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Even if you don’t vote for PED guys, there are tons of worthy Hall of Fame candidates

Dec 27, 2013, 9:19 AM EDT


Ken Rosenthal is pretty straightforward with his Hall of Fame balloting: he won’t vote for the PED guys. Bright side: he’s pretty strict about who he considers to be a PED guy, limiting to guys against whom there is strong evidence. This is totally defensible even if I’d approach it differently. there is rigor and fairness involved and he doesn’t play the innuendo and guilt-by-association games.

Here’s his Hall of Fame ballot. The most notable thing: ten guys are on it, despite his no-PED policy. And all ten are worthy, which just shows you how stocked the ballot is this year. It shows that there is basically no excuse for anyone turning in a ballot with only a couple of guys on it.

  1. cur68 - Dec 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Good work by Rosenthal. Pity about Trammel, though. Deserving, but Rosenthal plain ran out of room. If the HoF knew what the hell they were doing Rosenthal’s voting model would be what they’d promote. Unlike Craig, this is pretty much how I’d approach it, too. The only thing I’d do differently than Rosenthal is stay entirely away from “Wins” as a means to judge pitchers. That fails what I call “The Cliff Lee Test”. To be fair to Rosenthal, he also doesn’t give it much weight. I’d just not even mention it.

    • paperlions - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      The problem I have with that logic is that you are singling out the few who were put under a microscope or unlucky in their associations.

      Given what we know about PED use in the 1990s (and before and after), the odds that Biggio and Bagwell used are essentially the same as the odds that McGwire used. The only reasons we know McGwire used are because he was unlucky enough to be team mates with Canseco and because he broke a record. Same with Bonds. Clemens was unlucky in his association. We know that 1000s of guys used during the 90s. I realize that you don’t let all criminals go because you don’t catch all of them, but this isn’t crime, it is baseball….and we know that a majority of players over the last few decades used PEDs.

      I personally don’t care about PED use in baseball. There is little evidence that most of it has a huge effect on production. Considering what we know about the prevalence of steroid use ever since the 1960, and especially the rampant use in the 1990s (more evidenced by the size of players than their production), it is naive to think that most of the guys that are speculated about didn’t use steroids. We know a majority of players used.

      If I suspected everyone on the HOF ballot of using PEDs during their career and you suspected no one, I would be right far more often than you would.

      • cur68 - Dec 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        If I suspected everyone on the HOF ballot of using PEDs during their career and you suspected no one, I would be right far more often than you would.

        I’m looking at this from a steroid-use perspective: if you HAVE to punish people for them, then at least do so with actual evidence and not vague suspicion or innuendo.

        As you know, by and large, I’m in your camp: I could give a crap about steroid use. Performance effects are so spotty and unpredictable that its hard to say if there is any advantage from steroid use for a baseball player. Unlike amphetamines of course. Its a different argument, but if we’re going to demand that voting go on evidence of efficacy then a whole bunch of the already enshrined (including the spitballers) should get punted.

      • paperlions - Dec 27, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        I know.

        Rosenthal’s approach just seems odd. Essentially, he’s saying, “We know most players used at some point. I’m just going to punish those that were the best players or the unlucky ones.”, which, I guess, is better than some other approaches….but doesn’t feel intellectually honest, considering what we generally know about the frequency of PED use.

    • paperlions - Dec 28, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Looking at these votes, it cracks me up how many people are already re-writing their mental history of the later steroid era (1990-2005). We know 1000s of guys used steroids, likely about 1/2 (give or take 10%) of players. We know nearly all of them used amphetamines. And we know that almost none of them were caught or implicated, only the unlucky that were associated with people/dealers that talked or got caught (Canseco, Radomski, Clemens’ trainer, etc.). Yet, people already are acting like it was just a few bad eggs that were using PEDs rather than the majority of the league.

  2. pastabelly - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    I agree with you on Trammel as I think he is more deserving than Martinez. If a DH is going to break through, it should be more of a game changer like David Ortiz. Trammel’s career numbers are up there with the best of shortstops, only falling short of Ripken. I would bet that neither saber nor old school baseball fans have much of a problem with Rosenthal. He’s the best at what he does.

    • jc4455 - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      haha, good one. (Martinez was clearly better at hitting than Ortiz).

    • okobojicat - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Yeah. I’m with JC. Its really not close.,745
      Edgar best season is better than Ortiz’s best season. Edgar has 4 other seasons better than Ortiz’s 2nd best season.
      Edgar played some years at 3B before his legs gave out, and he wasn’t terrible over there (564 games, positive total zone). His knees gave out and he simply couldn’t move. Contrarily, Ortiz best position defensively has always been DH. When he came up he was a terrible 1B, and he’s only gotten worse with lack of work and effort.

      That said, Ortiz’s post season work is spectacular in all the right ways. I’ve slowly evolved over the years to a big HoF game: celebrate the game by putting all the awesome people in there. I want to take my kids to Cooperstown and tell them about 2004 and the home runs; I want to tell them about watching Edgar clearly out think a pitcher and line a single up the middle like he was playing slow pitch. The more people there, the more stories, the more baseball we can enjoy.

      • jc4455 - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        Martinez was much better at hitting, plus he played about 530 games in the field mostly at 3rd, while Ortiz managed 200 at 1st. The post-season is clearly advantage-Ortiz – 350 games vs 150 games for Edgar, and Ortiz hit somewhat better in those games. Though Martinez did have “moments” – he went 12 for 21 with 10 RBIs and 6 walks in the Mariners first ever playoff series, which they won over the Yankees. Fangraphs has Martinez as being 50% more valuable, not counting playoffs. Not sure I’d put it that high. I agree both should be included.

  3. johnnysoda - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Finally, someone who actually approaches this thing logically. Too bad he’ll probably be outnumbered by the paranoid, guilt-by-association voters.

  4. icanspeel - Dec 27, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    He makes some pretty good points for those he picked and those he had to exclude. I always like reading the perspective of a voter just to see their mindset.

  5. yahmule - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Nice ballot. I would have probably dropped Moose for Trammell or Walker, but that would be the only alteration.

  6. sincitybonobo - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    This is a thoughtful, perfectly defensible ballot. Like KR, I would have no problem excluding those whose blatant PED use helped inflate their career numbers.

    I may suspect others who have not been implicated, but that can’t be a justification to not vote for them. Nobody knows for a fact that Bagwell and Piazza didn’t have help from PED’s- neither would surprise me if they at least dabbled. But, absent any direct evidence, I would vote for them both.

    Maddux, Thomas, Glavine all deserve first ballot induction. Mussina should make a dent big enough to build upon. I’d also like to see Raines make some progress this year.

  7. farvite - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Edgar should be in.

    How long has the AL used the DH? 50 years? He’s THE best player at that position. That defines a HOFr, does it not?

    Argue that the DH should go away. I don’t disagree. But since it has been a position SO long, and since he was THE best at that position, what possible argument can there be against his election??!!

  8. shyts7 - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I liked Rosenthal’s reasoning behind a lot of the choices. Of all names, I think Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas should get in this year. I hope Bagwell, Piazza, Biggio, McGriff, Lee Smith, & Trammell get it. It is a crime not to have inducted Bagwell and Piazza just because they looked like they took roids. Bagwell was a top 3 1B almost all of his career. Piazza is the best hitting catcher of all time. McGriff is special because of all he did in the steroid era without the roids.

  9. wpjohnson - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    The rules say you can vote for ten. You are not required to vote for ten. I believe it is a stretch to say that more than four of his choices belong induction at this time. I’d go along with Maddux (one of the ten greatest starters of all time), Glavine, Thomas, and Biggio. No more. Let the others wait. And, as for Morris, get rid of him for good.

    As I have posted several times, this is the Hall of Fame and not the Hall of Good Players who were merely better than most during their time as players.-

    • 18thstreet - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      You really ought to take a closer look at who is already in. Players like Mike Mussina are right in line with what’s presently in the Hall of Fame.

      What you’re seeking to do is redefine what Hall of Famer means.

      • wpjohnson - Dec 27, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        My definition of the Hall of Fame is obvious. What is yours? Using the excuse that there are a goodly number of members of the Hall who really don’t deserve to be there, an argument I have made several times, is not an acceptable excuse to continue to induct those who really don’t measure up with the real greats.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:02 PM

        I apologize that I haven’t memorized all your posts.

        I don’t know that I have a clear definition, but I’d guess that I believe that the top 1 percent of baseball players deserve to be enshrined.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:47 PM

        18thstreet, historically speaking, limiting the HoF to the top 1% actually makes you a small Hall advocate. Fangraphs has an interesting article on this topic, showing the percentage of players enshrined by decade of birth.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

        Given that I’m an advocate of inducting more than just Greg Maddux, managers, and dead umpires, I think — by Hall standards — I’m a HUGE Hall advocate.

        But thanks for the link — I mean to share that one. It’s a good piece.

        I mean, there’s 750 (25 players times thirty teams) active players on MLB rosters at any given moment. The top one percent would mean there’s several Hall of Famers playing right now. I mean, right now during the season. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. For some reason, many choose to believe that all the best players retired when they (the fans) turned 20. It’s not true. Baseball today is better than it’s ever been. There is greatness all around us.

  10. farvite - Dec 27, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    I don’t care much about the users either. Why? Beacuse MLB didn’t, and honestly, still doesn’t.

    It took congressional pressure to clean up baseball. How sad is that? Leadership problem? Integrity problem? I don’t know, and don’t really care in my heart of hearts.

    But I know baseball looked the other way for a LONG time. And if they don’t care, why should I?!!

  11. billybawl - Dec 27, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Pleased to read that the 10-vote limit is being reconsidered. (It’s in the accompanying column linked in Rosenthal’s ballot column.) Until the 10-vote limit is relaxed, every vote for a PED-linked player who has no chance of building momentum let alone the magic 75% hurts the candidacy of other players, and even risks pushing a guy who deserves consideration — like Mussina or Trammel — below 5%. If I had a ballot, I wouldn’t vote for Bonds or Clemens this year, but would when the dust settles in a year or two. It seems like casting a vote for Bonds won’t get him elected, but will possibly punish someone who never sniffed PEDs.

  12. wpjohnson - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    It appears that 18thstreet wants a quota system for the Hall. One percent. He wants one out of each one hundred who play in the major leagues enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Just as with the quota system in admissions to colleges, you end up with a lot of chaff among the wheat.

    So do we call it the Hall of Quotas?

    • raysfan1 - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      Actually of all MLB players born in 1960 or earlier, 1.8% are in the HoF. 18thstreet’s estimate is right in line with that, a bit stricter even.

      No, it’s not the Hall of Quotas, and you can feel the top 1-2% of players being inducted is too liberal. However, you should also have the self awareness that you are advocating a standard that has never been applied to the Hall.

    • braxtonrob - Dec 28, 2013 at 3:10 AM

      I just want to be able to field a HOF team from each league, for each decade.
      I think that’s reasonable.

      @18thstreet, I think you might be surprised, you probably don’t have enough players in your HOF to field two teams and play an actual (theoretical) game 😛

  13. braxtonrob - Dec 28, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Ken Rosenthal is one of the best! Great ballot; very similar to mine, (and should be similar to most IMO).

  14. justwokeupretro - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    Who thought that Curt Schilling being mentioned for the Hall was a joke? Are his “traditional HOF credentials” all there. No he falls quite short on wins. But one of the credentials voters have to look at and it’s the easiest to see; Did he dominate? And the answer is Yes! He did. His career numbers arn’t as gorgeous as Maddux. They don’t even look that pretty next to Mike Mussina’s. He did however piggy back 2 Red Sox teams to World Series titles. He was better then Pedro when he was in Boston. Who stood in Boston’s way every year? Oh that’s right it was the Yankee’s. Did Pedro (A better career no question) ever mow down the Yanks in a playoff series? No but Schilling did. Twice and one could argue that if not for Bob Brenley’s AWFUL managing in the 01 series that the Yanks never make it a series. And Curt is the MVP, not Co-MVP of that series. Was he as intimidating as Randy Johnson? No. Did he have Perdo’s swagger, no. But he had better control when it mattered then anyone he played with in the second half of his career. Exploding fastball, could get crafty and spot his other pitches whenever he wanted. If his slider missed it was by design not because he was wild. 3 championships. 3 rings. He also played for some of the worst teams in Philly after the 93 series the game has ever seen. Forget how bad he is on TV, forget his god awful analysis, forget his stupid giant face and just go back and watch the film. He has plenty of number that can be argued for his candidacy but if you watched the man pitch, even if you don’t agree with their vote; if you are a fan of the game you cant deny that this man is a legitimate candidate. Can you really tell me you would rather have Tom Glavine pitch a big game for your team over Schilling? That my friends is what I would call a joke. I’m not a Sox homer. Quite the opposite. I bleed Yankee pinstripes. I saw what this guy did. Saying that his candidacy is a joke only shows a lack of respect and appreciation for the game.

  15. justwokeupretro - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    I would also like to touch on the Edgar vs Ortiz argument here. I loved them both. Edgar was by in large a more scientific hitter. Someone here touched on his ability to hit the ball back up the middle at will. Whatever the situation needed he could deliver it. Infield in: goes the other way bloop to left. No doubles defense dude would scorch one down the line; for a double. And he could hit the ball out of the park. Ortiz has made his bones in the playoffs. Can you name me a player you would rather have in a clutch spot? Ok you named one. Can you give me 5 guys he played with you would rather have in that spot? Ortiz punched his ticket to Cooperstown this year. Frank Thomas wasn’t much better the Ortiz at first. Ortiz isn’t a one dimensional hitter. He hits for a more then respectable Avg every year and has power like very few men. While Edgar had great power he was known as a cerebral doubles hitter with good power. Ortiz is a power hitter in the true sense of the word. He hits long majestic homerun not line drives that just happened to go out. He’s a power hitter who happens to hit well for AVG as well. Both were great in the post season, both clobbered not only junk pitchers but the best pitchers in the league and both murdered my yanks. I’m 31 so 95 was my first taste of playoff baseball and that double down the line with Griffey running at lighting speed still haunts me. I’m just saying both of these guys were awesome. Each had a little bit more then the other was lacking. Ortiz more pure power, Edgar more pure contact hitter. Both guys were uncanny in their ability to deliver what was needed in the moment and sometimes go above and beyond. Arguing against either of these guys is like complaining about free makes you a jerk.

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