Earlier this week, I wrote about the (so-called) Expansion Era ballot, which a select group of Hall of Fame electors will be studying -- or at least we can hope they're actually studying -- over the next few weeks.
MLB.com's Terence Moore has weighed in, too. Like me, Moore figures that Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa and Joe Torre should sail right into the Hall. But that's where I draw the line, at least this time around. Moore also supports the candidacies of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin. I think he overstates Steinbrenner's impact on the '70s Yankees and completely ignores what came afterward, and I think he understates the destructive nature of Martin's process. But you can make a reasonable case for them, and how delicious if they were someday elected in the same year.
Here's where Moore (as he usually does, eventually) goes off the rails:
The same goes for Concepcion, who was more than just the starting shortstop on a Big Red Machine team that dominated much of the 1970s. Before Concepcion's career, Major League shortstops were mostly one dimensional -- all-field, little-hit, not much of anything else. After Concepcion's career, you had Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and the rest, because during Concepcion's career, he showed everybody that shortstops could field, hit and run.
Here's the kindest description of that paragraph I can come up with: ahistorical.
As in, contradictory to what we know actually happened.
And I'll be kind here, because I might bump into Moore at the Winter Meetings next month. Oh, and also because I've already given his analysis the full Rob Neyer treatment at least once and it wasn't pretty.
Still, you have to admit that it takes a pretty brilliant imagination to suggest that Dave Concepcion and his career 88 OPS+ as the proximate cause for Cal Ripken (112), Barry Larkin (116), Alex Rodriguez (143), Derek Jeter (117) and the rest (?). Maybe the same sort of imagination that seems to have completely forgotten (or never known) about Honus Wagner, Joe Cronin, Luke Appling, Lou Boudreau, and for all that's holy Ernie "Let's Play Two Mr. Cub" Banks.
Concepcion did run better than most of those guys, and he did popularize the bouncy throw off the green carpets. Maybe he can get a plaque on the wall at Monsanto or something.