Circle of Greats 1958 Ballot, Part 1

This post is for voting and discussion in the eleventh round of balloting for the Circle of Greats. This round, and the next round, add players born in 1958. Rules and lists are after the jump.

41 players were born in 1958 and played in at least ten seasons of major league baseball. 20 of those (players with last names beginning A through H) will be added as eligible this round. The other 21 players in the born-in-1958 group will be added next round. I expect such two-part birth year introductions to be held every three birth-years or so. The other, intervening birth years will be handled the same as the ones we’ve done up till now — bringing in all the 10-year guys within that birth year at once. Such a blended approach should get us to 112 inductees before we get too far back into the ancient history of the major leagues. We’ll do a separate wing of the Circle of Greats for those guys from really way back in history.

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

All voting for this round closes at 11:00 PM EST on Sunday, March 3, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EST Friday, March 1.

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: 1958-Pt 1 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-1958 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 number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the future eligibility number is the same. We welcome back Kenny Lofton and Kevin Brown to the list of holdovers, based on their being the top two vote-getters in the redemption round voting this past week. The 1958 birth year guys are listed below 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 (eligibility guaranteed for 7 rounds)
Tom Glavine (eligibility guaranteed for 6 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for 5 rounds)
Tony Gwynn (eligibility guaranteed for 5 rounds)
Barry Larkin (eligibility guaranteed for 5 rounds)
Larry Walker (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Roberto Alomar (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Tim Raines (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Kevin Brown (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton(eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1958, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues, last name starts with letters A through H):
Rickey Henderson
Julio Franco
Gary Gaetti
Wade Boggs
Scott Fletcher
Dave Henderson
Randy Bush
Bill Doran
Von Hayes
Marty Barrett
Carmelo Castillo

Pitchers (born in 1958, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues, last name starts with letters A through H):
Orel Hershiser
Bruce Hurst
Juan Agosto
Atlee Hammaker
Steve Howe
Neil Allen
Lee Guetterman
Jim Acker
Steve Crawford

214 thoughts on “Circle of Greats 1958 Ballot, Part 1

  1. 1
    Alex Putterman says:

    Henderson, Raines, Glavine

  2. 2
    Nadig says:

    Boggs, Walker, Rickey Henderson.

  3. 3
    Doug says:

    Rickey Henderson, Boggs, Walker

  4. 4
    David Horwich says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Larkin

  5. 5
    Joel says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Larkin

  6. 6
    RJ says:

    Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn both played exactly 2440 games and have an OPS+ of within 1 of each other.

  7. 7
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    It seems that most of the good 1958 players are A-H


    Willie McGee and Alan Trammell get what amounts to a bonus round.

  8. 8
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Did you know that Gary Gaetti has the 3rd most games played at 3B?


    by rField:

    293 Brooks
    140 Nettles
    131 Gaetti
    104 Boggs

  9. 9
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    A tale of two pitchers:

    23-8, 6.9 WAR
    15-15, 6.8 WAR

    The two pitchers are Orel Hershiser
    1988 and

    Those six shutouts in a row to close out ’88… well, Orel got the other end of the stick in ’89.
    On August 8th he was 14-8, 2.40

    Over his next 9 starts he was 0-7… with a 2.32 era

    It took an eleven inning effort on October 1st to scratch back to 500.
    Orel got pinch hit for to open the 12th, but the Superbas brought it home:

    • 26
      Ed says:

      Hershiser lost three of those games by a 1-0 score. One of the losses was to Frank Viola. The other two were to Andy Benes who was a rookie at the time. The first one was Benes’ 6th career start, the second one was his 9th. Not a bad way to start your career, outdueling the reigning Cy Young winner twice.

      During that 0-7 streak, Hershiser also took a no decision in this amazing game:

      The first run wasn’t scored until the 22nd inning! Is that a record? Two different pitchers (Rich Thompson and John Wetteland) each threw 6 innings in relief. And the Dodgers’ hitters failed to draw a single walk in a 22 inning game! The game ended when Rick Dempsey homered off his old Baltimore battery mate Dennis Martinez. It was the only time the two faced each other. And oddly, they both played the exact same years with Baltimore: 1976-1986 (Dempsey made a brief return in ’92 to finish out his career).

      • 58
        Ed says:

        In response to my own question, this game between the Mets and Astros is the longest before the first run scored.

        Jim Ray turned in one of the all-time great relief appearances: 7 IPs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 11 Ks.

        The game above between the Expos and the Dodgers is the second longest before the first run scored. The Expos did shatter the record of most batters faced without issuing a walk. 81 batters faced, no walks. The previous record was “only” 69 batters.

      • 62
        John Autin says:

        Great find on the Dempsey HR, Ed!

        Dempsey caught El Presidente’s MLB debut on Sept. 14, 1976 (the day after Dempsey’s birthday). Martinez fanned the first 3 men he faced and went 5.2 scoreless relief innings for a win. Martinez was apparently the first MLB player born in Nicaragua, so that must have been a proud night for his countrymen.

  10. 10
    J.R. Lebert says:

    Gwynn, Rickey, Raines

  11. 12
    cubbies says:

    gwynn, boggs, henderson

  12. 14
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    So many ways to go with this vote.
    I always thought it would be a dream lineup to have RIckey Henderson and Wade Boggs 1-2
    Throw a Larry Walker in the 3-hole and you’d have opposing starters developing crippling migraines on game day.

    Of course, you usually want to build a team up the middle, and we’ve got 4 HOF options around the keystone (Biggio will get there).

    Can’t go wrong with John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Orel Hershiser leading your staff in the playoffs (sorry Kevin Brown).

    What I’ve consistently fantasized about, however, is world-class speed in my outfield.
    When have we last seen that?
    1985? The World Champion Cardinals?
    Coleman, McGee, and Van Slyke

    I so, so want to write a ticket of
    Rickey, Raines, Lofton, push my fences back to 500 feet and let ’em rip.

    Not going to do it, though.
    As fast as Raines was, I’m not on board with his defense.
    I need a Rightfielder, and I’m sticking with Booger.


    (I’m assuming Boggs will get 10%. Rickey’s winning this one, I’ll get Wade next time)

    • 21
      Nash Bruce says:

      I love the speed teams too, Voomo. Didn’t Cedeno wind up on that ’85 Cards team as well?

    • 91
      Gootch7 says:

      Ha. I read so quickly through it took some time to sink in…. The ’85 Cards might have been world champs had Denkinger gotten the call right on Orta’s bouncer. As it turns out George Brett’s Royals won their only championship that year.

    • 150
      Hartvig says:

      While the Kansas City outfield they faced in the ’85 Series may not have had the same speed as the Cardinals it’s hard to imagine their being much if any faster than the ’78 version of Kansas City’s outfield.

      • 179
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        Willie Wilson and Amos Otis, sure.
        But Al Cowens?

        And Tom Poquette & Clint Hurdle started more games in the OF than Wilson.

        • 180
          Hartvig says:

          Cowens wasn’t as fast as Wilson- but then NObody was as fast as Wilson.

          But Cowens could motor. You don’t hit 14 triples hitting out of the #4 or #5 spot if you can’t pick ’em up and put ’em down pretty quick.

          • 181
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Right. Good to know.
            And he came in 2nd in the MVP voting that year – the only year he received any votes at all.

            Here’s a good article about his career:


          • 182
            Ed says:

            A few notes on Cowens:

            1) His 2nd place MVP finish was likely fueled by his amazing September/October: .379/.453/.650 with 31 RBIs. It was by far his best month.

            2) Cowens was drafted in the 75th round!!! Wonder why he was overlooked? Obviously scouting in 1969 isn’t what it is today, but still. He went to the same high school as Roy White, Reggie Smith, and Don Wilson. All three of them were established major league stars when Cowens was drafted. So you’d think teams would have scouted that high school quite a bit.

            3) Cowens never played AAA. Pretty uncommon for someone who was drafted in the 75th round. And even though he was horrible his first year in the majors (67 OPS+ in 296 PAs) the Royals never sent him back for more seasoning.

          • 183
            Ed says:

            That ’69 draft when Cowens was selected in the 75th round is really odd. The whole draft went 90 rounds. But not every team participated in the whole draft. As you go further into the draft, fewer teams participated. For example, only 22 of the 24 teams selected a player in the 30th round. By the 40th round, there were only 13 teams participating. By the 51st round, we were down to 3 teams – the Mets, Expos and Royals. The Mets then dropped out and the Royals and Expos continued picking players until the 76th round. The Expos then dropped out and the Royals kept drafting by themselves until the 90th round. Granted, the Expos and Royals were expansion teams so they probably needed more players but what about the Pilots/Brewers and the Padres? They were expansion teams as well and yet the Padres dropped out after the 33rd round and the Pilots after the 47th round.

          • 185
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Maybe the Pilots didnt have money to draft all those extra players.
            They played in a minor league park with obstructed views, they couldnt pay Bouton for $50 worth of Gatorade, and they sold the team in secret to a Milwaukee used car salesman during the world series.

  13. 16
    David Horwich says:

    Out of curiousity, birtelcom – where will the “ancient history” line be drawn?

    No doubt you’ve done this calculation, but just to lay it out for everyone:

    If we hold “double election” years every 3rd year (voting in 4 players every 3 years, or 20 players every 15 years) we’ll fill the CoG by birth year 1882, if my figuring is correct. That’d leave out a handful of players with strong credentials, all of whom played the bulk of their careers in the 20th century: Mathewson (b. 1880), Plank (b. 1875), Wagner, & Lajoie (both b. 1874), as well as a few other 20th century players who at least deserve consideration (Wahoo Sam, I’m lookin’ at you).

    If we have a double election every 4th year (5 players every 4 years, 20 players every 16 years), we’ll make it to 1877. If we elect 20 new players every 17 years, we get back to 1872. It’d be kinda cute to have the final election be birth year 1871, to coincide with the founding of the Nat’l Association.

    • 52
      birtelcom says:

      I’ve been deliberately a little vague on this subject becasue I do want leave some flexibility as to how to proceed with the earlier birth years. The BBWAA has elected, I think, 107 guys born after 1885 but only on 5 guys before 1885. At some point around the 1900 birth year we may want to think about pulling back on the double-election years, to mimic what I think was the BBWAA’s perception that the deadball era and before was less their field of expertise and more the bailiwick of the old-timers. We have a while till we get there and I think it’s a good idea to keep some options open as to how to handle the earlier years until we can see more clearly how the ballot talent pool is playing out at that point.

      • 85
        David Horwich says:

        @52 – OK, sounds reasonable.

        I think the BBWAA did consider the deadball era to fall into their purview, at least in the early years of HoF voting, given that the first few elections enshrined mostly deadball-era stars; but it is true they’ve never elected anyone whose career was centered in the 19th c., and only a couple of players (Young, Keeler) whose careers straddled the centuries.

    • 74
      Bells says:

      Ooh, 1871! I’m totally into that idea.

      Also, I like the ‘2-part year’ solution, but I was thinking maybe it would be good to tweak it so that it only happens in ‘stacked’ years (like this year, 1954) so that the ballot doesn’t get whittled down too much (like, if we had split a weak year in half, we’d have no new holdovers and only 7 on the ballot by the next year, which might feel redundant). On the other hand, if those years are coincided with redemption candidates, it might give them more of a fair shake. And I’d love to see the voting for all candidates in a stacked year like, say, 1934. Hmm, perhaps this ‘every 3 years or so’ vagueness is the proper approach for now…

  14. 18
    Daniel Longmire says:

    It’s been a while since there are two no-doubt position players in their first year of eligibility. There are no qualms here with Henderson and Boggs’ counting or rate stats. The only issue is which remaining candidate is most worthy, and in the greatest need of bumping forward for another round. In my mind, it’s Raines by a whisker.


    Sympathy vote for Julio Franco, who along with Cap Anson, dominates the “After 42” section of B-R.

  15. 19
    Darien says:

    Henderson, Boggs, and THE ROCK. Holy moley was this round hard to pick three from.

  16. 20
    Tom says:

    Henderson, Martinez, Walker

  17. 22
    Nick Pain says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Larkin

  18. 23
    latefortheparty says:

    Rickey Henderson
    Wade Boggs
    Larry Walker

  19. 24
    koma says:

    Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio, Rickey Henderson

  20. 25
    Jeff Harris says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Raines

  21. 27
    Dr. Doom says:


    Deep ballot. I love it. But the question remains: birtelcom, why do you torture us so?!? Too many great players. I am excited for the double-round in 1958. That should help a bit.

  22. 28
    GrandyMan says:

    1) Henderson, no explanation necessary

    2) Boggs, (hopefully) no explanation necessary

    Before I make my third selection, let’s look at the Actual Value (as determined by a formula I introduced in 1962 and refined in 1959) of the remaining players, since some Redemption Round players are available this time:

    Glavine 107.1
    Walker 104.3
    Larkin 98.7
    Smoltz 97.0
    Brown 95.4
    Sandberg 94.5
    Lofton 94.5
    Martinez 94.4
    Gwynn 93.4
    Raines 92.9
    Alomar 88.8
    Biggio 85.5

    Five of the top seven have multiple rounds of eligibility remaining. The two that don’t are the two RRers – Brown and Lofton – so I feel the need to keep one of them alive for at least another round. I don’t have particularly fond memories of Brown, so I will go with Lofton, although he played the bulk of his years for the despised Cleveland Indians.

    Current ballot: Henderson, Boggs, Lofton

  23. 29
    mosc says:

    Gotta vote strategically here to keep these guys on the ballot. Lofton supporters have a tough year to get him through with a clear first ballot winner and several other candidates trying to get 10%. I will not help them. I am afraid of Boggs missing it, though it looks clear he will get 10%. Maybe I can help him get 20. I’m not even comparing him to Gwynn, Larkin, or anybody else just making sure he doesn’t get voted off the Island before he can get some real consideration in the next couple years. This format kind of forces you to give more consideration than normal to the oldest guys on the ballot. Clearly my third guy doesn’t matter except that his name is NOT edgar Martinez, Kenny Lofton, or Kevin Brown. So I’ll give a shoutout.

    Julio Franco

    I’ve heard it said that Julio Franco signed as a 19 year old prospect with the Phillies at age 23. Whither you believe it or not, 29 years later he was still hanging on in the majors. I give extra credit for the exceptional (higher weight on peak, higher weight on post season) and that includes playing longer than your competition. Franco aged his way into first base and lost his speed but he kept his eye in the batter’s box and an underrated glove even after his legs stopped working as well. Franco was never among the best players in the game, his peak is all but non-existent. Still, he will remain in the forefront of baseball history due to his unusual success past age 40. 1500 PA at age 43+ in a young man’s game.

    EDIT: Although I think the second best player on this ballot might be Boggs anyway so… He’ll probably do just fine without my help.

  24. 30
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Gwynn

  25. 31
    brp says:

    We need a leadoff hitter, so:

    Rickey Henderson
    Tim Raines
    Wade Boggs

  26. 32

    Henderson, Boggs, Gwynn

  27. 33
    Artie Z says:

    Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, and Tim Raines.

  28. 34

    Prior to this election, we had seen four of the most valuable players ever (by total WAR) come up for election. Bonds, Clemens, Maddux, and Johnson all went into the CoG on their first ballot. Now we have two (Henderson and Boggs) hitting the ballot at the same time.

    Career Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Henderson 73.7
    Boggs 59.2
    Walker 48.6
    Larkin 45.5
    Brown 43.2
    Glavine 42.2
    Martinez 41.6
    Smoltz 40.2
    Lofton 39.5
    Sandberg 39.1
    Alomar 37.3
    Raines 37.2
    Gwynn 36.8
    Biggio 36.7
    Hershiser 27.6

    I see somewhere between 8 and 14 CoG-caliber players here. I don’t want Kevin Brown to be a victim of ballot depth again, so he’s getting my vote. It seems others are as devoted to my Larry Walker cause as I am, but I’m not ready to dump him yet. And while Boggs wasn’t quite Rickey, I’d like to see another close vote this time. I hate to be the first guy not to vote for Rickey, but somebody would do it if I didn’t.

    Boggs. Walker. Brown.

  29. 35
    Abbott says:

    Rickey, Boggs, Glavine

  30. 36
    Gary Bateman says:

    Henderson, Alomar, Gwynn

  31. 37
    --bill says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Glavine

  32. 38
    Luis Gomez says:

    Tony Gwynn, Roberto Alomar, Rickey Henderson.

    My biggest thrill in baseball, that I witnessed, was Rickey getting his 3000th hit during Tony Gwynn´s last career game. Priceless.

    • 45
      John Autin says:

      Luis, that’s awesome! You also saw:

      – one of Juan Pierre’s 17 career home runs;

      – 2 HRs by rookie Juan Uribe, to finish with his only .300 BA;

      – a career-high 12 strikeouts and no walks by Colorado’s John Thomson, still a Rockies record for walk-free whiffs;

      – Todd Helton’s 54th double, the highest runner-up total since the ’30s (Berkman hit 55 doubles that year);

      – the last game in the brief career of pitcher Brett Jodie, including his 10th HR allowed in 25.1 innings (only the 3rd-worst HR rate among those with 20+ IP); and

      – you saw Gwynn’s career pinch-hitting average fall to .289, 50 points below his BA as a starter. Coming off the bench to hit is hard.

      Had you been in Atlanta instead of San Diego, you could have seen the only player who debuted on that date — Braves pitcher Scott Sobkowiak (in relief of Tim Spooneybarger) worked the 9th in what would be his only big-league game.

      In St. Louis, you could have seen Shane Reynolds get his 100th win in Mark McGwire’s last game.

      But clearly, SD was the place to be!

      • 64
        Luis Gomez says:

        I forgot about most of that stuff, but a couple of weeks ago (you know, the baseball-less week between the end of the Caribbean Series and the start of Spring Training), I found an old VHS tape of that game which I left recording back home and I saw it all again. Can´t believe eleven years have come and go since that sunny day in San Diego.

        The last series of that season was supposed to be on the road for the Padres, but because of the 9/11 attacks the postponed games were held at the end of the regular season.

      • 65
        bstar says:

        Interesting that Gwynn’s pinch hitting avg is/was exactly 50 points below his career average.

        That gives some weight to the old adage that hitting .250 as a pinch hitter is like hitting .300 as a regular.

      • 67
        Luis Gomez says:

        That game was also Mike Darr´s last career game. He was a fan favorite in San Diego and also in Mexicali because of his style of play. He was killed at the start of the next Spring Training in a car crash.

      • 88
        Daniel Longmire says:

        Is there a better player surname in the modern era than Spooneybarger? Oh man, that’s a Monty Python name if I’ve ever heard one.

        • 118
          GrandyMan says:

          That’s certainly one of the better ones I’ve heard. My favorites, however, are the ones I can’t pronounce:

          (I hope that works. For some reason, my browser no longer allows me to copy and paste the HTML formatting for links.)

          I stumbled upon this guy a long time ago, when I noticed that he was at the end of the “S” listing for position players. It could be argued that his career was stranger than his surname:

          He had 98 PAs in 47 games, all for the Tigers in 1970 and exclusively as a shortstop or pinch hitter. He appeared sparingly in April, then became the starter for about a week — evidently, starting SS Cesar Gutierrez was injured. He then appeared regularly as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter after that, despite consistently hitting below .150, until July 19, when he suddenly disappeared (DFA’d?), not to resurface again until September, when the Tigers were about 15 games out of first place. He played into the 12th inning for the only time of his career on the 21st against Baltimore; this was his final MLB appearance.

          The truly unique thing about this guy’s career was the fact that he was a left-handed hitting shortstop. He is the only left-handed hitter since 1943 to have at least 75 plate appearances and play all his defensive games at shortstop.

  33. 39
    Chris C says:

    Rickey Henderson
    Tim Raines
    Wade Boggs

  34. 40
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    I am traveling down The Road of Strategic Voting for the first time.

    Rickey and Chicken Man don’t need my help, so I am voting for three guys with _zero_ votes so far:

    -Ryan Sandberg
    -Roberto Alomar
    -Kevin Brown

  35. 41
    PP says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Larkin

  36. 42
    jeff b says:

    Henderson boggs raines

    As an aside, 5 of the 20 new players listed were on the 1986 red sox. I still don’t know why the mets never asked Marty barrett to be their manager since it worked well with davey Johnson.

  37. 44
    qx says:

    Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Larry Walker

  38. 46
    jeff b says:

    Lawrence, notice I said 1986 red sox, fletcher and rickey weren’t with Boston until later

  39. 48
    Andy says:


  40. 49
    Dave W says:

    Rickey Henderson, Tony Gwynn, and Robby Alomar.

  41. 51
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Larry Walker

  42. 53
    Fireworks says:

    Rickey, baby. I cannot let Gar be forgotten. And I need to show Julio some love for his longevity. Chicken Man, The Rock, Mr. Padre, Braves pitchers, ya’ll don’t need my help. Sorry Kenny.
    Sorry Kevin.

    Rickey, Gar, and Julio “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” Franco.

  43. 54
    Phil says:

    Henderson, Gwynn, Alomar. I thought Roberto would get wiped out this round, but as I scan votes quickly, he seems to be doing okay.

  44. 55
    Richard Chester says:

    R. Henderson, Boggs, Gwynn

  45. 56
    Brooklyn Mick says:

    Henderson and Boggs are so far ahead of everyone else on the ballot. After those two, there are ELEVEN players whose career WAR rages between 62.1 and 69.7.

    Wow! 5.6 WAR separates ELEVEN players.

    11. Biggio 62.1 – 20 yrs
    10. Smoltz 62.6 – 21 yrs
    9. Alomar 62.9 – 17 yrs
    8. Martinez 64.4 – 18 yrs
    T6. Lofton 64.9 – 17 yrs
    T6. Sandberg 64.9 – 16 yrs
    5. Gwynn 65.3 – 20 yrs
    4. Raines 66.2 – 23 yrs
    3. Larkin 67.1 – 19 yrs
    2. Glavine 69.3 – 22 yrs
    1. Walker 69.7 – 17 yrs

    Looking beyond that single number we call WAR, and factoring who put up the most WAR in the least time, my votes are going for who the numbers tell me are the best all-around players — players who are good at many things and who don’t have any real weaknesses.

    Larkin: dWAR 13.8, Rpos 107 Rbat 200, Rbaser 80
    Sandberg: dWAR 12.8, Rpos 47, Rbat 192, Rbaser 32
    Lofton: dWAR 14.7, Rpos 27, Rbat 140, Rbaser 78

    • 57
      Brooklyn Mick says:

      Ranges, not *rages*.

    • 66
      bstar says:

      Glavine’s WAR is 76.8, Mick. He’s over seven WAR ahead of the pack you listed.

      • 97
        Brooklyn MIck says:

        You’re right bstar. I was looking at his pitching WAR, which is 69.3. His batting WAR of 7.5 (pretty good for a pitcher) gives him a total WAR of 76.8.

        Not only that, I was wrong about the difference between 69.7 and 62.1, which is obviously 7.6 and not 5.6. Duh!

      • 173
        mosc says:

        7.5 oWAR for a pitcher is unusual to be sure but I still stand by my detailed statistical comparison between Glavine and Smoltz’s hitting: They both sucked. Yet another WAR problem…

        • 176
          bstar says:

          Mosc, you’re not considering the context at all that they were pitchers? That’s not WAR’s “problem”.

          Smoltz and Glavine were also artists at laying down the bunt–Glavine has easily the most successful sacrifices by a pitcher for a career, 216. Here’s the top 5:

          Sacrifice hits for pitchers

          1. Tom Glavine 216
          2. Greg Maddux 180
          3. Joe Niekro 147
          4. John Smoltz 136
          5. Don Sutton 135

          So weird that 3 of the 4 are the ’90s Braves trio. I knew they were good with the stick, but wow. Apparently chicks dig the sacrifice bunt, too.

          Since things are kind of slow today, I’ve got a couple quiz questions (no cheating with the P-I):

          1. Who is the career leader for most sacrifice hits for all players? Hint–He’s a Hall of Famer with 3000 hits.

          2. Which pitcher has the most batting WAR of all-time? He’s also a Hall of Famer.

          • 178
            birtelcom says:

            Yes, I agree that to some extent you have to think about the value of a pitcher’s hitting in the context of other pitchers’ hitting. NL teams have to have a pitcher come to bat, usually at least a couple of times through the lineup. It’s not like the have a choice. So no matter how terrible a pitcher might be at the plate compared to real hitters, if a pitcher is better at the plate than other pitchers (i.e., the other actual alternatives for that spot in the lineup), he is adding real value for his team. That’s what the oWAR for pitchers is seeking to measure.

            One odd counterbalance to that, though, might come into play for starting pitchers who are unusually good and unusually durable in terms of IP per game. Even if they also happen to be good hitters relative to other pitchers, it may be that as they pitch deeper into games than others and thus get more PAs as hitters, those additional PAs, coming most likely at the expense of (better-hitting) pinch-hitters, might actually be a negative value to the team. Of course it’s wonderful to have a starting pitcher pitch deep into games, but the positive value of that will be measured on the pitching WAR side. On the hitting side of the equation, that success on the mound might actually be a negative for the team on the offensive side, even if WAR is crediting it (for above-average hitting pitchers) as a positive.

    • 68
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      Whitaker and Trammell and Molitor and Murray on the way into the scrum

  46. 59
    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 PROVEN cheaters, such as Kevin Brown.

    So, after running this method, here is my initial vote for 3 candidates:

    1. Rickey Henderson (7.7 WAR/162 during 14-yr peak of 1980-93)
    2. Wade Boggs (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1982-93)
    3. Larry Walker (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)

    Meanwhile, the other HOF-quality candidates rank as so:

    4. Barry Larkin (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1988-99)
    5. Ryne Sandberg (6.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1988-92)
    6. Kenny Lofton (6.5 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1992-99)
    7. Tim Raines (6.5 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1983-87)
    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. Orel Hershiser (5.7 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1984-89)
    11. Roberto Alomar (5.7 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1996-2001)
    The following are borderline HOFers by my method:
    12. John Smoltz (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99)
    13. Tom Glavine (5.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1995-2000)
    14. Bruce Hurst (5.3 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1986-90)

    • 156
      Insert Name Here says:

      I’m gonna be making a vote change soon, seeing as Rickey has it almost locked up, and Boggs and Walker are both safe for the next round. However, two guys who deserve to stay on, Lofton and Martínez, are still at risk (by my determining).

      However, I’m waiting for tomorrow for my final vote, since I want to see how the voting changes in the next 24 hours or so.

  47. 60
    DanFlan says:

    Henderson, Smoltz, Gwynn

  48. 61
    Mike HBC says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Gwynn. In any order. For me, this had to be the easiest vote yet (except for Maddux/Smoltz/Glavine). I thought about Raines over Gwynn, but that was it.

    Also, if you are voting for Julio Franco, Kevin Brown, or anyone who has yet to receive a vote in this round for “strategic” reasons, I have lost (or will lose) all respect for you.

    • 71
      birtelcom says:

      There are all manner of reasons to vote for anyone eligible, all worthy of respect. And irony on the subject of respect is sometimes lost in blog comment format, so perhaps to be avoided.

    • 78
      Dr. Doom says:

      I legitimately considered voting for Kevin Brown, not because of strategic reasons, but because I think there’s an argument to be made that he had a better career than Tony Gwynn or Tim Raines or Barry Larkin or Tom Glavine. I have him behind Henderson, Boggs, and Walker. And so that’s how I voted. But there are plenty of reasons to vote for someone which you might not understand. Plus, isn’t losing respect for someone because of a just-for-fun, no-stakes, internet vote a little bit… I don’t know… overblown? If we keep perspective here, I think it’s pretty clear that there’s no reason to lose respect for someone because of how they voted in a fake Hall of Fame election.

    • 95

      Tony Gwynn: 65.3 rWAR, 67.8 fWAR, 36.7 WAA, 132 OPS+
      Kevin Brown: 64.5 rWAR, 77.2 fWAR, 40.4 WAA, 127 ERA+

  49. 63
    Mike L says:

    Henderson is obvious, with Raines and Sandberg. We are starting to get into a real scrum where there are a number of players who are deserving. There are fine gradations between a lot of them, and Sandberg and Raines currently have the least accumulated “seniority”. I want to see them continue to get consideration.

  50. 69
    Atlcrackersfan says:


    I’ll let other take care of Henderson & Boggs as both are deserving — although Red Sox / Yankees generally leave me cold!

  51. 70
    Jeff Hill says:

    I’m going with the Speedy guys here that I feel either deserve more consideration or are undervalued. One of these men does not meet either of those.

    Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Kenny Lofton

  52. 73
    RobMer says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Raines.

  53. 75
    RonG says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Sandberg

  54. 76
    Jeff Hill says:

    I’m being forced here by the continuous voting for Larry Walker. Maybe I’m asking why most people felt that Walker was so amazing? I have looked over his entire body of work several times, wondering where(besides the totals)statistically he’s so great at and I’m not finding it. Great player…at home yes. HOF player, absolutely not. COG HOF, not buying over some of these names regardless of his WAR.

    He averaged 117 games played over his 17 year career per season. That’s just over missing 25% of a full season every single year.

    His home stats in Colorado are Ruthian. In Montreal they are more like Jeff Blauser.

    This isn’t counting the mid season trade year of 2004. Only full seasons in MTL and COL at home: These splits are incredible.
    In Colorado: 570 games, 2,971 AB’s, 152HR, 19.5 HR/AB, 790 hits in 2,050AB for a .385 average.
    In Montreal: 319 games, 1,243 AB’s, 47HR, 26.4 HR/AB, 311 hits in 1,243AB for a .250 average.

    Folks, this guy thrived because of Coors field. Vote for who you want to, it’s free country, but there is no way I will ever give my vote for “booger”.

    • 79
      Dr. Doom says:

      Larry Walker was an outstanding hitter on the road in Colorado. In his best season (1997), he was better on the road than at home. If you actually bother adjusting for run context, it makes sense. Take a random year, like 2002. In that season, in Rox games, there were 12.2 runs scored per game at home, 8.5 on the road. Well duh his stats at home were better – but so were everyone else’s. And like 50% better at that. If you do basic runs created, Walker created 73.1 runs at home, 47.5 on the road. If you divide those by run context, Walker created 6.0 games worth of offense at home, 5.6 on the road. So in that example, yes – Walker was a better player at home than on the road… but not really by a lot. I think people overblow the difference between his home and road production. In my opinion, only in 1996, 1999, and 2003 is the difference substantial. And that’s 3 out of 8.5 years… not really enough to get too excited about. I just see Walker as an outstanding player who played in (arguably) the most unusual circumstances in the history of MLB. Obviously, we will all adjust for those things differently, and so we’ll reach different conclusions. But in studying the issue for myself, I have come to the (admittedly tentative) conclusion that Walker is, in fact, one of the great rightfielders of all time. And although he had a problem staying healthy, he was so outstanding in the time that he DID play, that I see him as more valuable than Tony Gwynn. Obviously, there will be a lot of disagreement about that, but it seems a logical conclusion to me.

    • 84
      birtelcom says:

      Hank Greenberg’s home OPS over his career was 209 points higher than his OPS on the road; the difference for Walker was 203. Greenberg had about 6,100 career PAs; Walker about 8,000. By both stats and reputation Walker was one of the best fielding right fielders of all time. B-Ref’s neutralized batting table estimates Walker’s neutral environment career stats at .378 OBP and.530 SLG, compared to, say, the neutralized career stats of Reggie Jackson, which are .373 OBP and .517 SLG.

      • 86
        MikeD says:

        I agree on Walker being a legit candidate, although the cause of Greenberg’s lower PAs is ba it different than Walkers, something the voters no doubt took into account.

        He was durable, but may have lost about as much time as any major player due to WWII, with his military service time taking away more than four full years of his career, crossing five seasons. Looking at his HR rate in his last full season, 1940, and his next full season, 1946, he led the league both times with 41 and 44 HRs. Without the war, it’s not unreasonable to believe Greenberg would have reached 500+ career HRs. He had done enough to be a HOFer without those lost seasons, but I’m sure the voters also took note of those missing War years and were more inclined to vote for him. They were looking for reasons to vote for him. Walker will get no such boost. Just the opposite. Voters will be looking for reasons not to vote for him, sure that Coors inflated his numbers.

    • 89
      Jeff Hill says:

      Here are a few other noteable players of Coors Field fame.

      Dante Bichette in Coors:
      517 games, 2,094 AB, 754 hits, .360 avg, 136 HR, 15.3 HR/AB
      Dante Bichette in all other home games:
      331 games, 1,118 AB, 299 hits, .267 avg, 41 HR, 27.2 HR/AB

      Vinnie Castilla in Coors:
      391 games, 1,551 AB, 525 hits, .338 avg, 117 HR, 13.2 HR/AB
      Vinnie Castilla in all other home games:
      357 games, 1,306 AB, 345 hits, .264 avg, 45 HR, 29.0 HR/AB

      I don’t thing this is a coincidence, it’s a trend…

      • 93
        Dr. Doom says:

        OF COURSE it’s a trend… but what would you expect? Let’s say Walker was a great hitter. Would you expect him to put up BAD numbers at Coors? Obviously not. So let’s agree that bad hitters put up better numbers than you’d think they would, and so do good hitters. Nobody is disagreeing with that. But that doesn’t prove Larry Walker to be a good OR a bad hitter, just based on the fact that he was a better hitter at Coors. It really doesn’t. I personally believe that Walker’s offensive and defensive contributions are too often belittled, because people just don’t know what to do with Coors Field. Again, I point out that, if you actually adjust for the run context in home and road games, Walker wasn’t really any more valuable in Coors than out of it; the numbers are just inflated. Once you see through that, you see a player who was a great offensive player and an outstanding defensive one, who happened to play in very unusual circumstances. I don’t think those unusual circumstances should prevent him from being elected into the CoG or the HOF, nor should they be the impetus to put him IN either one of them. And I think that Walker’s contribution is enough.

        • 96
          Ed says:

          I’ve come around a little on Walker though I still believe that uncritically accepting his WAR is a mistake. In looking around for a comp for Walker, the player I came up with is Reggie Smith. It’s a comparison that works quite well because they had the same career length, very similar OPS+, similar skill set, similar defensive position. So let’s take a more in-depth look.

          Walker has a WAR of 69.7, Smith 60.8. That’s an advantage of 8.9 WAR for Walker. Now let’s look at the components that go into that, leaving batting for last. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to use the 10 runs = 1 WAR conversion.

          Baserunning: Walker was definitely a better baserunner than Smith. His Rbaser + Rdp is +50. Smith’s is +6. Advantage Walker (4.5 WAR).

          Fielding: Both were very good fielders but Walker was a little better (94 Rfield vs 78).
          Advantage Walker (1.5 WAR).

          Position Adjustment: Walker was almost exclusively a rightfielder whereas Smith basically split his time between right and center. Smith’s position adjustment is -56, Walker’s is -85.
          Advantage Smith (3 WAR)

          So far we’ve explained 3 of the 9 WAR difference between Walker and Smith. All we have left is batting.

          Batting: Smtih and Walker had almost exactly the same career length: Smith had 8051 PA’s, Walker had 8030. OPS+? Walker has a small advantage: 141 vs 137. Now I realize that OPS+ doesn’t translate directly into Rbat but there’s definitely a strong correlation. And I just see no way how such a small difference in OPS+ could possibly give Walker the extra 60 runs he needs to explain the remaining difference in his WAR and Smith’s WAR. In the end, I have to misquote the The Bard and say “Something is rotten in the city of Denver”.

          That’s not to say that Walker wasn’t a fine player and perhaps deserving of induction. But I’ve done lots of analyses of Walker and I simply can’t accept his 69.7 WAR. Something around 65-66 seems more appropriate to me based on my various analyses.

          • 108
            BryanM says:

            Ed. Excellent and balanced analysis. Walker is drawing so much attention because he is so much on the edge what we consider greatness; WAR is an estimate, and your guess of 65-66 could be a better estimate than the official 69. To me , they both say he was very very good. In addition to the uncertainty around Coors, I tend to look at position adjustments, discounting them on occasion if the player was outstanding at the position he actually played, in other words, I think the concept of an excellent defensive first baseman contributing negative runs over a long career is basically flawed. In walker’s. case, I see this as a bit of an offset to the Coors cloud of uncertainty.

          • 109
            Dr. Doom says:

            Good comment, Ed. 65 WAR, or even 62, is still well-within the range for the type of player we’re talking about for the CoG. Good point, and cool research.

          • 111
            Ed says:

            Thanks BryanM and Dr Doom. BTW, an alternative conclusion to my Walker/Smith comparison is that Smith’s WAR should actually be higher. (as opposed to Walker’s being lower).

            One of the things that got me to see Walker in a more positive light was the new BR split finder. I had assumed (incorrectly) that Walker had benefited more from Coors Field than his teammates. This doesn’t seem to be true. In comparing his home/road splits to those of other long-term Rockies, I’d say that Walker’s split is a bit above average but nothing out of the ordinary.

            And I know that I’ve always had a reflexive negativity to anything associated with the Rockies. I don’t know what game they’ve been playing there over the years, but it sure as hell ain’t the baseball that I know and love.

          • 126
            Artie Z says:

            I like this way of thinking about it Ed – but we need additional reference points.

            Dale Murphy (42.6 WAR) vs. Bernie Williams (45.9 WAR).

            Murphy had a 121 OPS+ in 9041 PAs.
            Bernie had a 125 OPS+ in 9053 PAs.

            If I sum up Murphy’s Rbaser, Rdp, Rfield, and Rpos I get -87.
            If I sum up Bernie’s Rbaser, Rdp, Rfield, and Rpos I get -120.

            So Murphy is up by about 3 WAR (3.3 actually) using the 10 runs = 1 WAR conversion.

            But Bernie has a 3.3 edge in career WAR on Murphy, so that’s 6.6 WAR that Bernie needs to make up. And Bernie has 297 Rbat to Murphy’s 228, or a 69 point advantage. It’s basically the same difference as Walker vs. Smith.

            A difference of 4 OPS+ over 100 PAs is not that big of a difference (probably an extra hit or two for someone), over a season is a bigger difference, and over 8000 or 9000 PAs is a fairly sizable difference. 9000 PAs is equivalent to almost 14 years at 650 PAs a season. Is a 4-point difference in OPS+ in 650 PAs in a season worth about a half win per season? If so, then over 14 years that’s the 6+ WAR that Bernie needs to make up on Murphy, and it’s about what you need for Walker to separate himself from Reggie Smith.

            It doesn’t look like it’s a Walker-Coors thing – my guess is that you could find any number of players who have 6000+ PAs, are close to one another in PAs, and one has a 4 point edge in OPS+ and this type of analysis would hold up.

          • 127
            Ed says:

            Artie Z –

            Thanks for the comment. You made me realize that my analysis wasn’t complete. One additional, very important factor to consider is Runs from Replacement Level. Looking at your comparison, Bernie played in tougher leagues than Murphy. That explains another 27 runs of his advantage over Murphy. My quick back of the envelope calculation shows that a 4 point OPS+ difference over 9,000 PAs is about 90 bases or 30-40 runs for Williams. So Murphy and Williams basically seem to balance out.

            But Smith played in the tougher leagues than Walker. By a 22 run advantage. So instead of narrowing the gap between Walker and Smith, we’ve widened it. So now we have 80+ batting runs that need to be covered by a 4 point OPS+ difference over 8,000 PA. I don’t see anyway you can get there.

            And if anything, I’m being overly fair to Walker. The actual difference between Walker and Smith in Rbat is 109 runs, not 80+. Forty runs more than the Williams/Murphy difference. Despite the fact that Smith/Walker had careers that were 10% shorter than Williams/Murphy. And a similar OPS+ difference.

            (in case you’re wondering why my step-by-step analysis shows an 80+ Rbat difference between Walker/Smith as opposed to the actual 109, it’s because Smith played in a lower run scoring environment than Walker and therefore has a more favorable runs to wins conversion)

            So I retain my conclusion. Walker’s WAR appears to be about 3-5 too high. But had you asked me a month or two ago, I would have said it was 10-15 too high. So I’ve definitely come more to the pro-Walker side. Now if only I could figure out what sport they were playing in Coors Field. Cause as I said in my earlier comment, it sure as heck wasn’t baseball!

        • 113
          Jeff Hill says:

          My argument against Walker is in reference to how different his numbers, along with every player who played there in the 90’s-early 2,000’s are. You can find so many hitters who thrived there but were very average hitters everywhere else. If this holds true, why shouldn’t we punish those who played a good 25-30% of their career games in the greatest hitters park of all time?

          Again…Walker was a .250 hitter in Montreal but .385 in Coors. Vlad guerrero played 8 seasons in Montreal and hit .331 with 128 HR(14.9/AB), in 513 games, 1911 AB and 633 hits. I consider Vlad to be a better hitter than Walker anyway but this seems to validate that even further. JAWS has Vlad at #22/Walker at #9 among all time right fielders…

          Is Vlad a HOF player? Is he better than Walker? Thoughts…..

          • 114
            Jeff Hill says:

            Take a glance at Walker vs. Guerrero head to head in hitting…

          • 116
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            In five full seasons as an Expo (ages 23-27) , Walker had a

            130 ops+ and 50 Rfield, with 5.5 WAR/162

            Those same five years for Vlad:

            151 ops+ and 30 Rfield with 6.0 WAR/162

          • 117
            Ed says:

            Jeff – I’m not sure why you think Walker hit .250 in Montreal. He didn’t. He hit .293 there. Not as good as Guerrero but still quite good. And a player’s batting average in their home park (for half their career) should only be a small component of how players are evaluated.

          • 122
            John Autin says:

            Jeff — We absolutely should scale down the numbers compiled in Coors Field.

            But let’s use the real numbers. In all his career games outside Coors, Walker hit .282 with a .372 OBP and .501 SLG, for an .873 OPS.

            And you can’t just throw out the Coors home games. For one thing, players on average OPS about 5% better at home. (Last year’s home/away OPS split was .742/.708.)

            So when we’re looking at Walker’s home/away splits with Colorado, *some* of that must be treated as inherent home edge.

            Ultimately, I have faith in OPS+, which rates Walker and Vladdy virtually the same.

            That leaves defense and baserunning, both big edges for Walker. Walker had more SB with a much better percentage. He took more extra bases (52%-47%), while Vlad made almost twice as many outs on bases (147-76).

            On defense, even the basic stats show a big edge for Walker — more assists (154-126), far fewer errors (48-125 — Vladdy made a LOT of errors).

            And Vlad hit into almost twice as many DPs.

            Vlad was great, but I’ll take Walker.

    • 119
      Richard Chester says:

      Walker’s slashes:
      Coors: .381/.462/.710/1.172
      Everywhere else: .282/.372/.501/.872

      • 124
        Jeff Hill says:

        I apologize for the .250 mark for Walker. Not sure how I came to that. Vlad played virtually everyday(on terrible knees from the turf probably) whereas Walker was always injured for whatever reason(his back I think). I agree, defensively Walker but arm strength it’s darn close, accuracy goes to Larry. Base running is Walker although Vlad had two years of near 40/40 lines with those bad wheels.

        All I’m saying is that Vlad, who isn’t really being talked about as a future HOF player, for some reason, was a better hitter than Walker. If he had played 8 years in Denver, who knows what he might have done…

        Also, the 99 points in avg, 90 in on base, and 209 points in slg tell me all I need to know. The 300 points for OPS is ridiculous people.

        • 125
          MikeD says:

          His home/road splits tell a story. He was a excellent hitter on the road, and his skill was such that he did what a hitter of skill should do at Coors: he crushed it. That’s not a negative. Add in his OBP skills, baserunning and OFing, and we have ourselves a legit HOF candidate. I’m quite sure Vlad would have a large split, home/road, if he played at Coors. Would you hold that 200 point gap against him?

          The main knock on Walker, and one I recognize, is the large number of missed games, and the overall offensive environment he played in. Yet he is certainly worthy of consideration.

    • 175
      mosc says:

      My complaints about Walker are not about his oWAR. I actually think it does a great job of balancing out coors field. I too question people who want to double correct. No, my complaint is with his DWAR which is shown at a rather kind +1.5 for his career. If you give him to a contemporary RF, give him a Garry Sheffield type dWAR of -28.6, he wouldn’t be getting much consideration. I watched both players. I did not see a 30 dWAR difference. In fact, Sheffield was faster to my eye particularly as they both aged. But Mr. Waggle missed our cutoff by a few months (Walker is 23 months older).

      Bottom line, dWAR is all over the map for outfielders. I correct for that. His defense in right was good, but he was IN RIGHT! His arm was good, but he probably got to show that off once a week if he was lucky. His speed went from good to decent to poor to terrible. I’m just not seeing the total package here like some folks want to see. If he had a glove, he would have played some third. If he had good speed, he would have played more in center. Neither happened.

  55. 77
    Bells says:

    I think it’s high time these ‘ballot extensions’ everyone’s been accumulating come into play. I like several players on the ballot that have been on for years and not elected (Walker, Alomar, Glavine) but they have a few years extensions. So, I’m ignoring them for now. Basically, my vote is going to go for the person I think is the best player, and two players I think are deserving of future consideration but are in danger of falling off. Boggs doesn’t have any ‘extensions’ yet, but he’s already close to what 25% would be for the usual amounts of votes we get, so he doesn’t need me either.


    • 83
      MikeD says:

      I feel the same way. I’ve voted for Alomar every step of the way, but I don’t think I can justify it this time around, although I’m holding off voting for a bit to see if I’ll go for the three obvious, or vote for one on-the-bubble player to keep him around.

  56. 81
    James Smyth says:

    Rickey…Raines…and because it’s his last chance, Edgar

  57. 90
    elkboy3 says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Martinez

  58. 98
    Slash says:

    Martinez, Sandberg, Lofton

    • 99
      birtelcom says:

      Looks like a “helping the needy” ballot.

      • 100
        Slash says:

        To some extent, but only because I think they “deserve the help” more than Gwynn and Raines, who in my opinion are overrated in the polls here at HHS.

        • 103
          birtelcom says:

          Slash @100: good point — my comment @99 was overly reductive, and you reminded me of the underlying nuance in ballots like yours.

      • 101
        Hartvig says:

        Which is what my vote will likely be as well- I would say that we have 14 candidates that are at least within a coin flip of belonging in the COG and no less than 6 that are in the hands down, no doubt about it category plus another 5 or maybe 6 in the almost certainly pile.

        Decisions, decisions…

        • 102
          mosc says:

          You know, I’m not sure what a blessing it is to pervert your rankings into forcing this ballot to ever lengthen. Is the great fear that we’re going to get deeper in the past and long for Kenny Lofton to get back on the ballot over some WWI era player? Gah. That’s a lot of wasted votes you’re going to need to use to keep them around.

          This mechanic seems to be leading to just as much campaigning and personal agendas as the real hall process. It’s less about who you want to vote FOR, more about who you want to vote AGAINST through omission. Henderson wins, fine. Now we get to quibble about who wants to play what game to keep X on the ballot instead of Y. Yay.

          • 104
            birtelcom says:

            –Lofton is a really interesting case for thinking about stats, reputation and evaluating the place of particular players in history. As is Kevin Brown. How they are handled by the voters, and the comments they elicit, are interesting in of themselves, to me anyway, for as long as it lasts.
            –One voter’s “personal agenda” is another’s “value judgments”, and one voter’s “campaigning” is another’s “expression of opinions”. Why have a blog comment section if not so there can be exchanges of views?
            –The COG rules are expressly set up so that voters might have different possible strategies in mind when they vote besides just “pick your best 3 players, period”, although that is itself a perfectly appropriate, laudable and popular strategy.

          • 105
            Bells says:

            I dunno about your last comment, voting ‘against’ by omission. Many players have ballot extensions, so unless you mean one of Martinez, Lofton or Brown, nobody really even has the option of voting ‘against’ anyone (unless, of course, you mean someone from the current 1958 crop like Julio Franco). I also would contend that – to me at least – it’s more interesting to see who people support, or what they have to say about certain players (no matter how many Larry Walker arguments I see, I still get something new out of every one it seems) than it is to just see votes pile up for Henderson and say ‘next ballot’. Or maybe you’re saying something similar, that it would be interesting to see arguments about players that deserve to be there rather than voting for someone because they ‘need’ it. If that’s the case, I think we can agree.

            That said, it seems from the votes so far that we’ve stretched the ballot about as thin as it can get. Even though I only voted yesterday on the basis that I wanted to try to get extensions for those without, I’m thinking from now on I might flip my strategy to, well, vote for the 3 best players on the ballot in the future. After all, if we have redemption rounds, there will always be time for someone to come back. And I don’t want every ten years’ redemption round to be constantly voting Lofton and Brown back, only to see them fall off again. That would be boring.

            Funny, after playing around with the process for ten rounds, I’ve come around to the simplest and most straightforward strategy.

          • 106
            Slash says:

            I like it this way. In the end the greatest will get in, but this type of voting gets me to look a whole lot deeper at a whole lot more players. Most readers here are going to make their decisions based on their interpretation of WAR or some combination of advanced metrics, and of course OPS+ and ERA+.

            So when you have ballots with Henderson and Boggs, there’s a clear #1 and #2 (because of their high WAR values), but when it get to #3 there’s a logjam with Glavine in the mid-70’s and a bunch of guys in the 60’s.

            The way the voting is going this round, it looks like Rickey gets in, as he should. Boggs will get a 4-year ride and “probably” get in next round, so that leaves us to sort out the rest via strategic voting. Having so many players on the ballot with 60+ WAR is a “good” problem.

            This is the COG right now:

            1. Barry Bonds 158.1
            2. Roger Clemens 133.9
            3. Greg Maddux 101.6
            4. Randy Johnson 96.3
            5. Cal Ripken, Jr. 90.9
            6. Mike Mussina 78.2
            7. Jeff Bagwell 76.7
            8. Curt Schilling 76.1
            9. Frank Thomas 69.7
            10. Mike Piazza 56.1

            The thing that surprises me the most is that Piazza got voted in before Bagwell and Thomas, and sometimes I wonder if Piazza would have even gotten in yet if Bagwell and Thomas went in the first two rounds. To me, Piazza’s the only questionable member.

            If there’s no strategic voting to protect these players in the 60’s WAR range, then we risk a future ballot where we’re forced to take a lesser player.

            If Rickey and Boggs get in as expected, the following round (1957) will have our current logjam, plus Trammell and Whitaker. I think that will be 14 players with 60+ WAR, with Glavine’s 76.7 representing the high end and Biggio’s 62.1 representing the low end, and everybody else in the middle.

            Or better yet, there’s a very real possibility that Bobby Grich, Alan Trammell, and Barry Larkin end up on the same ballot, and with Larkin and Trammell coming in at 67.1 WAR and Grich at 67.3, isn’t it worth protecting Larkin now?

          • 115
            Hartvig says:

            The stated purpose of this whole exercise is to hopefully do a better job of identifying the 112 BEST players in MLB history and to see if we could do a better job of it than the BBWAA have done in the Hall of Fame.

            We could have tried to do this by using a ranking system like the Hall of Stats or JAWS but those systems don’t take into account post-season play or time lost to war or segregation or any other number of factors.

            Or we all could have each filled out one ballot with 112 players on it and just submitted them all at the same time and see what the results were.

            Or we could have just taken a yes or no ballot on each player..

            We could just vote for the 3 players on the ballot that we think are the best that many people are doing. And that’s just fine- so far it seems to have selected players most people think belong.

            What any of these last 3 methods will do would be to identify the top two-thirds or so of players:

            The roughly 1/3 that EVERYBODY agrees belong in the Circle of Greats- Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Walter Johnson and the rest plus the roughly 1/3 that MOST people agree belong- Al Kaline, Jeff Bagwell, Brooks Robinson.

            Where it gets more difficult- and I would contend more interesting- is when you get down to the last 20 or 30 spots. Is Lou Whitaker better than Roberto Alomar? How about Biggio? And where do those guys rank in comparison to Joe Gordon or Nellie Fox? Does Willie Randolph really belong in this discussion? How about Bobby Grich? Are the numbers alone enough to make the case for Jackie Robinson or do we need to look at the whole picture? We haven’t even mentioned Ryne Sandberg or Frankie Frisch- will they go ahead of everyone else or have to fight it out? We seem to have concluded that Jeff Kent came up a little short of qualifying. Does that mean that Billy Herman and Bid McPhee don’t either?

            This assumes that Hornsby, Collins, Morgan, Lajoie, Carew and Gehringer all go in relatively quickly. That may or may not be the case with Carew or Gehringer. That’s at most 6 spots at 1 position. How many second basemen belong in the Circle of Greats? 10? 11? Maybe even 12? More? I’ve listed a dozen players (excluding Kent)- which 4 or 5 or 6 do we choose? I’m sure someone out there thinks that Bobby Doerr should be in the conversation as well. Johnny Evers & Tony Lazzeri will probably have their advocates as well.

            If we’re going to select more than 10 second basemen do we pick fewer third basemen? Or catchers? And that’s just ONE position. What about right fielders? Is the 12th best right fielder better than the 9th best first baseman? We haven’t even mentioned pitchers. Are we going to pick 30? More? Less?

            Every one of these players that we eliminate now makes our choices down the road easier to make.

            But what it doesn’t do is make them the necessarily right choices.

            Lofton’s name has been mentioned.

            We’ve already rejected one of the BBWAA’s choices in Puckett in centerfield.

            I’m guessing that Mays, Cobb, Mantle, Speaker and probably DiMaggio will all be consensus picks. Duke Snider may not be consensus but I’m guessing that he eventually makes it as well.

            Then what are we left with?

            Will Sliding Billy Hamilton go in without a throw? If Lofton doesn’t make it how can we justify Richie Ashburn? Will someone try to make the case for Jimmy Wynn or Willie Davis? Does Larry Doby deserve special consideration? The BBWAA passed on Earle Combs, Max Carey, Earl Averill, Edd Roush & Hack Wilson but the Veterans committee did not. Do we ignore what the statistical evidence tells us and follow the Veterans committee? Were there only 6 players that belong in the Circle of Greats that played center field in the first 100 plus years of the game? If we reject Lofton who else do we make a case for?

          • 130
            bstar says:

            Slash, I agree with you. I was a little surprised that Piazza got in that first year, too. But I think the thing that got him in was that he’s considered the greatest offensive catcher ever, and when you’re the absolute best ever at one thing, that’s going to trump what Bagwell and Thomas did in a lot of people’s eyes.

            Plus, what does 56 WAR as a catcher really translate to? Due to the lower # of PAs and the lower numbers of years played in career, to me if we’re going to compare catchers to other position players we almost need a WAR conversion chart.

            I mean, there’s ONE catcher over 70 WAR (Bench). We’ve got to either lower the catcher WAR standard for what is considered a Hall of Fame career or come up with some sort of conversion to give us a truer idea of how good these players were.

          • 131
            Bells says:

            Hartvig @115, I like your examples and the way your summary is laid out. I’m not 100% sure if you’re arguing for or against something, or just summarizing the process thus far. The only thing I want to add about the process is that the redemption round has added another, interesting, layer to these discussions. Having seen it work once now, I’m way more comfortable letting players I like and want to support down the road fall off the ballot. I’m fine with letting Brown and Lofton slide again, I’m fine with letting Edgar slide off if need be, I’m fine even if someone like Biggio loses all his extensions and falls off.

            In fact, I think it would make the redemption rounds more interesting if we had more players in the mix. We can compare Lofton to Ashburn when the time comes, be that when Ashburn’s birth year comes up and Lofton gets back on the ballot through a redemption round, or be that if/when Ashburn falls off the ballot and gets voted on in a redemption round with Kenny Lofton still on it.

            At first I was nervous about a player ‘falling off’ the ballot, but now that I’ve seen the redemption process work, I’m happier to let someone fall off the ballot and trust in that future process than I am voting for someone just to stay on the ballot even when I know there are more than 10 candidates better than them right now.

            Anyway, in the end we’ll have a pretty thorough method of finding the 112 best players.

          • 201
            mosc says:

            Hartvig, your comments on center field got me thinking. The answer to your question is to get somebody who is young and not as good as the 112 best players. The answer for the 10th best center fielder is one who will someday soon no longer play center field. Take Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds instead and move them over as they age. Guys who had the speed to STAY in center for the majority of their careers very rarely had the other stats to be all time greats. Lets stop treating outfielders like they are incapable of playing multiple outfield positions. The best all time outfielders are going to have long careers where they stayed productive well past their speed. Given a selection of them with randomized ages, you can cover center better with a young corner outfielder than a lofton type guy.

            And it’s not because I don’t value speed. Lots of speed guys didn’t play center (Ricky, for the extreme example). No, this is much more a debate about positional strength and the great misconceptions about playing multiple positions.

          • 203
            Hartvig says:

            mosc- Your line of reasoning really helps explain and make sense of a couple of conclusions that I have been slowly coming around to but struggling to understand and that is that there is an uneven distribution of talent by position.

            First, it shows that we partly create the problem ourselves- we tend to put players where they have the most value and thus Musial ends up as an outfielder and Carew ends up at second base and Banks ends up as a shortstop and Killebrew a 3b/LF and so on and thus first base is not as deep as we might expect. It also seems heavily skewed to players from the 1930’s & pre-1900 but that may be nothing more than random distribution.

            Then there’s your excellent example in the outfield with Aaron & Bonds having started out as centerfielders- a list to which you can also add Al Kaline and Sam Crawford (I think) plus some guys who are close to being COG worth like Reggie Smith & Andre Dawson. Both the Hall of Stats and JAWS place all of them in right field. I think we need to maybe reconsider how we look at the outfield a bit.

            But there’s also more than that. Looking at the HOS & JAWS it also seems evident to me that there is also a higher concentration of talent in the middle infield as well- clearly at shortstop and possibly at second base. This also makes some sense because once you get out of the very earliest levels of baseball your best player usually plays either shortstop or pitches or both. And a lot of guys who could field the position but didn’t have the arm to be an ML shortstop wound up at second.

            Here’s how I see the positions breaking down if you use JAWS or the HOS

            Right field- possibly the deepest depending on where you put some guys in the outfield but definitely stronger at the top than shortstop.

            Shortstop- Doesn’t have as many first tier, no doubt about it guys as ANY of the outfield positions or even second base does with probably only Wagner & Ripken falling into that category BUT I would argue that at the next level- the guys who clearly belong if you think about it just a little bit- that only right field comes close to being as deep. There are at a minimum a dozen shortstops who belong in the COG and 2 or 3 more in the grey area of the bottom 10%.

            Second base- about as strong at the very top as any position with about an equal number at the next level but with more guys in the bottom 10%/ could go either way range than any position. There are 9 or 10 in the top 2 categories but 5 or 6 in the grey area.

            Left field/first base- some of this depends on where we put guys but if we follow the put them where they have the most value idea both positions probably have fewer than 10 who belong in the COG.

            Center field- already talked about some- ridiculously strong at the top but then… even so, I still think that at a minimum Lofton belongs in the bottom 10% argument and has a case for actually belonging in the next level above that. Six sure qualifiers plus Lofton and then a couple more you can make a case for at least

            Third base- a little like Center field- 6 who clearly belong plus a couple more in the where do you put them category- Rose & Martinez. Like second base there are a fair number in the grey area but but with just a smidgeon weaker qualifications, I think most of the on-the-border 2nd basemen belong and most of the o-t-b 3rd basemen do not.

            Catcher- I think we need to treat catchers a little differently but I’d say at least 5 are no doubters and at least 4 others deserve to be in the conversation and at this point I’d give at least 3 of them the benefit of the doubt.

            I’m sure I’m forgetting (more than one) someone and that not everyone will have the same idea of where to put everyone but that’s how I’m seeing things at the moment.

  59. 107
    John Autin says:

    R.Henderson, Boggs, Glavine

    I should learn to vote strategically, but I’m too simple-minded.

  60. 110
    Brandon says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Gwynn

  61. 112
    Bill Johnson says:




  62. 120
    Jameson says:

    Rickey, Raines, Larkin.

  63. 123
    opal611 says:

    For the 1958-Part 1 election, I’m voting for:
    -Tony Gwynn
    -Rickey Henderson
    -Wade Boggs

    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 eventually go back to voting for him again.)
    -Alomar (He’s also going temporarily off my ballot, but hopefully will return.)
    -Martinez (Although he needs the support, I’m taking him off my ballot for now. I think I will soon have others that I need to help “protect”, so I’m letting Edgar go for now. I will hopefully have another chance to vote for him, although it’s looking more likely it’ll be in a Redemption Round.)

    Sentimental favorite former Brewers:
    –Scott Fletcher (Only spent a year with the Brewers, but it was one of their good years!)

  64. 128
    T-Bone says:


  65. 129
    Fuzzy Thurston says:

    Sandberg, Lofton, and Martinez

  66. 132
    serpentinepad says:

    Brown, Henderson, Raines

  67. 133
    Mike G. says:

    Henderson, Walker, Brown

  68. 134
    Gootch7 says:

    I see nothing wrong with strategic or honorific voting as I do it all the time myself.

    Lofton, Edgar and Orel Hershiser. C’mon, what a run to the title in 1988! For two months that summer and fall, he was as great as any pitcher has ever been. That deserves a vote or two.

  69. 135
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    I like ‘Insert Name Here”s method of looking at player’s peaks. Seeing as it is a ten year career that qualifies players for the process, I’m curious to see those peaks standardized to exactly ten years.

    Here’s the current ballot’s best ten year spread.
    By WAR/162:

    7.1 Boggs
    6.8 Larkin
    6.7 Larry Booger Walker
    6.2 Martinez
    6.2 Brown
    5.7 Lofton
    5.7 Sandberg
    5.6 Raines
    5.5 Alomar
    5.4 Biggio
    5.3 Gwynn
    5.2 Glavine
    4.5 Smoltz

    • 136
      Bells says:

      Where’s Rickey?

    • 138
      Doug says:

      Just looking at decades running from 0 to 9, there’s a remarkable consistency in the number of players compiling 1 WAR per 20 games played (essentially an 8 WAR season, but over a whole decade). With a minimum of 3000 PAs, here are the players to do this, by decade:

      1900-09 – Wagner, Lajoie
      1910-19 – Cobb, Speaker
      1920-29 – Ruth, Hornsby
      1930-39 – Ruth, Gehrig
      1940-49 – Williams, Musial
      1950-59 – Mantle, Mays
      1960-69 – Mays, Aaron
      1970-79 – nobody
      1980-89 – Henderson
      1990-99 – Bonds
      2000-09 – Bonds, Pujols

      So, as the number of teams has increased, it has become harder to stand out for an extended period. Ergo, it’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond than to be a big fish in a big pond. Which, I suppose, makes some sense. Speaks, though, to a more uniform standard of play – a larger pool of more similarly skilled athletes.

      • 140
        Arsen says:

        Chopping the WAR totals by decade can be a bit misleading. No one is listed for the 1970s, but Mike Schmidt averaged 8.3/162 games from 1974 to 1983. It would be interesting to see if the number is really consistent through the years if we looked at all the 10-year periods.

        • 141
          RJ says:

          Eddie Collins: 8.2/162, 1909-18.
          Albert Pujols: 8.1/162, 2001-2010

          A-Rod is a near-miss, who maxed out at 7.9/162. Having checked all players (I think) with 80 or more WAR, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the entire list.

        • 148
          Doug says:

          A few others.

          Clemente, 1963-72, 8.0/162
          Schmidt, 1974-83, 8.5/162 (also 8.1 in 1975-84)
          A-Rod, 1996-2005, 8.3/162

          Bonds, Ruth and Gehrig did this in every 10-year period of their careers (including the periods when Ruth was pitching). Mays did it for all but his last two 10-year periods.

      • 153
        bstar says:

        Does anyone want to do the pitchers? Because the first guy I checked (and he will always be the first choice) was the Big Train, and his decade of dominance (1910-1919, 10.4 WAR per season) probably trumps most of the position players’ averages. Johnson’s 10-year WAR of 104 is way, way ahead of second-place Pete Alexander’s 66.5 for this particular time frame.

        Ok, I just cycled through the round decades and only Lefty Grove in the ’30s comes remotely close to Walter Johnson, with 74.9 WAR in that decade.

        Both Kid Nichols and Cy Young had 85+ WAR in the 1890s.

  70. 139
    Arsen says:

    Henderson, Boggs, Larkin.

  71. 142
    Lineman says:

    Sandberg, Lofton, Larkin

  72. 143
    BryanM says:

    Rickey, Boggs. Walker. Busy family weekend coming up so no time to start a rant about the. )$@&&9$) position adjustments in bWAR , oops..

  73. 144
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    It looks like a number of good COG candidates, such as:
    – Glavine
    – Alomar
    – Smoltz
    – Biggio
    – Kevin Brown

    may be dropped after this election. Gentleman, deploy your strategery strategically!

    • 145
      Ed says:

      Lawrence – The only one of those in trouble is Brown. The others have multiple years of eligibility left regardless of how many votes they get in this election.

      • 146
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        OOPS! – you’re right, I forgot to cosider multiple years of eligibility.

        What I _really_ wanted to do is use the phrase “deploy your strategery strategically”

        • 206
          Mike HBC says:

          Whenever I’m talking to my girlfriend as I’m arriving at a game, she says, “Statitize those statistics statatically.” And every time, it makes me smile.

    • 147
      Hartvig says:

      I’m waiting for the votes to “lock-in” on Friday night- I would guess that a few others are as well.

      I’m finding it both enlightening and entertaining to have some of these guys on the ballot for several years and to follow the arguments both for and against their case. Ed’s excellent comment #96 in this thread moved Walker from my leaning towards column to my virtually certain pile- which means at the moment of the 12 holdovers plus Henderson & Boggs there are 6 that I’m absolutely certain belong, 6 that I’m virtually certain belong, one that I’m leaning towards and one that I’m leaning against. If Lofton were still on the ballot when we get to Richie Ashburn I think that would be an incredibly informative side-by-side comparison just as it was when we had a little gridlock among the pitchers. I’m guessing we’ll see more of that among middle infielders when Trammell, Whitaker, Randolph & Smith join the group in the next few years as well.

      Love this stuff.

      • 154
        bstar says:

        Ashburn vs. Lofton would/will be fun. It’s interesting that had the 5% rule been in effect during Ashburn’s voting time, he also, like Lofton, would have fallen off the ballot his first year (2.1% in 1968).

        • 157
          Hartvig says:

          I’d never looked at Ashburn’s vote totals before. I’m a little surprised that he started off so slowly in the voting since he was the type of player that MVP voters-who I assume are all also HOF voters- just loved from the late 40’s thru the mid-60’s. Between 1948 & 1965 21 of the 34 players honored played an “up-the-middle” position plus you had 3 pitchers and 3rd base glovemen like Robinson & Boyer picking up hardware as well. Even guys like Aaron and Frank Robinson could only break thru the Zoilo Versalles/Dick Groat barrier once each.

          • 163
            Ed says:

            The ballot was still stacked during Ashburn’s first year. 48 different players received votes. Contrast that to last year’s HOF vote in which only 26 players received votes.

            Fourteen other players on that ballot are now in the HOF. The odd thing is that Ashburn finished behind 20 players who aren’t in the HOF. So while Ashburn’s low vote total can partially be explained by the stacked ballot, there must have been more going on. I imagine Ashburn was hurt by only playing most of his career on bad/mediocre teams.

          • 164
            bstar says:

            Good point about players from his era relatively similar to Ashburn getting inducted.

            Here’s my take on what possible things voters might have been thinking when considering Ashburn for the Hall:

            -For an extreme singles hitter like Ashburn, he would need to produce either a very high career hit total and/or a good batting average to really move the needle offensively. He did have the BA (.308) and won two batting titles, but only accumulated 2574 hits. I think with three more years on his career he may have gotten 3000 and would have gotten into the Hall pretty easily. As Lou Brock can well attest, 3000 hits is a really magic number.

            -The rest of Ashburn’s hitting value was tied up in high walk totals. This may have gone virtually unnoticed during Richie’s career.

            -Ashburn had a lot of value tied up in baserunning and fielding combined, at least more than the average Hall of Famer. This possibly also was slightly overlooked. We know borderline guys who have a combination of skills have a tougher time getting noticed by Hall voters, and we see that still stands even today with Kenny Lofton’s banishment off the ballot this past year.

            -For whatever reason, the Hall has a blind spot with center fielders. I’m guessing it’s because they tend to have a more balanced game as described in the previous point. Of the ten best all-time center fielders as voted by JAWS, 3 of them didn’t get voted in by the BBWAA (Ashburn, Lofton, Duke Snider). Also, Jimmy Wynn and Willie Davis are 15th and 16th all-time on the JAWS list. That makes 5 of the top 16 CF’ers who didn’t get elected by the BBWAA.

            -relatively low counting stats totals for a Hall of Famer, no MVP and only one top-10 finish, no postseason rings or glory of any kind, etc.

          • 165
            RJ says:

            Minor quibble bstar: Snider was elected by the BBWAA, just very, very slowly.

          • 166
            birtelcom says:

            bstar @164, Duke Snider was voted in by the BBWAA. It took 11 times on the ballot, but he did make it. His vote share increased over the previous year nine of ten times.

            Oops, now I see RJ has already made the point — didn’t mean to pile on.

          • 167
            Ed says:

            Ummm…who exactly are the “players from his era relatively similar to Ashburn getting inducted.”?

            Nellie Fox came close but Fox, like Ashburn, ultimately went in via the Veteran’s committee.

            Aparicio and Appling? Aparicio debuted on the ballot over 10 years after Ashburn, Appling over 10 years before. So hard to see those two as relevant.

            I’m stumped.

          • 168
            Hartvig says:

            Yeah, I didn’t really say that a whole lot of guys got voted in to the HOF like Ashburn but rather that guys like him got a whole lot of love from baseball writers in MVP voting and they also vote for the HOF. And while it’s true that part of the reason that up the middle players got a lot of love in MVP voting in the 20 years after the war was because of Willie, Mickey, Yogi & Campy guys like Rizzuto and Aparicio and Fox and Reese and Marion and Wills did really well in the voting almost every year too.

            Maybe the offensive blackout of the mid- to late- 60’s caused a little backlash among writers regarding glovemen. I’m not sure.

            But I do see some correlation between Aparicio coming along and Ashburn finally starting to be recognized by HOF voters- both were rightly viewed as excellent defensive players, both were viewed as being quick on the basepaths and both were viewed as the prototypical leadoff hitter (if a bit mistakenly in Aparicio’s case). I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to think that knowing that Aparicio would be on the ballot in a couple of years made the writers take another look at Ashburn.

            Of course it also probably didn’t hurt that Mickey and eventually Willie were no longer on the ballot either.

            I also noticed on the first ballot that Ashburn was on he also finished behind Terry Moore & Dom DiMaggio, two other pretty decent comps. I would imagine that part of that was due to both of them losing 3 years to WW2 and that being Moore’s last year on the ballot as well as their playing on some generally pretty good teams whereas Ashburn really only had the Whiz Kids.

          • 169
            Dr. Doom says:

            I wonder if the historic bias against CFs is the same as the bias against 2B – that there are a few guys who are SO excellent, that they become the standard. I mean, Mays, Mantle, DiMaggio, and Cobb (like Lajoie, Hornsby, Morgan, Jackie Robinson, and Collins at 2B) are often looked at as the “prototypical” HOF guys at their positions. Who’s gonna break into that group? Kenny Lofton certainly doesn’t belong there. I think that’s what skews it more than anything else.

          • 171
            Ed says:

            Dr. Doom – I think you’re generally right though I’m not sure I’d use the term “bias”. CF has more players above 100 WAR than any other – Cobb, Mays, Mantle and Speaker. Then there’s DiMaggio who would likely be high 80s/low 90s if not for the war. So that’s 5 Inner Circle HOFers. Griffey is next with 79.2 but of course he hasn’t reached the ballot yet. Then? Lofton with “only” 64.9 WAR.

            Most of the other positions have several “transition” players – guys with 70-90+ WAR, guys that serve as a bridge between the no-doubt about it HOFers and the “outer circle” HOFers. CF only has DiMaggio who is at the higher end.

          • 172
            bstar says:

            Oooooops. Thanks for the correction RJ and birtelcom. I don’t know why I got it confused that Duke Snider wasn’t in the Hall. Perhaps it was my over-zealousness to make a point–that wouldn’t be a first. 😉

  74. 149
    Paulie says:

    Okay, I’ll play. I admit to not being a huge Kevin Brown fan, but I still think he should remain on the ballot. I’ve changed my mind about players before, and maybe I’ll warm up to Brown eventually.

    When Kenny Lofton first came on the 1967 ballot I wasn’t too high on him, but after looking more closely I think he’s underrated/unappreciated.

    I always liked Ryne Sandberg and find it strange that more people are voting for Raines, who had 1.3 more career WAR than Ryno, but it took Raines 23 yrs to get his 66.2 and Sandberg got his 64.9 in 7 fewer seasons.

    So, my votes are for Brown, Lofton, and Sandberg.

  75. 151
    John Z says:

    I strategically wanted to wait till later this round to cast my ballot. Just so i could see how those hold overs from last round, redemption round, fared. Look like K Brown won’t see another round and Lofton might just get one more round on the 57′ Ballot, unless it is a weak ballot and then he might hang around for a couple rounds. Don’t mean to sound cynical but my response to the redemption round is the same here, there are enough names on the hold over ballot as it is. (IMO) We need to (as a group) take all the hold over names every 10 to 15 rounds (veterans are only eligible on the HOF ballot for 15 years) and hold a one time winner take all, or COG induction, Hold over ballot. With this said, I continue with my premise to only choose players from that particular years ballot. Henderson and Boggs are an easy 1, 2. The third is not getting much love at all, and he IMO is a poor mans Curt Schilling, and is even a member of The Hall of Stats; Hall of Fame. With a Hall of Stats rating of 101 I nominate Orel Hershiser for the COG.

  76. 152
    Hub Kid says:

    Rickey Henderson, Kevin Brown, Julio Franco

    I am going to “waste” my vote and vote for Rickey, no matter how little he needs it… not voting for Maddux still smarts. While I prefer being given the choice of “straight” and/or “strategic” voting, it might be better for one’s sanity to go with “straight” voting.

    I love Franco’s career and the number of different countries he played in.
    In a similar way to how one of Andy’s Card of the Week B-Ref posts about Tony Phillips made me appreciate his versatility, one of the old B-Ref blog posts and the ensuing debate convinced me that Kevin Brown is worth a look for the HOF, and I think that is true for the COG.

    No regrets for leaving Boggs off for at least one round. No matter how worthy his career was, the police horse story still ticks me off, along with the “what hat will he wear on his HOF plaque?” debate. all sour grapes, of course.

    I like the friendly debate that the voting strategies inspire… The COG is just at the point now where it actually is ‘competing’ with the HOF process. Until recently most players have not yet been eligible for the HOF; now we can really start to compare BBWAA and COG voters’ treatment of players.

    apologies if someone has mentioned this earlier, as I have missed a thread or two lately.

  77. 155
    birtelcom says:

    Kevin Brown getting some support here later in the balloting. Moving closer to 10%.

  78. 158
    JasonZ says:

    Rickey “today I am the greatest” Henderson

    Wade Boggs

    Tony Gwynn

  79. 159
    JamesS says:

    Rickey Henderson
    Wade Boggs
    Craig Biggio

  80. 160
    MikeD says:

    Henderson(the great one), Boggs, Alomar. Nope, not giving up on Roberto yet.

  81. 161
    MikeD says:

    Interesting to watch the hold-over list, which continues to expand. An argument can be made that everyone of them should be a HOFer.

    • 196

      I’d call that a bit of an understatement. If most of the 208 former Major Leaguers currently in the Hall of Fame belong there, I think our full list of holdovers clears that bar by a safe distance. If we want to reach a little, we could say that our full list of holdovers belongs in the Circle of Greats. All but Alomar and Biggio are within the top 112 players born before 1969 in career WAR. Alomar is .2 wins outside that group and was an obvious Hall of Famer. Biggio is 1 win behind and could get a boost from things like positional flexibility, 3,000 hits, and the modern HBP record.

  82. 162
    bstar says:

    Henderson will win and Boggs is well over 50%, so neither needs my vote. So:

    1.I’ll go with my top guy remaining, Tom Glavine
    2.I’ll give some strategic support to an also-deserving Lofton
    3.I’ll stick with my support of Biggio as his vote total is barely breathing

    Glavine, Lofton, Biggio

  83. 170
    Vinny says:

    Lofton, Larkin, Sandberg

  84. 174
    Insert Name Here says:

    I want to make sure Martínez gets through, so I’ll drop my vote for Boggs (who’s stuck in 2nd place) for Martínez.

    Final vote: Henderson, Walker, Martínez.

  85. 184
    Jalande says:

    Of players born from 1939 to 1968, Kevin Brown ranks 16th in total career WAR for pitchers at 64.3, barely a nick behind Jim Palmer, who sits at 64.4, which, incidentally, is a half a point behind both Kenny Lofton and Ryne Sandberg, who each amassed 64.9 in career WAR, and collectively rank 28th in WAR for position players born between 1939 and 1968. They all need to stay on the ballot to see how they stack up against players like Eddie Murray (63.4), Andre Dawson (60.6), Dave Winfield (59.4), Willie Stargell (54.2), Luis Tiant (62.3), and Don Sutton (61.3).

    Vote: Brown, Sandberg, and Lofton

    • 186
      Hartvig says:

      I’m still on the fence about Brown. Not only compared to Palmer, Tiant & Sutton but he’s also ahead (at least in either JAWS or the HOS rankings Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford, Bob Feller, Carl Hubbell, Dazzy Vance & Three-finger Brown. It’s pretty likely at least half of those guys won’t make the cut anyways. I don’t know if I could bring myself to replace one of them with K Brown.

      But maybe having a bit more time to do some comparisons will help so we’ll have to see.

      • 187
        MikeD says:

        I want to vote for Brown, yet I can’t.

        It’s probably an emotional repsonse at this time, yet being annoying or a jerk didn’t prevent me from voting for Schilling. I’d vote for everyone of those pitchers ahead of Brown. I’m guessing some might wonder if his leap forward skill wise after nine seasons in the bigs might have been PED induced.

        • 188
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          You must be referring to 1996.
          What is it about that year that suggests drug enhancement?

          (first off, what is said about him in the Mitchell Report refers to activity in 2001)

          I see two other obvious factors.

          1. It was his first year pitching in Miami, as opposed to Arlington and Baltimore.
          2. He found his control (1.3 BB/9).

        • 190
          bstar says:

          The PED issue is what is confusing me. Kevin Brown is one of the several we’ve encountered so far who is definitely a known PED user. So why is Brown getting more love than, say, Rafael Palmeiro? Not to insult anyone who voted for Kevin, I’m just curious.

          Is it because we think steroids help batters more than pitchers? Why is Brown getting a relatively free pass for his PED use as compared to others? It’s not like he’s a no-doubt Hall of Famer without steroids like Bonds or Clemems.

          • 192
            Ed says:

            Bstar – My guess is that a lot of people don’t realize that Brown was named in the Mitchell report. Unlike Palmiero who flunked a drug test and therefore everyone knows about.

      • 189
        Jalande says:

        Yes, I agree, and I don’t think I could take Sourpuss Brown over the guys you mentioned either, and that’s partly because I’m old enough to STILL be conditioned to pay special deference to 20-win seasons, ERA and strikeout titles, MVP’s and CYA’s, and other “traditional” ways of evaluating players that many of us grew up with. Then I look up and see that Brown is even with Cakes in career WAR. Now sure, I can read all about WAR, WAA, RAR, RAA, RA9def, and changing offensive environments, and see with my eyes that Brown compares favorably to these guys, yet it’s my heart that refuses to believe it. So I guess for me this is partly an exercise in objectivity and open-mindedness.

  86. 191
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Martinez, Lofton, Raines

  87. 193
    RJ says:

    I’m not completely sold on either Brown, Martinez or (whisper it) Lofton, but I see the worth in having them around. If anything they serve as interesting points of comparison, or case studies into what we do and don’t value in a player. I think as the holdover list grows it will become less easy to keep everyone on the ballot and when that times comes the weaker of the bunch will have to go. But for now, I’m comfortable voting for:

    Martinez, Brown and (as Lofton should make the 10% cut) Alomar.

  88. 194
    Hartvig says:

    Henderson is going to win this election, as he should.
    Anyone with at least 9 votes is certain to move on to the next round or at least not use a years eligibility. Walker, Martinez, Larkin & Sandberg can’t loose but also almost certainly can’t get enough votes to gain a second year of eligibility either.
    Smoltz & Biggio are almost certainly going to burn a year of eligibility.
    To gain a second year of eligibility Lofton would have to be named on every one of the next 5 ballots, Gwynn would have to be named on 4 of the 5 and Raines on 3 of the 5.
    Boggs keeps his 4 year extension even if he’s not on any of the next 5 ballots as does Brown.
    Hard to say with any certainty how many votes will be cast but most years it’s 80 or fewer- which means an 8th vote for Glavine & Alomar gives them an additional years eligibility.

    This time around I’m putting my votes where they have the best chance of having an impact.

    My vote:

    Glavine, Alomar & Raines (partly because he has he best chance of making it to 25% and partly because he only has 2 years extended eligibility)

    • 202
      mosc says:

      So lets just be clear about what happens from this line of voting.
      1) you are counting on people like me to vote for Henderson but you won’t share that burden yourself instead using his vote on extending eligibility for someone else.
      2) You have set an arbitrary goal of ballot length as the purpose to your voting independent of the merits of any candidate
      3) You are not comparing players, debating the merits of one stat vs another or one position to another. Instead you are in general using a non-baseball related formula based on exploiting the COG’s induction mechanics.

      There are some ramifications to this beyond the length of next year’s ballot. What if two candidates were close to induction this year? You would effectively be declining to be part of the decision for who is better. This problem exists already, as I had to leave mussina off my list in order to support schilling. Next year if I want say Glavine over Boggs, I’d probably have to leave boggs off my ballot whither or not I thought he was the second best player. Ballots in a two way race that include both candidates are almost the same as ballots that contain neither.

      There’s also the position that you are counting on some people to vote based on merit rather than what we seem to be calling “strategic”. This is inherent in your voting strategy. In other words, your strategy’s effectiveness is directly proportional to the number of people behaving similarly. That to me, is a direct abuse of the system.

      I am not saying all strategic voting is malicious. I’m saying it has a negative impact. Particularly leaving off the candidate you feel is most deserving to me is just glaringly terrible. For me, I balanced this by giving Henderson his due before considering strategic desires. I think this is the bare minimum we should do.

      • 204
        RJ says:

        A voting strategy like this could be problematic if the voting was secret. Then you would be relying on others to choose your candidate, a risky move seeing as everyone else could be following your strategy and thus a lesser candidate might be elected first.

        However the voting is not secret: it is completely open. I can therefore tailor my vote to maximise its effectiveness. Let’s say I have two priorities.

        1. My preferred candidate is voted in this round
        2. Other candidates who I support get ballot extensions

        On the last day of voting, where one candidate has an unassailable lead, voting for my preferred candidate confers no advantage to Priority 1 and actually harms Priority 2 by wasting a vote on someone who will be elected regardless. In such a situation, voting entirely along the lines of Priority 2 gives our vote the maximum possible impact, coldly rational though it may be.

        In a close-run election, such as the Mussina and Schilling wins, it makes complete sense to vote with Priority 1 in mind. Hartvig has done this on both occasions, voting for Mussina and Schilling but not the second placed candidate both times (ie he is not blidly ignoring the circumstances of each election). This is not exactly illogical or uncommon. In Mussina’s year, 18 ballots featured Mussina and Schilling, but 26 voted for Mussina and not Schilling, and 22 voted for Schilling and not Mussina. I don’t see a problem with this and neither did the majority of voters.

        Further, you forget that we also have the ability to change our votes for the first five days. Assuming everyone was to follow a ballot-lengthening strategy early on (an unlikely scenario anyway) voters would surely recognise what was occurring and change their vote accordingly. We’re not going to accidentally elect Julio Franco.

        Ultimately, I fail to see why purity of voting is such an important issue on what is, as Dr Doom put it, a “just-for-fun, no-stakes, internet vote”. Strategic voting exists in almost any election process, except here the risks of an undesired outcome are almost entirely mitigated by the openness of the system.

        • 205
          Mike HBC says:

          Not only do I completely agree with mosc, but I think the “change your vote for strategic purposes” is ridiculous. If you vote, you should be held to that vote- I can’t think of any other voting situation, regardless of the stakes of the vote- where you can change your vote (and even individual parts of a larger vote) based on what other people have done. There are unquestionably people who don’t care who does or does not get in during a particular round, instead simply trying to keep their favorite player on the ballot. (God forbid we lose the 10th-best player from the voting process- what if the other nine all get in, and no other worthy candidates pop up?!)

          I think this is the last I’m going to comment on this- not this particular issue, just the CoG in general. The entire process has gotten increasingly more ridiculous as the weeks have passed, and it’s at the point where a quarter of all votes only come in after waiting to see how everyone else votes (if only three people voted to jump off a cliff, six other people would come along on Saturday night to make sure jumping off a cliff got 10% support). From now on, I’m going to just list three names and leave. I love HHS, but I can’t think of many things I’ve soured on the way I’ve soured on this experiment.

          • 207
            RJ says:

            That’s a shame Mike, because for me the mechanisms of voting are really the least interesting part of the whole process. It’s the discussions and debates surrounding our potential electees that make the CoG interesting. If everybody just listed their top three players and moved on, well that would be far less interesting, personally speaking.

            As a footnote, for all the talk of strategic voting, how much has it really affected? How many good players have been knocked off the ballot becuase of an insidious cabal of Kenny Lofton voters? None*. Instead we have a compelling discussion about the positional depth of center field at Hall of Fame level. For me, this is the real value of the process.

            *And as for vote changing, I count precisely one change of vote this round.

          • 209
            bstar says:

            Geez, guys, lighten up a little bit.

            birtelcom made it very clear from the get-go that strategic voting is not only an accepted part of this process, but an important one.

            If you don’t want to be a part of looking at the big picture and trying to keep deserving players on the ballot, vote your own way.

            But you might consider not being so critical of others who choose to use their votes strategically, especially in cases where the winner has already clearly been decided.

          • 210
            Dr. Doom says:

            Agree with bstar. Every election, I have decided on whom I’m going to vote before voting. Then I vote for them. That’s how I’ve decided to vote; everyone’s entitled to his/her own method, though. That’s been abundantly clear from the get-go. Of course he’s counting on people like you, mosc, to vote for Henderson. He’s had 193 comments to look at before his own, not to mention complete access to the results through a Google doc. It’s not like those things are hidden. This is the method upon which we’ve decided (or at least the one on which birtelcom has decided, and on which we’ve agreed by our participation). If anyone doesn’t agree with this sort of “strategic” vote, wait until the last minute to vote; then people can’t use your results when deciding on theirs. Otherwise, who cares? This is a fun activity among friends. It’s meaningless, and ultimately just a way for baseball fans to talk about baseball stuff. But the attacks on voting are a little much for me. Frankly, part of the reason I like this community so much is that it’s always been hospitable and friendly. I see no reason to make it antagonistic and just like the rest of the baseball sites online. Just have fun talking baseball with friends, not criticizing something that ultimately is just for fun.

          • 213
            bells says:

            The ‘voting change’ rule was implemented after the first round when people said that hearing arguments for or against certain players made them change their mind after they had already voted. It was instituted so that people could feel like they didn’t have to hold off voting, and could be swayed by the robust and intelligent discussion here.

            It wasn’t implemented so that people could change their votes to doctor the ballot – in fact, the rule that you can’t change your ballot in the last two days of voting is in place to discourage exactly that.

            You can think what you will about the value of changing a vote or strategic voting, but I don’t want you to misunderstand why that came about.

        • 208
          Darien says:

          I’m with RJ on this one; there’s nothing inherently wrong with the strategic metagaming. I said myself in my ballot for this round that it was difficult to pick just three; I can understand the appeal of evaluating other people’s votes to realise which of those three don’t require my support, so I can use my votes more effectively to ensure my overall desired outcome. As it so happens, of course, I’m not sufficiently motivated to do so, and so I just vote the three guys I like best from each round and carry on. But it’s not some type of terrible sin to do otherwise.

      • 211
        Hartvig says:

        I’m a little puzzled as to all of the hullaballoo surrounding my method of voting.

        Birtelcom made it clear early in the process that “strategic” voting was a perfectly acceptable part of the process. If he had felt differently I may have tried to change his mind on the issue but since it’s his game and he’s the one doing the heavy lifting I would have made an effort to abide by his wishes.

        I don’t always vote in the same way. I’ve voted fairly early in the process, I’ve voted about midway thru the process, I’ve waited until after votes could no longer be changed to vote and I’ve waited until the very last minute to vote. As far as I can remember I don’t think I’ve ever gone back and changed my vote but I’m not going to bother to go back and check to be certain because even if I had it was OK to do exactly that in the rules as they were originally laid out.

        I feel I’ve put a pretty fair amount of thought and work into the whole purpose of this little exercise which is to identify the 112 “best” players during a certain period of the game. I’ve compared players at each position to one another and I’ve tried to compare each position to other positions in order to come up with a list of who deserves to be included among those 112. And in trying to do this I’ve arrived at a few different conclusions.

        The first of those conclusions a pretty obvious one: there are a bunch of people that pretty much everyone or at the least the majority thinks belong without having to do much comparing. My guess is that maybe 70 to 75 players fall in this category. In some cases they’ll go in fairly quickly and in most cases they’ll have little trouble staying on the ballot. Sometimes some interesting situations pop up when these guys go toe to toe as in the case of Schilling & Mussina but, so far at least, they’ve resolved themselves pretty quickly.

        The second conclusion that I’ve arrived at is that when you get down to the final 30 or 35 spots it gets much harder to differentiate and the list of candidates is much larger. I’ve used tools like the Hall of Stats, JAWS & Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract to try and narrow the list a bit and right now I’ve got maybe a total of a 130 to 140 people that I think deserve to be considered. Of that total about 35 are carved in stone, another 35 or 40 are written in ink and everyone else is written in pencil. And to me where this whole process is most interesting is when we’re trying to decide which of those that are written in pencil instead get their names carved in stone.

        I’m sorry that what I’ve been doing has bothered some people. That’s never been my intent. While some people have given “shout out” votes for some of their favorite players even while admitting that they clearly don’t belong in the top 112- and just to be clear I am perfectly fine if someone chooses to do that- I have never voted for someone that I didn’t truly believe at least had a reasonable case for being included.

        But I also have to say that I’m going to continue to vote in the way that I think is best for the ultimate success of the project.

        • 212
          mosc says:

          So, if my comments came across as anything more than disagreement that was not my intent. I meant to attack your voting strategy, not your character. You do have a much more analytical process than most, certainly including myself and I do enjoy reading your input on baseball. Re-reading my post it seems the words “abuse” and “glaringly terrible” were taken as personal comments rather than comments discussing your vote. I do not hold any animosity towards you. As Dr. Doom said, I value the carefully worded respectful tone of the regulars here. I apologize if my post was not up to that standard. I wanted to discuss your voting strategy and it’s seemingly increasing effects on this ballot. I thought the complete exclusion of the candidate you found most deserving rather disheartening in the mechanics the COG uses.

          I’d like to discuss this further but not if it’s going to come across as a character attack or saying that hartvig didn’t do his homework. Clearly we agree who the best candidate is and discussing his inclusion or exclusion on the ballot has little to do with baseball or baseball statistics and is instead a discussion on the mechanics of the COG.


        • 214
          mosc says:

          I sincerely hope my comments about the voting did not discourage the continuation of this project. birtelcom, keep up the good work!

          Eh, I wish I did encouragement better.

  89. 195
    Old Yeller says:

    I’ll vote for Glavine, Alomar, and Brown to give them a little cushion over the 10% mark.

    As long as Rickey gets in this round and Boggs gets a 4 year extension, then I’m comfortable with 10 other players getting 1 year add-ons. The deeper the ballot the better, especially being that truly legitimate cases can be made for all 10 of those between 10% and 25%. I personally don’t see a great deal of difference that makes any one of them head and shoulders above the rest.

    My hope is that Boggs gets in next round, and maybe Glavine or Smoltz can get in for the 1957 or 1956 round before Yount, Ozzie, Kid Carter, and Mullet come on the ballot.

  90. 197
    birtelcom says:

    Rickey’s a big winner, but I’m out of the country and have limited web access, so the COG will be on hiatus for a few days. Back shortly, probably Sunday, with the formal induction for Rickey, and the next round.

    • 198
      RJ says:

      That’s all well and good birtelcom, but don’t be surprised if Rickey has already held his own induction ceremony before you get back.

      • 199
        PP says:

        Wasn’t he the straw that stirs, oh wait, that was another Yankee.

      • 200
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        “Rickey wishes to thank everyone at High Heat Stats who recognized Rickey’s total awesomeness.

        However, Rickey is very disappointed that there were 17 COG voters that do not vote for Rickey. Rickey does not understand how any real baseball fan who saw Rickey could not recognize that Rickey is the greatest.”


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