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Traditional winter activities have always included arguing about the Hall of Fame.

The new faces on this year's ballot:

Garret Anderson, Brad Ausmus, Luis Castillo, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Hampton, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell, Mike Sweeney, Billy Wagner, Randy Winn.

Griffey will be elected, of course. I would think that Edmonds, Hoffmann, Wagner will at least get enough support to stay on the ballot. That's an outside possibility for Anderson and Glaus as well, even if neither is very likely to ever be elected.

The holdovers are:

Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker..

And I think Piazza and (possibly) Schilling may make the cut this time. Obviously there's more than three worthy candidates, and the backlog just keeps growing, but last year was the first time in sixty years that four players were chosen. I don't want to count on the BBWAA to do it again.

Hall of Fame Ballot | 28 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, November 09 2015 @ 08:54 PM EST (#314964) #
It is pretty much impossible to justify to vote for less than 10 players.  My ten would be: Raines, Walker, Trammell, Griffey, Edmonds, Piazza, Schilling, Mussina, Bagwell and Bonds.  Clemens and Edgar also belong without question.
Magpie - Monday, November 09 2015 @ 09:11 PM EST (#314967) #
You could easily vote for more than 20 players on this ballot, and every one of them would meet the HoF's established standard.
rpriske - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 08:37 AM EST (#314974) #
This is the first year in a while that my vote would be easy.

There are exactly 10 people I would vote for, with people like McGwire, Sheffield and Edmonds closish but not close enough.

Bonds, Clemens, Mussina, Schilling, Bagwell, Walker, Trammell are holdovers from last year's ballot.

Griffey is new this year.

Raines and Martinez are on now that there is room.

mathesond - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 08:50 AM EST (#314975) #
last year was the first time in sixty years that four players were chosen. I don't want to count on the BBWAA to do it again.

There are roughly what, 120 fewer voters this year? I suspect that a lot of the culled are older voters who haven't covered the sport in years. So, could lead to more inductees.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 09:06 AM EST (#314976) #
I always wonder about potential Hall of Fame candidates: "is there somebody better from long ago who is not in?". It's a pretty stringent test.  BBRef's WAR provides a rough guide to answering the question.  Here are the players not in the Hall of Fame by career WAR (rounded to whole numbers) in order declining:

100+- Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, Pujols
90-100- none
80-90- Chipper Jones, Beltre (!), Griffey, Mussina, Schilling, Bagwell
70-80- Rose, McCormick (1870s pitcher), Bill Dahlen, Whitaker, Thome, Larry Walker, Jeter, Palmeiro, Grich, Trammell, Reuschel, Rolen

You may notice that there are literally no players from 1920-1960 with 70 WAR plus not in the Hall of Fame. Typical 70-80 WAR player from that era would be Paul Waner and Harry Heilmann, who the writers had no trouble in summoning.

And as for Beltre, I had no concept that he ought to be a slam-dunk Hall of Famer.  BBRef uses DRS for defensive ratings; fangraphs uses UZR and has him at 75 WAR over his career and only 5 WAR ahead of Rolen.  Still, on any view, he has been a great defensive player objectively and subjectively.  I guess I have to think of him as Brooks Robinson with somewhat less D and quite a bit more O.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 09:27 AM EST (#314977) #
For me it is Clemens, Bonds, Griffey, Schilling, Bagwell, Walker, Trammell, Raines, Piazza, Kent (I like most HR for a 2B). Quite the ballot again, with 4 over 80 WAR, 4 more in the 70's, 5 more in the 60's, with Piazza, Sosa, Kent, McGriff all in the 50's.
christaylor - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 10:30 AM EST (#314978) #
We covered this ground when Halladay retired, but Mussina is an interesting test case for whether the writers will vote for Halladay.

Mussina has a better bWAR, more post-season experience, and the Yankee factor, but a lower peak.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 11:16 AM EST (#314979) #
I don't know.  Halladay was obviously the best pitcher in baseball in his prime from 2001-2011.  That was the argument that Jack Morris supporters made, but it wasn't really true- Stieb was better and a bunch of other pitchers were of the same quality.  The negative indicator for Halladay is Stieb.  Halladay was better than Stieb and also had a W/L record that was consistent with his effectiveness.
jerjapan - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 11:43 AM EST (#314980) #
This is such a fun exercise - looking back at guys like Edmonds in particular, I'd forgotten just how dominant he was for his peak years in St. Louis.  Hoffman is the most deserving reliever IMO (601 career saves, behind only mariano and 123 ahead of smith), but JAWS has Lee Smith slightly ahead on both career and peak.    So is it safe to say that Rollie Fingers is the relief pitcher floor for HOF consideration?   which of the current crop of relievers are deserving of the hall? 

And thanks for pointing out Beltre Mike - such a clear example of how modern defensive metrics force us to re-examine our beliefs about player value.  How many deserving guys have been left off over the years because we couldn't measure their defensive contributions, their baserunning, their pitch framing?

My list is the same as rpriske with Piazza in place of Martinez - being a DH hurts, but Seattle keeping him in the minors so long hurts more.  Why??  a .378 OBP at 22 in AA gets you back in AA at 23?  an OPS of .907 at 24 in AAA isn't good enough for a permanent promotion?     

l love perusing the career WAR totals for exercises like this.  Until today, I had no idea that Home Run Baker was an actual player, and that a peak season of 12 HRs could get you the nickname "Home Run" back in the nineteen teens. 

John Northey - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 12:20 PM EST (#314983) #
Hoffman vs Smith should be an interesting subplot this year. I blanked on Hoffman for some reason (probably his sub 30 WAR). I can see voting for him as 601 saves is a lot of saves. Only 2 guys have more than 500, Hoffman & Rivera so I can see him getting in. I expect Lee Smith to fall apart this year but with 30.2% he probably will keep enough votes to have one final ballot. Funny to think Smith was over 50% back in 2012's vote. His lowest vote totals are in the past 2 years and this year should be lower still with next year being his lowest vote with Billy Wagner and his 422 saves on the ballot plus Hoffman probably still there. 2019's ballot will be Rivera's which is well after Lee Smith is off the ballot.

2019 looks very interesting with Rivera, Halladay, Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte (53 more wins than Halladay plus 48 more losses), and Venon Wells...OK, we all know Wells will be lucky to get 1 vote. But Halladay vs Pettitte will be interesting. New York myth and legend vs best pitcher in baseball for a decade with a playoff no hitter on his resume.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 12:26 PM EST (#314984) #
Here's a "Did you know?".  If you look at peak WAR as two consecutive seasons, the two highest BBRef figures for position players belong to Babe Ruth (several times) and Carl Yastrzemski (67-68).  I would have thought that Mantle (56-57) would have a higher figure than Yaz.

BBRef WAR has difficulty with deadball era pitchers.  If you accept the numbers at face value, the most valuable seasons in MLB history were all put in by deadball era pitchers who struck out very few and walked very few.  I don't think that you can take the WAR figures seriously for these pitchers.

John Northey - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 12:45 PM EST (#314985) #
Deadball was a completely different era from anything we've seen. Pitchers starting and completing 40+ games a year.

For example, Cy Young from age 24 to 35 started 40+ games in all but one season while completing over 30 games every single year. 321 innings was hit lowest total during that stretch. How do you measure that? Mix in 2 to 9 relief appearances each yet too. Phew.

Someday someone will take the time to properly measure pitchers impact in the deadball era but it'll be dang hard to do something that doesn't make them crazy valuable.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 02:40 PM EST (#314992) #
Rob Neyer has, as usual, thoughtful comments on the ballot. 
Parker - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 02:43 PM EST (#314994) #
Martinez - being a DH hurts, but Seattle keeping him in the minors so long hurts more. Why?? a .378 OBP at 22 in AA gets you back in AA at 23? an OPS of .907 at 24 in AAA isn't good enough for a permanent promotion?

Martinez came up at third, and at the time Seattle already had a very promising young 3B named Jim Presley who clubbed 27 homers and drove in 107 runs the previous season. Presley had easy power, but the league eventually figured out that he'd swing at a lot of junk well outside the zone and quit throwing him strikes - remind anyone of a certain former catcher-of-the-future?

Anyhoo. The shine hadn't come off Presley yet, and Seattle already had sluggers Alvin Davis and Ken Phelps entrenched at 1B and DH respectively, so no help there either. Martinez really had to fight his way onto that Mariners team.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 03:02 PM EST (#314995) #
Here's another "Did you know?".  In 2003, Edgar (Papi) Martinez and David (Big Papi) Ortiz were both DHs.  Edgar was 40 and David was 27.  They both posted identical 3.3 WAR seasons.  Needless to say, Edgar was considerably more valuable, but not more famous, than his bigger nicknamesake.
jerjapan - Tuesday, November 10 2015 @ 03:40 PM EST (#314997) #
Thanks Parker, I hadn't looked up the rest of that roster, but that is limited space for Martinez indeed.

Good thing the Mariner's didn't rush to dump Phelps - when they did get around to moving him in July of 98, they got 3 prospects for him from the Yanks, including one Jay Buhner.   
dan gordon - Wednesday, November 11 2015 @ 01:28 AM EST (#315019) #
Mike, are you not counting Bonds due to the, shall we say, questionable nature of his accomplishments, or just an oversight? His 2001/2002 BBRef WAR of 23.7 beats Yaz' 22.9 for 67/68. Interestingly, Bonds' oWAR for those 2 years even beats Ruth's best 2 years of oWAR, which is a 24.0 for 1920/21. Bonds clocked in at 24.1 oWAR for 01/02.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 11 2015 @ 09:42 AM EST (#315020) #
It was an oversight, Dan.  Thanks for pointing it out. 

Incidentally, you were absolutely right about Estrada when he was acquired.  Congrats.

ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, November 12 2015 @ 04:46 PM EST (#315077) #
The only player I thought twice about was Hoffman. My thoughts were:

1. As someone else pointed out, 600 is a lot of saves.

2. But the 'save' stat is not always a particularly meaningful one. Starting off the ninth inning with a three run lead and not losing the lead is not a great accomplishment.

3. I tried to find out how many of Hoffman's saves were one-run saves, and how that compared with Mariano, but was unable.

4. Using other measures like ERA, Hoffman is well behind Rivera. And behind some other great closers who aren't in the Hall.

5. In some ways, it would be awarding an honour to the save stat, which I don't think it deserves.

6. I don't agree though, that only Mariano Rivera could be elected to the Hall as a reliever. I don't like sending a message to relievers that in the end, being a reliever will make it nigh impossible to enter the Hall. That's the wrong message to send. And without saying any more on a subject where I've already expressed my view, the wrong message is to have some guys that everyone knows cheated and lied about it standing on the stage on a sunny day in Cooperstown.

7. So to resolve it, I punted. I decided if Hoffman is to be elected to the Hall (and I don't know the answer to that yet), he's not a first ballot guy.

So my ballot is Ken Griffey. My only reservation is I was a fan of his dad, and it makes me feel old.
John Northey - Friday, November 13 2015 @ 01:08 PM EST (#315127) #
For relievers I think you need to judge vs the standard of the day.

In the early closer days there was Hoyt Wilhelm and that was it. He had the save record (retroactively) from 1964 to 1979, the first to reach 200. Then Rollie Fingers took over from 1980 through 1991, first to crack 300. During Fingers time Goose Gossage was a big star and Bruce Sutter was well regarded (no idea why the voters took a big brain fart and put him in). Jeff Reardon held the save record for a season but wasn't viewed as a great closer, just a solid one who held on. Lee Smith took over from 1993 to 2005 becoming the first to crack 400 but that was dimished quickly by others also getting 400 and Smith being viewed much like Reardon, a good closer but not a great one. Trevor Hoffman took over from 2006 through 2010, becoming the first to 500 and 600 with Rivera chasing hard behind him and passing him in 2011.

Dennis Eckersley was viewed as nearly unstoppable in the late 80's/90's after a solid starting career thus why he got in (390 saves), Fingers/Gossage/Sutter are the same era but really, one would've been fine of that group and Sutter has no place in the HOF. Smoltz is the only other 100+ save guy in the HOF but he is there more for starting and playoff performance although his 3 1/2 years as a closer were spectacular with 154 saves in that brief period (add 4 playoff saves).

So we have pioneer in Wilhelm, early TV closers of the 70's in Fingers/Gossage/Sutter, starter/closer in Smoltz/Eck, and soon we'll probably have Hoffman/Rivera for the modern era. Someday Lee Smith might get in to represent the 80s - the best of the 80's left too soon to accumulate the 'wow' totals and there were too many to have any one stand out, from Henke to Quisenberry to Thigpen to Franco (who got over 400 but was a LOOGY too long and never had 40 saves so no peak to wow voters) to many others who had a few 'wow' years then blew out their arms. Quisenberry might have made the HOF if he had a few more years and cracked 300 which seems to be the bottom for saves for any HOF consideration now.
jerjapan - Friday, November 13 2015 @ 04:16 PM EST (#315134) #
Nice summary John!  Hoffman is the only one who deserves a spot now IMO - it's like the DH debate.  Did you see the Fangraphs article on the value of an elite reliever?  It does make me wonder if we undervalue these elite closers right now.
Mike Green - Friday, November 13 2015 @ 04:34 PM EST (#315135) #
Quick quiz (no pun)!  Who was better- Trevor Hoffman or John Hiller?  If you look at peak or prime, it's no contest- Hiller.  If you look at career, it's a lot more close.  Hoffman is the Tommy John of relief pitchers, with the marketing of AC/DC behind him. 
Dewey - Friday, November 13 2015 @ 04:47 PM EST (#315137) #
Well, itís not *quite* that straightforward, John.  Just from this old manís memory, I recall Joe Page (Yankees)  and Elroy Face (Pirates) as Ďpioneer' relievers, well before Wilhelm.  (And has everyone forgotten mad Al Hrabowski?  Nobody liked facing him; and he was a good act, too.)  Iím sure there were a couple of others who Iím forgetting.  And youíre awfully harsh with Sutter.  His peak was just that, a real peak. For a short while he *was* Da Man.

Numbers donít always tell it all.  Just sayin.
Chuck - Saturday, November 14 2015 @ 11:43 AM EST (#315172) #
And has everyone forgotten mad Al Hrabowski? Nobody liked facing him; and he was a good act, too.

I too remember Al Hrabosky. The whole Mad Hungarian act was quite a shtick (though Hrabosky does not strike me as a particularly Hungarian sounding name). But you look over his numbers, and it appears that the quality of his act outweighed the quality of his play.

John Northey - Saturday, November 14 2015 @ 06:11 PM EST (#315189) #
True enough Dewey but I was more focusing on those who were consider HOF worthy. Face and Page definitely had their supporters. Face had just shy of 200 saves playing from 53 to 69. 3 time AS, 3 time MVP vote getter (once top 10 - the year he went 18-1 - the loss coming September 11th that year. Joe Page just had an 8 year career looks like he blew his arm out after year 7, took 3 years to recover and did poorly in 7 games then was done. Top 5 MVP votes twice in the 40's. Johnny Murphy was the first guy to get 100 saves leading in all-time saves from 1946 through 1961 from 1939 to 1947 he only started once, 235 games, 427 2/3 IP which was a low total per game in relief for the era. 72 saves, an All-Star game, some MVP votes one year, 2 years in military not playing, final season had a 2.80 ERA, he was better than I expected and a lot closer to a modern reliever than one would expect for the era - he was a Yankee except for his final season. 8 postseason games with 4 saves, 2 wins, 0 losses 1.10 ERA.
Dewey - Saturday, November 14 2015 @ 09:04 PM EST (#315193) #
Yes, John, I wasnít so much thinking of HOF-worthy relievers as I was trying to steer our younger readers away from the notion that relief pitching somehow came in with Hoyt Wilhelm or thereabouts.  Many teams even in the 1940ís tended to have a couple of pitchers (poorer ones usually) that theyíd bring into games that had gotten out of hand or in which the starter just couldnít continue.  Those same pitchers at other times were starters.  I remember in the late í40ís the Cubs often used Emil Kush and Dutch Leonard to throw to the wolves when necessary.  Joe Page was an early example of a guy whoís primary responsibility, when he wasnít starting, was to come in and hold a lead.  Casey Stengel used him quite a bit that way, as I recall.

And no, Chuck, I didnít mean to make any real claims for Hraboski.  His act wore thin pretty quickly, and he certainly wasnít in any conversations about the HOF.  But relief work is all he did.  I donít think he ever started games.
John Northey - Sunday, November 15 2015 @ 12:47 PM EST (#315203) #
Gotta love B-R. Hrabosky had one start. In his rookie season 1970 on June 24th -
He went 5 2/3 IP 4 H 1 R 2 BB 0 SO. The pen saved the 2 runners he left on base. He was 0-2 as a hitter that game. In 1975 he was 8th in MVP, 3rd in Cy Young voting with a career high 22 saves, 13-3 record, 1.66 ERA in 97 1/3 IP. His best year for W, Sv, IP, and SO. He had a 1.07 ERA in his 2nd last year in 33 2/3 IP.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 19 2015 @ 10:38 AM EST (#315349) #
Here's the best stat case for Hoffman, in my view.  WPA certainly overstates relief ace value in the same that WAR probably understates it.   Nonetheless, by this metric, Hoffman had more value than Gossage and Wilhelm, and is only behind Rivera.  It is fun to see Rivera between Maddux and Seaver on a list of pitchers from 1938 to the present, even if I do not believe that Rivera provided more value than Seaver...
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