Monday, November 24, 2014

VOTING SHALL BE BASED UPON THE PLAYER'S RECORD, PLAYING ABILITY, INTEGRITY, SPORTSMANSHIP, CHARACTER, AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE TEAM(S) ON WHICH THE PLAYER PLAYED: The National Baseball Hall of Fame has released its new ballot for modern players. Its thirty-four names are hella impressive, between the new names (Pedro, Unit, Smoltz, Sheffield) and the holdovers from past ballots (Bagwell, Biggio, Mussina, Schilling, and PEDers). And voters only get to select ten of them.

I have set up a Doodle poll for the ALOTT5MA community to vote. Please vote for no more than ten names, because that's what the BBWAA does, remembering that anyone who falls below 5% will be dropped from next year's ballot, so vote strategically if you must. I have long believed that players accused/admitted of PED usage should be voted into the Hall if their accomplishments so merit, and with their Hall plaques "teaching the controversy" where appropriate. My 2015 ballot reflects this:
Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, Kent, P Martinez, Mussina, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, Smoltz.
It is impossible to limit yourself to ten votes and not vote strategically. In my case, that again meant leaving the eminently-worthy (with an asterisk) Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens off the ballot, out of a belief they weren't going to be inducted this year regardless. This made room for my continued votes for Kent, Mussina, Raines, and Schilling, to ensure each receives due consideration both this year and going forward. I could have easily added Sheffield or Edgar Martinez to my ballot as well.

(Our discussion of the 2011 ballot2011 Doodle results; 2012 discussion; 2012 Doodle results; 2013 discussion; 2013 Doodle results.)


  1. Adam C.1:45 PM

    I went strategic too, and gave my votes to Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, PMartinez, Mussina, Raines, Schilling, Sheffield, Trammell, and Walker. Hope there will be enough support for Edgar too. I feel like I can start voting for Kent after Biggio is in.

  2. Jordan1:55 PM

    I'm a small hall guy, I like the immediacy effect. Like, when I see this guy's name, do I immediately think he's a hall of famer? And even I had a really tough time only voting for ten. So I'll give a little plug to Larry Walker, who's getting no love on the poll: here's how he stacks up against the greatest RFs of all time

  3. Joseph Finn2:34 PM

    Ugggggggggggh. Tough freaking year.

    Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, E. Martinez, P. Martinez, Raines, Smoltz, Walker.

  4. Jenn.7:03 PM

    As long as Smoltzie gets in, I'm good.

  5. isaac spaceman8:19 PM

    Allow me to re-beat this drum. According to my quick count, 9 people voted for Piazza but not Clemens and 7 people voted for Piazza but not Bonds. If you don't care about steroids, Clemens and Bonds are two of maybe the ten best baseball players of all time. Without considering drugs, they are the very meanest girls in the snottiest clique in the VIP section of the inner circle of any small hall. I realize that there are a couple of trolls around here who like to say (without any explanation other than blah blah blah) that Bonds and Clemens were not good enough for the HOF even in the absence of PEDs, and I guess that's as valid an argument as any other argument that is made up of arbitrary words jumbled together and glued to the Internet without any rational thought intruding on the process. But if you're not just gamergate or Armond White or Kim Jong Un, there isn't any cogent argument one can make that Piazza was better than Bonds and Clemens in the absence of a discussion of PEDs.

    So I assume people are excluding Clemens and Bonds because of steroids. But if you're going to do that, I don't see how you can fail to treat Piazza the same way. Piazza admitted to reporters off the record that he used banned PEDs (Pearlman, SI), although he denied it on the record. He also admitted that he used Andro (a PED baseball didn't get around to banning until 2004) before it was banned and amphetamines (which weren't banned, but which were illegal) (NYT, 2002; autobiography, 2013). The only difference between Piazza and Clemens, Bonds, and McGwire is that he continues to deny on the record that he did anything that was against the rules of baseball at the time that he did it, while admitting that he did things that were banned at other times and that were illegal but not against the rules when he did them and that at all times were body-altering in exactly the same way that banned steroids are body-altering. You'd need a very thin blade to split a hair that slender.
    I have nothing against Piazza, who was the best offensive catcher of his era and who actually seemed like a decent guy, as far as athletes go. And I yield to few in my dislike for Clemens (I actually like Bonds). I just don't see how you can put two of those guys in one box and the third in another. And that's without getting into the fact that some stories suggest that many voters are convinced Bagwell was a PED user, which, if true, would indicate either that the sportswriters have access to off-the-record sources we don't or that they are a bunch of catty gossips who will believe anything based solely on pattern baldness and a high ISO.
    Incidentally, a woman in my office rode in a gran fondo that Bonds also rode in recently. She beat him. It was nice to know that Bonds is capable of riding 100 miles and also that it is possible to make a bicycle helmet big enough to fit his head.

  6. Adam B.8:53 PM

    Were there 13 slots, I'd vote for Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Piazza. I omitted the first three only because I did not believe they would be inducted this year, and preferred to use those votes to ensure that others (Mussina, Schilling, Kent) would be treated seriously. I absolutely believe all four merit induction.

  7. Joseph Finn12:30 AM

    Oh good, you saw why I didn't vote for any of the four mentioned.

  8. As a cassual baseball observer with my own biases (YEAY RED SOX AND METS! BOO CARDS AND YANKS!), I was shocked at how pitcher heavy my ballot was. Big Unit, Schil, Martinez, Clemmons (remember this old chestnut? Have you heard the new Red Sox strategy? Clemmons and four days of rain.). I'm also surprised Mussina is doing as well as he is. I remember when he was the fourth guy on the 5 man picthing roster.

  9. Fred App12:27 PM

    If you're going to exclude people based on suspicion of PEDs, then you can compare Piazza to Bonds and Clemens. (And throw Bagwell in there, as well). But as far as I know, and as far as your argument goes, the only evidence against Piazza is the word of a reporters recounting an off-the-record conversation. That's much less than the evidence against Bonds and Clemens. And Sosa. And McGwire.

    The argument is not that it's wrong to use PEDs; the argument is that using PEDs is cheating because it's against the rules. Using Andro before Andro was banned is not cheating. It may have given him a competitive advantage, but it's a competitive advantage that Major League Baseball allowed and condoned.

    If you ask me whether Piazza used banned PEDs, I'd have to say there's a reasonable possibility. But if I'm voting on an HoF ballot, I'd restrict myself to what I knew, not what I suspected.

  10. Jordan1:37 PM

    Let's take it a step further. If you want to keep ballplayers who used PEDs that the league did not, at the time, test for, then you have to kick out people like Mays, Aaron, Mantle, Stargell...

  11. Marsha7:33 PM

    THIS is what brings Isaac out of whatever rabbit hole he's been hiding in?

    (I assumed these choices were all strategic voting, not hair splitting.)

  12. isaac_spaceman1:37 PM

    Your definition of what doesn't rise past suspicion is pretty generous.

  13. isaac spaceman1:38 PM

    Who's advocating for getting rid of them? Not me, that's for sure.

  14. Jordan5:05 PM

    No one. I'm saying they should be treated the same way.

  15. Benner8:23 PM

    Well, I didn't know anything about Piazza's supposed admission, so that's one reason to treat them differently, but the BBWAA should probably have this information (or be able to corroborate it).

    What if you draw the line at perjury/obstruction of justice, or in Schilling's case, defrauding the tax payers of Rhode Island (who by this point are probably used to it)? Or simple strategic voting.