Baseball Hall of Fame

Ozzie Smith: Worst Hall of Fame Selection Ever?

14 MAY 1995:  OZZIE SMITH, SHORTSTOP FOR THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, THROWS TO FIRST IN AN ATTEMPTED DOUBLE PLAY AS GAREY INGRAM OF THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS SLIDES IN TO SECOND BASE DURING THE CARDINALS'' 6-5 WIN IN 11 INNINGS AT DODGER STADIUM IN LOS ANGELES,
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Smokin JoeContributor IFebruary 4, 2010

Ozzie is probably the least deserving member ever elected to the Hall of Fame.  I'll agree that many members of the Hall of Fame were one dimensional, primarily offensively talented ad lacking a little on the defensive side of the game. Those players were generally good enough defensively not to hurt their respective teams though. 

Ozzie, on the other hand, was a menace with a bat.  And believe me, that was not meant as a compliment. 

Only once in his 19-year career did he bat over .300. Fair enough, many other elected players did not achieve that milestone either.  His career avg. by the way is .262. He did accumulate over 2,400 hits, but when you spend nearly 20 years in the bigs you should average better than 120 hits a season.

You would think that he would have made up for that by excelling in other offensive areas? Not where it mattered, Ozzie stole quite a few bases in his time and usually that would equate to runs scored, only one time did he score even 100 runs.  He had a grand total of 28 Home Runs in his career and less than 800 RBI in 19 seasons. 

His career on-base percentage is .337 and slugging percentage is .327.  These statistics are, in all honesty disgusting for one of the "best that ever played."

In his 19 seasons, he came close to an MVP once, with a second place finish in 1987, other than that, he made it to the ballot just five other times.

Now, if you look at his defensive prowess, he was one of the best shortstops that have played. I can't and won't argue that.  I will, however, give you a comparison of a player who seems to take a lot of criticism because of his "poor" defensive play. 

Ozzie's career fielding percentage is .978, Player B's career percentage is .976.  Granted, the average shortstop back in the 1980s pretty much sucked, judging by the league average of .965 compared to the league average of .972 for Player B's era.  Player B by the way is Derek Jeter.  So, yes, Ozzie was a lot better than his peers at that position then.  But being much better than garbage doesn't really say that much.

Have a look at the Hall of Fame indicators from Baseball-Reference.com below and you will see that in comparison with the average Hall of Famer he doesn't even belong in the state much less the same building as most of the other players that have been inducted over the years. 

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Black InkBatting - 2 (592), Average HOFer ≈ 27
Gray InkBatting - 51 (491), Average HOFer ≈ 144
Hall of Fame MonitorBatting - 142 (93), Likely HOFer ≈ 100
Hall of Fame StandardsBatting - 35 (202), Average HOFer ≈ 50

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If we're going to elect players because of a few SportsCenter highlights flashy backflips and not based on a career's worth of production, then elect Bo Jackson right now, he broke enough bats and climbed enough walls to warrant the same attention that Ozzie got, never mind the limited amount of time he was in baseball. 

Sounds ludicrous doesn't it? That's probably because it is...

I would much rather see Tony Fernandez, Allan Trammell or even Shawon Dunston in the Hall rather than Ozzie.  I'm sure there are many of you out thee who will disagree, would love to hear your opinions...

 

 

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