Circle of Greats: 1931 Part 1 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 48th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the first of two rounds of voting for players born in 1931.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

This first round of voting for 1931 birth year players is for those born in July through December of that year. The next round of voting will be for players born in January through June of 1931. This round’s new group joins the holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full set of players eligible to receive your votes in this round of balloting.

As usual, this new group of 1931-born players, in order to join the eligible list, must 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 (unless they appear on 75% or more of the ballots, in which case they win six added eligibility rounds).  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 PST Thursday, February 27th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:00 PM PST, Tuesday, February 25th.

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 1931 Round 1 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-1931 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 11 current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility.  The new group of 1931 birth-year players are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors.

Lou Whitaker (eligibility guaranteed for 8 rounds)
Sandy Koufax (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
John Smoltz (eligibility guaranteed for 4 rounds)
Juan Marichal (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Ron Santo (eligibility guaranteed for 2 rounds)
Craig Biggio (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Bobby Grich (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Kenny Lofton (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Edgar Martinez (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Willie McCovey (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)
Ryne Sandberg (eligibility guaranteed for this round only)

Everyday Players (born in 1931, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Mickey Mantle
Eddie Mathews
Frank Bolling
Joe Cunningham
Bob Skinner
Andy Carey
Sammy Esposito

Pitchers (born in 1931, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Jim Bunning
Ed Roebuck

163 thoughts on “Circle of Greats: 1931 Part 1 Balloting

  1. 1
    Jeff Harris says:

    Mantle, Matthews, McCovey

  2. 2
    Dr. Doom says:

    Holy newcomers, Batman! It’s a little unfortunate we’re not going to get the head-to-head Mantle-Mays match-up I was hoping for (at least, I assume it’ll be the Mick for the win this round, Mays for the win in the next). Ah well. I’m also disappointed that Eddie Mathews will be a 3rd-ballot guy. But that’s how it goes, I guess.

    Mickey Mantle
    Eddie Mathews
    Ron Santo

    Just for curiosity’s sake, if you’re wondering who had the best best season, who had the best 2nd-best season, who had the best 3rd-best season (etc.) of everyone on the ballot, here’s the list:

    Best season: Mantle, 11.3
    2nd-best: Mantle, 11.3
    3rd-best: Mantle, 10.5
    4th-best: Mantle, 9.5
    5th-best: Mantle, 8.7
    6th-best: Mathews, 7.3
    7th-best: Mathews, 7.3
    8th-best: Mathews, 7.2
    9th-best: Mathews, 6.4
    10th-best: Mantle, 6.0
    11th-best: Mathews, 5.6
    12th-best: Mathews, 5.4
    13th-best: Mathews, 4.6
    14th-best: Whitaker, 3.6
    15th-best: Whitaker, 3.5
    16th-best: Mantle, 2.6
    17th-best: Whitaker, 1.9
    18th-best: Whitaker, 1.5
    19th-best: Smoltz, 0.8
    20th-best: Smoltz, -0.2
    21st-best: Smoltz, -0.5
    22nd-best: McCovey, -0.7 (only player on the ballot with 22 seasons played)

    Those Mantle and Mathews fellas were quite good, no?

    Mathews’ best season (8.3 WAR) is pretty pedestrian for the group we have here – it’s tied with Grich for 8th-best. However, Mathews has some remarkable consistency – EIGHT seasons above 7 WAR. That’s twice as many as anyone else on the ballot, with the exception of Mantle, who had 5 such seasons.

    • 71
      John Autin says:

      Mathews has some remarkable consistency, indeed. For ages 21-31 combined, his 79.1 WAR ranks 16th all-time. He was between 5.6 and 8.3 WAR each of those 11 years. Out of 31 players with 60+ WAR in that span:

      — All but Mathews had at least one year with 8.6+ WAR.
      — All but Mathews, Aaron and Cobb had at least one year with 5.4 WAR or less.

      The age 21-31 spans for teammates Mathews and Aaron overlapped by 9 seasons, 1955-63. Still hard to believe that team took just one championship and two pennants.

      • 78
        no statistician but says:

        1) Actually, Mathews didn’t seem consistent at all at the time. His stats ’56-’58 were in a kind of trough compared to what went before and after, although still impressive enough except for ’58 (120 OPS+, 77 RBI, .251 BA).

        2) In 1956 the Braves finished 1 game out. In ’57 and ’58 they won the pennant. In 1959 they ended the regular season tied with the Dodgers, but lost the first two games in a 3-game playoff. Something that seems obscure to many now, especially the people at B-ref, for some reason, is that there were real playoffs in the National League four times before division play, and once in the AL. The Dodgers lost to the Cards in ’46, lost to the Giants in ’51—the only one people seem to remember—beat the Braves in ’59, and lost to the Giants again in ’62. And, speaking of underachievers, the Ted Williams led Red Sox lost a one-gamer to the Indians in ’48, not the same thing at all as as finishing a game back of the Yankees in ’49—which they also did.

        3) The theory at the time concerning the Braves’ lack of domination with such good personnel was mediocre managers. Fred Haney was a truly bizarre choice, considering his previous record, and look at how he played—or didn’t play—Joe Adcock.

        Another point: the Braves in 1957 were starting to circle the toilet in late May for lack of field leadership—the papers were full of stories about it— and they traded for Red Schoendienst looking for that particular item. Luckily, he had it. The league was so non-competitive in 1959 that they won easily in spite of off years by most of the lineup in the field, including Mathews and Aaron. The pitching staff carried the team.

        • 79
          David Horwich says:

          “Something that seems obscure to many now, especially the people at B-ref, for some reason, is that there were real playoffs in the National League four times before division play, and once in the AL.”

          But these games/series, although “playoffs” in the literal sense of the word, have always been considered part of the regular season, which continues to be true in the divisional era (e.g. the Bucky Dent game, Mariners-Angels in 1995 for the AL West, Mets-Reds in 1999 to determine the NL Wild Card, et al.). So what would you have BB-ref do?

          • 80
            David Horwich says:

            Here’s a list of non-playoff playoff games in the divisional era – am I missing any?

            1978 Yankees-Red Sox (AL East)
            1980 Astros-Dodgers (NL West)
            1995 Mariners-Angels (AL West)
            1998 Cubs-Giants (NL WC)
            1999 Mets-Reds (NL WC)
            2007 Rockies-Padres (NL WC)
            2008 White Sox-Twins (AL Central)
            2009 Twins-Tigers (AL Central)
            2013 Rays-Rangers (AL 2nd WC)

          • 89
            no statistician but says:

            I would have B-ref use a simple asterisk or footnote, as was done in most baseball reference works prior to the 1990s, to send the reader to a brief acknowledgement that there was something special about the season outcome.

            1) People who know no baseball history need to be educated not simply in outcomes but how they were achieved.

            2) Revisionist approaches to history do disservice to those who were involved in the events of past eras and blur, rather than clarify, our views of what went on.

            3) No one living then thought Bobby Thomson’s shot in game three of the 1951 playoffs was a regular season happening, and if you yourself think it was, then perhaps you can fill in the rest of this sentence with your explanation to those people as to why they were, and many still are, deluded in their understanding of this event. If you can’t, then you might reconsider the position you have staked out in # 79 above.

          • 92
            David Horwich says:

            I haven’t staked out any kind of position; I’m simply reporting on how things have been handled.

            I believe the rationale for counting such games as regular season games is that a given regular season hasn’t been finished until the league champion (in the pre-divisional era) or all the playoff slots (in the divisional era) have been determined.

            If you disagree with that line of reasoning that’s fine with me, but your disagreement is with MLB, not with me.

          • 96
            Richard Chester says:

            Why not call those “non-playoff playoff” games tiebreakers.

          • 97
            John Autin says:

            Re: B-R’s lack of tiebreaker notation — While I don’t feel as strongly as nsb, I do think it’s a shortcoming. has a page listing all the regular-season playoff games, and I hate the idea that their site would do *anything* better than B-R.


          • 99
            David Horwich says:

            Sure, “tiebreakers” works fine, or “play-ins” might do, I suppose.

            Another thing that ties these games to the regular season is that, as far as I know, teams are using their regular-season rosters, i.e. they don’t have to pare their expanded September rosters down to playoff size. (On the other hand, since 1995 MLB has been using 6 umpires for these games, which is a post-seasonish feature.)

          • 100
            Richard Chester says:


            There have been at least two regular season games which featured 6 umpires. They were the last two games of the 1949 season between the Yankees and Red Sox which determined the pennant winner. (If you only knew how long I’ve been waiting to bring that up.)

          • 101
            David Horwich says:

            @100 Richard Chester –

            Well, then – glad to give you the opportunity! I didn’t know that, myself.

          • 103
            oneblankspace says:

            (79) Retrosheet has a special page for the Playoff Tiebreakers :


            (100) Opening Day 1969, Yankees at Senators, featured five umpires


          • 105
            RJ says:

            @100 Richard – great knowledge! The audio for the second of those games has been uploaded to Youtube. The late inning excitement starts around the 1 hour 52 minute mark (alas the sound quality also gets a bit sketchy at this point).


          • 106
            John Autin says:

            Richard @100 — Blessed are the patient!

            And I predict you will now get at least two more golden opportunities this year to drop that little nugget. The floodgates have been opened.

          • 108
            Richard Chester says:


            RJ: Thanks for the info but I had already obtained a tape of that game via Baseball Digest about 25 years ago.

            @103: One of the 5 umpires at the 1969 game, Jim Honochick, was also present at the 1949 games. Honochick later made a famous beer commercial with Boog Powell.

          • 109
            Hartvig says:

            One of the funniest of a really clever string of commercials


            “Hey! You’re Boog Powell!”

          • 121
            Richard Chester says:

            RJ: I listened to snippets of that 1949 game on Youtube. That recording is a bit longer than my tapes. But they both cut out an important piece of information. In the top of the 9th Bobby Doerr hit a two-run triple over Joe DiMaggio’s head. Immediately afterwards shifts in the Yankee outfield were announced, Mapes moved to center, Woodling to left and Bauer was brought in as the RF. No mention was made about DiMaggio. Joe had just recovered from a week-long bout of pneumonia and felt that he was still feeling some of its effects which prevented him from catching the ball. He then very graciously had himself removed from the game so as not to cause any more damage. How often do you see that?

        • 81
          John Autin says:

          One odd part of Mathews’s 1958 “off” year was a flukey, crazy-bad performance with RISP. In the prior 5 years, he clouted at a .320/1.094 rate with RISP, ranking 3rd in OPS (behind Williams and Mantle, ahead of Musial and Snider). But in ’58 he hit just .179 with 4 HRs and zero doubles in 117 RISP ABs. Out of 97 players with 100+ PAs with RISP, he ranked 96th in BA and 87th in OPS.

          And so in ’59, perhaps responding to those numbers and to poor performance by his table-setters, Fred Haney did something quite unorthodox: He batted Mathews in the #2 hole all season. And it was a runaway smash hit: Mathews clubbed 46 HRs (19 more than any prior #2 hitter, and still 6 more than any other since) and drove in 114 (30 more than any #2 man in the searchable banks to that time).

          And yes, he even remembered how to hit with men in scoring position.

        • 82
          John Autin says:

          nsb — I think you meant 1958 rather than ’59 in your last paragraph, re: Braves winning despite off years by Mathews & Aaron. They both had monster years in ’59.

          Anyway, the ’58 Braves led the NL in OPS+ and were 2nd in ERA+. An extreme pitcher’s park hurt their batting numbers, but they were comfortably #1 in road scoring and OPS. In fact, they led the NL in road scoring each year from 1955-60, and in OPS+ each year from 1956-61. I don’t think there was ever a contending year where the pitching carried them — no offense to Spahn, Burdette, Bob Buhl & Co.

          • 85
            no statistician but says:


            The OPS+ business—yes, they led the league, but only because it was a down year for the league. Their 102 figure was the lowest they themselves produced in that run.

            I’ll go halfway with you on the last sentence, but Red S, Logan, Mathews, Bruton, and Aaron still had down years for various reasons.

        • 87
          RJ says:

          The reason Mathews’ 1958 season doesn’t show up as a down year by WAR is that his lower offensive output coincided with what WAR considers the best defensive year of his 20s by far.

  3. 3
    Mike says:

    Mickey Mantle (I used to work w/the granddaughter of the scout who signed him. My 1st question in her interview was “Are you related to Tom Greenwade?”)
    Eddie Mathews
    Sandy Koufax

    (Apologies to Juan Marichal & Willie McCovey)

    • 120
      jajacob says:

      6 degrees of separation. I have a Great-Great Uncle who had a daughter who married into the Mantle family. Didn’t find out until a few years ago. Instead of liking many teams and players, if I had known as a kid, I might have been a rabid Yankee fan

      • 122
        John Autin says:

        Speaking of weddings … I recently learned that Yan Gomes, the first Brazilian MLB player, is married to Jenna Hammaker, daughter of 1983 NL ERA champ, Atlee Hammaker.

        I was curious about how they met, so I googled it — and stumbled upon their wedding website.

        I started poking around the pages, but it quickly became clear that it was a template that they never filled out. No wedding photos, no personal background or tale of their meeting, nothing.

        Nothing, that is, but a link to their gift registry at Bed Bath & Beyond.

        So, in case you’re wondering, Yan & Jenna still need the cast-iron bacon grill press and the pulp-control citrus juicer.

        But what’s this — they didn’t register for candlesticks?!?

        • 124
          Paul E says:

          Yeah, and what’s up with the stemless wine glasses? Taaaah-key…

          On another note:
          Percentage of 20 win seasons by African-Americans:

          8.8 % 1947-2013 (32 out of 363 overall)
          10.9% 1951-1990 (29 of 267)
          16.5% 1965-1975 (18 0f 109)

          In the second and third samples, I attempted to incorporate chronologically the “better” and “best” of the 15 pitchers….guys like Gibson and Jenkins (3rd above); then, more broadly, Newcombe, Blue, Stewart, Gibson, Jenkins, and some stragglers.

  4. 4
    mosc says:

    If you’re drafting every player at 18 years old who ever played the game, your #1 pick is Mickey Mantle. I don’t even think it’s that close.

    • 7
      Jeff B says:

      Babe Ruth would be my choice. There has never been a better hitter (#1 in OPS+ by a wide margin) and he was a great pitcher (122 ERA+, top 100 all time). I don’t know how you would choose anyone else unless you are holding segregation against him.

      • 86
        Michael Sullivan says:

        Just a note, even accounting for segregation, there are very few players that have an argument to be better than Ruth, but I want to clarify something about that argument, since I tend to make it:

        It’s not about holding segregation against the great players of the pre-integration period. It’s about recognizing that the replacement level from pre-integration times is not as high because of how much talent wasn’t allowed to play.

        *Especially* before the 30s and 40s, the historical record demonstrates qualitatively, and statistics demonstrate quantitatively that the quality of typical opposition just wasn’t close to what you see in the 60s and going forward. You get a bit of a drop during the expansion era when the league was expanding faster than the player pool, but for the most part, the quality of a typical replacement player has been a long march forward, with a huge speedup during integration, and then a bit of a setback during the expansion era.

        For most of Ruth’s career, there were major league players who probably wouldn’t stick in the minors today. That matters, when you take his feats and compare them to “replacement level”.

        In general it’s essentially impossible to do cross-era comparisons, so you can make a lot of different arguments, and it’s hard to know who’s right. But it’s also very clear to me that if baseball had been integrated, the replacement level would have been higher, because we know for sure that 20 years later, there were negro league players who played in the majors and were on par with the greats, so it’s reasonable to assume that the general quality of the NL games was at worst pretty close to the majors. Which means that integration would have improved every roster significantly, replacing a bunch of guys who were scrubs by modern standards with much better players, including a few that would have had HOF careers.

        So yes, Ruth dominates WAR and WAA. But if the league had been integrated, I don’t think he would have dominated *quite* like he did. I can’t imagine a reasonable adjustment that wouldn’t leave him an inner circle great and still top 5-10 all time position player. But I can certainly imagine adjustments that would put him behind Mays and Bonds, maybe Aaron/Mantle or a couple others depending on how you rate peak vs. total value.

        For lesser players, I really believe that the greats of the post-integration era who racked up 90-100 WAR (Kaline, Schmidt, Morgan, Yaz) are, in fact, comparable to earlier players with 110-130 like Gehrig, Speaker, Wagner and Collins.

        This is one reason I support the candidacy of most of our holdovers here. There are people in the top 118 hall rating that I would kick out to make room for negro league players and some lower rated players with special circumstances, but with a very few exceptions, they don’t include anyone we’ve already voted on — they are the lower tier pre-integration players. Because of segregation, I hit them with a significant WAR/WAA penalty, and most of the guys who are outside the top 75 or so hall rating and played their whole careers pre-integration, I end up thinking don’t belong in COG.

        • 88
          John Autin says:

          Michael, nice statement of the case for a pre-integration WAR discount. At the same time, I think that applies less to Ruth than to any other great of the segregated era, because his different-ness was such a big part of his greatness.

          Through 1931, Ruth hit more than twice as many HRs as anyone else. His slugging average was 22% more than anyone else with 5,000 PAs, and his OPS 17% greater.

          For sure, there were great sluggers in the Negro Leagues in the ’20s, like Oscar Charleston and Turkey Stearnes. And integration surely would have raised the replacement level. But I’m not sure it would have changed how much Ruth stood apart from other star players — WAS, if you will.

          • 98
            Michael Sullivan says:

            Of course Ruth would still be a titan and *the* seminal slugger. And under any reasonable adjustment he’d still look like it in the stats.

            But looking purely at the stats, he could potentially fall behind a *few* other players. You can’t say “let’s make adjustments for everybody but Ruth, because he was so good.”

            He was so good, that making signficant adjustments still leaves him as *arguably* the best player of all time. But it goes from obvious to arguable, in my reckoning.

        • 90
          no statistician but says:

          Michael S:

          I think you overstate the general quality of Negro League players, although in fact neither you nor I nor anyone else really knows how good the competition was up and down the lineups and up and down the leagues over the years. My suspicion, however, is that the quality fell off substantially, and that the bulk of the players—I couldn’t guess what percentage, but well over half—were also “scrubs by modern standards” or less, and would have spent their careers in the minors, had the door of integration been open at the time.

          Or maybe not. But if so, it would probably have been because having such a career path open would have attracted far more physically talented African Americans to professional baseball than did the status quo of the times. Jackie Robinson himself had no interest in playing in the Negro Leagues until quite late,remember, and he found the experience disheartening and frustrating.

          • 94
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            G.H. Ruth out homered every other team in the league in 1920 and 1921.

            Plenty of good arguments to be made regarding integration and replacement level. I think you discredit the argument somewhat using the Babe.

            Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, etc.
            But the Sultan was in his own league.

          • 102
            Michael Sullivan says:

            I’m certainly not saying that every Negro League player could have been a major leaguer, but the best of them would have been, and they would have been replacing the weakest players. The best clearly could compete not just at a major league level but at a hall of fame level, as we saw in the 40s and 50s. The second tier could certainly compete at a replacement-average level, and the rest would end up in the minors or nowhere, sure.

            African americans are/were about 10% of the population. So assuming that the talent is spread roughly equally, we’re talking about replacing the worst 10% of major league players with players who would run the gamut from a hair better up to willie mays, with the average of the influx probably being somewhere around the new league average. Doing that would presumably raise the average level by a couple runs a year, and the replacement level by more than that, say 3-4 runs/year.

            I think it’s reasonable to make that adjustment for pre-integration players, basically dropping their rRep by about 20%.

            One possible argument with those numbers is that black players didn’t get the same kind of training and coaching available to white players, so maybe they weren’t proportionately as skilled. OTOH, for about 30 years african americans were overrepresented in the major leagues, which suggests the opposite, at least in a counterfactual world where they got roughly the same opportunities as black players in the 60s-90s.

            As I say, there’s no way to really know exactly how much the majors would have been improved by integration, but it’s *very* clear that they would have been noticeably so. You want to say 2 runs instead of 3 or 4, maybe, could be. That’s still an adjustment of 4 WAR over a 20 year career.

            That said, I was misremembering the Babe’s total as just his position player total. When you add in his pitching totals, he really is so far ahead, that a reasonable adjustment for pre-integration just brings him *close* to the other guys, He probably still is #1.

  5. 5
    JEV says:

    Mantle, Koufax, and McCovey (Barely over Mathews)

    • 8
      Dr. Doom says:

      I’m intrigued by the choice of McCovey over Mathews. If I may ask, why?

      Superficially, they are probably two of the most similar players I have ever seen in terms of batting numbers. McCovey played about 190 more games (an 8% advantage), but Mathews still wound up with over 400 more PAs (a 4% advantage). So I’m not really sure to say who played more. Let’s call it a wash. McCovey has a tiny edge in OPS+: 147-143. Even their slash lines, unadjusted, are ridiculously similar:

      Mathews: .271/.376/.509
      McCovey: .270/.374/.515

      Even their home run totals are eerily similar – 521 for McCovey, 512 for Mathews. McCovey out ribbied Mathews by about 100, but Mathews outscored McCovey by about 300. Again, perhaps you want to call that a wash because San Fran in the late-1960s was a much worse environment than Milwaukee in the late-1950s. Fine by me.

      Still, the main difference that I see is that McCovey was a defensive liability, while Mathews played 3rd to a draw (by reputation; the numbers back up that assertion about McCovey and call Mathews a plus fielder). Add in the fact that Mathews was at the more difficult position, and I’m not really sure how McCovey gets the slight edge, unless it’s just a strategic choice. I’m curious as to your reasoning, JEV, if you’d care to elaborate.

  6. 6
    Bix says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Koufax

  7. 9
    oneblankspace says:

    If we’re doing the front half of the alphabet born in 1931, Ernie Banks should be on the ballot.

    • 11
      Hartvig says:

      Doug went by month of birth (Jan-Jun first, Jul-Dec second) rather than alphabet. It thru me for a loop at first too but I knew when I saw Bob Skinner that something must have changed.

      • 13
        Dr. Doom says:

        I think, technically speaking, the official rules say it’s supposed to be alphabetical. But it’s just for fun anyway, and I actually think this method makes way more sense, as it’s more in keeping with the otherwise chronological COG. Good choice, Doug!

        • 17
          Doug says:

          Normally, with the number of players born in this year, we’d only do one round.

          But, given the marquis quality of this birth year, made sense to split it up.

          • 27
            David Horwich says:

            Splitting it up chronologically has the effect of making both parts of the elections tough ones for the holdovers – if we’d gone alphabetically, this part would have been a relatively “open” election, with Banks the strongest new candidate, and thus perhaps an opportunity for some of the holdovers to build up additional rounds of eligibility.

            But with Mantle and Mathews on this ballot, to be followed by Mays next time around, some of the holdovers will do well just to stay on the ballot. I’m not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, just noting.

          • 52
            Doug says:

            Thanks for the tip, David. That thought never crossed my mind.

            Birtelcom didn’t give me any instructions on this round – I just noted (from his summary spreadsheet) that he wanted to split up the round. I assumed that was to avoid having too many marquis names in the same round. So, I looked for a way to split up Mays, Mantle and Mathews (who, of course, would be in the same round alphabetically), and this way seemed as good as any.

          • 53
            David Horwich says:

            As I understand it, the purpose of the two-part elections is not to divide up the talent of any particular birth years, but rather to have more elections while the talent pool is deeper.

            In any case, there’s no inherently “correct” method for dividing up the players; doing it by the calendar divided them into 2 less even parts than using the first half of an alphabetical list, but it doesn’t really matter how many non-serious candidates are on the ballot, none of them are going to draw any support anyway.

          • 64
            Michael Sullivan says:

            I want to elect most of our holdovers, but I like the idea of spreading it out. A holdover who could make it in over Ernie Banks was probably going to stick around and eventually make it anyway, and no matter how you split up this birth year it will stress the holdover list. We’re adding 3 slam dunks and a borderliner who will draw support. No matter how you do that it stresses the holdovers.

            And the idea of massing them in one round so that a holdover can get in, is counter to the whole goal which is to induct the best 118 players. The last thing we want, and the whole reason for keeping as many holdovers as possible alive is that we don’t ever want to see so many elections with no good candidates that a below borderline candidate ends up getting in by being the least bad option.

            Now I personally think that almost all our holdover candidates would make fair inductees, but we’ve got three guys in 1931 who are clearly above the rest, and it would be nice to see 2 of them get in in these 2 elections rather than just 1. That helps our holdovers as well, as long as they make it through these ballots, because it’s fewer high profile players drawing support in 1930 and 1929.

            I also think it will be easier to get through these two ballots than it would have to get through a ballot with 3 studs on it, look how dicey it got in 1934. On this ballot we get mantle and matthews and whoever doesn’t make it in will probably get 50% for 4 rounds, and grab another two rounds next vote for 5 rounds of eligibility without limiting the ability to vote strategically too much. Similarly when Mays and Banks show up, if Banks is likely to make it, he’ll probably see at least 25%, maybe even 50, for more eligibility.

            If the 3 slam dunks all came together, to get the two who don’t make it 50% of the vote, you are seriously limiting the vote ability to keep holdovers on the ballot, and if they don’t get 50%, then they become more guys who are threatening to drop off and need support every year.

      • 18
        Doug says:

        Hartvig @11,

        Actually, I’m doing Jul-Dec first, to keep it strictly chronological.

  8. 10
    Hartvig says:

    Month of birth rather than alphabetical- clever. Doesn’t entirely prevent a bit of a logjam at the top but it does lessen it’s impact a little.

    Always have a hard time thinking of Frank Bolling as a Tiger because every baseball card I have of him is from his time with the Braves. Bunning is a little bit the same way even though I had started following baseball when he was still a Tiger- I think the only cards I have of him wearing a Detroit cap are league leaders- all of my individual cards of him are with the Phillies (& maybe the Pirates).

    There’s no one on the holdover list that I’m absolutely certain don’t belong in the COG- there are a couple that I think probably don’t and a couple that I’m on the fence about but almost twice that number that I’m either certain or at least almost certain do. Add in 2 obviously over-qualified newcomers plus a third that at least deserves some consideration and this becomes a really difficult decision.

    Taking everything into account my vote is:
    Mantle, Sandberg, Grich

  9. 12
    BillH says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Marichal

    4th choice would be McCovey, but I would not have Edgar 5th (just to prove that I do not use the first letter of a players last name as my primary indicator of worthiness).

  10. 14
    Gary Bateman says:

    Mantle, Marichal, Santo

  11. 15
    wx says:

    Mickey Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Sandy Koufax

  12. 16
    Josh says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Marichal

  13. 19
    J.R. says:

    Bobby Grich
    Craig Biggio
    Sandy Koufax

    Obviously, I am voting to keep two guys on the ballot…

  14. 20
    John Autin says:

    Ed Roebuck: “Apres moi, le deluge.”

    The first pitcher to surpass 200 career games with no more than 1 start. And 300, and 400, and 450.

  15. 21
    Francisco says:

    Marichal, Mantle, Mathews

  16. 22
    Doug says:

    For my customary tidbits on the lesser lights of the ballot.

    Frank Bolling is one of a small number of players to lead his league in both sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flies, in different seasons (no player has ever done that in the same season). At the time, Bolling’s 387 PAs in 1964 were the 7th highest total of the live ball era for seasons with a batting average below .200. Today, 387 PAs is good for a tie for 44th highest total.

    Joe Cunningham‘s 144 OPS+ for 1957-59 was 7th best in the NL (min. 1200 PA). Cunningham, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks were the only NL players with 140 OPS+ in each of those seasons.

    Bob Skinner is one of only two players to twice beat the Yankees in 1960s World Series play. The other is Dick Groat, who played all 7 games of both the 1960 and 1964 Series.

    – Almost a decade before Curt Flood‘s historic refusal, Andy Carey also said “no way” when his team (the White Sox) attempted to trade him to the Phillies. Undaunted, Chicago pursued an alternate suitor more to Carey’s liking, sending the California native home to finish his career in Dodger blue.

    – Part-time infielder Sammy Esposito has the distinction of being the only live-ball era position player to bat under a buck eighty-five in 3 consecutive seasons of 50+ games.

    Ed Roebuck made the post-season in his first two years with the Dodgers and might have made a few more but for some unfortunate twists of fate:
    – In the Dodgers 1959 World Championship season, Roebuck was stuck in the minore the whole year, the only season of his career that he failed to make the big club.
    – In game 3 of the 1962 pennant playoff against the Giants, Roebuck got the call with nobody out and the bases loaded in the 6th inning. He got out of that jamb to hold the score at a 2-1 deficit. Still in the game in the 9th and with the Dodgers now leading 4-2, Roebuck, pitching for the 6th time in 7 days, ran out of gas, walking the bases loaded after a leadoff single by Matty Alou. But, Walter Alston left him in to face … Willie Mays, with predictable results.
    – With the Dodgers en route to another NL championship in 1963, Roebuck is dealt at the trade deadline to the lowly Senators. But, his good fortune returned the next season as he wound up in Philadelphia. With the Phils seemingly cruising to the pennant, Roebuck got the call on Sep 23rd to protect a 3-2 7th inning lead with runners at first at second and nobody out. That pesky Pete Rose cashed one of those runners with a single and then, with two outs, Vada Pinson connected for a 3-run shot. Instead of snapping a mini two-game losing skid, the Phils lost for the 3rd of 10 straight games and one of the biggest pennant chase collapses ever.
    – In the “I’m not sure what this means, but …” category, when he retired after the 1966 season, Roebuck’s 791 career IP were the most of any pitcher with exactly one start (now ranks 10th on that list).

    • 29
      no statistician but says:

      Joe Cunningham, in 1959—the year age and injury caught up to Stan the Man—was viewed by many (such as Harry Caray and Jack Buck, the Cardinal broadcasters) as the new face of the franchise.

      Bob Skinner looked almost anorexic—a word nobody had heard of back then—very tall and thin, and looked funny when he ran as well, but he was fast and could hit.

      One tidbit you might have included: Dick Groat won one MVP and finished second another time. Who thinks of him now? He was kind of a lesser Boudreau, slow of foot, but always there where the ball ended up, sure hands, good arm.

      Sammy Esposito, I’m almost certain, owed his longevity with the White Sox to the fact that he was from the south side of Chicago and had a huge following as a local product. There might even have been a hit out on anyone who traded him.

      —notes from one who remembers these guys.

      • 47
        Doug says:

        Thanks for the insights, nsb.

        Shortstops with 8 consecutive seasons of .275 BA, 20 doubles and 50 RBI
        – Honus Wagner
        – Joe Sewell
        – Alex Rodriguez
        – Derek Jeter
        – Dick Groat

    • 67
      --bill says:

      Also, in 1961 Frank Bolling has more WAR than any other second baseman.

  17. 23
    Andy says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Smoltz

  18. 25
    koma says:

    Sandy Koufax, Craig Biggio. Mickey Mantle

  19. 26
    Low T says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Grich please

  20. 28
    David Horwich says:

    Martinez, Sandberg, Santo

  21. 30
    Abbott says:

    Biggio, McCovey, Mathews

  22. 31
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Ron Santo

  23. 32
    Chris C says:

    Mantle – for the win
    Biggio – Because I always vote for Biggio
    Edgar – to keep him on the ballot

    If I was voting for my top three it would be Mantle, Matthews, Marical. I’m looking forward to going through the 20s as many of the holdovers will get in.

  24. 33
    Andy says:


  25. 34
    bells says:

    Doug, you broke my brain! I’m such a stickler for tradition that I had already written the stats of the alphabetical A-L crowd into my spreadsheet and ranked them, knowing we were due for a 2-part election and that birtelcom had always split it up by last name. Threw me for a loop to see Mantle and Mathews instead of Boyer and Banks. I like it! A pleasant surprise – going by birth month makes sense.

    At any rate, here are the players as ranked by 3 measures – WAR, WAA+ and JAWS. Cumulative ranking beside names – eg. a player with a ‘3’ is ranked #1 on the ballot on each measure, a player with ’42’ is ranked 14th on all 3. Rankings in parentheses are respective rankings for the 3 measures.

    Mantle 3 (1 1 1)
    Mathews 6 (2 2 2)
    Grich 11 (4 3 4)
    Santo 12 (5 4 3)
    Whitaker 15 (3 5 7)
    Martinez 21 (7 6 8)
    Lofton 25 (8 8 9)
    Sandberg 25 (9 10 6)
    Smoltz 25 (6 7 12)
    McCovey 30 (11 9 10)
    Marichal 30 (12 13 5)
    Biggio 35 (10 12 13)
    Bunning 35 (13 11 11)
    Koufax 42 (14 14 14)

    I know the Mick was great, but I never knew until now that he never had a negative WAA season, let alone WAR, even with injuries limiting some seasons.

    Also, I’ve gone with Santo over Grich before, but it’s pretty close and Grich is on the bubble whereas Santo got a round last time.

    Mantle, Mathews, Grich

  26. 35
    RJ says:

    Jim Bunning put up 30.2 WAR in four years with the Phillies from 1964-67, his age 32-35 seasons, doubling his career WAR. Prior to 1964 he played for the Tigers, and he was traded to the Pirates ahead of the 1968 season.

    How does Bunning’s four-year stretch of form match up against all other great four-year periods in which a player played for different teams either side of it? So I’m looking for something like A-Rod’s time in Texas, where he was outstanding (25.6 WAR), but only there for three seasons in the middle of his career. Can Bunning be bested?

    • 40
      ATarwerdi96 says:

      The closest comp to what Bunning did (among pitchers) may be Gaylord Perry, who put up 29.0 WAR with Cleveland from 1972-1975. This was despite the fact that Perry was traded to Texas midseason in ’75, making 22 starts the rest of the way.

    • 42
      John Autin says:

      Um … Babe Ruth, maybe? 45.1 WAR in his first 4 years with the Yankees.

      Certainly not the biggest increase in production for the new team over the old team. But for most production with the new team, I don’t think anyone’s touching that.

      • 43
        RJ says:

        Sorry for not being clearer John: I meant a period which was bookended by appearances for different teams. So the player arrives at the new team, is phenomenal for a handful of years, and then leaves. Ruth doesn’t fit my criteria because he continued playing for the Yankees after that four-year stretch.

        ATarwerdi’s example of Gaylord Perry with the Indians is the kind of drive-by greatness I was looking for. (Thanks ATarwerdi96!)

    • 44
      bstar says:

      Roger Clemens had a two-year stint with the Jays where he put up 20.0 WAR in 1997-98, sandwiched in between his long stint with Boston and his time with the team in pinstripes. I have a hard time with Clemens as a Yankee–something was just visually wrong about it. I didn’t like him out there in Monument Park, pawing at the plaques of the great ones. Just seemed staged to me.

    • 45
      John Autin says:

      Randy Johnson tallied 38.3 WAR in his first 4 years with Arizona. He had 23.6 WAR in his previous 4 years, and 43.5 over 11 prior years.

      Joe Morgan’s first 4 years with Cincinnati: 38.1 WAR. Prior 4 years: 12.8 WAR. Prior career total: 27.0 WAR in 9 years.

    • 49
      Doug says:

      That was pretty much Bert Blyleven’s career. Stay for a few years, put up his usual solid numbers and move on. After starting with the Twins, it was Texas for 2, Pittsburgh for 3, Cleveland for 5 (really only 4 as one season was lost to injury), Minnesota for 4, before closing out with 3 in Anaheim.

    • 58
      Dr. Doom says:

      A close one is Curt Schilling – between stints in Philly and Boston, he managed 26.0 WAR in four years in Arizona.

      Even closer is Kevin Brown. He was with Texas until ’94. He was with the Dodgers beginning in ’99. In between, he was with Baltimore for one year, Florida for two, and San Diego for one. He totaled 27.9 WAR. In the last three of those four, he totaled 23.6, which is just about the same yearly average as Bunning.

  27. 36
    Richard Chester says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Koufax

  28. 37
    RJ says:

    Mickey Mantle’s stolen base percentage has me purring. After his rookie year, in which he went 8/7 in the SB/CS column, he nabbed an additional 145 stolen bases at the cost of only 31 caught stealings, only once being caught as many as four times in one season and good for an 82% success rate.

    Of the 99 players with 300+ Runs from Batting only seven accumulated more value on the bases than Mantle.

  29. 38
    MJ says:

    Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Lou Whitaker

  30. 39
    John Z says:

    The M & M & M Boys of Summer

    McCovey for the win……….or not

    Mantle (who remembers when commish Kuhn banned the Mick and The say hey kid)

    Mathews best Brave not named Aaron or Spahn

  31. 41
    MJ says:

    BTW, Doug, in the paragraph before the list of holdovers, you say there are 17 of them, but there’s only 11 thankfully!

  32. 46
    Luis Gomez says:

    During my childhood days, I was put to bed by my dad with Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Hector Espino stories. My old man is going strong at 70, and has been a Yankee fan for life, and he always considered Mickey Mantle to be his favorite player.

    Having said that, My votes goes to Mantle, Marichal and Martinez.

    • 55
      • 72
        Luis Gomez says:

        John, thanks for the link. That is an excellent article, very well written and a good summary of Espino´s life.

        For the folks in HHS who are not fammiliar with Hector Espino´s legacy, here´s my favorite story about him.

        There was a rookie who was about to face the Naranjeros de Hermosillo´s line up for the first time. Before the game he asked his manager how to face that powerful line up, and his manager begun to explain to him what kind of pitches should throw to them. The leadoff hitter is Zoilo Versalles -said the manager, he´s a contact hitter, so pound him with inside fastballs. The second batter is Celerino Sanchez, low fastballs should keep him out. The number three hitter is Sergio Robles, he can´t hit curveballs very well. The fifth hitter is Bob Darwin, if you throw outside sliders…But coach -the rookie pitcher interrupted, you missed the fourth hitter. Don´t worry kid, that´s Hector Espino, you are down 1 to nothing!

  33. 51
    Artie Z. says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Santo

  34. 54
    Jeff Hill says:

    Mantle, Matthews, Santo

  35. 56
    jajacob says:

    Mantle, Matthews, McCovey,

  36. 57
    RonG says:

    Mantle, Grich, McCovey

  37. 59
    Voomo Zanzibar says:



    (That was my intention by the alphabetical 1931 part one method. Sticking with it. Mickey and Eddie will be fine without me.)

  38. 60
    KalineCountry Ron says:

    2nd favorite player the great Mickey Mantle.

    Eddie Mathews.

    Favorite Tigers pitcher from my youth and teen years Jim Bunning.

  39. 61
    PaulE says:


    Obviously, Mantle and Mathews will be fine without me. Bunning lost FIVE 1-0 decisions in 1967 while going something like 17-15?

  40. 62
    latefortheparty says:

    Mickey Mantle
    Eddie Mathews
    Bobby Grich

  41. 65
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    It would be fun if 85% of y’all switched your votes from Mickey to your 2nd favorite holdover.
    Let Mathews win this one.

    So we can argue Mickey vs Willie next week.
    Let’s party like its 1954 !

  42. 66
    oneblankspace says:

    Biggio — doubles
    Mantle — switch hitter, hung around long enough that his career BA dropped below .300
    Bunning — led the NL in shutouts twice during the Bob Gibson era

    I also considered voting for Joel Skinner’s father and for Eddie Mathews, the only player to homer for the Boston Braves and the Atlanta Braves.

    • 104
      oneblankspace says:

      An interviewer was going to do some word association with Yogi Berra, say the first word that comes to mind.

      Q: Mickey Mantle…
      Y: What about him ?

  43. 68
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    By my count (through 34 ballots), the votes are:
    Mantle 29
    Mathews 22
    Koufax 9
    McCovey 7
    Grich 7
    Santo 6
    Marichal 5
    Biggio 5
    Sandberg 3
    Martinez 3
    Bunning 3
    Smoltz 1
    Whitaker 1
    Lofton 1

  44. 69
    Mike L says:

    Don’t know where to plop this, but a photo of an early baseball game, 1862.

  45. 73
    aweb says:

    Mantle, Matthews, Grich keeps my third vote for now.

  46. 74
    TJay says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Koufax .

  47. 75
    Insert Name Here says:

    Initial vote:

    1. Mickey Mantle (8.8 WAR/162 during 13-yr peak of 1952-64)
    2. Eddie Mathews (7.4 WAR/162 during 13-yr peak of 1953-65)
    3. Ron Santo (7.0 WAR/162 during 10-yr peak of 1963-72)

    Loose ranking of some others:
    4. Kenny Lofton (6.7 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1992-99)
    5. Sandy Koufax (7.8 WAR/162 during 6-yr peak of 1961-66)
    6. Juan Marichal (7.1 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1963-69)
    7. Bobby Grich (6.6 WAR/162 during 12-yr peak of 1972-83)
    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. Willie McCovey (6.7 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1963-70)
    11. Lou Whitaker (5.5 WAR/162 during 15-yr peak of 1979-93)
    12. Jim Bunning (5.6 WAR/162 during 8-yr peak of 1960-67)
    13. Edgar Martínez (6.4 WAR/162 during 7-yr peak of 1995-2001)
    14. John Smoltz (5.8 WAR/162 during 5-yr peak of 1995-99)

  48. 76
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Vote Change:





  49. 83
    Kerry Robinson says:


  50. 84
    Mike HBC says:

    Mathews, Mantle, Koufax.


  51. 91
    Nick Pain says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Grich

  52. 93
    Hub Kid says:

    Mantle, Marichal, Grich

  53. 95
    opal611 says:

    For the 1931-Part One election, I’m voting for:
    -Ryne Sandberg
    -Edgar Martinez
    -Eddie Mathews

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

  54. 107
    BryanM says:

    Mick ( who taught me math) – papers only printed batting averages on Sunday – midweek you had to keep a running total for yourself – i learned long division following his tremendous 1956 season ( especially through July)
    Eddie Matthews
    Lou Whitaker

    • 116
      Lawrence Azrin says:


      Yes, it’s hard to believe in these instant-info days of the internet, but most daily newspapers used to print only the Tip-10 BA leaders of the AL/NL, plus (if they had space)the BA’s of the home team and _maybe_ the team they were playing.

      Sundays were great, because you got ALL the Top-10 league-leaders, not just BA/HR/RBI/W/ERA, PLUS the BA of EVERYONE above a certain theshold of AB’s. They also run the team stats. Even then (1968-1970s), I thought it was peculiar that teams were listed in order of BA, and not runs scored. Isn’t the idea to score as many runs as possible?

  55. 110
    T-Bone says:


  56. 111
    Kirk says:

    Mantle, Matthews Smoltz

  57. 112

    Most Wins Above Average, excluding negative seasons:

    Mantle 78.9 (he was never below average in a season)
    Mathews 58.9
    Grich 43.6
    Santo 43.3
    Whitaker 42.7
    Martinez 41.3
    Smoltz 40.1
    Lofton 39.3
    McCovey 38.9
    Sandberg 38.8
    Bunning 36.7
    Biggio 36.3
    Marichal 32.7
    Koufax 32.3

    Mantle. Mathews. Martinez.

  58. 113
    Joseph says:

    Mantle, Matthews, McCovey

  59. 114
    PP says:

    Mantle, Mathews, McCovey

    I’m voting M’s only for the foreseeable future, looks like I’m good through ’28

  60. 115
    birtelcom says:

    Fantastic job by Doug keeping the COG votes going while I’ve been away. I’m just catching up on all the results, now that I’m back in the country but it is clear that the process didn’t miss a beat, and Doug brought his own welcome style and twists to the process. I should be ready to pick things back up with the opening of the 1931/Part 2 ballot — unless of course Doug wants to keep it going for a while.

    • 117
      Doug says:

      Welcome back, birtelcom.

      Glad to help while you were away.

      I’ll let you carry on from here (I have a post prepared for the 1931 Part 2 Ballot. Feel free to use it, if you’d like.)

      Also, if you want to maintain the COG Roster report I created, it is here. I’ve updated the source document, and then created a PDF that is linked on the Circle of Greats page.

    • 118
      brp says:

      Welcome back, and thanks Doug for carrying it on. I especially liked the write-ups on the guys who weren’t going to receive votes.


      • 119
        Doug says:

        Thanks brp,

        I think I’ll continue those little snippets on the lesser lights. Most of them I know little or nothing about, so it’s interesting to learn something about what kind of players they were.

    • 129
      bells says:

      Definitely, thanks Doug for filling in. It’s been a joy to read your snippets on the lesser lights (and glad that it will continue) as well as to see quizzes on the induction pages. It’s great to have fulfilling argument/conversation/voting in the off-season especially. Birtelcom, are you going to take advantage of this unique opportunity where you’re not running a round to vote? Or as overall host do you want to preserve your neutrality, or dare I say, mystique?

  61. 125
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    One all-time great, plus two from our logjam of second basemen that I think deserve to keep on the ballot:
    -Mickey Mantle
    -Craig Biggio
    -Ryan Sandberg

  62. 126
    Scary Tuna says:

    Mantle, Mathews, Bunning.

  63. 127
    Doug says:

    Owing to the problems yesterday with posting comments, I’ve extended the deadline for changing votes to Wed, Feb 26 at 23:00 PST.

    Current results (50 ballots cast)

    44 - Mantle
    36 - Mathews
    11 - Koufax
    10 - Grich
     9 - McCovey
     8 - Santo
     6 - Biggio, Sandberg, Marichal
    ------------------------------- Top 9 cutoff
     5 - Martinez
     4 - Bunning
     2 - Lofton, Smoltz
     1 - Whitaker

    Lofton, Bunning and Martinez are in the most jeopardy of falling off the ballot.

    • 128
      Chris C says:

      Wouldn’t Martinez still make it in because he has 10%? I thought the Top 9 rule only applied for those under 10%.

      • 132
        Doug says:

        He would, if he remains at 10% (which he now stands a good chance of doing with Brendan Bingham’s ballot @131).

  64. 131
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Smoltz, Martinez, Lofton

  65. 133
    donburgh says:

    Mantle, Biggio, Lofton (hopefully this posts this time)

  66. 134
    Mike G. says:

    Mantle, Lofton, Grich

  67. 135
    paget says:


    It’s really too bad that we didn’t have a chance to vote on a Mantle/Mays cage match; I had really been looking forward to that! Both are such inner-inner-inner circle greats that the only drama surround their elections would have been whom we favored more. Most disappointing…

    Has anyone brought up Matthews astonishing Home/Road split? (Forgive me if I’m repeating someone.) tOPS+ 94/106. That is incredibly rare for a great hitter. It puts him almost in Piazza/DiMaggio territory among the great hitters most hurt by their home parks.

    Bunning–a neglected great. I’ve voted for McCovey every year he’s been on the ballot, but he doesn’t need the help and Bunning does. Bunning very much deserves to stay in the conversation.

    • 136
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      Not too late, Paget.
      If you and ten other people drop their Mantle vote
      (for, say, another centerfielder on the ballot)
      then Mathews would be in the lead.

    • 140
      Doug says:

      Sorry for the disappointment, paget.

      I was actually thinking it would be a shame that one of them (Mantle, I’m pretty sure) would lose a head-to-head contest and thus be deprived of a first ballot election.

      But, I can see your point. Maybe I should have stuck with my first thought of splitting the ballot by position between outfielders and infielders. Wouldn’t have split quite as evenly as this method, but could have worked.

      Guess everyone looks at things from different angles.

  68. 138
    Arsen says:

    Mantle, Matthews, Koufax

  69. 139
    RJ says:

    Martinez, Lofton, Mathews (in the vain hope of achieving the scenario Voomo describes @138…)

    • 141
      Hartvig says:

      Since Doug’s update @ 127 we have had 6 more ballots (56 total). Putting aside the top 6 spots this is where we are now:

      7 votes Martinez, Biggio- Gar picked up 2 votes to move from being on the edge to almost certainly safe in a tie for 7th & 8th
      6 votes Sandberg, Marichal, Lofton- 4 votes for Lofton moved him into a 3-way tie for the 9th spot
      5 votes Bunning will need at least 1 more vote to move on to the next ballot
      3 Smoltz needs at least 3 votes in order to not lose one of his 4 seasons eligibility.
      1 Whitaker looks like Lou will lose one of his 8 accumulated ballots eligibility.

      As of this moment anyone with 6 votes qualifies by both being in the top 9 and being named on 10% or more of the ballots. However if one or more get 1 more vote (or Bunning gets 2 more) the others will fall out of the top 9 and if there are more than 4 more ballots they will also fall below the 10% mark.

      I’m not sure if the comments being down for a day will mean that we will have more votes on the final day or slightly fewer votes cast overall or maybe both.

  70. 142
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Biggio, Koufax, Mantle.

  71. 143
    Aidan Mattson says:

    Mantle, Koufax, Smoltz

  72. 144
    Stubby says:

    Mantle, Lofton, Whitaker

  73. 145
    Jeff B says:

    Mantle, Matthews and McCovey

  74. 146
    Mike L says:

    Mantle, Mathews and Sandberg.

  75. 148
    MJ says:

    BryanM’s votes @107 haven’t been tabulated.

  76. 149
    mosc says:

    I’m biding my time here, but it looks like Martinez can be had if he stays off a few more ballots and I keep him out of a 9th place tie by voting for one of the other 9th place guys… Lets hope


    • 152

      Alternately, you could focus on eliminating someone who doesn’t have a higher Rbat and OPS+ than anyone on the ballot except Mantle.

      • 153
        mosc says:

        Lets compare to Sheffield, Winfield, and Molitor

        Innings in the field:
        1) Winfield 21,505.0
        2) Sheffield 18,736.1
        3) Molitor 13,007.2
        4) Martinez 4,829.1
        So while talking about guys as a pure DH, this is considerably more relevant on Martinez than the other guys. Now RBAT does have Martinez in second behind Sheffield but OWAR has him last. Martinez gets no credit for me as a defender at third during his DH-ing days, injury prone is a weakness not something to be glossed over by saying “somebody had to play DH”.

        Martinez is also the lowest in runs as a replacement player, he played the least. At his peak, he was the best hitter on the above list, averaging better than 50 RBAT over a 7 year peak but outside of those peak years he was a league average player. The other guys on the list have deeper careers with more value in longevity and fielding. If anything, the guy who stands out here is Sheffield who is really only held back by an RFIELD that is so low, it would have raised his stats if he had only played DH.

        I have Martinez close, but out. Players on the redemption ballot I would take over Martinez:
        and a good half of this ballot as well.

  77. 150
    John Autin says:

    Mantle, Lofton, Sandberg

  78. 151
    --bill says:

    Mantle, Koufax, Bunning

  79. 154
    mosc says:

    well I think Martinez has 7 votes and we’re not getting 71 voters here so I admit defeat


    Matthews doesn’t need votes to stay on the ballot till a round he will easily win.

    I have Bunning being short.

  80. 156
    Doug says:

    Koufax, Marichal, Bunning

  81. 157
    Doug says:

    66 ballot cast with a bit less than 6 hours to go. Here’s our tally.

    56 - Mantle
    42 - Mathews
    17 - Koufax
    11 - Grich, McCovey
     8 - Biggio, Santo, Sandberg
     7 - Martinez, Marichal, Bunning
    -------------------------------- Top 9 and 10% cutoff
     5 - Smoltz
     3 - Whitaker
    • 159
      Mike L says:

      Doug, if you are going to do this right, you need to jazz it up with Wolf Blitzer and maybe John King, showing where the votes have not already been counted, maybe going back to Birtelcom’s secret “Decision Desk” and looking at exit poll numbers. Ah, that brings me back to the 1982 midterms……

    • 160
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      Lofton has eight.

    • 161
      Doug says:

      Final result for this round.

      57 - Mantle
      42 - Mathews
      17 - Koufax
      12 - McCovey
      11 - Grich
       8 - Biggio, Santo, Sandberg, Lofton, Bunning
       7 - Martinez, Marichal
      ---------------------------------------------- 10% cutoff
       5 - Smoltz
       3 - Whitaker
  82. 158
    Bill Johnson says:

    Bunning, McCovey, and Mantle

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