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Monday, January 09, 2012

MLB.com writers cast their HOF ballots

Time was necessary for me to warm up to…the MLB.com ballots!

Carrie Muskat
Ballot: Larkin

I did not vote for Barry Larkin in the past, but after re-examining his numbers and talking to baseball people, I cast a ballot for the Reds shortstop this year. I have high standards, as do the ballplayers already in the Hall. Larkin not only impressed me with his stats but his role on the team as captain. Character counts in Cooperstown.

Terrence Moore
Ballot: Larkin, McGriff, Raines, Smith

They all had this in common: All were dominant at something (or several things) for long stretches. That’s the stuff of Cooperstown. Plus, they all had long Major League careers that didn’t have too many drops off the cliff surrounding their periods of greatness.

Marty Noble
Ballot: Larkin, Morris

Teams don’t win without reliable shortstopping. Larkin’s defense was reliable to the nth degree and occasionally spectacular. The Reds captain was a productive and clutch performer when he wasn’t in the field, and he was a fearsome postseason force.

Time was necessary for me to warm up to Morris. This ballot carries my first vote for him. My criteria include being the best at what you do for an extended period. The leading winner in a decade qualifies there, and Morris’ postseason resume is exquisite.

Repoz Posted: January 09, 2012 at 07:10 AM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, projections, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. UCCF Posted: January 09, 2012 at 07:38 AM (#4032013)
Yikes. That's some Mossi-level ugly balloting right there.
   2. Eugene Freedman Posted: January 09, 2012 at 07:54 AM (#4032015)
The propaganda machine seems to like Morris well enough, but has little love for Raines or Trammell.
   3. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4032046)
I just can't wait for this to be over, honestly.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4032048)
Larkin definitly was one of the best shortsstoppers of his day.
   5. Sean Forman Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4032050)
I just can't wait for this to be over, honestly.


It really seems to have racheted up over the last few years with Rice, Blyleven, social media and online discussions etc, but this year has a weak ballot and I can't fathom what it's going to be like next year.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4032054)
T.R. Sullivan:
Bagwell should be in. It is wrong that he is being overlooked or being viewed suspiciously. Personally, I decline the honor of passing judgment on the steroids era, but there is no need to judge Bagwell on anything but his tremendous accomplishments.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4032056)
For guys who use the "I watched the game" line regularly to hem and haw about Barry Larkin demonstrates that they were watching different games from the ones I saw or didn't understand what they were watching.

   8. bobm Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4032060)
FTFA:
At MLB.com, we have 15 veteran writers who have earned the privilege to vote, and again they're sharing their ballots with you. ... Barry Larkin (13 of 15, 86.7 percent) looks like he's in good shape to get the bump he needs to attain the 75 percent needed for election in his third year on the ballot.

Others like Jack Morris and Lee Smith (both 8/14, 57 percent) likely will have to wait longer for their ticket to Cooperstown, although Morris in particular is running out of time in his 13th year.
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4032061)
For guys who use the "I watched the game" line regularly to hem and haw about Barry Larkin demonstrates that they were watching different games from the ones I saw or didn't understand what they were watching.

I feel the same about Raines. He has a strong statistical case, of course, but he was also an aesthetically pleasing player.
   10. AROM Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4032064)
I feel the same about Raines. He has a strong statistical case, of course, but he was also an aesthetically pleasing player.


If any of these "I watched the games" folks don't vote for Raines, I have to conclude they didn't start watching the game until the late 80's or early 90's.
   11. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4032067)
If any of these "I watched the games" folks don't vote for Raines, I have to conclude they didn't start watching the game until the late 80's or early 90's.

That's the rub, isn't it. As professional baseball scribes they are supposed to be the best equipped to serve as our collective memory, but they often do a piss-poor job of it.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4032070)
What did McGriff dominate? I always thought he was a really good player, but the only thing he ever led the league in was HR twice and OPS once and he only made five All-Star games.

I like Larkin and he's a no-doubt HOFer, but I don't think he really dominated either.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4032073)
He has a strong statistical case, of course, but he was also an aesthetically pleasing player.

I think this is underrated. One of the reasons I'm fine with McGwire and Palmeiro not getting into the Hall is that we'll have plenty of immobile sluggers there in any case.

If your best valuation system is telling you most of the best players in an era were hulking 1Bs, I think you need to take that with a grain of salt, and not necessarily reflect that in the HoF.
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4032074)
Regarding Barry's dominance his first full year was 1988 and Ozzie Smith was regarded as the best SS in the NL. Barry was better than Ozzie as an overall player.

Skip past a few years and look at 1991. Ozzie finishes 20th in the MVP voting with a good year at age 36. Barry is better. Meanwhile, teams are playing guys like Rafael Belliard and Spike Owen at shortstop.

1994? Wil Cordero hits .294 with 15 homers. Barry is better than him because of something known as defense. Jay Bell hits 35 doubles. Larkin is better than him. Out West guys like Jose Offerman hit .210 and Walt Weiss with his 58 OPS+ hold jobs. Larkin has a pedestrian year and is better than any of these guys.

I know dominance can be defined in different ways. But looking at NL shortstops of his day Larkin was consistently the best and often by a wide margin.

At least it looks that way.
   15. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4032077)
Tom Singer
Ballot: Larkin, Martinez, Morris, Palmeiro, Smith, Trammell.

... Aside on Bagwell: For me, he flunks the "dominant in his era" test; at a corner position, he only led the league in a major category once (RBIs, with 116 in 1994).


This from a guy who voted for Raffy. I'm not sure what this guy would consider a major category. Presumably only the three triple crown stats since Bag's SLP title is ignored. If Bagwell, who also led the league in runs three times, SLP, doubles and walks once, led in a major category only Once, then Raffy, who led in runs, hits, and doubles once each, had none. Also, Bagwell leads Raffy in MVP's 1 to 0, ROY 1 to 0, top 5 MVP 3 to 1, though Raffy leads in GG's 3 to 1 (snort).

   16. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4032079)
By the way, if I am going to be accused of cherry picking seasons folks are welcome to throw out their own but I figured showing the consistency across a decade was permissible.

What gets lost in some of these discussions is how volatile certain positions are relative to turnover. Barry was a bedrock of performance when teams were turning over the position almost every season. He had some contemporaries like Shawon Dunston and Jay Bell. But more often a team was trotting out someone else.

And think about Dunston. Dunston was a regular SS for a decade and nobody was pushing for him to be replaced. He made some All Star teams. And in a typical year he was a 2 WAR player give or take. That was either a part-time season or a horribly off year for Barry Larkin.
   17. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4032081)
From Tom Singer's comments:

Aside on Bagwell: For me, he flunks the "dominant in his era" test; at a corner position, he only led the league in a major category once (RBIs, with 116 in 1994).

Things that are apparently not major categories: Runs scored, doubles, walks, slugging percentage, total bases. (Also HBP and sac flies, but that's a little more understandable.)

Edit: Coke to Misirlou. I'll throw in the fact that Bagwell's 152 runs in 2000 give him the highest single-season total of anyone in the majors since 1937.
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4032086)
Totals for the 15 (not 14) ballots:

Larkin 14 (apparently miscounted in the MLB-given total at the top of the article)
Morris 10 (seriously, MLB.com? Did anyone actually count the votes, or were you just guessing?)
Smith 9 (that's 0/3 on counting)
Bagwell 6
McGriff 5
Raines 5
Trammell 5
Palmeiro 4
Martinez 3
McGwire 3
Gonzalez 1
Mattingly 1
Murphy 1
Everyone else (including Larry Walker) 0

If I have the count right, that's 4.47 names per ballot, which is miniscule.
   19. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4032089)
Worst ballot is probably Gurnick's "baseball is 90% pitching" Morris/Smith effort.
   20. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4032093)
I find dingers aesthetically pleasing but not stolen bases.
   21. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4032096)
I got the same totals as Eric in post #18.

Comparing the vote from mlb.com w/ last year (when there were only 12 voters - and I don't know who came or went in the last year. Wasn't Gammons there last year?) Anyway, comparing last year's 12 to this year's 15 (first then, and after that now):

9, 15 - Larkin
5, 10 - Morris
7, 9 - L. Smith
6, 6 - Bagwell
4, 5 - Raines
2, 3 - E. Martinez
3, 5 - Trammell
0, 0 - L. Walker
2, 3 - McGwire
1, 5 - McGriff
1, 1 - Mattingly
2, 1 - Murphy
3, 4 - Palmeiro

There was a lot more movement upwards from the ESPN gang.



   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4032098)
I think this is underrated. One of the reasons I'm fine with McGwire and Palmeiro not getting into the Hall is that we'll have plenty of immobile sluggers there in any case.

If your best valuation system is telling you most of the best players in an era were hulking 1Bs, I think you need to take that with a grain of salt, and not necessarily reflect that in the HoF.


Snapper, McGriff and Palmeiro put up 130-135 OPS+s over long careers. One doesn't need an "evaluation system" per se to see that such performances would make the two of them among the best players of the era.
   23. spike Posted: January 09, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4032100)
Terence Moore is an argument against universal suffrage in general, let alone being a BBWAA member voting for the HoF. But it's amusing to seem him cast a ballot for McGriff when he relentlessly ragged on the guy when he came to Atlanta, saying to "stick a fork in him" just before the press box fire and following white hot streak from Crime Dog.
   24. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4032115)
If I have the count right, that's 4.47 names per ballot, which is miniscule.


Is there a place to find the annual votes per ballot?
   25. Bruce Markusen Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4032121)
As we approach the announcement, a last second prediction for the top of the ballot:

Larkin 78 per cent
Morris 69 per cent
Bagwell 51 per cent
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4032128)
Larkin 84 percent
Morris 62 percent
Bagwell 56 percent

   27. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4032136)
Larkin isn't seen as dominant because he almost never hit any of the magic thresholds -- no 200 hit seasons, no 100 RBI seasons, no 100 BB seasons, only 2 20 HR seasons, and only 2 100 run seasons. He had a good number of SBs and was almost never caught, but he had only one season with 50 SBs. And he hit over .300 a bunch of times, but he was usually in the .300-.315 range. He hit .340 once, but only played 100 games that season.

I think he's a no-brainer for the HOF of course, but the sportswriters and fans love those milestone numbers.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4032138)
Post 27:

I get the writers not considering Larkin a 'dominant' player. I was surprised that folks here would not regard Barry as such. Sure, he wasn't the dominant player in the NL. bonds had that covered. But on a position basis Barry was not just better but a LOT better than his peers. In that respect I believe he qualifies
   29. The District Attorney Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4032140)
It probably makes a significant difference whether Morris gets high 60s or low 60s. High 60s would make him a "near-miss" and would energize his supporters even further. It would likely mean that the VC would put him in as soon as he gets to them, and in fact I'd think he'd have a chance to get elected by the BBWAA, even though he's only got two more shots on crazily crowded ballots. Low 60s almost certainly means he has to wait for the VC, and may wait a while even then. (I still think he eventually gets elected by somebody.)
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4032141)
As we approach the announcement, a last second prediction for the top of the ballot:


Larkin 80
Morris 61
Smith 55
Bagwell 50
   31. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4032142)
Is there a place to find the annual votes per ballot?

Dag's old HOF prediction columns have some of them. From the '08 column:

Year Avg
1988 6.61
1989 6.75
1990 6.87
1991 6.65
1992 6.07
1993 5.76
1994 6.32
1995 6.15
1996 5.72
1997 5.59
1998 5.41
1999 6.74
2000 5.64
2001 6.33
2002 5.95
2003 6.60
2004 6.55
2005 6.32
2006 5.64
2007 6.58
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4032144)
It probably makes a significant difference whether Morris gets high 60s or low 60s.


I think it makes all the difference. I've said he needed to hit 65 to have a chance. Above 65 and he's within reach of the Hall, enough so to possibly rise above the coming crush.

Below it, and he's not going to be top of mind enough to withstand all those better players coming on the ballot.

   33. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4032145)
I get the writers not considering Larkin a 'dominant' player. I was surprised that folks here would not regard Barry as such. Sure, he wasn't the dominant player in the NL. bonds had that covered. But on a position basis Barry was not just better but a LOT better than his peers. In that respect I believe he qualifies

Absolutely. I know this is a somewhat tired term, but it comes down to positional scarcity. A guy who can play above average defense at SS AND hit well AND do it for a long period of time is really, really hard to find.
   34. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4032150)
Anywhere in the 60's and Morris is a shoo-in in the next two years. As I said, the steroid crowded ballot works in his favor because people will want to vote for Morris to show their disdain for Bonds and Clemens.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4032159)
Anywhere in the 60's and Morris is a shoo-in in the next two years. As I said, the steroid crowded ballot works in his favor because people will want to vote for Morris to show their disdain for Bonds and Clemens.


I'd gladly take you up on a BBref sponsorship on that prediction.

I say he if he's between 60-65 percent this election, he won't make it through the BBWAA. You want the other side?




   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4032160)

Absolutely. I know this is a somewhat tired term, but it comes down to positional scarcity. A guy who can play above average defense at SS AND hit well AND do it for a long period of time is really, really hard to find.


Sure, I agree, I think its just more a circumstance of when he played - overlapping Ripken, Jeter, Nomar, A-Rod. He doesn't seem dominant compared to them. Had he played the bulk of his career in the 70s and early 80s, then yea, he's dominant.
   37. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4032166)
Ill take it SOSH...hopefully my mind won't be so gone I can't remember this in two years...so if he's 66% or above the bet is off, and if he's 60-65 it's on, right?
   38. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4032169)
Adding onto post #31:
2008 - 5.35 names per ballot
2009 - 5.38
2010 - 5.67
2011 - 5.98
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4032171)
Ill take it SOSH...hopefully my mind won't be so gone I can't remember this in two years...so if he's 66% or above the bet is off, and if he's 60-65 it's on, right?


That's close enough. And, obviously, anything below 60 is off as well.



   40. Booey Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4032176)
What did McGriff dominate? I always thought he was a really good player, but the only thing he ever led the league in was HR twice and OPS once and he only made five All-Star games.

Well, 5 all star games is the same amount as Frank Thomas and Jim Thome, and 1 more than Bagwell and Palmeiro. It's not the best way to evaluate greatness, but if that's one of the main criteria you're using, he ranks right on par with all the other HOF caliber 1B of his era (except McGwire).

McGriff finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 6 straight years (6,10,10,6,4,8), and the top 4 in homers (2,1,4,4,1,4,4) and top 5 in OPS 7 straight (4,1,3,3,3,5,5). Also, top 5 finishes:

OBP - 4 (2,3,4,4)
SLG - 5 (2,2,3,4,4)
Runs - 2 (4,5)
TB - 3 (3,4,5)
RBI - 3 (3,4,4)
BB - 4 (2,2,3,5)
XBH - 4 (2,4,4,5)
RC - 6 (3,4,4,4,5,5)
Adj Batting runs/wins - 5 (1,3,3,4,5)


Also several 6th place finishes that barely missed making the list. His OPS+ from 1988-1994 was 157, 166, 153, 147, 166, 143, and 157, and his career OPS+ after nine seasons was 153. He also posted full seasons of 142 and 144 later in his career. For all the people that think McGriff was never really dominant, they must not have been paying attention in the late 80's and early 90's. Or they just don't know how to adjust for era in the pre-sillyball years.
   41. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4032178)
AG1

Well, now you are comparing him to guys in the American League. And three of them didn't play full time until 1996 when Barry had been in the league for a decade and as for Ripken he is considered rightly or wrongly one of the three best shortstops of all time.

Barry is not Cal. Agreed.

But he was better than anyone else in either league for a good long time. And he towered over his league's peers.

Not close

He was one of the ten best SS of all time versus one of the 3 best.
   42. Squash Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4032185)
I think it makes all the difference. I've said he needed to hit 65 to have a chance. Above 65 and he's within reach of the Hall, enough so to possibly rise above the coming crush.

This is exactly what I've been thinking. He breaks 65 and he's in, possibly next year and definitely by year 15. High 60s and he goes next year. Dale is right though, the coming steroid crunch is actually going to help him because sportswriters will need someone to hold up as having done it all the right way. If he goes in the low 60s it's still probably going to be too big a gap for him to overcome though.
   43. Booey Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4032187)
One of the reasons I'm fine with McGwire and Palmeiro not getting into the Hall is that we'll have plenty of immobile sluggers there in any case.

If your best valuation system is telling you most of the best players in an era were hulking 1Bs, I think you need to take that with a grain of salt, and not necessarily reflect that in the HoF.


Disagree. The speed game of the 70's/80's was mostly gone by the 90's/2000's, so it wouldn't surprise me if a disproportionate amount of the best players from that era really were immobile, hulking sluggers. Maybe they wouldn't have been as valuable if they played 10 years earlier, but they didn't, so we should judge them according to the style of game they actually played in.
   44. LargeBill Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4032189)
I say he if he's under 65 in this election, he won't make it through the BBWAA. You want the other side?


That's a safe bet. Next year he won't have the appearance of being best pitcher on ballot. He'll pale in comparison to Clemens and Schilling. Sure some will leave Clemens off due to PED concerns but most of those who will feel the need to punish Clemens are same ones already voting for Morris. Those that are able to realize that Game 7 was just one game and able to see that most wins in 80's is offset by allowing most runs and most hits in 80's are less likely to jump on the bandwagon at this point. Put it another way, assuming Larkin is only one to go in this year, does anyone think 75% of BBWAA voters will consider him among the 10 best on next years ballot? I see around 13 better candidates on the 2013 ballot. Add that to fact that most voters don't use all ten spots . . . . and I wouldn't be surprised to see him slip to below 50% next year.
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4032191)
AG1

By the way, not looking to nitpick over a word choice.

If that is what is being conveyed then I will stop.
   46. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4032195)
The ESPN poll for current playing HOFers is interesting, and predictable. ARod comes up short for being a user, and Manny gets the double whammy.
   47. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4032200)
most of those who will feel the need to punish Clemens are same ones already voting for Morris.


I'm not seeing the connection. Being dumb about one thing doesn't make one universally dumb.
   48. LargeBill Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4032213)
47. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4032200)

most of those who will feel the need to punish Clemens are same ones already voting for Morris.



I'm not seeing the connection. Being dumb about one thing doesn't make one universally dumb.


Here is your connection: In order to vote for Morris a voter has to actively ignore all the statistical evidence of his career. In order to not vote for Clemens one would have to actively decide to ignore a mountain of statistical evidence in his favor.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4032226)
Another shutout for Walker among the MLB voters ... inexplicable to me.

TR, if you're here, could you explain why Gonzalez over Walker? I can see reasons for not listing Walker but I'll admit I can't see any reason to vote Gonzalez over Walker.

The typical knock against Walker is durability but Gonzalez is one of the few guys with a shorter career than Walker. Even the in-season durability argument is hard to make as Gonzalez only had two seasons over 150 games.

Gonzalez does have 50 more HR and 90 more HR but he's also got nearly 300 fewer runs scored and Walker actually has the slightly higher SLG percentage (partly Coors and Gonzalez does slightly win the SLG+ comparison). And of course Walker's OBP blows Gonzalez's out of the water.

And then you get defense -- no matter what you think of fancy defensive stats, there's no way anybody can spin this as anything but another area where Walker blows Gonzalez out of the water. And then you get baserunning -- 230 steals to 26 old school or 40 runs to 6 new school.

Gonzalez does have 2 MVPs to Walker's 1 but Walker has 5 AS games to Gonzalez's 3. If you look at black/gray ink, it's 17/105 for Gonzalez and 24/116 for Walker.

And you don't have to buy into all of WAR -- maybe not even any of WAR in specific detail -- to think that maybe Walker's 67 to 33.5 WAR edge is quite significant. Even if you ignore defense, Walkers oWAR edge is 58 to 41.

I'm not really going to argue against the idea that HR and RBI are the sine qua non of hitting but Gonzalez's edges there aren't huge and I don't see how they can overcome the much larger advantages Walker has in OBP/runs, defense and baserunning.
   50. Sean Forman Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4032236)
Is there a place to find the annual votes per ballot?


Just added a new page here.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hall-of-fame-ballot-history.shtml
   51. The District Attorney Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4032239)
COOL
   52. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4032256)
Just added a new page here.

1. What 51 said.
2. There were more than 10 names per ballot in '42 and '45? That's... odd.
   53. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4032284)
Sean - Nice but there's a problem -- I don't see the 1946 BBWAA election.

Interesting - a lot of my names/ballot are off by a bit; espeecially further back. The errors are on me, I'm sure.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4032292)
On Morris:

There is absolutely no way he makes it in 2014 with Maddux, Glavine and Mussina hit the ballot. (Mussina has Morris's counting stats with an actually good ERA although I don't expect Mussina to do as well as Morris on the 2014 ballot if they're both there.)

So, if he's going to make it by the BBWAA, Morris has to make it in 2013. And, if he's over 65, I think he's got a shot.

Yes, obviously Clemens is an infinitely better pitcher but Clemens is not going to get a huge vote total. For a substantial chunk of the electorate, Clemens might as well not even be on the ballot. It's hard for me to see any Morris voter looking at the 2014 ballot and thinking -- "oh yeah, Clemens. Y'know, Morris wasn't anywhere near as good as he was, what have I been thinking?"

Schilling is also a better pitcher but not, I wouldn't think, in the eyes of the typical Morris voter. I suspect they consider Morris and Schilling to be basically the same -- big game pitchers. Morris wins on wins and IP and I think Game 7 beats Bloody Sock on the clutch-o-meter although I am not an expert in such matters.

So for a substantial part of the electorate, Morris is still the best pitcher on the ballot in 2013. Of course for some other chunk, he is clearly not and so I don't think he'll make it.

I'm not seeing the connection. Being dumb about one thing doesn't make one universally dumb.

True but ...

I was gonna kinda argue against this but I think it's at best murky. Which does go at least somewhat against some things I've thought have gone on.

What we know:

In 2011, Morris 53.5, Mac 19.8. So at least 33.7% of Morris's 53.5 (or a bit over 60%) did not vote Mac (i.e. if every Mac voter also voted Morris). We also know that at least 26.7% voted for neither (if there is no overlap in the Mac/Morris votes).

So how big is the overlap? Well this is the sort of thing I wish Repoz or somebody would do with the ballots Repoz collects (also to do it over time for voters in consecutive years' samples).

Looking at MLB.com, 7 of the 10 Morris voters did not vote McGwire (but 3 of 4 McGwire voters did list Morris). Ridiculously small sample but this leads us to something like 15% of the electorate votes for both. Maybe it's as low as 10% but I'm finding it hard to think it goes as low as 5%. It makes some sense -- people who vote for Morris are impressed by wins and "dominance" presumably and Mac certainly has those. Any such "traditional standards" voter who also doesn't care about steroids might well vote for both.

(This leads to the question of just how big the "non-traditional standards" crowd is anyway ... and if it's large, it seems a lot of them are anti-roid voters. Maybe they're the "steroid discount" crew?)

The challenge then for Morris is that (probably) 35-40% (and at least 27%) of the electorate voting for neither. This would seem to mainly be a set of steroid punishers with "acceptable" HoF standards (at least for pitchers). Who knew such beasties existed? :-) These voters would presumably mostly not vote Clemens (some might be discounters or "HoF before he used" voters) but it's not clear why they would throw an "anti-Clemens" vote to Morris if they haven't voted for him until now.

So I think Morris's 2013 fate will be decided in the traditional and always mysterious process by which a candidate either does or does not make that late ballot jump from 60-65% to 75%. I'm not sure anybody quite knows how this works. A weak ballot in that year would obviously help but, even with strident anti-roidism, the 2013 ballot is not weak. It's not "poor Luis Tiant" strong* thanks to roids but not weak.

And if Morris actually gets to say 73.5% in 2013, I'll rescind my "no way in 2014" statement although I still won't like his chances much.

*Tiant debuted in 88 with a solid 31% (but well behind a late ballot Bunning as #2 pitcher in the vote total). Then in 1989 not only did Bench and Yaz come on the ballot to soak up a ton of votes, so did Perry, Jenkins and Kaat (and Bunning still there) and Tiant fell to 10%. Thus began the "march of the 300 game winners" which also helped keep Morris out of the HoF (and Bunning from being elected by the writers).
   55. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4032317)
And if Morris actually gets to say 73.5% in 2013, I'll rescind my "no way in 2014" statement although I still won't like his chances much.

Check what happened to Jim Bunning. He was at 74% of the vote . . and they Perry, Jenkins, and Kaat showed up. He fell to the 60s.

No way in 2014 for Morris.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4032333)
Also on Tom Singer's vote ... not only does Bagwell flunk his "dominance" test while Palmeiro passes it ... he also does not vote McGwire.

Palmeiro not McGwire so it's not roids.
Edgar not McGwire so it's not short career.
Edgar not McGwire so it's not hulky slugger with no defensive value.
Palmeiro not McGwire or Bagwell so, no matter what he says, it's not lack of dominance.
Palmeiro, Morris, Smith but not McGwire so career compilers good but milestones not decisive?

I might nominate this as the weirdest ballot. It's not a "bad" ballot really -- some good choices and everybody on it has a legit case of some sort (yes, Morris and Smith but he's hardly alone) -- but the logic of it is unfathomable.

But I'm with HW on Larkin's "dominance" especially in the NL. And I'm not sure he wasn't "better" than Ripken just not as durable (and therefore not as valuable). The open question on quality is whether Ripken's defense really was as good as WAR thinks (he was definitely good, not sure he was that good).
   57. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 09, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4032342)
Mussina has Morris's counting stats with an actually good ERA

I know you're shorthanding here, but this is an insult to Mussina's counting stats. He has 16 more wins, 33 fewer losses, over 300 extra strikeouts and 600 fewer walks, less than 35% as many wild pitches, and 1/27 as many balks. He did, however, hit more batters than Morris, 60-58, and allow more HR/9, .95 to .92.
   58. TR_Sullivan Posted: January 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4032466)
Walt... I will confess. I am not convinced on Walker yet. Maybe it's the whole Coors Field thing, I'm just not there into believing he is a Hall of Fame.

Look, he was an excellent fielder and you may be right that he deserves it more than Gonzalez.

But I plead guilty to voting for Gonzalez for personal reasons. When I think back on him and Palmeiro, and think what has happened to those two, it's just makes me shake my head. I have a personal policy of never feeling sorry for anybody who played even just one day in the Majors.

But it still amazes me what ultimately has happened to some of these guys. See: Blalock, Hank
   59. Something Other Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4032873)
By the way, if I am going to be accused of cherry picking seasons folks are welcome to throw out their own but I figured showing the consistency across a decade was permissible.

What gets lost in some of these discussions is how volatile certain positions are relative to turnover. Barry was a bedrock of performance when teams were turning over the position almost every season. He had some contemporaries like Shawon Dunston and Jay Bell. But more often a team was trotting out someone else.

And think about Dunston. Dunston was a regular SS for a decade and nobody was pushing for him to be replaced. He made some All Star teams. And in a typical year he was a 2 WAR player give or take. That was either a part-time season or a horribly off year for Barry Larkin.
I'm still not sure, though, how to evaluate this wrt the Hall of Fame. It obviously has real value to his team when a player is significantly better than his peers at the position, but if some of that is because his peers are Spike Owen, in other words, historically quite poor, should the player benefit in the voting? Should the player's qualifications for the Hall be measured against his contemporaries, or against his positional peers across baseball history? If the former, well, that's what a lot of Jack Morris's case consists of, being one of the best pitchers of his weak era.

I think Larkin is an easy "yes" vote, but I'm not so sure the argument doesn't lower the bar past where we want it to be, if it's substantially helping guys like Morris.

From Tom Singer's comments:

Aside on Bagwell: For me, he flunks the "dominant in his era" test; at a corner position, he only led the league in a major category once (RBIs, with 116 in 1994).


Things that are apparently not major categories: Runs scored, doubles, walks, slugging percentage, total bases. (Also HBP and sac flies, but that's a little more understandable.)

Edit: Coke to Misirlou. I'll throw in the fact that Bagwell's 152 runs in 2000 give him the highest single-season total of anyone in the majors since 1937.
It also doesn't help that these guys never seem to adjust for a much larger league, which makes it that much harder to dominate in any category.

The average PED user was 73 inches tall and 193 pounds. The average MLB player over the same time span was 74 inches, 195 pounds…
So.... PEDs shrink... everything?
   60. Something Other Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4032877)
Walt... I will confess. I am not convinced on Walker yet. Maybe it's the whole Coors Field thing, I'm just not there into believing he is a Hall of Fame.
TR, if you can locate it, the Hall of Merit thread on Walker did a very good job of teasing out the effect of Coors on his stats, and made a strong case for Walker going into the Hall.
   61. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:42 AM (#4032891)
Larry Walker HOM thread
   62. Something Other Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:52 AM (#4032894)
Thanks Eric.

@40: That got me looking. I hadn't realized how similar McGriff and Billy Williams were in longevity and career OPS+. Remarkably close.

I agree that McGriff's peak is impressive, but it's somewhat undone by the slightly longer half of his career where he put up an OPS+ of only 119 over 1313 games, 5460 plate appearances. That's an awfully, awfully long time to be only a very little bit better than average for your position if you want to make the Hall. AND, McGriff's peak is the career OPS+ of guys like Manny, and Dick Allen.
   63. Booey Posted: January 10, 2012 at 04:00 AM (#4032917)
I agree that McGriff's peak is impressive, but it's somewhat undone by the slightly longer half of his career where he put up an OPS+ of only 119 over 1313 games, 5460 plate appearances. That's an awfully, awfully long time to be only a very little bit better than average for your position if you want to make the Hall.

Meh, it worked for George Sisler, Ernie Banks, and probably quite a few other HOFers that I'm too lazy to look up (Boggs and Henderson, to a lesser degree, maybe?).


AND, McGriff's peak is the career OPS+ of guys like Manny, and Dick Allen.

Yeah, but that's not really criticism since I consider Manny a no doubt HOFer (based on merit), and Allen would have been too if he lasted longer. It's also the career OPS+ of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Frank Robinson, FWIW.



   64. Something Other Posted: January 10, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4033445)
@63: Sure, but is two-third's of Dick Allen's career, or half of Manny's (so to speak) followed by a ton of averagey-ness a Hall of Famer? It doesn't feel like it should be.

On the other hand, boy, the last half of Ernie's career was just awful (though since the first half was at SS I don't quite buy the comparison). His decline phase was longer and not nearly as good as McGriff's. If only Freddie could have played a Jeteresque shortstop in his 20s...
   65. Booey Posted: January 10, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4033613)
@63: Sure, but is two-third's of Dick Allen's career, or half of Manny's (so to speak) followed by a ton of averagey-ness a Hall of Famer? It doesn't feel like it should be.

Guess it all depends on your outlook. If a player posts a 153 OPS+ for half his career and a 119 for the other half, the final result is still a 134, right, regardless of how he got there? (and that's an impressive number for such a long career). Wouldn't the overall value be the same as someone who hit right around 134 for their entire career, such as Billy Williams, whose career OPS+ (133) never climbed higher than 136 or dropped lower than 131 over the last 12 years of his career?

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