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Hall of Fame projection: Larkin makes it, no one else

Jan 3, 2012, 6:48 AM EDT

Barry Larkin

Every year Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times projects the results of the Hall of Fame vote. Not just who goes in, but the exact percentage of the vote each candidate gets. He’s pretty good at it:  In the past four years he has made predictions for 63 candidates. Fifty of those candidates have come within five percentage points of the actual vote, and 22 have come within one percentage point of the BBWAA result.  Last year his margin for error was 2.4 percent.

His column for this year is up, and it breaks down thusly:

Barry Larkin: 82%
Jack Morris: 65%
Jeff Bagwell: 54%
Lee Smith: 52%
Tim Raines: 52%
Edgar Martinez: 39%
Alan Trammell: 32%

No one else is over 30 percent. He has Bernie Williams at 12 percent, which would keep him on the ballot. He’s be the only new candidate this year to stick around for next.  All of the usual holdovers like Dale Murphy, Mark McGwire and friends are north of that.

There is considerable precedent for guys who get over 50% of the vote to eventually make it in, so if Jaffe is right, it bodes well for Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines.  Jack Morris’ surge to from 54 percent to 65 percent would be notable, but one wonders if the extremely crowded ballot next year would allow for him to make it over the top.

Anyway, check out Jaffe’s column, which explains how he gets where he gets with these predictions and explains the curious dynamics of a Hall of Fame candidate’s journey from ballot newbie to Hall of Famer.

  1. Mr. Furious - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Looks like you listed Larkin’s total from 2011, as Jaffe has him at 82% rather than 62%.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:05 AM

      D’oh. Thanks!

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    If this is the way it shakes out, then it is a huge problem for guys like Raines and Bagwell moving forward. Even though it is precedent that once a guy gets to 50% he gets in, this is a different time. Once Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and others like them start hogging up the 10 spots on some of the voter’s ballots, I have a feeling that those guys are never going to get in. For example, what if Raines was 8th on my ballot…and I don’t care about steroids? Then in the coming years, I have to put Clemens and Bonds and Sosa on my ballot over them, and there’s no more room for Rock or Bagwell. And when many of the writers will not allow those guys on their ballots, this is going to cause a logjam the likes of which we have never seen in the HOF voting.

    Something has to be changed in the process in the coming years. I wonder is the BBWAA is prescient enough to see what is going to happen…oh yeah, we are talking about the BBWAA. They won’t do anything until it is far too late.

    • 78mu - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      They can always get in with the Vets Committee but they should not have to wait even for that. If Bagwell gets left in the dust because of a suspicion of steroids and Clemens, Bonds and Sosa skim votes from him it will be proof that the writers aren’t paying attention.

      I have no problem with a voter taking a stand one way or the other concerning PEDs (though it would be nice to know what their position is along with their ballot) but for Bagwell to denied because of suspicions is nuts. From the Mitchell Report we know it was not just the big, beefy home run sluggers that were using. So every player coming onto the ballot should be under the same suspicion if a writer is going to use that as an excuse.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        I agree with you on Bagwell. He should have been a first ballot HOFer in my opinion. I just hope he gets in this year, because next year, he may see some of his votes get chopped off.

        I’m playing Devil’s advocate here, trying to look at an average BBWAA HOFer ballot. This isn’t necessarily my ballot, but one that could be an example from the % of votes in the past few years.

        Let’s say this is my ballot for 2012 and I voted for 10 guys…
        Morris, Smith, Bagwell, Raines, Edgar, Trammell, McGwire, Palmiero, Walker, Larkin

        If only Larkin gets in this year, I now have only one spot open for 2013…yet there are, at least in my eyes, 4 or 5 new guys who crack my list.

        Schilling, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens

        Now I have to decide between Biggio(3,000 hits and likely to be on many BBWAA ballots…also no steroid accusations) and Bagwell. I’d choose Bagwell, but how many BBWAA guys are going to leave a member of the 3,000 club and all-around nice guy like Biggio off their ballot? Not many.

        So how any votes does Biggio steal from Bagwell?

        My 2013 ballot becomes…
        Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Edgar, Trammell, Biggio, Palmiero, Morris

        Now, we all can pretty much guess that Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Palmiero are not getting in anytime soon, right? So what about my 2014 ballot?

        We have Maddux, Kent?, Thomas, Edmonds?, Glavine all coming onto the ballot. I don’t think any of them are roiders, but you see where guys like Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, and Palmiero could clog up 50% of many voter’s ballots for years while others in the BBWAA never vote for them. They could be stuck in the 30-50% range and keep guys like Bagwell, Raines, and future tough calls, like Edmonds and Kent, out of the Hall.

        (personally, I think Kent should be a lock, but his general bad demeanor and the fact that many in the media didn’t like him could make it difficult for him to get in)

    • paperlions - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Chris, while that is certainly possible. The average ballot has votes for less than 6 guys….so, for most voters, there are at least 4 open spots….very few voters vote for 10 guys.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        That’s true, which makes my point even more so I believe. What if those voters who have themselves on a 6 person limit and have no problem with steroids, only vote for Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Palmiero, McGwire and Schilling. Where does Raines and Bagwell fit then? Say Schilling gets in. Now there’s an opening for 2013 and we see Maddux, Glavine and the Big Hurt get on the ballot as locks. Now for 2013, the ballot is Bonds, Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, and Sosa. Raines and Bagwell are nowhere to be found then, right?

        Either way, all I am saying is that SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED OVER THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS because this is a time that is UNPRECEDENTED in the history of Hall of Fame balloting and if the BBWAA doesn’t do anything, it is going to be a major clusterfuck before we know it. At least in my humble opinion.

      • oasiserfede - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:04 AM

        Sosa, Walker, Morris and Palmeiro are not HoF’ers, so that should ease the congestion somewhat…….

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        Without looking at steroids, which some BBWAA voters do, Sosa is a clear-cut first ballot lock. And he’ll be on some ballots…enough to stay on the ballot for a while siphoning votes from guys like Raines and Bagwell. Walker got 20% last year and that total will likely only go up. Palmiero had a great career and if not for his positive steroid test, he’d already be in the hall. Morris continues to get over 50%, so how exactly is he going to ease the congestion???

        Again, I am not talking about who deserves to be in the Hall. I am talking about who is getting votes for the hall. And while your pithy response may be true, the fact is that Morris will get between 62 and 65% of the votes for the hall this year, which does exactly ZERO to ease any congestion.

  3. crashdog - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    If this proves to be the case, it is further evidence that the Hall of Fame is more and more becoming the Hall Of Very Good. I could have lived with Dawson. But Rice, Santo, and Larkin have no place in the Hall.

    • mrfloydpink - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:45 AM

      Wholeheartedly agree with you about Larkin and Santo. Sure, they were both among the Top 10 players ever to play at their respective positions, but that’s just not good enough. To my way of thinking, you need to be better that Mike Schmidt for a 3B, or Honus Wagner for a SS, or you simply have no business in the Hall of Fame.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:49 AM

        “you need to be better that Mike Schmidt for a 3B”

        Huh? Then there would only be one 3B in the Hall of Fame…Mike Schmidt…right?

      • Ari Collins - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:52 AM

        Nice sarcasm!

        Rice is pretty poor by hall of fame standards, but the voters were TRYING to elect of the best left fielders ever, even if they’re very wrong in this case. So they’re still keeping it from being the Hall of Very Good. Even if, again, they sucked at it in this case.

        And yeah, like Floyd said, Larkin and Santo are among the best ever to play their position. Unless your idea of “the best ever” is “the top two or three.” In which case, go build your own tourist attraction.

      • mrfloydpink - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        Truth be told, I’m not even sure Schmidt belongs. The Hall of Fame is for the best of the best, and Schmidt was a half-notch below Willie Mays and Babe Ruth.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        Damn, I actually missed the sarcasm. Where’s the sacrasm font for 2012 I’ve been clamoring about, Craig?

      • jwbiii - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:23 AM

        I dunno, mrfloydpink. That Ruth fellow had some serious character issues. Willie “Red Juice” Mays?

      • Ari Collins - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:58 AM

        Tough to tell sarcasm on the internet (and it’s tough especially when there are positions you cannot exaggerate enough because they are already extreme). But that second sentence was the giveaway.

      • 78mu - Jan 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        Not only is sarcasm difficult to detect on the internet but there are some people that really believe you have to be as good as Schmidt and Wagner to get in.

        And the scary thing is that a lot of those people actually have a vote.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      Yeah! Right on Crashdog! Barry Larkin doesn’t even sniff the jock of HOFers like George Kell, Freddie Lindstrom, Chick Hafey and Lloyd Waner.

      Yes, those guys are all in the hall of fame and were much, much worse than Barry Larkin. I’d guess, without doing any research, the Larkin was better than 70% of players in the hall. If you think the hall should be made up of only Hank Aaron and Ty Cobb’s (as you seem to), then you should start your own cause that is sooooo not the makeup of Cooperstown.

      • mabunar - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        Yeah, but those were Veterans committee vote-ins…you can’t blame BBWAA for those.

    • mtm1321 - Jan 3, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      I wo’nt talk about Larkin or Santo but I’m tired of this Rice bashing and I was never even a Red Sox or Rice fan.
      From 1975 though 1986, Jim Rice dominated the American League. He was the premiere offensive force in the junior circuit, and it wasn’t even close. Rod Carrew and George Brett may have been better pure hitters and Dave Winfield a better all-around player, but nobody could put on the one-man wrecking show that Rice did. During that 12 year period, Rice led all AL players in games, at-bats, runs, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging, total bases, extra base hits, multi-hit games and go-ahead RBIs. From 1977 through 1979, he became the only player in major league history to record three straight seasons with at least 35 homeruns and 200 hits. In 1978 he became the first American League player since Joe Dimaggio in 1937 to collect over 400 total bases in a season, a feat that has yet to be matched again in the almost 30 years since.
      Of the 19 left fielders currently enshrined in the Hall, only five hit more homeruns than Rice’s 382 and only eight recorded more RBIs. When the fact that he was the dominant hitter in his league for over a decade is factored in, Rice’s place in Cooperstown should be a no-brainer. The only nine retired players with both more homeruns and a higher career batting average than Rice are all Hall of Famers: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Fox, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
      What else should I say…….I think thats enough.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:22 PM

        He had a very good peak, but Rice’s overall career was not HOF-worthy.

        Even if you pretend getting on base doesn’t matter (Rice made a LOT of outs by swinging for the fences all the time and hitting into an absurd number of double plays), he wasn’t one of the best sluggers of his era. He only had 5 top-5 finishes in slugging percentage, and ended up at a paltry .502 for his career, good for 93rd all time, behind an awful lot of guys who played tougher positions, and well.

        A guy whose only real skill is slugging but barely cracks the top 100 all-time is not a hall of famer.

      • mtm1321 - Jan 3, 2012 at 11:23 PM

        So I guess everything else Rice did just isn’t enough. There are so many guys in the HOF whose numbers aren’t even close to Rice. Do you even look at other HOF’ers numbers?

        Yes Rice made a lot of outs and had big numbers hitting into double plays so did tons of other HOFers. You make it sound like all HOFers are in this Ruthian and Mays level of skill.

        Rice’s numbers are above average, not god-like but they are good and I truly believe he deserves to be there plus I think these are the kinds of numbers that were going to see more HOF’ers have after MLB hashes out this whole PED/Steroid rule and the natural talent takes the game over.

        Fortunately for us it doesn’t matter what each of thinks since Jim RIce is a Hall of Fame player.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        If you look above, you’ll see in this same thread a discussion of the fact that players hardly need to be Ruthian to make the Hall. Totally agree with you there. But they should be one of the best ever to play their position, and Rice was not one of the best left-fielders ever.

        Yes, I look at other HOF-er’s numbers, and Rice just doesn’t match up. Unless you’re ignoring defense, overall slugging, on-base percentage, and looking at home runs and RBIs ONLY, which is not a good way to judge a player. RBIs are a team stat, not an individual stat, and his home run totals are those of a compiler (only five great home run years and an awful lot more merely above-average seasons) playing in a bandbox.

        Agree that he’s above-average. And with a well well well above-average peak. But above-average shouldn’t be enough to make the Hall.

      • mtm1321 - Jan 4, 2012 at 10:51 AM


        In the 100 plus years of baseball there are only 19 LF enshrined in HOF. 19! Nine-teen! Only 9 HOF’ers have a higher career batting avg and more homer runs. 9! Nine!

        “Of the 19 left fielders currently enshrined in the Hall, only five hit more homeruns than Rice’s 382 and only eight recorded more RBIs. When the fact that he was the dominant hitter in his league for over a decade is factored in, Rice’s place in Cooperstown should be a no-brainer. The only nine retired players with both more homeruns and a higher career batting average than Rice are all Hall of Famers: Hank Aaron, Jimmie Fox, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.”

        I’m not saying he was a baseball god but he has what I think are the minimum numbers to get in. Plus a big point I think were missing is a lot of his peers (pitchers he faced) that are in the HOF went to bat for this guy and said he was a scary, dangerous opponent to face.

  4. mrfloydpink - Jan 3, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Thanks, Ari. At lease someone’s paying attention.

  5. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    An actual player has to get voted in. The HOF is in the entertainment business. Without a a star their big weekend (revenue event) falls flat.

  6. Ari Collins - Jan 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I both hope and actually do think that Bagwell will be helped by Clemens and Bonds and Sosa and crew. The writers will be able to vote for him as the clean candidate and make their self-important gatekeeper statement that way.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      I hope you are right, Ari, but I think that when the line is 75%, it is going to be tough for Bagwell to get on enough ballots because there are always those who will vote for Clemens and Bonds over him because, admittedly, they had better careers than Bagwell. Sosa is a different argument because he hit over 600 home runs, and I believe there are BBWAA voters who will give him credit for that above Bagwell, even though I believe Bagwell had a better all-around career than Sosa. Either way, we again get back to the 75% threshold…it only takes 26% of the voters to leave Bagwell off and he is done. Usually, guys get more votes when there isn’t as much of a choice moving forward. In this case, however, there are so many locks that haven’t made and won’t made it that I think it is going to kill Raines and Bagwell.

      Again, I really hope I am wrong. And it’s sad that Edgar will probably never make it either.

  7. dan1111 - Jan 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I don’t think Bernie Williams is a Hall-of-Famer, but I will be surprised if he only gets 12%.

  8. streatordave - Jan 3, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    If you let the PED kids in, then Hello Pete Rose!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 3, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      O rly? Please explain why.

      I wish people who made outlandish claims like this would return to defend them. It’s getting boring around here with everyone agreeing with each other.

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