With the award season mercifully behind us, the Baseball Writers Association now turns it attention to using its elected position as moral authority and arbitors of all things right and pure in the world to decide who receives enshirenment in baseball’s best-attended museum.

Consider this year the calm before the storm. The prelude to the atomic bomb of ire and misplaced priorities ahead of the 2013 class, which might just break the internet.

Hit the jump for this year’s list and a few thoughts and my hypothetical instant ballot.

New additions to the ballot indicated by *

Jeff Bagwell Edgar Martinez Dale Murphy
Jeromy Burnitz* Don Mattingly Phil Nevin*
Vinny Castilla* Fred McGriff Rafael Palmeiro
Juan Gonzalez Mark McGwire Brad Radke*
Brian Jordan* Jack Morris Tim Raines
Barry Larkin Bill Mueller* Tim Salmon*
Javy Lopez* Terry Mulholland* Ruben Sierra*
Lee Smith Alan Trammell Larry Walker
Bernie Williams * Tony Womack* Eric Young*

Not a lot of glamourous names on the ballot. Looking at the new additions, one has to wonder how many of this year’s additions even stands a chance of making it to next year. Bernie Williams likely gets the most votes, probably more than (vastly) superior players like Larry Walker and Tim Raines.

The infield slugger field gets all the more crowded DH/first baseman pool. How would you vote after looking at this morass?


Source: FanGraphsJeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro

If I had to pick Hall of Famers from this year’s group, my ballot would look like:

  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Barry Larkin
  • Alan Trammell
  • Mark McGwire
  • Tim Raines
  • Larry Walker

That looks like it. I give McGwire the edge over Palmeiro for his higher peak and less grinding out league average seasons. If you put Larkin in, Trammel needs to go to. So in they both go.

Larry Walker surprises me a great deal. Want to fault his ballpark? Go ahead. His peak was really something else and it brought his career in line with that of Tim Raines.

Now that this is on the record, I expect a completely different outcome that sees Larkin only voted in with Bernie Williams nearly nudging his way in. It is the nature of the beast. It is the Hall of Fame, after all. Not the Hall of Merit. Which is why we live in a sad and cynical world. The HoF announcement comes on January 9th.

Comments (16)

  1. No Edgar Martinez?

    • Edgar is behind McGwire in terms of peak and total production. So no.

      • In terms of peak, yeah, a little better. But total production. There is less than 1 fWAR between them. And while Martinez played two more years than McGwire, Martinez’s last year has a negative fWAR value. So Martinez plays a year less, or McGwire plays a little longer into his decline, and their total production could easily be flipped.

        And in a quick count from the nth best season graph above, Martinez outproduced McGwire in seven seasons, and they effective tied in another two seasons. And that’s without once mentioned the slippery “ROIDS!” argument against McGwire which, while I don’t buy made him a better player, may have made him healthier/less injury-prine, and thus more productive. (and, not that you asked, but IMO they should both go in)

      • There’s also the fact that it’s not Edgar’s fault that the Seattle Mariners were too goddamn brain dead to get him the hell up to the big leagues full time until he was 27. Considering that, his career is bloody outstanding and he definitely deserves to get in. His rWAR and fWAR are in the HoF ballpark despite the late start. Phenomenal.

  2. Larry Walker? Put your maple boner away. Compare home OPS (1.067) to away OPS (.865) over his career and then talk to me.

    • Walker is an EASY yes. His OPS+ was consistently well above average, his defense was great, and he raked away from Coors.

      • Walker’s defence helps his case. Throwing out Tony Fernandez at first base on a ball hit to right field has to count for something, right?

    • Jeff Bagwell: 83.9 fWAR
      Larry Walker: 73.2 fWAR
      Tim Raines: 70.9 fWAR
      Barry Larkin: 70.6 fWAR
      Mark McGwire: 70.6 fWAR
      Edgar Martinez: 69.9 fWAR
      Alan Trammel: 69.5 fWAR

      It doesn’t make to penalize Larry Walker because of his home stats. He would have put up great numbers no matter where he played.

  3. It never crossed my mind that Bernie Williams would get serious hall of fame consideration. I guess he played on the Yankees…but still.

  4. Seems like as good a time as any for Raines to make a breakthrough. Are his odds really that much worse than Larkin’s?

  5. Raines is going to be handicapped because a lot of voters are (ironically enough) now hung up on stats which don’t make a big deal of SBs – and that was his best skill.

    You hear people making OBP and SLG arguments against him, which are all well and good but totally ignore his insane basestealing abilities (70+ steals in six straight seasons, with a **worst-case** success rate of 82%).

    I’ll keep beating the drum until I die that net stolen bases have to be included in total bases, which would probably swing Raines’ SLG% numbers enough to tip him over the line with more than a few voters. Raines would gain nearly sixty TBs / year over his peak seasons with the Expos.

    (For why this works, simply turn sixty of Raines’ singles into doubles and then run the math again. Think his SLG% and OPS look more hall-worthy now?)

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