That's right, Ya Mar; TLDR doesn't apply, in here.
I think it is true, that "a long career of being the 4th or 5th best player at your position is not hall worthy. Or so they say."
I mean that I agree with Ya Mar's interjection of "or so they say." I think too much emphasis is put on that comparison.
A few years back-- well, quite a few years back-- there were numerous truly solid 2Bmen, guys like Sandberg and Whitaker, Alomar and Morgan.
I’m intermingling eras, there, but my point is that things change, and we don’t have as many 2Bmen, anymore, who were smooth afield and strong with a bat.
To say “4th or 5th best” at 2B now is a very different statement from saying the same thing 20+ years ago. The 4th or 5th guy, now, probably isn’t going to be a candidate for the Hall of Fame.
In the mid-80’s, the 4th or 5th best 2Bman may have been Willie Randolph, Lou Whitaker, or Frank White. Who would it be now? Dan Uggla? Howie Kendrick? Marco Scutaro?
I may not be using the best examples, in year or in name, but the point is that a great deal of relativity is automatically relevant if such a standard is going to be used. When guys like Juan Samuel, Ryne Sandberg, and Lou Whitaker were playing, being the #4 guy did not necessarily indicate unworthiness. Right now, there is Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley, and after that—despite the talents of some guys like Brandon Phillips & Ian Kinsler—the current crop does not have much of anything that looks potentially Cooperstown-bound to me.
I think I am doing a mediocre job of backing up my point, but perhaps you guys can think of your own examples, using SS or 3B.
When Derek Jeter began his career, there was a handful of Shortstops who were quite handy with the glove and swung a mean bat. Now, in the final years of Jeter’s career, I see Tulowitzki emerging—limping—and a couple of other guys, like Rollins & Reyes, who I would love to have in a Tigers uniform, but who are nowhere near in Jeter’s class.
(And I still see Asdrubal Cabrera trying to pull off that catch-pivot-leap-throw maneuver for which Jeter is known. G’luck, kid; start putting in the kind of practice-time that Ya Mar mentioned in reference to Jeter, and maybe someday you will look as got-damn purty at it as he is.)
So, now that I’ve done a half-assed job of covering the “4th or 5th best” issue, shall I move on to fumbling another ball by yammering on about the other matter brought up by Monsieur Mar?
I don’t think it’s fair, or appropriate, when considering Hall of Fame credentials, to give a guy extra credit for having played all, or nearly all, of his career for one team. It doesn’t even make any sense to me. The guy performs at the level at which he performs, period, and except in rare cases—for example, some guys have learned how to play LF in Fenway Park better than others—I don’t see how his team affiliation has much to do with how his career performance is judged.
However, I absolutely believe that guys who have stayed put are given extra credit, and—despite my slavish devotion to deductive reasoning and logic—to be quite candid about it, I am one of the folks who, consciously or sub-consciously, assigns extra credit for that very thing.
Gary Sheffield deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That statement is really just a declaration of my opinion, I know, but frankly, I don’t think there is room for any argument, none at all, zero whatsoever.
And yet, the guy played for about 8 teams.
What’s wrong with that? I dunno; nuthin,’ really, I suppose, but it just looks shabby, and maybe it conveys a subliminal suggestion that there was something shitty about him.
So, I have no reason-justifiable cause for my viewpoint, but there it is: I don’t condone it, I don’t think it makes any sense, and I think it’s wrong, but I do it, too.
"Do What Thou Wilt" shall be the Whole of the Solid Block of Text.
As a ravine dweller I can confirm this.