MLB Hall of Fame: Predicting Their Support

First, players highly likely to miss the 5% threshold: Sandy Alomar Jr., Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Jose Mesa, Reggie Sanders, Aaron Sele, Mike Stanton, Todd Walker, Rondell White, and Woody Williams. There are four other first-timers who I think have a very slim, outside shot at the 5% threshold: Jeff Conine, Steve Finley, Julio Franco, and Shawn Green.

Below, the rest:

Jeff Bagwell: I think he’s almost there, but not quite. He received 42% his first year in 2010, which increased to 56% in 2011. He’s about where Larkin was his first time on the ballot, so give Bagwell two more years. Let’s say somewhere between 60-65% this time around.

Craig Biggio: I see him at about Bagwell’s level. He does not have the steroid implications, of course. He also put up his impressive numbers while playing catcher, second base, and left field, as opposed to first base. For whatever reason, though, I see him as a second year inclusion. I could be wrong. Let’s make 60% the low end and 80% the high end.

Barry Bonds: Can I skip this one? His chances of actually getting in at this time are zero, but there have to be enough voters out there who won’t be able to resist the numbers. And Bonds was a Hall of Fame caliber player before the steroids issue arose. Mark McGwire was the first steroid era player on a ballot, and I will use him as a baseline, keeping in mind that Bonds’ statistical case goes far past McGwire’s. McGwire received 24% in his first opportunity. I will double it for Bonds. Call it 50%, plus or minus a few percent. Perhaps a 45-60% range. But this is really dicey. I really could imagine a number as low as that first McGwire percentage. I don’t think it happens though.

Roger Clemens: So I get to take them all on at once? Clemens, like Bonds, would have been a shoo-in without the steroids issue, or had he retired before it came to the fore. For both, the statistics are mind-blowing. They also both have a personality issue which makes them much more difficult for the voters to forgive. I do see Clemens getting slightly fewer votes than Bonds, so I’ll say 45% plus or minus 5%, with an outside possibility of something as low as 25%.*

*Regarding these three, Joe Posnanski (yes, this way of discussing his opinion is intentional) appears to think Bonds and Clemens will be short of 50%, and that Biggio will get in. Who is my nobody blogging self to argue? Or even bring up a writer like him? Obviously, you should just read him instead of me.

Anyway, I do think he could be right on all three. I have not yet looked to his predictions on anyone else.

Kenny Lofton: He’s not getting in. If Tim Raines is a poor man’s Rickey Henderson, Lofton is a poor man’s Raines. Raines got 24% in his first chance; I peg Lofton at 10-15%. I do think he gets a second crack at the ballot.

Edgar Martinez: His path to date is 36%, 33%, 37%. I do think we’ll see him break out of the funk and get a small bump. Why? Because he is not connected to the steroids issue, and now that we’re seeing all the heavy hitting poster boys of that era coming in, I think some voters will give Martinez points. This should probably affect Bagwell too if it’s the case. Voters see the “real thing” in Bonds and Clemens, and those silly nagging doubts about Bagwell should disappear. Ideally. Similar thing for Martinez. Anyway, 50%, plus or minus a few points.

Don Mattingly: It’s his 13th year, and he’s a weird case, because he keeps hanging around with a solid 10-20%, never in danger of falling off the ballot, or making a push. I don’t see this changing this year or in the next three.

Fred McGriff: His path to date is 22%, 18%, 24%. He consistently trails Martinez, whose time on the ballot coincides with McGriff. If a similar push is forthcoming, I’d look for McGriff around Martinez’s current level of about 35%.

Mark McGwire: He isn’t getting particularly closer. He started at 24% and is now at 20%, six years later. That seems to be his baseline. Call it 20% again.

Jack Morris: It’s the penultimate opportunity for the hero of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. With a 67% last year, his chances this year look really good. Bert Blyleven went from 63% to 74% to 80% in his last two years before induction and then his induction year. It looks like Morris won’t have to wait that extra year. He could get “only” that 73-74% range, but 78-82% looks more likely.

Dale Murphy: His final chance is a formality after a 15% showing last year. He might get some push from writers who give him a sympathy vote, so 15-20% for him.

Rafael Palmeiro: Palmeiro got 11% in his first year in 2011, and inched up to 13% in 2012. I don’t think he’s getting anyone coming to give him a bump this time around. Call it 10-15%.

Mike Piazza: I think Piazza gets in first ballot as a catcher. Johnny Bench got 96% and Piazza is arguably better than him, at least as a hitter. I don’t think he’ll get anywhere near that high though. My guess is somewhere between 80 and 85%.

Tim Raines: Raines should get in eventually, but this is still not his time. His progress to date: 24, 23, 30, 38, 49. It’s a fairly steady climb in the past three years. Another 8-10% this time gives him 57-60%. So we’ll put his range around 55-65%.

Curt Schilling: I don’t think Schilling is a first year inductee, or particularly close. But there isn’t really a good recent comparable player to see what percentage he might get.

Lee Smith: At 51%, Smith is only 8% higher than he was in his initial appearance in 2003, but 10% higher than a dip in 2007, and 3% higher than two years ago. He has never increased more than 6% in a single year. Smith’s peak of 45% between 2003 and 2009 came in 2006, the year Bruce Sutter got in and Goose Gossage began getting close; he then suffered a drop in 2007. There aren’t really any coattails this time around. Give him about 50% again, with a low end of about 45%.

Sammy Sosa: I think Rafael Palmeiro is a fairly decent precedent for Sosa. They are players who without the strong connections to steroids have the statistical profile of a Hall of Famer, but who had enough flaws as players notwithstanding PED that voters could also create a statistical case to exclude them. In any event, I see a similar track for Sosa as for Palmeiro. So we’ll give him 10-15%.

Alan Trammell: Trammell is finally seeing a small push in the past couple years. He didn’t break 20% until his ninth year on the ballot, in 2010, but after treading water in 2011 he got bumped to 37% in 2012. I see this as another treading year. 35-40%.

Larry Walker: Larry Walker got 20% his first chance and 23% his second chance and I don’t see a bump coming. Make it 20-25% again.

David Wells: He should probably be in the second category at the very top of the post, but I want to give him 10% or so. Call it a hunch. Of course, if Kevin Brown only mustered 2% in his first try, I don’t see why Wells would fare better, except for wins and team success.

Bernie Williams: The 10% Williams got his first year is on the low end of first-year performances above 5%. Williams probably sticks around sort of like Harold Baines did. Baines managed to stay on the ballot five years while never getting higher than 6% support. Williams mustered 10% last year. People like Palmeiro and Murphy generally don’t disappear despite years of 11-12% support. Other than Williams, no one has been in the 9-10% range, first year or otherwise, since Mattingly and Murphy in 2007. Albert Belle got 8% in his first try in 2006 and then fell to 4% and out in 2007. Belle is actually the outlier in all of these by falling off after a year between 5-10%, so I think Williams survives another year at around 8-12%.

Short version: Jack Morris and Mike Piazza will be the inductees. Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Tim Raines set themselves up well for 2014. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are somewhere between 25-50%, probably towards the higher end, with Bonds likely to be slightly ahead.

Click here for what my ballot would be if I mattered.

Presidents in Congress

In John Quincy Adams’ term as president (starting 1825), three future presidents were in the Senate: Andrew Jackson (Tennessee), Martin Van Buren (New York), and William Henry Harrison (Ohio). Two more were in the House for the 19th and 20th Congresses: James Polk (Tennessee’s 6th) and James Buchanan (Pennsylvania’s 4th).

During William Henry Harrison’s term (1841/27th Congress), John Tyler was his VP and became president, John Quincy Adams was still in Congress, James Polk was Governor of Tennessee. Millard Fillmore was still in Congress (NY-32), and Pierce and Buchanan were still in the Senate.

One former and five future presidents were in the 23rd Congress and, except for Fillmore, the 24th Congress, from 1833-37.

John Quincy Adams represented Massachusetts’ 12th district.
Andrew Jackson was president.
Martin Van Buren was the vice president.
John Tyler was Senator from Virginia.
James K. Polk represented Tennessee’s 9th district.
Millard Fillmore represented New York’s 32nd district.
Franklin Pierce represented New Hampshire’s at-large district.
James Buchanan was Senator from Pennsylvania.

The 30th Congress included John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln’s only term (Illinois’ 7th), and Andrew Johnson (Tennessee’s 1st).

When Lincoln was reelected president, James Garfield won his second term to Congress and Rutherford B. Hayes his first. It was the 39th Congress. Garfield was the only future president in Congress from 1869-1881.

Benjamin Harrison’s term as Senator from Ohio began in the 47th Congress in 1881, and he was the only future president in either the House or the Senate until Warren Harding’s Senate term for Ohio began in the 64th Congress in 1915.

The next time multiple future presidents were in Congress occurred in the 75th Congress. Harry Truman was a Senator from Missouri, and Lyndon Johnson began representing the 10th district of Texas.

Three future presidents could be found in the House of Representatives of the 80th Congress: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Gerald Ford entered the House in the 81st Congress as Johnson and Nixon moved to the Senate.

During Dwight Eisenhower’s term (1953-61, 83rd-86th), Richard Nixon was his VP, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were Senators from Massachusetts and Texas, respectively, and Gerald Ford was the representative of Michigan’s fifth district.

Kennedy and Johnson left the Senate to become president and vice president in 1961, leaving Ford as the only future president in Congress. Ford broke Garfield’s record for most terms in the House for a future president when he began his tenth term in 1969, the 91st Congress. In the 90th and 91st Congresses, George H. W. Bush represented Texas’ 7th district. He did not return for the 92nd in 1971.

When Ford was promoted to VP in 1974, no future president entered Congress until Barack Obama joined the Senate in 2005.

Terms in House
12 – Gerald Ford
9 – James Garfield
9 – John Quincy Adams
7 – James K. Polk
6 – Lyndon B. Johnson
5 – James Buchanan
5 – Andrew Johnson
4 – James Madison
4 – Millard Fillmore
3 – John Tyler
3 – John F. Kennedy
2 – Franklin Pierce
2 – George H. W. Bush
1 – Andrew Jackson
1 – Abraham Lincoln
1 – Rutherford B. Hayes
1 – Richard Nixon

One-way States since 1992

States that voted only Democratic or only Republican since 1992.

(In other words, either for Clinton and Obama twice and against Bush twice, or vice versa.)

Only Democratic (17 states; currently 220 electoral votes)
Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii

Only Republican (13 states; currently 102 electoral votes)
South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Alaska

The states that have split to any degree contain 216 electoral votes. Republican candidates have needed approximately 168 (78%) of those electoral votes to win. Democratic candidates have needed approximately 50 (23%) of those electoral votes to win.

California currently contains nearly the entire difference in electoral votes. Were it a solidly Republican state, that would give the Republicans 157 electoral votes vs. 165 for the Democrats.

New York in the 1884 and 1888 Presidential Elections

1884
Gov. Grover Cleveland, D-NY
Sen. James Blaine, R-ME
Electoral College: Cleveland 219, Blaine 182
New York popular vote: Cleveland 563,154 (48.25%) vs. Blaine 562,005 (48.15%)
Cleveland won New York by 1,049 votes (0.10%). Without it, he would have lost the electoral vote to Blaine, 218-183.

1888
Pres. Grover Cleveland, D-NY
Sen. Benjamin Harrison, R-IN
Electoral College: Harrison 233, Cleveland 168
New York popular vote: Harrison 650,338 (49.28%) vs. Cleveland 635,965 (48.19%)
Harrison won New York by 14,373 votes (1.09%). Without it, he would have lost the electoral vote to Cleveland, 204-197.

In 1892, Cleveland carried New York over Harrison with 654,868 votes vs. 609,350 votes. The margin was 45,518 votes. Even if Harrison had carried New York, however, Cleveland would still have won 241 out of 444 electoral votes, and the presidency.

Story, Part I

I just thought of this idea not but a minute ago. I have no idea where it will lead. I don’t even have much of an idea at this stage. Maybe one will come to me.

Is Robinson Cano already the best Yankee second baseman of all time? Part 2

In the middle of the 2011 season, I posted to the blog a post entitled “Is Robinson Cano already the best Yankee second baseman of all time?

I want to revisit this question, since Cano had a career best 149 OPS+ in 2012. He continues to add to his resume.

Our candidates, again, are:

  • Robinson Cano
  • Joe Gordon
  • Tony Lazzeri
  • Willie Randolph
  • Snuffy Stirnweiss
Since the post in 2011, Baseball Reference has changed how they calculate wins above replacement.
             PA    WAR     o/dWAR        BA/OBP/SLG   OPS+

Randolph   7465   51.7   41.9/16.3   .275/.374/.357   105

Lazzeri    7058   44.7   45.1/5.3    .293/.379/.467   120

Gordon     4216   35.1   26.1/10.2   .271/.358/.467   120

Cano       5110   34.8   33.0/5.0    .308/.351/.503   123

Stirnweiss 3800   25.7   18.0/11.4   .274/.366/.382   108

Last time, Cano was slightly behind Lazzeri and Gordon in OPS+. He is now slightly ahead.

His wins above replacement have gone up and he should pass Gordon in early 2013.

Another 1,010 plate appearances were not, however, enough to send Cano past the competition in statistics besides OPS+ (and batting average and slugging average).

At his new pace, by the time Cano has accumulated 7,465 plate appearances to match Randolph, his WAR would be 50.8, about one win behind Randolph. At that point you could probably still argue for Cano based on the closeness and accuracy of the WAR, as well as Cano’s superior hitting statistics.

Cano is also likely to end up with far more plate appearances as a Yankee than Randolph. This would help his case.

Cano’s career OPS has gone up every year since 2009, and he just turned thirty. Will his hitting continue to improve and for how long?

Odds look very good that Robinson Cano will eventually have produced the best career at the position in Yankee history.

Last year I wrote that “The Yankees have never had a Joe Morgan or Jackie Robinson caliber second baseman.” By the time Cano’s career is over, they could.