By In Stuff

Percentages and the Hall

One of the fascinating things to watch in this year’s Hall of Fame balloting will, of course, be the percentages of some of the dominant players who will not get elected because of PED suspicions. We know — absolutely know — that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds (and Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa) will not get elected this year. I still expect no one to get in … but we KNOW they won’t get in.

What percentage of the vote will they get? And what does that percentage mean?

History, obviously, can only tell us so much when it comes to players linked to PEDs. There has never been a player as good as Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens who did not make it into the Hall of Fame more or less as soon as possible  (not even Shoeless Joe Jackson or Pete Rose). So, I’m not sure any historical comparison is valid. If Bonds and Clemens were to each get 45.2% of the vote* — which is their percentage on Baseball Think Factory’s essential Hall of Fame collecting gizmo — is that really comparable to Gary Carter (who got 42.3% on first ballot) or Andre Dawson (who got 45.1%)? No. I don’t think it is. But we’re working with what we have.

*I do have a prediction about Clemens and Bonds — though it isn’t about how high their percentages might go. I predict they will get EXACTLY the same number of votes. I’ve thought about this a lot of different ways … I believe every person who votes for one will vote for the other, and everyone who doesn’t vote for one will vote for neither.

So, what I’m doing here is breaking down the Hall of Fame percentages through the years. I’m starting in 1966 because that’s the year when the Hall of Fame voting process really began to look more or less like it does now. I’ll go into that at some length in my NEXT absurd Hall of Fame post.

Just remember, we’re looking at players’ first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, their percentage and what happened to those players.

* * *

Players who got 0 votes — 199 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 0.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 0.

• Hall of Fame percentage: 0%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Nobody.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Jimmy Wynn, Roy White, Ken Singleton.

I think the categories are pretty self-explanatory. I give the percentage range, the number of players in that range, who was elected to the Hall of Fame and the percentages. The other two categories are just my opinion. “Still in Hall of Fame play” refers to players who are still up for discussion and have a viable chance of being elected to the Hall of Fame in the near future. “Has some Hall of Fame support,” meanwhile, refers to players who have a small but vocal group of Hall of Fame supporters and will need a series of wins to catch the eye of whatever veterans committee happens to be in vogue, rally their support and get the Hall of Fame nod.

Obviously, many, many more than 199 people got 0 votes. For instance, I got zero votes. Unless you as reader are Dale Murphy, you probably got zero votes too. What I refer to here is that there have been 199 players since 1978 who made it to the ballot but did not get a single vote. It is a list of some very good players — three are listed above but you can also throw in Andy Van Slyke and Frank Tanana and Mark Langston and Devon White and Amos Otis and Sudden Sam McDowell and so on.

If you go earlier than 1966, there have been at least two players who got zero votes and were later inducted, but neither are comparable to what’s happening today. In 1936 — the first year of the Hall of Fame balloting — Gabby Hartnett and Charlie Gehringer each got 0 votes. That first election was not like any other election — the rules were not entirely clear, active players were voted on and so on — but still, in time, the BBWAA voted Gehringer and Hartnett into the Hall.

* * *

Players who got 1 vote — 88 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 0.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 0.

• Hall of Fame percentage: 0%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Nobody.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Nobody, really. I guess there might be a Chuck Finley fan here or there. Or not.

I wanted to separate 0 and 1 votes from the rest because they are each interesting on their own. There have been many, many players who got only one vote on their first ballot and were inducted into the Hall of Fame — all of them before 1966. This is because, as hinted, the voting procedures were very different before 1966. For instance, Joe Medwick got just one vote on the 1948 ballot — Medwick was still active. He was eventually voted in.

Here is the list of players with 1 vote on first ballot who eventually were elected in the Hall of Fame:

1936: Fred Clarke, Connie Mack, Rube Marquard, Dazzy Vance, Sam Crawford.

1937: Jesse Burkett, Hack Wilson, Joe Sewell, Bobby Wallace, Burleigh Grimes, Eppa Rixey, Jack Chesbro.

1938: Bucky Harris, Elmer Flick, Stan Covelski, Sam Rice.

1939: Jesse Haines; Joe Kelley, Waite Hoyt.

1942: Sliding Billy Hamilton, Jake Beckley.

1945: Joe DiMaggio, Billy Southworth, Joe Gordon,Tony Lazzeri. Obviously DiMaggio and Gordon were very much active at the time.

1946: John Clarkson.

1947: George “High Pockets” Kelly.

1948: Leo Durocher, Billy Herman, Goose Goslin, Chick Hafey, Heinie Manush, Joe Medwick.

1949: Al Lopez; Earl Averill; Freddie Lindstrom.

1950: Ernie Lombardi.

1951: Satchel Paige.

1953: Arky Vaughan (what an embarrassment for the BBWAA).

1956: Rick Ferrell; Phil Rizzuto (yes, Scooter got just one vote his first year on ballot, though he was still active that year, which makes it tougher).

1958: Warren Spahn (obviously still active — pitched for another seven years).

Obviously, you have a smorgasbord here. Paige was still active and his one vote was unquestionably a protest vote of some kind. Durocher and Lopez made it in as managers. Spahn and DiMaggio were still playing. And so on. But some of these players got one vote because only one person thought they were worth a vote —  High Pockets Kelly and Rick Ferrell and Arky Vaughan, among others. In time, they ended up in the Hall of Fame anyway.

* * *

More than two votes but less than 5% — 176 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 0.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 2 (Richie Ashburn, Ron Santo).

• Hall of Fame percentage: 1.1%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Nobody, really. Maybe Minnie Minoso. The system is not kind to the less-than-5% guys.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Lou Whitaker, Kevin Brown, Bobby Grich, Reggie Smith, Will Clark, Darrell Evans, Curt Flood, Ken Boyer, Dick Allen … Rick Reuschel and Buddy Bell have some supporters as well.

How much has the voting changed? Consider the story of a pitcher nicknamed Schoolboy Rowe. He was a good pitcher. He won 24 games one year. He led the league in shutouts another. Baseball Reference sees him matching up pretty well to Chris Carpenter or Dennis Leonard. He won 158 games with a 3.87 ERA and 110 ERA+. A nice pitcher.

In 1958, some nine years after he retired, Rowe appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. A few of the writers — 12 to be exact — voted for him. And, hey, with the the stubborn ways of the BBWAA back in the 1950s (those guys were TOUGH, they make current BBWAA voters look like the page on “30 Rock”), that was an achievement. He received more votes than, among others, Joe Gordon, Travis Jackson, Billy Herman, Arky Vaughan, Freddie Lindstrom, Ernie Lombardi, George Kelly, Rick Ferrell and Joe Sewell — ALL of whom would end up in the Hall of Fame.

Still, 12 votes did not constitute 5%. By today’s rules, Schoolboy Rowe would have pulled off the ballot. But the rules were different then, and Rowe was eligible to be on the ballot in 1960. This time around, he got only three votes — apparently nine people had a very quick change of heart about ol’ Schoolboy.

In 1968 — again because the rules were different, Schoolboy Rowe was placed BACK on the ballot. He got six votes, which constituted 2.1% of the ballot.

In 1969, yep, Schoolboy Rowe got on the ballot again. What would it take to get Schoolboy Rowe off the ballot? Well, I’ll tell you what: In 1969, for whatever reason — maybe he sent a nice poundcake out to the voters — Row got 17 votes, enough for exactly 5% of the vote. So, finally, in 1969 Schoolboy Rowe was legit. He crossed the line. He made it to 5% and could legitimately stay on the ballot.

And 1969 was the last time Schoolboy Rowe appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot. In his odd case, he had to get to 5% before they remembered to take him off the ballot.

The point is: The Hall of Fame balloting rules have been as goofy as they have been confusing, and as confusing as they have been inconsistent. Every so often, when things start to stagnate a bit with the Hall of Fame voting, they will inevitably put in some new rules to spark things up a bit. I think that’s about to happen again. More on that, too, in the next post.

But for now — less than 5% means you’re gone. And it doesn’t just mean you’re gone … it means you’re gone and nobody has any idea how to bring you back. I listed above the players who got just one vote their first time on the ballot who eventually made it to the Hall of Fame. Perhaps an even more compelling story is the one of Ralph Kiner.

Kiner first appeared on the ballot in 1960. He was, as you know, one of the most prolific home run hitters who ever lived. He led his league in home runs seven years in a row — something even Babe Ruth didn’t do. From 1946 to 1952 he hit 294 home runs — second most during that span was Ted Williams with almost 100 fewer (though Williams missed almost all the 1952 season when he went to fight in Korea). Kiner also led the league in walks three times, in RBIs once and in runs once; his career was short and his batting average was relatively low (though he did hit .300 twice), so he certainly had a compelling, if borderline, Hall of Fame case.

In 1960, there was nothing “borderline” about his case. He got three votes. Three. He got fewer votes than Hall of Fame underachiever High Pockets Kelly. He got fewer votes than Nick Altrock, who was once a good pitcher and by then had started to perform comedy routines with Al Schact (the “Clown Prince of Baseball”). He got fewer votes than Bing Miller, Max Bishop, the Catcher Who Was A Spy Moe Berg, Hal White, Joe Dugan, Jimmie Wilson and a pitcher named Orval Grove who went 63-73 with a 3.78 ERA. Listen to this: Ralph Kiner in 1960 got fewer votes than Lefty Grove. You ask: What’s wrong with that? Grove was perhaps the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. True. But there’s this: Lefty Grove was ALREADY IN THE HALL OF FAME, had been since 1947.

OK, so, three votes — he would have been off the ballot in today’s world, forever forgotten unless he caught the fancy of some veterans committee guy. But the rules then were different and Kiner stayed on the ballot. Good thing too: His second attempt, 1962, he got FIVE votes. Well, he stayed on the ballot still, and the third time, in 1964, he got 31 votes. Hey, hey … momentum. His fourth ballot, he 74 votes. And his fifth — the big jump — he got 124 votes, 42.5% of the ballot.

Why was he skyrocketing? Oh, probably a few reasons. First, it was absolutely ridiculous that he got only three and five votes his first two times on the ballot: He was one of the greatest home run hitters of all time. Second, hitting was way down and perhaps his numbers started to look a lot better. Third, he was becoming a popular broadcaster and was very much involved in the game. And then there’s another factor, one that many Hall of Fame purists really dislike, but it happens anyway — flaws that seem so insurmountable when a player first comes on the ballot tend to smooth over through the years. We’ve seen this literally dozens and dozens of times. Kiner was a famously terrible defender and he played on terrible teams and there were many who didn’t like him. Over time, those things became less vexing.

Kiner stayed around that 40% mark for a couple more years, and then in his eighth year on the ballot took another huge jump: From 137 votes to 167 votes, from around 40% of the ballot to around 56%. His vote percentage slowly moved up into the 60s, and then in his 13th year on the ballot he finally got his 273 votes and his Hall of Fame nod — 270 more yes votes than he got the first time on the ballot.

Was Kiner a better Hall of Fame candidate in 1975 than in 1960? Was he 91 times better? Of course not. But Kiner is just an extreme example of what happens all the time in the Hall of Fame voting. Players who stay on the ballot get talked about. Their flaws — which seemed SO extreme when they first got on the ballot — are judged with less emotion. Their careers become more nuanced. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way. Maybe only first-ballot Hall of Famers should be Hall of Famers (leaving out Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Roberto Alomar, Joe DiMaggio and numerous others). I was on a panel discussion on the MLB Network (it airs on Tuesday night, 9 p.m. ET, if you’re interested) and I don’t believe I had a Barack-Obama-in-his-first-debate kind of performance — but good guys like Bob Costas and Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds and Mad Dog Russo and Harold Reynolds have much more stringent standards for the Hall of Fame than I do. They believe in a Hall of Fame that should only have Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle — you know, players about whom there are “no arguments.”

Maybe that’s what the Hall of Fame SHOULD be. But that’s not what the Hall of Fame is, and the Hall of Fame never really was that. The Hall of Fame is a mishmash of standards, a bouillabaisse of great and good and overrated, a place where Willie Mays went in two years after Joe Sewell, and Robin Roberts took longer to induct than Dennis Eckersley, and yes, where Ralph Kiner was elected in the same year that Eddie Mathews got just 40% of the vote and Duke Snider got 35%. People joke about throwing guys out of the Hall of Fame, but that will never happen, and what is happening is that the Hall of Fame is an homage to players before 1960 in a way that it is not for player after 1960. I don’t think that’s right.

Obviously, I never got that out in the panel. I blame the altitude.

One final point on the less-than-five-percenters: When Jack Morris went on the ballot in 2000, 77.8% of the voters said that he was NOT a Hall of Famer. A year later, more than 80% voted that he was NOT a Hall of Famer. But over time, a lot of people looked more closely and the vote turned his way. I don’t agree with Jack Morris as a Hall of Famer, but I absolutely do agree with him deserving to have his case heard over time. I would say that guys like Lou Whitaker, Dwight Evans, Kevin Brown and others deserve the same chance to get the years to help them make their case.

* * *

5% to 10% — 27 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 0.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 1 (Bill Mazeroski).

• Hall of Fame percentage: 3.7%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Joe Torre, Pete Rose.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Dwight Evans, Keith Hernandez.

All of Pete Rose’s votes, of course, were write-ins. … I wonder when Joe Torre will get into the Hall of Fame. We KNOW he’s going in as a manager, so let’s get that done already. He was a really, really good player with a legitimate Hall of Fame case. He became, as we know, a legendary manager with four World Series rings. Let’s stop waiting and put him in already.

* * *

10% to 20% — 18 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 3 (Bob Lemon, Duke Snider, Bert Blyleven).

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 4 (Nellie Fox, Orlando Cepeda, George Kell, Red Schoendienst).

• Hall of Fame percentage: 38.9%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Rafael Palmeiro, Alan Trammell.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Dale Murphy, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Dave Parker.

Technically, Dale Murphy is still in play … but he won’t get elected this year and will be in the veterans committee limbo of so many 1960, 1970s and 1980s players. As mentioned, I wish these committees would stop worrying so much about the picked-over eras they keep studying and start working on more recent times. I didn’t vote for Dale Murphy this year because I thought there were 10 players on the ballot better than him and, anyway, he’s not getting in through the BBWAA. I hope the veteran’s committee, in whatever form, will stop pontificating about Deacon White and other players who are long gone and start thinking about who were the best players of the last 40 or 50 years who have been overlooked.

* * *

20% to 30% — 15 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 6 (Don Drysdale, Billy Williams, Bruce Sutter, Luis Aparicio, Early Wynn, Jim Rice).

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 0.

• Hall of Fame percentage: 40%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Larry Walker, Jack Morris, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Tommy John, Gil Hodges, Roger Maris.

We’re now getting to the break point … if you get between 20 and 30% on first ballot you have about a 50-50 shot of getting into the Hall of Fame. I think Morris will get in next year. I think Walker and Raines both have real shots of getting in through the BBWAA. And I think McGwire, well, it will be interesting to see what happens once Bonds and Clemens get in. They will get in at some point, I feel pretty confident in saying that, and once it happens you have to wonder how the other presumed steroid users will be viewed.

Of course, that whole bit of handwringing is probably silly because there is almost certainly a steroid user or two or 10 in the Hall of Fame already. Anyway, it will be  interesting to see how McGwire and Sosa and others are viewed after Bonds and Clemens get in. I don’t know when Bonds and Clemens get in, by the way. It won’t be for a few years. It might not be for a decade. But it will happen, I think.

* * *

30% to 40% — 7 players.

• Elected to Hall of Fame by BBWAA: 2 (Eddie Mathews, Goose Gossage).

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 3 (Enos Slaughter, Pee Wee Reese, Jim Bunning).

• Hall of Fame percentage: 71.4%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Edgar Martinez.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Luis Tiant.

I have written this before: If Luis Tiant retired two years earlier, I believe he’s in the Hall of Fame right now. But he stuck around those two years and got jobbed by the timing. He got a lot of support in his first year — he looked like a sure Hall of Famer, not unlike his contemporary and comp Catfish Hunter. Then he was washed away by a historic rush of 300-game winners who came on the Hall of Fame ballot, and his vote totals plunged.

* * *

40% to 50% — 7 players.

• Elected by BBWAA: 4 (Hoyt Wilhelm, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg).

• Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: None.

• Hall of Fame percentage: 57.1%.

• Still in Hall of Fame play: Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith.

• Has some Hall of Fame support: Steve Garvey.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Jeff Bagwell went into the Hall of Fame next year with Frank Thomas, who was born on the same day? I’m not sure it can happen — the math next year isn’t good for anybody on this year’s ballot for reasons I’ll get into in, yes, the next post.

Garvey — he has his supporters. But I don’t think it will ever happen.

* * *

50% to 75% — 16 players.

• Elected by BBWAA: All 16 (Tony Perez, Barry Larkin, Fergie Jenkins, Catfish Hunter, Robin Roberts, Don Sutton, Roy Campanella, Juan Marichal, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Gaylord Perry, Roberto Alomar).

• Hall of Fame percentage: 100%.

• Every player who got 50% on first ballot is in the Hall of Fame.

41 Responses to Percentages and the Hall

  1. Bryan says:

    Just wanted to say that I love all the hall of fame posts and would read every word if there were 10x as many. Thanks, Joe!

  2. Unknown says:

    Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald voted for Barry Bonds but not for Roger Clemens.

    • John Gale says:

      Indeed. Apparently, he’s one of those “Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he started juicing” guys. Ok, but is he then arguing that Clemens *wasn’t* a Hall of Famer before he started using? He doesn’t address Clemens directly, just issuing a blanket “I left the steroids guys off” while making all kinds of excuses for Bonds. Apparently, it was McGwire and Sosa’s fault that Bonds started using. That may have been the impetus, but Bonds was in his mid-30s at that point, and by all accounts (and by that, I mean I read it in Jeff Pearlman’s excellent book on Bonds), Ken Griffey Jr. resisted the temptation to use PEDs.

      Anyway, back to Clemens. If we choose to believe Brian McNamee, Clemens began using steroids in the 1998 season. Prior to that point, he had a record of 213-118 (.644 winning percentage) with an ERA of 2.97 and an ERA+ of 149, which would have ranked him second behind Pedro Martinez for starting pitchers since 1900. He could have retired right then, and he would have been a Hall of Famer and probably should have sailed right in on the first ballot (he would have had pretty similar numbers to Pedro, who was 219-100 with a .687 winning percentage, a 2.93 ERA and a 154 ERA+). So I think Rozner doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he used PEDs, but so was Clemens. It’s asinine to suggest otherwise.

    • Mark A says:

      You’re probably right John Gale, and the whole thing is rather silly anyway.

      But playing Devil’s Advocate here, up until the time he presumably cheated, Barry Bonds was consistently great every year.

      Clemens, on the other hand, peaked early, and then had a number of ok, but not great seasons starting at age 30. There are still 3 Cy Young awards, and the nice career numbers you mentioned. But he got written off by Boston, and was a forgotten man and talked about in the past tense when he got to Toronto.

      You can ask Tim Raines and Dale Murphy how Hall voters often treat players with great but shorter primes, and indifferent seasons around them.

      I think Clemens still makes the hall anyway. But if you squint you can see how someone would see Bonds as the more conclusive case.

      But it is not all that uncommon for players with shorter, but great primes, and/or with long period of being ok around them to have issues with hall voters, or at the least be made to wait their turn. Ask Dale Murphy and Tim Raines about it.

      My point being that I’m not as sure as you that a Clemens who retired in 1997 and got on the ballot in 2002, without any world series rings, and coming off Boston writing him off as “done”, gets in right away.
      Bonds is certainly the bigger no-doubter.

    • Dinky says:

      Looking at the numbers, a pretty strong case could be made that Clemens started juicing as early as 1994. His SO/9 was dropping, his innings were dropping, then suddenly in 1994 his SO/9 shot up from 7.5, worst year of his career, to 8.9, second best. A couple of years later, 1996, he pitched 100 more innings while increasing his rate of strikeouts, his ERA dropped by more than a run and a half, his H/9 reversed a long downwards trend. And the whole time, he looked like a weight lifter. Was he HOF worthy by age 31? Maybe, maybe not. Marginally so. So you have to believe that he started juicing in 1998 for his record to clearly establish him as HOF worthy.

      Bonds, OTOH, clearly and visibly started juicing no earlier than 1998, and probably 2000. His steals dropped in half, his defense dropped. His OPS+ reversed its decline in 2000, and he gained a ton of muscle mass. But by 1998 he had 3 MVPs, 8 GGs. Then by the end of 1998 he had a lot of motivation to prove that Sosa and McGwire weren’t really better than he was, and the bulking began.

      I believe Bonds established a HOF level without steroids. I have the evidence of my eyes watching his uniform. I don’t have that same evidence for Clemens. So I can see voting for one and not the other.

    • Richie says:

      Just playing devil’s advocate here. Isn’t it possibly that Clemens simply began weight training (or maybe taking it more seriously) in 1994?

      I don’t go to the gym much right now. But if I started going now, I bet my strength would increase, and I could do it without steroids.

  3. Chris M says:

    This feels more like a teaser for the next post than a post in its own right, but that’s ok, I’ll read anything you write on the Hall of Fame. Hopefully the next post goes up tomorrow…that 4 day wait between part 2 and part 3 of the “trilogy” was killing me…

  4. Mike says:

    Joe, these posts, put together, are basically a new version of the “Politics of Glory”. I’m thoroughly enjoying them!

  5. Even before I saw Unknown’s comment above I was planning to comment that, while I get Joe’s logic about Bonds and Clemens, I think at lease someone will vote for Bonds but not Clemens. My reasoning is that I think at least someone will decide that Bonds was already HOF-worthy before 1999 (the first season he allegedly used, after he got jealous of the attention lavished on McGwire and Sosa in 1998, if Game of Shadows is to be believed) but that Clemens was not HOF-worthy before he got to Toronto (which I think is when most people figure Clemens began using).

    To sum up, I think at least someone will think that Bonds was a HOF-er pre-PEDs but Clemens wasn’t, and will vote accordingly.

  6. Jason Connor says:

    I think Bonds and Clemens will be closer than people think to 75% – mainly because many in the BBWAA are gutless. Poz himself voted for Bonds and Clemens.

    And I’d bet 10 to 1 that Clemens and Bonds will not have precisely the same number of voted, it’s just too improbable.

    • Masa Chekov says:

      I don’t think it’s gutless to vote for two of the best players of all time – certainly the best two players of the past 25 years.

      Both of them are likely chemically enhanced but neither are steroid creations. Both were great without the juice.

    • Rob Smith says:

      I don’t think they’ll be close at all to 75%. I’m thinking below 25%. We’ll see. Certainly most people and most voters don’t have the casual attitude about steroid users that Poz has. He’s on the outside of rational thought on this one.

  7. Eric says:

    One man will go in this year: Allan Huber Selig.

    * If Kuhn goes in, Selig goes in.
    * Selig will have the podium to himself in Cooperstown, preceded by six months of adulation from the Corporate Media, which Selig can enjoy while still alive and sentient.
    * Provides another opportunity to extend the middle finger of the Lords to Marvin Miller.

  8. John Sharp says:

    Joe, as a baseball fan, I enjoy reading your plays, and enjoy watching you on MLB. As an old school baseball guy I get annoyed by the new SABR voters d writers who try to re-wright baseball history. The game if baseball is played on the field, plain and simple. Look forward to reading and watching more of your stuff in the future.

    • Paul Zummo says:

      . The game if baseball is played on the field, plain and simple.

      You’re kidding me! This entire time I thought I was watching a series of 0s and 1s (a la the Matrix) programmed by some guy wearing pajamas in his mother’s basement. Thanks for this surprising information.

    • This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Masa Chekov says:

      What does “The game if baseball is played on the field, plain and simple” even mean? Nobody disputes that is the case.

      The only point of statistical discussions is to look at players and their performance in different ways. Very simple. If you are not interested in it, it can be ignored, but the statistical discussions shouldn’t diminish anyone’s enjoyment of the game, only enhance it if you are so inclined.

    • “I enjoy reading your plays”? “Re-wright history”? “The game if baseball is played on the field, plain and simple”? The guy was clearly trolling–don’t engage him.

  9. Joe, since you acknowledged taking Murphy off your ballot because he wasn’t going to get in anyway, did you give any consideration to voting players you fear will drop from the ballot entirely? Kenny Lofton (for example) is going to have to wait another 20 years before there’s a legitimate discussion about his candidacy after he falls short of 5% tomorrow.

  10. Enjoyed reading this as always, Joe. Happy birthday.

  11. Beezbo says:

    Currently watching your debate with Costas, Verducci, et al. Russo is pretty horrible with his standards. Reynolds obviously has no idea what he’s talking about. Verducci’s stance on steroids at least has a fine line compared to Costas. Leiter mentioned Jack Morris “pitching to the score”. I hope you had a response and it was cut for time.

    • Mark Daniel says:

      I’m watching the same show. Russo picked 0 players on his ballot, Joe had 10. It’s safe to say they have different standards. I also don’t think the rest of the panelists, aside from maybe Costas and possibly Leiter, are ready to accept reasoned, nuanced arguments about steroids specifically, and the HoF in general.

    • Beezbo says:

      My favorite moment of the discussion was when Russo was listing Koufax’s five HOF-caliber seasons. JoePos interrupted and mentioned if Koufax’s 1962 season was repeated five times (14-7, 2.54 ERA, 184 IP, 1.036 WHIP), he wouldn’t be close to a HOFer. Costas paused and gave JoePos a quick glance that seemed to say “This guy (JoePos) knows his stuff, he has great arguments, thank you for not showing everyone else up on MLB Network”. Stay classy JoePos. I know I wouldn’t be able to sit there while quietly listening to Al Leiter vote for Morris and not Schilling.

    • Phil says:

      The hour-and-a-half flew by: I would have liked to hear much more JoPo and Verducci (who is arrogant but knows his stuff) and much less Harold and Russo — so many great aspects and points of view were only touched on due to time constraints. I’ll bet the “off the camera after the taping” was even better. . . .

  12. Unknown says:

    Whys is Sandy Koufax still in the Hall of Fame? They injected him with more PED’s just so he could pick his nose than any of the players who will be ignored this time around. Fair is fair isn’t it?

    • Mark Daniel says:

      Okay, I’ll bite. What PEDs did they inject him with?

    • Tux says:

      Pain-killers and anti-inflammatories would be what I guess the OP is alluding to. Koufax had an elbow that liked to balloon up – which is why he stopped pitching when he did, at least in part.

    • Dinky says:

      I can see why you choose to be unknown.

      Capcesin was neither prescription nor a steroid, and the guy who slathered it on Koufax’s elbow had to wear gloves because it stung so much. They didn’t have anti-inflammatories in the 1960s like they do today. Koufax had an arthritic elbow and carried two average at best teams to World Series titles.

      There’s a big difference between a non-prescription pain killer and a performance enhancing drug.

  13. migitano says:

    He is still in the HOF because, simply, he was the greatest left-handed pitcher ANYONE ever saw for 6 years. As Vin Scully put it, Koufax belongs in a higher league!” People who were not privileged to actually SEE him pitch can never really know how GREAT he was. The hitters really never had a chance!

  14. Tony Dennis says:

    This whole thing is irritating. Who do the writers think they are making themselves judge and jury? Who are they to determine who, what, and when regarding PEDs? Who determines what cheating is? Cheating typically happens when somebody breaks the rules, otherwise it’s not cheating. So, were the PEDs these guys are accused of taking against the rules of baseball at the time it supposedly happened? If not, then we need to drop the subject because it is not cheating. While taking PEDs may be a way for somebody to gain an edge over the competition, so is weight lifting, taking whey protein, taking vitamins, other supplements, eating healthy, not smoking, not drinking…we could go on and on. What about stealing signs? What about the catcher talking it up to the batter? What about the pitcher’s delivery? What about faking an attempted steal or pick off to try to get in the other guy’s head? These are all ways of trying to gain an edge on the other guy, and this is just a few. Sorry to sound so simplistic, but can you see how ridiculous this can get? Where do we draw the line? If we want to talk cheating, then let’s look at somebody like Gaylord Perry. He is in the HOF and cheated throughout his career by continuing to throw illegal pitches EVEN AFTER GETTING CAUGHT!! I didn’t hear anybody screaming that he shouldn’t be in th HOF. Do we want to talk ethics and moral character? Let’s talk Ty Cobb (meanest man to ever play the game but first ever to be elected to the HOF), Babe Ruth (constantly breaking curfew, cheating on his wife), Cy Young, Cap Anson – you know, two of the main players in pushing blacks out of baseball to begin with – both in the HOF. Oh, how about Christy Mathewson and the new pitch he learned called a “fadeaway” or more commonly known as a “screwball”? Apparently, the great manager John McGraw quietly hired Rube Foster to show the NY Giants what he knew. Quietly? Isn’t that trying to gain an edge? Oh, both Mathewson and McGraw are in the HOF. I heard Todd Hollandsworth state on MLB radio that even though these PED players may not have been found guilty of anything, the evidence is there because otherwise why would they hide using it if it was okay. Well, McGraw hid what he was doing. Tell me the f’n difference!

    This can go on all day. My point is, this is ridiculous. Any argument made about why an alledged PED user should not be in the HOF can be countered with the same argument about somebody who is already in the HOF. Let’s not be a bunch of hypocrits.

    • Completely agree. Consider this, holier than than thou stat freaks: Baseball led by Mr. Holier Than Thou Kenesaw Mountain Landis denied blacks the ability to play MLB until 1947. So do you consider every stat up until that time valid? If you do, how can you possibly trash PED users? They were given free reign.

    • David in NYC says:

      “Who do the writers think they are making themselves judge and jury?”

      I presume they think that they are expected to be “judge and jury”, since the Hall of Fame itself made the rules, and decided (only) writers could vote.

      The rest of your comment makes roughly the same amount of sense.

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  16. So I watched the MLB Network roundtable on the HOF last night. Except for you, Joe, what a band of idiots! Mad Dog saying, “I don’t see a hall of famer on this list.” Did he read the list? Everyone else voting for Jack Morris, including Tom “I’m tough on these guys” Verducci? Harold Reynolds acting like this really matters?

    Also, Tom Verducci arguing that steroids are different than other ways to cheat. It seems to me he is trying to cleanse his conscience over having voted for cheaters numerous times in the past and justify how PEDs is different than other types of cheating. It seems to me, that when we are talking about amphetamines or scuffing the ball or PEDs, cheating is cheating and you are either OK with it, or you aren’t.

    • Dinky says:

      Steroids make players better in ways that nothing prior to steroids did (with the possible exception of Tommy John surgery). Amphetamines made players FEEL better, but there’s no medical evidence they enabled more weight training or contributed to faster bat or pitch speed. I see Verducci’s point, even though I disagree with him. Otherwise we’d have to outlaw glasses, contact lenses, weight lifting, proper diet, year round fitness programs, etc. etc. etc.

  17. Richie says:

    I’m guessing there is some sort of typo in the last sentence in paragraph one:

    ” I still expect no one to get in … but we KNOW they won’t get in.”

    But I’m still not quite sure what this is supposed to mean. Anybody?

  18. Nathan Yan says:

    Might be of interest to you – for a several years I was reading baseballanalysts and they did a similar look at HoF votes, but did a bit more in-depth tracking of how historical players with similar voting trajectories ended up faring:

  19. […] Young Award voting, while posting a 3.42 ERA in 139.2 postseason innings.    Referring again to excellent research by Hall voter Joe Posnanski, six players who earned 20-30% on their first ballots were eventually enshrined by the BBWAA. That […]

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