Tracking the Hall of Fame Tracker (2019 Version)

December 16, 2018
Tracking the Hall of Fame Tracker – 2019 Version
If you’re a Baseball Hall of Fame aficionado, one of the great joys of this season is diving into "The Baseball Hall of Fame Tracker", which is diligently maintained by Ryan Thibodaux and his merry band of ballot trackers. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s essentially an online Excel file that keeps track of writers’ Hall of Fame ballot selections as they become known. Sometimes a writer posts a column announcing his or her selections, sometimes the writer may verbally communicate the selections through some other medium (like Twitter), etc. In any case, Thibodaux and his team collect the results and track them here.
I always find it interesting to see how the different players are tracking and to see if there are any trends or observations that can be made. Now, having looked at this tracker for a few years, there are some caveats about looking at the results, especially early on in the process. One general observation is that, typically, most (but not all) players’ voting %’s tend to ride kind of high relative to their final totals, in part because the writers who make their choices known ahead of the deadline tend to vote for more players per ballot than those who don’t. (Note – for future reference, I’ll refer to those who announce their choices as "public" voters, and those who don’t as "private" voters. When I refer to "public" votes, I am also including any anonymous voters who have made their selections known to Thibodaux)
A Little Bit of History
Before diving into the 2019 results to date, here’s a little bit of background/history.
The "tracker" shows detail going back to 2009, although Thibodaux has made the tracker a lot more robust over the past few years. Here’s what I was able to calculate based on the information contained in the tracker. (I should say that these might not be exact, as not every candidate is listed in the detail sections, and in the earlier years the tracker doesn’t show the same level of summary information as it does now. However….I feel that these are pretty close.)
Year
Total # of Ballots
Public & Anonymous Ballots
Public % of Total
Private Ballots
Private % of Total
Average Selections per Ballot -Overall
Average Selections – Public & Anonymous
Average Selections - Private
Avg. # of Selections - Public vs. Private
2018
422
317
75.1%
105
24.9%
8.5
8.7
7.6
14.3%
2017
442
314
71.0%
128
29.0%
8.1
8.4
7.4
13.5%
2016
440
311
70.7%
129
29.3%
7.9
8.2
7.3
12.3%
2015
549
331
60.3%
218
39.7%
8.4
8.7
8.0
8.7%
2014
571
302
52.9%
269
47.1%
8.4
8.6
8.2
4.9%
2013
569
168
29.5%
401
70.5%
6.6
6.5
6.7
-3.0%
2012
573
114
19.9%
459
80.1%
5.1
4.8
5.2
-7.7%
2011
581
122
21.0%
459
79.0%
6.0
5.8
6.0
-3.3%
2010
539
91
16.9%
448
83.1%
5.7
6.0
5.6
7.1%
2009
539
60
11.1%
479
88.9%
5.4
5.4
5.4
0.0%
 
A few observations:
  • In 2015, several writers had their voting privileges removed as the BBWAA trimmed the ranks, requiring voters to meet requirements as "active" members covering the game, so the base of writers participating in the Hall of Fame vote over the past few years (beginning with the 2016 election) is about 100 voters lower than it had been.
  • The percentage of "public" voters has soared over the past several years, and has increased every year (except for one) since 2009.   If you go back to 2009, only 11% voters made their ballots public. Last year, it was up to 75%, the highest mark ever. It has definitely become a much more common practice for a Hall of Fame voter to announce his selections (and to trigger the inevitable "feedback" that is sure to come his or her way via social media).
  • The other upward trend has been in the number of selections made per ballot. If you go back about 10 years, the average per ballot was generally between 5 and 6 names per ballot. We have now essentially had 5 straight years where that figure has been 8 or higher (2016 was just under that figure, at 7.94), and last year reached 8.5, the highest figure to date. On average, voters are including about 60% more names on their ballots, than they did just a decade ago.

    The interesting thing about 2013 is that, even though the average # of selections per ballot increased sharply from 5.1 to 6.6, that was also the infamous year that no candidate achieved 75% or higher. If you recall, that was the year that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa (not to mention Kenny Lofton) debuted on the ballot. The next year, we saw the quantum leap up to 8.4, and it’s been hovering around that figure ever since, as the ballot continues to be well stocked with solid candidates.
  • Coinciding with the recent trend of more selections per ballot has been the widening gap between "public" and "private" voters. The last column in the grid posted above compares public vs. private average names per ballot. Last year, public voters included about 14% more players per ballot than private voters.

    This is one of the reasons why, as you watch the public votes tallied each year in the tracker, you have to take them with a grain of salt, as public voters have tended to be more "generous" than private voters, and the final percentages typically end up lower than what’s in the tracker, although that doesn’t necessarily hold true for every candidate. Some candidates do poll better among private voters. For example, in 2017, Fred McGriff received about 23% of the overall vote, but he was named on about 29% of the private votes, and only about 21% of the public votes. Lee Smith, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era Committee, was another candidate who consistently polled better among private voters for several years. The same was generally true for Jack Morris when he was on the ballot.

    Going the other direction…..in 2018, the twin towers of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received 56-57% of the overall vote. However, they had a significant split - they received over 60% of the public vote, but only 42% and 46% (respectively) of the private vote. 

    Mike Mussina was similar…..he received 69% of the public vote last year, but only 47% of the private vote. 

    Edgar Martinez, received enough support from public voters (76%) last year to get in, but got only 52% of the private vote, a 24-point gap. 

    Curt Schilling was the player with the largest gap last year. He got 57% of the public vote last year, but only 32% from the private voters, a 25-point gap.

    In recent years, it’s been generally true that more players poll better among public voters vs. private voters, which is why it’s important to look at the results of the tracker with that in mind.
Another dynamic in the voting is that more and more voters are using the full 10 slots. In 2018, almost 55% of the public voters used the full 10 slots on the ballot, up from 52% the year before. Here’s the 2018 distribution by the number of candidates selected.
 
# of Votes
% of Total Public Votes
10-Player Ballots:
173
54.6%
9-Player Ballots:
47
14.8%
8-Player Ballots:
28
8.8%
7-Player Ballots:
25
7.9%
6-Player Ballots:
20
6.3%
5-Player Ballots:
10
3.2%
4-Player Ballots:
8
2.5%
3-Player Ballots:
4
1.3%
2-Player Ballots:
1
0.3%
1-Player Ballots:
0
0.0%
Blank Ballots:
1
0.3%
Total Public Votes
317
100.0%
 
In addition, the "tracker" also indicates that there were at least 63 public voters (or about 1 out of every 6 or 7 of total voters) who expressed the notion that they would have voted for more than 10 had they been allowed to, and that figure undoubtedly underestimates the number who would have done so, as not every voter who voted for 10 players comments on whether or not they would have voted for more. I believe that, as we go along, there will be more and more pressure applied to do away with the 10-player limit.
2019 Results So Far
OK. Enough history. How are the early 2019 results looking?
As I write this (on December 15), 45 public and anonymous ballots have been tracked, which (per the tracker) is about 11% of the total 412 votes expected to be submitted (by the way, don’t be surprised if that total number of votes changes the next time you check the tracker, as it changes frequently).
Also at this early date, the ballots have been coming in with an average of 8.6 names selected. That’s actually down a bit from this time last year. When I did my first check-in last year, it was tracking at about 9.1 before eventually settling at 8.7 (for the public votes). That implies that the average # of names per ballot that has been trending up for several years could come back down a bit this year.
Here are the results as of this moment among players who have received at least one vote:
Player
% of Ballots
Mariano Rivera
100.0%
Edgar Martinez
91.1%
Roy Halladay
88.9%
Mike Mussina
82.2%
Curt Schilling
73.3%
Roger Clemens
68.9%
Barry Bonds
66.7%
Larry Walker
66.7%
Omar Vizquel
44.4%
Todd Helton
31.1%
Fred McGriff
31.1%
Manny Ramirez
22.2%
Scott Rolen
22.2%
Andy Pettitte
15.6%
Sammy Sosa
13.3%
Jeff Kent
11.1%
Gary Sheffield
11.1%
Andruw Jones
6.7%
Billy Wagner
6.7%
Lance Berkman
4.4%
Roy Oswalt
2.2%
Michael Young
2.2%
Miguel Tejada
2.2%
 
So, at this point, if these percentages held up, the top 4 players (Rivera, Martinez, Halladay, and Mussina) would be elected. In our Bill James Online prediction contest, I predicted those 4 to get elected. 
Mussina will probably be very close one way or the other. Even though he’s at 82% support so far, keep in mind that he’s one of the players that has a track record of polling much stronger among public voters vs. private voters, so one would expect his overall figure to come in lower than what it is tracking at so far.
Here’s Mussina’s public vs. private gap over the last few years:
Year
Public
Private
Gap
2018
69.1%
46.7%
22.4
2017
57.6%
37.5%
20.1
2016
48.2%
30.2%
18.0
2015
30.2%
16.1%
14.2
 
So, if Mussina maintains 82% support among the public voters (and if public voters once again comprise about 75% of the total votes cast), I estimate he’ll need to receive around 54% of the private votes in order to get 75% of the overall vote. I think that’s do-able, but it’s not a lock. According the Tracker, Mussina was about 49 votes short last year, and he’s had a net gain of 6 votes so far from returning voters (7 voters who didn’t vote for him last year have flipped to a "yes" this year, and then he also lost support from one voter who voted for him last year). So, with about 11% of the vote in, he’s gained 12% of the votes he would need. I think it’s going to come right down to the wire for Mussina.
Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the early results, and I’ll also refer back to our Bill James Online "prediction contest", where we invited our members to submit their predictions. I’ll provide our "consensus" prediction (which is the average of all of the submitted ballots), and I’ll also include the prediction that I submitted, just for additional reference.
 
Mariano Rivera
Actual % to Date
Consensus Member Prediction
My Submitted Prediction
100.0%
95.8%
98.0%
Not much drama here, other than whether or not Rivera would become the first player to ever be elected unanimously. I would not expect that to happen, as there are normally a handful of voters who won’t vote for a first-year candidate, and those are usually (but not always) found among the private voters. A high 90’s figure seems inevitable. 
 
Welcome to Cooperstown, Mariano.
 
Edgar Martinez
 Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
91.1%
78.8%
82.0%
Edgar’s looking like a lock in his 10th and final time on the ballot. Even if he keeps the same gap as last year (where he polled 24 percentage points lower among private voters), he would still end up with around 85% of the vote. In fact, even if he only draws 52% of the private vote (like he did last year), I estimate he would end up with 81%. 
 
He’s as good as in.
 
Mike Mussina
 Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
82.2%
70.7%
76.5%
I covered Mussina a little earlier in the article. Basically, I think he’s got a really good shot, but it will probably be close since he tends to poll much lower among the private voters. 
 
I think he’ll squeeze in.
 
Roy Halladay
 Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
88.9%
60.7%
79.0%
A really strong showing so far for Halladay in his first year on the ballot, gaining support from 40 of the 45 votes so far. Here’s what that means…..if he maintains that level of support among the public voters, he would only need about 33% of the private vote to get 75% overall.
 
He’s looking awfully good unless we see a real dropoff in the public support. If I were able to revise my prediction, I’d say he’s good for at least low 80’s in overall support.
 
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens
Always seems natural to look at them together…..
Player
Actual % to Date
Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
Bonds
66.7%
60.9%
58.8%
Clemens
68.9%
61.9%
58.5%
This is actually slightly down to where Bonds and Clemens were polling in the early results a year ago. I think they’re kind of stuck in neutral at this point, and I think there is a connection, at least in part, to Joe Morgan’s letter to the writers last year where he encouraged them to not vote for alleged steroid users. 
 
According to the tracker, Bonds and Clemens have each gained one vote from a writer that did not vote for him last year (as it turns out, it’s the same writer in both cases).
 
They have virtually no chance to be elected this year, especially since the private vote for these 2 tend to run so much lower than the public.
 
Curt Schilling
 Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
73.3%
55.5%
57.0%
Schilling is up about 10 points vs. where he was in the early polling a year ago. He has a net gain of 2 votes (gained 3, lost 1) among returning voters.
 
It’s possible that the strong feelings about Schilling’s social media statements and his viewpoints may be growing less intense as time goes by, and voters may be more inclined to vote for him now. I think a final tally of high-50’s or low-60’s this year seems about right.
 
Omar Vizquel
 Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
44.4%
39.6%
40.0%
Vizquel was one of the surprises and biggest stories of last year’s early balloting, being named on the first 7 ballots that were tracked, and he was at about 53% at this point last year.  He’s down about 9 points vs. this time last year, although he has picked up 4 votes among returning voters. He finished at 37% overall last year, so an uptick seems likely.
 
Vizquel has kind of taken the place of players like Lee Smith and Jack Morris as the type of player who tends to end up more significantly more popular among private voters. Last year, he polled almost 12 points higher among private voters vs. public voters. I think he’s likely to stay in the 40-50% range for a while, as he’s a very polarizing candidate, and I’m not sure either camp is likely to yield much. We should have the pleasure of several more years ahead of us to debate the pros and cons of his candidacy.
 
Larry Walker
Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
66.7%
40.5%
45.0%
Walker was one of last year’s big movers, improving from 21.9% in 2017 to 34.1% in 2018. Our group predicted another step up this year, but he’s looking like he’ll surpass our expectations. He’s already gained a whopping 9 votes from voters who didn’t vote for him last year. He only received 24% of the private vote last year, but even if he holds at that level with that group, he’s got a good shot at finishing well over 50% this year. That’s still a long way from 75%, and next year will be his final year on the ballot, so he’s running out of time, but it’s been an impressive run for him the last couple of years. Next year should be really interesting, and, at the very least, I think he’ll set himself up well for strong consideration on a veteran’s committee ballot.
 
Lance Berkman
Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
4.4%
11.2%
3.5%
Berkman’s not a strong candidate, but I’m including him here because I think he’s an interesting one. I (along with a few others) slated Berkman in the 5% and under category.  
 
Why did I think he would get such little support? Let’s see….how to put this? He didn’t "seem" like a Hall of Famer. Or, at least that’s the sense I got. He was a good, valuable player. But he wasn’t a star. But there was another reason.
 
Do you remember an article I did last year on "Hall of Fame Metric Similarity Scores"? It was a method I developed to compare similarity of players, not across offensive categories, but across the "Hall of Fame" metrics found on baseball-reference.com (Hall of Fame Standards, Hall of Fame Monitor, Black Ink, Gray Ink). I was kind of proud of it.
 
To review, here’s Berkman’s list of top 10 comps by that method:
Score
Name
HOF Std
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Gray Ink
Position
1,000
Lance Berkman
44
98
8
107
OF/1B
942
Carlos Delgado
44
110
8
124
1B
942
Fred McGriff
48
100
9
105
1B
926
Pee Wee Reese*
39
100
7
102
SS
914
Jason Giambi
44
108
13
115
1B
912
Jackie Robinson*
38
98
8
121
2B
896
Matt Holliday
41
110
13
107
LF
894
Bobby Doerr*
41
96
5
128
2B
894
Johnny Damon
45
90
6
77
CF
890
Bill Dahlen
48
94
4
96
SS
886
Magglio Ordonez
42
114
6
86
RF
 
Here’s what I wrote about Berkman last year in that article:
"I anticipate that Berkman will have a tough time getting support, although he was a tremendous player. He did have some good years, and had six top-10 MVP finishes. His career OPS+ of 144 is outstanding…it’s roughly in the same neighborhood as Edgar Martinez (147)….and his career OBP is over .400 (.406).   However, he didn’t even reach 2,000 hits, and his career total of 369 HR’s is fairly low for someone primarily thought of as a power hitter, and won’t inspire a lot of excitement among the voters. 
 
Jackie Robinson is not a good comp for a variety of reasons, so subjectively I would remove him. The #11 comp, to replace Robinson, would be George Van Haltren. If Van Haltren doesn’t do it for you, the next one down would be Will Clark (similarity 876), who I think is a decent comp.
 
So, excluding Robinson, the only 2 players on Berkman’s comp list that are in the Hall are Doerr and Reese, strong defensive middle infielders who were elected by Veterans Committees many years after their playing days were done. They really aren’t great comps for Berkman either. Delgado and McGriff are Berkman’s top 2 comps, and neither one made much of an impact on the writers’ ballot (McGriff, of course, is still on the ballot, but treading water). 
 
I was a big fan of Berkman’s, but I think he’ll draw very little support."
 
I think that’s still a pretty accurate assessment. Berkman was a good player, but I just don’t think he struck many voters as a "Hall of Fame type". He’ll be fortunate if he draws enough support to stay on the ballot.
 
Todd Helton
Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
31.1%
33.3%
35.0%
 
We had a pretty wide range of predictions for Helton in our contest, from a low of 15% to a high of 62%. Overall, though, the average was 33.3%, and so far he’s tracking close to that. It’s a nice debut for Helton, and it’s shaping up as a better debut that his Coors Field buddy Larry Walker, who received about 20% in his first year on the ballot. I can see Helton as the type who could gain momentum over time….his rWAR is above 60, he has good "traditional" stats, and I think Walker’s progress in recent years is eroding some of the potential anti-Coors Field sentiment that’s out there. He should have an interesting ride on the ballot in the coming years, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him get in on a future ballot. I thin there could be some future ballots where he will be considered one of the stronger candidates, and that always helps.
 
Scott Rolen
Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
22.2%
21.5%
19.0%
 
For many, Rolen had a bit of a disappointing debut on the ballot last year. I think a lot of people saw the 70 rWAR, the 8 Gold Gloves, the top-10 JAWS ranking, and assumed he would make a strong dent on the ballot.
 
It didn’t turn out that way. He ended up with only 10% of the vote (12% public, only 5% private). Using the Hall of Fame Metric Similarity Score technique I used above on Berkman, Rolen is part of a group that, for the most part, has come up short at the ballot box:
 
Score
Name
HOF Std
HOF Monitor
Black Ink
Gray Ink
Position
1,000
Scott Rolen
40
99
0
27
3B
950
Lou Whitaker
43
93
0
31
2B
950
Edgar Renteria
38
109
0
22
SS
934
Omar Vizquel
42
120
0
25
SS
918
Alan Trammell*
40
119
0
48
SS
904
Jim Edmonds
39
89
0
60
CF
890
Aramis Ramirez
39
85
2
53
3B
882
Willie Randolph
34
92
2
39
2B
880
Chase Utley
35
94
3
42
2B
870
Dave Concepcion
29
107
0
25
SS
868
Buddy Myer
41
86
6
45
2B
 
Trammell crashed the party last year with the Veterans Committee vote, but a lot of the others - Whitaker, Edmonds, Randolph - are very similar types, accumulating a lot of rWAR, but often lacking in other areas that tend to get voters’ attention. All three of those players were one-and-done on the writers’ ballot. Utley, who will be up for election in a few years, is of that same general type, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he struggles for support as well. Of course, the landscape could be different by then.
 
In any case, Rolen has swung a few votes his way this year among returning voters (he’s plus 4 so far), but I still think he’ll struggle to surpass 20% this year. He’s still only on his second ballot, but I think he’ll need some type of advocacy campaign (like Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven received) if he’s going to get enough support.
 
Andy Pettitte
Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
15.6%
20.5%
25.0%
 
Another first-year candidate, Pettitte looks safe to stay on the ballot, but other than that he’s receiving moderate support. I may have been too optimistic on Pettitte with my 25% prediction. I’m not sure yet whether Pettitte will be the type to do better on public ballots. The steroid part of his story makes me think he could do worse among private voters (who tend to be tougher on the steroid candidates), but, on the other hand, Pettitte has a fairly similar case to Jack Morris – had about 250 wins, was on a lot of champions, had a lot of personal postseason success, named to a few All-Star games, had a few top-5 Cy Young finishes (though never winning one), all of which helps offset a relatively high ERA (although Pettitte’s 117 ERA+ is significantly better that the 105 posted by Morris). That type of résumé might resonate with private voters. In any case, I think my prediction is ultimately going to end up too high.
 
Fred McGriff
Actual % to Date
 Consensus Member Prediction
 My Submitted Prediction
31.1%
26.4%
24.5%
 
McGriff is in his 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot, and he’s doing well compared to prior years. He already has a net gain of 5 votes (6 gains, 1 loss) from returning voters, who are clearly giving him a bit of a "final year" bump. He only got 21.5% support from the public voters last year, and 23.2% overall, so he has a decent chance to stay above 30%.   Obviously, he’ll finish well short, but I think he will make for a very strong candidate on a veteran’s committee ballot in the upcoming years. I think he will carry a great deal of appeal for that forum, and I fully expect him to eventually be elected.
 
I’ll post another update on the tracker down the road.
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Dan 
 
 

COMMENTS (18 Comments, most recent shown first)

DaveNJnews
Andy Pettitte seems to have fallen way, way off.


5:01 PM Jan 9th
 
MarisFan61
The "horse" factor is indeed another big thing separating Morris and Pettitte. I hadn't thought of it that way, but I'm realizing it's a big part of why I feel there's no real similarity between them.
Pettitte was 'solid.'
Morris was a horse.

If you just look down the "Innings" columns on their stat pages, you see that there's no comparison.
If you want to adjust for their different time periods, then instead look at their respective lists of the times they were in the top 10 in the league.
Here it is: (leaving out the years, just giving the yearly standing, not necessarily consecutive, just whatever times they were in the top 10)

Morris
2nd
3rd
1st
6th
3rd
5th
2nd
3rd
10th

Pettitte
3rd
9th

I imagine that to many people, this makes little difference. If you only or very mainly look at metrics, this is only in there indirectly, and not necessarily much. But, for what it's worth, for many it can be a big part of what kind of image a pitcher can get.

It's a pretty big factor in my image of a starting pitcher, including that it's a big part of why I was continually dumbfounded that so many people were (and are) so ga-ga over Pedro Martinez, to the point of often likening him to Clemens and even to Sandy Koufax.
Look at Pedro's yearly standings in Innings (it's quite good; not saying it isn't), and compare it to Clemens'. There is just no comparison.

Roger: 5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 1, 6, 9, 5, 1, 3, 8
Pedro: 10, 4, 6, 8, 7, 6 (never higher than 4th in the league)
(btw, Koufax: 4, 3, 1, 1)

This doesn't necessarily get at whether a pitcher was better or greater than another.
But IMO it's a significant thing in whether we start thinking that pitchers are comparable.
8:18 PM Dec 24th
 
chrisbodig
Great article, Daniel. I see now that you were almost as wrong about Pettitte as I was.

Re Pettitte and Morris, some thoughts:

It's very true that Pettitte and Morris have similar profiles, with Pettitte having the WAR and ERA+ advantage.

For me the biggest difference is their relative impact during their pitching eras. Pettitte was rarely one of the top 10 pitchers in his league in any given season (3 times I would say) and rarely the best on his own team. Morris was a top 10 pitcher about seven times.

Plus, Morris had all the 8-inning and complete game starts. Obviously, he was of a different era but he far outpaced his contemporaries in giving his bullpens a break.

As for the postseasons, Pettitte had many high moments but lots of low ones too. He never dominated a specific October as Morris did in 1984 and 1991. Morris overall postseason record reflects his regular season record because he bombed in 1992 with the Blue Jays. His October record of 7-1, 2.60 ERA suddenly regressed to 7-4, 3.80 ERA thanks to a 7.43 mark in '92.

I'd be happy to see Pettitte in the Hall eventually but it's clear his road will be as rocky if not rockier than Morris'.

Pettitte in many ways was similar to Lee Smith. They were both above average for a long period of time but rarely great.


10:32 AM Dec 24th
 
MarisFan61
To all: Don't worry if it looks like you're doing worse this year.

I mentioned in the comments under the first article (the "voting" one) that it seemed like this year is just harder than the previous ones -- and, from the numbers that we've been seeing on the "Tracker" (about 18% now in), it's looking like that's really so. Unless the final numbers wind up being more extremely different from the current ones than would seem likely, it was just harder this year to guess the results.
Cliff's Notes: Even if it looks like you're doing worse, you could actually be doing better. :-)
Because, just about everybody's 'error' will be larger this time.
12:04 PM Dec 20th
 
MarisFan61
(sorry, I do know how to spell Clemens but the keyboard doesn't always cooperate....) :-)
11:16 PM Dec 18th
 
MarisFan61
I think he meant it just cheekily with a smirk -- y'know, it they don't vote for Clements 'well then of course' they 'can't' go and vote for Pettitte.....
11:15 PM Dec 18th
 
DMBBHF
Taosjohn,

Just circling back to your comment on presuming that Pettitte would not receive any votes from voters who don't vote for Clemens. The cool thing about the Tracker is that you can check for things like that. Turns out that, so far, 2 voters have voted for Pettitte but not for Clemens: Juan Vené (certainly one of the oldest voters at 89 years old) and Jay Dunn, who writes for the Trentonian. Near as I can tell from their columns, neither one elaborated on their logic on yes for Pettitte vs. no for Clemens.

Thanks,

Dan


9:22 PM Dec 18th
 
George.Rising
Dave, that's a good point about McGriff.

I also think that his chances for the HOF were hurt by the era that he played in. His biggest years (I'm thinking OPS+ here) were 1988 to 1994. But 1996 is where HRs start to take off in the NL. (Strike-shortened 1994 and 1995 were not bad, either.) Unfortunately, for McGriff, his stats that looked excellent in the late 1980s and 1990s didn't look as impressive to the stats of the late 1990s and 2000s. Several guys who had huge HR years in the late 1990s and 200s sort of passed him by.

A good comparison is with Palmeiro. RP hit 38 or more HRs in nine straight seasons, 1995-2003. McGriff NEVER hit 38 HRs. RP ended up with 569 HRs, McGriff with 493.

Actual HRs:
Year RP FM
1986 3 0
1987 14 20
1988 8 34
1989 8 36
1990 14 35
1991 26 31
1992 22 35
1993 37 37
1994 23 34
1995 39 27
1996 39 28
1997 38 22
1998 43 19
1999 47 32
2000 39 27
2001 47 31
2002 43 30
2003 38 13
2004 23 2
2005 18
Total 569 493


But if you adjust for the era's HR context by neutralizing for the 1920-2017 era, here's what you get (RP mainly played in the AL; McGriff mainly in the NL). There basically the same:

HRs adjusted for HR context:
Year RP FM
1986 2 0
1987 10 11
1988 8 26
1989 7 31
1990 12 29
1991 20 27
1992 18 35
1993 26 28
1994 14 23
1995 24 18
1996 21 18
1997 23 15
1998 25 12
1999 26 18
2000 21 15
2001 28 17
2002 26 19
2003 22 8
2004 13 1
2005 11
Total 356 352

Of course, this also gets us into the PEDs conversation.


10:26 AM Dec 18th
 
shthar
Have any of the voters been 'publishing' thier ballot and then not checking that box?

Has anyone been checking?

We're talking months between these two things, I'm certainly going to have forgotten about it by then. I certainly don't remember any 'how my ballot did vs the rest of the voters' articles.
1:10 AM Dec 18th
 
DMBBHF
Hey Tigerlilly,

Simple explanation - I had a brain fart :)

Dan
9:29 PM Dec 17th
 
tigerlily
Hey Dan - Just a question about your prediction. I see you have Bonds getting a slightly higher percentage of the vote than Clemens (58.8 vs 58.5). I'm a little surprised because I think I'm correct that each year on the ballot Clemens has been ahead of Bonds by about 1%. I'm wondering why you think that dynamic will change a bit this year?
9:11 PM Dec 17th
 
DMBBHF
Maris,

Well, I'll concede this.....I think Morris was generally considered the "ace" on most of the teams he was on, and Pettitte generally wasn't....I think he was often second or third banana to guys like Cone, Clemens, Mussina, Wells, etc. So, Morris probably was more a star in his era than Pettitte was in his. However, Morris didn't exactly shine in his early years on the ballot....he stayed in the high teens/low 20 %'s for 4 years before he started his climb. Pettitte may be close to that level. I still think it's a decent comparison between the two.

shthar,

Re: the public ballots.....if writers check the box on the ballot that says that they want to make their ballots public after the results are announced, the BBWAA publishes the submitted ballots on their web site. So, maybe we don't know "yet" if someone's public ballot is the same as the one that he/she submitted for real.....but we will eventually know. If someone published one version on Twitter and and actually submitted a different one (and if they checked that box on the ballot), I guarantee someone will do a comparison and call out the writer.

Thanks,
Dan​
8:38 PM Dec 17th
 
DaveNJnews
Fred McGriff took a big hit from the 1994-95 strike.

If you look at his Baseball Reference page, his 34 homer, 94 RBI season in 1994 fits right in with his standard year (and boy was he consistent in the 1990s, 30/100 year after year) except, of course that his 1994 numbers were in 113 games.

The strike may well have cost him a signature season, a monster season. For Cooperstown purposes, his career could have used one of them.

Beyond that, he ended up with 493 home runs. Cancel the strike and he presumably makes it comfortably over 500. For Cooperstown purposes, his career could have used those extra 7 homers.

Heck, even the late start to the 1995 season hurt him. He played all 144 games and hit 27 home runs, missing a shot at his 8th straight 30-homer season.


7:33 PM Dec 17th
 
shthar
Do we really know that someones 'public' ballot IS thier real ballot?

You can put whatever you want in your twitter feed. It's not like the hall is gonna call someone out.


6:38 PM Dec 17th
 
George.Rising
Interesting, informative article, Daniel. Thanks!

Plenty to comment here, but I just mention one thing: Thanks for bringing up Berkman despite his low chance of being elected to the HOF.

Jeff Bagwell made the HOF in his 7th year. Bagwell received 41.6% of votes in his first year of HOF voting and was never under 50%. In contrast, Berkman probably will be under 10%.

Yet, Berkman and Bagwell are so similar. Each played for 15 seasons and played the same position for the same team--with Berkman following Bagwell as the Astros' first baseman. Their stats per 650 PAs are almost identical:

Per 650 PA G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Berkman 156 650 540 95 158 35 2 30 103 7 4 100 108 0.293 0.406 0.537 0.943 144
Bagwell 148 650 537 105 159 34 2 31 105 14 5 97 107 0.297 0.408 0.540 0.948 149

However, Bagwell played 271 more games and had 1617 more PAs, so he compiled more counting stats.

I'm not recommending Berkman for the HOF. But I find it interesting that he can have such a similar career to Bagwell and yet be considered nowhere near Bagwell in terms of HOF voters.
10:12 AM Dec 17th
 
Glwall3
Pettitte has the most postseason wins in history (19). 5 of those wins are in the World Series.
Berkman had a huge 2011 World Series.
Post-Season matters.
8:55 AM Dec 17th
 
taosjohn
One would presume that Pettite cannot get any votes among those who will not vote for Clemens.
8:49 AM Dec 17th
 
MarisFan61
Nice analysis.

I'm one of the people who estimated higher (too high!) on Berkman. My gut agreed totally with what you say about him "not feeling like" a Hall of Famer, but I figured that a bunch of voters would feel they couldn't say no on him because of the similarity of his numbers to Walker and Helton, and if they say yes on those guys....

In a similar way, I much disagree with your likening Pettitte to Jack Morris.
To many people, me among them, Morris always "felt like" a star, an ace. one of the outstanding pitchers of his day.
Pettitte absolutely never did -- I think to nobody.
I love Pettitte, and I think he has a fair chance eventually to get in, but it would be quite a long wait, even if there isn't much influence due to the PED thing.
8:49 PM Dec 16th
 
 
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