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So what happened lower down on the Hall of Fame ballot?

Jan 9, 2012, 3:31 PM EDT

jack morris-thumb-250x375-4861

Hooray for Barry Larkin. Now let’s look farther down the ballot and see what’s what.  We’ll do this in random notes format:

  • Jack Morris’ uptick from 53.5% in 2011 to 66.7% this year is, on the surface, a good thing for his candidacy. Not many guys who get that many votes fail to make it. So on one level you’d think he’d be a shoe-in for next year.  The problem, however, is that so many worthy candidates — and candidates who will got lots of support but who maybe not enough for election — will be coming in next two years. And Morris only has two years.  It’s possible that he will become the place where all of the anti-steroid voters go next year, thus pushing him over. It’s also possible that he just missed his last best chance to get in before he’s crowded out;
  • Jeff Bagwell’s elevation from 41.7% to 56% is quite encouraging, both for him personally and for the idea that people who are unfairly lumped in with PED users may actually get a fair shake eventually. Perhaps the real anti-Bagwell sentiment from last year was about making him a first ballot Hall of Famer, not keeping him out entirely.  Either way, with 56% in only his second year on the ballot, his prospects look pretty darn good going forward;
  • Speaking of forward, Tim Raines took a nice leap forward as well, going from 37.5% in 2011 to 48.7% this year. Still no lock — you really need to bust 50% before you get real momentum — but encouraging all the same. It will be interesting to see, however, if he gets crowded out in the coming years like Morris may due to the overcrowded ballots.  Of course, Raines still has another decade on the ballot, so his situation is not as precarious as is Morris’.
  • Lee Smith broke 50% — he got 50.6% — but it wasn’t a big leap over last year’s 45.3%.  Not terrible, but no one really seems to be advocating for him publicly like they did for Bert Blyleven, and no one seems as agitated by is presence like they are by Morris’. Could he be flattening out? We’ll see, as he has five more years before he is the Veteran’s Committee’s problem.
  • Mark McGwire has certainly plateaued at a meager 19.5%. Last year he had 19.8%.  Even those who advocate for the PED guys are going to overlook him somewhat in the interests of pushing for Barry Bonds’ and Roger Clemens’ candidacies going forward, so don’t look for McGwire to make any moves.
  • Alan Trammell shot up 12 percentage points over last year, but he’s still only at 36.8%, so it’s not like his is a vibrant candidacy. Trammell leapfrogged Edgar Martinez, actually, who only went up from 32.9% to 36.5%. In other news, if anyone can tell me what separates Trammell from Larkin that is in any way material, I’d really like to know.
  • Juan Gonzalez dropped off completely, receiving only 4% of the vote. All of that desktop publishing effort, wasted.
  • We made fun of the Pedro Gomez’ vote for Bill Mueller this morning, but Mueller actually got four votes. Other novelty vote recipients: Vinny Castilla (6), Tim Salmon (5), Brad Radke (2), Javy Lopez (1) and Eric Young (1).  Nice going, guys. Now you can tell people that you got Hall of Fame votes from writers who did not take their task particularly seriously.

There’s a lot more fun stuff to be gleaned from the voting results.  Check ‘em out and add any of your own observations in the comments.

  1. 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    The single votes don’t bother me that much, as long as they aren’t at the expense of more qualified candidates. I don’t imagine there’s anyone voting for Bill Mueller INSTEAD OF Edgar Martinez. I think such a voter rejected Edgar, and also voted for Mueller.

    Either way, it doesn’t bother me that much.

    • 78mu - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      Posnanski made a good point about the single vote guys that don’t belong in the HoF. The ballots should be jazzed up with raised lettering and calligraphy suitable for framing so that guys like Mueller can hang it on their wall as evidence they were a very good baseball player.

      If I were Mueller or Young and knew someone voted for me but left off Raines, Bagwell, Trammel or Martinez I’d be more embarrassed than honored. By voting for players they know do not deserve to be in the HoF a writer trivializes the process.

    • Cris E - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      What’s more likely is that a voter had an open spot or four at the end of his ballot and threw in the name of a guy he always liked for one reason or another: childhood hero, easy interview, hot wife, whatever. I’m enough of an optimist to believe that most voters know the difference between Mueller or Radke and an actual hall of famer. And in some small way now we know someone feels highly of them as a person, which kind of goes towards the point Poz made in the previous comment.

  2. b7p19 - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Javy Lopez!!??

    • foreverchipper10 - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      Woo!

  3. Loren - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I wouldn’t vote for Tim Salmon, but I wouldn’t call a vote for him a “novelty vote” either.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    So Juan Gone is gone from the ballot next year after squeaking in last year.. The only newcomer to remain on the ballot is Bernie Williams.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Personally, I think NOBODY who got votes this year will make it in next year. With Clemens, Bonds, Piazza, Schilling, Biggio, and Sosa all should be in…but they all won’t make it. Add Bagwell, Morris, Raines, Smith, Trammell? Wow. I can’t wait for 2013.

    p.s. I will pray once a day for 365 days that Morris gets in. I’ll be saying a novena for him daily. Please God. Let Jack Morris get voted in. I doubt he will though…not with those guys coming up.

    • Cris E - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      After the long spell of small classes it might be funny to induct ten or twelve guys next year. It’d be like the year they brought in that page full of Negro Leagues folks, except all these guys would be around to give speeches.

      Regarding Morris, we disagree. But I have to say that when people prayed for Jack in big games God seems to have answered pretty regularly, so you never know…

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        I don’t think we disagree…I don’t think Morris belongs…I just want him to get voted in so all the guys thumbing me down will rant and rave on here…it will be awesome and give me reading material for a week.

      • paperlions - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:20 AM

        Chris, I rarely use the thumbs, can I still rant and rave later on? or do I have to start thumbing you down to earn the privilege? Please advise. Thanks.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:40 AM

        paper, my 10 o’clock meeting cancelled out on me and I’m heading to Vegas tomorrow for a week. So basically, I’m already in Vegas. You can thumb me down or rant and rave as much as you want because I need the entertainment of a good debate to kill the time on this longest of days :D

      • paperlions - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:06 AM

        Have fun. :-)

  6. flavadave10 - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Whoever voted for Javy Lopez should have their voting privileges revoked.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      The guys I would revoke voting privileges from were the 9 idiots who did not vote for anyone.

  7. ricofoy - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    You mean Bagwell is unfairly lumped with PED users who either got caught or confessed. He better get elected soon because at the rate he’s shrinking, there won’t be anything left to him if it does happen.

  8. burgundyandgold - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    No one will ever convince me that Dale Murphy does not belong in the Hall – especially after the steroid mess. He was a class player and a class guy. As a kid I lived for a few years in Atlanta and he was a beast.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      Surely, you understand the case against him. He was terrific for 6 years, but he wasn’t as outstanding as Koufax in that time (the standard for short-but-brilliant). His career just wound down. There wasn’t an injury that drove him out; he just wasn’t very good any more.

      I liked him, too. I thought he was hugely underrated in his time. (Admittedly, I was pretty young then.) How many players with six great seasons, and no other credentials, are Hall of Famers?

      • 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        I just tested my own question against two guys who I, also, don’t think deserve to be in the Hall of Fame (but made it anyway): Rice and Dawson.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1010897,1009355,1003091

        By those measurements, Murphy is worse than Rice and Dawson. I think It’s hard to build his case.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        And here’s how he stacks up against Raines:
        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1009355,1406

        The best case for Murphy is that he was outstanding for six years. What you’ll see, there, is that for those six years, Raines was Murphy’s equal or better in all but one.

  9. spudatx - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    What are the odds we are looking at no one being elected in 2013? None of these guys are truly worthy and the Bonds/Clemens circus should only further complicate the voting.

    • paperlions - Jan 9, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Bagwell isn’t worthy? Raines isn’t worthy?

      Explain.

      • spudatx - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        In my eyes and the voter’s eyes this year, the answer is “no”. Their cases only get further muddied next year when they have to compete with Piazza, who many won’t vote for because they’ll speculate too much, and Biggio, a guy who had a nice career, but doesn’t have much of a case.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      from next year’s 1st-timers–Piazza’s not worthy? Biggio’s not worthy?

      Explain.

  10. rje49 - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Ever wonder how we’d think of Jack Morris’ career if he had lost game 7 in ’91? (Like if Lonnie Smith had scored from first on the double)

    • 18thstreet - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      I wonder how we’ll talk about Chris Carpenter outpitching Roy Halladay this year in the playoffs.

      • JBerardi - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:40 PM

        We probably won’t because no one really cares about divisional series.

    • largebill - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      If Smith had scored we’d hear people complaining that Morris fell off the ballot too quickly without getting a fair shot like Whitaker.

  11. jwbiii - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Here are the players who have maxed out between 60% and 75% in the BBWAA voting:
    74.7 % Nellie Fox (V)
    74.2% Jim Bunning (V)
    72.5% Frank Chance (V)
    72.0% Orlando Cepeda (V)
    68.9% Enos Slaughter (V)
    66.7% Jack Morris
    65.3% Rube Waddell (V)
    63.4% Gil Hodges

    The players marked (V) were later voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. For better or worse, Morris stands a very good chance of being voted in one way or another.

    • JBerardi - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      There is truly no justice in life.

  12. ireportyoudecide - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    If Bonds and Clemens don’t make it next year then we can stop argueing about this, becuase the hall of fame will no longer be a showcase for the games best players.

  13. puppykicker - Jan 9, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    In other news, if anyone can tell me what separates Trammell from Larkin that is in any way material, I’d really like to know.

    i doubt you’ll see this, but here you go, craig. from jayson starks article on espn.com yesterday.
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/hof12/story/_/id/7434381/jayson-stark-baseball-hall-fame-ballot

    Not because I don’t think Trammell is massively underappreciated. It’s because I’m still not convinced that Trammell and Larkin are essentially the same player, as some of my peers have argued.

    Larkin’s career slugging percentage was nearly 30 points higher than Trammell’s. His career on-base percentage was almost 20 points higher. But the biggest difference was this:

    Larkin may have had his injury issues, but when you got him on the field, he was a consistently dominating player: 13 straight seasons with an OPS-plus greater than 100, seven Silver Slugger awards in nine years, 11 All-Star appearances in 13 years, 12 straight seasons with a wins above replacement greater than 3.0, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

    Trammell, on the other hand, spent his career mixing seasons of greatness with seasons in which he was just a good, solid, dependable player. He never ran off more than three straight years with an OPS-plus over 100. Larkin had nearly twice as many seasons (14) with an OBP of .350 or better as Trammell (eight). Larkin had a 14-year streak in which he never had an OPS lower than .745. In nine of Trammell’s 20 seasons, his OPS dipped into the .600s or lower.

    None of this is meant to imply that Trammell wasn’t a tremendous player. It’s just a way of explaining why he falls barely below my personal Hall of Fame threshold. As I’ve said many times, it’s never an insult to say any player was not quite a Hall of Famer. But that’s how I see Trammell, hard as I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise.

    • paperlions - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      Ah yes, Jason Stark, bastion of context free statistical comparisons.

      The careers of Larkin (86-04) and Trammel (77-96) were not coincident. Trammel spent his prime in the offensively oppressive late 70s and 80s. Larkin spent his prime during a time of offensive explosion. While Larkin was the better offensive player, Trammel was the better defensive player. Larkin also played in a league without much competition at SS for AS or Silver Slugger awards (pretty much Ozzie and nothing else)….Trammel was in a league that featured Ripken and Yount during his prime.

      In any case, if you take context into account, there isn’t much different between their production. Like Raines and other players whose prime was during the offensively suppressed 80s, Trammel suffers greatly by comparison to those who immediately followed because people can’t be bothered with context.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:22 AM

        Trammel had an OPS+ over 100, ie better than league average, 9 times and Larkin did that 14 straight times. That’s about as close to context in terms of offense as you will get, and it favors Larkin. I also disagree that Trammel was a significantly better defender (but then I admit to pro-Larkin bias as huge Reds fan-boy dating many years prior to the existance of the Rays). Regardless, I do think Trammel absolutely should be a Hall of Famer.

      • puppykicker - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        For the record, i have nothing against trammel and think he deserves the Hall call. i’m just a sucker for a good baseball debate.

      • paperlions - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:26 AM

        OPS+ is not the best context-based stat, in part because of the problems with OPS itself, and in part because of problems associated with how variation is related to production….during times of greater production, it is easier to be farther from the mean (i.e. variance increases).

        In addition, using artificial standards like “number of times with an OPS+ over 100″ can be misleading as it considers an OPS+ of 101 to be the same as an OPS+ of 150 when doing the tally.

  14. raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    Thanks, I do understand stats–including means, significance, standard deviations, etc. Yes, IF Trammel’s OPS+ years when he had an OPS+ >league average were significantly higher than the years when Larking did it, you’d have a point in this case. They were not. Feel free to look them both up in BR, and see for yourself that both basic and advanced stats tend to favor Larkin, including the ones that try to factor in context. Trammel was a great player and deserves to be in the HoF. He was not, however, as good with the bat as Larkin.

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