Bill Pecota had 538 career chances at 3B. Must ask Nate about this.
Between the protest voters on the one hand, and the maxed-out voters on the other, the players are being squeezed at both ends.
Finally, some players may be harmed by the psychology of the ballot. If Clemens were not on the ballot, for example, then you could credibly make a case that Curt Schilling was the best pitcher on the ballot (if you don’t think that Morris is). But Schilling’s accomplishments look poor by comparison to Clemens’s, as do those of almost any pitcher — even if you aren’t willing to vote for Clemens because of his steroids use. The same holds for outfielders whose statistics might be compared with Barry Bonds’s.
There is even something to be said for the so-called “paradox of choice”: that when presented with too many options, we may be overwhelmed with information and have trouble making any decisions at all.
Hall of Fame voting is ultimately designed to be a consensus process. One reason that players tend to gain votes over time is because the writers are looking at what their peers are doing and value the endorsements of their colleagues. Moreover, because they have as many as 15 chances to elect a player, many writers tend toward conservatism initially. There is no way to remove a player from the Hall of Fame once he has been elected, but you can change your mind to include him later. When a writer initially votes “no” on a player, it really means “wait and see” in many cases.
But consensus is harder to achieve when members of a group have divergent values and ideologies. Instead of the typical friendly arguments about how a player’s lifetime accomplishments might be weighed against how dominant he was in his best seasons, or how to compare players at different positions, the writers are now spending most of their time arguing about who used steroids and when, and how this should affect Hall of Fame consideration. Many have passionate beliefs about this, whichever side of the argument they take. An increasing number of writers would like to elect a dozen or more players; an increasing number would like to lose the whole “steroids era” to history. Good-natured debates may be replaced by tactical considerations, as voters make guesses about who everyone else might vote for, or where their ballots might be wasted.
Posted: January 12, 2013 at 02:41 PM | 22 comment(s)
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