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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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   401. KJOK Posted: September 29, 2008 at 12:06 AM (#2959369)
I agree with chronological.


But isn't the whole point of this stage of the HOM to rank within position ACROSS the chronological spectrum? Comparing pitchers to their chronological peers is somewhat repeating what we did in the first election process?
   402. Paul Wendt Posted: September 29, 2008 at 01:02 AM (#2959435)
Excellent point.
What I meant a few days ago was that we might explicitly rank some subgroups and then explicitly combine the rankings into one overall.
>>
3.
Perhaps there is a useful way to rank the pitchers in groups and (partly?) combine rankings in a second stage.
By the way,
- from the Rolaids Age we have 4 of the 5 HOF relief pitchers and we have no others.
- from the Negro Leagues we have 8 of the 11 HOF pitchers, counting Rube Foster and Martin Dihigo, and we have no others.
- from before 1893 we have 6 of the 7 HOF pitchers, counting Al Spalding and John Ward, and we have added Bob Caruthers.
Those counts are errorprone.
:-(
<<

I won't advocate this suggestion with any heart and I won't retract the suggestion either.

However it is structured I will try to vote in all parts of the project to rank pitchers.
   403. Chris Cobb Posted: September 29, 2008 at 02:42 AM (#2959546)
Surely the fundamental issue with pitchers is that a 63-man ballot is not feasible?

Given the inherent difficulties in ranking pitchers across periods, which are more severe than ranking position players across periods (not that the position player rankings are easy!), it seems like period divisions are the best way to generate rankings that are grounded in evidence that we will likely agree upon.

It also seems that period divisions give a bit of flexibility, so that with period distinctions we can make sure that all of the balloting groups are suitably sized--I think we should avoid both 6-player ballots and 34-player ballots, myself.

I'm pretty sure the Commissioner's last statements about the pitcher balloting were pretty definite that pitchers would be divided on a period basis, so we might be better served to discuss what the period divisions should be, rather than arguing for alternate grouping paradigms.

Myself, I favor three groups, with break points at 1919/1920 (the lively ball), and 1961/62 (the solidification of the four-man rotation and the starter/reliever firewall). This division creates challenges of ranking pre-1893 pitchers with post-1893 pitchers (not easy, but there's just six of the pre- guys) and of ranking relievers with starters on the post-1961 ballot, so it wouldn't be a just-run-the-numbers vote.

By my count, there would be 21 pitchers in the 1871-1919 group: Spalding, Galvin, Radbourn, Keefe, Clarkson, Caruthers, Rusie, Nichols, Young, Griffith, Waddell, McGinnity, Mathewson, Plank, R. Foster, Brown, Walsh, Mendez, Johnson, J. Williams, Alexander

There would be 22 pitchers in the 1920-61 group: Rixey, Faber, Coveleski, Vance, Rogan, Grove, W. Foster, Paige, Hubbell, Ferrell, Lyons, Ruffing, Dihigo, R. Brown, Feller, Newhouser, Wynn, Spahn, Lemon, Pierce, Roberts, Ford

There would be 20 pitchers in the 1962-present group: Wilhelm, Drysdale, Koufax, Bunning, Marichal, Gibson, Perry, Niekro, Carlton, Sutton, Jenkins, Seaver, Ryan, Palmer, Blyleven, Fingers, Gossage, Eckersley, Stieb, Saberhagen

A fair number of pitchers are split over both of these proposed break points, but it's pretty clear for the 1919/1920 split that the pitchers in question peaked on one side of the divide or the other.

The 1961/62 split is messier, but I would argue that the difference in usage patterns between, say, Billy Pierce and Sandy Koufax during his peak is significant, and that relief pitchers only really came into their own in the 1960s (that's where more of Wilhelm's value is), and that the only starting pitchers who really have significant peak on both sides of the divide are Ford and Drysdale. Ford clearly has more value total before 1961, even though his biggest years are after, and Drysdale is clearly a 1960s workhorse, even though he had some very solid years prior to 1962.

That would be my modest proposal. It doesn't have us just doing any ballots of 5-6 guys, it marks off a couple of significant pitcher usage changes, and it doesn't create any groups so large than John Murphy will tear his hear out tabulating ballots.
   404. Paul Wendt Posted: September 29, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#2959653)
403. Chris Cobb Posted: September 28, 2008 at 10:42 PM (#2959546)
Surely the fundamental issue with pitchers is that a 63-man ballot is not feasible?
. . .
it doesn't create any groups so large than John Murphy will tear his hear out tabulating ballots.


Yes. I was thinking of the daunting intellectual challenge for the voters and anticipating few ballots cast. The latter might save JTM's hair but it would also defeat the purpose. I believe you are right that groups of size X, Y, and 34 would leave make two groups workable but 34 would not be enough improvement on 63. If the groups are not rather equal in size then we need four of them (recall 12,12,21,12 for ranking the 55 notHOFers).
   405. KJOK Posted: September 29, 2008 at 06:18 PM (#2960279)
The proposal by Chris seems very reasonable to me. I think I'd add John Montgomery Ward to the first pitcher group. Even though he was voted on as a SS, I think he deserves to be ranked in the pitcher group also?

Perhaps also add Martin Dihigo to the 2nd pitcher group?
   406. Paul Wendt Posted: September 29, 2008 at 07:15 PM (#2960359)
I have the same 63 Chris listed, including Dihigo (whom Kevin overlooked) but not not Ward. The three subgroup lists look right to me.
   407. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 05:32 AM (#2960895)
Myself, I favor three groups, with break points at 1919/1920 (the lively ball), and 1961/62 (the solidification of the four-man rotation and the starter/reliever firewall). This division creates challenges of ranking pre-1893 pitchers with post-1893 pitchers (not easy, but there's just six of the pre- guys) and of ranking relievers with starters on the post-1961 ballot, so it wouldn't be a just-run-the-numbers vote.


I'm pretty strongly against combining 1871-1892 with 1893-1919 - it was a completely different job. There's a reason barely no one crossed over. I realize this makes the first group small, but I think that's OK. I don't think pitchers across that line are comparable, and don't see very much utility in trying . . . could be convinced otherwise, but I really do think it's better to draw the line there.

What about something along the lines of:

1871-1892
1893-1942
1946-1985
1985-current
Relievers

I think that jives with major pitcher usage pattern trends reasonably, right?

Just offering it up as an alternative. Realize this is very subjective, but it seems logical.
   408. Juan V Posted: September 30, 2008 at 06:33 AM (#2960915)
Yeah. But the 1985-current group would be just Stieb and Saberhagen, with maybe Ryan with them, right? Perhaps we could include them with the 46-85 group temporarily and revisit them ten years from now? At least the pre-1893 group is seven guys, if I count right.
   409. OCF Posted: September 30, 2008 at 08:16 AM (#2960922)
Besides, I think that 1990 makes a better dividing point than 1985.

Just as a marker of the changes taking place, what happened to the number of complete games? The following is for the NL only, and is a weighted running average of 7 years centered at the year in question; the number is the number of complete games per team per 162 games scheduled. (Linear extrapolation for 1981, 1994, and 1995.)

League CG/team/season
1970 42.7
1975 35.4
1980 26.4
1985 20.5
1990 16.3
1995 10.5
2000 7.7
2005 5.1

The total is still declining. It was 45 (2.8 per team) in 2007 and 61 (3.8 per team) in 2008. There are individual years that have bounced up or down, but that running average has declined every single year. over this span.

While I think there is a transition in there somewhere, it's hard to single out any particular year as a marker for that. I was going for 1990 as the approximate codification of the LaRussa style bullpen, but I think everything is a moving target.

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

On the whole, I like Chris's proposal with its groups of 20-some pitchers. I would almost endorse it - but 1893 is a chasm that I can't see bridging. I refuse to extend my usual methods back before 1893; I don't even want to compare Nichols to Clarkson.
   410. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 12:32 PM (#2960947)
Yeah. But the 1985-current group would be just Stieb and Saberhagen, with maybe Ryan with them, right? Perhaps we could include them with the 46-85 group temporarily and revisit them ten years from now? At least the pre-1893 group is seven guys, if I count right.


I hadn't even looked at who the candidates would be in each group. was just trying to split them logically.
   411. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 12:33 PM (#2960948)
Ugh . . . I thought I said, 'yeah Juan' that is reasonable in #410 also. :-)
   412. DL from MN Posted: September 30, 2008 at 01:59 PM (#2961010)
I like these groups

Pre 1893 (pre-rubber - 7 pitchers)
1893-1920 (deadball - 14 pitchers)
1920-1961 (complete games drop from 50% to 33% - 21 pitchers)
1961-present (>1 reliever pitching 50 games - 22 pitchers)

Good article by Rany: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2627

The other group that seems to make sense is 1893-1940 or the end of the "swingman" era. That would put Feller, Newhouser, Wynn, Spahn, Lemon, Pierce, Roberts, Ford into the next era. The "swingman" pitchers would have over 30 on the ballot. We could split the last 30 between the 4 man and 5 man rotation eras (1976 break point).
   413. DL from MN Posted: September 30, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#2961106)
Thinking a bit more about it, I'd prefer to rank in the largest groups possible. I'd favor groups of:

<=1892 (Spalding, Galvin, Radbourn, Keefe, Clarkson, Caruthers, Rusie?, Ward) 8

1893 to 1939 (Nichols, Young, Griffith, Waddell, McGinnity, Mathewson, Plank, R. Foster, Brown, Walsh, Mendez, Johnson, J. Williams, Alexander, Rixey, Faber, Coveleski, Vance, Rogan, Grove, W. Foster, Paige, Hubbell, Ferrell, Lyons, Ruffing, Dihigo, R. Brown) 28

1940 to present (Feller, Newhouser, Wynn, Spahn, Lemon, Pierce, Roberts, Ford, Wilhelm, Drysdale, Koufax, Bunning, Marichal, Gibson, Perry, Niekro, Carlton, Sutton, Jenkins, Seaver, Ryan, Palmer, Blyleven, Fingers, Gossage, Eckersley, Stieb, Saberhagen) 28

If we break those into smaller groups I like Rixey and Perry as the break points.
   414. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 03:31 PM (#2961111)
DL - I think you are on the right track - but I like splitting out somehow around the 1980s - things changed between 1980 and 1990. There is greater difference between 1980 and 1990 than between 1946 and 1980.

But I realize that doesn't leave us much of a post 1980-90ish group - yet.

I definitely think relievers need to be broken out separately. For one, it saves us the agony of everyone talking about how relievers are worthless :-)
   415. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 03:32 PM (#2961114)
I would think Rusie should be in the post-1892 group, BTW. I wouldn't go by debut, but by which group most of the pitcher's value falls under.
   416. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 03:39 PM (#2961122)
I would not be opposed to smaller groups either. We have position players broken into 8 groups, I see no issue with breaking pitchers into 4 or 5 groups, if there is justification for it.

Let's go the opposite, break them down as much as possible (just as an alternative, then shoot for ground in the middle).

1871-1892 - old distance
1893-1920 - deadball
1921-1942 - liveball
1946-1962 - emergence of bullpens
1963-1987 - kill the arms, lots of CG and overload aces
1988-present - baby the arms

I realize the 1988 line could easily be 1990 or 1995 - but I think the ball got started in 1988 when Eckersley started closing.

I think that's the most we could break it down - can anyone see the case for combining any of those groups?
   417. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 30, 2008 at 03:45 PM (#2961130)
Oh, and I would keep relievers separate as well.

Breakdown of the groups by numbers:

(6) 1871-1892 - old distance
(15) 1893-1920 - deadball
(14) 1921-1942 - liveball
(8) 1946-1962 - emergence of bullpens
(23.5)1963-1987 - kill the arms, lots of CG and overload aces
(1) 1988-present - baby the arms
(3.5) relievers -

Not sure where to count Eck - lean reliever, he wasn't going HoF as starter. Could see putting him on both lists? Probably not though.

Obviously for now we'd stick Sabes in with the kill the arms group, until we get some of the others in like Pedro, Maddux, Clemens, etc.
   418. DL from MN Posted: September 30, 2008 at 04:30 PM (#2961178)
I think the 5 man rotation and the requirement for a bullpen ace were pretty well established in the mid-1970s. The Rolaids Relief award was first issued in 1976. Feller-Gibson and Perry-Saberhagen make a lot of sense to me. We could break it down further around 1983-1984 (fireman turns into closer/setup marked by the first 40+ save season) but we really haven't elected that group yet so it doesn't make sense at this time. It also just seems to be a refinement of the previous era.

I'm ok with the old distance, deadball, liveball breakdowns. I don't want relievers separated. They really only impact one era (70s-present).
   419. Paul Wendt Posted: September 30, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2961377)
Feller-Marichal

Here is some annual data on pitcher usage. Columns 2-4 give the aggregate numbers of pitcher games, team games, and complete games. Column 5 gives the complete game rate (percent). Columns 6-7 give the average number of pitchers per game, first for all games and then for incomplete games only. Columns 8-11 give the shares of pitcher appearances that are starts, complete games, closed games, and middle relief.

yearID PitchG TeamG CompleG CGpct PitchpG condPpG Start Complete Close Middle
1871 277 254 231 90.94 1.09 2.00 91.69 83.39 8.30 0

1918 3038 2032 1280 62.99 1.49 2.33 66.88 42.13 24.75 8.36

2006 18694 4858 144 2.96 3.84 3.93 25.98 0.77 25.21 48.79
yearID PitchG TeamG CompleG CGpct PitchpG condPpG Start Complete Close Middle
   420. Paul Wendt Posted: September 30, 2008 at 07:29 PM (#2961383)
yearID PitchG TeamG CompleG CGpct [b]PitchpG condPpG[/b] Start Complete Close Middle
1871 _277 _254 _231 
90.94 [b]1.09 2.00[/b] 91.69 83.39 8.30 0

1918 3038 2032 1280 
62.99 [b]1.49 2.33[/b] 66.88 42.13 24.75 8.36

2006 18694 4858 144 
_2.96 [b]3.84 3.93[/b] 25.98 0.77 25.21 48.79
yearID PitchG TeamG CompleG 
CGpct [b]PitchpG condPpG[/b] Start Complete Close Middle 
   421. Paul Wendt Posted: September 30, 2008 at 07:54 PM (#2961411)
For example in 1871 there were 254 team games (col 3) of which 231 or 90.94% were complete games (cols 4-5). Teams used 1.09 pitchers per game on average over all games, but 2.00 pitchers per incomplete game or 2.00 pitchers given at least 2 pitchers (cols 6-7). (No team used three pitchers in a game during 1871-1873.) Expressed as percent of all games played by pitchers, there were 83.7% complete games (both start and close by one pitcher, col 9), 8.3% were other starts (col 10), 8.3% were other closes (also col 10), and 0.0% were middles (neither start nor close, col 12).

In principle, but not in 1871, there is a small overcount of closing relief appearances ("other close", col 10) and a small undercount of middle relief appearances (neither start nor close, col 11) because my desktop baseball database does not account for starting pitchers who leave that role but later return and close the game as pitchers.

In sharp contrast, by 2006 only 3% of team games were complete games for one pitcher (col 5) and 49% of all pitcher appearances were middle relief (neither start nor close, col 11).

Pitcher-roles.txt in the Files section of our yahoogroup website gives every series, 1871-2006, in one comma-delimited text file. 136 rows x 11 columns.
Pitcher-roles.txt (at yahoogroups.com, members only)
   422. OCF Posted: September 30, 2008 at 09:14 PM (#2961466)
Testing: did Paul break it?
   423. Howie Menckel Posted: September 30, 2008 at 11:27 PM (#2961567)
Bless any of you for not making me try to rank 64 guys at once.
I'll tell almost any of the breakdowns listed...
   424. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:36 AM (#2961912)
It seems to me that breaking down the pitchers so far as to have groups of less than 10 makes the rankings of those small groups neither especially meaningful nor especially interesting.

I know that we can't use the same formulas for the pre-1893 pitchers, but in terms of difficulty in ranking, is it harder to compare Charley Radbourn to Kid Nichols than it is to compare Rube Foster to Kid Nichols?</code>

Similarly, separating out the relief pitchers will preempt all the comments about how they are worse than the starters, but it will also tacitly reinforce that evaluation without putting it to the test. If even one relief pitcher finishes ahead of a starting pitcher in the rankings, that would be a highly significant event. I don't know if it will happen, but finding out will be a lot more interesting than not finding out.
   425. Howie Menckel Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:46 AM (#2961931)
Perhaps once we rank our SPs (w or w/o RPs) by era, it will be a lot easier for some of us to do a "top 20" all-time.
We have roughly top 20 for all other spots, granting that the pitching version would encompass not all of the HOMers.

Another possibility is picking the top 20 OFs combining the three positions, and even maybe the top 20 INFs if we liked.

Not sure on the latter two, but the pitching followup seems promising.

Of course, before we know it we'll be voting in 2009 HOMers (Rickey and a couple of pals), and I guess slotting them in at their respective positions...
   426. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:16 PM (#2962323)
is it harder to compare Charley Radbourn to Kid Nichols than it is to compare Rube Foster to Kid Nichols?


Yes. In my opinion, infinitely so.

Similarly, separating out the relief pitchers will preempt all the comments about how they are worse than the starters, but it will also tacitly reinforce that evaluation without putting it to the test.


Bill James broke them out in the first HBA, and only had 5 listed (and 30 RHSP) and I didn't think anything of it. Seemed like it made sense. It's a different position. We don't rank SS and LF together, even though they both hit and field. They have different responsibilities and expectations.

I like Howie's idea of ranking them in groups first, and then voting for a top 20 combining all groups. Would be best of both worlds, right?
   427. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:53 PM (#2962374)
Let me preface my responses to Joe by noting that the decision of how to divide up the pitchers will fall to Joe as commissioner: I'll be voting whatever the plan is. But I am not convinced that the divisions Joe is proposing make sense, and so I am trying to address what I see as the key problems with these arguments.

Yes. In my opinion, infinitely so.

Three points in response to this.

First: I'm sorry, but I don't buy this claim on its face. For Rube Foster, we have some very fragmentary data, we don't really know much about what his usage patterns were, we don't really know the level of competition he was facing in the data we have, and you claim that it is easier to rank him against another pitcher than it is to rank a player for whom we have fairly complete data and fairly good information about competition levels, just because a shorter pitching distance made it possible for pitchers to through proportionately more innings?

Second: I am also not convinced that the rate of pitcher attrition was significantly higher at the 1892-93 changeover than at any other time in the early game, once the contraction of 1892 is properly accounted for.

if one does a study, year-to-year, of the pitchers who threw at least 20% of team innings, looking at, say 1885-1901, which gives us eight years around the change-of-distance, does the attrition rate look significantly different? I would want to see those numbers before accepting the claim that the pitching distance change was that revolutionary a change. We see that the great pitchers of the 1880s all wrapped up their careers 1891-95, but that could be an accident of the random, uneven distribution of great players. To establish that this was a revolutionary change, there would need to be evidence of broader trends affecting the whole group of pitchers. Maybe that evidence is there, but we ought to see it before accepting that there was a radical, career-disrupting break here.

Third: Isn't it arguable that the role of the pitcher changed as much or more between 1875 and 1885 as it did between 1885 and 1895? If we are serious about comparing pitchers only in groups for whom "pitching meant the same thing," how could we toss Al Spalding in with the 1880s pitchers. If you look at the rate of Ks and BBs during his prime, it's radically different from the 1880s, much more so than the difference between the 1880s and 1890s. Why gloss over this difference while placing so much weight on the pitching distance change? Isn't switching from underhand to overhand delivery even more significant (not to mention other pitching distance changes -- see the argument that Tommy Bond's career was wrecked b/c of pitching distance change). If we can work through these issues to group Spalding with 1880s guys, because having a group with only one player is of pretty limited value for rankings, why can't we work through the issues separating 50-foot hurlers from 60-foot hurlers?

Furthermore:

I like Howie's idea of ranking them in groups first, and then voting for a top 20 combining all groups. Would be best of both worlds, right?

If the groups are not the same size, the only way to do this responsibly will be to have a free-for-all vote, which will require us to rank all the pitchers from all the eras together. If we are ultimately going to do that, why not just do that in the first place? Either we have the skill to rank pitchers from different eras against one another, or we don't.

If we do have that capability, then the division of the pitchers into groups is ultimately pragmatic, and should be done in ways that produce substantial ballots covering broad but still meaningful periods of baseballl history.

if we don't have that capability, and the division of pitchers into groups is necessary to produce meaningful rankings in the first place, then how could we combine them later?

Bottom line: it is inconsistent to ague that we absolutely must not rank pitchers from period A against pitchers from period B and then argue that that we can combine the lists to generate an all-time top 20.

Myself, I like Howie's idea, but I view the groupings as pragmatic, so I think we should create groups that will give us a good basis for going into a second round, which would mean groups of about equal size, that begin the work of integrating different periods, since our goal is ultimately to integrate them all.
   428. OCF Posted: October 01, 2008 at 03:22 PM (#2962426)
Note that we're coming up on the regular 2009 HoM election (as in, will Rickey be unanimous?) - see Howie's post on the 2009 discussion thread. We shouldn't start the pitcher discussion until that election is over.

Oh, and Joe or John - can you fix the tags in Paul's #420, please?
   429. OCF Posted: October 01, 2008 at 03:23 PM (#2962430)
Dan's post, not Howie's - sorry about that.
   430. Juan V Posted: October 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM (#2991416)
One thing I was thinking about... are we going to update the positional rankings to include the 2009 electees? If yes, how?
   431. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 18, 2010 at 04:16 AM (#3692580)
Juan, late reply, but not sure. It would seem weird to re-vote for 1-3 positions every year depending on who is elected, but that might be kind of fun . .

This post is in response to DanG's comment from the 2011 ballot thread:

DanG - why aren't you voting?


This is a rather slam-dunk election and I'm not really happy with the state of my system currently. Without putting in a lot more effort, it wouldn't be satisfying either to me or the more shrill voices among the electorate. Maybe by next year when the outcome is not so clear cut.

what is wrong with the voting system - it has served us well. Is my memory failing me? When was it brought up to change the system? What would you like to see different?


Thinking about it for a bit, here are a few improvements that were not adopted:

1) The 20-man ballot should have been adopted for 1934. Revived in the 1960's for a “trial” run, but ultimately rejected.
2) The limit on eligibility to 70 consecutive years; then a reassessment every 20 years.
3) The “Half-time Show”, ranking the HoMers after the 1952 election.
4) Adopting a 2nd phase for electing: a 30-player runoff.

I have little interest in reviving the debates over these ideas; it's all in the archives. I'm sure there are others that I'm not remembering now. Suffice to say that I have no doubt that our results today would be better if we had adopted these in a timely manner.


point 1 - I can see it, but don't see it as an issue. Not really sure it adds much value, at the expense of losing the continuity. Not to mention we already have 105 players a year receiving votes.

point 2 - I would be dead-set against that. I don't see any value in it, and we've elected players who have been on the ballot longer. Perpetual eligibility was one of the founding principles of the Hall of Merit, and I cannot foresee a circumstance that would convince me to change that, although anything is possible.

point 3 - Isn't really related to the voting system. But that and the MMP project would be fun, but I just haven't had the time/energy to pursue them.

point 4 - I could see that, and I don't remember it being seriously discussed. That would be interesting. Now that we are out of the annual elections the extra time it would take wouldn't necessarily be an issue, like it was when we were racing (like a turtle) to catch up to the present. That being said, I'm still not sure I'd agree with it. But it could work, especially if everyone had to rank all 30.

What I think would be more interesting would be to keep the 15 players ranked, but switch from points to a system that compares each player on each ballot to others. It forms a 'consensus' type scoring system. Paul Kislanko uses something like this when he compiles the collegebcs.com member poll and the results are interesting. I can't remember the name, but someone out there knows what this is called I'm sure.
   432. fra paolo Posted: November 18, 2010 at 05:49 AM (#3692627)
The Most Meritorious Player project looks like it nearly got started. A proper effort to get it going might be successful. I volunteer to help.

On the ballot, I think there are three problems, and they are related.

Problem 1 is that because the ranking is based on points, this means that it is possible to elect someone without gaining a majority of the ballots cast because—problem 2—the fixed number of slots each year guarantee that the top 2 or 3 in points get elected. At the current rate of HoF election, at some point we are going to have to adjust the number elected to the HoM downwards, or else the HoM will be a different size to the HoF, which was NOT the idea.

This situation is exacerbated by one aspect of the perpetual eligibility rule, which is—Problem 3—the absence of a minimum vote to retain a place on the ballot. This results in votes being scattered among 'no hope' candidates that might otherwise gravitate towards a front-runner. Now we are on an annual cycle, it is even harder to sustain an argument for someone across several elections. So votes for these no-hopers are really pointless, in terms of getting the best candidates elected. They are equivalent to blank slots on a HoF ballot.

The best way to fix this is a bit of ballot reform in conjunction with a 'voting off the island' series of ballots, and then some 'special elections' to fill the new places created in the Hall of Merit. I realize that is an unpopular suggestion, but wouldn't that be the kind of 'something better' that would fix the Hall of Fame?
   433. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 18, 2010 at 06:08 AM (#3692633)
The Most Meritorious Player project looks like it nearly got started. A proper effort to get it going might be successful. I volunteer to help.


Very cool, thanks!

Problem 1 is that because the ranking is based on points, this means that it is possible to elect someone without gaining a majority of the ballots cast because—problem 2—the fixed number of slots each year guarantee that the top 2 or 3 in points get elected. At the current rate of HoF election, at some point we are going to have to adjust the number elected to the HoM downwards, or else the HoM will be a different size to the HoF, which was NOT the idea.


This is not a problem to me at all. We were designed to match the Hall of Fame through 2002.

Then the Hall of Fame decided to get stingy. That doesn't matter to the Hall of Merit. We are going along with the same historical standards the Hall of Fame used from 1935-2002, which seemed entirely reasonable when we started. If anything, seeing if the Hall of Fame adds more or less than the Hall of Merit will give us an idea of whether they are getting stingier or looser than their standards were.

I do think the Hall of Fame will start loosening up. The new process for the Veterans Committee is designed to get people elected. Best I can tell as on outsider, the Hall of Fame itself didn't like the direction they were headed in, in terms of the Veterans Committee being very tight.

I also disagree that votes for the lower end candidates are hopeless.

We've seen players come from nearly no support to election before. The goal of each voter isn't to elect people. It's to name the 15 players he thinks are best.

The goal of the group is to elect people. Having those fractured ballots is absolutely fine. The top 3 still get elected every year. If the #3 guy doesn't get named on half the ballots, it is not an issue. We do not want (need?) to 'manufacture' consensus that does not exist. It just shows that it's close and the last few guys are marginal, like they always have been - someone has to be the last one in.
   434. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2010 at 06:53 AM (#3692656)
I think it's worth trying to explain that the Hall of Merit, by their very modest amount of support for certain players who get in anyway, is not particularly endorsing a player like Willie Randolph for the Hall of Fame. Yes, someone had to get in that year.

I like the positional all-time ballots for that reason. I hope it's obvious that few of us are on the bandwagon for the candidates at the very bottom. They're just better than the 'bums' who got in instead of them....
   435. fra paolo Posted: November 18, 2010 at 03:44 PM (#3692748)
We've seen players come from nearly no support to election before.

Name one who started by appearing on less than five per cent of the ballots (which will be about one or two votes). Of course, you can't stop people from applying their own standard.

If the #3 guy doesn't get named on half the ballots, it is not an issue. We do not want (need?) to 'manufacture' consensus that does not exist.

My point is that the ballot structure will prevent a consensus from emerging. I think you cast the idea of consensus in far too negative a manner. If I can pay back in the same coin, you'd prefer an 'elective dictatorship'.

We are going along with the same historical standards the Hall of Fame used from 1935-2002, which seemed entirely reasonable when we started. If anything, seeing if the Hall of Fame adds more or less than the Hall of Merit will give us an idea of whether they are getting stingier or looser than their standards were.

Well, you've defined why the HoM ballot probably needed to be rethought after the 2002 election. You've prejudged the issue of how big a HoM ought to be, disenfranchising 'small hall' advocates. I don't find that reasonable at all.
   436. Esteban Rivera Posted: November 18, 2010 at 04:20 PM (#3692776)
Name one who started by appearing on less than five per cent of the ballots (which will be about one or two votes). Of course, you can't stop people from applying their own standard.


I'll name two: Dickey Pearce and Dick Lundy.

Well, you've defined why the HoM ballot probably needed to be rethought after the 2002 election. You've prejudged the issue of how big a HoM ought to be, disenfranchising 'small hall' advocates. I don't find that reasonable at all.


The HOM was always intended to serve as a comparison counterpoint to the HOF. That's why it was set up to mimic the same number of electees. It's intention was never to say that the hall should be smaller or bigger, instead it is to see who should be in a hall currently the size of the HOF.
   437. fra paolo Posted: November 18, 2010 at 04:39 PM (#3692789)
It's intention was never to say that the hall should be smaller or bigger, instead it is to see who should be in a hall currently the size of the HOF.

Great, that's what I thought. However, Joe seems to be implying that the target size is based on a rate of entry extrapolated into the future. That's a hard notion to explain to 'the wider world'.

It also suggests the alternative view that periodically one needs to start all over again, recalibrating the size of the HoM. I like that idea! And I've proposed it before. It particularly seems appropriate given how systems such as Win Shares, WARP, TotalZone and Dan R have been discarded, refined, invented and invented in the course of the project. We can do the same job so much better with today's tools.

Looking back at page 2 of this thread, I see that we've been over this ballot ground before and Joe vetoed any changes. I don't see much reason to carry on the discussion. DanG said he wasn't voting this year, Joe asked him why, didn't accept his criticisms, and doesn't accept mine either. I'm sure we can all live with that.

The HoM project has been really valuable to Primer, and it's a shame that we can't seem to get something else going to keep it in the public eye in between annual elections. That's the more important point, to me
   438. fra paolo Posted: November 18, 2010 at 05:40 PM (#3692836)
I'll name two: Dickey Pearce and Dick Lundy.

Dickey Pearce was first voted on in 1898, and got 1 vote in an election where it appears 29 ballots were cast. The next election he got 3/31 then 5/35. I'm not going to look any further, but he's not the sort of player I had in mind to suggest was a 'no hoper'.

Lundy is a much better example of the sort of player to refute a '5 per cent' clause. The only problem is that his case gained strength after revised MLEs. So he is actually a data point for a 'voting off the island' approach that constantly adjusts the fringes of the HoM. Better information equals better decisions.
   439. DanG Posted: November 18, 2010 at 07:25 PM (#3692947)
point 2 - I would be dead-set against that. I don't see any value in it, and we've elected players who have been on the ballot longer. Perpetual eligibility was one of the founding principles of the Hall of Merit, and I cannot foresee a circumstance that would convince me to change that, although anything is possible.
I think you've entirely forgotten the 70-and-Out proposal, to which there was a thread devoted, Term Limits or Perpetual Eligibility for Candidates?

I'd forgotten my Dr. Kevorkian post in that thread. :)

Looking back, this was a really good, no-cost improvement to our system which could still be easily implemented. Facing dormancy after this vote would be the newbies from 1942: Buzz Arlett, Firpo Marberry, et al. We would reconsider their cases for the 2031 election. Due up for a fresh look this year would be the newbies from 1922 (Miller Huggins, Nap Rucker) and 1902 (George Stovey, Tommy McCarthy, Adonis Terry). When's the last time you looked closely at those guys?
   440. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2010 at 08:15 PM (#3693022)
1) As I was a year ago, I'm all set to oversee the MMP project when it's ready. Besides being much more interesting to me than the HoM at this point, it would force us to stay in touch here on a weekly basis.

2) I will never, ever sign on to any rule that ends perpetual eligibility.
   441. Mark Donelson Posted: November 18, 2010 at 08:49 PM (#3693075)
this was a really good, no-cost improvement to our system

You're stating this as established, when it's nothing of the kind. There are pro and con arguments, certainly, but it seems to me the consensus, such as it was (and it wasn't just a fiat from Joe and John, either), always went the other way. Ditto with the added ballot spots, which we actually tried out for a while and rejected in the end.

We can reargue it all, I suppose--maybe the consensus has changed in each case--but it's not like these changes are obviously an improvement to everyone, or to everyone other than Joe.
   442. Mark Donelson Posted: November 18, 2010 at 08:50 PM (#3693076)
I'm all set to oversee the MMP project when it's ready

This seems like the key point. How do we know when it's ready? Who makes it ready?

EDIT: Another question, since we're addressing all this: Whatever happened with the HOM website stuff? It seemed to be marching along well for a while, but then nothing. Do we need to appoint/elect/beg for a point person on that project as well? (It still seems to me far more important than the MMP voting, though that certainly sounds like fun.)
   443. DanG Posted: November 18, 2010 at 08:52 PM (#3693078)
I will never, ever sign on to any rule that ends perpetual eligibility.
Then just what do you propose to get the HoM out of the doldrums? Face it, there is a general malaise infecting the institution, an increasing lethargy. Something new is needed here. Or do you just let the institution keep drifting until it falls into dormancy. Your choice.
   444. Mark Donelson Posted: November 18, 2010 at 09:04 PM (#3693095)
Something new is needed here.

But where's the evidence that ending perpetual eligibility is the solution that will change things? Personally, I feel a more accessible and, yes, attractive website would be far more helpful, and that bringing voters back for something like MMP more regularly could help too. And I don't see ending perpetual eligibility as doing a damn thing to inspire the electorate.
   445. Mark Donelson Posted: November 18, 2010 at 09:07 PM (#3693100)
Lundy is a much better example of the sort of player to refute a '5 per cent' clause.

How about John McGraw? Pretty sure he dropped below 5 percent a few times. And the reason he came roaring back to election was mostly because of the arrival of a voter who campaigned long and hard for him (Dan R).

Now, it's true (I think) that as it happens, this would have taken place around the time for renewed looks at McGraw. But if Dan R had come along in the 1945 election wanting to canvass votes for McGraw, why should he not have been able to? I can't see any compelling reason.
   446. DanG Posted: November 18, 2010 at 09:20 PM (#3693111)
And I don't see ending perpetual eligibility as doing a damn thing to inspire the electorate.
Geez, you're reacting like I proposed we adopt the Hall of Fame's 5% rule, or something similar.
   447. Mark Donelson Posted: November 18, 2010 at 09:32 PM (#3693128)
Geez, you're reacting like I proposed we adopt the Hall of Fame's 5% rule, or something similar.

No, I'm reacting like frapaolo did. Which he did in posts 432 and 438, unless I'm misunderstanding.

EDIT: Sorry, I see now why that was confusing. My response to you was based on your response to John; one of your proposals was 70-year eligibility, and I was just using that as an example. But I don't really see why any of your proposals is terribly likely to inspire the electorate and end the "malaise," which pretty clearly to me results from our voting far, far less frequently than we used to.
   448. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2010 at 09:58 PM (#3693159)
This seems like the key point. How do we know when it's ready? Who makes it ready?

EDIT: Another question, since we're addressing all this: Whatever happened with the HOM website stuff? It seemed to be marching along well for a while, but then nothing. Do we need to appoint/elect/beg for a point person on that project as well? (It still seems to me far more important than the MMP voting, though that certainly sounds like fun.)


Joe is the man to ask for both problems, Mark. I'm just his Pancho to his Cisco. :-)
   449. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:06 PM (#3693175)
Then just what do you propose to get the HoM out of the doldrums? Face it, there is a general malaise infecting the institution, an increasing lethargy. Something new is needed here. Or do you just let the institution keep drifting until it falls into dormancy. Your choice.


Besides one of the projects mentioned here, Dan, how about this: a 15-man runoff after each annual election. After the initial election, we take the top-15 candidates and vote on them from best to worst as normal. This way, perpetual eligibility stays intact, while giving the process the jolt of adrenaline it needs (not to mention higher percentages for each HoM inductee). The election process would take twice as long and each voter would have to pledge to vote in each stage, but that wouldn't be a big deal.

Had I thought about it 7 years ago, I would have petitioned the committee to have set this up for the inaugural election. But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.
   450. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:08 PM (#3693176)
From the point of view of someone who reads but doesn't participate:

I don't think tweaking the eligbility process is going to make much of a difference, as long as all of the candidates are in the same *pot*, so to speak. The HoF had to do that as well, separating out the eras, because the sheer number of candidates makes consensus difficult in the first place and there's always going to be a tendency, no matter how hard you try to be *fair to all eras*, to *not* favor the more recent arrivals - in part because of the sense that the older guys have had their day to measure up. It's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you - I don't think there is really a deserving player from the pre-expansion era who hasn't been fully vetted by this electorate and while everyone has their favorite teddy bear or two, bottom line is that the HoM has *far* fewer question marks than does the HoF.

There are a couple of other issues here that are going to make it tough going forward:

1. The convergence of standards for voting for the HoF vs voting for the HoM. We are starting to see saber-friendly writers trickle into the voting population for the HoF, which means that as time moves forward the likelihood of divergence between the two groups is going to get smaller. It won't completely go away, but there are going to be fewer less-deserving candidates making the HoF, and in particular I think that the non-BBWAA candidates that make it will come from the ranks of those already in the HoM (and in turn that is due in some measure to the attention those candidates have gotten *because* of the HoM). But the downside of that is that it will become harder to distinguish the HoM from the HoF.

2. The difficulty of attracting new participants to *any* mature venture (this is the same issue as we face in SABR, to a large extent). Let's face it, people want to do something groundbreaking. The HoM was that when it started; it isn't that now, and it's not likely to be that way again.

3. The time commitment. Participating in, and voting for, the HoM takes up a lot of time. As you get older, you typically have to take on more day-to-day responsibilities (for anyone who is upwardly mobile, that is, which is about 99% of the viewing population of this Web site, I would guess). Something has to give, and usually when that happens it's the thing that doesn't have anything to do with earning your keep, especially when that thing is less *fun* than it used to be.

This isn't criticism, by the way. In a sense the HoM is a victim of its own success in doing exactly what it set out to do. I don't know that the issue facing the HoM have easy solutions; any "add-on" project is likely to be far smaller in impact, and be less rewarding to the participants, than the original project.

-- MWE
   451. DanG Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:21 PM (#3693184)
how about this: a 15-man runoff after each annual election
An excellent first step, John. It echoes my proposal in post #156 in this thread, where I suggested a 30-player runoff rather than 15.
   452. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:24 PM (#3693188)
An excellent first step, John. It echoes my proposal in post #156 in this thread, where I suggested a 30-player runoff rather than 15.


See? I'm flexible, Dan. :-)
   453. Mark Donelson Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:36 PM (#3693201)
Well said, Mike (#450). It leads me back to what I think is the thing we should really be focusing all this energy on: a separate, well-designed HOM website, where our data and archives are better organized and easier to navigate than they are now. When Joe Posnanski writes something about us on his site, or when Dan R drops us a mention in one of his NYT pieces, a link to the HOM website should draw people in. I don't think it does, here.

I guess, in the end, I feel that (as Mike sort of says), we've achieved our goals as an electorate already. I support and even enjoy the continued annual voting, but if I'm honest, it feels like the "keeping it running" part of starting a new business, after the far more exciting "getting it up and running" part is over. That transition always requires a shift from the participants, and it's common for many of them to move on to other things during this phase.

So I think we've gone from having to build the HOM to having to "sell" it, in a way, if we want to keep its influence growing, or even alive. But that requires people who want, and have the time and energy, to do that. And largely for Mike's reason #3, we're short of that right now (I'm no exception). We either need new blood that's interested in spending the time to promote the HOM (for free!), or we need to find an already existing site we could join forces with acceptably (unlikely to exist, unless Sean Forman would be interested...has anyone ever approached him about hosting some kind of HOM thing on BBRef? Seems a real longshot.).

And short of that, well, yes, we probably fade away, I think. Not the end of the world, though it would be nice to have a shiny website where we could always look back at what we've done here before that happens. I wish I had the expertise and, yes, the time, to spearhead that myself. But I'm willing to participate on some sort of committee to try, if there's interest among the rest of the electorate (and friends) of the HOM. (I know, everyone says that.)
   454. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: November 18, 2010 at 10:44 PM (#3693204)
I would enthusiastically endorse a 30-player runoff, actually. You'd have a stepwise process where the first election would mainly involve animating discussions around voters' "pet" candidates to get them into the next stage of voting, then there would be a chance for voters to more dramatically shift preferences once you winnow it down to the top 30. Furthermore, in any runoff, the calendar would be easy:

Nov. 1-14: First round of voting
Nov. 15-29: Runoff election

To me, a "top-15" runoff is more like a shifting of deck chairs. I'd be more interested, instead, to see if a month of campaigning can bring a candidate from a top-30 spot to a top-15 (or higher) finish.

Anyway, if there is some interest in ballot reform, I think Joe or John (or someone else associated with the HOM) should email all past voters and people involved with the project and ask them to vote on their preference (top-15 runoff, top-30 runoff, or no change).
   455. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2010 at 11:11 PM (#3693224)
To me, a "top-15" runoff is more like a shifting of deck chairs. I'd be more interested, instead, to see if a month of campaigning can bring a candidate from a top-30 spot to a top-15 (or higher) finish.


A top-30 works for me, James.
   456. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: November 18, 2010 at 11:47 PM (#3693266)
Also, Mark makes an excellent point about "selling" the HOM, and I think a two-stage election can be a way to accomplish this.

In the first round, we can keep the ballot in the same format (posting to a BTF thread with comments, prior discussion, etc.). In the next round, however, I think it would be a good idea to depart from HOM tradition with a private* survey where voters rank the remaining 15 or 30 candidates with comments optional. Voters can still choose to make their ballots public on a BTF thread.

Additionally, voting in the first round would not be required to vote in the runoff. It may seem drastic to set up the final ballot this way, but culling the list to 30 and pre-order the candidates in the survey by rank (so that voters would have to drastically change from the "default" option to buck consensus) would do much to limit what might be termed "overly idiosyncratic" ballots. Furthermore, you'd diminish the weight of a single bad ballot by expanding the electorate to a wide network of sabermetrically-inclined writers and commenters, per my suggestion at bottom.

I think this would to much to drive participation because it would set up two different projects. Participants (the HOM regulars) in the first round would serve as a "committee of experts" who are curating the final ballot. It's a common refrain even from BTF regulars that surveying the whole of baseball history is too daunting a task. People could still join at this stage (see below) and have preliminary ballots vetted for the first round, but I think it is time that the HOM see the informational requirement we set as a feature for curating a smaller, informed ballot, but a bug to getting wider involvement.

*For the second round, you can make the runoff ballot survey by email only and invite BTF regulars (say, all with 500+ comments who have been online within the past year, or some other threshold), as well as web writers (Hardball Times, Fangraphs, ESPN, NBC Sports, etc.). You'd get a large number of intelligent people involved, people who would publicize the project in their spheres. Furthermore, you could get some of them interested in participating in the first round of the project. If people outside this scope of invitees want to get involved, they can submit preliminary or first round ballots during the first stage, or otherwise petition the HOM leadership during the second stage if they have a baseball writing portfolio or something.
   457. DL from MN Posted: November 18, 2010 at 11:48 PM (#3693267)
There should be some threshold for doing a runoff election. If the new candidates all get 97% of the vote in the top 3 slots then a runoff wouldn't add much. There should be an automatic induction threshold and a runoff threshold. Maybe the top 2 slots are decided in the first round and the final spot is a runoff spot. Or else if the candidate is in the top 3 and appears on 90% of the ballots there is no runoff.

Next year makes a lot of sense for a runoff election given that it will be a backlog election. We might elect 3 players who each appear on <50% of the ballots.
   458. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 18, 2010 at 11:53 PM (#3693271)
There should be some threshold for doing a runoff election. If the new candidates all get 97% of the vote in the top 3 slots then a runoff wouldn't add much. There should be an automatic induction threshold and a runoff threshold. Maybe the top 2 slots are decided in the first round and the final spot is a runoff spot. Or else if the candidate is in the top 3 and appears on 90% of the ballots there is no runoff.


How about if one of the top-three candidates receives less than 75% in the first stage?
   459. sunnyday2 Posted: November 18, 2010 at 11:54 PM (#3693274)
The Most Meritorious Player project looks like it nearly got started.


Speaking as perhaps the most enthusiastic supporter of the MMP (though it is true that Dan G enthusiastically proposed it, initially), I kinda thought as much. In hindsight, I feel like I got fooled on that one.

Besides being much more interesting to me than the HoM at this point, it would force us to stay in touch here on a weekly basis.


Well, that's what I said. Aside from the annual election, the HoM voting we're talking about is beyond hair-splitting.

How do we know when it's ready? Who makes it ready?


Exactamente. My fear is that it was ready and now it's not. How many voters might we have had a year ago? How many now?

But anyway, John says it's up to Joe. Well, maybe Joe is the HoM guy, and if there's going to be an MMP, there needs to be an MMP guy?
   460. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: November 19, 2010 at 12:07 AM (#3693284)
We are going along with the same historical standards the Hall of Fame used from 1935-2002, which seemed entirely reasonable when we started. If anything, seeing if the Hall of Fame adds more or less than the Hall of Merit will give us an idea of whether they are getting stingier or looser than their standards were.

Well, you've defined why the HoM ballot probably needed to be rethought after the 2002 election. You've prejudged the issue of how big a HoM ought to be, disenfranchising 'small hall' advocates. I don't find that reasonable at all.


Chiming in as an interested outsider: If there was any prejudging of how big a HoM ought to be, it happened at the beginning of the project. It always seemed clear to me that it was intended to honor the X most meritorious players in history, where X equals the number of players in the established Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. To act as an ongoing corrective to the way that institution goes about its business, it would seem logical to maintain that standard going forward by continuing to induct players at the same rate. Ranking the players within the HoM, as you've been doing, allows people to shave off the bottom end, so to speak, if they would personally prefer a smaller hall.

And yes, a real website, please.
   461. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 19, 2010 at 12:30 AM (#3693304)
To act as an ongoing corrective to the way that institution goes about its business, it would seem logical to maintain that standard going forward by continuing to induct players at the same rate. Ranking the players within the HoM, as you've been doing, allows people to shave off the bottom end, so to speak, if they would personally prefer a smaller hall.


That's was my opinion, too, but I was voted down.
   462. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 19, 2010 at 12:34 AM (#3693305)
As for the MMP project or something else, Joe should set up a definitive deadline for it to be completed. My deadline would be no earlier than Jan 15 and no later than Feb 1. That should give us enough time to get everything set up without implementing it during the holidays.
   463. Alex King Posted: November 19, 2010 at 02:14 AM (#3693352)
I'm in favor of a 15-man ballot runoff among the top 30 finishers who did not receive more than 50% of the total points (anyone with more than 50% is automatically inducted, unless 3 other players finish above them).
I think the main draw of the runoff is that it will ensure that whoever gets elected is the voters' consensus choice. A very polarizing candidate would be penalized, since many voters would leave him off their final ballots and instead vote for someone with a chance (right now, that vote is more likely than not going to a "hopeless" candidate). As a result, the final electee or two (who would most likely come out of the backlog) would be more widely supported by the electorate.

As for 50% vs 75%, I favor 50% because it seems like a more sensible cutoff. I think the runoff should mainly cover backlog candidates; the candidates who've received 50% but not 75%, by contrast, are not long-term backloggers:
Keith Hernandez, 1996 (50%)
Robinson, 1984 (68%)
Torre, 1984 (60%)
Allen, 1983 (69%)
Williams, 1983 (66%)
Drysdale, 1975 (55%)
Koufax, 1972 (54%)
Doby, 1965 (62%)
Slaughter, 1965 (60%)
My list only goes back to 1965.

I think our discussion of 50% vs 75% (or any other cutoffs) should focus on the players who would or would not have been included in the runoff--are they the type of players you want in a runoff election? I'd rather not see the above players in a runoff, which is why I favor the 50% standard.

On the player count, DanG had this to say in the 2010 results thread:
RE: Player Count, Hall of Merit vs. Hall of Fame – We’re still catching up.

With the 2010 election, the Hall of Merit has elected 240 players. At the same time, Dawson brings the HOF official player count to 232 (203 MLB, 29 NeL). Despite these counts, the HoM still has not caught up to the HOF’s number; we are still more exclusive.

Once you account for the HoMers that the HOF does not count as “players”, our number drops below theirs. Start with the banned players: HoMers Pete Rose and Joe Jackson would certainly be in the HOF if there were no “character clause”. A couple others are classified by the HOF as “managers”: John McGraw and Rube Foster. Add Joe Torre to that list, whom the HOF has rejected for his playing but is a shoo-in for election as a manager. Then we have three HoMers whom the HOF lists in the “executives/pioneers” category: George Wright, Al Spalding and Clark Griffith. Along these same lines, we see four players in the HoM who did not play ten years in MLB from 1876-on, implying the HOF would classify them as “pioneers” if they were elected: Dickey Pearce, Lip Pike, Cal McVey and Ross Barnes. (None of those four appeared on the lists of 200 candidates for the four VC elections from 2003-09.)

That’s 12 HoMers whom the HOF does not classify/consider as players. Thus, an apples-to-apples comparison shows the HOF player total of 232 as still being more than our adjusted total here of 228


Of course part of the reason why the HOF and HOM are close in number of inducted players is the HOF's Negro Leagues Players election in 2006, which increased the number of HOFers by 17. So the long-term trend is still towards more HOMers than HOFers--depending, of course, on future VC inductions.
   464. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 19, 2010 at 03:52 AM (#3693395)
Hey guys, I don't have a lot of time right now.

I'm open to the runoff idea. I like 30, but could live with 15 if there was strong consensus towards that. I would like to go with the majority consensus methodology as opposed to points for that. Basically everyone ranks all 30, and then those 30 are compared. I'm pretty sure a simple program would do the trick. You'd see that Player 1 was ahead of player 12 on 25 of 40 ballot so he'd rank ahead of him.

You do that for every possible comparison. I forget how they deal with situations where X > Y, Y > Z, Z > X, but I don't think that happens very often. I will ask the people I've seen who run elections this way how it works.

This strength of this methodology is that it prevents a situation where one voter ranks the obvious top choice 30th and costs him 29 points. With this system it's just one vote against him in each head to head matchup.

Heck, if we implemented this kind of scoring, I don't even believe we'd need the runoff, but I could be wrong there.

I'm still somewhat torn on opening the runoff up to the world. I'm quite nervous about older players not getting a fair shake from the masses. There is no check on things like individual voters being fair to all eras like there is when they have to spell out an entire ballot.

We still had 41 voters in 2010 - down from our high mark of 51 (I think), but it's not like we have 9 voters or something. I'm still pretty happy with the number and quality of voters, and I think that's what sets us apart. I'm very nervous about changing that.

*****

The website was kind of moving along, driven by Tango and Shock (name changed? can't remember). But then it kind of fizzled. I will get back in touch with them on that. It's funny the domain name just autorenewed (2 years) today . . . so I was thinking about it already, once I saw that email.

I agree this is something very important that we can and should do.

******

MMP, does not need my blessing! If you guys want to run with that, go for it! I will vote, but I would not 'run' it.

******

Mike E. - I agree 100% with your post . . . It's definitely something where interest wanes once the initial goals have been met. I think we can do some things to keep it fresh, but my real life has been getting more and more grown up . . .
   465. Alex King Posted: November 19, 2010 at 05:22 AM (#3693422)
I'd definitely be interested in participating in the MMP project.
   466. Lassus Posted: November 19, 2010 at 07:56 AM (#3693443)
As the page is broken, I'm putting my entire post in quotes, which seems to fix it.

I've definitely followed the HOM from the outside for quite awhile, as I was brought on to BTF/Primer as a real-life friend of an HOM voter. I'm an HOM outsider, make no mistake, and such a state may cause you to dismiss what I'm writing. Having witnessed the unbelievable amount of work that has gone into the debate and voting and choices to this point, I have to admit I find the state that the HOM is now in - with no website at all, and almost no interest in promoting the work to a wider audience - to be absolutely unbelievable, and really sad for me as a fan. I understand that perhaps theoretically this is all that was important to a number of the members and voters, again, I'm not in the group. I just can't believe that everyone is so disinterested in showing what's been done that they find the endless rankings and runoffs and niggling over rules to be more important than getting the website finished, AS NO ONE CAN EASILY CHECK OUT THE MAIN RESULTS AND PRIMARY PURPOSE OF YOUR WORK SO FAR. I understand people having lives, but if no one steps up you all need to be prepared for your work to just vanish into the wind if this is what's going to continue happening. That, in my opinion, would be an incredible shame.

As an outside viewer, and fan, I'd say the number one priority, first, foremost, before another single thing happens, is to get a website up, probably away from BTF (which, sadly, hasn't updated itself in a dog's age, and shows no sign of doing so). I'm not sure if anyone has approached Forman, but IMO that's a superb idea, to have him host, and possibly in connection to BBRef. Maybe he has no interest, who knows, but if he did (or could be convinced by a proposal), that's immediate suction (for all you Wire fans).

My view may be completely and utterly wrong and presumptuous and if so I apologize for what I'm sure seems an imperious tone. I only take it out of the utmost respect, and, therefore, bewilderment. Maybe the work is the joy, and the public results are somewhat immaterial. But people like to argue and they like alternatives. You've had some press, you have a door now with Hernandez being seen as the SABERMETRIC CY YOUNG. I think all these other things mentioned above are cart before the horse, big time, even the MMP project (which I think is an awesome idea because of its accessibility, finite nature, and historical education possibilities, much moreso than anything else mentioned, by far).

At the moment, it looks like the wheels are spinning, and hard, and I think that's a very bad thing and an incredible shame for such an amazing project.
   467. fra paolo Posted: November 19, 2010 at 02:10 PM (#3693480)
Lassus has really come to grips with what I see as the ultimate problem here.

Somewhere, someone said that the main purpose of the HoM wasn't to elect people, but to generate discussions of baseball history, and thereby bring into more proper prominence players from eras and the Negro Leagues who deserve to have their achievements recognized.

The way to do this is to construct some method of providing the focus to discussions that balloting a couple of times a month did.

It is clear that some people who have been with the project a long time may feel that it is "job done", and the information is out there. However, having created a small audience for discussing baseball history in a saberistic manner, this rather callously casts this audience aside, and leaves it for some future generation to re-invent the wheel.

Lassus is so right about the Web site, but that's dependent on voluntary activity. If there aren't the volunteers, then not much can be done.

But I'd propose two things:

a) If we go to runoffs, we should go back over the whole of the HoM balloting and have runoffs for all similar cases.
b) Let's try hard to get the MMP project going within the time frame John suggested. Someone please explain why it didn't happen earlier this year, so next year we can avoid that problem.

Having more runoffs, having the MMP up and running, both will ensure that the audience for discussing baseball history stays here at Primer, where it already is, and will continue the essential work of the original HoM electorate—at least until this work is accomplished. And maybe we'll attract just the person we need to set up a Web site.
   468. Mark Donelson Posted: November 19, 2010 at 03:24 PM (#3693534)
Fra paolo: So you're suggesting we actually de-induct some current HOMers to put them through the runoff process? That seems extremely unfair to prior but no longer participating voters, though perhaps in the interests of bringing more attention to the HOM we'd decide that's OK? But honestly, I still don't understand why rehashing old votes for the most marginal HOMers--which is what we're talking about--is going to inspire anyone. We're going to breathe new life into the process by trumpeting that we're opening the doors to a consideration of whether Willie Randolph stays in or gets bumped out by Norm Cash or someone? I just don't see it. And I do think the bar should be high for consideration of any "reform" that involves de-inducting anyone.

The MMP project would at least mean moving forward, so that makes a lot more sense to me. (It would also, in my opinion, be far more effective in drawing in new blood than going back over old territory would.)

But I do think all of it is minuscule compared to the website. With a good one, the HOM has a serious shot of getting mainstream respect. Without it, we're going to be here next November arguing vehemently about whether the runoffs should contain 25 or 30 people.
   469. fra paolo Posted: November 19, 2010 at 03:57 PM (#3693563)
Mark: I'm saying that the process is more important than the result.

In a nutshell, this is the essence of the HoM: "The process used by the BBWAA and Veterans' Committees is wrong, we need a better process. And in using a better process, we get a better set of players."

What's at fault in the process? That HoF voters are not "fair to all eras". They could fix this by informing themselves better about baseball history. And that's where the HoM could come in. Through its discussions, we get a better understanding of how to interpret the information we have left for a lot of areas of baseball history where there is no film, and no people who can tell us what they saw. The HoM is also better at giving a context to the past, which provides the yardstick for the present and future.

The only way momentum is kept going is through the balloting, and the discussions that ensue. Let's come up with ways of reworking our material in between the annual elections.

So one way is to recognize that the previous ballots were good at generating justifiable results, but not so good at achieving a consensus opinion. If a system of runoffs is implemented for future ballots, it can be applied to previous ones, too, and continue the mission for a year or two.

In any case, just for fun the HoM ranked the players. These ballots could be regarded as just for fun, too.
   470. Mark Donelson Posted: November 19, 2010 at 05:35 PM (#3693672)
I'm saying that the process is more important than the result.... The only way momentum is kept going is through the balloting, and the discussions that ensue. Let's come up with ways of reworking our material in between the annual elections.

Believe me, I get the "about the process" thing. I'd compare it to working on playing or singing music--I've generally gotten much more out of rehearsal processes than performances, with a few exceptions. But I wouldn't want to rehearse a piece endlessly for no performance, or for a performance at a far-distant and uncertain future date. I want a result, eventually, something that all this work we're doing is for. Failing that, I think at least a good portion of the HOM electorate will lose interest--is losing interest, in fact.

And so I don't really agree that reworking the old stuff gets us anywhere in terms of bringing new blood, or interest in. We did rank the players, as you say, and big chunks of the old electorate vanished for those, without very many new voters signing on. I don't doubt that continued discussion of Willie Randolph's candidacy (I shouldn't harp on him--Jake Beckley or Hughie Jennings or Rollie Fingers would all work as well) would hold the interest of a few people here forever, but I can't conceive of it helping with momentum, either by cementing the old/current electorate or by bringing in a new one.

The MMP is a different story, because it's a different project--new music, as it were, to work on. If we want regular momentum, that's the way to find it. But it will eventually run out too, of course, so we face the same issue in the end.

So one way is to recognize that the previous ballots were good at generating justifiable results, but not so good at achieving a consensus opinion.

I know you and DanG find this a major problem, but honestly, I--and I don't think I'm alone here--just don't. I mean, I guess I don't really see this "perfect" (or "more perfect," even) result you want as attainable.

If we did a runoff of an old election, even just for fun, and we found that consensus dumped Randolph and put Tommy Leach in instead...well, you'd still be talking about the very bottom layer of the HOM, and the consensus would probably be by a relatively small margin, one that would be changed if some of the old voters no longer here came back, or new ones arrived. So to me, that doesn't make Leach a "better" choice than Randolph, just because he has better consensus results among whoever's voting at the moment. It's a "so what?" moment.

And I suspect that to most outsiders to the HOM--again, with a few exceptions--a runoff election in which Leach bumped off Randolph would barely be a blip on the radar screen. Angels on the heads of pins.

At root, I don't see this great wrong that we need to fix, as far as the voting results thus far, and I think that's where you and Dan (and probably some others) diverge from me and (I think) Joe and John (and probably some others), though I shouldn't speak for anyone but myself.

The bottom group of the HOM will always be, however determined, borderline by definition. Adjusting in minor ways how those players get chosen won't change that fact one iota. We have been using a system that produced certain results for those borderline spots; going back and redoing it would produce slightly different ones, but not in any way better ones. In my opinion.

Mind you, I'm all for changing the system going forward if there's, well, consensus it's the best thing to do. But rehashing old elections seems to me precisely what we should not be spending energy on. That feels like spinning wheels, as Lassus put it.
   471. DanG Posted: November 19, 2010 at 07:04 PM (#3693785)
I'm all for changing the system going forward if there's, well, consensus it's the best thing to do
I agree, but at some point near-term, someone has to make a call and move forward (despite any nay-sayers, which always exist).
But rehashing old elections seems to me precisely what we should not be spending energy on.
Definitely agree, and I'm sure Joe agrees as well.
   472. Mark Donelson Posted: November 19, 2010 at 07:10 PM (#3693793)
I agree, but at some point near-term, someone has to make a call and move forward (despite any nay-sayers, which always exist).

Well, right, but the call can be NOT to change the voting system, too. (Not saying it should be--just that that's also a possible call.)
   473. DL from MN Posted: November 19, 2010 at 07:26 PM (#3693803)
I will point out that a runoff only really works if you get the same voters for both elections.
   474. karlmagnus Posted: November 19, 2010 at 08:38 PM (#3693864)
The idea that the HOM should be still going half a century from now, with a bunch of nonagenerians making annual elections seems to me cuckoo. The reality is, given the human lifecycle effects (which don't affect me -- I'm not upwardly mobile, just drifting round and round in circles) that in 50 or even 20 years none of the original voters will be around. Even if they have recruited successors, those successors will hardly be committed to preserving the voting patterns of a bunch of old fogies they don't know personally. Also sabermetrics will have moved on, and new methods may show some selections to have been just plain wrong.

The solution is, within an overall HOM project, to start a new HOM once a decade, so we elect a new HOM, with a number of members and voting ballot that seem best to that generation of voters, every 10 years, the new balloting perhaps starting in April 2013. The website will then contain a series of HOMs, one for each decade, each honored but only one current any given time. The 5-year period between inceptions (which will contain only annual elections) will be devoted to evolving voting methods,recruiting new voters, thinking about and carrying out supplemental projects like the MMP, etc.

I look forward to the 1898 election for HOM II in April 2013.
   475. rawagman Posted: November 19, 2010 at 08:45 PM (#3693869)
Karl's idea is actually pretty good. I'd sign off on that.
   476. DanG Posted: November 19, 2010 at 09:08 PM (#3693881)
I look forward to the 1898 election for HOM II in April 2013.
Me too! I got a whole bag-full of upgrades and improvements to the process....

Seriously, I agree with karl (let the pigs fly!). And I have a few modifications to the rules to consider.
   477. Mike Webber Posted: November 19, 2010 at 09:21 PM (#3693893)
I look forward to the 1898 election for HOM II in April 2013.

Me too! I got a whole bag-full of upgrades and improvements to the process....

Seriously, I agree with karl (let the pigs fly!). And I have a few modifications to the rules to consider.


I'd be in for that too. I can't imagine anything that would create more energy, plus it would add some urgency to any other projects people wanted to do.

Good one Karl.
   478. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 01:01 AM (#3694051)
I can't imagine anything that would create more energy

Well, I hope you're right. But I wouldn't participate in that project. As with Joe and others, life has changed enough for me since I started voting (work, kids) that it's hard to find time for the effort it takes to keep up, and I just don't find the prospect of combing through the same votes a second time appealing enough to be worth that effort.

Which is fine, of course. By no means am I trying to ruin anything for those enthusiastic about HOM II, which probably would be more worthwhile and interesting anyway if the electorate isn't too similar to that of the first one.

I'd rally for the MMP to some extent, since it's new, so I hope the renewed determination to make that happen is real.

And I'd like to offer Joe any help I can with getting the website development restarted. (Joe, can you let us know where that stands at this point? Is it merely a matter of getting back in touch with Tango and/or Shock and getting the ball rolling again? If you just don't have time, perhaps I can take the baton, or some of it, though I should warn I have absolutely no experience or expertise at web design or webmastering. But I can organize a production schedule and set benchmarks and try to hold to them, and things like that.)
   479. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 01:46 AM (#3694075)
Upon further reflection, I should add that karl's "multiple HOMs" idea would probably hinder efforts to get the HOM into more mainstream circles. It would separate us from the "pure" parallel to the HOF Joe originally sought (since the HOF does not go back and start over each decade, and thus there are not multiple mirror images of the HOF). I also think it would be at least initially confusing to outsiders approaching the HOM for the first time. ("Why are there two? And how can Hughie Jennings have a plaque, but they're still voting on him too?"

Again, that may be fine; the group as a whole may be more interested in continuing the process than in expanding its influence into broader circles. (As I've probably already made clear, I'm not, but if I'm in the minority there, so be it.) But I think it should be considered before plunging into the second go-round.
   480. fra paolo Posted: November 20, 2010 at 03:31 AM (#3694106)
How about John McGraw? Pretty sure he dropped below 5 percent a few times.

By no means have I looked at every thread, but I've been looking through the 1898 through 1961 ballot results. I made six random checks, one every few years after he became eligible. He's always balloted more than five per cent on those.

This one-vote-to-election notion has the characteristics of a romantic legend: It's not true in the way people think it is.

My hunt through old ballots was to find out how often people were elected with less than 50 per cent of the ballots (which is easier than working out points, but points would be better for judging runoffs). The answer is it never happened between 1898 and 1961. Two candidates failed to hit a 75 per cent threshold of ballots:

Lip Pike in 1940
Hughie Jennings in 1960

I also had a look at a couple of other, more recent, ballots, in search of Willie Randolph. In 2000, Fingers and Randolph tied on points, and Fingers went through on the tie-break. Neither had 50 per cent of the ballots. Randolph was elected in 2001, this time appearing on more than 50 per cent. The interesting thing is of the remaining top ten in 2000, all but two — Tony Perez and Cannonball Dick Redding — have been elected subsequently. You have to stretch to the top fifteen to get into the perennial 'wait 'til next year' crowd — Bucky Walters, Hugh Duffy, Gavy Cravath, Bob Johnson, Alejandro Oms (who was elected later as well).

Of course, what we don't know is the effect of limiting the names on the ballot. The lowest-placed player with an 'elect-me' vote was Ed Cicotte. Where might that have gone?
   481. Lassus Posted: November 20, 2010 at 03:58 AM (#3694115)
I'm sorry, but if your purpose is to have no one other than yourselves care about the HOM, the perfect way to make it happen is to go with Karl's idea.

The work that has been done to elect the HOM has been not only been extensive, but it's been comprehensive. It has been careful, and meaningful. I for one see no need - that soon - to re-do all of it. If someone wants to do a new HOM in 50 years, go for it, hell, set it up in the charter, but 10 years on? What manner of newness from the small amount of people you've elected will be revealed in such a short time?

You're undercutting yourselves completely with that idea. It will make people not care about what you just did, and it will make what you're re-doing an even harder sell for anyone's eyes.

I apologize for injecting myself so vociferously here, but I have to repeat, I do it as a fan. I want people to see what you've done, and take note of the extensive work that went into it, better understand what's been missed by the HOF (which, btw, I really like, unlike many on the site). A website for the HOM should contain not only the plaques, but all the debates and ballots and elections to reference and such.

I can't understand the interest in and support for restarting what you just did when barely anybody has even seen the first one yet!
   482. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 04:00 AM (#3694116)
Where might that have gone?

Ask Karlmagnus. :)

I'm still looking re McGraw--could have sworn I found a period when he dipped below--but in looking, I did see that Dobie Moore would have been another now-HOMer who would have been eliminated by a 5 percent rule. (One ballot, six points in 1936 election, and I imagine a few others.)

Since I was a fierce Moore backer upon joining the voting later on, this just cements my opposition to any messing with eligibility, of course. :)

EDIT: Note that Moore's 1936 showing does take the one-vote-to-election claim out of romantic-legend status.
   483. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 04:44 AM (#3694123)
As far as McGraw, looks like you're right; my apologies. Lowest I can find him dropping is 3 of 45 a couple of times--one vote over the 5 percent mark. Not sure if I was looking at percentages of total points rather than ballots, or if I just got confused.
   484. DanG Posted: November 20, 2010 at 04:52 AM (#3694127)
I believe that Alejandro Oms received no votes his first 16 years eligible (1940-55).
   485. rawagman Posted: November 20, 2010 at 05:16 AM (#3694129)
Lassus - much of the value of our group was the historical research it borne out. That will not go away. Even if we start from scratch tomorrow, the same studies can be implemented, but with fresher minds. It would open those findings up to even more scrutiny and we may yet learn even more. Starting the same concept, with or without rules tweaks, would not diminish the amazing work that has already been done.
   486. fra paolo Posted: November 20, 2010 at 05:38 AM (#3694133)
Maybe my version of the romantic legend is different to yours, Mark. I'm under the impression that electors believe that a chap who spent years in obscurity with but one or two advocates among the electorate eventually got elected. After three years, Moore was up to ten votes. Oms may have taken his time to get votes, but he got six straightaway. In each of the cases named, the candidate rapidly built a base of support, with the exception of Dick Lundy, whose candidacy was transformed by a revision to his MLEs. No revision, no election.

My 'no hopers' are the individuals who appear in the vote totals year after year on one or two ballots. Or someone like Comet Tiernan, who has put in a new appearance this year, quite probably to no lasting purpose. These candidacies are going nowhere, and should be culled. This is not the HoF 5% solution being proposed.
   487. Lassus Posted: November 20, 2010 at 05:49 AM (#3694141)
Even if we start from scratch tomorrow, the same studies can be implemented, but with fresher minds. It would open those findings up to even more scrutiny and we may yet learn even more. Starting the same concept, with or without rules tweaks, would not diminish the amazing work that has already been done.

Absolutely not. Will it change interest in the results from outsiders and those unfamiliar? I.e., Everybody? Absolutely. That's fine, again, it may not be a concern. I had imagined all this time that it would be, which is why I'm speaking up. It is my humble opinion that promoting the work you've already done is more important than re-doing the work itself so soon.

But it is your project, not mine, certainly. I'm just offering my opinion.
   488. rawagman Posted: November 20, 2010 at 06:01 AM (#3694146)
Lassus, it isn't so much re-doing the work, but spreading the seed (so to speak) for others to continue having these discussions.
   489. rawagman Posted: November 20, 2010 at 06:03 AM (#3694147)
What about a book about the HOM, its goals and electorate - it could include pieces about each of the electees, geared to some of the key arguments that helped sway the vote. I would be proud to have that coffee-table book.
   490. DL from MN Posted: November 20, 2010 at 06:05 AM (#3694149)
I can't see re-doing things unless you're also going to tear up the methodology and try a new process to elect candidates. I can see the MMP project enhancing the HoM by digging up more details on previous years. I think the MMP and the website are the clear direction forward. We probably don't have the energy to run a MMP yearly election every month - the work is more difficult because you don't get the benefit of the previous year's evaluation. However I could see quarterly elections of 1 year each being feasible. 4 years / year would keep the MMP project going for 40 years but better something than nothing. To make it more interesting we could pull the years at random.
   491. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 06:08 AM (#3694150)
Why should they be culled? You have failed--and to my mind, hardly even tried--to convince those of us not already converted why slightly higher consensus around the margins of the HOM is so precious and vital that we should deny voters the chance to vote for whomever they want to attain it. You just seem to feel it's self-evident. It's not.

Your and Dan's version of the Oms history seem to be in disagreement; if indeed he didn't get a single vote his first 16 years, he'd certainly have been "culled" by any version of your rule. I'm on a tablet right now and it's difficult for me to check, so perhaps Dan is wrong about that. But it doesn't really matter to me; the possibility that a situation like that could occur is, in my opinion, worth preserving. I'm with John on this, adamantly against any change to perpetual eligibility.
   492. Howie Menckel Posted: November 20, 2010 at 06:45 AM (#3694154)
"I'm an HOM outsider, make no mistake, and such a state may cause you to dismiss what I'm writing."

There are flaws with HOM, as with everything, but this most definitely is NOT one of them. Your analysis is welcomed, says this "original voter."

................

I would agree that by NOW, if someone hasn't ever gotten remotely close to election and just gets these idiosyncratic votes, that it won't kill us to trim things down a bit. 'We get that you like Joe Blow and no one else does. But it appears it will never happen. We're more interested in who you'd take instead of the contenders." And even with this move, I'd still leave an opening where if new info is discovered and, say, 5 longtime voters are swayed that he's at least worth considering, fine, toss that guy back in.

...............

"Fra paolo: So you're suggesting we actually de-induct some current HOMers to put them through the runoff process? That seems extremely unfair to prior but no longer participating voters, though perhaps in the interests of bringing more attention to the HOM we'd decide that's OK?"

I would oppose "de-inducting" anyone.

...............

karlG's 474 is really interesting, and I'm not sure what to think.
But again, that sort of unexpected curveball I think has not been discouraged - granting that other interesting ideas may not have gotten much traction. But I don't think much offense is taken at throwing something out there.

......

"What about a book about the HOM, its goals and electorate - it could include pieces about each of the electees, geared to some of the key arguments that helped sway the vote. I would be proud to have that coffee-table book."

I am a media person, and this adds to my "May you live in interesting times" pile. heh.

I currently have EIGHT multi-year controversies that I have been involved with that each lead a number of people to tell me, "You should write a book...."

I'll make this my honorary No. 9 - but I can't write any of them while most of the other 8 still consume more than all of my time.

Perhaps I could offer some counsel, though.
   493. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 06:53 AM (#3694157)
I can't seem to edit all of a sudden...but I'm thinking I may have overreacted in 491--you may have meant simply the one-vote guys should be culled by having the runoffs, which is fine; that way no one is robbed of their choice in the first round. I still, however, think this insistence on greater consensus is mountains out of molehills, and distracts from larger issues.

The real mountains? I'm with Lassus, and DL: MMP to get the wheels churning again, and above all, make the website happen ASAP.

it isn't so much re-doing the work, but spreading the seed (so to speak)

Yes, but you're not addressing our skepticism that going over this territory again would be spreading the seed to much of anyone. I can't see why reiterating is going to achive that. As Lassus said, it seems far more likely to turn outsiders off and confuse them.

What about a book about the HOM

Maybe it's because I'm hanging onto employment in what's left of the print publishing industry, and thus think about this a lot, but I have to say a coffee-table book seems awfully 20th-century. We might be proud to have it, but we'd probably be the only ones--a vanity print run of 50. A good website would achieve everything you describe, and would have a massively larger potential (and, I think, actual) audience.

I keep coming back to it, I know, website website website...but this kind of energy should be directed toward that. Once it's done, if a book seems compelling, we can still do it then. (And, with the website extant, it'll be a lot easier to put together.)
   494. Howie Menckel Posted: November 20, 2010 at 07:08 AM (#3694160)
you could always do a good-looking e-book on iPad and charge for it, just sayin'

:)
   495. rawagman Posted: November 20, 2010 at 02:35 PM (#3694188)
Don't worry - I wouldn't push for a book. But it would be nice to own, anyway. I am definitely on board the website train. I had tried with Joe to get one rolling a few years ago. I was working closely with web developers back then. Alas, that's no longer the case.
As far as the karlmagnus idea of re-starting the engine in x number of years, every generation has its own kids who are fascinated by this stuff. On a different platform (maybe), re-introducing the project from scratch, with all of the ideas that made the HOM great and with wiggle room for differing personalities, opinions, the spirit of the HOM can find a voice for the next generation of SABR-y minded, historically inclined fans. Give them something to take ownership of with their love. This in no way needs to diminish what we have already accomplished. In fact, it can have the effect of making the HOM a proper institution. Whenever a new round of voting starts up, new recruits could be vetted (a baseball MENSA?). I truly think it might be the only way to keep the idea alive past our own time.
I guess it boils down to asking ourselves what is most important - the results we have already arrive at, or the idea driving those results?
I think the latter.
   496. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 02:59 PM (#3694194)
Now you're talking, Howie! ;)

Rawagman: Sure, there's nothing wrong with new people picking up from here, or just doing their own HOM-inspired things in future--I think that almost certainly will happen. But as far as what this group should be doing now, well, I think it risks taking focus and energy--which are very limited resources for us these days--away from more vital things. In my mind, while we have reached the present in terms of voting, we're not finished with this edition of the HOM yet, because we haven't established it and put its roots down sufficiently yet.

And I really am concerned about what Lassus says--that to non-HOMers, anything along the lines what Karl proposed is likely to make it harder for those roots to take hold properly.

On the other hand, When that's done, and we have a firm base to build from, we--or other people, or a mix--can start branching off in these and all sorts of other directions. Which will be great. But given the very limited energies of the group at present, first things first, IMO.
   497. rawagman Posted: November 20, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3694196)
Fair enough - the website should absolutely be the #1 priority.
   498. Mark Donelson Posted: November 20, 2010 at 04:07 PM (#3694220)
Just to sum up the last few days of, shall we say, dialectic, for those who haven't been reloading this thread quite as compulsively as I have ( I can imagine Joe's face, seeing all the new posts, next time he comes by...):

1. Everyone seems to agree on at least one thing: the MMP is a good idea and should be pursued immediately. Joe doesn't want to be in charge of it, and while John has graciously agreed to administrate it vote to vote as he's done with our regular elections, I think we'll still need a MMP director of sorts to make (or solicit consensus on from the group, but a firm initial proposal will probably be most efficient) executive decisions about how often, the voting structure, etc., and to set up a schedule that John can follow. DL, you seem to have given those details more thought than anyone else commenting on the MMP--would you possibly have time to take those reins? (I think after the initial decisions, it would not be that onerous.)

2. Everyone also agrees the website is important, though there seem to be degrees of intensity about how important, from my "it's by far the most important thing now, and all spare energies should go to it" to "it's important, but we can move to other projects to help draw the right people to build it while we wait for it to take firmer shape." By now everyone knows where I stand. But the larger question to start with is only answerable by Joe: How close or far are we now, and what needs to be done to make it happen still, and will that need to involve only those already involved (Tango, Shock, if they even are still involved), and how can others of us help, from pitching in on minor segments to offloading the burden of day-to-day organization from Joe entirely if he wants that? (OK, that's several questions.) So we need to hear from Joe there.

3. Runoffs. There's a lot of segmentation here. I'm again probably one extreme, not really seeing the point, but I'm also not opposed particularly as long as we don't go back and unelect anyone to put them through runoffs, and as long as perpetual eligibility is preserved in the first round of voting. The other extreme is fra paolo, who proposed those redos of close prior elections whose winners didn't meet whatever cutoff line we set up. Here I think we again need Joe's input a bit more--he said he was fine with runoffs in general, but there's a lot of variables in that term right now to pick from. I think we might also be able to use a director here, to come up with the details and a proposal on how it will all work, specifically (assuming Joe doesn't want that role himself, of course.)

4. HOM redux. Karl sums it up in 474. There's great divergence of opinion here, with several people strongly behind it, and others just as strongly against it, at least until the website is in place and the current HOM as it stands is more firmly established in the larger, non-BTF world.

Did I miss anything?
   499. DanG Posted: November 20, 2010 at 04:07 PM (#3694221)
And then, if the MMP is a go, there needs to be a separate thread set up for discussion of the rules. Particularly when/if minor league numbers are to be considered. OTOH, we could simply give the project leaders authority to call the shots on all rule disputes. I guess the question is how much time to allow for input and discussion before starting to vote? In the original HoM this process took more than a year, which is probably too long; still, one could argue that the project turned out better for the extended discussion.
   500. fra paolo Posted: November 20, 2010 at 05:02 PM (#3694247)
if indeed he didn't get a single vote his first 16 years, he'd certainly have been "culled" by any version of your rule.

Mark, I'm sorry, but beyond declaring that some candidates regularly failing to achieve 5 per cent of the vote for an extended period are unelectable, I haven't proposed any rule. You are treating me as the spokesman for some kind of nightmare in your mind, and I'm getting tired of being used in that way.

What I have suggested is that there comes a point when it is obvious that a candidate isn't going to be elected. That votes for these candidates are preventing the emergence of a consensus behind candidates who are better placed. That people can either drop the 'no hopers' themselves (as I, in fact, have done) or the HoM could create a rule to enforce dropping them.

There's absolutely no point getting tangled up in specifics (which you invent for me) until the principle is accepted. You can go back to page 2 and see that we've had a discussion about the importance of consensus before, and you can read in my post #437 on page 5 that I said there wasn't much point in going over old ground. But there are more people who think consensus would be good than just me. However, unless new people come in and propose that more consensus would be good, we are stuck with what we have now.

EDIT: I see one can interpret what I wrote about Oms as contradicting DanG. This is my mistake. I meant to say that Oms got 6 votes the first time he actually got any votes.
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