Yesterday, Joe Posnanski announced The BBWAA Project. This morning, he published the first article in the series (about First Basemen). First, here's Joe talking about the project:
So, I've been doing this kind of fun Hall of Fame project -- well, it's fun if you're a complete nut job. Fortunately, I am that complete nut job. I started to think about something the other day: There really ARE two different Baseball Halls of Fame.
Joe goes on to point out that the two "Halls of Fame" are:
- The BBWAA Hall of Fame (players voted in by the Baseball Writers)
- The other Hall of Fame (a conglomeration of Veterans Committee picks, owners, managers, umpires, and people who didn't invent baseball)
He explains that both Halls have very different standards. In the First baseman article, he puts current candidates up against those standards. For example, Jeff Bagwell:
Bagwell is thoroughly qualified by the BBWAA's high standards both in career and peak performance and in my view has not been voted in yet because:
(1) There are those who believe he used PEDs and these greatly enhanced his performance.
(2) Many people do not seem to appreciate just how good a player Jeff Bagwell was.
And Don Mattingly:
Realistically, by the numbers, Mattingly just wasn't good enough for long enough -- not even the seven years to have a BBWAA Hall of Fame worthy peak. Mattingly really had four excellent years and two other good ones. He was a wonderful players, and when you start comparing him to some of the Veterans choices for the Hall -- High Pockets Kelly, Jim Bottomley, Frank Chance, Orlando Cepeda -- he absolutely is the the ballgame. But against the BBWAA choices … no. Like so many players I loved in the 1980s, I only wish he had two or three more good seasons.
This brings me to something I've been thinking about lately in regards to players like Alan Trammell, Kenny Lofton, and their ilk. Maybe it's not the end of the world that these Hall-worthy players aren't being voted in by the BBWAA. It takes lots of great players a very long time to get into the Hall of Fame. Just because the BBWAA doesn't put players in doesn't mean they're not deserving of eventual induction. For the most part, the great ones find a way to get inducted. Of course, there are some that are still battling.
But if we look at the top players in the Hall of Stats who are not in the Hall of Fame (complete list of 70), they are mostly players either currently on the ballot, those who haven't been reviewed by the Veterans Committee yet, or banned:
- Barry Bonds: He's been passed over once, but will have many more chances in front of the BBWAA.
- Roger Clemens: Just like Bonds.
- Curt Schilling: Yep, he's third-best. And he has 14 more chances with the BBWAA.
- Jeff Bagwell: It's looking likely he'll eventually be put in by the BBWAA.
- Larry Walker: He has an uphill battle with the BBWAA, but I think he would make a very good Veterans Committee candidate (once sabermetrics is a little more established).
- Pete Rose: Never really on a ballot.
- Mike Piazza: Another with 14 more chances with the BBWAA.
- Bill Dahlen: The first that the BBWAA and many Veterans Committes have passed over. Many feel his personality led him to be passed over the first time. Sabermetrics show him to be a glaring omission.
- Lou Whitaker: Yes, the BBWAA royally screwed this one up. But he also hasn't been on a Veterans Committee ballot yet. He might stand a very good chance with them.
- Alan Trammell: Still on the BBWAA ballot, but he'll be moving to the Veterans Committee soon.
- Bobby Grich: See Whitaker. I don't know if Grich has as much support as Whitaker once the Veterans Committee gets him. Let's hope Earl Weaver can battle for him.
- Kevin Brown: Passed over in the first year. Seems like a very good Veterans Commitee candidate to me. We'll see what the Mitchell Report does to him there. I don't think that was even a factor with the BBWAA. I think they just didn't realize how good he was.
- Jack Glasscock: We got Deacon White in. Bill Dahlen will be next. Then my new pet case will be Glasscock. Pebbly Jack got 2.6% in the 1936 vote. So did Nap Lajoie, Billy Hamilton, and Dan Brouthers. Seven eventual Hall of Famers had an even lower percentage.
- Rick Reuschel: We've got a long way to go before Big Daddy is considered a serious candidate. And that's too bad.
- Edgar Martinez: He has a moderate chance of BBWAA induction.
- Kenny Lofton: He was just one-and-done. But maybe the Veterans will realize that was an injustice.
- Shoeless Joe Jackson: Banned, of course.
- Luis Tiant: Was on the ballot for the full 15 years and is routinely discussed on Veterans Committee ballots. I still have confidence he'll make it one day.
- Tim Raines: Still plenty of time with the BBWAA—and it's looking good.
- David Cone: See Kevin Brown (except for the Mitchell Report part).
Next is Craig Biggio, who will go in next year. Of the Top 21, ten (Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Bagwell, Walker, Piazza, Trammell, Martinez, Raines, and Biggo) are still on the BBWAA ballot. Two (Rose and Jackson) are banned. Another six (Whitaker, Grich, Brown, Reuschel, Lofton, and Cone) haven't even been seen by the Veterans yet. Two (Dahlen and Glasscock) are old timers. And last, there's Luis Tiant (who has received moderate Veterans support since 2005).
It's possible that all 21 of these players are eventually inducted. The waiting is so hard, though. But others did it before them.