If the expectation in the 1800’s was for there to be more errors, then you cannot conclude that everyone was a poor fielder. It is all relative.
So, it seems a web was added to the glove around 1930, so I used that as a starting point. 1B with a higher DWAR than Keith
Jeff King - '89-'99 - 40% of his games at 1B - all count to DWAR
Youkilis 56% of games at 1B
Joshua Fuentes - 3 season - 45% at 1B
Daric Barton - 1.2 (actual 1B) Starter for 2 of 8 seasons
Matt Olson - 1.0 first guy to truly seem legit
Nick Evans - 48% 1B
Max Muncy - 45% 1B
Tim Harkness - .3 - 4 season 1B - maybe one as a starter
Travis Ishikawa - .2 - 10 years, as a backup
Christian Walker - 0 - actual starter, last 4 years, 1b and an actual career
All in all, using DWAR, Hernandez is clearly the greatest fielding 1b of the modern era
The stat really stinks though
Hernandez OPS+ 128
Eddie Murray 129
Tony Perez 122 (yeah I know)
It is unfair to compare career OPS+ for Hernandez to those who played longer and had their career OPS+ lowered due to average stats from more later years of service.
Mattingly is a good comparison to Hernandez. Both have some merit.
I also went down a rabbit hole, looking at the single season HR record. Babe Ruth hit 29 HRs in 1919, breaking the 35-year old record held by Ed Williamson. Williamson hit 27 in 1884, and never hit more than 9 in his 13-year career. Up until 1884, the Cubs had a ground rule that any ball hit on the fly into the EXTREMELY short right field porch would be ruled a double. This helped Williamson set the single season doubles record of 49 in 1883. In 1884, the ground rule changed, now making these hits HRs. 25 of his record 27 HRs were hit at home.
Another fun fact:
Roger Conner had more career triples than career home runs.
Fun opinion: Triples are way more exciting than Home Runs, but Inside-The-Park Homer Runs are more exciting than triples.
So, to make baseball more exciting, make triples and ITPHR’s more possible. Bigger fields, more quirky outfield walls, worse fielders…
30 1b listed in HOF by Baseball Reference - obviously not all are
13th in WAR
14th in JAWS
5th DWAR - heavily discussed - others all before turn of prior century
11th MVP share (not really fair as there was no double winners and no award) - but still 11th of 20
FYI Hernandez played 17 seasons; Mattingly 14
I think there is a case for both, especially in a large hall. Both had an MVP and runner up along with 2 other top 10 finishes and some random seasons with a couple votes.
I think you’ve sold me on Hernandez candidacy but I then I don’t have a vote.