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Hall of Merit
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Wednesday, January 09, 2002

The Hall of Merit needs you!

We would like to invite all those interested to contribute their ideas regarding every aspect of the Hall of Merit.

Though Joe and I have established some general guidelines, there are issues that still need to be considered. One of these is the voting system. Joe has proposed a voting system which is quite similar to the one used in the annual MVP votes. Please refer to an article Joe wrote for Baseball Primer titled “Something Better” for a description of the HoM as it currently stands.

If you have any thoughts about how this new project should work, please post them here.

Robert Dudek Posted: January 09, 2002 at 04:07 AM | 128 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Paul Wendt Posted: December 01, 2007 at 11:33 PM (#2630948)
(I don't yet believe in "bump")

Robert Dudek in the header
The Hall of Merit needs you!

We would like to invite all those interested to contribute their ideas regarding every aspect of the Hall of Merit.

Though Joe and I have established some general guidelines, there are issues that still need to be considered.


Did Robert Dudek participate under another name?
not OCF
very unlikely to be Howie Menckel or karlmagnus or yest
   102. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 01, 2007 at 11:44 PM (#2630961)
Did Robert Dudek participate under another name?


Robert was actually one of the co-originators of the HoM with Joe, but he backed out for some reason before the first election.
   103. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 01, 2007 at 11:53 PM (#2630968)
Nice article, Dan! You covered all the right areas and gave the project the proper respect it deserves. Thank you very much!
   104. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:04 AM (#2631000)
This current version of this thread is severely truncated.


That appears to be the case with all of the ones that I repaired, Dan. After this week, I'll see if I can correct them.
   105. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:26 AM (#2631018)
Reconstructing this thread.

This is actually worse than last time, because posters no longer here had their posts purged for some reason. So, I'm just going to have to post everything again:

Posted 9:56 a.m., January 10, 2002 (#1) - MattB
So, once I decide who to vote for, how do I get a ballot?

How often will elections take place?

Okay, those are more questions than suggestions.

As for voting, I'd recommending giving more "points" to the people above the cut-off point. E.g., if you're letting in the top two vote-getters, then the top two vote getters should get disproportionate points since these are the people the voters actually think should "get in." Otherwise, in a year with a wide open ballot (as the first few look like they'll be, a person who gets lots of third place votes, but no first or second place votes could more easily end up in the top two, even though no individual voters thought they were hall-worthy. I'd suggest, for ten person ballot with two potential inductees, 14-11-8-7-6 . . .

Posted 11:06 a.m., January 10, 2002 (#2) - Craig
MattB,

I could not disagree more strongly with such an approach to voting. One element of the HoF vote which is horribly destructive, in my view, is the "in-or-out?" binary approach to the vote. The idea of an MVP-style ballot, as I see it, is to ascertain who the _best_ candidates are, as opposed to who should be in and who out.

The inspiration is the idea that candidates should be compared to each other, and not to who is in the hall. This is, when taken to its logical conclusion, an immensely powerful idea. It serves to eliminate the mistakes previously made, as any sort of benchmark for who to admit in the present or future.

Of course, all that being said, a 14-11-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 ballot isn't all that different from the 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 ballot, and I would fully support the use of such a voting system. The reaon I like the 14-9-8 system, though, is that it truly focuses the discussion, and the voter's mind, on the question of "who is the _best_ available candidate?" which is the ideal question to be asking.

Posted 11:25 a.m., January 10, 2002 (#3) - MattB
Craig says: "The reason I like the 14-9-8 system, though, is that it truly focuses the discussion, and the voter's mind, on the question of "who is the _best_ available candidate?" which is the ideal question to be asking."

Despite your initial assertion, it looks like in the end we're actually agreeing. Except that instead of asking who is the _best_ available candidate, I would ask, who are the _two_best_ available candidates (assuming two people will be elected each time.) That's why I'd disproportionately weigh the top two votes.

It's very hard to separate the concept of second best/ third best from the concept of in/out, when you know that the second best is in, and the third best is out.

My question, then, is whether you'd want to accept "incomplete ballots." If a ballot only contains one name (say, Cy Young), the voter is likely saying that only Young is Hall-worthy (under whatever standard). Obviously, there will be a second best player, irrespective of you think that person is Meritorious or not.

Posted 1:40 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#4) - Robert Dudek
The way Joe and I conceived it originally, the initial election is extremely exclusive - something like 5 players will get in from 40 years worth of baseball. The guys who don't make it will never lose eligibility. The ones who just miss out will most likely go in on the next one, since not too many decent candidates will be added for the second ballot (i.e. not too many had 1911 as their last season).

For awhile, we will be playing catch up (many worthy players will have to wait because of the backlog) so I'd say the chances of questionable inductees in the first few elections are slim.

MattB..

Regarding your other questions, the first election is still some distance away, since we have an enormous amount of data to go through and also because most of us are not too familiar with the baseball of 1871-1910.

Once we are reasonably ready for the first election, everyone who has expressed an interest (we have a growing list of those who've sent us e-mails wanting to vote) will be notified by e-mail and/or through this site and sent a ballot.

Along with their selections, each voter will have to justify his/her choices. Once the results are in, each ballot and rationale will be made public through the Hall of Merit section of Baseball Primer.

After the first election, the Hall of Merit community can decide together how often the subsequent elections will take place.

I can't stress enough that neither Joe nor I view this project as static. We anticipate that many people will be joining us as we go along and we are confident that the project will evolve.
   106. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:27 AM (#2631019)
Posted 2:16 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#5) - Craig Burley
Certainly, though, we should have a date in mind for the election. We (or in a pinch, the Hall administrators) can always postpone if it seems appropriate.

One thing I've been thinking of is the idea of having at least two votes for the 1915 election. Because of the multiplicity of candidates from 1871-1910, a "straw poll" would go a long way to focusing people on the best candidates. The more of these "straw poll" votes there are, the better the chances that we won't be accidentally inflating or deflating someone's credentials.

A straw poll can either be done informally on the website, or probably instead by e-mail, and I will certainly volunteer to tabulate ballots (if the number isn't 5000 or something). Plus, it will give us something to argue and electioneer about. If things go well, I can see having a straw poll before spring training opens.

Once we begin, of course, the previous years' votes will accomplish this just as well.

Posted 2:33 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#6) - Robert Dudek
Your idea of having straw polls is brilliant.

For example, we could hold our first straw poll including for players who played at least 100 games in the National Association. This would establish a provisional N.A. "pecking order".

I'm sure we could probably get that one ready before March 15th.

Posted 2:48 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#7) - Robert Dudek
Here is an excerpt from Joe's article about the Hall of Merit published here at Primer. It deals with issue of the number of inductees per election.

"As for the number of people to be elected, we?ve run a spreadsheet that takes the ?team seasons? into account (we?ve adjusted downward for the early years, it?s not a straight X teams equals X electees), and we want to allow for some ?make up? selections, since the first election will encompass 40 years of careers (1871-1910). We are going to start with 5 for the 1915 and 1916 elections, 4 from 1917-19, 3 from 1920-25 and then 2 per year through 1977. At that point, we?ll start upping the number elected, to account for expansion and growth in the population. From 1978-83 we'll alternate 3 per year in even years, 2 in odd years. From 1984-94 we'll elect 3 players per season. Starting in 1995 we'll elect 4 players every 4th year, 3 in the other years. In 2007 we'll start alternating between 3 (even years) and 4 (odd years) players per season. Players will never lose eligibility. Both Robert and I feel that this is crucial: it means that if new information about a player comes to light that player can benefit (as an example, I offer Bill James? reassessment of Phil Rizzutto based on new evidence of his defensive prowess). It also means that if a voter thinks there were more great players from a certain era than in others, he can vote for a player that might have been squeezed out by his contemporaries in his previous tries. Since the inherent structure of the vote forces the best players to the top of the ballot, there is no reason to remove players from the process artificially. Following this procedure, we'll have 218 honorees after the 2002 ceremony. The current Hall of Fame has 215 members (as players), with a few more coming in 2002."

Posted 6:55 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#8) - Mark McKinniss (e-mail)
As for the voting procedure, I suggest having equal sized intervals between each vote, i.e. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, as opposed to 14-9-8...

This would diminish the opportunity for "strategic" voting. For instance, if I thought that John Johnson should get in, but I thought he was on the fence, I could put him first on my ballot to give him the 5 extra points. Justifying the player would be an obstacle, but a pretty small one.

Not that I would ever do this, but it seems like a more level way of doing things...

Posted 7:08 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#9) - Craig Burley
Mark,

I think that asking voters to place some justification on their ballots will go a long way to eliminating the sort of "pure" strategic voting you're talking about. In the end, though, isn't most strategic voting simply voting? If I want Player X to make it into the Hall more than anyone else, then I'm going to vote him first. I think it's legitimate.

Robert,

The idea of breaking up the candidates into groups and straw-polling the voters on each group is fantastic, a massive improvement on my idea.

March 15 seems like a good idea for a straw poll on players who played in the NA. Any other suggestions for groups to poll on separately? These sorts of straw polls could be very informal, even down to asking for reply posts on a blog entry with, say, 5 names in order.

Posted 7:22 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#10) - Robert Dudek
Some more ideas:

All pitchers with more than 70% of their career before 1893 (when the mound was moved back to the modern distance).

All non-pitchers who played at least 3 seasons in the American Association.

Posted 7:35 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#11) - Robert Dudek
About the strategic voting issue....

My view is that each voter should vote the players from best to least best of the 10 as he/she really sees them.

Here is a voting rationale that I wouldn't view as legitimate:

"I think Joe X is the 6th best player, but I really want him to get in more than the others so I'm putting him first on my list."

Posted 9:14 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#12) - jimd
If we were to deviate from the MVP weightings, here is a suggestion.

We are electing a certain pre-defined number of players each election. The gap in the weighting could occur after that number of players. For example: when electing 1 player, it would be the traditional 14-9-8-7... When electing 2 players, it would go like 14-13-8-7-...

In other words, each voter is selecting the 10 most qualified candidates, and candidates are getting 4 bonus points for being in the top N spots on the ballot, where N is the number to be elected.

I would also allow voters to stop before 10 if they cannot in good conscience find 10 qualified candidates. You shouldn't have to vote for candidates you do not believe merit inclusion.

Posted 9:41 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#13) - jimd
As far as attempting to manipulate the voting, there is no voting system designed that cannot be manipulated in some way, by an organized group. (A mathematical economist named Arrow proved that, by defining a set of criteria for a voting system to satisfy and then proving they were contradictory.)

Individual biases will be swamped by the size of the electorate, so there should be no problem, unless underground groups start to organize (Committee to Elect Candy Cummings to the Hall of Merit).

Posted 9:50 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#14) - Robert Dudek
jimd wroter: "I would also allow voters to stop before 10 if they cannot in good conscience find 10 qualified candidates. You shouldn't have to vote for candidates you do not believe merit inclusion."

This is an interseting idea. I'd like to throw this idea out to all potential voters - after we discuss it a bit perhaps we'll have a referendum on this issue.

The points issue was bound to be a throny one. I'm not sure how I stand on it. I ask every one to consider the following:

1) Is a first place and fifth place vote combo worth more or less than a 2nd and 3rd combo?
2) Is a 2nd and a 5th place vote combo worth more than a 3rd and 4th place combo?

Assuming the first election admits 5 charter members:

3) Should there be a large gap between 5th and 6th. If so how large? Will two 6th place votes be better or worse than 5th and 8th place vote combo?

Posted 11:02 p.m., January 10, 2002 (#15) - Dan Passner (e-mail) (homepage)
I posted this message on one of the other threads related to this, but I felt it fit here too, so here goes.

Hey guys I just want to say that I do not believe in setting any limit on the ammount of players that can be voted in. We are all very smart people and I am sure we can figure out who belongs and who doesn't without needing to impose any "2 per year" limits. I recently completed a manuscript on this very issue (needed something to keep me busy over the summer and to help get me into a decent college.) Anyway, I came to the conclusion that there are currently 53 players who should be in the Hall of Fame but are not (give or take Benny Kauff,) and approximately 40 who are in but do not belong in. I think a limit would just be beating a dead horse. For instance, a great pitcher like Ed Reulbach (I believe almost any starter with an ERA+ above 120, especially a peak ERA+ of 172 belongs in Cooperstown) will be completely lost in the fray when compared to guys like Ed Walsh and Mordecai Brown. By the way, in my book I make a huge push for Ross Barnes because few were ever as dominant as him, and he accompished more in 499 games then Nolan Ryan accomplished in 26 years in the majors (as you can see, I am a big proponent of dominance as the key factor in Hall of Fame selections.) If we want this Hall of Merit to have Merit, we have to do it right and we cannot set limits for a given year, just look at the crop of 2007 and 2008.

Dan
P.S. soon my site will have some nice frilly articles on it and I will slowly post info about my book as I go through the self-publishing process.
   107. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:28 AM (#2631020)
Posted 8:53 a.m., January 11, 2002 (#16) - jimd
As far as attempting to manipulate the voting, there is no voting system designed that cannot be manipulated in some way, by an organized group. (A mathematical economist named Arrow proved that, by defining a set of criteria for a voting system to satisfy and then proving they were contradictory.)

Individual biases will be swamped by the size of the electorate, so there should be no problem, unless underground groups start to organize (Committee to Elect Candy Cummings to the Hall of Merit).

Posted 9:10 a.m., January 11, 2002 (#17) - jimd
Sorry, for the duplicate post; I guess my browser was in a wierd state this morning.

Posted 10:24 a.m., January 11, 2002 (#18) - Mark McKinniss (e-mail)
Robert sez...1) Is a first place and fifth place vote combo worth more or less than a 2nd and 3rd combo?
2) Is a 2nd and a 5th place vote combo worth more than a 3rd and 4th place combo?

Robert, there's no stock answer to these questions. It completely depends on who the votes are representing. If there's a situation where there's a large gap between the #1 guy and the #2 guy (example: greatest RF of all time), then I'll say 1st + 5th > 2nd + 3rd. If there's not (example: greatest C of all time), then I'd be more likely to say 2nd + 3rd > 1st + 5th.

The same applies to your second question.

The truth is, if the voting looks like 14-9-8-7..., there will be times I'll feel uncomfortable giving my top guy those extra points because he's not that much better than #2. If the voting is 10-9-8-7..., there will times I'll wish I could give my top guy the extra points because he is that much better than #2.

Posted 11:35 a.m., January 11, 2002 (#19) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Hi Dan. The only caveat that I would use concerning evaluating a pitcher by ERA+ is that you have to take into account the standard deviation of the league. There will always be more pitchers that will meet your requirement from early baseball than now because of less competition back then. Is Reulbach as good a pitcher as someone from today with identical ERA+? I would say no.

Posted 1:09 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#20) - scruff (e-mail)
As for the ballot issue, I think voters should have to fill out a complete ballot. It really has nothing to do with who a voter thinks is "worthy". What I mean is, that "worthy" will be determined by who gets the most points. Since we are electing a set number of candidates, a 9th place vote serves an important purpose, in terms of a preliminary ranking for the next election.

We are trying to get away from the thinking with the current Hall, where voters have to pick up to 10 that they think are "worthy". We aren't asking the same question. The question we are asking is, "who are the 10 best, non-members that are eligibile?" It's a much different question.

John -- there are other caveats for using ERA+. For one, it doesn't take into account the defense behind the pitcher, which could have a large impact. Also it doesn't take into account the innings pitched relative to the top pitchers in the league, L-R leanings of his park, etc. Who's the better pitcher, the lefty with an ERA+ of 130 in Yankee Stadium, or the righty? Both pitchers were of the same value, but the righty probably had more "ability", which has to balanced.

I also really like the straw poll idea. We could also do straw polls by position.

Posted 1:22 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#21) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Hi Scruff. I wasn't ignoring your caveats in my last posting, but commenting on that one particular problem that I saw in Dan's posting. You're right - there is no perfect statistical tool for evaluating any one player. That's why I abandoned the Palmer-Thorn ratings 16 years ago. I'm happy that I haven't heard anybody mention establishing statistical guidelines for what a Hall of Meriter should be. The mistakes would probably be more serious than what we have now in the Hall of Fame!

Posted 1:27 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#22) - Dan Passner (e-mail) (homepage)
Are you saying that John Tudor is a better qualified candidate then Reulbach? What does this guy have to do? He had a peak ERA+ of 172, which is better than all but 7 pitchers, and the only contemporaries to better him in that regard are Christy Matthewson and Mordecai Brown. Yes, his career was short, but I think the guy at least deserves serious consideration as he was one of the 10 or 12 best pitchers in baseball from the time they moved the mound to 60'6" until 1920. However, there is a good chance he will get lost in the fray with Brown retiring one year before and Matty retiring in 1916 also. By the way, this brings up the issue of crediting players for off-field activities, as Reulbach was the leader of the Player's Union thing that was around then, and he was a pioneer as he was believed to be Jewish, even though that was later found to be false.

Posted 2:08 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#23) - scruff (e-mail)
As for the ballot issue, I think voters should have to fill out a complete ballot. It really has nothing to do with who a voter thinks is "worthy". What I mean is, that "worthy" will be determined by who gets the most points. Since we are electing a set number of candidates, a 9th place vote serves an important purpose, in terms of a preliminary ranking for the next election.

We are trying to get away from the thinking with the current Hall, where voters have to pick up to 10 that they think are "worthy". We aren't asking the same question. The question we are asking is, "who are the 10 best, non-members that are eligibile?" It's a much different question.

John -- there are other caveats for using ERA+. For one, it doesn't take into account the defense behind the pitcher, which could have a large impact. Also it doesn't take into account the innings pitched relative to the top pitchers in the league, L-R leanings of his park, etc. Who's the better pitcher, the lefty with an ERA+ of 130 in Yankee Stadium, or the righty? Both pitchers were of the same value, but the righty probably had more "ability", which has to balanced.

I also really like the straw poll idea. We could also do straw polls by position.

Posted 2:12 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#24) - scruff (e-mail)
Sorry about the double post. Not sure what happened.

As to the issue about Reulbach -- Dan, if Brown and Matty retired around Ruelbach and those are elected on the first ballot they are eligible for (for argument's sake) all that means is Reulbach will be delayed a year. They might finish 1. Matty, 2. Brown, 3. Reulbach. If Matty and Brown are elected, Reulbach will be the top returning candidate the following year. Assuming no one better than him becomes eligible, he'll go in that year.

From your posts it sounds like you think we are only allowing players one ballot, but that's not the case. Everyone who isn't elected will carry over to the following ballot.

Posted 2:14 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#25) - scruff
One other thing Dan, when thinking up the idea, I was thinking that only on-field accomplishments will be considered. If people feel strongly otherwise we'll discuss it, but I feel pretty strongly that off the field accomplishments should not be considered.

Posted 2:16 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#26) - jimd
>> The question we are asking is, "who are the 10 best, non-members that are eligibile?"
scruff, when you put it that way, I have no problem with putting down 10 names.

Change topic...

There is a form of voting which gives you some number of points, say 75, and lets you allocate it as you want over the candidates. I don't advocate that here, in its pure form, (like, all points to one candidate) but a limited form of it may be useful.

If we started with a baseline of:
a) you must select 10 candidates in order
b) they start with points 10-9-...-1 (55 points in all)
c) you get 20 bonus points you can allocate as you see fit,
subject to certain rules to be determined:
(eg. 20 points max for 1st; at least 5 candidates must get bonus; you guys can come up with more)

That would allow voters like Mark some room to express relative intensity.

(Of course, if you're writing some software to tabulate ballots, it may complicate vote parsing and verification.)
   108. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:30 AM (#2631023)
Posted 2:32 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#27) - MattB
Scruff wrote: "One other thing Dan, when thinking up the idea, I was thinking that only on-field accomplishments will be considered. If people feel strongly otherwise we'll discuss it, but I feel pretty strongly that off the field accomplishments should not be considered."

Do on-field accomplishments include coaching/ managing?

How about Rick Dempsey flopping around on the field during rain delays?

Posted 4:35 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#28) - Dan Passner
I know that the people carry over. My worry is that player voting will fluctuate from year to year because of people with differant voting patterns, and eventually that player will slowly be forgotten. I can think of many players who may suffer a fate like that.
Anyway, I think it would be wise to consider off the field accomplishments. I know I will be throwing some serious points to Jim Creighton, Dummy Hoy and Moses "Fleet" Walker, even though they did not accomplish much in the traditional, statistical sense.

Posted 5:16 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#29) - Wallbanger
As much as we will all try to be pure sabermetricians, there needs to be some subjective criteria (individualized, by voter). Now, the numbers may state one thing to one person, but something else to another. As I type this, I am reminded of a quote I heard in high school, "Statistics are alot like bikins... they reveal alot but hide the good parts." Another way of stating this is that we are all baseball fans, not baseball statistics fans. As we all go through this process, I think we should remember the game we fell in love with as children (or adults). I, for one, am not hell-bent on making OPS or whatever stat the end all and be all. This obviously will be easier to do with the more current players, as we have much more of their play; but it can be done for earlier players too, it just requires a bit of research and thought.

I am relatively new to this site and am extreemly excited about this endeavor. I have always wnated a reason to sit down and really think about who 'I' would put in a "Hall of Fame". Thanks to the people who are setting this up and I look forward to voting on the first 40 years of baseball--something I know I want to learn more about.

By the way, I am in favor electing as amny people who are qualified. Setting artificial limits on how many players belong in this Hall will undermine the entire voting process. I am not saying that the standards should be weak, because I feel the exact opposite, but if a vote comes along where there are 3 or 4 or 5 or more "qualified" players, then the voters should decide how many (if any) of them get in. Let this be a free-flowing, evolving Hall. Let the Baseball Primer community as a whole decide not only who, but how many players deserve to recognized for excellence in baseball.

Posted 7:00 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#30) - Robert Dudek
Dan..

If you have a guy you think should get in then you should promote the guy as a candidate until he gets in. We are not going to "forget" that Reulbach is on the ballot.

Ultimately, if the consensus thinks he's a Hall of Famer he'll get in.

Let me just say that everyone has to decide the precise criteria they use for themselves. It is not right to impose it from on high. We will be debating the candidates and the only thing we ask is that each voter keep an open mind about every issue related to the evaluation of a player.

Statistical analysis is, in my view, essential to understanding a player within his context. But in a lot of cases it won't be enough. I believe in the power of a human being's informed, subjective opinion.

Ultimately our Hall will rest on the collective wisdom of the voters.

jimd wrote: "There is a form of voting which gives you some number of points, say 75, and lets you allocate it as you want over the candidates. I don't advocate that here, in its pure form, (like, all points to one candidate) but a limited form of it may be useful.

If we started with a baseline of:
a) you must select 10 candidates in order
b) they start with points 10-9-...-1 (55 points in all)
c) you get 20 bonus points you can allocate as you see fit,
subject to certain rules to be determined:
(eg. 20 points max for 1st; at least 5 candidates must get bonus; you guys can come up with more)"

This is an excellent idea. I propose that the 20 bonus points be allocated with the following restrictions:

1) The maximum for any candidate is 15 total points
2) At least 6 candidates get at least 1 bonus point
3) Adjacent players can be given the same number of overall points, but 3 players can not end up with the same total points.

Posted 7:18 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#31) - jimd
Just to elaborate on my suggestion earlier.
I would make the number of bonus points dependent on the slots being filled (4 per slot). Assume there was one slot, 4 bonus points: normally you'd give the 4 points to your #1 guy. If you had a tough time deciding who that was, maybe you'd give 2 points to each of them. Instead of a 14-9-8... ballot, you'd cast a 12-11-8... weighted ballot. 11-10-10 if you had a near 3-way tie.

It allows you to reflect the (lack of) clarity of your decision in the points.

I know it's extra work to implement, and this is a hobby, not a job, so a fixed point MVP style is quite fine also.

Posted 7:23 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#32) - jimd
Crossing posts... Those sound like reasonable restrictions.
The 15 point Max prevents piling them all on the top few guys. (20-19-8-7...)

Posted 9:24 p.m., January 11, 2002 (#33) - Robert Dudek
Just to give an example of how it would look:

Starting with a base of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and adding 20 bonus points, a ballot which was maximally top-heavy which respected the restrictions I proposed would be:

15-15-14-8-7-6-4-3-2-1

The least top heavy would be:

10-9-9-8-8-7-7-6-6-5

Posted 3:04 a.m., January 12, 2002 (#34) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Hi Dan. I actually think Reulbach would be a creditable Hall of Merit candidate. I do have somewhat of a problem with the shortness of his career, but there is no denying that he was a wonderful pitcher. There is no doubt Big Ed would be a better sight to see than Rube Marquard or Jesse Haines in the Hall of Fame now!

Posted 11:29 a.m., January 12, 2002 (#35) - Bruce M.
I think that the Hall of Merit is an intriguing idea and something that should generate a great deal of discussion. Due to my position of employment, I'm really not able to engage in in-depth discussions of who belongs in the Hall and who does not, but I did want to point out a small inaccuracy on the Mostly Baseball website concerning the Hall of Merit. The site refers to the "Major League Baseball Hall of Fame." While the Hall of Fame has a strong working relationship with MLB, and several employees of MLB sit on the Hall's board of directors, the Hall of Fame operates independently from MLB as a non-profit institution. The Hall of Fame is not owned by MLB, and never has been. The "caretakers" or "overseers" of the Hall are the Clark Foundation, also a non-profit organization. The Hall's official name is the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Thanks for reading.
   109. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:32 AM (#2631024)
Posted 1:48 p.m., January 12, 2002 (#36) - Eric Chalek
Picayune procedural question (hope this hasn't alrady been covered elsewhere): Let's say that we are slated to elect two new members in a given election. After final tabulation, three or more candidates have garnered the same total to lead all candidates, or 1 person is clearly voted in, but two or more tie for the second slot. By what process would ties in the voting be resolved? A run-off election with simple majority winning the vote? (or a plurality if there are blank ballots cast)

This also begs another question: Not to raise the spector of the 2000 prez elections, but if we end up hand-tabulating ballots, should there be a certain margin of victory which trips an automatic recount (i.e. if in our hypothetical election of 2 members, the second electee's total exceeds the third place vote-getter by 10 or fewer votes). I suppose we could say that the system is self-correcting and assume that if the player truly merits induction he'll eventually get in anyway, but this might not be the most fair and accountable approach. Then again if the tabulators are dealing with thousands of ballots it might not be fair to ask for a recount either.

Posted 5:58 p.m., January 12, 2002 (#37) - Robert Dudek
Eric...

You raise some valid questions.

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on the issue of tie-breakers. Some options we can consider:

1)The player listed on the greatest number of ballots "wins" the tiebreak.
2)Each ballot is examined to determine which of the players is listed higher. The player listed higher on a given ballot gets 1 vote in the "run off".
3)Exclude the highest 20% and the lowest 20% of placings (including non-placings) so that the extremes in voting are eliminated. Recalculate the points.
4)If two players are to be elected and there is a tie for 2nd, we could induct neither and add an extra inductee for the next election.

I think all the ballots for the first few elections will be hand counted - indeed our stated aim is to make everyone's ballot and their voting rationale public. Obviously this will become more difficult if the number of voters approaches a thousand. We'll probably have to rethink our approach if or when that happens.

Posted 7:11 p.m., January 12, 2002 (#38) - Dan Passner (e-mail) (homepage)
I think there should be a third candidate added every third year, i.e 2,2,3,2,2,3. From my research, I found that the Hall of Fame currently has a low total of inductees based on who truly warrants induction, and I feel it may be wise to spike up the total we induct by a slight margin. Perhaps it could be a 3rd candidate every fourth year or fifth. Also, when we factor in how many we induct we must remember that when all is said and done there will probably be another 15 or so players who played up until 1996 that will eventually be inducted by either the Vets or the BBWAA even though they have not been inducted yet. Any thoughts on this 2,2,3 idea?

Posted 7:41 p.m., January 12, 2002 (#39) - Robert Dudek
Dan..

That certainly is a possibility. I'd like to hear everyone's views on this one. Is the number of inductees too exclusive?

Posted 11:28 p.m., January 12, 2002 (#40) - DanG (e-mail)
Passner is treading on dangerous ground. I think our aim should be to be just as exclusive/inclusive as the Hall of Fame, that we want to end with the same number enshrined as they have.

I think it's proper that we stay in the state of "catching up" to the current percentage enshrined up until the 1980's voting, at least. That is, don't be in a hurry to load up our Hall in the early years. Remember, players are perpetually eligible, and we have an informed electorate. Given the structure thus far devised, there is little chance that someone truly deserving will be overlooked.

I think Bill James is right, to some degree, regarding his time line adjustment. If we enshrine a slightly lower percentage of early stars than later players, that is OK. If we later raise the number of our players enshrined each year to coincide with expansion, that seems proper, too.

Dan

Posted 1:32 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#41) - Dan Passner (homepage)
I think anyone who puts up the numbers should be in, regardless of the context. There will be fewer players inducted from the 19th century simply becuase there were fewer teams and regulars then. Should we not induct Fred Dunlao just because we feel he would not measure up to a 1990's player who produces the same adjusted numbers? I feel the answer should be no because we do not know enough to adjust for the era fairly. There are few deserving 19th century pitchers (I have found that Galvin and Welch do not belong,) but there are plenty of deserving position players like Charlie Bennett and Jack Glasscock. I agree we can adjust the number later, but do not just say you are going to not vote for too many players from a given era, because you think so and so would not be as good as a comperable player. That is when you enter the domain of subjective baseball that the mediots at ESPN and the BBWAA have been feeding us. Bill Dahlen is just as deerving of induction as Ozzie Smith. Bob Caruthers IS better than Early Wynn. I could care less that his ERA+ and OPS+ were accumulated in the AA, becuase the fact of the matter is that those are the things he accomplished and I would never take that away from him. I do not really know the point to this rant, I just feel that a timeline adjustment would be wrong and it would immediately ruin our credibility.

Posted 3:00 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#42) - Robert Dudek
Dan P. Wrote: "Bill Dahlen is just as deserving of induction as Ozzie Smith. Bob Caruthers IS better than Early Wynn. I could care less that his ERA+ and OPS+ were accumulated in the AA, because the fact of the matter is that those are the things he accomplished and I would never take that away from him. I do not really know the point to this rant, I just feel that a timeline adjustment would be wrong and it would immediately ruin our credibility."

Dan, if you have evidence for the correctness of your conviction (i.e. there is something more than your subjectivity behind them) then you ought to present it and convince others.

I'll go on record as stating emphatically that there will be no imposition of specific criteria that must be taken into account (such as timeline adjustments) when judging the worth of a ballplayer. These matter will be left up to the individual voter.

We ask only that every voter deal with the available evidence in a rational way, at the same time leaving room for subjectivity since it is impossible to scientifically determine who actually was better than whom. The whole concept of "better" is not a settled matter either.

The guidelines that were established simply state that each candidate will be judged on their performance on the field; intangibles may be taken into account to the extent they had an impact on the player's team's performance.

Ballots that demonstrate a sufficent lack of understanding and objectivity will simply not be counted. It remains for us to precisely determine how that potential problem will be dealt with. Perhaps a good idea would be to establish a committee of 5 persons to oversee the "integrity" of the ballots. I'm not sold on this idea, but perhaps the Hall of Merit community will come to the conclusion that it is necessary.
   110. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:32 AM (#2631025)
Posted 4:29 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#43) - Dan Passner
My evidence is that there is nothing to prove the improvement of a given player over time. Since we do not know how Honus Wagner would have performed today, it is unfair to penalize him for playing when he played. It just seems wrong to penalize some people with this unifrom knockdown. Not to mention the double standard. Most people who believe in timeline adjustment do not apply it to Ted Williams and Babe Ruth, trust me on this one as a member of Baseball Survivor of SABR I see it all the time in the discussions. If you were to wholehardedly believe in an adjustment, then you would have to arrive at the conclusion that Roger Clemens or Greg Maddix was the best pitcher ever, and yet few do that. I agree that if you are meritous then your ballot should be counted, I just want to help convince people to either not make an unfair adjustment, or at least if you are going to do something so foolish, at least be foolish in that regard for everyone. I probably won't influence anyone though :(

Posted 4:35 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#44) - Dan Passner
by the way, I do not mean to be rude or obnoxious or anything, and I apologize if I come off like that. However, I see this Hall of Merit as the only chance a lot of great players who died a long time ago have at honor. There is no one else arguing for them and I feel that they should not be shunned in the way that they have been in the past. Some of these measures look like they might prevent some of these players from doing as well in the voting as their numbers indicate, so I speak up to defend them. Anyway, how often are we going to vote? Thanks.

Dan

Posted 5:42 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#45) - Robert Dudek
Dan...

I'm sure there are many people who feel the same way that you do. There are ways to estimate the relative quality of play in a league: for example, the quality of play in the Union Association was significantly inferior to the National League in 1884. It's not hard to come up with evidence that this is so.

I don't know when the first real election will be or how often we will vote after that, but we (Joe and I) plan to have the first straw poll before March 15th (National Association players).

Posted 6:36 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#46) - John Barcus (e-mail)
Hi. I just came across the Hall of Merit plan a couple of days ago (a link from a link from a link from something Rob Neyer wrote, I think), and I think it's a fantastic plan. A few thoughts on some of the topics I've seen so far. Lengthy thoughts, but just pretend it's four or five separate responses if you like!

I think a weighted MVP-style vote is appropriate. Somebody must know whether the "14" in 14-9-8... has any particular basis, or if it could as justifiably be 13 or 15 or something else. To me, it seems pretty heavy, especially in an election not designed to result in one choice, but in two (or more). I'd favor something more like 13-11-8... in an election for two spots, maybe something like 12-10-9-7... in an election for three spots. The reason (with no mathematical basis or anything to back this up) is that we're dealing with shades of greatness, so to speak. It's usually a lot clearer who's the #1 in an MVP race, and the large separation seems more justified. Here, where, to use a recent HOF example, the line between Robin Yount and George Brett might not be 14-9, but a two-point separation at most (favoring Brett, on intangibles, in my opinion, but that's many elections down the road). Does that make sense?

Regardless of whether a 14-9 system or a less-weighted system is used, I'm ambivalent on whether "bonus points" should be used. It might allow a dedicated minority of voters to push a marginal candidate in by the ballot, when otherwise they would have to use stats and other tools to convince the majority and swing the vote that way, similar to the way that Tony Perez (no comment on justifiability) was finally accepted by the supermajority of HOF voters. What I can't decide is whether I like the idea that a dedicated minority could push a candidate in with bonus points. I'll reserve judgment.

Finally on the issue of a tie-breaker: if we're electing two players in a given year, I think the best way to break a tie is to see how many times Candidate A was listed either first or second on ballots, and how many times Candidate B was so listed, and whoever has more is the choice. Why? Because that tie-breaker would give the spot to the candidate that more people considered one of the two best in the pool. In the unbelievably unlikely event of a tie there, I'd go with Robert's second option (player listed higher on a given ballot "wins" that ballot, most ballots won is in). Of course that could end in a tie, too, in which case the eleciton would be in the hands of the House of Representatives (i.e., Rep. John Conyers, baseball expert, gets to cast the tie-breaking vote.)

And a final, final thought (and this may already be in the works, so forgive me). Before each election, a discussion thread should be opened up for each potential candidate, and proponents (or opponents) of a particular candidate should be free to make the kinds of arguments that have been made here with reference to Ed Reulbach. That would also be the appropriate place to note any special off-field accomplishments, so that if any voters wished to take those into account, they could. I don't think that off-field should be considered, but also don't think there should be a "rule" against it since it will inevitably be up to each voter whether to enhance Curt Flood and/or penalize Pete Rose, for example. The rule that everyone has to explain/justify their votes should go a long way.

Looking forward to continuing the process and the first straw poll.

Posted 6:49 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#47) - Wallbanger
Robert, I must respectfully diasgree with your statement that ballots will not be counted if there is a 'lack of understanding'. Each one of us has the right to vote for whomever we feel is deserving. I, for one, would be offended if my ballot was thrown away because some committee didn't think it was up to their standards.

Anyone who frequents this website already has an ingrained knowledge of baseball, and a wish to expand on that knowledge in the non-traditional sense. As I wrote in an earlier post, we all are intelligent baseball fans. Nitwits are not coming to this site. If they are, most aren't staying long enough to let the first blog load up. To insinuate that any one of us could be one of those 'nitwits' is an affront to all of us. If it is up to the majority (or whatever cutoff is deemed appropriate) that Tom Veryzer should be in the Hall, then so be it. The minority may not like it, but they will have to deal with it. Of course, Tom Veryzer will not be inducted, we are all too knowledgeable to do that. It seems to me that this is something that everyone here is taking seriously, and no unworthy candidates will be inducted. Everyone has their own ideas on what makes a player worthy of the Hall of Merit, and when everyone's ideas are counted, the proper list of Meritous Players will be produced.

To be brief, artificial restrictions SHOULD NOT be put on any phase of this election process, from counting/not counting votes, to the size of the hall, to how many players we elect in a particular vote. I am sure it is your wish to have this Hall be representative of the wishes of all members of the Baseball Primer community. We can argue day and night about which players belong in. Let's have it so everyone's thoughts are accounted for.

As a final statement to emphasize my point (as if it hasn't been done already)...
Anyone over the age of 18 can vote for me as President in 2004---it doesn't mean I am going to win.

Posted 8:09 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#48) - Robert Dudek
Wallbanger...

Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts.

You may be right about the irrational ballots, but I feel that there should at least be discussion about the possibility of setting up a mechanism to discount ballots which are clearly non-sensical.

It's not so much nitwits I'm worried about, but rather people who have a particular favorite player and might under some circumstances be tempted to omit someone like Christy Mathewson or Tris Speaker from their ballot (when they come up) in the hopes that their guy gets a few extra points edge over his rivals.

I don't feel that your analogy to US politics is apt. Who becomes president is largely determined by who is nominated by the two major parties, so the choice is HIGHLY restricted. The equivalent would be if Joe and I and a few other hand-picked people decided to put forward a ballot of 10 players for the first election and asked the eloctorate to choose the 5 best (half of them). That is nothing like what we have here.

I cannot agree with you at all about not restricting the number of inductees in a particular election. In our view (Joe's and mine) this is an essential element in getting people to focus on the question "Who is better than whom" rather than "Who belongs in the Hall and who doesn't"

The number of members to be elected is still an open issue as far as I'm concerned. We have some flexibility as we can add more inductee spots in subsequent elections (or decrease them) if the HoM community thinks it is appropriate.
   111. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:33 AM (#2631026)
Posted 8:59 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#49) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Tom Veryzer doesn't belong in the Hall of Merit!?! How about Omar Moreno? :)
Seriously, Dan is probaly right about Ted Williams or Babe Ruth not being included in a normal debate about a timeline adjustment. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be. Ted and the Bambino (especially the Babe) played in a time where they could dominate their era more than a player today because the average player was substandard compared to today's player. I think you have to make some real good argument to say that the players pre-1947 were better than today when they excluded many ballplayers because of their skin.

Before 1900, the National League was more or less an Eastern-Midwest league. Southern ballplayers don't really show up until after 1900. Western players don't really show up on the scene until the twenties. Scouting ballplayers was much more difficult than it is now because the minor leagues were independently owned. As mentioned before, African-Americans were excluded. Major League talent was taken from a very narrow section of the American population. Who knows how many quality (or Hall of Fame caliber) players slipped through the cracks.

With that said, I do think you have to take the very best players from each position pre-1900. There is about thirty players in the Hall of Fame now - that seems reasonable to me (though I would like to see a few more infielders and a couple less pitchers like Pud Galvin).

One comment about the AA: I don't think it was any worse (relatively) to the National League than the American League was at the turn of the last century. In the late seventies, Dr. Richard Cramer created a way to examine the qualty of baseball throughout it's existence. While the study was fatally flawed as a means of doing this, as a means of studying the strength of a league in a couple of year span, it held water (as Bill James stated). According to the study, the AA was weak (as the AL was in the early 1900's) for the first couple of years, than appeared to be the equal of the NL by the middle of the 1880's. I therefore think we shouldn't totally ignore that league, but the UA should be. James was on the money with his analysis of the quality (or lack of quality) compared to the NL or AA. There is no way "Sure-Shot" Dunlap really deserves a mention as a HOM (though he was a good player).

Posted 9:56 p.m., January 13, 2002 (#50) - Toby
I think it would be useful to come up with some sort of policy statement about the criteria for election. For example:

What weight can/should be given to off-field accomplishments (e.g., time served as manager [Cronin, Lemon, etc.], or as player-manager [Boudreau])?

What weight can/should be given to off-field misdeeds (e.g., Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Dave Parker, Orlando Cepeda, the 1951 Giants' sign-stealing ...)?

What about ON-FIELD misdeeds, e.g., Juan Marichal's murderous bat-wielding, Gaylord Perry's spitballing, Roberto Alomar's spitting, Ty Cobb's maliciously spiked feet?

What weight can/should be given to postseason play?

What weight can/should be given to accomplishments recorded in non-"major leagues", e.g., Federal League, Negro League?

What weight can/should be given to accomplishments in the "major leagues" in eras when a significant number of people talented enough to play in the major leagues were not present, e.g., WWII, Federal League era, and arguably the entire pre-integration era?

Posted 12:03 a.m., January 14, 2002 (#51) - scruff
I'll try to touch the issues raised . . .

Bonus Points -- I agree that we need to be careful here. Robert's restrictions seem to be reasonable. I think we should use it for the straw polls and see how it works.

DanG and DanP -- I think we should try to be about as inclusive as the current Hall, for a bunch of reasons. First it makes for good comparisons. Once we're done, we have a directly comparable list of players that are in one and not the other, which is nice (and a goal of the project when I first thought of it). Also, I think it is a reasonable number. We'll get plenty of 19th Century stars, don't worry Dan, that's why we are starting in 1915, not 1936. I wanted to start in 1900 originally, but Robert convinced me 1915 would be better.

Bad ballots -- there's a fine line here. Forcing people to justify their ballot and posting them is a great start. I hope that's all that's needed, but you never know what someone might submit. If someone could come up with a creative way to "police" the vote I'd be all ears, but I agree we need to be careful here.

Posted 12:07 a.m., January 14, 2002 (#52) - scruff
Toby and John, I started that last post before your comments were posted . . . I was sidetracked a little, I'll hit what you guys brought up tomorrow . . .

Posted 10:08 a.m., January 14, 2002 (#53) - DanG (e-mail)
I brought this up in my long posting under the topic "Welcome to the Hall of Merit", and it would be a solution to the problem of Bad Ballots: create a ballot to vote from.

I suggest a 100-person ballot, since IMO there is zero chance that a viable candidate will be omitted with this size ballot. (Even that is probably more candidates than we really need, but it seems like a fair number to pacify the anti-ballot crowd.)

Restricting candidates in this way will rub some people the wrong way, but it makes our job easier to narrow the field of candidates, promoting a more thorough study of the true candidates. I mean, try it yourself: compile a ballot of the top 100 players retired by 1910. By the time you get down into the 80's and 90's you'll be saying Who Cares - it doesn't matter who's on the ballot or not, because you're in the realm of players who you can hardly make a reasonable argument for greatness.

But there will be no bad (or even below average) candidates. We would eliminate the possibility of some terrorist element stuffing the ballot box for Tom Veryzer, since he wouldn't be on the ballot.

So who's going to create this ballot? Again, I think any reasonable person could make a 100 person ballot. Hows about a straw vote, kinda like the weakest link: Joe and Robert could come up with a 120-person ballot and we could vote off the weakest 20. Goodbye!

Dan

Posted 10:40 a.m., January 14, 2002 (#54) - Dan Passner
I think it is a good idea, however I think the list of 100 should be used only as a guideline and not the be all end all. If someone wants to vote for someone not in the Top 100, let them, because that player won't get in anyway. The top 100 should just remind people who the candidates are so that they don't forget to put a viable candidate on their list due to forgetfulness or senility :) Any thoughs on this use of G's 100 list?

Posted 11:35 a.m., January 14, 2002 (#55) - Toby
As far as voting goes, I have a couple of separable suggestions. The general tenor of my suggestions is to consider melding several different voting approaches rather than a single approach.

1. Create a list of nominees, as has been suggested already. The number of nominees should be three to five times the anticipated/desired number of inductees. Something like that.

2. I'm comfortable with the idea of having a couple designated people make the list of nominees. Have three or four respected people each independently create a list. All names common to all lists are automatic nominees. Names not common to all lists can be debated and then voted in/out as nominees.

3. Consider using a weighted point system. That is, present the voters with a ballot listing all nominees. Allow the voters to assign points to nominees as they see fit, within certain parameters. For example, you might allow a voter to give anywhere from 0 to 5 points to a nominee, but a given voter must give not more than 100 points total and not less than 50 points total (assuming there are about 100 nominees). The point of this exercise is to allow each voter to register not only the binary in/out choice but a range of enthusiasm.

4. Consider using two entirely different voting systems, a yes/no system (call it the Senate) and a weighted points system such as the one I outline above (call it the House). Those who qualify for induction under both systems are in; those who qualify under one but not the other would be subject to further debate and some sort of additional runoff election.
   112. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:34 AM (#2631028)
Posted 11:57 a.m., January 14, 2002 (#56) - MattB (homepage)
On May 10, 1980, Tom Veryzer went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI, raising his batting average year-to-date to .343. His RBI provided the margin of victory in Cleveland's 5-3 defeat of AL powerhouse Seattle, knocking their starting pitcher Byron McLaughlin out of the game in the second inning.

Okay, so he wasn't much on career value, but his peak value (defined as the period between May 9, 1980 and May 11, 1980), was comparable to some of the game's greats.

So, enough of the picking on Tom Veryzer. Let's start picking on Byron McLaughlin instead.

Posted 12:14 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#57) - Robert Dudek
I like the idea of creating a 100-candidate ballot for the first election.

I think the straw polls could serve as "primaries" for the main ballot.

Once the ballot is finalized, voters who feel that someone has been left out could submit them and their rationale for including them. I don't anticipate there being many of these - I'm thinking here of possible Negro League candidates.

Once this ballot is finalized, I think it is important that voters DO NOT include anybody not on the ballot in their voting. Any possible oversights can be rectified for the following election.

I think Toby's dual system is a bit complicated and I strongly resist any kind of "yes/no" element entering into the voting.

Posted 12:50 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#58) - Wallbanger
I never knew a tom Veryzer reference would have created such a stir! In response, though, I can understand the fact that its a who vs. who game, but that is not what this should be about. It should be about the best of the best. If three of them happen to come up at the same time, how do we in good conscience eliminate one of them? I know you can say that he will probably be elected anyway, but what about consideration for the 1st-ballot entries the next time around?

As far as the justified ballot, it sounds like you want us to elect people that you want us to elect. If I feel (I don't) that Ed Walsh was superior to Christy Mathewson, why should my choice be questioned?
Because you don't agree, or more to the point, that your stats disagree?

I can see your point on the 2 or 3 per year limits, but I don't feel it is right to take the ballot out of someone's hand because you (or some committee) disagrees with those choices. And none of that justification--leave that to the open discussions to prove your points about players.

Gotta run will talk later

Posted 1:57 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#59) - Toby
In retrospect, Robert, I agree that the dual system (#4 in my post) is too complicated. But give the rest some consideration.

Posted 2:00 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#60) - Wallbanger
To just add a few comments...

It is admirable of you to take on this most laborious task. I just don't want it to be one person's Hall. If there are players that we as voters you want us to consider, then argue their fine points in open discussions. This is what free elections are all about. People debating back and forth on opinions.

I realize that this is your baby and you want it to be as much in reality as it was in your dream. However, there are a couple of sticking points that I feel need to be discussed with everyone here. Convince me why this is about who vs. whom, rather than who should be in the Hall.

Earlier in the thread it was mentioned how a 10-year career length was unfair because it eliminated "qualified" candidates. A 10-year career is an artificial restriction. I agree that it should be lifted. But why would this restriction be eliminated, but others remain? This restates my point from before that let the voters put the restrictions on who is in and who is out. It is the only right that the consensus of many intelligent baseball fans is the only restriction to being inducted.

I HIGHLY doubt that one person's favorite player would either
a.) make it in the Hall or
b.) block someone else

unless there was a consensus amongst the voting public that agreed with that one person.

And by the way, anyone can be voted for in a Presidential election, as an indepedent candidate, or as a write-in. Obviously, the chances of a person being elected that way are miniscule, that is the flavor of my reference, so I feel it is apt.

Thank you for your rebuttal.

Posted 2:45 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#61) - Toby
Wallbanger,

Anyone can be voted for in a Presidential election, but even if a consensus of voters choose a candidate, the candidate doesn't become president unless he or she is a natural born citizen at least 35 years old with at least 14 years residence in the U.S.

There's nothing wrong with a little line-drawing. Indeed, as I mentioned before, I think some basic line-drawing is needed. Setting a playing time threshold is essential. Otherwise the 2001 AL batting title would have been won by Manny Aybar, Charles Nagy, Pat Mahomes, and Juan Rincon.

Posted 2:52 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#62) - Eric Chalek
I think that Wallbanger's argument that a marginal candidate or a pet candidate would have trouble getting in is well founded, depending on the voting system. Simply reviewing the list of eligible candidates for this election yields a bunch of no-brainer Hall of Meriters that any rational person would vote for.

Just to take this idea out of the abstract and make it concrete here's an example. Ross Barnes's qualifications are often heatedly debated on both the yea and nay sides. He's a marginal candidate. How likely is it in the first election that any voter rationally examining the eligbles would vote for Ross Barnes over this group? Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Nichols, Clarkson, Hamilton, Keeler, Ewing, G. Davis, Delhanty, Burkett, K. Kelly, S. Thompson, Rusie, and Radbourne (to name 15). And 10-15 more among the 1871-1910 candidates have almost as good an argument as these guys. So in this first attempt to determine who are the 10 best candidates someone who thinks Barnes is a qualified candidate is going to have to look very closely at the arguments for and against Barnes to see whether they can be resolved against the powerful qualifications of these 15 (and another 15 on top of them!). And as a marginal candidate it will be difficult to swing a lot of votes to Barnes.

Which is why I would advocate that we utilize a voting system more along the MVP lines than one in which voters are allocating bonus points among candidates, ***particularly since we have a small voting population.*** Using bonus points can have the unintended consequence of putting inordinate power in the hands of a small voting block. Despite our best attempts to be scientific, we are, just like the writers and vet's committee, all human and all subject to having favorite . . . and/or not-quite-as-favorite players. Having a single ballot with standardized point allocations (like the MVP style ballot) means that there's no sliding scale and that each voter's ballot has equal weight with the others.

Posted 3:00 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#63) - Mark McKinniss (e-mail)
Eric sez...Which is why I would advocate that we utilize a voting system more along the MVP lines than one in which voters are allocating bonus points among candidates, ***particularly since we have a small voting population.*** Using bonus points can have the unintended consequence of putting inordinate power in the hands of a small voting block. Despite our best attempts to be scientific, we are, just like the writers and vet's committee, all human and all subject to having favorite . . . and/or not-quite-as-favorite players. Having a single ballot with standardized point allocations (like the MVP style ballot) means that there's no sliding scale and that each voter's ballot has equal weight with the others.

I agree that a standardized ballot is best. While I'd rather see a 10-9-8... ballot rather than a 14-9-8... ballot, the customizable "floating bonus points" ballot seems to raise more questions than it's worth.

Also, upon further reflection, the idea of extra points with a cut-off based on the number of set entries for that year (i.e. if three players are to be elected in a given election the ballot would be 14-13-12-7-6...) makes the most sense, since it best combines the differing opinions on voting method.

Posted 3:01 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#64) - Robert Dudek
Wallbanger...

Think of MVP voting. Only one player can win the MVP in a given year and everyone knows this in advance, but there is space for ten players on the ballot. Points are allocated for the placings and the winner is determined by the largest number of points.

The MVP BALLOT is not a "yes/no" answer to the question "should this player be the MVP?". If it were then there would only be room for one player on each voter's ballot. The MVP ballot operates something like this: "List, in order of merit, the ten players most deserving of the MVP award".

That's the idea we want to incorporate into the Hall of Merit voting. We believe it is far superior to the method used by the writers for HoF voting. We are asking the voter to list, in order of merit, the ten players (on the ballot) most deserving of Hall of Merit induction.

Joe and I do not wish to control virtually any aspect of this project. We are more than willing to listen to the will of the majority on almost every issue. But the "MVP type" ballot (one opposed to the "yes/no" mentality) is really at the heart of the project and I don't see that changing.
   113. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:37 AM (#2631031)
Posted 3:06 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#65) - Eric Chalek
I think that Wallbanger's argument that a marginal candidate or a pet candidate would have trouble getting in is well founded, depending on the voting system. Simply reviewing the list of eligible candidates for this election yields a bunch of no-brainer Hall of Meriters that any rational person would vote for.

Just to take this idea out of the abstract and make it concrete here's an example. Ross Barnes's qualifications are often heatedly debated on both the yea and nay sides. He's a marginal candidate. How likely is it in the first election that any voter rationally examining the eligbles would vote for Ross Barnes over this group? Anson, Brouthers, Connor, Nichols, Clarkson, Hamilton, Keeler, Ewing, G. Davis, Delhanty, Burkett, K. Kelly, S. Thompson, Rusie, and Radbourne (to name 15). And 10-15 more among the 1871-1910 candidates have almost as good an argument as these guys. So in this first attempt to determine who are the 10 best candidates someone who thinks Barnes is a qualified candidate is going to have to look very closely at the arguments for and against Barnes to see whether they can be resolved against the powerful qualifications of these 15 (and another 15 on top of them!). And as a marginal candidate it will be difficult to swing a lot of votes to Barnes.

Which is why I would advocate that we utilize a voting system more along the MVP lines than one in which voters are allocating bonus points among candidates, ***particularly since we have a small voting population.*** Using bonus points can have the unintended consequence of putting inordinate power in the hands of a small voting block. Despite our best attempts to be scientific, we are, just like the writers and vet's committee, all human and all subject to having favorite . . . and/or not-quite-as-favorite players. Having a single ballot with standardized point allocations (like the MVP style ballot) means that there's no sliding scale and that each voter's ballot has equal weight with the others.

Posted 3:08 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#66) - Eric Chalek
Apologies for the duplicate post.

Posted 3:09 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#67) - Toby
Wallbanger,

Anyone can be voted for in a Presidential election, but even if a consensus of voters choose a candidate, the candidate doesn't become president unless he or she is a natural born citizen at least 35 years old with at least 14 years residence in the U.S.

There's nothing wrong with a little line-drawing. Indeed, as I mentioned before, I think some basic line-drawing is needed. Setting a playing time threshold is essential. Otherwise the 2001 AL batting title would have been won by Manny Aybar, Charles Nagy, Pat Mahomes, and Juan Rincon.

Posted 3:13 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#68) - Toby
Whoa! My apologies also for a duplicate post.

Posted 3:30 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#69) - Toby
But let me add this on drawing hard-and-fast rules: There's no reason why there couldn't be a "hardship" procedure under which someone could petition on behalf of a meritorious player to have that player nominated notwithstanding his failure to meet all of the criteria.

Posted 3:50 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#70) - Eric Chalek
Apologies for the duplicate post.

Posted 4:17 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#71) - DanG
Wallbanger raises an interesting point: "Convince me why this is about who vs. whom, rather than who should be in the Hall."

Mainly, I think it's because we're *telling you* that the top 216 players retired through 1996 is who should be in the Hall. The question has been objectively framed. Rather than leaving to chance how many candidates will reach some arbitrary threshold of support, we have precisely defined how exclusive our Hall will be.

We could just have one big election and poll everyone one time to make our Hall. Obviously, that wouldn't be much fun. Going through history like this, we must allow a specified number with each election. That's the only way I see to end up with our target number.

On another topic, after looking at the years of retirement of hall of famers, I think we should back up our starting date by ten years. By my count, there are 18 players in the HOF who retired by 1900. So there are a sufficient number of worthy candidates if we started earlier. By 1910 there are 38 in the HOF, a big backlog.

Joe and Rob's plan gives us 40 enshrinees through year #11 (1925). (There are 53 in Cooperstown retired by 1920.) If we started ten years earlier and enshrined two every year, we'd have 42, about the same number. The benefit of the earlier start is we wouldn't have to deal with the player backlog by electing massive numbers in the early years, it would work itself out.

By inducting two players every year 1905 through 1979, then increasing to three per year 1980-2001, we'd have 216 players.

Dan

Posted 7:25 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#72) - Wallbanger
Thanks for the discussion, guys. I have no problem with general guidelines. Of course, they are needed to control the flow of votes and candidates. All I was saying was that we should not exclude anyone except based on criteria that would eliminate "X"% of the players who have ever played this game.

If there is a system that ALL of us (or majority) agree to that will establish qualified people, then I am in favor of controls. Basically, let the people decide who is qualified and who is not.

Robert, I agree with the MVP-style voting procedure. I also think that bonus points, to be awarded arbitrarily or under some complicated system is unnecessary and unfair. I guess now we are all on the same page.

As a side note--what if we included a "pyramid" type scheme that had been kicked around earlier (on another thread)?
   114. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2631032)
Posted 8:19 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#73) - scruff (e-mail)
I've been convinced about the bonus points. I'd say right now I'd vote nay -- I just don't think they are worth the trouble, and a block could push someone through with them. I think a 12-11-8-7 etc (for a year w/two enshrinees) is reasonable though.

I think the bigger issue with "bad" ballots is abuse. If I only think 3 people are "worthy" -- I could say damn the rules (name the 10 best eligibles) and vote my 3 plus 7 Jim Deshaies's. My three get a boost and the people close to them get nothing from me. It's things like that (obvious attempts to manipulate the outcome of an election) that would need policing.

I was originally planning on starting in 1900, but was convinced to start in 1915. In my "mock" personal elections I had no shortage of candidates at all. If there is support, I could definitely see starting earlier, I'd kind of lean towards it actually.

For one, it would give a few of the players from the really early years (1871-1885) a chance for "immortality". Also, the smaller the first ballot, the easier the task of sorting through the candidates, then we just add a few every year.

My initial idea for a place on the ballot was:

1 Stats, Inc. seasonal league All-Star Team (my only source for such info, I'd be fine with another).

or

1 year in the top 5 in RC-27 for a league (again easy to pluck from the Stats All Time Sourcebook).

or

Anyone nominated and seconded by a small % of the voters (say 5%).

What would you think of something like that? I like it because it's objective (just run down the lists) yet adaptable. And seriously, if a guy didn't make an All-Star Team even once he'd have a tough sell on the Hall of Merit. The only person through 1905 that would be a viable candidate that didn't make an All-Star team was George van Haltren, but he was top 5 in RC27 once (he's the reason I added that rule).

Thanks for the support/interest. I like where this is headed. This discussion has been great.

As far as off-field considerations, I'm very strongly against. Because it's too much bullshit, in all honesty. This guy was a union leader. That guy raised money for Johnny X when his house burned down in 1912. I think that stuff is irrelevant to the case of merit as a baseball player, which is what we are trying to evaluate. That other stuff adds to fame not merit as a ballplayer.

As for postseason play, I would say this. I think good performances should be a bonus, no problem there. But I think bad performances can more or less be chalked up to chance, and a player shouldn't be penalized for those. I like to think of it as extra credit in school. It can't hurt your grade it can only help it. I'm curious as to what others think.

As for managers, the idea to have a manager election every 5 years was brought up in the discussion under the original "Something Better" article. I really like that one. But I think managing and playing should be kept seperate.

I could see a critera set up for the managing election where playing could have a minimal impact, say 75/25 managing/playing or something, for the guys like Piniella and Dusty and Al Lopez that were pretty good players and managers. Or maybe have an election every 10 years for guys like that or something? I don't know, I'm brainstorming out loud here. But I think the playing and managing "wings" should be seperate.

I don't really like the pyramid idea. The pyramid idea always comes up because of what a mess the real hall is. Because we'll be taking the 2-5 best every year, and we have an informed electorate, I don't think we are going to run into that issue.

Also -- for the non-stat oriented guys. Please do not take this the wrong way.

When it does come time to discuss the merit of players, please try to listen to what some of the stat oriented people are saying. We're going to try to do a really good job of explaining the methods that are presented, and this data is pretty well conceived. There's a lot more to player evaluation than just OPS+ and fielding runs (which in all honesty are crap).

I seem to notice a lot of, "but I saw them and this guy (insert any HR-hitting, park-inflated slugger) was feared and the other guy wasn't," in the threads discussing HoFers. There's more too it than that. At least listen to what's presented and challenge the methods on their merits, not player's reputations. That's really the whole point of this. If someone says something that goes against what you think initially, try to see why the poster is saying it. He probably thought the same way as you before he looked at the stats.

I've told this story a few times in the last two weeks, but what the hell, one more won't kill it:

When I first posted a Clutch Hit about the HoF ballot for 2002, I said Ozzie was on my definite list, and Trammell was on my wait until he's running out of eligibility list. Mark McKinnis challenged me on it, saying Trammell was just as qualified as Ozzie. I thought to myself, "no way . . . Trammell was real good, but not Ozzie." But I gave Mark an hour and went and did some research. I figured out offensive wins and losses adjusted for park, DH, league. I looked at their TPR, even though I know fielding runs are garbage, I looked at the batting runs. I looked at Win Shares.

You know what I found. Trammell was every bit as valuable as Ozzie over the course of their careers, and a bunch better at their peaks. Ozzie's best year was a shade below Trammell's, but Trammell's 2 and 3 bury Ozzie. Same for 5 year peak. Career wise, Ozzie had a big defensive edge no matter what system you use, but Trammell had an even bigger offensive edge.

The moral here isn't that Trammell was better than Ozzie (although he was). The moral is that I would have never known if I didn't actually take a look at the numbers. Or if I had just said, "come on Mark, I know Trammell was good. But Ozzie was special, isn't that obvious? I'm old enough to remember their entire careers, and I remember Ozzie a lot more than I do Trammell."

Or that crap I always hear (especially from Jim Rome), "If you have to ask he wasn't a Hall of Famer." That's the ultimate bullshit statement. Very few heavily repeated cliches irk me like that one.

Jim, the reason we have to ask is because the typical sportswriter who gives us our info isn't always so well informed. So ESPN shows us 15 years of Ozzie doing backflips, but we have to double check on Trammell's credentials. That doesn't make Trammell any less qualified.

We also have to listen to new information. Especially new defensive methods, like Charlie Saeger's method (don't know it's name) and Bill James' defensive WS. These methods adjust for a lot of the false normalization of fielding stats, and have rendered older methods like fielding runs and range factors obsolete in the discussion of who was a great fielder. Because of this we'll have to re-evaluate some players who may now be shown to be among the best ever defensively at their positions, although they weren't thought to be previously.

I really hope the last few paragraphs didn't come off the wrong way. I didn't intend them to be.

Thanks again to everyone who's posted here so far. I can't wait for this project to get off the ground.

Posted 10:37 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#74) - Robert Dudek
I've come around to the idea of starting with a 1905 election. We should include all players who retired before 1901, or players who made token appearances after 1900 (like Dan Brouthers).

One idea I'd like to throw out there is instead of having 2 candidates inducted every year we could have an election every second year with 4 candidates making it - at least up until around 1960 or so. It will decrease the number of elections we need to have.

I'd still like to see how the bonus points idea works in practice - we can test it during the straw polls. I still like the idea of using straw polls as qualifyers for the main ballot and not simply using a Stats All-Star team appearance (one all-star appearance does not necessarily make a good candidate).

Perhaps we can tighten up the bonus points to 15 added to the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 structure with a max of 14 for any one player and at least 1 given to at least 7 players on the ballot. This allows some point assigning flexibility (an idea I really support) and the potential for abuse is very very limited.

Posted 10:53 p.m., January 14, 2002 (#75) - Mark McKinniss (e-mail)
Not to be a pain in the ass, but if the idea of the HoM is to serve as a comparison to the HoF, shouldn't voting start in 1936?

Posted 2:04 a.m., January 15, 2002 (#76) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Scruff wrote: Or that crap I always hear (especially from Jim Rome), "If you have to ask he wasn't a Hall of Famer." That's the ultimate bullshit statement. Very few heavily repeated cliches irk me like that one.

Jim Rome is the ultimate bullshit commentator. Punk!

I think on every ballot there should be Bill James' questions for who should be elected to the Hall. If your favorite candidate can meet the criteria, then vote for him. If not, he sits.

MVP style voting sounds good to me (if you care):)

Scruff - I thought you were going to respond to something I wrote from Sunday? Changed your mind? By the way, I had the same response to Ozzie vs. Trammell as you. If one is going to make an informed vote, one has to do a little research.
   115. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2631033)
Posted 8:51 a.m., January 15, 2002 (#77) - MattB
Re: Token Appearances

A player who makes a token appearance won't appear on the HoF ballot. If the goal is to eventually have comparable ballots when we "catch up" they should be excluded here also.

Posted 9:15 a.m., January 15, 2002 (#78) - scruff (e-mail)
Mark - we aren't necessarily trying to compare election for election. We're going under the assumption that the Hall of Fame was a little late getting off the ground. Also we want to ensure recognition for the great stars of 19th Century baseball, and walk through time, that's why we're starting earlier.

Also, it makes the initial ballot a lot smaller, so there's less clutter and confusion.

John - Despite his incredible peak in mid-May, 1980 -- I too cannot endorse Tom Veryzer for Hall of Merit induction :-)

Seriously though, as for the time-line thing, I agree with Robert, that it isn't linear like Bill James suggests; it's more of a curve. There is ample evidence it exists though. Just look at pitchers hitting stats throughout time. No one today hits like Walter Johnson did, or like Wes Ferrell or Don Drysdale even. Each generation, the pitchers' batting gets a little worse (although I think the DH being used on all levels has distorted the extent of this effect).

I think Ruth and Williams do get cut a little slack, but a good portion of Williams career came after the color line was broken. However, those guys were SO dominant that I think they still have been pegged correctly in history.

As to how to quantify it, I think one way would be to simulate a season from 1927 or 1941 and then add in to the mix a proportion of minority stars from today's game (adjusting for the population difference) and then see how far the white superstar's relative production (compared to league) changes. Then we'd have an idea of the kind of impact the color line had on Ruth or Williams' domination. That's a lot of work that I don't have time for right now. It would be nice to have some kind of quantifiable effect though.

I think the AA was inferior to the NL, but not so much so that we should just discard their achievements. Proper adjustment needs to be made, and Robert is working diligently on comparing the relative strength of the leagues. He's got comparisons that I know of for the NA-NL from 1871-1885 at this point, and will soon have much more.

Posted 9:33 a.m., January 15, 2002 (#79) - scruff (e-mail)
MattB -- I don't think the token appearance thing is a problem anymore, so I'd just as soon not worry about them. They happened all the time back in the early part of the century, and for someone like Hughie Jennings you are pushing his candidacy back 16 years, which seems strange to me. Rules should set guidelines, we shouldn't be imprisoned by them.

I'd be willing to say a player is eligible in the 5th year that he plays 10 or less major league games or pitches 10 or less innings.

As for the Gehrig/Clemente/Munson people I think we should follow the Hall's precedent and allow them on the ballot early (in whatever election the Hall allowed them on). We could even do the same for guys like Ed Delahanty and Chick Stahl. In the future it will be good to match up with the real Hall. I don't see any problem with this, what do you guys think?

I realize this might be inconsisent with the token appearances thing, but that's the beauty of it, we can pick and choose the things that we like, since we are starting anew.

Posted 12:26 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#80) - Toby
Another point to throw out for discussion. Something we are likely to need to deal with more and more:

What weight to give to play in independent non-MLB leagues?

This could apply to independent U.S. leagues, but I mean it more in the sense of the highest leagues in various baseball-playing foreign countries -- Japan, Mexico, Cuba come to mind.

For example, let's assume that Ichiro turns in 10 more seasons, 2002 through 2011, similar in value to what he's done so far. When he's up for consideration for the Hall of Merit five years later (or whatever the wait time is), do his stats in Japan count for anything?

Posted 12:29 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#81) - Toby
Yet another question:

What about performance in international competition, e.g., the Olympics?

I guess what I'm trying to get at by this post and the previous one is, is this the Hall of MLB Merit, or the Hall of U.S.-Based Baseball Merit, or the Hall of Professional Baseball Merit, or what?

Posted 12:49 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#82) - Toby
Let me conclude my trilogy of posts with this observation.

I think it should be an argument in a player's favor that he was perceived as particularly meritorious by teammates, observers, and opponents of the day. Keep in mind that even if that perception was erroneous, that perception likely caused a distortion in the way he was treated.

For example, it is sabermetric conventional wisdom that stolen bases have been overvalued since the beginning of time, and that therefore players whose claim to fame is the stolen base should be devalued. Yet that player, in his day, was causing a distortion in the game based on the perception of the stolen base's importance -- he was in fact causing pitchers to bear down extra when facing him (lowering his batting stats), distracting pitchers while on base (improving the batting stats of those around him), influencing opposing managers to emphasize defense rather than offense at the catcher position, and so on.

Likewise, a hitter who is perceived as exceptionally dangerous (even though he's not) is going to impact the game in accordance with that perception. He is going to be pitched around and intentionally walked more, he is going to prompt the summoning of specialized, tougher relief pitchers to face him, and so on.

For these reasons, the impressions and opinions of the actual eyewitnesses really should be given some weight -- not because contemporary reputation should be a factor in the abstract, but because contemporary reputation actually does affect how the game plays out on the field, and thus distorts the statistical data.

I suspect this is a very small factor, but it is a factor nonetheless.
   116. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2631034)
Posted 1:08 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#83) - Toby
As another example, the sacrifice bunt today is considered to be a fairly worthless, even counterproductive, strategy. But back in the day it was considered a fundamental skill, even though that was probably a foolish way to consider it. So a player who may have been held in high regard for his ability to drop a bunt would be treated by today's sabermetric analysis as if he had an extra appendix -- curious, but not meritorious.

Another example would be the dreaded Clutch Hitting. The average fan and the typical player or manager BELIEVES in it as a skill or ability that some people have and some don't, and they manage accordingly.

To put it another way, is this a Hall of Meritorious Play or is it a Hall of Optimized Play?

Posted 1:50 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#84) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Scruff - Is the reduced hitting statistics of pitchers now due to the increased quality of major league pitching or is it that pitchers don't hit in the minors (or in the AL)? If you don't use it, you lose it. Something to ponder...

Nobody can deny that Ruth and Williams were monster players: I had no intention to suggest otherwise. But even Teddy Ballgame's post-1947 stats were created in an era where the statistical deviation between the best and worst players was about the same as it is now - with 14 teams less! If His Budness wanted to contract MLB to the pre-expansion 16 teams, would it be conceivable to have a batting champ who exceeded the average by only 40 points? Something to ponder...

Another point about Ruth - I have a problem with that initial generation of sluggers (including Gehrig, Hornsby, Foxx, etc..) Were they as dominant (making a correction for the quality of competition) as they appear? They stand out even more so because they were a tiny minority who were playing a different game (the uppercut) than the vast majority (the non-uppercut). The runs they created are rightfully theirs: they helped their teams by doing something different. But when we compare their accomplishments to the rest of baseball history, would they be as super-human as they appear? I have no doubt they would still be at the top of their position's list (if not number one), but would their stats be closer to what greatness is defined now today in baseball. Of course, Bonds had a Ruthian season last year, so maybe they were as good as they appear! Something to ponder...

Last point: I think we should induct Negro League players from the generation pool they came from. In other words, we should not be electing a comparable amount of players from MLB from 1910-1950 as compared to other generations, PLUS the Negro League players. This would give that generation of players an unfair advantage over other eras in terms of numbers. This, to my mind, should not diminish the amount of Black players, but cut back on some of the White players.In fact, I would like to see a few more Negro Leaguers. But I wouldn't have a cow over not implementing this policy. Something to ponder...

Enough of these ponderous ponderings! :-)

Posted 4:18 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#85) - Robert Dudek
Toby...

If you can find evidence for the effects you are talking about as they pertain to particular players then I think it is quite valid to consider them. If not, then I would think that these kinds of factors should not be given great weight. Of course, in the end, everyone has to come to their own conclusions about these things.

The yardstick I use is the extent to which a player helped his team win, relative to his peers, modified by other contextual factors like time missed due to war, the color line and other considerations affecting the quality of play in a given league.

Posted 4:36 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#86) - scruff (e-mail)
John -- agreed on the Negro Leaguers vs. overpopulation from 20's issue. That's why Negro Leaguers are voted on in the same election as their big league counterparts. No special committees, etc. I do think that we are giving our voters a big responsibility there. We'll need to listen to people that are experts on the subject and ajust our ballots accordingly.

Toby -- Good points all. I think we need to use common sense. I would say injuries don't count, obviously. That's a part of the player's skill set, for better or worse, even tragic things like disease or plane crashes while on personal time (it would be an uncontrollable condition if the team bus or plane were to crash, but personal time is different).

But for things beyond a player's control, like wars, time trapped in the minors due to front office incompetence or minor league owners not willing to sell, time trapped in Japan due to restrictive contracts, etc. I think we need to use common sense and accepted methods to fill in the gaps.

If WS are as good as James says they are (or at least adaptable, if one doesn't like NewRC, use XRuns, etc.) they will go a long way towards this. We can take norms for ages and use those to fill in the gaps objectively, at least giving a reasonable, conservative estimate of what might have been. This is very important. If not, we're going to have very few players that were 24-29 during the 1943-45 period in the Hall.

I think with the exception of Negro Leaguers we need significant star calibre play in the majors (Ichiro, Rizzuto, Slaughter, etc.) to show the player was at that level. Then a fair way to fill in the gaps. That's one of the reasons I wanted to wait for the WS book to be release and examined before holding the initial election. There is so much potential with that method for things exactly like this.

A single number system has so many possibilities. Let's say you have a player with X widgets of value at the following ages:

21 - 12
22 - 23
23 - 25
24 - 29
25 - 31
26 - DNP-war
27 - DNP-war
28 - DNP-war
29 - 24
30 - 28
31 - 30
32 - 23
33 - 22
34 - 18
35 - 9

We can take a look at other players who had say 27-31 W at age 24, 29-33 W at age 25, 22-26 W at age 29 and 26-30 W at age 30 and see what the average player put forth during the years 26-28.

Or in the case of an Ichrio! or Minoso we can see what other players who had similar numbers at age 28, 29 and 30 did before age 28 and get an idea of where he stands.

I don't see how you can fairly evaluate a player without trying to estimate for factors like this.

That being said, I don't think we can go so far as to actually include strictly Japanese stars in our Hall. They weren't oppressed, they chose to stay for the most part. With the Negro Leagues you have the issue of out and out oppression, plus we have something to go on at least as far as comparitive observation, some stats, etc.
   117. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:40 AM (#2631036)
Posted 4:39 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#87) - scruff
John, I agree with the you don't use it you lose it theory.

But even from Caruthers to Johnson to Ferrell to Spahn to Drysdale there is a steady decline in the quality of the best hitting pitchers. I do agree that we can no longer use this as an objective analysis after 1973. But before then there was a pretty solid trend in place.

Posted 7:02 p.m., January 15, 2002 (#88) - jimd
Gee scruff, where's Ruth in that list of best hitting pitchers?

I want to bring up an issue that may be injury-related, maybe not (I don't know, since I never studied the issue, nor heard it discussed) but is related to 19th century baseball.

Most pitchers in the 19th century had short careers. Their numbers are impressive because they pitched nearly everyday, which may also have something to do with their having short careers. Were these guys routinely coming up with sore arms and being replaced because they were hurt, or were they being replaced because the team found somebody better?

Anybody know?

If the game itself was systematically abusing these pitchers (probably because nobody knew any better), then I would argue that modern standards of career length should not apply to them.

Any thoughts on this?

Posted 9:58 a.m., January 16, 2002 (#89) - scruff (e-mail)
Jim, I posted my thoughts on this on the other thread . . .

Posted 10:11 a.m., January 16, 2002 (#90) - DanG (e-mail)
Mark McInniss asked, "if the idea of the HoM is to serve as a comparison to the HoF, shouldn't voting start in 1936?"

Yes, but clearly the goal here is NOT to rerun the annual HOF votes (although that would also be a fun way to do things).

Where we're comparing the HoM to the HoF is in who we elect and in what order they gain election.

Toby asked, "is this the Hall of MLB Merit, or the Hall of U.S.-Based Baseball Merit, or the Hall of Professional Baseball Merit?"

Personally, I prefer the first definition. Anything more muddies the waters. However, the sentiment in this topic seems to be for the second definition. That's OK, too, but more hazardous to navigate through. The third definition gets us stuck in the swamp, encompassing the minor leaguers, Japanese, Carribean winter leagues, spring training(?), and so on.

Robert raised this point: "instead of having 2 candidates inducted every year we could have an election every second year with 4 candidates making it - at least up until around 1960 or so. It will decrease the number of elections we need to have."

The more elections we have, the more fun it will be to walk through history, IMO. However, if it works better for the moderators, we can pick up the pace and have fewer elections.

However we choose to do it, our player roster at the end won't be much different whether we have 100 elections or one election. I think the greater value is in the longer process: debating over candidates, seeing where players rank among their peers, seeing who falls just short of election, learning more about the game's history, etc.

One other thing: I still don't come up with 215 or so players currently in the HOF. There are now 189 enshrined from the regular majors as players. Then I count 17 Negro leaguers. Add in three elected as pioneers (Spalding, G. Wright, Cummings). Then two managers who might've been elected as players (McGraw, Griffith). That's 211 players in the HoF to date.

Dan

Posted 11:13 a.m., January 16, 2002 (#91) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Scruff - I have to learn to re-read the other postings so I don't repeat what has been commented on (like yours). :-)

Re: Declining pitcher's batting statistics. Aren't you proving my theory? How many more at bats did Caruthers have compared to Johnson? How many more at bats did Johnson have over Ferrell, etc...? The more at bats, the more the pitcher could retain his hitting skill. I don't neccessarily feel that explains the whole phenomena of declining hitting, but probably explains much of it. I do agree with you that hitting has improved, I just don't think we can prove it from examing the batting stats of pitchers.

Posted 11:43 a.m., January 16, 2002 (#92) - Steve Cameron
I think further clarification is needed on the goal.

If this is to be the hall of MLB merit, is there a reason to induct Negro Leaguers who never played in the bigs? It seems somewhat contradictory to do so, considering we're not considering other leagues.

I think one needs to give extra credit to managers, announcers, groundbreakers & the like if the definition of this thing does not include the word PLAYING. I haven't seen a lot of sentiment for it, but I think it needs to be brought up so that more precise definitons of either the "hall" or the inductees can begin.

Posted 12:35 p.m., January 16, 2002 (#93) - John Murphy (e-mail)
Is it supposed to be the Hall of MLB Merit? I don't think any of the creators of the Hall have ever mentioned not excluding the Negro League players. Forgetting the fact that they are in the HOF now, I can't fathom not allowing players who were excluded from the MLB, not because of talent, but for the color of their skin.

As for other leagues, that is a toss-up. I'm inclined to allow qualified minor-leaguers if there is a way of comparing their statistics to the major league. I'm certainly in favor for giving credit to major-leaguers who had many years in the minors (such as Lefty Grove or Gavvy Cravath) where they could have easily been playing in MLB.

As for giving credit for a variety of different baseball occupations, I'm against that. If we want to set up other wings for managers, announcers, writers, etc.., that's a great idea. Does Charlie Grimm deserve to be in the HOM because he had many years as a player and manager, even though he wasn't great at both positions? I think we should be rewarding excellence, not years served.

Posted 2:34 p.m., January 16, 2002 (#94) - DanG
I thought I'd weigh in on the topic of MVP-style voting points.

I've always had a small problem with the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and similar formats used, because the point totals achieved by players relate poorly to the players' actual values. The #1 man is not usually twice the value of the #6 man; the #9 man is not twice the value of #10; The #3 man is not four times the value of the #9 man, etc.

The hill is too steep. I'm thinking more along the lines of a distribution starting like this: 5-5-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1. Along with this, 5 bonus points are to be distributed, no more than 2 to any one player, for a total of 35 points on each ballot.

The top-loaded extreme looks like this: 7-7-5-4-3-3-2-2-1-1.

The bottom-loaded extreme is: 5-5-4-4-3-3-3-3-3-2.

The tilt-the-ballot-to-one-man ballot is: 7-5-4-4-3-3-3-2-2-2. This one especially is reminiscent of a typical TPR leaders list.

The tilt-the-ballot-to-two-men ballot is: 7-7-4-4-3-3-2-2-2-1.

I think this gradual point distribution enables voters to better reflect the relative values of the candidates they're voting for. There just is not that big a difference between the candidates in most years.

It also lessens the impact of a top vote. It's much harder to skew the results to My Favorite candidate. A high point total depends more on the consistency of a player's high ranking on the ballots cast. You would avoid an outcome such as the 1979 NL MVP vote, where the madcap Stargell-for-#1 voters pushed him into a tie with the more-consistently supported Keith Hernandez.

Dan
   118. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:40 AM (#2631039)
Posted 6:11 p.m., January 16, 2002 (#95) - jimd
The "these are my 5 guys ballot"
6-5-5-5-5-3-2-2-1-1 instead of 12-12-12-12-11-6-4-3-2-1

DanG: actually, the impact of a top-vote is the same in a 7 out of 35 system as in a 15 out of 75. You're getting 20% of the points.

Scaling them to a common denominator (525 points):
Top loaded
(75) 15-15-14-8-7-6-4-3-2-1 becomes 105-105-98-56-49-42-28-21-14--7
(35) -7--7--5-4-3-3-2-2-1-1 becomes 105-105-75-60-45-45-30-30-15-15
Bottom loaded
(75) 10-9-9-8-8-7-7-6-6-5 becomes 70-63-63-56-56-49-49-42-42-35
(35) -5-5-4-4-3-3-3-3-3-2 becomes 75-75-60-60-45-45-45-45-45-30

I can get the same effect by requiring 10th place to get 2 points on the 75 point scale. I don't think it makes a big difference.

Posted 6:16 p.m., January 16, 2002 (#96) - jimd
It's the 14 points out of 59 (traditional MVP) that has bigger impact
(like 18 on the 75 point scale or 8 on the 35).

Posted 8:03 p.m., January 16, 2002 (#97) - Dan Passner (e-mail) (homepage)
I personally think the top loaded ballot is the way to go. I also feel that WinShares is not a valid method for evaluation as it undervalues defense (in my opinion,) as uses a baseline that is way to low. TPR is the way to go, as it is a much better indicator of dominance and greatness since the baseline is average.
By the way, my first bissel of an article is up on my site. It is merely an evaluation of the catchers and first basemen in the AL East. The site screwed up a few of the names (like somehow Delgado's name got left out, and the Tampa Bay first baseman also.) I will be updating it slowly as classwork is demanding. You can see it and drop me an e-mail to tell me what you think.

Dan

Posted 11:31 p.m., January 16, 2002 (#98) - DanG
jimd wrote:
"actually, the impact of a top-vote is the same in a 7 out of 35 system as in a 15 out of 75. You're getting 20% of the points.

Scaling them to a common denominator (525 points):
Top loaded
(75) 15-15-14-8-7-6-4-3-2-1 becomes 105-105-98-56-49-42-28-21-14--7
(35) -7--7--5-4-3-3-2-2-1-1 becomes 105-105-75-60-45-45-30-30-15-15

>

I don't think it makes a big difference."

Good work and pretty much right on. I admit, I didn't look too closely at the previous scheme presented, and it's not a big difference.

However, I do think the 35 point scheme has a *slight* advantage in evenly distributing points throughout the ballot, as well as it being much easier to allocate the bonus points.

It's also a bit easier to rank players, there being more cases where different places on the ballot receive the same number of points.

Dan

Posted 8:42 a.m., January 17, 2002 (#99) - scruff (e-mail)
"I also feel that WinShares is not a valid method for evaluation as it undervalues defense (in my opinion,) as uses a baseline that is way to low. TPR is the way to go, as it is a much better indicator of dominance and greatness since the baseline is average."

Dan -- Win Shares, as far as I can tell probably values defense more than any other system out there. And much more importantly, it adjusts for the false normalization of fielding statistics, which TPR fails to do. Fielding runs are utterly useless as a metric, especially for infielders, and that wrecks TPR, beyond repair in my opinion.

Also as far as the "average" baseline goes . . . it just doesn't make sense. Very few players have truly negative value in any given season. The reason for this is obvious, they'll just get someone else if you are truly hurting the team, relative to some scrub they could pull from AAA. So if a player is 10% worse than the average player he still has value to his major league team, but TPR docks him for this, which is silly.

If fielding runs were worth a damn, and if you only counted a players "positive" TPR seasons, I could see that being a measure of star value. But to dock the player that has a few below average years at the beginning or end of his career, as opposed to just retiring make no intuitive sense.

I'm not saying WS are perfect, we don't know enough yet. But I'm pretty confident they will be a vast improvement over TPR.

Posted 9:38 a.m., January 17, 2002 (#100) - MattB
Scruff,

I'd be interested to see how many Win Shares Brady Anderson earned last year. If any player deserved a negative number, it was he. Of course, you don't cut your heartthrob veteran crowd pleasers in the middle of the season. But definitely below replacement level. If he shows up with 5 or 6 Win Shares for the year, I'll have to take that into account when determining how much weight to give the stat.

Posted 9:58 a.m., January 17, 2002 (#101) - scruff (e-mail)
My guess is Brady will probably have 5 or 6 also. I think replacement would be about 7-8 per 162 games. I've gone through the guesstimates on how I came up with that number in previous threads, don't have time to recap it now, but I remember the final number being around 7 or 8 per 162.

I think it's easier to subtract off the extra few WS above repl. level then to add on to TPR for the amount above average but below replacement. Also, WS seems exponentially better for defensive evaluation, which would tip the scales convincingly in its direction, assuming the underlying assumptions are valid.

I'm not say WS will be the be all end all. But if it can be tweaked, for say, someone who prefers XRuns to NewRC, etc. it will become an invaluable tool on the belt. We would also be able to calc both numbers for players, WS(newRC) & WS(XRuns) and get a feel for just how different the results using each formula are. I'll bet they'll end up closer than most people think. I'll also bet they end up significantly better than TPR, due to the defense issue.

Posted 11:37 a.m., January 17, 2002 (#102) - John Murphy (e-mail)
I don't know if any one has examined this, but here goes. While I feel a we definitely need to include a batter's GIDP in Runs Created, shouldn't there be some type of adjustment because of where a batter hits in a lineup? Jim Rice had many more opportunities to hit into a DP than Rey Ordonez will ever do because he batted higher up in the order. Shouldn't Runs Created take this into account so Rice is effected as greatly and Ordonez is downgraded more (if that's possible)

I know this is not a HoM question, but may be useful in terms of evaluating a player for induction. If there has been some type of an adjustment to Runs Created that I'm not aware of, a thousand pardons! :-)

Posted 1:37 p.m., January 17, 2002 (#103) - DanG
RE: Retirement Year

Let's try and nail this one down.

I think we agree that our purpose here is not to rerun the HoF voting. (If it was we wouldn?t even use a five year wait until the mid 1950?s.)

We also agree that the year a player appears in his last major league game isn?t always the appropriate year to use as his retirement year, since in a few cases it is more than ten years after his last season appearing in 10+ games or IP (e.g., O?Rourke, Jennings, Evers, Paige, Minoso).

We also agree that a reasonable definition of token appearance is ?less than ten games played or less than 10 innings pitched in a season.?

At what point should we ignore token appearances?

After looking at all players in the HoF:
? I found 34 (out of 196) who made token appearances at some point following their last season of 10+ games or IP.
? I found 25 players who made token appearances the year following their last season of 10+ games or IP. For 19 of these it was their final year.
? I found 6 players who made token appearances two years after their last season of 10+ games or IP. For four of these it was their final year (Schalk, E. Collins, Traynor, Berra).
? I found 3 players who made token appearances three years after their last season of 10+ games or IP. For one of these it was his final year (McGraw)..
? Ten guys made their final appearance more than three years after their last year with 10+ games or IP.

IMO, to simply ignore all token appearances is too extreme. We want to retain something of the flavor of the HoF procedures. To allow over 17% (34 of 196) on the ballot ?early? is changing too much. Especially in the later years we want to see how our first-ballot greats compare with the HoF vote.

A slight change from my previous rule. I propose we ignore all token appearances more than TWO years after a player?s last season with 10+ games or IP. This brings 11 current HoFers on ?early?: Paige retired 1953 (not 1965), Dean 1941 (1947), Evers 1917 (1929), Bender 1917 (1925), Clarke 1913 (1915), Griffith 1907 (1914), McGraw 1905 (1906), Jennings 1903 (1918), Thompson 1898 (1906), Brouthers 1896 (1904), O?Rourke 1893 (1904). Also many others including Minoso 1964 (1980), McGuire 1908 (1912), etc.

I also agree that players struck by terminal illness or death be allowed to waive the five-year wait. Some of these are Ed Delahanty (1903), Chick Stahl (1907), Addie Joss (1911), Ray Chapman (1920), Ross Youngs (1926), Urban Shocker (1928), Lou Gehrig (1939), Roberto Clemente (1972) and Thurman Munson (1979).

There are also a few cases like Babe Herman and Dave Stieb, who played in more than ten games their final year, but with a great gap after his previous year. I think we should say that once you?re eligible you stay eligible, even if you come back and play. For Herman we use 1937 as his retirement year and ignore his 37 games in 1945. For Stieb we use 1998 as his retirement year, since he previously played in 1993 and wasn?t yet eligible for election when he came back.

Dan
   119. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2631042)
Posted 3:38 a.m., January 19, 2002 (#104) - Ian Gray
I have a question about Negro League players. I worry that the comparative lack of data on their careers will hurt them in comparison to all-white league players. I don't quite know how adjust for this. Perhaps a special top-up election for Negro League players every five years or so, to guarantee that the best players who were discriminated against get into the HoM? I ask only because it seems to me that the current system would have them competing directly against players from the segregation-era Major Leagues, and while I have no doubt that many of them deserve election, I worry that even our admittedly intelligent electorate may accidentally overlook deserving candidates.

Posted 11:51 a.m., January 23, 2002 (#105) - Dan Passner (e-mail) (homepage)
Hey guys. Is there any news about the Hall of Merit? How long until the first vote? By the way, if anyone wants an idea of where I am coming from with my views, I just put up my list of the top 10 pitchers of all-time on my site, I hope you enjoy and I welcome opinions. I still feel that there should be a third candidate inducted every third or fourth year, but it appears to be a moot point, so I will drop it.

Dan

Posted 7:27 p.m., January 25, 2002 (#106) - NotAnotherOne
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Posted 9:20 p.m., January 30, 2002 (#107) - Battle
Your HOM sounds interesting & exciting/ is it ever going to get off the ground/ have in & out of site last 2 weeks looking for more news but not finding any/ have you guys moved

Posted 3:41 p.m., January 31, 2002 (#108) - scruff (e-mail)
Battle, I posted this Tuesday night, it applies to your comment.

"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."

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.

Posted 11:23 a.m., February 17, 2002 (#109) - Jeff McFarland
Having read the threads, I just want to mention that I do not believe any ballots should be excluded by the administrators of the HOM. I say this with all due respect for the administrators, who have come up with this brilliant idea and are managing the process. I'm grateful.

However, there's a pretty exclusive list of folks who will be voting (so far less than 100), all of whom are very knowledgable or they wouldn't be here. The average baseball fan doesn't know about HOM and has never thought about whether players who played before the voter was born should be in the Hall of Fame. I know 10 people at work who say they love baseball and many other casual fans. However, not one of those people have ever heard of Ross Barnes, Old Hoss Radbourn or George van Haltren (or Bill James or linear weights or replacement values or park adjustments or Win Shares, etc., etc.). Incidentally, I think it is perfectly okay to love baseball without getting into it the way we do, but those people aren't interested in the HOM so we don't have to worry about someone giving 14 points to David Clyde because they liked his moustache.

Certainly if you detect a rogue GROUP of voters who have colluded with each other to skew voting for some bizarre candidate (like the "Elect Larvell Blanks to the Hall of Merit" faction), you can take appropriate action (such as excluding their ballots TO THE EXTENT THEY ARE SKEWED (not necessarily in their entirety) or eliminating them from voting if they are a flagrant abuser). However, that should be the very rare exception in cases of clear abuse, rather than the norm, and it should be applied to factions, not individual ballots. One voter putting Blanks high on the list won't make any difference, and the voter may genuinely believe, right or wrong, that the candidate belongs in the HOM.

Not to get too Jeffersonian here, but if you have to justify your vote, and your vote can be tossed out for poor justifications, then it isn't really a vote. I realize that the HOM is not necessarily a democracy, but I think some people will have a hard time with the proposed anti-democratic concept of being told whether their vote is worthy or right or wrong. There's all different kinds of people, and I certainly don't agree with all of their views, but those views have a right to be expressed in the "marketplace of ideas" and to be accepted or rejected by the collective group, rather than by one or two individuals.

That's my two cents worth. I'm looking forward to seeing who we elect.

Posted 1:01 p.m., February 17, 2002 (#110) - John Murphy
I really can't say you're wrong Jeff. I think we can point people in the right direction (not to say that I'M going in the right direction), but, in the end, everybody should make their own decision and should be accepted. I certainly agree with the "marketplace of ideas" concept (inside and outside of baseball).
I think the major area of concern, for me, is stuffing of the ballot box. I could have ten (or more) screen names set up to vote for Hot Rod Ford or Cal McClish. How do you protect the system from that?
Bill James, in his Politics of Glory, proposed charging a fee ($1? $5? $10?)for the right to have a ballot. I personally would not have a problem with this (within reason). Where the money should go, that's a different matter. I do think this would put a stop to the possible corruptibility aspect.
Something to chew on..

Posted 1:04 p.m., February 17, 2002 (#111) - John Murphy

And there are people, rightly or wrongly, that believe that they are Napoleon. :-)

Posted 1:05 p.m., February 17, 2002 (#112) - John Murphy

And there are people, rightly or wrongly, that believe that they are Napoleon. :-)

Posted 1:06 p.m., February 17, 2002 (#113) - John Murphy
Jeff said: One voter putting Blanks high on the list won't make any difference, and the voter may genuinely believe, right or wrong, that the candidate belongs in the HOM.
And there are people, rightly or wrongly, that believe that they are Napoleon. :-)

Posted 1:00 a.m., February 19, 2002 (#114) - Jeff McFarland (e-mail)
I understand there are some problems with not monitoring ballots at all, because I don't want any ballot stuffing either. What about the concept of throwing out GROUPS of suspect ballots, rather than individual ballots? Wouldn't this prevent the multiple screen name concept?

The Blanks case is an easy problem because no one genuinely thinks he should be in the HOM (except his mom....maybe). It gets murkier for candidates who have a slim chance of election but are not a total joke. If the marginal candidate shows up on 20 out of 100 ballots, does that mean somebody stuffed 20 ballots, or does that mean several people in the group believed the player actually deserved some consideration (even though he wouldn't be elected in the long run)?

I'm not suggesting that NO screening be done, but I'm suggesting that thrown out ballots be VERY rare and only in egregious and obvious situations where multiple ballots are tainted.

I don't have a problem with charging for ballots. In conjunction with that (or as an alternative), you could register with the HOM administrators. In other words, we wouldn't have "open voting" on the Web site based on a screen name, but rather, would register with the HOM staff our name and home address, and the administrators would snail mail us a username and password that gives us access to the online ballot box (or would be used in an e-mail ballot). Postage could be paid with the registration fee or, if not fee is charged, the voter could send a self-addressed stamped envelope as part of the registration. At the online ballot box (or in our e-mail ballot), we would enter the screen name and password as a condition to voting. Everybody could vote only once, and this would be easy to monitor if the screen names were unique. This system would be hard to abuse, unless you had dozens of home addresses at which you could pick up mail. People may be Napoleon, but will they commit mail fraud to elect Buddy Bell to the HOM?

I'm not trying to create more work for the administrators...I'm just bouncing around ideas.

Posted 2:39 a.m., February 19, 2002 (#115) - John Murphy
I like the your idea of registering with the HOM administrators. I don't know if THEY will, but I think that would be a workable solution. Unless someone has multiple homes, nobody is going to go to the trouble of putting Omar Moreno or Buddy Biancalana on 50 ballots.
Good solution!

Posted 11:30 a.m., February 19, 2002 (#116) - scruff (e-mail)
Hey there guys, sorry for the delayed reply.

Jeff, I see your points. I don't think we were going to throw out any ballots unless they were blantantly dumb (like voting for Clay Bellinger for MVP) or if the corruption you mention was present. The justification was our "fee" as you would have it. People would have to invest a little time in their ballot, actually writing out why they made their choices.

I love your idea, of voter registration. Right now the registration consists of an address book at nymetssuck12@yahoo.com. Not ideal by any stretch. This would be easy to administer and it should eliminate all but the most elaborate of stuffing schemes.
   120. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2631045)
All of the old posts are here now for anyone to peruse. It's not perfect, but it's better than it was 10 minutes ago.
   121. DavidFoss Posted: December 02, 2007 at 02:51 PM (#2631273)
The link here from Dan's article is broken. There's an extra 9 in there that should be removed.
   122. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 02, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2631276)
Dan's link is not broken, but you need to be registered now to view it, David.
   123. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 02, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2631290)
I think he's referring to the link TO the Hall of Merit FROM the NYT piece, which is indeed bad. I don't know why.
   124. DavidFoss Posted: December 02, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2631308)
Yeah. The text is fine, but when you hover over the link and check the status bar it directs to "factory9.org". The '9' should not be in there.
   125. sunnyday2 Posted: December 02, 2007 at 04:41 PM (#2631313)
Yup, the link from the NYT piece to the HoM is bad with that pesky little 9 in there.

John, how about a thread to discuss Dan's article. For better or worse, it is and will probably forever be the most widely read summary of our work that there will ever be. I'll hold my comments until then. Though I will say I don't mean to be mysterious, the article is fine. It is not written to HoM participants obviously, it is written to people who have never heard of the HoM, so it's actually hard for me to say anything about it. It probably hits the points that would interest the masses, but I don't know that for a fact.
   126. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 02, 2007 at 04:46 PM (#2631315)
the article is fine


Sunnyday, that's just about the nicest thing you've ever said to me. :)
   127. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 02, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2631327)
There's a Newsblog thread up about it.
   128. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 03, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2631718)
Yeah, that was my bad. I should have posted the thread as soon as I heard about it. At least it's on Newsblog.
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