With the 2011 baseball officially in the books, it is my pleasure to announce the second year of my project on the 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame.
I debuted this project last year (here’s how it came out) with a simple goal. Rather than have my rankings based on some all-powerful stat or my opinion, I decided to go in a different direction and determine the picks through votes from other baseball writers, fans, and anyone interested. Sixty three people voted on about two week’s notice, including yours truly, and the project was a rousing success. Making it an annual thing here was an easy decision.
I have Super Ballot 2011 ready to send out to anyone who leaves a comment here or emails me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite anyone and everyone to vote, and I’ll link out in the results post to any baseball blogger who participates.
All this being said, please take a second to read the rules for this project. I can’t count any ballot that doesn’t adhere to them.
You must vote for 50 players: This was the biggest issue last year, so as we head into the second round of this project, let me reiterate. The point here isn’t to name 50 players who need to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame tomorrow or, conversely, to send in a 12-player ballot boldly proclaiming that only that many players belong. This project is about identifiying the 50 best players not in Cooperstown, whether they’re Hall-worthy or not. So please vote for 50 players. I will not count any final ballot with less (or more) than 50 players selected.
Please do not vote for anyone who’s played since the end of the 2006 season: We go with the same five-year waiting period that the Baseball Writers Association of America observes in its Hall of Fame voting each year. Other than that, any player in baseball history is fair game, with no restrictions on number of seasons played, whether the player is banned, or even if he made it to the majors.
Write-ins welcome: I’ve included nearly 400 players on this year’s ballot. That being said, roughly another 17,000 men have played in the majors and are not in the Hall of Fame. Please feel free to write in any player who hasn’t played in the last five years.
All votes due by December 1, 9 p.m. PST: No exceptions on this one. I will be rolling out the results after the Veterans Committee announces at the winter meetings in early December whether it will be enshrining anyone in 2012, and I need time to count votes and get the post ready.
I will not campaign for any player: I’d like for the results of this project to be as organic and independently-determined as possible. Thus, I will not advocate for any player being in the top 50. I also encourage anyone who votes to make their selections any way they please. Whether it’s relying on career stats, favoring peak value, looking toward members of particular eras, or going with some other method, it’s no worry to me how people vote. Definitions of what constituted a top 50 player varied among different voters last year, and I think it made for a more interesting final project.
New for this year’s project
“Does he belong in the HOF?” tab: Next to each of the 50 players selected, please put a Y or N (for “Yes” or “No”) signifying whether each player belongs in the Hall of Fame. I will list how this comes out in the results post.
Super Ballot 2011, bigger and better: Last year’s ballot featured 300 players, and some voters encouraged me to exclude players this year who’d gotten little or no votes. However, one voter quit in a huff last year because I neglected to include Vic Power, and I don’t want a repeat of that scene. Thus, this year’s ballot has close to 400 players. I brought back everyone from last year’s ballot, save for Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven who were enshrined this past summer. I also added in guys who last played in 2006, a few prominent omissions from last year’s ballot, every eligible write-in from last year, and every starter from a certain pennant winning team. I’ll give a free Baseball: Past and Present t-shirt to the first person who identifies the team.
Help me write about the players: I’d invite anyone interested to contribute 50 to 100 words on any player they vote for. I’ll select the best blurbs for inclusion with the post, with full credit for the respective writers, of course.
Anyhow, I look forward to seeing how this goes and thank everyone in advance who participates.