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Could … no one get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Jan 2, 2012, 9:27 AM EDT

Barry Larkin

Over at ESPN David Schoenfield points out something interesting. That while we’re all assuming that Barry Larkin — who got 62% of the vote last year — will be pushed over 75% of the vote and into the Hall of Fame this year, it’s not a mortal lock. At least if you look at the historic gains players who have notched 60%+ of the vote year-by-year have received:

While [being over 60% last year] is a positive sign for Larkin, as you can see from the above chart, not all the players made it immediately upon reaching 60 percent. The average percentage gain in election year for those 12 was 10.8 percent, so if Larkin receives that increase, he’ll fall just short.

Schoenfield thinks — as do I — that Larkin will top 75% this year and make it.  But man, I am sort of hung up on the possibility that he won’t now. Maybe I’m just overly prone to suggestion this morning.

Anyway, I’m wondering what it would mean for the Hall of Fame if we have a year — like we had back in 1996 — with no one elected.  This is especially intriguing in light of all of the worthy candidates that the Hall voters appear to be poised to pass on for now and the foreseeable future due to steroids stuff. It’s going to be bad enough a year from now when we’ll have likely established that the Hall of Fame has kept out the best hitter (Bonds) and pitcher (Clemens) of a generation.

If they’re also passing up guys like Larkin, I’ll really start to struggle to see the point of the place.

  1. Charles Gates - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Does anyone do a cumulative tracking of the ballots that have been made public by the writers that submitted them? If so, we’d know, for example, that ‘Larkin is on X% of submitted ballots. Y% of total ballot results are known, therefore he must get Z% of the remaining votes to get elected.’

    • elmaquino - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      actually, yes! I’ve got 63 ballots from writers’ articles and twitter feeds:

      http://elmaquino5.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/hall-of-fame-standings/

      • largebill - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        REPOZ at BTF had 77 as of last night. If I remember correctly, just under 600 ballots were submitted last year.

    • The Common Man - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      This tracker posts the results, including each individual’s vote, plus links to each: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aqc4QTMoPrdtdDQxaDYzd1lLOGpOdUdrcnNNNWNXa2c&authkey=CPyuwqIJ&hl=en_US#gid=5

      • 18thstreet - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        I love the Internet. Wow.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      A couple of trackers:

      @leokitty – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aqc4QTMoPrdtdDQxaDYzd1lLOGpOdUdrcnNNNWNXa2c&authkey=CPyuwqIJ&hl=en_US#gid=5

      Repoz @ BTF – http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/2012_hall_of_fame_ballot_collecting_gizmo/P100/

    • pjmarn6 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      With the latest “news” that Hank Aaron was on some speed pills and all the steroids and other performance enhancing drugs that players may and did take, it makes the hall of fame and all records after 1950 suspect. Even the honest players are tarred with the same brush, as they cannot be distinguished from the suspect group.
      Base ball is no longer the national past time. It is the national shame.

      • genericcommenter - Jan 2, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        Post-1950 is suspect?
        What about pre- 1950? Before 1950 ( or 1947, to be 100%) a large % of the best players were kept out of MLB. Therefore, many of the players in MLB were not MLB-caliber ballplayers. The competition was inferior. The great players had little competition. Hitters and pitchers alike feasted on sickly malnourished weaklings with little natural athletic ability. I guess we have to throw them ALL out- everything before and after 1950. There has never been a time in the history of baseball without cheaters or unfair advantages for some. Ever era has benefited from some sort of protectionism, chemical enhancement, or change in the playing field and rules.

      • JBerardi - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:22 PM

        Baseball’s statistical records have never had any kind of real validity, or any solid meaning. Whatever numbers they have in that book, people are still going to argue about who was better, Ruth or Mays or Bonds. There’s a thousand factors to adjust for… rule changes, the dead-ball era, racial segregation, new parks, corked bats, wartime baseball, greenies, new parks, free agency, the gradual profesionalization of athletes, nutrition, offseason training, new parks, new equipment, steroids, more new parks, crazy new ultra-light technologically advanced bats that shatter like glass from time to time, more new nutrition and training, #CoreStrength, new parks… there’s no fair comparison between any two eras of baseball. It’s a constantly moving target.

        And honestly, I’m pretty sure that if you picked up any random utility infielder from today and took them to 1920, they’d instantly be the best player in the league; quite possibly the best hitter, fielder and pitcher in the league simultaneously. I’m also fairly certain that if you picked up Babe Ruth while you were there and brought him back to face a pitcher like David Price, he’d be diving out of the batters box as sliders sailed through the strike zone. I’m not totally ruling out the possibility that he’d actually shit himself. He would have never seen anything remotely like it. So do these numbers REALLY mean anything?

      • crisisjunky - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        sheesh! PJ! Try Decaf!

  2. lardin - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Get it right. Bonds an Clemens are in the HOF. Baseball has not forgotten them even if they are lying sacks of $&@& cheaters. What they are not is hall of famers. They will be remembered for the exploits on the field. What they won’t get is a bronze plaque and the ability to write HOF after their names.

    • cosanostra71 - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      This statement makes no sense..

      • lardin - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        I will clarify… Bonds and Clemens are absolutely in the HOF. There are exhibits celebrating the brilliance of their careers. There are exhibits for Bonds and is Home runs. There are exhibits about Clemens and his wins and strikeouts. These players will not be forgotten if there are not elected to the Hall of fame. They are in the museum. If the writers dont vote them into the Hall of fame they will still be in the Hall of fame. What they wont be is Hall of famers with a broze plaque and the ability to write HOF after there names. I am tired of people thinking that if players are voted into the HOF by the writers then they will be forgotten by history. This is not the case whether these players get plaque or not, they are in the HOF and will not be forgotten.

    • baseballisboring - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      He does make a brilliant point, though. Barry and Roger ARE in the HOF…but they most certainly are not hall of famers. They’ll be remembered for their accomplishments, but they are not hall of famers, are not in the hall of fame and never will be. Know what I mean?

      • pjmarn6 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        WTF?????? Brillance of their careers? Remember how many gold, silver and bronze medals have been taken away from Olympic medalists? Remember how titles have been taken away from race car drivers because their engines were illegally modified? How many college football teams have been sanctioned for wrongdoing?

        How can anyone tell how brilliant the careers of these or any player might have been with human enhancement drugs? They are sitting in their multimillion dollar mansions driving in their luxury cars, living the lives we can only dream about because they cheated! And not only should every mention of them in the Hall of Fame be removed but all their “RECORDS” should be removed. Baseball should pass an act to retrieve all salaries and endorsement payments.
        Baseball had a strict rule about gambling and Pete Rose has been banned. The owners and players knowingly allowed this shi* to go on to put asses in seats and now we are expected to ohhhhhhhhh and ahhhhhhhhhh these retards (both players and owners) by putting this artificial records and players in the old but real Hall of Fame.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        They are sitting in their multimillion dollar mansions driving in their luxury cars, living the lives we can only dream about because they cheated

        Yup, any joe just needs to take steroids and you can be the best player in baseball. Normally I’d say you need to work on your sarcasm, but considering the rest of your post you honestly believe the above.

      • JBerardi - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:09 PM

        “Baseball should pass an act to retrieve all salaries and endorsement payments.”

        Whatever meds you’ve gone off of… please get back on them.

  3. paperlions - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    The voters are already “passing up guys like Larkin”. Trammel is exactly like Larkin, there is almost no way to distinguish between their careers in a meaningful way; they were essentially the same player….and Trammel has no shot at all to make it.

    The voters have also been passing on Raines, who was every bit as good (and possibly a bit better) than Larkin.

    • largebill - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      They are somewhat similar players, but you sound foolish when you declare there is no way to distinguish between them. Don’t get me wrong, I think both should get in, but Larkin clearly has a better case especially when considering what type seasons/careers the voters traditionally recognize as deserving.

      • paperlions - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        Their overall production is essentially the same, yes, the strengths of each play were slightly different, but each was an all-around SS and their overall career production (when everything is tallied up) was essentially identical.

  4. largebill - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    “If they’re also passing up guys like Larkin, I’ll really start to struggle to see the point of the place.”

    Thing is, if it happened, it wouldn’t be the place passing up Larkin. The museum has a purpose whether the BBWAA manages to elect any enshrinees. Induction ceremonies take place over one weekend, but place remains open all year. If we go a year or more without any player reaching the level of 75% consensus it would reflect on the BBWAA and may lead to an expansion of the voting pool. When the process was started in the mid 1930’s radio was still fairly new and TV didn’t exist. Now you have guys like Vin Scully who has watched baseball daily for over 60 years and he has no say but a BBWAA member who covered baseball for a few years and then went on to covering golf or soccer gets to vote.

    As to the initial question if the early returns are any indication Larkin should sail in easily.

    • pjmarn6 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      The hall of fame lost its place in history the moment the players started using drugs and the owners colluded. One or two players I can see and had the owners, and baseball commission outed the players and immediately put in tight controls, we would be seeing and would have seen a different type of game. It took professional American baseball only one year to control the deliberate throwing of baseball games and gambling on baseball games. Yet here we have rumors of players taking player enhancement drugs going back 60 years!
      Quite evidently baseball has no morals and no shame.

      • Old Gator - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        And that is what distinguishes baseball from the rest of us….

      • pjmarn6 - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:31 PM

        You can’t put a tainted record in the hall of fame and say that the player who created the tainted record is in the HOF honestly.
        Let’s take horse racing as an example.
        For example 1 3/16 MilesRiva Ridge4127Aqueduct07/04/19731:52 2/5. This is a record of Riva Ridge at Adqueduct for the course at 1 3/16 miles. A time of 1 minute and 52 2/5 seconds for running 1 3/16 miles at Aqueduct Raceway in New York. Had the horse been shown to be doped then the horse could not have won the race. AND his timing of 1:52 2/5 would also been erased.
        By setting records and winning races, the stud fees go up and the value of the colts go up. When a record is dismissed because of doping, then naturally the stud fees are based on normal wins and the stud fees decrease and the value of colts decrease.
        When you extrapolate all this to humans, and try to guesstimate what happened, and put these questionable records in the HOF and elect players to the HOF when NOW nothing can be proved either way the HOF has become a joke. The HOF of fame is now tainted by the drug enduced records that can not be broken or legitimized.
        Anyone doubts that Bonds, McGuire and Sosa Home Run Records were not produced by drug enhancement performance? So those records are in the HOF. Are these records to be accorded status to Maris’ 61 home runs. Of course not. So the records are a joke and conversely putting them, the records with the names of the tarnished players in the HOF is a joke and the HOF is a joke by accepting them.
        Simple logic.
        In reality the money meant more than any appeal to be in the HOF. The players can spend the money they grabbed by using drugs but can only put a plaque on the wall.

      • pjmarn6 - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        What a bunch of losers and reality deniers. If the Mona Lisa was on loan and you were art lovers, would you go see it and cherish the experience of seeing a world class masterpiece? Would you take a picture and show it to your friends and relatives and set that aside as an all time memory?
        Now if it was declared that the painting you saw was a copy of the Mona Lisa, then you would feel defrauded and angry at having your time wasted at seeing a cheap copy, having to dismiss the experience, and throwing out the pictures and not being able to tell your friends and relatives that you experienced seeing a world class masterpiece.
        Easy to make the jump to baseball. Records, games, HOF everything is now a cheap copy of the previous records. You don’t know what records were broken, when you can go back and say this player didn’t use drugs and baseball titles and world series during this era are also tainted. What players used drugs to win games to get their teams into the play offs and series?
        So you can deny yourselves the facts, but they are there and no one has denied them. No one can say that baseball was clean, the records are real, these records belong in the HOF and the people who vote on the players have pretty good damn ideas who should get into the HOF as players and what records are false.
        You sure as hell wouldn’t want to buy a colt from Secretariat for $1,000,000 if you knew the animal won all those records being drugged. So how can you go to the HOF of fame and look at the records knowing that the players were drugged or talk about playoffs and World Series knowing that the players were drugged?
        Remember the recent scandal of how students payed a man to take college entrance exams to get high marks to get into prestigious schools, then graduate and get jobs at prestigious companies for huge salaries? Same thing with baseball. Only you really don’t want that cheat operating on you or managing your money!

      • JBerardi - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:02 PM

        TL;DR

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:11 PM

        You sure as hell wouldn’t want to buy a colt from Secretariat for $1,000,000 if you knew the animal won all those records being drugged. So how can you go to the HOF of fame and look at the records knowing that the players were drugged or talk about playoffs and World Series knowing that the players were drugged?

        Because baseball != horse racing. Now, going to say this as clear as I possibly can:

        Please point out a specific time frame when the game of baseball was pure. When it wasn’t troubled by segregation, drugs, PEDs, alcohol, expansion, etc

      • bozosforall - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:40 PM

        Heck, why stop at fixing baseball…let’s go back and right the wrongs that happened throughout the history of the world, starting with that first time that one caveman cheated another to get a bigger, better rock.

  5. Chipmaker - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    I’d have a hard time seeing the point of keeping the BBWAA as the primary electorate. If nothing else, the Hall — because the BBWAA will never take the initiative — should impose a harsh culling upon the eligibility of the voters, scrape away all the deadwood retired writers and columnists and dump all the editors and such.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      and Mike Lupica.

      • Old Gator - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:58 AM

        And Heyman. And Shaughnessy. And, and, and….

      • JBerardi - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        Agree they should dump Shaughnessy– preferably into the shark tank at the New England Aquarium.

      • bozosforall - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:26 PM

        They should definitely dump the idiots that elected Jim Rice into the HOF.

    • largebill - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      While reducing the electorate is often suggested, especially after an exceptionally stupid ballot is submitted, I believe it is a better idea to further expand the electorate. The larger a voting group the less effect one “bad” ballot can have on the final tally. Right now one blank ballot submitted makes it a little harder to reach 75%. If you reduce the group by half you are doubling the impact of a blank ballot.

      • Chipmaker - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Fine. Identify baseball-themed blocs of interested individuals who could (and would, enthusiastically) serve as quality voters. That might help.

        But the current BBWAA-only electorate would still need to be culled. Or perhaps “edited” is more appropriate.

      • crisisjunky - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        or we could just let Vin choose.

    • pjmarn6 - Jan 2, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      And yea I am pissed off. Players using drugs, owners allowing it so they can fill seats, get huge tv contracts to perpetrate the fraud on the public and both owners and players getting rich illegally and laughing up their sleeves at the stupid public who watched in admiration as the doped up players deliberately ran up ridiculous high records which can never be surpassed or equaled. Isn’t that great, put those records in the HOF and shout this is an honest record by an honest player, lets pay homage to it!

  6. Detroit Michael - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Of course Ron Santo will be inducted this year, so we won’t have zero inductees even if the BBWAA doesn’t elect anyone. It’s more of a problem with the overcrowding of the ballot the next couple of years.

  7. lostsok - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    That Rock Raines is simply a unanimous choice is outrageous.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      What is outrageous about it?

    • cur68 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Dude, what up? Rains had a terrific career. Just amazing. Better than lots of guys who are in the HOF. If this is some character issue, where is your Ty Cobb outrage? Your amphetamine outrage? Your cheaters outrage (admitted spitballers, are already enshrined)? The HOF isn’t the sole stomping ground of choir boys, y’know? Its for really, really, really good baseball players. Like Rains, Larkin, Trammel & Bagwell…just as it is for Cobb, Perry, & Aaron.

  8. crashdog - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Larkin doesn’t truly deserve it anyhow. I’d rather see Bagwell, McGriff, and/or Raines make it there instead.

  9. marshmallowsnake - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Don’t look behind the curtain.

  10. contraryguy - Jan 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Lark can look to fellow Red Tony Perez for an idea of what it takes to get in; as the chart in the article shows, Perez was close (60%+) on ballots throughout the late 90’s but didn’t get past that 75% level until 2000. Shouldn’t be anyone in Lark’s way on this year’s ballot though; just don’t see McGriff and Bagwell having the juice to get in.

    Here’s the selection list by year. http://bbwaa.com/hof/

  11. denny65 - Jan 2, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Let me know when Pete Rose is elected to the HOF. Then I’ll know we have an institution that recognizes baseball greatness.

    ‘Til then? Uh, not so much.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:16 PM

      How is he “Greatness”?

      • bozosforall - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM

        NL ROY, NL MVP (9 other times finishing in Top 10 voting), WS MVP, 30th all time in career WAR, MLB all-time leader in hits (1st all-time in singles and 2nd all-time in doubles), 17-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glove (played 1B, 2B, 3B, LF, CF and RF at some point in his career, so a very versatile fielder), Silver Slugger, 3 WS rings…the list is endless.

        Seems pretty “Great” to me.

  12. mgflolox - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was created to get tourists into Cooperstown, NY. Right now, it seems as though the only people who will be getting elected are old-timers and non-playing officials. While that will undoubtedly please Bud Selig and his cronies, people are not going to be showing up for those inductions. When that happens, and the HOF’s financial interests are damaged, you will start to see some reform in the voting pretty damn fast.

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