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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Madden: The BBWAA considers integrity and and sportsmanship when deciding who gets in the HOF

Plus the dummy tube on my Philco Neutrodyne-Plus is on the fritz!

jk

Not surprisingly, I suppose, there is already a chorus of critics — none of whom, of course, have a vote — who are pontificating that if the Baseball Writers Association does not elect Bonds and Clemens in particular, on Jan. 9, then the Hall of Fame should dismiss them as the voting electorate. They’ll say they should replace them with a whole new body of supposedly more worthy, unbiased voters selected from the ranks of broadcasters, who are employed by the clubs (no conflict of interest there!) historians and selected writers and bloggers (like themselves?) who believe that overwhelming statistics, no matter how they were achieved, should be rewarded with a plaque in Cooperstown. Otherwise, they maintain, the Hall of Fame is a sham. There’s one problem with that — which goes to the heart of this dilemma for the Baseball Writers — and that is clause  5 under the rules for election, which the Hall includes with all the ballots: “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.”

...What is particularly annoying to me is that these same critics of the Baseball Writers Association (of which they would nevertheless dearly love to be members) cite a couple of dweeb writers, gleefully spouting how they can’t wait to cast their no-vote against Bonds & Co., as further proof the Baseball Writers think of themselves as vigilantes and therefore lack objectivity in voting on the Hall. To that, I would say let them form any committee of 600 voters — of former players, Hall-of-Famers themselves, broadcasters, fans, bloggers, historians, whoever — and I guarantee Bonds & Co. would not get 75% for election. At least not right now.

...A lot of those same critics of the Baseball Writers are the ones who have launched a Sabrermetrics campaign against Morris, based largely on his 3.90 career ERA, and have sought to somehow dispel the notion that he was a true No. 1 ace throughout most of his career. Considering that he started on Opening Day 14 years in a row, was handed the ball by his manager in Game 1 of six of the seven postseason series he participated in with three different teams, and was chosen to start three All-Star Games, I’d say that’s a hard case to make — especially when you also consider over the last 40 years, he ranks third in most starts (248) in which he pitched eight or more innings. But when it comes to Morris, who is in his 14th year on the ballot and finished second to Barry Larkin a year ago with 66.7% of the vote, I wonder how many of his detractors ever actually saw him pitch. If they had, they’d know a Hall-of-Famer when they saw him.

Repoz Posted: December 01, 2012 at 07:36 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, old coot

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4314212)
over the last 40 years, [Morris] ranks third in most starts (248) in which he pitched eight or more innings.

Well, there you go.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4314219)
Blyleven is tied with Ryan for first in the all important category of "starts of eight or more innings in the last 40 years." (Thanks BBRef). Yes Madden did vote for Bert after not voting for him on his first six ballots.
   3. greenback calls it soccer Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4314225)
Excluding Niekro's and Carlton's 1972 seasons was a nifty touch.
   4. DL from MN Posted: December 01, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4314232)
Integrity and sportsmanship must explain all those Pete Rose write-in votes every year
   5. silhouetted by the sea Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4314245)
So Madden was a sportswriter in New York city since the early 80's. i wonder if he knew Kirk Radomski or Brian McNamee.
   6. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4314246)
I wonder how many of his detractors ever actually saw him pitch. If they had, they’d know a Hall-of-Famer when they saw him.


I saw him pitch. I never thought he was a Hall of Famer. Of course I didn't think Bert Blyleven and Don Sutton were Hall of Famers either during their careers. Wrong on those guys, still confident I was right on Morris.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4314249)
ya'know mr madden, i would wager thousands of american dollars to your honey crisp apple that i have seen about 3 times as many game major league baseball games as you.

and if jack morris is a hall of fame quality player then the sun rises in the west, salt tastes sweet and keith richards does not look like death warmed over
   8. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4314253)
You should look so good when you're reanimated by voodoo.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4314259)
yr

are you referring to madden or keith richards?
   10. Bob Tufts Posted: December 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4314265)
Assembling straw man arguments is the way that Madden gets fiber in his diet.

Hey Bill, how does it feel to win a Spink Award (getting only 50% of the votes - 226 out of 252) and share the plaque with a serial child molestor?
   11. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 01, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4314296)
Yes, but a child molester with INTEGRITY.
   12. phredbird Posted: December 01, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4314312)
harveys i'm pretty sure he means keith. dude looks like a zombie now, but he can still play.
   13. Lassus Posted: December 01, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4314321)
I know we get hammered here for the tiresome and boring and repetitive dumping on writers, but Madden is just the worst of the worst. Everyone's whining and crying about no Bonds and no Rose and no steroid users makes the HOF a joke and irrelevant; for me one thing that has truly made me think worse of the HOF is the inclusion of Madden.
   14. Textbook Editor Posted: December 01, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4314351)
ya'know mr madden, i would wager thousands of american dollars to your honey crisp apple that i have seen about 3 times as many game major league baseball games as you.

and if jack morris is a hall of fame quality player then the sun rises in the west, salt tastes sweet and keith richards does not look like death warmed over


Don't stop him, he's on a roll...

I hope someday to have seen as many games as Harveys. I saw Morris pitch too--quite a bit--and I'm only 41... Does Madden think everyone against Morris is 25 and living in their parents' basement? Or is it too scary for him to consider grown men might, you know, disagree with him and think he's being a bit of a clown here?
   15. Walt Davis Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4314410)
I wonder how many of his detractors ever actually saw him pitch. If they had, they’d know a Hall-of-Famer when they saw him.

Does this include the 78% of voters who did not list Morris on their ballots in 2000? Does it include the 33% who did not list him last year?

The "anybody who saw him knows he was/was not an HoFer" argument can only possibly work for guys elected on the first ballot (say Brock) or as an argument against a guy who was never voted in (take your pick). To say that a guy who's going to take at least 14 ballots to be elected and was listed by fewer than 1/4 of the voters in his first year -- when surely everybody voting except for the political cartoonists had seen him pitch -- was a "by sight" HoFer is patently absurd.

This is the evidence that some of these voters just have their panties in a wad over "the new wave". As Madden notes, us obnoxious jerks don't have a vote. The people he should be pissed at are his BBWAA compatriots who haven't and aren't voting for Morris. And given Morris's total has risen as older farts have died or given up the vote while younger voters join the ranks, his biggest target should probably be the traditionalists -- y'know, the ones who think that a 3.90 ERA (it's a fancy new stat!) and 248 wins weren't all that impressive after getting to vote for 300 game winner after 300 game winner.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: December 02, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4314412)
I saw Morris pitch too--quite a bit--and I'm only 41... Does Madden think everyone against Morris is 25 and living in their parents' basement? Or is it too scary for him to consider grown men might, you know, disagree with him and think he's being a bit of a clown here?


Like the 34 percent of the BBWAA's Hall of Fame voters, all of whom have presumably seen Jack Morris pitch yet have resisted his charms for 13 straight years. It's not like there was a serious need for an anti-Jack campaign during the vast majority of time Mr. Morris has spent on the ballot.

I don't subscribe to the "you didn't think he was a Hall of Famer then, so why now?" arguments that get tossed around, but this is something else. If all the people who watched Jack pitched knew they were watching a Hall of Famer, it wouldn't have taken him so goddamned long to just crack 50 percent of the vote.

On the other hand, if I were Madden, I think I'd take Harvey up on that bet. He may not be good at understanding what he's watching, but I'd wager ol' Bill has seen himself a shitton of baseball games in his 170 years on the planet.

Edit: Coke to Walt.
   17. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4314508)
I vaguely remember seeing Morris pitch. He was a tough looking guy, but that was tough looking in the baseball sense, meaning not particularly tough. He scowled a fair bit, was otherwise impassive, and gave up a lot of hits. He was one of those guys who looked like a ball player, but he also looked like he should have been better than he was.

Well. That was worth nothing.

...and have sought to somehow dispel the notion that he was a true No. 1 ace throughout most of his career.
Madden's right about one thing. The idea that Morris was 'a true No. 1 ace' is most definitely a 'notion'.

especially when you also consider over the last 40 years, he ranks third in most starts (248) in which he pitched eight or more innings.
That actually is impressive, but it's one of those cherry-picked stats that don't really mean all that much, and could easily have all kinds of reasons behind it that undermine its apparent value: lousy bullpens, the next three hundred guys on the list were within 1/3 of an inning of Morris, he wasn't that good but wasn't much less effective in the eighth than he was in the first (a sort of chronic mediocrity), and so on.

(getting only 50% of the votes - 226 out of 252)
Er...

   18. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4314516)
That actually is impressive, but it's one of those cherry-picked stats that don't really mean all that much, and could easily have all kinds of reasons behind it that undermine its apparent value: lousy bullpens, the next three hundred guys on the list were within 1/3 of an inning of Morris, he wasn't that good but wasn't much less effective in the eighth than he was in the first (a sort of chronic mediocrity), and so on.


The fact that if you increase it to 41 years he'll drop a couple of slots, the fact that starter inning pitched have been dropping throughout the period and his career was at the start of it, so if his career started 20 years later, this wouldn't be true... there's lots of reasons why that's a pretty meaningless point of trivia.
   19. BDC Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4314518)
he started on Opening Day 14 years in a row

And went 8-6. Which is OK.

I too saw Morris pitch in person, and saw him a lot on TV. And he was good! He was good, and Dave Stewart was good, and Jimmy Key was good, and Dave Stieb; and Frank Viola; Charlie Hough was very good; Mike Witt was good, Mark Langston was terrific for a while. Chuck Finley, Jack McDowell, Kevin Appier. They were all true ace AL pitchers of Morris's era. If there are by definition 14 #1 pitchers in a league (sometimes a given club will have a couple of them, as with Key and Stieb, or Morris with Dan Petry for a few years), then Morris was definitely in the group for quite a while. I'd just suggest that the Hall of Fame requires more than that.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4314520)

The fact that if you increase it to 41 years he'll drop a couple of slots, the fact that starter inning pitched have been dropping throughout the period and his career was at the start of it, so if his career started 20 years later, this wouldn't be true... there's lots of reasons why that's a pretty meaningless point of trivia.


It's kind of a bizarre way of framing it. It sounds (and is) more impressive if you note that Jack has thrown 37 more complete games than any pitcher who debuted in the last 40 years* (thus, avoiding Blyleven, but also including pitchers who debuted as much as five years before Jack's career started, and seven years before he recorded his second career GC).

* You can actually go back one more year, but 41 years sounds more obviously selectively endpointy than 40.
   21. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 02, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4314527)
Idiot sportswriter makes idiot arguments. Stunning.
   22. bachslunch Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4315038)
There had to be a reason the Hall’s founding fathers put those words in the voting rules

Shows what he knows. The Character Clause wasn't codified officially until 1944.

On Morris ... there should be no debate.

But not in the way he thinks. For starters, since this goofball is pushing hard for Jack Morris -- and decrying everyone who he thinks used PEDs -- I'd like to know how he's certain Morris never used PEDs himself.
   23. zonk Posted: December 03, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4315045)
I'm inching closer and closer to just ignoring the next 5 years worth of ballots and picking up my HoF ballot caring in ~2018 in the hopes that cooler heads have prevailed.
   24. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 03, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4315048)
* You can actually go back one more year, but 41 years sounds more obviously selectively endpointy than 40.


I was thinking about this last night. This is a stupid argument but 40 years ago actually makes a bit more sense if you phrase it as "...in the Designated Hitter era." The argument doesn't get a lot better but 1973 is actually a pretty reasonable cutoff point. I don't think that's what Madden was doing though in fairness to him I also don't think he was intentionally disingenuous in leaving out 1972, he just took the lazy "number ending in a 0" way of doing "research."

On the subject of Madden's "research" did he credit Elias or Baseball Reference for that information? I'm pretty sure he didn't comb through the box scores himself.
   25. Bob Tufts Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4315119)
(getting only 50% of the votes - 226 out of 252)
Er...


Sorry - Madden received 226 votes from the 452 ballots

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