This post is for voting and discussion in the 131st round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG). This is the third of four rounds of balloting adding to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1974. Rules and lists are after the jump.
The new group of 1974-born players, in order to join the eligible list, must, as usual, have played at least 10 seasons in the major leagues or generated at least 20 Wins Above Replacement (“WAR”, as calculated by baseball-reference.com, and for this purpose meaning 20 total WAR for everyday players and 20 pitching WAR for pitchers). This third group of 1974-born candidates, comprising those with M-O surnames, joins the eligible holdovers from previous rounds to comprise the full list of players eligible to appear on your ballots.
In addition to voting for COG election among players on the main ballot, there will be also be voting for elevation to the main ballot among players on the secondary ballot. For the main ballot election, voters must select three and only three eligible players, with the one player appearing on the most ballots cast in the round inducted into the Circle of Greats. For the secondary ballot election, voters may select up to three eligible players, with the one player appearing on the most ballots cast elevated to the main ballot for the next COG election round. In the case of ties, a runoff election round will be held for COG election, while a tie-breaking process will be followed to determine the secondary ballot winner.
Players who fail to win either ballot but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast win four added future rounds of ballot eligibility. Players who appear on 25% or more of the ballots cast, but less than 50%, earn two added future rounds of ballot eligibility. One additional round of eligibility is earned by any player who appears on at least 10% of the ballots cast or, for the main ballot only, any player finishing in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances. Holdover candidates on the main ballot who exhaust their eligibility will drop to the secondary ballot for the next COG election round, as will first time main ballot candidates who attract one or more votes but do not earn additional main ballot eligibility. Secondary ballot candidates who exhaust their eligibility will drop from that ballot, but will become eligible for possible reinstatement in a future Redemption round election.
All voting for this round closes at 11:59 PM EST Thursday, February 28th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Tuesday, February 26th.
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 1974 Part 3 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 candidates; additional player columns from the new born-in-1974 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 current holdovers are listed in order of the number of future rounds (including this one) through which they are assured eligibility, and alphabetically when the future eligibility number is the same. The 1974 birth-year players are listed below in order of the number of seasons each played in the majors, and alphabetically among players with the same number of seasons played.
|MAIN BALLOT||ELIGIBILITY||SECONDARY BALLOT||ELIGIBILITY|
|Kevin Brown||12 rounds||Willie Randolph||9 rounds|
|Luis Tiant||9 rounds||Rick Reuschel ||8 rounds|
|Dick Allen||6 rounds||Todd Helton ||7 rounds|
|Manny Ramirez||6 rounds||Bobby Abreu||2 rounds|
|Bill Dahlen||5 rounds||Andy Pettitte ||2 rounds|
|Graig Nettles||3 rounds|| Stan Coveleski||this round ONLY|
|Bobby Wallace||3 rounds|| R.A. Dickey||this round ONLY|
|Richie Ashburn ||this round ONLY|| Dennis Eckersley||this round ONLY|
|Ken Boyer||this round ONLY|| Monte Irvin||this round ONLY|
|Andre Dawson||this round ONLY|| Minnie Minoso||this round ONLY|
|Ted Lyons||this round ONLY|| Reggie Smith||this round ONLY|
|Ted Simmons ||this round ONLY|
|Don Sutton ||this round ONLY |
Everyday Players (born in 1974, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR, M-O surname):
As is our custom with first time candidates, here is a factoid and related quiz question on each of the new players on the ballot.
- Joe Nathan saved more than 64% of the games he finished, currently the 6th highest career rate among retired pitchers with 300 GF. Who was the first such pitcher to record a career rate higher than 50%? (Bruce Sutter)
- John McDonald logged eleven 100 PA seasons in a 16 year career. Excluding pitchers and catchers, who is the only player, like McDonald, without a 400 PA season but with more 100 PA seasons? (Jim Dwyer)
- Kevin Millwood’s .450 W-L% in 2005 is the lowest ever by a pitcher leading the AL in ERA in a full length season. Which four pitchers have led the NL in ERA while posting a lower W-L% than Millwood’s mark? (Dave Koslo 1949, Stu Miller 1958, Nolan Ryan 1987, Joe Magrane 1988)
- Magglio Ordonez split his career between the White Sox and Tigers, playing over 750 games for each franchise. Who is the only other player with such a career? (Chet Lemon)
- Bengie Molina led his league in sacrifice flies in consecutive seasons (2008-09). Who is the only other catcher to do the same? (Johnny Bench, 1972-73)
- Gary Matthews’ best season was in 2006 at age 31 when he became the oldest and most recent Ranger player to bat .300 with 300 total bases and 100 runs scored. Which player is the first and still the youngest Ranger to record such a season? (Ruben Sierra, 1989)
- Russ Ortiz posted career marks including a .559 W-L% and 93 ERA+. Who is the only pitcher with 200+ career decisions to post a .550 W-L% and a lower ERA+? (Ross Grimsley)
- Doug Mientkiewicz took home a World Series ring after his only season as a Red Sox first baseman. Which other retired player was a world champion in his only season playing first base in 50% of his Red Sox games? (Eric Hinske, 2007)
- Trot Nixon drilled three HR in the 2004 ALCS to oust the Yankees. Who is the only player with more HR in an ALCS win over New York? (Josh Hamilton, 2010)
- Matt Morris was born on the day that Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. Which player tattooed Morris at the plate and hailed from the town of Nixon’s first alma mater? (Nomar Garciaparra)
- Hideki Matsui‘s 519 consecutive games played (552 games, including post-season) is the longest streak ever to begin a career. What is the longest such streak by an NL player? (Glenn Wright)