November 27, 2013

#Cooperstown 2014 — what are the chances of various players?

Here's your official 2014 ballot, including the Veterans Committee, via Baseball-Reference.

I've already done one post on the "big five" among newcomers of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.

I think all five should be in the Hall, but realism says only the first three make it. Moose doesn't have 300 wins, though he's arguably a better candidate overall than Glavine. Kent's a bit more borderline in general.

So, Maddux, Glavine and Thomas. Who else should get in? Who else will? I think there's a shot for four, as I get ready to walk through other major candidates.

On the other hand, as a CBS story notes, even if we throw out the shutout from last year, since 2005, in only half of the years, have voters put multiple players in the Hall, and 1999 was the last time three or more got in. So, who knows?

More from that piece:
The last time more than two players made the Hall of Fame in a given vote was 1999, when it was no-doubters Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount. Since 1955, the BBWAA has elected a three-man Hall of Fame class just four times. ...

•To compound on the above point, Jack Morris is going to be rallied for by the old-school voters like you wouldn't believe. It's his final attempt and last year his vote jumped from 52.2 percent to 67.7 percent. In his 15th and final go-round, the campaign from his supporters is going to be overzealous and it may work. If it does, that means only one or two of the much more deserving Biggio-Maddux-Glavine-Thomas group makes it -- again, unless the BBWAA voting body takes a massive turn in voting history. 

•Aside from the original class of inductees, the BBWAA has elected a four-man class twice. In 1955, Dazzy Vance, Ted Lyons, Gabby Hartnett and Joe DiMaggio made it while Carl Hubbell, Lefty Grove, Frankie Frisch and Mickey Cochrane were inducted in 1947. Those were in the first 20 years of voting and the voting body has completely changed, so that really has no bearing on this year's ballot. 
The current top candidates match up fine with that 1999 class, setting aside alleged roiders. That 1955 class was actually, outside of DiMag, kind of dog's breath. Lyons probably shouldn't be in. Vance and Hartnett aren't outstanding candidates. 

The 1947 foursome is better, but not fantastic. So, the caveats of CBS' Matt Snyder aside, BBWAA voters need to open up their mental wallets with some sort of psychological crowbar.
That said, here's my thoughts on all the major candidates.

The roiders like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens? I've written before about how I'd like some sort of "contrition," not just from them, but any managers that might have known (including two on the Veterans Committee ballot that should also draw strong scrutiny), Bud Selig, players union members and leaders, etc. After that, I'd judge on a case-by-case basis after making reasonable guesstimates about how much roiding helped. Here's my guesstimates on what to discount from the numbers of a few players. (The two above would then get in; Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa not, and probably not Rafael Palmeiro.)

Meanwhile, to writers, either actual BBWAA Hall of Fame voters, or wannabes? Don't be hypocrites on this issue. Don't be Jayson Stark.

Of course, if Eric Byrnes is right, there's already a roider in Cooperstown. Who is it?

Now, one other holdover first. I want to keep Jack Morris OUT for sound reasons. Here's the most recent post I've done on the man I call the anti-Bert Blyleven.

Next, a few other top holdovers. First, Edgar Martinez. Gar? Hall of Very Good but not quite HOF in my book. Injured too much for a career DH, and counting stats mean something. I've discussed his case in detail before.

Mike Piazza should have gotten in last year, as I said then. Other than the ridiculousness of Murray Chass, has anybody else seriously thought of him as a roider?

Craig Biggio, I also wrote about last year. He certainly has the counting stats, and I thought his "Mr. Clean" image would combine with that for the BBWAA to let him waltz in. Surprisingly, that wasn't the case.

Jeff Bagwell? He also should already be in, as I've said before. He's tainted more than Piazza by roiding, but more in the way of a black cloud than actual allegations. That said, he, like some others, may be hurt by counting stats, including missing both 450 HRs, let alone 500, and 2,500 hits. One could argue that the Edgar Martinez issue applies to him. But, Bagwell is well ahead on WAR, WAA, and several counting stats.

Curt Schilling is on the border, as I've said before. I also said there that I wonder if his PED protestations of innocence are narrowly legalistic.

Larry Walker? Great guy, and I'm a Cardinals fan. But a mix of Coors Field splits and injury issues lead me to say no.

Alan Trammell should have been in years ago. See my discussion here.

Tim Raines: Can he step out from Rickey Henderson's shadow?

Otherwise, if I didn't write about him, first year or returning, he probably shouldn't be on the HOF radar screen. In case you need to look up my thoughts on a borderline returning player, here's my 2013 ballot wrap.

In general, I favor a "small Hall." In fact, I have two blog posts about pitchers and batters currently in the Hall whom I think should be voted back out.

Anyway, I'll wrap things up.

Beyond the three I mentioned, I think one of the four from Mussina/Piazza/Biggio/Bagwell gets in, with one of the holdovers more likely than Moose. I think Bags and Pizza Man are both more deserving, if we're talking about relative entry order, than Biggio. I'll venture, based on last year's vote, that Piazza is the fourth player in. Biggio and Bagwell look at going in together next year.

And, on a bete noire? I predict Jack Morris gets pushed off to a future Veterans Committee that may be dumb enough to vote him in.

No comments: