Not too long ago Eric had a pretty great idea. To be fair, he has lots of great ideas. I’m only talking about the one that inspired this post. We have three plus years of content at the Hall of Miller and Eric. I’m proud of it in whole, and there are tons of posts Eric has contributed that have taught me, inspired me, and changed my thinking.
Since we probably have added some new readers in the years and months since we began, I want to identify some of my favorite Eric posts to sort of refresh them for everyone else.
Thanks for Joining Us
Our first post, I suppose, was in May of 2013. That’s when Eric wrote Welcome to the Hall of Miller and Eric. It’s 172 words long, but it links to a lot of our background documents. At the time I didn’t know how far my processes lagged behind his. It’s been an incredible journey trying to catch up and electing around 250 greats to the various wings of the HoME. Without this post, we could have never really gotten started.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I don’t know if I was introduced to that quotation or to 2004 presidential election conversation about flip-flopping first. In short, the quotation means to me that you shouldn’t keep doing things or thinking the same way when you have better information in front of you. I was amazed at the traction George Bush got against John Kerry by saying that he’s flip-flopped on issues. After all, I believe it’s better to grow, to think, to admit you’re wrong, to change your mind, and to get it right going forward. The glory in having been right is almost nil; the glory in being right in the moment is pretty special.
Eric is impressive because he isn’t just unafraid to admit he’s wrong. He’ll even write about it. Late in 2014, after Roy Campanella had already received an obituary from us, Eric penned Roy Campanella Rides Again. In short, we had decided that Campy would absolutely not be a member of the HoME. And then we decided he might be. It was bold and I think inspired to resurrect Campanella. The HoME is better for it.
Just last month Eric wrote I was wrong about Bill Doak. There was a time when Eric began to champion to cause of Bill Doak to become a member of the HoME because of his invention of the webbed glove. But as Eric wrote, “…avoid making sweeping generalizations before looking at the data.” He looked at the data. The theory was that the webbed glove increased double play rates, decreased error rates, and increased the defensive importance of second baseman as opposed to third basemen. Then he did the research. Well done, Eric. It’s a good read.
There are few more protected species in baseball history than Sandy Koufax. The angelic include him, Jackie, and, um, I don’t know. There’s a clear non-baseball reason that Jackie Robinson is universally adored. There’s no similar reason surrounding Koufax. When I write about Sandy, I do so only apologetically. It feels almost dangerous to say he’s not as good as Walter Johnson or Pedro Martinez or even Luis Tiant. The horror!
Eric took on Sandy at least twice, once in early 2014 and again early this year. In Facts and Koufax: How Saberhagen Sees Sandy, Eric admitted that Sandy had “…a handful of great years, and almost nothing else.” Overall, he paints a picture of Koufax that is far different than what the general baseball public believes. In Is Johan Santana the Contemporary Sandy Koufax?, Eric audaciously and convincingly compared someone considered by many to be one of the best pitchers of all-time to a guy who has little chance to see two Hall of Fame ballots. While this post is considerably more pro-Santana than anti-Koufax, the mere comparison is bold. And the pro-Santana argument is a strong one.
Stuff We Don’t Think About
Most of us will agree that one of the characteristics of good writing is that it will make us think. Well, the four posts in this section are those that made me and I hope us think more than we might have without them.
From 2014, Adding It Up on Offense looked at how running the bases and avoiding double plays can have dramatic changes on the value of players. And sometimes that value is unseen, as was evidenced by Kenny Lofton falling off the Hall ballot as quickly as he did.
From 2013, Why We Elected Tommy Leach when none of the other Halls we track have, Eric discussed defense, defense, and more defense. He touted DRA, and he looked at other measures as well. He looked at soft reasons for Leach’s exclusion from other Halls. And he looked at defensive greatness at multiple positions.
From 2013, Why You Should Care About Pitcher’s Batting, which is essentially the pitcher version of the 2014 offensive post, we’re reminded again that value doesn’t come just from what we typically embrace. Certain pitchers bring a bunch of extra value to their teams, and others take value away. Just because we say pitchers are paid to get outs, not get hits, doesn’t mean that’s true or should be. We pay pitchers to help win games. Getting outs does that. So does getting hits.
From 2014, Opening the Bullpen Gate is something we think a lot about. We just think about it incorrectly – the value of relief pitchers. Relief pitching is very valuable. Relief pitchers, not so much. If you don’t believe that statement, you have to read the post.
If It Were Easy…
The last group of posts I want you to consider reviewing all deal with things we think are hard that are actually easier than we think, or they look at things that are easy, relatively speaking, that we might give too much credit to.
How easy Do you think it is to win a World Series if you don’t have a future Hall of Famer on your team? Eric’s World Champs, Hall Chumps from a couple of months ago looks at just that phenomenon. Even if you’re not so surprised, it’s an incredibly interesting read.
It’s an incredible feat to hit .400, right? Well, not so fast. The Dirty Little Secret About .400 Hitters explains that, while impressive, hitting .400 just isn’t as hard as we sometimes think. Or maybe it is incredibly hard, just a lot easier at some points compared to others.
A couple of years ago Eric wrote, “Nearly every baseball player or personality before 1901 is overlooked, especially those not in the Hall of Fame.” Writing about the SABR’s 19th Century Committee in The 19th Century’s Most Overlooked, Eric shared a pretty simple post that I think reminded readers just how difficult it is to remember greats from before the World Series.
The most important thing we’ve done and are doing in this project, at least in my mind, is determining the proper construction of the player wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric. We’re into the thousands of hours of work on that wing, probably each. And one of the highest ranked players at any position who hasn’t made it is Cupid Childs. If you want to know why, read Cupid Childs and the Case of the Missing Aces.
Teaching and Learning
I do the former in my career, and I think we should all do the latter throughout our lives. That’s why Eric’s Ten Things the HoME Has Taught Me must be one of my favorites. He does a great job putting his thinking and his learning into words. If you’re involved in any long-term project, I recommend you write a post like this. If it’s at work, in a relationship, or if you write a blog a post like this can be incredibly helpful and revealing. Or it can just be fun.
And shouldn’t this all be fun? Thanks for all of these posts, Eric!