I’m going to start this post how every blogger starts every post—by telling you I haven’t written much lately. These days when it comes to the Hall of Fame, I’ve been far more inclined to fire off my thoughts on Twitter than piece together a thoughtful article. After all, I’m only human.
Let’s start with the good news: six players are going into the Hall of Fame this summer. The BBWAA selected Mariano Rivera (the first unanimous selection ever!), Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina. All are incredibly deserving. I was thrilled to update their player pages with the little “Hall of Fame” label.
Update in progress! pic.twitter.com/f5PXlW6weL— Hall of Stats (@HallOfStats) January 23, 2019
The Today’s Game Era Committee also made two selections: Harold Baines and Lee Smith. These two were… not as deserving. I totally get the Smith selection. I have a hard time figuring out how to rate relievers, but Smith definitely fits with the relievers currently in the Hall. Baines… this one was tough. I loved Harold Baines as a player. But as a Hall of Famer?
I have nothing clever to say about the Harold Baines election. It is shocking. Like, more shocking than the 2013 shutout. More shocking than screwing Minnie Miñoso and Ron Santo. Most shocking player induction of my lifetime, perhaps.— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) December 10, 2018
People were asking me all the time about the Baines selection, both on Twitter and in person.
I was at a family reunion for my grandmother-in-law’s 90th birthday yesterday. Saw my cousin-in-law for the first time in a while. Immediately he walked up to me and said “We have to talk. Harold Baines?”— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 21, 2019
Some challenged me on that “Most shocking player induction of my lifetime” quote. “How about Bill Mazeroski?” they asked. Yes, Maz has a very low Hall Rating. But his selection was understandable. He was a very weak hitter, but even his detractors seem to agree that he was the best defensive second baseman of all time. That is certainly a valid reason to put someone in the Hall of Fame. Can we be certain his Rfield is accurate? We know older seasons are a bit more conservative. Using DRS he might rate even higher. We don’t have that data, though. Would I put Mazeroski in the Hall? Probably not. Do I understand his induction? I do. Do I understand Baines’ selection, knowing what we know today? I do not.
Martinez and Mussina, of course, were already in the Hall of Stats. That means their spots in the Hall of Stats could be used for other players. The class of new players had several more qualified candidates, so the spots came in handy. Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt, and Lance Berkman all were added to the Hall of Stats. Helton and Pettitte took Martinez and Mussina’s spots while Oswalt and Berkman took the spots of Smith and Baines (since they are not in the Hall of Stats).
We saw some excellent gains by some Hall of Stats favorites, particularly Larry Walker.
He saw a huge increase of over twenty percentage points. Next season is his final year of eligibility. He’ll need another huge year to make it, but maybe not an unprecedented one.
Seems impossible—except that we just witnessed a 20.5% gain by [checks notes] Larry Walker. https://t.co/gPX68QfQNZ— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 23, 2019
Putting Bonds and Clemens in the Hall of Fame would have a couple key benefits:— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 20, 2019
1. More votes to go around, significantly increasing every other candidates chances.
2. Never having to talk about Bonds and Clemens for the Hall of Fame ever again.
I then clarified my stance on Bonds and Clemens as some seemed to think I was advocating for their election.
Here’s my stance on Bonds and Clemens (since I’m often labeled a PED apologist). I *JUST* want them off the ballot. It’s clear they’ve been hurting other players’ chances by hanging around the ballot. Walker was clearly many voters’ #11 in previous years. Rolen maybe is now.— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 20, 2019
The fact that they’re lingering on the ballot—generating the same pointless discussions that nobody will bend on—is exhausting. I would be fine with them getting in. I would be fine with them being banned from the ballot and not eligible. Just please get them out of the way.— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 20, 2019
Is a Hall of Fame without Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens incomplete? Sure thing. Just like a Hall of Fame without Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe is. So, there’s prior art there. I just want to debate Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt instead of Bonds/Clemens.— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 20, 2019
That finally led to linking Bonds and Clemens directly to Larry Walker:
Bonds/Clemens are literally costing Larry Walker the Hall of Fame. How?— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 20, 2019
1. Walker is many voters’ 11th/12th choice. As the ballot thins, he improves. But he’s running out of time.
2. He’s running out of time because of the 10yr rule—added to get Bonds/Clemens off more quickly.
Now, I will say that Walker made a larger gain than I was expecting, making his induction via the BBWAA at least a possibility. It’s also become incredibly clear that with a 15-year window, Walker would get in without a struggle. So it really is Bonds’ and Clemens’ fault since that 10-year rule was put in place to get them off the ballot sooner.
On the plus side, we already know of at least eight voters who will be able to fit Walker now that the ballot is a bit thinner.
Here’s a BARE MINIMUM of the lost votes because of the ballot logjam:— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 21, 2019
Schilling 1 https://t.co/OgRwhMEi7M
I’m sure there are more. It’ll take a lot more.
Last year, I was pretty negative about Omar Vizquel. That earned me the wrath of Venezuela Twitter and I didn’t want to go through that again. I did post a series of tweets that honestly and seriously questioned where this BBWAA support is coming from. First, where was this support during MVP voting?
Why didn't the BBWAA ever consider voting for Omar Vizquel for the MVP Award?— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 18, 2019
He played 24 seasons.
Once he finished 16th in the voting.
That was his only time he received votes.
He ranks 1,598th all time in MVP shares.
When did the BBWAA’s perception of him change?
MVP Shares are not a perfect measure. But one thing they SHOULD measure pretty well is the perceived value of a player in the eyes of the BBWAA during his career. There are 35 players on the ballot. Omar Vizquel is tied for 26th in MVP shares (behind most of the pitchers). 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/dVzRCgHkDq— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 18, 2019
Vizquel also wasn’t paid like a Hall of Famer.
You can make of this what you will—of the 35 players on the Hall of Fame ballot, Omar Vizquel ranks 34th in peak annual salary.— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 18, 2019
Edgar is also 31st and Vernon Wells tops the list, so this list is kind of all over the place. pic.twitter.com/JdQMA8yeZG
He was also named to only three All Star teams. Scott Rolen, who is dismissed for not feeling like a Hall of Famer, was named to seven.
Last one, I swear—of the 35 players on the ballot, Omar Vizquel is tied for 21st in All Star selections (with five other players, meaning he had more all star selections than only 9 players). Shockingly little recognition during his career. So bizarre. pic.twitter.com/YAXzXdg94x— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 18, 2019
I don’t get it. When did this shift happen?
Sadly, Oswalt and Berkman fell off the ballot, receiving less than 5% of the vote (much less, in fact). They now join this crew of player with 100+ Hall Ratings who fell off after a single try.
These thirty players had a 100+ Hall Rating but were one-and-done on a modern Hall of Fame ballot (less than 5%, never to return to the ballot again). pic.twitter.com/dFHfEZnl5V— Adam Darowski (@baseballtwit) January 23, 2019
There are some great players there. It’s an unfortunate result. I think both deserved a closer look (particularly with the ballots starting to clear a bit).
After years of ballot clogging due to steady influx of qualified candidates, we may actually start to get a reprieve in the coming years.— Hall of Stats (@HallOfStats) November 26, 2018
Follow along at: https://t.co/ueO96hG2VZ pic.twitter.com/c51acH7Mzc
Remember, you can always check on the upcoming ballots on our aptly-named Upcoming Elections page.
Last, but not least, I want to give a shout out to Ryan Thibodaux here. I think the level of transparency he has brought to the Hall of Fame voting process has had a truly dramatic effect. He should be very proud—I know I’m very proud of the work Ryan and his team has done. Well done Ryan, Anthony Calamis, Adam Dore, and John Devivo!