The Circle of Greats: A Proposal

The prospect of an upcoming Hall of Fame voting process that may now be preoccupied for years by PEDs issues rather than more sporting matters, provokes me to suggest the creation of an alternative “all-timer” voting process for High Heat Stats (HHS) readers.  My proposal is that readers vote every few weeks, in response to a series of posts, to elect one MLB player to an HHS “Circle of Greats” until we have reached a number inducted that is equal to the number of players that the BBWAA has elected to the official Hall of Fame over the years.  As of today, that’s 112 players.  Specifics of the proposal are after the jump.

Here’s my proposal as to how the voting would work.  I welcome proposed revisions.

Each vote would include as eligible for induction all the players born in a particular calendar year, as long as they meet the Hall of Fame’s minimum criteria that they played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues.  We would start with a first vote that would include players born in calendar year 1968 (players who have turned or will turn 44 years old in 2012).  Subsequent voting rounds would proceed backwards in time, adding a new year with each round of voting, so that in the second voting round, players born in 1967 would become eligible, the third round would bring in players born in 1966, and so on.

Each voter (and anyone registered to comment here at HHS could vote) would be allowed, and required, to put three players on his or her ballot.  Ballots with fewer than, or more than, three eligible players would not be counted as valid ballots.  During each round of voting, the one player who is named on the most ballots would be inducted into the Circle of Greats.  All players who are named on at least 20% of all valid ballots cast, but fail to win the election, would have their eligibility carried over to the next voting round.  All players named on at least 50% of ballots in any round, without getting elected, would receive an automatic eligibility extension of four voting rounds (unless of course they win an election in the meantime).  These eligibility extensions would be cumulative, so that a player who appears on 50% of the ballots in the “born-in-1968” round of voting without winning induction and then does the same in the “born-in-1967” round, would hold an eligibility extension that would keep him  eligible all the way through the born-in-1960 round.

Proposed guidelines for voting would be as follows.  The goal is to include the “greatest” players in the major leagues since the late 19th century. The absence of provision for Negro League players is not intended to condone in any way the many years of apartheid engaged in by organized baseball; it’s only to acknowledge the fact that the Hall of Fame itself has been recognizing the top players of the Negro Leagues, and I, personally at least, don’t feel like I have anything useful to add to that effort.  I also suggest that we limit our criteria to just a player’s contributions as a player, not as a manager, coach, executive, announcer, journalist, etc..  Aside from those general guidelines, it would be up to each voter to determine his or her own criteria for a player’s “greatness”.

To give an example of how the voting would work, here are alphabetical lists of the players who would be eligible in the first round of voting (born in 1968, played at least ten seasons in the majors):

Position Players:
Roberto Alomar
Carlos Baerga
Jeff Bagwell
Derek Bell
Chad Curtis
Tom Goodwin
Dave Hansen
Jeff Kent
Chuck Knoblauch
Randy Knorr
Derrick May
Brett Mayne
Jose Offerman
John Olerud
Keith Osik
Dean Palmer
Eddie Perez
Mike Piazza
Curtis Pride
Tim Salmon
Gary Sheffield
J.T. Snow
Sammy Sosa
Matt Stairs
Ed Taubensee
Frank Thomas
Jose Vizcaino
Bernie Williams

Pitchers:
Pedro Astacio
Rod Beck
Brain Bohanon
Giovanni Carrara
Mark Clark
Scott Erickson
Chris Haney
Pat Hentgen
Todd Jones
Darryl Kile
Curt Leskanic
Al Levine
Ramon Martinez
Kent Mercker
Davew Mlicki
Mike Mussina
Denny Neagle
Hideo Nomo
Paul Qunatrill
Scott Radinsky
Shane Reynolds
Rudy Seanez
Brian Shouse
Russ Springer
Rick White
Mike Williams

Choosing the three guys on your ballot out of this group would be an interesting problem.  Bagwell, Alomar, the Big Hurt, Piazza, Sheffield, Kent and Sosa, Olerud perhaps  — all may well have their serious partisans for the three-man ballot.  On the pitching side, Mussina looks like the class of the group, to me anyway.  But for now, I’m not asking  for debate on who should be elected or included on ballots from this group — I’m just using this class as an example of how the process would work.  If, let’s say, Frank Thomas appears on the most ballots, he would be elected as the first member of our Circle of Greats. If, let’s say, Alomar loses to Thomas but is named on at least half of the three-man ballots, he will continue to be eligible during at least the next four votes, and perhaps more if he continues to be mentioned on a significant number of of ballots in future votes.  If, let’s say, Mussina and Sheffield each are included on just enough ballots to make the 20% threshold  each would continue to be eligible in the next round, but would drop off thereafter unless they again make it over 20%.  In that next vote all the guys born in 1967 with ten seasons in the majors (e.g., Smoltz, Lofton, Vizquel…) would also become eligible.

Once every certain number of voting rounds we may want to have a special re-eligibility vote in which guys no longer eligible could be nominated for re-eligibility, and the player named on the most ballots would go back into the eligibility mix.  If there is a tie in the highest number of votes in any round, there would be a run-off round of voting requiring a head-to-head choice between the tied players to see who gets inducted.

The main goal is to provoke some lively thinking and discussion requiring evaluation of the comparative “greatness” among groups of guys who are not necessarily subjects of frequent direct competitive comparison.  Note that the three-men-on-a-ballot approach, and the mandate of one and only one elected player per round,  requires somewhat more competitive evaluation than the BBWAA’s more open-ended form of balloting.

Suggestions for tweaks to this proposal, or wholesale changes, or just plain vicious attacks on the whole idea, are welcome.

63 thoughts on “The Circle of Greats: A Proposal

  1. 1

    Oh god, I don’t know how to pick only three. I’d be so afraid somebody good would fall off. I think this approach makes it way too easy.

    Two problems I have with the current voting process is:
    – Limit to how many players you can vote for
    – Ten year maximum

    This retains both, which makes me a bit sad.

    • 2
      mosc says:

      I agree, the 10 year minimum is unneeded and 3 people on a ballot is way too small.

      • 8
        Ed says:

        I don’t have a problem with the 10 year minimum. There were nearly 200 players born in 1968. Seeing as how most of them have 0 chance of election, what’s the point of including them on the ballot?

        I also don’t have a problem with only voting for three candidates. Though if only one person is being elected at a time, I suggest we rank order our choices. My other suggestion is that we specify a number of players to be carried over to the next vote, rather than basing it on a percentage of the vote. Otherwise, you could have a candidate from a “weak birth year” getting in simply because the prior year had a lot of strong candidates and the vote was too split for anyone to get carried over.

        • 11
          Nick Pain says:

          You beat me to it in regards to the minimum Ed. I blame Internet Explorer.

          • 13
            Ed says:

            No worries Nick. I think we’ve all done it from time to time.

            Anyway, Doug’s #4 reinforces my final point above. There are some weak birth years and unless we have procedures in place to guarantee that players get carried over, a non-preferred candidate from a weak birth year may make it in over a preferred candidate from a strong birth year.

      • 10
        Nick Pain says:

        The reason I see a limit as being necessary is if the player list will be pre-populated. Without some sort of threshhold, the list of players could prove to be unwieldy. For example, there were 185 players born in 1968 who played in the majors. The above list is more manageable.

        Not necessarily advocating a minimum, but pointing out the potential need for one.

        I would like more than three votes, however.

      • 12
        Dr. Doom says:

        I don’t have a problem with the 3-player limit… BUT only if we insist on electing 3 players every round, regardless of their percentage (or at least 2 players). If we’re hoping for 75% agreement to get inducted, unless you’re Willie Mays or Hank Aaron, you ain’t gettin’ voted in. I honestly can’t imagine ever having more than 20-25 players IN TOTAL, once all rounds are complete. So I agree with y’all.

        • 15
          Ed says:

          There’s no 75% requirement in Birtelcom’s proposal. It’s whoever has the most votes. Also, if we elect 3 players every round that means we’re only getting back to players born in about 1931 before our hall is full.

        • 28
          PP says:

          I believe the Hall of Merit carries everyone eligible (and not elected) forward, which seems too much as many players continue to linger on the list without any chance of ever being elected, though 3 here seems too little. Maybe top 10?

    • 16
      birtelcom says:

      I’d be open to eliminating the 10-year minimum, though I’m not sure how many realistic possibilities you’d be adding by including guys who played fewer than 10 major league seasons.

      The limit on how many you can vote for is important I think. Part of the reason discussions of HOF voting sometimes seem un-focused to me is that everyone in the discussion is always defining a particular player against their own unique and often ethereal personal definition of what a Hall of Famer should be. By strictly limiting the number of players on the ballot (and to a number much lower than 10), and the number to be elected, voters are forced to choose among competing players, and thus make real priority decisions, Player X vs. Player Y. That’s a much more concrete and therefore interesting process (to me) then just vague debates in the form of “Is Player X a ‘Hall of Famer'”.

      On the issue of deserving players falling off, that only happens if a player doen’t appear at all on the requisite, relatively small % of ballots. I’ve experimented with this format elsewhere and it rarely happens that a truly deserving player falls off. One protection against that is tactical voting during the balloting process. If there are more than three really deserving players on a ballot, what tends to happen is that once three of those clearly have enough votes on the record to survive to the next vote, some voters who have yet to cast their ballots will start to go out of their way to include the other deserving players on their ballots to ensure their continued eligibility. And in the rare case where a truly deserving player falls off, there is the back-up mechanism of an occasional redemption vote to bring players back into eligibility.

      All that being said, though, this process would be intended to be a group effort, and I’m sure that each one of us will be disappointed with some aspect of the results. But that of course is the nature of elections and group activities generally.

      • 17

        I’m not sure how many realistic possibilities you’d be adding by including guys who played fewer than 10 major league seasons.

        It’s just something that’s always bothered me. A guy should get in on value, not number of seasons. 10 years is very arbitrary. I’d prefer a WAR minimum.

        • 18
          birtelcom says:

          One possible solution is alternative qualification methods: you need 10 seasons or, alternatively, for guys with fewer than 10 seasons, a WAR minimum.

          • 48

            I like this alternative, and especially considering this is a much more exclusive group than the actual Hall of Fame, 10 years really isn’t that restrictive.

            So, maybe 10 years or 40 B-R WAR to make the ballot?

      • 22
        bstar says:

        Addie Joss would be an example of someone who would be shut out if we use a 10-year minimum. He played only nine years but accumulated over 43 WAR.

        • 32
          Hartvig says:

          But how many others that are realistically worthy would be excluded other than some Negro League players, most of whom wouldn’t have any time in the majors and probably need to be considered separately anyways? I assume that we’re excluding still active players so mostly that’s going to leave guys like Tony Conigliaro or Herb Score, at least that I can think of. Even guys like Pete Reiser & Cecil Travis would qualify by the 10 year rule.

          I simply cannot think of a single player who could be even remotely considered to be among the 112 greatest of all time who didn’t play at least 10 years in the majors. Can anyone give any examples besides Joss?

          I need to think a little more about the voting system that birtelcom is proposing but my first thought is that only being able to vote for 3 might arbitrarily exclude some worthy candidates depending on the year.

          • 34
            Richard Chester says:

            Hartvig: You asked for it and you got it. Here are some players with fewer than 10 years played who could remotely be considered:
            Benny Kauff, Ray Chapman, Ferriss Fain, George Stone, Noodles Hahn, Don Wilson, Tex Hughson and Orval Overall. Al Rosen, Ralph Kiner and Jackie Robinson barely got in their 10 years.

          • 40
            Hartvig says:

            Thanks Richard.

            Of the players that you listed- and might I add that it was pretty impressive that you could do so that quickly- I would imagine that only Robinson and maybe Kiner will get any serious consideration although there are some “what if” arguments to be made for some of the others. But both Robinson and Kiner do qualify and if we’re limiting this to the 112 best of all-time I can’t imagine that there will be enough traction for any “what if” candidate to be a real factor.

      • 50

        Maybe after the first year, we should decide to reconsider the minimum threshold required to remain on the ballot. If 20% bumps off too many players who may deserve further consideration, then we discuss decreasing the threshold to, say, 15%. I know this seems like an arbitrary way to run the process, but we won’t really know until at least one vote is complete whether 20% is reasonable. In fact, we may even need to think flexibly for up to three years of balloting.

        • 52
          birtelcom says:

          I agree that the carryover threshold is one area where we should be prepared to be flexible. It partly depends on how many voters end up participating. With a large number of voters, a lower carryover threshold, say 10%, may be perfectly fine. With a smaller number of voters, 10% may not really reflect a significant level of interest in a player, but rather just a relatively arbitrary small sample. Based on the discussion, and the hope that there will be a high level of interest (at least at first), I’m tempted to revise my proposal to go with a 10% carryover threshold to start and then revise it upward if that begins to look too unwieldy and arbitrary.

    • 26
      Mike G. says:

      First, let me say I love this idea and I’ll be voting no matter what the process is.

      As to the process, I don’t have a problem with the 10-year minimum. We’re only talking about the top 112 players. The top 112 players by WAR end at 62. If Addie Joss (43 WAR) is the highest 9-or-less player, I’m fine with a 10-year limit.

      I agree, though, that having a limit on the number of players to vote for would be a problem for me. If there were four candidates on the list I wanted to vote for, I’d have to leave off the BEST one, figuring that others would most likely keep him on the list.

      Why not allow as many votes as possible (maybe keep a minimum of 3, if you like)? Then, have the top vote getter be elected, and #2-#11 (or some number) remain for the next ballot. This way, you’d always have exactly 10 hangovers.

      One other problem I see is the 112 year-limit. Starting in 1968 means the last year to vote is 1857. That leaves off at least Cap Anson and Pud Galvin. Plus, 1857 introduces Tim Keefe and Roger Connor for their first and only vote. At most only one of those can be elected. Maybe at a certain point, we could vote on 2 years at a time, and then leave a few “years” at the end to vote a few in that were hanging on the ballot.

      • 33
        Brendan Bingham says:

        I would like to second Mike’s idea about establishing a set number of “hangovers” from one ballot to the next, and 10 seems about right to me, although a large number, 15 perhaps, also works. In birth years with multiple deserving candidates, there will be room for several to go forward to the next ballot. Years with no deserving candidates (see Doug’s list below) will be shut out.

        I don’t think it matters much how many players a voter votes for. If the rule is that in each year’s election one player gets elected and 10 others advance to the next ballot, then I think the system works equally well if we vote for 3 or 5 or 10.

        I see one problem. Starting at 1968 and working backward will mean that there will be at least 9 players born in the 60s who get elected, irrespective of whether there are anywhere near 9 such players among the top 112 in baseball history. I suggest beginning with an exercise in seeding. Choose, say, 5 years at random and have the electorate choose the top 10 players in that large group. These ten become the hangover group that gets added to the 1968 class, and our first election will choose one candidate from this enriched group.

        • 36
          Ed says:

          I think Brendan raises a fair point re: starting in ’68 and working backwards means that at least 9 players born in the 60s will get elected.

          An alternative would be simply to select years at random. You’d have to ensure that the first few years selected had multiple strong candidates but otherwise I think randomly selecting the years would work fine.

        • 38
          birtelcom says:

          I can’t imagine that finding nine guys born in the 1960s would be problem. Over the 112 birth years from 1857 through 1968, there have been 112 guys who reached at least 61.9 career WAR (position player WAR or pitching WAR). Of those, 20 were born in one of the years from 1960 through 1968. I have no doubt that nine worthies will be found, most likely with a number of worthy holdovers as well.

          • 46
            Ed says:

            Re: Birtelcom #38 But there’s a difference between someone being worthy and “being among the 112 most worthy”. If all we wanted was the top 112 guys by WAR, then there would be no need to vote. But clearly that’s not the case and factors other than WAR matter. There may indeed be 20 people born in the 60s among the top 112 in WAR. But in a completely open vote (i.e, voting in all 112 at the same time),it’s possible that only 5 of them would get voted in. I don’t think it’s fair to assume ahead of time that at least 9 people born in the 60s will get in.

        • 44
          Mike G. says:

          I tried simulating a draft, simply based on picking the player with the highest WAR each year, and seeing how to get the top 112 players (all-time). As of 1931, 38 players were elected, but 58 had WARs in the top 112, meaning we’d need. The bottom 16 of those — Larkin@67.1 through Nettles@62.8 — are lower than all of those elected by ’31, but then start filling in gaps starting in 1925. From 1925 down to 1904, I had 13 of those 16 get elected.

          Here’s another few ideas:
          The votes proceed as normal through 1896. Then, start putting two years on the ballot at once… 94-95, 92-93, etc. If you go down to the last eligible player (Joe Start @ 1842 according to a BR query), that’ll give you 100 votes. The last 12 become second chance votes. Take the 10 hangovers and add to them the top 3 vote getters (by percentage) that were previously eliminated. On vote number 10, take the top 3 vote getters to elect #110, #111, and #112 (just in case the last 3 added are all the desired ones).

          If you want more or fewer second chance votes, adjust when you start taking two years at a time… shortly after the ’31 Mays/Mantle/Mathews class gets added might be the ideal time, especially with fewer hangovers.

      • 37
        birtelcom says:

        The reason I prefer a strict limit on the number of players that can be on the ballot is it requires priorities to be set, just as a team with a payroll budget has to choose between signing this free agent or that one, the system should require hard choices between this great player or that one. That’s the challenge.

        • 51

          Yeah, I agree it has to be a strict limit per ballot. We’re trying to determine the best player from among a group of players, not asking voters to vote for as many players as you think are worthy of a particular distinction.

      • 58
        birtelcom says:

        Mike G. @26, and others: I like that idea of a set minimum number of holdovers (say, 10) based on position in the voting, regardless of the percentage of the vote. I’m not sure we’d want to amke it a maximum, though. If the voting is scattered around enough that more than 10 guys apeear on 10% or 20% of the ballots, I’d still want the full list of percentage guys to carry over. But I agree it might be a good idea to have the top 10 non-elected vote-getters carry over even if they don’t meet the percentage threshold. That would help ensure that guys with some support stay on the ballot, while also keeping the ballots meaningful.

        • 59

          That’s a good idea, and it essentially solves the problem we talked about at #50 and #52. You could leave the carryover threshold at 20%, but carry over a minimum of 10 players. Or something like that.

    • 47
  2. 3

    Topical:
    Regarding the newest Hall of Famer Deacon White.

    I wondered how the writers could quantify the meaning of the career of someone who did his best work in the 1870’s. Turns out there’s a well-documented narrative of his place in history:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Deacon_White
    _____________

    I also find it notable that in 1879 he was the 6th Oldest player in the league – at age 32.

  3. 4
    Doug says:

    Currently, only Barry Larkin (1964) and Roberto Alomar (1968) are HOFers born in 1961 or later.

    The following birth years prior to 1961 currently have no HOFers represented.
    – 1957, 1952, 1950, 1948, 1941, 1933, 1932, 1930, 1924
    – 1885, 1883, 1882, 1877, 1870, 1865, 1861-63, 1859, 1851-57, 1848-49, 1846 and earlier

    The newest HOFer, Deacon White, is also the earliest, born in 1847.

    Notable that depression years (1880s, 1930s) are prominent among the missing birth years. Tough times really are tough, in every way.

    Most represented years have 3 or fewer HOFers, so a ballot with 3 players per birth year seems about right. Some years, though, will be challenging, among them 1903 (8 HOFers), 1931, 1900 (6 each), 1898, 1893, 1876 (5 each), 1954, 1934, 1918, 1905, 1887, 1880 (4 each).

  4. 6
    Timmy Pea says:

    I mentioned it before, but why is Jeff Bagwell going to get into the HoF but not Sammy Sosa? Both have had PED rumors swirl around them, but both deny it. Bagwell looks like a PED user and Sammy sure does as well. Seems to me the reason Sosa gets so much scorn is because he put up monster numbers. Bagwell put up really good numbers so he gets a pass. I’m all for keeping admitted PED users out of the HoF, or those charged with a crime related to PED use, or those that tested positive, but Sosa is none of those.

    • 14
      Dr. Doom says:

      Sosa’s name was released from the supposedly sealed 2003 testing. But Sosa’s name, like A-Rod’s, leaked as a positive test. Bagwell rumors have been invented by the writers and have no other source. There was never a rumor about Bagwell until he was retired and ready to go into the Hall, as far as I know.

      • 25
        Timmy Pea says:

        I’m not against Bagwell getting in, I’m just confused as to some peoples criteria for the HoF. If rumors only, don’t keep Bagwell out of the HoF, then why Sosa? It seems like since Bagwell is a darling of the newstat crowd he gets a pass. Forgive me for not knowing about Sosa’s name being leaked and if that’s true that would be obviously more than just a rumor.

        • 27
          Ed says:

          I think Sosa’s problems actually began with the Congressional hearing where he reportedly refused to speak and had his lawyer do all the talking. His lawyer choose his words very carefully, stating that he had never done “illegal performance enhancing drugs” and had never broken the laws of the US or the Dominican Republic. Since steroids are legal in the DR, it left open the possibility that he had used steroids there.

          • 29
            Ed says:

            One other point re: Sosa vs. Bagwell. Sosa had 3 seasons of 60+ home runs. Bagwell never even cracked 50. Which one looks more suspicious? And Sosa’s breakout seasons for homeruns (1998) came the same year as McGwire’s a guy we know was using PEDs. Sure, it’s guilt by association but if one of them broke the HR record via using steroids, doesn’t it make sense that the other was also using steroids? And that season in which Sosa and McGwire broke the HR record…Bagwell hit a middling 34 homeruns, about half of Sosa’s total of 66.

            (Bagwell’s most suspicious season is 1994, the year of the strike and the year he won the MVP. But doing something in 110 games is a lot different than doing it in 162. Just ask Reggie Jackson who had 37 homeruns at the all-star break in 1969, but finished with only 47. So we unfortunately can’t project and assume that Bagwell would have hot 50+ homeruns that year if not for the strike).

          • 30
            bstar says:

            Bagwell wasn’t even leading the league in home runs in 1994. Matt Williams had 43 HR to Bagwell’s 39. Also, Bags broke his hand and was done for the season before the strike kicked in, so he wouldn’t have increased his HR total that year anyway.

          • 39
            Timmy Pea says:

            @30 Ed – I agree with you about Sosa doing things that had never been done before being a huge red flag. But it’s almost like since Bagwell did not do as well as Sosa and Bonds, he get’s in. It’s screwed up logic for sure and you have to convince yourself that all three did take steroids. Bagwell get’s in because although he took steroids, he didn’t rewrite the record books. I had forgotten about Sosa’s congressional testimony and obeying the laws of the DR. Damning for sure.

          • 41
            Hartvig says:

            One other thing about Sosa & Bagwell’s late career power surges: Bagwell moved from the Astrodome to Enron Field (as it was then known) and he still hit only 4 more homers than he had in any previous season. His OPS+numbers declined in a fairly predictable fashion.

            Sosa, on the other hand, had 6 full seasons at Wrigley under his belt including his age 27 & 28 seasons before his home run total suddenly skyrocketed by 26 over his previous high and his 5 season average jumped from 34 to almost 58 & 1/2. His OPS+ numbers jumped by an average of over 30 points.

            While it’s impossible to know for certain that Bagwell was clean I think the evidence leaves little doubt that Sosa wasn’t.

            There’s a guy on another site who says he’s a former major league scout- I would guess maybe a “bird dog” type- who swears that he knows someone on the inside who knows Bagwell was dirty. I’m also guessing that information is about as reliable as Republican polling was however.

          • 42
            Ed says:

            Timmy P @39 – Oh I agree 100%. It’s why I said months ago that I think we should just put them all in. We’ll never know everyone who cheated and right now we’re just making blind guesses, often based on circumstantial evidence. And it’s the Hall of Fame. It’s a nice honor but in the long run, it really doesn’t mean much. We’re not electing the President of the US so let’s stop with all the hand wringing over who might have done what.

    • 19
      brp says:

      The fact that Sosa got caught with a corked bat probably led people to think that if he was willing to “cheat” there that he might have cheated in terms of PEDs, too. Not that bat corking is a real advantage anyway.

      Regardless, the whole PEDs thing is silly. We know backup middle infielders used, we know starting pitchers and LOOGYs used, we know a large percentage used, but we’ll never know how many players used or for how long.

      So Bonds and McGwire were on drugs; but who knows how many pitchers they faced were, too? How do you draw the line? Do their stats against Clemens and Pettitte and other pitchers count because they were caught or suspected of PED use? What about “clean” pitchers? What about Bonds’ career before he was huge, when he was already without question a HOF-caliber player?

      It’s just easier to let it be. Cooperstown had better let them all in at some point or the HOF will become a joke; you can’t have a whole generation where 2/3 of the best players aren’t in the hall because some writer somewhere noticed that a guy packed on muscle in the 1990s.

      • 20
        mosc says:

        I agree with this post entirely. I would add though that some correction for these factors goes on. McGuire is a guy I would not vote for because I think that number inflation was his only real HOF case. Bond’s HR total could be half of what it was and he’d still deserve to be a first ballot HOFer. There’s also a difference for guys who actually tested positive like Palmero. That’s a known. Rules changed, you didn’t, good DAY sir!

        • 23
          bstar says:

          I agree about Bonds deserving to be a first ballot guy, but don’t we have to exclude Barry also under your criteria? Bonds freely admitted to taking the Cream and the Clear; his only defense was he “didn’t know they were steroids”. So Bonds taking steroids is a known also.

      • 24
        Timmy Pea says:

        I am sure there are cheaters in the HoF, but being an admitted cheater with steroid enhanced numbers disqualifies you from the HoF. This stupid argument that because everybody does it, it’s OK is not only wrong, but immoral. Try that argument next time your in traffic court. Try killing your girlfriend and telling the judge that since OJ got off, you’d like the charges dropped.

  5. 31
    Doug says:

    If I understand correctly, each ballot must have 3 names, but only one player per birth year will be elected. Thus, we won’t be done until we get back to the 1850s. I’m concerned being hidebound to one player per birth year maybe too rigid and lead to distortions in the final selections. Here are my proposed changes to smooth things out.
    – include rolling three years on every ballot
    – all players not selected would appear in the next ballot, and then the one after that. So, three strikes and you’re out.
    -to keep the ballot manageable, have a qualifying standard in addition to 10 years. Something like 25 WAR might be about right.
    – tweak to adjust for endpoint years, as desired

    • 35
      Ed says:

      Why not just make it:

      1) All current Hall of Famers

      2) Anyone with WAR greater than 40.

      That’s going to give you over 300 players and it’s hard to imagine that anyone who fails those two criteria is going to have a chance of even coming close to making it in.

    • 55
      birtelcom says:

      Although the inductions would be one person per round, that’s not literally one person per birth year, because there will likely be many holdovers who are subsequently elected in a round other than their actual birth year. My guess is we will see that almost immediately as one of the holdovers from the 1968 birth year likely gets elected during the 1967 round.

      I think the “three strikes and you’re out” approach would tend to encourage voters to ignore guys on their first two strikes, because there would be little real cost to leaving them off the ballot until their third-strike year comes up.

      I definitely don’t want to make bWAR a qualification (except maybe in the vary narrow case of adding guys who don’t meet the 10-years-in-the-majors standard). WAR should just be one element in evaluating guys; we should not be elevating it to a necessary standard that then trumps other considerations.

  6. 43
    Ed says:

    Something I was thinking about…isn’t this going to take 1-3 years to finish? Assuming 112 rounds of voting and I assume each round would need to last something like 3-7 days. Just seems like an awful long time.

    • 53
      birtelcom says:

      As with a Grand Tour of Europe or a cross-country trip to “see America”, the more important point than reaching the final destination would be the journey itself.

  7. 45

    Sorry… can’t reply directly from mobile, but I wanted to address he question of who in the Top 120 or so would qualify with fewer than ten seasons. I only have one name, but I would certainly put him in a top 100: Al Spalding. He’s in the Hall as an executive, but he produced over 60 WAR in a six-year peak (and eight-year career). He should be in the Hall as a player, short career or not.

  8. 54
    Ed says:

    I’m just going to throw this out there though I don’t expect my idea to get adopted. What I would prefer is something like this:

    1) Start with a long list of candidates (say everyone above 40 WAR and all current HOFers).

    2) Everyone votes for their top 112.

    3) Any candidate that reaches a certain threshold (say 75% of the vote), gets in.

    4) Any candidate who gets even a single vote is carried over to the following ballot.

    5) Next round you vote for 112 minus however many people are already in.

    6) Rinse and repeat.

    So let’s say that you have 350 people on the initial ballot. And let’s say 10 of them pass the threshold (75% or whatever). And let’s say an additional 200 receive at least one vote. So next time around, the ballot would have those 200 candidates and we’d all vote for 102 of them (112 minus the 10 who got elected the first round).

  9. 61

    I have one more consideration for you, Birtelcom. Well, at least for now I do. 🙂

    Based on this…

    Each voter (and anyone registered to comment here at HHS could vote) would be allowed, and required, to put three players on his or her ballot.

    …I assume the voting will be in the comments of posts rather than via poll? Does this mean you’re going to manually count the votes? Forgive me if I don’t know you well enough to say this, but from my experience, this is the kind of thing that you’d be all gung-ho to do initially, but after a while, it might really start to wear on you.

    Of course, other HHS writers (myself included) could help you out from time-to-time, but since this is your baby, I suspect you’ll want to oversee the process. Manually counting will definitely complicate things and drag out the process, since you definitely have to wait for one round to be completed before starting the next round.

    Obviously, one alternative is a poll. Andy uses polldaddy, which is what I’ve used for the couple of polls I’ve posted here as well. The free version allows you to restrict voting by cookies and by IP address, but there are still ways around that, which allow voters to potentially “stuff the ballot box.” Plus, that won’t restrict voting to registered commenters.

    Anyway, maybe you’ve got this all covered and you know how you’ll administer this, but I just thought I’d bring it up.

  10. 62
    Chris says:

    How do we register to comment here so we can vote?
    Thank you

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