IF I HAD A VOTE IN THE 2013 BASEBALL HALL OF FAME ELECTION, PART 2: THE EVALUATIONS

Index

The Hall of Fame Cup Runneth Over

Undoubtedly your powers of deduction, or at your least arithmetic skills, have told you that there are 14 candidates remaining who are qualified for the Hall of Fame. This is an almost unprecedented embarrassment of riches for a voter: A voter can choose a maximum of ten players on the ballot, which means that at least four qualified players must be omitted.

(Why the qualifier for "unprecedented"? Consider the inaugural Hall of Fame ballot of 1936: Of the 47 candidates, while only 5 were elected that year, 37 of the remaining 42 were eventually elected to the Hall.)

These are the 14 potential Hall of Famers: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Kenny Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Alan Trammell, and Larry Walker.

Of these, seven are on the ballot for the first time this year: Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Lofton, Piazza, Schilling, and Sosa. Why the other seven have not yet been elected to the Hall underscores the roiling dynamics of Hall voting in recent years that inexorably reaches its head with this year's historic referendum (as expressed in great detail in Part 1 of this series).

McGwire and Palmeiro are PEDs poster boys being made examples of by the moral dudgeon impelling the backlash against the Steroids Era, with Bagwell lumped in through guilt by appearance—he just looks as if he took steroids, even if no evidence has surfaced to substantiate that. Walker seems to be penalized for park effects—the numbers he generated at pre-humidifier Coors Field are suspect, affecting his overall chances. Martinez reflects the ambivalence voters seem to have for a player whose primary role was as designated hitter. And Raines and Trammell are sabermetrics cases, their qualifications touted through abstract numbers-crunching and not through traditional statistical measures or the even old "eye test."

Based on this past experience, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and possibly Piazza will be treated as previous candidates with PEDs association—actual or implied—have been. That leaves Biggio, Lofton, and Schilling as the only unsullied candidates, and if they join Martinez—assuming negligible bias against the designated hitter—Raines, and Trammell, that leaves four slots available for the maximum of ten on the ballot, presumably to be filled by four of the borderline candidates described above.

Even when flatly removing the PEDs players, that still leaves numerous permutations, and trying to determine how a ballot of ten candidates would look is a crap shoot. However, in the interest of rolling for boxcars ("C'mon, baby, papa needs a new pair of shoes!" as they used to exclaim in old movies), the table below presents three possibilities based on hard exclusions, moderate exclusions, and soft exclusions.

Possible 2013 Hall of Fame Candidates, Various Scenarios

Hard Exclusions (PEDs Users and Other Factors)

Moderate Exclusions (PEDs Users)

Soft Exclusions (Some PEDs Users)

Biggio, Craig

Biggio, Craig

Bagwell, Jeff

Lofton, Kenny

Martinez, Edgar

Biggio, Craig

Mattingly, Don

Mattingly, Don

Bonds, Barry

McGriff, Fred

McGriff, Fred

Clemens, Roger

Morris, Jack

Morris, Jack

Martinez, Edgar

Murphy, Dale

Raines, Tim

Morris, Jack

Raines, Tim

Schilling, Curt

Raines, Tim

Schilling, Curt

Smith, Lee

Smith, Lee

Smith, Lee

Trammell, Alan

Trammell, Alan

Trammell, Alan

Walker, Larry

Walker, Larry

 

The Hard Exclusions column assumes that any player with even suspicion of PEDs association will not garner sufficient votes, and Edgar Martinez, primarily a designated hitter, and Larry Walker, a beneficiary of extreme park factors for part of his career, will also not garner sufficient votes. The Moderate Exclusions column admits Martinez and Walker while still shutting out any PEDs-associated player. The Soft Exclusions column relents on Bagwell while admitting Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, either because both of whom have been argued to have been Hall of Fame-caliber players before they were suspected of beginning a PEDs program or because their career numbers and sheer dominance are just too huge to be simply ignored.

Places assigned to players who have been on previous ballots were based on their voting trends, and that does establish a bias toward players already on previous ballots—Curt Schilling could leapfrog over a listed player in the Soft Exclusions column, and I am also assuming that Craig Biggio will be listed on even a Soft Exclusions ballot; leaving aside problematic members of the 3000-hit club (Rafael Palmeiro, Pete Rose), entrance into that select circle is not always an automatic first-ballot lock, but in this year's environment that could be a major factor, making Biggio a likely inductee.

The biggest assumption is that voters will choose the maximum number of ten candidates on the ballot. I considered ranking from most to least likely the candidates in each column, but that would quickly end up like trying to count the number of angels able to dance on the head of a pin, or on the tip of a syringe, as Keith Olbermann remarked recently. The point, of course, is to illustrate the sheer number of candidates—qualified candidates—and some of the various scenarios that could present themselves with this year's vote.


Last modified on Thursday, 22 March 2018 01:56

Comments   

0 #1 Spheniscus 2013-01-09 18:53
Holy crap, was this well done. Bravo!
Quote

Add comment

Three ways to comment:

1) Login with your social account:


2) Register an account with us:

Click here!
Benefits of Registering

1) Comment on articles without restriction!  No more captchas or spam-filters!


2) Have your say!  Make your voice heard by voting in the polls.


3) Discuss in the forum.  Join the conversation, or start your own.


4) Start a social group or fan club.  Join one that already exists.  Share photos, events, updates, private messages and more with people who have similar i
nterests.


5) Customize your profile to make it your personal space on the web.

3) Or post as a guest:


Security code
Refresh