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Monday, December 24, 2007

2008 BBTF Hall of Fame Ballot Discussion

As in past years, anybody can pretend he is a BBWAA voter at BBTF!

We’ll have one week of discussion and then the ballot thread will be posted next Sunday (the election will end on Jan. 6).

The eligible candiates are: Brady Anderson*, Harold Baines, Rod Beck*, Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion**, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston*, Chuck Finley*, Travis Fryman*, Rich Gossage, Tommy John, David Justice*, Chuck Knoblauch*, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Rob Nen*, Dave Parker, Tim Raines*, Jim Rice, Jose Rijo.*, Lee Smith, Todd Stottlemyre* and Alan Trammell.

Just to make sure everyone knows the rules, as we did last year, each ballot should follow BBWAA rules. That means you can have up to 10 players on your ballot in no particular order. Write-in’s are acceptable to add to your ballot (sorry, Dan :-), but as in reality, they wont count.

* 1st-year candidates

** Last year of eligibility

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:05 AM | 229 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:33 AM (#2652861)
Prelim:

Bert Blyleven
Rich Gossage
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
   2. Chris Cobb Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:05 AM (#2652871)
Prelim:

Bert Blyleven
Dave Concepcion
Andre Dawson
Rich Gossage
Tommy John
Mark McGwire
Dale Murphy
Tim Raines
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:15 AM (#2652873)
Bert Blyleven
Rich Gossage
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Tommy John
   4. Baldrick Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:28 AM (#2652878)
No question:
Bert Blyleven
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell

On the fence:
Andre Dawson
Goose
Mark McGwire
   5. DanG Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:33 AM (#2652881)
We elected Blyleven, Gossage and Trammell in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Anyone who doesn't vote for them (or Raines) should explain why they don't deserve to be in the HOF.

I just don't get enough of my eyes rolling up to my forehead; the rationales for omitting any of those four players should be good for quite a lot of that.
   6. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2652884)
Blyleven
Dawson
Gossage
John
McGwire
Murphy
Parker
Raines
Smith
Trammell
   7. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:33 AM (#2652895)
I'm going to do one in relative ignorance now and see how I might change it later:

Bert Blyleven
Tommy John
Mark McGwire
Alan Trammell

John is close but I probably wouldn't pick him without the guinea pig bonus. My gut on Raines is 'no' but I'll have to look it over. Same with Gossage. I don't see anyone else that I'm thinking is going to make my final list.

An explanation for Gossage I'm not sure I can come up with one, because I don't really know how to deal with the relatively new concept of relief pitchers in the HOF. Was Gossage one of the very best of his time? Absolutely, but then some guys were the bets pinch hitters and utility infielders of their time too. So it's hard where to put relief pitching on that spectrum.

For Raines, I guess I'm a little hesitant to give him a leadoff man bonus. I'm not sure hitting leadoff is that much different from hitting third in the grand scheme of things. I'm also not sure what to do about his not being a centerfielder, that kind of hurts him.
   8. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:34 AM (#2652896)
BTW, I'm very much a smallish Hall kind of guy.
   9. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:38 AM (#2652899)
In spite of the arrogant attitude that states someone MUST explain why they aren't voting for someone's pet candidate, I'm still not convinced Blyleven is a Hall of Famer. If there were a level between "Hall-of-the Very Good" and the HoF, he'd been in there.

I fully admit I tend to be "small-hall" and I like some combination of peak and career value. Blyleven just doesn't have that peak I'd be looking for. While many in here dismiss it, I still like to see some AS apperances and some Cy Young votes for pitchers, and he's really kinda light on those.

He reminds me of a boxer who builds up a great W-L record on the back of counter punching and defense. He's "Slapsie Maxie" Rosenbloom, who put together a record of 221-42-32 with 19 knockouts. He was good enough to be world champion in the light-heavyweight division (occasionally fighting every 5th day), but not great enough to be considered historically elite.

The HoF would not be diminished if Blyleven gets in, and I realize I'm in the minority, but I think there's room for dissent.

My ballot would be:
Raines
Gossage
McGwire
Trammell
   10. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:47 AM (#2652906)
Bert Blyleven -- I've seen some negative analysis that makes me question this, but not enough to make me leave him off.
Rich Gossage -- if there's a place for relievers in the HoF at all, I think Goose has to be there.
Tim Raines -- Montreal and Rickey will probably cost him induction in the real world.
Alan Trammell -- should have been in already.

On the fence:
Andre Dawson -- like Blyleven, I've seen some analysis that makes me question this. But not enough.
Mark McGwire -- I think McGwire is an absolute no-brainer HoMer. The HoF has different standards.
Dale Murphy, Jim Rice -- two guys who logic says don't belong. Sentiment thinks otherwise.
   11. frannyzoo Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:51 AM (#2652913)
Definites:
Blyleven
Raines
Trammell

If Bruce Sutter, then.. Logic Construction Division Champion: Gossage
If Gossage, then...Logical Construction Division Winner (Slippery Slope Conference): Lee Smith

The OFs are full of HoVG, but not quite HOF in my small, one-room with a dinky foyer Hall. McGwire, I think about while I chug alcoholic beverages over the holiday and feel morally superior. Ah families at Christmas, facing Greg Maddux...I'm with McGwire in thinking you gotta have something to get an edge with either.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:57 AM (#2652917)
Anyone who doesn't vote for them (or Raines) should explain why they don't deserve to be in the HOF.


For the HoM, Dan, I agree. But nobody is required to do so under BBWAA rules, so nobody needs to do so here.
   13. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 24, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2652929)
An explanation for Gossage I'm not sure I can come up with one, because I don't really know how to deal with the relatively new concept of relief pitchers in the HOF. Was Gossage one of the very best of his time? Absolutely, but then some guys were the bets pinch hitters and utility infielders of their time too. So it's hard where to put relief pitching on that spectrum.


For Gossage, I think one should recognize that we're talking about the real Hall of Fame, as opposed to a 'what if I built my own Hall of Fame'. And the real Hall of Fame has decided that relief pitchers deserve to be elected. If you compare Gossage to Wilhelm, Fingers, Eckersley, and Sutter - the 4 relievers in the Hall of Fame, I think Gossage is pretty solidly 2nd or maybe 3rd in that group, which makes him a Hall-of-Famer given the current standards for the Hall.

For Raines, I guess I'm a little hesitant to give him a leadoff man bonus. I'm not sure hitting leadoff is that much different from hitting third in the grand scheme of things. I'm also not sure what to do about his not being a centerfielder, that kind of hurts him.


Compare Raines to Tony Gwynn (assuming you agree that Gwynn's a Hall-of-Famer). They were both corner outfielders with careers of comparable lengths. Really roughly, Gwynn has 500 more singles and Raines has 500 more walks and 500 more stolen bases (with almost identical CS numbers). Raines has 200 more runs scored, Gwynn has 200 more RBI. If you were to draw the in/out line for the Hall of Fame between Gwynn and Raines, (a) you'd be drawing a very thin line, and (b) it's not immediately obvious to me which guy would end up on which side of the line.
   14. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:13 AM (#2652941)
Bert Blyleven
Dave Concepcion
Andre Dawson
Rich Gossage
Tommy John
Mark McGwire
Dale Murphy
Dave Parker
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
   15. DanG Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:22 AM (#2652946)
For the HoM, Dan, I agree. But nobody is required to do so under BBWAA rules, so nobody needs to do so here.

I'm surprised to see you say that, John. This thread is under the HoM banner, no? Discussion of the candidates should always be encouraged, especially a defense if your opinion is in the extreme minority. Your statement is antithetical to this ideal and encourages unreasonable drive-by votes. Yes, this is under BBWAA rules; so you would have us repeat one of their cardinal sins, namely zero accountability? I think your position is encouraging laziness and sloppy analysis. Please reconsider your recommendation. Not that a voter needs to explain their vote, rather that they should share some of their reasoning, especially here in the Discussion thread.
   16. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:41 AM (#2652953)
Since Chris Cobb already took my prelim, I'll try to put them in order:

Tim Raines
Bert Blyleven
Alan Trammell
Andre Dawson
Rich Gossage
Mark McGwire
Dave Concepcion
Dale Murphy
Lee Smith
Tommy John

If we were allowed more than 10, I wouldn't list any others.

For Raines, I guess I'm a little hesitant to give him a leadoff man bonus. I'm not sure hitting leadoff is that much different from hitting third in the grand scheme of things.

I'm not quite clear on what you're trying to say, but they're extremely different in terms of creating value. From everything I've seen, OBP is most important relative to SLG in the leadoff spot, and SLG is most important relative to OBP in the third spot. Since metrics use a set value for the relative importance of OBP and SLG without regard to lineup position, I'm confident that Raines is underrated offensively by nearly every valuation system. FWIW, I believe that Dawson is underrated by the same logic.
   17. Baldrick Posted: December 24, 2007 at 09:43 AM (#2652986)
The argument against Gossage is that he wasn't unbelievable for long enough.

His career is 1800 innings, but 600 of those were below league average. And around 300 more were in the good-but-nothing-special range. I just don't see inducting a guy into the HOF based on a bunch of 120 ERA+/50 inning years, especially when his whole case is that he was a dominant reliever.

So his case is really 900 very very good innings. But if 900 innings of stupendous pitching is enough to get a guy into the HOF, presumably Lee Smith is next? And then Trever Hoffman. And Billy Wagner. And so on.

Bottom line, a 126 ERA+ would be very impressive if he had 2800 innings. And 1800 innings would be very impressive if he had a 146 ERA+. But 1800 innings at 126 just doesn't scream HOFer.

All that said, this is more a case against relievers as a whole than anything specific to Goose. And it's probably not justifiable in the long run.

As for Blyleven, I have a hard time imagining a personal Hall small enough to exclude him. No peak? His first nine years, his lowest ERA+ was 118 and his lowest IP was 164 (his rookie year), with the next-lowest at 234.7. That's 2400 innings of 132 ERA+ pitching.

Sounds similar to this line: 2324.3 IP, 131 ERA+. That's Sandy Koufax. How about Dizzy Dean with 1967.3 innings at 130?

And then, on top of that, you add 2582.7 more innings of solidly above-average pitching. Sounds like a very solid peak with a long career.

If he had won 5 more games any one of several years, he'd probably already be in the HOF. Change 20-17 in 1973 to 25-12 and suddenly he's Cy Young-winner Bert Blyleven. That's some shiny silverware to bolster his credentials. Plus, for the rest of his career, he's perceived in a better light. He picks up a few more Cy Young votes in various years and by the time his career is closing, he's remembered just a bit more fondly. And he slides in on the 8th or 9th ballot.
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 12:44 PM (#2652990)
I'm surprised to see you say that, John. This thread is under the HoM banner, no?


This is actually a BBTF thread as opposed to a HoM one, Dan.

Discussion of the candidates should always be encouraged, especially a defense if your opinion is in the extreme minority. Your statement is antithetical to this ideal and encourages unreasonable drive-by votes. Yes, this is under BBWAA rules; so you would have us repeat one of their cardinal sins, namely zero accountability? I think your position is encouraging laziness and sloppy analysis. Please reconsider your recommendation. Not that a voter needs to explain their vote, rather that they should share some of their reasoning, especially here in the Discussion thread.


If you feel that an explanation for lack of support is in order, feel free to ask that voter for one. But as in past HOF elections that we have had, I'm not going to enforce it, since there is no enforcement procedure under BBWAA guidelines to begin with. This is supposed to be a mock BBWAA election, not the HoM.
   19. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: December 24, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2653001)
Baldrick, I think most your points are valid. However, for those nine years he was 136-123, and he played on as many good teams than bad teams those years. Looking at the leaderboards on baseball-ref those 9 years (both leagues), in ERA+, he was 2nd in 1973 (behind Seaver's 179), 5th in 1974 and 5th again in 1977. The other years, there were at least 9 guys who had higher ERA+.

Here's the concept that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around for Blyleven. Bert was an excellent pitcher, I'd be a fool to not recognize that. But he always seemed to be about the 10th best pitcher in baseball a lot of years. Now, the 9 guys in front of him never were the same 9 guys, but there always seemed to be a group in front of him.

I don't want to turn this into another Blyleven thread, lord knows anything we say has already been said. I suppose the simplest way to put it is I define "peak" a bit differently.
   20. John DiFool2 Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:36 PM (#2653012)
Bert Blyleven
Rich Gossage
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:38 PM (#2653013)
I don't want to turn this into another Blyleven thread, lord knows anything we say has already been said. I suppose the simplest way to put it is I define "peak" a bit differently.


Since this is a discussion thread, anything that you want to bring up is fair game. If it turns into a Blyleven thread, so be it. :-)

As for your definition of "peak," what is yours, BTW?
   22. sunnyday2 Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:38 PM (#2653014)
If a guy wants to know why people vote the way they do, he's got a right to ask. And if a guy doesn't necessarily feel like responding, he doesn't have to do it either. Neither one is arrogant. It's just a discussion.

Nor is it arrogant or whatever to apply a "small hall" philosophy to this particular ballot. It's just totally completely absolutely positively entirely etc. etc. etc. out of step with 60+ years of HoF practice. It is in step with about the last 5-6 years of HoF practice, however. Therein lies the rub. Modern players are getting shafted by Cooperstown but, you know, why not? Everybody knows that the old-timers, now there were some guys who really knew how to play the game.

Not. Modern players are getting shafted and it would be discouraging if we gave aid and comfort to that.

But I certainly agree that Blyleven, Trammell, Gossage, McGwire and Raines are obvious picks.

I'm a small hall guy, too, but when voting for the Cooperstown HoF, I say go with their flow--go big. Be fair to all eras, even our own. So I would add Dawson, Mattingly, Murphy, Rice, Parker and Morris. Oh, and Concepcion. Wait, that's 12? Well, this is a prelim.
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2653015)
So his case is really 900 very very good innings. But if 900 innings of stupendous pitching is enough to get a guy into the HOF, presumably Lee Smith is next? And then Trever Hoffman. And Billy Wagner. And so on.


If those 900 IP are leveraged, then maybe they are HOF worthy IP.
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: December 24, 2007 at 02:41 PM (#2653016)
if 900 innings of stupendous pitching


If stupendous doesn't cut it, how good would he (a reliever) have to be?
   25. Paul Wendt Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2653027)
Elsewhere I have voted for nine and I will make that a prelim ballot here. It's the same as Chris Cobb and 'Dandy' less Tommy John. Dandy takes the liberty of putting the ten out of order. Let me take the liberty of putting my nine with the full ballots thus.

candws Blyleven
c_ndws Concepcion
candws DAWSON
candws Gossage
cand__ John
candws McGwire
candws MURPHY
_an__s PARKER
candws RAINES
ca_dw_ Smith
candws Trammell
_____s RICE
_____s Mattingly
_____s Morris

That is 14. The other preliminary ballots all plunk for some subset of the 11 who are multiply supported in the table. I count the following numbers of votes.
6564483
For this purpose I have interpreted #10 "on the fence" as yes. On the opposite interp that '8' would be a '4' and the gap between small and large ballots would be clear.


This is complete
   26. Paul Wendt Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2653029)
!
Dandy (d) has mentioned that he would not vote for more than 10 and I (w) have listed only 9. My friend sunnyday2 (s) has listed 12. Cobb, AJM, and Newburg (c,a,n) may of course support Parker, Concepcion, and Smith respectively --or someone else. I trust that explains the following numbers of votes.
10+ 10+ 10+ 10 9 12
   27. WahooSam Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:34 PM (#2653031)
Bert Blyleven
Andre Dawson
Goose Gossage
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
write in: Lou Whitaker, Pete Rose, Tommy Leach :)

I'm a "big hall" guy
   28. Paul Wendt Posted: December 24, 2007 at 03:37 PM (#2653032)
The last prelim stats from this desktop.

Include #20
: 65644836
: 10+ 10+ 10+ 10 9 12
That is complete thru #25 covering 14 prelim ballots

There are 14 incumbents on the ballot.
The 14 candidates with support here are the incumbents less Harold Baines plus Tim Raines.

auf wiedersehen
   29. Mark Donelson Posted: December 24, 2007 at 04:49 PM (#2653060)
Prelim:

Blyleven
Dawson
Gossage
McGwire
Raines
Trammell
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2653109)
Obvious, in order:
Raines
Gossage
Trammell

hmmmm, in order:
Murphy
Dawson
McGwire

in the discussion, no order:
Concepcion
John
Morris
Parker
Rice
LSmith

Keep 'em on the ballot for another year: Baines, Finley, Mattingly

Get 'em off the ballot: Anderson, Beck, Dunston, Fryman, Justice, Knoblauch, Nen, Rijo, Stottlemyre

I think that if I was a Hall of Fame voter, I'd take the obvious 4 only. Murphy is 5th for me, I think. Dawson's OBP - I just can't get over it, though I loved him as a player.
I wouldn't rule out McGwire forever, but let's let him simmer another year as things start to shake out re steroids.
   31. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:23 PM (#2653111)
No Blyleven anywhere Howie?
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:26 PM (#2653114)
Howie, what "simmering" would make McGwire a yes, and what "simmering" would make him a definite no? I mean, I wonder what it is that you're waiting for other than "simmering." What evidence would push him one way or the other? What evidence if any would convince you to vote *for* McGwire?
   33. Bad Fish Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2653115)
If he had won 5 more games any one of several years, he'd probably already be in the HOF. Change 20-17 in 1973 to 25-12 and suddenly he's Cy Young-winner Bert Blyleven. That's some shiny silverware to bolster his credentials. Plus, for the rest of his career, he's perceived in a better light. He picks up a few more Cy Young votes in various years and by the time his career is closing, he's remembered just a bit more fondly. And he slides in on the 8th or 9th ballot.

This is the rub with Bert. He didn't do it in any of his years. This may be an unreasonable expectation and even unsophisticated, but I think the primary job of a pitcher is to win games, and if you can't do that better than a decent # 3 starter then you are not historically great, regardless how outstanding your peripherals are. His stats say he should have won more than he did, but he didn't, and it is probably due to some not easily measured attribute and that is the crux of it for many people.
   34. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2653117)
No Blyleven anywhere Howie?

Well, he did say "the obvious 4" at the end. I think he just forgot to write down Blyleven.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2653119)
This may be an unreasonable expectation and even unsophisticated, but I think the primary job of a pitcher is to win games, and if you can't do that better than a decent # 3 starter then you are not historically great, regardless how outstanding your peripherals are.


If pitchers had 100% responsibility to win their games, I would agree with you. But they don't.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:43 PM (#2653124)
Bah, I edited and then lost Blyleven. And you can't edit off Hall of Merit (grr)

Obvious, in order:
Raines
Gossage
Trammell
Blyleven
   37. Howie Menckel Posted: December 24, 2007 at 06:45 PM (#2653126)
Re McGwire, it might depend on the extent and degree of the steroids era - did others take as much as him, and were most players taking at least some?

I'm undecided on him re Hall, and I can't toss him out if I change my mind. So he waits.

This allows him to "talk about the future," which he prefers to "talking about the past" anyway.
:)
   38. BDC Posted: December 24, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2653133)
I would vote for Blyleven and Raines. I am akin to those very-small-Hall types who keeps the BBWAA pickings slim year after year :)

Trammell is obviously better than quite a few HOF shortstops, but I don't think the ones he's better than should be in the Hall anyway.

Gossage is better than the relievers currently in the HOF, but same principle there.

McGwire, I pass on for character reasons.
   39. CrosbyBird Posted: December 24, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2653142)
Bert Blyleven
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell

I have a lot of problems figuring out how to evaluate relievers and especially relievers vs. starters. Is Gossage a more worthy pitcher than Jack Morris, a guy I wouldn't put in the HOF?

Gossage pitched a lot more innings than a modern reliever, and so if you compare him to today's relievers, it looks like he's a workhorse. I think in context, 1800 reliever innings over Gossage's career are comparable to around 1000 innings in a modern reliever's career... simply a very good career in terms of length and not exceptional.

I think for a reliever to get in to my personal HOF, he has to be Rivera good. You could take Rivera's near-1000 innings and compare them favorably to any other pitcher's best 1000 innings. That is my standard for a guy who ultimately pitches about 1/3 of the innings of a starter. It's a pretty harsh standard, but I think relievers are generally much less valuable than starters, so I'm not uncomfortable with the idea that very few, if any, get in.
   40. OCF Posted: December 24, 2007 at 07:25 PM (#2653151)
I'll divide the eligibles into five categories:

A. HoMers whose election I supported:
Blyleven
Gossage
McGwire
Raines
Trammell

B. HoMers whose election I didn't support:
Dawson

C. Middle-to-high backloggers whom I support:
- no one

D. Middle-to-high backloggers whom I don't support:
John, Smith.

E. Everybody else.

I think my only real decision here is whether or not to vote for Dawson. I didn't support his election, but he did win over enough of my fellow HoM voters. I will vote for everyone in category A. And of course, there are plenty of people I supported to election, or support now, who aren't on this ballot: Whitaker, Evans, Evans, Hernandez, W.Clark, Randolph, Tiant, Cone, Saberhagen. The problem with filling out my ballot to 10 names is that it wouldn't do anything for those on this last list.
   41. AROM Posted: December 24, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2653167)
my votes:

Raines
Blyleven
Trammell
Gossage
   42. Baldrick Posted: December 24, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2653175)
I think for a reliever to get in to my personal HOF, he has to be Rivera good. You could take Rivera's near-1000 innings and compare them favorably to any other pitcher's best 1000 innings. That is my standard for a guy who ultimately pitches about 1/3 of the innings of a starter. It's a pretty harsh standard, but I think relievers are generally much less valuable than starters, so I'm not uncomfortable with the idea that very few, if any, get in.

My feelings exactly.

On Blyleven: being one of the 10 best pitchers every year for a decade has tremendous value. It's a different shape of value from a guy (say, Koufax) who was the best pitcher in the world for 4 years and moderately good for the rest of his career. But it's still a pretty nice peak.
   43. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 24, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2653176)
Re McGwire, it might depend on the extent and degree of the steroids era - did others take as much as him, and were most players taking at least some?


This is my thinking. In last year's mock HOF election, I "abstained" on McGwire. My impression, from what we've learned over the past year, most notably from the Mitchell Report, is that steroid/PED use was very prevalent (not 100% prevalent, but I'd guess over 50%).

I read somewhere recently about a conversation between two GM-types (I don't remember if they were both GM's or some level below that). Talking about a player, one asked the other, "Does he do steroids", to which the other one responded, "No, he doesn't care enough to take them."

In that environment, I think that whatever McGwire did (and we don't really know exactly what he did or when he did it) was probably within the "societal norms" of Major-League Baseball at the time.

So, I'd probably switch my vote on McGwire to a "Yes" this time around.
   44. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: December 24, 2007 at 08:46 PM (#2653188)
As for your definition of "peak," what is yours, BTW?


Sorry for the gap since you asked that question. A mid-morning nap was irresistable.

FWIW, I think "peak" is a defined by a period of time where the player was at the height of his abilities, both number-wise and in relation to his peers. I guess I see Blyleven as a player, for those nine years, as a player with a good plateau, but no discernable period of time where he was "lights out".

As far as McGwire, I've tried to avoid the steroid issue as much as possible, mostly because discussion of it becomes a brawl, and I don't care to brawl. A few years ago, I would not have voted for McGwire (or Bonds or Sosa) over the issue. However, recent findings have told me that steroid use was not confined to a few renegade players, but common enough to keep everything on a relatively balanced playing field. If 80+ names have been discovered based on the testimony of a very few people, the numbers that may come out if more people talked might be mind-boggling.
   45. Juan V Posted: December 24, 2007 at 08:58 PM (#2653193)
I'm thinking:

Blyleven
Concepcion
Gossage
McGwire
Murphy
Raines
Trammell
   46. Juan V Posted: December 24, 2007 at 08:59 PM (#2653194)
I'm thinking:

Blyleven
Concepcion
Gossage
McGwire
Murphy
Raines
Trammell
   47. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 24, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2653200)
BBWAA votes in at least 1, maybe 2 or 3 off this list, but I'm in the holiday spirit and find them deserving:

Bert Blyleven
Rich Gossage
Tommy John
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
   48. The District Attorney Posted: December 24, 2007 at 11:44 PM (#2653252)
I like voting for a ton of guys. They're not all gonna get elected, so that's not a realistic issue. In the meantime, you can distinguish the real candidates from the non-candiates.

1. Tim Raines -- I can understand why one wouldn't be 100% convinced by the argument that Raines should be in because he was the second best leadoff hitter ever. So... forget that he was a leadoff hitter, and just consider his OBP, fielding, ridiculous SB ability, and moderate power. You'll then realize that he was one of the top 10 LFs of all time.

2. Bert Blyleven -- A top 30-50 pitcher.

3. Alan Trammell -- Top 12 shortstop (just covering my butt there in case he's not top 10.)

4. Goose Gossage -- I can understand the argument that a closer who pitches 50 IP cannot be as valuable as a starter. That, very obviously, is not Goose Gossage. If leverage means anything -- and it does -- then he should be in, with the sheer number of innings he pitched in relief.

5. Andre Dawson -- I think the HOF vastly overstates the value of "sticking around time." If you had eight great seasons, I don't really care if you had four, six or eight other productive seasons beyond that. You do need something besides the eight or so great years; I will grant you that. But the HOF seems to decide the borderline cases primarily on the basis of what the player does in the non-prime time, and that to me makes no sense. Dawson IMO also is badly hurt by people thinking of him as the '87 version (a RF who couldn't move and was a HR specialist on offense), rather than as the fleet, Gold Glove CF that he was.

6. Dale Murphy -- See Dawson to a large extent, except Dale's image apparently was changed, not by having a great year late in his career, but by collapsing altogether late in his career. In terms of stuff that matters, they're very comparable, and most people probably would either put both or neither in.

7. Lee Smith -- Y'know, although we probably thought a few years ago that the save record would pass through 10 different hands in the next couple of decades, it hasn't actually happened. Mariano is going to catch Smith, but... who else is? Billy Wagner is 35 years old and 120 saves behind, so he probably will, although not necessarily. Still not a problem; I wouldn't object to Wagner in the HOF. Check the list; no other active pitcher has established much of a chance at all yet to catch Smith (you have to go down to the 25-year-olds who are about 350 saves behind.) Most of Smith's significant years were pitched in either Wrigley or Fenway; that's a huge factor. And just in general, he hardly ever had a bad season. I think he belongs.

8. Dave Concepcion -- Although I don't fully buy the idea that Dave Concepcion should be in the HOF because Tim Foli stunk, I do have to admit that if you were going to apply one statistical metric to everyone in history, the Dan Rosenheck-esque metric (i.e., standard deviations above average at your position, considering quality of league competition) is probably the one that makes the most sense. That at least makes Concepcion a viable candidate worth showing support for.

9. Tommy John -- You could very reasonably argue that, using my own arguments against Morris (great teams and defenses, and John needed defensive support more than anybody), and in favor of Murphy/Dawson ("hanging around" time shouldn't be critical), John should not be in. But I can't help looking at this guy's career and being impressed by the fact that he was very good for a very long time... not just a long time for a non-inner circle HOF player, but a long time for any human being on the face of the earth. John is an extremely marginal candidate, but I think he's worth throwing a vote to. If the superficially similar Blyleven and the actually similar Jim Kaat both get in (I believe Kaat was 2nd in the last VC voting...?), then voters will undoubtedly at least want the opportunity to vote on John.

"No" votes:

McGwire: My philosophy is to zero out a player's "PED years." If you do this, then McGwire actually still has a pretty good career, but not a HOF one.

Rice: Murphy and Dawson are very borderline and have huge advantages over Rice in terms of position played, quality of defense at that position, speed, and not grounding into double plays on a daily basis. And Rice might not have been any better a hitter. So I don't see how Rice can be in.

Morris: Even in terms of raw stats -- which greatly reward him for having terrific teams and defenses behind him -- Morris still didn't pitch at a HOF level. Anyone else get the feeling, though, that he will in be fact be elected eventually? His fans (as with Rice's) seem extremely passionate, and that's a big factor.

Mattingly & Parker: Although I think the HOF vastly overestimates the difference between players in the "8 good years" and "12 good years" camps, I would not extend that logic down another level and start putting in guys with 4-5 good years. Simply put, lots of guys have 4-5 great years.

Baines: He'd probably be very comparable to Tommy John if he put up the same numbers while playing a good defensive RF, as he did before his knees exploded. But when so much of his production was as a platoon DH? Just not good enough.
   49. rawagman Posted: December 25, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2653258)
A little blurb on my methodolgy - if I voted for them in the Hall of Merit, I think they belong in the Hall of Fame as well. I also beleive in a big hall, so I reserve the right to vote for guys for whom I have not elected to my Personal Hall of Merit as the HOM allows only so many players into the highest level of honour, whereas I would open the doors to a marginally higher number.
Without further ado:
1) Tim Raines
2) Bert Blyleven
3) Rich Gossage
4) Mark McGwire
5) Alan Trammell
6) Dale Murphy
7) Andre Dawson
8) Jim Rice
9) Don Mattingly

There is no set order among those players, but the last 3 are guys who only received marginal support from me in the HOM who only fit into a larger hall of fame.
   50. Chris Fluit Posted: December 25, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2653271)
Prelim:

Bert Blyleven
Dave Concepcion (I've gone from being anti-Concepcion to a huge supporter thanks to my participation in the Hall of Merit)
Andre Dawson
Rich "Goose" Gossage (fearless prediction: he'll go in on this ballot; even more fearless prediction: he'll go in on the real ballot, too, as the lone inductee)
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Tim Raines (more fearless predictions: Raines will finish behind Dawson in the BBWAA vote)
Jim Rice (prediction: Rice will get more votes than last year but will still fall just short; however, a big enough jump might put him in position to go in next year)
Alan Trammell (no positional maximum- there should be room for Tram as well as Ripken, Smith and Yount)
and the 10th spot will either go to Lee Smith (whom I've included in mock BBWAA elections before) or Dale Murphy (whom I haven't)
   51. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 25, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2653310)
McGwire
Blyleven
Raines
Dawson
Rice
Gossage
   52. Bruce Markusen Posted: December 25, 2007 at 06:24 AM (#2653315)
In the actual BBWAA ballot, only one guy has any realistic chance of going in this year--Gossage. I think he'll make it, but it will be very close, around 76 or 77 per cent.

I, however, would vote for six guys:

Blyleven: The arguments I've read in recent years have convinced me that he's worthy.

Gossage: Assuming that closers have a place in Cooperstown, Gossage should have been a slam dunk years ago.

Murphy: Probably my most controversial pick, but at his peak he was close to being the best player in the game.

Raines: This should be a no-brainer, but I'll bet that he receives less than 40 per cent in the actual election.

Rice: I've heard all of the arguments about park effects and his tendency to ground into double plays, but he was a remarkable hitter who combined the ability to hit for average and power, and could use the entire field while doing so. I saw him a play a lot, so perhaps he gets a boost from me for that.

Trammell: I think he's penalized for not being Cal Ripken, but being a poor man's Ripken is still pretty good.
   53. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 25, 2007 at 07:18 AM (#2653321)
No question in my mind: Blyleven, Raines

Yes, but could still change my mind: Gossage, McGwire, Trammell

No, but I could still be persuaded: Rice (not as good as Dwight Evans, who I'm 50/50 on), Concepcion (meh), Dawson (I've been coming around slowly), Smith (ditto)

Hall of the Very Good: Murphy, Mattingly, Baines, Morris, John

Those of you who would choose Morris...please explain where you're coming from?
   54. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 25, 2007 at 07:25 AM (#2653322)
My vote: Bert, Raines, Goose, Trammel, Morris, and John.
   55. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 25, 2007 at 08:48 AM (#2653333)
These guys get my vote:

Blyleven
Gossage
McGwire
Raines
Trammell

If I had to rank the above names, Gossage would probably finish last. I think there's room for three, maybe four relievers in the Hall, all told, and Goose should be one. Raines is well deserving, of course, but I might have given him a vote for his base stealing alone.

Dawson, Parker, Rice, Murphy, Mattingly, Morris, Smith, Concepcion, Baines, John all just miss. Although if someone built a museum to honor them, I'd visit it. That's the great thing about these discussions. Even the so-called rejects are great, captivating players.
   56. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: December 25, 2007 at 08:56 AM (#2653334)
my ballot
in no order
mcgwire
gossage
raines
dawson
trammel
beck (but only because that mullet would look awesome on his plaque and for the bust)
smith
   57. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 25, 2007 at 10:20 AM (#2653338)
Well, I've said it before, and my views haven't changed. Five no-brainers:

McGwire - Don't care about PEDs, which means he's obviously qualified.
Raines
Trammell - Shame that Lou Whitaker will never get a chance to join him.
Gossage - I only support him because the voters have already decided the Hall's going to have closers in it; as such, he has to go. He was very good at his peak and pitched far more innings than any of the closers outside of the Hall looking in. (Compare him to Lee Smith, who pitched forever; Gossage's career is still 50% longer, by IP.) But the only other one I'm ever going to put in -- er, if I had any say in the matter -- is Mariano Rivera, who (like all modern closers) has a short career, but has been incredibly dominant.
Blyleven


None would be the worst player in the Hall, but there's no compelling reason for me to support:

Dawson
Rice
Murphy
Smith
Parker
Concepcion
Mattingly
John

Which makes me a little uneasy, because I am unhappy with how selective the HOF has become in the last 10-20 years. In earlier eras, probably all of these guys would have been inducted. (Many by the VC, to be sure -- but there's only one HOF, not two. If someone is qualified, he should be admitted, and I don't think it's logical or legitimate to say that someone should be selected by the VC rather than by the writers. The VC exists, theoretically, to correct mistakes by the writers -- not to admit a second tier of players not good enough for the writers.)

Silly choice, who wouldn't even be considered if it weren't for a freak stat:

Morris (the freak stat being that he had the most wins of the 80s.)

Everyone else seems to me to be an obvious no, with no need to explain.
   58. sunnyday2 Posted: December 25, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2653424)
I still don't get anybody applying a "small hall" philosophy to Cooperstown. That's like voting none of the above in the presidential election. I mean, you can make a case if you really want there in the isolation booth, but here in the real world we're not going to elect none of the above and Cooperstown will never be a small hall.
   59. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 26, 2007 at 01:18 AM (#2653451)
Merry X-mas!

In the actual BBWAA ballot, only one guy has any realistic chance of going in this year--Gossage. I think he'll make it, but it will be very close, around 76 or 77 per cent.

I think you're badly wrong on both points. Rice has a very realistic shot and Gossage will do a lot better than that.

Few things to keep in mind here.

First, how many votes a candidate receives fluxuates largely on the strength of the ballot. If you look at, for example, the 1999 ballot, when Brett, Yount, and Ryan all debuted, virtually every single holdover had their votes drop down. As soon as the inner circles went in, their votes all went up, often to a higher level than it had before. Same thing happened in 1989 when Bench & Yaz kicked off a huge class. Alternatly, in weak ballots when there's no obvious shoe-in, all the holdover have their totals go up. A weak ballot after a strong ballot is good breeding ground for a substantial rise.

Well, last year was an unusally strong ballot. While only the normal two went in, both got 97.6% or better, the first time that's every happened. Sure enough, virtually all the holdovers went down: Gossage and Concepcion. Gossage went up because of a counterveiling trend - Cooperstown's still figuring out how to approach relief pitchers. When he arrived on the ballot, only one has gone in. The elections of Eck & esepcially of Sutter in 2006 help Gossage's case, thus he completley bucked the overall trend by rising from 64.6% in 2005 to 71.2% in 2006. Meanwhile, Concepcion went up by a stiking 1.1% The rest lost, often considerably. In fact, if you add up the percentages fo Rice, Dawson, Blyleven, Smith, Morris, John, Garvey, Trammell, Parker, Mattingley, Murphy, Hershiser, and Belle in 2006 and 2007, you'd see that they lost almost 15% of their support from 2006-2007. (Note: I don't mean they went from 30% to 15%, but if you take their 2006 toal as 100, then their 2007 total was a little over 85. By this measure, Gossage went up by 10% while the rest all floundered). If Goosage can rise up like that in a bad year for the backlog, he should easily capture the remained 3.8% in a year when he's the top figure. I predict he'll break 80%.

Second factor comes into play - the over-the-top sentiment. This should help both Gossage & Rice. The best way to explain is with some example:

Sandberg:
2004: 61.1%
2005: 76.2%

Tony Perez:
1999: 60.8%
2000: 77.2%

Bruce Sutter:
2005: 66.7%
2006: 76.9%

These guys all had big boosts to push them over the top. Jim Rice had a 63.5% last year. (He also had a 64.8% in 2005, giving him the smallest decrease of any with a downturn last year. I think the over-the-top force minimized his fall off last year). He's in a better position than Sandberg was. Technically he's in better shape than Perez, but 1999 was an insanely tough ballot year.

This doesn't guarantee Rice goes in, but if I had to make a prediction, I'd say he'll get 77%.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:02 AM (#2653461)
First, how many votes a candidate receives fluxuates largely on the strength of the ballot.

Which begs the question: why?

For the HoM, it makes sense since we have a weighted ballot. But the HOF? If the vast majority of the writers were sending in ballots with 10 choices on them each, then it would make sense. But that doesn't appear to be the case.
   61. Baldrick Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2653462)
It's not that confusing. People feel weird about sending in a ballot with 7 or 8 names on it. They just have a sense that you only ought to put 4 or 5 names on the ballot. So if it's a strong ballot they'll bump off a couple of the "close call" candidates. It's not rational, of course. But it's also easy to understand.
   62. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:18 AM (#2653463)
Tim Raines
Bert Blyleven
Alan Trammell

We elected Blyleven, Gossage and Trammell in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Anyone who doesn't vote for them (or Raines) should explain why they don't deserve to be in the HOF.


There was no better reliever than the Goose, he just didn't pitch enough innings compared to any starter (I'll double check that) in the HOF. I also dock his ERA+ a bit since he wasn't pitching as long in games as starters do and so got the benefit of being able to fire away for an inning or two or three.

I just don't get enough of my eyes rolling up to my forehead; the rationales for omitting any of those four players should be good for quite a lot of that.


Roll away! !)
   63. Ziggy Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2653467)
Goose: 1809.3 IP, 126 ERA+

David Cone: 2898.7 IP, 120 ERA+


Re: leverage: a run in the first can win a game just as well as a run in the ninth. In fact, without that run in the first the run in the ninth may well not mean anything. Leverage just isn't important. In a slogan: All innings are created equal.
   64. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 26, 2007 at 07:28 AM (#2653497)
It's not that confusing. People feel weird about sending in a ballot with 7 or 8 names on it. They just have a sense that you only ought to put 4 or 5 names on the ballot. So if it's a strong ballot they'll bump off a couple of the "close call" candidates. It's not rational, of course. But it's also easy to understand.


The other thing is that there were more voters in 2007 than in 2006. Jim Rice's vote total went up from 337 to 346 in 2007 but his percentage of the vote declined from 64.8% to 63.5% because there were about 25 more votes cast in 2007 (note: some people's vote totals actually went down - e.g., Andre Dawson fell from 317 to 309, so Baldrick's explanation is also a big part of it, too, I think). My guess is that those 25 voters decided to make a special point of voting for Ripken and/or Gwynn in 2007. If they don't bother voting again in 2008 then the number of votes needed to get elected will drop a little bit.
   65. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 26, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2653522)
Gossage
Trammell
Raines
Blyleven
Dawson

Jim Rice's candidacy is a pivotal moment for the writers. If they cave then they will be bombarded with "why not Parker?", "why not Murphy?" and so on and so on. It will clutter and hamstring the ballot for several years. Meanwhile, the backlog will grow.

Say "No" on Rice and the voters can focus on more recent and deserving candidates. Say "yes" and it's a free-for-all. Which will lead to fractured ballots and likely a year or two with NO electees. Which is bad for the HOF and results in poorly conceived "fixes" to the process. And then a slew of silly selections.

Been there folks.

Stand your ground Rice naysayers. 'Tis a noble cause....
   66. AROM Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2653547)
Leverage just isn't important. In a slogan: All innings are created equal.


That's wrong. A run in the first inning could be just as important as the 9th. Or it could be meaningless if by the 9th you are up 14-1. Same with the 9th inning - If you have a big lead its meaningless but Goose did not pitch in those games. He pitched in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings only when the score was close.

If leverage was meaningless then instead of using relievers like they are now, or in Gossage's day, we could get the same results by randomly using our relief pitchers. Protecting a 1 run lead in the 8th with 1 out and runner on 3rd? Maybe its the #5 guy's turn. Starter gets knocked out in the 3rd? It's Gossage's turn. Put him in mopup.
   67. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:32 PM (#2653555)
Leverage just isn't important. In a slogan: All innings are created equal.

That's wrong. A run in the first inning could be just as important as the 9th. Or it could be meaningless if by the 9th you are up 14-1. Same with the 9th inning - If you have a big lead its meaningless but Goose did not pitch in those games. He pitched in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings only when the score was close.
It's not true that all innings are created equal, but it is true that "leverage" misses the way in which they're not equal. A more correct statement is that all innings in a given game are created equal.

If you win 14-1, then none of the innings were high leverage.
If you win 2-1, though, <u>all</u> of the innings were high leverage.

The difference between a starter and closer is that some of the starter's innings were in 14-1 games, whereas few of the closer's innings were. But most of the measures of "leverage" assume that since we didn't know in the 1st inning whether the game was 14-1 or 2-1, the 1st inning was inherently low leverage, which is (a) true if we're talking about the psychological state of the pitcher, but (b) false if we're talking about how important the inning was to winning the game.


EDIT: which is kind of what you said, perhaps.
   68. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2653570)
most of the measures of "leverage" assume that since we didn't know in the 1st inning whether the game was 14-1 or 2-1, the 1st inning was inherently low leverage, which is (a) true if we're talking about the psychological state of the pitcher, but (b) false if we're talking about how important the inning was to winning the game.


But we're not really talking about either one. We're talking about how important the inning is to the team's chances of winning the game, given the game state at the time of the plate appearance. There's a difference between knowing the relative importance of a situation at the time, and knowing it retroactively; what leverage measures try to do is weight each situation based on what is known at the time. There IS a certain amount of predictable variation in performance when the leverage of the situation is taken into account - enough to suggest very strongly that someone, most likely the pitcher, takes a different approach to the plate appearance based on the situation, and that we should not dismiss the idea that the leverage of a situation affects player performance out of hand.

The first inning, by the way, is not inherently low leverage. There is not a lot of variation in the mean leverage, or for that matter the median leverage, from inning to inning as you move through the game (until you get to extra innings). What varies is the shape of the distribution; you have more decentralization later in the game, more extreme situations.

-- MWE
   69. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 26, 2007 at 04:37 PM (#2653580)
We're talking about how important the inning is to the team's chances of winning the game, given the game state at the time of the plate appearance
<u>You</u> are; I'm not. My entire point is that I reject the framework which assigns relevance to "the game state at the time of the plate appearance." That's relevant to the narrative of the game but not to the value of the inning.
   70. Loren F. Posted: December 26, 2007 at 04:47 PM (#2653590)
My entire point is that I reject the framework which assigns relevance to "the game state at the time of the plate appearance." That's relevant to the narrative of the game but not to the value of the inning.

But games are narratives. (Not to get too semiotics/philosophy here.) A game proceeds within a chronology that dictates strategic choices: no one brings in Billy Wagner to pitch the third inning; a bunt in the 9th inning may not happen if the bunt in the 5th inning had landed fair; etc.

I would argue that it's possible that real-time leverage, which is what MWE and others are discussing, is a valid measure to consider the value of a player's contribution, and that DN's concept of retroactive leverage is also of value but in a different way. I know we're not supposed to say "You're both right," but it's the holiday season.
   71. sunnyday2 Posted: December 26, 2007 at 04:54 PM (#2653597)
Viva la difference, I guess.

But if the other guy scores a run in the top of the 1st, I got 9 shots at 'im. If he scores in the bottom of the 9th in a tie-game, it's lights out.

I don't see how those aren't different.
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: December 26, 2007 at 04:56 PM (#2653600)
Jim Rice's candidacy is a pivotal moment for the writers.


No. Unfortunately, the pivotal moments for the writers came in the early 1940s when they refused to elect anybody. It's pretty much been fubar ever since.
   73. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 04:59 PM (#2653605)
My "official" vote:

Raines
Gossage

For me, Blyleven's actions (jumping the Pirates in 1980, forcing trades on at least two other occasions), combined with the fact that he really SHOULD have won more games than he did even given his run support, keep him out of the Hall. I think it's more than fair to hold his actions against him.

Trammell was basically a shortstop version of Buddy Bell (who was a lot better player than many people remember, but no one's idea of a HOFer), with a slightly higher peak and slightly less career. To put Trammell into the HOF, you have to give him a pretty big positional boost for playing SS - realizing that he was basically through as a full-time SS at age 32. I don't see it.

McGwire wasn't a HOFer through 1996, and given his injury history I do not believe that he would have been able to extend his career if he hadn't been using PEDs - it's not a question of "did he get a power boost?" for me, but "would he have even been able to play?" For that reason, it's easy to leave him off.

No one else really comes close. I hate not being able to fill a ballot, but I can't see voting for 10 people off this list, especially when you can't weight the ballot.

-- MWE
   74. Howie Menckel Posted: December 26, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2653607)
Well, I wouldn't want to "appeal to authority" here, in the sense that real-life decisions prove a certain value.

I suspect most here would agree that it makes more sense to use your best reliever with leads of 0, 1, or 2 - instead of the actual 1, 2, or 3. The latter is used because of the existence of a "saves" stat.
But it doesn't relate very well, imo, to the business of mazimizing one's win total. Teams occasionally lose tie games they could have won, because they waste the closer's time in 4-1 games.

Yet I certainly wouldn't pretend that Wagner's innings don't have SOME added leverage. We know at that point that a scoreless inning wins the game. In the 3rd inning, the pitcher may see a pitcher bat, and in the 6th we may see someone hit against his platoon.
But in the 9th, the closer faces the best pinch-hitter, and the team plans its strategy (bunt, put up the longball guy) knowing exactly what it needs.

And I say this as someone who is partial to the "closer value is overrated in many respects" camp. I just don't want to go completely overboard, although leveraged innings as a concept is probably overdue for a spirited challenge.

:)
   75. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2653614)
I would argue that it's possible that real-time leverage, which is what MWE and others are discussing, is a valid measure to consider the value of a player's contribution, and that DN's concept of retroactive leverage is also of value but in a different way.


Oh, I think's it's valuable to look at retroactive leverage, too. My point is that from the perspective of those playing the game, real-time leverage is highly significant - players and managers act as though it's important. I don't think there's anything to be gained from substituting a perspective that says "it's not important" and ignoring what appear to be real changes in performance patterns based on real-time leverage because of that perspective.

-- MWE
   76. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2653615)
But in the 9th, the closer faces the best pinch-hitter.


You'd be surprised how rarely the closer faces the best pinch-hitter any more.

-- MWE
   77. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 05:20 PM (#2653624)
I suspect most here would agree that it makes more sense to use your best reliever with leads of 0, 1, or 2 - instead of the actual 1, 2, or 3. The latter is used because of the existence of a "saves" stat.


No, it's not. Bullpen usage was evolving in this direction before the save stat was ever officially used - the save stat was developed in response to the way that bullpen usage was evolving, not vice versa - and it took 15 years after the definition of the save stat was finalized before the current closer role was fully developed. Teams use closers this way because it's a reasonable balance of predictable usage and leverage. It would be better to use the closer in tie games more often, from a leverage standpoint - but then do you let the closer go another inning if the score remains tied? If you do that, can the closer pitch the next day when you have a one-run lead in the ninth? How do you manage the closer's innings to maximize his availability? It's not quite that simple.

-- MWE
   78. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 26, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2653634)
Blyleven: If sportswriters had any mercy, they would elect him so I wouldn't have to read about him any more. Anyway, he struck out a lot of people.

Raines: Obvi dude.

Trammel: Pretty awesome all around SS, 1987 puts him over the edge for me.

Hawk: Stopped caring about his OBP and looked at the total player and decided he's probably a HOFer.

Brady Anderson: One of two players to hit 50 HRs one year and steal 50 bases another.

I thought about voting for Gossage, but I didn't. But I'm closer to "voting" for him than I was last year.
   79. Howie Menckel Posted: December 26, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2653638)
Well, I should clarify to say that "the latter CONTINUES to be used because of the existence of the 'saves' stat."

I think it has stifled better bullpen usage. There is an accurate perception of top relievers that their earnings powers might take a short-term hit in arbitration and free agency if they have fewer SVs even if they have more Ws and contribute more overall.
Managers then react to that.

As for usage, it's not simple - beyond not using a top RP with a 3-run lead unless he needs the work or the 2nd choice is horrendous. That part is easy.
   80. Loren F. Posted: December 26, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2653752)
Is this turning into a "fireman" role versus a "closer" role debate? Steve Treder would have a few things to say about that.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that Gossage coming into a tie game in the 7th may be a better strategy than Rivera coming into a 7-5 game in the 9th. I would like someone to try the "fireman" usage today, to see how that would work. I suspect no one will give it a genuine try, though, because relievers like their roles more defined, and too much money is at stake. For example, the Red Sox are among the more sabre-minded franchises, and even they limited Papelbon to just three appearances longer than one inning last season, and just a handful of appearances before the 9th.
   81. Paul Wendt Posted: December 26, 2007 at 08:50 PM (#2653787)
I'm on break from teaching how to lie with statistics.
Pass off Rich Gossage as 1800 innings at rate 126. Maybe I can use that in class.

--
77. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 11:20 AM (#2653624)
[quoting Howie Menckel
> I suspect most here would agree that it makes more sense to use your best reliever
> with leads of 0, 1, or 2 - instead of the actual 1, 2, or 3.
> The latter is used because of the existence of a "saves" stat.

No, it's not. Bullpen usage was evolving in this direction before the save stat was ever officially used - the save stat was developed in response to the way that bullpen usage was evolving, not vice versa - and it took 15 years after the definition of the save stat was finalized before the current closer role was fully developed. Teams use closers this way because it's a reasonable balance of predictable usage and leverage. It would be better to use the closer in tie games more often, from a leverage standpoint - but then do you let the closer go another inning if the score remains tied? If you do that, can the closer pitch the next day when you have a one-run lead in the ninth? How do you manage the closer's innings to maximize his availability? It's not quite that simple.


Isn't it simply better to use the closer for precisely one inning in a tie game than with a 3-run lead?
   82. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2653821)
Isn't it simply better to use the closer for precisely one inning in a tie game than with a 3-run lead?


Not necessarily, when you consider other factors beyond real-time leverage - if you don't take the lead, you've burned your best bullpen pitcher without gaining the lead, you're still locked in to using a lesser pitcher in a tie game, AND you've just added another variable to managing your bullpen in tomorrow's game.

Evaluation of modern bullpen usage has to go beyond the changes in the way that the "best reliever" is used. It is certainly true that a team could maximize its short-term tactical advantage by using the closer in more of an "ace reliever" role. But short-term tactics have to be balanced against longer-term strategic concerns, and I think that the current model of bullpen usage - seven-man pens with highly specialized roles - has evolved to this point mostly because there is strategic value in having the full bullpen set up we have now that counters the tactical advantage of the "ace reliever" approach.

-- MWE
   83. Srul Itza Posted: December 26, 2007 at 10:42 PM (#2653892)
Definites on my ballot:

Tim Raines -- A top lead-off hitter.
Bert Blyleven -- 5th in Ks, 9th in Shut Outs
Rich Gossage -- dominant reliever of his time

On the fence:

Alan Trammell -- The only thing about Trammell that always holds me back is his inability to play a complete season for most of his career

Andre Dawson -- 400-300, good centerfielder early on, screwed by circumstances. My heart votes yes, my head votes no.

Mark McGwire -- Power and Walks, and nothing else, and how much was an illusion? But that was certainly a heckuvalot of Power and Walks, starting as a pretty skinny rookie. If the 'roids just helped him stay on the field, the sin is not as great in my books.
   84. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 26, 2007 at 10:59 PM (#2653913)
My ballot:

Raines
Blyleven
Trammel
McGwire
Dawson

My objections to Goose have pretty much been covered. I think Sutters/Fingers were mistakes. Goose is certainly a better candidate than them, but still not HOF worthy IMO.
   85. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 26, 2007 at 11:42 PM (#2653959)
No, it's not. Bullpen usage was evolving in this direction before the save stat was ever officially used - the save stat was developed in response to the way that bullpen usage was evolving, not vice versa - and it took 15 years after the definition of the save stat was finalized before the current closer role was fully developed.
And then, surprisingly, it was "fully developed" in a way that just happened to maximize Save numbers. Do you really think that Jerome Holtzman, after a couple of tries, happened to get the optimal way in 1975, and then 15 or so years later, baseball people just happened to catch up with it? That seems a little convenient to me.

I think it's undeniable that bullpen use has evolved the way it has not because this is the best way to use relievers, but because it's the easiest way to do so. First, closers like being used in a way to maximize saves, because that helps their pocketbooks. And if you spread saves around, so you have two guys with 20 saves instead of one guy with 40, then you have two unhappy guys, each thinking, "If this jerk manager would let me close full time, I'd have 40 saves and make a lot more. As soon as I can, I'm leaving and getting 40 saves from someone who uses me better."

Second, it saves the manager from having to think. He doesn't have to decide what pitcher to use, because it's pre-defined for him. Now, sometimes an algorithm that reduces decisionmaking is a good thing, so you can concentrate on other stuff. But this ain't the invasion of Normandy; changing pitchers is basically all the manager has to do in a game. There is no "other stuff" to concentrate on.

Third, by saving the manager from having to think, it saves the manager from accountability. If you choose what pitcher to bring into the game, then you are very open to criticism for choosing the wrong guy. But if you have defined this pitcher as "7th inning close game guy," then you can defend yourself by saying, "This is his role; he's the guy we count on in these situations. But it's not my fault; the players still have to produce."


It would be better to use the closer in tie games more often, from a leverage standpoint - but then do you let the closer go another inning if the score remains tied? If you do that, can the closer pitch the next day when you have a one-run lead in the ninth? How do you manage the closer's innings to maximize his availability? It's not quite that simple.
If using the closer makes him unavailable the next day, then how does one justify using him with a three-run lead? No matter how many times you try to spin it, Mike, it makes no sense to use a pitcher in a lower leverage situation today because you're worried that if you use him in a high leverage situation today, you may not have him available tomorrow.

The worse case, you use him in the tied inning, you don't score, you take him out after one inning. You've now used him in a higher leverage inning than if you had used him with a three-run lead, and you're no worse off in terms of tomorrow's game than if you had used him with a three-run lead.
   86. Paul Wendt Posted: December 26, 2007 at 11:57 PM (#2653972)
82. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 26, 2007 at 03:18 PM (#2653821)

> Isn't it simply better to use the closer for precisely one inning in a tie game than with a 3-run lead?

Not necessarily, when you consider other factors beyond real-time leverage - if you don't take the lead, you've burned your best bullpen pitcher without gaining the lead, you're still locked in to using a lesser pitcher in a tie game, AND you've just added another variable to managing your bullpen in tomorrow's game.

Evaluation of modern bullpen usage has to go beyond the changes in the way that the "best reliever" is used.


Yes, but regarding the tie vs the 3-run lead, I suppose these points only complicate derivation of an optimal strategy or measurement of the size of the penalty. Now, 8-inning ties are more common than 3-run leads. Maybe we get only ties in the top of the 9th, in exchange for the 3-run leads; or we get ties only in exchange for 2-and 3-run leads; etc.

Saying more now I would only be repeating DNP.
   87. Andrew M Posted: December 26, 2007 at 11:59 PM (#2653973)
I'm using all my available picks:
Blyleven
Concepcion
Dawson
Gossage
McGwire
Murphy
Raines
Smith
Trammell

I'd love to be able to vote for Harold Baines, but my last spot will go to either John or Rice.
   88. Famous Original Joe C Posted: December 27, 2007 at 12:01 AM (#2653974)
CP - Brady Anderson? Am I missing some sarcasm, or something else?
   89. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 27, 2007 at 03:57 AM (#2654066)
Blyleven
Gossage
Trammell
Raines
Dawson
John
Murphy
Parker
McGwire
Concepcion
   90. DL from MN Posted: December 27, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2654232)
Bert Blyleven
Rich Gossage
Tommy John
Mark McGwire
Tim Raines
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell

Try to come up with a list of the top 75 pitchers and avoid Blyleven and Gossage, it's close to unjustifiable.
   91. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: December 27, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2654240)
Dave Concepcion - basically, the only SS worth a damn in the 70's.
Andre Dawson - HoF peak in the early 80's
Rich Gossage - Exceeds the reliever standard
Tim Raines -
Alan Trammell - Trammell and Raines are dwarfed by their contemporaries Henderson and Ripken, but are clear HoFer nevertheless.

Not voting for: Blyleven - I know there's no rational argument against him, but I simply cant get by the W-L record and the well-documented problems with "intangibles". This isn't the HoM, so I can vote no.
   92. AROM Posted: December 27, 2007 at 04:01 PM (#2654242)
In #41 I posted:

Raines
Blyleven
Trammell
Gossage

After consideration, I will add:
McGwire
Dawson

For McGwire, while certainly a great hitter and with deserving numbers, my policy is to hold the roiders to a higher standard - borderline guys don't get my vote. I won't hesitate to vote for Bonds or Clemens, but McGwire is nowhere near their class. But I've come to accept that while nowhere close to inner circle, McGwire is well above the threshold.

For Dawson, its his CF defense early in his career that gets him the edge. From TangoTiger's with/without stats, Dawson (per 162) was +28 by park, +28 by hitters, +13 by pitchers.
   93. sunnyday2 Posted: December 27, 2007 at 08:09 PM (#2654565)
One can argue how best to use an outstanding relief pitcher. But in the end, the pitcher in question doesn't make that decision, he just pitches. Goose Gossage pitched. Better. Than. Anybody. For. About. Nine. Years.
   94. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 27, 2007 at 08:14 PM (#2654577)
CP - Brady Anderson? Am I missing some sarcasm, or something else?

I like the idea of a throwaway vote. I voted for Fernandez (who deserved WAY more support then he got IMO) last year IIRC. And I do think Anderson's achievement is worth noting. I know that some around these parts don't like the concept but I consider harmless and there's nothing in the rules that I am aware of that says I can't do it.
   95. Loren F. Posted: December 27, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2654630)
CP, the throwaway vote is fine in theory, but if enough people feel the same way then suddenly Brady Anderson is in the Hall of Fame, Adam Sandler is an Oscar winner, and Ron Paul is the U.S. president. And I don't want to live in a world where Adam Sandler has an Oscar.
   96. Delorians Posted: December 27, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2654674)
I'm a proponent of a ballot at (or near) ten names, not because I want or expect that many to make it, but because more votes per ballot (as compared to the writers' recent ballots) is needed to keep the percentage of electees per year from slipping (as the # of teams per year keeps increasing). My ballot, in rough descending order of merit:

Tim Raines
Bert Blyleven
Goose Gossage
Alan Trammell
Mark McGwire
Dale Murphy
Jim Rice
Andre Dawson
Lee Smith
Jack Morris
   97. kwarren Posted: December 27, 2007 at 09:41 PM (#2654687)
I'm a small hall guy, too, but when voting for the Cooperstown HoF, I say go with their flow--go big. Be fair to all eras, even our own. So I would add Dawson, Mattingly, Murphy, Rice, Parker and Morris. Oh, and Concepcion. Wait, that's 12? Well, this is a prelim.

I'd hate to read your list if you were a "large hall" guy?
   98. Ziggy Posted: December 27, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2654696)
What are you guys trying to do with leverage? It might tell you how exciting a particular part of the game is, but why is that relevant to measuring value? (Which, I take it, is what it would have to do to help a reliever's HOF candidacy.) Say your team scores 2 in the first, and the opponents score one in the second. Your reliever prevents runs from scoring in the ninth in a close game, but your starter did the same in the third; if either one of them had allowed two runs you still loose the game, no matter when the runs were given up.

In any case, my ballot: Raines, Blyleven, Trammell, McGwire

Re: McGwire. I think the only thing we can reasaonably do is compare current players to current players. I know this penalizes non-users, but I don't see a way around that. His 162 OPS+ is tied for 12th all-time, and third among contemporary players - which sounds good enough to me. (Just saying "12th all-time" might overstate his case, as having more teams in the league introduces greater variation in performance. I would expect, then, that it is easier to post a high OPS+ in post expansion baseball. Hence the ranking among contemporary players.)
   99. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2654697)
Raines
Blyleven


That is all.
   100. kwarren Posted: December 27, 2007 at 09:51 PM (#2654702)
7. Lee Smith -- Y'know, although we probably thought a few years ago that the save record would pass through 10 different hands in the next couple of decades, it hasn't actually happened. Mariano is going to catch Smith, but... who else is? Billy Wagner is 35 years old and 120 saves behind, so he probably will, although not necessarily. Still not a problem; I wouldn't object to Wagner in the HOF. Check the list; no other active pitcher has established much of a chance at all yet to catch Smith (you have to go down to the 25-year-olds who are about 350 saves behind.) Most of Smith's significant years were pitched in either Wrigley or Fenway; that's a huge factor. And just in general, he hardly ever had a bad season. I think he belongs.


You seem to be saying that a save is an accomplishment. It's nothing more than being in the right place at the right time. Look at all the guys with 4.00+ ERA(s) putting up 30+ saves. How many mediocre AAA pitchers couldn't come up and hold a three-run lead for one inning. A save means absolutly nothing.
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