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  • A New Project: Future Hall of Famers

    Eighteen years ago in The Politics of Glory, Bill James tossed out his off-the-cuff predictions for future hall of famers. Likewise, the scholars here at BBF are fond of expressing their opinions on which active players will make the Hall some day, and I think we can do it better. We wouldn’t predict guys like Joe Carter and Brett Butler will make the Hall, right?

    We get a lot of it here regarding active players: “Is so-and-so a future hall of famer?” It’s usually some young guy who just had his first good year, or someone in his prime who had a career year, or some older guy who has a chance to compile impressive career totals. It often just amounts to so much noise. This project aims to take a systematic approach to the question.

    The first thing to determine is the number of players elected to the Hall each year. (There are a number of ways to calculate this, all arriving at a similar number. I faced the issue eight years ago in this article “An Open Letter to the Hall of Fame“) Looking at the long stretch of history, all players born from 1880 to 1940. Including Negro leaguers, the Hall has enshrined 158 players born in that 61-year span, or 2.6 per year. They will no doubt add to that number, with Minoso, Hodges, Oliva and Kaat being the prime candidates.

    We’ll use 2.6 as our target to elect. There is a good argument to be made that it should be higher than this, given the game’s expansion and development. However, there is not yet any indication that the HOF or their electors intend to acknowledge these facts and do anything to expand the number elected in the future. So we’ll stick with the historical standard.

    I decided it will be my approach to group players by year of birth. We will start by looking at players born in 1962. The oldest player active in 2012 (Moyer) was born in 1962; also relevant, no likely HOFers were born in 1961. Only two HOFers were born after 1960 (Larkin and Alomar).

    I’ll post a series of polls. Each will contain ten or more candidates born in a two-year span. The first poll will include the best players born in 1962-63. Vote for the (usually) five players you think are most likely to be elected to the HOF by the BBWAAA. We’ll move forward in time from there, with the next poll being players born in 1963-64, then 1964-65, and so on. A player who finishes in the top five in both polls he appears in will be considered “elected”.(*) Occasionally we’ll vote for four or six, depending on a subjective assessment of the quality of candidates.

    This will leave us a few players short of 2.6 per year. We will have a few runoff polls to determine the remaining choices.

    The first few elections will cover players that we’ve debated for years; the stars of the “steroids era“. As we go forward, the choices become more speculative. Theories about which types of players are likely to enjoy longevity will become important as we move through players born in the 1980‘s.

    Remember, we are trying to predict which players the HOF will elect, not which players you think are most deserving. That is, vote for the guys you think will be most favored by the HOF voters. Put yourself in the position of predicting what the Hall will do in the next 50 years. Which players from this generation will be in the HOF in 2063? Will some sort of PED ban still be in force, or will perspective among the voters evolve to the point where that becomes unimportant? I think that being a part of this project will help to sharpen your thinking on the issue of who is and who is not likely to make the HOF.

    Any ideas you may have to enhance this project are welcome. I’ll get the first poll up in a couple days. I think we can move pretty quickly, posting one or two polls in a week, leaving them open for about 4 weeks. I’m planning to go as far as 1986, making 25 polls before the runoffs.

    *Here are the players from each year that we think will eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame:
    1961(1) - Don Mattingly
    1962(1) - Roger Clemens
    1963(4) - Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff
    1964(2) - Barry Larkin, Barry Bonds
    1965(1) - Craig Biggio
    1966(4) - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker
    1967(3) - John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman, Omar Vizquel
    1968(8) - Roberto Alomar, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa
    1969(2) - Ken Griffey, Jr., Mariano Rivera
    1970(2) - Jim Thome, Jim Edmonds
    1971(2) - Pedro Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez
    1972(3) - Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte
    1973(2) - Ichiro Suzuki, Todd Helton
    1974(1) - Derek Jeter
    1975(3) - Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Scott Rolen
    1976(2) - Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko
    1977(3) - Roy Halladay, Carlos Beltran, Andruw Jones
    1978(2) - Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins
    1979(2) - Adrian Beltre, Ryan Howard
    1980(3) - Albert Pujols, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira
    1981(1) - Josh Hamilton
    1982(2) - Robinson Cano, David Wright
    1983(5) - Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Joey Votto, Ryan Braun
    1984(2) - Prince Fielder, Matt Kemp
    1985(1) - Evan Longoria
    1986(1) - Felix Hernandez

    Links to elections
    #1: Players Born 1962-63
    #2: Players Born 1963-64
    #3: Players Born 1964-65
    #4: Players Born 1965-66
    #5: Players Born 1966-67
    #6: Players Born 1967-68
    #7: Players Born 1968-69
    #8: Players Born 1969-70
    #9: Players Born 1970-71
    #10: Players Born 1971-72
    #11: Players Born 1972-73
    #12: Players Born 1973-74
    #13: Players Born 1974-75
    #14: Players Born 1975-76
    #15: Players Born 1976-77
    #16: Players Born 1977-78
    #17: Players Born 1978-79
    #18: Players Born 1979-80
    #19: Players Born 1980-81
    #20: Players Born 1981-82
    #21: Players Born 1982-83
    #22: Players Born 1983-84
    #23: Players Born 1984-85
    #24: Players Born 1985-86
    #25: Players Born 1961-62
    Runoff #1: Players Born 1961-68
    Runoff #2: Players Born 1969-77
    Runoff #3: Players Born 1978-86
    Runoff #4: Players Born 1961-73
    Runoff #5: Players Born 1974-86
    Last edited by Freakshow; 05-08-2013, 12:15 PM.
    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

  • #2
    Sounds cool I look forward to it
    "The first draft of anything is crap." - Ernest Hemingway

    There's no such thing as an ultimate stat.

    Comment


    • #3
      It sounds like you have this one meshed out well. I love this idea and am looking forward to participating.

      Comment


      • #4
        Results

        I will list the "winners" of each election in this post. Remember, a player needs two wins to make the list. The players who win only one leg will be seen again in the runoffs, along with a few others.

        Listed here are the prescribed number of winners, in order of support, followed by also-rans whose support exceeded 20%:

        Results of elections
        #25: Players Born 1961-62(3) - Clemens/Mattingly/Moyer
        #1: Players Born 1962-63 (5) – R.Johnson/Clemens/E.Martinez/McGwire/McGriff (Cone 31%)
        #2: Players Born 1963-64 (5) – Bonds/R.Johnson/E.Martinez/McGwire/McGriff (Palmeiro 46%)
        #3: Players Born 1964-65 (4) – Biggio/Bonds/Palmeiro/W.Clark (K.Brown 25%)
        #4: Players Born 1965-66 (5) – Maddux/Glavine/Schilling/Biggio/Walker
        #5: Players Born 1966-67 (6) – Maddux/Glavine/Schilling/Smoltz/Hoffman/Walker (Vizquel 32%)
        #6: Players Born 1967-68 (8) – Bagwell/Piazza/Smoltz/Thomas/Hoffman/Mussina/Kent/Vizquel (Sheffield 29%/Sosa 24%)
        #7: Players Born 1968-69 (8) – Bagwell/Piazza/Thomas/Griffey/Rivera/Mussina/Kent/Sheffield (Sosa 37.5%)
        #8: Players Born 1969-70 (4) – Griffey/Thome/Rivera/Edmonds
        #9: Players Born 1970-71 (4) – Thome/I.Rodriguez/P.Martinez/Edmonds (Posada 30%)
        #10: Players Born 1971-72 (5) – I.Rodriguez/P.Martinez/C.Jones/M.Ramirez/Pettitte (Posada 31%/Wagner 27%)
        #11: Players Born 1972-73 (4) – Suzuki/C.Jones/Helton/M.Ramirez (Pettitte 43%)
        #12: Players Born 1973-74 (4) – Suzuki/Jeter/Helton/Damon
        #13: Players Born 1974-75 (5) – Guerrero/Jeter/Rolen/A.Rodriguez/Ortiz (Hudson 25%/Abreu 21%)
        #14: Players Born 1975-76 (4) - Guerrero/A.Rodriguez/Rolen/Berkman (Ortiz 28%)
        #15: Players Born 1976-77 (3) - Halladay/Beltran/Berkman (A.Jones 38%, Konerko 23%)
        #16: Players Born 1977-78 (3) - Halladay/Beltran/A.Jones (Utley 39%)
        #17: Players Born 1978-79 (3) - Beltre/Santana/Utley (Rollins 22%)
        #18: Players Born 1979-80 (4) - Pujols/Sabathia/Beltre/Teixeira (Santana 39%)
        #19: Players Born 1980-81 (4) - Pujols/Sabathia/Teixeira/Holliday (Hamilton 32%)
        #20: Players Born 1981-82 (3) - Cano/Wright/Hamilton
        #21: Players Born 1982-83 (7) - Verlander/Cano/Wright/M.Cabrera/Mauer/Votto/Braun (Pedroia 35%/Y.Molina 25%)
        #22: Players Born 1983-84 (6) - Verlander/M.Cabrera/Mauer/Votto/Fielder/Braun (Lincecum 29%/Pedroia 24%/Kemp 24%)
        #23: Players Born 1984-85 (3) - Fielder/Longoria/Lincecum (Kemp 32%/Price 27%/Zimmerman 27%/Tulowitzki 27%)
        #24: Players Born 1985-86 (3) - Longoria/F.Hernandez/D.Price (McCutchen 43%)
        Last edited by Freakshow; 04-02-2013, 12:53 PM.
        Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Runoff Elections

          As the last of the 25 polls closes in the following week, now comes the tricky part.

          This project is working under the assumption that the HOF will eventually elect players from this era at the same rate as they did for players born from 1880 to 1940, an average of 2.6 per year. This would be fair and consistent.

          Will this actually be what we see 50 years from now? No, it’s doubtful they will elect that many. I think that most fans and analysts prefer fewer than that, plus we now have greater certainty in knowing who the best players actually are. Most of the players elected who were born from 1880-1940 were chosen without the benefit of statistical analysis; indeed it was hard to make a good case against anyone’s election. The BBWAA would elect a Maranville or a Pennock because they had a long career/good counting stats and a positive narrative; the VC could get away with justifying woeful selections because they were the insiders who actually knew them and had seen them play; most of the Negro leaguers were elected largely on reputation. The mistakes from each group were layered on top of each other, with nobody ever wondering if they were electing too many guys from one era. By contrast, players born 1961-86 are subject to intense numerical and other scrutiny. The Information Age makes the electorate more knowledgeable as well as more accountable. It will be increasingly difficult for the voters to make weak selections because technological advancements make us all experts to a degree never seen before.

          While I’m asking voters to predict who the Hall is most likely to elect, the question comes with a subtext. More like: Given the voters’ idiosyncrasies and preferences, what players should be elected from the current generation if the Hall were to be consistent with the rate of players inducted from the bulk of baseball history? In other words, given the established standards for Hall election, who will “deserve” enshrinement? If the HOF voters were mandated, over the next 50 years, to elect exactly 2.6 players per year from this era, who would they choose?

          During these runoff elections we don’t need to hear people complain about the candidates having almost no chance to make the Hall; we know that. We’re playing What If? What if the upcoming HOF elections were equitable and consistent with past standards?

          So far we’ve skimmed off the cream of the candidates in these 25 elections, giving us about 51 players that the Hall should be looking to elect while they’re still living (two of which they already elected). Here is how they’re distributed by year:

          1961(0)
          1962(1)
          1963(4)
          1964(2)
          1965(1)
          1966(4)
          1967(2)
          1968(6)
          1969(2)
          1970(2)
          1971(2)
          1972(2)
          1973(2)
          1974(1)
          1975(3)
          1976(1)
          1977(2)
          1978(0)
          1979(1)
          1980(3)
          1981(0)
          1982(2)
          1983(5)
          1984(1)
          1985(1)
          1986(1)

          We’re looking for a total of 67 or 68 hall of famers born in the years 1961-86, so we’re looking to add about 16 to our total so far. This means taking a second and third look at the era, considering players who previously fell just short or who may have been overlooked. The first phase of runoffs will be a series of five elect-2 polls:

          Phase 1a – 3 elections
          Player born 1961-68
          Player born 1969-77
          Player born 1978-86

          Phase 1b – 2 elections
          Player born 1961-73
          Player born 1974-86

          The final phase will be a series of elections targeted to fill in the low points in the list.

          I’ll get the first runoff election going in a day or two.
          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll participate.
            "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

            "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

            Comment


            • #7
              So what did we learn in this project? Mostly, we learned which players we don't need to discuss.

              I called this project "Future Hall of Famers" because it sounded catchier than "Prospective Hall of Famers". The 63 players we identified are not all going to be in the Hall 50 years from now, but they're the ones to watch, especially over the next 15-to-20 years. When someone posts a thread to discuss players we dismissed like Shane Victorino or Cole Hamels, the focus is on how they need to pick up the pace to get on the HOF radar, like the players we identified here.

              There seems to be a noticeable difference in quality between the players in the first half of this era (1961-73) and the second half (1974-86). Some of this is attributable to our incomplete view of active players, but I think it goes beyond that. It's why I decided not to continue completing the runoffs. We have 35 players listed from 1961-73 and only 28 from 1974-86. To finish the project at our goal of 2.6 players per year we should elect another 4 players from the latter years, but the quality just isn't there. In the last runoff we added Ryan Howard, Matt Kemp, Paul Konerko and Jimmy Rollins, all of them unlikely HOFers. By contrast, the last players added from the earlier era seem quite a bit better than that: Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitte.

              Of course, PEDs may also be a factor in why there seem to be more HOF-quality careers in the earlier era than in the latter one. Most of the Known Cheaters are among the group born from 1961-73.
              Last edited by Freakshow; 06-07-2013, 01:00 PM.
              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm down for any projects.
                "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Me too, sounds cool.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, this one's done, but another is planned using the same format.

                    Stay tuned. Let the Sons of Manush be warned!
                    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
                      Well, this one's done, but another is planned using the same format.

                      Stay tuned. Let the Sons of Manush be warned!
                      Hilarious!
                      "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Regrettably I wasn't able to contribute to this worthwhile project. Bill James' list from The Politics of Glory referred to future BBWAA selections. "I wouldn't even try to guess what the Veterans Committee will do," he said then. James listed 2 BBWAA picks per year for 25 years (1995-2019). Keep in mind this was from the perspective of a fan shortly before the 1994-95 strike. Of James' 50 guesses, the Hall has elected 23 already with 9 still on the ballot and another 3 yet to debut (Maddux, Thomas and Griffey). James made a bad call, predicting the reinstatement of Pete Rose, so really the BBWAA has only rejected 14 of 37 candidates they've reviewed. (Those 14 are Brett Butler, Joe Carter, David Cone, Steve Garvey, Juan Gonzalez, Dwight Gooden, Jim Kaat, Jack McDowell, Dale Murphy, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Ruben Sierra, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker.) All told, the BBWAA has elected 62% of the candidates its' reviewed from James' list 19 years ago.

                        I'm not sure if each voter was looking at these candidates as BBWAA inductees, or as individuals who may eventually be elected, but my reflections on the results are based on an assumption of the former.

                        Originally posted by Freakshow View Post
                        *Here are the players from each year that we think will eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame:
                        1961(1) - Don Mattingly
                        No way. He may survive 15 ballots, but he's not going in the front door.

                        1962(1) - Roger Clemens
                        Shoo-in minus the PPP (Punitive PED Punishers) crowd.

                        1963(4) - Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff
                        Johnson will go in quickly. Martinez may be able to continue increasing his percentage over the threshold as the glut starts to sort itself in a few years. Big Mac and Crime Dog are simply never going to get the requisite support.

                        1964(2) - Barry Larkin, Barry Bonds
                        I'm assuming Larkin was still outsanding IRL when this project was undertaken. Bonds, Barry: see Clemens, Roger. Also agree Palmeiro has no shot.

                        1965(1) - Craig Biggio
                        Should go in first 2-3 ballots

                        1966(4) - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker
                        I'm not at all confident Walker will get to 75% thanks, largely, to the glut. Maddux is first-ballot this winter.

                        1967(3) - John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman, Omar Vizquel
                        Smoltz will gain election moderately quickly. Hoffman is a maybe. Vizquel is the type of player voters may go for, though he's not deserving.

                        1968(8) - Roberto Alomar, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa
                        For Alomar, see my comment above re: Larkin. Bagwell, Thomas and Piazza will go in. Sosa and Sheffield unlikely to ever be elected (PEDs). Moose, while deserving, may have to wait a long time for the call. Kent may never get the call, but the MVP will certainly help; I just don't see 75% given how many contemporaries will stick around 15 years.

                        1969(2) - Ken Griffey, Jr., Mariano Rivera
                        Two easy choices.

                        1970(2) - Jim Thome, Jim Edmonds
                        600 HR gets Thome in. Goodbye Edmonds.

                        1971(2) - Pedro Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez
                        BBWAA passes on Jorge Posada and Billy Wagner

                        1972(3) - Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte
                        Pettitte would probably mirror Jack Morris' progression, but the PEDs will keep him out. Man-Ram will also never get in thanks to the failed tests. Carlos Delgado may hang around the ballot a while, though won't get elected.

                        1973(2) - Ichiro Suzuki, Todd Helton
                        Ichiro becomes the new Jackie Robinson. Doubt voters are open-minded enough to give Helton the nod.

                        1974(1) - Derek Jeter
                        Bobby Abreu anyone?

                        1975(3) - Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Scott Rolen
                        Guerrero will probably garner the best support out of the three. Rolen and A-Rod, for two different reasons, may never get elected.

                        1976(2) - Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko
                        Paul Konerko? What were you guys smoking? Berkman remains a "maybe". Depending on how many wins he has left in the tank, Tim Hudson could sneak in here. David Ortiz will have more than 5% of the vote for a while.

                        1977(3) - Roy Halladay, Carlos Beltran, Andruw Jones
                        Jones has more of what voters look for. Beltran may have the problem of being a modern day Dwight Evans type. (Lots of things done very well, no single stand-out/grab-your-attention skill.)

                        1978(2) - Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins
                        Utley is twice the player, but with the MVP Rollins may have twice the votes from the BBWAA. I don't see it, but could Cliff Lee cobble together more great seasons?

                        1979(2) - Adrian Beltre, Ryan Howard
                        Mark Buehrle could be treading Tim Hudson's path. Howard couldn't possibly put together a case. IMO, Johan Santana was a big whiff here.

                        1980(3) - Albert Pujols, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira
                        Nice trio. Tex will have the most uphill climb when everything is said and done. I would say "maybe" at this point. Matt Holliday may finish with a better case.

                        1981(1) - Josh Hamilton
                        Popular player, but started awfully late and may not sustain it all that long. Curtis Granderson may finish stronger.

                        1982(2) - Robinson Cano, David Wright
                        Another very strong year.

                        1983(5) - Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Joey Votto, Ryan Braun
                        Cabrera and Mauer are already locks. The others have only to have normal career progressions. This year is the cut-off line between "done enough to have a legitimate case we can project" versus "too early to really tell anything without MAJOR speculation". Amazing that Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Dustin Pedroia were also born then. What a year!

                        1984(2) - Prince Fielder, Matt Kemp
                        Kemp was premature. Tulo was a miss here. Ryan Zimmerman might fashion a case though 3B is difficult to tell given the electorate's history.

                        1985(1) - Evan Longoria
                        Maybe David Price also

                        1986(1) - Felix Hernandez
                        Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Justin Upton are off to great starts.
                        "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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brad Harris View Post
                          Paul Konerko? What were you guys smoking? Berkman remains a "maybe". Depending on how many wins he has left in the tank, Tim Hudson could sneak in here. David Ortiz will have more than 5% of the vote for a while.
                          I reacted the same way when he was voted "in." I'd be surprised if Konerko lasted more than 1 ballot.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                            I reacted the same way when he was voted "in." I'd be surprised if Konerko lasted more than 1 ballot.
                            Though his start to 2013 may be putting it in doubt, Konerko has a fair shot of reaching 500 career home runs. Even so, he's unlikely to be elected.
                            "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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brad Harris View Post
                              Though his start to 2013 may be putting it in doubt, Konerko has a fair shot of reaching 500 career home runs. Even so, he's unlikely to be elected.
                              Entirely agree. I never voted for him in this project.

                              BTW, nice summation above, Brad. However, there is the point that we're looking at this through a 50-year projection. So guys like Mattingly, Walker, etc will wait for a future VC contrivance for their election.

                              Sorry you missed this project. Stay tuned for a project based on the same procedures, "Hall of Fame Cleanup", coming soon to a Hall of Fame forum near you!
                              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

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

                              Comment

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