The most-deserving players not in the Hall of Fame: Shortstops

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Derek Jeter’s time approaches. In just a few months, the 14-time All Star and New York Yankees great will debut on the Baseball Writers Association of America’s ballot for Cooperstown. The only question at this point, really, is if Jeter can duplicate teammate Mariano Rivera’s unanimous induction with the writers.

Given Jeter’s underwhelming 72.4 WAR lifetime and porous defense according to sabermetrics (-243 defensive runs worse than average, lowest in baseball history), a few writers might withhold votes to make a statement. Still, Jeter will undoubtedly be close, if not unanimous. He nails the Fame part of Hall of Fame as well as few players of his generation.

Unsurprisingly, Jeter also heads up the latest round of results for my survey on the most-deserving players not in the Hall of Fame. As a reminder, I recently asked 425 respondents to rank 10 players at each position, from 1 for most-deserving of induction to 10 for least-deserving. Previous results have focused on pitcherscatchersfirst basemensecond basemen, and third basemen. (As a disclaimer, I put Alex Rodriguez at third base for the survey. More about my rationale can be found in the third base results post.)

Here’s how voting for shortstops went.

Q6 – Rank the following shortstops, ranging from 1 for most-deserving of Hall of Fame induction to 10 for least-deserving

PlayerAverage ranking
Derek Jeter1.63
Dave Concepcion4.03
Nomar Garciaparra4.61
Omar Vizquel4.63
Bill Dahlen4.98
Mark Belanger5.92
Jack Glasscock6.52
Maury Wills6.70
Marty Marion7.63
Cecil Travis8.36

[From a survey of 425 respondents, fielded via Qualtrics]

Sabermetrically, these might be some of the least-inspiring results in the bunch. Jeter’s long had his detractors. Concepcion, who’s come moderately close on the veterans’ ballot for Cooperstown in recent years, doesn’t have any advanced stats to write home about either. Nor does Vizquel, who’s already crossed 40 percent on the writers’ ballot and looks destined for future induction. Meanwhile, Bill Dahlen, whose case is built around a re-examining of his career on the strength of his 75.4 WAR, is a ways down here.

As always, here’s a more detailed breakdown of how people voted:


A few thoughts based on these numbers:

  • That 391 of 425 voters rated Jeter a 3 or better here is one more sign to me he’ll sail into Cooperstown. But the scattering of lower votes hints to me that Jeter might not be unanimous. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
  • I’m also struck to see the wide chasm in votes between Dahlen and Jack Glasscock, with nearly twice as many voters ranking Dahlen in the top five. By Wins Above Average, which might be a fairer measure for 19th century players than WAR since the seasons were shorter, Dahlen and Glasscock are fairly even players.
  • I’d like to talk to the 10 people who voted Mark Belanger most-deserving of induction. This is a brave claim to stake.
  • Of the 34 respondents who voted Jeter a 4 or worse, Belanger, Concepcion, and Vizquel got the most first-place votes, with eight, seven, and five respectively. Don’t ask me how these things work.
  • Cecil Travis is the only player of the 90 in this survey to receive zero first-place votes. He’s one of my favorite Hall of Fame candidates, essentially sacrificing his career to serve nearly four full seasons in World War II, seeing combat and suffering frostbite on his feet at the Battle of the Bulge. Cooperstown wouldn’t be any worse for his inclusion.

Anyhow, that’s all for now. Tune in tomorrow for the results of left field.

Just getting caught up? Check out results for pitcherscatchersfirst basemen, second basemen, and third basemen. Stay tuned in the days to come for results of the other three positions.

One Reply to “The most-deserving players not in the Hall of Fame: Shortstops”

  1. Among retired shortstops with 40+ rWAR, here’s how they rank by WAR per 650 PA:

    1 Alex Rodriguez 117.7 6.3
    2 Jack Glasscock 61.9 5.3
    3 Troy Tulowitzki 44.2 5.3
    4 Art Fletcher 47.0 5.1
    5 Bill Dahlen 75.2 4.7
    6 Nomar Garciaparra 44.2 4.7
    7 Jim Fregosi 48.7 4.3
    8 Vern Stephens 45.5 4.1
    9 Mark Belanger 41.0 4.0
    10 Derek Jeter 71.8 3.7

    Rodriguez, Glasscock, Dahlen, and Jeter are no doubt guys. Art Fletcher doesn’t get near enough love. Concepcion is only at 2.7, not really HoF material. Omar is even lower at 2.5. Marion is at 3.3, and his 31.6 career WAR is way too short. Wills is only 3.1. Travis is at 3.6, but you could argue that number would’ve been higher without WWII (although I don’t think it would raise it enough – likely around 40 career WAR and 3.7 per 650).

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