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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Lynn Henning HOF Ballot

And what a ballot!

■ Jeff Bagwell
■ Craig Biggio
■ Barry Bonds
■ Roger Clemens
■ Tom Glavine
■ Greg Maddux
■ Mike Piazza
■ Tim Raines
■ Frank Thomas
■ Alan Trammell

So, what to do about 11 names for a 10-spot Cooperstown roster?

I’m going to do something cruel, and counter-productive, which in this context is what the restricted ballot is.

I’ll leave off a great hitter, Martinez, who, because of bad knees was forced to perform most of his career as a designated hitter.

But I’m going to do something else and hope that it doesn’t invalidate my vote.

As a form of civil disobedience, and as a testament to Martinez’s genuine candidacy, I will write his name onto the ballot beneath the 10 boxes otherwise checked.

And then I’m going to do what my neighbor’s dog did after the smell was subdued and its fur was smoothed: I’m going to get on with life, happily, and hope that it’s at least 12 months until I again confront a mess of the kind I just experienced.

Repoz Posted: December 18, 2013 at 08:44 PM | 73 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   1. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: December 18, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4620520)
One could quibble about his rationale for omitting McGwire, but there's really not much to complain about here.
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4620521)
I have a sinking feeling that Mike Mussina is going to fall off the ballot after one year, and it will be a ####### disgrace.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4620527)
I have a sinking feeling that Mike Mussina is going to fall off the ballot after one year, and it will be a ####### disgrace.
Well, whaddayagonnado? (Besides change the dumb rules, I know, but I mean given the rules.) This would be my ballot as well. (And Henning certainly agrees that the rules are dumb.)

I do think that Schilling and Mussina (and Larry Walker, not mentioned at all in TFA) were better than Edgar. But of course it's debatable, and I can't get any of them to be top 10 in any event.
   4. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:10 PM (#4620529)
Best ballot we've seen so far?
   5. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4620534)
Well, whaddayagonnado? (Besides change the dumb rules, I know, but I mean given the rules.) This would be my ballot as well. (And Henning certainly agrees that the rules are dumb.)

I do think that Schilling and Mussina (and Larry Walker, not mentioned at all in TFA) were better than Edgar. But of course it's debatable, and I can't get any of them to be top 10 in any event.


It's the fault of people who won't vote for someone who "maybe used steroids even though there's no actual evidence buy hey just look at him I'm protecting the game!" which leaves a bunch of guys -- not just Bonds, Clemens, etc - on the ballot and there's no room for guys who absolutely should be in.
   6. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:21 PM (#4620538)
It's the fault of people who won't vote for someone who "maybe used steroids even though there's no actual evidence buy hey just look at him I'm protecting the game!" which leaves a bunch of guys -- not just Bonds, Clemens, etc - on the ballot and there's no room for guys who absolutely should be in. Obama.

FTFY
   7. dlf Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4620548)
I could possibly be persuaded to pick Schilling and/or Mussina instead of Raines and/or Trammell, but this ballot exactly matches my hypothetical one.
   8. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:43 PM (#4620552)
Nice to see a ballot with Bonds and Clemens. It seems reasonable that two guys who would have been in the running to be two of the five charter members should have a plaque.
   9. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4620555)
As the excerpt indicates, seven carryovers from last year and Edgar bumped to make enough room for MadGlavHurt.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4620563)
This ballot is awesome. Ten names, acknowledges there are more than 10 really good candidates, and includes Bagwell, Biggio, Trammell, Raines, and the obviously over qualified Clemens and Bonds. This would be my ballot. Love it.
   11. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4620566)
I think Walker is better than Trammell, Raines, and definitely Biggio - by a somewhat small but still pretty clear margin. And I would put the two pitchers ahead of that whole bunch (which also includes Edgar and McGwire). But yeah, pretty close to my ideal.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 18, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4620568)
but this ballot exactly matches my hypothetical one.


Concur...it's spot on to the way I'd vote.
   13. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: December 18, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4620579)
It's probably my ballot as well, although I would think about some strategy designed to keep a couple of guys on that I think might fall under 5%. If I were to do that, I'd probably bump Bonds and Clemens since they aren't in danger of falling off and their chances of getting elected are pretty close to zero. That would give me room for two of Mussina, Walker, Edgar, Kent, McGwire and Schilling - probably go with Mussina and Walker out of that group to help make sure they stayed on.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: December 18, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4620591)
Excellent ballot for the WHoF. I would put Walker ahead of Raines but I (probably) put Mussina ahead of them both. My concession to "reality" is to drop McGwire.

I think Walker is better than Trammell, Raines, and definitely Biggio - by a somewhat small but still pretty clear margin.

You've been making too much sense lately -- stop stealing my routine! :-)

FWIW, I give enough positional credit that I'll call the close one for Trammell and Biggio over the corner players.

It's the fault of people who won't vote for someone who "maybe used steroids even though there's no actual evidence buy hey just look at him I'm protecting the game!" which leaves a bunch of guys -- not just Bonds, Clemens, etc - on the ballot and there's no room for guys who absolutely should be in.

But not really. Most of those "did they/didn't they" guys only debuted last year. Even if they had elected, say, Bonds, Clemens and Sosa ... were they really gonna elect 6 guys last year? No reason to think that. Heck, if Bonds and Clemens had eaten up nearly 2 slots per ballot as they should have and Sosa had polled anything close to what he would have without the roid backlash, the remainder of the ballot would probably be worse off entering 2014 than they are.

At best you can make the case that Bagwell is still on the ballot because of this but as various folks here have pointed out, Bagwell has the sort of profile that the BBWAA has always under-rated -- quite possibly he was always going to follow the Sandberg/Larkin route. And of course McGwire and Palmeiro would have made it otherwise but their totals are so low they aren't clogging up anything.

The ballot crunch was coming with or without the roids backlash. In 2013, 6 "no-doubt first-ballot-worthy" candidates debuted plus Schilling. I doubt that has happened since the first one. This year has added at least three more plus Mussina. I haven't even counted Bagwell yet, much less Raines, Walker, Edgar, McGriff, Trammell. Two more plus Smoltz and Sheffield in 2015. Finally in 2016 we get some relief with only one obvious no-doubter in Griffey.

So, no matter how much backlog there was entering 2013, you were going to have at least 15 HoFers enter the ballot over a 3-year period ... plus Kent, Lofton and probably 1-2 others you can't just dismiss out of hand. There was no way the BBWAA was ever gonna keep up, there was no way the backlog wasn't gonna get whacked. And Bonds, Clemens, Mac, Sosa, Palmeiro ate up barely more than one slot among them last year, they aren't why Biggio didn't get elected.
   15. TJ Posted: December 18, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4620598)
I'm not a big Lynn Henning fan (living in Detroit most of my life), but I'll give credit where credit is due- great HOF ballot! All would be middle tier or better HOFers, which this year means other middle tier guys who have to be left off. I wish more voters would do what Henning did and write in any names on their ballot they wished to add. If enough of them did, then maybe the 10-vote limit would get addressed...
   16. Baldrick Posted: December 18, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4620604)
You've been making too much sense lately -- stop stealing my routine! :-)

I think you were the one that convinced me last year that Walker was clearly in, so...imitation, flattery, etc.
   17. Esoteric Posted: December 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4620605)
Not my HOF ballot, obviously (I would never vote for Bonds, and I might vote for Clemens in the future but not this year given the number of great names in danger of sliding off altogther), but can't disagree from the consensus here: if you're not an anti-PED guy, there is nothing to complain about here, pretty much. I do find it strange that Henning would give his eleventh vote to Edgar (who I love, as a Mariners fan, believe me) rather than Schilling, but it's hardly a point worth arguing too much.
   18. LargeBill Posted: December 18, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4620612)
Darn good. Especially like his complaint about not being able to name more than 10.
   19. Lassus Posted: December 18, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4620613)
I would never vote for Bonds, and I might vote for Clemens

?
   20. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 18, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4620615)
??
   21. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 18, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4620628)
Not my HOF ballot, obviously (I would never vote for Bonds, and I might vote for Clemens in the future but not this year given the number of great names in danger of sliding off altogther)...


Well, how about we eliminate all the Bonds PED years as a penalty, and tell him that he can only count his stats up to the point where nobody seems to think he was taking PEDs, and his stats looks very similar to everything he was doing as a skinny twig with the Pirates. This is 1986-1999:

2000 games, exactly; 445 HRs, 1299 RBIs, 460 SB, 1430 BBs, 1112 Ks, .288/.409/.559, OPS+ of 163. 3 MVPs, one runner up finish, four other times in the top eight; eight ASGs, 8 Gold Gloves. That's a HOFer - even if you eliminate PA after 1999. That's why he is obviously a Hall of Famer. Clemens is the same thing.
   22. Esoteric Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4620634)
I would never vote for Bonds, and I might vote for Clemens
I'm an anti-PED guy, obviously, but where I once put Clemens into the solid "PED user, hence no HOF" camp, I've been persuaded (by Andy and Ray among others) that the evidence is more equivocal with him. Still, since he's not going to drop off the ballot this year and the ballot is so stuffed, I'd put someone like Mussina or Kent or Edgar instead, to keep them from dropping off. Strategic voting.
   23. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4620636)
Henning has a history of good ballots, IIRC. I remember sending him an email a year or two ago just to say "Well done." My ballot wouldn't match this one 100% (I'm a big Mussina guy), but I think all these guys are worthy.
   24. Cooper Nielson Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4620641)
I remember sending him an email a year or two ago just to say "Well done."

Actually, that was from 2009 (2010 class), when his ballot was:

• Alomar
• Blyleven
• Dawson
• Larkin
• E. Martinez
• Raines
• Trammell

Dawson was the only guy inducted that year, so Henning was a year or two ahead of the pack with Blyleven, Alomar, and Larkin, and WAY ahead on Raines, Trammell, and Edgar. Notable by their absence are Jack Morris (despite Henning being a Detroit writer and a Morris fan), Lee Smith, and Mark McGwire.

I would've voted for McGwire and left Dawson off, but I can see the arguments for voting the way he did.

   25. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:41 AM (#4620648)
NOPE NEVERMIND SORRY I POSTED IT PLEASE DON'T REPLY
   26. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4620650)
I would've voted for McGwire and left Dawson off


I think a lot of cognitive dissonance gets resolved by people saying that McGwire, PEDs or no, wasn't a hall of famer (strikes me as obviously silly). But the Dawson thing . . . I'm all over the place on the Hawk. He was one of my favorite ballplayers when I was a kid and the Cubs & Braves were the only games on the tube other than the M's. But gaw, his offensive skills were appropriated exactly so that he got the least out of his prodigious abilities. But then there are those years, almost all before I was old enough to be paying attention, in which people swear he was a hell of a fielder in CF. I just have the damnedest time deciding about Dawson.

Luckily for all involved, other people already made the call.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:49 AM (#4620666)
Especially like his complaint about not being able to name more than 10.

Yeah except ...

1) Everybody who was paying attention saw this coming 1-4 years ago.

2) He's a member of the BBWAA, why didn't he raise it with the BBWAA. Don't protest by putting extra names on the ballot, email the BBWAA president and say WTF? Email some of your sportswriter buddies and suggest they do the same. Which he and other should have been doing starting last year at the latest.

I am reasonably confident that all that really has to happen to get the ballot extended is for enough voters to raise their hand and ask to have the ballot extended. Who is really going to object to this? At worst you get something like "we'll try it for five years and see how it goes."
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: December 19, 2013 at 01:58 AM (#4620669)
I am reasonably confident that all that really has to happen to get the ballot extended is for enough voters to raise their hand and ask to have the ballot extended. Who is really going to object to this? At worst you get something like "we'll try it for five years and see how it goes."


Agreed. I can't imagine why the Hall would object. So if the writers find themselves hamstrung, then it shouldn't be hard to fix.

   29. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 19, 2013 at 02:08 AM (#4620673)
Yup, this is well done. Minus Bonds and Clemens (and Edgar), this is my ballot exactly.

I'd put someone like Mussina or Kent or Edgar instead, to keep them from dropping off. Strategic voting.

I don't get it. What's the point of making sure someone gets 6%? Nobody is going to make it from 6%.
   30. vivaelpujols Posted: December 19, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4620744)
It's a great ballot, 10/10. Although I would quibble with some choices. Mussina and Schilling to me are both better than Glavine, and at least Schilling has seniority on the ballot. Trammel or maybe Biggio are the only other guys I could see fit to replacing on the ballot with someone else.

Not included on this ballot are HOF quality players Sosa, McGuire, Kent, Palmeiro, Schilling, Mussina and Martinez. Holy #### is a ###########. Edit, forgot Walker.
   31. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 19, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4620885)
I won't complain about any ballot that has 10 players on it and all of them are deserving Hall of Famers. If Mussina doesn't get 5%, I'm more inclined to blame the mouth-breathers with their ballots than have Maddux but then some combination of Jack Morris, Lee Smith, and Don Mattingly.

One of my pleasant surprises upon working in large media is that there are way more of these mainstream, still-active writers that are open to new ideas than I ever imagined.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4621118)
Is there one person stumping for Mussina, or is a small group of people on BBTF that is begging for him to get the votes?

Mussina going one and done is no more a tragedy than Brown, Whitaker or Simmons going one and done.

(Mussina is basically a better version of Morris, lesser peak than Glavine, and lesser career....not sure how anyone could say he was better...and Glavine basically has Schillings peak with an extra 5 years...again I don't see either of them as better than Glavine....even accounting for unearned runs.)

   33. cardsfanboy Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4621133)
As far as other comments. I do not see how you can include Edgar as the 11th name and not Larry Walker. Yes I think that Walker is overrated on this board, because I have a pretty hefty penalty for players being unavailable, and Walker is the poster boy for incomplete seasons. (Strike season makes him look a little worse in that regards than he really was, but still he missed a lot of time per season on average)

Excellent ballot though. I'm probably not going to find fault with any ballot that has ten names, even if one of them is Jack Morris....now Lee Smith on the other hand is something to have a problem with.

As to strategic voting. I think past voting patterns isn't indicative of future patterns. There is a real reason to believe that someone who falls off this ballot, would have eventually made it when the backlog clears. A 5-10% on this ballot is a 20% on a past ballot and can eventually gather enough support.
   34. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4621147)
As to strategic voting. I think past voting patterns isn't indicative of future patterns. There is a real reason to believe that someone who falls off this ballot, would have eventually made it when the backlog clears. A 5-10% on this ballot is a 20% on a past ballot and can eventually gather enough support.


I could see that if the 2014 bottleneck was a single-year event. But it's not.

Say Maddux and Glavine go in this year. Throw in Jack's exhausted eligibility, and you've got a lot more votes to spread around. But you've got Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield laying claim to them, on top of all the backloggers in better position.

2016 is a little slimmer, with Griffey the only first-ballot type (Edmonds is the second-best newcomer), but 2017 gives us Ivan Rodriguez, Manny and Vlad, while 2018 offers Chipper and Jim Thome.

If some of these straphangers are still in the low single-digits after five years on the ballot, with a still healthy supply of other candidates waiting their turn above them, it's hard to imagine they'll ever make up the necessary ground.

   35. AROM Posted: December 19, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4621161)
Mussina going one and done is no more a tragedy than Brown, Whitaker or Simmons going one and done.


I think Mussina is clearly ahead of Brown. At the career level he has 300 more innings. Brown leads in ERA+, 127-123, but when looking at total runs allowed they are about even. Brown looks better on peak for his dominant 5 year run that began his first year with the Marlins, through his second year with the Dodgers.

But consider that Mussina was facing designated hitters, pitching his whole career in the AL East, and for his Yankee years had Jeter at short, Posada catching, and at one point an all-DH outfield of Matsui, Bernie, and Sheffield. I don't think Brown at his best outpitches Mussina in that environment, and if so then not by much.
   36. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4621172)
There are also oncoming candidates who ordinarily would be getting 15%-40% support, if not more: Hoffman, Andruw, Vizquel, Rolen, Damon, Wagner, Posada and Delgado.

At least it clears up in 2019, with Mariano, Halladay, Helton and Pettitte.
   37. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4621176)
I don't get it. What's the point of making sure someone gets 6%? Nobody is going to make it from 6%.

In the hopes that the HOF realizes they need to expand the ballot sooner rather than later, so the mid and lower level (though still worthy) HOF types are still around to benefit from it. It does no good for Mussina, Kent, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Walker, McGriff, etc, if the HOF finally expands the ballot in a few years and they're already gone.

Agree with cardsfanboy. The guys struggling to hit 6% aren't ever going to be elected on a 10 person ballot with this backlog, but on an unlimited ballot they might eventually be. Keeping them alive now is worthwhile IMO in case the HOF ever comes to their senses and tweaks some obviously flawed rules. As others have mentioned, all it would probably take for them to increase the ballot cap is enough BBWAA members asking them to.
   38. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4621184)
[35] Brown (though not at his best) did pitch in that environment. The results were quite ugly.

[36] I don't think I've heard anyone anywhere ever suggest that Delgado is a future hall of famer. He's the type of guy who'd get two or three votes(not percent) most years.
   39. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4621185)
Yankee years had Jeter at short, Posada catching, and at one point an all-DH outfield of Matsui, Bernie, and Sheffield

Jesus.
   40. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4621188)
Keeping them alive now is worthwhile IMO in case the HOF ever comes to their senses and tweaks some obviously flawed rules

I don't see it. Everyone you are stealing a vote from to keep your pet case at 6% also deserves to be in and you are making it harder by keeping them from gaining momentum. It's sucks that a few are going to be Whitaker-ed, but if it reduces the number of potentials it at least gives the middle of the ballot guys a better chance.
   41. AROM Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4621190)
Hoffman, Andruw, Vizquel, Rolen, Damon, Wagner, Posada and Delgado.


Hoffman will pick up Lee Smith's votes, Delgado will take McGriff's. Vizquel will get plenty of support from people who can't tell the difference between him and Ozzie Smith. Posada might last a few ballots.

Andruw, Rolen, and Damon will be one and done. Without a rule change, I'd almost guarantee it. Probably Wagner too.
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 19, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4621208)
In the hopes that the HOF realizes they need to expand the ballot sooner rather than later, so the mid and lower level (though still worthy) HOF types are still around to benefit from it. It does no good for Mussina, Kent, McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Walker, McGriff, etc, if the HOF finally expands the ballot in a few years and they're already gone.


You can expand the ballot quite a bit, and I'm unquestionably in favor of it, but unless you also extend the time on the ballot, then I doubt anyone in jeopardy of falling off is ever going to benefit meaningfully from it (other than in the sense that they got to spend longer on the ballot, an objective of DanG's but not important to many others).

And the Hall has, in the past, tweaked rules to correct these obvious mistakes. Hell, a host of qualified HoFefs falling off the ballot may be more likely to lead to changes (some of which these same guys, in fact, could later benefit from*), then a bunch of them getting 15 years on the ballot with meager support.

So, as it stands, I think "keep him on the ballot" are mostly counterproductive to the larger aim of actually electing guys to the Hall.

* For instance, if Mussina, Kent, Sosa and Palmerio all fail to get 5 percent this year, there's nothing stopping the Hall from expanding the ballot and reinstating them to next year's.
   43. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4621262)
Everyone you are stealing a vote from to keep your pet case at 6% also deserves to be in and you are making it harder by keeping them from gaining momentum.


But if they expanded the ballot starting next year, this type of strategic voting would only stall these other deserving player's momentum by one year. With an unlimited ballot, you wouldn't need to steal votes from anyone else to keep lesser but still deserving players alive.
   44. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4621275)
It's sucks that a few are going to be Whitaker-ed, but if it reduces the number of potentials it at least gives the middle of the ballot guys a better chance.


Problem is, it's not just A FEW that are going to be Whitaker-ed. It's a lot. If it's a black mark against the voting system when a deserving Grich or Whitaker falls off the ballot once or twice a decade, how big a black mark will it be when literally HALF of all deserving players from an era aren't elected? It's a pretty messed up system in need of immediate change if it requires voters to sacrifice deserving players by letting them drop off at a 1:1 or maybe even 2:1 rate to get anyone elected beyond the few near unanimous types (Maddux, Johnson, Griffey).
   45. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:53 PM (#4621287)
how big a black mark will it be when literally HALF of all deserving players from an era aren't elected?

A pretty big one. Which, if you want changes, you should hope this happens in the short term and scrap the 'strategic voting'.
   46. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4621290)
* For instance, if Mussina, Kent, Sosa and Palmerio all fail to get 5 percent this year, there's nothing stopping the Hall from expanding the ballot and reinstating them to next year's.


That's a good point, though I'd guess - admittedly with absolutely nothing to base this on - that if they're going to make changes, increasing the ballot size seems more likely than reinstating past drop offs. How would they make the distinction on who to reinstate? Why Mussina and Kent if they don't get 5% but not the Sean Casey/Paul Lo Duca types that would never have gotten a 2nd shot even on a normal ballot?
   47. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4621294)
How would they make the distinction on who to reinstate? Why Mussina and Kent if they don't get 5% but not the Sean Casey/Paul Lo Duca types that would never have gotten a 2nd shot even on a normal ballot?


Common sense? The HOF re-instated a bunch of guys in 1985: Santo, Boyer, Allen, a few others who don't come to mind*. Reasonable candidates. They didn't re-instate Ron Hunt, or Jim Hickman, or Bill Hands, and everybody was fine with that.

Edit: *Curt Flood, Dave McNally
   48. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4621295)
A pretty big one. Which, if you want changes, you should hope this happens in the short term and scrap the 'strategic voting'.


I'd be all for this if I thought it stood a better chance of leading to major changes. I'm not sure, though. Guess we'll see.
   49. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4621296)
But then there are those years, almost all before I was old enough to be paying attention, in which people swear he was a hell of a fielder in CF. I just have the damnedest time deciding about Dawson.


He actually was a beast in Montreal, plus his offensive career looks very different in BBREF's park neutralized version- his best years were in a pitcher's park during a low run scoring era.
   50. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4621300)
Common sense? The HOF re-instated a bunch of guys in 1985: Santo, Boyer, Allen, a few others who don't come to mind. Reasonable candidates. They didn't re-instate Ron Hunt, or Jim Hickman, or Claude Osteen, and everybody was fine with that.


You're talking about the HOF. If they made all their decisions based on common sense, they wouldn't be so deep in this mess in the first place. Everyone could see the ballot fustercluck coming from a mile away and they did nothing to prevent it. That's a serious lack of common sense right there. And even if you're just reinstating the "common sense" candidates like Mussina and Kent and Sosa, do Luis Gonzales, Kenny Rogers, and Moises Alou count? And would they only consider candidates that fell off from this season, or would Kenny Lofton, Bernie Williams, and Kevin Brown get another shot?

I like the common sense criteria, I just don't think they'd apply it based on past history.
   51. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4621303)
And would they only consider candidates that fell off from this season, or would Kenny Lofton, Bernie Williams, and Kevin Brown get another shot?


Presumably. Boyer fell off in 1979, Santo 1980, Allen 1983.
   52. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4621309)
Presumably. Boyer fell off in 1979, Santo 1980, Allen 1983.


I wonder if they'd bother doing this again though since none of the guys they reinstated last time ever ended up getting elected anyway (by the BBWAA).
   53. DanG Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4621350)
You can expand the ballot quite a bit, and I'm unquestionably in favor of it, but unless you also extend the time on the ballot, then I doubt anyone in jeopardy of falling off is ever going to benefit meaningfully from it (other than in the sense that they got to spend longer on the ballot, an objective of DanG's but not important to many others).
Actually, my primary interest is getting the best candidates before the voters.

Here's one solution that is not a radical change, IMO. Raise the 10-player limit, of course. Then make these two changes:

--Make the ballot the same size every year. I suggest 40 players.
--Have the ballot screeners, or someone, add five players who have fallen off the ballot, from the era under review (this year that's players retired in 1994-2007).

The 40-man ballot would consist of:

--the top 20 also-rans from the previous year
--15 first-year candidates
--5 players getting a second chance from the ballot committee
   54. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 19, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4621359)
--the top 20 also-rans from the previous year
--15 first-year candidates
--5 players getting a second chance from the ballot committee


And barring a change in the electorate, there's no reason to think a second bite at the apple will change anything.

What your system essentially does is make every ballot a little bit stronger, and the only end result we can expect from that is to make it harder to get guys elected (which is my primary objective).

I'd like to see a) the 10-person limit lifted (20 sounds reasonable); b) the electorate improved (perhaps cutting down the waiting period before one becomes eligible and removing those who stopped covering the game long ago, plus general education about the Hall and its existing inductees' level of play with the existing voters); c) getting a Veteran's Committee that's thoroughly divorced from the BBWAA and its results.

There are some others that I'm open to. But I think too many others suggestions will actually make it tougher to get guys elected.
   55. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: December 19, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4621361)
My suggestion for reforming the Hall of Fame voting is simple: drop the percentage requirements for induction and for staying on the ballot. Induct the top three every year and drop anyone who's not in the top twenty in votes.

I'm reasonably confident there will be worthy inductees every year, and that we won't lose anyone too important that way.
   56. Booey Posted: December 19, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4621423)
My suggestion for reforming the Hall of Fame voting is simple: drop the percentage requirements for induction and for staying on the ballot. Induct the top three every year and drop anyone who's not in the top twenty in votes.

I'm reasonably confident there will be worthy inductees every year, and that we won't lose anyone too important that way.


I'd personally be fine with a top 3 induction every year, but then you'd have people complaining that the standards are watered down cuz guys with only 59 percent (like 3rd place Bagwell got last year) are getting in.

Also, I DO think we'll be losing some worthwhile candidates if everyone outside the top 20 falls off. With Mattingly and especially Morris and Smith drawing way more votes than they deserve, probably 2 of the Mussina/Kent/Palmeiro/Sosa group would likely be gone after this season anyway, which wouldn't be any different than what's probably going to happen with the current system.
   57. DanG Posted: December 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM (#4621439)
b) the electorate improved
Utopian ideas are fine if they are recognized for the fantasies that they are. What process do you think will bring about this improved electorate? I'll tell you: things have to get really bad first.

We may be getting there, as the process is slowly grinding to a halt. The best result would be another voting shutout like last year. Maddux is likely to spoil this, but if he is the only one elected, then ballotgeddon will be that much worse next year.

Things being what they are, giving candidates new life will see some of them being recognized as legitimate HOF candidates by the BBWAA (see Santo), rather than carrying the stench of one-and-done or two-and-out that they have now. It will boost their case when they come before the Veterans committee.
   58. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 20, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4621450)
Utopian ideas are fine if they are recognized for the fantasies that they are. What process do you think will bring about this improved electorate? I'll tell you: things have to get really bad first.


I don't think the electorate is going to morph into the HoM body anytime soon, but improvements are possible and don't require things falling into outright chaos; just for the Hall to recognize the bottleneck and that the system in place is not working properly (aided by the voters themselves - and we're already seen rumblings there).

Ballots should be requested, not simply sent out to every living voter. Ballots could be limited to someone who's actively covered the game in the last X number of years. The waiting period to gain a vote could be lowered from 10 to 5 years, giving votes to those individuals who are actively writing about the game now (and, let's face it, are generally more amenable to modern metrics and analysis).

All of those would do a hell of a lot more toward getting players elected in the first stage of the process than giving the Under 5 club multiple efforts to be rejected by the same body that overwhelmingly rejected them the first time.

I know how passionate about this issue Dan, and respect a lot of the work you've done. But I think some of the changes you've advocated for would be counterproductive to the primary aim of getting more qualified players inducted into the Hall, at least until we do live in that glorious utopia.



   59. Sunday silence Posted: December 20, 2013 at 01:37 AM (#4621468)
Can I ask, seriously, why do you guys care so much about the Hall of Fame in the first place? It's like you guys are trying to save this damn thing from itself and I dont see why that's worth it. The limitations of allowing a guild of writers do this are painfully obvious. It's like a medieval guild with all its time honored traditions and such.

I confess I dont know how your own HoM or HoVG actually work (is there a link or summary?) so maybe that is meant to be the BBTF equivalent of the HoF, but I am never sure about that.

But, in the end it seems that you have all the tools you need, intellectually speaking, right here to do your own statistical analysis and not so statistical analysis of these players. What difference does it make if there's a piece of metal in some town in NY with Jack MOrris's name on it or not? Isnt it enuf that we debate the merits and demerits of these guys all the time, 24/7 52 weeks a year? Isnt that enuf to be considered: pretty good, or really good, or on the fringe or inner circle by this peer reviewed group?
   60. Walt Davis Posted: December 20, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4621486)
I wonder if they'd bother doing this again though since none of the guys they reinstated last time ever ended up getting elected anyway (by the BBWAA).

But it had a pretty sizable impact. It sends a pretty clear message to the voters that they're being too tough -- not necessarily the same problem they have at the moment but maybe close enough. Santo was bounced off in year 1, put back on in 85 and got 13%, eventually peaking at 40%. That does put a guy on the VC radar. Allen too managed to stay on for the rest of his eligibility. Boyer saw a 12% jump when he came back on.

On Dawson ... he's an interesting mix of peak and career. The peak was pretty good but not really long enough to make him a peak-only candidate. The career leaves a bit to be desired but he was still a 3 WAR player at 37, not a slouch. His defense when he was young really was excellent -- that's where he got his nickname (OFs are "hawks" so "The Hawk" is quite the compliment).

An MVP (deserved or not) and good career shares, a bunch of AS games, a bunch of GG ... he's pretty borderline by the career numbers but add peak and the contemporary opinion and he should be at worst near the top of the borderline list.
   61. Booey Posted: December 20, 2013 at 02:30 AM (#4621488)
Can I ask, seriously, why do you guys care so much about the Hall of Fame in the first place?


Why care about sports in the first place? Or anything, for that matter? Any interest could seem silly to someone who doesn't share it.

   62. DanG Posted: December 20, 2013 at 02:38 AM (#4621489)
why do you guys care so much about the Hall of Fame
It's a pastime.

Your comment reminds me of another thought I had. How will Bonds and Clemens react when the HOF gets around to electing them? Years ago, Bill James pointed out that, with the standards of the HOF being what they are, with +200 players from MLB, the Hall had lost the capacity to honor the upper echelon players. When it's obvious to anyone that you're among the game's immortals, being elected to the HOF is simply giving Bonds and Clemens what is due them.

Instead of respectfully ushering them in, the electorate has decided to jerk them around. "Oh, we're not sure our Hallowed Hall should allow people like you. We're gonna think about it. Sit there and wait awhile. We'll get to you when we're good and ready." How would you feel if you were Bonds or Clemens?
   63. DanG Posted: December 20, 2013 at 03:00 AM (#4621494)
improvements are possible and don't require things falling into outright chaos
"Possible" is a pretty wide road. Sure, we *hope* that the system does not continue down its current path to chaos, but the train wreck has begun, the cars are slamming into each other while the HOF fiddles. Reform needs to recognize where things are at and start with: What's practical? What's realistic? What steps will rekindle the "we'll fix it" attitude that the Hall has lost? Perhaps if the HOF recalls its own history they will realize that their rules were made to be improved as needed.

The original BBWAA voting system had little thought behind it. They didn't imagine themselves as Bestowers of Baseball's Highest Honor. They created a little museum as a tourist attraction, called it the Baseball "Hall of Fame" in an attempt to portray it with some cachet, and, "Oh, yeah, we need an election system." There wasn't any concern for any intelligent design, potential pitfalls or long term consequences; the attitude was we'll fix it if there's a problem. And for 50 years they did just that, tacking on modifications and adjustments with each new controversy.

In the mid-1980's they were doing a little tinkering trying to fix the 5% rule, reinstating a few guys and for a brief time giving players two year of sub-5% before they were banned. They gave up on that, and for the past 27 years the BBWAA election rules have remained unchanged. No trial runs, no innovations, no tweaks, nothing.

What happened to cause the BBWAA election rules to attain this "ideal", immutable form? I think it shows the down side of the Information Age. There is such a cacophony of criticism, constantly emanating from so many voices that they all drown out each other. It becomes an unintelligible white noise. No singular criticism ever becomes so compelling that the HOF is motivated to react to it. This steady buffeting of criticism became the new normal, making the Hall deaf to any outside criticism. Any critique, no matter how measured, rational and potentially helpful, goes unheeded.

Yes, the writers can be the impetus for change. How do you rally them? There is no formal mechanism for the writers to petition the Hall for rule changes.

To me the ideal solution is for some billionaire to start an alternative to the Coop. Know any good candidates to fund the effort?
   64. STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum Posted: December 20, 2013 at 03:39 AM (#4621499)
Utopian ideas are fine if they are recognized for the fantasies that they are. What process do you think will bring about this improved electorate? I'll tell you: things have to get really bad first.
snoop and chris may be on to something. NSFW-ish
   65. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 20, 2013 at 04:08 AM (#4621503)
How will Bonds and Clemens react when the HOF gets around to electing them?

It'll never happen, unfortunately. But a Sacheen Littlefeather moment would be the perfect ending.
   66. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 20, 2013 at 04:19 AM (#4621504)
How would you feel if you were Bonds or Clemens?


I would tell them to #### themselves. Maybe during my acceptance speech.
   67. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: December 20, 2013 at 04:32 AM (#4621505)
I'd personally be fine with a top 3 induction every year, but then you'd have people complaining that the standards are watered down cuz guys with only 59 percent (like 3rd place Bagwell got last year) are getting in.


Well, sure. I'm deliberately watering down the standards to ensure that people will be elected, because I'd rather the conversation be "who will get in this year?" instead of "will anyone at all get in?"

Also, I DO think we'll be losing some worthwhile candidates if everyone outside the top 20 falls off. With Mattingly and especially Morris and Smith drawing way more votes than they deserve, probably 2 of the Mussina/Kent/Palmeiro/Sosa group would likely be gone after this season anyway, which wouldn't be any different than what's probably going to happen with the current system.


Fine. How about this: leave everyone on the ballot for ten years. We have computers now, so we can handle long ballots. And without the 75% rule, it no longer matters if there's a few votes siphoned off the top vote-getters.
   68. Jeltzandini Posted: December 20, 2013 at 08:25 AM (#4621524)
Can I ask, seriously, why do you guys care so much about the Hall of Fame in the first place?


It probably depends on how you feel about institutions in general. Right now we have the HOF/baseball museum in Cooperstown. It's been there as a world-renowned institution with almost 80 years of gravitas and cultural inertia. It's the sports HOF with the most cachet in America, and second place is a long way back. As with most institutions, there's plenty of pettiness, hypocrisy, and self-mythologizing BS tied up in its history. But it's there, and if you want baseball to have a deep-roots public-face institution representing its history and its standards, it's Cooperstown or nothing.

It's fine to carry your own HOF around, and I do that like everyone else. But I like institutions too, with all appropriate caveats. So I'd like the existing HOF to get its inductions right.
   69. AROM Posted: December 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4621554)
To me the ideal solution is for some billionaire to start an alternative to the Coop. Know any good candidates to fund the effort?


It wouldn't take a billionaire. It could easily be done with a few tens of millions. I was thinking the exact same thing a few years ago while visiting the hall, and even saw a building for sale right down the street from the museum that would work. I've been actively working on the funding part, and will make an announcement as soon as I get the right set of numbers from my investors, Mega Millions and Powerball.
   70. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: December 20, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4621956)
It wouldn't take a billionaire. It could easily be done with a few tens of millions. I was thinking the exact same thing a few years ago while visiting the hall, and even saw a building for sale right down the street from the museum that would work. I've been actively working on the funding part, and will make an announcement as soon as I get the right set of numbers from my investors, Mega Millions and Powerball.

Right. Here's what you do if you have billionaire money to spend:
Forget Cooperstown. Open an individual wing of the hall in each of the MLB cities (or at minimum all the major ones). Each one has it's own plaque room, with all the HoFers, and a museum part focused mostly on exhibitions relating to the local team(s), i.e. all items you receive get parceled out to the appropriate venue. That way you also deal with the players who split their careers at multiple clubs. Mike Piazza can have a dodgers cap on his plaque in the LA one, but a Mets one in NY. On second though, screw that we aren't doing plaques. Each player gets a marble bust.
   71. Sunday silence Posted: December 20, 2013 at 08:49 PM (#4621963)

Why care about sports in the first place? Or anything, for that matter? Any interest could seem silly to someone who doesn't share it.


I disagree it's not that simple. I enjoy the game of baseball and I enjoy speculating on the strategy in the game. I also enjoy studying the history of it; the trends, the analysis of who was great and by how much. I enjoy all that.

I have just about zero interest in some institution that has it's own definition of what is great or not. I had a bit of interest in it as a kid, and when they inducted Clemente and Satchel, but that's long since vanished.

Put another way, the NFL hall of fame, the basketball hof, the rock n roll hof; none of these have nearly the standing of the baseball hof. There are plenty of rock and roll fans, and basketball fans and football fans. It's not that much of stretch to see why they like the game and not the various hall of fames.

What I am trying to figure out why is there so much concern for this institution that is on a self destructive course. It's like trying to help and addict or alcoholic that is bent on hurting themselves. Well except in that case, those are human beings and you cant help but care. But this is an abstract institution why does it deserve saving?

And I dont even think you need a billionaire. Why cant you just do your own thing right here on this website? (I think I implied that above). If you have a better, more knowledgeable cognoscoti (sp?) and a better way to gather consensus, then shouldn't in time, the BBTF hall of great or whatever should simply win out???

I guess I am not even dead set against institutions or establishing a statistical record of achievement. I just dont get why the baseball hof deserves any saving.
   72. Sunday silence Posted: December 20, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4621967)
It's like this, say we were living 65 million years ago and the dinosaurs were dying out and we were spending billions of dollars to keep the alive....

"But that was a giant asteriod; that's not the same thing.."

Look, forget the giant asteriod thing. Let's say they are gradually dying out. And you guys have all this money and brain power and not least you have a sort of community that polices itself and can set its own policies. You have all this power and you keep taking and spending billion to save triceratops and he keeps dropping like flies...

What about these rodents living in trees? They might make an excellent replacement for the giant reptile-birds. You could put your efforts into that?

"But you dont understand, dinosaurs have been around for 180 million years, they've become an Institution!
   73. Booey Posted: December 21, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4622222)
I disagree it's not that simple. I enjoy the game of baseball and I enjoy speculating on the strategy in the game. I also enjoy studying the history of it; the trends, the analysis of who was great and by how much. I enjoy all that.

I have just about zero interest in some institution that has it's own definition of what is great or not. I had a bit of interest in it as a kid, and when they inducted Clemente and Satchel, but that's long since vanished.


To each their own, but for me it IS that simple. Like DanG said, it's a past time. And it's closely tied to my interest in baseball, which is one of the few things I cared deeply about as an 8 year old that I still care deeply about today (as much as it pains me to say it, Ninja Turtles aren't as cool now as I thought they were back in 1988). But baseball is. And there's no good reason why the HOF shouldn't be as well. HOF debates are some of the funnest threads on this site; would we even bother if Cooperstown went belly up and they no longer honored players? Some might, I guess, but I wouldn't. The HoM is more accurate than the real HOF, but the HOF will always carry a lot more interest to me simply cuz it's a real physical place I can go visit and it's got a lot more history behind it.

I'm a big NBA fan too, and I've never cared about the basketball HOF, simply because the way it's set up has seemed random and nonsensical to me from the beginning. You're right that this hasn't hurt my interest in b-ball at all. But the baseball HOF has always been different, and that HAS enhanced my appreciation of the game. It's one thing if you never cared about something, but it's a lot harder to stop caring about something you've followed closely for so long.

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