Once again we had 21 voters. Not the same 21 voters as last time, so it's nice to know others step up when some can't make it. Did we elect anyone in our final ballot of the 19th century?
I don't know about you, but I felt the last ballot was a huge success. Not only did we elect two new members (including our first hitter!), it seems the voters are getting a bit more confident with their voting. We were able to drop plenty of also-rans and are able to add 14 new players to the ballot without topping 30! There are only five players remaining from the original ballot (White, McCormick, Cummings, Orr, Jones). That's a great turnover and should keep things fresh.
Half of the new crop (including most of the superstars) comes from 1897 alone. Had they had a Hall of Fame back then, 1902 would have been an interesting year for the BBWAA. This ballot is lopsided towards the hitters with 20 to choose from.
BALLOTS DUE: June 9
We had 21 voters this time around, including bhiggum, who decided to join the party. It appears the changes made this time around were worthwhile. Proof below the jump.
I'll let you all in on a little secret. After the last vote I commissioned a focus group to try and tweak the rules to make this process a little more enjoyable long-term. I'm sure the tweaking isn't finished, as we want this process to be fun, not laborious. We're hopeful that the changes will make each new ballot more interesting as well as allowing us to speed through the years a bit faster.
Changes Now In Effect
1. Name change! This was unanimous and suggested by CarterHayes. Perhaps it will also put less pressure on people to vote "correctly." Big thanks to hungry joe for making the changes.
2. Daneeka's Ghost has created a voting history spreadsheet. A link to it is below. It's pretty amazing. Hopefully this spreadsheet along with Brian's will help people with their voting process.
3. Threshold to remain on the ballot has risen to 25%. If this had been in effect for the previous two elections, we'd already have seven fewer people around.
4. You can only use your Maybe vote on 25% of the ballot. For each ballot I will provide you with a max number.
5. After three times on a ballot, players will no longer have a Maybe option next to their name. They deserve a firm answer after 2-3 months of thinking about it.
Other Discussion Points
Some proposed limiting the number of times someone can be on a ballot. Majority decided that it's too early to place such a restriction, but this may be revisited if some players stay on for a while with little movement.
Discussion occurred regarding skipping around eras. Majority decided to keep things going chronologically for the sake of continuity and keeping the ballot more of an organic process.
Some thought that once we reach the 20th century, there will be fewer people remaining on the ballot year after year. Some felt the opposite, as views will be more entrenched as voters will be more confident, forcing us to kick people off after a while. We shall see.
I am only listing the new people below. I went just over 30 people for this ballot to keep things moving. I'm hopeful we'll have many people fall off after this one and things will become a little saner. There are 24 returning players and 9 new ones.
Ice Box Chamberlain
The second election cycle sparked less interest than the first go-round, though we did wind up with 23 voters, including two new voters (FTLT and UncleWalt, welcome!). I understand it was a crazy few weeks for a lot of you, and I understand there could be some changes to how we do this to make the experience more fun for everybody.
Personally, I found 30 people on the ballot to be a bit overwhelming, especially since I didn't just copy/paste my votes from last time. It is definitely harder to judge 19th century players, which could be part of the problem. While some people dropped off after this ballot, a lot of them remain, and I fear they could remain indefinitely. For example, some people want Candy Cummings in for inventing the curveball. Some don't think that's HOF worthy. Is that ever going to change? Will he be stuck around 30% forever? Or will it just take more discussion to see which way that needle ticks?
It appears there was a glitch with the ballot where people who wanted to abstain weren't allowed to do so (except bhiggum, who abstained before the glitch occurred). I'll make sure to fix this for the next ballot.
Okay, onto the results. Did we elect anybody this go round?
The first ballot of the esteemed WGOM electorate resulted in one Al Spalding reaching the hallowed halls of our Hall of Fame. Who will join him next?
The previous voting and enshrinement cycle lasted about two weeks. (For those wondering, if we keep to that pace, this project will end in about two years.) I will be taking Philosofer's suggestion and allow for more discussion pre-vote. I pulled the trigger last time because discussion had died for one day, but then it picked back up again as people had more time to research. However, if you know you're going to be out of town for a while and would like a ballot early, that should not be a problem.
I will also be asking people to use the Google form that yickit created for us, as it makes compiling so much easier.
There are 33 people on this ballot. Sixteen are returning from the previous ballot. This seems like a lot, but I think the "maybe" vote was used liberally because voters were unfamiliar with the players and because it was the first time. I suspect this will decrease as time goes forward, and if we allow for more discussion pre-vote.
There are four players who retired in 1891 and six each from 1892 and 1893. We also have added one player from the 1890 ballot that AMR requested. Again, if you want to advocate for an addition to the ballot that I missed, please do so in the comments. I typically add people who have over 30 WAR or have other notable careers, including all those in the real Hall of Fame.
Ballot is below the jump. I have italicized players new to the ballot.
I'd like to thank everybody for their participation so far in this venture I almost gave up on before it started. The response has been way more fervent than I anticipated, and it looks like it may have inspired Scot to start posting over at Coffeyville Whirlwind again. I consider myself fairly well-versed in baseball history, including several 19th century players. But I knew approximately zilch about this crop of guys and it was a blast to research.
So now to the question on everybody's mind: did the WGOM elect anyone from baseball's early years? Voting turnout was pretty good. Out of our 34 voters, we had 25 submit ballots. Several abstained due to not feeling comfortable with their knowledge of the players, and a couple abstained simply due to life circumstances getting in the way. Nobody requested that their ballot be kept private, so there will be a link to the spreadsheet with all of the tabulations.
It's also apparent that we have (thankfully!) a diverse group of voters. We have small hall guys, medium hall guys, and big hall guys amongst our electorate. I'm excited to see how this plays out over the years.
Results after the jump! Please also note at the end of this post I've asked some questions of the electorate that I'd like people to respond to if they have an opinion.
In 1877 there were basically 2 good team: Boston and Louisville. Starting in August, Louisville went on an 8 game losing streak, and finished the season 7 games behind Boston. Louisville's team president, Charles Chase, investigated his own team, and 4 players - including Jim Devlin - confessed to taking bribes to throw the games. Chase took the step of suspending his players, and the League made permanent their suspensions at the winter meetings.
1877 was the second year of the National League. From its very first, Major League Baseball has had lifelong bans for players involved in gambling or throwing games. Whether a sign was posted in the locker room or not, this has always been the way. Look back 2 years earlier, and you can see some of the reasons why.
Welcome to the inaugural induction session for the WGOM Hall of Fame! I truly hope this experiment can be fun, educational, and most importantly, half-baked. As I write this, we have 33 Citizens who have requested a ballot. If your name is not on the following list, and you would like a ballot, please e-mail me at WGOMHallOfFame at the google.
AMR, Beau, Ben, BrianS, CanOfCorn, CarterHayes, ccRob, cheaptoy, Daneeka's Ghost, Davidwatts, Dread Pirate, Eric B.B., FirstTimeLongTime, Geoff, Greekhouse, hungryjoe, JeffA, kg2005, MagUidhir, New Britain Bo, nibbish, Philosofer, Punmanbowler, Rowsdower, rpz, Scot, Sean, spookymilk, strategery, UncleWalt, yickit, Zack.
Instructions And Other Miscellany
1, We are not voting in this post. When discussion is over, I will send each of you a private ballot (with further instructions). Even if you don't plan on voting, feel free to join the conversation. I don't have an end date for discussion. We'll just see how it goes. When the discussion tires, we'll have the vote.
2. Not everyone on the ballot are people I believe belong in the Hall of Fame, or sometimes, even in the Hall of Very Good. I list players that could conceivably get some type of argument or had otherwise influential careers that could be fun to discuss.
3. I will not be listing stats, real Hall of Fame status, or any other indicators on the main post, as I don't want to influence the voters in this way. All influencing (including by me) will be done in the comments section.
4. There are no rules to the discussion other than being WGOM friendly. Stats are welcome, as are passionate pleas about how the guy should belong in the Hall because he brewed beer in his basement.
5. We will be doing plaques for those elected. Feel free to offer stuff to put on the plaques. I'd like to make them fun, like the Butters plaque from last week.
6. If you would like to add someone to the ballot that I missed, please put their name in the comments section. If at least one other voter seconds the motion, I'll add them to the ballot.
7. I will be adopting the ideas of Sean and Dread Pirate regarding long-term ballot status for players. When you vote, you'll be able to vote YES, NO, or MAYBE (i.e. No, but keep them on the ballot).
8. With 33 voters, players would require 25 out of 33 votes (75.8%) for election. I'm not sure yet when we'll kick people off the ballot, as I'd like to get a good feel for the voting patterns. Right now, I'm thinking if a player gets 20% of the electorate (7 out of 33) to say YES or MAYBE, I'll keep them on. If this proves to make the ballots too big, we can raise that percentage. Feel free to discuss below.