Hall of Fame Backlog: Have We Been Here Before?

It’s pretty obvious that there was a lot of talent at the top of the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.  With Kenny Lofton, and to a lesser extent, David Wells, failing to garner the five percent needed to see another ballot, it was one of the deeper ballots in recent memory as well.  The 2014 ballot drops those two, but adds Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and a handful of viable candidates for whom voters may struggle to find room in a year with so much talent on the bill.

The first Hall of Fame ballot, in 1936, was obviously top-heavy and deep as well, naming not only inductees Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Johnson, and Mathewson, but snubs like Cy Young, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, and the still-active Lou Gehrig.  The interceding years cycled through ballots with several obvious Hall of Famers and those on which Bruce Sutter looked like the best choice, as various Veterans Committees were tasked with clearing out ballot backlogs and did so to various degrees.

Ignoring the Hall’s first decade, when nothing resembling a standard for induction had been established and elections weren’t even held every year, two ballots stand out as having great depth of solid candidates.  In 1953, the writers had become so stingy that newcomer Joe DiMaggio had missed election the prior year and Hank Greenberg was stuck around 30 percent support.  Three of the great infielders of the era- Arky Vaughan, Luke Appling, and Bobby Doerr- joined the ballot for the first time in ’53, and due in part to the ten-player cap on writers’ ballots, none even managed one percent of the vote.  Forty-two men on the 1953 ballot are now in the Hall of Fame- 37 as players and five as managers.

By 1982, that backlog had been cleared and many other strong candidates had languished on interim ballots, either getting the eventual call from the writers, waiting for a Veterans Committee, or being dropped from consideration.  Future inductees Richie Ashburn and Nellie Fox were sticking around near the end of their fifteen years of eligibility. Sure things Juan Marichal and Harmon Killebrew had missed the call the year before, and probably felt a little nervous with surer things Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson up for discussion in ’82.

Was one or both of these ballots as strong as next year’s will be?  Let’s take a look at the 1953, 1982, and 2014 ballots player-by-player and try to answer that question.  Each grouping will include one player from each ballot, with his Hall Rating from Adam’s Hall of Stats in parenthesis.  This exercise will be far from scientific, but I find it interesting how naturally players on the three ballots match up.  Hat tip to Graham Womack for pointing out the strength of the ’53 and ’82 ballots in a Twitter conversation.

1953: Joe DiMaggio (167); 1982: Hank Aaron (298); 2014: Barry Bonds (366)

We’ll start with one of the best baseball players of all time on each ballot.  Military service kept DiMaggio’s career numbers in check, and creative chemistry inflated Bonds’s, but each of these guys was the probably the best player in the world in his prime.  Amazingly, only Aaron went into the Hall on his first ballot.  DiMaggio went in on his fourth try in ’55.  Bonds can only hope for a similar fate.

Edge: 2014

1953: Dizzy Dean (94); 1982: Juan Marichal (114); 2014: Roger Clemens (293)

Dean was all peak, only excelling for six years and change, but it was one of the greatest peaks the game had seen as of 1953.  Like the Hall of Stats, the BBWAA wanted more longevity than Dean achieved, not electing him until his ninth ballot, in ’53.  Marichal and Clemens both show up for a second try here despite unquestionable credentials, and Clemens, like Marichal, is likely to fall short again.

Edge: 2014

1953: Dazzy Vance (128); 1982: Jim Bunning (119); 2014: Greg Maddux (220)

Vance never won a Major League Baseball game until he was 31, but he enjoyed one of the great old-player careers of all time.  That didn’t impress many of the writers, who didn’t elect him until his 16th ballot, in 1955.  Bunning took a more traditional route, pitching from 23 to 39 and dominating from 25 to 35.  Bunning was on his sixth ballot in ’82, would peak at 74.2% of the vote in 1988, and would have to wait for the Veterans Committee to elect him in 1996.  Neither, of course, was Maddux, who put up dead ball ERAs in the dawn of the steroid era and is all but guaranteed first-ballot induction.

Edge: 2014

1953: Ted Lyons (123); 1982: Don Drysdale (114); 2014: Curt Schilling (172)

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m listing these players in descending order of the 2014 candidate’s Hall Rating, with matchups to ’53 and ’82 guys based on position and other similarities.  Here we have Lyons, who pitched into his forties and threw over 4,000 innings; Drysdale, who was done by 32 but won a Cy Young Award and three World Series games, and Schilling, who peaked in his mid thirties and may be the best postseason pitcher ever.  Lyons and Drysdale are in their eighth years on the ballot and stuck between 50 and 60 percent support, while Schilling would be lucky to get that many votes in his second year despite a better Hall case than either of his competitors here.

Edge: 2014

1953: Hank Greenberg (118); 1982: Frank Robinson (210); 2014: Jeff Bagwell (165)

If I took the fifth best player on each ballot, Bagwell would probably continue the clean sweep for 2014, but instead I’m looking at the second best hitter in each year, so Bagwell meets his match.  Greenberg (158 OPS+) was a better hitter than Robinson (154) or Bagwell (149), but lacked either’s speed, Bagwell’s defense, and Robinson’s longevity, as he missed more than four years to World War II. Robinson may not have been the best among this group at any one thing, but he was a superstar for 20 years, accumulating over 100 WAR, according to baseball-reference, and was the only first ballot Hall of Famer among the three.

Edge: 1982

1953: Red Faber (115); 1982: Lew Burdette (41); 2014: Mike Mussina (163)

Ok, we’re out of great pitchers on the 1982 ballot.  Faber only earned 3.4% of the votes in ’53 and was a Veterans Committee selection.  Burdette was on his tenth of fifteen ballots and never earned more than 25%.  Mussina is about to join the Circle of Greats, but will probably wait a few years for his Hall call.  Still, he’s head and shoulders above this group.

Edge: 2014

1953: Al Simmons (1930); 1982: Harmon Killebrew (111); 2014: Larry Walker (151)

Like Walker in Coors Field, Simmons put up some video game numbers courtesy of the Baker Bowl.  Killebrew was a classic power-and-patience guy, retiring with more homers (573) than anyone except Aaron, Ruth, and Mays.  Walker (141 OPS+) was Killebrew’s (143) equal with the bat, and could run (230 stolen bases) and play defense.  Simmons made the Hall in ’53, his ninth try, while Killebrew had to wait two more years for his fourth ballot in ’84.  After two years of very little support, Walker faces an uphill battle with the writers, which is a shame because:

Edge: 2014

1953: Eppa Rixey (99); 1982: Dave McNally (34); 2014: Tom Glavine (148)

I’m sur I’m not alone in having laughed at Rixey’s Hall plaque, which boasts of his 265-251 record, but he was a very good pitcher for a long time.  McNally, like Glavine, is famous for being part of one of the great rotations of all time (the early ’70s Orioles, in McNally’s case).  Neither was Tom Glavine.

Edge: 2014

1953: Bill Dickey (127): 1982: Thurman Munson (101); 2014: Mike Piazza (147)

If we didn’t have WAR and Hall Rating, I might take a deep dive into these three guys’ numbers, as they represent three of the great catchers in New York baseball history.  Dickey and Munson were both solid on both sides of the ball and won nine World Series between them, with Munson building Dickey-esque credentials at the time of his death at age 32.  Piazza’s defense was questionable, but he was quite simply the greatest hitting catcher in Major League history and WAR doesn’t knock him enough for his defense to make an argument out of this one.

Edge: 2014

1953: Arky Vaughan (151); 1982: Luis Aparicio (93); 2014: Alan Trammell (143)

Vaughan’s one vote placed him in a tie for 64th among candidates on the ’53 ballot.  His 151 Hall Rating places him second behind Joltin’ Joe.  Coincidentally, that’s also his rating among shortstops according to Bill James’s 1998 Historical Abstract.  Whether or not he was actually the second best shortstop ever, it’s criminal that Arky’s family had to wait until 1985 to see him inducted (he died in 1952).  Aparicio comes with much more acclaim than Vaughan, and sailed into this Hall on his sixth try in 1984, but he lacks the numbers to back up his case.  Trammell’s solid bat and great glove nearly made him Vaughan’s equal, but like Vaughan, it looks like he’ll waste away on the writers’ ballot for the full fifteen years.

Edge: 1953

1953: Bill Terry (107); 1982: Billy Williams (110); 2014: Frank Thomas (139)

Three great hitters, but the only one who’s an obvious Hall of Famer is the one who may get rejected due to the depth on next year’s ballot.

Edge: 2014

1953: Luke Appling (145); 1982: Tony Oliva (82); 2014: Edgar Martinez (134)

These guys get no respect.  Appling got two votes in 1953 and only got elected in 1964 because of a change in the rules.  No candidate on the ’64 ballot earned 75% of the vote, but the writers were voting every other year at the time and were required to induct someone, so a runoff election was held with the top 30 vote-getters up for consideration.  Appling was named on 94% of the second ballots and miraculously earned the writers’ approval despite having been a shortstop.  Oliva was up for the first time in ’82 and earned just 15.2%.  He’d peak at 47% and drop off the ballot after 15 years.  Edgar is stuck under 40% after four tries.

I’ve given the edge to the player with the highest Hall Rating in each case so far.  I’m tempted to change that here on the grounds that Martinez would likely have accumulated more value had he not played in an age in which the DH position was a viable option.  He was an average defensive third baseman in the early ’90s and would have stuck there had the pitcher batted in the AL at that time.  Alas, even as his offensive numbers shot through the roof in the mid-to-late ’90s (seven straight years of an OPS+ above 150), his WAR numbers stagnated (never topping 6.7 during that stretch) due to the positional adjustment.  In contrast, Appling was half the hitter (113 OPS+) and a decent defensive shortstop and third baseman who rode the positional adjustment to similar WAR (peaking at 7.0), accumulating more over his career because  he was in the league at 23, while Edgar never batted 200 times until age 27.  Reluctantly:

Edge: 1953

1953: Max Carey (95); 1982: Richie Ashburn (118); 2014: Tim Raines (129)

Speedy Hall of Famer, speedy Hall of Famer, speedy future Hall of Famer.

Edge: 2014

1953: Joe Cronin (125); 1982: Nellie Fox (89); 2014: Craig Biggio (128)

Biggio (68.2%) earned far more support in his second year on the ballot than future Hall of Famers Cronin (26.1%) and Fox (30.6%) received on their seventh and twelfth ballots, respectively.  This may be a case where the modern player is given extra credit for reaching a milestone (3,000 hits), but Biggio edges out Cronin and beats Fox handily in career value and in respect from the writers.

Edge: 2014

1953: Hack Wilson (76); 1982: Gil Hodges (74); 2014: Mark McGwire (124)

Three guys who probably get more credit than they’re due because of home runs and runs batted in.  Only Wilson is in the Hall of Fame.  Only McGwire should be.

Edge: 2014

1953: Zack Wheat (107); 1982: Vada Pinson (90); 2014: Rafael Palmeiro (123)

Say what you will about how Palmeiro put up his numbers.  They outpace those of a Hall of Famer and a guy who might get in through the Veterans Committee before Raffy will.

Edge: 2014

1953: Kiki Cuyler (87); 1982: Orlando Cepeda (82); 2014: Sammy Sosa (116)

In his sixth year on the ballot in ’53, Cuyler got 6.8% of the vote.  In his third year, Cepeda got 10.1%.  In his first year, Sosa got 12.5%.  Cuyler and Cepeda are both in the Hall of Fame.  What does that mean for Sosa’s future?  I have no idea.

Edge: 2014

1953: Bobby Doerr (97); 1982: Red Schoendienst (65); 2014: Jeff Kent (106)

Two second basemen who fall short of Hall of Stats standards and never got much respect from the writers meet the guy with the most home runs ever by a second baseman.  Doerr and Schoendienst are in.  I’m interested to see if Kent gets enough support to see a second year on the ballot in this field.

Edge: 2014

1953: Jim Bottomley (60); 1982: Elston Howard (60); 2014: Fred McGriff (92)

I’m skipping Kenny Rogers here because 1982 is out of pitchers who got one percent of the vote and Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes has the exact same Hall Rating (93) as Rogers.  No edge awarded.  I’m not high on McGriff’s case, but he’s getting more support at this point in his post-career than an eventual Hall of Famer in Bottomley and a pretty good player in Howard.

Edge: 2014

1953: Ross Youngs (61); 1982: Rico Petrocelli (71); 2014: Luis Gonzalez (88)

Youngs had two good years in a ten-year career and is in the Hall of Fame.  Petrocelli had one great year, earned more career value than Youngs, and never got a second look from the writers (0.7% in his only year on the ballot).  Gonzalez had one great year and the best career of the three, and might not even get 0.7% in ’14.

Edge: 2014

1953: Tony Lazzeri (86); 1982: Roger Maris (73); 2014: Don Mattingly (77)

Three popular Yankees with short careers.  Lazzeri hit a little bit into his thirties and is in the Hall.  Maris fell off so fast that he couldn’t ride two MVPs and a 61-homer season to Cooperstown.  Mattingly will fall off the ballot in 2015 without ever coming close to induction.

Edge: 1953

1953: Red Ruffing (100); 1982: Don Larsen (26); 2013: Jack Morris (74)

Here are two players whose Hall cases are often compared to Morris’s.  Ruffing has the highest ERA (3.80) of any Hall of Fame pitcher, at least until Morris (3.90) gets in.  Larsen hangs his hat on one postseason moment, his perfect game, much like the case Morris built around his 10-inning Game Seven shutout in 1991.  Ruffing, who was also a postseason hero (7-2, 2.63 ERA in World Series games), is in the Hall of Fame thanks to a runoff election in ’67, and is clinging to a spot in the Hall of Stats.  Larsen is the answer to a once-simple trivia question that will stump more and more baseball fans in coming generations.  Whose path will Morris follow?

Edge: 1953

1953: Waite Hoyt (92); 1982: Hoyt Wilhelm (106); 2014: Lee Smith (62)

A starter who pitched more in relief than most great pitchers in his era, a reliever who threw more innings than any reliever does today, and the guy who owned the all-time saves record for over a decade.  The former two are in the Hall of Fame, while Smith looked like he was headed there until the ballot glut stalled his progress.  By the way, I skipped Edd Roush/Tommy Davis/Moises Alou because these are getting boring.  1953 would have won that round.

Edge: 1982

1953: Earle Combs (74); 1982: Bill Mazeroski (49); 2014: Ray Durham (54)

This seems like an appropriate place to stop, as it’s the last round with Hall of Famers on both the ’53 and ’82 ballots (though on the ’53 ballot, we haven’t talked about Hall of Famers Chief Bender, Rube Marquard, Jesse Haines, Lefty Gomez, Sam Rice, Rabbit Maranville, Dave Bancroft, Travis Jackson, or Ray Schalk, nor about Babe Adams, who’s in the Hall of Stats with a 110 Hall Rating).  Would you have guessed that Durham has a better Hall Rating than Mazeroski?  I wouldn’t advocate for Durham as a better candidate, since he has neither a strong case as the best defensive second baseman ever nor the happiest home run in World Series history, but there’s a lot of talent on next year’s ballot (and a lot of weak players in the Hall of Fame).

Edge: 1953

If I kept going, I would give fifteen more edges to the 1953 ballot (including Gabby Hartnett over Bill Freehan and Paul Lo Duca), as ’53 certainly the deepest in terms of having the most players who wouldn’t be utter embarrassments to the Hall of Fame.

So which is the strongest ballot?  At the top, it’s clearly 2014, with six players at or above a 163 Hall Rating and those six averaging a score of 230.  1982’s top six average 162 and all score 114 or higher, while 1953’s top six average just 141, but all score 127 or higher, and this group lost a lot of WAR to war.

As much as the voting rules have changed over time, the ten-player cap has remained in place (for better or worse). If a voter filled his ballot with the ten eligible players with the highest Hall Ratings, he would grab everyone through Alan Trammell (147) in 2014, leaving Thomas, Martinez, Raines, and Biggio off.  The same tactic in 1982 would tab everyone through Thurman Munson (101), with Aparicio and Freehan just outside.  1953’s cutoff would be Hank Greenberg at 118, with Faber, Adams, Terry, and Wheat on the outside.

The only real argument for the 1953 ballot is depth beyond the top ten candidates.  The 11th through 30th best Hall Ratings on the ’53 ballot average a 93 Hall Rating, including everyone through Earle Combs or Lefty Gomez (74).  2014’s 11th through 30th average a solid 89, but include one-and-dones like Armando Benitez and Esteban Loaiza (40).

The only argument for 1982 is that the voters made a reasonable choice, electing Aaron and Robinson, with Marichal getting in the next year and Killebrew, Aparicio, and Drysdale tabbed by the BBWAA in ’84. The writers in ’53 picked only Dean and Simmons, leaving the Veterans Committee to clear the backlog that would remain even after nine players from the ’53 ballot got in over the next three years.  As for 2014, we know Maddux will get in, but even Glavine and Thomas may have to wait a year, as at least one objective measure (Hall Rating) sees Glavine as the fifth best pitcher and Thomas as the eleventh best player up for election.

Despite all the eventual Hall of Famers on the 1953 ballot, it’s clear that the current glut is the most severe in the institution’s history.  Voters have disagreed for as long as there have been voters, but the steroid issue seems more polarizing, and more potentially damaging to the plaque room, than any past disagreement.  In time, Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame will find a way to clear the backlog, as they always have.  Let’s just hope the next Arky Vaughan or Ron Santo doesn’t die waiting for the call.

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64 Comments on "Hall of Fame Backlog: Have We Been Here Before?"

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PP
Guest

I have to read through this again before commenting in detail, but a fine, comprehensive piece for sure.

Richard Chester
Guest

Al Simmons never set foot into Baker Bowl. Perhaps you’re confusing him with Chuck Klein.

Richard Chester
Guest

And if you’re looking for a guy with a home field advantage look no further than Bobby Doerr. At home his tOPS+ is 125 vs. 75 on the road

bstar
Guest

You pointed that out to me once, and I still haven’t found a larger home/road OPS split since.

latefortheparty
Guest

Interesting comparison. Great to see Hall of Stats data.

Dr. Doom
Guest

… so the answer to the question which is the title of this post is, “no,” I take it?

RJ
Guest

My rule of thumb is that the answer to any headline that poses a question, be it in a newspaper or baseball blog, is always no.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
DISAGREE – Joe Posnanski wrote a geat article on this very subject, shortly after the 2013 HOF results were announced. He pointed out that a grand total of _two_ players were elected by the BBWAA between 1958 and 1964, both in 1962 (J. Robinson, Feller). The 1958 ballot contained 38 future HOFers, so the logjam was eventually resolved (somewhat). The different was, at least the Veteran’s Committee was making selections some years: 1958 – none 1959 – 1 1960 – none 1961 – 2 1962 – 2 1963- 4 1964 – 6 1965- 1 So at least there was _some_… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

“each of these guys [including Aaron] was the probably the best player in the world in his prime.”

Well, OK — but only ’cause Willie was on another planet. 🙂

Nevertheless, a very enjoyable piece, Bryan.

kds
Guest

Joe Dimmagio never lead the league in WAR. (He did lead in position player WAR 3 times.) Ted Williams lead the league in WAR 6 times. Walks are important.

Ed
Guest
I think it’s fair of Bryan to say that Dimaggio was “probably the best player in the world in his prime.” Dimaggio’s peak was ages 22-26 during which he accumulated 36.6 WAR. Mize was second with 33.3 and Feller third with 32.9. And I believe that only Dimaggio and Mize had 5+ WAR in all five of those seasons. So while he may not have matched Feller’s peak during those years he was more consistent. If I had to rank the “best player in the world” for 1937-1941, I’d go Dimaggio first, Feller second, and Mize third.
MikeD
Guest
So is defense. Yet Williams’ on-base skill were so excellent they were able to counter DiMaggio’s glove, at least depening on how much faith one puts in WAR, and WAR looking back. It’s interesting to wonder how the general public and media would view The Splinter, The Man and The Clipper if they all played today. Perhaps DiMaggio’s star burned brighter back in the 30s and 40s (or is that just our perception looking back on two now mythic figures?), but knowing how much OBP is valued today, I believe many if not most would place DiMaggio behind the other… Read more »
RJ
Guest

Great job of putting into perspective quite how unprecedented next year’s ballot is. I’m also with you on the complete arbitrariness of the ten-man ballot.

John Autin
Editor

Some things said in passing got my hackles up. IMHO, the early-’70s Orioles did not have an all-time great rotation; Billy Williams is an obvious Hall of Famer; and these unnamed people who’ve mentioned Don Larsen as a HOF candidate have no idea what the HOF actually is.

But I still loved the piece.

birtelcom
Editor
The glut as most of us see it does seem to be a function largely, though not entirely, of the PEDs issue. If the entire past use of PEDs had somehow remained entirely secret, and the writers were simply looking at the current candidates’ records on the field, Bagwell, Piazza, Bonds and Clemens would all likely be in now, and the glut would be much less of an issue. The problem is not so much the ten-man ballot as the fact that many of the BBWAA voters are approaching the question of who deserves to be inducted very differently than… Read more »
bstar
Guest

In fact, had the ten-man ballot been abolished this year, there’s evidence that it wouldn’t have made any difference. Not that many of the voters actually filled out ten names, but of the ones who did most of them voted for Craig Biggio (the top vote-getter) anyway. If all the voters who listed ten names but didn’t list Biggio were given an unlimited ballot and all of them DID list Biggio, he still wouldn’t have reached 75%.

Sorry, I cannot find the link to the article that proved this. It’s somewhere on the archived Book Blog.

bstar
Guest

Really good stuff, Bryan. Loved the format. Nice researching.

quibble: Joe DiMaggio may have been considered the best player on the planet, but Ted Williams absolutely dwarfs his numbers. That other guy, the one who played in St. Louis, he may have had something to say regarding this matter in Joe D’s era as well.

David Horwich
Guest

Good article, thanks.

A couple of minor quibbles –

1) It’s not really accurate to say Cy Young was “snubbed” in the 1936 election; rather, the writers weren’t sure whether to classify him as an old-timer or as one of the ‘moderns’, and votes for him ended up getting split between the main ballot and the Veteran’s Committee;

2) Hank Greenberg didn’t miss “more than four years” because of WWII, but rather a little more than 3 1/3 seasons (’42, ’43, ’44, and just under 40% of ’45).

Richard Chester
Guest

Greenberg also missed about 90% of the 1941 season because of military service. So in effect he missed slightly over 4 years.

David Horwich
Guest

D’oh! I saw his abbreviated stats for ’41, but forgot that was because of service, not injury. Thanks for the reminder.

Richard Chester
Guest

1936 was the year Greenberg lost to injury because Jake Powell “accidentally” ran into him and broke his wrist.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Ed Delahanty, Willie Keeler, and John McGraw also had substantial votes split between the modern/old-timer ballots. Even Honus Wagner got five votes from the Veteran’s Committee.

This was not a well-designed system; not just that problem, but in the future, the waiting period (the five-year waiting period doesn’t seem to be enforced till 1956; no formal ballot listing who is actually eligible; then, no minimum 5% required to force a more manageable ballot year-to-year.)

no statistician but
Guest
Am I the only one who sees a disturbing trend here, viz., that by recent statistical interpretation, recent players get higher ratings in almost every comparison? This perspective informs not just this post, but lurks beneath many others such as the Rick Reuschel one as well. It’s rather like saying that a man who died in 2010 at the age of 90 was obviously healthier than his father who died at 75 in 1980 who in turn was healthier than his father who died at 60 in 1940. The numbers are skewed forward with little attempt to delineate the different… Read more »
MikeD
Guest
Echoing what Bryan wrote, I’d add that if anything recent statistical interpretation levels the field so that very early players are not over represented. The game continues to improve on the margins. This not meant as a knock on old-time players. I have no problem believing Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb would be great players today, although they would be different because their skills and approach would need to adapt to the game now. BTW, the same would be said if you were to try and transport Bryce Harper years back. The catcher was closer to the plate, so a… Read more »
Doug
Guest

“The interceding years cycled through ballots … on which Bruce Sutter looked like the best choice, …”

I’m wondering at what point in the COG elections that we reach such years. Particularly if, as Birtelcom has implied (correct me if I’m wrong), we also have extra or special elections at interval to clear our COG backlog. Hopefully, with electing just one player per year and liberal rules for keeping unelected players on a ballot, we will avoid the fate of having to choose a player “who’s not like the other guys”.

birtelcom
Editor
The structure of the COG voting may at least theoretically make the election of a lesser candidate who happens to the best available more likely than it is under the BBWAA voting system. That’s because the COG rules require that the top candidate is inducted, while the BBWAA allows for no one to be elected, as happened this year. However, that will be offset, I hope, by the fact that the COG also limits the induction to one per ballot, in contrast to the BBWAA which in theory allows all deserving candidates to be elected at once, thus leaving potential… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
“But I don’t think that takes away from the fact that many BBWAA voters have a small Hall in their heads as the standard they are applying.” I think you’re right about that and that’s what makes their decisions doubly frustrating. By my quick count the BBWAA have elected 46 players to the HOF in the past 20 years. I would argue that 25% of those chosen probably fail to meet the “at least as good as the average HOF player at that position” standard (Wilhelm, Drysdale, Aparicio, Brock, Hunter, Fingers, Sutton, Perez, Sutter, Gossage, Rice) and arguably as many… Read more »
Ed
Guest

Hartvig – Not sure why you list Wilhelm and Gossage as not “as least as good as the average HOF player at that position”. Sure, if you’re comparing them to starters. But in my opinion that’s a bit unfair. Wilhelm and Gossage are #2 and #3 in career WAR among relievers, behind only Rivera.

BTW, Gossage once led the AL in WAR (1975). Not just pitchers but position players as well. His 8.1 WAR that year is the highest ever for a reliever. Only John Hiller (7.9 in 1973) comes close.

Hartvig
Guest
And it’s also true that Goose’s 39.9 career WAR puts him behind Schoolboy Rowe and Mel Stottlemyre and just ahead of SABR punchline Jack Morris. I’m willing to cut “relievers” some slack but if a DH can’t get in to the HOF (when Frank Thomas gets in it will only be because in the eyes of the voters that he played “enough” at first base no matter how poorly he played there) I’m going to hold them to at least the same standards that the HOF voters do the DH, at least for purposes of this argument. Edgar Martinez is… Read more »
mosc
Guest

Theoretical max HOF electees by the voters in one year is 13

PP
Guest
One comment that jumped out was that DiMaggio was “probably the best player in the world in his prime.” If so it wasn’t during the 10 years he and Williams crossed paths. At least not according to WAR, Williams 81.7 to Joe D’s 57.2, or oWAR 80.9 to 54.0, (dWAR was a different story, for sure, 2.0 for Joe D and -6.3 for Ted, but practicing your swing in left field comes with a penalty, I suppose). Also, he beat Williams only 3 of those years, Williams’ rookie year, second year (and those were close) and in ’50 when Williams… Read more »
Thomas
Guest

I know this isn’t relevant and also a supremely silly question, but…

Anyone know who has the most HOF votes of all time? I’d think it’s got to be someone who was on for a quite a few years before finally being voted in. And being the ‘leader’ here means nothing…

Hartvig
Guest
At a glance I’d say it’s between Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven at least partly because there are more HOF voters now than there were in the past. Between those 2 I would say that it’s Rice because he started out with vote totals in the 30%’s while it took Blyleven a few years to get to that point. Prior to that Nellie Fox was one name that sprung to mind that was on the ballot for 15 years and reached vote totals as high as 74.7%. Another possibility might be Red Ruffing who was on the ballot for centuries… Read more »
mosc
Guest

you ninja’d me!

Hartvig
Guest

Watch and learn, grasshopper….

mosc
Guest

You’d have to normalize by the number of people voting. Do it like MVP or Cy shares where you get the cumulative percentage. My bet? Jim Rice

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Doing this logically (answer at end):

1) It’s probably someone from the last 20-25 years, since the number of HOF voters has gone up gradually over time:

1956 – 193
1976 – 388
1996 – 470
2013 – 569

2) they were on 13/14/all 15 ballots, and received very high vote totals their last three/four years on the ballot.

Based on the above- it’s probably JIM RICE, with Bert Blyleven 2nd and Nellie Foxx, Jim Bunning and Bruce Sutter in the running. And yes- I’m too lazy to add up all those vote totals…

PP
Guest

It’s on his Wiki page “he received 3,974 total votes, the most ever collected by any player that was voted on for baseball’s highest honor”

PP
Guest

Jim Ed’s, that is.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

High fives all around!!, esp. hartvig, mosc (I SWEAR I was typing up #39 when you posted your comments….)

Mike L
Guest

Thomas, there’s no question that anyone getting that many votes would truly have to be “feared” by the voters.

PP
Guest

So true. After all, he had 3,530 more votes than Schmidt.

MikeD
Guest
Have we been here before? Nothing like we’re about to face. In the past, there was a path to clearing the glut, which ultimately provided greater focus on a dwindling number of deserved players. The PED situation will prevent clearance. BBWAA writers who believe Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Sosa, Sheffield, McGwire, Ivan Rodriquez, Bagwell etc. all should be elected vs. those who think anyone who even walked by a clinic that may have had PEDs should be locked out. (I’m aware I’m mixing know PED users, suspected PED users, and rumored PED users together, but that’s on purpose since many voters… Read more »
Baseball Superstars 2013 Cheats
Guest

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