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The Hall of Fame Vote Review Continues
by Asher B. Chancey, Baseball Evolution
January 27, 2006



Toby Harrah

I hate to keep pounding Keith, but . . . Toby Harrah?!?!?! About Harrah, Keith says that “(Jim) Fregosi doesn't even have any competition as the best offensive shortstop of the 60's and Toby Harrah is unparalleled in the 70's.” Um, Keith, Harrah played exactly five seasons as a shortstop, 1971 through 1976, of which only one season, 1975, really stands out. I will admit not having noticed how good he was that year, or that Harrah walked more than he struck out every year from 1975 to 1985, which is actually incredible! However, you have to admit that his career average is .264, his career SB percentage is 72% (actually not very bad) and his career range factor is average.

For that matter, I am going to go ahead and take issue with the premise that since Toby Harrah was the best offensive shortstop of the 1970s, he deserves to be in the Hall. Is that the new test? Are we going to say that the best offensive played by position by decade gets in? Because I have looked at the offensive shortstops from the seventies, and they are not good. It doesn’t make me comfortable to say that since Toby Harrah was better offensively than Freddie Patek and Ed Brinkman, he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Then, Keith waxes silly by saying

“Harrah moved to third base later in his career, doesn't that mean he was a bad fielder? Not unless Cal Ripken, Ernie Banks, and Robin Yount, all of whom are Gold Glove Winners, are necessarily bad fielders as well.”

Um, Keith? Are you there, or did you let Scott write that one for you? Ripken moved to third after playing 14 full seasons at shortstop, and played 77% of his games at short. Yount’s range factor at shortstop was 4.99 against a league average of 4.16! And Banks was presumably moved to first at the age of 31 because he was getting old and slow. Harrah played 38% of his games at shortstop, had a range factor of 4.59 against a league range of 4.30 (and then dipped below the league at third) and was moved to third base at the age of 28. I don’t think anyone thinks that Harrah was moved because he was a bad fielder, but I don’t think that that can’t be true unless we assume that Banks Yount and Ripken were “necessarily” bad fielders as well.

Not only is your Ripken-Yount-Banks statement odd, but I am not even sure what point you were trying to make!




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Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Asher B. Chancey resides in Alexandria, Virginia, and can be reached at asher@baseballevolution.com.


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