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2024 BBHOF Tracker Summary and Leaderboard

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  1. Here it comes again, the great debate over everything out of our control. We know who’s deserving and who’s not and none of it will matter as the new generation of insanity continues and the guys who are truly the best of a generation get left out of the new Hall of Smoke and Mirrors while the strange, hypothetical brand of statistical analysis grants entry to the “almost-good-enough-but-we-can-make-them-look-good-enough-with-engineered-stats” guys.

    The 7 who belong: Sheffield, Beltre, Beltran, Manny, Helton, Wagner and Rodriguez.

    It’s the Hall of Fame though, not the Hall of Greatest Players so that has become the new standard and the gauge by which the best will be ignored.

    Steroids, WAR, couple of bad postseasons. Whatever. That’s all nonsense.

    But it should be a fun couple of months.

      • Not sure what you mean hear Ron. Walker struggled because much of his greatness was tied up in defense and base running, which writers struggle with, and because they also struggle with hitting/offense in Coors as their not sure how to adjust it. He also struggled a bit due to a perceived lack of durability, but IMO the writers have long put far too great an emphasis on career counting numbers, and Walker was not lacking in durability. From 1990 to 2003 he only missed significant playing time in 1996 and 2000, 2 of 14 seasons. The other 12 seasons he averaged 135 games and 551 PA’s per season, but two of those seasons were strike shortened, but he was quite healthy those years so that average is a bit low. That leaves a player without big landmark counting stats, but very good stats and tremendous rates stats. A career 141 OPS+ and a 6 year peak of 153 (heck, you can take it out to 9 years and 150) is a HOF hitter. But, again, this is masked to voters who have difficulty adjusting for Coors or who need to see BIG round numbers like 500, or 3,000, or 1,500 RBI. That’s why Walker struggled.

        As for Helton, he has a peak (best 5 years of WAR) as good as Bagwell, the best peak of HOF 1B post integration, and a prime (best 10 years of WAR) comparable to Thomas, Thome, and McCovey, better than Murray. If you want pure hitting, his 8 year peak of OPS+ is 160, and a 10 year prime of 144, both are outstanding. By the numbers he’s better defensively than any HOF 1B post integration and only two are positive in fielding runs, Bagwell at 54 and Murray at 61, while Helton is at 76. Helton is a clear HOF 1B. True, he is a different player than Walker, but both had HOF caliber careers.

        • You should be ecstatic then because the “career counting numbers” (which equals actual stats) seem to have a very minimal place in today’s voting. Which is sad because doing something great and maintaining it is far more impressive than 5 year flash-in-the-pan accomplishments. These little peaks followed by dramatic drop-offs are the equivalent of Stone Temple Pilots vs The Rolling Stones. (I’ll leave it to you to know which one is actually great). A lot more players can have and have had these peaks in the midst of mediocrity than have sustainable success at the highest level of the sport. This means an awful lot more guys should have been in long ago and an awful lot more should go in going forward. At which point, where is the exclusivity? Where is the separation between the top tier and the rest. Was the hall of fame supposed to be for the best of the best or the better of the pretty good? If it’s just some museum to educate the consumer on the history of the game then it should also contain the worst of the worst and everyone in between so everyone can learn about everyone who ever played. Oh wait a minute, I think they have produced a baseball almanac for decades now that allows you to do that from the comfort of your couch.

          If it’s not for only the greatest then what’s the point of this thing anymore?

          • “You should be ecstatic then because the “career counting numbers” (which equals actual stats) seem to have a very minimal place in today’s voting. Which is sad because doing something great and maintaining it is far more impressive than 5 year flash-in-the-pan accomplishments.”

            Those are some great straw man arguments there. The former is clearly not true, and the latter has not been presented by me. Peak performance and prime performance are, IMO, very important to look at for HOF credentials. If a guy never played at a high enough level, I am not inclined to enshrine him. That’s why peak is used, and five years is a nice way to look at it. In fact, very few players have five truly great/HOF level seasons, but even if they do, looking at prime, IOW including the next five best seasons, separates the wheat from the chaff. After that it’s fine to look at career numbers, but generally if someone has played at a HOF level for 5 to 10 years, they’ll also stick around for enough time after that to have some HOF length to their career.

            “A lot more players can have and have had these peaks in the midst of mediocrity than have sustainable success at the highest level of the sport.”

            Clearly.

            “This means an awful lot more guys should have been in long ago and an awful lot more should go in going forward. At which point, where is the exclusivity?”

            That’s not what I said at all. Five great seasons, and another five more perhaps at the same or similar level, perhaps a bit lower level, plus more after that to round out a career. That’s what I look at to determine HOF credentials. The exclusivity is in the fact that despite all of the lousy VC picks over the years, the Baseball HOF still has enshrined only about 1% of the players. It is far and away the most exclusive HO, and most difficult HOF to be enshrined in.

            “Where is the separation between the top tier and the rest. Was the hall of fame supposed to be for the best of the best or the better of the pretty good?”

            The separation between the top tier and the rest is below the top tier. It’s not that hard to envision. There are clearly players who are generally recognized as “Inner Circle” and there are clearly players who are HOF players below that level. The lower you go, the closer you get to the borderline, and that’s where the interesting discussions often lie. And below the borderline is where you’ll frequently, unfortunately, find the VC picks. But feel free to ignore them in your analysis of who should be in and who out. It was, and still is, to anyone who cares to look at it closely enough, and thoughtfully enough, the best of the best. One can hardly argue that the HOF is overpopulated with unworthy candidates (at least as far as the BBWAA selections go) when it’s only enshrined 1% of the players (and frankly it’s dipped below that level in recent years because the BBWAA became too stingy and/or didn’t recognize that going from 16 teams to 28 teams in a bit over 3 decades [and then to 30] created a larger pool of HOF level players.

          • Straw man arguments? They could have been had I blown your rhetoric out of proportion such as “what do you mean writers only use big round numbers and nothing else? Why would you say people who play at Coors Field will never get in because the writers are stupid?”. Not even close to what I said so valiant attempt at deflection but no cigar.

            What I did say however, is that the writers are clearly not using big round numbers anymore. If they were, we wouldn’t have all the guys with big round numbers still on the ballot and guys like Schilling on the outside. You specifically referred to big round numbers and then proceeded to spout off a litany of analytics as though they came from the bible.

            As for where the line between the top tier and the rest is, figuratively, you’re right, it would be between the best and the rest but it wouldn’t all lie in the hall of fame, creating the illusion that those who are enshrined belong there. Modern society has sadly granted a sense of false ethos on sinners who cast stones. Mortal men who, no doubt, have made mistakes should not be allowed to control the destinies of men whose accomplishments dwarf the aspirations of their judges.

            As to your answer that “clearly” there have been many more guys with short peaks, you added in the part about five more years or more perhaps etc the second time around. Your initial arguments about five-year peaks did nothing to differentiate from long careers of sustenance. I’m sure many of us can engage in mathematical equations, especially those of us who received mathematics scholarships to major universities, but baseball’s beauty has always been in its pure simplicity. Big round numbers were always a guideline for the most obvious guys but they certainly should not be a guideline to keep people out. That has always been accomplished by the martyrs, saints and blue-nosed puritans mistakenly given the power to control fates. A la McGriff waiting as long as he did with 493 home runs and now Schilling sitting on the outside with 3,000 strikeouts.

        • Not sure why these modern numbers that make a guy look better than he was are so important. Big round numbers as you say, show what a guy really did over a long period of time. These other numbers basically are being used to justify why guys with less impressive big round counting numbers should go into a museum they don’t belong in.

          • They are important because they help people analyze/understand the whole player. Just as scouts assess all five tools when projecting a player, we should consider all five tools when looking back on a player’s performance. There’s nothing wrong with big counting numbers, unless that’s all your relying on and anyone who falls short in some category is rejected out of hand. Helton, for example, was not a big HR hitting 1B, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great player. He hit a ton of doubles, he regularly drew 100 or more BB while hitting for high average, he was an excellent defender albeit at a traditionally offense first position, and he was a pretty good base runner and pretty good at staying out of the double play, especially for a 1B. Put that altogether and you have a HOF caliber 1B, but it’s not obvious to folks who only want to see someone with over 10,000 or 11,000 PA’s in their career and stuck around long enough to cross some magical threshold.

          • I hear you Joe. Don’t need to be beat over the head with nonsense to know who’s great and who’s not. If you know the game you don’t need help understanding it. If you don’t know the game these silly numbers won’t show you how it’s really played.

          • I don’t know who cares about 10,000 plate appearances but I sure can see Helton being a great player without guessing who he might’ve been better than. The regular stats tell you he hit for average, exceptional with doubles, plenty of hits and walks and pretty solid home run total when combined with the other achievements. And yes, he was also a really solid defensive player. We’ve been able to see those things forever. Now we need to guess who he might have outplayed on any given day?

            My mail shows up every day. I open it and deal with it. Move on. Should I try to figure out how or what time it would’ve been there if I had a different mailman just to sound like I know more about the mail than my neighbor? Who cares? By extension as to how war is now being considered an important number for the hall, I could then call the postmaster and explain that the hypothetical number I’ve concocted tells me that the mailman is not quite as efficient as a nameless, supposed replacement mailman who might deliver my mail earlier or stack it neater in my mailbox. Maybe he’ll fire my normal guy now because, theoretically, someone else who no one knows might deliver my mail better. Or maybe he’ll promote the guy if my assigned value shows my guy is better than the imaginary guy who might do it worse.

        • I’m not sure what point you are trying to make HERE, Patrick. I will grant you that LW was much better on defense (a near all timer) and on the bases, but you seemingly act that (that’s) a point against him. The offensive numbers are very similar (and while l’m aware that Coors (may) have played differently and that Walker put up HUGE numbers in Colorado), his career stats were generated across three teams. Conversely, Helton accumulated ALL his home numbers in hitter’s haven Colorado. Furthermore LW is one of a very select group of players with top 100 WAR #’s in all three scored elements of that calculation (hitting, defense and b/r). Finally LW is a member of the exclusive 300/400/500 slash line club. All of whom (that were eligible) had been enshrined at the time Larry hit the ballot. There is simply no reason for his 10 year struggle to reach Cooperstown especially when juxtaposed against the relative smooth path afforded the lesser Helton (and no. I don’t think anyone considers him an all time defensive great at first base. Least of all apparently the GG voters who presumably watched both he and Larry play on a regular basis).

          • I hear you Ron. It does seem like it took too long for Walker to get in especially based on the way the voting has gone the last several years. His numbers we’re definitely right there when you consider they pushed Rolen in. Helton is also in the 3-4-5 club and his home/away splits aren’t quite as far apart as Walker’s but Walker did have base running over him and was an awesome outfielder. Not to mention he put up some of the most ridiculous batting averages of the era, reminiscent of old-time eras when hitters were hitters. I’m not a big fan of making anybody wait since their stats don’t change once they are retired so that’s all garbage and I do think Helton should go but I definitely agree Walker waited way too long.

          • Hi Ron, I’m sorry. Let me take another crack at it.

            “I will grant you that LW was much better on defense (a near all timer) and on the bases, but you seemingly act that (that’s) a point against him.”

            It’s absolutely a point in his favor, for people like you and me who are aware of it and willing to consider it, but I was trying to explain why he took a while to build momentum and get in. For the voters, the majority of them just don’t care about things like that, nor are they willing to look into it and consider it. In hindsight it probably would have just been easier to say Walker had unfortunate timing for his eligibility, and that’s really the biggest reason he took so long, but I was also trying to point out that, IMO, Helton is pretty similarly qualified.

            “Finally LW is a member of the exclusive 300/400/500 slash line club. All of whom (that were eligible) had been enshrined at the time Larry hit the ballot.”

            But to his struggling to get in, voters may have looked at that, but most of them would simply shrug and chalk it up to Coors. If they bothered to look at it at all, and that’s a HUGE if because most of them are lazy AF in their HOF analysis, they might have seen his slash in Montreal was 287/357/483, which would have only reinforced their perception he was a product of Coors as a hitter, and that’s all they really care about.

            “There is simply no reason for his 10 year struggle to reach Cooperstown especially when juxtaposed against the relative smooth path afforded the lesser Helton (and no.”

            As I mentioned above, the biggest reason is almost certainly just bad timing. He came on the ballot in 2011 with 3 other guys who made it to their second year Morris, McGwire, Murphy and Mattingly are all still lingering around sucking up votes, and Tim Raines and Alan Trammell are languishing. Still he got 20%, which honestly isn’t bad for a first year guy who’s not a completely obvious choice. I mention all of those people on the ballot because voters are limited to 10 people, and many of them had engrained habits of turning in ballots with very few names on them, also this was before the HOF and the BBWAA got together and cut out a lot of deadwood in the electorate, 581 ballots were cast that year! The next year he made a little progress, it was a weak debut class, and guys like Walker typically build up over time. The next year was Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, and Sosa. Lofton got less than 5% in his debut and fell off, no one was elected, and still Walker’s percentage went up a bit. But at that point there was a logjam that only time could clear, and he had to wait for it to clear.

            Second point is that Helton is not all that “lesser” if you look at them. Very different players, different shapes to their careers, but overall production/value is quite similar. Career WAR is an edge to Walker 73 to 62, but keep in mind that’s over a pair of 17 year careers, so season to season it’s much closer. For example the WAR7 Jaffe uses is pretty much dead even, 44.7 Walker and 46.6 Helton, so peak is a dead heat. His JAWS ranks Walker 12th for RF and Helton 15th for 1B, each are both a tick above the average HOF for JAWS score. Walker’s Black Ink is 24, Gray 116, Helton’s are 16 and 143. Edge to Walker for times leading the league, but edge to Helton in terms of more time being in the top 10. No problem saying Walker is a better player than Helton, but it’s not by much.

            “Least of all apparently the GG voters who presumably watched both he and Larry play on a regular basis).”

            Ugh, awards like that are terribly subjective and horrible ways to judge defense. They’re better now that they’ve started to incorporate statistical data into the voting process, but remember the peope you’re talking about gave Palmeiro the GG in 1999 when he played 1B 28 times while being a DH 128 times!

        • I don’t know why you keep saying big counting numbers like they are not the real stats but it sounds pretty stupid. Did you just start following baseball in the last decade? Were you not able to tell who was good before these weird analytic numbers? That’s too bad.

          • There is nothing wrong with counting numbers. They should be taken into account for Hall of Fame status. That said counting numbers are subjective in nature. If you are a 3 hitter on a team and your lead-off and 2 hitters are hitting under .200 you won’t be driving in many runs. Nor will a player score much if the hitters after him aren’t producing. I use a stat that counts all bases a player creates divided as a ratio against their plate appearances . That way you can separate a players performance from that of his teammates. That one will change your thinking about who the best players in the game really are. This argument about Helton and Walkeris silly. They are both players on the edge of greatness. Probably Hall Worthy but not in anyone’s discussion for the GOAT. Point is counting stats are dependent on the performance of one’s teammates as any pitcher will tell you after losing a 1 to 0 game. The other numbers attempt to show the entire value of a player. WAR isn’t bad but it is obtuse. I prefer ratios and percentages myself. But counting stats matter. They just aren’t the entire picture.

          • I guess it’s a matter of preference. If all the math works for you then great, use it and enjoy it. You’re right, a guy hitting behind bad hitters is not going to get a lot of RBIs and he won’t score a lot of runs if the people behind him stink. But for that, I like batting average, on base percentage, walks just fine. Those numbers tell me how often he gets on base. Regardless of who’s in front of him or behind him, those numbers have always told us what the guy does. And then obviously doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases tell us exactly whatever else he did beyond just piling up singles. I guess either way tells you the story, it just depends on what you are used to and how you like to see it or break it down. I think the only problem is, a lot of voters aren’t taking the time to really break a guy down like that. Abreu is a great example some other guys have made on this page.

          • I think with so many of the analytic stats being subjective and using adjustments made my man, they are not attractive to people who base their opinions on exactly what someone did. So-called counting stars are not adjustable so they are the actual representation of what the guy did. No matter where or when he did it. As soon as the word adjustable comes into play or the use of a hypothetical replacement player is mentioned, it is no longer a stat. A statistic is literally an ironclad a piece of information based on something that actually happened, regardless of opinions or possibilities. So to call the actual stats, “counting numbers” is actually a misnomer. Any number that represents an actuality would be a statistic. Numbers derived from where someone thinks a ball should be playable based on someone else’s ability to play it or how many more hypothetical wins someone represented than someone who obviously didn’t play the same games in that spot and under the exact same circumstances, and never will, can’t be accurately stated because both things didn’t happen. So the supposed control portion of the equation is made up. Or I guess I should say, derived from an accepted average created by man. About an average is not hypothetical. Done it batch, three hits, the guy batted .300. if a guy hit a thousand home runs, he actually hit a thousand home runs.

            I’m not putting down people who like the so-called analytics, I’m just saying, this is why the people who don’t like them, don’t like them. They prefer solid proof in their pudding.

        • What makes Todd Helton a hall of famer and someone like Will Clark not? The inconsistencies are baffling.

          • More hits – more runs – more home runs – more rbi – higher average- higher ops – higher WAR – more Gold Gloves – batting title … need more?

      • Helton was actually pretty comparable to Walker production wise overall. The fact that it took so long to put Walker in was hardly an indictment on Walker or a reason to keep Helton out longer. It actually has everything to do with how bad the voting has been for several years now. We all know it yet it keeps going on. It’s not going to stop because most of the fans of actual baseball know who’s great and memorable and don’t need the “so-called” hall of fame to validate memories and experiences of reality, so they don’t bother arguing with the senseless rhetoric of today’s voting. Phony analysis, personal feelings, political beliefs, etc are all nonsense. Baseball is not a hypothetical idea, it’s a real thing and, after a century and a half, we know what greatness really looks like. More than enough to set a certain standard and realize who belongs and who doesn’t. But instead we have talking heads spouting off “numbers” in place of actual statistics. They attempt to belittle the actual stats by calling them “counting stats”. I still haven’t realized that they are pretty close with the name because they are the stats we can actually count on. If baseball could be solved by mathematical equations then it would be very easy to win championships. But the intangibles and realities are what keep these new silly numbers from actually bearing fruit. Following the Bill James message, why has no one just reeled off 10 straight World series wins?
        The Coors Field argument has become inane. Is the altitude helping? Sure. Do we hold it against guys who made a career out of launching balls 314 ft to right field in Yankee stadium? They do that in little league. How many people are aware that the average wind speed on any given day is over 10 mph in Chicago? Are Chicago players penalized for the assistance of the wind helping them along? How about playing the majority of your games, including early spring and late fall, in Florida, Texas or California? Is there not an advantage to playing all of your home games in a comfort zone as opposed to trying to hit balls when it’s 35° in Boston or New York?

        In another time, neither of these guys may have been hall of famers , by the standard sent the last several years where people like Harold Baines and Scott Rolen are now Hall of famers, these guys should be shoo-ins. Not to mention, Carlos Beltran who is a hands down Hall of famer. In any era. But somehow he didn’t go in.

        First ballot, second ballot, it’s all nonsense. Nobody’s stats are changing once they hit the ballot so that means voters’ minds are changing, which is not how greatness is determined.

        • The point IS (for probably the third time) Walker put up his stats across 3 teams (but seems to be dinged hard for having played in Colorado). Helton played ALL his home games there and doesn’t seem nearly as impacted.

          • Believe me, I get it Ron. I think if you are going to have places like Colorado that are going to count against someone in the end, then why have the team there in the first place? But it is there so, just like the Little League fence in Yankee stadium, it’s part of the game and you can’t hold it against people and be fair at the same time. The argument against walkers three teams is that he barely played a full season worth of games in St Louis and in 6 years in Montreal he batted .281 with only 99 homers so the huge majority by far of his production came with Colorado. Obviously in away parks as well but that’s the argument you will get from the writers. And he certainly batted a lot higher in Colorado than anywhere else. But like I said, don’t get me wrong, I think he was a Hall of famer no matter what and should have been in a long time ago.

          • LDD,
            And ALL of Todd Helton’s home production was in Colorado. Not sure why that’s hard to understand. Furthermore, Larry Walker spent the beginning and end of his career outside Colorado when you would naturally expect less production. His prime IS when you’d expect big numbers.

            And if hitting there is a huge advantage, then similarly playing defense there is tougher, ie a disadvantage and he deserves MORE credit ……..which he never gets. Finally, as his case, is predicated on his defense as well as hitting, trying to disparage him by quoting his offensive #’s only outside Colorado is rather, well Weak Sauce. (And that’s not directed against you)

          • Excellent point Ron, you never hear anyone make the argument that a guy who is a great defender must be a supernatural defender at Coors since it’s such an “easy” park to hit in. And he was a great defender, no doubt about it. Coors is a silly argument. It may be an advantage atmosphere-wise but you still have to be able to hit for it to matter. Look how many crappy hitters Colorado has had. They’ve been to the World Series once in their history. Wouldn’t you think they’d have a lot more postseason appearances if their “magic” park made everyone so much better? And then of course, look at how many of their guys have been good in other places. Is there a boost there? Maybe but it’s not turning Craig Counsell into Call Ripken.

          • I agree with all of this. If you’re going to keep holding Coors Field against the players, why would anybody want to sign there going forward? If I were a guy with the potential to be a Hall of famer and I start getting the picture that playing at Coors is going to hurt me in the long run, I would not sign there. I imagine that has already happened though no one is really going to tell us that, but it can only hurt the Rockies in the long run to show why bother having a team there?

    • Andruw Jones and his 10 consecutive gold gloves is about the easiest pick for me. Far and away the best dWAR over a ten-year period. (For the record, Pudge Rodriguez was 2nd in this category, nearly 10 points behind). Over his career he had 235 runs saved, that’s 50 more than Willie Mays. Mays had a career dWAR of 18.1; Jones 24.2. I don’t know we are still debating him.

      • I’d keep debating him because his whole case seems to be built on accepting his 10 gold gloves as a golden ticket. You can easily look at a guy like McGwire and know in a second his case is undeniable. Unfortunately the Apostles are apparently now the voting body and they have the cache of saints who’ve never sinned, enabling them to pass judgement on a mortal man and hold their collective foot on his throat while he’s already drowning. The point is though, McGwire’s case was undeniable pre-Mitchell debacle/coronation of writers. Jones case is not and when picked apart, rests on modern concocted numbers and gold gloves. Dale Murphy beats him in several categories and, while conceding 5 gold gloves to 10, I imagine he’ll gladly keep his two MVPs to zero in exchange for the other 5 gold gloves. Torii Hunter’s stats equal or better Jones across the board yet there’s this outcry for Jones because he “walked on water” in centerfield. Hunter had one less gold glove and outclassed him in the batter’s box soundly. Jim Edmonds is easily comparable to Jones. So on and so forth. All of these guys and several more dwarf Jones as an actual hitter, which, last I checked, was still a huge part of the game. I’m not saying don’t elect the guy but I do think it’s crazy to pretend he should be a lock after having ignored all these other guys who are easily in the same category. There’s a reason supporters have to make huge arguments for these guys while using these modern theoretical numbers. Because the game was invented with real numbers based on actual accomplishments, not numbers that have to be adjusted or guess at or over-explained when making a case for greatness. Looking at his actual statistics, he basically boils down to a little bit better than Pete Incaviglia or Tony Armas but with four or 5,000 more plate appearances. Look at his 162 game averages and they are not much different from those guys and then you can obviously slap his 10 gold gloves out there since that’s the big argument. 433 home runs is nice but not really a lock for me considering his other stats. If the guy batted .290, he’d probably have another five or 600 hits in there including a lot more doubles as well and then I would have a hard time making a case against him. .254 and his hit total is a pretty hard pill to swallow.

      • I think it’s kind of tough to take a guy with 430 homers and not much else to speak of offensively over several guys who also didn’t get in and then expect 10 gold gloves to make the difference. They didn’t even start awarding gold gloves until 1957 so that makes about 80 or 90 years worth of defenders we can’t rate or compare to based on gold gloves. Jones was a terrific center fielder but this idea that he was the best ever or the best ever not named Willie Mays is slightly out of whack. Paul Blair was an unbelievable centerfielder. Garry Maddox was also amazing in centerfield. They say Oscar Charleston was a great center fielder and he probably was but the fact that he played a lot of games in right field or at first base kind of makes me wonder how unbelievable he could have been or else why would you ever move him for anyone else? All things we have no way of really knowing. Tris Speaker was long considered one of the greatest center fielders ever. The guy made six unassisted double plays in his career from center field and to this day, no one has touched it. Also, at any position, take into account that the glove as we know it didn’t really even exist in complete widespread use until after 1920. Bid McPhee never comes up in these conversations because he played in the 19th century, like that is some kind of forgotten era and the guys who played then just didn’t measure up I guess. Wrong. He still holds the record for putouts by a second baseman with 529 in a season and the guy played the majority of his career with no glove. And the first gloves they did have when he played was basically a fingerless leather driving glove type of thing. The only purpose it served was to be able to knock down the ball with less pain so you could pick it up and make a play. Getting drilled with baseballs and not having an actual glove like the guys today have it’s definitely not a reason I would hold against anyone in a conversation about greatness. Fielding balls with your bare hands everyday, every play is pretty badass if you ask me. So I agree with other guys here, the 10 gold gloves are nice and 433 is a pretty solid home run number but overall I don’t think he was so great offensively that it’s an easy decision. And a .254 career average is really low to just ignore and act like it didn’t happen.

        • “I think it’s kind of tough to take a guy with 430 homers and not much else to speak of offensively over several guys who also didn’t get in and then expect 10 gold gloves to make the difference.”

          I don’t think this is the right way to look at HOF voting. It’s not a question of taking a player on the ballot OVER another player or players who didn’t make it in earlier. Giving a vote to Jones, or considering him qualified as a candidate, which he obviously is, is not taking him over Edmonds or Lofton or anyone else. The only question is does he measure up, and if he does, he deserves a vote. It’s not a ranking of players at this point, it’s an in or out decision.

          And dismissively saying he only had 430 homers and not much else is plain silly. He has 430 HR, good for 48th all time, as an elite defensive CF. He has a decade from age 20 to 29, 1997 to 2006, where he averaged 99 runs, 31 doubles, 35 HR and 104 RBI, with an .853 OPS to the league average of .780. His offensive production in runs, HR and RBI are comparable to Dawson, who didn’t even play 50% of his games in CF, and whose higher counts in other stats are there largely because he was a part time player from 38-41 at a very low level. Jones is an imminently well qualified CF candidate, and any hand waving away of his offense is ridiculous.

          • I think it’s somewhat more a question of, why does this guy measure up if the others didn’t. I don’t think he can’t make sense but I think if Edmonds didn’t make sense, how does this guy? Edmunds, in a good chunk of fewer at bats surpasses Jones nearly across the board and was a great defender. Somehow he didn’t even come close but this guy did?

            I don’t care what the voters think, Hunter was Jones equal in most cases. Jones had more homers, Hunter blew him out in doubles and hits. Those 10 years Jones were good. Hunter’s 15 years from 01 on: .277, 23 hrs, 87 RBIs, 31 doubles. Pretty consistently productive. Definitely shouldn’t be about to fall off the ballot while Jones is climbing higher. 9 gold gloves. 1 less than Jones. I’ve heard enough of Jones’ best defense ever argument. He was great at it but so was Hunter. And so was Edmonds. What list of glaring errors is there that Hunter made to put Jones so far above him?
            I don’t mean he’s literally taking votes away, I mean, he doesn’t deserve them if those others guys didn’t or don’t deserve them. If he does, so do/did they.

          • You both make sense. From the standpoint of “does he measure up, in or out decision”, you’re right. That’s what should be happening.

            But the same voters are looking at the same ballot so if you say Jones measures up, how can Hunter not measure up? Their so ridiculously similar it makes no sense for them to be so far apart in votes. Neck and neck defensively ( some say they’re not but I saw plenty of both and there’s nothing about Jones defense Hunter couldn’t match), Jones had more home runs, Hunter, more hits, doubles and 20+ points higher in batting average. This is a popularity/promotional/cult-like thing at this point.
            Can’t hold Edmonds, Murphy and others from years back against either in this same argument simply because the voting body is not the same. But I also get the argument that Edmonds easily outclassed Jones in most categories, so if he’s not a Hall of Famer, how is someone with lesser accomplishments? Jones beats him somewhat in home runs and that’s it.

            For these two guys though, it’s exactly the same and there’s just not that much difference between their overall games to justify this wild difference in votes. Jones had a great 10 years, Hunter had a really solid 15 years. Almost any team in baseball would’ve taken his production for those 15 years over whatever they got. Maybe not ahead of Jones and maybe so. Maybe not ahead of Beltran but Beltran didn’t give any one team that many years of consistent, reliable, above average production.

          • Well that’s kind of the bar I was talking about before. Whether you like it or not, agree with it or not or just plain ignore it in the context that you know better as a fan, it’s a lingering scar on the future. Everyone you put in or don’t put in sets that comparison point. I agree it should be “Did the guy do it or not” but that’s really not what the Hall looks like and, therefore, it’s pretty difficult to be unbiased about the guys who are pretty close to the guys who didn’t get in. From a logical fairness standpoint alone, how do you just pretend it hasn’t happened. That’s pretty hard for me.

          • “Edmunds, in a good chunk of fewer at bats surpasses Jones nearly across the board and was a great defender. Somehow he didn’t even come close but this guy did?”

            This is exactly why it’s not the way to go about determining HOF worthiness. It’s not as simple as how does Jones rate and Edmonds didn’t because of the nature of the voting, the timing of the voting, and the rest of the ballot. Edmonds came on in 2016, one of the most crowded ballots in history, and he debuted with Griffey. So you have a extremely crowded ballot and a limitation of 10 names per ballot, this already makes it hard to get support, and then players who debut with directly comparable players like Griffey to Edmonds, both CF, with Griffey clearly superior it’s also harder on the other guy to gain traction. I think Edmonds also runs into the long career bias most of the electorate seem to hold since he didn’t make it to even 8000 PA’s. Jones, luckily for him, debuted two years later with no other comparable players, and he was able to get 20 more votes than Edmonds to stay on the ballot. It was a really small difference in terms of votes so it’s not as if Jones was seen as a much better candidate, he just had better timing.

          • There were a lot of future Hall guys in 2016 but also several PED guys that were obviously never going. I can’t believe there weren’t enough uncast votes to keep Edmonds on the ballot.

          • Obviously that boils down to how you apply your votes. There were obviously several “PED” guys who many voters weren’t casting votes for. They were better candidates than Edmonds but didn’t meet the “moral code” so they were not getting those votes that come from the Vatican. There are always plenty of guys who don’t use all 10 votes as well so, the strange part is how only 2.5% saw Edmonds as a Hall of Famer. So far 60% see Jones as a Hall of Famer and not even 5% saw Edmonds that way? Like you said, does his body of work merit enshrinement or not? Popularity is not criteria but seems to be a problem. Can’t possibly look at the numbers if those two guys objectively and justify one career being a yes and the other being a “Who the hell is that? Never heard of him”. Wouldn’t have taken many more votes to keep him around while that logjam cleared and I’m sure those unused votes were there.

            Another case in point currently. Bobby Abreau. Not flashy enough? If Jones’ stat line, as you say, is trending more toward “yes, he belongs”, how do the same voters look at Abreu and only 20% are saying yes?

            Here’s where it sounds like comparison:
            1400 more plate appearances for Abreau and, with those, he compiled 200 more doubles, 500 more hits 100 more RBIs, more runs, steals ,triples and 600 more walks than Jones. Pretty vast expanse for only 1400 PAs apart. Abreu batted nearly 40 points higher, much higher OBP and, thereby, OPS as well. So Jones had almost 150 more homers and a higher slugging percentage. What did that turn out to be worth over the numbers of Abreau?
            So, of course we’ll take defense into account, which Jones was great at. You can’t trust hypotheticals but even on fielding percentage and errors Jones comes out on top. But Abreau still fielded fine. More than respectable .978 for a guy who put up so much offense. Unless I missed some major piece of his work, I don’t ever recall him floundering around in right field, not knowing his glove from a hot dog vendor and being such a detrimental defender that it would negate all that offensive production.
            So, the point isn’t to compare the two of them as though it’s one or the other but rather, how can the same people look at one and see such a huge difference where it doesn’t exist? It makes the whole thing feel like Jones is the chic/trendy candidate at this point and, therefore, that the voting process leaves a lot to be desired.

          • “There are always plenty of guys who don’t use all 10 votes as well so, the strange part is how only 2.5% saw Edmonds as a Hall of Famer. So far 60% see Jones as a Hall of Famer and not even 5% saw Edmonds that way?”

            Hey, LDD, yes, there are voters who are very particular and who turn in ballots with few names, but those are guys who, ostensibly at least, feel they must maintain very high standards and only vote for the very, very best. Clearly those guys will not be voting for Edmonds due to his short career, relative to their standards at least. But if you look back at the spreadsheet for 2016 you’ll see the average public ballot had over 8 names, and the private ballots still averaged over 7 names (148 of the 330 Thibs recorded had the full 10). Plenty of guys were trying to get people in, but they still are constrained by a 10 person ballot, and it was a unique time in HOF voting history due to the large number of qualified, well and clearly qualified, names on the ballot plus the very bizarre PED issues. And, come on, saying Jones is at 60% versus Edmonds at less than 5% is disingenuous. Edmonds received 11 votes, Jones received only 31 in his first year. As I said already, they were not viewed significantly differently in their first year on the ballot. Unfortunately for Edmonds he didn’t make it to a second ballot to see if he could build momentum over time, Jones did and now in his 7th year on the ballot he’s moving close to election.

            I’ll tell you, in looking at the 2016 results with Edmonds finishing 20th and below 5%, there are only 3 guys in that group above him I would not have voted for, which still leaves 17 names for 10 spots. Of those 17 there are only 2 I would put clearly behind Edmonds, so now he’s 15th or so for 10 spots. Basically if I was an actual voter, I would have been forced to engage in strategic voting. Do I want to leave off Griffey so I can try to get Edmonds to a second ballot? That’s a helluva choice! I’ve got to vote for Trammell and McGwire because it’s their last year on the ballot, and even though I know they’re not going in at this point, the more votes the better for them down the road with an Era Committee. Who do I throw overboard to vote for Edmonds? Do I jettison some of the greatest players of all time to make room for him, or do I continue to support them because the PED witch hunt needs to be countered? Is he a better candidate than Sosa, Sheffield, or Walker? Those are tough calls.

            “Another case in point currently. Bobby Abreau. Not flashy enough? If Jones’ stat line, as you say, is trending more toward “yes, he belongs”, how do the same voters look at Abreu and only 20% are saying yes?”

            We can only speculate, but generally I find there’s a large chunk of voters who just want to have someone obvious to vote for. They don’t want to think about it and they don’t want to do a bunch of analysis. I’ve seen this time after time in ballot articles, and it’s basically the old, lazy, crotchety, “I know a HOF when I see one and Player X is not a HOF.” I’d say you’ve answered your own question with the the “Not flashy enough?” question you pose. Abreu did a lot of things well, but he didn’t stand out in anything in particular, there’s nothing simple/obvious for a lazy voter to latch onto. He hit for average, but only finished in the top 10 once. He hit for power, but more doubles power than HR power and still only led the league once while being overshadowed by the big HR hitters. He walked a LOT, but most voters don’t care much about walks. He was a really good base stealer, but never led the league. Overall he was a great player, but only if you look carefully and consider everything he did well. I know you’re not a fan of WAR, but that’s where it shows up for Abreu. If you look at the JAWS chart for RF on B-R, he’s a dead ringer for Vlad Guerrero in terms of their overall value. But Vlad was much flashier! He could hit anything from his shoe tops to the top of his helmet. He had big HR years, big SB years, he had a cannon for an arm, which led to a LOT of errors, but people don’t remember that when it comes to voting time. So Abreu has no big selling point like Andruw’s 10 GG and 400 HR, he came up short of 300 in fact. Probably not fair to Abreu, but if you’re not a fan of WAR and value measurements, and you don’t use defensive metrics to help you compare players, it’s unlikely you’ll vote for Abreu. My 2 cents anyway

        • Oh believe me, I agree with you on all counts but it’s exactly what adds up my feeling that the system is broken. It’s unfortunate, but, no, the vast majority is obviously not breaking a guy like Abreu down the way you or I do because either way, you eventually get to a point where he’s actually a very deserving case. He got on base like crazy, played more than well enough in the field and had an extremely well rounded game.

          They put Rolen in, strongly based on defensive arguments and war arguments, same arguments are happening for Jones now. .254 with 5-600 homers and 1600 RBIs I could stomach. While 434 home runs are better than average I’ll certainly admit, obviously the argument keeps going to his 10 gold gloves to frost the cake so to speak. Which is odd because history is littered with guys who have won gold gloves and somehow have negative defensive war numbers. And obviously defense is immeasurable but, who the hell is looking at what anymore?

          Like you mentioned, the steadfast, greatest of all time, voters are only looking for Ryan, Yount, Griffey and Ichiro. The guys who think only analytics tell the truth, are only looking at certain measurements and, generally, whichever one supports whatever they feel like doing. Then everyone else has whatever their agenda is and so we end up here. It’s very messy, very incomplete and it’s a shame. If the voting body as a whole doesn’t know how to break down the candidates or just can’t be bothered, I think there’s a definite need for reform.

          • It is definitely a mess. This strange notion that players get better or worse by not playing? Stupid. First ballot, second ballot, that’s just a product of the writers’ misguided sense of self-importance. There should be one year of eligibility. Five years after retirement you’re on the ballot once. Voters can cast as many votes as they want, rather than 10. That way there’d be no reason to say they like someone but not enough to take votes from someone they like more. You’re either a hall of famer or you’re not. Majority rules so 51% and you’re in.

            If anyone thinks this would dilute the product, take a look around, you’re way too late to avoid that. It’s already been done long ago. It’s already no longer a place for only the elite so it might as well be the best baseball museum it can be. If you go and don’t like someone there, simple, don’t look at them.

          • Yes, the Hall has changed the voting rules a number of times over the years. Perhaps they could come up with some reform/s to improve the process, but it will always have its flaws and warts because we’re human after all and so are the voters.

          • What I like about the ten year ballot is that it flushes-out some of the writers that either hold a prejudice, grudge and/or old-time way to judge a player. The good-ole days of needing 300 wins for example may never happen again (or very rarely) the rest of my lifetime. Heck, the way starting pitchers are used these days 200-250 wins seems to be the new benchmark. Also appreciating some of the “things” taken for granted…Example – Mark Buehrle 14 straight years (only 4-outs away from 15) of 200+ innings in the modern game. Not saying he should be a HOF, just a quick record off the top of my head that some day “we” may look back and say “yeah – that was pretty awesome.”

          • Agreed. I actually like Artie’s approach a lot. I also think Joe’s theory regarding time away makes sense as well. Maybe I’d do the one time ballot, 51% gets you in since that represents the majority and with unlimited votes like Artie suggests but give a longer wait to be on the ballot. Maybe 8-10 years before you’re eligible. That way voters are looking back a decade later at Buehrle (or any similar circumstance) and seeing, “wow, he was really pretty good and no one has accomplished that since”. Then maybe have a committee to review close cases another 5-10 years down the line. With the benefit of more hindsight and available comparisons. GG is right though, there are always going to be turds in the punchbowl no matter what, but at least this should help more voters to really take an in depth look at each guy since they basically have one shot to get it right. And if it creates a bigger museum with a lot more history, so be it. Who really cares? More to see when you get the chance to visit.

            At that point, you can tell a much bigger story of the game and then you could create specific display areas for the upper echelon. 500 HR room, 300 win area, etc. Maybe a little theater where you can see different highlight films like greatest defensive players, a montage of World Series clinching moments or replays of home run derbys. It’s just become such a convoluted trash can at this point and it really should be a hall of dreams where you can take in as much as possible and just enjoy the whole thing. I was always all for a, solely elite, Hall of Fame but it certainly isn’t that anymore so why not fix it in the other direction? That’s what I’d like to see at this point anyway.

    • Beltre, pretty sure will get in. Just waiting for Schilling. First Amendment gives him the right to voice his opinions AFTER baseball.

      • Funny how people who make up phony leads and quote fictitious stories play the ethics card against a guy who exercised his constitutional rights and not even in a baseball setting or as an active player.

        • Obviously in response to the way he perceived his treatment from them. Who can blame him after 9 years of being treated like a pariah in the media over exercising his constitutional rights? You don’t have to agree with him but blackballing him for his personal views doesn’t make the people who do it any better people.

      • Dear have good day start first day of the 2024, i hope that can be recieve some votes of ballots today and can finally , vizquel, abreu, Francisco Rodriguez can continuos increasing the porcentage in votes ballots and i hope also that victor martinez can be in the table porcentage of 5 % , for next year

      • It’s kind of odd that it drags out so long. You know who got the 5% last year but did not go in so they will be there again this year and then you know whose 5 years are up for the waiting period. Not everyone gets on the ballot just because they’re eligible but you know who the big ones will be like Beltre so I can’t imagine why you would wait 11 months to start making the decision.

        • They get very busy making up lies, fake leads, phony breaking news and excuses to keep out guys they don’t like.

    • Thanks i hope 3 more can be open, and bobby abreu, victor martinez, omar vizquel and Francisco Rodriguez can recieve one o more vote in the mlb hall fame today

    • Hi Larry is possible today can be open more votes ballots mlb hall of fame cronist

    • Dear Larry thanks you for your helping i hope tomorrow can help bobby abreu, vizquel, Francisco Rodriguez and can start voting for victor Martinez

        • I think he might be talking to me. Oswaldo if you are talking to me, I’m just a guy in the conversation buddy. I just happened to be the first post. I don’t open ballots buddy.

          • And also, whoever is opening them, doesn’t get to decide who is on them for you, they are just recording information so we can follow the progression.

      • Oswaldo, clearly you’re waving support for the South American community. Stick with Beltran and Beltre for now. Manny and Alex Rodriguez are probably going to teeter in the middle until they leave the ballot due to the PEDs (which they were already punished for but…).
        Victor Martinez was a good player but doesn’t blow anyone’s doors off with huge numbers anywhere so they’re not even looking at him. Vizquel piled up hits and 400+ doubles but was pretty so-so in the run production department. And at .272 lifetime, it took him forever to not quite measure up. Look at Jeter for example. Same era, Jeter had maybe 600 more plate appearances than Vizquel. He also had 6-700 more hits, 160 more homers and blows him out in every other category including average at .310. Vizquel is like Harold Baines only he couldn’t even muster 100 home runs in the 45 seasons he played.

        Francisco Rodriguez was a great closer. Number four all-time in saves, only guy to save 60 games in a season. Overall though, he’s very much Billy Wagner. Few more innings, few more saves, lower strikeout rate, higher walk rate and little higher ERA. His numbers are all still more than respectable. The problem is the quantity of voters who don’t value closers. I like both and I have no problem at all with both being Hall of famers. But, if you’re lucky, he will hang around and slowly climb as Wagner has had to do. If nothing else, they end up near the threshold and hopefully the veterans committee puts them in later.

        Abreu is a strong case for the hall. Unfortunately there aren’t enough voters who will actually look at his all-around game and realize how great it was. Hopefully, you can stick with him as well and he’ll gain more support over time. Admittedly I had to really go back and look at him because a quick look at the big stats shows he didn’t even get to 300 homers. But look at everything else combined and you would have been hard-pressed to replace his overall value in his time.

        Good luck with your guys Oz and keep the faith. Just keep it behind the guys with a chance.

    • Larry , thanks you for your information, we need to have more votes ballots cronist to omar vizquel, Francisco Castillo, bobby abreu , i appreciated to tell the cronist to push and help victor martinez to ship moving votes to arrive to the final 5 % total votes

      • Hi freind is possible to receive more cronist vote ballots today is only open 6.29 am

      • Oh good, since you put it that way I’m sure they will let him be in charge of opening the ballots now.

    • Dear all i hope that today cán be open more than yesterday votes ballots and can be increase the numbers votes , bobby abreu, Francisco Rodriguez and omar vizquel , what i see victor martinez will not received any votes ballots , is not correct but the cronist votes

      • Oswaldo the voting is over. Ends on December 31st so ballots are already turned in. Nobody can change their minds now or change their ballots. We only know a third of them so far so maybe your buddy Martinez will get his 5% but there’s no talking anyone into it now.

      • C’mon Cronist open the damn ballots already before Carlos and Victor’s little brother has a heart attack!

    • I say anyone who wore a Braves Jersey needs to be inducted. End of story. We know they buy out the best players.

  2. I raise you Andruw Jones and his 10 Gold Gloves. Far and away the best CF of his generation. Compare his early years to Mike Trout; you’d be surprised.

    • Jones was a very nice player. Excellent defender and a reliable power source for about a decade, but …

      Trout has played 140 games once in the last 7 seasons. When he does play, he’s still awesome so his numbers would badly dwarf Jones by now if he was consistently healthy. He’s already easily comparable/better as it is. And he’s only around halfway through his expectable career.

      Comparisons for Trout should be Dale Murphy, Jim Edmonds, Torii Hunter and even Kenny Lofton.

      The first 3 are within striking distance of Jones’ homers and pretty much blow him out in all other categories except maybe Gold Gloves.

      Murphy won 5 GGs and 2 MVPs. Played multiple positions well, including catcher and probably was kept out by a mediocre at best batting average.

      Edmonds was comparable in every category to Jones, batted about 20 points higher and won 8 GGs.

      Lofton won 5 GGs and, while he didn’t match the power of Jones, he stole more bags than only 14 people in the world, outhit Jones by nearly 50 points and amassed 500 more hits overall.

      Most interesting is Torii Hunter. These guys are pretty neck and neck in most categories including Hunter’s 9 GGs. Hunter also had 500 more hits than Jones and blew him away in doubles while batting 20+ points higher.

      And for the WAR mongers out there, hold Jones’ up to real greats of the game like Speaker, Mays and Mantle and it’s not even the same conversation. DiMaggio, Cobb etc.

      Lastly, 10 GGs are wonderful and 400+ homers are pretty nice but the rest of his numbers are pretty so-so for his career length. And his .254 average would, by far, be the worst for a center fielder in the Hall. Only Dawson at .279 is below .280 and even that would have once been pretty borderline for these conversations.

      • Jones has a career dWAR of 24.2. Willie Mays’ has a career dWAR of 18.1. Jones has 235 runs saved over his career, That’s 50 more than Willie. Jones has a 2.5 more career WAR than Edmonds and 40 more homeruns.

        Some other facts:

        10-time Gold Glove Award winner (tied for 3rd most for any outfielder behind Clemente and Mays)
        5th most HR for CF all-time (Mays, Griffey, Mantle, Beltran) (min 50% starts in CF)

        At the end of the 2007 season, Andruw Jones, still just 30 years old, had already won 10 Gold Gloves and already hit 368 home runs with 1,117 RBI. In the entire history of baseball, only eight players have hit more than 368 long balls through their age 30 seasons. The eight: Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jimmie Foxx, Pujols, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Frank Robinson, and Mel Ott.

        Consider this as well: thanks mostly to his off-the-charts defensive numbers, Jones posted the 3rd best overall WAR from 1997-2006, behind only Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. If you believe the numbers, Jones was the best non-PED-linked player in baseball for a ten-year period. If you believe those numbers, that’s a Hall of Famer.

        “I have voted for Andruw Jones, the former Braves centre fielder, every year he has been eligible. I’ve never quite understood why he hasn’t done better in the voting. For some reason, defence never gets judged the way offence does. Offence is easy to quantify. Defence, not so much. Jones was a brilliant outfielder.”

        — Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun (Dec. 27, 2022)

        • Jones had 50 more home runs but in 600 more plate appearances. In spite of the 600 plate appearances, Edmunds beats him in most other categories and, importantly, outhit Jones by 30 points! Two less gold gloves, 50 less homers and about 90 less rbis. In 600 less plate appearances and still beats him everywhere else. Jones was a great defensive player but there’s only so much “great defensive player” you can be. The hardest part for me is, his homers might be right in line with the center fielders you named but his everything else is really not close to them. .254? I don’t know how anyone reconciles that. If he had 500+ homers, another 3-400 RBIs and maybe 400 steals with all the speed he had then I’d be more likely to overlook the hits and average but his biggest accomplishment is 400 homers and great defense? That’s a tough one for me. I think a lot of guys put up reasonably borderline stats in similar fashion and get ignored so that’s a tough one.

    • Then again, hilariously, Scott Rolen is now a hall of famer. God I still can’t say it with a straight face. Ken Boyer is not a Hall of famer and Rolen is? They’re almost the exact same guy. And Jeff Kent is not a Hall of famer? What a clown show.

      • It is kind of hilarious. If the pigs weren’t hell bent on not voting for ped guys Rolen would probably still be waiting

  3. The hall is badly damaged and really has become a relatively meaningless conversation piece at this point so it doesn’t actually matter who gets in or doesn’t anymore. There are unarguable greats not getting in and definitely arguable somewhat-above-average guys in their places.

    The power is in the hands of people who believe they are truly worthy of judging other men’s character while sorting through statistics and justifying which ones matter for which player so they can have someone “clean” to vote for.

    Certainly doesn’t smell remotely like an Olympus for the greatest of all time anymore.

    • Only 10 ballots in so far but if this is any indication, looks like a lot of losers still trying to stick it to Beltran. What a damn shame.

  4. Pedroia, Conigliaro, Mattingly, Garciaparra, Stieb, Strasburg, Tulowitzki, JR Richard, Santana and more, insert favorite Hall of Fame-trajectory player who’s career was prematurely derailed by injury. These are all why David Wright shouldn’t be taking votes from guys who probably deserve them.
    I loved Wright and truly enjoyed watching him play but a spade is a spade and he, through no fault of his own, did not compile a Hall of Fame career. If Mattingly isn’t a Hall of Fame guy then neither is Wright. Great as he was in the time he was healthy.

      • If Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be one. Mauer’s numbers compare to Posey are not quite there. Mauer surpass 2,100 career hits, Posey only had 1,500 career hits. Plus Mauer won three batting titles and an MVP, Posey won one MVP and I think only one batting title. Even Mauer’s lifetime batting average was better than Posey. So, again if Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be one.

  5. Confused by the support for Mauer. Admittedly, Jason Varitek was not quite a Hall of famer, but comparatively, in 2100 less at bats, Varitek hit 50 more homers than Mauer, 120 less doubles and only about 160 less rbis. He didn’t make the contact Mauer made but his run production was just as good if not better. Sure, three batting titles are nice, but the guy only batted .300 in 6 of his full seasons so we are not talking Ty Cobb here. He caught less than half his games so the catcher argument goes out the window and when he completely stopped catching, he basically went in the toilet. A few batting titles and a few gold gloves? Kind of sounds like less than Mattingly, who is not in the hall. This guy is not close to a hall of famer.

    • Mauer was not a home run hitter, but he won three batting titles, one MVP, like three gold gloves and went to six all star games, plus he ended with a lifetime batting avergare of .306, Varitek was not even close to that. Besides, first base it’s super easy compared to the position of a catcher.

    • Posey was great in the regular season as well. Those other guys had up and down regular seasons so a combination of them and great pitching got the Giants to the postseason in the first place. Varitek went to college so he didn’t get started until he was 25 and even then had to platoon with Hatteburg in Boston after spending his Seattle career in the minors since the Mariners had Dan Wilson. He had 2,000 less plate appearances than Mauer, more home runs and less than 200 less rbis. With those extra 2000 played appearances I’m sure his run production numbers would have blown Mauer out of the water although he probably never would have hit more than .260 for his career. The point wasn’t that he should be in the Hall of Fame it was that, aside from a .300 batting average and a few gold gloves, the rest of Mauer’s numbers don’t spell Hall of fame. Maybe Posey’s don’t either because the guy actually played the equivalent of about seven and a half seasons with all of his injury time but his overall numbers don’t really pale in comparison to Mauer’s considering how much less time he played. And regardless of who else was on the team, Posey was a huge reason the Giants won three World Series in 5 years. Honestly, wouldn’t bother me to see either of them in the Hall of Fame but I just wouldn’t go crazy trying to get them there either.

  6. Interesting takes here.
    1) “The 7 who belong: Sheffield, Beltre, Beltran, Manny, Helton, Wagner and Rodriguez.” Wagner, no, not even close.

    2) “Comparisons for Trout should be Dale Murphy, Jim Edmonds, Torii Hunter and even Kenny Lofton.” Not sure what this even means. Trout needs no comps, he’s inner circle without playing another game. Jones is perfectly reasonable for a CF given his combination of excellent defense and pretty good bat. Edmonds and Lofton fell victim to the crowded ballots they came onto. Using them as examples/reasons to keep someone else out is not valid. Look at what the standards are as the HOF stands, adjust for unworthy VC picks if you like, and use that to judge a player.

    3) “And for the WAR mongers out there, hold Jones’ up to real greats of the game like Speaker, Mays and Mantle and it’s not even the same conversation. DiMaggio, Cobb etc.” Why? If that’s the standard, what the heck are you arguing for Hunter for? And that’s not the standard. There’s more to the HOF than just the inner circle, all time greats. Jones is perfectly reasonable in that category, as are Edmonds and Lofton, Murphy is below the line, IMO, and Hunter does not even come close.

    4) “Then again, hilariously, Scott Rolen is now a hall of famer. God I still can’t say it with a straight face. Ken Boyer is not a Hall of famer and Rolen is? They’re almost the exact same guy. And Jeff Kent is not a Hall of famer?”
    Rolen is a worthy HOF player, as is Boyer. It’s not laughable that Rolen is in and Boyer is not, it’s simply unfortunate. Back in the 60’s and 70’s writers didn’t know what to do with 3B and didn’t have access to the sort of defensive data available now. Hopefully Boyer will get his due one day. Kent is a marginal, at best, HOF candidate. So he hit a lot of HR, big deal, everyone did. It was the biggest HR era in baseball history, bigger than the 20’s and 30’s by a good ways. Look at his first 6 seasons, nothing resembling a HOF there. He had a nice, late peak, but he wasn’t particularly valuable defensively. Put that all together and he’s not any better than mediocre VC pick Billy Herman and he’s a good bit behind excellent VC pick Joe Gordon, who deserves two years of credit for WW II.

    5) “Confused by the support for Mauer.” What support is that, there’s barely any ballots available? But if you mean in HOF discussions like this one, it’s easy to understand. Mauer was a catcher for 10 seasons (his first season was a short “cup of coffee” year and 2011 was injury shortened) and he won 3 batting titles. That’s extraordinary! Catchers don’t win batting titles, the position beats them up and wears the down. It’s highly unusual for a catcher to produce significantly above average offense due to the demands of the position, but in Mauer’s years as a catcher his OPS+ was 135 across 5060 PA’s, including a league leading 171 in 2009 (he swept the triple slash stats that year 365/444/587)! You have to go to Piazza to find a better hitting catcher, and Piazza is the gest hitting catcher of all time (props to Josh Gibson though, who by most accounts would be if we had a sufficient record of his hitting). Mauer is essentially Ernie Banks at catcher. He was a HOF catcher for 10 years and then moved off the position due to wear and tear and was only a mediocre player for the last 5 years of his career, just as Banks was a HOF shortstop for the first 9 years of his career and then a medicore 1B for the last 10. I’m sure there will be plenty of people, and voters, who still won’t go for Mauer due to the short career relative to HOF players, but he definitely has a HOF peak/prime as a catcher and 5 more years of counting stats as a 1B/DH (a few more PA’s than Piazza, few less than Berra, and more than the pre-war catchers Dickey, Cochrane and Harnett). Varitek was a really good player, has some nice accolades as Captain and a couple of WS, but he doesn’t have the peak Mauer does, and he has a very short career with only 5839 PA’s. The only HOF catchers with that little playing time are 19th century and very weak 20th century VC selections, or Roy Campenella who deserved credit for being excluded from MLB due to segretation.

    • So, you’re right about one thing. The standards have vastly changed and you cannot possibly vote for today’s player against the greatest of all time because we would have no one going in. That being said, over 20,000 men have played Major League baseball and eight of them have saved 400 games. You can pull out playoff stats or whatever else you want but Wagner is a Hall of famer. A closer’s job is to close. Shut down the other team and save the win. Only five guys out of 20,000 plus did it more than Wagner. Did he blow a few important games? Sure, but not nearly enough to wipe out 422 saves.

      “Comparisons for Trout” is misprinted. The answer was for someone who was comparing Trout to Jones. Not even a realistic comparison so the point was comparisons for Jones in place of Trout. If you are going to use an argument like, “look at the first 6 years of Kent’s career”, then look at the first two and the last six of Jones’ career because they were far from Hall of Fame as well. He was not a good hitter, just a good power hitter. By which standard, you really can’t discount Kent since no other second baseman ever, that’s EVER, like in all time, hit more home runs than he did. Sounds like Fame to me. Also, sticking with today’s ballot as you say, Tori Hunter is still there so how he can possibly be nowhere near the voting numbers for Jones is a joke in it’s simplest form. Other than home runs, Hunter equals or outpaces Jones everywhere.

      WAR is a very hypothetical analogy and, therefore, I can’t take it seriously. History is littered with people and generations who have relied on hypotheticals and ended up nowhere. Many of the new generational stats may have some meaning to some but basically come down to telling us something that we all had figured out years ago without them. They also need to exist in a vacuum or a perfect scenario to be accurate or close to pretending to be. You can’t mathematically decipher defense without all the intangibles. How can a statistic determine what balls someone should be able to get to and then tell them they are not receiving a high grade because of their zone whatever or defensive war? These numbers can’t possibly take into account how fast an individual player is, the shoulder impingement or small ligament tear in the knee the guy may be dealing with for months that no one is aware of, how slippery the dirt or grass is on any given day and so on and so forth. A statistic like war is the same thing. You hypothetically gauge someone’s value based on who else might have played in their place. Who is that? How can you know who might have played in their place? In any given time or space, someone who sucks under his given circumstances may have outperformed those circumstances had he played in a different time and place. Look how many games have been played by otherwise forgettable players and they had an amazing performance. Now imagine that guy is given the opportunity to play every day and maybe his rhythm changes, maybe having the confidence of the manager behind him because he is viewed as a future star gives him the time to develop and correct his flaws. And maybe not. That’s too many maybes for me to take seriously. A million reasons exist as to to how the stat means nothing.

      War was a big argument from many people as to why Rolen was Hall of Fame worthy. The rest of his statistics barely back that up against the greats of all time. 500 homers? Nope. 400? Nope. 375? Sorry. Oh well, how about 3000 hits? Nope. 2500? Nope. Barely 2000? Ok. How many guys have done that? Who cares, he has some gold gloves and a fictitious war number that sounds great. Oh, ok then.

      As for Mauer, “great hitting catcher” is a very old time argument which hardly fits in such a modern defense of all these points. But to stay within the argument, yes he won three batting titles, but that’s about all he did. You can say “second greatest hitting catcher of all time” but was he really? A great hitter does more than just win batting titles for 3 years. Regardless of position. He then only batted .300, three other times so I’m not sure where the 10 years of Hall of Fame catcher come from. As a run producer, he was fairly average. He produced a fluke 28 homer season once and then his greatest output was a blistering 13. In fact, if I were building a team, I would insert obviously Piazza, and then Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, Ivan Rodriguez, Roy Campanella, Buster Posey and probably even Jason Varitek before Joe Mauer. Runs win games and therefore, guys who produce runs are more important to I have in my lineup.

      In Mauer’s entire career, the Twins won exactly one playoff game. Guess when it was. It was in that cup of coffee season you speak of and he didn’t even play in the game, so Mauer’s “hall of fame career” produced three batting titles, mediocre run production and zero postseason victories. Doesn’t sound too amazing to me. Definitely doesn’t sound like Ernie Banks either.

      And arguing “big deal so did everyone” hit home runs, fails to negate Kent’s accomplishments. If it wasn’t a big deal, why does no other second baseman have more?

      As far as I’m concerned, the whole point of the game is to win. If you produce the necessary magic exactly zero times when it counts the most, I can’t really take your 6 .300 seasons and talk you into a hall of famer. Same with Jones 433 home runs and not much else. Gold gloves not withstanding but they seem to have become far more “important” in recent years in lieu of guys being truly well-rounded, actually great hitters.

          • I hardly think it goes over the head of someone with a 170 IQ and mathematics scholarships to major universities. But typical millennial type answer. If you don’t agree you must be an idiot. That’s brilliant.

          • Way over your head? What a stupid answer. How can it go over your head? Do you think it’s rocket science? It’s definition tells you it’s hypothetical and you think it’s the best? Who is this “replacement”, some hypothetical punching bag whose career you demean by referring to him as the middling point? I assume Ohtani and Trout would have some of the highest “war” numbers in the game and how many “wins” is that worth? The Angels suck and haven’t been to playoffs yet with Ohtani and only once with Trout. They haven’t even had a winning record since Ohtani’s been there so those “wins” are extremely worthy over whatever replacement player could be there doing just as much “winning”. If you like that kind of hypothetical statistic great, but don’t demean over a century of fans who know just as much baseball as you think you do and in most cases, probably more.

        • Yes Victor, you are the friggin MAN brother. People talk about these guys like Utley or Wright or Posey or whoever like what they’ve done is not enough. Not enough for who? Where do they stand in 23,000 players? Out of 23,000 players? Pretty impressive.

    • This is why I love this stuff. It makes me have to figure out if people actually watch the game or just read modern analytics and pretend to like baseball.

      Nice little peak at the end? Kent was a solid hitter and and run production guy for 16 seasons once he got straightened out. Hardly a nice little peak.

      Hunter is not even close? He has Jones by 50 steals, over 100 doubles, 100 rbis, 27 points in batting average and 500 hits. Not sure how much closer you could get if the argument is that Jones is worthy and Hunter is not. Jones has him in homers and that’s pretty much it.

      • Well said Norman. Watching games leads to fandom which leads to wanting your team to win which leads to caring about how that happens. Hits, extra base hits, home runs and RBIs are what makes that happen because they put runs across the plate. Strikeouts and solid defense stop runs from scoring. It’s simplicity is one of the most beautiful aspects of the game. It doesn’t need to be over analyzed, especially by things that are basically guesses and predictions and don’t guarantee anything at all. This leads to putting hypothetically great players into the Hall of Fame even though their numbers don’t bear out.

        The next time I am watching a game with a bunch of fans and someone yells out “holy whip, did you see that amazing piece of war” or “what an unbelievable zone defensive rating play that was” will be the first time ever. Probably the first time ever anywhere.

        Watch the games or at least launch the highlights every morning. You’ll be amazed how 20 years from now you will remember who did what the most often in the most important moments and be able to translate it to who was the best in their time and for an amount of time that made them one of the best ever.

      • “Nice little peak at the end? Kent was a solid hitter and and run production guy for 16 seasons once he got straightened out. Hardly a nice little peak.”

        Read more closely. I said nice, late peak, not little. IOW most HOF players start out at a high level, and start early. It’s almost a necessity because it’s so difficult to play at a high enough level for a long enough time to accrue the bona fides necessary to qualify for the HOF. So Kent for the first 7 years of his career has an OPS+ of 106 across over 2900 PA’s, which is over 1/3 of his career. It’s pretty near impossible to hit like an average player for 1/3 of your career and still end up with a HOF level career. For example, the HOF 2B with OPS+ of 106 or lower during their first 7 seasons: Evers, Fox, Maz, and Schoendienst. All VC selections. Now Sandberg was only at 109, but Sandberg came up at 21 and was still learning how to hit, he was up because he was already a great 2B. If you look at Sandberg at the same age as Kent, 24-29, his OPS+ was 123, much better than Kent.
        But, yes, Kent from 30-39 was a much better hitter, an OPS+ of 133, that’s definitely in the range for a HOF 2B, but as I said he didn’t bring much defensive value at that time. He was fine through the first half of that decade, but as you’d expect of a player in his mid to late 30’s, he was a liability in the field in the second half of the decade. So you end up with about 3 or 4 peak seasons, seasons at the level I’d expect for a HOF, and 5 or 6 very good seasons. That’s not what a clearly qualified HOF player looks like to me.

        As to the “so what” on the HR, context matters! Anyone who knows baseball and baseball history recognizes that, despite the seeming continuity of the game, it has gone through many phases or eras. Deadball Era, the offensive explosion of the 20’s and 30’s, an odd phase in the middle of the 20th century when players missed significant time to military service. The second deadball era of the 60’s all the way through the 80’s. Believe me if you look at runs scored, HR, BA, etc. offense didn’t come back when they lowered the mound after the year of the pitcher in 1968. Then we went into Sillyball in the 90’s and early 2000’s, which is exactly when Kent started to hit a lot of, for a 2B, HR. And to contextualize this more specifically to Kent and the HOF, look again at Sandberg, who he supplanted as the 2B with the most career HR. Sandberg actually led the league in HR in 1990, and he finished in the top 10 for HR 5 times. Kent never led the league and only finished in the top 10 once. As I said, yes he hit a lot of HR, but he was hitting them during the era in baseball when it was easier, FAR easier, to hit HR than ever. OPS+, a better measure of overall offensive production than simple HR totals should be looked at as well if we’re trying to determine a HOF case based on offensive production. Kent finished in the top 10 once, Sandberg 3 times, and again Sandberg was a great defender, he’s not an offense first or offense only case like Kent. Take a look at their Ink Scores (Black Ink and Gray Ink are a scale used to compare players to HOF players that assign points to the times leading the league, Black, or top 10, Gray, for HR, RBI, BA, runs, hits, SLG, 2B, BB, SB, games, AB and 3B, IOW good old traditional stats). Kent has no, zero, zip, zilch, nada Black Ink, Sandberg has 14, a bit low for a HOF, but not unusual for an up the middle defender as offense is often sacrificed for defense at SS and 2B. Kent has 71 Gray Ink, an average HOF has 144, and Sandberg has 134. This is why I say Kent is a borderline, at best, HOF. The level of play to be qualified, for me, has to be at a high level in more than just one area. Most HR by a 2B doesn’t equate to a HOF career, to me, there needs to be more. Would Kent be a terrible HOF selection? No, but he wouldn’t be a great one.

        “Hunter is not even close? He has Jones by 50 steals, over 100 doubles, 100 rbis, 27 points in batting average and 500 hits. Not sure how much closer you could get if the argument is that Jones is worthy and Hunter is not. Jones has him in homers and that’s pretty much it.”

        No, Hunter is not even close. He has a career OPS+ of 110, that would be the lowest of any CF in the HOF except for Max Carey and Paul Waner. Now Carey is a pretty weak VC pick, but he did lead the league in runs, triples twice and SB 10 times, in fact he’s still 9th all time. Let’s see Hunter led the league in, ummm, hmmm, ahhh NOTHING EVER. But let’s give Hunter some consideration because during his career he was playing in 14 and 15 team leagues while Carey was in an 8 team league. Looking at Gray Ink, finishing in the top 10 in a statistical category, shows Hunter with 29, that’s really low, while Carey is at 148, above the HOF average of 144. Even adjusting for league size we can see Hunter is far below even one of the weaker VC picks for CF.

        As for Jones to Hunter, Jones has 10 Black Ink and 47 Gray. While Hunter stayed healthier longer and played longer, which is what you see when you focus on career counting stats, Jones was as good or better during his peak seasons. Jones is widely considered the greatest defensive CF not named Willie Mays, and Hunter is widely considered to have been a great CF for a large part of his career, but not in Jones’ league. Put together comparable in season offense with significantly better defense and, to me Jones, is a clearly better candidate. I mean look at the beginnings of their careers. Jones has a 113 PA’s at 19 and is a full time player at 20, Hunter had no PA’s at 21, 19 at 22, was a more or less full time player at 23, got sent down at 24, and then becomes a full time player at 25. That ought to tell you something about the difference in their talent levels.

      • @LDD

        Based on what l’ve read from you, your IQ is scraping to reach 110. Conversely l have a JD and MLB front office experience.

        @ Fart
        To be the best it doesn’t need to be flawless, just better than the alternatives. What do you have that’s better?? Your eye test?? Lol. What about the guys you never saw. What are your credentials? I heard you couldn’t hit a fastball to save your life. How would your compare and condense to a single quantifiable number saves vs homers, batting average vs era and account for park and era (timing) differences……huh?? Everyone is a critic, yet almost no one has a better answer or even a good response, least of all you two shoes.

        • JD seems like a big waste of money and time in your case Crock. Lol? Pretty valid argument there for a JD. Do you win cases with this barstool logic of yours?

          “Your honor , this guy doesn’t agree with me so he’s guilty. He’s a butthead, string him from a yardarm.”

          Not liking someone’s answer or response when it’s more than viable doesn’t make it a bad one. Most times, it means the listener is too dense to realize there is another way. Especially when that way has existed and worked since long before they were even a thought.

          Have you ever watched a baseball game? For decades they’ve posted situational numbers on the screen like: “Robin Ventura vs Greg Maddux career”. This isn’t new information so we have always been able to evaluate tendencies. And when player A bucks the tendency and blasts a game-winning three-run shot off of player B who has retired him 20 times in a row and (should have put him down) to win the division, a lot of analytics payroll was wasted that year in one swing. An entire season of paying for analytics so Steve Friggin Pearce can blow it all up in the World Series. You may argue that at least the other team got to the World Series and made money doing it but fans talking about players and their accomplishments/hall of fame cases has nothing to do with a team making money.

          But it’s ok, you’re far from alone. There are always more people in the followers category than there are who aren’t afraid to have their own beliefs. People who follow the GPS into a traffic jam instead of knowing the way around just because the computer says it’s the best route. That’s why the back roads are always so clear and the highway is always packed with sheep.

          As far as credentials, what credentials do you need to be a fan? Last I knew, law degrees don’t make you an expert in baseball. Neither does working on an MLB team. How many people work in MLB front offices across the league? Every team has them and if that makes them experts then something’s wrong because there are some pretty bad teams and players out there so someone’s not doing their job Crocky.

          Good luck in that front office of yours. I expect we’ll see your name attached to several World Series titles in the coming years since you know everything the rest of us haven’t figured out.

      • Rock, your powers of analysis as they pertain to breaking down opinions and refuting oppositional arguments confirm strongly that you must be a vitally imperative front office guy. “Duh, you’re stupid and not very smart either. And I’m smart and you can’t hit”. Wow, what a brilliant selection of deductions, belying roughly a 10th grade internet education. College degrees are handed out to anyone who chooses to fork over thousands and thousands of dollars and attend daily classes at one of their institutions. (Or those who, by someone with a brain, entrusted by said institutions, are offered free education based on an evaluation process, deeming them intellectual enough minds to make a societal difference). And, clearly in this case, it wouldn’t make you any more knowledgeable than the sterno bum singing to a trash can full of fire. At roughly 50 years of age, not only can I still hit a 90 mph fastball, I still possess the foresight and hindsight to know that, there is not a need for the quantification of any of those categories into a singular number. If the eye test eludes you, then your janitorial front office job is probably something you should hold on to. The fact that you don’t realize, prior to the advent of these supposedly indispensable singular numbers, “front offices” built baseball teams for a over a century without them, (both winning and losing), displays a remarkable reliance on belief persistence and confirmation bias as it relates to these modern “statistics”. You do understand that amazing puttanesca sauce has been made by people with nearly no education to speak of for many many years prior to Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay making everyone believe they are real chefs by simply doing what your told on TV don’t you? Let me break that down for you, in the time before people simply relied on mathematic equations to help them mentally justify that which they cannot discern by the eye test and mental capacity alone, the rest of us broke down baseball players by the eye test and mental capacity alone. In simple terms, we understood it without a calculator. And somehow, most of us were right. No, we’ll never see every baseball player ever but did I need to see Mel Ott hit 511 home runs to know he did it? I really don’t. That’s why people keep records so those of us in the future will know what happened. I don’t really need a singular quantifiable number other than 511 to know that the man hit more home runs then roughly 99% of everyone who ever played the game. Those of us who know that still can figure that out very easily, even in the face of the computer jockey generation who feel the need to a lot sad attempts at insult every time the one thing they know is questioned or feels unjustified.

        But I must say, adding an F in front of Art’s name, to make it Fart, is an ingenious maneuver that no one has ever thought of before. And, we are not on your precious twitter so I’m not really sure what the purpose of the @symbol was here.

        Keep making singular numbers that don’t quite explain what the rest of us are watching and have watched forever if that makes you happy but there’s really no need to try to insult those whose true intellectual acumen you will never grasp. And by the way, I don’t even use all of that education and intellect to sit at a computer and bore myself to tears, I am a carpenter where I apply my supposed complete lack of knowledge to building and fixing houses for people. I’m sure that doesn’t sound as useful and important as breaking down numbers that already mean what they mean but the people that need a place to live sure find it important.

        • And if you actually read everything I wrote on here then you would have seen the discussion Patrick and I had where, in spite of my complete “idiocy” and lack of understanding baseball evaluation, he used your numbers to confirm that, I somehow magically nailed down most of the players he would have at the top of his “war” charts solely based on my stupid eye tests and knowledge of history. So I guess you’re right, I don’t know what I’m talking about at all. But since I clearly have proven I could “pick ’em” without your “singular quantifiable numbers”, why would I possibly make the “game” more boring than they are already trying to make it? “Seems like everyone who grew up with the internet has trouble focusing for 3 hours at a time so let’s put in pitch clocks, make the bases bigger, limit the amount of times they can try to pick off a runner, have a ghost runner on second to start the 10th, eliminate actually having to intentionally walk a guy and whatever other silly nonsense we can come up with to completely dumb down the game and speed it up for them. Hell, let’s just have the players play the games on PlayStation. Then we can eliminate all the time it takes to run on and off the field, warm up a pitcher, take warm up swings etc” And you’d save payroll on managers, coaches and front office as well. Honestly, how do you people just blindly follow like sheep and not have a hunger for something real?

          • How can you call war a reliable statistic when it’s computed differently by three different operations? And it assigns values to people differently and counts their stats differently depending on what position they play? And then randomly decides how many more times their team won because of their accomplishments than they would have with somebody else? That doesn’t even make sense. No one can possibly know that information. If you like it because of whatever reason you like it then that’s fine for you but it’s pretty stupid to use it as a means of deciding who goes into the Hall of Fame when it’s such a ridiculously arbitrary computation. Do you pick your prom date because of her dress and where she bought it or how much it cost compared to what a similar dress cost somewhere else? You have no way of knowing what that other dress would have looked like on her because she never wore it. How do so many people buy into this? At least Bill James was able to con people into paying him money for this double talk and verbosity, what is everyone else getting?

    • Speaker, Mays, Mantle, Cobb and DiMaggio are not the standard? Why not? Because it makes it impossible to argue for guys like Jones? They are the reason a guy like Jones doesn’t belong there. Their numbers are ridiculous because of what they did and for how long they were able to do it.

      • “Speaker, Mays, Mantle, Cobb and DiMaggio are not the standard? Why not? Because it makes it impossible to argue for guys like Jones?”

        No, they are not the standard. Why not? Largely because the HOF is a business and a money maker for the Clark family, and the biggest money maker is induction week. I don’t think they would be happy if no CF since Mays had been elected. Now for your personal HOF, if you want to ignore all the VC picks for CF, all the great Negro League CF like Charleston and Bell, lesser lights like Dawson and Puckett, and just keep it Speaker, Mays, Mantle, Cobb and DiMaggio, that’s fine. But for an honest, realistic look at what the HOF is, who’s in, who’s not, and consider someone’s candidacy in that light, Jones deserves careful consideration. By the way, if that is your standard, DiMaggio is on the outside looking in because he’s doesn’t meet the standards set by the other four., and so are Griffey and Snider. And if Trout doesn’t get healthy again, sorry Bub, no HOF for you.

        • And I didn’t say only the standard should be elected. If your personal hall of fame doesn’t include a guy with 630 home runs then good luck drawing flies buddy. You seem to have a penchant for ignoring context and suiting your argument by rephrasing the previous points in verse, verbatim. You must be a blast at parties. By the way, you are actually the classic example of your aforementioned “straw man argument”.

          From the “stating the obvious” department, you mean the hall of fame exists to make a profit and they make a higher profit when they are packed for induction week? Wow! Who knew? That changes the whole conversation then. Maybe the standard should be Marty Barrett or Mendoza.

          They obviously are the standard. Standard doesn’t mean exclusivity or sole inhabitants, it means the benchmark by which others are judged. Sorry for the 4th grade definition but just trying to stop this runaway, out of context problem.

          Good luck with your personal hall of fame though. I’m sure plenty of people will be glad to come in and be bored to death with analytics and excuses.

        • And once again, hypotheticals. Yes Jones has the second highest total zone run rating in history. A concocted statistic that didn’t even exist three decades ago and cannot be relied upon due to the fact that, admittedly by its creator, the same data doesn’t exist to apply to every fielder ever in history. Take the number of balls hit to any given position and assign it a rating and then make up a rating to adjust for different parks and fields and so on? This seems like a good idea? All these made up ratings, like most of these so-called analytics, are exactly that. The real statistics bear out real numbers and they are not based on someone’s guess or an idea someone has on what is a good way to figure them out. Paul is hit to player player either makes play or makes error. Very black and white and pretty much unarguable outside of the average fan saying “come on he should’ve had that”. But somehow the voters have been able to determine who great defensive players were before the Advent of all this insanity. Otherwise, Brooks Robinson may have been on the outside looking in. Ozzie Smith too. But you didn’t need made up numbers to tell you those guys were great defensive players.

        • Money or not those guys and any like them are DEFINITELY the standard. You may not hold people to the standard anymore but they were it. Williams Foxx Ruth Gehrig etc al. The greatest players ever are definitely the standard. We just don’t have that many like that anymore so we now argue about guys trying to come close but no cigar and use made up numbers to make it sound real. That’s why the made-up numbers look like video game stats for those guys. Hit for ridiculous average power situational hitting walks. Used to have a bunch of guys who were complete players and now we have excuses for guys who are not.

          • Andruw Jones? Come on man. 400 homers and 10 gold gloves. Okay sounds good what else? Nothing? .254 lifetime average? That’s embarrassing to even discuss

      • There is a popular misconception that Jeff Kent was Buddy Biancalana until he was 29 or 30 and suddenly figured out he was Jeff Kent. Not remotely accurate. Kent put up 20 homers and 80 RBIs with a respectable batting average in, what amounted to, his first full-time season at 25 years old. He then proceeded to maintain relative growth for a few years before becoming an even better hitter and finishing his career at .290. Regardless of the era, his home runs were a great accomplishment because, no one else did it. Granted it was a great power era but it’s not like Kent leads all second baseman and there are 10 other guys from his era right behind him. As for his defense, he was not a liability. Once again, all these other modern analytics might be fun little favors at a boredom party but the guy fielded at a .978 percentage in 10,000 chances. Basing his accomplishments on hypothetical statistics doesn’t make him actually a bad fielder, just one of the unfortunate souls who fall victim to the modern need to ruin something beautiful. Those who don’t like baseball, simply don’t like baseball. Changing how it is viewed and measured doesn’t actually change reality, it only ruins the game.

        For instance, though he didn’t hit all the big round numbers, Helton’s case is pretty straightforward to anyone who actually knows baseball. Ridiculous amount of doubles, very solid home run production for his era, great overall batting average (in spite of the drastic splits home and away but you can’t help where he played his home games), good defender and definitely higher end all around producer. If the contest was Helton versus Lou Gehrig, Gherig wins but that’s not the contest. If the case is, does Helton get voted in based on his accomplishments in the era in which he played then I’d say the numbers tell the story.

        By the same token, ignoring Torii Hunter’s overall body of work and dismissing it when he very clearly stacks up against Jones is not even worth arguing. For those who watched the games and highlights, there was no point in time where Jones was so far and away out of this world in centerfield as to render Torii Hunter a defensive afterthought. And if you can’t compare Jones to Speaker, Cobb, DiMaggio etc because of the difference in eras, how can you talk out of both sides of your mouth and compare Hunter to Carey and Waner? Jones’ joke of a batting average should render him an afterthought before the conversation even gets off the ground. But this is the result of ignoring “Big round numbers” and trying to base reality in fiction. We’re now excusing a bad hitter, without 500 home runs or even 2500 hits (nevermind 3000) and pretending he’s the greatest centerfielder not named Willie Mays to justify his inclusion. If the question is this convoluted, the answer should be no.

    • The support for Mauer is from people talking. Various talking heads. I didn’t even notice the ballots but he’s not a Hall of famer. Three titles are nice and pretty good defense but just not enough to make a Hall of Fame career case. Rolen is definitely laughable. His complete lack of ANY of the traditional benchmark numbers shows just how flawed analytics are. If the analytics can’t keep up with the real production what’s the point?

      • “Rolen is definitely laughable. His complete lack of ANY of the traditional benchmark numbers shows just how flawed analytics are. If the analytics can’t keep up with the real production what’s the point?”

        What are the traditional benchmark numbers then? What metrics do you have to have to be qualified for the HOF in your opinion?

        How do you come to the conclusion that modern metrics don’t keep up with “real production?” You do realize that every single team in MLB uses analytics like WAR and its component parts to make draft decisions, player development decisions, trade decisions and salary decisions, don’t you?

        Let’s do a thought experiment. Who are your top 10 players of all time? You can go deeper than 10 if you like, but it’s up to you. You can list your top 10 pitchers, too, if you like.

        • Norm I hate to jump your gun but ….

          First, I’d think we all know the traditional benchmarks are 500 HR, 3000 hits, 3000 Ks, 300 wins….

          This only broke at the point of the Salem witch tria–er, PED era. Which is a joke because, suddenly, everyone pretended to not know this has gone on for decades and adopted attitudes that rendered the voting panel all but a spineless, unrespectable cult flock.
          I don’t think everyone has to hit the benchmarks for enshrinement but I’ve always thought one or two would be nice. Overall, I think I look for attributes that lead to winning, since that’s the point of the game in the end. I think a hall of fame player is undeniably, consistently awesome at whatever his position is, at the plate, on the mound etc. 4,5,6 years of above average play is not that. Longevity is important because the whole point is to put the best ever in the hall and getting it done 30 percent of a career isn’t quite that amazing.
          In lieu of the traditional benchmarks, the guy should be undeniably one of the greats. Memorable. I’ve always followed the game as a whole and Philadelphia is one of several teams I’ve always liked. I recall the guy playing but never heard much talk of this hindsight brilliance then. Last few years, suddenly Rolen started showing up on all these lists and honestly, I barely remembered the guy playing. I remember Scott Coolbaugh coming up in Texas and becoming nothing before I can remember Scott Rolen being amazing. He was good. Better than average. But I just don’t see hall of famer there. If a guy hits a traditional benchmark with an otherwise well-rounded body of work then I’m usually pretty all for it. If a guy hits no benchmarks but comes pretty damn close to several then I think there’s usually a pretty good case there. Helton is a great example. Not a huge homer total, but batted .300 with a crazy amount of doubles, not 3000 hits but more than enough and, overall, pretty easy to get behind.

          A guy badly misses all of them and somehow his 70 war and some Gold Gloves make him a shoo-in? I don’t see it and that’s why the metrics don’t add up to greatness my friend.

          There are guys with great boxing records but if you watch the fights, they have fought basically no one. Built up an undefeated tab against 20+ ham-and-eggers who couldn’t punch their way through a puff of cigarette smoke. Then they fight real competition and get destroyed. Not that Rolen was destroyed by anyone in particular but his career in reality was just good. Not, better than the best or even close.
          Also, I have to think not every team is relying solely on crazy metrics because, if they are, something is amiss. Why go to all that trouble guessing to still not win? If Texas was paying some group of pinwheels and pocket protectors to sit around doing math problems, they wasted their money. Any idiot could tell you just by watching the game that piling up guys like Seager, Semen, Jung, Heim, Garver and Garcia I was going to get you run production. And I highly doubt Jordan Montgomery was a metrics darling more than the best they could grab at the deadline to fill holes. Not much about Nate Eovaldi’s career spelled out this performance and all in all, this was a classic example of the true beauty of baseball. But you have to actually enjoy baseball and just watch it to get that.

        • By the way, here are my top guys. Some I’ve seen, some I’ve seen in footage and some are just undeniable. Regardless of error or competition, they did it so well, for so long and against so many guys they couldn’t possibly be products of a generation.
          Starters:
          Young, Big Train, Big 6, Clemens, Gibson, Koufax, Pedro, Maddux, Seaver and Schilling
          Closers: (Yes it’s a position, yes it takes skill and yes, there are great ones)
          Gossage, Lee Smith, Eckersley, Franco, Wagner, Hoffman, Rivera, K-Rod, Radatz and Sutter

          I’ll give you a top 3 at each position:
          1B:
          Foxx, Gherig and Bagwell
          2B:
          Hornsby, Morgan and Robinson
          SS:
          Wagner, Ripken and Larkin
          3B:
          Schmidt, Robinson and Jones
          RF:
          Ruth, Aaron and Robinson
          CF:
          Mays, Speaker and Griffey Jr
          LF:
          Williams, Musial and Yaz
          C:
          Piazza, Bench and Berra

          Guess I could go on adding a guy at each position but these are the first that come to mind and I trust my mind pretty well.

          • Hey, cool, this will be fun! I know you don’t like me quoting posts, but I do so for accuracy, so the person I’m responding to knows what I’m responding to, and so others can see what specifically I’m responding to without trying to go back to the post and figure it out. I hope you’ll bear with me.

            “I’ll give you a top 3 at each position:
            1B: Foxx, Gherig and Bagwell”

            Just by career WAR, no refining for peak/prime/career you would get Gerhig, Foxx and Pujols, but Bagwell would be next if you rate 19th C. players separately like I do (otherwise it would be Anson and Connor).

            “2B: Hornsby, Morgan and Robinson”

            Hornsby, Collins (he does tend to get overlooked by a lot of people in these sorts of discussions, but the guy played forever, 12,807 PA’s and he was still good in his late 30’s although he didn’t play as much) and Lajoie. Robinson is a great choice, but he didn’t play long enough, for obvious reasons, to make it that high on the career ladder.

            “SS: Wagner, Ripken and Larkin”

            Wagner, [A-Rod], Ripken and George Davis. Now A-Rod is in there because they count him as a SS, but obviously, like Banks, he played a lot of 3B as well. Davis is probably surprising, he was a great 19th C. SS who played the first decade of the 20th as well. You’d probably throw him out because a lot of his value is defense, and how well can we judge his defense? This is part of why I just consider 19th C. players separately. Anyway, you’d then get to Arky Vaughn, another truly great player lots of people overlook, but really it’s a cluster of Vaughn, Old Aches and Pains, Yount, The Wizard, and another 19th C. guy, Bill Dahlen. Larkin is down the list a bit due to his relatively short career and we’re looking at career WAR. But if you take out A-Rod and Yount, take out the 19th C. guys, you’ll see Larkin is basically tied for 4th with Jeter, Trammell, and Pee Wee Reese.

            “3B: Schmidt, Robinson and Jones”

            Schmidt, Mathews and Beltre. But there’s not a lot of difference between Beltre and Boggs, then comes Brett (but he has the A-Rod issue of moving to 1B/DH), followed by Jones, then Robinson who despite his great defense was often a mediocre bat, even so he’s not meaningfully behind Jones.

            “RF: Ruth, Aaron and Robinson”

            Ruth, Aaron and [Musial] Ott, but Ott is not meaningfully better than Robinson. Musial is difficult to categorize by position because he was so versatile he played all over the OF and a lot of 1B.

            “CF: Mays, Speaker and Griffey Jr”

            Hmm, that’s an interesting Big 3 with no Cobb, but WAR has it Mays, Cobb and Speaker (then Mantle, Trout and Griffey).

            “LF: Williams, Musial and Yaz”

            Bonds, Williams and Henderson. Yaz comes next. If you want to count Musial as a LF, he’d be second although I think it’s perfectly reasonable to acknowledge Williams would have more than Musial but for the military service.

            “C: Piazza, Bench and Berra”

            Bench, Carter and both Pudge Fisk and Pudge Rodriguez are indistinguishable for 3rd. Piazza and Berra (and you could add Dickey and Hartnett) are really tied for 4th.

            So just a simple look at career WAR lines up incredibly well with your picks. This is why I’m always surprised people are so skeptical of WAR. If it reflects what most people already believe at the top, why would you think it fails further down? And for the crotchety, Get Off My Lawn crowd who will say, “Then we don’t need it!” Fine, don’t use it. But for some people who care about the HOF and evaluating candidates (and those already inducted) for what it realistically is, WAR is useful to allow greater refinement of judgment. Now I know you’ve said you don’t believe, or can’t rely, on the defensive component, and I know it’s a work in process and it’s not as precise as we’d like, but it is a tool to use to give credit to more well rounded players, who tend not to do as well in voting. You could try the above experiment with defensive metrics, too. Maybe throw out 10 guys who you think were all time greats in the field. Obviously Brooks would be in there. Well guess what? He’s first all time in Total Zone Runs, not at 3B, first for every position. So maybe it’s not as accurate as we would like, but maybe it’s not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water and being open to using it. After all baseball has two sides of the game for position players, and if you’re not quite a HOF with the bat but you played excellent defense, that could be the factor to push you over the line.

          • OK, on to the pitchers.

            “Starters: Young, Big Train, Big 6, Clemens, Gibson, Koufax, Pedro, Maddux, Seaver and Schilling”

            OK, keeping in mind that this is just career, so Koufax won’t do well since he’s a real peak guy, and we need to exclude the 19th C. guys who threw 500+ innings per season (it was just too radically different). By Career WAR:

            Big Train, Young, Clemens, Pete (Grover Cleveland) Alexander, Seaver, Lefty Grove, Maddux, Mathewson, Randy Johnson and Spahn. I honestly don’t know who Big 6 is. Schilling is in there, but he’s down the list a little bit because his IP totals are a good bit behind some of the guys who pitched in the 60’s and 70’s. Gibson is just behind Spahn in a group of about 4 guys who are not really that different from Spahn, maybe just a tick behind and it’s really due to IP difference. Gibson just didn’t throw as many as the others. But of course if you look to peak, he obviously looks better there because if he has 89 WAR in 3,279 IP, he must have been as good or better at his peak than Spahn with 100 WAR in 5244 IP. Still, this is a very similar result to what we saw with position players, and again I would say if WAR returns these sorts of results at the top, there’s no reason to believe it will somehow fail to be accurate further down the scale.

            “Closers: (Yes it’s a position, yes it takes skill and yes, there are great ones): Gossage, Lee Smith, Eckersley, Franco, Wagner, Hoffman, Rivera, K-Rod, Radatz and Sutter”

            Ah, here we go. No, it’s NOT a position; sure it takes skill; and yes, there are great ones relative to what they do, which is not significant enough, IMO, to warrant inclusion in the HOF. Clearly PITCHER is the position. Starter, Swing Man, Mop Up Guy, Middle Reliever, Fireman, Set Up Man, LOOGY are all roles a pitcher may fill. Heck Opener is now one of the roles a pitcher can fill, but they are ALL still pitchers. For the HOF judge pitchers against pitchers and adjust for era as needed, but don’t make up a new position and create a new standard for guys who are still pitchers.

            Let’s stick with Wagner since he’s about to become the latest abomination. Up above you said 4, 5, 6 years of above average play is not enough for HOF consideration. Well, 903 IP is maybe 3, 4 or 5 seasons of work for a starting pitcher depending on era. So how does Wagner have enough career to be considered? Now that’s 903 IP in 853 games, he truly fits the definition of 1 inning closer/reliever. He made 504 appearances in a Save situation, in other words as a closer, which means 399 IP (44% of his total IP!!) were just plain old relief pitching. Are you really going to tell me a guy who has only about 504 IP in the role he’s being given a HUGE amount of undeserved extra credit for, is worthy of the HOF? That IP is maybe two seasons of work for a SP.

            I get a LOT of push back on guys like Rolen, people saying he doesn’t meet the standards of the HOF, he didn’t play enough. He played in 2038 games, over twice as many as Wagner, and had 8518 PA’s, Wagner faced only 3600 batters in his career, Rolen had over twice that many plate appearances. Rolen played 17,479 innings in the field! Let’s see, that’s over 19 times as many IP as Wagner, and nearly 35 times as many innings as Wagner pitched in save situations. But guys like Rolen didn’t play enough to meet the standards? Now I don’t know if this is your perspective. I’m adding this because I know there are people who believe certain position players don’t warrant consideration because of shorter careers, yet their playing time and contribution absolutely dwarfs guys like Wagner. And those same people will sit there with a straight face and say Wagner is a shoo in. I cannot fathom how they reconcile these two positions. I think someone up thread mentioned it was important that players actually contribute to winning games for their teams. Does anyone honestly believe that a guy with 903 career IP in 853 games contributed more to winning games for his team than someone with 17,427 innings in the field and 8518 PA’s? I can’t see it, even if you give Wagner credit for his career 2 hits, 1 run and 1 RBI

          • So I will probably jump around a little here but, beginning with closer not being a position, it certainly is a position since it is a viable spot that many guys fill as their only position. Your argument would basically be the equivalent of telling the NFL that there are no flankers, no wide receivers and no tight ends since at one time everyone was an end. Or everyone who lines up behind the quarterback is a tailback and they cannot be separated into halfbacks running backs or fullbacks. The defenseman in soccer are also split up as left or right full back at times, stopper or sweeper. Sounds like we will probably agree to disagree. We will also agree to disagree on the importance of a closer. I played with a lot of guys growing up who could not successfully close out a baseball game. There are also a lot of guys in the history of Major League baseball who could not successfully close out a baseball game. The amount of pressure on a guy coming in in the last inning with a small lead and 30,000 people in the stands is pretty intense. If you don’t think so, then you’re a better man than me and all of those guys I guess. Wagner’s job was not to go out and play 9 innings a day at third base, nor was it to start a game and pitch for seven innings. His job was to go in and get the outs. Which he did. So in a nutshell you are saying that a guy who pitched far less innings then most guys in his statistical categories accomplished more than just about anyone who pitched the small amount of innings he pitched. I’m not sure why you don’t recognize that as pretty damn awesome but I guess it is what it is. Scott Rolen was a good player but my point is, if war says he was a Hall of Fame player or great, then I really have no use for such a number. The lists I gave you were the top guys I like the best to play each of those positions based on what I know of them, have seen or learned of them or, in some cases, was able to watch a lot of them. As I stated in the beginning, if I was building a team to win these would be the guys I would be pulling out. Which means, in essence, you’re telling me that war basically takes people and their statistics and assigns a value to them based on what we already know those people have done in which case, what do I need war for? Redundancy?
            It’s very definition gives it a sense of guesstimation which is not a statistic in my mind. Replacement? Who is this replacement? Who gets to decide the value of the replacement? Nobody gets to decide what a home run means or an RBI or a stolen base or striking out the side or even a save. They are self-explanatory and the more of them you have, especially vast amounts more than your peers, means you outplayed an awful lot of people. Not sure why I need a hypothetical statistic to tell me that. It seems the equivalent of the drunken, pie-eyed, beer guzzling putz sitting at the bar next to me saying “Aw I could have told you that” in response to every bit of information I feed him that he didn’t know before. I heard war thrown around more often when discussing the legitimacy of Rolen’s candidacy then I ever had before. So knowing that his actual statistics don’t add up to a Hall of famer as in, hands down no question Hall of famer, I’m assuming his Gold glove awards go into boosting that number. Since defense has proven extremely immeasurable and always will be, I just can’t apply a value like that to overcome everything measurable the guy didn’t do. These zone ratings are based on values made up by a man and are affected by excuses made for ballparks and eras etc. Until that man can judge unforeclosed injuries, wind direction on every given day or night, divots in the grass or dirt, softness of the sand and so on, he is not, in my eyes, someone whose values I value. I played every position on the diamond and I worked very hard at them all. I had no choice, my father drilled me and drilled me until I could play them all to the best of my possible ability. So I can also state that, while there were games where I made diving plays and some of the greatest throws of my life, there were days where I was so sore I felt like I slept on a lounge chair upside down the night before and as a result, could barely field a ground ball. Whoever is applying these values can’t possibly know when those days are over the course of 162 games for every given player. Therefore, fielding percentage is the only defensive stat I trust. You have your chances, you field them or make errors. Maybe it’s not perfect but it’s far closer to perfect than the complete amalgamation of bullshit that equals zone rating. Also, baseball is their job. If you go out to dinner the night before work with some friends or family and have a couple of extra drinks, you go to work the next day and no one really knows the difference because maybe you sit in a chair or do whatever you do and it’s not so difficult to get through the day. If these guys do that, they’re going to tend to look a little off the next day and your zone reading and war aren’t going to know why. Too many intangibles for hypotheticals statistical guesses.

            At any rate, if the point of this was to see how close I would get to the highest war ratings, by now I could have easily guessed that Cobb Bonds etc would have been in the top of those categories based on the fact that clearly the higher ratings are given to the guys with the higher numbers overall and both of their numbers are ridiculous. However, as I said, I was drawing from the history of the game to put together a team that would win. Bonds and Cobb were both complete a-holes who no one liked to play with so that weighs heavily for me as a bad clubhouse presence I don’t want on my team. Besides, how much overall team winning did either of their statistics contribute to? If their statistics added up to the actual value of a great player, they should both have several World series attached to their names.

            And, Big six was Christy Mathewson. Apparently it was a nickname they gave him because it was the name of the biggest fire engine in New York at the time.

          • Good list LDD. I wouldn’t have Bonds or Cobb on my team either. And as great as Eddie Collins was, what do you do with that guy? With a nickname like “Cocky” he wouldn’t seem like a real good clubhouse guy. Plus the racism stories but who knows if that was true or not? Everything I’ve ever seen on it seems to indicate the lack of verifiable rumor so there’s no way to know. I guess keeping him out because of suspicion would be just like how silly it is to keep out Roger Clemens over suspicion.

          • Honestly, I’d have Bags, Thomas and McCovey pretty neck and neck. Thomas and McCovey tied up in homers, Bags has McCovey pretty solidly in average, slugging and obp. Thomas a little over bags in those and homers, Bags was the better defender I think and also played the position pretty much always. If Thomas hadn’t spent so much time at DH I would lean toward him over both. With the choice of these three being my third 1B, I’d really hate to live in the difference. But, yes, if I was listing 5 they would finish the list.

          • Yes, Pujols was great. He was only difficult because he played all over the place in his first few seasons and didn’t really settle in at first until ’04. He had about 10 full seasons worth of first base and then did an awful lot of DH work outside of that so I was honestly just going off the top of my head for my top three guys that played primarily first base for a good solid full career. It’s to be expected that these things will always take on a life of their own and we could go on all day adding guys at every position but I was really just trying to answer the question quickly off the top of my head so I only gave three guys. In spite of his split amount of games at the different positions, he would definitely still be on the list if I went to 10 at every position so by no means was he an afterthought, just a guy with only about half a career of first base so he’s kind of difficult to put in a top three on either side since he amassed so many statistics from the different positions. He definitely still put up plenty of great numbers as a first baseman though. I imagine I could certainly try to find the time to lay out a list of a top 10 at every position but, no matter how that goes you’re always going to have people with one more guy that they like better than one of the 10 I would name. That’s our nature.

        • Hey not a problem. Pretty much agree on the traditional benchmarks. I also think there’s great value in base running so a guy without a ton of power or rbis but hits well, gets on base and steals everything that isn’t nailed down is pretty high on my list. Raines, Brock, Henderson come to mind and Henderson was a great all around package. I know it’s no longer popular but I value wins for a pitcher. If he’s getting the wins, he’s pitching deep enough into games to get it and also pitching well enough to hold the other team down. Pretty simple really.
          Far as the list man, I don’t know that I would change much there. I do like Henderson in left but hard to argue with those guys. Nap Lajoie always sticks out at second in my mind. Add Mantle to the centerfield mix. Frank Thomas as a fourth at 1st though I do like Palmeiro for overall production too. Campy was great behind the dish. Starters look pretty scary but I also like Randy Johnson and Carlton. No really big problems with the closers either. Couple of guys have looked dominant for shorter periods like Nen, Myers, Papelbon, Rocker, Kimbrel but either not for long enough or just too many implosions.

      • If Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be a hall of famer. Mauer’s numbers compared to Posey show that he was better than Posey. Hits and lifetime batting average. Again if Mauer is not a hall of famer, then Posey shouldn’t be a hall of famer.

    • I agree with almost everything you said except the part about Wagner. He gets in this year and deservedly so. The guy was lights-out. Take this stat…. Wagner’s 11.9 K/9 and 33.2% strikeout rate total batters faced are both the highest in major league history. Opposing batters hit for only a .187 average against him, lowest in MLB history with 800+ innings pitched. 6th All-time in saves. Three ahead of him are in the hall, the fourth is currently on the ballot, and the fifth (John Franco) probably deserved more respect than he got. Wagner is in.

      • Wagner is pretty hard to argue with logic but unfortunately not everyone sees it. I’ve thought those numbers made him pretty obvious all along but instead you keep hearing about postseason failures and other strange reaches to tear the guy down.

  7. Utley better than Mauer? Lol! A lot of people out there are saying oh Buster Posey is a first ballot hall of famer, but Joe Mauer is not. Wrong! Joe Mauer had over 2,100 career hits, three batting champs, an MVP, three gold gloves and has a .306 lifetime average. Buster Posey had only 1,500 career hits and yes he won three World Series with the Giants, but it was not only him there. There were several great players with the Giants back then, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Posey, Mad Bum, Matt Cain and so on. They didn’t win those championships because of Buster Posey only, they won because they played great as a team, but people seem to not understand that fact. So again, who was better Posey or Mauer? Mauer was better by the classic mile. The Twins didn’t have a great team back then, while the Giants had a heck of a team, plus great pitching. Another thing Utley only had about five great seasons, that’s not even close to a decade. Also if Jeff Kent couldn’t make the hall while should Utley make it? It doesn’t make sense…at all.

    • Mauer is better, by a bit, but not by a huge amount, than Posey. Posey burned out too early to be a legit HOF, IMO, and I do lean towards peak over prime, but it’s tough to look at all of the modern catchers (post 1950) with over 8,000 PA’s and see Posey with 5,607 and think he has sufficient career. But on peak Posey looks pretty similar to Mauer. Best 5 year peak OPS+ for Mauer is 143, for Posey it’s 144, but that includes his injury shortened 2011, so if you include another season for him it becomes 141 in comparable PA’s, that’s darn close! By WAR peak 5 for Mauer is 30.6, for Posey it’s 28.8. A very slight edge for Mauer, and maybe no edge at all as WAR may not be precise enough to differentiate less than a 2 WAR difference over a 5 season span.

    • Belt and Crawford we’re not on the team yet when Posey won his first in 2010. Aubrey Huff had a really good year for the Giants in 2010 and Posey was obviously Posey. In 2012, Belt and Crawford almost combined to achieve Posey’s run production and Power without the batting average. In 2014, Posey again was the man with the help of Hunter Pence having a nice season. Sandoval was a piece of those teams but hardly the performer he was in the World Series, which has served to somewhat falsify his status as a player. That was cemented when Boston was stupid enough to hand him a huge contract when everyone else in baseball knew what somehow, the Red Sox did not

      At any rate, you really can’t take those accomplishments away from Posey and he was pretty awesome for the stretch he had. Accordingly though, these five or six year peaks have become ridiculously weighted in the Hall of Fame discussion. Maybe if baseball careers were expected to average 7 years, these peaks would make sense but when we are talking about guys that play 10 to 15 seasons, five or six year peaks like Posey or Mauer had seem to pale in the overall scheme of things. In the Hall of Fame catcher discussion, neither matches up to the long productive careers of Bench, Piazza, Fisk, Berra, etc.

      • Pablo Sandoval or Panda was a huge reason of why the Giants won those championships. I remember him hitting two home runs against Justin Verlander in one of those games. Posey was great, but he was not the only great hitter there, besides you cant win games without great pitching.

        • You’re right, I believe I said Sandoval was huge in the postseasons for them. But the postseasons wouldn’t matter if they didn’t get to it in the first place and Posey was a huge reason for that. Of course they had great pitching but even 162 shutouts would require at least some offense to win the game.

          • Posey was great in the post seasons, but no, I can’t agree. All those players I mentioned, plus the pitchers were also a big reason why the went to the playtoffs.

          • 2012- Belt and Crawford combined to hit about .260 with 11 home runs and 100 rbis. That would be helpful if it was one guy but that was two of them. Pandaval was probably about .280 (batting average and weight) with maybe 15 or 16 homers. 2010 Belt and Crawford weren’t even there yet. 2014 Belt and Crawford we’re a little bit better than 2012 but not anything amazing. Pandaval was slightly better than 2012 and Milky Cabrera brought the .300 average. Hunter Pence do some welcome help as well. So all those guys were part of the team but those three championships were most clearly driven by awesome pitching and Posey. They probably would have still won those three World Series without any one of those other guys but highly unlikely without Posey bringing the consistency at a high level.

    • Guess it depends what you value. Seems pretty straightforward to me but I’ll take the guy that gives me a solid average, dependable power and RBIs and please solid defense behind the plate for a dozen years or so over the guy that wins three batting titles and fades into the fabric after 6 years.

  8. The voters need to recognize what kind of a closer was Billy Wagner. The guy was better than some of the closers already enshrined. I mean, come on, voters look at his numbers, his lifetime ERA will tell you that. Yes, I know he didn’t perform well in the post season, but those were not a lot of innings. If you guys take that into account as well, then Clayton Kershaw could be in trouble as well when his time comes, cause he haven’t perform so good in the post season either, and don’t get me wrong I’m a big Clayton Kershaw fan.

    • Agreed. Kershaw just blew up badly this past postseason so I guess he’d have to be out.

      Wagner is a hall of famer no doubt. Only 5 guys ever saved more games and that’s pretty unbelievable all by itself.

      • “Wagner is a hall of famer no doubt. Only 5 guys ever saved more games and that’s pretty unbelievable all by itself.”

        What’s unbelievable to me is that so many people place so much credence in a garbage stat like Saves. The reason very few people have high career Saves totals is because bullpens didn’t become structured around a one inning closer until the 80’s. And doesn’t anyone who watches baseball recognize the majority of innings, far and away the majority, have zero runs scored? It’s simply not that demanding to come into a game with a lead, no one on base, and get three outs before giving up the lead. And one inning closers do that so few times in their careers that it’s comical to even consider voting for them to be in the HOF, and worse to actually induct them. The HOF would be fine with Hoyt Wilhelm as the Old Time Reliever, Goose Gossage representing the Fireman, and Rivera representing the one inning closer.

        On Wagner specifically, only 903 IP, no offensive contribution whatsoever, 504 Save Opportunities out of 853 games pitched, so a big chunk of those paltry 903 IP were not even in Save situations. Then look further at the Save itself and ask does it truly measure a level of performance that is HOF worthy. What about a Save with a 3 run lead? Sheesh, any bullpen arm ought to be able to get 3 outs without giving up 3 runs. Wagner had 131 three run Save Opportunities (that’s 26% of his total opportunities) and converted at 97.7%. From his own era Troy Percival had 81 and converted at 97.7%, Isringhausen had 106 and converted 98.1%, Gagne converted all 63 of his, Steady Eddie 51 at 98%, Benitez 90 at 98.9%, the great Joe Table 102 at 99%! Altogether there were 22 guys who had at least 50 chances at a 3 run Save during Wagner’s era, the average number of opportunities was 72, and the average conversion in those 1,593 chances was 96.9%. That means in 100 chances, or the entirety of most of these guys careers, Wagner might have saved one more than pretty much any other closer around.

        Don’t buy all the BS the writers peddle about the closer being some mythical being who has to have incredible resilience to come back after blowing a save, and how incredibly difficult it is to get those last 3 outs! Neither is true. Wagner’s career Save rate is 85.9%, 7 of those other 22 relievers have that good or better a Save rate. If they can’t deal with failing 5 or 6 times a season, they never would have made it into AA, let alone MLB. Remember the greatest hitters fail 7 out of 10 times every year! Each game they’re likely to fail to get a hit more often than they succeed. And clearly if Jose Mesa can convert 101 of 102 three run save opportunities, it’s not that hard!

        • Bullpen “structure” is also why starters are a microcosm of what they once were. No one completes games anymore, throws shutouts, strikes out 350 batters and the new generation of fan thinks wins don’t matter for pitchers. Really strange.

          If Wagner was the only guy closing games as long as he did, you might argue his stars weren’t a big deal but a pretty large quantity of closers have played this game in the 40 years you’re talking about and only 5 other guys saved more games than Wagner in all of history (and there were closers before the 80s by the way but whatever man) so it quite obviously isn’t that easy. Especially when you do it for big market teams with rabid fan bases hanging on every pitch. Saves are certainly not a garbage stat. Hell, it’s not even easy to save a big game in high school, how much easier can it get at the top level man?
          2.31 era, 422 saves, 1200 Ks and 12/9 against 3bb/9? Looks pretty damn good to me and, as you mentioned, it only took him 903 innings to put up a career like that.

          Baseball is not an easy game to be good at. The craziest part of all these modern numbers is people talking about them like they mean more than real stats and using them to detract from what’s actually happening on the field.
          I’d suggest you become a major league closer and rake in the millions since you think it’s so easy but by the look of this page, you have all the fun you can handle throwing batting practice lobs to everyone without your opinion brother.

          • “If Wagner was the only guy closing games as long as he did, you might argue his stars weren’t a big deal but a pretty large quantity of closers have played this game in the 40 years you’re talking about and only 5 other guys saved more games than Wagner in all of history (and there were closers before the 80s by the way but whatever man) so it quite obviously isn’t that easy.”

            Actually it has not even been 40 years. There were relievers around, there were guys who were used situationally in more crucial situations, high leverage situations, The Fireman type guys. But one inning closers did not exist until the late 80’s early 90’s. Look at Lee Smith. He first got double digit saves in 1982. He threw over 100 IP that year and in 1983, 1984, then over 90 the next two years and over 80 the two years after that. Wagner threw over 80 IP only once in his career, generally he was around the mid 60’s. Smith didn’t start being used like a one inning closer until 1991. You can see this in the IP compared to Games pitched, too. Smith pitched 830 innings from 1982 to 1990 in 592 games, Wagner from 1997 to 2008 threw 766 in 720 games. That’s only 46 more innings than games/appearances, he even had as season in there with MORE games than innings pitched. Smith had 45 more innings than games in 1982 alone!

            All of history, for baseball purposes, goes back over a century. One inning closers have been around not even1/3 of that time. That Wagner has a lot of saves does not impress me, and certainly doesn’t warrant HOF consideration.

            “Especially when you do it for big market teams with rabid fan bases hanging on every pitch. Saves are certainly not a garbage stat. Hell, it’s not even easy to save a big game in high school, how much easier can it get at the top level man?”

            It’s absolutely a garbage stat, especially when it comes to something as significant as the HOF. The fact that most guys convert a 3 run save 97% of the time show how worthless it is as a measurement of pitching quality. How can it be a worthwhile stat if it shows you that for over 100 Saves Jose Mesa was just as good, better actually, as Billy Wagner? And if it’s SO hard, why do they convert at an 85% rate when we know baseball is a game of failure? Heck the best WPct for a starter who you’ll recognize (IOW someone who didn’t play in the 19th C or the Negro Leagues) is Kershaw at 69.5%. The best Save % for anyone with at least 300 Saves is 89% by both Joe Nathan and Rivera. How do you explain this? Saves are SO hard to come by, yet they are converted far more often than Wins by even the best pitchers.

            “2.31 era, 422 saves, 1200 Ks and 12/9 against 3bb/9? Looks pretty damn good to me and, as you mentioned, it only took him 903 innings to put up a career like that.”

            It’s the “only 903” IP that’s the key. Compiling a 2.31 ERA in only 903 inning is FAR easier to do 1 inning at a time than when you have to pitch 6 or more innings per game and face a hitter 3 or more times in a game. We all know the adage, “Hitting is timing, pitching is disrupting timing.” Hitters may not be able to adjust and time a guy they face only once in a game, but they are much better at doing so against a guy who they face 3 or more times. Pedro has a 2.16 ERA in 905 IP from 1997-2000 and led the league 3 times, but he was throwing 7 1/3 innings per game, that’s HOF stuff. Randy Johnson has a 2.48 ERA in 1030 IP from 1999-2002 and led the league 3 times, that’s 7 1/3 per game. Maddux 1.98 in 946 2/3 from 1992-1995 led the league 3 times, 7 2/3 per game. Clemens 2.54 in 999 2/3 from 1989-1992 led the league 3 times, a bit less than 7 2/3 per game. And these are only 4 seasons out of their careers.

            Do you know how many times Wagner led the league in ERA? Never. Do you know why? Because he didn’t pitch enough innings to qualify. Same applies to his HOF qualifications!

          • I think it really doesn’t matter if it’s been 40 years or 10 years. Closer is a job in the game and has been for a long time. If it was so easy for any reliever to go in and get three outs then why don’t they all do it? Awful large percentage of guys don’t go in and just get three outs so that’s kind of a terrible argument. And also, if it was so easy then how come nobody else in history has 422 saves, 2.31 ERA and almost 1200 Ks in 900 innings? Doesn’t really sound that easy if he’s the only one ever to have done it.

  9. Here’s my problem with metrics and modern analytics. Like most things in this day and age, it’s unnecessary. It purports to fix a problem that never existed. For decades upon decades before anyone ever heard of this, winning teams were built and sustained by baseball minds who put together the right combinations of guys and coached, inspired and led them to prominence. The great Yankees teams who ran away with all of it for years did it all without war, whip, zone rating nonsense or any of this other silliness. How did they ever figure it out without taking a calculus class?

    Today, teams are built using different methods and combinations of methods and the end result always comes down to what happens on the field. Guys who don’t remotely meet the standard of the modern metric come through with the biggest hits at the most opportune times. Guys with high end metrics on paper, fail at the most inopportune times. It’s quite often a crap shoot and always has been. It always will be because the game is played by human beings who cannot be measured mathematically. There are way too many intangibles and, far too many of these metrics are based on ratings determined by some human being who does not possibly possess the omniscience to determine what that standard needs to be for everyone.

    I’m not going to convince an entire generation of people that what they are looking at is wrong because it seems to be the only thing that keeps them interested in the game to begin with. We also now exist in a time filled with things being fixed for no reason and things that should be fixed being left alone because to really fix something that is an actual problem takes much greater effort than just trying to change it for no reason. If a guy averages 30 home runs or 60 stolen bases or 250 strikeouts per season, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect he will continue to do that until he shows signs of decline. We have known that and how to look at that for over 100 years now. There was nothing to fix because that will never change.

    I understand the argument that there are people who just enjoy making up funny little ways to overanalyze the hell out of the game. I’ve heard it a million times and, though I find it useless, I get that it makes you happy to do this weird little thing. It’s an indictment on the human psyche that so many people have just willingly jumped on board and accepted that this has changed anything where it clearly hasn’t. But, my life doesn’t change because of any of this so I really don’t care how you look at it. What makes it annoying is that, the majority of people who have latched on to this nonsense, preach it as though it is some cult religion and they are banging on your door relentlessly to show you the light. As though the rest of us have been stumbling around in darkness for decades wondering why we don’t understand the most beautiful game in the world. I have spoken with people who spout off analytics as though it were the alphabet. But they don’t actually watch games. Maybe once in a while but generally they like to read statistics, follow standings and attempt to sound intellectual about something that doesn’t require it for enjoyment.

    Baseball has been here forever now, or so it feels, and somehow it has continued to function without having to break it down in ways that explain nothing and create complete boredom. To listen to a baseball debate and have nothing more than theoretical crap thrown at you is like buying an album just to stare at the cover. Or discussing the great classic muscle cars with someone who only wants to tell you about power windows and fuel economy. But it has become the way in the current climate to completely ignore people who are fine with their lives the way they are. They’re now existing overwhelming sense that, new ideas are the only ideas and if you don’t accept them, you are a bad person or you need to be canceled or your opinion doesn’t matter. Sorry dude, my life doesn’t exist on the internet and if you care to come and cancel me in person I’ll be waiting. Otherwise, let’s just accept the fact that baseball was not built for a mindless, attention span lacking crowd who need everything to be scientific or mathematical to make sense. It was built for pure enjoyment. For people to sit around and watch and lose themselves in. For people to follow without having to feel like they are at school or at work in order to do so.

    Such an approach only serves to amalgamate a series of tensions brought on by sheer disagreement. But it’s not a normal disagreement. A normal disagreement involves multiple flashing opinions and often can be amicably resolved by either explaining in depth one side to the other or agreeing to disagree. The first solution requires open-mindedness, a lost art in this day and age so the second solution should be good enough. It’s the constant in your face brashness and belittling of actual statistics that makes the metric argument unbearable. If for no other reason but because it is not the equivalent of replacing wooden beams with steel girders on a falling bridge. That actually fixes an existential problem.

    • Yeah I can’t get onto the fiction train man. If you look up supposed statistics and they explain themselves with “attempts to normalize” or “adjusts for external factors”, it’s crap. Adjust for ballpark and era? If the wind blows into Wrigley at 30 mph on Tuesday and blows out at 20 on Wednesday, good luck with that dude. You can’t know what Dan Brouthers would do at Yankee stadium in 1995 if he had access to a Soloflex that didn’t exist in his time and worked out everyday or what Jose Canseco would do in 1882 with no anabolic steroids and a guy throwing underhand. And if you say status quo then you’re just dealing in fairytales anyway.

      • “Yeah I can’t get onto the fiction train man. If you look up supposed statistics and they explain themselves with “attempts to normalize” or “adjusts for external factors”, it’s crap. Adjust for ballpark and era? If the wind blows into Wrigley at 30 mph on Tuesday and blows out at 20 on Wednesday, good luck with that dude. You can’t know what Dan Brouthers would do at Yankee stadium in 1995”

        Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not valid. But I love the Dan Brouthers reference!

  10. There it is, the typical answer from the sabermetric analytics witnesses religion. “If you don’t agree with us it’s because you’re stupid.” Very millennial of you dude.

    How do you get to decide who understands it? I just told you exactly what it says if you look up what does that means and those terms were taken right from the definition. I didn’t make them up. Because you don’t like that I am right you resort to insults. What’s next, I will be lambasted all over the internet and told that I don’t matter anymore? That should get you pretty far.

    I also understand herpes and train wrecks, should I want those to happen too? You’re just another example of people who don’t really love baseball but they love being able to talk nonsensically about something and pretend it makes them intellectual.

    If the modern generation actually loved baseball, there would be no reason for change. Up until the digital age wiped out everyone’s brains and attention spans, baseball was fine for well over a century. Now it needs to be sped up all of a sudden? For what reason? The game was the game and that’s how it was played forever. But if it’s too relaxing and too slow for people who don’t enjoy such things, they’ll just complain until it’s changed. That means you really don’t like the game because what’s happening now is not the game. Now it needs to be explained by ridiculous equations? To who? Only people who don’t already know the game.

    There is no analytic that tells you something a real baseball mind doesn’t already know man. I’m trying to sound smarter than people who don’t agree with you by insulting them should win you a lot of friends in life. But at least you’ll be buried with your analytics I guess.

  11. My 10 votes are:
    Alex Rodriguez
    Andy Pettitte
    Gary Sheffield
    Billy Wagner
    Todd Helton
    Adrian Beltre
    Jose Bautista
    Bobby Abreu
    Carlos Beltran
    Joe Mauer
    And I hope the Veterans Committee puts Lou Pinella in too.

    • Looks good Victor. I would definitely go Manny Ramirez wait before Jose Bautista and then Abreu, Pettitte and Mauer could go or not, either way wouldn’t really change my life. But I think Piniella, Johnson and Leyland all deserve heavy consideration. They each won one World Series, got to the playoffs at least six times a piece and all have winning records. Piniella and Leyland were just barely over .500 with Johnson being closer to .600 in less games than either of the other two but it would be pretty cool to see the three of them go in together.

        • Jim Leyland got 15 of 16 votes and will go to Cooperstown.
          Lou Pinella: 11 votes.
          Bill White: 10 votes.
          The others: each less than 5 votes.

          • Good for Leyland. Thought Johnson and Piniella should go too but I guess they don’t agree. Very similar records between Piniella and Leyland overall but I guess Leyland’s two more pennants must make the difference for the committee.

          • Lou Piniella should be in the Hall. He managed the 1990 Reds and led the Mariners late 90s teams as well as the 116 win 2001 team. Honestly, though, Jim Leyland did manage some pretty good teams.

          • Agreed. Sweet Lou knocked off Leyland’s Pirates on the way to winning the ’90 World Series with cincinnati, took the Mariners to 3 ALCSs including the ridiculous 116 win season and even took the Cubs to the playoffs twice. Aside from a couple of extra pennants (and World Series losses) for Leyland, they have extremely similar records and overall accomplishments. I think Johnson deserves a better look as well though. 100 games twice with the Mets and the ’86 World Series, took Cincy to the’95 NLCS, jumped to Baltimore and immediately took them to a pair of ALCSs. 5 LCSs and a World Series win with three teams. Also had a. 562 winning percentage which all classes Piniella and Leyland. I’m glad Leyland is in but would have liked to see all three go together.

          • AND Johnson took Washington to the playoffs for the first time ever since they went to the NLCS as the 1981 Expos.

    • My 10 votes would be:
      Beltre
      Helton
      A-Rod
      Beltran
      Sheffield
      Mauer
      Wagner
      Manny
      Pettitte
      Utley
      And Piniella does belong.

  12. I know a lot of you here will disagree with me here, but Victor Martinez (V Mart) was not good a hitter, but a great one! Nobody talks about V Mart, I don’t get it. The guy was a great hitter, look up his numbers. The guy could hit for average and power as well. V Mart deserves strong consideration, yeah and I know, you are going to tell me that his problem is WAR. Yeah and I know WAR matters, but come on take a close look at his numbers and tell he was not great, because he was. He was a great hitting catcher and/or DH. There were not too many players that could hit like him in both leagues (AL/NL).

    • I don’t disagree with you. Victor Martinez is just as solid a candidate as Mauer. They’ll say he caught less games (only about 100 apart), he played less games than Mauer at 1st as well and he played almost 900 games as a DH. Personally I’m of the thought train that a guy who can play multiple positions well at the top level of the game is of great value but they’ll tell you he did win gold gloves (though he fielded both positions at a .993 clip). Somehow, his 100 more homers and 250 more RBIs than Mauer, in 300 less at bats will be ignored and the response of ignorance will be his war is too low. But you can bang your head off the wall forever, talking sense to the war crowd is useless.

  13. Bartolo Colon was a fun player to watch back in the day. I get that he won 247, which is not an easy task at all and he also won a cy young award as well, which is kind of a little questionable for me, cause I feel that Johan Santana should’ve won that Cy Young instead, not to take anything away from Bartolo, but I think Johan Santana’s season was a bigger one (16 wins, 2.87 ERA, 238 ks). Also Bartolo Colon 4.12 ERA is a little high as well. I don’t think there is a pitcher in Cooperstown that an ERA that high. Again, he was a great guy with a great personality. I just don’t think he was a great pitcher. He played a long time and won 247 games, and struck out over 2,500 batters, but I’m not sure he belongs.

    • Yes Colon put up some numbers but, I agree. I don’t know if he’s there. He’s always reminded me of Julio Franco but a pitcher obviously. A guy who stuck around long enough to pile up the borderline numbers but doesn’t feel like a guy who had a long duration of greatness. Sure he won a Cy Young just like Franco won a batting title. But while they each had some really good seasons, they were mixed in with so many mediocre seasons they kind of get lost. In the flip side, I think maybe we don’t often give enough consideration to guys like that who, maybe didn’t stay at the top of the game all the time but certainly put a lot of work in and performed more than well enough for a long time to play that long. That’s quite a feat that not many people reach. And I agree, Santana should have won the Cy Young that year but the Twins finished third and kind of out of everyone’s minds while the Angels won the division and went to the ALCS with Colon winning 21 games being at the forefront.

  14. If I had a vote:

    Abreu
    Beltran
    Beltre
    Buehrle
    Helton
    Jones
    Mauer
    Sheffield
    Vizquel
    Wagner

    • Everyone has the right to their opinion but just curious, why not Ramirez or Rodriguez?

        • Then Sheffield wouldn’t be on his list. He was not only in the Balco report but he told Sports Illustrated himself that he “unknowingly” used them before the 2002 season while he was living with Bonds. Honestly I’m of the mindset that the peds were just another part of the history. Then again I was also a fan when we all knew it was going on and people were razzing the muscle guys at every park. I don’t ever believe in pretending we didn’t know and joining the bandwagon to act shocked like MLB and all the fairweather fans did. There were a huge number of guys doing it in both sides of the ball so there’s no way I can hold it against the few guys who put up historic numbers when all those other guys using still didn’t get close.

        • The PED thing is a joke already. To this day, there is no irrefutable proof that Roger Clemens used them. Needles with DNA and steroids on them? What is this, a keystone cops episode? I’m sure that would be incredibly difficult for his trainer to concoct given the access he had by working with the guy’s body for years. A handful of guys cooperating with the feds telling stories about Clemens telling them he used them? . That’s pretty reliable. Person says I didn’t do this, person is charged with lying, person is acquitted. What’s the point of the justice system if the writers then decide to completely ignore the outcome? But then even guys like Rodriguez and Ramirez who tested positive, they were already punished. 50 game, hundred game, and tire season suspension, whatever. Isn’t the point of the punishment to punish someone? That’s the penalty and they faced it. Now the writers have decided they are judge and jury beyond judge and jury? Even if the Mitchell report and all the other proceedings are to be completely believed, that means you had a bunch of guys all doing the same thing against each other which evens out the field and at that point, they were still the best of the best. It’s like this ridiculous Pete Rose thing. Over three decades of apologizing and being kept down. These aren’t serial killers so at some point this would seem like cruel and unusual punishment and completely unnecessary. It just makes the writers, Rob Manfred and an entire generation of people who only think they have the credentials to pass moral judgment on others look like complete fools.

  15. I feel that Matt Holiday, David Wright and Victor Martinez should stay in the ballot to examine their cases more carefully for further consideration. I think that those players had respectable careers. I hope they could get at least 5 % of the vote. I’m not saying they are hall of famers, but they were pretty good and I feel that their careers deserve a second hard look.

    • I can see that. I agree with Jackie above on Martinez. I think Martinez was just as valuable and productive if not more than Mauer. Yeah give it from our always comes down to three batting titles and a few gold gloves. In reality, the guy batted .300 for only six seasons of his career, played a large amount of his career at first base and was not much of a run producer. Martinez was really consistent, played multiple positions well and really outclassed mower in the run production department without giving up much in batting average. Holiday was definitely an above average player. I think his problem is going to be that he doesn’t really hit any of the major milestones of real statistics and the analytics people will hold him down for his low fictional war. I loved David Wright as a player and I think it’s a two-sided coin. I’m not big on what they call statistics today since they are far too wishy washy and he was definitely on the right path as far as actual statistics go. He doesn’t hit the milestone benchmarks but he clearly would have if not for the unfortunate injuries. I think that’s a whole segment that has gotten badly overlooked throughout the years at ballot time. Guys like Conigliaro, Garciaparra, Stieb, Mattingly and Wright work out short by injuries through no fault of their own. If the Hall of Fame is really about Fame and not the big round numbers a few people here have complained about, then those guys obviously deserve far more consideration because they definitely were all worthy of Fame for what they were able to produce in spite of injuries ruining their careers. I have no problem with any of those guys going in.

    • Just take a hard look now. Their careers are over and aren’t going to change. Not enough peak, not enough career. None of them are particularly close to being qualified, they’re not even borderline cases.

      • The trio I mentioned above are all more than borderline cases. The problem with a player like V Mart is that, first of all , he was never a Yankee player, Dodger player or any of those big names clubs out there. V Mart career and case is much better than some people might think out there. He was a heck of a hitter, actually a great hitter., one of the best in the game. Go ahead, check his career, check his numbers, you’ll be surprised. I did my homework and the guy was just great, but WAR is the only thing against him. David Wright was a heck of a player as well. In fact, to be honest, he had a better career than Chase Utley, which voters are considering to be a hall of fame player. David Wright’s career was not good, but great. The guy could hit for average and for power as well. He could also run pretty well too. If he could’ve reached at least 2,200 career hits we wouldn’t been having this conversation. He only hit a few hits less than Chase Utley, and he had about 7 to 8 great years, while Utley had only four great years. Matt Holliday was also a great player, but didn’t hit a lot of home runs, if he would’ve reached about 400 home runs it would’ve be a different story.

        • “The trio I mentioned above are all more than borderline cases. The problem with a player like V Mart is that, first of all , he was never a Yankee player, Dodger player or any of those big names clubs out there. V Mart career and case is much better than some people might think out there. He was a heck of a hitter, actually a great hitter., one of the best in the game. Go ahead, check his career, check his numbers, you’ll be surprised.”

          Ok, sure. Let’s start with only 8166 PA’s, that’s a very short career for a HOF candidate, so he’s already borderline right there. Only led the league in OBP and OPS once each, very low or a HOF. In terms of being a top 10 hitter his Gray Ink is only 54 with 144 being average for a HOF, this is not only well below the borderline but unthinkable for a guy who’s case is as a DH with only 5 of his 16 seasons as primarily a catcher. He’s nowhere near the top of any offensive career numbers in any major categories, and with only 246 HR for a guy who is a DH candidate he’s simply nowhere near a viable candidate. There, simple.

          Wright was absolutely a HOF caliber talent, so were Jacoby Ellsbury and Pete Reiser, but injuries kill HOF careers, and Wright never made it to even 7000 PA’s. He simply doesn’t have the career length players need to be viable candidates. Sure Holliday was a great player, for a few seasons, but he didn’t make it up until he was already 24, and he was toast at 35, leaving him with fewer than 8000 PA’s. He was not nearly great enough in the short time he played to overcome that. Again, simple.

          • Jacoby Ellsbury? For what? About 10 minutes? That guy couldn’t clean David Wright’s jockstrap

          • Pete Reiser was not even close. You should go with Paul Reiser instead. At least he had a big hit back in the 90s.

    • Yeah it’s unfortunate. Peak seems to be a popular term now but I’m really not sure how they define it. Some people think it’s four or five years some people think it’s six or seven. I’ll say Martinez wasn’t quite the run producer you don’t want to see for a six or seven year period consecutively but Wright was essentially finished by the time he was 30 years old and for 9 years up through that time he averaged.300, 25 HR and 97 RBIs. Holiday played longer amount of time but he also had a good 9-year stretch where he averaged around .300 with 26 homers and 100 plus RBIs. I guess holiday didn’t quite pile up enough numbers around those years to make it a real strong case but Wright was just hitting his prime when his body crapped out on him so he’s definitely a better than borderline case for me. There was a time when I would have not have even thought about a guy like Holiday or Martinez or several other guys that now merit some discussion and some circles. But then they put Scott Rolen in there and Harold Baines and I have to see it a little differently. If the bar is now lowered then all these other guys are suddenly in the conversation. I never really thought there was much need for conversation, you were either a sure thing or you just weren’t quite there but if we’re going to keep the guys out who really where obvious for whatever various reasons people are throwing around now and look for guys who almost measure up then I guess it’s open season for a lot more people.

      • “But then they put Scott Rolen in there and Harold Baines and I have to see it a little differently. If the bar is now lowered then all these other guys are suddenly in the conversation.”

        Ah, the infamous “they.” No reason to assume the bar has been lowered by either of those guys. Rolen is a very reasonable pick at 3B, and Baines is simply a back room deal done by LaRuassa and Reinsdorf via a corrupt VC process. Baines doesn’t have any more impact on the level of the bar than High Pockets Kelly, Chick Hafey, or Jim Bottomley. Anyone with a lick of common sense can ignore Baines in ANY discussion about the HOF.

        • Wouldn’t be much of a discussion if one side dictated both sides. You know what “they” say about opinions. And “they”, unlike the stats used to justify Scott Rolen, it’s not hypothetical. It literally refers to the raiders who voted him in. If you believe in justifying his inclusion, that’s your right but it doesn’t mean it is right by everyone’s standards. Rolen and many to come I’m sure, are simply the new breed of magic numbers in order to ignore the PED guys and anyone who was near a banging trashcan.

        • Anyone with a lick of common sense could also see Rolen wouldn’t be there without the insane undue manufactured value placed on his made estimated defense ratings

          • And they appear to be building Utley’s case that way too. Nice player but not that nice.

          • Let’s start with a little history. The writers elected their first 3B to the HOF in 1948, Pie Trayor. It was 30 years before they elected the second, Eddie Mathews. Now that may be fine, looking back there really weren’t a lot of standout guys at the hot corner, but in 1984 the writers themselves actually petitioned the HOF to add Ron Santo and Ken Boyer back to the ballot, the HOF also added a number of other players, including Dick Allen, another guy with significant achievements at 3B amongst other positions. The writers then proceeded to ignore both Boyer and Santo for another decade plus and never elected either of them. Brooks was elected in 1983, another 12 years passed before Schmidt, then Brett in 1999, Boggs in 2005, and another 13 years before Chipper.This ought to show anyone paying attention that the writers struggle with 3B. They want someone they don’t have to think about: 500 HR, or 3000 hits. IOW, unmistakable offensive talents who hit more like 1B or corner OF while playing 3B. They don’t know how to assess a guy who has well above average offense, but not as high as a 1B, while also playing the much more demanding defensive position that 3B is relative to the other corners. Given they elected as many relief pitchers from 1985 to 2018, when Chipper became the seventh 3B selected from 1948 to 2018, I think it’s safe to say they missed the boat more than once.

            So to Rolen versus HOF 3B standards, he’s going to look a bit off in some areas, but I think many people have far overblown his supposed lack of credentials. Take a look at games played to get a feel for who out there had the sort of career length at 3B to be considered for the HOF. Rolen is 12th in games played at 3B, 5 of the 11 guys in front of him were already in the HOF when he came on the ballot, and Beltre will make it 6 this year. Clearly guys with that many games played at the position are well worth considering. Brett is well down the list, btw, given he moved to 1B/DH in his mid 30’s. Despite Rolen’s high ranking in games at 3B, he does have relatively low counting stats in some areas (don’t freak out, Old Timers, counting stats is simply a term to differentiate between stats that result in whole numbers like hits and runs versus those that are ratios, or percentages like BA). However, despite having only 8518 PA’s versus the average HOF 3B who played after integration with 9397, he has about the same number of runs as Brooks, who had over 3200 more PA’s, and he has a few more than Santo. Despite being very low on hits, he has more 2B than Schmidt, Mathews, Brooks and Santo, and about the same as Chipper. He has more HR than Boggs and Brooks, and roughly the same as Brett and Santo. He has more RBI than Boggs, and only a few less than Brooks and Santo. In fact, on a per PA basis his RBI rate is higher than Mathews, Brett and the same as Chipper’s (still I understand those against his election will not acknowledge this and will simply point to his lower total, and that’s fine). His OPS is .855, the average is .852. Now you clearly have a 3B who stacks up to the HOF standard (for me this is the average of the HOF players at a position who began their careers after integration, I actually use 1950 as a cutoff; it doesn’t make sense to me to compare someone like Rolen to a 19th C. player, or someone who played Deadball or pre-integration and pre-expansion baseball, but YMMV) in many areas offensively, so why wouldn’t you consider his defense? The guy won 8 GG in his career, clearly the voters for that award thought he was well above average. Look at contemporary articles written about him and see how writers, players and managers/coaches interviewed evaluated his defense. The HOF is based on the players contributions to his team, not just his offensive contributions, his TOTAL contributions, and that includes defense and baserunning, too.

            Take a look at his career rankings against all players if you like. His career runs ranking is “just” 180th, but that’s in front of Stargell, the aforementioned Pie Traynor, and Yogi Berra, it’s just behind Edgar Martinez, McCovey, and the aforementioned Brooks Robinson. Career 2B he’s 52nd surrounded by plenty of HOF players. Career RBI and HR look a lot like his career runs ranking, low but still close to several HOF both above and behind. Clearly a well above average offensive player, clearly a stellar defensive player. What is so horrendous about his HOF election?

          • Really don’t care if he’s in the hall. But like LDD said he really doesn’t compare to those other guys. You’re making a very big argument for it but it shouldn’t be that hard if he really measures up to those other guys. Good for him, glad he made it and I’m sure his family is very proud of him but he was just not in my top 10 votes from the ballots he was on so he really does feel like a consolation.

        • Just being in the hall obviously affects the bar. How can it not? They’re in there. Bottomley by the way batted .310 with 2400 hits and close to 500 doubles and 1500 rbis. Not only in the 20-30s but in nowhere near the 75 years Baines played and well above the output of Rolen. There are quite a few guys in there who don’t really cut the mustard as an overall great but that’s the point. Phil Rizzuto? Defensive stalwart and not much else.

          You like Rolen? Fine. Who cares? Obviously they already put him in but let’s not pretend he’s an all-time elite talent and that his inclusion
          had more to do with greatness than an excuse to put someone in who wasn’t a supposed moral conundrum for the clowns who think they’re fit to judge these things. Clearly there were far greater players on the ballot whose associations to whatever “detrimental” nonsense, proven or not, kept them out and many of those voters turned to Rolen as the unwitting idol of cleanliness.

          • Easily, by simply being knowledgeable about baseball and the HOF with its various routes of entry one can understand that Baines has NO impact whatsoever on where the bar is set for election. I’ve never said Rolen is an all time elite talent, I’ve simply pointed out how I see him as qualified. Absolutely fine if you don’t think so, just sharing my perspective.

            If it makes you feel any better, I completely agree with you that the writers were in the wrong for blackballing players they felt “cheated,” but it’s not as if they elected a bunch of unworthy candidates in their stead. Once again that would be the Veteran’s Committee’s who did that.

          • But you’re attributing qualities that, quite often, don’t exist among any voting body. I don’t really differentiate between the writers and the committees because they both make shoddy calls. If knowing baseball was all that mattered as far as setting the bar, then where would all the conversations on sites like this come from? So, again, the fact that they have put these people in there over the years is exactly why the bar is there. I’m not imagining the bar, it’s literally (figuratively) an average performance level dictated by the inhabitants of the actual hall. Guys who hit .254 or 75 home runs, steal 20 bases, strike out 1400 batters win 100 games or put up a 4.50 ERA obviously bring down the bar for batting average, strikeouts and so on. Wheather you and I know the difference between who should be a hall of famer and who shouldn’t is irrelevant. Reality is based on the people that are there. And obviously there are many different schools of thought as to what constitutes a hall of famer and how to judge history.

            For instance, I can’t ignore half of history based on wide brush labeling like dead ball, pre-integration etc. The ball has changed so many countless times throughout history and far more times than we even know. There have been heavier balls, lighter balls, wet balls, dried out balls, spitballs, doctored balls, rubber, cork, corked bats, pine tar, speed, peds, horse testosterone and any number of other variables, and again, we only know the ones we know. There’s no way that’s how many variables there have been.

            Also, no matter what era we are talking about, we are still generally talking about the best players available in any given time frame, playing against each other. The NNL, NAL, ECL etc periods, by moral standards, are an unfortunate part of history and extremely heartbreaking, but they are history just the same. And when they are enshrining all of the guys from those leagues, they are not saying, “hey maybe we should think twice here because these guys didn’t play against white guys”. Nor are they giving a damn that they didn’t play nearly as many games in a season or a career as major leaders did. Post integration, for every Willie Mays and Bob Gibson there has been a Mickey Mantle and Roger Clemens so I really don’t see where this monstrous gap exists in the imaginary crossover between pre and post integration. So often, there seems to be this idea that, the black leagues joined the white league and suddenly all the white players fell apart and didn’t know what they were doing. I don’t see that played out that way in the annals of baseball history, so therefore, it is just another thing I ignore. Dead balls, huge parks, white guys, black guys, wars, peds, gambling, drugs and on and on, there has always been something you could use to separate baseball into sections neatly if you want to. I don’t see the need because it’s all still just guys playing a game in the face of adversity in one form or another.

            Now I’ve said numerous times, Rolen was a good player. I just don’t see him as a great player. I don’t think his offensive acumen was far above average. While it may not have been average, it was only so far above. I won’t put Boggs or Brett or Schmidt in the same conversation for, what to me, are very obvious reasons. While these are not words or arguments I ever use, they do come from your own previous arguments. Black ink. 20-30 appearances each for Brett and Boggs. Zero for Rolen. Boggs won five out of six batting titles and four straight, over 3000 hits and a lifetime OBP of .415. Brett obviously also had over 3,000 hits and won batting titles in three different decades and at the ages of 23, 27 and 37 years old. Also roughly 1600 RBIs and almost 700 doubles. Schmidt and Matthews blow the guy away simply with run production which, by now you know, I value quite highly. I’m not sure why so many people don’t seem to get that but it is highly important in the game. You know, since the whole point is to win after all. Runs are wonderful and also important but, if they don’t coincide with a high quantitty of instances where you have driven yourself in, then that means those other guys needed to do it for you. And they not only did it but they also drove themselves in as well, as evidenced by their higher home run quantities and RBI totals. Nothing wrong with good table setters but in that case, Rolen is nowhere near one of the greatest ever. He had an all around good game but if Boyer is still not in and it took forever to put Santo in, how is Rolen so obvious?

            I think several of us judge the game differently. Winning it all is the ultimate goal no matter how you see the game and therefore, I value guys who show the capabilities to make that happen the most consistently. Sure, Rolen hit a bunch of doubles and scored runs on teams where there were clearly solid run producers behind him that drove him home. You could say he had more home runs then Boggs and dead even with Brett but it really didn’t equal everything else those guys did to help a team win. And it’s no secret you place great value on his gold gloves. Once again, those are voted on by people. People are swayed by a lot of things including what’s most popular among your peers and therefore, like the Hall of Fame vote, their opinions, like highly questionable metric defensive numbers, only mean so much versus reality.

            Most often, in every aspect of life, I tend to view exactly what is happening as opposed to what other people tell me is happening. As we’ve discussed actually playing the game in the past, however briefly, there is this idea that certain guys at certain positions are better than other guys at other positions based on the position. Go to centerfield, left field, right field and track a ball that leaves the bat at 100 mph. Now the sun is in your face or some blinding lights over the third base line etc, the grass is a little wet because dusk has settled in and the evening moisture is starting to settle on it and the wind shifts just right to move the ball 6 ft out of the area you originally thought it was going. This happens all the time and it’s the reality of playing the outfield. Second base is the same distance from the plate as shortstop and you have coverage responsibilities just like the shortstop in any given situation. Catcher is by far the most difficult position on the field aside from the pitcher. And third base obviously is a shorter run for hard hit balls to the corner.

            While they may not happen as often, those short hit balls go to the right side as well so this is only part of why first base gets a bum rap. There is no shortage of players who make bad throws in the heat of battle and so you need to be adept at jumping, scooping, stretching and total awareness of the on base situation all while trying to not get your Achilles ripped out every time someone is running through the bag. I have great respect for a guy who mans that spot because no one is coming down the line worried about not injuring you while you are trying to rein in someone else’s bad throw and pay attention to what’s going on while that’s happening.

            So, once again, I don’t buy into status quo things like, one position is so much more valuable than another that it puts a guy in the Hall of fame. As such, I also, instead of holding it against someone, place greater value on guys who can play multiple positions. Especially in Major League games. I certainly don’t see a guy going to first base as a place to hide him. Especially in light of everything you are responsible for. And DH might seem like an easy gig to some but, sitting on a bench the entire game and having to suddenly ramp it up when your number is called, you might as well be a situational pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth, four or five times a game.

            I’m not appalled that Rolen is in. He compares well enough with many of the lower-tier guys who are already in. That doesn’t mean I think they should be there either but if my sister gets four cookies, so should I. You’ve mentioned how limited the inclusion percentage is and, it is. But in spite of that, there are still large inequities in the overall product. Not voting guys in because of 6000 at bats as opposed to 8700 is one of them. 6000 at bats is hardly a small number. If you’re going to argue that it’s imprudent to look for 10,000 plate appearances, how do you dictate that 6000 isn’t enough? If a guy was a star for 8 or 9 years and screwed by unfortunate injuries, he was still a star for 8 or 9 years which is “FAME”. In many cases, those 8-9 years have been more impressive than the “peaks” of guys with longer yet , inconsistent careers. Wright, Pedroia and so on are all no less deserving of the recognition in light of what they did do. They may not have 15-20 seasons but it’s not like we’re talking about Josh Hamilton either. These guys were consistently well above average for pretty solid periods of time. To shrug them off with “not enough peak, not enough career” is pretty status quo/ conformity. But this is a big piece of the problem. People now want to say “big round numbers” are not the answer. Well big round numbers come from big round careers so if the guy was in line with the pace for the hall and for nearly a decade before injury took him out, why would he not be a hall of famer? And I don’t mean 3 years. But Wright and Pedroia hardly played miniscule careers.

            And, yes, the ridiculous idea that the panels have decided to hide behind the “character” clauses and dole out punishments to feed their hunger for self-importance is disgusting at this point. Fair or not, it attaches a stink to the guys they squeeze in there in place of the guys who should be. As far as “cheat the game pay the price” rhetoric, the price was suspension. Not, “ok you’ve payed the price, now finish your career so a bunch of hacked off little wankers can act like anyone thinks their important and hold you down some more”.

            If the announcement was ” okay we are going to have to watch little idiots, Ramirez and Rodriguez obviously did their time and it cost them statistically already etc. They obviously put up Hall of Fame careers so we are going to vote them in. And, since there is no actual proof against Clemens and Schilling, don’t we may not like him, he’s only exercising his first amendment rights, which have nothing to do with his career, they are going in as well. And we think Scott Rolen should go in with them.” I would probably have thought nothing of it. In a vacuum, I would still analyze Rolen’s career the same as I do but it would not feel like a consolation screw.

          • Few errors in there because I am speaking but I’m sure you get the point. I don’t have a problem with the way you look at the game and it is obvious that you somewhat enjoy the history of it as well, as do I. However, I only like my fiction in songs, books and movies so I will never relate to “stats” that are not infallible. Real stats tell real stories. They can’t be argued and they can’t be figured out differently by different companies. They don’t need to be “adjusted” to suit arguments or, theoretically, account for different settings. Especially when you can’t account for every possible difference on every possible field in every possible situation ever throughout history, including today. There is no possible ironclad adjustment for wet grass, loose dirt, a scuffed ball, the heavy uniforms and shoddy gloves worn years ago etc so I can’t look at things that only take some things into account and can’t account for others and pretend they tell a reliable truth. That’s just me but I think the fact that there are so many people being paid to analyze these numbers, only to see some unheralded character step in and win it all shows just how overblown these analytics have become. But obviously I’m not going to convince all the people who like them of that. And that’s not my goal. I could care less would anyone else wants to believe in. I just won’t let it ruin the game for me.

        • Rolen was better than average but was obviously away for these pigs to stick it to the PED guys and Carlos Beltran’s ska band.

    • 5% usually means that player needs 20 votes. As of December 16, only 16 total votes have been tallied.
      A lot of voters are wasting their time and our patience with the trickle of votes. And I also hate blank ballots.

      • They’re very busy with their group Bible study and smiting the nogoodniks who try to slip in

    • For a couple of years now I’ve seen comments about how it is the Hall of Fame and not only for the greatest of the great. Okay so it’s a museum to display the greats of every generation. Wright wasn’t some 3-year flash in the pan. The guy had about nine really good years and was one of the best in the game during that time. Sounds like he should be in this museum if that’s what it is.

  16. Why is it taking so long to get ballots in this year I believe we had almost 50 at this time last year

  17. This class and the 2025 class will be very interesting to follow, incluidng the holdovers as well. A lot of very good to great players are currently on the ballot and will be next year as well. Ichiro Suzuki will be a first ballot hall of famer, not so sure about Sabathia thou, I mean he’ll be there too, but not so sure he’ll be a first ballot. Also players like Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzky, Brian McCann, Ian Kinsler, Felix Hernandez and Rossell Martin among some of them.

    • Ichiro should definitely be in immediately. CC is a tough one. 3000 Ks is unarguable but they also didn’t put Schilling in so who knows where that will go. Hopefully for CC, he doesn’t voice any questionable opinions before then or he’ll be kept out too.

        • Not yet anyway but let’s wait and see when they don’t put him in on the first ballot. And Schilling didn’t come out of nowhere and say reporters should die. He was obviously tired of their crap and saw somebody wearing a t-shirt and thought it was hilarious. I think it’s hilarious too actually. Shooting people down for their personal beliefs is pretty stupid. I believe the Germans tried that once and it didn’t go over very well.

    • Really don’t see Martin or McCann making much noise. Kinsler either. I really liked him as a player but none of his offensive stats really stand out. One hit shy of 2000 and then a bunch of pretty good across the board. Laser Show and Tulo would be in the same boat as David Wright. They were on track but derailed by injuries. I agree with evaluating someone who lost years due to unfortunate circumstance but if you look at guys who lost years and compare them, Ted Williams 5-6 years fighting in two wars and a couple of bad injuries. Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Mize and so on but even missing a few years, those guys put up pretty awesome numbers in spite of it. Granted the era was different but missing 3-6 years of your prime and still blasting 350-521 homers is pretty undeniable. It took decades before the veterans put Mize in there and he had a lot better case than some of these guys. Too bad because Pedey and Tulo were really solid and top of the game guys when they weren’t physically falling apart.

      • Yeah, I agree with you. But still wondering if Chase Utley is receiving a lot of votes and Pedey was better for me. I think Dustin Pedroia will generate a lot of discussion as well.

        • They are actually very similar players. Laser Show had a little bit better eye at the plate and therefore batting average and only 80 less hits in a thousand plus less at bats. And a better OBP. Utley had somewhat more power and wins the home run/rbi race. Otherwise they are pretty even across the board including defensively.

          Utley was a hard-nosed likeable player so he’s getting votes because that’s how the writers are. Guys that pissed them off and didn’t cooperate with them, they look for reasons to not vote those guys in.

          A-rod was always unlikeable and, even now as a talking head on tv, tries to be likable but it comes across as contrived. Manny was always surly weirdo and didn’t especially like to talk to the media. Both of those guys screwed up and did their time but these clowns will continue to keep them out. Look at Clemens. Easily a top five pitcher all-time, can’t prove he did anything but he was an arrogant ass so they kept him out and hid behind the veil of “suspicion”. Suspicion surrounded Ortiz but he was the life of the party and happy as hell to talk to the writers. Larger than Life personality and extremely likable. Boom, suspicions forgotten and he’s in. Schilling voiced unpopular opinions, which is his right as a human being in this country. The cowards took votes away and he told them to basically go to hell. So they kept him out.

          Pedey and Utley both compare well to Hall of Fame second baseman like Lazzeri, Gordon, Herman, Mazeroski and even Bid McPhee, although McPhee robbed over 500 bags as well. But none of these guys are dwarfing their hit totals and some of them batted well below Pedroia. Some do have homer and RBI totals over him though. He did win rookie of the Year and an MVP, led the league a few times in some different stats and won three rings, although he didn’t play in that last World Series of ’18 due to injury. Pedey won some gold gloves as well so it’s not like he’s just a sentimental pick. I imagine he’ll get some votes and Utley will continue to get votes as well so I guess we’ll see.
          What’s unfortunate is that neither of them produced like Jeff Kent and he has been completely shut out. Again probably due to his shitbag personality which is very unfortunate. This is why the voting should not be done by frustrated, wanna be athletes. It gives them a realm to take out all their frustrations, jealousy and personal grudges on otherwise deserving guys.

  18. Just a question that popped into my mind:
    Who are 5 active players who are Hall of Famers?
    Mine would be Verlander, Trout, Kershaw, Scherzer, and Ohtani

    • I don’t know that Altuve is that guy yet. He is on track but I guess we’ll see if he finishes putting that case together. As far as him being a cheater, once again there is really no evidence of that. Even the investigation came back reporting that Altuve was one of the few guys in the clubhouse who was against the whole operation. True or not? Who knows. But just like guys like Roger Clemens, we will never know the actual truth when there is no ironclad proof. Unfortunately we now live in a society where proof doesn’t matter and people just decide they are perfect enough to judge other people on opinion so he’s always going to wear that scar.

      Honestly, signed stealing was always a part of the game and I’m sure many Hall of Famers have done it in their careers. The only difference here is, these guys applied the modern technology to it. Well what are all these writers doing when they make a case for somebody based on supposed statistics that are supposed to be so much more sophisticated with the “technology” we have today? Hypocrites. Electronic signals and banging on trash cans? That’s going to keep Carlos Beltran out of the Hall of Fame? Knowing what’s coming and being able to hit it or two different things. I’ll bet every writer on the panel could step up to the plate, and Verlander could tell them out loud what he’s going to throw and they still wouldn’t hit it.

    • If I had to pick the five closest guys I’d say Verlander, Scherzer and Kershaw would be locks at this point. Especially since the writers don’t care about wins anymore. Trout, if you never plays again, has already bettered a lot of guys and, in the same amount of time roughly, is closest to a guy like Ralph Kiner and still comes out on top. If we are saying through this past season, then Miguel Cabrera would be the last obvious guy. I know he’s retiring now so if we’re not counting him, maybe Zach Greinke has the next closest case.

      I definitely agree guys like Goldschmidt, Arenado and Freeman are on track I’m right behind them if they continue the way they are going, Betts, Ohtani and Acuna are certainly heading that way. Stanton may pass 500 homers but the rest of his numbers are relatively unimpressive so he would be an interesting case when his time comes.

      • Yeah…Stanton is the modern day Dave Kingman and Adam Dunn…the what ‘if’ he hits 500 home runs…what to do since that was seen as a magic number in past days.

        • It’s still a pretty awesome number but he doesn’t look like he’s going to support it with much else. So you’re right, Kingman and Dunn definitely come to mind there. But I guess if it’s a Hall of Fame, what is it really about? Only complete stat lines or a combination of those guys and the occasional guy who accomplishes some huge number? I don’t know, it would be a tough call.

    • I can never back the cheater known as Altuve. I felt he not only robbed Aaron Judge of entering the 2017 World Series, but also robbed Judge of being 2017 A.L. MVP as well.
      That being said, I say Verlander, Scherzer, Trout, Harper and Stanton.
      As a Yankees fan, I know Judge, Cole and our new player Soto will also go to the Hall.

    • Injuries do injure a player’s career and Hall of Fame chances. As do player strikes, lockouts, suspensions and covid.
      Ohtani might not get to even play in 2024. Kershaw and Scherzer will both miss the first half of the season. Crucial stats that can put each into the Hall are being denied due to this. Stanton should have 500 home runs by now if not for all of his injuries.
      If not for covid, I bet Pujols could’ve had enough chances to pass Ruth and Aaron in both Home Runs and RBIs before retirement.
      Alex Rodriguez would got there too if not for his two suspensions and forced retirement. MLB didn’t want to give him that 3rd Strike. He’s fortunate to even be on the ballot.

  19. If Chase Utley is a hall of famer, then Jeff Kent was one too and Kent was never close to induction. So how come Utley is so close to it and on year one? We’re talking about a guy who couldn’t even reach 2,000 career hits. Just because he had 5 great seasons? Is that it? The guy never won an MVP and wasm’t even close to it. We are talking about the guy who got Ruben Tejada out of baseball for life. There is seriously something wrong with the voting process here. Jeff Kent should’ve been in Cooperstown.

    • I’ve seen it a few other times on here and I agree with you about Kent. He was hands down a hall of famer. They’ve made the big argument his defense which is pretty silly. The guy had a great feeling percentage on top of all the other numbers he piled up so it really boils down to he’s just one of the unlucky dudes getting screwed by fictitious sabermetrics. And if the contest were between him and Utley, sure Utley somehow piled up a higher defensive war number for whatever that’s worth but Kent completely destroys him in every other category. It’s not even close.

    • Kent was an obnoxious weirdo who didn’t get along with anyone. The media hated his guts. The guy went in the trash to get the bag containing the dead bird Randy Johnson killed in the game. He fought with teammates and opponents, wouldn’t play “the game” with the writers and reportedly had a real pain in the ass disposition in general.

      He was also a more than solid if unspectacular second baseman, produced non-stop through a never-ending series of chronic injuries, hit more home runs than any second baseman ever including 37 in the season he played with a broken wrist and somehow managed to appear in 150 games. He was a warrior on the field and played the game the right way. And he played it very well. No doubt hall of fame credentials just being ignored over the writers’ perpetual pettiness.

    • Porn stache Evel Keneival should have been in long ago. He was an idiot but it’s obviously never been the hall of wonderful people

  20. So voters think that voting for PED users is wrong, but they gave David Ortiz a free pass. His name was also on the Mitchell Report as well.

    • Yeah I think the idea that there are suspicions and provens has been crossed up a little bit along the way. But they did say that many of the tests or reports from the Mitchell investigation we’re not reliable. That’s the only time Ortiz had any involvement and then he never failed a test if he ever really failed any to begin with. The problem with that is there are other guys mentioned in that report who never failed any other test that have still been left out. Obviously Clemens is a polarizing case because of the court proceedings surrounding it but he was after all acquitted in the end which means the writers eventually anointed themselves judge and jury at this point. And apparently so did some of the veterans committee members last year. He never failed a test and they could never prove he did anything other than become one of the top five pitchers of all time. The handful of guys who told stories about things he may have said to them were all cooperating with the feds and the lunatic running around with beer cans, cotton balls and needles was obviously unreliable as well and then he never had a failed test in his entire career. You have guys like Manny and Rodriguez who did their time and are still being punished. Sheffield shows up in the Balco investigation and then admits he used it to sports illustrated and now he’s climbing the charts? Then you have guys like McGwire,Sosa and Canseco who’s ped use predates all of the investigation hoopla. McGwire came forth and apologized only to be screwed again. And yes, he was screwed. You’re going to have panels of people judging someone’s moral compass and behaving like tyrannical dictators? Pot calling the kettle black I think. Why bother telling your story and apologizing just to be treated like garbage? Clemens and Schilling have the right idea. Anyone who knows baseball knows what I did, I really don’t need to be inducted into a museum by a bunch of people who don’t know the difference between innocent and guilty, morals, character and freedom of speech or couldn’t beat me in a game of hide and seek to prove I was great.

      • Kinda like what happened to Steve Garvey?!? Got screwed for who he screwed by the innocent lambs.

        • Exactly like that. So the guy was having sex, big deal. What do you care who it was with or how many people? Nothing to do with his batting average. This is why the media has become so despised in every faction. They can’t just report on what they are supposed to do, they have to try to dig up meaningless nonsensical crap about people and report it like they broke some big story. Guess what idiot? No one cares. They think it’s a badge of honor and don’t seem to understand what sniveling, rat-faced fools they look like.

          • And wouldn’t you think they’d be impressed that he hit a few extra home runs off the field that year?

        • I’m sure there were some moralizing writers who didn’t vote for Garvey because of his infidelities, but he honestly was not a great player by HOF standards anyway. A retrospective view taken of his career beginning five years after he retired, which is also several years after his issues became public, saw him get very good support initially: 41.6, 36.4, 42.6, 37.2, 34.3, 41.2. Those are all strong early results, but he wasn’t building momentum. Tony Perez and Orlnado Cepeda were out polling him, and Perez had only come onto the ballot one year before Garvey. Cepeda fell off, but it was Perez who began to climb. Was it moralizing or merit based preference for Perez over Garvey? Can’t say for sure, but by 1998 Perez was almost in, Rice was just in front of Garvey and Carter debuted just in front of him as well, and then you had the crush of Ryan, Brett, Yount and Fisk debuting the next year, and Garvey’s totals never recovered after that. I think the old guard who were still around didn’t think enough of him given the quantity of better candidates coming onto the ballot, and the newer voters were able to look back at Garvey and see he wasn’t as great as his in career fame had led people to believe.

          The common view of him, I believe, was as a guy who hit .300+ and drove in lots of runs, but by the mid 90’s some people began to realize that the RBI as a statistic was not as revelatory of greatness as many had believed. For one thing it gave all the credit to the hitter, but half the credit should be going to the person who got on base and/or into scoring position themselves. The other is that it’s largely a statistic of opportunity, by that I mean that players tend to drive in very similar percentages of runners regardless of where they hit in the lineup, but guys who are hitting with more runners on base will accrue more RBI not because they are better hitters necessarily but because they have more men on base. Now sure you can say guys who are put 3, 4, 5 in the lineup are put there because they are better hitters, but this should be reflected elsewhere in their stat lines if this is true for an individual. So what was Garvey considered great at: BA/Hits, RBI. Anything else? Now look at his stats, honestly, and what do you see? A guy who led the league in hits twice, SF once, and GDP twice, which is not a good thing to lead the league in. And he’s a 1B, the position with the highest expectation for offensive production due to its relatively low defensive value. Now BA was something he did well finishing in the top 10 six different seasons, but no batting titles. Then look further at his rate stats and you’ll see he never finished in the top 10 in OBP, which means he made a LOT of outs, and only twice in the top 10 in SLG and once in OPS, which means he didn’t hit for much power on top of his BA. Only three seasons in the top 10 for HR and not even 300 career for a 1B is really poor.

          Take a look at 1974 when he won his MVP award. His 200 hits led the team, but his BA is a tad behind Buckner’s. More importantly his OPS is .811 while Jim Wynn led the team with .884. Wynn also led the team in runs with 104, that’s 9 more than Garvey who was tied with Lopes for second on the team. Wynn led the team in HR with 32 to Garvey’s 21, and Wynn had 108 RBI, just 3 fewer than Garvey. And Wynn was playing an excellent CF, 4th in putouts and assists, 3rd in DP, much more valuable than a 1B. Honestly Jim Wynn had a better season in 1974 than Garvey did. Garvey was overrated during his career and he was outed as such after it ended, much like he was outed as not being the squeaky clean All American people thought he was during his career. Both played a role in his not being selected I’m sure, I tend to lean more towards voters realizing he just wasn’t that good, but certainly could have been the other way around.

          • I don’t necessarily think he was kept out over the personal life situation as much as the fickle nature of the voting body. One thing that we’ll just never make sense is when we talk about the Hall of Fame voting process as though it’s occurring in real time, fluidly. Like some guy has the lead and then starts falling behind because he’s not running fast enough. It’s kind of silly. If I think a guy is a Hall of famer this year then why would I decide he’s not next year? His stats didn’t change, his career didn’t change so if I’m going to just take votes away from him because 10 other guys showed up on the ballot that I think are better, that would be kind of silly. In a normal human thought process, if you think the guy deserves to go in, you would continue to vote for him with the understanding that once he goes in, you can then use that vote on somebody who has been on the ballot less time. I think you are very correct that guys like Rice, Perez, Fisk and Cepeda were probably more deserving but that’s not 10 guys. And at the time Garvey was on the ballot, you still had 15 years of eligibility so there was definitely enough time to put him in and all of those other guys. Ryan, Yount, Brett etc al or obvious guys as well who would definitely supersede Garvey.

            As far as his case, no he wasn’t a huge power hitter but he did get close to 300 homers. He also batted close to .300 and had a pretty solid career all the way around.

            RBIs I think are important because they indicate how often you come through when the guy in front of you has done his job. You are correct, the other guy has to do his job as well but from that standpoint, Garvey did it pretty damn well. 2600 hits, minus 272 home runs where he drove himself in, plus his walks, hbps and any other scenario where he reached base gave the guys behind him over 2800 opportunities to drive him in. And 2600 hits would seem pretty strong considering we are now consistently debating people who almost hit 2,000.

            I’m not in love with the guy, in fact I always kind of thought he was a putz when he was playing. Just always had that goofy, look Mom, I did it, smile that seemed facetious and I just remember thinking of him as one of the better-known players in the game but not as a superstar. I don’t necessarily think he’s a no-brainer but, in light of some of the guys who have gone in, he wasn’t necessarily a horrible choice either.
            MVPs are kind of superficial as well. You can look back at every MVP vote in history and see someone who could have very easily or should have one over someone else that did win it in a large percentage of those results. Personally, I don’t think a guy whose team sucks is an MVP. What’s valuable about a guy whose team sucks? I’m aware it’s not supposed to consider the postseason but you can certainly consider the fact that the guy played a huge role in keeping his team at the top and getting to the postseason. Even the second place team that maybe doesn’t get to the postseason but stays in the race all year and comes pretty close with that guy having a huge role in it. I think they should have an offensive player of the year award for the best offensive player in the game regardless of his team’s situation but MVP just doesn’t make sense when the guy’s performance didn’t prove valuable at all as far as leading the team to the promised land.

            As far as his sexual antics, he was obviously not very bright. Who hasn’t slept with three different women in a few weeks? I guess some idiots have never heard of pulling out.

          • Garvey was kind of a dope. Almost seemed like he was from another planet. But I don’t see not putting him in with the numbers he did have. Definitely no worse than a lot of other guys in there.

          • LDD, I’ll stick by my position that his HR totals were and are really low for a 1B. For example, if you look just at his career with a few years on either side, 1965-1992, the five guys just below him are George Scott, Joe Morgan, Gorman Thomas, Boog Powell, and Frank Howard, both of whom started earlier than Garvey and had higher career totals than him. In fact, Kent Hrbek is next, and he also has more career HR than Garvey. The five guys just ahead are Ripken, Brian Downing, Rusty Staub, Jim Wynn (pesky Wynn always showing up and pissing on Garvey’s parade), and Strawberry. So that does include 2 HOF, but obviously both of them are in the HOF for reasons other than their HR prowess, and three other 1B who all hit more than Garvey. You can do the same thing for his career total. Five below him are Tom Brunansky, George Scott, Raul Mondesi, Hanly Ramirez, and Vernon Wells. Five above are Larry Doby, Dante Bichette, Jorge Posada, Dean Palmer, Roger Maris and Downing (that’s six, but the last four are tied so…). One HOF in Doby, but he is in for other reasons like being a great CF with excellent offense and for integrating the AL.

            RBI are absolutely important, what I was trying to convey is that back in Garvey’s era they were over emphasized and the other player contributing to the run scoring was often overlooked. Sticking with Wynn in 1974, he actually drove in a slightly higher percentage of the runners who were on base when he came to the plate. It wasn’t significantly better, but a bit, and it helps show that players often drive in about the same percentage of runners on base regardless of how many opportunities they had. Now Wynn hit 3rd most of the season and Garvey 4th most of the season, and it’s for precisely that reason Garvey had more RBI than Wynn, because Wynn was on base a LOT for Garvey. As a hitter with runners on Garvey had an .816 OPS, Wynn’s was .938. He was a massively better hitter than Garvey with runners on, but that’s not obvious by the raw RBI count.

            Now as to Garvey’s hits, he sure had a nice, high total. But where does he stand on a career basis? We know he’s really low for HR, he doesn’t factor at all in 3B, but he looks pretty good on 2B at 124th, but his highest ranking is in 1B at 78th, the least impactful base hit. Of course one could still view this as a positive, and it is in a sense, but let’s look deeper at who he most resembles as a hitter. If you look at the expansion era, 1961 on, at least 6000 PA’s, within 10 points of BA up or down of Garvey’s .294, you’ll get 127 players. Sorted by OBP Garvey comes in at 121. There are, of course, no HOF below him, some good players because you don’t get to 6000 career PA’s without being a good player, but not great players/hitters. Going up the first HOF you get to is Ivan Rodriguez at .334, a catcher, a great defensive catcher. Next would be Robin Yount at .342, an up the middle defender who was starting at 18. If you look at him from age 21 on his OBP is .350 and he has about 1100 more PA’s than Garvey still. Keep going up the list and you find Brock, stolen bases, Sandberg, middle infielder, Simmons, another catcher, Trammell, middle infielder, and finally Jim Rice at .352, 23 points higher than Garvey, before you find anyone at an offense first position.

            Despite all his hits, with his lack of power and his free swinging approach, he doesn’t look like any HOF. Who he looks like is Garret Anderson. They’re within 300 PA’s of one another, Anderson’s BA is 1 point lower, OBP 5 points lower, SLG 15 points higher. Garvey has 70 more hits, Anderson 62 more 2B, 7 fewer 3B, and 15 more HR. RBI are 57 more for Anderson, 3 more SB and 50 more BB for Garvey. Incredibly similar numbers really, but nothing resembling a HOF once a closer look is applied.

          • I agree with many of your assessments here. How can I not, you’re basically reading off the baseball encyclopedia? I already said he wasn’t a huge power hitter but I don’t think he was remotely Todd Benzinger either. I’m simply saying, in light of the current climate, he wouldn’t be out of place in the hall. Neither would Anderson for that matter. My point was, if you’re saying the guy who gets driven in should get some of the credit for being on, then combine his RBIs and how many times he got on and that’s a pretty good amount of credit. Also, a good number of the guys you mentioned around his homer total do not have the hit total to add to it. A guy like Rolen has no outstanding singular statistic that blows us away. So his case was built with a combination of better-than-average stats around the horn. There was a time when I believed only the most amazing guys belonged in the hall. I was probably about 10 or 12. Since then, I realized that it would be a pretty small place with not much to see or to justify the price of admission if it wasn’t more well-rounded. So I’ve adopted a much larger grand picture view and accepted a lot less than what I ever thought made sense to justify such enshrinement. So much so that I now think about the grand scheme of baseball history and realize, when you or anyone for that matter, throw out a number like ” he was only 128th all-time”, that’s 128 out of 23,000.

            We love top 10 lists, top 20 lists, 50 greatest of all time but the history of this game is so ridiculously expansive at this point, 500th of all time is a hell of an accomplishment. Should that many guys be in? Who the hell knows anymore? It’s definitely no longer an “only the greatest ever” situation so why not? It now has a feeling of a museum of history. But missing a lot of history. If that’s not what it is aiming for then they need to really tighten the reins on this voting. If the history of each decade is only represented by a handful of guys (which is about the average for guys/decades of the game’s existence, what kind of history is that? And with so many guys in there based almost solely on defense or a giant home run number, how can we just shut down guys who showed up every day for that long, played the greatest game ever with the greatest level of talent around them and more than held their own with a really good all-around game?

            At this point, if I’m going to foot the bill to drag my family to Cooperstown, I’d much rather see a who’s who of every generation than the miniscule representation the writers’ popularity contest produces now.

            There’s no denying where the guy falls in history but, with all the discussions on this page about how the greatest of all time cannot be the standard and where is the bar etc, I hardly think guys like Garvey and Anderson are bad choices at this point. Awful lot of boring stories in the hall already so either clean it out and pare it down or tell the whole history including the guys who kept their eras interesting.

            Maybe not ideal for some but it sure beats the strange collection they have now.

          • I realize we can go on forever and, I won’t say it’s not fun. Actually, I love to “write” and think and this is, quite frankly, one of my favorite subjects.

            Statistics tell a big story and obviously the sabermetric crowd likes their little niche even more but, I think these views are only so valuable in a time where the reasons to value a player have become so convoluted that we literally have people arguing opposing sides of the exact same player as if his numbers allow him to exist in multiple realities depending on the numbers either given side values.
            Obviously I look at overall numbers and standout production from the traditional standpoint but, moreover, I have a philosophical view that tends to encompass the picture of the hall as a panorama of the game. Like one of those posters you used to see at Spencer’s in the mall. They were drawings of people like Bogart, Dean, Brando, Elvis and Marilyn sitting around in a diner or shooting pool as if they coexisted that way in an alternate reality. Only, in my mind’s baseball version, it’s a much bigger picture of all the guys who really stood out and not just the ultimate greats, throughout the history of the game as though they could hang out in one place. That place would be the hall theoretically. Like Stephen King’s Rock and Roll heaven but for baseball players. In that picture, the top guys in every generation would be more than just the handful of guys who lead the league the most times over a 10 to 15 year period. Without the next tier of guys, guys that we all were well aware of because they were consistently good, the top tier of guys doesn’t really mean as much.
            I have looked at it in different ways over time in my life and, at one time, the prevailing thought or idea among most was that it was such an exclusive place that you would only see those once in a lifetime, most gloriously talented players, canonized like Mount Rushmore. But Mount Rushmore only has four faces and there were many more important figures in American history than that. So, as we have watched more and more guys being inducted, whether by the writers or the veterans committee many years later, I have taken more of a philosophical overview into account. That’s how I can now say, go ahead and put Scott Rolen, Harold Baines and even Steve Garvey in there because, no they are not the top three at their position ever but they were all pretty large parts of the game in their respective times.

            Obviously I don’t know how old you are and how much baseball you have seen, but, just for the hell of it, throw aside your sabermetric analytics for a little while and think about what you have seen. Think about all the possible guys in that panorama who were one of the better guys in the game during any given time you watched or followed baseball. Then, you can certainly extract guys like Wily Mo Pena and Nick Esasky, Pete Reiser and Matt Harvey. Those were guys who were truly of the flash-in-the-pan mettle, who, may have excited us for a season or three and then turned back into pumpkins. But the guys like I mentioned above and, Pedroia, Kent, Dwight Evans, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly, Dom DiMaggio, Joe Torre and Thurman Munson, who were truly major players for more than a few years and made baseball what it was, those are the guys I see in that panorama gathered around the biggest stars.

            So envision your panorama and imagine holding hands with the 10-year-old version of yourself as you walk through the doors and want that little boy to see what this game really was all about. It’s a kid’s game after all, played by grown men who, theoretically play the game for entertainment. And a huge portion of the people most entertained once, were the 10-year-old boys n every one of us. The 10-year-old boy who doesn’t care about defensive runs saved but, would be very interested to know who hit the shot heard around the world. Who brought the odds to the floor and beat Babe Ruth’s all-time single season home run record first. Who were the 4 20-win pitchers on a single Baltimore Orioles team. Who blew out Maris’ record in the most exciting home run race in history. These things are the true history of the game so if you’re going to have a museum, why not make it worth seeing?

            So cast aside the math homework and tell me, who’s in the giant panorama painted across your inner 10 year-olds bedroom wall?

          • Cast aside my sabrmetrics? I thought I destroyed good, old Garvey with HR, BA and RBi! HAHA!!

            But this, “So cast aside the math homework and tell me, who’s in the giant panorama painted across your inner 10 year-olds bedroom wall?” this is a great question! So I was lucky enough to be in a city with MLB, but of course unlucky enough to have the expansion Padres as my hometown team. Nonetheless, as a 10 year old you still have a strong bias for your hometown team, and this would have been a few guys like Fred Kendall, Johnny Grub and Nate Colbert. Yes, they were terrible teams, but those are the guys I remember best at that time.

            Now when I was 10 it was a different world! Forget MLB Network, there was no ESPN! Maybe you could catch a game of the week on TV, but the Padres had no television contract, there wasn’t even TBS broadcasting America’s Team, the Braves. So as far as watching baseball it was pretty much the All Star game and post season. I can remember watching the World Series on a TV outside the principal’s office when we were at lunch. So my pantheon, or panorama from that time was filled with Oakland A’s. They were a dynasty, and they had those awesome brightly colored uniforms. Bert Campanieris, Reggie, and Joe Rudi making spectacular catches in the post season, and then all their pitchers with really cool names. Interesting you mentioned the four 20 game winners from the Orioles, they were also a great team then, and I remember that staff as being legendary. Of course Aaron, Mays and Clemente were in my consciousness right at that time as well even without the ability to watch them regularly. But I was also a big reader so Cobb and Speaker, plus Ruth and Gehrig, along with Jimmie Foxx were heroes from the past.

            What about you?

          • Well I think we can go on destroying most people if we really want to pick them apart but….

            Sounds like we are probably about a decade to a decade and a half apart. ESPN was in its infancy when I became completely immersed in baseball. I grew up in a household without cable and, in fact didn’t have cable TV until I was probably in my thirties so I never really watched it anyway. But growing up in New England, the Red Sox and Yankees both appeared on UHF television all the time. If we were not out doing something, my dad was in his duct taped recliner, screaming at the Red Sox on the television nightly. My first live baseball experience in memory was of guys like Wade Boggs, Marty Barrett, Bruce Hurst and Rich Gedman playing AAA ball in Pawtucket. Then within a few years, Rice, Clemens, Evans(who should be in the hall), etc al up the highway at Fenway.

            My grandfather worked in an industry that took him all over the nation so my mother and her brothers were born everywhere. We had a family of baseball lovers all over the country and so, in an era where it was assumed you were a die-hard fan of your one team, I was being influenced across the board. My aunt and uncle sent me a Johnny Bench uniform from Ohio, my cousins in New York were huge Mets fans from Queens and so I was following both of those teams at a young enough age to remember George Foster and Tom Seaver going from one to the other. Then I was told about a couple of young studs on the way to the big league named Strawberry and Gooden. My family had lived in Montreal, Georgia and so on. The Expos and Braves intrigued to me as well. I took a liking to the White Sox and Texas Rangers all on my own somehow. Buy seven or eight years old I was so excited every morning to get up and get my hands on the sports page that I couldn’t think of anything else. Dale Murphy won back-to-back MVPs, I remember Al Oliver winning his batting title and Willie Wilson being really good before he was just some guy running around in the outfield on trading Kansas City teams.

            When I got my hands on my first Major League Baseball Encyclopedia and it was the greatest thing I ever owned. Looking up all the greats of the past and even the smaller guys. Reading World Series box scores from 60 years ago. Then, my dad gave me The Science of Hitting. Brilliant. I couldn’t get my hands on enough VHS footage of Ted Williams fast enough. Which of course led me to find footage of every other old time baseball thing I could. But through it all, Williams remained the most exciting hitter I ever saw. So much so that, when people discuss what they would do with a time traveling delorean, I would go back and watch Ted Williams live. But I certainly would not stop there. Speaker, Foxx, Gehrig and Ruth would also be on my itinerary. Along with so many others.
            Of course, I wouldn’t see guys like Gedman or Barrett being Hall of famers but, guys like your Sal Bando, Campy etc would certainly make a visit to the hall a lot more interesting. That 10-year-old looking for information on that Oakland dynasty would leave the museum malnourished for historic information as to what made that such a great era for the A’s.

            Merry Christmas brother.

          • Merry Christmas, LDD! The Science of Hitting is fantastic! I was a strict line drive hitter my whole career from 8 to 18. Knew the strike zone, as he preaches, but no HR power. Then I read that book in my 30’s and when I went back to playing Men’s League baseball my swing was transformed, and if I made good contact, I had the bit of uppercut he taught and hit some real bombs (metal bat helped for sure)!

          • The difference is amazing. My father learned to hit that way watching Williams play, taught me to hit that way and I have now taught my youngest son to hit that way. He holds his own very well with all the kids whose parents spend thousands sending them to AAU and other camps. He hits the ball where it is pitched, with control and authority and launches opposite field rising line drives from the outside of the plate, pulls to left when he needs to and walks more than anyone on the team. He really has a great command of the strike zone. There have been a lot of great hitters and everyone who has something that works for them, that’s great but learning from the get-go to hit like Ted Williams is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen a kid do. To watch someone control the strike zone like that and frustrate the hell out of a picture is a rare treat. You have all these coaches still teaching kids to jack the bat up almost behind their heads and swing with this ridiculous upside down uppercut. Then they are all pissed off if they make contact and pop up to the pitcher, second base or even the outfield. Quite often, best case scenario, they hit long fly balls to the outfield that land in gloves. I still play every aspect in my mind when I go to the cages with my kid. Unfortunately my knees are pretty shot so I can’t play in a men’s league anymore but it’s still a lot of fun to launch rising liners around the cage at the highest speed. I know a lot of coaches teach the way they teach because it became popular to help kids generate power that way but, no one ever corrects them as they get older and they remain pop up artists. I feel bad for them because they get frustrated and don’t understand why. But I guess it wouldn’t be science if it was easy.

    • Yeah. Who are these writers supposed to be? The Third Reich? The punishment is the suspension what the hell do you guys think you’re doing?

    • Ortiz was not named in the Mitchell Report. Sheesh! He was listed as a positive in the “anonymous” testing of 2003, and the commissioner of baseball said, paraphrasing, that the report on Ortiz should not be relied upon.

      • The commisioner and MLB wanted to cover that up with him, but not with the others.

        • Yeah, but again, how could they be so sure it was not PEDS, but the others were positive to PEDS. This was actually pretty random to be honest. Again, the gave the free pass on Ortiz, but not to the others. In others words Ortiz never tested positive to steroids, but the others (with no further evidence) did positive to steroids.

      • Anonymous testing led to the Mitchell investigation. It was all kind of a big blur of bullshit. Pretty sure if you understand the guy’s point.

      • Yes I’m aware of that. It all happened pretty much back to back and years ago now so I was paraphrasing so to speak. I think the gist of my facts was pretty correct though.

        • You’re good, Bro. I was responding to BaseballFan who said Ortiz was in the Mitchell Report

          • I remember when the news came out about that. He tested positive to something. I they said it was not steroids. So, my question now here is, how do they know it was not steroids. Is not that Im passionate about this, but how do we know what did he tested positive for? How? That’s the question. Cause MLB could say one thing, and the commisioner might say something else. But how he knows, he just doesn’t know that, but it seems to be that is easier to say “well no, he wasn’t involved in nothing illegal”. So easy to say and give him the free pass. Im not passionate about it, it is what it is. His fans want to think that never happened and that he never used anything illegal, but again, how do we know what he tested positive to? Now everybody said Sheffield did this or he did that, but Ortiz never did anything wrong. I get what you guys are saying, but that’s something nobody will ever convinced me about. Not until they say come forward to the fans and provide specific details about that, something that never really happened. That’s what I’m trying to say.

          • I went online and found this:
            https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/david-ortiz-says-his-failed-ped-test-leaked-because-too-many-yankees-tested-positive/
            But still, I don’t really get what happened here. I was trying to do some research about it and couldn’t find his name in the Mitchell Report, just saw what I found on the link above, a little bit difficult for me to understand. My apologies, I was wrong. But I’m still very confused about the information on that page. My bad guys.

          • I was wrong and I admit it. I got confused I guess, very confused LOL

          • Baseballfan, no one knows exactly what happened in every isolated scenario. Ortiz still never acknowledged using peds. What the statement in the article boils down to is, “Hey, they’re saying there are a bunch of failed tests but no one has said that to me personally. I don’t know what caused it if I failed. They’ve told some guys what they tested positive for but not me.”

            He’s saying he doesn’t know why he would have tested positive or for what. The insinuation would be that , if he tested positive for something, it must’ve been in something he used and didn’t know what it was.

            A lot of guys blatantly said they didn’t know what they were taking and for some, maybe they didn’t. There are so many different things guys use to help them with muscle, endurance, fatigue and any other ailments they suffer over a full-time life of professional athletics it would be ridiculous to think that has never happened or that some unknown triggered a positive. But it’s also highly unlikely it happened in every case.

            Guys like McGwire, Sosa, Canseco and Bonds, who physically transformed before our eyes, very clearly knew what they were doing, though, in fairness, McGwire was already a beast from the beginning. I suspect he was a guy who had a love affair with muscle and working out and just did whatever he could to keep building. I don’t think he consciously sat back and said “let me screw the game”. I think Bonds sat back and said “screw those guys, watch this”.

            A guy like Ortiz, who was really built more like a guy in your bowling league, may have used something a teammate gave him and didn’t know. Maybe he did know. Maybe he tried it for a specific injury and was unlucky with the test timing. But he was not using it as a regular means of strength. Look at the guy. He never really changed other than a little thickening with age maybe. But he also never failed another test anywhere else or any other time so, what he says might stand to reason. Unlike the guys who vehemently denied it, only to test positive again, pop up in some laboratory investigation or come out with an admission and apology, thinking they may be forgiven their trespasses for coming clean.

            A lot of the reporting leaves something to be desired. These clowns are way beyond the days of journalistic integrity. They don’t care about the effects of what they print, whether it’s accurate or not, and only about breaking a supposed story. They actually believe anyone cares who broke the story first over who got it right so they do sniveling little things like pay someone off to slip them confidential information or just make it up. And then report it like they are the voice of ethics. Rats.

            Anyone could have leaked the anonymous results but the fact that it was reported with names made it not very anonymous obviously. So whoever leaked it obviously knew that information. Who could that be? The doctors? The receptionists? The janitor? MLB? A lot of shady stuff goes on behind the scenes so, keep in mind, MLB was not infallible here. They knew what was going on for years and years, just like the rest of us.
            Someone came to someone and said, “hey, big witch hunt coming, better get on the right side of this”, so they came up with “anonymous”testing so they could figure out how big the issue was. Bullshit, Joe Public knew how big it was long ago, how would MLB not know?

            Okay let’s have some anonymous tests, somehow the test results suspiciously get leaked and then we swoop in behind and say, hey those cannot be relied on and we have no idea where the New York Times got that information. That will cover our ass with the players and the players association so they won’t think we’re stabbing them in the back. Conspiracy? Not really. Just an option of how this possibly went down. But if I were to New York times, the whole public would believe what I just said and it would become fact over opinion.

            How to confuse you more, the whole point here is, we are just not going to know the reality down to the last detail. We never will. And there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about something you love like baseball. Keep it up brother I think you have a lot of great curiosity and ideas.

  21. Sheffield (per him and BALCO) didn’t cheat with PEDS. And he certainly was no worse a fielder than Ortiz (or Edgar for that matter)
    Utley? C’mon… Whitaker and Kent were both better and if Utley gets in, then so should Wright.
    Mauer and Posey had great peaks, but not long enough peaks (or careers).

    • Sheffield definitely has Hall of Fame numbers so if he did nothing wrong then should have been in on the first ballot. Sheffield denied denied denied for a long time and then suddenly decided to tell some cockamamie story to sports illustrated in 2002 where he admitted to using the cream through Bonds and Balco. His own words. And of course he said he didn’t know it was a steroid. Who hasn’t said that? Then he said that it was obvious that was the only time he did it because he had a terrible year in 2002 with only 25 home runs etc. Well if you did them in 2002, they don’t work the day you take them. He then proceeded to hit 39, 36 and 34 bombs the next three seasons. Which he was always capable of anyway but he’s the one that told the story. Why would you not believe him? Why would he make that up?

      100% believe Kent belongs in the hall. And you’re right, if Utley goes, so should Whitaker and Wright.

      • Yes I remember that as well. He kept saying he never touched anything and then suddenly he has an interview with sports illustrated where he basically throws Bonds to the wolves, says they’re not friends anymore and tells this whole story about a leg operation and rubbing the cream on his scar because Bonds told him that he knew some guys who just needed some blood and urine and they would make him a custom vitamin for his body. I wonder why he didn’t ask him for some magic beans as well.

    • He definitely told SI interview that he did it. Of course he said he didn’t know what it was. Why would you use something like that without knowing what it was?

  22. The baseball HOF is the most “democratic” and representative of all of the American sports HOFs. The NBA has 24 SECRET voters requiring 18 (75%) votes to be enshrined. The public does not know who these mysterious voters are nor who was not selected and by how many votes. The NHL has 18 voters (6 new ones each year) requiring 14 votes to be enshrined (77.7%) with no published list pre-vote who the voters are (players, writers, execs) nor how many.missed enshrinement and by how many votes. The NFL has 48 voters (writers) (1 from each team city + 16 at-large) needing 80% for enshrinement. Baseball HOF has around 400 voters, all somewhat active in writing about the game. This means that a handful cannot block enshrinement if the 75% majority wants that player in the HOF (by whatever criteria the voter chooses).The 230+ players in our HOF represents about 1% of the guys who played the game; quite an elite group however they got in. Some/many can argue who should not have been enshrined nor who should have been. But, the BB HOF is far superior to our other sports – voters known and votes received. The public (like this forum) can speak their arguments and, maybe, persuade future voters to change their minds. Not so for the NBA, NHL or the NFL.

    • Chuck, you are right in theory. The baseball voting is set up to be, by far, the most democratic situation. Especially compared to the other leagues. Somehow though, the NHL seems to get a lot closer to correct with only 18 voters than the MLB masquerade. They don’t always put in everyone we think they should every time but they eventually get around to most of the most deserving guys. I can’t honestly think of anyone off the top of my head that is such an outlandish omission that we need to clobber the NHL voting panel for it. You’re also right that people will always agree and disagree on a lot of the picks but that’s just the nature of this thing. Analyzing careers doesn’t seem to be an exact science. Personally, I think about what somebody did versus 23,000 other guys in history. Other people think about what somebody did compared to only the people they played their peak years with. That’s a pretty big span. I don’t care about eras personally because, the game was always played with a bat and a ball, on a field and by competitive guys trying to get each other out or trying to get on base. Anyone could have been the first guy to hit 20 home runs. The first guy to steal 30 bases. The first guy to strike out 300 batters. On and on. Baseball history has no clue when someone played, who they played against or how they will be judged 20 years into the future.

      Guys that start playing this year will play the game the way they know how and hope to have a 20-year career. 5 years after that they may be quite disappointed to find out that someone popularized a new metric based on how tight your underwear was and the sheep-like American public will have all latched on to it just in time for the guy to figure out he had the wrong underwear for 20 years. That’s my problem with MLB Hall of Fame voting. No matter how you slice it, it’s a derivative of the entire society we now live in. Someone comes up with a zany idea and gets a bunch of people to back it in a public forum and it doesn’t matter if it’s the best idea ever or the dumbest thing we’ve ever heard of, it will take hold. It is also historically easier to get massive amounts of people on board with something that doesn’t take much convincing than it is to convince them of reality. People following like sheep have ruined the game.

      If everyone was so up in arms about ped use, why did we never hear any of this prior to Congress getting involved? A small faction of people would talk about it and maybe say it was stupid or unfair but, from my recollection, the entire nation fell in love with baseball again watching McGwire and Sosa wage a battle like Godzilla and King Kong in a Universal movie. Unless you were blind or knew nothing about muscle mass, it couldn’t have been more obvious that they were juiced and pretty much no one cared. They gave the public what it wanted and what it needed to love baseball again after the strike ruined it in ’94. After the horns started blowing and no one wanted to be on the wrong side of history, the writers, who had no problem capitalizing on the big stories in ’98, suddenly decided those guys ruined the game and they weren’t going to vote them in. Screw you guys. That’s exactly what I would have said as well. Like your buddies in school who all think it’s hilarious that you throw something off the chalkboard and scare the teacher. Then when you get in trouble, they all act like you’re an idiot and they hated you all alone. I have no use for that kind of crap.

      But in theory, you’re right it should result in the most democratic voting system of all. Unfortunately it doesn’t.

      • Nothing democratic about screwing people with no proof brother. So many of the omissions are based on hearsay. It’s pretty stupid.

  23. If Chase Utley is a hall of famer, the Jeff Kent and Dustin Pedroia should be as well. Both of them won MVPs and had more great seasons than Utley.

    • Sure is man. Kent was a monster and if Utley is a hall guy, I don’t know what universe has most of the same voters from the last several years thinking Kent wasn’t. Do you guys watch baseball?

  24. Jeff Kent’s numbers are really good. Not as good as guys like Adrian Beltre or A-Rod, but still pretty good.

    • The best thing we could dream of is that baseball has a grand revelation and realizes it is not supposed to be a communist dictatorship. Lift the ridiculous bans on Shoeless Joe and Rose, put them in next year when the classic committee reconvenes. Then the following year, put in Kent, Schilling, Clemens etc and stop being so self-adgrandizing.

      • Communist dictatorship? You are posting in the wrong place. Try 4chan. Then change tie tinfoil in your hat and take your meds. Jackson was banned for fixing games (he received $5000 during the 1919 Series and admitted to it under oath). He appeared several times on the ballot but BBWAA did not elect him. Rose is a child molester, convicted felon, perjurer and all-round scumbag. The Contemporary Era Committee gave Schilling seven votes (he needed 12) while Bonds and Clemens got fewer than four votes. Mattingly got 8 and McGriff got all 16. They see things differently than you — thank the gods.

  25. Very amusing. So there is no proof of this relationship that some woman came out with decades after the alleged fact. He actually admitted to the relationship and said she was older than that. Boils down to he said she said with no other proof but you must have omniscient information in order to decide he’s guilty all on your own. Example number one of communist dictatorship.

    The memorabilia dealer made unfounded statements about bringing him younger girls. No one stepped forward to corroborate the statements and there was no actual proof these alleged people even existed. In fact a judge ruled it was grounds for defamation. But, you once again have inside information no one else has and have decided he’s guilty and needs to be punished. Example number two of communist dictatorship.

    Shoeless Joe supposedly made a signed confession. Said confession was somehow lost and never showed up in court. He recanted any statement he may have made and said he did not throw the world series. In fact, he batted .375 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs and led both teams with 12 hits in that world series. Sure sounds like somebody throwing games to me. He was the best player in the whole damn thing! If you are jaded enough to believe that the feds have never coerced someone to sign a confession with backroom promises, I feel sorry for you. Somehow, this supposed statement shows up years later in the possession, allegedly, of Comiskey’s lawyer. No way that could have been manufactured to cover up an egregious error in judgment by MLB right? Especially with that ridiculous stat line he put up. But your ultra reliable inside information must somehow have proven to you once again that he is guilty without actual evidence and you determine he needs to be punished forever. Example number three of communist dictatorship.

    Schilliing spoke his own mind and behaves with a spine unlike most people nowadays and you want to punish him for that. Sorry that’s his first amendment right, not a crime. Example number four.

    To this day, no irrefutable and binding proof exists that Roger Clemens used peds. Sure sounds like you think he did and approve of the committee keeping him out. Example number five.
    Maybe these things happened, maybe they didn’t. Maybe some portion of them happened and others did not. There is absolutely no way to know but it’s very patriotic of you to decide they are all guilty until proven innocent.

    I think the real reason to thank God is that our entire society does not think like you do. We might have all kinds of people locked away with no proof if they did. More than we already have. But thank you for proving my point. You must be a baseball writer, especially with the way you only tell half the story to shoot your point and leave the rest of it out. You know where you can stick your meds and then wipe it with your tin foil hat

    • Atta boy Artie. These cancel culture fools really need to disappear. Talk about bringing nothing to society.

  26. Happy 65th birthday to Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Born on December 25,1958.
    The year 13-year old Brenda Lee sung “Rockin’ around the Christmas tree”. Amazingly, her song finally hit #1 in 2023 while she made a new video of the song at age 78.
    Merry Christmas, baseball fans.
    I know those on the ballot want some votes for Christmas today.

  27. One inning relief pitchers don’t do it for me. Rivera and Ecksersley certainly offer enough representation for pitchers who contribute so little to their teams success. But we now have Hoffman as well, and Wagner looks to be inevitable at this point. Of course that opens the door for Kimbrel and Jansen, and if 400 saves deserves consideration, then does Franco need to be added to an Era ballot. But here’s something that really bothers me about the voting for these guys. How do you make a meaningful distinction between someone like Joe Nathan and Billy Wagner? Nathan struggled as a starter for two seasons, but if you look at his record as a reliever, he has 376 Saves, an ERA of 2.41 and an 89.1% Save percentage. Wagner has 48 more saves, but that’s a single good season’s worth (Nathan’s best season totals were 43, 43, 44, 47). This doesn’t seem like a meaningful difference to me. ERA is 1/10 different, 2.31 to 2.41, doesn’t seem meaningful to me. People seem to love Wagner’s K rate at 11.9, Nathan’s is 10.5 as a reliever. Certainly an edge to Wagner, but his edge in K’s doesn’t translate to greater success as a closer given his Save percentage is 85.9. So where is the difference to say one is a HOF and the other is one and done?

    And what about the view Mark Newman shares in his article posted yesterday? Votes for Wagner, but “Frankie Rodríguez needs too much hype and too much arcane metric creativity, don’t see ever voting for him.” Excuse me? Rodriguez not only has more career saves than Wagner, but he led the league in saves three times and still has the single season record for saves. His save percentage is 8/1000 lower (apply 85.1% to Wagner’s 491 career save opportunities and he loses 4 saves for his entire career, apply 85.9% to Rodriguez and he picks up 4 saves for his career; not meaningfully different) and his K rate still quite good, the same as Nathan’s at 10.5. Wagner never led the league in saves. Seems odd for a player so many think of as a slam dunk candidate not to have led the league in the stat most closely associated with his role. Wagner’s best season total was 44, Rodriguez saved 44 or higher 5 times! Would love to hear Mr. Newman explain the distinction between these two in more detail!

    • This has obviously become a heavy point of debate over the last 10 years and, more heavily debated, with the popularity among some, of sabermetrics. We also watch baseball at a time where, attention spans are so small that, instead of enjoying the game, people look to enact change for the sake of change. It will always be human nature to try to fix something that isn’t broken when you are not really interested in the way something is.

      First of all, keep in mind that, these same sabermetrics should have someone like Saberhagen or Cone and the Hall of Fame over someone like Sutton or Perry. Off the wall “stats” like “park adjusted ERA” seem to do wonders for hindsight. Saberhagen’s command could be second to none at times but, you’re seriously going to induct a guy with 167 wins and, probably, less than he should have had had he been more durable, over a workhorse who showed up for 300 innings every year and struck out 3500 guys while winning 300 games? For some, I know that answer is yes but, for me, those accomplishments are pretty self-explanatory. If someone else could have done it, they would have done it.

      Saves have been an official statistic since 1969 so, contrary to popular argument, we are not looking at guys who have only been doing this for 20 years and pretending it is important. If 400 saves is such a simple accomplishment, why have only eight guys done it in 54 seasons? You can argue that many guys don’t do it because they are good enough starters or long relievers and therefore, don’t become closers because it is a nothing position but if that’s the case, there are a ridiculous amount of “nothing” guys in baseball history. Extremely far more guys have attempted to be closers and failed miserably. More guys have taken the mantle and proceeded to pitch to mediocrity. Furthermore, closers have become so highly valued over the years that they are paid enormous sums of money to ply their trade so if you have that opportunity, why would you suck at it if it’s so easy?

      You have a point in that, where does it end? And how do we differentiate? But I think that’s pretty much the same as any other position in baseball. And with closures, it’s probably much simpler. Because there are so few who have reached that plateau, 400 saves is a pretty good benchmark. At that point, I probably would separate guys like Kimbrel and Jansen from the others by merit of a relatively higher ERA.

      Eckersley’s era was not minuscule by closer standards but, obviously that’s because he spent a dozen years as a pretty good starter as well. He’s the first guy, and one of only two ever, to win 20 games and save 50 in two separate seasons.

      Looking at recent history, Valverde blew up to the tune of seven earned runs over two games in the playoffs. For such an easy task as being a closer, that kind of sucked at the most important time of Detroit’s season. Luckily Detroit switched to Phil Coke and made it through the rest of the AL rounds before running into the brick wall that was the Giants pitching staff. And Pablo Sandoval suddenly becoming Babe Ruth in the World Series.

      You also hear arguments like, Liam Hendrix being the best closure in the league for the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox otherwise were terrible, befitting the argument that, what does a great closer do for a team like that? Well, what do Trout and Ohtani do? The Angels suck every year so, do the accomplishments of those players wane because the front office can’t put together a winning team? They still do their jobs and they do them great (when they aren’t on the DL of course). Would you withhold Hall of Fame votes from those guys because they’re amazing seasons did not result in victorious campaigns for the team?

      And, yes, I have always believed John Franco belongs in the Hall of Fame. As far as K-Rod, he too would have my support. They only guy that ever saved 60 games and one of only eight with 400 saves ever. If you are going to devalue saves then, obviously you would not think he belongs there but, in the reality that, saves are not as simple as everyone thinks, as evident by how many guys have blown those opportunities over the years, yes he does go on there. I think you are also right about the guy from Seinfeld in his article. The only thing arcane I see is his rhetoric regarding K-Rod. Wagner’s numbers, as you point out, are slightly better but not so much greater that he should be blowing away K-Rod in the voting. You’re almost looking at the exact same guy.

      Voting is clearly an inexact science. How a Hall of Fame can have guys like Phil Rizzuto, Bill Mazeroski and even George Kell enshrined while ignoring so many greater talents is evidence of that all by itself. And deciding the value of something like closing games, such a small percentage of its participants have done well, is useless, well, I guess that debate will rage on for a while.

      • Obviously closures is closers, they’re is their and Hendrix is Hendricks. Stupid microphone.

      • Also keep in mind that the game was designed for one guy to pitch. Obviously the rules didn’t say a second guy can’t come in or a third fourth fifth 7th whatever but there’s a reason why so many of the older guys have massive amounts of innings pitched and wins. They went out there and pitched the entire game. Part of the strategy is to tire out the picture so you can get to him. When that didn’t work for the defending team they started putting in another guy who was a fresh arm theoretically.. this all evolved over the years into long relievers, set up men and closers. Really can’t have it both ways. We’ve got people complaining about not counting relievers etc toward the Hall of Fame and then we have people saying wins are not a reliable statistic anymore. What the hell do you people want? If a pitcher can’t get past the 5th or sixth inning then that’s part of the game. Not anymore obviously because it’s just become accepted that it doesn’t happen. You can beat statistics to death with whichever ones you want to use but a guy pitching 150 to 300 complete games in his career was far more impressive than what we’ve watched the last 30 years. The bull, integration, superior athletes, whatever. Superior athletes should last longer than the supposedly inferior ones they have replaced over the decades. So if you don’t want to count relievers of any kind and give them credit for what they do, then take them out of the game altogether and go back to studs who could pitch an entire 9 innings. Otherwise, what the hell are these guys even playing baseball for if they are so unimportant?

        • And please don’t come back with dead ball era either because you also have to call it the dead arm era since those guys pitched forever. Call it evolution, call it speeding up the game for the people with no attention spans, call it making the game more interesting or call it improving strategy. Change the game all you want and look at it however you want with whatever statistics get made up every year but you can’t hold guys at fault for playing the game that’s handed to them. Now the bases are bigger, pitchers can’t keep holding a guy on and stolen bases are on the rise. What’s next, the guys who steal bases are useless? I’m sure that’s coming since I’ve already heard about base stealing not being that important from one place or another. Look what all the rule changing has done to football. Any joker with a bicep can throw for 300 yards a game now. It means nothing. Let’s keep doing that to baseball so we can diminish the entire history of the game and pretend what we are watching now is just as exciting as a great nine-inning pitching duel used to be.

          • Yeah, kind of weird to discount more than half of the pitchers in the game because they are not starters. Why have them then? Okay buddy, you can do this job for 20 years but, in the end, whatever you do will not matter. Good luck

          • Bring back the 9 inning beasts baby. I’m in! Then we wouldn’t have to listen to how overvalued relievers are just for doing the job they are given. And 9 inning pitchers were pretty awesome too. Especially in a knock down drag out 1-1 duel.

      • “Saves have been an official statistic since 1969 so, contrary to popular argument, we are not looking at guys who have only been doing this for 20 years and pretending it is important. If 400 saves is such a simple accomplishment, why have only eight guys done it in 54 seasons?”

        Quite simply because no one paid any attention to saves just because it became an “official statistic.” Bullpen use did not evolve to the one inning closer until roughly 20 years later. Going back and reconstructing situations to count saves prior to 1969, it still wasn’t until 1965 that the first 30 save season occurred, and there were only 19 such seasons as of 1979, roughly one per year. Frequency increases a bit through the 80’s, but still in 1983 with the first 40 save season by Dan Quisenberry, there were only three guys in the AL that year who had at least 30 saves, and the top 10 was rounded out by Salome Barojas with 12. Wagner had 30 saves 9 times. Usage changed in the late 80’s to the one inning closer approach, and saves shot up then. So why only eight guys done it in 54 seasons? Partly because of opportunity, being a one inning closer whose job is to get saves has been around for less than 40 years, and the other is likely a health issue. It’s hard to stay healthy long enough to reach 400, but rewarding health and longevity is the last criteria I look at for a HOF candidate.

        Let’s look at it at this way. If 400 saves is such a large accomplishment, why is it sufficient for HOF enshrinement? Personally I do not like rewarding a one dimensional player with the games highest honor. Once you move beyond saves for someone like Wagner, you have nothing else. Oh, I know people like to cite his K’s and ERA, but the fact of the matter is he never qualified for consideration in either ERA or K/9 because he never pitched enough innings. You can look all you want at mlb.com season and career leaders for those categories and you will not find his name. Career K’s? He’s 379th right between Chris Capuano and Russ Ortiz, and about to be passed by Nathan Eovaldi. So why should saves be a stand alone criteria for enshrinement? And why doesn’t he qualify for those categories? Because MLB recognizes that it’s vastly easier to attain rates in those stats when you pitch relatively few innings per season, or one inning per game. A starter has to go through the lineup multiple times and still get outs. They have to have endurance, pace themselves, and have enough secondary pitches to continue to get outs without the hitter adjusting. A one inning closer doesn’t have to do any of that. Look at the Big Three, if you will, Rivera, Hoffman and Wagner. All of them were one pitch pitchers, a cutter, change up and a fastball. You cannot be a starting pitcher with only one pitch, but you clearly can be a successful one inning closer with just one pitch. Ergo it is clearly much easier to be a one inning closer. Heck, why was Wagner turned into a closer? Because he couldn’t make it as a starter. Look at his minor league numbers. Not a single relief appearance, a pure starter, but a starter who walked almost 5 per 9. He didn’t have the control to succeed at the MLB level as a starter, but he had a great fastball and he was able to get it under control enough to get through one inning at a time. Look at Eckersley. He was really a great starter his first 5 years and he was up at just 20 years of age. But then he struggled for a couple of seasons, and he dealt with some injuries. He had a nice season in 1982, was off in 1983, bounced back in 1984 when he moved to Chicago, and had a good season in 1985, but was injured again. Then he was terrible in 1986. In 1987 when he moved to the A’s and became a reliever they used him in an odd way, 2 starts, 8 relief appearances of 4+ innings. But look what happens when he becomes a one inning closer in 1988. In his first 5 seasons he has a 1.90 ERA and his K/9 is 9.5, in 2 of those seasons it was over 10. His first 3 seasons as a starter were 7, 9, and 7.3 and those were far and away his best K/9. So you have a guy who is on his way out of the league as a starter, struggling with health and performance, switch to a one inning closer and become a stud? No, he simply moved into a vastly easier role. Heck, look at his next 5 seasons (leave out the last season of a 4.76 ERA since he wasn’t a closer) and he’s accumulated another 150 saves with an ERA of 4.09. And that’s how easy it is to get a save. You can have an ERA north of 4 and still pick up 30 saves a season.

        “Extremely far more guys have attempted to be closers and failed miserably. More guys have taken the mantle and proceeded to pitch to mediocrity. Furthermore, closers have become so highly valued over the years that they are paid enormous sums of money to ply their trade so if you have that opportunity, why would you suck at it if it’s so easy?”

        The same is true of starting pitchers and position players though, so this is not an argument in favor of closer being a difficult role to fill, it’s simply a recognition that it is incredibly difficult to stick around at the MLB level. Interesting that you talk about value though. Typically who are the HOF pitchers? The #1 starters, on a deep rotation the #2 guy, incredibly rare to have 3 guys in a rotation be HOF caliber. So let’s look at value. If MLB teams and GM’s thought closers were equivalent to #1 starters, they would pay them as much, right? Wagner went to the biggest market in baseball in 2006 when he was a free agent, he signed with the Mets for $10.5 million for 4 years. That same year Clemens, at 44, signed a 1 year deal with the Yankees for $17.4 million. Six years earlier Kevin Brown signed a 7 year deal with the first year at $10.7 and the remaining at $15.7 million. The following year Kevin Millwood, no one’s idea of a #1 starter, signed for 5 years with the Rangers for an AAV of $10.59 million. The following year the dodgers gave Derek Lowe, not remotely a #1 starter, 4 years with an AAV of $9 million. Doesn’t look like MLB front offices value closers the same way they value #1 starters, more like middle of the rotation starters. So if actual MLB teams value closers on a level with middle of the rotation starters, why should HOF voters overvalue them?

        • Of course they don’t value them like #1 starters but he said enormous sums of money, not #1 starter money. 4, 6 and 10 million dollars a year is, by my count, enormous. Especially if your option is to not play baseball and work for $20/hr somewhere, which a lot of guys would be without baseball. So why, exactly would you suck at something that would pay you even a million bucks a year if it’s so easy to just go get 3 outs again?

  28. Actually, it was not an argument in favor of the role being difficult to fill but, of the role being difficult to be the best at. And it clearly supports that argument. You may want to keep glossing over it but facts are facts. 8 guys out of a number not even worth counting because we all know how rare that 8 is.

    Why would 400 saves be sufficient for the hall if it’s such a large accomplishment? Because it’s a large accomplishment obviously.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that you wouldn’t pay a closer the same as a bonafide 1 or 2 starter. Wouldn’t ever expect a 1 inning guy or any reliever to be paid on par with a top of the line starter. I just said they are paid enormous sums of money. And they are. So why would they risk losing that payday if it’s such an easy task? Inarguably, an awful lot of guys have tried and failed, Seems kind of stupid to fail at something so simple and that pays pretty well to “just go get 3 outs”. You’d think more of the crappy 4 and 5 guys would just go do it then instead of 5 and 6-ERAing their way out of baseball.

    Maybe people didn’t talk about saves in the early days of their official existence but the fact is, they existed. Even by accident someone should have been piling up this “easy to achieve” number. And really, even if you only go to the 80s and count from there, how many closers have piled up 400 saves? In twice the innings Wagner or K-Rod did? We’re not talking about 8 guys out of 40 here. We’re talking about every guy who’s had the same opportunities those 8 guys had to accomplish the same feat. 26 teams per year until there were 28 and then 30 through the present have at least 1 closer over the past 35 years. Completely ignoring the fact that the statistic existed prior to that, whether anyone cared about it or not, still, an extremely small percentage of men have attempted to be an everyday closer and succeeded to that level. Take out the guys with ERAs in the mid to high 3s and your percentage is even more ridiculous. You see it as one-dimensional and that’s up to you but to be 1 of 4, 5 or 6 guys ever to do something, out of even only 100, nevermind the thousands who’ve tried, is not as easy as your argument would have it sound.

    Clearly you don’t like the position and that’s your right. But, like I said before, if that’s become the most popular sentiment then it shouldn’t exist. Get rid of relievers altogether and have starts pitch complete games again. I’d be more than ok with that. But it’s pretty stupid to have an entire faction of the game looked at like they mean nothing and not recognizing the best of them for having the aggregate “health and longevity” to be the best at it. And, I don’t think health and longevity are accidents either. It’s a very hard game to last in so anyone who can keep themselves in the condition to do it every night, multiple nights, many years, etc and still be valued enough to stay in the game at the top level has seriously accomplished something great right there. They pay a lot of money now and don’t generally tend to keep Bob Ueckers hanging around too long anymore if they can’t keep up.

    Why would

    • “I think it’s pretty obvious that you wouldn’t pay a closer the same as a bonafide 1 or 2 starter. Wouldn’t ever expect a 1 inning guy or any reliever to be paid on par with a top of the line starter.”

      Then why would you honor a 1 inning reliever the way you would a HOF caliber starter? This just doesn’t make sense to me. MLB teams do not think a one inning guys work is on par with a #1 starter, so why would the HOF think so?

      “Even by accident someone should have been piling up this “easy to achieve” number.”

      Really?

      “We’re not talking about 8 guys out of 40 here. We’re talking about every guy who’s had the same opportunities those 8 guys had to accomplish the same feat. 26 teams per year until there were 28 and then 30 through the present have at least 1 closer over the past 35 years.”

      OK, let’s look at this. Not every team uses a closer exclusively, some spread it around, someone gets hurt, but let’s just use your premise as a starting point. So we have one inning closers coming into common usage around 1987, so 37 seasons and one guy per team, for the sake of argument. And so far we have 8 guys with 400 saves. That’s 1076 player seasons if you assume one closer per team. How many guys got to 400 HR in the first 37 seasons of the live ball era? And keep in mind 400 is not any HOF guarantee, it will generally get you in the discussion, but it’s not until you get to 500 that you’re a lock (PED issues excepted). Just 5 guys made it to 400 HR by 1956, but that’s only 592 team seasons given the 16 team league. So it looks like 400 saves is pretty impressive. BUT every team has 8 position players who are all doing their best to make the hardest contact they’re able to. So that’s actually 4736 player seasons. It’s about 7 times more common to have accumulated 400 saves in the same relative length of time than 400 HR. Taking it through 2023, even with the massive HR explosion that’s taken place, it’s more still 2.4 times more common to have 400 saves as 400 HR.

      • Maybe someone who is in favor of closers going into the HOF can address a couple of questions I have about them. To me it seems relievers are already over represented in the HOF. By this I mean since 1985, when the writers elected Hoyt Wilhelm as the first reliever, the writers have elected more relief pitchers (which is still a role, not a position, but we’re comparing it to other positions and roles) than any other position, 7, except for LF, who also have 7. The writer’s support also led to Lee Smith being inducted via the VC (Era Committee if you prefer). They’ve selected 17 starting pitchers, just 2.4 times as many, which will drop if Wagner goes in to just 2.1, and there aren’t any starters getting support right now, neither Pettitte nor Buehrle are looking electable despite having over 3 times as many IP as Wagner. Looking out to 2028 the only strong SP candidate appears to be Sabathia, so that ratio is not likely to change significantly back towards SP vs RP. So why do you think we need more RP in the HOF? Are there really more, or as many, HOF level RP over the past 40 years as players at any position?

        And can anyone tell me what a great/HOF caliber season looks like for a one inning closer? Is it saves? Is it saves plus something more, another statistical measurement? Is it leading the league in saves? What does it look like? I can look at a position player’s season or a SP’s season and say that was a HOF level season, but what does one look like for a one inning closer?

      • 1- For the same reason you honor a DH the same as an everyday, every inning position player. And because it’s the only, end-of-career honor there is so what choice is there for the people who think the guy deserves it?

        2- Obviously “really?”. You keep saying how easy it is and this doesn’t make perfect sense? If all you have to do is get the three outs and that takes nothing, should’ve been pretty simple.

        3- Those are some pretty impressive rates for the 8 guys. And, if the hall should be as simple as “does he deserve to go or not, regardless of others” (paraphrasing what “someone” said in an earlier discussion), why would we compare closers to starters and people who hit 400 home runs? Those things would be irrelevant if we’re just looking at a closer among closers and determining his value. Why would we look at Pettitte and Buehrle not getting support to decide a closer’s merit? I believe it was one of the comparisons regarding Jones that led “someone” to tell me you can’t hold other guys plights against Jones and that each guy should be looked at individually on his own merit. Now you want me to compare what happens to Wagner with starters and 400 home run hitters? Geez man, make up my mind!

        You are a riot though and I must say I’m quite enjoying these back and forth needling sessions.

        • Of all pitchers with 900+ innings pitched, Wags is #1 all-time in Ks/9, Hits/9 and Opponents batting average. 2nd all-time in WHIP and opponents OPS. You might think the innings were low and don’t like closers but he was as dominant as they come. He was not a starter he was a closer so 900 innings is plenty to judge his body of work. And, a few badly timed postseason innings aside, he was easily one of the greatest closers ever. So those are some other stats you can look at besides saves. If you want to see 3000 innings, go look at starters. That wasn’t his job.

          • And there you go, Norm. To do that you HAVE to limit it to 900 IP, which is nothing relative to HOF pitchers. Wagner NEVER qualified for ranking in those stats in ANY season because he never pitched enough innings in a season to do so per MLB. And he doesn’t rank in ANY of them for career stats either because he didn’t pitch enough innings to do so. There’s a clear reason for this, MLB recognizes it, seems reasonable baseball fans and HOF voters ought to be able to recognize it, too. The criteria for HOF voting is contribution to a player’s team, and someone who pitches one inning at a time and only had 903 career IP doesn’t have enough contribution to rate a HOF vote. There’s simply not enough bulk there.

          • We’ve had a lot of talk about what a more recent role the closer role is so maybe the standard needs to change. Obviously that’s a pretty old standard to think about innings pitched as a benchmark number. I don’t mean you guys individually need to change it but maybe Major League Baseball needs to keep up with the times. If they’re going to support the idea of having a closer, and they obviously have, then they need to lower the bar to qualify for pitching statistics or keep a separate set of qualifying statistics for those guys. There are a lot of guys that pitch a lot of years and aren’t going to hit those standards but that’s not their fault, that’s their job. Technically, you’re right about the guys not actually showing up on those leaderboards because of not meeting the threshold. But we’re not talking about guys, and there have been a crazy amount of them, who pitch three or four seasons as a high level closure and then disappear. Those would be the guys I definitely looked past but guys who do it for a respectable career, how do you recognize that if we’re supposed to compare all pictures to the same innings pitched standard? Something needs to change. Either reevaluate the qualification standards or get rid of the position because what’s fair about that to the guys doing it?

          • Exactly. Like others are saying here, we as reasonable baseball fans need to recognize that MLB often seems to be behind the 8 ball. Create a job, grow and supportthe idea and then set it up for failure at voting time. Looks like this wasn’t thought through very well. Nobody expects 3000 innings from a closer so they should have remedied the qualifications long ago. Why do a job you won’t get recognized for when you do it well? MLB continues to make stupid decisions to appeal to a younger audience who still could care less about baseball and still hasn’t fixed long overdue issues like this

        • Everyone used to go crazy when a guy like Wagner came in and shut down the side to save the game. Why did so many people suddenly get more excited about screwing up everything that makes baseball baseball?

          • I still get pumped to see a guy come in and shut down the heart of an order and save the game. It’s one of the most exciting things in baseball. But I get with the guy is saying, if Major League Baseball institutes a standard in each pitched to qualify for pitching statistics, one of those guys doing it for if they have no chance at reaching those standards while doing the job they are asked to do? That kind of sucks.

          • I mean standard of innings pitched and what are those guys doing it for

        • 1 – But we don’t honor DH anywhere near the way RP have been. As I mentioned there have been 7 RP inducted since 1985, plus Smith from the VC, but only 2 DH. Although this is also partly due to how teams utilize the role of DH. Still, I don’t see how anyone can look at the offensive production of Martinez and Ortiz and recognize it is vastly higher than any value produced by 903 IP with NO offense whatsoever.

          2 – No, it actually seems like an unnecessarily argumentative, nonsensical reply. Any baseball fan knows that bullpen usage was not set up to record saves for over a century, and in fact for decades was not a factor at all. To say someone should have accumulated 400 saves by “accident” doesn’t seem like a serious argument/position at all to me.

          3 – What I was illustrating by showing hitters who accumulated 400 HR during the same length of time as one inning closers have been around is how a level of achievement we know corresponds to a significant and important event in baseball, is the relative difficulty of these events. You, and others have been saying the closer role is very difficult and that accumulating saves is therefore also difficult and HOF worthy. Well, if it’s nowhere near as difficult as accumulating 400 HR is, and if 400 HR is not anywhere near a guarantee of getting you into the HOF, then accumulating 400 saves is nowhere near enough, or shouldn’t be, to get you into the HOF either. And one inning closers don’t have anything beyond saves because as I’ve shown, and as MLB recognizes, they don’t pitch enough innings to qualify for consideration on rate stats such as ERA or K/9, the other stats people like to cite in favor of Wagner.

          As to Pettitte and Buehrle, I’d say this is a fundamental difference in how we view the game. To me a pitcher is a pitcher, but to others they’ve somehow created in their minds a different position for closer. This doesn’t hold water, IMO, though as you can look at the rules of baseball and you will only find pitchers mentioned, no further breakdown of the position. You can go the HOF website and see the position listed is pitcher for Wilhelm to Smith, not closer, not reliever, just pitcher. So if Wagner is getting the level of support he is while P and B are getting far less support, levels of support indicating they will be highly unlikely to be elected, then I have to ask why? Even ignoring the fact that roughly 400 of Wagner’s 903 IP were not in save situations, IOW just plain old relief pitching with his team far out in front or trailing, both P and B have about 3 2/3 times as many IP as Wagner, and they’re clearly above average pitchers as well. How does someone get to a vote for Wagner and not a vote for one or both of them? Are you who support Wagner and not these SP saying what Wagner did was somehow 4 times or more valuable than what P and B did? So valuable that the enormous difference in IP is overcome and exceeded to such an extent that he is now a legit HOF candidate? If so, how?

          “You are a riot though and I must say I’m quite enjoying these back and forth needling sessions.”

          I’m not needling you. I’m just discussing the HOF with you and others. I’m sincere in my positions, as I believe you are in yours. I honestly would like to know if you think it’s reasonable for the writers to have elected more relief pitchers over the past 40 years than any other position? Because to me that’s insane. And the idea that they’ll make it MORE than any other position if Wagner and his paltry 903 career IP goes in, is batshit crazy!

          • Well maybe you’re not needing me but you are a riot though.

            Believe me, I know you are simply arguing your position and I understand the point you are making. But from the standpoint of evaluating a guy for what he did in his role, that would be why the writers are not voting for Pettitte and Buehrle or other similar guys at the same rate. I’m sure there are writers who are not voting for Pettitte because of his PED admission, which I think is stupid at this point but, I certainly understand that that’s what they are doing. If they are evaluating Wagner’s case against the history of closers all time, no matter how small or large we agree that history is, he looks damn good. And the fact that he accumulated the 422 saves in “only” 900+ innings would be a feather in his cap from that standpoint.

            I understand you don’t like closers, and my point wasn’t to be in ainely argumentative. It was to illustrate that, simply from the point of view that you keep saying it is not a difficult job, if that’s the case, there should be more guys with Wagner’s or Rodriguez’s numbers overall. Even “only” 37 years is obviously long enough for the eight guys who’ve done it to get it done so if so many other guys were just as capable, kept themselves in shape, established the longevity and mental capacity for that role, they should have accumulated those numbers. I don’t even necessarily agree with the other guys in that pocket. I think Wagner’s strikeout rate for renting, offensive batting average against and ERA set him further apart from a guy like Kimbrel or Jansen because their eras are substantially higher than his. Especially for such an “easy” role. And I think those two guys are very good at what they do but, clearly, didn’t do it to the level Wagner or Rodriguez did. Or Rivera, Hoffman Franco and even Lee Smith. So if I’m the writer evaluating this guy or these two guys, I vote for both of them simply because, they did the job they were given and they did it better than everyone else who did it almost.

            Of course they’re not going to have as many innings as a starter because that’s not their job. They didn’t create the job they just took it and ran with it.

            And I don’t think anyone would have accidentally accumulated 400 saves but, with the criteria of a safe being what it is, even if no one cared about the stat, they weren’t just throwing their number one two or three starters out there routinely at the end of a ball game. It was generally the same collection of guys they had to finish games whether or not it was an established one inning role for a specific guy. Therefore, in the thousands and thousands of scenarios that those guys came out and pitched, no one was establishing themselves at that level. And granted, you still had studs throwing complete games but nowhere near the rate of the past. Rodger Clemens was the era of the last guys throwing a reasonably substantial amount of complete games in a career and even that doesn’t compare to a Walter Johnson or even a Bob Feller. As such, there were a lot more relief appearance opportunities than ever before so, yes I would expect there would have been far more guys establishing themselves in such a role if it was really that simple to do. Do I think it’s the hardest thing in baseball to do? No. I think that would be hitting a baseball. But again, if baseball was going to define certain roles and turn those rolls into a permanent part of the game as it has, you have to acknowledge the guys that perform those roles to some level. Unfortunately for a guy like you or me who leans more traditional in a lot of areas, the only recognition for an entire career is, does he or does he not go into the Hall of Fame? And because that is the only way to recognize anyone in any role whatsoever upon completion of a career, that’s the hand we are dealt. So just like a DH, I would have to look at the guy in comparison with everyone who ever performed the same role and ask myself, where does this guy’s final composition stand up?

            Believe me, they could get rid of the DH instead of adding it to the national League and mandate that pitchers hit and I’d be more than fine with that. Just like I’d be overjoyed if they stopped this nonsense like widening the base paths and making the bases bigger. Limiting the pitcbee as to how he can check a runner and forcing a pitch clock on him. I think if people want to minimize the actual strategy of the original game in order to make it entertaining for themselves, they should probably establish a separate league where the game is played on a video game system and those people can go watch that and stop ruining the traditional game for the rest of us. Then they can apply all their digital age statistics to their digital age video baseball game league and entertain the shit out of themselves. Obviously you can say that balls were thrown underhand at one point and guys didn’t wear any gloves so those were major changes but, the game was still in its infancy at that point and a clearly developmental stage. That’s a big difference from completely obliterating a game that is not over a century old on the basis of short attention spans. Gloves enhanced safety and implemented pain management. They weren’t invented to appeal to those who are bored to death by anything that doesn’t happen in 5 seconds or less.

            Unfortunately however, the state of the league doesn’t dictate the game in the way that it was intended to be played. Why don’t they just give 20 ft poles with giant fishing nets to the outfielders so they can bring another strange, unnecessary aspect to the game? It’s bordering on facetious at this point.

            As far as it being reasonable to elect more relievers than starters at this point, I guess that kind of falls in line the same way. If they are evaluating starters against all time starters and not against relievers than they are obviously looking at numbers that have nothing to do with relief. As a whole anyway. I think Pettitte and Buehrle deserve a lot more support. I thought Johan Santana did as well. I don’t think Curt Schilling should have been on the ballot long enough for his antics to have mattered at all. I think there is something strange going on when, you have guys voting for Cy Young winners who win 12 games and saying wins don’t matter anymore but then looking at guys for Hall of Fame consideration and not supporting the ones who win less than 250 games in a lot of cases. Once again, these guys are playing the game by the current rules that are not dictated by them but by the game, the way it is set up for them to compete in. If the game is going to continue making drastic changes, Hall of Fame consideration has to change with it. It needs to be based on what the guys do with the opportunity they are given. This is the massive problem with the enshrinement process. The rules have changed, strategies have changed, roles have changed and so on but not every voter is in line with the changes. Everyone looks at the game differently and everyone always has but we are now looking at a different breed of ball player across the board. Guys who don’t pitch complete games, guys who pitch an inning or two as a specialist, guys who only bat and never see the field other than to run around the bases, guys who pitch two or three innings of middle relief, guys who’s only job is to sit on a bench and wait for a circumstance that requires a specialized pinch hitter who can’t do much else but has in an eight ability, seemingly, to hit a left-handed pitcher with two outs in the eighth inning. This is not the game we once knew so if it’s the game they’re going to play, then everyone needs to get on board with analyzing it the way it is currently constituted. Which we both know is not going to happen.

            I think guys who put up a great performance for the last place team should be eligible for maybe an offensive player of the year award but not an MVP. How valuable can he be when his team is in last place? But that’s just my view. Obviously everyone has a different one and, we both know, that’s why this will go on this way forever.

          • Once again, I’m sure you can figure out the several grammatical errors. I am speaking so the stupid microphone once again has decided what ridiculous things it thinks I’m saying.

            But also, you have mentioned the 900 innings several times. In cases of starting pitchers obviously, that’s pretty paltry since that would mean the guy probably only pitched between 150 and 180 games but, again, closers did not dictate how they are used. They are simply performing within the boundaries they are handed. So how do we just ignore all relievers and not recognize them for performing in that role better than almost everyone else who performed in that role? Ralph Kiner only played a decade but what he did in that decade was pretty great for the role he had to fill so he is in the Hall of Fame. I imagine any competitive-minded closure would go out and pitch more if he was called on for it but if the manager is using him a certain way, that’s really not his fault. Wagner showed up for 15 years and did what was asked of him. It probably wasn’t his choice to say listen I’m going to go out and pitch five innings every day just so nobody argues I didn’t pitch enough innings when it’s Hall of Fame time.

          • I don’t see crapping on Pettitte and Buehrle man. It’s not like there are 10 candidates here blowing them away and both look really solid as Hall of Famers. Abreu too.

          • Sorry, just realized I didn’t address the honoring the DH part.

            You’re right, they haven’t honored as many DHs as relief pictures but, unless I’m missing some major omission as I think about it off the top of my head, who else do you want to honor?

            Ortiz is in, Martinez is in, hell, they even put Baines in. For guys who spent any substantial amount of time at DH and performed well in the spot, they mostly also played other positions as well. Victor Martinez is on the ballot now, had a pretty solid all around career and, if anything, we would hear how he can’t be considered as a catcher because he spent so much time at DH. And he’s not getting any attention at all.

            Rice, Thome, Molitor, Thomas, Baylor, McRae, Thornton, Parker, Downing, Luszinski, Cliff Johnson and Chili Davis are the better producing DHs that come to my mind quickly. All played other positions as well and, again off the top of my head, I imagine only Baylor and Molitor logged even around 5,000 plate appearances as DHs.

            Molitor, Rice, Thome and Thomas are all in, whether acknowledging or in spite of, their DH roles as part of their careers.

            I can’t imagine you want to make a case for McRae, Thornton, Downing , the Bull or Johnson.

            I could see possibly arguing Chili, but again, he played an awful lot of games in the field as well and didn’t get enough support when his time came obviously.

            I would certainly not begrudge you Don Baylor or Dave Parker but Parker I don’t think DHed until maybe the last three or four years of his career. 2700 hits with 300 plus home runs I thought it was pretty solid but apparently the voters didn’t see it that way. .260 average wasn’t amazing but look at some of the guys were talking about nowadays.

            So unless I am missing somebody substantial, that leaves Ohtani, JD Martinez and anyone else who is still playing so I guess that remains to be seen. Clearly, if Ohtani comes back from this latest surgery and continues to play both roles as he has so far for another several years, he would be a definite lock but obviously none of these guys are eligible yet that are still playing.

            So I guess theoretically, you’re right, DH has not received as much support but, which of those guys do you want to throw that support behind? And again, if I’m missing somebody really obvious, please tell me who it is because I’m just not thinking of him I guess.

          • Also, I should clarify one point. I have mentioned Kimbrel and Jansen having higher ERAs but I was really just moving quickly through the point. Their career ERAs are not astronomical and are really in line with the other 400-save guys but , looking at breaking down their careers for the sake of comparison, Wagner had an ERA higher than 2.85 once in his entire career. Kimbrel has been over 3 several times and Jansen has been over 3 in 5 of the last 6 seasons. Obviously looking at the overall isn’t going to tell you that but I was throwing out something you’d be able to analyze them with. But all in all, I don’t know that the voters would bother to look that far or feel the need to.

  29. Has anyone noticed that the candidates in green are listed alphabetically while the ones in white and in red are in reverse order?

    • They’re not…they’re listed by percentage. The final 6 with 0% are listed in reverse alphabetical order as are those who tie. All others are by percentage.

    • Look at the ones who have 0 votes. Tell me they’re not in reverse alphabetical order.

  30. LDD I am fascinated by your complete rejection of analytics and metrics. WAR and such. OF course you realize every MLB team has an analytics dept. And players are paid by WAR ratings. They are used in arbitration hearings. The whole sport is analytics driven. Carlos Correa changed the way he fielded ground balls so that it would increase his dWAR, his defensive WAR. Specifically. Something about playing deeper and diving more. Can’t do that as much with the new rule that you have to have both feet on dirt infield as the ball is pitched, but you get my point. Many pitchers try to increase their spin rate to get more on their fastball, as so on.
    I saw your breakdown of the Rangers in one of your posts. saying you could have predicted Jung, Heim, Semien, Seager, Garcia, Garver would put up runs. 3B Josh Jung was a rookie, and you never know how a rookie will respond in the big leagues, let alone the post season. C Jonah Heim was primarily a defensive player who had a breakout offensive year. Adolis Garcia was leading the league in RBI’s when he got hurt late in the year, and he never led the league in anything before. It’s awful easy to say they would be easy to pick as run producers after the fact. The Braves had the best offense in baseball and it went south in the postseason. You said Jordan Montgomery was not a metrics darling. Anybody who gets outs consistently is a metrics darling. I am no analytics guru or metrics maven. I am just a fan that has watched with fascination the maturation of the game. And analytics are here to stay. And they have increased my enjoyment of the game.
    I was skeptical of Bill James and his ideas at first. No bunts, few steals, few hit and runs, lots of walks and homers, bad defense. But I came around. The curse of the Bambino was broken (Red Sox ’04) using analytics. That team was so bad defensively, it made 4 errors in a WS game and still won.
    I know I am kind of shotgunning it here, but there is room for both. We can have both analytics and traditional statistics. There is plenty of room for enjoyment of both. I love a good 2 RBI single as much as the next fan, especially when it’s my team (Cincinnati).
    Truce?!

  31. I don’t think it’s that fascinating. Baseball teams have been built without the use of analytics for a long time. Look at how many guys are in the Hall of Fame with mediocre careers because they played for the Yankees between 1920 and 1960. The Yankees were a flat out juggernaut. And no one ever heard of analytics. I didn’t claim to be a magician or a soothsayer. I said any idiot could have foreseen the run production in Texas for a reason. Seager and Semen already had a history of producing. While sporadic, Mitch Garver had also proven himself to have some pop. John came up the year before and just look like the typical Texas Ranger banger. He only got up around 40 times and whacked five homers and just looked like one of those typical hungry dudes coming up in the Texas Ranger system. Jonah Heim I’ve been showing some pop in limited playing time previously so it was really no reason not to believe he would continue to do that and when he got the opportunity to play more often with Garver at DH, he obviously produced more with more chances. Garcia was another guy who was already showing himself so that wasn’t a surprise either. None of that really required the use of any major analytics to figure out. Jordan Montgomery was so awesome that the Yankees gave him away for a bag of donuts and then St Louis shipped him off as well. He was doing well enough there for Texas to plug him in since they had major holes to fill but there was nothing suggesting analytically that this guy was going to do what he did in the World Series so I highly doubt that was a real shrewd and a little move either. Of course anyone in hindsight can say it was but, what exactly where the peripherals that suggested he was going to perform that way? He was obviously not a bum but he was also obviously not the guy that showed up in the second half of the season either or else he would have never been in St Louis in the first place while the Yankees are now once again looking to shore up their rotation.

    Yes Bill James was coincidentally on the Red Sox payroll as of 2003. I’m sure he had plenty of input. However, Mark Bellhorn how to completely unpredictable season, those infielders who they shuffled around to replace Garciaparra we’re not there because of someone believable powers of analytics. They were trying to resign Garciaparra and when it was clear that wasn’t going to happen they traded him. So that just happened to work out for them in the end. Ramirez was already there. Damon predated James. Kevin Millar was a good, but typical, Red Sox pick up. He was a guy who was showing some pop at the position and they got him for relatively low money. But his production was not a secret, he had already been producing for florida. Didn’t really need analytics to see that. Ortiz is one of the greatest haters of all time but for all the talk of unearthing a hidden gem, the guy wasn’t sitting on a bench with three home runs and someone took an analytical guess and nailed it. His homer and RBI totals had been climbing for 3 years in Minnesota and he had shown to be a relatively capable hitter with a pretty good on base percentage. Wasn’t that big of a gamble for 1.25 million dollars his first year. Pedro, Wakefield and Lowe were there before James so that wasn’t his doing. They signed Curt Schilling because he was Curt Schilling and there was no big analytical work going on there either. Foulke was already one of the best closures in baseball for the previous five seasons. Where exactly is all of the brilliant analytical work here?

    Just because I don’t feel the need for it myself, doesn’t mean I don’t think other people can find value in it. I just feel a large part of it is redundant and anyone who knows baseball the way we do and many other people do, don’t generally have a major problem identifying potential or production based on what a guy has shown previously. Intangibles etc and sometimes just a good gut feeling based on watching him perform.

    If you want to look at the Reds, there may be no greater opportunity to examine homegrown talent etc. I thought Winker and Senzel were pretty weak prospects all along. Senzel just never really showed much beyond the ability to be injured and Winker just had all the earmarks of a guy who was trying to coast along. No heart at all, no hunger and just happened to be a guy who got the benefit of playing time because Cincinnati doesn’t want to pay anybody. I definitely don’t feel like I’m always right, just a guy observing. Years back, I thought Austin Kearns was going to be really good and he just faded away. I didn’t anticipate he would be Hall of Fame great but I thought he would put up more than he did. Adam Dunn was a blaster from day one but he was obviously barely ever going to bat his weight. Aquino came up and looked amazing, received a solid amount of playing time and faded. De la Cruz now looks wonderful and I think so does Marte. Strand too but they can all easily turn into flashes in the pan and Steer could be the one who offers the most reliable career production.
    Remains to be seen. But that’s just it. Stats tell you what a guy does and you can use it for reference. You can base your estimations on what a guy has done or how he has trended and usually be pretty accurate, with the unknown variables usually being health related. Analytics are created based on stats obviously. Until there are stats, there is nothing to create analytics with. Nothing to adjust, nothing to predict. Once the stats are there, you have some track record to refer to. If the stats are there, why would I need to do extra math problems combined with hypothetical science experiments to tell you what I already told you?

    One of the biggest issues for me though, is how so many sheep have now disregarded actual statistics as “counting numbers” (whatever the hell that means) and embraced analytics as Bible. If you want to think it’s helping you predict something, hey whatever. But to use it as a standard argument for Hall of Fame cases is silly. Guys don’t play the game hypothetically so why would we base their retrospectives on hypothetical and adjusted numbers? That’s insane.

    I’ve just never been into things that purport to improve things but can’t be proven ironclad. Look at this beautiful electric car market — people are sitting around for 1/2 an hour at charging stations in these hideous machines and having them crash into things because of their “unparalleled” intelligence only to have millions now recalled so they don’t kill people. And for what? Auto emissions aren’t destroying the planet. But play the flute often and loud enough and the sheep will follow.

    But, you’re right, if you can enjoy both, go ahead and do so. No law against it. Like I’ve now said many times, if people like them, go ahead and play with them. I happen to prefer good old fashioned tangibility. And, like anything else, anyone can go to hindsight and say “haha, this team won because of my astute use of analytics” but if , as you say, every team is using them, how brilliant can they be? There are still several garbage teams, several mediocre teams and only one champion. And since champion is the goal, my favorite reference is still Steve Pearce in the ’18 Series. Who’s analytics really predicted that performance? Definitely no one, no matter who claims it in hindsight.

    And as a truce goes, are you kidding? I have loved every minute of this. It’s not that easy to find people to discuss things like this with, who actually like to use their mind in the conversation and go back and forth on so many various points. The amount of people who respond to things as though their one line of snarky horseshit just shut you up is ridiculous. They obviously walk away feeling as though they put you in your place, never to realize what an ass they look like. And oddly, it’s never someone saying “so and so batted .320 with 550 homers and 300 steals so why don’t you like him?”. It’s always some a-hole who thinks his seventh grade one liner about you not understanding analytics made him look so brilliant. So, this is great and I imagine we could go on challenging each other’s point of view and thought processes pretty indefinitely. Thanks for not being the one line a-hole? Go Reds!

  32. As the voting has closed and fans everywhere are sure to be disgruntled with the results, I wonder, where are the protesters? The people who run around causing scenes in front of City Halls or bus terminals across the nation over ridiculous political nonsense no one cares about. The people who protest social issues where none exist in order to find personal attention and feel like they belong to something. The people who are up in arms over someone like Curt Schilling having his own personal beliefs and the nerve to stand up for them whether you like them or not.

    Where are these people when it comes to the Baseball Hall of fame? Is it a privatized enterprise? Of course it is and, they have the right to enlist anyone they want to vote. They have the right to take the entire system and fix it as well. Yet, they don’t bother. We come on these sites and grind our teeth, make our arguments and piss and moan about our unhappiness with the voting results yet, people go to the Hall of Fame all the time and keep handing them money.

    Plenty of people post on the site and say nothing important, make jokes or berate people who have valid opinions. That is your right if that’s how you want to waste your time but I have also seen many people on this site over the past few years who are obviously very intelligent, passionate baseball fans. What boggles my mind however, is how many people defend the writers and the process. Regarding things like sportsmanship, character, moral values, over-dependence on analytics , too much dependence on age old statistics and every other aspect of the voting process, the Hall of Fame has given undue power to these people. Why? Because it is always been that way and that’s the only reason. Not a very good reason but that is the reason.

    75% was a random number thrown out by Ford Frick and his cronies to establish a threshold for induction. Who cares what 75% of the writers think? There is no actual reasoning for 75% beyond that it has always been there.

    The BBWAA is entrusted to determine the validity of Hall of Fame cases. Yet, these are people who have no more claim to baseball knowledge than any of the rest of us. There is no Baseball University where someone learns exactly what constitutes a hall of famer. There is no curriculum in order to establish credentials and ensure that the people given these powers know how to use them. If Joe, Artie, Patrick, Larry, Chuck, Victor and all the rest have been studiously observing baseball for decades, what relegates these people to any less status as a knowledgeable baseball fan than a writer? A job as a writer? There are now people filling out ballots whose job every day is to blog on a computer. I’m pretty sure any of us could do that. And I’m not really sure how that qualifies someone as an expert in baseball.

    The BBWAA was established to ensure that sports writers were allowed into the press box at games. This was necessary in the early days because they were being pushed out by whoever the owners allowed in there and therefore could not report on the game if they couldn’t see it. So the association was established to give them writers credentials and make sure they could view the game they were supposed to report on. There is no knowledge-based criteria for joining the BBWAA. It is simply based on your job.

    If you learned how to build rocking horses as a child from your great-grandfather and, to this day, you can knowledgeably and artfully produce the most beautiful rocking horse anyone has ever seen but your job is to be the general manager of Applebee’s, does that mean the guy who makes rocking horses for Hasbro Toys is better at it than you? I don’t think so. If you bring your beautiful rocking horse, I’m certainly not going to tell you it’s terrible because you don’t work for Hasbro Toys. So why would we view baseball knowledge any differently? If you religiously visit your favorite bar and grill every Friday and, over time, the menu continues to change, removing your favorite items, do you keep going there and eating things you don’t like? No, you don’t. You stop giving them your hard-earned money instead of supporting things you don’t like.

    There has never been a year when a ballot has contained absolutely no one worth voting for yet there have been many times where someone hands in an empty ballot. That is baseball knowledge? No. That’s not knowledge. That is a self-serving agenda. What a stupid way to determine induction.

    From the beginning, voters were mandated to place 10 names on their ballots. By the late 1950s, some voters started putting less and whining about not enough quality candidates being on the ballot to vote for 10. So the verbiage was changed to strongly advise 10 votes but it was no longer a requirement. The case could certainly be made that there are not always 10 deserving candidates on a ballot however, there are never zero.

    These people are entrusted to deduce the validity of Hall of Fame cases based on not only statistics but also sportsmanship, character etc. Seriously? You take three, four or 500 people from all over the place and give them the powers of the Pope? What possible justification is there for that? No one really cares what these people do in their personal lives so we don’t really give it much thought but, do you really believe these hundreds of people are all divine martyrs? How do you grant the power to judge other human beings’ moral makeup to people who err just like the rest of us? Do we all really view the baseball writers as a scrupulous bunch? For decades they put in racists, drug users and anyone else whose career numbers were there. Suddenly we have people deciding that the PED guys were unscrupulous. That Carlos Beltran’s punishment wasn’t enough so they are going to enact more venomous retribution where it isn’t warranted. Abuse of power.

    There have been news outlets Who mandated that their reporters simply report instead of trying to make up news. They have established these mandates because they want to be viewed as a serious outlet for providing valid information. If the writers had always done that, there would be no need to establish these mandates.

    For instance, Shohei Ohtani was just recently a free agent for the first time since signing his initial contract. He and his agent explicitly asked for privacy through this process and informed us that as soon as there was something to report they would let us know. Straightforward enough. Private guy, likes his privacy and made it very clear that he would not be involved in the rumor mill. Sounds like enough reason for me to let it be and wait and see. Do baseball writers understand English? Maybe not but more likely, they just don’t care or value the opinion or personal request of a player over the self-aggrandizing need to be the first to report something. Even if it’s false. So we heard ridiculous report after ridiculous report regarding who was doing what with Ohtani, only to find out that these things were manufactured. To the point wheresome boob lies about an imminent signing and a glorious race was waged, following a plane all the way to Toronto while Ohtani was sitting at home in California. Sounds scrupulous to me.

    Which brings me to another point I wonder about, who cares who reports it first? When is the last time you found out your favorite team traded for somebody or signed a big free agent and the most important thing in your mind was who broke the story? I can count on zero fingers exactly how many times I have ever thought that. I’m usually more concerned with hearing the real story than the first story.

    So the next time you are pissed off about the voting results, give some thought to how that transpired and just how little difference there is between you and whoever isn’t voting for that player. Whether Peter fans whatever stand up to make a difference, who knows but it’s not looking good because the voting body has a super scary title like BBWAA. Whoopeedoo!

    • A lot of people with the right to vote should not have the right to vote. I don’t understand what makes a writer an expert either. It’s never made any sense to me. Because you watch a lot of baseball? So do I and so do a lot of people

  33. LDD
    2004 Red Sox were being built by the front office in accordance with Bill James, Moneyball, analytics whatever you want to call it long before Bill James was hired. Great starting pitching, guys who can mash (slug), guys who can get on base, solid bullpen. No bunting, a few selective steals, no unneccessary outs recorded on the basepaths. This is the 2004 Red Sox. Teams in those days were still trying to bunt, hit and run, steal bases. Did you ever watch the movie Moneyball and listen to the criticism. Said you couldn’t change the way you played the game for 150 years from bunting, hit and running, stealing. The game has brought back the stolen base with the new rules for sure. And it’s exciting. Can’t always play for the 3-run homerun now. Not with so many speedsters. The point is that the 2004 Red Sox were put together using analytics, no two ways getting around it. Manny, Ortiz, Nixon, Varitek, Bellhorn, Mueller, all guys who could mash and get on base. I’ve belabored my point.

    • I do remember watching the movie and I thought it was ok. I love baseball movies and I tend to love movies based on true stories. So a movie with both should be a no-brainer. Obviously we already knew the ending before seeing the movie but it still left me unfulfilled. I remember thinking, why would you make a movie to glorify something that didn’t work? I fully understand that their approach was theoretically what led to what level of success the team did achieve but to fall short of a championship made both, the movie and the “moneyball” approach seem unnecessary. On top of that, how did the “analytics-driven” Red Sox completely miss the value of Scott Hatteburg?
      Granted there was less bunting in ’04 but the Sox were generally one of the worst running teams forever. If anything, Johnny Damon raised the base running level during that period. Aside from the occasional Otis Nixon, the Sox usually didn’t have anyone who could steal water in a downpour.

      Nixon had been around quite a while and Damon did steal bases. I know the party line but I’d have real trouble believing that team was an analytics dream from the get go. Bellhorn had exactly one solid power season in his career prior to ’04 so that would’ve been one hell of a guess since he trended more toward bum than 17 home run hitter aside from that one 27 homer season with Chicago. Ramirez would have been an easy call for a nine-year-old since he had been nothing but awesome for years already. Could clearly see that without analytics. If they wanted a first baseman to just keep swinging for the fences, they had that with Daubach. I think Millar was obviously already a more complete or well-rounded hitter and again, discernable by straight up stat comparisons alone. I still don’t think Ortiz was some unbelievable vision. I remember the guy with the Twins and thinking he was up and coming simply because he was hitting and getting on base pretty consistently and his power numbers were climbing three years in a row. I have to imagine the people who have all day every day to look for those things could certainly see the same thing.

      Moreover, the Sox had been building teams around good hitting and power for years. Maybe they bunted more with crappier hitters like Marty Barrett and Spike Owen but they were never a speed team to begin with. Around here we’ve joked for decades about how heavy the Sox uniforms must be since they generally never had great base stealing.

      I know I seem like I’m determined to put it down but I’m really not. If it actually made sense and showed something shocking or at least proved to be more reliable than “hey we did this with our brilliant powers of analysis” after the fact, it wouldn’t seem like it fell out of a box of fortune cookie messages.

      A team in 2001, 2 ,3, 4 could very feasibly be in the market for a first baseman and decide on Millar, Mueller at 3rd and so on simply based on their respective prior performances, availability and payroll fit. Varitek was the secondary piece to get Derek Lowe and, probably just as importantly, dump Slocomb on Seattle. He wasn’t immediately used as a shrewd analytics acquisition would be. He was slowly moved along as they figured out what he could do and finally, that he could handle the job. Not an astute analytics move anymore than it was a “this guy has a good head and showed some pop in Tacoma so let’s bring him along and see what he can do”, typical integration of a better prospect. This has happened for ages now.

      So, definitely there are more than two ways about it but simply because, none of these guys were some well kept secret, unearthed by the brilliance of analytics any more than they were easily viable options for a competitive team filling needs.

      I know it’s been framed as some groundbreaking creation of a championship team, due to the undeniable genius of analytics but, I really can’t see how any reasonably knowledgeable GM could not simply have put together this team with the pieces that were able to acquire for the situation they were in.

      • And Mueller actually had given no indication through his time in San Francisco and Chicago that he would possibly have the crazy year he had in ’04. Batting title in the .320s and 19 dingers? The guy was probably averaging maybe .280 and 6 homers a year so I can’t imagine how analytics predicted the year he gave them.

        By the way, I prefer Fear Strikes Out, The Natural, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game, Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, Pride of the Yankees, 61, 42, the Rookie, Trouble with the Curve and even John Goodman as the Babe over Moneyball.

        • This is another component to managing a team by analytics, the financial side. Mueller was brought in as a cost effective replacement for Hillenbrand. The Sox had used Hillenbrand to cheaply fill 3B a little over $1 million in 4 seasons, then unloaded him for BK Kim and let the Dbacks sign him as an FA. Mueller had made $2.75 and $3.45 million his last two arb years in 01 and 02, but the Sox were able to sign him for 3 years and an AAV of $2.2 million, less than what the Dbacks paid Hillenbrand. His big year was actually 2003, but that wasn’t the point. I agree with you there very likely wasn’t any data indicating he would have a career year the year they signed him, players just do that from time to time, but what the analytics might have shown is that he would be a serviceable 3B for the life of the contract, at an affordable salary, which would leave money to be spent elsewhere on the roster.

          You could also look at how they handled closers to see how analytics view relievers. Fungible assets is a term you may hear associated with them. And the Sox certainly appear to have had that view. They used Lowe in 2001 before moving him to the rotation and then used Urbina for 2002 before letting him go to FA, BK Kim got 2003 and then Foulke in 2004, Foulke and Timlin shared 2005, and then they used Papelbon but were happy to let him go to FA as well because analytics will tell you that relievers are always out there, available and able to close out some games at a reasonable cost. 😉

          • I’ll tell you man for a guy that said you can take it or leave it or however you put it you sure are beating the hell out of this guy with analytics Non-Stop. The guy obviously doesn’t like it and I for one, don’t see what’s wrong with the way he looks at it. It’s worked for a lot of people for a lot of years

        • All great movies but don’t forget Bang the Drum Slowly and A League of Their Own. I know it wasn’t guys playing baseball but it was really a good movie

        • Hey it’s not a big deal. A lot of people have become pretty swept up in this stuff and they enjoy it. It’s given them a way to play with the numbers and apply a different spin to the way they analyze baseball. Personally, I prefer to simplify things as a pretty common practice. For instance, there are a lot of people who, as musicians, like to break down production value, song structure, equipment involvement, chord progression and so on as a means of determining the value of music. As a writer, I think more about the depth of the story and it’s familiarity to the listener. I see the simplicity of flowing, relatable lyrics matched with an appropriately attractive melody as the path to a great song. If the listener is carried away by the end result, they don’t generally care about what’s in the sausage, so to speak. The average music listener doesn’t turn on the radio to overthink the way the song was made. They just know they like it because it either has a captivating rhythm/beat/melody and/or a story they can see themselves in. Either way, most people naturally enjoy the music they enjoy without having to overthink it. And a musician, many times it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you are playing a difficult song with several chord changes or restructure that doesn’t conform to popular normalcy. However, if you are playing for the audience, most people’s favorite songs involve three or four chords and are basically catchy.

          As young baseball players, most of us imagine blasting a shot out of a stadium with the game on the line, saving the win with an amazing diving catch on a dead sprint against all odds or stealing a guy’s eyes out at home plate to win the World Series. We don’t generally picture ourselves and say “I’m going to lead the league in war or defensive zone rating”. The beauty of baseball to me, has always been in its simplicity. Not that understanding the game as a whole is the simplest sport but, once you understand the game and how to play it, you can easily fall in love with it, play it that way and follow it that way. We know what a home run looks like, we know what a catch and a stolen base look like, we know what an error looks like, we know what a strikeout looks like. Those have always been the way the game was broken down and, that’s how I enjoy the game. I understand what these analytics purport to do but I don’t see how any, knowledgeable baseball person, whether it be a fan or someone in the front office, suddenly can’t build a team or enjoy the game without scrambling these numbers together for the sake of God knows what. Of course you can break down a season, a game or a player and say whatever you want about analytics but those same results also break down to standard statistics, which make the analytics possible to create in the first place. I have done and still do way more math than I ever would have wanted to do in my life, I don’t need to do it for enjoyment. Compilations of anything, including statistics, by nature, require the mind to break them back down, whether instantaneously or however long it takes, to fully appreciate each aspect that the compilation for ports to encompass. Again, with music, you don’t buy a compilation album and view of hear all 20 songs as one. I do appreciate each of them individually. By the same token, addressing something as simple as OPS, you would still naturally want to see how the on-base percentage and slugging percentage breakdown to fully evaluate which qualities, and how much of each you are getting from a given player. As such, if I know those two qualities or quantities, why do I need the extra step of adding them together to come up with some other number that basically tells me information I already know?

          Anyway, I’ve certainly explained how I view it enough times here. And I understand how others want to view it from their standpoints. I don’t be grudge anyone anything who enjoys what they enjoy. Really just comes down to preference.

          • And yes, A League of Their Own is a great one. Bang the Drum Slowly is sad but also a good one.

      • A couple of things here. Analytics are not solely used to evaluate talent for acquisition and/or promotion, they are also used for approach on the field. That is what was being highlighted by CWR, I believe. Analytics will tell you that bunting is a waste of an out, similarly hit and run is not necessarily a great strategy, and base stealing is not hugely productive in the sort of run environment being seen in MLB during the 90’s and early 2000’s. So he’s not saying the Sox were using analytics to become a better base stealing team, but you’ll notice that they stole relatively few bases, but with a better success rate than most of the rest of the league. The idea being not to steal a lot of bases, but not to give up a lot of outs by trying to steal more than necessary. And in 2004 they were 11th in steals, but they had a better % than the 3 teams behind them and the 2 in front of them.

        The second would be that analytics are an addition to managements tools for player development, acquisition and/or promotion, not the only thing. Also, there’s simply no denying that Theo Epstein, and several of the other front office personnel like Jed Hoyer, etc. he worked with, have used it with great success. It doesn’t mean, and shouldn’t be expected, that they wouldn’t also make decisions based on scouting and personal observations.

        “On top of that, how did the “analytics-driven” Red Sox completely miss the value of Scott Hatteburg?”

        They didn’t. Hattberg was a 1st round pick of the Sox long before James started working for them, which was a couple of years before Epstein took over. Furthermore, he was the starting catcher for 2 seasons and the back up to Varitek for 3 before they traded him for Pokey Reese, definitely an analytics player since Reese could never hit but was considered a great defender by the metrics. And if you believe the metrics, Hatteberg only had one good season after he left Boston given his offensive value was offset by his lack of defensive value the rest of the time. But only if you believe the metrics/analytics 🙂

        • Well I wasn’t really saying they were trying to become a better base stealing team. I said Damon did steal bases. The point being, if stealing less bases was part of the analytics approach, they failed. In 2003, Damon and Nomar stole more bases together than the entire 2001 team combined. When they won it all in 2007, they stole 96 bags, even more than they did with Damon. In ’13 they ripped off 123 bases and then 125 in ’18.
          I’m certainly not arguing that there aren’t people sitting in the office poring over analytics while making their decisions. I’m simply saying, what the hell are they doing that for? Every point I highlighted was clearly based in everyday baseball observation. At least as far as mining talent and constructing a team. Beyond that, teams, at least any team not named the Yankees and now the Dodgers, have always sought on field value for less monetary value. Of course Mueller was a more than serviceable third baseman and why wouldn’t you take a shot at him at that price? Especially after the Hillenbrand (they will regret getting rid of me) experiment failed to produce results. My point is, that’s a move that has been made for decades upon decades in baseball and, while somebody may have looked at some analytical disparity between the two of them or between Mueller and any other choice, it was a pretty straightforward, by the books and somewhat savvy baseball move. I can’t really see what the need for any analytics would have been in that situation.

          The point about Hatteberg is that, if they were being so analytical already, they should not have lost him and should have recognized his value analytically had he been used the way Oakland used him. In the stories of Moneyball, he is touted as a brilliant maneuver Oakland made upon discovering his analytical value and utilizing him in a different manner than Boston had. In four years with Oakland, his first and third year were pretty identical and pretty productive while his second and fourth years took somewhat of a dip. The man fielded his position at over a .990 percentage the entire time and certainly wasn’t any worse than the majority of first baseman. Of course, if you take into account, manufactured equations that depend on someone doing what a non-playing human being decided they should be able to do, like defensive war or zone rating, then I guess he doesn’t look as good defensively but obviously my arguments pretty rarely deal in fiction. And I don’t mean that to stir up shit but, I am a show me guy. As a boss in any business, I have never demanded someone do something that I can’t show them how to do or I’m not willing to do myself if I had to. After all, if you’re going to lead the way, there’s no better way to do it then actually leading the way instead of talking about it. Or telling people what they should be able to do in spite of never doing it yourself. Until Bill James or anyone like him takes the field and shows me how they can make every play they’ve decided anyone in any zone should be able to make, they should really shut the hell up. But that’s just me. I don’t really believe in people sitting on a perch and determining what others should be able to do when they can’t do it themselves. I’ve watched a lot of baseball over the years and read an awful lot of stats as I’m sure have you, yet, I have never seen Bill James among any listing of statistics showing me he has ever produced anything more than snake oil. I understand you have an appreciation for these analytics but, nothing we’ve discussed here and nothing anyone brings up in most baseball conversations cannot be discerned by good old-fashioned baseball acumen. You want a guy who is a good defender? Then get one. If you can break down every champion ever and show me that none of them had defenders who made more errors than someone else who is considered a better fielder than I would be flabbergasted. Point being, everyone makes errors in the field so basing roster construction on hypothetical defense as opposed to an actual track record doesn’t really work for me. Plenty of teams have won it all without the best defenders in the league.

          If you want a guy who hits then you go get a guy who has proven he hits. No one knows what that looks like anymore without analytics? So on and so forth for pretty much every role in the game.

          So as far as Theo Epstein and anyone else using metrics to great success, the reverse argument can easily be made that, the proof was already in the pudding for any move they credited to analytics. After all, without a player actually producing real statistics, what would you use to determine any ratio? The number would be zero. So it basically boils down to a very secondary form of analyzing players because all of these manufactured equations rely completely on the actual statistics they purport to demean.

          As a very stripped down basic example, if a guy doesn’t hit or walk, he doesn’t get on base and he doesn’t slug. So without those numbers, where would you get something as simple as OPS+? Certainly not the most convoluted example of a useless statistic but, a perfect example nonetheless. If we already know his slugging percentage and on base percentage, why do we need this redundant information?

          Every supposed analytic is based in real numbers to begin with and then tinkered with in several instances to make “adjustments”. So, unless you simply value hypothetical, manufactured attempts at analysis, take any shaver metric you want and break it down. What are the numbers you need to make that ratio work? Throw away any adjustments made by someone who has no business making adjustments and there you are, the actual numbers. If we already know the numbers that make the ratio, what do we need the ratio for? I guess that’s really always been my point. It seems like an awful lot of extra work to speak differently and mean the same thing.

          And winning ball games without instituting age-old strategies such as the hit and run or the bunt doesn’t mean those things don’t work. The number of times they have worked over the decades is countless. Just because I can do something without doing something else doesn’t mean that something else doesn’t work. It has worked many times. While it is certainly more exciting to watch big hits and home runs for many people, I couldn’t guess how many times a team has won a game because of good strategic small ball. Hell we still do it in Little League all the time. We won a number of games this past fall because of strategic hit-and-run and bunting situations. Obviously it is not Major League Baseball but baseball is baseball and the strategy still works in the right situation. Do you want to live and die by it? Of course not that would be stupid. But so is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

        • I bet some of you guys have”I Love Sabermetrics” tattooed across your backs. Holy mackerel

  34. As of January 6, 2024: Five are in the green zone. And five have 0 votes.
    Will the pattern hold up?

  35. I don’t like the trickle of one new vote per day.
    We should be getting 10 new votes a day every day in January.

    • That’s all the secretive clowns who want to put off catching any crap for their garbage ballots. Really bad system they have.

    • You know they aren’t required to reveal their ballots before the announcement, right?

      • Of course. They never have. But you have some guys who are obviously anxious and upset about it here so just offering a reason.

    • Don’t really see any hate here. Common misconception over the last couple of generations. Difference of opinion doesn’t equal hate. Only equals difference of opinion.

  36. It’s looking more like Beltre, Mauer and Helton will be the inductees this time around…historically, the %’s usually drop as we get closer to the actual results….

  37. BIG HALL advocate here. In my humble opinion, the Hall of Fame is a museum that should properly represent the ENTIRE history of the game (yes, the good, the bad and the ugly) and not arbitrarily reflect the moral judgements of a few hundred scribes who absolutely can write a great game but could not hit a batting practice fastball out of the infield or catch anything this side of a cold. When I take my young daughter to Cooperstown some day and there is shift sized gap of missing exhibits and plaques that you could bunt a double into, well, that is just plain wrong.

    I believe that these Era Committees are too restricted in their ability to right the injustices that have occurred over the years thanks to the writers. This could be corrected if the Era Committees went to a simple binary ballot, as many probably wanted to vote for more candidates and ran out of votes (screwing Mr. Sweet Lou Pinella and Mr. Dick Allen (RIP) In recent years, for example).

    Forgetting about this year’s ballot, where a strong case could be made for at least a dozen of these men, the 80’s and 90’s players are drastically underrepresented in the gallery.

    Here are some players whom deserve the ultimate glory before they pass, because remember, though they will hopefully be immortalized here they are human beings who would love to hoist a few beverages with their brethren while they are above ground. Ultimate thrill and oh to be a barfly on the wall for those conversations…

    Future Eras Committees, if you see this post, in addition to the aforementioned Mr. Pinella and Mr, Allen, please give the following gentlemen another look (in no particular order) as they are all certainly deserving.:
    *Dwight Evans
    *Lou Whitaker
    *Kenny Lofton
    *Dave Stieb
    *Don Mattingly
    *Keith Hernandez
    *Dave Parker
    *Tommy John
    *Dale Murphy
    *Thurman Munson

    Thanks for reading and Cheers!

  38. Most players who have fallen off the ballot due to steroid use REALLY should be in. Many people forget that Barry Bonds played in Pittsburgh, but he was very good there. He won 2 MVPs! Roger Clemens was the same, as he won an MVP in 1986 with the Red Sox and had a season that was so good it rivaled Bob Gibson’s 1968 season. Big Mac was incredible at the beginning of his career, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1988. A-Rod was outstanding in Seattle and joined the 40/40 club there. (Only Soriano and Acuna have done that without steroids). Canseco pretty much used steroids his whole career, but during his peak in the late 80’s, he was indescribable. I am a person who believes that if you use steroids, it is wrong, but you have to look at their natural talent (how good they were before steroids). Ortiz, Bagwell, Thomas and more have all been linked to steroids and yet are in the Hall of Fame.

    Think of it this way: If Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc.’s careers had ended before they took steroids, they would most likely be in the Hall already. You never know if “Hall of Fame locks” like Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani could start using steroids. Gaylord Perry broke the rules during his Hall of Fame career, known for using the spitball. Once they found out, they were mad, but he was in the Hall already. So if Bonds was inducted and they didn’t know that he used steroids, like it or not, he would be in the Hall.

    • I see you are a Cubs fan — but let’s not always hate on the White Sox – Frank Thomas was NEVER linked to steroids…In fact he blasted those players caught using…he was a beast of a man in high school…His highest home run total were 46 and 44 (only twice over 40 home runs)…If he juiced won’t he think the numbers would have been higher??? For sakes Brady Anderson hit 50!!! Leave your Sox hate at the door and use FACTS.

      PS. My friend Pete and I were pretty good players “before” we got caught…Shouldn’t our stats count “before’ we cheated? Kinda blows the Bonds was great before argument…can’t use the Johnny was always a good boy excuse to get out of trouble.

    • I don’t know where you two cats have been all this time but Led and Cubsfan, you’re right in my wheelhouse. At this point, I couldn’t agree more that the Hall should just be viewed as the museum that it’s become. Representing the whole history of the game. Not necessarily throwing in every joker that ever put on cleats obviously, but guys that made a huge difference in their time are the guys most worth seeing when you go in there. The Hall was originally designed to be for only the elite. That was the plan of Ford Frick and his crew. It has become so far from that at this point, how can anyone keep looking at it and say that’s what it is anymore? In which case, why not make it great?

      You hear a lot of talk about peak and prime and analytic numbers. Do you know Darryl Strawberry has a higher ops+ than more than half of the Hall of Fame? And I don’t even care about those numbers but if you’re going to use them, use them to make the Hall matter. If you want to talk about things like character then really talk about it. Strawberry had the power of Reggie Jackson with a better strikeout rate. His average wasn’t great but neither are some of the other averages we’ve been talking about in recent years or some of the averages in the Hall of Fame already. Strawberry made a lot of mistakes and ruined himself by 30 years old. The character part though, is where he worked through all of that and managed to come back and still play some baseball. He spent most of his thirties as a part-time guy but, overcoming everything he did and still put up some pretty decent numbers overall considering the time he missed, and after coming clean with the whole world and getting help in order to do that shows a pretty good amount of character. Not only was Strawberry’s prime longer and better than some Hall of Famers but he was one of the greatest players of the 1980s. What a great piece of history for a baseball museum to educate fans with.

      Led, I agree with your entire list and probably have mentioned a number of them throughout this thread myself. There are already so many guys from past generations in the Hall by the hand of the veterans committee that there is pretty good representation there for those generations. Maybe there could be more but that’s really what this should be.

      And Cubsfan, I have long agreed that the PED thing was overblown. First of all, the current punishment standard in baseball was not in effect when all of those guys were doing whatever they were doing, along with, if you believe David Wells, 25 to 40% of the game. As such, only the guys who put up great numbers are being punished because plenty of other guys did it and just weren’t good enough for anyone to care that they were using. Which, not only shows that you need a lot more than peds to be great but that those guys were still at the top of the game no matter what. In some cases, guys have already been suspended and punished for what they did only to keep being punished by a bunch of writers. Who the hell cares with those guys think? I don’t even listen to them on TV or anywhere for that matter, other than to get factual information like what happened in the game last night or who was traded. Otherwise, what do I care what your opinion is? As intelligent fans, we all have our own opinions, we just have regular jobs that we have to do, and in many cases, had early life responsibilities that precluded us from being able to work as an intern somewhere for low or next to no money long enough to become a writer. Certainly doesn’t mean we know any less.

      Was it against the rules? Sure it was. Babe Ruth allegedly injected himself with sheep testosterone. Pud Galvin with some concoction of dog and guinea pig testosterone. Mantle allegedly injected a mixture of steroids and amphetamines which caused his abscess and hampered his performance during the 61 home run chase with Maris. There are several alleged racists and former KKK members in the Hall of Fame. Probably easier to count the guys that didn’t use speed then it is to count the guys that did. All of a sudden we need a group of sports writers to decide what’s right and wrong? Rodger Clemens was acquitted in a court of law. That means, no matter who thinks what, all you do is think it. They could not prove he used anything. That means these characters have basically decided to play God. There is nothing about his career that doesn’t scream Hall of Fame yet, they purposely kept him out based on personal beliefs. That’s who you want picking out your Hall of Famers? That’s who the Hall of Fame should really take a good look at, the voters. Where is the character in deciding someone is guilty all on your own want a court of law couldn’t do that? As for the guys they could prove, okay, we get it. How long do you need to carry on this martyrdom charade? How about if MLB hired an investigator for a Mitchell report 2? This time, you investigate the past of every writer who has a Hall of Fame vote and if they have ever committed an offense of any kind, they are fired from their jobs immediately? Still want to take umbrage with character clauses?

      Anyway, you guys both make great points and it’s a shame more people don’t see that. It would make this all much more enjoyable.

      • “You hear a lot of talk about peak and prime and analytic numbers. Do you know Darryl Strawberry has a higher ops+ than more than half of the Hall of Fame?”

        Do you know Darryl Strawberry has only 72% of the PA’s of the average HOF? Do you know his last 8 seasons averaged 42 games and 149 PA’s per season? Do you know those last 8 seasons don’t even equate to two full time seasons in terms of PA’s? Come on, get serious. Sure a 138 OPS+ is very good, and quite similar to many HOF Right Fielders, but they average 10547 PA’s in their career, that does not make Straw equivalent to them. The only RF in the HOF (post 1950) like Strawberry in terms of playing time is the VC pick Oliva, but at least Oliva looks like a HOF in terms of leading the league and being at the top 10 of league leaders during his career. Oliva’s Black and Gray ink scores are HOF level, Straw’s are nowhere near.

        “Not only was Strawberry’s prime longer and better than some Hall of Famers but he was one of the greatest players of the 1980s. What a great piece of history for a baseball museum to educate fans with.”

        Please show which HOF his prime is longer and better than (and don’t include middle infielders and catchers, let’s hear about corner OF because that’s what he was) and how that qualifies him for the HOF. The HOF has a museum to educate fans with. Don’t conflate the plaque room, which honors the players elected to the HOF, with the museum. They are two entities under the same roof, but they are not the same thing. The full title is National Baseball Hall of Fame AND Museum.

        • Do I know all of those things by heart? Not really but I’m sure they are easily accessible between baseball reference and Baseball almanac among other reference sources. But that wasn’t really the point of the conversation. The discussion revolved around recognizing the value of generational players in a place where it is somewhat lacking. Of course there is a museum with a whole bunch of artifacts, memorabilia anecdotes and so on. But being a Hall of Famer is not equivalent to being mentioned in some other room. Naturally, for anyone who still thinks the plaque room represents only the most elite, Strawberry would fall shy to many an eye.

          If I had to guess, I would say less than a dozen Hall of Fame right fielders hit more home runs. No small feat considering his “minimal plate appearances”. The man’s career was basically a 9-year prime from his rookie year through his first season with the Dodgers. I would also have to imagine that he ranked in the top 10 in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage at least 6 to 8 times in each of those categories. Multiple consecutive 20/20 seasons including a 30-30 season, huge contribution to a legendary World Series win, probably two or three Silver slugger awards and I imagine several other finishes in different categories in the top 10 throughout those prime years. Also, probably listed on baseball reference but I really don’t have much time to study that and reprint it all here.

          Also, not only am I very aware that he lacked playing time after those 9 years but I believe I addressed it in the post in this part you forgot to quote, “He spent most of his thirties as a part-time guy but, overcoming everything he did and still put up some pretty decent numbers overall considering the time he missed, and after coming clean with the whole world and getting help in order to do that shows a pretty good amount of character”.

          Honestly, it’s amazing the guy was able to come back and play baseball at all after everything that went on in his life, self-inflicted or not. The 24 home run season part-time for the Yankees is one of my favorite redemption stories in baseball.

          How could you go wrong printing that on a plaque?

          But again, the point was not remotely that he was Hank Aaron but that, if the character clause is supposedly so powerful that it is keeping out ped guys, how is the reverse not true for a guy like that who overcame everything he overcame, broke himself down in the public eye and never gave up? Should have been worth at least the 5% of votes necessary to have stayed on the ballot longer. But that’s just my count I guess. If it’s not obvious by now, my thought processes don’t generally conform to just every social norm or status quo. Too many intangibles exist in too many stories to relegate fates and legacies to that kind of pre-packaged thinking. He was also a shortstop early in his career so, if he had stayed at that position, would 335 home runs have been more impressive because of where he stood on defense when his team was not at bat? Mookie Betts has been predominantly transitioning back to second base, does that completely change his offensive output somehow? If anything, being able to play multiple positions is another feather in the guy’s cap for me. As such, I can’t really relegate judging the offensive output of a player to solely comparisons with players of his position. Defensively? Of course you’re going to compare guys but to me, defensive positioning is irrelevant as far as analyzing offensive output. With maybe the exception of a designated hitter, who has to sit down for long periods and do nothing and suddenly amp himself up without being involved physically in the overall flow of the game.

          So again, off the top of my head, I would guess his hit total would be in line with guys like King Kelly and Ross Youngs. His home run output, if I am correct would fall somewhere around 10th or 12th among right fielders, which of course, is exactly what he was, reaching a thousand RBIs in his diminished plate appearances looks pretty good considering the guys with 3 to 500 more played the equivalents of probably five to seven more full seasons to get there and, after all, we have previously discussed the viability of RBIs based on guys in front of him getting on base in the first place. Certainly not the best batting average of all time but that crazy ops+ looks pretty good among all the rest.

          But of course, you have to regard this in the context it was discussed in. We weren’t discussing who is the greatest right fielder of all time, we were discussing expanding generational representation to really include guys who were huge stars for an amount of time pretty similar to how long he was. The generation was what it was. On the whole, power hitters were not expected to bat .320 and.320 hitters were not expected to smash 30 to 40 home runs. So Strawberry’s 9 year run of pretty awesome production looks pretty great in the overall scheme of his career. If he hadn’t bothered to overcome his demons and spend all those years trying like hell to come back, would the story look different? If he died in a plane crash after those 9 years, what would the overall outlook be? Guaranteed, you would have people saying he was a generational talent whose career was cut short too soon by unfortunate circumstance. He would have been on the ballot in the mid to late 90s and viewed completely differently by a different group of writers who had just witnessed his career brilliance recently. And that’s only assuming they didn’t hold one of those special elections because of the terrible circumstances that would have caused his career to end. He was easily a generational talent through the 1980s and one of the most feared producers the game during that time. So because he spent years trying to come back, we average out those years and disregard what he was for how long he was and in the era that it happened?

          Again, the basic point was, if the induction process encompassed a broader view as a whole and included the idea of generational representation being more than just a handful of guys who were the most popular and productive, he would be a guy to add to the list for his generation.

          If you’re only looking for the supreme elite, an awful lot of guys have to leave the Hall first in order to get there.

          • “But that wasn’t really the point of the conversation. The discussion revolved around recognizing the value of generational players in a place where it is somewhat lacking.”

            Had a long reply set up but it got dumped. I think we have very different perspectives on what the HOF is or should be and this is why we seem to disconnect so much/often. But in the end we’re both fans of the game and enjoy these conversations. I am curious about your “generational players.” Are you looking for something more like roughly equal representation from each decade or something like that?

          • I think we all have different perspectives. Me, you, Norm, Victor, Artie, Oswaldo, Cubsfan, Ron, Baseballfan, Led, Sharon and everyone else on this thread look at the game and the Hall of Fame in different ways. And in some aspects, those ways have similarities and then in others they differ greatly. To tell you the truth, as I mentioned a while back, for a long time, my mindset was based on the original plan that the Hall was meant to be a showcase for the ultimate elite. A Rushmore rather than a zoo or aquarium. I spent year after year, like many steadfast traditionalists, being frustrated at the inclusions of guys who were really good but not necessarily the greatest of all time. But my mindset has adapted over time for multiple reasons. Probably the biggest being, I have been tasked many times in the workplace with taking things that are out of control or broken, not having the option to to reverse them but, instead, having to go from there and right the ship. Get things back on track in the most feasible, proficient manner and provide a solution to allow forward progress. So, applying that mindset to this situation, I have taken into account, the myriad of different outlooks offered by so many different people in these conversations and even on this thread. With that in mind, I now look at the hall more as something that needs to be fixed because, if you really break down what so many people are saying, it’s badly broken and fans are not ecstatic about the prospect of visiting such a place and paying money for it. And that is sad because, it was supposed to be the baseball fans’ Holy Grail, so to speak. And what do you really have if only the Hall, the writers and maybe 20% of the population are ok with the product? A recipe for disaster and at the very least, declination of interest. Like so many things they are doing to the game in the last several years with strange rule changes etc, you may be appeasing some but you are alienating several others. Robbing Peter to pay Paul has never been a wise solution and in the end, always leaves another problem to be solved. So how do you fix that?

            Well, I would start with the idea that, they are not going to take anyone out of the Hall of Fame who has already been enshrined. And realistically, they shouldn’t. Whether we are all in agreement or not on the validity of those players, it is probably more important to preserve the dignity, or whatever dignity is left, of the election process and not cheapen it by utilizing the old, “changed my mind, I have a new best friend today” approach. Therefore, you would need to look at what many people consider to be the “problems” and turn them into positives somehow. Obviously there are many who feel the hall should still be only the top, upper echelon. Unfortunately, to fix that, you would have to remove a whole bunch of people. Since that does not make sense at this point, the only other solution would be to go in the opposite direction. Not endlessly of course but, in the interest of equal and appropriate representation along the lines of the faction not everyone agrees with at this point. In order to have a place where only the elite reside, you would have to have parameters in place to steadfastly define what elite is. Obviously, those parameters were attempted many years ago as things like 3000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 wins, and 3,000 strikeouts. Along the way, concessions have been made for things like 400 home runs but he also batted 300. Not the worst direction you could go in but you have now broken the parameters. Once that happens, the floodgates open for concessions everywhere and anywhere. So you come to the point where we have guys using hypothetical numbers in an attempt to rectify the situations. Which leads to inductees who are nowhere near the original parameters getting plaques that basically boil down to “.280 avg, 300 home runs, barely 2000 hits but he could catch and throw”. That’s not extremely interesting to read at the Pearly Gates and certainly fails, drastically, to meet those original ideals. But you have to keep the shelves stocked if you are going to stay in business, which is, after all, what the Hall really is. By those older parameters, you could expect to induct about 2 people per decade and even that might be a generous estimate in this era of baseball. And it doesn’t solve the existing issue. Specifically because your new numbers relegate a guy like Stanton to a less-than-stellar performer overall so what do you do when he hits 500 home runs?

            There are certainly many who would believe Ozzie Smith is not a Hall of Famer, for instance. I can certainly see the argument that, Smith could not hit his backside with the bench between innings and piled up, basically, a bunch of singles over an elongated career. Yes, he was a speedster and a great defender. But I suspect if Ozzie Smith didn’t do backflips and wasn’t Joe Popularity in the media for a couple of decades, he would not have been walked right through the front door. For perspective, it has been argued many times that Andruw Jones is one of the greatest defenders of all time. From the standpoint of equal representation or at least equality, considering his offensive statistics badly dwarf those of Ozzie Smith, he should also have been walked through the door immediately. Jim Edmonds, Torii Hunter and several others would also meet that criteria. Aparicio is not in the Hall of Fame because of his brilliant offense. Many people use the term “compiler” and that applies to Harold Baines and another good chunk of guys, already in the hall. These things are not fixable at this point but they are, however, balanceable. Which brings about my theory of representing everyone’s interests on a grander scale.

            I guess it goes back now, to the panorama conversation. I didn’t live in every decade so I didn’t live through every decade of actual baseball action. I could certainly, endlessly, pore over statistics and identify the players that way but it wouldn’t replace actually being there and hearing/seeing the evolution of the “household names” so to speak. However, my thought process, account for a relatively balanced amalgamation of what a largely unbalanced fan base values, would be to represent those generations better in the plaque room at this point so as to create almost more of an “all-decade” approach. Not necessarily from say, 1940 to 1949 and so on, since so many careers overlapped multiple numerical decades but, you get the idea. There have been many conversations here regarding the peak or prime of a player and, in those conversations, several times, 5 to 6 years has been put forth as a reasonable number, accompanied by, possibly, a few more years of above average production, to paraphrase. So in that case, we would need to discount the idea of a career being less valued by waning years, personal problems costing the player time, and any other outside reasoning for using less than stellar seasons to devalue a comparable selection of prime performance. The point would be to represent the level of performance the truly above-average player contributed for an elongated period. I don’t think that period is 3 or 4 seasons but I do think 8-10 is at least sufficient. And obviously the body of work for those seasons should be such that, even for only that period, the player was a memorable, upper-level star. Guys a lot of fans remember as one of the best in his time. For instance, in the Strawberry case, you’re talking about a guy who would easily be the right fielder on many an all-decade team for the 1980s. Not because he is Babe Ruth but because of what he accomplished in that 9 year prime. And here’s where I guess, you could apply your ink colors. Another guy who did not lead the league every year but probably made dozens of appearances in the top 10 combined of several categories is Al Oliver. And again, this goes on and on but not so far that it would be ridiculous to consider. You would basically be talking about looking at specific generations and, through the eyes of that 10-year-old, finding the guys who were among the best of their generation. Not only the top guys but guys who definitely drove the bus for a comparable, reasonable period. Guys who were highly recognizable by the average fan and contributed greatly to, not only the success of their respective teams but, the game as a whole in their time. Probably comes down to a lot of guys who were consistently top 10 players in significant categories at that point because they would tend to be the guys who would have been most recognizable in any given period among the games best. No, you’re not looking for Josh Hamiltons with a very short boom and a career almost no one will recall but guys like Staub, Oliver, Parker, Murphy, Mattingly, Edmonds, Hunter, Kent, Strawberry, Gooden, Abreu, Cone, and others.

            These guys may not have been the greatest ever from the traditional parameter standpoint and they may not match up to the newfangled metrics either but, somewhere in the midst of all of that, these guys were the game to an entire generation of fans. Fans who prospectively pay the freight the Hall thrives on. So why not sell them what they want to pay for? The “only elite” argument went out the window years ago and, a complete tear-down/restart is not going to happen so enhancing the experience would seem to be the most fitting tactic.

            If reading plaques that induce yawning is sufficient now, adding the excitement of the players I’m talking about and showing future generations exactly what any given past generation was built on would only serve to enhance the overall experience.

            What would really fix it after that is maybe a new corridor or other type of expansion where they could honor the absolute elite with something in a grander scale like life-size statues. But it would be a sizeable undertaking to get wrong so there would certainly need to be a definitive guideline established. Whether that is the traditional benchmarks or some combination of multiple, it would basically provide the desired mecca for the ultra-traditionalists and purists while, at the same time, render a voting process unnecessary. And this would be the only way to ensure such a display remained unadulterated because you would now remove, beyond the initial establishment of guidelines of course, the entire process from human effectuation.

            Now you can fix your plaque room and appease far more fans, maintain your museum displays and have a truly elite room for only the absolute greatest. Yes, I’m aware the plaque room was supposed to be that but it is very clearly not that so why keep pissing off so many fans when you can just as well win their affection? It seems pretty stupid for a business based on appealing to people’s sense of nostalgia to continue belying it’s future to the whims of a few hundred falable people who continue to create such divisiveness among themselves and between the consumers and purveyors of the game’s legacies.

            The complete preclusion of the PED era hurts the product because it happened. It was a real time. No need to cover all of this again because we all know how many historic transgressions already reside in the Hall and that this ethical showboating is exactly that. We are also all aware of the many inductees who don’t quite equal elite. And lastly, we all know there are plenty of people on both sides of the tradition argument. But the fact is, the argument for that tradition is long lost so why not make the most of a bad situation?

            If the Hall is satisfied with it’s status quo and doesn’t feel there is a problem then obviously that’s their business. But if you’re going to run a business, isn’t one of the goals usually consistent growth? It definitely is in most businesses and those businesses don’t usually accomplish the goal by alienating existing or potential clientele. Of course some genius will read this and respond with the ever-so-thought provoking “the Hall isn’t going to miss your money” or something equally clever to attempt to belittle the point but, the fact remains, it is a business. Businesses don’t thrive on losing customers. And it certainly seems this current model is heading in the wrong direction.

            So that’s where this thought process came from. I can certainly make arrangements all day for why only the elite should be there, but when the war is lost, is it really prudent to stand on the hill firing my cannon at no one? I’d rather see it be enjoyable as most entertainment-based ventures are usually meant to be. Come to think of it, I can’t think of an entertainment faction that purposely goes out of it’s way to knowingly annoy such a large faction of it’s potential fan base than the Baseball Hall of Fame does. Kind of strange from that standpoint.

            So I guess, yes, I think a good balance of representation of all generations would probably satisfy a lot more fans and create a far more fulfilling experience when visiting the Hall. The “only elite” plan is long gone so who would it hurt to represent more guys the fans really want to see? Is the point of the Hall to entertain the writers or the much larger quantity of money-spending, average fans who want to see their heroes in there?

            For the fun of conversation, we can argue, advocate and denigrate a lot of views but I think fixing the Hall for the enjoyment of the mist possible fans is pretty important. It may seem like a solid institution that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon but, so have a lot of things, until they’re suddenly not anymore.

          • Just a little add-on here, why would you want people to walk out of the Hall knowing who Phil Rizzuto, Peewee Reese, Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparicio are but not Campy and Concepcion? In the pre-shortstop bomber era, who didn’t know who those guys were? You could go on and on here but I surmise you get the picture.

          • “With that in mind, I now look at the hall more as something that needs to be fixed because, if you really break down what so many people are saying, it’s badly broken and fans are not ecstatic about the prospect of visiting such a place and paying money for it.”

            Thanks for sharing this. I understand if you think the HOF is broken, you would feel a need to repair it. I look at it as flawed, but no more flawed than it has been for 70 years or more. This difference in perspective, along with differences on stats, is I’m sure the reason why we keep talking past each other so much. But I get where you’re coming from now and that helps.

            “Obviously, those parameters were attempted many years ago as things like 3000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 wins, and 3,000 strikeouts. … And it doesn’t solve the existing issue. Specifically because your new numbers relegate a guy like Stanton to a less-than-stellar performer overall so what do you do when he hits 500 home runs?”

            Again, a difference in perspective. Those stats you mention are not minimums, but they are numbers which have evolved over decades of HOF voting into levels at which one is assumed to be a clear HOF. There has always been room for players without the magic numbers to be elected. As to Stanton, I’m curious about what “new numbers” you think say Stanton is anything less than stellar. Right now he has 44 career WAR, which is just below where most people start to consider someone a legit candidate (not a slam dunk, but someone worth considering carefully). His career OPS+ is not great by HOF standards, but there’s nothing wrong with his peak and prime numbers. What he lacks is health, and the same would be true for his “traditional” stats. Right now from a purely WAR/JAWS perspective, and any reasonable person who uses advanced metrics for analysis would not use only a WAR perspective but consider other aspects and stats, he looks a lot like Tony Oliva, a recent Era selection. But your question about what to do with him “when he hits 500” is something that couldn’t be fairly answered until he does.

            Personally I see him as unlikely to get there. He has show he can still hit a good number of HR even without being particularly healthy. But his playing time and HR (and OPS+ for that matter) have all dropped each of the past two seasons from a very good and pretty healthy 2021. He’s not getting any younger, so I don’t expect him to pick up on those numbers. I believe the Yanks will not take his option for a 5th year at $25 million (costs them $15 million to do so, but it’s free to let him go as the $10 million to drop him would be paid by the Marlins), so that leaves him 4 years to hit 98. Now if he does do that, it will mean he remained relatively productive and he would add a few more WAR to his career numbers, but it will not change him into anything other than a borderline candidate. Is that a flaw in WAR or a change in the game? Of course you know my answer. Stanton is an exceptional HR hitter who has played in an era of high HR totals, and this along with a career year of 59 has put him in range of getting there without the accompanying career numbers that would previously have been seen.

            Hypothetically if you give him 4 more seasons with the average stats of his last 3 (which is very generous given his age and health history), yes, he would have 522 HR, but only 1070 runs, less than 2000 hits, less than 1500 RBI, a .252 average. Those are not overwhelming numbers once past the HR, right? In fact they’re quite similar to Adam Dunn’s career stats, or Nelson Cruz. On the advanced metric side of things he’d add about 4 WAR and his OPS+ would probably drop around another 7 points give or take a few. I think taken together both would show him to be borderline, but that’s by HOF standards as I view them. Given your perspective on recognizing generational player he’s an easy yes I’d say, quite similar to Strawberry in many ways.

          • Exactly. Stanton is just obviously one example but a pretty solid one considering he is currently active but also on the back stretch. But like you said, right now, his war and whatever are on track with what analytics people would look for but, considering over the last five years, even when he is playing he’s not really doing anything but heading home runs, I imagine those numbers will drop while his home runs climb. Even if he doesn’t stay in New York, maybe he signs for a little money with his hometown Dodgers and finishes off his career there at some point, but if that takes 8 years and he lands somewhere around 550-600 but batting .240 and everything else kind of lingering near the trash can, do the new metrics keep him out? As you say, who knows until we get there but that was kind of my point. He’s part of a generation where there aren’t many guys still hitting 500 home runs in a career anymore whether it’s due to health or better pitching or whatever. Yes home runs are up as a whole but that kind of longevity hasn’t been really prevalent in a while. Cabrera recently crawled to the finish line but, aside from him, most of the most recent guys to do it are being ignored over ped nonsense.

            And like I said, for a long time I banged my head against the wall supporting the argument that only the top tier of guys belonged there but, I keep fighting the tide? It’s not going to change. Call it broken call it flawed, either way it ain’t what it was supposed to be.

            Big animal lover family here and I’ve been to some of the biggest shoes around this country. Not San Diego yet though I hope to get there someday but Columbus, Philly, National zoo, so on. Aquariums too. But I don’t generally walk in the door, drop 150 bucks on the family and then walk out say “boy that stupid moon bear doesn’t belong in there at all” or ” I can’t believe this place doesn’t have a narwhal, I want my money back”. Which I just boils down to, those places do all that they can to provide the most possible variety and bang for your buck and, it would generally seem, without prejudice. The Hall of Fame is asking for your money to walk in the door, why wouldn’t you go on over your way to make sure you maintain that customer base? It should either be only for the greatest or all encompassing. Somewhere in between just sucks, especially when there are so many arguable entities between the amount of fans you have for this sport.

            And of course those numbers were never set in stone as a minimum but the point is, those were attempts at guidelines however they came about over the years and, even those guidelines are not really providing much to go by. Although, for all those in favor of the extremely small haul approach, that would certainly be the way to get it. But no, I don’t think that’s the way to go anymore at this point as I have described here. Way too late for that.

            It’s definitely fun to have something for guys like us to debate ad nauseam but it would be really fun if the place was perfect for everyone to enjoy and not so stressful for those poor guys like Oswaldo who would clearly love to go in there and see some of his favorite guys who seem to be getting no attention based on the current strategies for election. It should be, to steal a phrase “the happiest place on earth” for baseball fans.

          • “Exactly.”

            What do you mean exactly? You said modern metrics showed Stanton to be less than stellar, they don’t.

            “but if that takes 8 years and he lands somewhere around 550-600 but batting .240 and everything else kind of lingering near the trash can, do the new metrics keep him out?”

            No, absent some “character” issue he would get in I’m sure. But that’s absurd. He’s not going to hit 600, or 550, he’s not even going to get to 500. Here’s the list of players who have hit 198 or more HR from age 34 on: Bonds, Aaron, Cruz, Palmeiro, Ruth, Galaraga, Ortiz, Pujols, Darrell Evans, Fisk, Mays and Ibanez. Let’s just forget about Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays and Pujols because we all know Stanton is not that guy. Cruz averaged 41 HR and 616 PA’s a year from 34 to 38, Stanton has never done that in his entire career, he’s not going to suddenly turn into a guy who plays that often in his mid to late 30’s. Palmeiro 43 and 677 from 34 to 38, ditto. Galaraga 41 and 654 from 34 to 37 and played until he was 43, nope. Ortiz 32 and 577 for 7 years, nope. Evans only 23 and 524 but for 9 years, no way Stanton is going to play that long. Fisk? No, he just played forever, 5102 PA’s from 34 to 45, Stanton is not going to do that. Same with Ibanez, averaged 592 PA’s from 34 to 41. There’s absolutely nothing in Stanton’s track record like that. He has never been able to stay healthy and there’s no way he’s going to start doing so in his mid to late 30’s.

          • Exactly means exactly. I tend to presume a lot of things I say are clear so excuse me if it wasn’t clear. What my comment initially meant was, though he may be close to on track at this moment, being a constant health risk, quickly heading downhill, not being an overall great hitter and not really doing anything at all other than poke home runs, those numbers are not going to look great when he retires on his current path. So my last point was, if in fact he was able to continue playing part-time seasons over the next day, 7- 8 years, it certainly would not be out of the realm of possibility that he would average out at 20 accidental home runs a season since he is in amazing physical condition and strong as an ox when he does play. The constant little nagging things that keep him out would certainly keep him from bashing 40 homers a season, obviously no question there but the man still can flip the bat in disgust and smack a home run on a whim. So the hypothetical point being, if he continues to regress as a hitter overall but somehow squeezes out 20 to 25 home runs a year for even the next 6 years, his metric numbers don’t look so stellar overall as they will only be aided by the home runs and nothing else. In fact, none of his numbers will look very stellar other than those home runs. It was really just a throwaway example of how a guy like that will end up in the Hall of Fame in such a case without being really, overall, an amazing player.

  39. Right on the mark Cubs40, could not agree more.

    Did not directly address those guys in my post above, but again, it’s a museum and they should be in there. Pete and Shoeless too, no matter what is written on the plaque itself, earned that spot for how they played on the field during their era. Period end of story.

    Ps as someone who played D1 and rode the bus for one glorious Summer of minors ball in the heart of the “Steroid Era” yes it was rampant, yes pretty much almost everyone was doing something that would be outside of the current rules/standards/testing, yes I was offered many times but no I never took anything though it was tempting (afraid of what could potentially happen to my body then or in the future).

    Before judging any of us though, think about this-players supremely more talented than I was who were barely hanging on in the Bigs-pressed every day to keep their spot, (and they knew that the young bucks behind them who were just as good if not better and equally importantly were younger and cheaper) and they were told here’s this magic pill/shot/whatever form that if you take it you get to keep doing what you’ve worked all your life for and everything that amazingly cool that goes along with it and if you don’t you’re gonna be out…and you love baseball, it’s all you know and you have a family to support…what would any of us do (again, individual choice, and I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a cheater, but I can’t blame anyone who said yes to the stuff under that type of scenario or even otherwise (and that is a significant part of why the % of players who took something was so high then)-look at why Bonds took the stuff in the first place)…just what it was and to pretend like that era never happened in the museum is simply ridiculous. And how about this double-standard: the top executives, managers and commissioner from then all have plaques while the legends that got them there hang out in purgatory. How is that right?

    One last note in referencing the original post-on HOF Weekend there is a happy hour for only the HOFers-literally only them and a few bartenders sworn to secrecy. That-to me-would be one of the coolest things about being in that most exclusive club-getting to throw back a few with Nolan, Rickey, Wade…just wow. Truly hope that all those most deserving get to experience that. How long until pitchers and catchers? : ) Cheers

    • The museum has all of those players commemorated. The equipment, the stories, etc. It’s the plaque room where they’re absent. Personally I have no problem with Rose and Jackson being excluded from eligibility. They are not absent from the museum though any more than those who have not been elected due to PED controversies. There are, in a sense, two separate entities within the building: the plaque room honoring those who have been elected, and the museum which houses an incredible collection of baseball memorabilia

  40. LDD-wow that was a wonderful post and thank you! You’re right on-the idea of only inner-circle guys went out the window long ago-and also-unless I’m mistaken-the ratio of HOFers :MLB Players is the smallest of the major 4 sports-translated-it is still the most exclusive Players Club out there.

    Ps my buddy met Ozzie Smith on the floor of the Exchange a few years back-said he was legendarily cool and told incredible stories (as one would imagine). One of my buddies asked him who hit the hardest/furthest ball you ever saw and without blinking an eye he said Darryl Strawberry HR Derby 1986 Astrodome hit balls unlike anyone he ever saw.

    • LED, it’s a pretty cool perspective to have had the experience you had and I think a lot of people can’t see it that way because they haven’t lived it that way. That’s the case in a lot of things I guess but it makes perfect sense. In everyday society and normal jobs you see people do things that may or may not be kosher within the confines in an effort to keep themselves ahead. Look at how ambiguous the career of a baseball writer is. Whenever I hear things like “I’m being told…” , “I’m hearing….” or “Sources have told me…”, it pretty much reads like “I’m making this crap up because I have nothing real to write about and I want to sound like I’m breaking something big”. I don’t think anyone cares and I can’t imagine too many people put too much stock into it, but it’s total nonsense. Just look at the debacle that was Ohtani’s free agency. Made up stories, more made up stories and people waiting outside of a plane to take pictures of no one in Toronto well the guy was sitting at home in California probably thinking “I asked these clowns to leave me alone.”

      I grew up playing just about every sport I could including martial arts and spent and an inordinate amount of time around aspiring bodybuilders in a gym. Several guys in my high school were juicing and so were the guys at the gym. As you said though, I was always worried about the effects it would have on my body and I never took the opportunity to use it. Mainly, the high school guys were a big time state football program with a lot of scholarships on the line and the gym guys were looking for recovery advantages. I went from 135-140 to 200 lbs with very little body fat between 16 and 17 years of age just by working like hell in that gym. But I also understood that not everyone’s body was capable of adding that kind of development. I played football but I really didn’t love it. But as a martial artist, baseball player and soccer player who depended on my flexibility, speed, agility and dexterity, I honestly always worried about the risk of bulking up too much and losing those things. (Imagine Jose Canseco’s body trying to deliver a roundhouse kick to the height of someone’s head, if he is limber enough he might make it happen but probably not as fast as it should be to avoid being blocked). So anyway, while a lot of people have come to view it as an equivalent to blasphemy, more often than not, these guys are doing it out of fear of losing what they know or of losing their opportunities. And if everyone else you are competing with is doing it, it’s very hard to not become overwhelmed by the idea that you have no chance unless you keep up with what they are doing. As they say, walk a mile in my shoes.

      Yes, I believe you are correct about the ratio of Hall of Famers. Imagine if hockey only put in the greatest of all time. It would be the Hall of Wayne Gretzky because no one ever has or likely ever will come close to his body of work. Lemieux was the closest to his production level and unfortunately, was seriously derailed by his health circumstances. In the NBA, Jordan would be at the top with a second tier of guys like Bird, Magic, Kareem etc. those guys were great but how much fun would that Hall of Fame be if they had to stop there?

      Shoeless and Charlie Hustle belong there as well. If not for the strange circumstances surrounding Jackson’s testimony, they supposedly disappearing confession, the recanting of the confession, and the fact that he outhit everyone on both teams in that World Series, there might be something to stand on. But with all of those things under consideration, to decide he was guilty with insufficient proof is obscene. Rose as well. MLB now has advertisements for gambling on the back of the mound in televised games. I’m pretty sure we all realize how stupid that punishment looks at this point. So instead, you have people saying he was a pedophile.
      Certainly not something I would ever condone or take lightly but, again, prove it. If this wasn’t simply hearsay from some disgruntled former acquaintance of his, and if there was some kind of proof that was inarguable, of course you could say no way. Same thing with the woman who came out decades later with the affair. She says she was a minor and he says she wasn’t. So, unfortunately, boils down to classic he said she said literally. If some girl came out in 1970 whatever and said this just happened, it could have been investigated and proven one way or the other and then there would be something to stand on. But instead, you have people going by that old Great American axiom of “guilty until proven innocent”.
      Lastly, I grew up learning to hit the Ted Williams way from my father and I don’t regret a second of it so by the time Darryl Strawberry came around, I was already pretty immersed in what I had learned but, Strawberry was amazing to watch. To see his swing and motion was one of the most beautiful things in the game. And yes, he had some ridiculous moonshots. If the saddest thing in the world is wasted talent, he was one of the saddest stories I ever saw.

  41. To make the Hall bigger, it would be wise to lower the necessary percent of votes from 75% down to 65%. This way, if a player receives 67% of the votes, they would get in instead of having to wait a couple years. Schilling, Bonds, etc. would be in already that way, too.

    • It’s ridiculous. It’s an outdated idea derived by a boys club from another time. There should be no player limit on voting and it should be done by a majority rule. 51% is the majority. We don’t elect our presidents based on some off the wall number like 75% or we wouldn’t have a president. And the silliness of waiting 5 years and then giving them 10 years is ridiculous. First ballot, second ballot etc? It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The career was the career and it’s not going to change. If five years isn’t sufficient time to determine the Hall of Fame viability of a player’s career before he’s even eligible, how is 6 to 10 years any different? And if you need that amount of time to analyze the career of a player, especially after 5 years and obviously all the years he already played, you are probably not suited to do the job of voting. Generally, 10 years into a career, you can have a pretty good idea of what trajectory a player is on. At that point it’s really just kind of watching him finish it off and waiting for the end result. Then you have five more years before you have to write down your decision? Seems like a pretty ridiculous amount of time to decide on whether you should use your magical powers to screw somebody or not. 75% was obviously a number dedicated to the idea that, if a guy was so unquestionable that he would achieve 75%,, he is most likely an upper echelon, all time elite guy. That ain’t what this is and this ain’t that anymore so, so much for that idea.

      • “If five years isn’t sufficient time to determine the Hall of Fame viability of a player’s career before he’s even eligible, how is 6 to 10 years any different?”

        This sounds nice, but writers do have full time jobs, and they are demanding jobs. Electing players to the HOF is a nice perk, and there are some who take it seriously and do a good job, but expecting them to devote a lot of time to following who is eligible when, and to analyze those coming up for election isn’t realistic. They take time to come to consensus and the waiting period is designed to allow some perspective to be had, while the eligibility period is designed to allow that consensus to form. It’s a flawed process and institution, but what would you expect from a process that involves so many different and flawed humans?

        • Agree to disagree I guess. I have a full time job and I imagine you do as well. I’d assume from our conversations we both have a pretty good idea of who’s on track in the game right now, nevermind 5 years after they retire. If the guys who are immersed in the game as their full time job don’t have a pretty good idea who those guys are, they’re in the wrong business I think. Part of your business is knowing your business and all of it’s intricacies and I hardly think players on a Hall of Fame trajectory are a small detail that slips your mind.

          • “Agree to disagree I guess.”

            Right, and this is what baseball fans and writers do all the time 🙂

          • But I think someone out of necessity. Writers are handed the opportunity to decide the fates of legends while fans who pay the salaries of those legends and spend their lives supporting the game have to sit back and watch helplessly with only their voices to vent frustrations. At least here, guys like us can go at it and beat this to death mercilessly. Even if it gets us nowhere I guess.

          • We all are always going to disagree. Which is weird because you can’t disagree on what a guy did because he did it. There’s no argument about the numbers someone put up. He put them up. All we are disagreeing on is how we view what the guy did and the importance of it.

          • Like sleeping in class and trying to cram for a test the night before? You’re right about baseball for a living so how would you not have a pretty good idea long before it’s time to vote?

  42. Absolutely concur. It has often been said (paraphrasing) try getting 3/4 of a large group of people to agree about anything good luck haha. That and the 10 player limit-parameters set nearly a century ago when there were significantly fewer players to actually select from. Leading to voters having to change their ballots year to year for who “needs it more”. Come on. Again-binary ballot solves that, but, really like the idea of at least looking at the % number required.

    Whomever didn’t vote for Mr. Griffey a few years ago, for example, had to have had one of three or four things going on; felt need to “save space” and he didn’t “need it” because presumably everyone else was going to vote for him (more on that in a second), “typo” or other accidental omission, had their ballot stolen by Newman and he filled it out in jest or lastly wasn’t wearing glasses/contacts that day. Looking at the ballot this year would say roughly the same thing regarding Mr. Beltre as he was not checked on a few ballots thus far.

    Tom Verducci is one of my favorite baseball writers-and I believe it was he speaking about the broken voting process and how it unfairly hurts worthy candidates but also how inner-circle HOF players including Mr. Griffey, Henderson, Ripken weren’t unanimous said something to the effect of it probably won’t change until there is a blatantly worthy first ballot type candidate some year who falls off the ballot some year because he “doesn’t need my vote”. i would posit that that no, that has not happened to any inner-circle players yet, but it sure has happened to many worthy candidates in their first year or two.

    • When you give unqualified people a job it usually won’t get done right. Anyone who doesn’t vote for an obviously unanimous deserving guy for any reason at all is unqualified. There is absolutely zero legitimate argument to make against voting for guys like Griffey, Ripken and Henderson and a whole lot of other guys. Unanimous has become such a stupid conversation because it shouldn’t even be a question. There should be over 30 guys unanimously in the Hall of Fame already. Ruth, Speaker, Cobb, Mays, Aaron, Matthewson, Gehrig, Williams, Foxx, Hornsby, Big Train, Ryan, Seaver, Schmidt, McCovey, Ripken, Griffey, Piazza, Big Hurt, Henderson, Carlton, Clemens, Randy Johnson, Matthews, Musial, Mantle, Gibson, Mr. October, Brett, Murray,. That was too easy so I’ll stop at 30 but anyone who can poke a hole in one of those is just looking for trouble. I can see guys losing votes because they were proven ped guys or committed some other nonsensical infraction or if you’re looking for guys to hit milestones and a guy doesn’t hit any but you need to really think about his compilation. Then you’re going to get voters who just don’t see it but that’s not any of these guys so the whole unanimous conversation is stupid. That means it all comes down to abuse of power and that was never the intention of this thing.

  43. When most of the players that were kept out of the hall for PED use were using, the MLB was not enforcing the rule of banned substances. That group of players made significant contributions to helping their team win games; in part because they violated an unenforced rule. If Bonds, Clemens, and McGwire are not hall of famers, then how is Bud Selig? (This doesn’t apply to players that continued using when testing was resumed like ARod and Manny)

    Second issue is the thin skin of a minority (though significant group) of BBWAA voters (mostly small hall guys). It seems that they don’t post their ballots because they don’t want to read opposition to their opinion on who should be enshrined. With about 40% of he votes in, only about 23% of last years non-Helton voters and 24% of last years non-Wagner voters ballots are known.

    With regards to small hall vs big hall, if the writers would do their jobs, we wouldn’t need Eras Committees (except for exceptions like Negro League players, Managers, Executives) and their crony voting electing good (not elite) players like Harold Baines.

    • They should have known the system would be problematic from day one. When you’re inaugural class contains the Bambino, the Georgia peach, the big train, big six and the flying Dutchman and none of them are unanimous, there’s something wrong. Foxx didn’t even get 80% of the vote? Ted Williams was not unanimous? Many other guys as well. Unquestionable resumes and some idiot doesn’t vote for them. Bad system

      • There wasn’t something wrong, per se, it’s simply that when the first vote was held there were already over 3 decades of modern baseball players and over 2 decades of 19th century players eligible so the votes were spread out over a huge number of possible players. Now it did become silly from there because writers would use the position that those all time greats in from the early years weren’t unanimous to justify not voting for others, like Williams or Foxx. But where the system really broke down was when the writers sort of sloughed off their responsibility in the 40’s, electing Sisler and Collins in 1939 and no one else until 1947. They compounded this by, after getting a lot of players in during the 50’s, going to every other year elections, not electing anyone from 1957 to 1961, and only 8 overall in the 60’s. This simultaneously opened the doors for the VC to shove in anyone they’d played with thanks to Frisch’s sway over the VC. I’d say it’s not a bad system, but it was poorly implemented over time. The Hall gave the writers too much freedom to decide when they would hold elections, and the VC too much leeway to elect poor players.

        • Well I’d say the things you just said are what makes something wrong. If it ain’t right it’s wrong and after they proved in the first 20 to 30 years to be incapable of making correct decisions, leaving them there and leaving it the way it is only compounded the issue. They are human and obviously affected by stupid things like surly players’ attitudes, popularity and the power to decide what’s right or wrong so that’s a recipe for disaster and it has easily come true.

  44. Well, Victor Martinez got a vote.
    The number of candidates with zero votes now go down to 4.

  45. 5 days til announcement day and we only have 175 votes in. The next few days should have lots of votes coming in.
    Beltre, Helton, Mauer, Wagner, Sheffield, Jones and Beltran are the only players with a real chance of getting in at this point.

    • First four looking good but I won’t hold my breath on Sheffield, Jones or Beltran. Although Beltran should’ve already been in last year.

  46. Right now, Beltre, Mayer and Belton have more than half of the 288 votes needed to be elected.
    Wagner, Sheffield and Jones just below that.
    So far, Beltran has gained 16 votes from last year. Sheffield gained 13.
    But, both need to gain at least 30.

  47. I hate when autocorrect changes the names I type. You know I meant Mauer and Helton.

  48. Kind of odd how the moral compass of writers works. Manny and Rodriguez use peds, get punished and are still being punished some more. Sheffield and Pettitte both come clean and admit to peds, one is at 74% and the other at 15. Beltran banged on some trash cans and stole signs which has gone on forever and he is still being held down. But then, Jones gets arrested for dragging his wife down the stairs by her ankle and trying to choke her and that earns him 71% of the vote? So signed stealing and steroids are worse infractions than attacking your wife and telling her you want to kill her?

    • The big difference is while spousal abuse is bad, it didn’t affect the game of baseball. Sign stealing and PEDs directly change the outcome of baseball games.
      The Hall of Fame is baseball’s version of Heaven. It may be different than the actual heaven. Andrew Jones may not enter one kind of heaven, but can be elected to the heaven in Cooperstown..

      • Pretty sure any domestic violence is about 100,000 times worse than peds or sign stealing. And I’m pretty sure as well that MLB sees it that way too. The problem is, there was no policy on domestic violence until 2015 and prior to that, the only suspension handed out was by the Red Sox when Cordero was arrested for domestic violence in the 90s. If the League didn’t think it affected the game then they would not have instituted the policy under which, several more guys like Russell, Familia, Chapman, Bauer and others are now being suspended. Of course it affects baseball, it’s a huge black eye for the league anytime it happens and is even worse if they were to just ignore it. The problem with Jones is he was done playing about 2 months before he did it and, though it was reported in the news at the time, didn’t get as much attention as it would have had he still been an active player and allowed to keep playing. Either way, Artie is right, if you are claiming that sportsmanship and character clauses on and off the field hold sway in your judgment of a potential Hall of Famer’s candidacy, you look pretty stupid saying so-and-so did steroids or whatever else so he’s a bastard, all the while, ignoring a guy attacking his wife and saying he wants to kill her. If they are not worried about what someone is doing off the field or after they retire, then what was their problem with Curt Schilling? Everything he said that pissed them off happened off the field and after he was retired. If he punched out his wife instead of voicing his political opinions, would he already be in the hall then? More hypocrisy from the voting establishment.

      • Spousal abuse is bad but not as bad as sign stealing and PEDs? Does that only sound strange to me?

  49. Who doesn’t like the intro to induction day on MLB Network? Seeing all the greats move in the museum.
    And the best part is seeing Babe Ruth welcome in the newest members.

  50. Only four days to go and we still don’t know how 51.2% will be voting ..why?

  51. I did say that it sucks to have only 50-60% of the vote being tracked when announcement day arrives.
    This is deliberate and a pain.

    • It is annoying but at least you know more than we knew in the days before anyone made ballots public. At one time we didn’t know anything until the announcement day and then it showed up in the newspaper. Somehow we all survived it.

  52. What we do know:
    Safe to return for 2025: Jones, Beltran, Utley, A-Rod, Manny, Abreu, Pettitte, Rollins.
    Vizquel leads those who need votes to stay on the ballot.

    • Update: Viquel got his 20th vote. He’ll be back for 2025.
      Buerhle now leads those who still needs votes (has 15). With 9, Hunter leads those in the red zone (below 5%).

  53. Anyone able to make out Bob Nightengale’s ballot on the Locked Up Sports cast? I can’t tell if I simply missed it, or if they’re a bunch of clickbait charlatans that I should avoid in the future. (Maybe they’d reply “We never claimed he’d reveal his whole ballot”)

    • Most likely the second one. Everyone is a clickbait charlatan now. Real news left the building like Elvis long ago.

  54. I love how people who refuse advanced analytics for hitters, never argue for counting standards for pitchers. Where is the old 300 wins benchmark??
    Also, why is WHIP (a stat made up for rotiserie baseball) so widely acceptedin evaluating performance. After all falls right into the “advanced analytics” category.

    • Definitely don’t disagree Robert. I believe I have mentioned it here and there but the majority of the conversations tend to lean toward hitters for whatever reason so I have discussed that more but I still think 300 is a great number for pitching wins if the Hall is going to be meant for only the best. Unfortunately, there seems to be a dwindling following for such a statistic. Some of the greatest names in the Hall of Fame pitched over 3 and 400 complete games in their careers with Cy Young so far over 700 that he will never be touched obviously. The next 10 starters elected to the Hall of Fame will not even combine to come close to a number like that, never mind win 300 games each The arguments against wins meaning anything anymore for starters have become pretty wacky and it appears to be the way the game is going. I don’t prescribe to the idea that wins don’t matter for a pitcher. You can say all day long that wins depend on the rest of the team as well, and to an extent they do but, if the pitcher isn’t doing his job, it doesn’t really matter what the offense does unless they are going to put up a touchdown and a field goal. The amount of guys who have thrown up a 2.00 ERA, 250 Ks and been screwed by their team’s offense so badly that you should ignore their win totals is not remotely what people have made it out to be. It wasn’t that long ago that a handful of the best starters in the league were winning 20 games in a season. This new science that keeps that from happening kind of makes it difficult to argue for 300 wins anymore. Who’s going to get it if they don’t pitch deep enough into games anymore to still be qualified for the win when it comes after five innings? I’d love to see starters go routinely seven or eight innings and pitch 20 complete games but I’m certainly not holding my breath.

    • We may never see another 300 winner in our lifetime – think about the best pitchers active the last 15 years… all four will be Hall of Famers – 10 Cy Young Awards amongst them – NONE will sniff 300 wins: Verlander 257W/Age 40…Greinke 225/39…Max 214/38…Kershaw 210/35. All of the pitchers have played 16-20 years and I am amazed how low their win totals are compared to their greatness.

  55. Congratulations to the class of 2024! Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton.
    Disappointed that Sheffield didn’t get in. Wagner too.

  56. Another wasted year in the books. Good job to all the writers who wasted another opportunity to get it right.

  57. Totally disappointed in the final numbers… the writers have proven once again that their voting perspective is flawed.

  58. Into baseball writer fashion, “I’m hearing” we screwed this up again, “I’m told” we really don’t know what we’re doing and, “sources say” we totally suck at getting this right. Ok, good job ruining another year if Hall of Fame voting everybody. Let’s take down the tents, poles and nets, all pile back into the tiny car and go back to making up crap for another year.

  59. I don’t like it when a writer does not put 10 names on the ballot.
    The one guy who voted only for A-Rod and Manny could’ve added Billy Wagner. Wagner fell 5 votes from election. Throughout the tracking, we were told that 288 votes were needed for election this year. It turned out to be 289.
    Wagner will join Ichiro and Sabathia in the Class of 2025.
    I’m upset that Sheffield was 43 votes short in year 10. I think the ballot limit should’ve stayed at 15 years because some careers lasted 15 or more years. I believe the 10-year limit was purposely made to keep PED guys out. A conspiracy.
    So, Reyes and Shields got 0 votes. A shame.

    • It is unfortunate that they are so bad at this. Obviously Wagner is having a tough time because there is a faction of fans and obviously voters who don’t think relievers bear importance in the game. Which is especially odd, given the waning responsibility placed on starters. They don’t pitch complete games anymore, they don’t even go seven or eight innings on a regular basis and some teams have experimented with the circus known as an “opener”. So if the sport is going to entertain these crazy ideas, who would pitch the rest of those innings when your so-called starters only go five? Or you have a team that uses an “opener” for an inning or two and then trots out another four or five guys to complete the game? It’s really a convoluted mess.

      When they instituted the 10-year rule around 2014, they said the purpose was to remain relevant. Really, it was simply a way to whittle down the ballot somewhat because so many guys were hanging on while new guys were becoming eligible. In reality, it’s kind of hard to argue the relevance point because I think only a dozen or so guys have ever been voted in after 10 years on the ballot so it’s not like there are a lot of people being screwed by the change. The bigger screwing is the lack of sense that goes into voting. A guy is either a Hall of Famer or he’s not. This crazy 10 year nonsense is a waste of time. If 3 or 400 voters need 10 years to see how good someone was, they shouldn’t be voting. And many of them obviously should not be as it is.

      As far as keeping the PED guys out, I think they should be more concerned with keeping fans out. And, really, there’s no need for any obvious, silly “the hall doesn’t really care if you stop going they’ll survive without your money” rhetoric because that’s just foolishness. The hall is a business and only an idiot operates a business in a manner that risks consistently alienating more and more of your prospective clientele. There have obviously been several societal movements in the recent past that lure the weak-minded onto bandwagons where they feel they are safe from castigation for having opinions of their own. They may seem like they have louder voices but that’s because they are the only ones talking, not because they are the majority. The vast amount of people who don’t agree with feigned morals and manufactured societal ills just keep their money in their wallets and ignore the facetious nature of things like social media, “cancel culture”, internet grandstanding and those who purport to wag their fingers or turn up their noses at wrongly-perceived injustices that don’t exist in the real world because they are convinced by the voices of the meaningless that this will keep them on the right side of consternation. Good luck leaving that legacy to your grandkids. And this is what has happened to the ped guys. We all know how that era went down and we all know how little anyone cared while it was happening until Congress got involved and forced MLB to react. Suddenly everyone was appalled? Only liars pretend they cared anything about ped use before the “Great Awakening” and these immature stances are costing legendary players who, while they may not have been completely legit in their approaches, entertained the hell out of the fans of this sport and kept the very writers employed who now choose to stab them in the back. As for the younger voters who may not have experienced the reality of the so-called ped era, they really should reserve their opinions for something they know about. This is the real problem in society, where is all the public outcry against phony ethics and spineless weasels?

  60. Based on the potential candidates for 2025, this would be my next 10 votes:
    Alex Rodriguez
    Andy Pettitte
    CC Sabathia
    Ichiro Suzuki
    Curtis Granderson
    Billy Wagner
    Troy Tulowitzki
    Andrew Jones
    Carlos Beltran
    Bobby Abreu
    As a Yankees fan, I have to vote for guys I had seen wear the pinstripes. Another reason why I was upset that neither Bill White, Lou Pinella nor Gary Sheffield were elected. In White’s case, I remember as a boy in the 1970s seeing him, Frank Messer and Phil Rizzuto on WPIX-11 in NYC broadcast of Yankee games.

    • Definitely fun to look ahead Victor. Next year is a little troublesome for me because several of these guys should already be in. I’d go as follows:
      Arod
      Beuhrle
      Wagner
      Manny
      Abreu
      Hunter
      Suzuki
      Sabbathia
      Beltran
      Pettitte

      I’d add Pedroia, Wright, Rollins, Utley and K-Rod if the vote was unlimited, as it should be but, the way it is now, I would go with these 10 and then add those five the next year. Wouldn’t be so difficult if the guys who belonged in were already in but it is what it is.

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