Willie McCovey Is A 6-Time All-Star I’m amazed at how few times some of the game’s brightest stars made the All-Star team back during the 1960′s. I need to do a little research to see how the All-Stars were chosen … Continue reading →
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Richard Justice of MLB.com talks about the system of which he is a part of, and offers some solutions to fix it: Time to consider changing Hall of Fame voting system
Are the most qualified people voting? After 80 years of doing things one way, is it time to consider another? Those are among the questions the National Baseball Hall of Fame ought to be asking itself.
Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus talks about the Hall of Fame: What Hall of Fame Voters are Doing to the Hall of Fame
The writers struck out looking. They were lobbed a fat pitch over the heart of the plate and they failed to even take a swing at it. Defenders will note, correctly, that it isn’t the ninth inning. But it was the last at-bat of the eighth, and they face an exceedingly difficult challenge in coming back to win this thing.
Baseball Prospectus also had their own Hall of Fame vote, with the results being here: Hall of Fame Voting
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for player enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Each staff member's ballots may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.
It was announced earlier today that Barry Bonds has not been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Nobody was voted into the Hall of Fame, and there are several topics worthy of discussion, but I’m partial to the Bonds one, myself, because the voting results provide a reason to look at Bonds’ career statistics again. Asterisks or no asterisks, Bonds’ numbers are downright impossible, and looking at them is the most fun a person can have at work the most fun a person who doesn’t write from home for FanGraphs can have at work.
Theo Gerome presents us with part 2 in his series of predicting future Hall of Famers: Best Pitchers 27 and Under, and the Hall: A Continuation of Yesterday's Two Ideas
The other day, I looked at Hall of Fame precedent and young hitters. The article is here, but long story short, you can already say with over 60% certainty* that Ryan Zimmerman will be a Hall of Famer (but go check it out for the reasoning).
This isn't about the Hall of Fame, but it is really interesting: You can’t think and hit at the same time: neural correlates of baseball pitch classification
Hitting a baseball is often described as the most difficult thing to do in sports. A key aptitude of a good hitter is the ability to determine which pitch is coming. This rapid decision requires the batter to make a judgment in a fraction of a second based largely on the trajectory and spin of the ball. When does this decision occur relative to the ball’s trajectory and is it possible to identify neural correlates that represent how the decision evolves over a split second?
If you would like to submit something for Sabersphere, please email me at SpencerSchneier22@gmail.com.
Today's BtB Retro is Adam Darowski, being all prophetic and stuff about this happening: The Hall of Fame Ballot is Going to Get Very Crowded (2/7/11)
Last month, before he climbed the ladder from ESPN to SBNation, Rob Neyer wrote an article that really resonated with me about how congested the Hall of Fame ballot is going to become. There are two problems at play that will cause this to happen:
- There is a commentary this week that writes that the New York Mets should at least ask about Giancarlo Stanton. Whether the Marlins will listen or not is another question. Remember that due to their recent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Mets are loaded with quality arms, including Noah Syndergaard. Hopefully Giancarlo sticks around for the long run, because it would be very painful to see him 18 times a year in a Mets jersey.
- Individual spring training tickets for the Marlins will go on sale January 19. Remember that both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will play the Marlins in Jupiter this spring. Read more here.
- If you are wondering which Marlins' prospect is ready to step up right away, look towards a player like A.J. Ramos. Obviously the Marlins will have plenty of youth. But on the 40-man roster, it is a player like Ramos that could step up much sooner than some of the guys that will start the season in Double-A or Single-A. We will see these players later in the season. Ramos pitched well after he was called up in September.
- Expect the Marlins to make a few free agent signings soon. The team vowed to re-invest the net savings from the Yunel Escobar trade, back into 2013 payroll. They will probably sign an inexpensive relief arm or two. In the past, the Fish have done well finding guys that still have a lot to prove as big league relievers.
Around the League
- Pitcher Francisco Liriano's deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates is in limbo after an injury he suffered in late December to his non-pitching right arm. He was injured right after he signed with the Bucs. Read more here.
At Fish Stripes
- At the site this week under the category Marlins News and Rumors, you will find an update on the Giancarlo Stanton situation. As expected, the Marlins are not considering trading Stanton internally. Not yet anyway. Read more here about what the club might be thinking long term.
- Mr. Jong looks at the Miami Marlins and past trades. Obviously the focus is on Giancarlo Stanton. Regardless of what happens, the team cannot afford another Miguel Cabrera-like trade where a few years later, the ball club has nothing to show for it.
Willie McCovey And The 1959 Rookie Of The Year Award Willie McCovey made his major league debut with the Giants in 1959. And it took just 52 games during that year for him to solidify his spot as the National … Continue reading →
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Yesterday, the BBWAA voting results for the Hall of Fame were announced with no one getting[...]
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Happy Birthday Willie McCovey!!! Willie McCovey turns 74 years old today. On of the sport’s greatest sluggers, ‘Stretch’ was a fan favorite during the span of his amazing 22-year career. And in San Francisco, where he spent 19 seasons, McCovey … Continue reading →
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Not the best of results for me on Wednesday, mostly due to an incredible bad beat on William & Mary. The Tribe, five point dogs at Towson, appeared to have this game just about locked up. Leading by a healthy nine points with only two minutes to play, my side managed to turn it over five times in those last 120 seconds. And rather than just lose outright and at least cover, the game naturally went to overtime. Then double OT, at which point W&M got blown out by 13. Losses don’t come much tougher than that, but the only way to deal with it is to just forget and move on.
(539) MASSACHUSETTS VS (540) SAINT LOUIS
Take: (540) SAINT LOUIS
Major clash in styles here, as UMass wants to play as fast as they can and Saint Louis prefers to grind. I don’t think it’s at all likely that the Minutemen will be able to get the Billikens out of their comfort zone, and that’s when things have a tendency to go awry for Massachusetts. They’re what I call a low IQ team as they only know how to play one way and have shown little ability to function at a proficient level when the tempo is not to their liking. The home team here is a good one, and off a really flat performance against Savannah State last game, I’m expecting full focus tonight. Just off the math, this is fairly close. But if and when UMass gets frustrated, the turnovers will follow and I see the Billikens having a good chance to pull away. I’ll go with the Saint Louis side minus the number.
Nobody got into the Hall of Fame. Adam Darowski's Hall of Stats thought 14 people should get in. Lewis Pollis has shown that secret ballots lead to bad voting. Everyone is angry.
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Two years ago, as I was was looking through some Hall of Fame vote trackers, I stumbled upon something curious: the totals from the publicly released ballots didn't match up with the final results. I thought this warranted further investigation, so I crunched some numbers and found that there were indeed some major discrepancies in the voting—specifically, that public voters were more likely to check the boxes for better Cooperstown candidates and less likely to support questionable picks than their more secretive peers.
When I repeated my study following the 2012 Hall of Fame announcement I identified a similar trend. Not only were there major discrepancies in how the two groups of voters judged certain players, but there was a clear relationship between how qualified a candidate was and how differently he was viewed by the two groups.
This year, after the BBWAA announced that it had failed to elect anyone from the most loaded ballot of my lifetime, I sat down with the BBWAA's official list of publicly released ballots (as of Wednesday evening the BBWAA had 102 listed; Repoz' and leokitty's lists have more, but Repoz does not list individual ballots and not all of leokitty's ballots are confirmed as complete) in hopes of finding that something had changed. With so many complex issues on this year's ballot—steroids, the existence of more than 10 reasonable choices, the steady momentum in support we've seen for some longtime candidates—I thought perhaps putting one's name on his or her ballot wouldn't have as big of an impact.
Boy, was I wrong. Regardless of the voters' individual motives for remaining anonymous, as a group those who were willing to put their names on their ballots came to very different conclusions about this year's candidates than those who voted in secret.
Before I get carried away, I should say that the secret ballots did not ultimately change the outcome of the election. Those voters who made their choices public would not have elected anyone either, nor would they have saved any of the 19 candidates who did not reach the five percent threshold to stay on the ballot. But while it may not have mattered in a fatalistic sense, the impact that the option of anonymity has on writers' choices actually got much bigger.
I should also add that my underlying assumption—that secrecy is the causal factor behind the voting discrepancies and not just a symptom of something else—is not unimpeachable. In the past, others have suggested that the two groups just tend to think about the game differently. A retired newspaper editor is less likely to be both attuned to newer statistical methods for evaluating players and eager to publish his ballot online than an active blogger, but that doesn't mean the two characteristics are related. Still, the fact that the BBWAA published these ballots itself hurts the argument that anonymity is merely a function of access.
Now that that's out of the way, here's a look at how the top 20 finishers' (i.e., everyone who got more than seven votes) support varied between public and private voters:
If everyone voted like the open voters, Craig Biggio would have finished just a hair shy of election, with Jeff Bagwell not far behind him. Mike Piazza and Tim Raines would have finished ahead of Jack Morris, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would have placed ahead of Lee Smith, and Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro would have pushed Don Mattingly to last place among those who reached 5 percent.
Weeding out the unexceptional cases, here are the players whose vote discrepancies were statistically significant at the 10-percent level (i.e., they would have a less-than 10-percent chance of occurring through randomness alone):
Some of these discrepancies are mind-blowing. Bagwell, Raines, and Smith all saw their vote shares swing more than 15 percent, with Bonds right on their tail—that's a swing of more than a full vote per seven voters. Clemens and Mattingly hit double digits. All told, 11 different players had vote discrepancies that were significant at the 10-percent level, with a 12th (Edgar Martinez) not too far behind.
Ten percent is admittedly a low standard for statistical significance, but even increasing the rigor of the test we still find meaningful results. Bagwell, Raines, Smith, Bonds, Clemens, Morris, Mattingly, and McGriff's discrepancies all hold as significant at the 5-percent level. Bagwell, Raines, Smith, Bonds, Clemens, and Mattingly's all hang on at the 1-percent level, meaning we can be over 99 percent sure that something else is affecting voters' decisions. Bagwell and Mattingly's differences even hold statistical significance at the 0.1-percent level!
We've established with strong certainty that the BBWAA's judgments of certain players vary based on whether writers are willing to put their names on their picks. So what kinds of candidates are assessed differently? The answer: Anonymous voters judge better players more harshly and worse players more charitably.
The public-private voting discrepancies for the BBWAA's top 20 finishers have a correlation with our own BtBWAA Hall of Fame election results of .85, for an R2 of .73—i.e., almost three-quarters of the difference in a player's vote totals could be explained by how deserving he is of enshrinement. Admittedly that isn't a very fair proxy for Cooperstown worthiness, but how about our own Adam Darowski's ingenious Hall Ratings? The voting discrepancies and the numbers Adam cranked out have a correlation of .70 and an R2 of .48. So yes, even before you account for randomness and different voter demographics and ways of thinking, just under a full half of the effect comes from how worthy (or unworthy) a candidate is for the Hall of Fame.
We've now established two facts about the 2013 BBWAA Hall of Fame vote:
Let me pause for a moment to say that what follows is not a blanket statement that applies to every Hall of Fame voter. At the time of this study were 467 writers who did not allow the BBWAA to release their ballots, and for any individual voter I do not assume to know why he or she did not release his ballot (I should again mention that the BBWAA's list does not seem to be complete), or why he or she voted for whomever he or she voted for, or how responsibly he or she takes his or her duty. This is not targeted at any specific person and I would like to apologize in advance to any BBWAA voter to whom the following statement does not apply.
That being said, there is a third fact staring us in the face that is the logical conclusion of the first two:
Maybe it didn't matter this year, but it very well could in the near future. The very notion that this effect exists offends me, just as I imagine it would for anyone who cares about honoring the game and its history. Few would argue that the 300 men whose plaques adorn the halls of Cooperstown are the exact group who deserve to be immortalized as baseball's greatest legends, but disagreement regarding of who should be a Hall of Famer is a far cry from outright dereliction of duty.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a sacred place to all those who love our national pastime, and induction to Cooperstown is perhaps the greatest individual honor in all of professional sports. Those who willfully take advantage of their anonymity to cast their ballots irresponsibly are desecrating baseball's most hallowed halls. And though the majority of writers may treat their ability to vote for the Hall of Fame as the privilege it is, if the members of the BBWAA do not reform the system to stop the corruption bred by their secrecy then they will all be complicit in dishonoring the legends of our beloved game.
Follow Lewie on Twitter: @LewsOnFirst