The Hall of Fame down to a science


First these nerds invade baseball with their stupid stats like VORP and wOBA, ruining the purity of men playing against men. Now they’re gunning for the Hall of Fame. Obviously I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but Tim Marchman, writing for The Wall Street Journal, notes that two professors have come up with a formula which predicts the probability that the BBWAA votes a player into the HOF. How accurate is this formula?

Of the 1,592 players considered by their study — anyone who retired between 1950 and 2002 and met several other criteria such as having played 10 years in the majors — the model was able to accurately identify whether they had been elected 98.7% of the time.

What biases do voters use to determine a player’s Hall worthiness? For hitters, it’s hit totals, home runs, and ::gasp:: OPS. On the pitching side it’s just as predictable: wins, saves, ERA, and win percentage. There’s also a factor for All-Star Game appearances.

Apparently, Rickey Henderson was tapped as having a 97.2 percent chance of election before the writers decided the obvious. Marchman did not note the odds on Jim Rice.

Even more interesting are the probabilities of some future candidates. Topping the list provided by WSJ, Vlad Guerrero is on top with an 88.8 percent chance. Vlad’s been good, even great throughout his career, but he’s not a guy who pops out as more likely to enter the HOF than Trevor Hoffman and Chipper Jones, both of whom will likely be early entrants. Of interest to Yankees fans is Mike Mussina, who is at 47.8 percent. Curt Schilling sits at 44 percent.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Muel says:

    Wonder where Bernie sits.

  2. JGS says:

    well, Hoffman and Jones are right under Vlad.

    What about Mo?

  3. gxpanos says:


    This Moose thing’s really annoying. Yankeeography compared him to Jim Palmer, an HOFer, which turns out to be a great comp. Moose is like the SAME pitcher as Palmer. 268 wins for Palmer, 270 for Moose (both have .638 winning percentages). 1.18 whip for Palmer, 1.19 for Moose. 126 ERA+ for Palmer, 123 for Moose. The only significant difference in numbers is in K’s…Moose has 2813, Palmer 2212.

    If Palmer’s in, so should Moose.

    • Bill R says:

      If those stats are true than he has to get in!

    • Did Moose ever do a commercial in his underwear? No?

      Then he’s not getting into the Hall. Them’s the breaks.

    • JGS says:

      Palmer also has three rings, three Cy Youngs, and eight 20-win seasons. that’s probably why he gets more love than the Moose despite the similar numbers

      ERA+ might be identical, but I feel like a lot of writers don’t even know what that is, and just see 2.86 vs. 3.68

      • gxpanos says:

        None of what you said changes the fact that they are the same pitcher. Maybe Palmer had higher peaks and lower valleys (hence the Cy’s), played on better teams (which is true, and anyway it wasn’t Moose’s fault he doesnt have rings from ’01 and even ’03), and 20-win seasons are a dumb thing to consider (and show the higher peaks/lower valleys thing again, as well as a different era when pitchers threw more innings and got more decisions).

        • Dwnflfan says:

          Palmer also had one of the better defenses of all time playing behind him. If they had switched places my bet is that Mussina would’ve ended up with 300 wins, several 20 win seasons and a noticably better ERA+.

  4. Tim Marchman, writing for The Wall Street Journal, notes that two professors have come up with a formula which predicts the probability that the BBWAA votes a player into the HOF.

    DBHOF is gonna kill ALL THESE NERDS.

  5. Charlie says:

    cool, i’m guessing it doesnt factor in steroid usage, though

  6. Matt H. says:

    Formula’s boring, trades….love em.

    Bryan Hoch just tweeted that the Yanks appear to be closing a deal for Bronson Arroyo. It’s just being held up on home much of Bronson’s salary will be paid by the Reds…

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