FanDuel - WFBC

November 27, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame ballot released.:
With a maximum of 10 spots allowed on a ballot (and an average of only 6.6 spots used per ballot in last year's voting), the baseball HOF logjam begins in earnest.

posted by grum@work to baseball at 09:23 AM - 31 comments

Here is the full ballot (in alphabetical order):


*-first timers

Moises Alou *
Jeff Bagwell
Armando Benitez *
Craig Biggio
Barry Bonds
Sean Casey *
Roger Clemens
Ray Durham *
Eric Gagne *
Tom Glavine *
Luis Gonzalez *
Jacque Jones *
Todd Jones *
Jeff Kent *
Paul Lo Duca *
Greg Maddux *
Edgar Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Mike Mussina *
Hideo Nomo *
Rafael Palmeiro
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Kenny Rogers *
Curt Schilling
Richie Sexson *
Lee Smith
J.T. Snow *
Sammy Sosa
Frank Thomas *
Mike Timlin *
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker

posted by grum@work at 09:24 AM on November 27

Players I could reasonably vote for the HOF if there was no player limit:

Jeff Bagwell
Craig Biggio
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Tom Glavine
Jeff Kent
Greg Maddux
Edgar Martinez
Mark McGwire
Mike Mussina
Rafael Palmeiro
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Sammy Sosa
Frank Thomas
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker

That's 18 players, and I'm skipping over Jack Morris (who will get about 70%), Fred McGriff (who is right on the border), Lee Smith (who writers also like), and Don Mattingly (also a favourite with writers).

So without even trying, there are about 22 players with legitimate HOF potential.

Any writer that doesn't fill their ballot with 10 choices is ridiculous.

My choice for the 10?

Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Greg Maddux
Tom Glavine
Frank Thomas
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Craig Biggio
Mark McGwire
Jeff Bagwell

It kills me to leave off Martinez, Palmeiro, Sosa, Mussina, and Kent.
Schilling, Trammell, and Walker can't compare to those ahead of them, but are deserving as well.

posted by grum@work at 09:32 AM on November 27

My prediction?

Greg Maddux is the only one to get over the 75% mark (with...hmmm...92%).

posted by grum@work at 09:37 AM on November 27

We should all pitch in and buy Grum a ballot.

posted by tron7 at 10:09 AM on November 27

Oh, and legitimate HOF'ers that drop below 5% threshold?

Kent, Palmeiro, Walker, and Trammell.

posted by grum@work at 10:18 AM on November 27

We should all pitch in and buy Grum a ballot.

I'm not a big fan of what they are doing. If someone is willing to give up their voting rights like that, they should have them taken away permanently.

This "Voting Armageddon" that the baseball HOF is walking into for the next couple of years might result in a few changes to the voting procedures:

1) No maximum on the ballots.
This would allow more deserving players to get votes and increase the chance of someone getting voted in.

2) Raising the cut-off for staying on the ballot to 10%
This would drop off the stragglers quicker (even if they might be deserving) and force the voters to concentrate their votes on fewer candidates (thus increasing the chance of someone getting voted in).

posted by grum@work at 10:23 AM on November 27

Grum obviously doesn't believe in punishing PED users. Which is fine, but allowing players who benefited into the HOF means they should be measured by a higher statistical standard. Grum's got at least four players on his macro-level list in this category.

posted by werty at 11:13 AM on November 27

You Can't Predict Ball has been tweeting cases for the candidates.

Grum obviously doesn't believe in punishing PED users.

I wouldn't think to speak for him, but I'm guessing it's more a case of, "Show me a full and accurate list of all PED users and their level of abuse and then we can talk." Without that it's simply a different excuse to exclude players you don't like and include the ones you do. We already have plenty of those.

posted by yerfatma at 11:22 AM on November 27

We know I'm not the biggest baseball fan here but still I keep in touch enough that I'd expect to at least be aware of every name on the ballot. But there are three I don't recognize at all and a few more that register a blip.

Looking forward to the day someone's inducted I don't recognize because my divorce from the national pastime will be complete.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:33 AM on November 27

I'm not a big fan of what they are doing.

Yeah, I can see where you wouldn't want the idea of the hall cheapened. I think we're already there so I appreciate Deadspin illustrating how silly this has all become.

But there are three I don't recognize at all and a few more that register a blip.

Jacque Jones made the ballot?! That's crazy, right?

posted by tron7 at 11:59 AM on November 27

Grum obviously doesn't believe in punishing PED users...Grum's got at least four players on his macro-level list in this category.

Actually, I have no problem with punishing PED users who were suspended by MLB for breaking the rules.

The only one on that list that qualifies to me is Rafael Palmeiro.

If Palmeiro had a clean record and was never suspended, he'd definitely knock off one of McGwire, Bagwell, or Biggio because his numbers were outstanding (3000 hits and 500 HR).

However, he was caught using PEDs during the season he reached 3000 hits (a recognized achievement), and retired soon after. My own mental docking for that is I don't give him his 3000 hit plateau, so he's there with 2900+ hits and over 500HR. That's still going to get my vote.

That said, there are 10 other candidates that I think are more worthy, hence him dropping off my ballot.

I assume the other three are Bonds, Clemens, and McGwire.

Bonds: Even if he doesn't play another game after 2000, I still think he put up enough to make it to the HOF. Since he never was punished by MLB, I'm not going to dock all of his time after 2000, and that just adds to the ridiculous resume he already built.

Clemens: See above, and throw in the fact that they couldn't even prove in court that he lied about not using PEDs.

McGwire: Did almost all of his stat building during the time when PEDs were not explicitly against the rules. His peaks and his career totals are hard to ignore, but when a couple other HOF players join the crowded ballot next year (Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz), and we assume that only one or two make it into the HOF this year (Maddux, probably Glavine, maybe Morris), then I can easily see a time when my ballot doesn't have him on it.

posted by grum@work at 12:07 PM on November 27

Jacque Jones made the ballot?! That's crazy, right?

The rules are "10 years" and "someone nominates him", I think.

Here are the ones that didn't get on the ballot:

Keith Foulke, Geoff Jenkins, Jose Vidro, Dmitri Young, Estaban Loaiza, Jon Lieber, Matt Morris, Shannon Stewart, Joe Borowski, Sean Estes

My thinking is that someone has to be the worst player on the HOF ballot, so why not Jacque Jones?

I guess if I had to cut off the list of the ballot rookies, I'd have gone with:

Maddux - obvious
Mussina - obvious
Glavine - obvious
Thomas - obvious
Kent - obvious
Rogers - 200+ wins, Gold Gloves, 4 All-Star games, that last hurrah in the 2006 post-season with Detroit
Gonzalez - 350 HR, 57 HR season, decent OPS+, 5 All-Star games, Silver Slugger
Alou - 6 All-Star games, 2 Silver Sluggers, MVP votes for 7 seasons (finishing 3rd once)
Gagne - Cy Young, votes in 3 seasons for MVP, probably the most dominant 3-season run by any closer in MLB history (might not be enough, but I have a soft spot for my fellow Canadian)
Nomo - Japanese trailblazer, no-hitter, ROY, finished 4th in Cy Young voting (twice)

posted by grum@work at 12:21 PM on November 27

Actually, I have no problem with punishing PED users who were suspended by MLB for breaking the rules.

Before someone mentions it, yes I know that Sosa was suspended for breaking the rules (corked bat). It's also part of the reason he doesn't make my "10" just yet, but if the HOF voters don't my pitchers that cheat getting into the HOF, I don't put too much weight on hitters that do the same.

posted by grum@work at 12:31 PM on November 27

I know I'd vote for Maddux, at least. Of course, that's because I'm afraid he'll hunt me down and make a brand-new Bonkers-suit out of my flesh if I don't.

posted by Bonkers at 12:59 PM on November 27

Strange to me Foulke didn't even make the ballot. I know there's a bias against relievers, but 6 years of 150+ ERA+ and essentially burning out his career to win a Series has to count for something.

posted by yerfatma at 01:20 PM on November 27

Strange to me Foulke didn't even make the ballot. I know there's a bias against relievers, but 6 years of 150+ ERA+ and essentially burning out his career to win a Series has to count for something.

Can you identify even a season where Foulke was the best reliever in baseball? Foulke in my mind was a very good stopper, a step behind Rivera or Gagne even during his best seasons. He had 5-6 very good years, and barring injury probably had a few more in him.

As a Red Sox fan, I'd give the guy the shirt off my back in a heartbeat for the work he did, but John Wettland and Tom Henke barely scraped the ballot. Foulke's body of work is lesser than theirs.

posted by dfleming at 03:14 PM on November 27

By why Timlin and not Foulke?
I guess the length of time that Timlin pitched (18 seasons) might get him semi-auto-selected to the HOF ballot.

I checked and there are only two active pitchers within 120 games pitched (about two seasons for a good reliever) of Timlin (1058):

Mariano Rivera (1115)
LaTroy Hawkins (943)

I guess if Hawkins gets on the ballot in 5+ years, we'll have assume it's the same reason as Timlin.

posted by grum@work at 03:49 PM on November 27

Can you identify even a season where Foulke was the best reliever in baseball?

At a minimum, I'd guess 1999 and 2004, with 2000 and 2003 also being in the mix. It's hard to tell because I can't figure out how to look at relievers in Baseball Reference. At his peak (which I'm defining as 1999-2004), he was the second-best reliever in all of baseball behind only Mariano Rivera and the person in third is pretty far behind.

posted by yerfatma at 05:03 PM on November 27

grum@work: My prediction?

Greg Maddux is the only one to get over the 75% mark (with...hmmm...92%).

If that's the case this year, then the HoF ought to be taken behind the barn and shot. Then again, that's kind of already the case when they omitted both Bonds and Clemens in their eligible years.

I'm not sure what criteria are used to put someone on an official ballot, although voters are free to write in any name among eligible voters, and the rules for eligibility are pretty much "Players with 10 years experience who fit that 15-year-window of active time within 20 to 5 years ago". Regardless, someone like Foulke just doesn't make the cut in my mind; barely qualifies for the 10 year minimum, and as much as Bostonians love him for his role on that 2004 team, he's no more a Hall of Famer than Jim Rice (who shouldn't be there). If anything, maybe he's happy to not be on the ballot; if he isn't on the ballot and doesn't get any votes, is he still rendered ineligible for not making the 5% cutoff?

From your non-rookie list, I found it odd some of the people you'd put throught if you had a vote. For example, Mussina would definitely be in the Hall of Very, Very Good (and why Bill Simmons' "Pyramid of Fame" is such a fantastic idea), along with guys like Rogers, Kent, Gonzalez, Alou, Gagne, and Nomo. But none of them read as HoF-worthy to me; their peak was too short, their counting stats too pedestrian.

My own picks, from gut reaction. I use all 10 slots, and rectify some players I think were overlooked. I think this year's ballot, there are exactly 10 players who should be voted in for sure, and two in McGwire and Sosa that should be in eventually but between the one-dimensionality and the PED taint, I couldn't bump anyone else in my list:

PlayerFirst-timerVoteComment
Moises Alou*NoNever; just doesn't make the cut
Jeff BagwellYesGood enough, and there is room
Armando Benitez*NoNever
Craig BiggioYesThere's room this year
Barry BondsYesShould have been unanimous in his first year. The Hall is completely invalidated as an Institution for each year he's not voted in
Sean Casey*NoNever
Roger ClemensYesLike Bonds, should be in already
Ray Durham*NoNever
Eric Gagne*NoNever
Tom Glavine*YesShould be a lock, with 300W, 2CY, and several more 2nd/3rd place
Luis Gonzalez*NoNever; I don't think he makes the cut
Jacque Jones*NoNever
Todd Jones*NoNever
Jeff Kent*NoMaybe someday
Paul Lo Duca*NoNever
Greg Maddux*YesShould be unanimous, yet inexplicably won't be. I hope the Mad Dog gets his revenge by "weeding" the Hall of these "No unanimous votes" codgers
Edgar MartinezYesShould be in already
Don MattinglyNoNever
Fred McGriffNoMaybe someday
Mark McGwireNoMaybe someday, on a weaker ballot
Jack MorrisNoMaybe VC
Mike Mussina*NoMaybe someday
Hideo Nomo*NoNever
Rafael PalmeiroYesPED or no, I think he should be in for hitting two huge milestones
Mike PiazzaYesI think he should be in already
Tim RainesNoProbably should be in already; good pick for the VC
Kenny Rogers*NoMaybe VC
Curt SchillingNoMaybe someday
Richie Sexson*NoNever
Lee SmithNoMaybe the VC
J.T. Snow*NoNever
Sammy SosaNoLike McGwire, one-dimensional; good when the ballot is less full
Frank Thomas*YesAbsolute no-brainer; people forget how stupidly, insanely good Frank Thomas was
Mike Timlin*NoNever
Alan TrammellNoNever
Larry WalkerNoMaybe someday

posted by hincandenza at 08:50 PM on November 27

For example, Mussina would definitely be in the Hall of Very, Very Good (and why Bill Simmons' "Pyramid of Fame" is such a fantastic idea), along with guys like Rogers, Kent, Gonzalez, Alou, Gagne, and Nomo. But none of them read as HoF-worthy to me; their peak was too short, their counting stats too pedestrian.

Looking at the stats:

Mussina received Cy Young votes in 9 seasons. His problem was that he was in the same league and era as Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson. It's like being Steve Yzerman in the era of Gretzky & Lemieux, or Tim Raines in the era of Rickey Henderson. In any other time, they'd be legendary, but they end up overshadowed by once (or twice or thrice) in a lifetime contemporaries.

If you want to go old-school stats, then Mussina has a higher winning % than all the other pitchers except Clemens. During his peak (1992-2003), he finishes behind only Maddux and Glavine in total wins (which is impressive because Mussina's teams only finished above .500 4 times in those twelve seasons, while Maddux/Glavine's teams finished above .500 11 times in the same period).

If you want to go new-school stats, then Mussina has a higher WAR than Glavine, and at his peak (1992-2003), he finishes behind only the big four (Maddux, Martinez, Johnson, Clemens) in total WAR.

posted by grum@work at 10:36 PM on November 27

In my defense, I did say I judged them by "gut reaction". I didn't really pay attention to his career too much in those later years, and Mussina seemed to be one of those "always good, never really the best", consistent guys. Also, since Clemens isn't in the Hall yet, how can we possibly include Mussina? :)

But yeah, looking at his BR page, he's a shoo-in case. Great winning percentage, nearly 3,000K, lots of black/grey ink for the HoF monitors, etc. Given that, I'd punt Biggio or Palmeiro to make room for him.

In fact, I'm not sure why he retired after 2008; he had a 20-9 season with 150Ks, worth 5.2 WAR and an ERA+ of 131. Wikipedia mentions nothing about injury, and he was probably 1 season from that 3,000K plateau and possibly only 2 seasons (barring injury, a big if for a 39-year-old) from 300 wins. So yeah- I'll admit, on further inspection, Mussina should be a shoo-in as much as Glavine.

Although... with this many good players, and with only 10 slots... will the writers have to coordinate somehow to ensure that people aren't immediately made ineligible simply due to lack of ballot space? This might be one of those rare cases where the "Never on the first ballot" idiots can actually do something good: avoid voting for the first-ballot shoo-ins like Maddux, Thomas, or even Mussina to throw enough votes to the also-rans to keep them above 5%.

posted by hincandenza at 10:49 PM on November 27

Also, I'd add one new rule to your suggested changes: 1. Remove the limit on slots for voting. 2. Raise the minimum to 10% 15% instead of 5% (obviously, only if rule 1 is in place). If you can't even get 15% of the vote when there's no limit on the size of a ballot, you clearly should just wait for the Veteran's committee. 3. If a voter fails to include a player who otherwise gets 95%+ of the vote, that voter is ineligible for one (1) year.

Number 3 would be controversial, and might be toothless if 5.1% of the writers collude to ensure they never get caught on it... but on principle, I'm tired of both MVP voters excluding pitchers (when convenient) under the "They have the Cy Young" banner, and this crusty old fogey brigade that thinks no one should ever get 100%. That's not in the rules of eligibility or voting, so please don't make up more "unwritten" rules, crusty old voters- kthxbai.

I mean, such an idea is simply silly. There is one 100% vote getter already in Christy Mathewson, and the rarest of the rare- Maddux, Bonds, Clemens, and Johnson and Griffey when they come up- are so obviously and exceptionally Hall of Fame caliber that anyone who doesn't include them is likely experiencing some form of dementia and is not fit for voting. That the voters didn't put guys like Cobb and Ruth and Mays and Williams and Aaron in with 100% is stupid too, but why should we continue to compound that stupidity?

posted by hincandenza at 10:59 PM on November 27

yerfatma: You Can't Predict Ball has been tweeting cases for the candidates.
Wow, these are awesome, even if they have that whiff of cherry-picked stats. The Bonds/Clemens ones are absurd and devastating to the non-voters.

posted by hincandenza at 11:03 PM on November 27

Now some total jerk of a writer has sold his ballot to Deadspin. I don't care what you might think of the process as it exists now, but the HoF voters owe it to the nominees and more so to those now in the HoF to make some sort of intelligent, or at least justifiable, selection.

I pretty much agree with hincandenza's choices. While my WASP sense of morality dislikes the idea of the PED users like Bonds, Clemens, et al being elected, the evidence is that these guys had some real accomplishment to their credit before they used the bad stuff. For his nickname alone I think Fred McGriff - the Crime Dog McGruff - ought to be in. I do agree that his numbers fall just short to make it against this class. If Maddux is elected, Cooperstown will not be a safe place around the time of the induction ceremonies.

posted by Howard_T at 11:34 PM on November 27

2. Raise the minimum to 10% 15% instead of 5% (obviously, only if rule 1 is in place). If you can't even get 15% of the vote when there's no limit on the size of a ballot, you clearly should just wait for the Veteran's committee.

Bert Blyleven is thankful this rule didn't exist 15 years ago, as he only got 14.1% of the vote during his second year on the ballot (1999).

posted by grum@work at 08:26 AM on November 28

If the one-trick pony McGwire ever makes it in, seeing as how his one trick was likely a result of substances, then there are quite a few players (who will never make it into the Hall) who have a legitimate bitch.

posted by dyams at 12:50 PM on November 28

If the one-trick pony McGwire ever makes it in

Two tricks, (power and pitch recognition) and he was damn good at both of them, which isn't a combination you saw too much of...except in the HOF.

posted by grum@work at 02:39 PM on November 28

Todd Jones' take on being on the ballot

posted by MeatSaber at 05:58 PM on November 28

McGwire's also really good at unconvincing denials.

posted by rcade at 11:01 AM on November 29

I pretty much agree with hincandenza's choices.

I do as well except for Tim Raines. I'd put him and Trammell in, trading out Palmeiro and . . . well, somebody. The 10 vote max thing needs to go. Firstly because there's no good reason for it and secondly because it appeals to Puritanical baseball writers and reinforces their biases about imposing artificial constraints. I hate all the unwritten rules & meanings writers put into their ballots (e.g., "I'm not voting for anyone this year as a really loud look-at-me silent protest against PEDs.") though I suppose with enough voters you're bound to get a couple morons per year.

posted by yerfatma at 07:35 AM on November 30

The 10 vote max thing needs to go.

Whenever there is a large class (>10), perhaps a first round elimination could be adopted. Base it on the "Hare" ballot, where instead of simply marking 10 choices from the field, the elector ranks his 10 choices from 1 to 10. When the ballots are counted a determination is made based on the number of electors how many number 1 selections will qualify a player for the final 10. Once any player has reached the number required, his number 1 ballots are screened to determine the number 2 selection, and these number 2 votes are added to the appropriate players and treated as additional number 1 votes. It sounds really complicated, but it's not so hard. The Episcopal Diocese of NH has been using this procedure to elect candidates for multiple seats for quite a while, and it works well. There is also a simple computer program for counting the votes that would prove useful when the electors are widely separated by geography.

No matter how it is done, eliminating any excess number of candidates should be done. The main thing is to do it without hurting the chances in future, less crowded, years of a player eliminated prior to the final 10. Perhaps he could be treated as if his retirement had been delayed a year, or he could be protected from the minimum percentage rule for a crowded year. Any such thing would still be preferable to the present system.

posted by Howard_T at 03:20 PM on November 30

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