Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Why does Baseball Hall of Fame voting make people so mad?

Van Bavel’s second point is that the Hall is necessarily fraught — “it’s kind of like a shrine, that’s why they call it being enshrined in the whole thing. And so when you have sacred values, those are the types of things that become moralized for people.”

Between a confluence of suspected PED users on the ballot and a growing attention to off-field infractions, that’s never been more true. The Hall of Fame has become a forum for discussing not just what we value in a baseball player, but what can and can’t abide in a beloved public figure.

“So many of these candidates, you crack open their candidacy and it’s a referendum on one idea or another as to what defines a Hall of Famer,” says Jay Jaffe, a FanGraphs writer and the industry’s foremost expert of objective Hall of Fame analysis.

He’s written about — and quantified to the best of anyone’s ability — what makes a Hall of Famer as it’s evolved to include advanced metrics and a closer read of the character clause. The latter is far trickier and involves weighing athletic exploits against a gamut of infractions from cheating between the lines to credible accusations of domestic violence and sexual harassment (in the case of Omar Vizquel, whose candidacy is, in Jaffe’s expert opinion, “really, really f***ed, and rightly so” — a sentiment reflected in the tallied ballots).

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 19, 2022 at 12:25 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. alilisd Posted: January 19, 2022 at 05:58 PM (#6061626)
says Jay Jaffe, a FanGraphs writer and the industry’s foremost expert of objective Hall of Fame analysis.


Really? The industry's foremost expert? Is there something to this other than he came up with a little tool for WAR to compare players?
   2. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 19, 2022 at 07:45 PM (#6061636)
I mean, he's been writing and thinking about it carefully for 15 years, so there's that.
   3. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 19, 2022 at 07:46 PM (#6061638)
Do people really get mad? Surely they have other things to throw chairs and shake their fists about?

I find the voting wonderfully amusing. Right now on the tracker more people believe Wagner is more deserving then Sheffield and Andruw is just above Wagner by 2 votes. Do these people actually watch baseball? It's fascinating how voters perceive worthiness. Needless to point out my usual statements about guys like Hudson, Buehrle and Pettitte not garnering as much support combined as Wagner has. It is truly mesmerising.
   4. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: January 19, 2022 at 09:41 PM (#6061648)
It is truly mesmerising angering.
   5. The Duke Posted: January 19, 2022 at 09:52 PM (#6061650)
There’s a lot of things I don’t like about Jaffe, but if anyone in the world is a foremost expert on the Hall of Fame it’s him. As with all people who get to the top of their field, he’s very attentive to the detail. Every guy on the ballot gets a huge write - up which is really a great historical document. I find his articles on the lesser talents to be quite illuminating.
   6. Space Force fan Posted: January 19, 2022 at 11:15 PM (#6061658)
I think the issue is more that we don't trust the voters. Reading some of their explanations about why they voted as they did highlights that too many of them have no clue what they are talking about.

Take the examples of the Oscars versus the People's Choice Awards. While the Oscar voters have clear prejudices for and against certain types of movies, I believe that they know more about movies than I do so I at least follows who wins. The People's Choice Awards are a joke that I pay no attention to or care enough about to even bother to read who wins because the voters are clueless.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: January 19, 2022 at 11:27 PM (#6061659)
I would imagine that there are plenty of people who closely follow movies - but only casually follow baseball - who have the exact opposite opinion.

:)
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: January 20, 2022 at 08:49 AM (#6061673)
a FanGraphs writer and the industry’s foremost expert of objective Hall of Fame analysis.
Of all the things in baseball to pick to become the foremost expert, he chose this? Good for him for carving out a niche I guess, but that's lame.
   9. Rally Posted: January 20, 2022 at 08:58 AM (#6061675)
objective Hall of Fame analysis.


I don’t believe this even exists. HOF analysis is subjective. Everyone has their own opinion on how much a player’s drug use or politics should be considered along with what they did on the field.
   10. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2022 at 09:28 AM (#6061677)
Jaffe is probably the most visible and accessible HoF voting "expert" but the field is probably something like 4 people so the descriptors used in this article aren't all that impressive when you think about it.

But still Jaffe is at least doing something I assume he loves so kudos.
   11. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: January 20, 2022 at 09:35 AM (#6061678)
Why? 1) Because no sport or fanbase celebrates and mythologizes its history more than baseball. What NFL or NBA fan thinks great teams or players from the 1920's or 1950's are better than the great teams and players today? And 2) Exclusivity. If I'm doing the math right, the basketball HoF has inducted 401 people in 64 years (6.3/yr), football has 346 in 59 years (5.9/yr), and baseball has 333 in 86 years (3.9/yr). Baseball is a whole lot harder to get into (PED's and general sportswriter silliness aside), so people care more about it. While we wonder why third basemen are so under-represented in the Hall, if they were evaluated by BK or FB HoF voters, the list of HoF 3B would extend down to around Carney Lansford or Ken Caminiti at which point who really cares who's in and who's out?
   12. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: January 20, 2022 at 09:42 AM (#6061679)
That's former batting champion Carney Lansford thank you very much!
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: January 20, 2022 at 09:47 AM (#6061682)
the list of HoF 3B would extend down to around Carney Lansford or Ken Caminiti at which point who really cares who's in and who's out?
Oh my God people would care! With twice as many players near the induction threshold, they'd have twice the opportunity to shoehorn the HOF into every topic.
   14. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2022 at 10:59 AM (#6061696)
The HoF is already well on its way to NBA/NFL level of caring. The biggest issue keeping it relevant nowadays is PEDs. Once that era of players works its way through the process the baseball hall will be just like the NHL/NBA/NFL hall.
   15. bachslunch Posted: January 20, 2022 at 11:36 AM (#6061701)
@11: depends on how you look at it. Assuming these numbers are accurate and I did the math correctly:

NBA Basketball: 4374 players, 401 inducted = 9.16% of all players enshrined. They may not be all NBA players, though.

NFL football: 23204 players, 346 inducted = 1.49% of all players enshrined.

ML baseball: 19902 players, 333 inducted = 1.67% of all players enshrined.

NHL hockey: 7623 players, 190 inducted = 2.49% of all players enshrined.

Done this way, the most exclusive is the Pro Football Hall, followed by ML baseball, NHL hockey, and NBA basketball.
   16. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2022 at 12:05 PM (#6061706)
The Naismith Hall of Fame inducts a ton of people that are not NBA players.

Only about 110 NBA players are in the Hall. Baseball has 267 players though a good amount are NLers (26).
   17. An Athletic in Powderhorn, Silly Posted: January 20, 2022 at 12:13 PM (#6061708)
I don’t believe this even exists. HOF analysis is subjective. Everyone has their own opinion on how much a player’s drug use or politics should be considered along with what they did on the field.
Agreed. Even a question as fundamental as "How many players should be in the HoF?" doesn't have an objective answer.
   18. bachslunch Posted: January 20, 2022 at 12:40 PM (#6061712)
@16: Thanks. The Pro Football Hall also has several non-playing members. Not sure what the exact numbers are, though it can be figured. Regardless, the assertion that the Baseball Hall is the most exclusive is easy to call into question.
   19. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6061724)
I believe 52 non players in the Football Hall of Fame.
   20. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2022 at 01:51 PM (#6061730)
I would guess a true study would filter out the pool based on playing time. Nobody expects a player that got into one game to get into the hall. More like how many players went in from a pool of all decent players that fans of that era have a reasonable chance of remembering their name.

Like I'm going to remember the name Russ Ortiz but if you ask me between Daryl Porter and Talmadge Nunnari which one played baseball that would be a coin flip for me.
   21. villageidiom Posted: January 20, 2022 at 02:13 PM (#6061740)
Why does Jaffe being labeled the 'industry’s foremost expert of objective Hall of Fame analysis' make people so mad?

I mean, people aren't really mad about the Baseball Hall of Fame. People are "internet mad" about it, but that's not authentic. Anyone behind a keyboard and not within a right hook of anyone in their discussion group tends to exaggerate how bad they think other people are. Twitter is the worst because it's a petulance factory. No person who has ever done something considered wrong can have attention called to a genuinely, objectively good thing they've done without thousands tweeting in reply "Let's not forget this person did this other thing and is horrible," a thing that literally no people had forgotten before that. But even away from the safe distance of social media, for millennia people have tried to bolster the acceptance of their own opinions by labeling opposing views as atrocities. The internet provides a more efficient process for doing so without material consequence, and that's at play for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That aside, what makes nerds mad (or at least "internet mad") is inefficiency. I've said long ago that nearly every complaint of every nerd boils down to "I got everything I wanted, but it happened so inefficiently!" The voting process is inefficient. Bert Blyleven deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, but it took 15 years of voting for the process to give that result. There are people on the ballot this year who will not make the Hall of Fame this year, but will make the Hall of Fame eventually - and I'm sure that includes people who are in their final year on the ballot. The fact that a substantial proportion of votes are public encourages the criticism, because we can see the inefficiency at work. Some piece of junk voted only for Jeff Kent! The process, in general, has worked damn well, but it definitely could work more efficiently.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 20, 2022 at 02:51 PM (#6061757)
That aside, what makes nerds mad (or at least "internet mad") is inefficiency.
I would say it's the irrationality underlying the inefficiency that is the actual source of irritation.
   23. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 20, 2022 at 03:07 PM (#6061762)
Talmadge Nunnari


If Chris Berman had ever heard of him, he'd be Talmadge "Get thee to a" Nunnari.
   24. Adam Starblind Posted: January 20, 2022 at 05:55 PM (#6061778)
I was already mad.
   25. villageidiom Posted: January 20, 2022 at 06:34 PM (#6061781)
I would say it's the irrationality underlying the inefficiency that is the actual source of irritation.
Yeah, but if the irrationality didn't slow things down it would just be LOL look at the fool who voted only Jeff Kent and nobody would give a ####. It would be a source of comedy. Someone would just respond "OK boomer" and people would laugh and that would be it, other than at the petulance factory.

With Blyleven, like, almost nobody was saying he should be in the Hall of Fame, and it wasn't because almost nobody was irrational about it. They were rational, but they were underinformed. They were used to conventional stats telling us what we needed to know, and they processed that information rationally. Once Lederer started making his case, and beating that drum, the support grew slowly. After many years those same rational people were using better information and rationally changing their vote. But people started getting "internet mad" about the fact that he wasn't gaining support faster from these dumbasses. But that's why the process isn't universally one-and-done: it's built to give time for everything to be considered, and reconsidered. The process isn't built for efficiency.

There are 268 players in the HoF. Only 58 were elected on their first ballot. Voters, at one point or another, "got it wrong" for most players in the HoF. And yet, when we look at the players in there, for the most part the process got it right.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 20, 2022 at 08:27 PM (#6061794)
Why does Baseball Hall of Fame voting make people so mad?
Of late, it seems to be the votes for relief pitchers.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
robneyer
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJOEY VOTTO IS THE GREATEST REDS PLAYER OF ALL TIME
(20 - 1:53pm, May 23)
Last: Nasty Nate

Newsblog2022 NBA Playoffs thread
(1725 - 1:45pm, May 23)
Last: spivey

NewsblogRoger Angell, Who Wrote About Baseball With Passion, Dies at 101
(54 - 12:51pm, May 23)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogAdley Rutschman, MLB's No. 1 prospect, called up to O's
(29 - 12:40pm, May 23)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogZach Davies’ estranged wife says MLB pitcher ghosted her for a year
(59 - 12:29pm, May 23)
Last: .

NewsblogFormer Giants fan-favorite infielder Joe Panik retires from MLB
(16 - 12:05pm, May 23)
Last: jingoist

Sox TherapyOne Step Forward
(19 - 11:57am, May 23)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogJuan Soto trade rumors: Nationals may be 'motivated' to trade outfielder
(58 - 11:06am, May 23)
Last: bfan

NewsblogYankees, White Sox benches clear after Josh Donaldson calls Tim Anderson 'Jackie' Robinson
(47 - 10:45am, May 23)
Last: Rally

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Crowning Champions and Pro-Rel
(160 - 10:42am, May 23)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogWEEKEND OMNICHATTER for May 20-22, 2022
(120 - 9:59am, May 23)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogSports teams love crypto. What happens when their sponsor strikes out?
(12 - 8:35am, May 23)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogSeattle Mariners sign Justin Upton
(14 - 12:33am, May 23)
Last: bookbook

NewsblogNew York Mets' Max Scherzer out 6-8 weeks with oblique strain
(16 - 12:25pm, May 21)
Last: nick swisher hygiene

NewsblogSports Venues Create Quiet Refuge for Fans with Sensory Needs
(2 - 7:23pm, May 20)
Last: AndrewJ

Page rendered in 0.5963 seconds
45 querie(s) executed