January 09, 2013

Wow ... nobody elected to #Cooperstown

Wow. Now I can write a more complete post, with the BBWAA votes posted at its website.

And here's a list of vote returns from writers who went public.

And, I have emailed or tweeted every voter with a public ballot, for whom I could find an email address, who voted FOR Jack Morris. If sabermetrics fans had a campaign FOR Blyleven, there can be one against Morris, right?

First, aside from the vote, for the roiders, they have a new enemy, who may reflect many writers' thoughts.  Ken Burns calls them "motherfuckers," as reported via Yahoo

That would be you, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, et al. Here's my thoughts on likely roiders. 

Related to that, Jayson Stark asks some of the right rhetorical questions (along with some of the wrong ones, being "big Hall" voter). But it's a start.

And at right, we see the BBWAA thoughts. Both the Bobbsey Twins were below 40 percent. 

Contra Stark, I don't have a problem with that, if the folks in Cooperstown and Bug Selig don't. If they do, and Michael Weiner of the players union does, too, then, it's their problem to start fixing. The writers have spoken about the roiders. Already had on a few.

That said, I think Stark is probably full of crap if he thinks we've already elected a roider. Even Rickey Henderson, thought by some to "fit the profile" on Boswell's comment on Ken Burns' "10th Inning," doesn't. His career takes pretty much a normal non-roider decline, starting at age 34. Eddie Murray had a one-year spike at age 39, but, that is a clear outlier. I've gone back more than a decade and don't see any roiders in the HOF. More ESPN "big Hall" BS.

But, I thought for sure that Craig Biggio, as a hon-roiding "message man" had a good shot this year. I even thought teammate Jeff Bagwell might join him. Why, why is he still waiting? He shouldn't be.

Now, as to that vote?

Biggio is close. He could get in next year, but that stacked 2014 ballot could spell trouble.

At least Jack Morris, the antimatter to Bert Blyleven among sabermetrically smart, didn't get in. He's not close to deserving. With just a 1 percent gain from last year, I don't see him getting in next year, but, we need to keep up a campaign against him.

Tim Raines: Can he get in soon or not? His modest jump may not spell "soon," but should keep him hopeful.

Alan Trammell: Can he step out from Cal Ripken's shadow and get in or not? Wow, he fell. Not good news at all for his last three years on the ballot.

Curt Schilling: His sabermetric stats parallel Bagwell, but  what did voters think of low career counting stats? At nearly 40 percent, and crabbed voters, he did OK, I guess. I want to see 2014, with its ace pitchers on the ballot, and how his numbers do then.

Mike Piazza: Besides "bacne," is catcher durability the biggest PEDs allegation shadow for him? Apparently not that much. I'd venture he gets in by 2016 if not earlier.

More thoughts as I update.

First, readers agree with me. Biggio and Bagwell both crossed 75 percent in the poll here.

Second, will either the Hall, the head of the BBWAA, or Selig make a statement? I doubt it.  Unless, per ESPN, the town of Cooperstown starts to feel the loss of tourist dollars.

Selig? Per another ESPN story, will either he or Michael Weiner/the union listen to Schiling?
"I think as a player, a group, this is one of the first times that we've been publicly called out," Schilling said. "I think it's fitting. ... If there was ever a ballot and a year to make a statement about what we didn't do as players -- which is we didn't actively push to get the game clean -- this is it."
Selig's not crying, not so far:
"Next year, I think you'll have a rather large class and this year, for whatever reasons, you had a couple of guys come really close," Commissioner Bud Selig said at the owners' meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz. "This is not to be voted to make sure that somebody gets in every year. It's to be voted on to make sure that they're deserving. I respect the writers as well as the Hall itself. This idea that this somehow diminishes the Hall of baseball is just ridiculous in my opinion."
But union head Weiner sure is:
"To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting."
Well, boo hoo. If you want it fixed by future voting, then you and/or your predecessor, Don Fehr, have to be part of the solution.

And, so do writers themselves. I'll take a look at a few, then offer a wrap-up, below the fold:

Jeff Passan at Yahoo is right — the BBWAA should clear some dead timber.
Somebody actually gave Aaron Sele and his career 4.61 ERA a vote this year. These people are as qualified to vote as my dentist, and it is incumbent on the BBWAA to root out the incompetence and figure out a compromise that rewards longtime service but doesn't embarrass a Hall that entrusts it to carry out its most important task. 
When Murray Chass nominates Morris and nobody else, it's time for him to go.

A good blog post here about some of the more sanctimonious BBWAA voters. Hah ... one of them works for ESPN, too.

That said, the rest of Passan's column is almost as bad as Stark's. Get rid of the "character clause"? Might or might not make a diff with future players, but with just-retired players and current voters, even if you clear some deadwood, wouldn't make a bit of diff.

Here's some other, largely better thoughts from writers.

I do, shockingly, agree with ESPN's David Schoenfield on something. With expansion of teams since 1961, maybe we should be voting in a few more players.

Kevin Brown has a great column. There's this:
In the meantime, we have this transformative moment. This – pick one – measured, spiteful, agonizing, regretful moment of, it turned out, deferral. 
And, by comment there, Michael Weiner isn't about to become part of the solution, just whining. Selig has hands under his butt. Hall president Jeff Idelson is concerned, but ... not too much yet.

Ken Rosenthal rightly calls the vote an "aberration ... not a calamity." Here's his nut grafs:
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, speaking on MLB Network, referred to the day’s outcome as a “deferral,” and that’s exactly how I see it. Many of us are so conflicted, we’re unable to say — definitively, right now — that many of these players belong in the Hall. But is it possible we could change our minds later? Of course.

Such shifts in voting patterns drive many fans nuts, but the 15-year grace period gives us time to form new and broader perspectives. The arguments of sabermetricians, for example, helped persuade me that Bert Blyleven was a Hall of Famer. I’d rather be adaptable than inflexible, as long as I ultimately get it right.
In an earlier column, he warned others (listen, ESPN, eh?) before the vote not to bitch too much afterward.

Doug Glanville, in a good column, compares it to a player taking a day off.

And the 2014 ballot will have many great, "clean" players.

Plus, per Rosenthal's first link, note that the Veterans Committee will be in the "modern" era, with both Joe Torre and Tony La Russa on the manager's ballot.

Jonah Keri, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. He, like Passan, is right on the dead wood among writers. But, he  trots out the "amphetamines of the 60s = steroids," which Rosenthal, among others, has demolished.

Jon Paul Morosi  is another "Big Hall" guy.

But he's got one other thing to offer.

Morosi, by exactly quoting the Hall of Fame criteria for players, undercuts Passan and others who want to ditch the so-called "character clause." Here's the verbiage:
“Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”  
If I were a voter, or if I pay $20 to join the internet writers' group, I have my justificiation right there for not voting for roiders.

It's called "Playing ability." Since I don't know what, of a Bonds or Clemens performance, was their own ability, no vote.

Otherwise, I like Rosenthal in general. I think he's got a great take on the overall situation.

Per Schoenfield, we can add a Trammell (and hope that the Veterans Committee adds Lou Whitaker) without the nonsense of his coworkers like Jayson Stark touting both Morris and Dale Murphy. And, there's no other word but "nonsense" for that. We can also, per Rosenthal, but contra Stark, Jim Caple and other "big Hall" guys, do this with out expanding the ballot beyond 10 slots.

Given that the average voter fills out ust 6 or 7 slots, an expansion won't help. If Stark or Morosi can tell me what percentage of voters fill out a complete ballot, then let's talk. 

I am a "small Hall" guy myself. In fact, I think there's plenty of people we should vote back OUT of Cooperstown, and I don't want ESPN voters to cause me more troubles. Here's some pitchers, and some batters, looking just at the modern baseball era, who need the boot.

ESPN's coverage of this issue, compared to Fox's or Yahoo's (I've not looked in as much depth yet at CBS or SI) is overall ... cringe-inducing.

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