Like most people, who grow up loving sports, I’ve long enjoyed the debates around who belongs in their respective Hall of Fame. And as much fun as those debates are, it’s always driven me just a little bit crazy, that the greatest honor an athlete can receive is purely subjective. Everything else they do is so structured and defined with results that are measured and exact. The pitcher struck someone out, this guy made a basket, this team won and that team lost. Then at the end, a committee or group of people vote on whether or not a players career deserves to be enshrined for all-time.
It simply does not compute for me. Then a few months back, I had an idea. I can’t recall exactly what was going on, or what I reading or listening to that inspired the thought. Because I’m getting old and my memory has gone to hell. But I was thinking that it would make more sense if, rather than waiting for a career to end and debating the entirety of their body of work, if each individual season was the focus. And then we’d be able to plainly see the players who had the greatest careers, because they’d have the most single season’s included in the Hall of Fame. So there’s no need to wait for Mike Trout’s career to end, for him to end up in the Hall of Fame, when his last eight seasons have been historic and among the best ever.
Great, instead of waiting till five years after he retires and assuming he hangs his cleats up when he’s 40, meaning he wouldn’t be inducted until 2037, he’d already have a spot in the Hall. But how would he get there? Just because I think, or some voters might agree, that his last eight seasons were great enough, wouldn’t really fix the problem. It needs to be cut and dry. But as an analyst by profession, fantasy player for decades and lover of statistics in sports, I’ve lately found myself uncomfortable with the impact that analytics have had in the wide world of sports. So it’s not without great trepidation that I came to the conclusion, that a Hall of Fame season has to be something that is purely statistical.
There are more than enough advanced analytics out there, that you can spend months trying to understand, but I wanted to use the what analytic that would be most cut and dry. The one that most explains a players value for a single season. For baseball, I settled on WAR (Wins Over Replacement) as the metric. But what would that WAR have to be for as season to qualify as Hall Worthy? In my view, and this is still that same flaw of introducing personal opinion to the process, a WAR of five or higher is worthy. And for basketball, I believe that metric is Win Share. I haven’t been able to figure out what the best metric would be for football, but also, football needs to go away.
To take my idea one more step, I felt the Hall worthy seasons should also be tiered. Because not all great seasons are equal. While a WAR of five is incredible, like the season Matt Williams had in 1991, it’s not on par with what Alex Rodriguez did in 2002, when his WAR was ten.
Anyway, what I’ve done, is create two dashboards that can be used to view those seasons that would be honored in the Hall of Gregg. They both include the ability for the user to change the Hall threshold, in the event that your standards are higher (or lower) than mine.
I hope you’ll take a look, and please let me know what you think: