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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Once We Catch-Up: The Hall of Merit After 2007

This thread will deal with how we should handle the first annual election starting in 2008.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 05, 2006 at 08:02 PM | 641 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 17, 2006 at 12:28 AM (#2214504)
Howie,

Great idea on canvassing some voters to see what they would find useful. The more targeted we would be in such an action, the better our chances. And as you say, it's about giving some guys an extra and positive push.

And like you said, the feedback/credit wouldn't be an issue, helping elect worthy players would, in itself, be worth it. Or to put it another way: the fewer HOM-not-HOFs the better!
   102. Rick A. Posted: October 17, 2006 at 01:42 AM (#2214559)
Here are some things that have been rattling through my head while I was reading this thread today. I'd like to get these ideas out before I forget them.

If we're looking to garner some attention for the HOM, here are some ideas of what we could do.

1. Howsabout a link on a HOMers BB-ref page? I'm thinking along the lines of a banner like Sean has for HOFer's at his site. If someone clicks on his HOM banner, it could take them to his entry in the plaque room. I know this is up to Sean, but I don't see why he'd object to the idea. Are their any other baseball sites that may link to the HOM?

2. I know that some media members like Rob Neyer or King Kaufman read BTF. Are they aware of the HOM? Does anyone think we could persuade them to mention the HOM in one of their articles? That could possibly draw a considerable amount of people to this site, as well as giving us some legitimacy by being recommended by a high profile baseball writer.
   103. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 18, 2006 at 03:11 AM (#2216020)
Rick - I'll send Sean a note about the Hall of Merit banner on baseball-reference.com and see what he says . . . maybe we could work out some sort of cross promotional idea where he gets an add of some kind over here or something . . .
   104. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2006 at 10:20 AM (#2217581)
I talked to Sean, and he had some great ideas for how we can get a presence at baseball-reference.com for the Hall of Merit. There won't be a banner across inductees pages or anything, but we'll have something.

First though, we need to clean up the plaque room . . . ideally I'm thinking we give each player his own page, and throw a photo of some kind up there too. I realize this is going to be some work, and I've got to figure out some logistics of it too, but I definitely agree with the suggestions . . .
   105. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 08, 2007 at 03:55 PM (#2276211)
Now that the talk of a book is begun, this seems like the right thread to talk one, so I thought I'd give it some bumpage.

I've thought alot about a HOM book, and I think a few people have talked to Joe about a book, in fact, I've asked him about it. I hope, therefore, that Joe doesn't mind my sharing a couple of observations about our work and about a potential book that I think would make a HOM book really wunnerful. Contentwise, our coverage of the following topics and themes is really stellar:

-1860s-NA
-Negro Leagues
-Relievers
-Working through various credit scenarios: war, holdouts, strikes, integration, MiL indenture, etc….
-Peak versus prime versus career
-Strengths/weaknesses of different stats (WS, WARP, WinAdd, OPS+, ERA+, etc)
-Methods for determining merit (PenAdd, Keltner, Reputation Monitors, Black/Gray ink, etc)
-Stealth candidates (underrated guys, not just Grich and Evans, but also Groh and guys like that.)

These are all great strengths that appear to me to offer a number of points where we could devote essays, mini-essays, repeating sidebars, and small boxed content in a well-designed book.

As for structure, these are options I see:

-We could run chronologically through the HOM’s inductions, one by one, commenting on each and pausing for breakout essays or just small boxed items where necessary.

-We could take the elections and group them by decade or era, the way James does in the HBBA.

-We could do an alphabetical electee-by-electee listing of say 300-500 words per, describing their chief arguments for election, pausing from time to time to bust out into miniessays or fuller length ones too as needed, listing the chrono of elections in the back without comment.

-We could also make a half-n-half book like the abstract where we have one half devoted to the chronology and one half to the individual players’ arguments

-Or a one-third, one-third, one-third with chronology, long essays on topics of interest, and individual player arguments.

All but the first strike me as interesting structures. Whatever a HOM book ultimately looked like, it would be chock full of great content and great players, and that's the most important thing.
   106. Daryn Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2276223)
We could run chronologically through the HOM’s inductions, one by one, commenting on each and pausing for breakout essays or just small boxed items where necessary.

All but the first strike me as interesting structures.


Let me put in a vote for the first. The voting we have done makes the most sense in the context of a year by year review. The breakout essays idea is perfect, because the first time a peak guy beats out a career guy you can have that essay; the first time a guy gets in with minor league or NeL credit, you can have that essay; early on you can have a general WS v. WARP essay, etc.
   107. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2276228)
Daryn, you're right, of course, if done well, it can be very effective.
   108. sunnyday2 Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2276233)
Still, the big question is who is going to do the work, who is going to have their name on the cover. 55 guys can't co-author a book, it ain't gonna work. While somebody could probably steal the HoM name if they wanted to be ######## about it (I don't think it is copyrighted or TM or anything), everyone who has been a part of this would agree that Joe "owns" the copyright--again, ethically if not legally--so whatever he wants to do.

But my 2 cents--history is chronological, and our voting has been chronological. I think the easiest way to organize it would be chronologically, with short sidebars as needed (per Daryn). But I also think a half-n-half structure would be good, where you break out player stats and/or maybe the actual voting results into the second half.

By chronological, BTW, I don't necessarily mean just by our voting year by year, but rather by the era the inductees came from.
   109. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2276234)
What would I actually read?

I think an introduction which explains the voting process and scoring and why it worked out so well (15 pages tops) would be interesting.

I'd then go into a set of 2-3 page essays on each individual player detailing their career with an emphasis on "value" especially detailing why certain players may be undervalued (war credit, low RBI totals) or overvalued (bad defender, didn't walk). I'd organize by era. This is also my vision of the plaque room.

I'd also be interested in the top 50 players who missed the cut and 2 paragraphs on each, 1 pro 1 con. Add an appendix for Jake Beckley, in fact Jake Beckley is the player to use for an essay on determining merit.

Finally I think you have to go into the differences in results between the HoF and the HoM and the reasons why (15 pages).

There is no need to print an appendix with voting results, the website does just fine. I would also suggest creating summary articles on "lessons learned" for separate topics (NA, NGL, war credit, league strength, positional balance, etc) but I wouldn't clutter up the book (or wiki) with them. They are separate interesting findings but the focus should be on the 250 players and why they are uniquely meritorious.
   110. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2276249)
Hey guys, I think I'm going to set up a separate yahoo group (or maybe just an email list?) for this discussion . . . send me an email through the BTF link if you have interest - does that work?
   111. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:52 PM (#2276252)
BTW, great ideas too, should have mentioned that as well . . .
   112. Daryn Posted: January 08, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2276256)
who is going to have their name on the cover. 55 guys can't co-author a book

I think the two or three guys (not me) who agree to take on the lion's share of the work should be the authors, even if that doesn't include both or either of Joe and John. The rest of us can be mentioned in the Foreward or Acknowledgements. Three authors is the maximum you can go to before it starts to look silly, IMO.
   113. fra paolo Posted: January 08, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2276262)
As someone who works for publishers and writes books, I can tell you now that the commercial ones will probably take apart any ideas you put forward for its structure and reassemble them to suit the commercial demands. They also won't like a "book by committee". Someone's got to be the name on the cover, preferably someone with standing in the world of major-league baseball or baseball history.

Smaller or more academic publishers will be more sympathetic to Joe's rightful claim to be the name on the cover, at least as editor, but they won't achieve the purpose of the book, to promote the Hall of Merit's claim to be a better Top 250 than are found at Cooperstown, so efficiently.

Look at Bill James. He didn't really take off until Villard (part of Random House) snapped him up and marketed him to a wider audience. Any hope of using a HoM book to influence the public understanding of the history of baseball is going to need a publisher like Random House to help make the impact.
   114. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2276292)
Wondering who would have their name on the book puts the cart before the horse. I say write it up, post it as web based content and pdf, if anyone wants to distribute it more widely that's great but I'm not too concerned.

I think one of the best parts of this project is the strict timeline with progress tracked. Without a project schedule it won't happen.
   115. fra paolo Posted: January 08, 2007 at 05:49 PM (#2276297)
post it as web based content and pdf

Almost, but not quite, guaranteed to condemn it to obscurity.
   116. rawagman Posted: January 08, 2007 at 07:23 PM (#2276361)
A suggestion: For a book, I really think player's stats should be shunned. They are cumbersome, they are already well known in SABR and non-SABR communities.
I believe that all player pieces should include the highlites of their respective adherents' arguments - both for and against (whenever applicable). We should not ignore the no-brainers, but try to focus on matters of interest, maybe neat facts pointed out in the threads, in the ballots. Things we've learned.
Names on the cover should be the names of those of us (a committee of no more than 4 people) who put the most into the book. The names of all of the contributors should be mentioned as part of the intro.
   117. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 08, 2007 at 08:02 PM (#2276380)
Almost, but not quite, guaranteed to condemn it to obscurity.

Alas, I'm afraid you're right.
   118. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 08, 2007 at 10:40 PM (#2276477)
I am willing to write a few essays for the book since, as a graduate student, writing essays is what I do. I could do more if needed as well.

How many BTFers have connections to major publishers?
   119. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 08, 2007 at 10:46 PM (#2276482)
Sadly I only have connections to minor publishers...of books by teachers for teachers. Not even baseball teachers!
   120. Daryn Posted: January 08, 2007 at 10:54 PM (#2276487)
I have connections at Emond Montgomery up here in Canada -- but they mostly do academic books.
   121. fra paolo Posted: January 08, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2276491)
Look, if you're really serious about it, now is the perfect time to do something about it. The London Book Fair is in March, and I could at least propose the idea to my last publisher, and discuss matters with a friend who writes soccer books about possible imprints. The problem is both these take you to British publishers, and the pound/dollar exchange rate is murder on British publishers at the moment. They're not likely to see much of an opportunity in it because sales in their home market and Europe are likely to be nonexistent. American publishers don't always come to London with baseball books in mind.

The other trick would be to package it and sell it in that form to an American publisher. Basically, you just serve them up finished copies, but you'd need to pay for the print run. However, copyright can then be retained. You'd need a bit of capital, though.

Even getting a luminary like Bill James or a saber-minded columnist such as Alan Schwarz to write a two-page intro would increase the marketable value of the book geometrically.
   122. fra paolo Posted: January 08, 2007 at 11:02 PM (#2276492)
Another thing that would help is if some of the living HoMers wrote back to Joe and were willing to be quoted on the jacket and in any Advance Information sheet that was taken to a book fair.
   123. ronw Posted: January 08, 2007 at 11:25 PM (#2276506)
Count me in to help.

I think that perhaps highlighting all of the inductees, might not be what the public is looking for. Perhaps the book should focus on the differences with the Hall of Fame. Perhaps there should be sections on each person who is in the HOM but not in the HOF, and then who is in the HOF and not in the HOM and why.

I mean, who really cares that we inducted Babe Ruth or Willie Mays. For that matter, even Frank Grant and Biz Mackey have lost some luster, since they are now actual Hall of Famers. It is the Grant Johnson's and the Bobby Grich's of this project that make our project unique, not our 152 (and counting) identical HOM-HOF members.
   124. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: January 08, 2007 at 11:46 PM (#2276516)
I'm also very interested in helping, although it's been a few years since I was writing my essays in graduate school.

I'm going to start arguing with someone who knows much more than I do, but I don't know that our prospects are that dismal. There are a lot of baseball books published, and not all of them are by well-known writers. There was a book a couple of years ago by some sportswriter I never heard of that tried to rank the top 1,000 baseball players based on...well, whatever he saw when he looked at the numbers. (No, I'm not talking about the NHBA! ;) ) There's ACTA Sports, who publish exactly this sort of thing. I got my THT Annual at Barnes and Noble. I think if we write a really good book, we have a decent chance of getting it published. And the worst-case scenario is we waste a lot of time and energy. Some would say that's nothing new.

But in any case, I think we're kind of focusing on the wrong things here. The first thing to do is to figure out how we would do it, in terms of 1)What sort of layout the book would have, 2)How the writing would be divided up, and 3)Who's going to be in charge of the whole thing. Once we get those issues situated, then we can start worrying about publishers. They're not going to be interested until we can show them something anyway.
   125. Mike Webber Posted: January 08, 2007 at 11:55 PM (#2276521)
I would also be willing to contribute to the writing. I know people at ACTA, so I could at least help us get introduced. Sports Publishing is another place I know people, but this isn't what they usually do.

I agree with Ron in that the Babe Ruth/Willie Mays topics don't need to be covered, other than to show we acknowledge they were awesome. I think the Negro Leaguers would all be interesting however, because the NeL Committee maybe didn't do the best job of say why they selected who they did. That's a key, if it is interesting use it.

I also agree with the point about not having a ton of stats - again other than Negro Leaguers or Minor League credit pertinent guys. A general career framework such as in the NBJHA though does allow some context.
   126. DL from MN Posted: January 09, 2007 at 12:29 AM (#2276535)
> saber-minded columnist such as Alan Schwarz

Does Rob Neyer owe anyone around here any favors?

I wouldn't be so short on Ted Williams and Willie Mays. I can think of several interesting things we could write and those guys sell books, not Grant Johnson.
   127. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2007 at 02:35 AM (#2276595)
I suppose I could be an unofficial editor.
It is VERY difficult for most people to cull a mountain of information into a readable mass, I've found.
   128. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 09, 2007 at 03:36 AM (#2276626)
A book? Interesting.

I have no experience with or knowledge of putting a book together, but why let a little thing like abject ignorance get in the way of offering advice?

The main think I'd say is have an idea of who you expect to purchase it, and tailor what you say toward that individual. (Remember how people went about creating a letter for the Negro Leagues committee in the summer of '05?) Is the HoM looking for just a sabermetric audience? A more general one?

I think an introduction which explains the voting process and scoring and why it worked out so well (15 pages tops) would be interesting.

I think 15 pages would be way too long. Explaining the voting process, scoring, and so forth should be done as quickly as possible. Someone buying the book would be interested in looking at the results of the project more than the process itself. It should definitely mention that it's from a sabermetric perspective so the reader knows where it's coming from.

There is no need to print an appendix with voting results, the website does just fine.

Definitely no need to include full voting results, might want to have a page or two listing every inductee and the "year" they were put in.

There is no need to print an appendix with voting results, the website does just fine. I would also suggest creating summary articles on "lessons learned" for separate topics (NA, NGL, war credit, league strength, positional balance, etc) but I wouldn't clutter up the book (or wiki) with them. They are separate interesting findings but the focus should be on the 250 players and why they are uniquely meritorious.

This reminds me, if I may be so self-absorbed as to quote from myself, may I "humbly" submit to those interesting something I wrote in my book review of the 2006 THT's HoM article by Joe & John:

This article's an inch deep and a mile wide – it contains a little bit of information on many bits, but nothing substantial on any of it. If they'd found a way to shorten up the information provided about people you don't need the HoM to find out about, they could've had more room on the rest.

I thought to myself when I finished this article - What's the purpose in writing this? Was it to increase awareness of the Hall of Merit? To attract new voters and contributors to it? To gain publicity for it? I couldn't think of any goal that they'd have which would be served by their article's structure. How about this for an alternate approach – first have a brief introduction, and then have a page with several columns of all current (through '61) inductees and their years inducted. You can fit multiple columns on one page and unless they use a huge font they can get the entire HoM roster on one page. Then spend the heart of the article on main themes of voting. They could have a bit on the best forgotten Negro Leaguers, or the players whose value is obscured because of time spent playing outside of MLB (which could range from Earl Averill to Lip Pike). Which players have they found to be the most underrated? The exact theme(s) to choose is a matter of debate, but if you just go choose one or two, you would have time and space to really dig deeper than an inch on some matter. That would be worth reading.

. . .

One thing I can think of that I definitely wish had been included was how the process of participating in the Hall of Merit makes one aware of the different ways people have for judging value in a player. Prior to voting in it, I always thought that the election of Hughie Jennings to Cooperstown was a bad joke and that only an idiot would support that. Now, having read the debates, I can recognize and respect why someone might support his enshrinement though I personally still never would.


Applying to the book idea, obviously you'd have a lot more room, but some of the same ideas apply I think. Focus on the items that bring more value to the reader.

Writing that, I fall into a problem. From a purely information POV, you're better off writing more about the Jimmy Sheckards than the Babe Ruths. I don't know a damn thing about publishing but that's got to be as coutner-intuitive as it gets. There's much more written on the Ruths for a reason -- people care about them more. If this book ever does get made, it will almost certainly be presented as a "best players of all time" book. Someone buying such a work and reading 10 words on the Ezra Suttons of baseball history for every word on the Cobbs could easily feel ripped off. I've written this paragraph a half-dozen times -- half the times I end up saying prioritize the Sheckards more and the other half I end up saying prioritize the Ruths more. I have no brilliant advice obviously but don't be too quick to minimize what you say about the greats. Maybe aim to provide X number of words for all players, but be willing to go long on some selected special cases.

I believe that all player pieces should include the highlites of their respective adherents' arguments - both for and against (whenever applicable).

Hmmm. While I like the idea of having a section on those just missing the cut, I dunno about this one. At the very least I'd have a greatly curtailed notion of "whenever applicable." You want to write a book about the HoM? Then you better be prepared to stand up for the inductees. Mention in the intro that no one will agree with all enshrinees (not even youzez) but in the collective wisdom of the HoM participants, these are the most notable players.

I think that perhaps highlighting all of the inductees, might not be what the public is looking for. Perhaps the book should focus on the differences with the Hall of Fame. Perhaps there should be sections on each person who is in the HOM but not in the HOF, and then who is in the HOF and not in the HOM and why.

Right now I'm just trying to figure out who "the public" would be for this book. I'm at the bookstore. I see something in the baseball section called "The Hall of Merit." I never heard of it from Adam. What's going to make me buy this book? What's going to make me think this isn't just another self-appointed dork trying to reinvent the wheel? God knows this wouldn't be the first book ever written along the lines of "Best Players Ever."

I mean, who really cares that we inducted Babe Ruth or Willie Mays.

Go to amazon and type in "Babe Ruth." See what happens. Then try the same for Lee Magee. The difference can't entirely be ascribed to some vast market inefficiency.
   129. fra paolo Posted: January 09, 2007 at 08:49 AM (#2276699)
They're not going to be interested until we can show them something anyway.

You can get a book deal done on three or four sample spreads and AI sheet if you've got a track record.

I'd suggest that if you're really serious the most important thing to sort out right now is (3) from Devin McCullen's list. He or she is not going to be the name on the cover. In fact, they ought not to be. I'd volunteer, but I don't think I'm in a position to do much of the work until this summer. If you're happy with that, and my plans to go to SABR bear fruit, I don't mind meeting with HoMers in St Louis to draw up a plan and schedule for the production of something to a PDF stage.

Furthermore, this is going to take at least a year to get to the stage that you can start designing spreads, assuming that everyone will devote the time needed to write up the essays. (You'd be surprised at how many potential authors turn work away because they don't want to work fast.) I really would try to limit the number of authors involved to the absolute minimum, too. I've been involved in several multi-author productions and non-performing authors are always a headache far out of proportion to their actual intended contribution. The more authors chosen, the more non-performers you get.
   130. KJOK Posted: January 10, 2007 at 12:08 AM (#2277215)
I think we should do something similar to what "Baseball Survivor" did a few years ago, only with HOM electees - ranking them by 'voting one off the island' each week...that would take us another 5 years I believe...
   131. Michael Bass Posted: January 10, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2277298)
I think the book is a great idea. Stealing from a few people, I think the basic form of the book would be working through time, not covering every individual election, but maybe in 3 or 5 year chunks with articles discussing newcomers, significant movement, who got elected, etc (and contrary to others thoughts, I think the results should be printed alongside the articles). About 4-5 times in the book, at even intervals (think the side articles in Neyer/Epstein's dynasty book for example) we'd have a major in depth article. Baseball's early days (probably time this after Pike's election, which more or less closed off our discussion of it), Negro Leagues, war credit would be good topics. Possibly an article on peak vs. prime vs. career. And a discussion of WARP vs. WS vs. traditional stats, etc.
   132. DanG Posted: May 04, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2354327)
Bump. Because some guys were talking about this again.
   133. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 04, 2007 at 04:51 PM (#2354345)
What will we do with our time after the 2007 election?

Start over, and this time allow anyone who wants to participate to vote?
   134. DanG Posted: May 04, 2007 at 05:12 PM (#2354386)
Start over, and this time allow anyone who wants to participate to vote?

Heh. That's how it has always been. The key is "participate." The privilege of participating carries with it certain responsibilities in order for the vote to be considered valid.
   135. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 04, 2007 at 08:57 PM (#2354568)
Heh. That's how it has always been.

Nope. From the start, a voter who wished, say, to not vote for Joe Jackson because he threw a World Series had his ballot arbitrarily thrown out.

The privilege of participating carries with it certain responsibilities

The HoM isn't doing voters a favor by allowing them to participate. The voters are doing the HoM a favor by participating. Every voter disqualified diminishes the HoM, not the voter.
   136. Sean Gilman Posted: May 04, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2354575)
Nope. From the start, a voter who wished, say, to not vote for Joe Jackson because he threw a World Series had his ballot arbitrarily thrown out.

That is demonstrably false. Quite a few voters did not vote for Joe Jackson.

The HoM isn't doing voters a favor by allowing them to participate. The voters are doing the HoM a favor by participating. Every voter disqualified diminishes the HoM, not the voter

Pithy, but with little relation to reality. How many ballots do you think have been rejected, and why? I can only think of one . . .
   137. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 04, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2354606)
Actually Peaches was speaking not of ballots but of ballot-casters. Since I've been HOMing, there's been zero people asked to leave. I don't exactly know if there were any before me. Was the Wid Conroy guy asked to leave or did he just split? And wasn't there a really grumpy guy who was asked to leave at our chosen hour?
   138. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 04, 2007 at 11:45 PM (#2354674)
Actually Peaches was speaking not of ballots but of ballot-casters. Since I've been HOMing, there's been zero people asked to leave. I don't exactly know if there were any before me. Was the Wid Conroy guy asked to leave or did he just split? And wasn't there a really grumpy guy who was asked to leave at our chosen hour?


Actually, there were two voters that had Wid Conroy way above Cy Young that election, though most likely it was the same guy. However, we still didn't tell him he couldn't vote, only that he had to submit a more well though tout ballot. When he started posting obscenities on our site, then he became the one and only banned voter.

There were a couple of other voters who were asked to revise their ballots, but they decided to leave instead of going along with our Constitution. Which was perfectly fine, I might add.

Nope. From the start, a voter who wished, say, to not vote for Joe Jackson because he threw a World Series had his ballot arbitrarily thrown out.


Since Joe Dimino and I didn't have him on our ballots when he first became eligible, I don't what you're talking about.

The HoM isn't doing voters a favor by allowing them to participate. The voters are doing the HoM a favor by participating. Every voter disqualified diminishes the HoM, not the voter


Well, if I had left Gary Carter and Bert Blyleven off of my ballot, but had Bill Buckner, Tommy Corcoran, Charlie Comiskey (as a player), and Tony Suck at the top of my ballot, the Hall of Merit would not be diminished if Joe Dimino rejected that ridiculous monstrosity. If I still kept posting it, then Joe would be obligated to revoke my voting privileges.
   139. DanG Posted: May 05, 2007 at 03:27 AM (#2354973)
From the start, a voter who wished, say, to not vote for Joe Jackson because he threw a World Series had his ballot arbitrarily thrown out.

Well, you know what they say: "Garbage in; garbage out!" Seriously, this issue was well-debated in the formation of our rules, which are the product of rational discussion, not arbtrariness.
The HoM isn't doing voters a favor by allowing them to participate. The voters are doing the HoM a favor by participating.

Of course.
Every voter disqualified diminishes the HoM, not the voter.

The reason this is untrue is because we don't disqualify voters; voters disqualify themselves by refusing to adhere to the established rules. If there is a specific rule you object to, you have that right, although it is entirely moot to do so at this late date.
   140. Howie Menckel Posted: May 05, 2007 at 05:01 AM (#2355046)
Wow, an embarrassing (for him) and weird and demonstrativey false comment by Peaches Graham.
Ironically, the easier, though still probably inaccurate, criticism would try to gripe about too much INclusivness, not too much EXclusiveness.
   141. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 05, 2007 at 01:05 PM (#2355090)
I wonder if the basis for Peaches' comments arose from a more general place, as in the possibility of the group being self-selecting in terms of:
1) the language of the constitution potentially limiting voters who disagree with its provisions about fairness to all eras etc....
2) in as much as it's more difficult to get up to speed the further along it goes
3) in as much as it can be a big time committment.

I don't know, but I thought I'd throw Peaches a bone.
   142. Paul Wendt Posted: May 06, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2355685)
Devin McCullen #125:
the worst-case scenario is we waste a lot of time and energy. Some would say that's nothing new.

That's the right spirit. Approach it thus and you can't be sorely disappointed!

I suppose there is much wisdom in the remarks by Fra and Dag, writing from the experience and inexperience poles. In my opinion, a book is premature when the website is unreadable. The Hall of Merit website should include some of the essays people have mentioned as book content, and for some subjects (players and methods) it should include some edited debate or review of debate. Postpone loftier ambitions until that has been achieved.
   143. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 06, 2007 at 12:38 PM (#2355833)
I think whoever handles administering the post-HoM projects (not me) gets paid, so at least the biting criticisms can be more justified.
   144. Richard Gadsden Posted: May 06, 2007 at 08:32 PM (#2356285)
I'd like to be able to participate without having to consider the backlog. I don't feel qualified to consider anyone who played before integration.

I had hoped to be able to come in in the later years, but it became clear that I couldn't ignore the backlog.
   145. DanG Posted: June 09, 2007 at 04:18 AM (#2398111)
The discussion of the HoM Most Meritorious Player (MMP) Project should be continued here.

If you missed it, on the second page of the 1999 Results thread we started a discussion of my proposal for the MMP Project, a follow-up to our current endeavor. Here is the initial outline:

Something Else Better: The Hall of Merit MMP Project

Our current HoM project is on course to reach the present day next fall. I feel privileged to be associated with such a high quality group of people, not only in the level of research and analysis conducted, but especially in the level of discourse. It would be great to keep it together. With this in mind, my thoughts have been towards, “What next?”

I have put together the framework for another multi-year project, tentatively called The Hall of Merit MMP project. Voting would begin sometime in 2008. I recently submitted this proposal to several HoMers for comments prior to going public, and it has generally been well received.

A few things to initially be aware of/think about:

1. Rather than MVP, in the HoMer vein, we’ve taken to the term MMP, Most Meritorious Player (thanks Dr. Chaleeko!).
2. Is there anyone here who has a keen interest in running the project day-to-day, as John Murphy is currently doing with the HoM? If so, raise your hand.
3. What should be the starting year for the project? The article says begin with 2007. For various reasons, it has been suggested we start with 2006 or 1960 or 1946 or some other intermediate year.

This thread is primarily for discussing and debating the structure for this project, so comments on any aspect of the proposal are welcome. Or if you’re not too keen on this idea, it can also be used for presenting alternative proposals of “something else better.”

=================================================

Over the past couple years I’ve presented versions of this idea to several people. I think we should determine the best players from each season, 1871 to the present. This article outlines my proposal for this project. With six months to go in our current project, the time seems ripe for presenting it to our group

The basic idea is for each voter to rank the top 25 players in MLB (includes NeL) for each season. The results will give us many useful items: 1) The #1 player for each year; 2) The true MVP’s for each league; 3) The top players at each position; 4) A compilation of true MVP award shares for everyone; 5) A method for measuring player’s peak/prime value. Actually, if we had done this first, it would have made the HoM itself an easier project.

Similar to the germination of the HoM over five years ago, there are the rules and other issues to be worked out. Here are my thoughts:

1) Starting Point – I don’t think we should start at 1871 and go forward. Let’s start with the season last completed (2007) and work backwards. The idea is to start with the easier years and work up to the complications we will face later on.
2) Ballot Explanations – Required. A basic tenet of the HoM is, the unexplained ballot is not worth casting. We can be a bit lax with established voters, but new voters are absolutely required to have good reasoning for each player on their ballot.
3) Criteria – Value to your MLB team(s) in that season only. If part of the season was spent outside MLB, that value should be considered as well, so long as most of his value was accrued in MLB (or top Negro leagues).
4) In other words, no consideration for players spending the bulk of the year in the minor leagues or Japan. There may be gray areas here regarding identification of certain leagues as “minor”: the AL in 1900, certain Negro leagues, the IA in the years around 1880, maybe the PCL for a time, the Mexican league in the 1940’s, maybe others.
5) Negro Leaguers – Yes. We will have to determine at what point Black ball ceased to be MLB caliber. We may have to allow for great players on barnstorming teams. Maybe credit for winter league play, but that’s a gray area, for sure.
6) War Credit – None. Ditto for injury credit. “Value in that season,” no what-ifs. The one exception might be for collusion credit, a la Raines in 1987.
7) Post Season Play – Should it be included in our evaluations? I’m inclined to say yes, with a caution that it should not be a major factor.
8) Frequency of Elections – I recommend weekly. Biweekly elections would make the project 5.5 year long. We’re looking at 140 elections, or about 33 months of weekly elections. If weekly, each week, there will be a new discussion thread, a new voting thread, and a new results thread.
9) The discussion thread should be standardized at the top, with leader lists of important data (both sabermetric and traditional), results of polls, all-star listings, etc. Or at least links to important data for that year. The discussion thread for a year should be posted at least a month before the voting thread.
10) Players Per Ballot – I advocate a 25-man ballot (a “team”, if you will). Of course, the more we list, the better ranking we get of the year’s best players, but going higher than 25 could be too cumbersome.
11) Points Tally – How about 30-29-28…6? Or should we give a bonus for a first place vote? How about 36-34-32-30-28-26-24-23…6?
12) Dynamic Voting Results – Here’s the part that makes this project worthwhile and enduring. I think we should allow for voters to change their ballot after the original voting week. IOW, there will be two tallies of voting results: the Original Results will reflect the voters’ conclusions at the point of the election; the Ongoing or Dynamic Results will reflect the most recent analysis. Remember, this is much harder than HoM voting, where you simply plug in a couple newbies each year; here it’s a brand new assessment each election. There are other reasons for doing this: 1) There are more players and less time to assess your ballot than in the HoM project; 2) We need voters to learn about and integrate Negro leaguers into their ballot. Some voters will need more than a couple weeks to make good assessments here; 3) New voters can join the project at any time without missing any elections; regular voters can catch up if they miss an election.

Here’s how to do it: 1) Like the HoM now, everyone has a week to post a ballot on the year’s Ballot Thread, with results posted Monday night. 2) The Original Results will be posted in the results thread and remain there permanently; 3) Also posted in the results thread will be the Ongoing Results. 4) Voters can revise their ballot at any time; also, new voters can post ballots for any past elections. These changes will be reflected in the Ongoing Results. 5) Voters must renew their ballot for each election at least annually, by posting on the results thread a revised ballot or a statement that their last ballot stands. A chart on the results thread will list the date of each voter’s most recent ballot revision (or affirmation of no revision). 6) A ballot that is not renewed within a year will be deleted from the Ongoing Results for that election, eliminating most outdated analysis. 7) If our group consensus is against leaving the project open ended, we could begin closing down the Ongoing Results tallies at some point.

In most years, the Original Results will be very similar to the Ongoing Results. However, in general, I believe that further discussion and analysis will make the Ongoing Results a better ranking than the initial balloting. It gives us the best of both worlds: the results of the initial focus in the Original Results, along with the results of new discoveries and the latest analysis in the Ongoing Results.
   146. DanG Posted: June 09, 2007 at 04:30 AM (#2398140)
The final item above, #12, has met with general disfavor. If the consensus opposes it, I don't see it as a deal breaker. The project can still go forward without it.

---------------------------------

There was some concern that a 25-man ballot would be too cumbersome. Here is an idea to simplify the process. I call it Quadrant Voting, although there's probably a better term for it. The idea is for each ballot to rank their top 10 players. The rest of the ballot could be in groups of five players. IOW, your #11 to #15 would follow your top ten ranking, each of the five being given the same number of points; your #16 to #20 would follow next, each of them being given a lesser number of points than the previous group. And so on. A 25-man ballot becomes much easier; rather than figuring out where to rank 25 guys, you only need to rank the top ten, followed by three groups of five. Even going to a 30-man ballot (or more) would not be too hard.

Using Quadrant Voting would make only a minor difference in the results, I think.
   147. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 09, 2007 at 02:26 PM (#2398357)
Dan,

I wouldn't mind being able to include minor league players as well. For me it is interesting to think that Gavvy Cravath, Buzz Arlett, or maybe even Charlie Keller was a top 15 player while in the minors.
   148. Paul Wendt Posted: June 09, 2007 at 03:32 PM (#2398373)
I wouldn't mind being able to include minor league players as well.

The "1999" part of the discussion shows that this sentiment is common. DanG thinks it won't work.

I foresee accidental omissions. (And 30-29-28- scoring makes the results sensitive to one omission.)

The HOM project benefits from its concern with lifetime rather than annual achievements. One to three elected players drop out of the eligible pool each year, and their prominence would make them difficult to vote for even without watchdogs. DanG manages a relatively small annual list of prominent newly eligible players. Commonly more than ten but the top ten commonly covers everyone who will get any support. In the assessment of annual achievements there is little value in the discussion or results from recent cycles. So I anticipate watchdogs will be more important, but effective watching will be much more challenging.

There might be some annual lists of leaders whose omission from a ballot requires comment. For example, the actual MVP and Cy Young awardees and some of their hypothetical or sabermetric counterparts. "Willie Hernandez gets thankyous for completing the fine work of Petry and Morris but he only pitched 140 innings."
   149. Paul Wendt Posted: June 09, 2007 at 03:38 PM (#2398374)
effective watching will be much more challenging.

maybe that should be "effectively watching dog" :-)

Beside the continuity from one cycle to the next, HOM watching is relatively easy because there is only one important active discussion.
   150. Juan V Posted: June 09, 2007 at 03:54 PM (#2398378)
Since the possibility of collusion credit has been opened, what about blacklisting for Charley Jones?
   151. sunnyday2 Posted: June 09, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2398415)
This discussion is about "how." Maybe that presupposes the answer to "whether." But I don't think we know that. I don't really care "how" we do this, but "whether." So:

1. Let's just say the MMP is a bill is the U.S. Senate on immigration, just by way of analogy. Is anybody saying you cannot vote "yes" (participate in the MMP project) if MiLers are eligible or if there's amnesty or if NeLers aren't or if there aren't 640 more watchdogs or if we go backwards or if there's a guest worker program or if we go forwards or whatever? Are you guys gonna play or not?

2. Who is gonna be Grandma2?

And if we can't answer 2 then 1 doesn't matter, much less "how."

I FTR will play. I don't care which of the above variations it is. Other than the "not" variation.
   152. DanG Posted: June 09, 2007 at 08:30 PM (#2398511)
Thanks, Marc. Yes, there is little point in further discussion of the project if nobody wants to run it. I had fun coming up with the proposal; we can just leave it there if we have no one to take the reins.

So, who's in if we decide to stratify the HoM? Or can anyone direct me to another website that does projects similar to these?
   153. andrew siegel Posted: June 10, 2007 at 01:39 PM (#2399020)
Could Grandma give us a post detailing what he does for the project each week and roughly how much time each task takes? I think there are a number of us who are just so impressed by his devotion that we say no automatically before actually assessing the time commitment.
   154. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 11, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2400215)
Could Grandma give us a post detailing what he does for the project each week and roughly how much time each task takes? I think there are a number of us who are just so impressed by his devotion that we say no automatically before actually assessing the time commitment.


Well, for the HoM project, let's see:

I spend at least a half an hour on each plaque (a minimum of 1.5 hours with the "elect three" elections). Posting them and updating the home page (as well as posting the plaques from the last election in their rightful sections) takes from fifteen minutes to a half an hour.

Tabulating the results? Has to be at least a minute for each voter. Double-checking the results (which I do three or four times during election week) takes at least 1.5 to 2 hours long (longer if I screwed up the tabulation...).

Posting a player thread takes a minute or two. The election results thread take at least 15 minutes to compile). Ballot and ballot discussion threads take up to five minutes to complete.

Hope that helps, Andrew.
   155. sunnyday2 Posted: June 11, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2400303)
It might make sense to divide up the duties. I mean, if one person can do it, great. But, from the outside, it appears that the real "expertise" that is needed is posting stuff on BTF. I have no idea how you do that, presumably you've got some access that the rest of us don't (and shouldn't) have.

We won't have plaques or would we (MMP plaques? or some sort of paragraph memorializing the selection), but you don't need access to BTF to do that. Anyone who wants can tabulate results. So there are things that even I could do.

The missing link is the actual interaction with BTF. And the hard part, it seems to me, is that that person has to be available to do stuff almost 24 x 7, at least if they want to live up to Grandma 1's legacy.
   156. DanG Posted: October 02, 2007 at 01:37 PM (#2555938)
Bringing this over here from the 2005 Results thread. Dr. Chaleeko:

I'm coming around to Chris (and DanG's) POV on the runoffs. Since we have lots and lots of time beginning with the 2008 election, we might as well go to a run-off. It only means pushing back by a week or two. No biggie.

I think this can most easily be accomplished by adding a runoff election after the regular election.

Start with the framework outlined thus far. This is post #85, from last October, revised:

New Voter Registration/Final Discussion thread posted: 2nd Monday in October (8th-14th). This will be October 13, 2008.
Ballot thread posted: two weeks later (October 22nd-28th). This will be October 27, 2008.
Results posted: two weeks later (November 5th-11th). This will be November 10th, 2008.
Runoff thread also posted on this day. The top 30 finishers in the regular election will be listed in rank order by each voter.
Final results thread posted Monday before Thanksgiving. This will be November 24th, 2008.

Runoff point system:

I’m thinking along these lines, where a first place vote is worth three times a 30th place vote:

60-58-56-54-52-50-48-46-44-42-
40-38-37-36-35-34-33-32-31-30-
29-28-27-26-25-24-23-22-21-20

Well, that's my initial proposal. I hope others will have ideas to tweak this, if I've missed something.
   157. karlmagnus Posted: October 02, 2007 at 02:11 PM (#2555980)
Hang on DanG, those timings are for the 2009 election aren't they? On current timings we will elect 2006 on 10/22 and 2007 on 11/12. Then we need to decide whether 2008 will be on our old schedule (which would be 12/3/07) or a new schedule with final election just before the HOF announces (in Jan '08?)

The runoff should be only between the candidates 1-10 that do not have half the voters supporting them; if there are 8 of these each voter (who must have voted in the first round) can order them 1-8 and the winner gets in, for as many spots as are still vacant. IOW, if no candidates have 50% of voters supporting, the runoff elects 3, if 1 has it elects 2, if 2 have it elects 1, if 3 or more have, there is no runoff (presumably a #4 with 50% of the electorate supporting him will get in the following year.)
   158. DanG Posted: October 02, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2556007)
Then we need to decide whether 2008 will be on our old schedule (which would be 12/3/07) or a new schedule with final election just before the HOF announces (in Jan '08?)

Good point; should we have a runoff election for the 2008 election? If so, I think it should be just after the regular election, with results announced on 12/17/07.
Yes, we could have a runoff election only in cases where half the voters don't support a guy. However, I think it's simpler and fairer to just include all the top 30 in the runoff.
   159. karlmagnus Posted: October 02, 2007 at 02:53 PM (#2556026)
I think top 30 is too inclusive; let's just make it the top 10, who are the guys with a real chance that year. I'd favor having a runoff for '08, which as you say could be 12/17. '08 should be our first "real" year. We will need to have a long discussion period after that, to wake the electorate from its slumber, but not in '08.
   160. DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2007 at 02:56 PM (#2556033)
I'd rather see a primary election where voters are asked to rank 1-15, any candidate not receiving more than one vote is eliminated. Then voters would be asked to rank their top 1-15 of the players who received more than one vote. In the last election that was less than 80 players. Narrowing the consideration set should produce a higher consensus. You won't have one voter with 3 players in their top 35 supported by more than just that voter (not to point fingers).

Could we try a primary election to see if the results are different? We wouldn't use the results necessarily but I would be interested to see if there is a big shift.
   161. DanG Posted: October 02, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2556066)
Well, I think the runoff ballot should have more than 15 players (like 30, or 40, or 50). This allows voters to better express their relative rankings of the top candidates. Our current system severely restricts the voters' expression in this regard.
   162. DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2007 at 03:31 PM (#2556094)
I can see ranking more players for the primary ballot but then I'd raise the cutoff to anyone not supported by more than 2 or even 3 voters.
   163. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:20 PM (#2556301)
If it's everyone with more than one vote, we just get the same basic group of guys as before, so that's counterproductive.

A runoff is not designed to allow choice, it's designed to force a consensus, therefore we should limit preferences as much as is practical. 30 is too many, particularly given the minute distinction among candidates below the ballot itself. 20 is getting there. I think top 10-15 is much more preferable.

This year:
-the top 30 guys get onto about 10 ballots each (or about 20% of ballots) and get around 10% of the possible points
-the top 20 guys get on about 15 ballots each (a little more than 25% of ballots) for around 15% of possible points
-the top 10 guys get on about 17 ballots (a little more than 30% of all ballots) about 20% of all points.

If we had only the top-ten non-winners this year, that would mean the ballot would include:
Browning
Dawson
Johnson
Oms
Smith
Walters
Redding
Puckett
Cravath
Perez

If you go to 15, you add:
Duffy
Leach
Saberhagen
Tiant
Nettles

If you go to 20, you add:
Rizzuto
Singleton
GVH
Clarkson
Dean

I don’t really think there’s much point in going past the top ten also-rans. Narrowing down the choices is what we’re after here. We’ve already had the chance to express opinion on the full range of guys, this is just the chance reach consensus.
   164. Chris Cobb Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2556322)
Looking at Dr. c's list, I'd say the runoff ballot would need to include 20 names, minimum.

Of course, the larger the first ballot is, the more reliable the run-off ballot will be as a list of the top candidates. I would favor a large first ballot ranking say, 30 players (I actually favor 40-50, but I suspect others would find that cumbersome), with the lower half using quadrants (i.e. 2 points each for players ranked 20-25, 1 point each for players ranked 26-30).

Then a run-off ballot of 15 might do.
   165. OCF Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2556330)
If we had only the top-ten non-winners this year, that would mean the ballot would include:
Browning
Dawson
Johnson
Oms
Smith
Walters
Redding
Puckett
Cravath
Perez


In which case I would have said Walters - Perez - Smith - Oms. Not sure what I would have said after that.
   166. Juan V Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2556335)
While I'm warming up to the idea of a runoff, I think we should start it for the 2009 election. I'd prefer to have our 2008 results out in early December, when HOF voters are sending in their ballots, in small hopes of influencing at least a few (among the hundreds of voters, there has to be at least one or two who would pay attention to us, right?).

As for the size of a runoff ballot, I think 10 is too few and 30 is too many.
   167. KJOK Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2556336)
I'll throw a couple of ideas out I guess:

1. How about continuing to vote thru at least 2012, just as we are now? Now that 2007 is completed, we know which guys played in 2006 but not 2007, and are thus eligible for election thru 2012?

2. Wherever we stop, how about we go in reverse and vote the HOM elected players 'off the island' one by one each week? This would give us a ranking of the HOM players, from 'worst to best'?
   168. DanG Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:48 PM (#2556339)
Dr. C: That's all true. But it's limiting what a runoff can accomplish.

In the past three elections the number of players receiving votes has been 108, 107, 109. So a 30-man runoff eliminates 72% of the candidates, a very nice "narrowing down" of the choices, IMO. (It's also about the number a typical BBWAA ballot has on it.)

In addition, a 30-man runoff leaves room for voters to more fully express their diversity of opinions on candidates. In a 10-man runoff, the lowest I can rank a candidate is 10th; with a 30-man ballot I can rank the worst candidate closer to where he actually is in my rankings.

A 30-man ballot aims to capture all the viable candidates. We've seen candidates rise up from that region to election on many occasions, even recently. Like Bresnahan, 28th in the 1985 election, HoM 19 years later. Prior to him was Roush, 28th in 1983, HoM 14 years later. And Charlie Keller, 27th in 1979, HoM 17 years later. And many others.

As for "the minute distinction among candidates", I think the point system in #156 reflects this fact. It's all aimed at a more accurate ranking of the players than we get with our present system. A ranking that is closer to how the electorate actually assesses candidates.
   169. mcopeland Posted: October 02, 2007 at 05:52 PM (#2556344)
I haven't read through all of the suggestions in this thread, but has anyone considered voting for each year's MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year winners? That should keep everybody busy for a while.
   170. DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2556365)
> We’ve already had the chance to express opinion on the full range of guys

Except we haven't. We've had the chance to express which are the top 15 on the full range of guys. I'm just saying try it once. Anyone want to redo the 2005 election using only the eligibles who got more than one vote and minus Boggs (elect 2)?

For example, yest's ballot becomes:

1) Mattingly
2) Puckett
3) Traynor
4) Klein
5) Oliva
6) Welch
7) Sam Rice
8) Browning
9) Duffy
10) Joss
11) Jim Rice
12) Van Haltren
13) Jimmy Ryan
14) Veach
15) Cravath

With your example his ballot would be:
1) Puckett
2) Browning
3) Duffy
4) Van Haltren
5) Cravath
6) ??? - someone not in his top 60

My 2005 ballot with a primary is:
1) Tiant
2) Johnson
3) Bridges
4) Clarkson
5) Reuschel
6) Nettles
7) Saberhagen
8) Reggie Smith
9) Norm Cash
10) Tommy Leach
11) Ben Taylor
12) Lee Smith
13) Ron Cey
14) Gavy Cravath
15) Dick Redding

My 2005 ballot with a runoff:
1) Tiant
2) Johnson
3) Clarkson
5) Nettles
6) Saberhagen
7) Reggie Smith
8) Tommy Leach
9) Gavy Cravath
10) Dick Redding
11) Alejandro Oms
12) George Van Haltren
13) Andre Dawson
14) Bucky Walters
15) Pete Browning

Do you see the difference? With a primary you aren't forcing people to vote for someone they don't support at all. With a runoff you force people to rank guys who they don't consider one of the top 100 eligible in their top 10.
   171. andrew siegel Posted: October 02, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2556396)
I'm not sure that we need a runoff at all. If we do go to a runoff, I think the method proposed above is elegant in its simplicity. First, we vote as we do now. Then, two weeks later, we submit a list giving our personal rank order of the top 30 from the results of the first ballot. Clear process. Little additional work. Captures the degrees of opposition to off-ballot players without allowing one or two voters to block them. Works for me.
   172. Juan V Posted: October 02, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2556403)
I haven't read through all of the suggestions in this thread, but has anyone considered voting for each year's MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year winners? That should keep everybody busy for a while.


Yeah, that's one of the ideas that has been thrown around.
   173. DanG Posted: October 02, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2556407)
If we do go to a runoff, I think the method proposed above is elegant in its simplicity. First, we vote as we do now. Then, two weeks later, we submit a list giving our personal rank order of the top 30 from the results of the first ballot. Clear process. Little additional work. Captures the degrees of opposition to off-ballot players without allowing one or two voters to block them. Works for me.

Thank you. That's exactly the idea.
   174. Juan V Posted: October 02, 2007 at 07:41 PM (#2556527)
One more thing, when would a runoff apply? I propose doing it when we have less than n (n being the number of electees in a particular year) candidates getting 50% or more of the potential points.
   175. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 02, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2556544)
Guys, let's slow down a little - I'm still not convinced on the runoff idea . . . what exactly is the advantage.

And please don't give me the appearance of consensus. I would much rather a player get in with 25% of the possible points, if that is what we all really think, than to manufacture consensus with a runoff.

I've only skimmed, need to read this all through later.
   176. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 02, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2556548)
I definitely don't want to do any kind of runoff for 2008 - I would like to have this 'finish' through 2008's election with the same system.

Also, I do think we should stay on schedule as was mentioned above and vote for 2008 in early December, so our results are out well before the actual voting.

Maybe for a fun project, would could rank the "Hall of Merit, not Hall of Fame" guys in December, finishing up a little before Christmas.

This would give us a chance to tell the voters who are really the best players missing - both for the Vets committee and the BBWAA.
   177. TomH Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:24 PM (#2556600)
This all sounds like boatloads of fun stuff to argue about.

However, life gets in the way. I need a break to work on other hobbies; there is only so much hobby time, and the 'real' stuff shall not be moved, while other hobby-projects have been delayed during this wonderful exercise.

So, our 2007 ballot will be my last. I chose to engage in full for oevr 4 1/2 years (wow....), but I don't wish to stay in if I'm only half-way involved, which is what it would be. And so early November is a good time for me to gracefully exit. KJOK will need to find another friend of Frank Chance and John McGraw.
   178. DanG Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:24 PM (#2556602)
what exactly is the advantage.

I wrote in #168: "It's all aimed at a more accurate ranking of the players than we get with our present system."
Maybe for a fun project, would could rank the "Hall of Merit, not Hall of Fame" guys in December, finishing up a little before Christmas.

This would give us a chance to tell the voters who are really the best players missing - both for the Vets committee and the BBWAA.

Yes, definitely a worthy aim for the HoM. (As I suggested long ago.)
   179. fra paolo Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2556621)
The fundamental problem with the Hall of Merit ballot is the absence of a 'yes/no' option. I don't understand why the ballot has to be complex. What's wrong with a system like "vote for two guys from the top ten unelected"?

I do like the "voting off the island idea", though. I think that would be very enjoyable and instructive. But I'd prefer more time between ballots. One a month would suit me fine.
   180. Jim Sp Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2556634)
It seems to me that the low replacement level of Win Shares and BP Warp cause those systems to severely overrate the value of Puckett's in season durability.
   181. Jim Sp Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2556636)
d'oh, wrong thread.
   182. Sean Gilman Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:57 PM (#2556667)
Guys, let's slow down a little - I'm still not convinced on the runoff idea . . . what exactly is the advantage.

And please don't give me the appearance of consensus. I would much rather a player get in with 25% of the possible points, if that is what we all really think, than to manufacture consensus with a runoff.


I'm with you, Joe. I've yet to see anything like a compelling reason to so radically change the voting process. Or a reason why consensus is so important.

If we wanted consensus, wouldn't we have designed a system like the BBWAA's or the Veteran's Committee? Wasn't the whole point of this 5 years ago to do something better than that?
   183. mulder & scully Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:58 PM (#2556670)
I like the voting off the island idea.

The run-off idea I can take or leave. For several decades, most of my ballot were top 30 vote-getters with about 3-4 being down with the 2-5 vote receiving basement. Maybe Jones would have gotten in earlier. On the other hand, there are/were some players who are just not HoMers to me. I really don't want to give them any votes. Maybe if the point difference between slots was sufficient that actually voting for, say, Beckley, would be symbolic...

I like the MVP/CY/ROY starting in 1871 also. There would be some very interesting discussions about quality of opponents in the early years, the import of pitching v. fielding. Would there be awards for both leagues or only for the year? If just a yearly award, that could get very interesting with the Negro Leagues mixed in with AL and NL.

I like the GM/Manager, but I don't think there would be much debate. McGraw, Selee, Mack, Southworth, Stengal, McCarthy, Hanlon, Weaver, Cox, etc. My two cents.
   184. fra paolo Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:00 PM (#2556672)
Or a reason why consensus is so important.

The problem is that one could argue that half the electorate don't think Dawson and Browning worthy of the Hall of Merit. That they've all voted against the duo, by not including them on their ballots. Yet that fact is ignored.
   185. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:09 PM (#2556686)
Fra, I disagree that by leaving someone off you are voting against someone. I for one would not have an issue if any of my top 30 were voted in.

I would be dead set against a yes/no ballot - that's the biggest problem with the Hall of Fame vote - no room to express degrees of voting.

What our results are showing is that it's a tough line to draw at the back of the Hall of Fame or Hall of Merit - I don't see why that's a negative.
   186. jimd Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:09 PM (#2556687)
And please don't give me the appearance of consensus. I would much rather a player get in with 25% of the possible points, if that is what we all really think, than to manufacture consensus with a runoff.

Agreed with Joe.

Our voting system cannot manufacture a true consensus, just the appearance of one.
   187. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:12 PM (#2556693)
Tom, very sorry to see you go - it'd be nice if you at least stick around for the 2008 election, it will pretty much be in the series, and if you could help rank the non HoFers that are HoMers, that's be great too.

Can we ask you to stick around through mid-December? After that I can see the 'moving-on' thing a lot better!
   188. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:16 PM (#2556703)
Our voting system cannot manufacture a true consensus, just the appearance of one.


Very true, though the appearance of a consensus still has its benefits.

Personally, I have no problems with a runoff system for each election, provided that we can still vote for our "oddball" picks in the next election.
   189. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:17 PM (#2556705)
Can we ask you to stick around through mid-December? After that I can see the 'moving-on' thing a lot better!


Seconded.
   190. Sean Gilman Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:17 PM (#2556709)
I like the MVP/CY/ROY starting in 1871 also. There would be some very interesting discussions about quality of opponents in the early years, the import of pitching v. fielding. Would there be awards for both leagues or only for the year? If just a yearly award, that could get very interesting with the Negro Leagues mixed in with AL and NL.

I really like this idea. It'd be a whole lot more fun than spending the year between HOM elections arguing over the ballot system, which is what is likely to happen if we don't come up with something to occupy us every week.
   191. jimd Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2556714)
If we do go to a runoff system, here is what I would propose.

Cast the first ballot as we currently do, scored like we currently do.

The second ballot would then consist of the top 20 finishers.
Cast the second ballot from that consideration set, scored like we currently do.

In essence, the second election asks the low consensus voters to give their well-thought out ranked opinion on the candidates that the overall electorate considers to be the best ones. At the same time, the first ballot allows everybody their equal chance to express their opinion on the entire consideration set in an attempt to get their candidates into the runoff set.
   192. Sean Gilman Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2556715)
Very true, though the appearance of a consensus still has its benefits.

Like what?

Seriously, I don't know why we care about consensus or its appearance.
   193. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2556717)
I would be dead set against a yes/no ballot - that's the biggest problem with the Hall of Fame vote - no room to express degrees of voting.


Agreed. Besides, that would have screwed up our aim to be an alternate HOF. We wouldn't have had the same number of electees as they do in Cooperstown, either more or less.
   194. fra paolo Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2556719)
I would be dead set against a yes/no ballot - that's the biggest problem with the Hall of Fame vote - no room to express degrees of voting.

Well, then, you could choose Single Transferable Vote, which would offer degrees of voting and an attempt to get those elected to have some kind of majority backing.
   195. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:22 PM (#2556727)
Like what?

Seriously, I don't know why we care about consensus or its appearance.


Well, if we had the appearance of consensus, we wouldn't have this thread. :-)

Seriously, I personally don't care either way, but there are some on the outside who may view our system as flawed. I don't, but if we can do something cosmetic without changing Joe's vision and mission, I would be all for it.
   196. Sean Gilman Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:25 PM (#2556736)
Well, then, you could choose Single Transferable Vote, which would offer degrees of voting and an attempt to get those elected to have some kind of majority backing.

A lot more than consensus or the illusion thereof, I think, is the simplicity of our voting system. I attempted to read the explanation of the STV system, but got lost somewhere around the Droop quota and skimmed down to the pictures of fruit. Those were nice.
   197. jimd Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:35 PM (#2556757)
Oops. That idea has already been proposed.

That's what happens when you skip to the end without reading the entire thread.

I do think it's important to keep the same scoring system for the runoff.

The size of the runoff ballot is open to experimentation.
   198. fra paolo Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:37 PM (#2556761)
Seriously, I personally don't care either way, but there are some on the outside who may view our system as flawed.

All systems have flaws. And the outside view <u>is</u> important. How many letters have been gotten back from living Hall of Meriters who have been written to? How many other mainstream media outlets has it been mentioned in?

I think it's been a marvelous effort, and has made this site a real treasure tove of good things about baseball history, but I fear it's just going to sit here inertly, like some Laputan science project.
   199. Sean Gilman Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:45 PM (#2556777)
All systems have flaws. And the outside view is important. How many letters have been gotten back from living Hall of Meriters who have been written to? How many other mainstream media outlets has it been mentioned in?

I seriously doubt our obscurity has anything to do with our balloting system.
   200. jimd Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2556785)
I grew up in Cambridge Mass, which has used STV (also known as Proportional Representation) for its City Council and School Committee elections for maybe a century now.

If we did adopt it, I would recommend "serializing" our elections, that is, electing only one candidate at a time. For example, a "serialized" version of HOM-2005 would go as follows. Count up all the #1's. Boggs is elected unanimously. For the 2nd election, remove Boggs from all the ballots. Count up all the (new) #1's. Begin the STV process until someone is elected. (Let's assume that it's still Browning.) For the 3rd election, remove Browning from all the ballots, etc.

Some of the complexities of STV go away when there is only one election spot. A simple majority is all that is needed to get elected (which is what the "Droop Quota" is reduced to).
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