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The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot has been released, and it's a big one. There are 37 names this time around, ten more than last year. There are 13 players returning from last year and 24 who will be on the ballot for the first time. And some rather notorious names are among them.

The new guys, as always, divide into two groups: the ones who won't get the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot, and the ones we'll be arguing about for a while. I would assume that the One-and-Done group will consist of: Sandy Alomar, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Jeff Conine, Steve Finley, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Reggie Sanders, Aaron Sele, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, Rondell White, and Woody Williams.

Most of the other new guys will take their place alongside the returning class in the three established Groups of candidates, and two of them will create their own exclusive group. Naturally, three of those four groups have something to do with PEDs:

Group One - These men were obviously Hall of Fame quality players, but some folks are just plain suspicious of them. New guy Mike Piazza joins Jeff Bagwell in this decidedly strange club.

Group Two - These men were obviously Hall of Fame quality players, but everybody believes they did something that might be sufficiently wicked to disqualify them anyway, their other accomplishments notwithstanding. This is a new group, and has but two members: Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

Group Three - These men obviously achieved things worthy of the Hall of Fame, but they almost certainly wouldn't have achieved those things unless they had taken measures generally frowned on. The new guy is Sammy Sosa, who joins Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

Group Four - The guys we feel free to argue about their accomplishments on the field. It's a hell of a group, by the way. Every one of these guys is a good deal better than many, many players who are already in the Hall. Only three of the new players on the ballot crack this group: Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, and David Wells. They join the holdovers from last year's ballot: Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, and Bernie Williams.

Jack Morris came pretty close last year, and most guys who get that close do eventually make it. However: this is Morris' 14th time on the ballot. He's got to do it this year or next. Otherwise, he's putting his fate in the hands of the veterans Committee, who have good reason to never induct anyone who's still alive. As Ron Santo would tell you. If he could.

And for Dale Murphy, it's now or never.

Random thoughts on some of the other contenders. First, some of the new guys

Biggio - He had more than 3000 hits, more than 1800 runs scored, he won four gold gloves at second base.  There's simply no precedent for a player of this quality not making it. Probably this year.

Schilling - They might make him wait, and he's an irritating enough personality that I won't mind if they do. But he a) was a great, great pitcher, who b) sustained that greatness for an impressive length of time. And he's one of the greatest post-season performers in the history of the game, and that surely ought to count for something, too.

Piazza - He was easily the greatest hitting catcher in the history of the game, and you have to have a lot of faith in what Murray Chass says he saw on his back, and what that might mean,  to keep him out.

And some of the holdovers...

Raines - He's kind of a sexy pick among statheads, especially now that Blyleven has gone to his reward, and I had always more or less assented. This year, I'm feeling contrary for some reason. Well, his career OPS+ is 123, which doesn't seem all that eye-popping for a left fielder. So I'm saying that once we decide whether or not Bernie Williams is a Hall of Famer - I'm not sure - then we can talk about Raines. The Rock's situation might be a little like Trammell's - while he was a truly great player for a few years, he spent about fifteen years after that being merely a good or decent player, which somehow seems to linger longer in the memory. Raines was certainly better than Kenny Lofton and Steve Finley; I don't see that he was as good as Jim Edmunds or Larry Walker.

Trammell - Trammell at his peak was quite a bit like Derek Jeter but with a good glove. There are some differences - Trammell had about six of those seasons, and Jeter's had about fifteen of them.  I actually think Lou Whitaker, who tumbled off the ballot immediately, was a better player than Trammell...

McGriff -  One of my favourites but I don't like his chances. His timing was just terrible. He was an elite player, one of the very best hitters in the game for about seven years - but this was just before the offensive explosion of the late 1990s made McGriff's numbers look positively ordinary. If he'd come along 15 years earlier or 15 years later, he'd be an almost automatic selection.

Martinez - Edgar was one of the greatest hitters in the game for more than a decade. His career got started very late because the Mariners were run by idiots. He was only able to play a position for three years because he kept hurting himself. These things hurt his candidacy, quite a bit. And although he played until he was 41, he only played 2055 games. That's a rather low total for someone who wasn't playing a key defensive position. Even Jim Rice, who retired young, played more games than that.

Mattingly and Murphy - Both had about a four year as an utterly awesome player; unfortunately neither hung around long enough to do anything impressive with their counting numbers. Jim Rice - similar type of career - eventually made it, but Mattingly and Murphy are almost out of chances.

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Mike Green - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 10:23 AM EST (#266317) #
Raines at his 5 year peak was noticeably more valuable than Murphy, Mattingly or Rice.  "Truly great" sounds like something less than "awesome", but it wasn't so. 

You have to factor out the ballparks, adjust for the proper weighting of reaching base and slugging, and take into account baserunning, but once you do all that, it is pretty clear.  Raines was between Jose Cruz Sr. and Rickey Henderson (and closer to Rickey), and that was indeed awesome. 

Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 11:03 AM EST (#266319) #
Raines at his 5 year peak was noticeably more valuable than Murphy

Noticeably? I don't know about that. Arguably.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 11:28 AM EST (#266323) #
Fair enough.  Arguably in the case of Murphy, noticeably in the case of the other two. 

In the case of Murphy, it depends on your assessment of Murphy's defensive abilities.  He won Gold Gloves from 1982-86.  I personally thought that (like Alomar) some of that was due to his bat, and that he was in fact a slightly above average defensive centerfielder early in his career and declined quite a bit by his late 20s.  It is awfully subjective...

John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 11:37 AM EST (#266325) #
I got a kick out of WAR rankings for this years crop. Players listed in descending WAR order in groupings.

WAR over 100: inner circle HOF: Bonds & Clemens (both over 130, Bonds #3 all time, Clemens #8)

WAR over 60: HOF quality: Bagwell, Schilling, Walker, Trammell, Palmeiro, Raines, Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Biggio

WAR over 50: Arguable HOF: McGwire, Piazza, Sosa

WAR over 40: Had to do something special: Wells, McGriff, Bernie Williams, Dale Murphy, Finley

WAR under 40: should be happy to get on the ballot, should never get in unless something very exceptional happened: Mattingly, Julio Franco, Morris, Reggie Sanders, Shawn Green, Lee Smith, etc.

So this is what I'd call a stacked ballot. Yet somehow a guy in the 'should be happy to get a vote' crowd is most likely to get in (Morris) along with the guy who is 11th in WAR in the group (Biggio).

What a mess. While WAR isn't perfect by any means, it is crazy for guys so far below the line to be serious contenders (Smith & Morris) while guys a mile over the line might be left far behind (Clemens & Bonds).

If I had to pick a maximum of 10?
Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Schilling, Walker, Trammell, Palmeiro, Raines, Biggio, Piazza. I feel Piazza's defense was better than generally viewed and that PED's should be treated like spitballs and corked bats have been - ie: a side note, not the core story. Lofton hits the 'never felt like a HOF'er' issue and Martinez was a DH, thus in this tough class I cut them - normally both would be there for me, but there are just too many candidates. Hated to leave off McGriff as I was at Exhibition Stadium for his first home run and always cheered him on. Dale Murphy, 2 time MVP, is also hard to leave off as are McGwire & Sosa. If voters were sane Bagwell, Walker, Trammell, Palmeiro, and Raines would've been in awhile ago thus leaving room but such is life.
John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 11:44 AM EST (#266326) #
FYI: ex Jays on the ballot...
Roger Clemens, Shawn Green, Fred McGriff, Jose Mesa (in Jays minors, traded before reaching majors for Mike Flanagan), Jack Morris, David Wells, Woody Williams

7 Jays in total (6 who were in the majors here). Quite a few with Clemens and Morris the only ones with a real shot although McGriff could sneak in sometime in the far future via a Vets Committee.
AWeb - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 11:46 AM EST (#266327) #

20 guys who have a historical argument for making the Hall, and 15 or so who in my opinion have really good arguments for it. Plus Kenny Lofton too. What a mess...

Beating up the strange support for Morris is what the internet is for, really: Is Morris better than any other player named in the article above? Lee Smith (who also got 50% of the vote)? Maybe David Wells? HoF voters are deeply weird.

I think I posted a hypothetical ballot in another thread here a while back, and this one might be different, but Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza, Walker, McGwire, Raines, Trammell, Schilling, Bagwell.

I'd also vote for Sosa, Lofton, Palmeiro, Martinez,  and McGriff (acknowledging it's a bit of a homer vote). This group would be perfectly average HoFers.


Mike Green - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 12:13 PM EST (#266330) #
Please don't get me started on Jack Morris.  We've had the Morris vs. Stieb issues out so many times. What gets to me, of course, is the relative treatment of Jack Morris and Whitaker/Trammell.  If Whitaker and Trammell had been average players, Morris would have gone 230-200 with an ERA just over 4 and he wouldn't have received more than a few votes.  If Jack Morris had been an average starting pitcher, Whitaker and Trammell would have appeared to be the same as they currently are (the Tigers would still have been World Series champions in 84) and they might have received the recognition that they deserve as the key cogs on a very good club. 
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 12:36 PM EST (#266332) #
My Hall of Fame voting list would include:  Mike Piazza; Jeff Bagwell; Craig Biggio; Fred McGriff: Jack Morris and Tim Raines and no one else.
John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 12:42 PM EST (#266333) #
Interesting choices Richard - why those? I can understand (if not agree with) avoiding the accused PED'ers (Bagwell & Piazza being post-career accused). But why Morris & McGriff over Schilling, Walker, and Trammell? Schilling was better in the post-season than Morris and was a better pitcher overall by virtually any measure outside of the decade win total. Walker had amazing numbers, was viewed as a leader, and a Canadian too boot. While Trammell was jobbed of an MVP but was one of the best shortstops of his era and, imo, far more important to those Tiger teams than Morris. McGriff is more a homer choice I'm guessing, or you are giving him credit for being 'clean' in a dirty era (as far as we know).
rpriske - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 12:49 PM EST (#266335) #

I don't agree with the Piazza love. He was a very good hitter... arguably a great one. But most of the arguments start with "he was the best hitting catcher of..." (not ever, I hope. Josh Gibson was better.)


My issue is that he was not a very good catcher. He should not have been playing catcher. Why give him credit for what was a negative for the teams he played on?


Oh well...


My ballot would like to have 13 players. The 10 who would make it are: Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Biggio, McGwire, Palmeiro, Raines, Trammell, Walker, Martinez

The 3 who I woudl like to vote for but can't are: McGriff, Murphy, Williams


The 3 who could theoretically make my ballot in future years if I change my mind... Piazza, Schilling, Sosa...

AWeb - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:02 PM EST (#266336) #

My issue is that he was not a very good catcher. He should not have been playing catcher. Why give him credit for what was a negative for the teams he played on?

Piazza was not very good at throwing out baserunners. OK, he was terrible at it. Otherwise all evidence (catcher's ERA with and without him on same teams, and before after leaving teams, wild pitch and passed ball counts) points to him being a very good catcher, and probably coming out about neutral in the end. Catching defense is not easy or obvious to spot.

Plus he did catch a lot of games in the end, even with a terrible interlude at 1B in there. Teams seemed to think he was worth playing at C, even with other options available.

Schilling was/is an obnoxious, self-promoting jerk. But his numbers are the best of any non-Clemens pitcher up for vote this time. Never walked anyone, never gave up unearned runs, which are the pitching equivalent of taking walks and baserunning (hidden, overlooked skills).

Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:02 PM EST (#266337) #
My issue is that [Piazza] was not a very good catcher. He should not have been playing catcher.

Well, he couldn't throw. But while that always gets a lot of attention, it's hardly the whole job and the rest of his defensive game was pretty good. In particular, he seems to have done a very good job working with his pitchers. (I researched that very issue once upon a time, somewhere in the archives!)

And we can at least say that he was clearly the best hitting catcher in major league history.
Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:09 PM EST (#266339) #
OK, AWeb beat me to it!

Luckily, I have some more stray comments...

Walker - I think there are three things working against him. His career is just a little short; he was a late 90s hitter, and all of them suffer for it; because he played a lot of games at Coors Field, there's a tendency to discount what he did. He was a helluva player anyway.

Williams - Williams also has the same problem all 90s hitters have. Even so, I'm not sure why he doesn't get as much respect as Tim Raines. Williams hit .297/.381/.477, which can certainly stand next to Raines (.294/.385/.427). Williams did this while playing in one of the game's better pitcher's park. Plus Williams was a centre fielder. Plus he's got a nice post-season resume. I wonder if his problem is that his game was so broad, so balanced that there isn't any one thing, no single defining skill to hang the argument on. Lofton at least stole some bases, and Raines was Rickey-lite. (Maybe the heart of Raines' problems is that everything Tim could do, Rickey did better.)

Clemens and Bonds - Future historians of the game may regard them as pioneers, who discovered new ways to beat the natural aging process, and maintain their Hall of Fame production at an age when all other Hall of Famers were sliding over and down the hill. I don't think that history's going to be written anytime soon, though.

McGwire and Sosa - Future historians of the game may regard them as pioneers, who discovered new ways to transform themselves from good players into all-time greats. Until that day, I think we're all a little embarrassed by them and their home run derby. Obviously neither is going in any time soon.
John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:29 PM EST (#266342) #
Bernie Williams is a guy who, like Fred McGriff, would've been a lock if they played 20,30 years earlier. Just the price of luck of the draw.

As to Raines vs Williams...
Raines had 1000 more AB, 650+ more SB, and 20 more WAR. Those are pretty big spreads. Raines played in Olympic Stadium, a torture chamber for players with hard turf that cut down careers drastically. Scary to think how good Raines' career might have been had he played on grass.
Dewey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:31 PM EST (#266343) #
" . . . you have to have a lot of faith in what Murray Chass says he saw on his [Piazza’s] back, and what that might mean,  to keep him out."

Never heard that one before, Magpie.  What’s the story?
AWeb - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:31 PM EST (#266344) #

Williams gets dinged on defense, because he was only above average at his best, but was the worst at his worst (he lost reactions, range, arm, he was brutal the last few years). I've never liked discounting full defensive value in WAR-type calculations, because players are going to play where you put them. Was Wiliams supposed to turn down playing CF when it was beyond his abilities?

Given the eras, Raines was still better than Williams, and retained his defensive value a lot longer. Williams is outside for me, but I wouldn't be that upset...

Mike Green - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 01:56 PM EST (#266348) #
For what it's worth, WAR (both the fangraphs and BBRef versions) has issues with catchers and ace relievers, due (likely) to inadequate positional and leverage adjustments respectively.

Piazza did have a short career for a Hall of Famer.  He was great from age 24 to age 32, had a couple of fair seasons after that, and then was basically done.  That is typical for a catcher, although most sprinkle in a few more injury seasons during the peak years.  To give a sense of how good Piazza was offensively at this peak, you can compare him with Carlton Fisk.  Fisk had a great career for a catcher and went from age 24 to 42.  BBRef has a batting run estimator; for their careers, Piazza had 417 runs above average with the bat to Fisk's 169, despite having a much shorter career.

Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 02:32 PM EST (#266352) #
Williams is outside for me, but I wouldn't be that upset...

Kind of what I think also. But I also have sort of a Joe Tinker thing about Williams - the idea that the best players, the men who were the heart of a great team, the best team of its time, have that going for them as well. Jeter and Rivera will go to Cooperstown, and I somehow have the feeling that the great team of the last 15 years ought to have more than that. Recognizing that Mussina, Clemens, Rodriguez all stopped by. Well, there's always Andy Pettite. And Posada.
Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 02:34 PM EST (#266353) #
What’s the story?

Chass is Piazza's accuser, and its based on the acne he saw on his back while he was with the Mets, which Chass says cleared up when MLB started testing.
Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 02:49 PM EST (#266355) #
Olympic Stadium, a torture chamber for players with hard turf that cut down careers drastically.

Well, Raines played until he was 43 years old. It probably didn't shorten his career very much.

Not all players are affected the same way by the same park. The Big O clearly hurt Andre Dawson, who only lasted until he was 42, more than it hurt Raines. On several levels. As everyone know, Dawson's knees were a mess by the time he left Montreal - he had to play CF of course, which was considerably more punishing. The park also took a much bigger bite out of Dawson's bat (unlike Raines, Dawson's career offensive numbers are better away from Montreal, although he also spent the best years of his career there.)
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 03:30 PM EST (#266356) #

Well John, I choose Biggio, Bagwell and Piazza because they were so good for so long.  (I also frequently had them in my Baseball pools).   Tim Raines was chosen because I think he's due.   McGriff was very good as a Blue Jay (one of the best 1B in Baseball then) and he got better.   Jack Morris was chosen because I think it's his turn.   I will make changes after the vote, for the next Class.   I'm not always logical.

E-ven-tu-al-ly the druggies will get in.  Bonds and Clemens (despite major personal short-comings) were very good before, so merit consideration.   The rest of the druggies - not so much.

John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 04:24 PM EST (#266358) #
I still hope Morris doesn't get in. He just wasn't as good as his rep. He was a workhorse, which is valuable, but never what I'd rank as a real ace. Stieb was, Halladay was/is, Clemens was, Schilling was, but not Morris. Pitching to the score has been debunked many times - he gave up leads as much as anyone and benefited from high run support. His ERA+ peaked at 133, had 7 years below 100 for ERA+, 6 at the 120+ range. Stieb had 4 sub-100's (last 3 seasons plus '86), twice led the league (peak of 171), 8 times over 120, 4 at the 140+ mark. Not much he could do about a complete lack of run support and early on no bullpen support either.

On the same ballot you also have David Wells - twice over 140 as a starter, 3 more over 120, just 4 times sub-100. He is probably just as qualified by any objective measure as Morris is. 10-5 3.17 ERA in playoffs too vs Morris 7-4 3.80

Morris is a story - most wins in the 80's (very low total but Clemens, Gooden, etc. came up too late), game 7 in 1991, lots of opening day starts but just 5 All-Star games (Stieb had 7), 7 times on Cy Young ballot (never higher than 3rd) vs Stieb's 4 Cy Young appearances (hurt by emphasis on Wins in the 80's...he led in pitchers WAR in 82/83/84 and 2nd in 81/85 but no Cy Young votes in 81 or 83). In today's game Stieb would be viewed as a true great and would've got a Cy or two or more while Morris would be viewed as a workhorse. Instead Stieb is forgotten and Morris might be a HOF'er soon.

Chuck - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 05:29 PM EST (#266360) #
" . . . you have to have a lot of faith in what Murray Chass says he saw on his [Piazza’s] back, and what that might mean,  to keep him out."
Never heard that one before, Magpie.  What’s the story?

Google murray chass backne.
Dewey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 07:10 PM EST (#266364) #
Thank you, Chuck and Magpie:

All this was unknown to me.  I had thought perhaps Magpie might be referring to some sort of offensive tattoo that Piazza had on his back!  (Escobar-hysteria too recent in my memory, I guess.) 

My one memory of Piazza is vivid.  After the Jays had moved to the Dome, for a few years they used to play a handful of  spring-training games there.  One spring I saw the Dodgers play.  I’d never heard of this kid, Piazza, who soon proceeded to line one of the most authoritative homers I’d seen in a while out of the playing area.  Remembered him ever since.  That’s about all though.
John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 08:29 PM EST (#266366) #
Always felt Piazza got a bad rap and I-Rod too much love over the strength of their arms.

Piazza's teams - 1993-1997 full time Dodger, 1999-2005 full time Met (part time in 2003), 2006 full time Padre catcher. 1998 was split 3 ways, 2007 was as a DH for Oakland.
Dodgers from 93-97 were ranked 4-7-2-2-2 for RA, Mets from 99-05 were 4-3-5-7-10 (Piazza injured)-8-3, Padres 2006 1st

I-Rod's teams - 91-2002 Texas, 2003 Florida, 2004-2007 Detroit, 2008/2009 mixed, 2010 Washington, 2011 part time
Texas was ranked 14-12-7-14-8-5-8-12-7-14-14-12, Florida 6, Detroit 11-8-1-9, Washington 12

So, over their careers in years they started/ended with the same team and were the primary catcher I-Rod saw his teams RA in the top 5 once, 10th or lower 9 times. Piazza was top 5 9 times, 9th or lower never when he was the full-time catcher.

Thus either Piazza really was lucky to have great staffs throughout his career while I-Rod was unlucky (and yes, parks play a part in this too) or there was something there. I remember I-Rod was known to skip pitcher/catcher meetings regularly early in his career but gained a better rep towards the end for that stuff. Piazza was always known for being at all meetings and studying up as much as possible. I suspect if we had the framing stats for back then we'd see more evidence of Piazza being decent and I-Rod not being as good as advertised.
John Northey - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 08:30 PM EST (#266367) #
Before someone else corrects me, IRod had a top 5 finish twice, not once.
Magpie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 08:39 PM EST (#266368) #
This is probably going to get me in trouble. It always does.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I wrote a lengthy - an extremely lengthy - appreciation of Dave Stieb. In the natural course of events, I thought I'd compare him to Jack Morris during those seasons (1980 through 1990) when they were the respective aces of two teams that were rivals in the same division. There were some obvious reasons to like making such a comparison - in those 11 years, Morris made 368 starts, Stieb made 364. Just as helpful, the two teams were about as evenly matched as you possibly hope for - Detroit went 918-810, Toronto went 903-822.

Stieb, as you would expect, allowed fewer hits and walks per 9 innings. This is largely why he allowed fewer runs and had the better ERA. All these things are very important components of the pitcher's job. They are not the job itself, of course, which is helping your team win. But it was actually Stieb who had the better winning percentage. Morris pitched a few more innings and had many more decisions - which I think mostly says something about how their managers used them. Morris did strike out more batters (5.98) than Stieb (5.33) but I may be the only guy left who thinks that the K rate as an indicator of past quality is roughly as important as which guy had the better mustache. We're not trying to figure out who's likely to be more effective three years from now. If you do like K rates, it's an edge for Morris, but I don't care.

Anyway, I thought I'd divide all their starts during those 11 years by Game Score, and this is what I found:


Score    ST     IP       H     HR      R     ER      BB      SO      W     L     Pct     DEC %     RS      ERA
90-99    4      37     9    0     0     0     5     33     4     0    1.000    1.000    3.75     0.00
80-89    26     236    88     4     16     8     61     179     23     0    1.000     .885    3.73     0.31
70-79    67     576.2  340    30     91     79     152     449     53     4     .930     .851    4.79     1.23
60-69    66     536    413    39    143    132     177     342     41    12     .774     .803    4.76     2.21
50-59    73     569.1  543    60    253    224     201     361     29    21     .580     .685    4.58     3.54
40-49    48     353.1  391    52    231    208     134     212     20    24     .455     .917    5.58     5.30
30-39    30     171.2  226    43    158    142    87     87     4    18     .182     .733    4.30     7.44
20-29    39     164.1  320    48    232    224    93     98     3    26     .103     .744    4.59    12.27
0-19     15    59     113    14    105    103    45      30    0     7     .000     .467    5.20    15.71


Score    ST    IP    H    HR     R    ER     BB     SO     W    L    Pct    DEC %  Avg RS    ERA
90-99     5      47     7     1     2     2     8      40      4    0    1.000     .800    3.40    0.38
80-89    26    233      80    2     7     4     49    156    25    0    1.000     .962    5.12    0.15
70-79    51    429.1   250    15     53    46     117     253    42    3    .933    .882    4.59    0.96
60-69    86    668.2   495    32    154    136     216     432    53   15     .779    .791    4.42    1.83
50-59    65    463.1   430    30    184    162     156    252     20   20     .500    .615    4.29    3.14
40-49    53    335.1   382    43    216    199     130    182    12   28     .300    .755    4.36    5.34
30-39    41    200.2   268    34    190    176     115    113      2   26     .071    .683    3.90    7.89
20-29    30    121    218    31    168    151     67     55     0   19     .000    .633    4.60   11.23
0-19     7    19.2    53    5     46    46     16      11      0    4    .000    .571    7.00   21.05

And there were things in there that surprised me somewhat. Morris had 236 starts with a Game Score of better than 50; Stieb had 233. That's pretty even. Stieb had 168 starts with a Game Score better than 60, Morris had 163. Also pretty close. And Morris had more really outstanding starts - 97 with a Game Score better than 70, while Stieb had 82. Stieb's good games are always a little better than Morris' were; but you can certainly make a case that, oh,  67 starts with a 1.23 ERA is more valuable than 51 starts with a 0.96 ERA..

The two pitchers are quite evenly matched in the mediocre games (Game Score in the 40s) and Morris has a few more lousy games - 84 starts with Game Scores below 40 to Stieb's 78.  And in those Lousy Games Morris allowed many, many  more ER: 471 ER to Stieb's 373.  And that's always been the thing, it's always made me think - this is the problem? He gives up more runs when he loses? So what?

This sentiment, I should confess, is taken pretty well verbatim from the first Baseball Abstract I ever read. James was making the case that Steve Carlton most certainly deserved the 1982 Cy Young over Steve Rogers, despite an ERA (3.10) signifcantly higher than Rogers (2.40). I think it must have made a lasting impression on me. Well hey - I was young and impressionable. I don't think Stieb belongs in the Hall and I'd agree that Stieb pitched better than Morris during those 11 seasons. But not by nearly as much as everyone else believes - I think they're much closer than their ERAs suggest. And while those 11 seasons represent all of Stieb's full seasons; Morris does have a couple of very good years before and after (1979 and 1991) and another that was certainly useful (1992) on a number of levels.

I am not sold on Morris for the Hall. Honest! I'm not. Even if it's mostly because I don't know what the standards are or where the line is supposed to be.  But I'm just never going to as utterly dismissive as everyone else. Morris was more than a mere workhorse, more than the Livan Hernandez of his day. He was pretty damn good.

And if you want to ask me about their Run Support in those years and what they did with it... I've got another Data Table!
grjas - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 08:56 PM EST (#266369) #
Woody freaking Williams is on the ballot. Did his mother nominate him?Sure he was a nice guy. So what. Era+ of 103, whip of 1.43. SO per 9 of 6. Sure he had 17 years in the major and some good years in his 30's. But in 17 years he had 4...count him 4 where he was much over a .500 pitcher.

Checked the web to make sure it wasn't a typo. It's not. But it's certainly a joke.

(And i actually like the guy)
Hodgie - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 10:01 PM EST (#266371) #
Plus Williams was a centre fielder.

I suppose this is true in the same sense that Miguel Cabrera is a third baseman. Williams was horribly miscast in that role and he likely would have benefited from playing left.

AWeb - Thursday, November 29 2012 @ 10:12 PM EST (#266372) #
You get on the ballot by being in the majors 10 years. That's the qualifier, nothing else needed. A co-worker had the same reaction to Aaron Sele's inclusion...Woody WIlliams>>Aaron Sele. But it does look silly to even include guys who have no chance at any level.

So Stieb's ERA was a little better in every Game Score grouping except those with the tiniest samples, and the 30-39 range. Morris has 17 more starts in the worst two categories - essentially 1.5 starts extra per year. That's important. His job is to prevent runs, which is literally the only way an AL pitcher can help his team win, and he wasn't as good at it (agreed that for long careers K rate is far less important than not allowing runs).

Also, Stieb isn't a hall of famer. Morris is not notably better than him (and that's a generous reading of it). How this supports Morris's case even a little, I'm not sure. Morris should need to beat out Schilling (boy is that one not close). Compare Morris to Chuck Finley, Dennis Martinez, Jamie Moyer, or current ballot one-and-done David Wells (I don't think I'm out on a limb assuming he won't make it to a second ballot) - not much to choose from . Morris didn't suck. He was good. He pitched a lot of innings, but not an amazing total (like Don Sutton). Morris

Richard S.S. - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 12:03 AM EST (#266373) #

I can think, that in this year alone, those voters opposed to known (not suspected) druggies might find interesting ways to not vote for them.   People who shouldn't get in, will, people like Morris.  He got 66.6-ish% of the vote last year.    I can't see him not getting in.   In addition, if Biggio gets in, so will Bagwell (Houston's "Killer Bs"), as almost a package.  

Don't take this as gospel.   I heard someone talk about their vote from past years, said it pretty standard.   I can't tell which Fan 590 show or where or when.  One vote goes to leading vote getter from past years,  Two or more of 'someone they like' from past years gets a vote.  Two or three  new guys get the vote.  A total of six are voted on.

Magpie - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 12:42 AM EST (#266376) #
How this supports Morris's case even a little, I'm not sure.

It's not a case I'm trying to make. I'm really just looking at the difference between them in the 11 years they went head to head in Detroit and Toronto. (Morris had value outside of those years, which would presumably help his HoF case, and Stieb doesn't. But that's not why I'm here.) What I'm saying is that over those 11 years, in almost exactly the same number of starts, Morris gave his team just as many good starts as Stieb gave his team. And he gave his team about as many lousy starts as Stieb gave his team.

Morris allowed 198 more ER in those 11 years, which is a lot. But half of those extra runs came in the three lousy categories, where the pitcher was getting pummelled. Morris allowed 471 ER in 395 IP in his 84 crummy starts, Stieb allowed 373 ER in 341.1 in his 77 crummy starts.

Stieb's big edge over Morris is ERA. I actually don't think a pitcher's job is preventing runs, but of course I think it's a pretty big component of the job. Over these 11 years, Stieb was 3.30 and Morris 3.74 - but half of that edge comes from his 77 worst starts, when Stieb was going 2-47, 9.84. Morris, in his games, went 7-51, 10.73. These games aren't why Stieb was better than Morris - how could they be, really? - but they sure helped make his numbers look better.

In the rest of their starts over those 11 years: Stieb went 156-68, 2.27 in 287 starts (2176.2 IP); Morris 170-86, 2.54 in 286 starts (2297.1 IP). Edge to Stieb, but not by a lot, which I think is a truer indication of the margin between the two.
Magpie - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 12:49 AM EST (#266378) #
Woody WIlliams>>Aaron Sele.

The name that made me go HUH? was Todd Walker.
AWeb - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 08:09 AM EST (#266380) #

I actually don't think a pitcher's job is preventing runs, but of course I think it's a pretty big component of the job.

I'll just agree to disagree here...

 Over these 11 years, Stieb was 3.30 and Morris 3.74 - but half of that edge comes from his 77 worst starts, when Stieb was going 2-47, 9.84. Morris, in his games, went 7-51, 10.73. These games aren't why Stieb was better than Morris - how could they be, really?

Because he gave up 1 less run a game? It sounds silly (to me) to argue Morris's ERA is 13% higher, but only because he extra terrible in bad starts. 

- but they sure helped make his numbers look better.

I think those starts sum up the difference between them pretty well. Morris managed to get credited with a win 7 times despite being terrible. They actually make Morris's case look better because of those wins (and he picked up a few of these types of wins in Toronto later too)...his wins are the only stat he has that are even remotely impressive (aside from being 50th in IP alltime).

In the crummy starts, Morris gets an extra 7 starts, 53 IP, with an "extra" ERA of 16.43, and an extra record of 5-4. In the other starts given, Morris pitched 120.2 extra innings with an ERA of 7.38, and a record of 14-16. Overall, Morris basically gets an extra qualifying season (173.2IP), with an ERA of 10.21, and a 19-20 record. That basically Halladay's nightmare season, except 2.5 times as long, performance-wise. I guess I can squint as see how that makes them pretty close, actually. Point conceded. The main issue with comparing Stieb to Morris is that Stieb was really unlucky record-wise, and Morris was lucky. So the W-L record spread becomes a bit odd.


The voting behaviour Richard S.S. describes is precisely how it becomes possible no one makes it at all (and it is clear that many HoF voters follow this sort of groupthink) - Morris needs a big pickup and some voters must be entrenched against him, I'm not sure he makes it. There are lots of carry-overs deserving of a vote (Bagwell, Trammell, Raines, Walker, McGwire, etc) depending on the views of the voter. The best new guys will be excluded by half the voters. Basically, if votes/ballot aren't at all time record levels, I can't see many going in, and maybe not anyone (my guess would be Biggio/Bagwell and maybe Morris, but I could see Bagwell never making it as a "completely without evidence suspected PED user"). And this gets worse the next year, when Maddux (who should be certain no matter how many other guys are on the ballot), Glavine, and Thomas join, along with Kent and Mussina (all guys I'd vote for, none with PED problems), bringing my hypothetical ballot to 15-20 guys. Next up - P. Martinez, R. Johnson, Smoltz, Sheffield, Delgado (who has no chance whatsoever).

I am actually hoping the voting screws this up badly enough that the HoF, who are in the business of inducting people so they will come to the ceremony and museum, have to take immediate steps to correct it. The HoF can't lose an entire generation of players and hence possible customers because no one gets elected.

Mike Green - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 08:34 AM EST (#266381) #
Morris allowed 198 more ER in those 11 years, which is a lot. But half of those extra runs came in the three lousy categories, where the pitcher was getting pummelled. Morris allowed 471 ER in 395 IP in his 84 crummy starts, Stieb allowed 373 ER in 341.1 in his 77 crummy starts.

Stieb's big edge over Morris is ERA. I actually don't think a pitcher's job is preventing runs, but of course I think it's a pretty big component of the job. Over these 11 years, Stieb was 3.30 and Morris 3.74 - but half of that edge comes from his 77 worst starts, when Stieb was going 2-47, 9.84. Morris, in his games, went 7-51, 10.73. These games aren't why Stieb was better than Morris - how could they be, really? - but they sure helped make his numbers look better.

Actually, I think the ERA and W-L records in the crummy starts says something important.  Stieb allowed 373 ER in 77 stinkers.  That's just a smidge under 5 per game.    He should have gone a lot better than 2-47, but his club didn't help much.  Morris allowed 471 ER in 84 stinkers or 5.6 runs per game and went 7-51 thanks to some pretty impressive support.  That is quite a bit better than expected.  You'd expect Morris to be go something like 3-55 and Stieb to go 7-42.

Personally, I think Stieb is a marginal Hall of Famer (the Hall of Merit admitted him in a pretty close vote) and Morris, well, the Hall of Merit didn't have much trouble in saying no and they are exactly right. 
Chuck - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 08:50 AM EST (#266382) #

I am actually hoping the voting screws this up badly enough that the HoF...have to take immediate steps to correct it.

You may well get your wish, though I'm not sure what recourse the HoF would have short of explicitly dropping the character prerequisite, which would not play too terribly well to the public, I don't think. I suppose they could soften the prerequisite with carefully worded language granting players the latitude to adhere to the norms of their day or some such, but that would be fairly transparent  and no more likely to play well in the court of public opinion.

And even with a "rule" change, there are a number of BBWAA members who would appear to be nonetheless intransigent on the subject (regardless of whether their moralistic position is sincere or hypocritical), so I'm not convinced they would change their position on PED use just because the HoF said that they should.

Bill James guessed that the PED gang might get turned away now but would gain entry eventually, albeit years down the road. And that sounds plausible. The current BBWAA membership seems not overly put out by the purportedly widespread amphatemine use in the 60s and 70s and the next wave of BBWAA members, down the road, may be similarly soft on the subject of PEDs.

But for now, it would appear that the scarlett letter is an S (which would make sense, since the last guy to wear an S on his chest sure seemed juiced up).

Jevant - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 08:55 AM EST (#266383) #

Awesome work. 

My takeaway from this is that if you are passionately on the "Morris for Hall!" or "Stieb for Hall" train, it probably makes sense to be on both.  Alternatively, if you are passionately "not" on one of those probably shouldn't be passionately on the other one.

Parker - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:00 AM EST (#266385) #
Aaron Sele's appearance on the ballot is a no-brainer. One of the criteria for consideration is whether the player was considered the best at at his position. Sele was consistently among the league leaders in hit batsmen, so there's that.

Seriously though, writers probably remember his years with Texas and Seattle as a guy who, like Morris, Knows How To Win.

The thing that gets me about Sele and Williams in particular is that if there are writers who think they're Hall-worthy now, where were these writers when Sele and Williams were playing? Sele received consideration only in 1999 (5th place for a 4.79 ERA and 106 ERA+) and Williams didn't receive a single Cy Young vote in any year of his career.
Ryan C - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:05 AM EST (#266386) #
But for now, it would appear that the scarlett letter is an S (which would make sense, since the last guy to wear an S on his chest sure seemed juiced up).

Are you suggesting that Superman used PEDs?
Chuck - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:07 AM EST (#266387) #

Are you suggesting that Superman used PEDs?

Do you think it is an accident that he always wore a cape? Some pretty incriminating backne needed hiding.

Mike Green - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:18 AM EST (#266388) #
Morris came of age in 1981-83.  The best pitchers of the time were aging greats (Carlton, Seaver, Palmer) or pitchers who had very short careers like Mario Soto.  Stieb was really his only competitor at the time, and at that time, Stieb had little support so looked less impressive than he was to an unsophisticated audience.  It was a very weak time for prime-age pitching.  That all changed in 84-86- you had Clemens, Gooden, Saberhagen, Hershiser, Key...these guys were all better than Morris and some of them a lot better. 

The short story about Morris is that his peak is utterly unimpressive and his career was way too short and uninspired to merit induction (notwithstanding that there are a couple of worse starters in the Hall).  If you compare him with a pitcher like Hershiser, he falls short on any count you can think of.  He never had a season even remotely close to Hershiser's 1985 or 1988, and in the end, Morris pitched about the same number of innings as Hershiser did and a lot less effectively.  You can make a plausible case for Hershiser based on his peak (hell, the Cy Young voters unaminously thought that he was the best pitcher in the league in 1988 and they never even remotely came close to thinking that about Morris), but with Morris, there is pretty much nil.  There actually is a bit better of a case for Jim Rice or Bruce Sutter, two recent poor Hall of Fame selections, than there is for Morris.  At least Rice and Sutter were at a particular point in time  pretty great.  

John Northey - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:24 AM EST (#266389) #
For the ballot there is the mandatory 10 year rule, but they also cut a lot of guys so you don't get career utility players and the like on it.

A general rule to get on...
1) Be a obvious HOF'er (3000 hits, 500 HR, 300 wins, etc.)
2) Make an All-Star team at some point
3) Win a significant award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie, Gold Glove)
4) Do something noteworthy (big hit in WS or something)

If you never did any of those odds are they'll not put you on the ballot unless someone making the choice has you as their personal favorite player I suspect.

All pitchers on the ballot have 100+ wins or 300+ saves with one exception - Mike Stanton who did get into the All-Star game once (2001 for the Yankees). Woody Williams is lowest for wins at 132 (non-closer version) but made the 2003 AS team. Aaron Sele also is sub-200 wins (the only other starter sub-200) but he made 2 AS teams and got Cy Young & ROY votes. The 4 other starting pitchers were obviously worthy of being on the ballot (Schilling, Wells, Morris, Clemens). The 3 closers are Lee Smith (had all-time saves record for years), Roberto Hernandez (326 saves, 2 time AS), and Jose Mesa (321 saves, 2 time AS).

All hitters had 1000+ hits, 100+ HR. Todd Walker is a weak candidate with the lowest HR total and just 1300 hits (2nd lowest of the class) while never making an AS team or getting an MVP or ROY vote. He did have one good post-season (5 HR in 12 games) so maybe that drew the selectors to add him. Sandy Alomar had the fewest hits but also was in 6 AS games and won ROY. Everyone else has 1500+ hits at which point the selectors pretty much just take the guy.

An interesting group to look at.
Mike Green - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:27 AM EST (#266391) #
But Superman never made any money saving the world from Solomon Grundy.  Fat lot of good all that andro/amphetamine mix did for him.
Chuck - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:33 AM EST (#266393) #
He got the girl in the end. It all worked out.
AWeb - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:42 AM EST (#266394) #

My point on fixing the voting procedure is that the BBWAA does not have to be involved. Heck, they aren't involved in half the HoFers anyway (vet committees). When the only people to witness multiple teams were those covering the sport for a living, and information was essentially non-existent for making career-level comparisons, letting the writers vote made sense. Now? Does anyone think they couldn't find a committee of, say, 15 people, a few ex-players, a couple of writers, and some actual experts in baseball evaluation, to do a better job?  I'd assume the top 15 most frequent posters here would do better. Disagreements will remain.

Writers vote in such a way that they get to write stories about it (that's why, more than any other reason, that players get voter "momentum", which is crazy). I see why this benefits the HoF most of the time (free publicity!), but when the stories become too negative and too many writers just bad mouth everything, all the time, the Hall can simply change the voting rules. Or form an immediate committee to clear up the ballot. They get to make up the rules anytime they want. What is stopping the Hall from giving a clear, unambiguous guideline to deal with the "steroid era"? Nothing. But the Hall thrives on attention, and writers love to moralize (much like posters here, myself included), so it becomes a year-round conversation. It's fun, really. But I don't want to be debating Bonds and Clemens and McGwire in 10 years. I'd rather argue against Derek Jeter (somehow)...

Parker - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 09:43 AM EST (#266395) #
If I'm Alan Trammell or Lou Whitaker I'd be relieved by the vote for Todd Walker. It would serve as confirmation that baseball writers really have no idea what makes a player great, and their collective snubbing of Trammell/Whitaker could at least produce a Groucho Marx-style "I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member" mentality.

That's how I continue to rationalize their exclusion, anyway.
Dave Till - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 11:26 AM EST (#266397) #
I don't really care that much about the Hall of Fame. A player's career is what it is, whether a random selection of BBWAA writers choose to honour it with a plaque or not.

But it is worth mentioning that it is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Unquestioned Excellence. If you're making a case for or against Morris, you have to allow for the fact that Black Jack was one of the more famous pitchers of his time - there was all that talk of his competitiveness and etcetera, plus there was that win in the 1991 World Series. A history of baseball in the 1980s would probably have to include at least a passing mention of him. So I'm okay with his being enshrined.

Mike Green - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 12:43 PM EST (#266399) #
Actually, that's a good point.  There have been a number of pitchers who got in to the Hall due in large part to being famous- Don Drysdale and Catfish Hunter come to mind. 

The problem is that there were better pitchers than Morris who were also famous- Orel Hershiser and Dwight Gooden come to mind right off.  He is not being voted in because he is famous, but because many people see him as more than he was.  They see him as an ace in the Roy Halladay, Johan Santana vein.  He never was anything like that. 

AWeb - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 02:23 PM EST (#266406) #

I think Morris has become a stand-in for the pre-sabermetric days of analysis. Much of Blyeven's campaign (stats based) was done with comparisons to Morris (i.e., he was much better), and while that eventually worked, there has been a push-back. Morris's vote totals could have leveled off (like Lee Smith has) or gone down like many before him, but he's become the rallying point for everyone threatened by advanced analysis. The same thing happened to Jim Rice. Writers were on the fence, analysts came along and pointed out that was ridiculous, Rice shouldn't even be near the fence, let alone on it.

Writers fought back and "showed them good" by voting him in, inventing BS stories about fear and heart and clutch, etc. , because they don't like to admit that they might have been wrong (or even considering being wrong). The result is that Rice was one of the very worst BBWAA inductions (vet committees have made the very worst choices, generally) ever, and Morris might be the same.

Some of the problem has been the obvious and increasing frustration from the analysis side. They get increasingly close to verifiably correct answers to what used to be “fun” debates. Coming back to Jim Rice, I remember as a kid wondering if he or Dwight Evans was better. Arguments were made, conversations were had. But in retrospect, Evans had a better career, Evans >> Rice. Not close, no further debate needed. Writers hate this (see also the AL MVP "debate" this year). They fight back by insisting on the discussion anyway, and both sides get increasingly frustrated and entrenched.

Magpie - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 06:07 PM EST (#266417) #
[Morris'] peak is utterly unimpressive and his career was way too short

His career was way too short? You can't be serious.

I think AWeb is on to something when it comes to the agenda of the voters, and I would also suggest that one of the things they're doing is validating the opinions of one's youth. I don't think that applies to Morris nearly as much as it applies to Jim Rice and Andre Dawson. Rice was widely regarded as the most fearsome hitter alive for a good chunk of his career. Similarly, Andre Dawson (Expos vintage) was actually spoken about as the best player in the game. The very best.
Magpie - Friday, November 30 2012 @ 06:44 PM EST (#266418) #
[Morris] never was anything like that.

For sure, and I'd suggest he was a bit like Jim Kaat, who was also a good pitcher for a long time. But never a transcendent one. (Tommy John's best years are probably better than both guys.)
Mike Green - Saturday, December 01 2012 @ 11:14 AM EST (#266428) #
Sorry, I wasn't clear. Morris didn't have the bulk to his career that would merit consideration as a good pitcher for a long time.  Kaat threw 700 more innings (but still didn't pitch well enough to merit inclusion); Don Sutton and Tommy John threw 1200 more innings at a little better performance level and merited induction. 

The funny thing is that modern-day starting pitchers are underrepresented in the Hall.  It's just that there are so many way better ones than Morris- Reuschel, Tiant, John, Cone, Tanana, Saberhagen, Stieb, Hershiser, Gooden, Guidry, Key...You can take your pick of guys who were absolutely great at their peak or ones who had long and productive careers or ones who were a bit of both.

John Northey - Saturday, December 01 2012 @ 08:10 PM EST (#266434) #
Morris is a weird one. Twice led the league in wins, 1981 with 14 (strike year) and 1992 (101 ERA+). He also had 20 wins in 1986 and 1983. I wonder if that helped, having a couple close together and one late in his career to help voters think highly of him (1994 was his last year). To show his ability to get lucky his last two seasons he had a 76 ERA+ but a 17-18 W-L record - crazy. A few horrid ERA+'s (2 in the 70's, 3 in the 80's) and 8 in the 110+ range (ie: solid #2 starter) and 5 in the good but not great range (90-109). K/9 never over 7.5, BB/9 never lower than 2.5. 3rd in Cy voting is his peak, 13th in MVP. 5 AS games is solid but not 'wow'. He had 2 great playoffs (7-0 in 84/91) and 2 horrid ones (0-4 in 87/92) and was left off the playoff roster for another (1993). Not really a great playoff record, but one game seems to overwhelm the voters intelligence...a game he should've lost (Lonnie Smith made a major baserunning boo-boo otherwise would've scored pre-extra innings).

Basically his HOF argument is "most wins in 80's" "Game 7 1991" and lasting long enough to crack 250 wins.

I really cannot see why anyone would vote for Morris who didn't vote for Dennis Martinez or any of dozens of other pitchers. Of course, I felt the same about Jim Rice vs Dale Murphy vs Dave Parker vs ...
Mike Green - Saturday, December 01 2012 @ 08:41 PM EST (#266435) #
Mickey Lolich was similar in quality, and actually a little better.  And if Morris gets a bonus for his 1991 World Series game, what about Lolich's performance in 1968 culminating in a defeat of Bob Freaking Gibson on two days rest in Game 7?  I am not arguing for Lolich really; it's just that if you must have a Tiger starter, I'd pick him before Morris.
Magpie - Saturday, December 01 2012 @ 08:45 PM EST (#266436) #
if you must have a Tiger starter

Could always just wait about fifteen years for Justin...
bpoz - Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 10:44 AM EST (#266438) #
I messed up in submitting something.

I was asking how a team can get a #1 pitcher that was not home grown. Obviously FA & Trade.

I do not want to redo the post at this time. But with the Winter meetings upon us we have the examples of C Lee, Z Grenkie , CC Sabathia etc...
John Northey - Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 12:50 PM EST (#266439) #
How hard is it to get a top flight pitcher anyways? Say, one of the 10 top ones in the majors today?

Lets see... the top 10 for WAR for pitchers (B-R) are...
1. Verlander (DET) 7.6 WAR, 2nd overall draft pick
2. Price (TBR) 6.4 WAR, 1st overall draft pick
3. Harrison (TEX) 6.2, traded while in AA as part of package for Mark Teixeira
4. Kershaw (LAD) 6.2, 7th overall pick
5. Cueto (CIN) 5.8, amateur free agent (Dominican)
6. Sale (CHW) 5.7, 13th overall pick
7. Dickey (NYM) 5.6, free agent (was reliever, turning 35 with 87 ERA+ lifetime)
8. Kuroda (NYY) 5.2, free agent turning 37
9. Peavy (CHW) 5.0, traded for 4 players
10. Hernandez (SEA) 4.6, amateur free agent (Venezuela)

So for the top 10 you have 4 high draft picks (top 1/2 of first round), 2 amateur free agents, 2 big trades (one while still in the minors), and 2 free agents one of whom was a total shock to work out with both 35+.

This shows how hard it is to get a top flight pitcher. Either you develop yourself (60%) or you do a big trade (Pevey) or you get lucky (Dickey) or you get while in minors and (theoretically) cheaper. Signing 35+ year old guys like Dickey and Kuroda is a very risky strategy as at that age they can fall apart instantly. Draft picks can drive you nuts, as can amateur free agents, and trading while in minors can work but like the draft picks can drive you nuts.

AA's strategy of getting as many high potential arms in the minors as possible is a smart one - no matter what only a few will ever work out, but the higher the potential the more likely you are to catch lightning in a bottle. Or the Jays could just suck totally for awhile and hope those top 10 picks work out.
John Northey - Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 04:49 PM EST (#266443) #
Since HOF voting might be about to get locked down due to the crunch of people and steroid battles what if the HOF followed a rule like the Hall of Merit does - a certain number gets in each year period. Lets say they went with 2 per year (HOM goes with 3). How would that have changed voting? Same indicates same results as reality, brackets if real is different. Starting in 2000...

2000: same: Fisk/Perez
2001: same: Winfield/Puckett
2002: Ozzie Smith/Gary Carter (Ozzie Smith)
2003: Eddie Murray/Bruce Sutter (Murray/Carter)
2004: same: Molitor/Eckersley
2005: Same: Boggs/Sandberg
2006: Rice/Gossage (Sutter)
2007: same: Ripken/Gwynn
2008: Dawson/Blyleven (Gossage)
2009: Rickey Henderson/Lee Smith (Henderson/Rice)
2010: Alomar/Morris (Dawson)
2011: Larkin/Bagwell (Larkin/Blyleven)
2012: Raines/Trammell (Larkin)

Wow does that change things. We'd get a few duds (Morris, Lee Smith) and the generally accepted recent errors but we'd also have Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, and Jeff Bagwell in there. A better system IMO.

I tried with 3 and here is what happened...
2000: Fisk/Perez/Rice
2001: Winfield/Puckett/Carter
2002: Ozzie/Sutter/Dawson
2003: Eddie Murray/Sandberg/Lee Smith
2004: Molitor/Eckersley/Gossage
2005: Boggs/Blyleven/Morris (Morris had just 33.3% in real life)
2006: Tommy John/Steve Garvey/Trammell
2007: Ripken/Gwynn/McGwire
2008: Raines (first ballot)/David Concepcion/Mattingly
2009: Rickey Henderson/Dave Parker/Dale Murphy
2010: Alomar/Larkin/Edgar Martinez
2011: Bagwell/Walker/McGriff
2012: Rafael Palmeiro/Bernie Williams/Juan Gonzalez (didn't get 5% and was cut from the ballot)

That goes too far - guys who in real life were sub 5% start to make it in (Juan Gonzalez) and so do guys who'd be poor choices like Mattingly, Concepcion, Parker, Murphy, Garavey, and Lee Smith.

So 2 per year makes sense. What if I did it for the 90's?

1990: Same: Jim Palmer/Joe Morgan
1991: Rod Carew, Gaylord Perry (Fergie Jenkins also made it in real life)
1992: Same: Tom Seaver, Rollie Fingers (assuming Fergie didn't get in)
1993: Reggie Jackson, Fergie Jenkins (assume he'd have made it now)
1994: Steve Carlton, Orlando Cepeda (Carlton irl, Cepeda waited for vets)
1995: Mike Schmidt, Phil Niekro (just Schmidt irl)
1996: Tony Perez, Don Sutton (no one made it)
1997: Ron Santo, Jim Rice (Niekro - boy, that would've killed a lot of arguments)
1998: Gary Carter, Steve Garvey (Sutton)
1999: Nolan Ryan, George Brett (Robin Yount made it as well irl)
and that changes...
2000: Yount now plus Fisk (Fisk/Perez)
2001: same Winfield/Puckett
2002: Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter (Ozzie irl)
2003: Eddie Murray, Andre Dawson (Murray, Carter)
2004: same: Molitor/Eckersley
2005: same: Boggs/Sandberg
2006: Gossage, Blyleven (Sutter)
2007: Same: Ripken/Gwynn
2008: Lee Smith, Jack Morris (Gossage)
2009: Rickey Henderson, Tommy John (Henderson, Rice)
2010: Alomar, Larkin (Dawson)
2011: Bagwell, Raines (Alomar, Blyleven)
2012: Trammell, Edgar Martinez (Larkin)

Pushing that back to 1990 sure does change things. A lot of guys get in who wouldn't have otherwise, some are pushed back a year, some pushed up a few years. We'd have Cepeda & Santo as writers choice, non-HOF'ers Steve Garvey, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Tommy John, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, and Edgar Martinez in. Garvey I wouldn't care for, but the rest I can at least see some argument for (Morris + Lee Smith being the weakest candidates imo, followed by Tommy John).

The 1980's would've added an extra 2 going in (Jim Bunning who got in via vets and Tony Oliva who isn't in yet) without affecting the future. The 70's would add Gil Hodges (still not in) and 3 more would've got in than did irl thus affecting future ballots (all but Gil Hodges would get in eventually). Add 3 more to current ballots being in and you'd have Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, and Mark McGwire although without running through all the situations it'd be hard to say those would be the 3 extras in (voting patterns being odd).

I think a 2 per year rule would work fine though, 3 would be nuts. Also get rid of the 5% rule and make it a determination by a committee to make the ballot a list of 30 - 40 names each year. Remove the 15 year rule and vet committees. Much cleaner, keep the HOF from growing too fast, and panels would focus only on umpires, executives, pioneers, managers, and whatever else can go in outside of players.
John Northey - Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 05:06 PM EST (#266444) #
Thought I'd take a closer look at history...
Times writers voted in more than 2...
5: 1936 - the original 5
4: 1947, 1955
3: 1937, 1939, 1954, 1972, 1984, 1991, 1999
2: 23 times
1: 23 times
0: 1945, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1967, 1971, 1996

So over 65 elections they've voted in 103 if I have this right, leading to 1.58 per year. Early on they only voted every other year - guess they wanted a 'small hall' originally. If the rule was 1 at least plus all others who crack 75% would it have changed much? The 0 years would've put in Frank Chance (Vets), Gehringer (made via run-off in 49), Ott (1 year early), Max Carey (Vets), Edd Rouch (Vets), Luke Appling (run off), Red Ruffing (run off), Yogi Berra (yup, didn't make it at first), Phil Niekro (1 year early, leading to Don Sutton a year early, leading to Tony Perez 2 years early). No one gets in who wouldn't have otherwise, just they get in a few years earlier. That might be the safest thing for the HOF to do so they can avoid the Steve Garvey's of the world from getting in while ensuring that deadlocked ballots don't ever occur.
CeeBee - Sunday, December 02 2012 @ 05:21 PM EST (#266445) #
You've got to remember that since 1961 there have been more teams, more players and IMO more star players. I think 2 per year is just fine now days as one or thereabouts would have been fine with 16 teams.
John Northey - Monday, December 03 2012 @ 09:13 AM EST (#266450) #
I think part of the question is how big a hall do you want?

The Hall of Merit is trying to keep the proportion the same from all eras, thus has non-HOF guys like Dave Stieb, Kevin Brown, David Cone, Bret Saberhagen, Ted Simmons, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, and others as well. Each year they vote in 3 players and have no 5% rule or 15 year limit. So Rick Reuschel made it this past winter on his 17th year on the ballot.

So this year it'll be a dogfight for the HOM as it will have the same new players as the HOF - Clemens, Bonds, Schilling, Lofton, Biggio, Piazza, Sosa. All will probably get in someday but I suspect Clemens/Bonds are locks with the other 5 fighting it out for the 3rd slot. FYI: no sign of Jack Morris at the HOM, nor Jim Rice - 2012 results are here - HOF'ers or near HOF'ers Jim Rice was 58th, not one vote for Jack Morris, Bruce Sutter was 65th, Lou Brock 55th, Tony Perez 29th, Frank Chance 27th, Kirby Puckett 33rd, Joe Tinker 90th.
Mike Green - Monday, December 03 2012 @ 09:24 AM EST (#266452) #
I am not sure that Sosa will make it into the Hall of Merit.  There are players who were at least as good, like Sal Bando, and are not yet in, and you would guess that all of the ones at comparable levels of performance would go in before Sosa. 

McGwire is a slightly different case.

bpoz - Monday, December 03 2012 @ 01:04 PM EST (#266455) #
Thanks John N. I was thinking/asking about acquiring an existing Ace.

CC---No NYY believe they are a contender.

Felix...Maybe. Seattle is rich enough, but Felix would go FA to get to a contender if winning a WS is important enough to him. Halladay did say that he would leave because he did not believe that the Jays are a contender. Of course Felix is younger & so may wait. Maybe wait 5 years.

Poor teams like TB, Pittsburgh etc cannot afford to pay a lot for 1 player, the % of payroll is too great so they would consider making the trade because the multiple prospects are more valuable than the draft picks. 2?
TB would weaken themselves a lot so they risk not making the playoffs. A weak team has no real chance at the playoffs & they know it.
John Northey - Monday, December 03 2012 @ 01:53 PM EST (#266457) #
The Pirates are starting to feel the heat, after looking like they might contend they fell below 500 yet again (last over 500 was when Barry Bonds played for them in 1992). Their two big expenses are AJ Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. AJ getting $16.5 mil this year (all but $8 mil paid by the Yankees), while Rodriguez is getting $13 this year ($5 mil paid by Astros) and $13 next (player option due to being traded, Houston paying $5.5 mil of it, he gets $2.5 mil if he declines option). Neither option thrills me but AJ Burnett actually did well in Pittsburgh. Don't see the Jays going for that though and Wandy looks no better than Happ imo.
Mike Green - Tuesday, December 04 2012 @ 09:56 AM EST (#266463) #
Deacon White is the Veterans Committee's player choice for the Hall of Fame this year.  Bad Bill Dahlen will again have to wait. 

White was a good choice, but I am still rooting for Dahlen.

JB21 - Wednesday, December 05 2012 @ 01:44 PM EST (#266497) #

Tom Cheek, Hall of Famer. I like it.

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