The Hall of Fame’s Standard, and Its Biggest Problem

With the baseball off-season moving into a little bit of a lull, the next few weeks of baseball writing often take on a decidedly Cooperstown-centric swing. Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed to the 600 or so voters, and they have until December 31st to decide how to fill those ballots out, so those of us with some semblance of a platform usually try to influence the voters while they have the ballot in their hands. For instance, Jay Jaffe penned this excellent piece on Mike Mussina‘s candidacy, and anyone who is planning to vote for Tom Glavine but not Mussina should read that and reconsider.

I probably won’t join the lobbying for any specific players this year. From my perspective, there are something like 15 to 19 reasonably justifiable candidates on the ballot, so lobbying for one player out of that bunch is necessarily lobbying against some other viable candidate. So, instead, I’m simply going to try and provide some evidence that will hopefully convince my fellow members of the the BBWAA to stop waffling and start voting in worthy candidates.

I think an important point in deciding whether or not a player is Hall of Fame worthy or not is to know the historical standard for enshrinement. What percentage of players do we think are worthy of immortalizing? The top 10%? 5%? 1%? Before we can argue that a modern player is worthy of enshrinement, we should know what the standard of acceptance has been in the past, and then we can figure out if that player meets the standard relative to his own peers.

So, let’s look at what the standard of election has been throughout baseball history. To break players into peer groups, I looked at birth year since 1900, and then grouped by decade, with the pre-1900 guys lumped together as one large group. Thanks to Baseball Reference’s Play Index, I was able to search out the total number of players who played in MLB and were born in each 10 year span, and then the total number of both hitters and pitchers who were elected to the Hall of Fame from those groups. The percentage column shows the standard that has essentially been set as the guiding line for whether or not a player is worthy of enshrinement.

Year of Birth Hitters Pitchers Players HallHitters HallPitchers HallPlayers Percentage
<1900 5,393 1,038 6,431 90 36 126 2.0%
1900-’10 1,058 231 1,289 25 4 29 2.2%
1911-’20 1,227 542 1,769 11 3 14 0.8%
1921-’30 1,015 460 1,475 14 5 19 1.3%
1931-’40 968 460 1,428 26 7 33 2.3%
1941-’50 1,310 643 1,953 15 8 23 1.2%
1951-’60 1,535 740 2,275 19 4 23 1.0%
Total 9,661 2,731 12,392 166 55 221 1.8%

Because some players both hit and pitched, they’ll show up on both lists, which is why there are 221 players totaled here and only 208 players enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The point is going to remain the same, however, as both the numerator and denominator are inflated nearly equally, so it doesn’t materially change the results. And the results show that, historically, the Hall of Fame has enshrined between 1-2% of the total pool of players, with some variance for certain eras.

To me, this seems about right. I have no problem with the Hall of Fame being reserved for the top 1-2%, as that makes it an exclusive club and a legitimate honor to be chosen. This seems like the kind of standard that is worth upholding, and gives us a reasonable range of what a “big hall” or “small hall” might look like. At the minimum, we should accept the top 1%, and at the maximum, the top 2%. Something in that range seems like the right fit.

Now, let me present the birth decade that is currently up for debate: 1961-1970. There are a few guys on the ballot this year born after 1970 (Richie Sexson and Armando Benitez, for instance), but they’re not serious candidates, and they’re only on the ballot now because they had short careers not worthy of enshrinement. All the legitimate candidates on this year’s ballot were born in the 60s, with the exception of Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, and Tim Raines, who are holdovers from the 1950s pool of players. Here is the same table as above, but for the decade of players that we’re currently voting on.

Year of Birth Hitters Pitchers Players HallHitters HallPitchers HallPlayers Percentage
1961-’70 1,731 925 2,656 2 0 2 0.1%

The BBWAA has elected exactly two players born after 1960 so far: Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin. Those two players represent 0.1% of the population of players who played in MLB and were born between 1961-1970. One tenth of one percent. Or, in graph form, the overall plot looks like this:

HOFbyBirthDecade

With 2,656 players in MLB born between 1961-1970, the smallest of small hall voters would favor electing 27 candidates from that decade, while the most aggressive big hall guy would favor up to 53 candidates from that 10 year period. We can basically round those numbers and say that the historical standard suggests that there should be something like 30 to 50 Hall of Famers born in those years, if we’re upholding the historical standard of election.

So, at the minimum, the BBWAA needs to elect something like 28 more guys from that decade. Let’s check off the names of the guys we’re fairly certain will get elected at some point in the not too distant future.

1. Greg Maddux, 1966
2. Ken Griffey Jr, 1969
3. Randy Johnson, 1963
4. Mariano Rivera, 1969
5. Tom Glavine, 1966
6. Craig Biggio, 1965

I’d say those six are a virtual lock, given their careers and Biggio’s vote totals from last year. So, electing those six players will get us to a total of eight players born in that decade, or 0.3% of the population of players born between 1961-1970. That’s still ~20 players short of the minimum historical standard, and ~45 players short of a similar proportion to the eras most heavily represented in Cooperstown.

I understand that a lot of the players born in this decade performed at their best during the “Steroid Era”, and that many are reluctant to reward players who may have had their numbers inflated by using PEDs, but we cannot and should not simply pretend that an entire decade of players did not exist. If you don’t want to vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, then vote for some other player from that era who you don’t think used steroids. If you’re taking a stance against the cheaters of that generation, then acknowledge those who we have no reason to suspect.

No birth decade has ever seen fewer than 14 players inducted, and that decade (1911-1920) only saw 1,227 players get to the big leagues. There are more than twice as many players from the 1961-1970 decade who played in the Majors, and we’re on pace to elect about half as many as we did from the 1911-1920 group. This is simply applying a new standard of qualification to the current batch of candidates that has never existed before.

Take Mike Mussina or Curt Schilling and put them in any other time frame in baseball history, and they are easy, obvious Hall of Famers. The reluctance of voters to put any players in who played during the PED era is leading to a wholesale change in the standard of election, and because of the insane 10 player limit on the ballot, there is currently no way to resolve the issue.

As long as the 10 player maximum ballot remains, this generation of players have no chance of being represented in Cooperstown, because the BBWAA simply cannot elect players fast enough to make up for their mistakes, while also acknowledging the deserving candidates from the 1970s that are going to be on the ballot very soon. Pedro Martinez, born in 1971, is on the ballot next year. We are reaching the point at which the 1960s players are no longer going to have the ballot to themselves, and the worthy 1970s players are going to start taking their place at the podium.

The BBWAA has a couple of years left to change course and acknowledge that players were indeed born between 1961-1970. After that, it’s simply going to be too late, and the veteran’s committee will have to fix the writer’s errors. In many cases, those corrections happen after a player has already passed on, so the player does not live to see his own induction. We should absolutely be motivated to make sure that worthy players who will end up in Cooperstown are inducted while they are still alive.

The idea that there are only eight Hall of Fame worthy players born between 1961-1970 is ridiculous. It is time for the voters to acknowledge the standard that has been set, and to keep pace with the established norms, not attempt to re-write the standards of the Hall of Fame because they perceive it as an opportunity to take a moral high ground.

There are great players in every era. We’ve immortalized the great players from every other era in baseball history, including the guys who played when the World Series was fixed. Let’s not pretend that this most recent era didn’t happen, or that this was the first time in baseball history that there were no great players. Let’s live up to the historical standard already established. Let’s start putting Hall of Famers in the Hall of Fame.




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


134 Responses to “The Hall of Fame’s Standard, and Its Biggest Problem”

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  1. Underwood4000 says:

    Fascinating post. Did you consider counting Pete Rose (or Shoeless Joe Jackson) as inclusions, for the sake of determining what % of players have been voted in. A minor data point, but the fact that off-field issues singlehandedly keep Rose out seems like it affects the percentage in some (albeit minor) way.

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    • Bubber Jonnard III says:

      Rock Raines being kept out of the Hall due to cocaine use? That’s an off-field issue. Pete Rose, as an MLB manager, trying harder to win some games than others, while betting or not betting accordingly? That would be extremely on-field.

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  2. Graham says:

    Also let’s put Tim Raines in there

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  3. KB says:

    I’ve been trying to articulate this argument for a while now. Excellently explained. Thanks.

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  4. KB says:

    It would be interesting to go ahead and plot the average WAR totals of the players voted into the HOF along side the percentage of players from each decade.

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    • AB says:

      This is probably the wrong way to go. Regardless of whether PEDs actually help you play better, the evidence suggests that they at least help you play longer. And even if this isn’t true, all the advances in surgical procedures and weight training simply allow the average player to maintain performance over a longer period. Throw in the fact that a single cohort would’ve lost 3 or so years from the War (Williams might’ve lost 30 wins), and it gets silly to compare career WAR across cohorts. The better (and more time consuming) task would be to plot peaks (something like a 5 year stretch).

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  5. Jay29 says:

    Has the number of “cup-of-coffee” players changed from one decade to the next, clouding the meaning of the percentages in the HOF? Or have we always had the same ratio of players having very brief careers?

    Also, does expansion not change the expected percentage? Shouldn’t we elect a smaller percentage when the player pool is bigger? Or is the effect of expansion essentially cancelled out by the talent gain from desegregation and the influx of foreign-born players?

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    • Razor says:

      Really great questions, would love to see some of this researched more in-depth.

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    • kevinthecomic says:

      This is an excellent question. I can’t recall where I read it, but there was a piece that it is WAY more difficult now to make it into professional sports because of (i) the foreign influence as you suggest and (ii) a higher percentage of kids are playing baseball, football, basketball, and hockey with better coaching and nutrition. I wish I could remember where I got this tidbit from.

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      • Jay29 says:

        Technically I asked five questions, but thank you. :-)

        Yes, I agree. I think it would be very reasonable to think that only a couple dozen players from any given season 50 or more years ago would be able to play in today’s game. Players are just better athletes now, and no longer just white Americans.

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    • Andrew J says:

      There are more teams now than in the past so there are inevitably going to be more players. Luckily, the pool of potential players has increased as well due to reasons you said.

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      • KCDaveInLA says:

        You could also argue that the same pool has been diluted due to the increased job openings from more teams. Each team has at least at least a few players that are more suited to Triple-A, and the really bad teams often are made of several of those types.

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        • Hank G. says:

          And when was that not true?

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        • bawfuls says:

          What’s relevant would be the number of MLB roster spots compared to the available pool of potential players.

          In 1940, the US population was ~132 Million, but only 59 Million of those were white males. There were 16 teams with 25 roster slots for a total of 400 spots.

          So that’s 147,500 eligible men per roster MLB roster spot.

          in 2010, the US population was ~309 Million, or roughly 150 Million men. To this we must add at a minimum the male population of the Dominican Republic (5M) , and some representation of Japan (64M), Korea (25M), Venezuela (14M), Cuba (5M), etc. So 260 Million is a rough ballpark figure of the potential male population from which MLB draws it’s talent. 30 teams with 25 roster spots gives 750 spots, or a bit more than 340,000 eligible men per roster slot.

          This is of course complicated by the rise in popularity of other professional sports and the varying popularity of baseball in non-US locations. Maybe the population numbers should be weighted by what proportion of MLB players are from each nation.

          But I think it’s fairly evident that the talent pool has expanded faster than roster space has, which in turn means competition is as high as ever.

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        • jim says:

          you know, i’ve never really put much credence in the idea of modern players actually being significantly better than their yesteryear counterparts. but even though those are just ballpark figures (hehe), it’s somewhat eye-opening

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    • Pirates Hurdles says:

      I would wager that the percentage of short careers hasn’t changed, but I would be curious to see the data as well.

      Of course, there are many more teams now, so that is likely the #1 factor in the increase in players from recent decades.

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      • Eric R says:

        If I did it right, here are just those players who appeared in at least 10 MLB seasons:

        Decade Players HoFer %%%
        1900 186 29 16%
        1910 169 14 8%
        1920 199 19 10%
        1930 238 33 14%
        1940 356 23 6%
        1950 411 23 6%
        1960 491 2 0.4%

        To get to the 6% of recent memory, the 1960s class need 27 more. To get to the 9% average for 1900-1959, they’d need *42* more Hall of Famers

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        • Chuck says:

          I think this is a good way of looking at it. I suspect, but don’t want to bother proving/disproving, that at minumum, WWII and the Korean War should have made it tougher to have a longer (10 year) career, but created opportunities for shorter “careers” during the war.

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    • AB says:

      I remember looking at the number of professional mlb teams during the 20s compared to the US population and calculating that there were more teams per capita then than at present. Add in the fact that you have that influx of foreign born players and a desegregated game and it’s statistically more difficult to make the majors now than it was then (more players, fewer spots). Even if we held constant the level of talent, this implies that the overall talent is greater in the game today than in the past. With a greater number of better players, you should have more hall of famers (i.e. a greater percentage). If it doesn’t increase, it suggests overall stricter standards.

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      • AB says:

        Of course, it begs the question to what extent baseball has greater competition for talent with other sports (i.e. football, basketball, etc.), which might dilute the overall talent pool relative to earlier periods.

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        • Jay29 says:

          Very good point. MLB isn’t the ideal destination for the young athlete now like it was in the mid-20th century.

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        • wally says:

          Baseball still pays the most and has guaranteed contract.

          Also, its not just the raw numbers, but the ability of players to even try to play at a high level. So, how much as little league, high school and college ball expanded to feed players into MLB? Back in the 30′s or 40′s, how many kids, by percentage, were playing baseball nearly year round like is fairly common today?

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        • Stuck in a slump says:

          Wally, Baseball may pay the most, but the NFL and NBA offer much more lucrative endorsement deals, which not only increases the overall value of playing in those leagues as well as their potential fame.

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        • wally says:

          I’d like to know the number of players that actually gain substantial benefit from the endorsements/fame in the NFL/NBA compared to those that gain benefit from guaranteed contracts and higher salary in the MLB…. I suspect MLB blows them away.

          Also, MLB has a relatively decent alternative with AAA, where salaries are not huge but definitely livable and where you can keep hanging around hopping for the breakout. In the NFL and NBA, you’re pretty cast off into the ether if you can’t make the big club, left without a profession sports gig and hoping to make the team one the next try-outs.

          Overall, if you have to advise your ridiculously athletic son which professional sport to pursue, its baseball by far.

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      • Belloc says:

        But baseball is now a sport played only by rich kids. A huge segment of the population has been eliminated from ever participating in baseball solely due to economic reasons. That just wasn’t the case 50 years ago. No one can argue with a straight face that rich kids are better athletes than poor ones.

        And so the talent pool isn’t better simply because it is larger.

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        • Jay29 says:

          Using words like “only” and “eliminated” is taking it a little far, though you’re mostly right, at least for the U.S. (Plenty of poor Latin American kids play almost nothing but baseball.)

          But are poor kids kept out of baseball because they are poor? Are there league fees or equipment costs that keep them out? Maybe that’s the case for poor kids in suburbia. But poor kids in Latin America (or in U.S. cities of the 1950′s) seem to do just fine playing with broomsticks and wads of paper.

          No, I think it’s a culture shift, pure and simple. It’s the NBA (and to a lesser extent the NFL) that draws inner city kids now. And you can’t tell me it’s because a 10-foot basketball hoop, backboard, and ball are much more affordable than the most basic baseball equipment.

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        • AB says:

          I’m not sure I understand. If the amount of potential baseball players increases and at a greater rate than there are spots for them (i.e. a larger pool), it shouldn’t matter statistically whether that larger pool is coming from “rich” kids. A larger pool and fewer spots implies greater competition and a better average player all things being equal. The better counter argument is that there are fewer baseball players per spot due to talent moving into other sports.

          I think there is something to be said though for basketball and soccer as the most played sports around the world given the very limited overhead needed to play. If you decry the drop in African American participation in baseball you can see black players have been largely replaced by Latinos. The remaining black players that are in the game are overwhelmingly outfielders. I doubt it is coincidence: outfield is the spot where you can get by more on athleticism. There are very few black pitchers, catchers or shortstops: spots that to be competitive in would probably require relatively costly instruction at an amateur stage. Dominicans, who are also poor, benefit from instruction from major league academies located there and a larger baseball culture.

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        • db says:

          I can argue with a straight face that rich kids are better athletes than poor kids. Due to nutrition, safe environments and multiple other factors, athletes tend not to come from impoverished areas. This is even true in the NBA where a recent study showed that, on average, professional players were more likely to come from wealthier parents.

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    • Eminor3rd says:

      No, percentage scales with sample size. If there are more players playing, more hall of famers would be expected to happen. Using proportion is the best way to correct for expansion.

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  6. Joel says:

    Great post — MLB seems slow to change anything, but hopefully they fix the the HOF voting process. I just won’t hold my breath.

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  7. Diane says:

    Well, you just articulated (beautifully) an idea I had this morning for a presentation at SABR convention next year.

    So, I’m conflicted. :-)

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  8. Andrew says:

    Um… no mention of Frank Thomas yet you mention Biggio? Seriously?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to assume that the current batch of voters will elect any player who weighed more than 200 pounds and hit a lot of home runs in the 1990s.

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      • Anon says:

        Also, Thomas played lots of games at DH.

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      • stan says:

        Frank Thomas has the same rate stats as Mark McGwire and gained more than McGwire did from the time he was drafted until the time he retired. You have to wonder whether things would be different today if Jose Canseco was his teammate.

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        • stan says:

          gained more weight. I was just pointing out that people who are eyeing the guys who bulked up in the 90′s seem to give Thomas a free pass because he started out bigger. However, he added the same amount of muscle to his frame as the guys who are whispered about.

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        • Newcomer says:

          They’re also more likely to give him a free pass because he was vocally anti-steroids and pro-testing during his playing career. Pretty much the only one, too. But there are still plenty of doubters.

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        • vlock1 says:

          Well, not to come off as a crazed paranoiac, but what better false flag is there than to be vociferously against steroids, especially when he was already a big guy and could have, theoretically, hidden moderate usage better than, say, Sosa?

          I mean, to me he’s a no-doubt first ballot HOFer, but it seems there’s just as much reason to suspect him as there is to suspect Piazza and Bagwell. What would people have said if Piazza had hit 39 home runs in 2007, playing half his games in the Mausoleum?

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        • Eminor3rd says:

          I’m guessing you didn’t actually watch a lot of Frank Thomas. He had the most natural biological career arc of all. He bulked up heading into his prime, and then quickly started to get fatter and less in shape. His fatness corresponded with drastically increased time on the DL — and injury recovery is possibly the thing we know steroids help the MOST with.

          Combine that with his oft-arrogant media tirades about how he hated that his contemporaries were cheating and making his numbers look less impressive, and you have pretty much the easiest choice for a slugger that didn’t use steroids that you can have in the 90′s.

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      • Bernard says:

        I think it would be pretty shocking if Ken Griffey Jr. didn’t get in first ballot…

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    • Doug says:

      I think Dave mentioned Biggio because of his vote total from the last ballot. Thomas hasn’t been shown to have that level of support.

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    • Eric Lutz says:

      What about Kenny Lofton as a Hall of Famer? He was awesome and durable, a gold glover that batted .300 for a career playing an up the middle position CF?

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      • chuckb says:

        I don’t think Lofton ever made it to a 2nd ballot, though I could be mistaken. I’m not sure he belongs, but he should have been given a lot more consideration than he was.

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  9. Chris Hannum says:

    The PED era does seem to be having a huge impact on subjective evaluation of players’ careers – but not entirely for the reason listed here. If you assume that, say, 15% of players were cheating and rule out a number of the top guys of the era for being presumably among them, others are not going to get a boost as a result. We still see the bar raised tremendously for what constitutes a good hitter (which guys like Alan Trammell can’t reach) and we see inflated ERAs across the board that make pitchers look weak (not to mention the low win totals that come from pitch counts and modern bullpens) in spite of their huge WAR numbers. It’s difficult for a voter to look beyond Mussina’s 3.94 ERA and see him as comparable to Bob Gibson in any way shape or form. Unless voters can be convinced – across the board – to change the way that they think about players, this generation of players will have a bunch of superstars that cheated, a handful of superstars that didn’t and a lot of guys that aren’t “good enough” for the hall – but rank high on all-time WAR tables.

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    • kevinthecomic says:

      A good point, but if you knock off the 15% that you suggest and not replace them, that takes the 20 – 50 HOF members down to 17 – 42.5, which is still WAY higher than the current 2. Even if 50% of the players under consideration normally were cheating, that still leaves 10 – 25 HOF members (again, as opposed to 2).

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      • Chris Hannum says:

        Thing is, the cheaters don’t just disqualify themselves – they make the non-cheaters look bad, and nobody seems to have any great desire to make special allowances for non-PED users just because they had to compete against them.

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    • Mcneildon says:

      It’s not really a huge deal, but Mussina had a career ERA of 3.68.

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  10. Mr Punch says:

    I agree with what you say, but it’s important to realize that the HOF standard changed radically just before the steroid era – I think because of sabermetrics. First, players stopped getting elected largely on fame (hello, Joe Tinker); second, they started getting in on longevity (hola Tony Perez). Ironically, the latter happened just as PEDs were lengthening productivity. IMHO, we should get the HOF numbers up for the generation in question, but at the same time we need to rethink the standards we apply.

    I also think that anyone who wants to vote for Jack Morris because “he was the best AL pitcher of the ’80s” should be required to wait until Roger Clemens, a better AL pitcher of the ’80s, is in.

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    • ken says:

      “First, players stopped getting elected largely on fame (hello, Joe Tinker)…”

      Joe Tinker ranks #5 in career dWAR. Three of the four ahead of him are in the HOF. The other one, Belanger, was an even weaker hitter than Tinker who played in the dead ball era.

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      • Mr Punch says:

        I didn’t say he wasn’t good, I said he was elected primarily because he was famous – part of a great team and a great infield, with a verse about it.

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  11. badenjr says:

    Interesting angle, looking at birth year here. I’m curious… What percentage of playing time (PA for hitters, IP for pitchers) do HOF players contribute relative to the rest of the league in a given season? What about WAR? I’d imagine that the top 1-2% of the players get a much larger share of the playing time and contribute an even larger share of the WAR. I think showing how those rates have changed over the years would make for an interesting story.

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  12. Legitimately great post Dave, as someone who is semi-critical of most of your work. I’ll join the pro Frank Thomas as a no doubter sentiment though.

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    • Expanding on this I propose a new rate stat: %Bonds (potentially %Clemens for pitchers), Frank Thomas was worth approximately 50% of Barry Bonds over the course of his career, well exceeding the 33-40% Bonds threshold needed for enshrinement.

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  13. stan says:

    I think your thesis fails when you consider the longer career of players who played in the modern era and the greater number of players (due to more teams) in the modern era.

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  14. Scott says:

    What are the elected percentages when we remove players who got in through ways other than direct election (veteran’s committee, etc)?

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  15. MattyD says:

    Is that all players in the Hall or just those elected by the BBWAA? It sounds like you’re just talking about the BBWAA, but I think the numbers match up with the total enshrined. That’s not really a fair comparison, or at least we need to acknowledge that the total from ’51-’70 period still has a long way to go before being final.

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  16. olethros says:

    Two thirds of HOF pitchers were born pre-1900? Fucking strange, that. I’m curious about positional representation now.

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  17. ken says:

    “If you don’t want to vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, then vote for some other player from that era who you don’t think used steroids.”

    Fred McGriff, and before you laugh look at his #’s along side Willie McCovey & Willie Stargell. The only thing that different is that he’s not named Willie.

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    • Barney Coolio says:

      Not so fast. Total number of pinch hits:

      McCovey: 68
      Stargell: 57
      McGriff: 12

      Haha. I’m on a pinch hitting kick right now.

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    • Travis L says:

      He’s close but a clear third behind those other two. Fewer WAR in more PA.

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      • ken says:

        His WAR is skewed by playing in the steroid era, that’s the whole point. I consider the steroid era starting in earnest in 1995 (obviously people were doing them before).

        From 1988 to 1994 McGriff’s bWAR averaged 5.1. from 1995 to 2002 it averaged 2.0 even though his productivity barely decreased.

        ’88-’94 .288/.390/.545/.935

        ’95-’02 .288/.371/.489/.860

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  18. rubesandbabes says:

    Okay, this is a fun, end-around construct from Dave – good job on the commenters pointing out the increased number of players vs. the percentage, debunking the distorted graph and supposed number of players missing.

    Too funny how Dave himself doesn’t have enough candidates to fill the 20 spots.

    ==

    “If you’re taking a stance against the cheaters of that generation, then acknowledge those who we have no reason to suspect.” – DC

    To me, this is an aggressive assertion of the Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Robbie Alomar, Jim Thome never saw nothing standard. And wrong.

    ==

    Overall, this article calls out that the baseball HOF voting ‘process’ is something to feel bad about, something gone wrong, not true, vote was just right last year, but hey, misanthropy sells!

    -28 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • AK7007 says:

      Can’t tell if trolling or stupid. But if this was serious, the whole article went *woosh* right over your head.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Park Chan Ho's Beard says:

      this is gibberish

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        Right? It’s like running a block of text into a foreign language translator and then back again.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • AK7007 says:

          For fun, run through the gizoogle filter:

          “Okay, dis be a gangbangin’ fun, end-around construct from Dizzle – phat thang on tha commentas pointin up tha increased number of playas vs. tha cementage, debunkin tha distorted graph n’ supposed number of playas missing.

          Too funky how tha fuck Dizzle his dirty ass don’t have enough muthafuckas ta fill tha 20 spots.

          ==

          “If you’re takin a stizzle against tha cheataz of dat generation, then acknowledge dem playas whoz ass our crazy asses have no reason ta suspect.” – DC

          To me, dis be a aggressive assertion of tha Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Robbie Alomar, Jim Thome never saw not a god damn thang standard. Y’all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka! And wrong.

          ==

          Overall, dis article calls up dat tha basebizzle HOF votin ‘process’ is suttin’ ta feel wack about, suttin’ gone wrong, not true, vote was just right last year yo, but hey, misanthropy sells!”

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    • Chicago Mark says:

      I don’t necessarily agree with everything you said rube. But I really find it interesting how all the minions give you negative clicks and Dave positive clicks for talking about a 200 pound player not getting voted in.
      You talk bad about Dave and they see red! Clicks that is. woosh!

      -11 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • chuckb says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Mr. Chass.

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  19. Bill says:

    it’s a disgrace, so many deserving names headed by Raines, Lofton, Bagwell, etc. Go ahead and put bonds and clemens in too, because honestly you can put them in a corner and it’s better to have it done with and swept away than for it to come up every year

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  20. Chicago Mark says:

    I’m very surprised all of you buy into this thought process. I don’t! Why would anybody decide to vote in a player he/she originally thought un-deserving because it meets some sort of % criteria even if it is historical. If a voter doesn’t think Morris or Thomas or ??? are deserving they should not vote them in. My belief is Dave believes these players are deserving and therefore it gets them closer. But I’m not certain the voters think the same as Dave. And the second you start talking WAR there are probably even more of them that are turned off. Dave doesn’t even believe WAR totals should be used. I believe!

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. tangotiger says:

    For those who asked: the number of US-born players is the same in 1969 as it is today, more or less. The expansion from 24 to 30 teams has been entirely consumed by foreign-born players.

    This is also true in the NHL (Canada/US-born players), when it expanded from 21 teams to eventually 30. All of the expansion teams covered by foreign-born players.

    And, since the number of live-births has been a constant for several decades, there is actually NO dilution in talent.

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Barney Coolio says:

      Talent dilution is not just about population increases. It is also about how many boys in the population are actually interested in baseball and have the talent to play in the majors. I would wager that little league participation reached its peak a few decades ago.

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      • tz says:

        I looked at this a few years ago, and even including an adjustment for the advent of the NFL, NBA, etc., you still have the “pool” of talent growing at roughly the same rate as expansion. The only period where baseball’s players/pool ratio might have a blip is the 1950′s, after integration had begun but before the first expansion (and even so, it’s not a huge blip).

        I do think you may have a point on the LL participation for FUTURE levels of relative talent, if baseball’s expansion into Europe and non-Japan Asia can’t offset the loss from the US.

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      • Wil says:

        Because of the growing population, even if there was a decrease in interest in baseball, it seems like statistical growth of the population itself should at least offset that decrease.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. AB says:

    Probably with the majority of FG readers, I agree with this. It’s logical and something I think both sides of the debate could agree on. Well argued.

    On a minor side note, it’s worth considering that writer’s as a group, are not uniform across decades. Each generation probably exhibits some variation in how they interpret play and value players. This goes with changes in the game and general social changes over time. Heck, we would expect a writer today to make use of more advanced statistics; whereas we would’ve expected our fathers’ generation of writers to base things on the traditional stats.

    If writer’s can and do change their views over time (which is a basic argument underlying the induction of players like Raines), shouldn’t we accept that their standards are allowed to change as well? Not sure I necessarily agree, but it bears consideration.

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  23. Mike Green says:

    Excellent. Notice the dip in the ’11-’20 birth class. That is, of course, because of the war. A bunch of would-be Hall of Famers lost some years that affected career totals and (for some) their peaks. It was hard to make the adjustment for that. There is a bit of a similarity for the steroid era- take Fred McGriff, for instance. His numbers and his lustre suffer with the comparison to players like Mark McGwire. I am not suggesting that McGriff would be the best choice, but merely that placing players is harder in this context (assuming you do not wish to honour PED users).

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  24. Jeff K says:

    Great analysis. It would be interesting to know the stats for the 1950′s as of 2003, the stats for the 1940′s as of 1993, etc., to see how much of the decline in representation is temporary (i.e., gets fixed in future years) vs. how much is permanent. For example, Mariano Rivera was born in 1969 – he’s not eligible yet, but will add to the tally when he becomes eligible. I suspect that the underrepresentation of the 1960′s players still would be there, albeit at a slightly narrower comparison.

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  25. Three years ago, I looked at another reason the Hall ballots are so crowded: the number of Hall-eligible players who retire every year has remained remarkably consistent over the last 30 years. It’s somewhere around 20 a year, every single year.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/another-look-at-why-the-hall-ballots-are-so-crowded/

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. Barney Coolio says:

    I think it is a bad choice to list decades as lasting from 1-0 instead of from 0-9. Tony Gwynn was born in May, 1960. He was born in the 60′s, right? If you say he was born in the decade from 1951-1960, what decade would you say he was born in?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. SteveJeltz says:

    Rather than count total players who appeared in a decade, another way to look at it is the total # of ABs or PA or Out Made / Recorded by HOFers in a given decade. It’s really high. Like 10%+ Maybe 20% for those eras where a couple too many guys got inducted (like the Gashouse Gang Cardinals and the 1920s Giants). Or another way to look at it – If you take any decade, on average, there was about one HOF per team roster every year, or almost two in the pre-expansion era. Probably this is a stat you could do, Dave Cameron: Total PA recorded in the history of the major leagues divided by the combined total plate appearances (hitters) and batter faced (pitchers) of all the members of Cooperstown. I’m guessing its between 10-20%.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. pft says:

    Excellent piece putting the numbers into context. The modern era in baseball from 1970 (games played) and on is really under represented

    I would argue that Schilling’s performance in his 30′s relative to his 20′s makes him a person of interest, even if he has said all the right things. However, I think there were so many players who were using PED’s beyond which we know of I give the whole class a pass. Put an asterisk next to every player in the era and move on.

    A HOF without Clemens and Bonds, and even Rose is really irrelevant. AS long as we have racists, recreational drug users, adulterers, spousal abusers, drunks, DUI’ers, amphetamine users, etc in the HOF, we can have guys whose only crime was taking PED’s and working out like madmen to make themselves better players. To call it cheating when its use was widespread and there was no penalty, and teams and MLB actually encouraged their use, seems strange.

    Today players can take Toradol, Creatine, DHEA, etc to enhance performance, but nobody worries about the sanctity of records with those drugs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Belloc says:

      What a load of claptrap.

      You are comparing Toradol to anabolic steroids? Are you out of your mind? Toradol is in the same class of drug as ibuprofen.

      So players who take Motrin for musculoskeletal pain are enhancing their performance? Why stop there? Why not say that anyone who drinks coffee is no different than a person who uses HGH and anabolic steroids.

      Espousing racialism, cheating on one’s spouse, being an DUI or a domestic violence offender are all evidence of bad character. But they do not provide an unfair competitive advantage over a player who leads a more virtuous life. These character faults do not prevent a baseball player who chooses not to use PEDs from making the 25-man roster, the starting line-up, the All Star team. They do not take money out of another player’s pocket.

      In fact, for purposes of a Hall of Fame that recognizes athletic performance, one could make an argument that PED users are far worse than wife beaters, drunks, philanderers or racists. The fact that one prominant baseball player beats his wife does not lead millions to suspect that all baseball players beat their wives. But one prominant baseball player who gets caught using PEDs causes millions to suspect innocent players of also being cheats.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Spencer D says:

        There is certainly evidence that indicates that amphetamines were a very statistically significant part of baseball, and that alone is problematic enough without the “role model” argument.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. Ian R. says:

    I like the idea here, but I’m not sure getting rid of the 10-vote limit is what’s going to fix the problem. Most of the writers don’t actually fill up their ballots to begin with.

    If we get rid of the 10-vote limit, would some writers vote for more? Sure. Would enough of them do so to make a difference? Doubtful. The problem is that there are nearly 600 ballots being cast, and 75 percent is the threshold for enshrinement. Good luck getting 450 people to agree on much of anything.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • M W says:

      And getting 75 out of a 100 is different than getting 450 out of 600?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ian R. says:

        In practice, yes. It’s a lot easier to build a 75 percent consensus among a group of 100 people than a group of 600 people. It’s easier to do anything with a group of 100 people than a group of 600 people.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          well, not, like, build a pyramid. But definitely, point taken. 75% is ridiculous.

          What percent of the population of the BBWAA is just straight up dumb? Not to put too fine a point on it, but my guess is plenty. And you have to convince them to put someone in the hall based on fancy stats and linear regression and percentages and all of this? Good luck.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. Park Chan Ho's Beard says:

    Larry Walker. ‘Nuff said.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Ryan Taylor says:

    I would not worry about the BBWAA not electing enough players to Cooperstown. The BBWAA has only elected 110 players to the hall. That is less than half of the enshrines. The majority of HOFers are put there by some form of Veterans Committee and it is their shenanigans that has done the most erode the reputation of the HOF.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ian R. says:

      Well, not quite. The majority of major league players in the HoF were inducted by the BBWAA (though it’s not a large majority). They’re a minority of the total inductees because the various committees also handle Negro League players, 19th-century players, managers, umpires and executives.

      Also, the BBWAA has inducted its share of subpar players (Catfish Hunter, Pie Traynor, Rabbit Maranville) and missed on its share of great players (Larry Doby, Arky Vaughan). Plus, the Veterans did most of their damage in the mid-20th century when the BBWAA was stubbornly refusing to induct anyone.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. dme says:

    Dwight “Dewey” Evans; why is he not in? Defense is underrated, although it’s obviously half the game. That said, Dewey could still stroke it as well.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mark Murphy says:

      Jim Rice is in, Dewey certainly deserves a nod. He was still getting on base well into his late 30s.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason B says:

        Jim Rice should NOT become the new bar; don’t qualify people based on the least qualified HOFers. Otherwise another 200 players or so should go in.

        Qualify people based on *average* HOFers at their position, not the single worst.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Dave S says:

    I was born in 1961. This is “my” generation of players.

    I have no problem with the writers acting like this complete generation baseball players didn’t exist.

    In fact, that may be exactly what they deserve.

    -10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Blanket Hysteria says:

      I know right! It’s CRAZY that people only become awful in the last couple decades! Every single one of ‘em too, NONE of them played by the rules!!

      Players in previous generations were uniformly saints. Every last one! From Ty Cobb to Gaylord Perry, not a racist, drunk, or cheater among em!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Dave S says:

        At no point did I say any previous generation were saints. I’m not comparing them to previous generations of players.

        I’m comparing them to normal honest people.

        Also, being a racist or a drunk is generally not performance enhancing and would not generally lend itself to enabling a player to re-write the record book.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • olethros says:

          Amphetamines however, are performance enhancing and virtually every HoF’er who played from ~1950 on used them.

          Just where are you drawing the “performance enhancing” line? Strict diets, vitamin supplements, and improved workout regimens are just as performance enhancing, if not more so, than steroids. Practice, the greatest performance enhancing drug of all!

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Dave S says:

          I’m not really sure where the line should be drawn, and I don’t want to come across as a prude, nor a rube.

          Today we have things, things we consider “basic”… that were completely unheard of back in the old days of baseball. Things like adequate nutrition, and cleanliness/sanitation… real healthcare! All of these things are “performance enhancing”. And growing up, even today, some current players have had better access to these things than others. Life will always be that way to some extent.

          The “cheating” line is always going to be somewhat blurry I suppose.

          I am not advocating for keeping this entire generation out of the hall.

          I feel strongly that _injecting_ potentially harmful substances (illegally), over a long carefully planned period of time, in order to gain a performance advantage over your peers… or protecting a culture that turns a blind eye to that behavior, and thus encourages others to participate in that behavior (or be left behind)… I just feel that is over some line.

          And yeah, I know about greenies etc… (and now Adderall) and I don’t have that same strong feeling against that… though maybe I should.

          I guess I’m just saying that there has been a pall cast upon the lot of the steroid generation (for better or worse)… and I can understand why the writers would be hesitant or unsure of how to proceed.

          I think that a great many of us feel the same way about it. Honestly, I don’t know what to do about it.

          And to withhold judgement until some more clarity can be achieved seems prudent to me.

          But if the writers suddenly change their mind and start electing all those guys to the Hall… I won’t be unduly upset about it.

          It’s an unprecedented situation. There is no clear path.

          Which I guess is why we are all still talking about it.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Belloc says:

          Olethros:

          Amphetamines are not anabolic. They do not increase muscle mass. Amphetamines are used by athletes to counteract fatigue and to lose weight. And, in contrast with anabolic steroids, study after study dating back from 1959 has concluded that amphetmaine use has no real benefit to athletic performance. The main reason MLB and other associations that govern sports have identified amphetamines as a PED is they are frequently used by athletes in concert with anabolic steroids to combat fatigue from training. There is a sound basis to prohibit and penalize the use of amphetamines in baseball, but that doesn’t mean that amphetamine use and steroid use are equivalent.

          It’s disingenuous and downright absurd to equate amphetamine use with AAS use. That’s like saying one who shoplifts is as bad as a child molester because they are both criminals. It is particularly dubious in this context because amphetamines were legal and readily available over the counter (even methamphetamine was used as an OTC diet pill) until the FDA finally scheduled them as a controlled substance in the early 1970s. And MLB didn’t ban amphetamines until 2006. In contrast, steroids were implicitly banned by MLB in 1971 and expressly banned in 1991.

          So to say that Willie Mays or Hank Aaron were just as bad as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds is absurd.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe says:

      I was born in 1991. It’s also “my” generation of players, in that they were the ones I grew up watching as a kid when I got into baseball. And I have a huge problem with the writers acting like they did not exist.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. John W. says:

    i always look forward to reading your work, and you never disappoint. Bravo.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. PackBob says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the moral high ground argument. If a writer believes a player using PEDs lacked integrity, sportsmanship, or character – 3 of the 6 qualities listed for consideration for the Hall of Fame – then that it not a moral high ground but simply applying the stated considerations.

    Debate over whether PED usage violated these requirements is a different argument that happens before voting.

    I would argue that if PED use precludes election by voters for some players, then the overall standards of achievement for the era need to be adjusted for the inflation of the sudden and many record-setting home run hitters, allowing a more normal percentage to be elected.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ian R. says:

      Sure, integrity, sportsmanship and character are in the criteria. But the very first election that used those criteria elected, with the highest overall vote percentage… Ty Cobb.

      My understanding is that the original intent of the character clause was to provide a boost to otherwise marginal candidates who were great representatives of and ambassadors for the game. It’s only later that the BBWAA turned around and started using it to exclude players who were otherwise worthy.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

        Can we stop bringing up Ty Cobb as the ultimate “character” counterpoint? No way would a racist who beat up fans be elected nowadays. The point being: standards have changed, and that’s a good thing. Now we consider character more strenuously: we demand that our players not regularly commit physical violence and if they have nasty, bigoted opinions on various subjects, keep them to themselves.

        This was brought up up-thread, but you can’t make Hall decisions on the lowest common denominator, which, in the case of character, is unquestionably Cobb. It’s not a decision like “You must be this _____ to be in the HoF”; it’s a decision like “Considering all the virtues and vices of some player together, we decide he is worth enshrinement.” In other words, we consider both the positive impacts (in terms of excellent baseball players, few were better than Cobb) and the negative (he seems to have been a terrible person).

        That’s why the steroid issue is prickly. It’s a place where poor character may have caused outstanding performance. The natural inclination then is for the writers to throw their hands up and say “this invalidates them” because it’s very difficult to precisely delineate what kind of players they would have been had they not made bad decisions.

        What’s more, while the sins of no particular player were that significant, together they did serious damage to the game of baseball. That’s a serious demerit for their Hall-worthiness, but hard to pin on any single player.

        Anyway, I always get shouted down when I say this in HoF threads on FG, so have at it.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. JimH says:

    If Frank Thomas took PEDs and worked out like Bonds or Giambi he would have hit 100 HRs in a season. His biggest flaw was that he wasn’t a gym rat and cheater. His first 7-8 years were Ruthesque.

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  37. cmasia says:

    Hi Dave.

    I really enjoyed the article, but there is one bit of additional perspective that may or may not shed light.

    The players born between 1961 and 1970 will be between 53 and 44 years old in 2014.

    I wonder if your research can show, in previous decades, the ages of those who were elected.

    Is it possible the percentage for the 1960′s is low because in other decades older, or deceased players were still being admitted?

    The Veteran’s Committee only looks at these players.

    In the 1960′s they added 22 Hall of Famers.
    In the 70′s 32.
    In the 80′s, 17.
    In the 90′s, 24.
    And several of these played pre-1900.

    That’s 96 out of 221. Take those out of your percentages and the 60′s don’t look so bad.

    My comment is not meant to take away from your very thought provoking article.
    But this additional perspective may shed additional light.

    Cheers.

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  38. champion88 says:

    Very disappointed that you advocated rewarding cheaters Dave.

    I thought you had higher morals than that.

    At most, they should be walled off in a separate wing called the Hall of Shame, if we have to acknowledge them somehow.

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  39. DNA+ says:

    The fact that about 1-2% of players per decade has made the Hall of Fame is not a standard, as Dave asserts, it is an observation. At no point in time did the voting members give a damn about anything so arbitrary and random as the percentage of players born per decade. They obviously shouldn’t care now. The voters vote for the players they deem worthy, using whatever criteria they prefer within the HOF guildlines. If it happens to work out to between 1-2% of the players born per decade, great (but honestly nobody gives a damn, because that is just some random factoid equivalent to “the career leader in homeruns leading off the second inning on day games”).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      That is true and a good point, but it still doesn’t change the fact that players who clearly and easily meet the HOF standards established for previous generations of players are now not being elected.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DNA+ says:

        Sure, if that is the case then Dave should argue that specifically, rather than inventing his own standards (based upon nothing that anyone cares about), claiming they are the actual standards of the HOF, and that they are therefore not fulfilling their responsibilities. This is just nonsense.

        Dave thinks the steroid guys belong in the Hall. That is his real purpose here. He just invented this absurd strawman because he knows he is unlikely to change the minds of the no-PEDs voters, since that is a philosophical difference with no obvious correct answer.

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        • chuckb says:

          He specifically mentioned Mussina and Schilling. Cheaters? Prove it or get off your high horse.

          You’re the one creating the strawman here.

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        • DNA+ says:

          I really don’t know what you are on about. I am not arguing anyone is a PED user or should be included or excluded from the HOF. I am just pointing out that Dave’s argument based upon the completely arbitrary criterion of 1-2% of players need to be admitted per birth decade, is just nonsense.

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  40. tz says:

    Thanks Dave for posting this.

    This point needs to be made over and over again.

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  41. Mr Punch says:

    Here’s my prime example of changing standards: Bernie Williams (b. 1968). There is, I think, no doubt that had Williams been born in any previous decade and gone on to be a Gold Glove CF for the Yankees and the best position player on three World Series champions (and a close second on another), he’d be a Hall of Famer.

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    • DNA+ says:

      My two favorite position players are Bernie Williams and Don Mattingly. I don’t think either belong in the Hall though. Mattingly because he didn’t do it long enough, and Bernie because he just wasn’t good enough. Bernie was the best player on one of the greatest teams of all time, however that is more a statement of how balanced those teams were. Was the difference between Bernie and ONeil or Jeter that great? Not really.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  42. Cidron says:

    regarding the Steroid Era.. the writers need to get off their hypocritical asses and vote them in. The writers were just as much part of the era, touting the homers and those hulking frames that hit them as much as the players were at fault for taking the PEDS. The writers made the names famous, made them household known, made them heroes and legends in their time. The writers are just as ‘dirty’ as the players are. Own up to it, admit them in (the ones that are deserving of it, on their value and contributions). We already have flawed people in. Don’t get all holier-than-thou now guys.

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    • DNA+ says:

      “The writers” don’t vote as a block. Each votes on their own. Just like not all the players used steroids, not all the writers are ‘dirty’.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Cidron says:

        I agree, they don’t vote as a block.. But, the list of writers who were consistently making the McGwire’s, Palmiero’s, Sosa’s, Bond’s, Clemen’s, Canseco’s of the game into hero’s is quite long. Almost to a man, the writers all did this, making them into saviors of the game, legends, hero’s. And, now, almost to a man, they turned their backs on the PED users that not to long ago, they made into legends.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • DNA+ says:

          Perhaps some of the writers who lionized Big Mac, et al. have decided that they were wrong to do so. Consequently, they now don’t feel they are worthy of the HOF. I don’t see that as a terribly illogical position to take.

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  43. Turducken says:

    As this (inevitably) devolved into a steroid thread, could somebody with more morals than I tell me the difference between the following behaviors?

    1. Steroids (off-label use to increase muscle mass)
    2. Steroids (on-label use to improve recovery)
    3. Speed/Adderal (off-label use to improve concentration)
    4. LASIK (elective surgery to improve eyesight beyond 20/20)
    5. Tommy John (surgery to improve recovery, possibly making joint stronger than before injury)
    6. Cheating at baseball
    7. Gambling on baseball

    Does anybody have a decision matrix that would exclude 1, 2 and/or 7, but include the rest? Illeagality isn’t it, or it would exclude #3, and against the rules of baseball isn’t it, or it would exclude #6.

    The only explanation I have is that steroids/extra muscles isn’t aethetic, but that isn’t remotely a hall of fame criterion.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  44. Pumpsie Green says:

    These old fogeys to give up their voting rights. Baseball is a fun game played by kids. The further these old guys get from being kids, the more they resent the new generation of ballplayers and the more they wax nostalgic about the so-called golden era of baseball. It happened in previous generations, too, but thanks to all the miracles of modern medicine all these writers are living longer and jamming it up for the younger guys. Used to be that mid-50′s was old for a writer; now you’ve got guys in their 70′s still hacking away. Retire already! There’s plenty of talented young writers to take your place. We need our grumpy old writers to be the ones who think Trout is no Molitor, not guys who say Jeter is no Rizzuto.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Cidron says:

      Interesting proposal. Maybe a voter is allowed to vote on 10, maybe 20 ballots during a voting career. After that, no more ballots are sent to you. Maybe players that vote get +5 more, as they played the game (and were kids “playing a game” longer ?).

      Heck, I get caught up in that same train of thought. Trout is the player that I caught myself thinking “He is just a young kid, how can he be MVP?”. I was giving Cabrera the mvp on just that alone initially. But, they play the same game, vs the same foes at the same time, just as hard. They deserve the same. They dont need the comparisons. Trout is the next coming of ….. Machado (balt) is the next coming of… How bout just calling them Trout, Machado, etc.

      But, the old fogies remember the game in their day. What they forget is that time tends to hide the bad, and keep the good. We remember the good of a given player, and conveniently forget the bad. Result, The older player is held on a high pedestal that nobody playing today can compare to. Even the Trout’s of the game cant compare. “He is a nice enough player, but….. “

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  45. A different Mike says:

    I’d like to see this done looking at players voted in by the BBWAA only. Take out some of the Veterans’ Committee/”Whatever the hell you call it now” craziness from the 1930s, and also the fact that recent folks haven’t been given a shot on the VC yet.

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  46. Dennis Corcoran says:

    I enjoyed reading this blog Dave. I’m a historian and I spent six years researching and writing “Induction Day at Cooperstown a History of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony.” I think they should do away with the 10 vote limit for all BBWAA voters, especially with so many good candidates on the ballot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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