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Politics of Glory Predictions (1995-2019)

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  • Politics of Glory Predictions (1995-2019)

    In The Politics of Glory, Bill James attempts to predict the next 25 years of BBWAA voting.

    In the process of writing his book James certainly got to know the historic norms, trends and patterns of the voters and, armed with knowledge of the (baseball) world around him in the winter of 1993-94, James made, what I consider to be some excellent predictions.

    First, the raw "data":

    1995 - Rice, Schmidt
    1996 - Rose, Sutton
    1997 - Garvey, Niekro
    1998 - G.Carter, Oliver
    1999 - Brett, Ryan
    2000 - Fisk, Yount
    2001 - Dawson, Winfield
    2002 - Murray, O.Smith
    2003 - Kaat, Parker
    2004 - Eckersley, Simmons
    2005 - Boggs, Ripken
    2006 - Henderson, Molitor
    2007 - Clemens, Gwynn
    2008 - Murphy, Puckett
    2009 - Morris, L.Smith
    2010 - Raines, Sandberg
    2011 - Bonds, J.Carter
    2012 - Butler, Cone
    2013 - Trammell, Whitaker
    2014 - Gossage, Mattingly
    2015 - Maddux, Jack McDowell
    2016 - Gooden, McGriff
    2017 - Sierra, Thomas
    2018 - Alomar, Griffey
    2019 - Bagwell, Gonzalez

    Let me preface this by saying that these predictions were made prior to the 1994 season so everything that's happened from 1994-2004 was unknown to James at the time. Furthermore, you need to consider where some of these players were in their careers going into the 1994 season, not where they are now in judging their worthiness of making such a list.

    After spending the last few hours pouring over these selections, let me just say that I find this list fascinating. Consider the following:

    After just 10 years (or 40% of the time covered in these predictions), 14 players James named have already been selected. James identified 20 players to be elected during the 1995-2004 elections so 14 is a very good number to have gotten right so far. Furthermore, there is just one player who has been elected in 10 years that James did not predict would eventually be elected. That player is Tony Perez. (In my opinion, easily the worst BBWAA selection in years and years.)

    In addition to this, only 6 of the 50 players identified by James as eventual BBWAA electees have verifiably lost their chance of success (and have been permanently relegated to the Veterans Committee.) So the possibility exists still of 88% of James' predicted electees being correct.

    Not bad to date. But what's really interesting are some of the assumptions (both correct and incorrect) that were made a decade ago about some of these players. Keep in mind, while looking over this list, that these are not the author's choices for best candidates, but merely those candidates he felt the BBWAA would select.

    For example. Jack McDowell is a laughable selection from today's perspective, but the truth is that his career up to the point the prediction was made (age 27) resembles that of Andy Pettitte, who most people have taken a "he's in if he keeps it up" approach towards. Add the fact that, at that time, McDowell played for a playoff team and was a Cy Young candidate and you're looking at a bright future for someone so young.

    Pete Rose, James must have believed, would be taken off baseball's ineligible list relatively soon. That still hasn't happened. If it doesn't happen before December, 2005, Rose will forever be relegated to the Veterans Committee's jurisdiction.

    Ruben Sierra and Dwight Gooden must have looked like strong "second half of their career" candidates at that point in time while Roger Clemens was just beginning to get injured in Boston.

    It appears James has quite a few guys he believed would get elected in their first try (Gary Carter and Andre Dawson are two examples.)

    Another interesting aspect of these predictions is who James didn't predict as being elected by 2019: Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Daryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro, Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, Dave Concepcion, Bret Saberhagen, Albert Belle or Bruce Sutter.

    I'm curious what conclusions you guys draw from this. I think he did a pretty good job so far. (And it's far from ludicrous to expect a baby-boomer to have predicted the elections of Garvey, Oliver, Simmons, etc.)
    "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'm not overly impressed or unimpressed either way. Most of those predictions, even as early as 1994 weren't going too far out on a limb. It was very insightful for him to perceive Bagwell as a Hall of Famer before his breakout MVP year in 1994. At the same time, I'm not sure what he was expecting out of a 37 year old Brett Butler by then? Was he seeing him put up enough steady numbers over the next few years to warrant a candidacy which saw him not getting elected for several years or did he see him playing until age 50? Most of his choices, however, don't strike me as being particularly brilliant nor stupid. For the most part he seems to have simply stated the obvious.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Chancellor
      (And it's far from ludicrous to expect a baby-boomer to
      have predicted the elections of Garvey, Oliver, Simmons, etc.)
      Please explain. If he's knee deep in baseball, why would his being a baby-boomer cloud his vision? He's not just some regular guy making guesses. He knows a bit more.

      I'm not impressed. I probably would have gotten a higher percentage if I made a list at the time. Bulter? Oliver? Oliver had dopped out of the ballot in 1991! Why did he include him in 1993-94? And no Perez? If you are looking at Butler and Oliver (after he is ineligiable) and even Rose, how could you not predict Perez who had gotten 50+% support while the list was being made?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dgarza
        Please explain. If he's knee deep in baseball, why would his being a baby-boomer cloud his vision? He's not just some regular guy making guesses. He knows a bit more.

        I'm not impressed. I probably would have gotten a higher percentage if I made a list at the time. Bulter? Oliver? Oliver had dopped out of the ballot in 1991! Why did he include him in 1993-94? And no Perez? If you are looking at Butler and Oliver (after he is ineligiable) and even Rose, how could you not predict Perez who had gotten 50+% support while the list was being made?
        Perez was a very unlikely selection, and he represents a departure from the norm. Most guys who do what Perez did DON'T make the HOF. Perez was helped by the preceding selection of Orlando Cepeda, but Cepeda's numbers are much more impressive than Perez's.

        The writers seem to be less impressed with career .300 averages than they used to be, but for years, hitting .300 made you likely to get into the HOF if your career was long enough. Most guys who did what Al Oliver did, in terms of career hits and BA DO get into the HOF; he is the player with the most hits AND a .300 plus lifetime BA to not be in the HOF.

        Butler was an ideosyncratic pick of James. Butler was a truly great player at his best, but he started late, and needed 500 more career hits to be a candidate.
        "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

        NL President Ford Frick, 1947

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Coop
          In The Politics of Glory, Bill James attempts to predict the next 25 years of BBWAA voting.

          In the process of writing his book James certainly got to know the historic norms, trends and patterns of the voters and, armed with knowledge of the (baseball) world around him in the winter of 1993-94, James made, what I consider to be some excellent predictions.

          First, the raw "data":
          Not sure what the point is of predicting what year guys who haven't even retired will get into the Hall

          <1995 - Rice>

          I guess it was then or never

          <1997 - Garvey
          1998 - Oliver>

          There are certainly better picks

          <2001 - Dawson>

          Then or never?

          <2003 - Kaat, Parker>

          Again, there are better picks

          <2004 - Simmons>

          Then or never?

          <2007 - Clemens>

          Point about not knowing when someone retires

          <2009 - Morris>

          If I hear most wins in the 80s one more time

          <2011 - J.Carter>

          Heaven help us

          <2012 - Butler, Cone>

          Interesting choices

          <2014 - Gossage, Mattingly>

          Why in the crap should Gossage have to wait that long? And enough of Mattingly

          <2015 - Maddux, Jack McDowell>

          Why should Maddux have to wait that long, and McDowell?

          <2016 - Gooden, McGriff>

          Let's hope the latter before the former

          <2017 - Sierra, Thomas>

          Never, and too long a wait

          <2018 - Alomar, Griffey>

          He likes to keep 'em waiting

          <2019 - Bagwell, Gonzalez>

          Patience, Bagwell. Juan or Luis G?
          Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
          Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RuthMayBond
            <2017 - Sierra, Thomas>

            Never, and too long a wait

            <2018 - Alomar, Griffey>

            He likes to keep 'em waiting

            <2019 - Bagwell, Gonzalez>

            Patience, Bagwell. Juan or Luis G?
            In the future, everybody plays 24-25 years. That's about all I can figure.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RuthMayBond
              <2009 - Morris>

              If I hear most wins in the 80s one more time
              How about most wins for a quarter century?

              Most wins 1975-1999

              254 Jack Morris
              247 Roger Clemens
              245 Dennis Martinez
              233 Nolan Ryan
              224 Frank Tanana
              211 Bob Welch
              207 Bert Blyleven
              203 Charlie Hough
              197 Dennis Eckersley
              196 Steve Carlton

              The only other non hall of famer I know of that did this is Jim Kaat.

              Most wins 1953-1977

              253 Jim Kaat
              251 Bob Gibson
              246 Gaylord Perry
              243 Juan Marichal
              241 Warren Spahn
              227 Whitey Ford
              224 Jim Bunning
              215 Jim Perry
              215 Mickey Lolich
              213 Fergie Jenkins
              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Freakshow
                How about most wins for a quarter century?

                Most wins 1975-1999

                254 Jack Morris
                247 Roger Clemens
                245 Dennis Martinez
                233 Nolan Ryan
                224 Frank Tanana
                211 Bob Welch
                207 Bert Blyleven
                203 Charlie Hough
                197 Dennis Eckersley
                196 Steve Carlton

                The only other non hall of famer I know of that did this is Jim Kaat.
                Yeah, but how many great pitchers pitched their whole career during that 25 year stretch. You can play with that '25 year period' all you want, but all you're going to see is that Morris's win totals are only impressive for his time, - which was a period lacking in great starting pitching. A period between the great pitchers that came into the league in the late 60's and the ones that came into the league in the mid-80's. Look at the pitchers on that list for 1975-1999, it's not like he's besting a bunch of HoFers.

                You make it 1977-2001 and Clemens (280) and Maddux (257) top him. If you make it 1970-1994, then Ryan (312) and Carlton (282) had far more wins, and Seaver (254) comes very close to matching him. If you made it 1979-2003, then Clemens (310) and Maddux (289) blow him away.

                So really, he has one of the most impressive win totals of his time, and excellent rep as a clutch pitcher, no Cy Youngs, only 5 all-star games, a lot of home runs allowed, and a very unimpressive ERA and ERA+.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                  Not sure what the point is of predicting what year guys who haven't even retired will get into the Hall


                  <2003 - Kaat, Parker>

                  Again, there are better picks

                  <2009 - Morris>

                  If I hear most wins in the 80s one more time

                  <2011 - J.Carter>

                  Heaven help us


                  <2014 - Gossage, Mattingly>

                  Why in the crap should Gossage have to wait that long? And enough of Mattingly

                  <2015 - Maddux, Jack McDowell>

                  Why should Maddux have to wait that long, and McDowell?
                  Why shouldn't he; at this pace he might pitch till 2009 as it is?

                  Parker makes sense with the first grouping becasue he figures the BBWAA would pick someone who was a weaker candidate in a down year when there aren't many good ones available. Which is exactly what happened with Tony Perez. So, he had the right idea, just the wrong player.

                  As for the others you express surprise at, you obviously didn't read the time frame - before the 1994 season. I think McDowell would be a good, young pitcher who most people would go out on a limb on and pick them for the Hall, just like after 1986 and his 20-win season, most would probably pick Fernando Valenzuela for the Hall just because it seemed like a logical, if not yet safe, pick.

                  Morris had just won another World Series, and had a really bad year. James may have expected him to rebound with 30-35 more wins over the next 3-4 years, which could have happened, but I think that pick would have made more sense after the '92 season, when he won 20 despite a poorer ERA. Then, you coudl see him getting to Blyleven's range as far as wins.

                  Joe Carter had just won a dramatic World Series with a walk-off home run. He had good power numbers and james probbly figured in an expansion era he'd get to some good counting numbers. I would say his pick of Joe Carter is like his pick of Dave Parker, a pick for a lean year. And, he may have expected him to be in a few more postseasons.

                  You may want to ask the BBBWAA why Gossage has to wait that long now, before asking james why he picked that back in '94, becasue they're making him seem prophetic, although he should go in with leaner years ahead for possible inductees in the next few years.

                  How bad was Mattingly's back in '93, was there talk of him only lasting a few more years? If so, then the pick of Mattingly is, basically, a pick saying, "New York players get special treatment."

                  There's one prediction I'm very glad was wrong.
                  If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

                  "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DTF955
                    Why shouldn't he; at this pace he might pitch till 2009 as it is?
                    Whatever, but if you assume he might pitch til 2009, he also might pitch til 2010

                    <Parker makes sense with the first grouping becasue he figures the BBWAA would pick someone who was a weaker candidate in a down year when there aren't many good ones available. Which is exactly what happened with Tony Perez. So, he had the right idea, just the wrong player.>

                    As long as he was the best available candidate

                    <As for the others you express surprise at, you obviously didn't read the time frame - before the 1994 season. I think McDowell would be a good, young pitcher who most people would go out on a limb on and pick them for the Hall, just like after 1986 and his 20-win season, most would probably pick Fernando Valenzuela for the Hall just because it seemed like a logical, if not yet safe, pick.>

                    Why would you pick a pitcher who had had five full seasons at that point?

                    <Joe Carter had just won a dramatic World Series with a walk-off home run. He had good power numbers.>

                    If slugging is the only thing

                    <You may want to ask the BBBWAA why Gossage has to wait that long now>

                    They've got no answer for that :grouchy

                    <How bad was Mattingly's back in '93, was there talk of him only lasting a few more years? If so, then the pick of Mattingly is, basically, a pick saying, "New York players get special treatment.">

                    Bite your tongue, Mr. Chesbro Rizzuto Hunter And it is different if James is picking who would get in vs. who should get in
                    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      All this show is how difficult it is to predict who will make the Hall of Fame 25 years later. Too many variables to consider. I wouldn't have expected anything more accurate than this.
                      1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                      1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                      1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                      The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                      The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                        <As for the others you express surprise at, you obviously didn't read the time frame - before the 1994 season. I think McDowell would be a good, young pitcher who most people would go out on a limb on and pick them for the Hall, just like after 1986 and his 20-win season, most would probably pick Fernando Valenzuela for the Hall just because it seemed like a logical, if not yet safe, pick.>

                        Why would you pick a pitcher who had had five full seasons at that point?
                        I guess trying to show the fan in himself, that he's not just a statistician. i'm sure that James, like many, have their guys who they really like, who have the type of pitching ability and stamina that make him think that, "This is just like other pitchers who have made it to Cooperstown."

                        Obviously, it didn't work out - and McDowell floundered much worse than Fernando, who was still a serviceable lefty in the mid-1990s. Indeed, Fernando pre-1987 probably makes more sense than McDowell pre-1994 as a pick. Still, he also picked Bagwell after only 3 full seasons. And, I think this just shows he had some favorites of his on this list who he said to himself, "I really hope he makes it, and he's got the start to say he could." Perhaps looking more with his heart with some than with others, but also using some measure of judgment based on what the man's stills and talent were, his current stats, and so on.
                        If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

                        "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

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