It’s time for the baseball Hall of Fame debates to begin. From now until the results are announced, FanIQ will be taking a look at this year’s major candidates. Up next: Dave Concepcion.
Dave Concepcion was part of what is now a rare breed of ballplayer: a player who spent his entire career with one team. Concepcion spent nineteen years in the big leagues, all of which for the Cincinnati Reds. Concepcion was the shortstop for the Big Red Machine, and won two World Series titles. This is his final year on the ballot. His career stats can be found here.
Pros For Induction
Playing a premiere position for one of the greatest and most memorable teams of all-time certainly helps. Concepcion is one of the names synonymous with the Big Red Machine.
Concepcion wasn’t the greatest hitter in the world (more on that later), but he was still able to win two Silver Sluggers at NL shortstops. Now, that has a lot to do with 70s and early 80s shortstops all being banjo hitters, but it’s still a point in favor of Concepcion. He was the best shortstop in the National League in the 1970s.
Concepcion had a fine defensive reputation, as shown by the five Gold Gloves he had in his career. He was also named to nine All-Star teams in his career.
Cons Against Induction
Concepcion just wasn’t a very good hitter. His career average was only .267, while his career OBP is a weak .322. Even if the low offensive era he played in, that’s below average. The most telling stat might be that despite playing in the same lineup as Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose, Concepcion never scored 100 runs in the season, and didn’t even score 1000 in a nineteen year career.
The Silver Sluggers and All-Star nods are nice, but Concepcion didn’t have a lot of competition. None of the shortstops of that era could hit. Somebody had to be in the All-Star Game, and most years it was Davey C or Larry Bowa.
Concepcion’s career OPS+ was 88, meaning for his career he hit twelve percent below average for his era. Even with shortstop being such a defensive oriented position, all the other Hall of Fame shortstops have a better career OPS+. The one exception to that is Ozzie Smith, who had a career OPS+ of 87. Ozzie, though, did have an above average OBP for his era (.337 to .328).
Of course, Ozzie Smith is the greatest defensive shortstop ever, and thus brought tremendous value with the glove. While Concepcion won five Gold Gloves, there is no evidence that he provided anything close to Ozzie’s value with the glove. Being the best shortstop of the 70s is great, but when the baseline for that distinction is so low, it doesn’t add up to much. Thus, Concepcion comes up short.
Will He Get In?
This is Concepcion’s final year on the ballot, and last year he named on 13.6% of the ballots. Thus, Concepcion will be on the next Veteran’s Committee ballot.
Now it’s your turn. Discuss Concepcion’s candidacy in the comments, and be sure to vote in both his individual poll and Seth’s poll encompassing the entire ballot.