The Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame

The Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame is a place for the "no real shot at the Hall of Fame, but a great career nonetheless" players, like Lankford. This was inspired by Lankford's entry in the Baseball Prospectus 2005 book, and many individuals and books helped make this project of mine come to a close:

  • Andrew Jalbert, a buddy of mine for helping me get this off the ground
  • Rob Neyer's assortment of books
  • Bill James Historical Abstract
  • Total Baseball 2003 Edition
  • Clay Davenport, for fixing my biggest problem with the pitchers.
  • Minor League Ball users mrmetaa, count sutton, dcarrano, calig23, jfp, supernOva, ckash, dodgerdh and Brickhaus aka Dan McAvoy
  • Baseball-Reference, which helped keep down my confusion in regards to marginal Hall of Famers who would be better served in mine.
  • All the readers who sent in their comments and suggestions for players.

I used the JAWS system developed by Jay Jaffe to determine worthiness for the RLWHF, and then used standard deviations to determine proper averages to induct future candidates with.

The stats that I used are Wins Above Replacement Level, Peak WARP, JAffe WARP Score (JAWS) and a few others depending on whether or not they were positional players or pitchers. WARP is defined as thus:

Wins Above Replacement Player, level 1. The number of wins this player contributed, above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done, with adjustments only for within the season.

I used the third version of WARP, which is WARP3. This version is adjusted for difficulty and for playing time, so it levels the playing field for different eras. Peak WARP is the seven best seasons of WARP3 added together to form a player's peak. This is then added to their career WARP3 score and divided by two, which gives us their JAWS score. JAWS gives us a good combination of peak and career value in one happy, shiny number. To look deeper, which is what we always need to do, we use a few other statistics as well. BRAA is Batting Runs Above Average. This is the number of runs above average a batter contributed; pretty self explanatory once the name is given. BRAR is Batting Runs Above Replacement. BRAA helps give you an idea of how strong a player's peak was, while BRAR sides more with the overall career. FRAA is fielding Runs Above Average, which is the same idea as BRAA.

Pitchers, rather than BRAA and BRAR, have PRAR (Pitching Runs Above Replacement) and PRAA (Pitching Runs Above Average). These work exactly the same as BRAA and BRAR as far as functionality goes, except it is on a run value above average for pitching. These are all Baseball Prospectus statistics, and I have decided to use these after Jay Jaffe did the same for his Hall of Fame article series at BP.

To finish things off, I've included part of the copy of the e-mail I sent out on the internal mailing list for SB Nation upon completion of the RLWHF:

The new JAWS system I was using took the players seven best seasons overall rather than their 5 best in a row like the previous one had done. This made the gap between good and not as good much larger. Players like Bobby Grich gained extra credit on their JAWS score, while players like Todd Zeile were hurt by it, considering they had a hard enough time cobbling together 5 decent seasons in a row for a peak. That is the point of the new JAWS system though, because it cuts down on players who appear to be Hall worthy. The problem with this is that I had bottom feeders who were much worse than the new averages created by the new system, and I was going to keep out players who had more talent and better numbers than those who were already within the Wing (sound familiar?). To avoid this problem, I tried thinking of a few ways to edit the averages in order to make them easier to meet while at the same time canceling out the effects on the averages themselves by the new system, or at the least, make them less severe. I decided on using Standard Deviations to do this. I took the averages, took the SD of that, and every player who was 1.00 SD or more above the average was placed into a "special class" and then removed from the averages in order to lower them. This helped greatly, because players like Bert Blyleven, Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell and others who deserve to be in Cooperstown skewed the averages a great deal, and would no longer do so. I then recalculated the averages, and any player who was now - 1.00 or more (or less you could say, stupid negative numbers) standard deviations under the new, less strict average was removed from the Lankford Wing. This brought the averages back up somewhat, but not to the same level as before, and it eliminated the very borderline players that I originally inducted when I didn't know any better. So instead of 270+ players, the Hall now has 246, with about 15 new relievers, the same number of catchers, and less players at every other position. The statistics are all updated for every player and they are organized via table by position.

And with that, here are the 246 members of the Ray Lankford Wing of the Hall of Fame, updated every time there is a new inductee:

Catchers

First Base

Second Base

Third Base

Shortstop

Left Field

Center Field

Right Field

Designated Hitter

Starting Pitcher

Relief Pitcher

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