Wednesday, January 08, 2014

New Hall of Famers: Maddux, Smoltz, and The Big Hurt Voted In

The three sure-thing first time vote Hall of Famers got in on their first try:  Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank "the Big Hurt" Thomas.  Maddux only missed by 16 votes of a unanimous vote.

ogc thoughts

Biggio unfortunately just missed, partly thanks to Gurlick's bonehead decision to not vote for anyone but Morris, conveniently forgetting that he was still playing when the steroid era was full in bloom with the Bash Brothers stealing headlines and rumors already started swirling of Canseco's usage.  But mostly it was due to the Hall of Fame's bonehead decision not to allow voters more than 10 votes.  With so many worthy candidates, voters complained that they had to leave off worthy players, like Biggio.  This also undoubtedly affected Morris in his last year of eligibility.

Bonds and Clemens are not close, either to making it in or getting dropped.  Palmeiro thankfully fell under the threshold and was dropped.  Sosa came close to being removed, 13 less votes and he would have been out (he had 41).  I never liked either nor thought either was especially good, Will Clark should be in the Hall before they should but fell short in his first year of eligibility.

Kent however is back for another year, but with the backlog building up, I don't know that he's going to get in anytime soon (I can go either way on him, though after reading this article, I have to say that he does deserve to be in), but with 15% of the vote, he should stick around for a while at least.  And I will root for him, he would surely go in as a Giant.

But with the Big Unit, Smoltz, and Pedro coming on the ballot next year, and Biggio probably getting in (two votes short, at least 10 voters saying they would have voted for him if not for the 10 vote ballot limit, plus over 50% of the voters used all 10 spots), it could be four guys getting in next season, so the logjam could claim more victims next year with 4 spots being taken by these four players on most ballots.  The baseball writers union put together a committee to discuss getting to vote more, but it appears that this ultimate decision is in the hands of the Hall of Fame.

Perhaps Morris was the victim this year of the logjam.  He had plenty of support but the 10 vote limit might have costed him some votes as this was his last year of eligibility.  Still, at 78 votes short, that's a bit of a stretch.  Looking at the voting results, I can easily see him being left off this ballot or that one because of a pet player or two that the voter must include over Morris.  While I see the stats argument that he belongs, as a baseball fan, I never found him to be iconic, despite his playoff heroics that others tout.  Again, I would vote for Will Clark over Morris, but I wouldn't have been upset if he made it in.

Bonds votes dropped, but as Baggarly aptly noted in his post, that's not necessarily a negative sign because the 10 vote limit could have pushed some voters to drop him for someone who deserves support.  Much like Baggarly considering leaving Maddux off his ballot in order to include someone who might fall short this year and be dropped from the ballot (he decided that he couldn't do it).  One could analyze the ballots that are public (plus a couple of Chron writers have openly said they are not voting for Bonds; I'm sure there are others) to see how many 10 vote ballots did not include Bonds (though that does not mean that he would have been included, of course).

Benitez actually got a vote:  they should just revoke the right to vote for anyone who votes for someone and nobody else does...  Snow somehow got two votes, none from the guys at CSN BA that I could see, Schulman neither.   Ray Durham didn't get any votes:  again, don't know how Benitez got one.

Can't We All Get Along:  Put Pete Rose in the Hall

I still think it is the Hall of Shame until Pete Rose is allowed in.  He's the hits leader in MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY.  Nobody's touching that record anytime soon, or probably ever.  Sure, keep him out of baseball management, let him take on only honorary roles and glad-hand Reds season ticket holders at events.  Gambling is a disease and it's no longer the 1910's when baseball was a new and young sport, not yet established in the minds of the public, where they needed to show a strong hand and make sure the public knows that what they see is real.

The MLB is now a mature and established sport, the national pastime as they like to advertise, and I don't know if they have heard this yet, but there are millions if not billions of dollars being bet on the results of baseball games every year in places like Lost Wages, Atlantic City, and Reno.   I don't think that there is anyone in the public who would think any less of the MLB or the Hall of Fame if Rose were to be let in (well, OK, at least one, the former Commish whose buddy banished him then died; lets go with vast majority).  Even put it on his plaque that he was banned for baseball for gambling, if you must.

I just don't understand why people act like this rule was handed down from a mountain on two stone tablets.  For better or worse, the Hall of Fame is a historic venue, not a true Hall of Fame, not with all the people who got voted in by their buddies on veteran committees, not with the players who got in and people wonder how he got in, especially not with the color barrier keeping people of color from playing in the majors for still (2012 marked the first season that the MLB had operated more years allowing people of color to freely play, than years that they prohibited such players from joining the league, it was 65 years of prohibition until Jackie Robinson was allowed to play in 1947), and not with all the murderers and others of poor judgement who are in there now.  The institution of Major League Baseball will survive forgiving Pete Rose, prodigal son, for making his horrible mistakes and welcoming him into the Hall of Fame.

One funky rationale I've seen is one national writer posits that any game that Rose didn't bet on a game is a game that he was betting that the Reds are going to lose.  That is way off.  Rose wins nothing in the games that he didn't bet on nor could he lose, and that is what happens when you are betting on one result or another, you could win or you could lose.  And by not betting, he is not saying that his team will lose, he could also be saying he don't know whether his team would win or lose, a coin toss.  And it's not like he wouldn't try to win the game anyway as the manager, he knew that his job as manager requires him to make his team a winner.  But as anybody who follows baseball knows, you can't win every game, there are games where you are not sure what will happen, as well as games where you think you are likely to lose.

He was also hysterical about the consequences of letting Rose in the Hall now, like that will destroy the fabric of the game because that apparently would mean that other players and managers would go and start betting on games and trying to manipulate the results of games.  I've never been with professional ballplayers, but I'm fairly certain that athletes are ultra-competitive and are not likely to take a fall in a game just to win a bet.  The goal is the post-season, the championship, no player today is going to jeopardize that by betting on baseball.

Plus you would really need a whole team to do that, one player can influence the results, but each contribution is so small, ultimately, it would be hard to judge whether a player took a fall or just had a bad play or swing or throw or pitch.  An umpire has greater influence than most players.

Though I suppose a starting pitcher could throw poorly.  But again, he's unlikely to want to lose a championship.  Also, a manager could pull him out before he does irreparable damage, because it should be obvious to the coaches when a pitcher "don't have it", just a couple of runs down maybe.  So he can at best be a speed bump in the path of his team winning, but not have the final say.

In any case, what Rose's example, should he be allowed in, says is that if you are the career leader in some key statistical category, you may get into the Hall of Fame after many many years of stigmatism and bad press.  All others can expect to be banished from baseball without much hope of getting in.  I'm not sure how letting Rose in would influence anyone to think that they can bet on baseball, get caught, and still get into the Hall of Fame, each case is individual.

I suspect that the powers that be in the MLB and Hall of Fame is waiting for one of two deaths, either Pete Rose or Fay Vincent, who is rumored to blame Rose's banishment for being a contributing factor in the death of his dear friend, Bart Giamatti, who was the commissioner who had to banish Rose.  Probably more the former than the latter, but I note Fay because of that rumor.


  1. Interesting analysis about the Hall of Fame vote dilemma:

    It was a pretty good analysis, and where he was off, it looks like voters essentially followed his plan to vote for the ones who should be in - in order to clear them out - while voting to keep worthy players from falling off the ballot. Hence many votes that might have gone to Bonds and Clemens ended up going to help elect Glavine and Thomas, as well as his predicted Maddux, and Biggio just fell short, pretty close to what he said, 2 votes in actuality vs. the 16 he predicted. Good article, good analysis.

    And out of the borderline candidates, only Palmeiro among the major possible names did not get the minimum required votes to stay on the ballot for next year. I would have been OK with Sosa falling off, both the PED use and corking incident puts his candidacy in the same category as Palmeiro, all driven by his homers and not much else.

    And this bifurcation of votes makes sense, from what I read just from the Giants scribes, the writers association was very aware of this voting limitation, setting up a committee to address this (though out of their hands, HOF decision), and they are smart people, so many made the logical decision to switch votes that might have gone to Bonds and Clemens to Glavine and Thomas instead, helping to elect them. I'm sure that now that the results are in, there are some who regret not voting for Biggio instead of whoever they did.

    And, as I've been noting for a long while, I don't believe that the Offensive era was created by steroid use (though perhaps enhanced due to the placebo effect), I think that there is enough evidence that most PEDs that have been named - steroids, HGH - have contributed very little to the era, that it was most probably a systematic change by the MLB, changing the ball, like how baseball sparked the modern live-ball era in the 1920's by changing their balls to be livelier. I addressed this a couple of months ago with my analysis regarding the scoring trends in the two leagues, showing that the level of scoring was statistically significantly different between the two eras (and the apparent end a few years ago), with no transition period, as one would have expected, into the so-called steroid era, as the scoring just seemed to jump in a 1-2 year period, instead of steadily rising as one would have expected if adoption and usage of PEDs grew like most products, on the S-curve, particularly one with such stigma and health risks as steroids and HGH holding back usage.

  2. Wow, got to give it up to this writer, Dan Le Batard, for his cajones: he gave his vote to a media outlet, Deadspin, who then did a poll, and was even quoted as saying that this act might cost him his right to vote, which is what exactly happened:

    I think that's laughable. The ones who should be losing their picks are guys like the one who voted for Benitez. Jacque Jones even got one.

    Or how about all the 16 guys/gals who didn't vote for Maddux? They are the ones who should lose their right to vote, what were they watching during his long, great career, I'm tired of bullshoot answers like, back for Mays and Aaron, I recall some article noting that some writers don't vote for first timers as a principle. Hello?!? Your vote is on whether this player or that is a Hall of Famer, and you ignore him because it's his first time on the ballot. How asinine!

    I've been trying forever to try and figure out a way to punish writers who are so stupid when 95%+ of the writers can see it, but all the schemes I could come up with would result in a writer gaming the system instead and voting for the sure guys to avoid losing their votes.



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