By In Baseball

A Hall of Fame experiment

So, here’s what I did — I put together two surveys. Both surveys had the exact same 10 names — 10 player who I think (as players) are well-qualified hall of Famers. They are, in alphabetical order:

1. Jeff Bagwell
2. Craig Biggio
3. Barry Bonds
4. Roger Clemens
5. Shoeless Joe Jackson
6. Randy Johnson
7. Pedro Martinez
8. Mike Piazza
9. Pete Rose
10. Curt Schilling

Of the 10, two will get elected this year — Johnson and Martinez. Two have a pretty good shot getting elected this year or next — Biggio and Piazza. I’m not quite sure what to make of Bagwell, but I suspect he will eventually get elected. Bonds and Clemens are obviously their own case. Jackson and Rose are ineligible. And, on this list, only Schilling has an uphill climb because some don’t think he was a good enough player.

I wanted to make this list as stacked as possible and I think I made a mistake with it — I should have included John Smoltz. I didn’t because I think Schilling (and Mike Mussina, for that matter) is a better Hall of Fame candidate, but based on what I’m hearing in the voting (and what I should have suspected) most people disagree with me. If I had included Smoltz and Mussina on here, the results might have been slightly different … but we can’t go back.

The test was simple:

— In the first survey, I told voters they could choose up to four players for the Hall of Fame, no more. This is exactly the voting procedure the Veteran’s Committee used this year for the Golden Age ballot.

— In the second survey, I allowed voters to vote thumbs up or down on each player individually.

Several thousand people voted — thank you for that — and I suspect many of the same people voted in both surveys.

Here are the results:


In yes-or-no survey: 82%
In max-4 survey: 12.9%

Brief comment: Right away, we see the issue. More than four out of five voters believe that Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Famer. However, when restricted — the way the Veteran’s Committee was restricted in the Golden Age ballot this year — barely one out of eight voted for him. The reasoning is clear (Bagwell is not one of the four best players on the ballot) but this is the issue with ballot limits. Let’s keep going.


In yes-or-no survey: 86.4%
In max-4 survey: 17.3%

Brief comment: Similar to Bagwell — overwhelming majority believes he’s a Hall of Famer, less than one out of five voted for him on restricted ballot.


In yes-or-no survey: 77.5%
In max-4 survey: 64%

Brief comment: Bonds and Clemens are the two most interesting characters for me in this experiment. As you can see, Bonds just barely got the 75% necessary — I would say, nationally, somewhere between 20 and 60% (depending on who you are polling) of the people believe Barry Bonds does not belong in the Hall of Fame. I suspect these voters tend to be significantly less outraged by steroid use before testing than an average group of baseball fans (or an average group of Hall of Fame voters).

That said — people who believe Bonds DOES belong in the Hall of Fame believe it deeply. Barry Bonds the player (and Roger Clemens the pitcher) are slam dunk, no doubt, all-time Hall of Famers. So while only three quarters of these voters believe Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame, a vast, vast majority of them believe it completely — putting him above Bagwell and Biggio and Piazza and others.


In yes-or-no survey: 78.7%
In max-4 survey: 57.5%

Brief comment: A few more people think Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame, but a few less people voted for Clemens on the restricted ballot. I have this theory that PEDs aside, people fail to appreciate that Roger Clemens might have been the greatest pitcher in baseball history. Greg Maddux is my all-time favorite pitcher. Roger Clemens was better. Randy Johnson has an argument as the greatest lefty ever — there with Lefty Grove and Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax and whoever else you want to throw in. Roger Clemens was better. Pedro Martinez had the greatest peak in baseball history, in my view. Roger Clemens was better.

I disliked Roger Clemens so much I invented the word Clemenate because of him. But if you take him over a whole career, he’s the best pitcher I ever saw, and I’m pretty sure he’s the greatest pitcher who ever lived.

Shoeless Joe Jackson

In yes-or-no survey: 66.3%
In max-4 survey: 21.1%

Brief comment: Even in a straight yes-no vote, Jackson can’t get 75%. I seriously have to wonder about the 21.1% who voted him on the four-man restricted ballot.

Randy Johnson

In yes-or-no survey: 98.6%
In max-4 survey: 77.4%

Brief comment: This one comes closest to explaining the bad math point I was trying to make about the Golden Era ballot. Here you have a guy that basically EVERYONE thinks should be in the Hall of Fame. But if you put a stacked ballot, he jut barely clears the 75% line. If I had put Smoltz and Mussina on the ballot it’s possible that Johnson would not have gotten 75%. If the Hall of Fame is going to continue doing these nutty veteran’s committee ballots they MUST change basic structure of the voting because the way they vote now is just a mathematical mousetrap.

Pedro Martinez

In yes-or-no survey: 95.8%
In max-4 survey: 80.7%

Brief comment: I’m not sure why Pedro did a little better than Unit in the max-4 and a little worse in the yes-or-no. Statistical noise, I’m guessing. Maybe more people from Boston voted in the max-4.

Mike Piazza

In yes-or-no survey: 83.5%
In max-4 survey: 17.8%

Brief comment: Another example of the restricted ballot crushing the percentages of a player most people consider a Hall of Famer.

Pete Rose

In yes-or-no survey: 65.1%
In max-4 survey: 35.2%

Brief comment: I keep saying this — Pete Rose will never go to the Hall of Fame. Even if he should ever get his name on a ballot (which I don’t think will happen anytime soon), there just isn’t 75% for him anywhere. I think it’s a shame. I think he belongs in the Hall of Fame. I think if the Hall of Fame had put him on the ballot in the early 1990s and publicly said to consider only Pete Rose the baseball player, he might have gotten elected. But obviously that did not happen, did not come close to happening, and anyway that’s not the way the Hall of Fame views itself.

Curt Schilling

In yes-or-no survey: 64.1%
In max-4 survey: 7.8%

Brief comment: I’ll have a lot more to say about Schilling, Mussina and Smoltz in upcoming Hall of Fame stories.

There are many things to take from this — and I’ll be filling the blog with Hall of Fame words over the next couple of weeks — but mostly I take that the Veteran’s Committee MUST change the way they vote. As I wrote before, they have created a math mousetrap where even guys like Randy Johnson will BARELY get to 75%, and anyone who is not quite Randy Johnson will not get elected.

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74 Responses to A Hall of Fame experiment

  1. Paul cunningham says:

    But the Veterans Committee isn’t considering first tier guys like this, only guys who haven’t made the grade in the BBWA vote. I’m guessing the vote is set up this way specifically to stanch a flood of sentimental choices from the Hall of Very Good.

    • Your point is well taken but it does NOT negate the problem with the math in any way whatsoever.

      If tweny people vote for four players each, they have 80 total votes total between them. A player MUST get 30 of those 80 votes, competing against nine other great players.

      If one could hand place the votes in the most advantagous order the best possible election result would be 30 votes for one, 30 for another, and with twenty scattered between eight other players.

      Obviously, the votes will be randomized much more than that amongst the ten nominees.

      Joe is correct. The system is designed to fail. It is a math problem.

      If there is going to be an old-timers election, it is imperative that the system has a chance to work, or it is just a sham.

    • Joe’s point still holds true – if the 10 candidates are all on a reasonably equal level the probability of getting full 75% is very low. The limit on number of candidates makes very little sense for both the normal ballot and the veterans committee. Either you think a candidate belongs or he doesn’t. There are enough small hall proponents out there that only worthy candidates will be elected.

      It is amazing that 25% rather 4 candidates higher than Johnson. If you’re fine with Bonds and Clemens fine. Johnson vs Martinez could go either way. But that still means that 25% of the voters ranked Schilling, Bagwell, Piazza, Rose, Shoeless Joe or Biggio ahead of Johnson which really is very silly

  2. Roberto says:

    I love your writing Joe. My wife, who is not much of a sports fan, loves your writing, too. Thanks! Are you ever going to go back and finish the baseball “Top 100” list you started last year? That series was amazing.

  3. Anon says:

    Joe – please tell me you will finish the top 100 list you started last offseason.

  4. commenter says:

    i don’t like this since you have an unrepresentative sample. in your sample it’s really bonds and clemens ruining everything. they are two all time greats but will not get in the hall. since 60 or 70 percent of your voters want them in the hall instead of the 30 or less % in normal population your poll has them clogging up lots of precious slots that would have gone to other people helping to disprove your point (for instance it’s easier to argue bagwell is the fourth best player than to argue he’s the second best non bond/clemens player)

  5. Blake says:

    I’m glad the Veterans’ Committee has big obstacles to putting in more players. Most of the men who bring down the overall playing standards of the Hall of Fame were put in by a veteran’s committee.

    • It is perilous to generalize in that fashion. Things a quite a bit more nuanced than your analysis allows.

      The mistakes were mostly done by one iteration of the committee when Frankie Frisch got his friends from the ’30s voted in.

      It hasn’t been happening that way in quite some time.

      • Blake says:

        What about the Negro Leagues committee that put in 17 mostly obscure people, while managing to avoid the one living Negro Leaguer who was actually famous?

        • flcounselor says:

          First, let’s agree that was NOT the work of the old-timer committee. The Negro League players had to be evaluated by completely different standards.

          Next, I think you mean they are obscure to those of us who don’t know much of anything about the Negro League.

          Finally, as a fellow reader of Joe, I expect you would agree that Buck O’Neil is well known for us for two reasons: as the face of the Negro Hall of Fame and because Joe has often written about him as his friend.

          I’m certainly no expert on the Negro Leagues, but from the articles I have seen Buck’s stats didn’t quite measure up to the other players who you label obscure.

          Do I think Buck O’Neal should have gotten in for his combined contributions both as a player and after his career was over? As a loyal reader of Joe, of course I do.

          But none of that has anything to do with why the current old-timers committee ought to go into their meeting with both hands tied behind their backs, now does it?

          Let’s keep separate issues apart.

  6. Jake Bucsko says:

    …if you are one of the 1.4% who said that Randy Johnson shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, please use this thread to explain your crazed logic.

  7. Jason says:

    Pedro vs Randy is an interesting clash as I was in my prime fandom during both careers so I followed what they did more closely than their statistics. This was when I watched and felt baseball and before the business of the game altered my perception. I always felt Johnson was the better pitcher. Pedro could dominate a game any given day but if I had to win today I’d put Johnson on the hill. It seemed like he never made a bad start. Numbers can paint a different picture and there are a host of reasons not to let me vote (chief among them my reliance on gut instinct) but randy Johnson was a guy I alway watched. Probably do have to many east coasters voting around here.

  8. Bill James has pointed out that virtually all of the serious HOF mistakes were made by the Veterans, not the writers. That said, the limit of four is obviously ridiculous. So is the limit of ten for the writers. As Keith Law put it, the only reason it’s ten is we have ten fingers. Don’t know why the Veterans use four. Limbs?

  9. jalabar says:

    I believe Roger Clemens was the SECOND best pitcher in baseball history. The best I ever saw, certainly, but I am ONLY 50. I am of the opinion that, had you replaced Roger with Walter Johnson in Clemens career, you would have gotten a result AT LEAST as good as what Roger got. Just MHO.

    I AM glad you didn’t give the same potential honorific to Bonds that you gave to Clemens. While I believe Bonds may have been the second best position player (and hitter) ever, he has no potential claim to the GOAT title. At all. Even discounting The Babe’s pitching career when he may have been the best pitcher in baseball, he was just a better hitter, relative, than Bonds. Where Bonds may have been 5% better than anyone else he was playing with, Babe Ruth was exponentially better than those he was playing with, utterly laying waste to prior records. Where McGwire broke the HR record by 9, and Bonds bettered him by a few more, Ruth DOUBLED previous HR records. Relative to Bonds leading the league with 73, Ruth would have hit 100.

    • Blake says:

      In 2002, Barry Bonds had an OPS of 1.381. Brian Giles was second in the NL with 1.072.

      In 1920, Babe Ruth had an OPS of 1.379. George Sisler was second in the AL with 1.082.

      I picked those years because they were peaks for Bonds and Ruth. But you can run the numbers for other years. As a hitter, Bonds was as dominant over the league as Ruth.

      • says:

        Blake – now take those percentages and add 63% to Ruth’s score as Bonds went from a high of 46 HRs to a high of 73 HRs during his PED days. Also, dilute the pitching considerably due to mass expansion, add more hitter-friendly ballparks and there’s little doubt that Ruth would’ve been absolutely, unequivocally the better hitter.

        Ruth > Bonds, no matter how you slice it.

        • chlsmith says:

          Ooh…diluting the pitching? Really? You’re saying that modern-day pitchers, who are put to pitching when they are really young and have every scientific training and medical advantage, somehow don’t have the same overall quality as a bunch of dudes coming up from sandlots? That’s absurd.

          Everyone has gotten better over the years. I would venture to say that the average MLB player today would be a superstar 40 years ago. Heck….maybe even 25 years ago. The only part that is the same is the wooden bat.

          Oh, and those hitter friendly parks? Yankee Stadium hasn’t been gone long and Fenway is still there.

        • EnzoHernandez11 says:

          gonecrazy–Please note that Blake did not choose 2001 (with the 73 HRs) as Barry’s best year; he chose 2002. Bonds hit 46 in 2002, which was consistent with his output from 1993-2004.

          I’ve probably made this point before (not that anyone cares), but the worst thing Barry Bonds ever did was hit 73 home runs in 2001. Had he hit 53 instead, McGwire and Aaron would still hold their records, and people could remain nostalgic about 1974 and 1998. By hitting 73 in 2001 (and then parlaying that into the all-time record several years later), Bonds made himself the face of the steroid era and robbed people of some of their favorite baseball memories. It was 2001, far more than 1998, that made us feel as though all those new records might be “bogus”.

          I am convinced that, without Barry, people would have accepted McGwire’s 70 with a wink and a nod (he and Sammy were such a wonderful story in ’98, and, really, does anyone care about Roger “Asterisk” Maris?). McGwire and Sosa and Clemens would not have become collateral damage in the battle to eliminate 73/762. The steroid era would have been quietly extinguished and everyone would have understood that 1995-2005 was simply a unique and magical time, much like 1962-1968 or 1925-1935. We’d still have Aaron’s record, and it’s not like Clemens ever won 30 games or had a 1.12 ERA, so we could still indulge our fantasies about the eternal thread of baseball’s golden history.

        • Blake says:

          A number of people here have made good points that I won’t repeat, and here’s another: Ruth did not play 45% of his games against teams in his division that had hired a quirky-throwing left-handed specialist specifically to pitch to him once a game.

          I’m not sure whether Bonds was a better hitter than Ruth. We could have a long conversation in a bar, brandishing stats for each side. I think I’d give it up to Ruth as the better overall ballplayer because of his pitching prowess, and because I don’t think it’s worth zero that Ruth was the beloved hero who won fans back after the Black Sox scandal whereas Barry, well, let’s not go there. Ruth gets an intangibles point. But a better hitter? I’m not sure either way.

          The only thing I reacted to is the idea that it isn’t close.. It’s damn close. Bonds and Ruth, in whichever order, were the best hitters ever. Ted Williams might have been there had he not spent so much of his prime in the military. Then there’s a dropoff.

          • buddaley says:

            On the other hand, Bonds was probably a better fielder and base runner than Ruth. So offensively and defensively, he had some advantages over Ruth while the Babe obviously had the advantage of being an excellent pitcher. So Ruth was the more versatile player, but was he better overall?

        • Gonecrazy, I suppose you’re right. No one could possibly increae his home run total by 63% unless he is cheating his ass off.

          Oh wait a minute. Babe Ruth played full time in 1920 (130 games) and hit 29 HR.

          The next year, in only 12 more games, Ruth increased his total by 25 HR up to 54.

          That 86% increase makes Bonds 63% increase look kind of paltry, doesn’t it?

          Now what was your point again?

          • denopac says:

            Yes, except that Ruth did it in his age 25 season, when most players are getting better, and Bonds did it in his age 36 season, when most players are getting worse. And Ruth did it as the game was transitioning from the dead ball to the live ball era, and Bonds did it while the game was in a transition of a different sort.

          • Clayton says:

            Thomas Charles – you might want to read up on your baseball history before running your mouth. Take this excerpt from

            The rise of Babe Ruth. Though unquestionably an aggressive and talented batter right from his debut, Ruth’s prowess at hitting long balls directly paralleled all of the above changes. His AL leading home run totals exploded from just 11 hit in 95 games (mainly as a fielder, with only 20 pitching) in 1918, to 29 in 130 games (17 as a pitcher) in 1919, to 54 in 142 (0 pitching) in 1920, an astounding near five-fold increase in just two seasons.

            Clearly a focus on playing fulltime and an increase in at-bats contributed heavily to this, but his home run rate per at-bat skyrocketed from 1 in every 28.8 in 1918 to 1 in every 14.9 in 1919 to an utterly unprecedented 1 per 9.5 in 1920. In the process, Ruth demonstrated to all of baseball – fans, owners, managers, sportswriters, and fellow players alike – that it was possible (with cleaner, livelier balls, fewer spitters, and dramatically reduced defaced baseballs) to be successful by “swinging for the fences”. However, while other players immediately sought to emulate him, most of the increase in scoring at the end of the Deadball Era EAppears to have been driven by an overall increase in batting averages (thanks to the same offense-favoring changes). Ruth’s impact had more to do with the decrease in “Little ball” in favor of the “Long ball.”

          • I don’t know why I can’t respond directly to Clayton’s answer to my post, but I want to thank you for compeltely supporting my point.

            You may have missed it because I was being a bit sarcastic, but it was that there are many factors that can lead to an increase in production which resulted in 63% more home runs for Bonds and an 86% more home runs for Ruth.

            For gonecrazy to cite his statstic about Bonds as proof that Ruth was the better hitter is not only laughble, it could not possibly be more irrelevant.

            Thank you again for your support, Clayton!

        • Richard says:

          Especially when you take into account Ruth’s career as a pitcher. For a few years, he was the best left-handed pitcher in the game.

    • flcounselor says:

      Of course, if Ruth and Bonds had been contemporaries, Ruth would have never played against him anyway.

      So water down the competition by a factor of Binds, Mays, Aaron, F. Robinson, etc., when you go try to judge how much better Ruth was than his white peers.

      • Sam says:

        Since Jackie Robinson broke the color-barrier, how many black pitchers – who pitched in the majority of their careers in MLB – have been elected to the HOF? Bob Gibson is an obvious one. Fergie Jenkins, too. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any others.

        The point is that while black players have truly been awesome position players, integration like would not have changed/depressed Babe Ruth’s stats all that much. Surely he would’ve been robbed of a few extra-base hits if he’d had to face extraordinary defensive players like Willie Mays, but let’s be honest: integration (or lack thereof) would’ve had minimal impact on Ruth’s career.

        • You are taking the argument off in a new direction by bringing in the idea of African-American pitchers.

          Blake was comparing how much better Ruth’s stats were than those of other white hitters in his day. Which, of course, excluded all the black hitters. We will never know how much he would have outshone them by.

          Odds are real good that if Ruth was to have competed against the entire universe of hitters, instead of just the white ones, his dominance would have narrowed.

          Let’s be honest: Integration would have had a significant impact on how Ruth’s career compared in relation to his peers.

          • Thomas Charles says:

            Actually, I am completely wrong. All of you make excellent points and after a few hours of smoking some herb, I can clearly see how foolish, abrasive, and misguided my posts have been. The herb, in addition to the make-out session with my sister, have opened my eyes to new possibilities! I love America!

          • I see that someone copied my name and is posting nonsense to discredit me, rather than engage with the discussion. Very clever.

            Now I see why Joe eliminated the comment section for awhile.

        • EnzoHernandez11 says:

          Juan Marichal. Pedro in a few days.

          But it’s not just about black pitchers. There’s also the question of whether or not the Babe would have appeared quite as dominant in a league that also included the likes of Oscar Charleston, among others.

        • buddaley says:

          I think this is an oversimplified response. Integration brought a great deal of talent into the leagues, not all of it HOF talent, but certainly it improved the depth of rotations and in later years especially, of bullpens also.

          Who would have filled rotations in place of Mudcat Grant, Al Downing, and the like had they not been allowed to play? Lesser pitchers, most certainly. And who would have been throwing high leverage innings in place of Lee Smith or Mariano Rivera?

      • Crout says:

        What does competition against other hitters have to do with Ruth’s stats as a hitter? That doesn’t make sense.

        • flcounselor says:

          Are you trolling or what?

          Look up and down the comments and you’ll see that everyone compares stats between players. It is the whole basis for deciding who was better.

          This is very basic stuff. It is too simplistic to even sound like a serious question.

          So I must be missing what you are really asking. Could you please rephrase the question?

          • Crout says:

            flcounselor…’s what you wrote:

            Of course, if Ruth and Bonds had been contemporaries, Ruth would have never played against him anyway.

            So water down the competition by a factor of Binds, Mays, Aaron, F. Robinson, etc., when you go try to judge how much better Ruth was than his white peers.

            Your statement just doesn’t make sense, unless you were talking about black pitchers, but you were not. Ruth’s offensive output would not be effected by Bonds, or Aaron, or Mays.

        • Not Crout says:

          I agree with Crout: how do other hitters make any difference when discussing Ruth’s legacy? Ruth’s numbers, as illustrated by others here would not have changed much even if he had faced African-American pitchers, thus his legacy would still likely remain the same. If other hitters were great, so what, Willie Mays was great, Hank Aaron was great, Ken Griffey Jr and Frank Robinson were great, but they do nothing to diminish Ruth’s career.

          • Dear Crout and Not Crout:

            No one has tried to diminish Babe Ruth’s stats. Let me explain.

            You must have missed earlier in the thread when someone tried to prove the Babe was bestushis stats dominated in comparison to his peers more than Bond’s stats dominate in comparison to his peers.

            The Babe might be best but the above example is not the reason why. People took issue with using it as evidence since Babe’s peers were restricted to only white people. If blacks had been allowed to play his level of dominance would have been less, so that blows the whole argument up.

            That’s all.

            There are still plenty of other much better arguments to be made that Ruth was the best. And a few that Bonds was the best.

            So no one was trying to diminish Ruth, just to swat away a fallacious argument. Okay?


          • Karyn says:

            Not Crout: Because we compare not just overall numbers, but how well a player’s numbers stack up against his contemporaries’.

            I’m going to half-ass this, but take Jeff Kent. Great ballplayer, great hitter, especially for a 2B. If you just looked at his counting stats and compared them to other second basemen throughout MLB history, you would say “Holy crap! This guy is a surefire Hall of Famer!” But when you compare his stats to what was happening in MLB at the time, they’re not so otherworldly.

            Clearly, Babe Ruth was the best hitter of all time. Baseball Reference rates him as 206 OPS+, meaning he was TWICE AS GOOD a hitter as anyone else in his era. But I think it would be interesting to know what that would look like if MLB was integrated at the time. Would he have been 50% better than league-average? Seventy-five percent better? We’ll never know, but it’s fun to argue about.

          • Thomas Charles says:

            Hey Karyn why don’t you go back to the kitchen and let the men talk about sports, okay?


          • HI Karyn, Just so you know, the real Thomas Charles did not tell you to stay in ths kitchen, just the imposter.

            I welcome you to the board and found your comment to be quite helpful.

          • Thomas Charles says:

            Everybody needs to STOP listening to the Thomas Charles imposter! You can tell he or she is a fake so don’t pay any attention to him or her. I am a really super nice guy even though I don’t want women commenting on sports (Suzy Kloiber is gorgeous…in an apron) and just because I make one comment making fun of southerners doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy! I love my sister as much as you do, if not maybe a little bit more, if you know what I mean, and even though I argue with everyone and anyone who disagrees with me, I really am a nice guy! So stop paying attention to this horrible person who is trying to make me look bad!

            This is the REAL Thomas Charles – I promise!

  10. George says:

    Are Rose’s percentages correct? He really got over 35% on the restricted ballot?

    • MCD says:

      I don’t think that number looks suspect at all. Obviously there are a lot of people who don’t think Rose’s ban should be a factor in his HOF eligibility. Of those people, there is a generous contingent who think Rose’s transgression was less egregious than any performance enhancer user. Throw out anyone on this short list who is suspected of PEDs and Rose is definitely in the top 4 (arguably there are *only* 4). Add in the healthy population of SABR-haters who over-value the designation of “all-time hit leader” and 35% looks right in the expected value zone to me, possibly low in the light of the 65% yes/no.

  11. Tommy says:

    Rose played in more winning baseball games than anyone in history! Rose was an All Star at 5 different positions!! Now you can start talking about his numbers.

  12. BJ VanDewater says:

    One can only make the statement that Roger Clemens was the greatest pitcher ever if one ignores the use of PEDS that lead to his inauthenic career arc. While we all agree that wins is not the best statistical measure of a pitcher, it is interesting to note that after his age 33 season, 12 years into his career, he was let go by the Red Sox. Over the last four years in Boston, he only won a TOTAL of 40 games. At that point of his career he had only won 192 games, and his winning percentage was .634.
    Moves to Toronto, then NY, Houston, NY. Wins 162 games with a winning percentage of of .690. Not a single power pitcher in the live ball era (not Nolan Ryan, not Walter Johnson, Not Bob Feller, not Randy Johnson, not … you get the idea) had that sort of a career arc after completing 12 years. It was as if he discovered magic in a bottle. And he did.
    Without that chemically supported back end, he was just another washed up power pitcher, and he should be judged as one.

    • dfj79 says:

      The idea that Clemens was “washed up” by the end of his time with the Red Sox is ridiculous. In ’96, his last year with the Sox, he had the 7th best ERA in the American League, led the league in strikeouts (both in aggregate and on a per-nine-innings basis), and was second in WAR (per b-ref).

      In ’94, he led the league in ERA+ and was second in WAR.

      Even with the down years in ’93 and ’95, he still had an 130 ERA+ over that four year period. And even in those two down years his ERA+ was still above average.

      Since you agree that W-L is not the best statistical measure of a pitcher, why cite it, and thus ignore that his other stats show he was a much better pitcher from ’93 to ’96 than his W-L record suggests?

      I don’t disagree that without PEDs he might not be in the the best-pitcher-ever discussion, but I’m just tired of hearing people talk as if he was a washed up pitcher by 1996.

  13. Crout says:

    It was me. I didn’t vote for Randy Johnson. And I didn’t because he’s too tall. HOFers should not be that tall.

  14. 3pointshooter says:

    I seriously have to wonder about the 21.1% who voted him on the four-man restricted ballot.

    I think the only logical explanation is that there is a ridiculously large percentage of baseball fans who consider Eight Men Out to be a work of history and not fiction. The greatest trick Eliot Asinof ever pulled was convincing the public Shoeless Joe wasn’t a crook. Yet he was.

    But as a result of the movie, most baseball fans think of Shoeless Joe being the victim of an unfair railroading.

    The reality is, not only did Jackson take part in the conspiracy to throw the World Series, he *admitted*, under oath, that he received money for his part, and that he complained that he got shortchanged! And notwithstanding his overall stats, because only certain games were subject to the fix, his performance suggests he was an active participant.

    Please, people, for the love of all that’s holy, find a more deserving martyr.

    • DId you forget it was only a lifetime ban, not an eternal one?

      Shoeless Joe has been dead over 60 years. It is high time for you to get past it all.

      • kurt says:

        You are wrong. Plain and simple.

        The ban was not “lifetime.” It was “permanent.” As in forever. Or until MLB rescinds it.

        • Revisionaists have made that up after the fact, in response to Pete Rose’s lifetime ban.
          But that is not what Judge Landis said at the time:

          “Jackson and his teammates were all acquitted but in 1920, baseball’s newly appointed commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, banned the group from the sport for life.”

          A rule was passed in 1991 stating that those on the ineligble list could not enter the Hall of Fame, but that was 40 years after Jackson had completed serving his lifetime ban.

          “Since 1991, all banned people – whether living or deceased – have been barred from induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

          So there is a quite a bit of nuance to the entire issue, which you have failed to grasp. Thus, next time it may serve you best to tone down that cock-sure attitude you put on display.

      • 3pointshooter says:

        Leaving aside, as kurt notes below, that you’re actually wrong, why should we get past the most egregious thing a baseball player can do? He participated in a conspiracy to – and did – throw baseball games. And not just any baseball games, the World Series.

        We’re just supposed to forget about that?

        • Many of us care about the play on the field. Joe Jackson was among the very best ever.

          Meanwhile, you are a moralist who is able to completely dismiss his performance on the field. His level of play is absolutely meaningless to you, right?

          That is because you have much bigger fish that you enjoy frying.

          I expect that in your eyes it makes you a better person than my because you have such high moral standards, correct?

          Whereas the issue is completely amoral to me. Your argument falls on my deaf ears. I find the entire tone of your posts cringeworthy for the way you want to caste about at demons.

          And I would guess that to say as much makes me into a demon, too.

          We will never see eye to eye.

          • DjangoZ says:

            Thomas, you sound the like kind of person who would have your pension stolen by a high-flying CEO who gutted the company you worked for so he could build a 4th mansion and a 200 ft yacht.

            And afterward all you would say is “Did you see the marble ballroom floor in the yacht?! It’s gorgeous! How can I stay mad at a guy with such good taste?”

          • To DjangoZ: Seriously? Do you write fiction for a living?

            My grandmother taught us: “There is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, that I better not ever catch you judging others until you’ve walked at least a mile in their shoes.”

            Her morality was on a level so far beyond these posers here.

            Most who find it so easy to condemn others are simply trying to distract you from their own inner demons by projecting them on to designated “monsters.”

            Don’t be so gullible.

          • Thomas Charles says:

            I like baseball n I think every1 should think th same way I does. Pete Rose sounds like a pretty name. I wonder if he ever read that letter I writ him when I was a youngin. I put a rose in it n everything. I hope he understands why. My mouth is so big I can fit my entire doll’s boobie in it! An she tastes real good. Like chicken that I done fried on the engin of my pickup. My cousin rubbed mustard on me once in a real nice sorta way. I liked that a lot. I like her a lot. She n I went behind our barn w some Boone’s Farm n got rilly messed up n did some stuff that my mama said I shouldn’t had done.

          • nightfly says:

            Tom, your arguments sound much better when you make them; much worse when you portray those with whom you disagree as inbred weed-smoking hicks.

            If you don’t like the case against Joe Jackson’s HoF candidacy, rebut it. And I think that you will need to do better than to simultaneously claim that it is the product of strict moralists who are simultaneously toothless yokel stereotypes who date their own kin.

          • I hope you all can tell that someone has copied my name and is posting irrelevant comments that have noythjing to do with baseball in order to try and discredit me.

          • Thomas Charles says:

            Hey nightfly my name is THOMAS not Tom. And I was not making fun of anyone. The imposter was!!

  15. Allen Phillips says:

    Frank White should be on this ballot. He was the best 2nd baseman of the ’70’s 80’s!

    • Herb Smith says:

      Yeah, that Joe Morgan guy sucked in the 70’s. Ryno in the ’80’s? He was ok, but he was no Frank White!

  16. Kevin says:

    Happy New Year. I always enjoy your posts, Joe. Thanks for a great year of reading. — Kevin

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