Shoutout to Bill James for the title, a man without whom this piece (and site) would never have existed.
Anyway, let’s get into it. Last two elections, I’ve come here to offer predictions, put forth compelling(?) arguments and complain about the BBWAA. To be honest, I’m tired. Tired of refreshing Baseball Think Factory’s Ballot Collecting Gizmo. Tired of getting worked up about writers leaving open space on their ballots. Mostly, I’m tired of the “whispers” about several players on the ballot when it comes to alleged PED usage.
Why, then, do I allow myself every year to focus so much time and energy into the Hall of Fame ballot? As much as I may wish I did, I don’t have the clout to change anyone with a vote’s mind. Individual players will likely never know of my love for their on-field performance and support for their candidacies.
I do it simply because I love the game.
Last year’s Hall of Fame ballot was arguably the most stacked in our respective lifetimes. Legitimate cases could be made for over a dozen of last year’s candidates, and many of said cases were lucidly spelled out on blogs, television or other media. How did the BBWAA respond? By not voting a single player in.
This year, we’ve lost only Dale Murphy and Bernie Williams from the ballot, but have gained the likes of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina. Sean Casey too I suppose, but most voters don’t give a ton of credit for jovial jocularity, regardless how far it is above replacement.
Simply put, we’ve got an even stronger ballot this year, and there’s not a chance that the BBWAA completely blows it again. Much like last year, I’m going to be predicting percentages, analyzing players and hammering out my own ballot. This, and probably a bad joke or two, after the jump.
Around the time of Dennis Eckersley‘s conversion from starter to closer, relief pitching underwent a reinvention. Gone were the Gossage/Fingers types, so-called “relief aces,” who were counted upon to shut down the opposing team at a crucial time, typically for more than merely three outs. In their place came closing specialists, high-octane guys that entered the game, (hopefully) recorded their three outs and called it a night. This has been commonplace for more than two decades.
Nowadays, fans wait with bated breath when their team’s 9th-inning guy ventures on past his typical assignment. For good reason too.
What hasn’t been written about the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot? You’ve got the law and order folks keeping out Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the traditionalists putting in Jack Morris and Dale Murphy, and those of questionable sanity voting for Sandy Alomar, Jr. And let’s not forget the blank ballots. On second thought, let’s try to. That being said, everyone has a voice, regardless of whether or not they are a part of the BBWAA.
That’s where I come in. Player-by-player analysis and commentary after the jump.
Given the ridiculous amount of debate and discussion the 2012 AL MVP race has given us, I felt it was only appropriate to hand out a few offbeat awards of my own. Of course, the floor is open to all suggestions for awards, as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Leave ’em in the comments section, kids.
Anywho, without further ado: here are a dozen awards I’m proudly giving out.
Throughout the course of baseball history, there have been nearly 20,000 men who have taken the field at the professional level. Many wash out after a cup of coffee, while a select few go on to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Needless to say, quite a few players are simply going to be lost to history. No players deserve to be forgotten, but when’s the last time you heard a rousing discussion about Hipolito Pichardo?
However, one would think that a player that won a Cy Young award and finished 2nd twice in a span of 3 seasons in the last decade would be brought up every now and then, right? Sadly, that’s not the case for one Brandon Tyler Webb. Mentions of the former D’Backs ace (in the media or elsewhere) are few and very far between these days, and it’s a damn shame.
The stolen base. Arguably one of the most exciting parts of a game: The runner weighs his perceived speed against the combination of the pitcher’s concern with holding the runner and the strength of the catcher’s arm. Many MLB greats have used the stolen base as an auxiliary part of a highly successful career (Joe Morgan, Roberto Alomar, etc.), whereas other players lived by, died by and built a whole career around it (Vince Coleman).
Evaluating the effectiveness of a stolen base has been a growing process, from Pete Palmer’s claim about 30 years ago that a SB gave a team 0.3 runs, whereas a CS was worth -0.6 runs, to Tom Tango’s more precise 0.18/-0.43 values. The latter is what we’re using here today. These values state that, on average, a CS is 2.39 times more detrimental than a SB is helpful, meaning that a runner needs to successfully steal 70.5% of the time to merely break even.