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Thread: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

  1. #1
    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Chris Jaffe has an article posted on The Hardball Times advocating changes to be made in how players are selected for the Hall of Fame entitled "Cleaning Up Cooperstown." In that article his suggestions include one that sounded crazy when I first read it, but upon reflection makes some sense to me.
    The suggestion? Lower the threshold of the vote a player must receive for induction into the Hall of Fame from 75% of the vote to 50%.
    My initial reaction was "no way," don't "water down" the standards, etc.
    Jaffe then listed all of the players in the nearly 75 year history of the Hall of Fame, excluding players on this year's ballot, who at some point received at least 50% of the vote from the writers but who were still never eventually inducted. Here is the list:


    Gil Hodges


    That's it. With the exception of Hodges, every player who ever received as much as 50% of the vote was eventually elected.
    What we have now is a system that has given us an exciting Hall of Fame weekend this coming summer in Cooperstown when Hank O'Day (1862-1935), Jacob Ruppert (1867-1939) and Deacon White (1847-1939) are all inducted. Look, I think that Ruppert and White should be in the HOF but the induction of a trio of men who have been dead for as long as there has been a Hall of Fame, while inducting no one else, is crazy.
    Ron Santo was kept out of the Hall of Fame as long as he was alive and could have enjoyed the honor; as soon as he died, he was inducted.
    If 50% was the required threshold then Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Tim Raines would have all been elected this month. History tells us that each of them will eventually be inducted, if not by the writers then by some version of a veterans committee, but if guys such as Morris and Raines get in by that route they may have to wait so long that neither they nor many of their fans will live to see it.
    Anyway, while I am not yet advocating that the threshold be reduced, I though Jaffe's idea was worth discussion.
    I do think consideration could also be given to some sort of "runoff" ballot if no one is selected in initial voting.
    Last edited by RedsBaron; 01-14-2013 at 02:45 PM. Reason: typo
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  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    I still don't see Jack Morris as anywhere near a Hall of Famer. The fact that he has gotten such a high vote is mind boggling. He was an above-average pitcher for a stretch of a few years, but his peak was never close to being the best in his league and he was below average for a big stretch in his career too.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Jaffe is an astute historian, he has probably given more thought to the HOF in the past 30 days than 80% of the writers combined have in the last 5 years

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I still don't see Jack Morris as anywhere near a Hall of Famer. The fact that he has gotten such a high vote is mind boggling. He was an above-average pitcher for a stretch of a few years, but his peak was never close to being the best in his league and he was below average for a big stretch in his career too.
    He did have the most wins of the 80's and I think he suffered a bit from adjusting to the DH. I'm not an advocate of him being in the HOF but I think some of those things have to be taken into account when talking about Morris.

    As Joe Posnanski has pointed out, the players from the 80's are vastly under represented in the HOF.
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  6. #5
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Great idea.

    Not that I get worked up over the HOF, but many living fans have never heard of this years' inductees. Maybe I should know about them, but the truth is I really don't care. Great way for a tourist destination to get business with such a great slate.

    Absolutely no reason why Biggio shouldn't get in this year.
    In fact, I would propose a compromise to Jaffe's idea.
    If no one is selected on the 75% criteria, the leading vote getter should be inducted, provided he recieved 50% of the votes.

    I guess it really wouldn't bother me if Morris was in or out. He's borderline, IMO, but there's certainly worse players in. As far as "Fame" goes, he's got that in spades. I would vote him in, despite the stats.
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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Jaffe is an astute historian, he has probably given more thought to the HOF in the past 30 days than 80% of the writers combined have in the last 5 years
    He must be suppressed at all costs.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    He did have the most wins of the 80's and I think he suffered a bit from adjusting to the DH. I'm not an advocate of him being in the HOF but I think some of those things have to be taken into account when talking about Morris.

    As Joe Posnanski has pointed out, the players from the 80's are vastly under represented in the HOF.
    His ERA+ in the 1980's was 109 (since 2004, Bronson Arroyo is at 106). It never hit 130 in the 80's and only one time in his entire career. Sam LeCure has a higher ERA+ season than Jack Morris does.

    Simply put.... he was solid. He was good at times. But no single season in his entire career was he ever great. Not once. And for 7 different seasons his ERA+ was below league average and 5 times it was well below average. He had some really lucky seasons in there. Take 1992 for example. He went 21-6 with an ERA+ of 101. That is about as league average as you can get. He got 21 wins. He threw a lot of innings, which of course needs to be looked at along with his ERA because those innings of course matter. Still, I have a tough time looking at him and thinking that at any point in his career was he among the best pitchers in the game and for a while there, he was considerably "average at best".

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    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Like Jim Kaat, Jack Morris belongs in the Hall. The Hall of Very Good.

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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Jack Morris would not get a vote from me. In my opinion he is not even close to HOF-worthy.

  11. #10
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    He did have the most wins of the 80's and I think he suffered a bit from adjusting to the DH. I'm not an advocate of him being in the HOF but I think some of those things have to be taken into account when talking about Morris.

    As Joe Posnanski has pointed out, the players from the 80's are vastly under represented in the HOF.
    Perhaps. Though if that were truly people's argument for Morris, they'd be arguing for Dave Steib. I think the increase in support for Morris has been, in large part, a reaction to the prevalence of both steroids and sabermetrics, a HOF version of "back in my day..."

    That said, I'd agree with the 50% threshold. I'm a big hall guy. The telling of history is rarely made worse by providing a broader perspective.

    For fun, I looked at the top 10 fWAR pitchers of the 1980's. Enjoy! (Morris' win total was definitely impressive. But then again, he was 1st in IP, 1st in decisions and 3rd in losses.
    Code:
    #	Name			GS	IP	W	L	K%	BB%	HR/9	ERA	FIP	WAR	ERA-	CyTop5 (win)	AL Years
    1	Nolan Ryan		314	2094.0	122	104	24.9%	10.3%	0.55	3.14	2.83	46.2	90	3		1 of 10 (Rangers)
    2	Bert Blyleven		288	2078.1	123	103	17.2%	 6.5%	0.92	3.64	3.56	42.1	88	4		9 of 10 (Indians, Twins)
    3	Dave Stieb		331	2328.2	140	109	14.3%	 8.6%	0.71	3.32	3.78	41.5   	80	1      	       10 of 10 (Blue Jays)
    4	Roger Clemens		174	1284.2	95	45	23.2%	 7.1%	0.67	3.06	2.79	39.8	72	2 (2)		6 of  6 (Red Sox)
    5	Fernando Valenzuela	287	2144.2	128	103	18.4%	 9.4%	0.56	3.19	3.21	37.3    91	4 (1)		0 of 10
    6	Steve Carlton		240	1732.1	104	84	20.0%	 8.7%	0.70	3.48	3.19	37.2	91	3 (2)		2 of  9 (White Sox, Indians, Twins)
    7	Jack Morris		332	2443.2	162	119	16.0%	 8.4%	0.97	3.66	3.90	36.2   	91	4              10 of 10 (Tigers)
    8	Dwight Gooden		175	1291.0	100	39	22.4%	 7.3%	0.45	2.64	2.53	34.5	75	4 (1)		0 of 10
    9	Frank Viola		271	1858.0	117	98	16.5%	 7.0%	1.06	3.84	3.84	34.3	90	1 (1)		8 of  9 (Twins)
    10	Mike Witt		 72	1945.0	109	104	15.4%	 7.8%	0.77	3.78	3.62	33.8	95	1		9 of  9 (Angels)
    If you want the best pitcher who spent the 1980's in the AL, you could easily make a case for Dave Stieb, who got 1.4% of votes in his only appearance on the HOF ballot in 2004 (while Morris was getting 26.3% in his 5th ballot). Apparently more than 1/4 of the electorate gained new appreciation for Morris.

    I looked at 1990-1999 to see if I could find a decent comp for Morris in terms of high IP, a lot of wins, mediocre ERA and came across Steve Finley and Andy Benes -- and they both have to face guys on steroids. WHen he pitched in the early 90's, Morris had an ERA- of 107 (7% worse than average).
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 01-14-2013 at 09:46 PM.
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    I agree with you RedsManRick. I'm not really advocating for Morris because he's borderline at best but I can definitely see where pro-Morris people are coming from.

    You bring up an interesting point about Dave Steib. Just like they might need to adjust the 50% mark, I think they need to get rid of getting a certain percentage to stay on the ballot. With modern metrics, obviously some guys have been overlooked traditionally (Ken Boyer is a good example of this). Bobby Grich is a perfect example of a guy who was off the ballot either the first or second year because of the minimum threshold rule. If you look at his numbers, he compares favorably with a lot of 2B considered to be the best of the best. He was brilliant at defense at 2B and so often that is overlooked in this discussion unless a player changes the game with his defense like Ozzie Smith, Roberto Clemente, or Brooks Robinson.
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    Bobby Grich is a perfect example of a guy who was off the ballot either the first or second year because of the minimum threshold rule. If you look at his numbers, he compares favorably with a lot of 2B considered to be the best of the best. He was brilliant at defense at 2B and so often that is overlooked in this discussion unless a player changes the game with his defense like Ozzie Smith, Roberto Clemente, or Brooks Robinson.
    Bill Mazerowski is in the HOF but Bobby Grich can't get past the second ballot.

    Lotsa stupidity right there.
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  14. #13
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Bill Mazerowski is in the HOF but Bobby Grich can't get past the second ballot.

    Lotsa stupidity right there.
    Yep, Grich (according to fangraphs) is almost 40 more WAR better than Mazerowski. Beyond silly.

    Another guy is Albert Belle. The dude was a grade A jerk and it's why he was taken off the ballot with the low amount of votes from the sports writers. I'm not saying he was a HOFer but his numbers suggest he had peak performance which was dominant in the 90's. He should have been given more consideration than what he did.
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    All Fired Up Revering4Blue's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Bill Mazerowski is in the HOF but Bobby Grich can't get past the second ballot.

    Lotsa stupidity right there.
    Exactly.

    I'm totally on board with both lowering the threshold to 50% and MikeThierry's idea of eliminating the voting percentage to remain on the ballot.

    To many worthy inductees are falling through the cracks.
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  16. #15
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning Up Cooperstown

    Someone posted the other day that Morris was the best starter born between 1952-1964.

    Cherrypicked for sure but that's one wide date range.


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