Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Hall of Fame Results Analysis

The 2013 Hall of Fame results are in and the winner is sanctimony.  The BBWAA decided as a group that there isn't a worthy Hall of Famer this year.  They are wrong, but I think everyone knows that, deep down in their guts.  By my count, there are 14 worthy players and 3 more that deserve serious consideration.  Surprisingly, I do not have a Hall of Fame vote.  Apparently, you have to be a blogger for more than 5 months.  Perhaps next year.  Because it's fun, I'm going to run down the results.  I am 99.99% sure that no one else has written about this, so I hope you enjoy this unique analysis. 

We'll start from the bottom.  I list vote totals first, because they are more important than the players.  For those that qualify, I'll try to determine using science (guessing) whether or not they will get in down the line.

Not much to see here.  Reggie Sanders was a really good player and once charged the mound against a pitcher throwing a perfect game (Pedro Martinez, likely Hall of Famer.  Well, I think...).  Rondell White is very likely to be enshrined in the Twins Hall of Fame (or maybe the exact opposite, I can't remember).  Finally, the voters likely did not see this important and exciting brochure for Ryan Klesko.

1 Vote - Aaron Sele

Eddie Murphy had a joke about how white people would get drunk and vote for Jesse Jackson for President as a joke.  Then, they would wake up, and be shocked that Jackson won.  I'm pretty sure I did that joke justice.  Regardless, it's all fun and games until Aaron Sele gets elected to the Hall of Fame.  

2 Votes - Shawn Green
4 Votes - Steve Finley
5 Votes - David Wells
6 Votes - Julio Franco
16 Votes - Sandy Alomar

All very nice players, none of whom deserve even one vote.  David Wells had a perfect game, Julio Franco played until he was 130, Steve Finley and Shawn Green were good and Sandy Alomar had a very strong arm.  Not much more to say.

18 Votes - Kenny Lofton
19 Votes - Bernie Williams

This is a failure of the system if you ask me.  I'm not sure either deserves to be elected, but each deserved a whole lot more votes than Sandy Alomar. 

Again, I have no vote, but I would vote for Kenny Lofton.  I like his type of player and I suspect, but have no proof, that he is undervalued.  I wouldn't be surprised if there is a time in the future when we adjust some metrics and figure out that speed and defense are actually undervalued even with our new statistics.  Using WAR, Kenny Lofton is at least roughly the same player as Craig Biggio, a player whose Hall of Fame induction is a foregone conclusion.  I also remember Lofton being on base constantly, a memory proven by his 1.000 OBP (fact check later, Brad).

Bernie Williams was a great player too.  I would not have voted for him, but I can see the valid argument.  He provided good power at a premium defensive position and was an integral part of quite a few championship teams.  It's a shame he didn't just swing more and turn some walks into singles.  His hit total would be higher and maybe he would have lasted on the ballot more than 2 years.  He wouldn't have been as good, but that isn't what matters.

50 Votes - Rafael Palmeiro

569 home runs, 3020 hits, 132 OPS+, 66.1 bWAR, one finger point.  What part do you remember?

Will he get in one day? - It doesn't look like it.

71 Votes - Sammy Sosa

I'm very split on Sosa.  He was super fun to watch, but likely was not as good as his home run totals.  His home run skip and the way he poured water over his sweaty face are things I will never forget.  I wouldn't choose him in my top 10, but if I could vote for more than 10, I'd probably add him.  It's a moot point due to not having a vote and all, but also because there will likely be 10 players better than him on the ballot for the next 4-5 years.

Will he get in one day? - Tough One, but I'll say no.  Sosa will be the guy that writers use as their Steroid abuse scary story.  "He may have been great, but how much of that was the juice?"  You know, that BS.

75 Votes - Don Mattingly

Hall of Fame peak; Hall of Fame nickname (The Hit Man, not Donnie Baseball).  It's a shame that his back didn't hold up and that he got held back early in his career.  He still had a really good career, but he would fall just short for me.  He looks way different without his mustache.

Will he get in one day? - Nope. 

96 Votes - Mark McGwire

Fat Mac rejuvenated baseball in 1998 (with Sosa) and set off one of the more exciting individual chases in baseball history.  In addition, he had a really good career.  His career OPS+ is 163.  That is just ridiculous.  He got on base nearly 40 percent of his career.  I'm just not sure what else can be said in favor of McGwire.  Based on his numbers and historical significance, he has to be in. 

Will he get in one day? - It doesn't seem like it.  Although, he could get a renaissance in 5 or so years when the ballot should be less full or he could drop off altogether when it gets really full.

106 Votes - Dale Murphy

Off the ballot now.  Murphy had a sick peak and won two MVPs.  He didn't have the sustained longevity and he didn't really have great overall OBP or SLG.  Murphy and McGwire are right next to each other in the HOF results chart, and the stark contrast between their offensive stats is hard to ignore.  Murphy does get some bonus points for playing center early in his career, but it's not enough for me.  I really like him though, and I think the 1982 Braves Twitter account was a really cool idea.

118 Votes - Fred McGriff

Crime Dog!  Fell just short of 500 home runs and falls just short of the Hall of Fame.  To me, those two things are unrelated, but just a sentence that is true.  I enjoyed watching McGriff and of course, I love the Tom Emanski video.  McGriff did a lot of things really well but it just took too long.  I don't want to penalize him for having a long career, and he stayed effective as he aged, but maybe I just got spoiled by all the McGriff I got to see.  As you can clearly see, I do not have a good argument against McGriff.

Will he get in one day? ­- Nope, crime doesn't pay.  He should know that.

123 Votes - Larry Walker

He seems to be punished for playing in Colorado for a large portion of his career.  I guess I get that, but adjusted stats still seem to love him.  His OPS+ of 141 is the same as Chipper Jones's and I am guessing Jones will have no issue getting in.  His defense was pretty good and his arm was terrific.  If anyone who prominently played in Colorado during that era gets in, it will obviously be Walker.  His 1994 season is Montreal is key for me.  His numbers were huge and didn't exactly come out of nowhere.  He was likely peaking at that point and then continued his peak while playing in Colorado.  While some of his power likely came from the thin air, it is possible that he was just a really great baseball player as well. 

Will he get in one day?­ - Probably not unless some major research comes out to show that the 
Coors Effect was greatly overrated.

191 Votes - Alan Trammell

Trammell mixed some really great offensive seasons with some pretty poor offensive seasons over his career.  A couple of those poor seasons came during what should have been peak years.  1985 and 1989 to be exact.  However, he was consistently a great fielder at the most premium defensive position and he should have won an MVP in 1987.  Perhaps his fate lies down the road.  I can't even begin to pretend to understand how the Veteran's ballot works, but maybe one day he'll be enshrined at the same time as his double play mate Lou Whitaker.  That would be nice.  Aside from sentimentality, I'd vote for Trammell right now.

Will he get in one day? - Maybe as I described above, but not by the writers.

204 Votes - Edgar Martinez

The fact that Martinez was a DH only enhances his case in my opinion.  His WAR (64.4) without a defensive position is just insane.  WAR shouldn't be the only reason a player gets elected, but it is really hard to ignore a good WAR.  His career OPS+ is 147 (top 50) and his career OBP is .418 (21st of all time).  Frank Thomas will slide right into the HOF in a few years, and I'm not sure Martinez wasn't on or at least near his level.  I'd certainly take Thomas over Martinez, but the argument is really close.  He also played a decent amount of third base until he was 31, so it's not like he was a DH right from the start.  Would he really have been a better player if he played a poor first base for all those years?

Will he get in one day? - Probably not, unless something comes along that proves defense is overrated. 

206 Votes - Barry Bonds
214 Votes - Roger Clemens

YES WE CAN!  We did it everyone!  We preserved the moral grounds in which society depends upon.  We kept Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds out of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  As we all know, the Hall of Fame is our most influential and sacred societal institution.  It is the very institution in which our collective moral compass resides.  In fact, without the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, we would have no way of knowing how to live a good, moral life.  Without it, we would simply give in to all of our worst temptations.  We finally have defeated the evils that lie within our society and we did so with a resounding vote.  The vile have been defeated by the virtuous.  No longer will we allow cheaters and abusers to run wild in our society without consequences.  We finally can face the fear that we have lost our collective conscience and celebrate the fact that we took back one of the most vital foundations of our fragile society!  Strike that, THE most vital foundation from our fragile history.

Wait, it's a baseball museum?

Yeah, we should probably vote for two of the greatest baseball players of all time then.

(end scene)

Will they get in one day? - Yeah, and it might be sooner than we think.  Grandstanding gets old.  Everyone knows that.  Also, if they really want to shame these guys, why couldn't they just use these heads for their plaques - Clemens, Bonds.  The Bonds one really hurts, since it's not him and whatnot.

221 Votes - Curt Schilling



Why isn't Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer?  He doesn't have the steroid cloud.  He was a big game pitcher.  He was an ace.  He won a lot of games.  He reminds me a lot of another pitcher, except he didn't have a mustache.  Did Jack Morris's mustache make him better than Curt Schilling in the eyes of about 160 voters?  Can it be that simple?  Schilling was better than Morris, but then again, lots of pitchers were better than Morris.  I think Schilling is a no-brainer, but I guess he isn't a "first ballot" Hall of Famer or something. 

Will he get in one day? - I should hope so.  Maybe they can make a bust of the bloody sock.  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!

272 Votes - Lee Smith

Wait, Lee Smith?  He definitely had a lot of saves, that you can't argue.  I will argue that there is exactly one full-time closer who belongs in the Hall of Fame.  He isn't eligible or retired.  That man:  Frank Francisco.  Kidding.  Dennis Eckersley is fine with me too because he was an effective starter for awhile too.  How many failed starters could rack up saves if given a chance though?  It isn't a fully relevant question, but you get my point.

Will he get in one day? - Nope.

297 Votes - Tim Raines

Tim Raines was legally adopted by the SABR community a couple years ago.  Since then, he has been living a very happy life and has access to doctors, quality education, and a family.  He was also a ridiculously great baseball player.  I'm not sure he is the slam dunk that many proclaim him to be though.  He was amazing at the beginning of his career and from ages 23-27 he was elite.  From age 28-33 he was a good player and at times a great player.  After age 33, he was barely average.  However, when you add up his peak, his longevity and his versatility, he makes it on my ballot.  I can see the argument the other way though, and I don't think a vote against Raines is a slap in the face of the statistical revolution.      

Will he get in one day? - It seems like it, but if the stat-heads get too out of line, it is always possible that Raines will be punished for it.

329 Votes - Mike Piazza

Remember when Roger Clemens threw a bat piece at Piazza?  If both had rightly been elected, we could have re-enacted that monumental event.  Big miss, BBWAA!  Piazza was a premier offensive player at an extremely important defensive position.  Even if he didn't play that position all that well, the extra offense he provided made up for it.  Am I the only one who thinks he has the worst swing ever though?  If anything, overcoming that swing should be worth bonus points.  The suspicion of steroids might not have been his undoing, as he likely didn't pass the sacred "first ballot HOF" test either.  Regardless, he'll get there. 

Will he get in one day?­ - Oh yeah, he's one of the best offensive catchers of all time.

339 Votes - Jeff Bagwell

Come on.  This is getting silly.  Career OBP over .400, career OPS+ of 149, nearly 500 home runs.  He certainly could have hung on for a few more years and reached that milestone, but he chose to retire while still a relatively effective player.  I respect that.  Bagwell has never actually been linked to steroids in any meaningful way.  There isn't a bad beard clause in the HOF, so you can't hold that against him either.  The guy was one of the best hitters in a hitter's generation.  He should be in the museum so that people can remember that.

Will he get in one day? - Yes.

385 Votes - Jack Morris

Jack Morris was a great pitcher.  He was an excellent at times.  His 1983 season was fantastic.  He won 20 games, he led the league in innings and he posted a 3.34 ERA.  He was average at times as well.  In fact, most of his career, he was average.  In 1980, his ERA+ was 99, in 1982 it was 100, in 1988 it was 97.  His career ERA+ was 105.  In addition, he had some really bad seasons.  Go look at his 1989 season.  He won a lot of games on a team that won a lot of games.  He won 3 World Series titles and pitched one of the most famous games in World Series history.  He was a warrior on the mound and had a crazy thick mustache.  He was a great pitcher but he wasn't a Hall of Fame pitcher.  That's just how I feel.

Will he get in one day? - Well, it's next year or wait for the Veterans Committee.  I'm guessing he does get in.  I don't really care if he does.  It doesn't change how I feel about him either way.  Plus, I enjoyed Game 7 as much as anyone and Morris seems competent enough on the radio. 

388 Votes - Craig Biggio

People have pointed out that Biggio was well-built, right?  I mean, he was short, and I get that, but it's not like he was some rail thin second baseman who scrapped his way to 3000 hits.  This is not to cast any sort of accusation toward Biggio at all.  I don't think he did anything wrong ever.  He's never lied or even misled anyone in his life, as far as I know.  It just seems interesting that Biggio became this antithesis of the steroid abuser argument.  The dichotomy is strange; a player was either completely clean and deserves no suspicion, or was completely dirty and should be meticulously scrutinized for it.  Bagwell and Piazza get thrown under the bus because they may have cheated, but no one even thinks twice about Biggio.  Well, except for those blank ballot voters, but that is done for attention, I'm guessing. 

I hated writing that paragraph.  The worst part of that paragraph is that I think Biggio deserves major accolades.  I think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  He had a wonderful career and did great things on the field.  He played some difficult positions and excelled as an overall offensive player.  It is awful that I have to almost disparage a great player with a clean record just to try to defend other great players with clean records.  The morality clause is a crutch and I wish we could kick it out from under the writers' game legs.  That scenario doesn't make any sense, but neither does having a Hall of Fame ceremony in 2013 without guys like Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza and even Biggio. 

Will he get in one day? - Yep, maybe even next year, when the ballot is even zanier.  Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Kent are all on the next ballot.  I'd vote for all of those guys (spoiler alert!).  In addition, you can check in with me next year as I make a feeble attempt to justify Hideo Nomo.  It should be madness.

If you care, here is who I would have voted for, given the 10 player constraint:
Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Trammell, Martinez, McGwire, Walker, and Schilling.  Hard to exclude Biggio, Palmeiro, Lofton, and Sosa, but don't blame me, I'm not the one who decided that fake ballots could only contain 10 players.  

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