The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Ken Singleton, or Roger Maris?

Ken Singleton being honored at the 25th Annive...

Image via Wikipedia

As I’m just now returning to my old digs here at WordPress, I thought I would make this post relatively short, just to get back in the swing of things.

This is the time of year when the Veteran’s Committee takes yet another look at long-retired baseball players to decide if they merit selection to the Hall of Fame.  This time around, the committee is comprised of 16 members, and 12 of them must vote in the affirmative for a candidate to become elected to The Hall.

Inevitably, one issue that always comes up is longevity versus short-term greatness.   Some voters, and baseball fans in general, seem to prefer players who have had long and durable careers, and who compile mountains of counting stats as a result of their longevity.

Still other fans and pundits are partial to the players who burned bright for a few short years, but burned out quickly, as their preferred choice of Hall of Fame resume.  Thus, Don Sutton vs. Sandy Koufax.  Both are in The Hall, each of them representing one pole on opposite ends of the HOF spectrum.

I’ve recently compiled a list of the top 50 players who are not in the Hall of Fame, which I will share at a later date.  While compiling my list, I found myself stuck on which player to choose as the 50th and final player, Ken Singleton or Roger Maris.

Ken Singleton was an under-appreciated player who toiled for 15 years in the 1970’s and early ’80’s, playing for the Mets, the Orioles and the Expos.  His career OPS+ of 132 really jumped out at me.  Over the course of his career,  adjusting for his home ballparks and the era in which he played, he was 37% better than a league-average replacement level player.  That struck me as pretty impressive.  In fact, his career OPS+ is the same as Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn, Joe Morgan and Al Simmons.  Also, Singleton’s career offensive WAR of 46.6 is exactly the same as Kirby Puckett’s.

As for Roger Maris, well, you know pretty much all you need to know about him.  He has become synonymous with the average working stiff who gets screwed in the end.  A two-time MVP, Maris enjoyed three very fine seasons before retiring from baseball after his age 32 season.  He was a four-time All-Star, he won a Gold Glove, and he still holds the American League record for most home runs in a season.  But other than two excellent and a couple of other very good seasons, there is not much else to recommend him as a legitimate candidate for The Hall.

I wouldn’t argue that either Singleton or Maris belongs in The Hall, but if you had to pick one, which one would you choose, and why?  Do you prefer measured consistency over a long period of time, or, well, do you choose Roger Maris?

Roger Maris Museum in Fargo, ND

Image via Wikipedia

I go back and forth myself about this argument.  I’d like to hear your opinion.

Thanks for reading, and welcome back to the On Deck Circle.  It’s good to be home.



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3 thoughts on “Ken Singleton, or Roger Maris?

  1. Welcome back, Bill. Got you re-linked on my blogroll.

  2. Welcome back, Bill! Your dreams were your ticket out.

  3. I couldn’t realistically support either one for the HOF. Both had very good careers. Both were fun to watch.

    I’m glad you’re back here. I’ll look forward to more posts.

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