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Well, that time of year again.  The HOF has released the list of who is on the ballot and it is a very, very crowded one yet again.

As always, I make full use of Baseball Reference for quick stats and easy lists for the HOF.
17 returning players in order of vote percentage.
  • Craig Biggio: 74.8% last year, he better get in this time. 65.1 WAR, played 2B, CA, CF and has 3000 hits.  Should've been an easy one, but instead is on his 3rd year and ranks only 13th by WAR on this ballot (!)
  • Mike Piazza: 62.2%, unlikely to get the remaining 12.8% this year.  Generally viewed as the best offensive catcher ever but also had a noodle arm.  His teams almost always were top 3 in ERA though so he must have done something right.  Again, should've been a slam dunk but instead keeps waiting.  By WAR he is only the 16th best on this ballot (!!!)
  • Jeff Bagwell: 54.3%, hoping to keep climbing.  449 HR, 2314 H are low, but his 79.6 WAR speaks of how he was a complete package at 1B.  Voters seem to be giving him a PED penalty even though I don't recall any rumours while he was playing.
  • Tim Raines: 46.1%, just 3 ballots left due to rule change. 2nd best leadoff hitter ever, one of the last great Expos on the ballot and last one that would go in with an Expos cap. 69.1 WAR puts him at #11 this year (yeah, it is a crazy crowded ballot)
  • Roger Clemens: 35.4% - we all know this one
  • Barry Bonds: 34.7% - see above
  • Lee Smith: 29.9%, once was the all-time saves leader but his 478 look puny now.  3 more ballots for him and a declining vote total - he peaked at 50.6% in the 2012 election, while the 29.9% last year was his lowest so far.
  • Curt Schilling: 29.2%, a 'clutch' guy with the bloody sock game and 3 WS rings.  His 216 wins is very low though thus he'll take a long time to get in but he will eventually.
  • Edgar Martinez: 25.2%, a DH who reached 68.3 WAR but I don't see him ever getting in. 309 HR and 2247 hits are just too low for a pure hitter for these voters
  • Alan Trammell: 20.8%, near the end just one more year after this. Hopefully the Vets put him and Whittaker in together ASAP.
  • Mike Mussina: 20.3%, was a great pitcher (83 WAR) but cannot stand him due to his actions - warming up in the bullpen during the ASG even though he knew he wouldn't be brought in just to get the crowd riled up, protesting that the Jays were taking too long celebrating Tom Cheek who was dying from a brain tumour at the time.  He'll get in someday, but hopefully not until the Vet's.
  • Jeff Kent: 15.2%, all time leader in HR for a 2B, probably should get in but will wait a long time.  Just 55.2 WAR which puts him 18th on the ballot
  • Fred McGriff: 11.7%, surprised he has lasted this long, 493 HR would've got him in for any era other than the 90's/00's. 
  • Mark McGwire: 11.0%, like Bonds & Clemens we all know the story
  • Larry Walker: 10.2%, 72.6 WAR but his value is understated by most due to the injuries and Colorado effects. Hopefully he gets in someday
  • Don Mattingly: 8.2%, final ballot for a massively overrated player.  How can a guy be viewed as a great leader when his team only made the playoffs in his final season (wildcard) and was knocked out right away, surrounding his career were 2 great periods for the Yankees.
  • Sammy Sosa: 7.2%, 600 HR and 3 times over 60 HR and might fall off the ballot. 

New guys...

An interesting ballot with lots of tough choices for voters.  There are 3 guys with over 100 WAR, 9 with 70+ (normally a lock), 6 in the 60's (normally a strong maybe), and that isn't factoring in Piazza, Sosa, Kent, McGriff, Delgado, and Lee Smith.

So, how would everyone here vote?  I normally would include Clemens & Bonds but that ship has sailed so if I had a real ballot it'd probably go...
Locks: Pedro, Johnson
Easy adds: Schilling, Bagwell, Walker, Trammell, Smoltz, Raines, Biggio, Piazza... geez, full and I'd love to add McGriff, Delgado, and Kent (old Jay factor), Sosa (600 HR is amazing regardless), McGwire, Edgar Martinez.  Crazy ballot indeed.

FYI: Next year only adds Griffey Jr as an automatic, with 2017 seeing Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Vladimir Guerrero (probably the last Expo near HOF'er to be on the ballot).  With luck the ballot will get cleared up a lot over that stretch.  2018 adds Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Scott Rolen and Andruw Jones who all should get serious support but who knows (expect some Bagwell type stuff regarding Thome).
Hall of Fame Discussion | 52 comments | Create New Account
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jerjapan - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 02:34 PM EST (#295487) #
I always thought Bonds took as much grief as he did for being an angry, outspoken black multi-millionaire - at least in the popular media.  other guys deep in the PED scandal seemed to get off more lightly. 

That said, who do you keep out?  guys that co-operated (eventually) with investigations?  co-operation is a good thing and it would be a shame to discourage it.... suspected users?  even the seemingly clean guys from the era have been tainted in some eyes .... users that cross a higher threshold - who we can assume were great to begin with?  that puts bonds and clemens in....

ultimately, I have no certainty on anything but my desire for a Tim Raines miracle.

Mike Green - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 04:22 PM EST (#295491) #
John Northey, your ballot makes internal sense.  I don't know why you would consider adding McGwire and not Bonds, though.  The same PED issue, and Bonds was a Hall of Famer without them and McGwire wasn't. 
John Northey - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 04:24 PM EST (#295492) #
The PED issue is a messy one.  With gambling there was a clear group in 1919 who threw the World Series (more or less...there could've been more involved, a couple were barely, and the team owner who was certainly not blameless got into the HOF) and just one clear case since (good ol' Pete Rose).  Gambling though always had a clear 'do this and you are out of baseball' with Shoeless Joe Jackson the poster boy.  PED's on the other hand were openly encouraged for years (greenies for examples) so shifting from 'mild' ones to 'hard' ones like steroids wasn't a big stretch.  In '88 it was well known that Canseco was doing steroids (hence the 'steroids' chant in the playoffs) yet nothing was done.  By 1998 it was painfully obvious with McGwire/Sosa yet, even with stuff found in his locker, MLB turned a blind eye as did the media and players... mostly.  Note how for Bonds it was post the 1998 home run race that he started according to the most damning testimony and it was due to everyone going 'so what' about McGwire. 

To me the PED issue is one where you cannot blame guys pre-testing as it was clearly accepted and viewed as the only way to compete.  Once testing came into play things changed significantly.  By then it was well known that doing that stuff would result in public shaming and not guest appearances on the Simpsons. To me an amnesty for the pre-testing crowd is inevitable but probably not until Bonds & Clemens have been on the ballot for 10 years to make it painfully clear that even the best of all-time cannot be 100% rewarded.  I suspect it'll be around 2025 that MLB will say 'OK, lets have a special committee on the PED era and put in guys who were great but might have used' leading to Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, etc. getting in.

The silly thing is that there is no doubt some have already gotten in.  Does anyone really believe Kirby Puckett went from 0 HR to 30+ without some help?
Mike Green - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 04:38 PM EST (#295493) #
Leaving all the PED guys off isn't a bad solution, given the number and quality of other candidates.  Voters should vote for 10 candidates. That seems to me to be the acid test this time round.  
jerjapan - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 06:27 PM EST (#295496) #
Good points John and Mike.  I'm personally in favour of leaving the PED guys off the ballot, but some kind of special recognition committee would at least acknowledge the role that MLB's blind eye had in encouraging guys to use.  If the competition is getting better and nobody seems to care, why shouldn't other guys consider PEDs? 

A stellar crop of candidates certainly makes it easy to justifiably leave guys off the ballot.

Magpie - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 06:51 PM EST (#295497) #
Each of the 17 returnees, every last one of them, and at least five of the new guys is more qualified for the Hall than at least a dozen of the players who are already in bronze. What can you do.
Eephus - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 07:03 PM EST (#295498) #
I think Sheffield should get in eventually. He was obviously an awful defensive player for much of his career but his bat was consistently monstrous well into his late 30s. Even though he was mentioned in the Mitchell Report he never seems to have been a guy associated with the steroid era, for whatever that's worth.

I figure Pedro, Big Unit and Biggio (so close) are locks this year. Smoltz should be as well but we know how these can go.
Eephus - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 07:09 PM EST (#295499) #
would result in public shaming and not guest appearances on the Simpsons.

Dingers! Dingers!
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 07:14 PM EST (#295500) #
To be fair, I think Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz go in right away; that's 3.
I think Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines all go in this year, that's 7.
Then it's time for personal favorites: Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent and Larry Walker to go in, and that's 10.

I think anyone who can't vote for 10 players on a Hall of Fame ballot should be stripped of his vote. Anyone no longer a Baseball Reporter, should be stripped of his vote. Let's get the voting idiots out.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 07:30 PM EST (#295504) #
Copied from the other thread:

1. Pedro
2. Johnson
3. Biggio
4. Piazza
5. Bagwell
6. Mussina (highly underrated)
7. Raines
8. Smoltz

Those are the guys I think should get in (in order). The rest I don't feel strongly about.

I'd use my last two slots on some combination of Delgado, Nomar, and Walker- guys I don't think should get in but deserve some votes.

Crucify me if you want but I'm punishing the clear PED users. There needs to be a nuclear deterrent for PED use much like Pete Rose and the Blacksox are for gambling. Clemens, Bonds etc.. may get in but it wouldn't be through my ballot.
Super Bluto - Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 10:37 PM EST (#295510) #
There needs to be a nuclear deterrent for PED use much like Pete Rose and the Blacksox are for gambling

Except for many players who use PEDs, the HOF isn't necessarily the goal. I'm sure it would be tempting enough merely to have a job in MLB for many to turn to drugs. I hope Bonds, Clemons, et. al. eventually get in.
whiterasta80 - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 08:35 AM EST (#295511) #
Thats certainly a fair point Super Bluto, but I'm hoping that the testing policy (and GM reluctance to pay full value for players with a history) will take care of the bubble players.
rpriske - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 08:36 AM EST (#295512) #
I would vote for 13 if I could.

The notable omission being Piazza. I think his negative as a catcher drops him out of contention. I recognize that is an extreme minority view.

I also think that anyone who doesn't vote for Bonds and Clemens should have their voting rights taken away, but hey...

Hypothetical ballot:


Not on the ballot but should be:


Magpie - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 08:48 AM EST (#295513) #
I figure Pedro, Big Unit and Biggio (so close) are locks this year.

Me too, but three guys in one year is a helluva thing for the BBWAA. I know they did it last year (Glavine, Maddux, Thomas) but that was the first time they'd selected three guys at once since 1955.
CeeBee - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 09:07 AM EST (#295514) #
Many tough choices, I could certainly vote for more than 10.

1. Johnson
2. P. Martinez
3. Bonds
4. Biggio
5. Clemens
6. Raines
7. Piazza
8. Smoltz
9. Walker
10. Bagwell
ComebyDeanChance - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 10:08 AM EST (#295517) #
Many tough choices, I could certainly vote for more than 10.

1. Johnson
2. P. Martinez
3. Bonds
4. Biggio
5. Clemens
6. Raines
7. Piazza
8. Smoltz
9. Walker
10. Bagwell

With some good fortune, I think the chances are that at least one of your choices, Clemens, will be admitted to jail instead of the Hall. He's still trying to bully and lie his way through the justice system and a NY judge has given him until Dec 19 to show why he shouldn't be held in contempt for refusing to provide ordered productions.
Mike Green - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 10:27 AM EST (#295518) #
Copying and editing from the other thread, my ballot would be:


Smoltz, Piazza and Biggio would be on my ballot in almost every year.  Edgar would be there in most years.  Kent and Sheffield would be there at least 1/2 the time. 

I want to write a bit about Alan Trammell, and where he fits among the shortstops.  I ran a BBRef Play Index on shortstops who played 1000 games after 1900 and had a WAR of 50+.  Bill Dahlen and George Davis didn't make the time cut-off.  Here's the list:

Honus Wagner- 114
Cal Ripken-96
Robin Yount-77
Ozzie Smith-77
Luke Appling-75
Arky Vaughan-73
Derek Jeter-72
Barry Larkin-70
Alan Trammell-70
Pee Wee Reese-66
Joe Cronin-66
Lou Boudreau-63
Bobby Wallace-55
Joe Tinker-53
Luis Aparicio-53
Bert Campaneris-53

The only one not in the Hall of Fame is Campaneris (and some people advocate for him).  It has happened that players of Trammell's general quality (Reese, Vaughan) have not been elected by the BBWAA, but these were clear mistakes.  I was hoping with the election of Larkin that fewer of those would be made. Anyways, I guess it would be appropriate if the Veterans put in Trammell and Whitaker together at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Mike Green - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 10:42 AM EST (#295519) #
Of course, I am assuming that Jeter will walk into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.  As I said years ago, he's of the same quality as Trammell and easily qualified but they don't call it the Hall of Fame for nothing.
jerjapan - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 11:42 AM EST (#295521) #
 I'm hoping that the testing policy (and GM reluctance to pay full value for players with a history) will take care of the bubble players.

I think we need to see fairer payment for minor league players before we can truly eliminate PEDs.  The income disparity between the minors and majors is just too huge ... if you consider minor leaguers to be employees, most earn less than minimum wage here in Canada.  It's the same reason so many minor leaguers were willing to cross the picket line during the strike of 94.  Ideology takes a backseat when your family needs to eat. 
jerjapan - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 11:55 AM EST (#295525) #
On an apolitical note, my top 10 looks pretty similar to many:

1.  Johnson
2.  Pedro
3.  Bonds
4.  Biggio
5.  Smoltz
5.  Clemens
6.  Raines
7.  Bagwell
8.  Piazza
10.  Delgado, although Mike Green nearly convinced me on Trammel

Dave Till - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 12:01 PM EST (#295526) #
I don't care about the Hall of Fame that much. A player's accomplishments, and our memories of him, aren't affected by whether there is a plaque in Cooperstown or not. (Does Cooperstown still pretend that Abner Doubleday invented baseball?)

And I'm not sure about what to do about PEDs. I don't think that all of the users were successfully caught, and it's impossible to tell who used and who didn't. There are some people who deny using whom I tend to believe (Frank Thomas and Carlos Delgado are two), but I will never know for sure.

I also would want to factor a player's fame into the discussion - it's the Hall of Fame, after all, not the Hall of Excellence.

Having said all that, here's my ballot, just for fun:

Barry Bonds (he's apparently a horrible person, and he used, but he had Hall-worthy credentials before he started using)
Roger Clemens (ditto)
Pedro Martinez (if he's not in the Hall, they're doing it wrong)
Randy Johnson
Craig Biggio
Jeff Bagwell
Tim Raines
Mike Piazza
John Smoltz
and a home-town vote for Carlos Delgado, because it's my ballot and I can do that
Hodgie - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 12:20 PM EST (#295527) #
Curt Schilling must find himself torn these days. One one hand, to be inducted into the Hall he would have to pray that voters' opinions on his career evolve over the next few years. On the other hand, given his tete a tete with Keith Law on Twitter his views on evolution are well known. What a quandry....
Mike Green - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 12:22 PM EST (#295528) #
There are many valid criticisms of WAR, but one of its benefits of the statistic is that it forces you to think in a methodical way about the various aspects of a player's value.  Take Carlos Delgado and Jeff Kent. 

Who did not admire Carlos Delgado?  Who thought that he was less than a great hitter? For me, he was one of those players that make watching baseball fun.  The Blue Jays have had their share of them from Jesse Barfield to Devon White to Carlos Delgado to Roy Halladay and now Jose Bautista.  Watching Carlos Delgado battle Pedro Martinez (at both of their peaks) and ultimately winning (HR to CF) was one of my favourite at-bats ever.  If you had told me in 1992 that Carlos Delgado would have a fine and mostly healthy career that lived up to reasonable expectations of him but would end up adding less value to his teams than Jeff Kent, I would have said "no way".  If you had told me the same thing after the 2000 season, I would have said "I guess it's possible and let me think about it".  And now, it's simply a fact.  When you take into account everything, batting, baserunning, fielding and position, you have to come to that conclusion.  The differences in their career WAR will tell you that that is the likely result and then if you think about each player as a whole, you'll come to that conclusion. 
Mike Green - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 12:59 PM EST (#295530) #
One more thing about Delgado.  You know the old saw in baseball about how good pitching stops good hitting.  Have a look at Delgado's career numbers vs. specific pitchers. He had 45+ PA against most of the great pitchers of his time- Mussina, Pettitte, Pedro, Hudson, Cone, Clemens, Smoltz.  The only ones he didn't get the better of were Mussina and Cone (who he mostly faced early in his career).  In smaller samples, he hit Schilling, Glavine, and Mariano while Maddux held him off. 

In his career, he faced Randy Johnson only 8 times.  He went 2-7 with a walk, no XBH and two Ks.  Managers often found a Johnson start to be the ideal time to give a LH hitter a day off...
John Northey - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 01:15 PM EST (#295531) #
I listed what I'd probably do for a ballot above, but debating it I might cut Schilling (not getting in anyways, acting like an idiot) to make room for one of McGriff/Delgado/Kent ... probably Delgado just because this will most likely be his only HOF ballot.  The art of the possible affects it.

If I decided to add Bonds & Clemens (as they are painfully obvious HOF'ers) despite the fact they won't even get close to 50% let alone in, then I'd cut Schilling & Bagwell because he isn't getting in this year anyways and is at no risk of falling off the ballot.

Geez, what a dumb situation eh? 

Magpie - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 04:07 PM EST (#295534) #
Schilling (not getting in anyways, acting like an idiot

Almost impossible to be that big of an idiot. His peak was tremendous, he won more games than Pedro or Doc, and he was arguably the greatest post-season pitcher ever - better than Madison Bumgarner or Bob Gibson. He'll get in.
Mike Green - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 04:20 PM EST (#295535) #
Yup, Magpie.  It should be noted again that Smoltz is in the discussion for greatest post-season pitcher- 209 innings, 15-4, 2.67 ERA and component stats to match.   He wasn't quite as effective as Schilling, but threw 75 more innings (which is a lot). 
John Northey - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 04:30 PM EST (#295536) #
Oh, he'll get in and I would vote for him easily most of the time but this is a bizarre overcrowded situation.  If you have 17 or so qualified candidates then you have to cut someone who deserves to be in. 

By WAR he is #6, by Bill James HOF Standards which compares a player to the norms of voters he is #16, by HOF Monitor #7, etc.  So one of the best but (of this group) not one of the top 5. 

Btw, for HOF Monitor (100 is probably HOF) you get 22 guys qualified on this ballot.  By HOF Standards (50 is avg HOF) you get 13 players.  By WAR you get 9 with 70+ (should be slam dunk), and another 6 with 60-69 (likely HOF), and 5 more in the 50's (has a shot). 

Crazy stuff eh?  And that is removing Palmeiro (fell under 5% despite 71.6 WAR, easily qualified by any other measure), Kenny Lofton (68.2 WAR and just 3.2% 2 years ago), and Kevin Brown (68.3 WAR just 2.1% in 2011) who should've had more time on the ballot based on past standards.

Of course, without the PED scandal Palmeiro would be in the HOF as would Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, and Sosa most likely and the ballot overcrowding wouldn't be 1/2 the issue it is.

Magpie - Friday, November 28 2014 @ 09:29 PM EST (#295539) #
The only ones [Delgado] didn't get the better of were Mussina...

Well, that's why the Jays had Frank Catalanotto (.459/.507/.689 in 61 career ABs against Mussina.)
Michael - Saturday, November 29 2014 @ 07:08 PM EST (#295639) #
The HOF is messed up because of not electing some of the obvious people leading to a log jam where now they may not elect people just because of the 10 limit. I'd take away the vote from anyone who doesn't submit 10 names, I'd also take away the vote from anyone who doesn't name Bonds and Clemens (obvious inner circle HOF players), and I'd take away the vote from anyone who doesn't have at least 9 of their vote taken by people in my top 18 "large HOF" below (so you get up to 1 non-deserving homer vote for a Delgado or Mattingly or whoever).

My ballot in order:

1. Bonds - career 182 OPS+, 14 AS games, JAWS of 117.5 compared to 53.3 for average HOF at his position. He's more than twice as good as the average HOF player!

2. Clemens - nearly as much ahead of the average HOF pitcher as Bonds is ahead of a pitcher. If these top 2 aren't on your ballot, you lose voting rights.

3. Randy Johnson - he's in a no man's land large gap where he's a little closer to Clemens in value than to number 4 in value but there are huge gaps in value between 2 and 3 and between 3 and 4. In fact I'd put the gap between 3 and 4 at roughly the same size as between 4 and 16.

4. Pedro Martinez - not a long career, but a peak so good that he still is a very easy HOFer.

5. Piazza - 12 all star games, a JAWS of 51.2 when the HOF catcher typically has 43.1. He's a clear hall of fame candidate.

6. McGwire - Again 12 AS games, is famous with the HR but could also flat out rake with a 163 career OPS+. In some categories he's right around the average HOF (not the minimum, but average), but he also has major fame.

7. Bagwell - Mostly under the radar for a player as good as him (only 4 AS games), but he is still clearly a HOF player.

8. Sosa - Dude could hit, and is certainly famous.

9. Schilling - Even without the bloody sock and playoffs, had a borderline-but-in HOF pitching career. The playoffs and all make it no doubt.

10. Biggio - He's likely in this year since he was nearly in last year.

=== That ends my top 10, but the next 6 or 7 are worth too ===

11. Sheffield - 140 career OPS+, 9 AS, above the HOFM and HOFS.

12. Walker - 141 career OPS+, JAWS of 58.6 above positions 58.1 of AVERAGE HOF at position.

13. Smoltz - 8 AS games, 125 career ERA+, borderline HOF pitching career on numbers, I think he's in on fame.

14. Edgar Martinez - about 25% games at 3b, 75% at DH, hit well enough to be in HOF with 147 career OPS+, and JAWS of 56 beats the 55 of AVERAGE HOF 3b (there isn't enough DH to do average, but most positions are in the low 50s).

15. Mussina - Another maybe-borderline-but-in HOF pitcher. Then again JAWS has him as better than the average HOF pitcher, so not that borderline.

16. Raines - The sabermetric skills get a little undervalued by traditional metrics and HOF voting. But still has JAWS value better than the average player.

=== That's where a "small HOF" might cut off ===

17. Trammell - numbers better than the average HOF SS seems like it should be a no brainer, although only 6 AS games and much of career right before offensive explosion make it less obvious.

18. Kent - A mixed bag, 2b is one of the stronger HOF poistions in terms of who is in, and Kent would be a borderline addition.

=== A "large HOF" probably cuts off here ===

19. Mattingly - A good peak in a short career is probably not HOF worthy.

20. McGriff - Probably needed one more peak year or two more above average years to his career to make it

21. Nomar - A no brainer HOF beginning to his career, but the early 30s flame out means no HOF after all.

All of the above are before Delgado.
gabrielthursday - Sunday, November 30 2014 @ 04:53 AM EST (#295649) #
Gentlemen, I give you the correct* ballot.

E. Martinez

*Correctness is defined by the ballot most likely to contribute to the election of as many worthy players as possible, in this year and following years. Firstly, and perhaps most controversially, I haven't included Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson on my ballot, because they are almost certain to significantly exceed the 75% mark. They will get in without my hypothetical vote, and I don't think there's any value in having someone get in with 98% rather than 84%. Obviously, if I were giving advice to the entire pool of electors, I would say that one should only leave these two off your ballot if one's last name begins with "A", "B" or "C" to avoid the disaster of everyone taking my advice.

Secondly, regardless of where you stand on the admittance of those who used steroids, we should recognise that Clemens and Bonds are not getting in this year, and the prospect of their eventual induction don't really rely on whether they have "momentum". Hence a vote for them this year is useless (except for the required 5% necessary to stay on the ballot, which they will surely receive).

That leaves exactly ten players clearly worthy of induction who will benefit from a vote this year, whose election is neither assured nor dependent on a change in attitude towards steroid usage. For the top players (Biggio, Smoltz and Piazza) there's some reason to think they could get elected this year alongside Pedro and Johnson, clearing more room for worthy candidates in future years; for players further down the ballot, showing momentum will give them the best chance for reprobate voters to reconsider their errors and eventually elect these worthies.

ComebyDeanChance - Sunday, November 30 2014 @ 08:36 PM EST (#295674) #
I also think that anyone who doesn't vote for Bonds and Clemens should have their voting rights taken away

l think it's a fairly good indication of how loopy the pro-cheat-and-lie crowd is that they would suggest the overwhelming majority of voters, who don't agree cheating and lying deserves to be honored, should as a result lose their votes.
Mike Green - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 08:43 AM EST (#295687) #
I have no problem with people who don't vote for Bonds and Clemens (although I would).  The precedent is Shoeless Joe Jackson.  Obviously great player who was a participant but not a leader in the Black Sox scandal which dishonoured the game.  For his troubles, he was banned for life and isn't in the Hall.  At least Bonds and Clemens probably had a full understanding of what they were doing.

On the other hand, spelling honour without a "u" does make me wonder whether the voter was raised correctly!

Lugnut Fan - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 10:24 AM EST (#295695) #

I really would like to see Trammell get in, although that is looking more and more likely that it will be a Veteran's committee task.  The 1984 Tigers were a fantastic team and it's a shame that there isn't a single '84 Tiger in the HOF.  Whitaker not even making it past the first ballot was a travesty.

At the same time, the fact the Tigers have never had an "Alan Trammell" day shows that they may not appreciate his impact on Tigers history either.  I think that may be remedied now that he has rejoined the organization.

ComebyDeanChance - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 12:10 PM EST (#295701) #
On the other hand, spelling honour without a "u" does make me wonder whether the voter (sic) was raised correctly!

Canadians (and Brits for that matter) have adopted many of Noah Webster's excellent and logical improvements to centuries of happenstance and illogical English spellings. Otherwise, in addition to clinging to the unnecessary 'u' in 'honor', they'd still be clinging to unnecessary k's as well, and we'd still be subjected to 'publick' and 'musick'.
Mike Green - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 12:23 PM EST (#295704) #
The VC ballot this year is interesting.  In alphabetical order:  Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, Maury Wills.  Tiant and Boyer seem to me to be the best of the players, and would get my vote in this crowd.
Mike Green - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 03:02 PM EST (#295729) #
Canadians (and Brits for that matter) have adopted many of Noah Webster's excellent and logical improvements to centuries of happenstance and illogical English spellings. Otherwise, in addition to clinging to the unnecessary 'u' in 'honor', they'd still be clinging to unnecessary k's as well, and we'd still be subjected to 'publick' and 'musick'.

A propos of nothing, I learned that -or spelling was common in England for centuries, and appeared in early Shakespeare folios.  The -our spelling came from French; the -or came from Latin.  For some reason, the spelling with French origin won out.  The last holdout, funnily enough, was "honour"/"honor".  Honor was used in England into the 17th century and is, of course, still how the woman's first name is spelled. 

I hadn't realized that it was my francophile pride at work.  And in related news, my local butcher carries "Voltigeur" chickens from Quebec.  Talk about good range...
gabrielthursday - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 04:50 PM EST (#295744) #
Canadians (and Brits for that matter) have adopted many of Noah Webster's excellent and logical improvements to centuries of happenstance and illogical English spellings. Otherwise, in addition to clinging to the unnecessary 'u' in 'honor', they'd still be clinging to unnecessary k's as well, and we'd still be subjected to 'publick' and 'musick'.

Regardless of what the "best" way to spell might be, we should follow the cultural particularities of our place - especially since, as Canadians, we have rather little to distinguish ourselves from Americans. There are certainly areas where Canadian spelling is still fluid, and either of British or American usage is acceptable {for instance, whether we ought use -yse or -yze endings, and also -ise or -ize); but the -our and -re (honour, centre) endings are very fixed and clearly part of what is accepted spelling in Canada.
ComebyDeanChance - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 05:56 PM EST (#295750) #
Gabriel, please excuse my attempt at humor. I was joking when I made reference to Webster's 'excellent and logical improvements' in response to what I took to be Mike's joking about my roughneck upbringing without enough u's
gabrielthursday - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 08:54 PM EST (#295756) #
ComebyDeanChance, l think we will be better off if you excuse my missing the point. I suppose I regard such things as spelling and grammar with an unusual degree of importance, and hence miss the humour at play.
Richard S.S. - Monday, December 01 2014 @ 11:59 PM EST (#295766) #
I believe 3 Players should be chosen as the best of the latest Class. I believe 4 Players should be chosen as the 'Best of the Rest'. Then I believe you should elect three of those you like best. That makes ten and all nonsense about who gets in is now personal choice.
Mike Green - Monday, December 08 2014 @ 02:20 PM EST (#296138) #
The VC ballot this year is interesting.  In alphabetical order:  Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, Maury Wills.  Tiant and Boyer seem to me to be the best of the players, and would get my vote in this crowd.

Nobody is chosen.  Allen and Oliva fall one vote short.  That anyone would choose Oliva over Boyer reflects badly; Oliva was the better hitter but the difference was more than offset by the large defensive difference and it isn't particularly close.  I guess the Veterans were overwhelmed with all the .300 batting averages that Oliva posted.
CeeBee - Monday, December 08 2014 @ 02:43 PM EST (#296140) #
Hey....Tony O was one of my favorite players growing up :( but yeah, defense wasn't a strong point but man, could he hit.
Mike Green - Monday, December 08 2014 @ 03:00 PM EST (#296143) #
Oliva had an 8 year run as a great player; Boyer had a 9 year run. Oliva was done after his run due to knee injuries.  Boyer had some useful seasons after that.   One common feature of Hall of Fame voting is the inability to combine offensive and defensive performance.  The Hall has recognized defensive greats whether clearly merited (Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson), arguably not merited (Luis Aparicio) or clearly unmerited (Rabbit Maranville, Bill Mazeroski).  There has been little problem with recognition of the offensive greats.  It has been particularly difficult for players who were not "great" either offensively or defensively but who were in combination- that would include players like Boyer or Alan Trammell.
John Northey - Monday, December 08 2014 @ 03:39 PM EST (#296149) #
Insane that Tiant isn't in yet.  Easily the highest WAR, was a top pitcher in a pitchers era and really should've been voted in by writers, let alone a vet committee.  For Tiant to get 3 or fewer votes while guys like Wills and Kaat get more is just dumb and speaks poorly of the people doing the voting.  I understand Allen not getting in (picture Albert Belle) but others like Tiant, Minoso, and good ol' Gil Hodges (mixing playing with managing) should be there.  One at a time, but in there.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 24 2014 @ 09:27 AM EST (#296772) #
So far, it looks like most writers are filling out a complete ballot.  Maybe 4 or 5 players will be elected, with Clemens and Bonds still on the ballot and open for consideration in 5 years or so.  Here's a sample reasonable ballot from Pete Abraham.

Raines, Trammell and Walker (possibly, likely and almost certainly respectively) are the ones who will be left for the Veterans Committee.  Raines has a decent chance next year.
John Northey - Saturday, December 27 2014 @ 12:17 PM EST (#296822) #
For those who don't know, Baseball Think Factory tracks the votes via Repoz.  Right now they have 5 guys over 80% (75% needed) - Pedro, Unit both at 98.8% (yes, there was a voter for each who decided to keep them off), John Smoltz at 87% is a near lock, Biggio & Piazza at 82/80% look good but can easily fall off the pace still.  Only once in baseball history have 5 guys got in - the very first vote ever (Cobb, Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Ruth, and Honus Wagner).  4 have made it just twice, 1947 and 1955 (lots of backlog still then of course).  Hard to imagine all 5 will make it this time but one can hope.  If by some miracle voters stay generous then Jeff Bagwell could make it 6 as he is currently at 72.9%.  Tim Raines hopefully can stay high as he is at 64.1% which puts him in good position to make it either next year or the year after which is his final kick at the can thanks to the new 10 year limit (it was 15 before).  Curt Schilling is currently the only other one over 50%.

The PED crew sees Bonds & Clemens in the mid 40's, McGwire at 7 and Sosa & Sheffield barely on the ballot at 5.9% each (must get 5% to stay on the ballot).   This is after 85 ballots have been counted - normally  around 600 people vote.

Mike Green - Sunday, January 04 2015 @ 01:33 PM EST (#296920) #
I wondered where Larry Walker fit among baseball's right-fielders over his career.  I ran a Play Index looking at players who had more than 6000 PAs over their careers, with an OPS+ between 130 and 150 and over 50% of PAs in RF (Walker had almost exactly 8,000 career PAs with an OPS+ of 141).  You end up with Ruth, Aaron, F. Robby, Clemente, Kaline, Winfield and Jackson being clearly better.  A series of players are obviously lesser for a variety of reasons (Babe Herman- much shorter career, defensive lug; Tony Oliva- shorter career, significantly lesser hitter; Bill Nicholson- lesser hitter with wartime inflation; Ken Singleton- lesser hitter, defensive lug; Daryl Strawberry- much shorter career; Jack Clark- defensive lug; Rocky Colavito- significantly lesser hitter and shorter career).  The comparable right fielders are Sam Crawford, Paul Waner, Tony Gwynn, Harry Heilmann and Vladimir Guerrero. 

Heilmann and Chuck Klein (who was obviously a lesser player than Walker) are the interesting ones.  The writers (in the case of Heilmann) were able to see through the inflation of his numbers by the environment of the 1920s and ascertain that he was indeed a great player.  It should be noted that he was elected in 1952 with well over 80% of the ballots shortly after he died (in July, 1951). 

It is the case that the writers have most trouble with players with a balance of skills and without any "obvious" markers of career greatness like 3000 hits or 500 HRs.  Ron Santo, Arky Vaughan, Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell would be classic examples.  Heilmann did have more O and less D than Walker.  Scott Rolen would seem to be next in line, although maybe the writers see him as a defensive great who could hit and he gets in that way.

Mike Green - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 03:01 PM EST (#296926) #
It looks like Biggio will get in this year, but that Raines may have a shot next time round.  It's funny- Raines was the best leadoff hitter in the history of the NL (at least post 1900); Biggio was probably the second best.  They were pretty much equal as overall players, and I am not going to argue that this is an injustice.
John Northey - Monday, January 05 2015 @ 03:22 PM EST (#296928) #
For Raines a good argument that is now being used on writers who dismiss him is how he reached base by hit or walk more often than Tony Gwynn and Lou Brock who were both first ballot inductees.  Given all 3 were primarily expected to be leadoff hitters hits or walks were secondary to just being on first.  Mix in how Raines was a superior baserunner to pretty much anyone outside of, maybe, Rickey Henderson and you have an easy case.  Biggio reached 4220 times so a clear lead over Raines (just shy of 4000) but had almost 2000 more PA.

For OBP you get Gwynn 388, Raines: 385, Biggio 363, Brock 343.  So Raines certainly has a strong case.  Lets hope enough voters figure it out before he is off the ballot.

Mike Green - Tuesday, January 06 2015 @ 02:39 PM EST (#296943) #
Well, the writers as a whole did better this year than in several others, as Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were rightfully inducted.  Also on the ballot were Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Mussina, Trammell and Walker who all in my view ought to be elected at some point.  Personally, I favour also the election of Bonds and Clemens, although this is more likely to happen in 5 or 7 years than next year or the year after. 

One significant problem for the writers is a widespread misappreciation of the value of a good closer.  Here's the career BBRef WAR list for closers:

Rivera- 57
Wilhelm- 50
Hiller- 31
Smith- 29
Stu Miller-27
Tekulve- 26
Quiz- 25
Henke- 23

What should be clear from the list is that Rivera is a slam-dunk choice (and perhaps an inner-circle choice given his otherworldly post-season performance), Wilhelm is clear, Gossage is borderline and the rest should be obviously out.  The reason for the misappreciation is, of course, a statistic- "the save". 

John Northey - Friday, January 09 2015 @ 11:24 PM EST (#297010) #
Always felt Gossage was underrated vs his contemporaries by HOF voters and it does seem so.  There is the 50+ crowd with the 2 clear HOF'ers (Rivera, Wihelm), Gossage at 42, then a big drop to Hiller at 31 who leads a big group that are all fairly close.
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