I had planned on not blogging again until this weekend (and I plan to go back in my cave and turn things back over to z after I submit this post), but I saw something today that was so asinine, from someone so prominent, I felt compelled to say something.
Ken Rosenthal explains his HOF ballot. And I guess I should just be glad he includes Alan Trammell and Bert Blyleven on his ballot.
But Rosenthal also includes Jim Rice, with this explanation:
Rice was the anti-Dawson, lacking speed, playing only average defense. He also was far more productive at Fenway Park than on the road. Yet, he was arguably the best hitter in the AL from 1975 to '86.
First of all, why you would pick the best hitter in one league over an arbitrary 12 year period of time is beyond me. Does anyone know who the best hitter in the N.L. from, say, 1963 to '74 was? Does that player -- whomever it may be -- automatically get Rosenthal's vote to go into the Hall, as a result? If Rice had been traded in 1980, to the N.L. -- thus meaning he couldn't have been the best hitter in the A.L. from 1975 to '86 -- would that have meant no vote from Rosenthal?
But nevermind all that...the bigger problem is that Jim Rice was not arguably the best hitter in the AL from 1975 to '86.
Anyone who claims otherwise either hasn't bothered to do their research, or else doesn't understand what makes the best hitter. It is just that simple.
I realize Rosenthal is trying to fudge by sticking in the "arguably," but there's no "arguably" about it. Rice wasn't the best hitter in that time frame in the A.L.
In that 12 year stretch Rosenthal references, Brett had a higher batting average than Rice 7 times, a higher OBP 9 times, and even a higher slugging percentage 5 times. This, despite playing in a much less hitter-friendly home park than Rice.
Brett had a higher EQA in 7 of those seasons, and had, by far, the highest single-season EQA in that stretch.
Rice finished in the top 10 in the A.L. in adjusted OPS+ 5 times in that stretch, and finished 1st only once. Brett finished in the top 10 in that stretch 8 times, including 3 first place finishes.
No one can credibly claim Jim Rice was a better hitter from 1975 to 1986 than George Brett was.