Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Buying History for Your Organization

Back when I analyzed the market for then free agent Albert Pujols, there was one component I didn't touch on.

Growing up in the St. Louis area and growing up a Cardinals fan, I sometimes take the legacy/history of an organization for granted.  The following are the Cardinals retired numbers excluding managers, owners, and Jackie Robinson, along with it are extra notes: HOF = Hall of Famer, GG = Gold Gloves awards, MVP = Most Valuable Player awards, CY = Cy Young awards, AS = All Star appearances.  The first number on counts is the number of career times with an award/appearance, and the second number is the number of times done as a Cardinal.

#1 - Ozzie Smith (HOF, 13/11 GG, 15/14 AS)
#2 - Red Schoendienst (HOF, 10/9 AS)
#6 - Stan Musial (HOF, 3/3 MVP, 20/20 AS)
#9 - Enos Slaughter (HOF, 10/10 AS)
#14 - Ken Boyer (1/1 MVP, 5/5 GG, 7/7 AS)
#17 - Dizzy Dean (HOF, 1/1 MVP, 4/4 AS)
#20 - Lou Brock (HOF, 6/6 AS)
#42 - Bruce Sutter (HOF, 1/0 CY, 6/2 AS)
#45 - Bob Gibson (HOF, 2/2 CY, 1/1 MVP, 8/8 AS, 9/9 GG)

That's 8 Hall of Famers, 5 MVPs, 2 Cy Youngs, 24 Gold Gloves, and 80 All Star appearances as Cardinals.  It includes a player that would be regarded as legendary (Stan Musial).  Only one is not a Hall of Famer (Ken Boyer), and only one of these players might not be considered most famed for his time with the Cardinals (Bruce Sutter).  It includes two members of the 3000 hit club (Stan Musial, Lou Brock), a man with a legendary 1.12 ERA in 1968 (Bob Gibson), and what most consider the greatest defensive shortstop of all time (Ozzie Smith).

In contrast, lets take a look at the the Houston Astros.

#5 - Jeff Bagwell (1/1 MVP, 4/4 AS, 1/1 GG)
#7 - Craig Biggio (7/7 AS, 4/4 GG)
#24 - Jimmy Wynn (3/1 AS)
#25 - Jose Cruz (2/2 AS)
#32 - Jim Umbricht
#33 - Mike Scott (3/3 AS, 1/1 CY)
#34 - Nolan Ryan (HOF, 8/2 AS)
#40 - Don Wilson (1/1 AS)
#49 - Larry Dierker (2/2 AS)

This is a different group of players.  Nolan Ryan is the only Hall of Famer and he may be more famed as a non-Astro (making more All Star appearances with other teams).  Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio still have shots at the Hall of Fame but it's unlikely anyone else in the group has a shot.  There are fewer MVPs (1 vs 5), Cy Youngs (1 vs 2), Gold Gloves (5 vs 24), and All Star appearances (15 vs. 80).

Now lets look at the Anaheim Angels.

#11 - Jim Fregosi (6/6 AS, 1/1 GG)
#29 - Rod Carew (HOF, 18/6 AS, 1/0 MVP)
#30 - Nolan Ryan (HOF, 8/5 AS)
#50 - Jimmie Reese

Nolan Ryan may be considered by some to be most famed as an Angel, but Rod Carew is most famous as a Twin.  After that, it's not much for the Anaheim retired numbers.  I won't bother counting the various stats, as it's much worse than the Cardinals and generally worse than the Astros.  There's a few players that could have also had their numbers retired (Garret Anderson or Tim Salmon come to mind), but there aren't any MVPs on their resume, just a few All Star appearances.

There are many clubs with similar histories without many Hall of Famers.  So the question is, how much is that kind of history and legacy worth to an organization?  How much is would they be willing to pay for it?

I can see an organization like Anaheim wanting to sign an Albert Pujols to try and add that type of history to the organization.  There are only a few players that come along in baseball history that will amass the number of home runs Albert Pujols will amass.  Barring some catastrophic injury, he's guaranteed to hit 500 (joining only 25 others).  600 home runs is a very good bet (joining only 8 others), and 700 might not be out of the question.  How many players come around in a generation that will get 3000 career hits?  Albert Pujols is very likely to reach that number too.

For an Anaheim and many organizations, having Albert Pujols do that in their uniform would be something very special.

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