IT’S FINALLY HERE: “OPENING DAY” FOR THIS PAGE
3/19/2022 Update: You can now view and download the data connected to the 300 “Inductees” in this virtual Hall Of Fame/Hall Of Achievement. Culled from the final total of 18,855 MLB/NLB qualified players in the RetroPlay system (check out the complete directories here), these Elite 300 have emerged as the very best numbers-only — and retired — ballplayers in MLB/NLB history (1871 through 2020). Unlike the positional rankings, here there were no quotas per-position to be considered; RetroPlay Ratings (RPR) determined the first cut, Career WAR was the next determining factor, and all that remained to be seen was where the top 300 separated themselves from the rest of the pack in terms of RPR and CW. For a brief recap of that process, see several paragraphs below at “Final notes of comparison, and on the process.”
The current plan is to make available all of the site-wide download opportunities for free as we (that is, I) proceed with all 150 birthplace-based season-simulations (historic “replays”). After that is accomplished and all of the results are ready to be released, a book/books may be published, so at that time, the free downloads will probably cease (when I finally ask for token remuneration for all of my work). But between now and then, I’ve got a lot of replayin’ on my plate, so explore this site for all its worth.
**3/19/22 EXPRESS LANE NOTIFICATION: FOR OUR FINALIZED LIST OF (300) HALL OF FAME HONOREES, SCROLL DOWN BELOW THE “RetroPlay RE-set Hall Of Fame” GOLDEN PLAQUE ICON
FIRST THINGS FIRST. ALTERNATIVE NAMES FOR THIS VIRTUAL, NUMBERS-ONLY H.O.F. —
“RetroPlay RE-set Hall Of Fame” or… the “20/20 Hindsight Hall Of Fame”
As stated below, the formula that determines who makes this virtual HOF (or whatever it’s called) is very straightforward: RetroPlay Rating (RPR) = Career WAR (to 1 decimal point) times WAR-per-162-games (full season) rate (to one decimal point, as well); if a player’s (Career WAR) X (per-162 rate) = 225 or more, and he meets the PA/IP minimums, that player is automatically “inducted” upon retirement. And we say “players” because this is a players-only Hall; no managers, executives, or “pioneers” in this virtual gallery of the players who had the most career impact on the field.
Other things to keep in mind:
- The RPR formula is set up to reflect BOTH a sufficiently lengthy career (counting stat of Career WAR) and a career that has been consistently productive (rate stat of average WAR-per-162-games-played, indicating that the player had All-Star-type seasons — WAR of 5+ — year in and year out); it’s also designed to bypass the voting foibles of fans or veterans committees, such as cronyism and/or bias for or against contemporaries or direct rivals;
- If a player gets to a healthy Career WAR total of 40 or 50 or so, but his per-162 average is only about 2.5 (indicating a starter, but not an All-Star, on average), well, his RPR total will be only 100 or 125, and he’s been exposed as someone who merely accumulated those career numbers over the course of a long career, and has not been consistently dominant or a true, virtually-annual All-Star (rhetorical question: is that a Hall-of-Famer in your book?);
- a) We’re looking objectively at the metrics only, and not trying to assess character/morality/off-field behavior in any of this, and b) only regular-season performance is being weighed in the scales (subject to change if post-season data can be normalized, supplied, and added in somehow)
A preliminary event in the “lobby” before we enter the gallery of the greats…
Here is a teaser list in two parts; A) those still-active players who are already qualified (locked-in) and just need to retire to make it all official, and B) active players who are the most “on-track” to gain admission to this HOF (if not necessarily the real one):
First, those who are already qualified and merely have to retire so the final numbers can be etched in stone;
- Mike Trout 76.1 CW x 9.6-per-162 = 730 RPR (5660 PA meets minimum); born in New Jersey
- Albert Pujols 99.6 CW x 5.4-per 162 = 537 RPR (12,690 PA); born in the Dominican Republic
- Clayton Kershaw 71.9 CW x 6.5-per-162 = 467 RPR (2455 IP meets minimum); born in Texas
- Justin Verlander 71.8 CW x 5.4-per-162 = 387 RPR (2988 IP); born in Virginia
- Max Scherzer 67.1 CW x 5.7-per-162 = 382 RPR (2537 IP); born in Missouri
- Zack Greinke 73.1 CW x 4.9-per-162 = 358 RPR (3110 IP); born in Florida
- Joey Votto 64.6 CW x 5.5-per-162 = 355 RPR (8128 PA); born in Canada
- Robinson Cano 69.6 CW x 5.0-per-162 = 348 RPR (9446 PA); born in the Dominican Republic
- Miguel Cabrera 68.7 CW x 4.3-per-162 = 295 RPR (10,993 PA); born in Venezuela
- Evan Longoria 57.4 CW x 5.1-per-162 = 292 RPR (7671 PA); born in California
So those are your “locks” according to (regular-season) career impact, as measured by RPR. Now, on to those who are apparently “on track” among players still active as of 2021;
- Mookie Betts 50.0 CW x 8.3-per-162 = 415 RPR (4425 PA, needs 5000 to qualify); born in Tennessee
- Jacob deGrom 43.4 CW x 7.5-per-162 = 325 RPR (1262 IP, needs 1620 to qualify); born in Florida
- Paul Goldschmidt 50.7 CW x 5.6-per-162 = 283 RPR (6300 PA, pending career-end); born: Delaware
- Josh Donaldson 44.4 CW x 6.0-per-162 = 266 RPR (5121 PA, pending career-end); born in Florida
- Chris Sale 46.5 CW x 5.6-per-162 = 260 RPR (1672 IP; pending career-end); born in Florida
- Manny Machado 45.2 CW x 5.7-per-162 =257 RPR (5629 PA; pending career-end); born in Florida
- Nolan Arenado 44.3 CW x 5.8-per-162 = 256 RPR (5211 PA; pending career-end); born in California
- Giancarlo Stanton 44.1 CW x 5.4-per-162 = 238 RPR (5570 PA); pending career-end; born: California
- Buster Posey 44.9 CW x 5.3-per-162 = 237 RPR (5607 PA); pending career-end; born in Georgia
- Carlos Correa 34.1 CW x 7.3-per-162 for 248 RPR, but only 3223 PA so far; a long way to go…
See how this works now? 12 of these 20 have already rolled up a 50+ Career War total (and all but our longest-/most-future- shot have amassed 40+); and 18 of 20 have average full-season WAR rates (“per-162” [games]) of 5.0 or better. So these are the guys who have not only been around awhile, but have consistently put up dominating seasonal numbers (solid, all-star-type production over the years). It’s possible that some of those who are still active will drop off the “on track” list as their career-ending seasons prove to be less productive, and that’s only natural. But that’s why we’re only willing to call those who are so far above 225 RPR the “locks” that even if they’d have horrendous seasons after 2021, it would be mathematically impossible to fall below 225 (and what team would continue to play them when they’re falling flat on their faces like that?).
*** 2/25/22 NOTE: The following section has been “grandfathered in” in order to explain how the RetroPlay system treats relief pitchers with regard to H.O.F. consideration.
Admittedly, something had to be done to accommodate the relief specialists, since WAR smiles on the innings-chewers, and not even one RP met even the original (experimental) threshold of 200 points, with the final cutoff settling in around 220. Even Mariano Rivera, the Gold Standard by which all relievers can be measured, came in short at 191 (career WAR of 56.2 multiplied by WAR-per-162-games of 3.4). Since we all should be able to agree that at least a small, representative contingent of the Relief-Specialist variety belongs in the Hall of Fame or a “Hall of Achievement,” if you prefer, some different criteria had to be developed to correct any across-the-board injustice at the hands of WAR and/or my use of it for all other players. So here’s what I hit upon, called the Relief-Specialists Index (RSI):
- Set Rivera’s totals of Saves (652), Career WAR (56.2), and WAR Per 162 Games (3.4) at the 100th percentile in each of those 3 categories (RSI of 300);
- Looked at each Relief Specialist inducted into Cooperstown and all relievers in MLB history with 300+ saves to compare their numbers with Rivera’s in each of the 3 categories (expressed as a ratio and resulting percentile; e.g, 326 saves would be 326/652, or 50% — for a total of 50 points in that category);
- Worked through the numbers, added ’em up, and the top 8 were named RRHOF members in good standing (picked 8 because there were 8 official HOFers who had made the Hall primarily as relievers to that point). This way, apples are compared with apples, and ultimately with the “Golden Apple,” the only HOFer to go in with unanimous backing (100% of the vote).
Now with this RE-set HOF in place, all of the ensuing controversy can begin (if that’s your thing). In any case, what you’ll find here (all of this is IMHO, you understand, right?) is a more objective, numbers-only (and players-only) gallery of the very best diamond achievers; call it a “Hall of Achievement,” if you will, rather than a Hall of Fame. Admittedly, I’m leaning very heavily on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as the best one-figure measure of seasonal or career performance (with any apology due to Bill James cheerfully offered; the fact is, WAR numbers are just so readily available and fairly-well standardized, even if the Win Shares system of Mr. James should prove to be a truer measure). I started out way back at the tail end of the 20th Century with the Batter-Fielder- and Pitcher- Wins system (Palmer and Thorn, et al, as seen in the Total Baseball encyclopedia series), but since I had to put the whole birthplace-based historical replay project on the shelf for almost two decades — as life took me in other directions — WAR came roaring in and supplanted previous systems. So I cast my lot with WAR as the most readily-available-yet-quite-accurate stat, and I’m sticking with that, building upon that statistical base.
Hence, the whole RRHOF “selection” process hinges on only two WAR figures, multiplied by each other. If a player’s career WAR total (__._) times his “per 162 games” average WAR (_._) equals or exceeds 225, he’s in (automatically, upon retirement; all questions of character, PED-usage, etc. are irrelevant here as factors, though I do have my opinions on how relevant they should be with regard to THE National Baseball HOF in Cooperstown). I think that when you see the “new” (RE-set) roll call of superior players (only, and according to less subjective criteria), the overall picture will be improved. But by all means, check out my claims, compare the numbers of the “ins” and the “outs,”and form your own opinion. Even controversy can be fun, right?
FORMULA, R.R.H.O.F. : RetroPlay Rating (RPR) = CAREER WAR (__._) X WAR AVG. PER 162 GAMES (_._). TOTALS OF 225+ EARN AUTOMATIC INDUCTION WHEN FULL CAREER IS “IN THE BOOKS” [NOTE, HOWEVER: RELIEF-SPECIALISTS GAUGED BY SEPARATE RELIEF-SPECIALIST INDEX (RSI)]
Not to take anything away from those making the Top 300 list here in this virtual HOF, OR… from those who have been inducted into the real one at Cooperstown, but a few disclaimers are probably in order here, right at the top;
- While many observers have been questioning for decades — with good reason, IMO — the validity of the National Baseball Hall Of Fame’s ever-changing balloting procedures and some — okay, several — selections that have resulted from those inconsistent procedures and the personalities involved, the reality is that it is what it is; it’s all actual history, the way things did happen, and nobody can change the past.
- While I have no desire to try to “rewrite” history (truth be told, I despise that sort of thing), it seems to me that some (many?) players who are NOT honored with a plaque in Cooperstown are actually more deserving of that recognition than some who “reside” there; that, if things were less political and subjective, and more objectively considered, there would be a justifiable “swapping-out” of the luckier sorts with those who actually accomplished more on the field, only to be shortchanged well after the fact when it came to the ultimate honor for a baseball player (read: due to cronyism and voting foibles).
- For me, a player’s career has two overarching benchmarks: TOTAL production/contributions for his teams and CONSISTENT DOMINANCE (compared with his contemporaries in his own leagues and eras). It’s my opinion that the RetroPlay Rating (RPR) does a good job of combining both aspects into a single number, so that’s our HOF measuring-stick.
- IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: A) Probably the major difference between “Halls” is that here, ONLY regular-season performance has been measured and rated; no post-season accomplishments are factored in, and I’ll readily admit to this weakness in my system (I’m saying, “Uncle!” on that one); and, B) As I’ve mentioned in other places, while I do have my opinions on how much a “moral” component should play a part in the actual HOF (Cooperstown) voting, in this system — for better or worse — we’re looking at the numbers only.
- MOST importantly, nobody is going to come to me and ask me to overhaul THE Hall; what is offered here is merely a virtual, alternative, what-if-things-had-been-different-all-along gallery of baseball greats, where the idea is more to give overdue recognition to some truly excellent players, than it is to diminish the reputations of others; if this is a “re-set” Hall at all, the whole effort is aimed at more objective justice in the arena of career-impact recognition.
Final notes of comparison, and on the process: When I recently consulted the official tally coming out of Cooperstown at the HOF site, the number of inductees voted in as players (to date) is close to 300 (out of 340 total, with the others going in as managers, executives, or pioneers). Since we don’t include any of those other categories here, it seemed appropriate to match those nearly-300 with the RetroPlay 300. Oddly enough — and I love it when things work out like this — the RPR cutoff that I’d chosen that seemed to be the most fair (225 or more “points”) drew a line that separated out almost exactly 300 players as Hall-worthy. But among those, 18 are still active (through 2021), and two (Dobie Moore and Charlie Keller) lacked plate appearances to qualify, so they’re tossed out. And when our Top 8 Relief Pitchers were added in (SEE ABOVE UNDER THE “2/25/22 NOTE”): Rivera, with 300 points in the separate Relief-Specialist Index (RSI); Eckersley (256 points in that computation); Wilhelm (200); Gossage (200); Hoffman (195); Lee Smith (180); Wagner (179); and Nathan (171), the RetroPlay RE-set HOF list came to include 284 retired players.
Feeling especially good through “self-confirmation bias” (delighted that my 225-point cutoff was fairly spot-on), I “generously” dropped the qualifying line to include exactly 300 retired players (remember once again, I’d included those still-active players in my rankings, and all of the close-to-300 players currently in Cooperstown are retired; in the interest of comparing apples with apples, there is now — by dropping the cutoff just a tad — something approximating a one-to-one correspondence (roughly 300 to 300) between the two “honor rolls”). [It should also be mentioned here that there’s a nice symmetry in the 300 being extracted from 150 seasons, or an average of 2 standout representatives per year; another one of those things where I’m just sayin’…]. As a result of these adjustments, the next 16 (retired) players in the RetroPlay Ratings could be granted admission (and probably, justifiably so). All in all, then, here’s who made the Top-300 cut, displayed via ten 30-player virtual plaques:
To those who are veteran HOF-watchers, around 90% of the names will look quite familiar, as they appear in both “galleries.” In other cases, the new names might provoke some head-scratching, puzzled expressions, scrambling for statistical records, cursing, or even — just maybe — some more-positive commentary along the lines of, “Yeah, I thought so! I thought that [so-and-so] deserved to be in the Hall, and here are some reasons why he should be there!” I must say, putting as much weight on W.A.R. data and formulas as I do, I still ran across some real surprises. But after cross-checking the math, the same players emerged as worthy candidates, and unless extreme and arbitrary gerrymandering would be employed to subjectively bar certain players or types of players, these candidates could justifiably step across the threshold and into the elite gathering. For me, that was the lion’s share of the fun: I knew — we all knew, didn’t we? — that some Hall “residents” were there UN-worthily, if truth be told, but what about those who should be there, if the selection processes had been conducted more fairly and consistently? Ah,… there’s the real satisfaction: finding the largely-unrecognized diamonds of the diamond, and giving them their overdue moments in the sun.
More may be added to this page in the coming days, but for now, we’ll leave things at session’s end with this “Cooperstown Comparison” chart/scroll. It’s fairly intuitive, and at a glance, it should be apparent that it’s a position-by-position comparison between “our” humble, virtual “RetroPlay RE-set HOF” (new) inductees and the actual, Cooperstown, New York inductees that don’t make the cut in this WAR-based, numbers-only system. In the wide, far-right column, comments try to help to explain either why so-and-so is included here, but NOT in Cooperstown, or what was keeping him out of this virtual HOF. Red-letter players have actually qualified at more than one position (500+ game appearances there, in most cases); they’re listed under the position at which they appeared most frequently during their MLB careers. [NOTE: under “RANK” please find the player’s ranking among the top players at that particular position, though that number in the list may change slightly with a more precise deep-dive/revamping; either way, it can give a pretty good idea how players compare to each other within the rankings]. I think you’ll get a kick out of this, even if you take issue with my methodology or how things landed. Here we go (Excel-type scrolling chart first, PDF second):
It probably goes without saying that a lot more could be done in this HOF-comparison area, and maybe down the road, the selection-processes of others will be imported and included here for further comparison. But for now, on Saturday night, March 19, 2022, that’s your ballgame, folks.