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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Keri/Grantland: Biggio, Blanks and the Deeply Flawed HOF Process

Craig Biggio should be in the Hall of Fame. So should Tim Raines. A river of red tape and bullshit is preventing that from happening, and it’s a damn shame.

When we’re talking about the process more than the players, the process has become a problem.

Chris Fluit Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:43 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bbwaa, craig biggio, frank thomas, greg maddux, hall of fame, tim raines, tom glavine

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   1. bjhanke Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:25 AM (#4635455)
If I've remembered all the sources I've read in the last few days correctly, one voter turned in a blank ballot, meaning a "no" vote for Biggio, as well as everyone else. Another voter turned in a completely blank ballot except for Jack Morris (I assume this guy hates sabermetricians), which, according to the HoF rules, means another "no" vote for Biggio. Without those, he's in. IMO, the guy who turned in the "vengeance ballot", for Jack Morris and no one else, should have his voting priviledges stripped for life. The whole blank ballot guy needs to be asked just how small a Hall he wants. - Brock Hanke
   2. yo la tengo Posted: January 10, 2014 at 07:18 AM (#4635471)
Interesting, it seems to me that a blank ballot should count as no ballot at all rather than adding to the ballot total to be computed. But I guess if that were the case then we would get even more of these goofy one candidate ballots. Don't know what would be worse, honestly. I know that there have been proposals to increase the number of players allowed on an individual ballot. Has there been any discussion of a minimum to be on a ballot?
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4635483)
If you don't think there was a Hall of Famer on this year's ballot, either you are guilty of chutzpah (you think the museum should be renamed the Babe Ruth Hall, because he is the only guy good enough to get in) or chutzpidity (and you should not be given the privilege of voting). This isn't the right to vote for your elected officials we're talking about; this is a privilege that a private entity has the power to grant.
   4. jmurph Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4635512)
I like Jonah and wasn't super happy with the results this year, but there isn't anything in here indicating that the process is flawed, just that the voters are currently using flawed logic (or no logic at all). To just assert Raines should be in but for the process! doesn't really match reality, since the majority of voters didn't see him as deserving this year, and only a slight majority saw him as deserving last year.
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4635515)
jmurph highlights the point I have been trying to make (but apparently pretty poorly)

you need to tweak things that pushes the voters to think

get them to re-examine their behaviors

you push people. you push them to change or you change the people

up and out baby. up and out
   6. BDC Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4635525)
I dunno; it takes all kinds to make an electorate, and I'd live with the writers whose Hall is so small they'd like it to be empty except for Henry Chadwick :) They are a tiny marginal minority, and they only take on significance when (as this year) somebody misses by a vote or two. But two loonies didn't doom Biggio's '14 chances; it was the almost-quarter of the rest of the electorate that did that.
   7. jmurph Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4635528)
HW: Agree. Even removing the 10 vote cap, which I would probably be in favor of, doesn't solve a whole lot, because the average voter isn't writing in 10 names in most years, not even close in fact (though yes, it would have put in Biggio this year, that's of course a fair point).
   8. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4635530)
I like Jonah and wasn't super happy with the results this year, but there isn't anything in here indicating that the process is flawed


Then he missed it. Comment #57 from this thread:

Keith Law is re-tweeting some interesting tweets from fellow baseball writers.

This was his original tweet:

"keithlaw ?@keithlaw 8min
If you're a HOF voter and voted for ten guys, but omitted Biggio due to lack of space, please speak up. It will help push ballot reform."

Two answers/RTs as of now:

"Rob Maaddi ?@RobMaaddi 15min
Craig Biggio missed Hall of Fame by 2 votes. I didn't vote him b/c 10 is max. He was 11 on my ballot. Time for BBWAA to change max rules?"

"Jon Becker ?@JonBecker28 7min
@KeithLaw I voted 10 and took Biggio off at last minute for Walker. Ugh! I would have voted for 14 guys this year."


Two voters who believe that Craig Biggio should be in the Hall of Fame but didn't vote for him because they were only allowed to vote for 10 players. Over 75% of the voters believe Craig Biggio should be in the Hall of Fame. The standard for election is 75%. But Craig Biggio is not in the Hall of Fame. That's a flaw in the process. (Which is not, of course, to say that some voters aren't ALSO using flawed logic)
   9. Ray K Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4635540)
Over 75% of the voters believe Craig Biggio should be in the Hall of Fame. The standard for election is 75%. But Craig Biggio is not in the Hall of Fame. That's a flaw in the process.


The flaw in the process is not the ballot cap, but a lack of clarity in HOF induction guidelines regarding the use of PEDs, which has created this backlog of 8-10 otherwise HOF-worthy players being treated like Pete Rose by a majority of the writers. Maybe they should be, or maybe they shouldn't.

Either way, they are sucking up votes year after year, causing Craig Biggio has to wait an extra year to get in. Or maybe he's actually going to get in earlier. WE DON'T KNOW.

Or maybe the process will work itself out naturally. Once again, WE DON'T KNOW.

   10. fra paolo Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4635605)
Here's a list of players I think have a chance at election, based on their 2014 ballot tallies and their time remaining.

Biggio
Piazza
Bagwell (although his vote total hasn't really shifted for the past three years, which is a bad sign)
Raines (although he is in danger of losing his spot on a similar list next year)
Schilling

These are real longshots, but some kind of effort might rally enough support for them given the time they have left.
Martinez
Mussina
Kent

Everyone else either has too little time or has fallen far too low.

Look at post 1917 in the Gizmo thread, and the breakdown of those who only voted 0-4 names, and assume that it is a representative sample for a moment. Of all the names I've listed, only Biggio gets any votes. He topped the ballot in 2013, as well. Biggio is without doubt going in.

The thing is, suppose one is a 'the-hall-is-the-right-size' voter, as opposed to large or small hall, and that the present pace of elections is reasonable. Would electing two or three out of the names I've listed during the next three or four years be an unreasonable outcome? I don't think so.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4635611)
fra

mussina's foundation is actually pretty good. given all factors 20 percent for a first year candidate on a 'loaded' ballot strikes me as a good start

maybe chris j will tell us otherwise but I think mussina gets in the front door
   12. fra paolo Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4635618)
Harvey - you may well be right. Blylevyn debuted at around 17 per cent, and Mussina has beaten that. I took a cautious line because Blylevyn's candidacy was helped I think by Lederer's work and his own presence in the broadcast booth, factors I don't see necessarily helping Mussina.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4635621)
mussina's foundation is actually pretty good. given all factors 20 percent for a first year candidate on a 'loaded' ballot strikes me as a good start


Absolutely. And the best thing Mussina has going for him is the same thing Bert and Jack did - no more attractive starting pitching candidates coming up after him (once Pedro and Randy go in next year). I see Schilling and Mussina* performing similarly to Jack and Bert, but starting from a much better place (his vote total may not show it, though I think that's a result of the crowding, not his true baseline support).

* Maybe Smoltz, but I think he'll go in quicker if he's compared to Eckersley rather than those two. If he's looked at strictly as a SP, he'll probably be moving in their wake. But I like the chances for all of them.
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4635668)
fra

the overall voting electorate is better equipped to handle a mussina than the group that finally got around to electing Blyleven

if mussina is still on the ballot after say year 8 or so I will be surprised
   15. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4635683)
I still think you can only evaluate the process in light of the goal. And the goal is (essentially) MLB marketing. And in that it is succeeding spectacularly.

EDIT: Having every worthy player inducted right away and no bad candidates inducted ever would be great from a "Solid Hall" perspective, but it would be kind of boring and would result in much less ink spilled.
   16. AROM Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4635711)
Absolutely. And the best thing Mussina has going for him is the same thing Bert and Jack did - no more attractive starting pitching candidates coming up after him (once Pedro and Randy go in next year). I see Schilling and Mussina* performing similarly to Jack and Bert, but starting from a much better place (his vote total may not show it, though I think that's a result of the crowding, not his true baseline support).


I don't want to say nobody's going to top 270 wins, or approach 300 again. After all, Maddux, Glavine, Johnson, and Clemens did it while mostly pitching in the 5 man rotation. Somebody from the current generation is going to prove unusually durable and pitch into his 40's.

It won't be Halladay, sadly. But you never know about CC, Verlander, Felix, Kershaw, etc. But by the time these guys pitch another decade and serve their 5 year waiting period, Mussina, Schilling, and Smoltz will have had 15 years mostly to themselves without any obviously greater SP candidates crowding them out.

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