Cheap Seats

James and the Hall of Fame

I have often said that I think we may be in the midst of the greatest ERA in the history of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. We've seen 16 years of nearly constant playoff contention, two World Series, one world championship, Mark McGwire's 70 homer season and the emergence of several of the greatest players in the history of the most storied franchise in the National League.

Now baseball expert Bill James confirms that assertion -- in spades -- with his annual Hall of Fame watch.

James said that not only is Albert Pujols -- one of the two greatest Cardinals in history -- already a "lock" for the Hall of Fame at age 30, but Chris Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and colby Rasmus could eventually merit consideration.

Here's James' whole story:

On Their Way to the Hall of Fame?

Pujols a Lock?

Holliday, Carpenter, Molina, Wainwright, Rasmus Also Make List

According to The Bill James Handbook 2011

The venerable Bill James Handbook 2011, which contains all the team and

individual stats and leader boards from the 2010 season, features this year

for the first time "The Hall of Fame Monitor." The purpose of the Monitor is

to summarize as tersely and impartially as possible where players from the

current generation of major league ballplayers stand with respect to getting

into the Hall of Fame, as nearly as can be determined.

"If a player is listed at '100' or above in the charts, that means that he

is a full-qualified Hall of Famer at this point, as best we are able to

determine in mid-career," says James in the book. "If he is at '73,' or

'64,' or '57,' then he may be a Hall of Famer, either because of things that

he has not yet done but will do in the future or because one set or another

of Hall of Fame voters may take a liking to him. Many players are in the

Hall of Fame who have scores short of 100, and some are in who have scores

less than 60. We are not suggesting that this is wrong; merely, that it is

difficult to anticipate."

Included in the Hall of Fame Monitor are six 2010 Cardinals. Albert Pujols,

born in 1980, appears to be a lock with 146 points. Matt Holliday, also born

in 1980, has 41 points. Chris Carpenter, born in 1975, has 27, Yadier

Molina, born in 1982, has 19, Adam Wainwright, born in 1981, has 16. Colby

Rasmus is the youngest Card to make the list. He has 2 points in the system.

The six Cardinal players were among 175 players active in 2010 who have

accumulated Hall of Fame Monitor points. This compares with eight Reds, four

Cubs, and four Brewers. The Astros and the Pirates had only one player each.

The Yankees had fourteen, the Red Sox and Phillies had thirteen each, and

the White Sox had twelve. The Royals had five.

There are very few players in history who have had scores over 100 and are

eligible for the Hall but have not been selected. The leading Hall of Fame

candidates born since 1968 or still active as of the end of 2010 with more

than 100 points under James' new Hall of Fame Monitor are: Alex Rodriguez

(188), Mariano Rivera (150), Albert Pujols (146), Derek Jeter (138), Manny

Ramirez (125), Frank Thomas (121), Mike Piazza (120), Ken Griffey, Jr.

(114), Ichiro Suzuki (110), Jeff Bagwell (107), Chipper Jones (107), Trevor

Hoffman (106), Roberto Alomar (105), Vladimir Guerrero (105), Gary Sheffield

(101), Sammy Sosa (100).

Ivan Rodriguez falls one short with 99 points. Todd Helton (92), Billy

Wagner (92), and Jim Thome (91) are the only other players active in 2010

with 90 or more points.

The cutoff birthdate for the Hall of Fame Monitor was 1968, except for

players still active in 2010. Mark McGwire, for example, is not listed

because he was born in 1963. His score is 90. Trevor Hoffman (106), Omar

Vizquel (48), Jaimie Moyer (28), and Tim Wakefield (15) were all born before

1968 but were still active in 2010 and are listed. Scores do not reflect the

2010 playoffs or post-season awards.

These estimates are based on a combination of two unrelated and very

dissimilar systems. According to James, the question he asks in both cases

is "Has this player done the things that Hall of Fame players have done?"

and "How many of the things that Hall of Fame players have done has this

player done?"

James and his cohorts at Baseball Info Solutions, Rob Burckhard, Damon

Lichtenwalner, and Jeff Spoljaric, came up with two different "systems" to

measure Hall of Fame likelihood. The first system contains 32 "rules" to

help determine each player's "score" on the Hall of Fame Monitor. Those 32

rules make up only one system for determining Hall of Fameability, however.

James totals up the points under those 32 rules and then sets that aside.

The other system is based on James' Win Shares, or actually, Win Shares with

a caveat for relievers and another for catchers.

James then adds the points awarded under the two systems together, divides

by two, and rounds down. Those are the points accounted for in the Hall of

Fame Monitor given in the book for all active players in 2010.

"The idea is that by looking at the question in two entirely different

ways," says James, "we can avoid the weaknesses of either approach. One

system probably underrates relievers; the other one probably overrates them,

but when you put them together, you're OK. One system ignores park effects

and changes in league standards; the other system meticulously adjusts for

them. Hall of Fame voters partially adjust for these things, so having a

system part of which adjusts for them and part of which doesn't, that works.

The system mirrors the process."

 A complete copy of the Hall of Fame Monitor with all the players' scores

and the criteria for the point system is available for download at The Bill James Handbook 2011 is available on November 1,

2010 from booksellers nationwide. For more information, contact Andrew

Yankech at



Here are some of the highest-scoring players (and their current scores)

still active in the major leagues through 2010. They are divided into four

groups based on their date of birth:

Players born 1968-1975

or earlier and still  

active in 2010

(90 or more points)   

Alex Rodriguez (188)  

Mariano Rivera (150)  

Derek Jeter (138)     

Manny Ramirez (125)   

Ken Griffey, Jr. (114)

Ichiro Suzuki (110)   

Chipper Jones (107)   

Trevor Hoffman (106)  

Vladimir Guerrero (105)

Ivan Rodriguez (99)   

Todd Helton (92)      

Billy Wagner (92)     

Jim Thome (91)

Players born 1976-1980

(50 or more points)

Albert Pujols (146)

Lance Berkman (64)

Andruw Jones (63)

Michael Young (60)

Carlos Beltran (57)

Mark Teixeira (55)

Chase Utley (53)

Roy Halladay (52)

Ryan Howard (51)

Jimmy Rollins (50)

Alfonso Soriano (50)

Players born 1981-1984

(25 or more points)   

Joe Mauer (57)        

Miguel Cabrera (55)   

Francisco Rodriguez (45)

Hanley Ramirez (43)   

David Wright (41)     

Robinson Cano (32)    

Dustin Pedroia (32)   

Prince Fielder (30)   

Adrian Gonzalez (30)  

Carl Crawford (29)    

Ryan Braun (28)       

Jose Reyes (28)       

Justin Morneau (26)   

Players born 1985-1988

(4 or more points)

Felix Hernandez (15)

Evan Longoria (15)

Carlos Gonzalez (10)

Billy Butler (7)

Neftali Feliz (7)

Delmon Young (6)

Elvis Andrus (5)

John Danks (5)

Trevor Cahill (4)

Asdrubal Cabrera (4)

Phil Hughes (4)

Clayton Kershaw (4)

Justin Upton (4)

Players born 1989-1990

(two or more points)  

Jason Heyward (3)     

Starlin Castro (2)