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HOF: Menechino vs. Wilson

A few days ago we were treated to mfahie's exhaustive recap of all the HOF candidates, including his comments on a crowded field of first basemen. Mfahie pointed out the merits of Henry Menechino, Trenidad Prieto, Alexander Henry, and - to a lesser degree - Don Wilson. He ranked them in that order, singling out Menechino as a top-tier candidate and designating Wilson as a borderline case and the 22nd most deserving candidate.

Crickett13 subsequently responded with a spirited promotion of Don Wilson's candidacy and has garnered some support for Wilson in the World Chat.

We'll try to compare each player's career here. In a crowded field with a number of worthy HOF contenders, it is likely that an owner's ballot might contain room for only one of these contenders. For counting stats, we'll compare per 600 plate appearance to try to smooth out some of the issues with playing time. And finally, we'll provide the stats for two other comparable candidates.

Games1B: 1465
DH: 39
1B: 2240
DH: 10
1B: 1966
DH: 91
1B: 1879
DH: 220
AwardsAll-Star: 4
Gold Glove: 2
Silver Slugger: 2
MVP: 1
All-Star: 4
Gold Glove: 1
Silver Slugger: 3
MVP: 0
All-Star: 4
Gold Glove: 1
Silver Slugger: 3
MVP: 1
All-Star: 4
Gold Glove: 1
Silver Slugger: 1
MVP: 0
AB5790896179598151
Runs / 600PA105869199
Hits / 600PA165175170168
2B / 600PA25302929
3B / 600PA2122
HR / 600PA47213434
RBI / 600PA12395105112
BB / 600PA79656765
SO / 600PA50786957
SB / 600PA1001
AVG.318.327.320.314
OBP.410.403.398.390
SLG.644.507.573.567
OPS1.054.910.971.957


The results show that Henry Menechino was a slugging first basement with an average season of .318, 47 HRs and 123 RBI. Don Wilson projects as a different kind of player, averaging .327, 21 HRs and 95 RBI. An argument could be made that Wilson was more a table setter as opposed to a middle of the lineup force, but with a lower OBP than Menechino and their comparable results on the basepaths, its easy to make the argument that Menechino would have also played that role better.

Making the Case:
Harry Menechino was the superior slugger and is the superior candidate. More walks, less strikeouts, comparable with the glove and on the basepaths. Then add 25 homers and 30 RBIs per year.

Don Wilson's slight edge in batting average is cancelled out by Menechino's similar edge in OBP. His five extra doubles per year are overwhelmed by Menechino's 25 home runs. His sole advantage is his career longevity and, even then, he doesn't compare all that favorably to other candidates like Alexander Henry and Trenidad Prieto.

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