Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: Former Yankees Pt. 6 – Raul Ibanez
Does Raul Ibanez belong in the Hall-of-Fame?
The quick answer is no, he does not belong, but let’s take a look at the career of Raul Ibanez.
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, Ibanez fails this test. His WAR was 20.4 He comes in lower than Baines, way lower…so low that… he’s not on the chart of the top 1,000 players. Ouch.
The 999th players (tied) in All-Time WAR are Buddy Lewis and Jake Weimer who had a lifetime WAR of 26.7.
Ibanez’s WAR was 20.4.
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.
Raul Ibanez was an All-Star just once (in 2009).
Ibanez led the league in just one category, games played (162) in 2005.
Ibanez reached 300 homers. He slugged 305 in his career.
He had over 1,000 runs batted in (1,207).
Let’s have some fun here, I’ll bet that most readers will be amazed by how many hits Raul Ibanez had in his career. (The number shocked me.) Take a guess…
His lifetime batting average was 272.
Ibanez had 2,034 hits. That’s way short of 3,000, of course, but it’s also a lot more than I would have ever thought.
For his career, Raul Ibanez put up some nice numbers. They were not Hall-of-Fame worthy, but they are impressive.
JAWS By Position:
By JAWS, Chavez ranks as the 119th best left fielder of all-time.
The highest rated left fielder who is not in the Hall-of-Fame is… well, this is difficult because the list is long:
Barry Bonds (117.8) ranks first All-Time. Then, there is Pete Rose (62.3) who is 5th All-Time. Of non-Hall-of-Famers, Rose is followed by Manny Ramirez (54) who is 10th.
Sherry Magee, who played from 1904 to 1919, is 14th All-Time in JAWS. He’s the highest non-HOF left fielder of All-Time who is not surrounded by other controversial issues.
Bob Johnson (46.6)who played from 1933 to 1945, is 18th.
The first modern player is Lance Berkman (45.7) who is 20th.
The highest ranked former Yankee left fielder who isn’t in the Hall-of-Fame is (well, it’s Lance Berkman, but he was a Yankees for only about ten minutes, so absent of him it’s…) Jose Cruz (who was a Yankee for even less time than Berkman). UGGG.
The highest ranked player who played significant time for the Yankees on the All-Time JAWS list is Roy White who is 28th (just ahead of #30, Charlie Keller). Brett Gardner is #40 All-Time.
(I had to check one fact. Jose Cruz actually played more regular season games as a Yankee than Lance Berkman. Cruz played in 38 games for the Yankees; Berkman played in only 37. Lance Berkman did play in five post season games for the Yankees though, so overall, he did appear on the field as a Yankee more times than Jose Cruz.)
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 for Raul Ibanez includes the following: Ruben Sierra, Bobby Bonilla, Fred Lynn, Paul O’Neill, Del Ennis, Willie Horton, George Foster, Adrian Gonzalez, Shawn Green, and Reggie Smith. These were all fine players. There are a number of league leaders, a few MVP’s, and some World Champions on that list, but I don’t think any will ever reach baseball’s most hallowed ground.
For his career, Raul Ibanez was a nice player. His counting stats, overall, were actually higher than I would have thought.
Raul Ibanez was a Yankee in 2012. He played in 130 games for the Yanks putting up the following numbers: .240/19/62. If my memory is correct, each of those 19 homers was a walk-off in exciting fashion. (They all weren’t of course, but for a short while there Raul Ibanez provided a bunch of magical homers for the Yankees. He was not a Hall-of-Famer, but he did have some great moments in pinstripes!)