Susan Slusser, longtime A's reporter and the first female president of the BBWAA, answers questions.
In 1986, Susan Fornoff covered the Oakland A’s beat for the Sacramento Bee.Dave Kingman, whose career was in steep decline, took issue with the presence of a woman in the clubhouse and had a rat delivered to Fornoff during a home game. Kingman was fined $3,500 and warned that another incident of this type would result in his release.
Three years later, a young intern named Susan Slusser was hired full-time by the paper to cover the Sacramento Kings and back up both baseball writers, launching her impressive career writing about baseball in Oakland. For the past 15 seasons, Slusser has covered the A’s beat for the San Francisco Chronicle. I spoke with Slusser by phone recently and talked with her about scooping her husband, her new role as president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and how being a beat writer has changed for women over the course of her career.
Joe Hamrahi and Sam Miller are inducted into the BBWAA, and existing member Zachary Levine is now a BP representative.
Every year at the Winter Meetings, baseball writers take a break from reporting rumors to attend to baseball writer business. (Except for Ken Rosenthal. Ken Rosenthal doesn't take breaks. Seriously kind of worried about Ken.) One of the items on the agenda at this annual BBWAA meeting is always admitting new members. A year ago, I had the pleasure of announcing my own induction. This year, we have more new members to announce: Joe Hamrahi and Sam Miller are now BBWAA members under the BP banner, as is Zachary Levine (who had previously been admitted as a representative of the Houston Chronicle).
Congratulations and welcome to Joe and Sam (and to Zachary, uh, welcome back, but with BP now). More members with press passes means more access and better baseball coverage at BP, so expect more material that benefits from our presence at the ballpark ahead.
A look at some of the more unjustified uses of MVP votes in recent memory.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
On Thursday, the BBWAA announced its selections for AL and NL MVP, and while you may not have agreed with the results, they were from from the most controversial we've ever seen. James Click identified some of the least-defensible first-place MVP votes ever in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Crooked Numbers" column on November 17, 2005.
If the BBWAA doesn't select Ryan Braun as NL MVP, should we blame PED payback?
A few years back, Jay Jaffe introduced an MVP Predictor formula called JUMP on Baseball Prospectus. It was, if his descriptions of his spreadsheets are any indication, a spectacularly messy equation, befitting the complex and irregular methods voters use to choose their MVPs. As Jay wrote at the time,
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Ben reports from the ballpark on Saturday's Yankees-Angels game and explains how and why he stopped worrying about working for a team and learned to love writing about baseball.
Here’s a theory of mine that may or may not be true: you can get almost anywhere in a ballpark as long as you’re wearing a lanyard. If you want journalistic access to a team, you could work hard for years, turning in clean copy on time and impressing your superiors until somebody sponsors you for season credentials or the BBWAA. Or you could skip all that, put on a good-looking lanyard, and try to look like you know where you’re going. Most people assume that anyone wearing one inside a stadium is supposed to be there.
I have my credentials, so I don’t have to fly casual and fake my way in. But I’m on my way to do something I’ve never done before, so I’m displaying my lanyard prominently and willing guards to look at it and let me pass. It’s Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, I’m standing outside Yankee Stadium, and I’m about to attend my first game as a member of the BBWAA.
Who makes the Hall of Fame cut when faced against the Keltner Test and JAWS?
On Friday, I unveiled the catcher and infielders on what I'm calling the Keltner All-Stars, the best eligible player at each position outside the Hall of Fame. The name comes from former Indians third baseman Ken Keltner, who inspired Bill James' Keltner Test, a set of 15 questions that can be used to frame a player’s Hall of Fame case. The basis of my choices isn't that test. Instead, I'm using JAWS.
Barry Larkin earns his Hall call, but the major gains for multiple players shed new light on their Cooperstown prospects.
That Barry Larkin is headed to Cooperstown is not the big surprise of the 2012 Hall of Fame voting, the results of which were announced on Monday afternoon. As the top holdover (he received 62.1 percent of the vote last year) on a ballot with no overwhelming first-time candidates, and a deserving candidate on both the traditional and sabermetric fronts, he was well-positioned to close the deal. With 86.4 percent of the vote, he cleared the 75 percent bar easily, and will join the family of Ron Santo at the induction ceremony on July 22, 2012.
How well do the players on the Golden Era ballot stack up to Hall of Fame standards?
The Hall of Fame's Golden Era ballot has been out since November 3, offering 10 familiar names from the 1947-1972 era for Cooperstown consideration. This isn't the Veterans Committee anymore; when last year's reforms were announced, the words "Veterans Committee" were conspicuously omitted from all press releases. Rather, it's the second of three Era Committees to get its turn at bat, following last year's Expansion Era Committee, which voted on players from the 1973-1989 period and managers, umpires, and executives from 1973 to the present. Theoretically, next year’s panel will consider candidates from the Pre-Integration period (1871-1946), but the Hall has changed the rules so often lately that all bets are off.
The secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA discusses the organization's purpose, its relationship with MLB, and membership eligibility.
The Baseball Writers Association of America is a big part of the game, and Jack O’Connell is a big part of the BBWAA. The organization’s secretary-treasurer since 1994, O’Connell is not only involved in the decision-making, he also serves as spokesperson and coordinates the annual awards and Hall of Fame balloting. A member of the BBWAA since 1975, he is a former beat writer for both the Mets and Yankees. O’Connell talked about the history and objectives of the BBWAA, along with a variety of the organization’s issues. Among them: their relationship with MLB, membership eligibility—including the inclusion of internet-only reporters—and the Hall of Fame voting process.
Two men finally get their due in Cooperstown, while several other qualified players are locked out.
Our long national nightmare is over. On Wednesday at 2 p.m., the National Baseball Hall of Fame opened its doors to Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, two overwhelmingly qualified candidates who missed gaining entry from the BBWAA last year by a combined 13 votes. Both cleared the mandatory 75 percent threshold with room to spare, with Alomar drawing 90 percent of the record 581 votes cast during his second year on the ballot, and Blyleven garnering 79.7 percent in his 14th year of eligibility. They'll join Pat Gillick on the dais in Cooperstown, New York on July 24.