Circle of Greats: 1965 Ballot

This post is for voting and discussion of the fourth round of voting for the Circle of Greats, which adds players born in 1965. 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. Note that this round I’ve reduced the percentage required to stay eligible (below the top 9) for another round from 20% to 10%. Thus far we have enough voters participating that the 10% level does indicate a meaningful level of interest in a player, so I think we can reasonably drop the survival percentage to 10%.

All voting for this round closes at 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, January 12, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Thursday, January 10.

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: 1965 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-1965 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 year through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the eligibility year is the same. The 1965 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.

Frank Thomas (eligible through 1956 vote)
John Smoltz (1962)
Tom Glavine (1964)
Mike Mussina (1964)
Curt Schilling (1964)
Roberto Alomar (1965)
Kenny Lofton (1965)
Larry Walker (1965)

Everyday Players (born in 1965, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Craig Biggio
Benito Santiago
Ruben Sierra
Steve Finley
Jay Bell
Matt Williams
Ron Gant
Todd Zeile
Greg Vaughn
Mike Bordick
Charlie Hayes
Luis Alicea
Mike Benjamin
Jeff Blauser
Rob Ducey
Glenallen Hill
Kirt Manwaring
Hal Morris
Joe Oliver
Luis Sojo
Lenny Webster
Geronimo Berroa
Mike Blowers
Joey Cora
Felix Jose
Manuel Lee
Mark Lemke
Paul Sorrento
Turner Ward
Chris Hoiles
Jerome Walton

Pitchers:(born in 1965, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues)
Kevin Brown
Al Leiter
Greg Swindell
Mark Guthrie
Buddy Groom
Ken Hill
Steve Reed
Jose Rijo
Todd Stottlemyre
Willie Blair
Mike Magnante
Mike Munoz
John Smiley
Erik Hanson
Gil Heredia
Xavier Hernandez


Circle of Greats: 1965 Ballot — 147 Comments

  1. Frank Thomas
    John Smoltz
    Tom Glavine

    The only 1965 players to even make me pause were Kevin Brown & Mike Benjamin. (Just kidding about Benjamin, but he did have a HOF week once)

  2. Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina. I hope Craig Biggio and Kevin Brown get enough votes to stick around for a little while.

  3. Michael Cole Mussina, Curtis Montague Schilling, Larry Kenneth Robert Walker. As a side, I did not know that Larry Walker had a nickname of Booger. He certainly makes my Revenge of the Nerds All-Star team.

    • To truly Hock a loogie, one must retrieve the phlegm not only from
      the stomach, but from the soul.

      This round should be very interesting.

      Only Kevin Brown and Craig Biggio make me think.

      Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina and John Smoltz.

      • Thomas has 16 years on the ballot. It’s reasonable to vote for someone you think belongs but less than in order to keep them on the ballot for a bit.

        that said, I’m giving up on Walker and Lofton — too many here cannot see their greatness and they will never make it. Plus, for this much smaller hall, they really are borderline. I’m looking at the level of support and trying to push guys that look like they have a shot here but aren’t certain yet very clearly belong, like Mussina or Schilling. Thomas looks like getting in, and I think he’s a cut below those two, so I’m not gonna worry about him yet.

        That said, my first priority is to vote for anybody I think belongs who is dropping off the ballot if they don’t get enough support this week. That will mean Biggio and Brown get my first two votes, even though I think they are behind Mussina, Glavine and Thomas.

    • Biggio : Doubles, versatility
      Thomas : consecutive MVPs on division-leading teams (’93-94)
      Brown : Dominant in his era, with the bonus that I actually saw him pitch at the ballpark (LaRussa left the Cardinal starter in a little too long that night)

  4. Not to just vote for the same people over and over again, but:

    Curt Schilling
    Frank Thomas
    Mike Mussina

    Even if none of these guys gets in, one of my votes will change next round due to one of the 1964 candidates. The other two will remain the same, however.

  5. This early in the voting procedure and the “Big Hurt” has already had a few people not vote for him on arguably the weakest round/year so far. I like Biggio for his 3000 hits and versatility in the field (Catcher/2B/OF) but not enough to include him in this round, Kevin Brown was nice, but not nice enough to warrant any real votes here, while pitchers like Glavine, Smotlz, Mussina and Schilling are still hold overs. My 65′ Ballot looks like this, and I am happy to believe that Mr. Thomas will join his brethren in the “Circle of Greats”:

    • John Z –

      Count me among those who will not be voting for the Big Hurt. Personally I’ve been a bit surprised by his level of support in our votes. It’s not that he wasn’t a great player. And he obviously belongs in the real HOF. But when we can only vote for three people and there are many quality candidates on the ballot, I can’t bring myself to vote for someone who was completely one-dimensional, no matter how good he was at that dimension. Had he been an average fielder or an average baserunner that would change things for me. But he wasn’t. He was dreadful at both. So while it seems he will gain election this time around, I personally can’t vote for him. I’m not even sure he would make my top 5 on the current ballot.

      • I don’t know that I’d consider hitting .350 with power and drawing a ton of walks one-dimensional. Having a career 156 OPS+ is really a combination of several batting skills: high average, power, and great patience.

        • Definitely Bstar. Obviously it depends on your definition of one-dimensional. In Thomas’ case all of his skills are batting related so in my opinion there are part of the same dimension. But that’s my perspective and others may have a different perspective.

          • Every time I saw the Big Hurt in the batter’s box, he looked distinctly three-dimensional. Definitely among the most voluminous players ever. :)

      • I concur Ed, his fielding was abysmal and his speed, well he did not really have any did he. But It can be argued that Frank was one of the tops in the majors during his first decade. I would argue he was as valuable as A-rod and more valuable then Bonds, McGwire and even Clemens in the decade of the 90’s. He was paid to wear a bat on his shoulder and that is what he did best, irregardless of what he lacked in other aspects of his game.

        • For his career, the Big Hurt was +690 Rbat (about #14 overall), and -308 for baserunning, avoiding the DP, (mis-)fielding his position, and the position adj for !B and DH. I think this is probably the worst ever in history. (Sheffield is -304.)

          In the 90’s his bat was just behind Bonds’ in value, but all the other stuff means that in total it was not close. All those runs he cost outside the batter’s box are each as important as the batting runs he added. Bagwell was a better player over the 90’s and for his career, because he was so much better as a baserunner and fielder.

          He is about the 10th best 1B ever, so exactly how many you want in your hall is very relevent here.

          • Kds – I agree with most of what you wrote. Except, in my opinion, the penalty for being a DH isn’t strong enough. I’m not really sure how they derive these sort of things but when Thomas was a full-time first baseman, his combined Rfield and Rpos was about -18 to -20. After moving to DH has position adjustment was about -14 or -15. So it seems to me that in terms of WAR he definitely benefited from moving to DH in a way that doesn’t really seem fair. Had he been forced to stay at first base the way lots of other players have been, his career WAR may be 5 or 10 lower.

            As for him being about the 10th best 1st baseman ever, he played less than 1,000 games at first. I think he’s probably the best DH ever (though one could make an argument for Edgar) but personally I can’t classify him as a first baseman.

          • Ed, The positional adjustment for DH started as 10 runs worse than 1B But it was cut to 5 to reflect the fact that on average players hit worse when DH than when playing the field. The pinch hitting penalty is bigger per PA than the DH penalty, but I don’t know if they make an allowance for that in figuring the positional adj. for PH’s. I may well agree with you that -10 is more appropriate.

            I agree that FT2 was more a DH than a 1B, though much of his value was earlier in his career when he was mostly at 1B. There are really only 3 well qualified DHs, Paul, Frank and Edgar; that I thought it would be more useful to show how he ranked among the larger and better group at 1B. (Personally, I prefer to rank at position which they were most valuable, not just most games played. So, Ernie Banks is a SS, and A-rod will always be a SS.)

          • I think it’s entirely accurate that his value as a DH is higher than as a 1B. He was such a terrible first basemen that the DH spot added value to him. That’s what the stats should do. If the stats had him equally valuable at 1B and DH, I would criticize them. Somebody has to play DH. If you have Frank Thomas on your team, that’s an easy decision.

  6. Very close, a lot of great players, and reading above it appears no one’s a lock: Thomas, Mussina, Glavine. If I had a 4th vote I suppose I’d have to take Schilling, who has a slight edge as the best pitcher in the group IMO.

  7. The most interesting race here might turn out to be among Lofton, Alomar, Walker and Kevin Brown to see who gets dropped. From the early returns it seems one of those four guys is likely to fall out of eligibility. It is conceivable that the voting could result in all four surviving, either if there is a tie for ninth or if somebody like Smoltz, who is protected for the next few rounds anyway, ends up coming in tenth.

    • Birtelcom – Those were my thoughts exactly. I assumed heading into the ballot that either Brown or Lofton would get dropped. I’m surprised to see that Brown has 3 early votes, what with the competition among starting pitchers on the ballot. But maybe people are voting for him just to keep him on the ballot. Anyway, I know I’m in the minority here, but I have no problem with people getting dropped. There are enough people getting carried over from year to year that if you don’t get carried over you’re probably not “Circle of Great”-worthy, you probably belong in the “Trapezoid of Very Good”.

      • After this is done, we can embark on our next ten-year project at HHS: “Concentric Circles of Diminishing Greatness”.

  8. Craig Biggio started his career as a comp to Joe Ascue.
    Ended it comped to Paul Molitor.

    AllStar at both Catcher and Second Base (has anyone else done that?)

    15th all time in Runs Scored.

    Biggio is my one pick from the 1965 class.
    It seems appropriate to me to pick at least one player from the year of voting.

    As for the other two, I’m going to approach this as if I were building a team.
    Who would I want to start with?

    I want the centerfielder who can fly.
    That is Kenny Lofton.

    I would pick Alomar next, but I’ve already got Biggio at 2nd.
    Sooo…. Pitching would be nice, and there a lot of great choices, but none of them stand out from the rest.

    There’s only one other player who stands out, and that is Frank Thomas.
    14th all time in ops+ (just ahead of Larry Walker, actually).

    I feel pretty good starting a lineup with:

    Kenny Lofton
    Craig Biggio
    Frank Thomas

    • Biggio versus Alomar is the battle that interests me most this round. If I were voting I think I’d have a hard time picking between them.

      • I had Alomar on my ballot but not Biggio, even though they both belong. It’s more a strategic vote, hoping Alomar, as well as Thomas and Mussina (the three I picked) make it in and clear room for others in following rounds.

    • I’m changing my vote.
      No Frank Thomas.
      Larry Walker’s athleticism and sustained peak have changed my mind.


      • And I had made assumptions about his Coors-effect that aren’t entirely true.
        Here’s the splits from his HOF 1997:

        .384 .460 .709 1.169
        .346 .443 .733 1.176

        Here’s ’98:

        .418 .483 .757 1.241
        .302 .403 .488 .892

        Oh! What the!
        Check out ’99:

        .461 .531 .879 1.410
        .286 .375 .519 .894

        Okay, that’s freakin’ obscene.

        Dare we look at 2001?

        .406 .483 .773 1.256
        .293 .416 .549 .965

        Okay, I don’t care, I’m still going with Walker, altitude be damned.
        Walker was fun to watch, and the arguments posted in comments #50 and #66 have swayed me.

      • In batting average in home games when hitting safely, 12 of the top 13 seasons since 1993 belong to Rockies, with Rusty Greer the lone exception.

        Rk Player Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA ▴ OBP SLG OPS
        2 Eric Young 1996 310 277 127 13 4 7 55 22 10 .458 .506 .610 1.117
        3 Todd Helton 1999 282 249 114 22 4 23 73 27 17 .458 .514 .855 1.370
        4 Dante Bichette 1998 293 279 128 25 2 17 78 12 20 .459 .481 .746 1.227
        5 Todd Helton 2003 294 255 117 27 4 23 71 36 24 .459 .524 .867 1.390
        6 Larry Walker 2001 260 220 102 26 3 20 73 27 30 .464 .527 .882 1.409
        7 Matt Holliday 2006 268 236 110 24 2 22 77 21 31 .466 .522 .864 1.387
        8 Todd Helton 2001 283 244 114 31 2 27 82 34 32 .467 .537 .943 1.480
        9 Ellis Burks 1996 310 275 129 31 6 23 78 29 45 .469 .521 .876 1.397
        10 Jeff Cirillo 2000 317 273 128 36 1 9 74 36 24 .469 .525 .707 1.232
        11 Todd Helton 2002 268 221 104 22 1 18 63 40 30 .471 .545 .824 1.368
        12 Larry Walker 1997 284 246 116 30 4 20 68 28 19 .472 .532 .870 1.402
        13 Rusty Greer 1997 268 234 111 20 3 18 52 32 26 .474 .537 .816 1.354
        14 Todd Helton 2000 287 243 118 28 1 27 85 39 21 .486 .551 .942 1.493
        Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
        Generated 1/7/2013.
  9. As I did last time, 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), and make any strategic changes later.

    My initial vote:

    1. Curt Schilling – 7.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak (2001-06) (raised after adjustment for relief season in 2005)
    2. Kevin Brown – 7.4 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak (1995-2000)
    3. Larry Walker – 6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak (1992-2003)

    If I could list more names on my ballot (say, an actual 10-man HOF ballot), I would go in this order (the last three or four names I would consider “borderline” HOFers):

    4. Kenny Lofton – 6.5 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak (1992-99)
    5. Frank Thomas – 6.6 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak (1991-97)
    6. Mike Mussina – 6.0 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak (1992-2003)
    7. John Smoltz – 5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak (1995-99); 4.5 WAR/162 during second 5-yr peak (2003-07) (raised after adjustment for relief seasons of 2003-04)
    8. Craig Biggio – 5.6 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak (1991-99)
    9. Matt Williams – 5.6 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak (1990-95)
    10. Roberto Alomar – 5.1 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak (1988-93); 5.7 WAR/162 during second 6-yr peak (1996-2001) (Borderline HOFer)
    Honorable Mention: Tom Glavine – 5.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak (1995-2000) (Borderline HOFer)
    Honorable Mention: Al Leiter – 5.2 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak (1995-2000) (Borderline HOFer)

    Interestingly, of the 12 whom I consider to be HOFers on this ballot, only four are newcomers (and only one makes my initial vote).

    Expect to see any of the above names in my final ballot, after any strategic changes that may be made. For now, though, feel free to tear my methodology to shreds upon seeing my evaluations of Lofton, Williams, Glavine, or any others that may anger you.

          • No love for Jose Canseco? I mean, he’s clearly had an historic impact on the game, impacing on multiple levels, all the way up to and including the HOF votes of other players. : -)

            It was interesting to comb through the list, for a quick reminder of players’ careers, including the ones who had fine careers, but ones well short of HOF caliber. While I knew BJ Surhoff had a long career, I would not have guessed anywhere near the number of hits and doubles he had.

            Surhoff also brings into focus another element of the game rarely discussed. He exhibited a spike in power during what is now regarded as the steroid era. He never failed a test. Was he a steroid user, or is he yet further evidence that something else changed in MLB in the mid-90s forward that led to an overall increase in power? It’s a critical question in trying to assess the impact of PEDs.

        • Bonds next time, Johnson the year after (err, before) that, and Clemens after that. The ’61 vote is going to be interesting for the holdovers as ’60 brings on Ripken and Gwynn, and Puckett.

          • Yeah next year’s vote should be interesting. With Bonds, Larkin and Palmiero all coming onto the ballot, that means some people are going to start falling off the ballot.

          • Actually the vote that should be REALLY interesting is the ’58 vote. Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs and Alan Trammell all come onto the ballot that year. With Boggs and Henderson entering the ballot, it will be the first time that two guys with 80+ WAR enter the ballot at the same time. Will be interesting to see who survives that ballot and gets carried over to the next round.

          • @ Ed 75 – yeah the more I look at it the more it seems there are a few phases to this project. The first several decades will just be ‘who survives on the ballot’, because it’s just a brutal amount of talent and accomplishment around.

            I just discovered that B-Ref had a ‘born in this year’ feature under ‘seasons’ yesterday, and was perusing back through time, and it seems like there’s a steep dropoff in the number of quality candidates (and ballplayers in general) before 1930 or so (which makes sense, because that’s about the time you’d have to be born to play a mostly pre-1960s expansion career). I mean, I saw several years between 1900-1930 where Jeff Kent could’ve won if he was parachuted into that year. So after we get to 1930 or so, it’ll be ‘who got dropped earlier that can be reconsidered with older greats as they come up’.

            And then before about 1885, it’ll probably be ‘okay, who do we have time to reconsider now with the odd old-timer’.

            Even up until last election I was in favour of a large ballot, but now I see Birtelcom’s preference for voting players back in. A ballot larger than 10-12 holdovers would be unwieldy, and people are gonna get dropped anyway, although looking back in time I don’t think that if someone gets dropped off the ballot now it means they wouldn’t eventually make it. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it, but the re-voting onto the ballot procedure seems important to define sometime soon.

          • Bells @98 – I also wonder, once we’re done with this, if we shouldn’t have some sort of final review process to make sure we elected the “right” people. Because of how this is being done, someone may get in during a weak year when there’s no one else available to vote for. And at the end, we may be scratching our heads, wondering how Player X got in, but Player Y was left out.

          • Ed @ 107

            I think there’s going to be a “review” one way or the other because the results are public – that’s the fun part :)

            I think there would be more of a problem if birtelcom started with a weak year, like 1967. With all due respect to Kevin Appier, Robin Ventura, Trevor Hoffman, and maybe one or two others, the only really viable candidates (thinking about this as a “top 110” or “top 120” project and not a HOF debate) from 1967 are Smoltz and Kenny Lofton (they are the only holdovers left from that year). So it’s likely that one of those two would have gotten in, and while they still may get in I think most people would have them near the tail end of the top 110 or top 120.

            But we are still picking guys from 1968 – Piazza went in 1968, Bagwell (from 1968) went in 1967, and Thomas (from 1968) is likely to go in this round with Mussina and Alomar still hanging on the ballot. The only person so far to break the 1968 birth year run is Greg Maddux.

            I know people are talking about 1958 as a big time year, but 1931 still takes it for me. Willie, Mickey, Ernie, and Eddie. Plus Jim Bunning and Ken Boyer. Luckily there doesn’t seem to be anyone from 1930 who competes with this group of players, so it should be Willie-Mickey or Mickey-Willie and then see what happens – for all we know Mike Mussina might still be on the ballot then.

          • Ed, that will almost certainly happen.

            It’s not at all clear just what the point of this whole exercise is. Clearly, the methods used are going to have an effect on who gets in, and if you use some other set of methods, you’re going to elect a different set of people, how different being directly dependent on the critical specifics of the two methods.

            What I see this as so far is simply an experiment/discussion on how one might want to proceed. That discussion should be expanded until a more meaningful method is chosen, and then the whole exercise started over before it goes any further, since it’s so near the beginning. And one of the changes is it has to be speeded up–it’s going to take over two years at the current rate. Each ballot should last a couple of days at the most.

          • Jim – I doubt we’ll start over…what would be the impetus for that? Anyway, I think you and I generally tend to be in agreement on this exercise. Personally, I would have preferred if we started with a ballot of all current HOFers plus anyone above a certain WAR threshold. I don’t understand why we’re adding people to the ballot based on birth year. That doesn’t make any sense to me. My other big issue is that ballots should be weighted if we’re only electing one person at a time. Frank Thomas will likely be the top vote getter this time around but with unweighted ballots we really have no idea if he was the preferred candidate. It could be that everyone who voted for him Thomas considered him the 3rd best candidate on their ballot. In which case, he may not gain election.

          • My assumption has been a lot of great players aren’t going to make it. Eddie Mathews being one. I’ll have to check some more but I don’t see it happening. Which would mean one of the three best 3rd baseman ever might not be in the Circle.

          • @113 I dunno… Even if Matthews is 3rd or 4th on his year, he can still get carried back on the ballot, and there’s a good 70 ballots to go after him. Frank Thomas finished 3rd on his ballot and 4 years later he’s set to join. So I highly doubt Matthews will get overlooked; in fact, looking at the years preceding 1931, I’d be shocked if he was still awaiting enshrinement by 1925.

            And Ed @111, I’m not sure I see the problem with unweighted ballots if you get only 3 choices. With ten, yeah sure, but this exercise was deliberately set up this way by birtelcom. ‘Pick 3 players’ implies ‘pick the 3 greatest’, but someone might also be strategic and pick the one they think is the greatest and deliberately leave out their immediate competitors. In the first case, you would think the person who appears most consistently on the list of ‘3 greatest’ is the greatest, since the others were literally more debatable, and in the second case it’s kind of a weighted ballot anyway. It seems to me like it sorts itself out.

          • @115 Bells – Well this is why we should have a closed ballot. It would cut down significantly on strategic voting. (you could still let people see the results AFTER they’ve voted…lots of websites do that). And if we’re only electing one person at a time, we really should only be voting for one person per ballot. Otherwise, there’s really no way of telling who the winner is.

            Anyway, it really doesn’t matter. I think we have to see this for what it is. A fun little exercise for the HHS community. Ultimately, the number of people who care about this is exercise isn’t that great. And it’s not like any of the inductees gives a hoot.

          • I wrote a long post earlier and then I lost it when I clicked submit. Short version- project ain’t perfect but it’s fun so what the heck. I do think that by the time 1930 rolls around and assuming Bells is right & the field clears out a little bit that we will probably have close to a couple of dozen borderline candidates mostly from the modern era that well have to figure out how to go back & deal with otherwise players from the 20’s and 30’s are going to end up being over-represented just like they are in the real HOF. It does seem to me however that of the 10 at least arguably qualified candidates that are currently on the ballot that no less than 5 of them will fall of before we reach the mid 50’s. In addition I don’t see anyone currently on the ballot actually getting elected (except for Thomas, of course) until sometime well down the road unless there is some sort of backlash against Bonds and/or Clemens when their time comes.

          • Hartvig @117 I agree with what you wrote. I know I tend to get emotional about these sort of things (I’m not happy that Frank Thomas is winning this round!) but it’s better to just relax and enjoy it. It’s not like this is a Presidential election.

            Anyway, it will definitely be interesting to see how things play out and who drops off the ballot when. I’ve already mentioned 1958 when Boggs, Rickey Henderson and Trammell all come on at the same time. Then look at 1954 when 4 HOFers debut – Ozzie, Gary Carter, The Eck, Dawson – plus Willie Randolph and his 63 WAR. And then 1947 with Bench, Fisk and Ryan. Or 1935 with Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax and Frank Robinson. Or the very next year, 1934, which has Aaron, Clemente, Kaline and Aparicio. Then 1931 with Mays, Mantle, Mathews, Banks, and Bunning. Those are going to be some brutal years where guys are dropping off the ballot right and left.

  10. Career Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Schilling 56.2
    Mussina 49.4
    Walker 48.6

    Brown 43.2
    Glavine 42.2
    Thomas 40.9
    Smoltz 40.2
    Lofton 39.5
    Alomar 37.3
    Biggio 35.9

    Easiest call yet. Top three above are my ballot.

  11. Frank Thomas, Craig Biggio, Larry Walker.

    Pitchers are too lumped together in my mind for me to take one over the other. This is starting to get difficult… Mussina, Glavine, Smoltz, Schilling, K Brown, Lofton, Alomar are all reasonable choices.

    Also how did Felix Jose log 10 years of service?

  12. Schilling Mussina. Walker. Not wishing to disrespect anyone’s choices, but could one of those who chose. Glavine over the. Two pitchers named above oblige with the rationale? I didn’t see him pitch much , but I just can’t find it in the record. I could be talked out of Walker, Thomas obvious other choice

    • I haven’t voted yet in this round and didn’t vote for Glavine in the last round but I did vote for Lofton over Frank Thomas in that one- not because I think that Lofton is a better player but to keep him from falling off the ballot. Strategic voting, in other words, might be one answer.

      I’m also using 3 tools kind of as a kickoff point. One is Adam Darowski’s wonderful Hall of Stats, the other is Baseball-Reference’s JAffe War Score system (JAWS) and the third is Bill James’ player rankings in The New Historical Baseball Abstract, the 2000 edition. The HOS and JAWS are WAR-based ranking systems, James uses WIN Shares. HOS does make time-line adjustments for 19th century pitchers, JAWS does not. Neither WAR based method factors in things like post-season performance, time lost to military service or basically any non-regular season, off-field considerations and only the HOS in the case of 19th century pitchers make any sort of adjustment for time-line. James does adjust for time-line and does factor in things like time lost to segregation or military service, post season play and other subjective factors. It’s biggest drawbacks are that even James admitted WIN shares had issues and I don’t even have access to any rankings beyond the 2000 season- which would be before any of our current big 5 pitchers (Schilling,Mussina,Glavine,Smoltz,Brown) had finished their careers.

      Those systems rank the pitchers thusly:

      HOS (which does make a time-line adjustment although not a big enough one, in my opinion)
      #15 Schilling
      #19 Mussina
      #23 Glavine
      #27 Brown
      #29 Smoltz
      JAWS (no time-line adjustment and still WAR but differently viewed)
      #29 Schilling
      #30 Mussina
      #32 Glavine
      #46 Brown
      #56 Smoltz
      BJHBA (Win shares)- incomplete information on players careers
      #60 Glavine
      #73 Brown
      #87 Smoltz
      I don’t see that James ranks either Schilling or Mussina

      To me it seems that at least both of the WAR based system view the 3 pitchers you mentioned as being reasonably close in value- enough so anyways that some small change in how WAR is calculated or how each system arrives at their rankings could change the order in which they are ranked relatively easily. Factor in that Glavine pitched about as well as Mussina in the post-season in significantly more games plus he pitched at least 1000 innings more in the regular season than either of the other 2. And last, Glavine pitched for the Braves which means on TBS which means for much of the 90’s and even beyond if you didn’t happen to live in a market where either Mussina or Schilling pitched you probably got at least 100 more opportunities to see Glavine pitch than either of the other 2.

      • BryanM, we seem to have more in common than the spelling of our name. We had the same ballot this round, and I was considering asking the same question you did.

        Hartvig, I think HoS and JAWS illustrate Schilling’s and Mussina’s superiority- but not by an extreme margin- over Glavine. Anything published in 2000 misses an enormous portion of the value Schilling and Mussina accumulated and is not relevant to this discussion. I think your analysis could have benefitted from some data from fangraphs, whose FIP-based WAR could shine a different light on the argument. Here’s their take:

        Schilling – 86.1 career WAR, 9.7 peak, 8 seasons 5+
        Mussina – 85.6 career WAR, 7.1 peak, 11 seasons 5+
        Glavine – 68.5 career WAR, 5.7 peak, 2 seasons 5+

        Naturally, this exercise will favor the best K/BB pitcher since 1900, and some don’t put a lot of stock in fielding-independent numbers, but I think it’s a worthy data point to add to the set you provided. You make a good point about Glavine’s postseason resume and visibility, but Schilling has perhaps the best postseason resume of any pitcher ever (and some high-profile moments), while Mussina was decent (3.42 ERA) in a lot of postseason games (23) as well.

        I can see a voter who values postseason performance highly giving Glavine’s resume a long look against Mussina’s, but is there a justification for voting Glavine over Schilling besides personality?

        • Glavine’s FIP and fWAR are very controversial. He outperformed his FIP by close to half a run over the course of his entire career.

          fWAR leaves out the fact that Glavine is the all-time leader in LOB-wins. After pitched 20+ years in the league, I think it’s pretty safe to assume Glavine’s incredible strand rate had nothing to do with luck.

          I see no justification for not including it.

          Here’s the rWAR leaderboard:

          Mussina 78.2
          Glavine 76.8
          Schilling 76.1
          Smoltz 65.9
          Brown 64.3

          To me, the top three are very close and the bottom two are in a slightly different class. I chose Schilling and Glavine because of the postseason performance, and I think the fact that Glavine logged approximately 1000 IP more than Schill or Moose give him the edge. Also, 300+ wins doesn’t hurt either.

          Moose would probably have been my fourth pick this year. It was very close.

          Glavine over Smoltz is easy to me because of my personal confidence level as far as who was on the mound for the Braves during their 15-year run, or whatever it was. I’d just rather have Glavine out there, and I’m quite aware the numbers may not reflect that. So it’s a personal bias there, but to me it was always Maddux>>>>Glavine>Smoltz. Smoltz was certainly better than Glavine later in their careers, there’s no doubt about that.

          As for Smoltz’s postseason record, it’s certainly impressive but I think a lot of people are looking at the W-L record. Yes, Smoltz’s 2.6? ERA is very good, but suppose Smoltz was 11-8 instead of 15-4? Would we be making such a big deal out of it if he had lost a few of those games that he won?

          If seasonal or even career W-L records are so meaningless, why are we putting so much stock in a postseason career that has 19 decisions in it?

          • That’s a valid point regarding Glavine, or at least one worth consideration. There are pitchers, even if they are in the minority, who have been shown to outperform their FIPs over a period of time. There comes a point when it should be recognized as a skill, not a fluke. Glavine through his career also had a low K/9 percent. I’m sure if he started his career today, there would be people writing articles every season about how this will be the year he regress. Never happened. He could very well be even better than what his WAR shows.

        • In my post I fully admitted I can’t stand Schilling though I thought he was the best in a photo finish of these pitchers. He had the best 3 year and 5 year WAR, not to mention a rather strong postseason resume (11-2, 2.23, 0.968). Thus, I voted for Glavine and Mussina, or Mussina and Glavine, actually. But personality is enough to kill a vote when there’s only 3 in a strong group.

      • Oh, and for the sake of completeness:

        Brown – 77.2 fWAR, 9.3 peak, 7 seasons 5+
        Smoltz – 82.5 fWAR, 8.4 peak, 8 seasons 5+ (plus three as a dominant closer and a Schilling-esque postseason resume)

        Glavine’s a distant fifth by this measure.

    • BryanM, not to disrespect you either, but can you justify your pick of Larry Walker over Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas (or, for that matter, any of about 10 other worthy candidates)?

      • Ibstar , as I implied in my post , my support for Walker is soft , and I recognize that there is a logjam of worthy candidates at his level . I think my rationale is partly peak value, party anti-DH bias and partly strategic. I have learned from others above (particularly hartvig) perspectives in which Glavine can be seen as closer to Mussina/Schilling If LOB over a long career represents a skill not fully captured in Tom’ s traditional stat pack, so too does the big hurt’s. 26 career RS% – his OBP is not a valuable as it looks on the surface ; not a big adjustment , but a mental tiebreaker.

        • Fair enough, Bryan. I think who you pick with so many players so close in value is largely subjective. I just found it a little odd that you singled out Glavine, to be honest.

          • I suppose because I had no trouble seeing where people could have supported , say, Thomas over Walker – I didn’t , but the opposite perspective was not opaque to me; whereas for pitchers , I just couldn’t see any perspective where TG was the equal of moose or Schilling. You and others have helped. put another way, a ballot that was Mussina, Schilling , Glavine would not have puzzled me, but several posters have Glavine as their only pitcher , and I just couldn’t see how they could get there.. so I asked for, and got, help.

  13. I am deliberately not considering pitchers, as there is no Maddux-like candidate on-ballot this time:

    – Frank Thomas
    – Craig Biggio
    – Roberto Alomar

  14. Schilling, Lofton, Thomas. Although I suspect I have stronger feelings about Lofton in general now due to the fact he’s likely to be (unjustly) knocked off this BBWAA ballot.

  15. My god, I can only hope that this is the least-inspiring year; I’m awfully thankful for that holdover clause, and I’m clearly not alone. Only two 1965 players have received votes, and only two (could even possibly) deserve them.

    My votes:
    Tom Glavine
    John Smoltz
    Craig Biggio

    • Here’s what’s in store for future installments. Numbers are players with 40 career WAR – pitchers and hitters.
      – 1964: 3, 6
      – 1963: 3, 4
      – 1962: 2, 2
      – 1961: 1, 0
      – 1960: 2, 3
      – 1959: 0, 3
      – 1958: 1, 3
      – 1957: 1, 2
      – 1956: 0, 3
      – 1955: 1, 4

  16. Ugh…this is so tough. I feel the need to be strategic here and vote Alomar so that he stays on the ballot. Thomas should have been a shoo-in two rounds ago, so I’ll pile on here to correct that injustice. There needs to be one pitcher to balance things out, and sifting between Glavine/Schilling/Mussina/Smoltz is giving me a migraine, so I’ll just throw a dart at the map and pick the guy with the best longevity.


  17. Interesting how little support Kevin Brown has received so far. Craig Biggio has almost ten times as many votes as Brown (28 votes to 3) although in Adam’s Hall of Stats Brown ranks higher than Biggio. He also ranks higher than Smoltz and Lofton in the Hall of Stats, though well behind the other full-career starting pitchers on the ballot: Musssina, Glavine and Schilling, which may be a big reason for Brown’s problem.

    • I wonder how many of us are truly looking at every player’s stats and putting stats ahead of our gut feelings (surely more than the HOF voters, but I wonder…)

      Anyway, I think Brown and Lofton are now tied for ninth? If I remember the first round correctly, a tie for the final eligibility spot gives eligibility next round to both. Has this been amended at any point?

      • That is indeed the rule; a tie for ninth puts both guys into the next round.

        There is no requirement that stats be the only consideration. Though presumably readers and commenters at this site will tend to take stats more fully into account in this process than the average baseball fan might.

  18. Schilling, Mussina, and Glavine are all very close, but Moose gets my vote.

    Thomas has waited long enough, so he gets a vote. We all agree that he couldn’t field or run, but he mashed the ball, and there haven’t been any hints of PED abuse.

    Lastly, newcomer Craig Biggio was a grinder who took the field every day, stole a lot of bases, hit with good pop, and played catcher, 2nd baseman, center-fielder, and left-fielder.


  19. Good to see that Mike Mussina is making a push toward 50% of the ballot.

    To paraphrase a recent article by Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information:

    Since 1975, the top pitchers in WAR were Clemens, Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro, and Mussina. Not to suggest that Moose wasn’t a “distant” fifth, but still, 5th in WAR for pitchers in over 35 years? Not bad.

    Since 1961 (start of the expansion era), Mussina ranks 10th in WAR.

    Going all the way back to 1920 (start of the live-ball era), Mussina ranks 12th.

  20. Brown, Mussina, Schilling

    Giving up on lofton and walker. Brown needs a second look, and I’m trying to give it to him. Biggio is already locked in. I’m not sure either of them actually belong still thinking about where the standard should lie. S & M both belong, I want to see them hit 50%.

  21. Mussina, Alomar, Brown

    Like to see Mussina get a 4 year extension & Alomar a 2. I’d also like to see Glavine reach the 4 year extension mark but I think he’s just too far away to do it so I’ll try and get both Brown and Lofton another years consideration.

  22. You know, Ed and others have convinced me to take a long, hard look at Frank Thomas again and re-evaluate how I should value his ‘one-dimensionality’. I suppose it’s a formality as he’s going to be elected on this ballot to the Circle, but I’ve come down on the side of continuing to think that he’s worthy of election.

    Mussina (my opinions on all these pitchers changes every ballot, but Mussina looks good to me today)
    Alomar (partially because he’s oh-so-close to a 25% ballot extension, partially because even though I don’t think he’s one of the ‘best’ 3 on the ballot I really had a soft spot for him in his playing days, and partially because I like the idea of still picking 3 1968-born players)

  23. Again, I know that it’s way beyond the voting deadline for this round. But, just for fun, I’m starting at the beginning and catching up to the project.

    For the 1965 election, I’m voting for:
    –Craig Biggio
    –Frank Thomas
    –Roberto Alomar

    Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):

    Sentimental favorites, but I didn’t consider at all:
    –Greg Vaughn (Of course, another favorite from his days on my Brewers.)

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