My final HOF ballot

| January 9, 2012

I’ve explained all this before, but now that the results have been revealed, I’m putting everything into one place, for posterity.

I voted for…

Jeff Bagwell (read this)
Barry Larkin
Mark McGwire (read this, this, this and this for a good synopsis of my thoughts on the steroid guys.)
Tim Raines

I gave strong consideration, but did not vote for…

Edgar Martinez (read this)
Alan Trammell (read this)
Fred McGriff (read this)
Larry Walker (read this)
Bernie Williams (read this)

And I long ago discounted Jack Morris.

The definitive treatise on why I didn’t vote for Edgar Martinez for the HOF

| December 31, 2011

A few days ago I did Edgar Martinez in my series of pieces on my deliberations for my HOF ballot, and it generated some attention from my friends at FanGraphs. I’ve also written this and this, as it relates to Edgar, and I’ve been having the debate on two message boards.

What I’m trying to do with this post is put it all together in one place, so this can serve as my definitive piece on why I did not vote for Edgar Martinez. Hopefully, those of you who just got a sliver of the argument from some other source can see what you’ve missed. Also, this is for me, so I can just look back at this when the ballot comes next year.

Here is the nut graf, as we say in journalism:

I believe that Edgar Martinez fundamentally benefited from being a DH, both in the volume and quality of his offensive production. Therefore, his offensive numbers must put him well above the theoretical dividing line for him to be a Hall of Famer. Considering the era in which he played, his numbers place him only among a handful of borderline candidates.

There, that’s the crux of my argument. Now, let’s separate that into two parts. The first, is that Edgar fundamentally benefited from being a DH. I don’t think it’s possible to debate the volume part. Clearly, the DH extended the careers of people like Edgar. As for the quality, people like to cite studies that show that DHs generally perform worse at DH than they do as everyday players. I believe those studies are faulty because most players become DHs when they are already in decline. If you look at other players who fill-in as DH from time to time, their numbers suffer from small sample size, as well as the fact that they are unfamiliar with how to DH, and view it as a day off.

But don’t take my word for it.

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More Edgar

| December 29, 2011

I’m probably going to be sorry I’m doing this, because I really do have other things I could be doing instead of arguing with faceless people on the Internet, but FanGraphs has questioned my assesment, so here I go again…

Before I get into this, I appreciate that Edgar is borderline, and a reasonable case can be made both for him and against him. I would never suggest that anyone who voted for him was “wrong.” One of the things that bugs me the most about debates surrounding HOFers is people who insist there is a “right” or “wrong” when that is very rarely the case.

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One more thing about steroids and the HOF

| December 28, 2011

Because I can’t help myself and this provides a good way to procrastinate from the story I’m supposed to be writing that I really don’t feel like writing…

I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t automatically DQ steroid users from my HOF ballot, for a lot of reasons. But I think the point that I need to make is that I’m not discounting steroids from the discussion. That’s not the case at all. In fact, I’m sort of putting steroids into the discussion for everyone.

See, I changed my whole stance on this steroid thing after the Mitchell Report came out, because that’s when I decided that no one was beyond suspicion for steroid use. If you played Major League Baseball after about 1990, and especially from 1990-2003, I think it’s very possible that you used steroids.

I’m not going to assume you did. But I’m also not going to assume you didn’t.

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My HOF deliberations: McGwire and the juicers

| December 24, 2011

I didn’t include anything on McGwire in my recent HOF deliberations series because I’ve been voting for him for a while and because I feel I’ve written a lot on my position on the juicers.

In case you missed any of that….

These links pretty clearly explain my stance on steroids and the HOF. Essentially, if I think a guy cheated, I deduct from his statistical resume somewhat, but I don’t disqualify him.

If he used steroids after 2003, I deduct a lot more, because that’s when there was testing and MLB made it clear that steroid use was no longer acceptable.

Anyway, read these…

My 2009 ballot

Manny cheated? Big deal

Manny cheated again? Uh oh

A vote for Barry

My HOF deliberations: Bernie Williams

| December 24, 2011

We’ve come to the end of the road. I’ve voted yes for Bagwell, Larkin, Raines and McGwire, and I’ve decided to pass on Trammell, Edgar, McGriff and Walker.

Of all the new guys on the ballot, it seems the only one who didn’t warrant an immediate no is Bernie Williams. I didn’t really think that Bernie deserved much consideration either, but once I started looking at him, I decided to set him aside for a more thorough examination.

It’s easy to discount Bernie if you don’t take into consideration the fact that he was a center fielder.

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My HOF deliberations: Larry Walker

| December 24, 2011

Almost done, and I’ve still just got Bagwell, Raines, McGwire and Larkin checked on my ballot. Among the others I was giving a fresh look to, I’ve eliminated Trammell, McGriff and Edgar Martinez.

The last two for me are Larry Walker and Bernie Williams. I had a shot at Walker last year and did not vote for him, but enough people I respect have voted for him, so I feel I ought to at least give him another look.

For starters, there is no way to consider Walker without considering Coors Field. The easiest way to do that is just to use his career road numbers. For his career on the road, Walker was .278/.370/.495, with an OPS of .865. He played just about 1,000 road games, so I decided that Sea Level Larry would have those numbers over about 2,000 games. So, here are the guys who played roughly in his era (1975-2011), with at least 1,900 games, and an OPS between .850 and .880:

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