May 21, 2019

DEFINING GREATNESS: A Hall of Fame Handbook

April 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

One third of the players in the Hall of Fame do not have the credentials to be there.  Or, to be more precise, 35% of the 20th century major league Hall of Famers do not have the performance records (on the field in the regular season) to merit a place in Cooperstown. After the BBWAA […]

Analyzing the 2012 Hall of Fame Vote

February 6, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Barry Larkin was the only player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers this year.  Larkin received votes from 86.4% of the writers, well above the 75% required for election.  Larkin picked up 134 more votes this year, his third year on the ballot.  With a relatively thin incoming class of […]

Some Thoughts on Secondary Aspects of the Hall of Fame Voting Results

January 15, 2012 by · 10 Comments 

The 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame vote was recently announced, and only one player was elected, Barry Larkin. Fellow Seamheads author Andrew Martin wrote a good post dissecting this year’s vote. I’m not going to do the same, especially since I largely agree with his views: Larkin is marginal but I support his election; Bagwell and […]

The Golden Era Hall of Fame Ballot

November 10, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

The Hall of Fame has announced that eight players (and two executives) are to be considered for induction into the Hall in what is being called the Golden Age Ballot. Sixteen individuals (including some Hall of Famers) will vote for the candidates on Dec. 5, 2011 at the Baseball Writers Winter Meetings and twelve votes […]

The Pitchers: The 4 Levels of Greatness – Part 2

October 1, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

The CAWS Career Gauge has identified only fifty-one (51) 20th century major league pitchers who have obvious Hall of Fame numbers. In Part 1, I introduced the thirty-nine (39) 20th century pitchers in Levels 1 and 2.  These were the pitchers identified by the CAWS Gauge as having posted HOF numbers during their playing careers […]

The Pitchers: The 4 Levels of Greatness – Part 1

September 26, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

In a previous series of articles, I presented the 5 Levels of Greatness for the 20th century position players who posted Hall of Fame numbers during their careers – according to the CAWS Career Gauge.  We saw that there are one hundred sixteen (116) such players. In this series of articles, I will present the […]

Mariano Rivera – the Best “Pure” Reliever

September 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

At the present moment (2011), there are only five pitchers in the Hall of Fame who most fans would look upon as “relievers”: Hoyt Wilhelm, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter.  And only one of these, Bruce Sutter, can be considered a “pure” reliever according to the definition established by the CAWS […]

The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 4

September 19, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

In this article (the last in this series), I will present the Level 5 players who posted Hall of Fame numbers during the 20th century.  In Levels 1 through 4, there were eighty-eight (88) position players who had a CAWS career score of at least 280.  In Level 5, we have the other twenty-eight (28) […]

The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 3

September 12, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

In this article, I will present the Level 3 and Level 4 position players.  There were a total of thirty-one (31) players in Levels 1 and 2 – the position players with the best careers of the 20th century.  In Levels 3 and 4, we have the fifty-seven (57) next best careers of the century […]

The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 2

September 7, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

In this article, I will present the Level 1 and Level 2 position players.  These are the thirty-one (31) major league players who had the best career numbers in the 20th century.  I think it is fair to say that there are few surprises on these two lists. Level 1  -  Players with a CAWS […]

The Hall of Famers: The 5 Levels of Greatness – Part 1

September 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Consider the following statement: One third of the players in Baseball’s Hall of Fame do not have the credentials to be there. Or, to be more precise, 35% of the 20th century major league Hall of Famers do not belong in Cooperstown according to their performance records (on the field in the regular season). This […]

Slugger Jim

August 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Anyone who isn’t happy for Jim Thome probably also hates ice cream and loves velour. OK, I like the way velour looks on some people but it’s not in my wardrobe. What I do have in my closet is an abundance of Chicago White Sox items and one of the reasons I’m proud to wear […]

“All In” – Starting Pitchers and the Hall of Fame

August 1, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

With the induction of Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame in 2011, every starting pitcher in the second half of the 20th century who has HOF numbers is now in Cooperstown. Let me be a bit more precise.  According to the CAWS Career Gauge, every starting pitcher whose career began after World War II […]

Gambling at the Hall of Fame: Part Three

July 29, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

In the last of this three-part series on gambling at the Hall of Fame (please read the first two parts if you haven’t already), it’s time to talk about gambling that goes on AT the museum every day of the year. I’m referring to fantasy sports, and if your reflex response is “gee, that’s no […]

Gambling at the Hall of Fame: Part Two

July 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Are you ready for the bizarre story I promised you last time, about gambling AT the Hall of Fame? If you haven’t read “Part One” please do so before reading this one. In it, I told about the Hall of Fame refusing to hire me in the mid-1990s because of my background as a Las […]

The BBWAA Report Card for the 21st Century: Part 4

July 14, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

In Part 1 of this series, I indicated that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) has been quite successful since 2001 in their selection of major league players for induction into the Hall of Fame.  Of the eighteen inductees from 2001 through 2011, sixteen do indeed have Hall of Fame numbers according to the […]

Gambling at the Hall of Fame: Part One

July 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

I want to tell you an amazing story about gambling at the Hall of Fame, but to appreciate the irony of the story fully, you need the background to put it in context. For that, I have to take you back twenty years to my first tenure in Cooperstown. I arrived here in April 1991, […]

Harry Stovey Named Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend

July 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

For Immediate Release Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Nineteenth Century Committee Harry Stovey Named Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend LONG BEACH, CA, July 8, 2011 — 19th Century outfielder and first baseman, Harry Stovey has been selected the Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2011 by the Nineteenth Century Committee of the Society for […]

The BBWAA Report Card for the 21st Century – Part 3

July 8, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

In Part 1 of this series, I indicated that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) has been quite successful since 2001 in their selection of major league players for induction into the Hall of Fame.  Of the eighteen inductees from 2001 through 2011, sixteen do indeed have Hall of Fame numbers according to the […]

The BBWAA Report Card for the 21st Century – Part 2

July 4, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

In Part 1 of this series, I indicated that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) has been quite successful since 2001 in their selection of major league players for induction into the Hall of Fame.  Of the eighteen inductees from 2001 through 2011, sixteen do indeed have Hall of Fame numbers according to the […]

The BBWAA Report Card for the 21st Century – Part 1

June 27, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

As all devoted followers of baseball know, the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) has an election each year to determine if any of the current candidates are worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. If we are talking about major league players, it is my assumption that the writers who […]

My Proudest Moment at the Hall of Fame

June 26, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Maybe it’s fitting that my proudest moment at the Hall of Fame did not occur at the museum or even in my office in the library, but outdoors at the Clark Sports Center. Though I enjoyed every day I spent at the library (except for the last one), we’re coming up on the fifth anniversary […]

19th Century Overlooked Base Ball Legends Project — And the 2011 Candidates are…

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Nineteenth Century Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research conducted its annual election to name the 19th Century Overlooked Base Ball Legend for 2011. Previous elections were won by Pete Browning (2009) and Deacon White (2010). There were seven holdovers from the 2010 ballot and three newcomers, George Gore, Paul Hines and Dickey […]

A New “Rule of Thumb” – 300 Win Shares

June 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When fans talk about who belongs in the Hall of Fame, mention is often made of the three “rules of thumb” that have been around for some time.  That is, a player “deserves to be in the Hall of Fame” if he Has 3000 hits or Has 500 home runs or Has 300 wins as […]

The Most Diabolical Hall of Fame Quiz Ever

June 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I don’t know if “diabolical” is the right word or not for this quiz. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks, and at different times it has seemed demented, ingenious, absurd, hilarious, or just plain sick. The one person I ran some of it by e-mailed me a few days later to call […]

From Worst To First At The Hall Of Fame

June 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

You are looking at a photo of part of the Hall of Fame’s newest exhibit, “One For the Books,” which covers the records and record-keeping of the game. Those of you who have visited the Hall of Fame might recall the exhibit it replaced, which wasn’t called anything–with good reason. The old “records room” was […]

Just How Good was Jeff Bagwell?

March 13, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Jeff Bagwell appeared on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year (2011).  He should have been a first-ballot inductee into the Hall.  Instead, he received only 42% of the vote.  This is a result that defies rational explanation and, unfortunately, only reinforces the perception that the BBWAA at times does […]

Starting Pitchers: Judging Their Careers

March 7, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

How do you judge whether a starting pitcher had a Hall of Fame career?  Obviously, there are many fans who will have different opinions on this question.  And many of the answers may be influenced by which team the fan supports.  But is there a completely objective way to answer this question? Yes, according to […]

To Preserve History–Or Not To

January 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In my last blog (“Censorship The Hall of Fame Way”), I wrote about the editors of the Hall of Fame’s membership publication, “Memories & Dreams,” censoring the last article I wrote while still working at the Hall of Fame. I urge you to read that article if you haven’t, since this is a follow-up to […]

Is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

January 19, 2011 by · 5 Comments 

As things currently stand, the New York Yankees will go into the 2011 season without Andy Pettitte as part of their starting rotation. We’ve known for some time now that this could be a real possibility as he had stated at the end of the 2010 season the same sentiment he’s made at the end […]

Just How Good was Bert Blyleven?

January 10, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Bert Blyleven is in the Hall of Fame at last!!  It took fourteen years on the ballot to do it but the writers finally saw the light.  This was a true victory for sabermetrics – as recognized in the following clip from the Associated Press. “The great curveballer won 287 games, threw 60 shutouts and […]

Is Mark Belanger a Hall of Famer?

January 10, 2011 by · 11 Comments 

If we grant admission to players such as DHs and relievers who were one-dimensional, then we should think seriously about admitting players who played Hall of Fame caliber defense, but were weak with the stick. And that brings me to former Oriole shortstop Mark Belanger.

Censorship The Hall Of Fame Way

January 8, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Did you hear about the new edition of “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” in which there is no evidence that Mark Twain ever used the word “nigger”? If seeing that word here–in any context–bothers you, stop reading this now, go out and buy the latest Bowdlerized edition of a literary classic, and have a nice […]

Red Ruffing: HOF Perseverance

January 8, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

How does a pitcher start his career 39-96 and end up in the Hall of Fame?  This is the amazing story of Charles  Herbert “Red” Ruffing.  He was born on May 3, 1905 in the tiny village of Granville, Illinois.  At an early age,  Ruffing dropped out of school and tended to a mine ventilation […]

Howdy New Neighbors

January 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Hall of Fame Election Day is the hands down best event of the post-season, with all due respect to the November issuance of the recent season’s hardware. Yesterday, Bert Blyleven and Robbie Alomar became my fellow Cooperstownians, to be enshrined this summer a few blocks away on Main St. My feelings on the pointless selection […]

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