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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Veterans Committee Ballot - Post-WWII Players

The election will end on Jan. 18 at 8 PM Eastern.

Eligible candidates: Dick Allen, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre and Maury Wills.

Rules:

9. Voting: The Committee shall consider all eligible candidates and voting shall be based upon the individual’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game. Electors may vote for as few as zero (0) and as many as four (4) eligible candidates deemed worthy of election. Write-in votes are not permitted (Editor’s note: though if you want to post them, I’m not going to stop you from doing that).

10. Number to be Elected: All candidates receiving votes on at least 75% of ballots cast on will earn election.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 12, 2009 at 12:42 AM | 84 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:01 AM (#3049126)
In alphabetical order:

Allen
Santo
Torre
   2. The District Attorney Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:47 AM (#3049150)
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
Jim Kaat
   3. Paul Wendt Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:55 AM (#3049156)
Last winter's special election for "Group 2" covered the Hall of Merit members from the relevant time period, approximately. The HOM subgroup ranked Bobby Grich number one but the Cooperstown's nominating committee passed him by.

Above I say "approximatley" because there was a mismatch.

[quoting the Hall of Merit Archives]
>>
* Election Results: Grich and Santo Are Tops for Group 2! Posted: February 10, 2008 at 02:54 PM
* Ballot Thread: Group 2 - careers 1943-1987 Posted: February 04, 2008 at 05:59 PM
* Ranking Hall of Merit players not in the Hall of Fame: Group 2, careers span 1943-87 Posted: January 27, 2008 at 06:24 PM
<<

Those thread titles by Secretary Murphy match the scope of Cooperstown veterans committee jurisdiction, and the present thread, but we put a few later players in Hall of Merit Group 2. Two of them, Ted Simmons and Darrell Evans fared very well and Graig Nettles also ran. Cooperstown's nominators didn't pass them by with Bobby Grich; rather, they played in the majors to 1988 or 1989 and were not yet eligible for this cycle of veterans committee consideration.
   4. Nolan Giesbrecht Posted: January 12, 2009 at 06:09 AM (#3049198)
My ballot:

Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
   5. HGM Posted: January 12, 2009 at 06:18 AM (#3049203)
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
Dick Allen
   6. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 12, 2009 at 07:21 AM (#3049231)
My ballot:

[no one]

I would vote for Grich if he were on.
   7. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 12, 2009 at 07:24 AM (#3049232)
Just to mess with the ballot counter, I'm ranking them randomly

Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre
Dick Allen
   8. Adam Schafer Posted: January 12, 2009 at 07:34 AM (#3049238)
Again, in absolutely no particular order:
Joe Torre
Ron Santo
   9. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: January 12, 2009 at 12:36 PM (#3049272)
Allen
Santo
   10. karlmagnus Posted: January 12, 2009 at 01:09 PM (#3049277)
Allen
Santo
Torre
Tiant (well why not? -- MUCH more of a Red Sox favorite than Jim Rice!)
   11. Tony Ling Posted: January 12, 2009 at 02:22 PM (#3049289)
Allen
Santo
Tiant
Torre
   12. Rusty Priske Posted: January 12, 2009 at 02:27 PM (#3049290)
Allen
Santo
Torre
   13. Mike Green Posted: January 12, 2009 at 03:00 PM (#3049304)
Santo
Allen
   14. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:27 PM (#3049388)
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
Dick Allen
Luis Tiant

One comment - this voting is by Veteran's Committee rules where the electors are instructed to consider the entirety of the person's career including contribution after playing career. By that standard I was shocked that Joe Torre wasn't elected by the actual committee and I am already shocked to see 3 people not vote for Torre. I can see someone finding his playing career or his managing career marginal but not both put together.
   15. John DiFool2 Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:36 PM (#3049401)
Santo (best eligible not in the Hall)
Torre (managerial career puts him over the line)
Tiant (thought long and hard about him, was peak & longevity vs. injuries. Wouldn't be a bad fit)
   16. Mike Webber Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3049406)
Santo
Tiant
Torre - 100% agreed with DL's comment - including managing he should be in Cooperstown this summer.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:41 PM (#3049407)
I can see someone finding his playing career or his managing career marginal but not both put together.


Frankly, it's indefensible, IMO.
   18. CCornell Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:44 PM (#3049415)
Allen
Santo
Torre
   19. Mike Green Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3049421)
Oh yes. I forgot that the VC takes into account managing career. Torre is marginal on his playing career alone.

Add Torre to my vote.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: January 12, 2009 at 04:50 PM (#3049425)
Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
   21. Sean Gilman Posted: January 12, 2009 at 09:01 PM (#3049900)
Allen
Santo
Torre
Tiant
   22. Rusty Priske Posted: January 12, 2009 at 09:27 PM (#3049931)
I think Torre deserves a spot based on his playing days alone.

Add managerial time and he should be a slam dunk, imo.
   23. Srul Itza Posted: January 12, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3049956)
Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre
   24. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2009 at 10:00 PM (#3049973)
Someone needs to tell Kim Pinson that her opinion matters as much as anyone else's here...
   25. Chris Fluit Posted: January 12, 2009 at 10:36 PM (#3050010)
Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre

(missed the first vote- I had Bill Dahlen, Joe Gordon, Sherry Magee, Bucky Walters and Deacon White on the prelim that i posted in the discussion thread)
   26. wolverine0712 Posted: January 12, 2009 at 10:42 PM (#3050017)
Santo
Torre
   27. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 12, 2009 at 11:14 PM (#3050048)
In the discussion thread I still didn't think it was clear whether or not we were allowed to include managing credit? Anyway, if we are supposed to, add Torre to my (otherwise empty) ballot.

Am I really the only one for whom Santo's huge homefield split has a big impact? Really? I know that on value, it doesn't matter whether you produce wins at home or on the road, but this is not the Hall of Value here. Away from home Santo was a perfectly mediocre player. I can understand the majority opinion being that the right thing to do is to simply adjust for the ordinary Wrigley advantage, and not Santo's absurd differential, but I'm surprised it's unanimous for this setting. People want to induct a third baseman with a .747 road OPS into the Hall of Fame? Really? Everyone?
   28. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2009 at 11:34 PM (#3050070)
Keep in mind that a .750 OPS wasn't that bad in the year of the pitcher...
   29. JPWF13 Posted: January 13, 2009 at 12:27 AM (#3050115)
I'm surprised it's unanimous for this setting. People want to induct a third baseman with a .747 road OPS into the Hall of Fame? Really? Everyone?

1960-74 every 3b with 1800+ PAs, by raw OPS:
Cnt Player OPS PA From To
+----+-----------------+-----+-----+----+----+
1 Darrell Evans .842 2349 1969 1974
2 Eddie Mathews .838 4962 1960 1968
3 Tony Perez .833 5886 1964 1974
4 Richie Hebner .826 3138 1968 1974
5 Ron Santo .826 9396 1960 1974
6 Jim Ray Hart .812 4236 1963 1974
7 Ken Boyer .809 5193 1960 1969
8 Sal Bando .790 4788 1966 1974
9 Bill Melton .783 3404 1968 1974
10 Bob Bailey .749 6413 1962 1974
11 Brooks Robinson .748 9926 1960 1974
12 Steve Braun .745 1813 1971 1974
13 Pete Ward .744 3511 1962 1970
14 Don Hoak .744 2106 1960 1964
15 Graig Nettles .736 3573 1967 1974
16 Ed Charles .727 3909 1962 1969
17 Doug Rader .726 4225 1967 1974
18 Joe Foy .723 2937 1966 1971
19 Rich Rollins .716 3675 1961 1970
20 Gene Freese .715 1994 1960 1966
21 Don Money .706 3433 1968 1974
22 Ken McMullen .700 5315 1962 1974
23 Mike Shannon .698 3056 1962 1970
24 Frank Malzone .698 3728 1960 1966
25 Max Alvis .692 3984 1962 1970
+----+-----------------+-----+-----+----+----+
Cnt Player OPS PA From To
+----+-----------------+-----+-----+----+----+
26 Jim Gilliam .691 3602 1960 1966
27 Paul Schaal .685 4149 1964 1974
28 Jim Davenport .685 3978 1960 1970
29 Wayne Garrett .684 2728 1969 1974
30 Clete Boyer .680 6016 1960 1971
31 Don Wert .657 4346 1963 1971
32 Charley Smith .649 2686 1960 1969
33 Bob Aspromonte .645 4798 1960 1971
34 Bubba Phillips .638 2120 1960 1964
35 Aurelio Rodriguez .627 4129 1967 1974
36 John Kennedy .604 2324 1962 1974

Keep in mind that rating Santo at .747 robs him of any Wrigley numbers
   30. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2009 at 12:30 AM (#3050119)
Jimmy Collins has a .752 career OPS. He's in the Hall of Fame.

Context is everything.
   31. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 13, 2009 at 12:46 AM (#3050133)
Well, 3B was a more important defensive position in Collins' days. Also, Collins' context is worth 26 points of OPS on Santo's context (per bbref.)

The league batted .333/.399, Santo hit .342/.406 on the road. As #29 said, sure, give him a bump for not playing home games in Wrigley, as well as the natural home advantage. Maybe his .748 on the road is equivalent to what a normal .770 overall hitter would do on the road (something like .788 at home and .752 on the road including Wrigley.) We are now talking about the 10th best offensive 3B of his era, when there are 24 teams in the league. Okay, yes, Jim Ray Hart was a butcher, as was Hebner, and yes, from all reports and statistics Santo's defense was very good, but I'm sorry, at 3B I simply have a hard time believing that defensive superiority makes up all the ground from being an average hitter at your position to the HoF.

Don't get me wrong, I can see the case for Santo in the HoF; he would be far from the worst player, but he's not particularly close to my (relatively small) Hall and I'm kind of surprised that he is universally believed to be the biggest shafting since Andrew Jackson in 1824.
   32. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 13, 2009 at 12:59 AM (#3050140)
My ballot:

Torre

-- MWE
   33. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3050163)
The league batted .333/.399, Santo hit .342/.406 on the road.

BBRef's league batting line is park-adjusted. Santo's road stats are park-adjusted in the other direction. I'll admit to being a little disingenuous with the Collins comparison, for the reasons you pointed out...

I don't see Santo as the biggest shafting myself, and the home field advantage is a point against him (value wise, there's some deduction for players who hit better at home in hitter's parks; there's a similar increase for players who do better at home in pitcher's parks. It's not huge.) But he should still be in the Hall - maybe not your small Hall, depending on how small, but the one that's actually in Cooperstown.

Ballot:
Santo
Allen
Torre
Tiant
   34. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 13, 2009 at 01:34 AM (#3050173)
Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre (Managerial career is worthy)
   35. Bleed the Freak Posted: January 13, 2009 at 01:46 AM (#3050184)
31. Jason Kendall's #6,530,420,771 fan (AS) Posted: January 12, 2009 at 06:46 PM (#3050133)

Don't get me wrong, I can see the case for Santo in the HoF; he would be far from the worst player, but he's not particularly close to my (relatively small) Hall and I'm kind of surprised that he is universally believed to be the biggest shafting since Andrew Jackson in 1824.


From the voters at the HOM, Bill Dahlen might be considered the biggest shaft, but Ron Santo is clearly an oversight, unless your Hall is <150 players, but the HOF and HOM are ~240 players.

Boy was it painful to see Jim Rice elected to the HOF. Might as well expand that Hall to > 400 players.
   36. HGM Posted: January 13, 2009 at 01:48 AM (#3050185)
but I'm sorry, at 3B I simply have a hard time believing that defensive superiority makes up all the ground from being an average hitter at your position to the HoF.

Brooks Robinson?

Now, Santo was no Robinson with the glove, but I don't think his advantage with the glove is as large as Santo's with the bat.
   37. Steve M. Posted: January 13, 2009 at 01:54 AM (#3050189)
1. Joe Torre
   38. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 13, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3050195)
Well since the rules say that you can vote for as many as four players, but don't specify that you can only vote once for each player...

Santo
Santo
Santo
Torre

Hopefully that will give him a leg (or two) up.
   39. rawagman Posted: January 13, 2009 at 02:24 AM (#3050209)
I am a Big Hall guy. The Hall has no statistical standards and there is always a little bit of the "I know a Hall of Famer when I see one" to choosing. As such, I am perfectly alright with Jin Rice getting in. I voted for him in my BBTF ballot. I would hope that Blyleven, Raines, etc also see their day, but in the long view, it doesn't matter what order they make it.
On playing time alone as well as with managerial credit where it is due (no order):
Joe Torre
Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Tony Oliva
   40. Newtype Posted: January 13, 2009 at 02:50 AM (#3050231)
Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Luis Tiant
Joe Torre
   41. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 13, 2009 at 03:44 AM (#3050258)
Torre, Santo, Allen.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 13, 2009 at 03:53 AM (#3050266)
Santo, Torre
   43. jimd Posted: January 13, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3050841)
Veterans Committee:
Santo
Torre
Allen
Tiant

Really want to vote for Grich...
   44. jimd Posted: January 13, 2009 at 07:52 PM (#3050852)
One comment - this voting is by Veteran's Committee rules where the electors are instructed to consider the entirety of the person's career including contribution after playing career. By that standard I was shocked that Joe Torre wasn't elected by the actual committee and I am already shocked to see 3 people not vote for Torre. I can see someone finding his playing career or his managing career marginal but not both put together.

Might the committee be waiting for 5 years after Torre's retirement?
(Even though they are not required to.)
   45. DanG Posted: January 13, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3050862)
It's good to see the hall of fame keeping pace with us by electing three players this year.

Anyone wanna compare and contrast their HOF-not-HoM guy (Rice) with our HoM-not-HOF guy (R. Smith)?
   46. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2009 at 10:41 PM (#3050980)
Ooh, I almost never wander into HoM threads!

1 Darrell Evans .842 2349 1969 1974
2 Eddie Mathews .838 4962 1960 1968
3 Tony Perez .833 5886 1964 1974
4 Richie Hebner .826 3138 1968 1974
5 Ron Santo .826 9396 1960 1974
6 Jim Ray Hart .812 4236 1963 1974
7 Ken Boyer .809 5193 1960 1969
8 Sal Bando .790 4788 1966 1974
9 Bill Melton .783 3404 1968 1974
10 Bob Bailey .749 6413 1962 1974


What a silly list. You're comparing a guy with 9400 PA, his entire career, to a bunch of guys with half as much playing time. You're comparing a guy who played during one of the toughest hitters' eras to guys who didn't get significant time until after the horrors of 1968. And there's someone like Perez who didn't play 3B in the last 3 seasons of this span (or ever again) and Hebner who was pretty much a platoon player his entire career.

Try this list -- players with 1500+ games at 3B through 1980 when Santo became eligible. You'll see he's 3rd in OPS+ and 3rd in games played. Adjust his home stats all you want, you can't make him out to be any worse than maybe the 5th best 3B in history at the time he retired (Mathews, Baker, Robinson, Boyer). Give him a "true OPS" of about 785 and he's still a smidgen ahead of Boyer. He was an above-average 3B on the road and possibly the greatest 3B ever at home while being among the most durable 3B of all-time ... I'm unclear why that wouldn't be an HoMer (as I know Santo is).

Now if you want to discuss (as I know you all have) the merits of guys like Boyer, Cey, Hack, etc., well, that would be a fine discussion to have.

Bizarrely, Santo had no L/R advantage for his career -- 279/362/465 vs. RHP, 271/364/461 vs LHP. Now if we treat his RHP performance as his true talent and give him the normal L/R splits ... :-)
   47. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 13, 2009 at 10:50 PM (#3050991)
Torre
Santo
Allen
Pinson

I'm not what to do with managers, but with a .467 W% and 3 winning seasons I don't think I'm missing much with Hodges.
   48. OCF Posted: January 14, 2009 at 03:02 AM (#3051237)
Anyone wanna compare and contrast their HOF-not-HoM guy (Rice) with our HoM-not-HOF guy (R. Smith)?

One of my adjusted, sorted RCAA lists, offense only (and Smith surely had more defensive value):

Smith 64 49 42 42 37 34 30 30 29 29 27 23 12  9  7 --3
Rice  64 49 42 38 23 20 13 11 11  8  0 
----


Interesting how those top three years work out. (I will grant that I'm probably underrating Rice because this counts GDP with context-adjusting that.)

As for a vote:

Santo
Torre
Allen
Tiant
   49. Mark Donelson Posted: January 14, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3052059)
Allen
Santo
Tiant
Torre
   50. Lassus Posted: January 14, 2009 at 10:06 PM (#3052068)
I'm not really qualified to vote, but if I was:

Tiant
Santo
   51. Mark Donelson Posted: January 14, 2009 at 11:46 PM (#3052168)
Anyone can vote in these, Lassus! (But are you including Torre's managerial years? They count for the the VC version, see above.)
   52. bjhanke Posted: January 15, 2009 at 12:12 PM (#3052518)
Here's my ballot, with some explanations:

Dick Allen
Ron Santo
Tony Oliva

Dick Allen
It's like dealing with Ed Delahanty or Joe Jackson back in the HoM positionals. There's only so long you can ignore a huge edge in OPS+ because the career wasn't terribly long. Dick laps the field in OPS+, and the competition here isn't full of Gold Gloves or giant careers. Dick is #1 for me.

Ron Santo
Santo is not that far over my borderline, but he is solidly over. From the few insider sources I have had, I have the impression that the main reason Ron is not in the Hall is that he is a jerk to other players, team personnel and sportswriters. He is not like that with fans, so they don't know. I only have this info second hand, but I have had it from multiple sources.

Tony Oliva
I go back and forth about Tony. His career is shortish, and injuries are part of the game, so I give him no break for getting hurt. The one thing that I obsess over is his late entry into the major leagues. Essentially, the story is that the Twins, when they signed Tony, were drowning in power hitting outfielders in their primes. Tony blew through the minors like he was Albert Pujols, and was clearly Major League ready by the end of 1962 at the latest. But he was sent down because the Twins had an outfield of Harmon Killebrew, Jimmie Hall and Bob Allison, all in their primes. The first baseman was Vic Power, who was a Gold Glove with an OK bat. After Tony tore the minors apart in 1963, the Twins got rid of Power and moved Allison to first to make room for Tony. But he really should have been in the majors full time by 1963 at the latest, and that would add one whole good year to a career that really can use even one more year. Next year, I may think this shouldn't count. Today, I do.

Left Out, in order except for Joe Torre, whom I would put between Kaat and Tiant right now:

Jim Kaat
A weird, long career lacking in peak and with bad luck in terms of choosing which years to have his good seasons. After doing a lot of pitcher analysis in the next year, I may well vote for Jim. But right now, I'm not sure enough to do that. Most of his closest matches are in the Hall, but not all of them.

LuisTiant
Another weird career. Again, I need to take a comprehensive look at pitchers to make a decision.

Al Oliver
The ten-point OPS+ drop from Tony Oliva more than balances out the longer career. Tony was probably a better defender, although it's not certain.

Gil Hodges
Not even with a managing bonus. No better a hitter than Oliver, and a shorter career. Probably a worse defender, although it might be close.

Vada Pinson
Another ten-point drop in OPS+ from Oliver and Hodges. A longer career, but not nearly enough longer. He'd have to be Willie Mays or Curt Flood on defense, and while better than Oliver, Hodges or Oliva, Vada wasn't THAT good.

Maury Wills
Had only two seasons where he stole more than 53 bases.

Joe Torre

As a ballplayer, I find Torre to be right about the borderline, a bit below it, certainly behind, say, Ted Simmons. That leaves managing. I give Joe Torre zero bonus for managing, because I remember his stints with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, as well as with the Yankees. Joe was dreadful with the first three teams, winning far fewer games than the talent on hand would indicate. Also, all three teams degraded during his tenure. The Yanks, everyone knows about. So, what happened? What was the difference?

With the first three teams, all of Torre's weaknesses as a manager got exposed. These include:

Can't evaluate talent
Can't organize a roster
Can't organize a lineup
Can't organize a pitching staff
Can't do in-game tactics

In short, Joe Torre is a lousy "technical" manager. However, when he went to the Yankees, most of that stopped being a problem. Big George was willing to buy him an All-Star team every year (not THE AS team for the year, but a team of players who could all contend for AS slots). Therefore, Joe did not have to evaluate talent. He had Mariano Rivera, so he could not mess up his closer. His pitching staffs, otherwise, have taken a lot of deserved heat, but he kept winning. If you have the talent he has had, you almost can't mess up the lineup, because everyone can hit. You can't mess up talent evaluation because you're comparing All-Stars to bench players. And tactics are too small a thing to keep you from winning.

But other managers have not won with George's Yanks. Why? Well, Joe Torre does have two strong managerial skills:

He can keep the owner calm and prevent him from detonating his own clubhouse
He can keep the local press calm and prevent them from detonating the clubhouse

These are political skills, rather than technical ones, and Joe Torre may be the very best in the world at them. Under Joe, George stopped doing obnoxious things like sending the young Bernie Williams down to Columbus every time he went 0 for 4. Under Joe, the New York press has kept quiet and not blown up the team into warring factions. With the Yankees, these skills are very important, because the owner and press are rabid. And Joe Torre proved more than up to the task of handling them. If George had not retired from active ownership, Joe might still be in New York.

So it's a balancing act. Joe has managed about as much with the Yanks as with the other three teams combined, but that makes sense because he succeeded with the Yanks and failed elsewhere. On the other hand, there is really only one Yankees and only one Big George. So Joe's skill set has very limited application. On balance, I give him no bonus.

BIAS DISCLAIMER and STORY

I have to add this in because it's a potential source of bias. I was writing a column for the local alternative weekly paper when Joe was managing the Cards, had a press pass and everything. There was this one incident:

The local daily, the Post-Dispatch, printed one of those "personality" items that you see from time to time, this one about Jose Oquendo. The paper noted that Jose was translating for Geronimo Pena, who spoke little English, even though Jose and Geronimo were competing for the second base job. The Post thought this was cute. I thought it was inexcusable on the part of the manager. You just don't do things like that. One player translating for his competition. No one on the coaching staff who can speak Spanish. Not in modern baseball you don't. So I wrote that up for my next column.

This had two immediate effects:

Within a week or two, the team had dismissed its third base coach and hired Jose Cardenal as third base coach in
charge of speaking Spanish.

A couple of the guys in the press box who knew me told me that if I was considering going down to the clubhouse and interviewing Joe Torre, I ought to reconsider my plans.

Well, I don't do interview journalism, so that was no problem, and I can't very well blame Joe Torre for getting mad. I had embarrassed him badly and in public, to the extent that he had had to change his coaching staff in mid-season. (It is, of course, possible that other people had noted the problem and gotten on Joe about it, but I don't know of any. As far as I know, this was the result of my column alone.)

Anyway, this is an example of what I don't like about Joe Torre's managing. It was all the worse because it wasn't just Oquendo and Pena competing for second base; Luis Alicea was in the mix, too. And to top it all off, the third base job was available. Jose Oquendo can play third base with his eyes closed, and Alicea had played it in the minors. (So had Pena, but he was apparently bad at it.) There was no reason to take all three of the Cardinals' Latin guys and make them compete for one spot. This is my problem with giving Joe Torre credit for managing. Except with the Yanks, he was bad at it, and the skills involved in his New York success only really apply to one team.

But I can see that some of you may think that the incident above has biased me against Joe. All I can say is look at his records before the Yankees and use your own judgment. I mean, your vote is your vote. I'm just trying to explain mine, because there has been at least one person here who says he cannot understand not voting for Torre at all, given his managing bonus. I thought I ought to express the other side of that.

- Brock Hanke
   53. Howie Menckel Posted: January 15, 2009 at 01:55 PM (#3052535)
Allen
Santo
Torre
   54. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 15, 2009 at 08:53 PM (#3052932)
Allen
Santo
Torre
Hodges

I'm including Hodges for 2 reasons. 1) I like max these ballots out, given the way the system is designed, I don't think it works unless everyone does this, you are never going to elect anyone. 2) I'm giving him credit for his managing.
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 15, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3052966)
You know, I'm going to change up . . .

Allen
Santo
Torre
Tiant

On second thought, I can't really justify Hodges' managing making up the gap with him and Tiant.

It won't bother me if they eventually elect Hodges though.
   56. Kenn Posted: January 15, 2009 at 11:02 PM (#3053109)
Going with:

Santo
Torre
Allen

Not very original.
   57. Paul Wendt Posted: January 15, 2009 at 11:15 PM (#3053127)
33. Eric J Posted: January 12, 2009 at 07:28 PM (#3050163)
The league batted .333/.399, Santo hit .342/.406 on the road.

BBRef's league batting line is park-adjusted. Santo's road stats are park-adjusted in the other direction. I'll admit to being a little disingenuous with the Collins comparison, for the reasons you pointed out...

I don't see Santo as the biggest shafting myself


Eric J is not the only one who refers to this matter. Others have said more or less the same and the repetition encourages me to inform or remind everyone. Eric J is convenient and probably unflappale because he is not from the Hall of Merit, iirc.

In last year's special election for HOM members "Group 2", we ranked Bobby Grich above Ron Santo by a big majority. That does not imply a big margin except at the ballot box, but it does make a clear margin. It's quite possible that we would jointly put Ron Santo behind Dahlen and White; Blyleven and Raines; Rose, Johnson, Barnes, and Jackson (the leaders in special elections for Groups 3, 1, and 4 respectively). But none of that is clear.

Somehow the Historical Overview Committee finally noticed Deacon White this cycle, after thrice nominating his younger brother three times. I wonder whether they noticed some reaction somewhere, and how there may be a noticeable reaction to their passing over Grich.
   58. Paul Wendt Posted: January 15, 2009 at 11:41 PM (#3053164)
Luis Tiant
On my Hall of Merit ballot for 2009 (as perennial, I discussed but didn't vote), he would have been the second or third pitcher, in one of the top five or six places. --with Urban Shocker, below Rickey Henderson 1 and Rick Reuschel 2. Tiant enjoyed a long career despite the troubles that curtailed his stardom with the Indians. Postseason with the Red Sox he earned some legend stripes but next to nothing here.

Clay Davenport estimates that poor team fielding support cost Tiant -0.05 runs per game (yielding more runs/9 than he would by working with league-average team fielding). Among the 100 career innings leaders 1871-2008, that is about the 18th percentile; the median is +0.03.

Ron Santo

Dick Allen

Joe Torre
Maury Wills is the guy who gets no manager's credit from me!

Well, bjhanke is persuasive but let me vote Torre anyway. Re the Hall of Fame members:
- all 64 returned paper ballots, including 19 votes for Torre (30%, fifth rank ahead of Wills)
- they don't all read instructions carefully
- I doubt they were instructed when many met together on induction weekend, but I wonder.
It seems to me that many voters must consider Torre a shoo-in "as a manager" and many would prefer to see him carry the manager label if they did know the rules and consider the point.
   59. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:02 AM (#3053192)
Brock, thanks for the detailed discussion on Torre. As a Yankee fan, I was all too aware of the insanity of George Steinbrenner and how difficult it was for anyone to run the team without interference. I think, as you acknowledge, that was Torre's greatest gift. Perhaps it wouldn't have mattered as much on another team, but he wasn't on another team. He needed the Yankees, but the Yankees also needed him. I am quite sure the Yankees would not have won those 4 titles if they had hired another manager. And when they did win them, Steinbrenner was not buying him an All-Star team. When they signed Mussina in '01, I think it was their first top-tier FA signing since Tartabull in '92 (who played no part in the championship teams). It's only since the 2000 championship that they have become active players on the FA market every season.

Isn't it possible Torre improved along the way? Managers learn and improve, and then they probably get old and the game passes them by. He may not have been the same guy in NY as he had been in his previous stops. Torre certainly had his flaws, and I was ready for him to leave when he did. But I would not trade his time here for any other manager.

- I'll also note, Cardenal was a coach with the Yankees for part of Torre's time (I don't remember exactly when). They let him go at some point, and I have a vague recollection that this left the team with no Spanish-speaking coaches, which I thought was odd and not very smart. No idea what connection Torre may have had to his hiring/firing.
   60. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:03 AM (#3053194)
I assume the real Vets Committee would prefer to elect a retired Torre. How many managers have been elected while still active?
   61. Paul Wendt Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:51 AM (#3053246)
Connie Mack was active but the NBHOFM wasn't yet underway, he was more than a manager or a mere manager/owner, and his selection cannot be distinguished from Centennial planning.

By Casey Stengel's time (Fall 1965, age 75) they needed a rule to permit electing him promptly, only a few months after he was done.

The point here is that Torre is classified as a player and eligible there, for consideration by the HOF members. He is not yet eligible as a manager for consideration by the committee on umpires and managers. But all the committees, by design, consider the whole careers of the nominees.
   62. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 16, 2009 at 01:25 AM (#3053283)
Frank Robinson was inducted in 1982 he was manager of the Giants that year, but not really what you were looking for.

Casey Stengel and Frankie Frisch were inducted having managed the year before (1965 and 1946).
   63. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 16, 2009 at 01:26 AM (#3053284)
Paul, I thought all managers were eligible after their 65th birthday.
   64. Paul Wendt Posted: January 16, 2009 at 03:13 AM (#3053343)
And I thought it was "still" six months after retirement.
Here is the currently published rule.

Rules for Election of Managers and Umpires
. . .

6. Eligible Candidates:

1. Eligible candidates must be selected from Baseball Managers and Umpires who have been retired from organized Baseball as Managers or Umpires for at least five (5) years prior to the election. If the candidate is 65 years old at the time of retirement, the waiting period is reduced to six (6) months. If the candidate reaches the age of 65 during the five-year waiting period, the candidate becomes eligible six months after the candidate's 65th birthday.
<<

Seriously, I doubt that it has been six months since Stengel. I think it's likely that there have been multiple rules during those now-44 years.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: January 16, 2009 at 03:20 AM (#3053348)
Active Executives are eligible. This rule leaves one lacuna and one curiosity. The curiosity is that Pioneers must be selected from Baseball Executives.

Rules for Election of Executives and Pioneers
. . .

6. Eligible Candidates:

1. Eligible candidates must be selected from Baseball Executives who have been retired from organized Baseball as an Executive for at least five (5) years prior to the election, as well as active candidates age 65 or older.
<<

On the main points this satisfactory. Baseball may honor a Bowie K while he is on the job but a Casey S must retire.
   66. Srul Itza Posted: January 16, 2009 at 03:47 AM (#3053357)
He had Mariano Rivera, so he could not mess up his closer.

Except that he used Rivera in the 8th inning more than most managers did, especially in the post season. He managed well in the post-season, because he understood the intense value of each game, which was different from the 162 game grind. My favorite moment was when he pulled Neagle in the bottom of the 5th of Game 4 in 2000, and brought in Cone to get the last out of the inning, because he did not want Neagle pitching to Piazza with only a one run lead.
   67. ronw Posted: January 16, 2009 at 08:44 AM (#3053466)
In order

Ron Santo
Dick Allen
Joe Torre
Luis Tiant
   68. bjhanke Posted: January 16, 2009 at 12:47 PM (#3053492)
Obama says, about Joe Torre, "He needed the Yankees, but the Yankees also needed him. I am quite sure the Yankees would not have won those 4 titles if they had hired another manager. And when they did win them, Steinbrenner was not buying him an All-Star team. When they signed Mussina in '01, I think it was their first top-tier FA signing since Tartabull in '92 (who played no part in the championship teams). It's only since the 2000 championship that they have become active players on the FA market every season.

Isn't it possible Torre improved along the way?"

I agree completely with the first two sentences. If Joe had not managed the other three teams badly, I'd be happy to give him a managing bonus for the Yanks. If he has a hot 5-year run with the Bums, I'll give him one then. But right now, I have him at zero. It's also possible that Joe has improved. At the time of the St. Louis incident, I wondered whether Joe had some sort of trouble with Latin guys. As I said, he took all three of his and made them compete for one job when the roster really did not justify that. He has handled Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera much better. But, then, as you said, his staff eventually devolved to having no Spanish speakers again, so I don't know. And Jorge and Mariano are much more obvious starters than any of the Cardinal Three were. Pena was a talent All-Star who could not stay healthy. Oquendo was aging and had a mildly bad foot. Alicea had the least talent, but was healthy. But then there were things like Joe's response to Geronimo's injury problems: He made the guy try to learn to switch-hit. I have no idea why, but it was a completely unnecessary distraction. What Pena needed was health, not more skills.

It's also true that George had a run of hot minor leaguers, like Bernie and Jorge Posada, come up about the time Torre hit, and for a while, didn't need big free agents. But he still kept acquiring big timers, one way or another (I don't remember off hand whether Cone was a free agent or a trade, but I do have some memory that it involved money).

Srul Itza talks about Joe and Mariano. I think I may have misstated my point. My point was that Joe didn't have three guys who could pitch a little and have to sort them out to find his closer. He had Mariano, so no sorting was needed. His handling of Mariano has drawn some flak, but Mariano seems to have survived any abuse quite well.

- Brock
   69. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 16, 2009 at 09:35 PM (#3053914)
Cone was obtained by trade in '95 for three minor leaguers. The Yankees of that era certainly paid well, but the players were obtained through the farm system, trade, or mid-level free agency. They didn't always have the highest payroll, and when they did, it wasn't by the vast margin it has been the last few seasons.

Torre's first closer was Wetteland in '96. I would assume he had some input into the decision to let Wetteland leave as a FA and make Rivera the closer. It may seem an easy decision now, after Rivera's tremendous '96 season as a set-up man and subsequent HOF career, but Wetteland was a very good pitcher and had been WS MVP. Actually, ten years later I'm not sure the Yankees make the same decision. They now see the playoffs as their birthright and would probably make the "safer" choice -- give Wetteland the money and keep Rivera setting up.

As far as a problem with Latin players -- I've never heard of such a thing. When Sheffield made his recent comments that Torre was unfair to his black players, it came as quite a surprise and was pretty roundly dismissed. Torre played in the NL of the '60s and '70s. I'd assume if he had problems it would have come out long ago. Could it be something that only manifests in a managerial role -- in a personal relationship he has no problem with anyone, but when deploying his troops he unconsciously treats Latinos (or blacks) differently? The only thing that comes to mind is his handling of Posada. There are Yankee fans who think Posada should have become the #1 catcher sooner than he did, but he shared time with Girardi for his first few years. But Posada only began catching in the minors, and when he came up he was not considered a strong defensive catcher. Some of the pitchers did not like throwing to him. Torre was himself a defensively-challenged catcher -- I'm not sure if that would make him more or less likely to identify and/or tolerate subpar defense from his own catcher.
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 16, 2009 at 10:37 PM (#3053985)
I remember Torre with the Mets and it's true that he wasn't very good, but it's hard to dismiss 28 seasons and the postseason success that he has had as having no merit.
   71. bjhanke Posted: January 17, 2009 at 02:29 PM (#3054263)
Obama, post #69:

The Cone deal(s) turn(s) out to be more complicated than this, which is what I vaguely remembered. Checking it out, Toronto acquired him from the Royals in a trade for three grade-B prospects, but his salary was large. The Royals were essentially dumping salary, which they had to do. When the Jays traded him a couple of years later to the Yanks in mid-season, also for three grade-B prospects, his salary was up to $8 million, which was huge at the time. This trade, too, was a money deal, basically, just to get rid of all that salary. He was also in his walk year and did in fact declare free agency in November. The Yanks then had to re-sign him as a free agent in December for a bit less than $5 mil. So, the Jays "bought" him from the Royals, and the Yanks "bought" him from the Jays. This is the kind of thing I remember from the early Torre years there. Not just free agent deals, but "trades" where the Yanks gave up mediocre prospects and took on a large salary. Since there is a cap on how much money can actually change hands in a trade, this kind of thing is common among rich and poor teams.

I think Mariano would have run John Wetteland off of the closer job whether the team had kept John or not, but I'm willing to give Torre credit for whatever input he had in getting John off the salary list.

The Latin thing surprised me, too, when it seemed to show up in St. Louis. I'd never heard of anything like that with Joe. I was actually very glad when he turned out to be able to handle Jorge and Mariano. I can also acquit Joe of anti-black racism with certainty. When he came to St. Louis, the player he publicly lobbied for them to acquire for him was Devon White. When that didn't happen, he actively lobbied for Bobby Bonilla in his free agent year. Racists don't normally lobby publicly for their team to acquire two black guys.

All in all, here's where I still am:

A minus with the Mets, who didn't have much talent at the time.
A big minus with the Braves (he did win one division, but he had the talent to do more, and the team got worse, instead).
A big minus with the Cards.
A plus, but not a huge one, with the Yanks, where he won much of the time with teams that should have won almost all the time.

This adds up to zero to me. Your opinion and your vote are of course yours, and I'm not going to complain. He has won a lot of titles. I'm waiting to see what happens in LA.

- Brock
   72. Tiboreau Posted: January 17, 2009 at 11:40 PM (#3054462)
Ron Santo
Dick Allen
Joe Torre, after managing credit
   73. Juan V Posted: January 18, 2009 at 12:04 AM (#3054465)
Tiant
Torre
Santo
Allen

In no order whatsoever.
   74. Al Peterson Posted: January 18, 2009 at 02:47 PM (#3054609)
Yep, this is the group think ballot

Allen
Santo
Tiant
Torre
   75. Chris Cobb Posted: January 18, 2009 at 02:58 PM (#3054610)
Allen
Santo
Tiant
Torre

Brief Comments
Allen was a monster hitter: short career, attitude issues, and all, he's still easily deserving.
Santo was an excellent hitter at third, an excellent defender at third, and played every day during his prime.
Tiant was a highly effective pitcher for a long time. He was not as much of an innings-eater as was looked for during the mid-sixties to mid-seventies, but his durability was above average. I wonder how many more innings he would have thrown in the early 1970s if he was not pitching in a hitter's paradise. Ought to be in the HoM as well as the HoF.
Torre doesn't quite make it as a player, though purely as a player he is ahead of all the remaining candidates here, but his managerial success with the Yankees was historic and makes the difference. There's a little of the "Wade-Boggs-in-Fenway" about the circumstances, but his value in those circumstances was real.

None of the others are close. Oliva might have had an HoF career without his injuries, but he needs more than one more big season to be in range; Kaat has the counting stats, but not the necessary substance behind them: he's a lot like Pinson and Oliver in that respect. Hodges was a very good player and in the right place at the right time as a manager. Wills had a small impact on the history of the game, which is exaggerated by the fact that he was the first to steal 100+ bases.
   76. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 18, 2009 at 04:03 PM (#3054617)
Not the greatest pool by any means. No candidate whose credentials scream for induction.

But I'd vote for Allen, even though 90% of that's on a peak basis, since he only had six seasons with 140 or more games. I look at it this way: He wasn't a Koufax level talent, but he had eleven straight years where he put up rate stats that were easily in the HoM range, and for most of that period he was clearly one of the best hitters in baseball. So he's over the line---and that's without even giving him extra credit for the all-important FEAR factor.

I'd go with Torre, too, but only if you allow managing credit. As a player he's the perfect HoVG candidate. A relatively small number of standout years, and a career 128 OPS+ combined with indifferent defense don't add up to the HoM in my book. And yes, I know he was a catcher, but only for the equivalent of fewer than six full seasons. You've got to be a better catcher than Torre was to score much credit for that.

Santo's close, but those road numbers are barely on the HoVG level. I know it was a bad time for hitters, but a .406 road slugging average and only 126 road HRs out of 342 total suggest a somewhat less than stellar talent once he left the Friendly Confines.

But the bottom line on all three of these guys is that the HoM could live with them, or live without them.
   77. The District Attorney Posted: January 18, 2009 at 04:15 PM (#3054626)
Torre was himself a defensively-challenged catcher -- I'm not sure if that would make him more or less likely to identify and/or tolerate subpar defense from his own catcher.
I'm sure that there are "I like players who resemble what I actually was like as a player" managers, and on the other hand, there are "I like players who resemble what I wish I were like as a player" managers. Torre himself seems to be the latter. He stuck a helluva long time with both Tom Pagnozzi and Joe Girardi -- Italian, defense-only catchers. And when Torre had a mediocre-fielding catcher who could hit -- Todd Zeile -- he moved the guy to 3B, just like Torre himself had been moved. This is a questionable decision to this day, because Zeile became a mediocre-hitting corner infielder, but nonetheless, that's what's Torre did. And now there has even been some talk of Russell Martin, a damn Gold Glove winner, moving to 3B too.

So yeah, I think it's fair to see that Torre sees catcher as primarily a defensive position, or perhaps as even more than that, as a position where you almost shouldn't have a hitter. So I think that explains his treatment of the early Posada, that Girardi was his type of catcher, and he wasn't convinced Posada was. But Joe must have eventually been convinced that Posada was a good defender, since he did leave Posada at catcher.
   78. EricC Posted: January 18, 2009 at 06:25 PM (#3054713)
Allen
Torre
Santo
Kaat
   79. Paul Wendt Posted: January 18, 2009 at 08:08 PM (#3054764)
(Hi, Al.)

74. Al Peterson Posted: January 18, 2009 at 08:47 AM (#3054609)
Yep, this is the group think ballot

Yep, but it wouldn't be if they had elected a couple of these guys. (Santo & Allen)

On the other hand, if they will nominate the right guys next time, will be able to run on group think for a while. . . Who earned 75% "top four" votes in the
Hall of Merit "Group 2", special election results? (It's a couple years ahead of veterans committee eligibility, so the website will have timely impact on the nominating HOC next year.)
. . . very impressive,
Grich, Santo, Allen, and Simmons all surpassed 75%
   80. Rob_Wood Posted: January 18, 2009 at 11:05 PM (#3054874)
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
   81. yest Posted: January 19, 2009 at 01:26 AM (#3054929)
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver
Ron Santo
Joe Torre
   82. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 19, 2009 at 02:00 AM (#3054945)
The election is now over. Results will be posted at 10 PM Eastern.
   83. Obama Bomaye Posted: January 19, 2009 at 03:05 AM (#3054969)
But Joe must have eventually been convinced that Posada was a good defender, since he did leave Posada at catcher.

Yes, and I don't remember any talk of moving Posada to another position until the last couple years, and that has appeared to be for the purpose of extending his career, not because of defense.


I can also acquit Joe of anti-black racism with certainty. When he came to St. Louis, the player he publicly lobbied for them to acquire for him was Devon White. When that didn't happen, he actively lobbied for Bobby Bonilla in his free agent year. Racists don't normally lobby publicly for their team to acquire two black guys.

Just to play devil's advocate, Torre wouldn't have to be an outright bigot to have issues with players of color. And even if he were, winning is still the bottom line, and he could want to add black players to help his team even if he wouldn't want to socialize with them. Racism comes in many shades, and I think everyone has some degree of prejudice. It's possible that Torre could believe he is treating everyone the same, yet subconsciously have different expectations of different races.

For the record, however, I would need more evidence than has been presented to believe that Torre does have a problem.

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