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Monday, December 31, 2012

Fay: Exercising my right not to vote for the HOF

Throw your arms across your eyes and scream, Fay! Scream for your life!


wz

I simply can’t do it. I put off mailing in my 2013 Hall of Fame ballot until today’s deadline.

It will not be sent.

...At some point last night, I made up my mind that I would vote Bonds and Clemens on basis that they would have been Hall of Famers if they used PEDs or not.

There’s also the argument that steroids in 1990s and 2000s were like the amphetamines in 1970s and 80s. Everybody used them, so just vote based on the stats.

But this morning, I was too torn to pull the lever.

My gut feeling is that I’m done as a voter. Maybe time will give me clarity on the issue, but, right now, I’d rather not vote than send in a ballot I don’t fully believe in.

Repoz Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:00 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Lassus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4335202)
Grow up, you whining, crying baby.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4335206)
I find myself wishing that people who are keeping blank ballots would send them in this year just to keep Morris out. That's a crappy attitude but that's where I am.
   3. Jason Collette Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4335214)
His 2011 ballot had Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Larry Walker on it. His claim of not sending in a blank ballot doesn't hurt those guys is half-true; it also doesn't help them. Why say their HOFers 2 years ago and then pull this stance?
   4. depletion Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4335216)
Other than baseball, Fay Wray was pretty great. Set the Scream Queen standard in a very early talkie.
   5. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4335222)
But this morning, I was too torn to pull the lever.


Who does this? Who agonizes over a friggin' HOF ballot like a 13 year old girl deciding who to text first?!

Barry Bonds, before his late career peak and PED suspicions, was a better HOF vote than Larry Walker (who is a better HOF vote than Jim Rice.) Just vote for the people who were clearly and obviously great. Bonds and Clemens were clearly and obviously great.
   6. John Northey Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4335230)
Funny how hard a choice it has been for some writers. Either you feel PED's were horrible and vote against guys who clearly did (or you strongly suspect did) or you vote for the best players or you do the shuffle where you decide when they started and vote based on pre-start stats. Blank ballots to protest all PED's I can understand, voting for guys you think are clean I can understand, voting for the best players period I understand (and agree with). But shutting down and doing nothing? Sheesh. Who does he think he is, an American politician?
   7. FrankM Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4335247)
With the flurry of articles like this, I think it's time to:

a) expand the HOF voter pool to include others besides newspapaper writers
b) start dropping people from the voters' list if they won't vote or turn in blank ballots out of spite or self-righteousness
   8. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4335248)
I find myself wishing that people who are keeping blank ballots would send them in this year just to keep Morris out.


There seems to be a prevalent view around here that the election of Jack Morris would be some sort of unbearable travesty. Where did this come from? Morris is not the strongest candidate on the ballot, but his selection would certainly not be out of line with the Hall of Fame's historical standards.

If I had a vote, I wouldn't vote for him--but the Hall of Fame is a self-defining institution, and anyone who gets 75% of the vote is a Hall-of-Famer and deserving of that label. I expect that Morris will go in someday, and as a Tiger fan, I'll be happy to see it.
   9. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4335251)
Morris would easily be among the worst HOF pitchers if elected. He will easily be the worst given the tools this generation has for measuring the value of player contributions.

There are people on this very site who think Schilling (127 ERA+ with greatest playoff pitching record of all time) isn't worthy.

How the heck can a 105 ERA+ guy with one great playoff game and a W/L record puffed up by an all time great level of run support be even close to the HOF?

   10. LargeBill Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4335253)
8. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4335248)

I find myself wishing that people who are keeping blank ballots would send them in this year just to keep Morris out.


There seems to be a prevalent view around here that the election of Jack Morris would be some sort of unbearable travesty. Where did this come from? Morris is not the strongest candidate on the ballot, but his selection would certainly not be out of line with the Hall of Fame's historical standards.


Actually his career IS out of line with the Hall of Fame's historical standards for starting pitchers as long as you ignore the W/L record which is more properly a team record. Is it an "unbearable travesty?" No, just a run of the mill travesty which we would mock but it's definitely bearable.
   11. bookbook Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4335257)
Well, he is # 432 in WAR all time, about 12 WAR behind Kevin Appier, and only slightly behind Bob Welch. But, yeah, the HOF is what it is. Asking it to enshrine the best players is like asking the weather to cooperate with a long fishing trip.
   12. jobu Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4335266)
Who does this? Who agonizes over a friggin' HOF ballot like a 13 year old girl deciding who to text first?!


Someone with a puffed-up sense of self-importance that draws a throughline from the Bill of Rights-mandated freedom of the press to covering a baseball beat. The Framers would have wanted our children protected from the scourge of poorly chosen role models.
   13. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4335280)
Who does this? Who agonizes over a friggin' HOF ballot like a 13 year old girl deciding who to text first?!...

But shutting down and doing nothing? Sheesh. Who does he think he is, an American politician?...

Someone with a puffed-up sense of self-importance that draws a throughline from the Bill of Rights-mandated freedom of the press to covering a baseball beat. The Framers would have wanted our children protected from the scourge of poorly chosen role models.
Ya know, sometimes you guys sound like my 27 year old nephew - he's absolutely convinced everyone with a position of authority of any kind is a complete idiot who does everything exactly wrong.

Look - I don't agree with Fay, but I understand his position. Rather than send in a blank ballot (which would do much more harm to guys like Lofton (who's possibly deserving of the HOF) than guys like Morris (who'd be the worst electee in my lifetime, yet will still get enshrined by the Vet Committee if he isn't voted in), he's chosen to not send a ballot in (which neither helps nor harms anyone). Every four years, millions of Americans don't vote for president, and many don't simply because they don't like the choices...and yet our country survives.

You guys demand that HOF/MVP/CYA voters take a more serious look at their ballots, and then when one does and doesn't give the answer you like you jump all over him.

Get over yourselves.
   14. Scott Ross Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4335286)
Were these rubes this torn about ignoring steroids for more than a decade?
   15. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4335290)
Get over yourselves.


I have never demanded "that HOF/MVP/CYA voters take a more serious look at their ballots." I think they're all full of ####.

I don't mind that Fay didn't send in his ballot.

I mind the kabuki theater of "I was going to vote for Bonds and Clemens, but then I woke up and was just so torn that I couldn't do it!" Who the hell gets torn up over a HOF ballot?
   16. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4335298)
You guys demand that HOF/MVP/CYA voters take a more serious look at their ballots, and then when one does and doesn't give the answer you like you jump all over him.


It's like the gas station owner not opening up for business in the morning at their normal time when you are low on gas and late for work.

We, the fans, are the ultimate customer of the HOF vote. Yet the BBWAA got a monopoly on the votes, so when members treat that gift as a burden, like extra homework to a 10 year old, it's doubly irritating.

Your voting analogy would be far more accurate if most citizens didnt have voting rights, instead only one person per congressional district was selected to have the right to vote. You wouldn't mind if your districts select voter announced he wasn't turning in the districts ballot this presidential election?
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4335300)
I agree with #13, I like that Fay is taking it seriously. One of the frustrations I have with many writers is that they don't take this stuff seriously. It's their job and millions of fans take it seriously, the writers should be expected to take their jobs seriously.
   18. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4335304)

I mind the kabuki theater of "I was going to vote for Bonds and Clemens, but then I woke up and was just so torn that I couldn't do it!" Who the hell gets torn up over a HOF ballot?
People for whom the world isn't black and white.

The HOF isn't the most important thing in the world, but everyone should agree that voters should treat it seriously. Further - "we" want writers to disclose/discuss their ballots; 10 years ago, before many did, this type of thing would have gone completely undiscussed, and thus unnoticed.
   19. The Good Face Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4335313)
I mind the kabuki theater of "I was going to vote for Bonds and Clemens, but then I woke up and was just so torn that I couldn't do it!" Who the hell gets torn up over a HOF ballot?


That's the part that bugs me. I've been to Cooperstown. I like the HOF a great deal. But to be so anguished by the thought of voting for Bonds and Clemens that you're "torn" and just can't go through with the process at all? That's some serious drama queen bullshit right there.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4335340)
What is so hard about this?
   21. Transmission Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4335362)
What is so hard about this?


I want this to be the first comment on every discussion thread about HOF ballots.
   22. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4335388)
What is so hard about this?


BBWAA Election Rule 5:

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.


If you want to give zero or minimal weight to integrity, sportsmanship, and character, as compared to record, playing ability, and contributions to the team(s), fine - that makes the decision easier for you, certainly. But the decision does become harder when you choose to consider giving more than minimal weight to the non-playing aspects of the voting requirements.

-- MWE
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4335404)
I mind the kabuki theater of "I was going to vote for Bonds and Clemens, but then I woke up and was just so torn that I couldn't do it!" Who the hell gets torn up over a HOF ballot?


That's the part that bugs me. I've been to Cooperstown. I like the HOF a great deal. But to be so anguished by the thought of voting for Bonds and Clemens that you're "torn" and just can't go through with the process at all? That's some serious drama queen ######## right there.

You'll get no argument from me there, but it's matched by the drama queening that goes on here when people act as if a Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds is somehow "illegitimate" and not worth visiting, as if a Hall of Fame without any particular player's plaque makes some sort of cosmic difference one way or the other.
   24. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4335425)
Well, he is # 432 in WAR all time, about 12 WAR behind Kevin Appier, and only slightly behind Bob Welch. But, yeah, the HOF is what it is. Asking it to enshrine the best players is like asking the weather to cooperate with a long fishing trip.


I just can't get behind this line of reasoning for the Hall of Fame. For the Hall of Merit? Sure.

But narrative is a part of the HOF for me. I watched Kevin Appier, Jack Morris, and Bob Welch. Jack Morris is probably the only one I'd tell my baseball loving kid about, unless they were a giant obsessive nerd like I was.

Jack Morris isn't the best qualified for the HOF, and I probably wouldn't vote for him, but I will shed no tears on his election, and certainly think he's more qualified for the HOF than Kevin Appier, regardless of who was statiscally the better player. YMMV.
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4335430)
If you want to give zero or minimal weight to integrity, sportsmanship, and character, as compared to record, playing ability, and contributions to the team(s), fine - that makes the decision easier for you, certainly. But the decision does become harder when you choose to consider giving more than minimal weight to the non-playing aspects of the voting requirements.


1. How much weight do you have to give the non-playing aspects to drive a player of Bonds's or Clemens's caliber down to a No vote? Answer: a cartoonish amount of weight, more than enough weight to turn you into a non-serious person.

2. Non-playing aspects were rarely invoked before, not for amps use, not for cheating/spitballs/corked bats. This is an entirely different standard, without justification.

Or, as Joe Sheehan wrote in his newsletter:

[T]he Baseball Writers Association of America has already honored many men who used sports drugs. The only way to argue that they have not is to define amphetamines and steroids as dramatically different, and there is simply no rational case for doing so, not based on legality, not based on notions of cheating, and certainly not based on the populist approach to seeing drug use in statistical lines...

The cadre of writers who see themselves as defending the Hall against cheaters and drug users who distorted the game is wrong. It's not a point of debate, it's not "reasonable minds can disagree", it's not a moral stance. These people are wrong. MLB turned a blind eye to drug use of all kinds for decades, as did the writers covering the game. Those same writers elected player after player after player from an era in which we know amphetamine use was popular without ever raising the issue of illegal drug use in the context anyone's candidacy. To draw the line at steroids as if they represent a bridge too far is ignorant of history, ignorant of statistics, and ignorant of baseball.
   26. Rob_Wood Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4335438)
But narrative is a part of the HOF for me.


The problem with this line of thinking is that one man's "narrative" is another's bullshit dump.
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4335440)
Grow up, you whining, crying baby.


A-freakin-men. Look, we're asking you who the best players ever were, not asking you to determine child custody in a tough family law case, or you know, decide on real problems. Stop whining.
   28. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4335492)
I mind the kabuki theater of "I was going to vote for Bonds and Clemens, but then I woke up and was just so torn that I couldn't do it!" Who the hell gets torn up over a HOF ballot?
Hopefully anyone who votes for the HOF.

This isn't your high school election for class president. This matters. If it doesn't to you, you shouldn't vote at all.


EDIT: I'm obviously not saying I agree with his position, or that there's any reason to be torn up over that decision. But that's not what you're attacking him for; you're attacking him for being torn up about HOF voting generally.
   29. eric Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4335494)
Any voter who doesn't want to vote can give me that privilege; I won't squander it.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4335495)
But that's not what you're attacking him for; you're attacking him for being torn up about HOF voting generally.


Not really; the way I read Sam, Sam was attacking him for being so torn up that he couldn't send in a ballot. Which - Sam is correct - is ridiculous.
   31. CrosbyBird Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4335513)
Morris would easily be among the worst HOF pitchers if elected. He will easily be the worst given the tools this generation has for measuring the value of player contributions.

I have to agree with this. There are so many people making so many strong arguments against Morris right now that there is less excuse for this mistake than pretty much any other error of inclusion in HOF history.

Not that voting for Herb Pennock or Pie Traynor over Jimmie Foxx in 1948 was particularly defensible, but with the wealth of additional information available, Morris getting 299 more votes than Kevin Brown in 2011 is far more shameful an error. Foxx did get more than half the votes that Pennock and Traynor got; Brown got less than 4% of the votes Morris got.

Even BTF whipping-boy Jim Rice is much more defensible. Outside of McGwire (for whom we have a whole host of non-performance-related issues), there wasn't anyone on the 2009 ballot with a higher OPS+ than Rice and a reasonably long career (sorry, Mo Vaughan).

Jack Morris, if elected, will be the HOF pitcher with the worst ERA in history. He would be in the bottom 10 of HOF starters in WAR (leaving out guys like Ruth or Paige, for obvious reasons, and relief pitchers) despite a fairly long career.
   32. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4335521)

Jack Morris, if elected, will be the HOF pitcher with the worst ERA in history


In an era quite favorable to pitchers.

I'm still kinda amazed Morris has garnered this much support. I just never envisioned this during his career. I thought Morris was good, but it always seemed like there were at least 5-6 pitchers better than him every year.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4335538)
More to Morris than non-voting:

In terms of HoF induction, I pretty much ignore the existence of VC selections of players who weren't elected. There are some exceptions -- Santo, Mize, must be one or two more -- who clearly deserved election. But not only do most VC selections not meet my personal standards, they don't have any impact on the HoF itself. Mazeroski (not to mention friends of Frisch) in or out is essentially meaningless.

So in terms of standards that I care about, Morris going in by VC would be something I don't care about. That the BBWAA have let in Perez and Rice while dismissing more deserving candidates will annoy me more.
   34. Mayor Blomberg Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4335646)
Who does this? Who agonizes over a friggin' HOF ballot like a 13 year old girl deciding who to text first?!


i know a website where people obsess about HOF ballots like 13year-old girls obsessing over Justin Bieber's tweets.
   35. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4335675)
I find myself wishing that people who are keeping blank ballots would send them in this year just to keep Morris out.

There seems to be a prevalent view around here that the election of Jack Morris would be some sort of unbearable travesty. Where did this come from? Morris is not the strongest candidate on the ballot, but his selection would certainly not be out of line with the Hall of Fame's historical standards.


"Unbearable travesty" is sorta silly.

A "bad joke", though, when there's a huge number of much better qualified candidates on the ballot, is a better summation.

In another way, the election of Morris would represent what's wrong with so much of the world. Not just the ignorance of facts, but the willful, cheerful ignorance of facts. It's a bunch of guys whose business is to know better announcing they know little about how baseball games are actually won and lost. It would be... discouraging, in large part because of what it would represent.

If I had a vote, I wouldn't vote for him--but the Hall of Fame is a self-defining institution, and anyone who gets 75% of the vote is a Hall-of-Famer and deserving of that label. I expect that Morris will go in someday, and as a Tiger fan, I'll be happy to see it.


This doesn't make any sense. If the HOF elects Bill North and Ray Sadecki, they're Hall of Famers by definition, but the Hall also loses what's left of its credibility, and "Hall of Famer" becomes a label without any distinction.


re post 25: Sheehan's wrong in one sense. Members new to voting for the Hall are in no way obliged to accept previous standards. It's like saying a G-Man starting work in Chicago in 1929 is obliged to accept all the corruption he sees because, hey, it's the way we've always done it.

Sheehan's argument makes sense when he applies it to voters who have had a say for a while. He's mistaken wen he stretches it to include every voter.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4335719)
Sheehan's argument makes sense when he applies it to voters who have had a say for a while. He's mistaken wen he stretches it to include every voter.

Maybe. Agree or not, it's not unreasonable to claim that each new voter has accepted the responsibility to uphold the standards of the HoF. Those standards are established by the precedence of who is in and who is out. A tougher question (assuming you agree with the first assertion) is whether their responsibility is to uphold the standards of the BBWAA HoF or the full HoF.
   37. Mayor Blomberg Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:38 AM (#4335742)
re post 25: Sheehan's wrong in one sense. Members new to voting for the Hall are in no way obliged to accept previous standards. It's like saying a G-Man starting work in Chicago in 1929 is obliged to accept all the corruption he sees because, hey, it's the way we've always done it.


What statute would voters be violating? One's a question of interpretation, the other's a bright-line distinction.
   38. bobm Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:09 AM (#4335751)
[4] Other than baseball, Fay Wray Vincent was pretty great.

FTFY
   39. Lassus Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:25 AM (#4335754)
That's the part that bugs me. I've been to Cooperstown. I like the HOF a great deal. But to be so anguished by the thought of voting for Bonds and Clemens that you're "torn" and just can't go through with the process at all? That's some serious drama queen ######## right there.

When Good Face and I reach consensus, you know Fay's being a bozo.

Thinking seriously about an issue up until you get to the point where you refuse to do anything is worthless.
   40. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4336309)
Ya know, sometimes you guys sound like my 27 year old nephew - he's absolutely convinced everyone with a position of authority of any kind is a complete idiot who does everything exactly wrong.

And your nephew is incorrect...how, exactly?

Well, he is # 432 in WAR all time, about 12 WAR behind Kevin Appier, and only slightly behind Bob Welch.

I keep waiting for Bob Welch (the pitcher) to record the Everly Brothers' song "Ebony Eyes", just so people will confuse it with this.

OK, not really. But still.

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