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Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Outta here: One man’s Hall of Fame plan

Thanks to Cris Enestvedt for passing this along. Talk about an exclusive Hall of Fame! I’ll bet the folks in Cooperstown would love having an induction every 3 or 4 years. I wonder if they’d be able to get whoever gets kicked out to show up for the ceremony . . .

I realize this is just a fun article, but seriously, this guy is missing the whole point. It’s to honor several of the best players of each generation. To honor some players that weren’t appreciated for the stars they were when they were active. Not the 2 best from each decade and kick people out once someone better comes along. Not to mention that I have some issue with his choices for the top 25 anyway.

Here’s the follow-up article for current players:

Next up: not many

Also, apologies for the lack of posting here so far. The support has been great, far exceeding our expectations. I have 81 people on the list for ballots so far.

I’ve been really busy the last few weeks. More will follow soon. I think the early discussion has been very good, we’ll start bringing it together and focusing in soon. If you have any suggestions/questions that you would like addressed feel free to post them here.

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 30, 2002 at 03:23 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Toby Posted: January 30, 2002 at 04:49 PM (#509622)
For some reason this thought just occurred to me, so I throw it out for discussion. Maybe the year in which a player becomes eligible for election shouldn't be X years (e.g. 5) after his last season, but instead X years (e.g. 25) after his FIRST season ... or even X years (e.g. 45) after his year of birth. That way a player like Kirby Puckett gets considered alongside his true contemporaries, rather than alongside his forerunners.
   2. scruff Posted: January 30, 2002 at 07:32 PM (#509623)
Talk about thinking outside the box! I like the age idea a lot (Juan Cruz and Adrian Beltre excepted).

I'd say maybe 42 is a good age to start considering players. Almost all players are retired by this age. As late as 1964 even (random year, first year of Niekro's career), the only players over 39 of any significance were Hoyt Wilhelm and Warren Spahn. Minnie Minoso and Art Fowler were bit players that year.

Having multiple 40+ players is a relatively new phenomenon. We could take the average retirement age of all current Hall of Famers and add 5 years to that for an objective number.

Whatever number we use, if a player like Niekro or Ricky isn't retired, he could be voted on for his accomplishments up to that point. Then in each future election what he does could be added to his evaluation. This would require discretion by voters, but I think we could handle that.

I would say that I like the idea of using age, but also like the 5 years after retired because it mirrors the Cooperstown version. That helps as far as interest in the ballot for non-statheads (they can see how we differ from the BBWAA). I could be swayed either way.

What do you guys think?
   3. DanG Posted: January 30, 2002 at 08:07 PM (#509624)
Eligibility based on age is an approach I've thought about and, ultimately, discarded. And it's not because I'm a big supporter of the five-year rule; I'm not. I agree with Jim Kaat, who was recently quoted as saying, "Why do players have to wait five years to appear on the ballot?" Kaat wondered. "If you want to wait two years after the guy's career is over to let a little time elapse, fine. Wait two years. Now give him five years on the ballot and let guys who saw him play decide whether he's a Hall of Famer or not. And if he's not in by then, he's off."

Certainly, eligibility based on age has a certain logic to it. But the problems are obvious. Some players will be eligible when they are still active, while others will be gone ten or 15 years and be largely forgotten.

I agree that it would be better for a player like Puckett to be considered along with his contemporaries. Establishing a minimum age for eligibility (42?) would solve that problem.

But for the HoM to do this would, I feel, be too large a departure from the old HoF rules.
   4. MattB Posted: January 30, 2002 at 08:22 PM (#509625)
I think the question is whether the HoF's five year requirement is deeply flawed. I don't think it is. It's sensible to judge someone on their whole career, rather than just until a certain point in time.

As soon as we decide on a age 42 rule, some freakish marginal star will invent "the double secret reverse knuckleball" and go 30-3 at age 46.

Anyway, Puckett is never really going up against his contemporaries, he's going up against all of the best players who retired before him who are not yet inducted.
   5. Toby Posted: January 30, 2002 at 08:43 PM (#509626)
I don't really understand the objection that the HOF doesn't use an age-based eligibility system. The HOM already proposes to use a different voting system, to limit the number of players who can be eligible, to keep players eligible in perpetuity, to dispense with the Veterans Committee ... I thought the idea was to improve on the HOF process, not simply re-simulate the HOF process using Baseball Primer readers rather than BBWAA writers as the voting body.

I think an age-based eligibility system would dramatically improve the process by ensuring that true peers are compared.

Nothing against Kirby, but part of the explanation for him getting into the Hall is because he was essentially at his peak when he stopped playing. When he came eligible, his peak years were only five years before. Guys like Gary Carter, Ozzie Smith, and Jim Rice were all born in 1953-54 and peaked in the early '80s but didn't come on the ballot till 15 years later. Kirby is seven or eight years younger than those guys, born in 1961, peaked in the early '90s, and came on the ballot basically 6-7 years after his peak. He benefitted the sympathy factor, yes, but he also benefitted from the fact that his peak was much fresher in the voters' minds. (No, I have no statistical analysis to back that up, but it seems reasonable.)
   6. DanG Posted: January 30, 2002 at 08:47 PM (#509627)
Eligibility based on age is an approach I've thought about and, ultimately, discarded. And it's not because I'm a big supporter of the five-year rule; I'm not. I agree with Jim Kaat, who was recently quoted as saying, "Why do players have to wait five years to appear on the ballot?" Kaat wondered. "If you want to wait two years after the guy's career is over to let a little time elapse, fine. Wait two years. Now give him five years on the ballot and let guys who saw him play decide whether he's a Hall of Famer or not. And if he's not in by then, he's off."

Certainly, eligibility based on age has a certain logic to it. But the problems are obvious. Some players will be eligible when they are still active, while others will be gone ten or 15 years and be largely forgotten.

I agree that it would be better for a player like Puckett to be considered along with his contemporaries. Establishing a minimum age for eligibility (42?) would solve that problem.

But for the HoM to do this would, I feel, be too large a departure from the old HoF rules.
   7. DanG Posted: January 30, 2002 at 08:50 PM (#509628)
I swear! My browser double posted when I refreshed the page. Wierd.
   8. DanG Posted: January 30, 2002 at 09:13 PM (#509629)
Toby wrote: "I think an age-based eligibility system would dramatically improve the process by ensuring that true peers are compared."

This would only be true if everyone peaked at the same time, which we know they don't. Denny McLain and Steve Carlton were born the same year, but it makes little sense to start their eligibility at the same time.

He does make a valid point about Puckett: "He benefitted the sympathy factor, yes, but he also benefitted from the fact that his peak was much fresher in the voters' minds." As I noted last time, this could be solved by establishing a minimum age for eligibility.

One of the things I think we want is to be able to compare our vote with the HoF voting, to some degree. For example, we want Brett, Yount and Fisk to begin on the HoM ballot at the same time. If you use age-based eligibility, they all start in different years.

Dan
   9. Toby Posted: January 30, 2002 at 09:44 PM (#509630)
Kirby Puckett is a peer of Joe Carter, Chili Davis, and Tim Raines, who are the same age as Kirby. He should be compared with them, not with players ten years older. Kirby was not a peer of the players who came on the ballot the same year as Kirby, most of whom I'm guessing were eight to ten years older than him.

The point at which a player peaks has nothing to do with it. If McLain and Carlton were born in the same year, they should be compared together, it seems to me.

I see the point that there is some comparative value to having players become eligible for HOM at the same time as they become eligible for HOF. But the same value attaches to all the other HOF procedures that are being jettisoned. Isn't the goal to select the most meritorious players? How does tracking the HOF procedure further that goal, once you concede that the HOF procedure does in fact unduly benefit a Kirby Puckett?
   10. DanG Posted: January 30, 2002 at 10:33 PM (#509631)
Toby wrote: "Kirby was not a peer of the players who came on the ballot the same year as Kirby, most of whom I'm guessing were eight to ten years older than him."

The difference isn't quite so drastic. This is like saying Kirby had another 8 to 10 years left to play. Really, it was more like 5 or 6.

Among the contemporaries you mention, Carter retired three years later, Davis retired four years later. Raines is active.

Among others who debuted the same year on the HoF ballot, Winfield is nearly ten years older, but he played forever. Mattingly is a month younger than Kirby; Stewart, Whitaker and Gibson are all four years older. So to say that Puckett is not being compared to his contemporaries is an overstatement. Four years just doesn't have much effect.

He also wrote: "The point at which a player peaks has nothing to do with it. " I disagree. Your contemporaries in baseball are the guys who played at the same time as you did. How you rank among your direct peers has a lot to do with determining your peak value. McLain should be compared to the greats of the late sixties, 64-71. Carlton's comps are the stars of 72-82, when McLain was finished.

Dan
   11. scruff Posted: January 31, 2002 at 02:52 PM (#509633)
I think Mark convinced me here. I'm pretty sure he hit it on the head. I don't really see what this would add, now that I think about it.

Toby -- I think it's a good idea, all things considered, but in the end, it really doesn't add much. Players don't drop off our ballot, so you won't necessarily be compared to your "peers" anyway. I'd probably vote no now as well after reading everything. It seems like that is the consensus at this point, if we're missing something and you want to make a final pitch, I'm all ears.

These outside the box ideas are very good to discuss though. Even if only a few end up being implemented, if we throw enough s*** at the wall, something is going to stick. Keep the suggestions coming.
   12. Toby Posted: January 31, 2002 at 03:42 PM (#509634)
Fine by me, just thought it was worth discussing. Good points all around.
   13. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 31, 2002 at 05:19 PM (#509635)
JoeDimino posted: Also, apologies for the lack of posting here so far. The support has been great, far exceeding our expectations. I have 81 people on the list for ballots so far.

My question is: Where is the list for ballots? I'm ready to sign up now!
   14. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: January 31, 2002 at 07:01 PM (#509636)
John,

As I understand it, all you have to do is express an interest... send an e-mail to JoeDimino or Rob Dudek.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 31, 2002 at 08:36 PM (#509637)
Thanks Craig.
   16. scruff Posted: January 31, 2002 at 09:42 PM (#509638)
That's correct John, thanks!

In regards to a comment on another thread, I'll repost here:

Again, sorry for the delays, we're getting there. 30 hour days would help. We should be ready for the first straw poll in the next few weeks.

If anyone has a comment/suggestion, etc. feel free to tack it on to one of the existing threads, or send Robert or myself an email and we'll start another thread. If we have a lull/time crunch/etc. you guys can feel free to throw a log on the fire.
   17. scruff Posted: January 31, 2002 at 09:43 PM (#509639)
that should say, " . . . thanks Craig!"
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 01, 2002 at 07:02 AM (#509640)
If you say so, Scruff. :-)
   19. scruff Posted: February 04, 2002 at 08:15 PM (#509642)
Craig, I was thanking you for answering John's question (about how to get signed up) :-)
   20. David Jones Posted: February 07, 2002 at 08:34 PM (#509643)
If I'm not on the list for a ballot, please put me on.

Thank you.
   21. scruff Posted: February 07, 2002 at 09:34 PM (#509644)
David -- drop me an email at the address above (not my normal address on this site), so I can put your email address on the list. Thanks!
   22. DanG Posted: March 07, 2002 at 03:49 PM (#509646)
While the author mentions Barry Bonds in his followup article dealing with active players, he fails to mention Roger Clemens, a major omission. That's worse than leaving out Henderson.

Dealing strictly with the 25-man list, the biggest oversight is Eddie Collins, who wasn't even a "Close Call". Generally, Collins would rank around #21 if you're including Negro League players in the rankings. The SABR century survey of its members also dissed Eddie big-time, ranking him #49.

The next biggest oversight is Frank Robinson, typically ranked about #24. Frank is relegated to the Close Calls because of the highly dubious inclusion of Jackie Robinson and the just-totally-wrong inclusion of Sandy Koufax. Likewise, Bench and Joe Jackson have no business being listed among Close Calls.

A good consensus is being compiled by the Baseball Survivor project. Check it out here:

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