Who’s joining Harold Baines in the Hall of Fame?

Jim Margalus

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will announce its Class of 2019 tonight, one that still improbably includes Harold Baines.

It’s going to be another big crew. Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracker shows that another four are likely to be voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

With 53 percent of the ballots in, here’s how the candidates were faring:

  • Mariano Rivera, 100.0
  • Roy Halladay, 92.7
  • Edgar Martinez, 90.5
  • Mike Mussina, 81.4
  • Roger Clemens, 71.4
  • Barry Bonds, 70.9
  • Curt Schilling, 70.9
  • Larry Walker, 65.5
  • Fred McGriff, 38.6
  • Omar Vizquel, 37.7
  • Manny Ramirez, 25.5
  • Scott Rolen, 20.9
  • Todd Helton, 18.2
  • Jeff Kent, 16.8
  • Billy Wagner, 16.6
  • Gary Sheffield, 13.6
  • Sammy Sosa, 11.4
  • Andruw Jones, 8.2
  • Andy Pettitte, 6.8

The private ballots usually take some of the shine off the totals, whether it’s because they’re “small hall” in nature, or whether they don’t approach the ballot with the same kind of analytical rigor that makes defending it in public much easier.

Mussina will be the key case, as he’s been the kind of pitcher to take a much bigger hit among private voters. He climbed up to 63.5 percent last year, which was 6.5 percent lower than his public percentage leading up to the announcement. Take the same share off that 2019 number above, and he finishes one-tenth of a point below the 75 percent threshold. I’d expect the public-private margin to close in his case, because voters tend to accept a player’s momentum. (Roy Halladay may also help him, as Mussina’s counting stats are superior.)

The other question is whether the private ballots will knock Mariano Rivera off the track toward being the first unanimous Hall of Famer in history. The answer is “probably,” because if Greg Maddux could only get 97 percent of the vote for throwing 5,000 innings, Rivera probably will get knocked by somebody for only throwing a quarter of that total.

In terms of symbolism, it’d be really weak to see a closer be the first to get the unanimous nod. Then again, there should be more unanimous Hall of Famers, so if Rivera is the one to force the door open, my stance is the same as it is with Baines: good for him.

My ballot, if I had one:

  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens
  • Roy Halladay
  • Andruw Jones
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Mike Mussina
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Scott Rolen
  • Curt Schilling
  • Larry Walker

With Sheffield and Sosa as the first off. Schilling and Walker were the first off my ballot in previous years, and while it’s no fun to vote for Schilling, I like his case better than Jones and Rolen, both of whom I’m still uncertain about, but both of whom deserve a longer look.

The ones receiving underwhelming support can breath a little easier if they can clear 5 percent. With Derek Jeter looking like the only likely Hall of Famer in next year’s class, the backlog should be just about cleared, unless Paul Konerko pulls a Harold Baines and gets Cooperstown clearance out of nowhere.

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KenWo4LiFe

I have a hard time leaving pettitte off. that dude was the best in the postseason and did it every damn year.

asinwreck

I am rooting for a Yankee this season.

Wonderful story: Danny Farquhar is signing a minors deal with Yankees. Farquhar has recovered from life threatening brain hemorrhage suffered early last season while with the White Sox. Great response saved him. Now he is ready to go.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 21, 2019

GrinnellSteve

I don’t understand why the Sox didn’t make this happen.

vanillablue

Farquhar isn’t related to Manny Machado and isn’t a close friend of his either. That’s why.

Josh Nelson

Scott Rolen deserves more love in HoF voting. It would be big if Mike Mussina gets voted in to help trim the list up.

andyfaust

Halladay is on my ballot as well. With him coming in at over 92% so far, it makes me wonder how Buehrle will stack up. I always compared the two of them during their careers, and while Halladay was hands down better, the 92% makes me hopeful of Mark’s chances. Another three or so years could have been massive for his HOF claim. As it stands, he’ll probably fall short but we’ll see.

Greg Nix

Halladay has a legit claim to “best pitcher in baseball” for several years. Buerhle doesn’t come close to that, unfortunately. 

I’d also imagine (rather cynically) Halladay’s total would be lower without the tragedy fresh in voters’ minds. 

Right Size Wrong Shape

True, but don’t forget the special “People That Jerry Likes Committee”.

GreatjonHumber

Buerhle was great at everything you have to be great at to be a successful MLB pitcher without premium stuff. He eliminated the running game, threw strikes without giving in, and fielded his position (by some analyses he was attempt-for-attempt the best defensive player in baseball). Let us celebrate him for what he was.

KenWo4LiFe

i don’t know how halladay gets in no problem when mussina and schilling are struggling and johan was one and done. boggles my mind. and i’m not necessarily against him making it.

GreatjonHumber

Both Halladay and Schilling are affected by non-performance related things. It is what it is, it’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Value.

I don’t want to say something mean, but didn’t Halladay crash because he was full of amphetamines? People might think about him differently if he had hurt anyone other than himself.

Yolmer

Buerhle’s claim is best pitcher overall from 2000-2010, which is true. That plus a no hitter, perfect game, and great World Series appearances make him a no brainer Hall of Famer.

NDSox12

Halladay’s career covered that entire decade as well, so it would be pretty hard to make the case that Buehrle was the best pitcher overall from 2000-2010.

joewho112

Not even close. Also not sure why we are looking at random 11 year periods, but 10 pitchers have higher fWAR from 2000-2010

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2010&month=0&season1=2000&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=&filter=&players=0

joewho112

Did a quick look at pitchers first 10 years in the league since 1980 by bWAR. Buehrle is behind guys like Tim Hudson, Mark Langston and Dave Stieb.

GreatjonHumber

Dave Stieb’s career numbers – 5.19K/9, 3.21BB/9. His success confounds me.

Josh Nelson

59.3 bWAR / 47.6 JAWS puts Buehrle in a tight spot, but he was better than Jack Morris (43.9 bWAR / 38.3 JAWS). Having a no-hitter and Perfect Game on the resume helps, too.

I think Buehrle will survive on the ballot longer than Konerko will.

Joliet Orange Sox

Buehrle has a much better HOF case than Konerko so he should survive longer on the ballot.

NDSox12

Kevin Brown not even surviving his first year on the ballot was probably not a great omen for Buehrle. Brown has Buehrle beat in both bWAR and JAWS. Granted, that was eight years ago, so maybe not a perfect test case.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I wonder how much Baines getting in changes the game for a lot of these guys who I used to think had no shot.

NDSox12

I had forgotten about Brown’s appearance in the Mitchell Report. The reason I brought him up was because I noticed him on Buehrle’s B-Ref “similarity scores” list and then checked to see how his Hall of Fame vote went. I agree, Buehrle will have more people in his corner. Hopefully enough to keep him on the ballot for a couple years, anyway.

35Shields

Buehrle is exactly why I think JAWS is bullshit. Why do we decide that peak matters – let alone, why should it be measured that way (7-year peak, weighted evenly with career WAR)? Buehrle didn’t have a crazy peak, but he was unbelievably consistent (pitching 198+ IP for 15 straight seasons) and I don’t see why we should view that as any less impressive.

Imagine you have two players:
Player A produces 3 WAR every year for 20 years.
Player B produces 6 WAR during his five year peak and 2 WAR in each of the other 15 years of his career.

They both have the same bWAR, but JAWS says that Player B is better (47 JAWS vs. 45 JAWS). Why? Player A was better than Player B for the vast majority of their careers.

Player B is incredible because he was dominate for that short period of time. Player A is incredible because he was so consistently good for so long. I don’t see why Player B is inherently more incredible.

GreatjonHumber

Player A is Willie Randolph, Player B is Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg got in easily, Randolph didn’t sniff it, despite being slightly more valuable over his career (62.1 WAR in 2202 games vs. Sandberg’s 60.9 over 2164 games). In fact, Sandberg was the least valuable of the big 4 second basemen of the what I will arbitrarily call the post-Morgan, pre-Alomar/Biggio era.

Sandberg: 60.9/2164
Randolph: 62.1/2202
Whitaker: 68.1/2390
Grich: 69.1/2008

Why did one of these guys make the HoF easily and the other 3 were never seriously considered? A lot of it is that the concept of what contributes to winning games was different then and reputations were built accordingly. Whitaker and Grich were on-base machines at a time when it wasn’t properly valued. Randolph and Whitaker were superlative defenders but it was the era of eye test defense and Sandberg looked great out there on “edge of capability” type plays.

GreatjonHumber

Of course Harold has robbed me of any ability to high-horse HOF elections.

yinkadoubledare

I think Sandberg over the others can be summarized in two words. “Cubs” and “Dingers”

Lots of national exposure (as opposed to Whitaker and Grich). And as you note, OBP machines like Randolph didn’t get the pub back then, even playing on the Yankees.

Patrick Nolan

Peak is important because there’s a relationship to the player’s importance in telling the story of baseball during an era.

Matt Carpenter and Bryce Harper have produced approximately the same amount of WAR since 2012. Carpenter is regarded as a good player while Harper is regarded as a phenom and many consider him The Face of Baseball. Why? Peak.

Had Harper put up 5 WAR in 2015 instead of 10 WAR, he might have a totally different aura about him, and the memory of his significance to baseball this decade would be decidedly less.

joewho112

Peak is also important because you assume a team could find an average starter for at least part of a players career. Instead of comparing them to replacement level, they should be compared to average starter.

You could replace the production of a player who was worth 2.5 WAR every year for 20 years without a ton of difficulty (not easily, but doable). It’s harder to replace a guy who earned 5 WAR per year for 10 years.

joewho112

But they had to give the largest ever contract for a reliever to do it (plus that closer came with baggage that may have suppressed his earnings). I would consider paying that contract to be “hard.” In other words, it took an extraordinary effort to replace him.

35Shields

I always find it amusing that when people talk about Rivera they mention how he made his living off of one, incredible pitch. There’s sort of an implicit acknowledgement there of the massive gap between starters and relievers – you can’t survive as a starter on only one pitch.

Obviously, Rivera was great. He’ll absolutely make the Hall and deserve it, but this is also why I roll my eyes over all the hand-wringing that he won’t be a unanimous pick.

35Shields

I understand the idea of “telling the story of baseball” and how peak affects perception, etc. Those seems like perfectly fine reasons for why we should give extra consideration to players who had incredible peaks, but not a strong reason why it should be used as an argument against other players.

Not to mention that if we’re viewing the role of the Hall as “telling the story of baseball”, then you’d think that being one of the 23 pitchers ever to throw a perfect game and being an integral part of the first WS winner in Chicago in 88 years would be an important part of telling that story.

WRT Harper, I’d also argue that “The Face of Baseball” aspect of it has less to do with Harper’s 2015 season and more to do with his interactions with the media. He was a #1 overall pick, massively hyped when he came up as a super young player and has enough flare to his personality to catch media attention. This perception of him predated 2015.

mqr

Konerko probably won’t make it to a second ballot

GreatjonHumber

Yeah but you can’t use the worst guy as the bellweather or the Hall will continually get worse and worse. By the Baines Standard, guys like Reggie Sanders are Hall of Famers.

PopeDonnPall

#NEXTSOX

The #WhiteSox have agreed to terms on minor-league contracts with the following six free agents: right-handed pitcher Randall Delgado, infielder Ryan Goins, right-hander Evan Marshall, infielder D.J. Peterson, right-hander Donn Roach and infielder Matt Skole.

GreatjonHumber

IT’S ALL RIGHT THERE, PEOPLE!!!!

#NEXTSOX

The #WhiteSox have agreed to terms

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on minor-league contracts
with
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the following six free agents
:
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right-handed pitcher Randall Delgado, infielder Ryan Goins, right-hander Evan
Ma
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rshall, infielder D.J. Peterson, right-hander Donn Roa
ch
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a
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nd infiel
d
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er Matt Sk
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le
.

lil jimmy

Stop the presses!

asinwreck

I hope someone interviews Roland Hemond about the fact that he’ll have two draftees in Baines and Mussina enter the Hall next summer.