Circle of Greats 1976 Balloting

This post is for voting and discussion in the 135th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  The Baseball Writers of America threw us a curve this year, with no players elected to the Hall of Fame. So we will do likewise, and not elect anyone to the Circle of Greats. But, we will still have an election to fill the ballot for next year’s Circle of Greats election. Rules and lists are after the jump.

Appearing on the the Circle of Greats ballot this year are players born in 1976. As usual, to be eligible, this new group of 1976-born players must 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 group of 1976-born candidates joins those players on the secondary ballot to comprise the full list of players eligible to receive your votes.

For this election, voters must select three and only three eligible players, with the one player appearing on the most ballots cast in the round elevated to the main ballot for the next Circle of Greats election. In the case of a tie between two or more secondary ballot candidates, ballots will be discarded in the reverse order in which they were cast until the tie is broken (so, vote early to be sure your vote counts).

Players born in 1976, who appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast, win four added future rounds of main ballot eligibility. Such 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 such player who appears on at least 10% of the ballots cast, or finishes in the top 9 (including ties) in ballot appearances. Any such player receiving one or more votes, but appearing on less than 10% of the ballots cast, will appear on the secondary ballot for the next Circle of Greats election.

Players on the secondary ballot who fail to win elevation to the main ballot, but appear on half or more of the ballots that are cast, win four added future rounds of secondary ballot eligibility. Such 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 such player who appears on at least 10% of the ballots cast. 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 Sunday, February 7th, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Friday, February 5th.

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 1976 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 in the spreadsheet is a column for each of the holdover candidates; additional player columns from the new born-in-1976 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 below 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.

Holdovers:

SECONDARY BALLOT ELIGIBILITY
Todd Helton 11 rounds
Willie Randolph 11 rounds
Minnie Minoso 5 rounds
Bobby Abreu 3 rounds
Ken Boyer 3 rounds
Monte Irvin 3 rounds
Billy Williams 2 rounds
Don Drysdale this round ONLY
Andy Pettitte this round ONLY
Reggie Smith this round ONLY

The 1976 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.

Everyday Players (born in 1976, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
A.J. Pierzynski
Paul Konerko
Jerry Hairston
Edgar Renteria
Alfonso Soriano
Lance Berkman
Ramon Hernandez
Jose Guillen
Adam Kennedy
Carlos Lee
Michael Young
Ramon Castro
Troy Glaus
Wes Helms
Aubrey Huff
Reed Johnson
Brian Schneider
Michael Barrett
Pat Burrell
Abraham Nunez
Chris Woodward
Eric Byrnes
Juan Encarnacion
Jason Michaels
Corky Miller
Scott Podsednik
Cody Ransom
Ross Gload

Pitchers (born in 1976, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Kyle Farnsworth
Randy Wolf
Ted Lilly
Javier Vazquez
Scott Downs
Freddy Garcia
Jason Grilli
J.C. Romero
Matt Thornton
Scott Linebrink
Carl Pavano
Brad Lidge
Joel Peralta
Jeff Weaver
Scott Elarton
Kelvim Escobar
Eric Gagne
Sidney Ponson

As is our custom with Circle of Great elections, here is a factoid and related trivia question for each of the new players on the ballot.

  1. A.J. Pierzynski‘s 1936 games caught are the most for any catcher with no games at any other field position. Which HoF catcher held that record before Pierzynski? Rick Ferrell

  2. Paul Konerko recorded 100 games at first base for thirteen consecutive seasons (2000-12), the most by any White Sox player. Which first baseman holds the AL record for most such consecutive seasons? Joe Judge (1916-30)

  3. Alfonso Soriano led his league in runs scored and stolen bases in 2002, while recording 200+ hits with fewer than 25 walks. Which player has the only other such season? Lou Brock (1967)

  4. Jerry Hairston played over 400 games in the field through age 28, all at second base. Then, he transformed into a super-utility player over the final 10 seasons of his career, playing 10+ games at least once at every position except pitcher and catcher. Which other two players, like Hairston, recorded 100+ games at 2B, 3B, SS, LF and CF? Woodie Held and Willie Bloomquist (both also played 100 games in RF)

  5. Edgar Renteria played 120+ games at SS for 13 consecutive seasons (1997-2009). Who is the only shortstop to post more such seasons consecutively? Luis Aparicio (1956-71)

  6. Randy Wolf was an All-Star in his 2003 season for the Phillies, with a .600 W-L% in 200+ IP despite an ERA+ under 95. Who was the last AL All-Star pitcher to record such a season? Ken Schrom (1986)

  7. Ramon Hernandez caught over 1000 games in his career, including 200+ games for four franchises (A’s, Padres, Orioles, Reds). Who was the first catcher of the modern era (since 1901) to post such a career? Wally Schang (1435 games caught, incl. 200+ with A’s, Yankees, Red Sox and Browns)

  8. Kyle Farnsworth is one of 10 pitchers to allow more HR than Games Pitched in a rookie season of 125+ IP. Which one of those pitchers later won the Cy Young Award? Zack Greinke (2004)

  9. Lance Berkman posted four seasons with 100+ strikeouts and more RBI, the most by an NL player. Which two players have posted more such seasons consecutively? Ken Griffey, Jr. (1996-2000), Alex Rodriguez (1998-2002)

  10. Michael Young posted OPS+ under 100 in 2003, despite batting .300 with 200+ hits. Who is the only player with more than one such season? Juan Pierre (2001, 2003)

  11. Ted Lilly pitched over 900 innings in each league in a career of fewer than 2000 IP. Who was the first pitcher to record such a career? Shane Rawley (1978-89)

  12. Carlos Lee is one of 29 players to bat .300 and slug .500 in 2000+ National League PA aged 30-33. Which one of those players recorded a lower NL OPS than Lee for those seasons? Daniel Murphy

  13. Adam Kennedy posted career totals including less than 30% of hits for extra bases, but more XBH than BB. Which HoF infielder of the integration era (since 1947) did the same? Bill Mazeroski (2016 H, 494 XBH, 447 BB)

  14. Javier Vazquez recorded 10 to 16 wins in each of the final twelve seasons of his career. Who is the one other pitcher to do the same? Mark Buehrle

  15. Jose Guillen posted only an 80 OPS+ through age 26, before improving to 114 OPS+ aged 27-32, in 2000+ PA in each period. Which other expansion era outfielder, like Guillen, posted OPS+ under 90 through age 26 and over 100 aged 27-32, in 2000+ PA in each period? Carlos Gomez

  16. Matt Thornton posted ten consecutive seasons (2006-15) with 60+ appearances. Who is the only left-hander with a longer streak of such seasons? Mike Myers (1996-2007)

  17. Reed Johnson made his post-season debut at age 36 with pinch-hit appearances for the Braves in his first three games. Who is the only older Braves’ player to make the same post-season debut? Dave Martinez (2001) age 37

  18. Brian Schneider caught 100+ games for the Expos/Nationals, Phillies and Mets. Who is the most recent player to catch 100+ games for two of those franchises? Wilson Ramos (100+ games with Nationals and Mets, and also the Rays)

  19. Aubrey Huff made 10 post-season PH appearances for the 2012 world champion Giants. Which player recorded more such games in a single post-season for a team that did not advance to the World Series? Orlando Palmeiro (2004 Astros) 12 PH games

  20. Jason Grilli posted consecutive seasons (2012-13) for the Pirates aged 35-36 with 50+ IP and 130 ERA+. Who is the oldest Pirate pitcher to post those totals in back-to-back seasons pitching exclusively in relief? Roy Face (1966-67) age 38-39

  21. Scott Downs posted three seasons aged 31-35 with 200 ERA+ in 50+ IP. Who is the only pitcher with more such seasons at those ages? Joe Nathan (2006-09)

  22. J.C. Romero matched his career best 81 appearances playing for the world champion 2008 Phillies. Which Phillies reliever led his league in appearances in a pennant-winning season? Jim Konstanty (1950)

  23. Freddy Garcia was a perfect 3-0 in the 2005 post-season for the world champion White Sox, including series-clinching wins in the ALDS and WS. Who is the only pitcher to start and win more series-clinching games in a single post-season? Andy Pettitte (2009)

  24. Ramon Castro averaged one HR every 16 PA at age 34 playing for the 2010 White Sox. Who is the oldest White Sox catcher to match or exceed that HR rate in a 100+ PA season? Carlton Fisk (1988) age 40

  25. Wes Helms smacked 23 home runs for Milwaukee in 2003, the lone qualified season of his career. Which other Brewer third baseman matched or bettered that HR total in his first qualified season? Casey McGehee (2010)

  26. Troy Glaus’s 47 HR led the AL in 2000. Who were the home run champs the only time Angel players led the AL in home runs in consecutive seasons? Bobby Grich (1981) and Reggie Jackson (1982)

  27. Scott Linebrink posted four straight seasons (2004-07) with 70+ appearances and 70+ IP. Which two pitchers have the only longer streaks of such seasons? Aaron Heilman (2006-10), Tyler Clippard (2010-14)

  28. Pat Burrell ranks 3rd in career LF games for the Phillies. Who is the only Phillie left-fielder with more HR than Burrell’s Phillie total of 251? Del Ennis (259 HR as a Phillie)

  29. Chris Woodward stroked a double in the lone PA of his post-season career. Which player matched Woodward’s feat, and recorded zero extra-base hits in his regular season career? Steve Torrealba (only 2 regular season hits, both singles)

  30. Carl Pavano’s 18 wins for the 2004 Marlins established a new franchise record. Which pitcher broke that franchise mark the next season? Dontrelle Willis (22 wins in 2005)

  31. Michael Barrett posted identical totals of 16 HR and 32 doubles in consecutive seasons (2004-05). Which other catcher posted multiple seasons with a double-digit HR total and exactly twice as many doubles? Matt Wieters (2010, 2017)

  32. Abraham Nunez posted a .375 post-season BA for the 2005 Cardinals. Who is the only Cardinal third baseman with a higher BA (min. 20 AB) in a single post-season? David Freese (2011) .397 BA

  33. Joel Peralta made a franchise record 296 appearances for the Rays from 2011 to 2014. Which pitcher broke that record the next season? Jake McGee (297 games as a Ray)

  34. Brad Lidge is the only pitcher to record two seasons with 30+ saves and an ERA over 5, and the only pitcher to do so for a pennant-winning team (the 2009 Phillies). Which other pitcher posted those totals for a team that played in a league championship series? Joe Borowski (2007 Indians)

  35. Cody Ransom played fewer than 40 games in eight of his first nine seasons, tied for the most such seasons by players other than pitchers and catchers? Who was the first such player to begin his career this way? Lou Klimchock (1958-66) played 40+ games only in 1961

  36. Scott Podsednik posted an age 34 qualified season in 2010 with more stolen bases than extra-base hits. Who is the oldest player with such a season in the modern era (since 1901)? Rickey Henderson (2000) age 41

  37. Corky Miller failed to play 40 games in any of his eleven seasons, the longest such career by a non-pitcher. Whose record did Miller break? Matt Sinatro (10 seasons)

  38. Jason Michaels stroked 42 extra-base hits for Cleveland in his lone qualified season in 2006 , but managed only 55 RBI. Which Indian player recorded the lowest RBI to XBH ratio in a qualified season with 40+ extra-base hits? Grady Sizemore (2006) with 16% of team XBH but only 9% of team RBI

  39. Eric Byrnes played 400 games for the A’s and D-Backs. Which teammate of Byrnes played 250 games for each of those franchises? Erubiel Durazo (but it wasn’t easy getting him to the A’s; the trade was ARI—>Durazo—>OAK—>PTBNL—>TOR—>F. Lopez—>CIN—>E. Dessens—>ARI)

  40. Jeff Weaver played with his brother Jered on the 2006 Angels. Which other pair of brother pitchers played for an LA-based team? Ramon/Pedro Martinez (1992-93 Dodgers)

  41. Juan Encarnacion posted a career best 94 RBI in 2003; it was the last time a Marlin right-fielder recorded as many RBI as SO in a qualified season. Which Marlin right-fielder has the most such seasons? Mark Kotsay (1998-2000)

  42. Ross Gload is one of eleven White Sox players to bat .320 in a season of 150-300 PA (and is the only one to do so twice). Which one of those players is in the Hall of Fame? Frank Thomas (1990)

  43. Eric Gagne was the NL CYA winner in 2003 on the strength of a 0.692 WHIP and a majors-leading 55 saves. Which reliever posted a lower WHIP while leading his league in saves? Craig Kimbrel (2012)

  44. Sidney Ponson led his league in CG in 2004, despite an ERA over 5 and a WHIP over 1.5. Before Ponson, who was the last pitcher to do the same? (For bonus points, other than being the first start of Ponson’s career, what is unique about this game?) Bobo Newsom (1938)

  45. Scott Elarton’s 4.81 ERA in 2000 is the highest qualifying mark by an NL pitcher in a season with a .700 W-L%. Which AL pitcher has the only higher ERA in such a season? Roxie Lawson (1937 Tigers)

  46. Kelvim Escobar posted a career best 4.9 WAR for the Angels in 2007, and then pitched only one more game in his career. Which pitcher led his league in WAR in his final season? Sandy Koufax (1966), Jim Devlin (1877)

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howard
howard
2 months ago

1) Ray Schalk

Doug
Doug
2 months ago
Reply to  howard

No, but a good guess.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Rick Ferrell

howard
howard
2 months ago

10) Juan Pierre

howard
howard
2 months ago

14) Mussina

Doug
Doug
2 months ago
Reply to  howard

Not Mussina. He had several seasons with more than 16 wins.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#9: Ken Griffey Jr (1996-2000) and Alex Rodriguez (1998-2002; plus 1996 & 2007).

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#34: Joe Borowski, CLE, 2007 (45 SV, 5.07 ERA).

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#45: Roxie Lawson, DET, 1937, 18-7, 5.26

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#36: Rickey Henderson, OAK, 1998, 39 years old (31 XBH, 66 SB).

CursedClevelander
CursedClevelander
2 months ago

40 is just Ramon and Pedro Martinez, right?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #14: Mark Buehrle

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #31: Ed Ott in 1977-1978.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Then it’s Matt Wieters in 2010 and 2017

Jeff H
Jeff H
2 months ago

Billy Williams, Willie Randolph, Don Drysdale

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #11: Matt Sinatro with 10 such seasons.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

That should be answer to #37, not #11 to which the answer is Shane Rawley

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#43: Craig Kimbrel, 2012

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

13) Bill Mazeroski, I believe.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

20) Roy Face, ages 38 and 39. Can’t imagine there’s someone older.

Mark
Mark
2 months ago
Reply to  Dr. Doom

Concur. I first thought Tekulve, and he did do it at ages 39-40, but he was with the Phillies by then.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

41) Is it Gary Sheffield (1994 & 1996)?

Eric
Eric
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Is it Mark Kotsay you’re looking for?

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

25) In a question tailor-made for me, in that it’s about the Brewers and no one but a Brewers fan would remember this guy as a 3B, the answer is Ryan Braun, who belted 34 HR as a rookie and played no other positions in the field other than third.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Aha! It’s Casey McGehee! Someone even more recent!

As for Braun’s last ML game, I just can’t imagine that another team would be interested in him, what with all the baggage he has. I could imagine that, if the NL did adopt the DH for 2021, I wouldn’t be surprised if Milwaukee re-signed him. So for now, I’m going to assume that he has played his last game. But if the NL does re-adopt the DH, I would bet on Milwaukee signing him again.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

36) I have to assume it’s Rickey Henderson, age-41 season.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

26) This is without looking it up, but I’m going to say it’s Bobby Grich ’81 and Reggie Jackson ’82.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

Would #30 be Dontrelle Willis?

Andy
Andy
2 months ago

Ken Boyer, Todd Helton, Don Drysdale

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

28) Must be Del Ennis. There haven’t been that many HR hitters in Phillies’ history.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #2: Joe Judge 15 seasons

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #4: Woodie Held and Willie Bloomquist who both also played 100+ games in RF.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

***********My Ballot********* (Just trying to help Doug find this, what with all the trivia answers here at the early part of the post) Don Drysdale Todd Helton Ken Boyer This was my exact ballot from last year. I see no reason to change it. I will do a bit of advocacy for each of my guys, if anyone is interested. Drysdale is the player whom I view as the clear-cut best player on the Secondary Ballot at the moment. Yes, he was overshadowed by Koufax in his later years and the Dodger offense in his early years. But in the… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

32) Didn’t notice this question before. The answer is very obvious: David Freese. Freese, in 63 ABs, had 25 hits (.397). He was World Series MVP, which many people remember, for hitting .348/.464/.696, which is obviously incredible in the most extreme of circumstances. What most people don’t remember is what a step DOWN that was from the NLCS. Against the Brewers (would it be a post of mine without mentioning Milwaukee?), he batted .545/.600/1.091 (no, I did NOT skip a column; he actually batted .545 with a .600 OBP and a 1.091 SLG in a six-game series!) to win that… Read more »

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

The players from this group, with their OVERALL postseason numbers from the season in question (3+ round postseasons only): Bonds, 2002 – .356/.581/.933 (74 PA) = 1.515 Freese, 2011 – .397/.465/.762 (71 PA) = 1.227 Ortiz, 2013 – .353/.500/.706 (68 PA) = 1.206 Matsui, 2009 – .349/.461/.674 (52 PA) = 1.135 Murphy, 2015 – .328/.391/.724 (64 PA) = 1.115 Cruz, 2011 – .225/.314/.645 (70 PA) = .959 Manny Ramirez’s 2008 postseason would rank above Bonds’ ’02, believe it or not, but the Dodgers failed to make the World Series in spite of Manny’s 1.746 OPS. And here are two bonus… Read more »

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

Minnie Minoso, Billy Williams, Bobby Abreu

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#11: Would that be Shane Rawley (not sure if he was the earliest)?

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#5: Luis Aparicio, I think.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#22: I’d think it would be Jim Konstanty in 1950

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #23 is Andy Pettitte in 2009.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
2 months ago

24) Is it Carlton Fisk? I hope so. I see he did it at age 40 (once every 15.6 PA).

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #7: Wally Schang

opal611
opal611
2 months ago

Hello! Just to clarify, all of the players born in 1976 are automatically moving to consideration for the Secondary Ballot, even though they have not yet received initial consideration for the Primary Ballot? I’m just making sure, since I believe all other players have so far received at least an initial consideration for the Primary Ballot before being removed. I know we didn’t always have a Secondary Ballot, so the process is a bit different now. For the sake of consistency, I would have preferred to have also waited and considered these folks as part of a Primary Ballot first,… Read more »

Doug
Doug
2 months ago
Reply to  opal611

Thanks for seeking clarification.

I am keeping the rules the same for the 1976 players. If they get 10%, they go to the primary. If they get any votes, but less than 10%, they go to the secondary.

opal611
opal611
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

That makes sense! Thank you for clarifying!

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

[Have to say, I’m spending too much time on this, but it’s fun on a snowy day – thanks for the ?s.]

#42: Frank Thomas, perhaps?

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#8: I’m thinking Zack Greinke in 2004.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#27: Tyler Clippard and Aaron Heilman

Gary Bateman
Gary Bateman
2 months ago

#3 Lou Brock, 1967

Gary Bateman
Gary Bateman
2 months ago

Vote: Minoso, Boyer, and Billy Williams

It is a little sad to me (an maybe a little telling of my age) that Harold Baines made the HOF while Minoso is still on the outside. Similarly, I think Boyer should be in, but it appears now that Scott Rolen may make it (and Boyer might not ever get in).

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #3: Lou Brock ion 1967.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#38: Maybe Grady Sizemore in 2006?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #38: Grady Sizemore in 2006. 76 RBI and 92 EBH for a ratio of .826.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Here are my 3 selections:
Billy Williams
Todd Helton
Minnie Minoso

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#29: Steve Torrealba of the 2001-02 Braves appears to fit the question, though Archie Bradley currently does too (but he still has time to change that).

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#44: Bobo Newsom (1938)

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

#39: Erubiel Durazo

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
2 months ago

Answer to #16, and I hope it hasn’t already been posted, is Mike Myers with 12 consecutive seasons.

Doug
Doug
2 months ago

The quintessential LOOGY, Myers had at least 20 more appearances than IP in all but the first and last of those 12 seasons, including 6 seasons with a differential of 30 or more, one of which (in 2006) is among only eight with 60+ appearances and twice as many appearances as IP.

JEV
JEV
2 months ago

Drysdale, Abreu, Smith

Voomo
Voomo
2 months ago

Vote:

Don Drysdale
Minnie Minoso
Willie Randolph

CursedClevelander
CursedClevelander
2 months ago

Okay, #46 took a while to get, but is it Jim Devlin?

Doug
Doug
2 months ago

Well, Devlin’s final season in 1877 does meet the specs, but I was actually thinking about someone more recent, someone in the COG, in fact.

howard
howard
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

I also thought it was Devlin. The only other I can think of is Koufax who would have led all players with his pitching WAR alone had not his awful hitting dragged his overall WAR down a few points.