Random Hall of Fame post- BOBBY GRICH

Bobby Grich should be a Hall of Famer. Quite easily if you ask me.

To condense this post, I will be unoriginal and quasi-copy a format used on BtB in recent posts on Hall of Fame players.

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Last week when I did a write up on Craig Biggio and his Hall of Fame chances, I researched other second basemen. In my research, I stumbled across Bobby Grich. I knew he was a HOF’er in my book, but I never seriously looked at his career. Until then- and I was blown away.

In 1992 Grich was eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time. He received just 2.6% of the vote. Let me repeat: he received just 2.6% of the vote. 2.6%. 2.6%. Two point six percent. That, ladies and gents, is why the BBWAA SUCKS. So lets do the comparison game!

In today’s version, I’ll have graphs comparing him to HOF’ers Ryne Sandberg and Rod Carew. Why Sandberg? He is the most recent second baseman to be elected to the Hall, and of the HOF second basemen, he played in a closer generation to Grich than most others. Why Carew? While not a second basemen his whole career, both played during the same time period in the same league, and were even teammates of each other. So let’s get crackin’!

Offense: The best hitter of the bunch was Rod Carew, but Bobby Grich was hot on his tail. While Carew had a career 136 wRC+, Grich’s was 131. For a second baseman in the pre-Utley era, that is pretty damn impressive. Hell, a career 131 wRC+ is impressive regardless of position. Through this facet of the game, Grich is a HOF’er.

Defense: Here, Grich takes the cake. Among his two peers in the graph, Grich was the best fielder. Considering Sandberg was no slouch with the glove, that just shows how great Grich was. His TZ at second is +71. The fielding component of his WAR is +83. WOW. From 1970-1986, Grich only had three below average seasons according to TZ (-1, -4, and -1). He also had three positive double digit seasons (29, 17, and 11). So when it comes to defense, Grich passes the HOF standard with flying colors.

Position: Nothing to see here. Grich and Sandberg both benefited from being second basemen whereas Carew was hurt a bit for his time spent as a first baseman.

Total Runs Above Average: Again, Grich comes out on top compared to two HOF’ers. His 420.2 RAA betters Carew (389) by a little and Sandberg (289) by a lot. If A and B are HOF’ers, but C>A and C>B, then shouldn’t C be enshrined as well? So far all indicators are saying , “YES! YES! YES!”

Wins Above Replacement: Carew is the leader among the three, but lets look deeper. Lets look at WAR/700 PA, which come to think of it, I should have graphed. I’ll add that in later. When it comes to WAR/700 Grich has a 6.3. AMAZING. A WAR over 6 is considered an MVP type season. That means Grich AVERAGED an MVP season per season. Wowowowowow. As for Carew and Sandberg, respectively their WAR/700 are 5.3 and 4.7.

Wins Above Excellence: An excellent season is one where a players WAR is 3.0 or better. On the graph for this and WAM, I labeled it as RAE and RAM. Ignore that and just pretend its WAE or WAM.

Grich kills Carew and Sandberg once again. Grich’s total WAE is 48.2, which just about doubles Sandberg’s mark of 24.2. This should come as no surprise considering we already know that Grich’s average season was an MVP season according to WAR. From 1971-1983, which the exception of 1977 when he played just 52 games, Grich posted an excellent season or better every year. In fact, he did so every season that he played 100+ games.

Wins Above MVP: Here, Grich comes in last with just 4.3 WAM, compared to 4.8 for Carew and 5.2 for Sandberg. But this is a little misleading. Grich had six seasons of 6+ WAR, whereas Sandberg and Carew had five. However, in two of those seasons for Grich, his WAR was 6.0, so when I added it up, obviously a 0 isn’t going to add much. The best single season WAR mark for Grich was 8.1, which was tied for second best (along with Sandberg) among the three. Carew posted an 8.6 WAR in 1977.

***

What else does Grich have to do to prove he is a legitimate HOF’er? Compared to two fellow HOF second basemen, he not only matches them, but BETTERS them. He was a fantastic hitter and an amazing defender. He never had a down year and played at an AS and MVP caliber level almost every season. It’s quite pathetic that his only year on the ballot he received just 2.6% of the vote. I never thought this before, but Grich might just be the most unappreciated and unrecognized great player in baseball history.

And here are two graphs (nth best season and cumulative WAR by age) to visualize, conclude, and drive home the point that Bobby Grich was an all-time player who needs to be recognized by the Hall of Fame for his great play on the diamond.

Final two graphs and all stats are from fangraphs.

EDIT:

Here is the WAR/700 graph. Graphing is PHUN!

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