2016

It’s time once again for our yearly GOR election.

For those of you new to Reader Posts, GOR is the acronym for Gallery Of Renown. It’s an on-going mock Hall Of Fame, much like Dave Fleming’s. Or the Small Hall. Or DMBBHF’s HOF Mockup Project. We have a lot of these alternate HOFers going on all at once this time of year.

The basic premise of the GOR is “What if the Hall had opened 50 years earlier?” and with more definitive guidelines. From 1885-1899 we elected one per year; from 1900 on, we’ve elected two per year. No more and no less. We also elect managers in years ending in “0” and contributors in years ending in “5”.

The guidelines have been pretty simple. A player becomes eligible for election five years after retiring and can remain on the ballot for 15 years, just like the BBWAA. A big difference is that once the 15 years of eligibility expire, there is no VetCom to rescue them.

The voting rules are pretty simple:
1. Any BJOL subscriber is allowed to vote.
2. Unlike the BBWAA or Dave Fleming’s election, one MUST vote for ten and in order. It’s like the MVP vote. The point scale is 14-11-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. The Top 2 in points will be enshrined into the GOR.
3. No ties allowed, make a decision.
4. There is a list of 31 candidates below, in alphabetical order. The number before the name is how many years they have been on the ballot, the number after the name is where they placed within the Top 10 in last year’s election. The names on the ballot are those who received at least one vote last year and 6 players newly eligible this year. I only saw 6 names that I think might garner a vote, but if there is someone you think I missed, you may vote for him as well.
5. There is a way to name an 11th person as a write-in. Just type in: “Write-in – Joe Blow”. There is no need to use this if someone already has him on their ballot. Anyone with a vote in 2016 automatically will be on the 2017 ballot (except the two winners, of course).
6. Feel free to ask any questions.
7. Comments and discussion is not only allowed, but desired.
8. And I repeat this every year: the purpose of the GOR is to have fun.

***************

I always mention who dropped off from last year’s ballot. Don Mattingly used up his 15 years of eligibility, and Albert Belle, Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen dropped off after receiving no votes.

This year’s ballot:

1 Garret Anderson
4 Craig Biggio 5th
6 Kevin Brown
8 David Cone
2 Carlos Delgado
1 Jim Edmonds
4 Julio Franco
2 Nomar Garciaparra
3 Tom Glavine 4th
1 Ken Griffey
1 Trevor Hoffmann
1 Jason Kendall
3 Jeff Kent
4 Kenny Lofton
12 Willie McGee
3 Mike Mussina 6th
6 John Olerud
6 Rafael Palmeiro
12 Tony Phillips
9 Jose Rijo
4 Curt Schilling 7th
2 Gary Sheffield 9th
14 Lee Smith
2 John Smoltz 8th
4 Sammy Sosa
13 Dave Stieb
3 Frank Thomas 3rd
1 Billy Wagner
6 Larry Walker
5 Bernie Williams
8 Matt Williams

I’m also going to bring up the thread that lists all of the previous GOR electees.

I usually have to explain my ballot to new BJOL members: I don’t vote for first year eligibles, because the 1994-5 strike and PED use frustrate me. Those of us who have no power only have windmills to tilt with, and this is my only way I can think of to respond, as feeble as it may be. The thing is, my line-in-the-sand is starting to fade. Very few newcomers were active during the strike, so that issue is abating. And, as time passes, I am becoming less “offended” by pre-2005 PED use. I’m still unlikely to vote for people I think used that have HOF caliber numbers ONLY BECAUSE THEY USED (Sammy Sosa won’t be on my ballot, for example), but it’s getting harder and harder for me to be so rigid. This will likely be the last time I don’t vote for first year eligibles. And besides, I really doubt if Griffey is going to need my vote. My ballot:

1. Craig Biggio
2. Tom Glavine
3. Mike Mussina
4. Curt Schilling
5. John Smoltz
6. Frank Thomas
7. Lee Smith
8. Bernie Williams
9. Kevin Brown
10. Kenny Lofton

Terry’s ballot:

The number to the right of each player’s name is his Test score. There is no science to the Test, it’s just organized opinion, so don’t take the numbers too seriously. If I did them all over again I would be shocked if I came up with the exact same grades, though they would always be fairly close. Call it a thumb-measurement – like WAR but without the pretense that it’s exact.

1. Ken Griffey 3.2 – Junior’s closest historical comp on BBR is Frank Robinson, whose career centered in the 1960s. BBR comps aren’t adjusted for offensive context. Chew on that for a minute.

2. Frank Thomas 2.8 – there are far more qualified people to answer this question mathematically, but can Frank Thomas and Junior be used as part of a ‘control group’ – along with guys like Will Clark and maybe Fred McGriff – to demonstrate the non-PED effects of the 1990s?

3. Tom Glavine 2.3 – 300 wins, two Cy Young Awards, the only 1-0 series clinching win… no offense to Mike Mussina, who had a fine career, but if his case against Glavine was one of those rap battles Glavine would drop his mike and strut off the stage to a standing ovation, while Moose grudgingly clapped along.

4. Curt Schilling 2.2 – Like Glavine Schilling’s accomplishments are a fairly large part of his Hall of Fame legacy, with his metrics almost incidental to his case. It would be fun to make up a list of the most impressive legacies by non-Yankee players; I think Schilling would be up there pretty high.

5. John Smoltz 2.2 – I don’t rank Smoltz as high as his quick Hall of Fame election indicates. I think he might fall under the category of a ‘sexy narrative’ more than a sexy legacy, by dint of his move to the bullpen and back. For some reason this is seen by the writers as a massive sacrifice… maybe they just like him personally.

6. Craig Biggio 2.1 – He isn’t the B level candidate some compilation fans think he is, but he ain’t a D either. Electing an agent over a legitimate candidate like Bigs, if you ask me (nobody did), is akin to the redneck members of American society voting for a stuffed suit with a big mouth because smart people keep telling them not to.

7. Mike Mussina 1.7 – Bob thinks I hate Moose because I don’t love him. The truth is that I liked him fine, especially in Baltimore when he was actually good. I see no reason to credit someone for accumulating a good winning percentage with a team that was allowed to buy whomever they wanted while half the league had to let their stars go after six years.

8. Kenny Lofton 1.3 – I am in the minority on this site, but in the majority among the actual voters, when I put Lofton above Edmonds. Lofton spent his decline phase, as many do, bouncing around the league like a beach ball in the Bob. Unlike most players, though, Lofton kept landing on winners. Teams that were in contention, over and over, asked for the aging Lofton to come help them.

9. Bernie Williams 1.2 – There might be a perception that I hate Bernie, but truthfully I just don’t like him as much as some others. He and Lofton make a compelling comparison, and a fun argument. I believe both of them, along with Edmonds, will eventually make it into the Hall of Fame through one of the old timers committees.

10. Matt Williams 1.1 – I’d vote him in over Darrell Evans, but not over Graig Nettles. There is more room for personal taste between the three of ‘em than any quantifiable differences in their Hall of Fame cases.

Other Stuff:

Sammy Sosa 2.0 – Once you take the air out of his stats he’s no more than a mid C level Hall of Fame candidate, even without adjusting for the PEDs. Every context-adjusted metric, from the inks to WAR to the Hall of Fame Monitor, rates him near an average Hall of Famer. His huge homerun total was a perfect storm, the result of one of the highest run context eras, combined with the benefits of PEDs, turning Jay Bruce (his age 28 comp) into a statistical freak whose closest comp, Ken Griffey Jr., is at the top of this year’s GOR class.

I am as sick of the PED argument as everyone else, and I would just as soon never discuss it again, but in certain cases it has to be part of the discussion. The one thing I can’t advocate, even with a theoretical exercise, is ignoring historical context. Sammy Sosa was a middlin’ Hall of Famer in his own time, with the help of PEDs. In any other time, without benefit of PEDs, Sosa would have been a good player, but nowhere near a great player. Through the age of 28 Sammy had 207 career homeruns, over a thousand career hits, and a career ops+ of 107.

Rafael Palmeiro 1.3 – In 1992 Will Clark hit .300 with 16 homeruns, 73 rbi. In 1998 Rafael Palmiero hit .296 with 43 homeruns and 121 rbi. Clark’s ops+ in 1992 was 148; Palmiero’s in 1998 was 144. In 1988 Will Clark, hitting .282-.386-.508, had an ops+ of 160. In 1998 Rafael Palmiero, hitting .324-.420-.630, had an ops+ of 160.

Gary Sheffield 1.7 – For most of his career I thought of Sheffield as the new Dick Allen, and honestly I still think of him that way, but with an important distinction: Allen played in a time with inferior medical conditions, legal or illegal, and a far more charged racial climate. His alcoholism went mostly unchecked, shortening and limiting his career. Sheffield may or may not have had actual substance abuse issues – I don’t know – but he absolutely had Allen’s issues with inconsistency, durability, and temperament for a good portion of his career. It appears that he grew past those issues, something Allen never did, but is it not likely that Allen would have been taken care of better in today’s game, with rehab and therapy?

Larry Walker 1.4 – He’s going to struggle in the BBWAA voting because of Coors, and he’s a little overrated by WAR, but he has a strong case for the old timers.

Kevin Brown 1.2 – There is no way in hell that he gets a pass from me for PED use after a look at his numbers. I defy anyone to find a pitcher with a more obvious performance spike in mid-career.

Jim Edmonds 1.1 – Zero points of black ink, and only sixty points of gray ink. He’s somewhere between Bob Johnson and Wally Berger to me, where a lot of these guys really should be who have numbers that look better than they really are.

Jeff Kent 1.1 – He played forever, and all of Kent’s big years came after his thirtieth birthday. Frankly, those unusual aging patterns are as big a red flag as backne or shrunken jewels.

David Cone 1.0 – His career was broken up quite a bit, hiding how good he really was.

Carlos Delgado 1.0 – Gil Hodges-ish? I have him as a D on every question.

Nomar Garciaparra 0.9 – The poster boy for why the Hall of Fame doesn’t give out plaques in advance.

Dave Stieb 0.9 – Belongs in the Rick Reuschel, Graig Nettles class of ballplayers who nobody can remember which vowel comes first.

John Olerud 0.8 – One of my favorite players, but not a serious Hall of Fame candidate.

Trevor Hoffman 0.6 – I don’t know what to do with relievers… Hoffman never seemed Hall of Fame-y to me, and don’t think the fact that he piled up a lot of saves means much, just that he had the job for a long time. Other than Mariano, none of the single inning guys seem like Hall of Famers.

Lee Smith 0.6 – I think he’ll eventually get a plaque, but nobody thought of him as a Hall of Famer until his saves total accumulated to a big number.

Jose Rijo 0.6 – Another Reds pitcher who was done by the time he was thirty…. What would Bill DeWitt have to say about that?

Julio Franco 0.5 – Late start (he was 24 when he got his first regular job) and a bizarre move in mid-career cost him 3000 hits. It seems weird that he didn’t get there anyway, considering that he played until he was nearly fifty.

Willie McGee 0.4 – He has no chance in hell at the moment, but there were years in the GOR where he would have been a contender. The MVP, three gold gloves, two batting titles, a rookie of the year award, and several postseasons give him considerable stage value, and he finished with well over 2000 hits. It’s not impossible that he will get the call someday.

Billy Wagner 0.4 – I’ve read some smart people, here on the board, making the case that Wagner was more valuable than Hoffman or Smith. I agree to an extent, but I won’t agree that this makes him a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate. Wagner’s big game history was terrible, reducing his impact on the game substantially.

In other words, Wagner had more value on the field than what I might term “on the stage” – or stage value. How’s that for a term? The highest WAR is the most value on the field, or field value. The highest impact on the game itself – its history, lore, records, memories, etc. – can be called the stage value.

Tony Phillips 0.3 – Was Phillips the Ben Zobrist of his generation, or is Zorilla the Tony Phillips of this one?

Jason Kendall 0.2 – No other position has this sort of thing happen, does it? Some catchers are good offensive players with bad defensive reputations when they are young, then develop a better defensive reputation, lose the offense, and spend several years as a catch and throw guy with a good defensive reputation. Dave Valle was one, Kendall another. Alan Ashby was the opposite, a defense-first catcher who developed into a good offensive player with a poor defensive reputation. Sometimes I wonder if some writers judge catcher defense based on their offensive ability, sort of as a self-regulating thing. The better the offense, the worse the assumed defense, and vice versa.

Garret Anderson 0.1 – in 2000-2001, Anderson hit 63 homers and drove in 240 runs with an ops+ of 104. In 2000 he hit 35 homers, drove in 117 runs, and was a below average player.

Results:

Happy New Year to one and all. Here are the rather unexciting results for the 2016 GOR.

Even with me not voting for him and MarisFan having him 8th, Griffey took the lead by the fourth ballot. It took Thomas until the 6th ballot to secure the #2 spot. But 14 consecutive ballots had those two in the Top 2 spots to make it a runaway. In all, 25 voters made out ballots. The number after the name is where they placed in the 2015 election.

305 Junior Griffey
228 Frank Thomas 3rd
***************
173 Craig Biggio 5th
171 Tom Glavine 4th
133 John Smoltz 8th
118 Mike Mussina 6th
109 Curt Schilling 7th
35 Larry Walker
31 Jim Edmonds
31 Bernie Williams
23 Trevor Hoffman
22 Gary Sheffield 9th
20 Kenny Lofton
19 Lee Smith
14 Willie McGee
13 Jeff Kent
12 Kevin Brown
12 Carlos Delgado
11 Rafael Palmeiro
9 Tony Phillips
9 Dave Stieb
7 David Cone
7 Matt Williams
5 Sammy Sosa
4 Julio Franco
3 Billy Wagner
1 Jose Rijo
0* Garret Anderson
0* John Olerud
0 Nomar Garciaparra
0 Jason Kendall
The only ones to drop off next year’s ballot are Garciaparra and Kendall, Anderson and Olerud got Honorable Mention support.

Next year looks like it’s Biggio and Glavine as the presumptive hold-over favorites, but I’m sure there will be Vlady, IRod and Manny B. Manny fans to make it interesting.

There’s a pretty big dropoff between #7 Schilling and #8 Walker. I’d guess that this year’s #3 thru #7 will eventually make the GOR, but Walker and below likely won’t.

 

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