Congratulations, No One

No one gets elected to Cooperstown this summer, despite the deepest ballot of worthy candidates in years. Maybe ever.

What a debacle. At least now we can move on to talking about things that aren’t totally broken. Hopefully, by the time we have to do this again next year, better processes will be in place. Hopefully.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

254 Responses to “Congratulations, No One”

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  1. Dan Rozenson says:

    I blame it on Cistulli.

    +47 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Sean says:

    and Kenny Lofton at 3.3% is a one-and-done. So much for that debate

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sean says:

      3.2% my mistake

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • chop says:

      save that fight for keeping andruw jones above 5% in a few years…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        Andruw Jones is a different animal — He turned SO bad SO quickly that it left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Kind of like what happened to Roberto Alomar in 2002, except Alomar was four years older, and that still kept Alomar from getting in right away.

        What happened to Andruw Jones is almost unprecedented, with a player of that caliber turning into a nobody overnight without an injury to blame it on.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Funny thing is I feel like people wouldn’t feel nearly the same way if it turned out he were actually 2 years older than he’s been claiming to be. Would mean he debuted at 21, had a horrendous season at age 33, then a few more decent seasons as a part time player in his mid 30s. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually found out he was older than he claimed, though I don’t really have any reason to think he is.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bip says:

        And because so much of his value is from defense. Defense is something that writers cite when they already want to support a player and ignore when they don’t, with no correlation to the actual quality of that player’s defense either.

        See: Gold Glove voting.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nevin says:

        Jim @ 4:09: see Murphy, Dale. Hit the wall faster than Ben Coates. Seeing Murphy in that Rockies uniform at the end was like seeing your favorite high school history teacher a few years later delivering pizza to your house. What are you doing here?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anonymous says:

      Whitaker’d

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. rusty says:

    Did you have this post pre-written so you could put it up as soon as they made it official? Good call, because it’s nice to have a forum to

    KENNY LOFTON? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO :(

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Sleight of Hand Pro says:

    ::yawn::

    +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

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        -158 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jim says:

        @brazen:
        you suck

        +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tim says:

        I would be upset at Brazen Reader for destroying the thread, except it’s this thread, and it deserves it.

        +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BronxBomber says:

        I like pie.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Chuck Norris says:

        Hey Brazen, next time you post pi, post it backwards, you wannabe hotshot!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Baltar says:

        My non-existent hat is off to Brazen.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Petetown Matt says:

    On the bright side, maybe this egregious round of HOF voting will bring on desperately needed change.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Andy says:

    Now, I’ll always remember the exact date that I realized just how arbitrary the Baseball Hall of Fame actually is. And how I should have realized that much sooner.

    +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. B says:

    How does Schilling only beat Clemens by 1%?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nik says:

      You’re right. Clemens should have killed Schilling in the voting.

      +60 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      Might have been the whole “on trial forever” thing. Schilling may have run a video game company into the ground, but he hasn’t been tried in federal court. That’s got to be worth a few votes.

      The better question is: How did Clemens get an extra percent over Bonds? They both used, they were both huge jerks, their hat-sizes are almost identical, and Bonds was the better player.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tim says:

        One of them is white. One of them played in NYC. Some voters probably still think PEDs are useless to pitchers. Pick your favorite. (I’m surprised the gap wasn’t bigger.)

        +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        There’s also the fact that Bonds was convicted on at least 1 charge while Clemens was acquitted. If you are going to hold PEDs against people, I think the most reasonable thing to base it on would be positive tests and/or criminal convictions.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • pft says:

        Bonds was only convicted of giving an answer that was too length and did not directly answer a question which was subsequently answered. He was acquitted of the charges he lied about not knowing the substance he took was steroids. So according to the court, Bonds did not knowingly take steroids.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Rob says:

        I would love an explanation from those who voted for Clemens and not Bonds and to see their ballots. I find those votes to be the most troubling in all of this.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        Clemens and Bonds were both jerks but Bonds was more of a jerk to reporters than Clemens was.

        And pft, that’s not what the court said. All Bonds’ acquittal means is that the prosecution could not adequately prove that Bonds knowingly took steroids and then intentionally lied about it.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Bonds was not acquitted on a single count. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the perjury counts, but had voted 11-1 for conviction on at least 1 of them. That was in a case where the guy who should have been the star witness refused to testify in the trial. Seriously, if Bonds was actually innocent, why wouldn’t Anderson testify for the defense?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jon L. says:

        Seconded. Pft willfully misunderstands the justice system.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Letting fans vote would actually be better than this.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Kevin says:

    I don’t like the Steroid Era. Quite frankly, I think a lot of people wish the Era never existed.

    But it happened. And we need to deal with the issue sooner rather than later. Today was just a punt, and a pretty pathetic one at that.

    +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Spike says:

      the mistake being made by the “protest voters” is that they are trying to justify this era’s players by comparing them with HOFers of a previous era and there are lots of reasons why those comparisons are always flawed (dead ball era, changes in mound height, change in strike zone, training techniques, scouting, and simple human evolution just to name a few).

      If they simply stop trying to compare every modern player against who they believe are the sport’s mythical players of the past and compare players against their own peers using simple things like OPS+ or ERA+ they can strip down the irrelevant noise from the arguments. Among players from this generation the Piazzas and Bagwells and Biggios were still so superior to their peers that they’d still have to get the ultimate honor regardless of unsubstantiated innuendos.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        But what if part of what separated them from a significant portion of those peers is that they were willing to use while a significant portion of their peers weren’t? Obviously things like OPS+ and ERA+ would be skewed if some are using and some aren’t.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Spike says:

        Nitram:
        we cannot adjudicate this process by going off of random or anecdotal evidence or hearsay. Either declare the entire era ineligible or assume that as PEDs were widely available, everyone who wanted to could get “an edge,” if you will.

        and do we know that hitting performance was enhanced more than pitching performance? bc if PED use was spread evenly among pitchers and hitters, then why weren’t these edges offset?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        I’m not saying you can’t let in anyone suspected of using, I’m saying that acting like OPS+ and ERA+ somehow adjust for steroid usage is just wrong. It doesn’t matter if an equal number of hitters and pitchers used. The problem is that you’re comparing everyone to the league average when there are two distinct subsets of players, those who used and those who didn’t. The people who used will look better compared to their contemporaries because only a portion of them were also using.

        Think of it this way. Let’s say everyone in baseball was exactly average “naturally,” 50% use steroids and steroids make you 10% better. Now instead of getting a 100 OPS+/ERA+ like they deserve, the users all get ~105 while the non-users get ~95. So the users still appear 5% better than average even though they were actually average and OPS+/ERA+ adjust for the era.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Spike says:

        that’s a predictably flimsy analysis from a thinly veiled Braves fan!! ;-)

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tim says:

        The problem this leads to is identifying awesome players who weren’t using steroids, because they might be masked by a bunch of good players who were. The awesome players who were using steroids remain readily apparent.

        “Some people were using and some weren’t” is a reasonable argument for looking for extra clean players to include in the hall, not for keeping Bonds et al out.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        I mean Bonds clearly deserves to be in based purely on his talent, but I don’t personally have a problem with some writers deciding to hold his PED use against him. If I had a vote, I think I’d vote for him eventually, but I don’t think I would have done so this year.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • The Party Bird says:

        Hey, great post and all, but evolution takes place over tens of thousands of years, not over decades. Although surely training regimens and nutrition have improved a lot over the years.

        Not to derail or anything. Carry on.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • olethros says:

        @Party Bird: Evolution can happen over a single generation, actually. For example, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/why-fathers-really-matter.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        That article really isn’t about “evolution” in the sense that science has defined it, which is why that word is never used in conjunction with the specific phenomenon the article is discussing.

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      • Jason H. says:

        Evolution indeed happens in generations. Evolution is allele frequency change through time. Time is measured in generations.

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      • Careless says:

        You can have a significant evolutionary change in a single generation if you’ve got sufficient genetic diversity and a sufficiently strong selective pressure. We certainly have the first, and certainly don’t have the second. Being a pro ball player will get you laid, but pro ball players aren’t fathering half the kids in the country.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • shane says:

      punts are ok. there isn’t a consensus of how to handle the PED era yet. why not wait to develop one rather than haphazardly admit people as we go along. the more people who are on board with the end strategy, the better it is for the longterm credibility of the HOF. and THAT is the only thing at stake here.

      moreover, we act like the first ballot means something. it doesn’t, or rather, it shouldn’t…except for people promoting an ideology or narrative.

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Dan says:

        Handing in a blank ballot is not a viable “punt”. NOT handing in a ballot at all might be reasonable, but in either the case the voter is probably just a prig.

        I’ll bet the blank ballot folks are walking around with a great sense of pride today. They finally got a chance to stick it to the jocks who were better at what they did than anything the voters or the voters’ kids or the voters’ kids’ kids will ever be at anything.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Spencer says:

        They don’t limit team to 15 punts per season…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Synovia says:

        “They finally got a chance to stick it to the jocks who were better at what they did than anything”

        It sounds like its mostly those jocks handing in blank ballots. The stats-nerds don’t seem to give a shit about steroids. They’re all smart enough to know that if there was an advantage to be easily had, most players were doing it.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        @Synovia, I know this might be strange to hear, but not being a stats nerd=/=being a jock. The youngest HoF voters are in their early 30s. 32-80 is hardly the peak age range for baseball stats nerds.

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  10. Ed R says:

    I think this nonsense is all about writers thinking they’re more important than they actually are. They (not all but: those who are beat, newspaper, or anyone inside of locker-rooms) think they were responsible to uncover the ‘rampant use’ of PEDS. They think its embarrassing how long it took to come out. The truth is no one of cares about them (the writers) and their perceived ‘poor job’ of uncovering PED use. Put the best players of a generation in the damn Hall. Stop making it about yourselves.

    +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JoeTetreault says:

      Ed, you are mostly on point. The writers do not think they were responsible for uncovering the rampant use of PEDs. Not one of these beat writers has issued a mea culpa to say I failed at the basic requirement of reporting, which is to report facts. There is a simple reason that the PED issue remained whispered about but uncovered: access.

      This is not about them fixing a failure. It’s about masking their culpability. This was the biggest sports cheating scandal in the modern era. Reporters either were incompetent and missed the story or complicit in covering it up.

      Reporters have the access to clubhouses, players, team officials. They saw the story unfold but stood mute. I suspect they held their tongues to prevent them from burning sources or losing access to those players. But that fact remains and it is unassailable.

      +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • schlomsd says:

        “This was the biggest sports cheating scandal in the modern era.”

        I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that. Since they weren’t testing for them steroid use was implicitly condoned.

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      • Bad Bill says:

        Well, there’s an easy fix for that: let all of the ones who knew and stood mute, so that they could make a buck writing about baseball, be banned from Hall of Fame voting.

        And since we don’t know for sure which ones knew but stood mute, and which ones didn’t know, we should assume that ALL are tainted with possible knowledge. And accordingly that all should be banned from voting.

        Pretty obvious, isn’t it?

        +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nitram Odarp says:

      I mean you can still have exhibits of the best players of the generation in the HOF museum (which is really the most important part IMO) without electing them to the HOF.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JoeTetreault says:

        @schlomsd – fair point.

        If I may extend and clarify. The behavior of the players who used steroids during the years in question constituted the biggest story of these writers careers. More than any World Series, award ballot, amateur draft or player season. And without exception these writers failed spectacularly to report it at all.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • MissingEdgar says:

        [reply to @schlomsd]

        To imply that not testing for something equals condoning it seems really far fetched to me. MLB similarly did not test for or otherwise choose to explicitly regulate cannibalism or some forms of perversion, but I don’t think that means they were therefore implicitly condoning them.

        In my opinion, character or integrity to a large extent involves doing the right thing even if no one will know or even if it leads to a disadvantage or cost.

        Whether HOF membership should involve character is a an entirely different discussion, but to imply that using PEDs wasn’t cheating because there was no chance to get caught isn’t what I would teach my children.

        Sorry about the preachy tone of this post, but I couldn’t figure out how to vehemently disagree in a more neutral manner.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        People also seem to ignore the fact that they were technically against the rules in the 90s, but the CBA only allowed for testing with cause. Players still got suspended for cocaine use even though they weren’t randomly testing for it back then.

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  11. Wil says:

    What a travesty for the BBWA. I mean seriously. Could you F something up anymore?

    We need a new system. Pronto!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Hurtlockertwo says:

    And the point was what?? The HOF gains or loses credibility? The writers prove that two people can’t agree on anything? The HOF is in some way a moral compass for baseball? Change is needed? I hope the writers feel better now that this is out of their system. Maybe some consensus now on how to make things better is in order?

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  13. The Humber Games says:

    So

    Do we have any hope of finding out who voted for Aaron Sele, so that we may mock them?

    +39 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      Honestly, that was my only thought when I read the voting list. I expected everything else — Biggio to almost-but-not-quite make it, Bonds and Clemens to poll around 1/3, etc. — but the Aaron Sele thing floored me.

      The highlight of his career was literally being the number three starter on the 2001 Mariners.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Phil Grabar says:

    One genius voted for Aaron Sele – he should have his voting privilege revoked…immediately.

    +24 Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Pete says:

    Absolutely ridiculous.

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  16. TJDC says:

    No Biggio? How about next year? Maddux has to get in, right? Right???

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Wil says:

      I would think he would be an instant lock, but after this year who knows.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PlanetArtest says:

      I think Biggio and Piazza’s first year totals are good signs they’ll get in sooner than later (hopefully for Piazza). In addition to all of the other stupidity the BBWAA displayed this year, there is still a core group of them that believe in the sanctity of the “First Ballot” guys as being at the top of heap.

      Larkin and Alomar both jumped from similar initial votes over the threshold in their second year.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Yep, I think the more interesting part will be seeing how many votes everyone gains next year. I think Bonds and Clemens will get a significant bump from people who were punishing them by not putting them in on the first ballot.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • LTG says:

      The difference between Biggio being out this year and being in the year is probably the number of voters who think he’s not a “First Ballot Hall of Famer” but a HoFer nonetheless.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • davisnc says:

        Off topic, but the difference between Biggio and Lou Whitaker is that Whitaker put up ~4 more WAR in 2,500 fewer PAs, and he was a one-and-done in 2001 at 2.9%. Absurd.

        +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • todmod says:

        Well, Biggio also had a solidly higher peak than Whitaker. I really don’t think total WAR for a career is the only measure for the Hall. Jay Jaffe’s JAWS at least balances career/peak, and honestly I think peak could be weighted even a bit higher than he does.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jim says:

      there’s some asshole out there who will not vote for maddux because nobody’s unanimous

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      The only reasonable thought I can come up with for why Biggio didn’t get in: Roberto Alomar didn’t get in on his first try, and Alomar was a clearly superior player (albeit for a shorter time period). Ergo, we have to make Biggio wait a year. That’s not a particularly good reason, but it’s all I can think of.

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      • TKDC says:

        I don’t think the people that think like that think that Alomar was better. People that think like that care way too much about 3000 hits, I’d guess.

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  17. O's Fan says:

    Only 21 out of 101 ballots on the BBWAA website used up all 10 votes. The ballot limit is a problem, but the writers themselves are a much bigger problem.

    +24 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • LK says:

      Wow. This problem is much worse than I had imagined.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Green says:

      It is truly hard to believe that you couldn’t find 10 people to vote for on this ballot, regardless what your view of the PED issue is. It is the first ballot where I would have wished to vote for 11 people, and mine wouldn’t have included McGwire, Sosa or Palmeiro.

      I guess if you exclude Bonds and Clemens for PED usage and Bagwell and Piazza for suspected PED usage, you might end up with 8 pretty good choices. One ballot on mlb.com had Jack Morris and that is it, and most of the ballots were way short of 8. Ignorance!

      Fortunately, the electorate is changing (slowly).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio bananas says:

        Why is Bags suspected? Because he was strong?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        I probably wouldn’t have included ten names on this ballot. If I had a vote, I’d have gone…

        Biggio, Bagwell, Lofton, Trammell, Walker, E. Martinez.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • JamesDaBear says:

        I would have voted for 10 without Clemens and Bonds too. With the influx of worthy candidates over the next few years, it should be mandatory to submit a full ballot.

        Bags is suspected because he was big, strong, didn’t hit as many homers as Mark McGwire and played with Ken Caminiti. They’re all stupid, but those are the reasons.

        WTF, Jim, Not voting for Piazza?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nitram Odarp says:

      To be fair, some may just be small HOF guys who thinks some quite a few guys who were inducted didn’t deserve it. Nothing wrong with that. Obviously only a portion of those 80 ballots didn’t have 10 names for that reason though.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Doug Lampert says:

      The ballot limit is a SYMPTOM. It isn’t a problem.

      With reasonable voters 10 is MORE than enough. Seriously, what year has 10+ reasonable candidates for the HoF retire.

      Vote for people who qualify. Ignore the crap about “not on the first year” or “not unanimously” or “blank ballot to protest the fact that I was too spineless to talk about steroids when it mattered and I’m not trying to shift blame”.

      If voters actually voted for qualified candidates 5 votes would be more than enough. That 10 isn’t is a symptom of a profoundly broken set of voters.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. snakewell says:

    i expected at least #six guys.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. AverageMeansAverageOverTime says:

    I yawned,too. I don’t think they will make any changes in the system because, quite frankly, I don’t think the powers that be believe it’s broken. Changes will come slowly as the old guard retires and the new guard serves it time. Raging about it will not change it. Wait until next years class doesn’t make it either and we can rage some more.
    I’m very much in favor of a manditory retirement age for BBWAA members.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. DD says:

    Biggio got 388 votes out of 569. If 10% of submitted ballots were blank (not impossible) he would have gotten in if they had just not submitted a ballot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Johnhavok says:

    Ditto the 5 morons who submitted blank ballots.

    Quote from HOF Pres Jeff Idelson from that article Dave linked:
    “The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936. We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era. The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide.”

    If there was ever proof needed that the criteria they provide to the writers is essentially useless… this is it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. jim says:

    More people voted for sammy sosa than kenny lofton (let alone the continued cult of morris and smith, ugh).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. Ender says:

    Give away the votes of anyone who didn’t vote for Ripken and anyone who doesn’t vote Maddux next year and that chucklehead who voted for Aaron Sele~. I’d strip the vote from anyone with a blank ballot too, no excuse for that.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. Average_Casey says:

    I think that the BVWAA takes away from Fangraphs’ credibility. At least the people here have the ability to analyze things.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. KCDaveInLA says:

    When you say “Congratulations, No One”, that should be toward the voters.

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  26. elijah says:

    One of the greatest hitters ever, arguably the best pitcher ever, and the best offensive catcher in the history of the game, all on the same ballot and who’s inducted? No one. Good job BBWAA, good job.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Spencer says:

      Sadly I feel like if the voters were supplied with this type of info, that would have been enough for them to vote in those players. Some criteria they use…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Deacon White says:

    What do you mean, NO ONE got elected to the Hall this year??

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sorry we forgot about you, Deacon. I hope your great-great- grandkids enjoy the HOF ceremony that no one else will be attending.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      I really don’t understand the Deacon White induction. I’m a big fan of 19th Century baseball, and I definitely don’t think White was HoF worthy (among pre-integration players, it still boggles my mind that Sherry Magee hasn’t been inducted, and I also like to raise a banner for Gavvy Cravath).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. PlanetArtest says:

    Any thoughts on Bagwell’s candidacy? I look at it as a positive that he’s still incrementally increasing after last year’s big jump.

    Looking backward, I didn’t find anyone who was this close to 60% this “early” in the process that didn’t make it within a few years.

    In fact, at a cursory glance it seems that no one has failed to get elected as long as they’re at 60%+ before being on the ballot for 13+ years.

    This should be good news for Bagwell, Biggio and Piazza. And possibly even good news for Tim Raines as he’s still inching upward with some time left on the clock.

    It’s all trivial anyway, but I find the “groupthink” voting patterns very fascinating and the tipping point for everyone eventually jumping on board with a guy seems to be the 55-60% range.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • It is hard to use past examples as comparisons for the current situation. Most of the other guys who were around 60% so early were not dealing with ballots this insanely packed (we’ll be adding Maddux, Glavine, and Big Hurt next year).

      I’m not saying you are definitely wrong. I just would not be shocked if weird things start happening with individual players’ candidacies given how many great players are on the ballot now.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. wobatus says:

    Congrats to Deacon White. I am impressed by his 152 wRC+ in 1875 with the Red Stockings. Look at that .5% K%. He must have been using Dr. Mcgillacutty’s eye tonic.

    +32 Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. Ray says:

    The first thing to do is to ban–for life–every writer who submitted a blank ballot. You wanna ‘protest’ the candidacies of admitted steroid users like Clemens and Palmeiro? Fine, it’s childish but whatever…you can still vote for deserving candidates like Biggio and Bagwell. Kenny Lofton, who had a fine career and is as deserving of a spot in the Hall as recent inductee Roberto Alomar, received just 3.2% of the vote and will no longer be on the ballot, period. The second thing to do is to ban every single writer who covered a team as a beat reported during the 1990′s. If you were in those locker rooms, if you were travelling with the team, if you saw the mass accumulation of pills and maybe heard a little rumor about syringes and PED’s, and turned a blind eye on it. If you waxed poetic about Sosa and McGuire during their HR record chase but didn’t say anything about drug rumors swirling about these players, if you derided Canseco when he came out naming names, you don’t deserve to vote against these very same players that helped make your career.

    Furthermore, every writer who has ever written a glowing article or book about Mays, or Aaron, or Ruth, or Cobb, or Larson, or any of a hundred other players who ‘cheated’–by the standards of their day, whether it be cutting bags the way Cobb did (never mind the fact that he was a racist, beat a bellhop to within an inch of his life and actually murdered someone), or took amphetamines the way Mays and Aaron did, or dropped acid the way Larson did…then you shouldn’t have the right to make a moral stance on players who were doing something that wasn’t explicitly banned and tested for in baseball until the early 2000′s.

    Clemens is the greatest pitcher in the history of the game. Bonds is the second greatest baseball player ever (third, maybe, but that’s as low as I’ll go). They put up numbers, compared to their contemporaries who had access to the same chemical enhancements as they did, that are mindboggling. Bonds’ early-2000′s seasons, 2003 and 2004 in particular, are beyond comprehension, he was so far and away the best player of his generation it’s not even funny. To elect to exclude these players from a baseball museum that highlights the greatest the game has to offer is wrong. Period.

    +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • rusty says:

      While the “blank ballot” concern is largely unfounded (there were five, according to the BBWAA website), undervoting was a HUGE problem, to the tune of 6.6 votes per ballot. With the number of holdovers plus new guys next year, there will be some serious vote-splitting issues.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • zipperz says:

      Excellent comment Ray. I salute you.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • wobatus says:

      I don’t believe that Ty Cobb ever murdered anyone. There was an article debunking that in an old issue of The National Pastime published by SABR.

      I can also live without Lofton making it in, although he’s close. Given the 10 rule I understand him not making a ballot this year. Interestingly, Ken Davidoff had a pretty good ballot I thought and put in Lofton over Piazza. He pretty much went by WAR it seems. I’d have gone Piazza over Lofton. And i have no problem with Bonds, Clemens etc. Certainly not Bagwell. I’d go for all of them. Not Sosa or Palmeiro, though.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Yeah Cobb never murdered anyone. That was another myth propagated by Al Stump. And let’s be perfectly honest, you’d have to take a lot of players out of the HOF if you wanted to take out everyone who was racist.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jim says:

      Anybody who compares greenies to steroids has obviously never taken either of them. That’s a stupid, stupid analogy.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Sparkles Peterson says:

        Yep. Amphetamines are so much worse for you it’s funny.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        @sparkles: It has nothing to do with being worse for you.

        Amphetamines (or other similar banned substances like provigil, which I happen to have a bottle of sitting next to me in my desk drawer at the moment) don’t help increase your physical ceiling. They give you more energy than you might otherwise have, but if you can’t throw faster than 90 mph without amphetamines, you won’t be able to throw faster than 90 mph with them, either. It basically just wipes away your tiredness, and helps you perform at the level you otherwise would be able to in absence of physical exhaustion.

        Steroids, on the other hand, absolutely can raise your overall ability level. If you’ve ever been doing a (clean) regular weight training regimen, and then done a cycle, you’ll know for a fact that all of a sudden your reps jump. It puts you on a performance plane you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach without them. And, yes, if you can’t throw faster than 90 mph without steroids, then it’s entirely possible that you will be able to throw 95 mph with them.

        Go ahead and try this out for yourself. Do a regular, standard weight training regimen for six months. After that, spend three months doing the same weight training, but take provigil each morning beforehand, and see how much your reps / weight go up. Then spend another three months, except instead of taking provigil, take steroids.

        Then come back and tell me that greenies are the same thing as steroids.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt says:

        People are generally not comparing the direct, specific effects of the two. The point is, both are pharmocolgic substances, which provide some competitive advantage, were/are in some way illegal or controlled substances, were/are in some way ‘banned’, and were used frequently. Steroids likely provide more of an advantage, though equating pure muscle strength and baseball ability is probably more tenous than some want to admit. But to be so sanctimonious about one and completely ignore the other, as many of these writers are doing, is drawing much to distinct of a line between the two. The point of the analogy is simply, if you are going to penalize athletes for taking a banned/illegal/controlled substance for a competitive edge, why react so differently between the two?

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt says:

        Much *too* distinct a line.

        Also, I’m still very interested in the discussion of in what way, exactly, were steroids banned pre-2004? Simply the fact that they were illegal or controlled substances being used without a prescription? I recall something about a comissioner making some sort of edict, but without clearly defining what kind of substances are and are not banned, or knowing exactly what was being taken, how can we say who did and did not break some sort of vague rule? There are all sorts of supplements as well as procedures that can be considered ‘performance enhancing’, including cortisone shots, advances in orthopedic surgery and physical training, OTC supplements like protein, creatine, etc.

        Not trying to be snarky, I’m just legitimately curous as to where the cut-off is for considering which players deserve to have their accompishments discredited or diminished.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Synovia says:

        WHen you play 162 games over a summer, being able to wipe away tiredness is a huge advantage.
        MLB average OPS by year:
        League started steroid testing in 2003, and banned amphetamines effective 2008.

        You be the judge, but the banning of amphetamines seems to have made the bigger difference ot me.

        2001 0.759
        2002 0.748
        2003 0.755
        2004 0.763
        2005 0.749
        2006 0.768
        2007 0.758
        2008 0.749
        2009 0.751
        2010 0.728
        2011 0.72
        2012 0.724

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Why do people still think PEDs weren’t banned prior to testing? They were banned in 1991, but the CBA didn’t allow for random testing, which basically allowed players to use them freely. Banning something and randomly testing for it are not the same thing.

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    • BronxBomber says:

      But no one dropped acid the way Doc Ellis did…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Johnny A. says:

    Some will say there’s no evidence against many of these guys. Hogwash. There’s incontrovertible evidence that all of these guys committed the unforgivable crime of playing major league baseball in the 1990s-2000s. Nothing can wash that sin away. Justice was done. Just like David Justice was done after getting one vote in ’08

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. LTG says:

    Any interesting trends? How likely is it that Morris gets in next year?

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    • Anonymous says:

      With the addition of Maddux and Glavine to the ballot, along with holdovers Clemens and Schilling, Morris will be, at best, the fifth best pitcher on the ballot. I’m skeptical he gets in until the Vets Committee gets a chance.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • wobatus says:

        Unless Murray Chass successfully lobbies everyone to put in Morris only ballots like he did.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jim says:

        I am not, in any way, a supporter of Jack Morris for the Hall of Fame.

        That said, having seen both Morris and Glavine pitch, I have a hard time believing that Glavine is a superior pitcher to Morris. I know what the stats say about him, but when I watched Glavine pitch, I never once got the thought that “wow, I’m watching a Hall of Famer.” Actually, until he got to 300 wins, the thought that he might make the Hall of Fame never once crossed my mind. I always thought of him as a skinnier, not quite as good version of David Wells.

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  33. rubesandbabes says:

    Okay, to me Dave Cameron doesn’t really have any leadership voice in shaping opinion about the PED era. I wish he did, but he really doesn’t.

    He has a history of bad articles. Most recently he slags off so many people just so he doesn’t have to confront the concept of Carlos Ruiz.

    In short: Appreciate much all things Fangraphs, Voting against the Dave Cameron CW on things baseball. On PEDS, the scales have not fallen away from his eyes yet.

    Apologies and thanks for reading.

    -23 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • davisnc says:

      Hahaha. “Confronting the Concept of Carlos Ruiz” is going to be my new euphemism for death.

      Also, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt in thinking that CW was an acronym that everyone besides me is familiar with, so I Googled CW acronyms. Conventional Wisdom is the best I came up with in this context, though I certainly wouldn’t say that Dave’s analysis typically falls in line with conventional wisdom (read: stubborn stupidity). Here are some of the choice results from thefreedictionary’s acronym service, though:

      Christopher Walken
      Classic Wizard
      Chemical Warfare
      Country/Western
      Cyberworlds
      Cheese Whiz
      Cat’s Whisker
      Chaotic Wrestling (Massachusetts)
      Concealed Weapon
      Caranuba Wax

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      • B N says:

        I too am voting against the Dave Cameron’s chemical warfare on things baseball. I am starting a UN action to censure his actions, break up his Chaotic Wrestling ring, and destroy his stockpiles of Caranuba wax.

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    • Calvin says:

      You’re the same absolute idiot who quite literally cannot do basic arithmetic and is too much of a (insert insult) to apologize for being such a tard. http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/reinforcing-the-power-of-predictive-fip/

      Why do you think anybody should care about anything you have to say?

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      • rubesandbabes says:

        Calvin,

        Just for you I will think about replying to this at Hardball times.

        But ask yourself, does the Glenn DuPaul method really do anything to predict pitchers performances better than the equations he re-jiggers?

        If Calvin is not an “absolute idiot” then the answer is no.

        DuPaul’s article is a fluff article where over and over he asks baseball fans to consider things on ‘Glen’s different scales’ – it doesn’t show any light at all, nor is it illustrative of really anything.

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  34. Chicago Mark says:

    Old dog here. Happy that all the PED users weren’t elected. They probably never will be. And that’s fine by me. Not certain Biggio belongs. Bags maybe. Piazza should get in. Voters don’t like too many first time winners. Is it his first time? Anyway, the system ain’t broke. It’s just fine. It’s not fine for FG readers. And you/we are a very small part of the baseball public. My guess is the vast majority out there are pretty happy about this.

    -6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Chicago Mark says:

      Did I hit a nerve? IIIIIII LIKE IT!

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      • Unfortunately Still A Mets Fan says:

        There’s a difference between successful trolling (see: Calcaterra, Craig) and saying something stupid that then gets voted down. Can you figure out which one you pulled off?

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        wait… explain successful trolling to me.

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      • Chicago Mark says:

        Don’t know what trolling is. Won’t look it up. But I did succeed in getting 8 negative responses. Plus you Un. UNless you are one of the first eight. I’d guess I hit a nerve.
        I was certain we wouldn’t see anyone elected. And I was just as certain the FG group would be appalled and expect changes. I like the site a lot. But it is only a fantasy baseball site. No matter what Dave and others would want you to think.
        You’re in the minority UN. You just don’t know it. I’d bet Dave and Jeff and others know it all to well.

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  35. Sparkles Peterson says:

    I’m interested in Frank Thomas next year. He’s an obvious Hall of Famer, but the kind of guy who could sometimes have to wait a year or two for the voters to figure that out. Will his outspokenness against PEDs sway some of the voters into voting correctly when they would otherwise have not?

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    • rubesandbabes says:

      Hey Sparkles,

      It’s a key question in itself. Where you drop the ball is using the word and concept “correctly” to take the conversation in the direction you hope.

      In the question of unsuspected PED era angels like Pedro Martinez, there is always this Lance Armstrong problem – the problem of the good and believable guy BS’ing you.

      The Big Hurt spoke out but he didn’t name names..

      It would be nice if outspoken angel Jeff Kent would explain why he couldn’t get plate appearances in his 20ies, or why, like Frank Thomas, the game got tired of him, despite his willingness to play cheap.

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      • Jim says:

        The game got tired of Frank Thomas because he was something of a jerk. Although I don’t know how much I can blame him for that; he became a bigger jerk over time largely because he was pissed that so many hitters he considered his inferiors were putting up better stats than him because they were using steroids.

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      • MikeS says:

        Using “correctly” the way he did is the same as calling Lance Armstrong a good guy.

        Cycling is the dirtiest sport there is, well, maybe weightlifting.
        He pushed yellow bracelets, but left his girlfriend when she was diagnosed with cancer.
        He tried to bribe the anti-doping agencies.
        He made a fortune off his “charity.”
        He tried to play the victim when they caught him.

        Lying, cheating, evil scumbag. Not a nice guy.

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  36. rubesandbabes says:

    The stat loving world respects Trout and Trammell, but not Julio Franco?

    No one spoke up for this guy..

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    • davisnc says:

      It took Julio Franco 25 years to put up about 69% of the WAR that typically indicates a “stat-loving” case for HoF-worthiness. The reason no one spoke up for him is that he’s not a good candidate. What else ya got?

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    • wobatus says:

      Steve Trout got votes?

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  37. cwgibson120 says:

    I was hoping that this would be a year Murphy could get in.

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  38. Robbie G. says:

    The thing that I don’t understand here is this. We live in the western world, in the United States, to be specific. The United States is a capitalist country. In a capitalist society, folks attempt to sell products and/or services. In order for these folks to convince consumers to purchase their products and/or services, these products and/or services need to be attractive, for starters. The Baseball Hall of Fame is ultimately a product. I love baseball. I am the target consumer for this product. If the target consumer for this product believes that the Hall of Fame is not what it purports to be–i.e., a celebration of the greatest baseball players of all time–due to a flawed selection process, then the target consumer is no longer going to be interested in going out of his/her way (geographically speaking) to get to Cooperstown, New York, in order to pay x amount of dollars to go to this Hall of Fame (and this does not take into account the amount of money I’m spending on gas, on overpriced food in Cooperstown, on a hotel room, maybe, etc.). In which case the Baseball Hall of Fame basically goes out of business.

    Why isn’t the Baseball Hall of Fame worried about any of this?

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    • Antonio bananas says:

      In America, tea party members praise Jesus and Ayn Rand with equal enthusiasm. Maybe we just lack ability to logically discuss something. I mean, it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that they stopped pushing pitcher wins so much.

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    • The Humber Games says:

      I’m not an insider, but my guess would be that the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA believe they’re not involved in a business, but an institution. And in their perceived role as trusted caretakers of the institution, they are beholden to no one.

      At least, that’s the only way I can rationalize the ‘I don’t give a damn what the fans think, we can turn this into a circus if we want to’ attitude.

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      • Anonity says:

        How, exactly, is this a “circus”? Because no player in the most controversial Hall of Fame class ever reached 75% of the vote? Really?!?

        The Baseball Hall of Fame matters because it is so difficult to be elected. Sure there are some players in there that don’t deserve it, but no one is entitled to enshrinement. The idea that this is a travesty because you believe Player X clearly deserved to be elected, at 26+% of baseball writers disagreed with you, is ridiculous.

        +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • The Humber Games says:

        Anon -

        It’s a circus because there are no clear guidelines on how to handle PEDs, no transparent process for vetting who gets to vote, and no rules against counting blank ‘protest’ ballots. It’s basically an every-man-for-himself system where a thousand different writers get to apply a thousand different sets of standards, and a hall of famer is made if enough of them coincidentally align.

        That’s why it’s a circus, not because no one got in.

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      • Anonity says:

        But there is a standard. It’s just open to interpretation. Just because there isn’t a numeric WAR-based cut-off doesn’t make it a circus.

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        A standard isn’t “open to interpretation” a standard is a standard.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Well, then there is no standard for being elected either, since it is left up to the individual voter who they think is deserving. The whole voting process is open to interpretation. Why should the steroid issue have a standard if basically nothing else in the voting does?

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    • Chicago Mark says:

      Do you really think the baseball HOF can go out of business because FanGraphs writers/readers don’t like their voting procedures?

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      I went to the HOF and I spent, at most, 1/10 of the time in the actual HOF with the plaques. The reason you should be going to the HOF is for the museum, which all of these players will still probably be in (if they aren’t already).

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  39. rickeycanstillplay says:

    Why is it that Biggio seems to get a PED pass while other players don’t? Have these writers seen his numbers? His durability? The fact that he hit a career high 26 HR’s at the age of 40? he gets a pass but not Piazza or Bags???? Why the f are Lee Smith and Jack Morris getting votes? These are questions? ANd goddammit Tim Raines is a Hall of Famer! I’ve never been to cooperstown and I doubt that I ever go. I have my own hall of fame! In my head!

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  40. Ryan says:

    Nobody got in but Dead Deacon White. Who’s going to show up to Cooperstown for that?

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  41. rdj3video says:

    Deacon White rocks. He caught Jamie Moyer for a few years in the 19th century. White is a beast in my OOTP baseball league replays during his National Association days. Meanwhile, reading Jayson Stark’s article about his ballot on ESPN the other day had be figuring a shutout was possible. I pegged Biggio and Piazza for induction with Morris and Bags coming oh so close. Also surprised Lofton didn’t get 5% and laughed when seeing my favorite player Donnie Baseball got better support than Slammin’ Sammy.

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  42. Anonity says:

    You’ve got to love the angry Internet commentators who are so sure of the righteousness of their own opinion that anyone who disagrees is a moron or a fraud.

    To argue that the mere fact that we are going to let one year lapse without inducting any new (living) Hall of Famers is indicative of a fundamentally flawed selection system is absurd. It’s one year. Who cares? Aside from Dale Murphy, there is no one on the ballot this year who can’t be inducted in the future (and he didn’t deserve it anyway). 50 years from now, no one is really going to care whether Mike Piazza made it in on the first ballot, the second, or the fifth.

    Anyone who believes that this class of candidates contains a single absolute, no question Hall of Famer candidacy is hopelessly myopic. This, above all others, is an issue on which reasonable minds can most certainly disagree. Sure, I think that Bonds and Clemens ultimately deserve to get in. Biggio, Bagwell, and Piazza too. But it is in no way unreasonable to let some time pass before they do, to put a little more distance between the PED era and their ultimate enshrinement.

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    • Chicago Mark says:

      Nice Anon, although I don’t think Bonds and Clemens ever get a sniff of the fresh air in Cooperstown unless they pay their own way. But I really do like the post.

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    • O's Fan says:

      Randomly having a year with no inductees is not wrong, or necessarily a sign of a broken system.

      Having such a year when the best hitter and (arguably) best pitcher ever to play the game are on the ballot, among perhaps 10 other candidates who range from worth-considering, or it’s-close (Lofton, Martinez, Walker, Morris, Murphy) to why-the-hell-not (Raines, Bagwell, Biggio, Trammell)? That IS wrong, and the clearest sign that the current system is broken.

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      • Anonity says:

        No, it’s not. Bonds and Clemens used illegal substances to enhance their performance. Just because some people believe that inconvenient fact should be overlooked, and the two should nevertheless be granted baseball’s highest honor, doesn’t mean that those who disagree are wrong, or that the system is broken. It just means that reasonable minds can disagree.

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      • pft says:

        Technically, there is no proof either did knowingly use steroids and both were vindicated in a court of law on the questions directly relating to their steroid use.

        So I guess if fans want to play judge and jury and overturn a court verdict, and writers as well, we can convict them based on our superior knowledge and intellect.

        We can also look at the fact that players like Tony Gwynn had a career high number of HR at age 37 and 38 and that Cal Ripkens Jrs longevity record was set in the steroid era so that must make him a suspect too, lets hang them. Curt Schilling, never had 200 strike outs until age 30 when he had 300, and then did it 2 more times , the last at age 35, so he must be a user too.

        Of course, the biggest enabler of steroids use was Bud Selig and he is a slam dunk HOF’ers as well as writers who put their head in the sand during the era like Gammons.

        Anyone notice players shrinking after the testing? Nope. Comte was right, steroids are alive and well even today. And you dont have to hit a ton of HR to be a steroid user, Melky Cabrera proves that.

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      • Anonity says:

        I should have said both almost certainly used steroids. But if we want to get technical about it, the court did not exonerate either player. There was plenty of evidence against each. It just wasn’t sufficient enough to merit a conviction. That’s a big difference from being vindicated.

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      • Synovia says:

        “No, it’s not. Bonds and Clemens used illegal substances to enhance their performance.”

        So did Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willy Mays, and about 90% of the other people in the hall.

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    • Tim says:

      I can get behind a lot of the one year doesn’t matter sentiment, but Lofton getting dumped in the first year is a travesty.

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  43. Yes says:

    One of The MLB voters who only voted for Morris said he is waiting for “a bolt of wisdom from Kennesaw Mountain Landis.” Same Landis who prevented Blacks from playing. Disgusting

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  44. ilzilla says:

    You know what upsets me? The people who STILL want to leave out the PED users.

    We have a system in place today that tests for steroids. Players get caught, and they are suspended for 50 games. 50 games is NOT a life time ban. If you do not get a lifetime ban, you are eligible for the HOF and, if deserving, should be admitted.

    This is partially/mainly a history museum, not just some building to honor great dudes.

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    • Anonity says:

      Bonds and Clemens are both in the Hall of Fame Museum. So is Pete Rose. They just haven’t been enshrined in the Hall of Fame itself.

      Baseball is, above all else, about numbers. 61, 714, .406, 56 game hitting streak, those numbers mattered to a lot of people. The steroid users tarnished those numbers. I don’t think it is unreasonable to make someone like Barry Bonds wait a few years to be inducted. He used an illegal substance in order to gain an edge on the field. Just because he hasn’t received a lifetime ban does not mean he must automatically be inducted on the first ballot.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        I feel like a large portion of the people that are most upset about this don’t understand the part about the museum and the plaque room being completely separate things. Whether or not they get elected to the HOF, all of them could be in the museum. Hell, I hope they devote a section in the future to steroid era.

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      • ilzilla says:

        First ballot or 2nd doesn’t really matter to me. There’s a pretty vocal group that doesn’t want these guys in at all.

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      • TKDC says:

        Your second number should have been 755; otherwise no concerns.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        I think there’s a good possibility that vocal group won’t be nearly as vocal in 5 or 10 years.

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      • pft says:

        Most people have never been to the museum and never will be, thats why. However, there are HOF lists and HOF books that cover only HOF players. Not being in the HOF means you will not be remembered as well as those who do make it.

        Today in the HOF we have racists, some who were alleged to have been KKK member, those who violated prohibition and took illegal drugs, wife cheaters and abusers, DUI’ers and other players who were of dubious character.

        Besides, there is no direct evidence either Clemens or Bonds knowingly took steroids and they were v indicated in court (at least there was not enough evidence to prove they lied).

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      • Tim says:

        Did I miss some steroid user hitting .400 or in 57 consecutive games?

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      • Anonity says:

        pft,

        I don’t necessarily disagree. However, the difference is that the PED users broke the law to gain a competitive advantage on the field. The offenses you mention, while certainly undesirable, had no impact on the legitimacy or fairness of competition on the field.

        Again, that’s not to say anyone suspected of steroid use should never be admitted into the Hall. But the argument that what these guys did isn’t any different or worse than what some of their less altruistic predecessors did misses the boat in my opinion.

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      • Synovia says:

        “I don’t necessarily disagree. However, the difference is that the PED users broke the law to gain a competitive advantage on the field. ”

        So did all the guys taking Greenies. We need to get Hank Aaron out of the hall. Willie Mays too.

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      • Anonity says:

        I agree that greenies are the best counter argument to the crowd that wants to keep the PED users out of the Hall. However, I don’t think greenies are a completely valid analogy to PEDs. Greenies didn’t enhance one’s innate playing ability the way steroids did. Sure, they might have helped a player come closer to his peak performance, but they didn’t fundamentally alter that peak performance curve in the way that steroids did.

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        Why is .406 a magic number? Rogers Hornsby hit .424 in 1924.

        And Barry Bonds is a top 5 hitter of all time. I don’t mind if they decided not to let him in on the first ballot to send a message, but it will be a travesty if he doesn’t get in next year.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        @pft

        Do you really think Bonds or Clemens is going to be forgotten if they don’t get elected? I don’t think anybody is forgetting about Pete Rose anytime soon even though he hasn’t gotten in. If anything, an all-time great getting left out makes them more famous. Shoeless Joe is a lot more famous than the vast majority of Hall of Famers, and some of those guys he’s more famous than were probably better players than he was.

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        The list of better hitters than Joe Jackson is as follows:

        Babe Ruth
        Ted Williams
        Lou Gehrig
        Rogers Hornsby
        Barry Bonds
        Mickey Mantle
        Ty Cobb

        His career WAR/650 was 7.5

        There really weren’t many players better than he was.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Of course Jackson will look great on a rate version of WAR since he barely played until he was 23 (note that FG apparently has the wrong birthday for him) and didn’t go through a decline phase like just about everyone you’re comparing him too. You’re basically only looking at his peak.

        That’s essentially true of any sort of comparison of rate stats you try to make with him. If you were to compare his career to the peaks of other players, you wouldn’t rank him nearly as highly. Hell, he was only the 4th best position player during the course of his peak, behind Cobb, Speaker, and Collins, and the only 1 of those 3 more famous than him is Cobb (and that is more for bad reasons than good).

        Besides, doesn’t that sort of prove my point anyway. Bonds is a better hitter than Jackson, so even if Bonds never gets in the Hall of Fame, chances are he’ll always remain incredibly famous just like Jackson has.

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  45. Sleight of Hand Pro says:

    just looked up bonds 2004 season. heh. wow.

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  46. pft says:

    As more good candidates enter the mix over the next couple of years the vote will be split even more making it even tougher.

    I suspect the next HOF members will be Pedro and Randy Johnson in 2015.

    Anyways, the HOF is simply irrelevant now. Means nothing if players like Bonds and Clemens are excluded. Idiots.

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  47. David says:

    I am thrilled by how little of the vote Clemens and Bonds got. Makes my whole day! : )

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  48. Debs Garms says:

    For me, the Hall of Fame means nothing if they put Bonds and Clemens *in*.

    They got to keep their names in the record books. They got to keep their money. They got to keep their ill-gotten MVP and Cy Young Awards. Oh, and despite repeatedly committing crimes that would get the rest of us put behind bars, they got to keep their freedom. (Of course, the San Francisco Cheat had to rat out his dealer. And then some naughty person was so mean, and leaked the testimony! Good heavens!)

    Is it really such a mistreatment of Bonds and Clemens to withhold the highest possible honor a ballplayer can be accorded? I hope it comes down to the Veteran’s Committee many years from now; let their peers tell us whether *they* think using federally-banned substances to gain an advantage is important or not.

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  49. Shame on the baseball writers. After atrocities like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron not getting in with 100% votes, they top that by protesting steroids and “cheaters”.

    According to Eric Walker, of A’s and Sinister Firstbaseman fame, they may have taken PEDs, but they did not help themselves in doing that: http://steroids-and-baseball.com/

    Anyone diligent enough to read through all of this website will find it hard to dispute what is said there: that steroids didn’t help anyone, that the steroids era was really the juiced ball era, and that the general public is way off on their moralistic stance.

    I would also add that if cheating is the litmus test for these writers, they should have been protesting at least 70 years ago, as players probably started using amphetamines since WW II (when the army routinely passed them out to keep the soldiers alert), and at minimum, Jim Bouton exploded that mystery in the late 60′s with his book, Ball Four, yet it took the steroids era to finally get speed out of baseball. Nobody, given their stance on cheating, should have been voted in for years.

    Too bad no enterprising journalist didn’t take the trouble to seek out the real facts, like Walker did.

    Shame on the writers who are using their Hall of Fame vote as a punishment. It was bad enough that they ignored steroids in the first place (really, no real movement happened until an IRS agent decided to take on Barry Bonds, when they should have started, at minimum, when McGwire was caught with Creatine, but really, the rumors started years earlier), but now they are using the Hall of Fame now to make a stance based on innuendo and assumptions that appears to be false, making their position wholy self serving and on the wrong side of the facts that Walker found. There needs to be a better system.

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    • Anonity says:

      The argument that steroid use had no impact on on-the-field performance is absurd. Even setting aside the HR totals, the traditional aging curve was significantly altered during the PED era. That cannot be explained simply through a juiced baseball.

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    • Pennant says:

      LOL steroids didn’t help performance? Then why do players risk their health and getting huge suspensions to do them?

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    • davisnc says:

      Creatine isn’t banned, never will be, and is available at your local supermarket. You’re thinking of andro, a testosterone precursor. Andro also wasn’t banned when McGwire was using it, but that’s a different conversation.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      Saying steroids don’t help is akin to claiming working out doesn’t help. The entire point of steroids is to help you workout harder and more effectively. Do you think anyone in their right mind would actually claim that?

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    • 4233 says:

      Thomas Boswell tried to look into it in the LATE 80′s….Get your facts straight about journalists trying to look into it…BTW when Boswell looked into it, he was stonewalled the whole way

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    • B N says:

      Totally. Steroids and HGH don’t help performance. That’s why Ruth’s record of 60 stood for decades, Maris’s record of 61 stood for another couple of decades, and then three guys (Sosa, McGuire, Bonds) broke Maris’s record a combined 6 times in 4 years. … Then, as mysterious as it started, the lid blew off steroids and no one has topped 60 since. Nothing anomalous about that at all.

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  50. Fitz says:

    I applaud the writers. No one deserved it.

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  51. Choo says:

    In similar news, everybody who smoked a cigarette indoors back when it was allowed is now banned from every establishment that once encouraged the indoor smoking of cigarettes.

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    • Anonity says:

      Steroids were always illegal under criminal law, even if not strictly prohibited under MLB rules. So your analogy isn’t valid..

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      You do realize MLB banned steroids in 1991, right?

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      • TKDC says:

        Actuallly, it was implicitly banned in 1971, when Fay Vincent sent out a memo declaring it against the rules to use illegal drugs, which includes steroids without a prescription. Breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage in baseball is wrong. The fact that there was no testing and no one was ever punished for using steroids (though punishments were given for using other drugs) does in some ways mitigate how much discredit players deserved for using steroids prior to the testing era, but it does not completely absolve them. Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids, including illegal steroids, his entire career and his skillset seemed very dependent on him beng a massive human being. To put him in the Hall could not be described as anything else than a reward for cheating.

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  52. Pennant says:

    It is amusing to see all this outrage among most FG readers. They are not open minded to see the other view, namely, that there is sufficient cloud of suspicion over so many of these players in this era that maybe an extra year or 2 or three and we can better sort out or find out some facts. Casey Stern on MLB radio was trying to goad Johnny Bench into some outrage too but Bench reminded him that Yogi Berra did not get inducted on the first ballot so it is not necessarily an outrage Piazza didn’t.

    To those angry See-no-PED fans who like to critique: the all-time HR leader is not in HOF, the AT hits leader is not etc. Bonds is a known cheat–really the HOF for him, first try even? Rose prolonged his own career playing Recordball, playing substandard 1B tto get that record, depriving a younger 1B of play time. Not very gracious. Biggio indulged in this too. Well MLB is entertainment ultimately for us so we are happy he got #3000 but there was a young player who did not get to play, and somehow I feel sorrier for him than Biggio, who will likely get elected very soon.

    Look, the HOF has a BS% attached to it, like all human institutions. You don;t like this? I don’t like Rice getting in. The reality is, we all have our own HOFs, with BB-Ref and many other sites. The HOF is one group’s museum for MLB, maybe there should be others. The BBWA does not have a monopoly on HOFs. Bill James wrote a book that gets a lot closer to the truth than the HOF in Cooperstown.

    Lighten up people. These guys will be on the ballot for many more years and then the Vet committee. Psst, 2 pieces of advice: 1) Get a life 2) the HOF voters have made even more obvious mistakes that can not be recalled 3) a lot of these guys will get in, after the waiting a year or two. (I hope not Jack Morris)

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    • Synovia says:

      “Bonds is a known cheat–really the HOF for him, first try even? ”

      The problem is, almost everyone in the HOF is a known cheap. Almost everyone who played from about 1945-2005 took amphetamines, and those were illegal.

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      • Anonity says:

        I posted this above, but it’s applicable here as well:

        I agree that greenies are the best counter argument to the crowd that wants to keep the PED users out of the Hall. However, I don’t think greenies are a completely valid analogy to PEDs. Greenies didn’t enhance one’s innate playing ability the way steroids did. Sure, they might have helped a player come closer to his peak performance, but they didn’t fundamentally alter that peak performance curve in the way that steroids did.

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      • Pennant says:

        Did Aaron or Mays hit 60 HR ever? This is my take on it.
        1) Greenies are not as bad as PEDs–look at the stats, I don’t know if there are long term risks to health with greenes, i doubt it.
        2) We are about 50 years too late in raising this issue. It is not our charge to sort out the greenie issue, it is our charge to make sure the game is as clean as we can. The argument you propose effectively renders impossible any attempt to clean up the game, because yes, someone always cheated. PEDs altered the statitical history of the game like no other drug ever did.

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      • Brian says:

        There are no long-term risks to use of steroids if controlled and not mixed. Most of the people who have had issues with enlarged hearts e.g. pro-wrestlers have been mixing a much bigger cocktail then just steroids (usually some combo of alcohol, cocaine, and hgh).

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      • TKDC says:

        If you broke the speed limit every day on your way to the park, you probably got their earlier and gained an advantage. So breaking the speed limit is the same as steroids. Everything is the same. There are no differences. Loud noises.

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    • Chicago Mark says:

      Sorry! I can’t get over this. “Get a life”??? For what, posting on this site. I disagree you….you…you poster you.

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    • Tyler says:

      I only recently found out that Berra did not get in on the first ballot. How INSANE is that?

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  53. Tom L says:

    I’d love for someone to compile a full list of writers who voted for/against Bonds/Clemens. Just so I can consult the list whenever I need to take a quick gauge on the intelligence of the author and hopefully start boycotting some of these dimwitted hacks. For instance, from ESPN:

    Against:
    Bryant, Gomez, Graziano, Knisley, Matthews, Rubin, Stanton

    For:
    Caple, Crasnick, Edes, Kurkjian, O’Connor, Olney, Pascarelli, Roberts, Saxon, Smith, Stark

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  54. Larry says:

    As far as I assume PEDs maybe the mid 1990s-mid 2000s answer greenies – they didn’t make Bonds or Clemens HOF worthy for the bulk of their careers at their prime but they sure as heck helped them stay on the field longer and for more years.

    If seeing them excel in their early 40′s was unnatural so be it – but at best PEDs may have kept a guy playing as opposed to actually enhance his performance or ability.

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  55. John Robbins says:

    In all of this foolishness about steroids I am reminded of an interview I once heard with a contemporary of Bob Dylan’s. The contemporary was asked about Bob Dylan’s drug use and whether or not it gave him some sort of unfair advantage in the songwriting process. The fellow said something to the extent of, “We were all using drugs but not everybody who used drugs wrote “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.”

    That pretty much sums up the steroid era for me. A lot of people used steroids. Everyone knew it. The difference is that Barry Bonds took steroids and hit 762 home runs. Roger Clemens took steroids and hit 4672 batters. There are names in the Mitchell Report like F.P. Santangelo and Ricky Bones. Those guys cheated too. Nobody is complaining. The fact remains, Barry Bonds could knock the cover off the ball. Maybe steroids kept him injury free or helped him hit the ball five feet further but he had astounding talent that existed outside of the steroids. Same with Clemens, same with Piazza. These guys deserve recognition and the BBWAA is fucked in the head for thinking otherwise. The BBWAA needs to clean house and start over with people that actually know something about baseball. Clearly the people in there now don’t have a clue. The best player of the last 30 years didn’t even get 40% of the votes. What a travesty.

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    • Tim says:

      Out in the non-Fangraphs world, I’m a non-drug-using songwriter. i do wonder sometimes if there’s an advantage in it. But one thing I’m absolutely convinced of is that I’d rather have Bob Dylan who wrote Bob Dylan’s songs than not.

      I just wish there was some drug that could have helped his singing.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      Those players get plenty of recognition outside the HOF. Hell, they’re both already in the HOF museum. Why do you care so much about whether or not they actually get a plaque? In the end, that should really only matter to the player.

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  56. Hank says:

    I think some perspective is needed here.

    The outrage and moral indignation is getting a bit absurd. People are throwing out terms like “travesty”, “debacle” , “totally broken” (really Dave?).

    If you look around the current Hall, there are a few people who should be in that aren’t and a few that are in that probably shouldn’t be in. Folks can mock the voters, call them idiots, but they almost always get it right and people are generally arguing over fringe players or fringe things – why did it take 2 or 3 votes for someone to get in, why did someone drop off the ballot so quickly, why did someone get 20% instead of 35%.

    This is the first year folks have had to deal with PED’s (at least high visibility PED use) and some perspective and time is needed. One of the best things about the HOF voting is the 5 year waiting period which helps limit the Prisoner of the Moment analysis that exists today. There is also the 15 year active period which allows the voters to correct and adjust their viewpoint as additional information or perspective is gained.

    Spitting out hyperbolic crap like “totally broken” “debacle” “travesty” “joke” is apparently how folks engage in a reasonable discussion on this. Sadly they are becoming as much of a joke as the people they target. Reasonable people can disagree on the standards for going into the HOF – yes they are nebulous, but sadly there is no # based binary decision making process. Not all that much different than voting for president or federal judges ruling on a case – there are many ways to evaluate subjective criteria and standards.

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    • Brian says:

      “This is the first year folks have had to deal with PED’s (at least high visibility PED use) and some perspective and time is needed.”

      They’ve had 6 years of McGwire eligibility, correct?

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        McGwire seemed to be a borderline case in most voters eyes even before the steroid stuff, so they didn’t really have to consider it too much.

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    • Pseudoscience says:

      Well said.

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  57. psychump says:

    Next year they get in. They then cannot be presented as a “First Ballot Hall of Famer” that should be punishment enough. People here bring up steroids as an “era”. They date back to at least 1989.

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  58. Barry B. says:

    Sportswriters are racist. And they’re attacking my family.

    Thank you for defending myself and my children, loyal fangraphs readers. Glad they don’t let white people use this site. Whew.

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  59. Pseudoscience says:

    I often feel like sports commentators, and much of the fan base, are poorly equipped to speak to issues bridging sports and society Seeing people take a reactionary approach to today’s HOF vote, which is definitely a nuanced and complex situation, makes me realize this is one of those times.

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  60. Pseudoscience says:

    “debacle?” “totally broken?”

    Shame on you for hubristic oversimplification of something you just don’t agree with.

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  61. Jon L. says:

    I love the title of this piece.

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  62. 4233 says:

    THANK YOU, YOU STUPID F”N SABERGEEKS FOR NOT VOTING IN MORRIS…..JACKASSES!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Eggy Mule says:

      If Morris doesn’t get in next year it will be the single greatest triumph of sabermetrics.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Paul says:

        His 10 inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series was pretty amazing.

        I’m a Twins fan so I will always like him, but he is not a HOFer.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • 4233 says:

        Sabermetrics is the biggest sham going…You can try to convince me otherwise but its truth..Some numbers you do need but all these numbers in a collective scense could keep out players who are deserving..Morris in the hall would be a slap in the face to you metric geeks and the metric geeks are probably the ones who gave Bonds and Clemens the numbers they got for the vote

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  63. Greg W says:

    I wish someone would explain to me what the point of the baseball hall of fame is… Is it statistics? Is it character? Or is it a place to go to learn about the game and it’s players? I would want the latter. Which would mean for better or worse that Bonds, Joe Jackson and Mark Fidritch (sp) should have a place in it. Is it about the PED era or the 70′s where some were getting high in the bullpen. What about the real “Crash” Davis. I want my grandkids to know his story. Maybe you change who gets to vote. If you were an employee of a major league team(s) for 7+ years, you have a vote.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anonity says:

      Easy. The Hall of Fame is both a museum and a Hall of Fame. The museum is where you learn about the history of the game and its players. Bonds, Clemens, Jackson, Rose, and (I believe) Fidrych are all represented in the museum.

      Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Gallery (i.e. the plaque room) is where the elite of the elite are honored after the inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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  64. David Scott says:

    Sorry for the confusion, but didn’t the BBWAA award Bonds seven MVPs and Clemens seven CY Awards? So why didn’t they vote Bonds and Clemens into the Hall of Fame?

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    • Bab says:

      Naive question? Do you think the Academy currently believes that Titanic was the best film the year it was released? But that might be a misleading question…

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  65. siddfynch says:

    “So why didn’t they vote Bonds and Clemens into the Hall of Fame?”

    I’m guessing it’s because the writers figured Clemens and Bonds had done steroids, then lied about it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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