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hall of fameVoting for the next Hall of Fame class is currently underway, as ballots are due by the end of the year. As we discussed recently, this year’s class makes for extremely difficult choices, given the depth and character of the former players now available for enshrinement.

And, because of that ballot depth – adding Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Kent, among others, to a group that already includes the heavyweights of the Steroid Era – the foundation has been laid for one of the most contentious, and potentially obnoxious, voting seasons in the Hall’s history.

Look no further than Deadspin’s ongoing effort to purchase a ballot (recently scuttled and then un-scuttled) to be used by readers of the site, which is designed to make a statement about the fractured, and disappointing process. As Keith Law points out today, granting lifetime voting rights to folks who’ve been Baseball Writers Association of America members for at least 10 years guarantees an electorate that could be a healthy bit out of touch with what’s actually going on in the baseball world.

Take a look blogging blogger who blogs, Murray Chass*, who today revealed his ballot and the reasons for it. After saying that he’ll vote for Jack Morris (naturally), Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine (and possibly Frank Thomas, though he’s still not decided), Chass offers his excluded list:

The boxes next to these 10 names will not get an X: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa.

These non-exes won’t get my vote because they were proved to have cheated, admitted they cheated or are strongly suspected of having cheated. I have not voted for any player in those categories and am not prepared to start doing so now.

Setting aside, as Hardball Talk humorously points out, that there are plenty of good reasons not to vote for some of those guys, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone even whisper Biggio’s name in connection with PEDs. I also have long thought it very unfair to include Bagwell and Piazza in such lists without a little more evidence.

That, of course, underscores the huge problem with excluding juicers from the Hall: even if we all agree that cheaters should be kept out, how in the world are we ever going to agree on which guys actually cheated?

For a more healthy example of the struggles that go into HOF voting in this era, read Steve Simmons’ process on putting together his ballot. I don’t agree with everything he says, and there’s a healthy dose of moralizing, but it’s also useful to see how densely packed the ballot is this year when you’re limited to just 10 names (hell – Simmons doesn’t even discuss, let alone vote for, Craig Biggio or Tim Raines).

*(For those who don’t actually click that link – and if you haven’t, don’t bother – Chass has a comical antipathy for bloggers. He is not actually a blogger, and I’m not sure how welcomed he would be into our gutterly ranks.)

  • bbmoney

    “or are strongly suspected of having cheated”

    I can’t get beyond that. And as Brett mentions for a couple of those guys take the word “strongly” with a serious grain of salt.

    • Bluz Cluz

      I don’t care if they have been remotely accused of cheating, or thought to have failed at attempting to cheat, I don’t want them in. Cheater is the lowest you can go in sports.

      • AB

        Opinions like this (and their pervasiveness among the writers/”experts” who actually vote) are why I couldn’t give a crap about the so-called Baseball Hall of Fame.

        • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

          This is about the HOF, not a Supreme Court decision.
          It is completely based on opinion and feeling – as it should be.
          Anyone can vote the way they want for whatever reason they choose.
          You don’t have to agree with them.
          This is not science.
          It’s baseball.

          • mjhurdle

            “It is completely based on opinion and feeling – as it should be.”

            I would disagree that is is completely about opinion and feeling, and disagree that it should be about opinion and feeling.
            It should be mostly about baseball achievements. Opinions enter when you limit the number of players that have notable baseball achievements and are forced to choose between them.
            But even then, an opinion (or worse a feeling) that is not backed by any sort of factual evidence is a horrible standard with which to admit someone into something like the HoF.

            • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

              I disagree. There shouldn’t be a formula for what makes someone a hall of famer. It’s subjective. I hate all this “if you hit x number of home runs and get x number of RBI and get x number of doubles you are an automatic hall of famer.”

              I know a lot of people like to have solid, objective, inarguable “facts” that determine whether someone is a hall of famer or not but I think that would suck.

              • mjhurdle

                without using any sort of “facts”, then you basically are advocating that the Hall of Fame process becomes the same as All Star voting.
                There is no “automatic” stats that get you in. The reason people say “if you get x number of this stat, you are in” is because those milestones have been reached by such a small number of players that it is virtually impossible to say that Player X is one of only 4 people in baseball history with 4,000 hits and at the same time say he was not one of the best ever and deserving of HoF status.

                Without any standards, who cares who had the better stats or is the most deserving, all we care about is who is popular at the time, plays for the largest market, and had the most “memorable” plays in their career.
                David Freese would love for the HoF to go to “feelings” only inductions, because he would be an automatic for his great 2011 postseason. But he will never make it if they actually use pesky things like stats.

              • DarthHater

                Relying on measurable facts, rather than subjective impressions, is not the same as applying a fixed formula that mandates Hall admission if a specific set of numbers is achieved.

          • bbmoney

            Sure they can vote however they want. Doesn’t mean that they should.

            Denying someone something that is important to them because of a feeling or a rumor (that has no evidence to support it) is a pretty crappy thing to do. However you want to try to justify it.

            And obviously it’s not as important as a trial or SC decision. But if that’s part of the justification why it’s ok to just vote on feelings or opinions not backed up by anything more than that, then I’d say its time for that voter to give up their vote. Otherwise put some actual work and thought and logic into it and don’t just cast a broad net.

      • de jesus to trillo to buckner

        I formally accuse you of using steroids.

        Congratulations, you’ve got something in common with Craig Biggio now.

    • Dylan Mondi

      I agree. It isn’t fair to exclude someone just because they are “strongly suspected” of something. It is basically saying “We think this happened so you can’t join us”

      Opinion is different than the facts. Unless you have actual evidence other than a report then that is fine. But don’t always trust “reports”. It was like when the Cubs nearly signed Anibal Sanchez, they were reportedly in agreement but then Sanchez decided to go back to the Tigers.

      Sammy Sosa was never proven to use steroids. There are reports and speculation but it was never actually proven. If Hall of Fame voters are basing their Hall of Fame votes just on speculation then it is time for new voters.

      • Bluz Cluz

        Fact is required in a court of of law, the whole Hall of Fame voting system is based off of opinion. These guys have no obligation to vote for Anyone, steroid user or not. Its the voters opinion on if a guy deserves it.

      • dshea

        Unfortunately there was no testing in baseball and the little test results they have are either under lock and key or destroyed. So all we’re left with are suspicions and accusations. Until there is more evidence of test results provided by MLB, this is all they have to go on.

    • mjhurdle

      It is a hard line to draw. I agree that it isn’t fair to bar someone based on a rumor of a rumor of possible use.
      On the other hand (and this is totally just my opinion) i think the merits for the HoF should be considered as well.
      if you have a player like Bonds, that was a HoF player in almost all aspects of the game before he (reportedly) began using PEDs and putting up crazy power numbers, and you have no proof that he used, i would be more inclined to let him in.
      But if you have a player like Sosa or McGwire, whose only claim to the Hall is their power numbers, then you have the allegations of PED use, it makes it harder for me to feel like they deserve to be in when there is so much doubt about the source of their one claim to fame.
      I don’t know of any absolute that can be used as the standard here, which makes it so hard to judge.

  • Bluz Cluz

    Brett, I’m not sure if you remember, but I brought his name up a few months back. Biggio has long been connected to steroids, even before he retired. In fact, he has been strongly suspected. Maybe I dig a little deeper, but I have and several others have strongly suspected Biggio for years.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d like to take a look if you’ve got any articles/etc. on that subject. I could simply be misremembering.

      • Bluz Cluz

        I’m not sure how to post links, but let me dig for a second’

      • Bluz Cluz

        Funny. I just type Craig Biggio in Google, and the 4th line down before hitting enter said steroids.

        • bbmoney

          I just did that same google seach and the fourth link was a link to an article ripping the Murray Chass’ article. That’s kind of circular.

          • Bluz Cluz

            You’re talking articles, I was talking about how Google will help your search while you are still typing it in.

      • Bluz Cluz

        I don’t know how to post links, but I Google Craig biggio steroids, and several articles popped up, including on where he answered questions about it all the way back in January. So him being connected is not something Chase created.

        • Jon

          That copy and paste thing can be tricky…..

          • Bluz Cluz

            Is that all you do. I have never posted a link anywhere except into Microsoft word for cite purposes in a report.

            • bbmoney

              However you googled it, I don’t really see anything substantial in the results. Just vague accusations from guys like Pearlman and Chass that amount to…hey, he played with Clemens and Caminiti and was good for a while so he must have used.

              And other such absurdities. Of course by this standard Jeter must have used peds. I mean he played with Clemens, Pettitte and ARod. So no voting for Jeter. Of course no one would accuse Jeter, but that’s all it would take..one silly accusation by Jeff Pearlman or Murray Chass and Jeter wouldn’t get my vote either.

            • AB

              “I have never posted a link anywhere except into Microsoft word for cite purposes in a report.”

              You’re extremely intricate method of linking Craig Biggio to steroids by using google autosearch results could have fooled me. I thought you were some kind of technological expert based on your previous work.

    • mjhurdle

      The “connection” of Biggio to PEDs is that he played on the Astros and was friends with Bagwell, who other people suspect because he was friends with Camineti, who was a known user.
      I’m not sure being a friend of a friend of a PED user should constitute being “connected” to steroids.

  • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

    I know that the eye-test isn’t really fair for judging PED users, but I saw Jeff Bagwell out skiing about 3 years ago and he was about 30 pounds lighter than in his playing days.

    • Chris

      The prosecution rests.

      • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

        That’d be funny if I hadn’t prefaced my statement by saying that judging this way “isn’t really fair”.

  • Blackhawks1963

    My ballot…

    Biggio
    Glavine
    Maddux
    Morris
    Thomas

    I hate this crap of not voting certain guys in on the first ballot, hence why I think only Maddux and Biggio get elected this time. Thomas should absolutely be first ballot, but won’t be. Morris you say? One of the best and most effective workhorses is the 1980s. If Blyleven is deservedly in the Hall, then Jack needs to be too.

    My big fat no list of steroid suspects….

    Bagwell
    Bonds
    Clemens
    McGwire
    Palmiero
    Piazza
    Sosa

    • Bluz Cluz

      There is no way in hell Biggio gets in.

      • mjhurdle

        Maybe not this year, but barring any new accusations/proof of PED use, Biggio will be in the Hall eventually.
        The only players with 3K hits that aren’t in the Hall yet are Biggio, Palmerio, and Rose.
        One of those is not like the other.

        • Bluz Cluz

          Right, that’s why Rose should be in. :-D

          • Jon

            Wait, I thought cheating was the lowest common denominator in all of sports. Rose gambling on baseball( even if he didn’t directly bet against his team ) during his managerial tenure, cheated the game.

            You can’t have it both ways here.

    • Norm

      Why does “in the 80′s” count more than say, 1978-1987? Or 1983-1992?

    • hansman

      Um Morris was one of the best? He was barely above average in terms of ERA+

      Even if you just cull it down to the 80′s he was at 109.

      His only claim to fame is his longevity, in which case Jaime Moyer is a first ballot 95% guy.

      If there is a year where there is no one else to vote for (as the was 2 years ago or even last year), whatever but voting him in with this class is silly.

      • mjhurdle

        agreed. To even compare him to Blyleven is a bit ridiculous.
        Blyleven had 14 season with a 120+ ERA+. Morris had 6. Morris’s high water mark was 133, Blyleven’s was 156.
        Blyleven had 7 years where he finished with a higher ERA+ than Morris’s career high of 133.
        To imply that they are the same level of pitcher is just unfounded.

        • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

          Morris was just as good as Blyleven they both should be in the Hall. Morris got the Original Car Burners (Detroit) over the top and did it again in the 90′s as he shut down the Braves in epic form for a WS championship title. Like I mentioned earlier as Cub fans, Shark makes the Hall if he got it done like Morris in the Fall classic and “w” over 200 regular season Cub games period. The hall is the right place to display leaders that lead teams to championships.

          • mjhurdle

            “Morris was just as good as Blyleven they both should be in the Hall.”
            I can respect that you think that Morris should be in the Hall, even though I don’t agree. But to say he was equally as good as Blyleven is something that is just not true.

            • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

              mjhurdle Blyleven had nasty breaking action on his curve ball, swing/miss, frozen stiff/caught looking stuff… sad that he never got to show case it in the high pressure money situations like Morris thrived in.

              • hansman

                Morris thrived in the big money games?

                More like he performed to his career average and had one really awesome game.

  • E

    So Murray Chass uses a blogging software to write “columns” but he isn’t a blogger. Wow.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    You could probably re-sign Shark add Garza or Ubaldo for less than Tanaka will cost.

  • Jon

    Roids or no roids, why would Paul Lo Duca be on anyone’s hof list?

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

    Morris as an “old Man”, completely shut down the Braves during the WS, As a “young man” he certainly got done what “Sparky” wanted done…..lots of complete games, bullpen saver and lots of “W” that is the stat that identifies finished business period……That’s right over time the “W” is it. The stat is timeless many of top notch starters have won 20 plus on crappy teams. As Cub fans, if this happened to a guy that pitched his ass off and delivered the big one all your asses would be crying for good reason! To me he is getting the Santo treatment…. Glavine gets my vote for the same reason as above. Thomas gets my vote for being a great baseball player plus 500 legit HR’s….Maddox goes in missing just one vote….The rest can wait…

    • Andrew

      The idea of waiting is stupid. The ballot will get more crowded next year with Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson as slam dunks among many other good players. If you dont elect some guys now, the ballots will get too crowded for anyone to get in.

    • hansman

      Santo had a 125 OPS+ compared to Morris’ 105 ERA+

      Santo did it while battling diabetes.

      Santo got screwed to the nth degree. Morris is getting left out because he wasn’t good enough to warrant election.

      • cubfanincardinalland

        The Hall of Fame is about as inefficient as you can get, and has a ton of team bias.
        Santo was a career 70.9 WAR.
        Lou Brock career WAR 43.2.
        End of story.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Morris’ great Game 7 performance was memorable. However, take that away, and would anybody remember him as any great omission?

      (Of course, there are Mets fans who sincerely believe that Tom Glavine should never be allowed in the HoF due to his last start in 2007, so there you go….)

      • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

        What would be the point of watching if took all the great Title (7) game performances away? (Just call every high WAR a positional world champion). I do remember the Met’s employing an old Tom Glavine he won about (15) one of those years maybe got his 300th as a Met. Not certain he had enough talent at that stage of his career to get the Mets in the WS, I think in the end he started getting shelled!

  • DarthHater

    [img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5500/11571316464_39cf75eec3_o.jpg[/img]

    • beerhelps

      Fantastic.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    Anyone that doesn’t vote for Greg Maddux should lose their voter eligibility forever. Fact.

    I’ve heard that some voters simply refuse to vote for a player on his first try. Excuse my language, but that’s a gosh-darn joke!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      No, that is an opinion. (It is a fact that it is your opinion.)

      Maddux only won 20 games twice. His performance in postseason was not spectacular. He got only 1 WS Ring (because of it,) too. Historical revisionism now claims that he pitched purely on guile (“his fastball never topped 90… no, 80… no, 70…. kph, no mph!”) In the minds of some old-schoolers, these things will disqualify Maddux as a first-rounder.

      And they know because they’ve been WATCHING baseball since the world was in black and white (and probably mostly white at that!), thank you very much….

      Basically, Derek Jeter is the guy who will please old-schoolers (“he was “clutch” in post-season and always, a great clubhouse leader and a brilliant fielder!”) and new-schoolers (“sure, he couldn’t field for a damn, but he was an amazing batter who provided good value at a skill position.”)

      • Canadian Cubs Fan

        I was kidding with the whole “fact” thing, but not totally. He won 355 games, with over 3.300 strikeouts, and did it pitching against all those juice pigs in the 90′s.

        No, he didn’t have the best postseason numbers, but there are guys in the hall that never won a World Series, which is more of a team thing.

        It should be a unanimous vote. Period.

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  • http://gameagame Brandon

    The HOF is already full of cheaters, current players just found a better way to cheat.Example…pull up Pud Galvin the “original” PED user, so for anyone to bring up integerty or to call someone a cheater one needs to take a look into current HOF members and start kicking them out. Fair is fair, it was alright to cheat 100 years ago, it was alright to cheat 50 years ago, but if you cheated in the last 25 years, we will call you a cheater and make an example out of you. The HOF is a damn joke.

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