clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Primer for the upcoming VEB Hall of Fame voting

New, comments

Are you wondering how this will be executed? All your answers are in this article.

St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Welcome to the VEB Hall of Fame. We are but a small Hall of Fame at the moment. We have a strong start as far as who has been elected at this point. Mariano Rivera, Scott Rolen, Larry Walker, Derek Jeter, and Roy Halladay are technically the only members. So far. That will change as we are expanding the Hall of Fame by voting for the candidacies of historical players. We will be voting for any player who has been on a Hall of Fame ballot in the past with the exception of players who have appeared on a ballot within the past three years. So no Barry Bonds, no Rogers Clemens, no Sammy Sosa.

I was not planning to do an introductory post before the voting got underway, but a few things changed my mind. For one thing, I will not be presenting the ballot the same way. It’ll be the same form and you’ll vote on it the same way, but before you vote, I will attempt to present as much information on each player on the ballot as possible in the most efficient manner. I will also attempt to do so without in any way putting forth my opinion.

One of the ways I’ll do that is simply giving you their stats and career accomplishments. The most obvious, at least for a sabermetrically inclined site, is to give you their career WAR. I will post their career Baseball-Reference WAR (bWAR), Fangraphs WAR (fWAR), and Jay Jaffe’s Wins Above Replacement Score (JAWS) which is meant more to be a Hall of Fame-based.

This is a completely, brand new Hall of Fame. You do not need to be beholden to the standards of the current Hall of Fame. With that said, I will give you some context so these numbers mean something. You do not need to use the current Hall of Fame standard, but it does help to have that information. There will be four averages you’ll be given: the average Hall of Fame catcher, the average Hall of Fame position player excluding catcher, the average starting pitcher, and the average relief pitcher.

I can’t think of a reason to separate a first baseman’s career WAR from a center fielder aside from the fact that the Hall clearly has different standards as has been voted on, but that’s not important to us - as we are not abiding by those rules. WAR already factors in positional differences. I think it’s useful to separate catchers from the rest but that’s it. So you’ll see a player has 65 career WAR - what’s the current standard and do you want it to be worse or better.

That’s not the only factor we’ll use. I’ll also list a player’s peak seasons, which is factored into JAWS for what it’s worth. But it might be useful to just see the peak seasons for yourself. A player’s peak seasons will be represented by their seven best seasons, and I’ll list them by both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.

The third way WAR will be used will be what their average season was. So I will give a position player’s WAR per 600 PAs. A catcher per 500 PAs. A starting pitcher per 200 innings OR if they averaged over 200 innings throughout the career, their WAR per that many innings. And a relief pitcher per 65 innings, unless again they averaged more than that for their career.

Even though I will be using position players as a whole excluding catchers, I’ll use an example with just 1B because it’s currently easier. The average 1B has 66 bWAR with an average of 5 bWAR per 162 games. Their average peak is 42.4 bWAR. As I said, I will be doing per 600 PAs, not per 162 games, but the concept is the same. The idea is when you see a player’s peak is 35 WAR, you’ll know whether that’s below the average, average, or above average, given the current standards. You do not need to follow those standards, but I think it helps.

I will be listing the major accomplishments of the players, namely whether they won an MVP, Cy Young award, made an All-Star team, and how many Gold Gloves or Silver Sluggers they won. I will denote it but you have to pay attention to when a player played when looking at that section though. The All-Star game didn’t start until 1933. Babe Ruth made the All-Star game twice. That’s why. Also, from 1959-1962, baseball held two All-Star games. This is why Hank Aaron made 25 All-Star games in 23 years. Still impressive. It won’t affect many players, but for the sake of voting, do you guys want me to count those years as one year?

The MVP as we currently know it did not exist until 1931. There were two different versions of the MVP before that year. The first was the Chalmers award, which was introduced after the infamous batting title race between Nap Lajoie and Ty Cobb for the right to win a car. From 1911 to 1914, there was a genuine MVP called the Chalmers award. It was discontinued when it wasn’t as effective an advertising tool as Hugh Chalmers wanted. In 1922, the American League introduced an AL MVP - but you couldn’t win if you’ve already won. This is why Babe Ruth won one MVP. The NL followed the AL without that rule in 1924. The AL stopped in 1928, the NL in 1929.

The Cy Young didn’t get introduced until the year after Cy Young died. From 1956 to 1966, only one pitcher in all of baseball won the Cy Young award. In 1967, they expanded the award to include both leagues. So basically, it was really, really hard to win the Cy Young during those first 11 years, especially since Sandy Koufax won three of them. Something to keep in mind for any pitcher without any hardware prior to 1967. And obviously prior to 1956 as you could only win MVP as a pitcher.

There’s no good substitute for an MVP for most of the first 40 years of baseball, just like there’s no good substitute for the Cy Young for the first nearly 80 years of baseball. There is however a solution to there not being an All-Star game. An All-Star is traditionally thought to be a 4+ WAR player. So I will list the amount of 4+ WAR seasons they had. This also has the benefit of being helpful for guys who “deserved” All-Star games but kept getting snubbed for whatever reason.

Two other things I plan to highlight about any given player are one notable stat of my own choosing that isn’t reflected in the above sections. Think: 10 straight 200+ inning seasons or 300 wins. Led baseball in triples while he was active. Whatever I can find. Maybe they weren’t a home run hitter but hit an absurd amount of doubles. Then I’ll write a brief section about the player designed to provide context. Like when they played, perhaps whether an injury or baseball not being integrated for why they had a short career.

As an example of how I will present Hall of Fame candidates, I’ll use Larry Walker to show you how I’ll do it:

Larry Walker, RF

Career: 72.7 bWAR, 68.7 fWAR, 58.7 JAWS; Average per 600 PAs: 5.4 bWAR, 5.1 fWAR

Peak: 44.7 bWAR, 41.8 fWAR

Accomplishments: MVP, 5-time All-Star, 7-time GG, 3-time Silver Slugger

4 WAR-seasons: 9 seasons by fWAR, 10 seasons by bWAR

Notable Stat: In 1999, Walker hit for the triple crown of slash lines, leading the league in average, on-base percentage, and slugging with a .379/.458/.710.

Profile: Signed as an extremely raw prospect out of Canada at 17-years-old by the Montreal Expos in 1984, he was part of that magical Expos team in 1994 that could have won it at all. Instead, the strike, and then a cut in payroll, of which Walker was a victim, led to him not getting offered arbitration in his last year. In April of 1995, he signed a 4 year, $22 million deal with the Rockies. He stayed there until 2004 when he was traded midseason to Cards. He retired after the 2005 season and on his 10th and final try, was elected to the Hall of Fame.

So that’s about how I’ll present the players. The profile will mostly be there to give you the years they played and if they made the Hall of Fame or when they fell off the ballot. The years they played is important info for the career accomplishments as there simply weren’t that many awards.

I was planning to write all this for the first ballot, but hopefully in less words. That’s not why I decided to write this article. Why I decided to write this article primarily is to solve two issues that need solving. That’s the issue of the Negro Leagues and the cases of the banned baseball players.

As far as the Negro Leagues are concerned, how do you guys want to approach this as it pertains to a Hall of Fame ballot? There are two options. The first option is to not vote on them, seeing as this is resembling a BBWAA ballot and they don’t vote on Negro League players. The second option is to present an all-Negro Leagues ballot. I don’t think throwing Negro League players on a regular ballot would work. For the lesser-known guys and maybe even the better known guys, they would probably not get the votes. So I’m leaving this up to you guys in the comments: yay or nay?

The second issue is the banned from baseball players who bet on the game itself. For this, I’ll present two polls. There will be a poll to vote for the “Black Sox” players - I’m not limiting it to Shoeless Joe, but everyone who qualifies for my list. And then a poll to vote on Pete Rose.

These will be two separate polls because they have two completely different arguments for why they should be included. I’ve written the arguments a couple times only to delete them for the simple fact that by presenting the arguments, it is clear what my position is and I don’t want to influence the voting. That’s all I’ll say for now.

Poll

Should the 1919 White Sox be eligible for the VEB Hall of Fame

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Yes
    (146 votes)
  • 27%
    No
    (56 votes)
202 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Should Pete Rose be eligible?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Yes
    (145 votes)
  • 31%
    No
    (68 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now

One last note I suppose. I know there are people who aren’t a fan of having a limit of how many votes you can have. I have gone back-and-forth on this. My main issue with having unlimited votes is honestly that this is Cardinals website. Giving unlimited votes, I don’t see why people wouldn’t just vote for every Cardinal, regardless of whether or not they actually believe it. Limiting the votes keeps that in check, at least a little. Basically, the amount of people in real life who would abuse unlimited votes is minuscule whereas on the internet, it’s.... unlimited. That’s why I think unlimited votes doesn’t really work in this format.

So what will the limit be, you may ask? Well, I don’t have a number yet. I will figure out that number in a fairly straightforward way. Take the current Hall of Fame population of players - 235. Then take the amount of players who are in my current pool - to be determined at the moment. Whatever percentage that is will be the percentage of people you can vote for + 1. So for example, if I were to have a pool of 500 players, 235 players would be 47%. 47% of 35 players is 16.45, so you would have a limit of 18 players.

I know what you’re thinking. Someone might slip through the cracks. I agree. Which is why I will have another ballot - after I’ve done a few of these - of players who reached a certain threshold - it could be anywhere from 20% to 50% depending on how many players get high vote totals but don’t make it - and put them on another ballot. That ballot will be the final word for those players, one way or the other.

My final word is that I’m hoping to get the first ballot up by next Monday. My only real ask is to resist the urge to be a homer and imagine how you’d vote for Cardinals as if they played for the Yankees their whole career. I know that’s a tall ask. And I doubt that’s how the voting will be. But you know, doesn’t hurt to ask.