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Monday, October 24, 2005

1964 Ballot Discussion

1964 (November 14)—elect 2
WS W3 Rookie Name-Pos (Died)

314 95.4 1940 Pee Wee Reese-SS (1999)
232 88.2 1946 Bob Lemon-P (2000)
198 75.1 1942 Virgil Trucks-P (living)
139 48.4 1945 Sal Maglie-P (1992)
108 31.1 1946 Bobby Adams-3B/2B (1997)
088 33.8 1948 Bill Wight-P (living)

1964 (October 30)—elect 2
HF% Career Name-pos (born) BJ – MVP - All-Star

00% 42-54 Bonnie Serrell-2B (1922) xx 2b – 0 – 2*
00% 46-58 Bob Thurman-OF/P (1917) – 0 – 0*

Players Passing Away in 1963

HoMers
Age Elected

77 1928 Frank Baker-3b
66 1941 Rogers Hornsby-2B
64 1948 Jud “Boojum” Wilson-3B/1B

Candidates
Age Eligible

82 1926 Gavvy Cravath-RF
79 1924 Bill Hinchman-RF/LF
73 1932 Hooks Dauss-P
72 1938 Clarence Mitchell-P
71 1939 Eppa Rixey-P
69 1933 Irish Meusel-LF
68 1933 Lee Meadows-P
68 1940 Joe Judge-1B
67 1937 Cy Perkins-C
67 1940 Muddy Ruel-C
66 1934 Slim Harriss-P
66 1935 Earl Smith-C
64 1943 Ski Melillo-2b
58 1947 Bump Hadley-P

Thanks Dan and Chris!

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 24, 2005 at 02:43 AM | 134 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Daryn Posted: November 14, 2005 at 03:53 PM (#1730819)
I see from the Doby thread that he might have been 4 years older. That would allow for the NeL credit (at least from 1944 or 45). That makes more sense. Still, not high ballot for me.
   102. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 14, 2005 at 08:21 PM (#1731371)
I just don't see the problem. When a candidate is not an NB but is really good (like Harry Heilmann, say), he'll get broad based support. There will be some but generally little fragmentation to his support.

But it is precisely because borderline candidates are borderline that their support is fragmentary. Our fragmentation is not a systemic flaw; it's a natural result of having 55 people with 55 different systems assessing achievement.

So one can interpret a low percentage of support for a winning candidate as a weakness, or one can interpret it as a true barometer of his level of support. It's just a reality of our balloting structure, and probably of any balloting structure.

One of the apocalyptic warnings I read against fragmentation goes "Uh oh, another record for more guys getting a vote." If this pattern of fragmentation is such a problem, adding five more slots will only increase the odds of it getting worse. Especially as the number of candidates increases with expansion and the passage of time, those extra five slots will let a few, maybe more than a few, guys onto ballots who wouldn't get a vote in our current system.

I'm just one voter, but I don't support reforming the ballot in any way. When the constitution was written and the number of electees figured, it was based on the voting system we have in place. I think we should stick with what we got. The nature of voting is fragmentary, and I don't think we should allow ourselves to be scared into thinking our results will be less meaningful if borderline candidates are elected by pluralistic percentages.
   103. KJOK Posted: November 14, 2005 at 11:43 PM (#1731826)
I'm against any change in the ballot. When you're only electing 2 or 3 people per year, 15 ballot slots are more than sufficient.
   104. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 15, 2005 at 03:29 PM (#1732407)
I definitely see both sides here. Good points by the non-supporters the last few posts.

I would say that there has to be overwhelming (re: more than a majority) support to go to 20. I don't see an issue with a lack of consensus, that's part of why we have more than 50 people involved here, to get a variety of opinions.

If it seems like I'm wishy-washy here, it's because I am.

:-)
   105. sunnyday2 Posted: November 15, 2005 at 04:34 PM (#1732469)
But we're going to do a 20 ballot test this year, right?

Only 15 count as the real ballot, of course.
   106. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 15, 2005 at 11:51 PM (#1733290)
If we're doing a test ballot, we should test it for several seasons to get a good sampling of what its effect is. I'd much prefer that we do a five-year sample or longer before making a decision.
   107. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 16, 2005 at 04:20 AM (#1733566)
That sounds find to me Dr. C.
   108. Brent Posted: November 16, 2005 at 05:32 AM (#1733604)
I told you this group would never be unanimous about anything. ;)

Chris Cobb wrote:
If we expand the ballot to twenty, would we lose the great formatting of our ballots results page?

I know it seems like a trivial matter, but if we're looking to expand the ballot primarily so our results look better by having electees appearing on more than 50% of the ballots, we should consider other presentational consequences . .


Back in # 82 Joe actually suggested a possible way out - if we gave every candidate listed from 16-20 the same number of points (maybe 4 each), then we'd only need to add one column to the ballot results table, rather than five. Also, treating the last five as a group might make it a little easier for us as voters, since we wouldn't need to strain to make the fine distinctions between # 17 and # 18.

I think the case for an expanded ballot are primarily for perceptions, rather than expecting that it would lead to a significant difference in results. If the ballot structure isn't changed, I believe that by the 1980s many elections will go to candidates who do not appear on the majority of ballots. Although there is nothing wrong with a candidate winning without appearing on a majority of ballots, I think we are aware that votes decided by a plurality run the risk that a minority with a cohesive set of preferences could gain too much power relative to a majority with diffuse preferences (even without engaging in unconstitutional strategic voting). With this electorate I think it's unlikely that a minority would actually hijack the election process, but nevertheless I think the perception that inductees have a mandate that reflects the will of the electorate would be strengthened if the winners usually appear on a majority of ballots.

There is also an issue of perception for us as voters and how much our votes count. For example, a few elections ago (1958) none of the top 3 candidates made it into my top 15, although I had all three placed between 16 and 20. I would have felt more engaged in the election had I known that my preferences were counted at least a little bit in the results. As more borderline candidates continue to arrive, this type of situation can only become more common. I think it would help voters have a perception that their votes matter if the number of counted ballots were expanded to 20.

However, all things considered I doubt that expanding the ballot will have a huge effect one way or the other, so if a consensus can't be reached, I agree with Joe that a change doesn't need to be made. I still like the idea of holding a vote to gauge the opinions of the electorate (after the test ballot(s) are completed and analyzed). Most of the electorate doesn't post comments, so I think a vote would be useful to determine whether a consensus actually exists.
   109. DanG Posted: November 16, 2005 at 06:08 AM (#1733624)
Of course, I have long favored an expansion to 20 names per ballot. Better 31 years late then never.

I don't see that we would need 5 years testing to discern the effects of this. Three years is plenty.

As for points assigned to 16-20, the experiment could try different formulations:
5-4-3-2-1 or
3-3-3-3-3 (same point total as previous, without pretending there are real differences between candidates) or
10-9-8-7-6 with places 1-15 raised by 5 points, or
whatever you can imagine.
   110. Howie Menckel Posted: November 16, 2005 at 02:12 PM (#1733722)
I'm one of those who hasn't commented - mainly because I don't have a strong feeling either way.
I find myself swayed by both sides, depending on who I'm reading at the time.
I'm not going to gripe either way.
   111. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 16, 2005 at 03:17 PM (#1733752)
Two other reasons I oppose a change at this juncture.

1) We have 67 or so years of candidates elected under one system that has worked well. And I'm unsure how changing the ground rules reflects on previously elected candidates (if at all) and on subsequent candidates. If I were an outsider looking in, I might not bother to read all of our commentary on changing the ballot structure. But I surely would ask: Why did they have to change the system? Did the need for change arise from weak selections? That's the flip side of the perception issue we've been talking about.

Which segues into...

2) This entire project was created as an alternative to the Hall of Fame. The Hall has routinely monkeyed around with selection procedures, alternately making it more or less difficult to get in, and changing its standards in the process---usually for the worse. Maintaining the consistency of our voting procedure is a very strong and positive way in which we differentiate ourselves from The Coop. Changing horses in midstream because we think there might be a perception issue would be a very Cooperstown way to approach an issue.
   112. karlmagnus Posted: November 16, 2005 at 03:19 PM (#1733754)
I would STRONGLY oppose 16-20 with 10-9-8-7-6, but am happy with 5-4-3-2-1. Not sure it makes much difference though and the Doc has a good point.
   113. Evan Posted: November 16, 2005 at 05:04 PM (#1733889)
If there is some kind of consensus that there should be an expanded ballot, test or otherwise, this year, please let me know ASAP so that I can throw together an expanded ballot counter to cover it...
   114. sunnyday2 Posted: November 16, 2005 at 09:24 PM (#1734429)
See #7. Joe seems to be saying yes.
   115. sunnyday2 Posted: November 16, 2005 at 09:25 PM (#1734430)
Make that #107.
   116. Daryn Posted: November 16, 2005 at 09:31 PM (#1734447)
But we aren't counting the 16-20 votes, we're just looking at them for now.
   117. sunnyday2 Posted: November 16, 2005 at 10:09 PM (#1734527)
Right but obviously we would all have to submit 16-20 in order to "test" it. And we would be "counting" them, but they wouldn't "count." ;-)

Where's the Count when you need him?
   118. DavidFoss Posted: November 16, 2005 at 10:31 PM (#1734573)
Yeah, sounds like we are also going to try a number of different ways to try tabulating the extra slots, too. So, no need for a new ballot counter quite yet in my opinion.

The extra slots will be good practice anyhow, most of the 16-20 guys will be climbing into the top 15 in the next several years.
   119. Michael Bass Posted: November 16, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1734601)
For the record, my vote is to not change things, though I'll happily provide 16-20 for a test ballot (I do almost every year anyway).

I don't find wide dispeal of votes to be a discredit in any way to the project, in fact it boasts that we have not fallen victim to groupthink. I would be much more skeptical of a project that declared that 50 members had awesome agreement on all 200+ members of the HOM than of one that admitted that the last 50 inductees were pretty close calls.
   120. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 16, 2005 at 11:50 PM (#1734778)
Where's the Count when you need him?

Vun. Vun vote for Vesley Ferrell! Ah ha ha ha ha! [big thunder and lighting]

Two. Two votes for Vesley Ferrell! Ah ha ha ha ha! [more big thunder and lighting]

Three! Three votes for Vesley Ferrell!...
   121. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 17, 2005 at 12:51 AM (#1734923)
:-)
   122. jimd Posted: November 19, 2005 at 02:42 AM (#1738082)
I see change as inevitable (because the people that keep this thing moving want it so).

I don't see that we would need 5 years testing to discern the effects of this. Three years is plenty.

As for points assigned to 16-20, the experiment could try different formulations:
5-4-3-2-1 or
3-3-3-3-3 (same point total as previous, without pretending there are real differences between candidates) or
10-9-8-7-6 with places 1-15 raised by 5 points, or
whatever you can imagine.


We're going to try the 20 ballot on a "it don't count" basis. When we get the ballots we can score them any way we like.

I tried a thought-experiement as a supplement to the real experiment. What if we had been using a 10-deep ballot instead of the current 15-deep? What would have happened in previous elections due to these ballot expansion proposals?

Base-line: 10 slots; 19,18,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6 pts.
It's like the current-HOM ballot but with 11-15 removed and 5 points subtracted. Alternatively, it's like an MVP ballot but with a 5 point "on-ballot" bonus, like the HOM currently uses.

From there I evaluated a number of elections using the 5-4-3-2-1 for slots 11-15. In addition, the same ballot expansion but with an "on-ballot" bonus. Hmm, you say, the latter looks exactly like the current HOM ballot. You're correct (and it didn't take me a lot of work to tabulate it either ;-).

There was only one case I found where the 5-4-3-2-1 changed the election results. However there were four cases where retaining the "on-ballot" bonus with the ballot expansion changed the results.

Conclusion: I can live with the 5-4-3-2-1 change but I don't think it will solve the "problem". OTOH, trying to retain the "on-ballot" bonus on the new 20-deep ballot is too radical a change.
   123. jimd Posted: November 19, 2005 at 02:44 AM (#1738085)
Elections where results change:

1916, 1929, 1939, 1961.

1939 is the most interesting. (Elect 2.)

In the 10-deep baseline the top 5 are as follows:
1 372 Carey
2 367 Pike
3 343 Jennings
4 313 Faber
5 297 Sewell

Adding 5,4,3,2,1
1 395 Carey
2 377 Pike
3 369 Faber
4 362 Jennings
5 327 Sewell

Adding "on-ballot" bonus
1 589 Faber
2 580 Carey
3 522 Pike
4 507 Sewell
5 502 Jennings

Faber, a "shiny new toy", has 17 votes in the 11-15 range. Largely unexamined, he moves from 4th to 1st on a weak ballot, and it's too late.

-----------

The others:

1961 (Elect 1)

Baseline
1 302 Ruffing
2 273 Averill

Adding 5,4,3,2,1
1 312 Ruffing
2 300 Averill

Adding "on-ballot" bonus
1 475 Averill
2 462 Ruffing

-----------

1929 (Elect 2)

Baseline
1 488 Wallace
2 427 Sheckard
3 414 Thompson

Adding 5,4,3,2,1
1 503 Wallace
2 441 Sheckard
3 439 Thompson

Adding "on-ballot" bonus
1 703 Wallace
2 629 Thompson
3 616 Sheckard

-----------

1916 (Elect 1)
The only election I found where 5-4-3-2-1 changed the baseline result.

Baseline
1 442 Flick
2 438 Stovey
3 432 Kelley

Adding 5,4,3,2,1
1 462 Stovey
2 455 Kelley
3 451 Flick

Adding "on-ballot" bonus
1 667 Stovey
2 665 Kelley
3 651 Flick
   124. jimd Posted: November 19, 2005 at 02:50 AM (#1738090)
If we had started with a 10-deep ballot, then Pike's surge (with a narrow base in the electorate) in the late-30's would have blind-sided us. There were no prior elections that were close to being only a plurality, and his election in 1939 would have made this debate moot. Cat was out of the bag; too late to do it over. A hasty expansion to 15 to prevent it from happening again would have just put us where we are now, proposing another expansion.

Which is why I have an alternative proposal.

Add 15 more slots to the ballot. Call them the "Honorable Mentions". Give them only 1 point each. At only 1 point, they should have minimal impact on the final ballot tabulation, while satisfying the desires to give the appearance of "majority" approval. They're on the official ballot, part of the majority. And this should prevent the need to expand the ballot again in 25 years.
   125. DanG Posted: November 19, 2005 at 04:04 AM (#1738168)
Add 15 more slots to the ballot. Call them the "Honorable Mentions". Give them only 1 point each. At only 1 point, they should have minimal impact on the final ballot tabulation, while satisfying the desires to give the appearance of "majority" approval. They're on the official ballot, part of the majority. And this should prevent the need to expand the ballot again in 25 years.

Good stuff, as usual, jimd. I think I like this last idea, with one modification. I would give 16-20 three points each, 21-25 get two points, while 26-30 get one point. This would recognize the slight qualitative differences between the three groups.
   126. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 19, 2005 at 05:07 AM (#1738211)
Hey Dan, Jim, I like that idea too, if we change. But with one other tweak.

Instead of 3-2-1 what about something like 5-4-3 - That still retains the ballot bonus, and doesn't make the difference between 15 and 16 more than between 8 and 9, for example. Just a thought.

But I'm still really torn on the whole thing, there's something to be said for staying the course.
   127. Paul Wendt Posted: November 19, 2005 at 05:43 AM (#1738223)
Hey Dan, Jim, I like that idea too, if we change. But with one other tweak.

Instead of 3-2-1 what about something like 5-4-3 - That still retains the ballot bonus, and doesn't make the difference between 15 and 16 more than between 8 and 9, for example.


This "tweak" turns jimd's proposal on its head, or some such metaphor; it shows that you disagree with him fundamentally, in my opinion. His analysis of voting history implies that this tweak would occasionally change the winners.

By the way, thirty is twice the work. Will not the 30-deep ballot foster more teddy bears and shiny new toys? --almost inconsequential at 1 point each but not at about 4 points each.

Dr. Chaleeko #111!
   128. KJOK Posted: November 19, 2005 at 07:04 AM (#1738285)
But I'm still really torn on the whole thing, there's something to be said for staying the course.

Now you're talkin' sensible....
   129. sunnyday2 Posted: November 19, 2005 at 02:47 PM (#1738454)
I think the proposal that is on the table is in two parts:

1. For most of us HoMies,submit a ballot that runs X deep. 20 and 30 are the options that have been discussed. I am fine either way. That is the end of the obligation for anybody that wants to stop right there.

2. Those who want a change then have the burden of doing all the various and sundry tabulations to see what the effect of the different scoring options is. If we do part 1 (above) and nobody does part 2, well, we've gone to a lot of trouble for nothing--sell, not really, who hasn't thought about at least 30 players? And it sounds to me like somebodies are interested in doing the analysis.

And none of it will count against (or for) us until we say so.

I say let's continue with the test.
   130. jimd Posted: November 22, 2005 at 02:31 AM (#1741644)
To fix a problem, we first have to understand what the problem is.

I missed this post from Joe D in reply to sunnyday2 the first time around.

"Surely that is wrong. [The test] is meant to help candidates who have more of a consensus and hurt those who have a few strong supporters, right?"

No, it's not meant to hurt or help either. It is meant to give voters the chance to voice their support for 5 more candidates, since many of us don't think 15 is enough. It isn't meant to make us appear to have more of a consensus, at least that's not what I'm looking for from it.


Then I withdraw my proposal (as if that will make a difference ;-). That is the problem I'm attempting to solve, giving our vote the appearance of a consensus where none actually exists.

As to giving "voters the chance to voice their support for 5 more candidates", many do that already and they may continue to do so. It just doesn't appear in the ballot counting.

*********

Here's my problem with all of these ballot expansion proposals.

Our ballot is supposed to be modeled on an MVP ballot. On an MVP ballot, one 1st place vote is worth two 7th's plus two 8th's, 14 points. An MVP ballot is about giving high weight to strong opinions, and using the bottom-of-the-ballot spots as tiebreakers, if needed. They hand out the award no matter how divided the electorate is. An MVP ballot is NOT about consensus.

All of these ballot expansion proposals add more points to candidates who aren't close to being in an "elect me" spot on the ballot. They aren't the candidates that the voter wants to elect. They're guys who are at best "marginal candidates".

The more points we add to the bottom of the ballot, the more we stack the elections in favor of Faber and Sewell over Pike, in favor of Medwick over Jennings, or pick your own candidate with wide-but-weak support over your own candidate with narrow-but-strong support. Philosophically, I'd rather elect the guy who a small group of people thinks is great over the guy who hardly anybody thinks should be elected from a weak field but whom everybody agrees is bottom-of-the-ballot-worthy. (I doubt that was clear.)

If we add points to the bottom of the ballot, then more points should also be added to the "elect-me" bonus to compensate.

*********

I have no problem with altering the ballot structure, but I don't really think anything of significance will occur. Some players will be elected earlier than they would have and some players will be elected later. One borderline player will replace another one. IMO, that about sums it up.

IMO, most of the proposals on the table for extending the ballot would have elected Sewell over Pike in 1940 had they been in place.

John, can I have some of that Equanimity ® you're taking ;-)

I say let's continue with the test.

Agreed. But what are we testing?
   131. jimd Posted: November 22, 2005 at 02:32 AM (#1741646)
I will be out of town for the next week and it's unlikely I'll be able to post.

Have a good holiday everybody.
   132. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:03 AM (#1741714)
IMO, most of the proposals on the table for extending the ballot would have elected Sewell over Pike in 1940 had they been in place.

John, can I have some of that Equanimity ® you're taking ;-)


:-)

You may be right, of course, about Pike/Sewell, but I still don't think there would have been too many widespread changes with a revised ballot...and Pike would still have made it eventually.
   133. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:08 AM (#1741730)
Have a good holiday everybody.

Same to you, Jim.
   134. jimd Posted: November 22, 2005 at 03:55 AM (#1741819)
Pike would still have made it eventually

I don't doubt that, though Sewell's chances aren't looking as good.
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