Baseball table game collector Dr. Mark Cooper (who always seems to have that monicker applied at the front of his name, just like Dr. Joyce Brothers) will let go of an assemblage of over 250 board games that span more than a century.
Heritage Auctions in Dallas is putting this event together, and it's currently scheduled to occur on October 25-26, 2012--an event that might just coincide with another post-season appearance by the local team (the Texas Rangers).
The graphics and visual layout of these early board games have the same antique charm and nostalgic resonance as so much of the more well-known baseball memorabilia, and often conspicuously feature star players of yesteryear (looking, no doubt, for endorsement income at a time when the possible windfall was something more than a drop in the bucket).
We'll feature more of these as we move closer to the auction date. It will be awhile before Heritage has a highly structured area up and running, so we'll keep the previews coming. Great stuff!
We rush to write about this because the rush to judgment is already proceeding at a breakneck pace. Our old pal Rob Neyer, in the final stages of a transformation from proselytizer to pundit, is out front asking readers to vote on Conlin's fate. While this is a wonderful way to indirectly moralize (let's call it meta-moralizing), it's still part of a "peer review posse" mentality that seems to be overlooking one basic fact of American law.
|Bill Conlin: a handsome devil|
even with the extra chin...
What ought to happen in America, away from the blatherings of a fractious but oddly insular sub-world of the press, is that Conlin should be indicted and tried.
Until then, we should not have any polls about what his "fate" should be.
Complicating this scenario, however, is the fact that Conlin's alleged acts occurred so long ago that law enforcement is stymied by statute-of-limitation issues. (Neyer, to his credit, references all this. But he can't resist imposing a "court of public opinion.")
|Late meta-capitalist genius at work: commodification|
of the hash-slinging slang of misfortune and dross...
Rob's poll is really a referendum on the nature and limits of moralizing and how far it can be extended into action where legal remedies are unavailable. In essence, what 70% of the respondents to the poll are currently saying is that we can impose sanctions and penalties even if we have no direct evidence that someone has done something wrong.
There is something innately disturbing in such a result, but it is not especially surprising. Human beings want to impose order: after all, it was humans who invented the phrase "nature abhors a vacuum."
Civil law often provides remedies in cases where criminal law cannot. Wrongful death, damages for pain and suffering, palimony: the signs of an age encroached upon by shades of grey.
One way for a judgment against Conlin to gain traction would be for his alleged victims to escalate their accusations into a civil proceeding. But such a proceeding would be problematized by the length of time that has passed since the alleged acts occurred.
So--what to do? Pundits will rush to judgment; radio call-in shows will seek to boost their ratings; the public will furrow up its brow a bit more. All part of the Human Frailty Industry and the cyncial news cycle in quest of the next YADDA with which to feed itself.
We should do nothing to Bill Conlin until some kind of legal matter is undertaken against him. An oddly timed leak of an investigation is not in and of itself sufficient for a rush to judgment. The sense of deflation in Neyer's article at the realization that the only real action possible at this time is to downplay Conlin's presence in the Hall of Fame exhibit should not distract from the fact that, for now, this is the only possible action that makes sense.
We need a poll question that addresses how we reign in those tendencies without doing any more damage to our democracy, but it's a subject that is thornier and a good bit more murky than the pointed fingers that surround Bill Conlin.
For what it shows is that human beings, hamstrung by their own need for self-esteem, can become overly obsessed with reward and retribution. The urge to strip an honor from someone sometimes seems to be more innate than the desire to bestow one. A few deep breaths--possibly from some of that (purportedly) fine product from the shores of Humboldt County--might help more than a few of the current YADDA fulminators to chill out and wait for the rest of the Conlin story to emerge before preparing the tar and feathers.
|Prince Fielder: a bit too ready for his close-up...|
Which is, what would it be like if baseball simply declared the free-agent period over and done with at Xmas, with all of the remaining players summarily assigned to a new team? Baseball could have fun with a variant on expansion by creating a thirty-first team via a bidding war between the various metro areas with a rooting interest in joining America's giddiest monopoly, and by making the thirty-second team a team filled with the free agent leftovers left unsigned by Xmas.
This is, admittedly, more whacked than our earlier proposal (back in the 1995 BBBA) that teams simply be moved from city to city on a yearly basis...well, come to think of it, maybe this idea actually makes more sense.
Let's have that thirty-second team land permanently in a place where everything that happens there is supposed to stay there--Las Vegas. Let's call the team the "Leftovers." And let's have the team be disbanded every year, only to be replaced by a new set of free agents.
Of course, this would be hard to implement, because once teams saw who was available, they would tend to snap up all the best players by the deadline. But we could think up ways to make it work if we really wanted to: it's not that important to cross t's and dot i's for the purposes of spiked-egg nog whimsy. Suffice it to say you could devise a method that would ensure that a sufficient number of good players would be available to a franchise specializing in a permanently-imposed makeover. (If these players were all free agents again in the following year, for example, the Players' Union would probably sign off on it.)
Passan has 181 free agents on his master list; as of December 23, 71 (just under 40%) have been signed. (Perhaps some enterprising researcher can tell us if this percentage is on track with the average progression of free agent signings over any given off-season.)
The list set up this way (players are anonymous, though we've coded Yu Darvish and his posting lottery fee in pale blue so you'll see where it is on the chart) tells us several interesting things.
First, more than half of the Top 50 free agents (according to Passan, of course: YMMV) have already been signed.
Second, catchers and middle infielders tend to have high signing percentages. Teams seem to focus on getting these guys signed early. (This is subject to further verification, however.)
When we look at the actual players who are sill available and place the best of them onto an actual roster, we get:
C--Ramon Castro (137), Jorge Posada (96), Ivan Rodriguez (146), Jason Varitek (160)
1B--Prince Fielder (2), Conor Jackson (122) Carlos Pena (19)
2B--Mark DeRosa (117), Carlos Guillen (118)
SS--Ronny Cedeno (72), Edgar Renteria (119)
3B--Wilson Betemit (57), Kevin Kouzmanoff (81), Sean Burroughs (171)
UT--Aaron Miles (134), Willie Harris (135)
LF--Johnny Damon (34), Andruw Jones (56), Scott Hairston (103)
CF--Coco Crisp (29), Rick Ankiel (94)
|Roy Oswalt contemplating the potential run support|
from his Leftover hitters...
Starters--Roy Oswalt (7), Hiroki Kuroda (13), Edwin Jackson (17), Hisashi Iwamura (18), Javier Vazquez (21), Rich Harden (38), Jeff Francis (61), Kevin Millwood (78).
Relievers--Ryan Madson (15), Darren Oliver (51), Chad Qualls (53), Brad Lidge (54), Joel Zumaya (79), Mike Gonzalez (80), Dan Wheeler (91), Shawn Camp (102).
It is a team blessed with surprisingly credible pitching and an offense that's barely existent once you get past Prince Fielder. You will see what we mean when you take a look at the team's projected batting order:
1. Crisp cf; 2. Damon lf; 3. Fukudome rf; 4. Fielder 1b; 5. Castro c; 6. Betemit 3b; 7. Guillen 2b; 8. Cedeno ss.
It's a team that projects to score 600-625 runs over the course of a season, which would have ranked thirteenth in both the AL and the NL last year.
When we played out the year, we got the following stats in one of those sim-seasons (as is often the case in a simulations, the game simply trashes a few players--this time it was Betemit):
What leaps out here is that Prince Fielder would be getting pitched around as often as possible. The team loses seven points of BA, five points of OBP, and nineteen points of SLG if Prince were to be replaced at first base by Carlos Pena. And estimates indicate that the team would score 35-40 fewer runs with Pena on first instead of Fielder.
The best estimate of the runs allowed for the pitching staff is right at 700 for the season. The Pythagorean Method suggests that this team would go 72-90 with such a runs scored/runs allowed differential.
What are the chances that a "leftover" team can be a playoff team? Probably about 1 in 9, which isn't awful odds. After all, some teams don't make the playoffs anywhere near that often, even with bonafide efforts to build a farm system and play within the current rules of MLB.
While definitely right on the ledge in terms of wackiness, there is something oddly irresistible about a team that has virtually 100% turnover from one season to another. The years in which such a team contends for the playoffs would contain a smidge of surrealism--a quality that wouldn't exactly hurt a game that has tilted dangerously in the direction of uniformity over the past couple of decades.
|Er, Morganna--this is not what they meant by the "double switch"....|
Or Vegas showgirls. Yeah, that's the ticket--a gaggle of showgirls are the perfect "brain trust" for the Leftovers. It would constitute sweet revenge for good ol' Morganna the Kissing Bandit, except that the ladies who managed the team might well decide within a matter of weeks that, unlike their highly protuberated precursor, they really didn't like every ballplayer that they happened to meet.
So many social problems to solve, and so little time!! Merry Xmas, and don't forget to doctor that egg nog...
|The mayhem Glenn Langan causes has nothing on what seems to be|
heading in the direction of the Hall of Fame in January 2013...
Before we know it, an avalanche of Hall of Fame candidates will come crashing down on the BBWAA. Doomsday scenarios of various forms and denominations are already being concocted.
We're actually going to try to go beyond the cheap symmetry in our title, and present our own speculative account of what's coming when the floodtide of qualified Hall of Fame players begins next year.
Our rationale is based on the fact that while a large majority of the BBWAA continue to exhibit a pronounced moralizing bent, they will be swayed by a series of practical considerations that will prevent them from imposing the type of across-the-board ostracism that many fear will be the case.
|Forget about the Curse of the Bambino: might not the residual|
malaise that continues to fester in Beantown stem from this
archetypal moment...the Great Molasses Meltdown?
Some are envisioning a 2016 ballot with up to twenty bonafide Hall of Famers spinning their wheels in a combinatoric nightmare where no one can get the required vote percentage.
Others think the process will become a more protracted quagmire that will doom candidates to the vagaries of a Veterans' Committee that has been molasses-like in its own right over the past decade.
Perhaps we should have called this article "Adventures in Future Schadenfreude." (And perhaps we would be in Pot. Kettle. Black. territory ourselves.)
What would be preferable would be to look at what is likely to happen in Hall of Fame voting beginning in 2013 and see if there is any reason to be constructing "sky is falling" scenarios.
Clearly, a 2016 voter stagnation'n'strangulation scenario depends on the BBWAA doing two major things wrong: 1) being unable to promptly elect deserving candidates and 2) conflating moral issues in such a way that all candidates suffer proportionally as a result.
Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Ken Griffey, Jr.*, Randy Johnson, Jeff Kent, Barry Larkin, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker.
(*) means first year on the ballot
(numbers under the "2011" column in the chart indicate vote % in that HoF election)
Notice that for the purpose of this display, we are not even bothering to add in several folks who might still be on the ballot in 2016:
Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell.
We are not expecting that the following players will receive (or retain) the minimum 5% support to remain on the ballot:
Juan Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Bernie Williams.
However...there are other perspectives. There are actually more than a few hopeful signs that argue against Chicken Little. We will go through them in a way that, if not convincing, will at least be confusing.
First, let's take a look at the most crowded ballot in the history of the Hall of Fame voting--1936. That ballot had nineteen hitters whose OPS+ was 130 or higher. It had eight pitchers whose ERA+ was 120 or higher (not including Babe Ruth). It had twenty-two players whose career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was 60 or higher (not including Joe Jackson, who actually got two votes despite being ineligible).
What happened in that election? Five players (Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson) were enshrined.
Ah, you say. But those were five of the greatest players of all time, and the backlog of talent was much, much greater than five years. The players in the 2016 group have subtler, more elusive qualifications, and the BBWAA hasn't shown an ability to discriminate. This is the tsunami that will topple them, the perfect storm of candidates who will all founder on the rocks as the wind pushes all the boats against the current. Years of deadlock will ensue.
Sorry, we don't buy it. One way to track the level of deadlock is to look at how decisive the BBWAA is in terms of players. Is there a pervasive tendency to make players wait years after they first become eligible?
But it's clear from the graph at right that the BBWAA has had no problem identifying first-round inductees. Their cumulative percentage has progressed upward steadily since the 50s and approached its original 30s level in the last decade.
Ah, you say. But there is a catastrophic complicating factor--AKA "the age of PEDs." The BBWAA has its own case of "roid rage" that it will be systematically imposing upon the voting process. This will lower the vote totals of all players coming onto the ballot, as demonstrated by what's happened to McGwire and Palmeiro.
We'll give you a "maybe" on that. So far the only serious vote suppression that has occurred has come at the expense of those two players. (The stats cadre wants to make a case that such is the case for Tim Raines, but the fact is that players like Raines often take time to ripen on the vine in terms of HoF voting. The insistence on the part of certain stathead factions that Raines is a first-ballot Hall of Famer is one part analysis, one part rhetoric, and one part attack-dog tactics. High OBP, low SLG players do take longer to get recognized, and Raines doesn't match up with players like Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, or Rod Carew, who were at the top of their leagues' offensive performance levels over a much longer period of time. WAR is not a perfect instrument.)
To leave too many of these players out of the Hall of Fame based on the unreliable evidence that has been assembled would make everyone look bad.
And thus the real catastrophe would happen in Cooperstown, New York, where the ongoing financial health of the Hall of Fame--dependent on a PR stream from new inductees--would be seriously threatened.
And there is tremendous good fortune in the fact that the two greatest players of the "age of PEDs" will be systematically ostracized. It will force the BBWAA to examine players that would otherwise get less attention in the voting process. This will serve to sustain several worthy candidates through what will be a crowded ballot period (people like Raines and Edgar Martinez) and give them a chance to be enshrined within the fifteen year period.
There is already good evidence to indicate that this is going to happen. Roberto Alomar's election in his second year of eligibility signals that the BBWAA is very likely to be selective in its punishment.
|Craig Biggio--how many catcher/second|
basemen/center fielders are there
in the Hall of Fame? None--yet.
Biggio has an important ace up his sleeve that no other candidate can bring to the table--3000+ hits. It's one of two things that will make him a first-ballot inductee. (The other is his ability to successfully play two other positions on the left side of the defensive spectrum--catcher and center field. It makes him a unique player.)
The Hall of Fame history of 3000+ hit players is a strong indication that Biggio will come in at around 80% of the vote.
And the only reason that three of the other members of this group weren't inducted on the first ballot was because they happened to be on the "first ballot" in 1936: Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, and Eddie Collins. Lajoie and Speaker went in the second year (1937), along with Cy Young; Collins was inducted in 1939.
Twelve of these players received 90+% of the vote when they went in.
Oddly enough, when we average all of these players' first-year voting percentages (even the three 1936 players, the odd anomaly of Paul Waner, who was part of the late 40s confusion that hampered the Hall of Fame for the better part of a decade, and the scapegoated Palmeiro) we get an overall average of 80% for this group. That looks about right for Biggio, who has more similarity with players like Robin Yount and Lou Brock--career longevity and several moments when he was seriously mentioned as the best player in baseball.
(Interesting fact: Forman et fil's intriguing Elo-Rater system has three second basemen piled up together in slots #64-#66: Biggio, Ryne Sandberg, and Alomar. While it's not "scientific," it's a solid little tool--and the other two guys are in the Hall. Neither of them played catcher or center field.)
It's silly of us to post a speculative scenario for how the Hall of Fame vote will proceed over the next four years, but--what the heck, we'll do it anyway. You'll be able to see where the assumptions are, and how those have more than a small chance of coming unglued. What we expect to happen in the upcoming vote is that Larkin will get inducted, Jack Morris will max out a bit lower than what other folks expect, and Bagwell will actually slip past Jack. Why will Bags get a boost? Someone has to, and there's no one else on the ballot with numbers remotely like his.
Someone will remind his pals that Bags had a helluva lot of RBI per game, and that of players with a moderate length career (2000-2200 games), he ranks fourth (behind Lou Gehrig, Harry Heilmann, and Joe DiMaggio). The ones who've cottoned up to on-base percentage will note that Bags is 21st lifetime (.408). They'll note that he had a lot of round-number seasons (nine seasons with 100+ runs scored, eight with 100+ RBI, seven seasons with 100+ walks, and six seasons where he did all three in the same year). They'll notice that in addition to winning the MVP (in 1994), he also finished 2nd and 3rd, and was in the top ten of MVP voting six times. And they'll note that while he didn't manage to lead the league in HRs, he hit 30 or more in nine seasons.
With Biggio on the ballot in 2013, the memory of the "Killer B's" will be just enough to bring them over the line. It will be a massive PR coup for Cooperstown. The "Schadenfreude crew" will be conflicted--torn between a sense of relief and a lack of satisfaction over the dimming prospects of the Fallen Sky Scenario.
The chart shows how we think it will play out...with Larkin, Biggio and Bagwell voted in, the logjam is lessened, and The Perfect Storm can remain a lugubrious, inauthentic film.
What we find out in 2013 is that the moralizing bloc will not be able to crush Bonds and Clemens to the extent that they did with McGwire and Palmeiro: these two guys were just too great for too long to be completely trashed. They'll get around 30% of the vote, and it will be more loyal and tenacious on their behalf because these guys were really and truly inner circle players.
Mike Piazza, also on the ballot in '13, will draw down a solid percentage that will be off by around 6-9% from what Yogi Berra polled in his first year on the ballot (67%). He will be in position to go in on the third ballot in 2015.
In 2015, we'll have two more all-time pitchers in Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, and Piazza will join them for the second consecutive troika on the Cooperstown dais--something that won't have happened since 1937. Bonds and Clemens will be joined in their 30s holding pattern by Gary Sheffield.
In short: life will return to normal.
It will just be another cataclysm that didn't happen that we won't talk about even though we still think we can see it coming in the rear-view mirror.
Fascinam-me sempre as produções que cruzam o mundo da moda com a natureza, as flores, que envolvem e revolvem os sentidos, mais do que um editorial de beleza estas imagens são um verdadeiro festim visual, cruzam cor, tacto, cheiro, paladar, numa explosão sensorial...
Always fascinated me the fashion productions that cross the fashion world with nature and the senses, more than a beauty editorial these images are a true feast for the senses, it mix color, smell, taste, a truly sensory explosion ...
source: Liandra by Michelle Du Xuan for Fashion Gone Rogue
|This cap (with its seven-layer burrito rendition of|
"fame as in Hall of...") is not yours when you
cast your vote in BBBA's Hall of Fame Redux...
--Vote for 10 players;
--75% of the votes produces enshrinement;
--Eligibility rules as in existence for each year in question, with the exception of Gehrig (presumed inducted via special vote in 1939).
So far the Hall of Merit folks have not taken us up on this idea. That's fair enough: they have their own activities and approaches, and we can all applaud their alternative take on the best ballplayers in baseball history.
But we remain fascinated by the prospect of having a more sabermetrically-engaged membership take on a "Hall of Fame Redux" where the first ballot begins precisely when it did in 1936, using the exact parameters that the BBWAA faced (and continues to face seventy-five years later).
So here's our pitch. If the good folks at Baseball Think Factory will see fit to link to this post, thus creating a thread where anyone who is interested can vote, we will tabulate the votes after a five-day voting period, announce the results, and continue with weekly posts moving through the years toward the present.
We'll also create an ongoing comparison chart of the BBWAA inductees and the BTF-HOF inductees which will be updated with each weekly result.
For the eligible players, refer to the link provided to Baseball Reference's useful Hall of Fame voting results page for 1936. There is a great deal of useful data summarized there that will help you make your picks.
|Lou Gehrig will, alas, sit out this election and all the others, but will |
be inducted in 1939 just as was the case when it actually happened.
1. Pete Alexander
2. Ty Cobb
3. Eddie Collins
4. Rogers Hornsby
5. Walter Johnson
6. Nap Lajoie
7. Christy Mathewson
8. Babe Ruth
9. Tris Speaker
10. Cy Young
Vote early, vote once only, and let's see how many players can receive 75% or higher in the vote count. Five players made it in the actual BBWAA election; we're thinking that it might be possible to elect seven or eight in the Redux version.
We look forward to your participation...
Um editorial etéreo com as peças impressionantes da Givenchy, Versace, Dior e Alexander McQueen, que complementam na perfeição o cenário transcendente onde impera o branco...para espalhar a magia desta época!!
An ethereal editorial with stunning pieces from Givenchy, Versace, Dior and Alexander McQueen, which perfectly complement the transcendent and magical scenario dominated by the white ... to spread the Christmas magic!!
source: Cara Delevingne by Sølve Sundsbø for Vogue China December 2011
- HAPPY 2012 !!
- THE COOPER COLLECTION: TEN MONTHS AND COUNTING
- SOME CLARITY ON THE CONLIN CONTRETEMPS
- Bom Natal !! Merry Christmas !!
- PLAYING WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- THE HALL OF FAME LOGJAM: A PERFECT STORM DISPELLED...
- HALL OF FAME REDUX: 1936
- Take a "Bow"
- Fallen Angels
- Have a Nice Week!!...Boa Semana para Todos!!
- YU. YU. YU.
- Among the Flowers
- Red she Said
- Girl Play
- RON SANTO: TEARS OF JOY, TEARS OF INFINITE SADNESS...
- THE 1-0 MIRACLES OF THE '69 METS AND OTHER ANOMALI...
- Have a Nice Weekend!!
- Couture Perfection
- ▼ December (20)