Last Friday, I introduced my hypothetical Hall of Fame ballot though my version of context adjusted similarity scores. Today, I'll take a look at those players on the ballot who aren't worthy of my (non-existent) vote.
The two candidates who appear to be getting the most support are Jim Rice and Andre Dawson. In the case of Rice, it looks like he will be elected this year, after falling just a few votes short in 2008.
Not a Hall of Famer on the list. In case you were wondering, that's not the Big Hurt in the number two spot. Rice's most similar players were all very good players, but no one really is pushing any of them for the HOF except for Hodges. There's been a lot of virtual ink spilled discussing whether or not Rice deserves to be elected and I'm not going to rehash them here, but I will say that I think Rice will be one of the least-deserving players elected when he goes in.
Dawson top ten strongly suggests he should be elected. However, this is one of those cases Bill James warned about where similarity scores can be deceiving. All of the Hall of Famers on the list were substantially better offensive players than Dawson. I think Dawson is helped by the lack of an explicit category for OBP in the sim score calculation. Granted, Andre played a tougher defensive position for a large portion of his career and played it well. That might be enough to lift him up to the level of Tony Perez (who had a 122 OPS+ compared to Dawson's 119), but Perez is near the bottom of Hall of Famers and probably got in for his contribution to the Big Red Machine. Dawson's one of those players who almost perfectly represents the dividing line between the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Very Good. He doesn't make my Hall, but I don't begrudge any one who would vote for him.
Now let's dive into some of the other players on the ballot:
I actually think Jack Morris would be an even less deserving electee than Jim Rice. His similarity list would strenuously disagree with me. Morris is actually one of the reasons I question my results for pitchers. Most of the pitchers on his list are Hall of Famers and deservedly so. Looking at my calculations, I think the major reason Morris looks so good is that he had 63 more wins in his career than the average pitcher who pitched for his teams would have. I'm not accounting for run support, which we know was fairly high for Morris. Morris only saved around 50 runs over the average pitcher versus over 150 for most of the Hall of Famers. I think I'll need to look into tweaking the calculation some.
Now, I'm not one who believes no relievers should make the Hall. I would, however, keep it limited to pitchers who demonstrate a lot more than just a raw save count. Of the current HOF relievers, I think Wilhelm and Gossage deserve to be there. I'm fairly certain Eck was a good pick, but was suprised how easily he made it. Fingers and Sutter just aren't deserving (and whither Quiz?). Smith falls into that last category. Very good pitcher for a long time, but just didn't do enough to make it.
Just like John, his similar players are solid, but not spectacular. I don't think we should give John extra credit for the eponymous surgery, even though Candy Cummings is in almost solely for the curve ball, and Bruce Sutter got some votes because of the splitter.
I always over-estimate how good Dale Murphy actually was. I think it's because I came of baseball age in the mid 80s when Dale Murphy was considered by some to be the best player in the game. And watching a lot of TBS surely didn't hurt. It's amazing how quickly he fell off the cliff. Watching the Andruw Jones saga makes me think of Dale - both former Braves center fielders who looked like sure fire Hall of Famers before crashing. It's kind of sad (in a baseball way).
There are a handful of other players who have reportedly gotten votes, but they're not really serious candidates and this is already a very long post, so I'm not going to cover most of them. I will handle one more player because I know Corky Simpson is interested.
There's not a lot to say here except that I think it's fairly clear that Matt Williams is a much more deserving Hall of Famer than Rickey Henderson. Actually Williams does look better than I would have expected, but faded too quickly to really garner any support.
That wraps up my look at the 2009 Hall of Fame ballot. I'll be back later this week to look at Mark Teixiera, CC Sabathia and others to see if we can find anything interesting about their futures from their comparables.