Today is the 73rd birthday of former Orioles and Angels infielder Bobby Grich. Grich retired in 1986 after a nearly two-decade career that began with the Orioles in 1970. Despite an incredibly productive and long career, Grich barely earned any recognition for Hall of Fame honors after his retirement. Since making his way onto the ballot five years after his retirement, Grich has garnered just 2.6% of the Hall vote in his first and only year on the ballot.
The Veterans Committee and Era Committees also didn’t seem eager to debate his candidacy, as he has yet to be nominated for any of the four Veterans Committee (now called Eras Committee) ballots. for which he has been eligible so far.
Granted, I knew little about Grich’s career until I snooped around his baseball reference page the last week before his birthday. With numerous All Star appearances, a handful of Gold Gloves, and an annual OPS+ well over 100 (career 125), I began to wonder why an infielder with a strong bat during a time mostly dominated by pitchers is neglected. The more I peeled the onion and looked at the numbers, the more I wondered why he was barely considered for Hall induction.
There are many philosophies regarding Hall of Fame induction, but in this article what I wish to accomplish is to place Bobby Grich’s career in the context of his contemporaries, as well as the context of other second-tier players. goals spent in Cooperstown. .
From a traditional numbers perspective, Grich has none of the golden numbers that essentially push a player to Hall status. He amassed just 1,833 hits and 224 home runs over his 17-year career. Grich was defined by his excellent defense, with his bat overlooked due to his high on-base percentage in an era when batting average and RBI were considered kings.
It should also be noted that Grich’s timing was unfortunate, as he was on the ballot for the first time in 1992, the same year as Joe Morgan, who is arguably a better second baseman than Grich at almost all respects.
Grich led the league in home runs in 1981 with a grand total of… 22, which tells us a lot about the offensive environment of the late ’80s and early ’80s. His career 224 home runs is better than 15 of the 20 second Hall of Famers. During his career from 1970 to 1986. During that time, even Joe Morgan hit only 228 home runs, four more than Grich.
Because of this low offense span, Grich’s career .794 OPS surpasses all but six Hall of Fame second basements. In 14 of his 17 seasons, Grich posted an OPS+ of at least 109, with his best seasons at 165 in 1981, 145 in 1979 and 142 in 1983. Grich’s wRC+ numbers are equally excellent, with a career of 129 wRC+, and a career total of an annual wRC+ over 100 (sometimes significantly) from 1971 to 1986.
A second-first baseman with a glove that plays every day, gets on base at a .370 OBP clip, and hits for some power in a power-derivative environment looks damn good! Compared to other Hall of Fame second basemen, Grich’s case also looks pretty solid.
Per bWAR, Grich’s 71 wins and 58.7 JAWS rank eighth most second basemen in MLB history. His WAR metrics are more than the three second basemen who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since 1992: Ryne Sandburg, Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio.
Considering the lack of momentum and attention to even debate his as a Hall of Fame nominee, Grich is a far cry from being in the Hall of Fame. unlike Bert Blyleven or Jim Rice, Grich himself doesn’t rally people around his cause, which is part of why he quietly and unceremoniously walked away on the Hall ballot. To dig deeper into the subject, Grich himself points out that he never had a defining moment in his career that could propel even a mediocre player into the Hall of Fame (see Mazeroski, Bill).
Unfortunately, it looks like Grich is destined to be remembered as a very good player, if he is ever remembered.
Steven Martano is an editor at Beyond the Box Score, a prospect writer for the Colorado Rockies at purple line, and a contributing writer for hard times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano