Nationals Baseball: Hall of Fame guessing - 2015!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Hall of Fame guessing - 2015!

Last year I went ahead and put down guesses for through 2018. I was immediately proven an idiot when Thomas made it and Biggio didn't. (though I was convinced to flip on that pretty much immediately and before the vote was announced).

That means this year I have Pedro, Randy, and Biggio.

I'll note that based on last year's vote, I'd probably flip Piazza and Schilling's years of entry. So Piazza next year and Schilling being clah-sic in 2017.

As I do annually I'll sum up my thoughts on the Hall of Fame thusly; It doesn't matter. It's a phony award that arbitrarily recognizes "greatness" in a sport where greatness can be readily measured. The fact Player A is in the Hall and Player B is not means nothing. Or at least it should mean nothing. I can't help it the rest of you, including ball players, have human hearts that feel. (also please note I don't know how the human body works so if feelings aren't generated by the heart, my apologies)

It's not all bad. There are positives to attaching importance to getting in. Like, it's always nice to be recognized and it can be very fun to debate who is the better player and for what reasons. However, I'll never understand, or cease wanting to hurt, those who get outraged by the vote. It's the subjective result from a subjective process. You can't ask ~600 people to give opinions then get mad when it doesn't exactly conform to your own. That's stupidity.

Worst player to get a vote... Erstad maybe (he was sooo white... I mean gritty!), Tom Gordon (Stephen King liked him!) or Tony Clark (nice to toss a bone to the head of the MLBPA) 


Chaz R said...

I really don't bother to follow it much. Seems like a beauty contest to me. Let's see how Biggio does in the bikini contest.

Harper said...

I want to hear Randy Johnson respond to a Q&A "Do you know who I am"?

Chinatown Express said...

Obviously the only pitcher's stat that matters is "number of birds exploded with pitches." Randy Johnson is a first-ballot shoo-in.

Does anyone think the dam will ever brake on the steroid suspects? I've seen a couple of journos speculate that Manfred might be more forgiving than Bud was.

Harper said...

CXP - no I don't. Piazza and Bagwell only have rumors and both will take longer to get in then they should (Piazza probably next year, Bagwell probably in two or three when people are like - "who's left - oh ok) Bonds and Clemens will probably get in but only at the 15th year type situation when the combination of enough sportswriters have died off, been given ballots or have decided they've been "punished enough"

I don't think they'll be left out entirely because I don't think writers want to equate steroids with betting on baseball (which it kinda would)

Sirc said...

I would vote for Tim Raines and Jack Morris. The heartless automatons have ruined everything.


Chaos said...

Soulless. Having coined the phrase, it's important to recognize Harper and his "ilk" for the soulless automatons that they are.
That said, Clemens pre-steroids work probably would have gotten him into the HOF with normal regression. But it ain't happening this year. Unit and Pedro are locks (my favorite part of Ken Burn's 10th inning is listening to Martinez talk pitching psychology--take that, you stat-heads). And Randy definitely gets in on the "birds exploded" stat.
Others: I'd go with both Killer B's, Piazza, Rock, and I don't see how you can't vote in Mussina.

JWLumley said...

I think HOF voting is a good way to figure out who the idiots are amongst the baseball writers and conversely, who they aren't. For example, I've never been a huge Buster Olney fan and kind of lumped him into what I consider the "gossip columnists" of baseball writers. That is to say, they're great for a rumor, but that is all. However, his voting has shown me that the guy actually has a better understanding of the game than I gave him credit for. There are others like Ken Rosenthal, who I thought was one of the best gossip columnist types whose voting shows he doesn't get it.

As for who gets in, I'd add Smoltz to that list, primarily because he was "clean" and the voting body of the BBWA can overlook wife beating, amphetamine use, corked bats, spit balls, general debauchery and just about any other bad thing someone could do, but not steroids, well except for cortisone, flonase (yup, it's a steroid) and prednisone and steroids of that ilk. If someone did take steroids, despite the fact that there's more research to support amphetamines helping someone hit a baseball than steroids, than they should be banished forever and ever.

That being said, my guess is that Johnson, Pedro, Biggio and Smoltz all get in. All 4 deserving, but not the 4 most deserving.

That being said, 10 most deserving to me are Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Pedro, Piazza, Bagwell, Raines, Schilling, Tramell and Mussina.

Harper said...

sirc - Jack Morris is off the ballot. You sir have lost your voting privelges.

Chaos - Mussina gets the "well he never felt like a hall of famer to me" downvote from a lot of people.

JW - Rosenthal wears a bow tie. Right away that's a warning flag.

JWLumley said...

Maybe it's where I live, but the biggest thing I want from the HOF is a new location. It's pretty much been debunked that baseball started in Cooperstown, NY. Baseball is a warm weather sport that for some reason has it's HOF in the Northeast. I'd love to go to the HOF during the offseason, but there's no way I'm going to New York in January or February. That's why I live at the Beach, so I don't have to deal with harsh winters. That being said, growing up on the West Coast, made a trip to the HOF nearly impossible for someone in lower middle class to middle middle class family. If only one thing could come out of the HOF controversy, I'd like to see an additional HOF spring up somewhere else or have the current HOF move and/or set up a second site. You know, one with a major airport nearby.

sirc said...

"sirc - Jack Morris is off the ballot. You sir have lost your voting privelges"

I still think Danny can be an everyday big league 2b and Tanner Roark isn't for real, so I'd probably be dangerous with a ballot.

And whose fault is it that Jack Morris isn't in the HOF? You and Bill James, that's who.

Or maybe he isn't a HOFer. What do I know? I know you can't tell the story of baseball 1980-1993 without featuring Jack Morris.

I made the trip up there in 1988 and came away sad that it didn't make me feel something special. I liked seeing Joe Jackson's cleats. The HOF didn't do much for me, though.

Harper said...

JW - It's interesting that out of the big 4 the only one with a major city HOF is Hockey in Toronto. If they followed our lead it'd be in... (looks at map) Sudbury or something. If you're looking for something basebally to do in Jan/Feb (Cooperstown into Nov/Dec is usually fine) I got nothing. Personally, I wish the AFL was the AWL.

The HoF setting up a travelling/rotating exhibit - at a major WC city at the very least is not a bad idea.

sirc - I've said before but you can't just assume we're going to have great players across every time period. I think the late 70s into the 80s was just a lull. A lot of very good players, some very talented players beset by injury, strange declines, or other issues that kept them from ultimate greatness. An odd time, but that shouldn't mean we force these guys into the Hall of Fame.

I guess what I'm saying is does Livan make the Nats HoF if there was one? Outside of Zimm he is the Nats pre-good years and he was pretty good while here but the Nats were down. I don't put him in.

I liked the HoF but I'm a total museum/history guy. Go out of my way to visit little historic sites on vacation, read every plaque, so it plays to me.

JWLumley said...

Just like Denard Span against a ground ball pitcher, sometimes you hit four groundballs with eyes and wind up 4-4. Can't say that I really care too much anymore though, the HOF has become irrelevant to me. You can't tell the story of baseball without Bonds and Clemens both of whom are among the top 5 hitters and pitchers respectively regardless of where you put them.

blovy8 said...

I think the hall election is a good way to keep baseball discussion going when the off-season is fully upon us. There's a great brewery - Ommegang, a pretty lake, and a weird farmer's museum to see in Cooperstown. I didn't even see the James Fenimore Cooper stuff. I imagine it all made more sense when more people were from small towns in the 1930s.

Much like the press uses the "candidate who you would want to have a beer with" as an excuse to apply to people not thinking a lot about their vote, some of these ballots obviously come from feelings more than reasons. But I don't think it's surprising that a lot of writers prefer "stories" to real life in creating legends worthy of entry. It might be worse if you had faceless curators in charge, or owners solely interested in profits and wide popularity. But most of it is still about fame, even if baseball is now less famous. The plaque room is like looking at someone's trophy case.

I think your 70s/80s lull theory depends on what you value. A guy like Lou Whitaker didn't get much of a look, but I think he had maybe one bad year out of 18 in his career. His numbers were pretty great for a long-careered 2B, and while that came in a hitter's park, the story of he and Trammell as a HOF double play combo in the 80's seemed as inevitable as as the killer B's thing does right now for Bagwell and Biggio. That isn't going to happen and now Trammell is stuck being the type of guy who was really good at a lot of things but was screwed out an MVP award that might have made his case easier.

Raines clearly suffers by comparison to Henderson, but Henderson is probably the best leadoff hitter ever. Not that you have to take the 2nd best or 3rd best leadoff hitter (if that's what Raines even is), but a case can easily be made that Raines was the best NL player in that 1981-1987 period. He might yet get in but, if recognition of on-base ability came into vogue a little sooner, I think it would be hard to keep Raines out, even if he's seen as a guy who couldn't play enough full seasons at a certain point.

JWLumley said...

@blovy8 I used to agree with you about the HOF debate, but it's gotten so out of hand that it's taken the fun out of it. Rock Raines is a HOFer and I doubt you can find any sincerely knowledgeable baseball person who can make a convincing argument against that, same is true for Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, Tramell and Whitaker. Guys like Schilling, Mussina, Smoltz and Biggio were the fun ones to debate, but when Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren't in the HOF who cares? It would kind of be like arguing over the MVP every year if Mike Trout never won it and never came close. At some point it just becomes an exercise in futility.