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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shaikin: Baseball Hall of Fame voters split on steroid-era candidates

And so it begins…(commence novice steroid cycle I)

In a Los Angeles Times survey of a small group of BBWAA members, 10 said they planned to vote for Bonds and Clemens and eight said they did not. Others declined to reveal their votes.

The survey, while not a statistically valid sample, foreshadows a polarizing election with one side leaning toward recognizing the dominant players of the era and another side leaning toward barring any player tainted by allegations of steroid use, even if that player never failed a drug test.

As voters consider their decisions on the current class of candidates, they also wrestle with the long-term implications of slamming the Cooperstown door to a decade or two of stars.

“I’m troubled by the idea that we will wipe out close to an entire generation,” Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said. “So, I’m constantly looking at this, trying to stay open-minded.”

...Even without such tangible proof, Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times said he would vote “no” on players he believes used performance-enhancing drugs.

“To me, the question of PEDs is about what you believe, not what has been proven,” Shelton said. “This isn’t a court of law.”

Repoz Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:38 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   1. bjhanke Posted: November 27, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4310440)
You know, if the voters are really split that much in favor of Barry and Roger, I'll bet they both get in within their first five years. I imagine there will be a first-year boycott that will keep them out this year, but after that, they may just sail in there. - Brock Hanke
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 27, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4310443)
I disagree Brock. I think the number of hardliners is in excess of 25% right now and that buries any of these guys under the current set up. I wouldn't be surprised to see a dramatic bump as you suggest but I think it's going to keep them out. I expect about 45-50% in year one then a jump to around 65% and then they stall.
   3. DL from MN Posted: November 27, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4310474)
The other problem is the ballot is about to get clogged. The hardliners also tend to be "small hall" guys so they aren't going to open up their ballot. We'll see Maddux and Griffey and not many others.
   4. John Northey Posted: November 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4310555)
This will be one of the most interesting ballots in my lifetime. Of course, that is until next year and the next few years after that when the ballot could get so full that the HOF has to adjust the rules.
   5. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4310587)
I imagine there will be a first-year boycott that will keep them out this year, but after that, they may just sail in there.


There's not a lot of evidence so far - basically, there are just two guys where it's fairly obvious that a large number of voters are voting against them because of the steroids - but what little evidence exists suggests that voters don't do "first-year boycotts" and they don't change their minds.

Mark McGwire's vote totals by year: 128-128-118-128-115-112
Rafael Palmeiro's vote totals by year: 64-72
   6. Bob Tufts Posted: November 27, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4310603)
Even without such tangible proof, Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times said he would vote “no” on players he believes used performance-enhancing drugs.

“To me, the question of PEDs is about what you believe, not what has been proven,” Shelton said. ”



This is the BBWAA in a nutshell.

   7. Repoz Posted: November 27, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4310672)
My latest Bonds/Clemens HOF Ballot Collecting Gizmo.

83 - Will NOT vote for Bonds/Clemens.

56 - WILL vote for Bonds/Clemens.

I'm guessing they pull in around 30-35% of the vote.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: November 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4310674)
I believe in unicorns.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 27, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4310682)
Clemens vs. Bonds will be interesting. Bonds got convicted on a charge of criminal meandering and it is a reasonable conclusion that the cream and clear substances BALCO gave him were the same naughty cream and clear substances they gave everybody else and it's entirely possible that if Anderson had testified, Bonds would have gotten convicted of a lot. While there's no solid evidence he knowingly used PEDs, voters don't have a lot of reason to change their minds.

Clemens of course was acquitted despite the fact that his trainer and a teammate did testify against him. He did jump through every hoop the media demanded -- clear, public denial; pointless Congressional testimony; trial. Voters have lots of reasons to change their minds or at least grant him the benefit of the doubt.

I suspect Clemens barely outpolls Bonds if at all.
   10. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 27, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4310686)
They aren't going to keep the entire "Steroid Generation" out of the HOF permanently. This will eventually work itself out (though, invariably, imperfectly).
   11. Suff Posted: November 27, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4310700)
I wonder if Bagwell will get a boost from people who think it is cool to vote for Biggio and Bagwell together.
   12. OsunaSakata Posted: November 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4310709)
I wonder if Bagwell will get a boost from people who think it is cool to vote for Biggio and Bagwell together.


Not as cool as Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas going in together.
   13. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4310711)
They aren't going to keep the entire "Steroid Generation" out of the HOF permanently. This will eventually work itself out (though, invariably, imperfectly).


I think the idea that failing to vote for "known" steroid users will lead to an entire generation being left out is overstated, and fairly vastly. There's no evidence so far that there are a meaningful number of voters applying an "I won't vote for anybody from the steroid era" standard to voting. So far, we've seen Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin get in and they'll be followed by, among others, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Mariano Rivera, Mike Piazza, and others who I'm either forgetting or who will do better with the BBWAA electorate than they would with a Hall-of-Merit type electorate (Trevor Hoffman?, Omar Vizquel?).
   14. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 27, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4310757)
I think the idea that failing to vote for "known" steroid users will lead to an entire generation being left out is overstated, and fairly vastly.


I think a more realistic fear is writers will each apply what they "know" about who used PEDs and this will depress percentages on many candidates. Other writers (a minority) will choose to not vote anyone. Some writers will ignore PEDs and will spend their slots on some of the most PED penalized candidates (Barry B, Roger C). All that combined with a crush of really good candidates could result in a reduction in those elected which only increases the backlog.

75% is a pretty high barrier, especially given how many writers only use a few of their slots. A bunch of factors could result in a real problem* even without some sort of writer wide blockade against PED users.

* Real problem for HOF elections, YMMV as to how much of a real problem that actually is.
   15. TomH Posted: November 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4310802)
If in fact the new 2013 steroid-stink guys gather 20% or 50% of the vote, this really impacts whether Jack Morris makes the Hall. Some ballots could reasonably be 'too full' to include Jack if Clemens/Bonds/Piazza/Sosa are added to other candidates.
So, I have more reason to hope BBWAA writers ignore roids. I am so evil.
   16. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4310819)
The upcoming ballots are going to be great, but great in the same sense as those YouTube videos of Gilbert Gottfried maniacally laughing over footage of children being injured.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: November 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4311130)
#13 is right. In fact, part of the "problem" is that the BBWAA has a ton of great "clean" candidates to vote for over the next 8 years or so. The HoF will have plenty of inductees, including some very popular players and some all-time greats. Note, the list in #13 missed Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine. That's 15 names with those in #13. The notion that the HoF will be "forced" to change the voting rules due to non-induction is a fantasy -- it's at least a decade away and I frankly don't see it ever happening. Well, the BBWAA could easily become totally irrelevant within 10 years and that could lead to changes.

The problem intro'd by the blacklisting is that, on the 2013 ballot, Sosa (for example) is already 14th in WAR. McGwire is 12th, Edgar 10th ... and of course Morris 22nd just ahead of Reggie Sanders. Lee Smith is even lower and he eats up a bunch of votes. Fred McGriff, a reasonable HoF candidate, doesn't really come close to deserving a vote at this stage. By 2015, it's possible that Tim Raines will be down to 13th in WAR and Edgar to 16th. (In reality, the 2015 ballot will probably have an ordering similar to this one.)

We will probably see an uptick in the average # of names per ballot (esp from saber-friendly writers) but obviously we're not going to come close to everybody submitting full ballots. McGriff and Walker are likely toast; it's hard for me to see how Tim Raines and Edgar keep building.
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 27, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4311147)
I think a more realistic fear is writers will each apply what they "know" about who used PEDs and this will depress percentages on many candidates. Other writers (a minority) will choose to not vote anyone. Some writers will ignore PEDs and will spend their slots on some of the most PED penalized candidates (Barry B, Roger C). All that combined with a crush of really good candidates could result in a reduction in those elected which only increases the backlog.

Might even be even a little crazier. If some voters think other voters are unfairly tainting worthy players (Bagwell? Piazza? Who knows?) there might even be a backlash causing at least some voters favoring those candidates to not vote for other candidates - essentially creating a game of long ballot chicken between various BBWAA factions. The BBWAA voter pool is probably too large for this to have a huge effect, but if a few votes matter . . .

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