Beating a Dead Horse

What hasn’t been written about the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot? You’ve got the law and order folks keeping out Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the traditionalists putting in Jack Morris and Dale Murphy, and those of questionable sanity voting for Sandy Alomar, Jr. And let’s not forget the blank ballots. On second thought, let’s try to. That being said, everyone has a voice, regardless of whether or not they are a part of the BBWAA.

That’s where I come in. Player-by-player analysis and commentary after the jump.

According to the exit polls, updated relentlessly by the good people over at Baseball Think Factory, no one is slated to make it into the Hall aside from the Veterans Committee selections.

This is a crime. We have one of the most stacked ballots in baseball history, and not one player is “worthy” of selection? Give me a break. Time to take things into my own hands.

We’ll go alphabetically here, much like the physical ballot. My projected percentages are in parentheses.

Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1%) — One very good season a career does not make. Will eventually be a manager.

Jeff Bagwell (59%) — Career Astro that shares a birthday (same day, same year) with another should-be future HOFer, Frank Thomas. Top-ten first baseman of all-time, possibly top-five. Kept out thus far due to steroid speculation, but just that: speculation. No proof of PED usage and 14 straight years of 3.4+ WAR production.

Craig Biggio (69%) — Receives the compiler label from some, probably unfairly. That being said, he has probably the greatest chance of getting in, drawing support from the saber folk due to lofty WAR totals and the traditionalist due to the 3000 hits threshold.

Barry Bonds (40%)– The greatest player of my lifetime, possibly anyone’s lifetime. Numbers that are off the chart in every possible category. However, there’s that nasty little PED issue…

Jeff Cirillo (0%) — Solid player with nice career, and a prime example of the Coors effect (2000-01: .854 OPS, 99 OPS+).

Royce Clayton (0%) — Zero seasons with an OPS+ above 98. Will be remembered 20 years from now as the guy who played Miguel Tejada in Moneyball.

Roger Clemens (39%) — The Bonds of pitching. The guy won 7 Cy Youngs and was tainted by PEDs, among a litany of other character issues.

Jeff Conine (0%) — Two World Series rings and the face of a franchise. That being said, that franchise is known for frequent roster overhaul.

Steve Finley (0%) — One of the few players to total 300 HRs and 300 SBs. And that’s where the discussion ends, really. Fine player, no ticket to Cooperstown.

Julio Franco (1%) — Fountain of Youth visitor and prime example of compiling. Great 3-year peak (1989-91), average otherwise (0.5 WAA rest of career, as a matter of fact).

Shawn Green (0%) — A good amount of pop, leading to three 6-WAR seasons. Poor defense and lack of extended peak, though. Completely forgot about his speed (had a 35-35 year in 1998).

Roberto Hernandez (0%) — Not to be confused with Roberto “Fausto Carmona” Hernandez, this fella had a very good career, posting respectable save numbers for the Pale Hose and Devil Rays.

Ryan Klesko (0%) — Gloveless 1B/LF with respectable numbers around the millennium. Plenty of postseason play, with one shining year (1995).

Kenny Lofton (3%) — A tale of two careers: A Tribe loyalist and centerpiece followed by one of a nomadic nature. It is for the latter that he is slighted, despite being very effective (13.7 WAR in 2,825 PA in 2002-07 for eight teams).

Edgar Martinez (32%) — Very good counting stats, other-worldly rate stats. Part of the .300/.400/.500 club. Would likely have been elected in his first few years if he played a position regularly.

Don Mattingly (12%) — Peak (1984-89) accounts for over 80 percent of his career value. Good, yet overrated glove. Candidacy can certainly be re-evaluated after his managerial days are over.

Fred McGriff (22%) — Great bat, unfortunately overshadowed by the video game-esque numbers of the PED era. Think about this: Seven more homers, and he would likely have double or triple the BBWAA support.

Mark McGwire (13%) — Polarizing figure who was rewarding with lower vote totals after coming clean. A key figure in bringing baseball out of the strike slump. 7+ qualifying seasons with over 163 OPS+.

Jose Mesa (0%) — Discussed him this past August in the “Hall of Clearly Above Replacement But Below Average” post. The title of that piece says enough.

Jack Morris (68%) — The most divisive figure in the advanced metrics vs. traditional numbers debate. More wins than Bob Gibson, lower ERA+ than Ted Lilly.

Dale Murphy (25%) — If the character clause trumped everything else, he’d be a first-ballot HOFer. Tore up the eighties (44.2 WAR), got torn up otherwise (-1.6 WAR 1976-79, 1990-93).

Rafael Palmeiro (11%) — Hall of Fame caliber finger-wagger and part of the elite 500 HR/3000 H club. Unlike Bonds and Clemens, actually failed a drug test near the tail-end of his career. Blamed it on a tainted Vitamin-BS, errr I mean, B-12 shot.

Mike Piazza (55%) — Best-hitting catcher in baseball history, his candidacy is currently serving to bring the term “backne” back to the lexicon. 155 OPS+ for a decade (1993-2002) as a catcher(!).

Tim Raines (58%) — Most successful base stealer of all time by percentage (minimum 350 SB), and 2nd all-time in my Net SB Runs measure. Lou Brock cited as comparable, a huge compliment to Brock.

Reggie Sanders (0%) — Another member of the 300 HR/300 SB club. Played far better defense than many thought (10+ Rfield in four separate seasons).

Curt Schilling (37%) — Through Age 33 was a very good, but not great pitcher. Proceeded to notch 30.1 WAR over the next four seasons and build a reputation as one of the greatest postseason pitchers in history. Prickly personality.

Aaron Sele (0%) — Notable for finishing 5th in Cy Young voting with a 4.79 ERA in 1999. Average career pitcher.

Lee Smith (42%) — All-time leader in saves upon retiring. Respectable for sure, but if you’re a frequent HHS reader, you know how much we value the save. Very good pitcher for a career and never posted an ERA+ under 103 in a season with 30+ innings pitched.

Sammy Sosa (13%) — Surprising to think that his best season was not given much recognition, but I suppose there’s a good reason for that (see Barry Bonds). Forgot how to speak English before Congress and was a likely PED user. Which offense is greater escapes me.

Mike Stanton (0%) — Don’t call him Giancarlo! Tremendous World Series reliever, and a decent career, but not much beyond that.

Alan Trammell (33%) — Overshadowed by Cal Ripken, but had numbers not far at all from Barry Larkin, who was elected in his second year. Was part of one of the greatest double-play combinations of all-time alongside the unsung hero Lou Whitaker.

Larry Walker (14%) — Detractors will cite the Coors effect, apparently unaware that OPS+ corrects for park effects. He had the power of Bichette and Castilla, but unlike them, paired it with plus-speed and fielding. Good eye at the plate too.

Todd Walker (0%) — Nice to see him on the ballot. Good guy. Hit for decent average and did a whole lot of nothing else.

David Wells (3%) — Fine career, highlighted by a perfect game and very good postseason play. The lack of a real peak (Wells never had a season above 4.5 WAR) and above 4 ERA will hurt him.

Rondell White (0%) — Nice guy and proof that juicing doesn’t immediately lead to astronomical numbers. Only played 100 games in a season six times.

Bernie Williams (5%) — Centerfielder for a Yankees dynasty with good hitting numbers (including an .850 OPS in 545 playoff PA). But they were just that: good. Also a major liability in the field.

Woody Williams (0%) — A career of mediocrity with one 4-WAR season, picking up an All-Star nod (2003), and that figure was largely due in part to 1.1 offensive WAR.

—————

My ballot (if held to the BBWAA standard of 10):

Barry Bonds
Jeff Bagwell
Curt Schilling
Larry Walker
Alan Trammell
Tim Raines
Kenny Lofton
Edgar Martinez
Craig Biggio
Mike Piazza

You may notice there are a few omissions, most notably Roger Clemens. I’ll be the first to admit that personal feelings clouded my judgment here (he was a schmuck to 13-year old Dalton), but it’s my pretend-vote and I’ll do with it what I please!

Also, as far as PEDs are concerned, I look at it like this: There is always something in the game that enables players to succeed that isn’t exactly legal, per se. The fifties through the seventies had amphetamines, the nineties had steroids. Babe Ruth? Well, he had performance-enhancing segregation. No chance he or his contemporaries would have put up the numbers they did if blacks were allowed to play. I refuse to believe it.

Moreover, the Hall of Fame is a museum to showcase the players with the greatest on-field contributions. Steroids were a part of the game, and such a museum would be woefully incomplete without having representatives from the era.

Now, according to a metric I’m in the process of creating*, there are 13 players worthy of enshrinement, with Clemens, McGwire and Palmeiro not making my 10-man ballot. Adam Darowski’s fantastic site, Hall of Stats, puts in a 14th, Sammy Sosa. Naturally, once my system is fine-tuned and I have a more clear explanation of it, I’ll post it here for all you lovely folks to scrutinize.

—————

Right off the bat, I was able to knock thirteen players off the 2013 ballot according to the following criteria: <35 WAR for a hitter/starter and <20 WAR for a reliever.

You know who I’m supporting, so I’ll let my above blurbs serve as their defense. As for the players who fall between HOF-level and the 35/20 cutoff, the rationale is as follows:

  • Murphy and Mattingly had tremendous peaks in the 80s, but were not able to accumulate enough career value to put them in.
  • Sosa has a fine career WAR, but despite a gaudy peak, failed to post a high enough WAR/162 to justify inclusion.
  • Wells had an almost identical HOF worthiness level, again according to my metric, as Luis Gonzalez, a good career player who was most certainly a compiler.
  • Fred McGriff. Sigh. I adore McGriff and would vote for him on any other ballot. I feel he got shafted by playing clean in a dirty era. That being said, in the context he played in, along with poor fielding, he misses the cut.
  • Bernie Williams was good for a while. Never great. JAWS says no, Hall of Stats says no, I say no.
  • Steve Finley was good, but rarely stood out. Two AS games and a WAR a tad over 40 is a fine resume. For the Hall of Very Good.
  • Julio Franco has, I believe received one vote thus far. Good for him, and his career average and hit totals can rival others in the Hall. However, the other parts of his game don’t pass muster.
  • Reggie Sanders made one All-Star team and deserved it; he posted 6.4 WAR in the slightly-shortened 1995 season. Apart from that, he was merely good.
  • Lee Smith was a quality relief pitcher. But it takes more than saves (a stat that does not differentiate between a 1/3 IP, 2 R performance and a 2 IP, 0 R one) to put someone in the Hall of Fame. They need to either have accumulated value as a starter at some other point in their career, or be incredibly dominant out of the pen, like Mariano Rivera.
  • And finally… the curious case of Jack Morris. I’ll avoid a lengthy anti-Morris diatribe by saying this: Morris and Tom Candiotti provided identical pitching value (39.3 WAR) in their careers. Also, I understand the postseason heroics. Fun fact, the game that is single-handedly keeping his HOF candidacy alive is the last MLB game played prior to my birth. But please, let’s not Mazeroski him.

—————

Not electing players from this ballot has quite a few repercussions. The group of players eligible in 2014 boasts 4 bonafide HOFers, along with Jeff Kent, who stands a decent chance. This will cause an unprecedented logjam, with almost 20 players of HOF quality on the ballot. Greg Maddux will make it, but aside from him, there are no other locks. And excellent and underrated players like Kenny Lofton will have no place on many ballots, that is, if he even makes it to next year’s ballot!

Many bloggers have called for shaking up the BBWAA voting system due to the possibility of a 2013 HOF induction attended solely by Deacon White‘s descendants and Adam Darowski. I would agree, but at the same time, many of these issues wouldn’t be present if the writers simply voted the way we wanted them to according to statistical merit. If they did that, there would never be a logjam, since every new crop of eligible players doesn’t contain 10 HOFers.

However, there are some rule changes I would like to implement, regardless of the given ballot:

  1. Throw out the 15-year rule, and bring it down to 8 or 10.
  2. A player becomes ineligible if they receive <1% in their first year or less than 5% their second or subsequent year.
  3. I’m actually okay with the 10-player max ballot. It will eventually not be an issue after the next few cycles.
  4. Doing away with the notion of not voting a player in on the first ballot to “send a message” or “make a statement,” only to vote him in on a later ballot. I don’t care that no player has gone in unanimously; if you don’t vote for Maddux next year, you don’t deserve voting privileges. Period.
  5. (This rule new as of 1/11): All ballots should be public. This lets us hold writers accountable. Lewie Pollis, a Cleveland Indians and Beyond the Box Score blogger knocked this one out of the park.

—————

Got all that? There was a lot to cover, and seeing as the results are announced today at 2pm EST, this is too late to influence any voter (of course, the only ones who would consider reading us here are the ones who would likely vote along our lines anyway) but still should provide some fodder for the argumentative fan. Hopefully the writers make the choices in the best interest of baseball fans. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

Also, on a more self-serving note, I’m launching my own site due to Andy’s frequent abuse called The Thinking Fan, which will cover a variety of sports from primarily statistical perspectives. Don’t fret HHS brethren, I’ll still be posting here with relative infrequence! All baseball posts will simply now be on both sites.

* If anyone has any ideas for a name for this, please let me know!

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174 Comments on "Beating a Dead Horse"

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Doug
Editor
Nice two sentence rundown on each of the players you mentioned. It would seem there needs to be some qualifying standard (WAR or WAA, or both, at set levels) for ballot inclusion, in addition to playing 10 years. Then, have the ballot in two parts – say 10 votes for players making that standard and 2 votes for anyone else whom a voter may fancy for whatever reason. This would, at least, reduce omissions of votes for legitimate candidates because of a voter’s peculiar preference for someone undeserving. One possible, unintended consequence of such a scheme is that a popular… Read more »
Doug
Editor
Your comment on Morris got me thinking (not seriously) about Jamie Moyer, another guy with more wins than Gibson and worse ERA+ than Lilly. In fact, Moyer bests Morris on Wins and WAR, and Morris trumps Moyer on ERA+ (barely) and post-season performance. On the post-season point, I wasn’t even sure that Moyer had appeared in a WS game – he did, but only in 2008; didn’t appear in the post-season at all in 2009 (can’t remember whether he was left off the roster, or just wasn’t used). Anyway, I thought that lone 2008 WS start just shy of Moyer’s… Read more »
Tim Pea
Guest
I just read the Wallace Matthews opinion piece about how he will vote and has voted in the past. He says under no circumstance will he vote for Andy Pettitte! That is a tough one because he is a media darling and from all reports a great guy. I agree with Matthews on Pettitte, although if he hadn’t admitted to using PED’s I think his stats are good enough. I had a knockdown argument with someone not to long ago that was for Pettitte getting into the HoF, but was dead set against Jack Morris getting in. They have almost… Read more »
Jeff
Guest

Their statistics are not identical, or even close.

Pettitte: .633 W/L%
Morris: .577 W/L%

Pettitte: 117 ERA+
Morris: 105 ERA+

Pettitte: Good to very good, but not great
Morris: A little above average

Timmy Pea
Guest

I keep hearing it’s Morris’ ERA that is keeping him out of the HoF Jeff, what is Andy Pettitte’s ERA? Notice also that I said old stats.

SocraticGadfly
Guest

A better argument? On WHIP, ERA+, WAA, WAR, etc., **David Wells** was better than Jack Morris and he didn’t even get 5 percent this year. Morris is the anti-Blyleven, or he should be: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2012/12/sabermetrics-says-do-not-vote-jack.html

Timmy Pea
Guest

You’re right about Wells, he pitched pretty damn well in post season just like Morris. And like Morris, it looks like Boomer could pitch to the score.

SocraticGadfly
Guest
Matthews was with Newsday back in the late 90s, had a chance to report on roids, took a pass and a whiff. That said, m ballot, had I had a vote, would have had: Bagwell, Biggio, Trammell, Raines. I have a few suspicions about Piazza, and about Schilling. (He strikes me as the type who would be sanctimonious about roiding, legalistic about not roiding, while using HGH out the ass.) On actual/suspected/likely roiders, I want some sort of confession by the individual (in part for reasons the WADA wants Lance Armstrong to talk), Selig, and Weiner at the players’ union.… Read more »
SocraticGadfly
Guest
Tim Pea
Guest

Looking at Bond’s vote totals, I think there’s a chance he will never get in. I’m more convinced than ever that Bagwell was a juicer. Raines is so overrated, and has become the hip choice among geeks. Sanctimonious should be looked up in the dictionary SG.

bstar
Guest

Oh dear. Poor Kenny Lofton. He’s currently at 2.9% with 29% of the vote in.

I’m a little surprised that Lofton has more WAA than Tim Raines and actually ranks a bit higher than Rock on Adam’s Hall of Stats (which someone on here pointed out recently).

Unfortunately, it looks like Lofton won’t get a chance to have the sabermetric community slowly change the minds of voters through the years the way they have with Raines/Blyleven. That’s sad to me.

PP
Guest

Speaking of Lofton, that 1995 Indians team was crazy: Sorrento, Baerga, Vizquel, Thome, Belle, Lofton, Ramirez, Murrary, Winfield, Giles, Burnitz. Giles and Burnitz couldn’t get to the plate, but when they did they went 9 for 16 with 10 runs scored. The next year they added Franco and Kent and gave Burnitz and Giles more at bats and together they went about 310/420/560 off the bench.

Ed
Guest

Most surprising member of the ’95 Indians…Billy Ripken! Even Ripken raked that year in Cleveland, going 7-17 with 2 homeruns and a 197 OPS+.

Ed
Guest
I really think the BBWAA needs to clean up its’ act. Here’s what their FAQ says on their website: “Does that mean some Hall of Fame voters don’t even cover baseball any more? Yes. The BBWAA trusts that its voters take their responsibility seriously, and even those honorary members who are no longer covering baseball do their due diligence to produce a thoughtful ballot.” Sorry but that’s horseshit. (pun intended). Some of the ballots that have been publicly revealed are just bizarre. Here’s one from someone named Jill Painter: “Bernie Williams, Mattingly, Lofton, E. Martinez, Biggio, Shawn Green.” Seriously? WTF?… Read more »
Tim Pea
Guest

That Jill Painter ballot is bazaar!

Doug
Guest

Yes it is kind of a bazaar of bizarre selections.

Tim Pea
Guest

Not only is that ballot bazaar, it’s a hugh disappointment.

oneblankspace
Guest

Raines was linked to cocaine early in his career, including holding groundballs he fielded at second base.

That said, he set a record for stolen bases by a National League rookie in strike-shortened 1981.

deal
Guest

Has anyone seen or heard of a former or current player saying “‘x’ took steroids and I don’t care” I think I am allowed to say that but I haven’t heard that out of a single player.

I have heard several say they are opposed to PED users in the HoF or something similar – recently this sentiment was expressed by Mitch Williams on an MLB Network program.

Does anyone have a problem with noone getting in the HoF this year. I don’t – it’s not like the discussion is going to go away.

Hartvig
Guest
The problem- as Dalton pointed out- is that there is very shortly going to be a huge logjam of qualified players. I would say that that at least 12 of the players listed are at least as good as the AVERAGE Hall of Famer at their position. Again not just better than the worst but at least as good as the average Hall of Famer. I understand not voting for someone because he’s known to have cheated or maybe even if you just think that they did but what will happen when there are 20 qualified candidates on the ballot… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
I’m a big Hall guy and would have little problem filling my ballot. As far as PED’s go my rule is that if they were clearly good enough to get in without them I will vote for them and if it’s questionable then I probably won’t. I do require that in order for me not to vote for someone because of PED’s they either have to admitted to using, be directly implicated by another player (as in the case of Clemens), failed a drug test or be named on the Mitchell report, The only exception I make to that rule… Read more »
Ed
Guest
While I personally wouldn’t vote for Dale Murphy, I’m still baffled as to how Jim Rice got in while Murphy has never received more than 23.2% of the vote. A quick comparison: Murphy was popular and well-liked; Rice wasn’t. Murphy won both the Roberto Clemente award and the Lou Gehrig award, awards that I’m sure Rice was never considered for. Murphy played more important defensive positions and won 5 gold gloves (maybe he didn’t deserve them but at least some people viewed his as a strong defensive player). Rice, on the other hand, was never viewed as a good defender.… Read more »
Doug
Editor
Why was Rice preferred to Murphy? A few possible reasons. Rice played in a more glamorous (if that’s the right word) market, and on a contender most years. Atlanta wouldn’t acquire their cachet until the 1990s and they were a terrible team during almost all of Murphy’s tenure. Rice was a high-level contributor for a 12-year period (1975-86), Murphy for only 8 years (1980-87). Rice had 11 seasons at 120+ OPS+, Murphy only 7. Rice had only 5 seasons of 100+ strikeouts (incl. two at just 102), Murphy had 11 such seasons (incl. 9 seasons higher than Rice’s highest). After… Read more »
Jim Bouldin
Guest

If I hear the “no difference between X and steroids” argument one more time– where X = amphetamines, cocaine, weed, whatever–I’m putting a metaphorical fist through the computer screen. It’s equivalent to saying there’s no nutritional difference between a jelly doughnut and a bowl of vegetable soup, because they’re both referred to as “food”.

And Tim Raines is a hall of famer, period.

John Autin
Editor

Jim, it’s your own fist … and, one hopes, your own computer screen.

Anyway, you’re setting up a straw man. I’ve not one seen one argument that there’s no difference between steroids and amphetamines, etc. The question is the size of the difference — not just in the advantage gained, but the prevalence of use.

I’m not trying to make the case for any particular analogy between steroids and X, so there’s no need to repeat your argument for how profoundly different steroids are from anything else. I’m just saying that I consider it a legitimate area of discussion.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

No, I’m not and indeed, I’ve seen you make statements to that very effect John, within the last couple of weeks.

John Autin
Editor

False … or bullshit, using the sort of directness you prefer. I compared them; I did not equate them.

John Autin
Editor

If you are referring to this thread, you should re-read and try to see what I’m saying.
http://www.highheatstats.com/2013/01/daze-of-future-passed/#comment-46488

You might note that I quoted a Joe Sheehan analogy — which itself did not equate steroids and amphetamines — but that I added, “I haven’t actually formed an opinion on Sheehan’s thesis yet.”

If you’re referring to something else, please find and cite.

I don’t like having my positions misrepresented.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

Yeah fine, and I don’t like being repeatedly told that I’m doing nothing but “setting up straw men”, so there we are.

And there’s a difference between directness and inflammatory rhetoric by the way.

If I have to try to explain why steroids are fundamentally different from stimulants in their effect on athletic performance, it’s probably not worth the time.

Have a nice day.

Ed
Guest

Jim – I think Rob Neyer nails this issue:

“When it comes to morality, the only thing that matters is intent. When Hall of Fame voters penalize players from the (so-called) Steroid Era while giving a free pass to every player who ever cheated with amphetamines, they’re drawing a line that — and yes, I’m going to say this once more — is intellectually indefensible.”

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/6770/death-match-greenies-vs-roids

I wanted to include another paragraph from Neyer’s article but I got caught by the HHS spam filter. The whole article is worth reading in my opinion.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

Well, Neyer is wrong. Which wouldn’t be the first time.

It’s not a question of morality. It’s a question of the extent to which performance was enhanced, which is why they’re referred to as “Performance Enhancing Drugs”. And there is no comparison between metabolic and other steroids, and things like amphetamines. One of them permanently changes the musculature of the body, the others do not.

Ed
Guest
Jim – I don’t want to get into a protracted discussion over this. But Neyer is 100% correct. 1) Intent does matter. If I attempt to murder someone but fail, are the courts going to simply send me along my way and wish me a nice day? Of course not. Sure the punishment will be less than if I actually succeed but there will be a punishment. The bottom line is that players who were taking amphetamines were attempting to cheat. We can debate about how successful they were at doing so but their intent was clear. If they didn’t… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
There’s also a question of culture. Amphetamines were in widespread use, in the army, prescribed for depression, for dieting, for staying up at night (long distance truckers and college kids cramming and doctors on 24 hour shifts) etc. They were widely available. My dad owned a pharmacy and I worked for him when I was a kid; I have a distinct memory of at least one brand of amphetamine lozenge with vitamins added. I don’t even think they were on a “schedule” like narcotics were as late as the mid-sixties. So, I do see a distinction between an athlete using… Read more »
MikeD
Guest
Yet, also lost in the discussion is the extent of use. It is almost certain that some players benefited more by “cheating” taking amphetamines than others who took some form of steroids. If a player is using amphetamines for a decade plus, while another player experiments with steroids for a season or so, there are those (i.e. the Tom Verducci crowd) who believe the latter player should be prevented from ever making the HOF, while the former player is considered okay. I’m willing to guess that many players taking steroids didn’t even use them properly and consistently to achieve the… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest
I’m entirely with Jim on this issue. I don’t see PEDs as on a quantitative continuum with uppers or any other type of Stone Age drug. I also don’t see PEDs on a quantitative “character” continuum with the other personal failings commonly invoked – but in a different way. While I think it’s perfectly fair to pass negative moral judgment on ultra-racists like Anson and playing-days Cobb, or on players who threw games, or on just all-around jerks (a nice portion of HoF players), etc. (although only one of those categories entails a Hall ban now), I’m more neutral on… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

Jim, you talk as if “permanent” changes to the body were the only significant way of enhancing performance. But it’s well documented that stimulants can significantly enhance athletic performance.

Once again, it’s a question of degree.

Dan McCloskey
Editor
I’m not certain if this little discussion is dead already, but the way I see it regarding the steroids vs. amphetamines and other forms of “cheating” comparison is this: 1. For those who are saying, “There’s absolutely no place for cheaters in the Hall of Fame,” then intent does matter, obviously, so everyone who took something with the intent to enhance their performance gets lumped together, plain and simple. Those who are in this camp don’t care whether or not Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens played at a Hall of Fame level without PEDs. They just want them penalized as… Read more »
Mark in Sydney
Guest
I’m sorry Ed and Jim. My take is that it is not about “morality” or whatever, rather it is about culture and those that allow and encourage such a culture. Where were the BBWAA members when Jose Canseco came out and said “80% of everyone does steroids”? This in 2005, long after it was clear that there was this explosion in power. What about Selig and the owners? Receipts were up so all was good. But now? Revisionism means that someone -must- pay. It won’t be the establishment, it will be the players. After all, it was them that broke… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest
These recent comments illustrate why today is such a sad day. We should be talking about the vote totals of the newest class, which would include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza. Three players on the very short list at their respective positions. However, because of steroids we will be talking about the fact that nobody got elected today, and how do we account for steroids in the future. Also, only being allowed to vote for ten will prove to be awfully inadequate by next year. As for steroids vs. amphetamines I think it depends on the positon and… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

Jason, regarding Bonds, I think you meant ABs per HR, not PAs.

The figures for PAs are 19.7 PAs per HR through 1998, and 12.8 PAs per HR from 1999 onward.

And while I am anything but a Bonds apologist, let’s not forget that there were factors other than steroids in the offensive explosion of that era, including expansion and several new ballparks.

Tim Pea
Guest

I was never aware of that Mike Piazza was linked to PED’s? I’m recently learning a lot of things I didn’t know, for example Bagwell’s comments about steroids.

Luis Gomez
Guest

I agree, John. There were four new pitching staffs during the so-called steroid era. But how about lifting weights in general? Take a look at some of the baseball cards from the middle infielders in the 70´s and compare them with today´s players. This days, kids are in the training room since high school, players hire nutriologists and fitness experts to remain strong all year long, they take care of their bodies PED or not.

For every Barry Bonds linked to PED´s there was a Bobby Estalella.

Jason Z
Guest

The numbers I quoted were from the HOF roundtable discussion
on MLB Network Tuesday night. I thought it was PAs, but I did
not check. Thanks for the correction.

I understand that other factors were in play. Anybody who reads
Game of Shadows cannot help but come away with the belief that
one of those factors with Bonds was steroids, starting with the
1999 season.

In fairness, Bonds had 8 season with an OPS+ of greater than
170 prior to 1999.

Then from 2001-04 his OPS+ is as follows…

259
268
231
263

The man went from one of the best to otherworldly.

bstar
Guest

Thanks Jason, for listing Bonds’ cartoon numbers.

If anyone is actually still holding onto the belief that the effect of amphetamines is the same as the effect of designer cutting-edge steroids, can you please give me the name of the guy from the “amphetamine” era who put up numbers after age 34 similar to Bonds, or had a career spike similar to Barry after age 34?

Jason Z
Guest

If I remove the word steroids from my vocabulary, Here is my
ballot if I am a voter for the HOF…

Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Tim Raines
Mike Piazza
Jeff Bagwell
Curt Schilling
Alan Trammell
Edgar Martinez
Larry Walker
The Crime Dog

Mike L
Guest

For some odd reason, I was thinking about our old friend Frank Clingenpeel, and how much pleasure he got out of the game. If you are looking for a real victim of the steroids era, it’s not who to put in the Hall, and not even the impact of steroids on records. It’s the loss of innocence.

Ed
Guest

I don’t know Mike L. Was there ever a “time of innocence”? Or were we really just “less naive”?

Hartvig
Guest
Ed- I think you meant more naive rather than less. And having grown up in a small town in rural North Dakota that was about as close to Mayberry RFD as is possible I’d have to say that the answer is yes, we were incredibly naive. Growing up in surroundings where virtually everyone I knew was white, of Scandinavian/Germanic descent and Lutheran- we seriously thought that the tiny number of friends that we had who’s great-grandparents were from Poland or were Catholic or something were pretty exotic- meant that even going to a state university that was extremely white/Scandinavia/Lutheran was… Read more »
Artie Z
Guest
Trying to get this post back on the fun track – the best line in the post is: “Many bloggers have called for shaking up the BBWAA voting system due to the possibility of a 2013 HOF induction attended solely by Deacon White‘s descendants and Adam Darowski.” Reminds me of the line in one of Bill James’ book about McGowan’s election finally answering the prayers of the millions of Bill McGowan fans. Just how long ago was Deacon White born? Yes, I know it was 1847 but sometimes the number doesn’t quite tell the whole story. 1. It’s quite possible… Read more »
Bells
Guest

Well I’m glad the Hall of Fame got over the scandal of 1872 when White was found to be carrying ‘elixirs and potions of unknown origin’ in his covered wagon that were rumoured to have been ‘given to him in a black magick ceremonie by a mysterious woman consorting with terrifying beasts and woodland creatures’ (citation needed). They’ve punished Deacon long enough.

Artie Z.
Guest

Classic line Bells!

Ed
Guest

Great stuff Artie Z. Laughed out loud at #8.

Hartvig
Guest

Make that 2 of us plus Bells line about elixirs and potions.

Well done you 2.

birtelcom
Editor

I’m sure Deacon’s HOF induction speech will be eloquent, albeit concise.

John Autin
Editor
We could always imagine that Deacon White is being inducted as a Pioneer, having introduced the weak-hitting pitcher into the game, in the form of little brother Will. Plow through the 1879 NL pitchers: – Blondie Purcell was a real hitter, and Monte Ward wasn’t far behind. – Tommy Bond was OK, never hit below .200 as a regular. Ditto Jim McCormick and Terry Larkin. – Pud Galvin and George Bradley did all right. – Bobby Mathews wasn’t completely awful. And then you have Will White, who in ’79 batted .136 and led the league in batter strikeouts for the… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
There’s got to be someone even older than Deacon that they can drag out to “honor” next year when they roll out their little clown car circus to again reveal that they find themselves completely unable recognize the blatantly obvious and get things right. Bob Ferguson. Good old “Death to Flying Things”. The worlds FIRST switch hitter. Isn’t it time that he got a little love? Isn’t it time that the millions of “Death to Flying Things” supporters voices were finally heard?? And best of all we wouldn’t be honoring another player born during the James K Polk administration no… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

I wish I could support ol’ Death to Flying Things — they could even have a skeet-shooting tourney as a sidelight to the induction ceremony, honoring one of the most popular sports of the early 20th century.

But the absurd spike in Ferguson’s performance at age 33 raises too many suspicions.

Doug
Editor

SABR has this item in it’s Deacon White bio.

White stated that he learned to play baseball from a Union soldier returning home from the Civil War in 1865.

Kind of implies that White wasn’t a soldier, though it’s not entirely clear.

At Baseball Almanac, Morgan Bulkeley, the first NL president, is identified as the only HOF member who was a Civil War veteran.

PP
Guest

Anyone seen the vote %s?

Ed
Guest

yes it was just revealed

Alan
Guest

So that’s it then: no living inductees from either the voters or the Veterans Committee for 2013. And next year’s ballot will be crowded indeed. Safe to say some will get elected in 2014 (paging Greg Maddux), but as for this year’s candidates, they may all have to wait 2-years-plus.

Artie Z.
Guest

It’s a little more than “no living inductees” in my mind. All of this year’s inductees passed away before Pearl Harbor. They all passed away either before or, in White’s case, during Ted Williams’ rookie season. They passed away so long ago that Rogers Hornsby wasn’t in the HOF.

If I’m reading the Baseball HOF website correctly, it’s quite possible that none of this year’s inductees were alive for the first ever HOF induction ceremony. According to the website it happened in 1939, and if it happened after July 7th, 1939, then White would have passed away.

http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/hall-fame-weekend/past-ceremonies/1939-induction-ceremony

Doug
Guest

baseballhall.org (that’s the HOF website) says the opening was June 12, 1939.

birtelcom
Editor

It’s lucky that the Hall doesn’t go by the Nobel Prize rules — no posthumous nominations.

PP
Guest

Surprised to see Clemens and Bonds in the 30s.

Jeff H
Guest
For the first time since 1996, no players were elected to the Hall of Fame by baseball writers. A player needs at least 75 percent of the vote to gain election. Player Votes Pct Craig Biggio 388 68.2 Jack Morris 385 67.7 Jeff Bagwell 339 59.6 Mike Piazza 329 57.8 Tim Raines 297 52.2 Lee Smith 272 47.8 Curt Schilling 221 38.8 Roger Clemens 214 37.6 Barry Bonds 206 36.2 Edgar Martinez 204 35.9 Alan Trammell 191 33.6 Larry Walker 123 21.6 Fred McGriff 118 20.7 Dale Murphy 106 18.6 Mark McGwire 96 16.9 Don Mattingly 75 13.2 Sammy Sosa… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

I was slightly encouraged by Trammell’s support dropping only slightly but I have a difficult time imagining he will be able to garner enough support in the future with the ballot becoming so ridiculously crowded to ever get in. It’s an absolute travesty that Lofton was dropped and even worse that no one was elected at all.

Hell. I would have even rather that Morris get in just so we could get that stupid argument off of the table and start addressing the gross miscarriage of justice that’s occurring.

Jeff
Guest
I was really hoping Bidge would get in the first time. And I felt bad when he only got 68% of the vote. But then I was doing some research and found out that Yogi Berra, YOGI FREAKIN’ BERRA, only got 67% of the vote in his first year of eligibility! Then he made it in the next year. Just goes to show that the voters have always been dumbasses. It may be a little more difficult for Biggio to make it next year, since there will be less available slots. But I think he’ll scrape by. And I expected… Read more »
PP
Guest

Yeah, and Joe Freakin DiMaggio got 44.3% his first year in ’53 and Eddie Freakin Mathews had 32.3 in his first year in 74.

Ed
Guest

Things were a lot different back when DiMaggio came up for election. This article is a great read on why it took DiMaggio a few years to get elected:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-joe-dimaggio-forever-changed-cooperstown-voting/

As for Berra and Mathews, I’m at a loss to explain those. Berra was actually the top vote getter his first year so it wasn’t like the ballot was filled with better candidates.

PP
Guest

Got that, thanks…

Chuck
Guest

If the character clause was tossed around as much in 1955 as it is today, DiMaggio very well may have found himself the pre-cursor to Albert Belle.

bstar
Guest
Atlanta did win the old NL West in 1982 before losing to the Cardinals in the LCS that year. And they won 88 games the next year. Other than that, yeah, the Braves were awful for the rest of the decade. One other thing that gets forgotten about Murphy is he was leading the NL in HR and RBI before succumbing to injury early in ’81. I know that’s delving into “what-if” territory, but it’s likely Murphy’s peak would have included 1981 as well. As for Rice vs. Murphy, for some bizarre reason HOF voters fell in love with the… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Sorry, this comment was meant to nestle under Doug’s @56 above. Totally misplaced, my bad.

Doug
Guest

I’m not really disagreeing with you, bstar.

I was just suggesting reasons why the voters may have preferred Rice to Murphy, NOT whether those reasons were really defensible.

One thing in Rice’s favor that is hard to argue against is the longer peak – 12 years vs. 8; 50% longer. Since the magnitude of their peaks was similar (Rice 133 OPS+, Murphy 140), those extra years are significant.

bstar
Guest
I guess we’re not disagreeing, Doug, but when you try in your last paragraph to prove that Rice still has some stat-based superiority over Murphy, I can just as easily debunk what you say and prove Murphy has a better/longer peak. -best 5-yr WAR stretch: Murphy 26.5 / Rice 23.0 -5-yr WAR peak(best 5 seasons): Murphy 31.5 / Rice 29.2 -best 7-yr WAR stretch: Murphy 35.1 / Rice 30.8 -7-yr WAR peak(best 7 seasons): Murphy 39.0 / Rice 34.6 Also, I’m recalling your great post from last year about the rolling ?5-yr? windows of WAR to determine who was the… Read more »
Ed
Guest

Doug and Bstar – Thanks for your excellent comments. I first noticed the Rice/Murphy similarities a few weeks ago and was waiting for an opportune time to post them. I don’t know that there’s an “answer” as to how Rice got in and Murphy never even got 25% of the vote. But I do think it provides an excellent example of how broken the voting process is.

Doug
Guest

bstar, all valid points. Nevertheless, I look at the season lines and I’m seeing a longer stretch of seasons as a valuable contributor for Rice than for Murphy. Murphy was a bit more valuable during his best seasons, but Rice had a longer stretch.

Incidentally, regarding defense, FWIW, B-R has Rice (-8.8) and Murphy (-7.6) as basically the same. Each had 5 seasons below -1 dWAR, and Murphy has a 1-0 edge in seasons above +1 dWAR. But, I don’t pretend to understand exactly how positional value adjustments are reflected in those dWAR numbers.

bstar
Guest

Doug, it’s pretty simple, really. Just add the run totals of Rpos and Rfield, then divide by 10 since 10 runs = 1 win. That’s basically your dWAR. Often (Rfield + Rpos)/10 will not exactly equal dWAR (I think games played has something to do with this) but the numbers should be pretty close.

Here’s Murph’s career numbers as an example:

(Rfield + Rpos)/10 = [(-33) + (-48)]/10 = -8.1

Murphy’s career dWAR is -7.6.

Doug
Guest
As a microcosm of why it can be so hard to reach 75%, the Sporting News had 3 voters: their editor, deputy editor and “national baseball writer” – one put ten names on his ballot, one five and the other four – the 19 votes went to 14 different players – not one player appeared on all 3 ballots – nine players (almost two-third of those named) appeared on only one of the three ballots – the ballot with only four names had these ones: Mattingly, Morris, Schilling, Smith (hmm … don’t you think, with up to 6 more votes,… Read more »
Nash Bruce
Guest

Whomever made an absolute joke out of their vote by voting for AARON SELE should be…….um……yeah, something really bad.

Hartvig
Guest

I could forgive something like that if it was a friend or if there was some sort of fond memory of a game involving Sele or something PROVIDED these idiots were doing their jobs and there were maybe 6 or 7 people on the ballot who were deserving of any real consideration instead of at least a minimum of 10 candidates who clearly belong and another 5 or 6 who should at least receive some consideration. But to do it in these circumstances calls for nothing short of a full head band wedgie.

Ed
Guest

Doug – And it’s only going to be worse next year. With Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas all coming onto the ballot next year, the people who voted for 10 players this time around, will have to drop a few people from their ballot to make room for newcomers. Yesterday Joe Posnanski said that he thinks that Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas will all make it next year. Maddux yes. But I’m not sure about Glavine or Thomas.

bstar
Guest

I agree, Ed. I don’t think Glavine and Thomas are going to get in next year either.

There’s so many worthy candidates out there, and Glavine and Big Hurt will surely get dinged for not being “first-ballot” material by a decent fraction of the voters. Plus Biggio, Bagwell, and Raines are going nowhere. And the pro-Jack Morris faction will have its final push as next year will be Morris’ final chance to gain election. Just too many names out there for anyone but Maddog to get over 75%.

Ed
Guest

I’m not even sure Glavine would be a first ballot HOFer in a “normal year”. I think he’s viewed along the lines of Phil Niekro and Don Sutton, 300 game winners who were viewed as very good but not great. Glavine does have the advantages of being a two time Cy Young award winner and being a member of all those great Braves teams. But Sutton and Niekro both needed 5 years to get in; I’m not sure that Glavine’s advantages are enough to move him from 5th year to 1st year.

Jeff H
Guest

What a joke! Lee Smith, who wasn’t even the best closer in his era got more votes than the best Righty in our lifetime and the best all around player, maybe ever.

How does Piazza only garner 57.8%?
How does Biggio not get in at all?
And Sandy Alomar Jr got 18 votes???

Something has to change, quickly…

Jeff
Guest

I forgot to mention Piazza: he should have been a slam-dunk. What a hitter he was: and he did it at the catcher position! The knock on him was that he was supposed to be a lousy defensive player. Well, the numbers say different. He wasn’t Johnny Bench or anything but he also wasn’t hurting his team behind the plate.

For those who don’t think that Piazza deserves to get in, please name for me all the catchers in the history of baseball who are more deserving than he.

Mike L
Guest

I find Schilling at 38.8% to be fascinating. Can’t stand the overstuffed loud-mouthed blowhard. That being said, 38.8%?

brp
Guest
Maybe it was a dig at 38 Studios… Thoughts: 1) All people who cast a null ballot, like Howard Bryant at ESPN who tried to defend their position (and failed, miserably) should lose their voting privliges. I get that the steriod era “tainted baseball” if you’re a naive yokel who thinks the 1970s players weren’t tweaking or the 1980s players weren’t wiping cocaine dust off their nose in the on-deck circle, but to leave off everyone, even Biggio or Trammell or Tim Raines (speaking of cocaine), is ridiculous. 2) Whoever voted for Aaron Sele should lose their ballot. I get… Read more »
birtelcom
Editor
brp: One quote in particular from Howard Bryant’s ESPN post especially caught my eye: “A Hall of Fame without Bonds and Clemens isn’t quite a Hall of Fame.” Essentially Bryant is, it seems, acknowledging that these two have to go in some time. He seems to believe that by sending in his blank ballot for the first year of eligibility for Bonds and Clemens he is punishing them, or registering his protest against their actions, while reserving his right to invite them in later. I wouldn’t make that distinction myself, as the whole notion of the specialness of “first time… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

“All people who cast a null ballot … should lose their voting privileges.”

If you made that a rule, what will you say when some Johnny Damon type gets elected because the ballot featured no slam-dunks?

I think Bryant’s a nullity, but your solution goes too far. Democracy is messy. The present system is deeply flawed, but I’d rather see a bunch of intellectually indefensible votes than to add more rules and overlords and potentially ad hominem moves to revoke the vote of this guy or that guy.

MikeD
Guest
Should a blank ballot be allowed? Just don’t submit a ballot if no player is worthy. I can’t go to the voting booth and not submit a ballot with no votes. I either vote, or stay home. Submitting a blank HOF ballot so that it messes up the percentages required feels wrong. The BBWAA should use this as an opportunity to clean up a few areas: 1) All ballots should be public. No hiding. Related, a list of all eligble voters should be available. If a BBWAA doesn’t agree to these rules, then they surrender their right to vote. 2)… Read more »
Ed
Guest
MikeD – I agree completely with your post. I would add two other thoughts. 1) We want the HOF to be populated by the “greats”. And yet we don’t expect that same criterion of the voters. The voters are, in effect, compilers, as the only criterion is being a member of the BBWAA for 10 years. They don’t actually have to be knowledgeable about baseball or even particularly good at what they do. They just have to hang on long enough to get a vote. I would prefer something like a select panel of the 50 or 100 best minds… Read more »
MikeD
Guest
Ed, adding to what you said, transparency is the most important out of the four items I listed, because it will address the others. The game has changed. This is not the 1930s, 40s, 50s, or for that fact even the 80s or the 90s. The HOF vote would happen, and fans would read about it in the newspapers the next day. People would talk about it at work over lunch, or at the local pub, but they had no input, no feedback, no connection to the voters. The Internet has changed everything, and the BBWAA needs to update its… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
There is at least potentially an issue with not allowing a blank ballot. Let’s say that because of massive public outcry and hoards of angry baseball fans bearing torches and pitchforks surrounding their homes and offices the BBWAA finally decide to do something and over the next 5 years clear every reasonably qualified candidate off of the ballot. Johnny Damon manages to find his second wind, reaches 3000 hits and retires in a year when no other qualified candidates do (that does happen on occasion). 2021 gets here. There are no remaining candidates on the ballot who have much of… Read more »
Ed
Guest
MikeD – Honestly I’m not sure what transparency gets you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in favor of it, but I’m not sure what it accomplishes. There’s already plenty of voters who reveal their ballots publicly. And plenty of them get mocked for their ballots. Yet nothing happens to them. Peer review sounds good but how do you do that? Who gets to determine what a “good” ballot is versus a “bad” ballot? And how? What’s the standard? Personally, I think the football hall of fame has a much better process. Anyone can be nominated as long as they’ve… Read more »
Nash Bruce
Guest

(oops sorry, brp, hadn’t seen your 2) point regarding A.Sele yet….)

brp
Guest

Not a problem; I really do like Mike’s suggestions at 82. I’ll grant I was a bit fired up yesterday and will say his ideas are a lot more rational and enforceable than mine.

At the very least they must make their votes public, and they absolutely should have to be actively employed in the baseball industry.

Tim Pea
Guest
Tom Verducci destroys the “greenies” argument and I seriously doubt there was a lot of cocaine being done in the on deck circle. Regular cocaine use would shorten a players career if he didn’t get a handle on it quickly. What is so hard to understand about a below average major league player that was caught using, probably never even making it to AAA without PED’s? Steroids made a HoF caliber player like Bonds super human. I don’t get the look-the-other-way crowd for Bonds being the same Jack Morris haters. Kind of like being pro-choice and anti death penalty.
Ed
Guest
The same Tom Verducci who said the following about greenies?: Uh, OK, so if they are not “necessarily” performance-enhancing, why are players taking them? They taste good? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/tom_verducci/01/18/steroids.amphetamines/ Oh wait, I said I was done with this conversation, didn’t I? Oops! 🙂 Look, if amphetamines let you play when you’d otherwise need a day off, then they’re performance enhancing. Period. If they let you play for one or two or three more seasons, then they’re performance enhancing. Maybe they don’t “enhance” your advanced stats but they sure as hell “enhance” your counting stats by enabling you to play more often… Read more »
Ed
Guest
A few more quotes from Verducci re: greenies (I had to cut this into multiple post cause the HHS spam filter doesn’t like links). “Last month a current All-Star, upon being chided by a former player about sitting out one game, shot back, “That’s it. I’m going to take a couple extra beans just for you now,” and reached into his locker for some pills.” http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1025905/2/index.htm Or this quote from Ken Caminiti: Caminiti, a recovering alcoholic, says he often arrived at the clubhouse lethargic and weary after a night of drinking. Almost immediately after beaning up, Caminiti says, he felt… Read more »
Tim Pea
Guest

Greenies might help a guy stay awake, but did they help guys hit 430 feet opposite field home runs? List off the names of guys that made it to the big leagues because of greenies. List the guys that are in the HoF because of greenies. By your standard aspirin is a PED.

Tim Pea
Guest

I wonder if guys really played that much better on old amphetamines? It seems like being real jittery might not help you at the plate especially.

Ed
Guest

Did anyone else watch the official announcement on mlb.com? It seemed to me that the HOF representative was quite pissed off about no one getting elected. Obviously he couldn’t come out and say anything but that was my impression based on his tone of voice. While I would be surprised if anything changes, I do think that the HOF needs to re-examine their relationship with the BBWAA and decide if they want to continue to delegate this privilege to them. Who knows? Maybe this will be the impetus for change.

Hartvig
Guest

Because of Dalton’s article I started rereading Bill James’s Politics of Glory last night. The level of incompetence that the BBWAA have exhibited since the very beginning is nothing short of astonishing. Perhaps the only thing more astonishing is the Hall of Fame’s willingness to stand idly by while the BBWAA does it time and again.

Ed
Guest

In an online chat yesterday, Joe Posnanski said he’s had some discussion with the Hall of Fame and he doesn’t see them dropping their relationship with the BBWAA. He did say that it’s possible they’ll expand the number of votes allowed past the current 10. Course that only effects those who are actually using their ballot the way they should.

Jimbo
Guest

HOF voting should be very simple. All eligible players are on the ballot. Voters get ‘X’ number of votes. Player with most vote points gets in. 1 player per year, presumably and hopefully the best eligible player that isn’t already in.

All these problems would go away.

But I don’t mind the problems. The circus ridiculousness of it all is entertaining. The next years vote will be an even bigger mess, and so on. Maybe only Maddux and Griffey Jr will get in during this decade, it could happen if they don’t change the system.

apbadogs
Guest

I like this Jimbo.

birtelcom
Editor

HOF voting should be very simple. All eligible players are on the ballot. Voters get ‘X’ number of votes. Player with most vote points gets in. 1 player per year, presumably and hopefully the best eligible player that isn’t already in.

Sounds like the Circle of Greats.

Hartvig
Guest
Dalton’s post led me to break out my copy of Bill James’s Politics of Glory and start to reread it. It’s nothing short of amazing that they have been having EXACTLY these sorts of problems since the inception and have found themselves totally incapable of fixing it. And usually when they have tried to do something it’s obvious that it was a “Yeah, let’s try that!” kind of idea that someone picked out of thin air that no one had given any serious thought to. I don’t understand it. I assume it’s still the Clark Foundation that are pulling the… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

What is the reason for limiting the number of players a HOF voter can vote for?

Ed
Guest

John – According to this article, the limit of 10 dates back to the very first election. The HOF actually wanted to induct 10 people in the first class and somehow thought that limiting the number of votes to 10 would result in 10 players getting above 75% of the vote. Seems fairly ignorant in retrospect.

http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/story/_/id/7423427/off-base-says-maintaining-10-man-limit-negative-effect-baseball-hall-fame

apbadogs
Guest

Every BBWAA voter should have their privileges revoked and only reinstated after they take a sanity test and pass. Do they even realize what idiots they look like?

apbadogs
Guest

And baseball higher ups wonder why they are looked at like a dinosaur. Baseball is dying, slowly, but it is dying. From stuff like this, to World Series games no kids (hell, adults) can stay up late enough to watch, to excruciatingly long games, delays between pitches…it’s dying folks.

Mike L
Guest
If you think about the “Steroid Five”: Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, and Palmeiro, I think it’s likely Bonds and Clemens will go in together a few years from now. Writers are making a statement right now, and eventually they will collectively feel they have made enough of a statement and, like Bryant said, a Hall is quite the same without them. As for the other three, I don’t think so. I think the voters will just ignore Sosa, and continue to despise Palmeiro The poster boy is going to end up being McGwire-a hugely popular player who is serving penance,… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

It would be more fun if Clemens and Piazza go in together.

Mike L
Guest

I like irony, John A. Maybe they could share a room the night before?

Jeff
Guest

And if Clemens had a kids’ plastic bat with him, and sort of sidearmed it at Piazza’s legs while they were both on stage. Then they would both laugh.

birtelcom
Editor

I think it is generally assumed that any PED-fueled performance increase by Roger Clemens began after his Red Sox tenure ended. It’s interesting to me that if you penalized Clemens by disqualifying his entire career after the Red Sox, his career WAR would still match the full career WARs of Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Ferguson Jenkins, Nolan Ryan and Robin Roberts.

brp
Guest

This is the same argument I make pro-Bonds. If you think Bonds wasn’t a HOF-caliber player during his Pirates (presumably pre-‘roid) days, you weren’t watching baseball, and the same goes for the Rocket.

I mean, check out Bonds’ stats 1986-1998:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bondsba01.shtml#1986-1998-sum:batting_standard

That’s a HOF player already, even if you discount everything afterward. Ridiculous.

John Autin
Editor

Well, but Joe Jackson had a HOF career before he threw the 1919 Series. Do you want him in, too?

I’m neither pro- nor anti-Bonds, Clemens, etc. Just trying to find a consistent logical path through all the arguments.

e pluribus munu
Guest
This is very much to the point, and I think about Jackson every year. I’ve become shockingly ambivalent about Jackson. Throwing the World Series – what could be worse in a baseball context? But when I think about the background labor issues, Jackson’s educational level, the question of his outstanding Series play, the fact that throwing games was probably much more common in those days than we now think . . . I’m more ambivalent about the moral/character issues than I once was. I think Landis’s ban did more than anything else to establish the seriousness of baseball’s strictures as… Read more »
oneblankspace
Guest

According to reports I have seen, the people who paid the Black Sox to throw the Series told them “Come on, it’s happened before.” Some have suggested the 1918 Cubs threw that Series to the Red Sox.

Either this lifetime ban on Shoeless Joe ended when he died, or he has been granted eternal life by the powers of baseball. They wouldn’t call it a lifetime ban if it wasn’t a lifetime ban, would they?

John Autin
Editor
epm @145 — I realize that you’re not arguing for Joe Jackson’s election. But I think the first three points you made in defense of Joe Jackson wither under scrutiny, while the fourth is especially interesting: – Background labor issues: Yes, Comiskey was a cheap bastard, and he may have screwed Cicotte out of a promised bonus. But were these players actually poor? Did they steal a loaf of bread, or enough to pay the rent? Were they trying to benefit anyone but themselves? No. And while they may have thought of their act as retaliating against Comiskey, it wasn’t… Read more »
Bryan O'Connor
Editor

In terms of rWAR, Bonds was Johnny Bench andGeorge Brett. Clemens was Jim Palmer andTom Glavine. We don’t know when either started using, but it’s reasonable to think they each had a clean Hall of Fame career and a chemically-enhanced Hall of Fame career.

http://replacementlevel.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/my-hall-of-fame-ballot/

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Has anybody read Canseco’s book?
One of the only honest and forward-thinking contributions to the discussion that I have read – even though I don’t necessarily agree with it all.

John Autin
Editor

Hey, Jim — I went over the top back there. I’m sorry. Let’s get back to our normal level of robust disagreement.

Thomas Court
Guest
This kind of apologetic statement is exactly what is missing from almost all of the players who have been snubbed on the ballot. Clemens refuses to admit that he used steroids – despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. Bonds admits that while sleeping, someone must have injected steroids into his body; or that he tripped and found several syringes in his buttocks. Sammy Sosa (who hit 60+ home runs in three different seasons and didn’t even lead the league) suddenly forgot how to speak the English language when he had his chance. John Autin can say, “I went… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
I BELIEVE CAMINITI ADMITTED USAGE AND STATED SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT THAT 50% WERE USERS OF STEROIDS (VERSUS CANSECO’S 80%). Steroids work. Players didn’t take them to get back acne and shrunken testicles. Look at Caminiti’s OPS+ prior to age 30. Look at Bret Boone. Thay made a cartoon out of the game and a shambles of tradition. I am a longtime baseball fan (1964-my number gets called),however, Bonds , Sosa, and Clemens picked up at least an additional $80 million each for their freak show/comic strip type performances. Let them live with that. Excellent research somewhere- about 5 years… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
I’ve read somewhere that people who use illicit substances- from teenagers who drink alcohol to people who smoke pot to hard core drug addicts- tend to overstate the number of other people that use by a considerable margin. I remember the story speculating that it might simply be because of inference because everyone you hang around with does or as a matter of justifying their behavior or a couple of other reasons I can’t recall. It’s been a long time and I honestly don’t recall how truly scientific the whole premise of the article was but I thought it might… Read more »
MikeD
Guest

Players are punished if they are suspected of taking steroids.

Players are punished if they admit to taking steroids.

Nothing to be gained during admitting usage. No good will is gained. Did A-Rod gain anything by admitting? No. In fact, he seems to have been hurt more than those like David Ortiz who refuse to admit. Did McGwire gain anything by admitting usage? No. His vote total actually dropped.

Paul E
Guest

If you admit taking steroids, the speculation and the questions end. That might result in peace of mind for some people, but, obviously former major leaguers don’t feel this way….

The young teens who felt peer pressure felt that pressure amongst their friends – 10 or 20 or so individuals. I imagine the peer pressure would be exponentially greater amongst a peer group of 700 union members. That being said, I believe it is illegal to use unprescribed steroids in the US. Perhaps their attorneys have recommended they keep quiet-statute of limitations be damned

Jeff
Guest

I think McGwire will do better in voting as the years pass. But if he’d admitted usage earlier, it would have helped. Even now his admission is starting to feel like old news.

Of course HOF-caliber players are hurt more by admitting steroid usage than those who are not. That makes sense since it’s such a high honor. But a good but not great player like Jason Giambi seems to be doing OK. Heck, there were rumors that he could become the Rockies’ manager this year. He seems to have rehabilitated his image quite nicely.

Bells
Guest
@149 Dalton, I was thinking about this the other day too, and I wonder how much things will change in a couple of years when Bonds and Clemens are in. When McGwire was the only whipping boy for the steroids era on the ballot for a few years, he was left to twist in the wind. Palmeiro was easy to hate on. Bagwell was confusing. But now that the poster boys are up, in a couple of years when they do get admitted, I wonder if the narrative is going to shift to ‘let’s let ’em all in’. In a… Read more »
Ed
Guest
@156 Bells I’m not optimistic that Bonds and Clemens will get in any time soon. Sure there were some voters who left them off as a one-time punishment. But many others have come out and said they’ll never vote for a PEDs user. And I have a feeling those voters will hold onto their ballots as long as they can, just so they can do everything they can to keep PEDs users out of the Hall of Fame. One of the things I hate is the sanctimony of the old-time players who claim they would have never used steroids had… Read more »
Bells
Guest
yeah Ed I echo your thoughts re: sanctimonious attitudes and the joke of ‘testing’. I suppose I also fear a critical mass of writers holding enough of a grudge to keep deserving players out of the HOF indefinitely, but maybe I’m optimistic that it’s just a vocal few, or that the ridiculously arbitrary moral judgements that are inherent in the problems you’ve identified in attitudes about testing indicate a vacillating group of blowhards in the BBWAA that will probably change their minds in 3 years. But your suspicions may be right. My personal thoughts are that a lot of the… Read more »
RJ
Guest

Meanwhile, John Autin is overlooked for the Commenting Hall of Fame, despite being the sole member of the 3000 club. No word on whether Mr Autin is prepared to admit to widely suspected caffeine doping.

Doug
Guest

Yikes!

Looks like I just passed the 2000 mark – the total of my two incarnations as commenter and commenter/writer.

Ed
Guest

Ha! I’ve been wondering for a while if you were both Dougs! I assumed so but wasn’t sure.

bstar
Guest

I actually thought back when two Dougs were commenting that I’d picked up on a subtle difference between the pair’s comments. I’d convinced myself the Two Dougs were two different dudes. Shows what I know!

Bells
Guest

The real question is – do we have to take into account how much Doug’s performance was enhanced by being a writer as well as a commenter, or is the non-writer-enhanced Doug career good enough for the Hall?

John Autin
Editor

Darn, I meant to pull a Sam Rice and retire with 2,987 … but like Schilling, I just can’t seem to shut up.

Mike L
Guest
Hall quiz for the HHS gang. Bill James wrote of which pitcher the following: “I wonder how many pitchers have gone (I’m deleting it, but it’s good) over three seasons. (_______) is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but his years of effectiveness are probably limited. He’s 26, but pitches more like he’s 33. He’ll run out of gas within four years, when guys like Cone and and Randy Johnson, who are older than he is, are still going strong.” The first hint. This is a guy we have talked about (of course) and he outlasted Cone.
Brooklyn Mick
Guest

Michael Cole Mussina

Mike L
Guest

A cigar to Brooklyn Mick! Reminds me to leave the quizzing to the smarter folk here. James wrote that after the 1994 season. Just a guess, but I think he was probably looking at Mussina’s SO/9 ratio.

Brooklyn Mick
Guest

Wow! Can it be that Bill James was wrong? Just to fill in the blanks, the venerable Mr. James was referring to Mussina’s ’92-’94 seasons in which his W-L record was 48-16.

And BTW Mike, thanks for the cigar!

Chuck
Guest

“It seemed to me that the HOF representative was quite pissed off about no one getting elected.”

a) He knew no one was elected before he opened the envelope, so it wasn’t a surprise to him.

b) That’s Jeff Idelson, the HOF President, and that’s the way he is, he talks exactly that way announcing HOFers or ordering breakfast.

Ed
Guest

Chuck – I’m sure I was doing some projecting with my comment (#48). Still, the HOF can’t be happy with the election results. At the end of the day, they are a business and they will lose a lot of money over this.

Mike L
Guest

There’s an article in today’s New York Times talking about the potential economic impact on Cooperstown.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/sports/baseball/hall-of-fame-voting-puts-damper-on-cooperstowns-party.html?ref=sports&_r=0

Brooklyn Mick
Guest
Dalton, you were very close in your predictions. I must say though, that I disagree with your characterization of Bernie Williams numbers as being merely good. For an 8 year peak beginning in 1995 he compiled 39.5 WAR with a .321/.406/.531 slash line and an OPS+ of 142. Personally, I believe he deserved more than 3.3% of the ballot. I’m not making a case for his HOF worthiness, but if Fred McGriff gets 20.7% and Don Mattingly gets 13.2% on the same ballot, then I have to wonder what the voters are looking at. For the record, Adam’s Hall of… Read more »
Chuck
Guest

Compared to the ecomomic impact they’ll suffer once the steriod guys start going in, this year’s affect is a drop in the ocean.

Jeff Hill
Guest
I have a question for everyone. Biggio is upset at not gaining entrance into the HOF, I get that. But is he A. A first ballot guy….NO B. A more worthy player than Piazza because of suspicion but no proof on Piazza? I always liked Biggio. Team player, always showed up, didn’t rustle the feathers in the clubhouse. I look at his career numbers and think, was he really THAT good, HOF good? Biggio: in 20 seasons… Has 4 seasons batting over .300 4 seasons over 5 WAR(another 4 over or at 4) 10 seasons with less than 2.6 WAR… Read more »
Tim Pea
Guest

I think Biggio is in for sure, maybe not first ballot. What about all the extra base hits and SB’s he had? He switched positions and became a multiple gold glove winner. He’s a bit of a compiler, and he’s no Joe Morgan but he deserves the Hall for sure.

John Autin
Editor
Biggio’s offensive prime was 1992-99, 8 years, during which he ranked: – 1st in Runs – 2nd in Times On Base – 1st in Doubles He had more Total Bases and Extra-Base Hits than any 2B, SS, 3B or C. BTW, Jeff Hill misstated Biggio’s “10 years with less than 2.6 WAR.” Actually, it’s 8 years with *less* than 2.6 WAR — one of which was 2.5 WAR, and another was his debut year with 131 PAs. But to avoid cherry-picking the WAR level to either help or hurt Biggio, let’s count years with less than 2.0 WAR and at… Read more »
Jeff
Guest
I guess my thinking with Biggio was as a viewer, I never thought “oh crap, Biggio is up next”. Not that this statement has any merit beyond my personal thinking but I still thought that. Bagwell scared me, Piazza scared me. Again, loved Biggio as a player but falling somewhere in the middle of the pack with 2nd baseman yet garnering “career’ stats didn’t give me the vibe that he was a HOF player. I don’t know, just looking at his numbers overall…year by year…I don’t see a HOF player. Also, he was a terrible playoff performer which others(i. e.… Read more »
John Autin
Editor
Jeff, I’m not trying to hound you into submission. But when you say: “I never thought “oh crap, Biggio is up next”, you’re talking about only one side of the game, and then one particular aspect of that side (albeit a very important one). Sure, Piazza was a scary hitter. But as a Mets fan, I often thought, “Oh, crap, they’re going to steal on Piazza for sure.” And, “Oh, crap, Piazza won’t score on that single.” And “Oh, crap, Piazza’s gonna get doubled up on that grounder.” Nobody ever thought Biggio was the equal of Piazza when standing in… Read more »
Jeff
Guest
Speed kills for sure in Baseball and Biggio had plenty but Piazza was arguably one of the top 3 hitters in the game for a decade…at catcher. Base stealing Biggio by far wins there and advancing on the bases as well. Piazza had a career DWAR of +1, Biggio is a -3.8 so we can throw defense out the window. I also believe that Piazza gets a bad rap for being a bad defensive catcher which isn’t true. My biggest thing is this, Biggio was never pitched around because he wasn’t a big threat. Pitchers/managers would rather face the leadoff… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Jeff, it seems like your opinion of Biggio revolves around the fact that he wasn’t a power hitter. How many leadoff hitters get pitched around?

I think enough has been said about Biggio’s accomplishments already. I would also say that even though you don’t think he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, over two-thirds of HOF voters did. I’d wager if a poll were taken on here about a yes/no vote for Biggio this year on this site, the percentage would have been much higher.

Doug
Guest
If Biggio had not moved in mid-career from one of the worst hitters’ parks to one of the best, then almost certainly he would not have reached 3000 hits, would be just over 200 HR instead of almost 300, etc. and then possibly the writers are not even giving him serious consideration (though that also would have been lamentable). To see what a change those parks made, consider that Biggio had 78 stolen bases his last two years in the Astrodome (age 32-33) and 68 for the rest of his career (8 more seasons). Of course he was getting older,… Read more »
Ed
Guest

Biggio’s career OPS in the Astrodome: .813
Biggio’s career OPS in Minute Maid Park: .819

Doug
Guest

You forgot to mention OPS+.

Astrodome: 124
Minute Maid: 95

His counting stats would have been down significantly had Biggio remained in the Astrodome his whole career.

bstar
Guest
So what, Doug? Wade Boggs wouldn’t have gotten 3000 hits had he not played at Fenway most of his career. Mel Ott wouldn’t have come close to 500 HR had he not played at the Polo Grounds for so many years. There’s sooo many other examples. Is Biggio really one of those guys who greatly benefited from an extreme home field advantage over the majority of his career? The numbers say no. Biggio’s career home/road tOPS+ split is 106/94 for home/road. That’s not a fantastically huge advantage. He has fewer than 100 more hits at home than on the road.… Read more »
Doug
Editor
All true, bstar. I certainly wasn’t claiming that Biggio was unique in getting help from a favorable park to reach a career milestone. Nor that, for his whole career, he was aided by his home park. Quite the contrary, in fact, as Biggio played his best years and the largest part of his career in the Astrodome, a fact indicated by the stats you presented showing a lack of any pronounced career “home field advantage” (which likely wouldn’t have been an advantage at all, slight or otherwise, without the move to Minute Maid. The only point I was making is… Read more »
Ed
Guest

I’m not sure that’s true Doug. Biggio’s batting average was actually higher in the Astrodome than in Minute Maid. So it doesn’t seem like his getting 3,000 hits was really dependent on switching ballparks.

BryanM
Guest
On the question of a) was Craig Biggio good enough to deserve to be in the hall of fame on the merits of his play — absolutely, not even close. Your best middle infielders bat near the top of the order, score runs, and play good enough defense to prevent them CB did that for ,like forever plus he played many positions competently at ML level – always a plus for team wins. b) was he clean ? dunno, but there is no overwhelming consensus he was not c) will the BBWAA elect him , hard to say
BryanM
Guest

Jeff – l see I left my previous comment at the wrong place in the thread , so I’ll just note here that Biggio ‘s greatness consisted in being very good at everything, which is sometimes less easy to relate to than being superb at one thing (like hitting) . FWIW Bill James rated him fifth all time at the position , he’s been wrong before , but the man does know baseball

Chuck
Guest

The mistake is assuming Biggio was clean…

I remember back on the old BR blog the first year Raines didn’t get in, some people were all up in arms, saying if Raines had averaged ten more hits a year he’d have 3000 and would be in the HOF.

That’s how I look at Biggio..200 fewer hits and he would have been in the 30% range, and would have little to no chance of ever getting in..just like Raines now.

3000 hits or not, I’d never vote for him.

AlvaroEspinoza
Guest

Great article.

But, I don’t remember McGwuire coming “clean”.

He orchestrated a PR stunt in which he claimed to do very low doses only to come back from injury and that it didn’t help him hit home runs.

Let’s not praise that type of honestly.

Mike L
Guest

Here’s the link to the ESPN story on McGwire’s admissions. PR and a way to work his way back into the game in a productive manner? Sure, but looks like he was trying to do the right thing.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4816607
On a comparative basis, is McGwire, who juiced when it was tolerated, worse than Manny, who did it after?

Paul E
Guest

Mike L.:
Actually, Manny probably did it BEFORE and after testing. McGwire was out of baseball prior to testing (No?) and there is no way of knowing if he would have conquered his magic potion addiction

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