Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Hall of Fame "Ballot"

We began this post a couple of months ago. We've written thousands of words about whom we would, and would not, vote for if we had a Hall of Fame ballot. For the sake of our readership, we've decided to strip this down to the bare minimum. For example, how long would you stay on this site if 3,000 words in, we start getting into why we wouldn't vote for Ray Durham?

This is a different ballot than we've ever seen. Not only is it overstuffed, with more than 10 deserving candidates, we have the moral dilemma of decided what to do with steroid users, suspected users, and if it makes sense to keep steroid users out of the Cooperstown when the Hall already honors racists,  amphetamines users, coke heads, and wife beaters. I don't know about you, but if I had a son, I'd rather he grow up to use steroids than beat his wife.

That being said, I do not support the Hall of Fame induction of Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. It's not so much because of the steroid use as their natural state of being sleazy, lying jerks.

Enough with that, this is supposed to be fun, and we're going to have fun. As Clark W. Griswold said, we're going to have so much fun, we'll need plastic surgery to remove the goddam smiles from our faces.

Quickly, as this is our fifth year of publishing an imaginary ballot, here is a recap of our past votes...
That's a Hall of Fame Smile

Bert Blyleven
Tim Raines
Roberto Alomar
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Alan Trammell
Andre Dawson HOF
Fred McGriff

Andre Dawson was the only player from our ballot to get it in. So the following year, it was easy to add newcomers Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, and John Olerud to the seven remaining players.

Olerud has a nice case.
Bert Blyleven HOF
Tim Raines
Roberto Alomar HOF
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Alan Trammell
Fred McGriff
Jeff Bagwell
Larry Walker
John Olerud

Blyeleven and Alomar got the nod this year, but Olerud fell off the ballot for failing to reach 5% of the BBWAA vote. Players to appear on the ballot for the first time the following year, in 2012, made little-to-no impact on the voting. In fact, only Bernie Williams received more than 5% of the vote in 2012, but he only stayed on the ballot for one more year, falling below 5% in 2013. We did not "vote" for him either time he was on the ballot. As foreign as a concept as this seems now, 2012 was the last year we had fewer than 10 names on our list...

Larkin was a Hometown Hero
Tim Raines
Barry Larkin HOF
Edgar Martinez
Alan Trammell
Jeff Bagwell
Larry Walker

Larkin graduated in 2012, but no-one received 75% in 2013...

Tim Raines
Edgar Martinez
It's a shame Kenny Lofton
didn't get 5% of the vote
Alan Trammell
Jeff Bagwell
Larry Walker
Craig Biggio
Kenny Lofton
Fred McGriff
Mike Piazza
Curt Schilling

Looking back, the only player we've waffled on is Fred McGriff, who received our support in odd numbered years. Over the past few years, we've given strong consideration to Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and Dave Parker. Plus, it would've been nice to vote for Al Leiter as a tip of the cap in 2011. Moises Alou is in the same position this year. We love Moises Alou. Having watched them both play hundreds of games, I'd say there's a great case that Moises Alou was a better player than Sammy Sosa. Alou would have absolutely received a gratuitous "vote" if fewer than 10 players deserved actual consideration this year. That is not the case. This year's ballot is jam packed. Even if voters say "no" to anyone with a whisper of drug rumors, there are more than 10 good candidates. There's no good excuse for having a ballot with fewer than ten names in 2013.

There are lots of places to read why someone did/didn't vote for everyone on this year's ballot. The best explanation we've seen this year is from Ken Rosenthal on Fox Sports. Our ballots don't totally agree, and I rarely link to Rosenthal because he's just not in my personal inner circle of writers. But, the explanation for his ballot is so clear and reasonable that he almost took 80% of the words right out of my mouth. In fact, most of our thoughts on these players are echoed in what we wrote last year. Straying from our normal form, let's avoid some redundancies and get straight to our 2014 "ballot"...

Greg Maddux was the best.
- Jeff Bagwell
Greg Maddux
- Edgar Martinez
Mike Mussina
- Mike Piazza
- Tim Raines
- Curt Schilling
Frank Thomas
- Alan Trammell
- Larry Walker

For argument's sake, our most difficult were Tom Glavine and Craig Biggio, and our weakest support probably went to Alan Trammell.

The good people at Baseball Think Factory publish a Hall of Fame Ballot Collection Gizmo that provides a preview for what we may see when the results are announced in a week and a half.

The most fun we can have on this topic is in the discussion. Please let us know what your Hall of Fame ballot would look like in the comments below, on Twitter, or if we see each other in person.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Holiday Season "Now Playing" (ranked)

It's been a long time since we've had a not-baseball post.

With the best time of the year to go to the movies upon us, below is a humbly ranked list of cinema options this holiday season:
  1. American Hustle
  2. Inside Llewyn Davis
  3. Her
  4. The Wolf of Wall Street
  5. Nebraska
  6. Philomena
  7. Dallas Buyers Club
  8. Out of the Furnace
  9. Anchorman 2
  10. 12 Years a Slave
  11. Delivery Man
  12. Grudge Match
  13. The Book Thief
  14. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  15. Lone Survivor
  16. Last Vegas
  17. The Best Man Holiday
  18. Homefront
  19. Frozen
  20. Mandela
  21. Saving Mr. Banks
  22. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  23. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  24. Thor: The Dark World
  25. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas
Thoughts? Any glaring omissions or under/overrating?

Let us know in the comments below...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hall of Fame's Best Outsiders

Earlier this week, I emailed Graham Womack my submission for Baseball: Past and Present's fourth annual "50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame" project.

Back in the Summer of 2010, we assembled our first occasional (non-annual) non-Hall of Famers squad. At the time, we knew we wouldn't do it every year, and we haven't done it since.

Without out further ado, below is our selection of non-Hall of Famers who've appeared on at least one Hall of Fame ballot.

2nd occasional non-Hall of Famers
Batting Order
Versatile glove, good bat
1. Kenny Lofton, CF
2. Jeff Bagwell, 1b
3. Barry Bonds, LF
4. Mike Piazza, C
5. Larry Walker, RF
6. Dick Allen, 3b
7. Bobby Grich, 2b
8. Alan Trammell, SS

Bench: Edgar Martinez, DH
Bench: Tim Raines, LF
Bench: Bo Jackson, CF
Bench: Lou Whitaker, 2b
Bill Freehan in Boston
Bench: Buddy Bell, 3b
Bench: Craig Biggio, 2b/CF/C
Bench: Reggie Smith, CF/RF
Bench: Graig Nettles, 3b
Bench: Bill Freehan, C

SP: Roger Clemens
SP: Curt Schilling
SP: Rick Reuschel
SP: Kevin Brown

P: Luis Tiant
P: David Cone
Nobody messes with Buck O'Neil
P: Dave Stieb
RP: Dan Quisenberry

Manager: Buck O'Neil

Please let us know what you think. Did we leave anyone off that should really be included? Keep in mind, people who have still not been voted on, like Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine are not eligible for this list until after the Hall of Fame results are announced the second week of January.

Let us know how your team would look. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fangraphs Spray Charts Are Here!

Baseball fans were given a late Hanukkah / early Christmas present today, when David Appelman announced that Fangraphs now has batted ball and fielded ball spray charts for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, courtesy of Inside Edge.

As David describes the various Spray Charts:
Hang Time: A plot of the bucketed hang time of batted balls. Home runs are broken out separately, but all fly balls are categorized by hang time.

Batted Ball Type: A plot of all batted balls by the type of batted ball (fly ball, line drive, etc…)

Hit Type: A plot of all batted balls by the type of hit (single, double, etc…)

Made Plays: A plot of all the plays a fielder successfully made and the rated difficulty of each play by Inside Edge scouts.

Missed Plays: A plot of all the plays a fielder failed to successfully field and the rated difficult of each play by Inside Edge scouts.

Made / Missed Plays: A plot of made plays and missed plays combined.
For fun, a look at Shortstops and their Fielding Spray Charts:

Source: FanGraphs

Clicking on any of the items in the legend make them disappear / reappear on the chart. For instance, in these charts, click the "90-100%" and "60-90%" in the key to remove the easier plays from the charts. Seeing how many difficult plays each shortstop made the past two years is pretty interesting: