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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2021 BBHOF Tracker Summary and Leaderboard – Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker

Tracking the tracker.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 23, 2020 at 07:14 AM | 641 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. Mike Webber Posted: December 23, 2020 at 09:24 AM (#5995655)
Thanks for posting this Jim!


Public Ballots: 52
Anonymous/Unverifiable Ballots: 4
% of Ballots Known: 14.1%
"Last Updated:
12/22/2020 at 09:54 PST"
Curt Schilling 69.6%
Barry Bonds 69.6%
Roger Clemens 69.6%
Scott Rolen 57.1%
Todd Helton 51.8%
Omar Vizquel 44.6%
Billy Wagner 44.6%
Manny Ramirez 42.9%
Gary Sheffield 39.3%
Andruw Jones 33.9%
Sammy Sosa 26.8%
Andy Pettitte 19.6%
Bobby Abreu 17.9%
Jeff Kent 16.1%
Torii Hunter 7.1%
Mark Buehrle 5.4%
Tim Hudson 3.6%
Aramis Ramirez 1.8%
Shane Victorino 0.0%
A.J. Burnett 0.0%
Barry Zito 0.0%
Nick Swisher 0.0%
Dan Haren 0.0%
Michael Cuddyer 0.0%
LaTroy Hawkins 0.0%
   2. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 23, 2020 at 09:25 AM (#5995656)
So...nobody gets in this year...?
   3. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: December 23, 2020 at 09:30 AM (#5995658)
That's what it looks like.
   4. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: December 23, 2020 at 09:40 AM (#5995660)
Good to see Rolen, Helton and Wagner making serious strides forward.
   5. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 23, 2020 at 09:56 AM (#5995665)
They could have an all-pariah induction in 2022, ten guys on the BBWAA ballot, plus Allen and whatever other 60s troublemakers they can think of. Let them in, but make them sit through a day long induction in the hot sun.
   6. The Duke Posted: December 23, 2020 at 10:10 AM (#5995667)
So the writers have decided to kick Schilling to the vets committee. That sucks because it means he will prevent someone else from getting votes.

Looks like the air is out of the vizquel balloon and that Rolen and helton are only picking up votes they couldn’t get when the average ballot had more than 10 names, but they aren’t getting massive support

So the vets committee didn’t meet and the writers won’t put anyone in. Hmmmm
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: December 23, 2020 at 10:19 AM (#5995668)
Rolen and helton are only picking up votes they couldn’t get when the average ballot had more than 10 names, but they aren’t getting massive support



Rolen and Helton are on nice paths to election. There's nothing worrisome about their positions through 52 votes.

Rolen's path, I believe, would also be unprecedented (I don't know if anyone has started as low as he has with the BBWAA was later voted in by the writers, at least under modern voting).
   8. Lassus Posted: December 23, 2020 at 10:31 AM (#5995669)
I guess no one gets to interfere with the Jeter induction. Which hopefully - for the sake of the area - will actually happen this time.
   9. DanG Posted: December 23, 2020 at 10:59 AM (#5995674)
Rolen's path, I believe, would also be unprecedented (I don't know if anyone has started as low as he has with the BBWAA was later voted in by the writers, at least under modern voting).
Larry Walker showed how quickly players can advance from 10%:

2011 BBWAA (20.3%)
2012 BBWAA (22.9%)
2013 BBWAA (21.6%)
2014 BBWAA (10.2%)
2015 BBWAA (11.8%)
2016 BBWAA (15.5%)
2017 BBWAA (21.9%)
2018 BBWAA (34.1%)
2019 BBWAA (54.6%)
2020 BBWAA (76.6%)
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:07 AM (#5995676)
Larry Walker showed how quickly players can advance from 10%:


No question. Momentum doesn't exist in sporting contests, but it absolutely does in Hall voting.

But you would know this: has anyone earned BBWAA election after starting out as low as Rolen did (10.2 percent)? thought Blyleven's starting point (17.5) was the previous low.
   11. AndrewJ Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:13 AM (#5995677)
There's Ralph Kiner's path to Cooperstown:

Hall of Fame
1960 BBWAA ( 1.1%)
1962 BBWAA ( 3.1%)
1964 BBWAA (15.4%)
1964 Run Off ( 1.5%)
1966 BBWAA (24.5%)
1967 BBWAA (42.5%)
1967 Run Off (13.4%)
1968 BBWAA (41.7%)
1969 BBWAA (40.3%)
1970 BBWAA (55.7%)
1971 BBWAA (58.9%)
1972 BBWAA (59.3%)
1973 BBWAA (61.8%)
1974 BBWAA (58.9%)
1975 BBWAA (75.4%)
   12. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5995678)
Bob Lemon got 11.9% his first year on the ballot (1964) then was involved in a "runoff" where he got much less. I assume the run off was due to no one getting elected initially.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:28 AM (#5995681)
As I said in my initial comment, I meant under the current modern voting methods (when elections were held every year, they didn't employ run offs, etc).
   14. DL from MN Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:30 AM (#5995682)
They could have an all-pariah induction in 2022


The year Alex Rodriguez debuts. A-Rod, Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Dick Allen, Manny, Sheffield, Sosa.
   15. Booey Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:37 AM (#5995683)
I've mentioned this theory before, but it's possible some voters don't feel the same obligation to elect somebody since last years electees (Jeter, Walker, Simmons, and the ghost of Marvin Miller) guarantee we're going to have a full podium on induction day either way.
   16. AndrewJ Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:37 AM (#5995684)
That was a doozy of a 1960 BBWAA election. This was before they sent out a standardized ballot with a finite number of candidates, which meant that 134 different players got at least one vote. Lefty Grove got six HOF votes from the writers... 13 years after his induction. Glenn Wright -- yes, the Glenn Wright -- finished ahead of no fewer than 12 eventual HOFers. When you realize that Ken Singleton and Jimmy Wynn each got zero votes in their one-and-done BBWAA appearances, stop and consider that Bill Sherdel, Hank Edwards, Freddy Leach, Charlie O'Leary, Ray Blades and Sibby Sisti each got at least one.
   17. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5995685)
Yeah, I'm not sure how 1964 counts on that. It seems a pretty standard election by what we are used to, 5 years out of the game, looks like 7% to stay on the ballot rather than 5%. I don't think the circumstances were that different. This isn't DiMaggio getting a vote while he was fighting a war.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: December 23, 2020 at 12:15 PM (#5995693)
Yeah, I'm not sure how 1964 counts on that. It seems a pretty standard election by what we are used to, 5 years out of the game, looks like 7% to stay on the ballot rather than 5%. I don't think the circumstances were that different.


There was no vote in 63 or 61 or 59 etc. That's going to have the effect of rolling over candidacies.

Also, his first-year total is still more than Rolen's.
   19. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 23, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5995699)
Ah right, forgot those years didn't have a vote. He was the lowest I found (forgot about Kiner). I was just hunting guys with low vote totals to start.
   20. caspian88 Posted: December 23, 2020 at 01:34 PM (#5995704)
I wonder if any of those six Lefty Grove voters confused him with Lefty Gomez, or if the vote tabulators got the votes themselves confused (maybe someone had really terrible handwriting).

More likely it was voters who didn't remember Grove having been elected, of course - you'd think they should have, but I feel like we're spoiled at the availability of information today (and even thirty-forty years ago).
   21. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 23, 2020 at 01:35 PM (#5995705)
The last time the BBWAA didn't elect anybody was 2013, when nobody even got to 70%. A few things:

1) So far, nine people on the ballot ended up eventually getting into the HOF (Biggio, Morris, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, and Lee Smith finished 1st-through-6th. Then, Schilling, Clemens, and Bonds, finished 7-8-9. Then,the next three guys eventually got in. Edgar, Trammell, and Walker finished 10-11-12 on the ballot. ) There are a few other guys who would seem like good candidates for eventual Veteran's induction or something (McGriff, McGwire...)

2) This year's new class of candidates is historically weak. Get this - the last time a 1st-year candidate didn't get in on the first ballot was 2012. Worse, only one new candidate even survived the 5% threshold that year (Bernie Williams got 9.6%, then failed to get 5% in year two. The second highest-finishing newcomer on the ballot in 2012 was...Vinny Castilla.)

3) If you back in the history of the voting to the 1990s and earlier, there seem to be a lot more players getting between 5% and 10% of the vote - they never go anywhere, sometime drop off, sometime grow into the double-digits - but they just get stuck around 8% for a long time. Take 1994. Here are the players who got between 5% and 9.9%: Minoso, Tiant, Flood, Nettles, Bonds, Staub, Munson, Concepcion, Guidry, Lolich.

Now, that is a group of very good players - you might even argue a few of them should be in the HOF (I'd probably say Tiant is the best of the group,but whatever). But that just doesn't happen anymore. It appears the voters basically don't have "pet favorites" anymore, where 7% of them just keep voting for the same guy every year, even if they know he has no chance. It may also be that the steroid era has taken a lot of slots away from voters who vote for them every year. But it's definitely a thing:

In 2015, the only players to survive the ballot with less than 10% were Mattingly, Sosa, and Garciaparra - but the next year, two of those three were off the ballot.
In 2016, only Sosa.
In 2017, only Sosa.
In 2018, only Sosa and A. Jones
In 2019, only Pettitte, Sosa, and Jones.
In 2020, only Abreu.

There are a ton of players who, in another era, would have at least stuck around for a decade getting 8% or something: Edmonds, Johan Santana, Lofton, Posada, etc.

Why has this happened?
   22. DanG Posted: December 23, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5995706)
has anyone earned BBWAA election after starting out as low as Rolen did (10.2 percent)? thought Blyleven's starting point (17.5) was the previous low.
From what I can find, the answer is no. Under the "modern" rules, the lowest I found is Duke Snider, who started at 17.0% in 1970.

It was nearly Nellie Fox, who started with 10.8% in 1971 and drew 74.7% in his final year eligible.
   23. AndrewJ Posted: December 23, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5995708)
I wonder if any of those six Lefty Grove voters confused him with Lefty Gomez, or if the vote tabulators got the votes themselves confused (maybe someone had really terrible handwriting).

Rumor has it that the Veterans Committee was looking at Paul Waner's career stats when they selected his brother Lloyd.
   24. DanG Posted: December 23, 2020 at 02:00 PM (#5995710)
Why has this happened?
The main reason is that most ballots now are open to public scrutiny.

Also, the reduction in eligibility to ten years has had an effect.

This year's new class of candidates is historically weak.
No, we're just getting back to normal. The wealth of great new candidates in the 2010-2019 elections was historically rare.
   25. alilisd Posted: December 23, 2020 at 02:48 PM (#5995720)
There are a ton of players who, in another era, would have at least stuck around for a decade getting 8% or something: Edmonds, Johan Santana, Lofton, Posada, etc.

Why has this happened?


Seems like a function of the crowded ballots we've seen over the past decade or so. Just looking at Rolen, who is being discussed above, he debuted on a ballot which saw two first year players go in, one second, and one third year. Mussina was in his 5th year but still hadn't cleared 70%, Edgar in his 9th year just cleared it. Vizquel and Andruw debuted with him and also cleared 5%. Then you have Sosa, Sheffield, and Kent all sort of lingering around the bottom as you describe. But when guys like Lofton and Edmonds get bounced in one year, there's simply no room for say a Berkman to linger for 10 years because there's no way to get him on the ballot. There's been several years now where reasonable voters have been voting for 10 and leaving off players they want to vote for, or even having to engage in "strategic" voting. My take on it anyway
   26. John Northey Posted: December 23, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5995728)
This year will be a good test of the situation - no longer an overcrowded ballot, more a lot of 'meh' there. Funny thing is under the old standards (pre-PEDs) there are plenty of guys who should have been in long ago (Clemens, Bonds, ManRam, Sheffield, Sosa) plus guys who would've got in via stories (Schillings bloody sock alone would've got him in at one time, Jones defense, Vizquel's defense, Pettitte's playoff wins, Kent's record HR's for a 2B). There are 10 guys right there - not all I'd put in by any stretch (feel Vizquel's defense is grossly overrated, Manny's multiple positives are a big no go for me, as examples). Clemens & Bonds should've been in years ago imo. Schilling is a jerk but was a great pitcher, the rest I'd debate a lot. I'd probably toss a vote to Buehrle as he seemed like a good guy when here in Toronto and was a solid enough guy that a second ballot would make sense.
   27. The Duke Posted: December 23, 2020 at 03:59 PM (#5995737)
Guys hung around longer because of lack of info in the Public domain. In many ways a guy like Baines or Vizquel is a throwback to the old ways of doing things with the emphasis on both being “almost in the 3000 hit club”. Baines had the secondary trait of being a “pure hitter” and vizquel has the gold glove defense. That’s all anyone needed in the old days.

That will happen less and less which means guys don’t hang on the Ballot too long. Now it’s the Hall of WAR for better or worse and frankly I like the old way better than the new way. Today a guy like Sheffield who is burdened with a terrible defense metric can hardly get recognized even though he was a great hitter. Putting PEDs aside, if defensive WAR wasn’t killing Sheff he’d have been a first ballot slam dunk.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: December 23, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5995752)
Putting PEDs aside,

Ummmm ... simply impossible to do. PEDs are obviously having a huge effect, it's keeping arguably the best position player and the best pitcher in history out of the HoF. They kept a guy with 600 HRs under 15%, they knocked a guy with 3000 hits and 500 HRs off the ballot. That Manny and Sheffield have somehow survived is a minor miracle. And among Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Mac, Palmeiro and Manny, Sheffield looks less impressive.

And in the supposed Hall of WAR, Vizquel and Wagner are doing just fine, Hunter might make a 2nd ballot and Schilling and Rolen are at best going to struggle over the line. Mo was unanimous and Jeter nearly so. Call me about the Hall of WAR when somebody like Kenny Lofton debuts at 60%.

Jones defense, Vizquel's defense

Jones I don't see it. There's no evidence the HoF has put any particular weight on CF defense. The CFs they've inducted have all been sluggers, some with very good defense as well. Blair and Maddox each won 8, White 7, they didn't go anywhere. It's possible Andruw's mix of GGs and HRs might have gotten him further up the ladder than he currently is but I'm not sure why we should think that -- if we're believing in a more objective WAR standard, his WAR is just fine.

Vizquel has always been a maybe. Maranville and Aparicio struggled over the line, Ozzie cruised in but with the reputation as being an actual wizard. Even in olden times, it would have come down to whether they would have said "he's no Ozzie" or they'd have said "he's no Ozzie but he was an Aparicio." But yes, Omar was always gonna do pretty well on ballots although, if anything, he's currently benefiting from an anti-WAR sentiment.

Kent's record HR's for a 2B

I don't see why. I'm not sure anybody even knew what this record was until it was brought up for Sandberg. Sandberg debuted in "very likely to make it" territory but it was still a bit of a shocker to see a 10-time AS, 9-time GG, MVP plus 2 top 5 finishes, 344 steals, 2B HR record guy not sail in easily. And he was vastly superior to Kent by any standard:

68-55 WAR
39-27 WAA
47-36 WAR7

I've never understood the Kent support. Even JAWS puts him 21st at "2B", behind even Kinsler and Pedroia. He has this reputation as a great peak but it's simply not true -- 36 WAR7 is not HoF-level, it's 26th just among 2B. He fits in fine in the Herman-Doerr wing but with Grich, Whitaker, Randolph and maybe Utley and Cano on the outside, he's not the first in line.

Anyway I see no reason to think that a MVP and the 2B HR record ever would have been enough to gain Kent major BBWAA support and he'd have been further (unfairly) hurt by not being very good in his 20s -- i.e. nobody thought of him as a HoFer until maybe the very end. You never know who the BBWAA will latch onto as a cause but the "old school" BBWAA didn't think guys like Grich, Santo, Reggie Smith were even remotely worthy of the HoF, why would they fall for Kent?
   29. alilisd Posted: December 23, 2020 at 06:15 PM (#5995754)
Guys hung around longer because of lack of info in the Public domain. In many ways a guy like Baines or Vizquel is a throwback to the old ways of doing things with the emphasis on both being “almost in the 3000 hit club”. Baines had the secondary trait of being a “pure hitter” and vizquel has the gold glove defense. That’s all anyone needed in the old days.


Except that didn't happen for Baines, he only lasted 5 years and was gone. I doubt you'd find any articles or discussions of him as a "pure hitter." Or indeed much of anything supporting him for the HOF. He is an example of nothing, other than back room dealing by Reinsdorf and LaRussa.

That will happen less and less which means guys don’t hang on the Ballot too long. Now it’s the Hall of WAR for better or worse and frankly I like the old way better than the new way. Today a guy like Sheffield who is burdened with a terrible defense metric can hardly get recognized even though he was a great hitter. Putting PEDs aside, if defensive WAR wasn’t killing Sheff he’d have been a first ballot slam dunk.


It's nowhere near the Hall of WAR. Yes, voting has shifted more towards a better informed statistical analysis by many voters, and the culling of aging, inactive voters has helped, too. However, it is as much, or more, to do with your point about more information in the public domain, as it is about WAR. B-R only came online 20 years ago. Having resources such as that available at the click of a mouse makes looking up even plain old Triple Crown stats so much easier and more widely available than it was in even the 1990's. With regards to Sheffield, you can't just put "PEDs aside," and say he'd be "a first ballot slam dunk," but for dWAR. It's not that simple. He came on the ballot with three guys who actually DID go in first ballot. There's a lot more going on with guys like Sheffield than just an increased use of something like WAR. There are PED's, there are defensive issues, and the writers are aware of those, but he's also been on the ballot in the midst of the biggest glut of well qualified candidates since they started voting on all the players from 1871 through 1935.
   30. The Duke Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:24 PM (#5995787)
Baines was always described as a pure hitter, especially during his playing days. 100% of his value was from his hitting. And he was a great hitter - which a different thing than being a hall of famer. Here’s the first lines of his hall of fame bio:

“At its most basic level, baseball is a hitter’s game. Hits equal runs, and runs equal wins.

And at every turn, Harold Baines parlayed his ability to hit into baseball stardom.

“The guy could flat-out hit,” said Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.”
   31. The Duke Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:36 PM (#5995789)
Sheffield has lost something like 25 WAR for his defense. It’s one thing to say he was challenged and quite another to say his 80+ Offensive WAR is somehow reduced by 25% for defense. I’m not going to say he was good, but that’s just awful. Is that the worst ever defensive war number ? It must be . I saw him play and he looked ok out there - no one would mistake him for brooks robinson or Dwight evans but he wasn’t that bad.

Sheffield’s lack of votes reflects that people think he only tabulated 60 WAR. If people gave him his due he’d be up around 60-70% like bonds/Clemens

I’m an anti-PED guy and I don’t think any of them should get in but he’s a slam dunk hall of famer without them
   32. John Northey Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:47 PM (#5995792)
Sheffield also had the Allen & Belle issue - seen as a guy with tons of 'attitude' and not liked by most reporters thus if they feel there is any reason to exclude him they will take it.
   33. depletion Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:03 AM (#5995793)
The Duke, my eyeball test of Sheffield in the outfield for the Marlins is: extremely bad. It's not that the talent wasn't there, it just appeared like he didn't care, which is often perceived worse than having subpar MLB fielding talent. Didn't he admit to purposely air balling a throw from third as a Padre or a Brewer? Just one person's opinion.
   34. depletion Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:19 AM (#5995794)
Apparently the airball throw story is unverified or false, so skip that part.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:25 AM (#5995795)
Sheffield has lost something like 25 WAR for his defense. It’s one thing to say he was challenged and quite another to say his 80+ Offensive WAR is somehow reduced by 25% for defense. I’m not going to say he was good, but that’s just awful. Is that the worst ever defensive war number ? It must be . I saw him play and he looked ok out there - no one would mistake him for brooks robinson or Dwight evans but he wasn’t that bad.


You do know that is not how it works? His 80 owar is relative to an average hitter at every position, he loses 20 war to defense, positional adjustments, etc.... Does it really seem impossible that a guy who wasn't a good fielder, at a non- critical defensive position, would lose basically 1 win a year over his career due to his defense and the fact that he didn't play a crucial defensive position?

Sheffield is absolutely not the hill you should put your battle on about the injustices of dWar. He's much more the evidence of why it works. (and for the record I hate dWar... at least when used in an argument... but technically I'm not really using dWar in this argument, I'm using the components that make it up)
   36. John Northey Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:51 AM (#5995796)
Sheffield is an oddity - started as a SS at 19, moved to 3B when he was a full-timer at 21, moved to RF a year after going to the Marlins at age 25, moved to LF his 2nd year in LA at age 30, back to RF at 33, DH at 38 (at long last), then finished in LF at 40. Here is a guy who should've been a DH but only had 9 games there when he was in Milwaukee, 12 his other years in the NL, 50 as a Yankee, 225 as a Tiger (finally someone figured it out), and just 6 as a Met. This for a guy who NEVER had a single season with a positive dWAR. NEVER over 22 seasons. Wow. Only 3 times was better than -0.5 (age 19, 21, and 37 in just 39 games). For a guy who started as a shortstop and only had a total of 302 games at DH in his 2212 game career that is astounding.
   37. Ron J Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:26 AM (#5995801)
#7 While others have come up with good names I believe Eddie Mathews is very much on point. Most people these days have a tough time getting their heads around this, but he debuted at 32.3% and then went 40.9, 48.7, 62.4 before making it in his 5th attempt.

Never really made sense to me.
   38. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 24, 2020 at 08:13 AM (#5995804)
You do know that is not how it works? His 80 owar is relative to an average hitter at every position, he loses 20 war to defense, positional adjustments, etc.... Does it really seem impossible that a guy who wasn't a good fielder, at a non- critical defensive position, would lose basically 1 win a year over his career due to his defense and the fact that he didn't play a crucial defensive position?


Are you sure you know? Sheffield's 80 oWAR already accounts for his position adjustment. IOW he'd be an 80 WAR player had he been an average defender at his positions. He loses 20 overall WAR solely because of his defense (-195 rField). Which I think is the worst ever save for Adam Dunn.

This for a guy who NEVER had a single season with a positive dWAR. NEVER over 22 seasons. Wow.


Having a negative dWAR for a LF is not remarkable since they are already in the hole for the position adjustment. Tim Raines, to take a better fielding LF, had many more seasons with a negative dWAR than positive, and had only one season with a dWAR above +0.3.

Even here, I guess there is still confusion about the oWAR and dWAR components. Both account for position. You don't add them up to get overall WAR since that would double count the position adjustment.
   39. The Duke Posted: December 24, 2020 at 08:47 AM (#5995809)
35. Yes that does seem impossible. You toss around 1 WAR per year like it’s nothing. That’s a huge number. Here’s Jaffe’s research

“I’m troubled by the extent to which those outlying defensive stats — largely estimates from the pre-batted-ball-type era — nuke Sheffield’s value. That goes double when they’re compared to his defensive numbers via alternative methodologies. Baseball Prospectus‘ Fielding Runs Above Average pegs him at -89 runs for his career, and Michael Humphreys’s Defensive Regression Analysis, which is available at the Baseball Gauge and has been incorporated into the sabermetric component of the past eight years’ Gold Glove voting, puts him around -108 runs. Both are bad, but neither is as extreme an outlier, and such figures push him much closer to the JAWS line for right fielders; “

There’s really not many hitters better than Sheffield and I think the defensive noise obscures this.

   40. GuyM Posted: December 24, 2020 at 08:56 AM (#5995810)
Sheffield has lost something like 25 WAR for his defense. It’s one thing to say he was challenged and quite another to say his 80+ Offensive WAR is somehow reduced by 25% for defense. I’m not going to say he was good, but that’s just awful. Is that the worst ever defensive war number ? It must be . I saw him play and he looked ok out there - no one would mistake him for brooks robinson or Dwight evans but he wasn’t that bad.

What this experience is telling you is that you simply cannot trust your eyes to evaluate fielding -- not that something is wrong with WAR. The difference between Sheffield (-11 runs/season) and a merely below-average fielder (-5) is something like 7 plays a season. It means once a month, Sheffield failed to reach a ball that Lance Berkman would have caught. No one can measure that difference with the "eye test."

It looks to me like Sheffield's OF rating is reasonable. DRA (Michael Humphreys) has Sheffield at -105 runs in the OF, while WAR says -112. If you just relied on outs made over average (range factor) he would be -230! So three different methods all agree. And for the OF seasons late in his career where we have play-by-play data, his DRS and TZ ratings are also a close match. In Sheffield's short stay at SS, the methods also align: WAR -15, DRA -21. BUT, DRA has Sheffield as average at 3B, and his range factor there was also league average, while WAR says -55 runs. So maybe we should assume Sheffield was OK at 3B, and give him another 5-6 wins. But I don't see any reason to change the assessment of his OF fielding, which drives most of his poor WAR fielding rating.
   41. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: December 24, 2020 at 09:36 AM (#5995816)
heh, i am new to the baseballgauge site. Omar Vizquel is rated as a below average defensive shortstop. He and Brandon Phillips have basically the same career baseballgauge war.
   42. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 24, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5995818)
Rumor has it that the Veterans Committee was looking at Paul Waner's career stats when they selected his brother Lloyd.


Bill James has debunked this, saying that, if it happened, it would've been the first time that HOF voters had actually looked at statistical evidence.
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: December 24, 2020 at 09:50 AM (#5995820)
Are you sure you know? Sheffield's 80 oWAR already accounts for his position adjustment. IOW he'd be an 80 WAR player had he been an average defender at his positions. He loses 20 overall WAR solely because of his defense (-195 rField). Which I think is the worst ever save for Adam Dunn.


You are right, it's been a while since I've really talked about this stuff, my brain just had a huge brain fart. I despise using oWar and dWar in discussions for exactly that reason, and I then fell into the same trap.

So the question is, do you think it's impossible that he loses 1 war a year due to defense? Duke doesn't,

35. Yes that does seem impossible. You toss around 1 WAR per year like it’s nothing. That’s a huge number.


I don't think it's a huge number, it's 10 runs a year(roughly) Saying one of the worst defensive players in history, with one of the longest careers in history,(he's 39th in plate appearances) and almost no games at DH (302 vs 2576) is costing his team on average 10 runs a year defensively seems pretty conservative to be honest.

I don't oppose Sheffield for the hof at all, I just don't think he's a slam dunk, and I don't think defensive runs are that wrong on him.
   44. Booey Posted: December 24, 2020 at 09:53 AM (#5995822)
#42 - I've always thought it was more likely the voters just didn't know how to adjust for era. The majority of the bad VC picks happened in the 1960's and 70's when batting averages had plummeted to all time lows, making Lloyd's .316 suddenly look a lot more impressive than it really was. Voters seemed to forget that the league batting average in the 1920's and 30's was in the .280's or .290's, so literally half of all regulars hit over .300.

It'd be like if HR's drop way down in the future and the VC of 2050 inducts every sillyball era player who hit 300 career HR. Greg Vaughn, Jay Buhner, Richie Sexson, you get a plaque, and you get a plaque!...etc.
   45. Adam Starblind Posted: December 24, 2020 at 10:08 AM (#5995824)
I mean it when I say this: Sheffield had Teh Fear.
   46. LargeBill Posted: December 24, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5995830)
"32. John Northey Posted: December 23, 2020 at 11:47 PM (#5995792)
Sheffield also had the Allen & Belle issue - seen as a guy with tons of 'attitude' and not liked by most reporters thus if they feel there is any reason to exclude him they will take it."

Younger fans may not know or remember this, but Sheffield had real issues in Milwaukee. He even talked about intentionally making errors to force them to trade him or something like that. I'd be very surprised if he gets a single vote from any writer who covered him early in his career.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: December 24, 2020 at 10:57 AM (#5995833)
Younger fans may not know or remember this, but Sheffield had real issues in Milwaukee.


Sheffield, like Belle, had real issues everywhere. While the intentional-error statement isn't supported by the record, the simple fact that he'd make such a claim is problematic as hell. He followed that up by being a pain in the ass everywhere (and, though DH was his natural position, he wasn't that interested in doing it, so his shitty defensive numbers are definitely on him).

Belle fired a ball at the chest of a heckler, berated Hannah Storm, chased down trick-or-treaters with his SUV and placed a GPS device on the vehicle of an ex-girlfriend for ease of stalking. It wasn't the reporters' impressions with their attitudes that was the problem.
   48. Baldrick Posted: December 24, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5995841)
Sheffield was a DH who insisted on playing the field. His WAR reflects that. He has individual years that were bad enough to outstrip the DH penalty. But he had other years where he gained a bit on the DH penalty. Over his career, he basically gets defensive credit as if he played DH the whole time. Which...having watched a lot Gary Sheffield over the years does not feel inappropriate. Early in his career, he was inattentive and careless. Late in his career, he was slow.

His career defensive numbers are so bad because he had an exceptionally long career (39th all time in plate appearances), played the field pretty much the whole time, and was a terrible defender. He doesn't have any truly shocking years, just a bunch of very bad ones.
   49. Ron J Posted: December 24, 2020 at 11:50 AM (#5995843)
#47 Right. The record doesn't support the intentional errors part of his claim. But the "consumed with hate" -- I think you can find plenty to back that up.

Also in regards to his not wanting to DH, the main source of his initial problems was that he felt entitled to the SS job by seniority (after Yount moved to CF and Sveum washed out) and the fact that Spiers was simply better defensively didn't seem to concern him. He complained that Spiers got the SS job because he was white.

To be clear, I think there were issues in the clubhouse. But the decision as to who played SS given the available choices was pretty clear. Sheffield was an awful infielder given a shot at SS on the basis that he was young, athletic and it would have been great if he could have handled the position.
   50. Ron J Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:00 PM (#5995845)
#48 I think he's the last guy I've seen moved off a position (third) strictly due to errors. His range was (at the time) adequate. His arm strength was more than adequate. It'd be interesting to see how many of his errors in 1993 were throwing errors because the story at the time was that he was simply making a lot of bad throws.

Doubt it matters. While he was adequate at third in 1992 I think he was rapidly losing the agility required to manage the position as he got bigger and stronger.
   51. baxter Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:09 PM (#5995846)
I have heard the Sheffield Milwaukee story about the throwing away the ball. I don't know what other ones there are about him in Milwaukee, or whether they are true. He was a teenager and early 20s in Milwaukee, immature as a human being (executive brain development completes around age 25).

Was Sheffield a "pain in the ass everywhere" or "had real issues everywhere" (#47)?

He first came onto my radar with his tremendous hitting in San Diego; he was like Piazza; every time he came up to bat, a big threat, yes the fear.

When he was in LA, I heard and saw nothing in the papers (yes, the tangible ones) about him in a bad way. Likewise, nothing bad when he went to Atlanta. I don't know what his relationship with reporters was, but a bad relationship certainly hurts with the votes. Then again, relationship with reporters shouldn't be a factor (but we are dealing with human beings, not automatons).

It may be a case of primacy and recency effects. Whatever issues he had in Milwaukee, I don't see how they affected his play the rest of his career (but then again, I miss a lot of things).

Also, Sheffield does not compare with Belle, either in purported deeds (which aren't particularly relevant to me, as a non-voter) or career length (Sheffield played 1,000 more games). If Belle had a better image/character, he still would not be in the HOF, didn't last long enough (just 10 full seasons) and as good a hitter as he was, he was not historically great.

I think Sheffield also suffers for not getting the 3K hit milestone, although he played a long time; over 10K plate appearances and a decent batting average. His problem was he walked a lot, giving him more value, but historically, that has not been appreciated.

   52. Ron J Posted: December 24, 2020 at 12:43 PM (#5995848)
The latest

Public Ballots56
Anonymous
/Unverifiable  Ballots5
of Ballots Known15.4%
"Last Updated:
12/24/2020 at 08:56 PST" 
Curt Schilling 72.1%
Barry Bonds 67.2%
Roger Clemens 67.2%
Scott Rolen 55.7%
Todd Helton 52.5%
Omar Vizquel 45.9%
Billy Wagner 45.9%
Manny Ramirez 41.0%
Gary Sheffield 41.0%
Andruw Jones 36.1%
Sammy Sosa 24.6%
Andy Pettitte 19.7%
Bobby Abreu 18.0%
Jeff Kent 19.7%
Torii Hunter 6.6%
Mark Buehrle 8.2%
Tim Hudson 4.9%
Aramis Ramirez 1.6
   53. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5995851)
And he was a great hitter - which a different thing than being a hall of famer. Here’s the first lines of his hall of fame bio:


No, he was not remotely a great hitter. He led the league in Slugging once, and that's the only time he ever led the league in ANY hitting stat. He was only in the top 10 in OPS+, a good overall measurement of hitting, 4 times, 10th, 5th, 9th, and 10th. His career OPS+ is tied with about 30 other guys for 344th. His best season by Rbat is 28 runs, that's tied with a whole bunch of guys for about 2,220th. Also, the first line of his HOF bio is a post hoc argument. Of course they're going to say something nice on his plaque. How about some contemporary coverage, you know from his actual playing days?
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: December 24, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5995852)
Was Sheffield a "pain in the ass everywhere" or "had real issues everywhere" (#47)?


Upon his departure from Milwaukee, he suggested the entire organization was racist (ol' Harv had a thing or two to say about that).

He blamed Bonds for his steroids usage.

He feuded with management until he was dealt by LA, accusing a team official of being a liar and singling out teammates who were overpaid.

He said Torre treats black players differently than white players, and that Jeter "ain't all the way black."

He ####### about his role as a DH in Detroit ("that's not what I am").

He was traded five separate times, which is not something you see with Hall-caliber players.

About the only team he never had an issue was with Bobby Cox's Braves.

He was a pain in the ass.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 24, 2020 at 01:44 PM (#5995854)
No, he was not remotely a great hitter. He led the league in Slugging once, and that's the only time he ever led the league in ANY hitting stat. He was only in the top 10 in OPS+, a good overall measurement of hitting, 4 times, 10th, 5th, 9th, and 10th. His career OPS+ is tied with about 30 other guys for 344th. His best season by Rbat is 28 runs, that's tied with a whole bunch of guys for about 2,220th. Also, the first line of his HOF bio is a post hoc argument. Of course they're going to say something nice on his plaque. How about some contemporary coverage, you know from his actual playing days?

Interestingly Sheffield doesn't do much better on the black-ink test. He was obviously an elite hitter, and would be a far better HoFer than Baines.
   56. Ron J Posted: December 24, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5995857)
#55 He does OK on grey ink though. And for an OBP heavy hitter whose prime overlaps almost perfectly with Barry Bonds that's not bad. (He also had some decent BA, but Tony Gwynn was active so ...)

His real HOF case is essentially Dick Allen's. The 1688 games of 154 OPS+ (his time in the NL in other words). That's a good -- not historic but compares well with the second tier of HOF OF -- extended prime. He's even got Allen's baggage plus rocky relationship with the press. And glove. Unlike Allen he has some bulk outside of that. His first two years with the Yankees aren't a cornerstone of a HOF case, but if Allen had two more years at that level I think he'd probably be in.

Also it is worth noting (this is a point Bill James made about the frequent trades of Bobby Bonds) that many teams chose to move him, but always found a willing partner.
   57. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5995859)
Sheffield’s lack of votes reflects that people think he only tabulated 60 WAR. If people gave him his due he’d be up around 60-70% like bonds/Clemens


This does not reflect actual voting conditions and history. Voting has often reflected ballot conditions. Crowded ballots make it harder to get higher percentages, there's no way around this, and Sheffield has been on the most crowded ballots, in terms of quality, there have been since the very first elections in the 30's and 40's. Debuting with other similar players also depresses voting percentages for the lesser player. Sheffield has been on with lots of other corner OF/1B/DH types, and has suffered in comparison to some. For historical voting on players one could look to RonJ's example of Mathews in post 37, who took 5 years to get in as a 12x AS, 500+ HR, led the league twice. A better one for Sheffield, as Mathews stuck at 3B his entire career, would be Killebrew, 13x AS, MVP, 573 HR, led the league 6 times, led in RBI 3 times, and took 4 tries to get in on ballots that had nowhere near the depth of quality that Sheffield has seen.

BTW, Sheffield, despite 509 HR, never led the league in HR, or RBI. In some ways he is going to appear poor to a traditional voter as well as to more SBAR voters. If you look at things like Black Ink and Grey Ink, he's nowhere near a HOF by Black Ink, and below average on Grey Ink. He's solid on Standards, but when you look at it this way, he would be seen as more of a "compiler" by old school voters. Yes, I'm sure he's losing some votes to PED issues, some to WAR influenced voters who question his D, but he's also suffering from "old school" issues such as a crowded ballot with many similar and/or better players, as well as being a bit of a crusty personality. Really his only big hook is 500+ HR, but in context it's just not overwhelming. It's strong, and could get him in eventually, but when you're on the ballot with Bonds and McGwire, and you debut with Sosa, while Thomas went in and Palmeiro couldn't get 5% the year before you debuted, it's not enough to push you high on the ballot. Plus, Griffey comes on the year after Sheffield debuted, Ramirez the year after that, Thome the next year. These are just the guys with over 500 (in several cases over 600) HR, there have also been plenty of other great hitters with fewer than 500 HR the voters have been considering, and tons of great pitchers!
   58. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 02:46 PM (#5995860)
Sheffield is an oddity - started as a SS at 19, moved to 3B when he was a full-timer at 21, moved to RF a year after going to the Marlins at age 25, moved to LF his 2nd year in LA at age 30, back to RF at 33, DH at 38 (at long last), then finished in LF at 40.


Not so odd, as Walt pointed out in the Dick Allen thread, Sheffield is a great bat with a poor glove, a type of player who teams find a spot for in the field because they want his bat in the lineup. He fits in with players like Killebrew, Stargell, McCovey, Allen, etc. Guys who moved around the diamond, or were limited to LF/1B. Sure, he could have been a DH in the AL, but it's been mentioned in other threads he hated being a DH, so you try to put him where he'll cause the least damage in the field.
   59. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:02 PM (#5995863)
#42 - I've always thought it was more likely the voters just didn't know how to adjust for era. The majority of the bad VC picks happened in the 1960's and 70's when batting averages had plummeted to all time lows, making Lloyd's .316 suddenly look a lot more impressive than it really was. Voters seemed to forget that the league batting average in the 1920's and 30's was in the .280's or .290's, so literally half of all regulars hit over .300.


This was, reportedly, an argument Frisch would put out to the VC. "Look at Jim Bottomley, career .300 hitter. Look at Chick Hafey, career .300 hitter. Look at High Pockets Kelly, see how many times he hit .300." But I don't think it's a matter of them forgetting. The resources simply weren't there, and while there was certainly some understanding of context, it would have been extremely difficult to do those sorts of comparisons given the state of the data at the time.
   60. Adam Starblind Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:04 PM (#5995864)
This is the definitive word on Sheffield. No more needs to be said:

Nation Increasingly Uncomfortable Around Gary Sheffield
   61. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:12 PM (#5995865)
55 & 56: Yes, Sheffield, when you look closely, suffers on Black Ink, he doesn't look Hall of Famey by that measure. Grey Ink is better, but still below average for a HOF. He's a HOF hitter over a long prime by OPS+, but he's just not overwhelming by most other means. Nothing wrong with him as a HOF, but nowhere near the level Duke is trying to claim for him.
   62. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:13 PM (#5995866)
. . . positional adjustments . . .
WAR doesn’t measure everything, much less to the decimal, and WAR Hawks should remember that its ‘one size fits all’ positional adjustments are a rule of thumb that may be unfair to some players.
   63. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5995867)
WAR Hawks should remember that its ‘one size fits all’ positional adjustments are a rule of thumb that may be unfair to some players.


How would the positional adjustment be unfair to some players?
   64. Adam Starblind Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:17 PM (#5995868)
Really his only big hook is 500+ HR, but in context it's just not overwhelming. It's strong, and could get him in eventually, but when you're on the ballot with Bonds and McGwire, and you debut with Sosa, while Thomas went in and Palmeiro couldn't get 5% the year before you debuted, it's not enough to push you high on the ballot. Plus, Griffey comes on the year after Sheffield debuted, Ramirez the year after that, Thome the next year. These are just the guys with over 500 (in several cases over 600) HR, there have also been plenty of other great hitters with fewer than 500 HR the voters have been considering, and tons of great pitchers!


There are still no eligible 500 HR guys outside the hall without PED taint. A 500 HR guy with no PED issues is almost certainly going in, unless his other stats are very unimpressive, which is clearly not the case with Sheffield. To pick some guys who got close, McGriff would probably be in with 7 more HR. If Kingman had gotten to 500, he would have still been out. Konerko would have been interesting; obviously none of us here would have voted for him. Delgado might have gotten traction.

Anyway, put me firmly in the column of Sheff getting in relatively easily but for that dastardly Bonds who tricked him into using steroids.
   65. The Duke Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5995871)
I understand that Baines is a lower end hall of famer - no one is disputing that but he was a great hitter for many years. I watched him with the white Sox for years and he was a great hitter. If you need some quotes from 1985 newspapers to prove he was considered a great hitter by all means dive into the archives. I don’t need to look because I know they are there. I’m sure when you find them you’ll move the goalposts again

And he and McGriff would look better against all the stat lines you quote if you took out all the guys who are known PED users who inflated all the offensive statistics plus the pitchers who pitched better because of them. I’m anti-PED guys but if you strongly believe guys like bonds and sosa and mcgwire altered the playing field, you have to give back credit to the guys who didn’t (hopefully - of course we don’t know ). He’d look a better if he was being compared to a level field.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:31 PM (#5995872)
I understand that Baines is a lower end hall of famer -

No, Tony Perez is a lower end HoFer, Baines is an undeserving HoFer.

no one is disputing that but he was a great hitter for many years.

I'll dispute it. He has a 121 career OPS+. He had a few isolated seasons of very good to great hitting, he was not a great hitter.
   67. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 24, 2020 at 03:53 PM (#5995874)
He’d look a better if he was being compared to a level field.


Baines played the bulk of his career in the pre-steroids era, if you're going to use that an excuse to handwave away his lack of obvious credentials for the Hall. He didn't look great then, either.

There's no need to pretend that Baines was more than what he was, which was a perfectly fine player who hung around forever because he could DH after his glove got to be too awful to stick in the field.
   68. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: December 24, 2020 at 04:05 PM (#5995875)
Baines only had 4 seasons with a top 10 ops+. A 5th, a 9th, and two 10ths. No way he was a great hitter. Only 224 rbat. By comparison, one-and-done Carlos Delgado had 372 rbat and 6 top ten ops+, which includes a 1st and 2 3rds.
   69. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 24, 2020 at 04:31 PM (#5995876)
Sheffield’s lack of votes reflects that people think he only tabulated 60 WAR.

I'm pretty sure the BBWAA electorate isn't holding Sheffield back because of his WAR total; he currently has the same number of votes as Manny, another outstanding slugger with defensive and PED issues. For the sake of comparison, Sheffield got 73% in BTF's mock election earlier this month, a vote in which his WAR total would be much more likely to factor in.
   70. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 05:30 PM (#5995881)
There are still no eligible 500 HR guys outside the hall without PED taint. A 500 HR guy with no PED issues is almost certainly going in, unless his other stats are very unimpressive, which is clearly not the case with Sheffield.


Yes, but that's not the position, as I understand it, coming from Duke. He's saying Sheffield should have gone in easily, and would somehow be getting 70% but for PED's, which of course you cannot separate from him. Regardless of 500 HR the idea he would cruise in, or is some sort of easy 1st Ballot selection, is demonstrably false both by historical voting patterns, and prior selections such as Killebrew and Mathews. Look back over his time on the ballot. Would you have voted for him over any of the top 10 guys in 2015 when he debuted? If so, would you have still included him over any of the other 6 reasonable guys who finished above him? What about McGwire or Sosa who finished behind him? Quite frankly he was not one of the 10 best candidates on the ballot in 2015. It's absurd to say he should have received a high percentage of the votes that year, or the next when he's still arguably not top 10, or really any of his years on the ballot to date because he's never been a top 5 candidate. He may very well start to do better in the coming years, if the PED bias isn't too strong, because the ballot is starting to clear, and as Balboni mentioned above this year's class is very weak, and coming ballots will not be filling up with clearly superior players
   71. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:09 PM (#5995888)
I understand that Baines is a lower end hall of famer - no one is disputing that but he was a great hitter for many years. I watched him with the white Sox for years and he was a great hitter. If you need some quotes from 1985 newspapers to prove he was considered a great hitter by all means dive into the archives. I don’t need to look because I know they are there. I’m sure when you find them you’ll move the goalposts again


As snapper said, he's not ever a low end HOF. And, no, as I already showed, he was not a great hitter. No goal posts have been moved. Feel free to demonstrate how someone who only led the league once in any statistical category was a great hitter though.

And he and McGriff would look better against all the stat lines you quote if you took out all the guys who are known PED users who inflated all the offensive statistics plus the pitchers who pitched better because of them. I’m anti-PED guys but if you strongly believe guys like bonds and sosa and mcgwire altered the playing field, you have to give back credit to the guys who didn’t (hopefully - of course we don’t know ). He’d look a better if he was being compared to a level field.


That's fine if you want to cut out PED players, but Baines OPS+ numbers do not reflect a HOF hitter in any era. In 1984, presumably you're not going to move the goal posts and claim the 80's were a PED era, he finished 10th in one of his best seasons, future HOF hitters Murray and Winfield were above 150, which is where HOF-type seasons are found if you look back through the record. In 1989, his best season he finished 5th, future HOF hitter Yount was above 150 and McGriff led the league at 165. Over the entire decade of the 1980's, cherry picked for Baines who was 21-30 years old, the guys who had at least 3,000 PA's and a 150 or better OPS+ are Schmidt, Brett, and Boggs, those are great, HOF hitters. Then you have four great hitters who never made the HOF before coming to Murray at 141, followed by Dw Evans and Rickey! at 137, and there's your top 10. In the second 10 you have Yount, Winfield, Raines, Gwynn, and Dawson at 20th who all made it. Those are great, HOF hitters, except Dawson, who got a lot of D credit, which Baines is in no way entitled to. The next 10 have Molitor and Ripken, so now you're starting to get into players who are not necessarily great hitters, although still very good, but also bring a lot of defensive value, or have significant milestones such as 3,000 hits. Again, none of which Baines has. The next 10 has Puckett and Reggie!, who was simply at the end of his career during the 80's for the most part. And the next 10 has Rice, Baines and Carter. Rice has always been contentious as a HOF, but blows Baines away as a hitter, and Carter is an all time great catcher. Baines, during his peak/prime years of the 80's, pre-PED era, was 48th in OPS+ at just 118. That would be good for a SS/2B/CF, but is pathetic for a corner OF/DH.
   72. RJ in TO Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:14 PM (#5995889)
I think he's the last guy I've seen moved off a position (third) strictly due to errors. His range was (at the time) adequate. His arm strength was more than adequate. It'd be interesting to see how many of his errors in 1993 were throwing errors because the story at the time was that he was simply making a lot of bad throws.
I always thought of Braun as having been moved off of 3B only because of the errors, but it appears he (in addition to the errors) was just overall horrendous at the position. In his rookie year, he put up 26 errors in 112 games, for a 0.895 fielding percentage. I can't remember the last time I saw a player with that much PT in a season put up a fielding percentage that low. Jose Offerman is the only other guy I could think of who might have done it, but his worst fielding percentage in a full season was 0.932.
   73. Adam Starblind Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:18 PM (#5995890)
And what I said is not that he would go in on the first ballot, but that a non-PED Sheffield would go in "relatively easily." You're right, the glut would have slowed him down like it slowed down a bunch of guys, but by now, in this weak year, he'd be doing quite well. Would you be more comfortable with "without too much difficulty"?

My main point is simply that he's not the 500 HR guy who'd fail to make the Hall on the merits. It's the PED that will keep him out, and being a dick to reporters doesn't help either.
   74. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:22 PM (#5995891)
Baines played the bulk of his career in the pre-steroids era, if you're going to use that an excuse to handwave away his lack of obvious credentials for the Hall. He didn't look great then, either.


Indeed, in the 1980's he had a 118 OPS+ tied for 48th in the decade. In the 1990's he improved to 128 up to 27th for the decade. Hmmmm... A rising tide lifts all boats? He found it easier to hit as a DH? He was a juicer, too?
   75. kwarren Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5995892)
# 4

Wagner, really !! 27.7 bWAR, 23.7 JAWS.

I guess the love affair with relievers is as strong as ever. Yikes.
   76. reech Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:39 PM (#5995893)
Wasn't Sheffield past any character issues by the time he was 25?

I remember on the Yankees and Mets he was well thought of.
   77. Walt Davis Posted: December 24, 2020 at 06:53 PM (#5995895)
On Sheff:

1. His defensive numbers are extreme but not necessarily "out of character." For the post-integration era, Adam Dunn, in many fewer innings, is the all-time "leader" in negative dWAR, followed by Sheffield. But near him are Frank Howard (in many fewer innings), Winfield (TZ really dislikes him), Frank Thomas, Baylor, Manny, Staub, Ortiz, Fielder, Luzinski, Giambi, Baines, Stargell round out the group with -20 or worse. I am reasonably comfortable with that as a list of the worst defensive players of my lifetime. (It's odd nobody who played substantially pre-expansion is there.)

2. So you need to make the argument that the range of TZ/DRS is too big, which it might be.

3. But by how much. Those guys are in the range of neg 20-28 dWAR. We know they were less defensively skilled than SS, much less defensive range than CF. So obviously dWAR can't be off by 1 win a year or all these guys would basically grade out as being as good as the average SS ... which means the SS would have to not be better than average either.

4. Which is to say there is at a min a positional adjustment. Maybe the -7/-10/-15 that you generally get for RF-LF/1B/DH are a bit too high but we can't pull them back too far, maybe 3 runs?

5. Then a below-avverage LF/RF must be about -5 relative to other LF and -9 vs the average fielder. The bad LF/RF would probably be about -14.

6. In short, about the most damage TZ/RF/Rpos could be doing to Sheffield's career is 5-10 wins. If true, obviously that's not nothing and could shove him over the (non-PEDs) in/out line. But whether Sheffield was really worth 0.25 to 0.5 extra wins per year shouldn't radically change our assessment either.

Sheff and PEDS:

I have no particular problem with the "blame Bonds" thing. As far as I know, the only evidence we have of Sheff and PEDs is that he spent part of one offseason training with Bonds and Anderson, using BALCO stuff. And, if I remember the NYT Mag article on Bonds from that offseason, he left early because he didn't like it (not necessarily the PEDs). I would obviously not be surprised if Sheffield used PEDs at any number of points in his career but, to my knowledge (feel free to correct me), the evidence we have is that Bonds invited him, Sheffield was open about his participation (i.e. he talked to the reporter about it) and he walked out on it for whatever reason.

On the whole Bonds and BALCO mess: Let me again point out that this was all out in the open. BALCO wasn't a guy dealing out of his locker at the gym. They were a legally incorporated business with an impressive, known client list (featuring regularly-tested Olympic athletes) and that sponsored a track team FFS. Bonds agreed to have the journalist come out for a couple of weeks and cover him and his workouts that particular offseason. Sure maybe the conversation went: "Gary, Greg here is giving me the best stuff imaginable -- it's illegal but they don't have a test for it yet" "Oh man, I gotta get me some of that." Or maybe it went: "Wannw work out with me this offseason? I got this great trainer, just do what he says." "OK."

On the notion that, if not for dWAR, Sheff would be getting Bonds/Clemens vote totals even with the PEDs taint. Tell that to Manny, Sosa, Mac and Palmeiro. As to the glorious effect of WAR/dWAR, have a chat with Schilling, Walker, Rolen, Lofton, Edmonds and Andruw. By WAR, Schilling, Walker and Rolen are no-brainers, even on crowded ballots, and the other 3 should at least have been in the 20-40% range.

Sure, Walker's WAR boost from his defense helped him squeak over the line; Blyleven's WAR helped him, probably Schilling's WAR has helped keep his big mouth from hurting his percentage even more than it has. But we're talking adding/subtracting maybe 5% to a guy's totals. Mainly being able to point to WAR helps make the argument "Walker was an outstanding all-around player and valuable enough to overcome all of that missed time" and maybe convince a more traditional voter who's otherwise borderline on Walker.

But sure, Sheffield and Edgar are pretty much the same player. Sheff and Stargell, Sheff and Billy Williams are good comps. Sheff is Allen with a more standard decline phase. I had a long post where I pushed Sheff's raw numbers back 20 years or so vs how they look to his actual comp group. Interestingly, on most measures his ranking relative to contemporaries (+/- 5 years) was about the same. The big difference is that his 509 HRs would have been 3rd or 5th most in the earlier period (Reggie and Schmidt ... and Murray and Winfield weren't quite done yet as I set it up) ... but were 11th in his actual era.

Which ends up being the key component in answering "would Sheff have been elected easily by old-school standards?" With 509 HRs from 1970-1990, the answer to that is most likely yes. But 11th in HR in that earlier period was less than 400 HRs so adjust for sillyball (whether you think it was PEDs or not) and give him about 400 HRs and the answer is probably not. Now I suspect that if Sheffield actually played in that era, he might have more hits and fewer HRs (imagine a Sheff GB on astroturf, I ain't getting within 10 feet of that rocket) -- probably not enough to get to 3,000 but maybe enough to get over the HoF line with 400 HRs.

Anyway, any comparison of important milestones across eras obviously has to account for changes in context. 500 HRs is still a lot but it's a lot less impressive than it used to be while his not quite 2700 hits and 292 BA are probably more impressive. So would Sheff with 500 HRs probably have had a pretty easy time of it if he'd first hit the ballot in 1995 -- sure. But that doesn't mean he should (would without PEDs) have been an easy induction on the modern ballot. (With the generally weak ballots coming up, if non-PEDs Sheff hadn't been elected yet, he'd be a good bet to be elected in the next couple of years.)

On the actual vote so far, I know it's early but I'm surprised Schilling hasn't picked up momentum.
   78. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 07:01 PM (#5995896)
And what I said is not that he would go in on the first ballot, but that a non-PED Sheffield would go in "relatively easily." You're right, the glut would have slowed him down like it slowed down a bunch of guys, but by now, in this weak year, he'd be doing quite well. Would you be more comfortable with "without too much difficulty"?


Sure, not really arguing your point, more so Duke's. But even so he is doing basically what you're describing above. Even this year he's still not a clear cut top of the ballot guy, that would be Bonds and Clemens. Then you have a bunch of guys who one could favor more or less than others: Schilling, Rolen, Helton, Sheffield, Sosa, Ramirez, Jones if you love the D, Pettitte if you love the post season credit. Two of those guys have more HR than Sheffield, and Jones has 400+ and the D. Right now Sheffield is at 40%, and added 5 new voters, that's pretty good given all that has transpired. He actually did take a big step up last year from low teens to 30%, and should improve on that this year. It's hard for guys to take huge leaps in HOF voting without being the clear cut favorite, or top two to three on the ballot. One way or the other in his ninth year Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, and Sosa will be off the ballot, and there won't be too many new guys to compete with. If it's going to happen for him, it will happen in his last two years on the ballot.
   79. cookiedabookie Posted: December 24, 2020 at 07:13 PM (#5995897)
I really hope Hudson clears 5%, and Schilling gets elected so that his votes can go to others next year
   80. cardsfanboy Posted: December 24, 2020 at 07:32 PM (#5995898)
I wished Schilling gets elected, but honestly with the Presidential election and his politics along with his attitude towards the writers, there is no way he gets in this year, there are going to be a contingent afraid of his speech in this year if it happens.

As it stands now, Schilling's election would almost require him to claim upfront he's not going to be a dick in his speech. At this point in time, even people who support him, know he's going to be a dick in his speech. Schilling needs to rehab his image, by simply going online and saying "if I get elected, I'm not going to use the podium to trash the media or talk about politics." (or something on par with that... I'm pretty comfortable stating that his margin of failure is simply because the writers don't really want him being him in his election speech. )
   81. alilisd Posted: December 24, 2020 at 07:36 PM (#5995899)
Wasn't Sheffield past any character issues by the time he was 25?

I remember on the Yankees and Mets he was well thought of.


Perhaps by teammates, but I don't think he was ever cordial with the writers
   82. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: December 24, 2020 at 07:48 PM (#5995900)
#71 is a pretty savage take down of Baines. Baines getting elected by the Veterans Committee was a moment where I was like, "How the **** did he cut the line like that?", because if Baines is a HOFer, there are 25 guys I'd put in before him. Shoot, Greg Luzinski has more black ink, a better peak, much better MVP numbers, and was a better hitter than Harold Baines. He just couldn't have walked across a parking lot without having to sit down for five minutes by the time he was 30, so he was all done by 33. But at no point when I was growing up in the 1980s did I think Harold Baines was a great hitter. He was a "professional hitter", as announcers often say...
   83. SoSH U at work Posted: December 24, 2020 at 08:10 PM (#5995903)
Wasn't Sheffield past any character issues by the time he was 25?


The list I provided in 54 was all post-age 25.

Konerko would have been interesting;


Konerko with 500 home runs would have been lucky to see a second ballot.
   84. JoeC Posted: December 24, 2020 at 11:22 PM (#5995909)
Yeah, I grew up on the South Side and even through blindly loyal ten-year-old eyes we never thought of Baines as a Hall of Famer. He was "our guy," beloved, and we'd defend him up against anybody else's star... he hit .300 (sometimes) and was a power hitter (in those days 20 homers made you a power hitter)! He belonged, we'd argue, in the class of Rickey and Brett and Boggs - but we knew that we were only arguing that he was in their "class" because he wasn't really as good. Sort of like how you can point out (this is true) that he's only one of 15 members of the 2800 H/350 HR/1600 RBI/.285 club.

I'd left Chicago by the time Konerko came along - that would have been interesting to compare. From the outside it looked like South Siders gave him that "our guy" treatment as well, even though he was actually below average... and then miraculously he peaked in his mid-thirties and actually got as good for a few years as partisans thought he'd always been (which is to say, All-Star level, not necessarily HOF level).
   85. EddieA Posted: December 24, 2020 at 11:52 PM (#5995911)
Konerko 2012 130 OPS+, 598 PA, and a negative WAA. Pretty rare 130 OPS+ and neg. WAA. Dunn, 2008.
   86. John Northey Posted: December 24, 2020 at 11:52 PM (#5995912)
Thinking through Sheffield I thought 'who else was a good/great hitter but horrid on defense' and (being a Jays fan) Cecil Fielder came to mind. Jimy 'nutcase' Williams played him at 2B and 3B multiple times for some drunken reason (while keeping a well past prime Willie Upshaw in the lineup everyday at 1B). Fielder did get a positive dWAR in his rookie season at 21 (in just 30 games) of 0.1. Carlos Delgado was never seen as good on defense but did have 0.0 dWAR seasons (3 of them, 2 full-time over 100 games). Harmon Killebrew was positive once (0.1 at age 22 while at 3B in 13 games), twice at 0.0 (age 19 and 29). Albert Belle in his short career never had a positive dWAR (best was a -0.1 at 23 in just 9 games) and like most of us I'm certain Belle would not have improved with age on defense.
   87. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 25, 2020 at 07:35 AM (#5995923)
Re 86: Derek Jeter? ;)
   88. GuyM Posted: December 25, 2020 at 10:03 AM (#5995926)
Jeter's dWAR (-9.4) isn't that bad, because he played SS. Here are the 25 lowest career dWAR:

Adam Dunn -28.4
Gary Sheffield -27.7
Frank Howard -24
Dave Winfield -22.7
Frank Thomas -22.5
Don Baylor -22.5
Manny Ramirez -21.7
Willie McCovey -21.6
Rusty Staub -21
David Ortiz -20.9
Prince Fielder -20.5
Greg Luzinski -20.4
Jason Giambi -19.7
Harold Baines -19.5
Willie Stargell -19.5
Jeff Burroughs -19.1
Killebrew -18.7
Gary Matthews -18.6
Danny Tartabull -18.4
Billy Williams -18
Miguel Cabrera -17.7
Paul Konerko -17.7
Hal McRae -17.4
Ryan Howard -17.3
Raul Ibanez -17.3
   89. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 25, 2020 at 10:10 AM (#5995927)
But at no point when I was growing up in the 1980s did I think Harold Baines was a great hitter. He was a "professional hitter", as announcers often say...


Baines is probably unique among HOFers: a "complier" who didn't actually compile much. He didn't get 3,000 hits, or 400 HR, or get a ring or win an MVP (or even came close). He was slower than molasses and his defense was famously awful. His 38.7 WAR from 1990-2001 ranks a lofty 66th, behind people like Chuck Knoblauch, Jesse Barfield and Jay Bell (!), in many, many more at-bats. (I mean, yikes.)
   90. GuyM Posted: December 25, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5995928)
What I find amazing about Baines as a HOFer is that, in 21 seasons, he only had two years with more than 3 WAR (4.3, 3.4). And 3 WAR is a pretty low bar -- basically he had 2 good seasons, and zero great seasons. That's some peak.
   91. RJ in TO Posted: December 25, 2020 at 11:02 AM (#5995929)
Thinking through Sheffield I thought 'who else was a good/great hitter but horrid on defense' and (being a Jays fan) Cecil Fielder came to mind. Jimy 'nutcase' Williams played him at 2B and 3B multiple times for some drunken reason (while keeping a well past prime Willie Upshaw in the lineup everyday at 1B). Fielder did get a positive dWAR in his rookie season at 21 (in just 30 games) of 0.1.


This is a bit unfair to Williams as while it is true he played Fielder at 2B and 3B multiple times, those times (7 at 3B, 2 at 2B) added up to a total of 9.2 and 5.1 innings respectively. They were more or less "Well, ####. We're in extras and no one else is left on the bench" or "Well, ####. The normal guy is hurt, and we already used the normal backup elsewhere". There was also the "Well, ####. The starter at 2B is hurt, and it's too late to call anyone else up" game, where Cecil was swapped back and forth with Kelly Gruber between 2B and 3B depending on the handedness of the opposing batter, resulting in the box score listing him as playing 3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B. That game alone counted for 8 of the 15 innings he put in at those positions over those three years.
   92. alilisd Posted: December 25, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5995931)
the box score listing him as playing 3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B.


Great little research there on Fielder, but this really makes it look even more drunken! ;-)
   93. John DiFool2 Posted: December 25, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5995932)
He was traded five separate times, which is not something you see with Hall-caliber players.


OK. We've got Rickey & Gaylord for starters.

And, while on the subject. Black/Grey Ink simply can't be compared between leagues before and after expansion, full f. stop. I was going to go to BBRef to see how many times he'd lead in something (using the pre Wild Card league lineups or a reasonable fascimile thereof), but the site doesn't want to load for me right now (so I couldn't check the trading thing either). I'd bet in a 7-8 team "league" he'd have a lot more of both.
   94. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 25, 2020 at 12:30 PM (#5995933)
He was traded five separate times, which is not something you see with Hall-caliber players.

OK. We've got Rickey & Gaylord for starters.


Lofton gets a pretty good amount of support in these parts; he was traded six times. Especially in the modern no-reserve-clause era, holding team changes (including trades, which are now often dictated by contract status) against the player in a Hall of Fame argument seems shaky.

And, while on the subject. Black/Grey Ink simply can't be compared between leagues before and after expansion, full f. stop.

Black (and gray) ink were also originally intended as predictors of Hall election, not necessarily indicators of player quality. As a reminder, here are the statistics that are tracked:

Batting Statistics
Four Points for home runs, runs batted in or batting average
Three Points for runs scored, hits or slugging percentage
Two Points for doubles, walks or stolen bases
One Point for games, at bats or triples
Pitching Statistics
Four Points for wins, earned run average or strikeouts
Three Points for innings pitched, win-loss percentage or saves
Two Points for complete games, lowest walks per 9 innings or lowest hits per 9 innings
One Point for appearances, starts or shutouts


Sheffield has four top-10 seasons in batting average, and five in slugging - but 10 in OBP (including one league lead), which is ignored entirely by black and grey ink.
   95. Ron J Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:03 PM (#5995934)
#94 and since his peak overlaps Bonds OBP black ink was going to be restricted.
   96. SoSH U at work Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5995936)
OK. We've got Rickey & Gaylord for starters.


Yes, there are a few.

Rickey had a tendency to get a little antsy with his contract, so I think a few of those trades were prompted. I'm not sure why Perry was shopped so often. Allen was also traded five times, though he had more than a little Sheff in him (though there were some extenuating circumstances in his case).

In general, it's not something you see often with Hall-caliber players.


Lofton gets a pretty good amount of support in these parts; he was traded six times. Especially in the modern no-reserve-clause era, holding team changes (including trades, which are now often dictated by contract status) against the player in a Hall of Fame argument seems shaky.


In some cases, yes. But Sheff was dealt by the Brewers after experiencing major issues with the org (like calling it racist and saying he made errors on purpose to get out of there), requested a trade from the Dodgers after ######## about his contract, citing specific teammates as being overpaid and calling a front office exec a liar, and then traded by the Yankees after claiming Torre treated black players worse than white players and Jeter wasn't really black. If this isn't an example of a guy who was a pain in the ass, what exactly would it take to qualify?

The Marlins and Pads trades were more salary dump deals, so it's probably fair to exclude them.
   97. RJ in TO Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:33 PM (#5995937)
I'm not sure why Perry was shopped so often.
The first time, he was coming off of a (slightly) down season, and moved for Sam McDowell, who was certainly thought to possess a Hall of Fame arm, but who was also coming off of a (slightly) down season. Think of that one as more of a challenge trade. It's pretty clear the Giants lost that challenge.

The next time he was traded, he was a 36 year old pitcher, in the middle of a down (for him) season, so it wasn't unreasonable for the Indians to think perhaps he was on his way out. The third time, from the Rangers to the Padres, it was likely a matter of the Rangers thinking they had enough starting pitching, and if they were going to move someone, it made sent to be the 38 year old pitcher with a ton of miles on his arm. It does seem weird that the only thing they really got back was cash - he was traded for Dave Tomlin and cash, but then the Rangers sold Tomlin to the Reds. The Padres then traded him back to the Rangers after a down year at the age of 40 (not actually a down year, but his W-L dropped from 21-6 to 12-11. And then the final trade was when he was 41, to the Yankees.

So while he was traded a large number of times, it should be noted that he spent the first 14 years of his career on only two teams. It's really only toward what would have been the tail end of most pitchers careers that he started getting moved around semi-regularly, as those teams didn't realize he was going to remain effective well into his 40s.

In those later years, there may have also been some concern about him potentially getting busted for his well (but not officially) known ball-doctoring ways.
   98. RJ in TO Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5995938)
For Rickey, it was often about money, but not always because of him. For the first trade from Oakland to the Yankees, it was because Oakland didn't have any, and Oakland was still able to get a ton of talent back for him. I have no idea why the Yankees handed him back to the A's in the late 80s. For the one to the Jays in 1993, it was a trade deadline rental for a pending free agent, and he resigned with Oakland afterwards. So we're really talking about only two true trades before he hit the age of 37.

He did move around a ton after that second return to Oakland, but at that point he was only Rickey, as opposed to being Rickey!. It was basically the same situation that Lofton was in a decade later, where he was good enough to bring in on one year deals to fill a hole in the lineup or outfield, but not good enough that you'd want him on a multi-year deal, because almost every team would think they had a young prospect who would be ready to take over that spot a year from now.
   99. Adam Starblind Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5995939)


Konerko with 500 home runs would have been lucky to see a second ballot.


Maybe. It would be interesting to have a good test case or two to figure out where the line is for 500 hr, but no HOF. If they had gotten 500: Konerko out, Dunn out, Canseco out, Delgado in, McGriff in? I feel like there's a significant gap there. What about Canseco with 500 and without the PED/character issues?

For emphasis, I'm talking about what would happen, not what should happen.

EDIT: Nelson Cruz could make it interesting, but am I remembering correctly that he was in the Biogenesis scandal?
   100. SoSH U at work Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:54 PM (#5995940)
It would be interesting to have a good test case or two to figure out where the line is for 500 hr, but no HOF. If they had gotten 500: Konerko out, Dunn out, Canseco out, Delgado in, McGriff in?


I don't believe in magic numbers, so I'm not sure about any of them. McGriff with seven more homers in the same amount of playing time would have been definitely had a good chance, but the onslaught of more prolific homer hitters behind him was always going to be an issue. My guess is in, but no guarantee.

It's tough to say with Delgado. Looking at his final abbreviated final season with the Mets, he was still a good hitter. If he got there by raking, maybe. If he had to earliwinn his ass across the threshold, no.

None of the other guys gets close.

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