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March 2, 2005 12:00 am

The Veterans Committee Ballot

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Jay Jaffe

The results of the second election by the latest version of the Veterans Committee will be released today. How do the candidates stack up?

Should a player not gain entry through the front door, his only chance for admission is through the institution's freight elevator, the Veterans Committee vote. Evolving out of an older voting body, the Old-Timers' Committee (which also served as the institution's Board of Trustees), the first VC was appointed in 1953, consisting of baseball executives and writers. Over the years, the VC--a 15-member voting body which gradually came to include former players--swept up the ashes with far less discrimination than the writers had exercised. Voting was done behind closed doors, cronyism abounded, mistakes were made (legend has it that the VC elected the vastly inferior Waner brother, Lloyd, in a case of mistaken identity) and the honor of election was somewhat diluted.

The attrition of aged VC voters and the controversies generated by their selections led to an overhaul in 2002. The new Veterans Committee now includes all living Hall of Fame members, Spink Award recipients (writers), Frick Award recipients (broadcasters) and "old VC" members whose terms have not yet expired. Currently there are 83 eligible voters: 60 Hall of Famers, 14 broadcasters, eight writers and one "old VC" member. They vote on players every two years, and on nonplayers (managers, umpires, executives) every four years.

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March 28, 2003 12:00 am

Impact Rookies

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Jeff Bower

The end of March is a time of great anticipation in the baseball world. Fans are nearly as anxious as the players to see the teams head north and start getting some hard answers to the questions that surround their favorite ball clubs. Since veterans have generally established expected levels of performance, much of the buzz and uncertainty surrounds rookies who have survived the spring sifting.

For franchises like Arizona (John Patterson and Lyle Overbay), Philadelphia (Marlon Byrd) and the Yankees (Hideki Matsui), the ability of their prized rookies to make the jump to the majors may be the difference in winning the division. In Cleveland (Travis Hafner and Brandon Phillips) and on Chicago's North Side (Hee Choi), youngsters are centerpieces as the teams try to return to competitiveness. Meanwhile, Kansas City (Angel Berroa) and Tampa Bay (Rocco Baldelli) are banking on new faces to provide some optimism for the future. Regardless of the team's near-term goals, their chances of achieving them will be buoyed if their first-year players make a big splash. While impatiently waiting for the words "Play Ball" to be yelled out Sunday evening in Anaheim, I decided to determine what rookies have turned in the greatest "impact" seasons in history.

A player's season needs to be evaluated in the context in which it occurred to determine its impact, since identical statistical lines from two different environments (e.g. 1968 National League versus 2000 American League) can have vastly divergent values. To accurately measure the impact of a rookie's performance, it must be compared only to other players in the same league within the same year. And since analysts have made great strides in quantifying defense the past few years, positional value and a player's defensive performance should also be included in the evaluation.

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While we wait breathlessly for word from Cooperstown about the results of the new Veterans Committee balloting, the STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame voters have spoken their collective mind here on BP.

Well, sort of. The voting patterns on the two ballots (Players and Composite) were rather similar in some respects. On both ballots, only one person received the support of as much as half of the voters. On both ballots, the average voter cast votes for only a small number of candidates. On both ballots, nearly half of the candidates were able to attract the votes of fewer than 10% of the IHOF voters.

Players Ballot

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September 5, 2002 12:00 am

Swinging for the Hall

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Michael Wolverton

Among the many responses I got to the Bert Blyleven Hall of Fame article on ESPN.com, one of the most interesting was from Dan Kelley of the Boston Metro and yankees-suck.com (a completely objective, non-partisan web site, I'm sure). While my article argued that Blyleven is by far the best pitcher not in the Hall, Dan raised the complementary issue of the best hitter not in the Hall.

Among the many responses I got to the Bert Blyleven Hall of Fame article on ESPN.com, one of the most interesting was from Dan Kelley of the Boston Metro and yankees-suck.com (a completely objective, non-partisan web site, I'm sure). While my article argued that Blyleven is by far the best pitcher not in the Hall, Dan raised the complementary issue of the best hitter not in the Hall.

Dan's letter argued that Jim Rice deserved strong consideration for that honor. (You can read his case for Rice here.) Rice sounded like a decent candidate to me, but then again I had never really looked into the issue.

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March 7, 2001 12:00 am

Albert Belle

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Keith Woolner

Some things to ponder should Albert Belle retire:

Belle was a great player at his peak whose career was on a Cooperstown trajectory until it was tragically cut short due to a medical condition basically unrelated to baseball playing. Sound familiar? Do you feel a sympathy vote coming on? Anyone think he'll get the same Hall of Fame consideration as the ever-popular Kirby Puckett?

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