I'm going to do the same with Andre Dawson. While I don't agree with this pick (can't get past that .323 OBP and Bert Blyleven is more deserving; it is what it is). As a disclosure, by the time I started following baseball Dawson was in his mid-30s, only had a couple good years left and thus was unable to properly be swayed by the defense that won him several Gold Gloves.
To see his full body of work plus the similarity scores index, check out his Baseball-Reference page.
Similar Players Already In:
Similar Players Not In:
Dave Parker: The man they call the Cobra and a member of the immortal 1990 Brewers, has yet to seriously be in the Hall of Fame Discussion. He is on his 14th year of eligibility but he has only convinced about 15% of voters that he is Hall worthy. On a logical standpoint, if Dawson is good enough to get 75% and Parker is a similar player, wouldn't he be good enough to at least be in the neighborhood of induction.
To see if this is an accurate assessment, I looked at some of their career numbers.
Dawson .279/.323/.482/.806 119 OPS+
Parker .290/.339/.471/.810 121 OPS+
In all fairness, Parker has the similar issue of a low On Base Percentage. However, it's not as weak as Dawson's. Also, Parker has the slight edge in OPS and OPS+ indicating that in comparison to league and park totals, Parker was the slightly better hitter.
Dawson: 8 All-Stars,
Parker 7 All-Stars
While All-Star game selection is far from a perfect science, it can be used as a quick and dirty estimate to see how often players were amongst the better players in their league.
Dawson: 118 Hall of Fame Monitor
Parker: 121 Hall of Fame Monitor
The Hall of Fame Monitor is one of the metrics shown on the players Baseball-Reference page to measure how likely a player is to make the Hall of Fame. Anything above 100 indicates a likely Hall of Famer. Dawson may not be the perfect choice for the Hall of Fame but if Dawson is good enough to get in, Dave Parker should get his day too. Unfortunately, it looks like his only chance will be many years down the road with the veterans committee.
Unlike Dawson and Parker, I have a clearer memory of actually seeing Baines play as his career stretched into the early 2000s.
Career Line: .289/.356/.465/.820 120 OPS+
As a hitter, pretty close to Dawson overall. Baines got on base a lot more often than Dawson. I remember Baines as a useful player but he never gave me the wow factor of that guy is going to the Hall of Fame. The only time he led the league in anything was slugging average in 1984. He was good enough to play in 5 All-Star games which is good but trails both Parker and Dawson. His Hall of Fame monitor falls well below the 100 threshold and only 5-6% of writers see him as Hall Worthy.
Doing the research for this posting, I had the thought of why isn't Dave Parker getting serious HOF consideration, the same isn't happening for Baines. I could see him peaking at 20-25% but considering he played through the 1990s when hitting 20-25 homers and hitting .300 ish was good but nothing special, I don't see Baines getting enshrined.
Career: .283/.367/.479 118 OPS+
Another good player that I never considered anything special. He last played in '08 so we don't have past HOF voting to go off of. He was a solid-consistent player who went crazy for 57 home runs back in '01 (he gets bonus points for hitting the game winner against the Yankees). Had 5 All-Star Apperances but he has a Hall of Fame monitor of 102 (I find this surprising, I thought it would be as low as or lower than Baines).
I don't necessarily buy into this argument but one of the themes coming up in the Dawson discussion is him getting in on the strength of one really strong season (1987). If Gonzales ever gets in, i'm pretty sure the same logic would be drawn based on his 2001 season. Still, outside of this he only had 4 other seasons with an OPS+ over 125 and spent the rest of his career as a barely above average hitter. I'm pretty sure both his HOF Monitor number and his career numbers would take a serious hit if not for 2001. Not sold on this one.
A long time-teammate of one of last-years inductees (Jim Rice).
Career Line .272/.370/.470 127 OPS+
Based on his hitting, Evans is leaps and bounds above Dawson. He hit 8 percent above league average for his career, his batting average may be 7 points lower but more than makes up for it by having an On-Base-Percentage that I would actually give the time of day.
Looking at his career, he should have gotten more than 3 All-Star appearances. Still, he did match Dawson's 8 Gold Gloves.
While he didn't peak as high as his HOF teammate Jim Rice, didn't win an MVP or lead the league in as many hitting categories, Evans overall hitting stacks up competitively with Rice.
Rice: .298/.352/.502 128 OPS+
Rice slugged for a higher percentage, had a solid OBP and when you factor in overall, his OPS+ was a whopping one point higher than Evans.
Looking at all this, it is beyond me why Evans only lasted on the ballot 3 years before dropping below 5 percent. The Baseball-Reference Hall of Fame Monitor lists him at only 68. However, he does seem to have a body of work competitive with recent inductees such as Jim Rice and Andre Dawson and if those two are in, Evans should probably be in as well.
Time to set aside my personal feelings on this one. If this were the Hall of Ethics, the Hall of not purposely tanking/making errors so you can get the Brewers to trade you for 40 cents on the dollar, or the Hall of everyone except my least favorite player of all-time gets in, Sheffield would be rejected from all three halls.
Now that I got the irrationality out of my system, its time to look at what he has done so far.
.292/.393/.514 140 OPS+
Out of all the players examined, Sheffield by far has the best body of work (on the field). Since he is still active, he won't be eligible for voting for awhile. When he hasn't been busy being a headache and getting traded every few years despite his immense talent, he has made it to 9 All-Star games (more than anyone else examined), hit 500+ home runs and been in the Top 5 for MVP voting three times.
On numbers alone, Sheffield is an obvious first-ballot. However, his induction hinges on how the writers vote for the players with steroid accusations. If McGwire's case is any indication, it could be a bit tougher for players like Sheffield with accusations flying around but i'm assuming the fabricate outrage over steroid use will calm down enough between now and Sheffield's window of eligibility that he will get into the Hall of Fame. This is the closest I will ever come to saying anything positive about Sheffield.
Deserves To Be In But Unlikely To Get In: Parker, Evans
Likely To Get In: Sheffield
Only Getting Into The Hall Of Fame If They Pay Cover Charge: Baines, Gonzales