Mr. 105.4: The MLB Hall of Fame Case for Mr. 3000

By Theo Gerome and Henry Johnson

Stan Ross, the egotistical title character of Mr. 3000, claims that he “deserves to be in the Hall of Fame with the immortals.” The baseball writers disagree. Hitting total aside, he is denied admission to Cooperstown, prompting excessive pouting and one obvious question: what do the numbers say?

While Ross is quick to remind viewers of a certain statistical achievement, he doesn’t speak much about other career totals, like home runs or runs batted in. Fortunately, Touchstone released a promotional Stan Ross baseball card, complete with numbers for a whole host of categories.

Stan Ross' baseball card as seen in the movie Mr. 3000
Stan Ross’ baseball card as seen in the movie Mr. 3000

As it turns out, “The Boss” is justly upset at his exclusion from the Hall. By adding up the card’s year-by-year numbers—which produces vastly different results from the given career totals—we find that Stan Ross has a lot to be cocky about. In addition to his 3000 hits, Ross boasted a career on-base percentage of .466 (3rd all-time), a batting average of .340 (18th all-time), and a walk total of 2,070 (3rd all-time).

For the more advanced statistics, we used the calculator from Wahoo’s On First, where defense and baserunning are graded on scales of one to seven and one to five, respectively. While he spent his pre-comeback days as a DH, we conservatively gave him a seven (worst possible score) on defense. For baserunning, Ross was given a two for every season with 20 or more steals, a three for every season with 10 to 20 steals, a four for his seasons of nine and seven steals, and a zero for his comeback year in which he had no steals.

The Sabermetrics seem to rule in favor of the former Brewer, as well: a career WAR of 105.4 puts him at 20th all-time among hitters, positioned between Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan. His OPS+ totals to 174, one spot above Mickey Mantle for 6th in MLB history. And with 2,150 career runs created, Ross is between Tris Speaker and Carl Yastrzemski for 13th all-time.

WAR

OPS+

BABIP

Runs Created

Adjusted Slugging

Career Totals

105.4

174

.381

2,150

.402

Ross’ exclusion from the Hall of Fame triggers questions about possible scandals. With the exception of current player Derek Jeter and probable future inductee Craig Biggio, only two members of the 3,000 hit club haven’t gotten by the bouncers at Cooperstown: Rafael Palmeiro and Pete Rose. Could Stan Ross have used steroids? While big-headedness has been used as evidence in the past, Ross’ 1995 retirement means that he mostly played in the pre-steroid era. His early departure from the league— the card indicates that he hit .467 his final year—would align with theories that say the MLB forced him out, but Ross makes clear that the 3,000th hit was his only reason for not quitting sooner.

The most likely conclusion is that Stan Ross was rejected from the Hall due to sheer arrogance. In one scene, former teammate Bill “Big Horse” Borelli claims that, “if you lead the league in batting for three years, you can be the biggest jerk in the world!” The voters evidently beg to differ, no matter the numbers.

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2 Comments

  • Attention to details, not good on the baseball card:
    -1981-Stan played in 159 games. This is impossible since baseball cancelled 50 games that season due to the players strike.
    -1994-Stan played in 143 games. This is impossible since baseball cancelled the final 48 games that season due to the owners lockout.
    -1995-Stan immediately retired after getting his 3000th hit on July 29, 1995. Yet he somehow appeared in 130 games. First, it’s next to impossible to have played that many games before Aug 1st, and the 1995 season did not begin until May, due to the holdover from the previous season’s lockout.
    -The baseball card reads that Stan led the AL in batting three times, yet a review of his baseball cards shows that he would have only won one AL batting title – 1994 with a .370 average.
    Reasons why Stan should have made the HOF without coming back to get his 3000th hit:
    -The baseball card reads that Stan had 12 100 rbi seasons, which would have been the 2nd best total of all time (as of 1995). Since RBI was the gold standard back then, that total should have been enough to get him in the HOF.
    -The baseball card reads that Stan finished his career with 2210 walks, which would have been the highest total of all time (as of 1995), certainly worthy of a trip to the HOF.
    -Stan would have retired as only the first player to ever reach 300 HR and 500 SB, certainly hall worthy.
    -Stan finished his career in the top ten (as of 1995) for both runs scored (2021) and rbi (1866) for his career which should have all but clinched election on his first ballot.
    -Stan’s slash line of .314/.443/.486 is certainly hall worthy, but his OPS of .929 would have easily made him the top hitter of his era (late 70’s-mid-90’s).
    -As of 2000 (Stan’s first year of HOF eligibility) , every Hall eligible player with more than 2800 hits was in the HOF.
    -Stan reached base over 5200 times in his career which would have placed him 5th all time (as of 1995).

    Based on career WAR, OPS, OPS+, Hits, Runs, OBP, Doubles and Times on Base, Stan had the highest totals of any player inducted in the three years he appeared on the ballot (2001-03). Furthermore, he was 2nd in Career Batting Average, Stolen Bases and RBI . The only players elected by the BBWAA in those three years were Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Eddie Murray and Gary Carter. Sure, Stan may have been a bit of a jerk, but after three elections, the BBWAA would have been skewered for holding a personal grudge against a player who was (as far as we can tell) not a PED user, not a drug user and definitely not a criminal.

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