Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2012 Hall of Fame ballot released

US Presswire file photo
Barry Larkin appears to have a good shot at election this year.
The Hall of Fame released this year's induction ballot today, which always makes for both an interesting read and a starting point for some spirited debate.

Those who have been members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America for at least 10 years -- and I'm one of them -- will receive the official ballot in the mail this week and have until Dec. 31 to submit them. Results will be announced Jan. 9.

As a voter, I'm sworn to secrecy and cannot divulge my choices until the results are made public. So I can't offer up my opinion on all these candidates today. Besides, I haven't really sat down and analyzed all the possibilities yet. (Here's a link to my post from last year revealing my full ballot.)

But I do think there are some intriguing angles to the 2012 ballot. (You can see the entire list on the official BBWAA website.)

First of all, there don't appear to be any slam-dunk first-timers. Bernie Williams is the best of the bunch, and while he'll get some support and could reach the necessary 75 percent threshold some day, I doubt it'll happen in his first year on the ballot.

The biggest beneficiaries of that, I believe, will be the guys who were closest to induction last year but came up short: Barry Larkin (62.1 percent), Jack Morris (53.5 percent), Lee Smith (43.5 percent) and Jeff Bagwell (41.7 percent). Out of that group, Larkin obviously has the likeliest path toward induction; the others will need to make some major gains.

Larkin should get in this year, but if he doesn't, he may struggle to make it in 2013. Not because his case will be any weaker, but because the '13 class is going to be the deepest and most controversial in Hall of Fame history. Check out who's going to become eligible one year from now: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio.

It would be very easy for Larkin to get lost in the shuffle among those all-time greats, so there may actually be some pressure for the shortstop to get elected this year.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the two Nationals legends who appear on this year's ballot: Vinny Castilla and Tony Womack. Surely you remember Castilla, the starting third baseman on the inaugural 2005 club who nearly hit for the cycle in the first-ever game at RFK Stadium. Surely you've lost all memory of Womack wearing a Nats uniform, and probably for good reason: He went 0-for-7 in four spring training games in 2007, was released and promptly retired. Ah, memories.


DFL said...

Larkin. Bagwell. Smith. Trammell.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I was going to say I remember Tony Womack, but I was thinking of Dooley Womack. THE Dooley Womack.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

I think Barry Larkin, Tim Raines, Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell should all get in this year. There are some horrible candidates this year on the ballot, I think the process needs to be revamped and it should be done like the Pro Football HOF, where a committee pre-selects finalists and then you can let the BBWA vote on that pared down list. Bill Mueller and Cooperstown should not be mentioned in the same sentence unless it is a local Cooperstown newspaper report noting that they saw Bill Mueller and his family buying admission tickets to the Museum!!!

Anonymous said...

On Bagwell, I think the writers should wait until next year to vote him in so Biggio and Bagwell can go into the Hall together!

The Joker said...

Ray Oyler deserves consideration. He hit .135 as the starting shortstop for the '68 World Series Detroit Tigers and then got benched for the Series. That's some sort of record in futility that deserves baseball's highest honor.

Wally said...

I hear that Ben Goessling is leaving MASN for MInnesota, to cover the Twins and the Wild.

Mark, I hope that you are sticking around!

Anonymous said...

Neither Biggio nor Bagwell should get in. Neither is an all time great. Roid boy Bagwell is not so impressive versus the 1B field for his day and he juiced, and fellow roider Biggio had some great years but was pedestrian for a lot of the time and just hung on for the 3,000 hits. 3,000 should not be enough to get in the Hall anymore on its own. Johnny Damon is going to make it to 3,000, should he get in?

NatStat said...

Worst case example of voting for the HOF is the length of time it took for Bert Blyleven to get the royal nod. Even at at that, in the end it took a group of sabermaticians to advocate for him.

There should be an especially hot place in sports writers' hell reserved for the one writer that cast the lone vote against Nolan Ryan's selection into the HOF. The goofy a** h*** said that he "...didn't want to make the vote unnanimous...".

The whole process needs to be revamped with a large dose of reality.

sjm308 said...

Is Larry Walker still on the ballot?

Anonymous said...

Nolan Ryan? The guy has those shiny no hitters and all the K's but he was never a big winner, never won a Cy Young, leads all time in BB's and Wild Pitches lost almost 300 games. And hitting 98 mph when he was 45 yrs old? He played for 27 years. At the time everyone thought it was good genes and a great work-ethic, now we are less naive. I think his locker was between Palmeiro's and Incaviglia's. Ahhemm (juicer!).

Just wonderin' said...

Wally said...
I hear that Ben Goessling is leaving MASN for MInnesota, to cover the Twins and the Wild.
The Wild? Is he going to an outdoors writer? Wolves and deer hunting and hiking and snowshoeing and such?

Wally said...

Wonderin'- its a hockey team (I wasn't sure if you were joking, but just in case)

Positively Half St. said...


Are you serious, or joking about Goessling?


Wally said...

+1/2 - serious. I saw it on twitter, could have been false I guess, but see below. Lots of people wishing him well, tho. I think it is true.

@masnBen Happy to announce I'll be joining the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Dec. 12, covering the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Twins.

Theophilus said...

Larkin should be a shoo-in. Morris, too. Don't think the others do it. (Notwithstanding there is no evidence Bagwell was an abuser.) Next year, Only Shilling and Biggio deserve to get in. Again, don't think there is any evidence Biggio was an abuser (and the suggestion Ryan was is slanderous). All Biggio did was become an All-Star at three very different, very demanding positions.

Drew8 said...

Anon 5:39 said: "Neither Biggio nor Bagwell should get in. Neither is an all time great."

Man, the anons are off their meds again.

In his 2003 Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James -- who knows quite a bit more about baseball history and statistics than we do -- famously named Craig Biggio the 35th greatest player in baseball history.

Craig Biggio's career value is remarkable.

He ranks fifth in the history of baseball with 668 doubles.

He ranks 13th in baseball history with 1,844 runs scored.

He ranks 21st in baseball history with 3,060 base hits.

He is 63rd in baseball history with 1,160 walks.

He ranks 64th in baseball history with 414 stolen bases.

James said, in part: "Craig Biggio is the best player in major league baseball today. If you compare Craig Bigggio very carefully to Ken Griffey Jr. in almost any season, you will find that Biggio has contributed more to his team than Griffey has.

"Let's do 1998 as a starting point. In 1998 Ken Griffey outhomered Biggio, 56 to 20, which is a huge thing. Biggio's advantages were, well, everything else."

After reviewing a great deal of other data -- singles, doubles, stolen bases, getting hit by pitches, beating out double plays, defense, James wrote this:

"Look, I'm not knocking Ken Griffey Jr. Ken Griffey Jr. is a great player. Craig Biggio is better.

"The fact that nobody seems to realize this -- well, that's not my problem. I'm not going to rate players by how many Nike commercials they do."

As for the 2012 ballot, I'm glad to see guys like Larkin, Morris, Raines and Smith get a reappraisal before the sullied cheaters who distorted the record book slink onto the stage.

Joe Seamhead said...

Somebody give me a good reason why Bernie Williams doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. His major flaw was that he never promoted himself. Look up his stats, particularly post-season. He was the CF on how many World Series teams? He never spoke up much for himself, but his stats speak volumes.

Anonymous said...

@masnBen Happy to announce I'll be joining the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Dec. 12, covering the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Twins.

Back where he belongs. Certain not in DC. Baltimore mebbe ... but Minnesoda for sure.

Anonymous said...


Johnson is speculating about a possible outfield combination with Harper, Werth in center field (“that’s one reason we looked at him out there in September”) and Morse.

Just sayin' that's what I've been saying. What CF and where would he fit in Davey's lineup? Now, a Prince Fielder batting left in the clean up spot with Morse following and then Harper? Leaves Werth either batting sixth or 2nd depending on how well he does. Desmond slotted at lead off perhaps alternating with Lombardozzi and Espinosa either 2nd or seventh with Ramos rounding things out batting eighth.

With the right pitching that's a line up that just might go places.

BinM said...

Biggio, who played two demanding positions over big parts of his career (CA-2B), & collected 3,000 hits I'm probably OK with. Raines, Larkin, Morris, Trammell, Smith & B.Williams are all welcome in the "Hall of Very Good", but aren't quite HOF worthy, imo.

The HOF should honor and celebrate the 'best of the best' at each position, as well as "game-changers" at each position throughout the years. The next few years' candidate lists will be muddied by players tainted from the steriod era / Mitchell report, so it could get testy amongst the voters & public opinion.

Mark, choose wisely - I wish you well.

NatStat said...

HOF voting...put Bill James in charge, and let the chips fall where they may.

To keep a prospective member waiting for 14 years after he is eligible is total Bul**S***. Either he's good enough when he retires or he isn't---plain and simple!

sjm308 said...

so, since no one commented on Larry Walker I guess that means he has no chance and no one in his corner. I just thought he was at one time a pretty damn good player. Maybe not hall of fame but for the Expo's he was a rock.

sjm308 said...

Larry Walker
17 seasons BA .313
Slugging % .500
obp .948
not too shabby

Drew8 said...

Joe Seamhead 7:53 wrote: "Somebody give me a good reason why Bernie Williams doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame."

OK, I'll give you 10, with a brief intro. Near the bottom of each player's career stats on you will see something called "Similarity Scores."

This is a statistical system, adapted from Bill James' book on the Hall of Fame selections, entitled "The Politics of Glory," which was later reissued with a different title, "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?"

James uses the formula to find players who had the most comparable careers to the candidate in question.

"Similarity scores are a way of assessing the objective elements of an 'If A, then B' argument," James wrote. ... A natural question to ask about a Hall of Fame candidate is whether the comparable or similar players are Hall of Famers."

Here are the Top 10 similarity scores for Bernie Williams' career:

1. Bobby Abreu (909)
2. Paul O'Neill (905)
3. Bob Johnson (892)
4. Bobby Bonilla (884)
5. Will Clark (881)
6. Ellis Burks (871)
7. Magglio Ordonez (865)
8. Reggie Smith (864)
9. Edgar Martinez (860)
10. Garret Anderson (860)

Like Bernie, they're all fine players who had excellent careers. None is a Hall of Famer.

By comparison, here are the 10 most similar players to Craig Biggio, according to Baseball The asterisks denote Hall of Famers. Quite a different neighborhood.

1. Robin Yount (836) *
2. Derek Jeter (801)
3. Joe Morgan (779) *
4. Paul Molitor (778) *
5. Roberto Alomar (773) *
6. Cal Ripken (761) *
7. Johnny Damon (741)
8. Brooks Robinson (739) *
9. Lou Whitaker (738)
10. George Brett (737) *

Anonymous said...

Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson? Enough to make me vote no.

Joe Seamhead said...

Bernie Williams career:
Five World Series Championships
Four Gold Gloves
Four time All Star
.297 career BA as a switch hitter

Everyone has their opinion, but those facts alone make him a strong candidate in my opinion.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

There is no evidence beyond circumstantial or associative that Bagwell was juiced. To say otherwise is a base slander.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Not to mention calling Nolan Ryan a cheater. How low can you sink? I mean, seriously. Have you no shame, sir?

Joe Seamhead said...

Actually, Williams had five Gold Gloves, but only four WS Championships, though his teams went to the Series six times. Still, he had a great career and his teams won. He may not ever get voted in, but he deserves it as much, or more then a few guys that are already in, IMO. His post season RBI and HR numbers also are pretty formidable, albeit he had more chances then most because his teams got to the post season more often. The knock on many is,that inspite of great personal numbers, their teams never won.Williams was a winner, and so were the teams that he played for.

John O'Connor said...

Raines, Bagwell, Larkin.

markfd said...

@ Drew 8 -

wow that puts Biggio in a whole new light for me, when comparing him to other HOFers!


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