Circle of Greats: 1969 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 39th round of balloting for the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats (COG).  One year ago, in December, 2012, we started the Circle of Greats voting by selecting our first inductee from among the players born in 1968.  Since then we’ve moved backwards in time with the birth years we’ve added, and as of now we’ve reached the 1938 birth year.  But with a full twelve months of voting now complete since we began, we can add a later birth year, while remaining within the original parameter of inducting only players 44 years old or older.  So this round, in honor of the first anniversary of the beginning of the COG voting, adds to the ballot those players born in 1969. Rules and lists are, as usual, after the jump.

The new group of eligible players born in 1969 joins the holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full group eligible to receive your votes this round.  The new group of 1969-born players must, as always, have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers).

Each submitted ballot, if it is to be counted, 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 added future rounds of ballot eligibility. Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots cast, but less than 50%, earn two added future rounds of ballot eligibility.  Any other player in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances, or who appears 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 Wednesday, December 18, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM EST Monday, December 16.

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: COG 1969 Vote Tally.  I’ll be updating the spreadsheet periodically with the latest votes.  Initially, there is a row in the spreadsheet 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 new born-in-1969 group will be added to the spreadsheet as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players from the lists below of eligible players.  The 15 current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the future eligibility number is the same.  The new group of 1969 birth-year guys are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.  For the third round n a row, we have one player who makes the ballot via the 20 WAR threshold without having played at least 10 seasons in the majors — this time it’s Rusty Greer.

Lou Whitaker (eligibility guaranteed for 10 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 7 rounds)
Bobby Grich (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for 3 rounds)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Gaylord Perry  (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Ron Santo (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Dick Allen (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Roberto Alomar (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Eddie Murray (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Rick Reuschel (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Dave Winfield (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1969, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Ken Griffey
Brad Ausmus
Damion Easley
Juan Gonzalez
Jose Hernandez
Bret Boone
Jeromy Burnitz
Jeff Cirillo
Scott Hatteberg
Todd Hundley
Mark Sweeney
Dan Wilson
Greg Colbrunn
Delino DeShields
Mike Difelice
Travis Fryman
Orlando Palmeiro
Eduardo Perez
Tony Womack
Joe Randa
Fernando Vina
Kevin Young
Darren Bragg
Tim Laker
Mark Lewis
Dave McCarty
Damian Miller
Troy O’Leary
Craig Paquette
Matt Walbeck
Rusty Greer

Pitchers (born in 1969, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):

Arthur Rhodes
Mariano Rivera
David Weathers
Bob Wickman
Troy Percival
Frank Castillo
Mike Myers
Ricky Bottalico
Hector Carrasco
Kevin Jarvis
Ricky Bones
Jason Christiansen
Pete Schourek
Brian Boehringer
Alex Fernandez
Robb Nen
Hipolito Pichardo

206 thoughts on “Circle of Greats: 1969 Balloting

  1. 1
    Mike says:

    Ken Griffey, Jr
    Mariano Rivera (if he were active would he have been eligible?)
    Dave Winfield

    • 8
      birtelcom says:

      Yes, the COG rules allow an active player to be inducted if he is at least 44 years old. I assume that by the time a player is age 44, we have a pretty good sense of the parameters of his career achievements.

      • 9
        RJ says:

        Talking of age… Pop Quiz!

        Which four players on the ballot were at some point the oldest players in their league (according to their b-ref page)?

        • 10
          David Horwich says:

          Winfield, Perry, Rivera come to mind pretty quickly…but who’s the 4th?…aha! Reuschel. Wouldn’t have guessed him.

          • 15
            RJ says:

            Yup! I would have had my money on McCovey; he was 2nd oldest in the NL four times. Vic Davalillo’s return from the Mexican league at the age of 40 kept McCovey off the top spot.

  2. 2
    Abbott says:

    Murray, Santo, Biggio

  3. 3

    This one’s going to be interesting.

    Ken Griffey
    Gaylord Perry
    Mariano Rivera

  4. 4
    KalineCountry says:

    Lou Whitaker
    and two legends who should be automatic;
    Junior Griffey
    Mariano Rivera

  5. 5
    JEV says:

    Griffey, Perry, Rivera

  6. 6
    wx says:

    Ken Griffey, Mariano Rivera, Gaylord Perry

  7. 7
    Jeff Harris says:

    Griffey, Whitaker, Smoltz

  8. 11
    Dr. Doom says:

    I think the most interesting wrinkle is transposing these “modern” players against some more “old-timer” types. We haven’t really had that; of course, more recent players have carried over, but we haven’t had “new” players against “old” ones quite like this. It shall be interesting.

    Anyway, I don’t think this is too tricky of a ballot. From my perspective, the top three guys have a pretty fair lead over the rest of the pack. The player that gives me a little pause is Mariano. For this ballot, I considered all 16 holdovers, plus Griffey and Rivera. Rivera has the fewest WAR and the worst peak of any of the players (unsurprising, since his peak is still stuck at reliever-type IP totals). As incredible as he’s been, how could he be more valuable than Smoltz, who was more-or-less as effective a reliever, also an outstanding postseason pitcher, and had boatloads more innings? And the only player I have below Smoltz on my list is Winfield. I just can’t justify a vote for Mariano. For the HOF? Yes, probably. For the COG? No way.

    Gaylord Perry
    Ken Griffey, Jr.
    Ron Santo

    • 20
      RJ says:

      Interesting thoughts on Rivera. Unlike with many of these players, I’m not sure Mariano’s candidacy can be debated much. He’s either a stone-cold lock or, by virtue of being a reliever, simply not CoG material.

  9. 12
    bells says:

    Perry, Griffey, Rivera.

    Can’t see much other choice, Rivera obviously doesn’t compete with the rest of the ballot on a simple WAR rating eyeball test, but the way to evaluate relievers has never been simple. I’m going to revert to the fact that this is the ‘Circle of Greats’, and there is no way I can argue that Rivera isn’t one of the 3 ‘greatest’ players on this ballot.

  10. 13

    Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Griffey 54.8
    Perry 50.9
    Grich 43.6
    Santo 43.3
    Whitaker 42.7
    Martinez 41.3
    Reuschel 40.6
    Smoltz 40.1
    Lofton 39.3
    McCovey 38.9
    Sandberg 38.8
    Alomar 36.8
    Biggio 36.3
    Allen 35.9
    Murray 34.9
    Rivera 33.1
    Winfield 30.5

    I support Rivera’s candidacy, but I’m not sure I can vote for him before we induct Smoltz, who was practically Rivera for three years as a reliever and pitched 2,190 more innings.

    Griffey, Perry, Smoltz

  11. 14
    David Horwich says:

    Alomar, Griffey, Sandberg

  12. 16
    Luis Gomez says:

    With apologies to Rivera, my vote goes to Ken Griffey Jr., Roberto Alomar and Lou Whitaker.

  13. 17
    Josh says:

    Rivera, Smoltz, Winfield

  14. 18
    Chris C says:


    Voting for the best pitcher and the best hitter on the ballot. I’m also continuing my unwavering support for Biggio. I feel bad not voting for Rivera…but then again I feel bad for not voting for Santo, Alomar, Sanderg, Martinez and a couple others. Every ballot is loaded now.

    Oh, and a big Red Sox shout out to Troy O’Leary! Another shout out for Rusty Greer for helping my fantasy teams back in the mid 90’s!

    • 19
      birtelcom says:

      Though never an All-Star, Greer was arguably the second-most valuable left fielder in the AL over the period of his (unfortunately short) career, behind only Albert Belle.

    • 44
      jeff hill says:

      I beg to differ on the “best hitter on the ballot” part…that belongs to Edgar Martinez.

      • 93
        Chris C says:

        Solid point there, which I agree with. I’ve voted for Martinez myself several times. I’ll rephrase with Griffey as the “best position player”.

  15. 21
    RJ says:

    Griffey, Perry, Rivera (subject to subsequent strategery).

  16. 22
    Bix says:

    Griffey, Lofton, Allen

    (Strategically not voting for Rivera, as I assume he’ll be elected easily).

    • 24
      Dr. Doom says:

      Right now, there have been 17 votes cast. Rivera has been named on 9 ballots. Griffey has been named on 15. It’s still early going, but I wouldn’t count on that easy election for Rivera. Not if you meant it would happen this round, anyway.

  17. 23
    Nick Pain says:

    Griffey, Perry, Whitaker

  18. 25
    brp says:


  19. 26
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Pitching WAR for the top “saves” leaders:

    56.6 Mariano Rivera

    28.0 Hoffman

    29.4 Lee Smith

    23.7 Franco

    27.7 Wagner

    62.5 Eckersley

    19.1 Reardon

    17.2 Percival

    15.1 Myers

    25.0 Fingers

    26.3 Nathan

    19.2 Wetteland

    • 27
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      From 1996 – 2011

      Averaged 3.3 WAR
      Averaged 72 IP

      And this fact that somebody has got to mention, before the sabermetric dismissal of Rivera becomes a nerdy rolling snowball:

      He is the greatest postseason performer since the Lemurians played Plasmaball.

      96 games
      141 IP
      0.70 era

      • 29
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        That last comment came off more shnarky than I intended.
        I shouldnt try to post under duress. Sorry.

        Consider those 16 years, 1996 – 2011.

        (Omitting 2013, where he came back from a year-long freak injury, at age 44, and still posted 2.5, while pitching a perfect inning in the All-Star game, partially helping the Boston Red Sox win the World Series)

        The Yankees made the playoff 15 out of 16 times.
        7 World Series
        5 Championships.

        Many reasons why.
        But consider that a team pitches roughly 1600 innings in a season.
        The Yankees had, reliably, for 16 years, 3.3 WAR out of 70 innings, from one guy.

        • 33
          Dr. Doom says:

          Indeed, I wanted to post something equally snarky back. 🙂

          I am curious, though, why you think sabermetrically-minded folks would be more down on Rivera than anyone else. I think sabermetric analysis shows that Rivera is NOT your ordinary closer. As you can see in your list, none of the “pure” closers on the list cracked even 30 WAR; Rivera is at nearly 60. In my opinion, sabermetric analysis is HELPFUL to Rivera’s case; not hurtful. Unless your sole criterion for the Hall is “saves” (which, historically, have not mattered all that much to voters; if they did, Lee Smith wouldn’t still be hovering around 50%), I don’t see how sabermetrics hurt Rivera.

          • 35
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            You’re right. I clicked submit with an incessant clamoring for my attention happening in the room. My brain was lasagna al dente with no cheese.

          • 36
            birtelcom says:

            One perplexity in valuing Mariano as compared to players of other positions is in the inherent ceiling on the value of the modern closer. In 2005, Mariano had a 1.38 ERA, the best of his career, finished a league-leading 67 games, had 43 saves and came in second in the AL Cy Young voting. That year the Yankees won 83 out of 85 game in which they led going into the ninth inning, a 97.6% winning percentage when leading after 8 innings. But the rest of the teams in the majors, not including the Yankees, won on average 95.2% of the games they led after 8 innings. Applying the non-Yankee average conversion rate to the Yankees’ 85 games in which they led after 8 you get 81 wins instead of the Yankees’ actual 83. That suggests that if instead of who they had pitching with ninth inning leads the Bombers had some average closer doing the honors instead, the Yanks would have lost two more games. Doesn’t seem like a huge difference given the Yankees had the greatest closer ever, at or near his peak.

            The bottom line may be that a closer of a certain level of solid performance is going to preserve almost all of the leads he is given, and so is a great closer. Some of the added value of pitching greatness that would come out over a large number of innings across a season may be somewhat wasted on the narrow task of preserving ninth inning leads.

            On the other hand, the highest career Win Probability Added numbers for pitchers since 1945 are held by, in order from the top, Clemens, Maddux, Mariano, Seaver, Pedro and Randy Johnson. So it certainly seems the Sandman was adding something.

          • 39
            MikeD says:

            Agreed. Most saber-minded types would say that closers are overvalued, yet beyond that would recognize the Rivera is in a class by himself. I think most also recognize that WAR does not do as good a job of properly assessing the value of closers compared to other positions.

          • 40
            bells says:

            Plus didn’t Andy posit that he was the greatest pitcher of all time, way back when?

          • 48
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            @ 36, birtlecom

            So, you seem to be saying that in the sample year, that Rivera was worth two wins more than the average closer.

            The stats back that up.
            His WAA from ’96-11 was an even 31.6.
            Two per year.

            This seems to me a preposterously HIGH number.

            Is the ‘modern’ closer foolishly used?
            Would Rivera have been worth more if he had been brought in more often in the 8th?
            Or brought in, period, on the road in a tie game?
            I’m the first to say yes.

            But 2 wins better than his contemporaries, pitching 70 innings? That is a tremendous edge.

            Look at it by innings.
            He got that 32 WAA in
            1144 innings.

            Roy Hallday’s equivalent, at his best:
            2007 – 2011
            1194 IP
            23.3 WAA

            Mo was 50% better than the average reliever than Roy was better than the average starter.

          • 50
            birtelcom says:

            Good points, Voomo. Two games above average is impressive for anyone and it is terrific over the number of innings that Mariano pitched (and it is probably true that using him “optimally” in more tie games, high-leverage 8th innings, etc, would have expanded his value by only a small amount) . But it’s still two games above average over a whole season. Halladay’s six best seasons in terms of WAA were 7.0, 6.4, 5.6, 5.1, 4.1 and 3.8.

          • 56
            Gary Bateman says:

            Birtelcom–Is your comparison based on all games in which the team led after 8 or only save situations? I wonder if the winning percentage discrepancy might possibly be higher if the latter. On the othe hand, it might be important to note, as people do with Whitey Ford, that Rivera never had to face the Yankees with the game on the line.

          • 60
            bells says:

            @#48 Voomo – yeah, when you put it like that, for me that even strengthens Rivera’s case. For someone whose role it is to come into a situation where it’s very likely his team will win, and for that person to contribute to 2 wins more per season than the average relief pitcher, so consistently for so long, is simply mind-boggling. Like, if an average pitcher would hold a lead after the 8th 95% of the time, but Rivera was that much better than that… it’s simply mind-boggling.

          • 62
            Ed says:

            @48 Voomo (and others): Here’s my problem with the Mariano love. Rivera was a FAILURE. Period. There’s simply no way of getting around that. The reason he was made a closer is because he failed as a starter (the much more important role). And when you’re comparing him to other closers, you’re comparing him to other failures. So yes, he was the best closer of all time but I’m not sure what that says. He simply wasn’t a great pitcher. If he was, he would have been a starter.

            At the end of the day, Mariano is being given a pass. He wasn’t asked to compete against the best pitchers of his era (Halladay, Schilling, Johnson, Maddux, etc.). Almost all of them could have done his job. But he couldn’t do their job.

            Rivera is basically the A student at community college. A great starter though is an A student at Yale or Harvard. There’s nothing wrong with what Rivera did. But it doesn’t begin to compare to what a great starter achieves.

          • 97
            TheGoof says:

            Ed, the idea that you will call a guy a failed starter and chalk up his entire career as limited to that status would be more credible if you meant someone who had a 5.00 ERA over four or five years. Rivera made a total of 10 MLB starts at age 25. He was an effective starter in the minors. It is very, very conceivable that he would have become a decent, or even very good, starter. I mean, his ERA as a reliever in nine games that year was 4.24. Does that reflect ANYTHING about his career? No.

          • 102
            MikeD says:

            @97, TheGoof, the signing today of Bartolo Colon by the Mets reminds me of the question often asked, which is would Rivera have been a successful starting pitcher. I am in the camp that not only would he have been a successful starting pitcher, he would have been a great starting pitcher, a Cy Young Award caliber pitcher.

            Comparing Colon and Rivera may not be intuitive, at least by body types, but there is an area where they are similar. One pitch. Rivera’s cutter is legendary, but the understandable belief is that wouldn’t be enough for him to be a successful starter. I disagree.

            Colon’s great success now is driven by his fastball, which he throws upwards of 85% of the time. Rivera’s cutter; his ability to repeat his delivery as well as any pitcher in the game, which was the secret of his command; and his ability to actually pitch would have carried him a long way. And, yes, since he began his career in the minors as a starter, he had a few other pitches he could have tossed in for show.

            Can’t really blame the Yankees for not finding out what Rivera would have done as a starter. He didn’t pick up the extra velocity on his fastball until he was sent back to the minors, and then he was only used sporadically as a starter after his recall, but more importantly, he didn’t develop the cutter until two years later in 1997.

            The pitcher who would eventually be know as Sandman never stepped on the mound as a starter.

      • 49
        John Autin says:

        Pretty sure I’m going to bellow “NERDY ROLLING SNOWBALLLL!!!” the next time I go out sledding.

        I don’t know much … but I know what I am!

    • 32
      Richard Chester says:

      45.7 of Eckersley’s WAR came during his seasons as a starter.

  20. 28
    Mo says:

    Griffey, Whitaker, Reuschel

  21. 30
    J.R. says:

    Griffey, Rivera, Grich

  22. 31
    Doug says:

    Griffey, Rivera, Allen

  23. 34
    --bill says:

    Perry, Rivera, Reuschel

  24. 37
    MikeD says:

    Somehow it feels off to have the most recent group of potential inductees also competing against an entire year of hold overs. That said, I don’t why it’s wrong, it just feels wrong!

    Griffey, Rivera, Alomar.

    • 67

      The result will be the same as if we evaluated this group first. It seems the biggest difference is that, had we started with ’69, Rivera would have competed with Piazza, Bagwell, Thomas, and Mussina in ’68. The likely casualty would have been Larry Walker or Tim Raines, who may not have snuck in with an extra no-doubter on the holdover list when their turns came.

      • 161
        mosc says:

        Walker beat out Raines who beat out Gwynn if I recall. They were competing directly on a lot of those ballots. I’d wager if we had started at 1970, Mo would have gotten in pretty quickly and Gwynn or Trammel would be sitting atop our holdover list with some absurdly high number of protected rounds.

  25. 38
    latefortheparty says:

    Gaylord Perry
    Ken Griffey, Jr.
    Lou Whitaker

  26. 41
    Andy says:


  27. 42
    Phil says:

    Griffey, Rivera, and, I’m positive for the last time, Alomar.

  28. 43
    Bill Johnson says:




  29. 45
    jeff hill says:

    Mo Rivera, Santo, Lofton

  30. 46
    oneblankspace says:

    Griffey — the sooner the Junior the better.

  31. 47
    MJ says:

    Gaylord Perry, Ken Griffey, Lou Whitaker

  32. 52
    Darien says:

    Mariano Rivera, Gaylord Perry, and Kenny Lofton.

    At the risk of sounding distressingly like Colin Cowherd, it’s not the Circle of WAR, and I think I broadly agree with RJ above — either Rivera’s a lock, or we pretty much disqualify relief pitchers out of hand. The latter approach doesn’t sit well with me; like it or hate it, it’s a legitimate part of the game. I don’t hold with keeping DHes out either, even though I personally don’t care for the rule.

    • 55
      DaveR says:

      My whole deal with the DH is: Is baseball better off WITHOUT Martinez, Ortiz, or Molitor? I say no.

    • 73
      brp says:

      Based on the modern reliever usage (since Eck in the late 80s), the only full-time reliever even worth considering is Rivera. But I never got to know the answer: could Mo pitch as a starter? Smoltz could and did. Eckersley could and did. As Dr. Doom said at 11, Smoltz was pretty much as good as Mo as a closer… but he also proved he could start and was therefore more valuable.

      Mo’s only year as a starter was pre-cutter, so it’s just guesswork as to whether he could have started. But 1 good year as a starter is worth 3 good years as a reliever (based on IP), so Mo’s 18 great years is roughly 6 great years of starting. I’ve got no issue with Mo being in the COG and may even throw him a vote, but it always drove me nuts the Yankees never tried using him as a starter. If he really was the game’s best pitcher, as many argued, why the hell is he only pitching 70 innings a year in games you’re probably going to win even with a nobody like Joba Chamberlain on the mound?

      • 89
        Hartvig says:

        “but it always drove me nuts the Yankees never tried using him as a starter.”

        Me too. Only a team with nearly limitless resources like the Yankees could afford that luxury and even so I have to question if it really paid off for them, at least during the regular season.

        Even if he wouldn’t have been in Pedro Martinez’s class as a starter but instead let’s use another Yankee and teammate- Andy Pettitte. Even on some of those incredible Yankee rotations you’re going to be seeing a significant upgrade over guys like Stirling Hitchcock and Hideki Irabu and suchlike.

        I would think that even with an average MLB closer-type as a replacement you’d still usually come out ahead on games won and if they had gone after say a Trevor Hoffman level closer instead you could be looking at as many as 3 or 4 wins a year ahead in some years, maybe even more.

        • 115
          mosc says:

          I think part of the effectiveness of “the cutter” which was poorly understood was simply focusing a pitcher in on one arm slot, one speed, one delivery, one follow through, etc. Rivera made himself into a pitcher who would change ONLY his grip on the ball making it virtually impossible to differentiate 4sfb from cutter. The cutter’s movement was unusually large, but that too can be somewhat attributed to focusing on grip and basically locking down all else.

          Relievers who are successful routinely drop tertiary offerings which made up probably 25% of their pitch totals as starters to focus on the deception of two pitches (fastball/slider or fastball/change etc). They also increase velocity. You think Rivera would have hit mid 90s in his 40s if he was a starter? Cutter or no cutter, it’s not going to be effective if your 4sfb is from the regan era.

          Starter vs Reliever most often comes down to the effectiveness of change-up or breaking ball as a third pitch. Give a hitter two things to look for and you must overpower them with velocity or location, especially that third time down the lineup. Give them three offerings and you can keep them guessing.

          I guess I’m kind of saying on one hand yes, a reliever is a failed starter. On the other hand, a good reliever has also adapted to the role and changed his offerings and approach to follow suit. Not all failed starters can do that, clearly, and none of them have done it as well as Rivera. It’s a separate skill, comparative value questions aside.

          Rivera is unique and that makes him special. I can look at Jr’s bat and say “he’s basically Gary Sheffield” and name half a dozen better defensive center fielders from that era who played nearly as long. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s one of the top players ever, it just means our metrics are well suited for evaluating and comparing. Rivera clearly sits outside the norm so far that the usual metrics are inadequate. That is far more interesting and far more “great” than someone who was basically identical to another player except for a 50% chance of hitting a home run or saving an extra run in the field every 20 games.

          Mo would make my top 100 list of players ever. I’d probably have a hard time leaving him out of the top 50.

          • 184
            oneblankspace says:

            Some would say On the one hand, a reliever is a failed starter. On the other hand, if a starter didn’t fail, you would not need relievers. I recall what Dan Quisenberry said one year when he won the relief man award: I want to thank my pitchers who could not go nine innings, and my manager who would not let them.

          • 188
            Darien says:

            I get your point, and I basically agree with you, but I’d say a guy with a 50% chance of hitting a home run is about as “great” as they come. 😉

          • 203
            mosc says:

            Darien, I meant 50% greater chance of hitting a home run. If you have two similar careers with a guy who hit 300 HR and a guy who hit 450 HR, you’d need to look a lot wider than that to see who made the bigger contribution. When you throw out rivera’s numbers, you know what made him special. They’re unique.

  33. 53
    Gary Bateman says:

    Rivera, Griffey, Alomar

  34. 54
    DaveR says:

    Griffey Jr, Gaylord, and Rivera

  35. 57
    PaulE says:

    Allen Sandberg Grich

    Does anyone else suspect Juan Gonzalez of possible steroid use?

    • 58
      Chris C says:

      Suspect? I think it’s a basic assumption.

    • 116
      mosc says:

      I suspect nearly everyone. I suspect guys from the 80s too.

      and if you ask me what percentage of the HOF took Greenies, it’s pretty f-ing high.

    • 185
      oneblankspace says:

      Don Sutton did not use a foreign substance on the baseball. Vaseline is made in the USA.

      • 186
        bstar says:

        Well-quipped. +324 for that last comment.

        • 187
          Darien says:

          Did you remember to adjust that for era and blog factor? I’m only getting +313.

        • 189
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          Good quip, yes
          But you know, Sutton actually said that.

          • 190
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Whitey Ford:

            also threw a “gunk ball,” which combined a mixture of baby oil, turpentine, and resin. He kept the “gunk” in a roll-on dispenser, which, the story goes, Yogi Berra once mistook for deodorant, gluing his arms to his sides in the process.

          • 191
            Voomo Zanzibar says:


            Was teammates with Gaylord Perry for a while. “He gave me a tube of Vaseline,” joked Sutton. “I thanked him and gave him a piece of sandpaper.” Umpires took the allegations seriously, and sometimes gave him a good going over. Once, he left a note inside his glove for the men in black. It said, “You’re getting warm, but it’s not here.”

  36. 59
    Mike L says:

    Rivera, for unsurpassed, sustained excellence. Griffey, because he has to be, even though I’m neutering my vote for Mo. And, in probably my last purely strategic vote, Sandberg.

    But if I could, I would just vote for Mo. He was the finest miniaturist of all time.

  37. 61
    koma says:

    John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Mariano Rivera

  38. 63
    Mike L says:

    @62, Ed, and his extended “Mariano’s a failure” post” It’s pointless to compare Rivera to someone like Maddux, and I wouldn’t. They are different animals, and I would vote any day to put him in first. But, consider the following: In 1987, Maddux first time up beyond a cup of coffee, he was 6-14, 5.61, ERA+ of 76 in 155 innings. Randy Johnson was 7-13 with a 4.82, an ERA+ of 82 in 161 innings. Halladay was so bad in his 3rd time up (10.64 ERA and a 48 ERA+ in 67 innings) that he was banished to the minors. Schilling was a middle reliever for four years before being traded to the Phillies and being inserted into the rotation. Maybe Mo wouldn’t have cut it as a starter. But he was moved into the pen after one season of 67 innings that doesn’t look worse than the four pitchers you cite.
    So, I’m with you in agreeing that a truly top rank starting pitcher has more value than a closer. But Mo an “A student at a community college?”

    • 65
      birtelcom says:

      A metaphor I might prefer to the community college one could perhaps be to a great (or, better, a greatest ever) field goal kicker. A major contributor, often in critical moments, the best ever in his area of skill, but still inherently limited in the full impact he can have on the game just by the nature of what he does — a touchdown is still worth twice one of his successes.

      In response to Gary Bateman’s question @56, I used all leads after the 8th inning, not just save situations, in my calculations @36. You are right that limiting the base to just save situations, and thus eliminating blowouts in which Mariano rarely participated, might change the calculation in his favor somewhat.

    • 66
      Ed says:

      Mike L @63 A few points:

      1) I didn’t start the comparison of Mariano to starters. I was responding to the idea that Mariano was somehow better than Halladay.

      2) It’s true that Mariano wasn’t given much chance to start in the majors. But teams don’t move someone to the bullpen if they believe that person can be successful as a starter. I have to trust the Yankees judgement that Mariano’s stuff wouldn’t cut it long-term as a starter.

      3) Again, Mariano was certainly special among a group of pitchers who couldn’t hack it as starters. But I also would assert that most decent starters could replicate what Mariano did. But they’re too valuable as starters so it’s foolish to even try.

      • 71
        bells says:

        I think point number 3) is the important one. If you believe that ‘most decent starters’ could do what Mo did, and that what he did is so much less valuable that it’s impossible to consider him for an all-time greats list, then that sets some clear criteria for debate.

        I don’t think most decent starters could do what he did. I think having no-hit (or at least no real contact) stuff for one or two innings is a very specific talent. And then there’s the longevity aspect – look at modern relievers. It’s a revolving door, guys are dynamite for two years and then you never see them again (being general here, of course there’s a spectrum). But Rivera was consistently top of the heap for 17 years. I really think that if ‘most decent starters’ could do what he did, we’d see at least a few slightly less decent starters that got put in the closer role and stood out almost as much as Rivera did. And we haven’t.

        All I’m saying is that it doesn’t seem as simple to me as ‘not good enough to be a starter? Well, head to the bullpen’ and then rank relievers on some definitively lower spectrum than starters. I get that if I were to conjecture that Rivera was better than Halladay, we’d have to have a long conversation to see eye-to-eye. But how far down the spectrum of starters do you have to go to find his equivalent? You’ve said he was a failure, so that seems pretty clear that he’s not as good as a starter, but would you argue he wasn’t as good a pitcher over his career as Charlie Hough? Bill Lee? Don Larsen?

      • 72
        Mike L says:

        Ed@66, the object in putting together a team is to find a winning combination of talents. Mickey Mantle was a “failure” as a shortstop. Rivera had a very specific talent (I think Birtelcom’s field goal kicker is a good analogy) that the Yankees put to excellent use. We have no idea what kind of starter he might have been because, when switched, he turned into an extremely potent weapon. I never suggested Mo was better than Halladay any more than I would suggest, one way or another, than Thome was better than Paul Waner (totally different skill sets, both with 72.8 WAR) I would be inclined to agree that if you put Halladay in the bullpen (in his good years, of course) he might had approached the dominance Mo had. But the idea that a “decent” starter could put up the numbers Rivera did I find very farfetched.
        Sorry, I just can’t buy the “Mo stinks” trope. His WAR is 70th lifetime among all pitchers. Behind him: Red Ruffing, Kevin Appier, Mordecai Brown, Urban Shocker (yes, that Urban Shocker) Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax, etc. Were they “less decent” pitchers?

        • 84
          Ed says:

          Mike L @72 – Thank you, you just made my point for me!

          You’re right, it’s up to a team to put together a winning combination of talent. And based on the way the Yankees decided to use Rivera, he accumulated 56.6 WAR which is LESS than Dave Stieb, Jerry Koosman, Frank Tanana, Chuck Finley, and Bret Saberhagen among many others. Their teams chose to use them in a way that was different then the way the Yankees chose to use Rivera. And in doing so, they had a greater impact on their teams than Rivera had on his.

          And yet NONE of those guys are going to come close to getting into the COG (or the HOF for that matter). So why should Rivera be ranked ahead of them? The fact that Rivera has an arbitrary label of “closer” attached to his name shouldn’t effect how we evaluate him. At the end of the day, there’s really no difference between someone who pitches at the beginning of the game and someone who pitches at the end. They’re all pitchers and they all have the same responsibility (getting opposing batters out and limiting runs scored).

          WAR already gives Rivera extra credit for pitching in high leverage situations. But by valuing him over pitchers who have more WAR, it seems to me that voters are giving Rivera double-extra credit. That doesn’t work for me.

          • 87
            John Z says:

            @ED I think the point you are missing is this, we can not compare starting pitchers to closers the same way we can not compare starting catchers to say a Short Stop. Both are valuable to their teams success, both are middle defenders but their jobs and talents are very different. So the only fair comparison we can make is to another closer, IE Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Rich Gossage, Hoyt Wilhelm and yes his peers Trevor Hoffman, etc. I think if you compare Rivera to these vetrans you will look at it much clearer. I am not a big fan of the closer role and think it can be overrated but stats are stats and facts are facts and whether we like it or not Rivera was the best of all closers and only closers, not starting pitchers or set up men.

          • 88
            Mike L says:

            Ed @84, when you are ready to argue that you would have preferred Jerry Koosman or Frank Tanana to Sandy Koufax, the lawyer and political junkie in me tells me that two people can look at exactly the same set of facts and come up with completely different conclusions. I’ll stick to admiring Rivera without feeling the need to trash other pitchers.

          • 94
            Ed says:

            John Z – As I said previously, I’m not the one who started comparing Rivera to starters. It’s the Rivera supporters who keep doing that. But the second I start doing the same, I get called out on it and told we can’t do that. Sorry but that doesn’t work for me.

          • 95
            Ed says:

            Mike L – Where did I say that I would have preferred Koosman or Tanana to Koufax? This is the second time in this thread that you’ve insinuated something that no one has actually said. (the first being that people were saying that Rivera “stinks” something no one in this thread has said) I don’t mind having a debate over these things and we can agree to disagree but I don’t appreciate people putting words in my mouth.

          • 96
            birtelcom says:

            I think to some extent the question that COG voters try to ask themselves, and that methods like WAR try to get a hold of, goes something like this: If you had a draft pick to make, and you could be guaranteed that would you get, for the identical amount of salary paid over the years, the entire carer as it actually played out of Mariano Rivera or the entire career as it actually played out, of, say Frank Tanana, which one would you draft? If you take WAR literally, it is suggesting the answer is that it would be pretty much a wash — although remember that WAR doesn’t purport to even touch post-season performance so there’s that.

            But whatever the merits of WAR, the conceptual question remains: all other things being equal, as a general manager whose career would you rather have had Rivera’s or Tanana’s (or Biggio’s or Dick Allen’s, etc.)? These are in fact the sort of hard inter-positional questions GMs hve to ask themselves when they make all sorts of personnel decisions: draft choices, trades, free agent signings, salary negotiations, etc. Of course GMs also have to estimate future performance, whereas we have careers that are already in the books.

          • 101
            Mike L says:

            Ed, the argument isn’t worth continuing. You need to have your way with this one and I’m prepared to let you enjoy your special personal truth. Gentlemen, I’ve enjoyed the site. Some of the best baseball writing I’ve seen, with some of the best thought out and presented comments. Signing off.

          • 119
            bells says:

            Ed @94: I think it’s more than a little misleading, and serves to deflect debate, to say ‘Rivera supporters’ started comparing him to starters (at least, I’m assuming you mean in this thread). Looking back at this discussion and how it started, Voomo made some comparisons of Rivera to other relievers and how good he was compared to them, and made the point that Rivera was more clearly better than his comtemporaries in relief pitching than, say, Halladay was to is contemporaries as starters. I suppose in some way that’s ‘comparing Rivera to starters’, but no more than it is comparing him to other players, which is the whole point of this exercise. That discussion seemed to do the opposite, to separate players based on role. It was birtelcom that put in points for and (it seemed like more) against Rivera on a spectrum of pitchers including starters.

            So I don’t get this ‘I didn’t start the comparison’ thing; it seems like, on the ‘supporter’ side at least, it was comparing him to other relievers until comment #62 squarely pegged him as a (capslock) ‘FAILURE. Period.’ which of course fanned the flames of discussion stronger than any comment before it.

            At any rate, since you’re now saying you don’t want to compare them (is that what you’re saying? I can’t tell, you might be just saying it’s ‘not fair’ to say you can’t compare them, but you didn’t answer my introductory questions at #71 so I’m assuming you’re not interested), I’ll just say that 1) relief pitcher is a specific role that has limited, but real, value in the game, and 2) Mariano Rivera was so much better than any of his contemporaries that it’s analagous (albeit less valuable overall) to how much better Ruth was at hitting HRs than anyone, and 3) I’m of the mind that his success in that role is special enough to warrant election to whatever criteria we’re holding him to (HOF, CoG). And I’ll step out of this discussion.

  39. 64
    John Z says:

    I just have to say, this ballot threw me for a loop. Here i was ready to vote for Brooks, Juan Marichal and Don Buford, but to my surprise i am looking at names and reading the debates of Griffy, The Sandman and others born in 69′. It is all good it just that it slipped my mind that we were doing the 69′ ballot before the 1937 ballot.

    Ok, first and formost and the one that should win this round, none other then “The Kid” Ken Griffey Jr.Second on my list this round is The Sandman, He sucked as a starter and was servicable at best as a setup/hold man, but once he took the role of closer and pitched that 9th inning he was unhittable and uncomparable. My last pick for this round is tough, remember I do not pick from the hold over ballot even though there are so many deserving names (IE McCovey, Perry, Etc) but im going to go with Travis Fryman, not for any particular reason do I pick Fryman over names like Boone or even Juan Gone, but he did in fact take over the SS position from an aging Alan Trammel briefly, and the D’backs traded Fryman for Matt Williams.? Fryman had some promise and even was an All Star, a ROY (6 place) runner up, received mvp votes and even won a gold glove, if it were not for his injuries hampering his career, who knows what kind of career this high school kid out of Florida could have had?
    Final Vote:
    The Kid
    David Travis Fryman

    • 68
      paget says:

      “He sucked as a starter and was servicable [sic] at best as a setup/hold man”

      His best, most productive year was almost certainly 1996 when he was, in point of fact, a setup man for the vastly inferior john wetteland.

      I have a lot of problems with the position (principally espoused on this thread by Ed) that “Rivera was a FAILURE” since he was moved from the rotation to the bullpen. It’s enough to look at his 1996 year to see why this logic isn’t tenable. While 107.2 innings pitched obviously doesn’t constitute a full season from a starting pitcher’s perspective, it’s a hell of a lot more than he was asked (or most closers are asked) to pitch in these misguided days where closers generally pitch in the vicinity of 60-70 innings. To claim that Rivera was moved to the pen because he couldn’t contribute in a more meaningful way ignores the fact that we already have a concrete example of him having done so: 1996. Had he been used in that fashion for his whole career, who knows how much WAR he could have accumulated. It’s pure speculation of course, but, at least in theory, he could have accumulated five or six hundred more IP over the course of his career had he been used in the way he should have.

      Consider how starters are used now compared to how they were used in the 70s and before – in theory you could say that starters now are FAILURES because they don’t rack up the innings that the old-timers did. They’re FAILURES because they’re not throwing 350 IP/year. But no one is going to argue that Pedro Martinez wasn’t one of the greatest pitchers ever simply because his inning totals are (comparatively) slight.

      In sum, 1996 is a demonstration in itself that Rivera could have contributed much more than he was asked to. 107IP is not 200IP (the contemporary sense of a complete year), but it’s still a huge contribution. And in the highest possible pressure situations at that. Is his value on a par with the very greatest starters ever? Definitely not. But, if he’s the A student at a community college, it’s not because he couldn’t have gotten equally great grades at a much better school.

      • 69
        paget says:

        Also, it’s important to note that in 1995 Rivera did not have his cutter. He learned his signature pitch in 1996. So using his results from 1995 as if they had anything to do with his later career doesn’t make any sense.

      • 70
        Ed says:

        Paget: 1996 is basically the opposite of evidence of what Rivera might have done as a starter. He never pitched more than 3 innings in a game which means that he never had to deal with pitching with high pitch counts or facing the same batter more than once in a game. I don’t see the point you’re trying to make.

        • 74
          paget says:

          @70 I wasn’t claiming he would have made a great starter — I have no idea, since we never saw it post-cutter. (My sense is that he would have, simply by learning how to throw a change of pace, but we’ll never know.)

          We do, on the other hand, have a very good idea of what 100+ innings a year from him looks like. Let’s say -just for the sake of argument- that you’re right, that he would have made a horrible starter. Does that somehow invalidate the incredible contribution he makes over the course of what is tantamount to 50% of a complete season?

          There is simply no way for a reliever to contribute as much as the greatest starters; I can’t think of anyone who would deny that. My point is that Rivera wasn’t given the opportunity to contribute in the more meaningful way we know he could have (an extra, say, 30-40 IP per year). That adds up to a lot of value over the course of a season, and a career.

          You paint a picture in which a guy who is put in the pen is just a priori not worth considering, because, hey, why would he be put in the pen if he could do the more important job. I don’t think there’s much logic to that point when it comes to a guy who is throwing 100IP per year anyway.

      • 76
        John Z says:

        I’m pretty sure you misconstrued my notion that Super Mario was anything less then superior and spectacular at his role as the closer for the evil empire, but I am pretty positive that the powers that be, be that Buck Showalter, Mel Stottlemyre (1996 – 2005 pitching coach), or Billy Connors(1995 Pitching Coach)felt that he was not meant to be a starter or set up guy and that his greatest asset was how effective he was over 1 inning pitched. Some how/some way they recognized this and took full advantage making Super Mario what he is and was, the best “closer” ever. As for the comment about being a community college pitcher, that did not come from me. But I do agree with the argument that he is of the same value as a place kicker in the NFL, and I do not consider that a bad thing considering that the place kicker in the NFL, is the difference between a win or a loss (IE 3 points or that extra point after a TD)

        • 78
          paget says:

          Actually, in the end my comment was more directed at Ed – I should have made that clear. The part that was in response to you was in reference to the inaccurate statement that he was only “serviceable at best” as a setup man. I wanted to draw attention to his extraordinary 1996 season in which he only served as setup man.

          • 85
            John Z says:

            I did not mean for my word “serviceable” to be taken that he did poorly, only that he did his job, while his stats show that he was above average or better then John Wetteland as you mentioned, but in all his job is to be serviceable so to reach the closer. I am sure it would be a serviceable task to find another setup man that had/has similiar stats as the sandman(and i dont mean Ed)and did a serviceable job at setup.

    • 79
      birtelcom says:

      John Z back at comment 64: To the extent you were getting ready to vote for Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Buford, keep in mind that 1937 will be one of those years when the birth-year class is split into two rounds. We’ve been doing that every third year as we go back in time. In these two-round years, the birth year class gets split in two, with the top half alphabetically debuting in one round and and the bottom half in a separate, second round. So Robinson and Buford are unlikely to debut in the same round.

      • 83
        John Z says:

        Well thanks for the heads up Birtelcom, you are making my task of picking 3 from the class of 37′ (twice) much more daunting, I better start now preparing my selections.

        • 98
          birtelcom says:

          Yes, you really have to pick in effect six from that class, a task I don’t envy. I generally enjoy your no-holdover picks, as they often bring a fresh name or two into the mix, but you might want to re-think the policy for our double-round years. The birth-year lists are going to get shorter as we reach birth years that produce players who played pre-expansion. It’s entirely up to you, though.

  40. 75
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    Back to saving the on-the bubble guy Murray Allen Sandberg:

    – Eddie Murray
    – Dick Allen
    – Ryan Sandberg

  41. 77
    Mike HBC says:

    Ken Griffey’s son, Ruben Rivera’s cousin, and Jim Perry’s brother.

    • 81
      birtelcom says:

      Wow, Ruben Rivera, hadn’t thought about him in a while. Baseball America’s highest ranked Yankee prospect in 1995, and 1996, and 1997. (Beware of guys who are the top prospect three years in a row — that’s like getting A’s in community college, to coin a phrase). Ruben didn’t manage to reach the Griffey, Sr. or Jim Perry level.

    • 82
      birtelcom says:

      BTW, I think that’s the seventh Rivera/Griffey/Perry ballot already — I believe we don’t usually get that many identical ballots.

      • 86
        Paul E says:

        Re reliever WAR, starter WAR, etc…., how about:

        WAR age 31-35

        37.9 Bob Gibson
        37.3 Gaylord Perry
        37.0 Kevin Brown

        Perry threw an awful lot of innings in that stretch

      • 92
        Mike HBC says:

        While ballots with the same three candidates are rare, it’s REALLY tough to argue that they aren’t head-and-shoulders above the other candidates, and the overall voting so far certainly supports this idea. I think that if everyone voted for who they truly believed were the three best candidates, instead of trying to save the eleventh-best player on the ballot, 90% of all ballots would have the same three guys. Of course, I’ve rallied against “strategic voting” since literally the first ballot- I always vote for the three best players, because I always vote based on merit instead of really, really liking someone (excepting a few mega-fandom votes for Smoltz when he might have been the 4th- or 5th-best candidate).

        • 100
          birtelcom says:

          It’s entirely possible to vote on merit without necessarily voting for the top 3 guys eligible on one particular ballot. If a voter’s goal is to try to assure that the best available player wins not just in this round but in future rounds as well, it may make sense for a voter to to use one or more of his or her three choices to try to keep a guy on the ballot who may not be in the top three now but who the voter expects will be the top guy on a future ballot if he can stay on the ballot.

          • 114
            Mike HBC says:

            While that’s totally valid, I would love to see someone make the argument that Rick Reuschel or Kenny Lofton will ever be one of the three best players on the ballot (and I say that as a big Kenny Lofton fan).

          • 117
            Dr. Doom says:

            It’s just too hard to say who the best play on the 1881 ballot will be, as of right now. Is it Johnny Evers? If so, and Lofton and Reuschel are still around, I would gladly vote for one of them over Evers, assuming that the more qualified players have been elected. I think it’s just too hard to know what we’re going to be thinking 60 some weeks from now, so I can totally understand people trying to keep their favorites around. It’s a valid point birtelcom makes, and not one I immediately thought of.

        • 105
          Dr. Doom says:

          I, too, have avoided strategic voting each round, including this one. I would much rather have had Ron Santo than Mariano Rivera. Plenty of reasonable people disagree quite drastically on Mo’s value; I doubt 90% of us would put him in on this ballot, even solely on merit. Over 50%? For sure. Maybe even 75%. But I’m almost positive it wouldn’t be 90%.

          • 112
            Mike HBC says:

            That’s a fair statement, Doom. I don’t think it would dip down to 50%, but I could see 65-70%

  42. 80
    Artie Z. says:

    Griffey, Perry, Murray

  43. 90
    Hartvig says:

    Griffey, McCovey, Sandberg

    It absolutely kills me not to vote for Santo. Grich & Martinez at least have a little cushion and Sweet Lou has the votes. Depending on how the rest of the voting goes in this round I may come back and change this. With all that’s coming on the horizon as far as talent goes I could see a year when we have half a dozen holdovers fall of the ballot in one fell swoop.

  44. 91
    mosc says:

    I require myself to vote for the best player on the ballot, so that’s how I can fathom leaving Jr. off even though I guess he’s going to win over Mo. I’m not voting for him because I’d rather have Mo, not because I don’t think he’s a shoe-in.

    Mo, Perry, Biggio

  45. 99
    RonG says:

    Grich, McCovey, Perry

  46. 103
    Josh says:

    The thing is, everybody has their own different criteria to determine who is a better player or who isn’t. If everybody had the exact same criteria, this would be a pretty boring discussion. the different criteria for choosing is the reason there isn’t just 1 person picking a Hall of Fame. For those who are going by total career WAR, regardless of position or role, then Jerry Koosman is better than Mariano Rivera. If that’s somebody’s rationale, so be it.

    A friend (who knows nothing about baseball) was having an issue and I actually explained it along these lines and compared Ty Cobb to Babe Ruth. Who is the best player ever? (PLEASE DO NOT START THIS DEBATE HERE, IT’S AN EXAMPLE). If you value batting average and steals, it’s Cobb. If you value home runs more, it’s Ruth. It’s all subjective based on what priorities you place on value.

    • 104
      Artie Z. says:

      C’mon, what fun is it to not debate? Actually I think it is less of an issue with Ruth and Cobb than it is with the pitchers. Ruth likely has the most overall value and the highest value/PA or game or AB or whatever you like.

      Ruth is the only player with 500 PAs and 0.015 WAR/PA (or 1.5 WAR/100 PAs) in history. That’s pretty impressive – Mike Trout has had an amazing start to his career and he’s not accumulating WAR at that rate, though he makes the next list (as does Cobb).

      There are 27 players (including Ruth) who meet the 500 PAs and 0.01 WAR/PA in history (or 1 WAR/100 PAs). Most of those are players we tend to think of as “inner circle” – Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays, A-Rod, Schmidt, Mantle, Williams, Gehrig, Pujols, Musial, DiMaggio, Hornsby, Jackie Robinson, Cobb, Speaker, Wagner, Lajoie, Eddie Collins, and Shoeless Joe. Brouthers and Ross Barnes are 19th century players on the list, Mike Trout is the wunderkind on the list, and there are a couple of advanced stat favorites, Longoria and Utley, who also make the list (but could easily drop off with poor finishes to their careers – Rickey Henderson would have been on the list if he retired after age 36).

      If you count those names you’ll have 25 guys. The last two are currently active players. One is Andrelton Simmons, who is just getting started and had a big defensive WAR season. And the last guy on the list is … drumroll … Craig Gentry. He’s amassed 7.7 WAR in 763 PAs. That seems like a Doug quiz right there – how does Craig Gentry end up on THAT list of players?

      Of course if you do this with pitchers then you get Mariano FAR above everyone else (0.044 WAR/IP, or 4.4 WAR/100 IP). Pedro is the best SP, with 3.04 WAR/100 IP. And so that’s a huge gap between RP and SP (Kimbrel is the only other pitcher with 200 IP and 4 WAR/100 IP), and even Pedro had a “short” career for a SP (he’s 162nd in career IP). And so that’s why this debate about Ruben’s cousin goes on.

      • 120
        bells says:

        Artie, thanks for this summary, it gives quite a bit of context to chew on about how careers develop (at least in terms of WAR), and is relevant to the current discussion or relievers’ roles in the game. Craig Gentry, eh?

      • 121
        Paul E says:

        Curiously enough, 500 PA (actually 502) represents a “qualified/eligible” player for the batting title. Likewise, 162 innings will get you an ERA title. Based on that line of illogical thinking (my own, of course), Mariano Rivera is the greatest player in the history of the universe, past and present, at 7.13 WAR/162 innings.

        I believe my comments adequately demonstrate the futility/absurdity of comparing relievers with position players and, probably, even starting pitcher comparisons are a stretch as well. Either that, or I may have stumbled upon the true inaccuracies, fallacies, and inadequacies of WAR in general.

        Wow! WTH are we going to do without WAR???!!!

        • 124
          birtelcom says:

          502 PAs also happens to be about a that Mariano crosses when you count up his batters faced in post-season games. Actually he faced 527 batters in his post-season career, which as you point out Paul, is a full worth of activity for a hitter. Post-season batters agaisnt Rivera had a slash line of .212 OBP/.227 SLG/.438 OPS. In the 2000 regular season Pedro Martinez had one of the greatest seasons a pitcher has ever had, facing 817 batters and holding them to a .473 OPS. Pedro was pitching at the height of the recent high-scoring binge, but on the other hand Mariano was facing only playoff-worthy teams, many of them during that same high-scoring era. Yes, relief pitchers have an advantage over starters, but even adjusting for that, Mariano’s career post-season record seems to me equivalent to one of the great single-season pitching performances in history.

          How about this one. Mo’s Win Probability Added over his 527 batters-faced post-season career is 11.69. WPA numbers are only available back to 1945, but within that constraint the highest WPA regular seasons for any pitcher have been:
          Doc Gooden (1985) 9.93
          Willie Hernandez (1984) 8.65
          Dean Chance (1964) 8.42
          John Hiller (1973) 8.39
          Sandy Koufax (1965) 8.34

          • 126
            mosc says:

            WPA for a starter and a closer is… not fair at all.

            If you’re a starter and you’re on the road, your team could score a bunch in the top of the first and effectively suck away all the potential WPA.

            If you’re a closer you enter a 1 run game with 3 outs left that’s a finite but sizable chunk and it’s all yours to go get, no bats required. if you needed bats, you wouldn’t be in the game.

            A closer doesn’t have more to lose, starters rarely get pulled early unless they’ve done terribly. A closer gets a horrific WPA when he takes an L but the wager is higher per inning, the leverage is higher.

            WPA is what closers do.

          • 137
            Paul E says:


            Let’s take all this stuff to the Nth degree and put up a guy with a .333/.445/.683 slash line in the postseason.

            And, if we exponentially take his numbers in 51 career postseason games out to his 2046 career games, he becomes 1/2 Teddy Ballgame, 1/2 Babe Ruth with 640 career homers, 1,800 RBI, 5,000 total bases, with the 2nd greatest OPS ever….and no rings (teammates not good enough?).

            Is Carlos Beltran a Hall of Famer if his career ended this past October? I digress. Anyway, my point is that in a small sample, anything is possible

    • 107
      oneblankspace says:

      Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2013, Played 5% of games at P, (requiring HR>=300), sorted by greatest Home Runs, there is only one player on the list. I don’t subscribe to the play index, but he has 714 home runs.

      • 109
        mosc says:

        How low does that HR total have to go to get someone other than Ruth? 50?

        • 111
          RJ says:

          76. Rick Ankiel. Then it’s Johnny Lindell at 72, whose career arc went reliever-outfielder-starting pitcher/part time .300 hitter.

          After that it’s full-time (or near enough) pitchers: Wes Ferrell (38), Bob Lemon (37), Red Ruffing (36), Warren Spahn (35), Earl Wilson (35)…

          I’m guessing Lindell is the only player to have lead the league in total bases (as a hitter) and either walks or wild pitches (as a pitcher) in his career.

  47. 106
    opal611 says:

    For the 1969 election, I’m voting for:
    -Ryne Sandberg
    -Ken Griffey Jr.
    -Gaylord Perry

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

  48. 108
    mosc says:

    We’re on pace for a 1970 round too, wow. We really aught to speed this thing up.

    • 113
      birtelcom says:

      “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” –from The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

    • 118
      Dr. Doom says:

      In the initial post, when we were still in the process of determining how this thing would go, I believe birtelcom pointed out that it would take over two years. One election per week for 112 (or more, depending on the next HOF ballot) weeks is over two years. 1969 and 1970 ballots have been inevitable since the very beginning of the COG.

  49. 110
    donburgh says:

    Ken Griffey, Mo Rivera, Craig Biggio

  50. 122
    jajacob says:

    Griffey, Perry, Winfield.

    I find it amazing all the people who say no steroid candidates in the HOF but make no motion to throw out Perry.

    • 123
      birtelcom says:

      I can make an argument for distinguishing on-the-field cheating like Perry’s, which is at least in theory catchable with vigilant umpiring, from off-the-field cheating such as use of banned PEDs. But I’m a lawyer, I can make an argument for just about anything.

  51. 125
    mosc says:

    I forgot Winfield survived on this ballot another round. Please change my vote:

    Mo, Perry, Winfield

  52. 127
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    141.0 IP
    86 H
    13 R
    11 ER
    21 BB
    110 SO
    2 Homers

    96 postseason games

    58 appearances of more than one inning.

    53 Inherited runners

    10 Inherited runners scored

    6 Games of -WPA

    In games with an ALi (Average Leverage Index) of greater than 1.5

    41 games

    70.1 IP

    3/2 R/ER

    • 128
      Artie Z. says:

      81 IP

      55 H
      19 R
      17 ER
      17 BB
      92 K
      6 HRs


      9 postseason games

      8 CGs (one of the 10 inning variety), the other an 8 inning outing (his first postseason start – had to work out the jitters)

      Gibby doesn’t inherit runners. Nor does he leave inherited runners.


      He also hit 2 HRs.


      If you had to pick Rivera or Gibson for your team for the postseason, who do you pick? I go Gibby, because he racked up 81 innings in 3 series. It took Rivera 32 series to rack up his numbers – Gibby can almost win a team a World Series single handed. I mean he practically did that in 1967. The most innings Rivera ever pitched in a single postseason series (series, not year) was 8.

      • 129
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        I’d take

        1905 Mathewson
        1967 Gibson
        2001 Randy Johnson

        and have some 1916 Babe Ruth for long relief.

      • 130
        birtelcom says:

        Sure, you’d want Gibson for a single post-season. But what if you knew you were going to be in 96 post-season games over the years, and that over those 96 games Gibson would pitch only in 9 but Rivera could go in every one of those games, pitching more than one inning in 58 of them. That decision would no longer be so clear, to me anyway.

        • 136
          Artie Z. says:

          But you can’t compare like that – if Gibson’s team made the playoffs all the years those Yankee teams made the playoffs with all the extra rounds he wouldn’t pitch in just 9 games. He would probably pitch 7 games in a single postseason, and even if we adjust for current usage he might pitch 40 innings in a postseason (Randy Johnson did that in 2001 – the over 40 innings part).

          Andy Pettitte was on many of those Yankee teams with Rivera. Pettitte pitched 276.2 innings in the postseason (for NYY and HOU). I would guess if the Yankees had Bob Gibson on their roster he would have pitched that many innings, and he would likely have been more effective than Andy Pettitte because, meaning no disrespect to Pettitte who was a fine pitcher, I think we would all agree that Bob Gibson was a better pitcher than Andy Pettitte.

          And if you were to ask me to choose between 276.2 postseason innings from Bob Gibson or 141 from Mariano – or if I were a Yankee fan if I thought having Bob Gibson on the team during those playoff years would be better than having Mariano – well, it’s not a contest. And I like Rivera – he’s a great pitcher, but I’d rather have Gibson on that team.

          • 141
            birtelcom says:

            We all have different questions we ask as we evaluate and compare players. You are right that if the question is who would I rather have on a particular team, no disputing you are right it would be Bob Gibson over Mariano Rivera. But if we are comparing actual post-season career to actual post-season career, whose would I rather have for my franchise, Gibby’s 9 games or Mariano’s 96, I’d probably go for Mariano’s 96.

          • 177
            mosc says:

            Gibson is way above the bar Rivera has to clear for this exercise, don’t you think?

            If you want to talk about “Greatest post season pitcher ever”, that’s not the most pertinent to this conversation but I’d still take Rivera. Gibson was better on a per series basis no doubt. You can put his 1967 world series up there against any player on either side of the plate. Rivera never dominated a series like that, never. Not even close. But we’re talking about post season, year in and year out, across a career. Nobody had a post season career remotely like Rivera.

            I’d love to get a count of post season pitchers that gave up more HR’s in one game than Rivera did in 96 appearances.

          • 182
            birtelcom says:

            There have been 72 times a single pitcher has given up three or more homers in a post-season game. Catfish Hunter accounts for four of those himself. There was one such game in 2013, by Anibal Sanchez. The first time it happened was by Bill Sherdel in the 1928 World Series. The second time it happened was the “Called Shot” game in the 1932 World Series. The only relief pitcher to give up three or more homers in a post-season game has been Paul Abbott, in a 2001 ALDS game that his team, the Mariners (who dominated the regular season that year), lost 17-2.

  53. 131
    T-Bone says:

    Bubble saving time and, as a current commercial for a home-soda making machine states: “Everybody love bubbles”
    I cannot vouch for the reliability of that statement, but I can vote for bubble sitters that I want to see maybe someday have their day….

    D. Allen

    My apologies to Mr. Santo who has 2 rounds guaranteed.

    • 138
      Lawrence Azrin says:


      Speaking of bubbles – there are currently 50 votes cast, and four on-the-bubble candidates with exactly five votes. So – if any of these do not recieve any more votes, but more people cast COG votes, they are off the ballot.

      There are also three non-bubble COG candidates with exactly five votes. It should be interesting how this plays out.

  54. 132
    paget says:

    *Rivera (sui generis)
    *McCovey (personally, I was surprised to see how much of a lead in Rbat he had over Junior.)
    *Winfield (my bubble candidate; I’d be ok voting Griffey and letting him go, but I see that all of the players I was expecting/hoping would drop off this round –alomar, sandberg, lofton– are garnering enough strategic votes to probably stay on. So, I guess I’ll follow suit.)

  55. 133
    Nadig says:

    Griffey, Martinez, Lofton.

  56. 134
    JamesS says:

    Griffey, Edgar, Smoltz

  57. 135
    aweb says:

    Griffey, Perry, Grich

  58. 139
    Jeff B says:

    Griffey, McCovey & Murray

  59. 140
    Richard Chester says:

    Martinez, Griffey, Rivera

  60. 142
    Teddy BB says:

    My vote goes to Griffey, Perry, & Smoltz

  61. 144
    Arsen says:

    Griffey, Allen, Sandberg

  62. 145
    Insert Name Here says:

    Initial vote based solely on merit:

    1. Ken Griffey, Jr. (7.4 WAR/162 during 11-yr peak of 1990-2000)
    2. Ron Santo (7.0 WAR/162 during 10-yr peak of 1963-72)
    3. Gaylord Perry (5.9 WAR/162 during 13-yr peak of 1964-76)

    Ranking of other candidates:

    4. Kenny Lofton (6.7 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1992-99)
    5. Willie McCovey (6.7 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1963-70) — Manual override (originally ranked #9)
    6. Bobby Grich (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1972-83)
    7. Dick Allen (6.6 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1964-72)
    8. Ryne Sandberg (6.2 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1984-92)
    9. Craig Biggio (5.8 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1991-99)
    10. Lou Whitaker (5.5 WAR/162 during 15-yr peak of 1979-93)
    11. Eddie Murray (5.7 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1978-86)
    12. Edgar Martínez (6.4 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1995-2001)
    13. Rick Reuschel (5.5 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1973-80)
    14. John Smoltz (5.8 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99)
    15. Dave Winfield (5.3 WAR/162 during 9-yr peak of 1976-84)
    16. Jeff Cirillo (5.1 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1996-2001)

  63. 146
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Biggio, Rivera, Griffey Jr.

  64. 147
    BryanM says:

    Back , after missing the fun for awhile – griffey, whitaker, perry

  65. 148
    Mike G. says:

    Rivera, Reuschel, Lofton

  66. 149
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Reuschel, Murray, Lofton

  67. 151
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Griffey is a lock.
    Rivera and Perry need help to get to 50%.
    And we could have a 10-way tie for 4th place.

    Kenny Lofton
    Mariano Rivera
    Gaylord Saliva Vaseline Perry

    • 153
      David Horwich says:

      At this point (61 ballots cast) Perry would need to appear on 9 straight ballots, or 10 of 11, to reach 50% (unless there are vote changes, which would alter the calculation). A long shot, at best.

      On the other hand, we’re pretty much guaranteed to have a few players lose a round of eligibility – as things stand, with the top 3 candidates drawing so many votes, only 11 other players can receive 10% of the vote; and 18 players have received a vote this round.

  68. 152
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    60+ WAR, not voted into the COG
    (insomnia special)

    66.8 Alomar
    60.4 Sheffield (not on ballot)

    68.1 Lofton
    66.5 Smoltz

    64.9 Biggio
    68.5 K. Brown (NOB)

    71.8 Palmiero (NOB)

    68.3 E. Martinez
    62.0 McGwire (NOB)
    61.7 Cone (NOB)

    67.6 Sandberg

    74.8 Whitaker

    68.2 Murray

    65.6 Randolph (NOB)
    64.4 Dawson (NOB)
    62.5 Eckersley (NOB)

    60.1 K Hernandez (NOB)

    66.7 Dw Evans (NOB)
    65.9 Bu Bell (NOB)
    64.0 Winfield

    71.0 Grich
    68.2 Reuschel

    64.4 Reg Smith (NOB)
    68.7 Sutton (NOB)

    68.0 Nettles (NOB)
    61.6 Bando (NOB)

    62.3 T John (NOB)

    70.6 Santo
    60.7 Wil Davis (NOB)
    66.1 Tiant (NOB)

    64.4 McCovey
    63.7 B Williams (NOB)
    93.7 G Perry

  69. 154
    fireworks says:

    Junior. Mo. The Grich Who Stole Christmas.

  70. 155
    Kirk says:

    Alomar, Reuschel & Allen

  71. 157
    Hartvig says:

    I don’t remember for certain if I’ve ever changed my vote before but if I have it’s more than 30 rounds ago. During some of the initial votes I waited until the last minute to vote until someone convinced me that was unfair to other voters who did the heavy lifting to ensure that the best qualified candidate in each round was selected. Since that time I’ve voted for who I feel is the most deserving candidate on a particular ballot plus 2 others that I am absolutely convinced are COG worthy. They may not necessarily be who I feel are the 2 & 3 most qualified candidates on the ballot but being ALMOST certain that you belong won’t get you a vote either- at least until such time as someone convinces me that they absolutely do belong or we get to a ballot where there are only 2 candidates I feel are absolutely deserving.

    Since I don’t want to violate my own “most deserving” rule- although that would be by far the easiest way to do this- I am going to change my vote from Sandberg to Santo.

    I have voted for Sandberg virtually every round since he came on the ballot and he has no banked eligibility remaining but at this moment he has 8 votes out of 63 cast for he has at least a 7 ballot cushion. My vote change will still only leave Santo with 5 votes but I think at that level he’s more likely to see a little support from a couple of last minute strategic voters. McCovey is still one vote shy as well but I can’t do anything to change that except to wait and see.

    My hope is that if there turns out to be more than a hillbilly handful of ballots still outstanding that at least one of them will turn out to be a Sandberg fan.

    New ballot
    Griffey, Santo, McCovey

    • 158
      mosc says:

      I too hold to the “most deserving” rule and think it’s important to uphold the integrity of the process. Good stuff.

  72. 159
    Hub Kid says:

    Why does Pedro Martinez have to be so ‘young’? It would take two more ‘going backwards’ rounds to get to 1971, so there is no easy way to fit Pedro into the COG system.

    • 160
      mosc says:

      You know, looking at all these Halladay stats compared to current HOF’ers has re-assured me how completely ludicrous it is to argue that Pedro doesn’t belong in the HOF because he didn’t pitch >3,000 IP or reach even 250 wins. He dwarfs Halladay in every measurable way besides a few extra complete games (Pedro had 13 in a damn season though, lets not say there’s THAT much even there).

      • 164
        jeff hill says:

        IMHO, Pedro is the greatest pitcher alive! His peak is better than Koufax because he did it in the steroid era and in hitters parks at home vs. Dodger stadium in the 60’s pitcher’s dream era with a higher mound. His numbers are unmatched and his 7 year “peak” in Boston is phenomenal to say the least.

        117-37, 2.52 era, 1383inn-1683K’s, 10.9 K/9, 6.8 H/9, 190ERA+, 5.45 K/BB, WHIP 0.978, 3 Cy Young awards, 1 2nd place and one 3rd place finish, 56.2 WAR…8.0 avg WAR season.

      • 165
        jeff hill says:

        IMHO, Pedro is the greatest pitcher alive! His peak is better than Koufax because he did it in the steroid era and in hitters parks at home vs. Dodger stadium in the 60’s pitcher’s dream era with a higher mound. His numbers are unmatched and his 7 year “peak” in Boston is phenomenal to say the least.

        117-37, 2.52 era, 1383inn-1683K’s, 10.9 K/9, 6.8 H/9, 190ERA+, 5.45 K/BB, WHIP 0.978, 3 Cy Young awards, 2 2nd place and one 3rd place finish, 56.2 WAR…8.0 avg WAR season.

        • 167
          bstar says:

          I don’t agree that Pedro should be considered the greatest ever (not by a long shot), but that’s for another day.

          Jeff: if you use 1997-2003 as Pedro’s seven-year peak his numbers look even better than the ones you listed.

          • 169
            Phil says:

            I think Pedro will sail in as soon as he goes on the ballot, as he deserves to. But I too would stop at least a dozen or so pitchers short of greatest-ever for the simple reason that his two most phenomenal years—and phenomenal they were—were both under 220 IP. (He did get to 240 IP in his phenomenal Expo year.)

        • 173
          Luis Gomez says:

          I think there is a difference between Jeff Hill´s “greatest pitcher ALIVE” and “greatest pitcher EVER”.

          Greatest Pitcher Alive: Greg Maddux.
          Greatest Pitcher Ever: Cy Young.

          Greatest Player Alive: Willie Mays.
          Greatest Player Ever: The Babe.

    • 163
      birtelcom says:

      Well, if we’re all still around in a few years, the idea would be, after we complete all the backward COG voting, to keep it up to date once a year by moving forward in time, along with the BBWAA. So even assuming we get done with all inductions back to the Cobbs and Mathewsons, we should plan on getting back together two years from now to add in the 1971 birth year class.

      • 193
        Hub Kid says:

        Birtelcom, thank you for answering my unstated question.

        At about 40 a year- 2 more years from now would get us to approximately 119 ‘electing COG rounds’… so there is a chance we will get to ponder 1971- and it looks like Pedro would not have much trouble from the voters here.

  73. 162
    Jeff B says:

    Change my vote from Griffey, McCovey & Murray to Winfield, McCovey & Murray.

    I don’t usually like to change, in fact I don’t know if I have done so yet, but Junior has this round won, so I’ll try to save Senor Mayo.

  74. 166
    David Horwich says:

    Please change my vote from:

    Alomar, Griffey, Sandberg


    Alomar, Sandberg, Santo

  75. 168
    bstar says:

    Time to save some bubble boys on the brink:

    Alomar, Murray, Ryno

  76. 170
    Kat says:

    Willie McCovey
    John Smoltz
    Dave Winfield

    • 171
      birtelcom says:

      Welcome to the Circle of Greats voting, Kat. McCovey, Smoltz and Winfield, all at the edge of the 10% vote level so far this round, may send you personalized thank you notes.

      • 176
        mosc says:

        Strategic voting from a first time voter is suspicious. Especially without some explanation why Ken Griffey Jr. is not worthy of making his list…

        Just saying

        • 178
          David Horwich says:

          I don’t think anyone owes anyone any kind of explanation about why they did or didn’t vote for any particular player.

        • 179
          birtelcom says:

          …or her list.

        • 195
          Chris C says:

          While it could be suspicious, people should be given the benefit of the doubt. There are limits in my eyes – such as the Rockforthehall vote that helped put Raines in at the last minute – and I really wanted Raines to go in.

          • 196
            Dr. Doom says:

            Also, the person who engages in voter fraud in a PRETEND election is a sad person, indeed. So sad, in fact, that it’s just best to assume that such a person doesn’t exist, and that sometimes we get new voters, and sometimes they don’t come back.

          • 197
            bstar says:

            …and one way to make sure they don’t come back is to label their voting as “suspicious”. What’s going on here?

            birtelcom, if you have the time tonight, can you remind people why strategic voting is not only acceptable, but a necessary part of this process?

          • 198
            birtelcom says:

            There are almost as many different approaches to the voting as there are voters, all of them legitimate. Indeed, the voting rules have evolved specifically to create many different moving parts to every round. Sometimes there is a close battle at the top of the ballot all week, sometimes the close calls have to do with how players are doing further down. How you choose to allocate your limited number of choices is up to you.

            If there really are a few folks out there who vote more than once, I guess my view is that’s not really in the spirit of the voting, but we’re operating on the honor system, I’m giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, and it seems clear to me that the vast majority of our voters are unique voices representing their individual views and choices. And no player stays on the ballot here for long without a significant and consistent level of support. One or two votes gets a player a shout-out, which can happpily add diversity to the discussion here, but it takes more than a few votes to have a real effect on the election process.

          • 199
            bstar says:

            Sorry to put you on the spot, b-com. But thanks.

          • 200
            John Z says:

            If i may interject my opinion here, have you given any thought to possibly holding an anonymous ballot for one or two rounds just to see how it might affect balloting or ballots received? I mean the long and short of it is that someone could follow the comments and make their own ballots and therefore change their vote or add additional votes for their favorite players on the bubble but that would make it more challenging and difficult for those that would do such a thing. For example; Birtelcom could keep a running total as always but it would not be published until the last hours of voting.

        • 204
          Kat says:

          Yikes! Did I stumble into some kind of weird hornet’s nest or something? I only recently discovered this blog, and I really liked the premise of the Circle of Greats. Are there rules to the voting that I missed? (Maybe something about no girls being allowed to vote 🙁

          I saw that these three players were “on the bubble” and thought they deserved to stay in the mix. Particularly Willie McCovey, who was one of my dad’s favorites.

          • 205
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            No Kat, no hornets here.
            Maybe the only sports blog around that doesn’t devolve into name-calling, in fact.

            And actually, 90% of us are girls.
            We just take on macho names like “Dr Doom” and “John Autin” to feel like we have a pair.

          • 206
            birtelcom says:

            All kidding aside, Kat, I’ll repeat what I said at comment 171: your are welcome to the COG voting, and we hope you continue to participate. Your vote this round had an immediate impact — without your ballot, Winfield would be off the ballot, McCovey would be sitting on the bubble and Smoltz would have lost a year of eligibility. So you’ve already made a significant contribution to the COG process.

            One commenter raised a concern that a new voter voting for three players all on the cusp of losing eligibility might actually be a previous voter stuffing the ballot box for his or her favorites. The consensus response has been that although we understand the concern, it’s not really something we need to worry about. So in short, we’re glad you joined in and look forward to your continuing to chime in with votes and/or comments.

  77. 172
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    How many people are being voted into the COG?
    112, yes?

    The top 112 players, by WAR, after excluding the “young” guys:

    Ivan Rod

    … leaves us with Don Sutton at 112, with 67.3
    Bubble boy is Don Drysdale, at 67.2

    Quite a clumping in the 60s.

    150+ – 6 players
    125-150 – 6
    100-125 – 19
    90s – 13
    80s – 17
    70s – 38
    60s – 79

    • 174
      David Horwich says:

      You left Pedro Martinez off the list of “young guys”. And we should exclude the “old guys”, too, since we’re leaving aside 19th century players, as far as I know:


      And maybe Bill Dahlen, George Davis, and Cy Young, too.

      That would make the cutoff Craig Biggio and Red Faber, tied with 64.9 bWAR, just ahead of Roy Halladay at 64.6. If Dahlen, Davis, and Young are ineligible then the cutoff comes at Dawson/McCovey/R Smith, tied at 64.4, ahead of Winfield with 64.0.

      • 175
        birtelcom says:

        My general intention at the moment is not to include guys who played the majority of their seasons in the majors prior to 1900. This test would make Cy and Dahlen COG-eligible, but would leave George Davis right on the exact edge, with ten seasons in the 1890s and ten in the 1900s.

        The 112 number will increase based on how many guys the BBWAA votes to induct from their current ballot. I think the consensus is that Maddux is a shoo-in, so that would bring us to 113, plus more to the extent the BBWAA adds more.

        • 180
          Voomo Zanzibar says:

          So are we stopping at a prescribed birth year
          (1867, 1870?), or are we clumping together the older players once the pre-1900 pickins get slim?

          And why pre-1900, as opposed to 1893
          (the year of 60’6 standardization)?

          We’re not going to get to argue Tim Keefe vs John Smoltz?
          Bid McPhee vs Roberto Alomar?
          Dick Allen vs Buttercup Dickerson?

          • 181
            birtelcom says:

            I don’t know yet exactly how we will do the last group of years.

            Why the majority-of-seasons-in-the-1900s cutoff? Because it gets us Cy Young and Willie Keeler, who the BBWAA voted to induct, indicating that the cohort in which those guys fall was one the BBWAA took seriously as within their jurisdiction. If it was within theirs it should be within ours. My sense is guys who played a majority of their years in the 1800s were never really treated by the BBWAA as significantly within their bailiwick. If part of the point remains to compare our decisions to the BBWAA’s, keeping an apples-to-apples comparison needs to be part of our ground rules.

          • 183
            Paul E says:

            Voomo Z @ 180:

            So I check out Buttercup Dickerson and who do you think shows up 130 years later as one of his career-similar comps? None other than Tony Plush. Which leads to the next question – whatever happened to Nyger Jamid Morgan?

  78. 192
    The Diamond King says:

    Griffey, Murray, Alomar

  79. 194
    Hub Kid says:

    Ken Griffey Junior, Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez

  80. 201
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    20 minutes for someone to log in as ReuschelMuscle.

  81. 202
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Those 15 holdovers have got the next three elections to make a move.
    Then the big boys take the field…

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