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Monday, December 01, 2014

2015 Hall of Merit Ballot

Welcome to the 2015 Hall of Merit Ballot thread. Balloting is open from now (December 1) through December 15 December 22, 2014 at 8 p.m. EDT.

I’ve posted this the last several of years, but as a reminder:

“This has been an issue in the past, so I’ll repeat it now for clarification . . . the posting of the ballot to the discussion thread for new voters is not just a formality. With the posting of the ballot you are expected to post a summary of what you take into account - basically, how did you come up with this list? This does not mean that you need to have invented the Holy Grail of uber-stats. You don’t need a numerical rating down to the hundredth decimal point.

You do need to treat all eras of baseball history fairly. You do need to stick to what happened on the field (or your best estimate of what would have happened if wars and strikes and such hadn’t gotten in the way). You may be challenged and ask to defend your position, if someone notices internal inconsistencies, flaws in your logic, etc.. This is all a part of the learning process.

It isn’t an easy thing to submit a ballot, but that’s by design. Not because we don’t want to grow our numbers (though we’ve done just fine there, started with 29 voters in 1898, and passed 50 eventually), not because we want to shut out other voices. It’s because we want informed voters making informed decisions on the entire electorate, not just the players they remember.”

So if you are up for this, we’d love to have you! Even if you aren’t up to voting, we’d still appreciate your thoughts in the discussion. Some of our greatest contributors haven’t or have only rarely voted.


Voters should name 15 players, in order. Thanks!

Don’t forget to comment on each of last year’s top ten returnees. As a reminder those guys are:

Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Sammy Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Jeff Kent, Luis Tiant, Bobby Bonds, Buddy Bell, Phil Rizzuto, Ben Taylor.

Vic Willis and Gavy Cravath were named on at least ten ballots each; Hugh Duffy and Sal Bando had strong support as well.

Newcomers on the 2015 ballot. Note, the WAR numbers below are a bit outdated. Generally they are a bit low.

WS WAR Name-Pos 
430 63.3 Gary Sheffield-RF
326 89.6 Randy Johnson-P
289 65.3 John Smoltz-P
256 73.5 Pedro Martinez-P
303 44.2 Carlos Delgado-1B
287 42.7 Brian Giles-RF/LF
219 42.6 Nomar Garciaparra-SS
191 27.3 Cliff Floyd-LF
161 27.8 Darin Erstad-1B/CF
189 16.8 Mark Loretta-2B/SS
177 18.5 Rich Aurilia-SS
175 17.6 Jermaine Dye-RF
114 26.1 Jarrod Washburn-P
125 18.0 Troy Percival-RP
138 11.1 Kevin Millar-1B
128 11.8 Tony Clark-1B
JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 01, 2014 at 10:49 AM | 181 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 01, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4851643)
Should be another great election ... I'll post a link to the Yahoo! email list also.
   2. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 01, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4851653)
Here's a link to the "Important Links" page, should have all of the historical things you'll need like historical ballot discussions, results, etc.
   3. DL from MN Posted: December 01, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4851717)
2015 Ballot

1) Randy Johnson - top 30 player all time, 10th on my list of pitchers; 3rd best LHP ever (Grove, Spahn). Randy Johnson versus Warren Spahn is very, very close.
2) Pedro Martinez - top 50 player all time, ranked just ahead of Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson and Bob Feller
3) John Smoltz - Top 60 player all time. Slots in between Bert Blyleven and Tom Glavine.
4) Curt Schilling - drops to 23rd among pitchers. Ignoring early pitchers he's behind Blyleven, Smoltz, Glavine and Roberts but ahead of Carl Hubbell, Gaylord Perry and Dazzy Vance. Top 75 player in baseball history.
5) Mike Mussina - top 100 player - around even with Gaylord Perry for 30th among pitchers
6) Gary Sheffield - Equivalent to Enos Slaughter, Larry Walker and Roberto Clemente among RF
7) Tommy Bridges - Have been supporting Bridges since the 1970 ballot. Still think he's great.
8) Urban Shocker - gets WWI credit
9) Phil Rizzuto - WWII credit
10) Bus Clarkson - NGL and Mexican league credit
11) Gavy Cravath - minor league credit
12) Luis Tiant
13) Bob Johnson - on every ballot since I started voting in 1968
14) Ben Taylor - how do we induct Palmeiro and Beckley but not Ben Taylor? Taylor has the advantage of being the best 1B in the league and they don't. Great fielder during an era where it mattered quite a bit.
15) Bert Campaneris

16-20) Tony Mullane, Bucky Walters, Dave Bancroft, Brian Giles, Hilton Smith
21-25) Norm Cash, Johnny Pesky, Jeff Kent, Dick Redding, Wally Schang,
26-30) Sammy Sosa, Don Newcombe, Dave Concepcion, Babe Adams, Tommy Leach

37) Kenny Lofton - I'm not as impressed with CF as the HoM voters are in general. About as good as Andre Dawson and Jim Wynn but they're not PHoM either. Behind Larry Doby and Earl Averill and they're the bottom of my PHoM CF.
54) Bobby Bonds - compares to Kiki Cuyler and Chuck Klein
59) Buddy Bell - BBREF is wrong, those WAR should be going to SS, not 3B. About even with Ron Cey and Robin Ventura.

Carlos Delgado - a modern day Boog Powell
Nomar Garciaparra - around 150
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 01, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4851770)
This formerly dedicated Win Shares voter now has a system that spits out docWAR:
• Based in BBREF WAR
• Includes DRA (2/3 strength) + rfield (1/3 strength) except for catchers where it’s 50/50 or anyone before 1893
• Adjusts for schedule, usage patterns for catchers, STDEV of league (WAA/PA or WAA/IP), usage patterns for pitchers, relief appearances pre-PBP, relief value during PBP era (via WPA integration), OF arms (which DRA doesn’t handle as well as BBREF does IMO), fielding in Coors, Old Yankee left field, and Fenway left field, and probably other stuff I’m forgetting, yadda yadda yadda

Thanks to including Glavine, Mussina, Maddux, Thomas last time, my consensus score was somewhere in the somewhat normal range. Perhaps this year I’ll make a return to the bottom of the list. Though I doubt I'll ever be of Yestian or Magnusian calibre.

I’ve taken a cursory look at the HOM’s balance across eras and positions. It appears that that we could use a couple more guys whose careers centered in the deadball era, whose careers started in the 1940s, and who got under way in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, we are a tad shy on catchers, in need of third basemen, and lacking a few starting pitchers. This is not information that makes my decisions, but if needed, I’ll find it useful as a guide.

I don’t really care whether there’s a whole mess of 1970s third basemen and no 1970s shortstops, just as I don’t mind that there were a mess of shortstops in the 1890s and 1900s…and almost no third basemen. Sometimes an era just tilts toward or away from a position.

With that said…, here’s my 2014 prelim. Which we could call the Got Pitchers? ballot

1. Randy Johnson: I’ve got him as a top-10 pitcher ever. That plays.
2. Pedro Martinez: In the top 12-15 ever. That’s also pretty good.
3. Curt Schilling: Roughly the same career value as Mussina but a significant advantage in peak/prime value, which I like.
4. Mike Mussina: He and Schilling are this close. Both are top 25 pitchers ever.
5. John Smoltz: We got a lot of good pitchers in the pipeline. Smoltz wasn’t consistently dominant like the guys above him. His relief work gets some help from my WPA-reliever adjustments, and he could hit a little to boot. But more of a career-oriented guy.
6. Buddy Bell: Very similar career though not hitting style as HOMer Graig Nettles. Easily the best 3B not in the HOM.
7. Gary Sheffield: Absolutely awful defender. Shoulda been a 1B all the way. Great bat, though!
8. Thurman Munson: Brings the D, has a bat, hangs tough with the other 1970s catchers. I like him a bit more than HOMer Brenshan and significantly more than HOMer Freehan.
9. Wally Schang: Not much in the peak department, but tons of career value for a catcher.
10. Kenny Lofton: A top-fifteenish CF. DRA actually dislikes him more than rfield, so this is more conservative than a straight WAR vote would deliver.
11. Bobby Veach: New to my ballot. He’s the Jimmy Sheckard of the 1910s AL—a fantastic fielder in a time when LF was a much more important defensive position (more balls hit there, like a second CF in the sense that 3Bs were like second shortstops, see Wizardry for more on this), and his bat is strong as well. A top-15 or so player in LF for me.
12. Luis Tiant: Same exact peak/prime value as Reuschel but with less career value. He and Shocker are pretty close together, both just inside the top 3/4s of pitchers.
13. Urban Shocker: Marichal with less peak…or Saberhagen with a little more.
14. Tommy Leach: DRA loves this guy at both 3B and CF. In fact, all systems rate him as very good to outstanding. At 3B he’d be a top-15 among eligibles, nearly so in centerfield.
15. Vic Willis: Easily within the 3/4s of all pitchers, which makes him an easy vote for me.

Rizzuto: I am applying war credit at the player's career average by season. Rizzuto ranks between Vern Stephens and Roger Peckinpaugh for me, which puts him below the line.

Taylor: I have never voted for Taylor even way back when. Just doesn't have enough peak for my tastes, though I respect his career length.
Sammy Sosa and Bobby Bonds: He and Bobby Bonds are extremely close in value and shape. I like Sosa’s peakiness a little more than Bonds’ steadiness. They stack up right on the borderline for me and could go either way, but they are currently behind these other guys in my pecking order.

Jeff Kent: Not as strong as I’d thought he’d be. Defense has something to do with that, but also he was rarely great. I’ve got two fringe-MVP years, 1 All-Star year, and one very-nearly-All-Star year then lots of 3 and 4 win seasons.
   5. Tiboreau Posted: December 01, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4852097)
Hello, Hall of Merit, after a few years away I thought I'd would try participating once again. My ballot's rather simple: I look at both Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference for their WAR statistics, a player's career & best 5 seasons, and adjust for season length as well as absences due to war or strike. Hope my ballot's satisfactory, and am happy to be voting again

1. Randy Johnson—While growing up an M's fan, The Big Unit wasn't my favorite superstar, and his best seasons occurred elsewhere, but looking back at that era no one made a greater impression upon me than Randy Johnson. King Felix may end up the franchise's greatest pitcher, but The Big Unit dominated in a way that will forever be remembered (seems to be enjoying retirement, too). Easily one of the Top 10 pitchers of all-time, arguably Top 5 alongside Greg Maddux.
2. Pedro Martinez—12 G, 90 IP, 46 H, 10 R, 24 BB, 121 K, 12-0 1.00 ERA. Between 1998 & 2003 I dreaded seeing no pitcher on the mound more than Pedro Martinez. While he did not produce the bulk seen in the careers of Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux & Randy Johnson, Pedro's superlative rates place him among the elite pitchers in baseball's history.
3. Curt Schilling—Over 200 wins, 3,000 innings & 3,000 strikeouts with a 127 ERA+. A 2.23 ERA & 11-2 record in 133 postseason innings. 80 WAR over a 20 year career with nearly 40 WAR in his best 5 seasons. Sounds like of Hall of Famer to me!
4. Mike Mussina—I would think a pitcher with 270 wins would receive more than a mere 20% mention on Hall of Fame ballots. . . . Similar to Schilling over their careers; slightly worse peak & postseason performance compared to Curt means Mussina's one spot below. Both are easy HoMers—it's unfortunate one will have to wait another year for induction.
5. John Smoltz—5th spot, 5th pitcher and all are easy HoMers! Played in the shadow of teammates & HoFers Maddux & Glavine, but like the latter Smoltz is a clear 2nd tier HoMer: over 150 saves to go with 200+ wins & 3,000 strikeouts in nearly 3,500 innings.
6. Kenny Lofton—The beginning of the backlog. While his power & OPS+ are unimpressive for his era, over 2,400 hits, 900 walks & 600 stolen bases at nearly an 80% success rate with excellent outfield defense are credible HoM credentials. While Baseball Reference is more effusive, Fangraphs still credits Lofton with 62 WAR over his career & 30 WAR over his best 5 seasons, enough for me to comfortably place Lofton among the top of the backlog.
7. Buddy Bell—Similar to Kenny Lofton in that they were both decent, yet unspectacular hitters (2,500 hits, 200 home runs, 800+ walks & a 109 OPS+ in 10,000 plate appearances) whose candidacies depend upon how you value their excellent defense--especially in Bell's case since, unlike Lofton & his excellent speed, Buddy was a below average base runner. Considering that both Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference agree on his defensive excellence--crediting him with more defensive runs than Graig Nettles--I am content with Bell's spot on my ballot, especially since there are fewer 3rd basemen in the HoM than any other position (see also: Sal Bando). Gets a boost due to his strong performance in the strike-shortened 1981 season.
8. Hilton Smith—One of the best Negro League pitchers of his era, Alex King's estimates credit Smith with nearly 60 WAR over his career, and one of the better peak performances on the ballot—over 35 WAR during his best 5 years. Combined with a Hall of Fame reputation begets enough confidence to place Hilton on my ballot.
9. Sammy Sosa—2,400 hits, 900 walks and, of course, 600 home runs, including three 60 HR seasons. An excellent fielder in the first half of his career, and an excellent slugger in the second half of his career; too bad those two facets of Sammy Sosa didn't better align with one another. . . . His 171 strikeouts in 1998 & '99 led the league; in 2013 & 2014 those totals would have been good for 8th.
10. Luke Easter—We know that he had a long career (records of play with top Negro League teams in late ‘30s, early ‘40s and continued to play in the minors until the early ‘60s). We know he had the potential for big play (1948 and, when healthy, ’52, ’56 and ’58). What we don’t know is how well he would have played in the first half of his career, during his twenties. Yet, as we dig deeper into the backlog I find myself more willing to elect a player with a good career who showed the potential for greatness than one with a long career of merely above average play or one with short period of definite greatness during an abbreviated career.
11. Tommy John—The first in a handful of pitchers known for their long careers of unspectacular success who are on or near my ballot that would not have sniffed it a few years ago, a product of looking at career & peak a little differently this time round. Nearly 300 wins, a 111 ERA+ & a 3.38 FIP in 4,700 innings over 760 games is a remarkable accomplishment, and both Baseball-Reference & especially Fangraphs recognize this, crediting John among the best of his cohorts still eligible despite the solid, yet underwhelming performance of his best years.
12. George Uhle—At a casual glance, this may be a bit of a surprise: 200 wins, 1,100 strikeouts, a 106 ERA+ & a 3.83 FIP in just over 3,000 innings is a good career, but one that would seem more fitting of the Hall of the Very Good than the Hall of Merit. And both Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference would agree, crediting Uhle with around 45 pitching wins over his career. But pitching isn't the sole means of run production available, and Uhle made the most of his hitting opportunities, posting robust percentages for a pitcher even in the 1920s (.289/.339/.384 for an 86 OPS+ in 1,500 plate appearances). Both Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference credit Uhle with around 12 batting wins, boosting his career value into more respectable territory. And considering most Uhle's value came in his best years (Fangraphs credits Uhle with over 30 WAR in his best five years, Baseball-Reference 35 WAR) as well as a small boost for WWI & the 154-game schedule helps lift George onto the bottom 3rd of my ballot.
13. Perucha Cepeda—Considered the greatest of the Caribbean ballplayers during segregation, El Toro spent the majority of his career as a shortstop where he had an above-average reputation with a strong throwing arm playing in the Dominican & Puerto Rican leagues before moving to the outfield & first base at the end of his career. Opted to forgo the Negro Leagues due to the racism in the U.S., so the playing record is skeletal, but for the years where we have statistics for the Puerto Rican Winter Leagues Cepeda dominated amid some of the best Negro League talent of the era. Perucho finished in the Top 3 in batting average in the PRWL's first 4 years, including 2 1st place finishes and MVP trophies during his mid-thirties. His placement is based on Alex King & James Newburg's WAR estimates, which are likely conservative considering the lack of information.
14. Burleigh Grimes—The last of the legal spitballers, and the 2nd of the pitchers known for their long careers: 270 wins, a 108 ERA+ & a 3.65 FIP in over 4,000 innings. After WWI credit & adjust for the 154-game schedule, Baseball-Reference credits Grimes with over 56 WAR during his career while Fangraphs values it at over 63 WAR, but it's Ol' Stubblebeard's 5 best years that push Grimes ahead of most of his eligible cohorts--both credit him with over 30 WAR during what they consider is 5 best seasons.
15. Gary Sheffield—One of the more curious careers, it began slowly, lacking durability, but Sheffield would play over 20 years with nearly 11,000 plate appearances, 2,700 hits & 1,500 walks with over 500 home runs and a 140 OPS+. His hitting prowess, however, would be marred by poor defense no matter his age or position, leaving Sheffield among the backlog, albeit the top of of the backlog.
16. Jim Kaat
17. Gavy Cravath
18. Sal Bando—For now Baseball Reference & Fangraphs' assessment of Bando's career are taken at face value; both credit him with more than 30 WAR over his best 5 seasons, and Baseball Reference credits Sal with over 60 WAR during his career.
19. Luis Tiant—One of baseball's fascinating career revivals, El Tiante had one excellent season & two all-star years before he appeared to succumb to injury. But Luis re-invented himself as a junkballer with myriad arm angles, posting a handful of seasons with over 5 WAR before his career would finally end. Baseball Reference is more enthusiastic about Tiant than Fangraphs.
20. Jack Quinn
21. Urban Shocker
22. John Olerud
23. Dwight Gooden
24. Kevin Appier
25. Bus Clarkson

Required Disclosures:
• Jeff Kent—Comparing Kent to Kenny Lofton, both had 2400 hits in their career, between 800 & 950 walks, while Lofton was an excellent base runner & Kent was a .500 slugger. The difference lies in their defense--both Baseball Reference & Fangraphs have the center fielder Lofton with more than 150 fielding runs than the second baseman Kent. A few wins behind Father Bonds & Bob Johnson in both peak & career, and as mentioned below, small differences in a large backlog is enough to create a gap of several spots among candidates. Kent is among my Top 45 with Ron Cey & Phil Rizzuto.
• Bobby Bonds—Sits alongside Bob Johnson among my Top 30. Slightly behind fellow outfielders Lofton, Sosa & Sheffield in peak & career, and with over 100 years to develop, a small step behind your peers can mean several spots back amid the backlog.
• Phil Rizzuto—Neither Baseball Reference nor Fangraphs are as effusive about shortstops as Dan Rosenheck's system. Rizzuto sits alongside Dave Bancroft & the elected Joe Sewell, and with the former rounds out my Top 45. While I do not consider his 1946 season in calculating war credit, I do not adjust his value that season since he did play and his performance did affect his team.
• Ben Taylor—For a long time Taylor's candidacy was compared to Eagle Eye Beckley's as an early era first basemen with a long career & mediocre peak. I've placed Taylor amid similar first basemen Tony Perez & Fred McGriff, and ahead of the elected Beckley; however, if there is evidence of a more deserving reputation as a Negro League ballplayer in a poorly documented era then please let me know!
• Vic Willis—Like his Negro League counterpart Dick Redding, Willis's career looks less impressive when considering the deadball era in which they pitched.
   6. Chris Fluit Posted: December 01, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4852174)
2015 Ballot

1. Randy Johnson, P (new): 1st in ERA+ 6 times (1995, ’99-’02 and ‘04). 1st in Inning Pitched twice (’99 and ‘02). 135 career ERA+ in 4,135 innings (23rd and 38th all-time respectively).

2. Pedro Martinez, P (new): 1st in ERA+ 5 times (’97, ’99-‘00, ’02-‘03). Top ten in innings pitched 6 times. 154 career ERA+ (2nd all-time) in 2,827 innings pitched.

3. Curt Schilling, P (4): 128 ERA+ in 3,261 innings. Top ten in ERA+ 10 times including 2nd in ’01 and ’04. Top ten in innings pitched 7 times including 1st in ’98 and ’01.

4. John Smoltz, P (new): 125 ERA+ in 3,473 innings. Top ten in ERA+ 9 times. 1st in innings pitched in ’96 and ’97. 162 ERA+ across four mid-career relief seasons (2001-04).

5. Mike Mussina, P (5): 123 ERA+ in 3,562 innings. Top ten in ERA+ 11 times, including 2nd in 2001 and 3rd in 1992.

6. Gary Sheffield, RF (new): 1st in OPS+ in 1996, 5 times in the top 5, 9 times in the top 10. 140 OPS+ in 10,947 PA. Historically awful defense (-195 fielding runs) keeps him from being one of the all-time greats.

7. Ben Taylor, 1B: (7): Imagine a player with Carlos Delgado’s bat and Mark Grace’s glove. That’s what Taylor’s estimates look like (138 OPS+ in 9091 compared to 138 in 8647 for Delgado and 76.5 fielding runs compared to 77 for Grace).

8. “Cannonball” Dick Redding, P (8): Most career WAR and Win Shares Abbove Bench of Negro League players not in the Hall of Fame. #1 pitcher in 1914/15 (Cuban League), ‘17 and ’19. #1 player in 1917 (25.9 Win Shares). Top three in ‘12/’13, 1915, and ‘15/’16. Top ten in ’12, ’16 and ’21. Great peak, sufficient prime.

9. Sammy Sosa, RF (14): 128 OPS+ in 9896 plate attempts. Five seasons of 150 or better. +86 fielding runs thanks to a great glove when he was a young.

10. Jeff Kent, 2B (8): 123 OPS+ in 9537 plate attempts, with 1 season over 160, 3 over 140 and 5 over 130. Minus 42 fielding runs keep him from being an Inner Circle guy.

11. Sal Bando, 3B (9): The best third baseman available. 60.6 career WAR, in 400 fewer games than Buddy Bell (60.8). 119 OPS+ at the plate and +36 fielding runs at the hot corner.

12. Vic Willis, P (10): Best pitcher in the National League in 1899 (1st in ERA+, pitching wins and WAR for pitchers). Second-best in ‘01, ’02, and ’06. Packed a huge career (3996 innings) into only 13 seasons.

13. Don Newcombe, P (11): Minor league credit during integration, military credit during the Korean War and 9.0 WAR at the plate on top of an already very good pitching career.

14. Tommy Bridges, P (13): Top ten in ERA+ 10 times in 12 seasons. Top ten in innings pitched 5 straight seasons from 1933 to 1937.

15. Bob Johnson, LF (n/a): 13 seasons with OPS+ over 125, top ten 10 times in 12 seasons. Top ten in Runs Created 9 times.

Required Disclosures:
Hugh Duffy: 18th; I'm a big Duffy booster but the newbies have knocked him off my active ballot
Kenny Lofton: he's currently 19th and has been as high as 16th; he should make my ballot before he gets elected
Luis Tiant and Bobby Bonds: 25th and 28th respectively
Gavvy Cravath: 31st thanks to Minor League credit
Buddy Bell: no thanks, overrated by dWAR, Bando was better
Phil Rizzuto: I joined the Rizzuto bandwagon for a brief time but I prefer the consistent primes of Bancroft, Campaneris and Concepcion, not to mention Aparicio's career
   7. The Honorable Ardo Posted: December 01, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4852319)
2015 Ballot (last three years in parentheses):

1) Randy Johnson (new). 2nd-best left-handed pitcher, after Grove.

2) Pedro Martinez (new). Best live-ball peak ever. Top 15 pitcher all-time.

3) Curt Schilling (NA-5-4). Best peak of the "next three" pitchers.

4) Mike Mussina (NA-NA-5). Slightly behind Smoltz on raw rates, but pitched in the AL East for his entire career.

5) Gary Sheffield (new). Would be #3 had he been average on defense, but I believe (having seen it firsthand in Detroit!) that his defense really was as wretched as most metrics indicate.

6) John Smoltz (new). Over-rated by traditional stats (he pitched for a dynastic team, in front of good defenses, & in the weaker league) but still comfortably HoM material.

7) Wally Schang (2-7-7). Unfairly docked by some voters for lack of playing time. The catcher durability revolution had begun, but not fully taken hold, in Schang's day. His strong offense/OK defense profile merits HoM inclusion.

8) Tommy John (3-8-8). I have John's career through his age-39 season in an effective tie with Rick Reuschel. He shouldn't be faulted for pitching (near league-average for a starter) well into his forties.

9) Ben Taylor (off-off-9). It's an historical accident that we know more about John Olerud and Jake Beckley than Taylor. The best evidence suggests Taylor combined Beckley's bat and Olerud's glove in one player.

10) Adolfo "Dolf" Luque (1-6-6). Demoted after re-reading the Grimes/Luque thread. There's vigorous debate whether Luque was held back by racism, as I once believed, or was simply a late bloomer. His Cuban record is good, but inferior to Jose Mendez.

11) Sammy Sosa (NA-9-12). On hitting alone, he's a dead ringer for Chuck Klein, whom we're in no hurry to induct. It's entirely a question of whether his gaudy defensive WAR totals through 1997 accurately reflect his value.

12) Hilton Smith (4-10-10). Excellent peak value and a good hitter too. I see his contemporary Bucky Walters as the low end of his range.

13) Buddy Bell (7-11-11). Very good defensive 3B, just a hair below Nettles and Brooks Robinson. Equivalent offensive value to both, although it took a different shape: high BA, moderate slugging.

14) Jeff Kent (NA-NA-off). Belongs on the ballot; not only does he have a reverse career arc, but he was actually an average defensive 2B with the Giants. His "sieve" phase didn't begin until his move to Houston (and, of course, his late career is freshest in the electorate's mind).

15) Nomar Garciaparra (new). The peak stands out that wide: six 6+ WAR seasons at shortstop in seven years. He doesn't "need" any more value. Comparable to Dobie Moore and to Lou Boudreau once Boudreau's 1943-45 are discounted for wartime competition.

16-18 (were on my 2014 ballot, but fell off this year): Luis Tiant, Lee Smith, Kenny Lofton.
19-25: Bus Clarkson, Bobby Bonds, Tommy Leach, Thurman Munson, Vic Willis, Sal Bando, Bernie Williams.


Phil Rizzuto needs a boatload of WWII credit to stand out above several other glove-first shortstops.

Brian Giles is a dead ringer for Bob Johnson; Giles was a slightly worse defender with a slightly higher hitting peak. I'm not much for the "extra credit" arguments for Johnson or Giles.

Carlos Delgado comes out even with Norm Cash, with more offensive value (about 1000 extra PA & equivalent rates) but less defensive value. Both are behind Fred McGriff.

I took another look at Hugh Duffy, but he's essentially done at age 31. In career shape and overall value, he closely resembles Dale Murphy.

As for Gavvy Cravath, I've never supported his candidacy - he hit 92 of his 119 career home runs in the Baker Bowl.
   8. JMD Posted: December 01, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4852384)
I value career over peak, but can be entranced by a great prime. I look at traditional statistics, ERA+, OPS+, Win Shares and Ink.

1. Johnson -- all time great.
2. Pedro -- best pitching peak I ever witnessed.
3. Kent -- second base is such a weak position, and he really hit for a long time.
4. Burleigh Grimes – as a career voter, I have difficulty seeing the vast difference others see between Rixey and Faber (both now elected) and Grimes.
5. Dick Redding – probably the 6th best blackball pitcher of all-time (behind, at least, Williams and Paige and likely behind the Fosters and Brown), and that is good enough for me.
6. Tommy John – not too far from Grimes, a step above Kaat. No credit for the surgery, but medical pioneers (even the guinea pigs) get my respect.
7. Sheffield -- better than Rice and Perez.
8. Lou Brock – I think the post season value and the tremendous speed puts him ahead of the similar long-career peakless Beckley, who, of course, is now in our Hall.
9. Tony Perez – 34th all-time in total bases, no black ink – the weight of his career totals push him above what otherwise looks like a definitional bubble candidate’s resume.
10. Addie Joss – I don’t like short careers much, but I cannot ignore the best WHIP of all-time, the second best all-time ERA, the 12th best ERA+ and the nice winning percentage. I think he is an anomaly and I don't want to kick him off the ballot just because he wouldn't qualify based on the factors I most often consider. He belongs in my pHoM, if I had one.
11. Sammy Sosa -- fits somewhere around here. Those five monster years were supported by a half dozen other quite good ones, which makes him both a peak and career candidate.
12. Smoltz -- a unique two career candidate. I always saw him as a better pitcher than Schilling, though their career totals are pretty close.
13. Fred McGriff -- most would agree with me that he is definitely better than Rice, with his substantially longer peak (though many of those people would have both 50 spots lower). I really like the consistent shape of his career. It doesn't bother me that he plied his trade among many other great firstbasemen (see my comment on Tiant).
14. Jim Rice – I like the 77-79 peak. I like the runs created in his ten+ year prime and I like his overall totals. I do adjust raw totals significantly, but I think people are holding Fenway too much against him. From 1975 to 1986, Rice led the American League in total games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBIs, multi-hit games, and outfield assists.
15. Dave Parker – I think he is very similar to Rice, but I like Rice’s peak better. Their career counting stats impress me.
16. Albert Belle – I thought I would love him. What a peak! I had hoped the peaksters would put him higher, but as a career voter, this is as high as he can get for me.
17. Curt Schilling -- his 9 year prime pretty much matches Belle's. For me, he suffers because I watched his career unfold -- unlike Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza and even Sosa, I never thought Schilling was having a Hall of Merit career.
18. Mussina -- not much of a spread really from Grimes to Tiant. I think my top 19 should be in the Hall.
19. Luis Tiant – I don’t have a problem with 11+ pitchers from the 70s making our Hall. Talent isn’t evenly distributed and I have no problem with acknowledging value attached to favourable conditions.
20. Sam Rice -- 2987 hits speaks to me.
21. Orlando Cepeda – He is a very difficult choice for me because he isn’t significantly better than Howard, Colavito and Cash, but the slight difference means 20+ spaces on this ballot.
22. Delgado -- great peak and prime.
23. Pie Traynor -- I think he would have been a multiple time all-star.
24. Harold Baines – 32nd all time in total bases, the DHing keeps him well behind Perez. I see him as a better candidate than Staub.
25. Jim Kaat
26. Lance Parrish
27. Jack Morris
28. Bernie Williams
29. Luis Gonzalez
30. John Olerud
31. Aparicio -- those 1000 extra outs separate him from Fox, as does the poorer defence.
32. Rusty Staub
33. George Van Haltren – 40 wins, 2500 hits, never dominated. Pretty good adjusted win shares.
34. Jimmy Ryan – 2500 hits, good speed, lots of runs. Hurt by timelining.
35. Dizzy Dean
36. Tommy Leach – 300+ WS has to mean something.

Scooter -- I don't see him as a top 50 candidate, but I am sure I am undervaluing middle infield defence from his era. I get mocked for having Aparicio so high, but I'll take his longevity (and, I believe, a better glove) over the 11 points of OPS+ he cedes to Rizzutto.

Lofton, Bonds, Bell and Taylor are not particularly close for me, though Lofton and Bell might crack the top 50.
   9. OCF Posted: December 01, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4852399)
JMD: is this your first voting year, or are you an old voter under a new name?
   10. Patrick W Posted: December 02, 2014 at 08:23 AM (#4852482)
Compared to the electorate as a whole, I have to be considered a career voter. However, my vote does include an additional 5-year credit for a weighted average of peak seasons (3-Yr, 5-Yr, etc.). Ranking system is based off Davenport WARP components, with modified adjustments in the conversion from W1 to W3. I also review BB-Ref as a check but don’t use those numbers systematically.

I’ve made a concerted effort this year to update all my revised player rankings, incorporating FRAA over FRAR. I am up to 776 players under consideration for this ballot, less all HOM members. In addition, for the first time I’ve entered in active and recently retired players for tracking and comparison purposes. For the first time since the start of this project, I feel like I’m actually ahead in my preparations for submitting a ballot.

With a (relatively) complete player set, I have spent some time evaluating my weighting of defense, positions, and other measures to ensure the top 256 players represent a fair and equitable representation across time; my previous calibration based on the top 100 players was long overdue for an update. Long story short, it’s going to take at least 30 years electing to the P-Hall players who would’ve already made it had this new system been in place from the start – including many HOMers elected over the past 30 years. And because of this, I am fully reversing my worries of 2011-2012 over the forthcoming elect-4 years; I now fully endorse and look forward to them.

I’m not fully satisfied with the current weightings, based on some P-Hall players who would be left short in a revisionist P-Hall history; I expect more tinkering to come. But there’s no amount of tinkering that’ll drastically change my P-Hall elections over the next 5 years.

1. Randy Johnson (n/a), Sea. (A) – Ariz. (N) SP (’89-’09) (2015) – The most amazing thing to me is how much career value he achieved despite not reaching the majors full time until he was 25. 2015 is a deep ballot of recent retirees, but Johnson is head-and-shoulders above the rest here for the top spot.
--- Top 25% of HOM Line ---
2. Gary Sheffield (n/a), Fla. – L.A. (N) RF / LF (’89-’09) (2015) – A significant regression of his (and everyone’s) below average fielding numbers provides a clear separation between Sheffield and Pedro/Kent/Smoltz. Pedro’s peak goes a long way of closing the gap, but not enough. The comparison has to be Dick Allen with a longer career, right?
3. Pedro Martinez (n/a), Bost. (A) – Mont. (N) SP (’93-’09) (2015) – The new system puts Kent ahead of Pedro based almost entirely on the need to tamper down all pitching totals relative to hitters. Otherwise, I’d be electing too many SP’s moving forward. This is a borderline HOM concern; among upper-level HOMers, I don’t see a reason to hold this discount of Martinez’s value. I’m more sure of Pedro deserving to be in the Hall than I am Jeff, although both are top 100 talents
4. Jeff Kent (4), S.F. – L.A. (N), 2B (’92-’08) – Looks to rank comfortably ahead of Sandberg, and close to – but behind – Biggio, Gehringer, and Grich. Really surprised Houston wasn’t the second team listed here, but the DT’s love his 2005 season in Dodgertown.
5. John Smoltz (n/a), Atl. (N) SP / RP (’88-’09) – A small amount of extra credit for his relief work in his mid-30s, but surely not enough to make up for his potential starter value in those years. Well, he probably got close to full value off that 2003 season. Fully deserving of immediate election, but will have to wait for election on my ballot until next year (probably).
6. Mike Mussina (5), Balt. – N.Y. (N), SP (’91-’08) – Same as last year’s comparisons with Glavine, Mussina falls a little short in comparison to Smoltz – except much closer. He is still fully merited as an above-average HOM player, just waiting for an opening in the ballot to hit election.
--- Top 50% of HOM Line ---
7. Curt Schilling (7), Phila. – Ariz. (N), SP (’90-’07) – I’m still not sure how to systematically give credit for post-season performance, nor if I would want to based on unequal opportunity, but Schilling would surely have to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of such largesse. He’ll be elected in due time so I won’t sweat it.
8. Sammy Sosa (6), Chic. (N), RF (’90-’07) – These latest adjustments have put McGwire 151st on my list and Sosa 152nd; that just seems appropriate to have these two together on the all-time list. Both worthy of election, just a fluke of timing that Sammy has to wait awhile for election.
--. Sandy Koufax (--), L.A. (N) SP (’56-’66)
9. Orel Hershiser (10), L.A. (N) SP (’84-’99) – I swear, these adjustments have overall reduced pitchers in my rankings. A very odd combination I think, of a peak player (I show Orel as having a top 50% HOM peak score) who would be extremely hurt by a switch to a PRAA system over PRAR.
10. Luis Gonzalez (8), Ariz. – Hou. (N), LF (’91-’07) – A career candidate with a tent pole 2001 season that elevates all his peak scores. I don’t recall thinking of the ’91 Astros as a great collection of talent when I saw them in person at Wrigley, but quite a few of ‘em made careers for themselves, no?
--. Charley Jones (--), Cinc. (AA/NL) LF / CF (1875-1887) – My adjustments to be fair to all eras (a.k.a. adjustments to keep Lenny Dykstra & Jack Clark in the HOVG) have resulted in significantly tampering out earlier league adjustments between AA & NL. Thus Charley looks more like his 0.320 EQA1 and less like his 0.293 EQA2.
11. Bucky Walters (--), Cinc. – Phila. (N) SP (’35-’47) (1961) – Despite my dropping of pitchers in the overall rankings, I still think the HOM has collectively elected too few pitchers. I believe 30% pitching is an appropriate level to honor in the HOM – about 4 pitchers for every 9.5 players – and the HOM is about 6.5 pitchers short of that mark.
12. Ron Cey (-), L.A. (N), 3B (’73-’87) (2010) – I have found it necessary to give a 10 percent boost to third basemen scores, to keep their representation in the pHOM roughly equal to that of 2B & SS. A 10 percent reduction has been given to shortstops and 7 percent reduction to first basemen in my rankings for the same reason. Previously, only catchers had been the beneficiaries of a positional adjustment. These positional adjustments would have me electing a number of infielders to the pHOM equivalent to the group’s HOM choices (though not necessarily the same people); I am currently about 5 IF’s too light in my selections.
13. Frank Tanana (11), Cal. – Detr. (A) SP (’73-’93) (2000) – No longer seen as having a Koufax peak, but it is still one of the top 175 peaks of all time. Plus the ever- present 10 additional years of average / below avg.
--. Cupid Childs (--), Clev. (N) 2B (1890-1901)
--. John McGraw (--), Balt. (N) 3B / SS (1891-1902) – I have adjusted my peak weighted average score more towards the best seasons than in my previous calculations.
14. Luis Tiant (--), Bost. – Clev. (A) SP (’64-’80) (1988) – The league adjustments having been reduced, Tiant looks a lot better in the rankings.
15. Brian Giles (n/a), Pitts. – S.D. (N) RF / LF (’96-’09) – The peak score and fielding regression adjustments slot Giles in ahead of Reggie Smith and Bob Johnson in the pecking order.

--- I have 41 players ranked among the top 256 of all time who are eligible for this election, and an additional 9 previously elected HOM players awaiting induction for the pHOM. ---

Bobby Bonds (1987) – An arguable case as one of the best 250 players of all time; as I have it right now he is just barely inside that range, atop the very borderline of in/out in my system. But of course there are HOMers ranked below Bonds from earlier generations, so the in/out line for the current generation is actually higher than just making the top 250. In the P-Hall, and I’m always in favor of seeing those guys elected, but right now he’s in the 40s on my ballot.
Kenny Lofton – Really has no strong argument to speak in his favor, as far as my system can tell. An above average bat, but not elite. A slightly below average glove. His ’93-’94 peak is so short, he’s not really a peak candidate, and his career is not so long to accumulate value that way. Even if I needed to boost CF above the other OF positions, he’s pretty far behind Bernie Williams, Brett Butler, Kirby Puckett, Chet Lemon, and others. In the 40s just amongst ballot-eligible 1B/OF’s.
Buddy Bell (2009) – Has dropped below my pHOM line, primarily due to a regression of the fielding numbers. Bell ranks roughly in the 60s on this ballot.
Phil Rizzuto (1972) – One of the most significant casualties of my systematic reevaluation. Despite a 29% boost to his career totals for war credit, there’s just not enough career, peak, offense, or defense to justify ballot placement. Currently outside the top 400 all time in my rankings.
Ben Taylor (1938) – Just a little behind Bonds in my rankings, ranked in the low 40s on this ballot. I have him essentially tied with Tony Perez and slightly behind Orlando Cepeda among first basemen.

Bonds, Lofton, Bell, Rizzuto, and Taylor were in last year’s top thirteen, but not in my top 15 this year.
   11. Patrick W Posted: December 02, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4852506)
Based on similarity of player comments, I believe JMD posted as Daryn in 2014.
   12. DL from MN Posted: December 02, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4852541)
I believe 30% pitching is an appropriate level to honor in the HOM – about 4 pitchers for every 9.5 players – and the HOM is about 6.5 pitchers short of that mark.

I'll also go on record that the HoM is light on starting pitchers currently and even electing 5 in the next two elections won't bring it up to equitable levels.
   13. Chris Cobb Posted: December 02, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4853204)
I aim for 3 pitchers for each 8 position players (about 27.5% of the Hall), a rate we are about to exceed, but given the lack of dominant, long-career pitchers since the Maddux/Johnson generation retired, I have no concerns about pitchers running up the score now: it will even out in another decade.
   14. ronw Posted: December 03, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4854078)
2014 Ballot – Generally using WAR (career, peak, prime) to measure players. I noticed more pitchers have been overlooked than hitters. I think every player in the top 15 should make the HOM some day.

1. Randy Johnson, SP - In Top 10 all-time among all pitchers, I have him as the #2 LHP of all time, just behind Grove.

2. Pedro Martinez, SP - Top 20-25 all-time among pitchers. Huge peak, surprisingly long career.

3. Curt Schilling, SP - In the top 30, not much separating him and Mussina. Comparable to Jenkins, Roberts, Mussina.

4. Mike Mussina, SP - Very deserving of a HOM spot. Top 30 All-time pitchers.

5. Jim McCormick, SP – Top 30 all-time among pitchers. Really belongs in the HOM. I frankly don't see too much difference between McCormick and Radbourn.

6. Dick Redding, SP – I’m still high on him. Contemporaries Joe Williams, Jose Mendez, and Bullet Rogan were better, but he seemed above the other teens/early 20s pitchers.

7. Ben Taylor, 1B – Seamheads shows Taylor as a top player for the period they have. I think we missed him because of little statistical support. Now that we have it, Taylor seems like a good choice.

8. Gary Sheffield, RF - Top 15-20 RF, with more offensive value than most unelected players, but starting conservatively. Offensive value similar to Kaline, Crawford, Heilmann.

9. Kenny Lofton, CF - A top 15-20 CF on the all-time lists. Good prime. A better Richie Asburn?

10. John Smoltz, SP - Comparable to electee Kevin Brown, should make it some day.

11. Vic Willis, SP - Seems to belong. Top 50 pitcher. In the mold of Reuschel, Palmer, Smoltz, Kevin Brown.

12. Sal Bando, 3B – Top 15-20, a little more offense than Bell. Close to Ken Boyer in value.

13. Buddy Bell, 3B - Nearly as solid a player as Nettles, top 15-20 all-time 3B. Close to Graig Nettles in value.

14. Luis Tiant, SP - Back on my ballot after a solid examination of non-consecutive top years. Top 50 all-time pitcher. Similar to Palmer.

15. Jeff Kent, 2B - Top 20-25 2B all-time. Similar career offense to Sandberg.


16. Sammy Sosa, RF - Really close (but below) contemporaries Sheffield, Guerrero, Abreu.

17. Urban Shocker, SP - Peak/Prime gets him above the others.

18. Tommy Bond, SP - Gets in on peak/prime alone.

19. Tommy John, SP - Nearly the opposite argument to Bond.

20. Gene Tenace, C - I waver on him. He has a good prime, not a huge career value, and wasn't a full-time catcher. Still, offensive value is similar to Lombardi, who ranks just below him.


Phil Rizzuto, SS – Just not enough to separate him comparing him to others when he played.

Bobby Bonds, RF - Almost there, but too many ahead of him.
   15. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4854788)
2015 ballot

Post-1893 MLB position player evaluation is the same as in the past, based on my WARP system, whose methodology is elaborated with great detail in the thread devoted to it. The biggest discrepancies this causes with the group involve position scarcity (I think we grossly underrate shortstops) and era preference (I like hitters from difficult-to-dominate years like the 1970s and 80s, and pitchers from the 20s, 50s, and 80s). I have been convinced that there is some value to in-season durability above and beyond total playing time, and my voting has adjusted slightly accordingly. I dock pre-integration players of both races for not competing against their counterparts of the other race (Babe Ruth would have had a lower OPS+ if he had played in the same league as Oscar Charleston, but Charleston would have had a lower MLE as well if he were being translated to an integrated major league, which would have been tougher than the real one). I deduct for suspected or confirmed PED use only as a tiebreaker, since a) we don't know how much they help and b) we don't know which supposedly clean players were using. I do not boycott.

I'm happy to go off baseball-reference’s pitcher WAR for now, whose methodology I basically share (defense-adjusted RA+ over a realistic replacement level and regressing reliever LI halfway to 1 to account for “chaining.”) However, I make two big adjustments, for era IP norms and for standard deviations.

I find there were two decades nearly devoid of Meritorious pitchers, even after filling in war credit: the 1940s and the 1980s. Were these simple star droughts, or were there actual contextual factors making it harder for pitchers to string together big seasons? I don't yet have a conclusive answer to that question, but my gut sense, which I am going on for now, is that the 1940s was a star drought and the 1980s were actually difficult for pitchers to dominate. Many of the same factors that gave the 1980s a low standard deviation for hitters also apply to pitchers; that shows up in the defense-adjusted RA+ stdevs, might it also show up in their innings totals? I'm not sure, but it seems plausible. The presence of two 1980s pitchers on my ballot and the absence of Walters reflects this tentative assumption. For post-expansion pitchers, I am now taking a look at league-relative FIP as well, as another means of isolating a pitcher's contributions from his environment.

I've moved up pitchers due to concerns about HoM underrepresentation, and an adjustment of my starter replacement level from 2.1 to 2.4 wins per 200 innings. I've also incorporated SFR and TotalZone data (for now in an ad hoc way, later on I will combine them scientifically in an update of my WARP) into my evaluation of the shortstops, convincing me that Campaneris and Rizzuto are the cream of the quintet (with my handle’s namesake Concepción, Pesky, and Bancroft lagging behind).

Without further ado:

1. Randy Johnson
Maybe the “Steroid Era” was easy to dominate, but I think the Unit would have been a top-10 all-time starter regardless of era. 6’10”, throwing from first base, with a 100 mph heater and a 90 mph Frisbee slider. If he’d managed to figure out where home plate was before age 29, he’d be in the discussion of greatest ever—though maybe, like Feller, he wouldn’t have lasted as long if he’d had more mileage on his arm earlier. He had 7 MVP-caliber seasons, and it’s hard to pick one above the rest.

2. Pedro Martínez
My favorite player of all time, a view I’ve found very widely shared. No one can match his combination of stuff, command, and smarts in a tiny frame (the physical opposite of the imposing Unit); his eloquence and bravery to speak his mind (see his comments on the 2002 AL Cy Young award); his goofy humor; and his competitive drive and transparent emotion that made fans feel like they shared in every pitch. Obviously his 1997-2003 run is the greatest in MLB history on a pitch-for-pitch basis, and the 1999-2000 version would be everyone’s choice to start Game 7 of a World Series. But poor in-season durability—he never broke 220 innings after age 26—and injury-related early decline put his career value well below the all-time elite.

3. Gary Sheffield
Just how bad was his fielding? The numbers say reallybad. My own play-by-play numbers say he was reallybad. And I simply don’t trust it. He was a good athlete, a fast runner, strong, and the 2004 Yankees left him in the outfield even with an essentially open DH slot. I don’t believe in giving players sub-DH defensive value, since it’s not their fault their managers didn’t put them at DH (this is a big issue with Manny Ramírez). So if I value him as a DH for 1993, 95, 96, 04, 05, and 09 I get him with 70 WAR. Then, with *any* regression to the mean for the uncertainty surrounding defensive statistics, he’s creeping up into the mid-70s, a comp for Harry Heilmann or Al Simmons or Tony Gwynn or any number of no-brainer corner bats. And he ranks better within his cohort—principally for his longevity—than do the Schilling/Mussina/Brown/Smoltz/Glavine quintet, who were easily outclassed by Pedro/Randy/Clemens/Maddux.

4. Curt Schilling
About a median HoM’er for a pitcher, even before giving him much-deserved postseason credit. Extra brownie points for doing the job himself rather than relying on his fielders. Very big peak years. Rank in cohort is sllightly problematic, but I can’t blame him for pitching at the same time as Clemens/Maddux/RJ/Pedro, and I believe he is the best of the impressive second tier with Brown, Glavine, Mussina, and Smoltz. That argument was what gave me pause about Cone, but I voted for him anyway, and he got in. Schilling was definitely a better athlete than he was a businessman…or a scientist.

5. John Smoltz
Did as well as anyone could have hoped in the closer role, but closers aren’t as valuable as starters, and since he was moved to the bullpen because of injury I’m not inclined to give him credit for managerial misuse. 209 postseason IP with a 2.67 ERA is worth a ton.

6. Mike Mussina
My thoughts on him are available at length at Always overshadowed by his peers, no black ink to speak of, definitely a prime/career guy. Victimized by the poor Yankees defense of the early 2000's. And far, far above the standard for induction.

7. Brian Giles
As I’ve posted extensively (my remarks were copied on his thread), his case requires a lot of adjustments. He was legitimately blocked and stranded in the minors for a long time—I completely agree with the argument that if we’re going to give minor league credit to some players, we need to give it to everyone, and Giles accomplished more in the minors for longer later into his 20’s than almost anyone else I can think of. (I gave similar credit to Édgar Martínez for the same reason.) He was utterly crushed by Petco, and while I don’t credit/debit for component park effects (if I did, Wade Boggs would be borderline and Gavvy Cravath wouldn’t sniff my ballot), even the generic Petco park factor makes his 2005 near-MVP caliber and his 2008 a very strong All-Star season. His fielding is hard to pin down, but he played center in his early days and certainly wasn’t a big liability in his later ones. There’s enough “hidden” value here for him to make my PHoM easily.

8. Dagoberto Campaneris
With the advent of play-by-play baserunning numbers going back to the 50’s, his work with his legs doesn't appear to be quite as phenomenal as I had thought--but his defense was significantly better, more than making up for it. SFR has him at plus-144. With that much baserunning and fielding value, he doesn't even need my usual spiel about low SS replacement level and low standard deviations in his era to make him the top backlogger.

9. Sammy Sosa
Steroid concerns break the tie with Campy for me. 1998 made him famous, but 2001 was his piece de resistance—it was one of the top 20 hitting seasons ever (most total bases since Musial’s ’48), and constitutes about a quarter of his total value in my salary estimator. Astonishingly, thanks to Bonds, he wasn’t even the best hitter in his league that year (and poor 57-HR Luis González, also on this ballot!). A good fielder in his youth, not in his old age. Fell apart in a hurry. In my PHoM.

10. Phil Rizzuto
Including extra war credit for the fact that his poor 1946 was due to a malaria infection, he seems like an easy selection. Brilliant fielder (particularly at turning the double play), good baserunner, one huge MVP year, and a fistful of rings I don’t give any credit for. League strength is a concern but I can’t place him any lower than this.

11. Adolfo Luque
I seem to have overlooked him before. His MLB-only record (3,220 IP at a 118 ERA+ in the early liveball era) fits neatly in the pitcher backlog with Bridges, Tiant etc. However, he has two big advantages over the crowd. First, his 1923 was ZOMFG good, after taking into account how hard it was for pitchers to dominate in his era. He topped the majors in ERA+ by fifty-seven points (201 to 144 for Stan Coveleski), while finishing 5 off the innings lead—that’s almost Pedro-in-2000-like. No one else even reached a 175 ERA+ from 1921-27. If you care about peak, compiling what in context is probably one of the 10 best pitcher seasons ever has to count for something. Second, he didn’t get a regular rotation gig in the majors until age 28. I know the numbers suggest he was a late bloomer, and that you can’t just extrapolate his MLB career backwards. But even, say, 5 years of slightly below league-average pitching is what, another 8 WAR on his résumé?

12. Kenny Lofton
My 1994 AL MVP—yes, above Thomas, Belle, and Griffey. Tremendous defense and baserunning value. Funny career shape—great ’93, amazing ’94 cut short by the strike, and then very, very flat. Played in the wrong era for his skill set—he would have been awesome in the 1970’s or 80’s, like a better-hitting Willie Wilson. You have to be a pure career voter to attach much value to his seasons from 2000 on, and I’m not. He’s Willie Davis with a brief, legit peak.

13. Don Newcombe
Needs every adjustment in the book--low stdev of RA+ in the 1950s, war credit, minor league credit, league strength credit, and hitting credit. But like Bill James said of Will Clark’s 1989, all those little things can add up.

14. Dwight Gooden
Yes, I’m serious. This is basically a test of my faith in my salary estimator--is each marginal in-season win worth more than the last? I thought about it long and hard and believe that it is. Now, adjusted for era norms, I think Gooden’s 1985 has a serious case as the greatest pitching season of all time. His ERA+ of 228 stands out like a sore thumb on the decade’s leaderboards, where something in the 140s was good enough to finish first in many seasons. He led the league in innings. And he was a damn good hitter to boot. Basically, I think that if you have three seasons like that and nothing else, you're a HoM’er. Furthermore, I give him extra credit for his rookie year as one of the greatest FIP seasons ever. He did more by himself to prevent runs than almost any other pitcher in history that year--leading the league in K/9 by an enormous 1.75 and allowing the NL’s fewest HR/9--and just got victimized by the BABIP and runner-stranding gods. (He still led the league in CHONE pitcher WAR in spite of his bad luck). His 1986-89 were hardly sublime like the first two, but they had real value in the low-stdev 1980’s--he was seventh in the league in ERA+ in 1986 and 1987. That, 1.5 more decent seasons in 1993 and 1998, and plenty of filler is enough for him to make my PHoM.

15. Luis Tiant
The best backlog pitcher without any extra credit. Rank in cohort hurts him.
   16. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 04, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4854789)
16. Gavvy Cravath
Chris Cobb’s suggestion that his fielding, particularly in his minor league days, was adequate, gives him a comfortable ballot spot. Taking advantage of your home park wins baseball games.

17. David Concepción
Dropped due to the less-favorable accounts of his fielding by TotalZone and SFR. Remember, you couldn’t win a World Series between 1972 and 1976 without a Latin shortstop by the initials of D.C.

18. Johnny Pesky
CHONE doesn’t like his defense as much as Fielding WS and BP FRAA do, so he falls too. I still think he's the new Charlie Keller...or, if you prefer, Hughie Jennings. Outstanding years immediately before and after the war, and also played 1941 in the minors at a high major league All-Star level (I don't give him minor league credit for that year, but it does strengthen the case for the quality of his war credit). Then added just enough post-integration to get over the hump.

19. Burleigh Grimes
It was really tough to put up a nice ERA+ in the 1920’s, and he was an excellent hitter.

20. Bernie Williams
Quite possibly the best player for one of the game’s great dynasties. Was on a Hall-worthy track before a nearly Dale Murphy-level collapse at age 34. If his glove were as good as his rep, he’d have enough peak to get an elect-me spot. If it was as bad as the stats suggest, he’d be off-ballot entirely. Here’s the compromise.

21. Jeff Kent
I'm unimpressed--2B in the 90's and 00's was basically equivalent to 3B. I have Alomar and Biggio in the bottom 20% of my PHoM as well. And given the high standard deviation of the NL around that time, his offense "bought" far fewer pennants than it might appear--200 OPS+ seasons were commonplace when Kent was at 130-160.

22. Tommy Leach
We could do far worse--he is definitely above the established in/out line for MLB position players. Very similar plus-bat, God-glove profile to Nettles; legitimate peak seasons in 1902, 1907, and 1908. But a) CF was not as valuable in the teens as it is now; it was similar in scarcity to 1B b) his 1902 needs to be hit for league strength and c) segregation penalty.


John Olerud
Had two MVP-type seasons, and deserved his slick-fielding rep. But only had four other years at even a modest All-Star level, and was pretty close to average the rest of the time. The poor man's Keith Hernandez, I suppose. Bad baserunner.

Bob Johnson
Played in very easy-to-dominate leagues. Wouldn't be a terrible selection, but not an elite player of his era (since so many of them were in the Negro Leagues, his MLB stats look deceivingly shiny).

Dick Redding
The guy seems like a total question mark to me. Voting for him is just a shot in the dark. When we're missing information, we regress to the mean, which pulls him way out of consideration for me.

Bucky Walters
An illusion produced by his fielders and the war. I find his support baffling, given the availability of guys with the same ERA+ and more IP (Reuschel, Tiant, Willis) who don't have the defense and quality of competition issues.

Kirby Puckett
Would be an atrocious selection--see my comments on his thread. The poor man's César Cedeño or Fred Lynn. A joke candidate. His disappearance from the top ten speaks well of the evolution of our electorate. :)

Hugh Duffy
Era was too easy to dominate, and I don't give credit for team overperformance of component stats.

Atanasio Pérez
Ewww. Little more than a league-average player at his position for much of his career, and no value for the “hanging-on.”

Bus Clarkson
Man cannot live by MLE’s alone. His complete exclusion from the anecdotal/reputational Negro League pantheon, combined with the unreliability of MLE’s, leave him well short for me.

Fred McGriff
For a “pure” bat candidate (no meaningful defensive or baserunning contributions), he'd either need to have been a better hitter at his peak, a la Giambi (some seasons of 175 OPS+ or better) or to have lasted longer than he did as an above-average hitter, a la Palmeiro--his 1995-98 and 2000 seasons were just about worthless.

Tim Salmon
My 1995 AL MVP. Very nice, underappreciated, HoVG career.

Vic Willis
Only impressive if you don’t consider context. A lot of guys pulled off what he did back in the deadball era.

Sal Bando
A myth created by CHONE WAR’s misguided historical positional weightings, which assign to 1970’s 3B a lot of value that was actually earned by SS.

Ben Taylor
Not high up enough in the anecdotal NgL pantheon, and it's hard for me to place too much weight on defensive evaluations of NgL 1B in that era.

Carlos Delgado
Not impressed. A bat-only candidate, with fielding and baserunning not far from Frank Thomas territory. An outstanding hitter, but only once (in 2000) a sublime one; started his career late and retired early. Just not enough there.

Buddy Bell
I get it, I really do. My own sheet likes him a ton. But it’s a *very* flat career, and I have some rank-in-cohort concerns. Bell’s career overlaps with Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Darrell Evans, Paul Molitor, Graig Nettles, and the late Brooks Robinson. I can see an argument that some of these guys are the “missing” shortstops from the 1970’s and 80’s, and the spots on my ballot occupied by Campaneris and Concepción should rightly go to Bell. But I’d need to see more evidence on position-switchers from this time period before making such a radical adjustment.

Bobby Bonds
Great all-around player, but not elite enough with the bat to compensate for a short career. He’d get in with credit for fathering the greatest player of our lifetimes.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: December 04, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4854822)

2015 ballot - our (and my) 119th since we began this version of the journey in 2003 (real time) with an "1898" ballot.

props to any other remaining "voting Ripkens" as well.

I had 2014 electees Maddux-Thomas-Glavine 1-2-4 on my ballot.

The annual fine print: Overall, I think there is too much emphasis on WARP3, WAR, and even more newfangled stats, which are intriguing tools but which still are not yet sufficiently mature.
So my fondness (but not blind allegiance by any means, especially where durability is an issue) for ERA+ and OPS+ helps, I think, as a reality check. Increasingly, I've had to adjust for PAs/IP per season - not really an issue in earlier years when nearly all the big stars played almost every day or pitched a ton of innings.
I tend to be mostly prime-oriented with hitters, and prime and career with pitchers. But a huge peak sometimes catches my eye, and a remarkably long hitting career also works for me. Unlike a lot of voters, I've long ago run out of longtime "pet projects" to tout aggressively for the Hall of Merit.

I voted for Joe Jackson on his first try, and Pete Rose, and Mark McGwire - and that pattern will continue re new steroid accusees:

1. RANDY JOHNSON - At the absolute top end of the HOF curve: ranking from best season on, only ERA-qualifying seasons, no need for the "1" after the first ERA+ figure, and sub-100 in parentheses: 197 95 93 88 84 81 76 52 35 35 18 12 08 05 03 (90). So you see 7 amazing seasons, another 3 very good ones, then another 5 or 6 on both ends of the inning-eater scale. His top 10s in IP also are typical of a pitcher of his stature, with 10 placements and tending toward the top: 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 5 5 7. Basically the perfect career.

2. PEDRO MARTINEZ - He absolutely breaks the scale in both respects: 291 243 219 211 202 163 146 124 124 123 117. Pedro has the top 5 compared to Randy, RJ has the next 7, then Pedro-RJ-Pedro-RJ-RJ-Pedro-Pedro-Pedro-RJ-Pedro and then 5 more RJs. But IP top 10s for Pedro: 4 6 6 7 8 10. That's lower than any super-stud I can remember. I'm not completely comfortable that RJ's career is better, but the IP issue looms large. Comes down to what impact those fewer IP have on a team's success. I find this career to be pretty perfect, too.

3. CURT SCHILLING - I may have had Schilling-Glavine-Mussina ranked closer than anyone else last year; I could practically flip a coin but picked Schilling while the crowd took Glavine. Their peaks and primes in many ways are near identical (ERA+s and IP comparisons primarily). Schilling was a (tiny) bit more of a workhorse at his peak, and his incredible 2.23 ERA in 133 postseason innings while helping three clubs win championships broke the tie. Same career ERA+ as Seaver and Gibson, and not a short career. Also EXTREMELY low number of UER, which I don't always pay heed to - but here, you can't ignore it. It gives him another 3-way nailbiter this time around.

4. MIKE MUSSINA - Knew he was underrated, but didn't realize he was THIS close to Glavine and Schilling - and a new kid, too. A slightly different valuation of Mussina's "extra" seasons could reasonably put him ahead here. Should make the real Hall too, but I doubt he will for a long, long time.

5. JOHN SMOLTZ - A half-step behind peak/prime of Schilling and Mussina, but has the most useful "inning-eater" credit on the back end and was a solid closer for 3 years to boot. And a spectacular postseason effort this side of Schilling; against most Mussina would actually gain ground with that stat. Very close behind the other two, and a no-doubt HOMer and HOFer who will get in HOF before Mussina does.

6. GARY SHEFFIELD - Yeah, tremendous hitter and bad OF who played more games as a 3B than a DH. What do we do with that? Well, Sheffield is a poor man's Frank Thomas (Frank's peak and prime cases just a bit better all the way), and I had Thomas ahead of 3 excellent pitchers and I have Sheffield just behind 3 excellent pitchers (plus 2 otherworldly ones).

7. FRED MCGRIFF – Liked him by a nose three years ago over Palmeiro, who has a weaker peak but a longer prime. McGriff 134 OPS+ in 10174 PA to Palmeiro’s 132 in 12046 PA to Sheffield's 140 in 10947 PA. I really like the 157-166-153-147-166-143-157 peak from 1998-94, all in 600+ PA or equivalent. Gains a lot of ground on Sheffield for defense, but 1B D can only do so much.

8. SAMMY SOSA - Here the big prime is 5 yrs, and it's more obvious because there wasn't a ton before or after. This is his case: Very durable with OPS+s of 160-151-161-203-160. Just enough to rank thanks to 203.

9. JEFF KENT - Quiet start in his first six seasons - OPS+s between 101 and 111 each time, so he reaches age 30 with nary an All-Star Game selection. And then - 142-125-162 (MVP)-131-147-119-123-133-119-123 - with pretty good durability to boot in a "who saw that coming" decade of INF mashing. Yes, please.

10. BOB JOHNSON - I like this sort of consistency over a long span, though I'd hardly say he's a 'must-elect,' ever. Sort of the Joe Gordon of OFs in career shape, or a slightly longer and flatter version of Kiner. Or McGriff without the tail, offensively. I am very concerned by 1944 being his highest OPS+; seems like he took advantage of the weak competition. But has more than a decade's worth of excellent hitting, for a prime that I like better than, say, most holdovers have.

11. BOB ELLIOTT - Good to see him mentioned in discussions starting about 10 'years' back, at least. Six seasons of at least 134 OPS+, ALL of them as a 3B (Ventura never had any that high). Wish he'd played all 3B and not much OF, but c'est le vie - Sewell seemed to get treated as a full SS by some back in the day. Beats out HOMer Boyer and compares remarkably well with HOMer Santo as a hitter. Better than HOMer Hack as well, and better than HOMer DaEvans (see these guys' threads for details).

12. BEN TAYLOR - Had meant to reconsider him for years; finally did so 9-10 “years” ago. Long career, excellent fielder, consistent player. I'm not 100 pct sold on the hitting MLEs, but very good reputation and for sure a quality player. Moves up holdover pecking order slightly.

13. VIC WILLIS - Won a Howie M SP bakeoff with Grimes and Walters many 'years' ago, with slightly more career than Walters and better peak than Grimes. It's close, but I'll stick with Vic for yet another year.

14. DAVE BANCROFT - Look at the prime: fantastic fielder at SS, with OPS+s of 120-19-19-09-09-09-04. Won a fresh 3-way evaluation vs Fox and Concepcion at one point, now does so again. Similar to HOM electee Randolph, but an SS.

15. BUCKY WALTERS - 7th pitcher on my ballot, that's ok. Seemed to get Palmer-like defensive support, without enough super-stats to make that irrelevant. Proved his mettle outside of 'war years.' Lemon-esque, though I wasn't a big fan there.



KENNY LOFTON - 145 OPS in star-crossed 1994 made him an incredibly great player, and anytime he put up 120+ it also would be pretty true. But he never did outside of a 121. He's a very good player in all 10 of these 100 to 119 OPS+ seasons due to defense, and it's difficult to say how many pts he can give up there and still be a better player than a slugger. Around 30 pts is slightly too much for me, but I could reconsider in future years. Definitely in the ballot mix.

LUIS TIANT - Looks like he has the peak at first glance, but notice that the IP just aren't quite there. Plenty good when he did pitch, but with that lack of innings you have to be even more dominant. Maybe he winds up as the era's last P electee, but probably not.

BOBBY BONDS - 8090 PA, and best OPS+ is 151. A 130s to 143 six other times, which is nice but the strong is just not long enough.

BUDDY BELL - One of a number of 3B guys from this era, and I prefer Sal Bando (heck, I once preferred Ron Cey). Solid all-around player and 1980-84 peak is a very strong offense-defense case. I just don't see enough beyond that, but I appreciate why he gets some love.

PHIL RIZZUTO - Have him in my top 20 still. I'll grant a lot of war credit and stipulate to the great, great fielding. But even 3 war credit years gets him only to 13 main years, and the fielding made him above-average overall but not excellent in most seasons. Yet at closer look, similar case to Concepcion when you cancel out the irrelevant parts.

BEN TAYLOR - I have voted for him before, but am not sold that contemporaries really found him to be "all that." Willing to take another look next fall if anyone believes they have a strong case.



DAVE CONCEPCION - Peak is as good or better than Nellie Fox's; not quite as consistent, but a slick fielder and a very useful offensive weapon many times. Not fully buying the "other teams were stupid enough to play ciphers at the position, so give Davey bonus pts" argument; that helped the Reds win pennants, but Concepcion can't get full credit for that stupidity. But he needs the modest credit in that regard to outlast Rizzuto on my list, as he does.

DON NEWCOMBE – A passionate, detailed Newcombe backer might also get me there someday. I think he had the skills, but he didn’t quite actually produce quite enough. Prove me wrong next year.

BERNIE WILLIAMS - Didn't quite like him enough over this or even last top 15, but a serious low-ballot candidate and might tab him in the future. Feel like he had corner-OF D and CF-star stats, but overrated as a fielder. Lofton seems to -block him.

KEN SINGLETON - Bob Johnson-like, but not quite as good for quite as long. Equally underappreciated in his time.

DALE MURPHY - His modest fan club will be saddened that he fell off my ballot in recent years. A different peak-primieness than polar opposite personality Albert Belle, and a different fade as well.
   18. DL from MN Posted: December 05, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4855010)
Howie. Kudos for voting so consistently. You may want to update your "not voting for them" to remove Ben Taylor.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4855192)

yeah, was going to note that but hoped no one would notice. I did reread the holdovers and updated some, but that was a blunder. you can see how hazy I am on Taylor in particular.
   20. theorioleway Posted: December 06, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4855747)
This is my fourth year voting for the HOM, and I thank you for letting me take part in this amazing project. I start with the Wins Above Replacement metrics from Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Gauge (which is available to download, although it isn’t seen directly on the site). I look at these metrics in a variety of ways, but my favorite viewpoint is using the JAWS calculations Jay Jaffe made famous at Baseball Prospectus (career WAR + seven best seasonal WAR divided by 2). I then also factor in the timeframe, position, and any other important circumstances involving the player. The work you have done on players banned from MLB due to their race has been enlightening, although I tend to slightly increase the projections/MLEs you have created. I give war credit and minor league credit when I think it is appropriate. Onto my ballot:

1. Randy Johnson: Obvious number 1 on the ballot. It would have been really interesting (and difficult) to rank him vs. Maddux if they had faced off on the same ballot.

2. Pedro Martinez: Pretty clear number 2 on the ballot, and it takes a top-10 pitcher ever to keep him from the top spot.

3. Curt Schilling: Down a spot because of Johnson and Martinez's arrival to the ballot. Great pitcher whose post-season exploits serve as the tiebreaker over number 4 on the ballot.

4. Mike Mussina: Down a spot because of Johnson and Martinez's arrival to the ballot. Mussina was a great pitcher who was a lot of fun to watch (especially his knuckle curve). While I was disappointed that he went to the Yankees from the Orioles, I couldn't blame him the way management treated him and ran the franchise into the ground. I would respectfully disagree with Brock about Mussina's postseason record. His postseason ERA of 3.42 was better than his regular season ERA of 3.68, which was good for a 123 ERA+. In 1997 he struck out 41 batters in 29 innings with a 1.24 ERA. It's not his fault the Orioles bullpen fell apart against the Indians. In 2001 and 2003 he had a 3.38 postseason ERA which is more than acceptable. He struck out more batters in the postseason than both HOM inductees Maddux and Glavine, even though he didn't have nearly as many postseason opportunities. While Mussina might not deserve extra credit for his postseason play like Schilling, it certainly isn't a negative.

5. John Smoltz: I think there's a small drop-off between Smoltz vs. Schilling and Mussina, but he's clearly deserving of the HOM.

6. Hilton Smith: I had him as my #1 spot on the 2012 ballot and I still believe he is the top long-term backlogger. Pitcher with a great reputation and stats from Baseball Reference and translated stats by Alex King on this site that back up that reputation. Also worth remembering is that he could also hit.

7. Ben Taylor: Hey, a position player! I think he was the best first basemen of the 1910s and comps well to Keith Hernandez—great defensively and good offensively thanks to a great on-base percentage. Considering Taylor played at a time where 1B defense was more important than in Hernandez’s time, and he played during the deadball era where power hitting was not really an option, he seems like a good selection for the Hall of Merit. I think the Seamheads data also helps confirm Taylor’s case.

8. Don Newcombe: Up a spot upon reconsideration. Newcombe needs everything added on — war credit, racial segregation/minor league credit, hitting credit, etc. to be HOM-worthy. It does help that his era didn't consist of a lot of great pitchers.

9. Sammy Sosa: Swapped spots with Newcombe. The 600 home runs are obviously misleading due to the era he played in, but he really was a great player. His defensive skills at the beginning of his career helped him produce value while he figured out how to hit.

10. Gary Sheffield: Very memorable in the way that he waggled the bat and with how hard he hit the ball. Worthy of the HOM even with the awful defense.

11. Kenny Lofton: Down a spot from last year thanks to the new additions to the ballot. DRA isn't nearly as impressed with Lofton's defense, which is why he falls this far down the ballot. The spark plug that got overshadowed by all the Indians sluggers who drove him in, I hope he makes the HOM in the future.

12. Buddy Bell: Down a spot from last year thanks to the new additions to the ballot. He still seems practically identical to Graig Nettles; Nettles has a career 111 wRC+ in 10,226 PA with excellent defense, while Bell has a career 108 wRC+ in 10,009 PA with superb defense. Bell would be higher if I didn't have some concern about how the systems rate 70s SS/3B, but the Nettles comp leaves me comfortable that he belongs in the Hall of Merit.

13. Ned Williamson: Down a spot from last year thanks to the new additions to the ballot. I still think he ranks better than Ezra Sutton or Hardy Richardson. He doesn't rate super-great overall, but benefits from the scarcity of great SS/3B of the era. This is the last player on my ballot that I don't think is on the borderline for HOM.

14. Luis Tiant: Down a spot from last year thanks to the new additions to the ballot. He's hurt by the amount of great pitchers from his era, but I think he still deserves this spot on the ballot.

15. Vic Willis: Down a spot from last year thanks to the new additions to the ballot. Tiant gets the higher ballot spot due to pitching in an integrated era.

Jeff Kent: Kent looks like the best eligible 2B who played in the majors, but still seems a bit short of being in the HOM. Maybe as time progresses he'll look better and could make my ballot.

Bobby Bonds: The #1 outfielder in my backlog and very close to making the ballot.

Phil Rizzuto: He would have been number 16 on my ballot if we went one more spot. I wish we'd done elect-4 for 2012 so he'd be in, but he couldn't quite crack my ballot.

Gavy Cravath: With minor league credit, he's close, but ultimately I think he's just short of being HOM worthy.

Hugh Duffy: I like Duffy, but he couldn't crack my ballot. Still thinks he's better than Thompson who is in the HOM.

Sal Bando: He looks ballot-worthy via Baseball Reference's WAR but not via any other system. Falls short for me of being HOM worthy.

Carlos Moran/Bus Clarkson/Bill Monroe/Luke Easter: A full infield's worth of intriguing talent that I can't put on my ballot just because I don't feel like we don't have enough information about them.

Cannonball Dick Redding: He fell off my ballot due to criticisms that the Seamheads stats don't quite match his reputation. He's still very much in consideration though.

Tony Mullane: Grabbed the last spot on my ballot last year, but upon reconsideration, I decided that was too high. So difficult to judge pre-1893 pitchers to begin with, and he's an even more complicated case than normal.

If I forgot to comment on someone, let me know, otherwise thanks once again for letting me participate in this esteemed project!
   21. theorioleway Posted: December 07, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4856266)
Just realized I also meant to comment on Brian Giles. I think the comparison to Bob Johnson is pretty accurate - an underrated corner OF with questions regarding extra credit for minor league play. Ultimately, both fall short of the HOM for me.
   22. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 07, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4856306)
2015 ballot: Primary methodology for hitters is primarily a mixture of Dan R WAR with DRA defensive values, with a consideration for baseball reference and fangraphs WAR, in addition to crediting players fully for war credit, strike, and MLE if players are unfairly blocked/have "show me" seasons. Pitchers is a spilt pot of Baseball-Reference, Fangraphs, and Joe Dimino's BP pennants added. Contemporary opinion/MLEs utilized for negro leaguers.

A loaded ballot with 2 all-time greats pitchers, 3 hurlers easily above the bottom third or half Hall of Merit line, and at least two sluggers who appear to be front-log candidates.

How do personal hall of merits look: when is the next election that has a spot for a backlog candidate?
Upcoming years/electees/potential front log candidates

2 of Mussina, Schilling, and Smoltz, Sheffield, Sosa
2016: (4) Edmonds, Griffey Jr, Hoffman, Wagner
2017: (3) Guerrero, Posada, Ramirez, Rodriguez
2018: (4) AJones, CJones, Matsui (if we allow for Japan credit?), Rolen, Thome
2019: (3) Berkman, Halladay, Helton, Oswalt, Pettitte, Rivera

14 open spots in the next four elections
4 front-log candidates from this ballot,
8 who should go in without difficulty: Griffey, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Chipper, Rolen, Thome, Halladay, Rivera
at least 4 of the 58-63 BBREF WAR crowd will likely be elected by 2019: Edmonds, Guerrero, Andruw, Helton, Pettitte, Sosa, Sheffield
2020: (4) Jeter, ?

Future questions for the electorate is:
consider whom from the 58-63 WAR 7 pack is worthy(ist)...theoretically open spots for all of them.
Was electing Rollie Fingers a mistake, and if so, how do we also usher in Hoffman or Wagner?
How do we properly adjust catchers for difficulty of position, what metrics will be available to properly assess Posada's career?
Hideki Matsui was an all-time great in Japan before arriving in the states at 29...his 3 all-star level campaigns and 2009 World Series MVP make him at least notable
The Astros: Is Lance Berkman being underrated in any way/did Roy Oswalt have enough peak value?

From the existing backlog:
Do any of the WAR darlings deserve a move ahead of the pack: Lofton, Bell, Tiant, Willis.
Are we overlooking any of the Negro Leaguers/War Credit/blocked guys: Taylor, Clarkson, Redding, Smith, Easter/Rizzuto & Pesky/Cravath, Newcombe, Giles, Luque

Related to Posada comment, are we properly valuing catchers, or should Munson, Schang, Lombardi, etc rise to the top...we will be able to find better defensive measures in the future?
Related to DLs comments, are we giving pitchers enough credit, have we elected enough of the old timers crowd: Bond, McCormick, Mullane, Welch, Buffinton, Whitney? I have a number of guys off ballot/personal hall that could seep on, Shocker, Gooden, Appier, etc.
Any interest in a Hall of Merit, Part Deux?

To the ballot:
1. Randy Johnson (Mathewson/Seaver)
2. Pedro Martinez (Feller/Spahn)
3/4/5 quite tight:
3. Curt Schilling - leads by regular season, best post season performer, though not the bulk of Smoltz.
4. Mike Mussina - not quite the post season of Smoltz, but better regular season/how much should his gold gloves count?
5. Gary Sheffield - as high as #3 if you believe his defense was good/adequate or closer to #6 if you put faith in his subpar DRA defensive value.
6. John Smoltz (Ryan/Walsh/Glavine)
7. Sammy Sosa - as Dan R mentioned - awesome 2001 season contributes to huge portion of value - above average/all-star level for 7 other seasons, either from early career defensive/baserunning value or later career slugging.
8. Brian Giles - mid-log candidate according to Dan R/DRA, borderline with baseball-reference, outside consideration set by chone WAR... Background from Dan R on the 2012 ballot discussion thread.
9. Phil Rizzuto - similar to Bell if you give full credit for the WAR and a nudge for the malaria season.
10. Buddy Bell - shows up as either highly impressive or worthy by Dan R, Chone WAR, BBRef WAR, and Baseball Gauge WAR using DRA.
11. Kenny Lofton - slum dunk by BBREF, borderline with DRA, but easily in with Dan R research.
12. Hilton Smith - Alex Smith's take, along with the strong support from seamheads, baseball-fever, and contemporary opinion place him as the most intriguing hurler backlogger.
13. Bert Campaneris - see Dan R research/comments
14. Don Newcombe - Hits the Top 70 in each of my criteria, even arguable as a Top 50 SP by Baseball Gauge and Fangraphs.
15. Tommy Leach - conservative placement as he has outstanding DRA measures, but putrid BBREF, and borderline/but worthy Dan R levels.

Carlos Delgado - reminds me of Fred McGriff - excellent power, middling BB/K rates, limited/zero value from defense/baserunning - Dan S ran ZIPS MLEs and had Delgado as being blocked by the Jays during the championship tenure - if given this value, could he vault to ballot/consideration status for many - I have him on the fringes of the consideration set. Thank you for signing a baseball for me!

Nomar Garciaparra - felt like a no doubt hall of famer in 2002...he could never overcome injuries after his trade from the Red Sox...sad that a 6x 6 WAR type player falls short...I wonder how he will show up with peak voters (Hello Mark Donelson?)

Luis Tiant and Bobby Bonds are borderline personal hall of merit types, but the ballot is loaded so they finish shortly outside.

Ben Taylor seems to compare well to Jake Beckley, but Beckley falls short for me, with Taylor not quite making my personal hall.

Jeff Kent is a smidge below Tiant and Bonds outside of personal hall, review Dan R's comments for 2B replacement level/mediocre values from defense/baserunning.
   23. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 07, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4856312)

12. George Uhle—At a casual glance, this may be a bit of a surprise: 200 wins, 1,100 strikeouts, a 106 ERA+ & a 3.83 FIP in just over 3,000 innings is a good career, but one that would seem more fitting of the Hall of the Very Good than the Hall of Merit. And both Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference would agree, crediting Uhle with around 45 pitching wins over his career. But pitching isn't the sole means of run production available, and Uhle made the most of his hitting opportunities, posting robust percentages for a pitcher even in the 1920s (.289/.339/.384 for an 86 OPS+ in 1,500 plate appearances). Both Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference credit Uhle with around 12 batting wins, boosting his career value into more respectable territory. And considering most Uhle's value came in his best years (Fangraphs credits Uhle with over 30 WAR in his best five years, Baseball-Reference 35 WAR) as well as a small boost for WWI & the 154-game schedule helps lift George onto the bottom 3rd of my ballot.
13. Perucha Cepeda—Considered the greatest of the Caribbean ballplayers during segregation, El Toro spent the majority of his career as a shortstop where he had an above-average reputation with a strong throwing arm playing in the Dominican & Puerto Rican leagues before moving to the outfield & first base at the end of his career. Opted to forgo the Negro Leagues due to the racism in the U.S., so the playing record is skeletal, but for the years where we have statistics for the Puerto Rican Winter Leagues Cepeda dominated amid some of the best Negro League talent of the era. Perucho finished in the Top 3 in batting average in the PRWL's first 4 years, including 2 1st place finishes and MVP trophies during his mid-thirties. His placement is based on Alex King & James Newburg's WAR estimates, which are likely conservative considering the lack of information.

Ballsy...did either of these guys have votes previously?
Regardless, these guys should either be in your personal hall or consideration set...well done Tiboreau.
   24. Adam Schafer Posted: December 08, 2014 at 12:37 AM (#4856445)
1. Randy Johnson

2. Pedro Martinez - #1 almost any other year

3. John Smoltz -

4. Mike Mussina - the top 4 were easy

5. Gary Sheffield - didn't personally care for him, but can't deny the talent

6. Gavvy Cravath - Sad to see him get bumped so low on my ballot. Clearly used his park to his advantage. No doubt about it. However, I do not hold that against him.

7. Curt Schilling - I'm not a hater, it is just a super strong ballot on the top end.

8. Jeff Kent - Kent wasn't easy to place. At first glance I thought he was clear cut HOF/HOM. He was good. VERY good and this ranking isn't meant to be an insult to him.

9. Sammy Sosa - although Schilling is my cutoff for what I want in the actual HOF, Sosa wouldn't necassarily hurt my feelings.

10. Bucky Walters - This is an odd player for me to like, as I normally don't go for the short career guys. Bucky just happens to have a really odd blend of career and peak to not only get on my ballot, but to make a strong showing on it. He's not Koufax by any means, but the thought process behind him is along the same lines.

11. Don Newcombe - I am obviously giving NeL and military credit. With that credit his 1948-1956 years are outstanding, and makes a very serious candidate out of him.

12. Bus Clarkson - I am willing to speculate he was better than Vern Stephens, and I really like Vern

13. Vern Stephens - A shortstop that has power, is consistently an All-Star, and in the MVP consideration set is someone I can sure consider voting for.

14. Elston Howard - Much like Newcombe, if you give him proper credit for time he should've been a regular MLB catcher, you can't ignore him.

15. Luis Tiant - Schilling's addition to my ballot made me look harder at Tiant -

16. Kenny Lofton - tough luck spot for Lofton on a loaded ballot

Bonds - comparable to Sheffield, but without the career value

Bell - a very very good 3b...just not HOF/HOM material for me.

I don't hate Rizzuto, I really don't. He's only 4 or 5 spots away from my ballot.

Ben Taylor and Dick Redding are a ways down the ballot, Willis is too.
   25. Moeball Posted: December 09, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4857499)
I've participated in several yearly MMP votes before, but not the HOM.

Questions on some ground rules - who ISN'T eligible? Is there a list of the eligible candidates for 2015? I have a list in mind of guys I would like to vote for but I don't want to vote for someone and find out they aren't eligible.

Any help educating me on the process would be greatly appreciated.
   26. Chris Fluit Posted: December 09, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4857525)
The Hall of Merit has perpetual eligibility so the only players who aren't eligible are those who have already been elected (you can see the full list of 246 inductees at the plaque room:

The only other restriction is that players must have played professionally in North America. This includes Negro Leagues and minor leagues such as the Pacific Coast League, but excludes Japanese baseball players and Cubans during the embargo. However, you would be allowed (and even encouraged) to consider crediting a player for seasons abroad if they also played in North America for part of their career (ie. Orlando Hernandez, Hideki Matsui, etc.).

Oh, and I suppose it goes without saying, that players become eligible once they've been retired from baseball for 5 years.
   27. Moeball Posted: December 09, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4857611)
Thanks, Chris.

I will have my ballot in before the 15th so that I can get some feedback before deadline day in case tweaks are needed.
   28. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4857835)
“If we could reduce this entire excercise to one absolute exumenical equation considering every possible factor in evaluating each player(egs. parks, timelines, leagues, position, peak value, teammates, career value etc.) this project would be much less interesting.

That doesn't mean we should ever stop trying to create such statistical mechanisms for our own use.”

After lurking around the HoM since around “1930,” and not voting due to never being perfectly happy with whatever analysis system I was tinkering around with at the time, I discovered the above quote by Brian H. in the archives of the 1910 Ballot Discussion thread. Realizing that I would probably end up changing my system every year (and observing that behavior in a number of well-respected long-time voters), I finally decided to start voting four years ago.

For this reason, I also encourage any other lurkers who have considered voting but have so far refrained from doing so to give it a shot, even if you have differing opinions. Such opinions are always welcomed, as long as they are well-reasoned.
On to my ideology/methodology (and yes, I made another change to my system for this year – and already have another revision planned for next year.):
I am a peak voter at heart. I believe that a HoF/HoM should be a Hall of Greatness, not a strict Hall of Value. That said, I do take career into consideration.

For MLB players, I take their WAR across a number of systems (BBRef, FG, Chone, SH, BP, Davenport and DanR) and do a really rough normalization of replacement level across the systems. I look for greatness, and I want to give the benefit of the doubt to every player to put them in the best possible light. But I also don’t want to give too much credit for outlier WAR numbers. So I throw out the highest number for every season and use the second highest as a base WAR number for the player for that season. (Exceptions: In order that not every 19th Century pitcher makes my PHoM, I use WSAB as my primary analysis tool for pre-1893 pitchers. Also, for relievers, I average the high of non-Davenport WAR with Davenport WAR – this result in among guys who were relievers 90%+ of their careers – e.g. non-Eck or Smoltz, Rivera would clearly be over the line, Wilhelm barely in, Gossage right on the borderline and Fingers and all other relievers out).

For Negro League/Minor League players, I use the WS and WAR estimates provided by Chris Cobb, Brent, Dr. Chaleeko, Alex King, DanR and others. I make a crude conversion of WS to WAR where needed, and since there are usually only 1 or 2 WS/WAR estimates per player, instead of using the 2nd highest as with MLB players, where there are up to 7 different WAR values to choose from, these players get the benefit of the doubt by getting the highest value.

I give war credit (average of surrounding seasons if in prime of career, increasing or decreasing values if in early or twilight portion of career, respectively).

After deriving these value for player seasons I rank the players by summing:

1. Career salary estimation using DanR’s peak-rate salary estimator, divided by $100M (40% bonus for catchers for the periods when they caught)
2. Career WAR (zeroing out all negative seasons and 40% catcher bonus)
3. Career WAA (zeroing out all negative seasons and 40% catcher bonus)
4. Peak Rate – Five times the weighted WAR rate in the top three peak seasons (per 650 PA for batters/250 IP for starters/100 IP for relievers)
5. MMP points – For every year since 1871, a player gets 10 points if he was the best player in baseball that year down to 1 point for the 10th best using my MMP voting system. (I have not finished every year yet, for those seasons not yet finished, I use BBRef rankings as an approximation).
(For next year, I plan on incorporating some sort of post-season bonus. I have a general idea of a system, but won’t figure out all the numbers until I finish with all my MMP ballots).

I have a pretty good idea who would be PHoM/non-HoM and vice versa using my existing system, but I plan on recalculating once I incorporate the post-season bonus anyway.
   29. Michael J. Binkley's anxiety closet Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4857840)
PHoM this year – Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine
1. Randy Johnson – Top ten pitcher all time, just behind Maddux and Paige and just ahead of Seaver, Nichols, Mathewson and Joe Williams.

2. Pedro Martinez- As a Red Sox fan, I wish I could put Pedro #1, but objectively, I can’t and I don’t think anyone can unless they are the peakiest of peak voters (Pedro does have the highest peak rate of any pitcher in my system, and his rate is exceeded only by The Babe, Barry and Josh Gibson overall). As is, Pedro is the only other inner-circle HoMer on the ballot and thus a clear #2 this year.

3. Curt Schilling – I had Schilling, Mussina and Glavine bunched really close last year and could understand them in any order (mine is in the same order as above). Schilling is just the peakiest and thus gets the last elect-me spot for me this year.

4. Mike Mussina – See above.

(Tom Glavine)

5. John Smoltz – Just a notch below his pitching contemporaries, but still way over the HoM line.

6. Gary Sheffield – One of the best bat waggles ever, if not the most intimidating. No, the defense was nothing to write home about, but the bat more than made up for it. (why do I feel I’m going to rewrite this phrase in a few years for Manny?)

(Craig Biggio)

7. Sammy Sosa - He’s short on ton of career value. But it was still a heck of a peak. Clearly ahead of the backlog for me.

8. Luke Easter - An “integration squeeze” guy. He was the cleanup hitter for a factory team that had other NeL stars on it and was better than the actual NeL team that was located in St. Louis. He lost his war years working in military industry. And by then he was too old to be considered for the start of integration. When he did get his chance, all he did was produce despite injuries throughout almost all of his actual ML career. And his defense didn’t really grade out as worse than average, despite the fact that his knees were shot. Then he spent another few years still mashing in the minors well into his 40’s.

9. Kenny Lofton – He may have the greatest amount of defense/baserunning value as a percentage of overall value of anyone over my PHoM not named Ozzie.

10. Buddy Bell – Almost all systems love his defense. And his hitting wasn’t that bad, either. One of the truly underrated players in history.

11. Vic Willis- One really great year (1899), but then was just solidly above average or better for most of the rest of his career.

12. Ned Williamson – (Bad overused obvious pun alert) Yes, I believe he was better than Ezra. Great peak value and so what if he took advantage of the change in ground rules in 1884 – its not his fault that no one else did to the same extent. And its not like that was his only good season.

13. Tommy Bond – Yes, he had some defensive help. but he was the greatest pitcher between Spalding and the 1880’s stars (although if Jim Devlin hadn’t been gambling . . .).

14. Ben Taylor – Another NeL first baseman, and my best 1b between the ABC boys and Sisler. Had a monster 1914 and put up very good OBP’s with great defense in the deadball era.

15. Jeff Kent – Defense wasn’t horrible, and he only had a couple of really great years, but that kind of power at an up-the-middle defensive position adds a lot of value.

Next on Ballot / Required Disclosures / Newcomers (Basically down to my current PHoM line)

16. Luis Tiant – Above my PHoM line, so no problem with him on anyone’s ballot.
17. Gene Tenace
18. Eddie Cicotte
19. Gavvy Cravath
20. Silver King
21. Dwight Gooden
22. Babe Adams
23. Don Newcombe
24. Brian Giles
25. Bobby Bonds– Above my PHoM line, so no problem with him on anyone’s ballot.
26. Frank Chance
27. Kevin Appier
28. Wally Schang
29. Hilton Smth
30. Phil Rizzuto– Above my PHoM line, so no problem with him on anyone’s ballot.

-----------PHoM line-------------

Nomar Garciaparra – As a peak voter, I probably have him higher than most. But he really needed another all-star level season to get over my PHoM line.

Dick Redding – Nowhere near my PHoM. I see him as a poor man’s Dwight Gooden (who is PHoM). He had a couple of good peak seasons, which weren’t quite as good as Gooden’s. And whereas Gooden added a number of slightly above average but not great seasons to bulk up his career, I see Redding with a number of average seasons as the majority of the rest of his career.

   30. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 09, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4857874)
“If we could reduce this entire excercise to one absolute exumenical equation considering every possible factor in evaluating each player(egs. parks, timelines, leagues, position, peak value, teammates, career value etc.) this project would be much less interesting.

That doesn't mean we should ever stop trying to create such statistical mechanisms for our own use.”

After lurking around the HoM since around “1930,” and not voting due to never being perfectly happy with whatever analysis system I was tinkering around with at the time, I discovered the above quote by Brian H. in the archives of the 1910 Ballot Discussion thread. Realizing that I would probably end up changing my system every year (and observing that behavior in a number of well-respected long-time voters), I finally decided to start voting four years ago.

For this reason, I also encourage any other lurkers who have considered voting but have so far refrained from doing so to give it a shot, even if you have differing opinions. Such opinions are always welcomed, as long as they are well-reasoned.

Very well said.
   31. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: December 09, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4858211)
I use BBRef WAR as my metric of choice. I lean peak, particularly the five consecutive year variety, though players who exhibit a consistent level of greatness, without too many "hanging on" seasons get their just due in my system as well.
1. Randy Johnson - Actually a better five year peak than Pedro. That surprised me. In my head, he never got his just due.
2. Pedro Martinez - So much fun to watch, even though I hated him.
3. Gary Sheffield - Peak is weighed down by his defense, but he had enough career value to rank here in my system.
4. Curt Schilling - Personally, never liked the guy. Can not argue that he was a tremendous pitcher, and even with the slow start to his career, a worthy number 4 here, even without postseason credit, which he obviously deserves. I wish my system liked Mussina more, though.
5. John Smoltz - The lowest 5 year peak on my ballot. A testament to his consistent value for a long time.
6. Mike Mussina - Yes, another pitcher from the most recent generation. So consistently excellent that it carries the rest of the profile.
7. Buddy Bell - Monster peak. I know there are some questions about the replacement level for 3B during his time, but even discounting a bit, he is comfortably here.
8. Kenny Lofton - Doesn't have a tremendous peak, (though 1994 was MVP-worthy), but was consistently awesome in center field. I'm beginning to think we've done a good job with the backlog.
9. Sal Bando - Great peak. Probably hung around too long, but he certainly belongs in.
10. Sammy Sosa - Slow start to his career hurts his case, as did the tail end. There really isn't too much more to Sosa other than the peak.
11. Vic Willis - His down year in 1900 hurts him in my system. If 1900 were say a 3.5 WAR year, he'd move up to #6.
12. Bobby Bonds - Has a bonafide case for selection. Not nearly as good as his son, obviously. Great player in the beginning of his career, before the booze and injuries took their toll.
13. Kevin Appier - Tremendous in Kansas City. Seemed to beat the Yankees anytime I saw him pitch in the Bronx growing up. Hurt a bit by the malaise at the tail end.
14. Luis Tiant - Very close to Appier in my system. Were he a bit more consistent year-to-year, he would fare better.
15. John Olerud - Just a consistent hitter who provided excellent defense at first base. Didn't have tremendous home-run power, but something of a Keith Hernandez-lite. Something of a late peak guy, which didn't jive with my memory.

Johnny Pesky - With full war credit, a no-doubt selection to the HOM. I'm a bit conservative in applying WAR at full credit.
Phil Rizzuto - Deserving of war credit, and malaria credit. Again, I'm conservative, but he's close to Pesky.
Dick Reddding - Hurt by the tail end of the career, I don't think his peak measures up to Appier or Tiant - he's somewhere in between 25 and 35.
Ben Taylor: The seamheads data isn't terrifically kind to his reputation. I'm assuming he is somewhere in between the two and have him solidly in the 20's.
Gavvy Cravath - I'm conservative giving credit, and his case depends on a lot of minor league credit.
Hugh Duffy - Used to be one of Hugh's biggest supporters. BBREF WAR is not so kind to him anymore.
Jeff Kent - Surprised he is this low. Weird career shape, not as great a peak as I remembered.

   32. Rob_Wood Posted: December 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4858806)
My 2015 HOM ballot (I am a career voter that can be swayed by a phenomenal peak):

1. Randy Johnson - all-time great power pitcher
2. Pedro Martinez - one of the highest pitching peaks of all time
3. Curt Schilling - post-season pushes him a smidge ahead of next guy
4. Mike Mussina - woefully underrated pitcher by general public
5. Gary Sheffield - great hitter, poor defender

6. John Smoltz - interesting issue of how to value his closer years
7. Tommy Bridges - with WWII credit, please take another look at him
8. Bob Johnson - one year credit for being kept in minors too long (connie mack/al simmons)
9. Sammy Sosa - his early defense and base running were pretty good (bad late)
10. Jeff Kent - I saw him every day with Giants and his defense was decent (could rank higher here)

11. Bobby Bonds - never lived up to potential but had a very good career
12. Buddy Bell - moved up significantly due to my recent re-eval of his defense
13. Kenny Lofton - largely depends upon his defense eval (I say he was very good)
14. Fred McGriff - solid slugger
15. Bus Clarkson - under appreciated negro leaguer


16-20) Bob Elliott, Tommy John, Tony Perez, Bernie Williams, Jack Clark

21-25) Sal Bando, John Olerud, Rusty Staub, Rabbit Maranville, Chuck Klein

26-30) George Van Haltren, Tommy Leach, Luis Aparicio, Bert Campaneris, Luis Tiant

Last year's top ten not listed above:
Phil Rizzuto - around 50th
Ben Taylor - around 50th
Vic Willis - around 100th

Other newbies seriously considered:
Carlos Delgado - around 50th
Brian Giles - around 100th
Nomar Garciaparra - around 100th
   33. Harvest Posted: December 10, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4859019)
Since my ballot has been in the discussion thread for a week now without any new comments on it, I thought I would repost it here.

I use Baseball-Reference's data (bWAA and bWAR) as jumping off points, and I include terms for career, prime and peak, although I weight peak slightly less heavily than the other two. I give credit for catching on a basis of games caught, in order to take into account the higher defensive workload and shorter careers of catchers, and I give relievers some credit on a basis of shutdowns and meltdowns (although not many relievers pass my test for Hall-worthiness). I give war and strike credit, although I err on the side of caution except when there are clear indicators as to what a player would have been worth that season (e.g. extrapolating the strike-shortened seasons of the '90s to 162 games). In terms of early players, I also perform some adjustments based on significant rule changes, such as the number of balls for a walk and the distance from the mound to home plate. I give a pitcher credit for good peripherals, but don't deduct points unless their peripherals were absolutely horrid compared to their outward value (e.g. Jim Palmer). Lastly, if a player had seasons late in their career that would have lowered their Hall-worthiness, I treat them as if they had retired after their last productive season. So, without further ado:

1. Randy Johnson - Clear #1, 5th best pitcher of all time behind Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux.
2. Pedro Martinez - Beaten by Randy on longevity, in most years would top my ballot. 11th best pitcher of all time.
3. Curt Schilling - Very close to both Smoltz and Mussina but gets the nod due to a longer and more consistent prime.
4. John Smoltz - Reliever credit pushes him past Mussina
5. Mike Mussina
6. Kenny Lofton - I wasn't around to see him in his glory years, so I'll trust B-R regarding his defensive abilities. The last sure-fire inductee on this ballot according to my model, he's closest in value among Hall of Merit CF to Billy Hamilton.
7. Sammy Sosa - Helped by one amazing peak year in 2001
8. Jim McCormick - My model's favourite old-time player; I view him as better than guys like Tony Mullane and Tommy Bond as he played at a slightly later time, when the game was more established, and he was in the majors for essentially his whole career. Retired early but 500+ innings per year are nothing to be sneezed at, even if the game was different back then.
9. Vic Willis - McCormick-lite. Compares fairly well to modern Hall-worthy pitchers in everything but peripherals.
10. Luis Tiant
11. Buddy Bell - He and Bando are nearly identical in my model; Bell gets the nod because of his slightly better career value. Both compare well with contemporary Darrell Evans, who is already in the Hall.
12. Sal Bando
13. Doc Gooden - Dominant peripherals and his one perfect season get him on the ballot, run-of-the-mill otherwise. Kids, don't do drugs.
14. Kevin Appier - Another peak-oriented candidate. Extending his 1994 and 1995 to 162 games pushes him just barely across my Hall-worthiness threshold.
15. Gary Sheffield - Atrocious fielder but more than made up for it with the bat. Best career numbers among hitters along my Hall cut line gets him onto my ballot.

Other guys my model rates as Hall-worthy:
16. Bobby Bonds - Essentially Dewey Evans with slightly less career value
17. Thurman Munson
18. Brian Giles
19. Tommy John
20. Eddie Cicotte

Required disclosures and other notable new guys:
21. Jeff Kent - Peak numbers are good, but prime and career are both just a tad shy of what I like to see in a Hall-worthy player. Him and John Olerud are the two closest guys to the Hall in my model that miss the cut.
55. Phil Rizzuto - I'm judicious with war credit, as I'm generally not too keen on extrapolating over large blocks of time. Even in the years that he did play, he didn't have enough of a peak to really stand out.
61. Nomar Garciaparra - If only he hadn't hit the wall at age 30. His peak holds up well; a few more 3 or 4 win seasons and he would have been in for sure.
74. Ben Taylor - I'm probably a lot more bearish on him than most around here, for the same reason why I'm not a fan of the Scooter: there's just not very much data to go by, and the major league estimates that I've seen of him are nothing special (going by my admittedly crude method of translating win shares into WAA and WAR). My model has all of the deserving Negro Leaguers already inducted.
98. Carlos Delgado - Bat-only first basemen have to be pretty special in order to meet my Hall criteria, and Delgado was not.

More guys right below my ballot:
21-25: Kent, Olerud, Koosman, Mullane, Tenace
26-30: Lombardi, Cash, Redding, Willie Davis, Bob Johnson
   34. OCF Posted: December 11, 2014 at 01:19 AM (#4859450)
Here's my ballot. Some explanations are on the discussion thread.

I'm caught without a single coherent method; I use a hodgepodge of things, some of which have become obsolete. I'm more confident of my placement of pitchers than of recent position players, particularly recent bat-first position players.

Numbers with the pitchers are RA+ equivalent record with a big years bonus in brackets.

1. Randy Johnson 275-192 [98] That's a heckuva career and a heckuva peak.

2. Pedro Martinez 218-96 [63] Inning-for-inning, at his peak, the most effective starting pitcher ever.

3. Curt Schilling 227-135 [50]

4. Mike Mussina 236-147 [34]

5. Kenny Lofton He looks like a very real candidate to me. He looks like Tim Raines - a little less offense than Raines although a similar style, and a lot more defense. He was the leadoff hitter for some of the best offenses of our time. (OK, that's not a good reason - we're not electing Woody English). Had his best seasons right at the beginning of his career, which makes you ask what he'd have looked like had he played less basketball and come up as young as Raines did.

6. Sammy Sosa A peak candidate. Was a wild swinger in the early part of his career, and he declined quickly once his peak was over. But that peak is enough to get him here.

7. Gary Sheffield I hadn't decided what I was going to do about Sheffield until now. The point of comparison is Sosa. Sheffield, with his much better plate discipline, was a better-balanced offensive player. But Sosa was a better fielder and a better baserunner, and Sosa had a concentrated peak that tops Sheffield's more scattered great-but-not-MVP-quality seasons. I decided to go with Sosa's peak.

8. John Smoltz 211-143 [16] as a starter, plus his three seasons as a closer. I get the feeling that I'm less impressed by the relief pitching than most of the voters here. Clearly over the in-out line.

9. Luis Tiant 224-164 [35] Was #1 on my 2012 ballot.

10. Vic Willis 248-196 [44] Interesting to see pitchers that I was voting for long, long ago start to gain support - not just Willis but also McCormick.

11. Frank Chance Betraying my career voter leanings. Didn't play much, but awfully good when he did play, and the best 1B of his own time. The new system gives him as much value above average as Palmiero.

12. Sal Bando

13. Buddy Bell

14. John Olerud

15. Bobby Bonds Close call, but this time I'd say rather Bonds than McGriff. Kent is in the same neighborhood. In 2014, I had Pesky ahead of Bonds, but I decided to let Bonds keep the spot and moved Pesky off.

Others close to the ballot.

C: Gene Tenace
1B: Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda (Note: for many previous years, I have not particularly seen the case for Ben Taylor. And the best 1B of the teens is still probably Sisler.)
2B: Jeff Kent, Larry Doyle
3B: Bob Elliott (a favorite of my old system), Robin Ventura
SS: Johnny Pesky, Phil Rizzuto. New: Nomar Garciaparra - has a worthy peak, value is also in edge-of-ballot territory.
Corner OF: Rusty Staub, Jack Clark, Frank Howard, Ken Singleton, Luis Gonzalez. New: Brian Giles; I see his value in the same range as Clark and Gonzalez.
CF: Cesar Cedeno, Hugh Duffy, George Van Haltren, Jimmy Ryan, Dale Murphy I've supported the 1890's guys (particularly Van Haltren) for a long time, but I'm not all that sure any more that I'd take any of them over Cedeno and Murphy.
P: Lefty Gomez, Bucky Walters, Kevin Appier, Lon Warnecki, Jerry Koosman, Tommy Bridges, Ed Cicotte, Wilbur Cooper, Tommy John, Urban Shocker.
   35. bjhanke Posted: December 11, 2014 at 06:47 AM (#4859483)
I've reread the Pedro Martinez comment, now that I know I have until Dec. 15, and I ended up putting the following at the end of that thread. I thought I should put to up here, too, because I'm asking for help, and there's only a week left. So, thanks in advance....

1. If you're just counting pitchers who played for a team at any time, but you're counting their best season, whether with that team or another, the Cards pick up, just off the top of my head, Cy Young, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Three Finger Brown. I'm sure it can get even worse than that, and I'm sure that pretty much all the teams that date back to the 19th century could pull off a list just about as strong.

2. As those of you who have read my Discussion thread comment know, I've been struggling with the fact that Pedro did not pitch a lot of innings per season, compared to his peer group (Unit, Rocket, Maddux, maybe Schilling). Compared to those guys, he seems to have been able to trade in 30-40 IP for a return of 100 points of ERA+. This is approximate; I can look up details if I'm not trying to get to a point. I also noticed that, in 1994 and 1995, when there were work stoppages, Greg Maddux got his IP down to Pedro's level, and sure enough, his ERA+ went up to Pedro levels. In other words, Maddux "could" trade in 35 IP for 100 ERA+. Unit and Rocket did not get their workloads down to that. Now, I know that ERA+ is not linear (or, at least, I've read that), but I don't know if 35 IP is "worth" 100 ERA+. I do suspect that Pedro, who was a little fragile, probably could not have added on 35 IP without his arm falling apart more than a 100 ERA+ drop would indicate. However, the question this is leading to is whether this is, in general, within the capabilities of pitchers at that level. The sample size is tiny, but If Unit could have turned himself into Pedro, and Pedro could not have turned himself into Unit, that says a small negative thing about Pedro. There aren't many negative things to say about Pedro. Does anyone have an idea about this? Does anyone know what the ERA+ curve actually looks like, so I could compare it to the obviously linear IP curve? Thanks in advance. - Brock Hanke
   36. Moeball Posted: December 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4859642)
This is my first attempt at voting for the HOM so I'll give it my best shot. Since this is going to be a bit lengthy I'll split this into two posts.

(Post 1 of 2)

My approach is basically taken from a key component of the HOF eligibility criteria. Since they are looking for players who played at least 10 years in the major leagues then I thought what I would do is look at 10-year peaks. I know 3 and 5 and 7 year peaks are frequently touted but I thought I would take it a little further out. I figured that if you look at a player's best decade of performance (not necessarily consecutive years) and the average season says to you "This is an All Star worthy performance", then the player is a serious candidate for HOM inclusion.

So what's an "All Star worthy" performance? I would say something roughly in the neighborhood of a 5-WAR or 3-WAA season. The way I look at it, if your team played at that level you'd be looking at a 108-win season (9 positions at 3 WAA per position is 27 additional wins over an 81-win team). A player who reached 50 WAR or 30 WAA over the course of a decade is playing at a pretty high level. I'm not saying that such a player would automatically qualify for my personal HOM but it would at least make me consider him pretty carefully.

I look at things such as WAR and WAA and also will take an occasional look at Win Shares Above Bench if I think I need to look at more data to evaluate a player. When looking at defensive metrics I look to see if there is consistency between methods of evaluation for a specific player. Ideally, if the various metrics all agree that this player was top notch in the field, then we have a consensus to draw from. Unfortunately, sometimes there are wide differences between measurements and I have to think a bit more about the player's reputation at the time he played to decide how I would rank him. Some of these players I have seen play in person; others I can only do what I can with the statistical record, such as it is. I also timeline quite a bit; if I see 2 players rated with a similar career WAR, for example, but Player B played 50 years after Player A, I'm probably going to be more inclined to think Player B was probably the better player given the level of competition he faced, even though WAR is supposedly adjusting for era context.

I also will make mental adjustments to the WAR calculations in some situations. For example, it's one thing when you see a shortstop who was basically a poor hitter overall, but who was "a good hitter for a shortstop" because at the time he played nobody had any shortstops that could hit. If I'm comparing two shortstops I may look at how they did without the positional adjustment. Sometimes that will clarify that one player really was an excellent offensive performer, period, while the other one, well, was just a good hitter "for a shortstop".

One final note - there have been more than 17,000 players in major league history, right? Well, I figure I'm a "one per cent" guy. I guess I'm saying a HOF or HOM drawn from 17,000 players should probably have around 170 or 175 players in it, plus or minus a few. This may seem "Big Hall" to some people or "Small Hall" to others but I think it's reasonable.

So that's what I'm looking for in a HOM Player - the top 1%.

Let's get this party started:

1 Randy Johnson
2 Pedro Martinez

I really don't think I need to make much of a statistical case for these two pitchers, do I? Randy Johnson had a relatively late peak in his career, but then it went on for more than a decade and was historically dominant. Pedro had a prime for the ages. For about a half dozen years he was about as unhittable as a pitcher can be, and it's no surprise he invited lots of comparisons with Koufax. Only 6 pitchers in history have a higher career BREF WAA than Johnson; only 9 are ahead of Pedro. I guess one of the best ways I can say just how good these 2 guys were is to relate a tale from about the 2000-2001 time frame. There was a poll of major league hitters as to what was the absolute nastiest pitch to hit - what was the one pitch that buckled your knees and just made you look silly at the plate?

Two pitches tied for the most votes - Mariano Rivera's cutter and Trevor Hoffman's changeup. But neither pitcher got the most total votes. That honor went to Randy Johnson, whose fastball and slider - "Mr. Snappy" as it was often called - both received several votes although just short of the most votes for one specific pitch. But the total votes for Johnson's pitches came to more than Hoffman or Rivera's total.
But the really freaky thing was that Pedro was the only pitcher to have three separate pitches receive votes - I believe his fastball, slider and changeup all received some support. He is the only pitcher I've ever heard of who had an unhittable, blazing fastball - but also had a crippling changeup to go with it. Most guys with great changeups such as Hoffman - or Maddux with his "circle" change - were guys that didn't have blazing fastballs to start with so they needed a great changeup to make their fastballs appear faster. But Pedro had the great speedball to start with so it just seemed unfair that he also complemented it with a truly nasty changeup.

3 Curt Schilling - I've always wondered about something - should the HOF or HOM have equal representation from each position? Is the quality pool evenly distributed? Should there be twenty players from each position or should some count more than others? If we use that as a starting point I would say that any player who is in the top twenty ever at his position at least deserves strong consideration.

At any rate, only 11 pitchers in history have a higher career WAA than Curt Schilling. A big part of his value comes from the fact that he somehow kept his number of unearned runs allowed at an extremely low level. So while his ERA doesn't look all that impressive at first glance, his RA/9 is amazing, particularly when you also take into context the time in which he pitched and where he pitched - a big hitter's era in which he did some of his best work in Boston and Arizona, pitching in parks that will never be confused with Petco Park in terms of helping a pitcher.

Then you add in his postseason heroics and he's an easy #3 for me.

4 Mike Mussina - I guess I'm another voter who's going heavy on the pitching at the top of the list but this is an unusually outstanding list of pitchers. Mussina had almost 49 WAA in his career and there are only 15 pitchers higher than that on the all time list. But here's something to give you a little sample of what made Moose so special - let's look at the 1999 season for example, and this wasn't even one of his finest years (his WAA was only 2.4):

His 3.50 ERA was third in the league; of course it was no where near Pedro'sspectacular 2.07, but who was? Mussina did have a pretty good W-L record, however, at 18-7. At first glance it just looks like he got unusually good run support to have that kind of W-L record given his ERA. He did get really good run support but some context is also needed:

1) In a league where the average pitcher gave up over 5 runs/game, a pitcher allowing less than 4 runs a game was actually doing very well, and
2) Mussina had an interesting distribution pattern of runs allowed that explains some things.

Mussina had 31 total starts that year and pitched 203 innings. In 4 of his starts he was just wretchedly bad, allowing 30 runs in only 21 innings pitched (uh, that's an RA/9 of 12.86 for those keeping score at home). It's not exactly surprising that he didn't win any of these games. In his remaining 27 starts, however, he only allowed 58 runs in 182 innings, an average of only 2.86 RA/9. That's not 2.86 earned runs per 9 innings, that's2.86 runs total. That's just outstanding, especially in a league where the average pitcher was allowing around 5.3 runs/game. That's where the 18 wins came from.

To think of it in pythagoran terms, in 87% of his starts Mike Mussina gave his team about an 80% chance of winning. That's exceptional. Here's the thing - Mussina had several seasons where his performance was similar to this. That's what made him so good.

5 John Smoltz - Still going with the pitchers here - this is a really exceptional group of hurlers. Smoltz is listed at 38 WAA for his career per BREF; I would bring that down 4-5 since I think they overvalue his contributions as a reliever. His peak years as a starter, however, easily clear the bar for me. I also give additional credit for an outstanding postseason resume that is a whole season's worth of outstanding pitching (2.67 ERA in 209 innings pitched).

6 Luis Tiant - up and down career, but his peaks were legendary. Had some good seasons with Cleveland building up to his monster 1968 bonanza (ERA+ of 124 and 121 in 1966 and 1967 before the 186 in 1968). Injuries made it look like his career was over after the 1969-1971 debacle,but he bounced back big time in 1972 and ran off several more good years. His best 10 years certainly weren't consecutive, but they easily cross the threshold of HOM for me.

7 Gary Sheffield - a case of the extreme differences on the defensive measurements. BREF has him as a horrible -195 defensive runs in his career which brings his career WAA down to under 26, a figure that probably wouldn't crack the top 200. DRA, on the other hand, has him as about half that bad, which would give a tremendous boost to his overall ranking. Again, I'm going to guess the reality is somewhere between those two figures. For his peak decade I have him spot on 30 WAA and 49 WAR after making the defensive adjustments. I say he's in.

So concludes Part 1…


   37. Moeball Posted: December 11, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4859678)
   38. Moeball Posted: December 11, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4859694)
So as long as I have the floor, until Jim can figure out how to get me out of here, I guess I will continue with my Part deux...

Part 2 of 2

8 Kenny Lofton. This guy's evaluation is all over the place. His BREF WAR is at 68, 114th all time. His WSAB is at 116, only 342nd all time. One makes him look HOM-worthy to me, the other doesn't. As expected, it's all about the defense. BREF has him at +108 runs defensively in his career; DRA has him at less than 30 runs, a big difference. I'm going to lean more towards the DRA end of things, although not quite that much, so I'm going somewhere in between again. BREF has his top 10 seasons at around 35 WAA and 54 WAR; that's pretty darned good, but given that about 11 of the WAA is coming from the defensive ranking, I'm going to cut that in half. So I'd guess at his peak a typical season was 3 WAA and 5 WAR or a little under. That's still in the top 170 players as I see it and therefore merits inclusion.

9 Jim McCormick - 1880s standout in the early NL. 118 ERA+ in a career of almost 4300 innings. Arms burn out at an early age when you pitch, oh, 5 or 6 hundred innings in a season!

10 Kevin Appier - stalwart pitcher for KC in the 1990s. His excellence was often masked by the big hitting climate in which he pitched, both in terms of his home ballpark and also the high scoring context of the league at the time. From 1990-1997 he had a 140 ERA+, quite exceptional.

11 Sammy Sosa - uneven career; excellent fielder early in career; great hitter later on. BREF and DRA defensive evaluations are about the same. Had some really poor seasons at the beginning of his career when he was just getting warmed up; and also at the end when he was done. But that decade in between from 1993-2002 he was magnificent. 143 OPS+ on the offensive end; averaging about +10 runs/season on the defensive side.

12 Bobby Bonds - his son has made everyone forget just how good Bobby was, but he had it all - he could hit, run and field at an extraordinary level. BREF has him at +48 defensively; DRA is about 25 runs higher. His career wasn't long, but that period from 1968 to about 1978 had him averaging about 110 runs scored per season while posting a 133 OPS+ along with excellent baserunning and defense.

13 Buddy Bell - another player whose reputation is largely built upon his defensive ratings. BREF has him as a +174 defensively; surprisingly, DRA actually rates him even higher. Apparently he truly was a superb fielder. Over his peak years his defense represents about half his value but he comes in at about 32 WAA and 52 WAR, which I think might be a little high but for the most part in this particular case actually stands up.

14 Sal Bando - emerged as a semi-star in 1969 but quickly got overshadowed by teammate Reggie Jackson. Bando was the real deal, though. He's one that the defensive measurements really disagree on. BREF Rfield has him at +36 for his career; DRA has him at -53, almost 100 runs worse. I decided therefore to treat him as about a zero, or just average, defensively. BREF has him as about a 34 WAA and 56 WAR during the 1969-1978 period; I have him at about 29 and 49.

15 Joe Tinker - ok, this one really stunned me. I've always thought that Tinker, Evers and Chance were a bad joke overrated by a stupid poem. But they all were actually pretty good. Part of my assessment of Tinker is based on the following thought process: BREF has him at a touch over 30 WAA for his career; a big part of that value comes from his +180 runs defensively. Looks a bit high at first glance; so I thought I'd check the DRAfor Tinker - it's a whopping +315 runs! Now, in Michael Humphreys' book Wizardry he goes on to make additional timeline adjustments that come to the conclusion that shortstops such as Mark Belanger and Ozzie Smith were probably actually better defensively due to tougher competition. But it got me to thinking about something. Back in the dead ball days, a player just wore a small bit of leather on his hand, nothing like the huge gloves they wear today. A hard hit ball had a very good chance of getting a player on base as a relatively small percentage of these got converted into outs compared to today's game. This is why there were so few strikeouts back then; it was to a player's significant advantage to put the ball in play since there was a pretty good chance of getting on base. Now, what if there was a fielder who was really exceptional at converting these hard hit balls into outs; wouldn't he be extraordinarily valuable under these circumstances? The number of runs prevented from scoring could be huge; I'm thinking that Tinker's runs saved above average could really be as much as 250, although I think 315 is a bit of a stretch. As a result, I think his WAA and WAR are actually understated quite a bit.

Close but no cigar division - others I considered and comments:

Vic Willis - turn of the century pitcher kept in the large shadows of Cy Young, Kid Nichols, Amos Rusie and others. But Willis was pretty good.

Tony Mullane - does very well across several measurement systems but I ding him for being in the AA during the 1880s, which I don't view as being as strong as the NL at the time.

Bob Johnson - good consistent hitter in the 1930s, but high scoring league at the time reduces the "wow" factor of his stats somewhat.

Hilton Smith - outstanding Negro League pitcher but I've read so many conflicting things I don't know whether he was great or merely just pretty good.

Silver King - another pre-1900 pitcher who was pretty effective but mostly lost to history

John Olerud - pretty high peak seasons; 1993 and 1998 were almost MVP-caliber. Excellent defensive first baseman; both Rfield and DRA agree on that.

Jeff Kent - I don't think the defense hurts him as much as some do: I just think he had a lot of good (but not All Star level) seasons.

Tommy Bridges - was better than most think; excellence hidden by context issues of high octane 1930s environment. But I don't think he quite makes it over the top. Will have to revisit him and examine further next year.

Phil Rizzuto - even if you add in the 3 missing WWII seasons, I still don't see him getting to the level he needed to be to qualify. He truly was an exceptional fielder, though.

Ben Taylor - I see him as a bit better than Frank Chance; close, but not quite good enough to make the top 15.

Cannonball Dick Redding - excellent early pitcher in Neg Lg but I think there are too many questions about level of competition and sample size.

Robin Ventura - should have won more Gold Gloves than he did; he not only had to make great diving stops at third base, but had to follow them up with near perfect throws to first despite being off balance. Frank Thomas was such a dreadful first baseman he couldn't catch a lot of low or high throws.

Well, that's my list for 2015. I welcome your comments and I'm sure some things will get tweaked by the time I do this again a year from now!
   39. DL from MN Posted: December 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4859721)
I also timeline quite a bit

Timelining is discouraged if not illegal. By the rules a ballot should be fair to all eras and all positions. A pennant is a pennant.
   40. OCF Posted: December 11, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4859742)
He's voting for Jim McCormick and Joe Tinker. I don't think his timeline is all that steep.
   41. OCF Posted: December 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4859791)
I've always thought that Tinker, Evers and Chance were a bad joke overrated by a stupid poem. But they all were actually pretty good.

They were, all three of them, and I'm voting for Chance, above. The problem with electing Tinker to the HoF wasn't that Tinker wasn't at least marginally worthy, it was electing him ahead of George Davis and Bill Dahlen.
   42. rawagman Posted: December 11, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4859996)
2015 Ballot

I use a sort of prime>peak>career number with measurements including relative league standing by playing time with a strong preference for players who had good in-season durability (non-exclusive). Combined with rate stats and an admittedly subjective glove measurement, I feel this gives me both context for what the player actually achieved versus what the league around him was able to do. My general baseball philosophy may help in clarifying my rankings. I don't believe in the single stat theory of baseball, meaning I don't use WS or any flavour of WAR in my rankings, although I do lean towards the statistical bent of the BP catalog. Essentially, I follow this concept as I think a significant percentage of what contributes to winning baseball is not necessarily counted in box scores. This includes things like manager's prerogative (elective actions - steal signs, pinch hitters, batting order, pitching changes, etc.), and actions that would require a historical PBP analysis that is currently unavailable.

I also prefer what I consider "total ballplayers", guys who can do it all. I believe in positional representation and abhor the thought process that says that relievers were all failed starters and 2B are all failed SS, etc... A team cannot win without a 2B (Also not an easy position for longevity), nor without someone in LF, etc. When I look at a player's career, I try to ask myself how I would feel about him as his manager/general manager - would his presence require special tactics to protect him, or is he completely reliable? I hope it can be seen by my rankings that the "reliable" players generally rise above the ones with clear holes in their games. There are always exceptions, but this is what I have. The stats I look at to get here tend to be traditional and rate, both offensive and defensive. Contemporary opinion also helps. I find comprehensive ranking systems to be exclusive of much of what I see on the field of play - that is, the narrative of the game. The stats for me represent measurements of aspects of the game, but beyond that, the narrative has to fill out the gaps. i.e. - Why was this number lower than expected and that number higher? Combining the stats with the narrative gives me a baseball world-view that I am happy with and feel qualified to discuss.

I fully credit military and Negro League time, but am very reluctant to provide minor league credit for anyone past the advent of the Live Ball era.

Thoughts on the 2015 newcomers. Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez are absolute no-brainer locks. In essence, so is John Smoltz, but in his case, I need to weigh him against the holdovers. I consider his case to be very similar to that of Schilling, but the latter wins out (barely) due to having slightly less reliance on his fielders. But it's really very close. The cases for Sheffield and Delgado are very similar. I prefer Sheffield at the moment, mostly due to career length. Sheffield reminds me more of Sosa while Delgado is compared to Ben Taylor. For now, credit will go to the carryovers there, but they are close and I wouldn't argue too strenuously to anyone who reversed that order. I also give respect to Nomar Garciaparra, who was either well above average or hurt. One more good season would have made him a ballot lock, but as is, he falls just shy. Brian Giles is the only other newcomer to even make my larger consideration set, but he's not really close to my top 100 eligible candidates. Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz make my PHOM as Glavine and Biggio are forced to wait for one more year each.

1) Randy Johnson - The Big Unit should be our big winner in 2015. You can give as many grains of salt to BBWAA voted on hardware as you want, but five Cy Youngs speaks volumes. (PHOM)
2) Pedro Martinez - Would be number one in many years. His best years were among the best of the last century. Even with red flags for in-season durability and longevity, he still makes the short list for greatest pitchers of all time. (PHOM)
3) Curt Schilling - While I found his personality oddly endearing when he was still active, it grates on me on his post-playing days. When the term "Bulldog" is used to describe a pitcher, I immediately think of Schilling. My system loves his in-season durability. (PHOM)
4) John Smoltz - A worthy candidate, even if his closer years did not add all that much to my estimation of his body of work. Good enough to not be overshadowed by two Hall of Famers/Hall of Meriters. (PHOM)
5) Mike Mussina - As I weight prime more heavily than career, Mussina edges out Tom Glavine. The lack of defense keeps him above Thomas as well. (PHOM)
((5a) Tom Glavine))
((5b) Craig Biggio))

6) Hugh Duffy - Super peak, wonderful prime. Amazing bat, marvelous glove. The epitomy of reliability. (PHOM)
7) Tommy Bridges - He was really very good. A summary of a reevaluation of some of our unelected pitchers in my high backlog (Bridges, Gomez, Redding, Walters) Of those four, the white guys were all regulars for 10-11 seasons. Bucky and Lefty both had immense peaks, but I think that Lefty's non-peak years hold up better than Bucky's. Also, Lefty does not get any war discount. Dick Redding seems more similar to Walters in that his non-peak was not so impressive. His peak was still enough to leave in him solid backlog country. (I even put him in my PHOM back when I joined the project.) But Tommy Bridges wins out. He had much greater consistency. He is to pitchers what Bob Johnson was to hitters, but more of a winner (No - I'm not giving him extra credit for that). A deserving recipient of WWII credit. We have been especially splintered as to the backlog pitchers, and I urge everyone to give Tommy Bridges a closer look. (PHOM)
8) Ben Taylor - Can't find the peak, but a better prime (through the roof), career and glove than Beckley. I think he may be the player most underrated by the electorate. (PHOM)
9) Sammy Sosa - Overrated by the money stats. Even so, a word-class peak.
10) Kirby Puckett - I have read that some HOM voters consider Puckett to be a mistake of the BBWAA. I see where that sentiment may be emanating from, but I do believe that his election was earned. A wonderful ballplayer. (PHOM)
11) Dale Murphy - A player that my system loves. At his best he dominated. That refers to the years between 1979-1988. That's a 10 year prime with a very high peak. Also demonstrated very good fielding ability. Could easily move up my ballot. (PHOM)
12) Gary Sheffield - I will consider moving him up over time, but the bat was not so good that I can overlook his decrepit work in the field.
13) Jeff Kent - Moved up two spots since I posted my preliminary ballot. I can only hope that the BBWAA doesn't "one-and-done" him.
14) Carlos Delgado - A fantastic hitter who probably falls on the all-time in/out line for inclusion here and in Cooperstown.
15) Lefty Gomez - looking at him in any single way hurts him. Looking at him kaleidoscopically has him as the one of the best available pitchers in my eyes (PHOM)

Close but not this year
16) Dick Redding - One of the toughest for me to accurately place. I now think his teens peak was all he needed. I want to be sure I am adequately valuating pitching, so Redding has moved up a few spots in my ballot. (PHOM)
17) Vern Stephens - Will we look at Nomar down the road like we look at Vern now? Great bat, good glove. (PHOM)
18) Bus Clarkson - A new defensive readjustment moves to the cusp. (PHOM)
19) Nomar Garciaparra - One more healthy year would probably bump him up 6-12 spots, but he didn't have it. Such a shame.
20) Fred McGriff - He did not dominate as a bat to the extent of an Edgar Martinez, but consistent above-average performance and fielding that was moderate (I know that not everyone agrees), place the Crime Dog in the heart of my ballot. A better version of Jake Beckley. Here's hoping that it doesn't take McGriff quite as long to receive his dues. Recently dinged through new look at fielding. (PHOM)
21) Gavvy Cravath - No longer the worst fielder in my top 120 candidates (Frank Howard). Probably still the most dominant hitter (as compared to his peers), though. (PHOM)
22) Bob Johnson - I don't know why it took me this long. Great all-round LF. Very durable. (PHOM)
23) Tony Oliva - Career not as short as I thought. Had solid durability for the seasons he was around for. A world class hitter. (PHOM)
24) Dizzy Dean - Diet Sandy Koufax. 0 calories (career), no sugar (prime).
((24a)Andre Dawson))
25) Orlando Cepeda - Going with my numbers. I support him, but the strength of many of the new guys as well as the recently dregded up arguments for others drops him off ballot.(PHOM)
26) Bobby Veach - He did it all well. As complete a LF as is available today. (PHOM)
27) Al Oliver - I was surprised by the similarities between Oliver and Reggie Smith. Very convincing peak and a glove that scores quite well. Career length is nice as well.
28) Don Mattingly - In the interest of my belief in a big hall for Cooperstown, I support Mattingly's induction. That said, for this project, he looks to be just the wrong side of the door. New look at fielding raises him up a few spots.
29) Albert Belle - Fits in rather nicely with the next two on this list.
30) Rocky Colavito - Good defensive showing showing moves him way up. I didn't expect that either.
   43. rawagman Posted: December 11, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4860000)
Extended Honorable Mentions

31) Bobby Bonds - I may have been mildly underrating him before (very little gap between 25-150 by this point), but I don't see what truly separates him from a player of the ilk of a Colavito.
32) Jack Clark - Marvelous hitter who had his uses in the field as well.
33) Jim Rice - This is, more or less, where the in-out line can be found for the slightly bigger hall that I dream of.
34) Wally Berger - super-underrated
35) Ernie Lombardi - defense was below average, but not quite horrible
((35a) Jimmy Wynn))
36) Ron Guidry - I love a dominant pitcher. I don't think it's necessarily correct to view pitchers and hitters in the same light and I value a strong peak (I mean really strong) for pitchers more than for hitters (prefer a steady, all round type there). Similar to, but not quite the equal of, Lefty Gomez, one of my inner circle of best friends.
37) Luis Tiant - Undoubtedly a wonderful pitcher, but of the type who don't do that well in my system. I wasn't Billy Pierce's biggest fan, but I still liked Billy (and Marichal and Bunning) more than Tiant, so he slots in over here. With relatively few big inning seasons (only three top ten finishes), my system can only give him so much love. I prefer the shorter career with the higher peak in this type of case. (see Guidry, Dean, Gomez)
38) Al Rosen - One more season of prime, and he is top 10
((38a) Jim Bunning))
((38b) Billy Pierce))
((38c) Graig Nettles))

39) Luis Gonzalez - Outside of his mid-career explosion (I do not suspect, nor particularly care about the PED question), Gonzalez' case for the HOM is as a long career, low peak corner outfielder. I may be overrating him.
40) Lee Smith - He didn't have the stellar peak of the closers around him, but his prime outlasted them both. And his peak is really not that far below Sutter's, at least.
41) Lance Parrish - Solid all round catcher. Proud member of the HoVG. Not quite the HOM though.
42) Buddy Bell - Fits in rather nicely in this run of HOVG 3B. New look at his defense gives him big boost.
43) Norm Cash - Too much in one year - and that was not the best year for an everlasting peak, for a number of reasons. Excellent fielder, though.
44) Dan Quisenberry - I suppose I've decided that I value peak in a reliever over career totals. Mind you, if the guy has both...
45) John Franco - What can I say? All those LOOGY-moments...they added up. Not enough to get him in, but to at least be in the discussion.
46) Tony Fernandez - Mr. Blue Jay. Compares favorably to Rizzuto.
47) Bert Campaneris - Stupid me - I had somehow left him off my consideration set for years.
((47a) Dobie Moore))
48) Addie Joss - ERA/+ and WHIP are great, but why so little black ink?
((48a) Cupid Childs))
((48b) Roger Bresnahan))
((48c) Rollie Fingers))

49) Phil Rizzuto - Moves up a few spots with another look at his peak. Not as bad as I once considered.
50) Fred Dunlap - Very short career. Very good, too.
51) Tom Henke - Not a long career, but the Terminator was one of the best closers in the game at his peak. New DERA calculations boost him.
52) Tommy John - I think I like his overall picture just a smidgen more than Sutton's.
((52a) Don Sutton))
53) Don Newcombe - big beneficiary of pitcher's fielding analysis. Further slight bump this year this another look at his extra credit seasons.
54) John Olerud - Olerud playing first base with his batting helmet on was an iconic Blue Jays image in my youth.
((54a) Rick Reuschel))
55) Vic Willis - As a top ten holdover, I re-examined his case and saw fit to move him up over 35 spots. That said, his profile lacks the extended prime I like to see and I would be very surprised if Willis ever makes my top 15.
56) Bucky Walters - Very similar to Pierce in overall picture - but built differently.
57) Kevin Appier - Just ahead of Finley. I prefer the better rate to the longer career, but very, very close.
58) Chuck Finley - I remember being surprised when he didn`t come back for another season. I wonder what one more season of slightly above average performance would have done to his final ranking.
59) Mickey Welch
60) Bruce Sutter - Shorter career than the other modern closer candidates, but when he was at his best, he was the best. That works for me - to a point.
61) Fred Carroll - I give him around 1.5 seasons prime MiL credit. Better than Tenace. And maybe better than Bresnahan given the proper credit.
62) Larry Doyle - If only the glove were just a little better.
63) Cecil Travis - A very worthy extra credit case.
((63a) Jake Beckley))
64) Jimmy Ryan
65) Fred Lynn - Very similar to Duffy and Roush. Loses a lot of ground due to in-season durability concerns for an otherwise very strong candidate. Should be appealing to Browning/Chance/McGraw supporters who overlook that sort of thing.
((65a) Charlie Keller))
66) Bernie Williams - will ballot higher just for being a critical part of a dynasty. Had Williams spent his entire career with nearly any other team in the majors, he would not have made nearly the impact on the national stage.
67) Cy Williams
68) Brett Butler - Some are calling him an equivalent to Kirby. I'm not seeing it. At Kirby's best, he was the best. At Butler's best, he was very good. My system will always take the guy who was the best for a stretch.
69) Amos Otis - The end of the centrefield run.
70) Dolph Camilli - I give him a year of war credit, but he's still two more prime years away from making some noise. An underappreciated stud.
71) Kenny Lofton - I truly thought that he would have ranked higher than this, but with so much of his value tied to his baserunning and defense, I have a hard time putting him above players with similar overall value but more weighted to the offensive side. Hall of Very Good.
72) Fielder Jones - I was missing on him a bit. A very apt first name. Solid bat as well.
((72a) Pete Browning))
73) Mark Grace - It's always fun when a player's name can fit with his on-field ability/persona. A Graceful first-baseman, with the stick and with the glove. Splitting hairs betwen him and Garvey. I think Garvey stuck out just that much more among his 1B peers.
74) Tony Perez - No appreciable peak. As far as 1B go, I have Cepeda up higher because of his very nice peak and his not too short career as a regular. Ben Taylor suffers from a lack of documented stats, but the stats we do have show that he could flat out mash the ball by dead-ball standards. Contemporaries say his glove was the best they had ever seen at 1B. How much was a scoop worth? I think it's worth alot. I maintain that while a below average defensive 1B can cause little measurable harm, an above average glove at 1B will provide a hefty bonus to the team lucky enough to employ one.
75) Steve Garvey - Something between Perez and McCormick. Nice size career, defensive value, could hit a bit - nothing overwhelming though.
76) Luke Easter - James Newburg made a very interesting case for Easter in his 2010 ballot. Earned a look in my consideration set and will make a point of studying him further and maybe look for similarities between his story and that of Bus Clarkson, many of our favourite what-if story.
77) Jim Bottomley - More than just a Frankie Frisch mistake. Not that he wasn't a mistake, but he was not the worst one made.
78) George Kell
79) Frank McCormick - One of the finest 1B gloves in MLB history, and a decent hitter as well.
80) Bob Elliott - A little 3B run here
81) Robin Ventura - Solid career quantity and quality, both at the plate and with the leather. Does not stick out enough with either to threaten for the HOM.
82) Sal Bando - Looked at his case again and am still comfortable with his place among the 3B cohort - prefer Elliott and Ventura. Going forward, I could look into whether I underrate 3B as a group.
83) Ron Cey - I remember his late Topps cards. Lots of very small print on the back. He compares favourably to the other eligible 3Bs. I'd still take Rosen's monster peak over his steady production, but it's close. New look at defensive numbers drops Cey a fair bit.
84) Pie Traynor
85) Ed Williamson - I was missing a little something here.
86) Johnny Evers
87) Elston Howard
88) Joe Wood - If he had one more really good year as a pitcher, he'd be balloted
89) Bill Mazeroski
90) Tony Lazerri - Similar value to Maz. Accrued very differently.
91) Tommy Leach - With his recent rise in the standings, I took another look at him. I can see arguments that would have him around or even above someone like Brett Butler, or maybe even a bit more, but that would only mean 20-30 ballot spots for me, and not significant at this stage. Not being convinced either way, he stays down here. Fine player, but not HOM quality.
92) Thurmon Munson - see below.
93) Walker Cooper - some days, he reminds me of Quincey Trouppe
94) Johnny Pesky
95) Hippo Vaughn
96) Dave Concepcion - New look at defensive numbers gives Concepcion a bit of a boost.
97) Sparky Lyle - The biggest surprise of my remodeled reliever system. I don't look at postseason heroics so much, but for those who give plaudits for Fingers' work, check out Sparky. Great peak, very consistent. Hurt by new DERA's.
98) George Kell - Had him a bit too high earlier.
99) Cesar Cedeno - Found him to be comparable to Amos Otis and Jimmy Wynn in total value. Slots lower than those two in light of the shape of that value.
100) Chet Lemon - My recent new defensive look demonstrated that Lemon may have been a bit overlooked. Very good player.
101) Vada Pinson - The ink really threw me for a twist. He looks like a good all-round CF, not great. But he amassed hefty ink totals for his generation. This may be a safe ranking.
102) Luis Aparicio - The low OPS+ masks his real effectiveness.
103) Tip O'Neill - The next Canadian.
104) Chuck Klein - Drops like a rock. Great hitter, not much else. What separates him from Cravath? Not sure at the moment, really. I guess Cravath has those extra credit intangibles.
105) Denny Lyons
((105a) John McGraw))
106) George Van Haltren - Van Haltren is the big loser in the 1890's CF sweepstakes due to his poor fielding by my own accounts.
107) Rabbit Maranville
108) Matt Williams - Definitely hurt by the strike of '94, but hurt more by missing half of the following season. His peak was high, but he was fairly one-dimensional in his offensive game outside of that 1993-96 period.
109)Ellis Burks - Better durability (say 100 extra PA in a given season twice) would have potentially given him a boost of 40 places on this list.
   44. bjhanke Posted: December 11, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4860345)
Moeball - I had the same logout problem as you did last night. I found a workaround. I just went to a different site, then immediately returned to BTF. Suddenly, I could log out. It took a while to try that, but it was easy once I found it. - Brock Hanke
   45. Chris Cobb Posted: December 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4860358)
From rawagman's ballot:

31) Bobby Bonds - I may have been mildly underrating him before (very little gap between 25-150 by this point), but I don't see what truly separates him from a player of the ilk of a Colavito.

Two things: Baserunning and strength of league. As hitters and fielders and in career length, Bonds and Colavito about equal, but Bonds was 7 wins better on the basepaths. Fangraphs WAR doesn't adjust for league strength (I think) and it has Bonds 7ish wins ahead of Colavito. BBRef WAR does adjust for league strength, and opens up Bonds's lead to 13 wins.
   46. DL from MN Posted: December 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4860558)
19 ballots so far, last year we had 34 voters
   47. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 14, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4861604)
Mine would be #20 ... push it off a week and send a reminder to the list?
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: December 14, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4861606)

yes, I'd shoot for at least 25 and do a reminder
   49. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 14, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4861609)
Hey Moeball thanks for submitting your first ballot!

Any thoughts on the timelining comment DL mentioned? That's also why we ask new voters to post a preliminary ballot to the discussion thread first, just so others can point out things that might be a concern, give some feedback, etc.
   50. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: December 14, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4861628)
I'm James Newburg. I've voted in past elections under my own name.

Ballot Methodology
1. I use DRA for fielding value.
2. For catchers in the Retrosheet era, I include Max Marchi's estimated game calling runs. For pre-Retrosheet catchers, I include the average estimated game calling runs for all catchers with at least the same career length in the Marchi dataset.
3. I adjust for season length by prorating from the number of scheduled games to half the difference between that number and 162.
4. For overall player value, I use the Hall of Stats method of calculating a Hall Rating: WAR + WAA * 1.79 for all seasons with positive WAA. Hall Rating is adjusted so the worst player in the HOM scores at 100.
5. To account for competition adjustments over time, I fit a curve to the Hall Rating of white players based on their mid-career seasons, as they are the one constant talent pool available throughout history. (Michael Humphreys uses this method for DRA in Wizardry.) This curve most negatively affects players whose careers were centered between 1915 and 1955, which is consistent with an artificially watered down talent pool due to segregation.
6. I include a positional adjustment that sets no difference between the 25th-best player at each non-pitching position.

2015 Hall of Merit Ballot
1. Randy Johnson (234 Hall Rating) - What else is there to say, really? Utterly fantastic pitcher. If Johnson hadn't wasted most of his twenties trying to find the strike zone, he would have a case for being the greatest pitcher who ever lived.

2. Pedro Martinez (203) - I can't imagine ever seeing a better pitcher than Pedro from 1999 to 2000. On a rate basis, that has to stand as the best stretch of pitching anyone has ever done. I look forward to seeing how long Clayton Kershaw can do his Pedro/Unit hybrid impersonation.

3. Curt Schilling (189) - Schilling's name may be mud for a whole host of reasons outside of baseball, but the guy sure could pitch. He didn't look like much of an athlete by the time he got to Boston, a big block of a guy who was kind of doughy. Yet he pitched like how I imagine that Robin Roberts used to; that is, if Roberts could light up the radar gun in the same way. Johnson and Schilling may have been the greatest 1-2 punch in history.

4. Mike Mussina (179) - There is real concern that Mussina might fall off the Hall of Fame ballot after this year. If so, that's another reason to want to blow things up and start over, to foment a kind of virtual Guy Fawkes Plot against the current electorate. He's seen as something like Don Sutton or Jack Morris, but without the support given to either.

There's no narrative hook that attached itself to Mussina's career. He came to the big leagues fully formed as a pitcher and pitched the same way with the same results for almost 20 years. The most interesting things that happened to him were signing with the Yankees and having that near-perfect game in Fenway on Sunday Night Baseball.

5. John Smoltz (150) - Though my rating system sees Mussina clearly ahead, I wouldn't mount a vigorous argument against other voters who put Smoltz ahead. If you consider postseason performance, it's really six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

6. Gary Sheffield (146) - I don't think Sheffield was as putrid defensively as Baseball Reference stats suggest. DRA cuts one-third of the difference between his runs lost according to BR and average. Given he had the defensive tools to begin his career at shortstop and third base, I find it difficult to believe he cost his teams nearly 200 runs.

For all the talk that we were subjected to during the Jim Rice HOF campaign about hitters inducing fear, Sheffield cut a figure at the plate. Every Sheffield at-bat brought with it the incipient threat of controlled violence.

7. Buddy Bell (137) - Rates about even with Baker, Santo, Nettles, and Robinson for me. Every defensive metric agrees Bell was superlative.

8. Carlos Moran (130) - I calculated MLEs based on the Negro Leagues data available at Seamheads and rate Moran at 72 WAR and 42 WAA. He gets hit relative to earlier players and contemporaries for having his career centered in the mid-1900s. The data suggest he was a John McGraw type offensively: a terror on the bases, high batting average, walks by the bushelful. However, he played in probably the deadest ball environment in the history of professional baseball. Some years, OBP and SLG were so low, they suggested a run environment equivalent to 1.8-2.0 runs per game, with errors adding to scoring levels.

9. Jose Cruz (128) - Along with Roy White and Bobby Veach, Cruz is one of several corner outfielders who benefits from the use of DRA. In every season from 1975 to 1985, I rate him as a 4+ WAR player. In that time, he saved 160 runs defensively. 1983 and 1984 are his peak seasons, at 7 and 6 WAR, respectively. A fine player who did just about everything well.

10. Ed Williamson (128) - One of the few 19th century position players who remains overlooked. I imagine Williamson as something like Josh Donaldson: an outstanding defender with a relatively low batting average and great secondary skills.

11. Tony Phillips (127) - Seemingly played everywhere on the field and everywhere in the American League. The batting eye was always there, but it's striking that he didn't make an impact offensively until he was 32. Other than his base stealing, he was an ideal leadoff hitter for the Moneyball philosophy of the era. He rates as average at third base and below average in his 570 career innings in center field. Other than that, DRA rates him as Gold Glove-caliber at four positions: +13/year at 2B, +9/year in LF, +20/year at SS, and +21/year in right field.

12. Brian Giles (126) - The placement of everyone in the backlog is sensitive to the assumptions we accept about evaluations of their value. Giles is instructive of why I use DRA over TZ/DRS. If you believe TZ/DRS, then the Pirates were committing malpractice by playing Giles in left and center. He became a poor defender at the age of 30, started a five-year stretch of poor play, then had the second-best year of his career patrolling right field in Petco Park at the age of 35.

It doesn't pass my smell test. Giles was a solid athlete and smart baserunner. Anyone who could score 110 runs per season at his peak with the mediocre hitters behind him surely brought those skills to the table. I agree with the narrative suggested by DRA: it was Giles' fine work in LF that convinced the Pirates to try him in CF, only to move him back after a few years when it was clear he was a little too stretched for the position. His defense declined around the same time as his offense, and he only became a bad defender his last few years with the Padres.

13. Tony Pena (124) - Max Marchi has Pena saving an additional 248 runs with his defense, 38 more than Mike Scioscia to rate as the most valuable catcher on this measure since 1948. All told, I rate him +328 runs defensively, which adds another 30 WAR to his career total. I buy the rating, as he's just one of seven catchers (Boone, I-Rod, Howard, Lollar, Matheny, and Ausmus) to win a Gold Glove at the age of 34 or older. He made five All-Star teams, two of them when he could barely hit his way out of a paper bag. After he put up a 32 OPS+ as the starting catcher for a losing Boston team at the age of 36, a Cleveland team with designs on the World Series signed him and gave him substantial playing time.

The heavy workload Pena had in Pittsburgh surely killed his offensive value later in his career, but when he hit, he was a very valuable player. He had three seasons (1983, 1984, and 1986) where he rated as a 7 WAR player, and he put up two 6 WAR seasons in 1982 and 1985. Outside of that run, he had four seasons as an above-average player, then two seasons as an average starter for Boston (1991-1992).

14. Mike Scioscia (124) - As mentioned above, Scioscia was a superlative catcher. He was one of the best players in the National League in his prime, racking up 42 WAR from 1984 to 1991. His best season was in 1985, where his 8 WAR made him one of the five most valuable players in the league. I also credit him with 6 WAR in 1989, four 5 WAR seasons (1984, 1987, 1990, 1991), and four more seasons between 3-4 WAR (1981, 1986, 1988, 1992).

15. Kevin Appier (123) - Appier and Tiant fight it out for the last spot on my ballot. Appier ranks ahead of Tiant based on the curve I use to account for competition adjustments. If two players are comparable, then those who played closer to the present day and early 19th century are favored.

Other Notable Players and Required Disclosures
16. Luis Tiant (122) - See Kevin Appier comment.

17. Javier Lopez (136) - Max Marchi's work on catcher defense suggests that Lopez saved 200 runs with his skill in handling pitchers, behind only Mike Scioscia and Tony Pena (who occupy the last two spots on my ballot) in the Retrosheet era. Obviously, this is a massive reevaluation of his value, and one of the few findings in Marchi's work (along with A.J. Pierzynski rating nearly as high) that I have a hard time believing. The highest rated catchers are the usual suspects, but Greg Maddux famously refused to pitch to Lopez. Who do you believe, Marchi or Maddux?

Lopez would rank eighth on my ballot if I was confident in Marchi's evaluation of his defense, but I'll go with Maddux and punt on the question for this year.

Sammy Sosa (122) - Right off of my ballot. I don't really disagree with the basic evaluation of Sosa: valuable hitter and fielder, just not at the same time. He's a solid player whose 2001 season puts him in ballot contention. If he could have had a few more seasons where he put it all together, he'd rate better. Fine career and great HOM candidate; I just rate others higher.

Ben Taylor (121) - I reevaluated Taylor's candidacy this year using the Negro Leagues data at Seamheads. Ranks just behind Eddie Murray and Willie McCovey, but gets docked for era and position.

Jeff Kent (119) - Same thing with Sosa, Taylor, and Lofton. They're all fine candidates and deserving HOMers. I just rate other players as more deserving. Not a huge peak candidate, though an impressive 10 seasons with 2-4 WAR.

Bobby Bonds (114) - If Bonds debuted in 1980 or later, then he would make the back end of the ballot.

Kenny Lofton (114) - Gets dinged by DRA to the tune of 77 runs and also gets docked for playing a historically overrepresented position in CF. That's enough to move him off of my ballot.

Phil Rizzuto (80) - Given the disagreement between my ratings and the HOM, players need a Hall Score of about 120 to contend for a place on my ballot, with that guideline figure adjusted based on the strength of new cohorts.

Rizzuto would be a marginal figure for my personal HOM without the positional or competition adjustments. Before taking those into account, his Hall Score is 108, which includes full war credit. However, my ratings suggest that SS are perhaps overrepresented among HOM candidates, along with 1B and CF. Rizzuto also gets killed by his era. His career is centered on 1945. Given the weak efforts at desegregating the American League, Rizzuto played his entire career against a relatively diluted talent pool.
   51. karlmagnus Posted: December 14, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4861635)
New hitters moderately impressive. Nomar just ahead of Stephens, Sheffield just ahead of McGriff, Delgado just ahead of Frank Howard. Giles off bottom of consideration set. New pitchers another matter: Johnson and Pedro an easy 1-2 (Johnson just fractionally better.) Smoltz just infinitesimally ahead of Joss ahead of Schilling; 121.6-121-120.7 pitcher points ((ERA-90)*IP/1000)

1. Randy Johnson (N/A) Not quite Clemens or Maddux, but very close to both. 4135 IP@135, 303-166. Lousy hitter (-22 OPS+). 186PP, so just ahead of Pedro at 181.

2. Pedro Martinez (N/A) Short but outstanding career, with ERA+ of 154 the best in history (Grove is second at 148.) Only 2827IP, and record of 219-100. Alas OPS+ minus 32, but didn't get to hit much in Boston. Short of Clemens and Maddux in PP, and I want to put him first but can't, though the ERA+ tempts me a lot. Should go in to HOF with Manny (OPS+ of 154) beside him, but won't.

3. John Smoltz (N/A). A priori would have ranked Schilling ahead of him but his 3473 IP at 125 beats Schilling and he was a better hitter with OPS+ of 16. 213-155 with a bunch of saves, for what that's worth. 121.6PP, or 122 rounded up.

4. (N/A-7-7-6-8-6-6-7-7-6-7-7-7-9-8-7-7-4-5-3-3-3-5-4-4-4-6-4-4-4-5-2-2
-4-4-3-3-5-4-3-2-2-3-5-2-2-1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-2-4-4-4) Addie Joss. I’m now even more convinced I missed him earlier, and that adjusting innings down for dead ball pitchers is illegitimate. 2327 IP at an ERA+ of 142. 160-97 by age 30. If you assume the rest of his career would have been 1800 IP, 120-90 with an ERA+ of 110 (somewhat conservative, assuming you boost his last sick season, though pitchers didn’t last as long as they did later) then 50% credit would put him at 3227IP, 220-142, with ERA+ of 130. 25% credit puts him at 2777 IP, 190-120, with ERA+ of 136. Substantially better than Koufax. OPS+20. Electorate needs to take him more seriously. 121PP.

5. Curt Schilling. (N/A-5-5-5) 3261 IP @ERA+ of 127 121 PP Not quite as good as Joss, a little better than Cicotte.

6. Mike Mussina (N/A-6-6) 270-153 3562 IP@ERA+ 123 117 PP. Just below Schilling but ahead of Cicotte.

7. (N/A-10-8-7-6-4-3-3-5-9-7-8-6-4-4-4-6-4-5-6-5-4-6-7-6-5-5-6-7-5-5-4-
4-5-4-6-4-4-5-4-4-5-4-4-6-5-5-5-6-7-5-5-6-7-6-5-5-7-5-5-5-6-3-4-7-6-4-4-6-5-4-3-3-4-6-3-3-2-3-3-4-2-5-2-3-3-4-6-7-7) Eddie Cicotte. Only 208-149 and an ERA+ of 123, but 3223 IP, more than Waddell and should get about 25% of the bonus for the 300-win career he should have had (he was, after all, a knuckleballer, who tend to peak late.) Much better than the 20s glut – only loses to Welch on longevity – Newhouser a close comp, but Cicotte had a longer career. Successfully cursed Red Sox AND White Sox for over 8 decades! 106PP

8. Jeff Kent (N/A-8-8) 2461 hits @123, but he was a 2B. Hence just ahead of Ernie Lombardi. TB+BB/PA .529 TB+BB/Outs .784.

9. (N/A-10-9-8-10-11-10-13-12-14-N/A-15-14-13-12-11-10-10-11-9-9
-5-3-6-3-4-5-6-8-9-9) Ernie Lombardi. Up a bit more; we’re forgetting him. Berra closely comparable. 2137 hits, normalized to a 130 game season, and an OPS+ of 125 makes him a little better than Schang, but some of it was during the war years and he fielded badly. TB+BB/PA .492, TB+BB/Outs .719., the ratio between the two very low because of strikeouts, I assume. Plus a great nickname!

10. Nomar Garciaparra (N/A) Only 1747 hits, but at 124OPS+ and he was a shortstop mostly. TB+BB/PA .541, TB+BB/Outs .814. Statistically just ahead of Stephens, and will hopefully slip into the HOM in a quiet year.

11. (N/A-14-15-14-13-14-15-14-15-14-15-15-13-12-13-10-11-13-12-10-
11-12-11-6-5-5-6-8-5-5-4-5-5-6-4-7-4-5-7-7-9-10-10) Vern Stephens. Short career – only 1859 hits, but comparing him to Reese he was much better, and not far short of Doerr. TB+BB/PA .508, TB+BB/Outs .756. OPS+ 119 Best season 1944, however.

12. Gary Sheffield (N/A). Didn't like him, but his numbers rank him here, just above McGriff. 2689 hits at 140 OPS+ TB+BB/PA .567 TB+BB/Outs .889.

13. (N/A-8-8-10-11-11) Fred McGriff 2497 hits @134. TB+BB/PA .566 TB+BB/Outs .873 Slightly better than I had expected, and fully ballot-worthy, halfway up as we’ve cleared out the stronger backloggers.

14. (N/A-9-8-8-9-10-8-10-9-8-7-8-11-11-10-10-10-11-11-10-9-11-12-
-8-6-6-9-7-11-12-12) Wally Schang. When you normalize his career to 130 game seasons for the first 18 years, as I do for catchers, he gets to 1941 hits, more than Groh at an OPS+ of 117, very similar. Furthermore, TB+BB/PA=.455, TB+BB/Outs=.728, also significantly better than Groh, over very close to the same period. And he was a catcher, more difficult than 3B.

15. (15-14-11-12-10-9-6-8-7-7-6-7-6-3-3-3-2-3-2-2-3-2-4-5-4-2-3-2-3-3-
-14-13-N/A-14-13-15-11-12-13-13) Mickey Welch. UER were 43.37% of total runs allowed for Mickey, compared to about 40% with all his HOM contemporaries except Galvin (who started earlier, anyway.) Hence his ERA+, his weakness anyway, overstates his value; in spite of 307-210 he was primarily an innings-eater. 4802IP. Will now be on and off ballot. 115PP, which elevates him a bit
   52. karlmagnus Posted: December 14, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4861636)

16. (N/A-12-11-11-13-14-11-12-11-12-10-10-8-11-9-9-11-12-13-14-14) Tommy John 288-231, 4710IP@111. Infinitesimally below Sutton, better than Kaat. 99PP

17. (N/A-12-10-12-10-11-10-7-7-8-9-7-9-13-11-10-11-12-12-11-11-11-
10-8-8-9-10-9-8-8-10-10-9-8-9-6-7-10-8-10-8-8-10-13-14-15-15) Sam Leever. Pity he wasn’t able to start at the normal time; 2 more years would have made him a NB. Only 2660 innings at an ERA+ of 123, but was blocked till 27 by the one-league 1890s and having a steady job as a schoolteacher. Believe he needs to be looked at seriously by others, and included in pitcher analysis. Mild plus for high level of moral probity. Only 88PP, which drops him a bit

18. (N/A-11-12-11-11-12-13-14-12-15-15-15-15-N/A-15-N/A-13-14-13-14-11-11-9-12-10-10-12-14-15-N/A) Carl Mays Had slipped down too far. 3021 innings at 119, 207-126 and 83 OPS+ Others should look at him more closely. 88PP

19. (N/A-13-13-11-14-12-11-13-15-N/A) Elmer Smith Deduct 10% from Elmer's Western League 1890 and 1891 batting and slugging percentages we get 301/461 and 284/431 respectively. Comparing against the PL of 1890 gives an OPS+ of about 130, against the NL of 1891 gives an OPS+ of about 139. That gives him 14 years of full-time play; adjust those to 130 game seasons (which I did for 19th century players) gives him about 2140 hits at an OPS+ of 128-129 plus a pitching record of about 1400IP at an ERA+ of 113 and a W/L of about 96-72. Elmer baby, you're on my ballot, albeit towards the bottom of it. Only 97 years late.

20. Sammy Sosa 2408 hits @128OPS+. Not as good a hitter as Piazza, and without the catcher bonus. Doesn't have Elmer Smith's pitching, but a longer career than Frank Howard (though not as good) so goes here, though this may be a few places too high. TB+BB/PA .569, TB+BB/Outs .830.

21. Carlos Delgado 2038 hits@138 OPS+ TB+BB/PA.587 TB+BB/Outs.925. With a longer career he's Sheffield or McGriff.

22. (N/A-15-N/A-15-N/A-14-13-14-11-12-14-13-11-13-14-13-11-10-10-12-13-10-11-10-11-9-9-12-15-13-12-14-N/A) Frank Howard Very slightly better than Kiner – significantly longer career. Underrated by history, but down a little when I look at Belle. OPS+ 142 for 1774 hits. TB+BB/PA .546, TB+BB/Outs .805 in a pitchers’ park and era.

23. (N/A-6-5-9-8-9-8-7-10-11-8-9-7-7-6-6-9-9-8-6-6-6-5-4-8-7-9-12-
N/A-14-13-15-N/A-14-15-14-15-15-N/A-15-14-N/A) Hugh Duffy. We don’t have enough Beaneaters! However he’s not quite as good as Elmer Smith.

24. (N/A-15-N/A-14-13-15-N/A) Rusty Staub. 2716 hits at OPS+124. TB+BB/PA .484, TB+BB/Outs .724. Not quite as good as Beckley, for not quite as long.

25. (N/A-13-12-13-13-12-14-15-12-13-11-11-N/A-11-9-12-12-N/A-15-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-13-12-14-15-12-13-12-13-N/A) George van Haltren. Had slipped too far at #44; we need more 90s stars, but he was significantly below Elmer Smith, either as hitter or pitcher.

26. (N/A-12-N/A) Fred Lynn. Underrated, considerably better than Rice or Hernandez. 1960 hits at 130, but bonus for playing CF. TB+BB/PA .531, TB+BB/Outs .791. Lovely player to watch, and absolutely top-drawer at his best.

27. (N/A) Bernie Williams 2336 hits @125. Needs either a bit more quality or a bit more length. Just a smidgen less than Fred Lynn, who was also a CF (and who I’d MUCH rather see in!) TB+BB/PA .533 TB+BB/Outs .815, in a harder hitting era than Lynn.

28. Albert Belle 1726 hits @143. Short career, not quite Frank Howard but Frank was a little high. TB+BB/PA .597 TB+BB/Outs .896

29. (N/A-14-N/A-15-13-15-N/A-15-N/A) Luis Tiant 229-172. 3486 IP at 114. ERA+ a little low, but W/L good. He’s not top tier, but just a little better than Pierce. Big psychic plus for Red Sox affiliation. Looking at Reuschel, a little overplaced so have slipped him down. 84PP

30. (N/A-13-15-N/A-15-15-N/A) Vic Willis Had slipped too far, but not better than those above him.

31. Gavvy Cravath 1134 hits@150. Add 50% to career and deduct 5 points for more years in early career makes him 1699 hits @145, still a very short career, but comparable to Hack. TB+BB/PA .527, TB+BB/Outs .835.

32. (N/A-7-13-11-13-14-14-14-N/A-15-15-15-N/A-14-15-15-15-N/A-
14-N/A-15-15-N/A-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-14-N/A) Hack Wilson. TB+BB/PA = .588, TB+BB/Outs = .954, OPS+ 144. (he does appear to have known about BB, unlike some others.) Very short career, but quality too good to ignore.

33. (N/A-14-14-N/A) Chuck Klein. Shortish career but very good one. Similar player to Beckwith, beats Hack on career length, but Hack was better. TB+BB/PA .575, TB+BB/Outs .909, but only 2076 hits. OPS+137.

34. Indian Bob Johnson. Very similar career to Klein but infinitesimally less good. TB+BB/PA .569, TB+BB/Outs .890., only 2051 hits. OPS+138

35. Brian Downing. 2099 hits at 122 plus he caught about 1/3 of his games. TB+BB/PA.487 TB+BB/Outs.741

36. (N/A) Julio Franco. Better hitter than I had remembered and long career, mostly SS/2B. 2586 hits @111 OPS+ TB+BB/PA .466, TB+BB/Outs .686. Just a smidgen better than Perez, I think.

37. Tony Perez. Close to Staub but below him. 2732 hits at 122. TB+BB/PA .502, TB+BB/Outs .731.
38. Bill Madlock.
39. Toby Harrah
40. Ben Taylor. Not all that far below Beckley and better than Van Haltren.
41. Jim Kaat 77PP
42. Orlando Cepeda
43. Norm Cash
44. Jim Rice
45. (N/A-12-12-14-N/A) Tony Lazzeri
46. Cesar Cedeno
47. (N/A-14-N/A-15-N/A) Sam Rice
48. John Olerud With 2239 hits@128 playing 1B he’s somewhere about here.
49. Lou Brock
50. Mickey Vernon
51. Thurmon Munson
52. Sal Maglie.
53. (N/A) Burleigh Grimes.
54. (N/A) Heinie Manush
55. (N/A-9-10-10-13-N/A) Mike Tiernan
56. Bob Elliott
57. (N/A-9-12-11-14-13-14-12-11-12-13-11-11-9-9-13-14-12-14-14-N/A) Levi Meyerle.
58. Chuck Finley Obscure and slightly mediocre 200-173, but 3197 IP @115. Just below Reuschel and Tiant. Down a bit – I think 120ERA+ has got easier since ’90. 80PP
59. Jack Clark. As good as Reggie Smith but not for as long. 1826 hits@137OPS+, TB+BB .529, TB+BB/Outs .845
60. (12-15-N/A-11-10-12-10-10-9-8-11-12-10-10-8-8-14-15-13-15-15-N/A) Harry Wright.
61. Harold Baines 2866 hits @120. TB+BB/PA .511 TB+BB/Outs .757. Lower than Staub and Perez.
62. Dennis Martinez 3999IP@106, 245-193. A lesser Kaat.
63. Jimmy Key
64. Dave Parker.
65. (N/A-10-9-8-7-6-7-8-5-12-10-10-N/A-10-8-11-11-N/A) Jimmy Ryan
66. Gene Tenace
67. Kiki Cuyler
68. Deacon McGuire
69. Jerry Koosman.
70. Boog Powell
71. Ken Singleton.
72. Bucky Walters 198-160, 3104IP at 115 certainly doesn’t make the ballot, but should be on the consideration set, so here he is. Less than Tiant or Reuschel. 78PP
73. Sal Bando. 1790 hits at 119 Very short career, so even with 3B bonus he doesn't make it.
74. Jim Fregosi.
75. Jack Quinn
76. Juan Gonzalez
77. Tony Mullane
78. Ron Cey
79. Jose Canseco.
80. Pie Traynor
81. Jim McCormick
82. Dick Redding. My punt is 3200 innings at 114 ERA+ for a record of 207-159, i.e. same quality as Chris but a little shorter. About here looks right – a little below Grimes (longer career) and Maglie (better quality.)
83. Joe Judge
84. Spotswood Poles.
85. Buddy Bell. Nowhere near a good enough hitter
86. Larry Doyle
87. Kirby Puckett
88. (N/A)Tony Fernandez. Turn him into an outfielder and he’s Kirby, so here he is. 2276 hits @101, TB+BB/PA .438 TB+BB/Outs .634
89. Ellis Burks 2107 hits @126; TB+BB/PA .548 TB+BB/Outs .820. Just within consideration set, rather than just outside it. Not that it matters.
90. Curt Simmons
91. Waite Hoyt.
92. Harry Hooper.
93. Vada Pinson
94. Gil Hodges
95. Jules Thomas.
96. Rico Carty.
97. Wilbur Cooper
98. Bruce Petway.
99. Jack Clements
100. Frank Tanana
101. Don Mattingley.
102. Orel Hershiser 204-150, 3130 IP@112. Not quite enough
103. Bill Monroe
104. Herb Pennock
105. Chief Bender
106. Ed Konetchy
107. Al Oliver
108. Darryl Strawberry.
109. Jesse Tannehill
110. Bobby Veach
111. Chet Lemon.
112. Lave Cross
113. Tommy Leach. Inferior to Childs, even if he’d played 3B his whole career, which he didn’t. Overall, Cross was better, too (2645@100 translates to 2645@ almost 120 with position bonus.) 2143 hits @109, which translates to at most 119 when you add say 50% of a 1900 3B bonus of 20. Not close.
114. Tom York

OFF: Phil Rizzuto. Not close—hugely overrated. OPS+ of 93, and not a particularly long career, even with war credit.

Lee Smith 71-92 +478 saves. 1289IP @132. Only 54PP so drops off consideration set.

Lofton just off the bottom of consideration set (even with a modest CF bonus, not quite there.)

Bobby Bonds very short career, at a level that keeps him just off my consideration set, though he could be ranked as high as #80 or so, but nowhere near top 15.
   53. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 14, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4861714)
8. Carlos Moran (130)
Ben Taylor (121)

As a Hilton Smith supporter, does he come in above your 100 line/where at?
Also, do Luke Easter, Dick Redding, Bus Clarkson, Perucho Cepeda, or Bill Monroe make the cut?
I have a challenging time with the Negro Leagues and can always use additional information.

Thanks James!
   54. Mike Webber Posted: December 14, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4861729)
BBRef WAR heavy ballot, with emphasis on career, where a player ranks among his era peers, with big seasons as a boosting factor. My top three went in last year, I have four newly eligible players on my ballot this year.

1) RANDY JOHNSON 104.3 WAR Led his league in pitching WAR 6 times, plus four additional times in the top 5.
2) PEDRO MARTINEZ 86.0 WAR – Just behind Johnson, the Unit’s peak beats Pedro by a nose.
3) CURT SCHILLING – 80.7 Bbref War, 252 Win Shares – Finished second in the Cy Young voting three times,
4) MIKE MUSSINA 82.7 Bbref War, 270 Win Shares
5) JOHN SMOLTZ 66.5 Bbref War, 289 Win Shares – These three are all well qualified for the HOM, though clearly behind the top two. With their career values being nearly identical, I tried to sort them our by peak.
6) GARY SHEFFIELD 63.3 WAR, 430 Win Shares – best hitter currently on ballot. His effort level seemed to be more variable than most major league players, especially on defense.
7) JEFF KENT – 55.2 BBref-WAR, 339 Win Shares one MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. We share the exact same birth date, so bonus points for that. 20th round draft choice with the misfortune of being in the same organization as Robbie Alomar, who was exactly the same age. Never drew more than 31 walks in a season until he was 29, which limited him to being a solid player rather than an all-star.
8) LUIS TIANT – 66.1 BBref-WAR, 256 Win Shares – poor timing of his big years, but big years push him to top of pitchers currently on ballot. One spot behind Smoltz on the career WAR list for pitchers.
9) SAL BANDO – 61.6 BBref-WAR, 283 Win Shares, two MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. I believe he was better than Ken Boyer, but his home parks helped disguise it.
10) SAMMY SOSA – 58.4 BBref-WAR, 322 Win Shares – three 30+ Win Share seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Fits here, ahead of another peak candidate. Value wise very similar to Bobby Bonds.
11) TOMMY LEACH – 46.8 BBref-WAR, 328 Win Shares, only one MVP type season, 8 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Good peak, excellent defensive player at third and in centerfield.
12) PHIL RIZZUTO – 40.6 BBref-WAR, 231 Win Shares, one MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. With a conservative 60 or so win shares or 9 WAR during World War II, I move him to the top of the middle infielder group. Same arguments as Nellie Fox, only with a 3-year hole in his career at ages 25 to 27, plus a bad return to MLB in 1946. (No extra credit for 1946 – just noting it).
13) SAL BANDO - 61.6 BBref-WAR, 283 Win Shares, two MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. I believe he was better than Ken Boyer, but his home parks helped disguise it.
14) BUDDY BELL 66.1 BBref - 301 Win Shares, ZERO MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares.
15) FRANK CHANCE45.6 WAR 237 Win Shares - I’m a career guy, but this is the peakiest of peak guys.

Next group of guys off the ballot grouped by position:
Dick Redding, Kevin Appier, Tommy John, Vic Willis, Gene Tenace, Wally Schang, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Evers, Larry Doyle, Bubby Bell, Bobby Elliot, Ron Cey, Joe Tinker, Luis Aparicio, Bancroft, Fregosi, Stephens, Kenny Williams, Bernie Williams, Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Sam Rice, Luis Gonzalez.

Other required notes:

Ben Taylor is behind the group of Olerude, Delgado, McGriff, Cash and Cepeda.

Brian Giles – 42.7.5 BBref-WAR, 287 Win Shares, pretty similar value wise to Bernie Williams, which leaves him just off the ballot in with a large group of outfielders.

Kenny Lofton 68.1 BBref-WAR, 287 Win Shares – two key problems are lack of MVP type seasons and the concern with how much of his value comes from defensive WAR.

Hugh Duffy is in the outfield group just off the ballot with Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Spotwood Poles, Fielder Jones, and Sam Rice.

Gavy Cravath – Retrosheet now has home road splits for Gavvy from 1914 through 1920, his last 7 of 9 seasons in Philly.

1914-20 G AB  HR RBI  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS
Home 413 1275 72 182 .300 .400 .568 .968
Away 414 1382 15 131 .267 .361 .394 .755 

That home OPS would be second behind Babe Ruth for the period, just ahead of Cobb, Speaker and Shoeless Joe.

The 755 OPS as a road player? 36th for the period, which is still quite good, nestled in between Tim Hendryx, Irish Meusel, Al Wickland and Jack Dalton.

As always the truth is somewhere in the middle, but I’d bet he’s closer to Irish Muesel than Shoeless Joe.
   55. OCF Posted: December 14, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4861732)
Mike Webber: Sal Bando may have been good, but he wasn't good enough to be worth two spots on your ballot (9 and 13). Would you please fix and resubmit?
   56. Mike Webber Posted: December 14, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4861736)
2nd Try - sorry I missed the editing window BBRef WAR heavy ballot, with emphasis on career, where a player ranks among his era peers, with big seasons as a boosting factor. My top three went in last year, I have four newly eligible players on my ballot this year.

1) RANDY JOHNSON 104.3 WAR Led his league in pitching WAR 6 times, plus four additional times in the top 5.
2) PEDRO MARTINEZ 86.0 WAR – Just behind Johnson, the Unit’s peak beats Pedro by a nose.
3) CURT SCHILLING – 80.7 Bbref War, 252 Win Shares – Finished second in the Cy Young voting three times,
4) MIKE MUSSINA 82.7 Bbref War, 270 Win Shares
5) JOHN SMOLTZ 66.5 Bbref War, 289 Win Shares – These three are all well qualified for the HOM, though clearly behind the top two. With their career values being nearly identical, I tried to sort them our by peak.
6) GARY SHEFFIELD 63.3 WAR, 430 Win Shares – best hitter currently on ballot. His effort level seemed to be more variable than most major league players, especially on defense.
7) JEFF KENT – 55.2 BBref-WAR, 339 Win Shares one MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. We share the exact same birth date, so bonus points for that. 20th round draft choice with the misfortune of being in the same organization as Robbie Alomar, who was exactly the same age. Never drew more than 31 walks in a season until he was 29, which limited him to being a solid player rather than an all-star.
8) LUIS TIANT – 66.1 BBref-WAR, 256 Win Shares – poor timing of his big years, but big years push him to top of pitchers currently on ballot. One spot behind Smoltz on the career WAR list for pitchers.
9) SAL BANDO – 61.6 BBref-WAR, 283 Win Shares, two MVP type seasons, 9 seasons 20+ Win Shares. I believe he was better than Ken Boyer, but his home parks helped disguise it.
10) SAMMY SOSA – 58.4 BBref-WAR, 322 Win Shares – three 30+ Win Share seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Fits here, ahead of another peak candidate. Value wise very similar to Bobby Bonds.
11) TOMMY LEACH – 46.8 BBref-WAR, 328 Win Shares, only one MVP type season, 8 seasons 20+ Win Shares. Good peak, excellent defensive player at third and in centerfield.
12) PHIL RIZZUTO – 40.6 BBref-WAR, 231 Win Shares, one MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares. With a conservative 60 or so win shares or 9 WAR during World War II, I move him to the top of the middle infielder group. Same arguments as Nellie Fox, only with a 3-year hole in his career at ages 25 to 27, plus a bad return to MLB in 1946. (No extra credit for 1946 – just noting it).
13) BUDDY BELL 66.1 BBref - 301 Win Shares, ZERO MVP type seasons, 7 seasons 20+ Win Shares.
14) FRANK CHANCE45.6 WAR 237 Win Shares - I’m a career guy, but this is the peakiest of peak guys.
15) JOHN OLERUDE– 58 BBref-WAR, 302 Win Shares - 2 MVP type seasons, but only 5 other 20+ win share seasons. Also hurt by the large number of first basemen in his era that were clearly better.

Next group of guys off the ballot grouped by position:
Dick Redding, Kevin Appier, Tommy John, Vic Willis, Gene Tenace, Wally Schang, Fred McGriff, Norm Cash, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Evers, Larry Doyle, Bubby Bell, Bobby Elliot, Ron Cey, Joe Tinker, Luis Aparicio, Bancroft, Fregosi, Stephens, Kenny Williams, Bernie Williams, Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Sam Rice, Luis Gonzalez.

Other required notes:

Ben Taylor is behind the group of Olerude, Delgado, McGriff, Cash and Cepeda.

Brian Giles – 42.7.5 BBref-WAR, 287 Win Shares, pretty similar value wise to Bernie Williams, which leaves him just off the ballot in with a large group of outfielders.

Kenny Lofton 68.1 BBref-WAR, 287 Win Shares – two key problems are lack of MVP type seasons and the concern with how much of his value comes from defensive WAR.

Hugh Duffy is in the outfield group just off the ballot with Bob Johnson, Harry Hooper, Spotwood Poles, Fielder Jones, and Sam Rice.

Gavy Cravath – Retrosheet now has home road splits for Gavvy from 1914 through 1920, his last 7 of 9 seasons in Philly.

Home 413 1275 72 182 .300 .400 .568 .968
Away 414 1382 15 131 .267 .361 .394 .755

That home OPS would be second behind Babe Ruth for the period, just ahead of Cobb, Speaker and Shoeless Joe.

The 755 OPS as a road player? 36th for the period, which is still quite good, nestled in between Tim Hendryx, Irish Meusel, Al Wickland and Jack Dalton.

As always the truth is somewhere in the middle, but I’d bet he’s closer to Irish Muesel than Shoeless Joe.
   57. Brent Posted: December 14, 2014 at 11:38 PM (#4861854)
2015 ballot

My current system is based on rWAR (with other systems serving as reality checks), making adjustments for season length, military service, league quality, and post-season performance, and values peak and above-average performance. I also judgmentally adjust some of rWAR’s positional factors for certain time periods.

1. Randy Johnson. That one was easy.

2. Pedro Martinez. That too.

3. Curt Schilling. He gets the edge over Mussina for third place based on his peak seasons and postseason performance.

4. Mike Mussina.

5. Kenny Lofton. Because I prorate for shortened seasons, my system shows Lofton’s 1994 season as a strong peak. Even without that anomaly, though, I still think he’s an outstanding candidate.

6. John Smoltz. I’m pretty comfortable that he should slot below Schilling and Mussina.

7. Sammy Sosa.

8. Hilton Smith. At this point, there really aren’t many players from the backlog that I’m anxious to see elected. My one exception is Smith – I think his omission (so far) from the HoM is our only significant Negro league mistake. Please check out his statistics on (a 5.0 K/BB ratio, 3.44 career RA9) and compare them to those of other NeLg pitchers, including those we’ve elected. While there’s a gap in his record before age 30 due to his pitching in the poorly documented Negro Southern League, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for those years.

9. Bobby Bonds.

10. Willie Davis. It appears that the difference between fangraphs and bb-ref is mostly about credit for base running and for avoiding double plays.

11. Sal Bando. Over the ten-year period from 1969 to 1978, he averaged 156 games a year with a 127 OPS+ and 5.7 WAR.

12. Kirby Puckett. My peak/prime oriented system likes him.

13. Buddy Bell. An above-average hitter with an outstanding glove.

14. Cesar Cedeno. Didn’t do much after age 29, but he was a fine player before then.

15. Luis Tiant.

Required disclosures:

Jeff Kent is just off ballot at # 19.

Phil Rizzuto is also just off ballot at # 17 – I’ve voted for him many times in the past and I’m sure I’ll vote for him again when the backlog clears up.

Thanks to the work of Gary Ashwill and his colleagues at Seamheads, we now have available nearly complete career statistics for Ben Taylor. The question is how to interpret them. As I’ve posted on the Ben Taylor thread, I think his 158 NeLg OPS+ probably translates to an OPS+ of about 124 to 131 in the majors, which, as a first baseman, IMO isn’t enough to make him ballot worthy.
   58. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:06 AM (#4861882)
Bleed the Freak - Smith comes in at 108. He'd be a fine HOM selection, but segregation cuts both ways. If his career was centered before 1900 or after 1970, he'd be on my ballot.
   59. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:10 AM (#4861884)
Easter is at 106 between Clark and Suttles among 1B.

Regrettably, I don't have good estimates for Redding, Clarkson, or Cepeda. Monroe has not been high on my to-do list: the data for his twenties is scant, and his actual OPS+ in documented Negro and Cuban League play is 112.

I'm still a card-carrying Friend of Luke Easter, but no one other than Moran really stands out as worthy of induction. That may change once I pin down Redding, Clarkson, and Cepeda, but it would take quite an MLE to overcome the competition adjustment.
   60. Yardape Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:42 AM (#4861891)
My 2015 ballot, unchanged from prelim. See my comment there for discussion of other notables and disclosures.

1. Randy Johnson I grew up an Expos fan, so Pedro was a personal favourite, but Randy is a pretty easy call at #1. His peak is almost as dominant as Pedro's and he has a lot more prime value. Second-most Cy Youngs ever, with 5, plus two runners-up to Clemens, I believe. I missed too much of the original HoM project to accurately rank him among all-time pitchers right now, but I think he's safely in the top 10.

2. Pedro Martinez From '97-'02 he was just so dominant. It doesn't really matter what else he did, that stretch was enough to get him into my PHOM (and probably the regular HoM). Just not quite enough longevity/durability to match Randy.

3. Mike Mussina
4. Curt Schilling A virtual tie. Schilling's best seasons look a little better to me, Mussina's got more consistency. Mussina had some good postseason performances, Schilling's 2001 was maybe the most valuable playoff performance ever. Tough to parse out, but Mussina's sustained excellence just lifts him over Schilling. I think both are eventually worthy, though.

5. (N)Ed Williamson Long overlooked. Forget the big and dubious home-run season; Williamson was consistently among the top infielders in baseball in his era. Hopefully it's not too late for him.

6. Gary Sheffield Best of the new hitting candidates, but in my mind a definite step below the pitchers. Great hitter, but the era and his fielding bring him back toward the pack.

7. Ben Taylor Still a measure of uncertainty about Taylor for me. Do I have him too high? Too low? Could be either, but I'm more and more convinced that he was one of the best at his position for his time, and that will generate consideration from me, even if it's due to a talent drought.

8. Sammy Sosa
9. Bobby Bonds Another close one, similar players decades apart. Sosa has a couple of MVP-type years which I like. Both sit pretty close to the borderline as far as I'm concerned.

10. John Smoltz Doesn't look as good as the rest of his pitching cohort on this ballot. I'm not a reliever booster, so his years closing don't do much for me, although it is nice that he was in a productive role during that time period.

11. Dagoberto Campaneris Dan R's arguments got me on his case. I'm still not sure how strongly I feel about Campaneris, but comparing him to other shortstops from his era he does look better than raw numbers suggest.

12. Gavvy Cravath No minor-league credit, though for a mostly prime voter I'm not sure that it matters much. Maybe he'd move up a couple of spots and join the Sosa-Bonds club.

13. Vic Willis Not the best of his time, and maybe a product of his defence. Still, very good for quite awhile outdistances the other ballot contenders.

14. Hugh Duffy Some great years, but I don't see that he's all that far ahead of van Haltren or Ryan, all of whom are trying to break out of HOVG status.

15. Sal Bando I used to be a big Bando booster, but the Dan R's Campaneris discussion has led me to re-evaluate. I still believe he's worthy of consideration, and may climb my ballot again someday, but for now he takes a back seat to the pitchers and his shortstop.
   61. bjhanke Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:43 AM (#4861892)
Here's Brock Hanke's final ballot for the 2015 Hall of Merit.

It was a big help to find out that I had until Dec. 15 to finish this. I got to do some serious looking at several players who were not Pedro Martinez. As a result, some players got moved from my prelim a couple of weeks ago.

For methodology, I think that the ability to work out a good mathematical method is important, but no more important than the ability to ask the right question. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the right question is. Then I try to balance all the arenas of strength (career length, high rate, good glove, hot bat, peak, prime, postseason, everything I can think of). As I go back in time, I rely more and more on contemporary reputation, and less on statistical methods. This is not because I think sabermetricians are the bunk, but because the available stats from the early times don’t provide enough fuel for the mathematical engines. For example, when you get to Lou Brock, you will find that I have him as the 3rd-most valuable base stealer in history, behind Rickey! and Tim Raines. I strongly suspect that Sliding Billy Hamilton would be somewhere in the top three, but we just don’t have the raw data to work up his SB case. I have faith in Chris Cobb’s analysis of the Negro Leagues, but I still rely a lot on reputation. I rely a lot on Paul Wendt’s work on the VERY early game, although I don’t think we’ve heard form Paul in a while.

I’m going to add something quick here, because I think the issue may be important. Does anyone remember the big trouble I got into some eyars ago trying to extend the curve of catcher percentage of schedules played back to where they start going up instead of down? Several people objected to the whole concept of extending curves, usually citing a lack of “rigor” as the reason. That makes sense, if you took your math classes in a Liberal Arts college. I, however, have a weird math history. I started out as an engineer, decided that I wanted to major in Applied Math (and Computer Science). But Vanderbilt had no such major, so I had to switch in mid-career to the liberal arts college and major in that math. So I’ve seen engineering math as well as theoretical math, about half and half. The disciplines could hardly be any more different, given that they are both addressing math. In Applied Math, extending curves is completely normal. It’s math for engineers. You’re always trying to build something bigger, stronger, faster, lighter. All these things involve extending curves based on what has already been built. I, personally, think like an Applied Mathematician. I know what rigor is, but I also know that Applied Math doesn’t use it because it can’t. That’s why engineers are always testing things. They know that curve extension is not rigorous, but it’s the best thing they have.

My opinion is that sabermetrics is a branch of Applied Math, not theoretical math. I’m not worried about rigor, and I do believe in extending curves. Just thought I ought to tell everyone here why it is that I do some math that looks odd, and why I obsess over what seem to be trivial math matters. I think like an engineer. I have no idea what the split here is between HoM voters. My guess, though, is that most of us have backgrounds in theoretical math, because everyone talks about rigor. Just a note.

What follows is a simple list of my votes, for tabulation purposes, followed by the same list, but with comments. Then there are the carryover guys that the rules require me to comment upon. I agree with the rules about that, BTW.

- Brock Hanke

1. Randy Johnson
2. Gary Sheffield
3. Curt Schilling
4. Pedro Martinez
5. Bobby Bonds
6. Babe Adams
7. Sammy Sosa
8. John Smoltz
9. Hugh Duffy
10. Lou Brock
11. Tommy Bridges
12. Don Newcombe
13. Mike Mussina
14. Big Jim McCormick
15. Hilton Smith

1. Randy Johnson
I don't think I'm going to get much opposition to this one.

2. Gary Sheffield
The header on this discussion thread has Gary with 430 Win Shares, which is 104 more WS than the next guy in line, Randy Johnson, and 127 ahead of the next best position player, Carlos Delgado. WAR Has Randy first, with 89.6, with Pedro Martinez (73.5) and John Smoltz (65.3) also ahead of Gary (63.3). I’m not buying that.

My general analysis has come to five conclusions I’m pretty sure of. First, the percentage of the game that is due to pitching has been rising in direct lockstep with Three True Outcomes. Second, the workloads that individual pitchers could handle have been going down throughout all of baseball history since 1879. Third, the extra value of pitching has come at the expense of fielding, not hitting, because fielding and pitching are both part of run prevention. Fourth, the speed at which workloads are dropping is faster than the speed at which pitching is taking more and more value away from fielding. Fifth, the rate at which position players are losing value because their glovework has become less valuable is nothing like the rate at which individual pitchers are losing value because they pitch fewer innings, and also because they don’t have any real hitting value any more.

Therefore, I am much more inclined to trust Win Shares than WAR, particularly when comparing position players to pitchers, because the results are more plausible. I make an effort to apply some balance, but Win Shares gets the larger share of my trust. And so, I have Gary here ranked higher than any pitcher other than Randy Johnson.

3. Curt Schilling
I give a LOT of extra credit for out-of-bounds postseason performances. Schilling has as much of that as anyone. Without that, he'd probably rank about with Sammy Sosa.
   62. bjhanke Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:45 AM (#4861893)
4. Pedro Martinez
I spent a LOT of time this year obsessing about Pedro Martinez – literally ten times as long as I thought I would spend on him - which is the main reason I was really feeling the deadline when I thought it was Dec. 3.

Pedro’s credentials are very odd. He did not pitch large workloads for his time, but his ERA+ is through the roof. His lower workloads are about 40-50 IP fewer than the workloads of the few pitchers who can reasonably be described as in Pedro’s peer group (Unit, Rocket, Maddux, those guys). But his ERA+ are as many as a hundred points higher than his peers. So his loss in IP is not nearly the percentage of his peers’ workloads as his gain in ERA+ is over theirs. It’s sort of like Clayton Kershaw vs. Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright here in 2014. Kershaw has significantly fewer IP but his gain in ERA+ just drowns them, according to WAR. I have doubts about just going with Kershaw as the best pitcher, and grave doubts about giving him the MVP.

However, because the curve of ERA+ is not directly comparable to the linear curve of IP drops, I don’t know how to balance that out. Is 40 fewer IP equal to a hundred more points of ERA+? I don’t know. And that’s the question I’m trying to answer, not just about Pedro, but about Kershaw and other pitchers who have credentials like that.

In this case, trying to balance the two credentials with the focus on Pedro vs. his peers, I ran into this run of four Greg Maddux seasons, 1992-1995:

Year IP ERA+
1992 268 166
1993 267 170
1994 202 271
1995 209 260

The last two years, with the low workloads, are due to work stoppages in MLB, but that's not really important. It doesn't matter whether Greg decided to pitch low IP, or his manager decided that, or that a work stoppage led to it. The point is that those last two years, with the low IP, also feature ERA+ that are in Pedro's range. Pedro didn't normally pitch quite as few as 209 innings, but he regularly put in seasons of 210-220, and only had two seasons in his career over 220 IP, and those were a 240 and a 230. So, I'm left with the question of whether a drop of 40-50 IP actually leads to a 100-point gain in ERA+. Maddux' seasons seem to indicate that it does. The same pitcher can do both kinds of season. But the sample size is tiny, because there just aren't that many pitchers in Pedro's peer group. And, at this point, the disconnect between WS and WAR kicks in. WAR has Pedro second among the newcomers, below Randy Johnson, but significantly ahead of anyone else. Win Shares thinks that his career was, just as a compiler, behind Smoltz, Delgado, and Brian Giles.

Pedro does have some significant advantages, one of which is that he has a really well-defined prime between 1997 and 2003. There's not one clunker in that run. That's truly impressive. But after that, I'm just butting my head against a stone wall. I slotted him here, which may be the lowest vote he gets out of everyone, because I’m being conservative until I can find out more about the trade-off, and because Pedro was considered fragile, although he pitched a lot of seasons for a fragile guy, so I have some question whether he could have handled workloads in the 250+ range. In other words, I have reason to believe that Greg Maddux could have turned himself into Pedro Martinez, but some doubt as to whether Pedro’s “fragility” would have allowed him to move up to Greg’s IP loads. That doubt is a minus for Pedro. I should add that Pedro turned out to be a much smaller person than I thought. He’s listed at 5’9” and 160 pounds. That’s just about my size when I was 14. There have been outstanding small pitchers before (Billy Pierce, Kid Nichols), and they threw just as hard as Pedro, but I do wonder whether Pedro’s size had something to do with his fragility.

BTW, I think trying to figure out the IP / ERA+ tradeoff is very important, and not just for ranking Pedro Martinez. If it turns out to be true that the best MLB pitchers can actually switch between the two kinds of seasons, the next question is which kind is the best kind. Where do workloads balance against ERA+? This, I would think, would be very valuable information to, say, a manager and pitching coach. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve written this very long comment. I think I’ve seen something here that could turn out to be important to the actual management of actual pitchers. And, to a large extent, that is what sabermetrics is about, right?

So, yeah, I’m begging for help. I think this is important, but I’ve gone about as far as I can go, except to try to find other pitchers who have similar trade-offs during their careers. They haven’t been easy to find, in the time I’ve allocated to that. Big Jim McCormick has something similar in the three years 1882-1884. WAR has clearly decided that the increase in ERA+ is noticeably more important then the drop in IP, which should imply that the Cards and Reds should try to keep Cueto and Wainwright’s workloads down to where Kershaw is, and that the Dodgers should not get greedy and give Kershaw any more than 200 IP. But I have serious troubles with WAR’s rankings of pitchers. So, beggin’ for help. It’s all I have left.

5. Bobby Bonds
Bobby has a short career for a HoMer (14 years; a “normal” career for an average HoMer is probably about 17) but the ones he seems to have not played apparently were going to be his young ramp-up seasons and the last of his decline phase. Those seasons don't do a lot for you. And those seasons he does have are really impressive.

6. Babe Adams
I've been voting for Babe here for a long time. He pitched many seasons of high quality, and has an identifiable prime and peak, despite having had one big gap in the middle of his career, and he pitched very well in the World Series. And, before anyone asks, yes, I am convinced that Babe was better than John Smoltz or Mike Mussina.

7. Sammy Sosa
Has about the same compiler value as Bobby Bonds, but took more years to pile it up. I give Sammy a minus for that, compared to Bobby Bonds. After all, if you have a 17-year time period, and Sosa has to play all of it to match Bonds’ 14 years, then Bonds’ team gets three years of someone else to add on. Those three years have to be worth something.

8. John Smoltz
With his career split so evenly between starter and closer seasons, he's almost impossible to rank by numbers. I just went with my gut feeling, as much as anything else.

9. Hugh Duffy
A great hitter, although you have to make some adjustments for the offensive context of the 1890s. An outstanding defensive CF, according to all accounts I've seen.

10. Lou Brock
Lou Brock has almost as many oddities in his career as Don Newcombe. Lou played in one of the worst hitting environments since the Dead Ball Era – possibly the worst ever if you factor in unearned runs. He also played in a ballpark that savagely suppressed homers, concealing that Lou actually had decent power, and would have hit 20 homers in at least a few seasons under normal conditions. Fielding systems, almost all of which double-count errors, hit him unfairly hard in his weakest point. He wasn’t a good outfielder, but he was so fast that he could lead the league in OF errors and still have a grey ink Fielding Percentage, because he got to so many balls that other OF could not reach.

He also played at a time where the break-even point for stolen bases was very low. When scoring in general goes down, the value of one base gains ground on the loss of one out. I don’t know of anyone who uses different break-even points to evaluate anyone’s SB game. But, even as it is, Lou’s baserunning WAR are fourth in history, behind Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and, just barely, Vince Coleman. With an adjustment for scoring environment, I’m sure Lou did have a better base stealing record than Coleman. Raines is a stretch; the difference in value between Raines and Coleman / Brock is large. Henderson is just out of sight. But it has become fashionable to say that Lou’s SB percentages are so low that his SB value is not serious. This is not true. It’s probably the third-most SB value in history, pending trying to figure out just how to rank people like Sliding Billy Hamilton and Ty Cobb.

Looking at all these adjustments listed together caused me to jump Lou up a few slots. There’s reason he’s in the HoF, and listed as a HoF outfielder by the New Historical. I think we here at the HoM have just swung and missed here.
   63. bjhanke Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:48 AM (#4861894)
11. Tommy Bridges
One of the oddities of this project is that you end up with a lot of the same players in the bottom half of your ballot, year after year. Thinking up a new comment every year gets old, and faces the Law of Diminishing Returns. So, this is, essentially, a repeat of last year’s comment, which was essentially a repeat of the year before that. I still think the chart in this comment is very convincing. For all I know, I have Tommy underrated, even among this group. Although I try to balance everyone’s methods, I’ve started looking at pitchers by 1) taking their career endpoints, 2) adding ten years to the front end and the back end, which will include everyone who can at all be considered the player’s contemporary, and 3) running sorts at BB-Ref, starting with just plain old WAR. What I’m looking for is a BB-Ref sort that mirrors HoM/HoF voting for the time period. Not one that favors or doesn’t favor my own preconceptions, but something that mirrors previous votes. This is just to give me a starting point. I don’t quit analyzing there, but it does give me context, and also points out if I’ve just missed on someone else who ranks higher.

With Tommy Bridges, I struck gold. Here are the first 13 entries on his WAR list, covering from 1920-1956:

Rk Player WAR From To IP ERA+
1 Lefty Grove 98.3 1925 1941 3940.2 148
2 Bob Feller 66.0 1936 1956 3827.0 122
3 Carl Hubbell 64.4 1928 1943 3590.1 130
4 Warren Spahn 61.2 1942 1956 2960.0 127
5 Ted Lyons 58.8 1923 1946 4161.0 118
6 Dazzy Vance 57.1 1922 1935 2933.2 126
7 Hal Newhouser 56.3 1939 1955 2993.0 130
8 Red Ruffing 53.6 1924 1947 4344.0 110
9 Robin Roberts 52.5 1948 1956 2608.1 123
10 Tommy Bridges 50.7 1930 1946 2826.1 126
11 Bobo Newsom 45.9 1929 1953 3759.1 107
12 Waite Hoyt 45.9 1920 1938 3656.0 113
13 Dutch Leonard 45.6 1933 1953 3218.1 119

Out of this list, Roberts has no overlap at all with Bridges’ actual career, so I discarded him as not really a “contemporary.” That leaves Bridges at #9, behind a bunch of Hall guys and ahead, basically, of guys who are not in halls. That is, the sort basically mirrors hall voting.

The big deal here, to me, is the large gap between Bridges’ WAR of 50.7 and the next guy down, Bobo Newsom, at 45.9. That’s rare. It’s also the largest gap on the list except for that between Lefty Grove and everyone else. It’s not rare to find a guy on a WAR list between Hall guys and non-Hall. I mean, those are the guys we’re supposed to look at, right? Those who are on the border. The trick is to decide who is the worst of the “ins” and who is the best of the “outs.” In Tommy’s case, the WAR gap between Tommy and Bobo strongly indicates that Tommy’s the “worst of the ins.” And Tommy is not just an accumulator, with many more IP than the closest guys on the list. His IP are, if anything, a bit low. In short, he is certainly the “worst of the ins.” And there’s a serious WAR drop before the best of the outs.

Extras don’t hurt. He pitched very well in the World Series, and is due somewhere between 1 and 2 years of WWII credit, although they are near the end of his career, so there is doubt as to how much they would help. But overall, I’m left with what strikes me as a discovery and a large one. So I put him here. Thanks to those who have been voting for Tommy for years now. I would not have looked at him except that he kept getting votes.

12. Don Newcombe
I've run the same comment for a couple of years now, and can't improve on it: Again, I have nothing to add to last year's comment. In fact, I don't think I will ever improve on it. So, here it is: I don't have a standard formula to rank players with. Instead, I try to balance among the various ranking methods. What to various WAR systems say? How about IP and ERA+? Win Shares? Where does he rank among his contemporaries? Does he have an identifiable peak and prime? Black and grey ink? And then there are the "extras" that I constantly mention. What are "extras?" Don Newcombe's career. That's what extras are.

13. Mike Mussina
Last year, I wrote, "I may have him overrated. His 'extras' are not good. His best seasons are scattered, so he doesn't really have a serious prime. He pitched poorly in the postseason. He couldn't hit. He did, however, field well." I don't have anything to add to that this year.

14. Jim McCormick
Jim has a version of the Pedro Martinez / Greg Maddux issue. An example: In 1882 and 1884, he pitched over 500 innings, with ERAs that could be more impressive. But in 1883, he "only" pitched a little fewer than 400 IP, and his ERA+ was 170, a very large jump. The 1880s were a time when MLB was just finding out that the number of innings a solid starter could pitch was going down, instead of remaining where it was in 1879.

15. Hilton Smith
Again repeating from last year because I didn’t find anything new this year: “Remains where he is because I still think that he has the best contemporary reputation of any remaining Negro League player, pitcher or position.” I am now thoroughly convinced that he was a better pitcher than Dick Redding was.

Required Disclosures

Carlos Delgado
Not required, but he was on my prelim, so I thought I should explain. Given more time than I thought I’d have, I took a closer look at Carlos. It didn’t help his cause. I remember him coming up as a catcher, but he didn’t actually play many games there. He was a bad first baseman. He could hit, but fielding, although losing ground to pitching, still has to count. I was surprised that he dropped all the way off the ballot, but I do now think that Hilton Smith was the greater player.

Kenny Lofton - Was at the bottom of my ballot last year. He could easily return if next year’s newcomer crowd isn’t quite as strong as this year’s.

Jeff Kent - The New Historical Abstract's comment is "One of the best RBI men ever to play second base." I think that about covers it.

Luis Tiant - Will reappear on my ballot as soon as this current crunch of outstanding candidates slows down a little, although he will still be behind Hilton Smith.

Buddy Bell - Sort of Ken Boyer lite. He has 19 more career Win Shares, but his peak, his prime, and his Win Shares per 162 games are lower than Ken's. I'm a Ken Boyer fan, and think Ken's a good bit stronger than the weakest of the HoMers. Bell is really close to the in/out line.

Phil Rizzuto - If you think all his WWII years would have been as good as 1950 was, and that he had a FOUR-year bout of malaria after the war, I think you could make a case.
My usual comment is that you can find a consecutive string of Rabbit Maranville years that produce the same playing time and the same offensive OPS+ as Rizzuto's entire career. And then there are the OTHER 1000+ games that Rabbit played. And, as good as Rizzuto's defense was, Rabbit's was better. Rabbit Maranville is not in the Hall of Merit. Until he is, I'm not going to seriously consider Phil Rizzuto.

Ben Taylor - Will probably appear on my ballot if someone can give me some good context about how important 1B defense was in the negro game in the Dead Ball Era. Since the whole concept of a negro league is very dicey until 1920, the negro game mostly consisted of exhibitions, some against good teams, and many against town teams whose starting pitcher might very well have been my granddad. My granddad did pitch for town teams while going to college, but, realistically, a good negro team would have scored about 20 runs off him, at which point it's not important for the 1B to be able to field bunts. Since fielding bunts was THE requirement of MLB 1B defense that resulted in not having big strong sluggers out there, this is very important for putting Taylor's hitting records in context.

- Brock Hanke
   64. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 15, 2014 at 07:17 AM (#4861908)
Brock, mussina had an era that was lower in the postseason than regular season, with a robust k/bb ratio, in what way did u have him as a poor postseason guy?

   65. Moeball Posted: December 15, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4861956)
Hey Moeball thanks for submitting your first ballot!

Any thoughts on the timelining comment DL mentioned? That's also why we ask new voters to post a preliminary ballot to the discussion thread first, just so others can point out things that might be a concern, give some feedback, etc.

As OCF pointed out, even with my approach Jim McCormick and Joe Tinker still made my ballot, and Tony Mullane just missed it. Sometimes, the talent just speaks out and demands to be heard and seen. Also, while I think the level of competition of today is far better than a century ago, and I don't apologize for holding that belief - I think it is common sense - I can see doing just the opposite of what Michael Humphreys did, especially in the case of someone like Tinker. In today's game we are suspicious any time a fielding rating shows anyone as being 30 or 40 runs better than average defensively in a season. 20 sounds like about the limit given how high the level of competition is - there is a much narrower distribution of talent and, let's face it, the equipment itself - the gloves in particular - does a lot of the work. In Tinker's day, however, what fielders used could barely be called gloves by today's standards, plus there was a much wider distribution of talent levels playing at the major league level. So rather than significantly dinging Tinker for being so far above the average "for his time", I think he was extraordinarily valuable, given the way the game was played at that time. For example, if we took away the big fancy gloves players use today and replaced them with little unpadded pieces of leather as used a century ago - and further, if we didn't have the DH - then players like David Ortiz and Miguel Cabrera might be completely out of the major leagues as there would be no position that any team could play them at defensively, not even first base. History is filled with examples of major league players from the past whose careers just ended even though they clearly could still hit - but they couldn't field anywhere close to adequately anymore, so they just faded away and left. Someone like an Andrelton Simmons, on the other hand, could be an MVP candidate every year because the focus would be much more on valuing which fielders can take away hits - and runs.

So, in a nutshell, I think my ballot stands up to scrutiny. I think I have fairly represented outstanding players at whatever time in history they may be found. I don't have anyone from the 1920s or 1930s in my top 15 but Tommy Bridges and Bob Johnson almost made the cut there and may make it next year, who knows?

If you think any of my choices are egregiously out of whack, then please let me know. But I think the 15 I picked can be defended fairly well.
   66. Howie Menckel Posted: December 15, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4861963)
"3. Curt Schilling
I give a LOT of extra credit for out-of-bounds postseason performances. Schilling has as much of that as anyone."

"8. John Smoltz
With his career split so evenly between starter and closer seasons, he's almost impossible to rank by numbers. I just went with my gut feeling, as much as anything else.

postseason career:
Schilling 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 104 H, 25 BB, 120 K in 133.3 IP
Smoltz...15-4, 2.67 ERA, 172 H, 67 BB, 199 K in 209 IP, 4 SV

also Smoltz was SP in 11 of his 14 seasons
   67. rawagman Posted: December 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4861978)
to karlmagnus -
25. (N/A-13-12-13-13-12-14-15-12-13-11-11-N/A-11-9-12-12-N/A-15-15-N/A-14-N/A-15-13-12-14-15-12-13-12-13-N/A) George van Haltren. Had slipped too far at #44; we need more 90s stars, but he was significantly below Elmer Smith, either as hitter or pitcher.....
40. Ben Taylor. Not all that far below Beckley and better than Van Haltren.

Either you made a mistake in logic, or you forgot to update the comments to reflect a sea change in your thinking.
Also, how do you ding Bobby Bonds for a short career (14 seasons), but have Elmer Smith almost on ballot, who also only played in 14 seasons? Or Vern Stephens on ballot?
   68. karlmagnus Posted: December 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4862027)
Rawagman, you're right on Taylor/van Haltren. Error made some years ago, will note to adjust it next year as it doesn't affect this ballot.

I don't ding Bobby Bonds for a short career -- after all, I rate Nomar high. I just think it leaves his rate stats short of HOM'ability -- if he had say 1,000 more hits he would rate higher even with current OPS+.
   69. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4862088)
Did we have an HoM election last December? I can't find the thread to pull up last year's ballot.
   70. rawagman Posted: December 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4862140)
To John:
Did we have an HoM election last December? I can't find the thread to pull up last year's ballot.
   71. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4862156)
Thanks, Ryan!
   72. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4862161)
   73. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4862183)
Have to agree with Howie re: Smoltz. There are probably very few pitchers in history that deserve more post-season extra credit than Smoltz if you are into that sort of thing ...
   74. dan b Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4862187)
I was here in 1898 when I was the only voter to pass on Ross Barnes and have missed once. I start with a half peak/half career WS system with tendency to favor peak. I have also been influenced by NHBA rankings and would like to see BJ do an update. Whereas James looked at 3 best years and 5 consecutive years, I also look at 8 best years and 10 consecutive years. I look for hitters who would be above the median of already enshrined HoMers and pitchers with strong peaks.

PHoM 2015 – Johnson, Martinez, Sheffield

1. Johnson The Big Unit and Pedro are clear one and two
2. Martinez
3. Sheffield Enough gap between Pedro and Schilling to squeeze in the best hitter on a strong pitchers ballot.
4. Schilling Schilling and Mussina are close. A case for post season credit.
5. Mussina
6. Dean PHoM 1976. 1975 reevaluation of great pitching peaks put him on my ballot for the first time. 2 WS Cy Youngs, 1 runner up. Pitchers from the period 1934-1947 are under represented. Dean and Walters would help bring balance. NHBA #25 pitcher.
7. Smoltz
8. Walters PHoM 1968. Nice peak – 3 WS Cy Youngs, 1 runner up. One more big year than Dean, but one of them was a war year.
9. Rizzuto PHoM 1995. 1993 reevaluation moved him up. NHBA #16.
10. Cravath PHoM 1967. With mle credit Gavvy is above the HoM median using 5 consecutive seasons, 10 consecutive seasons, 3 best and 8 best seasons.
11. Sosa
12. Murphy PHoM 2002. 4 consecutive seasons with 30+ WS. Above the HoM median for 5 consecutive years.
13. Duffy PHoM 1912. Compared with the median level of already enshrined HoMers using WS, Duffy would be in the top half using 5 consecutive seasons, 10 consecutive seasons, 3 best and 8 best seasons. If WS overrate him, then so do I.
14. Mays, C PHoM 1997. A quality pitcher we are overlooking. WS comparison with 1938 inductee Stan Coveleski shows them to be nearly identical in value. Ten best seasons:
Carl 35-31-30-27-25-22-20-20-17-11;
Stan 35-32-30-29-25-23-22-16-16-12.
Similarity scores agree. NHBA #38.
15. Grimes PHoM 2009. Change in the way I evaluate pitching finds one I had previously underrated. 4 big years. By WS, his 4th best year is better than the 4th best year turned in by Grove, Hubbell, and Plank.

Of the returning top 10, Rizzuto, Schilling, Mussina and Sosa are on my ballot. Tiant, Bonds and Kent are close. Lofton and Bell lack the big WS seasons I am looking for. Taylor HoVG.
   75. dan b Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4862193)
Thanks for the help. Logging out and logging back in did the trick
   76. Patrick W Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4862203)
edited for dan b's ballot - pkw

Missing Potential Ballots, as of this writing (I count 27 submitted):

Folks we've heard from on these threads, likely to vote (3): John Murphy, Al Peterson, Joe Dimino (scruff)

Folks we haven't heard from recently, late voters last year, probable to vote? (5): Devin McCullen, fra paolo, Esteban Rivera, Chris Cobb, Ivan Grushenko

Folks we haven't heard from recently, long time voters, hopeful they vote (2): Marc (sunnyday2), Rusty Priske

Potential recent voters, didn't vote last year but did in '12 or '13, not likely to vote unless we make outreach effort (8): Mark Donelson, Juan V, Rick A, SWW, Carl G, 'zop, Alex King, Nate the Neptunian

(I could be off in some of the categorizing above, but I think I've got all the outstanding names)

I would suggest a personal email invitation to these guys if addresses are on file - don't know if all of these guys are on the Yahoo group list. There have been login issues for commenting over the past few days, for me & others (seems to be a cookie issue that can be overcome with some effort). I'd recommend an extension for that reason.

It'd be great to get the voting back up into the 40s if we can.
   77. Chris Cobb Posted: December 15, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4862241)
I'm around--even dropped a comment or two in the last few weeks.

I will definitely be submitting a ballot. If there is an extension, I would use it to take a few more days (I'd really like to actually run MLEs for Ben Taylor, and I want to think about the implications of the catcher runs prevented data James Newburg is using) but I'll have a ballot in before 8 tonight if that's the deadline--sweating the last details isn't going to affect what happens at the top of the ballot this year!
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4862245)
117th consecutive ballot since our inaugural election of 1898 for me.

I use Win Shares as the base for my ranking system, though I am now using a modified version (any negative values are converted into zeroes) of BRAR, FRAR and PRAR for the NA.

I am integrating the conclusions made by DERA with Win Shares for all pitchers.

I do place (to a certain degree) domination at one's position during the player's era. That doesn't mean that domination-by-default will necessarily help you though (Gil Hodges may have been the best first baseman of his era, but he wont make my ballot).

1) Randy Johnson-P (n/a): Took a while to get his act together, but well worth the wait! Greatest lefty of his era and an inner-circle one all-time.

2) Pedro Martinez-P (n/a): Not as good as Randy due to the relative lack of innings pitched, but the quality of his pitching was phenomenal.

3) Gary Sheffield-RF/LF/3B (n/a): The numbers are hard to ignore. Might even deserve to be #2 on this ballot. At any rate, he belongs.

4) Jeff Kent-2B (4): Kind of a jerk and not the best fielder in the world, but he could really mash the ball at a key defensive position.

5) John Smoltz-P (n/a): Not in the Johnson-Martinez league as a pitcher, but that doesn't mean he wasn't great.

6) Mike Mussina-P (5): Like him a little bit better than the Bloody Sock, so he goes here. A bona fide HoMer.

7) Curt Schilling-P (6): Not inner-circle, but not a borderliner by any stretch of the imagination, either. Kind of crept on me, but he unquestionably belongs.

8) Bus Clarkson-SS/3B (7): Looks like the best shortstop of the Forties, which is surprising to me. IMO, Eric would have to be totally off with his projections for Clarkson not to be near the top of everybody's ballot. Shave off 50 WS from his MLE and he still comfortably belongs.

9) Lee Smith-RP (8): Having his career occur during a major rethinking of his position really distorts his true value, IMO. All things equal, Gossage was better, but not that much better. Never the best for any one season, but consistently among the best for many a year.

10) Bucky Walters-P (9): The guy had a nice peak, fairly long career, and could hit. Even with a defense adjustment, he stands out. Best ML pitcher of 1939 (extremely close in 1940). Best NL pitcher of 1940 and 1944.

11) Mickey Welch-P (10): Like the hurlers of the 1970s, the generation from the 1880s was rich in talent. On that note, Welch deserves a HoM nod. Best major league pitcher for 1885.

12) Vic Willis-P (11): Willis pitched a ton of innings at an above-average rate for a long enough time for his era. Best major league pitcher for 1899. Best NL pitcher for 1901.

13) Gavvy Cravath-RF (12): I'm giving him MLE credit for 1908-11 (not full credit for '08, since he did play some in the majors that year). Possibly would have been the best ML right fielder for 1910. Best NL right fielder for 1913 and 1914. Best ML right fielder for 1915, 1916, and 1917.

14) Bob Elliott-3B/RF (13): Best third baseman of the Forties. The bridge between the Jimmy Collins-Pie Traynor types and the later ones that didn't have the same defensive responsibilities. He could hit, field, and didn't have a short career when compared to other third basemen throughout history. Best ML third baseman for 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, and close in 1950. Best NL third baseman for 1949 and 1950.

15) Hugh Duffy-CF/LF/RF (14): Been on my ballot forever and haven't regretted it. "Only" the third best center fielder of the '90s, but that position was very strong for that decade. Best major league right fielder for 1890 and 1891. Best major league center fielder for 1892, 1893 and 1894.

Had to knock off Pie Traynor after decades of being a part of my ballot.

As for the other newbies, none of them are HoMers, IMO.

Sammy, Lofton, Tiant, Bonds, Bell, Rizzuto, and Taylor weren't that far away from making my ballot.
   79. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 15, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4862304)
As far as what I consider . . . I try to look at it all. I'm a career voter mostly - not because I have any bias towards it, but just because the numbers (and every study I've ever seen) tell me that peaks are overrated and 5+5 is only about 10-15% less valuable than 10+0. Check out “The Problem with Peak” article in the 2002 Baseball Prospectus, page 470 if you are interested in all the mathy type stuffs.

I give full war credit, and I think it's a major mistake not to when comparing players across eras. My biggest regret on this project is that we didn't require all voters to give war credit like we did with Negro League credit. I see no difference, both were a circumstance of the player's birthday that was beyond his control.

I've systematically worked this in for anyone that is a reasonable candidate, all the way down to guys like Tommy Henrich, Mickey Vernon and Dom DiMaggio. If you want a copy of my Rosenheck access database with these guys added, please let me know.

I think it's a cop out to say we don't know so it's a zero. If a guy was a 25 WS a year player before and after the war, a zero is a much bigger mistake than giving him three 25s. As far as injury risk, you just credit a guy based on his playing time before and after the war. There's no reason to assume he would have been any more (or less) injury prone during those years.

I also follow similar philosophy on strikes. I just prorate the season, since a pennant is a pennant.

I give catchers a 50% career bonus, above and beyond what Pennants Added they accumulate. If you don’t do this, Johnny Bench ends up in the neighborhood of Jimmy Sheckard, Dick Allen, Brooks Robinson and Home Run Baker. If you do give the bonus he ends up with Arky Vaughan, Luke Appling, Eddie Mathews and Jimmy Foxx. Which grouping seems more reasonable?

I'll give minor league credit for players trapped, or players that played in the old PCL and other AAAA leagues before cross-continental travel was relatively easy - once they've had a 'here I am, let me play!' season. There are surprisingly few of these guys after about 1920.

I've been much more hands on in rating the pitchers than the position players, for which I rely on DanR's WARP, though I weigh them based on Pennants Added, not his salary estimator. I'm very confident in my pitcher rankings, and I make a manual adjustment for the extended career length that started in the 1960s (not shown below). My position player rankings are based largely on DanR's numbers. I haven’t updated this in the last couple of years because the new pitchers hitting the ballot have been pretty easy to slot and it’s a lot of work.

After the player I’ll list his Pennants Added and the player above and below him at his position on the lists for the guys I have run the numbers for. I’ll give me educated estimate of similar careers between for the newbies. My general guideline is below .80 PA I consider a mistake election. From .80 to .87, I won’t lose any sleep even though it’s below my line. From .88 up are guys I actively support electing. If you are over about .93 I think it’s a pretty blatant mistake if you aren’t in. .88 is 15 years of 4.0 WAR … but it’s just luck that that’s where the line lands. I didn’t draw it there on purpose. That’s just where the bell curve starts to widen quickly. It’s also 12 years of 4.85 WAR or 10 years of 5.7 WAR. Note that the 15 year scenario adds to 60 WAR. The 12 year adds to 58.2 WAR and the 10 year 57 WAR. So you can see peak value creeping in and that’s about how important I think it is in the grand scheme of things. It’s a little bit more than a tiebreaker, but not much more.

I tried to proof all of the comments - if something seems inconsistent, that’s a carry over from last year (or 5 years ago) that I missed. That means I didn’t try hard enough I guess :-)

1. Randy Johnson SP (n/e) - (Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove). Not much to add here. Can’t really see ranking him any lower than the #10 starting pitcher in the history of baseball.

2. Pedro Martinez SP (n/e) - (Ed Walsh, Sandy Koufax). Make that Sandy Koufax with 500 more innings and 23 points better career ERA+. Seriously. Here’s another one, looking at BB-Ref WAR, the list (best to worst) goes Jenkins, Clarkson, Pedro, Mussina, Ryan. That range is 81.8-84.9 WAR, with Pedro at 84.0. The others threw 4500, 4536, 3562 and 5386 IP. Pedro threw 2827. He basically has a little more value above replacement than Nolan Ryan, in 52% of the innings. Note how Mussina fits in there too (he’s the 3562). So my #3 obviously is …

3. Mike Mussina SP (3) - (Carl Hubbell, Eddie Plank). I see Mussina pretty easily ahead of Schilling. Similar effectiveness, Mussina has 300 more innings and much better years in 1994-95, where both lost a portion of a season to the strike - Mussina gets more strike credit is what I’m trying to say there. I have Hubbell and Plank a little ahead of Newhouser and Drysdale, and I think those guys are great comps for the players listed.

Per WAR, Mussina only had two years that were even below *average* WAA - a -0.1 in 1993 when he was injured most of the summer and a -0.5 in 2007 at the age 38. He bounced back and won 20 games with 5.2 WAR the next (and final) season. Mussina never won the Cy Young, but he received votes 9x, top five 6x including a runner-up.

Seems like a lot of people forget that there were plenty of great post-season starts too, including his 1997 ALCS where he gave up 4 hits and 1 run - over two starts combined. For that postseason as a whole he gave up 4 runs and 11 hits over 29 innings, striking out 41 and walking 7. Mike Scott 1986 and Orel Hershiser 1988 don’t have anything on Moose 1997. His 2003 WS start was great too, 7 innings, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk and one run. His team never won the WS, but it wasn’t his fault. Even in 2001 he was bad in game 1 but came back and pitched great in Game 5.

4. Curt Schilling SP (4) - (Don Drysdale, Hal Newhouser). Comparing his BB-Ref WAR to guys like Kevin Brown and David Cone, it's obvious he belongs. Assuming he had average defenses he's comparable based on ERA+/IP with guys like Drysdale and Newhouser. Heck, you could make an argument that he's up there with Hubbell. Very easy HoMer. I just like the argument that Mussina is up there with Hubbell even more.

5. Gary Sheffield RF (n/e) - 1.22 PA, (Sam Crawford, Carl Yaztrzemski). Seems pretty underrated by the mainstream media. He’s a slam dunk candidate in a normal year, I could see him waiting a year or two because of the strength of the ballot, but that’s about it. He’s a typical 1st ballot HoMer in a normal year historically. Huge 1997 postseason, where he hit .320 with 20 walks in 16 games while slugging .540 for the Miracle Marlins. 9x All-Star and could have won a few MVPs (1992, 2003, 2004) if Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols didn’t exist. Seems pretty comparable to Eddie Murray in that respect. Except that he was actually better and more valuable than Murray over his career.

6. John Smoltz SP (n/e) - (Jim Palmer, Kevin Brown). Everyone seems to lump Smoltz in with the other pitchers on this ballot. He’s clearly a notch below them. Great pitcher. Hall of Merit worthy. But definitely not as valuable as Schilling or Mussina.

7. Phil Rizzuto SS (6) - 1.02 PA, (Ernie Banks, Bert Campaneris). Now that I've given him systematic war credit and adjusted his 1946, during which he was recovering from malaria (which also impact his projections for 1943-45, if you use 1946 in those), he shows up with Rafael Palmeiro as the best holdover position player by a substantial margin. The top 4 on this ballot are very close.

8. Jack Quinn SP (7) - 1.10 PA, (Eppa Rixey, Whitey Ford). I'm giving him credit for 1916-18 where he was pitching (quite well) in the PCL after the Federal League went belly-up. He gets a big leverage bonus for his nearly 800 IP of relief work at a LI of 1.26. Without any PCL credit I still have him between Bridges and Grimes.

9. Bert Campaneris SS (8) - .93 PA, (Phil Rizzuto, Joe Sewell). .470 OWP, in an era where the average SS was at .372. Long (9625 PA) career as well, and a good fielder (62 FRAA). System says to rank him ahead of Concepcion pretty clearly.

10. Urban Shocker SP (9) - .94 PA, (Tommy Bridges, Billy Pierce). Vaulted in 1981, with 1918 war credit (he was having a great year), and an adjustment for the AL being much better than the NL during his time. He was a great pitcher, peak guys should really look closer at him. He'd be a no brainer without his illness, which should not impact a peak vote.

11. Brian Giles RF (n/e) - .92 PA (Will Clark, Sherry Magee, Willie Stargell). Dan R's WAR loves Giles. Through 2005, it has him with .77 Pennants Added, .88 is roughly my in/out line. If you use BB-Ref WAR for 2006-2008 (his 2009 is below replacement level, so I zero it), I get Giles at about .917 Pennants Added.

For perspective, Giles' BB-Ref WAR is 50.9, 52.8 if you zero out his 2009. Carlos Delgado is at 45.7 if you zero out his 1994-95. So Giles has a 16% edge in BB-Ref WAR.

But in Dan R's WAR, converted to Pennants Added, Giles has a much bigger edge, .917 to .675 - that's a 36% edge.

Dan gives Giles 49.9 WAR through 2005, compared with 43.3 for BB-Ref.

Dan gives Delgado 40.6 WAR through 2005, compared with 40.9 for BB-Ref (again zeroing out 1994-95). Just an example to show that Dan doesn't always differ by a lot.

So if anything, it looks to me like BB-Ref WAR may be underrating Giles, not overrating him.

12. Sammy Sosa RF (10) - .92 PA (Willie Stargell, Goose Goslin). Sosa has an enormous peak - his 2001 is overshadowed by Bonds, but it was an incredible season - a 203 OPS+. But his peak was short, basically 1998-2002 was his only period as a great player. DanR's WARP is tough on corner outfielders, but not inappropriately so. He deserves to make the Hall of Merit, but he's not a slam dunk like the top 4 on this ballot.

13. Gavy Cravath RF (11) - .90 PA, (Andre Dawson, Goose Goslin). Either he was a freak of nature, or there's a lot missing. I vote for the latter. Check out his thread for deeper discussion of the specifics, including a great analysis from Gadfly. He's the kind of guy we were hoping to catch when we started this project. I'm much more comfortable moving him this high after seeing his latest translations.

14. Ben Taylor 1B (12) - Negro Leaguer, Chris Cobb's MLE from 8/25/2004 suggests 325 WS. Consider me convinced that he was really was a great hitter. The Hall of Fame's Negro League Committee had access to a lot of data, and they chose to include him, in a group that we generally agreed with. That counts for something with me. I would have much preferred his election to that of Oms.

15. Tommy John SP (13) - 1.00 PA, (Bret Saberhagen, Wes Ferrell). Tons of career value. I would probably be sick to my stomach if Jim Kaat (who did very well in the Veteran's Committee balloting this year) got in and John did not. On the surface (career W-L) they appear similar, but when you adjust for everything, they aren't close. I have John as similar to, but better than Burleigh Grimes - about 800 more translated IP, at a 106 rate instead of a 104 rate. That's more than enough to offset Grimes peak edge. I get John somewhere between Eppa Rixey/Red Faber and Grimes on the continuum. He's over the in/out line for me. I also give no extra credit for his pioneering the surgery - someone had to be first.
   80. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 15, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4862305)
Part II ...

Out because of the current top tier newbies:

16. Tommy Bridges SP (14) - .94 PA, (Stan Coveleski, Urban Shocker). Unspectacular peak (although he would have won the 1936 AL Cy Young Award if it had been invented), but a lot of career value. War credit helps nudge him above Trout and Leonard. He could obviously still pitch when he left for the war, and was still good when he returned for a short time. I give him 2 years of credit at his 1941-43 level.

17. Dave Concepcion SS (15) - .88 PA, (Joe Sewell, Dave Bancroft). Better than I realized, and was really hurt by the 1981 strike, which occurred during his best season (and a season where the Reds had the best record in baseball, but missed the playoffs). Still no Trammell or Ozzie, but a very good player indeed. We could do worse than induct him.

18. Tommy Leach 3B/CF (16) - .88 PA (Stan Hack, Buddy Bell; Andre Dawson, Jim Wynn). I was a big fan of his awhile back, then he faded. He's back now, in no small part because of Dan R's work.

19. Bucky Walters SP (17) - .90 PA (Burleigh Grimes, Dwight Gooden). Johnny Pesky, Rabbit Maranville (with credit for a full 1918), Dave Bancroft, Don Newcombe, Burleigh Grimes, Edgar Martinez, Orel Hershister and Kevin Appier were top contenders for the last couple of spots in my top 20. Walters combination of big years, hitting, and playing in what I consider a very tough era (the late 30s, right before war depleted the ranks and after nearly 40 years without expansion) won him my final 6 points.

20. Bernie Williams CF (18) - .83 PA (Jim Wynn, Brett Butler). This number puts him a little below Dave Bancroft and Buddy Bell in the .85 range. He is right there with HoMers like John McGraw, Billy Herman and Hughie Jennings. Some of the guys in this range are in, some aren't. He's clearly in the gray area. I am a Yankee fan. Questions about his defense - I don't think it was quite as bad as the advanced metrics say - keep his value low. I'd love to do more digging on this - but I do feel like there are all sorts of goofy things with the fielding numbers for those Yankee teams. That being said, I'll err on the side of caution still.

Perpetual eligibility helps here - I don't have to worry about him falling off the ballot. Edmonds will end up placing higher. But any bump in Williams' defensive ratings would move him into the low, but clear HoMer range. Based on Mike Emeigh's comment on the ballot thread, I think this is reasonable and could bump Bernie next year. This evaluation gives him credit only as the numbers stand now.

Prominent newcomers:

Carlos Delgado - .67 PA. Good solid career. Similar to Rocky Colavito or Mickey Vernon or George Foster.

Nomar Garciaparra - .64 PA. I think Tony Oliva is his best comp, even though they played different positions. Great player, injuries keep him out of the Hall of Merit. Note I said Merit, because Oliva is very close to making the Hall of Fame. There isn’t any shortstop really close to Nomar on the list in terms of career pennants added who was nearly as good as he was at his peak. He needed 3 more years like he had from 1997-2003 (and not like 2001) to have made the bubble. Basically 2/3 of a Hall of Merit career. JAWS shows this. He’s basically got the 7 year peak of an average Hall of Fame SS (with only 6 great seasons BTW - his 6th best season was 6.1 WAR, his 7th was 2.5). I could see peak voters really liking Nomar, he’ll be on the also receiving votes list in perpetuity I’d imagine.

Other (including mandatory) comments:

Luis Tiant - .88 PA. Comparing him with Reuschel . . . I've got Tiant 54th amongst post-1893 SPs eligible. I give him credit for 3362.3 tIP, at the equivalent of a 112 ERA+, and he was +5 runs as a hitter. Reuschel I get at 3745.3 tIP, a 115 rate, and the same +5 BRAR.

Looking at their seven best seasons in terms of WARP, I see Reuschel at 8.7, 6.5, 5.3, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.8; Tiant at 7.7, 6.4, 5.2, 5.1, 4.9, 4.6, 4.5. Reuschel's top 3 consecutive were 18.8; Tiant's 16.4.

Using a Bill James NHBA peaky type system, with my wins, I get Reuschel at #55, Tiant at #100. Using a JAWS type system, I get Reuschel #39, Tiant #60.

I like Tiant. He’s closish to my ballot. I wouldn’t be bothered if we put him in. I just like the guys ahead of him here more.

Buddy Bell - A little below Tommy Leach. A little above Ventura. At .85 PA he’s in the big crowd below about .88 PA which is where my typical in/out line seems to have formed. He’s close. It wouldn’t kill me if he got in.

Bobby Bonds - I see him as comparable to Joe Medwick or Kiki Cuyler, I’ve got Bonds with .82 PA. I wasn’t a big fan of Medwick’s selection. He’s just below my in out line, but it gets crowded just below. Which is why the line is a little above that crowd.

David Wells - I kind of think of him as the Bobo Newsom of the 1985-2005 period. Bounced around and pitched pretty well wherever he went. I am a big fan of long career very good pitchers. I did not have time to run him through my system, but looking at his BB-ref WAR, his ERA+, IP and comparing him with others who I have run through, I think he's most comparable to Newsom and Newcombe.

Kenny Lofton CF - .80 PA (Dom DiMaggio, Larry Doby). DanR's WAR does not like Lofton nearly as much as BB-ref's. Big year in 1994 and a nice run from 1992-96, but he seems to me like a very good, not great player. The big difference here is defense. If I could be convinced his defense was better than DanR thinks, I could move him up a bit.

Jeff Kent Lands around .80 PA . . . this puts him very much in the HOVG for me. There are some HoMers here - Ken Boyer is probably the best comp. Nellie Fox, Bill Terry and Ken Boyer are examples of HoM players from down here, but non-HoMers are far more common. Between Boyer and Fox you have Fregosi, Cey, Bob Johnson, Jose Cruz Sr., Tony Fernandez, Chuck Klein, Harry Hooper, George Sisler, Ralph Kiner, Amos Otis, Chet Lemon, and Bobby Veach. I think Kent is in nice company there. Just not really close to getting on my ballot company.

Luis Gonzalez Similar to Kent, a hair behind at .79 PA. Was surprised that Dan R’s WAR likes him nearly as much as Kent.

Julio Franco 2B/SS - .68 PA (Joe Tinker, Jay Bell). This does not include any credit for 1998-2001. Even if I gave him credit for 1.0 WAR per year (his age 39-42 seasons) we are talking about him bumping up to the Art Fletcher/Dick Bartell class. He was an all-star caliber player from 1984-1991, but never an MVP candidate or anything like that. But he was a really good player, and a neat story playing as long as he did.

Steve Finley CF - .65 PA (Willie Davis, Bobby Murcer). Really nice career. I drafted him for $3 in an auction league in 1991 during my freshman year of college and he was one of favorite players for ever after . . .

Hugh Duffy - .72 WAR. Pretty cool that perpetual eligibility keeps guys like Duffy around. rWAR has him with .4625 from 1893 on, so I need to come up with some estimates for 1888-1892.

What I did was run a regression on Pennants Added using Dan’s WAR against Chone’s WAR. Then I used the resulting function to convert Chone’s WAR to PA for the missing years. The reason I did it this way was because I like Dan’s WAR better and if there were any differences between the two in terms of how they treat Duffy, I wanted to lean towards Dan’s method.

Amongst players that finished their career before 1920, the .72 PA number puts Duffy in the company of guys like Roy Thomas and Fielder Jones. He’s just not good enough for me.

Dick Redding - He was good, but I think we are overrating him. I can't see how he's better than Grimes, who just misses my ballot.

Vic Willis - My system does not love Willis. He is not worse than the worst HoM pitchers we've elected (Bob Lemon and Joe McGinnity), but I have 20-25 pitchers ahead of him, ranging from those on my ballot, down through modern guys like Hershiser, Appier, Gooden, Denny Martinez, older guys like Grimes, Waite Hoyt, Bob Shawkey. This is a short career. This is not a knock, I just think he's in the middle of this glut. He was also a terrible hitter for a pitcher in his era, which costs him 28 runs compared with an average hitting pitcher for his time. Give him those runs back and I'd have him around even with Tiant.

Sal Bando - .67 PA. Using DanR's WAR he winds up in a cohort that includes Harlond Clift, Larry Gardner, Ken Caminiti, Art Devlin. I am not feeling this one at all. It's basically 11 years of very good. He's not close for me.

Non-Mandatory comments:

Robin Ventura is a tier below with .83 PA (yes, there are that many players at this level - which is one thing that suggests HoVG for both Edgar and Ventura). Norm Cash and Bobby Bonds are also here. Buddy Bell is right there, a little better actually, at .85 PA.

Since he was discussed during the 2010 election a bit, Thurman Munson is close, but about a full season behind Bill Freehan. I give a 50% career bonus for catchers and with that, I get Munson at .79 PA. I have Freehan at .87. I draw the line at Freehan in, Munson out, but I can definitely see support for Munson as a candidate.

Bob Johnson - .80 PA. He's in the mix - but slides down when you deflate his numbers from WWII. I see him in a group with Fregosi, Cey, Cruz and Schang. I don’t think Edgar Martinez was all that better than Bob Johnson.

John Olerud - .75 PA (George Sisler, Fred McGriff). Olerud was a really good player with a very nice split peak (1993/1998). rWAR shows him as deserving the 1993 MVP that most statheads think should have gone to Frank Thomas. But he only had 7 years with 3 or more rWAR. It wouldn’t kill me to see him elected. He was a more valuable player than Fred McGriff, Kirby Puckett, Jake Beckley or Charlie Keller, for example. But he’s doesn’t have quite enough to make my ballot at this point.

Fred McGriff is down there with guys like Roy White, Jack Clark, Dale Murphy and George Burns at .73 PA. Defense and base running count.

Kirby Puckett - .69 PA. Loved to watch him play, but there's just not enough there. DanR's numbers show him similar to Rizzuto - before giving any war credit. I've got him in a group with Ken Singleton, Bob Elliott, Fielder Jones, Joe Tinker, Harlond Clift, etc.. Very good player. A solid all-star in his day. But not a HoMer.
   81. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 15, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4862313)
Regarding Patrick W's comment ... does anyone disagree with extending?
   82. Howie Menckel Posted: December 15, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4862331)
In the early days I was the most vigorous opponent of extending deadlines, maybe because I deal/dealt with more set-in-stone deadlines in my work than anyone (as in, even the general public notices if you're late). But there's some sort of human nature that I have had to make my peace with. So push it back a few days, why not.

   83. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 15, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4862333)
OK, let's extend it through next Monday December 22 at 8 p.m. EDT.
   84. DL from MN Posted: December 15, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4862350)
I was much more opposed to extensions when the next election was a month away. Not so much anymore.

"shows up with Rafael Palmeiro" - might want to update that comment for next year, Joe.
   85. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: December 15, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4862351)
Hehe Howie ... I guess the big difference if it makes you feel better, is that this isn't our job, right? Real life gets in the way sometimes. A lot more for me (with a 3 year old now) than it used to. Also, we don't have the same tri-weekly cadence we used to. I can see it being hard for people to ramp up once a year.
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4862391)
I think it's more important to get a good number of ballots for every election if possible, so an extension is A-OK with me.
   87. Bleed the Freak Posted: December 15, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4862547)
Joe, I would double check on lofton with dan, who mentions him at #12 with excellent defensive and base running value, the raw figures from dans database appear to severely underrate him?
   88. bjhanke Posted: December 16, 2014 at 06:53 AM (#4862781)
Bleed (#64) - You have a point with regard to Mussina's postseason. However, it's a point about his collected overall postseason stats. With so few games to work with as a sample size, I use microanalysis on the postseason. Trying to keep this comment down to a reasonable size (microanalysis is something I always try to leave out; I write enough words already), here's what I see in Mussina:

Mussina had four exceptional postseason sets: 1997 ALDS, 1997 ALCS, 2001 ALDS, and 2003 World Series, and you can make a case for 2004 ALDS. However, in those games, he only pitched 50 of his 139.2 total postseason innings. The rest range from OK to downright bad, and there are a lot more innings of those than there are of the hot sets. The low total ERA is largely driven by those five sets, which were a lot hotter than the other sets were cold. In addition, he was playing for the Orioles when they had a real good team, and the Yankees when they were even better than that. And he still went 7-8 altogether. Yes, W/L is always dicey, but what you can see is that the good seasons just didn't provide enough wins to make up for the losses the bad years produced. And I refuse to even try to deal with reliability with such a small sample size. So, that's basically what I went through. - Brock Hanke
   89. Esteban Rivera Posted: December 16, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4862799)
Just got back from vacation and see that there is an extension. Will post a ballot later this week.
   90. bjhanke Posted: December 17, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4863656)
Howie - You had Schilling and Smoltz in the postseason with:

Schilling 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 104 H, 25 BB, 120 K in 133.3 IP
Smoltz...15-4, 2.67 ERA, 172 H, 67 BB, 199 K in 209 IP, 4 SV

All this is true. However, look at the comparison. Schilling has a better winning percentage, ERA, fewer hits, fewer walks (both as rates compared to Smoltz, not just as whole numbers). And, of course, the bloody sock, which is extra credit. He also had a lower strikeout rate and 4 fewer saves, which are negatives, and Smoltz pitched a lot more postseason innings. And I do give Smoltz postseason credit. Just nothing like Shilling's. - Brock Hanke
   91. bjhanke Posted: December 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4863658)
Just a FYI: Today, I had problems with logging on to BTF. It sent me to a proxy page, which told me I had some kind of server syntax error. However, I found a workaround for that. When you see BTF's url, it starts out https:, which, I believe, identifies the site as secure. Well, you can just remove that "s", leaving just "http:", and you end up here. Pass that along to anyone you know who can't get on to BTF right now. - Brock Hanke
   92. Al Peterson Posted: December 17, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4863927)
2015 final ballot. New eligibles are top notch. The backloggers might move some from last year - system I use to determine rankings is still in place but there are elements I can add in as well that shift the down ballot stuff.

Methodology in brief: The system used for my ranking entails a little bit of everything including WS, WAR, OPS+/ERA+. Ratings include positional adjustments, additions to one’s playing record for minor league service, war, and NeL credit and for our real oldtimers some contemporary opinion thrown in. The results of this work tend to favor prime/peak players over career types but that is not 100% tried and true. Last year’s placement is in parenthesis.

1. Randy Johnson (-). A two pitch pitcher – awesome fastball and awesome slider. 10.6 K/9IP which is obscene considering he heaved over 4,000 innings.

2. Pedro Martinez (-). The multitude of pitches, all varying in arm angle and speed. His ERA+ (5 time league leader) read like those of relievers.

3. Mike Mussina (2).
Most metrics point to a great career. Consistently ranked high in ERA+ and K-to-BB ratio. A grey ink monster for the pitching leaderboards, he probably could have hung around another year or two.

4. Curt Schilling (4). Add to the 216 wins an 11-2 record in the postseason and no worries for putting him here. Power pitcher, good control, workhorse, lots to like.

5. John Smoltz (-). Starter, closer, starter, whatever you want he gave. 15-4 in the postseason, remarkable since the Braves didn’t exactly pile up WS trophies during his run.

6. Gary Sheffield (-). Hitting in spades, defense suboptimal. When the mood hit this man could carry a team for long stretches.

7. Bobby Bonds (6). Even with the constant trades, drinking problem and whatnot his combination of speed/power made him a very valuable player. He wasn’t the next Mays, or as good as his son, but we’re talking about a RF who could steal bases and field his position. All five tools on display.

8. Dick Redding (7). Career was long – decent peak along the way. Outstanding fastball in his day according to James/Neyer book. So he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame; maybe the information collected by HOF committee wasn’t pertinent to Redding’s prime years. He deserves some WWI credit, thus patching up a bald spot in his prime years as 1918 and 1919 were affected. The last NeL pitcher I’d deem as worthy of induction.

9. Tommy Leach (8). Combination hot corner/centerfielder could field a little, hit a little. Second all-time in inside-the-park home runs to Wahoo Sam Crawford. Someone else stated he was uniquely valuable in his particular era and I agree he meant more in the particular era he performed in. Useless trivia: Still holds World Series record with 4 triples in a single series.

10. Phil Rizzuto (9).
I’ve done my minor league & WWII absence calibration so Scooter scoots to ballot position. Glove first but the offense during prime years was nothing to sneeze at either. Holy Cow!

11. Tony Mullane (10).
Old time pitcher who threw plenty well, a good hitter to boot. Had some playing time issues since he missed seasons due to being blacklisted. He’s amongst the best of his era when accounting for the time outside of baseball due to conflicts with different leagues. Goes on the all-Nickname team as well.

12. Kenny Lofton (12). I’ve come around on Lofton some, bringing him up from the 30s range in balloting last year. The defense and baserunning do add up over a long career and offset batting numbers that looks more mid-ranged. A well-traveled player who helped teams win.

13. Sammy Sosa (11). Peak power that was enough to make people start walking him. This increased his value as it upped his OBP skills, doubling the value added. Early in his career he had base stealing and defense as assets.

14. Mickey Welch (13). 300 game winner in the house. Was it due to luck, run support, bad opponents? Still a feat to accomplish, sometimes I need to remind myself that and not totally overlook Smilin’ Mickey. Seemed to pitch well against the other front line starters of his day.

15. Buddy Bell (14).
Lot like Lofton, the bat was sufficient but it was defense where he shone. Not overly praised in his time due to being on non-playoff teams. Sort of a Rick Reuschel type in that his build made you question ability to play. His reflexes were superior when it came to picking it at 3B.

Next up, but off ballot:

16. Bob Johnson (15)
17. Norm Cash
18. Luis Tiant. Been balloted before, he’s always going to be a fringe 10-20 slot player. Workhorses galore in those early to mid 70s.
19. Jeff Kent. A lot of the ones requiring disclosure are bunched and just below ballot spots. Worthy of discussion in years where it isn't "new guys rule".
20. Vic Willis. A lot like Tiant. Has seen my ballot before, could again.
21. Bucky Walters
22. Bus Clarkson
23. Ben Taylor – The numbers seem to indicate top 1B during dead ball era, either MLB or NeL. Not a horrible choice in anyone’s top 15.
24. Fred McGriff
25. Frank Chance

Newcomers – Nomar Garciaparra has a little bit of that Hughie Jennings peak thing going on. Probably in the 30-35 range. Brian Giles is also top 50, actually leaning toward the mid 40s range. A Bob Johnson mold it seems. How to rate Giles' defense is the difference, I've probably fallen on the conservative side with Giles for the moment. Even with a bump not quite top 15 material right now. Delgado played well, not well enough or long enough for a first sacker in this era.
   93. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4865445)
Looks like one ballot post extension so far with Esteban adding another.
   94. lieiam Posted: December 21, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4866443)
@Brent (post #57)
Approximately where do you have Sheffield?
   95. adarowski Posted: December 21, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4866500)
Hey all, it's Adam from the Hall of Stats. First time voter here, but always been a fan of the HOM.

I use Hall Rating, which is a formula based on Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement and Wins Above Average. I use Hall Rating to guide me, but ultimately can consider other factors when determining final rankings.

1. Randy Johnson (217): #9 pitcher all time by Hall Rating. Imagine if he had really gotten going before age 29.
2. Pedro Martinez (185): #13 pitcher all time and my formula may not be kind enough to high peak performers.
3. Curt Schilling (170): #16 pitcher all time and Hall Rating doesn't even factor postseason.
4. Mike Mussina (162): #20 pitcher all time. Spent entire career battling in the AL East.
5. Kenny Lofton (131): Simply a tremendous all around package of offense, defense, and speed. 105th all time by Hall Rating.
6. Luis Tiant (128): I'd be even higher on him if he didn't have that odd gap in the middle of his career.
7. Buddy Bell (123): 6 win player (avg) in 6 full seasons with Texas. Worth another 30 wins outside that peak. Great defender, solid hitter.
8. Sal Bando (116): A 10-year peak worth 56 WAR. Similar in value to Ken Boyer, who I strongly support.
9. Urban Shocker (108): Excellent peak with a lousy team.
10. Thurman Munson (100): An offensive and defensive force behind the plate for a decade. Still providing considerable value when his career was cut short.
11. Sammy Sosa (115): Concerns about transformation from speed and defense player to pure offense, but provided a ton of value.
12. Gary Sheffield (114): An offensive megastar. Weak defense and difficulty finding a position drag him down.
13. Vic Willis (123): Hard to throw 4,000 innings with a 117 ERA+ and not be Hall-worthy.
14. Gene Tenace (103): Terribly under-appreciated. Tremendous on-base and power combo behind the plate.
15. Tommy John (105): Top 12 years essentially mirror Ron Guidry's WAR & WAA. Had longevity to boot.

Returnees outside the Top 15:

Jeff Kent (102): Really close. Just not quite Top 15.
Bobby Bonds (110): Again, would be a solid addition to the HOM. I feel I may be underrating him.
Phil Rizzuto (76): Full WWII credit puts him on the borderline. Not sure if I would apply full credit though.
Ben Taylor (N/A): Admittedly not that knowledgeable about his case, but have not found a compelling reason to push him into the Top 15.
   96. Rob_Wood Posted: December 21, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4866511)
Welcome Adam! Where do you have John Smoltz? (Just want to make sure you did not inadvertently overlook him.)
   97. adarowski Posted: December 22, 2014 at 07:24 AM (#4866537)
Thanks, Rob. That's what I get for doing this too late after just happening to see the deadline. Wish I could edit my comment above, but the change will be dropping John and adding Smoltz (135) at #5, right between Mussina and Lofton. Pretty crazy… five pitchers top the list.

FYI, I have my the Hall of Merit as part of my "Hall of Consensus" grid.
   98. DL from MN Posted: December 22, 2014 at 08:14 AM (#4866545)
I appreciate the new voters but worry this will just become the Hall of Baseball Reference WAR.
   99. Moeball Posted: December 22, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4866574)
I appreciate the new voters but worry this will just become the Hall of Baseball Reference WAR.

DL - I don't think so.

I think if you look at the variance in the votes, you will see enough diversity to indicate people are approaching this from a lot of different angles. Outside of the main newbies like RJ and Pedro, who will probably be on every ballot - I think you will see a lot of different results. If everybody was using the same methodology to determine who to vote for, I think you would see consistency across all ballots, but I don't think that's what's happening. I'm eager to see how the results come out on the final tally - I think there will be some surprises.
   100. rawagman Posted: December 22, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4866601)
For counting purposes, I am tallying adarowski's ballot with Smoltz in 5th and all others dropping a slot - so John is off-ballot.
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