2023 Baseball Hall of Fame Voting

The votes are trickling in.

With no absolute locks this year (steroid-tainted players aside), will this be the year Scott Rolen gets in?  He was at 63% last year, and seems to lot of sympathetic support out there.

Todd Helton (52%) and Billy Wagner (51%) may rise this year, but I doubt they will get to 75%.  Nor do I fully believe they belong in the Hall, although they were very good in their time.

Andruw Jones (41%) will probably also get some more votes, but is nowhere near getting in.  For 10 years Jones was a fearsome hitter and one of the best outfielders in the game.  But he tailed off radically after that, and put in four injury-shortened mediocre years that are impacting on his candidacy.  Another very good player who does not qualify, in my estimation.

None of the steroid-tainted players will come even close--Manny, ARod, Sheffield.  I have come, over the years, to think that the pre-testing players should get in (as did the Commish who oversaw MLB at that time and is in himself).  I have more trouble with the post-testing cheaters, like Manny and ARod, but as Bob Gibson said, people have been finding ways to cheat in baseball forever, so where do you draw the line?

I find it interesting that Jeff Kent and Omar Vizquel draw barely 1/3 of the votes each year (Kent being in his 10th and last year on the ballot).  In my mind they were as impactful as Rolen, and more than Helton and others who have gotten a lot more support.


Two players, both with 17 years of service.* (Player A with about 200 more games.)

Player A: 56 WAR; career 123 wRC+; 1 Def; -20 BsR; 24 WPA

Player B: 70 WAR; career 122 wRC+; 180 Def; 11 BsR; 31 WPA

WAR = (fWAR+bWAR)/2

Def = FanGraphs’ overall defensive metric

WPA = maybe the ultimate measure, so far, of impact at the plate or on the mound

* Stats rounded off to discourage overprecision


A possible caveat for Player A’s wRC+ vis-a-vis Player B’s (both good but not great) is that a few more of his seasons occurred during peak steroid era, which may have raised the bar for average offensive production (100 wRC+) in those seasons.


There's a player on the ballot with 70.1 lifetime WAR, a ROY, three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, 12 All-Star appearances, and received MVP votes in nine seasons, who might not be named on more than 25% of the ballots. 

That said, Rolen and Helton are trending toward the 75% threshold, and I think at least one will make it this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if both do. I'd vote for Jones, even though he didn't sustain his excellence for a long time. I also don't get why Kent doesn't receive more support. Maybe because he was generally considered a jerk? But there are lots and lots of jerks in the HoF already, so that seems petty to me. 


ml1 said:

I also don't get why Kent doesn't receive more support. Maybe because he was generally considered a jerk? But there are lots and lots of jerks in the HoF already, so that seems petty to me.

If the writers use advanced stats to inform their votes, those stats tell them that Kent was an average fielder, a poor baserunner and a pretty good hitter for a middle infielder, but not necessarily great.

ETA: After running the numbers on FanGraphs, I concede: a 123 wRC+ ranks 10th among qualifying second basemen in the post-1948 era, so right up there with Bobby Grich and Robinson Cano.  


DaveSchmidt said:

ml1 said:

I also don't get why Kent doesn't receive more support. Maybe because he was generally considered a jerk? But there are lots and lots of jerks in the HoF already, so that seems petty to me.

If the writers use advanced stats to inform their votes, those stats tell them that Kent was an average fielder, a poor baserunner and a pretty good hitter for a middle infielder, but not necessarily great.

ETA: After running the numbers on FanGraphs, I concede: a 123 wRC+ ranks 10th among qualifying second basemen in the post-1948 era, so right up there with Bobby Grich and Robinson Cano.  

I don't know that I'd necessarily vote for Kent if I had a ballot. He's borderline, but in the counting stats, he does well. All-time leader among 2B in HR and 3rd in RBI. So I'd expect him to get more votes than he gets based on that alone. And yet he languishes around 30%.


Fred McGriff is the only player voted in by the Contemporary Player Committee.  Certainly well-deserved.  It was unanimous. 

Those not selected include Bonds, Clemens, and Palmeiro.  And Schilling.  None received 75%.  The Committee has more Execs than players (plus 3 historians/writers) and they so far not revealed vote totals


Long overdue for McGriff.


Crime Dog should have gotten, along with Bonds and Clemens, years ago.


With only 8 votes known so far, Rolen is on all of them.  All voted for him last year, so no pick-ups so far.

Wagner is on 5 ballots, but interestingly 4 are new for him this year.  May indicate growing momentum.

Also on 5 ballots are Arod, Helton, and Jones, but all voted for them last year.

Kent is on three, but two are new, so he may also be seeing more momentum.

Sheffield has 3, with two being new this year.  But he won't get in.

In past years I have noticed that earlier voters tend to (a) be more likely to go public with their votes, and (b) be younger writers and more forgiving towards steroid era players.  Later voters tend to not go public and to not vote for steroid-tainted players (verified or not).


mfpark said:

With only 8 votes known so far, Rolen is on all of them.  All voted for him last year, so no pick-ups so far.

Wagner is on 5 ballots, but interestingly 4 are new for him this year.  May indicate growing momentum.

Also on 5 ballots are Arod, Helton, and Jones, but all voted for them last year.

Kent is on three, but two are new, so he may also be seeing more momentum.

Sheffield has 3, with two being new this year.  But he won't get in.

In past years I have noticed that earlier voters tend to (a) be more likely to go public with their votes, and (b) be younger writers and more forgiving towards steroid era players.  Later voters tend to not go public and to not vote for steroid-tainted players (verified or not).

that seems to be the trend. The old fogeys don't believe in releasing their ballots, and they don't believe in voting for guys from the steroid era and/or guys whose case is based on more "modern" stats.


and I don't begrudge this year's winner, but Gary Cohen was once again denied the Ford Frick Award.


Pat Hughes is certainly deserving, but I agree that Gary Cohen should win one of these days.


It will never happen, but I really wish the Hall of Fame voting would get a modern update.  Some of the votes are simply incomprehensible.

Take Art Davidson, once sports editor of the Daily News, and for many years now writing sports columns for suburban rags near Boston.  This year he cast one lone vote--for Francisco Rodriguez (1st year on ballot).  Oh, and he unvoted for Alex Rodriguez, whom he voted for last year (along with Ortiz, who got in, and Schilling, who dropped off after 10 years). 

I mean, sure, K-Rod had some superlative years with the Angels.  But once he got to the Mets with that enormous (at the time) contract he was at best a middle of the road reliever--and often enough he looked more like road kill in the middle of that road to those who sat on the edge of their seats when he came in to a close game.  His follow-up stints with the Brewers and Orioles were likewise pretty poor, followed by two good years with the Brewers.  A very nice career, over 400 saves, but nowhere near, say, Billy Wagner, who just so happens to be on the ballot as well this year and who was a far better pitcher by almost any metric.

Or Sadiel LeBron, who is more a soccer writer than a baseball writer.  Last year he mystifyingly voted for Clemens and Manny Ramirez but took Bonds off his ballot (had voted for him in 2021); did not vote for Sheffield; did vote for Ortiz.  This year he took Manny off his vote list.  Is he applying a steroids penalty or not?  Oh, he also still votes for Abreu, who was far worse than Manny or Sheffield if you overlook steroids.

The lack of logic or consistency in voting is maddening for something that should be near sacred.


mfpark said:

Oh, he also still votes for Abreu, who was far worse than Manny or Sheffield if you overlook steroids.

Also “far worse” if you overlook career fWAR: Ramirez 66, Sheffield 62, Abreu 60.

Abreu may be the most underappreciated Phillie by Phillies fans in my lifetime, even more than Rolen. Apparently that view extends to non-Phillies fans, too.


DaveSchmidt said:

mfpark said:

Oh, he also still votes for Abreu, who was far worse than Manny or Sheffield if you overlook steroids.

Also “far worse” if you overlook career fWAR: Ramirez 66, Sheffield 62, Abreu 60.

Abreu may be the most underappreciated Phillie by Phillies fans in my lifetime, even more than Rolen. Apparently that view extends to non-Phillies fans, too.

Abreu is one of those guys that moves up the charts once OBP is considered. And it's really not that long ago that getting on base wasn't valued the way it is now. He had a lifetime OBP of .395. Ten seasons with OBP over .400, with a high of .446 in 1999. Holy cow.

And he played more than 150 games in 13 seasons. Just about all of us fans undervalued him when he was playing.


Career BsR: Ramirez -35, Sheffield +10, Abreu +35.


DaveSchmidt said:

Career BsR: Ramirez -35, Sheffield +10, Abreu +35.

surprised Manny wasn't even worse than that. 


I like Abreu as a player.  Agree he was underrated.  No way he had the impact that Manny or Sheffield had in baseball terms.  When one of them came to bat in a pressure situation, there was a lot of fear.  Abreu had a lot of respect, but not fear.  I am not talking him down so much as I am talking Ramirez and Sheffield up.  Doesn't matter since none of them are getting into the HoF anytime soon.


I realize there are only 25 votes known as of today, out of a little less than 400 expected to be cast.  But Todd Helton has gotten a surge of new voters this year.  8 of his 22 votes so far are voters who did not have him on their 2022 ballot.  If that trend continues (and as noted, later voters tend to be older and more staid--i.e., Rocky Mountain thin air impact), Helton may get in this year.  Last year he was at 52%.

Rolen also has 22 votes, but only one pick up.  Last year he was at 63%.

Wagner is at 19 with 8 new voters.  His picking up new voters may be an indication of getting close or in this year.

Andruw Jones is at 18 with one new voter,

Beltran in his first year is at 15 votes.  Strong first year showing so far.

Sheffield at 15 has 7 new voters, but also lost one from last year.  Still, net 6 out of 15 is interesting.

Kent at 13 has 6 new voters.  Also a strong early trend.


With almost 10% of votes disclosed, Helton and Rollins both at 81.1%.

Wagner at 73%

No one else within shouting range of immortality.  Well, Andruw Jones is in purgatory at 62%, getting his wings singed a bit.

And Beltran is getting a lesson from the stern moralizers, coming in at 51% this year--likely to get in within a few more years after being spanked for being on the Astros cheating team--one year out of his entire career.


mfpark said:

With almost 10% of votes disclosed, Helton and Rollins both at 81.1%.

Phreudian slip?


mfpark said:

With almost 10% of votes disclosed, Helton and Rollins both at 81.1%.

Wagner at 73%

No one else within shouting range of immortality.  Well, Andruw Jones is in purgatory at 62%, getting his wings singed a bit.

And Beltran is getting a lesson from the stern moralizers, coming in at 51% this year--likely to get in within a few more years after being spanked for being on the Astros cheating team--one year out of his entire career.

no offense, but I've been fooled too many times by these early releases of ballots. I'm not inclined to believe any of those players will be voted in by the full electorate.


I have been researching into HoF voting, and here is Rule 5 of the BBWA Rules for Election (the only rule out of 9 that actually speaks to criteria for election other than length of service):

5. Voting — Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

Note that three of these six criteria are moral evaluations that have nothing to do with the player's actual performance on the field.  It seems pretty ridiculous to have baseball writers making moral evaluations of players.  This is not the Hall of Fame of good guys.  It is the Hall of Fame of the best players of their era.

I mean, Torii Hunter, by all I can see, is a really decent fellow.  Active in his community, good guy in the locker room, charitable, never caused a lot of fuss.  Is this enough to get him elected to the HoF?  #5 seems to give considerable weight to his character.  

Now, Hunter was a fine center fielder, with 9 Gold Gloves, 353 homers, and 2,452 hits.  But he also has a much lower WAR than Beltran (who should be a sure bet HoF vote, but who is getting dinged for being on the garbage can Astros) or Andruw Jones.  I do not think his being a great guy should put him over the top.  

I feel similarly about the steroids users pre-testing.  So many were using and not getting caught that it is ridiculous to ban those who may have been but were not definitively shown to have been.  Do we go back and toss out Mays because he might have been doing greenies?   Again, having writers make a moral conclusion based on whether they like or believe the guys or not.  

What about ARod and Manny, guys who were caught post-testing.  Well, to my mind, they were caught, they paid a price, and that should be that.  They lost many games of productivity by being banned during seasons, which reduced their numbers even as steroids may have increased them.  It is not like they were using dope their entire careers, and the results of their entire careers are worthy of inclusion. 

The HoF BBWA should ditch the blue-nose crap and vote straight-up on the numbers.


However one feels about the ding, it’s not just that Beltran was “on” the Astros. It’s that the MLB report singled him out by name in what it called a player-driven scheme.


mfpark said:

Note that three of these six criteria are moral evaluations that have nothing to do with the player's actual performance on the field.

If I were a voter, I’d read the rule as telling me that these were qualities merely to consider, not that I had to give them all equal or considerable weight, or put a candidate over the top because of any one of them.


DaveSchmidt said:

However one feels about the ding, it’s not just that Beltran was “on” the Astros. It’s that the MLB report singled him out by name in what it called a player-driven scheme.

that's certainly a big difference. 

The issue I have with the whole sign-stealing scandal though is that the Astros IMHO were made scapegoats by MLB. It's kind of an open secret that as many as ten teams might have been doing something similar, including the Dodgers and Yankees (whose fans are SO offended and angry at Houston for "stealing" a championship from their teams).

One thing that also bugs me, but doesn't justify the rule-breaking was how damn easy teams made it to steal their signs. In an era with dozens of full HD cameras all over the ballpark, catchers were still putting down one finger and two fingers. These are players that are so paranoid that someone is in the clubhouse watching on a monitor that they cover their faces in case someone is reading their lips, for jeebus' sake. How dumb could they be? I know it's still against the rules, and was worthy of some sort of punishment. But if I put a sign on my front lawn that says "Car Keys In My Mailbox!", should I be outraged when someone steals my car?


mfpark said:

I realize there are only 25 votes known as of today, out of a little less than 400 expected to be cast.  But Todd Helton has gotten a surge of new voters this year.  8 of his 22 votes so far are voters who did not have him on their 2022 ballot.  If that trend continues (and as noted, later voters tend to be older and more staid--i.e., Rocky Mountain thin air impact), Helton may get in this year.  Last year he was at 52%.

Rolen also has 22 votes, but only one pick up.  Last year he was at 63%.

Wagner is at 19 with 8 new voters.  His picking up new voters may be an indication of getting close or in this year.

Andruw Jones is at 18 with one new voter,

Beltran in his first year is at 15 votes.  Strong first year showing so far.

Sheffield at 15 has 7 new voters, but also lost one from last year.  Still, net 6 out of 15 is interesting.

Kent at 13 has 6 new voters.  Also a strong early trend.

It will be interesting to compare results for Beltran and Sheffield.

In my opinion, without the cheating and steroids scandals they are both borderline HOF candidates.

Add in the cheating scandal for Beltran and steroids for Sheffield, and I think they are both doomed.


DaveSchmidt said:

However one feels about the ding, it’s not just that Beltran was “on” the Astros. It’s that the MLB report singled him out by name in what it called a player-driven scheme.

He's still living down the Wainwright curveball with some fans. The cheating scandal won't go away for a long time. I was surprised to see him at CitiField this year.


3 pitches.  It's a shame because Beltran had a great season in 2006 and a great series against St. Louis.


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