It’s official. The Baseball Writers Association of America voters have selected Barry Larkin as the newest member of the baseball Hall of Fame. Huzzah!
Unfortunately, it appears that maybe a few voters were asleep at the wheel. Check the full results (courtesy of bbwaa.com).
That’s a shame. It seems that maybe a few voters were asleep at the wheel or something. No surprise there. This isn’t the first time the voters have magically pulled only 1 rabbit out of a fully packed hat.
WE ARE STILL DOING HALL OF FAME VOTING WRONG: I suggested last week in “We Are Doing the Hall of Fame Wrong” that most armchair voters base their decisions on something other than set criteria or established guidelines. For lack of a better name, consider this process the “a la carte” approach, because it allows people to arbitrarily pick and choose statistics to use when making a case for or against a particular player. Thus, some discussions become centered around the number of wins a pitcher has accumulated or some player’s “clutchness” as defined by a group of people who have VCR’s at home with the clock still blinking “12:00″.
ALT METHOD v1.0: If you are playing the at-home version of the “Cooperstown HoF Voting for Rocket Surgeons”, then feel free to try some variation of this method.
- Pick some really cool, fancy advanced statistics to use for comparing player against each other as well as an expected standard. I tend to use WAR, ERA+, OPS+, FIP, and statistics for a player’s 162 game average. You could just as easily include things like wOBA and wRC+.
- Look at some of the aforementioned for several players already in the Hall of Fame to create some reference points.
- Delineate between raw data statistics and refined data statistics. A relatively decent working definition of the latter is simply that it is a raw data statistic that has had some mathematical adjustment or correction performed in order to help eliminate certain inherent biases.
- Decide which additional categories you are willing to use for debating cases for players on the bubble. Maybe this is a good time to factor in the teams involved, era-specific context, and individual achievements/awards.
- Identify a player that represents the lowest threshold possible for gaining admittance, and compare the candidate against the HoF guy.
- Apply the same system to every single candidate you wish to consider.
Go ahead and give this a try to see if you can tweak your system to accurately predict which players make the HoF and which ones do not.
VOTING PROCESS FYI: In order to determine which players get added to the ballot each year, the BBWAA creates a selection committee to narrow down the field as much as reasonably possible. The committee members are then locked in a very warm room with refrigerators full of non-alcoholic and no bathroom. The names of all players eligible to be put on the ballot are printed on Big Chief notebook paper, and all the pages are pasted to the northernmost wall of the room. Each member is then given a blindfold and 10 shots with a paintball gun. After all shots have been taken, representatives from Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe carefully yank the pages off the wall. If a player’s page is covered by 3 or more different colors, then that player’s name goes on the ballot.
TIDBIT: The prediction last week was that Larkin would “clear the bar easily”, and 86% of the vote probably counts as “easily”. I also mentioned that Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Larry Walker, and Mark McGwire would all gain some support. Morris jumped from 53.5% in 2011 to 66.7% in 2012. Bagwell made a similar jump from 41.7% to 56.0%. Lee Smith gained slightly from 45.3% to 50.6%, Larry Walker moved from 20.3% to 22.9%, and McGwire dipped slightly from 19.8% to 19.5%. Finally, Bernie Williams is the only 1st timer to collect more than 5% in order to remain on the ballot for next year.
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