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Ken Davidoff’s awesome Hall of Fame ballot

Dec 27, 2011, 10:40 AM EDT

Alan Trammell

Newsday’s Ken Davidoff has released his Hall of Fame ballot.  It’s good for the people he picks, all of whom I’d either pick myself or who are extremely defensible choices even if I differ: Barry Larkin, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

The real value of his column, however, is not his choices — lots of dudes have good ballots — but the way in which he explains his choices and his methodology in detail.

Davidoff goes over every guy on the ballot, giving him his due or whatever approaching his due he is owed.  He offers a ton of great insight about how he approaches the ballot.  Lots of wisdom in there about defense, era, steroids and, above all else, how our contemporaneous perceptions and memories of a player don’t serve us well. Those memories and feelings lie and, even if you’re afraid of stats, you simply can’t ignore them because they state what actually occurred.

Anyone who wants to argue about the Hall of Fame should read Davidoff’s column.

  1. test2402 - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Hall of fame = Tim Tebow.

    • Old Gator - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      Is there a hall of fame for mystified oracles?

      • sdelmonte - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        Isn’t it in Delphi?

      • marshmallowsnake - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        Just the land of misfit toys.

    • kiwicricket - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Go away.

    • jwbiii - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      Those two fourth quarter touchdown passes really did it for me.

      • jwbiii - Dec 27, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        C’mon, those were touchdown passes. The Buffalo Bills are all God’s children, too! Except maybe Scott Norwood.

  2. acheron2112 - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Wow. More, if not all, of the HOF voters should write something like this. Promise us, Craig, that when you get a vote you’ll write your justifications.

    (Preferably with a liberal amount of Star Trek references, of course. Or Batman will do in a pinch.)

  3. sdelmonte - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    I give him points just for quoting A Bronx Tale (I should see if that’s on Netflix).

    But yeah, that was just fun to read and also so very well thought out. Not many this side of JoePo approach the HoF ballot with this much love of the people who played the game.

  4. jwbiii - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    I have to disagree with Davidoff on one point:
    “this might be [Alan Trammell's] last and best chance in his 11th year on the ballot.”

    Many voters balance their ballots by position. Barry Larkin will be elected this year. Next year, Trammell will be by far the best middle infield candidate.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Perhaps, but do you think they ignore magnitude entirely? I would think the vacuum at the top of the ballot would have a greater effect on the guys who aren’t getting support than positional “blocking.”

      • jwbiii - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        It certainly matters for marginal starting pitchers:
        1988
        74.2 Bunning, Jim
        30.9 Tiant, Luis
        25.5 Lolich, Mickey

        Bunning was THIS CLOSE, Tiant did very well in his first year, and Lolich was steadily increasing his vote %. Then some better pitchers came on the ballot:
        1989
        68.0 Perry, Gaylord
        63.3 Bunning, Jim
        52.3 Jenkins, Fergie
        19.5 Kaat, Jim
        10.5 Lolich, Mickey
        10.5 Tiant, Luis

        Then another better pitcher became eligible:
        1990
        92.6 Palmer, Jim
        72.1 Perry, Gaylord
        66.7 Jenkins, Fergie
        57.9 Bunning, Jim
        17.8 Kaat, Jim
        09.5 Tiant, Luis
        06.1 Lolich, Mickey

        I haven’t looked at position players to see if there is a similar effect, but it’s pretty dramatic for starting pitchers.

  5. kiwicricket - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Nice article, pretty terrible format.

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Great article. Wish every voter would do something like this. Also wish every voter would vote for Raines and Edgar. And I think his take on steroids is absolutely 100% perfect. If they weren’t being tested for in the game of baseball, then he doesn’t factor them into his vote…i.e. McGwire, etc. And for Palmiero, he would have voted hi in last year, but he hit the 11 player threshold so he didn’t. But this year, he did because he had a spot for him. And to be frank, a guy like Palmiero deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He had a great career.

    I just hope the voters get their heads out of their asses the next few years and start putting guys in who deserve to be in there…Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa. Without them, it just becomes the Broom Closet of Fame, where there will be about 8 people who played during my late 20’s and early 30’s and that would be a shame.

    • JBerardi - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      “And for Palmiero, he would have voted hi in last year, but he hit the 11 player threshold so he didn’t. But this year, he did because he had a spot for him. And to be frank, a guy like Palmiero deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He had a great career.”

      See, this is where the steroid hysteria figures to REALLY screw things up. If guys like Davidoff are already leaving players off the ballot just because they can only vote for ten, just imagine what’s going to be happening once Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Sosa, etc. start to pile up on there. You could see something truly stupid like Jeter not getting in first ballot because so many guys are still trying to vote in all these obviously qualified candidates in and they’re running out of votes for everyone.

      Tim Raines really needs to start building some momentum, that’s for sure.

  7. 78mu - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Davidoff obviously does not read Chimelis. Once he gets a look at Martinez’s and McGwire’s stolen base totals and compares them to Vince Coleman’s he’ll realize he doesn’t understand baseball the way Chimelis does and resign in disgrace from the BBWAA.

  8. bigleagues - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    THANK GOD for Davidoff. I have had the argument about Larkin with anyone and everyone who cared.

    How Alomar was a no-brainer first ballot candidate and Larkin isn’t, to me, is something that can only be explained by BL’s having played in Cincinnati. It’s most certainly not an argument based on numbers.

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