Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas Elected to Hall of Fame

Because of the release of ballots over the last few weeks, we’ve had a pretty good idea that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas would get elected into the Hall of Fame on their first attempt. Today, that was made official, as all three cleared the 75% threshold and are now members of the Hall. All three are more than deserving, and raise the level of the Hall of Fame by their enshrinement.

Because today should be about celebrating greatness, here is my homage to Greg Maddux and Jeff’s tribute to Tom Glavine, with a similar piece on Frank Thomas on the way. These players are worth celebrating.

Of course, as is often the case with announcements of this sort, the players who missed can overshadow the players who made it, and the vote total for Craig Biggio is probably going to be the story that gets the most traction. Biggio received 427 votes out of a possible 571, putting him at 74.8%, just two votes shy of election. It is the most narrow miss in HOF voting history, tying him with Nellie Fox and Pie Traynor, both of whom ended up getting elected later. Biggio is basically a mortal lock to get elected next year, but that he missed by two votes this year is going to be the source of a lot of consternation for the next 12 months.

And really, it is perhaps the perfect example of why the 10 player limit on the HOF ballot needs to be removed immediately. There are almost certainly confirmed more than two voters who did not include Craig Biggio on their 10 player ballot because there were 10 players they felt were more qualified on this particular ballot, but would have voted for him had the 10 player limit not been in place.

In other words, more than 75% of the voters would vote yes for Craig Biggio if that was the only question that was posed to them, but the limit means that is not the question they were asked, and they had to weigh his candidacy against the many other deserving candidates who made up this historically crowded ballot.

The fact that more than 75% of the voters would vote for Biggio, but could not because of an archaic rule that serves no purpose, but he did not get elected because of that rule, is reason enough to discard it post haste. Craig Biggio is, in the minds of 75% of the HOF voters, a Hall of Famer, but is being kept out by a technicality.

While I do not wish to be morbid, it is possible that Biggio does not live to see the 2015 Hall of Fame class get announced, and the Hall could be forced to posthumously elect a player that has already exceeded the threshold of 75% support among the voters. That would be a travesty, and motivation enough to remove the 10 player limit before we actually have a situation where a player is honored after he passes simply because the BBWAA is clinging to an outdated rule that has no use.

I believe the 10 player limit will be changed before next year’s ballot. Craig Biggio’s two vote miss ensured that this issue will not go unstudied, and once it becomes clear that indeed more than two voters would have voted for him if they could have, change will essentially be forced. In that sense, this is a good result for the Hall of Fame, even if it means another year of frustration for Biggio himself.

Overall, though, this is nearly as good of a result as could be hoped for, given the current rules and electorate. Three deserving players got in, no undeserving players are going to lower the Hall’s standard for future enshrinement, and a bad rule will now be heavily scrutinized. The process still needs improvement, but this is a much better day for both the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA than last year’s announcement.

We hoped you liked reading Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas Elected to Hall of Fame by Dave Cameron!

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SF 55 for life
Member
SF 55 for life

Odds of voting reform in the near future?

ryan
Guest
ryan

“I believe the 10 player limit will be changed before next year’s ballot.”

Jay29
Guest
Jay29

Not sure why Dave would think the BBWAA would see reason and admit a mistake.

Jay29
Guest
Jay29

True, and I have hope for the future, just not sure it can happen that quickly (e.g., I’m not concerned about the low vote counts for Schilling and Mussina, because they have over a dozen years to get more support).

But of course I forgot that you are in the loop and can influence a lot of the writers.

SocraticGadfly
Guest

If we’re going to talk about ideal HOFs, not an upstate NY tourist trap, let’s have writers put one spot on the ballot for voting somebody OUT of the HOF. If one person hits 75 percent, boom!

We can get rid of the 1930s Veterans Commission dead wood. (And vote Jack Morris back out whenever a modern VC is dumb enough to vote him in.)

Jon C
Member
Jon C

DC might “believe” one thing, and he’s must certainly going to politic for a change. That by no means makes it a fact that it will or even should be changed.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko

Even to a well-read fan, there are clear signs that the limit may be changed.

If you ignore the Chasses, Gurnicks, curly-haired boyfriends, and Nobles of the BBWAA (which make up a minority, not a majority), many other baseball writers have written/spoke about their problems with the 10-vote limit.

SocraticGadfly
Guest

I hope not. I had him on my 10-player mock ballot and on voting at Deadspin. I didn’t have Walker on my ballot. Above all, I didn’t have Bonds and Clemens on my ballot. I mean, Big Mac made a halfway confession at least.

HAL9100
Member
HAL9100

Oh, its the Hall of Honesty now?

Because Mark McGwire was not as good at baseball as Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.

SocraticGadfly
Guest

Never said Big Mac was. Never said that roiding confessions were only about honesty, either. Instead, I want that knowledge in part to improve future testing. I also want it in part to make it better to make a guesstimate at Roids+ (or Roids-) to parallel ERA+ and OPS+.

Details here, where I also note that roids weren’t the only factor in the power explosion: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2014/01/cooperstown-central-were-roids-and-peds.html

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko

That blog piece is more vapid than Jenny McCarthy on the view.

First of all you say that steroids account for 35 percent of the power explosion, without any evidence whatsoever.

Even if we assume this to be true. You then apply the rate cuts across the board. Therefore, you are making the assumption that the entire “steroid era” should be adjusted, so that we can compare it to other baseball periods.
The assumption itself is reasonable, but you seem to misunderstand the statistics you cite. Rate stats like OPS+ and ERA- are calculated relative to the baseball period, as are cumulative stats like WAR. In the context of such stats, the “steroid era” already has an adjustment.
You then make the assertion that if Bonds admits he used steroids, this admission would somehow lead to improved drug testing. Ironically, such a ridiculous assertion actually has evidence AGAINST it; investigations that are intended to maintain confidentiality improve testing, but not individual admissions. When Ken Camniti admitted, while playing, that he used steroids, absolutely nothing happened. However, when an independent investigator examined the level of PED use in the major leagues, the report spurred improvements in testing schedules.

My guess is that you left off Bonds and Clemens because you don’t like them. That’s perfectly all right, but please, be honest with yourself about your thought process.

jim
Guest
jim

oh good, thankfully you wrote a blog piece explaining the reasoning behind your ballot.

oh, you don’t actually have a ballot?

SocraticGadfly
Guest

Eric: WAR, OPS+, et al, still ignore counting stats, and how they would have been affected. The same applies to Larry Walker and the Coors effect. I note explicitly that issue in my blog.

As for the exact percentages, they’re guesstimates, yes. But, I’m far from alone in talking about steroids in larger context of hitter-friendly changes. In that larger context, I think my guesstimates are reasonable.

Given that I’m not alone in such lines of thinking, they’re certainly not vapid.

Jim: It’s not like I’m the only person who took part in voting on Deadspin’s vote **which did have a ballot** and then did his own blog post about it. Bite me.

SocraticGadfly
Guest

Second note to Eric: OPS+ and ERA+ would only **perfectly** adjust for roiding if everybody in baseball was roiding.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

Yup, time for overreaction from sabr heads. It’s a minor holiday like Opening Day or trade deadline. Nothing happened that requires fixing. Biggio will get in next year after a social effort. Palmeiro falling is no big deal. He cheated, so he could make himself richer when he already had enough. I would bet the two confirmed people that had Biggio as their eleventh vote also voted for Bonds and Clemens, which is throwing their vote away just like turning in a blank sheet is. Those two will never get in on writer’s votes. Palmeiro wasn’t going to ever either.

Why not backlash towards those voters who somehow thought Biggio was the eleventh best player on the ballot? Who they spending votes on, anyway?

People got in, people fell off, the ballot will be fine next year without a change. Other players had to live with voting maximums, why should it get changed now to help this era of players?

People are missing the major travesty of this vote. Alan Trammel is losing support. We knew he wouldn’t get on writer’s vote but his loss of support doesn’t bode well for expansion era vote either.We can blame the Gurnicks of the world, and yes I think his ballot was entirely stupid, but this is not the time to overreact.

Maddux and Glavine and Thomas got in. Biggio WILL get in. No amount of ballot maximum changes will get Bonds or Clemens in. What exactly is the fuss over?

Drew
Guest
Drew

The fuss is over Morris getting any votes.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

You need to try harder than that to get a rise out of me.Morris didn’t get his views, no big deal. I seriously doubt anyone that had Morris on their ballot left off Biggio, mostly because most of the Morris voters would not have a full ballot because they wouldn’t vote for Bonds et al.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

stupid phone, views should be votes

JayT
Guest
JayT

Ken Gurnick voted for Jack Morris and no one else. I’m sure there were others that voted for Morris and not Biggio.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

Voted for Morris, and had Biggio off due to a full ballot is not the same as what you said, and I doubt it happened once much less twice. Bonds and Clemens fucked it up for everyone. Blame them, and the people that filled up this year’s ballot voting for them, not voter limits.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

I love how the fangraphs people try to piss people off with a downvote. What you don’t get it is people don’t care if you down vote them. I knew you’re all a hivemind of indoctrinated people a long time ago. Keep voting and thinking it matters if it makes you happy, but I already knew I was in the minority opinion before I posted, I didn’t need a reminder.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
DrBGiantsfan

We’re not trying to piss you off; you appear to be naturally bitter anyway. We downvoted because your comments are terrible.

Denial, she ain't just an Egyptian river...
Guest
Denial, she ain't just an Egyptian river...

…and clearly they do bother you, for you to comment on them so, so often.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko

People are voting you down because you are being foolish.

Clemens and Bonds still garnered ~35% of the vote in their second year. This was not a large dropoff, and it is entirely conceivable that they will get elected within the next 13 years.

Voters had multiple opportunities to vote in non-steroid users in the past (Trammel, Raines and Bagwell immediately come to mind). They did not. It is the collective voting over multiple years that has led to a clogged ballot, not simply Bonds and Clemens.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

Yeah Bonds will get in, and Santa is my neighbor. He needs not only votes, but a new electorate. This isn’t a referendum of Bonds’ skill, it’s a total contempt for cheating. It’s not the same as when Blyleven needed and got a push to the finish line. You need to convert people to a different mindset.

mark-in-sydney
Member
mark-in-sydney

I realize that this topic is done to death but for the last two years it continues to get my goat. The issue isn’t really steriods, the issue is the BBWAA members’ response to steroids. Basically, I think it amounts to guilt.

There is no doubt that Clemens and Bonds are both worthy of the HoF. There is also no doubt that, at the time they played, the baseball establishment, including Selig and most BBWAA members, were far more interested in their prowess than in rumours that they were on PEDs, despite Jose Canseco and others being very clear about. Then there was the Mitchell Report and they were shown up to be rather foolish.

So now these same guys feel guilty. And they do what most people do in such a situation, look for a scapegoat. Bonds and Clemens become it. And the writers mouth, hypocritically in my opinion, that they are “teaching them a lesson” and that “cheats never prosper” by not voting for them. I call BS on that. They just don’t have the balls to say that, despite the PEDs they are deserving. Not that my little rant will change anything…

SocraticGadfly
Guest

Half correct.

Everybody here should read Bryan Curtis’ “The Steroid Hunt” on Grantland. Writers were already filling in the blanks in 1995, and he’s got articles linked.

But, half the writers are looking at “small Hall” voters as being guilty, because plenty of them want to vote in Bonds & Clemens AND a dozen others.

So, I don’t feel sorry for the Bobbesey Twins. I also don’t feel sorry for ESPN writers who keep voting for them and then complaining about too small a ballot, especially when a lot of them were either columnists or beat writers back then.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10261642/mlb-hall-fame-voting-steroid-era

Dprat
Guest
Dprat

Over at Weird Meat’s HOF tracker, actual ballots are tabulated, currently 192 of them, almost exactly one third of the total. I count nine full ballots (10 players voted for) that have a Morris vote but no Biggio vote. So you can extrapolate that out to 20 to 30 votes, maybe even more. In short, you are wrong by a factor of 20-30+. Nice work.

Jon C
Member
Jon C

Did they have bonds and Clemens as well? also could you link me to that page?

SocraticGadfly
Guest

Other travesties? Mussina only getting 20 percent; Raines’ support slipping a bit.