In some respects the next 4 GOR elections are going to be anticlimactic. I figure I can guess pretty easily 7 of the 8 winners. Still there is going to be some drama.
1971: It wouldn’t shock me if Berra and Spahn get all the top 2 votes. But who’s going to finish first? I still have 24 hours to decide who’ll be number one on my ballot. Both were great for year upon year, but neither hit the stratosphere, having that one season that makes you go “wow”. These two were consistently great (or very, very good at worst) for well over a decade.
1972: Koufax and Roberts enter this year. I’m guessing that they’ll be elected fairly easily, tho I’m sure that someone will not have them in their top 2 spots. I had kinda assumed that I would have Koufax #1 and Roberts #2, but after looking at their numbers, I’m not so sure. Koufax’ three best seasons had 100 WS and 27.1 WAR, but Roberts wasn’t far behind with 98 and 25.8. Add in their 4th best season and Roberts takes the lead in both WS and WAR. Add in subsequent years and Roberts keeps pulling farther and farther ahead. There are other things to look at, and I have plenty of time to do so, but right now it looks as tho they are pretty close to even on my ballot.
1973: Whitey Ford is the only worthy new candidate and it looks like he’ll be competing with Early Wynn, Ralph Kiner and possibly Nellie Fox and Willard Brown for the two spots this year.
1974: Mantle and Mathews. I can’t imagine the three holdovers from ’73 (whoever they are) winning this year. I’ll be curious to see if Mantle gets all the #1s and Mathews gets all the #2s.
After the ’76 election, it starts to get crowded again. Over the next 10 elections (1977-1986), 20 HOFers join in with another 10-20 viable candidates. The six weakest HOFers, Aparicio, Brock, Bunning, Cepeda, Hunter and Mazeroski, aren’t horrible choices. I imagine most of these six will eventually get in.
I’m not sure, but I’m not positive that WS and WAR adequately measure Koufax’ dominance. Over his three best seasons his ERA+ was 169, but his ERC+ was 189. Roberts too has a better ERC+ than ERA+, 157 to 143, over his three best. But 189 to 157? That’s a huge difference. Three unanimous CYAs for Koufax against one probably unanimous (’52) win, another likely (’55) win and three maybe 2nds (’50, ’53 and ’54) for Roberts. World Series? Edge to Koufax. All-Star games? Edge to Koufax. No-hitters? Edge to Koufax. Black Ink? Edge to Koufax. Gray Ink? Edge to Roberts. Career edge is obviously Roberts. But…..when Koufax was KOUFAX, the Dodgers won the pennant; when Roberts was ROBERTS, the Phillies competed for pennants. As of this moment, I think I’ll put Roberts #1, but it is really close.
As far as 1971 goes, whichever one I put #1, I’m going to feel kind of stupid putting the other one #2. Neither is a #2 in my book.
While I’m thinking about it: do you guys still want me to list ne’er-do-wells? In ’72 the following names are currently on the list to be on the ballot: Hector Lopez, Bob Skinner, Ray Herbert, Billy Hoeft and Ed Roebuck. Should I stop listing them or do you like seeing these type of guys names?
I suppose it depends on what one considers “peak”. If it’s one year, then I assume that Norm Cash is going in the GOR. If it’s three years, I might point out that Koufax, in his three best seasons went 78-22, while Marichal went 76-23, but we all know that W/L records are misleading. In his three best seasons, Koufax had a 189 ERC+; Marichal had, in his three best, a 186 ERC+. I’ve never been convinced that Koufax was far and away a greater pitcher than Marichal, even at his peak. And if peak is 5, 6 or 7 years, then Koufax falls behind Roberts, and lots of other pitchers as well. It’s all in how one defines “peak”.