By In Baseball

Hall of Fame Percentages

Big Hall of Fame piece tomorrow (and the next day, and the next day, and the next …) but here’s a quick rundown on the ballot percentages and my predictions in parentheses:

Predicted 0 votes:

Aaron Boone: 2
Tom Gordon: 2
Tony Clark: 0
Eddie Guardado: 0
Rich Aurilia: 0
Jermaine Dye: 0
Cliff Floyd: 0
Jason Schmidt: 0

Takeaway: The people who do the most interesting Hall of Fame ballots never write stories about them; I wish they would. I wish the voters would explain how, on this ballot, they found room to vote for Aaron Boone and Tom Gordon. Maybe it would be a great story. Maybe Boone or Gordon saved their lives. Maybe Boone or Gordon taught their children how to read. I want the story, I really do.

Brian Giles (0-3): 0 votes
— Underrated to the end. Giles was certainly no Hall of Famer, but he had a 136 OPS+ — he was a better hitter than a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame. Not even one vote?

Darin Erstad (0-2): 1 vote
— Nailed it.

Troy Percival (0-2): 4 votes
— That was a lot better than I expected, but Percival was a good pitcher.

Carlos Delgado (1-4): 21 votes
— Well, voters were much, much kinder to low-ballot guys than I expected. That’s good in that voters appreciated that guys like Delgado and Nomah were good players. But it does take away a lot of votes from players who were obviously a lot better.

Nomar Garciaparra (5 or so): 30 votes
— Another big miss. Nomar actually got the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot. That’s a good thing, I think. His case should be considered because for six years he was a Hall of Fame player. Is six years enough? I don’t think so, but that is a good argument to have.

Now, we shift to percentages rather than actual vote counts:

Sammy Sosa (less than 5%): 6.6%
— I thought Sammy would fall off the ballot but he lives to fight another year.

Don Mattingly (less than 5%): 9.1%
— This was Mattingly’s last year on the ballot, and I thought that people wouldn’t spend their votes on him. Closing the book on Donnie Baseball, he topped out at 28% — that was his first year — and then spent 14 more years getting between 10 and 20% of the vote. It didn’t harm anybody, I guess, but that seemed like kind of a silly waste of time. The Hall of Fame has already changed the rule so that players only get 10 years on the ballot. That’s probably for the best.

Mark McGwire (3-8%): 10% (55 votes)
— I thought there was a chance Big Mac would slide right off the ballot, but he held relatively steady. This did mark the fifth consecutive year that his percentage dropped.

Gary Sheffield (less than 5%): 11.7%
— This was my boldest guess; I thought the voters would shun Sheffield. It was also my biggest miss. He actually did pretty well. He does have a compelling Hall of Fame case; I wonder if he will build some momentum.

Larry Walker (5-10%): 11.8%
— He’s right about where I expected; the Coors Field factor and the short career keep his percentages pretty low, but not low enough to fall off.

Fred McGriff (15-20%): 12.9%
— A touch lower than I thought — if I had to guess, I would say some of his votes went to Nomar and Sheffield.

Jeff Kent (13-18%): 14.0%
— Right in the prediction range; Kent has offensive credentials that line up with the Hall of Fame but I think he’s got an uphill fight with the voters.

Mike Mussina (25-30%): 24.6%
— Mussina will need a Bert Blyleven like wave of momentum. I cannot see why voters were so sold on John Smoltz and so unenthusiastic about Mussina, who I think has at least as good a Hall of Fame case.

Alan Trammell (18-23%): 25.1%
— He has just one more year to endure getting a small percentage of the BBWAA vote. And then maybe the Veteran’s Committee will take on his powerful Hall of Fame case.

Edgar Martinez (22-27%): 27.0%
— Pedro Martinez called Martinez the toughest hitter he ever faced. Facts do not back this up; Edgar hit .120 with 0 homers, 0 RBIs and 11 strikeouts in 33 plate appearances against Pedro. But it was a nice thing for Pedro to say.

Lee Smith (17-22%): 30.2%
— Missed this one by a few points. Still, Lee Smith got more than 50% of the vote three years ago and looked to be building a real shot at election. Then these crazy ballots came along that washed out his chances; he has two more years on the ballot.

Barry Bonds (30-34%): 36.8%
— I thought his vote total would go slightly down, it actually went slightly up. Still, there’s no sign at all that the Bonds/Clemens sanctions will end.

Roger Clemens (30-35%): 37.5%
— I’m always interested in the fact that Bonds and Clemens don’t have the same exact percentage. I don’t really get how you vote for one but not the other.

Curt Schilling (40-45%): 39.2%
— I don’t see this ballot evolving.

Tim Raines (53-58%): 55.2%
— Raines ballot rises steadily — but because of the new Hall of Fame rules he only has two years left on the ballot. Is that enough time? Maybe. He needs a big voting season next year. We Raines fans must do our part.

Jeff Bagwell (59%): 55.7%
— I’m not sure why I didn’t predict a range for Bagwell; I seemed sure it would be exactly 59%. I think Bagwell will get elected in time. I really think that. Getting Biggio in could help him.

Mike Piazza (66-71%): 69%
— He will get elected next year.

Craig Biggio (74-79%): 82.7% and elected.
— I thought he’d get elected; he made it a bit more comfortably than I predicted. Thrilled for him. Thrilled for me because he finished 11th on my ballot of 10 and if he had fallen short by a vote … Michael Schur would never have forgiven me.

John Smoltz (88-92%: 82.7%
— And he finished a bit below were I expected. He still was voted in comfortably. And I still don’t quite see how he’s a better Hall of Fame candidate than Schilling or Mussina.

Pedro Martinez (92-96%): 91.1%
— Almost nine percent of the voters saw Pedro Martinez pitch — they saw him just like you and me — and decided not to check his name. It doesn’t matter. But it’s such a loss for them. If you don’t get goosebumps of joy doing your part to elect players like Pedro Martinez into the Hall of Fame, I have no idea why you vote in the first place.

Randy Johnson (97%): 97.3%
— I have to go back and find the story I wrote when I saw Randy Johnson pitch a Class AA playoff game in Jacksonville. At the time he was more an oddity than a prospect. I think of it now like seeing the Beatles play in Liverpool before they were discovered.

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119 Responses to Hall of Fame Percentages

  1. Joe, one of the Boone voters is Hal McCoy, and your snark about “teaching children to read” is actually remarkably close!

    McCoy admitted he might be the only BBWAA member to vote for Aaron Boone, who McCoy credited with helping to convince him to continue his writing career several years ago despite problems with his vision.

    • visigoths says:

      I respect Hal McCoy for that tribute vote. He had a good reason (he has written about Boone with great gratitude in the past), and it’s HIS vote… after all, he sat through a billion baseball games and he certainly knows what he wants in a HOFer. Besides, no one on the ballot missed by one vote, and if Aaron Boone’s kindness meant something to a great writer like McCoy, someone who has chronicled a lot of baseball history, then that’s a story that’s worth a vote.

      • visigoths says:

        Here’s McCoy’s story on Boone, fyi:

      • largebill says:

        I don’t. If Boone was nice to McCoy then McCoy can add him to his Christmas card list. A Hall of Fame vote is not for paying back a personal favor and am disgusted that McCoy treated as such especially with such a ballot full of overwhelmingly qualified candidates. That is just as bad as a writer choosing to not list a player because player wasn’t nice to him.

        • jroth95 says:

          Disgust? As noted below, there were only 9 players for whom a vote could even conceivably matter. So the vote for Boone matters… not in the least. Yet you’re filled with rage because… a meaningless vote was used in a way that you, yourself, wouldn’t have used it.

          And people roll their eyes at the anti-PED self righteous squad.

          • largebill says:

            Filled with rage? Hardly. Mildly upset and somewhat disgusted that McCoy chooses to use the Hall of Fame vote he was entrusted with as a personal gift to hand out instead of as intended? Guilty.

            The claim that one vote would not have put another over top is poor justification. That is like saying don’t blame someone for voting for a lousy politician since one vote didn’t make the difference. No, it’s still important for each to take responsibility seriously.

          • Ian says:

            Well said, jroth

      • resinsman says:

        I must have accidentaly clicked on a re-direct,
        I came here expecting a discussion about Hall of Fame voting,
        and you are discussing the ‘Hall of the guys you wouldn’t mind being your neighbour’.

        Is it near the ‘Hall of the Very Good’?

    • Whoops! I guess my (not-so-serious) conspiracy theory about Boone’s pair of votes was a little off:

      Oh, well. It was fun to think about.

  2. beearl says:

    Pedro said that Edgar was the toughest even though he didn’t do well against him. Had to do with the number of pitches Edgar made him throw each at-bat.

  3. Crout says:

    I really wish the clods who voted for Boone and Gordon could be rooted out like umpires who just don’t make the grade. It’s unprofessional conduct.

    • MikeN says:

      Tom Gordon is in the title of a Stephen King novel, and at one time had the consecutive saves record. Also 100 wins + 100 saves club with Smoltz.

  4. Erik L. says:

    Edgar was the toughest hitter Mariano Rivera faced. Look up those numbers.

  5. nobody78 says:

    Re: Clemens / Bonds:

    I think some people believe that the failure of the legal action against Clemens effectively exonerates him — and he has consistently denied that he ever used steroids. 1% sounds about right for the percentage of voters who would think that way.

    • J Hench says:

      Will those same voters feel the same way if/when Bonds conviction on obstruction of justice charges is overturned? That the eventual failure of legal action exonerates him and, anyway, he always denied (knowingly) using PEDs?

      • But, he doesn’t deny taking them, mainly because there is tons of evidence from the Balco case that he did take them. And, we’re not stupid. The fact that the government can’t prove that Bonds “knowingly” took steroids is completely based on the fact that Bonds is willing to stick to his lie and Greg Anderson, the only one besides Bonds who knows for sure, refuses to talk. Gee, I wonder why that might be.

        • J Hench says:

          My point was that the exact same argument can be made about Bonds as can be made about Clemens. The fact that Clemens was not convicted is no more proof of his innocence than the Bonds’ conviction being overturned will be (or than his acquittal on perjury charges was). If that is truly why voters vote for Clemens and not Bonds, then I would expect them to vote for Bonds if the conviction is overturned.

          • The difference is Bonds used, and doesn’t dispute it. The fact that he used is not disputable. His legal case is around whether he KNEW he was using. That’s tough to prove when the only guy that knows besides Bonds refuses to talk. And the government did everything short of waterboarding to get Anderson to talk. Bottom line: Bonds used Steroids.

            Clemens, on the other hand, disputes that he EVER used (knowingly or unknowingly). I think that’s a rather large difference, even if many of us think they’re both lying. Bottom line: We may strongly believe Clemens used, but he denies it and his success in his legal case gives him the ability to raise reasonable doubt about his steroid use. It’s one of those, he almost assuredly did it…. but can I absolutely 100% prove it? Maybe not.

  6. Tom Flynn says:

    Percival was a tough pitcher, but what I seem to remember most about him was that Jim Thome and other members of the Tribe just owned him for a period in mid to late 1990s.

  7. Curt Schilling (40-45%): 39.2%
    — I don’t see this ballot evolving.

    Nice. (I hope everyone gets this joke).

    • Frog says:

      I wouldn’t have – I’m not American so don’t follow your local news. But in a moment of happy timing I was listening to the latest SGU podcast last night and he was mentioned. I’m in on the joke.

  8. I would never have voted for Aaron Boone but in a world where everyone expected everyone else to be a scumbag Aaron Boone was honest about having played basketball in violation of his contract which cost him $5.75m when that was still a lot of money.

    If you want to penalise people for lying, cheating and so on, maybe giving him a vote for being a moral role model makes sense on some level. I hope that was why he got the votes rather than the home run even though I’m a Yankee fan.

    By the way it is really hard for a Yankee player to get any love what so ever in the HoF voting. I think the voting for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will shock people for being so low. Mike Mussina would have had a better chance if he put up those same numbers for any other team than the Yankees. East Coast and/or Yankee bias gets you noticed and quite a few votes but it never gets you into the HoF, an MVP or a Cy young because there is more than enough strong anti-movement to negate the unfair positive bias. Don’t be shocked if either Derek Jeter or Mariano isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. Posada will never stand a chance.

      • What what?

        The part on Biggio who was release by the Yankees and lost $5.75m as a consequence? He injured his knee playing basketball with his brother and they could have lied about it and he would have gotten $5.75m HE was honest where many people would have tried to hide it. Not worth a vote if you assume everyone is lying, here is one who didn’t.

        Or what what about the anti Yankees bias? It exists and in a world were getting 75% is very hard it matters.

      • jroth95 says:

        It’s a new argument to me, but let’s try to evaluate it: who are the undeserving Yankee HoFers of the last 50 years? I can’t find any, unless you include Catfish (who was not inducted as a Yankee). In fact, looking at guys inducted as Yankees, I can’t find anyone who played after WW2 who’s even questionable (I checked Reggie, but he’s comfortably in by every standard).

        So we know that being a Yankee doesn’t give players a boost towards the HoF. That leaves the question of whether there’s a penalty, and I’m not sure there’s any real argument for it other than Mussina. Mattingly was clearly undeserving (much as I admired him), and of course most of those teams between ’81 and ’95 were terrible, so not many candidates. I don’t think anyone believes Guidry or Righetti belong. I’ve heard people mention Randolph and Nettles, but JAWS is the only one of B-Rs tools that thinks Willie belongs, and the HoF just doesn’t elect many 3Bs. Which is a dumb reason not to elect Nettles, who’s pretty clearly the best eligible 3B not elected, but is a counterargument to a claim that he’s penalized for being a Yankee.

        Anyway, case not proven, but it’s not a facially absurd claim.

        • The Yankees won more games in the 80’s than any other in baseball so they can’t have been that horrible.

          My observation is as much to do with MVP and Cy Young votes were I think that Jeter, Cano, CC, Posada and Mariano all have been hard done by in votes in the last 20 years. The transfer to the HoF really got started with Pettitte being a one and done and Mussina getting so little love relative to Schilling and Smoltz.

          It would be silly to say that there isn’t a lot of pro Yankee bias but it would be equally silly to not acknowledge that that in turn feeds a lot of anti yankee bias. Everybody loves to hate them

          • otistaylor89 says:

            Don’t forget your manager got in.

          • Votes are often a crapshoot. Claiming “Yankee bias” against a player is like claiming any other bias. You better be able to back it up. In the case of Yankee players, they get more exposure than anyone else. So, you never have a situation like Bert Blyleven where an excellent player is virtually unseen by most fans. The idea of a Yankee bias against a player is actually quite absurd.

          • dshorwich says:

            @ Anders Westin –

            “The transfer to the HoF really got started with Pettitte being a one and done and Mussina getting so little love relative to Schilling and Smoltz.”

            Huh? Pettitte won’t appear on the HoF ballot until 2019, same as Rivera. Did you mean Bernie Williams?

        • I’d vote in Darrell Evans and Dick Allen first, but Nettles was great. His snub is not at the level of Santo (Cubs) was or Grich ( Orioles) or Whitaker/Trammell (Tigers) still are. Honestly, your complaints are legitimate that some players and some types of players don’t get the full measure of their due, but I don’t see an objective argument for anti-Yankee bias. (Yankee Jeff Bagwell would have been in the HOF two years ago.)

        • oilcan23 says:

          Someone probably said it already, but Rizzuto was an undeserving Hall of Famer. And probably Joe Gordon, but I don’t know much about him.

    • By the way in a crass analysis of things the only nine votes really mattered this year (in order of importance

      – Biggio – close enough to 75% that it mattered
      – Smoltz – close enough to 75% that it mattered
      – Piazza – close enough to 75% that it mattered
      – Raines – close enough to 75% that it mattered
      – Bagwell – close enough to 75% that it mattered
      – Schilling – if momentum can build for him he and Mussina will get in eventually
      – Mussina – if momentum can build for him he and Mussina will get in eventually
      – Edgar – there is a possibility of a movement, unlikely but possible and ever vote counts in making that happen
      – Sheffield – votes helped keep him on the ballot. He was at least as good an offensive player as Edgar and in reality better than McGwire, Sosa, McGriff, Delgado or Mattingly. Once the PED hysteria dies down he could go all the way to 75%. He was that good on offense.

      If you voted for those 9 that leaves with one “fun” or payback vote to throw away on Aaron Boone or someone else

      All other votes were kind of irrelevant. Bonds and Clemens will get in sometime in the future maybe through the BBWAA but momentum isn’t what will change their cases. Johnson and Martinez were never going to beat Seavers record. Delgado, Nomar, Kent, Mattingly, McGriff, McGwire, Percival, Smith, Sosa, Trammel and Walker will never get in through the BBWAA vote and the BBWAA vote will not matter to the VC.

      All that said I would have voted for the 10 best players (Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Pedro, Bagwell, Mussina, Schilling, Smoltz, Piazza, Raines) but I can understand tactical voting and do not condemn it.

    • Anon21 says:

      “By the way it is really hard for a Yankee player to get any love what so ever in the HoF voting.”

      This is just silly. Goose Gossage made it in as a Yankee a few years ago, and he shouldn’t be in the Hall at all.

      I think that as a Yankees fan, you are either overrating the Yankees players you grew up watching (like Don Mattingly?) or underrating how tough the BBWAA standard is on players from any team.

      • jroth95 says:

        How do you know “he shouldn’t be in the Hall at all?” There are 4 other relievers. It’s pretty obvious that the Hall doesn’t know what makes an RP worthy*, so how would you know?

        *Looking at JAWS, the top 4 are Eckersley, Mariano, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Goose (and Goose is much closer to Hoyt than to Bobby Shanty at #5). Then, down at 17 is Sutter, and at 26 is Rollie Fingers. Unless you want to argue that basically no RPs whatsoever should be in the Hall, Goose looks fully deserving

        • Anon21 says:

          “Unless you want to argue that basically no RPs whatsoever should be in the Hall”


          • jroth95 says:

            But that’s not a Goose-specific opinion, and has nothing to do with the Yankees. In other words, your idiosyncratic position about RPs provides zero evidence about whether or not Goose Gossage was deserving.

            Is Trevor Hoffman in because of the Hall’s famous pro-Padres bias?

          • Hoffman is absolutely, positively not in the Hall due to pro-Padres bias, and he is, in fact, not in the Hall, mostly because he doesn’t become eligible until next year.

            I would agree that there’s nothing strange about Gossage being in the Hall, but he’s a borderline enough case that it’s hard to reconcile his being in with a strong anti-Yankee bias. I don’t think it shows any pro-Yankee bias, though. I’d have voted for him, and I’m an anti-Yankee fan, FWIW (although of course I would hope that my votes wouldn’t be affected by my team preferences).

      • I don’t think Mattingly, Posada, Bernie, Pettitte should be in the hall, but I think Mussina is a slam dunk on par with Smoltz and Schilling. Tell me if you disagree.

        Gossage is as worthy as any closer in the hall which is a loaded statement. Also Gossage played everywhere – he just went in a as a Yankee (just like Reggie Jackson) but he’s only played there 6 seasons out of 20+.

        It is 41 years since a player that spent 40% of his career with the Yankees got elected by the BBWAA to the HoF (Mantle), it is 30 years since any Yankee player got an MVP or a Cy Young other than Roger Clemens or A-Rod who had already received such before they became Yankees. In those 30 years the Yankees have been the most successful team in baseball by quite some margin.

        In aggregate there is a positive Yankees and West Coast bias which shows up everyday in the media, it shows up every year in the MVP, Cy Young and RoY votes where undeserving Yankees get 5th, 6th and 10th and so on. However to actually win something is very hard. Jeter, Cano, Posada and CC have all had lower than deserved finishes in those votes and I think that enough voters have an anti Yankees mind set that makes it difficult to win/get elected when the bar is very high. When A-Rod got his MVP’s it really wasn’t seen as a vote for Yankee but a vote for A-Rod.

        The proof will be if Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter gets a sub 75% vote from the BBWAA. If he does I’ll feel vindicated.

        • largebill says:

          It is silly to even contemplate Jeter or Mariano getting snubbed. They are deserving and will be elected when eligible.

          Length of time since a Yankee was elected or won an award is meaningless without examining each instance to see if “anti-Yankee” bias hurt them. Every team’s fan base thinks some of their players have been ripped off. With only 1 MVP & CY per league there is a always something to bitch about. Some of the bitching is valid (Belle in 1995) some isn’t and some years there are several fairly equally deserving players.

        • Jeff says:

          Maybe it’s really an anti-Oriole bias. Mussina pitched 10 years for Baltimore with 147-81 record (I know, it doesn’t mean anything) and a 130 ERA+. He pitched 8 years for the Yankees with a 123-72 record and an ERA+ of 114.

          Is he Hall-worthy? Probably, but I understand why he is considered borderline by some. Further evidence that there is Yankee bias? Hardly.

          Is it possible that no Yankees have been named MVP or Cy Young over that long stretch is that they have had so many above-average players (and no really “once in a generation” types) that no one stood out above the pack? Sure, Jeter got jobbed once or, possibly, twice but not any more than, say, Mike Trout.

          I appreciate the points you are making. I just don’t necessarily agree. I do think Rivera and Jeter will both sail in at 95+%.

          • In looking at Mussina closely, there are a few perception problems with him. Overall his career numbers are HOF worthy, and I believe he’ll get in. But there was never a season where he was the best pitcher in the league. The closest year is 1992 when Eckersley won. That’s fine, you could argue Mussina had the better season, but Clemens had an even better season. Other than that, he was often a Top 5 guy, but never THE guy. Also, he had ERAs under 3.00 his first two years, then never again. Never a really lights out ERA season after 1992. What he gave you was a consistent top of the rotation performance year after year. But nobody was waxing poetic on his utter dominance like with Clemens, Johnson or even Smoltz. Smoltz’s career numbers are similar, but he had dominant stuff that passed the eye test. He had the big strikeout numbers. He won a Cy Young & not only was in the postseason often, but was dominant in the postseason. In addition, Smoltz was a dominant closer for 3 1/2 years. There were a couple of comments that Smoltz, as a reliever, wouldn’t have been a HOFer. Well, not after just 3 1/2 years of closing, but he averaged 48 saves during his full 3 years of closing. 15 years of that and he has 720 career saves. That wouldn’t have been a HOF career?

            So, all that just says why Smoltz got the nod before Mussina. Mussina will get in, but as often noted in this space, the ballot is loaded right now & like in his career, he came in 4th or 5th on the list of pitchers to vote for this year. It looks like he needs to gain some momentum, as does Schilling, so it will take a few years. Now that Smoltz is in, though, it can be pointed out that Mussina had a very similar career… with more wins. Smoltz getting in will help Mussina and hopefully Schilling too.

        • George says:

          Are you kidding? The NY media drums will be banging hard for both of them as unanimous selections. I’d be utterly shocked if either ends up below 97 percent.

          • Prepare to be utterly shocked – a lot of people will say they won’t vote for a reliever and on this page of all Jeterate will be familiar.

            And honestly Pedro is more deserving than either and he got 91%. To me that alone tells me Mariano will not get above 90%. Pedro at 91% on a crowded ballot I could understand but not Pedro at 91% when Johnson got 97%. How can there be 20 people out there who would not vote for Pedro but for Johnson. Its like voting for Clemens but not Bonds or vice versa (don’t get me started)

            Pedro’s 1997-2003 years are the greatest achievement in pitching history and as opposed to Koufax there are no ifs and buts, no Dodgers Stadium, no raised mound, nothing but the AL East, Fenway and PED hitters galore. I’m not saying he was a better selection than RJ who was just as amazing, but the only case for not voting for Pedro was tactics and then one wouldn’t vote for RJ either.

            Pedro’s stats from 1997 until 2003 essentially equals Mariano Rivera’s entire career stats (IP, ERA, ERA+, WHIP etc), only Pedro was a starting pitcher not a closer.

          • Anon21 says:

            Some people value career length over peak (although Pedro pitched for plenty long, and Johnson’s peak was plenty high–that’s why they’re both inner circle Hall of Famers). I think you can make reasonable arguments for either as the greater player, and that the relatively small disparity in their vote totals tells you very little about the problems with the Hall’s electorate or voting procedures.

            Anyway, Mariano and Jeter will coast in on the first ballot. I’m not going to hazard any guesses about the exact percentages, but it won’t be close.

  9. fhomess says:

    I don’t really understand Joe’s confusion over why Smoltz gets so much more love than Mussina. The problem is one of perception. It’s got nothing to do with numbers and everything to do with psychology. Smoltz has the storylines going for him. He was part of the big 3 Braves pitchers who dominated together. He did the “team friendly” thing and went to the pen where he had great success. He’s now a broadcaster who’s in the minds of people on a regular basis. None of that says anything about whether or not his performance was better or worse than Mussina , but it says a ton about how people feel about him. Mussina doesn’t have any of those things. He was a quiet, cerebral guy who went out and performed well on a regular basis. While Smotlz’s odyssey to the pen hurts his overall value as a pitcher, it helps his case by making him stand out from similar pitchers. Hopefully, the voters will gradually come around to just how good Mussina was, too.

    • Pat says:

      I think he’s being a bit sarcastic, and saying to his fellow writers, hey, look past your narratives and see they’re all three clear HOF.

    • Please note that none less than Bill James cited the “he was also a closer” argument in separating Smoltz from the pack. As others have pointed out, Smoltz, as a closer, was hardly HOF level. But I have to believe it made up over half of the difference.

    • MikeN says:

      If Mussina had signed that Red Sox offer, he probably goes into the Hall of Fame. Maybe as part of a triumvirate.

    • jalabar says:

      I understand Joe’s ‘confusion’. Mussina is every bit as deserving and more as Smoltz of HoF induction, anyone who says he is not has no idea what they are talking about (some of whom have posted on this thread), and the fact that Smoltz got over three times Mussina’s votes IS a travesty and more proof (as if Raines; still not being in wasn’t enough) that the voters are not competent to the task assigned them.

      Mussina pitched in the AL (DH) his entire career, while Smoltz pitched in the NL. Mussina made 60% of his career starts in either Camden Yards, Yankeee Stadium, or Fenway Park, three NOTORIOUS hitter’s parks. Smoltz pitched his entire career with a pitcher’s park his home park. Mussina pitched his entire career in the CRUCIBLE of the AL East when it was by FAR the dominant division in baseball with a murderer’s row of hitter’s night after night. Smoltz pitched in a relatively weak division, save HIS team, for most of his career. And yet, Smoltz lost 2 more games and won SIXTY-SEVEN less than Mussina over his career. Mussina had over 10 more WAR over his career than Smoltz. It is more than reasonable to assume that, had Mussina pitched in Smoltz shoes his entire career, the statistical advantages that Smoltz DOES have over Mussina would have been more than made up, and Moose likely would have a Cy or two. It is also reasonable to assume that Mussina, an ace-caliber starter, would have made a successful transistion to the bullpen on a good team, as Smoltz did, had Mussina’s arm broken down, as Smoltz did. But Mussina’s arm did not break down, and Smoltz shouldn’t have gotten EXTRA credit because his arm did.

      So Joe’s confusion stems from the fact that, as Mike Mussina is every bit as deserving of Hall of Fame recognition as Smoltz, and has been on the ballot longer, he got less than 1/3 of Smoltz’ votes. I suppose he is confused as to how a bunch of people with no apparent baseball knowledge got the right to vote for the Hall of Fame. I’m confused too.

      • I do want to correct one point. Smoltz pitched his first 7 years in Fulton County stadium…. known as the launching pad. So, he didn’t pitch is entire career in a pitchers friendly park as you described.

        As I noted above, I think the issue for Mussina was that although he was often one of the Top 5-10 starters in the league, he was never the best pitcher in the league. Smoltz can point to a Cy Young, big strikeout numbers, dominant stuff, post season dominance and dominance as a closer. It’s more of a perception problem than anything. Mussina’s case is solid. But he should do better now that Martinez, Smoltz and Johnson (and Glavine & Maddux) are off the ballot

      • Be fair…if you’re going to go on and on about how good the hitters were that Mussina had to face (and there’s a good point there), you can’t talk about how many games he won without acknowledging that he had great hitters ON HIS TEAM, too. Some seasons:

        1993: 14-6, 4.46ERA
        1996: 19-11, 4.81ERA
        2002: 18-10, 4.05ERA
        2004: 12-9, 4.59ERA
        2005: 13-8, 4.41ERA
        2007: 11-10, 5.15ERA

        Now, obviously, I’m cherry-picking here. And perhaps in a hitter’s era in a DH league in a power-heavy division, going 19-11 with a near 5 ERA is a Hall-caliber season. But it’s not crazy (and not, as some are suggesting, anti-Yankee bias) to consider his W-L numbers questionable, especially in a time when pitcher wins are considered a questionable stat. (Note that those last three seasons above he had sub-100 ERA+s.)

        I’m leaning toward a yes on Mussina as a HOFer, and I can certainly understand why people have a problem with Smoltz doing so much better than he. I’m just saying that I can see the other side, too.

  10. I don’t think Mussina has as good of a HOF case as Smoltz. Smoltz has a career ERA of 3.33 to 3.68 for Mussina. Smoltz struck out more and gave up fewer home runs. He also dominated as a starter, as a reliever and in the playoffs. He is the first player in MLB History to have over 200 wins and over 100 saves.

    The REAL question is why is Tom Glavine in the HOF while Schilling and Mussina are not. He should be ranked well below Smoltz, Schilling and Mussina.

    • Ian R. says:

      Mussina spent his entire career in the American League facing designated hitters. Smoltz spent his entire career (other than his brief stint with the Red Sox) in the National League facing pitchers. That alone accounts for pretty much the entire ERA difference – by ERA+, Smoltz is still ahead, but it’s 125 to 123 for Mussina. That’s basically nothing.

      I don’t think Moose has a BETTER case than Smoltz, but I think it’s pretty silly that Smoltz comfortably sailed in on the first ballot while Mussina is going to languish for a long time.

      • largebill says:

        Ian, While I agree with your overall premise, I disagree that Mussina will “languish for a long time.” He has been hurt his first couple ballots by the glut of great pitchers. Leave the Smoltz/Mussina comparison alone and you still have Pedro & Randy Johnson this year and Maddux & Glavine last year. Statistically, Mussina may have been better than Glavine, but that doesn’t mater to voters distracted by shiny objects (300 wins, five 20 win seasons and a CY award). None of those great pitchers will be on the ballot. Some voters divide their ballot up and will only list so many pitchers, so many OF, so many IF and a catcher. I’m fairly certain that the Pedro/RJ/Smoltz votes are not all going to Griffey & Hoffman. Schilling and Mussina will both get a decent jump next year.

    • Pat says:

      The difference in ERA, and HR too, is largely due to the DH. ERA+ sees them as nearly identical. It’s a curiosity he pitched as a reliever, an easier job than starting, not an argument in his favor.

      I’m not even going to touch the Gwynn comment.

    • John L says:

      If you want to cherry pick stats, Cindy, I can do that too. Here:


      Winning Percentage: .579
      ERA+: 125
      Fip: 3.24
      WHIP: 1.179
      Hits / 9: 8
      HR / 9: .7
      BB / 9: 2.6
      SO / 9: 8
      SO / W: 3.05


      .597 (and he played on some crappy Philly teams!)
      4.38 (!!!)


      .638 (!!!)

      So, both pitchers have a better winning percentage (for whatever that’s worth – hint, not much). Both have a better WHIP despite giving up more hits per 9 innings. Both also have a significantly better strikeout to walk rate. Schilling also has more than a strikeout per 9 better, despite Smoltz pitching as a closer when he can throw harder and not have to save anything for later in the game.

      I’d say they’re awfully comparable.

      • Messina was acerbic, and underrated while playing for both Baltimore and New York. I think he’s slightly more deserving than Smoltz, but his low vote totals don’t show particular anti- Yankee bias.

        About Jeter getting robbed on an MVP. Absolutely. A-Rod also deserved at least one he didn’t get, back in his pre-centaur, pre-Yankee days. MVP voting is about general incompetence, not bias against your favorite team.

      • I didn’t say that Schilling and Mussina should not be in the HOF (FWIW, I think they do belong there). I just think Smoltz has a slightly better case, particularly since he is also a Cy Young award winner.

    • Tronan says:

      Mussina played in the AL East his entire career and didn’t have the luxury of pitching to other pitchers. He also pitched in hitter-friendly ballparks against all-gorilla AL East lineups during the division’s period of dominance. I think that explains the third of a run difference in ERA between him and Smoltz, as well as in the difference in HRs. (And, Mussina averaged only 0.9 HR/9 innings, which isn’t that different from Smoltz’s 0.7.) And while it is true that Smoltz had a better K/9 rate, Mussina had better control.

      In any case, I think Smoltz is a worthy HOFer, and believe that Mussina is, too. They both were very good pitchers in an era that favored offense.

  11. Jeff says:

    Randy Johnson (97%): 97.3%
    — I have to go back and find the story I wrote when I saw Randy Johnson pitch a Class AA playoff game in Jacksonville. At the time he was more an oddity than a prospect. I think of it now like seeing the Beatles play in Liverpool before they were discovered.

    Joe, this reminds me of seeing Pedro pitch here in San Antonio in AA. The best pitching matchup I’ve ever seen was Pedro versus Donovan Osborne when both were considered their teams’ top pitching prospect. They did not disappoint as Pedro got the 1-0 win. As best I remember. This was 1991 or so. I do remember it was in the old ballpark at St. Mary’s before the Wolff opened in 1994.

    • Scott says:

      In 1996 I saw Randy Johnson pitch in a single A rehab start for the Everett Aqua Sox. He pitched 2 perfect inning, struck out 5 batters, and induced a weak grounder to second. I remember the opposing batter who didn’t strike out got a huge cheer (and the baseball).

      The most impressive thing, though, was watching Johnson warmup. It was a tiny “stadium” with seats only in the infield so when he warmed up in the outfield foul area you could get pretty close and I was just blown away by how large he was. I mean you hear about it on TV but standing there watching him pitch from 10 feet away; I felt sorry for anyone standing in the batter’s box.

  12. wordyduke says:

    As an indicator, it’s hard to beat Bill James (and Baseball Gauge’s) Win Shares.

    Every pitcher post-1900 with 288 or more Win Shares is in the Hall, except for Roger Clemens and Tommy John (292). Smoltz is credited with 288 (and relief pitching holds your number down). Of course, many Hall pitchers with abbreviated careers have fewer than 288, including Pedro Martinez. Mussina is at 271, Schilling 255, Mariano Rivera 273.

  13. itsbenfeldman says:

    I think in some sense the 0 votes for Giles were the easiest to predict on the ballot. His case which relies on an appreciation of OBP and of the stifling hitting environment of San Diego, would only be appreciated by voters sophisticated enough to not put him among the top ten. I.e., no one is going to vote for Giles who is not also voting for (say): Trammel, Edgar, Mussina, Smoltz, Shilling, Piazza, Biggio, Bagwell, Pedro and Randy, to say nothing of Bonds, Clemens, etc al

    • jroth95 says:

      That’s a good point: this was a ballot where a savvy (and therefore Giles-friendly) voter could justify putting 16 guys ahead of him. Sure, there’s strategic voting, but who would vote strategically just to give Giles a symbolic vote?

      I’d like to think that Giles’ Ray Rice-like incident, even though it was ignored at the time, didn’t help.

  14. Richard Aronson says:

    Random thought about Nomar and Koufax and why Nomar was not in on the first ballot. For six years, Nomar played at a HOF level for shortstop. He’ll stay on the ballot, but was not elected. For six years, Koufax pitched at a level of the best LHP in history if not best pitcher (remember, Pedro, Randy, Maddux, Clemens, all follow Koufax’s retirement). If your career is that short, you have to be better than a mere HOF average player for six years to get in, although I’d have zero objections to letting in any HOF-possible player who split time in the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues (e.g. Minnie Minosa).

    • Pat says:

      “For six years, Koufax pitched at a level of the best LHP in history if not best pitcher (remember, Pedro, Randy, Maddux, Clemens, all follow Koufax’s retirement).”

      And for over 40 years now people have been overrating how well Koufax pitched. For six years he did pitch at a HOF level, but two of those years, 1961 and 1962, were nowhere near the level of “best LHP in history,” and two others, 1964 and 1965, were great, but not otherworldly.

      If you look just for LHP seasons 1966 and earlier sorted by WAA, you’ll see Hal Newhouser comes in at 1 and 6; I’m discounting those heavily for WW II level of competition being very low. Koufax comes in at 3 and 4. Pretty good! But Grove comes in at 2 and 7, just as good as Koufax’s seasons, and then he also has 9, 15, 18, 24, and 42 before Koufax shows up again at 44. So Koufax pitched like the best LHP in history for 2 seasons, and is not even in the discussion for best pitcher in history, even for 1966 and earlier.

  15. lpc says:

    Mmmm Clemens getting more votes than Bonds, couldn’t possibly be about race right. Its just a pure coincidence the White one got more votes

  16. Karl says:

    Nice joke on Schilling but he’s actually doing fantastic. He was the biggest vote gainer this year. I think he will get in eventually.

  17. otistaylor89 says:

    I think is interesting that that voters who didn’t make their votes public voted for, by far, fewer players. I think the overall average number of players voted by voters was less than 6, but the public voters (who were 38% of the total) voted on the average of 8.3 players. I bet there were several blnk ballots submitted, which is just evil.
    I think they should wipe out all the eligible voters and let them resubmit their request for eligibility with a brief statement why they would be a valid HOF voter, getting rid of the voters who have no use for the process. There is no excuse for 20% of the non public voters not voting for Pedro.

  18. djandujar says:

    The difference between the numbers for Clemens and the numbers for Bonds? Probably just racism. Or someone from the Country of Texas. Really, in my opinion, you either vote for them both or don’t vote for either.

  19. Bret says:

    One possible reason for Pedro’s relatively low percentage could be some of the writers penalizing him for the Zimmer incident. That would be silly, but I wouldn’t put it past some of these writers. After all, the spitting incident did cost Robbie Alomar some votes a few years back.

    • jroth95 says:

      I really think it’s longevity. Obviously Koufax is the rejoinder to that, but Pedro did better than he did. I simply think there are a chunk of voters who, whether they’re stupid and care about pitcher wins, or are pig-headed and insist on peak *and* longevity, look at a guy with Pedro’s fairly short career and take a pass. I mean, it’s not as if Johnson doesn’t have a legit claim to being a more productive pitcher with a peak almost as high.

    • Frog says:

      Could a reason be that they were playing the numbers? – they knew he’d get the 75% anyway so use their votes on other candidates?

    • denopac says:

      Those who didn’t vote for Pedro were Old Schoolers who looked at 219 careers wins and didn’t see a first ballot HoFer. I’d be interested to know who was the last SP to be elected with fewer.

  20. ZelmoOfTroy says:

    There are exactly zero deserving players who have been excluded for being a jerk to the media. (See also Eddie Murray and Steve Carlton, first-ballot selections.) Albert Belle might have gone on to be the only exception, but his short career and clear character-slash-lunacy issues made the subject moot.

    • Kevin Brown? Dick Allen?

      • Kevin Brown not getting in was all about anti-Yankee bias. Joke alert!

        However it is interesting that 6 out of the 7 pitchers with a WAR above 60 who aren’t in the hall played for the Yankees – Clemens (PED), Mussina (wrong timing?anti-Yankee? who knows), Brown (a Jerk supposedly), David Cone (career to short?), Pettitte (PED or not good enough?), Tiant (who knows why). Of those only four would ever really be properly linked with the Yankees.

        I think Cone has a better case than most seem to think – ERA+ 121, ERA 3.46, 194-126 /L, WAR of 61.7, a perfect game, 5 rings and a very likeable guy. 8-3 in the post season.

        I also think that post season work is more important for pitchers than position players. The IP from the year before matters and when you like Schilling, Mussina, Cone, Smoltz, Pettitte often pitch 3-4 games more per year than most other pitchers your performance is likely to suffer during the regular season. Position players however should see much less of that. With HoF what ifs are often treated on a case by case basis – Negro League players get a what if, Japanese and Cuban players seemingly don’t, people who went to war get a what if but people hindered by strikes probably don’t.

        It seems no one is asking the question what the stats of for instance Andy Pettitte would look like if he hadn’t pitched 276 innings in the post season that wore down his arm for the next season. 1995-2009 he averaged 212 IP/year including the post season but only 197 in the regular season.

        Apart from Schilling all other pitchers with a WAR over 60 are in the Hall and 29 pitchers with a WAR lower than 60 are in.

        I think Mussina and Schilling are no brainers. I think that Brown, Cone and Pettitte were a lot more deserving than the BBWAA thought.

        • otistaylor89 says:

          I think a lot of people are asking about Pettitte’s stats, “What if he didn’t play for a team with the greatest closer saving all his games, on one of the greatest teams of all time scoring a lot of runs, playing great defense and holding saves all the while playing homes games in a park that is perfectly suited for a lefty pitcher”.

          • AJ Taylor says:

            It’s hard to say definitively that there’s anti-Yankee bias in the Hall of Fame voting process, at least as far as pitchers go. Brown and Clemens have been held back for reasons of suspected PED use, Tiant was only briefly a Yankee (and his non-election had more to do with some horrible timing of his arrival on the ballot than anything else), and Pettitte hasn’t been put to the voters yet so it’s hard to say how he’ll fare. Cone maybe has a case, but there are more than a few pitchers with similar careers who neither pitched for the Yankees nor got much consideration for the Hall.

            Historically, before those guys there really haven’t been too many borderline Yankee pitchers who DIDN’T make it in. Despite a long run of good pitching staffs, with the exception of Whitey Ford and now Mariano Rivera, the Yankees haven’t really had any slam-dunk Hall of Famers pitch the majority of their careers for them. Nonetheless, Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt, Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing were all voted in (although to be fair Gomez and Hoyt were Veteran’s Committee picks at a time when they were making a host of just awful selections) with rather borderline resumes boosted by their stellar winning percentages playing for powerhouse Yankee teams.

            Aside from those guys, how many other borderline Yankee pitchers have there really been?

          • I don’t think there’s a ton of dialogue on Pettite at all. He’s not even on the ballot now. He’ll get a good hearing, especially owing to his excellent post season work and high profile with the Yankees. It will be interesting to see how his ballot evolves.

      • mrgjg says:

        I think for “Brown” it was probably racism.

      • Dick Allen definitely. The recent whiff by the veterans committee on Allen (see “Bad Math”) was horrifying.

  21. Allen Phillips says:

    FRANK WHITE!!!!!

  22. Brent says:

    to our impassioned Yanke fan above:

    Actually Mussina and Kevin Brown suffer from the same malady with the voters and it is not an Anti-Yankee bias, quite the opposite in fact. It is that they were HOF caliber pitchers with teams that weren’t the Yankees and only just good with the Yankees. The East Coast media hacks remember the good pitcher with the Yankees instead of the great pitcher with the Orioles/Padres.

  23. Bags 4 HoF says:

    Re: Bonds/Clemens, a buddy of mine had Barry Rozner on his podcast (very insightful and thoughtful, btw), and he explained his “yes” Bonds/”no” Clemens vote thusly (BTW, Rozner will not vote for PED users): Bonds’ use had (in his mind) a defined timeline/narrative; he could comfortably consider pre-‘98/PED Bonds and post-‘98/PED Bonds and, in his opinion, pre’98/PED Bonds was a HoF’er.

    With Clemens, his timeline was murkier and more vague – ’97 when he went to Toronto? ’99 with the Yankees? Before? After? So he couldn’t definitively judge what he thought was the PED-less portion of his career.

    Agree/disagree, I do appreciate that he at least put some careful thought and consideration to a complicated issue.

    • jroth95 says:

      I agree it’s nice he thought about it, but I was speculating about Clemens elsewhere, and there’s really no argument he juiced earlier than ’95, and he was a likely HoFer then; add in a few decent years, and he’s a clear HoFer. The line is less bright than Bonds’, and the pre-PED career (wherever you draw that line) less emphatically Hall-worthy, but I don’t see any honest claim that clean Clemens might be undeserving.

  24. Mark A says:

    I feel like one factor that goes un-discussed too often in who gets how many hall of fame votes is profile.

    For instance, if Carlos Delgado had spent his golden years as a Yankee, I wonder how much closer he would have gotten. Given his era and the absence of arbitrary round numbers, I suspect it would not have been enough to get him in, but…

    The Yankees would have adored Delgado in his prime. With the exact same numbers he would have figured more prominently in a few MVP votes, would have gone to several more all-star games, maybe even picked up a completely unearned gold glove.

    I suspect he would have stayed on the hall ballot awhile in that alternate universe, and I really wonder just where his case would have peaked.

    By the same token, I think Pedro is a hall of famer anywhere, but if he never goes to Boston and gets that profile, I am given to wonder how many would notice how stupidly dominant he was in his prime, and if his injuries/longevity would have weighed more against him. How many years would an Expo/National Pedro have had to wait?

    Not to mention Joe’s cause celebre, Tim Raines. Put him in a major market at his very peak, and is he in the hall already?

  25. Steve says:

    If Delgado played his career as a Yankees, they would have a plaque in his honor in center field by now. And probably a retired number as well.

  26. Ian says:

    I’m a bit surprised by the Raines love and the lack of support for Nomar. Nomar had the better peak. And while Nomar didn’t do much outside of his peak years, Raines had 8 seasons of less than 2 WAR.

    • Jonathan Laden says:

      Sometimes it’s as simple as one number comparison. Raines has 70 WAR, Nomar has 44. Nomar had a great peak, sure. And Raines, maybe because of the lupus, had a long second career as a part-time player. Yet that is a massive chasm of value difference to overcome.

  27. Pat says:

    “playing great defense”

    I was with you all the way up to here. He had Jeter up the middle, and Bernie, plus Posada behind the plate does not have a great rep. The defense behind him was probably not a factor in his success, in fact it probably hurt him.

  28. Pat says:

    Nomar didn’t do ANYTHING outside of his peak years. 3 WAR and -3 WAA. Now his peak was higher, and a touch longer, but the HOF voters just don’t elect people with only 6,116 PA’s. Nomar had about 2,000 PA’s outside of his peak, Raines had more like 7,000 outside of his peak, which is more than Nomar’s career. It’s not hard to see the difference.

    • Ian says:

      Sure, but should that really matter? Nomar had the better peak – more and better HOF seasons. Shouldn’t we be voting in HOFers based on their peaks and not on their ability to stick around? That’s my real problem with Raines – and I’m not saying I don’t think he’s a HOFer, I’m just amazed how few people have trouble with it. Raines had a great 5 year run (83-87) but didn’t do much outside of it but a lot of people are saying he’s a HOFer and not Nomar (or Keith Hernandez, Chase Utley, Tony Oliva, etc) precisely because of what happened outside of those peak (HOF) years. And it wasn’t all that much.

      • Karyn says:

        I don’t understand this reasoning. Of course a player’s ability to stay on the field and have a long, productive career matters in his Hall of Fame case. This disregard for players who are durable and valuable for many years always surprises me. I’ve seen some folks deride them as ‘compilers’, as though a career filled with milestones is something to be ashamed of.

        Of course longevity matters, and not just peak.

        • Ian says:

          Ignoring the players, who do you think belongs in the HOF more?
          Player A: played 12 years but managed 7 legit HOF seasons and nothing else or
          Player B: played 22 years managed 5 legit HOF seasons but was solid (2 WAR guy) for 12 more years and had five nothing else seasons

          • Karyn says:

            Not knowing what you mean by ‘legit HOF seasons’, I can’t judge.

            Why would you want to ignore the players? Let’s talk about who we’re talking about.

  29. :-) says:

    I know he isn’t eligible yet, but I am interested in anyone’s opinion regarding Andruw Jones merit as a Hall Of Famer. Here is an interesting piece which cites his achievements as one of the defensive best CF’s ever combined with offensive numbers that would probably be short of HOF caliber, but were still quite good.

    • If he hadn’t gotten fat and stopped caring after his 50 HR season, he might have a case. But he really cheapened his image by being out of shape & having his performance fall of a cliff his last few years. That’s not to mention his de-evolution into a Jeff Francoeur style hacker that couldn’t recognize the difference between a fastball down the middle and a slider a foot outside.

      • :-) says:

        Agree that those items will hurt his chances. My questions wasn’t so much “will he get elected” as it was “does he deserve to get elected” based on his defensive record at a premier, up-the-middle position.

    • Kris says:

      On the merits I think he is a HOFer, but I think there’s virtually no shot at all he gets elected.

  30. Herb Smith says:

    The concept of “anti-Yankee bias” in the HOF voting is preposterous. Your prediction that either Jeter or Mariano Rivera might get less than 75% is equally absurd. What your post shines a light on is this: Yankee fans expect their guys to get MORE recognition than they actually deserve, and when intelligent voting wins out over homerism, Yank fans get pissed.

    I’m not (at all) anti-Yankee. In fact, my favorite players of all-time include Reggie, Mo, and Ron Guidry (not to mention the Babe, the Mick, Lou Gehrig, and other Yankee greats I never saw, but love reading about).

    But c’mon. One guy even wrote:
    ” ..In fact, looking at guys inducted as Yankees, I can’t find anyone who played after WW2 who’s even questionable…”

    Phil Rizzuto: Career OPS+ 93.
    Career WAR, which includes his great fielding at shortstop: 40.6. (Jim Rice had 47.4, Jack Morris had 43.8)

    Never led the league in ANY real batting category (the Bill James “Black Ink” categories). How’d he do in Bill James’ other HOF categories?

    Gray Ink: Batting – 46, Average HOFer ≈ 144
    Hall of Fame Monitor: Batting – 87, Likely HOFer ≈ 100
    Hall of Fame Standards: Batting – 23, Average HOFer ≈ 50

    Yeah. Not close in ANY category.

    I don’t mean to pick on the Scooter, who did lose 3 years to WW2. But Whitey Ford and Dave Winfield both have extremely borderline cases; Whitey went 2nd ballot, Winfield first-ballot.

    Rizzuto went in for one reason: he was “a beloved Yankee.”


  31. MikeN says:

    I would probably not vote for Jeter, in protest of the Jeteration, and particularly his grabbing players in the 2001 World Series to keep them from advancing. If he had the chance, he would have slapped the ball out just like ARod, only then the media would have praised his competitiveness.

    • Karyn says:

      I agree with your take on the Jeter vs. Rodriguez perception issue. Stuff that Rodriguez got vilified for, Jeter was praised for.

      Before the more recent revelations about his longtime PED use, I never understood the hate for Rodriguez. Most objections to him seemed to center on him being ‘fake’ or ‘needy’, which sound like reasons to pity a guy, not despise him.

    • KHAZAD says:

      This perception thing is definitely true. I remember a game when a pitch barely grazed Arod’s uni and he acted like he was hit harder to get on base. There were sports stories about his dishonesty and gamesmanship, and he was portrayed as a cheating punk.

      Later in the same season, Jeter flopped like a soccer player and acted like he had been shot on a pitch that never touched him. The story ran on TV with a nod and wink chuckle and theme of it validating the premise that Jeter was the perfect teammate who would do anything to win a game.

  32. Jason says:

    The Hall of Merit, which Joe has written about in the past, has weighed in on many of these candidates. We don’t penalize steroid users – we only consider on-field performance. Also, players are perpetually eligible.

    This year, we elected Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Curt Schilling.

    Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza, Raines, Bagwell, McGwire, Walker, Trammell, and Edgar Martinez are already inducted. All were shoo-ins except Edgar: a controversial case, he sneaked in behind Barry Larkin and Robby Alomar in 2010.

    Most voters ranked Schilling ahead of Mussina and Smoltz, but we see all three pitchers as obvious selections. Both are likely to go in next year with Ken Griffey Jr.

    Gary Sheffield debuted right behind the “Big Five” pitchers and will be inducted sooner rather than later.

    Sammy Sosa and Jeff Kent finished in the Top 10. They’re close to our typical in/out cut point. They might eventually make it, or might not.

    Fred McGriff and Lee Smith have had modest support for several years, but they’re unlikely to ever make it.

    Don Mattingly has never received much support.

    Carlos Delgado, Brian Giles, and Nomar Garciaparra all got scattered votes this year (our ballots go 15 deep), but that was it.

  33. sbmcmanus says:

    Regarding Mussina someone above said “he had ERAs under 3.00 his first two years, then never again. Never a really lights out ERA season after 1992.” Which is factually accurate, but is also exactly why people look at things like ERA+. Context is super important here. His career overlaps the steroid era and he pitched his whole career in a tough division. These things matter, and make arbitrary cutoffs like an ERA of 3 even less meaningful than they usually are.

  34. Mark A says:

    Still waiting on the tomorrow with a big hall of fame piece.

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