Archive for November, 2012

Voting for the Hall, 2013 Version

November 30, 2012

With the new Hall of Fame ballot finally official, it’s time to weigh in on who should make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown for enshrinement. The official rules allow a voter to pick up to 10 candidates. Believing that you should vote as many times as they’ll let you, I always take all 10 votes. Sometimes there aren’t really 10 guys I think should be in, but I like to take the time to acknowledge a particular favorite, or to try to insure that a player remains on the ballot for another year so that he gets a better look the next time. I know that’s not the way the vote is supposed to go, but I still like doing it that way. I’ll get to them in a minute, but I want to comment on two other aspects of Hall voting first.

The Steroids issue clouds this entire ballot and will do so for some time. On a personal level I would never vote for someone I was sure or heavily suspected had used the damned things. I know others disagree, but that’s my position. So it means that guys like Barry Bonds (Mark McGwire, etc.) would never appear on my ballot, unless I could be convinced that the steroid allegations were wrong. Much of the defense of these guys comes down to the “character clause” in the Hall of Fame criteria. The argument seems to go something like this, “There are  con men, and thugs in the Hall so what’s a little steroids among players?” The problem is that it is different. Being a con man or a thug doesn’t impact the way the game is played in the same way that steroids do. If Ty Cobb  was a thug (and I have no problem agreeing with those who say he was) it didn’t change how he hit the ball or how he ran the bases. If Hack Wilson was an alcoholic (and he probably was) it meant that he was out of the game early because he could no longer perform. Steroids do the exact opposite of alcohol in that they prolong a career artificially. And frankly if you know your baseball history (and I presume that if you read this site, you do) then you know the “character clause” was put in place to keep out the likes of Joe Jackson, whose actions materially harmed the game, not some slug of a human being who could hit anything. From its beginning the clause was meant to deal directly with what was going on during games, not with what a player was doing off the field. In that sense, it’s very poorly worded. And I’m aware this argument isn’t the most clearly worded paragraph I ever wrote, but this is more of an emotional issue than it is a rational issue.

Another problem I have with the Hall vote is who votes. You ever meet one of these guys? Some of them are great guys, some are jerks. In other words they are about like most people. And like most people they know very little about the history of the game. They may know one team, but seldom know the others well. Sure they can read a boxscore, but we all know that it doesn’t really give you more than a cursory feel for what went on. Further, it’s “writers” who do the voting, not “media” types. Bob Costas doesn’t get a vote. Neither does Vin Scully. You think they don’t know as much about the game as the “writers”?  Sure they do, but they are excluded from voting. I’d like to see the voting system changed. I’ve suggested before the SABR guys do the job, but I’m not sur they aren’t so steeped in stats that they can’t see the non-statistical aspects of the game.  I saw on ESPN some guy (forget who) suggest that the writers (expanded to include electronic media also) pick 10 players off the ballot, then a committee of experts vote on who gets in (the NFL does something close to that) with a minimum number of people having to be  chosen. I think there are holes in the plan (like a minimum number having to be elected) but it’s worth a close look. To me the big problem is deciding who is and who isn’t an “expert” (I’m absolutely sure I and my readers are. So maybe we should be the group.).

So there’s my soap box. Below are my picks for this year. I know you’ve been dying to find them out, so here they are (alphabetically). Feel free to disagree with any of them (or with the two points above). It’s a free internet and you have the right to be wrong.

1. Jeff Bagwell–In my opinion, Bagwell is the best 1st baseman of the last 25 years who is eligible for the Hall (Pujols isn’t yet). His numbers are good enough to make it. I’m going to leave it at that because Bill Miller at “The On Deck Circle” makes a case for Bagwell on his blog (see blogroll at right) and I’m not going to be  able to top Bill’s commentary.

2. Craig Biggio–I always thought that Bill James had it wrong by making Biggio the best player of his era, but not by much. He was a good hitter, got the magic 3000 hits, could play the outfield, second base, catch, and do all of them well. He helped his team to a number of playoff spots, but they never won a ring. I don’t hold that against him.

3. Edgar Martinez–Enough already with the “he’s only a  DH”. How many really great hitting/fielding combinations are there in the Hall? Do you think Ozzie Smith is in because he could hit or that Ted Williams is in for his ability to field the Green Monster? Guys who could do only one thing well are all over the Hall of Fame. Paul Molitor is in and he was primarily a DH. Martinez was a superb hitter, had power,  and got hung up in the Mariners minor league system (no wonder they seldom win). Once he got to the Majors, he could hit anything.

4. Don Mattingly–Was always a favorite of mine. He hit well, played a good enough first base, and was a team leader. His career is short (as are a lot of Cooperstown inductees) but much of it was superior. It’s enough for a Dodgers fan to support a Yankees player (forget where he now manages) for the Hall, but Mattingly gets my vote.

5. Jack Morris–One of the best “money” pitchers I ever saw. He’s going to get a lot of support for his 1991 World Series performance, but he was better than just one game. He led three teams to the World Series (Detroit, Minnesota, Toronto) and each won. He pitched well in two (not the Toronto victory). He is the victim of one of the more convoluted arguments in Hall of Fame voting. The same people who claim he shouldn’t be in because of his high ERA are many of the same people who tell us that ERA is an overrated stat (Make up your minds, folks).

6. Mike Piazza–Best hitting catcher I ever saw, which is tough for a Roy Campanella fan to say. The knock on him is that he wasn’t much of a catcher. Well, he led the league in putouts, assists, errors, passed balls. Quite a mixed bag. As he aged he became known as a good handler of pitchers, especially as young hurlers. I’m not sure how true that was, because it seems to be said of a lot of aging catchers. Whether true or not, he gets onto my ballot for his hitting.

7. Curt Schilling–Two words: bloody sock. OK, there’s more. He was an ace (or co-ace) on three World Series winners, won a lot of games, struck out a ton of batters, and was one of the leading anti-steroids spokesmen. He is, however, something of  a loud mouth. Put a (bloody) sock in it, Curt.

8. Tim Raines–Will someone please explain to the writers that Raines was a great player?

9. Alan Trammell–Overlooked and underappreciated. I wonder how much his disastrous managing stint in Detroit hurts his chances?

10. Larry Walker–I don’t want to hear about Coors Field. He played wonderfully in Montreal, hit well in any park, and had a cannon masquerading as an arm.

So that’s my list. I really miss not being able to vote for Kenny Lofton, Julio Franco, Jeff Conine, and Bernie Williams. I’m not sure any of them belong in Cooperstown, but all meet one of the two categories I mentioned in my first paragraph. Maybe next year, fellas.

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2013 Hall of Fame Ballot

November 28, 2012

The 2013 Hall of Fame ballot was just released. The list includes both returning candidates and new names. It’s a really long ballot, so long that MLB’s webpage lists part of it then gives you a place to click to get the rest. Here, by initial and last name alone, is the ballot list in the order it appears on the MLB website:

J. Bagwell, C. Biggio, B. Bonds, R. Clemens, E. Martinez, D. Mattingly, F. McGriff, M. McGwire, J. Morris, D. Murphy, R. Palmeiro, M. Piazza, T. Raines, C. Schilling, L. Smith, S. Sosa, A. Trammell, L. Walker, B. Williams, S. Alomar, Cirillo, R. Clayton, J. Conine, S. Finley, Julio Franco, S. Green, R. Hernandez, R. Klesko, K. Lofton, J. Mesa, R. Sanders, A. Sele, M.Stanton, T. Walker, D. Wells, R. White, Woody Williams.

OK I put in all of Julio Franco’s name so it didn’t get confused with John Franco and Woody Williams because there are a  gazillion Williams’.

I know everyone is waiting breathlessly (as you should) to hear who I think should be in and who should be tossed to the curb. But you’ll just have to wait until I’ve had a chance to digest the list and figure out who I’d vote for if the Baseball God’s let me vote.

RIP Marvin Miller

November 27, 2012

Marvin Miller as union head

ESPN just posted that Marvin Miller, architect of the MLBPA died. He was controversial and apparently a bit of a jerk, but he ushered in the era of free agency and finally got players a bigger cut of the pie. He also led the union in striking. Now we’ll see how much his Hall of Fame chances are boosted. Apparently, some people didn’t mind him in the Hall, they simply didn’t want him to be around to accept the honor.

Anyway, RIP, Marvin Miller, you changed the game forever both for good and for bad.

The 50 Greatest Dodgers

November 27, 2012

Don Newcombe, the 8th Greatest Dodger

Back a year or so ago I did a post on the 50 Greatest Yankees ever (according to ESPN). Turns out that the network did an entire series of these lists. You’ll have to look around pretty hard (or type in “greatest Dodgers” or whichever team) to find their lists but they are interesting.

One of the lists is the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers list. The top 10 (in order) look like this: Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, Zack Wheat, Roy Campanella, PeeWee Reese, Mike Piazza, Don Newcombe, Don Sutton, Dazzy Vance. And before anyone asks, Don Drysdale is 11th. Not a bad list actually, here’s a few comments on the list.

1. To create a full team you end up with Gil Hodges (16th on the list) at first, Robinson at second, Reese at short, and Roy Cey (14th on the list) at third. The outfield is Snider, Wheat, and Pedro Guerrero (15th on the list). Campanella catches and the first position player whose position is already covered is Piazza, making him the DH. The staff (four men for a World Series rotation, at least one being left-handed) is Koufax, Newcombe, Sutton, and Vance. Way down at 46th is Ron Perranoski, the only reliever on the list.

2. The list is a decent mix of both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, with LA being slightly favored in the higher parts of the list (see Guerrero over Babe Herman or Carl Furillo for example). There are, as you would expect with the Dodgers, an inordinate number of pitchers in the top 15.

3. They did put Dixie Walker on the list (he’s 25th). With the way he left the team (his opposition to Robinson) I half expected he’d be overlooked.

4. Wheat in the top 5 is inspired, as is Vance in the top 10. It’s unusual for guys who played that long ago to get much support when up against newer players that voters remember. However, Wheat over Campanella is questionable. Wheat and Vance are the only two players on the list who spent significant time with the Dodgers prior to 1940.

5. During their time together (most of the 1970s) Steve Garvey got a lot more press than Cey. This list placed Cey higher (14th to Garvey’s 17th). I think that’s probably right.

6. Jim Gilliam is at 43rd. That’s way too low. His versatility (second, third, center, and left) made him so much more valuable than his hitting stats (which aren’t bad either) made him appear.

7. Reggie Smith is at 26th. Again, I think that’s too low. I might slide him into the top 15. I know I’d put him in the top 20. I might even jump him over Guerrero. Smith is one of the more overlooked players in both Dodgers and Red Sox history.

8. The picking of  Newcombe over both Sutton and Drysdale is  interesting. Both ended up with more wins and Newk did have the drinking problem. I’m not sure the voters got it right. Maybe yes, maybe no.  Newcombe was the ace of the most famous (if not most successful) team in Dodgers history and that has to be worth something. Now, if he coulda just won a single World Series game (he went 0-4).

9. Now about first place. When I first became interested in baseball, Robinson was my hero. As he waned, Snider replaced him. Then as the Duke faltered, Koufax became my guy. That got me through high school and hero-worship of big leaguers. So I have no problem with those three being in the top positions. I’m not sure about the order. The ultimate problem is Robinson’s status as a civil rights icon. It so overshadows his on-field accomplishments that I’m not sure it didn’t get him first place more than his playing  ability did. Having said that, I recognize he was a heck of a player and when added to his late start (because of circumstances not of his making) and the abuse he suffered, maybe he is first. But Snider was as good, maybe better. And Koufax is simply the greatest pitcher I ever saw. I have my own order, but I have no real problem with the current order.

10. The location of a few more well-known names: Hershiser (12th), Valenzuela (13th), Wills (22nd), Reiser (31st), Podres (33rd), and Nomo (49th).

11. The most glaring omission? Carl Erskine.

An MLB Fan’s Thanksgiving List

November 21, 2012

Gobble, Gobble

It’s Thanksgiving time in the United States. We’re supposed to all sit down, stuff our faces, watch a ton of football, and count our blessings. As a baseball fan here’s a list of nine things a MLB fan should be thankful for. With nine innings, nine spots in the batting order, and nine men in the field, you expected ten, did you?

1. Your favorite team. No matter how good or bad they are, By God, they’re your team and you’re behind them to the, frequently, bitter end.

2. The regular season. No other sport lasts as long and provides as many games as baseball. Hockey and basketball can go on forever, but there just aren’t as many games to watch.

3. The postseason. There is nothing in sport quite like a game seven. And there have been some great game 7 matchups.

4. The awards. Isn’t it just simply fun to sit around and try to predict who’s gonna win which award? And isn’t it equally great to sit around and complain when the idiot writer’s aren’t as smart as you?

5. The Hall of Fame vote. Isn’t it just simply fun to sit around and try to predict who’s gonna get it? And isn’t it equally great to sit around and complain when the idiot writer’s aren’t as smart as you?

6. Babe Ruth. In all of American sports there has never been anything quite like him. He was such a phenom that his name was become an adjective. A great, unsurpassed, over-awing feat is called “Ruthian.”

7. Spring Training. When the cold of winter and the dull of the post Super Bowl sporting world leaves and the spring returns.

8. Opening Day. When for just one day any team can win and God’s in his heaven and all truly is right with the world.

9. “Play Ball.” Arguably the greatest two words in all of the English language.

Have a happy holiday, team.

A Dozen Things You Should Know About George Gore

November 19, 2012

George Gore with the Giants

1. Gore was born in Maine in 1855.

2. After playing for a local paper mill team, he spent a couple of years in the Minors in New England.

3. He made the Majors in 1879 with the Chicago White Stockings, hitting .263 with and OPS of .642.

4. In 1880 he had his career year. He was 26. He hit .360 with an OPB of .399, a slugging percentage of .463, and OPS of .862, and OSP+ of 185. He led the National League in no other major offensive categories.

5. In 1885 and 1886 Chicago played in the 19th Century’s version of the World Series. He was terrible.

6. Gore was known as a “high liver” (primarily liquor and “loose women”)  in Chicago and there were allegations that he had been paid to play terribly in the 1886 Series. He was traded to New York for the 1887 season.

7. In both 1888 and 1889, Gore played center field for the World Champion Giants. His reputation for booze and “loose women” continued, especially when he had a bad 1888. He rebounded by having a great  Championship Series in  1888 and  had good numbers in both the 1889 regular season and the Series.

8. In 1890 he jumped to the fledgling Player’s League, putting up career numbers in on base percentage, slugging, and OPS.

9.  With the demise of the Player’s League he was back in New York for 1891 and 1892. He did poorly and was traded to the Cardnals before the end of the ’92 season. It was the end of his Major League career.

10. He played a little Minor League ball in 1894, went through a sensational divorce the same year (remember the “loose women” comment earlier), then retired permanently from baseball. He died in Utica, New York in 1933.

11. For his career his triple slash numbers were .301/.386/.411/.797 with an OPS+ of 136. He had 1612 hits, scored 1327 runs, had 618 RBIs, 46 home runs, 262 doubles, and 2200 total bases.

12. As far as I can tell, he was not related to future Vice President of the US Albert Gore.

2012 Awards: How Did I Do?

November 16, 2012

The answer to the above question is actually pretty good. To be fair, I generally had two chances to win each race. Remember, I picked who I thought should win (who I would vote for) and who I thought would win. Sometimes they were the same player, sometimes they weren’t. But it did mean I had 16 possible chances to get eight races correct. I think it’s only fair to remind you of that. So award by award, here’s how I did.

Rookies: Nailed Trout for the American League (as if there was any doubt). Also got Harper right, kinda. This is a case of saying who I thought should win (Miley) and who I thought would win. I thought Harper would win.

Managers: Nailed Johnson for the National League. Again I got Melvin kinda right. This was one where I thought he should win, but I expected Showalter would win. Sort of  the opposite of how I did with the National League Rookie results.

Cy Young: Nailed Dickey for the National League. Totally hashed the American League. I said I thought Verlander should and  would win. Then I lost the closest AL Cy Young race ever. Bummer.

MVP: Nailed ’em both. I have to admit that I thought the Cabrera/Trout confrontation would be closer than it was. This does bring up an interesting question. We know that the writers pay attention to the SABR stats when voting for the Cy Young (see the Hernandez win). Apparently they don’t pay nearly as much attention to the hitting ones in determining the MVP. I wonder is that true in general or is the Triple Crown so special that they ignored the SABR stats in this one specific case? It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years.

So how did you do? If better than me, congratulations. If not, just remember that over the years since 1930, the writers have proved sometimes utterly idiotic when chosing postseason award winners. Sometimes they get them right, sometimes they aren’t in the same ballpark with right. So if you didn’t do well in your own picks, don’t worry about it. Frequently the writers hashed it as badly as you did. 

Now on to the December Veteran’s Committee vote.

Youth Baseball Meets the U.S. Army

November 12, 2012

Join the Army, see Virginia

I managed to get out of Viet Nam in late 1968 and found myself stationed at a small base in northern Virginia. I stayed there into December 1969, which means I was there during baseball season. It also means I was there for the youth baseball season.

The local youth baseball league had a deal with the post. If we could field a team, we could play in the local league. If not, the post kids could sign up and would be distributed among the town teams. In 1969 we had a dozen or so kids sign up, so the post could field one team (age 10-11). What it needed was a coach. One of the fathers was an old Sergeant First Class. Stripes look like this:

E-7 stripes

He’d been in Korea and Nam and was about ready to retire. One of the kids was his youngest and he agreed to coach the team. He needed two assistants and I was still single, didn’t have much to do in the evenings, loved baseball, and agreed to take one of the positions (OK, so I was boring). I ended up as first base coach and infield coach, the third guy took pitchers and catchers, while Sarge instructed hitting and coached third. Ole Sarge was Army all the way. We didn’t march in step to the field or anything, but the team stood at parade rest when he was addressing them, the “bunt” sign was a  salute, and the “take” sign was present arms.

Like this, but without the rifle and in a baseball jersey

The team was different from the local teams. Almost all the local teams were composed of kids who’d been born in the county, were schooled there, and thought of it as home. They were also all white. We had guys from Albuquerque, Seattle, Detroit, and one kid whose mom was from the Philippines. We came in three shades (the kid from Detroit was black), all sorts of backgrounds, and all had short hair. The locals tended to have hair of different lengths, with one red-headed guy with wiry hair done up in an Afro. Think Oscar Gamble in red.

Oscar Gamble in full ‘Fro

It was as close as any of the local teams had to color.

We were also good. We had two kids who could pitch, four or five who could catch and throw, and about six who could hit. So we managed to dominate the league. There were six local teams, so we played 18 games over about two months. I think we lost one game (two at most) and rolled to the league pennant. We did have a  problem unique to our team. In the Army fathers (none of the kids had a mom in the service) transferred bases with some frequency. I think we lost one kid to a transfer,which left us with two subs. Of course we didn’t have to worry too awfully much about losing a  kid to a two-week summer vacation in Shenandoah Park in the middle of the season.

We also had one other “problem” unique to the team, the black and the Filipino kid. Well, there weren’t any of them on any of the other teams, so they drew comment. Turns out both were pretty good and as the first base coach you could hear a lot of comments. Some were downright racist, others were backhanded compliments like “Look at that colored boy run. Wish we had one of them.” (BTW “colored” wasn’t the word used, but this is a  family site.) Or “Hey, that little yella kid can sure hit. Wish we had one of them” (Again, it wasn’t “yella” I was hearing.). I never pointed out that the simple integration of the local youth baseball league might actually get the team  “one of them,” especailly the black kid (fairly large black population in the county).  I will admit the parents were much more of a problem than the kids. The kids only disliked us when we won.

I left before the next season and I think I remember Sarge retiring about the time I left. I ended up in Germany and a couple of kids ended up there too (their Dad’s were transferred same time and place as me). A friend of mine wrote me in mid-1970 that the post team in Virginia was whipping up on the locals again that year. I decided that they had obviously learned well all the many lessons I’d taught them (Damned right I’m taking credit for the wins. The losses are the new coach’s fault). Hopefully present arms wasn’t still the “take” sign.

Going Hollywood on us

November 9, 2012

Bud’s dream

This is a blog I hoped I’d never have to write, but somehow I always knew I would. Major League Baseball has gone Hollywood on us. OK, they’d already done that, but now they’ve dipped toward the very bottom of the barrel.

Did you see that we now have official “nominees” for the various postseason awards? I have  this vision of Bud Selig coming from behind the curtain in a tux, standing before a microphone, and announcing, “In the category of Most Valuable Player in the National League, the nominees are…”. Then comes, “May I have the enveloped please?”. Finally, he rips open the envelope with the embossed crossed baseball bats on the back and says, “And the winner is…”. Then the winner comes out and announces, “I’d like to thank the academy, my hitting coach,and all the little people.”

God help us all. Can we just go back to doing it the way we’ve done it since the 1930s? It worked, didn’t it?

2012 Veteran’s Committee Ballot: the Ump and some thoughts

November 8, 2012

This is the final set of comments on the upcoming Veteran’s Committee vote for the Hall of Fame. I want to look at the one umpire nominated, Hank O’Day, and to offer a few comments on the ballot, including my own picks.

Hank O’Day

Hank O’Day was, like many umpires, a former players. He got to the Major Leagues in 1884, playing for Toledo (the same team as Tony Mullane, another person appearing on the ballot). He was a pitcher, went 73-110, and ended his playing days in the Player’s League. He had a couple of undistinguished years in the minors, then turned to umpiring. He was considered one of the finest umpires of his day, appearing in 10 World Series: 1903, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1918, 1920, 1923, and 1926 (only Bill Klem did more–18). He’s probably most well-known today as the plate umpire in the “Merkle Game” of 1908, although he did not make the call that declared Merkle out. In 1912 he took a sabbatical from umping to manage the Cincinnati Reds. They finished fourth at 75-78. After a year back umpiring, he took over managing the Cubs in 1914. Again they finished fourth, this time at 78-76. After that he returned to umping and remained an umpire through the 1927 season. He was the second base umpire who called Bill Wambsganss’ unassisted triple play in the 1920 World Series. After retirement he served as league scout for umpires, dying in 1935.

I have no idea how to assess O’Day’s qualifications for the Hall of Fame. When it comes to players, I have criteria that I consider when asking if I think a player is Hall of Fame quality. I’ll bet you do also. Yours may be different from mine, but there is a set of criteria. Same with managers, owners, executives. But exactly what criteria do you use for an umpire? Integrity? Decisiveness? Knowing the rules? All of them are important for an umpire, but any truly good umpire should have all three of them. If that’s the case, there ought to be 100 or more umps in the Hall of Fame. So how do we pick out O’Day from, for example,  Bob Emslie, the other umpire in the Merkle game, who was an umpire for 33 years and called four no hitters?

All the above should tell you that I have no inherent reason to not vote for O’Day. It’s just that I don’t have a  particular reason to do so. If he’s elected, I’m not going to be upset, but I’m also not going to say “Well, it’s about time” either.

So now a few comments on this entire ballot.

1. If I were on the Veteran’s Committee, I would vote for three people: Deacon White, Jacob Ruppert, and Samuel Breadon. White I mentioned on the post about the everyday players.

2. Why Ruppert? Well, I think Jacob Ruppert is the most overlooked person eligible for the Hall of Fame (except possibly for Marvin Miller). He is the foundation stone for the greatest of all baseball dynasties and if you’re going to put in his players and his general manager (Ed Barrow) you need to put in the man who had the intelligence to pick up all those people and weld them into a  team for the ages.

3. Why Breadon? Simply put, he’s Ruppert in the National League. As SportsPhD pointed out in a comment on the owners post, Breadon’s Cardinals were only slightly less successful than Ruppert’s Yankees over a comparable period. His players weren’t as spectacular as Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio, but they were as effective. And Musial and Dean are close to what the Yanks put on the field.

4. I have no problem if they put in Reach, but I’d rather see the other owners first. His sporting goods empire makes no impact to me on his Hall of Fame qualifications and his team is never all that good. The Reach Guide was good, but most of that was due to the editorial skills of Henry Chadwick, not Reach.

5. The pitching list is particularly interesting to me. Obviously I wouldn’t cast a vote for any of them, but they are still interesting. Much of it has to do with the following question, “Is this really the best set of pitchers left from the period before World War II that isn’t in the Hall?” If the answer to that is “yes”, then we can congratulate ourselves for having  enshrined in Cooperstown all the great pitchers of the era. Maybe we have. Or maybe we haven’t My point here is that if these are the three best pitchers still available for the Hall of Fame from the 1876-1946 era then we’ve pretty much gotten the best of the pitchers already in Cooperstown.

6. I wonder if the people putting together the ballot have a quota of some kind. Note there are 3 position players, 3 pitchers, 3 owners, and 1 umpire. Doesn’t the symmetry strike you as a bit strange? Are there really only 3 everyday players capable of making the ballot? Are there really as many as 3 owners who outshine all but 3 everyday players?

Anyway that’s my take on the 2012 Veteran’s Committee ballot. Feel free to disagree.