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  • The Ultimate Quest for Candidates

    Announcing a new project…

    Welcome to the Ultimate Quest for Candidates! A lot of the projects here at BBF aim to figure out who are the best players overlooked by the Hall of Fame: from mock elections, to player versus player polls, to the BBFHOF, etc., we’ve approached the issue from many directions. This project intends to be the final word on the subject.

    In doing this exercise, we will accomplish a number of things:
    • Produce an era-adjusted list of the top 100 candidates; these are the players truly deserving of serious consideration for the Hall.
    • Show players that should NOT be considered as serious candidates; we should curtail future discussion on the players cut in Round 1.
    • Identify the best candidates from each decade of the game’s history.
    • Present to the HOF a ranked order of the next 20 players that should be inducted.
    • Demonstrate to the HOF a rational process to determine the best candidates.

    Here is the framework. We will conduct a series of 24 polls in three rounds that will gradually narrow down to the “Top 20” for a final runoff. Round 1 will have 14 polls to identify the top player candidates from MLB for each decade, from the 1870’s to the 1980’s. Stars from the 1860’s (Dickey Pearce, Jim Creighton) will be included in the 1870’s; stars from the 1990’s (Mark McGwire, Albert Belle) will be included in the 1980’s. Players will generally appear in the decade in which they accrued the most value; in a few cases they will be moved to the decade in which their career actually centered or where they had more of their prime seasons.

    We’ll start by casting a big net, looking at the top 18 candidates for each decade (more for recent decades), a total of 263 players. These lists will be carefully prepared by the ballot committee (that’s myself and 4 others, at present; if you would like to be a consultant in this process, send me an email and I’ll get you in the loop.)

    Rather than proceeding chronologically, we’ll start with the decades the HOF has thoroughly picked over. This is the planned order: 1920’s, 1930’s, 1910’s, 1940’s, 1900’s, 1950’s, 1890’s, 1960’s, 1880’s, 1970’s, 1870’s, and 1980’s.

    Voters will be asked to pick the top 33% on each ballot. So, for 18 candidates we’ll ask you to vote for your top 6; on a 26-man ballot, vote for 9; and so forth.

    Round 2 will combine the top finishers from two of the decade polls, a series of seven polls. For example, the top six finishers from the 1910’s will be combined with the top six from the 1920’s, plus three at large candidates from those decades, into a 15 player poll. The next poll will combine the leaders from the 1930’s-40’s; then the 1890’s-1900’s, etc. A total of 110 candidates will be in round two.

    Round 3 will combine the leaders from the two-decade polls into three polls covering four decades each, 1910’s-1940’s, 1870’s-1900’s, 1950’s-1980’s. A total of 50 candidates will be in round three.

    In the Final poll, voters will rank the top 20 from the polls in Round 3.

    Here’s a chart of all that, with the election schedule (clicking on the decade takes you to that election):
    Code:
    Round 1			
    Decade	Players	Votes	Begins
    1920s	  18	  6	10/22/07
    1930s	  18	  6	11/2/07
    1910s	  18	  6	11/12/07
    1940s	  18	  6	11/22/07
    1900s	  18	  6	12/2/07
    1950s	  18	  6	12/12/07
    1890s	  18	  6	1/17/08
    1960s	  26	  9	1/31/08
    1880s	  18	  6	2/14/08
    1970s-1	  15	  5	3/13/08
    1970s-2	  18	  6	3/13/08
    1870s	  18	  6	3/27/08
    1980s-1	  21	  7	4/25/08
    1980-90	  21	  7	4/25/08
    Totals	 263	 88	
    Round 2			
    1910-20	  15	  5	2/7/08
    1930-40	  15	  5	2/21/08
    1890-00	  15	  5	3/20/08
    1950-60	  19	  6	4/3/08
    1970s	  14	  5	4/28/08
    1870-80	  15	  5	5/6/08
    1980s	  17	  6	5/20/08
    Totals	 110	 37	
    Round 3			
    1910-40	  13	  4	5/1/08
    1870-00	  15	  5	5/30/08
    1950-80	  22	  8	6/6/08
    Totals	  50	 17	
    
    Final Qualifier
    To fill the last 4 places in the Final, we'll have a 16-man poll in late June:
    five runners-up from 10-40, five from 70-00, six from 50-80.
    			
    Final	  20	ranked	7/11/08
    Round 1 polls will stay open for five weeks; Round 2 polls will be open for four weeks; Round 3 polls will be open for three weeks.

    The process used by the HOF to elect players was, and is, underdeveloped. If the Hall of Fame had a truly interested and qualified electorate, it wouldn’t need multiple committees and second chances to elect players; all the candidates could be thrown onto one ballot. Since the Hall persists in its use of unqualified electors, who are given too much freedom and too little guidance, the system in place ultimately yields unsatisfying results. Imagine the benefits if the Cooperstown Hall of Fame undertook an exercise like this: a multi-step process that surveys the whole of baseball history, gradually sifting the best candidates to the top.
    Last edited by Freakshow; 11-29-2010, 07:05 AM. Reason: add link
    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

    Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
    These lists will be carefully prepared by the ballot committee (that’s myself, at present; if you would like to be a consultant in this process, send me an email and I’ll get you in the loop.)
    Hmm, only one consultant so far. Fear of the unknown, perhaps?

    It's very simple: I'm looking for another set of eyes to look at things.

    "Duties" would include:

    1) Making sure I haven't overlooked someone who should be on the ballot.
    2) Checking that my decade placements are reasonable.
    3) Considering whether I have the right number of candidates lined up for the 1960's-70's-80's.
    4) Offering your opinion for the at-large additions for the ballots in Rounds 2 and 3 and the Final.
    5) Offering any ideas to improve the project. (I never set down hard and fast rules. If a change for the better comes along let's do it.)

    Plus, you get a preview of the ballot!

    Think about it.
    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

    Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

    Comment


    • #3
      A couple more tweaks I've come up with:

      -For the at-large picks, a player needs to be among the top four runners-up. For example, the top six finishers in the 1920's poll plus the top six finishers in the 1910's poll will make up 12 of the 15 players in the Round 2 - 1910-20's poll. The other three players on that ballot will be chosen from the 7th-10th place finishers in the Round 1 polls for the 1920's and 1910's. So there will always be about eight candidates for the three at-large slots.

      -The voting threads will be posted a few days before the poll is added to the thread. This is done in order to encourage research and discussion of the candidates. I believe (paraphrasing Socrates) that the unexamined ballot is not worth casting. This also gives you time to make the case for a candidate not listed that you think deserves to be on the ballot.

      -The tentative election schedule will be accelerated from the listing in post #1 above. Round 2 will begin before all the polls in Round 1 have been posted. This will shorten the project by about four weeks.

      I'll have the thread for the 1920's up in a day or two. Stay tuned!
      Last edited by Freakshow; 04-01-2008, 11:33 AM.
      Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

      Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

      Comment


      • #4
        I haven't been around baseball fever for a while, so I didn't see this earlier. I see one major problem - no provisions for Negro Leaguers. John Beckwith is in the BBFHOF but not in Cooperstown, and Perucho Cepeda and Dobie Moore are close to election in the BBFHOF.

        Can we come up with a way to include Negro Leaguers in this process?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by AG2004 View Post
          Can we come up with a way to include Negro Leaguers in this process?
          No. I thoroughly considered doing it, but no.

          There are a lot of good reasons. The main one is that we couldn't do it justice.

          If we included them, we would want to have Major League Equivalencies for them in order to make good comparisons with the MLB players. We don't have anything like this now; we would have to plow a lot of new ground. No.

          If we included them, we would want to expand the ballot, maybe to 20. Probably half of the best overlooked players from the 20's and 30's would be Negro Leaguers. Off the top of your head, can you give me those ten? Based on what criteria? Name recognition? Again, lots of new research. And then what, we're gonna hold off doing this project until this new data is disseminated? No.

          OK, maybe you decide to do lots of research. So whomever decides to vote is in thrall to that original research you've done, there's really no way for a voter to come at it from his own angle. Really, I don't think the electorate is up to the task of assessing them among themselves, let alone trying to mix them together with the MLB stars of the era. No.

          The focus of the project would, by necessity, have to shift to getting the Negro League guys right, since most of us are very far from having a good handle on them. It'll be quite enough dealing with the MLB players.

          See, this project isn't mainly about those Top 20 at the end, it's seeing where over 200 players fall in the queue to the doors of the HOF. We're taking an approach to a more formal compiling of The Hall of Very Good. This sort of in-depth research into NeL candidates is a separate project, one that I have no interest in tackling at this time.

          We've done good projects in this forum to identify the NeL candidates most overlooked by the HOF; that's good. If someone wants to go deeper into identifying all those who are close, who might be candidates, to establish a pecking order of 50 to 100 more guys, then great, do that project. It ain't where this one is going.
          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

          Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

          Comment


          • #6
            With several polls now up and running, I'm including links to them here:

            Round 1
            1920's Poll
            1930's Poll
            1910's Poll
            1940's Poll
            Last edited by Freakshow; 03-06-2008, 12:58 PM.
            Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

            Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

            Comment


            • #7
              Bump

              Here's the link to the next 4 polls in this project:

              Round 1
              1900's Poll
              1950's Poll
              1890's Poll
              1960's Poll
              Last edited by Freakshow; 03-06-2008, 12:59 PM.
              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

              Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

              Comment


              • #8
                A few more tweaks to the procedures I'm contemplating.

                1) Making the ballot for the 1870's(/1860's) group in Round 1 only 15 candidates, rather than 18.

                2) Splitting the elections in two for the 1970's and 1980's polls. I think voters sometimes have a hard time handling +30 players at one time; better to make groups of 15-18 players. This means there would be a total of four elections for these two decades: early 1970's, late 1970's, early 1980's and late 1980's(early 90's).

                3) I'm thinking of making the final round, ranking the top 20, by invitation only rather than accepting ballots from every troll that stumbles into the thread. After the first three rounds, I think I'll have a really good idea which voters have a conscientious dedication to the project.

                Any thoughts on these changes?
                Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                Comment


                • #9
                  decades

                  Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
                  A few more tweaks to the procedures I'm contemplating.

                  1) Making the ballot for the 1870's(/1860's) group in Round 1 only 15 candidates, rather than 18.
                  The alternative, if I correctly grep the problem, would be to make it pre-1882 rather than pre-1880, and 1882-1892, with 18 each as usual.

                  The number of MLB players, or players with excellent statistical records available today, boomed in 1882 with the formation of rival AA. That makes a weak argument. Another thought is that pre-1882, better than pre-1880, is a period for which we are likely to learn a lot more about major league quality players by future research. Not that the 14-16 teams in two recognized major leagues suddenly snapped everyone in 1882-83, but there was a big change from 1880-81.

                  At the other end of the decade, 1892/93 is the natural break because of the change in pitching distance. Some pitchers from around 1890 were essentially pre-1893 pitchers.

                  Do you think it is important for marketing that the first round elections be decades and half-decades?
                  2) Splitting the elections in two for the 1970's and 1980's polls. I think voters sometimes have a hard time handling +30 players at one time; better to make groups of 15-18 players. This means there would be a total of four elections for these two decades: early 1970's, late 1970's, early 1980's and late 1980's(early 90's).
                  When you do sketch the early/late 1970s/1980s is it easy to support those labels with equal-size ballots?

                  3) I'm thinking of making the final round, ranking the top 20, by invitation only rather than accepting ballots from every troll that stumbles into the thread. After the first three rounds, I think I'll have a really good idea which voters have a conscientious dedication to the project.
                  In using the results of these polls for whatever purpose, writing to Powers or setting up your own website, I suppose you will be able to pitch yourself as someone with longstanding conscientious dedication to the issues. Say, you published an article in the 1990s and you wrote to the NBHOFM directors in the 2000s (cite). In that case, this idea works. Otherwise, I don't know. You need to come across as a good judge, if you do invite, and you don't want to spend many words, much reader time on explaining the process.
                  Last edited by Paul Wendt; 02-04-2008, 12:24 PM. Reason: add point 3)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
                    3) I'm thinking of making the final round, ranking the top 20, by invitation only rather than accepting ballots from every troll that stumbles into the thread. After the first three rounds, I think I'll have a really good idea which voters have a conscientious dedication to the project.
                    That would pretty much negate the whole process since you had open elections to this point. It's better to stay consistent throughout the entire project depending on what you want to do with the results. If you don't, it's no longer a fan based project, but rather another glorified veteran's committee.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                      The alternative, if I correctly grep the problem, would be to make it pre-1882 rather than pre-1880, and 1882-1892, with 18 each as usual.
                      Would this be a fair assessment of ability? You'd then be including pre-NA players, NA players, rival league players and MLB players alongside each other. Wasn't the main reason for this project to first judge the best players of a particular period, then have members of the site vote on the strongest candidates as they were measured against their peers from each period before judging players from different periods of baseball against players from other periods? You're essentially lumping 35 years worth of baseball players into one category by going with a pre-1882 group.

                      How many legitimate candidates are there from pre-1871? Is there enough to justify a pre-1871 group (maybe even a 5 person ballot with 2 candidates passing on to the next round or a 10 person pre-1871 ballot with 4 players passing on) and a more standard group for players who's careers were focused in the years 1872-1882 or would it thin the field too much? Maybe 2 9 person ballots or a 6 person and 10 person ballot? There should be a split at least in the first round for these two periods in baseball, IMHO.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A clarification of #3 seems to be needed. I said that the invited voters for the finale would be those who have shown a conscientious dedication to the project. It would not be my drinking buddies or Bill James, but only those of us here at BBF. "Conscientious dedication" consists mainly of voting in most of the elections and checking off the right number of players in the polls. Contribution to the discussion is helpful, but not mandatory if I get the sense your ballots were reasonable. I would be looking to exclude first-time and occasional voters, as well as voters who demonstrated a poor conception of what the project is about. Anyone here at BBF who I failed to invite could apply for inclusion; I would likely accept them, except perhaps for some individuals I felt I had a concrete reason to exclude (nobody in mind at the present time).

                        Simply put, I'm inviting those along on the journey now to be a part of the culmination, while limiting interference from those who would seek to subvert the process.
                        Last edited by Freakshow; 02-04-2008, 01:30 PM.
                        Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                        Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                          The alternative, if I correctly grep the problem, would be to make it pre-1882 rather than pre-1880, and 1882-1892, with 18 each as usual.

                          The number of MLB players, or players with excellent statistical records available today, boomed in 1882 with the formation of rival AA. That makes a weak argument. Another thought is that pre-1882, better than pre-1880, is a period for which we are likely to learn a lot more about major league quality players by future research. Not that the 14-16 teams in two recognized major leagues suddenly snapped everyone in 1882-83, but there was a big change from 1880-81.

                          At the other end of the decade, 1892/93 is the natural break because of the change in pitching distance. Some pitchers from around 1890 were essentially pre-1893 pitchers.

                          Do you think it is important for marketing that the first round elections be decades and half-decades?
                          Maybe in another project I would look to define baseball's different eras and split along those lines. For this project, I think equal time periods are desirable.

                          For the 1870's, I also mention the 1860's because 1) there were professional players in that decade, and 2) the 1870's by themselves have a hard enough time filling up the ballot, and 3) Dickey Pearce's career centered in the 1860's.
                          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                          Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                            When you do sketch the early/late 1970s/1980s is it easy to support those labels with equal-size ballots?
                            Honestly, the size of the ballots for the 1970's and 1980's elections is an area that I could use some input from others. All we can say for sure is there should be more candidates as we near the present for the simple fact there hasn't been enough time for the Hall to fully scrutinize recent candidates. How many this should be, well I'm only guessing.

                            When I actually try to hammer out the lists I'll have a better sense of how many to include; I don't know that there is a precise way to answer how many should be on those ballots.

                            Anyway, the idea is after I have a list of 30-some candidates for the 1970's I'll split them down the middle in time, and have two polls with 15 to 18 candidates in each. I'm assuming the quality of players in the two polls will be similar.
                            Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                            Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                              Would this be a fair assessment of ability? You'd then be including pre-NA players, NA players, rival league players and MLB players alongside each other. Wasn't the main reason for this project to first judge the best players of a particular period, then have members of the site vote on the strongest candidates as they were measured against their peers from each period before judging players from different periods of baseball against players from other periods? You're essentially lumping 35 years worth of baseball players into one category by going with a pre-1882 group.
                              I was thinking people with playing careers centered between the Civil War and 1882, rather than between the Civil War and 1880 as I now understand "1870s". That is, I understand 1870s and 1980s to mean pre-1880 and post-1979. The latter includes, I'm not sure precisely whom, but Tom Henke and Kirby Puckett are barely 1980s rather than 1990s on a strict "first three digits of date" interpretation, and they have been eligible for 7 years. Will Clark's peak was his first five seasons but even they didn't fall entirely within the 1980s, and Clark played about ten seasons after that peak.

                              The same is true at the the front end. Approximating careers by half-decades there is Pearce '60-74, Start '60-84, Pike '65-74, McBride '65-74

                              Here is the bottom line more directly.
                              FS, just as you can take the best 72 or 60 post-1960s candidates and split them in four equal groups chronologically, you can take the best 36 or 30 pre-1890s candidates and split them in two groups chronologically. Call the earlier one "1870s" and the later one "1880s" regardless of whether the peak seasons of the former group center all the way up to 1881. Just as your "late 1980s" group, if constructed as the latest of four roughly equal post-1960s groups, may cover careers that center 1988-1993.

                              How many legitimate candidates are there from pre-1871? Is there enough to justify a pre-1871 group (maybe even a 5 person ballot with 2 candidates passing on to the next round or a 10 person pre-1871 ballot with 4 players passing on) and a more standard group for players who's careers were focused in the years 1872-1882 [probably 1871-1881] or would it thin the field too much? Maybe 2 9 person ballots or a 6 person and 10 person ballot? There should be a split at least in the first round for these two periods in baseball, IMHO.
                              1.
                              Lip Pike would still fit a little better 1871-79 than pre-1871, I think. So there would be only two Hall of Merit members, Dickey Pearce and Joe Start, with careers centered before 1871, or in the 1860s. I am certain they would win the election. Yes, we can find three or four more people who were more significant players thru 1870 than beginning 1871, and who are also just as good Hall of Fame candidates as Duke Farrell, Lonnie Frey and Lindy McDaniel.
                              At the same time, your instinct is sound jjpm, doing so rather than mixing those players with the truly 1870s would leave a full-size 1870s or 1871-1881 ballot skimpy. There would still be about seven Hall of Merit members on that ballot; the six who would advance by winning that election without Pearce & Start would still be better HOF candidates than the six-packs from the 1900s to 1950s. But the bottom six of any 18-player ballot from the 1870s would be quite a bit weaker as player-candidates than the bottom six from the 1960s.

                              2.
                              There are 16 [sixteen --Edit] Hall of Merit members pre-1890. I expect that 12 of those players, or 11HOM plus Tony Mullane, will win the two early elections however they are defined; or Pearce and Start plus 12HOM or plus 11HOM+Mullane, if there are 14 winners of 2-1/2 early elections.
                              Last edited by Paul Wendt; 02-04-2008, 08:45 PM. Reason: 16 not 15 from HOM 1870s-80s

                              Comment

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