Circle of Greats 1963 Results: A Tall Order

Randy Johnson, all six feet, ten inches of him (that’s taller than Bill Russell, hoops fans), towered over the 1963 round of Circle of Greats balloting. More on Randy and the voting after the jump.

Most Wins Above Replacement (b-ref version) over a Four-Consecutive-Season Span, Since 1920:
1. Randy Johnson 36.8 WAR 1999-2002 (ages 35-38)
2. Pedro Martinez 36.5 1997-2000 (age 25-28)
3. Sandy Koufax 34.9 1963-1966 (age 27-30)
T4. Lefty Grove 34.4 1930-1933 (ages 30-33)
T4. Bob Gibson 34.4 1968-1971 (ages 32-35)
T6. Wilbur Wood 34.2 1971-1974 (ages 29-32)
T6. Lefty Grove 34.2 1935-1938 (ages 35-38)

Most Career Pitching Wins Above Replacement (b-ref version), From Age 28 Season and After, MLB History:
1. Cy Young 119.1
2. Randy Johnson 93.9
3. Phil Niekro 92.1
4. Lefty Grove 90.0
5. Roger Clemens 88.7

Ten guys on this ballot (that’s a new record) will carry over to the next ballot. Of the ten guys who will carry over, two, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff, were new to the balloting. McGriff’s carry-over seemed unlikely most of the week, but he was much discussed in the comments and was pushed over the line by a few last-hours votes. Kenny Lofton fell just one vote short of being an eleventh carry-over. The full carry-over list will be updated in the 1962 ballot post. You can check the full 1963 ballot record here: 1963 COG Vote Tally

Now that a few relatively serious contenders have dropped out of eligibility, I’m outlining below a proposal for a series of “redemption rounds” of balloting that would select players to restore to eligibility. The proposal is open to change based on comment and discussion:
–A redemption round would run separately from, but simultaneously with, the regular balloting, every tenth regular round. So the first would run at the same time as the 1958 regular round, the next at the same time as the 1948 round, and so on.
–Any player who has previously fallen out of eligibility could be named on any redemption ballot. When a redemption round opens, I’ll list guys who have received a certain number of previous votes, but that will only be a suggested, not an exclusive, list. You’ll be able to vote for any player no longer eligible.
–As with the regular rounds, valid ballots would include three and only three names.
–The two guys who appear on the most ballots in a redemption round would go back on the eligibility list, beginning with the next regular round (so the guys who win the redemption ballot running during the 1958 round would go back into the mix in the 1957 round). The top guy would go back into eligibility treated in all respects the same as all other eligible players, while the number two guy would go back but without “ninth place tiebreaker rights” (if he ties for ninth in any regular round and fails to hit the 10% vote mark, he does not gain an additional round of eligibility).
— No one ever becomes ineligible for a redemption round. For example, a player who lost eligibility in 1967 would still be eligible for the redemption round held at the same time as the 1938 regular round, and the 1928 redemption round, etc…. A player can also win multiple redemption rounds.

As this system as presented wouldn’t be implemented for a few weeks, you have a while to kick it around before it is finalized.

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15 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1963 Results: A Tall Order"

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David Horwich

This may well have been discussed in an earlier post, if so please forgive the repetition: What’s the plan for dealing with players born after 1968? There are at least a half dozen or more really strong post-’68 candidates (e.g. Griffey, Pedro Martinez, Chipper Jones, Jeter, A-Rod, Pujols, Ivan Rodriguez) and a similar number for whom plausible arguments can be made (M Rivera, M Ramirez, Thome, Ichiro, Vlad Guerrero, etc. et al.). Are we going to fill the COG with pre-’69 players & then start bumping guys out to accommodate the more recent cadre?


As I understand it they could be added at the same time as the BBWAA inducts new members into the Hall of Fame. If someone gets voted in next year, we would vote on players born in ’69 and then either Griffey Jr. or Rivera would go in the Circle. I’m not sure if any pre-’68 players would be eligible for reconsideration or not.


If I’ve learned anything from the Top Chef “redemption” challenges, the ones who come back never win the whole thing. In fact they’re out soon after they come back. I say no.


Perhaps there should be a minimum percentage required for someone to be redeemed? If we end up with a handful of candidates with middling support then there clearly isn’t any great desire to bring any one of them back.

I broadly agree with you PP: there are unlikely to be any great miscarriages of justice and any redeemed cadidates are unlikely to win election. However, in case of such an event, it’s probably a good idea to have a procedure for bringing someone back agreed upon beforehand.

I’m all in favor of a redemption round, but I think we need to wait a while. If we set up a round for those left out in the cold this early, guys like Kenny Lofton are going to have the same problem they’ve already encountered. There’s just too many all-time greats out there for somebody who I consider to be in the top 112 of all-time but not an inner circle guy to win a particular election this early. So even if Lofton (for example) gets voted back onto the vote, he’s likely to fall off again until all… Read more »

Well, at least we didn’t boot Lofton off the ballot after the first round of voting, and we’re only electing 1 guy at a time.

Look at the 10 guys who came back this year, they’re all HOF players, or as close to HOF players as you can get, IMO. But, in this process, which is more demanding than that, there’s a chance, and it’s likely, only one of them will get in, and that’s likely to be a pitcher. Which may mean Biggio, Alomar and Larkin, to pick on the middle infielders, will be left out. It’s brutal, but bringing one or more of them back doesn’t seem to add much, if anything, to the process. But that said, of course I’ll be happy… Read more »
Insert Name Here

I agree with RJ’s proposed minimum percentage. I think a player should need at least majority support to be “redeemed.”

However, just because a candidate is unlikely to win doesn’t mean we exclude them. Most “redeemed” candidates are more likely to win than most regular candidates, which receive no votes whatsoever. However, we still don’t exclude them!


If there is a redemption process, suggest it be done at defined intervals – say after each 25 years. Then, there’s a special vote on any players on the ballot in the previous x years who survived their first ballot before dropping off later (i.e. any players still on the main ballot at that point would, if they later drop off, be included in the next redemption round election). Any one not elected via the special redemption election is done at that point.

Something along those lines, at any rate.

Mike HBC

I agree completely with PP, in that I honestly don’t understand the point here. There must have been a reason somebody fell out of contention- not enough people voted for him. Why would that change?


In general I’m opposed to having redemption rounds. But if we do have them, then I agree with Bstar and Doug that we need to wait much longer to start having them.


I think that there are plenty of opportunities for guys to stay on the ballot the way it is currently structured. I don’t see a reason to add a player like Lofton back on at this point. Ten guys finished ahead of him. Perhaps when we get to the end of this process, we hold a few votes that cover eras and elect an extra few players to round out the Circle of Greats.


I’m not quite sold on the need for redemption rounds, at least not yet, although I understand why birtelcom has brought it up. So far Lofton and Kent have dropped off the ballot for consideration, yet I’d have to see who the 100+ players are elected at the end of the process. I suspect there will be some surprises along the way.