Thoughts on the Class of 2015

Yesterday the Hall of Fame chose Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz for enshrinement. It’s being touted as the largest class chosen by the writers since 1955 and one of the largest ever. Here are some thoughts on the election.

1. Nothing in the world wrong with the four candidates elected. All have solid cases for enshrinement and I’m glad to see each get in.

2. Mike Piazza was the candidate who came closest to election without getting a plaque. I’m not quite sure what to do with Piazza. I personally think he’s Hall worthy, but I understand that many of the writers are worried about PED issues. Apparently less are worried each year and less are worried than are worried about either Clemens or Bonds. Writers seem not to know what to do about catchers. Of all catchers currently in the Hall only Johnny Bench is a first vote member. That means that Yogi Berra, Yogi Berra for God’s sake, isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. Neither is Roy Campanella, nor is Carlton Fisk, nor Gary Carter. And I suppose I can probably push that out all the way to Joe Mauer (who I think will make it). I’m not certain why this is true. My guess is that catchers put up smaller numbers than players at other positions and no one’s quite sure how you quantify catching stats, so there’s a certain reluctance to add them to the Hall of Fame. That’s also a guess on my part.

3. Staying with Piazza a moment, it looks like he will become the test case for PEDs. If he gets in, and so far his trajectory is toward election, then we’re going to have to face the issue head on. Because if he says, after he’s in (not after he’s elected, but after the ceremony makes it official) that “Yeah, I used the stuff,” then they can’t throw him out and they can’t say “No PED users in the Hall” because they’ve already got one. That will force the door open for the others. In all that I don’t mean to imply that I know or believe that Piazza was a PED user, merely that there is doubt in some minds.

4. I don’t understand the Bonds/Clemens votes. If you think PED use is not a disqualifier for the Hall of Fame, surely you believe they have the numbers for election. If you think PED use is a  disqualifier surely you don’t vote for either. I’m not quite sure why they ended up with different vote totals (206 for Clemens and 202 for Bonds). Did four voters actually think Clemens should get in and Bonds not? I guess so. And I further guess that the BBWAA is very unpredictable. BTW, I note that my “strategic voting” idea from last year (“How the heck did someone not vote for Maddux?”) is now being gloried in by some of the voters. I take full credit. 🙂

5. On a personal level in my post on my ballot I voted for 10. Seven of them ended up being the top seven vote getters. The other three all received enough votes to remain on the ballot.

6. That’s not quite true. It was the 15th and last chance for Don Mattingly. He didn’t get in and now must wait for the Vet’s Committee. Alan Trammell (who I chose) faces the same situation next year with Lee Smith and Mark McGwire (who I didn’t select) one year later. Smith has benefit of the 15 year rule, while McGwire does not.

7. Of the first timers on the ballot, Gary Sheffield and Nomar Garciaparra were the only one’s who got enough votes to stay alive for next year (and Garciaparra did it by only 0.5% of the vote). It doesn’t bode well for either in subsequent years, but I’m glad each stayed alive so we can take another year to review their cases for election. Right now I’m inclined to pass on Sheffield and I frankly don’t know what to do with Garciaparra.

8. Now on to 2016 and the arrival of Ken Griffey on the ballot. Also available next year will be Trevor Hoffman, Jim Edmonds, Mike Lowell, and David Eckstein. I don’t expect much support for either Lowell or Eckstein, but will be most interested to see how Edmonds does.

9. Finally, again congratulations to this year’s new Hall of Famers. Enjoy the moment, guys.


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5 Responses to “Thoughts on the Class of 2015”

  1. Gary Trujillo Says:

    No problems here except with Biggio…only because he was kind of a “meh” type of player.

  2. wkkortas Says:

    I would agree with you that all four inductees are deserving (though I would also agree with Mr. Trujillo that Biggio is borderline, 3000 hits or no.)

    Here’s something I found interesting from the vote, and I’m going to steal one of Bill Miller’s devices. Player A ended his career with 473 HRs, over 1500 RBIs, and a triple-slash line of .280/.383/.546, good for a 138 OPS+. He wasn’t a good defensive player, but he was able to play the field without doing too much damage his entire career. Player B came in with a handful fewer HRs than Player A but a few more RBIs. His triple slash line was .285/.343/.547, good for a OPS+ of 140. His defense was so problematic that he didn’t play the field more than a handful of games over the last decade of his career. Player C came up a bit short of the others in terms of HRs and RBIs, but his line is still very impressive–.318/.379/.553, also good for a OPS+ of 140. He was an outfielder with a very good arm, but the other traditional and advanced metrics aren’t big on his defense.

    Player A is Carlos Delgado; he’s off the ballot for good after failing to reach 5%.

    Player B is David Ortiz. Player C is Vladimir Guerrero.

    Now, I’m not jumping up and down screaming for Delgado here; he’s a borderline case, at best. Still, I’ve read writers who insist that Ortiz and Guerrero are both first-ballot guys. I just can’t see where the difference between the three players is that wide.

  3. Gary Trujillo Says:

    David Ortiz should never, EVER sniff the HOF…(sigh) another case of a “popular” team that had success because of high priced free agents and one or two guys get all the credit…a la Jeter and Mariano Rivera with the Yankees.

  4. Miller Says:

    To your point #4, v, there’s little more vexing in this election. And from the looks of things, it was more than just four voters who did something this strange. Some voted for Bonds and not Clemens too! I suppose someone voted for their perception of who the human is rather than the baseball player. I guess more people liked Clemens than Bonds as a person???

  5. steve Says:

    Darrin Erstat got a vote and he apparently wondered himself “what that one person was thinking?”

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