Change-UpJanuary 15, 2009
The Unjust, Long-Lasting Effects of Awards Voting on Hall of Fame Enshrinement
By Patrick Sullivan

A number of years ago, Saturday Night Live ran a spoof of the ESPY Awards. It mocked the ESPY's because athletic contests, by definition, are competitions in themselves. Movies, television, theater and music are not, so it makes some sense to set up an awards ceremony to recognize the standouts. Major professional sports leagues do give out awards to individuals but even in this case, it is usually pretty easy - or rather - there exist objective measures to identify who the most deserving award recipients are. For instance, in baseball, the WPA, WARP, or Win Shares leader in any given season would be a perfectly suitable way to determine your MVP, Rookie of the Year or Cy Young pick.

But for better or worse, that is not how individual baseball honors have been awarded over the years. Instead, individuals within the electorate come up with all sorts of different definitions. "Best player on a contender." "The player with the most home runs on a playoff team." "The pitcher with the lowest ERA on a division winner." "Most RBI's." "Most wins." "Best player on a post-season qualifying team over the last two months of the season."

You get the point. Awards have prestige because they are MLB-sanctioned and have become a major aspect of baseball history but in and of themselves they are pretty meaningless. They tell you who a group of writers, some who pay close attention some who don't, some with an eye for the game some without, some knowledgeable on accurate performance metrics and some not, thinks deserves a given award as they, individually, have defined it. The awards mean nothing more, nothing less.

It should be different for the Hall of Fame. If you watched the Twins down the stretch in 2006, it would have been easy to become enamored with Justin Morneau. "All those RBI's!" "He carried them as they came back and won the AL Central!" Home Runs and RBI and extra base hits are more exciting than, say, walks or steady defense from the catcher position. But in time and upon reflection, one cannot possibly continue to hold that Morneau was better than his teammate Joe Mauer in 2006. Mauer's OBP-heavy 144 OPS+ bested Morneau's 140 number and Mauer is a FREAKING REALLY GOOD DEFENSIVE CATCHER while Morneau is a first baseman. So, in twenty years or so when it comes time to weigh Mauer's candidacy, don't tell me he only finished in the top-five in MVP voting "x" amount of times. Because he finished 6th in 2006 when he was easily the American League's best player (and on a division winner, no less).

Year after year when it comes time to vote for the Hall of Fame, the electorate - or at least the ones that come public with their ballots - cite awards results as though they have any meaning whatsoever in determining an individual's Hall worthiness.

Here's T.R. Sullivan on Bert Blyleven:

I see no Cy Young Awards and just two All-Star appearances.

And Mike Nadel, who bypasses Blyleven but votes for Jack Morris (and Jim Rice):

Jim Rice, top five in MVP voting six times in a 12-year span....Jack Morris, top 10 in Cy Young voting seven times.

Peter Gammons on Tim Raines:

My problem is that [Raines] never finished higher than fifth in the MVP balloting.

Sean McAdam on Blyleven:

For a guy who pitched 22 seasons, he received Cy Young votes in four years. Put another way, only once every five years, Blyleven was considered one of his league's 10 best pitchers. Sorry, but that doesn't exactly scream "all-time great" to me.

Or put another way, McAdam has no idea how Cy Young voting actually works. Each voter fills in his or her top three, which means that, for all McAdam knows, Blyleven was considered no worse than the fourth best pitcher in his league every single year of his career by the Cy Young voters. Anyway, you get the idea here. The electorate weighs awards voting heavily when considering who belongs in the Hall. It has to stop.

Combined, Blyleven, Raines and Alan Trammell have won ZERO Cy Young awards or MVP's. You would be hard pressed to find a Hall case against any one of the three that failed to mention that they underwhelmed their contemporary awards voters. Well let's look at some specific examples of awards voting during their playing days for an indication of how meaningful awards voting really ought to be. We will start with an award that had nothing to do with any of the players mentioned, the 1984 National League Cy Young voting.

         IP  SO   BB  K/9  K/BB  WHIP   ERA+
Sut     150  155  39  9.3  4.0   1.08   144  
Doc     218  276  73  11.4 3.8   1.07   137

Here are Rick Sutcliffe and Dwight Gooden's numbers in the National League in 1984. Cleveland dealt Sutcliffe to the Cubs mid-season and the right-hander subsequently went on to go 16-1, pitching the Cubs into their first post-season appearance in 39 years. It was a big deal. But still, look at the numbers above. I don't know; if I was a voter I would have a hard time telling who the better pitcher was. Well the electorate did not have such a difficult time. Sutcliffe won unanimously, despite strikeout numbers that paled in comparison to Doc's and only pitching part of the season in the National League. Unanimously! Were Doc Gooden a HOF candidate, and Lord knows he could have been (that's another story), that he did not win the 1984 Cy Young award would work against him according to today's prevailing wisdom amongst the electorate.

           POS  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS+
Trammell   SS  .343 .402 .551  155
Bell       LF  .308 .352 .605  146

This one is great; these are the 1987 numbers for both George Bell and Trammell, who toiled for the two best teams in the AL East but Trammell's Tigers were the division winners. Both hit very well, although clearly Trammell was the better performer. Again, like the 2006 voting, in some small way it's excusable. A .600 slugging number is big, and we all take to home runs and RBI's and when your ballot is due before the playoffs start and all those long fly balls are fresh in your memory, hey, let's just say I get it. Or at least I can excuse it. It's cool. But seriously, upon reflection and knowing what we know now, can't we all agree that the solid fielding shortstop with the .402 on-base and 155 OPS+ was better than the poor fielding left fielder with the .352 on-base and a 146 OPS+? And if we can agree on that, can we not also agree then that the fact that Trammell never won an MVP should not be held against him in any way?

           POS  AVG  OBP  SLG  SB  CS  OPS+
McGee      CF  .353 .384 .503  56  16  147
Raines     LF  .320 .405 .475  70   9  151

So this is more like the first example, the 1984 NL Cy Young voting. These numbers are from 1985. I look at these two players, squint for a while and then still can't really tell who was better. Raines was the superior offensive performer but then, he was also a left fielder. He should be the better offensive producer. The two were neck-and-neck for best player in the National League in '85. Of course Willie McGee's Cardinals won 101 games and were one of the better teams of the decade while the Expos were an 84-win 3rd place team in 1985, an entirely forgettable club. So ok, McGee got the nod for MVP, probably helped in part by his team's performance. Well where did Raines finish? Twelfth! He finished twelfth in the NL MVP voting that season. Oh and for good measure, first baseman Keith Hernandez, at .309/.384/.430 (3 SB, 3 CS), finished eighth that season.

           K/9  K/BB  ERA+  Post-ERA  Post W-L
Blyleven   6.7  2.8   118     2.47     5-1         
Morris     5.8  1.8   105     3.80     7-4

We will end here in response to those who cite Morris's strong showings in CYA voting, something Blyleven was not able to do consistently. So let's just objectively compare the two pitchers. And you know what? Let's go all rate stats and post-season stats. There are some out there that want to cast aside Blyleven's career totals because they do not value longevity. "Hang around long enough and you are bound to compile some numbers." Okay, that's fine. We will ignore the 1,100 career innings pitched advantage, the 1,300 strikeouts and the 33 wins. Now look at those numbers above, rate numbers all, and tell me that Morris was superior to Blyleven. It's as preposterous a contention as I could imagine. There is no intellectually honest way to support that Morris was a better pitcher or had the better career than Blyleven. And yet Knowitalls across the country maintain that Morris was better. So when it comes time to cast HOF votes, for some like Mike Nadel and Jon Heyman and Bruce Jenkins, you know, it's not that the numbers discredit the Cy Young voting, it's the Cy Young voting that discredit the numbers and, by extension, the Hall of Fame case.

I am going to end this piece with a comment from Rich's Jon Heyman beatdown piece from Tuesday. It neatly sums up the fallacy of using awards voting for evidence of one's Hall worthiness. The remark was made by a reader named Jason, and I believe it was the 72nd comment if you want to check it out for yourself.

As for Blyleven, I saw him pitch on TV a few times as a kid (I'm within a bloop single of 40 yrs old) and never appreciated how good he was over his career until the "stat-heads" enlightened me. My perception was colored by the writers' lack of respect for BB in Cy Young voting. But there is no reason to compound ignorance with stupidity.

I can't say it any better. Indeed, "there is no reason to compound ignorance with stupidity."


This article and yesterday's by Rich are brilliant. Well done guys. These awards and many of the "writers" that vote for them are a joke. Maybe Edinson Volquez will be looked on favourably in years to come because he came fourth in the NL ROTY, even though he was mistakenly placed on the ballot, as he wasn't even eligible. BBWAA. What a bunch of tools.

That was very, very well put, and sums up the reasons I've long since stopped caring about the HOF or the season awards.

Growing up in MI, the 87 MVP vote kills me. Not only did Trammell's Tigers overtake Bell's Blue Jays in the last month (weekend, actually) but Tram posted 417/490/677 in Sept/Oct to Bell's 308/379/530. If Tram wins that MVP his case is almost indistinguishable from Barry Larkin's, who many predict will get in rather easily w/in the next few years.

Yes, well done. This is a great article outlining the lunacy of the logic of a number of the writers who still are denying what Blyleven deserves. And that last zinger on Blyleven versus Morris is priceless!!!

The irony of all this is that the only qualification to be able to vote for the Hall of Fame is 10 years of writing on baseball, and thus longevity, and not quality, is the litmus test for them being qualified to vote on this.

I've been trying for years - and failing miserably - trying to figure out a way to cull out the idiots who are unable to see, say, that Willie Mays, or Hank Aaron, or today's case, Rickey Henderson, are Hall of Fame first ballot players. Getting rid of them might make it easier for players like Blyleven to make it sooner than later.

The best I could come up with was a three-strike rule on players who get 90% of the vote on their first year, meaning the writer would get a strike if they left that player off their ballot and after three strikes they lose their right to vote. But then writers would start voting with conventional wisdom after two strikes and won't get eliminated.

Perhaps what could be done, and this would require the cooperation of the Hall Of Fame, assuming they have access to all the individual votes, is that we retroactively determine the qualifications of the writers who have voted in the past, work out some sort of scoring system that rewards writers who voted early for players who did make the Hall of Fame and so forth, perhaps even penalize those who vote for those who don't even make the 5% threshold for continuation in their first year of eligibility (not sure of details, just thought of it). And just rescind the voting rights for those who don't make the cut.

I would imagine it would be a multi-pass determination, where a system is tried out and you examine who just made it and who didn't just make it, and see if that vote pattern appears worthy of that determination. Subjective, but still better than allowing anybody with 10 years experience to vote.

Plus, going forward, all baseball writers will be given a ballot to vote, even those with under 10 years, but only the ones who are qualified get their votes counted. That way the non-voters are given a chance to record their vote for consideration once they pass 10 years of experience, and perhaps is only held accountable for the past 10 years of votes in terms of qualification (thus if a voter suddenly was bad at voting, he would lose his right to have his vote counted).

Just thinking out loud...

How incredible is it to realize that the writers use their own subjective voting on awards to justify their subjective voting on the Hall of Fame? In one way, it makes sense, since it's generally the same cohort voting in both cases. Unfortunately, I don't think you could consider the population of baseball writers a case of "wisdom of the crowds". It's more like 2nd grade student council elections.

Also, what I would like to also see (and perhaps it has been done here already and I missed it) is a retro-look at where Blyleven's stats looked like when he retired in all the rankings. Many times people would look at where they are today and say that they are not deserving, but when they did retire, they were up there and their case is much more compelling.

For example, I've been trying to make the case for Bobby Bonds in the Hall, and he was in the Top 100 for a lot of offensive metrics when he retired (and many Top 50), but in the years since, he has been pushed down.

People need to remember the context within which each player retired.

Until they take the 85 MVP away from Mattingly and give to Brett, the rightful winner, none of the other arguments matter.

The awards are all a giant crock of... well, you know, perpetrated by a bunch of (for the most part) proud ignoramuses.

Well done, gentlemen.

Good Article.

I think the original push for a subjective MVP award came from the controversy surrounding the Chalmers awards.

Originally the Chalmers car company gave out a brand new Automobile to the player with the highest batting average at the end of the season.

If memory serves, Ty Cobb was always leading or near the lead in Batting average every year. One year, some players fixed it so Cobb wouldn't win. Since the other players hatted Cobb they let Lajoie win the award by not fielding pop flys or slow ground balls.

I think the commissioner's office suggested an MVP award given out by the writers based on subjective data so that no nonsese would take place at the end of the season.

Excellent point about the convoluted logic the writers use: "Since we never voted player X an MVP award, therefore he wasn't as good as people think he is, therefore we don't have to vote for him in the hall of fame".

Jeff Buroughs won an MVP award so did Zoilo Versailles and Dick Groat.

This is the second time this week you've shortchanged Blyleven on his postseason record (it's 5-1, not 4-1), but this time you compound it by inflating Morris's: he's 7-4 in the postseason, not 6-1.

I just checked bbref, and it appears you guys are looking at how the players' teams fared in their series, and not the pitchers' individual W-L records....

Here's my take on those awards you mentioned and the Warp 3 top ten in each respective year:

1984 Cy Young:

Gooden burst on the seen and set the National League on fire but the writers were swayed by the over-rated nature of W/L records. Sutcliffe's 16-1 record was a big deal back then plus he helped the Cubs make the post season for the first time since 1945.

I would have voted for Gooden even back then. Warp 3 sees Bruce Sutter as the best pitcher in a some what down year for pitchers in the National League.

1984 National League Warp 3 Pitchers Top Ten:

1-Bruce Sutter-8.4
2-Dwight Gooden-7.6
3-Rick Rhoden-7.3
4-Fernando Valenzuela-7.1
5-Orel Hershiser-6.6
6-Jesse Orosco-6.3
7-Rick Mahler-5.8
8-Ted Power-5.8
9-Mario Soto-5.7
10-Rick Sutcliffe-5.7

1985 MVP. What hurt Raines is that they started screwing around with the roof at the Stade Olympique in 1984 so all of a sudden Montreal became a pitcher's park in 84&85. Mcgee's season was a shock plus his team won the division. Gooden was the best player in the league. Raines probably should have won the award in 86 or 87. Pedro Guerrero is the forgotten man in all of this.

I would have voted for Guerrero since his team won the division.

1985 National League Warp 3 Top Ten:

2-Pedro Guerrero-12
4-Ozzie Smith-10.8
5-Gary Carter-10.3
5-Willie Mcgee-10.3
7-John Tudor-9.8
8-Rick Reuschel-9.2
9-Ryan Sandberg-9.1
10-Bill Doran-8.8

1987 Al MVP. Trammell should have won the award he was robbed. I even thought that back then before all of the Saber stuff came out. Warp 3 sees Clemens as the best player

1987 Warp 3 A.L.:

3-Wade Boggs-11.1
4-Tony Fernandez-10.3 (Extremely under-rated)
4-Frank Viola-10.3
6-Bret Saberhagen-10
7-Teddy Higuera-9.6
8-George Bell-9.3
9-Mark Mcgwire-9.2
10-Jimmy Key-9

Of course another reason the writers use major awards as a measuring stick is that it validates themselves. "Smith was better than Jones. We know this because Smith won an MVP and Jones did not. That's proof!"
They use All-Star appearances, I think, as an appeal to the fans. Yet when Robin Yount only makes 2 appearances (Dykstra, for example, made 3), there are clearly problems with this as a tool as well.
They're experts largely because they say they're experts.

Salvo, thank you for pointing that out. Only strengthens the point!

In refusing to vote for Blyleven, today's arrogant, "I know it all" voters/writers are defending the mistakes made by the previous generation of BBWAA members.

This is like Lucky Luciano getting a character reference from Al Capone.

Based somewhat on a comment to the Blyleven article, I think I figured out the (il)logic of the anti-Blyleven vote. It goes something like this. Either you were a star, that is you were unquestionably one of the best players in the league at your position for a five to seven year period, and perenially could be counted on, or at least expected, to be among the wins, era, cy young voting leaders (guys like Fergie Jenkins, Jim Palmer, Pedro, etc.) or you were a compiler, a guy who is good long enough to hit a significant milestone like 300 wins, 3000 hits, 500 Hrs (pre steroids) (Don Sutton, Phil Neikro). Blyleven doesn't quite have the milestones and his two extended times of being very good coincided with the start of his career (which make it a little harder for people to realize you are great, especially because of his mediocre W-L) followed by a dip in effectiveness, only to have an extended period of being very good later, when people decided he wasn't a star (like Jamie Moyer's late career effectiveness). In other words, if you don't win 300 and you didn't have a period of dominance, you are Jim Kaat.

There's a similar dynamic that goes on in the NFL. A few years back when he was healthy and a terrific player, Rodney Harrison, a safety for the New England Patriots, got snubbed in all pro voting a couple times. Harrison had stats as good as or better than the safeties who were getting the votes instead of him but it was believed that his "dirty player" rep was causing players to vote for guys with fewer tackles and who were slightly lesser players. I heard hardcore Patriots fans (I'm not really one) complain that this would hurt Harrison's chances of make the NFL's hall of fame because the people who vote on such things would see a guy who had been all pro 3 times instead of 5 times (or something like that).

This piece incisively shows how similar mistakes are affecting MLB players. Good work.

Sully and Rich,

I think the retrospective analysis of who the best players/pitchers were in a particular season is compelling. But I also think you are so
caught up with the Byleven argument that you overstate your argument.

AS selections, CY awards, MVPs are imperfect to be sure, each for their own structural reasons. But they do provide an objective measure of how players are viewed at the time. It's one of the few ways that we can objectively measure subjective analysis. It's not the end all and be all, but its something -- a point in one's favor.
Jim Rice proponents can point to his multiple all-star games as evidence that he was regarded as a great player while he was playing. Does that end the discussion? Of couse not. But it disserves the argument to dismiss it out of hand.

Bert Blyleven only was chosen for 2 AS games. Does that mean he doesn't belong in the HoF? No. But it is evidence that in most years he wasn't regarded as one of the 9-10 best starting pitchers in his league.

I think the point you are really trying to make is that many award selections are the result of a superficial look at stats and not a studied evaluation of a players' season. Picking the CY winner by looking at who has the most wins or. The MVP by looking at whose has the most RBI is lazy and leads to mistakes. But if a voter
watched/covered the league in a particular year and felt that after covering the league that George Bell really was more valuable than
Alan Trammell -- that's his perception. And the accumulation of the vote totals give insight as to what people thought at that time. They
very fact that these mistakes happen give insight into the biases inherent in the evaluation of ballplayers.

I still think it's fair to say that Blyleven was not considered to be a great, HoF type pitcher when he was playing. Some of that is a reaction to his style, some is a reaction to the mediocre won-loss records, some as a result of the quality of his teams. But some of that is general reaction to his pitching. Dick Williams or Alvin Dark or Billy Martin or whoever the manager of the AL team was each year saw a lot of pitchers. And more often than not they didn't think Blyleven
was one of the best starters. It doesn't "prove" anything, but it does count for something.

Great stuff. One interesting side note on Trammell in 1987 was the rumor that several writers sent in their MVP ballots before the final week of the season (when the Jays collapsed and the Tigers streaked into the division win). Had they waited, the voting may have turned out a bit different.

I was pondering just the other day if we are currently witnessing the pre-HOF snubbing of Joe Mauer. I'm a Yankee fan, so I've got no particular reason to champion the guy. But it's galling to me that he's been basically ignored in the MVP voting. He should have won in '06 (I had Jeter 2nd, and had he won it would've been at least within the realm of reason. But Morneau? WTF?) and he had a case this year. He's awesome.

But then I'm one of those NYY fans who will talk your ear off about how great and underappreciated (amongst fellow NYY fans) Jorge Posada is. Switch hitting catchers with patience and power do not grow on trees. The Yanks 2008 basically comes down to Posada's injury. If he's healthy, they're in it right down to the wire. The dropoff, even accounting for Molina's superior D, was Niagra Falls.

Anyway, back to Mauer, a catcher who plays good D, gets on base at a ~.400 clip and has some power is basically priceless.

What do you think all the following starting pitchers have in common?
Marty Pattin, Sonny Siebert, Joe Coleman, Steve Busby, Bill Travers, Jim Kern, Jim Slaton, Ross Grimsley, Pat Zachry, Mike LaCoss, Lary Gura, Rick Honeycutt (twice), Len Barker, Britt Burns, Ken Forsch, Mike Norris, Floyd Bannister, Jim Clancy, Matt Young, Rich Dotson, Mike Witt (twice), Ken Schrom, Mike Gubicza (twice), Mike Moore, Greg Swindell.

Every one of them, and plenty more of similar careers, made the all-star team instead of Blyleven. Now you might interpret that to demonstrate a point that Bert was indeed not dominant if he was consistently overlooked for such lesser talents, or that in any given year a fine pitcher such as Mike Witt or Mike Gubicza always seemed to be better.

But there are three other possibilities, or rather probabilities. One is that each pitcher was having a noteworthy first half while Bert was simply pitching to his usual excellence but not spectacularly. And indeed there is quite a bit of evidence that Blyleven often pitched much better in the second half when it would not help his All-Star candidacy. If you check most of these and other all star selections by comparing their end of year records to Blyleven's you will find they rarely come close to him, and are sometimes downright poor.

Second, the list may include pitchers who had to be placed because of the one player per team rule, and again, that becomes obvious when looking at the records of some of them. Which leads to the third point that increasingly managers were picking lots of relievers. For both these reasons, there were fewer spots for starters and so the tendency was to reserve those few for the 20 game winners or the contributors to pennant winners or to pitchers like Mark Fidrych who had made a big splash the year before even if they flopped in the year they were chosen to the team.

J McD may have a point that in his own day Blyleven did not garner the attention as some others, but that is a weak thread on which to hang an argument. That lack of respect did not come from watching him pitch but from focusing on the wrong statistics. It came from people who were reading the backs of baseball cards. When Heyman says he never thought of Blyleven as a HOFer, he means he did not see 20 wins after his name or that he saw double figure losses, not that he actually watched the 30-40 starts Blyleven made most years and was unimpressed by his befuddlement of batters.

It may count for something that he was not chosen to all-star teams despite his stats, but it does not count enough to matter. There is a 5 year wait after retirement to give voters a chance to evaluate in a calmer atmosphere when they can separate the hype from the performance on one hand or discover the value unrecognized by contemporaries on the other. There is a definitive case made that Blyleven was an all-time great pitcher, and if his contemporaries erred or were distracted by other issues, that is no reason to give any credibility to their mistakes.

Good point, Bob R.
Given the inane requirement to have at least one player from each team on the all star team and with Rod Carew on the Twins, for example, Blyleven probably got frozen out once or twice because the Twins were "covered" by Carew and some other guy was taken from another team to "cover" that organization.

Good points by Rob about Mauer.

I just amazed at how little attention this guy gets. He should have won 2 MVP award already: 2006,2008.

A great hitting catcher who's also a great fielder. Try and find another guy to replace him.

I contend that All-Star appearances should carry absolutely ZERO weight in HOF voting. I don't even have to try to gather evidence for this. I'm going back to last season, but I'm sure I could pick any of the last 50 seasons with the same result. Example:

This season, Johan Santana was left off the NL All-Star team. Both Ryan Dempster and Dan Haren made it. Both are fine pitchers (moreso Haren than Dempster) and good choices, but neither project to make any kind of HOF noise in the future in my opinion. By mid-June, both pitchers had better numbers than Santana.

However, by the end of the season, Santana had slightly out-performed both pitchers (almost identical records, with a better ERA, more innings and strikeouts). This means that not only did he pitch better overall, he must have pitched WAY better in the 2nd half than they did. Both the other guys were on eventual playoff teams from fairly popular markets, while Santana barely missed the playoffs in another popular market. Neither made it to satisfy team requirements, nor was Santana snubbed because there was only room for one Met. On top of that, Santana even has greater "star power" or "name recognition" or whatever you want to call it, which carries big weight in All-Star selections. So those confounding variables are all eliminated. His first-half numbers just didn't measure up in the same way that his OVERALL season totals did.

As a 21st century A's fan, I can tell you that not only are both halves of the season important, but the 2nd half is probably MORE important than the first half (but that is not the point I am trying to make here...)

The point is that Player 'A' making the All-Star team over Player 'B' DOESN'T EVEN DENOTE THAT PLAYER 'A' HAD THE BETTER SEASON!! It simply means that he MIGHT have had a better FIRST HALF of the season, and that is ALL. Just because a guy like Blyleven got left off All-Star teams doesn't mean he wasn't one of the 9-10 most dominant pitchers that year, it means he wasn't one of the 9-10 most dominant pitchers that MONTH.

Obviously, Johan Santana's Hall credentials will not be affected by missing one All-Star game. And he will never be compared to Demspter or Haren because they made it one year that he didn't (and thus...were BETTER than him that year? uhh...). What it goes to show is that the All-Star game DOES NOT IN ANY WAY REPRESENT THE ALL-ENCOMPASSING BEST TALENT OF THE YEAR. It is merely a fun sideshow for the fans and should be enjoyed as such.

That being said, last year's All-Star game was a blast and was one of my favorites ever.

Sidenote: Want to see a HOF voter's head explode? How about this: Santana won 20 games in 2004 (yum!), but wasn't an All-Star (eww!). So, was he good in 2004? (Answer: he won the Cy Young, unanimously, so of course he was good...but you can see the point I'm getting at).

Members should not be allowed to send in their votes before the end of the season. The end of a season is where a lot of players show their VALUE.

I remember in Detroit we were chanting "MVP" for Trammell all during September, because we THOUGHT he had a good chance to win the award.

Then with the way Tramm came through the last few series' of the year, and the way Bell collapsed, and the way Tramm's Tigers beat out Bell's Jays head-to-head, we KNEW Trammell was the Most VALUABLE Player at the season's end. The last two weeks settled any doubt.

In his last 11 games, Trammell batted .381 with six runs scored, five batted in, a homer and five doubles. He led the Tigers to wins in six of their last eight games to take the division title from Toronto with a dramatic season-finale three game sweep (each game by one run).

Bell batted a paltry .250 during the same stretch (with one less game), with just one run scored, two ribbies, and one double. He helped his Blue Jays finish with seven straight losses to cap the season, batting an anemic .111, with no run production during the streak. Bell went one for 11 (.091) with no run production during the Tigers' American League Eastern Division, season-ending three-game sweep over the Blue Jays.

Webster had to redefine "valuable" after Bell won the MVP over Trammell following that performance.

Alex good points about the All star games. Usint that as a HOF monitor is ridiculous.

I have all star team photos from the 70's and in each of them there' always about 4 or 5 guys that I have no idea who they are so I have to look in a book or index.

He was team-mates with Rod Carew in Minnesota so the Twins always had a rep. In Pittsburgh he had Parker and Madlock. I don't know who those Indian teams of the 80's were sending instead of Blyleven. The Twins had Pucket.

Spot on Teno with Trammell in 1987.

I amzazed he gets so little support for the HOF. Back in the 80's most knowledgeable baseball fans considered him a lock.

I think a lot of that has to do with A-Rod, Jeter and Nomar coming of age right after him and the all put up huge numbers.

Alex good points about the All star games. Usint that as a HOF monitor is ridiculous.

I have all star team photos from the 70's and in each of them there' always about 4 or 5 guys that I have no idea who they are so I have to look in a book or index.

He was team-mates with Rod Carew in Minnesota so the Twins always had a rep. In Pittsburgh he had Parker and Madlock. I don't know who those Indian teams of the 80's were sending instead of Blyleven. The Twins had Pucket.

Spot on Teno with Trammell in 1987.

I amzazed he gets so little support for the HOF. Back in the 80's most knowledgeable baseball fans considered him a lock.

I think a lot of that has to do with A-Rod, Jeter and Nomar coming of age right after him and the all put up huge numbers.

Alex good points about the All star games. Usint that as a HOF monitor is ridiculous.

I have all star team photos from the 70's and in each of them there' always about 4 or 5 guys that I have no idea who they are so I have to look in a book or index.

He was team-mates with Rod Carew in Minnesota so the Twins always had a rep. In Pittsburgh he had Parker and Madlock. I don't know who those Indian teams of the 80's were sending instead of Blyleven. The Twins had Pucket.

Spot on Teno with Trammell in 1987.

I amzazed he gets so little support for the HOF. Back in the 80's most knowledgeable baseball fans considered him a lock.

I think a lot of that has to do with A-Rod, Jeter and Nomar coming of age right after him and the all put up huge numbers.

Trammell's lack of HOF support isn't all that surprising. After his age 32 year (90) he only played in 100 games 2 more seasons. From 91-96 he lost roughly 1700 PAs to injuries. W/out those lost games, he would be over 2800 hits which would bolster his case w/out the 87 MVP. In hindsight, he gets caught twice by circumstance. He wasn't the defensive wizard Ozzie was and wasn't the rock that Ripken was although I would bet that many GMs/managers would choose Trammell over them if given the choice. The second time was w/ the wave of SSs in the late 90s that dwarfed Trammell's offensive numbers. Although he was a premier offensive SS for his era, the numbers pale in comparison to what happened after he retired.

Again, I am fascinated to see what happens to Larkin. Larkin has slight advantages in most categories, but also has the 95 MVP to his credit. If he gets in w/in his first few years, I will become convinced that Trammell's snub in 87 has kept him out.

Blyleven had 8 unquestionably dominant seasons,an additional 3 very good seasons and 5 more solid seasons. I have an excel spreadsheet that helps further prove that Blyleven was a better pitcher than Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro, Catfish Hunter and Don Sutton. I can even make a case for Bert being better than Carlton.

And before someone brings up the subject of total K's, etc., Carlton pitched nearly his entire career not having to face the DH while Bert spent 70% of his career opposing the DH. What this helped do was inflate Carlton's K's since Blyleven struck out more non-pitchers than Carlton. Blyleven is 4th all-time in striking out non-pitchers. Also, even though Carlton had more complete games Blyleven had more shut outs. Now, in my book, shutting out the other team is a true sign of dominance.

Finally, here is how Blyleven compares to his contemporaries, Seaver, Carlton, Ryan, Niekro, Hunter, Sutton and Palmer, who are in the HOF in top 10 and top 5 finishes in the following categories:

ERA-Blyleven had 10 top 10 and 7 of those were top 5 finishes. Only Seaver had more top 10 finishes and only Palmer had more top 5.

WHIP-Blyleven had 11 top 10 and 7 were top 5. Only Sutton and Seaver had more in both.

K's/9-Blyleven had 14 top 10 and 10 were top 5. Only Ryan and Carlton had more in both.

Shut Outs-10 top 10 and 9 were top 5. Sutton, Ryan and Carlton had more top 10 but none had more top 5.

K's/BB-Blyleven had 16 top 10 and 13 were top 5. None had more in either case.

ERA+-Blyleven had 11 top 10 and 7 were top 5. Only Seaver had more top 10 and only Seaver and Palmer had more top 5.

Blyleven deserved the CYA in 1973 and in 1984 he had the most points among all starters and only lost out to two RP's (this was in a time when the writers kept voting for RP's).

Sorry for being so long winded in my first post but I feel Blyleven has been ripped off long enough.

Don't apologize, Xerac! You're in good company here.

Thanks, Sully. I was discussing on another forum how Blyleven was robbed again and that he was a better pitcher than Niekro, Ryan, Sutton and Hunter (no one argued over that, not even Ryan) but when I mentioned I could make a case that Bert was even better than Carlton, boy did I open a can of worms. However, I showed that Blyleven had more seasons of being a top 5 pitcher overall (8 to 5) and that Carlton's K's are inflated by being in the NL nearly his entire career. Take each one's K's of pitchers and Blyleven has more. That's right, Blyleven K'd more non-pitchers than Carlton.