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2015 obligatory Hall of Fame Post

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Randy Johnson leads the 2015 hall of fame ballot.  Photo (AP Photo/   Elaine Thompson) via seattlepi.com

Randy Johnson leads the 2015 hall of fame ballot. Photo (AP Photo/ Elaine Thompson) via seattlepi.com

Last year’s version of this post is here; it has links to prior years where I went into my general thought process on yes/no votes per individual player.  I’ve tired of writing the same 2,000 word post on the topic since everyone else on the internet is, so this is a bit shorter of a HoF post.  And it won’t insult me if you don’t respond or even read this post; there’s far, far too much hall of fame arguing going on in the baseball blogosphere, and i’m no more or less qualified to publish an opinion on this ballot than many of the official BBWAA writers at this point.

The 2015 ballot at baseball-reference.com is here.  Once again there’s too many deserving players for not enough spots.

For me, there’s three no-brainer 1st ballot hall-of-famers new to the 2015 ballot: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.  The first two should be unanimous but of course they won’t.  In fact, we already have a published ballot of someone who left both off so he could vote for others who “needed the votes.”  Smoltz might be borderline for some but for me he’s better than other hurlers recently enshrined; somehow I doubt he gets in this time around.

Of the carry overs from last year’s ballot, I’d vote as follows:

  • Yes for Biggio, Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Clemens, Bonds, Schilling, Martinez, McGwire
  • Maybe later for Trammell, Mussina, Kent, and Sheffield.
  • No for Smith, McGriff, Walker, Mattingly, Sosa and anyone else new to the ballot this year not otherwise mentioned.  Why are these No votes?  See 2012 and 2013′s links for my reasoning on the names here, all of whom are repeats.

Of course, this is too many “Yes” votes.  If I had to cut two of my 12 Yes votes, I’d guess Martinez and McGwire are the first two to go.  Or maybe Schilling.  Which is a shame because I think all the guys in the “maybe later” have legitimate cases too.  But this is the bed that the BBWAA has made for itself with its arbitrary player limit and its wishy-washy stance on alleged PED users.

2015 voting Prediction: Johnson, Martinez and Biggio elected.  Smoltz just misses, and Piazza & Bagwell get close enough that they’ll go in with the 2016 class (which only has one no-brainer candidate in Ken Griffey, Jr).  Still no love for Bagwell, the PED brothers, or Raines, much to the chagrin of the sabr-crowd.

1/6/15 update: My prediction was too conservative: Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz and Biggio inducted in 2015.  Piazza got 69% of the vote and seems like a good bet for 2016.  however Bagwell and Raines lagged seriously behind, at just 55% of the vote each.  Another huge gap after that leads to a trio of players in the mid 30s … not nearly enough to talk about them getting in next year.

5 Responses to '2015 obligatory Hall of Fame Post'

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  1. Baseball somehow has convinced the general public to care about who is in its HOF. I haven’t a clue who the controversial admissions and omissions are in the HOFs of other sports. But nearly everyone on the street has an opinion on whether Bonds, Clemens, or even Rose belongs in Cooperstown.

    Unit and Pedro seem to be mortal locks. Smoltz seems to have substantial momentum, for good reasons, despite several posts that point out that he’s pretty similar to Schilling and Mussina. If anything, that argument seems more to indicate that all three should be in rather than that Smoltz shouldn’t be, but it may take some time for the others, particularly Mussina.

    The BBTF tabulation of ballots made public is interesting: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/the_2015_hof_ballot_collecting_gizmo. As things stand as I write, Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio, and Piazza (barely) would all be in.

    Maybe that’s how the PED logjam breaks, with Piazza and his back acne, soon followed by Bagwell and his suspiciously large guns. Once those guys are in, will there be more give on Bonds and Clemens, who were obviously better players than Piazza and Bags? Of course they were also much bigger jerks . . .

    KW

    5 Jan 15 at 3:24 pm

  2. It’s not just that they were much bigger jerks, it’s that there is a lot more evidence that Bonds and Clemens were juicing. Bonds has admitted to using steroids, he just claimed to the grand jury that he didn’t know what “the cream” and “the clear” actually were. Clemens was all over the Mitchell report, in addition to his admitted association with Brian McNamee (in addition to the testimony of McNamee and former teammates like Jason Grimsley and Andy Pettitte).

    John C.

    5 Jan 15 at 6:52 pm

  3. Are Bonds and Clemens guiltier because they’re more busted? I agree that the evidence against them is firmer. I’m just not sure what it should mean in the grand scheme of things.

    KW

    5 Jan 15 at 9:09 pm

  4. Not that i really want to get drawn into this argument …. but consider these points:
    – do we ignore Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA season because the mounds were too high and had to be lowered?
    – do we ignore the deadball era stats because, well, the ball was dead?
    – do we ignore accomplishments from the WWII era when most of the stars were in the service?
    – do we ignore Cy Young’s ridiculous 511 career wins because he basically started 1/3rd of his team’s games in that era?
    – do we ignore the single season records for triples because they all occurred a century ago when ballparks were closer in size to cricket fields than little league fields like they are today?

    No, we don’t. We understand the context of the game at the time it was played so as to understand the context of the stats.

    For me, the whole argument on PED usage is this. That was, for better or clearly for worse, the nature of the game in the late 90s and early 00s. You didn’t have 100% usage, but you didn’t have 0% either. You had owners raking in money with increased popularity, you had the union behaving like a typical union (aka; you want something, you give us something in return), and you had a commissioner’s office still reeling from allowing a World Series to be cancelled on his watch trying to get baseball back to its former relevance. Nobody wanted to do anything about steroids.

    Those games were played. Bonds hit those homers, Clemens won those Cy Youngs. To me, its MORE ridiculous that the “museum of baseball” does not have these players in the showcase hall in Cooperstown than otherwise. But that goes more to the now patently out-dated method of electing these players than it does to the organization. Yes; 50 years ago before RSNs and national TV and the internet it made the most sense to have beat writers do the electing … they were literally the only guys who got to see all the players, all year long. Now? its a brave new world, and of course BBWAA isn’t keeping up.

    But you know what? I think the BBWAA/Cooperstown’s refusal to change the voting methods, refusal to increase the 10player limit, refusal to provide guidance on these players … all of this is entirely manufactured controversy to keep themselves relevant and keep themselves in the forefront of every baseball conversation for an extended period of time in each off-season. And even by my writing this sentence … i’m perpetuating their gambit. So that’s it. no more talk aobut the Hall of Fame from me.

    Todd Boss

    6 Jan 15 at 8:55 am

  5. I’m not anti the PED guys (whoever they, however you define them) being in the HOF. I’m not thrilled by it, but it’s got to happen. They were the “fame” of the period, and MLB made a fortune off them.

    The guys who were hurt, of course, were the guy who stayed clean. Their numbers often pale for their era, even when very good (think McGriff), and they likely experienced a “normal” career fade (think Larry Walker – last big year at 34), unlike the supercharged who were still putting up big numbers in their late 30s.

    It’s not just the writers who don’t want to deal with the issue; it’s the HOF as well. If you’ve been to Cooperstown, there is a big exhibit on Aaron’s chase of Ruth’s record. Around the corner, there is Bonds’s 756 ball, and I think his batting helmet. I don’t even think there is a photo. I think they have one of the McGwire balls as well, perhaps #62. This area is just sort of hidden behind the Aaron exhibit, and you could easily miss it completely.

    I’m not a Bonds fan, and never have been, even when he was a skinny leadoff hitter. But he’s as much a part of the game’s history as Ty Cobb, an even shadier character. After they let him in, morals and character lost whatever meaning they may have had, and that was in the first class.

    KW

    6 Jan 15 at 11:02 am

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