Bottom of Ballot Fears Prove Unwarranted

Over the last month or so, some diligent folks have tracked the publicly disclosed Hall of Fame ballots. Carson collected that information for us earlier today, and looking at it, one couldn’t help but feel dread at the possibility of some deserving candidates being axed from the ballot for failure to garner five percent of the vote. Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield were among the players who had to be sweating the technique of the assembled electorate. Or, if they weren’t, certainly there were some concerned fans.

As it turns out, those fears went mostly unwarranted. The only player with a legitimate-ish case for inclusion in the Hall who fell under the threshold was Blue Jays great Carlos Delgado. While Delgado certainly has a case, Jay Jaffe didn’t have him making it in via JAWS, and he would have faced an uphill climb whether he had remained on the ballot or not. At 43.5 WAR, he was definitely at the bottom of the pack of players getting legitimate consideration.

This turn of events is, to be perfectly honest, a neat trick. While more than four members of this class were deserving, to see four players elected and only Delgado actually fall off the ballot is a pretty remarkable balancing act by the voters. In years past, that has not been the case (Kenny Lofton and Kevin Brown say hi). Hopefully next year, the logjam will continue to clear, and those deserving candidates who were at the bottom of the ballot this year will begin to gradually accumulate more votes.

Before I leave you, I have a special treat. Thanks to the hard and timely work of FanGraphs intern Morris Greenberg, here are four custom Hall of Fame leaderboards:



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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.



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Bobby Ayala
Member

No one in the 5% range deserves to be in the hall. They’re certainly great players, but they don’t deserve to be in.

I don’t think the worry was ever that deserving players would fail to reach 5%, it’s that the more deserving players would fail to reach 75%, which seems to be happening in the case of someone like Edgar Martinez, who needed a long, 10 year climb to the 75% mark if he made it at all. Standing pat in the mid-20’s because votes are going to the flood of other, more deserving guys is exactly what many fans were afraid of.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21

I think Gary Sheffield deserves to be in the Hall, and I have a hard time seeing how a Martinez supporter sees it differently. (But maybe you aren’t including Sheffield in the “5% range,” since he ended up with 10% of the vote.)

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles

How does Kevin Brown and his 73 WAR (26th all-time for P) not deserve serious consideration? He has more WAR than 46 P HOFs. Even Lofton at 62 WAR should have had the chance to gain momentum, he has 76 hitter HOFs beat. Then there is Palmeiro who is one of 4 men to ever have 3000hits and 500hr.

Stuck in a slump
Guest
Stuck in a slump

Palmeiro was caught using PED’s though, and the BBWAA penalizes known and suspected PED users.

King Buzzo's Fro
Guest
King Buzzo's Fro

Led the league in finger waving

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles

and it apparently penalizes rumored users too (Bagwell, Piazza). The whole thing is idiotic. Who is to say that Smoltz didn’t have help coming back from nearly career ending surgery?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Palmeiro was one of the loudest anti-steroid voices in the game when he got popped.

Also, Canseco’s been right about everyone else, so I’m not about to start calling him a liar now.

mettle
Guest
mettle

Because it’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of WAR.
Fame =/= Most number of wins contributed to teams’ success nor Absolute quantification of player value.

It’s why Koufax is a 1st ballot HoFer and Blyleven is a 14 ballot HoFer.
It’s why we have playoffs and not a crowning of the team with the most regular season wins or that generated the most WAR during the season.

They’re just different things and always will be.

Igloo
Guest
Igloo

Careful there, troll; you don’t want to give yourself away too easily.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Brown should be in, and Lofton has a very real argument.

Fuck Palmeiro, though.

wpDiscuz