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Monday, December 10, 2012

LA Observed: His ballot for baseball’s Hall of Fame includes the steroid kings

I Am Rapoport.

I have just mailed in my Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and while several of the names on it required some thought—Mike Piazza (yes) and Don Mattingly (no), for instance—a few were no-brainers. I am speaking of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

I voted for all of them.

Not that any of them will be elected to Cooperstown, of course. Sportswriters, and I have been one my entire working life, tend toward great moral judgments and just as they guarded the sanctity of Cooperstown against the threat posed by Pete Rose, they can be counted on to do their duty against the scourge of steroids represented by Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire and Palmeiro.

They cheated, you see. They used illegal drugs and lied about it. They gained an unfair advantage over their opponents. They threw the record book into disrepute. They sullied the game. They played fast and loose with the affections of the fans. They should be forgotten or ignored.

I have a different view.

I believe the steroid generation of players, of which these five players are among the most conspicuously accused, may well have saved baseball. I also believe these players’ greatest achievements will outlast not only their careers, but their lifetimes.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:00 AM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Sean Forman Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4320775)
No Bagwell or Biggio? It's looking a lot more likely to me that I was right about no one getting in.
   2. Repoz Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4320789)
No Bagwell or Biggio? It's looking a lot more likely to me that I was right about no one getting in.

Sean...I'm treating this as a Partial Ballot for now. He's really not clear.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM (#4320792)
Sean...I'm treating this as a Partial Ballot for now. He's really not clear.


If he thinks there is any "thought required" for Piazza, then I'm not so sure he has Biggio or Bagwell.

several of the names on it required some thought—Mike Piazza (yes)
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4320804)
I had no idea there would be people who make a point of voting for ONLY the Steroid Kings (my favorite gang in The Warriors by the way). No Biggio on this one is bizarre.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4320807)
I had no idea there would be people who make a point of voting for ONLY the Steroid Kings (my favorite gang in The Warriors by the way). No Biggio on this one is bizarre.


As mentioned this is probably a partial ballot, but I wouldn't be shocked if after this election that some pompous stat nerd writer, refuses to vote for Maddux or Griffey on the next ballot, because Bonds and Clemens didn't get in.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4320808)
As mentioned this is probably a partial ballot, but I wouldn't be shocked if after this election that some pompous stat nerd writer, refuses to vote for Maddux or Griffey on the next ballot, because Bonds and Clemens didn't get in.


Are there any stats guys with ballots?
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4320820)
Are there any stats guys with ballots?


Not sure, there are 400+ ballots out there, not sure who would qualify as a stat nerd. Will Carroll and Keith Law have a while before they get a vote, so we don't have to worry about them eventually anti-moralizing.
   8. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4320828)
I wouldn't be shocked if after this election that some pompous stat nerd writer, refuses to vote for Maddux or Griffey on the next ballot, because Bonds and Clemens didn't get in.


It might happen, but it is hard to think of much that could be more self defeating.
   9. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4320846)
I wouldn't be shocked if after this election that some pompous stat nerd writer, refuses to vote for Maddux or Griffey on the next ballot, because Bonds and Clemens didn't get in.

Maybe only a tiny handful, but there have been plenty of people here who've openly wished that some current HoF member would be proven to be a juicer, and even more who've expressed glee at the thought of some slam dunk current HoF prospect like Jeter failing a drug test. It's pretty much the same pathetic mentality involved in all three of these scenarios: If they can't get what they want by open persuasion, they want to drag others down to their level.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4320852)
I didn't say I thought it would be a force to be reckon with, just that I fully imagine that there will be a couple of ballots next year, in which the writer freely admits that he is voting only for those that meet the standards established by the previous year ballots, and if Clemens and Bonds don't meet it, then there neither does Maddux or Griffey.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4320854)
I also will not be surprised if the hof rescinds the 5% rule over the next couple of years.
   12. John Northey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4320879)
The summary of HOF ballots will be interesting to see once it is posted again. Who will pay the highest price from the anti-PED forces, who will be bumped down, who will climb.

Morris, Bagwell and Smith were all at 50%+ last year... will they all be again? I doubt it. Raines in the 40's last time will take a hit too. Poor Alan Trammell was finally climbing up the ladder, from 17 to 22 to 24 to 36.8% and probably would've seen 40+ this year, then 50+ in his 14th year giving him a shot in his final year on the ballot but the overcrowding will probably knock him back down to the 20's. Bernie Williams & Palmeiro I could easily see dropping under 5%. Mattingly will be interesting to see as he has been fairly stable, peaked year one at 28%, dropped to a low of 9.9% in 2007, but generally in the teens for percentage.

I think it would be funny (sad) if we end up with no one getting elected when we have a historically amazing class. 4 guys over 75 WAR, another 7 in the 60's and McGwire, Piazza, and Sosa in the 50's. That means there are 14 guys who have solid cases for the HOF and it is possible none make it, or just the guy who is way down in the 30's (Morris). How weird is that? 14 very solid candidates and the one getting in is worse than all of them. Sigh.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4320919)
I didn't say I thought it would be a force to be reckon with, just that I fully imagine that there will be a couple of ballots next year, in which the writer freely admits that he is voting only for those that meet the standards established by the previous year ballots, and if Clemens and Bonds don't meet it, then there neither does Maddux or Griffey.

CFB, I realize that you weren't making any such claims. 90% of the woofing along the lines I mentioned above is coming from the bloggosphere and the blabbosphere, and very little from actual HoF voters. Their blabbing and woofing is nearly all in the other direction.
   14. LargeBill Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4320938)
11. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4320854)
I also will not be surprised if the hof rescinds the 5% rule over the next couple of years.


I doubt they will rescind the rule altogether. More likely is a few players getting reinstated to a ballot after missing the 5% cutoff. I think it would be meaningless to do so until the log jam is cleared. Take Kenny Lofton. Very solid player who would in normal circumstances stay on the ballot for 15 years. However, I'm fairly certain he won't get the five percent. Put him back on the ballot while there are 15 to 20 better players getting 30 to 50% of the vote and he just falls right off again as he stays below 5%. I expect that in five to ten years we'll have several players that deserve a second look. Heck, we could have players with over 500 homers fall off the ballot. This year is bad, but next year will be much worse especially if Biggio falls short this year.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4320945)
Rescinding the 5 percent rule can only make things worse in terms of ballot logjams, not better.

An induction weekend (or 2) without a living player could provide the necessary impetus for the Hall to at least provide some direction to the BBWAA on the steroids-suspected players. Other than lowering the 75 percent for induction (highly unlikely) or a complete overhaul in the election process (such as going to one used by the NFL, which ensures X number of players annually), I don't know that any tweaks will do much good in terms of getting guys elected.
   16. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4321003)
If he thinks there is any "thought required" for Piazza, then I'm not so sure he has Biggio or Bagwell.


He also put "thought required" for Mattingly. So he could very well be a long time Mattingly voter who had to make tough choices to cut down to 10 players. Really, the only info we have is that he voted for Piazza and the five steroid guys and didn't vote for Mattingly. Anything beyond that is speculation.
   17. Mark Armour Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4321039)
If anything, I think people are *under*estimating the difficulty of anyone getting elected. 75% is a very tough hurdle for any candidate who has a clean case (meaning: all voters are voting on the merits only). All "no" votes essentially cancel out three *yes* votes. Biggio ordinarily would land in the 70-85 range, certainly not a 90% guy judging on past elections. Carlton Fisk took two ballots--Biggio is like Fisk. Bonds could withstand a *little* suspicion because he is a 98% guy on the merits. Biggio, on the other hand, ... if there are a handful of holdouts he is dead in the water.

Personally, I am rooting for chaos. My overall goal is to dramatically reduce the number of Hall of Fame conversations, and this might help in the long term. It might not.
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4321072)
Rescinding the 5 percent rule can only make things worse in terms of ballot logjams, not better.

I think you'd have to combine it with getting rid of the 10-vote limit to do any good. Of course, given the fact that I would have voted for 11 on last year's ballot given the chance, I'd be in favor of that anyway.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: December 10, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4321089)
I think you'd have to combine it with getting rid of the 10-vote limit to do any good. Of course, given the fact that I would have voted for 11 on last year's ballot given the chance, I'd be in favor of that anyway.


Good call. Yeah, the 10-vote limit should be scrapped. Though its not likely to directly result in any elections, it could help things a little.

   20. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4321119)
there have been plenty of people here who've openly wished that some current HoF member would be proven to be a juicer, and even more who've expressed glee at the thought of some slam dunk current HoF prospect like Jeter failing a drug test. It's pretty much the same pathetic mentality involved in all three of these scenarios: If they can't get what they want by open persuasion, they want to drag others down to their level.

I would like to see this kind of thing happen, but not for bottom-feeding reasons. Part of the writers' steroid consensus is unkillable idiocy (just LOOK at his arms!) and another part of it is a rewritten moralism (the bad people did it to us). Finding an old needle mark in Ripken's or Ryan's or Maddux's or Griffey's ass would create a new kind of cognitive dissonance that would highlight the selectivity and incoherence of the BBWAA's anger. It would also provide a rich vein of past assertions by the writers which would be hilariously inoperative; we can only dine out on the extravagant McGwire fellatio for so long. My enjoyment wouldn't be a pathetic mentality, it would be a protest against a pathetic mentality.

Alas, the above is not gonna happen. The only real fun we're going to get is watching the BBWAA destroy the Hall of Fame ballot in order to save it.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4321131)
Good call. Yeah, the 10-vote limit should be scrapped. Though its not likely to directly result in any elections, it could help things a little.


I'm for both, although I think if you don't get at least 5 votes in a particular election, that you could be removed from the ballot.

Carlton Fisk took two ballots--Biggio is like Fisk.


I don't really see how. Fisk is a catcher who went up on a ballot with three slam dunk hof candidates. Biggio is a slam dunk candidate going up against a couple of the greatest of all times, in a ballot that is rife with politics and moralizing the vote. I actually thought Biggio would have been helped out on this election because of people he is competing with, but it does look like that isn't the case.

I was thinking that voters would look at the ballot, and saw Biggio as the best of the bunch without controversy, yet it seems that he is being cast into the roid box because he played for the Astros(?).
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: December 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4321145)
I was thinking that voters would look at the ballot, and saw Biggio as the best of the bunch without controversy


Some voters will look at the ballot and vote that way. Others will look at him as a Hall of Famer on a ballot with better Hall of Famers, and not vote for him (as they did with obvious Hall of Famer Fisk). Still others may toss him in a roid suspicion box (either in the "He played for the Stros" sense or by "why should I assume he's clean when xxx is presumed guilty," reasoning. Maybe some hold the way he dragged his carcass across the 3,000-hit mark against him. Still others may just think he wasn't that great.

What I think it most demonstrates is what Mark said above, that getting 75 percent is very difficult, perhaps this year more than ever. One no vote, whatever the reason, does a lot of damage.

He still might make it. But I thought he might be the first modern 3,000-hit guy who failed to get first-ballot election, so I don't consider this terribly surprising.
   23. jyjjy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4321176)
It might happen, but it is hard to think of much that could be more self defeating.

I see you are unfamiliar with the Kansas City Royals.
   24. Mark Armour Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4321180)
The problem with Biggio is that there is an honest case to be made that he is not one of the 10 best players on the ballot. I would not make this case, but it is not ridiculous.

Let's see. If I sort the players by WAR, and determine that I will vote for the Top 10, I would get: Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Bagwell, Walker, Trammell, Raines, Palmeiro, Lofton, Martinez.

Biggio is 11th. So if this one purely statistical measure would leave him off a ballot, and there are voters who would rather only vote for 5 people, and there are voters who do not like to vote for people on the first ballot unless they are "elite", and there are voters who think Biggio's career arc is suspicious, ...

There are many reasons that people can vote against Biggio. I suspect that Biggio will overcome all of these hurdles and get half of the people to vote for him. 75%? No way.

The whole point behind the 75% threshold is to create a "wisdom of the crowds" scenario. There were people who vote based on statistics only, people who weigh pennant winning, or awards, or character, or being a good teammate. If you can get 75% of the diverse group to mark you down, that is pretty amazing. Once you add the steroids thing, it gets that much harder not just because the steroids users will get hurt, but because the people who vote for McGwire are NOT voting for a clean guy who has a good case. It all falls apart.

Plus, beginning about 10 years ago, people (mainly on the internet) began to loudly campaign AGAINST players getting elected. That is all brand new. No one wrote columns deriding the election of Herb Pennock or Ralph Kiner. The annual HOF annoucement was always treated as an excuse to celebrate, not a reason to complain.

Add all that up, and getting 75% is a #####.

   25. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4321190)
He still might make it. But I thought he might be the first modern 3,000-hit guy who failed to get first-ballot election, so I don't consider this terribly surprising.


Not counting Palmeiro of course.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4321192)
Not counting Palmeiro of course.


Yes, and it's possible that Palmeiro's failures do make it easier to pass on a clean Biggio.

   27. LargeBill Posted: December 10, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4321210)
He still might make it. But I thought he might be the first modern 3,000-hit guy who failed to get first-ballot election, so I don't consider this terribly surprising.


Um, Palmeiro has missed twice and has 3020 hits.

Edit: Oops, should have hit refresh before snarking about the Palmeiro oversight.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4321249)
An induction weekend (or 2) without a living player

Not going to happen.

It might happen this year. But Maddux sails in next year with a near-record high vote. Glavine and Thomas stand a good chance of election and if they don't quite make it, they will in the next year or two. The 2015 ballot adds Johnson, Pedro and Smoltz, two 1st balloters and an eventual 3rd HoFer (possible 1st balloter). 2016 gives us Griffey, an easy 1st balloter barring somebody's tell-all book accusing him of roids. 2017 adds Pudge (an interesting roid candidate) and Vlad and the opportunity to put in some who didn't make it from the 2014-6 ballots.* Then we'll get Chipper and possibly Thome. Then Mo. Then Jeter.

Then I think there is a lull in 2020 and maybe for a few more ballots but still some collection of Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell, Raines, Edgar, Glavine, Thomas, Smoltz, Mussina, Schilling, etc. on the list and close to election.

There is no shortage of "clean" deserving candidates and, Morris aside, all are candidates a saber-type can vote for in clean conscience too. It will be tough to limit a ballot to 10 for many voters so a lot of those "clean" candidates will probably wallow in the 20s and 30s until 2017 or 2020 but they'll start climbing from there.

Two things folks tend to over-state. The ballot has no real problem handling several candidates in the 25-60% ranges. The famed 1999 ballot contained 9 guys eventually voted into the HoF (might be a "modern" record). Several years had 8 if you include VC selections. The candidates who are gonna get screwed are the guys currently in the 20s -- Walker, McGriff -- who might well fall off because voters willing to vote for Bonds, Clemens, etc. won't have room even if they vote all 10; and possibly the guys who've been building momentum but running out of time -- Raines, Tramell. But, perversely, Raines might be helped by the logjam. Under normal circumstances, having two near-unanimous choices like Bonds and Clemens along with other good candidates drops the backlog candidates (for example, Rice, Carter and Garvey lost 14, 8 and 11 percent in 1999). However, Bonds and Clemens aren't going to be near-unanimous and what we likely have instead is a bunch of 25-50% candidates entering the ballot with (I think) Biggio, Bagwell and Morris all coming close to election (1 or 2 might make it over). Raines can probably hold steady in this election.

*Manny also comes on but he'll be lucky to do as well as Palmeiro.
   29. Rob_Wood Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4321257)
Wow, it never really occurred to me that we could have nobody reach 75% via this year's BBWAA balloting. Would be the first time in a very long time IIRC.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4321261)
I will add that this is the reason why, if I had a real vote, I'd definitely start voting strategically. McGwire and Palmeiro have no shot at election so I'd sacrifice them to help keep somebody like Walker on my ballot. I'd vote for Sosa this year, partly to "make a point" and partly because I'm a fanboy, but I doubt I'd be able to keep him on my ballot next year (especially if, as I expect, he polls down in Mac/Palmeiro territory). I think there are already more than 10 legit HoFers on this ballot and it is only going to get worse so I would be ruthless in determining my 10.*

The ballot is only a logjam for the "thinking" voter so it's only those voters who now have tough choices to make. If a voter has decided he doesn't need to even consider Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Mac and Palmeiro (and maybe not Bagwell, Piazza, Biggio) -- they've got lots of room on their ballot even if they use one on Morris.

*Relating back to my previous post, I probably wasn't clear. Yes, the current ballot contains more than 10 guys I think should make the HoF. Next year it may be over 15. No, I don't think the ballot can really handle 15+ who eventually make it via vote. So, absolutely, some deserving candidates are getting screwed by the logjam. The point I was trying to make was that the crowded ballot will still let plenty of candidates through. In essence, the ballot is crowded in terms of talent but it's not crowded in terms of "available votes". The vote totals this year may look like 2010 (Dawson) or 2006 (Sutter); 2014-2015 might look like 2007 (Ripken, Gwynn).
   31. Mark Armour Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4321276)
I agree that the overwhelming candidates coming up (Maddux, Griffey, Pedro) will sail in. And we have a ton of those coming up. If you are an extreme-small-hall guy, things might be fine. But the Hall has always had guys that trickle up the ballot, guys like Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Mathews and Duke Snider, well-qualified guys who took a few years. Biggio, Raines, Bagwell, Schilling, Mussina -- in another era, these are guys that get in in year 2 or 5, in Biggio's case maybe year 1. Then you have guys like Walker, Raines, Trammell, who, in another era, might take the Perez/Blyleven/Morris path. Those guys are done.

For the next decade, after Morris, it will be a bunch of guys like Seaver and Bench.
   32. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 10, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4321296)
2012-- 573 ballots, 2922 player votes, 5.1 names per ballot (45% or more: *Larkin, Morris, Bagwell, L.Smith, Raines)
2011-- 581 ballots, 3474 player votes, 6 names per ballot (45% or more: *Alomar, *Blyleven, Larkin, Morris, L.Smith)
2010-- 539 ballots, 3056 player votes, 5.7 names per ballot (45% or more: *Dawson, Blyleven, Alomar, Morris, Larkin, L.Smith)
2009-- 539 ballots, 2900 player votes, 5.4 names per ballot (45% or more: *Henderson, *Rice, Dawson, Blyleven (L.Smith and Morris at 44%))
2008-- 543 ballots, 2905 player votes, 5.35 names per ballot (45% or more: *Gossage, Rice, Dawson, Blyleven) 32 ballots not turned in
2007-- 545 ballots, 3586 player votes, 6.6 names per ballot (45% or more: *Ripken, *Gwynn, Gossage, Rice, Dawson, Blyleven)
2006-- 520 ballots, 2933 player votes, 5.6 names per ballot (45% or more: *Sutter, Rice, Gossage, Dawson, Blyleven, L.Smith)
2005-- 516 ballots, 3261 player votes, 6.3 names per ballot (45% or more: *Boggs, *Sandberg, Sutter, Rice, Gossage, Dawson)
2004-- 506 ballots, 3314 player votes, 6.55 names per ballot (45% or more: *Molitor, *Eckersley, Sandberg, Sutter, Rice, Dawson)
2003-- 496 ballots, 3274 player votes, 6.6 names per ballot (45% or more: 3274 player votes, 6.6 names per ballot (45% or more: *Murray, *Carter, Sutter, Rice, Dawson, Sandberg)

It's a debatable hope that you can drop several large rocks into this pond and still expect that the ballot will handle it.

If the ballot total went up to 600, and the names per ballot went up to 8-- both unlikely-- that'd be 4,800 slots to divvy up between Morris, Bagwell, Smith, Raines, Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Biggio, Schilling, Sosa, Lofton, Trammell, Edgar, McGriff, Walker, Murphy, Palmeiro, and McGwire, with 450 votes needed for induction. (It'll probably be more like 425-430.)

A year after that, the ballot greets Maddux, Thomas, Glavine, Mussina, and Kent, which means that they'd need to have elected five players this year just to stay status quo on the ballot crunch. The following year brings Randy, Pedro, Smoltz, and Sheffield. Then, Griffey, Edmonds, Hoffman, and Wagner.
   33. Mark Armour Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4321308)
Predictions:
2013 - Morris
2014 - Maddux, Glavine
2015 - Pedro, Johnson
2016 - Griffey, Thomas (year 3)
2017 - Smoltz (year 3)



   34. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4321314)
Predictions:
2013 - Morris
2014 - Maddux, Glavine
2015 - Pedro, Johnson
2016 - Griffey, Thomas (year 3)
2017 - Smoltz (year 3)


I am not saying this can't happen, because I think we are swimming in unchartered waters with the HOF voting, but if the above projection was correct, nobody on the current ballot, save Morris, would get elected into the HOF through 2017.

I know they're not easy to like, but any HOF that doesn't include Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is just not credible, IMO.
   35. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4321316)
I believe the steroid generation of players, of which these five players are among the most conspicuously accused, may well have saved baseball.

I mean, obviously.

Stuff like this man, ugh. Baseball is very popular whether you've got pumped up superheroes hitting 5000 ft home runs or, like now, the pitchers have things well in hand. It's a great game that doesn't need anyone to save it from anything.

The HOF is what needs saving. Everyone involved with the process seems to operate with their head up their ass.
   36. Mark Armour Posted: December 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4321317)
I believe the Original Sin in all of this is the exclusion of Pete Rose. With Rose out, you have given cover to the idea that the Hall does not have to be about the best players. Setting aside how you feel about the individual cases, once the argument is no longer "how good was this player" but is intead "how worthy is he of being included in the Hallowed institution", then the game is over.

If the defense of Bonds is "he was a great player, the Hall should honor great players", he's got a good shot. If the conversation turns to, and it will, "Gambling is worse than steroids!!" or "There are already a-holes in the Hall!!", just pull up the stakes and move on. You have lost.
   37. Booey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4321346)
Other than lowering the 75 percent for induction (highly unlikely) or a complete overhaul in the election process (such as going to one used by the NFL, which ensures X number of players annually),


Would this really be a bad idea? They could elect 5 players a year for the next six years at least without even having to resort to any silly Morris/Lee type choices. So what if for the next 5 or ten years they just said that the top 3 vote getters each year get enshrined regardless of percentage? That would help the backlog a little without having to do anything too drastic.
   38. Booey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4321350)
To tack on to #37, if that happened, I think we might see something like this:

2013 - Morris (ugh), Biggio, Bagwell
2014 - Maddux, Glavine, Thomas
2015 - Johnson, Pedro, Piazza
2016 - Griffey, Smoltz, Schilling
2017 - Pudge, Mussina, Vlad


Not perfect, obviously, and there would still be lots of qualified players hanging around on the ballot, even excluding the roid snubs. But it looks much better than what's likely to actually happen, doesn't it?
   39. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 10, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4321353)
If you have to change the system to counteract the logjam that will be caused by the voters, maybe the system isn't the problem.
   40. Rob_Wood Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4321382)
MarkA is undoubtedly on to something here. The Pete Rose exclusion precedent has allowed the voters to become "morality" arbiters. That is why many wish that the Hall of Fame would come out with a statement saying something that would give voters cover to vote for Bonds, Clemens, et al.

I cannot come up with the perfect statement but something like "The Hall of Fame will welcome any eligible player seleted by the sportswriters as being among the greatest to have ever played the game." Of course, this will not fully resolve the issue but I am sure that more voters would then vote for Bonds and Clemens than in the absence of such a statement. Where it would leave McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Bagwell (unfair), et al., is unclear.
   41. Repoz Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4321387)
Super early HOF total...

73.3% - Bonds
73.3% - Clemens
73.3% - Piazza
66.6% - Bagwell
66.6% - J. Morris
40.0% - Biggio


   42. John Northey Posted: December 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4321390)
Except there was an exception years before Rose in Shoeless Joe Jackson. A clear HOF'er who never got in due to gambling, even with tons of supporters who feel he wasn't guilty and a court case that had him not guilty. I mean, a guy who hit 400 as a rookie, 356 lifetime, just shy of 60 WAR lifetime despite a career cut short. Yet he barely got any support when on the ballot (1% or less).
   43. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:13 PM (#4321408)
Predictions:
2013 - Morris
2014 - Maddux, Glavine
2015 - Pedro, Johnson
2016 - Griffey, Thomas (year 3)
2017 - Smoltz (year 3)


My guesses:

2013: Morris or Biggio
2014: Maddux and Biggio/Thomas
2015: Pedro, Johnson
2016: Griffey, Glavine, Smoltz
2017: Biggio/Thomas and Bagwell

Piazza might be in there somewhere too or soon thereafter.

I am not saying this can't happen, because I think we are swimming in unchartered waters with the HOF voting, but if the above projection was correct, nobody on the current ballot, save Morris, would get elected into the HOF through 2017.

And I'd say that's what's going to happen but, under normal circumstances, chances are nobody on the current ballot other than Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Biggio would be elected by 2017 ... maybe Bagwell or Piazza would get through. This is going to be one of the biggest waves of "no-doubt 1st balloters" to hit the ballot in a long time, maybe since the very early years. In a normal year, almost all of the backlog would lose votes this year as Bonds and Clemens cruise into 97-99% vote totals and I suspect Biggio's 3000 hits carry him over (as they did for Yount in 99). Then everybody drops or is stagnant as Maddux sails to 99% in 2014 joined by Thomas in the high 70s low 80s. Then Pedro and Johnson and it's not until the Griffey year that some progress can be made then 2017 would be the big catch-up year.

As I noted above, lots of deserving candidates are going to be left off. But Walker's chances weren't going to be good anyway as he was most likely going to be stuck where he is until 2016-17 anyway with a few more tsunamis coming. Raines and possibly Edgar are guys who probably would have made it eventually under normal circumstances who might not with the backlog. But, as I said, in the short-term they might actually be helped by the anti-roiders not voting for Bonds et al. Meanwhile, guys like Mac and Palmeiro are easily-deserving HoFers but, in terms of their actual impact on the ballot, they are no more troublesome than Mattingly or Murphy -- they're just two more candidates chugging along at 10-20%.

The early Biggio vote total is interesting. Maybe 3000 hits really won't mean as much as it used to. Last year was interesting in that Walker actually did substantially better on the non-Repoz ballots; maybe Biggio will be the same.

And I'll note I'm assuming Bonds and Clemens come in somewhere around 50%. If they actually get elected or come in around 70% then I don't think we're really going to have much of a problem.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4321419)
My alternative universe guesses, assuming Mac & Palmeiro are already in the alternative HoF and bearing in mind they haven't elected more than 3 since the early days:

2013: Bonds, Clemens, Biggio or Sosa
2014: Maddux, Biggio or Sosa, maybe Thomas
2015: Pedro, Unit, maybe Thomas
2016: Griffey, Glavine, Smoltz
2017: Thomas, Bagwell, Piazza
2018: Chipper and some mix of Thome, Mussina, Schilling, whatever backlogger I've forgotten but probably not Raines or Edgar yet
2019: Rivera and more of that mix.

Vlad probably gets through too but I'm guessing he'll have to wait for this to clear. A Vlad/Raines induction might be nice. Morris will get in on the first VC ballot he's on. Edgar, Raines and maybe Smith will get in via VC if need be. As is, the VC is gonna be putting a lot of guys in I'd guess.

Anyway, point is that even to keep up with the ballot in the non-roids world they'd have to elect 18-20 guys over the next 7 elections and (keeping the max of 3 per year) guys like Thomas, Bagwell, Piazza would probably still have to wait a while. In that world I wouldn't be surprised if Mussina and Schilling had to wait 10+ years -- they really don't compare well to Clemens, Maddux, Johnson and Pedro so would be more like Sutton or even Bunning. They too might be helped by the anti-roiders since the only pitcher they've focused on so far is Clemens and maybe Brown. If you think the 90s were the WWF of baseball where even pint-sized SS were hitting 30 HR, what Mussina and Schilling achieved looks even better.

Possibly slot in Piazza or Bagwell for a "maybe Thomas"
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4321433)
My guesses:

2013: Morris or Biggio
2014: Maddux and Biggio/Thomas
2015: Pedro, Johnson
2016: Griffey, Glavine, Smoltz
2017: Biggio/Thomas and Bagwell


I like the Morris or Biggio, I fully believe that someone is going into the hof on this ballot, I also believe that if the hof has to fudge the numbers to make it happen, that they will. This is their only year that they might have no one going in, for a while, as pointed out, after this ballot, it becomes crowded quickly enough that they will get people in at least until 2017.

As I see it, if Biggio doesn't go this year, he probably goes in next. I don't see him staying out of the hof longer than that.
Maddux easily clears the hurdle in 2014, I imagine that Schilling also makes it in that year. 2015 Randy/Pedro/Glavine all go in. 2016 Griffey easily goes in, Smoltz also probably makes it then. 2017 is when it starts to get interesting. At this point in time, you will have 1.Bonds 2. Clemens 3. Mussina 4. Bagwell 5. Walker 6.Frank Thomas 7. Raines 8.Palmeiro 9.Lofton 10. Manny 11. Edgar 12. Irod 13. McGwire 14. Edmonds 15. Piazza 16. Sheffield(probably off the ballot due to lack of votes by then) 17. Vlad 18. Sosa 19. Jeff Kent 20. McGriff 21.Hoffman 22.Damon among others still on that ballot. With Chipper, Thome, Rolen, Vizquel and Andruw(?) looking to be added to the ballot in 2018. Mo, Pettite in 2019 (Arod looking like a slight possibility for 2018/2019 also)

There is going to be someone going in every year for quite a while.
   46. asinwreck Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4321437)
An old writer who isn't a crank. Rapoport and John Schulian made the Sun-Times sports section a great read 30 years ago. Certainly a greater read than it would be when Jay Mariotti was the lead columnist.

Anyway, nice to see a current piece by him.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4321438)
2017: Thomas, Bagwell,


That is the way it should be, if there is any type of symmetry in the world they will be inducted in the same year.
   48. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 10, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4321460)
Prediction: No one goes in, and the Hall makes a clarifying statement and/or adjusts the 5% rule and/or expands the 10-man ballot.

If Bonds/Clemens get decently close, but Sosa, Mac, and/or Raffy fall off or are in grave danger for 2014, it creates a real credibility gap:
-750+ HR and 350+ wins + "known" roids = OK
-450 HR (Bagwell) and 400+ HR (Piazza) + baseless roid suspicion = OK
-600+ HR, 580+ HR, and/or 3,000 H/500 HR + roids = off the ballot?

Does not compute.
   49. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 11, 2012 at 01:31 AM (#4321534)
A future HOF that doesn't include Bonds and Clemens is an ideal one. The HOF should turn its back on known cheaters forever.
   50. Squash Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:23 AM (#4321556)
I have to say I'm surprised that Piazza is a maybe for a lot of voters, even those who have no steroid qualms whatsoever (in Piazza's case the potential steroid qualms being rumors).
   51. BrianBrianson Posted: December 11, 2012 at 06:59 AM (#4321592)
Man are you all ignoring how crowded the ballot is. On an empty ballot, I'd expect you're about right. Write out the actual ballot, and it looks like:
2013: -
2014: Maddux
2015: -
2016: -

A 75% cutoff and 10 vote max (and six vote typical) excludes basically everybody when there's 15-20 good candidates on the ballot. Look at this ballot 2015, imagine Maddux ain't on it, and try to get anyone in. It ain't happening.
   52. vivaelpujols Posted: December 11, 2012 at 07:14 AM (#4321594)
Will Carroll and Keith Law have a while before they get a vote, so we don't have to worry about them eventually anti-moralizing.

In what universe is Will Carroll a statnerd? Remember this?

http://presscoverage.us/soapbox/the-geek-shall-inherit-on-baseball-bill-james-storytelling-the-simpsons/

Edit: holy crap will carroll is insane
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4321863)
In what universe is Will Carroll a statnerd? Remember this?


When he voted for Cy Young based upon some weird ass numbers that make voting Fip appear to be sane.



Will Carrol's Cy young ballot.

A 75% cutoff and 10 vote max (and six vote typical) excludes basically everybody when there's 15-20 good candidates on the ballot. Look at this ballot 2015, imagine Maddux ain't on it, and try to get anyone in. It ain't happening.


Not really. It's a 6 vote average. People who are going to vote for highly suspected roiders are more likely to put up a larger ballot. And even in a crowded ballot, there are some pretty clear choices.

2013 as mentioned is going to be the tough to predict, but after that there are a few obvious selections. Maddux and Griffey are going in first ballot, it wouldn't matter if the ballots were three times more crowded. Imagine if you were a voter, and you had a ballot, who would you vote for in each year and how likely is everyone else going to put those same names on the ballot.

Schilling probably makes it pretty easily, Glavine might take a year, Pedro should make it easily, but he also might take a year because of the silliness that is first ballot specialness. Randy goes in easily on his first ballot.
   54. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4321870)
I'm happily looking forward to the ballot on which Carlos Delgado is the 23rd- or 27th-best pick.
   55. Ron J2 Posted: December 11, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4321901)
#42 I think it's easy to demonstrate that the critical issue wasn't the gambling (actually Jackson wasn't gambling but everybody understands your basic point) but the fact that he was banned.

Nobody really disputes that Jackson was a greater player than Hal Chase, but Chase got significantly more support.

On the other hand, Chase rather than Jackson is support for the notion of gambling/character mattering. Tough for us to believe looking at his line on B-Ref, but Chase was a major star, and without the accusations by Mathewson, the eventual black listing by the NL (thanks to Heydlar's persistence there was finally actual evidence against him) and the ban from all parks by the PCL (a year after his black listing) I think it's pretty clear he'd have gone in at roughly the same time as Evers.

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