Michael Hoban, Ph.DPart 2 - The Players
The 2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot
Michael Hoban, Ph.D.
The BBWAA 2015 Hall of Fame Ballot contained the names of thirty-four (34) players. The baseball writers could have voted for as many as ten players if they felt they belonged in the Hall of Fame. Four players were elected to the Hall while eighteen others got at least 5% of the votes.
As we all know, the writers vote for players for many reasons – some objective and some subjective. The question that I will address is:
How many of the candidates posted Hall of Fame numbers during their career?
The CAWS CAREER GAUGE suggests that thirteen (13) of the players on the 2015 ballot actually posted HOF numbers. Nine of these were position players and four were pitchers.
Here are the nine position players who were on the ballot and who have HOF numbers.
CWS CV CAWS
Barry Bonds 707 427 497
Gary Sheffield 430 305 336
Craig Biggio 428 294 328
Jeff Bagwell 388 287 312
Tim Raines 390 275 304
Mark McGwire 342 283 298
Mike Piazza 325 273 286
Jeff Kent 339 252 274
Alan Trammell 318 238 258
I should mention once again that the CAWS benchmark for a shortstop is 250 and for a second baseman 260. That is why Alan Trammell and Jeff Kent are considered to have HOF numbers. The others all achieved the 280 CAWS benchmark.
Here are the four pitchers who were on the ballot and have HOF numbers.
Roger Clemens 432 260 303
Rnady Johnson 326 230 254
Pedro Martinez 256 206 219
Lee Smith 198 152 164
Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson both satisfy the CAWS benchmark for starting pitchers of 235. Pedro Martinez satisfies the 180/2400 rule for starting pitchers and Lee Smith the 155/1500 rule for relief pitchers.
When the 2015 ballots were counted, four players were elected to the Hall: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. Three of the four players have HOF numbers. Only John Smoltz does not. As you can see below, his numbers fall just short.
Of the nine position players on the ballot with HOF numbers, only Craig Biggio was elected. Of course, a few of these players are suspected of steroids abuse and will probably never be elected by the BBWAA.
Of the four pitchers on the ballot with HOF numbers, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez were elected. Roger Clemens is suspected of steroids abuse and Lee Smith was a relief pitcher (very few of whom get any respect in Hall of Fame voting).
Here is the list of players who were on the 2015 ballot and did not have Hall of Fame numbers but did receive more than 5% of the ballots cast (meaning that they will be among the players returning on the 2016 ballot.)
CWS CV CAWS
Sammy Sosa 325 255 273
Larry Walker 311 234 253
Don Mattingly 263 241 247
Edgar Martinez 305 222 243
Nomar Garciaparra 215 197 202
Mike Mussina 270 186 207
Curt Schilling 252 191 206
John Smoltz was elected to the Hall. He had a fine career and his career win shares total of 289 came very close to the 300 win shares which is one benchmark for HOF numbers for a pitcher. So, his election is understandable.
How is it possible that Sammy Sosa with more than 600 home runs did not post HOF numbers? Well, it is possible. His complete numbers just were not good enough. In fact, as mentioned elsewhere, he is the ONLY major leaguer with either 500 home runs or 3000 hits who did NOT post HOF numbers during his career. This fact illustrates one of the values of the CAWS CAREER GAUGE – in its ability to make such distinctions.
Michael Hoban, Ph.D is Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the City University of N.Y. He has been an avid baseball fan for over 60 years and has become a serious baseball analyst, since joining SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) in 1998. He is the author of five baseball books including: DEFINING GREATNESS: A Hall of Fame Handbook (Booklocker, 2012) BASEBALL'S COMPLETE PLAYERS (McFarland: 2000) and FIELDER'S CHOICE (Booklocker: 2003).