2019 Today's Game Era Hall of Fame Ballot
On November 5, 2018, the National Baseball Hall of Fame released the 2019 ballot for the Today's Game Era of the Veterans' Committee. The ballot included six players (plus two managers who had significant, but not Hall-of-Fame caliber, playing careers).
The first table of this article looks at the 8 players on the ballot as measured by Player won-lost records. For fun, I also included the two managers on the ballot who had significant major-league careers, Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella.
In a separate article, I looked at players already in the Hall of Fame and Hall of Merit and how their careers look measured by Player won-lost records. In that article, I identified Willie Stargell as perhaps the most typical Hall-of-Famer as measured by Player won-lost records. I have included Stargell in the table below to give some sense of how this year's candidates compare to existing Hall-of-Fame standards. Keep in mind that, in my estimation, Stargell represents an "average" Hall-of-Famer, not the minimum standard for the Hall of Fame.
Players in italics have been inducted into Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit.
Four of the six players (not including Johnson and Piniella) on this year's Today's Game Ballot also appeared on the last Today's Game Ballot, two years ago. And one of the two new players, Lee Smith, was not eligible for that ballot, as he was still on the BBWAA ballot that year. That leaves one candidate whose Hall-of-Fame case has not been considered within the past two years, former outfielder and Toronto Blue Jays World Series hero, Joe Carter.
If I Had a Vote
To be perfectly honest, I am underwhelmed by the players (and non-players) on this ballot. I wrote a book, which you all might enjoy, which ranked the top 150 players over the 50-year period from 1961 through 2010, based on various measures related to my Player won-lost records. This encompasses the entire careers of all six players who appear on this ballot (as well as the playing careers of all three managerial candidates). Two of the players on this ballot made by top 150: Orel Hershiser, who came in at #79, and Will Clark, who came in at #118.
If I were to imagine a personal Hall of Fame with approximately the same number of inductees as are in the real Hall of Fame, I would probably include both Hershiser and Clark, although neither one feels like an egregious omission from the real Hall of Fame to me. That said, I guess if I had a vote, I'd go ahead and vote for both Hershiser and Clark.
As for the non-players, first, I think that players and non-players should probably be included on separate ballots, probably voted on by separate committees. Personally, I would not be inclined to vote for any owners unless they brought something extra to the table (e.g., Connie Mack's many years of managing). As for the managers, none of these guys' records overwhelm me (as far as being Hall-of-Fame worthy - obviously, all three of them were excellent managers), although I can see something of a combo case for Davey Johnson and Piniella's case is at least somewhat interesting. That said, I would probably lean toward not voting for any of the three managers.
I will be adding an article about each of the six player-only candidates to my website over the next week: one article per day (I will not be writing about Johnson and Piniella, whose Hall-of-Fame cases rest heavily, if not entirely, on their managerial careers). In most cases, these are updated versions of articles which I have previously written when these players previously appeared on Hall-of-Fame ballots. These articles will be linked below as I update them.
Individual Player Articles
All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.
List of Articles