Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » August 2004 » Congratulations, Albertus Magnus

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08/04/2004: Congratulations, Albertus Magnus

By hitting his 30th homer in yesterday's loss to the Montreal Expos, Albert Pujols becomes the first player in major league history to hit 30 or more home runs in each of his first four seasons of big league play.

Over at Get Up, Baby!, Dan is striving mightily to make a case that Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds deserves a plaque in Cooperstown. Go take a look; I'm not convinced yet, but HOF arguments like this are the lifeblood of baseball fandom. However, Dan's got me to thinking....

Looking at Prince Albert's career-to-date stats over at Baseball Reference, we see something interesting. Keep in mind that these are based on Albert's first three MLB seasons; we won't see how this year affects the metrics until the site gets updated sometime in November (IIRC):

On the "Bill James Hall of Fame Metrics" (start with the Black Ink Test and scroll down to the HOF Monitor to find the definitions) we see this:

Black Ink: Batting - 12 (182) (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 63 (378) (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 35.0 (188) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 89.0 (166) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Overall Rank in parentheses
Keep in mind that these are metrics which are cumulative over a player's career, so Albert's scores on these metrics can only go up from here. Even more importantly, when we look at some of Albert's similarity scores, we see something very interesting (asterisk following name indicates that player is in the Hall of Fame):
Similar Batters through Age 23

1. Joe DiMaggio (951) *
2. Jimmie Foxx (917) *
3. Hal Trosky (902)
4. Joe Medwick (893) *
5. Hank Aaron (893) *
6. Vladimir Guerrero (889)
7. Frank Robinson (882) *
8. Orlando Cepeda (878) *
9. Ted Williams (877) *
10. Stan Musial (873)*
Most Similar by Age

21. Joe DiMaggio (961) *
22. Joe DiMaggio (938) *
23. Joe DiMaggio (951) *
I need to go back to work, so I can't devote the time to this that I'd like (perhaps tonight when I'm home), but I'm reminded of a comment by Bill James in The Politics of Glory (the book where James, IIRC, introduces and explains his HOF metrics I cite above, and where the talks a lot about similarity scores). Basically, one of the hallmarks of a true Hall of Famer is that most of his similarity scores tend to be other Hall of Famers. Granted, if one looks at Albert's similarity list without adjusting for age:
Similar Batters

1. Lance Berkman (893)
2. Geoff Jenkins (860)
3. Kevin Millar (843)
4. Trot Nixon (833)
5. Earl Webb (831)
6. Dale Alexander (831)
7. J.D. Drew (829)
8. Kal Daniels (827)
9. Jacque Jones (826)
10. Aubrey Huff (821)
you don't see a lot of Hall of Famers, but that's probably an artifact of Albert's youth. The age adjusted stats are, in my opinion, more telling. Assuming that Albert doesn't suffer a career-ending (or production limiting) injury, the boy is just about a guaranteed lock for Cooperstown, I reckon.

But hey, I could be wrong. I've got two ex-wives and several ex-girlfriends who'd be happy to provide arguments in favor of that proposition. References on request. :-)

Len on 08.04.04 @ 08:54 AM CST

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