Monday, July 21, 2008

All-Star Research

When I was doing the All-Star Game research, I started counting Hall of Famers. The 1970 game featured 18 Hall of Famers, which I thought was a lot, but then I discovered another one with 18 HOFers. So it got me wondering, how many HOFers play in a typical All-Star Game? And was last week's game "typical" in that we probably watched X number of HOFers?

Time to bring out the spreadsheet and

I'm not going to research every single game. Rather, I'll take them at 5-year intervals, starting in 1935, and count the HOFers on each roster. A couple of notes:

- I'm not including players who were elected mainly as managers (e.g. Leo Durocher)
- Instead of 1945, when players were at War, I counted 1946
- For some more recent games, I included players who are retired or close to retirement and have already punched a ticket for the Hall of Fame (e.g. Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr., Maddux, Bonds, etc.)
- I didn't count Pete Rose, but if you want to, go ahead.

Here's what I found:
1935: 19
1940: 14
1946: 12
1950: 18
1955: 17
1960: 17
1965: 16
1970: 18
1975: 16
1980: 14
1985: 13
1990: 12
1995: 13
2000: 7
2005: 2

The numbers show that, historically, the typical All-Star game features around 15 to 18 Hall of Famers. So how does that translate to last Tuesday's game? Let's take a close look at the rosters and project out about 20 years. Here's my take:

HOF Lock: If they retired today, they'd be selected...
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Mariano Rivera
3. Manny Ramirez
4. Ichiro Suzuki

HOF Track: If they keep doing what they're doing, they'll be selected...
5. Derek Jeter
6. David Ortiz
7. Chipper Jones
8. Albert Pujols

HOF Possibility: They're still a long way, but they're heading in the right direction...
9. Francisco Rodriguez
10. David Wright
11. Hanley Ramirez

(That last group is really hard to identify. Basically, I chose players who have already had several great seasons and are still young enough to post big career numbers.)

So I count 11 potential Hall of Famers in last week's group, which is on the very low end of the historical spectrum. Does that mean today's players aren't as good? Or that the Hall of Fame has selected a number of players who don't deserve induction?

I lean toward the latter explanation. There are some players (Red Schoendienst, Bobby Doerr, Joe Medwick) who basically got elected because of close friendships with members of the Veterans Committee. (But that's for a separate post.)

Anyway, it's an interesting exercise, at least to me.

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