MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the Modern Era ballot

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: Former player Steve Garvey stands after being acknowledged by Claire Smith during her speech after being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday July 29, 2017 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)
COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 29: Former player Steve Garvey stands after being acknowledged by Claire Smith during her speech after being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award during the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Doubleday Field at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday July 29, 2017 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images) /
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Braves legend Dale Murphy prior to the MLB regular season game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 18, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Braves legend Dale Murphy prior to the MLB regular season game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 18, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Who’s in, who’s out?

If we translate our statistical rankings in the four categories to an ordinal placement, we can get what amounts to a “standing.” Mindful that in an ordinal system a perfect score is 1-1-1-1 or 1.00, here are the overall rankings

                 Player                   Pk OPS+       Pk WAR     Car. OPS+  Car. WAR     Avg.

1              Don Mattingly         1                       3                1.5                   7              3.13

2              Dale Murphy            3                      1                 3.5                   6              3.38

3              Dwight Evans          4                      7                 1.5                   2              3.63

4              Dave Parker             2                      2                 3.5                   8              3.88

5              Ted Simmons          5                       5                 5                      4              4.75

6              Lou Whitaker           6                      6                 6.5                   1              4.88

7              Thurman Munson  9                      4                 8                       5              6.50

8              Tommy John            8                       9                9                       3              7.25

9              Steve Garvey          7                        8               6.5                    9              7.63

Looking strictly at the data, the candidacies of Munson, Garvey, and Whitaker are hard to support over numerically better qualified candidates for the MLB Hall of Fame.

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Mattingly, Murphy, Evans and Parker present the four best overall data sets. All clearly meet standards favored by peak-biased voters, and they also rank high in career OPS+.

Voters favoring career-based candidates will look first to Evans, who ranks high in both career OPS+ and career WAR.

The remaining on-field candidates – Whitaker and Simmons – present mixed statistical profiles.

Munson’s career numbers were obviously compromised by his early death. His 27.0 five-year peak WAR from 1973 through 1977 is exceptional, but his 616 OPS+ for that same period is well below the 671.33 average of his fellow nominees.

If the 16 voters choose to include Miller, one of the top four—probably Parker – has to be abandoned.

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Of course, a voter opting for Miller will by definition be open to considering non-statistical qualifications, a fact that could give John or Munson just the advantage their MLB Hall of Fame candidacies appear to need.