Nationals Baseball: Hall of Fame Guessing

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Hall of Fame Guessing

Just because I don't really care about who gets in or not, doesn't mean I can't enjoy the process in my own way. It's like betting on the Olympics or something.

A few years ago I wrote about why I thought people get into the Hall or not. Now of course, there's a new level in there. Don't be tainted by steroids. Using my PHD in armchair psychology, let's figure out who will get in and when.

Maddux (undenaibly great), Biggio (undeniably great for his position, hit magic numbers), Glavine (hit magic numbers and honestly close to undeniably great - just bad in comparison to other guys coming up. Schilling and Mussina can say the same but didn't hit magic numbers)

Johnson (undeniable), Pedro (undeniable - though short career, you'll hear a lot of Koufax talk here because there is little old baseball guys like more than to talk about Koufax), Thomas (hit magic numbers)

Ed Note - cass is probably right Thomas this year. Which I think means Biggio next. So not even a half-hour and I'm totally admitting failure. New record for me.

Griffey (undeniable), Schilling (great at right times, remembered for something great)

Piazza and Bagwell (undeniably great but TAINTED because Bagwell never said he didn't and a reporter once said he saw back acne on Piazza - this wait is their punishment)

Chipper (undeniable), Pudge Rodriguez (undeniable for position)

2017 is the hardest year to read. Assuming Griffey goes first year and Pedro in first two then the best "non-tainted" guys left number wise are Mussina, Schilling, and Bagwell by a large margin, and Piazza is still the best hitting catcher of all time. So I figure this is the year they let go of the hate for the guys with nothing on them. If not, Mussina could get in this year or Smoltz if they like him. Walker, Raines or Edgar have shots too if voting is generous prior to this year and the players above are mostly cleared out.

2019 figures to have just Rivera, so it's another chance for someone. Also for both the steroid guys and the fringe guys, if Jeter and Suzuki retire this year there should be a serious lull for a few years starting in 2021. Here are the other WAR leaders active, non-tainted age 36 or up (so you could see retire in the next couple years). Carlos Beltran (though he'd have to not finish out his contract), Tim Hudson, Lance Berkman, Torii Hunter. I think I can stop except I'll throw out that Ortiz is 37. He should be tainted but everyone likes him so they generally choose to forget about his issues. I'm not seeing slam dunks. Then maybe around 2024-5 or so you'll get some stonger candidates again. Beltre, Utley, Pujols, Lee maybe.

You could see the Rice/Dawson effect where someone has to be elected just because. Halladay should make it in during this period. So hang on Raines, Edgar, etc. Hang on.

Notes :
Morris does not get in. I don't know who out there is left to convince that wouldn't have voted for him last year.

If Frank Thomas doesn't make it in in 2015 I think he gets caught in a quagmire of "Why exactly is he better than Larry Walker" which could delay his entry for a few years because no one thinks Larry Walker is a hall of famer (though he has a strong case) 

Mussina will get in but slowly, definitely after Schilling, I'll just guess 2019 for the hell of it. I think when they start seriously looking at Halladay, Mussina will start to look really good in comparison for his career.

I'm guessing quick on Pudge but in my estimation sportswriters really think highly of the guy as a player.

Smoltz will get in, perhaps as soon as 2017 but I'm guessing Schilling will have to go in first then couple years to sort out their feeling on John who took a good 5 years to really get going in his career.

Very interested in the Kent vote this year and next. No idea how to place this guy.


cass said...

Thomas is going in this year. Morris is probably going in via the VC in a few years. I'm more bullish on Smoltz - I think the Braves aura will help.

But I'm unsure why Schilling isn't in already he cause he's a slam-dunk HoFer with an insane postseason record and one of the most famous postseason starts in history. His reality resembles the fantasy that Morris voters have about Morris. Why would anyone not vote for him? Narrative? Got it. Clutch? Got it. Advanced numbers? Got that too. Traditional numbers? Strikeouts are traditional, right?

All these guys (well, not Morris) are so obviously HoFers. Why wait?

When do you think Bonds and Clemens go in? Five years? Ten years? Twenty? Forty? Never?

Harper said...

cass - I can see Biggio and Thomas being flipped. In fact so much that I'm tempted to change it but whatever. I'm wrong. I can accept that. Still - why is he a HOF and Larry Walker isn't?

Schilling misses being a slam dunk because his win total is so low. Basically he's a huge ass that everyone hates and they are looking for excuses not to vote for him. Win total makes it easy. Eventually though when some guys want Smoltz and others want Mussina they are going to have to admit Schilling is (yuk) just as good or better.

Why wait? Some voters like to reward better players with faster entry, some like their ballots to be of equal level, some just are dumb or capricious.

Bonds/Clemens - if McNally is right and they do change the voting reqs to give PED guidance it'll be that year. If not it will be after the 15 years is up, but before bet committee. Something in between.

NatsVA said...

I'm going to go ahead and guess that Ortiz eventually gets in, as he probably should.

Donald said...

Any bets on someone being a unanimous entry? Apparently, Maddux isn't. Rivera? Jeter? Or will there always be at least one contrarian that will vote no just because they think some old timer who was more deserving wasn't unanimous?

cass said...


They're all Hall of Famers. I think Biggio could get in this year but Thomas's vote percentage will be higher. He is the anti-PED candidate since he apparently spoke out against steroids during the era. I admittedly haven't heard much about that in the last few weeks, but I think he'll be in this year. Of the ballots known, over 90% have included Thomas:

I don't know why people don't like Schilling. He was a great pitcher. But I liked Clemens too, so what do I know? Are people holding the bloody sock against him? His post-baseball career hasn't been so sterling, but that's no reason to hold him out. Pitcher wins are a stupid stat but of course you're right. But he's got everything else in spades. The greatest postseason starting pitcher of all time. Greatest K/BB ratio of all time. Helped break the curse of the Bambino while pitching injured. This isn't hard. He should have gone in last year. How can anyone ever vote for Jack Morris but not Curt Schilling?

(I need to be like you and not care.)

cass said...

Sabermetric proof that Schilling is First-ballot HoF:,a

Classical proof that Schilling is First-ballot HoF:,d

And forgive me for savoring the fact that Stephen Strasburg has the fourth best FIP- among starters all-time (since 1901). Wow.

Harper said...

Donald - If Maddux isn't I have a hard time seeing anyone get it. He's arguably the best pitcher of all time (arguably...) Jeter won't get it (Yankee haters + those that will somehow use his poor D for an excuse when it isn't in this case). Rivera won't get it (closer). Pujols with a late career surge? Mike Trout if he can win a few WS while playing great in them?

From this article about Hank Aaron not getting 100% it seems like the biggest problems are similar to what Maddux faced. Rogue voters who vote for one guy to make some sort of statement

cass - I think some guys just like a small class so if Thomas is in Biggio is out. Feels more exclusive even if it is ultimately meaningless.

Lots of little things work against Schilling. They don't like him personally. Big mouth. Shouldn't matter but does. Wins highlights that he wasn't great for very long (he was very good for a decade with a great 4 year stretch in there). Sure that's injury but voters fall all over the place about those. That's why Glavine beats him. Healthy. Got 300. Comparison to Johnson/Maddux/Martinez up now and next year hurts (both Randy and Greg were better over a full decade than he was in that 4 years, Pedro had an 7 year stretch that blows Schilling out of the water) so people inclined to vote by comparison may want to put those two in first for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

Maddux a lock. Thomas should be a lock since he's the only guy on the ballot who could carry a team by himself for a couple of weeks. Astro's Killer B's? Vote them in together next year. Schilling gets in when Kevin Brown gets in, whatever year that is. Glavine gets in this year......but he's well below the pitcher Mussina was. I truly believe that if Mike had pitched for a drama-free club like the Braves he would have been Maddux's equal. Scary pitching brains for each.


blovy8 said...

Well, 21.6 percent of the voters last year disagree with you about Larry Walker being a hall of famer, and that's on a strong candidate list where a ton of the writers won't use all the spots. I agree that as the election system stands, there are enough small-hall guys to keep him out, but his his Montreal and St. Louis numbers are pretty good in context, just as he's adjusted downward because of Coors Field, you have to give him credit for his rates in those other seasons too. When he retired at 38 he was still putting up a 130 ops+ in St. Louis. The guy just could not get on the field enough. He certainly doesn't seem like a worse player than Jim Rice.

All things being equal, I would think Pudge has about the same amount of problems as Piazza with PED taint, but it will depend on the backlog at that point and whether enough time and a newer group of voters will have different feelings about PEDs to predict. I suspect some changes in HOF voting by then may happen.