Random Musings on the Class of 2018

A few random thoughts on the Hall of Fame Class of 2018:

1. First, congratulations to Jack Morris, Alan Trammell of the Veteran’s Committee and Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, and Jim Thome on election to the Hall of Fame.

2. There is a certain amount of hope for both Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina for next year. Both showed a rise in percentage of votes, with Martinez landing over 70%. He ended up 19 votes short of election.

3. The bad news for Martinez is next year is his last year on the writers ballot. At 70% it should still be relatively easy for him to make the Hall.

4. The next three guys down ballot were Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. The one I’m most interested in is Schilling. It seems his post career activities are hurting him (some writers admit it) and I’m not sure whether to accept that as a legitimate concern or not. The “character clause” is so ill-defined as to allow for about anything to be considered “good character” or “bad character” and doesn’t seem to know whether those definitions (such as they are) involve on the field issues, baseball related issues, or just about everything a fellow does. Is having unpopular political views “bad character” or not? Is cheating on your wife “bad character” or not? I have my opinion, but it’s strictly my opinion and it seems the Hall is allowing every voter to have his “my opinion” and that leads to all sorts of swings in meaning. Personally, I presume the “character clause” to relate strictly to those things that directly effect a player’s baseball career. I’m not sure how much Babe Ruth running around on his first wife changed what he did on the field (maybe yes, maybe no). I do know that Joe Jackson joining in throwing a World Series (and that’s 100 years next year) effected baseball. I also know that we may not think much of Ty Cobb’s views of race, but in 1910 a lot of people agreed with him (it’s possible to say he was even in the majority in 1910), so we have to be careful how much the standards of our time effect how we look at players who played even just a few years back.

5. The purging of voters and adding of new guys didn’t seem to help either Clemens or Bonds much. They’re up a little with four years remaining on the ballot. It will be interesting to see how much movement there is over the four years. It’s possible they’ll get there in four years, but I’m still betting on the writer’s kicking it to the Veteran’s Committee and letting them make a final decision. That could be particularly interesting as the Hall does present the Committee with a ballot and forces them to confine their vote to the 10 people listed. The appearance of any of the steroid boys on a ballot (McGwire would come first) will tell us something about the Hall’s own stand on the issue.

6. Next year is a walk over for Mariano Rivera. The guy I’m most interested in his Todd Helton. He played in Colorado and that seems to matter a lot to voters. We’ll see what happens (see Walker, Larry).

7. I love the idea of “light” votes and “dark” votes. That’s the way they’re describing the votes. Light votes are those that were published prior to election and dark votes aren’t. Kinda catchy. I wonder if anyone’s tried to use “Hey, kid, I have a dark ballot for the Hall of Fame” as a pickup line?

The Hall elections are always fun and next year promises more of the same. Ain’t it grand?

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4 Responses to “Random Musings on the Class of 2018”

  1. wkkortas Says:

    I think your take on the character clause is spot-on, and I think it highlights the disparity between Schilling’s candidacy and that of Bonds and Clemens. It’s hard to disagree with the notion that Schilling is a jackass of the highest order; I think it’s equally hard to disagree with the fact that Cooperstown has plaques for more than a few jackasses. But–and this is the key point you make–it’s hard to argue that Schilling has truly hurt the game itself, and I don’t think you can float that argument for Bonds and Clemens, and I think that makes all the difference in the world in terms of their respective candidacies.

    I am also heartened by Larry Walker’s bump in the voting, and one can hope that the writers can do the right thing over his final two ballots.

  2. Sean Thornton Says:

    I’m also intrigued to how Helton will be received. Personally, I feel he is an elite 1B (17th best 1B of all-time according to the Hall of Stats) but he will be a guy who could take years to get the nod.

    • wkkortas Says:

      I think Helton is a very interesting case, especially given that he is the first career Rockies player to be a serious candidate–Walker had a lot of years in other places (especially Montreal, and I think the contrast between a lousy hitters park and Coors has clouded his candidacy), and you wonder if writers are savvy enough to figure that his numbers are still awfully good even after you let the mile-high air out of them.

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