December 2, 2023

Expansion Era Hall of Fame Ballot

November 14, 2010 by · 7 Comments 

There will be a Veterans Committee Hall of Fame election in December, 2010 for what is being called “The Expansion Era (1973-Present).”  There are twelve names on the ballot: eight players, one manager (Billy Martin) and three executives (Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner).  A player must be retired for at least twenty-one (21) years to be eligible.

The ballot was created by a group of eleven members of the BBWAA.  The eight players on the ballot are: Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub.

The obvious first question is: What criteria were used to select these eight candidates? Did they pull names out of a hat or throw darts at a board?  Does anyone really think that these eight players are the most deserving players from that era who are not already in the Hall?  According to the CAWS Career Gauge only one of these players (Ted Simmons) has obvious HOF numbers while only two others (Rusty Staub and Tommy John) have the numbers to merit a second look at their credentials.

And what about the really deserving players from that era who are not on the ballot?  According to the CAWS Gauge, there are very few players from “the expansion era” who posted obvious HOF numbers during their careers and who are not already in the Hall of Fame.

Bill James’ Win Shares system is the most comprehensive tool available to understand how good a season a player had.  It includes offensive and defensive contributions and adjusts for all relevant factors.  The CAWS Career Gauge (Career Assessment/Win Shares) uses win shares to measure how good a career a player has had.  The CAWS Gauge is based on a player’s core value (his ten best seasons) plus additional credit for his other seasons.  It is an objective tool which attempts to assess career value.  And it can be very handy in the debate as to who belongs in the Hall of Fame.

The CAWS Gauge suggests that there are only four players from the period defined by the committee who actually posted obvious HOF numbers during their careers and who are not yet in the Hall.  Here are those players: Darrell Evans (3B), Bobby Grich (2B), Ted Simmons (C) and Dan Quisenberry (relief pitcher). And only Ted Simmons is on this ballot.  Where do these committees do their research?  Or is it too much to ask that they do some research?

  1. There are only nine third basemen who have posted obvious HOF numbers since 1920 and Darrell Evans is #7.  Here are those ahead of him: Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Chipper Jones and Ron Santo.
  2. There are only twelve second basemen who have done it and Bobby Grich is #10.  Here are those ahead of him: Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Craig Biggio, Charlie Gehringer, Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Rod Carew, Frankie Frisch and Jeff Kent.
  3. There are only eleven catchers who have done it and Ted Simmons is #7.  Here are those ahead of him: Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk and Joe Torre.
  4. There are only five pure relief pitchers (fewer than 1500 innings pitched) who have done it and Dan Quisenberry is #5.  Here are the others: Mariano Rivera, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter and Billy Wagner.

These are the only four position players from this era who posted obvious HOF numbers during their careers and are not yet in the Hall of Fame.  And only one of them is on the ballot.

OK, what about the other position players on the ballot?  Rusty Staub is just below the CAWS benchmark of 280.  And here are a few other top ranked players from this era who are not in the Hall of Fame.  None of these has met the CAWS benchmark for obvious HOF numbers.  And check out how their numbers compare to Reggie Jackson’s – a true Hall of Famer from this era.

The first number is career win shares, the second is core value (the win shares for the ten best seasons) and the third is the CAWS score [CAWS = CV + .25(CWS – CV)].

Reggie Jackson
444 296 333
Rusty Staub
Bobby Bonds
302 264 274
Ken Singleton
302 260 271
Reggie Smith
325 250 269

You can see how much better these numbers are than the other three position players on the ballot.

Al Oliver
305 222 243
Steve Garvey
Dave Concepcion
269 205 221

None of these three players comes remotely close to satisfying the CAWS benchmark for HOF numbers for his position.  How did they ever get on the ballot in the first place?

What about the pitchers on the ballot? None of the three comes close to reaching the CAWS benchmark of 235 for a starting pitcher.  In fact, there is no starting pitcher in this era who posted HOF numbers who is not already in the Hall of Fame.  Just look at how these numbers compare to Tom Seaver’s – a true Hall of Famer from this era.

Tom Seaver
388 255 288
Tommy John
Vida Blue
202 178 184
Ron Guidry
174 164 167

OK, so where are we?  If I had a vote, the only player on this ballot that I would vote for is Ted Simmons – the only player on the ballot with HOF numbers.

One more comment.  The only other person (non-player) on the ballot I would vote for is Marvin Miller. The fact that he is not yet in the Hall of Fame is simply testimony to the close-mindedness that sometimes prevails among certain followers of the game.


7 Responses to “Expansion Era Hall of Fame Ballot”
  1. MattR says:

    The only person on the ballot I’d vote for is Marvin Miller.

  2. In truth no votes for me the list proves that expansion has weaken rosters and the level of overall play.

  3. Joe WIlliams says:

    Dave Concepcion belongs in the Hall.

  4. Ted Leavengood says:

    What kind of rating system would you propose for managers? Billy Martin rates somewhat similarly to Earl Weaver who is in the HOF. Does Billy deserve any respect?

  5. Mike Hoban says:

    I have given no thought at all to evaluating managers.

    But here is a different thought. I believe that only players should be in the “Hall of Fame.” If someone wants to honor sportswriters, broadcasters, managers or executives, fine – but do not put them into the “Hall of Fame.”
    Create a different way to honor them.

    I personally only consider ballplayers to be true “Hall of Famers.”

  6. Fair enough when it comes to owners, sportswriters, labor officials, etc. But managers are on the field, wear the uniform and are almost always former players. I grant you it may not be worthy of thought–that is a different criteria. But you have to admit it is virgin territory. Are there quantifiable effects that accrue to managers? If we are going to give credence to the import of prevailing air currents in the Twinkie Dome, then the impact of Billy Martin on Dave Boswell is fair game also.

  7. Mike Hoban says:


    I did not mean to imply that a systen for evaluating managers was not worthy of thought – because it certainly is.

    I am now updating my Hall of Fame Handbook through the end of the 2010 season for publication. When I have completed that task, perhaps I should look at the managers.

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