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January 5, 2014

BP Hall of Fame Voting

The 2014 Results

by Baseball Prospectus

As the BBWAA announces its newest class of Hall of Fame inductees, we asked our staff to fill out their own ballots using the list of players eligible for enshrinement in Cooperstown. Forty-one ballots were submitted, so players needed to garner at least 31 votes to earn a Baseball Prospectus nod to the Hall, and to notch at least two votes to remain in consideration next year.

Under BBWAA rules—namely, the 10-player voting limit—our 2014 Hall of Fame class features seven players. (The number of ballots on which each player appeared and the percentage that number represents are in parentheses.)

Among the players scrapped from consideration next year were Mark McGwire (1, 2.44%) and Sammy Sosa (no votes), as well as Jack Morris, who did not earn a single Baseball Prospectus vote amid his last chance to persuade the BBWAA.

To see just how restrictive the 10-player limit is in a year in which the list of eligible players is teeming with potentially worthy names, we gave each of our voters the option to tack additional players onto their ballots. The impact was significant: It made all the difference for two down-ballot hopefuls and kept four of the endangered alive.

Without the 10-player restriction, Mike Piazza (30, 73.17%), who came closest to induction without meeting the 75 percent benchmark, earned his plaque with three additional votes that brought his percentage up to 80.49. Craig Biggio (25, 60.98%) surged up nine votes to 34 and 82.93% of the ballots cast. Edgar Martinez (15, 36.59%) nearly doubled his vote total, but it was not enough for him to squeak past the threshold (73.17%).

Meanwhile, Kent, McGwire, Sosa, and Larry Walker—who got only one vote with the limit, but soared to 11, or 26.83% of the ballots submitted, without it—gained enough support to be considered again in 2015.

Finally, Maddux, who was already well clear of the cutoff point for induction, picked up his 41st vote to become a unanimous selection.

You can view each staff member's ballot, and the full results, in the spreadsheet embedded below.

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Related Content:  Hall Of Fame

46 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


Wojo, why didn't Maddox make your Top Ten? Here in Atlanta, we're mad that he's already been left off one announced ballot. What's your story?

Jan 08, 2014 03:32 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Because I'm up and Jason isn't, I'll attempt to answer for him for now: Jason included Maddux on his expanded ballot, but left him off his top 10 because he supported 16 players and wanted to give the vote to someone he thought would receive less support (Alan Trammell, for instance). It's not a knock on Maddux, just a strategic approach to voting with a 10-player limit.

Jan 08, 2014 03:41 AM


Jan 08, 2014 07:02 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

Yep. And I do realize there are those who think this approach is invalid in some way -- not in the spirit of the vote, say -- and all I can say to that is that I disagree.

The tougher issue is that if nobody voted for Maddux because everyone else was going to, where would we be? For now, though, it appears empirically to be a safe tactic, whether in the BBWAA or BP. (It's also only an issue on a clogged ballot -- if BP voters tracked the real vote, there wouldn't be any such thing.)

Jan 08, 2014 09:04 AM

Why not just have a preliminary survey to identify who, say, 90% of the voters consider a no-doubt HoFer, induct those players, and then have an actual ballot for the rest? It seems silly to take a vote for a player like Maddux when it's overwhelmingly obvious that he's getting in.

Jan 08, 2014 09:34 AM
rating: -1

Maddox simply isn't HoF-worthy. Sure, he was one of the greatest defensive center fielders ever, but his career OPS+ was only 101, and he was pretty much below-average once he turned 30.

Jan 08, 2014 05:56 AM
rating: 22

And with more career interceptions than touchdowns he's really not even worthy of consideration.

Jan 08, 2014 06:59 AM
rating: 8

If only his XFL stats were considered...

Jan 08, 2014 07:38 AM
rating: 5

Hideo Nomo with a 10 player limit? Todd Jones without a limit?

Jan 08, 2014 06:36 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Matt Sussman
BP staff

I obviously didn't pick Nomo because of his numbers, but he carved a path for many other Asian players to go to the MLB because he dominated enough to get them to believe. Not unlike Valenzuela, who I think also should be in the Hall for this reason.

Todd Jones ... I just like Todd Jones.

Jan 08, 2014 07:00 AM

Jordan Gorosh voted for Edgar Martinez twice!

Jan 08, 2014 06:51 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Daniel Rathman
BP staff

Thanks for catching that; everything is now updated with one vote removed.

Jan 08, 2014 07:11 AM

While the masses cry for an expansion of the 10 player limit I say leave it a lone, particularly with an electorate like BP's panel here. When you have a group that feels compelled to use every slot on the ballot the risk is way too high that candidates with marginal cases will get in.

If the BBWAA let the voters have extra slots Jack Morris would be in the HoF. It is the Law of Unintended Consequences rearing its ugly head (again).

I agree we have more than ten fully qualified candidates this year, but if we miraculously elected the top ten our logjam goes away. A better rule change would be to get rid of the 5% rule and let every player eligible have at least three years on the ballot. If they don't get to 5% by then then drop them.

Jan 08, 2014 07:13 AM
rating: -1
BP staff member Harry Pavlidis
BP staff

this ballot actually is about cutting off limbs to get down to 10 rather than adding fluff to get up to 10.

Jan 08, 2014 07:50 AM

Look, Mike Maddux has had a fine career as a pitching coach, and he did last 15 seasons in the bigs. But he was mostly a middle reliever, and an average one as his 102 ERA+ indicates.

That's just not enough for a HOF vote.

Jan 08, 2014 07:22 AM
rating: 0
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

The first thing I did was see who left Maddux off the ballot so I can avoid reading any further material from that author.

Jan 08, 2014 08:14 AM
rating: -12

The first thing I did was see who left Maddux off the ballot to confirm that (1) he submitted ten names, and (2) he added him when he was allowed to put in more than 10 names. Given those things, it's pretty clear that he didn't vote for him because he knew he'd get in anyway and he wanted to get a vote in for somebody else.

Jan 08, 2014 08:25 AM
rating: 8
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Right. No one who voted here thought Maddux wasn't a worthy Hall of Famer (or even a worthy first-ballot Hall of Famer, if you want to draw a distinction).

Jan 08, 2014 08:26 AM
John Douglass

That's not a good way to use your vote. If everyone did that every player would drop from future ballots with 0% after one year. You vote for the ten you think belong and you move on. Especially in a mock thing like this. We should see a 100% next to Maddux (and Bonds, Clemens and the herein-neglected Schilling).

Jan 08, 2014 10:16 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

Thank goodness it was me, then. Feel free to ignore all future articles with my byline.

Jan 08, 2014 09:06 AM

It's instructive and gratifying to see the variety of opinion here. The exercise goes to show that 75 percent of votes is a high threshold, and that significant disagreements remain even among "enlightened" baseball analysts on who deserves election to the Hall.

Were there any instructions given to the voters beyond those presented in the article? For example, were voters advised to vote solely based on whom they think should be elected, without giving consideration to what other voters might do?

Jan 08, 2014 08:31 AM
rating: 3
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Yes, though they were also able to see the ballots of the voters who had already entered their selections. We asked them to form their own opinions before looking at the spreadsheet.

Jan 08, 2014 08:38 AM
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Looks like Maddux isn't unanimous here, nor for the real HoF, for equally silly lines of reasoning.

Jan 08, 2014 08:43 AM
rating: -7

There's nothing silly about using a limited number of votes to vote for a player who actually needs the vote, i.e. someone right on the bubble of 75% or 5%, rather than someone who's going to be elected anyway. Blame the system, not the voters.

The knuckledragger who voted for Morris but not Maddux because of the "no steroid era thing" when their careers overlapped by NINE YEARS (including 3 Maddux Cy Youngs) is a truly special individual, though.

Jan 08, 2014 08:56 AM
rating: 6

Game theory isn't a silly line of thinking.

Jan 08, 2014 08:58 AM
rating: 6
BP staff member Dan Rozenson
BP staff

Well said.

Jan 08, 2014 09:02 AM

Perhaps, but it's certainly not voting according to the instructions.

And why apply game theory when there's no real consequence here?

Jan 08, 2014 09:15 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

If there are voting instructions that say to vote for your top 10 choices, I'm unaware of them.

Jan 08, 2014 10:00 AM

I think the much better question is why NOT play around with applying game theory in a mock/experimental ballot like this?

Jan 08, 2014 10:25 AM
rating: 2

It is informative to me that even with a fact-based and statistic-based site (and yes, I know you have a lot of folks who aren't that way who are marginal contributors) that Curt Schilling isn't a HOFer even after allowing an expanded ballot.

I'm kind of stunned by that.

Jan 08, 2014 09:14 AM
rating: 1

I'm surprised by Schilling's exclusion, too, but I'm glad BP isn't the Borg and I disagree that the non-Schilling voters are marginal contributors.

Jan 08, 2014 10:47 AM
rating: 1

Are the two guys who left Bonds and Clemens off their ballots, but voted for 10 other candidates who similarly played during a period in which there was no steriod testing, going to explain their votes?

Jan 08, 2014 09:24 AM
rating: 2
BP staff member Dan Rozenson
BP staff

More than the mere use of PEDs, what's keeping me from supporting Bonds and Clemens is their strenuous denials despite the evidence against them.

Jan 08, 2014 14:54 PM

I am a bit suprised to see how strongly the analytic community has shifted in favor of admitting Clemens and Bonds to the HOF, almost to the point where it's becoming a Jack Morris-like litmus test.

I am honestly curious to see what folks who favor enshrinment for Bonds and Clemens think about ARod and the HOF.

Jan 08, 2014 20:05 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Mark Anderson
BP staff

He'd be on my ballot.

Jan 09, 2014 05:26 AM

I am curious how you can vote for Bonds and Clemens and not vote for Piazza (while not filling out 10 spots). I am looking at you Jason Parks.

Jan 11, 2014 00:26 AM
rating: 0

The ten vote limit worked well. It may have seemed like you had to cut off limbs but look at the result. You "elected" seven guys of whom 4 are holdovers from last year. If this was the real election then next year you would be confronted with a much easier group to chose from even though you will be adding 3 top tier guys to the ballot.

One more election like this and your perceived problem goes away.

All the electorate has to do is pick the ten best qualified guys and this problem goes away in short order.

Jan 08, 2014 09:53 AM
rating: 1
Dave Scott

The list of players eliminated for consideration is more interesting than those who got in. I have to think reform is coming.

Jan 08, 2014 12:43 PM
rating: 0

I voted up the commenters who got minused out the wazoo, because they both raised a valid point.

Since BP enjoys joining numerous other columnists in decrying problems with the real-world voting (which is totally justified) and shooting at old-guard Luddite fish in the sabermetric barrel, then it ought to be equally ready to face outrage and criticism when it indulges in the same type of strategic-voting tomfoolery and double standards which stain the actual elections.

Jan 09, 2014 20:34 PM
rating: -1
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

"Tomfoolery" -- did Maddux get in in BP's vote or not?

Jan 09, 2014 21:24 PM

That isn't the issue, though, Jason. The issue is whether you guys would make wiser use of the ballots than the BBWAA does...and it's certainly valid for the other commenters to question that when they see Greg Maddux left off a ballot.

Jan 09, 2014 22:49 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Under the current voting system, I wouldn't question anyone who excluded Maddux from his or her top 10 for the reason Jason did, BBWAA member or not.

Jan 09, 2014 22:59 PM

If I understand you correctly, are you saying 10 spots is too restrictive? If so, then it doesn't matter what voting system is in use at the moment; there is virtually no combination of potential candidates from any era in baseball history that would result in Greg Maddux not being among the 10 players you would list.

It's eminently reasonable for someone to get upset about omitting a Mt Rushmore-level talent like Maddux and call into question the credentials of a person so voting. There has certainly been plenty of real and virtual ink spilled over the years about the "idiots who didn't vote for Babe Ruth...who didn't vote for Willie Mays...how could not you not vote for Hank Aaron?", etc.

I think what the original commenters were getting at here in their own way was highlighting the inconsistent treatment from a site which normally decries such things, and I don't believe they should be voted down so much for making that very legitimate point.

Jan 10, 2014 00:29 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

It's not inconsistent treatment, because motive matters. Yes, voters have been criticized (fairly) for omitting obviously deserving candidates from their ballots on the grounds that if Legend X and Legend Y didn't get in on their first ballots, then Legend Z shouldn't, either. I'm okay with excoriating anyone who didn't vote for Maddux because they didn't think he was a Hall of Fame-caliber player, or because they don't vote for first-ballot candidates as a rule.

That's not what we're talking about here. Jason thought 16 players were worthy of induction, including Maddux, and he knew that Maddux wouldn't need his vote to top the 75 percent threshold. So he used his top 10 spots on other deserving candidates for whom his vote was more likely to make a difference. Every BP voter thought Maddux was a deserving Hall of Famer, and no one withheld a vote for him based on the "Well, Mays wasn't unanimous..." argument, so I don't see any inconsistency here. If an actual Hall of Fame voter left Maddux off his 10-player ballot for the same reason that Jason did (and some of the 16 who didn't vote for Maddux may have), I wouldn't have a problem with that either.

Jan 10, 2014 00:57 AM
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ben and I explained all of this (and I acknowledged one major drawback of my strategy and explained why I thought it was presently valid anyway) above in those threads that you plussed (rightly, IMO -- I'm not the biggest fan of how minuses are sometimes used here).

Jan 10, 2014 07:55 AM

You're sort of making my point for me: Reasons for omitting a guy are subjective, and one man's "legitimate" reason is another man's "revoke his vote!" indignation.

Take your example of the hypothetical voter who omitted Maddux simply because he didn't think Maddux was a Hall of Famer. Well...his judgment in players clearly sucks, but on the other hand he exercised his voting responsibility exactly as he should have. It seems apparent the voting is structured specifically to elect players via a "wisdom of crowds" approach. Toward that end, Clueless Voter could be fairly said to be executing his duty in a 100% honest manner whereas Jason is not voting for somebody he knows belongs based on a reason that is NOT the primary purpose of voting.

It takes only a few people making assumptions like "Player X won't need my vote" in error before you are CREATING the very bottleneck of candidates you're saying is such a problem. It's been awhile since I read it, but I seem to recall Bill James making this point in his HOF books...that the vote frequencies and shifting rules actually aggravate ballot logjams mathematically rather than alleviating them as intended.

Columns explaining a voter's motives doubtlessly are more readily found today than years ago. Who is to say voters of old did not have what they thought were perfectly valid rationales behind their omissions? If you want Jason to be given more benefit of the doubt for his hypothetical vote, then perhaps real-world voters who actually had to do it should be given an equal or greater amount of leeway...especially those are who are dead and left little to no record of their motivations.

This is what I meant by the commenters above possibly having a point about inconsistent treatment. I thought they made that point in a clever and ironic way, which doesn't seem like something for which they should be voted down so severely. Keep in mind, I never said this was my own opinion of Jason's ballot...just that I saw some merit in those two commenters' reactions which, inadvertently or not, raised an interesting question.

Thanks to both of you for the responses.

Jan 10, 2014 10:27 AM
rating: 0
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