16 January 2013

How Orioles Writers Would Vote for Hall of Fame (2013)

Last week, on the day that the Hall of Fame voters elected no one into the Hall of Fame, I wondered how the perspective was among the local writers on Baltimore Sports and Life, Camden Chat, Camden Depot, and Orioles Hangout.  My general expectation was that with this voting pool trending younger than the real voting pool that this group would be much kinder to players who are known to have used steroids and those who people feel used steroids as well as a greater acceptance of more recent tools assessing player value (e.g., wOBA, WAR, defensive metrics).

Who did we think belong in the HoF?
Jeff Bagwell (77% vs 60%)
Craig Biggio (77% vs 68%)
Barry Bonds (77% vs 36%)
Roger Clemens (77% vs 38%)
Mike Piazza (100% vs 58%)
Tim Raines (85% vs 52%)
Alan Trammell (77% vs 34%)

Players we kept on the ballot who fell off in reality?
Kenny Lofton (38% vs 3%)

Players we dropped who stayed on?
Lee Smith (0% vs 48%)
Sammy Sosa (0% vs 13%)
The complete vote:

As you can see there was a decent amount of variety in voter perspective.  Most readily apparent were the two voters from Orioles Hangout, Tony Pente and Michael Williams, who not only we remarkable is deeming few players worthy this year for the Hall, but also a minority opinion on Jack Morris' placement.
Tony: Jack Morris may not have the ERA that most Hall of Famers have but he was one of the best pitchers in the AL over a 10 to 11 year period. A five time All-Star, Morris was a big time pitcher in the World Series as well. Piazza has first ballot HoF numbers and is one of the best if not the best offensive catcher of all time. No idea if his numbers were PED enhanced or not, but he's never been linked or accused and his numbers never took a big jump. Biggio is another player I would vote for but I do believe that only special players get in on the first ballot. Biggio would be on my ballot next year. PED guys need not apply to my ticket.
Jeremy Strain from our very own Camden Depot carried the water alone for Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, and Mark McGwire.
Jeremy: Mattingly may not be the big masher that people tend to see at 1B, but is one of the most consistent batters ever and his lifetime .307/.358/.471 line is still very impressive.  The clincher for me is that he's considered one of the best defensive 1B to ever play.  McGwire would have been elected if not for the steroid cloud. As far as this archetype of power hitters (lower average, higher k's, higher BB) he is the golden example. A lifetime .394 OBP and .588 SLG are just eye popping one year numbers, let alone career averages.  Finally, McGriff barely made the cut for me, but consistency over his long career really stood out. Very good performer in the postseason, and standout 1995 led Braves to their World Series win. Not quite as high as McGwire, but .377 OBP and .509 SLG over 19 years is something most teams would kill for today.
I asked Camden Chat's Matt Shaffner about his choice of Rafael Palmeiro.
Matt: My inclusion of Raffy would have been with an eye just to keep them on the ballot going forward, as he seemed to be the most in danger of falling off the ballot. Raffy is certainly a marginal candidate, but I still think a discussion of his merits is worthwhile. 500 & 3000 is one of the rarest of achievements. He never had a 'peak', but was a model of consistency. And, truthfully, I remain somewhat skeptical of the B12 drama, and would like to see him stay on the ballot should more of that story ever come to light.
Finally, I asked Baltimore Sports and Life's Jeff Long about Larry Walker.
Jeff: Larry Walker is a Hall Of Famer to me for the simple reason that I'm not going to punish him for playing in Coors. He compares fairly well compared to the rest of this class as well; his WAR7 (best 7 seasons in his career in terms of WAR) puts him 6th in the class, overall WAR puts him 5th, so we're talking about a solid peak & longevity. By Career OPS he's 4th, and his OPS+ which adjusts for the park he played in has him 7th (ahead of guys like Palmeiro, Raines, McGriff, etc.

The Voters
Baltimore Sports and Life
Kevin Ebert
Jeff Long
Lance Rinker
Camden Chat
Mark Brown
Brett Guizzetti
Matt Shaffner
Camden Depot
Matt Kremnitzer
Daniel Moroz
Joe Reisel
Jon Shepherd
Jeremy Strain
Orioles Hangout
Tony Pente
Michael Williams

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