Monday, January 3, 2011

Hall of Fame Ballots

First a happy birthday to French Bordagaray and Darren Daulton.  Um, Frenchy's dead, so happy birthday to Darren.  Frenchy, born Stanley Bordagaray, was born in 1910 and went to college at Cal State Fresno and broke in with the White Sox in 1934.  He played most of his career with Brooklyn, but had stops with the Cardinals, Reds and Yankees.  He played with the Dodgers during the war years.  Bordagaray was a part time player in the outfield, second base and third.  His name appears in David Frishberg's Van Lingle Mungo between Stan Hack and Phil Cavaretta in order to rhyme with Pinky May.  At least he was in good company--in the song.
Frenchy Bordagaray with the Dodgers, wearing a mustache when few players did.
Darren Daulton was one of those rare commodities of the early 90's, a catcher who could hit.  Daulton played on some very good Phillies teams including the '93 World Series team where he caught Curt Schilling, Terry Mulholland and "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams.  He played for the Phils from 1983-97 before being traded to the Marlins in '97 when he retired after a long fight with bad knees.  Daulton had some very good years, leading the NL in RBI's in '92 and three times an NL All-Star.  Darren Daulton was born in 1962. 
Darren Daulton was a good hitter when few catchers were.
A number of writers have posted their HoF ballots.  I've learned a lot by looking at them.  I confess that I am not a small hall guy. The Hall's rules for admission don't limit the number of players on the ballot, or the number of players voted in for given year, or limit the size of the Hall, it simply sets criteria for those eligible for admission.
  • The player must have competed in ten seasons. A single game counts as a "season" in the eyes of the Hall.
  • The player has been retired for at least five seasons. If a player comes back and plays in the major leagues, the clock restarts. The easiest way to figure out the rule is to add six to the last season the player was active. Therefore, players eligible in 2007 played their last game in 2001.
  • A screening committee must approve the player's worthiness. Most players are given a token appearance on the ballot if they meet the ten year rule and they were a regular player for most of that time.
  • The player may not be on the ineligible list (banned from baseball).
  • If a player dies within the five year span, he is eligible six months after his death provided he meets the above criteria. If an active player dies, he is eligible six months after his death.
  • To remain on the ballot, the player must receive at least five percent of the votes for any given year. If a player fails to receive 5%. He falls off the ballot until 21 years after his retirement (see below).
  • A player is considered elected if he receives at least 75% of all ballots cast in an election. 
You'll notice there is absolutely no performance criteria except those that govern length of service.  No 500 home runs, 3,000 hits, or 1,500 RBI's for batters.  No 300 wins, 2,000 strikeouts, or sub 3.00 ERA. That's why the Hall of Fame is so much fun--maddeningly so.  Lenny Harris is clearly eligible.  Though there are so few guidelines determining who gets in, the discussion resembles nothing so much as a food fight, Godzilla vs. Mothra, a veritable shitstorm as baseball writers, bloggers and other interested parties convince the planet their choices are suitable for the Hall, and commit character assassination to blot the career and character of those they deem unworthy. It's the greatest show on earth.

Here are some links to Hall of Fame ballots and discussion:
 Larry Larue of the News Tribune shares his ballot.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times offers his choices here
Hall of Fame chatter galore at ESPN/  The writers are sure to share their votes Tuesday or Wednesday
Rob Neyer linked to the writers at the Chicago Tribune and their ballots.  How come they have like eight.  Grumpy bunch of bastards.
Hardball Times has its analysis of Hall of Fame voting and their predictions for Wednesday's result.  Really interesting stuff.

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