My Hall of Fame Ballot for 2012

I voted for Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Rafael Palmeiro, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell.

It’s a very down year for first-year possibilities on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot distributed this month to eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. There’s not a single newbie who comes even close.

We can all vote for as many as 10 candidates. I stuffed my ballot with nine of them, eight who I voted for last year with the addition of Larkin. I’m voting for the Reds shortstop for the first time. It is his third year on the BBWAA ballot.

When anybody says statistics don’t change, they’re right. But strength of the ballot does. In my mind, he had a wonderful, but borderline Hall of Fame career. He was overshadowed defensively in his own National League by Ozzie Smith and completely eclipsed in the American League by Cal Ripken Jr., the two Hall of Fame shortstops who are the comparables in Larkin’s era. But this better be his year. Trammell, who had a similarly long and distinguished career for the Tigers, should also not be ignored.

This is what Larkin has to contend with in the next four years:

What surely will be a controversial vote next year will include all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, 354-game winner Roger Clemens, 3,000-hit-club member Craig Biggio, 12-time All-Star Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa, who slugged 609 homers. The ballot for 2014 induction will boast a trio of great pitchers in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina, plus slugger Frank Thomas. The group for 2015 will include another great group of pitchers: No. 2 overall strikeout leader Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, plus outfielder Gary Sheffield. And finally, the ballot for 2016 will offer outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte and closers Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner.

It’s not unheard of, but Larkin needs a big jump. In 2011, he garnered 62.1 percent — 361 of a possible 581 votes. Based on those figures, he must leap ahead 12.9 percent to gain election. He received 51.6 percent of the vote in 2010, his first year on the ballot. If not, it will be a long wait.

With the steroid era now about to fully infect the election process, the ballots from here on in are going to be very tough.

I’ve often thought that you have to take the players from that era on a case-by-case basis, but I’ve changed my opinion. The Mitchell Report revealed that great pitchers (Clemens and Eric Gagne) were perhaps as guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs as great hitters (McGwire and Bonds). It named utility players, bit players, lower level players and the top players. Thus, the playing field must be considered level. Otherwise, except for rare cases, no one really knows who did what.

Under those circumstances I believe as a voter that everyone should be painted with the same brush. Either you vote all the qualified candidates in or you don’t vote for anyone who is remotely suspected.

As a lifetime member of the BBWAA I take this vote very seriously. I have no desire to be judge, juror or soothsayer. So I’ve decided to judge those players within the context of the era during which they played, and if they’re deserving, vote them in.

Thus, my ballot again includes a player who failed a drug test (Palmeiro), a player who admitted that he used steroids (McGwire), and another who was tainted by the cocaine era of the 1980s (Raines). I believe all of them statistically belong in a Hall of Fame that already includes the likes of Gaylord Perry, who brashly admitted to throwing the spitter when he was active from 1962-83. That pitch was outlawed by Major League Baseball in 1920.

Palmeiro — on the ballot for the second time — may be statistically on the bubble to some, but not to me. His 569 homers and 3, 020 hits places him in rarified company as only the fourth player in Major League history to amass more than 500 homers and 3,000 base hits. The other three are Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray.

I’ve been among the 25 or so percent to vote for McGwire every year he’s been on the ballot. His 583 homers — 70 of them in 1998 and 65 in ’99 — are good enough. The home run race between McGwire and Sosa in ’98 put baseball back on the map after the strike that devastated the sport only a few years earlier. Since the steroid precusor Andro was found in McGwire’s locker — like many — I’ve long suspected him of using PEDs. His public apology didn’t change anything.

It’s the second time I’ve voted for Raines. Listening to Andre Dawson talk about him during his 2010 induction speech in Cooperstown made me take another look at Tim’s record. Certainly, he was the NL’s version of Rickey Henderson before his personal problems affected his career. He played 24 seasons, had 808 stolen bases, 2,605 hits and batted .294. Tony Perez was elected to the Hall with 2,732 hits and a .279 batting average.

And just a note on Jeff Bagwell: Rumors about possible steroid use don’t bother me. I just think he’s a very good player, but not of Hall of Fame caliber. His numbers are very similar to Steve Garvey — Bags .297 batting average to .294 for the Garv, 2,314 hits to 2,599, 449 homers to 272, 1,529 RBIs to 1,308 . But Garvey had two NL Championship Series MVPs, an NL MVP, an All-Star MVP, the longest consecutive game playing streak in NL history (1,207), one of the highest fielding percentages as a first baseman (.996) and an errorless season (1984). Garvey also played on five NL pennant winners and a World Series winner in ’81 with the Dodgers. Bagwell did almost none of this with the Astros. And Garvey didn’t get a sniff from the writers for the HOF.

That’s why I didn’t vote for Bagwell.

129 Comments

Wait, 449 homers are “very similar” to 272? And in case you didn’t notice, Bagwell reached the postseason six times with the Astros compared to Garvey’s five with the Dodgers and Padres, and he also was regarded as a Gold Glove caliber fielder, winning the award once. Also, Bagwell played 100 more career games than Garvey, playing all 162 games four times, so the streak is a poor proxy for the suggestion of Garvey’s superior durability. Great ballot, and good for you for not getting caught up in the bogus PED debate, but you missed the vote on this one… the only thing similar about Bagwell and Garvey is the position they played.

Good point, Cory, but remember power numbers are greatly inflated for Bagwell’s era as opposed to the time when Garvey played.

So how about using a stat that normalizes for era and ballpark, like, oh I don’t know, OPS+? 116 for Garvey, and 149 for Bagwell. Of the guys you voted for, only McGwire beats that number, and he’s admitted to juicing. Even Palmeiro, a known user, doesn’t come close. Edgar Martinez even falls short, and you voted for him as a DH, while Bagwell was a Gold Glove winning defender and stole 30 bases in a season MORE than one time. All of this is not to mention that Garvey played FOUR more seasons than Bagwell did, yet Garvey beats Bagwell in just one major counting stat (hits), while Bagwell crushes Garvey almost across the board in terms of categories won (runs, homers, doubles, RBI, steals and walks). Four fewer seasons, yet Bagwell hit 177 more HR and drew almost a THOUSAND more walks. There’s simply no comparison whatsoever.

The part that really gets me though is that you say the allegations (and by allegations of course we must mean “rumors and speculation based on nothing at all”, considering he never failed a test, was never implicated by another player and didn’t appear on the Mitchell Report) don’t bother you, but then turn around and say the power numbers were inflated for his era. The only reason that would matter for him is if HE juiced; if he did juice, his numbers STILL beat out every single name on your ballot except McGwire (and he beats him out in terms of all-around player value when you throw in the defense and baserunning), but if he did it clean, hitting 449 HR in just 15 seasons, nine of which were played in the Astrodome (one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in history) is a ridiculously, almost unequaled feat in baseball history. Not voting for Bagwell while voting for some of those other guys, then defending yourself with a comparison to Garvey of all people, is a blasted travesty.

I’m voting for Bagwell next year. How many times can I say that?

We heard you, Boomskie. I mean, I’m still mad, but I heard you. You adequately explained your decision. Thank you for at least making your vote public. I do appreciate that.

On another subject: Is there another thread on your blog where Astros fans can complain about being forced to move to the American League? The whole Bagwell thing was kindof a double body blow.

No blog on the Astros’ move to the AL, but I did a news story on it in November at the time it happened that has over 1,200 comments on it.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111117&content_id=25992120&c_id=mlb&vkey=news_mlb

Fire away!

Now, that’s what I call a response! Far be it from me to kiss your keister, but your article is the only one I read that mentions that it was that coward McClane that agreed to move the Astros, not Crane. It’s a shame, but in Houston, he’s gotten a pass, and Crane has had to take all the abuse. Look, I know there’s a lot of belly-aching out there, but you have to understand a few things: People in Houston can’t stand the AL game, they don’t care one way or the other about the Rangers, they don’t like having things shoved down their throats, and if it was YOUR team, you’d be screaming bloody murder. Frankly, we’re a little offended at the lack of solidarity. It’s been a rare occurrence in my life to be told quite so clearly that nothing I think matters. As far as I’m concerned, they can all go to hell. It’s been over two months now and I’m still so mad I could spit. Don’t underestimate Houstonians’ capacity for grudges. I know people that won’t drive over the Baytown bridge because 25 years ago the contractor bought Japanese steel, shutting down a local steel mill. McClane knew all this, that’s why he shoved all the fallout onto Crane.

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Thank you. I like zany.

You can alywas tell an expert! Thanks for contributing.

Wow that is incredibly shallow and terrible logic on the Bagwell/Garvey comparison.

That addresses several of my concerns actullay.

449 homers to 272

Um.

That’s why I said similar. Remember powers numbers are greatly inflated in Bagwell’s era as opposed to the years Garvey played.

Of the panoply of website I\’ve pored over this has the most veractiy.

Easily the stupidest reasoning to not vote for Bagwell I have seen yet. Prepare to get crushed in the comments section for your foolhardy exclusion of Bagwell.

Come on. You may not agree with it, but the vote is not stupid. It’s may take on it. No need to be so pejorative. Please take another shot at it.

No, it’s pretty stupid. “There have been 75 first basemen in major league history with at least 6,000 plate appearances. Among that group, Bagwell ranks ninth in homers, eighth in RBI, sixth with a .408 on-base percentage and ninth with a .540 slugging percentage. Garvey ranks 33rd in homers, 19th in RBI, 69th with a .329 OBP and 45th with a .446 slugging percentage.”- from “NBC’s Hardball Talk. How can you vote for McGriff and not Bagwell?? People like you getting a vote is what is ruining the hall of fame.

A bit surrpised it seems to simple and yet useful.

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Very glad to see you’re not into the high-and-mighty steroid baloney, but literally the only two things even remotely similar about Bagwell and Garvey, other than that they were both first basemen, was their batting average and hit total. Over 175 home runs and nearly 1000 walks mean a whole lot. Bags is one of the five or so greatest first basemen ever to play, while Garvey might be somewhere in the top 50. I hope you’ll take a closer look when he inevitably comes up again next year.

Top five? Here are some first basemen (full or part time) already in the Hall of Fame:

1. Lou Gehrig
2. Hank Greenberg
3. Jimmie Foxx
4. Orlando Cepeda
5. Harmon Killebrew
6. Willie McCovey
7. Rod Carew
8. Eddie Murray
9. Bill Terry
10. Frank Chance

Care to change your assessment on Bags?

I would put Bagwell at 5 on that list.

I don’t see it, but I’m not going to hurl insults at you for putting him in that spot.

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Wow, I thought Bob Smizik’s Hall of Fame ballot article was the worst I was going to read this season. Then I read yours. In comparing Bagwell to Garvey you somehow define them as having very similar numbers. However, after double checking I realized 449 home runs is not similar to 272. Garvey was a very good player, Bagwell was much, much better. Comparing those two players is nonsensical. Oh BTW, it turns out you actually did vote for Garvey who your last sentence claims “didn’t get a sniff from the writers.” Weak. I don’t know if Bagwell spit in your coffee once or whatever, but you’d have been better off just leaving him off and not trying to explain the omission.

People who think that 449 homers “are very similar” to 272 homers shouldn’t be allowed to graduate elementary school, much less get a vote for the Hall of Fame. How could you possibly justify thinking that Edgar Martinez is hall-worthy if you think Bagwell is not? Martinez never won a single MVP award in the playoffs or regular season, was such a liability in the field that his managers played him at DH, and has inferior stats to Bagwell in almost every single category? You’re a perfect example of how flawed this process is. It’s time for you to give up your ballot to someone who’s not going to punish a deserving player from entering the Hall just because you’re still bitter about how many votes Steve Garvey got.

Short, sweet, to the point, FREE-exactly as information sohuld be!

The Bagwell to Garvey comp really bothers me. I have a problem with your voting choices if you have no ability to see the differences in the numbers they put up. If Bagwell’s body had lasted just long enough to hit 51 more homers and get to 500, I bet you would be singing a different tune. The more I think about it, the madder I get that you see Bagwell’s career this way. Maybe Bill James has more work to do. For you to go on just simple counting stats and forget rate stats altogether is unbeliveable. These comps say it all: Bagwell lifetime .408 on base and a 149 OPS+ and Garvey lifetime .329 on base and a 116 OPS+. Wow…

Great comomn sense here. Wish I’d thought of that.

You voted for Garvey, didn’t you?

Yes, that’s a matter of record. Like this post I always reveal my Hall of Fame vote. It’s the most hotly contested subject. Everyone has their own opinion of who should be in the Hall of Fame.

But here are the ballot instructions: “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contribution to the team(s) on which the player played.”

As you see, the interpretation is wide open. I’ll continue to evaluate Bags. He has 13 more years on the ballot. Many of the points made by readers are very valid. That’s why I like opening this up to discussion. I’m open minded and have changed my vote as time goes on before.

Deep thinking – adds a new dienmsion to it all.

you suck. Bagwell is a hall of famer-more so than any of those you voted for, and especially more than steve freakin garvey!

Like, that’s your opinion, man. Could you find a more intelligent way of expressing yourself like most others who responded to my post? Please try again.

“His numbers are very similar to Steve Garvey”

Except for having 177 more HRs, that is.

I know. That’s why I said “similar” not “exact.”

I have a couple of questions concerning Bagwell for you to consider Mr. Bloom.
Why are you using batting average? A .300 batting average is in no way indicative of a player’s ability. Hits is the counting number batting average is based on, and therefore, is redundant. How is 450 similar in size to 270? Did a bunch of numbers get deleted from our number system? In case you’ve missed the first trillion instances this was said online, RBIs are a TEAM-BASED statistic! The statistic cannot accurately compare 2 individual players because it is affected by every other player who ever appeared in the same lineup as the players in question!

Garvey should not have won the 1974 MVP because of his lack of power and inability to get on base. Schmidt, Bench, Wynn, and Morgan were all clearly better that year. An All-Star Game MVP should count for very little, if anything, as the award is awarded based on a single game’s performance. The standards for selection to the Halll of Fame specifically say that outstanding performance in a single year are not a basis for Hall of Fame selection. With that stated, it therefore is impossible to select based on a single game. As for the consecutive games streak, Everett Scott had a longer streak than Garvey, and no one is calling for his induction.

The NLCS MVP is meaningless as past winners include Mike Deveraux and Burt Hooton. You do have a valid argument about defence, but number of appearances in the World Series is completely invalid as it is a team accomplishment. Your job as a voter for the Hall of Fame is to select players, NOT TEAMS.

I am more than willing to defend your right to not select Bagwell once you are able to make a logical argument that does not discriminate based on meaningless criteria and factors outside of the player’s control.

Your anti-Dodger bias is showing up in the details and examples in your post…

Really? I’m not sure how you get that. I loved covering the Dodgers teams that had Garvey on it. But he was one of a talented bunch there. I’m just certain that what he did for the Padres in his first two San Diego seasons put that franchise on the map.

a) I don’t understand how you supported Garvey for HOF but now reject Bagwell if they are the same (your argument, not mine; I think Bagwell is clearly superior)

b) I don’t understand how you support McGriff but not Bagwell. Even after adjusting for ballparks and era, I think that Bagwell is clearly superior

More specifically, what about the stats that you didn’t consider? For example, Bagwell has about 120 more stolen bases than Garvey (and a better success rate), plus nearly 1000 more walks (which probably helped with his approx. 350 more runs scored).

Even stats that normalize production for era and ballpark factors, like OPS+, have Bagwell as a monster compared to Garvey. Bagwell had 10 seasons (10!) better than Garvey measured by OPS+. Remember, even if Bagwell’s stats are inflated based on the era he played in, his stats are similarly deflated because he played in one of the worst hitter parks of his time. In Garvey’s 128 trips to the Astrodome, he hit a pedestrian .250 with 4 HRs… his worst venue if you are comfortable discounting 2 games at Crosley Field (CIN) and 31 at Jarry Park (MON).

Basically, I don’t really agree that Garvey compares favorably to Bagwell. At best, they are similar, and more realistically I think it’s clear Bagwell far surpassed Garvey. Based on that, if you voted for Garvey you should have also voted for Bagwell. I think the same holds true for Bagwell and the McGriff vote who played a large portion of his prime years in the inflation era and was outperformed by Bagwell

I think you’re right. That’s why I’ve been glad to take part in this discussion. I may make an adjustment next year. This year, it’s too late.

Hey dimwit, I hear Garvey is bent over…I’m sure you can’t wait to kiss his ass. This “reasoning” for not voting for Bagwell makes about as much sense as my comment above. No, it makes less sense actually. I’m enjoying to hell you are taking for this no vote from people who have a clue on twitter.

I wonder if it’s possible for you to craft a more cogent response like the rest of the readers who didn’t agree with me on this vote. It’s pretty easy to hide behind an e-mail and toss personal insults at people. Please try again.

Deep tohguht! Thanks for contributing.

Comparing Bagwell as similar to Garvey is simply inexplicable. Ok, batting averages are similar. But what about on base percentage, slugging percentage, and just about every other statistic?

Bagwell 7797 AB – Garvey 8835 AB (difference of 1000)
Bagwell 1517 Runs Scored – Garvey 1143 Runs Scored (difference of 350)
Bagwell 2314 Hits – Garvey 2599 Hits (difference of 275)
Bagwell 488 Doubles – Garvey 440 Doubles (only difference of 50)
Bagwell 449 Homers – Garvey 272 Homers (difference of 175)
Bagwell 1529 RBIs – Garvey 1308 RBIs (difference of 200)
Bagwell 1401 Walks – Garvey 479 walks (difference of 900)
Bagewll 408 OBP – Garvey 329 OBP (difference of 80 points)
Bagwell 540 Slugging – Garvey 446 sluggins (difference of 90)

They played in different eras and different ballparks, but even adjusting for that how are they in any way similar? If you don’t want to vote for Bagwell, fine. But at least come up with a rational rationale, not some false comparative analysis.

Hold on, let me get this straight, you didn’t vote for Bagwell because he’s similar to Steve Garvey, yet, you voted for Steve Garvey. What kind of logic is that? Did you vote for him simply because he won the World Series while Bagwell did not?

This article also shows you did vote for Garvey by the way. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070107&content_id=1774441&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

That’s a matter of record. I share all of my Hall of Fame votes. It’s fun to get your responses, particularly since they’re so partisan in nature. Remember, I covered these guys and know them all personally. I don’t vote for many players who I consider to be good friends. Bags has 13 more years on the ballot. I will re-evaluate him just like I’ve done with Larkin, Sutter, Blyleven, Morris, Dawson, Gossage and many others who eventually got my vote. Nothing in this process is ever etched in stone.

Your complete misreprentation of Bagwell, versus Garvey, make me wonder how you arrived with in a hundred miles of being qualified to cast a vote for the hall of fame. First and foremost, Bagwell did win the Nl MVP in 1994. Again, being mistaken on such elementary facts should disqualify you from your vote. Second, all of Bagwell’s career totals were done in 1000 fewer at a bats and Bagwell still managed to far outpace Garvey. Third Garvey’s OBP of .329 is laughable compared to Bagwell’s .408. OPS? Forget it. .775 versus .948. And finally, Bagwell was considered much more of an all around player, recording 30-30 seasons, twice and accumulating 200 stolen bases. This one is not even close.

I arrived within 100 miles of being qualified to vote for the HOF by the rules, like anything else. I had 10 consecutive years covering baseball as an active member of the BBWAA.

Wow! That’s a rellay neat answer!

Haha Mr Bloom even other sites are bashing your voting tactics. You should really read some of them for your future voting. You actually voted for Paul O’neil? Are you freaking kidding me. You actually thought he was HOF worthy. On top of that voting for Edgar Martinez who could not even field or run. And Yet left Bagwell off, who for his position was a great baserunner and fielder? here is a link from NBC for you to look at as an example.
http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/28/maybe-the-zaniest-hall-of-fame-ballot-yet/

I’ve been reading. No worries. Hall of Fame voting is an ongoing process and I welcome all input and criticism. Don’t remember voting for O’Neill. Where did you see that? Remember, every player you vote for below the second spot on the ballot has very little chance of being elected in a particular year. That’s why so few members vote for more than four or five. The last two years I’ve opened my ballot to some guys who played before the steroid era who I never voted for before (Blyleven, Morris, Raines), but now believe are deserving. As far as Edgar is concerned that’s as much a vote for the DH. He was outstanding at a position that is not going away and needs to be recognized at some point. I’m very pro DH and think it needs to be adopted in the NL. But that’s another can of worms. I’ll re-evaluate Bags’ candidacy as time goes on. He has 13 more years.

I watched Bagwell play, every day, so I realize I’m biased. Still, the above poster has a good point about you considering the two players similar, while voting for one and not voting for the other. You really didn’t address his point. I firmly believe that if Bagwell had played in one of the three major media centers, he would have been a first ballot type. Just for fun: they both were converted 3rd basemen. The difference is that Garvey became a 1st baseman because he was a crappy 3rd baseman, and Bagwell became a 1st baseman because Ken Caminiti was a GOOD 3rd baseman. Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall. Everyone knows it, including you. If all this crap means that he goes in with Biggio next year, I’ll be satisfied.

Maybe. But the big media center thing didn’t work for Garvey. It certainly hasn’t worked for Mattingly. With Santo now in via the Golden Era Committee, the Cubs of that era now have four players in the Hall, including Banks, Jenkins and Williams. And that team never won anything. But it took Santo 30 years.

If Mattingly had gotten in, it would have proven the big media center bias. He’s nowhere near as good as Bagwell. Mattingly had a good 4 year peak, that’s it, but dropped off considerably after Ricky left. I’ll state it frankly. Your comparison players aren’t cuttin’ the mustard.

No cmolapitns on this end, simply a good piece.

And you know what? If the Lincoln Memorial was a 1st baseman, it would have more range than Garvey had. They don’t give you an error for watching grounders go by, but they should. So don’t give me that horse hockey about Garvey’s FP. Some things just don’t show up in the stats, even advanced stats.

You know darn well why Garvey didn’t get in the Hall. It was the character clause, and I don’t feel like going into details. There. That’s my bias coming out.

You sound like my old friend Dick Williams when he managed Garvey on the Padres.

And no, the character clause had nothing to do with it.

Yes. It. Did. Unless you think his personal issues aren’t issues at all.

Mr. Bloom, I think that if you were to further explain your reasoning for supporting Garvey and not Bagwell, along with engaging in an intellectual discussion with those who find your earlier arguments weak, the readers would regain some respect for you

What am I Rodney Dangerfield here? :)

A comparison of Fred McGriff’s numbers to Jeff Bagwell’s lean in Bagwell’s favor, it seems to me, and are at least similar if you reject everything even vaguely sabermetric. So how did you distinguish between the two?

RoY, NL MVP, best player on his team. My guess would be that it’s not a baseball reason behind your dislike for Bagwell, but rather a personal reason which you tried to hide with this crazy Garvey was better non-sense. Maybe during your re-evaluation for Bagwell, you’ll develop a Garvey-like man crush on him. Personally, I’d like to see Garvey try hitting with Bagwell’s stance. Bagwell should get in just for being productive while using that horrible stance. And for some added debate, I even think Mark Grace was a better first baseman than Garvey.

I don’t dislike Bagwell. To the contrary, I always found him to be a very nice guy and a very good player. I just didn’t vote for him this year.

If time is money you’ve made me a weltahier woman.

Heck of a job there, it asboltuely helps me out.

You may not “remember” voting for O’Neill, but it’s a matter of public record on the 2007 article that has been linked repeatedly where you voted for Garvey.

Secondly, you haven’t provided a cogent explanation for why you failed to vote for Bagwell despite viewing him as similar to Garvey. All you keep saying is that your ballots are a matter of public record and you may change your mind, but you haven’t addressed the incongruity that several posters have pointed out. Like many other commenters, I don’t see them as remotely comparable. However, if according to your personal evaluative process, you deemed Garvey to be worthy of a Hall spot, I don’t understand how you can then leave out a “similar” player, unless you think Bagwell is “similar” but worse than Garvey.

Thirdly, as others have pointed out, you neglected to mention (and I would guess, although I can’t be sure, consider in your decision-making process) several stats that demonstrate the value Bagwell added that Garvey, and many other players, do not that isn’t easily visible in traditional stats. The most obvious is Bagwell’s huge OBP advantage and the disadvantage faced by Bagwell hitting at the old AstroDome. Another one that hasn’t been mentioned is that Bagwell played 52 more games at 1B than Garvey (2111 to 2059). However, over his career Bagwell accumulated 1704 assists to Garvey’s 1026. That is an extra 678 assists over 52 more games. I think that speaks volumes about who the better fielder was rather than Garvey’s .003 point advantage in career fielding percentage.

I hope that next year, if he is still on the ballot, you evaluate Bagwell’s much more closely than you appear to have this year.

I voted for Garvey all 15 years he was on the ballot. I voted for O’Neill because he was a key cog on a Yankees team that won four World Series titles and five pennants in six years. Agreed that I have a soft spot for Garvey. All of this is subjective. I covered his whole career and watched him rise to the occasion well above his stats on important occasions. His 5-for-5 game-winning homer performance in Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS against the Cubs was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen, considering the circumstances. He was sick that day with stomach flu and was hitting with a rehabbed thumb he dislocated in 1983 to break his consecutive game playing streak. He had eight homers all that season because of it, but still came up huge when he had to. Without him, the Padres don’t win their first pennant. I watched the guy play thru bangs, bruises and stitches. Like Cal Ripken Jr., he was a hockey player in a baseball players’ body. Most guys would sit out with a quarter of what he played through. I’ve never seen a tougher player. Plus his signing as a free agent with the Padres put that franchise on the map. He played at a time in the NL in bigger ballparks and on artificial surfaces. There was no Interleague play. The drug of choice was cocaine, not steroids. You have to agree that power numbers were greatly inflated during Bagewell’s era. And as I said in the blog, I’m giving him a pass on that. All this is went on behind the statistics. I like Bagwell. Nice guy. Very nice player. I just don’t think his career warrants his election on the first or second ballot. I guess most of my BBWAA contemporaries agree. Last year he got 41.7 percent of the vote. All of this give and take, though, is giving me food for thought. It’s just my opinion. I’m not saying I’m right. Like a good hitter I can certainly adjust.

The job gifted to you, sir, by the BBWAA is to determine whether or not a player belongs in the Hall of Fame. What kind of logic convinces you that the different echelons of the Hall of Fame are broken up based on years on the ballot before selection? A player is either a Hall of Famer or he is not. The purpose of having a waiting period immediately after retirement is to create a gap between the player’s career and his first appearance on the ballot so that the voters can look at the player’s career in its entirety. Nothing changes between a player’s first year on the ballot and his seventh. If he is deserving on his seventh, then he is deserving on his first.

Sir, do not bring up the argument that men such as Jimmie Foxx and Mel Ott had to wait years to be elected, and therefore there is nothing wrong with making a player wait a few years. Foxx and Ott had to wait because the BBWAA decided to screw up the election process in such a way that it would take decades to unravel the disaster.

If that was the case a player would be on the ballot once and then out. For instance, I’ve now totally re-evaluated every player who played before the steroid era and placed greater weight on their productive stats. Without a 15-year period to do that guys like Dawson, Gossage, Sutter, Blyleven and Rice never would have had a chance. Eventually they all got in and believe me everyone of them has said it was worth the wait. A lot of people don’t agree with or like the BBWAA procedures, but it was devised by the group long before I began voting for the Hall in 1992. And none of us are “gifted” with the vote. We “earn” it from covering baseball as active BBWAA members for 10 consecutive seasons. Those type of scribes are beginning to become few and far between.

I am happy to read someone out there went 15 for 15 for my favorite player. Garvey gets a bad rap for not walking enough. That is the biggest knock against him. The haters need to realize that the man was paid to hit the ball. In that offense, in that park, each spot in the batting order (Lasorda used the same batting order 42 times in 1977 for instance) had a job to do. At some point, someone HAS to hit the baseball and Garvey was that guy in that offense.

His teams never lost an NLCS… 5 for 5… so the tactics must have worked now and then!

Thanks. I’m glad you get the point.

I love reading these articles because they’re short but inofrmative.

You say, “Remember powers numbers are greatly inflated in Bagwell’s era as opposed to the years Garvey played,” but Bagwell’s OPS+ is 149 compared to 116 for Garvey. I would think that would invalidate your point right off the bat (pun). He also had 202 stolen bases in an era that did not look fondly upon the running game AND scored 400 more runs than Garvey on (as you illustrated) the weaker team.

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Mr. Bloom: Aside from the Bagwell issue (well-supported by others), I like your ballot and respect your ability to look past the PED nonsense.

More than that, however, I respect your response to the vast number of us who vehemently disagree with the way you compared Bagwell to Garvey. You have responded thoughtfully where appropriate, and seem to even have acknowledged that you may reconsider your support for him in the future. In a world where it’s easy for people to be snarky and mean and fly off the handle and pursue vitriol instead of real dialogue or conversation, your maturity in this regard has been refreshing.

I respectfully ask you to reconsider Bagwell’s HOF candidacy in the future, and perhaps the baseball-reference.com comparisons will give you a stronger frame of reference. Bagwell’s top comps are lower-tier HOFers and others likely to be enshrined (arguably Frank Thomas, Chipper Jones, Vlad Guerrero, McGriff). He may be a borderline case, but he’s clearly one of the best first basemen of his era. Garvey’s top comps are (aside from Cepeda) all “very good” players who were never considered serious HOF material (Al Oliver, Garret Anderson, John Olerud, Will Clark, Mark Grace, etc.)

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bagweje01.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/garvest01.shtml

Thank you for your kind words. I will reconsider Bags in the future. That’s the flexibility I love about the Hall of Fame voting. A candidate on the bubble of Bagwell’s stature has a full 15 years to be considered. I’ve changed my mind on a lot of players, Larkin being the most recent. As I said in the blog, I didn’t vote for him his first two years on the ballot. This year, for various reasons, I did. I’ve been voting for the Hall since 1992 and since then I’ve voted for every electee the year he was inducted except one: Jim Rice. I didn’t vote for Rice his first 14 years on the ballot because I thought he fell short in a lot of different areas, character being one of them. In his final year, when he was just a few votes short, I did a lot of soul searching about it and talked to a lot of people. While I usually send in my ballot by the middle of December, that time I held it until the last possible minute. The words of a top Hall official, who I respect, resonated with me and helped me make the decision to not vote for Rice again. Believe me, I anguished that mine might be the deciding vote. It wasn’t and he got in. I’m fine with that. More power to Jim. None of this is an exact science and statistics are only a part of it. A lot more of it is what I saw with my own eyes and what I heard talking with baseball people on a day-to-day basis. For instance, I’ve spent hundreds of hours talking off the record with Barry Bonds. We have that kind of relationship. You might imagine I have a unique insight into Barry that most people don’t have. But when I vote for him next year and perhaps don’t for Bagwell, we can again have this same circular argument based solely on statistics. I’ve enjoyed this discussion with everyone no matter how vitriolic. I’ve learned something from it, which is what it’s all about. I learned a long time ago not to take my self too seriously. I’m a two-time cancer survivor. This isn’t life or death, so to speak. But I also have taken my shots at players, managers, ballclubs, etc. during my 35 years as a sportswriter. I have no problem taking a few shots back. That’s my last word on it. Thanks again for taking a border view.

Yours,
Barry

Great hmaemr of Thor, that is powerfully helpful!

Had Garvey played during the same era nobody would have even known his name, the pitchers were faster and the fielders had better range and gloves.
Here is some more food for thought. Bagwell played with a bad shoulder for a lot of years and still put up better numbers than Garvey. He also played in the Astrodrome, which used astro turf and has similar size dimensions as Dodger Stadium around 375′ to the gaps and 400′ to center. Bagwell wasn’t named in the Mitchell report, like Big Mac nor was he in a book written by Canseco like Palmeiro (not to mention testing positive).
I understand that Bagwell did not strive under pressure in the playoffs (in 33 games), and I understand that most sports writers dislike the use of stats as it makes them feel like they can be replace by a calculator. What I don’t understand is your need to compare Bagwell to Garvey in the first place. You might as well put something like “I didn’t vote for Bagwell because he doesn’t like Coke Zero and only flirts with blondes.” It makes as much sense as the Garvey comparison. Please do not feel the need to reply if it is going to contains the words opinion, re-evaluate, nice or good.

I don’t buy the premise. Guys like Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Phil Neikro and Bert Blyleven (all Hall of Famers) pitched during Garvey’s era.

Oh, and lets not forget Tom Seaver, another HOFer who threw pretty hard.

Look at OPS+, then tell me whether or not they are similar.

I don’t know if Bagwell is in the top 5, but he is well above Cepeda. His OPS+ is 16 points higher, which is a large difference. Bill James, and many others who actually know something about baseball, put Bags in the top 5.

If you look at OPS+, and you still think Garvey is in the same league….There is something you are really missing.

OPS+ is not perfect. Neither are WAR and Win Shares. But they help us come to logical, rational, decisions.

If you don’t know what OPS+ is, look it up. It relates OPS to the era, and park, in which someone played. That means you can’t use the era argument for Bagwell’s 149 being superior to Garvey’s 116. With this statistic, the era has already been taken into account.

Steve Garvey’s SLG was .446, against a league average of .384. Jeff Bagwell’s was .540, against a league average of .422. That is a MASSIVE difference.

Steve Garvey had an OBP of .329, against a league average of .329. Jeff Bagwell had an OBP of .408 against a league average of .338. Another huge difference.

Clearly, Bagwell was vastly superior at getting on base. Clearly Bagwell was vastly superior at advancing bases. I really don’t see see how anyone can logically call the two similar players.

Why don’t you come to baseball-fever.com, and put your views out. See what people thing about them.

About the Rodney Dangerfield comment….If you keep saying that Bagwell and Garvey are similar, don’t expect any respect(for your opinions, nothing personal here) from statistically literate baseball fans.

I keep saying that for me stats are only a part of it. Read the blog below this one on La Russa and Moneyball to get my feelings about it. BTW, I am a member of SABR.

Then why do you make comments about the number of homers? And how the era mitigates this difference?

If you are a member of SABR, then how can you objectively demonstrate that Bagwell and Garvey are similar players?

Frankly, if you see the two of them as similar, then that is great reason to ONLY look at statistics.

Some of the writers don’t like stat heads because deep down, they realize they are being replaced. They might be onto something.

Garvey was nowhere near an HOF guy. Bagwell is an easy HOF guy. Voting records like this are what is reducing the value of the HOF, among serious baseball fans.

Of course, that is not true. If you go to most forums, you will find passionate debate about the Hall of Fame. Clearly, the statheads DO care about who the writers vote in. It is just a shame the writers are not better at it.

Voting for Garvey, and not Bagwell, is truly absurd. Nothing personal, but that sort of decision makes it clear to me that you don’t deserve a vote. Don’t feel too bad, you are certainly not alone.

Not voting for Bagwell is one thing. Thinking Bagwell and Garvey are similar players…..Well that just boggles the mind.

By the way, does the fact that no one who has responded here agrees with you mean anything?

My god. I just came upon this in one of your responses:

“I didn’t vote for Rice his first 14 years on the ballot because I thought he fell short in a lot of different areas, character being one of them.”

You have got to be kidding me!!!! Character!!!!

There are plenty of reasons to NOT vote for Rice, though I don’t have a problem with him being in. But character! That is a joke. If the BWAA has any dignity they will remove your vote.

Would you have voted for Joe D over Ted W in 1947 for the MVP based on character? That was one of the worst votes ever. The writers who left Ted off the ballot, and cost him the MVP, should have lost their ability to vote! If your lack of objectiveness cause absurd decisions, you should lose the ability to make such decisions.

Please explain what Rice’s character flaws were. If he did not like writers…..Well I don’t see that as a character flaw. If you make your decisions for the HOF on such things, well that is truly sad.

If you are indicative of other hall voters, things seriously need a change.

And please don’t quote me some absurd passage about how character is a legitimate part of HOF voting. I would think most voters would have the personal dignity to look beyond that. I guess I was wrong.

And one more thing: Albert Belle is CLEARLY a Hall of Famer. Any idiot writer who leaves him off because he does not like him, deserves to lose their vote. I guess many writers are just a bunch of little children, people who cannot put aside their emotions and make adult decisions.

I don’t care if Belle had told me to F@#$ off, I am still enough of a man to do what is right, and vote for him. I might HATE him deeply, but I would still put that aside and do what is right. Based in his voting record, it is clear that most writers lack that sort of personal dignity.

A couple of things:

My stance on stats vs. the human condition is well documented. Read the blog below on La Russa and Moneyball for my position on that. I was invited to speak at a recent SABR conference in Arizona and I fully presented that position to a group of about 100 members, who may not have agreed with me but were very nice about it. The question and answer period was long and spirited. Afterward we toured Chase Field and had lunch together. I love listening to the various opinions and that’s what it’s all about. You can label any group (sportswriters) in one category, but individually you can’t. I’m 60. I blog, tweet and utilize such social media tools as Facebook, etc., which puts me in a small class of writers my age. I’m not worried about being replaced by stat wonks. That’s not going to happen. I’m still your eyes and ears at the ballpark. I talk to the players, managers, GMs, owners.

That leads to my final point. If you had read through ALL of my comments, you would have seen this one. We don’t get much instruction by Hall officials and the BBWAA about how to conduct our voting. Pete Rose was taken out of our hands because he was deemed ineligible for the ballot. But no one has told us what to do about players who played during the so called steroid era. That has become a personal decision.

But we are given one key instruction every year on the cover letter to the ballot and this is it verbatim:

“Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contribution to the team(s) on which the player played.”

If you combine integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to team those categories far outweigh the player’s record. You may not agree with this, but it’s the way it is and has been so since the HOF voting began in 1936. It’s a democratic process and like any democracy no one loses their vote because some one else doesn’t agree with the vote cast.

For players on the bubble — like Belle, Rice, Palmeiro, McGwire and yes, Bagwell — character plays a huge part in the voting decision. For the great ones, like Eddie Murray, it didn’t. He went in on the first ballot despite his ill treatment of the media throughout his career. I was among the 85.3 percent who voted for him the first time in 2003.

On his defense, Bags was known for great defense. He commited errors because he was aggressive. Garvey has the better fielding precentage becasue he did not move from the bag. If you got to watch bagwell you would know that he prevented batters from bunting because from the time when the pitcher starts to throw the ball to the time it reaches the plate he would go from just inside the bag at first to about 2 steps away from the batter. no one could bunt while bagwell was playing first. You will notice that after the 2000 season his fielding percentage increases, due to his bum shoulder he could not be as agressive as he was.

Jeff Bagwell played the first nine of his 15 seasons in the Astrodome, which significantly decreased power numbers. So I’m afraid your “power numbers are greatly inflated for Bagwell’s era as opposed to the time when Garvey played” argument doesn’t really hold water either.

Not just because of the ballparks, of course.

bagwell is not connected to any steroid use. The fact is his teamates(Ausmus and others) will vouche that he did not take steroids. After every game he would spend three hours in the weight room, getting better.

Ah, I think I said that in the blog. But I also said because I don’t know who did it in the era that I’m going to suppose everyone did and I’m not going to hold that against anyone, Bags included.

And, by the way, I personally watched McGwire and Bonds spend endless hours in the weight room.

You voted for Garvey, and Bagwell stats are similar to his (in your world where the grand canyon is just about the same as a crack in the pavement). Yet you didn’t vote for Bagwell. You voted for known roid users, but not for a guy that isn’t linked to roid usage (he must have been using to put up better numbers than Garvey).
He didn’t play in a big enough park, with fake enough grass (that astro turf stuff was so much better when Bags started playing). The era that Bagwell played in meant that power rubbed off on everybody, however in Garvey’s era walks, stolen bases, hustle, and power weren’t needed since nobody cared about that stuff. Bagwell was a great role model and let his play do his talking, Garvey let his playing around off the field ruin his reputation.
I’ve got it. Garvey must have loaned you some money which you can’t afford to pay back, or hooked you up with something or somebody. Just stop these ridiculous adventures into your imaginary world where in Garvey deserves to be in the HoF and Bagwell doesn’t. If you would just admit you made a mistake based on some personal bias and apologize to everyone that read your last paragraph and to Bagwell, the real world would welcome you back. Unfortunately, I feel you have already passed judgement on Bagwell and most likely countless others, and will continue to due so with out any rational reasoning. Enjoy your world, I’ll enjoy the real world (we actually have decent baseball players in this one).

I stand by my 15 yes votes for Garvey and two no votes for Bagwell. Your last paragraph is absurd on it’s face, although I got a good chuckle out of it. Thanks.

This kinda angers me due to the fact that somebody who has the privelage of voting plays around with his votes like they mean nothing. I just cant understand how some of these voters dont research this stuff. To this day i’ll never understand how there has never been a HOFer who has recieved 100 percent of the voting. What voter doesnt vote for Hank Aaron and why wouldnt he vote for him. Ted Williams,Musial,Mays these guys are no brainer hofers yet theres always one goofy writer who will leave guys like this off there ballot.

These writers like Mariotti and I hate to put this writer in the same window as him but this kind of thinking warrants that.

Please see comment above on the state of BBWAA voting. I’m not playing around with my vote. In any given year, some writers forget to sign ballots and others send them in without names on it. Those are a few of the dumb reasons why even a Mantle, Mays or Aaron hasn’t received 100 percent of the vote. I’ve always voted for the guys who were sure things the first time their names appear on the ballot. The ones who are on the bubble create the controversy.

You used 9 of your 10 possible votes. I would have completed the ballot with Bernie Williams as # 10.
-Dennis O.

I love Bernie. He was a very good player on a great team. But I don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer. In my mind, Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada are the Hall of Famers on that team. Like Bagwell, maybe I’ll change my mind about Bernie as time goes on.

Sidestepping the whole Bagwell issue…would you consider a vote for Larry Walker? Dominant, feared 5-tool player with strong rate stats whose counting stats are slightly reduced by injuries. The road stats I’ve seen are pretty excellent, so I think its fair to say that he wasn’t, unlike a number of his compatriots, a Coors Field creation. I think he falls solidly within the threshold for the Hall. What are your thoughts?

Here’s the problem with Walker’s candidacy: right field, the position he played. Twenty-four right fielders have been voted into the Hall and that number includes some of the greatest players in baseball history: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Reggie Jackson, Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline and Dave Winfield among them. Walker hit 383 homers and had 1,311 RBIs. Even Andre Dawson, who only recently was elected after a long wait, outpaced Walker with 438 homers and 1,591 RBIs, although Walker’s OPS was higher — -.965 to .806. Ruth — 714 homers, 2,213 RBI and and an all-time high 1.164 OPS. Aaron — 755 homers, all-time high 2,297 RBIs and a .928 OPS. Clemente, Aaron, Gwynn, Kaline and Winfield all had more than 3,000 hits. Sorry, I just don’t think Walker’s ever going to get in.

How can you say this line:
“As a lifetime member of the BBWAA I take this vote very seriously. I have no desire to be judge, juror or soothsayer. So I’ve decided to judge those players within the context of the era during which they played, and if they’re deserving, vote them in.”

And then not vote Jeff Bagwell in? You claim you value statistics and cite membership in SABR to back that up. Membership in a group is only worthwhile if you subscribe to the premise under which the group was founded.

There is a fantastic statistic known as OPS+ that gives an adjusted number on offensive performance based on era in which a player played and the parks in which he played. Jeff Bagwell has an OPS+ of 149. Your top 10 1B list by comparison:
1. Lou Gehrig – 178
2. Hank Greenberg – 158
3. Jimmie Foxx – 163
4. Orlando Cepeda – 133
5. Harmon Killebrew – 143
6. Willie McCovey – 147
7. Rod Carew – 131
8. Eddie Murray – 129
9. Bill Terry – 136
10. Frank Chance – 135

Steve Garvey had a career OPS+ of 116. Since OPS+ calculates the deviation from average where average is 100 you can literally say from a mathematical standpoint that the differential between Jeff Bagwell and Steve Garvey is literally more than TWICE that of Garvey and the average historical baseball player (Bagwell’s career OPS+ is 33 points higher than Garvey’s, while Garvey’s is obviously 16 points over the average).

As to the previous blog your referenced: Will you be voting for Dave Roberts any time soon? If situational play/clutch are more important to you than seasonal numbers or career numbers when determining who the better player is then obviously his stolen base in the ’04 ALCS is one of the most clutch plays of all time and therefore worthy of hall consideration, no?

Most players are on the back half of their careers before they even get to move somewhere else. So if they’re on a bad team or in a powerhouse division it is almost entirely out of their control until most of their peak has been spent. I’d agree that extra consideration is deserved for those who did produce when key situations arrived, but you can’t penalize players for a lack of post-season success or accolades.

For example, Chris Carpenter’s early trials in Toronto and serious health issues leading to lost seasons would make him an outsider looking in at the hall for most. But his 9-2 career playoff record with a 3.05 ERA, 3-0 WS record with a 2.00 ERA, and the fact that he’s won 2 World Series should in my mind push him over the hump and into the hall. That doesn’t mean Roy Halladay is anything but a lock in my mind despite few post season accomplishments of note.

Jeff Bagwell’s regular season career is so far above the field at 1B that it is absurd is isn’t a first ballot HOF candidate, regardless of his post-season accolades or records.

I’m sorry, when did OPS or OPS+ become the barometer for voting players into the Hall of Fame?

What i’m really curious about is how the 2013 election will turn out. Clemens,Sosa,Bonds,Piazza,Schilling and Biggio are all first timers on it. I’m assuming Biggio gets in even though he is kinda like Bagwell with the no proof deal of ever using steroids but thats gonna leave Bagwell off for at least 2 or 3 more years. I dont see Bonds or Clemens making it and if they dont make it Sosa has no chance. Piazza will prob have a outside chance but I think voters will treat him like they do Bagwell which means Craig Biggio might get in even though he prob used em too. The 2013 election will deff be a benchmark for the steroid era.

Biggio will get in next year, although he loses votes because a lot of my brethren won’t vote for anyone who played during the steroid era, including Ripken and Gwynn. Biggio finished with 3,060 hits and the only retired player on the 3,000 or above hit list who wasn’t eventually voted into the Hall was Pete Rose, who is not eligible. I will vote for Biggio next year. The ballot now becomes so crowded that Bagwell will have a hard time until the end of the decade.

Hey! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

I have been reading out some of your articles and i can claim pretty good stuff. I will surely bookmark your blog.

Mr.Bloom,
Thank you for your service as a writer. I feel that as a life long Astros fan Bagwell was a special player. When he came to bat I believed the score could change and counted bitters to see if he would get an at bat in the ninth. Houston fans do not have much to point to in the Hall. Ryan went in as a Ranger, Morgan not as an Astro. I have understood these things. We have no Mantle or Ruth. All we have is Bagwell and Biggio and they were good enough. I won’t throw the numbers at you again. Consider that the fans who were forged by watching these men play and hang on the hope to one day have the “next” Bagwell come around know that he is deserving and as fans in some measure we are as well. We have begun to expect if you are not a Yankee, Red Sox, Cardinal, or Cub then you do not matter. Writers of the past expressed passion for the game and it’s greats. The true story for a fan of Bags is can we recognize not only a deserving player but a group of fans, who are ever linked to the greats by love of the game they played? I humbly submit to you sir that he is deserving and so are the many people he brought into the game as fans. Red Sox fans will always be fans without Rice or the next Williams we the Astros fans are looking on in the hopes that our heroes too can have a place for us to show our children and grandchildren “there is a great ballplayer and I was there to watch him play”. Thank you again and please in the loaded classes to come consider the man for what he deserves without question.

great work, keep up the great website.

What a neat article. I had no iknling.

Beside the Bagwell ommission, I like your ballot. I also appreciate your measured responses. But like everyone else, I really dislike the Bagwell / Garvey comparison. It is so woefully incomplete that it was painful to read. Your follow ups explaining that it is simply your opinion is much easier to take. The hardest part to understand is that if Garvey and Bagwell are similar and Garvey is worthy, then are you choosing not to vote for Bagwell because other voters disagreed with your opinion in the past? Just doesn’t make sense. Add in Bagwell compared to McGriff and Edgar and I really don’t understand. As an NYer, Yankee, and AL fan, I rooted for the Astros because of Bagwell. He was just a monster. Leadoff hitters wish they could hit for average, walk, steal bases, and score runs like him yet he is a top power hitter. Not many over the past 30 years can make that claim, only the best – the clear HOFers. You gave your reasoning for Edgar (wanted to show respect for the DH position). What I want to know is why include McGriff and what are your thoughts on Larry Walker?

McGriff fell only seven short of 500 homers and I don’t think he should be penalized for that. In my judgment, he was a clean player whose career arced through the steroid era and and tapered off from 37 to 40 as it should have without the help of PEDs. And I’ll repeat what I said earlier about Walker:

Here’s the problem with Walker’s candidacy: right field, the position he played. Twenty-four right fielders have been voted into the Hall and that number includes some of the greatest players in baseball history: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Reggie Jackson, Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline and Dave Winfield among them. Walker hit 383 homers and had 1,311 RBIs. Even Andre Dawson, who only recently was elected after a long wait, outpaced Walker with 438 homers and 1,591 RBIs, although Walker’s OPS was higher — -.965 to .806. Ruth — 714 homers, 2,213 RBI and and an all-time high 1.164 OPS. Aaron — 755 homers, all-time high 2,297 RBIs and a .928 OPS. Clemente, Aaron, Gwynn, Kaline and Winfield all had more than 3,000 hits. Sorry, I just don’t think Walker’s ever going to get in.

Pat Gillick says “I have personally brought this up a number of times to
different baseball people, front office people, owners, coaches,
managers, players that knew of our time,” Tony La Russa, the now-retired
legendary manager, told me when we spoke a few nights ago. “I cannot
believe the lack of support that Alan is receiving. “Trammell was
probably one of the most all-around defensive and offensive shortstops
in the American League in the late 1970s and 1980s.” That era included
Cal Ripken, elected to the Hall in
2007 with 98.5 percent of the vote. It included Robin Yount, elected to
the Hall in 1999 with 77.4 percent of the vote. It also included, over
in the National League, Ozzie Smith, elected in 2002 with 91.7 percent
of the vote.
Trammell, now in his 11th year on the ballot, checked in at only 24.3
percent last year. And that was a good year. It was up from 22.4 percent
the year before, and 17.4 percent before that. La Russa argues
vehemently that Trammell is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. Would he have
traded Trammell for Smith straight up? “That’s a tough one,” Gillick
said. “That’s a real tough one.” No question, Ozzie is a Hall of Famer.
Now. If you agonize like that over whether to trade a legit Hall of
Famer for Trammell …
there’s your answer regarding Trammell’s Cooperstown qualifications.
Trammell clobbers Smith across the board in nearly every statistical
offensive category. It’s not even close. Defensively? Even if you favor
Smith here, the difference between him and Trammell is nowhere near the
chasm their Hall voting totals suggest. “They’re two different type of
players,” Gillick said. “That’s the difference. Yount, Ripken and
Trammell were offensive shortstops. La Russa said. “Just to admire his
mechanics, how you catch a ball, exactly how you teach. Hands low and
out front, his over-the-top throw. Almost without exception, he’d hit
the first baseman with the throw between the chin and his waist. “It was
remarkable how accurate and true his throws were. You can talk offensive
stats that were impressive, he was a dynamite defensive player, and he
was a clutch player and leader.” “And the fact that he not only was a
good offensive player and an excellent defensive player, he also was
very, very talented in the field-he knew how to play the game, knew what
to do in situations.” La Russa said he ranks Trammell alongside such
luminaries as Ripken, George Brett and Kirby Puckett-all Hall of
Famers-and a few others. Yet … 24 percent of the Hall vote last
winter? When contemporaries with whom he was on the same level long
since have been inducted? “Basically, if you ask 10 people to rate
Ozzie, Trammell, Yount and Ripken, you’d get some consensus,” Gillick
said. “But I don’t think everyone would have the same ratings 1 through
4. I think one would prefer one over the other, and someone else would
prefer one over another.

I personally agree and vote for Trammell every year. It’s exactly like my Garvey argument. Can’t understand why Trams doesn’t get more support. Great player and even better guy.

Peerfct shot! Thanks for your post!

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wow, awesome blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.

My intention here is to remain civil and engage; not rant and rave and hurl insults, no matter how well-deserved they may be. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own perspective; their own conclusion. As I constructed this response, again and again and again, I tried to honor that very conceit, pushing myself to stay on a course that would not raise blood pressure but awareness; that would not close communication lines but open them; that would not end debate but spark it.

Having said that…

“And just a note on Jeff Bagwell: Rumors about possible steroid use don’t bother me. I just think he’s a very good player, but not of Hall of Fame caliber. His numbers are very similar to Steve Garvey.”

Before writing this, I did copious amounts of research: I spent the better part of two consecutive weekends at my local library, pouring over voluminous tomes detailing the many intricacies of the written word and its various evolutions; I spoke to scholars, engaged published authors and solicited the feedback of tenured professors with years and years and years of literary experience; I tore into the very history of our langue, it’s origins and various manifestations throughout the centuries; I met with archeologists on remote dig sites to explore hieroglyphics and early forms of communications; I traveled the world to spend time soaking in other cultures and ethnicities, burying myself – at times, neck-deep in their unique languages and means of communicating with one another.

All because I did not want to speak from a place of ignorance, nor did I want hyperbole to seep into my comments and render them flaccid. And having done my due diligence, I can now say, without an ounce of malicious intent, that your quote above is the single dumbest thing anybody has ever said/written in the entire history of mankind.

I don’t even sincerely know where to begin; trying to wrap my head around its ignorance has rendered me less smart than I was prior to reading it. So here goes nuthin’…

Let’s begin here: In a paragraph in which you proclaim Bagwell’s numbers to be “very similar” to Steve Garvey’s, you list their home run totals but fail to note the (I would think) blindingly obvious 177 differential; their RBI totals and the glaring 221 differential. These numbers are not similar. Meanwhile, you don’t bother to mention that Bagwell scored 374 more runs (sort of, kind of the object of the game, isn’t it?) or stole 119 more bases (as a first baseman; at a 71% success rate, no less – which is roughly on par with Lou Brock’s success rate). These numbers are also dissimilar.

That’s plenty dumb, to be sure – but you weren’t satisfied with mere dumb here, were you? No, no, Mr. Bloom – you had your eyes on a certain mythical level of dumb, didn’t you? And here it is: While citing/not citing all these *counting* statistics; ie stats that accumulate – you completely ignore that Steve Garvey played in 182 MORE games than Jeff Bagwell. Let me repeat that, in all caps because it deserves such an obnoxious emphasis: STEVE GARVEY PLAYED IN 182 MORE GAMES THAN JEFF BAGWELL.

Never mind that the numbers are certifiably NOT similar in a purely 1:1 comparison…Garvey’s inferior numbers – which, again are *counting* statistics – were accumulated in MORE games.

(And yes, Garvey’s era was more depressed, offensively. But, as you might recall from the Dodgers’ old NL West days, the Astrodome was a notorious pitcher’s park (Garvey, for instance, hit 4 HRs and slugged .323 in his 492 career ABs there) – and roughly 2,400 of Bagwell’s 7,797 career ABs occurred there. That, of course, was also not mentioned.)

Oh, but the dumb didn’t stop there. Nope. You then had to reveal yourself to be nothing beyond an old, lazy journalist who doesn’t consider new statistics to be a viable means to help make better, more accurate determinations about players such as Bagwell and Garvey. There is no mention of Bagwell’s decided advantage in the following categories: on-base percentage (.408 to .329); slugging percentage (.540 to .446); OPS (.948 to .775); OPS+ (in which a score of 100 is considered roughly league average – 149 to 116); or WAR (which measures the number of wins a player added to his team – 79.6 to 35.9; again, I need to mention this is a counting stat and that STEVE GARVEY PLAYED IN 182 MORE GAMES THAN JEFF BAGWELL). Nope, you’ve hung your hat on batting average. How very 1950s of you.

More dumb: You cite team accomplishments as a means to measure individual performance, which makes about as much sense as, well comparing Jeff Bagwell to Steve Garvey by using nothing beyond batting average. Worse, you don’t even seem remotely aware of how good the Astros were during Bagwell’s tenure. The team, which had been to the postseason twice in its first 29 years of their existence prior to Bagwell’s arrival, went 7 times during his career, including their first and only World Series appearance. In fact, no team, save for the Braves and Yankees, won more games between 1997 and 2005 than the Houston Astros. They won 4 division titles during a nine-year stretch and won their first, second and third postseason series in team history. All during Bagwell’s career. That is not a wild coincidence.

Further, while you do cite Garvey’s individual accomplishments, you fail to list any of Bagwell’s, which are quite comparable, if not superior. He won Rookie of the Year; Garvey did not. They both won an MVP but Bagwell actually finished in the top 10 six times to Garvey’s five. No, Bagwell did not win a prestigious All-Star MVP (I can’t believe you’d even have the gall to mention that – did Garvey also win a spring training batting title?) but he did win three Silver Slugger awards – one fewer than Albert Pujols. Granted, the award was first presented in 1980, past Garvey’s prime – but it is of note that he did not win one his final seven seasons. Garvey did have the advantage in Gold Gloves – by one. And yes, his consecutive games streak is impressive – but Bagwell did have a nine-year stretch in which he missed only 31 games, playing in 1,427 of a possible 1,458 contests. Garvey had six full seasons of playing every game; Bagwell four – so it’s hard to argue Bagwell wasn’t an equally durable player.

While I sincerely do admire your stance, regarding the PED issue, and respect that my Hall of Fame standards are different than yours and that there is plenty of room for us to respectfully disagree on his worthiness (I would passionately argue that Bagwell was, prior to Pujols, the greatest National League first baseman in history), I ask that you please consider this email and retract what is a factually inaccurate statement about Bagwell and Garvey.

Their numbers are not similar. Bagwell was a decidedly better player by any and every measure.

No mater how much copious research you did, this paragraph is out of line:

“I can now say, without an ounce of malicious intent, that your quote above is the single dumbest thing anybody has ever said/written in the entire history of mankind.”

I’m not sure why responders like yourself think you have to say pejorative things like this to make your point. Plus you have the luxury I don’t: you can hide behind your anonymity. I don’t know who your are, but you know exactly who I am.

As part of your next round of copious research, why not read through the rest of the comments on this blogs to see how other people handled it, and of course, take note of my responses.

I cut you off at the paragraph and just like I said to others, who were rude, give it another college try. You can obviously do better than that.

BTW, to all future readers: The 2012 Hall of Fame election is over. Please stop opining on Garvey v. Bagwell.

For 2013 I have made the decision to vote for Bagwell. Here are my preliminary 10-person ballot thoughts for you guys to chew on:

1. Jeff Bagwell
2. Craig Biggio
3. Barry Bonds
4. Roger Clemens
5. Mark McGwire
6. Jack Morris
7. Rafael Palmeiro
8. Mike Piazza
9. Tim Raines
10. Sammy Sosa

See you in December on this to chat about my final choices.

Boomskie

yet another post. Where else could material explained so well friend, and basically.

Awesome post! I will keep an on eye on your blog.

Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

Hi there dear sir, awesome blog! I found it very interesting and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my friends!

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One of the greatest travesties in baseball is that players such as McGuire, Sosa, Bonds, Palmiero, Clemens are even being considered for the HOF, while Pete Rose is left out in the cold.

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