Circle of Greats 1962 Ballot

This post is for voting and discussion of the seventh round of voting for the Circle of Greats, which adds players born in 1962. Rules and lists are after the jump.

As always, each ballot must include three and only three eligible players. The one player who appears on the most ballots cast in the round is inducted into the Circle of Greats.  Players who fail to win induction but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast win four future rounds of ballot eligibility. Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots, but less than 50%, earn two years of extended eligibility.  Any other player in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances (or who appear on at least 10% of the ballots) wins one additional round of ballot eligibility.

All voting for this round closes at 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, February 2, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Thursday, January 31.

If you’d like to follow the vote tally, and/or check to make sure I’ve recorded your vote correctly, you can see my ballot-counting spreadsheet for this round here: 1962 COG Vote Tally . I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes. Initially, there is a row for every voter who has cast a ballot in any of the past rounds, but new voters are entirely welcome — new voters will be added to the spreadsheet as their ballots are submitted. Also initially, there is a column for each of the holdover players; additional player columns from the born-in-1962 group will be added as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players. The holdovers are listed in order of the year through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the eligibility year is the same. The 1962 birth year guys are listed in order of the number of seasons they played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.

Holdovers:
John Smoltz (eligible through 1956)
Mike Mussina (1958)
Curt Schilling (1958)
Tom Glavine (1959)
Craig Biggio (1960)
Larry Walker (1961)
Barry Larkin (1961)
Roberto Alomar (1962)
Edgar Martinez (1962)
Fred McGriff (1962)

Everyday Players (born in 1962, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Eric Davis
Tony Fernandez
Jeff Reed
Darryl Strawberry
Devon White
Wally Joyner
Dave Magadan
Randy Velarde
Darnell Coles
Darren Daulton
Joe Orsulak
Dick Schofield
Terry Steinbach
Danny Tartabull
Dave Clark
Kevin Mitchell
Alvaro Espinoza
Kevin Seitzer
Tom Pagnozzi
Dion James
Jody Reed
Robby Thompson
Rich Amaral
Ivan Calderon
Kelly Gruber
Chris James

Pitchers (born in 1962, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Jamie Moyer
Roger Clemens
Dan Plesac
Chuck Finley
Dennis Cook
Sid Fernandez
Danny Jackson
Mark Portugal
Mark Gubicza
Randy Myers
Doug Drabek
Mark Gardner
Jeff Montgomery
Dwayne Henry
Bill Wegman
Greg Cadaret
Donn Pall


Comments

Circle of Greats 1962 Ballot — 256 Comments

  1. Roger Clemens
    Larry Walker
    Eric Davis

    Clemens and I were born on the same day and attended Southwest Conference schools in the ’80s. The difference is he graduated summa cum laude in baseball and I got drummed out of grad school.

    Eric Davis gets my vote that usually goes to Curt Schilling. This vote is my shout out that he was one of the most exciting players I ever saw and not that I am seriously arguing for him to be in the Circle of Greats. I expect it will be the only vote that Davis gets and that he won’t make the ballot next year.

    Chuck Finley is in the Hall of Stats. Does he join Bret Saberhagen and David Cone in the one and done club? Does he get any votes at all?

    • I’m not going to vote for Finley either, but he deserves some mention.

      I was amazed looking at the stats just how similar he and Andy Pettitte are right now.

      C Finley: 115 ERA+ / 3197 IP / 54.3 WAR / 3.85 ERA
      Pettitte: 117 ERA+ / 3131 IP / 54.5 WAR / 3.86 ERA

      Wow. Pettitte has more Cy Young love and of course a way better W-L record, but Finley has 15 shutouts while Pettitte amazingly has only 4. Finley actually rates higher in JAWS and noses out Pettitte in Hall of Stats but of course Pettitte has the massive win total in postseason play.

      • I wonder how much Pettitte’s low shutout total can be “blamed” on Mariano Rivera.

        Though he is a product of his times, amassing only 25 CG in 491 starts.
        (And zero in 44 playoff starts).

        Since 2004, only 2 complete games in 215 starts.

        • I would say a little of Pettitte’s low shutouts could possibly be attributed to Mariano’s presence, but not much.

          I think you’d have to prove that the Yankees go to the bullpen much, much quicker than other teams and use their closer much more often than everyone else, and I just don’t think the evidence is there to make that kind of a statement.

          Sure, Mo has more appearances than any other specific closer, but does he average more than the typical closer on other teams?

          The fact still remains that from 1995-2012 (Pettitte’s career to date, and this is being generous to Andy because it’s encompassing his entire career), 87 different pitchers have more shutouts in that period than him. That’s amazing to me.

        • Interesting question, so I looked it up…

          Pettitte had 23 games for NY in which he did not allow a run and went 7+ IP. He went the distance three times.

          Of the other 20 games, Pettitte left in the 8th or 9th inning in a save situation with the shutout intact in nine of them.

          There were three that went straight from Andy to Mo, one that went from Andy to Ramiro Mendoza and five in which Andy threw 7 innings before Torre/Girardi turned to a middle reliever.

          His average pitch count in those nine games was about 112, so it might have more to do with pitch limits and the changing nature of the game than with Rivera.

          • Do shutout totals mean anything anymore? The Yankees rarely let their pitchers complete games, even when they have a shutout going with a low pitch count. My guess is this is not just a Yankee thing, but a nearly every team thing, especially ones with a good bullpen. Short of a Roy Halladay, seems most pitchers just get yanked.

            Is there a stat that shows percentage of complete games by teams? That might show a willingness to allow complete games, yet even that would not be useful. Teams with weaker starting pitchers will have less opportunities, and yes I do think there is a Mariano factor here.

            Overall, though, Pettitte has been a fine pitcher, but he’s not a dominating pitcher such as a Verlander or a peak Halladay. Torre and Girardi will call on Rivera for the 9th in a close game, and in a blow out they’ll use it as an opportunity to rest the starter.

            That gets back to my question. Do shutouts mean anything anymore?

          • James, glad my ramblings inspired something more positive.

            The fluctuations are interesting. The spike in 1968 is certainly understandable, yet I see other spikes, both up and down, at various points for single seasons. I wonder if they correspond to years with great hitting increases or decreases. Seems likely.

            Last, I suspect we’re going to see a season that drops under 1%. I think trend of less innings from starters and more from specialized relievers is going to continue to rise.

      • Wow.

        Couldn’t get much more similar than those numbers bstar.

        I have second hand knowledge of something else they have
        in common. The source is one of my oldest friends from
        high school.

        He pitched for the Angels during the early 90’s.

        I will give everyone a clue.

        The answer is not that Andy Pettite also slept
        with Tawny Kitaen.

        As for the lovely Ms. Kitaen, she graced the clubhouse
        often with her presence, and is way more beautiful
        in person I am told.

    • Was thinking of giving Davis a shout out vote as well. And I may still do it even though you beat me to it. Could have been a great one if he didn’t get hurt so often.

    • Building a composite career by picking the “best” season from Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry (speaking of someone who isn’t going to get many votes) I get a player with 2010 G, 6799 AB, 1179 R, 1849 H, 392 HR, 1249 RBI, 374 SB, 111 CS, 972 BB, and 3408 TB. The player had a .272/.362/.501 triple slash line with 46.8 WAR.

      I didn’t pick the best years by WAR – I eyeballed the hitting statistics. Building by WAR can get the composite WAR up to 50. While there are clear parallels between Strawberry and Davis the problem with building a composite career is that they oftentimes had poor seasons or little playing time during the same seasons (1992, 1994, 1995, 1997) so the composite career helps but not as much as it could.

  2. Roger Clemens (my favorite player growing up), Craig Biggio (I recently came across a card of him as a catcher, I still think it’s cool that he was an All Star catcher and second bagger), and Larry Walker.

  3. Larry Walker and Roger Clemens. Then Jamie Moyer.

    Moyer’s a personal favorite and I have no illusions that he’ll actually get in

      • Jamie Moyer has always been a favorite of mine.

        One reason is that I drove 250 miles round trip from West Bend, Wisconsin to see this game…

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN198707030.shtml

        I had the good fortune to attend several games at Wrigley field
        between 1986-89. I also made the trek to old Comiskey once.

        In that one I saw Rich Dotson retire the first 22 batters of the
        game against my bombers.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN198707030.shtml

        At this point, with one out in the top of the 8th, I was like
        everyone else that day in the Windy City. I wanted to see a
        perfect game. This was back when perfect games were not so
        common (tongue planted firmly in cheek).

        The atmosphere in the stadium was so intense. And then up
        steps Mike Pagliarulo who promptly singled to RF.

        Just like that the perfect game and no-hitter gone. Dotson
        received a standing ovation. I got chills.

        Mike Easler came up and doubled to RF, Pagliarulo advanced
        to 3B. Mark Salas, playing that day (Sunday) for Rick Cerone
        struck out. Dan Pasqua, from Yonkers, NY came up to bat for Juan Bonilla.

        In the history of baseball Dan Pasqua ranks 200th in AB per
        home run with 22.4.

        He homered deep to RF as I recall, and I went nuts. With
        one swing, Pasqua had turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2
        Yankee lead.

        Bobby Meacham flew out to RF to end the inning.

        Ron Guidry came out in the bottom of the 8th to
        protect the lead.

        After getting Gary Redus to fly out to RF, Guidry
        gave up a single to LF to Donnie Hill.

        Lou Piniella strolled out to the mound and brought in
        Dave Righetti. He got out of the inning by inducing
        Harold Baines to pop out to 2B. A wild pitch allowed
        Hill to advance to 2B, but then Ivan Calderon struck
        out looking.

        Dotson came out to start the 9th. He managed to
        retire Claudell Washington on a pop foul to Pagliarulo.
        But then Gary Ward homered, Don Mattingly flew out to
        LF for the 2nd out, and then death to flying things
        also homered, extending the Yankee lead to 5-2.

        Jim Fregosi (Yup he managed the Chisox) came out to
        take the ball from Dotson and brought in Ray Searage
        who gave up a single to Pags and then walked Easler.

        Fregosi popped out of the dugout again to summon
        Bobby Thigpen who struck out Henry Cotto batting
        for Mark Salas to end the inning.

        Dave Righetti walked Greg Walker to open the bottom of
        the 9th. Ken Williams popped out to 2B for the first
        out. Jerry Hairston, pinch hitting for Ozzie Guillen
        also walked.

        With runners on first and second and nobody out, up stepped
        another pinch hitter, Carlton Fisk. The original Pudge singled
        to CF. The bases were now loaded, the not so fleet afoot Walker
        stopping at 3B.

        The next batter was Jerry Royster, also pinch hitting, he
        grounded the ball to Righetti who forced Walker at home.

        Two outs, the sacks still full, Up to the plate walked
        Gary Redus hoping for the walk off grand slam.

        Not to be my friends. A harmless pop to Mattingly. He
        drifts into foul territory and squeezes it tightly.

        Game over. Yankees win. Theeeeeee Yankees win!

        The victory moved their record to 59-40 on the season. One
        game ahead of Detroit and 1.5 games ahead of Toronto.

        After this game the Yankees streaked home at a 30-33 pace.

        Good enough to end the season 89-73 and mired in fourth
        place behind Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee in the classic
        AL East. All three teams above played over .600 the rest
        of the season.

        This was the sixth consecutive year of no playoffs in
        the Bronx. And except for 1985, the most upsetting season
        in a playoff drought that would extend until 1995.

        • Wow, I remember that game.
          And also remember Pinella phoning it in in the last week. Ugh.

          Falling short with an amazing team in ’85,
          watching the Mets and Red Sox in the WS in ’86,
          stumbling down the stretch in ’87,
          and then proceeding to suck for half a decade… before rising to playoff prominence in a year in which The Playoffs Were Canceled………….
          it was pretty heartbreaking to come of age as a Yankee fan in the 80’s, knowing the history of greatness, and never seeing it in real-time.

          Oh, and I remember Dotson coming to the Yankees after the ’87 season.
          Heard him on a sports radio show that winter, where he quipped:

          “Now that I’m a Yankee, will I have to change my name to Nissan?”

          I remember thinking, wow, that guy is trying way to hard. He’s really gonna suck for us.

  4. As one of the (apparent) few who is not going to persecute Clemens for the collective hypocrisy of the entire nation, I vote for him without hesitation.

    If I could pick three guys to start building a team, and I get them for their 5-10 year peak, who would it be?

    Clemens
    Larry Walker
    Roberto Alomar

    There was a time when I hated Tony Fernandez.
    It was the 80’s, and my Yankees could not find a shortstop.
    I hated the Red Sox, for all the historical reasons. But my real venom as a fan was for the Blue Jays, whose excellence absolutely crushed my hopes in 1985.
    So, for now, I will withdraw my vote for Clemens for strategic and sentimental purposes, and give it to Fernandez.
    _______

    Larry Walker
    Roberto Alomar
    Tony Fernandez

    • Just for the record, and speaking only for myself, I’m persecuting Clemens for a thousand reasons that have nothing to do with his steroid use or our nation’s hypocrisy.

      Like using a special glove emblazoned with “300” when he was going for his 300th win. That is, being a boastful jerk on the field about something he hadn’t done yet, just to make a few extra bucks on the memorabilia. Oh, and then lying about having gotten league approval for it, which was immediately contradicted by the league office.

      It all adds up to him being such an enormous fathead blowhard phony — 10 times worse than Schilling — that I couldn’t possibly vote for him on the first ballot.

          • I shouldn’t say it didn’t work out, because Schilling was a big part of two WS in Boston. But now they hate him in Sox Nation. Most will say it’s because of Studio 38, but it’s mostly because he’s outspoken and isn’t shy about criticizing his former team. They call him a blowhard. How ungrateful!

          • Mick @ 26, Schilling’s shilling for GW Bush a week after the 2004 World Series didn’t exactly win fans in Red Sox Nation either.

            I was also turned off by his actions in 2005, when he spent some time in the closer role, but refused to sit in the bullpen with the rest of the relievers. Rather, he’d sit in the dugout until the seventh inning stretch , when he’d stroll across the field, giving the crowd a chance to cheer for him one extra time.

            Hell of a pitcher though.

          • Wait a minute, JA, here’s the info about the “300” glove:

            ” In trying to win his 300th game against the Red Sox, Clemens used a specially logoed glove, an act that rankled the Red Sox, causing manager Grady Little to ask it be removed. The umpire consented and Clemens, who lost the game, was forced to use his normal glove.”

            Come on Autin, it was against the Red Sox.
            It was against the freaking Red Sox.

            If you’re going to cherry pick one reason to offer the (wholly undocumented and subjective) statistic that Clemens is 10x worse that douchebag Schilling, you’ve got to do better than that.

          • Voomo @35 — I’m not sure how much of your retort is tongue-in-cheek, so I’ll respond in my embarrasingly earnest fashion.

            I don’t get the significance of it being against the Red Sox. Is it supposed to be OK because they were his first team? Or because of the NYY-BOS rivalry? Or were you just funnin’? Help me out here.

            Here are some passages from the Associated Press game story the next day:
            __________

            Clemens was wearing a new glove with a shiny “300” logo on the back, and plate umpire Bill Miller agreed with Little that it was not within regulations. Clemens had to toss it aside while another was brought from the dugout.

            Crew chief Joe West came in from second base for the discussion.

            “Boston complained about it,” West said. “Roger said it was a glove that the commissioner’s office had sent to him for the occasion. The patch was embroidered on there.

            “Roger didn’t argue or anything, he just said he’d get another glove. He didn’t want any more tension.”

            Baseball, however, seemed surprised that Clemens’ glove carried the unique patch.

            “To the best of my knowledge, Major League Baseball was not aware that Roger Clemens was going to wear a special glove,” spokesman Pat Courtney said.”
            __________

            Now, really — has anyone ever heard of MLB giving a player any piece of equipment to use while achieving a milestone, which actually mentions the milestone on it?

            It’s an utter fantasy. Now, giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe his agent gave him the glove and misled him, or Clemens misunderstood him. Still, only a completely self-absorbed person could think that MLB would do such a thing.

            So, I’m completely sincere in saying that’s one of the big reasons I despise Roger Clemens. Terrible sportsmanship to use the glove in the first place — am I the only one who is appalled by it? — and then he tries to lay it off on someone else.

            I was actually not as outraged about the Piazza incident as some Mets fans; I just chalked it up to ‘roid rage. But I was watching that “300” game, and when I heard about the glove my jaw dropped. Ever since, I cannot stand the man.

            As for “10x worse than Schilling,” I’ll admit to estimating. But I’m pretty sure I could stand to be in the same room as Schill for a whole lot longer than with Rocket.

            P.S. Had a friend named Ricky long ago. We sometimes called him Rocket Ricky, ’cause … well, he was no rocket scientist. So, yeah — Rocket. :)

          • I don’t watch many Boston-NYY games, especially back then when the rhetoric was so thick, so this is the first I’ve heard about this 300 glove thing.

          • I am a tad surprised at the extent of your outrage JA. If anything it’s actually quite funny considering he didn’t even win the game. And it’s not like the logo is particularly prominent; if he had been been wearing a special cap with the number scrawled across the peak, or perhaps changed his shirt number to 300 for the day, then we might have a different story.

            For the record, similar things happen in soccer where players will on occasion wear undershirts commemorating goal-milestones. It usually doesn’t attract anything more than widespread mirth when you can see the shirt under their regular kit and they then fail to score said milestone goal.

          • JA @56,

            I’m pretty sure MLB puts in commemorative balls when a milestone is imminent. Is it unheard of for a player to use a special bat when sitting on 2999 hits? I don’t know, but to call out Clemens as an egomaniac for that maneuver, to me, that seems like a reach.

            As for it being against Boston, the Sox are notorious for ending relationships with their players (and managers) on a sour note. And Clemens’ issue with them was well documented. So yeah, to go after #300, against Boston, as a Yankee, six and a half years after the Sox gave up on him, yeah, I don’t see a problem with a little gamesmanship.

            Come on, four months later Don Zimmer tried to tackle Pedro Martinez !
            The rivalry was epic back then, and Clemens’ competitiveness and yes, personality, were a big reason why. Great theatre.

          • RJ @67 — I welcome your feedback, and I respect your view that the glove was no big deal.

            But I’m not sure what glove you mean when you say “it’s not like the logo is particularly prominent.” Did you see the glove? If you were looking at Voomo’s ebay link, that’s not the glove in question.

            I haven’t found a photo of the controversial glove, but the AP story states “Clemens was wearing a new glove with a shiny ‘300’ logo on the back of it.” No such logo appears on that ebay glove.

            But perhaps you’re just taking a general impression from the description in the story. If so, I think the important thing to note is that some opposing players were able to see it.

            And I think that deliberately drawing attention to a personal milestone on the field of play during the contest in which you expect to achieve that milestone is extremely disrespectful towards your opponent.

            I’m not a fan of on-field crowing, as you know, but it’s one thing to crow after the fact, and quite another to crow in advance. Imagine if Rickey Henderson had gone out and uprooted second base *before* breaking Brock’s season record, instead of afterwards.

            As for the soccer comparison, I’m sure you’ve long since accepted the slathering of commercial logos on pro soccer jerseys, and I make no judgments. But obviously we don’t have that in MLB, so our personal reactions to this glove affair are likely to be quite different. I don’t think you can fairly compare the notion of using a specially emblazoned piece of attire for a milestone in soccer against doing the same in MLB.

          • At least Clemens didn’t give a speech when he won his 300th, proclaiming, “Today….I am the greatest…of all-time.”

            Actually, I find that Rickey Henderson speech after he broke Lou Brock’s record quite humorous.

          • JA @69 – Ah, I was indeed looking at Voomo’s link and using that as judgement. If members of the opposing team could see it then that definitely changes things a bit for me.

            Essentially I don’t have a problem if it is done discreetly, like the one in Voomo’s picture, or if something is revealed after the fact, like a player taking off his jersey after he has scored a goal. Even in baseball, players put on commemorative shirts after they have clinched the division/pennant/World Series. But yes, having a big ol’ shiny 300 on the outside of your glove doesn’t fall into either of these categories.

          • I clipped out that picture of Rickey holding the base above his head and posted it on my dorm room door.

            Somebody added the bubble caption:

            “This is the biggest piece of crack I have ever seen!”

          • I met Schilling at the Hammonton Mall in NJ in September of ’92, he was signing autographs. At that time, no one cared, there were only a couple of younger kids hanging out, and a passer by every now and again. I remember thinking that he had to have been the biggest dude I’d ever seen.
            He was real cordial, gracious.
            No I don’t agree with his politics or some of the other stuff, but for sure I’d hangout with him, before Clemens.

            I also remember him hating and talking smack about Bonds (didn’t he even throw at him in a spring training game once?) before it was cool to do so. This was also before the steroids I believe, but Bonds was a jerk even without the juice.

            For this Schill will forever have my eternal gratitude :)

        • I have to say as a Yankee fan, the day they traded Wells for Clemens my heart sank. The Yankees had some rough years, then had a rebirth, with terrific young players and savvy vets. They played hard, they were likeable, and they had just finished what was arguably one of the best seasons in baseball history. And, then, they import the original big blowhard, a strutting egomaniac who constantly needed to be stroked with attention and customized contracts. And he did throw the barrel of the bat at Piazza, and if it had been a regular season game, he would have been tossed.

          • The trade for Clemens can also be interpreted as a tipping point for the Yankees.

            I too was upset by the deal.

            Afterward, I couldn’t help but think that
            Clemens was a remora. Obviously the Yankee
            franchise being the big fish.

            As for being a tipping point, by this I mean
            the following:

            The Yankees coming off that fabulous 1998 season in which they had many outstanding players and yet none, other than Mo and maybe Jeter that could be called the best at their position.

            There were many teams that had better individual players and yet the Yankees
            dominated with a great group of players
            that played extremely well together.

            By acquiring Clemens at this juncture it appeared that the Yankee were returning to the ways of old. Trying to acquire players that could constitute an All-Star team.

            The Yankees did win the next two years with Clemens, not necessarily thanks to Clemens.

            But then the acquisitions of Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield, Javier Vasquez and later 1963 COG inductee death to flying things, confirmed a return to 1980’s style thinking.

            While many of the players were productive and
            had some great seasons, the team did not win.

            All of this occurred as the farm system stopped producing the kind of talent that
            personified the Yankee renaissance of the 90’s.

          • I did not yet dislike Clemens when the Yanks acquired him. And although I’ve been a Mets fan since moving to NYC in ’84, I also rooted for and liked the Yankees of 1996-98.

            I didn’t bemoan the trade because of Clemens per se, only because it signaled their transition from excellent, likable team put together with good drafts and trades, into a juggernaut. I can’t root for a juggernaut.

            The Yankees did not have the AL’s top payroll in 1996 or ’98. Their payroll was about 50% above the AL median both years. By ’99 (Clemens) it was about 75% above the median; by 2002 (Giambi) it was twice the median. I was long gone. I’m sure they don’t miss me. :)

          • Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, repeatedly went to jail for refusing to testify against Bonds. Roger Clemens’ personal trainer, Brian McNamee, in contrast, repeatedly testified against Roger. I don’t consider that contrast favorable to one’s view of Roger. The whole thing with Roger and that country music singer, Mindy McCready, seemed distinctly creepy. And then throwing that bat at Piazza — what the …..? If I had to choose who to have dinner with, Bonds or Clemens, I’d choose Bonds every time.

          • Has anybody else noticed the absurdity of the fact that the guy who Named everybody has a name that would be an adolescent nickname for somebody who tattles and gives names?

  5. I see no one from 1962, apart from Clemens, who deserves consideration. Clemens fall into the self-righteous can’t consider category with McGwire, Bonds-Barry, Sosa, Rose, Jackson-Joe and probably a few others.

    Glavine
    Smoltz
    Mussina

  6. I don’t have a problem persecuting Clemens (I persecuted Bonds for the same reason) and I fully expect him to be elected. That being said, I just can’t do it. Returning to my last ballot, I’m going for Mussina, Larkin, and Walker. Close call between Walker and Schilling.

  7. Here I am voting early this round. Just posted some factoids regarding
    Eric Davis as a candidate for the Hall of Could’ve Been. That was
    before I came here, good timing.

    If he had been healthy, I think he wins this round easily.

    A quick glance at the list reveals that only Roger Clemens
    should be considered from 1962 IMO.

    Every other hold over candidate is better than anyone else
    1962 has to offer.

    Having previously stated my intention to remove steroids
    from the equation, I have no choice but to hold my nose
    and vote for Roger Clemens.

    Since the top 4 pitchers all have secured eligibility into
    the 1950’s, I will pass on voting for any this round.

    When I think back 25 years, specifically the standard at
    second base and short stop, I can narrow the list to
    just three.

    Craig Biggio
    Barry Larkin
    Roberto Alomar

    Therefore my vote this round is…

    Roger Clemens
    Barry Larkin
    Roberto Alomar

  8. 1) Clemens. Disgusting person, incredible ballplayer. He’s too good for me to deny on grounds of personal prejudice.

    2) Schilling, who is Mahatma Gandhi compared to Clemens.

    3) Mussina, who if put in a room with Clemens and Schilling, would suffocate due to the oxygen consumed by the first two’s egos.

  9. Wow so many names from the “WHAT IF?” category, names like Kevin Mitchell, Kevin Seitzer, Wally Joyner, Danny Tartabull and of course Daryl Strawberry. They all came into the league with a bang but fizzled out almost as quickly as they appeared. All these men were ROY candidates and Strawberry even took home the hardware. Strawberry stayed his ground the longest and put together some respectful seasons (9) but his career was destroyed by his drug abuse. For those who did not vote for Clemens because he was a bad guy or because he used PED’s just don’t get it. Unless they destroy all of his records, Bonds records, Sosa’s records, Palmiero’s records, and even Pete Rose records they are in the books as some of the most dominant veterans to ever play our national pastime. Get off your high horse and holier then thou attitudes and show some respect for our national pastime, TWO wrongs don’t make it right. Clemens was the most dominant pitcher of his era and for that he should be in the circle of greats. He will probably get selected this round but anyone that did not vote for him should have their ballot rescinded. Here are my (3) this round and it would not be a true circle of greats with the great;
    Roger Clemens!!

    Fred McGriff
    John Smoltz

    • Well said, John Z.

      I disagree with your assessments of Sosa and Palmeiro — in the context of all baseball history they may appear dominant, but my definition of dominance is limited to guys like, say, Babe Ruth or Lefty Grove, who were clearly the best pitchers or overall hitters for multiple seasons. I would call Bonds and Clemens dominant, not Sosa or Raffy.

      However, I agree with your general premise. This isn’t the Hall of Role Models, this is the Hall of Fame. Clemens and Bonds would’ve been all-time greats regardless of whether they juiced — they belong in the Hall, and I voted for both in my COG. If we’re going to prosecute people based on character, then let’s also nail Hank Aaron and all the guys who were popping greenies. Let’s throw out Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby too; their devout racism likely held the game back about twenty or thirty years. Hell, let’s can all the less vocal racists who stood behind them, too…At some point, the whole exercise become absurd.

      No human being is perfect; the flaws of some are merely greater, or just more prominent, than those of others. The goal of the HOF (and the COG) is not to enshrine the best people — although a part of all of us probably wants to see it that way. It is to enshrine the best ballplayers.

      • Thanks Grandyman for your words. My opinion comes over very strong and maybe a bit rude, but I am very passionate about this subject. They either are, or are not dominant during their respectful eras, and to not include Clemens, Bonds, Rose etc into the Hall or in this case the “Circle of Greats” is a disservice to MLB history and some of the greatest that ever played the game. You mention Aaron, I could mention Mays and Mantle (Both worked in casinos after their playing careers were over, and were even banned by MLB by then Commish Bowie Kuhn ), you mention Cobb and I could mention Ruth and his famous belly ache after injecting himself with sheep testes. Do you think anyone in their right mind would exclude Ruth, Mantle or Mays from the Hall or from the Cirle of Greats class of 1895 or 1931 respectively. I do not necessarily like Palmiero but you can not argue with his numbers. For whatever reason we (MLB Fans) look at some careers (IE Palmiero, Don Sutton, etc) and don’t see greatness, but in reality these men were some of the best of the best to ever play the game.

        • John Z,

          I think you echo the sentiments of a large part, if not the majority, of the baseball public. (The voting evidence suggests that probably two-thirds of this readership supports you.) I didn’t read your post as rude – you’re simply expressing the frustration of a lot of fans with the hypocrisy we perceive with baseball’s powers-that-be.

          P.S.: The whole Babe Ruth sheep testes thing was actually a joke started by a baseball blogger that has been widely propagated as fact. The most likely explanation for his “Bellyache Heard ‘Round the World” was a combination of bad diet and bad booze.

          • Thank you again GrandyMan, I am pretty sure I knew that the whole Testes thing was made up, but did not know it was by some random Baseball Blogger. As you responded in your initial post “It is not to enshrine the best people, but the best ball players” and Ruth was one of the best if not the best there ever was. I do not think anyone will ever confuse The Babe as one of the best people, but he is arguably one of the best ball players as are Clemens and Bonds, Mantle and Mays. IMO if this “circle of greats” reach the 1931 round we as a group might just need to reconsider the rules and induct both Mantle and Mays irregardless who finishes first into the “Circle of Greats”.

      • GrandyMan, I’d like to discuss this sentence of yours:

        “If we’re going to prosecute people based on character, then let’s also nail Hank Aaron and all the guys who were popping greenies.”

        First, sorry to single you out. You are hardly the first person to say something similar to this on these boards.

        But I think it’s a little unfair to think that someone who, for example, didn’t vote for Sammy Sosa in the Circle of Greats or a writer who won’t vote for Sosa for the Hall of Fame in the coming years is always doing so because of a moral/ethical/strength of character issue.

        Do I dock people merit because they are known steroid users? Yes, but not for a moral or ethical reason. It’s because I think their crazy numbers resulting from steroid use are artificial.

        I personally voted for Bonds and Clemens in these HHS elections also. My reasoning is that they did enough before steroids to merit induction into the Circle of Greats. Sammy Sosa? First, Sosa is borderline for the top 112 even if you include his cartoon numbers. Without them, he’s nowhere close to a Hall of Famer.

        Personally, I think one can make a semi-valid comparison that greenies and steroids are both forms of cheating, but there is just no argument whatsoever for suggesting the effect of amphetamines is the same as the effect of completely changing the amount of muscle mass in the body due to steroid use. If the effect were the same, wouldn’t we see examples of bizarre swings in performance late in players’ careers during the amphetamine era (like those of Bonds and Clemens)?

        • Bstar – I want to push back on this a bit:

          1) How do we know that Bonds and Clemens weren’t also taking greenies? Maybe their crazy late career performance was due to the combined effect of steroids and greenies?

          2) “If the effect were the same, wouldn’t we see examples of bizarre swings in performance late in players’ careers during the amphetamine era (like those of Bonds and Clemens)?”

          Not if someone took greenies their whole career. I believe (though I could be wrong) that the “greenie period” lasted a lot longer than the “steroid era” and there are quite a few players whose careers overlapped the whole greenie period.

          I realize I’m partially being argumentative but it seems like a lot of people view steroids as some sort of magic pill. But 1) there have been lots of terrible players caught taking steroids, 2) as far as I know (and correct me if I’m wrong) in order to gain muscle mass you still have to go to the gym and work out, 3) there are lots of different steroids that have different effects yet people talk about steroids as if they’re all the same.

          • Fair points all, Ed.

            But are you suggesting that Willie Mays and Hank Aaron had the careers they had because of what amounts to glorified caffeine pills? They weren’t taking street-grade speed. If they were, I think you would have seen a lot of addiction issues arise from that era. Are there examples of that? I honestly don’t know, so that’s an open question for anybody who might read this.

            I do think steroids + weightlifting is a magic pill, absolutely, but not to the extent you’re suggesting. Just because there are terrible players who took steroids means very little to me, Ed. If you and I took designer steroids, would we make the major leagues? No. So the baseline talent of the player is always part of the equation.

            No, we don’t know if players were geeking on amphetamines their whole career, but I would like to think there’s hundreds of examples of players who didn’t take them at one point and then started taking them at a later point. Knowing this, can you find me a player from that era like Bonds whose numbers just went to the moon, at an advanced age? I’ve asked this several times and have not gotten a response from anyone on this.

            You’re right about all steroids not being created equal. In fact, Bill James recently said one of the lines he draws in the sand on this issue is that those on the cutting edge of designer steroids should perhaps be dinged a little more. He specifically mentioned Bonds and Canseco as examples.

          • Bstar (#122):

            “But are you suggesting that Willie Mays and Hank Aaron had the careers they had because of what amounts to glorified caffeine pills?”

            No, that’s why I partially qualified my comment by recognizing that I was being argumentative.

            “I do think steroids + weightlifting is a magic pill, absolutely, but not to the extent you’re suggesting.”

            Fair enough but I do think a lot of fans do view them that way. They leave out the weightlifting part entirely or fail to recognize that you (probably) have to do a lot of weightlifting for them to have an effect.

            “Knowing this, can you find me a player from that era like Bonds whose numbers just went to the moon, at an advanced age?”

            Well there have always been players with unexplained fluke seasons. Davey Johnson’s 1973 comes to mind thought there are plenty of others. And there are plenty of players who finished their careers stronger than they started it (Dwight Evans, Hank Aaron). Jorge Posada had his best OPS+ at age 35 which is quite unusual for a catcher. And yet no one seems to think he was on steroids. Sometimes shit happens and we can’t explain it. Which isn’t to say that Bonds didn’t benefit from steroids. Or that steroids aren’t more effective than greenies. Just that I think we know a LOT less than we think we do. Which is why I’m being argumentative. We know almost nothing about who took what, when, for how long and what effect it had. And yet I see lots of people commenting here or on other sites that suggests we do know those things. (and just to clarify Bstar, I’m not talking about you with that comment or with any of this).

          • Ed, I think we’re actually not far off from total agreement here.

            I’m glad you brought up (weightlifting – steroids) because that’s always been my assumption about Jeff Bagwell.

            As to your examples of those with fluke seasons while older, I really don’t think that’s close to the change that happened to Bonds’ numbers. But I’m fine with agreeing to disagree on that point.

          • Bstar – I wasn’t really trying to disagree with you. I was just using your post as a jumping off point to say some things I had been thinking about.

            You’re right that the examples I gave aren’t quite the same as Bonds. But guys have been having fluke seasons since the beginning of baseball history. And no one seems to think those players were cheating. But if someone had a fluke season that happened to coincide with the steroid era, they’re automatically assumed to be cheating. I guess the closest comparison to Bonds might be Jose Bautista (though at a slightly younger age). Most people seem to think he’s clean. If Bautista can go from 15 homeruns a year to 50 without steroids, then why can’t players during the steroid era have done the same?

            I also want to mention Palmiero. I’ve seen lots of people who want to throw out his whole career because he failed a drug test his final year. They now believe his whole career is “fake”. And maybe they’re right. But we have absolutely no idea when he started using steroids or what his “true” numbers are. And even if he did use steroids his whole career, plenty of other players (Clemente, Musial) have had similar career patterns. So maybe the steroids helped him a little, maybe they helped him a lot. Who knows?

          • I agree with you on Palmeiro. In fact when you look at his career, as you said, I don’t see any crazy artificial spike in his career except for 1993 on, but the whole league was following suit there. He’s a big question mark, and I’m inclined to say he’s gotten somewhat of a raw deal somehow. Wagging his finger and lying to Congress certainly didn’t help at all.

            Again, Barry Bonds is not a one-year fluke, so I don’t see any valid comparisons from the amphetamine era. Bautista? I don’t know. The changes in his hitting approach are pretty well documented as to what caused the shift in his numbers, so I’m willing to not even consider him until there’s evidence.

          • Just to clarify re: Bautista….my point is that if he can go from 15 to 50 home runs via a change of his hitting stroke, why can’t/couldn’t other players have done the same? Why do we have to assume that their numbers are the result of PEDs just because they player during the PEDs era?

        • bstar,

          I’m not going after anyone who didn’t vote for Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, etc, etc. I dumped them for the same reasons you did – they are marginal candidates with inflated numbers, who deserve no consideration.

          I’m voicing opposition to the people who deny clearly deserving candidates like Bonds and Clemens on the grounds that “they juiced” or “they’re cheaters,” or something of the like. Thankfully, that sentiment doesn’t seem to pop up too often on here, as we typically enjoy a comparatively elevated level of discussion, but it seems to be pretty popular in the public and the media.

          What I’m trying to say is that to deny Bonds and Clemens in the same breath as Sosa or Palmeiro, one must be committing some logical fallacy. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we agree here.) Perhaps you’re simply unaware of the statistical chasm between the first aforementioned pair and the second, which is likely a common problem among casual fans whose understanding of the game doesn’t reach far beyond counting milestones, like 500 HR or 3000 hits. Second, you may have the mistaken belief that steroids could transform Jason Tyner into Mickey Mantle, which seems to be another all-too-commonly-held idea.

          Third, and these are the people I originally was addressing with that comment, are the people who say Bonds and Clemens should be barred simply because they did something “wrong,” even if they acknowledge that they would be HOFers had they not juiced. If we invoke the moralistic argument against Bonds and Clemens without considering other guys, such as Cobb and Hornsby, who have held positions or committed actions which can be considered immoral, detrimental to the game or its image, or both, then we are being hypocritical. If we invoke this argument and we do consider everybody who has been potentially in the moral wrong, then we are embarking on a process that I, and a vast majority of others, would see as a fool’s errand.

          • (addendum to #123) I should remove Hornsby from my list of bad examples. I have often conflated him with Cobb, as both had surly personalities, but Hornsby evidently was not openly racist.

          • I’ve seen this aside about Tyrus Cobb dozens of times in these discussions lately, the aside that he was a “racist”, and thus worthy of our judgement and scorn.

            Cobb was a product of his environment and upbringing, as far as his social attitudes. And his sociopathic behavior over the entire course of his lifetime suggests a trauma-based mental disorder. It is so much more complex than “he was an asshole.”

            We have failed, and continue to utterly fail, as a society, to have an open and intelligent discussion about what has happened in our own lifetimes. Steroids have been a subject in baseball for 20 years, an open subject for 10. How far have we gotten in solving the problem and moving forward? Not very. How do we suppose to pass judgement on people who essentially lived in a different culture?

          • Voomo (#128),

            I wasn’t trying to deliver a full-fledged condemnation of Cobb’s racism. (In fact, the question of whether or not he was openly racist is starting to come into question.) While I don’t condone his racism if it was, indeed, a historical fact, I do understand that it was the prevailing attitude of the time. The point I was trying to make is that if we are going to jump on the moral high horse, then we should do it with consistency lest we be hypocrites. Since so many players have engaged in some form of cheating, held or acted upon beliefs that are frowned upon today, or have had less-than-stellar personal lives, I think the morality approach to greatness is simply not practical.

          • I have to say that these posts (Ed, Grandyman, Bstar, John Z) are some the best argued I’ve seen. I just can’t vote for either Clemens and Bonds at this point. Their “wrong” wasn’t an unpleasantness of character or a defect in morality. It was something more basic; there came a point in baseball where PEDs were neither explicitly or tacitly tolerated, and at that point PED use needed to stop. It clearly didn’t. I’m conflicted about both Bonds and Clemens because they had already had Hall-worthy careers before that hard stop came. But I don’t see this as a question of morality, I see it as a question of breaking a very big rule to get a distinct advantage. In all other sports we have rules, and penalties, sometimes individual, sometimes team, for breaking them.

          • Grandy @132

            Yes, your point was very clear and well-reasoned.
            Just wanted to mention the bigger picture w/r/t Cobb, as I’ve been reading his later biography by Al Stump, which is riveting in it’s tabloid-worthy detail…

            …and I’ve been reading the rebuttals of Stump online, by those who claim he is full of a lot of baloney.

            Stump’s book was the basis for the Tommy Lee Jones movie, and movies serve to influence people’s perceptions maybe more strongly than books (my idea of Jim Morrison is very much Val Kilmer).

            So, what is the truth?
            I have no idea.
            None of us do.

          • Grandyman, I appreciate the response.

            Yes, I think we actually agree on a lot of things here. I’m just not into the “morality” thing either.

            I thought you were one of those people who wants to say, “Well, we don’t know who did what and how much and when, so let’s just pretend like everyone’s steroid numbers are actually not artificial.”

            That is the beef I have, with that line of thinking. The best example is Barry Bonds. For some reason (and I’m startled by this), even people whose opinion I really respect are putting Barry Bonds into a historical class of hitters that, in my opinion, he doesn’t belong. Same thing with Clemems, but to a lesser degree.

          • Echoing Mike L: I’ve made the same point on another message board where I post. I don’t understand why people link disapproval of Bonds/Clemens/whomever to Ty Cobb. As morality goes, racism is several thousands time worse than PED use–which, if you were using before any restrictions were set, is really not a moral issue at all, since you were playing within the rules. But I’d never deny a racist entrance into the HOF. His racism did not give him any advantage on the field, except for the advantage that it gave equally to all white players at the time; with no black players, they were all playing against inferior competition. I would never remove O.J. from the football HOF; the fact that he quite likely murdered someone has nothing to do with what he did on the field. But PEDs probably did. If you believe they didn’t, that’s a separate argument. But if you do believe they gave an advantage to players who used them–and really, whether it was before or after restrictions were set is beside the point–then that’s a valid consideration when weighing somebody’s HOF case.

          • @bstar (139)

            “Well, we don’t know who did what and how much and when, so let’s just pretend like everyone’s steroid numbers are actually not artificial.”

            Yeah. It seems like we agree that that line of thinking, and its corollary, “Let’s throw out everything Bonds and Clemens did in the first n years of their career because they picked up a syringe in year (n+1),” are both illogical.

            As for Bonds, though, I still consider him a historically good player because of his combination of hitting and speed. Looking at his career numbers, his age-21-through-30 seasons seem to pass the eye test for a typical career arc. He later stays on an extended plateau from 31 to 34, then teleports to an alternate universe at age 35.

            His basic stats through age 30: .286/.398/.541 (159 OPS+), 292 HR, 340 SB. This translates, apparently, to 373 batting runs and 30 baserunning runs.

            Obviously, we can’t assume that Bonds was clean through age 30, but this is the latest point through which his career arc looks normal, plus I think it is before the point (I can’t be sure; I was still a wee lad then) his unusual physical changes manifested themselves. His highest similarity score at age 30 is Shawn Green, which is a pretty crappy comp upon any level of examination.

            If you simply take his age 30 numbers and do a conservative projection — to, say, age 37 — you probably end up with at least 450 HR, 450 SB. I imagine this would translate to at least 550 batting runs and 40 baserunning runs. I’m not familiar with how runs statistics work, so I’m being purposely even more conservative with those estimates.

            Who else has reached both those milestones?

            Mays, Cobb, Aaron, Collins, ARod (gag), Rickey, and Mickey. Pretty elite company, I would say.

          • Grandyman, I consider Bonds an all-time great also.

            Let me emphasize that when I call Bonds’ steroid numbers into question, it’s only his hitting stats. Certainly, even before steroids, he was an all-time great based on his hitting, baserunning, and defense combined.

            Someone pointed out that Bonds’ girlfriend said that Bonds told her that he hurt his elbow in 1999 because he was on steroids and his muscles were growing too fast for his body to catch up, so to me he’s clean from 1996-1998. He’s got 97 career WAR at that point, which makes him a shoo-in all-time great even at age 33.

            But was he an inner circle hitter at that point? Not to me. He ranks 17th in Rbat thru age 33. Pujols is much higher and hasn’t even played his age 33 season yet, but people assume Barry was a better hitter. That bugs me.

            Every time I’ve tried to project what Bonds’ final numbers would have been with a non-artificial aging curve I usually get a HR total somewhere around Willie Mays at 660.

          • @bstar (168)

            Gotcha, b. It’s totally fair to call his hitting numbers into question. I was just making sure you weren’t ignoring his baserunning — which you weren’t — as a lot of casual fans might, especially those around my age or younger who don’t remember much before the Barroid Bonds days.

            My numbers came from what is essentially a worst-case scenario estimate, in which he only increases his career numbers by less than 50 percent over 7 years. Taking Kimberly Bell’s claim, which you referenced and is plausible considering the freak show Bonds began in 2000, I would give a realistic estimate of about 650…so yeah, I think your prediction of a Maysian number is pretty sound. If we go all the way back to ’95, I would say about 500 on the lower end and about 575 on the upper end.

          • Oh cool, you got a Maysian number too.

            I just tried this: Consider that when combining offense, defense, and speed, Bonds’ best comp has always been Mays. No two modern players have combined excellence in these three areas better than these two.

            So I just looked at Mays’ production post age-33: 207 HR. Could we use that number? Well, Barry had around 400 more PA past 33, so we have to account for that. That gives Mays 20 more HR with the increased PA, which takes the total to 227.

            Then we have to account for the different offensive context, and I don’t know of a quick n dirty way to do that. But if we guess and say 227 Mays HR in the late 60s is maybe 250 HR for Bonds in the early 2000s, we get (411 up to age 33 for Bonds + 250) = 661 HR for Bonds.

            It just always seems to land close to Willie’s total every time I do it.

          • @bstar (173)

            I just took Bonds’ total of 411 through 1998, then added what I believed to be a reasonable average of 30 per year for the next 7 years, then threw in another 20 or 30 for his final two seasons, which gets you to 641 or 651.

        • “If the effect were the same, wouldn’t we see examples of bizarre swings in performance late in players’ careers during the amphetamine era ”

          Sorry if this was mentioned but…

          Hank Aaron was the definition of late career production before Bonds. Aaron had his career high in HR and SLG at age 37.

          • Well, we can look at the numbers and see if that’s a valid comparison.

            I think Bonds started juicing in 1999, so this will be a before/after age 33 look at certain stats for Aaron and Bonds.

            Aaron before/after OPS+: 157/151 – 4% decrease
            Bonds before/after OPS+: 164/217 – 30% increase

            Aaron b/a HR per 162: 37/38 – 3% increase
            Bonds b/a HR per 162: 35/53 – 51% increase

            Aaron b/a Rbat per 162: 44/36 – 18% decrease
            Bonds b/a Rbat per 162: 45/83 – 84% increase

            For Aaron, we see his OPS+ and HR rate stay about the same but his overall offensive contribution is down by almost 20%.

            Bonds….well, the less said the better.

            I just don’t see a valid comparison here. The numbers speak for themselves.

          • When he was 32 years old Aaron moved from County Stadium in Milwaukee to Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta- a.k.a. “The Launching Pad”. As bstar has pointed out above- it was the stadium change that superficially masked Aaron’s decline phase in his career, much like moving from the Astrodome to Enron field did for Jeff Bagwell for a few years.

          • To Hartvig’s point, take a look especially at his year 37 (1971) home and away splits. He was incredible at home (numbers that in the pre juice era were pretty astonishing). 31 HR, 75 RBI, OPS 1.197 in 66 games at home. BTW, they also brought the fences in ten feet in the power alleys.

  10. Man, I love this concept. I’m going to break my tradition of one line entries to talk a little about peak value and postseason. Getting into the postseason and succeeding there is why they play the 162 – and a player bunching a lot of wins into one season helps with that. Up to now , I’ve been basically going with a straight regular season WAR ballot , with occasional adjustments for personal prejudice – I’ve come to the conclusion that i need to find a way to include peak and offseason, while of course keeping the personal prejudice.
    For Peak value, I’m using Adam Darowski’s wonderful Hall of Stats, which , by combining WAA and WAR into a stat he calls Hall Weighting gives some weight to peak without going overboard , In order , the to p six players on this ballot are

    Clemens 293
    Schilling 172
    Mussina 163
    Walker 151
    Glavine 148
    Larkin 144

    Clemens is a terrific player for whom I choose not to vote (see personal prejudice above) Schilling gets a plus he doesn’t need from his lights-out postseason record ; Mussina could field his position and was excellent in the postseason . Walker had little opportunity in the postseason ; he did hit 6 HR in the 2004 postseason for the NL champion Cardinals Glavine , on the other hand , Pitched what amounted to a whole additional season in October; and he was pretty effective, roughly the equivalent of his 2002 Braves season, about 4 WAR

    sooo.
    Schilling, Mussina, Glavine (sorry ,Larry)

  11. Through the first 20 ballots I count precisely one matching pair of votes, which is remarkable when you consider that most of the ballots have one consensus pick in Clemens. Some of these guys have been on the ballot for years now, and yet no one is emerging as the favourite for the next “open” election. Given how little there is between many of the candidates, this is entirely understandable.

    • Next year is the next “open” election. Mattingly, Galarraga, Greg Gagne, and Kruk are the only hitters born in 1961 with WAR>=20 and Jimmy Key, Tim Belcher, and Kevin Gross are the only pitchers that meet the same criteria. Trying to find the next “open” year (I’m only including players with 50+ WAR except for Puckett who would have had 50+ if not for the eye injury):

      1960 adds (Cal) Ripken, (Tony) Gwynn (Sr.), and Puckett
      1959 adds Raines and Sandberg
      1958 adds Henderson, Boggs, and Trammell
      1957 adds Whitaker and Stieb
      1956 adds Molitor and Murray
      1955 adds Yount, Chet Lemon, and Jack Clark
      1954 adds Eckersley, Gary Carter, Ozzie, Randolph, and Dawson
      1953 adds Brett, Keith Hernandez, and Frank Tanana
      1952 adds (Fred Lynn is highest at 46.7 WAR)
      1951 adds Blyleven, Dwight Evans, Buddy Bell, and Dave Winfield
      1950 adds (Guidry and Brian Downing have around 45-47 WAR)

      So looking at who is added each year, for a lot of the players on the ballot right now 1961 seems to be the make or break year. I imagine Ripken wins easily in 1960 and then 1959 … is it a showdown with the real HOF voters – Raines vs. Gwynn? Does Larry Walker (with more WAR in less games than either Raines or Gwynn) rise up? Does one of the group of Smoltz/Mussina/Glavine/Schilling finally win (though I’m assuming one of them wins in 1961)?

      • Just checked Chet Lemon’s page. I remember reading about him as a kid and I have tons of (not particularly valuable) baseball cards from his later years. I knew he was good, but I had no idea he was THAT good. It seems like he did everything well, but nothing spectacularly, thus making him a perfect fit on the ’84 Bengals.

  12. Voomo @36

    Can’t help but smile. Skidmark huh! Not unlike the stain some
    would say he put upon the game.

    I just watched Cobb with Tommy Lee Jones again, just the other day.

    Roger Clemens was in that one too. He plays an opposing pitcher.

    Perhaps more interesting is that the real life Crash Davis, portrayed
    by Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, played “Wahoo” Sam Crawford.

  13. Career Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Clemens 94.2
    Schilling 56.2
    Mussina 49.4
    Walker 48.6
    Larkin 45.5
    Glavine 42.2
    Martinez 41.6
    Smoltz 40.2
    Alomar 37.3
    Biggio 36.7
    Finley 30.9
    McGriff 26.3

    Like so many of you, I’m going to let emotions drive my ballot this time. I think Roger Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame and the Circle of Greats and any other group of the greatest baseball players with more than 6 or 7 names on it. But as far as I know, he’s also the only player to throw the barrel of a bat at a baserunner during a game, apparently in “retaliation” for having hit the same player in the head with a pitch earlier in the season. For this and so many other offenses, I’m going to strike back at Clemens the only way I know how to- by withholding a vote he so clearly deserves based on his success on the baseball field.

    I’m also a fervent supporter of Mike Mussina in the CoG, but he seems to get a similar amount of support every round and doesn’t need my vote, so I’ll throw it to the best hitter on the ballot.

    Schilling
    Walker
    Martinez

  14. Voomo @68 (I’m tired of being indented so far) — Yes, MLB uses marked balls when a hitter is approaching a milestone. But they don’t actually print the milestone number. Here’s an MLB.com story about the balls used for Jeter’s 3,000th hit, complete with pictures:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110705&content_id=21444908&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

    Whether I like that practice or not, two things distinguish it from what Clemens did:

    1) Using numbered balls is an established practice. Using emblazoned gloves is not.

    2) MLB dictates the use of the balls. Jeter does not get 100 balls printed up and tell the umpire to use them. MLB did not encourage or authorize Clemens to use a glove marked “300”. He acted on his own.

    When MLB does it, they are celebrating the player. When the player does it, he’s celebrating himself. Big difference.

    It’s a matter of tact, and grace. I abhor the arrogance of going onto the field of play with some part of your attire or equipment containing a visible representation of what you intend to do to your opponent. It’s terrible unsportsmanship. If you were a Little League coach (maybe you are), would you let a pitcher write “10 strikeouts” in a visible place on his glove before going out to pitch?

    It would have been only fitting if the BoSox had responded by writing “8 runs, 10 hits” on their uniforms before going out to face Clemens.

    • I don’t know if that eBay glove is supposed to be the same type of glove Clemens used when winning no. 300 (presumably it is, other than the commemorative insignia), but it has a very visible embroidered patch on the exterior of the glove.

      The patch reads “Rocket Man” with the letter “o” represented by a baseball in the right hand of a stylized ballplayer image (presumably Roger). Does anyone know whether Clemens actually had these patches on his real gloves?

  15. just the same as voting for Bonds, I’m trying to avoid becoming ill as I’m voting for Clemens, but there it is- Clemens, Larkin, Alomar.

  16. Personally I don’t think it’s worth sorting out clean/not clean, but for the sake of argument, let’s cut Clemens’ career in half and just consider 1984-1995, his first 12 seasons, and pretend he started roiding out in 1996 (probably cutting a year too early):
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/clemero02.shtml?utm_campaign=Linker&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker-www.highheatstats.com#1984-1995-sum:pitching_standard

    Short version:
    3 Cy Youngs, 36 shutouts, WHIP of 1.14, 650 win pct (FWIW), 145 ERA+. Still great.

    So, my votes:
    Clemens
    Walker
    Biggio

    Last two to keep them on the ballot because Clemens will win no problem.

  17. I’ve decided against waiting this round.

    In my opinion we have 10 serious candidates on this years ballot for the Circle of greats- the holdovers plus Clemens, with apologies to Crime Dog and Tawny’s old squeeze. Of those 10:
    -Clemens is going to get in and deservedly so, PED’s or no
    -So far I just can’t get past Walker’s home & away splits enough to have enough confidence in how WAR ranks him- I need to find time to look at the splits for guys like Santo & Banks & Boggs & Ott & Greenberg & a bunch more to get a handle on him. At this point he looks certain to move forward at least 2 more years with a good shot at a 3rd.
    -The group of 4 pitchers- in my mind I am certain that 3 of them belong, The 4th is right on the bubble. All are safe for at least 3 more years and are sure bets to extend that another year or 2.
    – The infielders- less cushion here. Of the 3 I view one as a certain, one as a pretty sure and one on the bubble.
    – I haven’t yet come to grips with how to deal with Martinez.
    My vote:
    1) Martinez- I’d like more time to decide
    2) Glavine- least margin among the 4 pitchers & I’m clear on his belonging.
    3) Larkin- no ifs, ands or buts, he belongs

    Bill James’s Historical Baseball Abstract using Win Shares ranks him 6th among shortstops (with Banks counted as a shortstop) and 93rd overall. JAWS ranks him lowest among shortstops at 11th among the eligible BUT he’s only 0.4 behind Dahlen with no adjustment for time-line and overall shortstops rank higher than any position except right field. A quick count of eligible players puts him at 103rd but again with no time-line adjustment for anyone including pre-1900’s pitchers so he ranks below guys like Charlie Buffington and Jim McCormick. If you make some adjustment for that plus another handful of deadball era or earlier position players who are just a whisker ahead of him he move to something like 85th overall. Adams Hall of Stats has him at 67th- and that includes current players who are not eligible and no time-line adjustment except for the pre-1900 pitchers. I also looked closely at the shortstops who weren’t his contemporaries who form the line behind them: from Fergosi to Aparicio to Reese to Boudreau to Cronin to Sewell to Dahlen and Wallace. I’m comfortable I’ve got this right. He’s well inside the Circle of the 112 best players ever.

    I gave strong consideration to Mussina & Biggio as well.

    And Clemens is going to go in this time no matter how I vote.

    • Hartvig, just a small note.

      Hall of Stats doesn’t include current players and those not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame in its prominent list on the front page. Those listed here are those with the highest ratings that are now eligible or were eligible in the past. For example, you won’t find Greg Maddux in the Hall of Stats until next year.

      Adam has added a new feature, though. You can now get a player’s all-time rank (including all players in MLB history) which includes current players and those recently retired for less than 5 years. On this list, Larkin ranks 78th, not 67th. Not a big difference. Larkin still clearly belongs.

      • And you’re right, of course. While Maddux IS listed among the pitchers rankings, he NOT listed among the Hall of Stats inductees— at least not yet. Thanks for catching that.

        And that’s closer to where I personally think he belongs- somewhere in the 80’s.

  18. -Clemens
    -Biggio
    -Alomar

    I am tempted to give a “strategic” vote to someone (probably one of the four deserving “carryover” pitchers) in place of Clemens, since PEDS or not, Clemens will win overwhelmingly, but I just can’t do it. I’ve voted for all the previous truly obvious candidates; Piazza, Bonds, Maddux, and Randy Johnson.

    I am disregarding PED usage, because figuring out:
    -IF a particular player used PEDS
    and
    -HOW MUCH of a particular player’s career he used PEDS

    is akin to determining the exact number of grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth, and just about as useless an undertaking

    • I totally respect your contributions to this site Lawrence. But I have to disagree with your decision to disregard PED usage.

      By not punishing players who clearly benefited from PED usage, you are punishing the players who made the choice to stay clean.

      I agree that it is impossible to truly know who is clean and who wasn’t, but I think that any player that has admitted or has tested positive should not get any benefit of the doubt in any exercise where a person is casting a ballot.

      • If we start with the assumption that PEDs tended to improve player performance, and that players knew that, then in the pre-testing era, a guy who for whatever reason chose not to use steroids made a presumably conscious decision to give up a way to improve his team’s performance, free of any likely penalty for their team. That decision in turn presumably affected (negatively) the number of wins the team that guy played for produced. Take McGriff, for example — if he consciously decided to avoid PEDs when he could have, like others, gotten away with using them, his teams presumably did less well on the field than they would have if he had indulged. His decision may have been moral, sportsmanlike and gentlemanly, and highly to be praised. But I don’t think we can pretend that he was more productive for his teams than he actually was. (And of course all this assumes that we can even know who used PEDs and who didn’t — maybe some guys used them but just didn’t get any visible benefit from them so they are not likely suspects).

      • Thomas,

        Well, we’ll have to “agree to disagree”. What is more impossible than to truly know who is clean and who wasn’t? – to determine how much PEDS helped those who used, and how much of a discount to apply to them…

        It’s a reluctant decision on my part, but it eliminates from the process a subjective element of guesswork.

        If we wish this to be an objective exercise concerning PEDs, we should not consider _at all_ any player that tested positive. Otherwise, both your position and mine, as regards to PEDS and eligibility, have merit. You choose to make it a factor, I do not.

        • Thomas,

          I should’ve added to the my above comment:
          I totally respect your position on PEDs in #95 above, and agree 100% that you can discount/disregard players with positive tests/admission of PED usage.

          Where I part ways is penalizing players such as Piazza and Bagwell, who are the subject of hearsay and conjecture, with no positive tests or indeed any tangible evidence besides “he looks like he used” or “his career makes a lot more sense if he used”.

      • Although I agree in principle Thomas, I don’t really think that argument can be used here since Roger Clemens never confessed, nor was found guilty in court, nor did he ever test positive (not even in 2003, according to lawyers who may have seen the official 2003 list). For that reason, I even voted for him.

  19. I am mulling over a bit of a course correction to future voting rounds, so as to expand a little the number of inductees we are voting in during the modern baseball years. The goal all along has been to work within the 112 number, which is the number of inductees voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. But by voting in only one guy per year, we are not really creating an apples-to-apples comparison with the BBWAA. At one per year going back from the 1968 birth year, it would take us to the 1857 birth year to get to 112 inductees. But the BBWAA never really considered it their job to handle most of the 19th century guys. If I’m counting correctly, the BBWAA elected only five guys who were born before 1886 (Mathewson, Honus, Lajoie, Wee Willie and Cy). 19th century baseball was really not treated by the BBWAA as their bailiwick — most of that responsibility was left to the oldtimers’/veterans’ commmittees.

    If we were to induct around, say, 106 or 107 guys over the birth year rounds from 1968 back through 1886, and then have a series of multi birth-year rounds to cover the last five or six guys born before 1886, that might be a better apples-to-apples match to the the task the BBWAA has set itself from the beginning. That would suggest something like: beginning with, say, the 1957 round, every third round we would induct not just the top one but the top two vote-getters in the round. Over time that would produce just about 106 inductees through the 1886 round. If we wanted we could then do a separate set of votes to cover additional 19th century guys outside the scope of the 112. In any event, I’m putting these ideas up for discussion.

    • GREAT IDEA!!

      Two points; one small, one big:
      1) Any reason we can’t start with two candidates/year with the very next election (1961)? We’ve already “bounced” at least a couple legit candidates (Lofton, Kent).

      2) Why only five/six pre-1886 selections? Looking over the five listed, four are overwhelmingly qualified candidates that will almost certainly be elected by us ((Mathewson, Honus, Lajoie and Cy). This would leave only one/two spots for all the other pre-1886 candidates. However, there are FAR MORE than one/two more serious pre-1886 C-O-G candidates:

      -Cap Anson
      -Dan Brouthers
      -Mordecai Brown
      -Fred Clarke
      -Jimmy Collins
      -Roger Connor
      -Sam Crawford
      -George Davis
      -Ed Delahanty
      -Pud Galvin
      -Billy Hamilton
      -Willie Keeler
      -King Kelly
      -Kid Nichols
      -Ole Hoss Radbourn
      -Amos Rusie
      -George Wright

      OK, you get the idea… We’d basically be eliminating all pre-1905 (start of career) players, except for the obvious BIG FOUR (Mathewson, Honus, Lajoie, Wee Willie and Cy), plus a couple others.

      Could we make the ratio, say 100 players born during/after 1886, and twelve pre-1886 players, instead of five/six pre-1886 players? Then there would be eight more optional players.

      • The reason for limiting the 19th century guys would simply be to preserve the apples-to-apples comparison with the BBWAA. I think the writers got that Cap Anson was a Hall-of-Fame type guy; I think their understanding was that there was a division of labor in which the Old-Timers’ Committee was responsible for voting on the Cap Ansons of history. If we get to the 112 with the same scope as the BBWAA used, I would then support a 19th century wing of the COG where we vote on more of the early guys you’ve listed.

        • birtelcom,

          OK, I do understand why you wish to keep the ratio of 19th century players to the 112 total the same as the BBWAA elected, as long as you allow for a decent number more of those pre-1886 players to be elected _after_ we select the 112.

      • Lawrence, the reasons to not start immediately with a two-induction round are: (1) Voters have been casting ballots based on assumptions about how the next few rounds would be conducted and I don’t want to undermine that, (2) I’d like to conduct a “redemption round” first so that players who have been dropped, such as the ones you mentioned, get a fair shot at re-entry before the new two-induction rule is implemented.

    • I think the idea behind this is a really good idea. It’s actually far closer to how the original Hall of Fame voting was SUPPOSED to work. As were doing it now we have to correct for both the mistakes the BBWAA made AND try to do the job the Old Timers committee was supposed to be doing- which means that even some worthy BBWAA inductees are going to have to go. If we did either 105 of 112 and then picked a reasonable number for those players in the 30 or so years prior to the cutoff- maybe a couple of dozen or a bit more even- I think we’d have a much better representation of what the Hall of Fame would look like if they had given a little more thought to the process and everyone had been doing their job.

      The downside to this is if we do it this way I would argue that we’ve already cut at least 4 and very possibly more players who would now belong.

      • Hartvig, as to the point in your last sentence, we will have a chance to bring them back. But I do find it somehat implausible that we’ve dropped as many as four guys deserving of induction. We have 16 either inducted or still eligible just from the first six birth years. Even with an extra inducteee every third round, in order to get us more promptly to 112, there are still gonna be plenty of tough choices. The 113th best major leaguer born between 1968 and the 1880s was still one heck of a ballplayer, whoever he is.

    • I like the idea of this, but I see a few problems, one logistical, another of personal preference.

      First, leaving only 5-6 slots before 1886 not only constrains the guys born before then, it constrains the guys born after then. It’s been noted a few weeks back that 1888 (Tris Speaker plus Zach Wheat and Red Faber, both of whom have 50+ WAR) and 1887 (Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, Eddie Collins, not to mention Shoeless Joe) are fairly stacked, and 1886 has Cobb. So leaving only 5-6 spots means not only that the remaining guys will have to compete with Lawrence’s list, but probably also with at least 3 very qualified candidates, and possibly 5-6 depending on who is left from other ballots. So the math would need to be tweaked, I think, even if you went in that route.

      Second, and this is personal preference, I like the idea of the toughness of this choice, only 3 per ballot, only one inducted per round. Having 2 inducted per round doesn’t seem appropriate, I like how the winner gets their own post and gets honoured by HHS in a specific way, and I am not sure how I feel about being able to vote for only 3 if 2 get elected. I would much prefer a system where we vote one per year up to, say, 1886 again, and then combine years, maybe 2 at a time. Also, as we move back in time, I think we should go heavier on the ‘redemption’ voting so the guys who are overwhelmed by the star power of the expansion era and fall off the ballot get considered, alongside a field that might be slimmer pickings than more current ballots. If the concern is that pre-1880s guys didn’t really get considered, we can consider them against more modern players that we might prefer, or we could choose to vote differently than the BBWAA as we have with Bonds, Clemens, probably Pete Rose, maybe Shoeless Joe, probably Whitaker, etc. I just feel like if the guys that fall off the ballot now are introduced in 5 years, they’ll just fall off again and keep falling off until like 1910. If it’s all about the best ball players, those other guys will find their way back when there’s room to consider them. I like the idea of a debate of Alomar vs. Wahoo Sam, and I’d look forward to the intelligent contributions of the posters here on such a disparate argument.

      Anyway, in short, I like the idea of one player per round, and I like the idea of giving more second chance guys a chance against a sparser field than I do the idea of voting in a bunch and giving very little chance to early born players.

      • Bells – I agree with your comments. I’ll add one more minor point. The division between the BBWAA and the Veteran’s committee (at least in the first election) was between players who played in the 20th century vs. players who played in the 19th century. (Cy Young straddled the centuries and received votes from both). So in that sense Birtlecom is correct.

        But we also know the BBWAA is far from perfect and I count at least three 20th century players who were born before 1886 and who probably should have been elected by the BBWAA. Those three are Eddie Plank (82.0 career WAR), Sam Crawford (69.9 career WAR) and arguably Ed Walsh (61.7 career WAR in a short career). So saying that the BBWAA only elected 5 players born before 1886 and that we should therefore do the same misses the point that the BBWAA missed a few quality candidates.

      • Bells, your thoughtful and articulate comments are much appreciated. Much of what you say about the one induction per round process has been running through my mind as well and I do suggest moving off of it with some hesitation. In theory, if the holdover process worked perfectly it would make no difference if we stuck with one winner per round for many rounds — an overload of talent in one decade which simply lead to holdovers who would make it all the through to whenever and then win induction if deserved. But watching the process as it is unfolding leads me to doubt the process will work that well or that — it may become overly dependent on the redemption process. Plus, I’m not sure if the voters will have the patience to let things unfold in quite the stately way contemplated by the one induction per round process. The resulting high level of stability in the top level candidates from one round to another will become an issue if there is not a little bit of extra movement every few rounds to loosen things up. I don’t think a two-winner round every few rounds would do much harm to the honor associated with induction (such as it is). Ultimately the goals will remain the same: picking 112 guys from a comparable population that the BBWAA has picked from but doing a better, and (by no means incidentally) more entertaining, job of it.

        As to your other point about guys at the end of the process getting stuck on the outside solely because there are no more votes — you are right that we will have to be careful about picking the right end date (or the right transition point to a multi-year voting process) to minimize that risk. It’s the same problem as picking a start date — 1968 was carefully selected to give the process a talent-rich, competitive beginning. Reciprocally, the end date will need to be selected for a point at which the talent pool happens to be light to allow the remaining top candidates a fair shot. If 1886 isn’t exactly the right transition year, I think it is close. But we should continue to mull that issue.

        • What about doing away with the redemption process entirely by permanently holding over anyone who receives more than a certain percentage of votes? This would be similar to the HoF’s “5% or more you stay on the ballot, less than 5% you’re done”, except without the 15-year limit (and the percentage could be tweaked to whatever seems appropriate).

          One obvious downside to this suggestion is that we’ll eventually end up with a rather long list of holdovers.

          One potential positive would be that – well, it seems to me that a fair amount of the voting has become strategic voting to keep this or that player on the ballot another few years – voting to game the voting structure rather than simply voting for the 3 best players (in each voter’s opinion, of course) currently eligible. And while the strategic voting can be entertaining (‘will McGriff get bumped, or will he hang on for another round?’), it seems to me something of a distraction from the actual purpose of this exercise.

          It’s true that if this suggestion were implemented there would still be strategic voting, for the new players on each year’s ballot; but there are only, at most, a handful of plausible new candidates in any given year, so the effect would be somewhat reduced in comparison to the current system.

          Anyway, this is just meant as a suggestion/food for thought.

          • Interesting idea David (#138). I’ve certainly been guilty of doing strategic voting but mainly cause sometimes it seems like the only way my vote can have value. For example, I could vote for Clemens this round, but what’s the point? He’s going to win either way.

            Another thought…rather than having designated years in which two guys get elected, how about changing the rules to say that any player who receives more than 50% of the vote gets elected?

          • David: We have a 10% rule in place now — as long as you get 10% you stay on the ballot. The main difference between us and the BBWAA is that with only three names per ballot (the BBWAA allows up to 10) you are unlikely to get a huge number of players holding over for an extended period based on the 10% number. And its intended that way: getting held over is supposed to be something that is not easy, and that shows some real interest on the part of numerous voters.

            I do think the competitive nature of the voting (the top vote-getter, or the top two vote-getters in some cases if the new system is implemented) is an important and valuable twist to the way we do the voting in comparison to the BBWAA vote. I really like the idea of presenting an actual head-to-head choice — this guy vs. that guy — rather than allowing a cop-out in which everybody gets in over a set percentage. Head-to-head choices test our priorities in a particularly concrete way.

          • Ed @144 –

            I should note that I don’t fundamentally have a problem with strategic voting – it doesn’t interest me all that much, so I’ve tried to be “purist” in my voting (with the exception of a semi-sentimental vote for Glavine). But, if others are enjoying that part of the process – hey, have at it.

            I have wondered whether some year enough people will think to themselves, “I don’t need to ‘waste’ my vote on [overwhelmingly qualified] Player X because surely he’s going to win” that Player X ends up not winning (or, to take it to its absurd extreme, gets no votes at all), despite being head and shoulders above the rest of the field….

          • birtlecom @148 –

            But 10% only provides another year on the ballot, correct? My suggestion is that a player who receives 10% (or 25%, or whatever) achieves *permanent* inclusion on the ballot, rather than an additional year or two or four.

          • David @ 151:
            Now I get what you are proposing, sorry I misunderstood. It does seem a little bit of an extreme reward, though, to give anybody who hasn’t won induction a permanent carry-over right. That does as you point out run the risk of creating an unwieldy ballot with so many options that it waters down the voting. It also takes a lot of the competitive interest out of each vote if we have a corps of permanent holdovers for whom eligibility extensions have no more relevance. On the other hand I do see the advantages of your suggestion. Among other things it would make matters simpler, including making the redemption rounds mostly or completely unnecessary. I’ll give it some more thought.

            Regarding your point @150 that a mass effort at strategic voting could create the paradoxical effect that no one votes for the guy everybody expects to get all the votes — although that is a theoretical risk, I think what we are seeing in practice is that most people just don’t cast ballots at such extreme strategic levels. A lot of people (thank heavens!) just want to vote for the best candidates as they see them, which allows the minority who want to vote more strategically to do so without fear of weird paradoxical results.

          • Thanks for the response, birtelcom (and apologies for misspelling your handle). There are definitely some shortcomings to my suggestion, but then I don’t think there’s a “perfect” voting structure for a project such as this one, just structures with different strengths & weaknesses.

            After all, there’s inevitably going to be a lot of murk at the margins. Last summer I participated in a similar project for Graham Womack’s Baseball: Past and Present website, voting on a “Hall of Fame Inner Circle” (top 50 players of all time) . In his commentary on the results (7/19/12), Adam Darowski wrote:

            “…there are about thirty players who are simply no-brainers for such an Inner Circle. […] The last twenty or so spots? I’d imagine you could make a good case for over a hundred players.”

            I expect we’ll run into a similar phenomenon: maybe 70-80 players will make the COG without much argument, but there will be some who don’t snag on of those last 30-40 slots who’ll have about as good a case as some of those who did clear the bar.

            I agree that the “nobody voted for Ripken because they expected everyone else would” scenario is extremely unlikely to come to pass. Still, it’d be kind of amusing, in its own way, if it did…

          • I don’t think we would have a problem with no one voting for Ripken … or, let’s make it more extreme, Lou Gehrig when his time comes up, because they think everyone else will vote for Gehrig because the ballots are public. I see people voting strategically because they can see that Roger Clemens is winning – if the voting were private you might have Clemens receiving even more votes than he does under this system. And, if Maddux wasn’t a unanimous choice in the actual voting, he may have been if the voting were private, because I think everyone on here feels Maddux is one of those “no questions asked” guys.

        • I hear what you’re saying. Forget what I said about the ‘honor’ of putting one guy in per round, that’s just me being silly – maybe what I feel more is the personal feeling of honoring this process of tough debate that I feel a lot of buy-in to. Personally, I’ve followed the blog/site in its iterations for 5 years but haven’t been a major contributor at all, partially because I’m a recent comer to baseball as a more-than-peripheral thing. But this argument for the all-time greats has been a good jumping-on point for me to feel comfortable contributing here. So maybe that’s adding to how into the process I am, which is both a testament to how enjoyable this idea is, and a context for you to take any of my objections less (or more) seriously.

          Anyway, I personally like the somewhat glacial process, and it’s interesting to see how things develop – I don’t think people will get sick of voting for Alomar, for example, but once Lofton had a few years of being recognized, he just ran out of steam. Maybe it won’t be fun for people to debate the same players for years, but a look at the cast of characters coming up reveals that we’ll maybe be debating these four pitchers for awhile (or three if one gets on next vote), but it’ll be against Gwynn, Ryno, Raines, etc, which will shift the tapestry of who continues on. 1961 will be an ‘open’ year, which is exciting, but then the top guys carried over will be of the same level (at least an eyeballing of WAR) as the top new guys for a couple of years, so that should provide the opportunity for some change.

          All this is to say that it seems like the dynamic you’re concerned with is the logjam of having too many of the same players continue over multiple ballots, and voters not having the patience for it. My weigh-in is that I am really into that, at least so far. Obviously there’s differing opinion, and it seems like you’re being cautious about approaching changes to the established process. That seems good. I would at least request that we give it another several votes before any changes are made.

          • Bells, I’m glad that the COG has helped encourage you to participate. You clearly have much to contribute. I hope, and I’m pretty sure, that the tweaks I’m suggesting will have very little negative effect on the things you like about the current process. But I get your concerns, and the intention is indeed to be cautious about changes.

          • Oh yeah, I’ll be into this process regardless, just wanted to articulate my thoughts. You have created a big thing here birtelcom, just remember what my Uncle Ben once told me: ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’.

  20. As I usually do, I’m going to make an initial vote based on my method for determining the top three (using primarily WAR/162 games during a series of 5+ “peak” seasons, along with a series of tiebreakers), and make any strategic changes later. Additionally, I am not considering PROVEN cheaters, although I have an “innocent until proven guilty” policy which, for now, lets Clemens off the hook. I’m also not considering Darryl Strawberry because… well, I just can’t bring myself to. Not that he’d make my initial vote anyway…

    That said, and after running my method on all these players I end up with 9 players who I would vote for if I could and 4 other “borderline” HOFers. Here are the top 3, or my initial vote:

    1. Roger Clemens (7.5 WAR/162 during 17-yr peak of 1986-2001)
    2. Curt Schilling (7.3 WAR/162 (raised after adjustment for relief season) during 6-yr peak of 2001-06)
    3. Larry Walker (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)

    If I could complete a full 10-man ballot, I would also include:

    4. Barry Larkin (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1988-99)
    5. Mike Mussina (6.0 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)
    6. John Smoltz (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99; 4.5 WAR/162 (raised after adjustment for relief seasons) during 2nd 5-yr peak of 2003-07)
    7. Craig Biggio (5.6 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1991-99)
    8. Edgar Martínez (6.1 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1995-2001)
    9. Jeff Montgomery (3.7 WAR/162 (raised after adjustment for relief seasons) during 5-yr peak of 1989-93)
    10. Robby Thompson (5.7 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1989-93; this tells you how favorable my relief adjustment was to Montgomery!)
    Honorable Mentions to Fred McGriff, Roberto Alomar, and Tom Glavine. Along with Thompson, I would consider them to be “borderline” HOFers.

    • INH,

      I’ve been reading your posts throughout this whole election process, and I have to say I really like your concept – it aims for a consistent, statistically-rooted result that is free of bias. However, I have to ask – how do you decide which seasons constitute a player’s peak? I started to think what my results would look like if I did a similar analysis, and found that my choices of “peak” years were often quite different.

    • Just curious, INH – why do you pick Walker over Larkin, given that they had a virtually identical peak? What was the tiebreaker in this case?

    • Also, INH (and I apologize if you’ve answered this before), but how do you weight the value vs. length of peak? Whey is Schilling’s peak (7.3*6) better than Walker’s (6.6*12)? Sure, it’s .7 WAR more – but for only HALF the length of time. So how do you figure that out? And then, by the same token, you have Biggio above Martinez – even though the gap between them is only .5 WAR and it’s only a 2-season advantage (instead of a 6-season advantage, a la the case of Walker and Schilling). I’m just trying to understand. Thanks.

    • Also, inh, what kind of extra boost are you giving to relievers? WAR already gives a leverage boost index to relievers, but it’s clear you’re using some extra point system to boost reliever WAR. Is there a mathematically-justified reason for this boost?

      Even with the adjustment, I’m confused how Jeff Montgomery’s 5-yr peak (it’s actually 3.2 WAR/yr but you’re giving him 3.7 WAR/yr) can rank ahead of Glavine’s best 5-yr peak of 4.8 WAR during either 1995-1999 or 1996-2000. How does 3.7 for 5 yrs rank ahead of 4.8 for five years?

      In fact, I find twelve different 5-yr windows where Glavine eclipses Montgomery’s 3.7 WAR/5 yr pace.

      There’s also the fact that Montgomery has less than 20 WAR while Glavine has 77.

    • Wow, I have a lot of responses to this one. Here are my replies to each of you:

      @GrandyMan: Thanks! Regarding peaks, I explained this tediously on my 1968 ballot: “I say that any player whose peak in terms of WAR is at least 5 years with at least 5.0 WAR/162 games is a good candidate for the Hall. This peak is defined by the longest stretch of seasons in which a) both the first and last seasons of the peak have at least 4.0 WAR, and b) at no point during the peak, there are consecutive seasons below 4.0 WAR, one of which is below 3.0 WAR as well (so the peak can contain one outlying year below 3.0 WAR, or multiple consecutive years below 4.0 WAR, but not both at the same time).”

      @Voomo Zanzibar: Alomar has two peaks that meet my criteria: 5.1 WAR/162 over 6 seasons (’88-’93) and the one you gave, which is also 6 seasons. For these dual-peaked players (such as Alomar and Smoltz) I average the WAR/162 and other stats, so Alomar is considered, for statistical comparisons to have a 5.4 WAR/162 over a 6-yr peak, which I consider borderline for the HOF.

      @David Horwich and Dr. Doom (since you both asked about tiebreakers): There is no higher weight of value over peak or vice-versa. I use other stats from that peak for tiebreakers, specifically WAA/162, waaWL%, 162WL%. Typically this produces a winner, although Walker’s and Larkin’s stats there are also the same! So, I turned to RAA and RAR, from which WAA and WAR are based, and gave Walker the nod.

      @bstar: The extra boost to relievers is a multiplication of WAR by aLI for all relief seasons, and multiplication of peak WAR/162 by gmLI if at least one year in that peak was a relief year. It might be ineffective, but it’s very easy and I don’t have time (being a very busy person in general) to put together some more tedious formula. Montgomery’s 3.7 WAR/162 is correct (you’re looking at his WAR/season) and is raised very significantly by a high gmLI.

      • inh, while I do appreciate you giving your final numbers for these players, there’s still a lot of confusion to your methodology.

        My point is that WAR is already boosted by leverage index. B-Ref takes WAA and multiplies it by (1 + gmLI)/2 to give the WAR leverage boost, so I still don’t understand why you’re giving them an extra boost on top of that.

        In fact, if you are multiplying LI by WAR, you’re double-counting the leverage because the WAAadj leverage index is a part of WAR.

        WAR = WAA + WAAadj + WARreplacement

        WAR = WAA + {(1 + gmLI)/2} + WARreplacement

        you’re doing:

        inhWAR = [WAA + {(1 + gmLI)/2} + WARrep]*gmLI

        The gmLI is showing up twice in your calculation, if I have understood your explanation correctly.

        So, in order to not double-count leverage, I would subtract out the WAAadj for Montgomery before multiplying by leverage. Even doing that, you’re going to get some crazy high numbers for relievers. Again, what mathematical justification do you have for multiplying WAR by LI?

        And can you list Montgomery’s actual final 5 yr number? I still don’t see how he rates ahead of Glavine.

        • sorry, my equations are wrong. SHould be:

          WAR = WAA + WAAadj + WARrep

          WAR = WAA + WAA*{(1 + gmLI)/2} + WARrep

          you’re doing:

          WAR = [WAA + WAA*{(1 + gmLI)/2} + WARrep] * gmLI

        • I see. I did not know this (I thought I had checked to make sure LI wasn’t already in WAR, but I guess I didn’t or checked the wrong area of the glossary or something…). I also had no mathematical justification for WAR*LI, although the numbers seemed to match up right… until I came cross Montgomery, who came out at about 6.3. I even thought that was a bit absurd.

          I will not use LI in the future, even if this means the certain elimination of relievers. However, this doesn’t affect my vote for this round; Schilling is staying on my ballot. The collateral damage, however, is not only Montgomery but also Smoltz, now taking a significant hit due to having one of his “dual peaks” below 5.0 WAR. I may move forward by discounting the whole “dual peaks” thing in favor of simply using the higher (by WAR/162) of the two, which would help Alomar a lot as well.

          • If anyone is interested, here is my re-ranked “10-man ballot”, using this revised, simpler method (omitting “dual peaks” and the relief adjustment):

            1. Clemens
            2. Schilling
            3. Walker
            4. Larkin
            5. Mussina
            6. Biggio
            7. Martínez
            8. Alomar (5.7 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1996-2001)
            Deadlocked for the remaining two spots:
            – Smoltz (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99)
            – Glavine (5.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1995-2000)
            – Thompson (5.7 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1989-93)
            – McGriff (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1988-92)

            Thompson should clearly be above Smoltz, but falls to Glavine in tiebreakers, and Glavine falls to Smoltz in tiebreakers. Of course, the COG only takes my top three anyway (which aren’t changed by this method), so it isn’t important.

    • Strategic change: To ensure Edgar Martínez’ continuation on the ballot, I’ll drop my vote for Clemens.

      Final vote: Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, Edgar Martínez.

  21. Alomar, Walker, Clemens.

    1. I never saw Joe Morgan play, but is hard to imagine a better second baseman than Alomar.
    2. Honorable mention goes to Kelly Gruber and Danny Tartabull, to me both belong in my personal Wall of Fame, both among my absolute favorite players while growing up.
    3. Bart Giammatti said it well, the game is designed to break your heart. My Aguilas were swept in 4 games in the Mexican Pacific League Championship Series. Next step, the Caribbean Series, go Yaquis (sigh).

    • Wait till next year, Aguilas!

      First spring training reporting date for MLB pitchers and catchers (Cubs, Rockies are first) is 13 days away.

  22. Clemens

    Here we go again: another player with undeniable stats and equally undeniable jack-assery. I probably won’t feel this conflicted again until Ty Cobb shows up on the ballot.

    Alomar

    A game-changer in every regard, which few names on here could claim. Also, if it’s difficult to name anyone better at their position, they earn my vote every time.

    Walker

    Okay, I’ve come around on him a little bit. Plus, my feeling now is that the Glavine/Schilling/Mussina/Smoltz quadrad will never break its deadlock, as each has enough fierce supporters to keep them on the ballot each year, but not enough to push them over the top. Might as well bump a position player into the circle while the choices are less plentiful.

  23. Smoltz, Schilling, Clemens (the same, sad approach I used for Bonds, except that I’m a little less certain about Clemens and PEDs, and, for some reason, I wound up finding Clemens even more unlikable than Bonds as a player)

  24. Re: bstar @114, 122, etc. — I think there’s a fundamental problem with this quantitative line of reasoning for drawing a bright line between steroids and amphetamines as enhancers of baseball performance.

    “there is just no argument whatsoever for suggesting the effect of amphetamines is the same as the effect of completely changing the amount of muscle mass in the body due to steroid use.”

    — That doesn’t really address baseball performance at all.

    “are you suggesting that Willie Mays and Hank Aaron had the careers they had because of what amounts to glorified caffeine pills?”

    — We don’t know who used what, or when.

    “can you find me a player from that era like Bonds whose numbers just went to the moon, at an advanced age?”

    — The challenge as defined (“went to the moon”) is too restrictive. Bonds was already a super-elite hitter before he started taking steroids (using the presumed starting point of somewhere around 1999-2000). From 1990-98, he averaged a 181 OPS+. That’s the high springboard that allowed his enhanced numbers to go “to the moon” — a 241 OPS+ from 2000-04.

    If we drop the “moon” requirement and just look for players whose late-career OPS+ increased by something like 33% over their prior level, I think we find some. I’ll come back to this.

    bstar, you’ve given no evidence that quantifies or compares the benefits to baseball performance from the two classes of drugs. There is only circumstantial conjecture. The trouble with that is, for the players in the discussion, we don’t really know when they used X, Y or Z.

    Lastly, calling greenies “glorified caffeine pills” (a) assumes facts not in evidence, and (b) ignores the actual performance benefits of caffeine, which can be substantial. The following is from a 2009 NY Times article (I’ll link, but it may require a subscription):
    __________

    Exercise physiologists have studied caffeine’s effects in nearly every iteration: Does it help sprinters? Marathon runners? Cyclists? Rowers? Swimmers? Athletes whose sports involve stopping and starting like tennis players? The answers are yes and yes and yes and yes.

    Starting as long ago as 1978, researchers have been publishing caffeine studies. And in study after study, they concluded that caffeine actually does improve performance. In fact, some experts, like Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McMaster University in Canada, are just incredulous that anyone could even ask if caffeine has a performance effect.

    “There is so much data on this that it’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s just unequivocal that caffeine improves performance. It’s been shown in well-respected labs in multiple places around the world.”

    Now, Dr. Tarnopolsky and others report that caffeine increases the power output of muscles by releasing calcium that is stored in muscle. The effect can enable athletes to keep going longer or to go faster in the same length of time. Caffeine also affects the brain’s sensation of exhaustion, that feeling that it’s time to stop, you can’t go on any more. That may be one way it improves endurance, Dr. Tarnopolsky said.

    The performance improvement in controlled laboratory settings can be 20 to 25 percent, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. But in the real world, including all comers, the improvement may average about 5 percent, still significant if you want to get your best time or even win a race.
    __________
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/health/nutrition/26best.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    None of that addresses baseball performance, either, but at least it’s quantitative.

    • John A (#180) – I’m continually impressed by your ability to state things in such a clear and simple manner. In this case, points I was struggling to make myself.

      I want to add one thing to what you wrote. The reason players took amphetamines was to deal with physical exhaustion. The modern baseball life isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep…constant travel, sleeping in new/unfamiliar places every few days, changing time zones, not getting home from a game till midnight or later (sometimes followed by a day game!), etc. And we know what the effect of lack of sleep is on the body. As a personal example, I got about 6 hours of sleep last night. I’m exhausted. I can barely function. If I were a professional athlete and I had a game today, there’s no way I’d be able to function anywhere near my peak based on my current energy level. Lack of sleep is an incredible performance “de-enhancer”.

      So maybe the reason that players during the amphetamine era didn’t have numbers that “went to the moon” is because the baseline performance level without amphetamines was so low. Amphetamines simply restored players to their “normal” level of ability by counteracting the effects of fatigue caused by lack of sleep. And that makes it a pretty powerful performance enhancer!

    • Following up on my search for late-career batting surges:

      1) I do think that Bonds is unique in having such a big surge, so late.

      2) However, many players have hit much better later in their career than in the typical prime years.

      On point #1 — I collected all the players with 2,000 PAs+ from age 35 to end of career, and compared their combined OPS+ for that late period to their career average through age 34. Bonds raised his OPS+ by 36% from age 35 onward, or double the next-highest increase (Mickey Vernon and Cy Williams).

      But if that’s supposed to be evidence of the massive effects of steroids, why aren’t there more such guys? Out of 9 players in this group who raised their OPS+ by at least 10%, Bonds is the only one I know who has been linked with steroids. Mark McLemore played in the era, but he’s hardly anyone’s idea of the typical user. Brian Downing retired in ’92, but he was into weight training, so I suppose that could raise speculation.

      On point #2 — Here are some players who had their best OPS+ span after age 30 and (as far as I know) have not been linked to steroids. Specifically, for some period of 4+ years as a regular after age 30, their OPS+ was at least 17% higher than for their career before that span.

      Roberto Clemente: Through age 31, 118 OPS+. From 32-35, 163 OPS+. +38%.
      (Even comparing age 32-35 just to his outstanding 28-31 numbers, the latter is 16% higher.)

      George Harper: Through age 32, 101 OPS+. From 33-36, 137 OPS+. +37%.

      Eddie Joost: Through age 32, 83 OPS+. From 33-36, 111 OPS+. +34%.

      Ken Williams: Through age 31, 125 OPS+. From 32-35, 157 OPS+. +30%.

      Willie Stargell: Through age 30, 136 OPS+. From 31-34, 176 OPS+. +29%.
      (At 38, Stargell logged a 158 OPS+ that was higher than his career average. Then he won an MVP at 39.)

      Tom Paciorek: Through age 33, 94 OPS+. From 34-37, 121 OPS+. +29%.

      Hal Chase: Through age 30, 102 OPS+. From 31-35, 132 OPS+. +29%.

      Frank Howard: Through age 30, 131 OPS+. From 31-34, 167 OPS+. +27%.

      Mickey Vernon: Through age 34, 109 OPS+. From 35-38, 137 OPS+. +26%.

      Bill Robinson: Through age 32, 93 OPS+. From 33-36, 117 OPS+. +26%.

      Cy Williams: Through age 31, 108 OPS+. From 32-42, 134 OPS+. +24%.
      (From age 36-39, he had a 141 OPS+.)

      Edgar Martinez: Through age 31, 133 OPS+. From 32-38, 164 OPS+. +23%.

      Dixie Walker: Through age 32, 113 OPS+. From 33-36, 139 OPS+. +23%.

      Lonnie Smith: Through age 32, 111 OPS+. From 33-37, 135 OPS+. +22%.

      Torii Hunter: Through age 32, 105 OPS+. From 33-36, 125 OPS+. +19%.

      Gene Woodling: Through age 33, 116 OPS+. From 34-38, 136 OPS+. +17%.

      And yes, I’m aware that Eddie Joost hit much better after deciding to wear glasses on the field. I’d guess that most of these guys have some identifiable factors in their late surge. The point is, it wasn’t steroids.

      • John A. That’s a very odd combination of players. In several cases (Joost, George Harper, Frank Howard) their walk-rates went up substantially in the latter part of their career. Ken Williams was a late starter (wrapped around WWI)as was Gene Woodling (WWII), and Dixie Walker played his older years through WWII in a weakened league. Hard to draw any conclusions.

      • On point #1 – Zack Wheat may not quite fit your parameters, but
        he had quite the late-career resurgence at ages 35 to 37:

        – batting averages of .375(378 PA)/.375/.359
        – OPS+ of 145/163/142, well above his career average of 129 OPS+

        BA is more impressive than OPS+, due to higher offensive levels of 1923-25 compared to earlier in his career.

      • Reply to #188.
        John: Being unaware of your OPS+ search I did my own. I compared for players at age 33 and up versus age 32 and earlier. Here are the results for some of the players, in no particular order.

        Barry Bonds: 29.0% increase.
        George Harper: 28.7%
        Eddie Joost: 43.4%
        Jim Dwyer: 27.9%
        John Lowenstein: 34.4%
        Jim Hickman: 31.3%
        John Vander Wal: 29.5%
        Ken Caminiti: 31.2%
        Roberto Clemente:24.4%

      • Super interesting evidence, John, although I admit I don’t know of what.

        On the steroid. and specifically the Bonds, front, a few things that I think:

        – the impact of steroids, although they were performance enhancers certainly, is probably (and by ‘probably’, I mean ‘definitely’) overstated due mainly to the narrative around that time, starting with the exciting home run chase of 1998 and ending with the sad all-time HR death march of 2007. Breaking the most cherished statistical records in American sports tends to put something in the spotlight, and the timing of everything – the Andro being discovered in McGwire’s locker to the Mitchell report to the BALCO case – make a very clear narrative of steroids happening while home runs were happening. So, that’s hard to overcome, as the attention of the public on these records and stats is so far out of whack that there’s a tendency to think the effects of the drugs must have been equally out of whack. They were definitely attention-enhancing drugs.

        – the most likely explanations for why Bonds went ‘to the moon’ and others didn’t, in my mind:

        1. Most others started at an earlier age – A-Rod could have gone to the moon from his natural ability and stayed there his whole career (because, come on, drug testing is still a joke in MLB and it’s quite likely that many players are still using, so it’s plausible that A-Rod, Pujols, whoever, could have been using their whole careers – this is not to name suspected names, just to say that anyone could be using and to me it’s plausible that many are)

        2. Most others that used steroids are worse players – I don’t know the ins and outs of steroids, but I have believed the oft-repeated maxim of ‘steroids won’t teach you how to hit a ball’. It’s entirely plausible to me that Bonds, who already had an incredibly gifted skillset for hitting the ball, got just what he needed from steroids, which was some extra power in a time of his life where he should have been losing it. Other players could use that power all they want, and their strikeout totals will go up with their HR totals (hmm, is that support for the idea expressed in parentheses in point 1, that players are certainly still using because that is what is happening?), but for Bonds he just whacked the cover off the ball.

        3. Related – Bonds’ performance enhancement had a magnifying effect on itself – that is to say, he got better and was a terror at the plate, so he was intentionally walked an INSANE amount of times, which in turn upped his OBP, OPS, OPS+ and WAR more than they would have if he had been a less ‘feared’ hitter before/after steroids came on the scene.

        4. Bonds was a better ‘responder’ to steroids than his contemporaries – physiologies are different (I don’t know more than to say only that, not very helpful I know) and I have certainly seen it stated by people far more knowledgable than me that athletes respond differently to PEDs, Lance Armstrong being a great example (he was a strong athlete and could win less mountainous races than the Tour de France but could never climb high mountains with the best; with EPO and blood transfusions he could).

        5. Bonds was naturally less affected by age than his contemporaries, like (presumably) Aaron was in his time, so because of this they took steroids and plateaued or got worse (at a decreased rate than if they hadn’t ‘used’), whereas he got way, way better.

        6. Bonds, due to his already large fortune and place at the top of the game, had access to cutting-edge drugs that gave more of an advantage than the competition had access to.

        I suspect it’s a combination of all these things that gave him his gargantuan numbers.

        All this is to say that Bonds’ particular peak could be plausibly explained, depending on how much stock you put in those explanations. But that says little on the ‘how effective are steroids’, for to get that you’d have to have something like definitive knowledge of who used, how much, when, which we will never have and then have that same knowledge for other performance enhancers. Of course, you could search studies in medical journals on the effects of various steroids on performances similar to hitting HRs, but you’d still have to know what stuff was used, and same with greenies, etc. Best to admit that we’ll never really know, in my opinion. Your data, to me, is just evidence that there is no singular path that you can predict a player getting better late-career, and just because Bonds did doesn’t mean steroids are better PEs than other things. For that conclusion, you have to look at a broader phenomenon than one or a handful of players.

        My own suspicion is that, yes, steroids were somewhat more of a performance enhancer for certain types of ball players (power pitchers, HR hitters) than other PEDs of the past, but in the same way that you could say ‘men are better at lifting weights than women’ – many, many women are better at lifting weights than me (that’s not a typo for ‘men’, I mean myself as a scrawnier-than-normal guy), and there is considerable overlap in the bell curves of each, but they have distinctive peaks and distinctive top ends where men are higher in both… the best ‘responders’ to greenies probably got more of a boost than some/most of the average responders to steroids, but in general steroids were probably better. That’s just a loose context-driven conclusion, so I’m happy to be proven wrong and won’t defend it to the death to be certain. Just my 2 cents.

        • Well reasoned, Bells.

          About your #5 comment, though, how do we really know whether or not “Bonds was naturally less affected by age”? Isn’t that also something we can’t really define and will never know?

          My second list of all-time great hitters @194 shows clearly that even the greatest of the greats all succumbed to father time in one form or another (except for Bonds). Is it really fair to say that Bonds would have “naturally” been able to push father time aside when we really will never know the answer to that question?

          • Right, thanks for calling for clarification on that bstar, I meant all of the points to fall under the ‘most likely explanation’ banner I flew before launching into any of the theories. And I want to be clear that they are theories – we certainly can’t know if Bonds would’ve held up well over time without PEDs without a) being experts and b) having access to his physiological data over that time, and even then… but of course I think points 1,4 and 6 are similarly compromised by ‘will we ever really know’ kind of reasoning. Points 2 and 3, well I think those are fairly safe to say and we have enough evidence that they probably stand on more solid ground.

            My goal was to put forth some plausible reasons for his insane production post-33 that was more nuanced than just ‘steroids’, and I’d posit that all the points, even the one you highlight, are plausible, albeit something we can never ‘really know’, as you put it.

          • Understood. I would even expand on your #3 point, about Bonds’ OPS+ having a life of its own. I think Bonds’ confidence AFTER becoming this Ruthian type of hitter skyrocketed once he realized what he was capable of doing. I think maybe that’s why it took him a year or two(1999 and 2000) with steroids before his numbers “went to the moon” in 2001-2004 (I’m voting on retiring that phrase).

            I remember Bonds saying his only swing thought when coming to the plate in those days was to imagine that the ball was playing catch with his bat. The game had become that simple to him.

    • Why don’t we use Rbat, or WAR batting runs? OPS+ is a good quick and dirty but it overrates power and undervalues OBP. Linear weighted wRAA, or essentially RBat, is a much more accurate gauge of hitting value.

      And let’s use <entire player’s careers here, so as to get a little more complete picture. You gave Bonds’ numbers from 1990-98. His career started in 1986.

      I don’t understand why you cut apart segments of what I said in my prior comments and said things like “that doesn’t really address baseball performance at all.” Clearly, we’re talking about baseball performance, and the fact that I didn’t implicitly state that I was talking about that shouldn’t be something up for argument iin a baseball forum. Isn’t that an implicit assumption?

      “Went to the moon” is basically shorthand for “he became Babe Ruth”. I can show that he’s the only player to ever do this, and I can also show that although he was already super-elite, Barry Bonds was not as good a hitter as people realize before his numbers took off.

      Let’s start here. Where does Bonds rank among the all-time greats in his pre-steroid era, and let’s use all the numbers here, not just the ones encapsulating Bonds’ pre-steroid prime:

      Rbat thru age 33:
      1. B Ruth – 908
      2. Gehrig – 870
      3. Hornsby – 818
      4. J Foxx – 763
      5. T Cobb – 727
      6. Mantle – 715
      7. Williams – 715
      8. Musial – 696
      9. MelOtt – 694
      10 Pujols – 652
      11 HAaron – 615
      12 A-Rod – 600
      13 Frank R – 583
      14 W Mays – 574
      15 Speaker – 568
      16 Thomas – 565
      17 Bonds – 556
      18 Bagwell – 513

      Here we see Bonds’ career numbers before steroids. Note that Albert Pujols, who has yet to play his age-33 season, is about 100 batting runs ahead of Barry already on this list. Yet who considers Pujols a better hitter than Bonds anymore? Such are the perils of believing Bonds’ subsequent numbers are non-artificial. We also see the numbers are fairly bunched together.

      Looking at this table, it’s pretty clear Bonds is an all-time great but not a candidate for best hitter, one of the three best hitters ever, or even one of the ten best. I’ve heard the prior two cited recently, and I don’t think it’s correct.

      Now let’s look at what happened after age 33. We’ll use the same names except for the actives, Pujols and A-Rod. Again, Rbat totals:

      1. BBonds – 631
      2. B Ruth – 515
      3. Williams – 357
      4. HAaron – 314
      5. Speaker – 290
      6. T Cobb – 289
      7. W Mays – 288
      8. Musial – 188
      9. Frank R – 145
      10 Thomas – 126
      11 Gehrig – 100
      12 Mantle – 86
      13 M Ott – 82
      14 Bagwell – 77
      15 Hornsby – 41
      16 J Foxx – (-3)

      Here we see Bonds and Ruth far above the crowd, with a lot of the all-time greats succumbing to father time and/or becoming lesser versions of themselves. By the numbers, Bonds after steroids has double the production after age 33 of all but two players in the first list. In fact, he dwarfs the contribution of most of these players. This is “jumping to the moon”, or going from #17 on this list before steroids to #1 on the list after steroids.

      As to your point about caffeine, so what? Are we now going to say that drinking a Red Bull or downing a 5-hr energy drink is now PED use? That’s a pretty big stretch. Is every college student who drinks a cup of coffee before a big test and performs better guilty of PED use?

      I’m still surprised you’re actually trying to equate the effect of amphetamines to the effect of steroid use.

      Have you read the entire article from yesterday’s story about the Miami facility that was dispensing PEDs? I strongly suggest reading it, because it goes into great detail of how people feel even after one injection of steroids. It makes them feel superhuman. Their whole body feels different. It’s fantastically addictive. Does drinking a cup of coffee make you feel superhuman? I know you’re a busy man, JA, but I’m not sure you quite understand the full effect of what steroids do to people, so I suggesting reading the entire article before you continue with this line of thinking.

      And if you think steroid use is the same as amphetamine use, JA, can you explain why you didn’t vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in our Circle of Greats votes? Are you going to withhold your vote for Hank Aaron and Willie Mays? If not, you’re contradicting your own argument.

      You basically framed your @180 comment in the way a lawyer would, calling my conclusions “circumstantial” and what not. That may work in a court of law, the way you sliced and diced my comments, but I think all you’ve done in this forum is muddy the water in an attempt to prove amphetamine effect is equal to steroid effect, which I still think is a ridiculous statement.

      The numbers I listed speak for themselves.

      • bstar — I didn’t mean to attack you personally, and I’m sorry if it seemed that way. I used excerpts from your comments not to target you, but to target what I think is a very important point in the discussion of performance enhancing drugs.

        To be clear up front, I agree that using steroids is a worse offense for an MLB player than using amphetamines. What I’m trying to talk about is, how much worse?

        Your comments seemed to represent the view that there’s a quantum difference between those substances — as if amphetamines were a parking violation, while steroids are a felony. I’m saying, wait a minute — how much do we really know about their effects on baseball performance?

        I don’t accept the premise that the gains from steroids are inherently so much greater than those from amphetamines or whatever, that only steroids are worth talking about. To me, there’s a continuum.

        And I do have a strong reaction when people try to use X, Y or Z characterization of steroids as a trump card to blow away all talk of other performance enhancers.

        I think we should talk more about all forms of cheating, even things we’re not sure are cheating. If we don’t examine the whole continuum, and get as much information as we can, how can we decide just how bad it is to use steroids?

        I accept your point about my selective chopping of Bonds’s career. In my followup, where I listed others who improved in their 30s, I measured Bonds on the same scale as the others — comparing the late peak to the entire prior career — and conceded that his was the biggest and latest.

        About my not voting for Bonds and Clemens in the C.O.G.: As I said at the time, I feel visceral revulsion towards each, and not solely for steroid use. I also said that my “no” was for now, not necessarily forever.

        I’m still wrangling with my future votes on known steroids users. But at least for those two guys, I know something. I can’t judge Mays or Aaron by the same methods, because I simply don’t know what they may have taken, or when.

        I don’t want to go on too long, but I have to answer one more thing you said @194. I did not try to equate the effects of amphetamines and steroids. Everything I said was towards the point that none of us has the information needed to make that comparison.

        • John, I’ve felt awful about the tone of my last comment. I actually need to apologize to you for that, and I’m doing so now. I’m so fiery and intense, that, even when I delete the most vitriolic stuff from my posts, some still leaks out.

          The point we were arguing is far secondary to this. I’m not proud of a few of the things I said @194, or rather the way I said them.

          But I do urge you to read the full Miami Times article here:

          http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/30/3207474/report-alex-rodriguez-other-local.html

          It’s pretty explicit on what goes on when a person injects himself.

          As to our argument, Roberto Clemente was the example I was looking for as far as a guy who saw a big increase the last few years of his career (he actually more than doubled his Rbat/162 rate, which is more than Bonds did). I’m not making an accusation, but it does to a good degree satisfy what I was looking for.

          I appreciate the reasoned response from you.

      • And Ted Williams missed 4 years up to his age-33 season !

        OPS+ for Ted at age

        22 235
        23 216
        24 (real) war
        25 war
        26 war
        27 215
        28 205

        • You’re both right, and I couldn’t quite justify voting for Darren Daulton and Doug Drabek. All three of my “M’s” are underappreciated, especially McGriff — don’t want to see him fall off the ballot.

      • With 59 ballots tallied (including Richard Chester’s below) here’s what would spread the most love around with the next 5 ballots-
        3 votes each for Alomar or Larkin to extend them 2 years
        2 votes for Smoltz to extend him another 2 years (which he already is until the mid-50’s, I think)
        1 vote each for Mussina & Biggio would keep them at 25%
        1 vote for Martinez would keep him above 10%
        3 votes for McGriff would get him above 10%

        That would leave 5 votes on those ballots for someone else. If we get a 6th ballot however it gets a lot trickier because then the 5 guys listed about in line for 2 year extensions plus Walker & Glavine would all need 1 more vote to stay above the 25% cutoff.

        However this is all probably a bit premature since we’re still 13 ballots short of last year and the tally has gone up every year.

  25. Alomar, Larkin, Schilling. I can’t bring myself to vote for Clemens although I didn’t have a problem voting for Bonds. That might say more about me then it does about those two players.

  26. It’s pretty clear that PED use doesn’t impact everyone in a linear fashion; doesn’t automatically give a person 1% more home runs per injection. Genetics, predispositions to injury, type of muscle fiber, size of bones, “natural” speed and strength all probably play a player-specific idiosyncratic role in what the “post-PEDS” package looks like. There seem to be only two facts; that power hitting rose to an extraordinary high as compared to previous norms, and that, whatever actual reaction an individual player might have to PEDS, there was a consensus among the players that taking them would improve performance. I think that by trying to compare/excuse/justify PEDS with things like stimulants we are really missing a core point; there came a point that they were banned, irrespective of whether they “really worked”. I’ve absorbed every argument people have made to “admit” people like Bonds, Clemens, etc. and the only ones I have any problem with is those who say it didn’t matter. It did and does matter. We are all free to decide how much it matters to us.

    • Clearly there was impact, but the overall level is the question mark. We’ll never know. PEDs has become the easy explanation for the hitting explosion that really spiked right around the ’94 strike, but it’s too easy and it sucks all the air out of the room, suffocating other valid discussions that contributed to the increase in hitting.

      I think you’re correct that it’s not linear. I’m sure there are players who took PEDs who received no benefit, others who received great benefits, and many, perhaps most, somewhere between. Maybe in one hitter a specific type of PED helped mask a flaw that might have been “fatal” in a past generation, but the PED provided just enough extra bat speed to let the player survive. Who knows, maybe there are cases where PED usage hurt a player. In Bonds’ case, he may have been the perfect storm candidate. An extraordinary gifted athlete, maniacally driven on a Cobb or Rose level, meeting up with the most advanced level of PED cocktails, coupled up with a variety of other issues that benefited hitters, including but not limited to a smaller strikezone, and maybe even juiced baseballs.

      I find it interesting when I hear Bob Costas talk about steroid usage, he has now added into his narrative and preamble recognition of thinner-handled bats, smaller parks, body armor, expansion and the smaller strike zone as reasons contributing in some “small way” to the increase in hitting, while adding that “by far and away” steroids were the main factor in the hitting explosion (he rarely talks about pitchers taking PEDs). Really, Bob, how have you decided that? He has made up him mind, so he hears the other arguments not to consider them, but to acknowlege they exist so he can then quickly dismiss them. It’s a simple debating tactic.

      He might be right, but as he’s added in these new points, his overall position hasn’t evolved. In that way, he’s no different than most.

  27. Mussina, Martinez, Larkin

    Mike Mussina is 20th all time in career WAR for pitchers, yet he continues to be overlooked.

    Edgar Martinez was such a great hitter, yet he can’t sniff anything close to the support that Frank Thomas got. Personally, I’d probably take Edgar over Thomas if I were building a team.

    Barry Larkin is the greatest combination of speed, power, hitting for average, and fielding, that the shortstop position has ever seen

  28. Are you drawing a line at the start of the live-ball era? If you aren’t, you have to rate Honus Wagner well over Barry Larkin in all the categories you list above.

    Larkin hit twice as many HR as Wagner, but for his era (1897-1917) Wagner has as much power as anyone; Larkin finished in the seasonal Top-10 in SLG just twice, never in Extra Base Hits; Wagner finished in the Top-10 in both of these almost every full year that he played. Also, I’d rate A-Rod as a better all-around shortstop than Larkin before he moved to third. Yount was right up with Larkin for a few years, except for the SB.

    • Yeah, I guess I was thinking live-ball era without realizing it. Wagner was SO GOOD — Basically in a different stratosphere.

      Yount was a terrific SS, but I considered the fact that he never played the position after his age 28 season, while Barry compiled 33.8 WAR between his age 29 and 35 seasons.

      As for the other guy you mentioned? Sorry, but I can’t even utter his name anymore.

    • Sid was certainly one of the most unusual pitchers of modern baseball.
      Lowest Career BA Against, 1946-2012 (min. 1000 IP):
      Sid Fernandez .2046
      Sandy Koufax .2052
      Nolan Ryan .21098
      Trevor Hoffman .21103
      J.R. Richard .21199

      • birtelcom: My PI search showed slightly different results.

        Nolan Ryan–.204
        Sandy Koufax–.205
        Sid Fernandez–.209
        Mariano Rivera–.210
        Trevor Hoffman–.211
        J.R. Richard–.212
        Andy Messersmith–.212

        • You are right, Richard, thanks for the catch — I inadvertently had the “NL Only” criteria selected when doing the Play Index run. So my numbers are for NL pitchers since 1946, yours are for the majors as a whole.

  29. I decided to take over Hartvig’s role of voting on the last day. I’m going with two strategic votes and one shout out vote.

    1) Larkin – he’s barely above the 25% threshold and I’d like to help keep him above it.

    2) Alomar – Not sure he can make it above 25% but I have to try.

    3) Devon Whyte – A vastly underappreciated player. Career highlights include:
    a) 44.2 career WAR
    b) Three straight seasons of 6+ WAR
    c) Seventeen seasons in the majors and 0 seasons of negative WAR
    d) Starter on 3 World Series winners
    e) Career playoff OPS of .815 (in 211 PAs), 76 points higher than his regular season OPS.

    And yes, Whyte is the correct spelling of his last name:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/09/white-or-whyte-hes-still-devo

    • The 1992 Blue Jays must be baseballs way of flipping the bird at us stat geeks. Not only did they manage to win the World Series and finish a close second in the league in runs scored in spite of having Whyte/White and his .303 OBP batting leadoff in every one of his 153 games they of course also had SABR favorite Joe Carter and his .309 OBP batting 3rd in all of his 158 games. And the cherry on top of it all was Jack Morris leading the pitching staff.

      Two-thirds of your ballot was exactly the same as mine was and would still have been. I’m not sure at this point if I would have given Edgar the extra cushion he has or done something different with my 3rd vote.

      • Hartvig: How the heck did that ’92 Jays team finish 9th in ERA???

        I count 9 guys who had legitimate careers as ML starters:

        Morris: 39.3 WAR
        Key: 46.1 WAR
        Guzman: 22.6 WAR
        Stottlemyre: 18.6 WAR
        Stieb: 53.5 WAR
        Wells: 49.4 WAR
        Hentgen: 30.3 WAR
        Cone: 58.2 WAR
        Leiter: 39.7 WAR

        In the bullpen, there were 4 guys who had 30+ save seasons: Henke, Ward, Timlin, Weathers. Plus Mark Eichhorn who had 18.4 career WAR.

        So that’s 14 pitchers in total who had legitimate major league careers. That HAS to be some sort of record. And yet somehow they seemed to have most of these guys before or after their peak which is why they probably finished 9th in ERA (though their ERA+ was 104 which was 6th in the AL).

        • 199 pitchers have totaled at least 30 career WAR since 1901. The 1992 Blue Jays are indeed the team with more of those pitchers than any other team since 1901. They are the only team that had seven of those guys pitch for them. Teams that had six: The Yankees of 1979 and 1980, 1996 and 1997, and 2005; the 1998 Red Sox; the 1991 Blue Jays; the Cubs of 1939, 1940 and 1941; and the Tigers of 1941.

          • Ha, I originally wrote “win shares” in this comment before correcting it to WAR. Bill James is forever.

        • And amazingly only Morris (who had a typical Morris year) could really be considered old at 37. Henke and Stieb were next at 34- Henke was effective & Stieb was not.
          Hentgen was the youngest at 23 by 2 years and was ineffective out of the bullpen. Everyone else was between 25 & 31 and should have been near their prime. Besides Morris, among the starters only Guzman-who was outstanding- and Key could have been considered to have a decent year. Everyone else was poor to terrible and they actually had to trade Jeff Kent to obtain Cone in late August to bolster their starting rotation. NOT something you would expect to have to do with those pitchers on the roster.

        • Amazing—I started writing a piece on the ’92 Blue Jay staff for my homepage about three weeks ago, finished most of it, then got sidetracked by other stuff. I approach them in a slightly different way: most individual seasons (for any team, at any time) with a WAR of 4.0+. I count 44 on the ’92 Jays, which, at least post-war (no pun intended), I think is a record. But I only did a quick comparison with Bleacher Report’s 10 Greatest Staffs Ever—that’s the part I still have to finish.

        • I just remember feeling detached from the outcome of the 1992 World Series because that Blue Jays team seemed so overloaded with talent. It seemed virtually impossible for the Braves to have won, so I didn’t have as much emotional investment in that Atlanta team as the ’91 one.

          Looking back at the box scores, the Series was closer than I remember.

          Ultimately the Braves, in a pattern that would repeat itself for many years, were not undone by the strength of their pitching (they had a 2.65 ERA in the ’92 Series) but by a lack of offense. Deion Sanders was the only Brave with an OPS over .750 against the Jays, as Prime Time posted a 1.255 OPS with 5 steals.

          This is interesting: Jack Morris in the ’92 Series was 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA. Despite his 21-6 regular season record, Smoltz and Glavine both got a win over Morris in the World Series that year.

          And I’d forgotten how good of a start to his career Juan Guzman had. Although his ERA+ didn’t suggest a dominant pitcher, Guzman was 41-11 at one point of his career early in ’94.

          • I finally finished something I was writing on the ’92 Jays’ pitching staff—the link doesn’t take, but you can get there by clicking on my username.

          • Thanks for sharing Phil! Good read!

            I had never seen the “triple play” before. Not sure why Gruber held onto the ball and tried to run down Sanders himself as opposed to throwing back to second.

          • Actually that whole “triple play” was filled with bad baseball decision making:

            1) Pendleton running full out and not waiting to see if the ball was caught.

            2) The cutoff man needlessly throwing over to first in an attempt to get Pendleton out (this was needless because Pendleton was already out by virtue of having passed Sanders on the basepath).

            3) Sanders did the right thing by staying on second to see if the ball would be caught. But then he stupidly broke for third when the cutoff man threw over to first. Which is how he ended up in a run down.

            4) And as I already mentioned, Gruber trying to run Sanders down by himself rather than throwing back to second.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WU8ZTzinr8

          • Thanks, Ed. I don’t know—I think Gruber did what you’re supposed to do in a rundown, which is to run directly at the runner and try to minimize the number of throws. The more you start tossing it back and forth, the more likely it is someone makes an error.

          • Maybe Phil but take into consideration that Gruber was trying to chase down one of the fastest men in the world. Plus he was pretty far behind him. Sure he made the tag (which the ump missed) but I think if that play were replayed 100 times, Gruber only tags Sanders 5 times. The throw to second would have had much higher odds of succeeding in my opinion.

          • Yes, fun stuff on your blog, Phil.

            I’ll disagree also, Ed.

            Your #2 point: I don’t think the cut-off man would be aware that Pendleton had passed Sanders on the basepaths. Someone else in the Jays infield was likely yelling, “First, first!”, telling the cut-off man to fire to first immediately to double off Pendleton. The out call on Pendleton likely happened too quickly for vocal instruction to be changed to tell the cut-off man to simply hold the ball.

            Also, the “needless” throw to first actually created the (potential) third out. Had the cut-off man simply held the ball, it would have only been a double play because Sanders wouldn’t have broken for third.

            I also agree with Phil on the rundown. You’re supposed to run the baserunner back to the bag and minimize the number of throws back and forth. Deion Sanders is the type of guy who was fast enough to survive a protracted rundown, and with every additional toss you throw into the mix, the chance of a mishap grows larger and larger. I like Gruber’s decision to just end the play right there.

            I think Gruber made the right play, although I find it hard to fault the ump for missing that call. It’s not patently obvious upon first look at the video whether or not Gruber tagged his ankle.

            Also, the catch by DEVO! Just wow. He’s centerfield royalty to me.

          • I think the other thing with running directly towards the runner is that you’re either trying to freeze him in place, or get him to commit to the previous base. But I agree that Sanders’ speed might factor into such a split-second decision.

            I wasn’t alive for Willie’s catch in ’54, so I always name Dwight Evans’ catch off Morgan in ’75 as the best I’ve ever seen in a Series, with Devo’s runner-up.

          • I agree Bstar that #2 is a bit iffy. Obviously the cutoff man had to react quickly.

            We’ll have to agree to disagree re:Gruber. He was very lucky to barely touch Sanders.

    • Now it gets interesting- 4 players right at 25%. Eight guys in line for 2 years extensions and a 9th guaranteed 1 year.

      But will it stay that way?

      • Hartvig– the percentages make it look otherwise, but it would be nearly impossible for Edgar Martinez to fall short. Two of his 8 voters would have to be so careless as to drop him from their ballots. That’s just not happening. *knocks on wood*

          • That’s right, I forgot. So then Edgar IS safe now. The question is: will everyone in line for a 2-year extension get it? Could Alomar and/or Smoltz squeak a 2-year extension in as well? Smoltz probably doesn’t need it, but Alomar certainly does (although I expect him to be a leading candidate in the next round).

      • The eight who are in line for 2-year extensions are separated by less than 5% of the vote. With Donnie Mattingly and Jimmy Key the best new players on the next ballot, the 1961 ballot will represent the closest vote in COG history, and the winner will have the lowest vote total of any inductee up to this point.

  30. Wow. This year fills me with nostalgia for the time when I had most engaged with baseball as a youth, and that was following the ’92 and ’93 Jays (what else is a kid from Canada supposed to do?) Specifically, there are a TON of players that I had on my team in the season mode of Sega Genesis’ World Series Baseball – Devon White, Darnell Coles, Tony Fernandez… so awesome. I, probably, still in my old room at my parents’ house have a scrapbook of stuff from my childhood, which undoubtedly includes a colour photo of Kelly Gruber hitting for the cycle, which was notable in that it was the first colour photo my hometown newspaper (in Winnipeg) had ever run. I remember proudly cutting it out and pasting it in my book. Kelly Gruber had a cool name.

    I dunno if the nostalgia hit an emotional chord and caused me to use totally childish reasoning in assessing these players, but my voting is all out of whack this round:

    – Curt Schilling: you know how much Roger Clemens bugs me? Well, this vote should tell you. I don’t even know why, it’s certainly not the PED stuff, although that’s a reason to pile on. It’s not the ‘300’ game glove that John Autin pointed out, but that’s probably a symptom of what makes me dislike him. I just have this massive, massive dislike of Roger Clemens that is completely blocking my ability to be objective about this vote. So, despite my generally solid rational self, despite my ability to generally overlook PED and non-playing field stuff in assessing a player’s career (see my 1964 vote on Bonds for example), despite my established criteria of voting for the best player in one of my 3 votes, I’m throwing a vote towards a player who I don’t even think is the best (or second best) on the ballot. He doesn’t need my vote to stay on or reach 25% or anything, and I think he’s an objectionable human being. But you know what? I’m voting for Schilling, because in my mind, imagining Roger Clemens realizing that I’m voting for a total a-hole who’s a worse pitcher than him and who doesn’t need my vote just to show him how much I want to spite him… well, imagining that brings me pleasure.

    That’s how much Roger Clemens bugs me.

    Larry Walker – I’ll continue to believe he’s underrated and deserves to be on the ballot, but perhaps this round is a good time to admit to myself that possibly a large part of that is because when I was a teenager he was THE player to cheer for if you were Canadian after the Jays stopped winning.

    Roberto Alomar – you had to know THAT was coming. A crucial part of the ’92-’93 Jays (although I remember him much, much better for a terribly emotionless appearance in a frozen juice commercial that was played all the time where he held this can of juice and said ‘catch the taste’), I’m ambivalent about this vote from a strategic sense because part of me wants to see how long Robbie can go by hanging on one ballot at a time, because he’s got a lot of supporters here, and I know my vote will possibly put him over 25%. But what the hell, Robbie’s been working hard, he needs a break!

    I doubt the nostalgia wave I’m feeling will last until the year Joe Carter was born, don’t worry.

      • That didn’t catch on now, did it? At least that’s the first I’ve ever heard of McCain Punch- unless you count his VP choice which was more like punch in the… well, you get the idea.

        This pretty much closes the door on Fred McGriff, I think. Glavine, Alomar & Larkin can adsorb 2 more votes and stay at 25%. Smoltz would need one of them to get there but he’s extended farther than anyone already, I think. I doubt there are enough ballots to put anyone with 19 votes at risk of falling below 25% but there were 88 ballots in 64 so who knows.

        • Well, McCain is a pretty big food/beverage company in Canada, so that was the target audience. I think it wasn’t much of a Stateside thing.

          I was thinking of voting for McGriff, but I threw him a sentimental vote the previous round, and I really don’t think he deserves to be in the CoG, despite the fact that I’m rooting for him in the HoF. Maybe if he stayed with the Jays a couple more years I would’ve voted for him this round.

  31. Well this ballot is almost done, and as it should be Roger Clemens will be inducted this round to the Circle of Greats. This brings up year 61′ the year of the Mantle/Maris show and 61′ home runs. For those thoroughly against steroids and/or PED’s and still believe that this should be the all time season home run record. And for those purist that still like 60 in 27′ when the Babe played in only 151 games. But regardless of this, my question is: will Schilling with 30 votes make the Circle of Greats or will someone else step up to take his place (IE Larry Walker, Mike Mussina) or how bout Donnie baseball? Im putting my money on Mattingly, IMO he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and should be in the Circle of Greats class of 61′? Far more deserving then Schilling, Walker or Mussina but will probably finish with 30 something votes just besting Schilling by +7.

  32. I’ve finally caught up to the project, so here’s my first vote that’s actually OFFICIAL.

    For the 1962 election, I’m voting for:
    –Roger Clemens
    –Edgar Martinez
    –Roberto Alomar

    Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):
    -Biggio (He’s still temporarily off my ballot, but I hope I can go back to voting for him at some point. Maybe next round.)
    –Mussina
    -Smoltz
    -Schilling
    -Walker
    -Glavine
    -Larkin

    I wish he would get more consideration in the actual Hall of Fame voting, but I couldn’t really consider him here:
    –McGriff

    Sentimental favorite former Brewers:
    –Kevin Seitzer (When he was on the Royals, he lived around the corner from my aunt & uncle’s house. As a kid, I thought that was so cool. Then when he came to the Brewers, it was even cooler.)
    -Dan Plesac
    -Bill Wegman

    Odd to see on the list, cause he still played in 2012:
    -Jamie Moyer (Is he the only player we’ve considered who might technically still be considered an “active” player?)

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