Thursday Rockpile: Do the biases of SABR baseball writers tank Rockies Hall of Fame chances?

A couple of days ago Keith Law tweeted:

If I had a Hall of Fame ballot: Raines, Bagwell, Larkin, McGwire, Trammell, Edgar. The first three should appear on any rational ballot.

He then went on to explain in detail why Edgar Martinez deserved to be in:

  • 22nd in OBP
  • 66th in SLG

Now, here's Larry Walker, who apparently doesn't deserve to be in:

  • 57th in OBP
  • 13th in SLG

Oh, and yeah, while those numbers are Coors inflated and serve to bring Walker's offensive value below Martinez's, here's the great equalizer for #33:

  • 21st most valuable MLB career in OF defense according to Total Zone, and certainly one of the more valuable outfielders of our lifetimes by any measure.

Basically, any objective writer should not include Martinez but exclude Walker on their ballot unless they're overemphasizing Coors Field's benefits or underestimating the value of Walker's defensive and baserunning skills.

Now, this is just Walker, and on Walker's case, apparently hinges Todd Helton's, at least according to Dave Cameron, in explaining why he omitted to bring up Helton at all (before adding a hasty post-edit dismissal) in a piece on active players' chances of making Cooperstown. In the comments, Cameron writes:

Yeah, I should have included him in the "nice but not quite" category. He's basically the first base version of Abreu, specializing in walks and doubles, and voters will hold his home park against him. If they aren't putting Walker in, they're not putting Helton in.

The argument of Cameron and others against Rockies players comes down to this: Coors Field is going to be seen as an impediment to voters, so why bother arguing their cases. SABR slanted writers like Law and Cameron have no such qualms pointing out the reasons that voters should get around their inherent biases in arguing vociferously for deserving candidates like Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines or Martinez, but why are they so quickly dismissive of anybody to put on a Rockies uniform? Cameron's post also ignores Matt Holliday, who with a long productive decline should have a reasonable shot at the Hall. Early in the piece, he throws this line out about Walker:

While there's certainly value in discussing the credentials of guys Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, we've also been having those conversations for several years now, and the facts haven't changed since the last time we reviewed their candidacy.

Which struck me, because I was thinking maybe I had just overlooked the Fangraphs article on Walker's candidacy. So I did a Google search, and at least according to that, I'm not the only one who missed it. It's not there. Meanwhile, a similar search for Martinez reveals at least two articles:

So Cameron's making up a history of analysis on Walker to justify a dismissal of all Rockies Hall of Fame candidacies. Great. Colorado players really are screwed when it comes to getting into Cooperstown if even the watchdogs and champions for the overlooked and ignored candidates are, well, overlooking and ignoring them.

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