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The Advisability of the Small Committee Format

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  • The Advisability of the Small Committee Format

    For a moment, let's set aside who the members of a committee are, but is a small committee format ideal for selecting hall of famers? That is, is it better to meet in person and discuss the candidates over a shorter period of time than to have 6 weeks or so to mail a ballot from home?

    Does the answer change depending on what/who you are voting for? (Modern players versus older players?)

    What is the ideal number of voters in your preferred format? 12-16? 24? 60? 120? 500? 1,000?
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

  • #2
    I think that the number is immaterial. What one needs when it comes to visiting the bygone eras is a board of scholars who are experts from that era (similar to what the HOF did for the large NeL inductions). That team then reviews all significant players from that era and determines who gets elected based on the mean protocols of who is already in the HOF. There will still be mistakes, but they will be fewer and farther between and doing something like this every 10 years or so for each era will clear the backlog and provide a more representative HOF and museum moving forward.

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    • #3
      No, for the reasons I laid out in the other thread in discussing the monkeyshines that a small cadre can effect if they stick together.
      3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

      "All of which makes perfect sense on paper, unless you have actually at any time in your life watched baseball being played." - The Commissioner

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Los Bravos View Post
        No, for the reasons I laid out in the other thread in discussing the monkeyshines that a small cadre can effect if they stick together.
        Come on, now. If it wasn't for Frankie Frisch and his cabal, we'd have nothing to talk about here.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

          Come on, now. If it wasn't for Frankie Frisch and his cabal, we'd have nothing to talk about here.
          That might be true if not for the Historical Overview Committee cabal, or the Tony LaRussa cabal, or the Joe Morgan cabal....
          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

          Comment


          • #6
            Smaller groups are more susceptible to shenanigans of this sort. The current system of drawing from a small well of insiders exacerbates the problem greatly.
            Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
            Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
            A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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            • #7
              So is the issue the committee format, the size of the committee or who sits on the committee?
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

              Comment


              • #8
                Small groups are useful for defining criteria and building consensus, but they're also vulnerable to groupthink and can be unduly influenced by strong personalities.

                Large groups benefit from the wisdom of crowds, but also suffer from limited means of voicing opinions and the necessity of binary choices and other restrictive rules.

                In short, there's really no perfect way to select inductees.

                I think, however, because the BBWAA is a large group, it makes some sense to have the Era Committees be small groups. All selection methods have their weaknesses, but it seems advisable to vary the methodology to reduce the likelihood that the same systematic error happens twice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                  Small groups are useful for defining criteria and building consensus, but they're also vulnerable to groupthink and can be unduly influenced by strong personalities.

                  Large groups benefit from the wisdom of crowds, but also suffer from limited means of voicing opinions and the necessity of binary choices and other restrictive rules.

                  In short, there's really no perfect way to select inductees.

                  I think, however, because the BBWAA is a large group, it makes some sense to have the Era Committees be small groups. All selection methods have their weaknesses, but it seems advisable to vary the methodology to reduce the likelihood that the same systematic error happens twice.
                  Well said and I pretty much agree. There is no perfect way to go about this. The closest is what the HOF did in 2006 with the NeL elections. They didn't get it perfect, but it was MUCH better than any other iteration of the VC.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                    Large groups benefit from the wisdom of crowds....
                    Are the BBWAA results truly any different than they would be if a general vote of fans were held? When the baseball writers insist on only ushering in the most obvious of candidate 99% of the time, how are they any better at that job than the fans would be? Heck, at least with a fan vote, there'd be fewer Catfish Hunters and Jim Rices getting in that way. OTOH, maybe it's the 3/4ths agreement standard that's the real problem?
                    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like a broader, more general election for contemporary candidates. For historical candidates, I think an informed committee, at least double the current size, would be better suited to the task. Just my two cents.
                      "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                      "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                      "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                      "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
                        Are the BBWAA results truly any different than they would be if a general vote of fans were held?
                        That's basically an empirical question. We won't really know for sure until we try, although I suppose with some sort of effective polling, we can approximate what a public vote might be.

                        The All-Star starters are chosen by fan vote. They usually do a pretty decent job, at least in recent years, but there have been some dubious choices from time to time to be sure.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                          The All-Star starters are chosen by fan vote. They usually do a pretty decent job, at least in recent years, but there have been some dubious choices from time to time to be sure.
                          Certainly, though that has traditionally been heavily colored by the number of fans who attend games at the ballpark, favoring large population centers (with the notable exception of the Cincinnati Reds ballot-stuffing campaign that Ruth Lyons led back in the late 1950's). I would also point out that All-Star qualifications are far more obtuse than the Hall of Fame. Do you vote for the best player in the first half? Do you vote for the best player (in your opinion) even if he's off to a slow start that year? Do you just vote for your favorite player? Voting for the Hall of Fame isn't nearly as confusing.
                          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chadwick View Post

                            Certainly, though that has traditionally been heavily colored by the number of fans who attend games at the ballpark, favoring large population centers (with the notable exception of the Cincinnati Reds ballot-stuffing campaign that Ruth Lyons led back in the late 1950's).
                            I would also point out that All-Star qualifications are far more obtuse than the Hall of Fame. Do you vote for the best player in the first half? Do you vote for the best player (in your opinion) even if he's off to a slow start that year? Do you just vote for your favorite player? Voting for the Hall of Fame isn't nearly as confusing.
                            Yeah, the quality of the balloting has improved notably since MLB opened up an online voting option. That reduced the impact of some of the demographic distortions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                              Yeah, the quality of the balloting has improved notably since MLB opened up an online voting option. That reduced the impact of some of the demographic distortions.
                              Except to open voting to millions of kids who are starving in Japan. I'm sure Ichiro never benefited from that.
                              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                              Comment

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