Last year my post was using the scenario that I could vote for as many players as I wanted, and it was one of my few posts that got more than one comment on it, so you don’t need to tell me that this is a really divisive topic. A reminder that we can have conversations on these topics without resorting to name-calling and being condescending, as we should be doing throughout our baseball discussions, and all discussions, really. To echo what went down in 2013 on my voting, anybody associated with PEDs is not going to be dismissed, and I love advanced metrics. I know I didn’t watch some of these guys play, but I don’t think that should be something that makes opinions like mine ineligible for submissions. I also did a preview of twenty eligible players for the 2014 ballot that you can check out here. Now, here we go, my ten for 2014:
No doubt about it
Three spots left for seven guys
- Mike Mussina — his having played in a competitive division gives him a little bit more an edge for me, and his advanced metric HOF numbers make this choice sit more comfortably with me
- Craig Biggio — love his versatility and position flexibility. His advanced metric HOF numbers were not Top 10, but not everybody split time between the 2B, catcher, and outfield positions like he did. I may also be biased towards shorter players.
- Mike Piazza — catcher that could be overshadowed by some other, great, worthy names that manned a corner spot, but he was a fantastic catcher.
The other four that missed my cut — keep in mind that I think that if any of these four were in, I would have no problems with it. Each of these players are very deserving, and is my argument for eliminating the ten-player limit
- Larry Walker — Unlike Biggio, his advanced metric HOF numbers are all in the Top 10 of the 2014 class, and I do feel like I’m punishing him for not being at a different position.
- Alan Trammell — He’s running out of time, and he’s got some good arguments for him, better than Biggio, in fact.
- Edgar Martinez — Like Biggio, advanced metric HOF numbers were outside the Top 10, and I know I’m punishing him for lack of position flexibility here.
- Tim Raines — Most stolen bases on the ballot, beating out Bonds by almost 300 bags.
So there you have it. Have at it. Tell me your ballot, your thoughts, opinions, all the while being civil. Would be more than happy to engage in some baseball discussion over this.
Before I get into my ballot, I thought it’d be a good idea to do my own studying on players eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2014. Only ten players are eligible to be listed on a ballot by the qualified members of the BBWAA. I wrote quickly about twenty players very quickly both to serve as a reference for me, and if you like the way I write, for you, too. A lot of the numbers I’m referencing can be found on Baseball Reference here.
Barry Bonds (117.6 JAWS vs. 53.2 Jpos, 162.5 rWAR, 72.8 rWAR7) – 500/500 club member, .444 on base percentage, 182 OPS+ in 2986 games and 9,847 at bats, slowly Bonds will get the support these numbers will warrant, but it’s anyone’s guess as to when he will be voted in. Even after he gets voted in, he will remain one of the most controversial players across the landscape of baseball fans.
Roger Clemens (103.3 JAWS vs. 61.4 Jpos, 140.3 rWAR, 66.3 rWAR7) – 4,672 K’s across 707 games started, with a 143 ERA+ and an ERA just above three at 3.12, here’s another player where we’re not sure when the old guard will retire or change their views on steroids in baseball and vote Roger in. The old guard has to love the pitcher wins, though, so that may help his case.
Greg Maddux (81.6 JAWS vs. 61.4 Jpos, 106.8 rWAR, 56.3 rWAR7) – An old fashioned baseball fan’s dreamboat of a pitcher: 355 pitcher wins, not connected to steroids, and on Atlanta Braves teams that won throughout his career. He won’t be unanimous, which is a crime, due to writers not sending in their ballots or just having a stupifyingly different set of opinions. More than 5000 innings pitched across 740 games started with 3,371 strikeouts and 999 walks, with an ERA+ of 132. Maddux was kind of a big deal.
Curt Schilling (64.4 JAWS vs. 61.4 Jpos, 79.9 rWAR, 49.0 rWAR7) – Someone that may be thought of more for his postseason performances than what he’s provided for us in the regular season, Schilling still put up 3,116 strikeouts in 3,261 innings pitched and only 711 walks. Certainly has a higher ERA than the elite pitcher ERA’s in this class, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t exclude him from being enshrined.
Jeff Bagwell (63.8 JAWS vs. 54.0 Jpos, 79.5 rWAR, 48.2 rWAR7) – Entering his fifth year on the ballot, Bagwell is inching towards that magic 75% mark, and might not get there this year because people have their suspicions, but I feel he’ll be there eventually. Hasn’t hit the 500 HR, sure, but a .297/.408/.540 slash line in 7,797 AB and 15 seasons, along with a 149 OPS+ as well as the advanced numbers should tell his story well enough to get the doors to open for him.
Mike Mussina (63.8 JAWS vs. 61.4 Jpos, 83.0 rWAR, 44.5 rWAR7) – “Moose” is turning out to be the guy that’s being the debated bubble guy as I’m seeing on social media for people that are using every space on their real or imagined ballot. A higher ERA at 3.68, the ERA+ ticking down from Schilling at 123, not having 300 pitcher wins (270) nor 3,000 strikeouts (2,813) will probably keep his percentage down this year, but his playing in the competitive AL East and being on winning teams should help his case a little bit.
Tom Glavine (62.9 JAWS vs. 61.4 Jpos, 81.4 rWAR, 44.3 rWAR7) – More than 300 pitcher wins, played for the Braves during their reign of division winning alongside Greg Maddux, more than 4,000 innings pitched (4413.1) with the advanced numbers to show he fits right in alongside the average Hall of Fame player and you can see what makes Glavine a good candidate for receiving a higher number of votes in 2014. Thinking of the only things that may hurt him are his strikeout to walk number at 2,607 to 1,500 and higher than a 3.50 ERA at 3.54, as well as having played in the Steroid Era. Pretty minor points.
Frank Thomas (59.5 JAWS vs. 54.0 Jpos, 73.6 rWAR, 45.3 rWAR7) – No association with steroids and 521 HR should be The Big Hurt’s ticket into Cooperstown. A fantastic .301/.419/.555 slash line and 156 OPS+ in 2,322 games and 8,199 at bats should give voters plenty of ammunition to talk about why Frank should be in. For those that aren’t in favor of voting in Edgar Martinez, I wonder how many of them don’t want Thomas in because of the number of games he was the designed hitter in the lineup.
Larry Walker (58.6 JAWS vs. 58.1 Jpos, 72.6 rWAR, 44.6 rWAR7) – Already his fifth year on the ballot, I can see Walker being one of those players where the advanced metric people make a huge push for him in his final year. A .313/.400/.565 slash line and 141 OPS+ are HOF-worthy, but less than 400 home runs (383) across 19 seasons, no WS rings to speak of, Steroid Era player, easy to imagine why the older-school voters would keep Walker out.
Alan Trammell (57.5 JAWS vs. 54.7 Jpos, 70.3 rWAR, 44.6 rWAR7) – Fourteenth year of eligibility, still has only received a little more than a third of the voters’ support. With a .285/.352/.415 slash line and a 110 OPS+, 185 HR in 2,293 G and 8,288 AB, you start to see you’ve also got to rely on Trammell’s defensive prowess to convince you that’s why his rWAR is what it is.
Edgar Martinez (55.9 JAWS vs. 55.0 Jpos, 68.3 rWAR, 43.5 rWAR7) – Are you comfortable with a full-time DH being in the Hall of Fame? That appears to be the big argument with Edgar, as well as his relatively low HR count at 309, he does have some HOF lines at .312/.418/.515 and a 147 OPS+. Interesting that some voters that vote for the AL MVP all of a sudden figure out the need to look at defense for Edgar Martinez.
Tim Raines (55.6 JAWS vs. 53.2 Jpos, 69.1 rWAR, 42.2 rWAR7) – 23 seasons, 2,502 games, 8,872 at bats, switch-hitting, and 808 stolen bases with a .294/.385/.425 slash line with a 123 OPS+. Bill James’ HOF metrics actually put Raines at a below-average HOF player if he were to be inducted so there’s not even agreement within advanced metrics as to Raines’ belonging in Cooperstown.
Rafael Palmeiro (55.3 JAWS vs. 54.0 Jpos, 71.8 rWAR, 38.8 rWAR7) – For the numbers that Palmeiro has: 3,020 hits, 569 HR, playing in the AL East, he had an induction ready to go into Cooperstown had he not throw out as strong of a lie as he did in front of Congress. It’s not like the Hall of Fame hasn’t had someone in there that didn’t have their questionable moments in history. Only gathering 8.8% of voter support in his fourth year, who knows how long it will take people to forgive Palmeiro for his testimony.
Craig Biggio (53.3 JAWS vs. 57.0 Jpos, 64.9 rWAR, 41.6 rWAR7) – The highest number of AB (10,876) and hits (3,060) on the ballot, Biggio had 1989 games at 2B, 428 games at catcher, and 363 games in the outfield, you want to talk about the “team player” narrative as well as that you’ve got to be athletic to spend all those games there, I struggle to see how Biggio was not voted in last time around.
Mark McGwire (52.0 JAWS vs. 54.0 Jpos, 62.0 rWAR, 41.9 rWAR7) – While he gave us the first 70 homer season we’ve ever seen, he also wasn’t willing to talk about his steroid use to Congress, which caused him to lose a lot of fans, although good for him that he owned up to it when he started working as the hitting coach for the Cardinals. While Big Mac has the HR numbers, OBP, and SLG to be an above average HOF, his advanced numbers are below average enough to put him at the back end of the priority list for being voted in for the next few years.
Mike Piazza (51.1 JAWS vs. 43.1 Jpos, 59.2 rWAR, 43.1 rWAR7) – A name that brings about pretty mixed emotions for Dodger fans, but since the steroid suspicion has been swirling around his name, the support has not been as unified as it probably should be. Within the catcher ranks, he has the most HR, the highest career wRC+ at 140 tied with Gene Tenace and someone named Buster Posey. Piazza’s .390 wOBA and .308/.377/.545 slash line with a 143 OPS+ is also pretty good.
Sammy Sosa (51.1 JAWS vs. 58.1 Jpos, 58.4 rWAR, 43.7 rWAR7) – If McGwire gets in, you wonder how far behind Sosa will be, although it’s not like they’re the same player. .273/.344/.534, 609 HR, but lower than the average HOF OF in the advanced HOF measures. Of course, a lot of people saw his inability to speak English in front of Congress as a big point of losing faith in Sosa’s character, but then again, it is to be seen if recent pictures of Sosa that surfaced on Instagram can restore the faith.
Jeff Kent (45.4 JAWS, vs. 57.0 Jpos, 55.2 rWAR, 35.6 rWAR7) – Well, that is quite the drop off in JAWS and rWAR7 from Sosa to Kent. 377 home runs, played on some winning teams, put up a .290/.356/.500 and a 123 OPS+, good numbers, but probably too low to get him in. Also had a reputation for being a bit of a jerk, so for anybody that holds grudges, Kent’s going to be a hard sell.
Fred McGriff (44.3 JAWS vs. 54.0 Jpos, 52.6 rWAR, 36.0 rWAR7) – Already his sixth year on the ballot, he fell just short of the so-called magic 500 HR with 493, and his .284/.377/.509 line with a 134 OPS+ might still provide some hesitation for some voters even if The Crime Dog had reached the arbitrary, round number. If McGriff didn’t have to battle with a lot of the other qualifiers, I know he’d get more publicity, but he’s way down the list. Unrelated: If you asked me what teams McGriff played on, I know I wouldn’t be able to tell you which ones besides the Braves (Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs, Dodgers).
Jack Morris (38.4 JAWS vs. 61.4 Jpos, 44.1 rWAR, 32.8 rWAR7) – No. However, I believe he’ll be voted in by the Veterans’ Committee someday, so it’s not like I expect him to be shut out of Cooperstown forever. He may have had great moments in his baseball career, but the arguments for him are all weak and lower the bar for all formerly eligible, currently eligible, and prospectively eligible players on the ballot.
There are more players on the ballot that are eligible, both close to my heart and far, far away, and some of them will get consideration, but none I feel should be inducted. My next post will be my ballot, which will use all ten spots that I would get to use if I were a qualified voter for the BBWAA.
These days you can’t talk about Mel Ott without talking about a certain Washington Nationals outfielder, but in a “This Date in Giants History” segment on Saturday night’s telecast, Mel Ott was given his own little time for black-and-white highlights. Growing up, my favorite number was “4,” and so when I found out I couldn’t get that numbered jersey at a Giants Dugout Store, I was a little disappointed, and got one custom made… in a jersey size that was way too big for me. Nevertheless, this guy is a good reason for why the number “4” isn’t still worn by players in the Giants organization, in my opinion. Ott’s career line is pretty remarkable, especially since he started playing in the big leagues at age 17 in 1926. A power hitter in his day, he never won an MVP award, though interesting to note that his WAR was highest in the 1932 and 1938 seasons, and in most of the MVP races he was involved in, especially the earlier ones, Mel Ott’s numbers didn’t seem to be appreciated as much as they might be in 2013. However, that is not to say that other players did not have excellent and outstanding seasons, as you can see by clicking the MVP-# under the “Awards” column.
|162 Game Avg.||673||561||171||30||110||101||53||.304||.414||.533||155|
He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1951, getting 87.2% in favor.
Most Giants fans never got the chance to see Mel Ott play, but I’m guessing the generation before us got to see highlights of him since it wasn’t as far away from his time. Below are pieces from highlights from that “This Day in Giants History” segment:
Mostly an outfielder in his day, I’ll bet he’d have won plenty of Gold Gloves since he was a good hitter.
I look at his swing and think, “How’d he get 511 home runs doing that?”
Still, I love the front leg kick — and those socks! — and for me, it’s so cool seeing these kinds of highlights of Hall of Fame players we never had the good fortune of seeing live.
With the addition of nobody to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this year for Baseball’s Hall of Fame, we prepare for 2014, and if the voting rules stay the same, we are in for some very interesting ballots. Hopefully we will see less Morris-only ballots, and less blank ballots, because I believe even 2014’s choices will have at least one guy the people can believe in. My take on some of the storylines we will talk about in 2013, and then debate feverishly in 2014 right before the results get released:
Jack Morris‘ 15th and final year: He garnered 67.7% of the votes this year, and 66.7% in 2012’s announcement, so by all that logic, he’ll only get 68.7%! Shouldn’t be that simple though as traditionalists and those with emotional attachments to the mustached Opening Day Eight Inning Man will surely take their advertising to the next level for Mr. Morris.
Jeff Kent: Survivor of Hall of Fame ballots?: His character will certainly not be held to the same standard as PED users, but what will be interesting is his position most-377 HR. His advanced stats with WAR and JAWS, however, do not measure up as much, and he could be one of the guys that suffers from being left off the ballot in favor of other players that have been on the ballot longer than him.
Greg Maddux the ohmygoshplease One Year Only Necessary: He will be a hard one to keep out because both the traditionalists and the saber-folk will be cheering him on. If you’re a traditionalist, you tout the 355 pitcher wins. If you love your advanced stats, you’re going to love how he’s above average with the WAR and the JAWS (nom nom nom). The little accountant from San Angelo, TX will hopefully be the guy everyone can agree on.
If Mike Piazza comes out with a book, does it clear him?: Some unconfirmed rumors have speculated a book may be in the works, and although it shouldn’t be necessary for him to come out with a book, it may be something that’s necessary for him to add more votes (if it is an “I am Clean” story). He should be able to get in, regardless, but these are troubling times indeed.
Tom Glavine and the 300-win threshold: 305 pitcher wins, and the advanced metrics put him as “deserving” and right near the “average HOF” mark for those pitchers already in Cooperstown, so it would be easy to see how Glavine and Maddux become a Hall of Fame tag-team Atlanta Braves ticket for 2014.
Does Frank Thomas‘ size scare away voters: Hey, if you got scared by Jeff Bagwell or Mike Piazza, is The Big Hurt safe from their wrath? 521 HR, performed offensively well above replacement, but if there’s any suspicion that gets brought up, I worry. I could see him being a guy some of the writers say, “He’s not a first ballot guy, so I’ll just vote for him later,” and that might keep him out in 2014.
Mike Mussina, the ignored one?: Here’s your most under-appreciated 1st ballot guy for the 2014 class, and it’ll be interesting to see how he’s handled. Short of the traditionalist-important 300 wins, his peak years may not have been strong WAR-wise, but overall, he measures up.
J.T. Snow, the beautiful one: I’m just including him in here because swoon.
Initial 2014 Ballot looks like this (playing by the rules this time):
1. Barry Bonds
3. Greg Maddux
4. Frank Thomas
5. Jeff Bagwell
6. Mike Piazza
8. Craig Biggio
9. Tom Glavine
10. Alan Trammell
Prediction as to who will be getting the call in 2014:
1. Greg Maddux
2. Craig Biggio
Don’t think Morris gets the support he needs as long as the rules stay the same. Just too many voters out there, and people are getting smarter when it comes to pitcher wins and “pitching to the score.”
Hall of Fame announcements are set for January 9th on MLB Network and social media is always very abuzz with arguments over this guy and that guy, a lot of it PED-based this year. Every year we also get a glimpse into the BBWAA that maybe there are some people that don’t deserve their vote anymore, although I will say I very much appreciate the writers that are willing to talk about their votes, whether I agree with them or if I think they’re just a big knucklehead. What I’m going to write isn’t anything groundbreaking, in fact, I’d say the community I side with has set the path for me to see what they see. So, here’s my ballot, and though I hope the writers will be able to do this as well, I will vote for more than the allowed ten players.
- Barry Bonds, LF — because a Hall of Fame would not be a HoF without Bonds (for those that are anti-PED, you will not like my ballot)
- Roger Clemens, SP — possibly the greatest pitcher of our generation
- Jeff Bagwell, 1B — I don’t care what you suspect
- Craig Biggio, 2B/C/OF — numbers won’t blow you away like the first two guys, but he fits the mold
- Curt Schilling, SP — even if he’s annoying in real life
- Larry Walker, RF — could be least discussed candidate, and it’s all Coors Field’s fault or something
- Alan Trammell, SS — never saw him play, and can’t understand why he’s been left out
- Tim Raines, LF — definitely had the zoom
- Kenny Lofton, CF — hope this guy gets the recognition he deserves
- Edgar Martinez, DH — Sure, he might have done a lot of DH-ing, but he did it at a Hall of Fame level
- Mike Piazza, C — For some reason I always crave pizza when I say his name
- Rafael Palmeiro, 3B — not gonna lie, I hated writing his name down. Period.
- Sammy Sosa, RF and Mark McGwire, 1B — I feel like these two belong together, but they were really tough choices. For me it was either both of them or neither of them, which is pretty dumb looking at the numbers, but I feel a very high emotional attachment to them. This must be how people feel about… (wait for it)
Not On My Ballot
- …Jack Morris, SP — Pitcher wins! Big game!
- Dale Murphy, OF — look, I love nice guys and everything, but, even the character clause can do so much for your numbers
- David Wells, SP — while lesser (physically and numerically) pitchers have gotten in than Wells, I’m not willing to put Boomer in
- Don Mattingly, 1B — more for reasons of not measuring up than to reasons of loves to have his team bunt
There it is. Hate it, love it, whatever it. Chances are I will probably never have a HoF vote, and I’m sure there are plenty people that would be OK with that. Should be interesting to see how the real vote turns out, as no one being elected this year is a real possibility.
Around this time of year, hall of fame ballots are coming out, players are being debated about, and people are spitting out numbers left and right mostly over the players they have become more passionate about. Sure, you’ll run into the fan that can give you the goods on first-ballot names that won’t even meet the required count to stay on the ballot, but don’t worry about that if you don’t wanna. This is a gateway to two resources that will make you a more educated fan, whether you want to debate that obnoxious baseball fan at the next holiday gathering, or you’re just curious as to how the numbers measure up and who may be on their way in.
- Jay Jaffe’s JAWS calculations and all the other metrics you grew up loving that are sortable! (I have it linked to catchers, but you can change it to other positions!) Hate WAR but love doubles? You can sort by the doobuls. Curious about how ERA+ measures up your favorite old-time pitcher? Knock yourself out. Don’t know what stats are what? Putting your cursor over the sortable stat column will get a balloon with text inside giving you an introduction to the stat.
- LeoKitty’s spreadsheet with every ballot sent in thus far recorded for you on GoogleDocs. This will give you some insight as to whom the people have been voting for and players they have not. There are plenty of intriguing names that can be voted for at the moment, so this will certainly be interesting going forward.
If you can get a hold of these two resources — and I admittedly have not, because there are so many players to look through — you will get to be the new baseball junkie in the crowd! You’ll love it! Promise!
This is not a post about Jack Morris. This is not about Edgar Martinez. It’s not even about saying the BBWAA is a group of scammers, because that’s not what I believe. What I do believe is that there are writers who use what they’ve seen and will ignore the facts to either check or not check a box on the ballot. Do I have the “ballot envy” guys like Joe Strauss suggest I might have? Maybe a little, but I know relatively so little about these players (and have done just as little research on said players) I actually do not feel worthy to vote on them, much less suggest who should on. But we all have that feeling that something isn’t right about what some writers are doing, and for me it’s that they make their decision emotional.
I know you don’t come on here to read whom I think the Hall of Fame should house, but I’ll tell you anyway: The Hall of Fame should have the best of the best, and they should be in there based on fact, not based on legend. When I go to Cooperstown one day with my kids in the future and show them the plaques, I want to see numbers and not something like “he was the clutchiest of clutch” or “it seemed like he was perfect every time” when the numbers could debunk both statements in a heartbeat.
Voters are using different sets of numbers nowadays — some are using advanced statistics, and some are not. Reputation travels fast amongst the internet community who is a respectable voice and who is not as we saw yesterday — and while we’ll respect their right to an opinion it does not necessarily mean we will respect their opinion. It would be odd though if every voter voted the same so we will always have this discussion in my opinion.
So voters voting with your memory and old video I ask you to please, for the future of baseball, think about the numbers you are using: what do those numbers mean? Were those numbers a result of a mostly individual effort or were they a result of the team they played on? Nobody and especially me cannot take away the way you feel for a certain athlete, but I ask that you let go of the feelings you have the for the player a little bit and use numbers that speak more to the individual fame that a player has contributed over his time in our wonderful game.