Circle of Greats: Redemption Round #4

This Circle of Greats (COG) vote is not to induct anyone into the Circle, but only to select two players who will be restored back on to the main ballot after having been previously been dropped from eligibility.  This fourth “redemption round” (we also held such rounds after the 1960, 1950 and 1940 rounds of voting) gives voters a chance to reconsider past candidates who have been rejected.  Rules and lists are after the jump.

In this round you may include on your three-man ballot any player who was born between 1930 and 1969 and has neither been elected to the Circle of Greats nor is currently on the 1929 regular COG ballot.  As usual, you must vote for three and only three  to cast a qualifying ballot.  The two guys who appear on the most ballots will be restored to eligibility for the next regular, induction round of of COG voting.  If your personal favorite doesn’t come in the top two this time, do not despair — he will have other chances in future redemption rounds, which are currently scheduled to be held once after every decade’s worth of regular induction rounds (after the 1920 round, the 1910 round, etc.).

The lists of hitters and pitchers below show, in alphabetical order, the 18 hitters and 13 pitchers who have received at least four COG votes in regular voting rounds in the past but have not been inducted and are not on the current ballot.  The names on these lists are only suggestions, they are not intended to be limiting: to repeat, you can vote for whoever you want among those born from 1930 through 1969 as long as they are not already in the COG or already on the regular ballot.

Position players born 1930-1969 who have received at least four votes in past regular COG voting (but are not on the regular 1929 COG ballot and are not COG inductees):
Dick Allen
Roberto Alomar
Ken Boyer
Andre Dawson
Dwight Evans
Jeff Kent
Harmon Killebrew
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Dale Murphy
Eddie Murray
Graig Nettles
Willie Randolph
Ted Simmons
Willie Stargell
Gene Tenace
Dave Winfield
Jim Wynn

Pitchers born 1930-1969 who have received at least four votes in regular COG voting (but are not on the regular regular 1929 COG ballot and are not COG inductees):  
Kevin Brown
Jim Bunning
Don Drysdale
Dennis Eckersley
Rich Gossage
Trevor Hoffman
Jim Kaat
Dan Quisenberry
Rick Reuschel
Dave Stieb
Don Sutton
Luis Tiant
Wilbur Wood

The deadline to cast your ballots in this redemption round is Saturday night, March 22 at 11PM EDT. You can change your votes until 11PM EDT on Thursday night, March 20.  You can keep track of the vote tally in this redemption round here: COG Redemption Round 4 Vote Tally

128 thoughts on “Circle of Greats: Redemption Round #4

  1. 1
    Mike says:


  2. 2
    Andy says:

    Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield, Harmon Killebrew

  3. 3
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Other notables out there, not listed above
    (off the top of my head):


    • 15
      birtelcom says:

      Was that meant as a vote, or just info? Never mind.

      • 20
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        No way.

        I admire Bic Mac’s cleverness planting that Andro in his locker as a diversion.

        I admire Sosa’s moxie in forgetting how to speak english every time he’s asked a difficult question, while turning himself into a vampire pimp.

        But Raffy would have had to hit 900 homers for me to get over that moustache/viagra combo.

  4. 4
    Luis Gomez says:

    Hoffman, Winfield, Alomar.

  5. 5
    BillH says:

    Alomar, Murray, Winfield

    Alomar and Murray are no-brainers. I could easily be talked out of Winfield in favor of several other worthies, but it feels right no like Winnie is the best of the rest.

  6. 6
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Lou Whitaker vs Willie Randolph
    Lou played the equivalent of one more full season, and accrued 8.2 more WAR.

    Here, side by side, are their best WAR seasons.
    Lou, then Willie

    6.7 … 6.6
    6.7 … 5.8
    5.5 … 5.2
    5.3 … 5.0
    4.7 … 4.7
    4.5 … 4.6
    4.4 … 4.2
    4.4 … 4.1
    4.3 … 4.1
    4.1 … 4.0
    3.8 … 3.3
    3.8 … 3.2
    3.8 … 2.8
    3.6 … 2.4
    3.5 … 2.3
    2.5 … 2.1
    1.9 … 0.9
    1.5 … 0.6

    • 27
      John Autin says:

      I’ll second Voomo’s huzzah for Willie Randolph, one of the greatest defenders never to win a Gold Glove. Not necessarily a knock on the GG voting, since the guys who won over Willie were legitimately excellent (mostly Frank White & Lou Whitaker). It just shows that the failure to cop a GG should not be a strike against the player.

      It’s funny that HOF voting tends to favor most forms of specialization over balanced excellence, except for the on-base specialist, who is obviously more important than most kinds. During his career, Randolph reached safely 11% more times than the #2 second baseman (Whitaker), and 35% more than #3. His .376 OBP was 2nd among those with 5,000 PAs in that span, trailing just the immortal Joe Morgan. But the HOF voters looked back and yawned.

      P.S. During my Strat-O-Matic years (late ’70s through mid-’80s), Randolph & Whitaker were about as interchangeable as any two players, and were often cross-traded. If you needed more speed, OBP or RHB hitters, you wanted Willie; if you wanted more power or LHBs, you sought Lou. Win-win.

  7. 7
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Though I probably voted for Alomar 20 times, and I did my part to keep Murray on the ballot, for my vote this time I’m going with a guy who had two careers,
    and two players who the HOF wrongly treated as one-and-done:

    Dennis Eckersley
    Willie Randolph
    Kevin Brown

  8. 8
    MJ says:

    Rick Reuschel, Kevin Brown, Don Drysdale

  9. 9
    Darien says:

    Bunning, Quisenberry, and Killebrew

  10. 10
    bells says:

    Since just after the last redemption round, I’ve started ranking guys on the ballot with the cumulative rank of 3 measures: WAR, WAA+ and JAWS. This redemption round is quite competitive, so I want to use that methodology to get an initial ranking of the contenders. Here are the cumulative rankings (out of the top 50 WAR-getters of those dropped off the ballot) of the top 20 guys up for consideration. Numbers beside the names are cumulative rankings, so if someone is #1 in all 3 measures, it would give him a 3, if he was #2 in all 3 measures, it would give him a 6, etc. Individual rankings of the three measures are in parentheses. Anyway, here’s some of the guys:

    Rick Reuschel 5 (2 2 1)
    Kevin Brown 6 (3 1 2)
    Luis Tiant 20 (9 7 4)
    Graig Nettles 22 (5 11 6)
    Roberto Alomar 23 (8 8 7)
    Rafael Palmeiro 33 (1 27 5)!
    Eddie Murray 33 (4 19 10)
    David Cone 35 (19 3 13)
    Buddy Bell 37 (11 14 12)
    Reggie Smith 37 (13 5 19)
    Andre Dawson 40 (13 16 11)
    Mark McGwire 41 (20 4 17)
    Jim Bunning 43 (25 9 9)
    Willie Randolph 45 (12 10 23)
    Don Drysdale 46 (7 36 3)
    Dwight Evans 47 (9 20 18)
    Sal Bando 48 (21 14 13)
    Ken Boyer 50 (18 24 8)
    Bret Saberhagen 53 (27 6 20)
    Dick Allen 56 (28 12 16)

    A few observations:

    – tons of pitchers on there. Does that mean anything? I dunno.

    – some players with wild, wild fluctuations between the three ranks (see Palmeiro, Murray, Cone McGwire, Drysdale, Saberhagen)

    – Dave Winfield isn’t even on this list of the top 20 – he’s 24th, if you’re interested.

    – top two seem obvious, third seems between Nettles, Alomar and Tiant (another surprise, didn’t expect him to be that high up)… I like all these guys, in fact I like them all better than Brown and Reuschel. But I committed to the stats-first approach. So I’m gonna go with the complete package of consistency in Alomar.

    Brown, Reuschel, Alomar

    • 22
      bells says:

      In case anyone’s curious what other guys that have been through the CoG process are close by these metrics (or just enjoy remembering the names of those we’ve judged as not quite worthy), here are some others outside the top 20:

      21. Billy Williams
      22. Sammy Sosa
      23. Dennis Eckersley
      24. Dave Winfield (seems there’s a strong feeling that his talent was bigger than his advanced stats)
      25. Don Sutton
      26. Gary Sheffield
      27. Keith Hernandez
      28. Dave Stieb
      29. Harmon Killebrew
      30. Bobby Bonds
      31. Jim Wynn
      32. Chuck Finley
      33. Willie Davis
      34. Kevin Appier
      35. John Olerud
      36. Willie Stargell (wow, sabermetrics isn’t kind to Pops)
      37. Chet Lemon
      38. Joe Torre
      39. Orel Hershiser
      40. Robin Ventura
      41. Will Clark
      42. Frank Tanana
      43. Jeff Kent
      44. Cesar Cedeno
      45. Jerry Koosman
      46. Jose Cruz
      47. Ron Cey
      48. Dwight Gooden
      49. Vida Pinson
      50. Luis Aparicio

      McGriff just misses the list.

      • 30
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        If WAR had been around in 1979,
        we might have said:

        The 37th best position player in the league just won a share of the MVP. Tied for 37th best, with the likes of Craig Reynolds and Joe Ferguson. On his own team he was the equivalent of Tim Foli.

        • 33
          Paul E says:

          Yeah, pretty bizarre that Stargell didn’t exactly play great in August and September (despite 8 homers in September) 1979, but the Pirates did.

          I think there could be a strong case made for Stargell as MVP in both 1971 and 1973. But Joe Torre legged out a .363 batting average and Pete Rose’s 230 base hits trumped both Stargell and Morgan’s superior efforts. For crissakes, Bobby Bonds was better than Pete in 1973

          • 35
            bstar says:

            Wow, there were a lot of standout performances in 1973. Eleven position players in baseball had at least a 7 WAR season, tied for the most in any one season since 1901. In the NL alone:

            Darrell Evans hit 41 HR and had 18 fielding runs at third for the Braves — 9.0 WAR

            Cesar Cedeno had his second consecutive great all-around season for the Astros — 7.3 WAR

            Speaking of all-around greatness, Bobby Bonds had his best season in the bigs and his second 30-30 year for the Giants — 7.7 WAR

            Reds 2B Joe Morgan put up his second straight 9 WAR season amidst an astonishing five-year period of greatness not seen at second since the days of Rogers Hornsby and Eddie Collins — 9.2 WAR

            Rose led the league in hits and won his third batting title while playing an excellent left field (20 runs) — 8.3 WAR

            Willie Stargell was the league’s best hitter, leading the NL in HR, RBI, and OPS+ — 7.2 WAR

            On top of that, Tom Seaver put up 10.6 WAR for the Mets in leading the league in ERA and ERA+.

            Tough choice for MVP of the National League in 1973.

        • 62
          Lawrence Azrin says:


          I think that Stargell’s 1979 (co)MVP was more of a “lifetime achievement” or “makeup” award, as sometimes Oscar awards are. Maybe they felt bad about him not getting the MVP in ’71 or ’73, so they built up his ‘leadership’ role.

          That sounds like the most reasonable explanations, as there’s just no way to justify his selection by either mainstream or advanced stats.

      • 96
        jeff hill says:

        Jeff Kent: Former MVP in 2000…which most of the 20 and over can’t say, first ALL TIME in HR by a 2nd baseman, 2nd in RBI at that position. The guy absolutely raked, gets no love.

    • 105
      bells says:

      Just for kicks, I added a fourth metric to my rankings, John A’s WAR*WAR/162 G and WAR*WAR/250 IP ranking as outlined in comment #36. It resulted in some jostling around of players, and further stratification at the top. Cumulative rankings of the top 15 guys up for consideration:

      7 Reuschel
      7 Brown
      29 Tiant
      36 Alomar
      40 David Cone
      41 Reggie Smith
      43 Nettles
      47 McGwire
      48 Palmeiro
      53 Buddy Bell
      53 Drysdale
      55 Randolph
      56 Saberhagen
      60 Bando
      61 Boyer

      So the top guys look just as good, Cone and Smith move up, and guys like Bunning, Dawson and especially Eddie Murray lose a lot of ground. Interesting, I like a measure that takes into account time played without parsing it into ‘career’ or ‘season’ so simply.

  11. 11
    Mike HBC says:

    Jim Abbott
    Curtis Pride
    Jim Eisenreich

  12. 12
    Stubby says:

    Willie Stargell, Dick Allen, Kitty Kaat

  13. 13
    Dr. Doom says:

    Ken Boyer
    Kevin Brown
    Dwight Evans

  14. 14
    KalineCountry Ron says:


  15. 16
    oneblankspace says:

    DaMurphy (longest NL consecutive games streak during the Ripken Era),
    EMurray (most homeruns by a switch-hitter not named Mantle),
    Quisenberry (first pitcher with 89 saves in a two-season span)

  16. 17
    Chris C says:

    Alomar, Bunning, Murray.

  17. 18
    Artie Z. says:

    Alomar, Murray, … and Keith Hernandez.

    Also, can we vote for players born in 1969 since we had the Griffey and Rivera vote? Not that I’m going to do that, but someone else might.

  18. 19
    Hartvig says:

    Some other notables not listed (as an addendum to VZ’s #3- Dave Cone, Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Appier

    There’s no one that we’ve cut so far that I’m certain belongs in the COG but there are a few that I think might. I’ll vote for those who’s supporters seem to me to be the most ardent:

    Rick Reuschel, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield

  19. 21
    ATarwerdi96 says:

    Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage, Rafael Palmeiro

  20. 23
    koma says:

    Harmon Killebrew, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff

  21. 24
    --bill says:

    Kevin Brown, Rick Reuschel, Luis Tiant

  22. 26
    RonG says:

    Killebrew, Simmons, Evans

  23. 28
    Bix says:

    Eckersley, Gossage, Killebrew

  24. 29
    Scary Tuna says:

    Killebrew, Winfield, Kaat.

  25. 31
    Paul E says:

    In a homage to 60’s and 70’s baseball:

    Dick Allen, Ted Simmons, Willie Stargell

  26. 32
    Mike G. says:

    Kevin Brown, Rick Reuschel, Luis Tiant

  27. 34
    latefortheparty says:

    Kevin Brown
    Rick Reuschel
    Luis Tiant

  28. 36
    John Autin says:

    Vote: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Kevin Brown.

    Ranking the positional redemption candidates by the product of their WAR total and WAR/162 games:

    Product — Player … WAR … WAR/162
    319 — Allen … 58.7 … 5.4
    317 — Randolph … 65.6 … 4.8
    315 — Boyer … 62.9 … 5.0
    304 — Alomar … 66.8 … 4.5
    277 — Nettles … 68.0 … 4.1
    277 — Dw. Evans … 66.7 … 4.1
    262 — Wynn … 55.7 … 4.7
    256 — Dawson … 64.4 … 4.0
    249 — Murray … 68.2 … 3.7
    243 — Killebrew … 60.4 … 4.0
    228 — Tenace … 46.8 … 4.9
    225 — Stargell … 57.3 … 3.9
    223 — Winfield … 64.0 … 3.5
    215 — Kent … 55.2 … 3.9
    182 — McGriff … 52.6 … 3.5
    166 — Simmons … 50.2 … 3.3
    162 — Mattingly … 42.2 … 3.8
    159 — Murphy … 46.3 … 3.4

    For the pitchers, the product of WAR total and WAR/250 IP:

    Product — Pitcher … WAR … WAR/250 IP
    363 — Brown … 68.5 … 5.3
    327 — Reuschel … 68.2 … 4.8
    311 — Tiant … 66.1 … 4.7
    300 — Eckersley … 62.5 … 4.8
    279 — Stieb … 57.0 … 4.9
    275 — Drysdale … 61.2 … 4.5
    255 — Wood … 52.1 … 4.9
    242 — Gossage … 41.8 … 5.8
    241 — Bunning … 60.3 … 4.0
    227 — Sutton … 68.7 … 3.3
    179 — Hoffman … 28.0 … 6.4
    149 — Quisenberry … 24.9 … 6.0
    113 — Kaat … 45.3 … 2.5

    • 38
      bells says:

      I’ve been thinking about using WAR/162 in some way to evaluate players, but a) I didn’t want to use it straight and b) I didn’t really know what an equivalent for pitchers would be for 162 games. This method addresses both of those things in a pretty good way, I think. Nice stuff, John.

      • 50
        John Autin says:

        Thanks, bells. I haven’t completely thought through the measures, and I’m not quite satisfied with WAR/250 IP. My gut says that modern guys get a longevity boost from lighter annual workloads, so pegging all pitchers to the same IP/Year standard isn’t quite fair. It’s a work in progress.

    • 43
      MJ says:

      Poor Reggie Smith gets overlooked yet again…

      • 51
        John Autin says:

        MJ, I’m a big fan of Reggie Smith. But I was just ranking the guys on this redemption ballot. FWIW, Smith’s WAR product is 338, which tops all hitters on this list, and all pitchers save Brown.

        P.S. I don’t know if my made-up measure even works for comparing hitters to pitchers, but the ranges of these groups are similar.

        • 66
          MJ says:

          Yeah, I thought as much. I hope people aren’t just voting based on the names above, however. Mr. Smith is just one of many names that are worthy of consideration to be brought back.

          • 70
            John Autin says:

            Thanks, MJ, for making me realize the redemption ballot is open, not limited to those listed.

            birtelcom clearly said that the lists weren’t limiting, but alas, I just looked at the lists. Shame on me!

          • 71
            John Autin says:

            VOTE CHANGE: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Reggie Smith. (Adding Smith, dropping K.Brown.)

          • 72
            birtelcom says:

            MJ @66: In terms of voters casting ballots for candidates not on the list in the post, first basemen seem to be a popular unlisted choice: Keith Hernandez, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro have all received votes here despite none of them reaching four votes during the regular balloting, and thus not getting on my list in the post. All quite defensible votes, it seems to me BTW, for three of the most memorable players of recent times.

            Also of course, Mike HBC’s marvelously unique and now traditional pro-courage ballot.

          • 77
            MJ says:

            @71 JA: HA! Delighted to inform you! Unfortunately, it came at the expense of one of my picks, Kevin Brown. I didn’t vote for Reggie, but he’s in my Top 5.

          • 80
            bells says:

            I remember last redemption round, I made a point to read each player bio of the top 20 or so players, and to look at the stats long and hard. Smith made my ballot, and I really liked what I read about him even though I had never heard of him and he was before my time. Alas, this time around there are about 4 really good candidates that have been added to the redemption ballot, so his turn will have to wait another day.

            JA, so you know, I’m gonna be trying out your per-game/inning ranking method on my initial ballots; I really like the measure, after looking at it some more.

    • 48
      Paul E says:

      Nice job John. Anything that demonstrates to the rest of the universe Allen’s other-worldly talent is good with me. His oWAR numbers per 162 games, obviously, are even more impressive. I imagine Johnny Mize is as good a comparable as any player of the last 80 years?

      • 53
        John Autin says:

        Sure, Mize is a great offensive comp for Allen. Very close in PAs, OPS+ and oWAR. Even the components of their OPS were very similar, compared to their contemporary park-adjusted league averages:

        BA: Mize +13.9%, Allen +12.3%
        OBP: Allen +16.3%, Mize +15.4%
        SLG: Mize +42.6%, Allen +39.8%
        OPS: Mize +29.9%, Allen +29.0%

        I doubt you’d find two batting greats more similar by those measures.

        • 54
          birtelcom says:

          And Mize couldn’t get elected to the Hall by the BBWAA either, nine times appearing on more than 25% of the ballots but never getting to 45%, much less 75%. So even if Allen had been universally well-liked, this set of credentials may not have been enough for the writers.

          • 55
            Paul E says:

            If you go to Mize’s B-R page, you’ll see the season he spent with the 1948 NY Giants is pretty typical of his career via OPS+ and OPS. If you place Allen in that same environment for his entire career, his stats improve greatly and look even more similar to Mize’s. However, with only 7,300 plate appearances, Allen wasn’t going to Cooperstown. Injuries played a big part in Allen’s career, but even if you take the period 1964 – 1974 and average it out over his career total of 1,749 games played, he still probably doesn’t have adequate counting stats to get in….

          • 60
            birtelcom says:

            There’s the counter-example of Ralph Kiner, who, with counting stats similar to Allen’s, managed to squeak in via the BBWAA ballot just barely and in his final year on the ballot. It probably helped Kiner that he had a strong on-going presence in baseball as a broadcaster.

      • 63
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        @48/Paul E,
        If you give Mize three years credit for WWII, he looks closer to someone like Frank Thomas, on a level clearly better than Dick Allen.

        To get into the HOF with a short career, you’ve got to be really dominant, and with only 1,749 G and 7,315 PA, Allen wasn’t quite dominant enough for a lot of voters.

        • 64
          Paul E says:

          @63 LA

          I agree. What’s really bizarre is that those goofballs at the BBWAA who were Mize’s contemporaries didn’t at least give him some credit for the three missed years. It wouldn’t be a stretch to add 80 homers and 300 RBI to his career totals for the missed time, but they apparently did for Hank Greenberg.

        • 67
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          @64/Paul E,

          Great minds think alike, ha ha ha!

          Actually, Hank Greenberg didn’t have an easy time getting into the HOF either – it took him nine votes from 1949-1956, including a run-off. And he’d won two MVPs and was recognized as one of the game’s premier sluggers (331 HR was 5th all-time in 1947 when he retired).

          Guess whom Hammerin’ Hank’s #1 most similar batter is – Johnny Mize.

          From what I’ve read, at first the BWAAA HOF voters did not give anyone _any_ WWII credit, which really hurt guys like Hank, Mize, and Slaughter (guys like Feller, DiMaggio and esp. Ted Williams didn’t need it).

  29. 37
    bstar says:

    Off-topic: Mr. birtelcom, are we doing NCAA bracketology this year?

    • 39
      birtelcom says:

      I’ve got too much going on at the moment to do the NCAAs this year, but if anybody else out there wants to organize an HHS group on ESPN, yahoo, etc., go for it.

  30. 40
    Francisco says:

    Jeff Kent, Harmon Killebrew, Kevin Brown

  31. 41
    Phil says:

    Alomar, Winfield, Sutton.

  32. 42
    aweb says:

    Brown, Killebrew, McGwire

  33. 44
    Gary Bateman says:

    Alomar, Murray, Quisenberry

  34. 45
    mosc says:

    Murray, Nettles, Winfield

    Other guys I have in: Eckersley, Sutton

  35. 46

    Kevin Brown, Dennis Eckersley, Mark McGwire

  36. 47
    Brent says:

    The Quiz, Alomar and Kevin Brown

  37. 49
    JEV says:

    Killebrew, Brown, Kent

  38. 52
    birtelcom says:

    Leaders thus far, with 34 votes in:
    Kevin Brown 13
    Harmon Killebrew 11
    Winfield, Alomar and Murray tied at 8
    Rick Reuschel 6
    Eckersley, Tiant and Quisenberry tied at 4
    Dick Allen, Jim Bunning and Willie Stargell tied at 3

  39. 56
    Low T says:

    Boyer, Allen, Brown

  40. 57
    paget says:

    Wow, to me this is the toughest round of COG voting we’ve had since the start of the process. As we move on through the years, these redemption rounds might become increasingly the votes that are the most fun to take part in. (Could be a reason to have them, maybe, twice every ten years instead of just once?)

    I’ve extended votes to fully nine of the players on this list; I find it almost impossible to choose!


    • 59
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      I agree.
      More voting rounds.

      The redemption round is arguably more stocked than the main ballot.
      (well, it is bigger at least – three times as big
      (including the unmentionables)).

      ……. no, it is just as stocked.
      There are arguable equivalents to every holdover.

      Kevin Brown – Sandy Koufax
      Willie Randolph – Whitaker/Grich
      Willie Stargell – Ernie Banks
      Luis Tiant – Juan Marichal
      Craig Nettles – Ron Santo
      Dennis Eckersley – John Smoltz
      Roberto Alomar – Craig Biggio
      Dick Allen – Edgar Martinez
      Eddie Murray – Willie McCovey
      Jeff Kent – Ryne Sandberg

      The only one without a comp is perhaps Kenny Lofton…

      • 81
        bells says:

        I’ll add to the chorus of those excited about more redemption rounds. The talent starts to thin out as we go back in years, and although it doesn’t look like we’ll go below 9 good candidates in any given year until the turn of the century, more choice is fun (just look at the main ballot this year). Every 5 years might be a bit much, but maybe you wanna roll it back a bit, birtelcom, and make it 9 years until the next one, then 8, etc…? Or every ten ballots instead of years, which ends up being 13 ballots? Just some thoughts. Maybe take a couple of ballots to look at the main ballot and if nobody’s in danger of falling off, it might be a sign to inject more balance by more frequent redemption rounds.

        Either way, I know it coincides with one of the most exciting main rounds we’ve had in awhile, but rating this redemption round is one of the most fun CoG things I’ve done in awhile.

        • 83
          birtelcom says:

          My main concern about more redemption rounds is that I don’t want to too drastically water down the importance of staying on the ballot. The guys who who have been selected by the voters to stay on the ballot really should get a solid benefit over those who the voters have chosen to drop off, and if it becomes too easy to get back on the ballot, that benefit is narrowed.

          But we do also want the ballots to be competitive and talent-rich, and if it looks like the holdover list is dropping down to the point where it’s becoming too easy to stay on the ballot, that will indeed be time to accelerate the redemptions.

          • 84
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Vote 1:
            Kenny Lofton
            Kevin Brown

            Vote 2:
            Edgar Martinez
            Kenny Lofton

            Vote 3:
            Dave Winfield
            Rick Rueschel

            So, of the six names voted back on the ballot,
            two have stayed (both from Vote 2), and neither has come close to winning a round.

            (no point, just enjoying making lists)

  41. 58
    Abbott says:

    Alomar, Murray, Brown

    • 91
      Mike HBC says:

      Your lack of support for Jim Abbott is disappointing.

      …Not really- I obviously don’t vote like anyone else. But still.

  42. 61
    wx says:

    Jamie Moyer, Eddie Murray, Kevin Brown. I’m sticking with Moyer like the orchestra stuck with the Titanic.

    Come to think of it, Jamie Moyer might have actually been on the Titanic…

  43. 65
    Doug says:

    Murray, Alomar, Brown

  44. 68
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    – Eddie Murray
    – Roberto Alomar
    – Harmon Killebrew

    Three HOFers (out of 11 listed), elected in their 1st, 2nd, and 5th year respectively. This is the best illustration of the higher standards of the COG vs. the actual HOF.

  45. 69
    Brendan Bingham says:

    Murray, Tiant, Allen

  46. 73
    bstar says:

    Allen, Reuschel, Murray

  47. 74
    birtelcom says:

    Eddie Murray named on the last seven ballots in a row, after appearing on 8 of the first 35.

  48. 75
    David Horwich says:

    Alomar (Roberto), Nettles, Tiant

    I voted for Alomar 27 times, I’m hardly about to stop now.

    Tiant has little chance of being redeemed, but he’s a personal favorite (easier to like him than Brown, that’s for sure).

    As for Nettles…I think we may be in danger of replicating the HoF’s underrepresentation of third basemen. This isn’t obvious at first glance, as the current list of CoG’ers by position looks like this through 50 rounds:

    P: 16
    C: 4
    1B/DH: 3
    2B: 2
    3B: 5
    SS: 5
    LF: 4
    CF: 3
    RF: 7
    U: 1 (Rose)

    I’m counting Carew as a 2nd baseman, Molitor as a DH.

    Because of the logjam of 2nd basemen on the ballot, 2B looks underrepresented – but there *are* a bunch of 2nd basemen on the ballot, many or all of whom will eventually be elected, to be joined by such no-brainers as Hornsby, Collins, Gehringer, et al. I’m pretty sure we’ll end up with a healthy supply of 2nd basemen by the time we reach the end of this exercise.

    But why isn’t there a similar logjam of 3rd basemen? There are several who fall within a similar range of value to the logjam 2nd basemen – but none of the 3rd basemen have lasted on the ballot for very long. I don’t know why this is.

    In any case, current 3B in the CoG are Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Boggs, and Robinson; these were all easy, non-controversial choices. Santo will almost certainly join them, that’ll give us 6 at the position.

    But after that…between now and Frank Baker (birth year: 1886) the best 3rd basemen who’ll come on the ballot are Stan Hack, and I suppose Bob Elliott. They were both fine players, but each accumulated almost 1/3 of their career value against wartime competition, and even if that wasn’t the case it’s hard for me to see either of them as CoG-worthy.

    There are some HoF’ers coming up, too – Pie Traynor, George Kell – but I rather doubt they’re going to do too well with this crowd.

    So the current 5, plus Santo, and Baker (presumably) = 7. My working assumption is that we’ll end up with *about* 10 players per position, plus about 35 pitchers, for our 115 (or 117, or however many it turns out to be) in the CoG. Now 7 isn’t terribly less than 10, but consider this list of names:

    Bando, Buddy Bell, Ken Boyer, Cey, Darrell Evans, Nettles, Ventura, Matt Williams

    Eight players, all of whom were probably at least as good as Stan Hack (not to mention some others not eligible for the CoG – Chipper Jones, Rolen, Beltre). I think it’s simply the case that the majority of excellent 3rd basemen have played after WWII, and I think we’ve failed to give the position its fair due. None of the guys I listed above are slam-dunk choices, but I think there are another borderline CoG’er or two in that list.

    Forgive me if this post rambles; I just moved over the weekend, and if there’s anything worse than moving, it’s moving with 2 small kids in tow. But their mother insisted we bring them along, and they *are* pretty cute when they’re not throwing tantrums…

  49. 76
    Arsen says:

    Alomar, Tiant, Allen

  50. 78
    Josh says:

    Dave Winfield, Harmon Killebrew, Goose Gossage

  51. 79

    Right now, we’ve got Hall of Famers in second (Murray), third/fourth (Alomar/Killebrew), and fifth (Winfield) on this ballot, all behind a guy who couldn’t get 5% in his first year (Brown).

    That kind of mainstream disrespect seems to be a recipe for additional support from the CoG crowd, with Lofton, Whitaker and Grich still on the ballot while all these HoFers are stuck hoping for redemption.

    Is Kevin Brown the player most underappreciated by both sets of voters (prior to this redemption round)?

    • 85
      birtelcom says:

      Brown did win COG redemption once before. In our first redemption round, he finished second to Kenny Lofton and lasted on the ballot for three rounds before falling off again. He did receive seven votes in that last round when he dropped off, but that was the round with more participation than any other we’ve had (81 ballots cast). All together, Brown has been on five regular COG voting ballots and received a total of 31 votes in those rounds. He also received attention in the Mitchell Report.

    • 93
      Michael Sullivan says:

      Probably. The fact that those guys are Hall of famers while others are not is almost irrelevant to the way I look at things. Everybody who is getting serious consideration for the COG (i.e. all holdovers, all electees and the top 20+ of this ballot) *should* be in the hall, and are not even borderline: they are better than at least 30-40% of the players already there.

      The whole reason these COG/HOM/HOS have so much interest among intelligent fans is that we pretty much universally agree that the current hall has done a terrible job of choosing players. Even fans who are skeptical of advanced stats and who have very different sensibilities from me usually have personal halls that make more sense than the current HOF.

      So it doesn’t surprise me at all to see a one and doner doing better than some people who got elected quickly ballot. What’s more interesting to me is that Reuschel is not doing better. By pure advance stats, he’s comparable to Brown.

      • 120
        paget says:

        I don’t mean to pick a fight necessarily, but I just don’t accept that the Hall of Fame “has done a terrible job of choosing players.” This seems to be a stock opinion among many of our readers here–an opinion that I feel needs to be much more nuanced. Of course the Hall has made some poor decisions in allowing certain players to be included over the years. But closer attention to the “High Pockets Kelly’s” of the Hall reveals that most of the truly poor choices are the result of machinations among the Veteran’s Committee. Of ball players straight-up elected, percentage-wise, there really haven’t been that many awful choices. Some, yes. I think most HHS readers could live without liminal choices like Tony Perez, or bad ones like Jim Rice. But of players who have been elected through the standard (ie non Veteran’s Committee) process, how many are “awful” choices? I’m actually curious to hear what people have to say about this.

        The other side of the question lies, of course, not in unworthy players who have been elected, but in worthy ones who have not. I can see more of a case here in an argument against the BBWAA; but take, just as an example, a gander at the JAWS listings on the B-REF page: apart from players with the taint of steroids (an issue that will, justly, take a bit of time to resolve), how may glaring omissions are there? Sure they’ve dropped the ball on guys like Kenny Lofton or Tim Raines (just to name a couple of recent examples). But, ultimately, I think the commonly held belief that the BBWAA is just getting it all wrong doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

        (And, on a related note, the fact that there are so many players in the HOF that are not getting elected to the COG is not really testament our higher standards as voters. It’s simply a function of how the voting process has been designed: we’re electing fewer people than are in the HOF, period. It’s inevitable that some players who are in the Hall won’t make it into the COG.)

        • 122
          Hartvig says:


          Electing poorly qualified candidates is only part of the problem with the BBWAA voting- their bigger sin was to pass on clearly qualified candidates and thus to justify the continued existence of the Veterans Committee for far longer than it should have necessary and further compound their mistakes. If it wasn’t for their inability to figure out that guys like Johnny Mize, Arky Vaughan and Ron Santo clearly belong in the HOF most people would be fine with the VC just fading from the scene.

        • 123
          John Autin says:

          paget, I agree that the BBWAA has not elected many undeserving HOF players among their 115 selections.

          But in viewing the Hall as a whole, the main obstacles to finding the nuance you seek are not just the writers’ omissions and the merits of the VC selections, but the proportions. The VC have elected 104 players, almost as many as the writers.

          And as you know, many VC selections are laughable. Without naming names, just compare the standards of the two bodies.

          For position players, one place I start is my “54/27” test — at least 54 career WAR and 27 WAR per 1,000 games. Those meeting both ends I consider very strong candidates, and those meeting neither seem extremely weak. So:

          — Of 77 BBWAA hitters, 55 meet both ends of “54/27,” and just 5 fail both (one being Gabby Hartnett, a catcher who *just* missed on both counts).

          — Of 70 VC hitters, just 19 meet both ends of the test, while 30 fail both. Those 30 represent 20% of the total hitters elected by both bodies.

          The dubious VC selections are so numerous that they taint the whole HOF enterprise.

          • 124
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Speaking of borderline HOFers close to milestones, the Tigers are considering signing a 46 year old Omar to play Shortstop.

          • 126
            John Autin says:

            Now, Voomo, you’re just trying to goad me. In truth, Detroit’s decided to give Andrew Romine a chance to join his brother and father in negative career WAR territory.

          • 127
            Voomo Zanzibar says:

            Sure, makes sense.
            But Omar is the first base coach.
            Long season.

            Perhaps he is the starter in October.

          • 128
            paget says:

            I follow your point, and agree of course: dubious VC selections do taint the entire HOF enterprise.

            Perhaps the better way for me to express my point then, is to say that I think the BBWAA is unnecessarily held up for ridicule given their largely solid record of electing worthy candidates. Sometimes it’s ugly (like making a first-ballot no-brainer like Blyleven wait so long; or, flipping it on its head, lending such consistently high support to someone who pretty clearly doesn’t belong like Jack Morris) but the right choices are probably made upwards of 90% of the time.

    • 94
      RJ says:

      Bryan – You may be right about Brown being the most under-appreciated player on all sides, but I think I can see why, as he’s got a ton of things working against him.

      For starters he spent the first half of his career as a not obviously above average player on a bunch of mediocre teams. Then he has his five-year period of brilliance, but I don’t think that being shipped from pillar to post during it helped, and he didn’t cover himself in glory in his four World Series starts in ’97 and ’98 (6.04 ERA in 25.3 IP). Then there’s not a whole lot after that; he pitched well for the most part in the final five years of his career, but only once pitched over 150 innings or won more than 10 games post-peak.

      In addition, his raw stats don’t blow you away. His ERA is not helped by the era he played in. He only won 211 games and over 20 in a season only once, far removed from his peak. He doesn’t have tons of black ink. He never won the Cy Young. He was unfortunate enough to have some inner-circle Hall of Famers as contemporaries. He has a weird career arc, and even then his late-career blossoming shtick was done better by Randy Johnson. He played on mostly unfashionable teams.

      I say these things not to knock Brown, but to guess as to why he’s overlooked. There are, of course, the PED grumblings, which seem to especially affect the perception of players like Brown who see a dramatic rise in their performance late in their career. So while I’m for Brown in the HoF, I have reservations about him in the CoG.

      (One final thing, and this might just be me, but whenever I look at Brown’s career WAR I never expect it to add up to 68.5. I think this might be due to some combination of how Brown’s career defies one’s expectation of a normal career arc and something to do with the way the brain processes sequences of numbers. Looking at it again it might be the way his good years outside his peak are broken up by years of sub-2.0 WAR in ’91, ’94 and ’02.)

      • 100

        Lots of good points in this thread. And now it looks like Brown will be passed over again for the two 500-HR guys.

        To RJ’s list of factors leading to Brown’s underrating, I’ll add the timing of his peak, not just as it relates to the offensive boom, but because it came between the ’94 strike and the McGwire/Sosa show in ’98, when it seems a lot of fans were not fully invested in the game. I was 16 in the summer of 1996, but the fact that Kevin Brown had a 1.89 ERA (215 ERA+) in 233 innings for the Marlins that year feels like a history lesson, rather than a memory from my high school years.

        For what it’s worth, Brown’s 23.6 WAR between ’96 and ’98 trailed only Clemens, despite all-time greats like Maddux, Pedro, Johnson, Schilling, Mussina, Smoltz, and Glavine all pitching in or close to their peak years. It also tops any three-year stretch from Kershaw, Verlander, Felix, or Sabathia. As far as I can tell, the only more valuable stretch from a pitcher who came along after the group listed above was Halladay’s 24.1 from 2009 to 2011.

    • 118

      I saw Kevin Brown pick up the win in this 1999 game , the last Major League game I have seen in person.

      Jimenez had a 1-0 lead with two out in the 7th when he gave up back-to-back singles. Brown batted for himself and walked on four pitches. The next batter hit a weak ground ball to third. Shawon Dunston charged in, fielded the ball, and threw to third — nobody was covering. The umpire called it fair, and the Dodgers went on to score seven should-have-been-unearned runs that inning. The Dodgers pinch-hit for Brown in the 8th.

      Then after a homer scored two to make it 7-3, Dunston got on base, temporarily winning back the favor of the crowd — I say temporarily because he forgot how many outs there were and got doubled off of first to end the inning and the rally on a routine fly ball.

      • 119
        John Autin says:

        Such Dunston antics might have fed into Bill James calling him “an eternal rookie” in the BJHBA.

        But I will always have a soft spot for Shawon. In the 1999 NLCS, his leadoff single in the home 15th began the Mets’ deathbed rally that led to Ventura’s “grand-slam single.”

        After Atlanta went ahead in their 15th, my buddy Mike and I left our seats on the LF side and hustled around towards RF, to be near the exit closest to the subway. We watched Dunston’s long AB from the tunnel, and his hit sent us scurrying to some open seats in right field — so we wound up with Ventura’s “HR” coming right at us.

  52. 82
    Nick Pain says:

    Don Sutton, Eddie Murray, Dwight Evans

  53. 86
    J.R. says:

    Killebrew, Stargell, Kaat

  54. 87
    PP says:

    Murray, Killebrew, Evans

  55. 88
    Kirk says:

    Alomar, Kent & Killebrew

  56. 89
    Aidan Mattson says:

    Murray, Eckersley, Kaat

  57. 90
    jajacob says:

    Nettles, tiant, murphy

  58. 92
    Richard Chester says:

    Killebrew, Mattingly, Murray

  59. 95
    Bill Johnson says:

    Killebrew, Stargell, and Bunning

  60. 97
    jeff hill says:

    Kent, Brown, Alomar

  61. 98
    Jeff B says:

    Murray, Killebrew and Stargell

  62. 99
    Hub Kid says:

    Luis Tiant, Dick Allen, Dwight Evans

  63. 101
    Dr. Remulak says:

    Mattingly, Stargell, Winfield.

  64. 102
    Michael Sullivan says:

    I do not understand the support for Killebrew for COG. He’s a hofer for sure, but COG? Really? 60 WAR. There’s a reason. He was a poor fielder at 1B for most of his career, he was not super durable. His offense was great, but it wasn’t Edgar great.

    Hit hit 573 homers, which had him #5 on the career list for about 25 years. That’s why he’s in the hall, and that’s why people think of him as a great player. That’s good, but he was one-dimensional. He reminds me a lot of Mark McGwire. below average on the base paths, below average fielder (worse than MM), and while not quite Rice-ian at hitting into the two-outer, he does manage 20th all-time in negative rDP. He has no spectacular peak, his best season is 6.5 WAR with his best batting seasons generally getting kneecapped by poor baserunning or defense.

    Killebrew and McGwire (who I have slightly ahead of him) are great examples of players that both clearly belong in the hall, but just as clearly *don’t* belong in COG.

    I wouldn’t complain too hard if Murray got into the COG, he’s clearly better than either of those guys. But there’s plenty of support for offense guys in low value positions among hall voters (yet somehow not for Edgar? WTF?), and more than I think is right even in this crowd, so I’m not voting his way. At least he played his position well limited his defensive dis-value, but I think some other candidates are better choices.

    Here’s my vote:

    Alomar, Brown, Nettles

    Notes: I’d vote for Reuschel instead of Brown on the contrariness principle, but Brown has a real shot, and Rick doesn’t. I think they are about equally qualified.). Also good point from David Korvich @75 about the incredible shortage of 3Bs coming up. We need the best one left off so far available for consideration when the time comes.

    And yes, you there, who are thinking “Graig Nettles? He never looked like a hall of famer.”, that’s because you didn’t know what a hall of famer at 3B looked like when you were watching him. He should have been a no-doubter, and is a perfectly reasonable borderline candidate for COG at #116 in hall rating. Exactly the kind of guy that you might put in when his position is otherwise underrepresented, but not if it isn’t.

    Next redemption round, I’ll be looking at borderline pitchers.

    • 103
      David Horwich says:

      I agree that McGwire and Killebrew are pretty good comps, although I’d rate Killebrew a little bit higher, myself – while he may not have been a good defensive player, at least he provided a little more positional flexibility than McGwire, and he was a little more durable. But both are at best borderline CoG’ers in my view, and I too am surprised by the support Killebrew has drawn this round.

      As for Nettles, I think he’s been underrated for at least a few reasons, e.g. a significant amount of his value is in his defense, which tends to be underrated unless you’re a flashy Ozzie Smith type.

      But I think the main factor is the when and where of his career: his first good seasons were with Cleveland when Cleveland was in the serious doldrums. Then, with the Yankees, he was never the biggest star: Munson was already an All-Star by the time Nettles arrived, then Hunter and later Jackson were both huge stories when they signed on.

      On top of that, he was overshadowed by Brooks Robinson at the start of his career, and during the Yankees revival of the mid-’70s both Brett and Schmidt were coming into their own as major stars, doing flashy things like leading the league in batting average or winning multiple HR titles.

      So he was overshadowed on his teams by bigger names, and at his position by bigger stars (note I’m not arguing that Nettles was just as good as Brett or Schmidt, just that he was sort of Rainesed (please forgive the anachronism) by them).

      • 107
        Michael Sullivan says:

        I agree about his being overshadowed by better 3Bs. I think part of the problem of 3Bs is the pattern of performance there. For years you have only a few hall-level, and no truly superior 3Bs. Then come the 50s and 60s and you have Mathews and Boyer. And Boyer doesn’t make the hall, even though he’s as good as any other 3B that came before him besides Mathews.

        Then Schmidt, Brett and Boggs come along, and I think the voters don’t realize just how much more valuable they were than some of the 1Bs or corner OFs with similar or slightly better offensive numbers. So a guy like Nettles, with more value than a lot of guys they are voting in just gets completely overlooked. That’s what I meant when I say voters don’t know what a hall of fame 3B looks like. They think a hall of fame 3B is Eddie Mathews or George Brett, and *NOT* somebody who is great but not as good as them.

    • 104
      Lawrence Azrin says:


      I think you’ve underrated three parts of Killebrew’s game:

      1) He also walked a great deal. Despite his low BA, he was in the Top-10 in OBA nine times.
      2) A good chunk of his career was in the 2nd ‘mini-deadball’ era of 1963-68, plus low scoring years of 1971-72. His HRs those years had more value relative to other eras.
      … but maybe most important:
      3) His positional flexibility, rotating him through first/third/left field, allowed the Senators/Twins to get another bat in the lineup in many years. WAR does not give any credit for this, but it’s _real_ value to the team. It just wasn’t at the start of his career – he played 3B regularly till age 35.

      Look, he’s not my top COG choice, but I think he belongs on the ballot, which is why I voted for him here. He was one of the big stars in the 1960s, before there was wOBA+, wRC+, VORP, WAR, Win Shares, and other sabermetric measures. People weren’t using those terms, and they understood Killebrew’s limitations, but they also knew that he had a lot of value.

      • 106
        Michael Sullivan says:

        Ok. For 1, I’m pretty confident that rBat, wRC+, wOBA etc. capture the value of his walks well. He was clearly an offensive force.

        2. I’m not sure to what extent the various context adjustments handle this. Does anyone know if the relative values of different results are treated differently based on the year’s context in computing the various numbers? I’ll have to do some research on this. I tend to agree that a hitter who’s offensive contribution is weighted heavily towards HRs should be somewhat more valuable in a low scoring context where runners are more likely to be stranded. If that’s not being represented in the advanced metrics, I could believe he was a bit more valuable than those numbrers suggest.

        3. He is getting credit for playing 3B and OF when he does. His position adjustment is a fair bit lower than most career 1Bs for that reason. OTOH, his fielding probably takes a hit vs. what it would have been at 1B. I can’t decide how much to value the fact that he could move around over and above the credit he already gets for playing more difficult to fill positions when he did.

        He clearly did have a lot of value, I just think a number of other players on this ballot had more.

      • 108
        birtelcom says:

        It might be of interest that fangraphs’ WAR values Killer somewhat more highly than b-ref’s WAR. At fangraphs, Harmon is at 66.1 WAR, essentially tied with Raines (66.3), Yount (66.5) and Mark McGwire (66.3). At b-ref, he’s at 60.4, next door to Jim Edmonds, Gary Sheffield and Bobby Abreu. B-ref ranks Raines and Yount well ahead of Killebrew, while fangraphs ranks Killebrew ahead of Edmonds, Sheffield and Abreu. Adam D.’s Hall of Stats ranks Killebrew somewhat below the level of most of our COG inductees to date, but Adam relies on b-ref’s numbers for his own formula. If he used fangraphs, Killebrew would be a lot closer to our standard COG level.

      • 109
        Lawrence Azrin says:


        As for #3 – yes, Killebrew IS getting the positional adjustment for playing third, or LF. What he isn’t getting credit for are the additional runs his team scores, by putting a good hitter at first (instead of leaving Killebrew there).

        I basically agree with you, that he’s a certainly a HOFer, but probably not quite good enough for the COG.

  65. 110
    donburgh says:

    Willis Stargell, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott

    • 112
      birtelcom says:

      Actually it was Wilver Stargell. I seem to remember Bob Prince, the longtime Pirates broadcaster (actually seemed more like a rabid Pirate fan who somehow got randomly selected to work in the broadcast booth), referring to him with distracting frequency as Wilver.

      • 113
        Paul E says:

        Prince? One of the worst “homers’ in the history of all sports. He makes Hawk Harrelson sound reasonably objective.

        “Come on, Cobra. A three-run homer here would be big…”

      • 115
        donburgh says:

        Oops, maybe I should just stick to last names.

        “…actually seemed more like a rabid Pirate fan who somehow got randomly selected to work in the broadcast booth…”

        Homer? Absolutely. Somehow randomly selected? You’re selling a HOFer way too short, there.

  66. 111
    RJ says:

    Kevin Brown, Rick Reuschel, Greg Nettles.

  67. 114
    Arsen says:

    Roberto Alomar, Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant. Why stop at 40 votes for Alomar?

  68. 117
    opal611 says:

    For Redemption Round #4, I’m voting for:
    –Rafael Palmeiro
    -Don Sutton
    -Eddie Murray

    Other folks I considered/reconsidered for redemption:

  69. 125
    Mike L says:

    Killebrew, Alomar, and Randolph.

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