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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

HALL OF FAME’S EARLY BASEBALL ERA COMMITTEE AND GOLDEN DAYS ERA COMMITTEE TO MEET THIS WINTER

Due to the inclusion of the Negro Leagues within the Early Baseball Era, the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors has convened a Special Early Baseball Overview Committee of 10 historians to develop its 10-person ballot. The Special Early Baseball Overview Committee consists of five Negro Leagues historians and five veteran members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America who have previously served on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Historical Overview Committee.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, will serve as the non-voting chairman of this Special Early Baseball Overview Committee, and will lead the discussions prior to the vote to create its ballot.

“It is an honor to chair this important committee that will shape the Hall of Fame’s Early Baseball Era ballot,” Selig said. “A number of baseball’s foremost experts on the game’s early history, including historians of Black baseball, will come together to determine which eligible candidates from the pre-1950s era will be considered for the game’s highest honor: Election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The end result will be a 10-person ballot that includes Negro Leaguers, pre-Negro Leaguers and non-Negro Leaguers as eligible candidates.”

The Special Early Baseball Overview Committee includes the following Negro League historians: Gary Ashwill, Adrian Burgos Jr., Phil Dixon, Leslie Heaphy and Claire Smith. They will be joined by Historical Overview Committee members Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun), Steve Hirdt (Stats Perform), Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle).

The Historical Overview Committee, which will develop the Golden Days Era ballot, includes Henneman, Hirdt, Hummel, Reeves and Schwarz, as well as Bob Elliott (Canadian Baseball Network); David O’Brien (The Athletic); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Tracy Ringolsby (InsidetheSeams.com); Susan Slusser (San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).

Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: October 27, 2021 at 07:56 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, negro leagues, veterans committee

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   1. JRVJ Posted: October 27, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6049442)
There's a genuine chance that the BBWAA doesn't pick anybody this year (they should pick Bonds, Clemens, Schilling and A-Rod. And also, David "Big Papi" Ortíz)

Dick Allen and Minnie Minoso, two of the five players on the last Golden Era ballot with the most votes, have passed away.

Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Maury Wills are still alive, but I could see a scenario where no living former ballplayer is elected to Cooperstown this year.
   2. The Duke Posted: October 27, 2021 at 11:52 PM (#6049514)
I doubt the writers will pick anyone unless the crazies who won’t vote for Schilling have seen their Trump fever break in the last year. I’m guessing we get 4 inductees and I’m hoping that Kaat and oliva are chosen even though minoso and Allen might be slightly better choices. The early committee will almost certainly choose two negro league players.
   3. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: October 28, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6049566)
All signs certainly point to the BBWAA electing no one. I think the Golden Days Committee will select Tony Oliva (provided Rod Carew is a voter) & possibly either Dick Allen or Jim Kaat. The Early Days Committee will be interesting, I look forward to seeing who is on the ballot & I agree that likely two Negro League players will be selected with one being Buck O’Neil
   4. DL from MN Posted: October 28, 2021 at 11:30 AM (#6049593)
All signs certainly point to the BBWAA electing no one. I think the Golden Days Committee will select Tony Oliva (provided Rod Carew is a voter) & possibly either Dick Allen or Jim Kaat. The Early Days Committee will be interesting, I look forward to seeing who is on the ballot & I agree that likely two Negro League players will be selected with one being Buck O’Neil


Oliva and O'Neill are both charismatic people who are well liked by many. Neither one of them is in the top 100 best baseball players who are not elected to the Hall of Fame. Passing over dozens of more qualified people to elect "nice guys" sets a bad precedent. Do we call that the Harold Baines wing of the Hall of Fame?
   5. Moldorf Posted: October 28, 2021 at 02:53 PM (#6049656)
Are we thinking Ortiz will get a nominal PED penalty and get elected next year? In previous HOF discussions, there were lots of people who thought he would sail in on the first ballot.
   6. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: October 28, 2021 at 03:05 PM (#6049659)
Actually I was thinking Ortiz was eligible next year. Lol my bad. I think Ortiz will get in this year. A-Rod probably not but his vote total will be interesting
   7. Walt Davis Posted: October 28, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6049722)
As has been argued here in the past, O'Neill should be given "Pioneer/Executive/Contribution to the Game/Whatever" credit in addition to his player credit. He did a lot of work in getting the NeL recognized, getting the museum off the ground, promoting the game, etc.

As I allude to in the other thread, Oliva (in addition to being a nice, respected guy) has a whopping 41 points of black ink (avg HoFer 27, avg VCer surely much less) and 146 of gray (avg 144). He was likely on a HoF path but got hurt too soon (and started late). I wouldn't put Oliva in but 19th c and NeL aside (I'm not knowledgable enough to judge) there are only a small handful of VC/non-BBWAA selections that I would put in. By VC standards, such as they are, Oliva would be a better choice than most. And he did regularly poll in the 30s for 15 ballots. Oliva is basically Jim Rice with a later start and missing that one year of his (probably still) prime, an injury that probably altered his career. Oliva was nearly as good as Puckett (rather different players), probably a bit better but far less durable than Perez, pretty much the same as Cepeda. So that's 3 BBWAA selections and one near-BBWAA VC selection.

And just because a guy doesn't deserve to be in the HoF doesn't mean he wasn't a much better player than Harold Baines.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: October 28, 2021 at 07:30 PM (#6049730)
Oliva ages 25-32 comped by WAR with some other guys 25-32 (sticking to sluggers):

McCovey 45
Votto 45
Sosa 44
Chipper 44
Thome 43
Abreu 43
Manny 43
Thomas 43
B Williams 43
Oliva 42
Walker 41
Berkman 41
Goldschmidt 41
Tex 41
Vlad 41 (kinda the perfect comp for a healthier Oliva)
Dawson 41
Griffey Jr 40 (we're into his injury years)
Bo Bonds 40
Giambi 40
Puckett 40
Gwynn 40
Raines 40

We're obviously on the borderline here for the most part, where longevity and milestones make a big difference. Given his late start, Oliva was more likely to fall into the Berkman/Tex/Bonds ... but Vlad had just 6 points of black ink and only a bit more gray ink and, at the time, he was talked about in much the same way Vlad was. And Oliva in the year before his injury led the league in BA and SLG so he probably wasn't gonna decline as fast as he did and many of these guys did.

I don't want to overstate his case though. Even by a peak measure like WAR7, he's only 24th among RFs. He is a bit ahead of Winfield (incredibly long career) but a bit behind Reggie Smith, Bonds, Vlad, Abreu, Walker. There's nothing magical about ages 25-32, it's just that stathead doesn't give you any method for comparing peaks or best 7 or whatever ... most players are still pretty much at their best for ages 25-32 so it's not an unreasonable comparison to make but it's not ideal.

Still Oliva was at least a HoVG, borderline HoF talent who, due to birthplace and possibly skin color, got a late start and, due to injury, likely had an early decline. If we're going to have a VC, it seems other than obvious BBWAA screw-ups (Santo, Trammell for example), that's the sort of case they are supposed to sort out.

But finally, even among late-starting Cubans, I'd put Minoso and Tiant in first. (Anybody I've forgotten?)
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 28, 2021 at 07:48 PM (#6049737)
Apparently I've decided it's Tony Oliva day. That 41 points of black ink is tied for 47th all-time (Medwick). Of course black ink gets harder as the league expands but even among other early expansion or pre-expansion guys, it's an impressive number. He's one behind Carew, two ahead of Brett. It's more than Reggie or F Robinson (both 35), DiMaggio 34, McCovey 31, Allen 27, Banks 26, Clemente 23, B Williams 18, Stargell 17. Nearly everybody ahead of him is in the HoF (PEDs, some early guys). He had 3 batting titles, led the league in hits 5 times, made 8 AS games, even won a GG (deserved per TZ). Certainly by the HoF standards applied to his generation, that was a HoF peak.
   10. The Duke Posted: October 29, 2021 at 12:46 AM (#6049800)
I personally wouldn’t put Oliva in but reading the tea leaves of last votes I think he has some momentum and I really think they want living ball players up there. If it means dick Allen waits a few more years I guess I’m ok with that but Allen is by far the better choice. I have a soft spot for Kaat as I saw a lot of his last games with the cardinals and I think his post-playing career effort has made him worthy.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2021 at 06:49 PM (#6049967)
Of course Oliva ran circles around Allen on the HoF ballot. They were near contemporaries so were on many ballots together. Oliva then Allen %ages

83 20 4
85 29 7
86 36 10
87 39 13
88 47 12
89 30 8 (Bench, Yaz, Perry, Jenkins join the ballot; Cepeda passes Oliva)
90 32 13
91 36 13
92 41 16
93 37 17
94 35 15
95 32 16
96 36 19

Allen never got closer than 16 points. In his final year on the ballot 1997, Allen finished just behind 1st-year Dave Parker. Not that any of that should concern the VC.

Oliva vs Cepeda is interesting. They tracked almost identically, sometimes with the exact same vote total, until that 1989 vote when Cepeda opened a 9-point lead. It stayed around there until 92 when Cepeda jumped to a 17 point gap. Cepeda just missed in his final year on the ballot while Oliva totally stalled.

Perez is another interesting comparison. He debuted on that 92 ballot at 50%, about halfway between Oliva and Cepeda. He made a bit of progress from there until the 96 ballot. That had a weak entry class (Bob Boone the top vote getter over Lynn and Hernandez which was not good thinking there) and nobody was elected but Perez got a nice bump up to the mid-60s. But he still had a way to go, stuck there as they put in Niekro and Sutton first then he got pushed back a bit by the Ryan, Brett, Yount, Fisk storm in 1999. But a comfy 17 point jump in 2000 put him in.

Such are the vagaries of BBWAA voting. Oliva and Cepeda are the same for several years then one jumps and the other stalls. Perez is the opposite of Allen and Oliva -- not a great peak but longevity -- but why does he progress while Oliva drops a bit? Of course those were the days when Steve Garvey could debut at 42% where thankfully he stalled then fell.

Billy Williams vs Oliva is also interesting as they entered in the same year. Oliva then Williams:

82 15 23
83 20 41
84 31 50
85 29 64
86 36 74
87 39 86

Pinson is another contemporary who belongs in this discussion. The main difference between him, Allen, Oliva and Cepeda is that he got started young enough and held on long enough to pass 10,000 PA. Unfortunately the peak wasn't good enough nor the decline good enough to put him in. But hd did put up 20 WAR from ages 20-22, still #9 all-time for those ages, so he was a special player who unforutnately never reached those heights again. (He did have more playing time than almost anybody at those ages so he's only 13th by WAA.) He got no serious attention from the BBWAA but managed to stay on for 15 years.

The guy who didn't struggle was Stargell, first ballot with 82% in 1988. That was also a big year for Oliva and Cepeda, a weak-ish ballot. Stargell-Allen is pretty similar except for the 1700 extra PAs, certainly not enough to explain the 80-point gap in their debut vote totals.

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