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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

The Finalists: Concepcion and Simmons

Our continuing series on the 12 men on the Baseball Hall of Fame Expansion Era ballot.

Dave Concepcion

Summary: Played 19 years for the Cincinnati Reds. Was the starting shortstop for the Big Red Machine team that dominated the mid-1970s — played in four World Series from 1970 to 1976. Known for being a dazzling defensive shortstop who offered some offensive value — this in a time when the best defenders (like Gold Glove winners Don Kessinger, Dal Maxville, Bud Harrelson, Roger Metzger, Mark Belanger, Ed Brinkman) could not hit at all. Some see Concepcion as a bridge between the era of the no-hit shortstop and the era when shortstops (Alan Trammell, Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, Dickie Thon, etc) became offensive weapons.
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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

The Finalists: Miller and Steinbrenner

Our continuing series on the 12 men on the Baseball Hall of Fame Expansion Era ballot.

Marvin Miller

Summary: Served as Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director from 1966 to 1982 and was a powerful voice in the union for three decades afterward.
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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

The Finalists: Tommy John and Joe Torre

Our continuing series on the 12 players on the Baseball Hall of Fame Expansion Era ballot.

Tommy John

Summary: Pitched in the big leagues for an amazing 26 seasons — and he actually lost a full season in the middle because of, well, a certain kind of elbow injury that had no surgical solution. Cy Young never won a Cy Young. Tommy John did not have the option of having Tommy John surgery. But he did have a risky kind of surgery that would someday bear his name, and he pitched 14 more seasons and twice finished second in the Cy Young balloting.
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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

The Finalists: Captain America and the Cobra

Our continuing series on the 12 players on the Baseball Hall of Fame Expansion Era ballot.

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Steve Garvey

Summary: First baseman who played 19 seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. Winner of an MVP Award (1974), the Roberto Clemente Award (given for great play and contribution to the comminutey), the Lou Gehrig Award (given to players who exhibit the character best exhibited by Lou Gehrig), two National League Championship MVPs, two All-Star Game MVPs and four Gold Gloves.
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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

The Finalists: Quiz

OK, so you have probably heard — there are 12 finalists on what the Baseball Hall of Fame is calling the Expansion Era Ballot. These are players, managers and executives who contributed during what the Hall (naturally) calls the Expansion Era — from 1973 to the present. Only problem is, that’s not really the Expansion Era. There was no expansion in 1973. There was expansion in 1969, of course, and expansion in 1961 and 1962. There was even expansion in 1977.

What happened in 1973? Oh yeah: They should instead call it the “Designated Hitter Era.”

Anyway, there will be a 16-member panel that will vote on the players — 75% (12 out of 16) are needed for Hall of Fame induction. It’s a good panel with Hall of Famers (Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Phil Niekro, Frank Robinson), a few executives (Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, former Orioles president Andy MacPhail, Phillies president and CEO David Montgomery, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf) and writers who have closely observed the game (Elias’ Steve Hirdt, San Francisco Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins, BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell and longtime Fort Worth Star Telegram writer Jim Reeves).

Quickly, the 12 people on the ballot are:

Players (6): Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons.

Managers (4): Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Billy Martin, Joe Torre.

Executives (2): George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller.

And so, because I’m crazy, I’m going to go through the 12 candidates one at a time (well, I’m going to do the managers all at once and maybe the executives too).

And I’ll start with the man whose appearance on this ballot makes me what to cry with happiness, an old friend, Dan Quisenberry.

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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

Ranking the Hall Ballot: Results Edition

There was a fantastic response to the “Rank the Hall of Fame Ballot” challenge that I issued yesterday. More than 3,300 people filled out a bracket — and I guess people are still doing it. I cut it off at 3,318. The results, I think, are pretty interesting.

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So, here’s the idea that Tom Tango and Bill James — and, sure, many other people — have come up with for Hall of Fame voting. They think that BBWAA members should vote for the Hall of Fame the same way that we vote for MVP and Cy Young and so on. That is to say, we don’t just check off who we think should be the actual winner of the awards. Instead, we rank our choices — 1 through 10 for the MVP, 1 through 3 for Cy Young and so on.

Many people — and now I’m among them — now think this is how we should vote for the Hall of Fame too.

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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

A Special Hall of Fame Ballot

OK, here’s a poll that will lead to our next Hall of Fame post … I put up a survey here. On it are are the 21 best players on the 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot — or, anyway, the 21 players most likely to get serious Hall of Fame consideration. It was 20 — I originally forgot Larry Walker. I got him on there, so that it shouldn’t affect the voting.

Anyway: Your mission is to vote, of course. But we’re going to do it a little bit differently this time. Instead of just checking off the candidates you like for the Hall of Fame, you actually have to RANK the players you are voting for. This idea comes from Tom Tango and Bill James — more on that in the next post.

For now, all you need to do is vote the players you think belong in the Hall of Fame IN ORDER. So, if you have 10 players you want to vote for the Hall of Fame (remember, 10 is the limit), you have to rank them 1-through-10. So if you think Greg Maddux is the best person on the ballot, you vote him No. 1. If you think then it’s Edgar Martinez, you vote him No. 2. If you think then it’s Lee Smith, you vote him No. 3. And so on.

If you only want to vote for one person, say Jack Morris, then click him at No. 1 and send click “send survey.” This option is really only for Murray Chass.

This should be fun.

Again, the survey is here.

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By In Baseball, Hall of Fame

Unanimous Hall of Famers

Every time an undeniably great baseball player retires — the latest being Mariano Rivera — there will be a handful of people who will wonder:Is he finally the one? Will he become the first unanimous Hall of Famer?
In a way, it’s a bizarre concept. How could there have never been a unanimous Hall of Famer? I don’t know a single person who does not consider Mariano Rivera a Hall of Famer. You could invent cockamamie arguments against Rivera if you want — he wasn’t effective as a starter briefly at the start of his career, one inning closers are vastly overrated, whatever — but that’s just like a thought exercise. Everybody willing to look at his career with even the slightest bit of objectivity thinks Mariano Rivera should get elected into the Hall of Fame.
But Rivera is not the greatest player in baseball history. There have been significantly better players than Rivera who have not gotten in unanimously. By my best guess, there should have been 20 unanimous Hall of Famers already. Actually, it’s more than 20 when you consider Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson and Honus Wagner and other players before World War II, but the Hall of Fame was a different thing in their time. Well, it didn’t even exist in their time. So that’s a different thing.
The Baseball Writers of America have been voting more or less the same way since 1962. And I think, since 1962, there have been 20 players who should have been voted in unanimously.
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