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A fascinating season of immense accomplishments … a riveting post-season
capped by an implausible Game 7 in the World Series … postseason awards
that confounded the experts … what better way to cap off the 2001 baseball
season than voting to determine whose face will grace a plaque in
Cooperstown next summer?

Yes indeed, it’s Hall of Fame voting season once again! The candidates to
be considered by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of
America were announced on November 29. While the BBWAA voters may depend
on cheap scotch and expensive cigars (or is it expensive scotch and cheap
cigars?) as key components of their research into the playing careers of
the candidates, we Web-savvy Baseball Prospectus readers have
EqA, TPR,
SNWL,
and a blizzard of other evaluation tools at our disposal.

So can we civilians do a better job of choosing the next crop of Hall of
Famers than the writers do? That’s a question all baseball fans have asked
themselves from time to time, and it’s a question I’ve been offering people
an opportunity to answer for quite some time. As listowner of STATLG-L,
the "Baseball (and lesser sports)
discussion list," I’ve been running an online Hall of Fame vote since
1991. To my knowledge, it’s still the only public-access HOF balloting to be
found anywhere. This is the third year that I’ve operated the STATLG-L vote
with the help of my friends here at BP. Let me tell you, putting it on the
Web makes the job a whole lot easier–before, voting was by e-mail
messages sent to me, and I tallied the selections one-by-one on a
spreadsheet.

The STATLG-L Hall of Fame vote is run using rules as close to those of the
BBWAA as I can make them. The rules are straightforward–choose the
players you feel belong in the Hall of Fame from the same candidates who
have been put before the BBWAA. You can vote for any number up to ten. You
can’t write in the name of anyone who doesn’t appear on the official
ballot, so you fans of Steve Howe, Rob Deer, Zane Smith, Dave Valle, Chris
Gwynn, Felix Fermin, Roger McDowell, and other excluded eligibles should
lodge your complaints with the BBWAA, not me or the BP folks. Besides,
under the Hall’s reconstructed Veterans’ Committee, those guys will still
have a chance in future years. RDFC members, unite!

When the voting ends, right around the end of the year, any player whose
name appears on at least 75% of all submitted ballots is "elected."
Voting ends Friday, January 4, 2002, and the results will be announced on
January 7.

During its existence, the STATLG-L Hall of Fame results have often been
quite similar to those of the BBWAA. Here’s a year-by-year comparison
(note that by "year" I mean the date of the HOF election rather than
the induction ceremony):


Year       BBWAA result               STATLG-L result
1991       Tom Seaver                 Tom Seaver
           Rollie Fingers             Rollie Fingers

1992       Reggie Jackson             Reggie Jackson

1993       Steve Carlton              Steve Carlton

1994       Mike Schmidt               Mike Schmidt

1995       (none)                     Phil Niekro

1996       Phil Niekro                Phil Niekro

1997       Don Sutton                 (none)

1998       Nolan Ryan                 George Brett
           George Brett               Nolan Ryan
           Robin Yount                Robin Yount
                                      Carlton Fisk

1999       Carlton Fisk               (none)
           Tony Perez

2000       Dave Winfield              Dave Winfield
           Kirby Puckett


This year’s ballot is an interesting mix of the old and the new. Only 11
first-timers, 1996 retirees, are on the ballot. Interestingly,
the Hall of
Fame’s "Future Hall of Fame Elections" page
shows Lenny Dykstra’s
eligibility date as two years from now. Nails was on the Phillies’
disabled list in 1998, but never played a game. Of last year’s 17 newbies,
only a pair (Mattingly and Stewart) made it past the 5% cutoff. Three of
the 17 carried over from last year have reached double figures in years of
eligibility; this is Luis Tiant’s last appearance on the BBWAA ballot, and
Jim Kaat will get only one more chance if he doesn’t reach the 75% mark
this time.

Looming on the horizon are the 1997 retirees, led by Eddie Murray, Ryne
Sandberg, and Lee Smith. But they can wait till next year. We have other
worthies to choose from right now.

Results will be available soon!


Neal Traven is the co-chair of the Statistical Analysis Committee of the
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

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