn't make you a Hall of Famer. Most decades have a position or two where there just weren't any great players. Being the best of a weak field doesn't do it for me.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                  --Dominating your league (even it was the NA or AA or the weakest period of AL or NL) for any length of time is a pretty strong Hall of Fame indicator. You need a good reason NOT to support such a player. Being the best at your position for a few years or even over a decade is a point in your favor, but by itself doesn't make you a Hall of Famer. Most decades have a position or two where there just weren't any great players. Being the best of a weak field doesn't do it for me.
                  Agree 100%. I could have not said it better myself.
                  Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 10-12-2012, 11:39 AM.
                  1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                  1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                  1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                  The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                  The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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                  • #10
                    That's one of the legs of the Lou Whitaker for the HOF argument. Maybe I'm missing someone but I think he was the best 2B in the AL between Grich and Alomar or at least the rise of Baerga.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                      --Dominating your league (even it was the NA or AA or the weakest period of AL or NL) for any length of time is a pretty strong Hall of Fame indicator.
                      It's too bad the dominating players from the NA and AA are not in the Hall.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                        --Dominating your league (even it was the NA or AA or the weakest period of AL or NL) for any length of time is a pretty strong Hall of Fame indicator. You need a good reason NOT to support such a player. Being the best at your position for a few years or even over a decade is a point in your favor, but by itself doesn't make you a Hall of Famer. Most decades have a position or two where there just weren't any great players. Being the best of a weak field doesn't do it for me.
                        Fred Dunlap and his dominance in the UA says hello. So does Silver King and his dominance of the PL. :clowning:

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                        • #13
                          A guy who made it to the Hall on this argument is Hack Wilson. Another one I'd say relied strongly on this argument is George Sisler. Some guys I can think of who as players have this argument but aren't in or are considered in for other reasons are Hughie Jennings, Ross Barnes, Al Spalding and to a lesser extent, John McGraw. An interesting best catcher argument case is Bill Freehan, who was the best between Berra and Bench
                          Last edited by jalbright; 10-13-2012, 08:54 AM.
                          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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                          • #14
                            My own standard of dominance is whether or not a player was the best player in the league at his position, arguably, for a period of years. If a guy is the best player in his league at his position for a 3-4 year period, that's a starting point for me. That's not as easy a standard to meet as it sounds.

                            If a guy can't meet that standard, then the competition comes into play (Cobb/Speaker, Mays/Snider, Mathews/Santo/Boyer) If there's a glut of talent at a position, I'll look at the number 2 or 3 guy. On the other hand, Terry Steinbach was once the best catcher in the AL for a few years; he wasn't a HOFer on his best day (although he was a good player and, in his best years, a quality regular).
                            "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

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
                              That's one of the legs of the Lou Whitaker for the HOF argument. Maybe I'm missing someone but I think he was the best 2B in the AL between Grich and Alomar or at least the rise of Baerga.
                              I don't know how many legs an argument needs, but among AL second basemen with 5000+ PA (roughly minimum for HOF) Sweet Lou ranks 4th all-time in WAR and doubles, 2nd in homers, 6th in RBI, and 7th in fielding runs. He was also 10th in OBA and OPS+, and 11th in slugging. He certainly holds his own with Grich and overshadows Baerga.

                              But I think you are right about the importance of his standing alone: such broad-based value and Lou's great consistency barely stand out even when he's all by himself.
                              Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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