This past Tuesday I posted a proposal for a series of votes to elect members to a circle of baseball greats, with competitive elections organized by player birth-year. The post seemed to generate enough interest to try out the voting in practice to see how it goes. The comments to that thread offered a number of creative and productive suggestions regarding changes to the rules that I had initially proposed, and this first vote will incorporate several of those proposed changes. I’ll review the rules, as now amended, after the “Read the rest of this entry” thingamabob.
(1) Each vote will bring in a class of eligible players that will include all players born in a particular year who played at least 10 years in the majors or, alternatively, reached 20 Wins Above Replacement (baseball-reference version) — that is, 20 overall Wins Above Replacement for position players and 20 pitching Wins Above Replacement for pitchers.
(2) In order to count as an eligible ballot, your vote must include three eligible players, no more and no less. The one player who is named on the most eligible ballots in a voting round wins induction into the “Circle of Greats”.
(3) Each vote (after this first one) will also include as eligible players, in addition to that particular birth-year class, a set of holdovers whose eligibility has been extended from previous rounds of voting. A player’s eligibility can be extended as follows: (a) Any player who appears on 50% or more of the eligible ballots cast without winning the election has his eligibility extended for four additional rounds; (b) any player who is not elected, and appears on fewer than 50% of the ballots, but is one of the top eight players in that round in terms of how many ballots he appears on, has his eligibility extended for one more round; (c) any player who does not make the top eight in ballot appearances but does appear on 20% or more of the ballots has his eligibility extended for one more round. Eligibility extensions can be cumulative, so that a player who appears on at least 50% of the ballots three rounds in a row would go into the next round with a bank of nine rounds of extensions.
(4) My only suggested guideline as to who to vote for is to rely on the player’s contribution as a player in the major leagues, not for play in other leagues and not for contributions in non-playing roles such as manager, umpire, executive, journalist or broadcaster. Other than that, you the voters need to decide which players most deserve to be inducted into a group called the “Circle of Greats”.
(5) For now, you should cast your votes in the comments. Voters are encouraged to explain, discuss and debate your votes, but somewhere in your comments you should specify the three players you are voting for, so that your ballot can be tallied. Voting will remain open for seven days (to the minute) from when this post appears, after which the voting for this round will be considered closed (you can continue to comment, of course, but votes after that will not count). For the moment I’ll keep manual count of your votes and report the final tally. At some point we may move to a poll mechanism, but initially let’s see how the manual count process goes. Also for now, I propose to bar vote-changing — that is, each voter’s first eligible ballot in a round is fixed, and any later ballots by that voter will not count. But I’m open to further discussion on that question.
Enough with the preliminaries. Here are the lists of eligible position players and pitchers born in 1968. Pick your three guys and vote. It’s your civic duty.