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View Full Version : Serious queston/ Baines vs. Dawson


mike squires
01-01-2004, 11:29 PM
Allright folks, I've got a very serious question I want everyone to ponder and would like as many people to respond as possible.

Many years ago...I'm guessing I was 12 or 13. I called into a Chicago radio station who posed the qustion...Harold Baines or Andre Dawson. I"ve got it on tape and will look it up when I get a minute. (I think it was Tom Greene. ) DOes that sound right?

Being so young I did a good job standing up for myself and for Harold. His argument was that Dawson was a better all around ball player. My main point was that Baines would me more reliable, more clutch and would last longer than The Hawk. He didn't let me off the hook saying my Whitesox bias was getting in the way.

Well, I stand by my opionion 17 years later. Here are the stats...

Games hits HR AVG. OBP
Baines 2,830 2,866 384 .289 .356

Dawson 2,627 2,774 438 .279 .323

THe only thing Hawk has over Bines was his durability in the outfield. Baines had to move to DH because of his injury.
Thoughts? Opinions?

RKMeibalane
01-01-2004, 11:37 PM
Interesting. I didn't realize that Baines had that many hits. Given how long he played, though, it's not surprising.

To be honest, I'm not sure who is the better player between the two. I never saw Harold during his prime, so the only memories I have of him are during his days as a designated hitter for Oakland, Baltimore, and his second and third tenures with the Sox.

I'm going to take a look at each player's numbers year by year in order to see how they compare.

Meixner007
01-01-2004, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by mike squires
I"ve got it on tape and will look it up when I get a minute. (I think it was Tom Greene. ) DOes that sound right?



Was that when he was apart of the sports huddle with chris cross and steve olken. Wow, just thinking of that show brings back memories.

ShoelessFred
01-01-2004, 11:46 PM
baines was damn good in RF before his knees started to break down. he also had a gun for an arm. but i would realy like for the sox to unretire his number. i don't think he was THAT good.

RKMeibalane
01-01-2004, 11:53 PM
After checking some numbers, I do agree that Baines was the superior clutch performer. His numbers in the post-season are light years above Dawson's. Baines hit .323 for his career in post-season play.

dugwood31
01-02-2004, 12:30 AM
Baines was the better ballplayer. When healthy, they both played a very good outfield. Dawson had a few monster years and Baines was more consistent over a long period of time. I just looked it up, did you guys realize that Baines had a 100 RBI season as recently as 1999?

RKMeibalane
01-02-2004, 12:40 AM
Originally posted by dugwood31
Baines was the better ballplayer. When healthy, they both played a very good outfield. Dawson had a few monster years and Baines was more consistent over a long period of time. I just looked it up, did you guys realize that Baines had a 100 RBI season as recently as 1999?

I noticed that. Baines was much more productive late in his career than Dawson. By the time the 1994 season ended, it was clear that Dawson didn't have much left in the tank.

dugwood31
01-02-2004, 12:45 AM
That's right. But I bet Dawson makes it Cooperstown and Harold doesn't.

MarkEdward
01-02-2004, 12:46 AM
Originally posted by mike squires

THe only thing Hawk has over Bines was his durability in the outfield. Baines had to move to DH because of his injury.
Thoughts? Opinions?

Well, I think the big issue is durability. Harold Baines played over half of his games DHing. Andre Dawson played about 45% of his games in center field. Adding to this, Montreal's artificial turf pretty much destroyed his knees. I don't know when you had this argument, but it seems pretty obvious that Baines would have the longer career. Starting at age 28 (1987), Baines became a full-time DH. Up until age 28 (1983), Dawson was a center fielder playing half of his games on turf.

Now, who was the better player? I think I'd have to go with Dawson. The biggest factor, I think, would have to be the positions played. A center fielder with an OPS+ of 120 is more valuable than a designated hitter with a 120 OPS+ (Dawson had a career 119 OPS+, Baines 120+). Plus, Dawson wasn't a slouch in the outfield. Although he may not have deserved many of those seven Gold Gloves, he was a league-average center fielder at worst (I'm using Prospectus' fielding stats). Baines, during his short stint in right field, was also around league-average. Also, during his time in center ('77 to '83), Dawson's average OPS+ was 128. Baines played in right from 1980 to 1986. During this time, his average OPS+ was 116.

This leads me to my next point: peak. Dawson's peak ranged from 1980 to 1990 (more or less; he didn't hit as well in '84 and '85). Baines' peak went from 1989 to 1996. During their peaks, Dawson's average OPS+ was 129. During Baines' shorter peak, his OPS+ was 130. If we take away Dawson's two worst years during his peak (the aberrations), it rises to 134. Doing the same for Baines, it rises to about 138. And I guess I just learned something. As I quickly glanced over Baines' stats, it looked like he didn't have much of a peak. As it turned out, his peak looks similar to Dawson's, without adjusting for position. However, I do believe position plays a pretty important factor in comparing these players. Dawson played four of his peak years in center, six in right. Baines DHed during all of his peak years. I think the edge should go to Dawson.

I'd also like to point out speed. Baines, obviously, was not a very fast player. He wasn't a very smart runner either (career SB%: 50). Dawson, however, was a very good runner. 314 career stolen bases, 74% stolen base rate. He actually appeared on stolen base leader board for a few years (ninth in '79, fourth in '81, eighth in '82). His running ability and power made for a very good combination. He led the league in power/speed numbers three times, and is sixth on the all-time list. Very similar player to Bobby Bonds in this regard. Too bad he had to play on that damn turf in Montreal.

To sum it up, I think Dawson was the better play. He played a more demanding position, hit as well as Baines (at least), and was a much better runner. Baines just never really dominated anything. He just played for a heck of a long time. He was never really good at one particular thing. His Black Ink (times leading the league in a category) is three. Dawson's is 11. Baines' Gray Ink (times appearing in the top ten of a category) is 40, Dawson's is 164. Baines had the ability to stay healthy (not hard, considering his position) and hit moderately well. Dawson could play defense, hit for power, use his speed, and had a high propensity for getting hit by pitches. Dawson was the better player; neither belong in the Hall of Fame (though I guess I can see a legitimate argument for the Hawk).

red faber
01-02-2004, 02:48 AM
Originally posted by ShoelessFred
baines was damn good in RF before his knees started to break down. he also had a gun for an arm. but i would realy like for the sox to unretire his number. i don't think he was THAT good.

he was only 134 hits away from 3,000!!!!!!!!!

it you get that many hits, you're obviously THAT good!!!!

DirtySouthsider
01-02-2004, 07:25 AM
I think one thing that may have helped Harold is if he would have retired after 1999. In 2000 and especially 2001 he was brutal...completetly lost it and that is the last impression people have of him. If he could have walked away in 1999 at forty-something and ended his career with a .300/25/103 season then that would seem more impressive.

MarqSox
01-02-2004, 07:47 AM
From baseball-reference.com

Harold Baines:
Black Ink: Batting - 3 (484) (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 40 (583) (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 43.5 (110) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 66.5 (254) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Andre Dawson:
Black Ink: Batting - 11 (199) (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 164 (66) (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 43.7 (108) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 117.5 (112) (Likely HOFer > 100)

They're both borderline, but judging by that objective measure, looks like Dawson's more likely to go.

hold2dibber
01-02-2004, 08:30 AM
Here are their 162 game averages for their careers:

HR: Baines 23, Dawson 27
RBI: Baines 93, Dawson 98
Avg.: Baines .289, Dawson .279
OBP: Baines .356, Dawson .323
OPS: Baines .821, Dawson .805

Taking into account defense and speed, I'd give a slight overall edge to Dawson. But neither belong on the HOF. Both were damn good ball players. Neither had the sustained greatness, however, to be HOF worthy. But Dawson will get way more support than Baines, of course and may actually make it.

Paulwny
01-02-2004, 09:30 AM
As of 2002 Harold holds the highest pinch hitting ave. in mlb history.

jabrch
01-02-2004, 09:33 AM
I'd take a healthy Dawson over a healthy Baines. Dawson was an amazing defensive player, a complete offensive player, and he was almost always surrounded by TERRIBLE teams.

I liked Harold a lot - he is one of my favorite Sox. But Dawson was a better player both when 100% healthy and over the duration of a career.

MarqSox
01-02-2004, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by jabrch
I'd take a healthy Dawson over a healthy Baines. Dawson was an amazing defensive player, a complete offensive player, and he was almost always surrounded by TERRIBLE teams.

I liked Harold a lot - he is one of my favorite Sox. But Dawson was a better player both when 100% healthy and over the duration of a career.
I gotta agree on all counts. Dawson would probably rank among my top 5 favorite Cubs of all time, if I were to ever compile such a list.

Still, neither should be in the Hall. They're both great players, but neither ranks among the elite of history.

Frater Perdurabo
01-02-2004, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by MarqSox
From baseball-reference.com

Harold Baines:
Black Ink: Batting - 3 (484) (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 40 (583) (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 43.5 (110) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 66.5 (254) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Andre Dawson:
Black Ink: Batting - 11 (199) (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 164 (66) (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 43.7 (108) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 117.5 (112) (Likely HOFer > 100)

They're both borderline, but judging by that objective measure, looks like Dawson's more likely to go.

The only thing that makes Dawson more likely to be enshrined in the HOF is the fact that he played for the Cubs.

MarkEdward
01-02-2004, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
The only thing that makes Dawson more likely to be enshrined in the HOF is the fact that he played for the Cubs.

That fact hasn't helped Ryne Sandberg and Ron Santo much...

Deadguy
01-02-2004, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by ShoelessFred
baines was damn good in RF before his knees started to break down. he also had a gun for an arm. but i would realy like for the sox to unretire his number. i don't think he was THAT good.

I'm only old enough to remember his second and third stints with the White Sox, as a DH.

His third stint was a nightmare, but in his second stint, he was very impressive. I can remember off the top of my head 6 or 7 years later a handful of times he came up with late inning clutch hits, to go along with his overall solid numbers.

His second stint left a rather lasting impression with me, but I don't think he's HOF worthy.

Frater Perdurabo
01-02-2004, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by MarkEdward
That fact hasn't helped Ryne Sandberg and Ron Santo much...

Let me put it this way -- I will not be surprised if the Cubs 2003 success will translate into increased HOF votes for Sandberg and Dawson.

TheRockinMT
01-02-2004, 01:51 PM
Harold and Andre were both super players and competitors. However, Harold was more relaxed and laid back. No slam on Andre just a personality comparison. Harold had one of the sweetest swings I can remember seeing and was a clutch hitter. We have Bill Veeck to thank for the signing of Harold Baines. Bill knew his baseball talent.

mike squires
01-02-2004, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by TheRockinMT
Harold and Andre were both super players and competitors. However, Harold was more relaxed and laid back. No slam on Andre just a personality comparison. Harold had one of the sweetest swings I can remember seeing and was a clutch hitter. We have Bill Veeck to thank for the signing of Harold Baines. Bill knew his baseball talent.

Yeah as a little leaguer!!! Unbelievable.

MarkEdward
01-02-2004, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
Let me put it this way -- I will not be surprised if the Cubs 2003 success will translate into increased HOF votes for Sandberg and Dawson.

Well, Baseball Primer has kept a running total of the writers' ballots for this year's HOF selection. So far, only Eckersley and Molitor are in. Sandberg is right under the cut-off (like 70%) and Dawson's at about 50%.

Regardless of Sandberg's status as a Cub, he should be in the Hall.

jabrch
01-02-2004, 06:01 PM
Originally posted by Frater Perdurabo
Let me put it this way -- I will not be surprised if the Cubs 2003 success will translate into increased HOF votes for Sandberg and Dawson.

that's silly.

Sandberg is a sure lock for the HOF regardless. He was the best 2B in the game for a decade.

Dawson is a fringe guy either way. And he is not someone thinks about as a Cub.

If they get in, it will be on the merits of their accomplishments. there is no Cub bias in the HOF otherwise Santo would have been in years ago and Sandberg would have been a 1st ballot guy.

MarqSox
01-02-2004, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by jabrch
Dawson is a fringe guy either way. And he is not someone thinks about as a Cub.

He's not? I know he had some good years in Montreal, but the nation saw him in red and blue on WGN in his prime. If he gets in, he'll wear a Flub hat.

HaroldFan
01-02-2004, 08:01 PM
The difference between Baines and Dawson is that Baines matured as a hitter with age while Dawson never did, remaining the same free swinger he was at the beginning of his career. They finished with virtually identical numbers of at bats, 9927 for Dawson to 9908 for Baines yet Baines drew twice as many walks in his career as Dawson did. Baines finished with 875 non-intentional walks to only 446 for Dawson. Basically the second half of his career Baines walked as often as he struck out where Dawson never came close which is a very big reason why he ended his career with only a .323 OBP. Dawson's career high OBP was .365 and he finished at .345 or better only 3 times in 21 years. Baines recorded an OBP higher than Dawson's best 9 times, including 4 of over .390 and he was better than .345 14 times. Being more selective made Baines a much better hitter of good pitching, hence his career postseason OPS of .888 compared to Dawson's .465 and the fact that going into his last season Baines did indeed have the highest career pinch hit batting average in baseball history.

Dawson may have had higher career power numbers but that was partially owing to the inflated numbers of his 6 years at Wrigley whereas Baines' numbers were depressed by spending the 80s playing in Comiskey. Dawson finished in the top 10 in OPS 6 times (3 as an Expo and 3 as a Cub) and Baines only 3 but in adjusted OPS as listed at Baseball-reference.com, Baines actually finished in the top 10 4 times to Dawson's 3 (none of his years as a Cub cracking the top 10).

tanko
01-02-2004, 08:36 PM
Dawson was more explosive Harold more consistent I think is the way to look at it.Dawson as a young Expo was a great outfielder cannon arm great range.Harold was a good outfield when he was young but I think Dawson was slightly better in the field.Both were great players.

MarkEdward
01-03-2004, 12:58 PM
Two more points:

1. Park effects. Dawson's and Baines' careers were similar in that they both played half of their careers in pitchers' parks, and half in hitter's parks. Dawson played in Montreal from '77 to '86, which played like a pitcher's park during this time. He finished his career in Wrigley, which was hitter's heaven during his stay. Baines spent his early years in Comiskey, which was a pitcher's park during his time there. From then on, he moved to various pitcher's parks (Oakland Coliseum, New Comiskey, Camden Yards).

2. The "clutch" argument:
Baines, RISP: 1752 ABs, .288/.371/.451
Dawson, RISP: 2403 ABs, .278/.351/.459