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 BBWAA's secretary-treasurer discusses voting and what it's like to notify players who have been elected to the Hall of Fame.
In Part II, Jack O'Connell, the secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, discusses annual awards and the Hall of Fame, including who votes for the MVP and Cy Young, who gets a Hall of Fame ballot, and why Rick Ferrell is enshrined in Cooperstown. You can read Part I here.
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.
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Taking a look at players on the Hall of Fame ballot who played right of center, including one who performed for years at altitude.
Like Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker could flat-out rake. In his 17-year career with the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals, Walker won three batting titles with averages of at least .363—three of the top 20 batting averages of the last 30 years, including the second-highest (.379) in 1999. Unlike Martinez, Walker could also play defense; he won seven Gold Gloves in an 11-year span, and had four straight seasons where he was at least 10 runs above average in right field. As he debuts on the Hall of Fame ballot, the cream of the crop among its five right fielders, the primary question about Walker is how much of his perceived value comes out in the wash after adjusting for him having spent the middle of his career in pre-humidor Coors Field. Will JAWS chew through the meat of his career?
One left fielder on this year's Hall of Fame ballot clearly deserves induction.
Among the 19 holdovers on the Baseball Writers Association of America's 2011 Hall of Fame ballot, no player clears the JAWS standard at his position by a higher margin than Tim Raines—not Bert Blyleven, not Barry Larkin, and not Roberto Alomar, all of whom the system shows as being more than worthy of election. During his 23-year major league career, Raines combined the virtues of a keen batting eye, dazzling speed and all-around athleticism with a cerebral approach that made him an electrifying performer and a dangerous offensive weapon.
Can a DH from a small market overcome steep odds to eventually make it to Cooperstown?
Edgar Martinez could flat-out rake. A high-average, high-OBP hitting machine with plenty of power, he played a key role in putting the Mariners on the map as an AL West powerhouse, and emerged as a folk hero to a fan base that watched Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez lead the Mariners' charge to relevancy, only to force their ways out of town over contract issues. When Martinez debuted on the Hall of Fame ballot last year, I compared him to the enshrined third basemen using JAWS because he played 562 games at the hot corner and accrued a bit of value there before settling in as a designated hitter. Considering him in a broader context beyond the Hall's third basemen actually strengthens his candidacy.
Looking at players from two defensive positions on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
Like ballotmate Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin and Alan Trammell are overwhelmingly qualified for the Hall of Fame, but didn't gain entry last year. Larkin made a strong showing in his first year on the ballot, one which suggests he'll reach Cooperstown sooner or later, while Trammell continued to receive a puzzling lack of support and watched his odds of election grow even longer. Today, we'll use JAWS to re-examine their Hall of Fame cases, and with just a week until the ballot results are announced, we'll also take a brief look at the backstops on the ballot—catching up, if you will.
Looking at the second sackers on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
At least around these parts, the 2010 Hall of Fame ballot voting results were more notable for the two near-miss candidates than for the one who made it. While Andre Dawson gained entry to Cooperstown back in January, Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar fell just a handful of votes short, the former by four in his 13th ballot appearance, the latter by eight in his ballot debut. In fact, Alomar received the highest percentage of the vote for any first-year candidate who wasn't elected. Today we'll spotlight Alomar and his fellow second basemen on the ballot using JAWS to evaluate their candidacies.
A look at the first basemen on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.
Having kicked off this year's JAWS series with the starting pitchers, today we turn our attention to the first basemen, a slate which includes the ballot's best newcomer as well as its most controversial first-timer, and a few holdovers who aren't going anywhere for entirely different reasons.
Bert Blyleven, in his final year of eligibility, makes his last stand for Cooperstown.
It's fair to say that in these quarters, the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot is the most hotly anticipated one in the eight seasons since I began covering the Cooperstown beat for Baseball Prospectus. That's because when the 2010 ballot results were announced back on January 6, Bert Blyleven fell just five votes short of enshrinement, receiving 74.2 percent of the necessary 75 percent. As disappointing as his close-but-no-cigar showing in his 13th year on the ballot might have been, Blyleven's tally represented a significant surge from the 62.7 percent he received the year before. After a long, hard climb from his having receiving less than 20 percent in each of his first three years on the ballot, his election is so close that the pitcher and all of those who have supported him over the years can practically taste it.