Fun with Filter and a Jon Heyman article.
On the surface it actually does seem like a fair and even-handed article (Explaining My Hall of Fame Ballot) but I quickly learn logic and counting skills are not Mr. Heyman's forte, though he often conflates those two characteristics with 'internet crowds' and complex sabermetrics. Also, Bert Blyleven must have run over his dog once because he is none too fond of him. How can you not be fond of a man who wears shirts like this? He will even say 'fuck' over the public airwaves if the situation presents itself. (Imagine Gary Cohen saying, 'And that shit's outta here!' That would be wonderful. Then Keith would start talking about how Kevin Mitchell used to crap in people's cleats for fun while Ron ponders why life is so cruel)
This one's a doozy, so let's start before my will to live is drained.
(yes, it's almost a year old, but still hasn't found reality yet)Normally at this time I reveal my Hall of Fame ballot. This time, I'll spend most of the time explaining it.
I would love to hear the cogent and intelligent reasons as to why you, Jon Heyman, as a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, have chosen certain men for potential enshrinement in Cooperstown. These votes are actually quite important and I hope you chosen wisely but if I disagree with you, I hope you make your case in a way that does not make my sabermetric soul shrivel and dissipate out of sheer revulsion.
Already, my ballot has been met with considerable ridicule on Twitter and other cyberspace spots. And at the risk of further ridicule, I will detail my thinking here (and yes, thinking did go into it).
How dare the Twitterverse crucify Mr. Heyman using nails of 140 characters or less! You are a brave and diligent fellow for attempting to rationalize with such savages and potentially allowing for even more scorn to the hurled in your direction.
Generally, I've voted for one or two more players than average in most years, and this year should be no exception. This time I listed six "yes" votes --
Ah, on the cusp of the explanation! Six men have been sifted through the sand until these prime half-dozen are the only ones left standing! They are golden apples in a world of statistically woeful turds! Reveal the men to me, St. Heyman of Cooperstown.
Brilliant! Great second baseman with the rawhide and fine with the wooden pseudo-cylinder at the pentagonal home base.
Fantastic! Stellar shortstop who had to defeat the Aryan Queen Marge Schott in addition to the opposing team. Schottzie is now crying tears of arsenic in Hell at this news!
Wonderf..., wait? The guy with the .323 on-base percentage? The outfielder with basically the same OPS+ as the aforementioned second basemen and shortstop? You sure about this one, Jon?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, the guy with the career 3.90 ERA and 105 ERA+? Heyman, this isn't a fucking gag.
Oh Christ, another outfielder with an OPS+ comparable to the 2B and the SS. Can someone tell Heyman Hall of Fame outfielders don't have to have animal-centric nicknames? So we have two outfielders who can mash but make outs more than 65% of the time. All we need is Jimmy Rollins and we're set on the infield.
and Don Mattingly.
I will comment on all my picks, near picks and no picks down below. But mostly, I'll explain three of my 20 "no'' votes (one of whom has a pretty good chance to turn to a "yes'' in coming years)---
Heyman, don't sever whatever brief goodwill you and I may have had by picking three players who are far better overall than some of your inductions. Please?
Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez. Those appear to be the most controversial. Or in the minds of many, just plain wrong.
You're dead to me. Please wax poetic on why these three aren't worthy of enshrinement yet King Cobra of Making Outs is.
The statistically oriented and sabermetrically inclined tend to think I'm not all there, particularly when it comes to Blyleven. But I do have an explanation.
You were really fucked up on PCP one night and you then filled out the ballot and are now trying to make your decisions seem as reasonable as possible. I'll believe this story for your sake.
I don't put quite the same emphasis as some on career statistics
Yeah, I hear ya. Those careers can be so long and boring and the players even switch teams? How do you follow all that bullshit? Oh wait, you're a HALL OF FAME VOTER, you're supposed to place a ton of emphasis on career stats. This would be like a teacher saying, 'I don't quite put the same emphasis on actually educating students, especially ones I like. Schoolwork is sooo hard to grade.' That teacher would be fired and maybe institutionalized. You should be fired from voting, good sir.
especially in cases where I've had the chance to follow a player's entire career as it was unfolding, as was the case with this year's entire ballot. (That happens when you get old.)
Yeah, fuck everyone else whom you didn't follow personally! Even the ones with better stats! If Jon Heyman didn't follow your entire life from conception to this very day, you're a baseball-playing turd and a waste of skin and sperm. Even you, Babe Ruth.
I consider impact more than stats.
Impact can mean a lot of things there, slugger. Alay Soler made a big impact on the Mets, so much so that they run away screaming and cry openly whenever a Cuban pitcher is interested in playing for them. Mo Vaughn made an impact in addition to an indent in the Mets' payroll what seemed like eternity. Basically, if you were This Week in Baseball's Plays of the Week, you're gold in Jon Heyman's book. At last, hope for Dougie Flynn.
I like dominance over durability.
A statement and philosophy you will repeatedly eschew over the next couple of paragraphs.
I prefer players who were great at some point to the ones who were merely very good for a very long time.
Benny Agbayani was great for about the first two months of 1999 and pretty average the rest of his career. He's your kind of guy.
And I do recall it's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Numbers.
It's called a gaming device, man, not a graphing calculator. Numbers are for pussies anyway.
While Martinez was a superb hitter, and his career .418 on-base percentage and .515 slugging percentages are impressive indeed, only twice did Martinez even crack the top 10 in MVP voting (he was third once and sixth once).
I'm sorry, I stopped reading after "... impressive indeed". I agree, they are impressive. Also, people of your ilk vote for all the arbitary end of season awards which usually means the leading home run hitters (or RBI getters, or batting average leaders) and the wins leaders make people like you reflexively salivate and vote for those people.
*flashback to 1995 MVP voting*
"Who did you vote for Heyman? Was it WAR leader John Valentin? Or maybe OPS leader Edgar Martinez? Or maybe Randy Johnson's 12.9 K/9 as a dark horse?"
"Nah, I voted for Mo Vaughn."
"You mean the guy who was 6th among players in OPS, 10th in on-base percentage, 13th in WAR, and the league leader in strikeouts? Now why the fuck would you do that?"
"You see, Mo Vaughn had a ridiculous May where he hit 11 home runs. That's dominant, none of that consistent bullshit."
"But Jon, Edgar Martinez crazy good the whole year. He put up higher OPS in two different months than Mo Vaughn's dominant May."
"Well... to be honest, I voted Mo first and Edgar third so I can screw him using asinine logic when his time for the Hall of Fame comes up."
"Good bye, Jon."
That suggests something less than dominance.
It suggests that the people who vote on MVP awards are dolts.
And even on his career totals, he comes up short. His final power figures (309 home runs, 1,261 RBIs) are underwhelming for someone whose whole candidacy is based on offense.
I just know Heyman is fighting himself from typing, "Because he's a goddamned DH! That's why! Also, because I can!" The kicker is that I would respect him more if he just typed that previous statement instead of trying to all Statman Jones on us.
The Tim Raines part bores me to tears, so here's comes the alleged Heyman family dog killer/wife fucker/stalker/someone Jon doesn't like for some odd reason Bert Blyleven. Bert seems like a nice enough fellow although slightly off-kilter.
Yet, I remain a Bert Blyleven holdout, a position that elicits the most jeers, especially from the vocal and growing stat-minded set.
I am warning you now, I am going to make some shitty semantic and number-related arguments to defend Blyleven from this upcoming assault, so bear with me.
Every year, I take hits for my lack of support of Blyleven, and this time on Twitter I was called "stupid,'' a "moron" and "idiotic,'' by (at least) a trio of Blyleven supporters. No one player incites more controversy or stirs more emotion over his candidacy, which is slightly ironic after a career that was marked by solid attributes such as consistency and durability but somewhat lacking in drama.
This is where I start to question Jon Heyman's simple concept of the definition of words like 'consistency', 'durability', and 'Bert Blyleven is the better fucking pitcher than Jack Morris no matter which way you want to goddamn rationalize it'. You're not doing a very good job as a baseball journalist if I have to do or think that.
I certainly understand why so many support Blyleven, especially in light of the new emphasis on numbers and the exuberance and passion exhibited by the strong numerically-inclined lobby.
"Numbers, bah! We just vote based upon whether players have a pretty visage and tons of grission. I mean, being good at baseball is secondary to capturing our hearts and toying with our souls....."
The momentum is building for Blyleven to make it, if not this year then certainly next year or the year after. But that doesn't mean I'll be joining the crowd.
You let Tim Raines' numbers sway you, but Bert Blyleven's don't. I hate this shit where Hall of Fame voters do not even look at the stats (or if they do, they completely misinterpret them) and make some of their decisions reflexively based upon *gulp* wins and losses and general perception.
First, I want to get three things out of the way. My vote isn't an insult. It's been well established through decades of precedent that almost exactly 1 percent of players make the Hall.
Wait, if you want exactly that top one percent to make it, then why in God's name wouldn't you consider career stats? What is this one percent threshold even worth if you're not going to vote for players who really damn good for a really long time? Oh it gets nuttier.My vote also isn't about market size, as all the players on my ballot except Mattingly earned their vote in small- or mid-sized cities (I also never voted for Tommy John, who had a somewhat similar career to Blyleven's but played mostly in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago). And it's definitely not personal, despite what some have suggested. I don't know Blyleven well at all but did cover him when I was an Angels beat writer in 1989 and vaguely recall that I found him to be a fun-loving and decent man. He obviously enjoyed the game and was very pleasant, a lot more pleasant then Rice or Steve Carlton, both of whom received my vote.
Irrelevant to your argument.
I don't love that he is now campaigning for the honor, but it doesn't make me any more or less inclined to vote for him. I have been consistent in my "no" vote, from back when I was in an overwhelming majority in his first years on the ballot until now, when he is viewed by a clear majority of voters as a Hall of Famer. I hope this isn't about digging in my heels after having ridicule heaped on me by his most ardent and in a couple cases over-the-top supporters, and I don't believe it is. Occasionally his supporters engage in ad hominem personal attacks. But as I said, I was a "no'' vote long before he became a cause celebre.
So it's not an insult, it's not small-market bias, and it's not battening down the hatches to maintain your position of disdain for Blyleven in the face of rising popularity for his HOF candidacy. What the fuck is it? Do you hate Dutch people?
My contention regarding Blyleven is that almost no one viewed him as a Hall of Famer during his playing career, and that is borne out by the 17 percent of the vote he received in his first year of eligibility in 1998, followed by 14 percent the next year.
Blyleven obviously had an excellent and extremely lengthy career that looks a lot better to many with a decade to review it. And it doesn't hurt that he's the favorite of the Internet lobby.
The 'internet lobby'? Yes, people who give a damn about stats and thought he was a Hall of Famer before they had computers are now letting their opinions be known and people are seeing that Blyleven was a really goddamn good pitcher.
Without throwing a single pitch, Blyleven has gone from 14 percent of the vote in his second year to 62 percent last year.
Yes, when players are eligible for Hall of Fame induction, they're usually old as fuck and do not play baseball whilst on the ballot.
Also, without a single plate appearance Don Mattingly's votes have plummeted, and Dave Parker's vote numbers hinge upon how many BBWAA writers have drank turpentine before filling out a ballot.
I certainly can understand how a statistical re-evaluation can change minds, and Blyleven's career does look better on paper than it did when he was actually performing.
There's a little segment that I enjoy immensely on Baseball Tonight Called Kurk Gems done by Tim Kurkjian. They're cute, silly, and downright arcane stats, stuff you wouldn't even fathom thinking about or researching by yourself.
Anywho, your perception doesn't change Bert Blyleven's numbers, just as your perception doesn't make Jack Morris look like Walter Johnson. You must have only watched the 1991 World Series when judging Morris because his final 6 years were pretty shitronomically bad.
Shitty Jack Morris 1989-1994: 77-68, 4.58 ERA, 91 ERA+, 1.398 WHIP
Shitty Bert Blyleven 1986-1992: 75-67, 4.21 ERA, 99 ERA+, 1.298 WHIP(Both did have one good year respectively --- Morris in 1991, and Blyleven in 1989 but I included them anyway)
Prime Jack Morris 1977-1988: 177-118, 3.59, 113 ERA+, 1.249 WHIP in 2622 IP
Prime Bert Blyleven 1970-1985: 212-185, 3.01, 127 ERA+, 1.172 WHIP in 3716 IP
Yeah, Blyleven's the better pitcher. Send this to Heyman with the win-loss record covered in white-out and he'll probably say so too. He was outperforming Morris his whole career. He threw more than 1000 higher quality innings in his prime than Morris did. I swear if you blame Bert Blyleven for his teams being shitty, I will choke you.
Better yet, here's a fun decade one:
Jack Morris: 162-119, 3.66 ERA, 109 ERA+, 1.256 WHIP in 2443 IP (Pitcher of the 80s)
Bert Blyleven: 123-103, 3.64 ERA, 113 ERA+, 1.223, 2087.1 IP (Piece of human shit who Jon Heyman hates)
Dave Stieb: 140-109, 3.32 ERA, 127 ERA+, 1.221 WHIP, 2328.2 IP
John Tudor: 104-66, 3.13 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.204 WHIP, 1622.2 IP
Doc Gooden: 100-39, 2.64 ERA, 132 ERA+, 1.109 WHIP, 1291 IP
Jack Morris' Team OPS+ Through the 80s: 106, 99, 103, 112, 113, 102, 107, 114, 99, 91.
Shitty McShitface's: 96, 96, 96, 92, 98, (95/96*), 102, 97, 110, 98.(* Blyleven dealt to Twins from Indians in midseason 1985)
Morris had the better offense 8 out of 10 years and Blyleven still put up better numbers including four years of his shitty part of his career.
Some of his support comes from folks who are relying solely on stats, and a few of them may not have seen any of his career.
"I mean, I want to induct Babe Ruth, but I never saw him play. Sorry. It's all numbers for him, man."
But I am in the group that believes a player's career goes beyond the numbers, and that there is value in watching a player's career as it is unfolding.
Unless you have the chance to watch a player's career unfold but you're either ignorant or indifferent to it all.
For instance, while I may form an opinion on the Hall-of-Fame worthiness of the careers of Johnny Mize, Ralph Kiner, Phil Rizzuto (all of whom are in Cooperstown) and Ken Boyer (who is not), I concede there is something to having seen and followed their careers while they were happening. The same goes for Blyleven.
Basically, Jon Heyman's ignorance and his misfortune of being born in a time period which wasn't conducive to him giving the slightest shit about Bert Blyleven is why he isn't voting for him. Swell.
Blyleven's career has been re-evaluated for the better by numbers people, and while it's tough to make his winning percentage (.534) sparkle, the stat people emphasize other numbers such as strikeouts (3,701), complete games (242) and WHIP (1.19) and many of them even ignore win totals as being largely the result of circumstance beyond a pitcher's control.
Well, you're trying to make a 3.90 ERA sparkle. That last phrase, although you're saying it in jest, is the truest thing you've said so far.
While I leave some room for statistical re-evaluation (and am on the verge of being convinced regarding Raines), I still see Blyleven as just short.
Well, convince yourself about Blyleven because I just demolished this whole Morris-in, Blyleven-out thing you're trying to pull about 20 lines back.
I look at numbers, too, and while my numbers may be slightly more simplistic than WHIP, WAR or VORP, I think they tell a story of a pitcher who was extremely good, consistent and durable but not quite Cooperstown-worthy.
Oh great. Have 5-6 good to great years and 4-5 shitty ones and you're Cooperstown. Awesome. Most players there don't have shitty years, Heyman. Morris had a lot of them. Do you know how many season in which Jack Morris had an ERA under 3? None. Do you know how many seasons Bert Blyleven had under 3? Nine.
Do you know how many seasons Jack Morris had with an ERA+ of 100 or less? Eight. How about Bert McGurt? Five. I'm convinced you're blinded by a combination of the "WINNINGEST PITCHER OF THE 80S!" useless trivia and Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. You're hopeless.
Blyleven was dominant in a lot of at-bats (thus, the 3,701 strikeouts) and even a lot of games (60 shutouts). But he was never dominant for a decade, a half decade or even a full season.
Bert McGurt led the league in shutouts 3 times. I'd say that's a pretty damn dominant season. When was Jack Morris as an individual pitching entity ever dominant? He played on teams that were pretty damn dominant and that inflated his win total, but was usually above average to pretty good on those teams.
Only four times in 22 seasons did he receive Cy Young votes (he was third twice, fourth and seventh once), only twice did he make the All-Star team and only twice did he win more than 17 games.
Citing All-Star appearances as either a merit or admonishment of a candidate for the Hall of Fame ls like a company interviewing a CEO and hiring whoever has the most hair on their genitals irregardless of other achievements.
You know who had 4 All-Star appearences? John Stearns. (love using that line) Are you saying John Stearns is better HoF candidate than Bert Blyleven?
I tend not to vote for players who I see as great compilers rather than great players, which is why I don't see Lee Smith or Baines as Hall of Famers, either.
Oh Christ. Blyleven's a 'compiler'? Yes, he compiled a lot of really good indivdual pitching seasons. What a dick.
Also, how is Blyleven a complier and Jack Morris isn't? Morris is like the epitome of compiling win totals in seasons absolutely incongruous to his stats.
Here are three pitchers' regular season stats from the 1992 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays:
Pitcher A: 216 innings pitched, 205 hits allowed, 59 BB/117 K, 1.218 WHIP, ERA+ 117
Pitcher B: 180 innings pitched, 135 hits allowed, 72 BB/165 K, 1.146 WHIP, ERA+ 156
Pitcher C: 240 innings pitched, 222 hits allowed, 80 BB/132 K, 1.255 WHIP, ERA+ 102
Pitcher A is Jimmy Key. He went 13-13 with a 3.53 ERA
Pitcher B is Juan Guzman. He went 16-5 with a 2.64 ERA
Pitcher C is Jack Morris. He went 21-6 with a 4.04 ERA and finished 4th in Cy Young voting.
Baines and Blyleven compiled similarly in some key areas, with Blyleven finishing with four percent short of 300 victories at 287, and Baines four percent short of 3,000 hits with 2,866. And actually, a case could be made that Baines had more greatness, as he made six All-Star teams, three times the number of Blyleven.
Wow, that is really, really, really, really dumb logic.
Some will say that Blyleven's career was equal to Hall of Famer Don Sutton's but I say it is just short of Sutton's. They both had big totals in other categories but Sutton wound up with 37 more victories, going over the magic 300 mark by 24.
Yeah, you're just hung up on the idea that most wins = best pitcher regardless of anything else. Sometimes it is true, a lot of the time it isn't.
Many stat people suggest wins are not important in evaluating careers.
And they would be very right.
But until wins don't decide who's in the playoffs and who's out, who makes the World Series and who doesn't, I will continue to view them as important.
Team wins decide who make the playoffs. Not individual pitcher wins. The New York Metropolitans Baseball Club, Ltd. went 79-83 last year. Not the New York Santanadickpelfniesegees or the New York Mets Pitching Staff, it was the whole team. It's absurd to apply wins solely to pitchers especially when a pitcher can lose a game on an unearned run.
A pitcher's goal for each game is to win the game, not to strikeout the most batters.
Or if you're Jack Morris, pitch meh for most of your career and let your offense rake.
And until that changes, I will count wins and losses. I also believe the truly great pitchers pitched to the scoreboard with the real goal in mind.
Yes, great pitchers got zeros regardless of what offense/defense they had. Morris had a ton of great offenses.
Some will say Blyleven was handicapped by playing for a string of horrific teams. But his many teams combined for a record of slightly over .500. For the most part, they were mediocre. While his career mark of 287-250 is clearly better than his teams' overall record, it isn't that much better.
Gee, did you ever think that the team made Blyleven's win-loss total shitty and not Blyleven made the team shitty? I can't believe your heaping a ton of blame on a guy who influences the outcome of a game only every fifth day and doesn't even get to bat. A ton of things out of his control.
My basic philosophy is to emphasis impact more than numbers.
Your basic philosophy allows you to vote for God-awful HoF candidates. I really am sad that you get to have such a privilege and apply the most arbitrary and trivial standard fathomable. I'd consider revoking your ability to induct if I could after reading this article.
It is why I vote or Jack Morris, a bulldog who was considered the best pitcher of the '80s,
According to whom?
and who pitched the best game of the '90s
One fucking game. He had more bad playoff outings in the 90s than he did good ones. (see 1992 Playoffs)
Morris was considered the ace of three World Series teams and was almost always selected by his manager to start Game One of the playoffs.
So arbitrary. So irrelevant. That first part of your statement isn't even true.
1984 Tigers ERA+:
Dan Petry 121
Juan Berenguer 113
Jack Morris 109
1991 Twins ERA+:
Kevin Tapani 143
Scott Erickson 135
Jack Morris 125
1992 Blue Jays:
Juan Guzman 156
Jimmy Key 117Jack Morris 102
Blyleven was the ace of many teams but usually mediocre teams.
Like he has control over the 4 other starters and the bullpen. Jesus Christ.
Like Morris he did pitch well in the postseason.
Blyleven: 5-1, 2.47, 1.077, 47.1 IP
Morris: 7-4, 3.80, 1.245, 92 IP
Yeah, he was better.
But he was not the top pitcher on his two teams that won World Series titles.
And neither was Jack Morris.
Clearly, I don't grade on stats alone, but it is interesting to note that while Blyleven never led the league in wins or ERA he did lead the league in losses, earned runs allowed and home runs allowed. (He did lead once in strikeouts.) His overall impact was big, though not quite big enough in my mind.
He also led in flubiddy-flubs and ICARP.
Oddly enough, perhaps Blyleven's greatest impact has come since his career ended, as his career has incited history's most heated Hall of Fame candidacy debate.
This article impacted me. I'm never taking HoF voting seriously again
So basically everything Heyman accuses Blyleven of being actually applies to Morris and vice-versa. Maybe he's looking at the wrong stats for the wrong players!