I wanted to link to yesterday's article at Grantland where Bill James advocated putting Dwight Evans in the Hall of Fame. Evans was my favorite players as a child, so the pro-Evans appreciations in recent years are pretty enjoyable for me. Unlike a lot of James's contributions "Win Shares" have not really caught on, for a variety of reasons, and the article is a bit verbose (as James has a tendency to be), but the argument is strong, I think. Pretty amazing to think that Evans, who fell off the ballot in his second year, could now be thought of as a Hall of Fame candidate, but that's why there are rules in place to enable us to re-evaluate players. Guys whose value came in things other than the standard Triple Crown stats can take awhile to be appreciated. That's why it took so long to get Ron Santo in the Hall.
A couple more thoughts:
1. I have trouble believing Evans will get to the Hall anytime soon. However, the Red Sox really should retire his number. You can make a fairly strong case that Evans is the third greatest player in Red Sox history, behind Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. Let's get his #24 up in right field.
2. I hope James follows up his Evans piece on an even more neglected player, who, like Evans, was a star in the 80's who got underappreciated because his value wasn't in home runs and batting average. Lou Whitaker only hit .300 twice and never once drove in 100 runs. However, he retired with a career WAR close to 70 on the strength of a high OBP and great defense. By scoring and preventing runs, Whitaker played a big role in making Jack Morris a Hall of Fame candidate.