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As the Hall of Fame Expands, Should the Hall of wWAR?

Ron Santo is in the Hall of Fame, and that's awesome. I was updating the Hall of wWAR to reflect this awesome change and it led to something a bit weird. One of my goals for the Hall of wWAR was to have it be the same size as the current Hall of Fame. Why? So if somebody questions the inclusion of someone like Stan Hack in the Hall of Fame, I can just say "Look, there are 206 players in the Hall of Fame. Stan Hack is one of the 206 best players ever."

I don't necessarily think Stan Hack should be in the Hall of Fame. But if the Hall of Fame is already has 206 members and he's one of the 206 best, I'll put him in. The "real" Hall of Fame can't do this, however, because I have the ability to kick people out. If the "real" Hall of Fame added everyone in the Hall of wWAR, suddenly you have 270 players in the Hall rather than 206.

The "problem" is that Santo was already in the Hall of wWAR, but wasn't in the Hall of Fame. So simply changing Santo's status to being a Hall of Famer creates a discrepancy. The Hall of wWAR now has 206 players while the Hall of Fame has 207.

It seems as though I have two options:

  1. I could let each hall differ in size. I'm not a huge fan of doing this.
  2. I could even things out by inducting a new member. As the real Hall of Fame welcomes Ron Santo, the Hall of wWAR would induct Frank Tanana, the 207th best player by wWAR.

There's a bit of a problem with Option #2, though. Next year, the Hall of wWAR is going to welcome seven new members: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, Kenny Lofton, and Sammy Sosa. Each of these players meets the Hall of wWAR requirements.

When these players are inducted, I'll have two options again:

  1. I could still let the two halls differ in size.
  2. I could actually remove players from the Hall of Fame to keep the size in sync with the "real" Hall of Fame.

Here's how that would play out. For now, Tanana would go in because Santo is in. Then both are at 207. I think Barry Larkin (and only Barry Larkin) will be inducted by the writers this year. Since he's already in the Hall of wWAR, that would welcome Frank Chance as the 208th member of the Hall of wWAR.

Then, when we welcome seven new members the next season, things get interesting. I honestly have no idea who will actually get in. If we trust my recent poll of BtB readers, it will only be Mike Piazza (at 80.5%). That means the Hall of wWAR would have 215 players while the Hall of Fame had 209. That means the Hall of wWAR would lose six players. That means we wave goodbye to recent inductees Chance and Tanana, but also Hoyt Wilhelm, Stan Hack, Red Faber, and Zack Wheat. The only one I feel bad about is Wilhelm. But this may be the way to go if I plan to keep both Halls the same size.

If I had my call, my "ideal Hall of Fame" would probably include the top 160-190 players (somewhere between 80-85 wWAR as a cutoff). The top end of that group includes Don Sutton, Harmon Killebrew, and Reggie Smith while the bottom includes Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson, and Dave Stieb.

I guess what it comes down to is that the Hall of wWAR can be one of two things:

  1. An way of showing what the Hall of Fame would look like if it was populated by a metric rather than… whatever they use now. In this case it would be fluid, adding and removing players to match the "real" Hall of Fame.
  2. It could be a separate entity that actually inducts players reaching a certain level. Nobody would be booted. This would make it less of a comparison to the current Hall and move of its own thing.

What do you think?

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