Circle of Greats 1961 Ballot

This post is for voting and discussion of the eighth round of voting for the Circle of Greats, which adds players born in 1961. Rules and lists are after the jump.

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

All voting for this round closes at 11:00 PM EST on Sunday, February 10, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EST Friday, February 8.

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: 1961 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-1961 group will be added as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players. The holdovers are listed in order of the year through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the eligibility year is the same (Edgar Martinez is the only one of these who is at immediate risk of falling out of eligibility). The 1961 birth year guys are listed in order of the number of seasons they played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.

John Smoltz (eligible through 1955)
Mike Mussina (1956)
Curt Schilling (1956)
Tom Glavine (1957)
Craig Biggio (1958)
Larry Walker (1959)
Barry Larkin (1959)
Roberto Alomar (1960)
Edgar Martinez (1961)

Everyday Players (born in 1961, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Andres Galarraga
Rafael Belliard
Greg Gagne
Don Mattingly
Vince Coleman
Mark Parent
Spike Owen
Steve Buechele
Jack Howell
Curt Wilkerson
Mike Aldrete
Henry Cotto
Glenn Davis
Mike Felder
Mike Kingery
John Kruk
Bob Melvin
Dan Pasqua
John Russell

Pitchers (born in 1961, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues):
Rick Aguilera
Kevin Gross
Jimmy Key
Mike Maddux
Tim Belcher
Jeff Russell
Storm Davis
Bill Swift
Kirk McCaskill
Jim Corsi
Scott Garrelts
Mike Henneman
Steve Ontiveros
Jeff Parrett
Ed Vosberg

246 thoughts on “Circle of Greats 1961 Ballot

  1. 1
    Jeff Harris says:


  2. 2
    Baltimorechop says:

    Lark, Schilling, moose

  3. 3
    John says:

    Smoltz, Alomar, Mattingly There is no gambling in baseball! Is there gambling on baseball blogs? I am taking Donnie Baseball +7 as he surprises / upsets the rest of the pack, bettering Schilling by 7 votes. Schilling 31 / Mattingly 38. You heard it here first. GO RAVENS………CAW CAW CAW….NEVERMORE’

    • 4
      John says:

      This is John Z, the Anti-Schilling, so you can put my vote on the right line.

      • 154
        John Z says:

        Well looks like “THE” Mattingly gets as much respect as he does from the Baseball Writers and the Hall of Fame. So it looks as if Schilling or Mussina will win this round. Just seems peculiar to me to include these two in the top 30 pitchers of all time. Maybe just a technicality of a weak ballot but non the less isn’t that the point of the circle of greats, to avoid these very technicalities of enshrinement of boarder line candidates? It might take some real thought and a sleepless night or two but i am pretty positive that I could find 30 – 33 more deserving pitchers, but since we live in the now and we are prisoners of our time it is hard to look past these 2 as dominant only during their respective eras. For example on the 1944 ballot we see two of the top 30 pitchers in Seaver and Carlton but it is very conceivable that one of these may never reach the Circle of Greats as only (1) will be inducted from the 44′ ballot, and two years later you see another name from the top 30 pitchers; Ferguson Jenkins. Sorry to be a sore loser but I really do not consider Mussina or Schilling in the top 30 pitchers of all time, and isn’t this the reason the circle of greats was created. On another note at least the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Quoth the 49’ers Nevermore’

        • 160
          David Horwich says:

          John Z –

          With all due respect – weak ballot, seriously? Presuming Schilling or Mussina wins, they’ll be beating out 2 Hall of Famers, a member of the 3000 hit club who should’ve been elected to the Hall this year, a member of the 300 win club who’ll almost certainly make the Hall, although perhaps not on his first ballot…that doesn’t seem too weak to me.

          Whether or not Mussina and Schilling are among the top 30-36 pitchers of all time is for each of us to decide, of course. But they’re at least plausible candidates – in the lively ball era they rank 12th and 17th in pitching rWAR. Which doesn’t prove anything, but at least suggests they deserve to be in the midst of the conversation.

          As for Mattingly, while he was a very fine player for a half dozen years, I think it’s difficult to make a case that he was one of the best 75-85 position players of all time. If his peak had lasted another 3-5 years he’d have a much stronger argument. So I’m not surprised he hasn’t received much support.

          One final comment – I think it’s extremely likely both Seaver and Carlton will make the CoG, although of course both won’t be elected in the same election. After all, we already have 3 players in the CoG who were born in the same year (1968), so it’s not at all the case that only one player from each birth year can make the Circle.

          • 172
            John Z says:

            All those that you mention were hold overs from other ballot, when i was referring to the 61′ ballot, I was just referring to those born in 61′. Also, I agree that Carlton and Seaver will both eventually be enshrined into the Circle of Greats my main point is that Schilling and Mussina are not in the Top 36 pitchers of all time. Carew and Jim Palmer are on the 45′ Ballot, Seaver and Carlton on the 44′ Ballot, Joe Morgan on the 43′ Ballot,F. Jenkins in 42′, Pete Rose in 41′ etc…you see the log jam that I am referring to and we as a group of baseball fans and baseball bloggers will select two Hall of Very Good into our “Circle” of Greats.

          • 173
            Ed says:

            But that’s simply your opinion John Z. Most objective criteria do put Mussina and Schilling within the top 30 pitchers of all time. Meanwhile, those same criteria put Mattingly outside the top 200 position players of all time.

        • 175
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          #154/John Z. –

          “I could find 30 – 33 more deserving pitchers (than Schilling or Mussina)”. OK, list them…

          I agree somewhat that Schilling or Mussina may not be amongst the top 30 MLB pitchers of all-time. However, I think they’d be _pretty close_ to the top 30, and probably within the top 40.

          As David Horwich points out in #160, this is by no means a weak ballot, with all of the strong holdover candidates. As this little exercise is proving, greatness is not equally distributed across the years – that is true whether you use birth years of players (our COG), or the last year playing in MLB (the HOF).

          • 176
            John Z says:

            Lawrence you ask me to list them. Secondly,the argument would be, as Ed stated “simply my opinion”. So with that said The “MLB EloRater” by BBref is formulated by using fans votes/participation. Mussina is 31st and Schilling is 116th respectively. My argument is very simple. When we look at pitchers careers or that career of any MLB veteran we look at counting stats. For example every die hard baseball fan knows what the number 511 represents but does every die hard baseball fan know what the number 162.3 means or relates to who (with out looking it up). I get it we are growing more educated every season and looking at stats very differently then we did in the 70’s and 80’s, but we still are not there. If we just look at WAR then Mussina and Schilling are number 20 and 26 respectively. I prefer to look at the whole picture not just a stat that has evolved over the last few decades and in my opinion still evolving today.Finally, as i stated in my comment #172 when i mentioned a weak ballot in comment #154 i was simply referring to those born in 61′ not those that were hold overs from other years/ballots.

          • 218
            Artie Z. says:

            @176 John Z – The EloRater is a nice idea but is a really, really flawed process and really shouldn’t be used as evidence in an argument. If people decided that Babe Ruth was a bad influence because he was drinking beer during Prohibition then they could vote him down enough so he was below Al Bumbry (who is ranked ahead of HOFer Rick Ferrell by the EloRater).

            As I look at the EloRater right now, Mike Mussina is in the 16th spot, one spot ahead of … Tom Seaver. Bert Blyleven is 9th. I like both Blyleven and Mussina, I think they are both HOFers, but … I think the families of Mike Mussina and Bert Blyleven would agree that Seaver should be ranked higher. I can’t imagine how any baseball fan could objectively look at the evidence and rank Blyleven ahead of Seaver, yet that is how the EloRater has them.

            Also, the EloRater has Steve Carlton at 26, Feller at 32, and Marichal at 37 – Schilling is ranked 41st. But Orel Hershiser is 35th?

            On the hitter side, the EloRater has Rod Carew at 30th, which means that he is ahead of Pujols, Joe DiMaggio, Barry Bonds (I at least understand why Bonds is rated “low”), and Johnny Bench. Now, if you were asked to rank those 5 players in order of “If you could get one guy’s entire career, who would you take?” I’d be willing to bet that Carew, even though he was a great player, would rank last (or 4th if people are “punishing” Bonds).

        • 182
          birtelcom says:

          John Z at 154: I’m not sure what the basis would be to conclude that Fergie Jenkins should be a sure thing for the COG while Mike Mussina is not deserving, even just based on traditional stats.

          Jenkins had a career record of 284-226 (.557 winning percentage), while Mussina was 277-161 (including post-season) (.632 winning percentage). Fergie’s career ERA was 3.34, but he pitched in a relatively low-scoring environment in the late-196os and 1970s. Adjusting his ERA to its equivalent in an average run-scoring environment moves it to 3.68. Mussina’s career ERA was 3.68, or 3.65 adjusted to its equivalent in an avearge run-scoring environment. Fergie started 594 games, Mike 557 games.

          I’m not sure what it is about Jenkins that makes him a slum-dunk in your mind if Mussina is not even a good choice.

          • 188
            John Z says:

            a couple things that stand out about Jenkins, IMO are those 6 straight years of 20 or more wins and only the 73′ season presented it from being an 8 year run of 20 + win. The closest Mussina ever came to a 20 win season was when he was still wet behind the ears (26 and 27)and still pitched for those Baltimore Orioles, and he pitched for the mighty Yankees in the second half of his career and all that offense. Jenkins also won a Cy Young award and finished 2nd once and 3rd twice, Mussina on the other hand had one 2nd place finish and finished 4th or higher a whooping 5 times. They are from very different era’s so it is a bit unfair to compare the two, but i am just debating your remarks. Finally, the only reason i included Jenkins in my other argument (comment #172) is because IMO he is the best choice come the 42′ ballot, unless you prefer Tony Perez, not taking into account who the hold overs candidates are once we reach the 42′ ballot.

          • 192
            bstar says:

            John Z, Mussina won 20 games his last year with the Yankees. He won 19 twice and 18 three different times.

            Pitchers during Jenkins’ era were getting roughly 40 starts a year. During Mussina’s career it was more like 33-34 starts. That adds up over the years. In fact, checking their numbers, Fergie had 58 more starts than Moose. I’d say Mussina would be a lot closer to 300 wins with 58 more starts.

            I really appreciate guys like Jenkins who were consistent for a very long time, but Mussina is of that ilk as well.

          • 197
            John Z says:

            I stand corrected, and I do like Mussina, I really do, and I tend to agree with you that Mussina and Jenkins are of the same “ilk”. The thing that stands out about Jenkins is that he played for some really below average Cub teams in those early 70’s and with out him those teams would have been abysmal, Jenkins averaged about 33 percent of teams wins during that 20+ game win streak. Mussina on the other hand played for (4) teams that won more then 100 games and other teams that consistently won more then 90 games, Mussina contributions were good, about 20 percent of team wins, but that does not put him in the Jenkins class IMO. I voted for Smoltz, Alomar and Mattingly but could be easily persuaded to change my vote to Smoltz, Alomar and Mussina.

  4. 5
    latefortheparty says:

    Larry Walker
    Curt Schilling
    Mike Mussina

  5. 6
    Insert Name Here says:

    As I usually do, I’m going to make an initial vote based on my method for determining the top three (using primarily WAR/162 games during a series of 5+ “peak” seasons, along with a series of tiebreakers), and make any strategic changes later. I’ve modified my method, per some suggestions, to omit the “dual peaks” aspect (by simply focusing only on the best of that player’s peaks) and omitting the relief adjustment (for now, at least). Additionally, I am not considering PROVEN cheaters.

    In an interesting twist, there are no newcomers to the ballot that I consider HOF-worthy (Mattingly and Key each fall short of a 5-year peak). So, here’s my initial vote, for 3 holdovers:

    1. Curt Schilling (7.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 2001-06)
    2. Larry Walker (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)
    3. Barry Larkin (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1988-99)

    If I could fill out a full “10-man” ballot, I would also include only holdovers:

    4. Mike Mussina (6.0 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1992-2003)
    5. Craig Biggio (5.6 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1991-99)
    6. Edgar Martínez (6.1 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1995-2001)
    7. Roberto Alomar (5.7 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1996-2001)
    8. John Smoltz (5.6 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99) (borderline HOFer)
    9. Tom Glavine (5.3 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1995-2000) (borderline HOFer)
    10. Blank space

    • 8
      birtelcom says:

      Doesn’t Mattingly have a WAR/162 of about 6 during his 5-yr. peak 1984-1988? Would that rank him above Alomar/Smoltz/Glavine on your list?

      • 28
        Insert Name Here says:

        No, his peak is only 4 years (1984-87). All his other seasons have less than 4 WAR, which is required for the first and last years of a peak.

        • 31
          birtelcom says:

          Got it, thanks.

          • 44
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Can someone explain two things?

            1. How does Don Mattingly have a negative dWar every year of his career?

            2. (in simple terms) What is the relationship between oWar and dWar in determining overall WAR?

          • 50
            Ed says:

            Voomo –

            1) It’s because dWAR includes the position adjustment. If you look at his Rfield, you’ll see that Mattingly was positive almost every year of his career.

            2) Not sure there really is one. At least not an easy to explain one. Both oWAR and dWAR include the positional adjustment which is why you can’t add them together to get total WAR. It would be a bit of a challenge (though probably not impossible) to “back out” the positional adjustment for either oWAR or dWAR. The big challenge is that Rpos (the positional adjustment) is runs above or below average whereas oWAR, dWAR and WAR are all runs above replacement. So you’d have to know how to convert runs above (or below) average into runs above (or below) replacement.

          • 58
            Dr. Doom says:

            Okay, to Voomo (@44) and Ed (@50) both…

            It’s pretty easy to see the relationship between oWAR and dWAR. As Ed said, they BOTH include the positional adjustment… but you CAN back that out.

            Let me explain. First, replacement level for fielding is average. So the replacement/average thing is not really an issue (though it was a good catch by you, Ed). Really the things you have to look at first are the columns labeled RAA (Runs Above Average) and Rrep (Replacement Runs – that is, the difference between replacement and average). You’ll notice that, if you add them, you get RAR (Runs Above Replacement; well, sometimes it won’t work out exactly because of rounding you can’t see, but it’s close enough – see Mattingly’s 1989 for an example). Anyway, you can compare that “Runs” number to the “Wins” number to see how many runs make up a win for that individual player in his individual context. For example, for Mattingly in 1985, you’ll see first of all that 63 RAR = 6.4 WAR. That’s essentially 10 runs per win (which is pretty similar to most seasons). Anyway, if you add his oWAR (6.4) and dWAR (-.9) you would get 5.5, which is much different than the actual number of 6.4. That’s because the positional adjustment is being counted in each. So, to back that out, you see that Mattingly’s position was worth -10 runs (or 1 win). So you just add that back in and get 6.4 wins (well, actually 6.5; but again, there are rounding issues here). Hope that helps to explain how you can get the math to “work.”

            By the same token, if you’re interested in whether Mattingly is considered a “good” or “bad” 1B by TotalZone, you just look at the column labeled Rfield. There, you see that, for his career, he nets 33 runs. In other words, he was 33 runs better than an average (or replacement) 1B would have been. Which is to say, roughly 3.3 wins better. Does not compare particularly favorably to Keith Hernandez (117 Rfield) but that’s not bad at all.

          • 61
            bstar says:

            Voomo, oWAR is not necessarily something you need to look at unless you believe defense shouldn’t be included at all. That’s why Sean put the positional adjustment into oWAR (originally called no-defense or ndWAR), for people who think that the defensive metrics are too unreliable and don’t want it included in the WAR calculation at all.

          • 64
            Ed says:

            Thanks Dr. Doom! Forgot that replacement level for fielding is average.

          • 71
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Thank you Ed, Doom, and bstar.
            It now makes sense why it doesnt make sense.

            But now my question is, do oWar and dWar have any value as statistics considered in isolation, or, should they be regarded only as building blocks for the greater metric?

          • 73
            bstar says:

            Voomo, I would considering not looking at them as building blocks at all.

            Instead, I would just focus on the six different component run totals that WAR features: Rbat, Rfield, Rbaserunning, Rdp, Rposition, and Rreplacement. The sum of these six run values equal Runs above Replacement, or RAR.

            The only thing left is to convert RAR to wins. That’s the tricky part, but assuming a relatively full season played, it usually doesn’t stray very far from:

            WAR = RAR/10

            That’s a pretty good quick ‘n dirty way to do it.

            As both Doom and Ed stated, both oWAR and dWAR have the positional adjustment, so if you try and combine them, the sum of oWAR and dWAR is not going to equal WAR. So over-reliance on these two things could possibly just make things more confusing. I would stick to looking at the run totals myself.

            As I said @61, the only real purpose of oWAR the way it is defined now is to give those who don’t believe in defensive metrics a chance to use WAR, if they so choose. In this sense:

            oWAR = WAR – defense

            dWAR’s purpose is to make sure the positional adjustment is included in defense. If you’re just looking at a bunch of shortstops as a group or a handful of first basemen, you can just use Rfield totals to see who’s the best, but when evaluating players across different positions, you want to include the positional adjustment also.

          • 120
            RJ says:

            Thanks all, this has been very helpful for me as well. Not that it explains why rField hates JT Snow so much…

    • 215
      Insert Name Here says:

      So I’m in line for a blizzard tomorrow, which could cut my power. So, in order to get my strategic change in, I’m filing it today (thus making my change even riskier in such a close ballot).

      Since I’m backing Schilling for the win, I’m keeping his vote and avoiding voting for Mussina. However, Walker is creeping ever closer as well, so I’m dropping my vote for him in favor of Edgar Martínez, who could need it to guarantee the 10% margin to stay on the ballot, and also poses the least threat to Schilling of the candidates I would actually consider voting for. I considered switching away from Larkin as well, but he doesn’t seem to pose a significant threat to Schilling/Mussina.

      Final vote: Curt Schilling, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martínez.

  6. 7
    RonG says:

    Biggio Schilling Smoltz

  7. 9
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Mattingly, Biggio, Schilling.

  8. 10
    Mike HBC says:

    It’s a forgone conclusion that Schilling will win this round, but I’ve never been a proponent of his, so for the last time before the glut of 1960 nominees:


    • 11
      Mike HBC says:

      …OK, maybe not a forgone conclusion, but I’d put very, very good odds on it. Though I’m still hoping for a Smoltz or Glavine upset, I doubt it will come to fruition.

  9. 12
    J.R. Lebert says:

    Wow… not sure how an argument could be made for anyone born in 1961 over ANY of the holdovers. Maybe a few Yankees fans could find a way, but wow, 1961 was just a bad year.

    Biggio, Smoltz, Larkin.

  10. 13
    Tim Pea says:

    I would like to remind everyone that Gary Carter and Joe Carter have very similar offensive numbers.

    • 22
      birtelcom says:

      But they both had better numbers than Jimmy Carter.

      Yes, Gary’s OPS was .773 and Joe’s .771, over about the same number of career PAs. But:
      –Gary’s on base percentage was higher, and that’s a bit more valuable as a component of OPS than slugging.
      –Gary’s numbers were compiled in league and park environments where runs were, on average, less frequent, so the runs he created were more valuable.
      –Gary was a catcher, a position where it is very hard to find a hitter who can create a lot of runs. Joe was primarily a corner outfielder, where is is much easier to find a productive hitter.
      –Gary was a terrific defensive player, Joe not so much.

    • 25
      Hartvig says:

      And Pablo Picasso and my 8-year old great-niece have produced about the same number of pieces of artwork.

      But dearly as I love the little brat if someone wants to trade me a Picasso even-up or even two-for-one for a couple of hers I’m all over it.

  11. 14
    Dr. Doom says:

    Schilling, Walker, Mussina.

    I’ve been wanting to submit this ballot for a long time. Golly, I sure hope it’s one of these guys who gets in…

    • 16
      Ed says:

      Dr. Doom – I have a question for you since you seem to know a lot more about the advanced metrics then most of us. As far as I know, WAR treats unearned and earned runs allowed by a pitcher the same. Is that correct? Assuming it is, are you aware of any studies that show they should be treated the same? I can understand that some unearned runs are a pitcher’s fault but treating them exactly the same as earned runs doesn’t make sense to me. But I’m willing to be proven wrong.

      • 38
        Dr. Doom says:

        Correct, bWAR (yes – I used to be one of those people who insisted on calling it rWAR, but I’ve changed because I feel that now, it’s not baseball-reference hosting Rally’s WAR anymore; now, it’s just b-r’s implementation of their own WAR) treats them the same.

        For the record, since fWAR doesn’t deal with anything but FIP, it is only concerned with BB, HR, and SO, so this question is moot in regards to their implementation.

        But (finally), to the question at hand…

        Yes, WAR treats them the same. There are (as I can tell) four reasons to do so. The first point is the most important. The other three are the best reasons not to just switch to a FIP-only system.

        1. “Earned” runs are a fallacy to begin with. That is, a run is a run is a run. Obviously, once upon a time, statisticians felt they had to “correct” for runs unfairly attributed to the pitcher because of poor fielders. That’s actually a good idea. The problem is, they based it around “errors,” which rank right up there with RBIs and pitcher wins on the Holiday Card lists of most sabermetrically-minded folk: if a ball tips of Brendan Ryan’s glove, it’s an error; but if Jeter can’t even get there in the first place, it’s a base hit. You all know the drill. So anyway, with the defensive statistics we have now (*obligatory parenthetical caveat saying how limited defensive statistics are*), we can BETTER (not perfectly, but better) measure the impact of defense on the pitcher. So why double correct for what we can look at another way?

        2. Pitcher defense is not included in TotalZone. This is a problem for a guy like Greg Maddux or Jim Kaat, who was a wizard with a ball in play. However, if the pitcher is actually having a run-saving effect on the scoreboard, with all else being equal, his RA will be less than his compatriots. So it SHOULD show up in RA in the first place, without being accounted for in TotalZone.

        3. True BABIP outliers. Those guys who, year after year, outperform their FIP. You know ’em, probably: Jered Weaver. Matt Cain. Etc., etc., etc.

        4. Circumstantial pitching (i.e. windup vs. stretch) and controlling the running game. These could be two reasons, if you were so inclined, but they strike me as related, so I combined ’em. Obviously pitching from the windup and the stretch are different physically, so it stands to reason that some pitchers perform better than others in those circumstances. Actual Runs Allowed, as opposed to just HR and BB, do a good job accounting for how a pitcher may be changing his approach based on the circumstances on the bases. Likewise, some pitchers have quick motions, good pickoff moves, or are just plain lefties. This control of the running game is not (necessarily) reflected in FIP-based WAR. So giving credit for actual runs allowed should accomplish some of the same thing.

        Obviously, you could argue any of these. The first one is, of course, the most important point (in my opinion), particularly for the question you asked. But I think it’s all worth considering. But anyway, the thinking is, why rely on the judgments of the official scorer? Every pitcher deals with errors – you can just adjust for an AVERAGE number of errors behind the pitcher, and do a fair job of negating that problem, without resorting to extremely subjective judgments about what was or wasn’t an error. Thanks for the question, and I hope that helps. If anyone else has more insight, feel free to add it.

        • 65
          Ed says:

          Thanks Dr. Doom! It’s going to take me a while to think this through. I do have a follow-up question regarding something Tom Tango wrote re: bWAR.

          Under point #8, Tango discusses bWAR’s implementation of pitching WAR. He writes the following:

          “Runs allowed at its core is equal to the performance of the pitcher + performance of the fielders + timing. By subtracting out only the performance of the fielders (and, it’s not even their performance ON THOSE PLAYS, but a general overall performance), the pitcher absorbs the timing of all events.”

          Any idea what he means by “the timing”? From what I can tell he doesn’t really explain his use of the term.

          • 146
            birtelcom says:

            I think what he means by timing is the randomness aspect of when hits occur, or to put it another way, how they are bunched. A pitcher who gives up two two-out doubles over two innings and otherwise gets all outs will surrender one run if those two doubles occur one after the other but no runs if they occur one per inning. Essentially the same pitching performance and the same defensive performance but the difference in the timing of the hits results in a different number of runs scored.

          • 150
            Ed says:

            Thanks Birtelcom. That makes sense.

            BTW, I was thinking about this earlier today…as wonderful as people like Tango, Cameron and Foreman are with advanced metrics, they leave a bit to be desired in terms of ability to explain things. That’s what made Bill James so amazing. There are people who know a lot more about advanced stats than he does, but there are very few people who can write as well.

          • 221
            Tangotiger says:

            I agree that Bill James was the best at explaining things. However, there’s no reason to think that’s some sort of minimum standard. It’s like saying Eric Davis or Andre Dawson or Herm Winningham was not Willie Mays.

            Secondly, Bill did it as his vocation. I’m doing it as a hobby. Whereas Bill needed to make sure that the reader understood what he was talking about, in my case, I’m having a long conversation, and you simply caught part of it.

          • 223
            birtelcom says:

            If Bill James is Willie Mays, then Tango you are at least Duke Snider — Herm Winningham does not belong in the sentence.

            But the question is, who’s on your ballot for the Circle of Greats?

          • 225
            Dr. Doom says:

            I also think that, Tango, since what you publish is “serialized,” those of us who view your writings often see things day after day after day, and so there’s a lot of “re-explaining” you don’t want to do. Which makes sense. James publishes books, which are a very, very different medium than a blog is to maintain.

          • 226
            John Autin says:

            A hearty HHS welcome to the esteemed Tangotiger! (And hooray for us for drawing him in … even if we did have to irk him a bit to do it.)

            Tango, if you’re still out there, could you do me a favor and point me to what you consider the most comprehensive Run Expectancy site? I know you have a few pages on it, and I just google and pick one, but I know some are more robust than others. Thanks!

          • 227
            Tangotiger says:

            Oh, I like that. Serialized. Perfect. Bill James is more like a movie, and I’m like a cable TV show. Love it!


  12. 15
    Richard Chester says:

    birtelcom: When you click on the 1961 vote tally the 1962 results come up.

  13. 17
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    From 1989-1999, Rick Aguilera had a 132 era+, and was the dominant closer on a WS winner…

  14. 18
    Phil says:

    Alomar, Glavine, Schilling.

  15. 19
    Chris says:

    Smoltz, Biggio, Walker

  16. 21
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina

  17. 23
    David Horwich says:

    Larkin, Alomar, Schilling.

    I predict Schilling will win, but it’s going to be an interesting vote.

    My methodology (such as it is) is as much impressionistic as it is analytic; I don’t think our metrics are so precise that we can meaningfully distinguish between, say the 110th best player in history and the 120th – so by the time we’re done with this project, there will be some players just outside the CoG who’ll have as good an argument to be made for them as some others who just squeaked in.

    And so: I say to myself, we’re looking for the best 112 players in history. Let’s say about 1/3 of those will be pitchers – let’s call it 76 players, 36 pitchers. (Of course we needn’t end up with exactly those numbers.) 76 position players divided by 8 positions = 9 players per (non-pitcher) position, with a few slots left over for multi-position players or DHs, etc. Again, there might not be exactly 9 players per position, the 10th best 2Bman might be better than the 8th best LF, OK, fine.

    So I begin by asking myself, “is this player one of the 10 best ever at his position, or one of the best 3 dozen pitchers?” To me, Larkin is clearly a top 10 SS. Alomar and Biggio are right on the borderline (2B is a pretty stacked position). Walker falls just outside the circle (as do McGriff and Lofton, who’ve already dropped off the ballot)- they’re top 20, sure, but not quite top 10. I don’t know what to do with Edgar Martinez.

    As for the pitchers, for me Mussina, Glavine, & Smoltz are all borderline; I know Mussina has pretty nice numbers, but I just can’t bring myself to think of him as an all-time great. I have no rational reason for this; something about the guy always used to bug me – just the way he would peak under his shoulder to check a runner on first annoyed me – can’t explain it. Anyway, while I’m no great fan of Schilling, his combination of high peak performance & postseason gives him the nod.

    • 29
      Hartvig says:

      You’re doing pretty much exactly what I’m doing- except I’m using an 80/32 split which is almost the exact same ratio as the HOF.

      And there’s even one more complicating factor- not all positions are equally deep. If you use something like JAWS or the Hall of Stats shortstop & right field are deeper than other positions.

      Using JAWS the 13th best shortstop (Larkin! although 2 of the guys ahead of him (Jeter/ARod) are ineligible for this exercise and the guy right ahead of him (Dahlen) is a 19th century shortstop with no time-line adjustment and scores less than 1% better. Plus Larkin/Trammell/Appling/Banks/Smith are in a pretty tight little group that any small adjustment could change the order of) scores higher that all but the top 6 left fielders.

      Using the Hall of Stats the 12th best right fielder (Gwynn) scores higher than the 7th best eligible 3rd baseman (Nettles).

      Not saying that’s how I’d necessarily vote but it’s something that I’m also keeping in mind.

      I have no clue as to how I’m voting yet on this one. I’m 99.9% certain that Larkin will be one but after that I’m all over the map.

  18. 24
    Mike says:


  19. 26
    Mo says:

    schilling walker biggio

  20. 27
    oneblankspace says:

    CBiggio, CSchilling, LWalker.

    Henry Cotto once extended a hitting streak with a pinch-hit double (after the regular he had been starting for returned from injury) with the 1982 Cubs; not enough to get my vote.

    • 33
      birtelcom says:

      Now if he had done that twice….

      • 35
        Ed says:

        ’84 Cubs. Cotto wasn’t on the ’82 Cubs. Even more impressive is that Cotto pinch hit in the first two games of the streak.

        • 84
          oneblankspace says:

          It might have been ’84. I just remember I watched more games in ’82 than ’84 — by that time, I had discovered the Sox.

    • 69
      Artie Z. says:

      Cotto also went on the DL once when he punctured his ear drum with a Q-tip.

      • 111
        Nash Bruce says:

        Mike Kingery spent three of his seasons in the Kingdome.
        Kevin Gross was ejected once, for using sandpaper(?)to scuff baseballs, which, although not the spitball, is still somewhat unsanitary……

  21. 30
    David Horwich says:

    A question for our master of ceremonies:

    What happens if there’s a tie for first? Do both players go in, or do we have a runoff election?

    • 32
      birtelcom says:

      Runoff. To have two inductions based merely on the happenstance of a tie would be a little too arbitrary.

  22. 34
    GrandyMan says:

    1) Schilling, clearly one of the two best candidates

    2) Mussina, clearly the other of the two best candidates

    3) I reserve my “third” (or, perhaps in really thin years, “second”) vote for possible strategic voting. However, I have no interest in bumping up Edgar’s vote total to get him off the bubble next round, so I’ll go for the third best candidate, as determined by the addition of WAR (for longevity) and (WAA/WAR)*100 (for value added through peak performance) — I think this is a good, quick and dirty way to measure real career value and weed out “compilers” who accumulated HOF-type numbers by being merely above average for a really long time. I’ll just call this number “Actual Value” for now. For example, Smoltz has 62.6 WAR and 38.1 WAA, so his (WAA/WAR) number, multiplied by 100, is 60.9. Add this to WAR and you get 123.5.

    Player WAR (WAR/WAA) Actual Value

    Smoltz 62.6 60.9 123.5
    Glavine 69.3 56.4 125.7
    Biggio 62.1 46.9 109.0
    Walker 69.7 69.3 139.0
    Larkin 67.1 63.2 130.3
    Alomar 62.9 51.8 114.7
    Martinez 64.4 59.9 124.3

    So, using this method, Walker wins going away.

  23. 37
    Nick Pain says:

    Mussina, Walker, Larkin.

  24. 39
    Mike L says:

    I keep returning to INH’s methodology, but Grandyman’s interested me as well. Still, I can’t find anything compelling enough to go away from Larkin, Walker, and Mussina.

  25. 40
    Scott Horsfield says:

    Larry Walker
    Edgar Martinez
    Craig Biggio

  26. 41
    Atlcrackersfan says:

    R. Alomar

  27. 42
    Brooklyn Mick says:

    Mussina, Walker, Larkin

  28. 43
    Abbott says:

    Glavine, Biggio, Larkin

  29. 45
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Vince Coleman stole 107 bases in 1986 with a .301 obp.

    • 46
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      He stole 42 of those bases on the ROAD with this line:

      .189 .250 .239 .489

      • 47
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        Okay, one more:

        He scored 12 runs in 15 games against the Phillies with this line:

        .176 .233 .206 .439

        (20 steals, 0 CS)

        • 57
          Hartvig says:

          The Phillies catching was split 3 ways that year- about 50% by John Russell who threw out runners at a 24% clip (which was about his career average), 25% by Darren Dalton who threw out runners at a 28% rate which was also right about his career average and Ronn Reynolds who managed a 22% rate which was about 5% below his career norm. I do seem to recall that Phillies pitching staff was notoriously poor at holding runners even though left handers started 74 games for them that year.

    • 85
      oneblankspace says:

      I seem to remember one game where Coleman stole third and home on the same pitch when the 3b was distracted, perhaps as lead runner on a double steal.

  30. 48
    Doug says:

    Walker, Glavine, Mussina

    • 53
      birtelcom says:

      The vote at the moment, through the first 25 votes, has Schilling and Larry Walker tied at the top, and just four votes behind is a four-way tie of Smoltz, Mussina, Biggio and Larkin.

      • 62
        latefortheparty says:

        From a purely analytical (WAR/JAWS) perspective (although those are not nearly the limits of analysis), Schilling should be the guy. I’d be thrilled,though, if Walker got the vote. At this point, Walker is the cream of the crop among position players, from a WAR/JAWS perspective. In terms of WAR Walker was Frank Thomas’s equal and Thomas’s better at Hall of Stats. However, in terms of WAR, JAWS and Hall of Stats, Schillng and Mussina have no-doubt-about-it leads over Walker.

  31. 49
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    This is John Kruk’s first game back after treatment for testicular cancer:

    I haven’t voted yet, but I might just vote for Kruk.

    • 68
      Ed says:

      Didn’t remember that Kruk was a testicular cancer survivor. As a fellow survivor, I may have to vote for his as well.

      BTW, I remember Bill James predicting that after Kruk retired, he would disappear, never to be heard from again. Guess he was a bit off with that prediction…

      • 101
        Insert Name Here says:

        Is it possible that James made a self-defeating prophecy? You know, that by claiming Kruk would just disappear he inadvertently inspired Kruk to become an analyst?

        Maybe I’m just philosophing a little too much here.

  32. 54
    Bill Johnson says:


  33. 55
    Nadig says:

    Glavine, Walker, Schilling.

  34. 56
    Andy says:

    Schilling Moose Glavine

  35. 59
    MikeD says:

    As I sit here watching PED-infused athlethes toss around the pigskin, I cast my votes for Mussina, Alomar, Schilling.

  36. 60
    bstar says:

    Wanna get my vote in before things are decided:

    Schilling, Glavine, Mussina

  37. 63
    qx says:

    Larry Walker, Barry Larkin, Tom Glavine

  38. 66
    Darien says:

    Larkin, Schilling, Biggio

  39. 67
    Robbs says:

    schilling glavine biggio

  40. 70
    Artie Z. says:

    Larkin, Alomar, and Mussina

  41. 72
    opal611 says:

    For the 1961 election, I’m voting for:
    –Craig Biggio
    –Edgar Martinez
    –Roberto Alomar

    Other top candidates I considered highly (and/or will consider in future rounds):
    (The 1961 group wasn’t great. I didn’t consider any of those guys. One of these 9 holdovers will get elected and I assume/hope the other 8 will move on to the next round.)

    Sentimental favorite former Brewers:
    –Not only was this a weak year for COG candidates, but it was also a weak year for former Brewers players. The only one to list here is Mike Maddux, former Brewers pitching coach.

  42. 74
    elkboy3 says:

    Edgar Martinez

  43. 75
    Nash Bruce says:

    Schilling and, yet again, Alomar and Larkin.

    • 76
      Nash Bruce says:

      (haven’t had as much time to read through all the comments, as I’d have liked, but I believe that some comments have concerned the glut of holdovers- I am kinda wondering, will Larkin and Alomar be battling with Ruth and Gehrig, to stay on the ballot? Or, will something such as a 15-year eligibility limit be implemented?
      I wish that one of those guys could win but I’m guessing that it is highly unlikely….)

  44. 77
    Ed says:

    Some interesting voting patterns so far. As I type this the vote stands:

    Schilling: 21
    Walker: 15
    Larkin: 14
    Mussina: 13

    Of the 21 people who voted for Schilling, 8 included Walker on their ballot and 8 included Mussina. But only 4 included Larkin.

  45. 78
    Brandon says:

    Walker, Smoltz, Biggio

  46. 79

    Smoltz, Glavine, Alomar

  47. 80
    --bill says:

    Biggio, Glavine, Mussina

  48. 81
    brp says:

    Schilling, Biggio, Mussina.

  49. 82
    Dave W says:

    Glavine, Walker, Alomar

  50. 83
    PP says:

    Mussina, Smoltz, Glavine

    First time I’m not voting for the eventual winner. Much as I wanted to type in Walker, I can’t get past the impact of his Coors stats (.381, .462, .710) even if they comprised just 31% of his plate appearances. My last votes for Mussina and Glavine, Smoltz too even though it’s my first for him. A whole new cast of great players coming up. Schilling, blah…

    • 89

      So you’re penalizing Walker because he was too *good* at Coors?

      • 92
        PP says:

        They’re inflated, as everyone’s are who played there, Galarraga included. Without them I doubt he would be in the conversation as seriously as he is.

        • 98

          In 1994 in Montreal, Walker hit .322/.394/.587 (151 OPS+). In 2005 in St. Louis, at age 38, Walker hit .289/.384/.502 (130 OPS+). In his career, he hit .278/.370/.495 on the road. Compare to Craig Biggio’s .281/.363/.433 overall line and consider that Walker’s numbers don’t include any games in Coors Field in his prime, while Biggio’s do.

          His career 141 OPS+, which as Richard mentions at #90, is park adjusted, is better than Tony Gwynn’s (132) or David Ortiz’s (138) or Reggie Jackson’s (139). Throw in 230 stolen bases, which don’t depend much on park factors, and positive career dWAR (backed by 7 Gold Gloves), and you’ve got the best non-pitcher on this ballot by a substantial margin.

          If the guy were a .250 hitter with no power on the road, I’d understand letting splits drive the discussion, but to penalize him for taking advantage of his surroundings to make his Hall of Fame numbers even Hall of Famier is to miss the point- Larry Walker was a great player everywhere he played.

          • 99
            Doug says:

            Walker is also apparently a true “natural”, with almost no baseball experience prior to becoming a pro.

      • 95
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        I’d penalize him more because he couldn’t stay in the lineup:

        – 10 times 130 or more games played,
        – only three times 140 or more games played
        – only ONCE 150 or more games played

        same with Plate Appearances:
        – 10 times 500 or more PA
        – only twice with 600 or more PA

        He averaged 110 runs/107 RBI per 162 games ,but only once did he exceed both of these figures in a season (his 1997 MVP year). I’m not saying he’s not worthy, just that his durability is a negative, same as the “Coors Field Effect”.

      • 97
        PP says:

        Plus, neutralizing Walker takes him to .294, .378, .530. Nice numbers for sure, but not COG stats in so few games (1988) as was pointed out in #95.

    • 90
      Richard Chester says:

      Here’s what I commented about Walker a couple of weeks ago:

      I do have reservations about Walker. He benefited greatly by playing at Coors Park. His BA there is .381 versus .282 in all the other parks, a huge difference. However his OPS + of 141, which is park adjusted , would put him in 41st place in the HOF.

      • 93
        PP says:

        Actually, it was your comment that sent me off to his splits.

        • 100
          birtelcom says:

          Walker and John Olerud were exact contemporaries in the majors, debuting within weeks of each other and playing their final games on the same day. Walker had 4,035 PAs in away games in his career and had an OPS in those PAs of .865. Olerud had 4,576 PAs in away games in his career and had an OPS in those PAs of .865, same as Walker.

          • 166
            GrandyMan says:

            Both also began their careers with Canadian teams, and later had significant playing time with Western division teams.

            Trivialities aside, I wonder how much of an effect these players’ away parks had on their statistics? I would have to think that Olerud played a significant number of his away games in Yankee Stadium (benefiting him as a lefty) and Fenway, possibly inflating his road totals somewhat. On the other hand, Walker probably played a lot in hitters’ deserts such as Qualcomm and San Fran, which might have accentuated his home/road splits.

  51. 86
    Jameson says:

    Larkin, Mussina, Smoltz

  52. 87
    aweb says:

    Mussina, Schilling, Biggio

  53. 88

    Career Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Schilling 56.2
    Mussina 49.4
    Walker 48.6
    Larkin 45.5
    Glavine 42.2
    Martinez 41.6
    Smoltz 40.2
    Alomar 37.3
    Biggio 36.7

    These guys have dominated my ballot for half a decade. I’m excited to see one of them finally get in.


    • 126
      mosc says:

      Being an average shortstop is a lot harder a task than being an average right fielder, I’m sorry. If walker and Larkin’s WAA are that close (and to me they’re probably the other way around due to inflated RF dwar from walker), there’s just no question I’m going with the shortstop. I think in your approach you’re neglecting what it takes to simply play shortstop at the major leagues. That’s a higher bar that Larkin has to meet.

      • 128

        Mosc, Larkin is very close to my ballot and I’d have no problem seeing him get in, but I’m feeling a little protective of Walker right now after seeing so many “product of Coors Field” arguments.

        I strongly agree that it’s harder to be an average shortstop than an average right fielder. I can’t instinctually adjust their numbers for this, so I trust that WAR is doing it accurately. Walker loses 85 runs over the course of his career to positional adjustments. Larkin picks up 107, and still comes up 2.6 WAR (and 3.1 WAA) short. Of b-r’s top 100 players in terms of career WAR, 11 are rightfielders and 10 are shortstops. Small sample, arbitrary endpoint, I know, but it seems reasonable enough that I’m comfortable taking the ninth-most valuable right fielder ever over the ninth-most valuable shortstop.

    • 206

      Ballot change: I think Mussina should be in the Circle of Greats, and I’ll be happy if he gets in this round, but I sense a lot of personal bias against Schilling in the recent voting. As a corrective measure, I’m going to throw my support behind the best hitter on the ballot, rather than the guy currently leading the voting:


  54. 91
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    Three middle infielders:
    – Craig Biggio
    – Roberto Alomar
    – Barry Larkin

    Looking at the current vote tally, either Mattingly or E. Martinez will be the odd man out. That’s still not enough to convince me to vote for either one.

    This is probably the only time I will be able to use this factoid about Spike Owen: In Owens’ third game with the Boston Red Sox (Aug 21st, 1986) he tied an AL record by scoring six runs, as the RS beat the Indians, 24-5.

    Talk about “amongst the least likely to set a particular record…”.

  55. 94
    Brent says:

    Alomar, Larkin, Biggio. Yeah, I am going middle infielder here too.

  56. 96
    Jason Z says:

    Smoltz, Schilling and Moose.

  57. 102
    Tom says:

    Martinez, Mussina, Schilling

  58. 103
    Gary Bateman says:

    Mussina, Alomar, Biggio

  59. 104
    Jalande says:

    Mussina, Walker, Larkin

  60. 105
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    It’s been curious to me how (relatively) little support Tom Glavine has gotten.
    (Though, I haven’t voted for him, either).
    300 game winner, what’s the problem?

    All time, he’s:
    12th in GS
    21st in Wins

    3.30 ERA in 218 postseason innings.

    He had a 12 year peak.
    I’ll compare him to the other arms on the ballot…

    12 year peak, from 1991-2002, Glavine averaged:

    17-8, 134 era+
    225 innings (and there’s a strike year in there)
    4.4 WAR
    Led the league in GS 6 times.

    Mussina also had a 12 year peak, 1992-2003

    215 IP
    5.0 WAR

    Schilling arguably had a 12-year peak
    (a bit of a lumpy peak)
    from 1996-2007 (his last year)

    205 IP

    Smoltz is harder to lock down in a peak, as he essentially had 3 careers, but his first 11 years as a starter (before the injury):

    214 IP
    3.7 WAR

    Of course, if you take away his first three years and add-on his late-career 3-year stint as a top starter, he fares better.
    Plus, he had 3 years as an elite closer.


    2.67 era in 209 playoff innings

    So, based on the above, it does look like Glavine is a more of a “compiler” than a ‘grrrreat’, whose greatest asset was being extremely durable on excellent teams.

    • 117
      John Autin says:

      bstar, not wanting to be argumentative 🙂 but isn’t it more specifically the defense of Glavine’s teams that is somewhat “held against him”?

      Not wishing to disparage him at all, but of the 14 pitchers with 200+ wins since Glavine broke in, he has the lowest SO/9, below even Moyer, Rogers and Wells.

      • 143
        bstar says:

        As far as defense, rWAR takes team defense out of the equation entirely by adjusting the average RA9 standard by which a pitcher’s own RA9 is judged against (using RA9def). Glavine is getting no benefit whatsoever for pitching in front of good defense, at least according to rWAR. It’s not affecting his career value in the least.

        Please consider also that Glavine didn’t pitch for good defensive teams his entire career. You’ll remember the late ’80s version of the Braves were awful defensively, and the Mets teams Glavine pitched for weren’t wizards with the glove either.

        Overall, Glavine is +0.12 for RA9def for his career, which isn’t that big of a positive number. That means his defense may have saved Glavine approximately a tenth of a run per game over his career (although rWAR takes this out of the equation entirely when evaluating him).

        If you’re looking for a pitcher to ding for phenomenal defensive support, a better choice than Glavine would be Jim Palmer (+0.33 RA9def).

        Maybe you think this defense helped him win more games. But is that relevant? Do wins and losses matter? They have nothing to do with rWAR.

        If they do matter, isn’t run support just as important as team defense in determining whether a pitcher wins or loses games?

        Let’s look at the run support per game started for the three pitchers I voted for on this election, Glavine, Mussina, and Schilling, and compare their run support to league average run support while they were pitching.

        T Glavine RS/GS 4.8 / MLB avg RS/GS 4.7 (+0.10)
        M Mussina RS/GS 5.3 / MLB avg RS/GS 4.8 (+0.50)
        Schilling RS/GS 4.7 / MLB avg RS/GS 4.7 (0.00)

        Here we see Mussina is the one getting the big boost from his lineup, not Glavine. In fact, the boost Moose is getting from the strength of his offense is around four times greater (0.50 compared to 0.12) than the boost Glavine gets from his defense.

        How about the defense played behind Moose and Schilling? Schilling again is right at average, 0.0 RA9def, while Mussina’s teams were slightly below average, at -0.08 RA9def.

        Combining team defensive support and run support, we get a clear winner:

        M Mussina (+0.50 RS) + (-0.08 team defense) = +0.42
        T Glavine (+0.10 RS) + (+0.12 team defense) = +0.22
        Schilling (0.00 RS) + (0.00 team defense) = 0.00
        John, I’ll be happy to discuss Glavine’s SO/9 rate if you can convince me it’s relevant. S0/9 is another thing that has nothing to do with value according to rWAR. Please remember Glavine is #1 all-time at stranding runners on base.

        • 159
          John Autin says:

          bstar @143 — Something’s happened to the comments on this thread; I can’t seem to find yours that I replied to. But anyway …

          I wasn’t trying to make any particular case about Glavine. I was just responding to your comment about team strength being held against Glavine more so than others who benefited just as much. My point was just that the “dings” I’ve heard against Glavine in that area were focused on team defense more than overall quality.

          Given your reply, I’m not sure what your point is any more. I never mentioned WAR. If I had been making a WAR-based point about why Glavine maybe isn’t getting the support we’d expect of a guy with a 305-203 record, I would have said that Glavine’s rWAR ranks 20th out of the 24 pitchers with 300 wins. But I didn’t, because I didn’t intend to argue about Glavine.

          The relevance of SO/9 in my previous comment — which again, was not about WAR — is simply that more balls in play means more challenges for the defense. Glavine’s relatively low SO/9 is why some say his success was more dependent on his defense than other great contemporaries.

          But obviously, Glavine still had a LOT to do with his own success. As you said, he excelled at stranding runners (a true BA of .244 with RISP compared to .256 with bases empty). He was also very good at keeping the ball in the park, ranking 6th out of 69 pitchers with 2,000 IP during his career.

          Just because I’ve made some flip remarks about Glavine’s last start as a Met, please don’t think I’m out to get him.

          • 162
            bstar says:

            JA, I asked birtelcom to delete that comment before your reply because I had cluster-effed the numbers so bad. Sorry about that, but I know what comment you were referring to.

            My point was to respond more to those who are suggesting Glavine’s “success” was more heavily dependent on defense than others. As I showed, that’s not true for all of his career, and there are certainly others who benefited far more from the defense behind them than Glavine.

            My other point was to show that if total wins or W-L record is how someone wants to define success, run support can be just as big or often a bigger factor than team defense. Specifically, if anyone is going to ding Glavine for good defense behind him, the actual amount of help Glavine received over his career (+0.12 runs) is dwarfed by the help Mike Mussina received in run support (+0.50 runs) for his.

            As to your point about low SO/9, again B-Ref takes care of that. RA9defense is computed by taking the total team defensive runs saved and allocating them proportionally to each pitcher based on the number of balls in play allowed by each pitcher in relation to BIP allowed by the staff.

            Accordingly, Glavine will have more of a defensive adjustment than John Smoltz because Smoltz struck out more batters and allowed fewer balls in play. For the years they were Braves teammates (’88-’02), Glavine’s RA9def is +0.18 while Smoltz’s is +0.13. So, rWAR is already taking Glavine’s increased balls in play into account. I know you never mentioned WAR, but I can’t explain this without it. 🙂


          • 163
            birtelcom says:

            John:bstar asked me to delete a comment of his based on some flawed stat references in it. That’s presumably why you can’t find what you are looking for, though that also seems to have left your dialogue with bstar sitting permanently at the bottom of this thread.

          • 165
            bstar says:

            Thanks for doing that, birtelcom!

          • 164
            bstar says:

            The reason I am reflexively defending Tom Glavine is because a lot of what has been said about him has little basis in actual fact.

            Tom Glavine’s rWAR being 20th out of 24 300-game winners is fact. Of course, Glavine being 21st out of 24 300 game-winners in wins is also a fact.

    • 123
      David Horwich says:

      I’ve voted for Glavine before and I expect I’ll vote for him again down the road, but (despite my desire to eschew strategic voting) I decided that since he’s safely on the ballot for the next few years I might as well spread my votes around.

  61. 106
    Voomo Zanzibar says:


  62. 107
    Mike G. says:

    Mussina, Glavine, E.Martinez

  63. 108
    James Smyth says:

    Mussina, Schilling, Edgar

  64. 109
    Chris C says:

    Biggio, Alomar, Smoltz

  65. 110
    birtelcom says:

    Mussina has moved past Walker and is now just two votes behind Schilling. Biggio and Walker now four votes behind Moose.

    For future votes, I am now thinking:
    –At the same time as the 1959 vote, we also do a redemption round (with another redemption vote every ten rounds)
    –For the 1958 round and each third round therafter (1955, 1952, etc.), there are two votes, the first brings in the 1958-born pitchers and the next that brings in the 1958-born hitters. This would allow more votes like the current one (fewer obvious front-runners, more chances to induct long-standing holdovers), while also making sure that we have 112 inductees before we get to the really old-timers who were largely left outside the jurisdiction of the BBWAA.
    –After 112 are inducted, a separate Old-Timers Wing series of votes to cover the best of the 19th century guys left unconsidered by the BBWAA.

    • 112
      MikeD says:

      So you’re going to split hitters and pitchers into two votes, but in three-year increments? So does that mean they’ll be a pitcher and a hitter inducted for those years?

      Not sure I understand, although I’ll continue to vote!

    • 113
      bstar says:

      birtelcom, over time isn’t this three-year pitcher & hitter vote going to give us too many pitchers? Someone mentioned the actual 112 is split 80/32 for batters/pitchers. Three of the seven winners so far are pitchers, and it looks like we might have another one this year. That would put us at 4/4 overall.

      I’m not sure I understand this either.

    • 114
      Bells says:

      bstar, I think he’s saying that we have one vote for 1958, with everybody on the ballot plus the position players that qualify from 1958, and then a second vote for 1958, with everybody on the ballot (including carryovers from the first 1958 ballot) plus the pitchers from the 1958 ballot. So you can vote in 2 pitchers, 2 position players, one of each, whatever works. It’s just a way of addressing the crowding on the ballot by introducing the new candidates in 2 classes for that particular year, without saying anything about whom we may elect.

      Birtelcom, if that’s what you’re doing, I think that’s an elegant solution to the problem of it feeling like we’re cheapening the process by voting in the 2nd place guy along with the 1st. I like it – in the last vote, I raised the objection that I like the way the players are ‘honoured’ one by one, but I guess I don’t necessarily mean with a stand-alone follow-up post, but rather by being the winners of their particular round. My first reaction is that this addresses the issue nicely.

      I still think the math of doing that every 3 years is a problem, and leaves us with far too few spots for early-year players. Let’s say you do it every 5 years starting in 1958 – by 1886 you have 98 players inducted, room for 14 more. Then you can have some formula to take you back to the earliest players in 14 votes (suffice to say, we’ve got a bit of time to figure out that basic math), as well as a ‘last chance’ redemption process where we can reconsider some guys we’ve been back-and-forth about for a long time. I’d rather have more room for consideration at the end of things than less, is all.

      • 115
        Bells says:

        Sorry birtelcom, I for some reason completely didn’t register your ‘separate old timers wing’ part of the comment. That’s cool if you want to do that, I’ll vote for whatever, but I’m still a fan of seeing the whole process out the way we’re doing it, personally. So I amend my above comment to say ‘although I like that idea, I’d be more in favour of doing it every 5 years blah blah blah’.

        Also, this vote is crazy awesome so far. As a non-Schilling fan, I have to say that he looks like the inevitable choice, although much as Romney was the inevitable choice for the Republican ticket, with several ‘anyone but him’ choices coming up to challenge along the way. I suppose that analogy would be fitting…

  66. 116
    birtelcom says:

    Yes, Bells has this right. The intention is not to separate the votes entirely into pitchers and hitters. The holdovers will still all go in together in each round. I just want to reduce the number of newcomers they face by half, and splitting it by hitters and pitchers seemed a natural way to do so. We could do it instead by last names starting with A to M and then N to Z. Any method that splits the newcomers in two will work. The point is to accelerate the number of inductees across the years (we’ll end up with two inductees for the 1958 round, the 1955 round, etc.) while preserving the concept of one winner per round, which I think (as Bells helped me realize) is the most elegant and entertaining election process.

    • 122
      David Horwich says:

      Dividing the newly-eligible players roughly in half by name seems more balanced than holding “hitters and holdovers” and “pitchers and holdovers” elections – the holdover pitchers might stand out more in a “hitters and holdovers” elections, and vice versa…but it probably doesn’t matter much, because most years there are at most a handful of contenders among the newly-eligibles; the great majority of them aren’t going to get any votes, anyway.

      • 138
        birtelcom says:

        David, you are probably right that an alphabetical division is probably slightly fairer, and based on other comments, seems like it also might cause less confusion among voters and readers. I will head in that direction.

  67. 118
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Check out Ed Vosberg.
    Parts of 17 seasons in the minors.
    10 in the majors (between 1986 and 2002)
    He played in Italy in 1992.
    Was still playing in Mexico at age 45.

    Played in the finals of the LL World Series in 1973.
    He is one of only two players (Jason Varitek is the other) to play in the Little League World Series, the College World Series, and the Major League World Series.

    Here’ a very long article about him and his current job, as the pitching coach for the Tuscon Toros:

    • 134
      Hartvig says:

      Love guys like Vosberg & Razor Shines & all the others that play baseball until someone drags them kicking & screaming off of the field because it’s who they are and they love doing it.

    • 135
      birtelcom says:

      Fewest Career IP in the Majors, Pitched in the Majors for 8 or more Different Francises:

      Ed Vosberg 233.3 IP (8 franchises)
      Josias Manzanillo 342 IP (8 franchises)
      Jim Poole 363 IP (8 franchises)
      Scott Service 416.3 IP (9 franchises)
      Jorge Julio 467 IP (8 franchises)

      Lkike Vosberg, Gaylord Perry played in the majors for eight different franchises, but Perry threw 5,350 innings.

      On the hitters side, Orlando Mercado had the fewest career PAs (617) among non-pitchers who played in the majors for at least eight different franchises.

      • 142
        Doug says:

        Here are fewest games played, for a specific number of franchises, showing number of teams, then number of games:

        4 – 5, Dummy Leitner, 1901-02
        5 – 12, Ensign Cottrell, 1911-15
        6 – 34, Rich Sauveur, 1986-2000
        7 – 60, Andrew Lorraine, 1994-2002
        8 – 147, Jeff Juden, 1991-99
        9,10 – 191, Kevin Jarvis, 1994-2006
        11,12 – 597, Mike Morgan, 1978-2002
        13 – 752, Octavio Dotel, 1999-2012

        4 – 22 Chris Tremie, 1995-2004
        5 – 26, Gustavo Molina, 2007-11
        6 – 134, Darrell Johnson, 1952-62
        7 – 145, Marcus Jensen, 1996-2002
        8 – 253, Orlando Mercado, 1982-90
        9 – 427, Sal Fasano, 1996-2008
        10,11 – 789, Paul Bako, 1998-2009

        Other positions
        4 – 35, Marlon Coughtry, 1960-62
        5 – 36, Hank Schreiber, 1914-26
        6 – 174, Jorge Velandia, 1997-2008
        7,8 – 278, Jason Smith, 2001-09
        9 – 476, Trent Hubbard, 1994-2003
        10 – 1059, Russell Branyan, 1999-2011
        11,12 – 1895, Matt Stairs, 1992-2011

        The single season record may belong to Joey Bats who, by the end of July in his 2004 rookie season, had played 42 games for four different teams.

        • 151
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          Leitner, who was deaf, may have gotten his chance because Dummy Taylor, another deaf player, made his debut in 1900 and was successful enough to play nine seasons in the majors. During 1901, the 1901 New York Giants had three deaf pitchers: Taylor, Leitner, and Dummy Deegan

        • 152
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          Sauveur was actually signed with NINE different franchises.
          He played those six seasons over the course of FOURTEEN years.

          And he played in the minors for EIGHTTEEN consecutive years, from ages 19-36,
          with a 2.91 era in 611 games.

          • 153
            Voomo Zanzibar says:


            2003-2004 Pitching coach Beloit Snappers
            2005-2007 Pitching coach Huntsville Stars
            2008-2012 Pitching coach Pawtucket Red Sox
            2012- Pitching coach Aguilas Cibaeñas Dominican League

    • 140
      Doug says:

      I found a pitcher named William Thomas. Pitched 5995 innings in 24 minor league seasons from 1926 to 1952, with a record of 383-347. Top year was 1946, at age 41, when he threw 371 innings and went 35-9. He then missed most of the next three seasons (wonder why?) but came back to pitch 279 innings in 1950, posting a 26-12 mark at age 45.

      Thomas pitched at the A, A1 or AA level from 1928 to 1946 but never played a ML game.

      Don’t know if the information is accurate, but B-R shows Thomas as still living at age 108.

      • 141
        Richard Chester says:

        The PI shows 15 ML players, who played prior to 1937, without a date of death. I’m pretty sure that’s because BR has no official record of their deaths, and it’s probably the case for Thomas.

        • 145
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          Yeah, that looks like it’s just a “default listing” on B-R, for players for whom there is no official listing of the date of death.

          I rememember browsing through an old Baseball Encyclopedia from 1973, and seeing hundreds of players with no dates of death, or birth, or frequently any other info besides the player’s name.

          Baseball research has sure come a long way. I recall reading that for decades, no one knew HOFer George Davis’ date or place of death, until Hall of Fame historian Lee Allen discovered it.

      • 156
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        That is truly impressive.
        It looks like the closest he got to the show was the 1931 Indianapolis Indians – most of the roster had ML service time, most notably Bananas Bonura:

  68. 119
    Jeff Hill says:

    Schilling, Mussina, Smoltz

  69. 121
    Arsen says:

    Schilling, Alomar, Larkin

  70. 124
    fireworks says:

    Ketchup Sock, Moose, and Gar.

    Only choosing guys for whom I have decent nicknames for my first vote.

  71. 125
    koma says:

    Craig Biggio, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling

  72. 127
    mosc says:

    Schilling, Larkin, NOT Walker (that’s like double voting for Schilling I know).

    And I’m voting for Donnie Baseball. He was just such a joy to watch. It would hurt me to not vote for him.

  73. 129
    brp says:

    Eight players between 16 & 29 votes right now. Wow. I mean we knew this ballot would be interesting, but boy oh boy.

    • 130
      Ed says:

      Brp – Wait till ’59! I think that one will be even more interesting. 1960 will be Ripken’s year with Gwynn being heldover. And ’59 brings Raines and Sandberg onto the ballot. So that ballot will likely have:

      Schilling or Mussina
      Maybe Edgar Martinez

      So that’s 10-11 solid candidates.

  74. 131
    Ed says:

    Okay, let’s do this! My plan is to vote for one of the pitchers, one of the position players and give one shout out vote.

    1) Pitcher – Mussina over Schilling; It’s close but I’ve got to go with Moose.

    2) Position player – I’ve already documented my anti-Walker sentiments so I’m not going to rehash that again. Larkin has the most WAR of the middle infielder candidates but he was hurt a lot and I prefer guys that stay in the lineup. So Biggio vs. Alomar. As much as I like Robbie, his career faded out too soon for my tastes. So Biggio it is.

    3) Shout out vote: John Kruk. Thanks to Voomo for reminding me that Kruk overcame testicular cancer, something I am also a survivor of. Beyond that Kruk just seems like a heck of a fun guy. This article has a nice list of quotes and anecdotes:

    And who can forget his unforgettable at-bat against Randy Johnson in the All-Star game:

    • 137
      T-Bone says:

      A friend of mine went to school with Kruk and I’ve always liked him, and he does have a 134 OPS+, though just 23 WAR.

      I struggle with my memories of these players Vs. the actual stats. I remember L. Walker always playing valuable and exciting baseball, but I just never saw him as a HOF’er.

      The Braves trio of starters seemed so formidable but with the exception of Maddux, I always though Mussina was better than Glavine and Smoltz.

      Larkin was so steady but he never seemed to be great, just good all the time.

      So after struggling with those and other memories and my reluctance to change my impressions, I will vote for:

      Biggio, Mussina (This would be easier if he had continued to pitch), and Larkin.

  75. 132
    Hartvig says:

    1) Larkin- I think where he ranks relative to other players at his position- including pitchers- Larkin ranks the highest.

    2) Mussina- I think Shilling belongs as well but I’m going with Mussina first

    3) Glavine- this is my only “strategic” vote and it could have gone any number of ways. How do you deal with Martinez? How many pitchers will there be? 30? 35? And for that matter who many second basemen? Are we thinking about Walker’s Coors Field numbers in the right way?

    This ain’t getting any easier, folks.

    But it sure is fun

    • 133
      Hartvig says:

      With a belated acknowledgement of Donny Ballgame, the Krukster and Rafael Belliard for somehow managing to play for 17 years while not being a much better hitter than even I would have been.

      And if I could pick any 3 people in all of history to go out for dinner & a few beers with- from Winston Churchill to Confucius to Marilyn Monroe or who have you- if I was going to pick someone with a baseball connection Kruk would get some serious consideration if you were looking for someone to inject a little humor into the evening.

  76. 136
    Luis Gomez says:

    Roberto Alomar, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez. If a 1-inning pitcher goes to the HOF, then a DH goes too.

  77. 139
    Rocco says:

    Walker, Mussina, Glavine

  78. 144
    Slash says:

    Mussina, Walker, and Larkin

  79. 147
    birtelcom says:

    On the six most recent ballots cast, Mike Mussina appeared on five, Curt Schilling on none — Moose moseys into the lead by a single vote.

  80. 149
    Richard Chester says:

    Reply to #12:
    J.R. Lebert: I am one of those Yankee fans who found a way, or at least tried to find one. To help with my judgment of Mattingly I referred to my favorite sabermetric, OPS+. His OPS+ was 127, nothing that would knock you off your chair but still better than more than half of the position players already in the HOF, including the likes of Bench, Hartnett, Berra, Cuyler, Gehringer, Puckett and George Sisler. From 1984 through 1989 Mattingly was second in OPS+, first in SLG, 2B, and RBI, second in OPS and Rbat and third in BA and H. He had one MVP and finished in the top ten 4 times. Impressive stats.
    There is a parallel between Mattingly and Sisler in that they both suffered debilitating medical problems in the middle of their careers. In his first 8 seasons Mattingly had an OPS+ of 144 but fell to 105 in the 6 seasons subsequent to his back injury. Sisler had an OPS+ of 155 for his first 8 seasons but fell to just 97 for the 7 seasons subsequent to his sinus/eye problems.
    I’m voting for Mattingly, Martinez and Walker.

  81. 157
    e pluribus munu says:

    Smoltz, Schilling, Biggio for me this round.

  82. 158
    Mike L says:

    There is a report on both SI and ESPN that links Ryan Braun to the same clinic that caught up A-Rod, Gio Gonzales, Nelson Cruz, etc. It is not causing me to rethink my vote in this round, but to the extent there are more alleged users coming up, perhaps we see some return in one of Birtelcom’s recovery lists, maybe I should re-examine a purist approach.

    • 161
      PP says:

      Yep, he acknowledged a “business” relationship in the course of his appeal last year, but he’s not listed to any specific PEDs.

    • 168
      MikeD says:

      I’m not quite sure I understand. What would Braun’s potential use of PEDs have to do with voting in this round, or the return of other players in recovery rounds?

      • 169
        PP says:

        The issue does seem ever-present in these rounds. Though we may be coming to the end of it. Post 1968 years would bring it back in a big way, of course.

    • 171
      Mike L says:

      General comment of why it’s relevant to me. I felt that if you used PEDS after MLB came to a “hard stop”, which would be after the fake “concern but we really aren’t watching and it puts fannies in seats” that was a deal breaker for me. So I didn’t vote for either Bonds or Clemens in their rounds. I saw it as a higher level of cheating. My opinion only, and not shared by a majority of HHS voters. But with this latest round of disclosures I have to re-examine the logic of that. I don’t know what Braun did or didn’t do, and I’m not accusing him of anything (btw it’s interesting that his attorneys brought in an “expert”) . The broader point is that PED use still seems to be there, and among some of the best players. So, maybe it’s unreasonable to expect people to be clean, and maybe I need to judge the users by some sort of modified standard. Let’s say, for example, someone used a loaded bat that gave him ten more feet on fly balls. He goes out and hits 50 HR’s. Not every one dunked into the front few rows of the bleachers. So, if we all believe in the centrality of stats in determine worth, then perhaps the most rational way of dealing with this is to give the users a haircuts on their stats. Take 15% off of Bonds’ numbers and he’s still a Hall of Famer, same thing with Clemens. Of course, those two are way above the rest. When you start to head into the second tier of higher performing users, then it gets to be a closer call and more likely a no. I’m not making a case for anything right now, just thinking out loud.

      • 193
        GrandyMan says:

        I couldn’t agree more, and that seems to be the general consensus here – most of us voted for Bonds and Clemens (I did), while very few us voted for Sosa, McGwire, et al. You can even subtract about one-third of Bonds’ and Clemens’ career value, as I did, and those two are still “inner circle” Hall of Famers. None of the others would even have 50 WAR by this measure, if I’m not mistaken. For rare talents like Bonds and Clemens, you can’t throw out their entire careers because they clearly would’ve been HOFers had they never picked up a syringe, but some of their more otherworldly accomplishments must be discounted, and this trickles down to the borderline candidates.

  83. 170
    PP says:

    Almost can’t believe my eyes this morn. Moose has overtaken The Shill. Lovely news, at least for now.

  84. 174
    Fuzzy Thurston says:

    Walker, Mussina, Larkin

  85. 177
    Hub Kid says:

    Curt Schilling, Roberto Alomar, Jimmy Key

  86. 178
    RobMer says:

    Biggio, Mussina, Martinez.

    I see a discussion on Mattingly above, but no love for Galarraga? 🙂

    • 181
      Lawrence Azrin says:

      I think Gararraga is about as good as a player can be, without being a reasonable HOF candidate. I’d compare him to Steve Finley on this year’s ballot, or Tim Salmon on last year’s – almost everyone agrees that they had excellent careers, but they are not …quite … worth considering seriously.

      Sorry, but we gotta draw a line _somewhere_, and he falls just below it.

    • 194
      birtelcom says:

      El Gato’s 1988 season is still the best WAR season by a Expo/Nat franchise first baseman. Ten years later, in his 1998 season, he put up the best WAR season by a Braves first baseman over the past 40 years.

      Jeff Bagwell and Cap Anson are the only right-handed hitting first basemen in MLB history to play more games at first base than Galarraga, and Anson only gets past Andres if you include Anson’s ancient games from the early 1870s, before the formation of the NL.

      • 201
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        Albert Pujols (1455 G) will pass Galaragga (2106) for games played at first by a RH-hitting first baseman in about five years, unless he starts DHing a lot (he DHed 34 G last year).

        I think that Galaragga’s high rankng in this category is more a statistic fluke than anything else – a combination of the DH since 1973, and first basemen rarely playing their entire career at first base (Harmon Killebrew, Tony Perez, etc…).

        • 205
          birtelcom says:

          Certainly, righties tend not to play their entire careers at first base. Lefties have fewer options in terms of defensive position so will more often be at first their whole careers.

          • 209
            Lawrence Azrin says:

            Wow – great point!, I hadn’t thought of that.

            But – if, say, Frank Thomas’s career started in 1950 instead of 1990, he’d play his entire career at first (no DH), and surpass Galaragga’s “career games played at first” total for RH hitters.

    • 199
      Brooklyn MIck says:

      Wow! Just took a peak at Galarraga and noticed he has a career WAR of 28.3 and a career WAA of only 3.6.

      Hall of Stats has him at 13% peak and 87% longevity.

      • 203
        Ed says:

        The best comp for Galarraga would seem to be Paul Konerko. Both first baseman with similar career lengths and counting numbers but low WAR (relative to their counting stats).

        • 210
          Lawrence Azrin says:


          Yes, Konerko would also fit into my description of Galaragga as “excellent career, but not … quite… worthy of serious HOF consideration” (unless Konerko keeps cranking out really good years till he’s 40 or beyond).

  87. 179
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    #176/John Z –

    Yes, you are correct in that it _is_ your opinion, just as valid as anyone else’s. But, you referenced B-R’s “MLB EloRater”, and that Curt Schilling is rated way way down as the #116 MLB pitcher. Well, I’m not sure what list you are using, because I see Schilling listed at #51 right now.

    Also, while the ELoRater is supposed to work on the “wisdom of the crowds” principle as the aggregator of informed opinion, it is still subject to people’s emotional prejudices; i.e., Schilling is disliked by many baseball fans because likes to express his opinion on a variety of topics (i.e, “he’s got a big mouth” ha ha). So, the EloRator is not “The Bible” of player rankings, probably somewhat less so than WAR, which at least attempts to remove as much subjectivity as possible.

    Let me state this for the umteenth time:
    WAR _is not_ the “final word”in player rankings,it’s just a starting point, with many other factors to be considered (peak vs. career for starters).

    • 180
      Ed says:

      Lawrence: Schilling’s Player Page shows him ranked #116 on EloRater. Not sure why it’s different than this page (the one you were looking at).

      • 183
        Lawrence Azrin says:


        Thanks for pointing that out. I just noticed that Juan Marichal is #126 on his player page (way way too low…), but #40 on the all-time rating (about right). OTOH, Feller is #32 on his player page (a bit low, but kinda reasonable…),but #55 on the all-time rating (definitely too low).

        Wow, that’s really strange – so which one is the “correct” EloRater number? Sean Forman, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!

      • 185
        Hartvig says:

        Just a thought but could the rating on the players page be for ALL players and not just pitchers?

        • 187
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          Feller’s rating on his player page is HIGHER (better) than for all pitchers (the opposite of Schilling and Marichal), so that kind of contradicts your theory.

          Thanks for trying to sort this out.

  88. 184
    Lineman says:

    Mussina, Glavine, Walker

  89. 186
    BryanM says:

    Schilling. Walker. Larkin. Moose also deserving But only 3. Does anybody know if the position adjustments for defensive WAR vary over time or by park? I mean it stands to reason that it is easier to find a ” replacement ” corner outfielder some years than others, and that LF in Fenway is easier to play than LF in Oakland? Relevant here because. Walker ,who was Ok to good defensively, gets a negative position adjustment, and, like the Donnie Baseball partisans earlier in the thread, I’m wondering if I should have confidence in the number . I get that 9 players are easier to find than guys who can handle position #6 , but how much easier.?

    • 189
      Insert Name Here says:

      The race just gets tighter with each vote; it’s going to be a photo finish!

      However, this is going to make strategic voting very interesting, since strategic voters (like myself) have to make our changes by 48 hours before voting closes. Hmmm…

      • 190
        birtelcom says:

        This is probably a good spot to remind voters that this round the deadline for changing votes is Friday night at 11PM and the deadline for initial votes is Sunday night at 11PM.

        • 191
          Mike L says:

          Birtelcom, when this is over, I’d really like to see some of the cross-tabs on the voting. This is the most interesting of the ballots by far.

          • 195
            birtelcom says:

            Cross-tabs? You mean like men vs. women, Dems vs. Republicans, gun-owners vs vegetarians? I don’t really do any exit polling.

          • 196
            MikeD says:

            Gun owners vs. vegetarians? What makes you think they can’t be the same? I kid, but it reminds me of a woman friend I’ve known for years. She’s a vegetarian as I knew from a number of dinners we had together, so I was surprised once when she mentioned she was a licensed gun owner. It didn’t quite register on me for about five minutes, but once it did I back tracked. Her response was direct. She had it for protection, but she promised not to eat the person she shot.

            None of this has anything to do with baseball. It’s just a beware and reminder: Don’t judge a book, or vegetarian, by its cover or plate!

          • 198
            Mike L says:

            Birtelcom and Mike D, excellent responses on the cross-tabs issue. Now that I think of it, this could open the door to a whole new line of inquiry. Carnivorous NRA Member Mass Democrats who worship Schilling and won’t vote for Mussina? Fix!!!!
            Seriously, I was interested in groupings/trends. Two obvious fault lines are votes for position players vs pitchers, and Bonds/Clemens voters vs those less tolerant of juicers.

          • 200
            John Autin says:

            MikeD @196 — I know a vegetarian who might use a gun to protect the animals from the humans … and that’s why she won’t let herself have a gun.

          • 207
            birtelcom says:

            One thing I notice is that although there seemed to be an assumption coming into this round that Curt Schilling was the favorite, in the five past rounds in which both Mussina and Curt have been on the ballot, Mussina has appeared on average on 34.5% of ballots cast and Schilling on 29.8%. That’s not necessarily predictive, because there are lots of strategic reasons for particular ballot slections besides head-to-head preference, but it does reflect that Mussina has had some very serious support here.

  90. 202
    Paulie says:

    Mussina, Walker, Mattingly

    • 204

      I’m gonna guess you haven’t forgiven Schilling for showing up your favorite team a couple times.

      • 213
        Paulie says:

        True that he pitched well against the Yanks in the 2001 and 2004 postseason, but that’s cool with me. I just don’t like the guy — he irritates me. That aside, I think he and Moose are close enough that I can take him over Schilling. I think Walker belongs, and Donnie is a sentimental vote for me. He was my favorite player in the 80’s, and his 4-year peak was a pretty nice one.

  91. 208

    As retribution (sort of) for comment #204, I vote for Mussina, Walker and my favorite member of the 1986 Red Sox, Spike Owen. 🙂

  92. 211
    serpentinepad says:

    Alomar, Schilling, Walker

  93. 212
    RBI Man says:

    Mattingly, Walker, Glavine

  94. 216
    ProfessorLarry says:


  95. 217
    Alex Putterman says:

    Mussina, Glavine, Schilling

  96. 219
    JamesS says:

    Biggio, Larkin, Alomar.

    We need some middle infielders.

  97. 220
    Old Yeller says:

    The straight Yankee ticket – Moose, Donnie Baseball, and Jimmy Key.

  98. 222
    Insert Name Here says:

    Hey birtelcom:

    My vote change hasn’t been inserted, apparently, seeing as all votes since then have been inserted. See comment #215 in response to my original vote: I’m dropping my vote for Walker for Martínez.

    • 224
      birtelcom says:

      Got it, INH, thanks. Just a suggestion going forward: I’m less likely to miss a later vote change to an early vote in these long comment chains if you put the vote change in as a new comment rather than as a reply to your old vote.

  99. 228
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    I’m surprised that Mussina has so many more votes than Glavine.
    There are clearly more Yankee than Brave fans here at HHS, but I’m still surprised.

    Look at these similarities, though…
    Between ages 23-39 (Mussina’s first full year through the end of his career):

    55 CG
    23 shutouts

    Glavine, same ages:

    54 CG
    24 shutouts

    • 232
      Brooklyn Mick says:

      During the same age 23-39 years:

      Mussina – 76.0 WAR, 47.5 WAA, FIP 3.58 (43rd in MLB including relievers), SO/BB 3.61

      Glavine – 65.0 WAR, 40.0 WAA, FIP 3.84 (135th in MLB including relievers), SO/BB 1.81

      And by excluding their age 22 seasons you exclude Glavine going 7-17 with a 4.56 ERA and ERA+ of 80, while Mussina, as an August call-up, went 4-5 with a 2.87 ERA and 139 ERA+.

      • 234
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        Well, I’m not ignoring Glavine’s 7-17 season.
        I’m suggesting a mulligan, for the purpose of illustrating just how similar their ‘traditional” numbers were at the same ages in full seasons.

        And a mulligan because the ’88 Braves were one of the worst teams of all-time, at 54-106.
        Glavine’s 80 era+ was better than that of his closer (Sutter, 78+).

        In ’88 it was still standard to let a young pitcher ‘figure it out’ at the major league level, particularly if your team was not a contender. Glavine wasn’t ready at 22, Mussina was.

        And on the other end of the story, Glavine hung around long enough to look ordinary and break hearts (Mets fans’), while Moose’s final game was six shutout innings at Fenway to win his 20th.

        If Mussina has chosen to hang around for three more years to get to 300, his numbers and reputation might be more in line with Glavine’s.

        • 236
          birtelcom says:

          Even if one compares apples to age 23-39 years head-to-head, Mussina was still pitching in what was probably a tougher league and with less support from his fielders.

          In Glavine’s defense, on the other hand, the difference between his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) ERA and his actual ERA is not necessarily all attributable to the quality of his fielders.

          Fangraphs breaks downs the reductions in Wins Above Replacement it makes for pitchers based on FIP into two categories: reductions based on the quality of the fielding behind the pitcher and reductions based on the pitcher’s ability to prevent runs from scoring despite giving up walks and (non-home run) hits that would suggest more runs should have scored. The latter category will often be based on just good luck, but over a long career, a pitcher’s consistent ability to allow fewer runs that might normally be expected based on the walks and ball-in-play-hits he gives up suggests there really are some subtle pitcher skills at work: keeping runners close to their base, pitching especially well from the stretch, husbanding energy for at bats with runners on base, etc.. Based purely on the runs each surrendered, and ignoring FIP entirely, Fangraphs would give Glavine 88 WAR for his age 23-39 seasons, but then docks him 10 WAR for the above-average fielders behind him and 15 more WAR based on the other stuff not explained by the quality of his fielders — the stuff related to stranding runners on base via luck or skill. So using its full FIP adjustment, Fangraphs gives Glavine a final WAR for his age 23-39 seasons of 63.

          Mussina in contrast, starts with a raw WAR of 86 WAR (two fewer than Glavine) but then docks him only two WAR based on the quality of his fielders and makes essentially no adjustment based on the other FIP stuff, the “stranding runners” stuff. So Mussina ends up with a final, FIP-adjusted WAR from Fangraphs of 84, much higher than Glavine’s 63. Is that final 84 to 63 gap entirely fair to Glavine? I’m not sure it is. Yes, Tom had some fine defensive support behind him, but Fangraphs’ own number suggest that more than half that gap may be the result of some real skill advantages that Glavine had over Mussina at keeping runners from scoring.

          • 243
            GrandyMan says:

            Since I am skeptical of defensive statistics as they currently are, I am also skeptical of things like FIP that attempt to completely remove defense from the equation; I believe that attempting to subtract defensive performance out of a pitcher’s statistics can produce the same unreliable and inconsistent results seen with today’s defensive metrics.

            Also, 50-90 percent (depending on era) of plate appearances do not end in one of the Three True Outcomes, and I think it is silly to ignore “situational pitching” skills, like inducing ground-ball outs in double-play situations or not giving up fly balls with RISP.

            I had no idea that Glavine was getting so badly “screwed” by these defensive adjustments. I will take this into consideration in future rounds.

          • 245
            bstar says:

            Since a good deal of Glavine’s success is left unexplained by FIP-WAR, I like to use Fangraphs’ RA9-WAR because it captures all aspects of pitching, not just the DIPS-related one.

            Glavine RA9-fWAR: 94.7
            Mussina RA9-fWAR: 88.3

        • 237
          Brooklyn Mick says:

          On another note, Mike Mussina and Sandy Koufax are the only pitchers since 1920 to win 20 in their final seasons.

          Lefty Williams and Eddie Cicotte each won 20 in 1920 in what were their final years, and of course there’s the curious case of Henry Schmidt, who won 23 in his first and only season with the 1903 Brooklyn Superbas.

          Charlie Ferguson, Toad Ramsey, and Hank O’Day all accomplished the feat in the 19th century.

      • 235
        birtelcom says:


    • 233
      birtelcom says:

      Good question. Possible reasons Mussina ranks higher than Glavine:
      –played in the stronger league
      –played with less strong fielders behind him

      Mussina’s career Fielding Independent Pitching ERA (per Fangraphs)was 3.57 compared to Glavine’s 3.95.

      • 238
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        RA9DEF, ages 23-39



        As a Brave, Glavine’s was:

        As a Yankee, Moose got:

        • 239
          bstar says:

          All that means is that Glavine gets dinged in his WAR computation and Mussina gets a boost in his. RA9defense is subtracted from RA9avg, which is the standard against which the pitcher’s own RA9 is judged. So that actually favors Mussina, not the other way around.

          If you want to say the defense helped Glavine win more games, OK. But the run support Mike Mussina got from the Yankees was far more influential in him winning games than the Braves’ defense was in helping Glavine.

  100. 229
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Mussina, Martinez, Alomar

  101. 230
    Daniel Longmire says:

    I’m sounding like a broken record here, but: Alomar, Biggio, and to complicate the pitcher situation even further, Glavine.

  102. 231
    Gootch7 says:

    My alliterative ballot goes like this: Moose (squeaking into the CoG?), Mattingly (my boyhood hero), and Melvin (one of only six men to win Manager of the Year in both leagues. In pretty good company with Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, Lou Piniella, Davey Johnson and Jim Leyland!).

  103. 240
    Dr. Doom says:

    So, I very much lost track of this discussion. But I wanted to chime in on something. I’m really surprised that it’s Mussina, rather than Schilling, getting the love. Mussina’s WAR is higher, sure – but just barely. Schilling’s WAA is better than Mussina’s by a margin greater than the one between their WAR. Anyway, in the thread about Rick Reuschel, I posted a really easy method for determining a pitcher’s “neutralized” record. When I did it for Mussina and Schilling, I learned two things:

    1) Mussina got WAAAAAAAAAAY more decisions than would normally be expected – he had 423, when the expected number (based on IP/9) would be 395.9.

    2) Their neutralized W-L records are about as close as their WAR.

    Mussina – 238.3-157.5
    Schilling – 223.6-138.7

    Busting out the good ol’ Fibonacci Wins from Bill James (that’s Wins*WinningPercentage+WinsMinusLosses for those who don’t know), you get:

    Mussina: 224.3
    Schilling: 223.1

    That’s SERIOUSLY close. I’m not sure that there’s much to separate them. But I’d say that Schilling’s big seasons were bigger (WAR and WAA agree), his SO:BB ratio is the best in history, which is something neat to hang your hat on, AND he was the more outstanding postseason pitcher. Sure, he’s more of a jerk; but I’m surprised to see Mussina take it over him as the top vote-getter this round.

  104. 241
    Matt Taylor says:

    Mussina, Smoltz, Biggio

  105. 242
    Jawes says:

    Mattingly, Glavine, Mussina

  106. 244
    RJ says:

    It looks like Mussina has this wrapped up then, but I’ll still try to do my bit to make it close:

    Schilling, Larkin, Alomar.

  107. 246
    Bells says:

    I usually don’t vote until the last day of these things, more because I try to give myself time to read about all of the players from a given year more than anything else, but this week I’ve been too busy to really keep up. So it seems settled, if I had a choice between Schilling and Mussina I’d take Moose, but I’ll vote for the 3 best players on the ballot in my mind:


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