"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Jim Bunning

So, because Sen. Jim Bunning has been such an irredeemable prick, and because it is a gorgeous pre-spring day here in Chicago, chilly but with the kiss of warmth in the air, and because me Sox have their first spring training game today, I decided to prove that Jim Bunning was not good enough to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I had hoped to find that it was due to old-timey sportswriters being tainted by nostalgia, or perhaps because of his new stature.  After all, he wasn't elected until 1996, and that was by the Veteran's Committee, notorious for pushing in their favorites and ignoring worthy candidates out of pique.  So I was all jazzed to do that.

But it is kind of mixed.  I guess I never realized how good he was.  He was an innings-eating monster with good command and was a strike-out machine.  His aggregate stats don't compare that well to Bert Blyleven, but Bert played 5 more seasons. THey are both top-50ish (Bert is 51) in K/BB.  If you look at their Similarity Scores, Blyleven is in far better company, and his HoF rankings are better.   But I don't really understand Similarity Scores, nor do I trust them yet.  Any readers out there statheads who can explain this to me?

So I guess I am left unsure.  Bunning doesn't have a particularly good ERA+, and his K/9 is kind of weak, but the same is pretty true of Bert as well. I kind of feel that the Vet's Committee was about the right time for him to go in.  There is something to be said about Blyleven maintaining an innings-eating pace for 5 more years, and he should be in, without a question.  Basically, though, I will drop any sabrmetrics here and say that Jim Bunning ended up being a tool, and to me, attempting to deny benefits to thousands to prove a hypocritical point is far worse than taking steroids.

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