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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.