The seagull lobby couldn’t get out their vote. Neither could Ohio State basketball fans. Participants in the tenth annual STATLG-L Internet Hall of Fame balloting have elected outfielder Dave Winfield, appearing on the HOF ballot for the first time, to their version of Cooperstown.
Many thanks to the 1632 people who cast HOF votes, more than three times the number in last year’s balloting. Also, this year’s voters were more supportive of the candidates than last year’s, averaging 6.54 names per ballot. That’s a vast increase over last year, when ballots averaged only 2.67 names. Is this year’s crop of candidates that much better than last season’s?
With a voting population this big, it took 1224 votes to reach the 75% threshold for election. Winfield easily topped the bar, as he appeared on 1442 ballots (88.4%). The only remaining question, I suppose, is whether his plaque will show him as a Padre, Yankee, Angel, Blue Jay, Twin, or Indian. As a confirmed Yankee-hater, my personal preference is San Diego. Just so long as it’s not a Golden Gopher basketball shirt.
Catcher Gary Carter fell 72 votes short of enshrinement, finishing second to Winfield by appearing on 70.6% of the ballots. Another first-time candidate, outfielder Kirby Puckett, finished in third place, garnering 1007 votes (61.7%). Falling one vote short of 1000 was pitcher Burt Blyleven (61.2%), and relief pitcher Goose Gossage (876 votes, 53.7%) was the only other player appearing on over half of all ballots cast.
The relative rank-order of the 15 holdover candidates displayed quite a bit of year-to-year consistency. Within this subgroup, Carter, Blyleven, Gossage, and Jim Rice (in that order) took the first four spots in both years. Pitchers Bruce Sutter, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris, and Luis Tiant held the next five spots, though their order was shuffled. Just like last year, the lowest-ranked of those 15 players was Steve Garvey. Just like last year, if STATLG-L voters had their druthers the 5% rule would result in Garvey being dropped from future ballots.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the third-highest ranked first-time candidate (behind Winfield and Puckett) was Lou Whitaker, in the seventh spot overall with 647 votes (39.6%). I strongly suspect that the BBWAA will cast far more votes for Don Mattingly, fourth-ranked newcomer but way back in 15th place in our voting at just 10.9%. In fact, I worry that Sweet Lou will be mistreated in Grich/Simmons/Evans style, unceremoniously dropped under the 5% rule.
The STATLG-L voters would apply the 5% rule to one holdover (Garvey) and 11 of the 17 first-time candidates. Bye-bye Kirk, see ya later Krukker, hit the road Hojo, go home Bedrock. Perhaps the only interesting observation at the bottom of the barrel is that the web "campaign" for Jim Deshaies seems to have paid dividends, as he finished ahead of five less-undeserving candidates.
Looking ahead, next year’s ballot will include such interesting names as Ozzie Smith, Andre Dawson, Alan Trammell, Lenny Dykstra, Frank Viola, Rob Deer, Scott Sanderson, Tim Wallach. One wonders whether the official ballot will include the oft-vilified Steve Howe.
|Andy Van Slyke||16||1.0%|
Neal Traven is the co-chair of the Statistical Analysis Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
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