Never before have we had more revealed ballots than anonymous ones.
I haven’t confirmed each and every one of these writers as full 10-consecutive-year BBWAA members, but this is the list of BBWAA badges issued in 2005. Assuming they remained dues-paying BBWAA members since then, this is the 2015 freshman Hall of Fame voting class (eligible to vote for Hall of Fame candidates in December, 2014):
- David Barron – @dfbarron
- Daniel Brown (a.k.a. Mr. @susanslusser) – @mercbrownie
- Kevin Cooney – @KevinCooney
- Brian Costello – @BrianCoz
- Carlos Frias – @Carlos_Frias
- Dan Gelston – @APgelston
- Derrick Goold – @dgoold
- Steve Henson – @HensonUSAToday
- Ken Hirdt – @oldbiscuitpants
- Tom Jones – @TomWJones
- Dejan Kovacevic – @Dejan_Kovacevic
- Jon Krawczynski – @APkrawczynski
- Eric Nunez – @EricNunezAP
- Charles Odum – @CharlesOdum
- Nick Piecoro – @nickpiecoro
- Michael Rosenberg – @rosenberg_mike
- C. Trent Rosecrans – @ctrent
- Ben Shpigel – @benshpigel (the NY Times doesn’t allow writers to vote on the HoF)
- David Steele – @David_C_Steele
- Barry Svrluga – @barrysvrluga
- Joseph White – @JGWhiteAP
- Yasuko Yanagita – @YYHochi
Tom Jolly– @TomJolly (the NY Times doesn’t allow writers to vote on the HoF – a source says Jolly is not a 10-year BBWAA member anyway)
- Carlos Alvarado – ??? (La Opinion Los Angeles)
- John Carson – ??? (Elias Sports Bureau New York)
Last year, five writers submitted blank ballots (which doesn’t count as a non-vote, it counts as a vote against everybody, and brings every player’s percentage down). One of those voters has managed to remain anonymous. The other four came forward: Jorge Ebro (who famously didn’t realize that sending back a blank ballot would harm all candidates), Chris Jenkins (who wrote a column explaining why he did it), Mark Faller (whose explanation is now behind a paywall), and Howard Bryant from ESPN.
This year, one voter submitted a blank ballot according to the BBWAA. Was it the same anonymous voter as last year? Nobody knows except for that voter. It could be Chris Jenkins, who has yet to reveal his ballot this year in the San Diego Union Tribune or to me when asked via email.
The other three 2013 blank ballot submitters have revealed their ballots again this year:
- Jorge Ebro told me via email that he voted for 6 players this year: Biggio, Glavine, Maddux, Morris, Piazza, and Thomas.
- Howard Bryant told me on Twitter that he voted for Glavine, Maddux, Morris, and Thomas.
- Mark Faller went from zero to the maximum 10, as he detailed in a column last week: Bagwell, Biggio, Glavine, Maddux, Morris, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Smith, and Thomas
So all that’s left is Jenkins and our anonymous Blank Ballot Bandit(s). I’ll update this post if Jenkins (or any other blank balloter) reveals his 2014 ballot.
‘Tis the season to tell the BBWAA they’re doin’ it wrong.
I’ll leave it to others to solve the big picture problem of how to fix the Hall of Fame voting process (assuming there’s even a problem). My complaint is smaller and far narrower. It’s also much easier to fix.
I contacted a Hall of Fame voter, one of only 157 to reveal his/her ballot on BBWAA’s famously Web 1.0 site, to ask how a voter gets their ballot published on the site in the first place. Do they somehow opt-in to having public ballots? Do they log in to BBWAA and click a “Make Me Public!” button? Do they call BBWAA headquarters to authorize someone to publish their ballot? We’ve seen plenty of Twitpic’d ballots, and the official documents don’t ask about privacy, so we know the act of making them public isn’t accomplished when the ballot is faxed into the BBWAA office.
So how does it happen? According to this Hall of Fame voter, the BBWAA “sends every voting member an email,” and that email contains a link where the member can manually publish their ballot. And by manually, I mean manually. “I physically typed in the names, I believe.” Say what?
First, a baseball luminary gives them a nod:
— Jay Jaffe (@jay_jaffe) January 13, 2014
Then, another baseball luminary compliments their character:
Moises Alou (6), Hideo Nomo (6), Luis Gonzalez (5), Eric Gagne (2), J.T. Snow (2), Armando Benitez (1), Jacque Jones (1), and Kenny Rogers (1) received a total of 24 votes between them.
I’ve collected 49.21% of the ballots that were cast. Nearly half.
We know where exactly 1 of those 24 votes came from. The other 23 remain anonymous.
With 281 ballots collected (49.2% of total known ballots), here’s how much support players received from voters based on the number of players included on ballots:
- Bagwell received almost no support from voters who had fewer than 7 players on their ballots.
- Biggio received little support from writers who voted for fewer than 5 players.
- Frank Thomas was not a Hall of Famer to 3 and 4 vote ballot casters.
- Tim Raines received well over 50% support from writers who voted for 6 or more players, but received just 2 of 35 other votes.
- Ken Gurnick is the worst. (So far, anyway. Apparently there was at least one blank ballot submitted.)