Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 5, 2008
BASEBALL: Eye of the Needle

Bill James (subscription required) points out a typical Jamesian observation, typical in that it's obvious yet something I had not really focused on: that the Hall of Fame's standards will inevitably rise over time because expansion has created a larger pool of players who rack up the kind of accomplishments the Hall traditionally rewards, yet the writers are not responding by electing a larger number of Hall of Famers per year:

In order to carry the same standard forward, the Hall of Fame would have to start inducting twice as many people, or it's not going to get around to Damon and Bernie. My opinion is that there will not be sufficient pressure to open the doors wider, because

1) Most of the public doesn't really understand what the historic standard has been, and

2) Those people who do understand it by and large don't like it.

Absent a massive adjustment by the selection process, which I don't think will happen, there is going to be a very significant shift in the standards for selection to the Hall of Fame.

Anyway, if you are a subscriber the whole thing is worth reading, including his evaluations of a preposterously comprehensive list of individual candidates now playing (among other things, I think he's way optimistic to give a 25% chance to Garrett Anderson and a 70% chance to Carlos Beltran).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:33 PM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

How does that theory square with the one the suggests that expansion has diluted the quality of players that make it to the majors? If the dilution theory is true, shouldn't the number of Hall of Fame inductees remain constant?

Posted by: Mike at March 6, 2008 9:18 AM

How does that theory square with the one the suggests that expansion has diluted the quality of players that make it to the majors? If the dilution theory is true, shouldn't the number of Hall of Fame inductees remain constant?

Posted by: Mike at March 6, 2008 9:19 AM

The dilution will lead to a larger number of players putting up the kind of numbers that, say, Willie Stargell put up, without actually being as good as Willie Stargell. Thus, "Willie Stargell numbers" may no longer be good enough to get you in the Hall, where in the past they would have been automatic.

Posted by: Jerry at March 6, 2008 10:04 AM

Crank,

Somewhat related question, do you think James' blog is worth the subscription price? I have not subscribed to fee based blogs or websites (ESPN Insider, etc) believing most content is available for free somewhere else. Is James updating his frequently enough to merit paying for it?

Posted by: largebill at March 6, 2008 10:38 AM

Seems to be plenty of content - frankly I had trouble registering and only recently got logged in.

Posted by: The Crank at March 6, 2008 1:33 PM

This piece is also published in the "Bill James Gold Mine" book.

Posted by: Dr. Manhattan at March 6, 2008 5:20 PM
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