Circle of Greats 1979 Balloting Part 1

This post is for voting and discussion in the 138th round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG).  This is the first of three rounds of balloting adding to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1979. Rules and lists are after the jump.

The new group of 1979-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 group of 1979-born candidates, comprising those with A-F 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 Sunday, February 3rd, while changes to previously cast ballots are allowed until 11:59 PM EST Friday, February 1st.

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 1979 Part 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 in the spreadsheet is a column for each of the holdover candidates; additional player columns from the new born-in-1979 group will be added to the spreadsheet as votes are cast for them.

Choose your three players, for both the main and secondary ballots, 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 1979 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.

Holdovers:

MAIN BALLOT ELIGIBILITY SECONDARY BALLOT ELIGIBILITY
Dick Allen 8 rounds Todd Helton 14 rounds
Carlos Beltran 8 rounds Bobby Abreu 5 rounds
Vladimir Guerrero 4 rounds Ken Boyer 5 rounds
Luis Tiant 4 rounds Billy Williams 4 rounds
David Ortiz 2 rounds Stan Coveleski 2 rounds
Scott Rolen 2 rounds Don Drysdale 2 rounds
Gary Sheffield 2 rounds Monte Irvin 2 rounds
Don Sutton 2 rounds Reggie Smith 2 rounds
Bobby Wallace 2 rounds Richie Ashburn this round ONLY
Andruw Jones this round ONLY Lance Berkman this round ONLY
Ted Lyons this round ONLY Andre Dawson this round ONLY
Minnie Minoso this round ONLY Rick Reuschel this round ONLY
Graig Nettles this round ONLY    
Willie Randolph this round ONLY    
Ted Simmons this round ONLY    
Chase Utley this round ONLY    

Everyday Players (born in 1979, A-F surnames, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Adrián Beltré
Coco Crisp
Michael Cuddyer
Adam Dunn
Clint Barmes
David DeJesus
Jason Bartlett
Jack Cust

Pitchers (born in 1979, A-F surnames, ten or more seasons played in the major leagues or at least 20 WAR):
Mark Buehrle
Jeremy Affeldt
Erik Bedard
Aaron Cook
Frank Francisco

As is our custom, here are quiz questions for each of the new players on the ballot.
1. Adrián Beltré played over 700 games at 3rd base for three franchises. Which other two players recorded 700+ games at 3rd base for two franchises? (Buddy Bell, Doug DeCinces)
2. Michael Cuddyer was a league batting champion as a 34 year-old in 2013, his first season batting .300. Who is the only older player to do the same? (Yuli Gurriel, 2021)
3. Coco Crisp is one of 12 expansion era players with 300 doubles and 300 stolen bases in a career including 1000 games in CF. Which of those players hit fewer career home runs than Crisp’s total of 130? (Willie McGee, 79 HR)
4. Adam Dunn recorded a 40+ HR season in 2012 at age 32 while leading his league in strikeouts and walks. Who is the only older expansion era player to do the same? (Mike Schmidt, 1983)
5. Clint Barmes is one of 40 players with dWAR four times greater than oWAR in a 1000+ game career. Which of those players has the only career WAR higher than Barmes’ total of 14.9? (Hughie Critz, 16.7 WAR)
6. David DeJesus recorded 6 consecutive seasons (2005-10) for Kansas City (plus three more for other teams) with 20+ doubles and more walks. Which player has the only longer streak of such seasons by a Royals outfielder? (Amos Otis, 1970-79)
7. Jack Cust posted a 2.7 WAR season in 2008 while leading his league in walks and strikeouts. Which player recorded the only lower WAR total in such a season? (Adam Dunn, 1.6 WAR in 2012)
8. Jason Bartlett recorded shortstop seasons for three franchises, each with 20+ doubles, 20+ stolen bases and 40+ walks. Which other shortstop has done the same? (Trea Turner)
9. Mark Buehrle posted 14 consecutive 200+ IP seasons (2001-14). Which pitcher recorded the longest streak of such seasons? (Cy Young 1891-1909, post-1901: Warren Spahn 1947-63)
10. Jeremy Affeldt went undefeated in 33 games over his post-season career. Who is the only retired pitcher with more games in an unblemished post-season career? (Paul Assenmacher, 36 games)
11. Erik Bedard posted a 119 ERA+ over his first eight seasons, but saw that number decline to 81 over his final three campaigns, a 38 point drop that is 11th highest among starting pitchers with ERA+ under 90 in 300+ IP over their final three seasons, and with 700+ IP before that point. Which of those pitchers saw the largest ERA+ drop over those final three seasons? (Christy Mathewson, 66 point drop)
12. Aaron Cook is the Rockies’ franchise leader in career IP despite a 3.8 SO/9 for Colorado that is lowest among 176 pitchers with 50+ IP for the Rockies. Among all pitchers with 250+ IP for Colorado, who has the lowest career SO/BB ratio as a Rockie? (Jamey Wright)
13. Frank Francisco recorded four straight seasons (2008-11) of 50+ appearances with 120+ ERA+, H/9 under 9, SO/9 over 9, and SO/BB ratio under 4. Which two pitchers recorded the only longer streaks of such seasons by a reliever? (Francisco Rodriguez 2003-08, Troy Percival 1995-99)

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koma
koma
5 months ago

Main ballot

David Ortiz – Adrian Beltre – Vladimir Guerrero

Secondary ballot

Todd Helton

Jeff Harris
Jeff Harris
5 months ago

Main – Beltre, Ortiz, Guerrero
Secondary – Williams

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

For question 1 I’ll say Buddy Bell.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

That’s half of the answer.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Is the other half Jimmy Collins?

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Not Collins. 735 games at 3B for the Red Sox, but only 658 for the Braves.

Last edited 5 months ago by Doug
Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

How about Darrell Evans?

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

Evans was ever so close, but not quite. He played 710 games at 3B for Atlanta, and 697 for the Giants.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

Is the other half Doug DeCinces?

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

DeCinces is the one. 700+ games at 3B with the Orioles and Angels.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

For #9 if you count pre-1901 seasons it’s Cy Young with 19 such seasons (1891-1909). Otherwise it’s Gaylord Perry with 15 such seasons (1966-1980).

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Perry is incorrect for the modern era mark.

The strike in 1981 cost Don Sutton 21 straight seasons (1966-86) of 200+ IP. Phil Niekro may have had 20 straight seasons (1967-86), but it’s less clear that he would have made it in 1981 absent the walkout. Greg Maddux was two outs shy (in 2002) of matching Young with 19 seasons from 1988 to 2006. As it was, he posted 21 straight 190+ IP seasons (1988-2008).

Last edited 5 months ago by Doug
Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

How about Warren Spahn? It looks like he had 17 consecutive seasons of 200+ IP.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

Yes, Spahn is correct.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

For #2 I found Yuli Gurriel who led the AL at age 37.

mosc
mosc
5 months ago

Beltre, Utley, Simmons

Irvin, Dawson, Drysdale

Been a few years! Glad to see y’all

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago

For #4: Mike Schmidt.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

Schmidt’s season was at age 33. The similarities to Dunn’s age 32 season are purely superficial. Schmidt’s 6.9 WAR that year was almost 50% more than Dunn’s best season (and that wasn’t his age 32 campaign). Schmidt recorded 6+ WAR 13 times in 14 seasons (1974-87).

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

#3 Willie McGee

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Correct, Tom.

Max Carey’s 70 HR before the expansion era is the only total lower than McGee’s 79.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

Main ballot – Allen, Beltre, Guerrero
Secondary – Drysdale, Smith

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

Answer to #8: Trea Tutner

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

Answer to #10: Paul Assenmacher with 0 losses in 36 games.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Correct. Assenmacher in 1997 became one of 9 pitchers to pitch 5 games in a single World Series and not allow a run. Brendan Donnelly’s feat in 2002 is the most impressive of the 9, allowing just a single hit in 7.2 IP over his 5 games. Honorable mention to Darold Knowles who pitched in all 7 games of the 1973 WS and allowed a lone, unearned run. David Robertson and Ryan Pressly are active relievers with nary a post-season loss and more post-season games than Assenmacher. It’s conceivable that Robertson’s post-season career could be over; if so, his 42… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Doug
Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

Answer to #3 is Willie McGee with 79 HR.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Correct, but Tom beat you to it.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

#6 Amos Otis

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

Answer to #6 is Amos Otis with 10 seasons, 1970-1979.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago

For #11, I’m not sure where this ranks, but Steve Carlton had a 46 point drop. First 21 seasons: 121 ERA+ in 4879.2 IP. Final three seasons: 75 ERA+ in 338 IP.

I thought I had identified a couple of the others with >38 point declines in Roy Oswalt (52) and Tim Lincecum (43), but they both fall short of the 300 IP requirement over their final three seasons.

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

I found a few others with larger drops than Bedard in their final three seasons. At 66, Christy Mathewson has the largest that I can find. Hopefully the chart below retains its formatting when I post it.

Player Seasons IP ERA+
Christy Mathewson First 14 4216 148
Final 3 572.2 82
Difference 66

Carl Hubbell First 13 3203 137
Final 3 387.1 89
Difference 48

Steve Carlton First 21 4879.2 121
Final 3 338 75
Difference 46

Barry Zito First 12 2252 111
Final 3 324.2 71
Difference 40

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Scary Tuna

Mathewson is correct. Good sleuthing, Scary.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

Assuming that no one else has answered #7 I came up with Adam Dunn in 2012, 1.6 WAR, 105 BB and 222 SO.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Correct. In fact, this is the same season referenced in #4.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

Main Ballot:

Ortiz
Sheffield
Guerrero

Secondary:

Hilton

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

That’s Helton.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

For #5 I found Hughie Critz with dWAR = 18.0, oWAR = 3.9 and WAR = 16.7. But I am suspicious of how the BR Results Sheet handled negative values of oWAR and dWAR.

Mark
Mark
5 months ago

Late to the game as usual, but for the one of the few as yet unanswered, the Clint Barmes question, I’m finding…Hugh Critz? Played in the 20’s and 30’s, 18.0 dWAR and 3.9 oWAR, 16.7 WAR in 1478 G?

Mark
Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Yeesh, I didn’t see Richard Chester’s entry below for Critz! I really did find it on my own, haha [pats self on head]!

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Critz is correct. Among 2nd basemen, Critz’s 4.1 dWAR for the WS champion Giants in 1933 is second only to Frankie Frisch’s 4.4 in 1927, his first year in St. Louis. After trading away Frisch and then, a year later, Rogers Horsnby, the Giants played youngster Andy Cohen at second for two seasons. When that didn’t work out, they traded for Critz early in the 1930 season. He didn’t come cheap (New York parted with rotation mainstay Larry Benton, a 25 game winner two seasons before) but it worked out for the Giants, as Critz was their everyday 2nd baseman… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Doug
Josh Davis
Josh Davis
5 months ago

Main – Dick Allen, Gary Sheffield, Ted Simmons
Secondary – Todd Helton, Ken Boyer, Billy Williams

Voomo
Voomo
5 months ago

Beltre is a no-brainer, but I’ll game the system and use my votes on others who need the help.

Burly is a first-ballot hall-of-very-good, but I will pass on him here.

Can somebody with a Stahead account let us know where Dunn’s -2.9 WAR season stands in the list of worst-of-all time?

Vote:

Minnie Minoso
Willie Randolph
Chase Utley

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Dunn’s 2011 season ranks as the 13th lowest WAR total. The list is here.

Voomo
Voomo
5 months ago

Secondary.

Richie Ashburn was one of the greatest CF in history. Best ever in the Range Factor stat.
He almost never missed a game.
And he was a leadoff hitter who led the league in OBP 4 times.

He is on the bubble and should absolutely not be forgotten.

Vote:

Ashburn
Covelski
Drysdale

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Ashburn led all NL CF with putouts 9 times from 1949-1958, losing out only to Willie Mays. He is the only ML CF to record 500+ putouts in a season more than once (he did it 3 times) and only 1 of 4 to do it at least once. His 532 PO as a CF in 1951 is the ML record.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Ashburn’s career .399 OBP as a lead-off batter has been exceeded by only 5 other lead-off batters (3000 PA min.).

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

Richard,
Top of my head type stuff re OBP…Billy Hamilton (the old guy), Rickey Henderson, Max Bishop, ?, ?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

The top 5 are Max Bishop at .424, EddieStanky at .417, Wade Boggs at .413, Roy Thomas at .409 and Rickey Henderson at .401. Earle Combs and Lu Blue are tied with Ashburn at .399.

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

Thanks !!

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

Doug,
Would Joe Nathan be one the #13 answers? It appears from 2005-2009 he enjoyed seasons similar (and superior) to Frankie Francisco?

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

Sorry,
Nathan was a little too superior with SO/BB well over 4 🙁

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul E

I’ll try Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Richard has it.

Rodriguez has six such consecutive seasons (his first 6 seasons, aside from a cup of coffee before his rookie campaign), and Percival had five, also from the start of his career.

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

Main – Allen , Simmons, Utley (in a WAR salute)
Secondary – Williams, Ashburn, Reuschel (another WAR acknowledgement)

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

Doug,
Is the Tuna correct on the post-1901 consecutive 200+IP achievement by Spahn?

Scary Tuna
 5 days ago

 Reply to  Doug
How about Warren Spahn? It looks like he had 17 consecutive seasons of 200+ IP.

opal611
opal611
5 months ago

For the 1979 – Part 1 election, I’m voting for:

-Adrian Beltre
-Don Sutton
-Willie Randolph

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

-Beltran
-Guerrero
-Rolen
-Jones
-Utley
-Buehrle
-Tiant
-Nettles
-Allen
-Wallace
-Lyons
-Sheffield

Thanks!

opal611
opal611
5 months ago

For the Secondary Ballot, I’m voting for:

-Todd Helton
-Andre Dawson
-Bobby Abreu

Thanks!

Bob Eno
Bob Eno
5 months ago

I’m just going with the main ballot, and I’m sticking with the WAR leaders: Beltre (93.5) Wallace (76.4) Lyons (70.6) Wallace is a case I’ve perpetually made. He began as a well-above average pitcher (ERA+ 125), became the premier defensive shortstop of his era (his dWAR exceeds David, Dahlen, and Wagner, despite fewer years in the field because of his early pitching role)–he invented the single-motion scoop-and-throw style that every shortstop has used for 125 years–and he was an above average batter (OPS+ 105). His weak point was that he played over a hundred years ago and is the only… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Eno

Ted Lyons is the most recent player to complete all of his starts in a season, minimum 20 starts. He completed 20 out of 20 in 1942, mostly on Sundays.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago

If I have done my work correctly Lyons holds the record for the highest percentage of games started on a Sunday. He had 484 career starts with 152 on a Sunday for a percentage of 31.4%. That’s for pitchers with at least 250 starts. It’s for the time period 1901-2022 for the AL, NL and Federal League. Altogether 16.9% all games were played on a Sunday.

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago

no more Sunday doubleheaders 🙁

Bob Eno
Bob Eno
5 months ago

I’m sure your result is correct, Richard. For eight seasons Lyons was designated as a Sunday-only pitcher by Jimmy Dykes. I recall reading an interview with Lyons where he claimed he hated it, but the result was that in his ages 34-41 seasons he had an ERA+ of 131. One knock on Lyons is that he played during an era when there would have been a very strong contingent of Black players in the Majors had they been permitted, and thus his competition was artificially weakened. I think that’s a fair point. The point has been made with regard to… Read more »

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago

Main ballot: Wallace, Lyons, Beltre
Secondary ballot: Ashburn, Coveleski, Helton

Doug
Doug
5 months ago

Still looking for an answer to question 12. Any takers?

Voomo
Voomo
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

I’ll guess Jamey Wright

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
5 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

By searching I also found Jamey Wright.

Doug
Doug
5 months ago
Reply to  Voomo

Wright is correct.

Wright is an anomaly for another reason. He logged 2000+ IP for his career despite only one 200+ IP season. Of 391 pitchers with 2000 IP, only nine have one or zero 200 IP seasons. Here’s one for the super sleuths: Of those 9 pitchers, which two were teammates and played in the same World Series?

Scary Tuna
Scary Tuna
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

I found Milt Wilcox and Anibel Sanchez right away and thought this would be easy to solve. It wasn’t.

I spent way more time looking than intended and started to think the answer might be teammates at one point but opponents in the World Series. Nope.

Finally, I found Syl Johnson and Clarence Mitchell, who pitched for the Cardinals in the 1928 World Series.

Before discovering Mitchell, I also found Tom Gordon and Lindy McDaniel. Including Wright, that’s seven of the nine with 2000+ IP careers and a maximum of one season with 200+ IP.

Paul E
Paul E
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug

No idea what makes for the discrepancy but, if there was a gun to my noggin, I’d guess it would be the way the systems evaluate fielding. Maybe same could be true for someone like Rolen? just guessing again……