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.

Holdovers:
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

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246 Comments on "Circle of Greats 1961 Ballot"

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Jeff Harris
Guest

Walker
Smoltz
Schilling

Baltimorechop
Guest

Lark, Schilling, moose

John
Guest

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’

John
Guest

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

John Z
Guest
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… Read more »
David Horwich
Guest
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… Read more »
John Z
Guest
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… Read more »
Ed
Guest

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.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
#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… Read more »
John Z
Guest
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… Read more »
Artie Z.
Guest
@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,… Read more »
birtelcom
Guest
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… Read more »
John Z
Guest
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… Read more »
bstar
Guest

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.

John Z
Guest
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… Read more »
latefortheparty
Guest

Larry Walker
Curt Schilling
Mike Mussina

Insert Name Here
Guest
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… Read more »
Insert Name Here
Guest
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… Read more »
RonG
Guest

Biggio Schilling Smoltz

Dr. Remulak
Guest

Mattingly, Biggio, Schilling.

Mike HBC
Guest

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:

Smoltz
Glavine
Larkin

Mike HBC
Guest

…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.

J.R. Lebert
Guest

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.

Tim Pea
Guest

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

Hartvig
Guest

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.

Dr. Doom
Guest

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…

Ed
Guest

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.

Dr. Doom
Guest
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.… Read more »
Ed
Guest
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. http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/war_updated_on_baseball_reference/ 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… Read more »
Ed
Guest

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.

Tangotiger
Guest

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.

Dr. Doom
Guest

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.

John Autin
Editor

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!

Tangotiger
Guest

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

http://tangotiger.net/re24.html

Richard Chester
Guest

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

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

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

Phil
Guest

Alomar, Glavine, Schilling.

Chris
Guest

Smoltz, Biggio, Walker

ATarwerdi96
Guest

Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina

David Horwich
Guest
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… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
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%… Read more »
Mike
Guest

Smoltz
Glavine
Biggio

Mo
Guest

schilling walker biggio

oneblankspace
Guest

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.

Artie Z.
Guest

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

Nash Bruce
Guest

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……

David Horwich
Guest

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?

GrandyMan
Guest
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”… Read more »
GrandyMan
Guest

For those of you who were wondering:

Schilling 76.9 70.2 147.1
Mussina 78.1 62.6 140.7

Walker is actually closer to Mussina than I originally expected.

Nick Pain
Guest

Mussina, Walker, Larkin.

Mike L
Guest

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.

Scott Horsfield
Guest

Larry Walker
Edgar Martinez
Craig Biggio

Atlcrackersfan
Guest

Glavine
Smoltz
R. Alomar

Brooklyn Mick
Guest

Mussina, Walker, Larkin

Abbott
Guest

Glavine, Biggio, Larkin

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

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

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

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

.189 .250 .239 .489

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Okay, one more:

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

.176 .233 .206 .439

(20 steals, 0 CS)

Hartvig
Guest

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.

oneblankspace
Guest

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.

Doug
Guest

Walker, Glavine, Mussina

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

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

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI199404110.shtml

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

Ed
Guest

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…

Insert Name Here
Guest

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.

Bill Johnson
Guest

Smoltz
Larkin
Alomar

Nadig
Guest

Glavine, Walker, Schilling.

Andy
Guest

Schilling Moose Glavine

MikeD
Guest

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

bstar
Guest

Wanna get my vote in before things are decided:

Schilling, Glavine, Mussina

qx
Guest

Larry Walker, Barry Larkin, Tom Glavine

Darien
Guest

Larkin, Schilling, Biggio

Robbs
Guest

schilling glavine biggio

Artie Z.
Guest

Larkin, Alomar, and Mussina

opal611
Guest

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):
–Mussina
-Smoltz
-Schilling
-Walker
-Glavine
-Larkin
(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.

elkboy3
Guest

Edgar Martinez
Schilling
Smoltz

Nash Bruce
Guest

Schilling and, yet again, Alomar and Larkin.

Nash Bruce
Guest

(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….)

Ed
Guest

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.

Brandon
Guest

Walker, Smoltz, Biggio

The Diamond King
Guest

Smoltz, Glavine, Alomar

--bill
Guest

Biggio, Glavine, Mussina

brp
Guest

Schilling, Biggio, Mussina.

Dave W
Guest

Glavine, Walker, Alomar

PP
Guest

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…

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

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

PP
Guest

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.

Bryan O'Connor
Editor
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… Read more »
Doug
Editor

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

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

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

– 10 times 130 or more games played,
but:
– 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
but:
– 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”.

PP
Guest

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.

Richard Chester
Guest

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.

PP
Guest

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

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