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Nate Silver looks at the Hall of Fame voting

Jan 8, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT


Nate Silver — with a strong assist from @leokitty, who has compiled a spreadsheet of public Hall of Fame votes — gives those public Hall of Fame votes the old Nate Silver treatment in his latest post.

Specifically, he looks for patterns among voters who did and didn’t vote for Barry Bonds and/or Roger Clemens in an attempt to see what that means for others on the ballot. The upshot: while Bonds and Clemens represent a clear and unambiguous case of voters weighing in on the steroid era for good or for ill, the suction is taking guys like Bagwell and Piazza down with them.  Which, if you’re not yet sick of my Hall of Fame posts here, you’re well aware of.

Silver notes, however, that that suction, well, sucks, because it’s based on some pretty crude and inaccurate stereotyping by the electorate. Because — based on the sorts of players who have been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, it makes little sense to simply assume use by the big guys and assume that the little guys were clean:

Among these players are the utility infielder Neifi Perez, who hit 64 home runs in a 12-year career, the slap-hitting outfielder Jorge Piedra, and a substantial number of pitchers. The incidence of performance-enhancing drug use seems to be fairly randomly distributed between stars and benchwarmers, players at different positions and those with different skills.

Some writers seem to think they can profile steroid users, and some otherwise-deserving players seem likely to be denied a place in Cooperstown because of it.

  1. stex52 - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Well, who cares what that gay liberal thinks? Tell him to go back to predicting Presidential elections, where he belongs. / SARCASM

    • giant4life - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      I care!…This guy was a baseball guy long before he was calling elections..and usually spot on..It is clear that the bigotry in the voting process carries over to their readers….This remark was not SARCASM, but stupidity and ignorance.

    • alang3131982 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      i dont think sarcasm tags work when you want to use “gay” as an offensive term….liberal sure….but come on.

      • stex52 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        Hey Giants, alang,

        I was trying to parody the comments of conservative commentators from the election itself. SARCASM is not the right term, but I used it as being common here. If you think I give a rat’s about a guy being gay or liberal, then you haven’t been reading my comments. Cur understood.

        Sorry the joke didn’t work. But go back and read pre-election comments and at least see what I was trying to mock.

      • hconnor2001 - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        Totally got it the first time, stex -a perfectly fair (and funny!) parody of the original, bigoted comments of the Republican guys who sought, in the crudest and most ineffective terms imaginable to discredit Silver’s election forecasts (that, as I recall, were almost spot-on in the end).

    • cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Hey, hey, hey, give South Texas a break, eh? You have but to take a casual peruse of the internet to see that this comment by Stex is spot on. Many people mock and dismiss Nate Silver just this way and they themselves deserve to be mocked for it. I’d like to see all this outrage trotted out for someone who’s actually serious as opposed to someone who’s pointing out that this is the sort of thing that gets said about Nate Silver all the time. I’ve seen a goodly number of “bluegays” comments written by trolls on this blog and not one of the worpress handles I see finger waving at Stex here has ever said anything. Lets just ease off our moral high horse and back onto our soap boxes a bit, eh folks?

      • stex52 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Thanks for the spirited defense, Cur. Of course, we’ve been talking a bit longer.

        There is a tendency to get literal with readings on this blog. Occasionally I shoot first myself.

        Not all of our jokes work.

      • cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        Hell, I took a Ghostbusters quote literally the other day. The shame still lingers.

      • giant4life - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        I accept tex’s response….yours?……”dismissing Mr. Silver this way” implies that he is a gay….and gay people sure and the hell don’t belong in baseball blogs… problem or on a moral high horse…..problem is bigotry…it is any form…..and sadly it stops when people stop using stereotype catch-phases…Stex writes honest posts….and I agree on this nonsense of some baseball writers bias for voting…… Steroids were created by baseball…and so were the writers…

      • hconnor2001 - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        Sorry, Giant, but what on earth are you talking about?

      • cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        iIs some sort of free verse, I think. Try reading it to the tune of Tom Sawyer by Rush. It’s got a kind of catchy rhythm to it…

      • giant4life - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM

        sorry hconn….Thought most people could read and understand…you must be a Cowboy fan?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        sorry hconn….Thought most people could read and understand…you must be a Cowboy fan?

        Wait, you are mocking someone else for reading/understanding after posting that crime against grammar? I’m terrible with spelling errors, but I don’t insult others when I make a mistake.

    • abaird2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      We knew you weren’t serious because everything was spelled and puctuated correctly.

      • abaird2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        Um, “punctuated” … irony, folks — give it a hand!

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Cool spreadsheet. Love how Heyman votes for McGriff and Murphy, but not for Biggio, Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, or Piazza. At least the putz voted for Raines, who I really hope gets in this time.

    • kirkvanhouten - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      …no matter how much we may disagree on WAR, I’m proud that we both share a mutual hatred of Jon Heyman.

  3. kirkvanhouten - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Top Most Obvious Steroid Users Already In the Hall Using Ridiculous Steroid-Witchhunt Logic:

    1. Kirk Pcukett: 4 home runs in his first career 1,300 PAs, then suddenly smashes 31? Likely.

    2. Andre Dawson: Career on the rocks and suddenly tops his career high in home runs by *17*

    3. Ryne Sandberg: 2nd baseman with a little pop…suddenly smashes 30, then 40 home runs. His career drops off…then he retires, comes back and is suddenly a power hitter again. Come on!

    4. Paul Molitor: Possibly the only player in history beside known steroid users to have his best years between the ages of 34-37.

    5. Carlton Fisk: I’ll let him argue this one himself: ” When you talk about steroids and you talk about what it means to the game, the three greatest home run hitters of all time — Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, right? When they were 39 years old, how many home runs do you think they averaged? The three greatest home run hitters of all time averaged 18 home runs at age 39. Now, how many home runs did Barry Bonds hit when he was 39? He hit 73!”–so says a catcher who by far his highest single season home run total at age 37 had his highest slugging percentage at age 40.

    6. Nolan Ryan…an ageless wonder who had some of his best season in his late 30s and early 40s. Seems suspicious to me.

    7. Ozzie Smith…A not hit shortstop who maybe wants to keep having a career? He couldn’t get his slugging percentage above .300 before he came to St. Louis. He hit *12 times* as many home runs in his first four years in St. Louis as he did in San Diego. This one is so obvious, it’s a wonder there isn’t a movement to expel him from Cooperstown.

    8. Babe Ruth. Come on…the guy was a pitcher. And his home run totals jump from 11 to 29…to 54? Sure anabolic steroids weren’t even invented until the 1930s….or *is that what they want you to think*.

    …in summary, I should probably start doing some actual work now before my boss starts getting nosy.

    • kirkvanhouten - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      I do realize that I just called “Kirby Puckett” “Kirk” instead. I applaud you for your restraint in mocking me for this.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        I won’t Pcuk with you on that one.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Come on…didn’t you see the commercials…it was all Advil that helped Nolan Ryan pitch into his 60’s.

    • cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Just to add some steam to your argument about Ruth and ‘roids you should look at this link:

      After you read that, you’ll never look at a set of sheep balls the same again . . . um . . . or something.

    • husky2score - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      You had me reading your post until you said Babe Ruth and Nolan Ryan. If that is the case, you add Cal Ripken for having too long of a consecutive games streak? Come on.

      • kirkvanhouten - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        Excellent point. Ripken certainly did use steroids. You know who else? Gehrig.

        It all seems so obvious now

      • abaird2012 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        And Koufax used HGH for his arthritis …

    • thereisaparty - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      9. Henry Aaron … best offensive year came in his age 36 season

  4. cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    drunknatesilver runs around the HoF shouting “Excellent performance does NOT equal performance enhancement!”

    • 4d3fect - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Is there a drunk twitter feed for him yet, a la @drunkhulk ?

      • 4d3fect - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        hm, not yet apparently.

    • cur68 - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      He’s just a meme at this point, I think. But he’s a HELL of a good meme.

  5. brewcrewfan54 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Hey Craig or Aaron or any ofthe other Hardballtalk bloggers there’s a noce article bu the Brewers beat writer Tom Hardricourt explaining his Hall of Fame voting process over in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel website. Might be a noce articlefor you guys to take a look st and write up about. I dont nexessarily agree with some of his reasoning but at least he’s transparent about it.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      And my apologies for doing a terrible job of proofreading.

  6. butchhuskey - Jan 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I knew that Rafael Palmeiro was using performance enhancing drugs before his failed steroid test.

    After all, the guy did a bunch of commercials for Viagra.

  7. sometimesimisscandlestick - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    So looking at the spread sheet numbers, could this be a year where no one gets elected – except by the veterans committee?

  8. El Bravo - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I will say this: it is inherently unfair for players to use performance-enhancing drugs in any era because some players may want to remain clean and therefore are likely at a competitive disadvantage simply by trying to play fair. To punish this person for being clean is unfair, obviously. Why then, would we ever expect that as a result of what is likely the second least fair era in baseball history (see segregated leagues for least fair) that the HOF voting for this eras’ players wold be any more fair? If you were truly clean and you played during the steroid era, you weren’t getting a fair shake back then and you won’t get one now. My point is that everything turned all clusterfuck back when they were using the shit, it has simply become apparent now just how big that cluster of fucks truly is. The wrong was done decades ago now and there’s no right way to reconcile this now.

  9. butchhuskey - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    I don’t think academic cheating and steroid use are quite the same. I mean, maybe if you believe drugs like ritalin that allow people to focus more and study better are wrong to use, then I guess there is an argument. But I don’t see how trying to make your body more adept at performance is akin to stealing answers on a test.

    • butchhuskey - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Oh crap, I meant to post this comment in the Tom Verducci thread. My mistake

  10. girardisbraces - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    So based on the currently listed views on the spreadsheet, the closest to election is Biggio with 69.4% of ballots. That’s 109/157.

    Assuming last year’s return of 573 ballots, Biggio would have to get 77% of the remaining voters (321 ballots) to squeak in. While I think he’s a Hall of Famer, I think it’s likely no one gets elected this year….

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