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It Is A Joke That Lou Whitaker Isn't In The Hall Of Fame

Yesterday, the Veteran's Committee selected Fred McGriff for the baseball Hall of Fame. Good for him. I don't think he belongs there, but whatever. Certain guys are in the Hall of Fame whose numbers don't even come close to Cooperstown worthy, but at least they played in, how do I put this...ignorant eras? 

The sport was so new that people needed to understand how the numbers worked. Bill Mazeroski was essentially the Jonathan Schoop of his age, yet he's in the Hall of Fame because of the walk-off homer he hit in Game 7 of the World Series against the Yankees in 1960. He existed in an age well before analytics. I give somebody like that a pass. And I'm not going to make this a Fred McGriff bash session. 

Still, I am just acknowledging that there are current players like Paul Goldschmidt and Evan Longoria, who, in terms of overall value, have already had better careers than Fred McGriff had. But I'm not going to focus on that. I will focus on former Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker, who is currently not in the Hall of Fame. The fact that he isn't is a complete joke.

Lou Whitaker is one of the greatest second baseman of all time, period. He was a Rookie Of The Year and a five-time All-Star with three Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. But quite frankly, that doesn't tell the true story. It's why I like analytics. Analytics provide the world with a tool that allows us to reassess the importance of a player years after their career has ended. I'm not saying WAR is perfect. Sometimes the eye test does matter. 

Here's the problem, Lou Whitaker passes the eye test and has the numbers to back it up. Certain people slide under the radar because they aren't flashy enough to get noticed. But have you seen Lou Whitaker's defensive highlights tape? The dude was unreal. 

What I'm about to say will rile up many people, especially Tigers fans. Still, if we're simply basing this on wins above replacement, Lou Whitaker has been more valuable to his team than Miguel Cabrera. If I had to choose one, I'd obviously take Miggy, but it speaks to the point that I'm making. There are first-ballot Hall of Famers who have done less in their careers than Whitaker did, and the fact that Lou hasn't been voted in yet is a genuine disgrace.

One of the issues with Lou Whitaker's career is that he never got MVP votes outside of one season. He could have been better in October (even though he only played in the postseason twice, that's a tiny sample size). When comparing players, you have to compare those who played the same position. Craig Biggio is deservedly in the Hall of Fame. Much like Whitaker, he played his entire career with one team. But Craig Biggio, despite playing one more year than Lou Whitaker, accumulated much lower wins above replacement. Whitaker won a World Series, but Biggio did not. They have the same career on-base percentage. Biggio's offensive numbers across the board are mostly better, but his OPS+, which takes into account park factor, is lower than Lou Whitaker's.

I get very passionate about this (shocker) because the baseball Hall of Fame is far away the best Hall of Fame. Instead of using their brains and reevaluating the importance of certain players, the veteran's committee is just voting guys in because they like them. This isn't me carrying water for the Tigers. I was negative 11 years old when the Tigers last won the World Series. I have no personal attachment to Lou Whitaker because I never saw him play, but I like to look at things like numbers and stats. It's becoming abundantly clear that many people who vote on the stuff do not. Put Lou Whitaker in the Hall of Fame. End of story.