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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Bill Liningston’s HOF Article

Last year Livingston sent in a blank ballot. As pointed out by Ryan Thibs, that is not abstaining…It’s voters like this who really diminish the professionalism of the vote.

TJ Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:04 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: December 08, 2017 at 09:25 AM (#5588627)
Anyone who sends back a blank ballot should never get another one. Period.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: December 08, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5588657)
I completely disagree with that RMc. If someone genuinely thinks that no one on the ballot is a Hall of Famer they shouldn't vote for anyone. I can't imagine what criteria you would have for the current ballot to think no one is deserving but differences of opinion are a good thing.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:15 AM (#5588673)
It seems his ballot contains only Vizquel and Thome. The rules say: "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played." From the explanation, it seems clear that his ballot wasn't based on any of those and should be voided.
   4. bachslunch Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5588676)
@3: Agreed, but I'm sure it'll be considered fine as long as none of those evil, wicked, depraved, no-respect-for-hallowed-stats steroid users are on it.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:26 AM (#5588679)
This sounds like the worst ballot ever. Mostly abstaining, but handing out two homer votes for Thome (deserved) and the clearly unworthy Vizquel.
   6. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5588685)
and the clearly unworthy Vizquel.

I understand this, but Livingston isn't the only one voting for Vizquel by a long shot, so that's actually less clear to a lot of folks.
   7. Brian Posted: December 08, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5588722)
#6 - True but if you asked every sane baseball person, players, coaches, front office, media, fans, whatever, to return a ballot with only 2 names on it I sincerely think none would match these 2 players. Seriously, they should take his fingers away.
   8. Booey Posted: December 08, 2017 at 11:07 AM (#5588724)
We mentioned this ballot in the other thread; if you read his article, his "reasoning" is basically "No one from the steroid era...unless he played for my team."

Openly expressing blatant biases like that should be grounds to forfeit your vote, IMO. Refusing to even consider the cases of any player that didn't suit up for your hometown team goes well beyond merely submitting a stupid or statistically indefensible ballot. It's just as bad as what LeBatard did with the Deadspin debacle (and honestly, that ended up producing a pretty good ballot).
   9. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5588727)
#7 - No argument.
   10. Baldrick Posted: December 08, 2017 at 11:15 AM (#5588729)
Openly expressing blatant biases like that should be grounds to forfeit your vote, IMO. Refusing to even consider the cases of any player that didn't suit up for your hometown team goes well beyond merely submitting a stupid or statistically indefensible ballot. It's just as bad as what LeBatard did with the Deadspin debacle.

It's substantially worse, I think. LeBatard's thing was a stunt, and a silly one, but it was done to prove a serious point, and was followed through in a coherent fashion. This is just an explicit 'F you' to baseball, the HOF, and its fans.
   11. Rally Posted: December 08, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5588752)
I think this is even worse than turning in a blank ballot. Doing that is making a statement, not one I support or agree with in any way, but I can understand how some people can get to that idea. A hometeam only ballot for the HOF is just destructive. If other voters thought this was a good idea then maybe they'll elect Octavio Dotel or something.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: December 08, 2017 at 12:41 PM (#5588808)
Last year Livingston sent in a blank ballot. As pointed out by Ryan Thibs, that is not abstaining…It’s voters like this who really diminish the professionalism of the vote.


Has there been clarification from the Hall on this? If he said on his ballot that he was abstaining from voting, as he claims he did, that should trump the fact that his ballot was blank.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 08, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5588823)
There's an e-mail link on TFA. I suggest keeping it civil, if anyone is interested in educating Livingston on the inappropriateness of his ballot. As I mentioned in the Thibs thread, I'm not inclined to start down the slippery slope of throwing out bad ballots or revoking voting privileges. A handful of idiosyncratic voters on the Veterans Committee is a big problem, but the size of the BBWAA voting pool pretty much cures the problem for the writers ballot.
   14. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:10 PM (#5588934)
I never understood why anyone had a problem with LeBatard's Deadspin ballot.
   15. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5588941)
I'm not inclined to start down the slippery slope of throwing out bad ballots or revoking voting privileges.


I agree with this 100%. If there are certain players for whom a vote is required (and other players for whom a vote is not allowed) in order for a voter to keep the privilege, then there's no reason to bother with an election. And who would decide what votes are or are not allowed anyway? Some clown on a message board?
   16. PepTech Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:20 PM (#5588951)
He abstained *last year*. He never claimed to abstain *this year*.

He should still have his vote taken away for not taking the thing seriously enough. Being that openly biased should be punished.
   17. Booey Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:51 PM (#5588994)
I never understood why anyone had a problem with LeBatard's Deadspin ballot.


I actually didn't. But if the HOF determined that what he did was worthy of a permanent loss of voting rights, then why can't they apply the same criteria to some of these other jerks that are clearly just trying to sabotage the system?

To re-itereate, I'm not in favor of stripping votes for every bad, stupid, or mis-informed ballot. But deliberate middle fingers to the HOF voting process are different. If you don't agree with what they're trying to do, then you shouldn't be a part of it. Just abstain. Don't try to ruin it for everyone else.
   18. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 08, 2017 at 04:00 PM (#5588999)
The funniest thing about Livingston's column is his passive-aggressive swipe at Thome for leaving Cleveland:

How were 600-plus home runs by Jim Thome not enough, for all that he traveled the land as a mercenary after saying they would have to tear the Indians shirt off his back?


How big of Livingston to overlook Thome's Scroogeish pursuit of the almighty dollar.

On the rest of the field, I didn't make a call due to the absence of policy on the steroid era.


I mean, didn't Joe Morgan's letter on HOF letterhead to the voters spell out the institution's policy? It is of course up to the voter to apply that policy to the individual candidates, but you can no longer say that the Hall has no policy.
   19. Karl from NY Posted: December 08, 2017 at 04:23 PM (#5589017)
The problem with LeBatard was that he sold the vote, right? There wouldn't be anything wrong in principle with a voter making his ballot from fan input, only that he took money for the process. The Hall can't allow a precedent of its voters profiting from their privilege or voting according to a highest bidder.
   20. bachslunch Posted: December 08, 2017 at 06:00 PM (#5589069)
@18: agreed on chasing the dollar. A baseball player’s career is not long, and his prime earning years are even shorter. I have never begrudged a ball player trying to get the most money possible and going there. I’d do precisely the same thing, and screw anyone who thinks otherwise. Hometown discounts are for suckers.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: December 08, 2017 at 07:02 PM (#5589091)
A baseball player’s career is not long, and his prime earning years are even shorter.

that's a philosophically valid argument. but Thome made more than $40M in Cleveland and another $100M after that. I'm not sure this is a case about a guy leaving Cleveland from having to worry about getting a job upon retirement, lol.

I don't "begrudge" him, either, but he's not a good example of an athlete having to ensure his family's longterm financial security by taking the biggest offer. if he did say, "they'll have to tear that Indians jersey off my back," well, he's arguably prone to criticism.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2017 at 06:27 PM (#5589411)
I hadn't realized how absurd his ballot was. Still, I agree you shouldn't invalidate blank or stupid ballots. But in the article, he confesses to voting for Thome/Vizquel just because they played for the Indians and he enjoyed them. That's not consistent with the voting criteria, openly so, and removing his vote would be justified (which may or may not be a good precedent). Note, he presumably didn't enjoy Manny.

you can no longer say that the Hall has no policy

Not really. If the HoF's policy is that roiders shouldn't be in the HoF then they need to identify who they are and make them ineligible. A policy of "please don't vote for the guys that Morgan thinks did roids but isn't willing to identify but, if you do, we'll still induct them" is not a policy. Or if you prefer, it's the same policy they've had all along of "it's up to the voters to decide who did/didn't do them and whether that sufficiently violates the character clause to mean they are unworthy despite HoF-level performance."

Maybe I'm misremembering but I thought I saw the HoF tried some dodge like "we were just helping respected HoFer Morgan disseminate his thoughts on the matter."
   23. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: December 09, 2017 at 09:31 PM (#5589444)
he confesses to voting for Thome/Vizquel just because they played for the Indians and he enjoyed them.


Doesn’t it? I don’t think he actually gave it this level of thought but if someone is going to use the character clause to keep people out for PEDs or other indiscretions isn’t it intellectually consistent to give additional credit to people the voter deems good people?
   24. PreservedFish Posted: December 10, 2017 at 08:47 AM (#5589497)
if he did say, "they'll have to tear that Indians jersey off my back," well, he's arguably prone to criticism.

I have no memory of this, but 3 minutes of google research suggests that Thome did negotiate long and hard to wring a competitive offer from the Indians, and then a marginally better one from the Phillies. I don't begrudge him in the slightest. But I don't mind if fans were bitter.

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