Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Hall of Fame: Winners and Losers

Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven: Well, obviously.  The former only had to wait two years, but the latter had to wait fourteen long and agonizing years before his well-deserved Hall call.  Out of all the players this year, these two were the most deserving of induction, and I'm very happy that they both made it.

Barry Larkin: Having 61% of the vote in your second year on the ballot is nothing to sneer at, and it basically guarantees that Larkin will make it eventually.  Though he fell a ways short of election this year, his total did represent a 10% from last year.  To make matters better, next year's class is very weak, and Larkin should be considered something of a favorite to make it in 2012.

Tim Raines: It will take him a while, but I think he'll make it as well.  He jumped 7% over last year's total, to 37%.  The influx of talent in 2013 might make things difficult, as he might get lost in the fray.  I wouldn't be surprised to see him voted in in about ten years as he continues to climb higher and higher each year.

Bernie Williams: He's the strongest new candidate next year, and will probably be able to take advantage of a generally weak year.  He probably won't get in next year, but I could see him being named on at least 50% of ballots, which would almost guarantee that he'll make it at some point in the future.

Lovers of confusion: If you thought this year's logjam was bad, wait for 2013.  That's when there will be nine players with a HoF standard above 50 on the ballot, including some of the biggest names of the Steroid Era (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa).  The Hall had better quickly figure out how to deal with PEDs, or else the 2013 ballot might be an epic disaster/snafu.

Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro: The steroid boys barely made a dent.  Surprisingly, even though McGwire came clean last April, his total fell by 4% to 19%.  Palmeiro only managed 11%.  Dealing with PEDs is difficult for voters, as the Hall has refused to make an official comment on how to consider them.  It's clear that voters have decided to resolve this matter by simply not voting for these guys.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens: In that same vein, the two men who should be the stars of the 2013 ballot will probably fall well short as well.  It will be an uncomfortable twenty years as all of the PED stars of the 1990s will stay on the ballot well past 2020, probably never receiving 75%.  It's just another unfortunate consequence of the steroid era.

John Franco and John Olerud: Two very strong candidates failed to make the 5% cutoff, and will sadly not appear on future ballots.  I believe that Franco deserves induction, and while I don't think Olerud is quite there, he has a similar case to some players who linger on the ballot (I'm looking at you, Don Mattingly).  Perhaps if one of them were nicknamed Johnnie Baseball....

Larry Walker: Only 20%?  Wow, I was not expecting that.  One of the premier players of the 1990s/2000s, Walker's crime isn't PEDs, but rather that he had the good fortune to play his home games in Coors Field.  That a man with a 140 career OPS+ (which, yes, allows for ballpark factors), 230 stolen bases, and seven Gold Gloves only barely appeared on a fifth of ballots must be sad for him.  It's not the end of the line for Walker.  I think he stands a decent shot at making it some day.  It's just that starting from 20% is both disheartening and tough to recover from (though if you ask Bert Blyleven...).

The Designated Hitter: Both Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines saw their percentages fall this year (the latter is now off the ballot), as voters make a collective turn away from anything resembling slugging.  While Martinez very well make it up to 75% (he has thirteen more years to convince the voters that his position was perfectly valid, if lacking a glove), future designated hitters--such as Frank Thomas and David Ortiz--may have tougher cases to make, even if they are perfectly deserving (Thomas is, Ortiz is not).


  1. Let's not bury Papi yet. All signs are pointing to decline, but he could still surprise us. Or at the very least stay in the league for 6 more years as a Thome type PH/DH.

  2. Baseball and the Hall of Fame are so hypocritical. Though the last era was tainted by steroids, it wasn't illegal at the time. Baseball have never been run or played by choir-boys, and what was done on the field should merit the making or not of the Hall. I support the induction of players based on their stats and someone like McGwire deserves in. So does Pete Rose. I don't like what they did, but they earned their spot in the Hall based on baseball, nothing else. Rose is kept out, yet we sport casino signs and luxary boxes at ballgames. Baseball looked the other way, now we want Bonds and McGwire kept out? Let us be as scrutinizing of owners, officials, and voters in the Hall process and see how much character or lack of there is in that world. In short, if the have the numbers, vote them in. The fans will know the story and that is the price the players with less than favorable characters will pay.

  3. OPS+ doesn't adjust runs and RBI. Knock Walker down to about 1,100-1,150 on both after you neutralize Coors. I'm a Cards fan; loved him there. But, not a HOFer.

  4. "OPS+ doesn't adjust runs and RBI. Knock Walker down to about 1,100-1,150 on both after you neutralize Coors."

    That makes... no sense. None whatsoever.

  5. If Bernie Williams makes the HOF then it proves that you get preference for playing in NY. He was a good player but not a HOFer. Who's next, George Steinbrenner? Give me a break!