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.
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….
The Baseball Writers Association of America just released their ballot for the next Hall of Fame election. There are seventeen carryovers from the last balloting, and seventeen first-timers.
The holdovers, with their vote percentage from last year, are:
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
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: