A Career So Sweet…But Too Short For The Hall?
Buster Posey was one of the best catchers of his generation. But a sport-changing collision, a bad hip and Covid-19 limited him to 10 full years behind the dish. We use the term “limited” assuming a report out from The Athletic is true. Bob Moffitt and Steve Harmon debate whether Posey will go to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bob Moffitt: It’s funny. I grew up a Dodgers fan, but I’m the one who says San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey deserves to go to Cooperstown. I think a decade of being the best is enough to qualify.
Steve Harmon: And I am a Giants fan 54 years in the making, I love Posey (though I’ve had my issues over the years over whether Posey is as good a pitch-caller as conventional wisdom would have it), but I don’t think he belongs in the Hall.
Bob Moffitt: I walked uphill in the snow to school and I still love numbers and awards. I still think they’re worth something, but not everything when you have two great players and one always gets squeezed out of the spotlight by the writers’ votes. Still, check these out: rookie of the Year, MVP, 7-time All Star in 10 full years in the field, four Silver Sluggers, one Gold Glove,
Steve Harmon: Not arguing at all that he wasn’t great, that he accumulated all that platinum. But one thing he didn’t accumulate were the numbers. I’m sorry, but 1,500 hits and 153 home runs – even for a catcher – is low. Poor Bill Freehan was an 11-time all star, five-time gold glove winner, a world champion, had 200 home runs and 1,600 hits, and had more RBI (758-721), and he’s not even close to making it to the Hall of Fame.
Bob Moffitt: Maybe Freehan should be. Eleven All Star Games in 14 season should tell us something. But, that’s kind of beside the point. The hall shouldn’t be a longevity contest, but you need a decent sample size. I think 10 years is enough to say he was one of the best of his generation, if not the best for a decade: three no-hitters caught, 14 playoff shutouts caught (most all time, six more than Yadier Molina and seven more than the great Yogi Berra) and a .302 career batting average
He should be in. And so should Steve Garvey.
Steve Harmon: But Garvey isn’t. Nor are Vida Blue or Dave Parker or Mickey Lolich, who were shining stars who just didn’t glitter long enough to attain the status. I do think that longevity (or, an accumulation of historic numbers like base hits, home runs, wins) should be a primary qualifying factor. There are exceptions, like Sandy Koufax, who retired at 31 because of an arthritic elbow and the ruthlessness of the training rooms of the 1960s (all those dang horse pills they kept shoving down players’ throats). Or Kirby Puckett, who had 10 true Hall of Fame seasons before a terrible health situation forced his retirement. Posey could be retiring before his time to avoid the dreaded long-term concussive effects of foul tips; I’m all for that. It could also be for the right reasons in terms of wanting to be with his young family. That’s great. He’s lucky he didn’t play in the 60s, when salaries were miserly and players had no choice but to extend their careers as long as they could to squeeze out that extra $27,000 per year. But, it’s his choice to halt a career that falls short in the numbers department.
Bob Moffitt: Did I mention he hit .300 or better in six postseason series?
Steve Harmon: Hmm. Looks like he hit .252 (57 for 226) overall in the postseason with only 5 home runs with a paltry .345 slugging percentage.
Bob Moffitt: You’re a hard, hard man.
Both: regardless of whether he goes to the Hall, we know what we saw. Congratulations to a class act on and off the field.