Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: Former Yankees Pt. 3 – Eric Chavez
Does Eric Chavez belong in the Hall-of-Fame?
Yesterday we posted a very simple article that asked if Derek Jeter belongs in the Hall-of-Fame. The quick answer was YES! (of course). We will examine Chavez’s Hall-of-Fame case here, but the quick answer is no, he does not belong.
Let’s see why not…
The Low Bar (or the Harold Baines Test):
Regular readers will know that my first test for any player to be included in the Hall-of-Fame is what I call the “Harold Baines Test.” In short, a player must have a lifetime WAR (Baseball-Reference) above that of Harold Baines. If the player’s lifetime WAR is below that of Baines, it is my opinion that he does not belong in the Hall-of-Fame. Ranked by WAR, Harold Baines comes in as the 552nd best player of all-time with a WAR of 38.7. This is the low bar. There are literally hundreds of players better than Baines who are not in the Hall-of-Fame. We have no business electing players who rank lower than Baines.
Right off the bat, Chavez fails this test. His WAR was 37.5. He comes in lower than Baines. By WAR, Chavez ranks as the 586th best player of all-time.
In between… (Just for Fun)
The following is the complete list of the players (non-pitchers) who rank below Harold Baines, but above Eric Chavez in lifetime WAR:
(Tied with Baines) – Juan Gonzalez, Ed McKean, Magglio Ordonez
(The rest) – Harry Davis, Sid Gordon, Kent Hrbek, Bill White, Jose Altuve, Johnny Callison, Lonnie Smith, Tim Wallach, Kirk Gibson, Chili Davis, Ray Lankford, Bill Madlock, Roger Maris, Steve Garvey, Troy Glaus, Russell Martin, Terry Turner, Nelson Cruz, Hanley Ramirez, Paul Blair, Ryan Zimmerman, and Frank Howard.
Hey! There are some impressive guys there: Steve Garvey, Roger Maris…
But, by the Baines Test, they are not Hall worthy. (It is interesting, when Steve Garvey played, he was seen as a surefire, absolute lock for the Hall-of-Fame.)
Awards, Honors, and the Like:
It seems logical to assume that a Hall-of-Fame player would have received a good deal of honors and awards during his playing days.
Eric Chavez won six Gold Gloves. That’s very impressive.
He also won a Silver Slugger for third base in 2002.
Eric Chavez led the American League in walks in 2004 with 95.
Chavez never batted .300 for a full season.
He did hit 29 or more homers four times (34, 2002; 32, 2001; and 29 in 2003 and 2004).
Chavez fell short of 300 homers ending with 260.
Chavez falls way short of 3,000 hits with 1,477.
His lifetime batting average was .268.
JAWS By Position:
By JAWS, Chavez ranks as the 45th best third baseman of all-time.
Graig Nettles is the highest ranked eligible third baseman not in the Hall-of-Fame. Nettles ranks 12th all-time by JAWS. Nettles, and a bunch of others, would have to go in before Chavez. (And, YES, it is time for Nettles to get into the Hall-of-Fame… and YES, it is time for Nettles to be honored in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium.)
Most Similar Players:
Baseball Reference lists the ten most similar players to each MLB player for their career. None of these players are in the Hall-of-Fame.
The list includes the following: Doug DeCinces, Cliff Floyd, Bill NIcholson, Evan Longoria, Mike Lowell, Jayson Werth, Matt Stairs, Troy Glaus, Ken Caminiti, and Raul Mondesi.
For his career, Chavez was a nice player. The man was a plus defender at the hot corner.
Eric Chavez was a Yankee in 2011 and 2012. He played in 171 games for the Yanks putting up the following numbers: .274/18/63.
He was not a Hall-of-Famer.