As the public ballots have run past our vision like newspapers off the press in the montage of an 80s movie, there’s one trend that catches the eye: the Lee Smith/Trevor Hoffman combination. Seventy-two voters as of this writing have publicly given a final show of support for Lee Smith, former saves record-holder. And 68 of those spent a second vote on the man who surpassed him, Trevor Hoffman.
This equals the amount who also voted for Tim Raines, who has better than 15 percent more support overall and exceeds the 63 votes for Jeff Bagwell, the other clear winner from this year’s class. Forget that in terms of specialization, they put designated hitters to shame: People who like closers really, really want there to be more closers in the Hall of Fame.
How to go against the saberballot and without making the internet mad.
You probably don’t have to do much guesswork to figure out what my Hall of Fame ballot will look like when the staff puts out its hypotheticals. You’d probably think that as a Baseball Prospectus writer and general citizen of the baseball internet, my ballot would be predictable down to that last spot or two, and for the most part, you’d be right. I’m not far off from the consensus saberballot.
As such, I get a little annoyed when I see an outlandish outlier ballot. But I really don’t want to. I want to banter in a space where contrary opinions are well thought out and lead to good, respectful debate, not dismissal and name-calling. To be frank and overgeneralizing, I hold the opinions for the undeserving candidates and against the deserving candidates to be bad opinions. And that could be as much on me as it is on the opinions themselves.
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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.
Jay Jaffe and JAWS examine the starting pitchers on this year's Hall of Fame BBWAA ballot, starting with the inevitable Jack Morris.
After delivering the JAWS piece on first basemen earlier this week, I had planned to tackle the outfielders—Tim Raines, Bernie Williams et al—next. The sad news of Greg Spira'suntimely passingon Wednesday presented me with a reason to change course, however. In the service of working on a chapter on Jack Morris’s Hall of Fame case for Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbersin November, I had called upon the Internet Wayback Machine to unearth Greg's seminal research piece questioning whether Morris "pitched to the score." a piece that was published in Baseball Prospectus 1997, predating Morris’s arrival on the BBWAA ballot by a three years and Joe Sheehan's own outstanding Morris research by five years. I suggested to Dave Pease that we republish it on our site to run alongside yesterday’s article in tribute to our fallen colleague and friend, a fine example of his intellectual curiosity and dogged research efforts, particularly as the work dated to a time when Retrosheet was in its infancy and the relevant data not easily compiled. This piece is dedicated to his memory.
As Mariano Rivera leaves his 1,000th appearance behind, see how he stacks up according to Nate's standards.
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 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.
Before Goose Gossage got into the Hall of Fame and Mariano Rivera reeled off another six superb seasons, Nate turned his statistical eye on the bullpen in the following article, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on January 6, 2005.
Wrapping up a look at the players on the Hall of Fame ballot by examining the careers of closers John Franco and Lee Smith.
With my winter crunch work for the Baseball Prospectus annual and this JAWS series drawing to an end, I'm bleary-eyed, having delivered something on the order of 21,000 words on the topic of this year's Hall of Fame ballot over the past two weeks. Yet among the 33 players on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, one position remains unaddressed thus far: relievers. Mercifully, just two of them are on the ballot, holdover Lee Smith and newcomer John Franco. Does either measure up?
Cliff Lee is the same situation for a second straight World Series, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.
It is the same thing but a different year for Cliff Lee. He is back in the World Series, starting Game One for a team that acquired at midseason with the hopes he could take them to a championship as a potential hired gun.
A look at how a sabermetrician would have viewed a memorable Saturday afternoon game at Wrigley Field nearly 26 years ago.
It started as an ordinary Saturday afternoon game between a third-place club and a fifth-place club—sure, there were NBC broadcasters there, but not the main announcing team of Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola. They were in Atlanta calling the marquee matchup between Fernando Valenzuela and Pascual Perez, while this game featured a rookie starter looking for his first major-league win, and a nondescript veteran with a career 54-57 record. Before it was over, however, one player would hit for the cycle, another would stroke a bases-loaded pinch-hit single in extra innings to win the game, and neither would be remembered as the game’s hero. This Cubs/Cardinals tilt at Wrigley Field was one for the annals, and if you’ve ponied up the cash to log onto CompuServe to read this you probably want more detailed analysis than you’re likely to find in Monday's USA Today—and that’s what I’ll try to provide, along with some statistical tidbits from the recent cutting-edge work of “sabermetricians” Bill James, John Thorn, and Pete Palmer.
Slim and trim Charlie Manuel wants a World Series rematch, Mike Rizzo builds a strong front office in Washington, and more news from around the game.
The World Series has been over for nearly three months, spring training begins in a little less than three weeks, and Charlie Manuel is nearly 60 pounds lighter than he was at this time a year ago. Yet it still stings when the Phillies manager thinks about how his team missed its chance to become the first National League team since the 1975-76 Reds to win back-to-back World Series in 2009, losing in six games to the Yankees.
It may seem as though everyone involved in the Aces-for-Prospects swaps came out ahead, but it simply isn't so.
The Blue Jays, Phillies, Mariners, and Athletics put together a blockbuster trade that has rarely been seen in baseball history: nine players will belong to new organizations next year, including two former Cy Young winners very much in their prime.
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.