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Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.



Posted by Mike on Friday, April 09, 2004

Flip-Flop

"Congratulations Detroit! You just rambled off the longest winning streak that you'll have this year! I know you lead the majors in wins, but that probably won't happen again for a few more years so enjoy this while it lasts." This is what I would say to the Detroit Tigers if I had a chance. That is, if they're not broken up because they are bad for baseball. In any event, at least they're going to draw a few more fans because of this quick start than they would have otherwise. Considering their lineup and pitching staff they should consider themselves lucky. It's not often that a future Hall of Famer is placed on a Triple-A team while he still has a few good seasons left in the tank.

This all has made we wonder where do Hall of Famers go to die? I searched the last five years worth of Hall of Fame inductees and the won-loss records of their teams over their last three full seasons. This is what I found:


Name..............Year Inducted.....Team Wins
Paul Molitor..........2003..........70,68,78
Dennis Eckersley......2003..........94,73,88
Eddie Murray..........2002..........88,96,100
Gary Carter...........2002..........87,93,85
Ozzie Smith...........2001..........88,62,53
Carlton Fisk..........2000..........86,87,94
Tony Perez............2000..........86,89,70
Nolan Ryan............1999..........86,77,85
George Brett..........1999..........84,72,82
Robin Yount...........1999..........69,92,83
---------------------------------------------
Combined............................79,81,82


Now, with the exception of Eddie Murray who was part of Cleveland and Baltimore's mid-1990's power offenses, these players all played their last few seasons on average teams. Murray is really the only exception, and still Cleveland liked him so much that they traded him midway through the 1996 season. On the other end of the spectrum, Molitor was the only player to play on consistently poor teams before he retired. This was surely because he was a career member of the Twins.

Nothing all that interesting here, but how about looking at how many games each of these players played over their last three seasons?


Name.........Games Played.....Average
Molitor.......161,135,126.......141
Murray.........55,152,113.......107
Carter.........95,101, 92........96
Smith..........82, 44, 98........75
Fisk...........25, 65,134........75
Perez..........77, 72, 71........73
Brett.........145,152,131.......143
Yount.........127,150,130.......136
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Totals..........................106


Some of these guys were Iron Men while others were injury cases. Fisk played far fewer games his last two season but he was only backing up Ron Karkovice at that point. Ditto for Gary Carter, he was playing second fiddle to Mike Sciocia. Tony Perez backed up Pete Rose for a year and a half, not exactly a slouch himself even though he's not in the Hall of Fame for some reason. This leaves Ozzie Smith as the lone injury case.

What does this all mean? Actually, not much. If anything, it would seem that recent Hall of Fame caliber players go off to die on mediocre teams with no real shot of winning it all. Eddie Murray was an exception unless you consider the fact that the Indians decided to trade him away en route to the playoffs in 1997. For Pudge and the Tigers this all means the obvious. Wait till next year... and the year after that... and the year after that...


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