Tonight, I ran across Baseball Hall Monitor’s latest post on Jim Rice. They state:
Rice’s teammate on the Red Sox, Evans has more career HRs than Rice, more runs scored, a higher on-base percentage and nearly as many hits and RBI. Oh, and Evans won eight Gold Gloves to Rice’s zero. But you can’t vote for Evans anymore, since he was dropped from the ballot in 2000 for lack of support.
It’s a compelling argument and I don’t necessarily disagree. Honestly, I didn’t know Evans’ stats compared that well.
My guess for Rice’s appeal is the intimidation factor. Rice hit 35+ homeruns four times back when 35 homeruns really meant something. He can also point to his mantle and right there is his MVP award from 1978.
Evans offensive stats were gathered over a longer period of time (20 seasons to Rice’s 16). That doesn’t discount it in any way at all but it does mean for less impact per year. Ironically, Evans’ most productive year came at the advanced age of 35 when he hit 34 homers and drove in 123 runs.
Was Evans HOF material? It’s a moot point since we’re too late to vote him in now. But considering that Evans’ and Rice’s OPS+ are within 1 point of each other plus add to that Evans’ defensive value, it would have been close.
On the other hand, comparing players for the Hall of Fame is a slippery slope. If you start playing this game instead of holding players up to a certain standard (most likely standardized to their era), it could never end. Then you could end up inducting players like Mark Grace and Greg Vaughn.