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The Best 40 Designated Hitters Ever

I suppose you’ve heard by now that Harold Baines is going to the Hall of Fame. Well, his election got me thinking about all things Baines. Back in my day (humor intended), it was a bad thing to be a career DH. Voters even held such things against you. Well I have good news for you, Jason Giambi. Those days are over!

Today we’re going to rank the best 40 designated hitters in history. Now, anytime I undertake a project such as this, one of the first things I do is head to the Play Index over at Baseball Reference (you should subscribe) and start filtering. I decided to look at all players with 5,000 plate appearances and at least 25% of their games at DH. There are exactly 50 players who fit those parameters. Perhaps you prefer a different number of plate appearances or percentage of games at DH. If so, okay.

As an aside, there are just eight players ever with more than 5,000 trips to the plate and at least half of their games at DH. Alphabetically, they’re Harold Baines, Don Baylor, Billy Butler, Edgar Martinez, Hal McRae, Kendrys Morales, David Ortiz, and Frank Thomas.

Anyway, we have out 50, so let’s get crackin’.

The first thing I did was narrow by getting rid of the ten guys on the list who I haven’t ranked yet. So goodbye to Alvin Davis, Cecil Fielder, Ruben Sierra, Larry Parrish, Jorge Orta, Matt Stairs, Morales, Dimitri Young, Adam Lind, and Butler. If we went by straight WAR, I’d have the 38 “best” along with #41 (Dave Kingman), and a guy tied with Davis for #38 (George Bell). I suppose I could just chart Davis and feel a little more complete. Then again, it’s not like he has a shot at the top-25 list.

Once I got my list together, I referred to my MAPES+ post and did almost everything the same way I did for every other position player. Just two differences. First, I put anyone with the requisite plate appearances and percentage of games at DH at the position. Second, since we have 5.11 careers at DH in the HoME, I looked at the medians of the best 10 at the position for each of peak, prime, consecutive, and career.

So here are the results.

#25 Rico Carty (64th in LF): The Beeg Boy won a batting title and an OBP title in a nice 1970 season. His only All-Star campaign, I translate that season to almost 5.3 WAR, better than Harold Baines ever did.

#24 Edwin Encarnacion (80th at 3B): E5 is still at it and still a good enough hitter, so this ranking may rise in the next year or two. He has 30+ homers in each of the past seven seasons, something Baines never did once. I wouldn’t put money on number eight, but you never know.

#23 Greg Vaughn (60th in LF): In 1998 and 1999 he hit 50 and 45 home runs for the Padres and Reds, respectively. In each of those seasons he finished 4th in the MVP voting. He was very impressive in 1998, but he was just good, not great, for the Reds. His second best season was 1993 for the Brewers, when he played good defense. Two seasons of at least 5.3 WAR. Not bad. And not something Baines did even once.

#22 Harold Baines (79th in RF): He’s the reason for this post. He’s also the reason my original plan to name the best 20 turned into the best 25 and then 40. American novelist William Gaddis once said that stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance. If you refuse to learn anything beyond what you knew when you were twelve years old about evaluating baseball players, I think Gaddis would have called you stupid. And I’d agree with him. Baines had a better top season than only five designated hitters of the 40 on this list. Only eight have fewer 3-win seasons than his four. Maybe you’ve heard this already, but Baines is the single worst Hall of Fame choice ever.

#21 Mickey Tettleton (48th at C): Five times Tettleton walked 100+ times in a season, and he posted a career .369 OBP despite a BA of just .241. Baines had a career OBP of just .356. With the help of a tiny bit of rounding, Tettleton had three All-Star-level seasons in his career. That’s three more than Baines.

#20 Chili Davis (75th in CF): Chili’s position is center field? That’s hilarious. The truth is that he wasn’t miserable there as a young man, and he transitioned fairly quickly to DH. Each of his best five seasons were better than the seasons Baines put up.

#19 Victor Martinez (44th at C): Now retired, V-Mart won OBP and OPS titles when he was 35. He also led the game with 28 intentional walks and finished second in the MVP voting to Mike Trout. Martinez retires with seven seasons I convert to over 3.2 WAR. Baines had one such season.

#18 Juan Gonzalez (#69 in RF): Gonzalez is a lot like Harold Baines in that his stats were so wildly misunderstood that he won awards he never should have, specifically the AL MVP trophies in 1996 and 1998. Sure, he averaged 46 HR and 150 RBI in those campaigns, but there were better players in both seasons. By WAR, Alex Rodriguez would have been a fine choice in both of those years. Ken Griffey, Edgar Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, Robin Ventura, Albert Belle, Bernie Williams, Mo Vaughn, Paul O’Neill, and even Scott Brosius out-performed Gonzalez in both of those years. I remember 1996 and 1998 quite well. Many were up in arms about how the BBWAA did such an awful job. Sadly, those on the Era Committee haven’t progressed beyond where the BBWAA was more than two decades ago. When does Juan Gonzalez hit their ballot?

#17 David Justice (67th in RF): With rounding, he had six seasons of 4.0 WAR. Baines had just one. Justice was better in each of his top seven seasons than Baines. Plus, he hit 14 post-season home runs and drove in 63 runs in the playoffs. Baines had just 5 and 16.

#16 Kirk Gibson (63rd in RF): Gibson never hit 30 homers and never drove in 100 runs. He won the 1988 NL MVP with just 6.5 WAR, yet it’s an award he may have deserved. Gibson owns one of the most iconic home runs in baseball history. Can you name one Harold Baines homer?

#15 Nelson Cruz (62nd in RF): He’s in the midst of a ten-year run with 20+ homers in each campaign, including a 2014 HR title and a 2017 RBI title. Baines never had either of those. Cruz’ seventh best year in homers equals Baines’ best. At this point on the list, I can say with some confidence that we’re a level above Baines in terms of value to a team. Actually, I’m pretty confident in Justice and Gibson too.

#14 Ken Singleton (47th in RF): Singleton finished second in the MVP voting in 1979 and third in 1977. While voting wasn’t done very well back then, Singleton was better in both of those campaigns than Baines ever was. I think it’s interesting that he led the game in intentional walks in his penultimate season. He was still a real threat then, as his 131 OPS+ shows. But man, he lost it quickly. Singleton had four seasons better than Baines’ best, and he was better than the Hall of Famer in each of their best eight seasons.

#13 Brian Downing (38th in LF): There he is, the man who wrestles with Tim Wakefield and Mookie Betts for the title of my all-time favorite. Had he been born 40 years later, we’d see what a star he was. Downing had nice power and got on base at an incredible rate. Bear with me on a concocted statistic for a moment. Baines was so well thought of when he played that the White Sox retired his number while he was still active. Downing was never thought of similarly, not even close. However, both had exactly three top-20 finishes in the MVP voting. Downing only played 110 games with the White Sox once, yet his best season with the Pale Hose was better than Baines’ second best. And overall, Downing was better than Baines in each of their top ELEVEN SEASONS (yes, I’m yelling). Baines had a career WAA of 1.8; Downing’s was 21.1. If only one could be in the Hall of Fame, it’s not Baines.

#12 Jose Canseco (46th in RF): Maybe you’ve heard that Canseco used PEDs. Yet, he didn’t hit a single home run after his age-36 season. Baines is one of only 37 players to top 80 long balls in his age-37 season and later. As opposed to the 37 who topped his HR count after 36, there are 119 players who topped his HR count through that age. Baines and Canseco became teammates in 1990. Interesting. No, I’m not trying to imply that Baines used PEDs. I’m just saying that we don’t know what we don’t know. What we do know is that Canseco and Baines were teammates, lots of Canseco’s teammates used, and Baines was a more prolific home run hitter after playing with Canseco than he was in the years before. There’s smoke. I’m not saying he used PEDs. After all, people inject those, they don’t smoke ‘em.

#11 Jim Rice (35th in LF): Rice may be the modern player whose rating gives me the most pause. The Baseball Gauge has moved Rice’s DRA numbers back and forth in the last few years. That means I sometimes apply an adjustment for Fenway Park’s left field that Michael Humhreys, DRA’s creator, suggests – and sometimes I don’t. When The Baseball Gauge readjusted DRA numbers last off-season, I didn’t update mine. That’s because Rice rises and falls with DRA adjustments, except he shouldn’t as long as the Fenway factor in left field correctly adjusts the slugger’s defensive numbers. All of this is to say that I don’t know. What I do know is that Rice doesn’t belong in the Hall. Yet, he had five years better than any single one Baines ever had.

#10 Tim Salmon (41st in RF): With my adjustments, Salmon has seven 4-win seasons compared to one for Baines. He’s tragically underrated and underappreciated. Of those position players with greater WAR for the decade from 1993-2002, they’re either all in the HoME, not yet eligible, or named John Olerud, Robin Ventura, or Luis Gonzalez. Each of his best ten seasons are better than those of Baines.

#9 Tony Oliva (38th in RF): Oliva had eight 4-win seasons and then nothing. Injuries destroyed his career, a career with five hit titles, four doubles titles, and three batting titles. He was an elite hitter, a good fielder, and a helpful baserunner. Baines was none of those things. He had eight years that were worth almost 1 WAR more than Baines put up in any but his absolute peak.

#8 David Ortiz (38th at 1B): The following things are true: 1) David Ortiz was miles better than Harold Baines; 2) I am a Red Sox fan; 3) I do not believe David Ortiz is worthy of the Hall of Fame. What does that say about how far off Baines is? Each of Ortiz’ twelve best seasons are better than those of Baines. Oh, and he was kind of good in the playoffs too. Compare his 17 HR, 61 RBI, and two series MVP trophies to 5 HR, 16 RBI and a record of 2-6 in playoff series for Baines.

#7 Jason Giambi (31st at 1B): Don’t look too closely, Sox fans. Yes, I do prefer Giambi to Ortiz by a little bit. Giambi won three OBP titles and the 2000 MVP Award that should have gone to Alex Rodriguez (if you didn’t want to give it to Pedro Martinez). He is the only player on this DH list with two MVP-level seasons, and his third-best season is better than anyone else’s #3 campaign. I’d say it’ll be interesting to see his level of support a year from now, but I expect it to be close to zero. Of course, he deserves more votes than Baines did.

#6 Vlad Guerrero (24th in RF): Is this the year Vlad gets into the HoME? Vlad has eight seasons better than Baines’ best.

#5 Edgar Martinez (13th at 3B): It’s stunning that Baines was voted into the Hall before Edgar. Edgar has nine seasons better than any one season Baines ever put up.

#4 Paul Molitor (10th at 3B): Molitor played 21 seasons. He’s better than Baines in his best, his second best, and every other one through his twenty-first.

#3 Jim Thome (19th at 1B): Thome played 22 seasons. He’s better than Baines in his best, his second best, and every other one through his twenty-second.

#2 Frank Thomas (15th at 1B): He has eight seasons a full win better than Baines’ best. He has nine seasons two wins better than Baines’ second best.

#1 Reggie Jackson (8th in RF): I forget how great Jackson was. Maybe it was the strikeouts, maybe his big mouth. He’s one of the all-time greats. Same as Harold Baines. At least that’s what the Hall of Fame tells me.

Hal McRae, Mike Sweeney, Andre Thronton, Aubrey Huff, and Lee May failed to make the top-25 designated hitters of all-time. Still, if we rank every one of their first four seasons, each would beat Baines every time.

Here’s the MAPES+ DH list.

Designated Hitter

Perhaps I’ll stop talking about Baines soon.

Miller

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Grading the BBWAA Ballots, All of Them!

Four things you’ll see in the longest post of my lifetime.

  • Links to the 38 posts in this series.
  • Scores for the 317 ballots.
  • My scoring system.
  • Every single ballot I graded!

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198, 199-209, 210-234, 235-257, 258-317

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Eric Nuñez; 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Darrin Beene: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Guy Curtright: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Jim Hawkins: 95
Danny Knobler: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
LaVelle Neal III: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Jerry Crasnick: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Gene Myers: 90
Tim Kurkjian: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Anonymous #5: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Joe Christensen: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
Jeff Horrigan: 85
George A. King III: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Gabe Lacques: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Ed Petruska: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Ray Ratto: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Susan Slusser: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Tom Timmerman: 85
Howard Ulman: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Bill Windler: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Drew Olson: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Mark Zuckerman: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Dennis Bracken: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Tom Christensen: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
John Hickey: 75
Joey Johnson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Chuck Klonke: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Seth Livingstone: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Larry Millson: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Joe Smith: 75
Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75
Marc Topkin: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Tom Haudricourt: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Kirk Wessler: 70
Jim Alexander: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Jim Caple: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Joe Cowley: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Michael Fannin: 65
Martin Fennelly: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
Alan Hoskins: 65
Bruce Jenkins: 65
David Lennon: 65
Mike Lupica: 65
Marino Martinez: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
Greg Patton: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Troy Renck: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Richard Rupprecht: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Dan Connolly: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Steve Henson: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Bob Elliott: 55
Mark Faller: 55
Mike Fitzpatrick: 55
Jim Gauger: 55
John Harper: 55
Joe Henderson: 55
Jim Henneman: 55
Steve Herrick: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Bob Kuenster: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Chaz Scoggins: 55
Joel Sherman: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Joe Rutter: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
David Barron: 45
John Canzano: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Jerry Green: 45
Steve Kornacki: 45

Mike Lopresti: 45
Dennis Maffezzoli: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Dan McGrath: 35
Scott Miller: 35
Fred Mitchell: 35
Sheldon Ocker: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Jim Reeves: 35
Patrick Reusse: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Gordon Wittenmyer: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Richard Griffin: 30
Terry Pluto: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Ronald Blum: 25
Andrew Call: 25
Larry Fine: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Dan Graziano: 25
Bill Hartman: 25
Jim Ingraham: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
Bill Madden: 25
Adam Mertz: 25
David Wilhelm: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Eduardo B. Almada: 15
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Ray Buck: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Alan Eskew: 15
Alan Greenwood: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Tom Keegan: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Anonymous #6: 5
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Bill Center: 5
Tim Dahlberg: 5
Mike Downey: 5
Howard Fendrich: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Paul Gutierrez: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Hal McCoy: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Ron Kroichick: -5
Scott Gregor: -5
Hirokazu Higuchi: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Bill Lankhof: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Barry Stanton: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
Paul Bodi: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
David Ginsburg: -20
Ann Killion: -20
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Steve Dilbeck: -35
Randy Galloway: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Pedro Gomez: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jorge Ortiz: -35
Alan Robinson: -35
Rob Rains
: -40
Ron Cook: -45
Paul Daugherty: -45
Dick Scanlon: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95
Anonymous #7: -105

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

The Ballots

Anonymous #1: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 70.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 70.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the open space makes 50.
  • No explanation drops him to 45.

Anonymous #2: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome is 30.
  • Hoffman means he’s still at 30.
  • And the six open spots mean -30.
  • No explanation clearly. Smart to keep it anonymous. He lands at -35.

Anonymous #4: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Thome, and Walker total 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And no explanation means 85.

Anonymous #5: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • No explanation, which means 85.

Anonymous #6: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome mean 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops the ballot to 40.
  • The three open spaces bring it to 10.
  • And the lack of explanation makes 5.

Anonymous #7: -105

  • It’s blank, so we begin at -100.
  • No explanation, so we end at -105.

Peter Abraham: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome make 90.
  • He falls to 80 with the open slot.
  • He says that the Hall doesn’t want Clemens and Bonds in. Right-o!
  • He calls Joe Morgan’s email “cloying”. That gives him 5 points, up to 85.
  • His job, he thinks, is to evaluate players in the context of their era, not to punish when MLB and the MLBPA wouldn’t. Nicely done!
  • Designated hitter is not a detriment. Hooray!
  • He calls 20-win seasons a false standard. Yes!!!
  • Does this guy write for the Globe? See the other Globe writers below. I don’t think they invite this guy out with them.
  • Regarding Schilling, “That he holds many detestable social views has nothing to do with this discussion.” Praise Abraham!
  • He actually researched – and that’s why he voted for Rolen. Nice!
  • He calls Saves a useless stat. Love this guy!
  • He says if you compate Omar Vizquel with Luis Aparicio or Ozzie Smith, he should be in. Well, maybe regarding Aparicio. Still, there’s so much good here that I can’t penalize him at all.
  • He’s against Manny because Manny cheated – he failed a drug test. Nothing at all wrong with that.
  • I wish he added Kent, Sheffield, or Walker, all of whom he said were close. Still, this is a great ballot.

Dave Albee: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 70.
  • Hoffman, still 70.
  • Vlad, Mussina, and Schilling are adds.
  • The two open spots make 50.
  • Despite about thirteen paragraphs, I don’t understand his position on Joe Morgan’s letter.
  • He mentions Vizquel as having won five more Gold Gloves than Alan Trammell. That plus thirteen paragraphs of confusion is a 5 point deduction down to 45. That’s where he stays. Man, enough about PEDs!

Jim Alexander: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • With an unlimited ballot, he’d add McGriff, Walker, Kent, Andruw, and Wagner.
  • That’s the only thing he explains. He drops to 65.

Eduardo B. Almada: 15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 50.
  • No change with the relievers.
  • Down to 40 with Vizquel.
  • Down to 20 with the two open spots.
  • And down to 15 because there was no explanation.

David Ammenheuser: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman holds him at 90.
  • Through 74 ballots, this exact one exists ten times. Not bad. Of those ten, Hoffman is an add on one, Edgar on two, Schilling on five, and Walker on seven.
  • No explanations, so he drops to 85.

Dom Amore: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker total 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Do we have to listen to a podcast for this? I am sorry, faithful reader(s), but I don’t have time for this right now. We’ll keep him at 90.

Anthony Andro: 90

  • Mark McGwire thinks this voter should name should name his next child Stenedione. Love this guy’s name!
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He didn’t exaplain much via Twitter, but he did answer a few questions. He’d like a dozen sport to include McGriff and Wagner. I’d say no further plus or minus.

Mel Antonen: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • The mediocre trio of Damon, Hoffman, and McGriff keeps him at 50.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The open spot makes 30.
  • He dropped Wagner from last year even though he has a spot. McGriff is an add for some reason.
  • I like that he says Selig’s election isn’t a reason to vote for Bonds and Clemens. Really, it isn’t.
  • Of course, he says that Bonds and Clemens ruined sacred records. I think he’s taking things a bit too seriously. Down 5 to 25.
  • He admits that he didn’t even look at statistics before voting for Vlad, Hoffman, Chipper, Thome, Edgar, or Vizquel. Wow! Just wow. He needed to look at some statistics. This is pretty pathetic. For what he admits is BBWAA malpractice without saying so directly, I’ll drop him another 10 points to 15.
  • He calls Jack Morris one of the BBWAA’s biggest mistakes with no support. (Because there is none). He’s down 5 more to just 10.
  • He voted for Johnny Damon because he thinks Damon needs to stay on the ballot. Wow! I love Johnny Damon, but Johan Santana and Andruw Jones were far better, should stay on the ballot, and could fit on his without the inclusion of either Damon or Vizquel. I’m just shocked by this ballot. Down to 5.
  • He says that McGriff has been lost in the steroids shuffle. That’s the worst he says, so he won’t lose points.
  • Ugly ballot. He doesn’t explain why he dropped Wagner.

Kirby Arnold: 65

  • In a DM to Ryan some time ago, Arnold scored 65. But now he’s posted his rationale. As he’s currently a gold writer (see below), I suspect his grade will go down.
  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Hoffman has him hold there.
  • Omar drops him to 70. All three Golfers West writers think Vizquel belongs in the Hall. When I was a kid, there was this golfer named Billy Andrade from near where I grew up. Maybe he belongs in the Golf Hall. Is there one? There must be one, right?
  • Schilling is an add this year.
  • He almost voted for people who he incorrectly calls cheaters.
  • However, he writes, “I believe just as strongly now as before that players who used steroids did it knowing they were cheating the spirit of the game even as baseball turned a blind eye to their actions.” While I don’t think this is a reason to withhold a vote, I can’t really disagree with it. Well said, Kirby. Maybe you’re not like your golf buddies?
  • Then he cited the character clause. Damn! Old fogies gonna fogey, I guess.
  • He’s voting for Schilling again this year after Schilling called for the murder of journalists. I’m using shorthand here. He did a better job.
  • It seems part of the reason Schilling got his vote this year is because of the assistance he provided for Puerto Rico. I think? I don’t know. At least he’s getting it right, even if it’s by the wrong logic.
  • I dislike a lot about his ballot. I dislike some of his positions too. But I think he arrives at them in a non-awful way. For those who hate a lot of Hall ballots but are willing to listen, his is a post worth reading. He stays at 65.

Jaime Aron: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 70.
  • He stays there with Hoffman.
  • The two open spots mean he’s at 50.
  • And he drops to 45 without any explanations.

Chris Assenheimer: -15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome start him with 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The four open spots make it -10.
  • I thank him for the DM to Ryan, but subtract 5 points for not explaining. Down to -15.

Andrew Baggarly: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 60.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The three open spots make 20.
  • He said he’d announce his votes after the results are revealed. Then he told Ryan he has one shot to predict his exact ballot to get an early reveal. Ryan got it. Fun! But he explained nothing. That drops him to 15.

Chris Bahr: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He wants another vote to add Vizquel, but I won’t dick him for that.
  • There’s no explanation or interaction on Twitter. Down to 85.

Bill Ballou: 0

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Manny is 50.
  • That’s it, so he falls to 0.
  • It’s about guy, and he admits that “no amount of research can change that. Reject knowledge, and lose point. Down to -5.
  • He mentions Gaylord Perry along with Manny, so I’ll give him five points back – to 0.
  • Greenies too!
  • He writes a lot but explains little. I can’t take away more points. We’ll have to be happy with the same number of points you and I get.

Peter Barzilai: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker for 100!
  • He replied on Twitter about Manny, Vizquel, Santana. Well done, sir.

David Barron: 45

  • Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome start him at 70.
  • No change with the closers.
  • Vizquel drags him to 60.
  • He dropped Bonds this year while adding Vlad and Edgar. And Clemens but not Bonds means he falls to 50.
  • The ballot only at the BBWAA means he finishes at 45.

Mike Bass: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He really seems to hate the idea of voting for Bonds and Clemens. He says that he couldn’t logically exclude them anymore.
  • Pudge last year and Ortiz in a few have helped him reshape his thinking. What if, he wonders, the good play or acts outweigh one report?
  • He says that “time breeds better perspective.” Nice.
  • He asks how he could reflexively deny PED users when amphetamine users are in the Hall. I’ll give him 5 points for that, up to 95.
  • He wasn’t bothered by Joe Morgan’s letter.
  • I can feel this guy’s struggles while reading his post. I’m impressed with his mental effort.

Darrin Beene: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • No explanation, so he drops to 95.

Amalie Benjamin: 75

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome and Walker start her at 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep her there.
  • No explanation drops her to 75.

Mike Berardino: 90

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 90 without PED guys!
  • And Wagner keeps him at 90. Why, why, why not Johan? I really want a non-PED guy to reach 100.
  • Wagner and Vlad are adds this year.
  • Brandon Warne, @Brandon_Warne, the host who I like quite a bit and doesn’t have a vote, chose Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100. Give him a vote! Hoffman would get his vote if there were space. He would want to consider Andruw, Kent, McGriff, Manny, Johan, Sheffield, Sosa, and Wagner too. Can we give him two votes?
  • Berardino says he finds things like the project I’m working on “amusing”. He’s far too kind. I know I’m a bit of an ass.
  • Lots of mentions of Ryan and the Tracker on this podcast. Nice!
  • Berardino, you may remember, became infamous for not voting for Unit or Pedro a few years ago. He wasn’t being a jerk. He was being strategic, he explains. He implies that he knew they were getting in without his vote.
  • Vlad is an add this year. While he discusses Vlad, I don’t think he really explains why this year but not last. He compares Vlad’s plate coverage to that of Yogi Berra or Manny Sanguillen. Cool comparison!
  • He waited until the last moment to vote, presumably to see how things were going on the Tracker.
  • He has tried to get away from counting stats, move to rate stats, and consider peak years on his recent ballots.
  • He says that the character clause factors in for him, though not in the way the player treats the media.
  • With three spots remaining on his ballot, he was still considering three players – Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner, and Andruw Jones. He chose to vote for Wagner and Jones, Jones in particular while considering the 5% needed to stay on the ballot.
  • He chose Wagner over Hoffman strategically, thinking Hoffman was going to make it and that Wagner could fall off the ballot without his vote. I dislike this position. I’m not 100% sure it holds water. Berardino is a very close follower of the Tracker. I don’t think there was ever a time this year when it seemed like Wagner was about to fall off. Maybe I’m wrong. The rest of what he says makes sense, so I’ll assume I’m wrong here.
  • He admires Hoffman, and he appreciates the way he reacted to the 1998 World Series struggle.
  • He said he loved watching Omar Vizquel play, and he wished his memory of Vizquel’s hitting was a little incorrect. Basically, it isn’t.

Rob Biertempfel: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The four open spots drop him to 10.
  • There was no Twitter interaction other than saying he won’t vote for Bonds and Clemens in their tenth year. Down to 5.

Jeff Blair: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, and Walker. That’s 60.
  • Looks good, but the four open spots mean he drops to 20.
  • The ballot was shared on a radio show I can’t access. Let’s make it 15.

Barry Bloom: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker mean Bloom starts with 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.

Earl Bloom: 55

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker get him to 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And a lack of an explanation means he falls to 55.

Ronald Blum: 25

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Sosa, and Thome make 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • The three open spots drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he falls to 25.

Paul Bodi: -15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Thome make 40.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He drops to -10 because he couldn’t find any other guys to vote for.
  • And he finishes at -15 because he doesn’t explain.

Erik Boland: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sosa, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • Wagner keeps him there.
  • He thinks the ballot should expand, so we get to 95.
  • His Twitter replies are enough for me, so he stays at 95.

Filip Bondy: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Sosa, and Thome start him at 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • His ballot is interesting and a bit frustrating in that he dropped Edgar so he could add Mussina and Sosa. Why Sosa? What did he do in the last 365 days to become better than Edgar? I can’t complain too much though; I don’t hate a Sosa vote. Vizquel, on the other hand…
  • His ballot comes to us via an email to Ryan, so there’s no explanation. He drops to 65.

Tim Booth: 90

  • Bonds, Clement, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Very reasonable explanation too.

David Borges: -15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, and Schilling make 60.
  • That’s it, so he drops to 20.
  • He implies that the induction of Bonds and Clemens would sully the induction of Mariano or Jeter. Man, stop it with your morality. Down to 15.
  • He voted Thome down because he was never a “transcendent player”. Ugh! I hate that argument, but it’s one I can stomach enough that I won’t lop off points.
  • And because he didn’t vote for Thome, he stopped voting for Sosa. Curious. Maybe he’s going somewhere with this…
  • But he pauses to talk more about steroids. Stop, just stop! Down to 10.
  • He calls Sosa nothing more than a product of PEDs. And that’s changed from last year how? Down to 5.
  • Part of the reason he voted for Chipper is because he played for one team his whole career. And that makes 0!
  • The modern day Jim Rice, Vlad inspired fear in the hearts of pitchers. Seriously, he wrote that. While Vlad was better than Rice and not a bad selection at all, the fear notion is ridiculous, and it gets him to -5.
  • He doesn’t vote for Edgar and his 147 career OPS+ because he feels Edgar doesn’t measure up to hitting savants like Rod Carew (131), Tony Gwynn (132), Wade Boggs (131), and Ichiro Suzuki (107). Of course, I did the research to show he does in less than a minute. Dude, you’re not even trying. That’s -10.
  • Unlike some, he’s not prejudiced against closers. C’mon! Nobody is prejudiced against closers! They’re against a lack of value. Hoffman doesn’t get a vote because he came up “small” in three of four big spots in his career. Okay, whatever.
  • A five-year span of dominance isn’t quite enough, so he doesn’t vote for Johan Santana. Luckily for Sandy Koufax and his 4-5 dominant seasons, he’s already in. Guys, this man had been voting for only four years. He’s going to be around for a looooong time.
  • Mike Mussina was never dominant. Did you look at 1992 or 2001? Did you note that Mussina had four seasons better than Koufax’s fifth best year? Yeah, that’s a silly stat on my part, but to say Mussina was never dominant is silly. He was. Down to -15.

Peter Botte: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with McGriff.
  • In a garbage piece, which I would have loved when I was 11, where he seems to predict what’s going to happen in 2018, he mentions who he voted for. Whoopie. Down to 85. (A ballot below made me angry earlier today, so I may not be treating Mr. Botte very fairly.

Dennis Bracken: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Walker get him going at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • No explanation drops him to 75.

Mark Bradley: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • He apologizes to Rolen.
  • But he posted on Twitter and explains nothing (at least to the point I write this). He falls to 95. Just about as good a 95 as you’ll see.
  • Thank you Mr. Bradley!

Marcos Breton: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Thome total 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • His Schilling stance is troubling to me, and I am disgusted by many of the things Schilling says. “The rules say we can take “character” into account. I find Curt Schilling to be a hateful person who uses is fame and media platforms to spread the kind of hate dividing our country. It’s taken me a few years to come to this conclusion, but there it is. I’ll never vote for him.” I have to dock him 5 points, which moves him to 65.
  • There’s very little Twitter interaction. There’s no Vizquel explanation. He doesn’t explain why Vlad is an add and Sosa a drop. I already dinged him for one of his drops though.

Larry Brooks: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker makes 90.
  • The open spot drops him to 80.
  • Vlad is an add. But he explains nothing. Down to 75.

Garry Brown: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Schilling make 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him at 80.
  • Ryan got this ballot via email, so Brown is down to 75.
  • This is a pretty shocking acceptable ballot. I suspect no other writer will have this exact ten.

Ray Buck: 15

  • Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome total 60.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • The three openings drop him to 30.
  • Though he had space, he stopped voting for Schilling this year. No explanation.
  • Clemens without Bonds drops him to 20.
  • No explanation means he falls to 15.

Steve Buckley: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He thinks writers have an obligation to make their ballots public. Thank you! Up to 75.
  • About Joe Morgan he writes, “…this letter sadly reveals him to be an old man who either can’t or won’t admit that the Hall of Fame already has its share of enshrinees who used performance-enhancing drugs.” That makes 80.
  • He doesn’t explain his though process on Hoffman, Vizquel, PED users, or anyone else. He lands at 75.

Don Burke: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 60.
  • He stays there with the relievers.
  • He drops to 50 with Vizquel.
  • And the blank spot makes 40.
  • He asks for comments, criticisms, and snide remarks, yet he replies to nothing on Twitter. That’ 35.

Nick Cafardo: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome start him at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He knows a Hall of Famer when he sees one. Foolish, and down 5 to 65.
  • He says he has no clue when and if Bonds and Clemens started using steroids. Good for him!
  • He says he respected Joe Morgan’s position. Down 5 to 60.
  • But he can’t get past the amphetamines players of Morgan’s era used. Up 5 to 65.
  • He calls Omar the AL version of Ozzie Smith, and he dropped Kent to put Omar on. Shame. And it costs him 5 points to 60 for comparing Omar and Ozzie.

Pete Caldera: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome start him with 80.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • The blank space makes it 60.
  • From what he say, Vizquel was “the finest defensive shortstop for the longest time”. Huh? Since this is his 11th ballot, he’s been covering the game for 21 seasons. That means he either grew up on Ozzie Smith or didn’t watch baseball. I assume it’s the latter. That would explain a thing or two. Down 5 to 55.
  • He calls Manny Ramirez “feared”. I hate that, but Manny did top 200 IBB. No change.
  • He wants to keep talking about Scott Rolen. You know, a vote in that direction would have been nice. Let’s hope it doesn’t matter.

Andrew Call: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him started with 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • Two open spaces drop him to 30.
  • And not explaining anything drops him to 25. Of course, I like that he shared his ballot with Ryan via email.

Dave Campbell: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Edgar and Schilling are adds.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 85.

John Canzano: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Manny make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The two open spaces drop him to 50.
  • He added Vlad and Manny while dropping McGriff and Shellield. Why? He had the room. Alas, no Twitter discussion. Down to 45.

Jim Caple: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • No change with McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Walker is an add, Mussina a drop, and no explanation in the DM to Ryan. He drops to 65.

Pat Caputo: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He added Vlad and Hoffman this year while dropping Kent.
  • He votes for Hoffman because he’s “not going to present a ballot that could keep him out.” He backs up to 85.
  • His justification for Vlad is the same. I don’t like it, but I get it. He stays at 85.

Marc Carig: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sosa, and Thome make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • No explanations on Twitter, so he falls to 85.

Bill Center: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 50.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And he drops to 40 with Vizquel.
  • The three open spaces make 10.
  • And no explanation means he finishes at 5.

Sam Charchidi: 15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 50.
  • There’s no change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • And the two open spots mean he falls to 20.
  • He didn’t vote last year, so this ballot is more damaging than you might think.
  • No Twitter replies. That’s probably smart of him. He finished at 15.

Murray Chass: -70

  • As long as it’s not a blank ballot, it’s going to be better than last year’s. I hope!
  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome. That’s 40.
  • The six open spaces mean he’s at -20.
  • He shows how much he cares about the Hall of Fame by blogging (see what I did there?) about it after a thought exercise about college football. That makes -30.
  • He calls his blank ballot last year “infamous”. Just to make sure I understood what he was saying, I looked up the definition of “infamous” And what do you know! He admits that his ballot was “well known for some bad quality or deed”. Actually, I’d say bad quality and deed, but I don’t suppose there’s one word that would articulate that so well. Nice writing, Murray.
  • Then he trashes some dude named Casey Stern for four paragraphs. Assuming what Chass is saying is accurate, I support his assertions. Not enough to give him points, but I support him.
  • Chass doesn’t vote for “cheaters”. Of course, it ain’t cheating if there’s no rule against it. Down to -40.
  • He says that Bagwell and Pudge “have long been associated with steroids”. That’s just garbage reporting. Make it -50.
  • He then conflates Tim Raines’ use of cocaine with cheating. Fool. That’s -60.
  • He claims that Hall chairwoman Jane Forbes Clark (who he calls its “chairman”) has kept Marvin Miller out of the Hall for over 15 years. Such a sentiment is patently false. Make it -65.
  • But man, Miller should be in the Hall. I’ll bring him back to -55 for that.
  • This man is so self-centered and self-important. He calls his ballot “infamous”. He doesn’t know how Stern would fill airtime without discussing his infamous ballot. And he thinks that writers shouldn’t vote for more than the number of players they wish to see inducted. Seriously. “I didn’t want to vote for four; that’s at least one or two too many to be inducted in a single year; it dilutes the honor.” Dude, there are hundreds of voters. You know you’re not the sole arbiter, right? If you vote for four, that doesn’t mean they all get in.
  • He writes, “There is just no way 10 players are good enough to be worthy of induction. Writers who vote for 10 are taking the easy way out.” By his gut, he’s right. But by objective measures, he’s not. And he’s freakin’ arrogant. He falls to -65.
  • “A few years ago Hall officials pared the voting rolls by about 100, knocking off older writers who were no long active or covering baseball on a daily basis. That was a mistake. I know of several writers who are no longer working but covered the players who are now eligible for the Hall of Fame. They would serve as more intelligent and conscientious voters than many of those voting.” Jerk. Let’s make it an even -70.
  • It’s a “better” ballot than Bill Livingston’s. I’m pleasantly surprised.

Joe Christensen: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • No explanation drops him to 85.

Tom Christensen: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him to 90.
  • Vizquel drops him to 80.
  • No explanation means he falls to 75.

Jay Cohen: 85

  • We get going with Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome for 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • No meaningful replies on Twitter. Down to 85.

Roberto Colon: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Sosa, and Thome start him at 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He doesn’t explain or interact on Twitter. Down to 65.

Dan Connolly: 60

  • I think this was previously an anonymous ballot. I’m going to delete what I previously called Anonymous #3.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He dropped Schilling so he could include Vizquel.
  • PED use hurts a candidacy, but doesn’t destroy it. Sure, I agree.
  • He calls Vizquel’s offense underrated. By what measure? I think it’s crazily overrated. Nobody says it was awful, though it truly was. Down to 65.
  • I don’t hate his Hoffman explanation. Best at what he did. Okay.
  • Sadly, he also thinks DH is a role. Roles are created by teams; positions are in the rule book. There’s a difference.
  • He mentions some selected offensive numbers of Vizquel’s as if they’re positive. They’re not.
  • He distrusts defensive metrics, but he seems to trust the eye test. Oh, and the testimony of Mike Bordick. Sad. Down 5 to 60.

Ron Cook: -45

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome bring him to a miserable 30.
  • And the seven openings drophim to -40.
  • Luckily he didn’t explain, so he falls to -45.

Kevin Cooney: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 80.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He answered a lot of folks on Twitter. Reasonable explanations. Cool.

Brian Costello: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome are worth 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • No explanation, so he drops to 85.

Greg Cote: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 80.
  • The blank spot drops him to 70.
  • He explains voting for Bonds and Clemens since there’s reasonable cause to think they’d have been good enough for the Hall without using PEDs. But what about Manny and Sheffield? How does he know? The only explanation in his explanation is insufficient at best. That makes 65.

Joe Cowley: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome mean 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • A loss of 10 for the open spot, down to 70.
  • And down to 65 because there’s no explanation.

Tim Cowlishaw: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make it 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Great work by Ryan trying to get information out of this guy. I like that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. I don’t like that he doesn’t explain anything. Down to 85.

Jerry Crasnick: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • His strategy of Kent over Walker makes sense. And I suppose it does with Kent over Sheffield too. Thoughtful.
  • However, he says that Kent isn’t a popular choice among people who specialize in the metrics. Well, I don’t specialize or anything, but Kent makes perfect sense to me. Right on the borderline.

Jack Curry: 80

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him to 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep him there.
  • He promises more detail during Yankees Hot Stove on January 4. I’ll trust him and remind you that anti-PED voters can do quite well by my system. Substitute two of Andruw, Rolen, and Johan for the closers, and this is a 100 ballot.

Guy Curtright: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. We have the very rare voter who scores 100 but didn’t reveal before the results.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 95.

Tom D’Angelo: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • No interaction on Twitter means he drops to 85.

Tim Dahlberg: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get to 50.
  • There’s no change with Hoffman.
  • The open spaces drop him to 10.
  • No explanation makes 5.

Paul Daugherty: -45

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome. That’s 30 for the guy.
  • The seven open spaces mean he falls to -40.
  • He dropped Sheffield this year. No reasoning provided.
  • No reasoning at all, so he’s down to -45.

Shi Davidi: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • There’s no change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • He’s added Edgar and McGriff while dropping Kent and Schilling.
  • He writes that he did something he swore he’d never do – removing a player from his ballot who he previously supported. Since he’s writing this in the context of strategic voting, I won’t ding him for what seems to be a crazy position of refusing to change one’s mind.
  • For strategic voting reasons he dropped Kent and Schilling while adding Edgar and McGriff. Whether or not you advocate for strategic voting aside, what in the world is the strategy of dropping Schilling for McGriff? Or even Kent for McGriff? What did he hope to accomplish? He doesn’t explain in his post. I listened to his radio appearance too. He says he can go back to the two he dropped. I guess he explained that in his post too. But all I can think is, “Yeah, so?” He drops 5 to 75.
  • He says he follows the Tracker and studies JAWS to help make decisions. Okay, we can go back to 80.
  • However, he says that Edgar is amazing because he reaches his JAWS number without adding any value on defense. There are one big problem with that statement though. JAWS is WAR-based, and Davidi isn’t taking into account its positional component, one that costs Edgar 128 runs in his WAR calculation. Back to 75.
  • He either implies that Fred McGriff didn’t use steroids, or he is happy to vote for someone whose play was simply inferior. Either way, that’s 10 points, dropping him to 65.

Ken Davidoff: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. There you have it, folks. It’s the first BBWAA ballot that exactly matches mine (and Eric’s). Congrats Ken! Start at 100!
  • He begins by taking apart Joe Morgan’s letter, so should he need it, he has a few points in the bag.
  • I like it when people are smarter than I am. “For the voters to understand that their mission is not to police player-on-player crimes, but rather to look after the consumer, who has never been impacted one iota by illegal PED usage, yet sure as heck has by crimes personified by Anson, Cobb, Selig and other inductees.” Davidoff wrote it better.
  • The audacity of the man to call the man who hit the most home runs in MLB history the true home run king. The horror! Well done, Ken.
  • Every vote for Andruw at this point is an important one. He says the Jones “eye test” is backed by analytics. Yup.
  • He cites the Tracker when talking about Edgar. Thanks again!
  • The Moneyball A’s succeeded by focusing on what players could do rather than what they couldn’t. Regarding Mussina, “The key with Mussina is not to focus on what he wasn’t as a pitcher (the Yankees’ “ace” or a 300-win pitcher) and look at what he was (durable, an outstanding 3.58 strikeouts-to-walks ratio). He should be mentioned in the same breath as Glavine and Smoltz.” Hey Ken, if you even need a ghostwriter, at least I can follow your logic.
  • He calls this freshman class “deceptively strong.” Yes!
  • He talks about Schilling wanting him and other journalists murdered. I don’t believe Schilling wants that at all. He’s already earned the five points I’m taking away here. No change overall.
  • Larry Walker isn’t a Coors Field creation. Correct.
  • He didn’t vote for Manny this year since Manny is, in his estimation, the 11th best player on the ballot. He also thinks Vlad, Sheffield, and Sosa belong in the Hall. No objections here.
  • He attacks Omar’s 82 OPS+, as he should.
  • He prefers Wagner to Hoffman, yet he doesn’t believe either is deserving. I’ll take Hoffman and his extra 186 innings, but I suspect we agree that it’s incredibly close.
  • He wants one or two more All-Star seasons out of Santana and Kent. Again, I support them both, yet I admit they’re among the last in the door.
  • Phenomenal ballot!

Art Davidson: 0

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Schilling, and Thome make 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 50.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spots drop him to 10.
  • This is why I mention how awful anti-PED voters are, not because they leave off Bonds and Clemens, but because they understand so little about the game that they’d take Hoffman and Omar over Mussina, Rolen, Edgar, Walker, and Santana.
  • He doesn’t vote for Mussina in part because he had only one 20-win season. Down to 5.
  • That’s it in terms of explanations as far as I can see, so we have an even 0.

John Delcos: -10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome. That’s 50.
  • There’s no change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The two blank spots drop him to 20.
  • He calls Carl Yastrezmski a compiler. Of course, Yaz led the AL in WAR by over 20 for two decades. I don’t think Delcos does his research, so he drops to 15.
  • He completely agrees with Joe Morgan, though it’s not like he compliments Morgan at all. I won’t take away points. I think Delcos had these thoughts irrespective of Morgan’s letter.
  • He fairly lazily calls Chipper Jones a Met killer. As with Yaz, he didn’t do the research on Chipper and the Mets. I did. But I don’t want to take more points here. He didn’t choose Chipper because of his play against one team.
  • He says Jim Thome was clean. How can he know??? Well, I know he’s down to 10.
  • He believes that if Hoffman replaced Rivera on the Yankees, they’d have won just as many World Series. Well, I believe if Nomar Garciaparra or Miguel Tejada replaced Derek Jeter, the Yankees still would have won all of those World Series. Also, Nomar and Tejada would make poor Hall of Famers. He’s down to 5.
  • He says 493 home runs should make Fred McGriff a shoo-in. C’mon! That’s 0.
  • He says that defense is often overlooked by new age stats. That’s patently false, so he falls to -5.
  • He says that if Ozzie is a Hall of Famer, so is Omar. That’s insanity. It’s a ridiculous comparison. And his is a ridiculous ballot with ridiculous logic and a final score of -10.

Chris De Luca: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sosa, and Thome give him 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Mussina and Schilling are adds, while Manny falls from his ballot.
  • In his snarky Twitter replies, which I like, he didn’t explain anything, so he falls to 85.

Tony DeMarco: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • He calls people who used PEDs “steroid cheaters”. Down to 50.
  • He doesn’t explain, so he falls to 45.

Tom Dienhart: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Sosa, and Thome make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He added Sosa, Mussina, and Vlad while dropping Schilling. I’d love to know why, but there’s no explanation. Down to 85.

Steve Dilbeck: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome start him at 30.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And the six blanks drop him to -30
  • Not surprisingly, there’s no explanation, so he falls to -35.

Ryan Divish: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • His explanations were quite dull, but they were there. I like his thought process overall.

Mike Downey: 5

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Thome get him to 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spaces mean he falls to 10.
  • No explanation that I could find. So he falls to 5. I suspect it would have been worse if he tried to explain himself.

Josh Dubow: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • He dropped Sosa for Walker. I support that too.
  • But no explanation yet, so he falls to 95.

Jay Dunn: 30

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome get him going with 60.
  • He stays there with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • And the one open spot brings him to 40.
  • As respectfully, as fairly, and as incorrectly as one could, he rejects Bonds and Clemens (and Bonds and Clemens voters). He somehow things steroids are evil and amphetamines didn’t exist. Or were Skittles. Down to 35.
  • Fred McGriff is a victim of the steroid era. Please! Manny Ramirez cheated. Barry Bonds didn’t, or was never caught. Fred McGriff didn’t, or was never caught. Why do some people think they have all the answers? Down to 30.
  • He separates Shilling the player from Schilling the tweeter. I love that, but he stays at 30.

Chuck Dybdal: 5

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Edgar bring him to 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The four open spots drop him to 10.
  • No explanation means he lands at 5.

Bob Elliott: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Thome, and Walker start him at 70.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • The blank drops him to 60.
  • And the lack of explanation means he finishes at 55.

John Eradi: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • McGriff keeps him there.
  • And the open spot drops him to 70.
  • His admiration for Joe Morgan’s “courage” drops him to 60.
  • He won’t again vote for the Hall if Bonds and Clemens are elected. Oh, please, please, please elect Bonds and Clemens. Down to 50.
  • He explained nothing other than his Bonds/Clemens/Morgan screed. Down to 45.

Alan Eskew: 15

  • Bonds, Andruw, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, and Thome start him at 60.
  • Damon and Hoffman keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The open spot drops him to 40.
  • Bonds and not Clemens drops him to 30.
  • Manny and not Clemens drops him to 20.
  • The lack of explanation means he finishes at 15.

Ryan Fagan: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolan, Santana, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • Walker is an add, while Manny and Schilling have been dropped.
  • He is specifically voting based on what he sees in the Tracker! He votes for guys he things deserve it who have a shot at getting inducted, and he votes for deserving guys who need votes to boost their candidacies. He specifically explains that’s why Rolen and Johan are in, while Manny and Schilling are out.
  • Please read his post! It’s among the most thorough and sensible of the year. Thanks Ryan!

Mark Faller: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker. That’s 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • And the open space drops him to 60.
  • Both McGriff and Walker are adds this year. Of course, he explains nothing. The final grade is 55.

Michael Fannin: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Schilling total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • McGriff but not Thome drops him to 70.
  • No explanation for that craziness drops him to 65.

Mark Feinsand: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 100!
  • He correctly states that we don’t know who used PEDs or didn’t before testing. Thank you!
  • He calls Omar Vizquel’s defensive wizardry “second to none”. My wife says I shouldn’t be so literal, so I’ll respect those words as a figure of speech and not something Feinsand actually believes.
  • He wants a binary, yes/no, process for all players, that voters shouldn’t be constrained by the limit of ten players when more deserve it. I’d give him 5 more points, but voters are capped at 100 by this system.
  • He strategizes by voting for Edgar this year and not McGriff, both of whom he thinks are deserving. His reasoning is that Edgar has a shot, while the McGriff vote seems wasted. I buy that (though not the point about McGriff being over the line).
  • Because of Schilling’s anti-journalist comments, the righty didn’t get his vote last year. I won’t give him a hard time for that since he actually seems like a journalist based on his objective thinking. He’s pulled back this year, and Schilling is in.
  • Damn, this is a great ballot supported by great thinking!

Howard Fendrich: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Drop him 40 points for the blanks. Down to 10.
  • Drop him 5 more for lacking an explanation. Down to 5.

Martin Fennelly: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He votes for Tampa guy Sheffield but neither Bonds nor Clemens. That costs him 10, dropping him to 70. So, so, so many homers. It’s quite distasteful.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 65.

Larry Fine: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him going with 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The two blanks drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he finishes at 25.

Mike Fitzpatrick: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome mean 70.
  • No change with the relievers.
  • The blank drops him to 60.
  • And he finishes at 55 with no explanations.

Jeffrey Flanagan: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The open space drops him to 70.
  • He compares closers to kickers. Ick. He says nothing else of substance, so he falls 5 to 65.

Jeff Fletcher: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100! And I think we deserve this treat after Tuesday’s disaster.
  • He posted his picks on Twitter in puzzle form, which is great! But he didn’t explain. Down to 95.

Carter Gaddis: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Down to 30 with the three open spaces.
  • And the Facebook post drops him to 25 for this evaluator.

Randy Galloway: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 20.
  • The five open spots make -30.
  • I just can’t make myself to listen to a 37-minute podcast to hate his reasoning. We’ll dock him 5 points and call it a day.

Peter Gammons: 65

  • Bonds, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman means there’s no change.
  • His blank space that used to belong to Clemens before he realized there was a conflict of interest (or something) drops him to 70
  • And he published at The Athletic, so I can’t read. He ends at 65.

Jim Gauger: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, and Thome total 70.
  • Hoffman and Moyer keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 55.

Dan Gelston: 25

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • Hoffman changes nothing.
  • And the three open sport drop him to 30.
  • He’s all over the Pinstripe Bowl. No explanation. Down to 25.

Steven Gietschier: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome is 60.
  • Hoffman, McGriff, and Wagner keep him there.
  • At least there was no Vizquel.
  • The open space drops him to 50.
  • The lack of explanation makes 45.

Rob Giles: -25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Thome, and Walker. Wow, that’s only 40.
  • The six blanks mean he falls to -20.
  • So this isn’t quite as disgusting as Livingston’s Cleveland-only ballot. But it’s in the neighborhood. He votes for three guys who are going to wind up over 90% and a player from Canada for a guy on Twitter who describes himself on Twitter as “Chief of Bureau for The Associated Press in Canada. Baseball Hall of Fame voter. Canadian.”
  • And since he can’t explain his awful ballot, there’s no explanation. He falls to -25.

David Ginsburg: -20

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, and Thome make 40.
  • The six remaining spaces means he falls to -20.
  • He dropped Manny for some reason.
  • There’s no way I’m listening to 36 minutes of radio for this one. Sorry.

Steve Goldman: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 60.
  • The closers and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • And no explanation makes 45.

Jimmy Golen: -35

  • Chipper, Edgar, and Thome start this laughable ballot at 30.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 20.
  • The five blank spots make -30.
  • Not surprisingly, there’s no explanation, so that leaves him at -35.

Pedro Gomez: -35

  • Chipper, Mussina, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 20.
  • And the four open spaces make -20.
  • He explains his McGriff vote in a way I cannot understand at all. “McGriff would have been an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if only he’d been born 30 or 40 years earlier. There are 23 first basemen in the Hall of Fame, but only seven played their careers after 1950. Of those seven, four hit more home runs than McGriff’s 493, and of those four, McGriff was within 28 of three of them. Only Harmon Killebrew’s 573 home runs were distant from McGriff’s total, which was more than that of Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda and Jeff Bagwell.” Can you?
  • “McGriff hit 31 or more home runs in seven consecutive seasons. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times. He was the catalyst of the Braves’ lone World Series title in 1995. His biggest problem was playing during the height of the steroid era, in which his stellar numbers were dwarfed by the cartoonish numbers of the 1990s, when players were reaching 50, 60 and even 70 home runs in a season.” Two huge problems here.
    • We don’t’ know who used and who didn’t. Down to -30.
    • He uses the ridiculous standard that is top-10 MVP finishes. McGriff finished fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth twice. Per BBREF, he ranks 170th in career MVP voting shares. He trails Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry and Greg Luzinski, among other greats. I don’t know if Gomez is being intellectually dishonest here or just intellectually vacuous. Down to -35.

Mike Gonzales: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Thome make 50.
  • That’s where he stays with the two relievers.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40
  • And the two blanks bring him down to 20.
  • He talks about Vlad’s RBIs. Oh my!
  • He talks about Hoffman’s fearlessness during the steroid era. Awful.
  • He talks about Chippers solid defense, which didn’t actually exist. Down 5 to 15.
  • He mentions the DH Award being named after Edgar, like that’s some sort of qualification. Why are more and more people saying something so silly?
  • Regarding Omar, he says he hit 10 points higher than Ozzie. Clearly, that’s a ridiculous point of comparison. Ozzie was the superior hitter by a mile. This comparison is shameful, so he’s down 10 more points to 5.
  • It appears to me that the last time Gonzales learned anything about baseball was 1977 or so.

Derrick Goold: 90

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • Folks, please see that he voted for no PED users, and he gets 90 points! This is a great ballot!
  • Add Kent or Johan rather than Hoffman, and it’s a 100 point ballot without Bonds or Clemens! Yes, it can be done. You can have a phenomenal ballot if you won’t vote for PED guys. I’m ready to read hos explanations now. I predict I’ll like them.
  • Let’s see.
  • He explains his ballot in a chat!
  • One of the first things he says is that he’ll vote for Bonds and Clemens in the future if there’s space on his ballot. Wow! I like his stance here. They can get in the Hall, but they can’t bump deserving candidates. Thoughtful!
  • He speaks highly of Jim Edmonds and Ted Simmons. Nice.
  • Sheffield may get his vote in the future. He thinks highly of the bat.
  • Not so much Johan or Chris Carpenter. Hopefully there’s a Johan explanation somewhere.
  • Jack Morris would not have made his final 14 or 15 had he been on this ballot. Jamie Moyer didn’t either.
  • He doesn’t think players currently in the Hall should be removed for any reason. Surprisingly, given the existence of the HoME, I concur.
  • He supports Trammell.
  • Jeff Kent was considered. He wrote that others stood taller. That makes sense to me.
  • He predicts Rolen will get into the Hall, just not with the BBWAA vote. I prefer his prediction to my less hopeful one.
  • Seven more homers for Fred McGriff (to 500) wouldn’t have done it for him.
  • When asked why he hates Chris Carpenter, he replies with surprise that there aren’t more Jason Isringhausen questions. All this and a sense of humor!
  • Andruw over Kent simply because Andruw was better. I concur.
  • With a binary ballot he’d add Bonds, Clemens, Sheffield, possibly Kent, and give a long look to Wagner. The last name is a big reason I’m against a binary ballot. I fear it will make for a bigger Hall. It will more easily allow writers to do the “nice thing” rather than the right thing.
  • It’s no surprise that his Schilling position is reasoned. He uses the character clause to help shave down to ten. He doesn’t care how Schilling treated the media.
  • Though it was mostly Cardinals talk, the guy chatted for more than four hours! I’m so, so impressed!

Patrick Graham: 90

  • Like many today, Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He says that Joe Morgan’s words carried weight, though his ballot and other words don’t support that claim. Good! No change in points.
  • I don’t love his Twitter replies, but there were plenty of them.

Evan Grant: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Obnoxiousness be damned, he says, he had to vote for Schilling this year.
  • He’d like to vote for Sheffield too, but the ballot limit…
  • There’s not a ton of Twitter interaction, but there was a Schilling explanation of sorts. I’ll take that. He stays at 90.

Dan Graziano: 25

  • Vlad, Chiper, Kent, Edgar, and Mussina get to 50.
  • Hoffman, McGriff, and Wagner keep him there.
  • Hideki Matsui!!! He drops to 40.
  • The open space drops him to 30.
  • He finds “appeal” in Matsui’s Japanese ball contribution. Yes, I believe Matsui hit 507 homers between Japan and the United States. Does he know that Andruw Jones hit 484? And he played pretty good defense too. I suspect not. Ridiculous. Down to 25.

Jerry Green: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Damon keeps him there.
  • Vizquel brings him to 60.
  • The blank takes him to 50.
  • And without an explanation, he falls to 45.

Jay Greenberg: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 60.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • And two blank spots drop him to 40.
  • He added McGroff this year, no other changes.
  • No explanations. That’s 35.

Alan Greenwood: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, and that’s it. A nice 60.
  • But the four open spots mean he drops to 20.
  • No Twitter replies, so he drops to 15.

Scott Gregor: -5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome start him with a sad 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spots bring him down to 10.
  • He calls Vizquel “no slouch with the bat”. That’s ridiculous. Vizquel was a pretty awful hitter. He’s down to 5.
  • And he needlessly talks about character, pointing out Thome’s only character flaw as being too nice. That’s an even 0.
  • He explains nothing, really, so he finishes at -5.

Richard Griffin: 30

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker make 70.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 50.
  • He writes, “There are analytics in vogue that can be manipulated to compare the careers of those already enshrined to those who would like to join them…” This is either disingenuous or it represents an incredibly poor understanding of the analytics community. Whether as a vocation or avocation, the people who do this stuff are really trying to get things right, not manipulate. Down 10 to 40.
  • “Ironically, the segment of the community that seems most tolerant of difference of opinion has become the writers who actually vote. The general public seems to have devolved into self-righteous and indignant railing against those who don’t meet their carefully selected standards.” I wish I could disagree with him here.
  • His PED position is one I can very much get behind. Before PEDs were banned, he holds nothing against users or suspected users.
  • He is basically against enshrining relievers, or so he says. In the very next sentence, he says that a player who is one of the best in his role over the course of his career is an exception. No, it’s not! That’s precisely what it should take for any player to earn your vote. Down 5 to 35.
  • He lumps in relievers and designated hitters. Yuck. But he votes for Edgar for the first time. Okay.
  • “I’m a sucker for great shortstops, great defence, great athletes and players who show imagination in their play.” Um, yeah. At least you admit it.
  • ‘Shortstops are under-represented at Cooperstown…” That’s just wrong, unless he’s talking about 19th century shortstops, which he isn’t. Down 5 to 30.
  • I love his strong Larry Walker stand, suggesting it’s ignorant to hold Coors against him.

Karen Guregian: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 50.
  • Hoffman keeps her at 50.
  • Vizquel drops her to 40.
  • The three empty spaces mean a fall to 10.
  • And no explanation means a finish at 5.

Paul Gutierrez: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, and Thome total 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • And the three open spots make it 10.
  • He seems impressed by Vizquel’s use of a cardboard glove, fielding percentage, and hits. Awful. Down 5 to 5.

Joe Haakenson: 75

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff mean he stays there.
  • He added Kent, Mussina, and Walker. Of course he added Walker! And he dropped Manny. Why in the world would an anti-PED guy have voted for Manny a year ago?
  • I don’t know. He didn’t explain anything. Down to 75.

Chris Haft: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome start him at 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Why in the world do people keep voting for Vizquel? Haft writes that it’s because he covered Omar while both were in San Francisco. I’d like to do little study of Vizquel’s public votes. I think there are a huge number of supporters of his who covered him. It’s the eye test. Don’t trust the eye test! Down 5 to 65.
  • No explanation of any real value, so he falls to 60.

Paul Hagen: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • The two relievers keep him there.
  • On one hand, he didn’t vote for Vizquel. On the other, he hopes that Omar gets the 5% he needs to stay on the ballot. Imagine, just imagine, working for MLB.com and not having a clue of the existence of the Tracker. Imagine working at MLB.com and never discussing the Hall ballot with a colleague. I want to take away 3,000 points. It’ll just be 10. Down to 70.
  • Nobody knows for sure who used and who didn’t use PEDs. True. He gets 5 points back to return to 75.
  • But his explanations are insufficient. Down again to 70.

Mark Hale: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 100!
  • He liked my tweet to him when I complimented his ballot, and he responded regarding a few players in Twitter. I particularly liked that he said Hoffman wasn’t close for him. Stays at 100.

John Harper: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70.
  • The relievers keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And a lack of ballot explanation that I can see means he falls to 55.

Ian Harrison: 80

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Santana (!), Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep him there.
  • He explains plenty on Twitter. And he said he’d engage if polite. I asked about Hoffman and Wagner. We’ll see…
  • And he responded! I liked his answer quite a bit, though I don’t think it really answered my question. So I went back. Again, we’ll see. (No matter what he says at this point, I’m a fan. Polite and thoughtful guy, even if we don’t agree).

Mike Harrington: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, thome, and Walker get him to 90.
  • No change with Hoffman, um, McGriff. Normally we write Hoffman’s name here.
  • Ooh, he doesn’t like Morgan’s email. I recommend you read what he wrote. It’s simple, fair, and accurate (at least in my estimation). I very much dislike the inclusion of Bud Selig into his point. Still, I love his direction. He’s up to 95.
  • Yes, amphetamines!
  • He wants the Hall to listen to the BBWAA and allow for 12 votes per ballot. While I disagree with his conclusion and that of the BBWAA, I do think the BBWAA should support the opinion of the writers. Or maybe they should take the exclusive vote away from the BBWAA. Maybe? That brings him up to 100. And at this point, Harrington’s is the first ballot with a candidate I can’t support who has ever reached 100 points.
  • He says that members of the BBWAA are vetted each year. He may be right in fact, though what I infer from his writing isn’t right. Dude seems very smart. Maybe I’m missing something. No deduction.
  • He calls Hoffman and Vizquel tough “no” calls. I almost don’t want to read what he writes, but given the role I’ve undertaken, I kind of have to.
  • He says you have to be transformational like Mariano, Sutter, or Goose to get his vote. Mo wasn’t transformational. He was just amazing. Goose wasn’t transformational, he was just great. Sutter was, actually, transformational. But his one-inning “transformation” wasn’t his doing. His splitter was, kind of. But that’s “transformation” isn’t Hall-worthy in my opinion.
  • He calls Vizquel the best defensive shortstop he’s ever seen. He doesn’t say Vizquel is the best defensive shortstop he’s ever analyzed. I suspect this guy will analyze deeper numbers before he ever votes for Vizquel. I’ll trust my intuition. No loss of points.
  • He calls Kent, Wagner, Sheffield, Manny, and Sosa worthy candidates. I don’t understand his Wagner point, but I’m okay with this explanation too.
  • Aside from his Selig references, I really respect his Bonds/Clemens explanations.
  • His McGriff vote is based, at least in part, on the idea that McGriff should have cheated to over 500 or maybe 600 homers. Don’t assume anyone was clean or dirty if you don’t know. It pains me, but he loses 10 to fall to 90.
  • Read his Schilling explanation. Very impressive, though not 100% accurate, in my opinion.
  • I love this ballot!

Bill Hartman: 25

  • Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Kent, and Thome start him at 50.
  • The relievers and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The blank drops him to 30.
  • And the lack of explanation brings him to 25 to finish.

Tom Haudricourt: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him going with 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • He would like to vote for Andruw, Sheffield, Wagner, and Walker too. He implies that the rule not letting him vote for more is stupid. I disagree, but that’s worth five points. Up to 85.
  • His PED line is flunking a test or admitting you knowingly used. Reasonable.
  • He thinks there are PED users in the Hall. Well, of course there are.
  • He says he’s seen many relievers thrust into the closer role who can’t handle the mental and physical pressure, but he names none. I suspect those guys either weren’t very good pitchers, or they weren’t given enough of a chance. Very few players, in my opinion, can’t handle their major league pressures.
  • He says the final outs are the hardest to get. I don’t think the evidence (OBP by inning) supports this sentiment.
  • He knows a Hall of Famer when he sees one. Stop it! I know a 5-oint deduction when I see one. Down to 80.
  • His McGriff PED position is as awful as anyone’s. Maybe he should have done them to inflate his stats and Hall chances. Down 10 to 70.

Jim Hawkins: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 100 for the late revealer!
  • He falls to 95 because he lacks an explanation.

Dan Hayes: 85

  • Yet another Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker for 90.
  • Hoffman holds him there.
  • Vlad’s an add.
  • No Twitter answers to speak of. Down to 85.

Joe Henderson: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 60.
  • He dropped Manny and added Mussina. Is it possible he doesn’t know he can have both?
  • No explanation, so he ends at 55.

Jim Henneman: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Sheffield, and Thome make 70.
  • No change with the closers of McGriff.
  • Sheffield and not Bonds or Clemens drops him to 60.
  • No explanation means he finishes at 55.

Lynn Henning: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make for an 80-point start.
  • However, there are two open spaces, so he’s down to 60.
  • On one hand, this is a pretty nice 8-man ballot. And he spends a lot of words explaining. However, one of his explanations is empty.
  • He says removing Kent from his ballot requires “heavy explanation”. He says he did a lot of reading in the past year. Then he mentions the 2017 offerings by Jay Jaffe and Keith Law. However, he doesn’t say that he read either. He mentions “new numbers-crunching”, but he doesn’t share what those numbers are. He says he can no longer make a case for Kent with a clear conscience, but he doesn’t explain why. Then he mentions conscience again. But he cites nothing remotely like a concrete reason for dropping Kent from his ballot. Down to 55.
  • He calls Bonds and Clemens cheaters even though there’s no evidence they broke any of baseball’s rules. Down to 50.
  • He lumps steroids in with amphetamines, so I’ll add 5. Back up to 55.
  • He draws a line between Bonds/Clemens and McGwire/Sosa/Palmeiro. The former two he thinks would be worthy without PEDs. The latter three he thinks may not be. That’s not unreasonable. He stays at 55.
  • He thinks it’s the last year Edgar Martinez will appear on the ballot. Now I have to decide if that’s an honest error or if he’s actually studied far less than he says. I think it’s an honest error. Still at 55.
  • I appreciate his Chipper/Schilling logic saying the Hall should be more about baseball than “character”. Yup. Give him 60 again.
  • He calls Vizquel’s range “…not in the same galaxy as Ozzie Smith…”. I couldn’t agree more. Up to 65.
  • He criticizes the Hall for not making all ballots public. On this one, I don’t have to play fast and loose with the rules when I elevate him to 70.
  • He seems to consider writers who don’t reveal their ballots to be cowards. Wow. I’ll lift him to 75.
  • He says slashing eligibility from 15 to 10 years is “nonsense”. Love it! Up to 80.
  • He calls the 10-man limit “silly” and “anachronistic”. This from a guy who didn’t even use 10 spots. He’s fighting for what he thinks is best, not his own best interest. Let’s add 5 more to get to 85.

Steve Henson: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, and Thome make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • And Vizquel brings him down to 60.
  • He dropped Sosa this year, presumably for Vizquel.
  • His is one of the stronger voices I’ve heard saying we must vote for PED guys, that we already have, and that the era has to be represented properly.
  • He says he dropped Sosa for the three new guys. Yeah, right.
  • He’s most rooting for Mussina, McGriff, and Vizquel.

Manolo Hernandez-Douen: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Johan, Sosa, and Thome total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • No explanation means he falls to 65.

Steve Herrick: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • The open spot makes 60.
  • The fact that there’s no explanation drops him to 55.

Mark Herrmann: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome make 50.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And the four open spots drop him to 10.
  • Don’t click through. It’s not even written by Herrmann, so he falls to 5.

Bob Herzog: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Sosa was dropped; Manny and Mussina were added, but he doesn’t tell us why. Down to 85.

Jon Heyman: 25

  • I’ll admit now that Heyman’s ballot made me angry. More accurately, his post of explanation made me angry. Heyman is so frustrating to me because it seems he could learn, but then he produces stuff like this. I’m not confident his grade is accurate. I was spinning when I read his “work”.
  • Bonds, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome start his ballot at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • He voted for Bonds and not Clemens though. Down to 70.
  • He says the Hall should allow more than 10 votes. Up to 75.
  • His steroid moralizing drops him to 65. I just don’t understand how this particular “cheating” is different from other cheating. And I suspect I never will.
  • He says postseason performance counts big time. Okay, I guess. But All-Star appearances? Does he know that fans vote for All-Stars. Feeling generous, I’ll leave him at 65.
  • He says it’s silly to downgrade Vlad for not walking enough. Jon seems to be saying on base percentage isn’t important. Down to 60.
  • He’s shocked that someone left Chipper’s name off a ballot. This from a man who didn’t vote from Schilling because of his work on Twitter. Jon, are you familiar with Chipper’s Twitter work? Down to 55.
  • Heyman doesn’t know what politics is, saying it’s not Schilling’s politics that caused him to drop the hurler from his ballot a year ago. Curt Schilling is a simple enough guy to understand. But Heyman says, “…he made it clear he wanted me dead”. C’mon, Jon, not everything is about you, and you’re not really a journalist. Down to 50.
  • He suggests that Schilling’s bloody sock was a product of ketchup. No, no journalist worth his or her salt would “report” such utter speculation. He falls to 45. Given the fact that he can’t put two sentences together without saying something offensive to anyone who cares about logic, fact, or internal consistency, it’s pretty shocking he started at 80.
  • There’s no chance Mike Mussina took steroids. Jon, you’re an idiot. Down to 40.
  • He says McGriff was clean and that he lost home run crowns to cheaters. That’s worth 10, so he falls to 30.
  • He says Trevor Hoffman is as close as anyone to Mariano Rivera. Apparently he hasn’t heard of Goose Gossage. I hope he runs into Goose someday. Goose’ll tell him. But I can’t take away points for this one. Still at 30.
  • He calls the 10-man max “dumb” Good for you, Jon! But I already gave you those points. Still at 30.
  • He talks about cheaters again and again and again. Yet he votes for Bonds because of when he cheated. I just can’t. Back to 25.
  • And his rationale for withholding a Clemens’ vote is quite odd, even backwards. The moralizing is pretty gross too. Make it 20.
  • I hate that Heyman dropped Edgar from his ballot. He did it citing WAR compared to Rolen. Maybe he should check out McGriff’s WAR. And we land at 15.

John Hickey: 75

  • Bonds, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, and Thome make 80.
  • No change with the closers.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 75.

Hirokazu Higuchi: -5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Thome get him started with 40.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The three open spots drop him to 0.
  • And no explanation means he falls to -5.

Bob Hohler: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 60.
  • No change with Damon and Hoffman.
  • And the two blanks drop him to 40.
  • He calls Damon’s career borderline at best. Yeah, if you have a thick borderline, I suppose Damon is on it. I should be very, very critical of a vote for a borderliner when there are a plethora of guys on this ballot over that line. I won’t since he only votes for eight. On his ballot, Damon didn’t steal a spot from a deserving player.
  • He foolishly claims that Damon “purged the franchise’s self-defeating culture of doom…” Wow, I can’t even call that silly. It’s stupid and unsupportable in any way at all. That lack of sense drops him to 35.
  • He does mention that Damon tops Tony Perez, Kirby Puchett, and Jim Rice in WAR. Well, great! But that doesn’t make him deserving.
  • He does equate non-cheaters with cheaters, but he does so without judgement. I’ll accept his argument as polite disagreement.
  • He says that voters can’t be sure if any player was entirely clean. Thank you!

Jeff Horrigan: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He falls to 85 because he doesn’t offer an explanation.

Alan Hoskins: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Sosa and Thome make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • A Kerry Wood vote means he drops to 70.
  • He falls to 65 because he doesn’t offer an explanation.

Garry D. Howard: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He adds Vlad, Edgar, and Manny, but he drops Mussina. At the time I type this, there’s no link, so I’m left to guess as to his reasoning. That makes 85.

Paul Hoynes: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him 10 to 60.
  • And since there’s no explanation, he drops to 55.

Mike Imrem: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Sosa make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Edgar, Mussina, and Manny are adds this year.
  • His Sosa vote is strategic. He might need Imrem’s vote to stay on the ballot, while Thome will get in this year or next with or without his vote. Nice explanation.
  • He chose Edgar over Thome strategically too.
  • He says Manny was a tough vote because he was caught cheating.

Jim Ingraham: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70 to start.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the three openings make 30.
  • Of course, he explains nothing, so he falls to 25.

Jeff Jacobs: 50

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And the open spot drops him to 70.
  • He says he’ll resign as a voter if Bonds and Clemens are elected. But he voted for them! Down ten to 60.
  • He doesn’t agree with Joe Morgan’s stance, yet it would be beyond hypocritical, he says, to endorse or forgive the use of steroids. But you know you voted for Bonds and Clemens, right?!?!? Down to 55.
  • He calls the PED issue “the grayest debate of our sporting lifetimes”, while at the same time writing, “Who among us isn’t positive they [Bonds and Clemens] juiced?” There were only three sentences between those thoughts. Down to 50.
  • He does call out the steroid/amphetamine inconsistency. Back to 55.
  • His entire column is about PEDs. He doesn’t discuss Hoffman or Rolen or Santana or Walker or Andruw. It’s all PEDs. Down to 50.

Bruce Jenkins: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Sosa, and Thome start him with 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He dropped Schilling. For Vizquel? He says it’s a pleasure voting for Vizquel.
  • Like all San Francisco Chronicle writers, he has a paragraph to explain. He doesn’t. Down to 65.

Chuck Johnson: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, and Sosa make 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The open spot drops him to 60.
  • No explanation means he ends at 55.
  • He must think McGriff was better than Thome. I can’t take away points, but I should.

Joey Johnson: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker start the ballot at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The ballot came to the Tracker via email. So he drops to 75.

Richard Justice: 70

  • He starts with Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome for 80 points.
  • Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner keep him at 80. I’m really thinking about deducting points for these guys.
  • On the podcast, he says he could make a case for 15 guys, but he’s not very strong there. I can’t give him the 5 points. Still at 80.
  • But he doesn’t actually explain much of anything. Down to 75.
  • And when he does, it’s not good. He equates closer to DH, saying if we have designated hitters, we have to have designated hitters in the Hall. If we’re going to have closers, we have to have closers in the Hall. First, DH is a position, while closer is a designation. Second, by his logic, since we have utility infielders, we have to put utility infielders in the Hall. That’s silly. Down to 70.

Marc Katz: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, and Thome make 50.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The two open spots make 20.
  • The fact that he voted for Sheffield and not Bonds and Clemens means he’s insane. Okay, maybe not, but he falls to 10. To vote for one guy who used PEDs but not two of the ten best players ever(ish) is somewhere between irresponsible and stupid.
  • No explanation is a good thing for his score but a bad thing for us. He drops to 5.

Tim Kawakami: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Since it’s published at The Athletic, I can only read a couple of inches of it. He explains, though I don’t know what.

Tom Keegan: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Manny make 60.
  • The four blanks drop him to 20.
  • He voted for Edgar and Schilling last year but not this. Why??? He falls to 15.

Kevin Kernan: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • There’s no explanation on Instrgram, so he’s down to 75.

George A. King III: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Before this ballot, I’d have argued there’s no such thing as a pro-steroid position. Now I’m not so sure. There’s no explanation, so he loses 5 points and finishes with what I think is the worst 85-point ballot of the year. Still, it’s a ballot I support. Kind of.

Bob Klapisch: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina,, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • Larry Walker is getting added by a lot of people – 13 at the time of Klapisch’s ballot.
  • No explanations in his Twitter feed, so he falls to 85.

Ann Killion: -20

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 40.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops her to 30.
  • And the four open spots bring the sub-total to -10.
  • She says the Hall rules instruct her to consider character. Yes, they do. They don’t require you to vote on it though, which you suggest they do. Down to -15.
  • And she writes this: “As far as the Hall of Fame being a museum, that’s not accurate. There’s also a museum in Cooperstown where all the players are represented.” Is she trying to separate the plaque room from the rest of the Hall? That’s lunacy. Down to -20.

Chuck Klonke: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 75.

Michael Knisley: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Thome, and Walker get him to 60.
  • The relievers keep him there.
  • And the two open spots mean he falls to 40.
  • No explanation, so he drops to 35.

Danny Knobler: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He says that the biggest stars belong in the Hall, that it’s not just about the numbers. I vehemently disagree, but I can accept that argument.
  • He compared Andruw to Omar – favorably. Thank you! Take 5 more points to get to 95.

Steve Kornacki: 45

  • Andruw, Chipper, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker mean 70.
  • No change with Damon or Hoffman.
  • The open spot drops him to 50.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 45.

Dejan Kovacevic: -10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Schilling make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The four open spots drop him to 10.
  • He starts his column talking about not understanding why being a first-ballot Hall of Famer is special. I completely agree! Yet he didn’t vote for Jim Thome. Okay, I’ll read on.
  • He says that voting for the baseball Hall is “almost all out in the open anymore”. I’m not sure that last word should be there. And I’m certain the other shouldn’t. The BBWAA asked for it to be out in the open. The Hall rejected them. I won’t blame him for this inaccuracy. Yet.
  • Of course five sentences after the one quoted above, he calls himself detail oriented.
  • I’m inferring he doesn’t like writers adding guys toward the end of their run who they didn’t feel as worthy toward the beginning, the momentum that’s sometimes discussed. I’m good with that.
  • He explicitly considers the character of a player. In other words, he puts his own moral judgements on the actions of others. Down to 0.
  • And then I have to log in to see his ballot. He works for something called DK Pittsburgh Sports. I get how The Athletic may think themselves worthy of charging, but this is just funny. And it leaves him at -5.

Ron Kroichick: -5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spaces make 10.
  • I really have to check out Vizquel voters. I think a huge number covered him day-to-day, so they trust his flashiness and ignore his lack of greatness. By the way, Kroichick is a San Francisco writer, and he voted for Kent. It’s important to check this out.
  • He says defense matters. And it makes Vizquel an easy choice. Yeah, if nothing but defense matters. Down to 5.
  • He says defense strengthens the case for Vlad. It really doesn’t. Sure, he had a great arm, but he had mediocre range.
  • He also says it strengthens the case for Jones. And he means Chipper! Depending on who you consult, Chipper was either a bad or an extremely bad defender. Down to 0.
  • And if you like defense, where’s the vote for Andruw or Rolen, two great defenders who could also hit. Down to -5. Awful.

Roch Kubatko: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • Schilling and Walker are adds this year.
  • No explanation drops him to 85.

Bob Kuenster: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker total 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff change nothing.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And he loses 5 points lacking an explanation.

Tim Kurkjian: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He says 19 guys deserve serious consideration. I wish he explained a little more, but I like that he’d like a larger ballot and he believes 19 of these guys deserve consideration.

Gabe Lacques: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He added Mussina and dropped Sheffield this year.
  • And he kind of explains! He says it was partly strategic and partly based on the very impressive ERA+ compared to the less-than-impressive ERA.
  • He says Edgar’s homers and hits don’t move the needle as much as Hoffman’s saves – for a specialist. Sorry Gabe, 650 PA and 65 IP ain’t remotely similar. Still, he mentions Edgar’s relatively small number of PA, just 8,674. While that is tied for 183rd in history, the tie is with Johnny Bench. This is awkward justification, not meaningful explanation. Down 5 to 85.

Bill Lankhof: -10

  • Bonds, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Chris Carpenter drops him to 50.
  • The two openings mean he falls to 30.
  • Bonds and not Clemens drops him to 20.
  • Carpenter and not Mussina or Schilling drops him to 0
  • He changed his mind on five guys in the last year and maintained votes for only three. That’s gotta be worth a deduction. Down to -5.
  • No explanation means he finishes at -10.

Scott Lauber: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • No change with the two closers.
  • He only explained his anti-Manny vote, but he did it quite well to my mind. He’ll stay where he is.

Sadiel Lebron: 25, awful ballot

  • Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Manny, Sammy, and Thome put him at 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff don’t change his score.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • He answered one question that I’m aware of on Twitter. Not enough, but English is clearly not his first language, and I don’t think I’d like to argue on Twitter in another language. I won’t dock him. Still at 60.
  • He chose Clemens but not Bonds, down to 50.
  • He also chose Manny and Sammy, so he drops to 40 and then 30.
  • He said nobody proved Sammy did anything, but there’s great proof he corked a bat. Down to 25.

David Lennon: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 80.
  • And the open space drops him to 70.
  • No explanation means he falls to 65.

Joseph Liao: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep him there.
  • Vlad is an add.
  • No interaction on Twitter at the time I looked. Down to 75.

Bernie Lincicome: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, and Thome make 60.
  • Four blanks drop him to 20.
  • This is his last Hall ballot. Hooray!
  • In sentence six, he mentions that he’s never been allowed to vote for Pete Rose, but that he would without hesitation. He won’t lose points for that, though the time to whine about Rose ended more than a decade ago.
  • Wow, then he kept talking about Rose for the next two paragraphs, saying nothing Rose did as a manager affected any game. That would seem absolutely impossible. Down to 15.
  • He goes on and on and on about “cheaters”. Of course, Bonds and Clemens broke none of baseball’s rules. And he did nothing to report their “cheating”. Down to 10.
  • He says he didn’t vote for Joe Morgan on the first ballot. Fool.
  • Of course, he seems to indicate the reason he will no longer vote is Morgan’s letter. If that’s true, I give Bernie some credit and five points. Up to 15.
  • And perhaps for the first time since he retired, Joe Morgan has done something good for baseball.

Bill Livingston: -95, yeah, you read that right, it’s 95 points below zero

Seth Livingstone: 75

Mike Lopresti: 45

Thom Loverro: 25

Mike Lupica: 65

Rob Maaddi: 85

Bill Madden: 25

Dennis Maffezzoli: 45

Jack Magruder: 75

Steve Marcus: -35

David Maril: 85

Marino Martinez: 65

Tony Massarotti: 0

Sean McAdam: 75

Jack McCaffery: 55, at least he didn’t write in Pete Rose this year.

  • He starts with 70 based on Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Schilling, Thome, and Walker.
  • He stays there with votes for Hoffman and McGriff.
  • He drops to 60 with Vizquel.
  • No ballot explanation, so he drops to 55.

Anthony McCarron: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • His Hoffman add keeps him at 90.
  • He was on television with Harper. Down to 85.

Janie McCauley: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • She dropped Hoffman in favor of Mussina and Walker. Well done!
  • No explanation, which means she falls to 95.

Hal McCoy: 0

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Rolen, and Thome start him at 50.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • The three open spots drop him to 20.
  • He says that his record is perfect, that every player who had gotten into the Hall has received his vote. Wow, that’s an awful way to define perfect. Down to 15.
  • He says nobody can argue that all four who were elected have solid Hall credentials. Well, lemme try. Trevor Hoffman only pitched 1100 innings, and about 200 pitchers in history have brought more value teams than Hoffman. That’s a pretty simple and pretty accurate argument. Down to 10.
  • He calls McGriff a head-scratcher. I call him Mark Teixeira, or about the 40th greatest 1B ever. We shouldn’t have 40 1B in the Hall, I don’t think.
  • “Some will say that there already are cheaters and PED users with plaques. They didn’t get my vote.” I’m sorry. I really don’t like to be mean. But man, this is a stupid statement. He’s been voting for 40 years, he’s voted for everyone who’s been elected, and not one of those players used a PED? Should I break his heart about Willie Mays and amphetamines? Down to 5.
  • He says that character is supposed to be a major measuring stick. No, it’s not. Down to 0.

Joe McDonald: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Sosa, and Thome make 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • He says he’d be happy to discuss, but he doesn’t. Not that I can tell. Down to 85.

Dan McGrath: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him going at 70.
  • Vizquel drags him to 60.
  • The two blanks mean he falls to 40.
  • And no explanation means he finishes at 35.

John McGrath: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff change nothing.
  • He says that Vizquel’s case is based more on imprecise defensive metrics than the eye test. He goes on. While I don’t love that he open his column discussing Vizquel, he’s fair. And he’s a Mariner writer, so it’s not stunning that he talks about Vizquel, but I may have led with, I don’t know, Edgar!?!
  • He calls himself a Big Hall voter. Then he actually talks about the number of layers in MLB history. He doesn’t go into depth, but I’m impressed enough to give him 5 points to 85.
  • Then he talks about steroid juicers and throws his morality at us. That’s down 10 to 75.
  • He talks about McGriff’s prime where he finished in the top-10 in MVP voting six times. Actually, it’s five. And he was in the top-9 only three times. Cherry-picking numbers and then getting them wrong will cost him 5 points. Down to 70.
  • Before steroids, 500 was a magic number. Please. Down to 65.
  • I love that he ends his article talking about Vizquel’s defensive flair rather than his defensive genius. What I don’t love is that I suspect he’s going to vote for Omar next year.

Sam Mellinger: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. Nicely done, that’s 100!
  • He seems not to think much of Joe Morgan’s letter. No surprise given the greatness of his ballot.
  • But he’s another writer who says that Morgan might be the best second baseman in MLB history. Rogers Hornsby, Sam! Also remember Eddie Collins and Nap Lajoie. Morgan is fourth. A solid fourth. And that’s no insult.
  • Steroids and greenies, steroids and greenies. Love this guy!
  • Ooh! Now he specifically offers disrespect to Morgan. Well done!
  • He wasn’t going to vote for Mike Mussina until, wait for it, research. Yes!!! You need to research!
  • This might be my favorite ballot of the year thus far.

Adam Mertz: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The three open spots drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he falls to 25.

Bruce Miles: 65

  • This is an update from a ballot that was sent to Ryan earlier via a DM.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, and Thome get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He’s not a fan of the Morgan letter, so he moves back to 75.
  • He admits homerism in his explanation of his Vizquel vote. Ick. Make it 70.
  • And he explains nothing, so it’s 65.

Phil Miller: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Sosa, Thome, and Walker make 100!
  • No explanation, so he’s down to 95.

Scott Miller: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome total 60.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops the ballot to 50.
  • And the open space makes it 40.
  • No early Twitter interaction means he falls to 35.

Larry Millson: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker total 80.
  • No change for Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He finishes at 75 because he doesn’t explain.

Fred Mitchell: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Manny, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Kent, Edgar, Manny, and Walker are adds, while Schilling lost a vote.
  • Down 10 for voting for Manny but not Bonds and Clemens. That’s 60.
  • Down 10 for voting for Sheffield but not Bonds or Clemens. That’s 50.
  • Down 5 for not explaining anything. That’s 45.
  • And down 10 more because he seems to take the process as a joke, changing five votes from one year to the next, using no internal consistency, and explaining nothing. That’s 35.

Kevin Modesti: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Sheffield total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And I think he incorrectly checked Vizquel rather than Thome. What other explanation could there be? He falls to 70.
  • Since it was a DM to Ryan, there’s no explanation. He falls to 65.

Roger Mooney: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 75.

Terrence Moore: -25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Sheffield, and Thome make 40.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The four open spots drop him to 0.
  • Sheffield without Bonds means it’s -10.
  • Sheffield without Clemens brings him to -20.
  • And no explanation means he falls to -25.

Aurelio Moreno: 75

  • Let’s start him with Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Sosa, and Thome. That’s 70.
  • Hoffman means he stays at 70.
  • And the blank spot drops him to 60.
  • He does explain his ballot, and though it’s in Spanish, Google Translate did a fine job.
  • He argues against Joe Morgan and acknowledges there was no anti-steroid policy before 2002. That 5 points each. He’s up to 70.
  • He groups PEDs and greenies. You know I like that. Up to 75. Es un buen puntaje para una boleta que falta un nombre. That’s a nice score for a ballot missing a name.

J.P. Morosi: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker add to 90.
  • He gets no further with Hoffman.
  • On the MLB Network he discussed Joe Morgan’s letter and said the Mitchell Report was incomplete. He believes that are Hall of Famers who have used PEDs. And where he draws the line is when the union and management agreed to penalties. He won’t vote for players who used after PEDs were actually banned. I’m fine with that.
  • He wants more than ten names allowed. I disagree, but in combination with the above, I’ll give him 5 more points. He’s up to 95.

Rick Morrissey: 10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him started with 60.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • And the two open spots drop him to 40.
  • There’s a problem with my system when I take away only five points when a voter doesn’t explain his/her ballot. Because when some of these folks do, it’s a nightmare (typed before reading his explanations).
  • He equates Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa to pharmaceutical reps. He says there’s little doubt they cheated. He says the question now is about whether or not they should be forgiven. How can one write be so wrong in just one paragraph? That’s 35.
  • He starts naming names from past ballots who he’s questioned. Why does he think he’s so important that he should question the morality of other people’s life choices? Down to 30.
  • The entire article before his choices is about PEDs. Why is he so obsessed?
  • He writes that Schilling “ranks first in strikeout-to-walk ratio among non-active pitchers who played after 1900.” And then he admits not researching that stat himself, as if he should be proud of not researching. Why does he have a ballot while my toaster only sits in my kitchen making toast? That’s 25.
  • Chipper was “a pro’s pro”. I’ll just let that sit there.
  • He votes for McGriff purely on his belief that McGriff didn’t use steroids when many players of his era did. How does he know? How does he know everything??? That’s 15 for him.
  • I’m so disgusted. “He wasn’t a great fielder and ran into a lot of outs on the basepaths, but the operative question here is the only one that matters: Who cares?” That’s about Vlad. Who cares? You should. It’s your job to care. It’s your job to use some level of logic in your ballot. Do your job! Down to 10.

Carrie Muskat: -10

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Thome start her at 50.
  • Vizquel means a drop to 40.
  • The four open spots bring this effort down to 0.
  • She calls Vizquel an easy selection because she never wanted to miss him playing shortstop, caring nothing about his overall value, apparently. Down to -5.
  • She actually spent 23 of her 95-word explanation talking about Kerry Wood. I’m not kidding. Down to -10.

Gene Myers: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman completes what I believe is the most common ballot of the year, which keeps him at 90.
  • He’s one of those “if Selig, then Bonds and Clemens” voters. Though I support Bonds and Clemens, and I think Selig was an awful selection, I can’t wrap my head around voting for guys you believe are undeserving because another undeserving guy is elected. I won’t support Billy Wagner next year just because Trevor Hoffman gets in this year. To each their own.
  • On the other hand, I think he believes Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez used PEDs. I follow the thinking that once the Hall elects PED users, but very best players who you think used PEDs have to get your vote. That wouldn’t be my direction, but this comparison makes more sense to me than the Selig comparison.
  • He says Walker edged Rolen for his final spot. Not at all ridiculous, especially since he believes there will be room on his ballot for Rolen next year.
  • And he mentions The Tracker and Ryan.

Mike Nadel: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • The two extra spaces drop him back to 60.
  • Nadel starts his post saying it’s not long before he gets purged. There are worse ballots. Before I read on, there are plenty I’d like purged before Nadel.
  • He implies that Thome never used Steroids. C’mon, Mike, you don’t know. That drops him to 55.
  • I really appreciate his coverage of Vizquel, calling him a slap hitter who wasn’t as good as Ozzie. And he uses advanced stats to indicate that the Wizard was better.
  • He explains that he ddin’t vote for Andruw since he prefers Edmonds. I actually prefer Jones by a shade because of peak, I think. However, I love Nadel’s comparison. It’s thoughtful.
  • He considered voting for Rolen just to keep him on the ballot and fears he’s going to get 5 percented. Ultimately, he decided that’s not a good enough reason to vote for someone. I’m very good with this thought process.
  • He calls Johan the Andruw of pitchers. Most writers make far more ridiculous comparisons.
  • He discussed others who received votes a year ago and links to his post.
  • But he changed his mind on a player. Edgar Martinez. He says that he’s been persuaded by his colleagues, Jay Jaffe among them.
  • I’m incredibly impressed with his discussion and his thoughtfulness. This is about as happy as I can be after an eight-man ballot. I’ll add ten points for such impressive explanations, so he finishes at 70. For sure this is my favorite 70-point ballot.

Katsushi Nagao: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome total 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He writes some stuff, but it all appears to be in Japanese.

LaVelle Neal III: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He’s against the “Rule of 10”, as he puts it.
  • Regarding Bonds and Clemens, he writes, “With the decks cleared this year, perhaps voters will take a harder look at their cases or, at least, examine their stance on how to deal with to key players from the PED era.” To me, this statement makes no sense at all, but I certainly won’t ding him for optimism. I want to give him points for having a better attitude than I do.
  • He believes many more players were “dirty” than were caught. I don’t like his word choice, but I agree with his conclusion.
  • Damn! This guy is thinking. He mentions if the 2005 AL Cy Young voting were to go on now, in an age where the win isn’t king, Johan would have had a good shot to win it. Three Cy Young Awards? Yup. Give him 5 more to 95.

Ross Newhan: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • And I’m not sure why someone who retired in 2004 still has a vote. Anyway, I like votes that keep Jeff Kent on the ballot.
  • He posted on Facebook, though Ryan hasn’t linked yet, and my cursory web search uncovered nothing. Plus, I don’t have Facebook… Down to 65.

Mark Newman: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • He dropped Hoffman and added Walker since last year. Nicely done!
  • And he explains his ballot incredibly well. Please check it out.

Bob Nightengale: 75

  • This ballot was up in the Tracker for a little while but then disappeared. I’m sure Ryan has a good reason not to include it in the Tracker, but I trust that Nightengale’s USA Today piece represents his actual opinion. I just looked up the link.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome start him at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He’s not a fan of the moralizing. His line is a positive test or suspension during the player’s career. Let’s give him 5 more to 85.
  • He implies that McGriff didn’t use. That’s down 10 to 75.
  • Overall, I wish he explained more than just his PED stance, but at least there’s something.

Eric Nuñez; 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. Thank you! That’s 100.
  • I believe he didn’t support Manny because of a PED suspension, but I’m trying to translate Spanish pretty quickly (lots of ballots), and my Spanish would probably earn a grade of 15ish. Ooh! And now I see that Twitter has a little translation button. And I’m kinda right. I’m not going to ding a guy who earned 100 when he answers only one question on Twitter.

Sheldon Ocker: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 60.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The open spot means he falls to 40.
  • And the lack of explanation finishes him at 35.

Ian O’Connor: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina,, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • And Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • He calls people cheats. Down to 80.
  • He only kind of answers one other question. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and leave him at 80.

Drew Olson: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker start him with 80.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • He added Vlad, McGriff, and Walker this year while dropping Schilling.
  • He’s strongly against the ballot limit. By rule, that’s worth 5 points, moving him to 85.
  • He considers Omar superior to Ozzie in some ways. What ways? He doesn’t explain. Back to 80.
  • He talks about fear, and he says calling Jim Rice feared doesn’t make sense because he drew few walks. But Edgar Martinez was feared. I’d have an easier time buying that if his IBB numbers were higher. Only once did he top a dozen IBB.
  • He considers Mussina better than Schilling by an eyelash. I prefer Schilling by an eyelash, but he’s right that the distance between them is incredibly small.
  • “As my friend and colleague Buster Olney pointed out, they are eligible to work in baseball and the Hall allows them on the ballot, but the writer’s seem to have issued a lifetime ban. That doesn’t seem right to me. “ I love this take on B&C.

Jorge Ortiz: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, and Mussina get him to 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The four open spaces drop him to -10.
  • “Hoffman was the second-best closer of his generation and, as much as I hate the save stat, compiling 601 of them is a rare feat.” Then why are you using the stat as 50% of your explanation for voting for the guy? Down to -15.
  • Vizquel was a “magician” Hits and steals. Great. I’ve heard worse reasons.
  • In a paragraph immediately following his poor Vizquel explanation, he calls Thome a “one-dimensional player who was not even the most consequential figure on those great Indians teams”. That’s Vizquel! Vizquel wasn’t one of the five most consequential players on those teams! You understand the argument, but you completely ignore it for your guy. Down 10 points for this ridiculousness to -25.
  • And he calls Sandy Alomar a bigger factor than Thome??!?! Alomar had 13.7 career WAR. Thome had 72.9 and 47.9 for just the Indians. He topped Alomar’s career WAR from 1994-1996, from 1995-1997, from 1996-1998, from 1999-2001, and from 2000-2002. Again, that’s just for the Indians. How can he write such nonsense? Down 5 more to -30.
  • It sticks out for him that Thome had only one top-5 MVP finish. Of course, he finished in the top-7 four times. And he received votes nine times. Only once ever did anyone ever believe that Omar Vizquel deserving of any MVP consideration. C’mon man! Down to -35.

Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5, a candidate for the worst ballot if the year

  • Clemens, Vlad, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get him to 60.
  • Hoffman, McGriff, and Wagner keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • He explains, so he moves to 55.
  • He starts his explanation with the sentence, “Integrity and Character.” We’re down to 45.
  • He starts his fourth paragraph with non-negative reference to Joe Morgan. Down to 35.
  • He later says “…it’s important to listen to Morgan…” Down to 25.
  • He talks about the character of “Jones”, but he doesn’t identify which one. That’s how little he thinks of the candidacy of Andruw Jones. He means Chipper. Down to 20.
  • He justifies a vote for Clemens by citing his attempts to clear his name. I’m not sure he understands how the legal system works. Down to 15.
  • He keeps speaking positively of Morgan. Down to 5.
  • He votes for Clemens but not Bonds. Down to -5.

Rob Parker: 10

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And the three open spots drag him down to 30.
  • He says he’s in the minority voting for players with PEDs in their past. Just two paragraphs earlier, he shared that a majority of the BBWAA voted for Bonds and Clemens last year. Down to 25.
  • He says if there’s a debate based on numbers, you’re not a Hall of Famer. That’s a ridiculous standard, and it flies in the face of his 2018 ballot. Sheffield and Sosa aren’t debatable? Down to 20.
  • The list of guys you can’t debate is odd too. “Debate me on Ken Griffey Jr. , Tony Gwynn, Cal Riken Jr., Dave Winfield, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams or even Tom Seaver.” I think he means Cal Ripken, but whatever. Even Tom Seaver? Huh? And Dave Winfield is on this list? If the Hall were 20% smaller, there’s no way he’d deserve it. If it were 10% smaller, it’s possible he wouldn’t. In any case, Winfield is debatable. More so than Mussina or Schilling, at least. Down to 15.
  • If you have 500 homers, you automatically get his vote. That’s asinine. It’s a made up magic number, and there’s nothing magic about it. Down to 10.
  • I guess he missed Manny’s name on this ballot. Manny hit 555 homers. Down to 5.
  • He says that Barry Bonds and others never tested positive for PEDs. Nice! Back to 10.
  • This is a shameful ballot. I no longer believe people should have voting privileges revoked based on the awfulness of their ballots. Parker forces me to reconsider that position.

Greg Patton: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • The blank drops him to 70.
  • No explanation means he finishes at 65.

Jeff Peek: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 70.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 70.
  • The two blank spots drop him to 50.
  • And not publishing anything drops him to 35.

Dave Perkins: 50

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker get him to 70.
  • Vizquel makes 60.
  • And the two open spaces make 40.
  • He says he voted for seven guys. Then he counts. And he still says it’s seven.
  • He says he voted for Edgar because of David Ortiz talk. Well, at least he knows which one was better.
  • He says that the negative part of the integrity/sportsmanship/character clause of the Hall’s fifth rule isn’t enough to trump the play of Bonds and Clemens on the field. I really like that he’s thought about this. Give him 5 to 45.
  • He called the Hall after the Morgan letter to ask what the Hall’s position was. And then he went on to discuss steroid enablers. Add 5 more to 50.

John Perrotto: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him to 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And he drops to 70 with Vizquel.
  • Since last year he dropped Edgar and added Manny and Schilling.
  • He blames the 10-player limit on dropping Edgar. I like it. Plus 5 to 75.
  • However, he says he had to make room for new players on the ballot. Manny and Schilling? Down 5 to 70.
  • He explains nothing else. So the only thing he explained was wrong (oh, he did say that McGwire’s no longer on the ballot). He loses 5 to finish at 65.

Mike Peticca: 55

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • He dumped Kent and Walker to make room for Vizquel. Yikes!
  • His reveal came in an email to Ryan, so he drops to 55.

Ed Petruska: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Sheffield total 90
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He added Bonds and Clemens this year, so that’s good.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 85.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Sosa, and Thome give him 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • A lack of any Twitter interaction drops him to 85.

Rick Plumlee: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • No explanation, so he ends at 85.

Bill Plunkett: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker. That’s 60.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • The three open spots drop him to 30.
  • Sheffield without Bonds and Clemens makes 10. I’m fine if you have an anti-PED stance. Having an anti-PED stance absolutely does not make you an idiot. I’ve talked about great anti-PED ballots in the past. But being an idiot seems to mean it’s likely you’re an anti-PED voter. Want evidence I’m good with the anti-PED voter? Check out Verdun2’s Blog. He takes a stand but doesn’t turn off his brain. It can be done, people!
  • No explanations. That’s 5.

Terry Pluto: 30

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome make 70.
  • The relievers keep him there.
  • And Vizquel, from a Cleveland writer, drops him to 60.
  • He calls Omar and Ozzie the best defensive shortstops of their generation. That’s like grouping Wagyu beef with a really nice flank steak. Flank steak can still be great, but the comparison is silly. Down to 55.
  • Then he says Vizquel was the best defensive shortstop he has ever seen. Pluto is 62 years of age. He never saw Ozzie? How is that possible? And if it is, how does he have a vote? Down to 50.
  • I love when I can talk about argumentum ad verecundiam. That’s when someone cites an authority when isn’t an authority. He uses Hal Lebovitz, a sportswriter who passed away in 2005 at age 89, is in the Writer’s wing of the Hall, and once sold a hot dog to Babe Ruth as that authority. He’s using a single conversation with a man of 80ish years, whose opinion is based on the eye test as expert testimony. Down to 45.
  • He says that Vizquel’s glove was just as valuable to the Indians as Thome’s bat. If only we had a way to measure such a thing… Oh, we do! According to BBREF, Thome’s Rbat is 587. According to the same site, Vizquel’s Rfield is 128. I think BBREF overvalues Vizquel’s glove. Man, you just can’t help someone who will only use their gut. Down to 40.
  • He says he has begun to value defense more as he has grown older. Andruw Jones anyone? Andruw Jones? Well, he doesn’t value defense as much as saves, I guess.
  • He talks about Mussina and Schilling as throwbacks to an age when men were men and starters threw complete games. Okay, he didn’t say one of those things, but it’s implied. Down 5 more, yet again, to 35.
  • This next one infuriates me. “I believe if Vizquel had played most of his career in Boston or New York, he’d be close to making it this season. But his best years were in Seattle, Cleveland and San Francisco — away from the national media.” Based on what? Nomar Garciaparra was a far better player than Omar Vizquel. He, correctly, didn’t sniff a third ballot. Schilling played in Borston. How’s that working out for him? How about for Manny? Mussina played in New York. How’s that working out for him? How about Santana? I promise I’m going to research this – I believe those writers from Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco, and even Chicago disproportionately support Vizquel. They trust their eyes, and they shouldn’t. Down 5 more for perpetuating a myth that he doesn’t even try to support. That’s 30.

Steve Politi: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Kent was dropped; Vlad, Manny, and Schilling were added.
  • The first line of his column reads, “Joe Morgan is not going to like my Hall of Fame ballot.” He goes on. I don’t like the Selig comparison. If you think Selig was a mistake, stop making mistakes. Still, I respect his logic in general. Well done! Up to 95.
  • I love that he separates Bonds from Sosa. Bonds, he says, was a Hall of Famer without chemical assistance. About Sosa, he’s not so sure. I won’t debate that position.

Steve Popper: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep him there.
  • Some pretty good Twitter interaction keeps him at 80.

Joe Posnanski: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • Joe Posnanski with 100. That’s confirmation that my system isn’t garbage.
  • He adds Vlad while dropping Manny.
  • He sort of explained his ballot on the MLB Network, but they don’t really allow him to get in depth. They don’t have an audience for in depth analysis. I’m not taking points from Poz though. He stays at 100.

Scott Priestle: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • And it’s the third writer in a row who’s added Larry Walker.
  • On Twitter he shares some thoughts, including he’d like to vote for Andruw, Rolen, and Sheffield if he were allowed.
  • Well done, Scott!

Brendan Prunty: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Santana (!!), Sheffield, and Thome for 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • A very, very good first ballot that’s not much at all like mine would be.
  • Down to 85 for no engagement on Twitter.

Mike Puma: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 80.
  • No change with the relievers.
  • No explanations on Twitter, so he drops to 75.

Mark Purdy: -75

  • Vlad is worth 10.
  • Hoffman isn’t.
  • Vizquel means he’s at 0.
  • And the seven open spots drops his ballot to -70. Just disgusting.
  • No explanations, so he finishes at -75.

Rob Rains: -40

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • Hoffman holds him at 30.
  • Those six open spots drop him to -30.
  • He seems either unable or unwilling to answer some direct questions on Twitter.
  • He’s one of those guys who won’t vote for great players on the first ballot if they’re not great enough. Down 5 to -35.
  • He justifies not voting for Edgar because he didn’t see him play enough. Wow! Down 5 more , which makes -40.

Luis Rangel: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, Sosa, and Thome give him 90 points.
  • Hoffman means he stays there.
  • And no ballot explanation means he drops to 85.

Ray Ratto: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • No explanation means he falls to 85.

Jim Reeves: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker start him at 60.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The two blanks drop him to 40.
  • Four adds this year, which is great, but no explanation, which drops him to 35.

Troy Renck: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Omar drops him to 70.
  • No Twitter interaction, so he falls to 65.

Patrick Reusse: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Rolen, Johan, Thome, and Walker make 70 to start.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The opening drops him to 40.
  • The lack of explanation means he finishes at 35.

Dave Reynolds: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 65.

Tim Reynolds: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He jokes some on Twitter, but he doesn’t explain anything, so he falls to 85.

Anthony Rieber: 65

  • Give him 10 for Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 80.
  • He loses nothing for Hoffman, still at 80.
  • He’s down 10 for Vizquel. That’s 70.
  • There’s a link but no explanation, so 70 is where we stay.

Tracy Ringolsby: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And the blank spot drops him to 80.
  • Curious that he left Fred McGriff off this year when he had space. He didn’t explain.
  • He calls Larry Walker the most complete player he’s seen in 43 seasons covering the game. Huh? Barry Bonds was clearly a better hitter, clearly a better defender, and a marginally better baserunner. He falls to 75.
  • He goes after Schilling for baseball reasons. Some silly. But at least they’re baseball reasons.
  • His explanations are really just surface arguments, but none are really problematic. He finishes at 75.

Alan Robinson: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with McGriff.
  • The six openings drop him to -30.
  • He falls 5 more to -35 lacking any explanation.

John Romano: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome start him at 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He subbed in Vald and Hoffman for McGriff. That’s not terrible. But there’s no explanation. Down to 85.
  1. Trent Rosecrans: 100
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker for 100!
  • In a word, “no”, he rejects Joe Morgan’s letter.
  • However, he calls Morgan the greatest second baseman of all time. Um, Rogers Hornsby??? I think it’s very clear that Nap Lajoie and Eddie Collins were better too. Still, he stays at 100.
  • Morgan’s letter made him consider not voting. What a shame that would have been.
  • He criticizes the Hall for not making ballots public and for keeping the ten-man limit.
  • His response continues to be reasoned and succinct, the type of thing I wish I were able to write.
  • He talks about the character clause and Jack Morris’s sexual harassment of a Detroit Free Press reporter in 1990. Man, this guy is good!
  • He calls Curt Schilling the post-season pitcher who voters want Morris to be.
  • Read his post. It’s superb.
  • He doesn’t explain his ballot. I don’t care. He explains so, so much more. 100!

Ken Rosenthal: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him off at 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep him at 80.
  • I like Rosenthal. I’m afraid to read his post…
  • Ooh, he calls the Hall’s efforts to keep Bonds and Clemens out outdated and passive-aggressive. I knew I liked him for a reason. Up to 85.
  • And then I can’t read any more. Rosenthal writes for The Athletic, and they want me to pay for content. If I get a raise next year, I’m adding Fangraphs and Joe Sheehan to my list, not The Athletic. At least not yet. If you can assess the post, I’d love to report more on it. Feel like sending it my way?

John Rowe: -15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Schilling means he gets to 40.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The five blanks take him to -10.
  • He calls this his most difficult ballot ever. Why???
  • He says Hoffman’s biggest “crime” is not being Mariano. I’d say it was pitching fewer than 1100 excellent, but not other-worldly, innings.
  • He compares Edgar Martinez to a placekicker. Ridiculous, but at least he voted for him.
  • He doesn’t want Schilling to be penalized for his political views.
  • He calls Bonds and Clemens rule breakers. They weren’t, so he loses 5 to -15.

Barry Rozner: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • The open spot makes it 70.
  • He writes, “Some voters have openly admitted that they won’t vote for Curt Schilling because they don’t like his post-career politics, but will vote for PEDs users because they don’t care about issues of character or sportsmanship during a career, which is one of the rules for voting.” I don’t think this is true, not of a single voter. At least not the way Rozner writes it. Also, Does Rozner know he voted for Bonds and Clemens? Down to 65.
  • He does! He says Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he started using. Oaky.
  • And Clemens gets his vote because Bud Selig is in the Hall. Seriously? It’s causal? Down to 60.

Roger Rubin: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome make 70.
  • Hoffman holds him at 70.
  • The two open spots drop him to 50.
  • And his lack of any explanation takes him to 45.

Richard Rupprecht: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome mean 80 points.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The blank drops him to 70.
  • And the lack of explanation means he finishes at 65.

Joe Rutter: 50

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome mean 70 points.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • The open space drops him to 50.
  • He added Edgar and Mussina this year.
  • He doesn’t like voting for PED guys, but since Bonds and Clemens were the best of the ear, they’re exceptions. Fine with me.
  • He says the difference between B&C and Manny is that Manny failed tests. No kidding! It’s not his fault that people ask silly questions.

Bob Ryan: 30

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • And the three blanks move him to 20.
  • He’d love to see an AL/NL voter split on Edgar. Me too!
  • He admits stupidity taking time to come around on Mussina. Man, I gotta give him 5 points for that humility. Up to 25.
  • I love his Schilling explanation. Great on the field.
  • He admits partiality to defensive whizzes. That’s how he justifies his vote for Omar. Well, there’s no other way.
  • I think Ryan’s is my favorite failing ballot. I’ll give him 5 more to 30.

Bob Sanvarese: 90

  • He starts with Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, and Thome for 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • On his podcast, he asks Al Newman for help. I’m not sure why. In addition to Chipper and Thome among newcomers, Newman things Andruw, Rolen, and Vizquel deserve votes. However, he doesn’t think any of those three should replace Sanvarese’s other selections. I can’t believe this guy might be willing to let Al Newman influence his Hall vote! On the other hand, Newman thinks Walker is overlooked.
  • I like his PED stance very much. If the Hall says they’re on the ballot, he’s not going to impose any moral judgment.

Mark Saxson: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Thome. That’s 90. So close for another Mark!
  • Vizquel makes 80.
  • No interaction on Twitter. That’s 75.

Dick Scanlon: -45

  • Chipper and Thome get him to 20.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 10.
  • The five open spots drop him to -40.
  • The lack of explanation drops him to -45.

Henry Schulman: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Down to 70 with Vizquel.
  • No explanation on Twitter, so he finishes at 65.

Glenn Schwarz: -15

  • It’s just Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Kent who are deserving. That’s 40.
  • Oh and Hoffman too. No change.
  • And down 50 points with his five open spots. That’ means -10.
  • And there’s no explanation, so he falls to -15.

Chaz Scoggins: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Schilling, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The blank space means he falls to 60.
  • No explanations means he falls to 55.

Mike Shalin: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, Sosa, and Walker make 90.
  • Vizquel brings him to 80.
  • Schilling and Manny are adds, Mussina is a drop.
  • And he posts on Facebook. Damn, maybe I should get Facebook. Down to 75.

Dan Shaughnessy: -55

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome total 30.
  • He loses 70 because of blank spots, so he’s down to -40.
  • I don’t know why they call him the curly haired boyfriend in Boston. But it seems vaguely insulting. If so, perhaps it’s apt. Here’s the first paragraph of his explanation. “Three guys. That’s it. I don’t want the Hall of Fame to turn into the Hall of Very Good. I’m not coming down off the Steroid Wall, which is an increasingly difficult and unpopular position. And I’m not letting the analytics army tell me that WAR is the perfect barometer for Hall worthiness.” Yuck!
  • He calls Vald an annual MVP candidate. Well, he only finished inside the top-10 six times in 14 full seasons. So that’s wrong. Let’s drop him to -45.
  • He uses a standard of knowing a Hall of Famer when he sees one. Foolish. And that’s why he’s at -50.
  • He says we’d all take Tiant or Schilling in a big game over Mussina. Well, I’d take Schilling, but I don’t know that Tiant is a no-brainer. Anyway, that’s an exaggeration at worst.
  • He poo-poos WAR a decent amount. Funny, he never tells us why. That’s a 5-poinit deduction down to -55.
  • He’s not unfair regarding PED use. No deduction.
  • He says he’s putting Schilling “in a corner”. He then goes on to say Schilling thinks he’s not getting elected because he’s a Trump guy. Then he calls Schilling a borderline candidate. Not voting for someone because of who he supports politically is pretty awful. Thinking that Schilling is borderline is moronic. He then cherry picks some stats that make him much worse than they make Schilling look.

John Shea: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get him to 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He thinks Bonds and Clemens will make it in the next four tries. I think I disagree.
  • He mentions a partiality to shortstops, and he says nothing incorrect in his justification of Vizquel.
  • However, while discussing Kent, he says that advanced defensive metrics aren’t reliable since they don’t portray Vizquel favorably. Sir, that is precisely the wrong logic. Perhaps your eye test on one defender with great flair was wrong. Don’t trust your eyes. Down to 65.
  • He justifies Mussina over Schilling because of more top-10 finishes in ERA and more Cy Young votes, plus 270 wins and seven Gold Gloves. Yes, Mussina was in the top-10 in ERA eleven times compared to only nine for Schilling. However, Schilling has 1.85 Cy Young Shares according to BBREF. Mussina has only 0.92. Maybe he’s saying that Mussina received Cy votes in more seasons? I don’t know. Mussina and Schilling are so very close for me that I won’t take points on this error.

Joel Sherman: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him with 80.
  • That’s where it ends, so he drops to 60.
  • This may be the best 8-man ballot of the year.
  • No explanation, so he drops to 55.

Bob Sherwin: 0

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Down to 50 with Vizquel.
  • He thinks Jamie Moyer was better than Curt Schilling or Johan Santana, so he falls to 40.
  • The blank spot means he’s down to 30.
  • Shocking that a golf writer doesn’t understand baseball…
  • He says that Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Manny cheated. Manny did, and he was caught at least twice. Sosa did, by corking his bat, and we laugh it off like we laugh off the cheating of Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, and many others. As you my know if you know the rules of baseball as well as you know the rules of golf, Bonds and Clemens didn’t cheat. He falls to 20.
  • Yeah, I think he’s a moralizer, but he does offer the idea that the Hall should remove the character clause, sort of. I like that.
  • He has a hyperlink in his post with the word “numbers”. It links to golf numbers. I’m not kidding. This guy shouldn’t have a vote.
  • He goes on and on and on. The last thing he understood about baseball, apparently, is what went on 20 years ago.
  • He says that Mussina was closes last year “and should get over the hump”. Seriously? He thinks 57.6% is close? I read his post to suggest that Mussina is going to get in this year. The guy isn’t even paying attention. That makes 15.
  • He calls Omar Vizquel “statistically the greatest defense player – not just shortstop – in the game’s history.” He’s not even close to the best defensive player on this ballot. Sad, just sad. Down 10 more to a lowly 5. Think he can get into the negatives?
  • I can’t take away any more points, but the guy voted for Jamie freakin’ Moyer! And not Johan Santana. And not Curt Schilling.
  • Yeah, he really thinks Mussina could get in this year. Fool.
  • He says it’s likely Vizquel will get in next year. Let’s make this ballot an even nuthin’. He falls to 0.

Michael Silverman: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Rolen, Schilling, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • He really dislikes the limit of ten players. Nice, but he can’t get over 100.
  • He says it’s useful to see how things are trending in the Tracker. But he still added Vlad this year. That’s kind of curious given that Vlad appears to be a slam dunk. He could have been more strategic, but I certainly won’t fault him on that.
  • Ooh, he mocks Joe Morgan. Damn! I hate that he’s capped at 100.
  • He used the “feared” word to describe Manny. This is silly, but even if I debited 5 points, he’d still be above 100.
  • He says Walker has a slightly better case than Vlad. I couldn’t agree more.
  • He chose Rolen over Thome because, basically, he’s gaming the system. I support that.
  • And I completely support this ballot and column. Well done, Mr. Silverman!

Steve Simmons: 20

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 70.
  • Hoffman changes nothing.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 50.
  • I’m about to get angry. Be forewarned.
  • His Hall ballot is buried in an article about all sorts of other stuff, mostly hockey. In fact, he starts by talking about the all-important Hockey Hall of Fame. Just insulting. Down to 45.
  • He says that Bonds and Clemens are “moving in a direction in which they will be elected in the not too distant future.” That’s really inaccurate based on anything in the Tracker, so he falls to 40
  • He writes, “…and it is an honour I take extraordinarily seriously…” This writing is truly disgusting to me. There is evidence in where he places the Hall discussion in his post that he takes it far less seriously than other things. And in the ballot itself. Yes, I’m angry. Down to 35.
  • Buried is a ditty about how someone could vote for Edgar but not Larry Walker. He says they’re similar offensive players. No, 531 Rbat and 420 Rbat aren’t similar, Steve. Do you know what those stats mean? Down to 30.
  • He writes, “And I’m baffled by those who vote for the steroid boys, Barry Bonds and Roger Clements, but leave Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa off their ballots”. First, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t know how to spell the Rocket’s name. Second, THEY WERE BETTER! You idiot! That makes 25.
  • He doesn’t explain anything in his ballot. Well, he does call Omar the best AL SS he’s ever seen play the field. What a qualifier! Also, the guy is just wrong. He’s 60 years old, born in 1957. Apparently he had his eyes closed when watching the Orioles from age 11-22. This is just such an irresponsible and dishonest ballot. No, Steve, this is something that I take extraordinarily seriously. You don’t. Please stop saying you do. Down to 20. It should be lower.

Susan Slusser: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • She dropped Schilling for Walker this year. But she says it was to add Rolen. I accept decision while rejecting the explanation. And there’s no other explanation offered for anything. Down to 85.

Claire Smith: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Sosa, and Thome make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops her to 70.
  • And no explanation makes 65.

Joe Smith: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, and Thome bring this first-time voter to 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • How is a first-time voter writing only hockey these days?
  • Anyway, no explanation means he falls to 75.

Willie Smith: 65

  • Ten points each for Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Sosa, and Thome makes 80.
  • Nothing for Hoffman means he stays there.
  • And he drops to 70 for the Vizquel vote.
  • No explanation means he falls to 65.
  • Mussina and Wagner were drops from last year. Manny, Sammy, and Hoffman were adds.

Bob Smizik: 15, no bad calls but one of our worst ballots to date

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, and Thome start him at 60.
  • The four open spots drop him to 20.
  • A kind email but lack of an explanation sees him fall to 15.

Clark Spencer: 40

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 70.
  • That’s his whole ballot, so he drops to 40.
  • His ballot is on Facebook, which isn’t linked in the Tracker at the time I type this. And I actually don’t use Facebook, so I couldn’t share anyway.
  • He dropped Hoffman. Not sure why.
  • I suppose this is as good a 40 point ballot as there is. For this type of voter, I’d have loved Rolen to be added.

Barry Stanton: -10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • And the four opens make -10.
  • His hardest choice was Edgar over McGriff. At least he got it right. Of course, he could have taken both.

Arnie Stapleton: 45

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker get him started at 70.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The two open spots drop him to 50.
  • Zero Twitter replies. That’s 45.

Jayson Stark: 85

  • His ballot is no longer preliminary, and it changed.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him with 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel made his preliminary ballot, but he was replaced by Walker on his final one.
  • I should just get Facebook rather than punish scores because writers post there. Maybe next year. And no, I did not just commit to doing this next year. Stark finishes at 85.

Carl Steward: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • The blank spot drops him to 70.
  • I’ll give him 5 points for suggesting Joe Morgan is a bully. He reaches 75.
  • He only lists his ballot. No explanations aside from the Joe Morgan part. I have to dock him, so he ends at 70

Larry Stone: 85

  • His is the common Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina,, Schilling, Thome, and Walker for 90
  • Hoffman keeps him at 90.
  • He answers a few questions on Twitter, but one was about Hoffman, saying that saves is a flawed stat but he chose Hoffman over Wagner because the former had 200 more of them. Even if he’s a Twitter user who still only has 140 characters, that’s insufficient. Either for that answer or for a lack of explanations, I’m dropping him to 85.

Jim Street: -45

  • Another golf writer. We’ll see…
  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome start him at 40. Yeah, stick to golf.
  • No difference with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The four open spots make -10.
  • He mentions the Joe Morgan letter, but he kind of rejects it because how 40 years and 5,000 games makes him qualified. So he thinks.
  • He votes against guys with PED links, but he seems to think all voters should just make up their own minds. Cool. I don’t feel like he’s moralizing, though I do feel like he’s in error.
  • Okay, he’s upset by Morgan’s letter. That gives him 5 points up to -5.
  • But he calls PED users cheaters, so he’s back to -10.
  • He whines about lifetime voting privileges being revoked. That’s just funny.
  • And that doing so opens the door for guys like Bonds and Clemens. That’s not inaccurate.
  • He tells us that he has two votes remaining. That’s good for the Hall!
  • And he goes on about cheaters, like it’s the only thing that matters.
  • He says that younger, stats-driven voters don’t understand the damage the “Steroid Era” did to the game. Well, nor do I. Enlighten me, oh wise one, what the damage was. If you can come up with anything, I’ll point to those who claim to have been in the clubhouse 50,000 times and yet did their job so poorly as to never see signs of such use or to never report it. Man this is going to be a low score. Down to -15.
  • He says that Vlad hit .300 twelve straight times despite lacking speed. First, lots of guys hit .300 without speed. Think of Wade Boggs for example. But until he was 30ish, Vlad had plus speed. I know that without even being in the press box a zillion times. Down to -20.
  • He says that Edgar had the designated hitter rule named after him in 2004. It’s just a tiny mistake, but if the guy wasn’t a GOLF WRITER his editor might have caught it. It’s the DH Award that bears Edgar’s name.
  • He suspects Thome will fall short of selection. Good job staying tuned in to the baseball world, golf guy. As I type this, Thome only needs 62.3% or so of the remaining votes to get in. He’s a virtual lock. That foolishness drops him to -25.
  • He says that Thome’s 612 “are among the 10th most in MLB history”. What does that mean? Maybe he doesn’t have any editor. The guy was so precise saying that Vlad is one of eight players with at least a .318 BA and a .553 SLG, and he can’t tell us that Thome is eighth ever in homers? C’mon! Bring him to -30.
  • Wow, now he says something brilliant! “Not since Ozzie Smith was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 has there been a defensive wizard shortstop worthy of HOF status just because of his glove.”
  • Spoiler alert. I suspect he’s going to ruin that with his next sentence.
  • Oh, he makes it awful, saying that Omar Vizquel made himself into a quality hitter. And he cherry picks 1999 when Omar received his only MVP support ever (finishing 16th) and hit .333. The fact is that Omar’s bat cost his team about 244 runs. That’s not quality. That’s one of the worst in baseball history. We’ll take him to -40.
  • He actually cites fielding percentage. Wow! Make it -45.
  • Shameful ballot. It’s not shameful because of who he chose and didn’t choose. It’s shameful because he hasn’t learned in what seems to be decades. Just two more from this guy though!

Paul Sullivan: -10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, and Thome get him to 40.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And the five open spaces drop him to -10.
  • He calls Trevor Hoffman underrated among closers. Seriously? If he were, he wouldn’t be a few days away from the Hall.
  • At least he doesn’t sacrifice any additional points, unlike his co-worker, Mike Gonzales.

TR Sullivan: 95 (find his explanation at comment #131)

  • Start with 10 points for Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker. That’s 90.
  • Subtract none since the other name he has is Hoffman. Still at 90.
  • I’m giving him 5 more because he spoke negatively about Morgan. Up to 95.

Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • He dropped Vlad, which I assume was strategic, while adding McGriff, Schilling, and Walker. Of course, there’s no Twitter interaction, so he falls to 75.

Rick Telander: 30

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • The first for Damon and Hoffman keep him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 50.
  • The open space makes it 40.
  • His one major criterion is whether or not the player thrilled him. Seriously? Down to 35.
  • When justifying a vote for Johnny Damon, he mentions a triples title and a second place finish in hits. Also hair and beard. That’s 30.

Tom Timmerman: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker start him at 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And a lack of explanation drops him to 85.

John Tomase: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 80.
  • The two blank spaces drop him to 60.
  • He points out that he chose Sheffield over Rolen because Rolen’s value comes much more from defense and Sheffield is the superior offensive performer. A don’t like that logic, but I can’t object to it so much. I can squint and see his perspective.
  • He’s docked 5 points for saying only three top-20 finishes in MVP voting isn’t enough. He says it’s not all voter ignorance, but he’s wrong. Voters simply ignored Rolen’s superior defense, or they explained it away, much like Tomase did. Down to 65.
  • He calls Omar Vizquel without question one of the five best defensive shortstops of all time. Um, says what rating system? I know the one I favor likes Vizquel less than any, but even a system that has him 10th all-time in defensive WAR dowsn’t have him among the five best shortstops. Drop him to 60.
  • He’s a Boston guy who voted for Sheffield and not Manny. Strange. And at the end of his post, he explains why. Manny got busted twice. That means to Tomas that he didn’t care. I think quite the opposite. Using PEDs suggests you care quite a bit. However, Manny cheated. I wouldn’t ever ding someone for pointing that out. He finishes at 60.

Marc Topkin: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 70.
  • No change with the relievers or McGriff.
  • He complains a bit about ballot size limits, though not enough to give him points.
  • He complains a tiny bit, I think, about Joe Morgan. Again, it’s not enough for points.
  • He complains about social media venom, though he say he’s fine with scrutiny. All told, these three points get him 5, moving to 75.
  • He won’t vote for someone who failed a PED test. Fine by me.
  • He says he’s not smart enough to know what percentage of a player’s numbers were PED-related. Damn right! Also, thank you.
  • He doesn’t vote for Edgar, calling him a “part-time” player. The quotation marks are his. He understands that his position is in the minority. The quotation marks suggest to me that he understands. And I may be giving him too much credit here. I think he’s continuing to think about it.
  • His pro-closer position is well-positioned in his post, but it leaves a lot to be desired. He says that closers are tasked with getting the final or toughest outs. The Hoffman and Wagner variety pretty much only got the final outs, not really the toughest ones. But I digress. He says a DH could go days without a meaningful at-bat. Sure, I guess. But how many saves does a closer get? Maybe 40? That’s only one in four games. At this point, I think he’s trying to justify an untenable position rather than explain it. Down 5 points to 70.
  • I’m getting sick of the “tough AL East” explanation when it comes to Mussina. I haven’t researched it since I very much support Mussina’s case. But I should. Did AL East teams during Mussina’s run score more runs than teams in other divisions? I don’t know. And I suppose almost none of the writers who talk about the division as they do don’t either.
  • He doesn’t go after Schilling for character. Thank you. But he says Mussina is clearly better. Really? I have no idea at all how someone can come to that conclusion. To me, they’re near historical doppelgangers. He doesn’t explain at all how Mussina is clearly better. Down to 65.
  • To me, he admits his homerism with votes for Sheffield and McGriff – even writing about it to a degree. He admits that the oft-cited “doing it the right way” line about McGriff is code for not using PEDs. Well done.
  • There’s some really impressive thinking in this post. I’m going to guess that he didn’t have the column inches to explain the things I kicked him for. Up 5 to 75.

Howard Ulman: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Drop 5 to 85 for no explanation.

Mike Vaccaro: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker mean he starts with 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • This year he subtracted Manny and Wagner while adding Hoffman, Schilling, and Walker. Why flip Wagner and Hoffman?
  • He says he can’t overlook Manny’s suspensions, but he did a year ago. Curious. Down to 85.
  • He mentions Sosa cheating by using cork and Manny failing tests as reasons they didn’t get his votes, as opposed to Bonds and Clemens who didn’t fail tests. Voting for Manny a year ago notwithstanding, this is good logic. I’ll move him back to 90.
  • He doesn’t answer everything, but he answers a lot, so he stays at 90.

Juan Vené: -25

  • Oh boy!
  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • He added Hoffman this year, so he stays at 30.
  • And he votes for McGriff. Still 30.
  • Five blank ballots bring him to -20.
  • And he just lists the guys in on his site. He doesn’t explain anything. Make it -25
  • Vené turns 89 next month, which is awesome for him. I hope to be 89 one day. Perhaps it’s true that he’s forgotten more about baseball than any of us will ever know. But I doubt it. His ballot is an example of how awful anti-steroid voters can be. Yeah, I said it. As I wrote above, it’s not being anti-steroid that means you’ll have a bad ballot. Far from it. You can pretty easily get to 100 points. However, anti-steroid voters are too often anti-logic voters. The Hall has set a standard, and 17 guys on the ballot have cleared it. If you won’t vote for a steroid guy, there are still 12. If your standard is a little higher and you don’t like Vlad, Kent, or Santana, I can see your thinking. But then there are still nine guys to vote for, nine guys who are waaaaaay over the line. But anti-steroid guys decided what the game should be like long ago. Ugh, I can’t.
  • Vené and Vizquel are both Venezuelan. I must admit I’m surprised the shortstop didn’t receive his vote. He’s just the second of five McGriff voters not to support Vizquel. Man, I’d love to hear his logic.

Tom Verducci: 70

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • The empty spot drops him to 70.
  • And I won’t put up with Chris Russo or Bob Costas to ever listen to the MLB Hall Roundtable again. Sorry, Brian Kenny. Still, I know Verducci explains. He stays at 70.

Kirk Wessler: 70

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 80.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Someone on the podcast called Omar the superior fielder and I hope it wasn’t Wessler, but I can’t tell.
  • I think he’s the one who said what Colin Kaepernick and Curt Schilling have done and do is the exact same thing. At least what he said is tantamount to that. I’m just going to let that sit here.
  • I just can’t tell enough who is speaking on this podcast to credit or debit Wessler here.

Paul White: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • Hoffman and Wagner keep him there.
  • He doesn’t explain, which is a real shame given the inclusion of Sheffield but neither Bonds nor Clemens, and this drops him to 75 and then 65.

David Wilhelm: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with the relievers or McGriff.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • Drop 10 more to 30 with Moyer.
  • This has to win the award for worst 10-man ballot. Not surprised that a writer who seems to cover Saint Louis University more closely than baseball doesn’t share reasoning. Oh, also, there can be no reasoning. Down to 25.

George Willis: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Sheffield is 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him at 80.
  • He posted on Facebook, which I can’t read, so I’m not going to give him explanation credit. Mean by me, I know. Down to 75.
  • He added Bonds, Clemens, and Hoffman this year. Sheffiled, however, is not an add. Strange combination last year.
  • And Willis has given me a new scoring criterion. He voted for McGriff but not Thome. They played the same position, have exactly the same steroid taint, and were both excellent hitters. Also – and this is a happy coincidence – they have the exact same numbers for fielding, baserunning, and avoiding double plays. Both were at -69. So separating the two is only Rbat. As a preview to that stat, I’ll let you know that Thome bests McGriff in OPS+ by a score of 147 to 134. He also beats McGriff by more than 20 WAR, 72.9 to 52.4. That’s because Rbat is 587 to 400. It’s not even close, and we’re comparing apples to apples here. So Willis sets a precedent here. He’s the first voter to lose 10 points by voting for McGriff but not Thome. Down to 65.

Bernie Wilson: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker get him to 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • He kinda attacks Joe Morgan, “Fie on thee”. That’s 85!
  • This dude is funny. He says he might break down and vote for Schilling sometime, but only after ropes and trees are banned.
  • He explains a tiny bit. I’ll give his sense of humor the benefit of the doubt and leave him at 85.

Jeff Wilson: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • I can’t say I absolutely love his PED arguments, but they all make sense. And that’s what I judge on.
  • He doesn’t explain more than Bonds and Clemens, which is upsetting given his votes for McGriff and Hoffman. Still, it’s a detailed and not incorrect explanation. He stays at 80. Good first ballot.

Bill Windler: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • And the lack of explanation drops him to 85.

Steve Wine: 35

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Sosa, and Thome make 70.
  • The three open slots drop him to 40.
  • The lack of explanation means he falls to 35.

Gordon Wittenmyer: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Santana, Schilling, and Thome start him at 70.
  • Vizquel makes 60.
  • The two open spaces drop him to 40.
  • No explanation, so he finishes at 35.

Mark Zuckerman: 80

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman or Wagner.
  • The two open spots mean he falls to 40.
  • The manner in which he explains how the Hall matters sort of inspires me. I’ll give him 5 points to 45. Make it 10. He’s up to 50.
  • “We’re not perfect, but we get it right way more than we get it wrong.” Yes. Very much yes.
  • Damn, I hate his Barry Bonds position, but he’s very fair.
  • Same with Clemens. He doesn’t understand who wants to support them. Well, I’ll explain. It’s people who only care about greatness. We won’t forget PED use, even when they’re in the Hall.
  • I don’t like his Johnny Damon standards, though I support his decision. What I love is that he write about everyone. I want to give him another 5 points. They may be coming.
  • Livan is his favorite player, at least the favorite he’s ever covered. He had space, but he didn’t vote for him. I’ll give him 5 more to 55.
  • He says it’s hard for relievers to get into the Hall. I think, in proportion to their value, it’s incredibly easy.
  • He says that Hoffman was undoubtedly the second best reliever in the game during his time. That’s very, very debatable.
  • I love his explanation of Andruw – and his “no” vote explanation.
  • I super love his Edgar defense. Give him 5 more to 60.
  • I love his McGriff position. Please read his post. It’s so sensible.
  • Here’s part of his Mussina explanation. “He finished in the top six in Cy Young Award voting eight times, but only once finished in the top three.” So many writers say true but unfair things about MVP and Cy voting. He’s entirely fair.
  • “As for the “brutal AL East” argument, it honestly isn’t supported by stats. From 1991-2000, the Yankees ranked second in the AL in team OPS, with the Orioles (who Mussina never faced because he pitched for them) ranking fifth, the Red Sox ranking seventh, the Blue Jays eighth and the Devil Rays 15th (they only existed for the final three seasons). From 2001-08, the Red Sox ranked first in the AL in team OPS, with the Yankees (who Mussina never faced because he pitched for them) ranking second, the Blue Jays sixth, the Orioles 12th and the Rays 13th. So if we consider that to be eight different division opponents (four apiece while pitching for each of his teams), Mussina wound up facing only two consistently great lineups, three average ones and three bad ones in his career. In short, he didn’t really have it any tougher than any of his contemporaries.” I haven’t yet researched, but perhaps he has. I’m very, very impressed. I don’t know where I should give him points. It’ll be here. Plus 10 to 70.
  • “Why, though, was Rolen not recognized as one of the game’s elite all-around players at the time? I’m not saying MVP votes are critical to a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy, but it certainly struck me as noteworthy that Rolen only received MVP votes four times and only finished better than 14th once.” Sir, I do believe you’re focusing on the wrong things. Saying you’re not is insufficient evidence. I love your post, I really do. But I object to this. Down 5 to 65.
  • Man, I LOVE this explanation. Please read it! He reviewed Vizquel’s defensive numbers, and the shortstop came up, um short. He acknowledges the gap between Ozzie and Omar. Five more, back to 70.
  • People should explain like he did. I don’t always agree, but I think he defends his ballot very well. I’ll give him 10 points more to 80.

 

Lost in the mail?

 

Adam Rubin: 65

  • Let’s start with Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Rolen, and Thome. That’s 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him at 80.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He only interacted with Ross Carey on Twitter, as far as I see. Ross is a great choice, but they didn’t talk about any players. He’s at 65.

 

Miller

 

All-Time HoME Leaders, First Base – 21-40

Today we continue through our journey around the diamond listing the best ever to play the game at each position. Well, actually, we’re still at first base. A week ago, we revealed our top-20 at the position, today it’s 21-40, and in a week we’ll name the top-20 second basemen ever. All rankings are based on Eric’s CHEWS+ and my MAPES+ lists. And we won’t stop until we give you the top-40 at every position and the top-120 pitchers.

First Base – 21-40

1B, 21-40

Where do we project the active player to finish in our rankings?

Joey Votto: Eric doesn’t address Votto because he did so last week as the 20th ranked guy on his list. For a player with six OBP titles and almost 55 WAR, Votto is criminally underrated. Unfortunately for him, he’s only hit 30 homers twice and only drive in 100 three times. On the other hand, just looking at straight WAR, he’s never had an 8-win season. But I digress. This question is about where he’ll end up. My adjusted numbers gave him 7.47 WAR a year ago. But he will be 34 this year. Imagine a graceful decline of 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 WAR. He’d pass seven guys and move into 17th place on my list. But maybe the decline will be even less pronounced, seeing him fall to 6 WAR this year and then age gracefully. He’s now fighting George Sisler for 10th in history. I’m not saying it’ll happen, but it certainly could. —Miller

Where do our rankings diverge the most from the conventional wisdom?

It’s an easy enough call to say that it’s David Ortiz. After all, conventional wisdom says he’s going to waltz into the Hall. But I think nearly 100% of the writers for vote for Papi will do so noting his specialness or clutchiness or Papiness or all three. Ortiz deserves the Hall based a lot more on Fame than on greatness. And if you’re thinking his playoff greatness puts him over the line, well, maybe it does, though I did contribute a meandering post about the incredible amount of value you’d need to give playoff excellence to get the Sox great over the line. —Miller

It would be easy to spotlight old timers like Harry Stovey or Jack Fournier or even Dolph Camilli here. But there’s two guys on this list where I see divergence. First, no one during his career ever thought that John Olerud was a Hall-caliber player. He got attention when he took a run at .400 early in his career. He got some kudos as the slick-scooping glue that held the Mets’ infield defense together in the Piazza era. He was also known for the piano he carried on his back when he ran the bases. But his case for the Hall is actually pretty damned good thanks to a combination of good hitting and excellent fielding. Then there’s Harm Killebrew. The 500 homers pretty much starts and ends the conversation on him, and, ipso facto, he’s a Hall of Famer. Well, he was an abysmal fielder, a bad baserunner, and hit into a lot of double plays. The entire package isn’t nearly as good as the gaudy homer figures would indicate, and if you only stop at 573, you won’t agree with us.—Eric

Where do we disagree with one another the most?

Nothing to see here. There’s no meaningful disagreement.

Are there any players that MAPES+/CHEWS+ might overrate or underrate? 

 In this group, not especially. So I’d like to take just a moment to talk about how a team might have underrated a player. In 1967, the Reds moved Tony Perez to third base. He’d never played an MLB inning at the hot corner, but during his minor league apprenticeship, he’d played a vast majority of his games there. Arriving in Cincy in 1964, Perez played nothing but first base for three years, and he was slightly below average (-3 runs) in 174 games. The Reds realigned their infield for ’67, moving Perez off first base, pushing incumbent Tommy Helms to second base, putting Pete Rose to pasture in left field, and putting defensively inept left fielder Deron Johnson at first base where he could do less damage (and they were right). In 1966, these players combined for -24 runs. In 1967 they combined for -10. Bob Howsam and Dave Bristol saved themselves at least a win’s worth of runs just by putting their players where their skills made the most sense. Perez was the weakest link at -9 runs in 1967, but over the next four years, he accumulated positive value at third base.

Prior to the 1972 season, the Reds acquired infielder Denis Menke who had at one time played a decent shortstop, but whose glove faltered badly. He could hit a little, and the Reds picked him up in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history.

November 29, 1971: The Houston Astros trade Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Denis Menke, and Joe Morgan to the Cincinnati Reds for Tommy Helms, Lee May, and Jimmy Stewart.

Morgan alone brought back 58 WAR, with Geronimo returning 13, Menke 4, Billingham 2, and Armbrister none. For their efforts, the Astros got 4 wins from Helms, though they later flipped him for Art Howe who earned 13 WAR with the ‘Stros; 6 from Lee May who they later made part of a trade for Enos Cabell and Rob Andrews; and -1 from Stewart whom they later cut.

For Perez’s part, however, the departure of May and Helms opened holes at first base and second base. Morgan, of course, would man the keystone sack. Who would play first base? They had options on hand. Obviously Perez had played there previously and was fine. Menke might also be stationed there. He had, in fact, been the Astros’ primary first baseman the year before and played there about as well as Perez had in the past. Pete Rose had moved from left field to right field in deference to rising youngster Bernie Carbo. Cabo had been worth 4.4 WAR in 1970, faltered in 1971, and after a slow start was dealt in 1972, pushing Rose back to left. The young Hal McRae got a lot of playing time and might have been an option. George Foster was on the roster but didn’t play much and hit poorly when he did. The Reds chose to stick Menke at third base and slide Perez across the diamond.

I wasn’t there, and I don’t know what all happened, but here’s the thing. Menke was a short timer however you looked at it, and the Reds had more good hitters than the WBA, WBC, and IBF combined. But Perez looked like a first baseman and hit like one, so the move made sense. But in retrospect, leaving Perez be would have given the Reds many more opportunities and made Perez more valuable. During his time at third base, Perez earned 12 positional runs (he did appear other places from time to time). Perez left Cincinnati after 1976, but in those five years, the positional adjustment for third base was three runs a season, or 15 runs over those five years. At first base it was -45 runs. If Perez played every day, the difference between the positions was 60 runs without factoring in defense or anything else. Perez was a good first baseman from 1972–1976 and picked up 17 fielding runs. So the net of his positional adjustment and fielding was -28 runs. Perez could have been a -42 run fielder at third base over that same time and still have earned out at the hot corner.

The worst defender with 50% of his games at third base in that time as Richie Hebner who “earned” -37 runs. Bill Madlock placed with -32 runs. Dave Roberts to show at -30. Bill Melton next at -29, and the only other player over -20 was Paul Schaal at -30. Whether contemporary observers saw it or not, Perez played a good enough third base to have likely avoided that kind of disaster artistry.

And that’s just the BBREF Rfield side of the story. DRA pegs him at 8 runs instead of 17 from 1972–1976, and it likes his defense a lot at third, to the tune of 22 runs from 1967–1971. I understand why Sparky Anderson and Bob Howsam made the move they did. It seemed like a good baseball move based on the understandings of the game in 1972. Looking backwards, though, it’s possible that the difference between Tony Perez first baseman and Tony Perez Hall of Merit third baseman came down simply to a trade, a decision, and 100 years of soon-to-be-obsolete conventional baseball wisdom.—Eric

2018 HoME Election Results

Chipper and AndruwAfter only being able to induct three players last year, the Modern Era Committee and the BBWAA did us a solid, though not necessarily with the right players, by allowing us to add six players to the HoME in 2018. Our ballot a year ago was far less crowded than that of the BBWAA because we had previously elected pretty much the entire backlog. But for us, we chose Sam Rice by a hair over Vlad Guerrero. So either Vlad was the entire backlog, or there wasn’t one.

Like the Hall, we stock our ballot with a list of new candidates each year. Unlike them, however, our ballot basically includes all other players in baseball history who have previously been eligible. That’s how we were able to elect Rice a year ago. We’ll write obituaries for those candidates we’ll almost certainly never elect a week from today. But for now, today’s six inductees mean we have now equaled the Hall by electing 226 players to the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Here’s how we voted in 2018.

   Miller           Eric
==================================
1  Chipper Jones    Chipper Jones
2  Jim Thome        Scott Rolen
3  Scott Rolen      Jim Thome
4  Andruw Jones     Andruw Jones
5  Johan Santana    Johan Santana
6  Minnie Minoso    Minnie Minoso
7                   Vladimir Guerrero

The Class of 2018

Chipper Jones was an incredibly easy vote. Perhaps he’s as high as the seventh best third basemen ever. Maybe it’s a few notches below that, but the vote remains an easy one. Despite how he looks by the Black Ink measure. With only 4 points out of an approximate 27 for an expected Hall of Famer, he appears far off. And he looks poor by Gray Ink too. But Chipper compiled some great numbers, especially for his position. He could hit and hit for power. When he was young, he had some speed, and he was a plus runner and a plus at double play avoidance over his career. He wasn’t a very good defender, and the Braves tried to move him to left field at one point, but it didn’t take. The 1999 NL MVP added some nice value in the playoffs, right around his career numbers in BA and OBP, if a bit short in SLG. To reiterate, he was an easy call, though a year ago at this time, I told Eric I wasn’t so sure he’d get in on the first try. After all, he’s no better than Ron Santo, a guy who the BBWAA never supported. Hell, he wasn’t really better than Ken Boyer, a guy who still isn’t in. And though he’s totally deserving, it’s not like he was a lot better than another third baseman on this ballot. I’m hapy to have been wrong.

Do I remember correctly that I expected Jim Thome to be the leading vote-getter of 2018? I believe I did. Clearly nobody saw Vlad beating him, and I just thought the BBWAA would find his greatness easier to understand than Chipper’s. Depending on how you see things, Thome could rank as high as about #11 or as low as #25 in a very tight clump at first base. Either way, he was a pretty easy vote. And given that almost all of his value comes with the bat, something we feel more confident than defensive value, we are certain that the man who is eighth all-time in home runs and seventh in walks is well deserving of a spot in the HoME

It’s simple enough to miss Scott Rolen if you’re not looking closely. The 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and eight-time Gold Glove winner literally has zero Black Ink. He never finished in the top-10 in homers and only twice did so in runs batted in. But for us, it wasn’t hard at all to find a vote for Rolen. He was a very good hitter, a fine baserunner, and an excellent fielder. He was sometimes accused of having injury problems, yet he’s 12th in history in games at third base. He didn’t seem to have a lot of power, yet only five 3B ever had more homers and WAR. Rolen is one of those guys who needs close inspection. Some BBWAA voters may not pay him that respect, but those at the HoME certainly do.

No matter the measure you use, Andruw Jones is one of the greatest defensive players in history. By defensive WAR, he’s 20th, with nobody higher on the all-time list posting a higher slugging percentage than the former Brave great. And if you prefer Defensive Regression Analysis, which I do, you like him almost as much. I suppose Andruw is a controversial choice to some who devalue defensive metrics, but we can’t forget he could hit a little too, as 434 homers show. Were it not for Albert Pujols, there’s a shot he and his 2/3 of a triple crown would have won the 2005 NL MVP to go with his ten Gold Gloves. Jones could be seen as high as the 9th best center fielder ever. Assuming you value defense at 100%, it’s hard to get him much below 15th.

Many writers look at the paltry 139 wins that Johan Santana amassed in his dozen years in the majors, and they don’t think they need to look at anything else. Well, they do. Whether he is the modern version of Sandy Koufax or a better version of Dizzy Dean, take your pick. Santana won two Cy Youngs and finished in the top-5 three other times. For the first decade of the 21st century, only Roy Halladay compiled more WAR among pitchers. And from 2002-2009, a period of eight years, Johan was the best. That’s a pretty impressive period of dominance. No, Santana isn’t the most obvious call, and I can’t blame the writers for finding ten better players on their ballots, but the HoME doesn’t have the backlog they do. Santana belongs.

When I was a kid, Minnie Minoso made me angry. I thought he and Bill Veeck made a mockery of the game with his appearances in 1976 and 1980. But the Minnie Minoso I knew as a kid wasn’t the real Minnie Minoso, at least not so far as the HoME is concerned. The Cuban Comet is a really tough candidate to understand. Eric and I agree that he falls just short based only on his major league career. I rank him 25th in left, while Eric sees him as 26th best. We agree that he’s in a battle with Joe Kelley, Joe Medwick, and Ralph Kiner if we’re only considering his contributions as a major leaguer. But Minoso didn’t only play in the majors. He also played in the Negro Leagues, and it’s very probable that he spent extra time in the minors because of the color barrier (even though his Indians were the first in the AL to integrate). So what do we do? We can consider Minoso a major leaguer and look only at his games in the majors, which is what we do with most players. We could view him as a Negro League player, but that would be quite odd since he spent just three seasons in the Negro National League (NNL). We could consider him a combo candidate, but we’ve only done that for combinations that include non-playing contributions. Frankly, not one of those solutions is satisfactory. The right thing to do is use Eric’s conversions for Minoso’s time in the NNL and in the minors. Why the minors? It’s because he was excellent in AAA at ages 23 and 24, and we believe it’s highly likely that he was kept out of the majors because of the color of his skin, not because of his ability. With those adjustments, we believe Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso is a fully qualified HoMEr, just a shade above the once-again-rebuffed Vladimir Guerrero. Welcome HoME, Minnie.

Solo Votes

Eric: Minoso is over the line. Not way over, but far enough over to make a reasoned and informed decision to take him over Vladimir Guerrero.

Last year, we put poor Vlad on the back burner as well. We said then that our estimates of Sam Rice’s base running, outfield arm, and double-play avoidance made him a more attractive candidate than The Impaler. This time around, Vlad loses out to the combination of position and chronology. We simply have fewer left fielders than right fielders, and we have too many right fielders. We also have too many left fielders, but now they are at least balanced. But let’s look more closely at this question. Here we list active and not-yet-eligible left fielders with a CHEWS+ score greater than 50. Remember 100 is a baseline Hall of Famer:
  • Matt Holliday: 85
  • Ryan Braun: 83
  • Carl Crawford: 77
  • Alex Gordon: 62
  • Brett Gardner: 58
  • Carlos Gonzalez: 57
That, folks, is a positional rock garden. We won’t be electing any left fielders for more than a decade.
Now, over in right field:
  • Ichiro Suzuki: 105
  • Vlad Guerrero: 100
  • Bobby Abreu: 95
  • Jose Bautista: 78
  • Giancarlo Stanton: 71
  • Sin-Shoo Choo: 68
  • Nelson Cruz: 67
  • Jason Heyward: 61
  • Jayson Werth: 60
  • Hunter Pence: 58
  • Justin Upton: 56
  • Bryce Harper: 52
Oh, and Mookie Betts is already up to 45.
Depending on your disposition towards certain guys or certain stats, we might already have three fellows worth electing. Stanton ain’t far away. If Heyward would stop hitting grounders, he’s young enough to climb. Justin Upton is even young enough to rally in his 30s. Harper and Betts sure seem like points of hope for our right fielding friends. There’s lots of opportunity in right field, and a rock garden in left. We’ll take the one electable left fielder for now and count our blessings as it lays fallow for years and years.
Now, about the era each of these fellows played in. There’s about a skillion ways to define eras and figure out where a Hall might fall short. From my perspective, we’re something like ten guys short between World War II and MLB’s expansion. Miller’s mileage varies somewhat. Vlad’s era is still taking shape, and we won’t know for sure how far ahead or behind it is for a few years yet. Plenty of time for us to vote him up. Which we will do eventually. But Vlad is borderline enough for both of us that he has to run our gauntlets. Next year Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton, and Roy Halladay will all line up ahead of him. Sorry for the spoiler there, but if you didn’t see that one coming…. But Andy Pettitte becomes eligible too, and he is similarly situated among pitchers as Vlad is among hitters. The year after, Captain Jetes comes along. In 2021 Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson, another couple guys who could be right on or near the in/out line. We don’t know how long the Hall of Fame voters will carry on their more generous ways, but we can expect two or three honorees from the writers in 2019. Who knows? The Today’s Game Committee might even cough up a name! (Sure, you can have some of whatever I’m smoking!) Point is that between the weak Hall newbie groups starting in 2020 and the strong performance of several backlog candidates, the BBWAA will spit out names for a few more years, and Vlad Guerrero will have his chance because we match the Hall, and the Hall has a lot more work to do.
So we’re really happy to give Minnie Minoso his due, and we’re happy that Vlad Guerrero remains out there for us to elect once we have the room. Sorry, Vlad, but we’ll scoop you up soon. Anyway, you probably care more about the real bronze you’ll soon receive instead of the bronze-colored pixels we can offer.

Miller: I see things a little differently than Eric does, not about the players, but about how to vote. Given that we must elect exactly six players in this election to keep in step with the Hall of Fame, I don’t believe we should vote for any more or any fewer. Eric and I disagree, but whatever. It’s basically just a matter of taste, especially since we agree on the six players. To me, there’s nothing wrong with putting Vlad in, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping him out either. There’s always next year.


Another surprising election, at least based on what I expected as recently as six weeks ago. There are now 226 members of the player wing of the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Miller and Eric. In about a year, we’re going to do this all over again as Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and others join Vladimir Guerrero on what looks like another very crowded ballot. We hope you’ll check out the Honorees page to see all of the HoME members, whether players, managers, or pioneers/executives. Enjoy.

The 2018 BBWAA Election, A Miller and Eric Conversation

Miller: Congratulations are in order for Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman, the BBWAA Hall class of 2018. For these four men, for their families, and for their fans, I’m incredibly happy. I am.

As far as the players go, I’m really not happy with the induction of Trevor Hoffman. Those familiar with the Hall of Miller and Eric know that short-career pitchers in our book need otherworldly numbers to make up for a lack of career depth. And for the record, Hoffman pitched about 1,000 innings fewer than Johan Santana and about 2,500 fewer than Mike Mussina. His numbers fall short. My rankings put him at exactly #200 all-time, in the same boat with guys like Josh Beckett and Chris Carpenter.

For some, clearing ballot space is important enough that anyone who we think will inevitably get in should get in now so they don’t drain votes in future elections. I really disagree. Hoffman is now in the Hall forever. That’s kind of a long time. Further, it’s all sorts of awful that he and Jack Morris will be giving speeches this summer while Curt Schilling and Mussina will have to wait. And don’t get me started on Johan.

Eric: Agreed. Forever is a lot longer than we think it is. But let’s take the not-good-but-advantageous with the bad. Something like 1,500 ballot slots have just opened up. Mariano Rivera will take about 420 of them next year. That leaves 1,100, of which Edgar Martinez needs just 20 more, Mike Mussina needs just 49, and Curt Schilling needs 101. And that means that even if those three backloggers each got in with less than 80% of the vote, there’d still be over 1,000 ballot slots available for Larry Walker to make another big gain.

Miller: You’re so practical. And also so correct. Aside from the guys who got in, I think the guys I’m happiest about are Edgar, Mussina, Larry Walker, and Scott Rolen. The first two have set themselves up for future election. I still have hope for Walker. And Rolen staying on the ballot means you never know. Voters are going to improve in coming years. While some will learn nothing, many more will keep working at their craft. Many more will try to understand value. When that happens, it bodes very well for guys like Walker and Rolen.

Eric: Edgar’s got to pick up 4.6% in one year to get in the front door in 2019. Seems like a gimme since he surged by 12% this year. Then again Craig Biggio. Still, to me the most fascinating dynamic on the 2019 ballot will be around Mike Mussina. He snagged an additional 12.5% over last year, and it put him over the 60% threshold with five years to go. He officially has the sheen of inevitability. But, next year he deals with new pitchers Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, and Andy Pettitte. Will voters see Rivera as a “pitcher”? That could have a mildly suppressing effect by making Mo the best one on the ballot. Will they prefer Doc even with the nearly 70 fewer wins, but with a lot more hardware and the playoff no-hitter? Will they see Pettitte as a “true Yankee” and give Moose a meh? Or will he make a big leap because the BBWAA can’t figure out Halladay and put Rivera in the “Closer” bucket? I mean, another 12 points, and he’s in.

Miller: I think Mussina is set up incredibly well, though I don’t know about 2019. Competing with Mariano doesn’t matter at all. He’s a different animal, and I think he has a shot at unanimity. But I’ll save his discussion for another day. As for Pettitte, I don’t think he matters much. I haven’t seen evidence of any “true Yankee” bias. It certainly didn’t help Bernie Williams. Or Willie Randolph. Or Graig Nettles. Or Ron Guidry. Plus, Pettitte has real PED taint. He actually admitted using HGH in 2002. That fact, coupled with the fact that he’s very much on the borderline, means he could be one and done on the ballot. I don’t think he drags Mussina any. To me, the interesting cat is Halladay. Much like David Ortiz has helped voters reevaluate Edgar Martinez, I think Halladay will make voters reconsider Mussina to a degree. Wins still matter a ton (see Johan Santana), and Halladay has just 203 of them. Comparatively, 270 is ridiculously high. For voters wanting to approve Halladay, I think they’re going to have to improve Mussina. And heck, maybe Halladay’s playoff luster makes them reconsider Curt Schilling too. Sure, the NLDS no-no was nice but any pro-Halladay momentum that exists because of playoff pitching has to help Curt Schilling quite a bit.

And speaking of Schilling, I’d love for any writer to discuss only the player, Curt Schilling. Come to think of it, I’d appreciate it if more writers would discuss the player at all. I’m becoming more and more hardline on Schilling and his political views not mattering. And the best platform he has to spew those views is when a hundred writers talk about them for two months a year. Many wouldn’t even know about them otherwise. For some, I’m sure they investigate after reading their favorite columnist’s words. And I suspect Schilling has more social media followers because of the BBWAA. Those things aside, I’m happy he’s up 6.2 percentage points from last year. I’m happy he’s over 50%. He has four more tries, which I think could be enough. Whatever the case, I’m glad one of the greatest post-season pitchers, and an underrated regular season pitcher, is moving in the right direction.

Eric: Schilling will get there, and he’ll deserve a plaque. Nuf sed. We both think Larry Walker also deserves a plaque, but will he get one? The guy converted nearly 40 nay voters compared to 2017, more than anyone other than Vlad Guerrero. How much hidden support might he have? First of all, 78 of the 150 10-man ballots included a vote for Walker, or 52%. Among those with ten-names who did not support him, the following 13 identified him as someone whom they wish they had more room for:

Jim Alexander
Jerry Crasnik
Mark Feisand
Tom Haudricourt
Richard Justice
Tim Kurkjian
Scott Lauber
Anthony McCarron
Mike Peticca
Brendan Prunty
Ken Rosenthal
Bob Sansevere
Jeff Wilson

What’s the chance those guys vote for Walker in 2019? Looking back at 2017, 19 voters said they wish they had room for him. One of them lost his voting eligibility (David Lariviere). Otherwise, Walker converted 72% of the rest (13 of 18), with Jay Dunn, Peter Gammons, Danny Knobler, Roger Mooney, and Rosenthal, mentioned above. But he’s also about to lose Rick Plumlee’s support because the voter eligibility rules are about to give him the boot. That’s life in the big city. Walker’s got two years, and, let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that he’s going to zoom up the charts by 36%. Not impossible, but highly improbable. There’s too many guys between him and immortality. Two to four strong candidates hit next year, depending on your perceptions, and four went away this year. In 2019, everyone will vote for Mo, and Edgar Martinez will almost certainly find the 20 votes he needs, and it’s not impossible that Mike Mussina gains another 11.5% to win election after similar gains in recent years. If all those things happen, and especially if Roy Halladay somehow also gets his plaque in 2019, the rest of the ballot could see an updraft in 2020 when Saint Derek is the only major new eligible. If Walker can get to 45% or higher in 2018, the suction in 2020 could lift him over 50% or maybe 60%, in which case, he’s much better than even odds with the VC.

Miller: And then there’s the elephant in the room. At least in our room. It’s Johan Santana. For the fifth time since 2010 (Jim Edmonds, Kenny Lofton, Kevin Brown, and Kevin Appier), a player we consider fully qualified for the Hall got booted on the first ballot. I don’t know the right answer, but I’d like a different minimum threshold in the first year, maybe 1%. What if a player fell off the ballot if they didn’t meet a minimum of 1%, 2%, 4%, 8%, and 16% in their first five seasons? After that it would rise to 20% for the remainder of the time. Such a system would serve players like Johan. It would also give a second ballot to Jamie Moyer and Johnny Damon. And though I hate mentioning those guys in the same breath as Santana, they wouldn’t get much beyond one ballot, and they were far better than the Carlos Lees of the world anyway. Further, my system wouldn’t clog things because folks like Gary Sheffield and Sammy Sosa wouldn’t be around for more than five seasons. I don’t know that my system is better. Maybe it’s only different. I do wish, however, the voters got to examine Johan Santana’s case more than they did.

Eric: Yes, it’s a crime that Johan’s case won’t be reviewed in future seasons. Of course, that’s why the Hall of Miller and Eric exists, to right wrongs. Our 2018 HoME election comes up on February 5.

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #235-257

I didn’t expect this post to appear today. I thought I was done when the election was, but I’m an addict. I admit it.

I don’t know how Ryan does it. But I love that he does!

(Including all of the ballots I’ve listed brings us to 258. No, I don’t have more than Ryan. I think I have one listed as anonymous and by the writer’s name. I wonder if the score is the same???)

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198, 199-209, 210-234

The Ballots

Anonymous #5: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • No explanation, which means 85.

Anonymous #6: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, and Thome mean 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops the ballot to 40.
  • The three open spaces bring it to 10.
  • And the lack of explanation makes 5.

Jim Alexander: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • With an unlimited ballot, he’d add McGriff, Walker, Kent, Andruw, and Wagner.
  • That’s the only thing he explains. He drops to 65.

Darren Beene: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Manny, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. That’s 100!
  • No explanation, so he drops to 95.

John Canzano: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Manny make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The two open spaces drop him to 50.
  • He added Vlad and Manny while dropping McGriff and Shellield. Why? He had the room. Alas, no Twitter discussion. Down to 45.

Jim Caple: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • No change with McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Walker is an add, Mussina a drop, and no explanation in the DM to Ryan. He drops to 65.

Dan Connolly: 60

  • I think this was previously an anonymous ballot. I’m going to delete what I previously called Anonymous #3.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker get him to 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He dropped Schilling so he could include Vizquel.
  • PED use hurts a candidacy, but doesn’t destroy it. Sure, I agree.
  • He calls Vizquel’s offense underrated. By what measure? I think it’s crazily overrated. Nobody says it was awful, though it truly was. Down to 65.
  • I don’t hate his Hoffman explanation. Best at what he did. Okay.
  • Sadly, he also thinks DH is a role. Roles are created by teams; positions are in the rule book. There’s a difference.
  • He mentions some selected offensive numbers of Vizquel’s as if they’re positive. They’re not.
  • He distrusts defensive metrics, but he seems to trust the eye test. Oh, and the testimony of Mike Bordick. Sad. Down 5 to 60.

Tim Dahlberg: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get to 50.
  • There’s no change with Hoffman.
  • The open spaces drop him to 10.
  • No explanation makes 5.

Alan Greenwood: 15

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, and that’s it. A nice 60.
  • But the four open spots mean he drops to 20.
  • No Twitter replies, so he drops to 15.

Joey Johnson: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker start the ballot at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • The ballot came to the Tracker via email. So he drops to 75.

Danny Knobler: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He says that the biggest stars belong in the Hall, that it’s not just about the numbers. I vehemently disagree, but I can accept that argument.
  • He compared Andruw to Omar – favorably. Thank you! Take 5 more points to get to 95.

Seth Livingstone: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Thome, and Walker total 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel makes 70.
  • Walker is an add.
  • I hate this comment. “I know there’s a lot of discussion about Edgar Martinez, who I have voted for in the past. But when I did a comparative look, Walker batted .313 for his career, Martinez .312. Walker had 383 home runs, Martinez had 309. Walker had seven Gold Gloves vs. a guy who rarely played the field. Walker also won an MVP. So to me it became no contest selected Larry Walker as my 10th choice over Edgar Martinez.” That means he didn’t even compare them previously. Forge the fact that he’s using the wrong measures. Forget that if it’s just those two, I might support his position. This is terrible. Down to 65.
  • “I believe that once a Hall of Famer, always a Hall of Famer.” In other words, he won’t change his mind. But he has… I don’t get it.
  • Want to know the quintessential Omar voter? “One person that not everyone will vote for is Omar Vizquel. To me, he was one of the greatest defensive shortstops I ever saw and an 11-time Gold Glove winner. I remember a night in Seattle when on the final out of Chris Bosio’s no-hitter he barehanded a ball behind the mound and threw out the runner for the final out. That was just the kind of defensive confidence and talent he had. And also a .272 hitter with 404 stolen bases, so he was an offensive contributor, not a liability.”
  • Ugh! “I’m not pleased with the way they voted. You take an Alan Trammell, a very nice man and a terrific player. Never got more than 40.9 percent of the votes from the baseball writers. Yet, a 16-person panel decides that they know better whether or not he’s a Hall of Famer and vote him in. I consider that a slap in the face to the writers.” At least he thinks Trammel isn’t a Hall of Famer.
  • I hate many of his answers, but I absolutely love the depth of his feedback. I’ll add 10 more to 75. Thank you, Seth.

Dennis Maffezzoli: 45

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He thinks all ballots will be made public this year, so he’s clearly out of the loop. And he didn’t look very closely at his ballot. Down to 65.
  • He says the BBWAA has a code of conduct. I’d love to look at that!
  • If you are a Hall of Famer for him one year, you’re always a Hall of Famer. That’s his number one rule. And it’s absolutely awful. His first rule is that he won’t learn. If he’s wrong once, he’ll always be wrong. Down to 60.
  • He says that Clemens and Bonds weren’t mentioned in the Mitchell Report. They were. Do facts matter? Um, yes. Down to 55.
  • He says to check out Vizquel’s fielding statistics and “Rawlings Gold Gloves”. Well, I do check the former, and they’re very good. I also look at hitting statistics, and they’re awful. Also, who used the word “Rawlings”, and why does that subjective award matter? Down to 50.
  • He writes, “I did not check the box to have my vote made public before the voting. Frankly, I forgot it was an option.” It’s not an option! And his second to last paragraph contradicts his second. For a ballot I don’t hate, this is an incredibly low score. Down to 45.

Hal McCoy: 0

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Rolen, and Thome start him at 50.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • The three open spots drop him to 20.
  • He says that his record is perfect, that every player who had gotten into the Hall has received his vote. Wow, that’s an awful way to define perfect. Down to 15.
  • He says nobody can argue that all four who were elected have solid Hall credentials. Well, lemme try. Trevor Hoffman only pitched 1100 innings, and about 200 pitchers in history have brought more value teams than Hoffman. That’s a pretty simple and pretty accurate argument. Down to 10.
  • He calls McGriff a head-scratcher. I call him Mark Teixeira, or about the 40th greatest 1B ever. We shouldn’t have 40 1B in the Hall, I don’t think.
  • “Some will say that there already are cheaters and PED users with plaques. They didn’t get my vote.” I’m sorry. I really don’t like to be mean. But man, this is a stupid statement. He’s been voting for 40 years, he’s voted for everyone who’s been elected, and not one of those players used a PED? Should I break his heart about Willie Mays and amphetamines? Down to 5.
  • He says that character is supposed to be a major measuring stick. No, it’s not. Down to 0.

Adam Mertz: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The three open spots drop him to 30.
  • No explanation means he falls to 25.

Scott Miller: 35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome total 60.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops the ballot to 50.
  • And the open space makes it 40.
  • No early Twitter interaction means he falls to 35.

Gene Myers: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • Hoffman completes what I believe is the most common ballot of the year, which keeps him at 90.
  • He’s one of those “if Selig, then Bonds and Clemens” voters. Though I support Bonds and Clemens, and I think Selig was an awful selection, I can’t wrap my head around voting for guys you believe are undeserving because another undeserving guy is elected. I won’t support Billy Wagner next year just because Trevor Hoffman gets in this year. To each their own.
  • On the other hand, I think he believes Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez used PEDs. I follow the thinking that once the Hall elects PED users, but very best players who you think used PEDs have to get your vote. That wouldn’t be my direction, but this comparison makes more sense to me than the Selig comparison.
  • He says Walker edged Rolen for his final spot. Not at all ridiculous, especially since he believes there will be room on his ballot for Rolen next year.
  • And he mentions The Tracker and Ryan.

LaVelle Neal III: 95

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome make 90.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • He’s against the “Rule of 10”, as he puts it.
  • Regarding Bonds and Clemens, he writes, “With the decks cleared this year, perhaps voters will take a harder look at their cases or, at least, examine their stance on how to deal with to key players from the PED era.” To me, this statement makes no sense at all, but I certainly won’t ding him for optimism. I want to give him points for having a better attitude than I do.
  • He believes many more players were “dirty” than were caught. I don’t like his word choice, but I agree with his conclusion.
  • Damn! This guy is thinking. He mentions if the 2005 AL Cy Young voting were to go on now, in an age where the win isn’t king, Johan would have had a good shot to win it. Three Cy Young Awards? Yup. Give him 5 more to 95.

Drew Olson: 80

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Thome, and Walker start him with 80.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • He added Vlad, McGriff, and Walker this year while dropping Schilling.
  • He’s strongly against the ballot limit. By rule, that’s worth 5 points, moving him to 85.
  • He considers Omar superior to Ozzie in some ways. What ways? He doesn’t explain. Back to 80.
  • He talks about fear, and he says calling Jim Rice feared doesn’t make sense because he drew few walks. But Edgar Martinez was feared. I’d have an easier time buying that if his IBB numbers were higher. Only once did he top a dozen IBB.
  • He considers Mussina better than Schilling by an eyelash. I prefer Schilling by an eyelash, but he’s right that the distance between them is incredibly small.
  • “As my friend and colleague Buster Olney pointed out, they are eligible to work in baseball and the Hall allows them on the ballot, but the writer’s seem to have issued a lifetime ban. That doesn’t seem right to me. “ I love this take on B&C.

Terry Pluto: 30

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, and Thome make 70.
  • The relievers keep him there.
  • And Vizquel, from a Cleveland writer, drops him to 60.
  • He calls Omar and Ozzie the best defensive shortstops of their generation. That’s like grouping Wagyu beef with a really nice flank steak. Flank steak can still be great, but the comparison is silly. Down to 55.
  • Then he says Vizquel was the best defensive shortstop he has ever seen. Pluto is 62 years of age. He never saw Ozzie? How is that possible? And if it is, how does he have a vote? Down to 50.
  • I love when I can talk about argumentum ad verecundiam. That’s when someone cites an authority when isn’t an authority. He uses Hal Lebovitz, a sportswriter who passed away in 2005 at age 89, is in the Writer’s wing of the Hall, and once sold a hot dog to Babe Ruth as that authority. He’s using a single conversation with a man of 80ish years, whose opinion is based on the eye test as expert testimony. Down to 45.
  • He says that Vizquel’s glove was just as valuable to the Indians as Thome’s bat. If only we had a way to measure such a thing… Oh, we do! According to BBREF, Thome’s Rbat is 587. According to the same site, Vizquel’s Rfield is 128. I think BBREF overvalues Vizquel’s glove. Man, you just can’t help someone who will only use their gut. Down to 40.
  • He says he has begun to value defense more as he has grown older. Andruw Jones anyone? Andruw Jones? Well, he doesn’t value defense as much as saves, I guess.
  • He talks about Mussina and Schilling as throwbacks to an age when men were men and starters threw complete games. Okay, he didn’t say one of those things, but it’s implied. Down 5 more, yet again, to 35.
  • This next one infuriates me. “I believe if Vizquel had played most of his career in Boston or New York, he’d be close to making it this season. But his best years were in Seattle, Cleveland and San Francisco — away from the national media.” Based on what? Nomar Garciaparra was a far better player than Omar Vizquel. He, correctly, didn’t sniff a third ballot. Schilling played in Borston. How’s that working out for him? How about for Manny? Mussina played in New York. How’s that working out for him? How about Santana? I promise I’m going to research this – I believe those writers from Seattle, Cleveland, San Francisco, and even Chicago disproportionately support Vizquel. They trust their eyes, and they shouldn’t. Down 5 more for perpetuating a myth that he doesn’t even try to support. That’s 30.

Troy Renck: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Omar drops him to 70.
  • No Twitter interaction, so he falls to 65.

Joe Rutter: 50

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome mean 70 points.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • The open space drops him to 50.
  • He added Edgar and Mussina this year.
  • He doesn’t like voting for PED guys, but since Bonds and Clemens were the best of the ear, they’re exceptions. Fine with me.
  • He says the difference between B&C and Manny is that Manny failed tests. No kidding! It’s not his fault that people ask silly questions.

Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Thome, and Walker start him at 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • He dropped Vlad, which I assume was strategic, while adding McGriff, Schilling, and Walker. Of course, there’s no Twitter interaction, so he falls to 75.

Mark Zuckerman: 80

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 60.
  • No change with Hoffman or Wagner.
  • The two open spots mean he falls to 40.
  • The manner in which he explains how the Hall matters sort of inspires me. I’ll give him 5 points to 45. Make it 10. He’s up to 50.
  • “We’re not perfect, but we get it right way more than we get it wrong.” Yes. Very much yes.
  • Damn, I hate his Barry Bonds position, but he’s very fair.
  • Same with Clemens. He doesn’t understand who wants to support them. Well, I’ll explain. It’s people who only care about greatness. We won’t forget PED use, even when they’re in the Hall.
  • I don’t like his Johnny Damon standards, though I support his decision. What I love is that he write about everyone. I want to give him another 5 points. They may be coming.
  • Livan is his favorite player, at least the favorite he’s ever covered. He had space, but he didn’t vote for him. I’ll give him 5 more to 55.
  • He says it’s hard for relievers to get into the Hall. I think, in proportion to their value, it’s incredibly easy.
  • He says that Hoffman was undoubtedly the second best reliever in the game during his time. That’s very, very debatable.
  • I love his explanation of Andruw – and his “no” vote explanation.
  • I super love his Edgar defense. Give him 5 more to 60.
  • I love his McGriff position. Please read his post. It’s so sensible.
  • Here’s part of his Mussina explanation. “He finished in the top six in Cy Young Award voting eight times, but only once finished in the top three.” So many writers say true but unfair things about MVP and Cy voting. He’s entirely fair.
  • “As for the “brutal AL East” argument, it honestly isn’t supported by stats. From 1991-2000, the Yankees ranked second in the AL in team OPS, with the Orioles (who Mussina never faced because he pitched for them) ranking fifth, the Red Sox ranking seventh, the Blue Jays eighth and the Devil Rays 15th (they only existed for the final three seasons). From 2001-08, the Red Sox ranked first in the AL in team OPS, with the Yankees (who Mussina never faced because he pitched for them) ranking second, the Blue Jays sixth, the Orioles 12th and the Rays 13th. So if we consider that to be eight different division opponents (four apiece while pitching for each of his teams), Mussina wound up facing only two consistently great lineups, three average ones and three bad ones in his career. In short, he didn’t really have it any tougher than any of his contemporaries.” I haven’t yet researched, but perhaps he has. I’m very, very impressed. I don’t know where I should give him points. It’ll be here. Plus 10 to 70.
  • “Why, though, was Rolen not recognized as one of the game’s elite all-around players at the time? I’m not saying MVP votes are critical to a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy, but it certainly struck me as noteworthy that Rolen only received MVP votes four times and only finished better than 14th once.” Sir, I do believe you’re focusing on the wrong things. Saying you’re not is insufficient evidence. I love your post, I really do. But I object to this. Down 5 to 65.
  • Man, I LOVE this explanation. Please read it! He reviewed Vizquel’s defensive numbers, and the shortstop came up, um short. He acknowledges the gap between Ozzie and Omar. Five more, back to 70.
  • People should explain like he did. I don’t always agree, but I think he defends his ballot very well. I’ll give him 10 points more to 80.

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Eric Nuñez; 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Darrin Beene: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Danny Knobler: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
LaVelle Neal III: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Jerry Crasnick: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Gene Myers: 90
Tim Kurkjian: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Anonymous #5: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
George A. King III: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Gabe Lacques: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Susan Slusser: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Drew Olson: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Mark Zuckerman: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
Joey Johnson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Seth Livingstone: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Joe Smith: 75
Jean-Jacques Taylor: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Tom Haudricourt: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Marc Topkin: 75
Kirk Wessler: 70
Jim Alexander: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Jim Caple: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Martin Fennelly: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
Bruce Jenkins: 65
David Lennon: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Troy Renck: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Dan Connolly: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Steve Henson: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Mark Faller: 55
John Harper: 55
Joe Henderson: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Joel Sherman: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Joe Rutter: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
John Canzano: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Dennis Maffezzoli: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Scott Miller: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Richard Griffin: 30
Terry Pluto: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Andrew Call: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Dan Graziano: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
Adam Mertz: 25
David Wilhelm: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Alan Greenwood: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Anonymous #6: 5
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Bill Center: 5
Tim Dahlberg: 5
Mike Downey: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Paul Gutierrez: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Hal McCoy: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Ron Kroichick: -5
Scott Gregor: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Barry Stanton: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
David Ginsburg: -20
Ann Killion: -20
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Pedro Gomez: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jorge Ortiz: -35
Rob Rains
: -40
Paul Daugherty: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

Seven Questions for the 2018 BBWAA Vote

So the Hall announcement will be shared in just a few hours on the MLB Network. And of course we have to chime in with a few pre-election thoughts.

Jim Thome, magazineWho gets in?

Miller: Well, at this point, that seems to be a fairly easy call. Newcomers Chipper Jones and Jim Thome are shoe-ins. Vladimir Guerrero seems like he might earn the highest percentage of votes for a candidate after his first year. And Trevor Hoffman seems pretty certain to get in as well.

Eric: Let’s put some specific percentages to this. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s Tracker:

PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT VS. FINAL PERCENTAGE                  
NAME        PRE    ACT   DIFF
==============================
Bagwell     88%    86%    -2%
Raines      86%    86%     0
Rodriguez   80%    76%    -4%
Guerrero    72%    72%     0
Hoffman     73%    73%     0
Bonds       64%    54%   -10%
Clemens     63%    54%    -9%
Mussina     59%    52%    -7%
Schilling   51%    45%    -6%
------------------------------
AVERAGE                   -4%

So the data in this table shows that in 2017, the major candidates saw their support soften just a little bit between now and the day of the announcement. But it also shows that the percentages on the day of the announcement were pretty stable for the very top vote getters. The two biggest outliers there, Bonds and Clemens, have always done worse with private voters than other candidates have.

So let’s pretend that this model would work for 2018 as well, and we’ll stick our top four on in there. Here’s the where the Tracker sits at just before 7:00 on election day 2018:

NAME        PRE    ACT?    DIFF
================================
C Jones     98%    94%    -4%
Guerrero    95%    91%    -4%
Thome       93%    89%    -4%

For our three leaders, if a similar pattern holds in 2018 between pre-vote totals and the final tally, they are in line for a happy election day. Then there’s Trevor Hoffman who sits at 78% of the vote. If his support should soften as most other candidates has, then he’s once again on the razor’s edge. But as we saw above, he lost no support from pre-announcemen to final results. In 2016, his debut year, Hoffman gained a half a point in the final tally. This year he need to pick up a mere five votes to reach baseball Valhalla, and he’s already +11. I wouldn’t die on this hill since the private voters are usually more eccentric than the public voters, but he’ll scrape by, probably with less than 80%.

I think this is where we mention that the Hall of Miller and Eric is not a wagering-advice service. We make no specific claims of accuracy, and we are not responsible for gaming outcomes. Please, bet responsibly.

Edgar Martinez magazine 2How close is Edgar? Close enough to make it next year?

Eric: How about close enough to make it this year? Dude’s sitting on 77% of the vote right now. The problems for him are that a) if he loses support and our observations are reasonable, he will drop to about 73% b) Edgar actually tends to lose more support among the post-results voters. They vote yes about 90% as often as the pre-results folks do. If that were the case this year, he’d need to be at 83% on announcement day to make it. So it looks a little unlikely. On the other hand, prior results do not guarantee future performance, especially because we know that some voters are using the Tracker as they fill out their ballots. If he improves among post-results voters by just a few percentage points, he’s in the bronzilocks zone. There’s a range of possible outcomes here, and we should assume he doesn’t make it. But the over is a pretty good wager.

Next year is in the bag.

Miller: What our readers may not know is that we spend a lot of time discussing some of these questions outside of the blog. This is one where we keep adjusting our thought processes, and it’s of little surprise that our opinions are moving closer to each other’s. I’m still far less bullish on Edgar in 2018 than you are. On the other hand, to still have almost 77% of the vote with more than 45% of precincts reporting gives the Edgar fan a lot of hope. But the ballots we’ve seen thus far are more likely to be pro-Edgar than the ballots overall. That’s because a year ago Edger was over seven points better before the announcement than after. On average, with no evidence to support what I’m saying, I think early reporters are more likely to think, to be thinkers, to use their brains rather than their guts. Thus, they’re more likely to change their minds. And at the time of this writing, Edgar has only made up 24 of the 73 votes he needs to make up.

To your point, I’d take the wager on 2018 in a heartbeat. As for 2019, we agree. Edgar is going to make it!

Johan Santana, Daily NewsJohan is one and done, right? Anyone else of note falling off this year?

Miller: Johan Santana won 139 games in the majors. That’s all many voters need to know. And that’s where many voters stop researching. Some who do deeper research realize how great Santana was. But at the same time, reasonable voters can conclude that there are more than a dozen superior candidates. So yeah, he’s going to fall off the ballot. No, he doesn’t deserve to. But I can’t say I’m surprised.

I’d put Santana in the Hall, while at the same time acknowledging that he’d be in the bottom third of Hall pitchers. What’s funny – not in a good way – is that on the dais in Cooperstown this summer will be two inferior pitchers, Trevor Hoffman and Jack Morris. At the same time, there are two better ones lingering on the ballot, Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina.

I’m going to say that Andruw stays on, as does everyone else who matters.

Eric: The problem for Johan is that he won’t be bach. I’ll be here all night, ladies and gentlemen.

Mike Mussina, magazineWill Mussina jump from 57.6% last year to over 65% this year?

Eric: Last year, Moose lost 7.2% from the day of the announcement to the final tally. The year before he lost, wait for it, 7.2%. In 2105 it was 11%. Let’s say he’ll drop 7.5% this year. He’d need to be at 72.5% on the day the results are shared. Mussina is currently at 70.2%. So he could achieve 65% if his support picks up just a little bit between now and election day. We  know the contents of 230 or so ballots. Like you, I get the sense that ballots become more eccentric as the reveals roll along, but that’s probably just something in my head. So Mussina doesn’t have much margin for error. I’d put my money on 62–64% with a puncher’s chance at 65%.

Miller: So what you’re saying is that the over/under is just about right. Since we’re making predictions, I’ll take the over on your range. Mussina will top 64%. And I think he’ll top 65% too, though I’d bet the under on two-thirds. Yes, I’m suggesting he’s going to do a fair bit better among private voters than last year. What’s more important than this year is that he looks more and more likely to make it via the BBWAA vote before his 10 years expire. We know the BBWAA struggles with pitchers. Fergie Jenkins, an entirely comparable arm, took three tries. Robin Roberts, another excellent comp, needed four ballots. And a Bert Blyleven took 14 in his well-documented journey to Cooperstown. The crowded ballot has made it hard on Mussina. Even so, I think he has a shot next year and should his speech together by 2020 at the latest.

Bonds ClemensAny progress for Bonds and Clemens?

Miller: It certainly doesn’t seem like they’re going to make any real progress. Unless something magically changes, or unless there’s a change of mood when Bonds and Clemens enter their tenth season just because the punishment has gone on long enough, I don’t think they’re going to get in through the BBWAA. To some, the tide began to turn last year. A number of writers were fed up by the election of Bud Selig, and for reasons I don’t grasp, they decided that if the mistake of electing Bud Selig was made, they would then vote for Bonds and Clemens. I think Selig gave them a chance to correct themselves without admitting they were wrong.

Holdouts now, I fear, are mainly the true believers, guys who have decided that Bonds and Clemens cheated – cheated the fans, cheated the game, cheated the record books, cheated, cheated, cheated. They’re folks who have decided what’s moral, and they will never, ever be persuaded of anything else. But how many of these true believers do we have?

Through 197 ballots, I examined the ballots, and there were 66 that included neither Bonds nor Clemens. Of those 66, there were 22 I could easily read about to determine if the voters were true believers.

True Believers (14): Mel Antonen, Murray Chass, John Delcos, Jay Dunn, John Erardi, Scot Gregor, Bill Livingston, Thom Loverro, Randy Miller, Rick Morrissey, Bob Sherwin, Steve Simmons, Jim Street, Rick Telander

I can’t tell, but it seems they wouldn’t vote for Bonds and Clemens (6): Kirby Arnold, Amalie Benjamin, Rob Biertempfel, Joe Haalenson, Terence Moore, Arnie Stapleton

Thinkers (2): Dave Albee, Ian Harrison

The results tell us that between 64% and 91% of current “no” voters will never change their minds. If it’s on the high side, the two have no prayer. If it’s on the low side, they could make it. However, I believe those who share their ballots are more likely to be thinkers, on average, than those who don’t. It’s also clear that those who share their ballots are more likely to vote for B&C than those who don’t. Eric, I don’t think they’re going to make it. I can’t envision the time when they get elected. Ever. (Not saying I don’t think they ever will get elected, just that I can’t envision that time now).

Eric: B&C made it past the half-way point last year from whose bourn just two travelers have returned without an eventual plaque (Gil Hodges and Lee Smith who gets his shot in the VC in a couple years). Now, Bonds and the Rocket’s voting progress has defied all historical precedent already in its Balkanization of the electorate, and their march toward glory has proven agonizingly halting. I’m not entirely convinced that they are unelectable by the BBWAA. As the ballot clears a little and they approach year 10, maybe they catch a late nose-holding trend and eek out their baseball apotheosis. I see that as improbable but not impossible. But then, maybe the BBWAA don’t want to be the ones left holding that bag and want to pass if off to the Vets. Who knows what happens to this duo there. If Gossage or Dawson are on the committee, they’ll have serious obstacles. But maybe by that point Bagwell, Biggio, Piazza, Pedro, and others who played against them will sit on the VC and take a kinder view than the crotchety old timers. Hard to know. Eventually the stats will win out. It’s just a question of when.

Larry Walker, magazineBased on his work this year, how much progress can Walker make next year and in his tenth?

Eric: Let’s just get this out of the way. Walker’s rise this year is really fascinating and downright impressive. As we’ve noted previously, Walker’s taking something like the Alan Trammell path of get a big surge at the end of your BBWAA tenure, break through 40%, and get traction with the VC. Or perhaps he’s on something like the Tim Raines path of a late surge in years 8–10 leading to induction. And we don’t need to downplay expectations for him between now and the final tallies. Last year he lost just a point and a half between pre-results ballots and the final results. The year before that he gained about the same. In 2015, he gained three and a half points. He gained three points in 2015. So much of Walker’s support has been hidden from our view over the past few years. At 39% this morning, he’s got a shot to hit 40%. The question is whether the electorate will herd around him. With Vlad Guerrero off the slate, and the other non-Bonds outfielders posing no threat to him, he’ll have clear sailing the next two years to rack up votes. If he can crank it up near 60% in year ten, he’s got a damned good chance of getting in by the VC. I find it pretty unlikely, however, that he’s going to pick up 35 points in two years to gain admittance by the BBWAA.

Miller: I’m with you that Walker’s unlikely to get in through the BBWAA. Highly unlikely. However, we disagree a little on the likely VC outcomes. You and many others argue by analogy that the VC will elect those who have done well in the BBWAA vote because they always have. Such an argument only holds water to me is if future iterations of the VC are comparable to past versions. While both have had players take most of the positions on the committee, and while player thinking has not evolved much, I do think it’s possible the understanding of the non-players on future committees will have evolved quite a bit. If that’s the case, we could see things like we almost saw this year with Ted Simmons. Or maybe I’m wrong. We’re talking about just sixteen people. Predicting the actions of such a small group whose future composition is unknown to us is about as futile an exercise as there is.

One other thing on Walker. The anti-Coors crowd may be buoyed next season by the introduction of Todd Helton to the ballot. When writers see another product of Coors, their suspicions that Walker’s numbers were inflated by his home park will be confirmed. Little will most of them know that Helton is a worthy Hall of Famer too.

Jamie Moyer, magazineA year ago the great Tim Wakefield got a vote. Any thoughts on whether or not we’ll see similar votes this year from equally unqualified players?

Miller: I don’t know. I want to say that I don’t care. I used to not care, but I do today. Unlike some people, I don’t consider a vote for Chipper Jones a wasted one because he’s going to wind up well over 90%. I don’t consider a vote for Barry Bonds a wasted one since he has so little chance of being elected by the BBWAA. And I don’t consider a vote for Johan Santana to be a wasted one even if he finds up well short of the 5% needed to appear on another ballot. If you truly believe a player deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown, there’s no wasted vote. There are dumb votes, for sure, but not wasted ones if you think the guy is deserving. However, a vote this year for Livan Hernandez or Kerry Wood, for example, just because you thought they were good guys, is unconscionable. There are lots of deserving candidates, and if you clog your ballot with someone even you don’t think is deserving, you should be ashamed.

Yes, I was happy last year when my favorite, Tim Wakefield, got a vote. I shouldn’t have been. And I never, ever would have voted for him. Well, not never. Had he been on a ballot with nine or fewer deserving candidates, I don’t know that I could help myself.

Eric: Omar Vizquel has thus far received 32% of the vote, so the question has already been answered in the affirmative. Two gentleman have voted  for Methuselah Moyer due to the sheer amazingness of him. Those electors would be Bob Sherwin of Golfers West (no joke, well, actually it is a joke) and David Wilhelm of the Belleville News-Democrat (Illinois). But I can’t fathom anyone voting for Herandez, Wood, Chris Carpenter, or Carlos Lee. By the way, I felt that way about Hideki Matsui, yet the unfathomable happened, and Dan Graziano of ESPN punched Matsui’s name. Well, since he won’t vote for steroids users, he has an open spot on his ballot, and who when he wrote this might have neglected to actually ask some colleagues about ,

I assume that when Ichiro comes up, we’re going to consider the combination of his Japanese baseball accomplishments and those from MLB, and so I felt that should apply here.

Technically speaking, nothing in the rules prohibits the consideration of Japanese League stats, because nowhere in the rules is Major League Baseball or even American baseball specified. Except, of course, in the name of the organization itself, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I think this might be one of those spirit rather than the words things. But Speaking of the former Yankee, all due congrats to Godzilla who just made the Japanese Hall this year. Back on topic, the thing about these courtesy votes is the unpredictable nature of them. David Eckstein got a couple in 2016, and so did Mike Sweeney, Jason Kendall, and Garret Anderson. No one would consider these guys worth voting for unless their competition was you and me. Darin Erstad, Jacque Jones, J.T. Snow, Armando Benitez. Hey, the one good bit of news? With the ballot so stuffed and more and more writers willing to max out their votes, we get fewer of these silly votes.

Then again, on a ballot where Mussina, Schilling, Martinez, and Walker struggle to get traction, in many ways the entire thing is one big silly vote.

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #210-234

Whoa! What a final day! Thank you to all of you who have joined me for this ballot-grading journey these last nine weeks. As much stress as it causes me to read the ridiculous logic some use, it remains fun. And if you like it, all the better!

Please come back for our predictions post (later today), our reaction post (Friday), and our 2018 Hall of Miller and Eric election (the next three Mondays).

We have a pretty busy schedule at the HoME in the coming months. Eric will continue his excellent Negro Leagues series. I’ll finally get around to a detailed explanation about how I evaluate players, and, at the request of a read or three, we’re going to through some pretty extensive lists of our position-by-position rankings.

I’m also going to post all ballot grades and investigate some other trends in Hall voting in the coming weeks and months.

As always, thank you for reading.

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198, 199-209

The Ballots

Bill Center: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker start him at 50.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And he drops to 40 with Vizquel.
  • The three open spaces make 10.
  • And no explanation means he finishes at 5.

Jerry Crasnick: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • His strategy of Kent over Walker makes sense. And I suppose it does with Kent over Sheffield too. Thoughtful.
  • However, he says that Kent isn’t a popular choice among people who specialize in the metrics. Well, I don’t specialize or anything, but Kent makes perfect sense to me. Right on the borderline.

Mike Downey: 5

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Thome get him to 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spaces mean he falls to 10.
  • No explanation that I could find. So he falls to 5. I suspect it would have been worse if he tried to explain himself.

Martin Fennelly: 65

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He votes for Tampa guy Sheffield but neither Bonds nor Clemens. That costs him 10, dropping him to 70. So, so, so many homers. It’s quite distasteful.
  • No explanation, so he falls to 65.

David Ginsburg: -20

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, and Thome make 40.
  • The six remaining spaces means he falls to -20.
  • He dropped Manny for some reason.
  • There’s no way I’m listening to 36 minutes of radio for this one. Sorry.

Pedro Gomez: -35

  • Chipper, Mussina, and Thome make 30.
  • No change with Hoffman and McGriff.
  • Vizquel drops him to 20.
  • And the four open spaces make -20.
  • He explains his McGriff vote in a way I cannot understand at all. “McGriff would have been an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if only he’d been born 30 or 40 years earlier. There are 23 first basemen in the Hall of Fame, but only seven played their careers after 1950. Of those seven, four hit more home runs than McGriff’s 493, and of those four, McGriff was within 28 of three of them. Only Harmon Killebrew’s 573 home runs were distant from McGriff’s total, which was more than that of Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda and Jeff Bagwell.” Can you?
  • “McGriff hit 31 or more home runs in seven consecutive seasons. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times. He was the catalyst of the Braves’ lone World Series title in 1995. His biggest problem was playing during the height of the steroid era, in which his stellar numbers were dwarfed by the cartoonish numbers of the 1990s, when players were reaching 50, 60 and even 70 home runs in a season.” Two huge problems here.
    • We don’t’ know who used and who didn’t. Down to -30.
    • He uses the ridiculous standard that is top-10 MVP finishes. McGriff finished fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth twice. Per BBREF, he ranks 170th in career MVP voting shares. He trails Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry and Greg Luzinski, among other greats. I don’t know if Gomez is being intellectually dishonest here or just intellectually vacuous. Down to -35.

Dan Graziano: 25

  • Vlad, Chiper, Kent, Edgar, and Mussina get to 50.
  • Hoffman, McGriff, and Wagner keep him there.
  • Hideki Matsui!!! He drops to 40.
  • The open space drops him to 30.
  • He finds “appeal” in Matsui’s Japanese ball contribution. Yes, I believe Matsui hit 507 homers between Japan and the United States. Does he know that Andruw Jones hit 484? And he played pretty good defense too. I suspect not. Ridiculous. Down to 25.

Richard Griffin: 30

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Thome, and Walker make 70.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 60.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 50.
  • He writes, “There are analytics in vogue that can be manipulated to compare the careers of those already enshrined to those who would like to join them…” This is either disingenuous or it represents an incredibly poor understanding of the analytics community. Whether as a vocation or avocation, the people who do this stuff are really trying to get things right, not manipulate. Down 10 to 40.
  • “Ironically, the segment of the community that seems most tolerant of difference of opinion has become the writers who actually vote. The general public seems to have devolved into self-righteous and indignant railing against those who don’t meet their carefully selected standards.” I wish I could disagree with him here.
  • His PED position is one I can very much get behind. Before PEDs were banned, he holds nothing against users or suspected users.
  • He is basically against enshrining relievers, or so he says. In the very next sentence, he says that a player who is one of the best in his role over the course of his career is an exception. No, it’s not! That’s precisely what it should take for any player to earn your vote. Down 5 to 35.
  • He lumps in relievers and designated hitters. Yuck. But he votes for Edgar for the first time. Okay.
  • “I’m a sucker for great shortstops, great defence, great athletes and players who show imagination in their play.” Um, yeah. At least you admit it.
  • ‘Shortstops are under-represented at Cooperstown…” That’s just wrong, unless he’s talking about 19th century shortstops, which he isn’t. Down 5 to 30.
  • I love his strong Larry Walker stand, suggesting it’s ignorant to hold Coors against him.

Paul Gutierrez: 5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, and Thome total 50.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • And the three open spots make it 10.
  • He seems impressed by Vizquel’s use of a cardboard glove, fielding percentage, and hits. Awful. Down 5 to 5.

Joe Henderson: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome get him to 70.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • And the open spot means he falls to 60.
  • He dropped Manny and added Mussina. Is it possible he doesn’t know he can have both?
  • No explanation, so he ends at 55.

Steve Henson: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, and Thome make 70.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • And Vizquel brings him down to 60.
  • He dropped Sosa this year, presumably for Vizquel.
  • His is one of the stronger voices I’ve heard saying we must vote for PED guys, that we already have, and that the era has to be represented properly.
  • He says he dropped Sosa for the three new guys. Yeah, right.
  • He’s most rooting for Mussina, McGriff, and Vizquel.

Bruce Jenkins: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Sosa, and Thome start him with 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • He dropped Schilling. For Vizquel? He says it’s a pleasure voting for Vizquel.
  • Like all San Francisco Chronicle writers, he has a paragraph to explain. He doesn’t. Down to 65.

Ann Killion: -20

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 40.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops her to 30.
  • And the four open spots bring the sub-total to -10.
  • She says the Hall rules instruct her to consider character. Yes, they do. They don’t require you to vote on it though, which you suggest they do. Down to -15.
  • And she writes this: “As far as the Hall of Fame being a museum, that’s not accurate. There’s also a museum in Cooperstown where all the players are represented.” Is she trying to separate the plaque room from the rest of the Hall? That’s lunacy. Down to -20.

George A. King III: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Manny, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome start him at 90.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Before this ballot, I’d have argued there’s no such thing as a pro-steroid position. Now I’m not so sure. There’s no explanation, so he loses 5 points and finishes with what I think is the worst 85-point ballot of the year. Still, it’s a ballot I support. Kind of.

Ron Kroichick: -5

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • The three open spaces make 10.
  • I really have to check out Vizquel voters. I think a huge number covered him day-to-day, so they trust his flashiness and ignore his lack of greatness. By the way, Kroichick is a San Francisco writer, and he voted for Kent. It’s important to check this out.
  • He says defense matters. And it makes Vizquel an easy choice. Yeah, if nothing but defense matters. Down to 5.
  • He says defense strengthens the case for Vlad. It really doesn’t. Sure, he had a great arm, but he had mediocre range.
  • He also says it strengthens the case for Jones. And he means Chipper! Depending on who you consult, Chipper was either a bad or an extremely bad defender. Down to 0.
  • And if you like defense, where’s the vote for Andruw or Rolen, two great defenders who could also hit. Down to -5. Awful.

Tim Kurkjian: 90

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He says 19 guys deserve serious consideration. I wish he explained a little more, but I like that he’d like a larger ballot and he believes 19 of these guys deserve consideration.

Gabe Lacques: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • He added Mussina and dropped Sheffield this year.
  • And he kind of explains! He says it was partly strategic and partly based on the very impressive ERA+ compared to the less-than-impressive ERA.
  • He says Edgar’s homers and hits don’t move the needle as much as Hoffman’s saves – for a specialist. Sorry Gabe, 650 PA and 65 IP ain’t remotely similar. Still, he mentions Edgar’s relatively small number of PA, just 8,674. While that is tied for 183rd in history, the tie is with Johnny Bench. This is awkward justification, not meaningful explanation. Down 5 to 85.

Eric Nuñez; 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. Thank you! That’s 100.
  • I believe he didn’t support Manny because of a PED suspension, but I’m trying to translate Spanish pretty quickly (lots of ballots), and my Spanish would probably earn a grade of 15ish. Ooh! And now I see that Twitter has a little translation button. And I’m kinda right. I’m not going to ding a guy who earned 100 when he answers only one question on Twitter.

Jorge Ortiz: -35

  • Vlad, Chipper, Kent, and Mussina get him to 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • The four open spaces drop him to -10.
  • “Hoffman was the second-best closer of his generation and, as much as I hate the save stat, compiling 601 of them is a rare feat.” Then why are you using the stat as 50% of your explanation for voting for the guy? Down to -15.
  • Vizquel was a “magician” Hits and steals. Great. I’ve heard worse reasons.
  • In a paragraph immediately following his poor Vizquel explanation, he calls Thome a “one-dimensional player who was not even the most consequential figure on those great Indians teams”. That’s Vizquel! Vizquel wasn’t one of the five most consequential players on those teams! You understand the argument, but you completely ignore it for your guy. Down 10 points for this ridiculousness to -25.
  • And he calls Sandy Alomar a bigger factor than Thome??!?! Alomar had 13.7 career WAR. Thome had 72.9 and 47.9 for just the Indians. He topped Alomar’s career WAR from 1994-1996, from 1995-1997, from 1996-1998, from 1999-2001, and from 2000-2002. Again, that’s just for the Indians. How can he write such nonsense? Down 5 more to -30.
  • It sticks out for him that Thome had only one top-5 MVP finish. Of course, he finished in the top-7 four times. And he received votes nine times. Only once ever did anyone ever believe that Omar Vizquel deserving of any MVP consideration. C’mon man! Down to -35.

Joel Sherman: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Schilling, and Thome start him with 80.
  • That’s where it ends, so he drops to 60.
  • This may be the best 8-man ballot of the year.
  • No explanation, so he drops to 55.

Susan Slusser: 85

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Thome, and Walker. That’s 90.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • She dropped Schilling for Walker this year. But she says it was to add Rolen. I accept decision while rejecting the explanation. And there’s no other explanation offered for anything. Down to 85.

Joe Smith: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, and Thome bring this first-time voter to 80.
  • Hoffman and McGriff keep him there.
  • How is a first-time voter writing only hockey these days?
  • Anyway, no explanation means he falls to 75.

Barry Stanton: -10

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Thome make 40.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 30.
  • And the four opens make -10.
  • His hardest choice was Edgar over McGriff. At least he got it right. Of course, he could have taken both.

Marc Topkin: 75

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Sheffield, and Thome get him to 70.
  • No change with the relievers or McGriff.
  • He complains a bit about ballot size limits, though not enough to give him points.
  • He complains a tiny bit, I think, about Joe Morgan. Again, it’s not enough for points.
  • He complains about social media venom, though he say he’s fine with scrutiny. All told, these three points get him 5, moving to 75.
  • He won’t vote for someone who failed a PED test. Fine by me.
  • He says he’s not smart enough to know what percentage of a player’s numbers were PED-related. Damn right! Also, thank you.
  • He doesn’t vote for Edgar, calling him a “part-time” player. The quotation marks are his. He understands that his position is in the minority. The quotation marks suggest to me that he understands. And I may be giving him too much credit here. I think he’s continuing to think about it.
  • His pro-closer position is well-positioned in his post, but it leaves a lot to be desired. He says that closers are tasked with getting the final or toughest outs. The Hoffman and Wagner variety pretty much only got the final outs, not really the toughest ones. But I digress. He says a DH could go days without a meaningful at-bat. Sure, I guess. But how many saves does a closer get? Maybe 40? That’s only one in four games. At this point, I think he’s trying to justify an untenable position rather than explain it. Down 5 points to 70.
  • I’m getting sick of the “tough AL East” explanation when it comes to Mussina. I haven’t researched it since I very much support Mussina’s case. But I should. Did AL East teams during Mussina’s run score more runs than teams in other divisions? I don’t know. And I suppose almost none of the writers who talk about the division as they do don’t either.
  • He doesn’t go after Schilling for character. Thank you. But he says Mussina is clearly better. Really? I have no idea at all how someone can come to that conclusion. To me, they’re near historical doppelgangers. He doesn’t explain at all how Mussina is clearly better. Down to 65.
  • To me, he admits his homerism with votes for Sheffield and McGriff – even writing about it to a degree. He admits that the oft-cited “doing it the right way” line about McGriff is code for not using PEDs. Well done.
  • There’s some really impressive thinking in this post. I’m going to guess that he didn’t have the column inches to explain the things I kicked him for. Up 5 to 75.

David Wilhelm: 25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome make 50.
  • No change with the relievers or McGriff.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 40.
  • Drop 10 more to 30 with Moyer.
  • This has to win the award for worst 10-man ballot. Not surprised that a writer who seems to cover Saint Louis University more closely than baseball doesn’t share reasoning. Oh, also, there can be no reasoning. Down to 25.

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Eric Nuñez; 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Jerry Crasnick: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Tim Kurkjian: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
Garry D. Howard: 85
George A. King III: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Gabe Lacques: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Susan Slusser: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Joe Smith: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Marc Topkin: 75
Kirk Wessler: 70
Anonymous #3: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Martin Fennelly: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
Bruce Jenkins: 65
David Lennon: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Steve Henson: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Mark Faller: 55
John Harper: 55
Joe Henderson: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Joel Sherman: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Richard Griffin: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Andrew Call: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Dan Graziano: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
David Wilhelm: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Bill Center: 5
Mike Downey: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Paul Gutierrez: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Ron Kroichick: -5
Scott Gregor: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Barry Stanton: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
David Ginsburg: -20
Ann Killion: -20
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Pedro Gomez: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jorge Ortiz: -35
Rob Rains
: -40
Paul Daugherty: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #199-209

Yes, there are only 208 ballots in the Tracker as I post this, but I’m running with Bob Nightengale’s. This is my last post before tomorrow’s announcement. I’ll return at some point with all of the ballots that eventually become public in one place.

Hope you enjoyed this series! And let’s keep our fingers crossed for Edgar!

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197, 198

The Ballots

Marcos Breton: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, and Thome total 80.
  • That’s where he stays with Hoffman.
  • And Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • His Schilling stance is troubling to me, and I am disgusted by many of the things Schilling says. “The rules say we can take “character” into account. I find Curt Schilling to be a hateful person who uses is fame and media platforms to spread the kind of hate dividing our country. It’s taken me a few years to come to this conclusion, but there it is. I’ll never vote for him.” I have to dock him 5 points, which moves him to 65.
  • There’s very little Twitter interaction. There’s no Vizquel explanation. He doesn’t explain why Vlad is an add and Sosa a drop. I already dinged him for one of his drops though.

Pete Caldera: 55

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Manny, Schilling, Sheffield, and Thome start him with 80.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • The blank space makes it 60.
  • From what he say, Vizquel was “the finest defensive shortstop for the longest time”. Huh? Since this is his 11th ballot, he’s been covering the game for 21 seasons. That means he either grew up on Ozzie Smith or didn’t watch baseball. I assume it’s the latter. That would explain a thing or two. Down 5 to 55.
  • He calls Manny Ramirez “feared”. I hate that, but Manny did top 200 IBB. No change.
  • He wants to keep talking about Scott Rolen. You know, a vote in that direction would have been nice. Let’s hope it doesn’t matter.

Paul Daugherty: -45

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome. That’s 30 for the guy.
  • The seven open spaces mean he falls to -40.
  • He dropped Sheffield this year. No reasoning provided.
  • No reasoning at all, so he’s down to -45.

Jeffrey Flanagan: 65

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, Manny, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The open space drops him to 70.
  • He compares closers to kickers. Ick. He says nothing else of substance, so he falls 5 to 65.

Rob Giles: -25

  • Vlad, Chipper, Thome, and Walker. Wow, that’s only 40.
  • The six blanks mean he falls to -20.
  • So this isn’t quite as disgusting as Livingston’s Cleveland-only ballot. But it’s in the neighborhood. He votes for three guys who are going to wind up over 90% and a player from Canada for a guy on Twitter who describes himself on Twitter as “Chief of Bureau for The Associated Press in Canada. Baseball Hall of Fame voter. Canadian.”
  • And since he can’t explain his awful ballot, there’s no explanation. He falls to -25.

Chris Haft: 60

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Kent, Edgar, Mussina, and Thome start him at 80.
  • Hoffman keeps him there.
  • Vizquel drops him to 70.
  • Why in the world do people keep voting for Vizquel? Haft writes that it’s because he covered Omar while both were in San Francisco. I’d like to do little study of Vizquel’s public votes. I think there are a huge number of supporters of his who covered him. It’s the eye test. Don’t trust the eye test! Down 5 to 65.
  • No explanation of any real value, so he falls to 60.

Paul Hagen: 70

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker make 80.
  • The two relievers keep him there.
  • On one hand, he didn’t vote for Vizquel. On the other, he hopes that Omar gets the 5% he needs to stay on the ballot. Imagine, just imagine, working for MLB.com and not having a clue of the existence of the Tracker. Imagine working at MLB.com and never discussing the Hall ballot with a colleague. I want to take away 3,000 points. It’ll just be 10. Down to 70.
  • Nobody knows for sure who used and who didn’t use PEDs. True. He gets 5 points back to return to 75.
  • But his explanations are insufficient. Down again to 70.

Carrie Muskat: -10

  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, and Thome start her at 50.
  • Vizquel means a drop to 40.
  • The four open spots bring this effort down to 0.
  • She calls Vizquel an easy selection because she never wanted to miss him playing shortstop, caring nothing about his overall value, apparently. Down to -5.
  • She actually spent 23 of her 95-word explanation talking about Kerry Wood. I’m not kidding. Down to -10.

Bob Nightengale: 75

  • This ballot was up in the Tracker for a little while but then disappeared. I’m sure Ryan has a good reason not to include it in the Tracker, but I trust that Nightengale’s USA Today piece represents his actual opinion. I just looked up the link.
  • Bonds, Clemens, Vlad, Chipper, Mussina, Sheffield, Sosa, and Thome start him at 80.
  • No change with Hoffman or McGriff.
  • He’s not a fan of the moralizing. His line is a positive test or suspension during the player’s career. Let’s give him 5 more to 85.
  • He implies that McGriff didn’t use. That’s down 10 to 75.
  • Overall, I wish he explained more than just his PED stance, but at least there’s something.

Rob Rains: -40

  • Vlad, Chipper, and Thome make 30.
  • Hoffman holds him at 30.
  • Those six open spots drop him to -30.
  • He seems either unable or unwilling to answer some direct questions on Twitter.
  • He’s one of those guys who won’t vote for great players on the first ballot if they’re not great enough. Down 5 to -35.
  • He justifies not voting for Edgar because he didn’t see him play enough. Wow! Down 5 more , which makes -40.

John Rowe: -15

  • Vlad, Chipper, Edgar, and Schilling means he gets to 40.
  • No change with Hoffman.
  • The five blanks take him to -10.
  • He calls this his most difficult ballot ever. Why???
  • He says Hoffman’s biggest “crime” is not being Mariano. I’d say it was pitching fewer than 1100 excellent, but not other-worldly, innings.
  • He compares Edgar Martinez to a placekicker. Ridiculous, but at least he voted for him.
  • He doesn’t want Schilling to be penalized for his political views.
  • He calls Bonds and Clemens rule breakers. They weren’t, so he loses 5 to -15.

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
Garry D. Howard: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Bob Nightengale: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Paul Hagen: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Kirk Wessler: 70
Anonymous #3: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Marcos Breton: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Jeffrey Flanagan: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
David Lennon: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Chris Haft: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Pete Caldera: 55
Mark Faller: 55
John Harper: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Andrew Call: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Scott Gregor: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Carrie Muskat: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
David Borges: -15
John Rowe: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
Rob Giles: -25
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Rob Rains: -40
Paul Daugherty: -45
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

Grading the BBWAA Ballots, #198

A year ago, Ryan had collected 249 ballots in the Tracker before the election. That would mean an incredibly busy last few days, which is entirely possible based on how things went a year ago. ESPN, MLB.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News all revealed in the few days before last year’s announcement. Largely, those outlets remain unrevealed as of this morning. So yeah, it’s about to get busy.

Today, we have just one ballot, a ballot that deserves to stand alone.

Without further ado, Ken Davidoff.

Rating system and 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10, 11-14, 15, 16-17, 18-25, 26-32, 33, 34-39, 40-46, 47-51, 52-54, 55-66, 67-81, 82-91, 92-100, 101-105, 106-118, 119-136, 137-146, 147-155, 156-163, 164-168, 169, 170-175, 176-179, 180-182, 183, 184-185, 186-195, 196-197

The Ballot

Ken Davidoff: 100

  • Bonds, Clemens, Andruw, Chipper, Edgar, Mussina, Rolen, Schilling, Thome, and Walker. There you have it, folks. It’s the first BBWAA ballot that exactly matches mine (and Eric’s). Congrats Ken! Start at 100!
  • He begins by taking apart Joe Morgan’s letter, so should he need it, he has a few points in the bag.
  • Davidoff wrote it better than I did. “For the voters to understand that their mission is not to police player-on-player crimes, but rather to look after the consumer, who has never been impacted one iota by illegal PED usage, yet sure as heck has by crimes personified by Anson, Cobb, Selig and other inductees.”
  • The audacity of Davidoff to call the man who hit the most home runs in MLB history the true home run king. The horror! Well done, Ken.
  • Every vote for Andruw at this point is an important one. He says the Jones “eye test” is backed by analytics. Yup.
  • He cites the Tracker when talking about Edgar. Thanks again!
  • The Moneyball A’s succeeded by focusing on what players could do rather than what they couldn’t. “The key with Mussina is not to focus on what he wasn’t as a pitcher (the Yankees’ “ace” or a 300-win pitcher) and look at what he was (durable, an outstanding 3.58 strikeouts-to-walks ratio). He should be mentioned in the same breath as Glavine and Smoltz.” Hey Ken, if you even need a ghostwriter, at least I can follow your logic.
  • He calls this freshman class “deceptively strong.” Yes!
  • He talks about Schilling wanting him and other journalists murdered. I don’t believe Schilling wants that at all. He’s already earned the five points I’m taking away here. No change overall.
  • Larry Walker isn’t a Coors Field creation. Correct.
  • He withdrew support for Manny this year since Manny is, in his estimation, the 11th best player on the ballot. That makes sense. He also thinks Vlad, Sheffield, and Sosa belong in the Hall. No objections here.
  • He attacks Omar’s 82 OPS+, as he should.
  • He prefers Wagner to Hoffman, yet he doesn’t believe either is deserving. I’ll take Hoffman and his extra 186 innings, but I suspect we agree that it’s incredibly close.
  • He wants one or two more All-Star seasons out of Santana and Kent. Again, I support them both, yet I admit they’re among the last in the door.
  • Phenomenal ballot!

The Scores

Peter Barzilai: 100
Ken Davidoff: 100
Ryan Fagan: 100
Mark Feinsand: 100
Mark Hale: 100
Sam Mellinger: 100
Mark Newman: 100
Joe Posnanski: 100
Scott Priestle: 100
C. Trent Rosecrans: 100
Michael Silverman: 100
Mike Bass: 95
Erik Boland: 95
Mark Bradley: 95
Josh Dubow: 95
Jeff Fletcher: 95
Janie McCauley: 95
Phil Miller: 95
J.P. Morosi: 95
Steve Politi: 95
TR Sullivan: 95
Dom Amore: 90
Anthony Andro: 90
Mike Berardino: 90
Tim Booth: 90
Ryan Divish: 90
Derrick Goold: 90
Patrick Graham: 90
Evan Grant: 90
Mike Harrington: 90
Mike Imrem: 90
Bob Sanvarese: 90
Mike Vaccaro: 90
Anonymous #4: 85
Peter Abraham: 85
David Ammenheuser: 85
Chris Bahr: 85
Peter Botte: 85
Dave Campbell: 85
Pat Caputo: 85
Marc Carig: 85
Jay Cohen: 85
Brian Costello: 85
Tim Cowlishaw: 85
Tom D’Angelo: 85
Chris De Luca: 85
Tom Dienhart: 85
Dan Hayes: 85
Bob Herzog: 85
Garry D. Howard: 85
Bob Klapisch: 85
Roch Kubatko: 85
Rob Maaddi: 85
David Maril: 85
Anthony McCarron: 85
Joe McDonald: 85
Nick Pietruszkiewicz: 85
Rick Plumlee: 85
Brendan Prunty: 85
Luis Rangel: 85
Tim Reynolds: 85
John Romano: 85
Ken Rosenthal: 85
Jayson Stark: 85
Bernie Wilson: 85
Jack Curry: 80
Ian Harrison: 80
Lynn Henning: 80
Scott Lauber: 80
Ian O’Connor: 80
Steve Popper: 80
Jeff Wilson: 80
Amalie Benjamin: 75
Steve Buckley: 75
Larry Brooks: 75
Garry Brown: 75
Joe Haakenson: 75
Kevin Kernan: 75
Joseph Liao: 75
Jack Magruder: 75
Sean McAdam: 75
Roger Mooney: 75
Aurelio Moreno: 75
Mike Puma: 75
Tracy Ringolsby: 75
Mark Saxson: 75
Mike Shalin: 75
Barry Bloom: 70
Kevin Cooney: 70
Richard Justice: 70
Tim Kawakami: 70
Mike Nadel: 70
Katsushi Nagao: 70
Carl Steward: 70
Kirk Wessler: 70
Anonymous #3: 65
Kirby Arnold: 65
Filip Bondy: 65
Roberto Colon: 65
Greg Cote: 65
Shi Davidi: 65
Peter Gammons: 65
David Lennon: 65
John McGrath: 65
Bruce Miles: 65
Kevin Modesti: 65
Ross Newhan: 65
John Perrotto: 65
Dave Reynolds: 65
Anthony Rieber: 65
Adam Rubin: 65
Henry Schulman: 65
John Shea: 65
Claire Smith: 65
Willie Smith: 65
Paul White: 65
George Willis: 65
Nick Cafardo: 60
Barry Rozner: 60
John Tomase: 60
Earl Bloom: 55
Mark Faller: 55
John Harper: 55
Chuck Johnson: 55
Jack McCaffery: 55
Mike Peticca: 55
Jeff Jacobs: 50
Dave Perkins: 50
Anonymous #1: 45
Dave Albee: 45
Jaime Aron: 45
Tony DeMarco: 45
John Eradi: 45
Steven Gietschier: 45
Steve Goldman: 45
Roger Rubin: 45
Arnie Stapleton: 45
Clark Spencer: 40
Don Burke: 35
Jay Greenberg: 35
Bob Hohler: 35
Michael Knisley: 35
Sadiel Lebron: 35
Jeff Peek: 35
Steve Wine: 35
Jay Dunn: 30
Bob Ryan: 30
Rick Telander: 30
Andrew Call: 25
Carter Gaddis: 25
Dan Gelston: 25
Thom Loverro: 25
Steve Simmons: 20
Andrew Baggarly: 15
Jeff Blair: 15
Sam Charchidi: 15
Jon Heyman: 15
Bernie Lincicome: 15
Bob Smizik: 15
Rick Morrissey: 10
Rob Parker: 10
Mel Antonen: 5
Rob Biertempfel: 5
Mike Gonzales: 5
Karen Guregian: 5
Mark Herrmann: 5
Marc Katz: 5
Bill Plunkett: 5
Bill Ballou: 0
Art Davidson: 0
Tony Massarotti: 0
Bob Sherwin: 0
Scott Gregor: -5
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: -5
John Delcos: -10
Dejan Kovacevic: -10
Paul Sullivan: -10
Chris Assenheimer: -15
David Borges: -15
Glenn Schwarz: -15
Terrence Moore: -25
Juan Vené: -25
Anonymous #2: -35
Jimmy Golen: -35
Steve Marcus: -35
Jim Street: -45
Dan Shaughnessy: -55
Murray Chass: -70
Mark Purdy: -75
Bill Livingston: -95

The System

  • You get 10 points for every player you select who I think has a reasonable case for the Hall. Alphabetically that means 10 points for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, or Larry Walker. That’s 16 guys to choose from.
  • You get 0 points for either Trevor Hoffman or Billy Wagner. Frequent readers will be surprised and most sabermetric thinkers will disagree with this stance since the value these pitchers created during their careers is about on par with John Tudor or Burt Hooton. However, as I judge these ballots, I want to give every chance that I could be wrong.
  • That’s why it’s also 0 points for Johnny Damon (I rank him 33rd in CF) or Fred McGriff (40th at 1B). For me, these are easy “no” votes, but I do respect the big Hall voter. And I don’t think you should have to vote for the ten best, just ten deserving. If I do a ton of squinting, I could get Damon in. McGriff, not so much. So…
  • You lose 10 points if you justify your McGriff vote by saying he was clean.
  • You also lose 10 if you vote for McGriff but not Thome, a player pretty much with the exact same case as McGriff, only a lot better.
  • You also lose 10 points for voting for anyone else on the ballot.
  • You lose 10 points for every empty space on your ballot. Even if you’re an anti-steroid voter, you can still fill your ballot with guys on the first list.
  • You lose 10 points for voting for Bonds and not Clemens, or vice versa.
  • You lose 10 points for talking about character, morality, or Joe Morgan (if you do so in a positive way).
  • You lose 10 points for voting for other steroid guys, but not Clemens or Bonds.
  • You lose 5 points for not explaining your ballot.
  • You lose 5 points for each judgment of the morality of specific players.
  • You lose 5 points for mentioning Coors Field as an argument against Larry Walker.
  • You lose 5 points for any comparison between Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith.
  • You lose 5 points for a vote against Edgar Martinez because he was a DH.
  • You lose 5 points for any other case of ridiculous logic.
  • You lose 5 more points if you send in a blank protest ballot.
  • You lose 5 points if you vote for Pete Rose. Just stop it!
  • You gain 5 points for saying the Hall should allow writers to vote for more than ten guys (a stance I don’t agree with) or for saying the Hall should make all ballots public (one I agree with).
  • You max out at 100 points.
  • Your score can dip as low as it dips.
  • I will edit this post as the voting season unfolds and I improve my method.

Miller

Institutional History

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