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Monday, July 29, 2013

Snyder: Looking ahead at the potential 2014 Hall of Fame class

And so it begins…

With Sunday being the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY, baseball fans were treated to a bit of an empty feeling. That is, no living players were enshrined this time around and none from the BBWAA ballot made the cut.

In looking ahead to next year, it appears there won’t be a repeat—though I was pretty sure last time around that Craig Biggio was a sure bet, so you never know.

Good chance

Jack Morris— We’ll have plenty of time to fight about Morris’ merits for inclusion this coming December and January. For now we’re only discussing whether or not he’ll get in and my hunch is he will. He got 67.7 percent of the vote last year and with this being his 15th and final try, I think he gets enough of a “last try” bump. Then again, will the BBWAA end up with four players having more than 75 percent of the vote? Maybe Thomas gets squeezed out. Maybe Morris falls short. Maybe both. But I really feel like Maddux and Biggio are locks.

Best of ‘outside looking in’

Curt Schilling— He has been incredibly outspoken about being clean and speaking out against juicers, and has over 3,000 career strikeouts with a good (216-146) record, good ERA (3.46, 127 ERA+) and amazing postseason numbers (11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts). Still, he got only 38.8 percent of the vote. So he’s not getting in yet.

Roger Clemens— Career stats say one of best five pitchers ever. The PED connection is what likely held him to 37.6 percent of the vote in his first go-round. If he ever gets in, it’ll be several years down the road.

Tom Glavine— He has 305 career victories. Every pitcher with at least 300 is in the Hall of Fame except Maddux (he will be in soon), Clemens (see above), Glavine and Randy Johnson (not yet eligible). I think that alone gets Glavine in eventually, but I feel like he’s behind at least Maddux, Thomas, Biggio and Morris this time around. And a five-man Hall of Fame class is unprecedented, aside from the inaugural class of Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. To reiterate: I think Glavine should get in and my prediction is he ends up with the fifth-highest vote total this year. Based upon history, I don’t think five guys get over 75 percent of the vote, so I think Glavine has to wait.

Mike Mussina— A decent case can be made for Moose, but he’s far behind the likes of Maddux and Glavine, so he’ll have to wait a while. If ever.

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2013 at 08:39 AM | 83 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. McCoy Posted: July 29, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4506598)
And so it begins…

Starting now!
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 29, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4506609)
I don't want you any more, you took my joy.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4506640)
I don't see how any voters, even old school guys, get Morris in, but not Glavine. 300 wins is a lock.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4506643)
Jack Morris— We’ll have plenty of time to fight about Morris’ merits for inclusion this coming December and January. For now we’re only discussing whether or not he’ll get in and my hunch is he will.


Wanna bet?
   5. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4506652)
I don't see how any voters, even old school guys, get Morris in, but not Glavine. 300 wins is a lock.


If anyone votes for Morris but not Glavine, I'd like to see an explanation. There likely won't be one, as it is indefensible, but it would be amusing.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4506656)
I anyone votes for Morris but not Glavine, I'd like to see an explanation.


Glavine's WS winning performance was in a Game 6. Thus, not clutch.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4506660)
There likely won't be one, as it is indefensible, but it would be amusing.


Murray The C is already on record that he will vote this way. As defensible motives go, where does spite fit in?

   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4506662)
I don't see how any voters, even old school guys, get Morris in, but not Glavine. 300 wins is a lock.


But Glavine never pitched a great game to win a World Series. I mean, not one he was man enough to finish.

I don't mean this as ###### as it is going to come out but at this point if you are surprised when the BBWAA does something stupid you are as foolish as those people who are shocked that there are still steroids in this establishment. Never, I mean NEVER, discount the capacity of the BBWAA to be idiots. It won't shock me one bit if Morris gets in and Glavine doesn't.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4506669)
It won't shock me one bit if Morris gets in and Glavine doesn't.


It would me. Not because I'd put it past the BBWAA to do it, but because Morris simply didn't have the support necessary in Year 14 to make the gains this year with Maddux and Glavine coming on the ballot. Jack ain't making it.
   10. thok Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4506712)
If anyone votes for Morris but not Glavine, I'd like to see an explanation.


Strategic voting: Morris is on his last ballot and in danger of not making it in while Glavine is on his first, has time to get in by year five on the ballot, and isn't so obviously great that he needs to go in on the first ballot.

I'm fairly sure somebody will vote for Morris but not Maddux, much less Glavine.
   11. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4506716)
Want to know what'll happen to Jack Morris? Look back at Jim Bunning. In 1988, Bunning got 74.2% of the vote - achingly close. That was his 13th year on the ballot.

So he should go in the next time, right? Well that was 1989. New to the ballot that year: Gaylord Perry. And Fergie Jenkins. And Jim Kaat. Oh, and Johnny Bench & Yaz, so not only was Bunning arguably the 3rd or even just fourth best pitcher on the ballot, but the best pitcher was just the 3rd best player on the ballot.

Less than 1% from enshrinement, Bunning had his support drop. He actually topped Jenkins, as writers tried to get Bunning in as he was running out of time, but he fell to 63.3%. The next year, all the pitchers returned the ballot, where Jim Palmer joined them. In Bunning's last stand, he finished behind Palmer, Perry and now Jenkins (as well as 1st time eligible Joe Morgan).

I see something similar in store for Jack Morris in the next vote.
   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4506721)
I'm fairly sure somebody will vote for Morris but not Maddux, much less Glavine.

I believe Murray Chass has stated his intent to vote Morris only this year.

Forget Glavine - it's extremely difficult to make a case for Morris over Mussina. For starters, Mussina has more wins, fewer losses, a lower ERA (in a higher-scoring context), more strikeouts, and less than 60% as many walks. And if you like postseason pitching, check out Mussina's effort in the 1997 ALCS.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4506742)

Hall of Merit has already elected 2014 returnees Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Clemens, Bonds, EMartinez, Trammell, LWalker, McGwire, and Palmeiro (listed in order of 2013 HOF vote totals of non-electees).

So their leftovers are (in order of 2013 HOF voting and still on 2014 ballot) Morris, LSmith, Schilling, McGriff, Mattingly, Sosa.

Schilling (499 pts) and Sosa (308) finished as the top 2 non-electees in 2013 Hall of MERIT voting, with no one else on the HOM ballot getting listed in one of the 15 slots on at least half the votes. So they're basically the only 2 who can ever put up a 2014 HOM fight against newcomers Maddux, FThomas, Mussina, Glavine, and Kent.

It will be no surprise if that group comprises the top 7 among HOM voters, in who knows what fashion. I forget if we are electing 3 or 4 this year.

   14. John Northey Posted: July 29, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4506856)
I'm wondering if Mussina might be a sub 5% guy this year. Think about it... writers will put him behind Glavine and Maddux for sure. Many push him behind Morris (clutch stuff) and Schilling too. With such a crowded ballot how many will dedicate 4 or 5 slots to pitchers? Not to mention those who will put Lee Smith on again. I also see at least one LA writer putting Hideo Nomo on for 'historical reasons'.

Boy, this could be an ugly, ugly ballot. Easy to see Jeff Kent, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mike Mussina all knocked off the ballot by writers who are feeling overwhelmed by the choices on the ballot. For example, you could leave those 3 off and have a full reasonable ballot with Bonds, Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Schilling, Bagwell, Thomas, Walker,Trammell and Raines while still leaving off solid HOF candidates Edgar Martinez, Craig Biggio, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Fred McGriff and 'why are they voting for these guys' Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Don Mattingly.

Heck, a 'PED free' ballot of Maddux, Glavine, Schilling, Thomas, Walker, Trammell, Raines, E Martinez, McGriff and Biggio is a full one without Kent or Mussina and isn't unreasonable.
   15. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 29, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4506897)
To add onto #14, most writers don't use the full 10 anyway. I don't remember what the average is though (Vague memory of 5 to 6, but I could easily be wrong). That is the big problem with the PED protesting*. it clogs up the ballot at a really bad time and hurts many players in addition to the "worse than Hitler" PED users.

* Well a problem, and one that exists even if you don't think Bonds and Clemens (et al) belong in the HoF.
   16. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 29, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4506912)
Boy, this could be an ugly, ugly ballot.

Yup. I heard Olney say the other day that he had 17 reasonable candidates marked off. I wonder what you do in that spot, vote for the best guys or vote for the ones you think will get the least support so hopefully they don't fall off?
   17. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4506913)
To add onto #14, most writers don't use the full 10 anyway.


They really need to expand or eliminate the cap on the number of players one can vote for. Look at #13: the ballot already has 11 members of the Hall-of-Merit and at least 4 guys who'll make the HOM as soon as the ballot slots open up (Maddux, Thomas, Glavine, Mussina). Even if you drop "known" PED users (Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro), that still leaves 11 HOM guys (and that's not even counting Schilling or Kent, both of whom will probably be in the HOM within a decade). What's the downside to getting rid of the cap? If there really a big concern that Sean Casey might accidentally get elected from guys tossing him a "nice guy" sympathy vote?
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 29, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4506926)
I'm wondering if Mussina might be a sub 5% guy this year.

I think there's a reasonably strong chance he falls off within 2 years. This year, you have Maddux, Glavine, Morris, Clemens, and Schilling likely to do better than him. Assume Maddux gets in, and Morris is off the ballot next year either way - but you add Unit, Pedro, and Smoltz. If Glavine is still around, Mussina is probably regarded as the 7th-best starting pitcher on the 2015 ballot, which isn't even addressing the glut of position players that's building up.

Now, there may be enough people who'd pick him over Clemens, Schilling, and Smoltz to have him hang around. But I don't think it's guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination.
   19. tshipman Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4506965)
I disagree with the author of the piece that Frank Thomas is a sure bet. I think even in a world without steroids, Frank would be no better than 50/50 for admission on the first ballot.

The crazy thing to me is what my ballot would look like.

Theoretical Ballot:
Bonds
Maddux
Clemens
Biggio
Thomas
Bagwell
Glavine
Piazza
Raines
Trammell

Not making it on the ballot:
Schilling
Sosa
McGwire
Mussina

What a mess! Even if you say that Bonds/Clemens are off your list due to the steroids issue, you still have a full ballot just of guys who have no steroid stuff beyond fringy statements. Not taking Biggio/Bagwell last year really screwed things up.

This is obviously not an original statement.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4506977)
Theoretical Ballot:
Bonds
Maddux
Clemens
Biggio
Thomas
Bagwell
Glavine
Piazza
Raines
Trammell


Strike Bonds and Clemens (regardless of how you feel, they have no chance)and add Schilling and Mussina, and I think you have pretty close to a perfect ballot.
   21. bunyon Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4506991)
I actually wonder if Bonds or Clemens might fall off exactly for the reasoning from Snapper in 20. I think plenty of voters will worry about guys falling off who shouldn't. Bonds and Clemens won't get elected, so do you "waste" a vote for them or cast one for a guy you hope doesn't fall off. I think if I'm voting, I pick my top 6, non PED guys, and then 4 votes to the guys who I don't want to fall off.

Really, it might be nice if the vote was a trainwreck: no one but Maddux elected, very strong candidates falling off the ballot, etc. Might get some changes in voting.
   22. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4506994)
Strike Bonds and Clemens (regardless of how you feel, they have no chance)


Almost certainly not this year, but if you keep the 10-man ballot limit and the BBWAA doesn't induct more than a couple players per year, in 3-4 years, could Bonds and Clemens be in danger of falling below the 5% cutoff if enough people take snapper's advice (which I'd probably do this year if I had a hypothetical ballot)?
   23. Ron J2 Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4506997)
#11 Might go the other way though. Kind of a , "tell your data to shut up" vote. See also Jim Rice.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4507004)
Strike Bonds and Clemens (regardless of how you feel, they have no chance)

Never going to happen, since there are more than enough writers who don't care about steroids who will keep them on the ballot for the maximum 15 years if necessary. This issue isn't going away anytime soon any more than congressional gridlock.
   25. Gamingboy Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4507021)
Don't forget that the Veteran's committee is doing a round next year that could theoretically include Torre, LaRussa AND Cox. With that possible managerial entrance class, they could theoretically not elect a single player and still have one of the best classes since Ripken/Gwynn.

Still, if Maddux doesn't get in first ballot, we riot. And if Thomas doesn't get in, we at least buy pitchforks.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4507022)
I don't want to guess at Mussina's total given the ballot insanity, but I don't think it'll be nearly as low as 5%. If you're a contemporary pitcher with 250+ wins who is not ultra-compiler-icious a la Jamie Moyer, I think the writers are generally looking to put you in more than they're looking to keep you out. And although I do think Mussina's chances would have been better if he had stuck around for 30 more wins as he clearly could have, I think 270 plus a dramatic exit at the height of his powers will be very nearly as good.

Keep in mind, these dudes love wins. You may think Schilling was better than Mussina (BTW, was he?), but many of the writers are going to see 270 vs. 216 and they're not going to think that.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4507027)
#11 Might go the other way though. Kind of a , "tell your data to shut up" vote. See also Jim Rice.


First, Jack's chance was last year. He made no meaningful progress. There's no reason to think this year, with a stronger pitching ballot, that he's going to restart his campaign.

Second, Rice was simply ahead of Jack's pace every step of the way. And there was nothing really special or noteworthy about Jim Ed's move. Take away the logjam year of 1999, and Rice made a steady slog to Cooperstown, climbing above 50 percent in his 6th year, cracking 72 percent in his 14th and just slipping over in his 15th. In contrast, Jack didn't get above 50 until his 11th, and still hasn't reached 70 percent.

If Jack performs just like Rice in his last year, he will fall short.


could Bonds and Clemens be in danger of falling below the 5% cutoff if enough people take snapper's advice (which I'd probably do this year if I had a hypothetical ballot)?


No. I don't see it now, or at any point in the future. Anyone who has no steroids qualms (at least 35 percent of the electorate) is never going to exclude the two best guys on the ballot every year.

Still, if Maddux doesn't get in first ballot, we riot.


There's no chance of that happening.
   28. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4507032)
To add onto #14, most writers don't use the full 10 anyway. I don't remember what the average is though (Vague memory of 5 to 6, but I could easily be wrong).

Votes per ballot moved up to 6.6 names last time, up from 5.1 in 2012 (the lowest average ever). It had been 6.0 votes per ballot in 2011, and 5.7 in 2010. The top debuting player in 2012 was Bernie Williams at 9%, which is explanation enough for last year's valley. I don't know what the highest average is; the Brett-Ryan-Yount-Fisk year moved the needle from 5.4 names to 6.7.

EDIT: The ballot average was regularly 7.5 to 8.0 in the 1970s and early 80s. The highest number my extensive four-minute research has unearthed is 8.36 names per ballot in 1983, in which the only debuting candidate to surpass 6% was Brooks Robinson.
   29. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4507040)
Still, if Maddux doesn't get in first ballot, we riot.

I'm kind of hoping no one gets in again, they might actually do something about it this time.
   30. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4507041)
Anyone who has no steroids qualms (at least 35 percent of the electorate) is never going to exclude the two best guys on the ballot every year.


I have no steroid qualms. But this year's ballot probably has something like 18 or so guys who I think deserve to go into the Hall of Fame. If my goal, as a voter, is to actually get guys elected to the Hall of Fame, then, if the ballot cap stays at 10, I have to vote strategically.

Guys qualified for the Hall of Fame who have a better chance of actually being elected to the Hall of Fame than Bonds and Clemens on the 2014 ballot: Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines. That's the no-brainers debuting and the qualified guys who broke 50% in 2013. And that leaves room for exactly three more names on my ballot. Schilling debuted stronger than Bonds and Clemens. Mussina is presumably clean which would seem to give him a better shot. I now have one ballot slot left. Personally, I'd give it to Alan Trammell. But I could give it to Jeff Kent instead. Or Larry Walker. Or Edgar Martinez. Or, if I have no steroid qualms, I could choose Mark McGwire or Raffy Palmeiro, who have been on the ballot longer than Bonds and Clemens and are in more danger of falling below the 5% threshold.
   31. alilisd Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4507044)
To add onto #14, most writers don't use the full 10 anyway. I don't remember what the average is though (Vague memory of 5 to 6, but I could easily be wrong).


Not sure about 2013, but 2012 was an all time low, per Chris Jaffe, of 5.1. Jaffe has also shown it trending lower in recent elections.

They really need to expand or eliminate the cap on the number of players one can vote for.


I don't think that solves the problem though since most writers aren't using the 10 spots to begin with. I think the HOF itself needs to provide some very serious thought to HOF voting and then draft some clear guidance for the writers. For example, what justification can there be for voting for fewer players than ever when MLB now has more players than ever thanks to expansion.

Another step the HOF could take is to have the BBWAA remove voters from the process who no longer actively cover baseball or hasn't actively covered it within a certain span of time from the election.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4507046)
Strike Bonds and Clemens (regardless of how you feel, they have no chance)


Never going to happen, since there are more than enough writers who don't care about steroids who will keep them on the ballot for the maximum 15 years if necessary. This issue isn't going away anytime soon any more than congressional gridlock.

I'm confused by your response. Are you saying they do have a chance?
   33. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4507050)
I think plenty of voters will worry about guys falling off who shouldn't. Bonds and Clemens won't get elected, so do you "waste" a vote for them or cast one for a guy you hope doesn't fall off.

Is there any reason to think the pro-Bonds & pro-Clemens voters are less committed than the antis? I wouldn't expect those voters to just give up after one ballot because some voters disagree with them. More likely we have a few years of "ballot chicken" with each group blaming the other for the ballot glut that ensues.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4507055)
Is there any reason to think the pro-Bonds & pro-Clemens voters are less committed than the antis? I wouldn't expect those voters to just give up after one ballot because some voters disagree with them. More likely we have a few years of "ballot chicken" with each group blaming the other for the ballot glut that ensues.

Yes. They are outnumbered 2:1, and, they are wasting a scarce resource - their ballot spots.

The "antis" aren't wasting anything. There are more than enough "clean" guys for them to fill their ballots every year, if they are so inclined.

It makes much more sense for the "pros" to blink first.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4507057)
I'm confused by your response. Are you saying they do have a chance?


He's saying there's no chance that they'll fail to get 5 percent. Whether they have a chance to get 75 percent chance is another matter (I agree with the former, and think they do have a chance at the latter).

Yes. They are outnumbered 2:1, and, they are wasting a scarce resource - their ballot spots.


Guys are voting on individuals, not clean guys or dirty guys.

Don Mattingly gets some small percent of the vote every year, despite having no chance to get elected. Dale Murphy and Dave Parker spent 15 fruitless years on the ballot. Alan Trammel will still get his 25 percent support or some such, and has no chance to make it through the BBWAA. There's no reason that Roger and Barry alone will be abandoned because of strategic voting when it doesn't happen with any other number of lost causes. That's particularly true considering that, to their supporters, they will remain the two best players on the ballot every year.
   36. TomH Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4507060)
compromise proposal on 10-man ballot limit:
(seriously, someone call the BBWAA and give them my brilliant suggestion!)

1 You may vote on up to 10 names out of all of the holdovers on the ballot
2 The first-timers get their own category. Vote them each up or down, as many as you want either way.

Pros: when you get a new class full of obvious honorees, it does not auto-diminish the holdovers.


   37. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4507061)
I don't think that solves the problem though since most writers aren't using the 10 spots to begin with.


There were a fair number of full ballots posted last year. There will be even more full ballots this year. I also think that raising the cap would be a clear signal to the writers to vote for more players.

There are five players returning who got over 50% of the vote in 2013 and three players debuting who would probably get 90% support if they were alone on the ballot (Maddux, Glavine, Thomas). If the average voter wants to vote for, say, 3.5 new guys, on top of the 6.6 names he voted for last year, boom, you can't do it - 6.6 + 3.5 = 10.1. It guarantees that the existing guys will lose support this year, which means that they'll all still be hanging around clogging up the ballot again next year along with 2-3 new guys who couldn't break 75% because of the clogged ballot.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4507062)
He's saying there's no chance that they'll fail to get 5 percent. Whether they have a chance to get 75 percent chance is another matter (I agree with the former, and think they do have a chance at the latter).

OK, but I was saying they have no chance at 75%, so might as well vote for someone who does.

If there's no chance of them falling off, even more reason to vote strategically. There's no practical difference between 25% and 35%. Bonds and Clemens won't be building momentum in a conventional way.
   39. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4507063)
Morris is a vote for sanity in an insane world. A true HOFer, who didn't care about fancy stats.

Plenty of writers have said they won't vote for a single player from the "steroid era".

Thats how Morris gets in next year while Glavine gets 50%.
   40. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4507065)
The unknown percentage of writers who take their voting privilege seriously are now obliged to strategically massage their ballots to counteract the roving factions of dummies, or to make some larger point, or to rescue perfectly reasonable candidates from vanishing altogether. It's crazy time at the monkey house.
   41. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4507077)
If there's no chance of them falling off, even more reason to vote strategically. There's no practical difference between 25% and 35%. Bonds and Clemens won't be building momentum in a conventional way.


I see what you are saying, but I am of the opinion voters should vote for those who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. If someone thinks Bonds deserves to be there under the rules then they should vote that way. Playing chicken or voting "strategically" is not a great idea in general and a really terrible idea if you are not going to use all ten slots. If you are going to use all your slots then perhaps strategic voting has a place, but I would rather people vote for the best players.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4507081)
Morris is a vote for sanity in an insane world. A true HOFer, who didn't care about fancy stats.

Plenty of writers have said they won't vote for a single player from the "steroid era".

Thats how Morris gets in next year while Glavine gets 50%.


The sad part, is that I don't doubt there are about 10-15% of the voters who actually don't think this is a magnificently dumb rationalization.

We bag on the writers with good reason, there aren't many professions on the planet, in which a significant percentage are utterly clueless on the subject they are supposed experts and are proud of that fact.
   43. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4507086)
Plenty of writers have said they won't vote for a single player from the "steroid era".

Is it "plenty of writers" or just a few hacks writing "look at me" columns? The next ballot may clear that up.
   44. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4507087)
That's particularly true considering that, to their supporters, they will remain the two best players on the ballot every year.


I am pretty sure they are the best players on the ballot (and more certain once Maddux is elected). The Hall of Fame is not the Hall of Most Valuable, but in terms of best Clemens and Bonds are pretty much at the top I should think in everyone's estimation - it is just some folks think how they were the best disqualifies them, which is their right.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4507088)
I see what you are saying, but I am of the opinion voters should vote for those who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. If someone thinks Bonds deserves to be there under the rules then they should vote that way. Playing chicken or voting "strategically" is not a great idea in general and a really terrible idea if you are not going to use all ten slots. If you are going to use all your slots then perhaps strategic voting has a place, but I would rather people vote for the best players.

Yes, it only makes sense if you're using all 10 spots.

But if you think Mussina, or Schilling, or Kent belong in the HoF, voting for Bonds or Clemens over them risks somebody falling off the ballot.

Going the other way has no equivalent risk.
   46. JJ1986 Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4507089)
Jack Morris played on teams with Manny Ramirez, Chuck Knoblauch and obvious roid-rage sufferer Kent Hrbek. We should be fairly suspicious of him.
   47. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4507096)
I see what you are saying, but I am of the opinion voters should vote for those who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.


This entire discussion pre-supposes the existence of more players "who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame" than ballot slots available. If you eliminate the ballot cap - and I really haven't heard an explanation as to why there should even be a cap - I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of voters who voted for Bonds and Clemens last year will continue to do so as long as they have a vote and Bonds and Clemens remain on the ballot.

If you are going to use all your slots then perhaps strategic voting has a place, but I would rather people vote for the best players.


If you tie remaining on the ballot to vote totals, you invite strategic voting. I think that both Alan Trammell and Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. If I have to vote for one of them, knowing that neither of them will actually be elected, I don't see what the problem is with voting for Trammell. If I have to vote for either Mike Piazza or Barry Bonds, knowing that Piazza might be elected but Bonds won't be, why shouldn't I vote to actually put a deserving player in the Hall of Fame? Now, if I vote for Jack Morris instead of Barry Bonds with my last ballot slot, well sure, then that's a stupid vote.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4507101)
I am pretty sure they are the best players on the ballot (and more certain once Maddux is elected). The Hall of Fame is not the Hall of Most Valuable, but in terms of best Clemens and Bonds are pretty much at the top I should think in everyone's estimation - it is just some folks think how they were the best disqualifies them, which is their right.


I understand that. But there are at least 36 percent of the voters who don't think it disqualifies them (probably more), and likely consider them the two very best players eligible at the moment (and at most moments to follow). The idea that 85 percent or so of those voters are going to abandon them because they're "lost causes" when the ballot is constantly filled with guys who are "lost causes" who continue to get support strikes me as immensely bizarre. It's simply not going to happen.
   49. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4507103)
Not sure about 2013, but 2012 was an all time low, per Chris Jaffe, of 5.1.

There were a fair number of full ballots posted last year. There will be even more full ballots this year.


Twenty years of names-per-ballot, debuts and electees:

2013: 6.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds) --0 elected
2012: 5.1 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --2 elected
2011: 6.0 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Bagwell) --1 elected
2010: 5.7 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Alomar, Larkin) --1 elected
2009: 5.4 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Henderson) --2 elected
2008: 5.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --1 elected
2007: 6.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Ripken, Gwynn) --2 elected
2006: 5.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --1 elected
2005: 6.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Boggs) --2 elected
2004: 6.5 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Molitor, Eckersley) --2 elected
2003: 6.6 ((Debuting candidates over 33%: Murray, Sandberg, Lee Smith) --2 elected
2002: 6.0 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Ozzie Smith, Dawson) --1 elected
2001: 6.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Winfield, Puckett) --2 elected
2000: 5.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Gossage) --2 elected
1999: 6.7 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Ryan, Brett, Yount, Fisk) --3 elected
1998: 5.4 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Carter) --1 elected
1997: 5.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --1 elected
1996: 5.7 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --0 elected
1995: 6.1 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Schmidt) --1 elected
1994: 6.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Carlton, Sutton) --1 elected
   50. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4507109)
If you tie remaining on the ballot to vote totals, you invite strategic voting. I think that both Alan Trammell and Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. If I have to vote for one of them, knowing that neither of them will actually be elected, I don't see what the problem is with voting for Trammell. If I have to vote for either Mike Piazza or Barry Bonds, knowing that Piazza might be elected but Bonds won't be, why shouldn't I vote to actually put a deserving player in the Hall of Fame? Now, if I vote for Jack Morris instead of Barry Bonds with my last ballot slot, well sure, then that's a stupid vote.


I realize I am being a purist, and in most any sense there are only three outcomes that matter: in HoF, remain on ballot, drop off ballot, and one should within that understanding and the 10 slots maximize the desired outcome - but I have played enough games with similar mechanics where very often complex vote strategies result in madness. Obviously with such a large group it is likely safe, but it still annoys me.

If I think both Bonds and Trammell deserve to be in the Hall, then you pretty much have to think Bonds is "more deserving" than Trammell, and if you do you should vote for the more deserving guy (and not try the double reverse bank shot). Maybe if this was going to be a year or two blip, then maybe fancy strategy voting makes sense, but it looks like the bottleneck will be with us for a while, so I want the guys who deserve it to be up top of the vote totals even if they are not going to be elected.

I think, if I am a Bonds type voter, I want the narrative NOT to be Bonds stuck or dropping in vote totals, other wise it continues to feed the he'll never get elected why try camp and become self fulfilling. If Trammell fails because of that, well he is less deserving after all (which was the premise of these paragraphs - obviously doesn't work if one doesn't believe that).
   51. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4507118)
The idea that 85 percent or so of those voters are going to abandon them because they're "lost causes" when the ballot is constantly filled with guys who are "lost causes" who continue to get support strikes me as immensely bizarre. It's simply not going to happen.


I am not suggesting Bonds and Clemens will drop off, and don't think I hinted that. Just that one should vote for the best. Over the years in most scenarios I think that gets closest to an ideal outcome. If you don't the worst case is every year the Bonds/Clemens voters look at the previous year, see there has been no movement, and don't bother voting for them (again) because there are other "over the bar" possibilities to fill out the ballot. Do that for enough years and it is "obvious" they can never be elected.

Vote for the best, if some players don't make it then it will be the worst of the best and the VC can try to handle them. That is - in theory - what it is for.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4507120)

I am not suggesting Bonds and Clemens will drop off, and don't think I hinted that. Just that one should vote for the best.


No, but others have. And as long as some healthy percentage of the existing Bonds/Clemens supporters believe as you do (and there's no reason to think otherwise), then they will maintain their support - even if they're not moving toward election.
   53. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4507129)
I am not suggesting Bonds and Clemens will drop off, and don't think I hinted that.


Bunyon (I think) and I suggested it upthread, which is what started this sub-thread of the discussion (actually, I think snapper might have started it by arguing for strategically not voting for Bonds/Clemens). I don't think there's any chance that Bonds & Clemens drop below 5% THIS YEAR. But if they don't see their vote totals grow (or even see them shrink) over the next couple years and the backlog continues to grow, I think there could come a point where it is simply clear that Bonds and Clemens will never get 75% of the vote from the BBWAA and their continued presence on the ballot only muddies things up. Even there, though, I think it was pretty obvious eventually that Dave Concepcion and Don Mattingly are/were not going to be elected by the BBWAA and they hung around as long as they were allowed to (although I suppose Mattingly might drop off before his 15th year now).

If you think that the PED issue is causing a cluster**** of the HOF voting process, you can either try to convince 60-70% of the electorate that they should start electing these guys or you can shake your head, concede that Bonds isn't getting in from the BBWAA, and focus on guys who could. But, again, this all presupposes full ballots. If Bonds and Clemens aren't keeping HOF-worthy players off of your ballot, absolutely, keep voting for them as long as they're on the ballot.
   54. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 29, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4507154)
If you think that the PED issue is causing a cluster**** of the HOF voting process, you can either try to convince 60-70% of the electorate that they should start electing these guys or you can shake your head, concede that Bonds isn't getting in from the BBWAA, and focus on guys who could.


Or keep voting for the best players and let things fall where they may. It is not on any of group (pro or anti) to have to shrug and give up. If no one gets elected (Yes I know Greg will be, but still) then that is not the fault of one group or another. It is the process and situation. The Hall or MLB can "fix" the situation and/or individuals can "evolve", or even the process can play out and be on some level broken.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 29, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4507210)
Strike Bonds and Clemens (regardless of how you feel, they have no chance)

Never going to happen, since there are more than enough writers who don't care about steroids who will keep them on the ballot for the maximum 15 years if necessary. This issue isn't going away anytime soon any more than congressional gridlock.

I'm confused by your response. Are you saying they do have a chance?


In the next few years? Almost certainly not. After that, who knows?

What I'm saying is this: For Bonds and Clemens to drop below 5%, you'd have to have about 85% of their current supporters change their minds and leave them off the ballot, in order to vote for two other players that many or most of them wouldn't be voting for under any circumstances.

I have no idea whether or not Bonds and / or Clemens will ever get elected by the BBWAA, and bold predictions to the contrary, neither does anyone else here.** There are just too many unknown factors that might pop up between now and 2017 for anyone to be certain about anything.

But unless there are 10 mortal lock, clean living current players who all decide to retire simultaneously, the chances that Bonds and / or Clemens won't either be elected or remain on the ballot for the remainder of the 15 year period is as close to 0% as can be imaginable.

Cokes to anyone who's said the same thing in so many words. I haven't read everything else that's been posted in the past hour or two.

**Remember all those predictions that that first ballot vote against McGwire was only going to be a "one ballot protest"? But then people love to believe what they want to believe.
   56. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 29, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4507234)
Remember all those predictions that that first ballot vote against McGwire was only going to be a "one ballot protest"? But then people love to believe what they want to believe.

For example, "the Hall of Fame is not being damaged by all of this"?

I was with you on the McGwire-proof wall of voter resolve, though. Like the old joke goes, always predict the worst and eventually you'll be hailed as a prophet.
   57. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 29, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4507245)
Remember all those predictions that that first ballot vote against McGwire was only going to be a "one ballot protest"? But then people love to believe what they want to believe.

For example, "the Hall of Fame is not being damaged by all of this"?


If by "all of this" you're talking about the actions of players who thought that using steroids wouldn't eventually come back to bite them, I would agree that there's been a certain amount of temporary damage, at least in the eyes of those who just pine to see their plaques and their speeches. I have no problem acknowledging that sort of damage.

I was with you on the McGwire-proof wall of voter resolve, though. Like the old joke goes, always predict the worst and eventually you'll be hailed as a prophet.

I was always dismissive of that "one year protest" bit, but I'm still not completely convinced that one way or the other, the entire generation of HoF-blackballed HoM inductees won't eventually find their way into the Cooperstown plaque room. As I said, there are just too many possible factors that might well cause big chunks of voters to frame the issue differently.
   58. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4507273)
Not sure about 2013, but 2012 was an all time low, per Chris Jaffe, of 5.1.

There were a fair number of full ballots posted last year. There will be even more full ballots this year.

Twenty years of names-per-ballot, debuts and electees:

2013: 6.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds) --0 elected
2012: 5.1 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --2 elected
2011: 6.0 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Bagwell) --1 elected
2010: 5.7 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Alomar, Larkin) --1 elected
2009: 5.4 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Henderson) --2 elected
2008: 5.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --1 elected
2007: 6.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Ripken, Gwynn) --2 elected
2006: 5.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --1 elected
2005: 6.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Boggs) --2 elected
2004: 6.5 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Molitor, Eckersley) --2 elected
2003: 6.6 ((Debuting candidates over 33%: Murray, Sandberg, Lee Smith) --2 elected
2002: 6.0 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Ozzie Smith, Dawson) --1 elected
2001: 6.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Winfield, Puckett) --2 elected
2000: 5.6 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Gossage) --2 elected
1999: 6.7 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Ryan, Brett, Yount, Fisk) --3 elected
1998: 5.4 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Carter) --1 elected
1997: 5.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --1 elected
1996: 5.7 (Debuting candidates over 33%: none) --0 elected
1995: 6.1 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Schmidt) --1 elected
1994: 6.3 (Debuting candidates over 33%: Carlton, Sutton) --1 elected


The BBWAA's website shows 125 voters' ballots: something like 1/5th of the total. The ballots shown have an average of 7.07 names per ballot, so a bit more than typical, but fairly representative.

Of the 125 ballots, 32 - or about one-quarter - listed 10 names, and 61 of them - or just under half - listed at least 8 players who are returning for the 2014 ballot, meaning these voters would not have room to include Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas (or anybody else) without dumping somebody they voted for last year.
   59. jdennis Posted: July 29, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4507279)
I get the feeling we're going to see a lot of writers say "I give up" and vote only Maddux, Thomas, Biggio, and Glavine.

I get another feeling, that only Maddux and Biggio are going in this year, with Thomas and Glavine between 70-75%. I do think Cox, LaRussa, Torre will all make it from the Vets and possibly others such as Steinbrenner. You could argue the three coaches are like 2-3-4 all time.

Maybe Bagwell and Piazza will get into the upper 60s. They have easy, short arguments: Bags is best Astro ever, Piazza best hitting catcher ever. The rest I think will crater as I think writers will just settle for a more exclusive subgroup. Anyone with any lack of obviousness on stats alone or a comprehensive high concept one sentence narrative case will drop significantly - Raines, Smith, Schilling, E. Martinez. Morris I think will drop to the low 60s.

Bonds/Clemens will drop to the hardcore 25% support level, Sosa and Palmeiro will drop off, Mattingly certainly will and others may also. McGriff, Walker, McGwire, Trammell are all in danger. I think Mussina and Kent will manage to stay on, though, but voters seem to have a "holdovers first" line of thought whereas I am the opposite. We could be talking 12% for both.

For 2015, here is your shocker: Johnson, Thomas, Glavine only. Pedro barely misses. Smoltz only gets around 60. Bagwell and Piazza still don't make it. In 2016, Griffey and Pedro only. 2017 is where you'll see some people finally break through: I think Smoltz, Bagwell, Piazza all get in that year, and others get major traction. Also Hoffman on second try. In 2018, Chipper. 2019, Rivera.
   60. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4507284)
Maybe Bagwell and Piazza will get into the upper 60s. They have easy, short arguments: Bags is best Astro ever,


Considering Biggio is sitting ahead of Bagwell in HOF voting, I'm not sure how easy or compelling that argument is liable to be.
   61. tshipman Posted: July 29, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4507292)
If you think that the PED issue is causing a cluster**** of the HOF voting process, you can either try to convince 60-70% of the electorate that they should start electing these guys or you can shake your head, concede that Bonds isn't getting in from the BBWAA, and focus on guys who could. But, again, this all presupposes full ballots. If Bonds and Clemens aren't keeping HOF-worthy players off of your ballot, absolutely, keep voting for them as long as they're on the ballot.


I understand your approach, but I disagree wholeheartedly with it. If I'm a voter, my goal is to get the best possible HoF. How does not voting for two of the top ten all time players accomplish that?
   62. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4507295)
How does not voting for two of the top ten all time players accomplish that?


The problem is that voting for two of the top ten all time players doesn't accomplish that, either, because Bonds and Clemens aren't getting elected by the BBWAA any time soon. So as a practical matter, all those two votes of yours are doing - if they're part of a full ballot - is taking votes away from other deserving candidates who have a chance to actually be elected.
   63. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 29, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4507302)
The problem is that voting for two of the top ten all time players doesn't accomplish that, either, because Bonds and Clemens aren't getting elected by the BBWAA any time soon. So as a practical matter, all those two votes of yours are doing - if they're part of a full ballot - is taking votes away from other deserving candidates who have a chance to actually be elected.

This seems to suggest voters are easily influenced by other voters' ballots. That would be somewhat of a new trend. Seems just as likely that the folks voting for Bonds & Clemens will assume it is the responsibility of voters not doing so to take care of the potential 11th & 12th choices of the Bonds/Clemens voters.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4507312)
This seems to suggest voters are easily influenced by other voters' ballots. That would be somewhat of a new trend. Seems just as likely that the folks voting for Bonds & Clemens will assume it is the responsibility of voters not doing so to take care of the potential 11th & 12th choices of the Bonds/Clemens voters.

Aren't they?

Isn't that how someone who only gets 20% in his first ballot eventually gets over 75%?
   65. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4507316)
With such a crowded ballot how many will dedicate 4 or 5 slots to pitchers?

Most of the anti-roid voters. Mussina is in no danger of dropping off. I don't see how he doesn't debut in a virtual tie with Schilling at least.

my goal is to get the best possible HoF. How does not voting for two of the top ten all time players accomplish that?

It all hinges on the word "possible." If it is not possible for B&C to be elected then the best possible HoF is one without B&C.

(Note, staying on the ballot helps the VC case so one can still argue that a vote for B&C improves their chance of eventual inclusion but you get my point.)

A couple of years ago I was advocating the strategic dumping of Palmeiro as he has no chance at election (and was pretty borderline top 10 on last year's ballot anyway). This year a full ballot probably needs to drop Palmeiro and Sosa. It will be at least a few years before I'll give up on B&C, by which time maybe enough of the ballot will have cleared or become even more hopeless than those two. But I can imagine a scenario a few years from now when I wouldn't vote for them if the 10-name limit is still in place.

I'm mildly surprised that there hasn't been a broader call to lift the 10-name limit already. But, typical BBWAA (and humans), won't look ahead and rationally avoid the problem, they'll wait for it to become a crisis.
   66. The District Attorney Posted: July 29, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4507318)
Maybe Bagwell and Piazza will get into the upper 60s. They have easy, short arguments: Bags is best Astro ever, Piazza best hitting catcher ever. The rest I think will crater as I think writers will just settle for a more exclusive subgroup. Anyone with any lack of obviousness on stats alone or a comprehensive high concept one sentence narrative case will drop significantly - Raines, Smith, Schilling, E. Martinez. Morris I think will drop to the low 60s.
A) Pretty much any reasonable candidate (not to mention some unreasonable candidates) has a "comprehensive high concept one sentence narrative case."

Raines - "Best leadoff man in the history of the NL"
Smith - "Former all-time saves leader"
Schilling - "World Series hero for two different teams"
E. Martinez - "Best DH ever" (and this actually is the most common mainstream argument on his behalf, even though I think it's a poor one)
Morris - "Best starting pitcher of the 1980s" (yes, I know)

B) I can't recall encountering a writer with a vote who used "best in team history" as a major justification for a vote.

C) I'm not even sure I think Bagwell was better than Biggio, never mind that the writers think it.

In case I haven't made it clear, I disagree with basically all your points :) And I think you overestimate how many players will be able to maneuver around the trainwreck. They weren't consistently electing 2-3 per year even before the votes were being split 20 different ways.

I certainly don't think Hoffman specifically makes it on anything like the second ballot.

(If you are correct, then there really isn't a problem to worry about. If all the non-PED-associated guys whom you'd expect the BBWAA to elect do eventually get elected, I don't think we'd need to worry about how many ballots it takes, or whether they're electing the Jeff Kent-level players who are normally VC anyway.)
   67. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4507323)
This seems to suggest voters are easily influenced by other voters' ballots. That would be somewhat of a new trend


I'm not sure what I said that suggests that. I simply meant that you're literally depriving some other worthy candidates of the two votes that you'd give them but for the presence of Bonds, Clemens, and ballot limitations.

But as snapper says, this is, in fact, exactly how HOF voting works. Historically, players whose vote totals go up see their vote totals continue to go up as more and more voters notice them and jump on the bandwagon. When Barry Larkin debuted with just over 50% of the vote, there were voters who literally expressed surprise that he was on the ballot at all (despite the HOF ballot being an actual physical ballot with everybody's name on it) and others who were shocked to learn that Barry Larkin actually had a HOF case. Over time, some of these voters, influenced by previous votes, decided to vote for Barry Larkin, and he was elected. Obviously, the case is much more dramatic in the case of Bert Blyleven or a Jim Rice.

In fact, I'm actually kind of assuming the opposite with respect to Bonds and Clemens. Historically, a 1st-ballot total of 36% can easily grow over time and lead to eventual induction (under more normal circumstances, I'd expect to see this happen with Schilling, for example). I suspect, however, that this will not be the case with Bonds and Clemens precisely because I actually think Bonds/Clemens voters are NOT influenced by each other. Nobody forgot that Bonds and Clemens were on the ballot. Nobody was surprised to find that their statistical records merited HOF consideration. The people who voted against Bonds and Clemens did so in spite of their record and they knew full well what they were doing. Nobody "forgot" to check Barry Bonds's name on last year's HOF ballot.
   68. tshipman Posted: July 29, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4507337)
But as snapper says, this is, in fact, exactly how HOF voting works. Historically, players whose vote totals go up see their vote totals continue to go up as more and more voters notice them and jump on the bandwagon. When Barry Larkin debuted with just over 50% of the vote, there were voters who literally expressed surprise that he was on the ballot at all (despite the HOF ballot being an actual physical ballot with everybody's name on it) and others who were shocked to learn that Barry Larkin actually had a HOF case. Over time, some of these voters, influenced by previous votes, decided to vote for Barry Larkin, and he was elected. Obviously, the case is much more dramatic in the case of Bert Blyleven or a Jim Rice.

In fact, I'm actually kind of assuming the opposite with respect to Bonds and Clemens. Historically, a 1st-ballot total of 36% can easily grow over time and lead to eventual induction (under more normal circumstances, I'd expect to see this happen with Schilling, for example). I suspect, however, that this will not be the case with Bonds and Clemens precisely because I actually think Bonds/Clemens voters are NOT influenced by each other. Nobody forgot that Bonds and Clemens were on the ballot. Nobody was surprised to find that their statistical records merited HOF consideration. The people who voted against Bonds and Clemens did so in spite of their record and they knew full well what they were doing. Nobody "forgot" to check Barry Bonds's name on last year's HOF ballot.


But if I believe that Bonds/Clemens belong in the HOF, I would have to be a fool to drop them from my ballot. Negative momentum would indicate to other voters that their election would be unlikely, causing more people to drop them. My best chance is to vote for them each year and hope to persuade people who are voting against them to add to the vote totals to build positive momentum. My worst choice is to drop them because if I believe in the theory of voting momentum, it makes it less likely for the best possible HOF to exist. Not all the HOF voters are highly engaged, and they might well be receptive to arguments that Bonds/Clemens were HOFers before use, for example. Similarly, with additional revelations about the prevalence of steroids in baseball, some might come to believe that steroid/PED use should be ignored given the wide prevalence in baseball.

I'm not sure what I said that suggests that. I simply meant that you're literally depriving some other worthy candidates of the two votes that you'd give them but for the presence of Bonds, Clemens, and ballot limitations.


But they're not worthy. That's the thing. Mike Mussina, although I might vote for him in most years, is not among the best ten players on the ballot. Thus, he is not worthy of being voted to the HOF.
   69. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 29, 2013 at 08:43 PM (#4507395)
Strategic voting feels dishonest to me. That would be like leaving Cabrera off your MVP ballot because you think Trout should win and so you don't want the second place points going to his competition. Just vote for your top 10.
   70. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 29, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4507400)
Mike Mussina, although I might vote for him in most years, is not among the best ten players on the ballot. Thus, he is not worthy of being voted to the HOF.

This doesn't necessarily follow - if you think that more than 10 players on the ballot are deserving, it's not mandated that you pick the 10 best. From the BBWAA website:

B. Electors may vote for as few as zero (0) and as many as ten (10) eligible candidates deemed worthy of election. Write-in votes are not permitted.
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 29, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4507406)
But they're not worthy. That's the thing. Mike Mussina, although I might vote for him in most years, is not among the best ten players on the ballot. Thus, he is not worthy of being voted to the HOF.

Yes he is. The HoF is binary, no matter how much we go on about "inner circle" and "borderline" guys.

You're either in or you're out. You either deserve to be in, or you don't. The voters have no ability to give gradations of HoFers.
   72. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4507412)
Strategic voting feels dishonest to me. That would be like leaving Cabrera off your MVP ballot because you think Trout should win and so you don't want the second place points going to his competition. Just vote for your top 10.


If the instructions were to rank players or if the votes were weighted, I would absolutely agree with you. But it's just a simple in/out, vote for players "deemed worthy of election", except that you can only list 10. But the rules don't require you to list your top 10 candidates. By far, my first choice for solving this problem would be to remove the limit to how many players you can vote for. Do that and there's no need for strategic voting, precisely because it's just simple in/out. In that case, a vote for (or against) Bonds has absolutely no bearing on the election prospects of Mike Piazza.

Based on the voters who revealed their ballots on the BBWAA's web site (see the link in #58), about a quarter of voters filled their ballots last year and up to half of all voters could fill their ballots this year without relaxing their personal voting standards. Hopefully, the BBWAA is aware of this and is moving toward fixing it.
   73. alilisd Posted: July 29, 2013 at 09:24 PM (#4507442)
Mussina isn't among the ten best on the ballot?

Kiko, I like your point about raising the ballot limit being a clear message to vote for more players.

Gonfalon, thanks for the ballot history.
   74. bunyon Posted: July 29, 2013 at 09:43 PM (#4507463)
But they're not worthy. That's the thing. Mike Mussina, although I might vote for him in most years, is not among the best ten players on the ballot. Thus, he is not worthy of being voted to the HOF.

This is the real silliness of the 10 player limit.

Bonds
Maddux
Clemens
Biggio
Thomas
Bagwell
Glavine
Piazza
Raines
Trammell
Schilling
Sosa
McGwire
Mussina

You would not have to be a ridiculously large hall guy to think all 14 of those players are HOFers. I have no idea how things will shake out but Andy and B. Mouse's objections noted, were I a voter, I'm not sure I'd be willing to vote for two guys who have no shot (Bonds and Clemens) if it means guys I think are deserving HOFers might drop off the ballot.

I think I'd give the writers the benefit of the doubt if I were the HOF: unlimited number of players may be voted on and players stay on the ballot so long as they get one vote in any given year. That would eliminate any need to do strategic voting and you could simply do as B. Mouse says and vote for any player you thought was a HOFer.

Not being one of the 10 best in a crowded ballot might be a better player than being the best in a weak one.


Anyway, I'm not predicting Bonds and Clemens fall off and I don't think they will this year. But if the logjam persists and their support plateaus or falls, I can see it happening. I think their voters are ignoring PEDs, not giving them credit for them. That is, I don't think many of their voters are strongly pro-player in their cases, just judging the greatness of the career. If I'm right, and there is no way for me to know if I am or not, I can see that voter deciding it's just not worth fighting.
   75. SoSH U at work Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4507485)
I think I'd give the writers the benefit of the doubt if I were the HOF: unlimited number of players may be voted on and players stay on the ballot so long as they get one vote in any given year. That would eliminate any need to do strategic voting and you could simply do as B. Mouse says and vote for any player you thought was a HOFer.


I think any measure that doesn't allow for culling will have the reverse effect of what's desired, regardless how big they make the ballot. If you want to give Sweet Lou and Bobby Grich and Kevin Brown another chance at getting rejected, sure, why not? But if you don't cull the herd at some point, it's going to make it even more difficult for the guys with realistic hopes to build support and separate themselves from the bottom feeders.

A larger ballot, however, is the only obvious, no-downside change. There are others that would help, but the embiggened ballot is actually one that I could see happening.

   76. cardsfanboy Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4507494)
I think any measure that doesn't allow for culling will have the reverse effect of what's desired, regardless how big they make the ballot. If you want to give Sweet Lou and Bobby Grich and Kevin Brown another chance at getting rejected, sure, why not? But if you don't cull the herd at some point, it's going to make it even more difficult for the guys with realistic hopes to build support and separate themselves from the bottom feeders.


In some years I could agree with this, but when the ballot is being overloaded because of different philosophical takes on the player, it can't hurt to keep more on there. I do think that there is probably no reason to expand the ballot and get rid of the 5% rule, expanding the ballot should be enough to make the 5% rule moot. Absolutely guarantee that there are going to be 20-40 or so writers who will easily exceed the 10 man ballot over the next 5 years, to keep the likes of Kevin Brown on there. (yes I know he is gone, my point is that with expanded ballots, he would have probably crossed the threshold as he only needed 17-18 more votes)
   77. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM (#4507503)
I think any measure that doesn't allow for culling will have the reverse effect of what's desired, regardless how big they make the ballot. If you want to give Sweet Lou and Bobby Grich and Kevin Brown another chance at getting rejected, sure, why not? But if you don't cull the herd at some point, it's going to make it even more difficult for the guys with realistic hopes to build support and separate themselves from the bottom feeders.


Yeah, what SoSH & cardsfanboy said: if you eliminate the ballot limit, there's certainly no reason to lower the threshold for staying on the ballot. If anything, you could argue to raise that threshold (although I don't think I'd go there). If you eliminate the ballot limit, anybody getting under 5% of the vote is somebody that more than 95% of the electorate has decreed to not be a worthy Hall-of-Famer. It's highly unlikely that such players would be able to build the support to get elected over the next 15 years anyway (look at how Alan Trammell's doing to see a best-case upside for Lou Whitaker). With no ballot limit, there will probably be some voters who will err on the side of including extra players just in case, because there's no downside risk to doing so.
   78. John Northey Posted: July 29, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4507545)
I suspect it'll be interesting the next 2 years to see if we start to see guys seen as HOF'ers if PEDs were ignored start to fall off. Rafael Palmeiro (8.8% last year) will be the first and would be a bit of a shock wave due to the 3000 hits and 500 HR - numbers that were locks not that long ago. Funny that his 71.8 bWAR is only 10th on this years ballot. Next to fall is likely Sosa (12.5%), then McGwire (16.9%, easily his lowest so far) - both will probably survive this year but not next. Bonds & Clemens at 36/37% should be safe for a long time though as I have to think 30 voters at least will keep voting for both of them.

2015, if only Maddux gets in, boy will it be even uglier. Just going by bWAR...
100+: Bonds, Clemens, Johnson
80's: Pedro Martinez, Mussina (if not off ballot), Glavine
70's: Schilling, Bagwell, Thomas, Walker (now at #10), Palmeiro (if still on ballot), Trammell
60's: Smoltz, Raines, Edgar Martinez, Biggio (#16), McGwire, Sheffield (might be a one and done despite 500 HR, 9 ASG)
50's: Piazza, Sosa (#20 now), Kent, McGriff, Luis Gonzalez (probably off ballot by then), Kenny Rogers (likely off ballot), Brian Giles
40's: Carlos Delgado (473 HR and probably a one and done), Nomar Garciaparra, Don Mattingly
Also: Lee Smith

Every last one of those 29 guys has some argument for staying on the ballot at least with 20+ having a strong case for the HOF. Then 2016 adds Ken Griffey Jr, Jim Edmonds (60 WAR), and Trevor Hoffman - all with legit cases again. Then 2017 sees Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez (if he doesn't get into a game this year), Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Wakefield (will get some votes but not 5%). 2018? Chipper Jones, maybe A-Rod if he is kicked out. Sheesh - that ballot will not get any easier unless a lot more guys fall off the 5% cliff or crack 75% than expected.
   79. Walt Davis Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:05 PM (#4507576)
The 5% threshold is not a big deal and I think the HoM would be well-suited to drop the guys who have been on their ballot for 80-140 years. The electorate has spoken. Unless you're going to adopt proportional representation and induct 4.5% of Kevin Brown. :-)

The 10-player limit has probably never been a big deal either but we're in strange times. But I'm not THAT worried about it knocking guys completely off the ballot. The HoF ballot can sustain a lot of low percentage totals. For example, the 97 ballot elected Niekro, nearly elected Sutton, had Perez on the threshold and had room for 17 more guys above 5% and another three guys who just missed (Griffey, Nettles, Lynn ... what is Griffey doing there?). Lynn, Nettles, Bonds and Staub were guys who had been above and fell below in 97.

While Palmeiro and Sosa will go soon, I'm not that worried about Walker, McGriff, etc. falling off the ballot completely. The effect of the 10-man limit and the clogging will be to push them down towards 5-10% and move them outside of the realm of possibly building momentum. It will push Edgar back and might derail Raines climb.

Kent will be interesting. I wouldn't be surprised to see him below 5% ... but I wouldn't have been surprised to see him below that in a typical year either (Whitaker, Grich, Santo, etc.)

But if I believe that Bonds/Clemens belong in the HOF, I would have to be a fool to drop them from my ballot. Negative momentum would indicate to other voters that their election would be unlikely, causing more people to drop them. My best chance is to vote for them each year and hope to persuade people who are voting against them to add to the vote totals to build positive momentum. My worst choice is to drop them because if I believe in the theory of voting momentum, it makes it less likely for the best possible HOF to exist.

Again this comes down to your priorities and your evaluation of the likelihood of future election. The scenario we're imagining is that to vote for B&C and the 8 other candidates you consider most qualified will force you to drop Raines (and/or Schilling, Mussina, Trammell, McGwire, Walker, Edgar, ...). You have to choose between your desire to start positive momentum for B&C vs. your desire to continue positive momentum for Raines or to insure Mussina gets a reasonable start.

Now obviously a big part of that decision is the level of your desire for the outcomes B&C in HoF and R&M in HoF. In this hypothetical, I have you considering R&M to only be the 11th and 12th most deserving candidates so presumably your desire to see them in the HoF lags far behind your B&C desire.

But that still needs to be balanced against the probability. Obviously we'd all rather win $8 M playing the lotto than $1 on a coin flip but the coin flip has the better expected outcome.

Now I would agree that it is much too soon to give up on the candidacy of B&C -- lots of things could happen -- so I wouldn't consider dropping them from my ballot yet. But if 4-5 elections from now they are sitting at 20%, I'd strongly consider that there is no hope and, if pressed for a vote for a guy I think deserves it and has a decent chance, I might give that guy my vote.
   80. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4507577)
I also see at least one LA writer putting Hideo Nomo on for 'historical reasons'.

I kinda like this, actually. Nomo coming to America was a big deal. He wasn't the first Japanese player but he was clearly a pioneer. I mean, he wasn't Jackie Robinson -- Japanese players weren't technically banned, fans/opponents/teammates weren't particularly cruel to Nomo -- but he did something that a lot of Japanese players were scared to do. He was also an inspiration to a lot of Asian-American kids. (Who else did we have? Michael Chang?)

And while his MLB career numbers obviously aren't HOF-worthy (97 ERA+), his career had a lot of cool bits that merit attention: the Rookie of the Year award (5.8 H/9, 11.1 K/9 in 1995), the two no-hitters (one at Coors Field), two more 1-hitters, two strikeout titles, a 17-K game, his multiple career resurrections. He's got a bit of a Roger Maris argument.

I wouldn't vote for him if I was entrusted with a real HOF ballot, but I might reserve a space for him on my pretend ballot -- where I'm also trying to find room for Dennis Martinez, Tony Fernandez, and Lance Parrish -- just to give him some "props." (Don't worry, I'm not a Hall of Merit voter!)
   81. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 29, 2013 at 11:42 PM (#4507586)
I kinda like this, actually. Nomo coming to America was a big deal. He wasn't the first Japanese player but he was clearly a pioneer. I mean, he wasn't Jackie Robinson -- Japanese players weren't technically banned, fans/opponents/teammates weren't particularly cruel to Nomo -- but he did something that a lot of Japanese players were scared to do. He was also an inspiration to a lot of Asian-American kids. (Who else did we have? Michael Chang?)

And while his MLB career numbers obviously aren't HOF-worthy (97 ERA+), his career had a lot of cool bits that merit attention: the Rookie of the Year award (5.8 H/9, 11.1 K/9 in 1995), the two no-hitters (one at Coors Field), two more 1-hitters, two strikeout titles, a 17-K game, his multiple career resurrections. He's got a bit of a Roger Maris argument.

I wouldn't vote for him if I was entrusted with a real HOF ballot, but I might reserve a space for him on my pretend ballot -- where I'm also trying to find room for Dennis Martinez, Tony Fernandez, and Lance Parrish -- just to give him some "props." (Don't worry, I'm not a Hall of Merit voter!)


He's actually got two RoYs - one in MLB and one in NPB. And that Rookie of the Year season in NPB also came with an MVP and the Sawamura Award, the equivalent of winning the RoY, MVP, and Cy Young in the same season.

Obviously, on this crowded HoF ballot, I couldn't justify voting for him, but if you look at the totality of his career (he won over 200 games in NPB and MLB) I could certainly see voting for him in a normal year. The narrative is there, and the pioneer bonus is certainly there. Nomo's success in MLB paved the way for a generation of Asian players who may never have been given the chance to play here without his example, and that's worth something. MLB is in a better state today than it would have been if he'd never existed, and that's a good thing.

Now, lets get chatmonchy in the Rock and Roll HoF...
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2013 at 12:54 AM (#4507598)
If by "all of this" you're talking about the actions of players who thought that using steroids wouldn't eventually come back to bite them, I would agree that there's been a certain amount of temporary damage, at least in the eyes of those who just pine to see their plaques and their speeches. I have no problem acknowledging that sort of damage.


If by "all of this" you're talking about the actions of players who tought that using amphetamines wouldn't eventually come back to bite them... they were right!
   83. DanG Posted: July 30, 2013 at 01:29 AM (#4507603)
The 5% threshold is not a big deal
Members of the Hall of Merit still BBWAA eligible (retired 1994+), but knocked off by the 5% rule:

Kevin Brown
Will Clark
David Cone
Bret Saberhagen
Dave Stieb
Lou Whitaker

Of course, the electorate, as it's currently configured, would never have elected any of these. So why even bother worrying if the best candidates are eligible or not? Here's a solution: give all players one year of eligibility with the BBWAA. If not elected, they would then fall to a committee with greater expertise and more interest in electing the best players.

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