Welcome Class of 2016!

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Soon, these guys will be joined by new members!

Announcements are in! Let’s give a warm welcome to the newest inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ken Griffey, Jr:   Griffey received 437 of 440 votes, or 99.3% passing Tom Seaver’s record for largest percentage of votes.  Shockingly, there were three writers who felt Griffey was not deserving. Junior played for 22 seasons, most of those in Seattle. His natural talent, infectious smile, zest for life and absolutely beautiful swing made him a popular star all over the country. Griffey was a 13 time All-Star and hit 630 home runs in his career. He also played for the Reds and White Sox, but will definitely be enshrined in Cooperstown with the Mariners’ logo on his cap.

Mike Piazza:  Fourth time is the charm for one of the greatest backstops in baseball history. Piazza received 69.9 percent of the vote last year, falling  just 28 votes shy of election. He hit 427 home runs in his career, earning 12 All-Star appearances and 10 Silver Slugger Awards. Piazza played on several teams but will more than likely go into the Hall as a New York Met.  Pizza received 365 votes for a total of 83%.

Congratulations, fellows! See you in Cooperstown in July.

ScoutsEdit:

And…That’s it.  Just two people in one of the most talented ballots in years were able to make it in.  We clearly have a problem here.  The Hall of Fame should be embarrassed by this.  It’s time to clear house.

FYI: Prof wrote the origional article and asked me to edit and publish when the announcement was made.  She originally wrote it for the four most likely to get voted in.  I was expecting to have to write up an additional two.  Sadly I had to delete half the article.

92 thoughts on “Welcome Class of 2016!

    • Moose made a definite surge. Clemens and Bonds modest ones.

      Looking ahead, Pudge Rodriguez is the one sure-fire guy next year. Manny’s got the PEDs issue and nobody else is above 60 WAR, so, Bags and/or Raines or both might get it next year.

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        • Sorry, but I’m with Lions on him. He’s a quarter-shade below Edmonds in my book. Plus, did he get ZERO contracts after age-36, or just none that he liked? He was still replacement-level or touch above with the bat.

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      • Maybe he couldn’t find the right fit and he didn’t give a shit about padding his numbers. Maybe he was just done by the time he was 36. Unlike Edmonds, he didn’t miss a lot of games during his career. He averaged 143 games a season compared to 125 for Edmonds. he played in 150 or more games nine times, compared to just four for Edmonds. Durability is a skill like anything else. So go ahead and figure out what weight you want to place on year to year dependability while you’re determining the value of their respective careers.

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        • Well, Edmonds missed a lot of those games due to defensive injuries. If you don’t dive for balls or run into walls, you don’t get hurt.

          That would be why, per B-Ref, Vlad had -10.7 dWAR for his career.

          So, yeah, I’m with Lions on this one. If he wasn’t going to play defense, then counting stats, IMO, weigh heavier on Vlad. To flip your argument on its head, if he played three more years, he had a decent shot at 500 HRs.

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      • I’m a big Vlad fan, but he’s very similar to Edmonds in terms of career value (59.3 compared to 60.3 bWAR). Edmonds was a slightly better than average defender, Vlad was a poor defender. Vlad had a marginally better bat.

        To me, they both miss the cut. I am shocked Edmonds is one and done, and I hope Vlad does not meet that fate, but really I don’t see either as HoFers. As for durability, Vlad only played about a season’s more worth of games in total.

        Both easily make the Hall of Very Good and are likely among the best their franchises ever produced, however.

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      • My rough standard is the following –

        70+ bWAR: No doubt. I don’t want to talk about it unless it is to admire the baseball god we all got to witness. Maybe they have defects, maybe they were mean to the press, maybe they played somewhere not on the east or west coast, but they are in, period, at least if we are discussing the merits of their performance (vs character clause issues such as gambling, PEDs, criminal behavior, etc).

        60-70 bWAR: A strong case. The most interesting guys fall here. I usually want them to have had a extended period of dominance, or to have redefined their position in some way. Anyone above 65 or so I can usually be persuaded about, so long as they had no serious negative factors (attacked teammates with a bat once)

        50-60 bWAR: It is tough to convince me on these guys. There has to be a serious mitigating factor for me. Good examples are positional factors, such as catchers or second basemen who rarely can get enough years in to get 60+. Chase Utley, Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra and so on fit here. Also oddball cases like Ichiro where large portions of thier career were lost for reasons that were no fault of their own (NPB for Ichiro, WW2/Korea for guys like DiMaggio and Williams).

        Below 50 bWAR: Sorry, unless a player had some truly brilliant years and then was killed in a tragedy during their prime, it is going to be very difficult to get my support. Therman Munson deserves more consideration, for instance.

        Obviously this is just a quick and dirty way to sort players into buckets. It is not 100%, but this is where I am coming from when I dismiss a guy like Edmonds or Vlad, but state that Ichiro, Edgar or Trammell are in for me.

        BTW, this might make for a nice post in general, with the regulars discussing their criteria.

        Liked by 1 person

        • 70 WAR, yea. I like the WAA as a backup, since for HOFers, it’s comparing them to average MLBers, not average replacement players. Agreed on this in general, and on defense. Per the injuries discussion and certain positions: Bobby Grich, from the past.

          So, yea, your criteria are pretty much mine.

          By B-ref, I’ll add 1 or 2 others.

          Batters: Career OPS+ of 110 or better, unless at a defense-first position, of course.

          Pitchers, tho ERA isn’t everything, ERA+ approaches FIP, so career ERA+ of 110 or better.

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      • The reason I don’t care about WAR vs WAA is that the baseline you choose is irrelevant so long as it is consistent. One could take a player’s total games played, divide by 164, then multiply by 2 and remove that from the player’s career WAR to have the totals be against an average starter rather than an average replacement. Add a calculation for typical career length and you could adjust the total values I mentioned above accordingly.

        But its not worth the effort. I don’t really care what the baseline is, so long as its consistent.

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        • Good point. One other thing I use is the JAWS, since B-Ref, at the bottom, lists that by position. Makes it easy to see where, say, Edmonds is vs. other CFs, or Vladdy vs. other RFs, etc.

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      • Guys that are not HOFers when doing something lazy like using bWAR and not bothering to really considering anything else.

        If 70 bWAR is the cutoff (though some are close, a threshold is a threshold), not HOFers include: Gary Carter, Smoltz, Palmer, Manny, Raines, Gwynn, Al Simmons, Beltran, Pudge, Edgar, Eddie Murray, Fisk, Lofton, Sandberg, Banks, Drysdale, Alomar….you get the idea…70 is probably setting the bar higher than you are comfortable with.

        WAR is a counting stat (and bWAR isn’t even the better version to use, because it has some really weird behaviors). If you are going to use a counting stat and nothing else, you are devaluing greatness in favor of longevity. Sure, longevity is great, but being great is better than being less good and playing longer…especially when many of those additional years are average or worse…how should additional years of being okay contribute to a HOF resume but being actually better doesn’t? Just a weird thought process.

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      • Also….as anyone that uses any kind of model knows (and WAR are models), they are only estimates and have pretty large error bars, and those bars don’t get smaller with larger sample sizes, they get a little bigger in this case because there are data we know that aren’t measured very well (especially for anything that happened before 2002). A career bWAR of 70 isn’t really any different than a career bWAR of 65…the error bars on those estimates likely overlap by more than 50%, acting like they are concrete numbers is a misuse of what they are.

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        • That’s why I noted using other tools, too, like the JAWS listing.

          And, no number is perfect, but if one wants to do something more than a “my eyeballs say” comment, one has to start somewhere.

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        • Yes, but it is only a start. I kinda hate JAWS lists because they make comparisons seem superficially true…like if you look at the CFers and see guys that spent most or much of their career playing other positions…it seems to confuse the issue more than clarify.

          At some point, I think you have to balance counting stats and rate stats…but most people pretty much completely ignore rate stats, which describe how good a guy was rather than a combination of how good he was and how long he played.

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        • Well, I like JAWS because it does a position-by-position comparison. For example, looking at an injury-heavy, D-first position, catcher, and a St. Louis favorite?

          JAWS by position says that Pudge Rodriguez and Joe Mauer are now the only two non-HOFers higher than him. That should change in a year on Pudge, and Mauer hasn’t played catcher in 2 years.

          B-Ref isn’t perfect, but you’re misdescribing it a bit, too. It lists a player’s primary position as the one where he got the most WAR, even if less than 50 percent of games were played there. Not ideal, but once you know that, you can go forward.

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        • Are you sure? It lists Robin Yount as a CFer.

          The bigger issue I have is that it uses B-ref, which has some very odd behavior, like the fact that it gives Ozzie more oWAR than dWAR, which is 12 kinds of wrong.

          BTW, any idea why oWAR and dWAR don’t add up to be anywhere close to WAR?

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        • I was told by somebody at B-Ref that, that it goes by WAR at position.

          On the add-up issues, there’s a note on site there somewhere that explains it. I think the Javascript bubbles, if you hover over “WAR” or “oWAR” or “dWAR” at the top of an individual player, do part of that explaining.

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        • Well, on the other, maybe Fangraphs underrates Ozzie’s offense?

          Per what I’ve said earlier about blogging, the whole suite of Sports Reference sites post blogs (if they’re registered with Sports Reference) and they link to players. Since I do some hoops-related sports blogging, too, I like the visibility angle.

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        • In what world was Ozzie’s offense more valuable than his defense?

          Ozzie had a career wRC+ of 90….which is okay for a SS, but below average in general. There is no way his offense was worth anywhere near his defense….no one would every try to make that argument…may as well argue that Pujols’ defense was more valuable than his offense.

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        • wRC+ of 90 = below average. League OBP for his career was .327, only 10 pts less than his OBP…which doesn’t make up for have an SLG 88 pts below league average.

          Are you seriously trying to argue that his clearly below average offense was worth more than his defense?

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        • Wrong is wrong though. There is literally no valid argument that those guys (or Brooks Robinson) were more valuable for their offense than their defense.

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      • They don’t add up because both oWAR and dWAR include the position adjustment. B-Ref explicitly says you can’t add oWAR and dWAR to get WAR. Ozzie was +239 runs from fielding and -117 runs from hitting.

        You’re also completely misrepresenting what Reflex said. He explicitly stated these weren’t hard-and-fast rules, and yet you’ve treated them… like they were hard-and-fast rules.

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        • That’s what it is … on the WAR.

          Agreed otherwise. Which is where I like JAWS because, as noted, it will rank players by position, and one can refine one’s judgment from there.

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      • Paper –

        I feel like you did not read most of my actual post. I was very clear this was a starting point, and in each bracket I listed a number of considerations that would bump them into HoF territory for me. Several of the guys you listed are explicit examples of my considerations, such as catchers, second basemen, or guys who had very high sustained peaks and then fell off. I never claimed that WAR or bWAR was the only consideration, I stated that it was a rough sorting tactic that gives me an immediate way to say off the cuff at what level I am considering someone. At 70, I simply have no doubt, that is a HoF performance. At 60, I need more information. At 50, I listed additional considerations.

        One has to start somewhere. If someone asks me “Is player X a HoFer in your opinion?” I should be able to respond with a simple lookup on my smartphone rather than saying “I’ll get back to you next week once I’ve crunched the numbers and evaluated their era.”

        I said that was a starting point. Given that, the minor differences between bWAR and fWAR aren’t really important to me. I use bWAR because quite frankly Fangraph’s website absolutely sucks for readability, on mobile devices, or for doing basic sorts or any sort of research. Since I don’t need 100% precision to ask basic questions, the advantages of Fangraphs numbers do not outweigh the inconvenience of trying to get the data I need out of their site. Chances are very high that the differences between the two versions of WAR are slight enough in 99% of cases that it comes down to preferred weighting and interpretation anyway. But I acknowledge there are some anomalies.

        That said, I find it interesting that with you and most analytics minded individuals being completely willing to re-evaluate our metrics around past performance and tear it a new one, that you can’t fathom the idea that it is possible that perhaps Ozzie was actually not as valuable defensively as his reputation. I am not saying that is true, or that BBRef is correct (I’d tend to agree with you), but that its not even a discussion point despite the fact that modern defensive metrics are destroying the ‘eye test’ and traditional metrics we used to evaluate defense historically, that perhaps Ozzie could have been overrated as well. I’m not saying he was, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Also, on WAR in general, to claim that it’s got a 0.5 WAR per year rounding or whatever, and that therefore 70 WAR career can’t work as a standard?

          Rounding errors, over a career, cut both directions, both downward and upward, and generally, the rounding from single seasons averages out.

          Otherwise, I could flip the argument of Paper on its head and insist on 75 WAR as a minimum.

          For me, 70 WAR works in general, while noting, per Reflex, allowances for defensive positions, which is where I bring in JAWS.

          On the 110 OPS+ (for batting-first positions) and 110 ERA+ for pitchers, it’s an additional way to weed out chaff. (A certain recent pitcher with a 3.90 ERA, irrationally backed by some as a HOFer, had a career ERA+ below 110.)

          Liked by 1 person

  1. That is kind of crazy. Raines and Bagwell should have made it in easily, and there were another 6 “should be in” candidates on the list even if you ignore the roiders…

    Liked by 1 person

      • Seems to be something against above average hitting, good defending CF’s to be one and done. First Lofton, then Edmonds. Even Bernie’s time was pretty short

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not saying Bernie belongs, but the dude had a 6 year stretch where he put up a .326/.411/.538 (146 OPS+*) from ’97 to ’02. I easily forgot how good a hitter he was.

        *That .949 OPS would be like 170 in today’s game.

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      • I totally wasn’t dissing on Bernie. He’s another one I loved and I felt the Yanks were a bit harsh with him, I mean they really couldn’t find a role for him yet they trotted the rotting corpse of Jeter out there for two straight years? At least let him be a bench bat or something…

        Liked by 1 person

      • the problem with Bernie is by the last few years, he had two bum shoulders so he couldn’t throw, and the DH spot was taken up by Giambi (it also doesn’t help that people couldn’t come up with a rhyming Core Four esc nickname for 5 people to include Bernie).

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      • Bernie had already gotten one token thank-you year after he was awful in the final year of his deal, why did he deserve a second one after being not much better? Below-average hitters without defensive value kind of lack a place on ML rosters. Jeter was under contract the entire time, plus the Yankees were non-contenders and milking his retirement tour, and while I hate the stupid “If George was still alive” claptrap, it’s true that Hal has a different priority set than the old man did. Transplant Jeter’s 2014 back to 2006, and I doubt he’s getting significantly better treatment than Bernie did.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to see Piazza finally get in. I suspect Bagwell and Raines should make it next year, given how close they got this time.

    It feels like the Great Purge Of Voters helped with some of the surges among some players…Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Bonds, Clemens, Mussina, and Edgar all saw healthy jumps. But some of that is probably also because 4 guys went in last year, which cleared up some space to vote for these guys this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It would have been more shocking to me if Griffey had been unanimous. Kind of surprised only three assholes decided to insert themselves into the storyline this year.

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      • If I was a voter, I would not have voted for Griffey. He was getting in anyway, the vote could be better used for someone else as there are far more than 10 worthy candidates.

        Don’t want people gaming the system, fix the system.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I wouldn’t have either, but I doubt that’s what happened here. I doubt there’s any Venn Diagram overlap between strategic voters and voters who don’t publicly reveal their ballots.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Self important people disregarding their obligations to do what they believed was right instead was what turned the Hall of Fame into a joke. Yeah, let’s have more of that.

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      • Please point out where in the instructions it requires one to vote for (up to) the ten best players, rather than only (up to) ten worthy ones.

        I’ll wait.

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      • yamule, that just a stupid opinion.

        Not voting for Griffey wouldn’t have changed him getting in….giving those votes to someone else worthy may have made a difference. You are putting value on something that doesn’t matter. The only things that matter are 5% and 75%.

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      • Kevin, I assume you agree 100% with this clause, or are you one of those people who pick and choose the rules you like?

        5. Voting: 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.

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      • Sure, but as with all elements of that instruction (not just the one’s you’ve emphasized), the standards have been established over the history of the Hall, and those standards have shown that all sorts integrity issues have meant approximately nothing in the face of a career worthy on its merits. If the Hall had actually meant for it to be used to disqualify unsavory types, it seems odd that Ty Cobb got the most votes on the very first ballot.

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  4. Junior was a beautiful player I was privileged to see quite often when he played against the Angels. He’s now acknowledged as an all-time great, validated by this high vote percentage.

    Quick facts: in 1994 Griffey played in only 111 games (493 plate appearances) – yet led the league in HR and finished 2nd in the MVP vote (Frank Thomas).
    In eight full years in Cincinnati he averaged 105 games and 435 PAs, hampered by what seemed at the time an endless stream of injuries. His 162 game average is 686 PAs. What would he have accomplished with another (conservative) 175-200 PAs in those eight years? When he did play, how healthy was he? When he left the AL he was in the conversation for “The Best There Ever Was”. His entrance to the Hall is well deserved and I applaud him. Am I a terrible person to look at this all time great career with a certain regret?

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    • Not at all….over his last 10 years, he was plagued by injuries and couldn’t run a lick. He was among the worst defenders and base runners in the league while being a slightly above average hitter.

      He put up a whopping 3.8 fWAR over his last 10 seasons (nearly 4000 PAs), and only 0.2 fWAR over his last 7 seasons.

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  5. As histro knows, and maybe some of the rest of you, my adult son, father of two, is in a lockdown psych ward. Of necessity I put him there and he doesn’t know right now if he loves me or hates me. Watching Junior’s breath taking plays in centerfield was something we shared during his teenage years. I hope that sharing with him that Junior has made the hall strikes a spark somewhere inside him.

    Liked by 10 people

      • It gives me hope, very, very little hope. I think I’m more in the grieving stage than the hopeful stage.

        You and I have had some exchanges on religious belief over at HBT. Back in the early nineties pre internet days I manually typed into my second hand 286 over a couple of years the entire Bible. During those days I made a serious personal investigation in the relative probability or lack thereof of the hiristocity of the New Testament Jesus figure. I wanted an electronically searchable version of the Bible. My final conclusion was that the answer was unknowable but that the inconclusive evidence available seemed to me to indicate a better than even probability that the New Testament stories were at least partially based, in however small a way, on remembrances of an actual historical person. These days I don’t give a shit about it.

        When I typed the book of Job in I was disappointed. I thought Job was supposed to be one of the most profound books of the Bible, but shit, Job is kicking “God’s” ass in the back and forth exchanges in there. I couldn’t believe that hundreds of millions, if not billions of people have regarded this lame ass shit (not to mention a lot of the other crap in there) reverentially for centuries.

        My mom died this last July. I had previously cajoled her into an assisted living situation. After she had her final stroke and I saw her in the emergency room I knew in the first seconds that it was ball game. I spent the next two weeks maneuvering my brothers to realizing that we had to let her go. Me being the baby boy of the family I kind of considered that to be my job. All that’s alright because she had a good and long life.

        My son’s schizophrenic delusions burst into flames shortly after that. Growing up he wasn’t just my son he was my best friend. I love him more than any other human being. It’s not alright because his life has not been a long one.

        These days when I look at the book of Job I want to and need to believe God.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Thanks for sharing more of your family journey. Schizophrenia is serious, and of course I know that you know that.

          On parents, per your mom, and Reflex’s situation, not easy. My mom had a non-Alzheimer’s dementia that required us to move her to assisted living out of her residence. Fortunately, she died before decisions like you faced. Fortunately for her, she got less depressed, weirdly, as the dementia got worse.

          Anyway, others, like me, are here to listen, beyond what Hist already knows, of course. I hope, as I tell others, that you are doing about as well as can reasonably be expected in your situation.

          Liked by 2 people

      • thank you for everything.

        I get up every morning wondering what the fuck for. Talking to you all at least makes me think about it.

        I guess this whole thing is a drama queen saying need a little help here.

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        • *our drama queen

          FTFY

          I had a rough year myself last year and am looking down the barrel of another. You won’t get any BS platitudes from me about life. The thing is, if you’re alternating between crying and numbness, you might as well do it together, no? Plus, when you fart in a group, there’s always other people to blame it on. And you’d think if we only get one go ’round that some of the people on here would cultivate better taste in music.

          /throws popcorn

          Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sorry to see this, Happy. You are among friends here. If you need to talk to us, we’re right here. And if you just need to get away from everything, we’re here for that, too. Basically, what Historio said. You’re not alone.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am really sorry to hear this. If you’d to reach out, reflex_croft @ yahoo . com will get ahold of me. I have been dealing with some remarkably similar circumstances (replace your mother with my father, and your son with…someone I won’t mention here but close). I am available to chat any time.

      I’m not a hugger, but I’d give you one if I could.

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  6. I am not happy that Bagwell and Raines did not get in this year. On the other hand, they got enough support that I believe they will get their due next year–especially key for Raines as it will be his last year on the ballot.

    I am very happy Griffey and Piazza are in. I was a big oil’ Griffey fan boy–both Sr and Jr, so I take particular pleasure in Jr’s induction.

    Piazza certainly had a Hall-worthy career, and his induction will (I believe) finally start putting to rest voters’ idiotic self-justification in snubbing players on the basis of “gee, he had power, so he must be a roider.” Piazza’s election will help Bagwell next year. Even better, I can now imagine The Blogger Murray Chass feeling nauseated that his one person smear campaign failed to thwart Piazza.

    Liked by 4 people

    • This inspired me to stroll on over to Murray Chass’ blog and see if The Blogger Murray Chass(TM) had any blog reactions to the HOF induction. He did not, although he through a temper tantrum about Dan Syzmborski. That did include this gem of a line:

      “I also expect Mike Piazza to be elected following his 69.9 percent showing last year unless in the interim year a sizeable number of writers accepted the circumstantial evidence that indicates he used performance-enhancing drugs until baseball began testing for them.”

      Emphasis freaking mine. I do love how Chass rails against Syzmborski for calling Chass a self-parody, only to end his little blog-screed by comparing another writer of an analytical bent to ISIS. I rest my case, TBMC.

      http://www.murraychass.com/?p=9701

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that Piazza being elected is probably a big step for all of the “circumstantial” guys. A good thing to see. We can complain with some justification about how the 90’s played out. But we are kidding ourselves if we think it wasn’t wide spread, and we are going after the wrong villains if we blame the individual players.

      Or assume that steroids were the only cheating going on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A small, sadistic part of me would love to see the following scenario:

      At the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, Piazza takes the mic and spends 5 minutes ripping the self-righteous assholes like Chass and Shaughnessy about making assumptions of steroid use based on backne and rumors, concluding with “For the record, I never used PEDs.”

      …at which point he passes the mic to Junior, who says “but I did…”

      Liked by 2 people

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