Circle of Greats 1963 Ballot

This post is for voting and discussion of the sixth round of voting for the Circle of Greats, which adds players born in 1963. 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 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, January 26th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Thursday, January 24th.

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: 1963 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-1963 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 1963 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.

John Smoltz (eligible through 1958)
Tom Glavine (1960)
Mike Mussina (1960)
Curt Schilling (1960)
Craig Biggio (1961)
Larry Walker (1962)
Barry Larkin (1962)
Roberto Alomar (1963)
Kenny Lofton (1963)

Everyday Players (born in 1963, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Fred McGriff
Shawon Dunston
Edgar Martinez
Pat Borders
Bobby Bonilla
Mark McGwire
Paul O’Neill
Ken Caminiti
Mike Stanley
Dante Bichette
Lance Johnson
Walt Weiss
John Cangelosi
Cecil Fielder
Mike Devereaux
Mariano Duncan
Lenny Dykstra
Mike Greenwell
Darrin Jackson
Ron Karkovice
Jose Oquendo
Luis Polonia
Bip Roberts
Dale Sveum
Daryl Boston
Jim Leyritz
Matt Nokes
Craig Shipley
Damon Berryhill
Mark Carreon
Felix Fermin
John Marzano

Pitchers (born in 1963, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Randy Johnson
David Wells
Terry Mulholland
David Cone
Jeff Fassero
Jeff Brantley
Eric Plunk
Norm Charlton
Ed Nunez
Rich Rodriguez
Bruce Ruffin
Chris Bosio
Doug Henry
Mark Leiter
Scott Bankhead
Tony Castillo
Marvin Freeman
Rich Monteleone

219 thoughts on “Circle of Greats 1963 Ballot

  1. 1
    Brandon says:

    Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Barry Larkin

  2. 2
    Insert Name Here says:

    I think the Paul O’Neill link is broken…

    • 5
      birtelcom says:

      Yes, I tried both b-ref’s automatic linker and a hand created link, but they won’t seem to work. You can go to the O’Neill page yourself though — the page itself seems to work.

  3. 3
    Mike HBC says:

    I’m finally dropping my Smoltz/Glavine ballot, though don’t be surprised to see it return soon (since I’m assuming Randy will win here, and there isn’t a single new candidate I care to vote for come ’62 or ’61).

    I’m going with Big Unit, Smoltzy, and John Marzano… I mean Barry Larkin. I have most certainly never heard of John Marzano.

  4. 4
    Dr. Doom says:

    Randy Johnson
    Curt Schilling
    Larry Walker

    In spite of all the discussion on the other thread, I’m still stumping for Walker here. I’d rather see us get a rightfielder at this point than have the 3rd (or 4th or 5th) best pitcher on the ballot get another vote.

  5. 6
    Insert Name Here says:

    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 PED users such as Mark McGwire.

    That said, and after running my method on all these players I end up with:

    1. Randy Johnson (8.1 WAR/162 during 13-yr peak of 1993-2005)
    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. Kenny Lofton (6.5 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1992-99)
    6. Mike Mussina (6.0 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)
    7. 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)
    8. Craig Biggio (5.6 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1991-99)
    9. Edgar Martínez (6.1 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1995-2001)
    10. Fred McGriff (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1988-92)
    Honorable Mentions for Roberto Alomar and Tom Glavine.

    • 165
      Insert Name Here says:

      I’m making a last-chance strategic change, as I have done before, and hoping it is noticed in the remaining hour or so before the vote-change deadline.

      It’s a shame that Kenny Lofton is about to be dropped here, so I’m to “go down with the ship” for him (as so many here claim to be doing for Alomar, although it appears that he’s getting through) by dropping Randy Johnson, now that I can’t be the one blamed for preventing his unanimity.

      So, my final vote: Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, Kenny Lofton.

      I also considered throwing McGriff in for one of the other two, but I have decided that I don’t think it’s worth it.

      • 166
        birtelcom says:

        I’ve got your change. And even if I missed it tonight, it’s the time you submit your comment, not the time I catch it, that counts.

      • 168
        bstar says:

        Not to copycat, inh, but I was thinking of the same move a few days ago when I saw Lofton’s low vote total. I don’t see much of a distinction between all those guys with 10-16 votes and Lofton. In fact, Lofton would have been my fifth pick in this round.

        So as not to completely mimic inh’s move, I’ll switch out my vote for Schilling and go with my final three as: RJ, Glavine, Lofton.

  6. 7
    e pluribus unum says:

    I think Johnson is inevtable, and I’m sticking with Smoltz.

    As for my third vote, although I’m a little hesitant to go with all pitchers and Larkin and Walker are particularly tempting, I’m moving off Mussina (my last round #3) and going with Schilling. My reasoning? Well, far from being put off by ideology and its bold expression, I can’t help but think that any guy who can flog a sock for $100K – $1M has to be the ultimate expression of the American Dream, at least one night’s experience of it. Donald Trump couldn’t carry his laundry, and people have been begging Trump to put a sock in it for years.

    And I have to admit that on the mound, I always admired Schilling’s act.

  7. 8
    Mike says:

    Randy Johnson

  8. 9
    RJ says:

    Shawon Dunston: 1814 games, 18 seasons… 9.1 WAR. Ouch. 1.3 WAR produced in last ten years of career. Double ouch.

    • 40
      • 67
        RJ says:

        I know, I just never realised quite how badly WAR treats him. And he could have been a ridiculously unlikely hero for SF in 2002, hitting the go-ahead home run in game six of the WS before certain unfortunate and not to be spoken of events took place.

        Anyway, never fear Duston fans, it appears his identically named son is in the Cubs farm system, hitting at Papa Dunston-esque averages.

        • 68
          Ed says:

          Does WAR treat Dunston badly? Or was Dunston just a bad player. His BB/K rate is the 2nd worst in MLB history, behind only Miguel Olivo. His walk rate is the 7th worst in MLB history. And he was a poor fielder. About the only thing he did well was run the bases (despite a poor stolen base %). Obviously he was “better than replacement”, particularly in his early years, but he was never very good.

          • 70
            RJ says:

            Perhaps I phrased that poorly. I agree with you that Dunston was bad, but, to play devil’s advocate, his oWAR of 18.3 in his first 13 seasons suggests a below average player, even a poor one, but not a abysmally awful one. He gets killed on fielding value though.

            To reiterate, I am with you on this. His career WAR/162 is less than 1…

          • 83
            bstar says:

            Yeah, Dunston is third-worst all-time for shortstops in fielding runs at -93. Second worst is Chris Gomez at -114, then a precipitous drop to El Capitano at -231 (to save some face for Jete here, he does have 2500+ games played at the position).

          • 124
            brp says:

            No, he wasn’t, but he was still part of that Cubs infield that defined my formative baseball-fan years, so he’s always got a soft spot for me.

            Dunston was never terrible but he probably shouldn’t have been an every-day player for years on end, either.

          • 163
            RJ says:

            Through their age 28 seasons, Shawon Dunston had more WAR than… Randy Johnson.

          • 190
            Michael Sullivan says:

            “(to save some face for Jete here, he does have 2500+ games played at the position).”

            there’s also the part where the list of players who’ve produced more career offensive value from the 6-hole is as follows:

            Honus Wagner.

            That’s it. That’s the list.

            The only others who are even close are Arky Vaughan and A-rod (who admittedly would certainly have surpassed Jeter if he had stayed at short).

          • 191
            bstar says:

            Michael, I wrote that to ensure people didn’t get the idea that Jeter is BY FAR the worst fielding shortstop ever. I was trying to downplay the fact that Jeter has more than twice as many negative fielding runs than any other shortstop. It was not an attempt to put him down.

            I’m a fan of his also.

        • 69
          birtelcom says:

          Still the Cubs’ only #1 overall draft pick, Shawon Dunston (Sr.) is closest in career WAR among #1 overall picks to Ron Blomberg, the #1 overall pick in 1967 (Yankees), whose career WAR was 8.6.

    • 62
      oneblankspace says:

      Sha-won was playing third base for the Cardinals at the last Major League game I saw before I left St Louis. With the bases loaded and a 1-0 Cardinal lead in the 7th, he came in to field a bunt. He then threw to third base. The umpire called it fair as it rolled down the line, and two runs scored on the play — actually 3 when I look it up.

      Later that game, he reached base, but was doubled off. I think he had passed second base on a flyout to right field.

  9. 10
    David Horwich says:

    Randy Johnson, Larkin, Glavine.

    Dartboard choices after RJ (with an ever-expanding dartboard). I can’t justify Glavine over the other holdover pitchers on analytic grounds, but he was a personal favorite.

  10. 11
    Mike L says:

    Randy Johnson first, and then using INH’s methodology (bent a little to my own preferences), Larkin and Mussina. I pick Larkin over Walker because I mentally discount Walker just a bit for his Colorado years and as Larkin and Walker’s WAR per/162 is an identical 6.5 over 12 years, I’ll give Larkin the nod. As for Mussina over Schilling, I acknowledge Schilling’s peak is higher (7.3 WAR/162 over 6.0/162), but Mussina’s peak is over 12 years, while Schilling’s, even adjusted for the relief year, is over six. To my way of thinking, Mussina has greater value because he sustained a high level of performance over a considerably longer period.

    • 35
      Insert Name Here says:

      Interesting thoughts, Mike. I’ll admit that as a Red Sox fan, I have a bit of a personal preference for Schilling over Mussina (at least in terms of their baseball careers), although I actually dropped Schilling last round as a strategic measure to support both Larkin and Walker, although I tend to support Walker over Larkin because it seems that Walker gets less support (probably for the same reason that you prefer Larkin).

  11. 12
    Luis Gomez says:

    Randy Johnson, Roberto Alomar, Larry Walker.

    Some side notes.
    1. Is it just me that, whenever I read a former player´s name, an image of some of his baseball cards just rush to my head.
    2. Two things I remember the most about Larry Walker. The first is a laser he threw to first from right field, to nail a batter and deny him a base hit. The other, seeing him batting right-handed against fellow candidate Randy Johnson.
    3. Speaking of Johnson, that poor bird in Arizona… unbelievable.
    4. I truly believe Edgar Martinez belongs in the actual Hall of Fame, but I don´t think he is above any of the players I voted for.
    5. My Mexicali Aguilas just earned a ticket to the Mexican Pacific League Championship Series (not that anybody cares, but I´m so happy about it, I have to share it) 🙂

    • 13
      RJ says:

      Regarding point 5, congratulations Luis! Looks like you’ve got a tough matchup coming up, how do you fancy your chances?

    • 25
      birtelcom says:

      Congrats — nice to see some real, live baseball excitement.’s play-by-play for yesterday’s big Game 7 win by the Aguilas is here:

    • 27
      birtelcom says:

      By the way, Circle of Greats inductee Mike Piazza played for the Aguilas (

    • 34
      John Autin says:


      • 55
        Luis Gomez says:

        Muchas Gracias a todos!

        RJ, the Ciudad Obregon Yaquis is Mexicali´s next opponent. They are the two-time defending Champions, and won the Caribbean Series in 2011. They are a great team, even though they finished the season in 4th place overall, while Aguilas came at 2nd.

        The pitching ace of the Yaquis rotation is current Royals starter Luis Mendoza, the closer is Baltimore´s Luis Ayala, and have very consistent lineup with former major leaguers Alfredo Amezaga and Barbaro Canizares.

        Mexicali´s lineup includes former or current Major Leaguers, SS Yunieski Betancourt, OF Ruben Rivera, Closer Oscar Villareal, SP Jorge Campillo and IF Oscar Robles.

        The Series start tomorrow at 7:30 P.T. in Casas Geo Stadium, here in Mexicali, where 18,000 fans (me, among them, of course) will be watching from the stands. This may be minor league players, but is major league excitement.

        Birtelcom, Future Major Leaguers to play for Mexicali includes Piazza, Albert Belle, Johnny Gomes, John Kruk, Dereck Bell, Fernando Valenzuela, among others.

        Play Ball!!

    • 54
      Hub Kid says:

      Huzzah for championship baseball in January!

  12. 14
    Alex Putterman says:

    Johnson, Mussina, Glavine

  13. 15
    Phil says:

    Johnson, Glavine, and, for the last time, Alomar.

  14. 16
    Nash Bruce says:

    Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Alomar(somewhat due to the fact that because he is about to walk the plank).
    Man oh man did I want to give Gar’s vote to McGriff though. Nice long 7-8 ish year peak. Does anyone still remember the mad scramble to pick him up when the Padres were trying to dump him in ’93?
    I feel as though McGriff is generally remembered as a steady compiler but there was definitely a ‘Wow’ factor associated with him, for quite awhile.
    (Plus he played the field……)

  15. 17
    Tom says:

    Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina

  16. 18
    Jeff Harris says:

    Randy Johnson

  17. 19
    bstar says:

    Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Tom Glavine

  18. 20
    Baltimorechop says:

    Larkin randy schilling

  19. 21
    koma says:

    Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Mike Mussina

  20. 22
    Raphy says:

    Randy Johnson
    Tom Glavine
    Barry Larkin

  21. 23
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson

  22. 24
    BryanM says:

    Unit, bloody Sock, Booger– the last choice could as well have been Larkin Biggio or Mussina; The top two are clear, at least in my mind ; there have been some suggestions that Walker benefitted from the Coors effect, and that’s true – but his WAR supposedly adjusts for that – might be not enough of an adjustment, might be too much, but I’m convinced that his speed and defense are both underestimated – indeed , I see #5 #9 and #2 as positions that are hard to fill with good defense and good offense with 12 and 13 man pitching staffs – so they all get a little boost in my book for seasons since about 1995

  23. 26
    Ed says:

    1) Randy Johnson

    2) Roberto Alomar – Still don’t understand his lack of support relative to other candidates.

    3) Edgar Martinez – Perhaps an odd choice since I wasn’t happy about the Frank Thomas selection. But here’s the thing. I really don’t see much difference between Thomas and Martinez. Same position, same league, same time period. Thomas has a bit more WAR, but it took him 1,400 more PA’s to get that little bit extra WAR. So I’m confused about the lack of support for Edgar viz a viz the support Thomas received. If Thomas deserves election to the Circle of Greats, then Edgar at least deserves to stay on the ballot for several years.

    • 39
      Artie Z says:

      Thomas had about 1400 more PAs than Edgar – 1401 to be exact. That’s about two full seasons. I’m ignoring defense for the moment – I don’t think anyone will argue that Edgar’s 600 games in the field (mostly at 3B) is much different from the almost 1000 that Thomas played at 1B as neither was a defensive wizard.

      Thomas hit 212 more HRs than Edgar, scored 275 more runs, and drove in 443 more runs in those two extra seasons. He walked 384 more times. Cut those numbers in half to represent a full season and that’s quite a lot of catching up Edgar has to do. Edgar did have some advantages – he hit a few more doubles and triples, grounded into less double plays, stole a few more bases with a little bit better success rate. But it takes a lot of that to make up for 212 HRs and 384 walks, and those stats that favor Edgar come nowhere close to making up that difference.

      While Thomas took more PAs to acquire his WAR, he may have increased his WAR if he had moved to DH earlier and played the field less. Looking strictly at oWAR, Thomas leads 75.9 to 62.9. On a 162 game basis it is
      5.295 to 4.959.

      Looking at black ink they are about equal, 21 for Thomas and 20 for Edgar. Looking at gray ink though Thomas has 200 points to Edgar’s 107. Most of Edgar’s black ink came in one fantastic season, 1995, though he did have other years where he led the league in meaningful categories, and I’m not trying to say Edgar’s a one year MVP wonder like Zoilo Versalles. But 1995 was a down year for Thomas, and looking at OPS+ (which Edgar led the league in), Edgar’s advantage is only a few points (185 to 179). Edgar beats Thomas 6.7 to 5.0 in WAR that year, but Thomas played 90 games in the field which almost certainly cost him about 0.7 dWAR (I’m still not quite certain how this translates into WAR). I say this because Edgar was a DH almost exclusively (he played 56 innings in the field) and he had a dWAR of -1.4, while Thomas played 772 innings in the field and had a dWAR of -2.1.

      Perhaps more importantly, and this gets to Lawrence’s point in comment 29, through his first 7.5 seasons (1990-1997), Thomas had an OPS+ of 182. That wasn’t his best season – it was his career OPS+ through 1000 games and almost 4800 plate appearances. From 1995-2001 Edgar played about the same number of games as Thomas did from 1990-1997, and Edgar’s OPS+ was “only” 164.

      Edgar Martinez was a fantastic player and I hope he gets into the real HOF. But I don’t see how he was as dominant as Thomas was.

      • 44
        Ed says:

        Artie Z – The issue as I see it is that you and Lawrence only want to count the areas where Thomas was better than Edgar and ignore the rest. Thomas was definitely a better hitter than Edgar, no doubt. But the advantage wasn’t that great. Thomas has a career OPS+ of 156, Edgar’s is 147. But baserunning and fielding are also important. Both were poor baserunners but Edgar was slightly “less poor” than Thomas. As for fielding, Thomas was a horrible first baseman while the defensive stats show that Edgar was actually a decent 3rd baseman.

        WAR shows it 69.7 to 64.4 in favor of Thomas despite Thomas’ longer career. Adam’s Hall of Stats has it 138 to 134 in favor of Thomas, ranking Thomas as the 80th best player of all time and Martinez as the 87th. There’s just not much difference between them despite what the HHS voting shows.

        • 47
          Lawrence Azrin says:


          I think that you are downplaying the difference in career OPS+; Martinez’s 147 places him 48th all-time, while Thomas’ 156 places him 22nd (including ties), much more rarefied territory.

          If you compare peak OPS+ for Artie Z’s #39 above, Martinez’ 1995-2001 of 164 would be about 500th for a single-season, while Thomas’ 1990-1997 of 182 is 160th-170th. I realize that this is comparing apples/oranges, but I am trying to make the point that Frank Thomas’ peak was considerably more “elite” than Edgar Martinez’.

          As you say, defense/baserunning narrows the margin ,but I think Frank Thomas still has a clear margin of superiority over Martinez, who is also great and deserving of consideration for our Circle-of-Greats honors.

          • 50
            Ed says:

            That could be Lawrence but what’s most important is overall contribution and things like WAR and Adam’s Hall of Stats shows very little difference between the two.

          • 58
            Artie Z says:

            Some further explanation as to why I think Thomas was more dominating:

            To look at some other stats, look at the page for win probability added. Throughout Thomas’ peak years there is black ink all over the place — batting runs, batting wins, WPA, WPA/LI, RE24, REW.

            Edgar has some black ink, but it’s concentrated in 1995 (with a WPA win in 1996). From 1990-1997 I think one can make a very convincing argument that Frank Thomas was the dominant offensive player in the game. I don’t think one can make that argument about Edgar during his peak.

            I did a PI search for Rbat from 1990-1997. Keep in mind that Thomas only played a half season in 1990 as he was a rookie. But Thomas comes out as the top player 458 Rbat. Bonds is at 436. The next player on the list is Jeff Bagwell, at 307. Edgar is 4th, at 301. Thomas had almost 50% more than the 3rd or 4th place guys.

            Looking at Edgar’s peak, 1995-2001, he is 2nd to Bonds with 379 Rbat (Bonds had 443). But there are many more players in the 300 and above group (Bagwell at 356, McGwire at 353, Manny, Sheffield, Piazza, Thome – Frank Thomas is 9th with 292, then it drops to Sosa with 266). Edgar’s just not nearly as far ahead as Thomas was, and Thomas during his peak was much further ahead of Edgar (458 to 301) than Edgar was to Thomas during Edgar’s peak (379 to 292). And yes, I know some of the years overlap.

            Frank Thomas was on another level as an offensive player during his peak. Edgar had a fantastic peak, but it’s just not that much ahead of other players during that time.

            And while I have been ignoring defense, Edgar played 4600 innings at 3B. That’s less than either Tony Perez or Harmon Killebrew or Dick Allen. Heck, that’s less than Cal Ripken played at 3B. It’s only about 700 more than Sheffield played at 3B. It’s just not that long of a time period (about 3 full seasons) to really factor into how I compare them, and Edgar didn’t actually play the field during his peak hitting years (7 games at 3B, 26 at 1B from 1995-2001). His rfield and innings totals look like Ken Oberkfell’s from 1981-1983 – is that enough to bring him that much closer to Thomas’ offensive numbers?

            The WAR numbers during the peak are 45.2 for Thomas to 38.6 for Edgar, and I still think Thomas’ numbers would be higher if he wasn’t penalized for playing the field, which he almost certainly was as Edgar’s oWAR during his peak was 38.8 (so his WAR fell 0.2 for being a DH) while Thomas’ was 50.6 (so his WAR fell 5.4 because he played the field). While it doesn’t look like much it is almost 1 WAR per year, which is a big difference in determining “Circle of Greatness”

            For overall contribution, is Sandy Koufax a viable Circle of Greater? His career WAR ranks 79th for pitchers. It’s below Bret Saberhagen (56 to 50.3) and Sabes only pitched 230 more innings than Koufax. Sabes has 36.8 WAA to Koufax’ 30.7 WAA. Saberhagen got no love in the 1964 ballot. Koufax will almost certainly get love in the 1935 ballot, though he might not win (Bob Gibson and Frank Robinson also appear on the ballot starting that year). But many people will look at his peak, during which he completely dominated, and vote for Koufax.

    • 151
      Ed says:

      Strategic vote change time. As great as Randy Johnson is, I prefer Maddux and don’t want Johnson to beat his %. So I’m dropping my Johnson vote in favor of Mussina.

      • 154
        Mike HBC says:

        Greg Maddux is my favorite baseball player of all-time, and along with Shaq, one of my two favorite athletes ever.

        With that said- and, obviously, you’re free to have a different opinion- I don’t give a crap what percentages people get in with, just who gets in. If Randy gets more support than Mad Dog, well, good for him. They’re both among the greatest pitchers ever, and they’ll both win induction in this little exercise. Nobody will remember who got what level of support- it’s completely irrelevant.

  24. 28

    Randy Johnson
    John Smoltz
    Mark McGwire

    It’ll be interesting to see if I’m the only McGwire vote…

  25. 29
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    Compare their peaks – I don’t think Martinez can match Frank Thomas from 1991-1997, which contains most of his “HOF-type” seasons. It’s more than just comparing WAR; Thomas was clearly the best all-around AL hitter those years, with many people putting him in nearly the same category as Ted Williams.

    • 30
      Lawrence Azrin says:

      My #29 was in reply to Ed’s #26.

    • 33
      Ed says:

      True Lawrence but many people on this site use WAR as a guide for their choices and their “WAR Peaks” are basically the same. Each has 8 seasons of 5+ WAR. Thomas’ best WAR was 7.0, Martinez’ was 6.7. Thomas was in the top 10 for WAR for position players 6 times, Martinez 7 times. I just don’t see a difference between them.

    • 45
      BryanM says:

      Frank was clearly a better hitter, a liability at first and an awful baserunner — Edgar was no Ozzie Smith, but he fielded a harder position competently for a few years , and was a little better runner – I make it a tie.

  26. 31
    latefortheparty says:

    Randy Johnson
    Larry Walker
    Curt Schilling

    Johnson is head and shoulders above the rest of this class. Not that he needs it, but I’ll point out that Walker has the best WAR, WAR7, JAWS and Hall of Stats rating among the position players, LoDo be damned. Schilling is in a WAR/WAR7/JAWS dogfight with Mussina and Glavine in which any one of them could be declared best. I’ll be interested to see how David Cone does since Bret Saberhagen, who has similar WAR and Hall of Stats score, was one and done.

  27. 32
    qx says:

    Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker

  28. 36
    DanFlan says:

    Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Smoltz

  29. 37
    Matt Taylor says:

    Randy Johnson. Biggio. Mussina.

  30. 38
    brp says:

    Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez.

  31. 41
    Artie Z says:


    Randy Johnson, Barry Larkin, and … I’ll stick with Roberto Alomar.

    Thinking this will be about as anticlimactic as the Maddux vote.

  32. 42
    Doug says:

    Johnson, Martinez, McGriff

  33. 43
    Brent says:

    R. Johnson, Alomar and Larkin

  34. 46
    T-Bone says:

    R. Johnson, Smoltz, Glavine

  35. 48
    birtelcom says:

    For those who wish to look back at the overall voting record for the various candidates over the previous rounds of Circle of Great balloting, there’s now a Circle of Greats Vote Summary available here: Sheet1 in this document shows raw vote totals for each round. Sheet2 shows the same votes in terms of the percentage of the ballots on which each player appeared during the round. I’ll update this page after each round.

    • 56
      Bells says:

      Hmm, is there some restriction on this sheet that is not on the yearly ones? I have had no trouble accessing those, but this link directs me to a page to request access to the file.

    • 90

      Piazza, Maddux, and Bonds stand out here as First Ballot Greats. I’ve never been a fan of the “first ballot Hall of Famer” distinction, since several players can get be elected in any given year and there are no rules guiding voters to treat first-ballot guys any differently. In the CoG, on the other hand, we had a choice between Piazza, Bagwell, and Thomas, and while all three ultimately got in, Piazza deserves some kind of distinction.

      It seems likely that we’ll have more First Ballot Greats than guys like Bagwell and Thomas, but with a handful of top-112 guys already lingering on the ballot, there will have to be a few more years like ’65, when one of these guys is better than any new entry.

  36. 49
    GrandyMan says:

    1) Johnson: No explanation necessary.

    2) Schilling: In past rounds, I have snubbed Schilling in favor of Mussina. The two are pretty close in WAR, so my decision was based mostly upon the personal prejudices that come with coming of age as a Yankees fan, in addition to my suspicions about Schilling’s late-career peak. However, further research has revealed three things that have compelled me to include him here:

    a) It is actually quite unlikely that Schilling juiced. His outspokenness on the issue leaves him with little to gain and, theoretically, everything to lose.

    b) I previously ignored his playoff performances – mostly because they all left a bad taste in my mouth – but these prove to be an important point of comparison.

    c) He accumulated similar value to Mussina in about 300 fewer innings. Mussina was no compiler, but Schilling was truly outstanding at his peak.

    3) Mussina: Except for the holdovers, this is a fairly thin ballot, and there aren’t any candidates on the bubble compelling enough for me to give them a “strategic vote.” I find that Mussina is still the best available player after Big Unit and Bloody Sock, so he gets my vote, then.

  37. 51
    Mo says:

    Johnson, Biggio, McGriff

  38. 52
    Gary Bateman says:

    Randy Johnson, Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina

  39. 53
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Roberto Alomar

    I’m going down with the ship on Alomar.

    • 59
      Ed says:

      Lawrence – We may disagree re: the relative merits of Thomas vs. Martinez, but I’m with you on Alomar. And it looks like Artie Z. is on the sinking ship as well.

      • 63
        Lawrence Azrin says:


        I do agree with you that Martinez was not a truly wretched fielder; rather, that he was moved to DH exclusively after 1994 because he kept getting seriously hurt playing the field. If he could’ve played third base most of his career at 3rd and not keep getting hurt, his rep might’ve similar to Chipper Jones, a decent fielder and truly great hitter (Jones’ OBA/SLG are close to Martinez).

        OTOH, Frank Thomas truly WAS a wretched fielder; his real position, like Harry Heilman, Babe Herman, Greg Luzinski, and Ralph Kiner before him, was “hitter”.

  40. 60
    Nadig says:

    Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson

  41. 61
    Hub Kid says:

    Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, David Cone

    An all pitching ballot, I couldn’t resist the first two as a combo, since they are in the “greatest 1-2 pitchers ever” discussion from those few seasons in Arizona. David Cone reminds me that I forgot to pull for Bret Saberhagen in the last round. Like Sabe, another very good pitcher with more than a few hints of greatness, I think.

  42. 65
    John Z says:

    Sort of a pedestrian ballot for 63′. But still no love for the Crime Dog? I’m not saying he deserves tons of votes here, but he deserves to stick around for a few more rounds. Even the 1 trick pony McGwire has 2 votes as of the time i write this. (and) what is it with all this love for Schilling?? I just don’t get it, a post season stud sure but (3) twenty win seasons and another (7) good seasons does not make a “circle of great” IMO. Anyway enough chatter, and the wife is telling me it is time to eat dinner. With that said my ballot this round looks like this;
    McGriff (Atleast 1 vote)
    Bon Appetit……………….

    • 72
      RJ says:

      Some arguments that have been made for Schilling (in comparison to other pitchers on the ballot):

      – Greater peak:
      – Greater rWAR/162 games:

    • 74
      bstar says:

      John Z, such are the perils of judging a man by the number of 20-win seasons he had.

      But is 3 20-win seasons for Schilling really a bad/unworthy number? We have to consider the context of the era Schilling pitched in. Especially in the second half of his career, 20-win seasons were becoming more of a rarity due to teams giving the #5 man in the rotation more starts than in the nineties.

      Looking at the era spanning Schilling’s career (1988-2007), only Tom Glavine with 5 and Roger Clemens with 4 have more 20-win seasons than Curt.

      • 76
        RJ says:

        Not to mention his years spent playing on a Phillies team that finished above .500 once between 1992 and 2000, a problem Glavine, Smoltz and co never had to encouter.

      • 111
        John Z says:

        Bstar and RJ you both make valid efforts to persuade my judgement of Schilling and I like Schilling I really do the only thing I am saying about Schilling is this, There is much love for this man and he was arguably the 6 or 7 best pitcher during his era behind household names like Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smotlz, and Mike Mussina, that would make Schilling #7 during his era but it could be argued that he is on par or just under par with the likes of David Wells, Kevin Brown and Pedro Martinez with only Martinez a slight bit more Circle of Greats deserving (IMO). The thing that sticks out about Schilling is of course his success in the post season, but again IMO and only my opinion apparently. #7 best in any era is not HOF or Circle of Great deserving, again IMO. Think about it like this, when and if the circle of greats reach those born in 1940, will you select Luis Tiant to the Circle of Greats? or will he even receive enough votes to stay on the ballot for future consideration with the likes of Ron Santo, Joe Torre and Willie Stargell on the 1940 ballot? In my opinion Tiant was the 6th or 7th best pitcher of his era behind the likes of Ryan, Seaver, Carlton, Palmer, Jenkins, (Neikro, Sutton, G.Perry) TIE, (Tiant, Catfish) Tie?

        • 112
          bstar says:

          I would personally rank Schilling higher on a list of pitchers in his era. Looking at it from a numerical perspective, here’s the ranking for rWAR, JAWS, and Hall of Stats for the seven pitchers you mentioned plus Kevin Brown and Pedro Martinez (Pedro doesn’t make your top 7 for this past era?). So we’ve got nine pitchers:

          Player name rWAR rank/JAWS rank/HOS rank = avg rank

          -R Clemens 1 / 1 / 1 = 1.0
          -G Maddux 2 / 2 / 2 = 2.0
          -R Johnson 3 / 3 / 3 = 3.0
          -PMartinez 4 / 4 / 4 = 4.0
          -M Mussina 5 / 6 / 6 = 5.7
          -Schilling 7 / 5 / 5 = 5.7
          -T Glavine 6 / 7 / 7 = 6.7
          -Kev Brown 9 / 8 / 8 = 8.3
          -J Smoltz 8 / 9 / 9 = 8.7

          Those are just SOME of the numbers, though.

          -Schilling and Smoltz have fantastic postseason resumes, while Pedro (0 ER and 5 hits allowed in 17 IP in ’99), Randy Johnson (co-MVP of 2001 WS), and Maddux (2.09 WSeries ERA in 9 starts) have had flashes of brilliance also.

          -It’s hard to not ding Clemens and Brown for steroids

          -Smoltz maybe should get credit for being an excellent closer for a few years.

          -Glavine pitched 1000 more innings than Schilling or Mussina and he has 80+ more wins than Bloody Sock.

          -Mussina was amazingly consistent over his career.

          -Maddux and Pedro’s peaks perhaps shined the brightest as they have 4 of the 10 best ERA+ seasons ever.

          Personally, I think Schilling is fifth-best from this era, but again that’s just my opinion.

        • 113
          RJ says:

          I can understand to an extent the argument that if a player is completely overshadowed by is contemporaries then he is less deserving of induction here. But fundamentally I think the arguments that I linked to are attempting to show that Schilling was in fact better than Glavine and Smoltz and definitely ahead of Brown, Cone and Wells.

          Further, the era Schilling played in featured an unusual amount of pitching talent; Clemens, Maddux and Johnson are among the top nine players in career pitching WAR. Schilling wasn’t as good as those guys, but then again, not many players are.

          • 114
            John Z says:

            I like your argument, it broadens my perspective when judging Schilling’s career. At this point I still have to respectively agree to disagree at this point, after your argument I went to BBREF to sort of try and find someone who had such a weird career curve, Schilling was either one of the best of the best or the worst of the worst, one year he would have 20 wins in 36 games and then the next season he goes down to 8 wins in 24 games and then gets traded and finds another 20 win season and a bloody sock in 32 games and back down to a 8 win season with 32 games with only 11 games started and 21 games finished?? There is more to this story then we know. Even Dave Stewart of those 80’s A’s team never won 20 games before he came to Oakland but at least he put together a span of 7 respectable seasons, the most respectable seasons Schilling ever put together were 3 with the lowly Phillies in the late 90’s (97-99) then he had 3 losing seasons and then all of a sudden finds some magic with the D’Backs in 01′ and 02′. Kevin Brown was above average consistent, David Cone was consistently average, even David Wells was consistently average. But, Schilling just never showed much consistency. Please prove me wrong, show me someone with such a strange career curve and prove to me he belongs in the Hall or even the Circle of Greats and I will be sold. I’ll give you this much, Schilling is by far the best veteran to ever be born in Alaska. He is like what the Babe is to Baltimore.

          • 117
            RJ says:

            A lot of Schilling’s “down” seasons are explicable by injury and as bstar pointed out above, win totals don’t do justice to Schilling, partly because of frequent injuries and partly for spending many years on an awful Phillies teams that simply didn’t do much winning.

            With respect to his seemingly topsy-turvy career, let’s take a look at that 2003 season, where due to injury he only started 24 games and won 8, having won 23 games the year before. He actually improved his ERA from the previous season to 2.95 and posted a career ERA+ best of 159. His SO/BB ratio was the best in the league and his WHIP was second best. His WAR was fifth best, despite being 47th in innings pitched. His W/L ratio doesn’t tell the whole story.

            Schilling’s value comes less come from wins and more from his impressive strikeout totals (his SO/BB ratio is the best of the modern era) and dominance when healthy. I admit his career is irregular, and not one that puts him heads and tails above the rest, but definitely one that requires a careful examination when put aside the likes of Glavine and co.

          • 118
            Mike L says:

            Stepping into Schilling argument, I would say his career stands on its own, and he’s probably going to make the “real” Hall of Fame. That being said, i”m leery of arguments that try to enhance his chances by excusing the blemishes, since I see that as a slippery slope easily applied to any player. His erratic performance, whether caused by injury or not, is just as much a part of his record as the highlights, and those down years were more than one. We just got through a discussion of Edgar Martinez, who gets demerits for not playing the field-because he was too easily injured. And, if we allow ourselves to fill in the blanks for his injuries, then we should do the same for Cone, Saberhagen and Oswalt, and all three might be Hall-worthy. As for playing in an era of other, greater pitchers, again, I don’t see that as relevant. Never did Schilling lack a nose for a camera or a microphone; I don’t think he suffered from underexposure, and arguing that there were better pitchers than he was certainly doesn’t strengthen the case.

          • 119
            bstar says:

            Cherry-picking a little here, but Curt Schilling has a 9 consecutive-year streak with a WAR of 4.7 or more and a 9 consecutive year streak with an ERA+ over 120.

            How is that an up and down career?

          • 120
            RJ says:

            Mike L, I’m not trying to give him credit for starts missed due to injury, more trying to point out that just because he only made twenty-something starts in a year and only got single-digit wins, it doesnt mean he performed badly. In 1996, 1999 and 2003 he only made 26, 24 and 24 starts respectively, but still accumulated 4.7, 4.7 and 5.8 WAR. I’m not assigning him any extra credit here, just saying that these partial seasons aren’t nearly as bad as they look at first glance going by starts or win totals or somesuch.

            To your point about playing in an era of greats not being relevant, I agree. I was specifically refuting John Z’s point that Schilling isn’t Hall/CoG worthy because there were better pitchers at the time. The other day we were talking about Duke Snider and how it may have taken him longer to reach the Hall because people were comparing him unfavourably to Mantle and Mays, which I consider unfair. Similarly, here I was trying to make the point that the excellence of Maddux et al doesn’t detract from what Schilling achieved.

          • 214
            John Z says:

            Ok, so i strategically waited until the last hours of the 63′ ballot, Schilling will garner 31 votes or just under 1/3 of the votes. Schilling had a nice career and an amazing post season career, but 31 votes out of 70 just does not cut it for me as a member or future member of the Circle of Greats. As someone mentioned earlier, due to the weak ballot in 61′ Schilling could slip into the Circle of Greats, but does he really belong there with the likes of Maddux, Johnson, Clemens, Carlton, Seaver, et al? The 51′ ballot will be pretty weak also, but I do not think Blyleven will get enough to join the Circle of Greats and IMO believe he is a better all around pitcher then Schilling, but is not on the same level as those pitchers I mentioned earlier.

          • 216
            Hartvig says:

            Even at this level we’re still going to have some stratification of talent. I’m guessing almost anyone on this site could pretty quickly rattle of candidates for the dozen best pitchers in history. But if we’re going to follow the Hall of Fame ratio of position players to pitchers it’s going to be roughly 80/30. And by the time you get to number 30 you’re really going to have to think hard about who’s better than who.

            Yes, everyone probably agrees that Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Pete Alexander belong but what about Three-finger Brown? How does he stack up against Whitey Ford? How does Old Hoss Radbourn compare to Jim Palmer? Is Dizzy Dean’s brief brilliance more deserving than Ted Lyons 2 decades of consistency?

            The question here is: are there 30 more deserving pitchers that these four (Schilling/Mussina/Glavine/Smoltz)? And I think the answer to that question is no, no, probably not and possibly not.

  43. 66
    Nick Pain says:

    The Big Unit, The Big (s)Chill, The Big gio.

  44. 71
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, John Smoltz

  45. 75
    Dalton Mack says:

    Randy Johnson
    Curt Schilling
    Kenny Lofton

    • 80
      Bells says:

      I was wondering if/when Lofton would get some love. I think he might run out of luck on this ballot, although I suppose with all the ballot extensions people may opt to vote for him instead… but I think his time on the ballot may be at an end, for now.

  46. 78
    Atlcrackersfan says:

    Tom Glavine
    John Smoltz
    Randy Johnson

  47. 79
    J.R. Lebert says:

    Biggio, Randy Johnson, Smoltz

  48. 81
    PP says:

    Johnson, Glavine, Mussina

  49. 82
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    My method is to pick the three guys who I would want if I were building a team.
    I want a sustained peak and skill sets that stand out from the pack.

    Randy Johnson
    Larry Walker
    Kenny Lofton

  50. 84
    Chris says:

    Martinez, Johnson, Smoltz

  51. 85
    bstar says:

    Greg Maddux was on 68 of 75 ballots (90.7%)in the 1966 vote. So far Randy Johnson is batting 1.000, 46 for 46.


    • 87
      Ed says:

      I’m surprised by that as well Bstar. I assume that the people who didn’t vote for Maddux did so for strategic reasons, choosing to give the vote to someone they wanted to keep on the ballot. But then why isn’t that happening to Johnson????

      • 88
        bstar says:

        I guess the strategic votes will start appearing after the logjam between Schilling/Glavine/Mussina/Larkin/Smoltz/Alomar/Walker/Biggio/Edgar starts to stratify a bit more clearly.

        Here’s the current breakdown (sorry, but I’m having a blast with this whole process):

        Schilling – 15 votes
        J Smoltz – 13
        T Glavine – 9
        B Larkin – 8
        R Alomar – 8
        L Walker – 8
        M Mussina – 8
        C Biggio – 8
        EMartinez – 8

      • 198
        Michael Sullivan says:

        because in Maddux’s year, there were 6-7 guys with a legit claim to COG level careers who would have been bumped with insufficient votes.

        This year there are two holdovers in danger, and nobody in the new class besides the big unit with a clear case. McGwire is borderline for the real hall, and took PEDs, IMO he doesn’t belong in the COG and has a worse case than any of the holdovers. And he’s the best of the new lot after RJ.

  52. 86
    Daniel Longmire says:

    This is STILL not getting any easier. My three cents, with brief explanations:

    1) Randy Johnson. Dominance + longevity + tremendous counting stats + fear factor = sure thing. The Glavine/Mussina/Schilling/Smoltz four-headed beast has, by this point, blurred into one equally-deserving player in my mind.

    2) Roberto Alomar. Some amount of strategy here, as he is walking the plank, but it’s difficult for me to believe that his multifaceted game can’t find a home in the Circle.

    3) Craig Biggio. Yes, that is two second basemen, but the logjam needs to be cleared at this position so that Larkin can get his rightful love in the next round. Also, he was useful at three different positions, which no one else on the ballot can claim.

    I don’t understand why everyone underrates Fred McGriff. Then again, I’ve been a fan for 25 years, and even I can’t make myself vote for him.

    I also don’t understand why I can’t bring myself to vote for Larry Walker at least once.

  53. 89

    Deepest field yet. Career Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Johnson 70.4
    Schilling 56.2
    Mussina 49.4
    Walker 48.6
    Larkin 45.5
    Glavine 42.2
    Martinez 41.6
    Smoltz 40.2
    Lofton 39.5
    McGwire 38.8
    Cone 38.7
    Alomar 37.3
    Biggio 36.7
    Wells 27.6
    McGriff 26.3

    I’d like to leave the Unit off to make room for my next three guys (and maybe Edgar, who was the best hitter on this ballot), but I can’t be the guy that blocks our first consensus pick.


    And if I ever run into 18-year-old me, I’m going to have a hard time explaining that David Cone was just as valuable throughout his career as Mark McGwire.

    • 92
      birtelcom says:

      It is indeed amazing how far McGwire’s reputation has fallen from its peak. When he was chasing the season home record, he was a superstar, famous not only among baseball fans but to the general, non-fan public, his performance provoking awe and his personality provoking admiration. The comparison was current between Babe Ruth re-legitimizing baseball after the Black Sox and the death of Chapman, and McGwire doing the same after the mid-1990s lockout/shutdown. Time and history do put things in perspective.

  54. 91
    Lee D says:

    Smoltz Glavine Johnson

  55. 93
    RBI Man says:

    Randy Johnson and Fred McGriff

    McGriff is the guy who should’ve gone in The Hall this year as one of the best power hitters minus steroids of his generation behind only The Big Hurt.

    McGriff was clean during the steroid era which means he is BETTER than his stats suggest and his stats are mostly better than HOFs McCovey and Stargel.

    10 years of 30 or more HR, 15 of 20 or more, 16 straight of 19 or more.

    Top 50 in runs/rbi combined (2,899)

    3rd in games played @ 1B

    503 HR counting his 10 playoff jacks

    In an era where guys are jumping from 20 to 70 seasonal HR Fred was plugging along around 28-37 every year for his entire career just like most of the 500 club prior to steroids.

    To me, he’d have well over 500 HR if he didn’t have to face juiced pitchers and than he’s easily a HOFer much like Eddie Murray.

    He takes a big hit in WAR because of his position and all of the contemporary juiced firstbasemen he is compared to.

    He’s a class guy who was in the lineup every day and one of the game’s great hitters.

  56. 94
    Richard Chester says:

    Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz

  57. 95
    Ed says:

    Anyone else notice the upcoming glut of middle infielders? We already have Larkin, Alomar and Biggio on the ballot. Assuming none of them wins in the “empty” year of ’61, they’ll be joined by Sandberg (’59), Trammell (’58), Whitaker (’57), Yount (’55), and Ozzie and Willie Randolph (’54). All nine of them have between 62.1 WAR (Biggio) and 73.0 WAR (Ozzie) so they’re all worthy of consideration but none of them is a slam dunk first ballot person. I have a feeling the ballot is going to be overloaded with middle infielders for years to come! (Ripken comes onto the ballot in ’60 but I assume he’ll be a first ballot inductee).

    • 100
      Hartvig says:

      Between the current/upcoming crop of MI’s plus our current crop of pitchers I suspect a goodly number will eventually have to be voted back on the ballot at some point

      • 102
        Hartvig says:

        I’ve actually been giving this vote back on the ballot quite a bit of thought.

        I don’t know at exactly how often we’re going to come across years like I think it’s 1961 is supposed to be where there are no obviously better qualified candidates who appear on the ballot so when to do this is still to be answered.

        Let’s just say 20 years down the road it becomes evident that some players already off the the ballot are approximately as well qualified as almost everyone coming up for the next couple of years.

        I can think of at least 3 ways to decide who are the first players reintroduced on the ballot.

        One would be just to use some numerical ranking: just WAR, Adams Hall of Stats, JAWS or something else or some combination of more than 1 and reinstate the top so many.

        Another would be to use some combination of previous years on the ballot and/or total votes received and do likewise.

        These 2 options could be used on multiple occasions as circumstances warrant.

        A third way would be to group the best qualified eligible candidates by position and revote on them again only this time either just 1 vote per person or by weighted ballots (3 pts. for 1st, 2 for second, etc). We may also need some sort of a wild card type vote or 2 since the second most qualified player at a few positions may be better qualified than the top player at another. Another thing to consider would be that if we do reintroduce that many players at one time we may have to grant them extended eligibility for a few years until the crowd is thinned out somewhat.

        I think that somewhere in the 1800’s we’ll probably have to consider this last option or some other alternative.

        What does everyone think?

        • 106
          Bells says:

          My thoughts,

          Of the options you laid out, I’d favour #2, as that’s the most directly related to the exercise we’re doing here, which is namely to have a ballot. I like the idea of carrying forward players on the ballot, and it’s fine if they drop off, but I kind of feel like what’s the point of having a ballot if you’re just going to reintroduce candidates on some measure not determined by us (ie. WAR). The ranking by position is interesting, but again, here we’re comparing players to players regardless of position, so I like keeping that aspect. That’s just me though.

          I’m sure birtelcom has some thoughts on this, so I’m interested in hearing them. When I’ve pondered this recently, I thought a couple of things:

          a) it doesn’t make sense to have the revote any time soon, because there will probably be guys on the ballot for a good 15-20 years that have beat out guys that will be voted back in, so I’d be asking what the point was on voting Kevin Brown back on if Glavine and Smoltz are still kicking around, for example.

          b) it doesn’t make sense to have the revote any time soon, because there are SO many good players going all the way back to about 1930. After that, there are still good players for sure, but my sense is that is about the time where the yearly fields are shallower, which makes sense because that’s about the time that guys were born whose careers were mostly played before expansion, therefore there were simply fewer players and by extension, fewer greats.

          c) it doesn’t sit entirely well with me to have to vote be entirely based off of a certain number of votes in previous ballots, because that would of course give the advantage to players who were born later and therefore on the ballot earlier. The easiest way I thought of would be, in a given year, to just include ALL the players that got one vote or more (or more than one vote to weed out quirky choices) on a certain ballot, as well as all the holdovers from previous ballots, and new players, and see what comes of that. I don’t know if that’s too messy, but it wouldn’t require a separate thread to vote people back in, and it would give a lot of guys a fair shot.

          Anyway, to sum up, I like a system that is based on our balloting process, that isn’t introduced for awhile (like, maybe in 1930 we can have ‘guys who were voted off before the 1950 vote’ reintroduced, and then in 1920 we can have ‘guys who were voted off before the 1940 vote’ reintroduced, or something like that), and allows us to consider whoever was voted for on the ballot previously (I don’t think Hideo Nomo is going to get alot of support, but it might be interesting to see if people reconsider Sosa in awhile, for example). The last point I’m not as certain on, but those other things made sense to me.

    • 115
      RJ says:

      Forget the glut of infielders coming up, I don’t even know how anyone can decide between the ones we’ve already got! Let’s take a look at Alomar and Larkin:

      Alomar: .300/.371/.443/116
      Larkin: .295/.371/.444/116

      OK, that’s no help. How about SB percentage? 83% success rate for Larkin, 81% for Alomar. Extra bases per 162 games?

      Alomar: 34/5/14
      Larkin: 33/6/15

      All Star nominations? Twelve each. Alomar has five fewer Silver Sluggers but seven more Golden Gloves. However, Larkin has a much higher dWAR, which I’m guessing is the main contributor to his better overall WAR. If held at gunpoint I guess I’d say Larkin for his greater WAR in fewer seasons, but it’s really not much more than a coin toss.

  58. 96
    Abbott says:

    Glavine, Biggio, Randy Johnson

  59. 97

    Hooray for dominant pitchers!

    Randy Johnson
    Curt Schilling
    Mike Mussina

  60. 98
    mosc says:

    I’ll do the Arizona two-step with unit and asshole. The yanks couldn’t beat them, neither can I. I’ve been voting Glavine but I read and agree with a lot of valid arguments against him being #3 on this list and accept my own bias. Since voting for him wouldn’t do anything anyway, I’ll choose my own final pick to call attention where it is not falling… Dante Bichette.

    No no, I kid I kid.

    McGriff and Cone both have one vote so far, at least they’re represented. If they weren’t, I’d vote for them here. Too good to go unnoticed. Can I vote for Cone over Glavine on merit? No. can I vote for McGriff over Larkin on merit? No. Lets get Larkin off of this ballot so I don’t have to hear lots of Trammel vs Larkin nonsense (to me it’s not that close).

    Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Barry Larkin

    • 99

      Mosc, I’m glad to see you’ve come over to the Schilling-over-Glavine side. Reading some of those same arguments, I’ve softened on my prior position that Schilling was so much better than Glavine that a reasonable person couldn’t vote for Tom and not Curt. I’ll vote Schilling until he’s in, but Glavine could show up on my ballot a few years down the line. The man got a lot of guys out.

      • 101
        mosc says:

        Eh, I’m well on the Schilling bandwagon. It was more getting off the Glavine lovefest I was previously on. In the last thread I expressed my new found appreciation for Glavine’s legendary batting skill (he sucked). I am a post season stat guy so Schilling is an easy include. If guys are even comparable regular season, I’m going to favor the post season success heavily. I’m a Bernie Williams over Kenny Lofton kind of guy let alone a Schilling supporter (although seriously, dude’s an asshole). Last Ballot I went Thomas, Schilling, and Glavine. I guess my new perspective I would probably vote Smoltz over Glavine?

        I have to say though, Curt famously said the only people who dislike him are Yankee fans and Democrats. I am both, so there’s that.

        • 107

          I’m a Red Sox fan and a democrat and I dislike Schilling. As much as I loved ’04 and ’07, the latter trumps the former, at least as far as Schilling is concerned.

          • 121
            Mike L says:

            Bryan @107, and Mosc at 101, I’m both a Yankee fan and a Democrat, and if I really had a vote, I’d look forward to choosing Schilling as much as I might an unpleasant, but medically advisable, “procedure”. That being said, Mosc’s quote “Curt famously said the only people who dislike him are Yankee fans and Democrats” is another Hall-worthy Schilling moment; an intoxicating mix of paranoia, insult, and self-aggrandizement.

      • 105
        PP says:

        It appears Mussina is losing momentum. Just 8 votes so far. I may have to drop him and join the Schilling parade. Schilling’s the better pitcher for sure, always felt that, but there are things about him… And he could be the ’61 Circle electee?

    • 110
      BryanM says:

      Mosc, (and Bryan @99) This is why I love HHS – I was in Bryan’s camp – Schilling over Glavine not even close; I posted asking the Glavine folks for their logic ; AND THEY GAVE IT TO ME – no trolling, no ad hominem arguments – no assuming I was dissing their man — as a result , I learned , from Hartvig and others, to see Tom as a better pitcher than I had, still think Schill was better, but much more respect for Glavine

      Too bad about the crime dog — agree he was not as good as Larkin, but he deserves better than he’s getting

      • 199
        Michael Sullivan says:

        I love McGriff, great player, but he’s just very clearly a cut below the COG level. he’s borderline for the regular hall. I don’t think there’s any point in voting for a guy to keep him on the ballot when he very clearly doesn’t belong as a winner. save your strategic votes for the guys who are borderline COG, or who you really think are one of the best 112 player in baseball history. I think that’s why Crime Dog and Cone aren’t getting votes.

        If we were recreating a HOF sized group, they would deserve a serious look, but that’s not what we’re doing. IMO there’s no sense crowding the ballot with these guys just to say they got some votes when there are at least 3 deserving players to choose from almsot no matter your decision process.

      • 202
        Doug says:

        I was in McGriff’s camp until the folks here convinced me that, on the outside looking in is probably where he belongs (as hard as that is to fathom for someone with almost 500 HR).

        Unfortunately, he’s like the guy who finishes 4th at the Olympics. But, that’s the nature of the game – someone has to finish 4th.

  61. 116
    Mike G. says:

    Johnson, Mussina, Walker

  62. 122
    RBI Man says:

    I’m having a hard time understanding how Larkin is perceived to have a better career than McGriff. Other than SB and the SS-1B difference, Fred has him across the board, including 295 more jacks. Plus, Larkin only averaged 113 games played during his 19 full seasons.

    • 125

      “Other than… the SS-1B difference…”
      Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?

    • 126
      birtelcom says:

      One way to analyze the comparison is to go through some of the details of baseball-reference’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) calculation. B-Ref calculates Larkin to have produced 67 WAR over his career, McGriff 48 WAR. B-ref figures the Crime Dog produced roughly 20 more WAR than Barry from his hitting and about 5 more WAR than Barry based on the sheer number of games they each played. However, b-ref credits Larkin with about 26 more WAR because he played short as opposed to first — a replacement player who can play short in the majors is able to produce much, much less offense than a replacement player whose MLB position is first base. So based on batting, position and playing time, b-ref sees them as pretty much even in career value, with a small advantage for Larkin.

      But now you have to add their respective values as baserunners and their values on defense compared to the average player at their respective postions. B-ref gives Larkin about a 10 WAR advantage in baserunning and a 5 WAR advantage in fielding value. B-ref also gives Larkin another 1 to 2 WAR advantage for his ability to stay out of the double play. Overall, it adds up to a large WAR advantage for Larkin. B-ref’s WAR is certainly not the only way to value players comparatively, but it is a serious and systematic effort to do that, so its results can be a useful background for discussion

      • 129
        mosc says:

        My mental equivalent of dwar which I admit fully to not being able to mathematically describe, a well above average defensive shortstop has probably even more value than dWAR gives him. My positional adjustment is higher. I also favor error prevention more than dWAR does, Larkin was also a high percentage fielder in addition to his excellent range and arm (.975 career fielding percentage). Larkin had no weaknesses in his game beyond health in my book. BB>SO, 83% SB rate, noticeable power, etc. I find arguments favoring other position players in this ballot over him kind of laughable. Debating a pitcher vs a hitter is hard but lets give credit where credit is due.

        McGriff generated more value in the batter’s box only. First base vs short stop probably gives you a thousand extra at bats worth of health just there. I don’t put all of it on Larkin as “injury prone”. Larkin had a higher doubles rate and more than 3x the triples rate as well as stealing bases and playing one of the more demanding positions on the field (my list goes catcher, pitcher though they only work 1 in 4/5, SS, 2B, break, CF).

      • 137
        bstar says:

        Yeah, I think for McGriff the real issue is whether or not:

        -a lot of his best years before the offensive storm beginning in 1993 somehow made McGriff’s numbers look smaller (or, more importantly, have less value) than the crazy numbers that would come later from other power hitters.

        -McGriff was clean in the steroid era and suffers from being compared to those power hitters who were known steroid-users.

        To emphasize the second point, here’s a list of the top HR totals spanning Crime Dog’s career (1986-2004):

        1. B Bonds 703 ’86-’04
        2. McGwire 583 ’86-’01
        3. Sm Sosa 574 ’89-’04
        4. Palmeiro 551 ’86-’04
        5. Griffey 501 ’89-’04
        6. McGriff 493 ’86-’04
        7. Canseco 457 ’86-’01

        Other than Griffey, we know unequivocally that all these players used steroids except for McGriff. Is being clean hurting his reputation? Without a doubt. Is it hurting his WAR? In comparison to these players, yes, but overall no. I feel pretty strongly that Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Piazza, of course Griffey and maybe Jim Thome are going into the Hall of Fame as power hitters during the steroid era, so we really can’t blame McGriff’s lesser WAR on being clean because very probably Griffey, Thomas, and Thome didn’t use and there’s no evidence against Bagwell and Piazza other than rumors.

        Of course, this list is only for HR and completely covers McGriff’s era, which is unfair to others. How about Rbat, WAR batting runs? Where does McGriff rank in an era spanning his career? 13th on that list, behind several names mentioned above and Edgar, Sheffield, Manny, Thome, and Larry Walker.

        Considering the lack of prowess at fielding and baserunning, I just can’t find enough proof for a big enough boost to be given to McGriff’s value for him to surpass so many other great players on this vote. Just my opinion. 🙂

        • 140
          Ed says:

          I agree Bstar. I like McGriff but I just can’t make a case for him. His peak years were before the steroid era and yet the best WAR of his career was only 6.2. That’s not a very high peak. Up through 1994, his worst full season OPS was .890. But then beginning in ’95, this is what he did:

          95: .850
          96: .859
          97: .797
          98: .815

          How is McGriff’s decline anyone else’s fault? Maybe he’s have a bit more WAR without the steroid’s era but he’s also have more WAR if not for his own decline.

        • 144
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          bstar –

          Agreed; McGriff is a “hitting-only” candidate, so his hitting numbers have to be clearly better than all but a few other players. As you stated, he adds little (and probably subtracts value) from defensive or baserunning performace – so he’s got to DOMINATE hitting. He’s really good, but not quite dominant enouh.

          Killebrew and McCovey _did_ dominate as hitters, which is why they are in the actual HOF, and McGriff is not (yet).

          • 148
            Ed says:

            It seems to me that McGriff is comparable to Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda, and Willie Stargell in terms of the HOF. So guys with his type of career/credentials can get elected but there are probably lots of other similar guts who don’t.

  63. 123
    Brooklyn MIck says:

    Johnson, Schilling, Mussina

  64. 127
    Chuck says:

    Glavine, Alomar, Johnson

  65. 130
    JamesS says:

    Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Lenny Dykstra

  66. 133
    JamesS says:

    Obviously the Big Unit is going to win this round (as he should). So why not vote for someone I liked from my youth? Granted Dykstra is an odd choice. But for me, a Mets fan, I would vote for any member of the 1986 Mets if possible.

    • 136
      birtelcom says:

      Indeed there can be lots of reasons to cast a vote.

      Let’s all make sure to keep the discussion courteous and friendly, even when we disagree.

      • 139
        Hartvig says:

        You’re certainly right about that.

        We’re voting for the Circle of Greats- the 112 (or more) greatest players in the history of the game. Does being born in the same year as Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter make George Brett a better player than Eddie Matthews because Matthews had the misfortune to be born in the same year as Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks and Jim Bunning? Is someone less in the circle by having 1 more vote than anyone else than someone who had 50 more? Does it make more sense to worry about “honoring” a certain player by everyone voting for him than it does to try an insure that we’re honoring the right 112 players?

  67. 134
    Phil says:

    Maybe someone’s asked this already: is Johnson going to be the first unanimous pick? He’s still at 100% with a day to go…Maddux got around 90% support his round.

    • 135
      birtelcom says:

      The voting deadline isn’t until Saturday night just before midnight, so a ways to go yet.

    • 143

      And… jinxed.

      It was a great run.

      • 146
        birtelcom says:

        It was an interesting group-dynamics phenomenon that the unanimity around RJ lasted as long as it did, compared to Maddux. I doubt it was because the Unit is valued that much more highly than Maddux, but rather arises out of the fact that the ways that voters decide how to approach their ballots, including in relationship with other voters, continues to evolve.

        • 155
          Bells says:

          I’m gonna (playfully) blame Hartvig. Not voting for Maddux at vote #5 took the pressure off before it even built for the 100% vote, but since then, I believe Hartvig has realized that he’s better off strategically voting at the end of the round, so there was no bold strategic voter to set the tone this time, and so it got to 30 votes with everyone voting RJ, and by then it was a frightening prospect to break the consensus, as I believe Bryan mentioned upthread. I was kind of hoping someone would leave Johnson off just because I find the whole ‘unanimity’ discussion annoying in the real HOF, but I was also kind of hoping he’d get to 100% just so the argument of ‘if Maddux didn’t get to 100%…’ didn’t affect things too much, because I also feel like I don’t want to take this too seriously and get caught up in a relatively arbitrary ‘honour’ for someone.

          Anyway, interesting dynamics to say the least.

          • 162
            Hartvig says:

            Now I’m not so sure about that strategy anymore.

            We’re about 25 votes short of the total on the last election and with the trend of more voters coming on board for every election things could get pretty chaotic at the end and may result in some unintended consequences. I’m not sure just how much longer I’m going to wait until I vote. If I start making this too complicated it’s going to take some of the fun out of it and that’s that last thing that I want to do.

          • 164
            bstar says:

            Hartvig, I tried the wait-til-the-end thing on one ballot and realized everything had been decided once I put my vote in. There’s a feeling of irrelevancy that goes with late voting if you wait too long. I prefer feeling like I’m part of the process.

          • 167
            birtelcom says:

            The lower vote total to this point may simply mean a lower final tally this time. The total was surprisingly high last round, and this may be more normal, plus RJ’s domination from the outset may dampen turnout. But we’ll see.

          • 172
            Hartvig says:

            If I’m remembering correctly in the last ballot my votes were mostly to ensure that Larkin, Biggio & Smoltz all got 2 year extensions- my vote didn’t put them over the top but had someone voted after me and not voted for them I think they would have fallen below the requisite 25% for the extension.

            As to wether or not that going to ultimately make any difference only time will tell. It already appears by current voting that Lofton’s days could be numbered and Alomar is still just hanging on 1 year at a time. Only 2 players have enough votes for 2 year extensions with a couple more a couple votes shy & 2 players needing 2 or 3 votes to reach 10%. Still, I think we may be at a point where the herd is going to have to be culled a little in order to be certain that the best candidates move forward. I guess we can see what happens in ’61 and then try to figure out what to do from there.

  68. 138
    Gootch7 says:

    Okay. Obviously Randy Johnson will win. Therefore I will not cast a ballot for him. Can’t do it, not after he bookended the Yanks’ 1996-2000 dynasty by beating us out of the pen in both 1995 ALDS Game 5 and 2001 World Series Game 7. And then came to New York and stunk it up (relatively speaking).

    Mussina, Biggio, McGriff.

    • 161
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      In 2005, with the Yankees, RJ was

      2nd WAR for pitchers
      2nd WHIP
      2nd SO
      At the age of 41

      2006 was pretty rough.

      But so was counting on
      Sean Henn
      Darrel Rasner
      Aaron Small
      Sidney Ponson
      Jef Karstens
      Jaret Wright
      Kris Wilson
      Cory Lidle
      and Shawn Chacon

      • 169
        Gootch7 says:

        Yes the Big Unit was actually quite good for us in his first regular season in pinstripes. When I mentioned that he “stunk it up”, I was mostly referring to his postseason performances with New York. In both the 2005 and 2006 Division Series, Johnson started game three for us. In both years, the series was tied 1-1 and a win would have put the Yankees in the driver’s seat. Both starts were clunkers, though, and we lost the games and the series.

        Johnson’s postseason totals in pinstripes: 2 GS, 0-1/6.92/1.769 (20 hits and 3 walks in 13 innings). And his numbers would have been worse if he hadn’t been bailed out of a first-and-third, no out jam in the fourth inning of the 2005 start by none other than Aaron Small (who ended up scuffling himself later on and taking the loss). And Small wasn’t “earning” $16 million a year. I do give RJ minor credit for pitching well in relief of Mike Mussina in game five in 2005, but he was only available because he got knocked out early in game 3–and we we still lost.

        Compare his rather pedestrian efforts above to his record pitching against the Yankees in October: 3GS, 5-0/1.65/0.841. Every single game he appeared in, not only did his team win, but Johnson himself picked up the victory, including both decisive games in relief. Every game he pitched in a Yankee uniform, we lost. Call it what you will, including sour grapes, but I’m quite comfortable NOT voting for the freak.

        And don’t get me started on Schilling.

        • 174
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          Sure, that is all true.
          But it hardly seems fair to judge the guy so harshly based on two games.
          A recent thread here detailed Derek Jeter’ 158 playoff games.
          Great playoff performer.
          And how many of those 158 games did he pull an 0-four?
          More than 2, I’m sure.

          • 176
            Lawrence Azrin says:

            Yeah, that would be like Mets fans despicing Carlos Beltran, on account of _one_ called strike in the playoffs. Oh, wait…

          • 204
            Gootch7 says:

            C’mon Voomo, you know that in Yankeeland the postseason is the only season that really matters. And If Jeter had crapped out and not produced in the playoffs, he’d be on my list too!

            But he’s been clutch since the beginning, posting a .403 OBP in 15 games his rookie season. He’s built up a little credit with me.

  69. 141
    Jameson says:

    Johnson, Schilling, Lakin

  70. 142
    Jameson says:

    Whoops! Larkin.

  71. 145
    Jeff Hill says:

    Randy Johnson, Mussina, Smoltz

  72. 147
    --bill says:

    Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Tom Glavine

  73. 149
    mosc says:

    You know I was thinking if all the baseball players to ever play were magically made 18 years old (and, you know, living), I think Barry Larkin would be a first round draft choice. Old time players did not have the athletic skill of modern guys, middle infielders are going to go high, maybe the highest. Barry Larkin was always a stud. I just think that he’d be an easy draft choice where even a guy like Babe Ruth would be far riskier. Is babe going to hit a modern slider? Do you really think Ty Cobb and Ricky Henderson’s speed are that comparable?

    • 156
      bstar says:

      Is that really fair, mosc? I think the better question would be, “What if Ty Cobb and Rickey Henderson were born at the same time, with the same innate skill set that they displayed in their careers?” Surely Cobb would be stronger, faster, and a more athletic, modern version of his old self had he been born at the time of Henderson’s birth. In my opinion at least, only then can a true comparison be made.

      Or, what kind of physical specimen would Babe Ruth be if he were born the same time as Adam Dunn? Would he have Dunn’s body but the Bambino’s swing? Would he hit 900 HR then?

      • 175
        mosc says:

        Turning the table, Ricky born in 1886 wouldn’t have had much of a career either. Yes I think it’s fair. I’m not saying fill the hall with a time machine driven dream team but it’s interesting to think about. How high would Cobb go in such a draft? How high would Ruth?

        • 177
          RBI Man says:

          I read somewhere that Ruth hit 20 of the 24 HR that were hit into the old Yankee Stadium bleechers. To clear that wall takes a shot of at least 470′. To me, that means Ruth would be just as good, if not better, in modern baseball.

          When you see the old clips of Ruth turning the bat over through the zone with ease, consider that the bat weighs over 40 ounces!

          Ruth was an amazing hitter. He copied Joe Jackson’s hitting style and combined it with immense speed and power.

          Cobb himself was in awe of Ruth.

    • 171
      RBI Man says:

      Larkin is 2 runs per season above average in Rtot for his career as a SS.

      McGriff is 2 run below average per seasonas a 1B.

      So both are firmly in the average fielder range at their positions.

      During their eras, in Larkins case, people focus on the scarcity of offensive SS’s and overlook that he missed 49 games per year, but in McGriff’s, they ignore the scarcity of 1B’s who averaged 30+ HR for 15 srtaight years without steroids. The list is Fred McGriff. Of all players, the list is Griffey and McGriff.

      Plus, Fred averaged about 40 games played per season more than Barry.

      • 179
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        dWAR values are not directly comparably between shortstops and fitst baseman; an average defensive shortstop has considerably more value than even the best defensive first baseman.

        Also, I am NOT buying any sort of equivalency in their defensive reps; McCriff was regarded defensively as adequate at best, well-below average if not down-right poor (better than Frank Thomas, though). Larkin was, at the least, above-average most of his career, excellent for a part of it.

        Even taking WAR at face value, Larkin has about 30 more wins due to positional differences. This more than makes up for McGriff’s hitting superiority.

        • 181
          RBI Man says:

          I don’t agree.

        • 213
          bstar says:

          I think just using Rfield numbers is fine if you’re comparing shortstop vs. shortstop or first baseman vs. first baseman, but when comparing two fielders at different positions, I like to consider the positional adjustment also and go ahead and use dWAR.

          If we don’t do that, we would make the mistake of saying a +5 run second baseman is a better fielder than a -1 run shortstop, which in my opinion is not an accurate statement.

          Larkin is +14 dWAR, McGriff is -18. There’s over a 300 run difference between the two.

  74. 150
    Fuzzy Thruston says:

    Johnson, Mussina, Glavine

  75. 152
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    #148/Ed –

    Mostly agreed, but McGriff doesn’t have the MVP awards and/or association with great teams of their time that Perez, Stargell, and Cepeda have. Moving around a lot (six teams, none more than five years or 636 G) also hurts his perception as one of the greats. Perez was with four teams, but mostly made has reputation with his first stint with the Reds (13 years/7 AS games, 6 MVP finishes).

    McGriff is the sort of player that would make a reasonable HOF inductee, but it isn’t an outrage if he doesn’t get elected.

    • 153
      Ed says:

      Lawrence – Oh I agree completely. McGriff wouldn’t bring down the standards of the Hall but he also wouldn’t raise them up. Either way, he’s got a long road ahead of him for all the reasons that have been discussed.

    • 157
      bstar says:

      I agree to an extent, LA. McGriff IS associated with the mid ’90s Braves, who won one and appeared in two World Series with Atlanta.

      As far as MVP votes, no he didn’t win one but he has as many top ten finishes as Stargell(6) and more than Cepeda and Perez (3 each).

      On Bill James’ Hall of Fame Monitor, which gives points to certain achievements that are likely to influence voters for the HOF, McGriff (28th) is sandwiched in between Tony Perez (26th) and Orlando Cepeda (30th) for all-time first basemen.

      As far as the Hall of Stats, McGriff (92) trails Stargell (104) and Perez (95) but is ahead of Cepeda (82). McGriff is also third out of these four players in rWAR (again beating Cepeda).

      • 159
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        If McGriff gets in the HOF, it’ll be a long, slow, slog like Perez, who took 9 years. However, Perez debuted at about 50%, whereas McGriff had just 21% his first year and is not making progress after four years.

        Cepeda probably would’ve eventually been voted in by the BBWAA, if not for the drug bust (73+% his 15th year). Stargell I consider on another level, because of his better peak (still one of lesser 1st-ballot HOFers, though).

        • 160
          Ed says:

          Stargell benefited from two things:

          1) A weak ballot (the next highest vote getter was Jim Bunning)

          2) A strong finish to his career, including winning the MVP at age 39. In fact all 7 of his top 10 MVP finishes occurred in his 30s. I doubt anyone else can claim that.

          • 196
            Jason Z says:

            It is a fact that Wilver Stargell shared the MVP in 1979 with Keith Hernandez.

            It is also a fact that Stargell, 2.3 WAR was
            nowhere near Keith Hernandez, 7.4 WAR.

            Furthermore, of the top 28 to receive votes
            that year Stargell ranks ahead of exactly

            Bill Madlock, 18th in the vote and 2.0 WAR.

            Dave Collins, 27th in the vote and 1.4 WAR.

            1979 was a bad year for the MVP voters in
            both leagues.

            Don Baylor AL MVP, 3.5 WAR
            2nd…Ken Singleton, 5.0 WAR
            3rd…George Brett, 8.4 WAR
            4th…Fred Lynn, 8.6 WAR
            5th…Jim Rice, 6.1 WAR


            Finally, Stargell enjoyed a postseason that
            would render anything accomplished during the
            regular season moot.

            The NLCS and World Series MVP. Both richly
            deserved. The image of Stargell leading
            the “we are family” Bucs to the championship
            is one I will never forget.

            It was the first World Series I ever watched
            that did not involve the Yankees. That was
            an emotional season punctuated by the death
            of Thurman Munson at 4:02 EST on August 2.

            It was hard to enjoy baseball the rest of that
            season, but thanks to Mr. Stargell and to a lesser extent, Sister Sledge (from Philly no
            less), I can vividly recall a World Series that was truly a classic.

            RIP Wilver Dornel Stargell and thanks for the memories.

      • 173
        RBI Man says:

        McGriff’s BR Similars;

        1.Willie McCovey (887) *
        2.Willie Stargell (875) *
        3.Jeff Bagwell (865)
        4.Frank Thomas (861)
        5.Carlos Delgado (857)
        6.Billy Williams (851) *
        7.Gary Sheffield (850)
        8.Andres Galarraga (850)
        9.Jason Giambi (832)
        10.Eddie Mathews (827) *
        * – Signifies Hall of Famer

        Of this list and excluding Mathews, I’d put McGriff 2nd between McCovey and Stargel in terms of career value without taking era into consideration.

        When considering Fred’s era, he gets the worst of both worlds.
        He gets diminished recognition because he didn’t dominate in the steroid era against steroid users and his stats are historically diminished because they happened during the steroid era.

        Also, as I mentioned prior, McGriff achieved his stats against some pitchers on steroids.

        Lance Armstrong stated last week that the 5 clean guys out of 200 pro bikers, though losers, are the true hero’s.

        I think of McGriff this way, but he even managed to be a winner.

        One last note, Fred was the main run producer on some good Toronto, San Diego and Atlanta teams. Before becoming a Devil Ray, his teams were a whopping 250 games over .500.

        • 180
          Doug says:

          Those are very low similarity scores for the most similar players, indicating some degree of uniqueness in the type of player McGriff was. Not being able to match him up with a truly comparable player to compare to may be a factor in hindering McGriff’s HOF chances.

        • 187
          Hartvig says:

          And I agree. I would have voted for Billy Williams for the Hall of Fame in a heartbeat. I might have even voted for Crime Dog.

          But there are some favorites of mine that just are going to cut the mustard for the Circle of Greats. Larry Doby probably won’t. Maybe not Kirby Puckett. Lou Boudreau shouldn’t, at least ahead of Larkin or Trammell or Yount. I’m not positive about Roy Campanella- I’ll vote for him but he only makes it if you credit him for time lost to segregation. Same with Minnie Minoso. Dazzy Vance likely won’t be there either.

          There are going to be a lot of really,really good players on the outside looking in.

    • 158
      Hartvig says:

      I agree with both of you in your assessment of McGriff. Unfortunately he’s on the ballot at a time when there were at least 9 candidates with no evidence of PED use (at least to my knowledge) on the ballot who are arguably (and I would say that 7 are clearly) as good as the AVERAGE Hall of Famer at their respective positions that cannot get in. I’d probably have voted for him, if only to extend his candidacy until a time when hopefully the field thins out some and more time can be devoted to debating his qualifications.

      However I don’t see a case for him in the Circle of Greats unless you both a) REALLY discount the performance of much earlier generations and b) give him quite a LOT of benefit for being clean in the steroid era. I’m willing to do a little of both but even then I still don’t see that there’s an argument to be made for him.

      • 182
        birtelcom says:

        A pretty good comparable for McGriff might be Billy Williams. Billy played in about 28 more career games than the Crime Dog; Billy’s career OPS+ was 134 to McGriff’s 133. Each had about the same relationship between power and on-base skills: Billy’s career OBP number was about 73% of his career SLG number, for McGriff that ratio was 74%.

        McGriff ends up with roughly 12 fewer of b-ref’s WAR than Williams based on a cumulative series of small differences. McGriff starts about 3 WAR ahead based purely on batting, but Williams gains 4 WAR on McGriff in baserunning, 4 more on avoiding the DP, about 2 WAR based on being a corner OFer rather than a first baseman, and about 4 WAR for about 350 more PAs over his career. But WAR doesn’t count McGriff’s .917 OPS over 50 games and 217 PAs in the post-season, which could fairly be said to wipe out a good portion of the WAR-based value gap with Williams, who was 0 for 7 and a walk in his only eight post-season PAs.

        • 183
          Ed says:

          Interesting comparison Birtelcom. One thing however. You said “and about 4 WAR for about 350 more PAs over his career.”. It seems to me that last 4 WAR is due to a difference in replacement level (302 Rrep for McGriff, 340 for Williams) which itself is probably based on differences in league strength.

          There also seems to be a difference in the conversion rate between Runs above Replacement and WAR, likely due to runs being scarcer during Williams’ time. McGriff’s 477 runs above replacement translates into 48.2 WAR (1 WAR per 9.9 runs) whereas Williams’ 566 runs above replacement translates into 59.9 WAR (1 WAR per 9.45 runs).

          • 189
            birtelcom says:

            Yes, thank you for the correction, Ed. Your comment led me back into the guts of the explanation of WAR calculations. The Rrep component is a combination of playing time (in terms of PAs) and league strength. Of the roughly 4 WAR of difference between Williams and McGriff arising from Rrep, only about 1 WAR seems to arise from the playing time difference and about 3 WAR from Williams’ advantage im the estimated relative strength of the leagues these players played in. With a standard player-season set at 650 PAs, McGriff played 15.65 such seasons and Williams 16.18. If both players played in leagues where an average player was 20 runs better than a replacement level player over a full season, that would give Williams about a 10 run advantage over his career based on (16.18 x 20) compared to (15.65 x 20). 10 runs is about 1 WAR. But because b-ref estimates that Williams played in leagues where the average player was more like 21 runs better than replacement, and McGriff in leagues where the average player was more like 19 runs better than replacement, William’ advantage increase in this category grows to about 4 WAR.

          • 192
            bstar says:

            All I did is get Williams’ WAR and divide by his total PA, and then multiply by McGriff’s total PA to equalize their career PA.

            Doing that, Williams’ WAR goes from 59.9 to 57.93, or 57.9. So, by this method, Billy Williams’ extra PA gave him 2.0 more WAR than McGriff.

          • 194
            Ed says:

            You’re right of course Birtelcom. I realized is just after I made my post.

        • 184
          Hartvig says:


          Williams is an excellent comparison for Crime Dog.

          And looking at Williams- James has him ranked 11th among left fielders, JAWS also ranks him 11th but has one player ahead of him (Manny Ramirez) who’s not under consideration. Adam’s Hall of Stats has Williams at 15th but also includes Ramirez plus he’s fairly close to Goose Goslin & Jesse Burkett with no time-line adjustment. Basically Williams is about in the same situation in left as Alomar is at second but if I had to choose between them I would take Alomar in a heartbeat.

          If I had to decide this moment if Williams belongs in the Circle of Greats my answer would be no. And I think even if you give McGriff credit for his post season performance and make some adjustment for being clean in a steroid era that still just brings him up to Williams level at best.

          • 185
            Lawrence Azrin says:

            What this “Circle Of Greats” boils down to, when we are all done with it, is “Who are the 112 greatest baseball players ever?” It won’t be exact, because some years the competition for a specific year will be easier, but in the aggragate,that is what we are determining

            There are going to be quite a few players who are easy HOFers, but will fall short of our “Circle Of Greats” standard.

      • 200
        David Horwich says:

        I think another thing that works against McGriff’s candidacy is that he played in an era just dripping with good first basemen – Will Clark, McGwire, Olerud, Palmeiro, and Grace all debuted within a few years of McGriff, and then the early ’90s saw another wave of quality players at the position – Thomas, Bagwell, Thome, Delgado, & a fistful of good-not-greats such as Mo Vaughn, Tino Martinez, Klesko…hard to stand out from that crowd.

  76. 170
    Arsen says:

    Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Roberto Alomar.

  77. 186
    Slash says:

    Johnson, Mussina, Larkin

  78. 193
    RonG says:

    Johnson, Biggio, Smoltz

  79. 195
    Jason Z says:

    Apologies to Bob Ferguson and thanks to John for reminding me a few posts back…

    1. The “Real” death to flying things.

    2. Curt Schilling (I too have been convinced).

    3. Mike Mussina

    Come to think of it, there is another contender for the nickname,
    “death to flying things”…,976137

    • 197
      RJ says:

      That article is brilliant Jason. Worth it for the Billy Martin quote alone: “It’s the first time he’s hit the cutoff man all year.”

      • 201
        Jason Z says:

        Glad you enjoyed it.

        I found several links, but was thrilled to find an actual
        article from that fateful day.

        In addition to not having a deal with the pigeon’s (Seinfeld
        episode 162), we clearly have never had a deal with the seagulls

        Inspired by John’s post today I have begun an examination of the
        boxscore. As John proved earlier this morning, the boxscore always
        tells a story.

        The day began with Toronto in 3rd place in the AL East, 1GB both
        Baltimore and Detroit. This was the first season of their existence
        that Toronto shed their expansion label. They were a contender for the
        first time and had begun the era that would culminate with back-to-back
        World Series Championships in 92 and 93. Conversely, the Yankees were in fifth place a mere 4.5GB. Only 2 seasons removed from their last World Series appearance, anyone suggesting that the next Yankee postseason game
        would come some 12 years in the future, would have been ridiculed.

        The Yankee lineup that day is revealing.

        Only one holdover from the not so distant glory days of the recent past.

        Graig Nettles, batting fourth at third base.

        Don Mattingly leading off!!!

        Don Baylor playing LF and batting sixth. 1983 was Baylor’s first of
        three productive seasons with the Bombers. Unfortunately he joined
        the team at the worst time possible if his goal was playoff baseball.
        Baylor left the team after the 1985 season and would go on to play
        three more years, going to the World Series each of those years
        with a different team. Winning in 1987 with the Twins, and losing in
        86 and 88 with the Red Sox and A’s respectively.

        Batting second that day and catching was Butch Wynegar. He suffered from
        what would become known as Ed Whitson disease.

        Batting seventh and playing RF that day was Steve Kemp, who along with Dave
        Collins personified the dysfunction in Yankee management that would haunt the
        team for years. A dysfunction that didn’t end until the renaissance brought
        forth by home grown prospects Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

        Batting fifth, the DH, Oscar Gamble. Gamble played for the 76 Yankees
        that got swept in the World Series by the Big Red Machine. Now he was
        back. This is what he looked like just prior to this country’s
        200th birthday, during his first stint in New York…

        Batting 8th and playing shortstop, the slick fielding Andre Robertson,
        25 years young and destined to go to work at E. 161st Street and River
        Avenue for at least the next dozen years. Of this we were sure.

        Robertson played his last game four days after his 28th birthday.

        Batting 9th and playing 2B for Willie Randolph that day was the
        thoroughly forgettable Larry Milbourne.

        The next time any of us see his name it will be when we are voting
        for the COG class of 1951. I wonder if he gets a courtesy vote.

        On the mound that day was Shane Rawley. He actually had two decent
        years in 82 and 83 (5.5 WAR combined), before being traded to the
        Phillies on June 30, 1984 for Marty Bystrom and Keith Hughes. Bystrom
        is an interesting story. He weny 5-0 for the Phillies as a September
        call-up in 1980 at age 21. The Phillies won the World Series and Bystrom
        was out of baseball by age 26.

        Finally, our hero, Dave “death to flying things”, Winfield batting 3rd and
        playing CF.

        Don Mattingly led off the game against Dave Stieb with a double the opposite
        way. Wynegar, hitting behind the runner, grounded out to second, Mattingly
        moving to third. Up comes “death to flying things”, who singles to CF scoring

        This was double number 6 of 442 for Donnie Baseball.

        In the top of the 3rd, leadoff hitter extraordinaire Don Mattingly opens
        the inning with a single to RF. Again Wynegar grounds out to second as
        Mattingly moves into scoring position. This time “death to flying things”,
        doubles to LF, scoring Mattingly for the second time. Nettles followed with a
        walk, putting runners on first and second. Up comes Oscar Gamble. A passed
        ball moves both runners up a base. Gamble then grounds out SS to 1B, allowing
        Winfield to cross home plate with the Yankees third run of the evening.

        In the bottom of the third inning, Buck Martinez scored the lone Blue Jays
        run when Alfredo Griffin was forced out at 3B on a grounder by Garth Iorg.

        After this, save doubles by Jesse Barfield and Don Baylor, and a single by former Yankee Cliff Johnson, offense for the day was done.

        Both pitchers went the distance. The game was played in a neat 2:13.

        The Yankees won 3-1 to avoid being swept in a four game series.

        The nation of Canada went to bed that night mourning a Blue Jays loss.

        The seagulls mourned one of their own.

        It can be said that Dave “death to flying things”, Winfield was
        most instrumental in both results.

        • 203
          John Autin says:

          Nice reporting, Jason!

          Not all of Canada mourned the Jays’ loss, though. The Expos, enjoying their 5th straight winning season, beat the Mets, 2-1. (And in a sign of the different times: Their 3-game set in Shea averaged 12,000 attendance. Montreal’s previous 4 home dates averaged over 42,000, and they finished 2nd in NL attendance.)

          BTW, in that Expos game, Tim Raines drew 2 intentional walks from the leadoff spot, both coming in front of the starting #2 hitter.

          Raines had 8 such games in his career. Since 1955 (when IBBs became official), only Ichiro has more, with 10. Rickey had only 3.

          • 206
            Jason Z says:

            Thanks John. Your post inspired me.

            I am ashamed to admit that when I made
            that statement about Canada, the Expos
            never crossed my mind.

            I will just go ahead and blame it on the
            lateness of the hour.

            I think it would be fun to throw out a date
            in baseball history and have everyone who wants
            to participate examine the boxscores and just freely write what comes to mind.

            It would be fascinating to read the different

            Growing up in White Plains we used to save milk
            cartons and get a free ticket to see the Mets.

            My dad always preferred to see the Mets due to the ease of travel and a better surrounding

            He absolutely would never even consider a night
            game in the Bronx. I am talking about 1977-80.

            Not that we never went to Yankee games, but my dad, having grown up on the Grand Concourse, was saddened by how the neighborhood around Yankee Stadium had changed.

            The great thing about going to Shea Stadium in the late 70’s was you could show up on game day
            and end up with great seats. Many times we would end up in the first row, usually down the LF or RF line.

            I remember a game in September of 1980. The Mets were buried and played a game where recent call ups Mookie Wilson and Wally Backman combined for 7 hits.

            I remember being excited that the Mets had good players on the way.

            I am sure this was the last game I attended with my dad in New York.

            We moved to Florida during the 1981 players strike.

            I need to find the boxscore.

            Here it is. Found it on my first try.



            Dave Kingman homers twice for Cubs.

            Mookie goes 4 for 5
            Wally goes 3 for 4

            Steve Henderson hits a game winning three-run homer off Bruce Sutter in the bottom of the 9th to win the game 10-7.

            It was Sutter’s 9th blown save of the season.

            Looking at the boxscore, I couldn’t have asked
            for more, even if I had known at the time that
            I wouldn’t be back at Shea Stadium for over twenty years.

            I could write hundreds of words, but alas it is
            78 degrees in sunny South Florida and my soon to be eight year-old daughter is ready to go to
            a neighborhood carnival at the local church.

            Life is good. Stay warm everyone.

        • 208
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          That photo of Oscar Gamble was taken early in Spring Training.
          He mowed the doo down to Yankee standards well before opening day.

        • 209
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          Andre Robertson was a “what might have been” story.
          Injured in a horrific car accident on August 18th of that same year:

          • 212
            MikeD says:

            I remember Roberston quite well, although my perception of him looking back is probably tainted by the lesser version of Robertson post the accident.

            He was a toolsy SS, good speed, good range, could make acrobatic plays, and had a powerful arm, maybe as strong as any SS in the league. He lost range and certainly arm strength post the accident when he broke his neck. I’m not sure what kind of career he would have had if not for the accident. He was never a patient hitter, so his bat would have limited him, but SS’s didn’t have to be great hitters at that time, so his glove probably would have kept him around until the hitting explosion that came about in the 90s. Fangraphs’ defensive ratings do show he was very strong fielder in ’83 followed by a significant drop off to a below-average fielder after the accident.

            I remember an article on him a few years back. Maybe 2009 or so where he and his friend (a girl) who was paralyzed that night had planned a return to the “scene of the crime.” They had lost touch over the years, for obvious reasons, but they were considering getting together for another drive down the West Side Highway, this time making it to their final destination. It was a nice idea, although I somehow doubt it ever happened.

  80. 205
    Vinny says:

    Randy doesn’t need my vote, but a few others do.

    Mussina, Larkin, Martinez

  81. 207
    MikeD says:

    Johnson, Alomar, Mussina.

    I was tempted to leave Randy off since he’s going to win in a walk, but while I’m open to strategic voting, I won’t without my vote for extreme talents like Johnson. The Mussina’s, Schilling, Smoltz, Glavine types are worthy, but can be grouped together. Same as Alomar, Biggio and Larkin.

  82. 210
    Bells says:

    Well, even since the first day of this ballot the outcome was clear, and all that was left to be decided was what pun birtelcom is going to use (I’m hoping for ‘Feeling Kinda Randy’ or ‘Unit-ed we Stand’).

    It’s become my habit in these votes to do it on the last day, to read all the discussion and take it in. My voting isn’t necessarily strategic, so much as I told myself I would wait until I read info on all the players on the ballot before voting, and of course looking through the career data and wherever those searches take me tends to take all week for these players (I learned that Dale Sveum is John Olerud’s cousin, that Lenny Dykstra was a way better player than I ever have thought, and that Dante Bichette piled up all of 3.0 WAR over his career, among other things).

    Anyway, I’m just gonna vote for whoever I feel like, since it doesn’t really make a difference.

    Randy Johnson – the best on the ballot, by far

    Kenny Lofton – haven’t voted for him yet, but he’s on his way out so I see a vote as a deserving tribute. I think he deserves to fall off the ballot, but I thought he deserved to stay on the ballot for the HoF so I’m not too mad at him being on here longer than I would think he would

    Fred McGriff – one of my favourites growing up, maybe on the off chance that 2 more people vote for him before midnight and he reaches that 10% to limp on to another round. If not, oh well, it’s not like he’ll be dishonoured, or even know.

  83. 211
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Lofton, McGriff, Edgar Martinez

  84. 215
    Hartvig says:

    Going with the notion of the most options for the most time;

    Smoltz, Lofton, McGriff

  85. 218
    opal611 says:

    And I’ve just about caught up to the actual project, so hopefully this is my last “fake” vote.

    For the 1963 election, I’m voting for:
    –Randy Johnson
    –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.)

    I wish these guys would get more consideration in the actual Hall of Fame voting, but I couldn’t really consider here:

    Sentimental favorite former Brewer:
    –Chris Bosio

    • 219
      Hartvig says:

      You’ve still got a couple hours to weigh in on the 1962 election, if you like- and this time your votes would actually count!

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