Congratulations to Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg for being elected by the writers this week. The mid-80s was when I really got into baseball, and at the time, Wade Boggs was the best hitter out there. I really feel his first ballot election was warranted.
I have mixed feelings about Ryne Sandberg. First off, I want to say I do think he was deserving. But his election points out another travesty. Let’s look at two second basemen.
Player 1 Player 2 Games 2,164 2,390 Hits 2,386 2,369 HR 282 244 RBIs 1,061 1,084 Runs 1,318 1,386 Avg. .285 .276 OBP .344 .363 Slg% .452 .426 SB 344 143 OPS+ 114 117 RC 1,311 1,336 BRAR 513 528 FRAR 533 454 WARP 114.8 108.1 Eqa .281 .281
Player 2 played in about a season’s worth more games, won three gold gloves and finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting once. Player 2 also played on one championship team. Player 1 won an MVP, finished in the top ten three times, and won nine gold gloves. Player 1 never played on a world championship team.
Many of the statistics are nearly identical. The equivalent averages are identical. Player 1 had a marginally better slugging percentage, while player 2 had a marginally better OBP. Many of their career numbers are very close as well. Player 1 accounted for about six more wins then player 2, but all because he was a slightly better fielder.
Player 1 is Ryne Sandberg, who will get to stand on the podium and give an acceptance speech. Player 2 is Lou Whitaker, who in his first year on the ballot, didn’t even garner the 5% neccesary to remain on the ballot.
So I’m not arguing Sandberg shouldn’t get in, I am saying Lou should be right up there with him. Both should get their moment in the spotlight. Unfortunately for one those players, it will never happen.