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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

With Experts on the Negro Leagues Involved, the Hall of Fame’s Era Committee Plans Are Emerging

After a year in which its Era Committee deliberations were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Friday that both the Golden Days and Early Baseball Era Committees will in fact meet this winter to consider separate slates of 10 candidates apiece. The Early Baseball ballot will include candidates from the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues Black baseball, as I reported in August — the first time such candidates have been considered since 2006 — and in a welcome bit of good news, a group of five Negro Leagues historians is part of the screening committee that’s selecting the candidates for inclusion on the ballot.

The Hall’s press release did not specify when the actual ballots will be announced, and at this writing the Hall has not responded to FanGraphs’ request for further information. However, its Around the Horn newsletter sent out on Monday said that the ballots “will be announced in the days following the conclusion of the 2021 World Series.” Going by recent history, that will be sometime in early November. The 2019 Today’s Game Era Committee ballot was announced on Monday, November 5, 2018, while the 2020 Modern Baseball Era Committee ballot was announced on Monday, November 4, 2019. Since this year’s World Series could extend as late as November 3 even without rainouts, all signs point to Monday, November 8 as the date both committee ballots will be revealed.

Both committee votes will take place on December 5, though the Hall conspicuously did not specify whether they would do so at the Winter Meetings, as various committees have done since 2007. This year’s meetings are scheduled to occur from December 5-9 in Orlando, Florida, but given both the ongoing pandemic and the December 1 expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement — which could trigger a lockout — there’s a growing expectation within the industry that the meetings will be canceled, and so one can’t blame the Hall for its lack of specificity. Regardless of where the vote happens, the results will be announced live on MLB Network that evening.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:55 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, negro leagues

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 26, 2021 at 01:19 PM (#6049145)
I hope they focus on those still alive like Kaat.
   2. DL from MN Posted: October 26, 2021 at 01:30 PM (#6049151)
I hope they focus on the best players - like Dick Redding and Bill Dahlen. The Golden Days ballot results from the prior election:

Dick Allen 11 68.8%
Tony Oliva 11 68.8%
Jim Kaat 10 62.5%
Maury Wills 9 56.3%
Minnie Minoso 8 50%
Ken Boyer 3 or fewer
Gil Hodges 3 or fewer
Bob Howsam 3 or fewer
Billy Pierce 3 or fewer
Luis Tiant 3 or fewer


I'd elect Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso, Luis Tiant, Ken Boyer and Billy Pierce before Jim Kaat. Minoso should see a small boost when his NGL stats are included for discussion.
   3. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: October 26, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6049165)
I submitted to news the Hall of Fame’s article/press release about adding Negro League historian/experts to the Historical Overview Committee to screen the candidates but this article is better since it’s a little more all encompassing the upcoming HOF vote as a whole

I think it’s a good move & I look forward to seeing what Negro League candidates make the ballot. I assume Buck O’Neil will make it.

I’d like to see one of the living candidates get voted in on the Golden Days ballot even though I think Minoso & Allen are the most deserving. I guess I’m pulling most for Oliva since he missed by one vote the last time he was on a ballot. Kaat has come close before too & both him & Oliva are more deserving than Wills in my opinion
   4. The Duke Posted: October 26, 2021 at 05:25 PM (#6049195)
Yeah I can’t understand the Maury wills HOF case
   5. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: October 26, 2021 at 05:39 PM (#6049199)
As far as Wills’ HOF case, his supporters put a lot of stock in his setting the SB record and the whole bringing back the stolen base thing. Personally, I would rank him at the bottom of the list of candidates DL from MN posted from the prior election. I don’t see his inclusion on the ballot as ridiculous but I just don’t see him as a HOFer.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2021 at 06:02 PM (#6049202)
The Maury Wills HoF case (make of it what you will)

1. He was famous. Many people think the HoF is supposed to recognize fame (don't blame me). He was really quite famous, still talked about a lot in the early-mid 70s. That fame faded a good bit when Brock broke his season record and the MLB career record.

2. He won a MVP

3. 5 AS games

4. 16 points of black ink (Minoso 19, Kaat 16 ... Oliva is your choice here)

5. Single-season record with 19 Rbaser!!! Career #26 all-time (more than Ty Cobb!!)

More seriously, the gap between Wills and Brock is not very big, especially given Wills was an average defensive SS while Brock was an indifferent LF. The main difference is playing time which is the result of Wills not getting a chance until age 26 and the fact that Brock was given 2400 PA of not much production (<2 WAR) at the end of his career to break the career SB record and reach 3000 hits. Brock of course was a first ballot guy while Wills stayed around 25-30% for the entire 15 years.
   7. McCoy Posted: October 26, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6049208)
There's no need for a Vets Committee (of any any kind) anymore.
   8. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: October 26, 2021 at 07:04 PM (#6049209)
And of course Wills was infamously horrible as a manager, though whether that should be taken into consideration isn't my call.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2021 at 07:36 PM (#6049216)
I'd elect Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso, Luis Tiant, Ken Boyer and Billy Pierce before Jim Kaat.

HOMers all !
(but not Kaat, hey that rhymes)
   10. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 26, 2021 at 10:36 PM (#6049272)
Maury Wills seems like a position player version of Catfish Hunter. Both were "famous" in their day, played for a lot of winners, and put up some eye-catching traditional numbers that don't look as impressive from a modern sabermetric standpoint.

MW 39.6 bWAR; CH 40.9 bWAR
MW 1 MVP, 4 Top 10 finishes; CH 1 Cy Young, 4 Top 10 (Top 4) finishes
MW 3 World Series rings; CH 5 World Series rings
MW 14 seasons (started late); CH 15 seasons (ended early)

Catfish got into the Hall of Fame relatively easily (3rd ballot), Wills is still waiting. While Catfish's resume is admittedly better than Wills', I think mostly he just had luckier timing. He first appeared on the HOF ballot in 1985. The best starting pitchers with him (by JAWS) were Jim Bunning, Wilbur Wood, Mickey Lolich -- arguably all better than Catfish, but that was a minority opinion in 1985, so he looked like the best pitcher on the ballot to most voters. No real contenders became eligible in the next two years and Catfish was elected with Billy Williams on a pretty weak 1987 ballot. (Ron Santo was the standout exception, but we know he was overlooked for years.)

Wills spent a full 15 years on the ballot, debuting at a healthy 30.3% but never getting past 40.6%. Luis Aparicio debuted a year after him and probably took some votes from him for six years (as a better fielding SS and a similar hitter/runner), and every year for a while there seemed to be at least one new slam-dunk guy at the top of the ballot (Mays, Kaline, Gibson, Aaron/FRobinson, BRobinson); meanwhile, Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman kept pushing Wills' once-impressive 104 SB season down the list. By the end of his eligibility, he just didn't look all that impressive anymore.
   11. The Duke Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:54 PM (#6049301)
The era committees have been pretty good about moving people up Sonoma guessing Oliva and Allen go on with Minoso and Kaat next. If I had my way, I’d do oliva and kaat first and then Allen and minoso second. I’m a cardinal fan and a Boyer fan but I think he and Tiant unfortunately define the line of HOVG and HOF.
   12. John Northey Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6049303)
I see Maury Wills as a reason for the 5 year wait before becoming eligible. Without that delay he might be in. Many players look great while playing and build up fan bases, especially in the 60's and 70's before statistical analysis involved more than raw numbers. Guys like Wills and Steve Garvey were seen as HOF'ers because their negatives weren't as obvious to people then. Now Wills 330 OBP lifetime, peak of 355 would stand out as why he wasn't that good a leadoff hitter, his 2 seasons with an OPS+ over 100 out of 14 seasons would also kick his case to the curb. Garvey had a 329 OBP, peak of 363, never slugged 500, a 138 OPS+ was his best ever - plus he was only at 1B and had a negative dWAR every season (Keith Hernandez was positive often despite positional adjustments). Vlad Guerrero Jr., hardly a gold glove candidate, had -0.7 dWAR at 1B in 2021, Garvey was worse than that 7 times out of 19 - yet his defense is seen as a positive by older voters.

Back to Wills. 12.2 dWAR lifetime isn't impressive at SS. His case is weak for the HOF, close to being a horrid joke. His 39.6 bWAR lifetime is nice, but not hall worthy by any stretch. It just beats Harold Baines who had 38.7 as a DH. Tony Fernandez has a better case with his 45.3 WAR, 4 Gold Gloves, 5 All-Star Games, 7 times over 100 for OPS+ over 17 seasons, dWAR of 14.9. Yeah, he didn't steal 100 bases ('just' 246 lifetime) but he was a better player by pretty much any measure but SB. For WS rings, 1 for Fernandez, 3 for Wills. 787 postseason OPS for Fernandez vs 571 for Wills. I'm sure I could find quite a few other shortstops who have better cases too.
   13. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: October 27, 2021 at 07:06 AM (#6049328)
Well, Maury sure ain't getting in as a manager. Per Wiki:

Baseball writer Rob Neyer, in his Big Book of Baseball Blunders, criticized Wills for "the variety and frequency of [his] mistakes" as manager, calling them "unparalleled." In a short interview appearing in the June 5, 2006 issue of Newsweek, Neyer said, "It wasn't just that Wills couldn't do the in-game stuff. Wills's inability to communicate with his players really sets him apart. He said he was going to make his second baseman, Julio Cruz, his permanent shortstop. Twenty-four hours later he was back at second base. As far as a guy who put in some real time (as a manager), I don't think there's been anyone close to Wills."

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Steve Rudman, Wills made a number of gaffes. He called for a relief pitcher although there was nobody warming up in the bullpen, held up another game for 10 minutes while looking for a pinch-hitter and even left a spring-training game in the sixth inning to fly to California.


And then there was the time he messed with the batters box...
   14. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 27, 2021 at 07:56 AM (#6049332)
<em>plus he was only at 1B and had a negative dWAR every season (Keith Hernandez was positive often despite positional adjustments). Vlad Guerrero Jr., hardly a gold glove candidate, had -0.7 dWAR at 1B in 2021, Garvey was worse than that 7 times out of 19 - yet his defense is seen as a positive by older voters.<em>

No disagreement with your overall point (Garvey is an overrated defensive player and not HOF-worthy), but I think it's dangerous to look at dWAR for 1B -- they're almost always negative, even for the good fielders. Keith Hernandez is widely regarded as the best defensive 1B ever, but he only had seven seasons with more than 0.1 dWAR, peaking at 0.9. His career dWAR is 1.3.

Six-time Gold Glover J.T. Snow had only one season with more than 0 dWAR, and five years with -1 or worse. Albert Pujols had a nice five-year peak with consecutive positive numbers, including a phenomenal-for-a-1B 2.2, but was negative pretty much every other year; -3.3 career. Gil Hodges had two positive seasons, a 0.1 and a 0.6; -5.4 career. Anthony Rizzo has five positive seasons (peak of 0.5) but is -0.9 for his career.

It looks like Garvey was an above-average (not elite) defensive 1B at his peak, when he was winning his Gold Gloves, and below average outside of it.
   15. Rally Posted: October 27, 2021 at 08:15 AM (#6049336)
I think of Wills the same way I do about Roger Maris. Both were famous, very good players, won MVPs, broke a major record. But not enough career to warrant a real case.
   16. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: October 27, 2021 at 08:34 AM (#6049338)
Lots of good comments about Wills, #15 is completely on point

#11 Boyer & Tiant are over the line for me but neither candidate has even been able to break away from the pack of candidates & come close to election. Tiant is now eligible under the Modern Baseball Era ballot instead of the Golden Days which is worse for him since I think the Modern Era has a more impressive slate of eligible candidates
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 27, 2021 at 09:13 AM (#6049345)
I think of Wills the same way I do about Roger Maris. Both were famous, very good players, won MVPs, broke a major record. But not enough career to warrant a real case.

I'd never thought about that comparison before, but at least in one sense it's not a bad one.

Career WAR: Wills 39.6, Maris 38.3
   18. DL from MN Posted: October 27, 2021 at 09:13 AM (#6049346)
had a negative dWAR every season


Please just use RField to decouple the positional adjustment.
   19. DL from MN Posted: October 27, 2021 at 09:17 AM (#6049347)
Tiant is now eligible under the Modern Baseball Era ballot instead of the Golden Days which is worse for him since I think the Modern Era has a more impressive slate of eligible candidates


That's unfortunate. He's the best living player available on the previous ballot.
   20. BDC Posted: October 27, 2021 at 11:10 AM (#6049359)
Maury Wills gets at least one item of pioneer credit: he and Eddie Moore were the first black players for the Ft. Worth Cats of the Texas League, in 1955. (They didn't break the color line in the league, though; Dallas and San Antonio had previously integrated.)

The 1955 Cats were the incubator of managers. Among Wills' teammates were Sparky Anderson, Dick Williams, Danny Ozark, and Norm Sherry. (Also on the team were Carroll Beringer and Joe Pignatano, longtime coaches, among names I recognize).
   21. Hombre Brotani Posted: October 27, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6049406)
I think of Wills the same way I do about Roger Maris. Both were famous, very good players, won MVPs...
Wills stole 104 bases and Willie Mays' MVP that year. Without looking back again, I'm pretty sure Drysdale, Koufax, and the Davis boys were all at least as valuable as Wills, but getting the SB record was a big deal.
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 27, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6049410)
You could also say that Maris "stole" the 1961 MVP award from Mantle. Maris wasn't even in the top 10 WAR in MLB that year, and was no better than 5th in the AL.
   23. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 27, 2021 at 05:17 PM (#6049419)
Watching video of the old LAD, I thought WIlls was actually pretty good at converting the DP. I havent looked at his numbers to any great extent so I cant say how far short of HoF he is, but I think its worth taking another look at his defense from the video we have before writing him off entirely.

If we waive the five year rule for Munson, does he get in? Having read the arguments made a few months ago, he seems to be the most deserving C not on the ballot.

I really think Campaneris is horribly underrated both for his defense and his running. I made some comments a few months ago about RBaser, its hard to understand how its being calculated. I havent looked at all his seasons but I think if we were to look critically at the crude defensive metrics and RBaser he'd be above the line, not a borderline candidate, but above.
   24. RJ in TO Posted: October 27, 2021 at 06:03 PM (#6049429)
Wills stole 104 bases and Willie Mays' MVP that year. Without looking back again, I'm pretty sure Drysdale, Koufax, and the Davis boys were all at least as valuable as Wills, but getting the SB record was a big deal.
Wills had 6.0, which was ahead of all of them that year (by B-R). The Davis boys were at 5.9 and 5.8, Drysdale at 5.4, and Koufax at 4.5. If you were going to give the award to a member of the Dodgers, he was likely the best choice (by B-R WAR).

And he was 5th in the NL in WAR, so it's not like he wasn't a credible candidate. But you are right in that the award should have been Mays.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2021 at 06:11 PM (#6049432)
Please just use RField to decouple the positional adjustment.

Maybe clearer to say ... when comparing players at the same position, just use Rfield. Arguably, if comparing the same position across eras, use TZ (the number in Rfield for previous eras) because DRS (the number in Rfield for more recent players) doesn't go back that far (TZ is available for everybody in the fielding table ... but how TZ is calculated differs across eras depending on what stats are available). But when comparing across different positions, you have to use dWAR (or do your own defensive spectrum adjustment). So Garvey is rated as an average 1B (career Rfield = 0) but he gets down to zero only due to putting up -20 in his late 30s.

It can also be useful to keep in mind that dWAR is really dWAA. And the average defender is, give or take, a 2B/3B/CF. While it's highly likely that dWAR does underrate Hernandez, at least his career dWAR of 1.3 means he'd have been an average 2B/3B if he'd thrown RH. He probably wasn't fast enough to be a good CF but he probably would have been a very good corner OF although that likely would have been a waste of his reaction time. An average 1B of his era and PT would have been about -10 dWAR so he was about 11 wins better than the average 1B (Rfield/10 is a good enough approximation). Over roughly the same playing time, Aparicio was about 14 wins better than the average SS so TZ/dWAR basically rate Hernandez as the Aparicio of 1B. Bear in mind that 1B don't get that many balls hit to them so even if Hernandez did have the range of Aparicio, he wouldn't get to as many balls as Aparicio did. But, sure, we have to consider the possibility that Hernandez was the Ozzie of SS.

Now Wills 330 OBP lifetime, peak of 355 would stand out as why he wasn't that good a leadoff hitter, his 2 seasons with an OPS+ over 100 out of 14 seasons would also kick his case to the curb.

Ozzie only had 4 seasons of 100+ and had a career 87 OPS+ which is one point below Wills'. Ozzie's lifetime OBP was just 337 (lgOBP 328) compared to Wills 330 (lgOBP 322). Per 162 games, Ozzie's oWAR was 3.1; Wills 3.2. Offensively they're a draw except Ozzie has about 2500 more PA -- which likely also means that if we focus on his peak, his offense will creep ahead of Wills. But that's not the point, the point is that Wills' level of offense is hardly disqualifying for a SS -- see also Aparicio, Maranville and Omar.

It is of course perfectly correct to say that, by HoF standards, Wills' combination of offense and defense (and playing time) is not good enough while Ozzie's, Aparicio's and maybe Omar's are. That said, given Baines and Mazeroski (36 WAR) and Rice (48) are in the HoF and Omar (46, even if by VC eventually) and Yadi (42) almost certainly will be, the claim that Wills' WAR is insufficient by modern standards doesn't remotely hold up. (Let's not even get started on relievers and Jack Morris.)



   26. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 27, 2021 at 07:26 PM (#6049445)
Wills stole 104 bases and Willie Mays' MVP that year.


what does this sentence even mean?
   27. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 27, 2021 at 07:47 PM (#6049446)
But, sure, we have to consider the possibility that Hernandez was the Ozzie of SS.


Serious question: is there really any other candidate for that title in the last, say, 60 years?

he probably would have been a very good corner OF although that likely would have been a waste of his reaction time.


Can you clarify what is meant here? Presumably he would be involved in more plays as a RF than a 1b. That seems to be the assumption. It seems to me a good RF could be 25 defensive runs ahead of the average RF such as Mookie or ROberto CLemente. Do we have any idea of what sort of arm strength KH had? Did have that kind of an arm?

That said, given Baines and Mazeroski (36 WAR) and Rice (48) are in the HoF and Omar (46, even if by VC eventually) and Yadi (42) almost certainly will be, the claim that Wills' WAR is insufficient by modern standards doesn't remotely hold up.


WHile I do agree with the conclusion, using Baines and Maz in this argument is like Bad HoF Arguments 101, right? Everyone agrees Baines is an awful pick. And Maz really cannot use career WAR as a justification as he's not borderline by that measure. Maz is there because of the HR and as Ozzie of 2bmen. Not career WAR.
   28. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 27, 2021 at 08:29 PM (#6049454)
OK I guess what Walt was saying is that Hernandez possessed the almost unique ability among 1b to suppress bunting and to initiate double plays. To an extent never seen before or after.

OK so does TZ adequately measure that, and if not how much was his ability worth? If KH initiated a DP on a bunt say, he should get credit for an extra out (.23), and the fact there is no runner on 2b (w/ one out; .41). So I guess those are worth 0.65 runs? I dont know how many DPs KKH initiated but I think somewhere there's a record of that.

THen there's baserunners kills, where he gets an assist on a runner who wasnt forced. I think an average team produces about 40 of those per year (not counting CS). So if the average is 5, maybe KH created 5 more? Those are worth a lot as they eliminate a baserunner.

Then there's basic fielding range. Does anyone have any concrete ideas on how much all that was worth?

   29. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: October 27, 2021 at 09:31 PM (#6049478)
what does this sentence even mean?


That Maury Wills not only stole 104 bases, he also stole the MVP that Willie Mays clearly deserved.

Personally, I'm surprised Tommy Davis didn't do better in the voting. Those numbers were insane.
   30. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 28, 2021 at 05:15 AM (#6049521)
yeah I finally figured it out. At first I thought it was auto corrected from "and Mays won the MVP that year." Cause obviously WIlls didnt win it. Duh. My bad. Thanks.

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