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Baseball Analysis  Michael Hoban, Ph.D

Part 2 - The Players
3000 Hits – All Have Hall of Fame Numbers
500 Home Runs – Sammy Sosa, Odd Man Out
300 Win Shares - The New “Rule of Thumb”
“All In” – Starting Pitchers and the Hall of Fame
The 21st Century Hall of Famers
The 2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

  Part 3 - The Lists
The True Hall of Famers - The Five Levels of Greatness

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

Fred McGriff                               326                    240                    262

Larry Walker                           311                  234                  253

Don Mattingly                          263                  241                  247

Edgar Martinez                       305                  222                  243

Nomar Garciaparra                  215                  197                  202


John Smoltz                            289                  185                  211

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). 

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