Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hall of Fame Part 1

January 6th, 2010 is an important day for me. It is the 1 year blog-o-versary of Home School Dad (HSD), my main blog. I will be commemorating it there accordingly.

January 6th also has importance as it is the day that the Baseball hall of fame voting is revealed to the general public.

The Baseball writers Association of America (BBWAA) can vote for up to 10 former players to be inducted into the hall in July of 2010. If a player gets 75% of the writers vote they make the hall. If they get less than 75% but more than 5% of the vote they can return to the next years ballot. Players will be on the ballot for 15 years until they receive more than 75% or less than 5 percent of the vote.

Over my next several posts I will introduce you to the players returning to this years ballot, those on the ballot for the first time, and in my final post I will reveal how I would have voted if given the opportunity.

Phase 1: Returning Players (In descending order of years on ballot). The analysis will be based on previous voting patterns not my assessment of their HOF worthiness. That piece of the puzzle will come in the last installment.

Dave Parker is on the ballot for his 14th year . Parker played for 19 seasons beginning with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1973-1983) and ending his career with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991. In between je played for the Cincinnati Reds (1984-1987), Oakland A's 1988-1989, Milwaukee Brewers 1990, and California Angels (1991).

When Parkers playing days came to a close he had amassed 2712 total hits, 339 homers and a lifetime batting average of .290. He played outfield for his most of career where he won 3 consecutive gold gloves (77-79) and was DH the majority of his last 4 seasons. Parker was the 1978 NL MVP, runner up in 1985, a 7 time all star and the all star MVP in 1979.

Parker has been on the ballot since 1997 his best year came in 1998 when he received 24.5 % of the vote. In 2004 Parker had 10.9% of the vote in 2004 and was up to 15% in last years balloting.

Analysis : Players on the 14th ballot who eventually make the Hall in the BBWWA process generally are increasing in % of votes year after year and closing in on the 75% mark. Jim Rice, For an example who was voted in in his 15th year last year received 64.8 % in his 12th election, 71.2% in his 13th, 72.2% in his penultimate election and received 76.4 % when he entered the Hall. Rice's low water mark of 29.4 % in his 5th election is 5 percentage points better than Parker did in his best year.

Outlook: Parker doesn't appear to have enough time to mount a surge of votes needed for induction.

Bert Blyleven is on the ballot for his 13th year. Blyleven began his career pitching for the Minnesota Twins (1970-1976), spent a season and a half with the Texas Rangers (76-77), 3 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (78-80) 4 and a half years with the Cleveland Indians followed by a return trip to Minnesota (1985-1988) and ended his playing days with the California Angels (89-92). Blyleven retired with a lifetime era of 3.31, 3701 strikeouts and 13 wins shy of the 300 mark.

While Blyleven helped 2 teams win the World Series (Pittsburgh 79 and Minnesota 1987) with a combined 2-1 record and 2.35 ERA his trophy cabinet does seem to be shy of personal accolades. He had no gold gloves, only 2 all star appearances and never finished higher than 3rd in Cy Young voting.

Blyleven has been on the HOF ballot since 1998 when like Parker he received 17.5% in his first opportunity. Last year was his best showing as he received 62.7% of the vote. He has gained almost 30 percentage points in the last 5 years (Blyleven received 35.4 % in 2004).

Analysis and outlook: Looking again at Rice for comparison we find that Blyleven 62.7% last year in his 12 election is comparable to Rice 64.8% at the same time in the process. Combined with the fact that some writers only vote for 1 to 3 candidates each year, Blyleven has an excellent chance of making the HOF in the next 3 years.

Dale Murphy on the ballot for the 12th year played the majority of his career with the Atlanta Braves (1976-1990). He played 2 and a half seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (1990-1992) and played in 26 games with the Colorado Rockies in 1993. Murphy held a lifetime batting average of .265, had 2,111 hits and 398 home runs.

Murphy started as a catcher with the braves but played the majority of his games in the outfield. He was elected to 7 all star games, received 5 consecutive gold glove awards (82-86) 4 consecutive silver slugger awards (82-85) and 2 consecutive MVP seasons (82+83).

Murphy received 19.3% of the vote in 1999, his first year on the ballot. His high water mark was in 2000 where he received 20.8%. In 2004 he reached his low mark only appearing on 8.5 % of the ballots. He has gained 3% points between the election of 2004 and 2009.

Analysis and outlook: A serious HOF contender on his 12th ballot would be dramatically better positioned than Mr. Murphy. While his overall prospects are not as bleak as Parkers, nothing short of a meteoric rise in votes in his last 4 seasons of BBWWA eligibility will get him to the 50% mark let alone the 75% needed to make it in the hall.

Jack Morris is on the ballot for the eleventh year. Morris pitched for the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1990, the Minnesota Twins in 1991, the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 & 1993 and finished his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1994. Morris finished with an era of .390, 2,478 strikeouts and 254 wins.

Morris won World Series championships with 3 teams (Detroit 84, Minnesota 91 and Toronto 92) He had a 4-2 World Series and a 2.96 ERA. His individual trophy case is as barren as Bylevens with the exception of the 1991 World Series MVP and 5 all star appearances as compared to Bert's 2.

Morris has been on the HOF ballot since 2000 when he appeared on 22.2 % of the ballots. His best year was last year when he received 44% support an increase of almost 18 percentage points since 2004.

Analysis: With 5 years left on the ballot Morris is in a preferable yet precarious position. Morris is only 2 points behind where Blyleven prior to his eleventh election. Blyleven was able to increase 14 percentage points that year to get to his present favorable position. If Morris doesn't have a double digit surge in one or two of the next few elections he is apt to be on the outside looking in 5 years from now when his 15 years are up.

That's enough analysis for one day. I'll be back today or tomorrow to look at 4 more players returning to the ballot this year.

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