Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hall of Fame Votes: Blyleven and Alomar In

This was to be expected.  Bert Blyleven's long candidacy for the HoF finally won out.  It's encouraging for someone like Edgar Martinez to see that if you hold on long enough, and the right arguments are made on your behalf, you can build support for your candidacy.  There were no such doubts about Alomar who should really have gotten in last year.

I have followed the debate as much as possible this year, particularly the local wrangling over Edgar Martinez as well as the national debate over Bagwell. And I've learned a lot too.  People simply disagree over several important points when it comes to hall voting.
  1.  How big of a Hall?  Lots of folks really are in favor of simply using the counting stats to determine Hall-worthiness?  3000 hits?  500 homers? 300 wins? For people of this persuasion this really matters. That means a small Hall and truly only the best of the best or at least the best of those with long careers get in.
  2. Counting stats vs. rate stats.  Counting stats are those mentioned above.  Sometimes there is adjustment for position, and occasionally the defensive wizards such as Ozzie Smith or Luis Aparicio get in, but not often.  Rate stats are those that show a player's value using more advanced stats such as OPS, OPS+, or WAR.  The debate is often over which stats are more reliable.  I dunno, I like OPS+, but there 's no right answer.
  3. Why? Because ultimately voters will justify their choices through the lens they choose to wear.  After a great deal of contemplation I'm okay with this.  It does little good to berate people for their views if they have a rational explanation other than outright prejudice and bigotry.  I even forgive Geoff Baker for his pronounced bigotry against DH's. 
 Here are a few more useful Hall of Fame links.  Particularly interesting is Jayson Stark's explanation for his expansive vote, and Baker's small Hall ballot.  Stay out of the forums, it will only make you nauseous.
Jayson Stark's ballot explained
ESPN's 18 Hall of Fame votes
John McGrath's ballot of the News Tribune
Geoff Baker's ballot from the Seattle Times

Congratulations to Alomar and Blyleven, and here's hoping that Edgar's stock will rise some more next year.


TK said...


I think the writers made the right call on their ballots.

Alomar deserved to go in last season. Not only was he the best second baseman of his generation, but may have been the best second baseman ever. I truly believe the voters took the 'spitting' incident into consideration in their voting last year.

I was somewhat surprised with Blyleven. Although I believe Blyleven had the correct numbers to go in, was he really as good as the numbers say? I cant say that I remember watching Blyleven pitch much. I have several of his baseball cards and that, to me, is how I remember him. Smiling at the camera, bearded, in a navy blue and red Angels hat. Looking to the back of his card I was always intrigued that his real name was Rik.
But enough about that. Watching MLB Network for the past two days, Blyleven had one of the most wicked curve balls that I have seen. But does that make him Hall worthy?

Seeing that it took him so long to get in gives me a lot of hope that Edgar may eventually get in. It may be a slow, painful process, but I think it happens.

Next year, with a very weak class, I think we will see a few from this class get in. I would be shocked to NOT see Barry Larkin's name read next year. Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Jeff Bagwell all three will go over 60% and I think Tim Raines and Edgar's stock will both rise.

One of the things I read said that the biggest spike for Edgar will be when both Junior and Randy get in and they give Edgar a vote of confidence.

Anyway, I look forward to continue to read your articles

Kevin said...

Todd, I'm in complete agreement with you about Alomar, and I think I'm a bit more enthusiastic about Blyleven. He's so close to that magic counting number of 300, played for a lot of lousy teams, and his strikeout numbers are so good, I think he deserves to go. We're lucky in this day and age that with advances in medical science pitchers have been able to stick around long enough to get their 300 wins, but there was a long gap between 1973 and Warren Spahn and the next group of 300 game winners beginning with Gaylord Perry in 1991. Nine pitchers were elected to the Hall in those 18 years. Good pitchers, but without 300 wins.

I'm with you too on Larkin. Great article on Larry Stone's blog about guys like Blyleven who had to labor for election to the Hall. Bodes well for Edgar (I hope.)