Bagwell, Raines, and Rodriguez

It’s official; Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez are going to join baseball’s Immortals. There’s so much writing about vote totals and percentages and other irrelevant numbers that it’s very easy to lose sight of the honorees.

So, without further ado, a brief recapitulation of their greatness:

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On the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot – Part 2

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the “one and dones” out of the way, who’s left among the thirty four players on the ballot?

We can pretty much divide the remaining twenty one into three groups:

The Hall of the Really, Really, Really Good:

Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, and Gary Sheffield are holdovers from last year. They are joined by Vladimir Guerrero and Ivan Rodriguez. There’s no one here that stands out as an obvious Hall of Famer like Ken Griffey Jr. did last year. You’ve got to dig into the numbers. They are all potentially worthy; it pretty much comes down to personal opinion. I think closers are overrated – so much for Hoffman. Mussina was never the best pitcher in his league, and really wasn’t that great – he was just very good for a long time. Sheffield never really stood out as a superstar, unlike Guerrero and Rodriguez….

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On the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s that time again – the Hall of Fame ballot has been released. Fans and writers are already debating the worthiness of holdovers Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, newcomers Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, and the usual arguments over Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

But also on the ballot are a squadron of new names; many of which you’ve never heard of and will probably never hear again. But they have met the minimum requirements for nomination, and might get a vote or two from a friend. And when you’ve been in the Major Leagues for ten years (the required minimum for consideration), it’s kind of hard NOT to pick up a little fame along the way.

So let’s pause and tip our hats to these likely “one and done” candidates, because I’m sure we’d all wish we could at least get as close to Fame as they have.

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Ken Griffey, Mike Piazza, et al.

Earlier this week, the Baseball Hall of Fame officially announced the deification of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. In the days around the announcement, there was much discussion in social media as to whether or not Griffey would be chosen unanimously, and also as to whether or not allegations of performance-enhancing drug use had affected Piazza’s voting results.

Of course, I have a little to say on this. Let me take the case of Mike Piazza first.

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The Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Today, the Baseball Writers Association of America formally announced the apotheosis of four players: Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz. All four are worthy players, deserving of the honor. This is only the fourth time that four or more players have been elected at one time – and one of those was the inaugural class, so that one probably doesn’t count. It is the first time that this many players were selected under the current voting rules, and the first time that seven players (six of them on their first appearance on the ballot) were selected in two consecutive years.

As always, there are a number of writers and a great many commenters who take issue with the voting. Very little has changed since I wrote about the election process last year, so I won’t belabor those points.

There have been a few changes, though….

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Thoughts on this year’s Hall of Fame election

Now that the announcement has been made, there is still a lot of criticism about the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and how they choose people for the Hall of Fame (HoF). Most of the comments are on the order of “Any writer who voted differently than I would have should be stripped of their credentials and then taken out back and shot”. Even some of the BBWAA members themselves are sounding like this, calling fellow members who didn’t vote for a particular player “idiots”. This shows an utter lack of understanding of the process, which really seems designed to create a general consensus about a player. And it actually does a good job. Continue reading

The Baseball Hall of Fame – Class of 2014

Well, the votes have been counted, and this year the Baseball Writers Association of America has come to the consensus that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are worthy of being members of the Hall of Fame.

I’m not going to discuss the whole voting process here; that will be for a later post.

What I’d like to discuss here is something completely different.

What will their plaques look like?

No one but the artisans crafting them knows before they are unveiled at the induction ceremony. The player’s likeness is based on photographs of the player at the peak of their career, and the logo on the hat is usually that of the team they are most associated with. Only if it isn’t clear which team should be represented do they consult with the player.

The text is a brief summary of the player’s career, highlighting why they are in the Hall of Fame. Only once have they changed a plaque – that was for Jackie Robinson, at the request of his widow Rachel who wanted it his role in integrating the major leagues noted.

If you look over the plaques in the Hall, you’ll note that there’s no mention of any of the advanced stats like OPS or WAR. Keep in mind that they are intended to awe the average fan, and not satisfy the sabermetricians. The Little League teams who visit the Hall most likely wouldn’t know what they mean, anyway.

With all that in mind, here’s my guess as to the text for this year’s honorees:

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