Monday, April 30, 2012

How is it that I have to defend Jim Edmonds to Cardinals Fans?

I've seen a lot of threads in my lifetime, mostly on Cards Talk which is a vile and reputable place filled with idiots and less occasionally where sane, rational and intelligent Cards fans go (Stl Legends), where the name Jim Edmonds comes up in conversations about the Hall of Fame.  Only thing is, I see more people saying he has no chance at it more than I see supporters.  And it isn't just a "He's close" thing I see a lot.  There are way too many "No chance" opinions.  I don't get it.  How is it that people--CARDINALS FANS!!--have no appreciation for Jimmy Ballgame?

Being a nerd, I'm going to take time out of my life to run some numbers and perform analysis about Jim Edmonds, his place in history, and hopefully enlighten some people about his candidacy.  Bias alert up front--I love Jim Edmonds.  When I was a kid, I would have done anything to see him play.  Never got the chance in person, but have seen enough of him on TV.  As an aside: I never understood the argument that "You had to see him to understand him!  You can't just use stats!" Isn't that why stats exist?  So people that never got a chance to see Player A get an idea for how good he was?  Don't stats record what happens on a ball field?  I'm getting off track.  Lets get this train rolling.

Here are the Major League CF in the HoF.  In parenthesis after each person I will include their EqA and WARP3.  I'll explain each of these in a bit below:
Lloyd Waner (.268, 16.9)
Hack Wilson (.315, 28.9)
Tris Speaker (.327, 106.8)
Duke Snider (.308, 45.3)
Edd Roush (.297, 21.4)
Kirby Puckett (.284, 40.9)
Willie Mays (.327, 151.0)
Mickey Mantle (.347, 94.0)
Lary Doby (.308, 35.4)
Billy Hamilton (.318, 59.2)
Joe DiMaggio (.328, 78.6)
Hugh Duffy (.289, 33.1)
Ty Cobb (.336, 119.2)
Max Carey (.283, 28.9)
Earle Combs (.300, 21.0)
Richie Ashburn (.289, 58.8)
Earl Averill (.303, 32.7)

OK, long list and it looks ugly, apologies.  Jim Edmonds has a career .298 EqA and a 72.7 WARP3.  I'm going to narrow it down to players inducted by the BBWAA because those tend to be the best of all time and a lot of the ones that did make it in sorta stink (Max Carey?  Edd Roush?  Really?) Of players that were voted in by the BBWAA (Puckett, Mays, Mantle, Speaker, Snider, DiMaggio, Cobb--Holy crap is that a short list!), Edmonds ranks ahead of Puckett and Snider in terms of WARP3 (Wins Above Replacement Player adjusted for all-time) and just about as many as DiMaggio (Greatest Living Ballplayer my backside!).

In baseball history, only 5 CF were as valuable to their teams as Edmonds.  5.  F.I.V.E.  And this makes him not a Hall of Famer because....?  He's not in the Mays/Mantle/Cobb class, but very few people are.  Edmonds definitely deserves to be a Hall of Famer.

A lot of people I talk to will cite Ken Griffey being better than Edmonds.  Well, they have almost the same EqA (Griffey had a .297 EqA to Edmonds .298), and nearly identical WARP3's (Griffey had a 78.2).  In fact, most advanced metrics have them being very close in production.  RC27 gives the edge to Edmonds (7.3 to 7.2), and BtRuns gives the edge to Griffey (507.7 to 336.7).  The BtRuns looks like a big difference, but Griffey played 5 more years than Edmonds and their average per year was only slighly more for Griffey (31 to 27).  Griffey gets a lot of credit for having 630 HR, and he should because its a remarkable number.  He was a great hitter and great player.  Maybe just a hair better than Edmonds, but the difference isn't much.  Both were great, fun to watch and should be headed for Cooperstown.

Added 5/1: Some people asked me about more traditional stats for Edmonds and the Hall of Fame.  Well, I say those traditional stats are worked into EqA (which gives you total offensive output per out) and the other stats.  But, here they are anyways:

Griffey: 284/370/538 (136 OPS+).  Averaged 38 HR per 162.
Edmonds: 284/376/527 (131 OPS+).  Averaged 32 HR per 162.

Eerie, isn't it?

As always, I'm open to hearing people's opinions on this.  I'm willing to listen if someone has a legit argument against Edmonds inclusion in Cooperstown.  I will probably disagree with their position, but I will listen.  And defend their right to say it to the death.  Maybe not death, per say.  Maybe more like to the...back spasm?  That sounds better than death right?


  1. Jimmy, like Griffey made some amazing catches. I got to see a lot of Griffey and very little of Jimmy. What i did see was impressive. I'd vote him in, but only after Edgar Martinez gets in!!!

  2. Edgar loses a lot of points for being a DH with some voters. I personally don't care, because these same hacks are going to vote Jeter in on the first ballot and he's a terrible defensive SS. Would rather he not play a position than play one poorly. Especially as poorly as Jeter has.