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The Advisability of the Small Committee Format

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  • abolishthedh
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    What is the ideal number of voters in your preferred format? 12-16? 24? 60? 120? 500? 1,000?
    From this set, 24 seems ideal and no more than 30. Cougar's comments must be echoed here as well. Too small leads to groupthink one way or another and for old-boy networks to dominate. Too large leads to backlogs and paralysis by analysis, IMO. With a group of 20-30, the group can allow themselves to share opinions in a way which would hopefully be open-minded. At least we could hope for that. If the number is too small then these conversations become trite and meaningless, and too large then it would still be necessary for a contingent of voters to sway the remaining voters to clear out backlogs.

    Yet, a larger issue remains the qualifications of these voters. It would seem that the circulation of city newspapers might carry more weight than the number of years a writer has covered any team. Credentials of the individuals mean something more so than who their employer is or has been. Committee members must carry weight of these credentials when speaking for other voters.

    Please don't tell me a writer can vote for Hall of Famers simply because he represents the NY Post and has only done so for 5 years or less. Chadwick mentioned Larry Lester, John Thorn and Bill James. I met these individuals during my time living in KC as a SABR member. These are the guys I would look for, and their equals in some measure.

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  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post

    But Harold Baines would not!
    I think he preferred letting his contemporaries honor him rather than the writers!


    (Okay, that was tough to write, even for me!)

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  • Los Bravos
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    That said, none of them are truly historians. I wouldn't want them on the Historical Overview Committee (though, again, they'd be better than the BBWAA cronies who are there now). I'm thinking of men like John Thorn, Bill James, Larry Lester, William McNeil, David Neft, Bill Deane, etc. Guys who study, research and write about baseball history for a living. These men should be creating the ballot, creating presentations for each candidate that go beyond the simply statistical "bio" that Elias provides to the voters. (Exactly the same as is published in the candidate bios on the Hall's website, by the way. These men should be presenting the best information available for the best candidates available. That information is far from just statistics, or how many players at position X are already enshrined.
    A committee of people of that caliber would be perfect.

    I meant to mention John Thorn before and neglected to, so I'm glad you brought him up.

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  • jjpm74
    replied
    Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post



    Frank Thomas and to a lesser extent Jim Thome would disagree with you......
    But Harold Baines would not!

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  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    I don't know if one's former boss or one's former employer counts as "peers", but it's certain that's the only way former White Sox players are getting elected these days.


    Frank Thomas and to a lesser extent Jim Thome would disagree with you......

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Originally posted by Los Bravos View Post
    It seems that inevitably, when the subject is brought up around here, that overrated bozo Jaffe is pushed forward as if he's an obvious choice and it colors my view of the matter.
    Jaffe isn't a terribly good writer, or a terribly insightful analyst. He's just one of a small number of people who study the Hall of Fame's electoral history. Graham Womack (who used to publish a regular Hall of Fame-related column on Sports Illustrated's website), even less so. Adam Darowski (Hall of Stats) and Ryan Thibodaux (BBWAA Ballot Tracker) are other examples. Each of these men know more about the Hall of Fame's election history and historical standards than the average BBWAA writer, or certainly the average era committee voter. In that sense, each would be an improvement over much of the existing electorate. I've probably had one or more in mind when writing about changes I'd like to see to the electorate's composition.

    That said, none of them are truly historians. I wouldn't want them on the Historical Overview Committee (though, again, they'd be better than the BBWAA cronies who are there now). I'm thinking of men like John Thorn, Bill James, Larry Lester, William McNeil, David Neft, Bill Deane, etc. Guys who study, research and write about baseball history for a living. These men should be creating the ballot, creating presentations for each candidate that go beyond the simply statistical "bio" that Elias provides to the voters. (Exactly the same as is published in the candidate bios on the Hall's website, by the way. These men should be presenting the best information available for the best candidates available. That information is far from just statistics, or how many players at position X are already enshrined.

    As for the other matter, yes, I understand the gravity of Bonds or Clemens being elected, and what that would mean for the Hall of Fame, living inductees (now and in the future), and for large numbers of baseball fans. And yet, at the end of the day, we still disagree on which would be the better outcome. I'm sorry, my friend.

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
    I think the system itself as is now is pretty good. I'd prefer to keep it this way, heavily influenced by "in baseball" people rather than media or fans. There's always something special about being honored by your peers, people who know what it took for you to get there.
    I don't know if one's former boss or one's former employer counts as "peers", but it's certain that's the only way former White Sox players are getting elected these days.

    Leave a comment:


  • Los Bravos
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    So you agree, but you selfishly don't want to see a particular result which you presume would be the outcome? Wow. Besides which, there are plenty of guys like that (Brian Kenny comes to mind) who oppose Clemens in the HOF for the same reasons you do.
    If I were confident that a group of people as solid and knowledgeable as BK were involved, that would be the best possible solution. Personally, I'd like to see him appointed chairman of the committees and allowed/enouraged to elect a set number each year. I could deal with players I'm skeptical of like Bernie Williams and Keith Hernandez because I know most all of his choices would be quite solid.

    It seems that inevitably, when the subject is brought up around here, that overrated bozo Jaffe is pushed forward as if he's an obvious choice and it colors my view of the matter. Even after all that I've written here about the matter, I don't think that you fully appreciate what an unmitigated disaster I think having either Clemens or Bonds standing up there would be. Far, far more momentous than "an outcome here or there I disagree with."

    If the Hall itself would finally step up and offer some official guidance on the matter, explicitly ruling people credibly linked to anabolic steroids and HGH ineligible for election from any iteration of the Veterans Committee, that would take care of many of my objections.


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  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    The ballot stuffing for Ichiro from East Asia is problematic, I guess, but it's also an isolated & rather unique case. If the Internet existed 30 years earlier Puerto Rico would have been ballot stuffing for Roberto Clemente.

    It's a small price to pay for expanding the MLB market footprint.
    Personally I don't care if the MLB footprint expends...I'd actually rather it be an American only sport which the rest of the world doesn't understand or care about. I guess I'm a little iconoclastic that way.


    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    So you agree, but you selfishly don't want to see a particular result which you presume would be the outcome? Wow. Besides which, there are plenty of guys like that (Brian Kenny comes to mind) who oppose Clemens in the HOF for the same reasons you do.

    Geesh. Either we have a better process or not. I'd happily trade the process we have for something better, despite an outcome here or there I disagree with. There would be far fewer outcomes that I disagree with under a better system, after all.
    I think the system itself as is now is pretty good. I'd prefer to keep it this way, heavily influenced by "in baseball" people rather than media or fans. There's always something special about being honored by your peers, people who know what it took for you to get there.
    Last edited by Toledo Inquisition; 12-05-2019, 08:00 AM.

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Originally posted by Los Bravos View Post
    That sounds great in principle but I have no interest in seeing a gaggle of self important jackalopes like Jay Jaffe and Ken Davidoff waving Roger Clemens in because they can't grasp who and what he actually was outside f the numbers on the page/screen.
    So you agree, but you selfishly don't want to see a particular result which you presume would be the outcome? Wow. Besides which, there are plenty of guys like that (Brian Kenny comes to mind) who oppose Clemens in the HOF for the same reasons you do.

    Geesh. Either we have a better process or not. I'd happily trade the process we have for something better, despite an outcome here or there I disagree with. There would be far fewer outcomes that I disagree with under a better system, after all.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post

    Personally I think it has gotten infinitely worse, especially when it has been opened up to foreign voting. What about all the shenanigans coming from the Orient?

    I think the best way by far is one seat paid for, one vote via ballot. And this is coming from a White Sox fan, with a fan base in the hundreds.
    The ballot stuffing for Ichiro from East Asia is problematic, I guess, but it's also an isolated & rather unique case. If the Internet existed 30 years earlier Puerto Rico would have been ballot stuffing for Roberto Clemente.

    It's a small price to pay for expanding the MLB market footprint.

    Leave a comment:


  • Los Bravos
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    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.
    That sounds great in principle but I have no interest in seeing a gaggle of self important jackalopes like Jay Jaffe and Ken Davidoff waving Roger Clemens in because they can't grasp who and what he actually was outside f the numbers on the page/screen.

    Leave a comment:


  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    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.
    Personally I think it has gotten infinitely worse, especially when it has been opened up to foreign voting. What about all the shenanigans coming from the Orient?

    I think the best way by far is one seat paid for, one vote via ballot. And this is coming from a White Sox fan, with a fan base in the hundreds.

    Leave a comment:


  • NJRob65
    replied
    Originally posted by jalbright View Post
    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.
    Agreed, several recent examples have already been cited in this thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • jalbright
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    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.
    i would tend toward this answer as well. The historical committees should come from scholars but even scholars are not immune from the potential of dominance by one or two strong personalities in a small group like we currently have. Larger groups would help in both cases. As for the personalities involved, the Frisch group was terrible because it drew from such a narrow well that it made Frisch's opinions Gospel. Strong opinions aren't the biggest problem when there are enough voters that there is still a real need to persuade. We don't want a classic committee of the sort that when tasked with designing a horse would come up with a camel.

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