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Monday, March 20, 2006

The Spitter, Steroids, and the One-Year Boycott Rule

This thread was created for voters to discuss which forms of cheating they feel should or shouldn’t be under the umbrella of the Hall of Merit’s one-year boycott rule.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 11:38 PM | 100 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#1909011)
hot topics
   2. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2006 at 06:28 AM (#1909945)
.
Chris Cobb in the "Whitey Ford" thread:
>>
I think we should start analyzing Whitey Ford's numbers and stop worrying about when he started throwing a mud ball, but I think we will have to have a conversation about steroids when we reach the mid-1990s.

Here's why.

Doctoring the baseball has been an available method of cheating throughout baseball history, with established though changing rules, rituals, and mechanisms of enforcement. We are comparing pitchers who could legally scuff, moisten, or deface the baseball to pitchers who could do the same thing legally but their opponents couldn't to pitchers who broke the rules by doing the same thing. I think the only reasonable way to deal with all of these cases is to say that "there were rules" and not worry about how they changed or how exactly they were followed at any given time. Moreover, there is considerable evidence to indicate that the attitude towards doctoring the baseball when it has been ruled to be cheating has historically been that any pitcher _could try_ to do it, but only a _smart_ pitcher could do it and (1) use the illegal pitch effectively and (2) not get caught. Even though opponents and umpires try to stop this cheating, it has its own kind of recognition as a distinctive skill, not unlike the arts of not wasting time touching second base when turning the double play or learning how to apply tags so that it looks like you touched the player when actually you didn't. I can't see penalizing Ford or Perry when comparing them either to their contemporaries or to pitchers from other eras.

Doctoring one's body with performance-enhancing drugs, on the other hand, has not been an available method of cheating throughout baseball history, nor does using performance-enhancing drugs require a player to develop a distinctive skill, nor there is anything that opponents can do, in the context of play on the baseball field, to detect or stop this kind of cheating. It therefore raises more serious questions about cross-period comparisons or of comparisons of players who used steroids to their contemporaries who did not.
   3. Michael Bass Posted: March 21, 2006 at 06:50 AM (#1910025)
We're saying that scuffing is HOM-OK (as compared to juicing) because there is *skill* involved in it? What does the amount of skill have to do with the fact that it is cheating? If Palmeiro had personally brewed up the roid cocktail in his basement, would that make him a skilled juicer, and thus more worthy of votes than someone who got their stash across the border?

Moreover comparisons to not touching 2nd on a double play and faking a tag? I must have missed when getting "caught" doing those things resulted in getting ejected from games and/or suspensions.

I also fail to see how steroids raise more cross-period problems than, say, weight-lifting or advanced nutrition or juiced balls or dead balls or anything else. All numbers have their own context, and certainly in the late 90s, offense was cheaper than in other eras. Adjustments are accordingly made (in almost all the stats we use, OPS+, WS, WARP).

As for the non-cheating players, I see no meaningful difference between the players who didn't juice and those who didn't/don't scuff. The fact that one could theoretically catch someone scuffing is kind of offset by the infintessimal number of people caught vs. people who've done it.

(Oh and one more thing...I hope that everyone who plans on knocking the roid users has a penalty in mind for...oh...essentially every 60s and 70s player who dropped the quite illegal and performance enhancing greenies en masse before every game)
   4. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2006 at 06:54 AM (#1910037)
Chris Cobb contrasted cheating via performance-enhancing drugs with cheating by altering the baseball in three respects.
- PE drugs have not been an available method of cheating throughout baseball history.
- Using PE drugs [does not] require a player to develop a distinctive skill.
- There is [not] anything that opponents can do, in the context of play on the baseball field, to detect or stop this kind of cheating.

I don't believe the third point can buttress the edifice much, if at all.

Perry pitched in 777 games, 690 in the starting lineup, and admittedly used the spitter throughout his career. One day, after more than 600 starts, credited with more than 300 wins, he was ejected. So I'm sure that his opponents were frustrated or resigned and would have said essentially "there is nothing we can do" if asked to articulate it. Isn't it practically true that there was nothing they could do about it?
   5. Chris Cobb Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:48 AM (#1910096)
Michael Bass wrote:

We're saying that scuffing is HOM-OK (as compared to juicing) because there is *skill* involved in it?

Michael, no "we're" not saying that. I am making that argument. I have no authority for my position other than any reasonableness it might have. I don't mind you disagreeing with my arguments. However, I'd prefer not having my position presented as if it were a group position advanced in order to further some conspiracy to punish steroid-users because of contemporary furor about the issue.

In fact, I prefaced my whole comment, though Paul didn't paste it over here, by saying that my general position is that we shouldn't be worrying about the rules, but that I didn't think that doctoring the baseball with illegal-by-the rules substances and doctoring the body with illegal-under-the-law performance-enhancing drugs were identical issues.

To return to the question:

We're saying that scuffing is HOM-OK (as compared to juicing) because there is *skill* involved in it? What does the amount of skill have to do with the fact that it is cheating?

The issue here is one of merit. How does the game of baseball, and its fans, view the kind of cheating represented by doctoring the baseball? It appears to me, by looking at how the game of baseball has treated Ford and Perry and Honeycutt and Niekro, etc., that even though they were all cheating, the pathetic cheater Honeycutt who cuts his face with a thumb tack is ridiculed for his clumsiness more than he is reviled as a cheater, while the artful and resourceful cheater Perry is elected to the Hall of Fame with no more than token protest. Maybe this history shows the moral laxness of baseball and its fans, but I think doctoring the baseball is often viewed as a shrewd way of gaining an advantage by covertly breaking a rule. I am not saying that "this makes it ok," but I am saying that there is evidence that people view this sort of cheating as having merit. If, as voters for the Hall of Merit, we are concerned to identify merit, does not this widely held attitude suggest that there is little ground in the history of MLB for treating doctoring the baseball as an activity that detracts from the merit of a player's on-the-field accomplishments?

The reaction to the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs has been very different. Where were the congressional hearings on the spitball?? (Perhaps we had better Congresses in those days.) Maybe it is morally inconsistent of the baseball world to take a different attitude. Myself, I think the sports leadership stinks of hypocrisy about the issue. However, I don't think the idea that steroids are something of a different case from spitballs can be wholly dismissed.

I wrote, of steroids:

- There is [not] anything that opponents can do, in the context of play on the baseball field, to detect or stop this kind of cheating.

Paul Wendt wrote:

I don't believe the third point can buttress the edifice much, if at all.

Perry pitched in 777 games, 690 in the starting lineup, and admittedly used the spitter throughout his career. One day, after more than 600 starts, credited with more than 300 wins, he was ejected. So I'm sure that his opponents were frustrated or resigned and would have said essentially "there is nothing we can do" if asked to articulate it. Isn't it practically true that there was nothing they could do about it?


I don't think that is the case. They may not have been able to do _as much_ about it as they should have been able to do, but their capacity, and the capacity of the umpiring crew, to scrutinize both the pitcher's activity and the evidence provided by the baseballs themselves placed meaningful limits on the extent of the doctoring a pitcher could do and get away with it, even in an era of lax enforcement of the rule. Perry couldn't bring a pail of black ink to the mound and dip baseballs in it, for example. The only limit on performance-enhancing drugs, absent a reliable and thorough testing program that limits players to cutting-edge undetectable drugs, is the user's own health or the drug's own limits. Would it be true to say that no (known) ball-doctoring pitcher in the era in which ball-doctoring has been forbidden has exceeded what contemporary pitchers of great talent have been able to accomplish without ball doctoring? I think so (though I await correction), but I don't think the same can be said about body-doctorers. The openness of ball doctoring to scrutiny works to limit its effects even if the perpetrators are not caught.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: March 21, 2006 at 01:09 PM (#1910188)
As soon as we can identify every pitcher who threw a shine ball or a mud ball or whatever, and as soon as we can discount each of them appropriately, then I'll include Whitey Ford among the discountees.
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:42 PM (#1910345)
Again, I'm really on the fence on all this. I can see each side's point very clearly and find them both equally compelling.

So let me just ask this again to the group, but put it in the context of Whitey Ford:

Let's say you've got Whitey Ford absolutely dead even with Sandy Koufax in every way possible. But Ford admitted to cheating. Would you rank Ford below Koufax? <u>All other things being equal</u>.

(Feel free to substitute any pitcher of your liking for Koufax.)
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:51 PM (#1910360)
Let's say you've got Whitey Ford absolutely dead even with Sandy Koufax in every way possible.

Fortunately, that conundrum wont be facing me in '73. ;-)
   9. karlmagnus Posted: March 21, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#1910426)
Dr. C, yes, marginally. But even though I giove Ford a discount for cheating, and another for being a Yankee (weak competition during his ascendancy), he's still clearly above my in/out line. There will doubtless be a borderline case, but Ford isn't it and looking forward nor's Perry.
   10. jingoist Posted: March 21, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#1910669)
I wasn't around for the early elections.
That said IOW, did the electorate debate "unethical" actions of some players, i.e.; Cobb's sliding into fielders with his spikes high to inflict injury, thus gaining an advantage over his opponenets teams thru agressive yet leagal actions?
If not, why not? You're debating a similar set of issues in this thread.

Some players have always stretched the limits of what is fair/ethical/moral to gain an advantage and win games; improve their statistics; increase their value/pay.
Many got paid handsomely for results based partly on their questionable actions.

If you are about to moralize about steroids, throw the first stones at the owners who collectively winked and kept their mouths shut while revenues grew alongside biceps.
It's baseballs dirty little secret of the 1990s-today; just like racism was for bballs first 75 years.

I say throw them all out or let them all stay.

Trying to moralize about which sin is the most venal is like counting angels on the head of a pin.
   11. DL from MN Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#1910776)
What if I have Whitey Ford 2 ballot slots above Billy Pierce? Do I give Pierce extra credit for not admitting to altering the ball?
   12. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:24 PM (#1910789)
I say throw them all out or let them all stay.

I agree they all stay in. I have all along.

My question is how much heed to pay to it in direct player-to-player rankings? Again, best epitomized in Raffy versus Doggie. Or Ford v. Pierce? Or Perry v. somebody.

Does our constitution prescribe or proscribe a certain stance on this stuff? I don't think it does, so it's a weird middle ground to be in, in part because we just haven't had any players like this so far (who have admitted to widespread cheating post facto).

I think the reason we haven't had players like this so far is because the age of insider journalism hadn't yet started in baseball. It was starting to open up in the 1960s, then Ball Four exploded everything, leading to tell-alls like the Bronx Zoo as well as to investigative journalism in the game.

I apologize if I'm annoying everyone in my persistence, but I'm personally at sea on this, and I've only got two weeks to figure it out.
   13. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:28 PM (#1910802)
For me personally - I don't have time to read fully / digest the discussion right now, the only time I could see raising the morals clause issue is for throwing games.

The problem with trying to single out anyone for using steroids is that the whole era is at issue. For everyone we think we know did it, there are many others that we don't suspect. How many of you would have thought Alex Sanchez was a steroid user? Not to mention that not very many people within the game thought enough of it to actually try to do anything about it.

The spitball is a non-starter for me. They got away with. Their teams won games because of it. The Giants won the NL West in 1971 by 1 game. Perry was their 2nd best pitcher, without that spitter, they don't win the pennant.

If you start penalizing for the spitter, how about the ruffians of the 1890s. What about the people in 1870 who skirted the rules by throwing more and more overhand? Corked bats?

I know that steroids are different. But it doesn't matter - players have been using greenies since the 1950s. The biggest problem is, we don't know who did what. And again, they aren't going to take back any pennants. The analogy that I heard the other day that fits most is . . . you can appeal a play before the next pitch. If you don't, too bad, it's in the books. That's what I think of steroids. Do what you can to weed it out going forward, but what's done is done as far as the past goes.
   14. sunnyday2 Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:51 PM (#1910892)
I'm certainly gonna be docking Juan Rincon.
   15. TomH Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#1910895)
This thread makes me think. Ouch, brain hurts.

I ask myself the following questions:

1.Should I penalize a player more than the MLB-enforced penalties (e.g., suspension for corked bat)? Especially if the player was known to cheat without getting caught?
2.Is getting away with something that is technically against the rules punishable, if this player was able to ‘get away with it’ more than others?
3.Hypothetically, if a player was able to aid his body with a supplement (legal or not) that gave him great ability for 4 years and then caused death – do I give him credit for this artificially great peak/prime? When others chose not to since they cared more about long-term health than short burst of success?
4.If a certain form of cheating was used but only available for a limited period of MLB history, should I discount the actual value rendered by this cheating?

After thought, my answers. As of now.

1.Normally, no extra penalty. But if there seems to be a pernicious look-the-other-way by MLB at someone’s cheating, such that they SHOULD have been bounced but were not, or they probably WOULD have been caught if they had played 20 years earlier or later or on some other team or whatever, I would dock them whatever I deemed right. When law enforcement is generally lax, we all like to see crooks get punished on the severe side once they get caught. The grin on my face when the 90-mph weaving Ferrari finally gets pulled over; because I feel like whatever he gets fined, he deserved twice that. Gaylord Perry is an example of someone who I will discount a few ‘wins’. This is effectively an answer to Dr C's question - all other things equal, I'd take KKKKoufax over Ford

2.Michael Jordan gets away with traveling. Maddux getting strike calls off the outside corner. These are almost part of the game; when you reach a certain status, this stuff happens, I may not like it, but it’s part of the game. Unless it was an unusually pernicious situation, but there are no examples I can think of here.

3.If someone makes a deal with the devil, yes, I’d discount their stats. Of course it’s tough to know what Mr. Caminiti WOULD have done in 1996….but I’m not going to fully credit his MVP performance for the Hall of MERIT. RIP tho Ken.

4.Since I fall somewhere toward the “mixed” end of the value vs ability debate – moving hypothetical Ruths and Bondses into other eras to see if they would have been as great – IF the evidence says that Bonds helped his cause greatly by injecting something that many others felt morally or practically unable to do, and this would not have been available to him in 1880 or 1930 or 1980; then I would knock his artificially-enhanced stats.
   16. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 21, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#1911202)
Right now I will hold out anyone who tests positive for one year. Bonds, I may or may not hold out, have to think about that one. However, Bonds is clearly in and we have no concrete evidence for McGwire and Sosa (like we seem to have for Bonds). Palmeiro right now is the hardest case as we know he has done steroids and is near the borderline (I'd have said in before)unlike Canseco and Caminiti who aren't too close.

As for spitballs or scuffballs, no deductions.
   17. karlmagnus Posted: March 21, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#1911245)
Anyone who wants to elect Palmeiro but is worried about steroids can salve their conscience by electing Beckley instead :-)
   18. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#1911298)
Anyone who wants to elect Palmeiro but is worried about steroids can salve their conscience by electing Beckley instead :-)

:-)
   19. Mister High Standards Posted: March 21, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#1911339)
I've never understood why there was only a 1 year boycott rule. That really isn't a penalty if his stats put him in, because he will just be elected in the second year.

If the man was a cheater, I see no reason why you should honor him. That goes for Bonds, Perry, Ford, Nettles, Raffy. Though I don't think it goes for McGwire, Canseco, or Mantle, Aaron or Mays - as what they were doing wasn't considered cheating at the time.

I don't vote so it doesn't really matter, but that's always been one of the reasons I haven't voted.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#1911367)
I've never understood why there was only a 1 year boycott rule. That really isn't a penalty if his stats put him in, because he will just be elected in the second year.

I actually argued at the beginning of this project that we should have the right not to vote for a player. I didn't want to honor Jackson or Rose due to their actions against baseball. But since we don't have an actual ceremony where we would give a plaque to the honoree or a member of his family, I eventually accepted the compromise of the one-year boycott (which I excercised in 1926).
   21. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 22, 2006 at 12:43 AM (#1911466)
Well, anyone for whom we have already given a one year boycott (1926 for example), the issue of performance enhancers wasn't really relevant. In fact, those players all lost their decline phases, this may have even been enough to keep Cicotte out of the HOM.

I am not sure that steroids was as big of an issue when the Consitutions was written in 2003, it was all conjecture, pre-Canseco and pre-Caminiti. I think that it is important that we try and figure out a way to factor steroid use into a player's record.

HOWEVER, Bonds is in no matter what. he was a HOMer before he started in 1999. There is no concrete evidence about McGwire and Sosa. Caminiti and Canseco werent' going to make it anyway. Neither will Giambi. Right now there is only one guy that I can see that we have definitive evidence against (I am calling the book on Bonds definitive, though it isnt' as definitive as an admittance or a positive test) AND is really close to the in/out line. Thing is, can we prove taht Palmeiro was using in the late 90's? Though I think that he most likely was, we cant' prove that. We can only prove that he was in 2005 at the tail end of his career. Is it not possible that he started taking them as he saw his level ofplay slip? Is it likely?

Thing about steroids is that there is still so much that we dont' know, that it is hard to take a tough moral stance at this moment. And personally I don't care if we do know. There is a possibility, however, that steroids is the type of grievance that a voter can keep taking out on a player in our voting.

So I think I changed topic mid-post. Sorry about that.

Karl,

Palmeiro, with steroids, was a much better player than Beckley. Just look at their top 5 seasons next to each other, different worlds.
   22. karlmagnus Posted: March 22, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#1911587)
Jschmeagol, we've had this discussion. You mark down Beckley because of lack of peak, but if you look at their entire career Beckley's is very similar, slightly better when you adjust for schedule length and 1B fielding being more important back then. It's one think to get excited about a Jennings/Koufax peak, but I've not seen any evidence that a modest peak is any more valuable/meritorious than no peak. Hence comparing their top 5 years is irrelevant.
   23. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 22, 2006 at 03:54 AM (#1911615)
I don't see any considerable difference between the peak of Beckley and Palmeiro, especially when you consider that 1B defense was very likely more important in Beckley's day than Raffy's.

Steroids aside, they are for all intents and purposes the same player, 100 years removed, both peak and career, IMO.

Back to the morals issue . . . it's extremely likely that Canseco and Caminiti are right, and that probably 35-50% of the league was taking steroids during the late 90s. If that's the case, I don't see any reason to keep anyone out, based on something that wasn't enforced at the time.

If you think that number sounds extreme, it's generally accepted now that just about everyone was popping greenies for a very long time. If you had mentioned that 90% of the players were doing so back in 1975 or something, people would have thought that was as crazy as Caminiti's 50% steroid number sounded at the time.
   24. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 22, 2006 at 04:09 AM (#1911638)
BTW, back to the cheating, as far as formal guidance from the commish . . . as requested on the Whitey Ford thread . . .

This quote from Jim Sp sums up my position very well:

"What? You can throw a World Series but if you scuff a baseball, that keeps you out of the HoM?

Y'all are crazy. It's the Hall of Merit, the pennants Whitey Ford won by scuffing the ball are real pennants. You can leave him off the ballot for one year, after that you have to vote based on his accomplishments, otherwise your ballot gets thrown out. Am I missing something here?"


I don't even think the 1-year rule should apply here. That was designed for things like Joe Jackson that caused a team to lose games. Things like having a bad attitude or being a jerk in the clubhouse to the point that it affects the play of teammates, etc.. I think using it to penalize cheaters who didn't get caught is wrong.

I also think as someone mentioned, baseball has penalties for cheating if you are caught, that's the cost of doing business. If you are willing to take those risks and you don't get caught, you help your team win. If you do get caught, you are penalized by MLB, through not being able to play, and add to your case.

It's not our position to say the MLB rules and punishments aren't strong enough. If MLB rules say 7 games or 10 games for scuffing a baseball or a corking a bat, and you are caught, that's 10 fewer games you get to play. 2 fewer HR if you were a 32 HR hitter that year, etc.. If you don't get caught, then you help your team win. This is an adult game, not little league. People have been trying to get away with what they can since they first drew up the rules.
   25. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: March 22, 2006 at 05:24 AM (#1911708)
Ouch, brain hurts.

"It'll have to come out!"

[/montypython]

I'm not inclined to dock anybody for anything, except fixing games. Maybe betting on baseball, I'll see when the time comes.

Ford, Burdette, Perry, lots of others doctored the ball. Norm Cash corked his bat. Nettles superballed his. The '51 Giants stole signs from the clubhouse. Some Chisox team (was it '59?) did it from the scoreboard. Where do we stop once we start?

I can't even get very worked up over steroids. Maybe the numerous interminable threads at BTF have numbed me. Maybe at sometime in the past I could have, ah but I was so much older then...

What I really dread is the likely inevitable incursion here by kevin, Backlasher, David Nieporent and the rest of the steroid thread fanboys. "Hey guys, they're talkin' steroids at the HOM. Let's go!" :-) :-(
   26. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: March 22, 2006 at 08:05 AM (#1911796)
According to the HOM Constitution, we don't have to elect Pete Rose:


A player’s “personality” is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player’s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates). In rare and extreme cases, a voter may opt to exclude a player on “personality” grounds on the first ballot on which the player appears. If that player does not get elected on his first ballot, the voter shall give the player full consideration in all subsequent ballots, regardless of the “personality” factors.

Allegations (proven or otherwise) about throwing baseball games may be especially troubling to some voters. It would be appropriate for such a voter to discount such a player’s accomplishments to some degree. In rare and extreme cases, it may even be appropriate for such a voter to choose not to vote for an otherwise worthy candidate.
   27. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 22, 2006 at 09:21 AM (#1911816)
When was it ever alleged that Pete Rose threw baseball games?

If Joe Jackson made it in, based on his accomplishments when not throwing games, I don't see how Rose couldn't . . .
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2006 at 01:52 PM (#1911881)
When was it ever alleged that Pete Rose threw baseball games?

If Joe Jackson made it in, based on his accomplishments when not throwing games, I don't see how Rose couldn't .


As much as I can't stand Rose and wouldn't vote for him into the HOF, unless there's proof that he threw baseball games, that part of the Constitution does not apply.

What I really dread is the likely inevitable incursion here by kevin, Backlasher, David Nieporent and the rest of the steroid thread fanboys. "Hey guys, they're talkin' steroids at the HOM. Let's go!" :-) :-(

I don't mind getting involved in those debates on the other side of BTF, but I agree that I'd rather not have the bile that accompanies it over here. I like keeping my blood pressure as low as possible. :-)
   29. Gaelan Posted: March 22, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#1912224)
How important is the size of the advantage gained? I find it hard to imagine that throwing an occasional spitball provides anywhere near the performance boost of a steroid regimen.
   30. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 22, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#1912335)
Gaelan,

My position would be that we don't know and it isn't really our position to be postulating on it.

*********

I should be doing this but Palmeiro's five year peak in WS is 31,31,30,26,25 and Beckley's is 25,25,24,23,23 when schedule adjusted. Those aren't even close. You have to add Ozzie Smith in his prime defensive credit to get Beckley anywhere near Palmeiro in years 1-3. I see a difference of 23 WS (7.67 W) over five years, that is a big deal.

Again, sorry I shouldn't be hijacking this thread. I understand a career argument of Beckley and am not saying that your vote is wrong just that those peak adjustments dont' go far enough to really effect things.

I also am dreading the day that we see the steroid fanboys over in the HOM. One of the best things about this section of BTF is that all arguments, however heated, are based on baseball analysis with only very few exceptions ( I remember one with Chris J being accussed of stealing data). We stay civil over here. That I still like Karl is proof of that! ;-)
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#1912354)
We stay civil over here.

For the most part. ;-)
   32. Paul Wendt Posted: March 22, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#1912465)
(Perhaps we had better Congresses in those days.)

I wonder what their Committees on Government Reform worked on.


--
10. jingoist Membership Posted: March 21, 2006 at 12:31 PM (#1910669)
I wasn't around for the early elections.
That said IOW, did the electorate debate "unethical" actions of some players, i.e.; Cobb's sliding into fielders with his spikes high to inflict injury, thus gaining an advantage over his opponenets teams thru agressive yet leagal actions?
If not, why not? You're debating a similar set of issues in this thread.


Yes, but that's because people enjoy moralizing and politicking, and people tend to stray from the point.

The point is Constitutional. (Early discussion "should" be mainly in meta-threads rather than annual ballot discussions or player or position threads, but don't "assume" that is so.) Someone who will boycott designated hitters, or exclude DHing from every player's career pro rata, is not welcome to participate as a voter. What about someone who will exclude lawbreaking or rulebreaking? Probably, for most current participants, that would be trying to exclude effects of L or R breaking, by some sophisticated adjustment, but it might be simple boycotting. Are these someones welcome to participate as voters? No, but they are welcome if they will limit the trial to one symbolic year.

I mean, it is the point of this thread to come to a conclusion like that, maybe not that one in particular. The process is roughly that JoeD makes a ruling in the light or shadow of comment by others. If his ruling badly mismatches the commentary, or the spirit of the project, DanG or someone explains the mismatch and he reconsiders. Otherwise it's law.
   33. Michael Bass Posted: March 22, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#1912494)
It's not our position to say the MLB rules and punishments aren't strong enough.

I 100% support this position, and hope it is equally applied to steroids as it is to ball scuffing.
   34. TomH Posted: March 22, 2006 at 09:37 PM (#1912569)
It's not our position to say the MLB rules and punishments aren't strong enough.

I also 100% support this position.

But.

What if (and I emphasize the hypthetical IF)
1. MLB turned a blind eye to some infractions, and
2. These infractions were plainly committed by a few players, and
3. We can reasonably quantify the advantage gained by the cheaters?

Can voters then choose to adjust the 'Merit' of those players? What if Bonds eventually admits use of some substance that, years from now, plainly added power to his already-fearsome swing, giving him more home runs in 2001 (and tons more walks from 2002-2004). Now for Bonds and the HoM, it won't matter to me, since he was already a shoo-in prior to 1999. But if we were debating a HoM top-10, this would be a crucial point. And if a dictum is issued that says "you may not account for this or we invalidate your vote", then my vote will be invalidated every 2 weeks.
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: March 22, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#1912638)
Someone asked whether any player has benefited in great magnitude (not or not merely clear certainty) from cheating.

Yankee pitcher Ford may be the best example.

Russ Ford, that is.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/f/fordru01.shtml

Peter Morris, The Secret History of the Emery Ball, SABR34 (2004)
Russ Ford's emery ball
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: March 22, 2006 at 10:27 PM (#1912655)
Morris won the awards for best research presentation, theater not poster style, in 2003 (origin of 'fan') and 2005 (origin of pitching rotation). I find only 'fan' of the three published on the web. SABR members can probably get emery ball and pitching rotation in print from the Research Library.

Peter Morris, The Origin of the Word 'Fan'
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 23, 2006 at 02:41 AM (#1912959)
The steroid issue will be a big problem for another reason: how to separate the muscle increase from PED as opposed from a legitimate weightlifting regiment. What I mean by that is, while steroids definitely make it easier to workout more frequently, a heavy non-steroid workout is still going to make you much bigger than the average player of twenty and more years ago. How do you subtract the results of the illegal activity from the legal activity when adjusting a player's numbers?
   38. rawagman Posted: March 23, 2006 at 11:39 AM (#1913401)
Personally, I cannot in good conscience punish any single player for being either suspected or convicted of having used performance enhancers. In most cases, we only have anecdotal evidence. Furthermore, we only know (or even care) about a very small percentage (if you believe the anecdotes) of who was juicing.
Look at Palmeiro - he had a wonderful career - without the recent issues, I don't think that there could be any question but that he was a very worthy HOM'er. We know that he juiced in 2005. We have absolutely no knowledge, or way of knowing how much of his career accomplishments were, if at all, aided by chemical means.

Next, let us look theoretically at a player we will call 'X.' Let's say that we have verifiable knowledge that 'X' was juicing for 3 full seasons in a career 15 seasons long (20%). Furthermore, in those 3 seasons, his stats, especially power were 20-25% above his career norms outside of this span. In a case such as this we can almost quantify the advantage 'X' received from juicing.

But wait, what about the competition. Juice is pricy to most of us, but even a MLB minimum salary player can afford the fanciest cocktails. Do you know the juice rate of every single player in the league in those years - how about just the pitchers 'X' faced? If 'X' struck out, or GIDP'ed against a non-juiced pitcher, do you give extra credit to the non-juicing pitcher for beating the chemical enemy?
What if 'X' was batting against pitcher 'Y'. Both 'X' and 'Y' were using the same juice concoction - how can we grade the results?

Whitey Ford scuffed - extra credit for HR's hit off scuffed baseballs?

Obviously, we cannot answer these questions. Chemicals or not, baseball is played by humans. The human element has so many factors and chemicals are/were one of them in some scenarios.
Without being able to answer these questions, we cannot punish.

We give credit and honour to Negro League stars because we beleive that they would have performed so well in the Majors. Why not include Pele in the HOM? Surely the greatest soccer player in the history of the world's game must have made a pretty good baseball player. Is it his fault that Brazilians do not play the game of baseball?

This could continue, but I'll stop there - I won't be excluding anyone based on what he did sometimes, or might have done other times.
   39. Jim Sp Posted: March 27, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#1921183)
This will also come up with Norm Cash and his corked bat.
   40. Michael Bass Posted: March 27, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#1921200)
Of course, the thing about corked bats is that all scientific evidence points to corked bats doing zero to improve performance.
   41. TomH Posted: March 27, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#1921398)
Before I submit my ballot, here's where I am on Ford.

My take on the evidence is that Whitey Ford cheated far more than the 'typical' HoM candidate, and that MLB was sadly lax - possibly more so than in other periods of history - in enforcing the rules. While one cannot dispute that his value was indeed his value, in theoretical universes of other teams / other eras, he either would have been suspended once or twice, and/or would have allowed a few more runs.

{{ Reminds me of our Ross Barnes fair-foul bunt debate of 1890! :) }}

I penalize Mr. Ford about one or two 'wins' for this.

Which still leaves him #1 on my ballot.

So Tom, you went to the trouble of writing all of this down and you're still electing Ford? What's the point? Well, the point is, while I fully expect many to disagree with my decision to penalize Whitey, I am establishing precedent for G Perry, Palmeiro, who knows what others down the road.
   42. Daryn Posted: March 27, 2006 at 10:24 PM (#1921406)
I penalize Mr. Ford about one or two 'wins' for this.

Per season? Per career? If the latter, how could it matter?
   43. DL from MN Posted: March 27, 2006 at 10:37 PM (#1921450)
> establishing precedent for G Perry

I know the A's sluggers seem pumped up but I wouldn't blame it on Gerald Perry.

:)
   44. TomH Posted: March 28, 2006 at 01:20 AM (#1921752)
I penalize Mr. Ford about one or two 'wins' for this.

Per season? Per career?


Career. So, no, it doesn't matter much.
   45. Chris Fluit Posted: March 30, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#1926346)
When it comes to the various kinds of misbehavior, I tend to divide things up into three categories. The first is behavior that is against the rules of baseball but not against the law. I wouldn't do any kind of discounting for these kinds of infractions whether it's 1890s outfielders hiding extra balls in the long grass so that they don't have to chase down doubles and triples, the more-than-a-century old tradition of doctoring the baseball as a pitcher or the illegal bat advantage of cork, superball or pine tar. The leagues penalized the players that were caught as was considered appropriate and I don't feel the need to do anything more than that.

The second kind of behavior is that which is both against the rules of baseball and against the law. This category primarily includes gambling offenses, whether fixing games or placing illegal bets. For this kind of behavior, I'm more than willing to abide by the Hall of Merit's policy of a one-year boycott. That means in all likelihood, I would not have voted for Shoeless Joe in his first year and I won't vote for Pete Rose in his first year of eligibility. Beyond that, I'll vote for players in this category of infractions based on performance. As for Rose's gambling habit, I'm not aware that he ever fixed games or that the gambling had any negative effects on his playing career. I do think it's fairly easy to prove that it had a negative effect on the Cincinnati Reds while he was their manager (very erratic use of pitchers which led to repeated second place finishes instead of pennants) but as long as the Hall of Merit is about players and not managers or executives, Rose's gambling is beyond the scope of this project.

The third kind of behavior is that which is illegal but not against the rules of baseball. For many years, baseball did not have a policy about amphetamines, cocaine or steroids. However, the use of those drugs was still against the law. So even though baseball didn't punish behavior of this sort before now, I do think it is appropriate to penalize those who are reasonably known to have broken the law in this way. I won't do any deducting for cocaine as I think it has a negative impact on a career as it is and is therefore it's own penalty. I won't do any deducting for amphetamines because it seems simply impossible to know who to deduct and how much. I will penalize playes who we reasonably know took steroids (Caminiti, Canseco, Sheffield, Bonds, etc.). Right now, I'm considering the one-year boycott rule and a discount. The league leaders in the major statistical categories in the mid-'80s to early '90s and in the last couple of years are about 70-80% of what they were in the late '90s at the height of the steroid era. So I'm looking at giving known steroid users 70-80% credit for those years, possibly in conjunction with a one-year boycott. Some steroid users may have done enough with that 70-80% to make my ballot, but I don't feel justified to completely exclude players of this ilk when what they did wasn't against the written rules of the sport.

And that's my three cents on the subject.
   46. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 30, 2006 at 11:02 PM (#1926552)
as long as the Hall of Merit is about players and not managers or executives, Rose's gambling is beyond the scope of this project.

I agree completely here, Chris. When we get to Rose, I've got no problem at all with voting on him like I would vote any normal candidate since we're only evaluating playing. I don't quite remember the chronology so well 20 years down the road, so unless someone points out information about him placing bets during his last couple seasons playing in Cincy, there's no reason to do the one-year boycott thing here.

By the way, is anyone else kind of stunned that it's now been 20 years? (well almost 20...)
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 27, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2077244)
Just saw this thread for the first time. Very good posts here. And it seems only proper that this HOM debate is being conducted using a completely different set of standards than that used for the HOF. For an honor like this, where actual performance on the field is all that should matter, it's perfectly appropriate to give Bonds no more than a minor slap on the wrist in the form of a one year boycott, or a discount based on a subjective view of how much steroids actually helped his numbers. And there's no queston that he deserves a unanimous HOM election when his time comes.

But I'm sure glad that the Hall of Fame vote won't be guided only by standards like this!
   48. dlf Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#2079338)
I don't quite remember the chronology so well 20 years down the road, so unless someone points out information about him placing bets during his last couple seasons playing in Cincy, there's no reason to do the one-year boycott thing here.


FYI - the Dowd Report chronicals gambling activity by Rose for the period 1985-1987; he was an active player for the first two of those years. Dowd Report
   49. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2079381)
Would anyone here have a problem with voting for a player who was revealed to be a serial pedophile?
   50. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2079395)
Would anyone here have a problem with voting for a player who was revealed to be a serial pedophile?

I'd probably still vote for the guy, but I'd feel pretty gross about it. That said, if there was demonstrative proof that the guy's sexual predation led to problems on his team, and it could be showed how those problems effected the on-field performance of the team, I'd consider docking him.

That said, Luis Polonia only got caught once.
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2079437)
Would anyone here have a problem with voting for a player who was revealed to be a serial pedophile?

If we were the HOF with the big ceremony and it's imprimatur, sure. If it was the HOF, I probably wouldn't vote for him. If I did vote for him, I would want his induction to exclude the frills that a normal HOFer receives.

But our mission, as Andy mentioned above, is different than the HOF's.
   52. jimd Posted: September 10, 2007 at 07:32 PM (#2518535)
From the 2004 ballot thread, a number of relevant posts:

134. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 10, 2007 at 10:44 AM (#2518182)

I always thought Cash's '61 resulted from a volatile stew of expansion and bat-corking. But it turns out he was corking his whole career, right? Would it be constitutional to penalize him for corking? I imagine this will come up with Albert Belle's candidacy as well.

138. Chris Fluit Posted: September 10, 2007 at 01:20 PM (#2518349)

A one-year boycott would be constitutional- no longer applicable to Cash, but certainly viable for Belle. Other than that, I doubt that any specific discount would be allowable, but the commissioner and the framers of the constitution may differ.

140. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 10, 2007 at 01:39 PM (#2518391)

Chris Fluit, why would it just be a one-year? I thought the one-year boycott was the mechanism to penalize players for problems not related to their on-field Merit. In the case of bat-corkers (and steroid users, for that matter), the point is that they would not be so Meritorious without the extra help they got.

141. TomH Posted: September 10, 2007 at 02:46 PM (#2518489)

Albert Belle = Gaylord Perry. Or so.
Did we allow one-year boycotts for Mr. Perry? I don't recall. Or did some voters attempt to project him into a non-cheaters alternate universe.

142. jimd Posted: September 10, 2007 at 02:46 PM (#2518490)

That's not my interpretation of how the boycott works.

Cash's bat-corking provided documented value to his teams; that must be considered in his evaluation, because we are evaluating his VALUE, not his SKILLS/TALENT. The one-year boycott allows you to protest the way that value was accumulated by breaking the rules. A similar example was Gaylord Perry, though he was elected on the first ballot.

Steroids will work the same way. You can boycott a player for one year, but then must evaluate him on his record if he wasn't elected without your vote. No performance penalties can be exacted unless you can argue that his usage somehow caused disruption that affected team results and reduced his value to his team.

Example: the Black Sox scandal broke during the final weeks of an extremely close 3-team pennant race in 1920. The resulting suspensions had a significant effect on the Sox' ability to finish that race competitively. I penalized Jackson and Cicotte for 1919 (one's 1919 regular season has little value if one then throws the Series) and for 1920 (due to the disruption), and then gave Jackson one season back (for 1918 war credit).

I don't see how any of the steroid users could have that kind of impact, other than a similar suspension at the climax of a pennant race or during the playoffs. (This hasn't happened yet.)

143. Devin McCullen took one in the thigh Posted: September 10, 2007 at 03:03 PM (#2518500)

I'm not completely sure you're right, jimd. That is a valid way to go, but I don't believe it's required. I think it is permissible to dock someone for steroids (or bat corking, I guess) to reflect their ability and not their value. What you definitely can't do is say "I'm never voting for Jose Canseco because he used steroids and I don't want to reward a cheater." But that's only my memory of the discussion, & I'm not 100% sure.

(BTW, if we're really going to argue about this, we should probably due it in the "Spitter, Steroids & One-Year Rule" thread.)

144. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 10, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2518503)

jimd, that's your take on the issue and it's a valid one, but there are many, many voters who disagree with the premise that Merit is only a reflection of value and not of skills/talent (usually referred to here as ability). I have gotten virtually no traction with my arguments that David Concepción, for example, provided clearly Meritorious value to the Reds by being so far and away the best player at his position in the game, because people respond that he only was able to generate that value due to other teams' self-defeating unwillingness to trade defense for offense at SS, and that therefore he shouldn't receive credit for it.
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: September 10, 2007 at 07:39 PM (#2518548)
I agree this belongs here. Sorry, I was composing this when the previous post went up.

148. sunnyday2 Posted: September 10, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2518544)
Re. boycotts and discounts, I view the Constitution as extremely permissive. Individual voters can do more or less as they like, except you cannot boycott more than one year. Obviously there are many different POV as to whether we are honoring value or ability. I don't think we can enforce one view for these special (boycott/discount--i.e. "cheaters") cases.

To justify a discount of Belle covering several years or his entire career, however, I would think you'd need proof that he used the corked bat consistently throughout. I can't see discounting 10 years because he was caught with a corked bat once or twice. You need more evidence. That is to say, the discount is in his numbers, covering the time he missed due to suspension. So, in my view, if you are bent on punishing Belle, a boycott is probably the only alternative, and now you've got a one-year limit. I would also disagree with a boycott, myself (mountain, meet molehill) but I think it makes more sense than a discount.
   54. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 10, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2518564)
The intent was one year for any of these things. Perry is no different than Cash, than Belle, than Sosa or Ken Caminiti. At least that was the intent.

After one year you evaluate the player based on his playing record, however it was accumulated.
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 10, 2007 at 08:29 PM (#2518630)
It's been a year and a half, so I'll reiterate the guidance mentioned earlier on this thread:

"I also think as someone mentioned, baseball has penalties for cheating if you are caught, that's the cost of doing business. If you are willing to take those risks and you don't get caught, you help your team win. If you do get caught, you are penalized by MLB, through not being able to play, and add to your case.

It's not our position to say the MLB rules and punishments aren't strong enough. If MLB rules say 7 games or 10 games for scuffing a baseball or a corking a bat, and you are caught, that's 10 fewer games you get to play. 2 fewer HR if you were a 32 HR hitter that year, etc.. If you don't get caught, then you help your team win. This is an adult game, not little league. People have been trying to get away with what they can since they first drew up the rules."
   56. yest Posted: September 10, 2007 at 09:01 PM (#2518680)
Joe why would someone have to vote for someone who used a helper (scuffed ball,steroids, corked bat=non talent) where they deserve to be by the record but someone was able to knock Barnes down due to the fair foul rule despite the fact it led to wins
   57. sunnyday2 Posted: September 10, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2518720)
I don't think it was ever the position of the HoM that voters could knock down Barnes for his fair-foul hits. Of course some did. But our rules never said it was OK. And the fact is we elected Ross Barnes (as we should have). So I suppose some will discount Albert Belle or Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire. But if they deserve to be elected, I think they will.

The test case, I suppose, is Norm Cash. How many people are discounting Norm Cash?
   58. DavidFoss Posted: September 10, 2007 at 09:40 PM (#2518724)
Joe why would someone have to vote for someone who used a helper (scuffed ball,steroids, corked bat=non talent) where they deserve to be by the record but someone was able to knock Barnes down due to the fair foul rule despite the fact it led to wins

Who knocked him down? Sure there was talk of the "controversy" in the discussion thread that year, but when it came to voting, Barnes finished a strong 4th behind three guys with significantly longer careers and ahead of several HOM-ers (including George Wright (!)).
   59. yest Posted: September 10, 2007 at 10:06 PM (#2518743)
reprinted from the 1898
from Dan B. who did't have him on the ballot
Before this thread fades into oblivion, a word from the Renegade Balloteer (Since I now hold the distinction of being the first elector to see a player enshrined without the benefit of a single point from his ballot and I suspect that this will be a lonely distinction until Marc fulfills his promise to leave Anson off his ballot. :-)) My views on the selection of Ross Barnes follow.

I realize we were given the directive to not hold the fair/foul hit thing against Barnes, but since we never saw the game played with the rules he was able to take advantage of, I would suggest this directive was misguided. We know from the writings of the Esteemed Henry Chadwick that the fair/foul hit rule was viewed as a ?problem? and the rules of the game were tinkered with for several seasons before they eliminated the ?problem? in 1877. Imagine how different the game would be today if the solution the Esteemed One advocated had been adopted ? Henry?s plan was to add a tenth player ? a right shortstop ? to close the gaps that were created by attempts to defend against the fair/foul hit. So just where were these gaps Henry was concerned about? I can visualize the corners playing in and guarding the lines. Was the second baseman playing close enough to first base to take the throw? What if there was a runner on first? Where was the shortstop? Would teams on occasion bring in an outfielder to play as the fifth infielder that Henry wanted to add? How much foul ground was there to cover and how far a field was Barnes able to direct the ball? Was he able to reach second on a fair/foul hit for a double? No wonder a player with the special ability to execute a fair/foul hit could lead the league both in hits and extra base hits ? the defense was spread too thin. No wonder observers of the game at the time viewed the rule as a problem that needed correction.

Let me offer a wildly hypothetical illustration from the early days of basketball. Suppose the game was played by short, white guys that couldn?t jump. Since nobody could even touch the rim, there were no rules against goal tending, there was no lane or 3-second rule, and there was a center jump after every basket. Well suppose the Boston Celtics signed Clumsy Oaf, a 6?10? kid out of Slippery Rock Normal School. Oaf couldn?t dribble, couldn?t catch a hard thrown pass, and couldn?t throw one without first taking a few steps. But Oaf had his special skills. He could camp out under the basket and catch the lob passes thrown near the basket and drop the ball in, he could stand under the defensive basket and swat away any attempts the opponent made to score, and he was able to control most of the center jumps. Of course, observers of the day recognized that Oaf?s ?skills? were a problem; the game was broken and needed to be fixed. It took a few years, but by the time they restored balance to the game, Oaf had easily led the league every year in both scoring and blocked shots while leading the Celtics to a few championships. After the rules were changed, Oaf soon found himself moving back to Slippery Rock to teach arithmetic. And 125 years later some well-intentioned basketball fans looked at the stats from an era when the game they love was played in a way they had never seen and chose to honor Oaf as the most dominant player of his time. Of course, if they could have had the benefit of videotape, they would have agreed with the contemporary observers and rejoiced that the game had been repaired.

IMHO we, that is ?you guys? ;-) just elected Oaf.
   60. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 10, 2007 at 10:17 PM (#2518751)
I don't think it was ever the position of the HoM that voters could knock down Barnes for his fair-foul hits.


I honestly don't think there was a legitimate reason to dock Barnes for it, IMO.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 10, 2007 at 10:31 PM (#2518761)
I don't have time now to read through the thread, but IMO one of the best things about the HOM is that it's semi-parallel to, but clearly distinctive from the HOF. And not just because it's more sabermetric than the HOF in its guiding principles.

And while I can see various people "discounting" steroids-enhanced careers by trying as best they can to estimate whether or not a juicer might have been good enough without his steroids, I can't see the point of an arbitrary one-year boycott rule, for either the HOM or the HOF.

If a player's a juicer, and that violates your interpretation of the character clause, then he doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame, period. Not now, not next year---never. A one-year boycott a stupid and evasive way of ducking the issue, since it's nothing but a meaningless slap on the wrist.

But the Hall of Merit is another case altogether. And here the only penalty I can see is for each of us to assess---and I know this is subjective---what a juicer's career might have been like in the absence of steroids. Would he still have been a HOMer without them?

With that in mind, I'd say Bonds obviously, McGwire and Palmeiro probably / possibly but not 100% yes or no. IOW I'd be having to think about it and could be convinced either way. But in any event the concept of "character" doesn't enter into it at all (I'd vote for Rose and Jackson, too), and I'd vote for Bonds the first year he was eligible. A one-year boycott in this case makes no sense either, since in the case of the HOM there's really nothing to punish him for. His numbers won't be any different in his second year of eligibility, and if you'd vote for him in his second year, why not in his first?
   62. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 10, 2007 at 11:09 PM (#2518807)
Andy, think of the first year boycott as 'censuring' a player. It might not mean anything in the long run, but it's definitely a black eye for the player.

Also, I felt it was a reasonable compromise for people who felt they had to bring character into it. I didn't want it to have any role at all (other than if you felt it cost the player's team wins), but some insisted, so I went with the one-year boycott.

No one should receive any kind of 'steroid' discount, other than the fact that everyone from the era gets the discount, if you assume that things like OPS+, ERA+, etc. account for the fact that 1/2 the league was likely on something.
   63. jimd Posted: September 10, 2007 at 11:37 PM (#2518888)
Oaf had easily led the league every year in both scoring and blocked shots while leading the Celtics to a few championships.

Totally beside the point, I know, but the Celtics did not win any NBA championships before the arrival of Bill Russell (who could never be confused with a Clumsy Oaf). If Oaf was who I think he was, he played for the Minneapolis Lakers.
   64. yest Posted: September 10, 2007 at 11:41 PM (#2518906)
Miekan was no oaf
   65. jimd Posted: September 10, 2007 at 11:54 PM (#2518945)
Then Dan was talking a hypothetical (as he said), or alluding to older Celtics teams from before the Depression. I'm not old enough to have seen Mikan, though I did see Russell (on TV at least).
   66. sunnyday2 Posted: September 11, 2007 at 12:06 AM (#2518981)
>But the Hall of Merit is another case altogether. And here the only penalty I can see is for each of us to assess---and I know this is subjective---what a juicer's career might have been like in the absence of steroids. Would he still have been a HOMer without them?With that in mind, I'd say Bonds obviously, McGwire and Palmeiro probably / possibly but not 100% yes or no. IOW I'd be having to think about it and could be convinced either way.

Andy, you just answered your own objection. We don't KNOW who did what and unlike the HoF we don't act on rumors. Yes, the one-year boycott is a slap on the wrist. That's the point. It doesn't hurt the player, really, but it satisfies the voters who want to make a statement of some kind. It is not about the players, it is about the voters. It is a compromise that the voters decided we could all live with.
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: September 11, 2007 at 12:11 AM (#2518991)
I second that: Mikan was no oaf.

OTOH there were 7 foot guys who played in the '20s and '30s, just a couple of them. Maybe they were oafs. But if he led the league in scoring and his team to the championship 7 times (or whatever), playing the game according to the rules of the time, well, then, yes, elect Oaf. AND rejoice that the game has been repaired.
   68. DavidFoss Posted: September 11, 2007 at 12:24 AM (#2519036)
Before this thread fades into oblivion, a word from the Renegade Balloteer (Since I now hold the distinction of being the first elector to see a player enshrined without the benefit of a single point from his ballot and I suspect that this will be a lonely distinction until Marc fulfills his promise to leave Anson off his ballot. :-))

Little did the electorate know, that splintered backlogs would become the norm and that 28 of 29 ballots would appear near-unanimous 106 years later.

I still say the rules stated that voters were not supposed to discount for the fair/foul rule, we had a strong-minded voter, and the powers-that-be leniently allowed it. It wasn't the first time that happened.

I agree with Joe, lets keep the issue of undisciplined cheating out of our evaluation process. Sure, some voters may somehow find their way around that rule and dock players anyways, but I like the fact that the Constitution isn't grey about this point.
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: September 11, 2007 at 01:13 AM (#2519137)
Yes, me too, especially because undisciplined usually means unproven.
   70. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 11, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2519242)
Andy, think of the first year boycott as 'censuring' a player. It might not mean anything in the long run, but it's definitely a black eye for the player.

Also, I felt it was a reasonable compromise for people who felt they had to bring character into it. I didn't want it to have any role at all (other than if you felt it cost the player's team wins), but some insisted, so I went with the one-year boycott.


Fair enough, and to each institution its own rules. I was merely giving my two cents worth.

No one should receive any kind of 'steroid' discount, other than the fact that everyone from the era gets the discount, if you assume that things like OPS+, ERA+, etc. account for the fact that 1/2 the league was likely on something.

That part, however, is nuts. You give a Bonds (or a Palmeiro) the same pass that you give a Ripken, simply because they played at the same time? Did you murder Nicole Simpson, too?

Mind you, I'm not saying that such a steroid discount for anyone should be required, only that if you're going to have any at all it should be applied to those whom we know have actually juiced. And to say that it's "1/2 the league" is little more than a guess or a slander, or both.

----------

Andy, you just answered your own objection. We don't KNOW who did what and unlike the HoF we don't act on rumors. Yes, the one-year boycott is a slap on the wrist. That's the point. It doesn't hurt the player, really, but it satisfies the voters who want to make a statement of some kind. It is not about the players, it is about the voters. It is a compromise that the voters decided we could all live with.

Well, in many cases it's a lot more than a rumor, and you know it.

But beyond that, what I just said to scruff would apply to what you wrote as well. The people who began this splendid concept have every right to make their own rules, and more power to them. Just like the BBWAA has every right to consider character as a qualifier even if it rubs some people the wrong way when it's applied to juicers like McGwire and not to ball scruffers like Ford. To me the HOF and the HOM are separate but equal in value. (Sorry about the unfortunate way of putting it, but I mean it benignly here.)
   71. Paul Wendt Posted: September 11, 2007 at 04:53 AM (#2519452)
Very early, the first, second, and third base men were on the first, second, and third bases and the catcher was far behind the home plate (and his position sometimes called "behind").

Some base men as late as the 1880s received retrospective credit for playing off the bases --Comiskey, famously. (It may have been understood that they played further off the bases than most predecessors and contemporaries. As if it were said in our time that Nettles or Schmidt or Alomar played off their bases.)

One relevant rule change, too late for me to look up tonight. Positions in foul territory were forbidden except a box for the catcher. In particular, first and third baseman could no longer stand outside their bases.
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: September 11, 2007 at 12:34 PM (#2519571)
Cool. A position called "behind." I like it.
   73. Paul Wendt Posted: September 11, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2519952)
As I recall reading, some team(s) sometimes chose to station two players behind the plate, calling the second "back behind" or "deep behind"
   74. karlmagnus Posted: September 11, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2520000)
Cricket had to have a longstop (before gloves came in about 1880) behind the equivalent position of wicket-keeper, because balls behind the batter could score runs. Probably that's where the second "behind" player came from.
   75. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:11 PM (#2520124)
"And to say that it's "1/2 the league" is little more than a guess or a slander, or both."

I'm quoting (from memory of reports, haven't read the books) Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti. They know (knew in Caminiti's case) far more about it than we probably ever will. Both appear pretty credible these days.

I don't really want to get into that though, I was merely explaining the program we've set up.

Honestly, how do we know Ripken just didn't get caught. No one gets a pass, or a dock. You just go by what they did and let baseball's own justice system sort it out.
   76. yest Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:25 PM (#2520159)
I second that: Mikan was no oaf.
at least you can spell him
   77. yest Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2520165)
Then Dan was talking a hypothetical (as he said), or alluding to older Celtics teams from before the Depression. I'm not old enough to have seen Mikan, though I did see Russell (on TV at least).

they used to on ESPN classic once in a while (espeialy around finals time) show Mikan's old games before it became Entertainment and Shows Poker Network
   78. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2520177)
"And to say that it's "1/2 the league" is little more than a guess or a slander, or both."

I'm quoting (from memory of reports, haven't read the books) Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti. They know (knew in Caminiti's case) far more about it than we probably ever will. Both appear pretty credible these days.


Caminiti said 75%, and we'll see what specific players Canseco has the guts to name in his next book. Anyone can throw around big round numbers, and I suppose anyone can accept them if they wish without feeling any necessity to have them backed up.

I don't really want to get into that though, I was merely explaining the program we've set up.

And as I said, I have no problem with that. I respect the guidelines of both the HOF and the HOM.

Honestly, how do we know Ripken just didn't get caught. No one gets a pass, or a dock. You just go by what they did and let baseball's own justice system sort it out.

The second part of that is fine, but the first part is simply gratuitous. You can just as easily say that "it doesn't matter if Ripken or anyone else was a juicer," and the point is made without the quasi-nudge-nudge. Just as you can say that "it doesn't matter whether OJ killed his wife or not, he still belongs in a football HOM," without having to add "Honestly, how do we know that Darrell Green didn't kill his mistress on the sly as well?"

It's the sort of "one the one hand / on the other hand" school of journalism that gives bullsh*tt*rs the same implicit credibilty as people trying to arrive at the truth. And in this case, it's not even necessary to establish a perfectly defensible policy. Just say that steroids don't matter when it comes to the HOM, and everyone is fine with that. Or a one year penalty---whatever.
   79. burniswright Posted: December 21, 2007 at 09:24 AM (#2651431)
The HOM standards are the HOM standards--as a newcomer around here, I'm not going to touch that subject. I'll limit myself to a single observation, which I believe hasn't been adequately addressed on this thread.

Since I took greenies in the 1960s, I can tell you exactly what they are and aren't: they are several cups of high-octane espresso, without the nuisance of having to drink the liquid. Unless someone wants to moralize about coffee, let's not call greenies PEDs--they're waking-up-sleepy-people drugs.

On the other hand, in the bad old days, the East German Olympic medics were converting women into men with steroids. That's a whole different deal.

Just to be clear: I understand the difficulties of calculating anything very convincing at the vexed intersection of "cheating" and value; I'm not talking about that. I'm only saying that, in a discussion of drugs, steroids, used in the way some athletes have used them, are in a league of their own.
   80. Paul Wendt Posted: December 21, 2007 at 07:24 PM (#2651711)
Since I took greenies in the 1960s, I can tell you exactly what they are and aren't: they are several cups of high-octane espresso, without the nuisance of having to drink the liquid. Unless someone wants to moralize about coffee, let's not call greenies PEDs--they're waking-up-sleepy-people drugs.

This passes over the distinction between day-of-game enhancement and long-term training enhancement.

International sports organizations have sponsored research on both nicotine and caffeine because they probably enhance day-of-game performance in some competitions. Research suggests findings are specific for nicotine and caffeine as for other drugs. The Olympic movement is involved in "motionless" sports (my term) like rifle and bow shooting and mind sports like bridge and chess as well as fast twitch and slow twitch sports. Probably some where it is effective to get psyched up or enraged (said of Lawrence Taylor's role in American football, I believe).

(The study I read concerned the consequences of adding mind sports to the Olympics. Nicotine or caffeine use by competitors was then regulated and the N European research implied that the other should be regulated. Dutch or Scandinavian iirc.)
   81. Paul Wendt Posted: December 21, 2007 at 07:26 PM (#2651715)
Sorry, I don't recall anything about sponsorship.
International sports organizations have sponsored or stimulated research . . .
   82. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 21, 2007 at 08:26 PM (#2651753)
Probably lower than it'd be on what he wrote right above that. I guess burniswright wasn't one of Dial's lab rats:

Since I took greenies in the 1960s, I can tell you exactly what they are and aren't: they are several cups of high-octane espresso, without the nuisance of having to drink the liquid. Unless someone wants to moralize about coffee, let's not call greenies PEDs--they're waking-up-sleepy-people drugs.

On the other hand, in the bad old days, the East German Olympic medics were converting women into men with steroids. That's a whole different deal.
   83. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 21, 2007 at 08:37 PM (#2651760)
The Idiot's Guide to Union Evaluation of Anecdotal Evidence:

- Person says steroids helped him: EVIDENCE
- Person says steroids didn't help him: NOT EVIDENCE
- Person says amphetamines helped him: NOT EVIDENCE
- Person says amphetamines didn't help him: EVIDENCE
   84. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2651766)
... Tom House rambling on after a couple bong hits: DEFINITIVE PROOF
   85. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 21, 2007 at 08:53 PM (#2651776)
Since I took greenies in the 1960s, I can tell you exactly what they are and aren't: they are several cups of high-octane espresso, without the nuisance of having to drink the liquid. Unless someone wants to moralize about coffee, let's not call greenies PEDs--they're waking-up-sleepy-people drugs.

Oh boy.
   86. Chris Dial Posted: December 21, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2651801)
You called?

burn can say that. His opinion is what it is.

That probably will not get the FDA to change the primary indication and scheduling of the drug. But I understand for those with extremely limited pharmaceutical knowledge, that counts more than clinical trials with specific demonstrated results.
   87. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2651803)
That probably will not get the FDA to change the primary indication and scheduling of the drug. But I understand for those with extremely limited pharmaceutical knowledge, that counts more than clinical trials with specific demonstrated results.

Why do commercial airlines prohibit their use?
   88. Chris Dial Posted: December 21, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2651813)
Why do commercial airlines prohibit their use?
They don't. They don't use them for the sole purpose of keeping pilots alert (not awake; alert) to extend flying hours. Unions really got that changed, I suspect.
   89. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2651820)
The story I linked to the other day in response to DN talking about the Air Force said airlines prohibited their use. The story's wrong?

Whether it is or not, if amphetamines had the properties ascribed to them by the zealous apologists, airlines would be negligent in not mandating their use.
   90. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 21, 2007 at 09:56 PM (#2651828)
Whether it is or not, if amphetamines had the properties ascribed to them by the zealous apologists, airlines would be negligent in not mandating their use.

Are you really this stupid or are you just playing games?
   91. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:06 PM (#2651830)
Are you really this stupid or are you just playing games?

Neither. Just wondering why common carriers responsible for the lives of thousands of people per day wouldn't want their pilots to take something that so improves focus, concentration, and alertness with no side effects.
   92. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2651831)
No side effects?
   93. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:14 PM (#2651834)
What are the side effects, other than addiction?
   94. Chris Dial Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:19 PM (#2651839)
What are the side effects, other than addiction?


DO you have access to the internet? Try WebMd.
   95. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:27 PM (#2651842)
DO you have access to the internet? Try WebMd.

I'm not interested in a vacuum; I'm more interested in impact on baseball players.

And I've heard of few of any baseball players treated for any kind of amp-related addiction or health impact ... ever. So they either aren't terribly addictive, weren't addictive in the form used in their heyday (and it naturally follows, less effective), or were used much less frequently than imagined.

Where are the Darrell Porter and Steve Howe of amps?
   96. Chris Dial Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2651844)
Well, that's not "side effects".

What do you think is the frequency imagined is?
   97. OCF Posted: December 21, 2007 at 10:43 PM (#2651850)
You know, this is a Hall of Merit thread. And yes, some of our own (AJM, Paul Wendt) have participated in posts 79-97. But I'd really prefer that this rehash of an old argument be taken somewhere else.
   98. burniswright Posted: December 22, 2007 at 08:41 AM (#2652097)
Re post 79: I thought it was unnecessary to add "This is the kind of thing one does while young and stupid." But perhaps it would have been more prudent to do so.

Anyway, exit thread, stage left.
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 23, 2007 at 02:14 PM (#2652591)
You know, this is a Hall of Merit thread. And yes, some of our own (AJM, Paul Wendt) have participated in posts 79-97. But I'd really prefer that this rehash of an old argument be taken somewhere else.


Agreed.

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