Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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39 Responses

  1. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    Smoltz was deserving, but his credentials aren’t that different from Curt Schilling’s

    Yes but as his cousin you aren’t unbiased. He belongs, but maybe his obnoxiousness and recent financial difficulties are being held against him.

    The only slam-dunk player who becomes eligible next year is Ken Griffey, Jr

    Well the NL leader in saves will also be on the ballot for the first time, but the bias against relief pitchers means his election is no slam-dunk.Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    The whole process of election is strange to me, to be honest. One outa ten voters didn’t have Pedro on the ballot, which makes me wonder what criteria folks are using to make their decisions. And that fact the 3% of the ballots didn’t include Johnson is equally amazing, actually. I think those folks must strategically not vote for guys who appear to be a lock to pad the numbers on their preferred marginals.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater says:

      That seems plausible, but

      1. A lot of ballots don’t contain 10 votes.
      2. Historically, the most votes come for players who are extremely popular with writers and, mostly, white.

      Here are the top 10m by percentage:

      Tom Seaver 98.84%
      Nolan Ryan 98.79%
      Cal Ripken, Jr. 98.53%
      Ty Cobb 98.23%
      George Brett 98.19%
      Hank Aaron 97.83%
      Tony Gwynn 97.61%
      Greg Maddux 97.20%
      Mike Schmidt 96.52%
      Johnny Bench 96.42%

      Note that we still haven’t gotten to Willie Mays, at 94.68%. (Over 5% didn’t vote for Mays! And over 10% did’;t vote for Frank Robinson.) But we have the guys who were beloved by sportswriters: Nolan Ryan, who by the numbers wasn’t all that valuable but was all man, Cal RIpken Jr. of the streak, Tony Gwynn, who really was a gentleman and great ambassador for the game, Aaron the home run king.

      Basically, while some voters take the responsibility seriously, for others it’s a popularity contest, a way to reward friends and settle grudges, or just their vague impression of who was good.Report

    • Avatar Ken S in reply to Stillwater says:

      It’s hard to know what it means, but it has always been thus. No player has ever been elected to the Hall unanimously. Babe Ruth and Willie Mays were right around 95%. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider never broke 90%. Cy Young (you’ve probably heard of his award) never broke 80%.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Ken S says:

        Ty Cobb wanted to play, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Ken S says:

        In real life, Cobb met Shoeless Joe many years after Joe’s lifetime ban, at his liquor store. Joe didn’t show any signs of recognizing Cobb, so finally he said “Don’t you know me, Joe?” Joe replied “Sure, I know you, Ty, but I wasn’t sure you wanted to know me. A lot of them don’t.”Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Ken S says:

        That’s pity-inducing. Then again, as much as I have respect for his on the diamond achievements, I have difficulty mustering up a great deal of pity for Pete Rose. And what Jackson did was way worse than anything Rose did.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Ken S says:

        Yeah, I meant that more as a Ty Cobb story. We think of him as a monster because he’s carrying the weight for all the racists of his generation, and also because his official biographer was a lying sack of shit. As a young man, he had a violent temper and the unfortunate racial attitudes of his native Georgia, but he grew up, and became (as pretty much no one remembers) one of the early supporters of Jackie Robinson.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

      Some voters think that if Player X (usually Babe Ruth) didn’t get 100%, no one should and thus offer ‘protest votes’ and leave guys off the ballot, knowing they will still get in.

      This year in particular has presented difficulties because the ballot is overcrowded due to no one knowing how to handle the “Steroid Era”. Voters are limited to 10 selections. Should they see more than 10 deserving candidates, they might opt to leave a ‘lock’ off (e.g., Pedro) and use that space on their ballot for a guy with less of a chance. Especially since guys can fall off the ballot if they don’t get a certain minimum.

      Really… the idea of a “First Ballot Hall of Famer” never made sense to me. Either you are or you aren’t. And the trend of guys gaining more and more support always smelled fishy. How were you not a Hall of Famer 10 years ago but suddenly are today? I know that some of that can be supported by better analytical systems being developed, allowing us to better appreciate and understand the value of, say, Tim Raines* (who, criminally, is still not in). But let’s rectify that through some sort of separate re-evaluation committee.

      Just give guys one shot. You’ll hold voters’ feet to the fire but get more honest results. And then have a re-evaluation committee.

      * Raines stacks up even with “traditional numbers” but for whatever reason just can’t get enough love.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

        I suspect that Raines’s drug problems (recreational, not PED), are being held against him. (You’d think that, logically, that would be a plus. “Not only is he not juicing, he’s ruining his health with cocaine, and he can still bat .300. What an athlete!”) Raines also suffers from being the same age as Rickey Henderson, which means that he was the second-best at pretty much everything.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Being second to Ricky is nothing to feel shame about.

        I’m a little too young to know about Raines’ drug issues. I know I’ve heard it mentioned whenever he is discussed (but usually as a, “It’s why other people didn’t vote for him!”, rarely as a, “It’s why I didn’t vote for him!”). I believe that the instructions say something about off-field behavior and/or character (probably the latter) but given the Hall’s history, coming down on Raines’ for coke seems like a really silly place to draw a line. Dude was insanely good at baseball.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A song that mentions Piazza and San Francisco:


  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    My hypothetical ballot, in approximate order of deservedness…

    1. Bonds
    2. Clemens
    3. Johnson
    4. Pedro
    5. Biggio
    6. Piazza
    7. Bagwell
    8. Raines
    9. Trammel
    10. Schilling
    11. Mussina
    12. Smoltz

    I’d vote for the last two but technically would not be allowed to.

    Edgar, Sheffield, and Walker are three guys I’d need to think more about. They’d probably remain out as I’m more of a small-ish Hall guy.

    Why Clemens and Bonds but not McGwire or Sosa?

    Unless guys were found formally in violation of the rules, I consider any and everything they accomplished on the field in pursuit of helping their team to victory. I think all of these guys (and many, many, MANY others… including many existing HOFers) used some sort of performance enhancing drug at some point or another in their careers. But the former two — both before, during, and after when I suspect they most heavily used — contributed mightily to their teams’ success. The latter two? Not so much. Yes, they ripped a ton of homers. But the prevalence of homers during the time make that less valuable than their numbers might seem in a vacuum.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think all of these guys (and many, many, MANY others… including many existing HOFers) used some sort of performance enhancing drug at some point or another in their careers.

      Ehhh, no.

      I’d not vote for Bonds or Clemens, myself. As Mike Schilling has pointed out, tho, each of those guys (maybe his comment was only applicable to Bonds, now that I think about it) had HOF careers before they started juicing, so the issue gets muddled a bit on that score.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        Which point are you saying “no” to, @stillwater ? By the way, when I said “all”, I meant “all of those four”. Not everyone on the list. My apologies for that confusion. But I’m certain a vast number of current and past players used some form of PED, whether it was designer drugs, anabolics, or “greenies”.

        FWIW, I have no problem with people evaluating the “steroid era” differently than I. All I ask is for a consistent approach. People who want to look at Andy Pettitte differently than they do Roger Clemens because the former was perceived as a ‘nice guy’ and the latter was not is a real issue for me. But if you want to say “No” to everyone confirmed to have used, I wouldn’t object to that.

        I do object to applying the same standard to Bagwell and Piazza when no substantive proof has been offered of their use.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

        Yeah… I’m strongly anti-PED, but as you say both Bonds and Clemens would make it just on the portions of their careers when they weren’t (as far as we can guess) juicing. If I could vote them in, but invalidate their counting stats as records, I’d do that.

        Bagwell and Piazza I’m not convinced there was ever a time they weren’t juicing… but then, no conclusive evidence they were… so I’d give them a pass. Looking back on the era, there were so many weird injuries that seemed to pop out of nowhere to end careers… and such shocking turns of fortune, I just can’t separate performance from enhancement. Anything from ’93-’03 is just unreliable.

        Its not a “morality” thing for me… I think Rose should be in the hall. He might be banned from Managing or Coaching and/or not eligible for certain positions where he might influence the direction of a game… but HOF, yep. PEDs are a fundamental violation against weights and measures… and thus make one ineligible for the HOF which is based upon information determined by evenly calibrated weights and measures. It’s not a DEA infraction but a NIST infraction.

        Schilling has surprisingly good counting stats when you add them all up… he probably needed one more milestone stat other than 3000k to have been a real contender. Probably destined to the Hall of Really-Good.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


        The reason I go the other way is because I don’t know how or where to draw the line about which enhancement is acceptable and which is not.

        Working out enhances performance but surely no one would argue against taking advantage of it.
        Working with a personal trainer? A nutritionist? Hmmm… slightly more ‘unnatural’ to the individual but still seemingly inbounds.
        Supplements? Depends on which kind.
        LASIK? Well, now we are getting into the realm at what would have seemed like science fiction to the games’ founders.

        I’d be willing to listen to an true expert on the matter… one who could say, “Here is why this subset of substances is and should be evaluated differently.” The thing is, I haven’t really heard that yet. We mostly get pompous, sanctimonious sports writers pontificating out of their ass.

        If you take a “No drugs ever” approach, how do you rectify all the guys from the 70’s and 80’s who regularly used “greenies”/amphetamines? OR whatever shit Mantle used to address his pain? Is cortisone okay? Why?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        Athletes have been using performance enhancing substances since they were running around ancient Mesopotamia. It’s only recently that we’ve decided we’re going to have arbitrary exclusion criteria.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

        Yes, I don’ t suffer from your angst. There’s very clear evidence that taking a specific set of substances categorically changed one’s capabilities from journeyman to superman. It is the exact opposite of “getting an edge.” So I do believe that one can make rational and prudential assessments on these things, and that the game largely has… and the evidence is pretty clear that we have returned to a more natural curve in the evolution of the game.

        I think your equivocation is a category error against what the actual infraction is/was.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        There’s very clear evidence that taking a specific set of substances categorically changed one’s capabilities from journeyman to superman.

        Is there? I mean, in baseball, it doesn’t really help your hitting or pitching mechanics, does it? It’s not even clear, from what I can tell, that it can have that much of a direct effect on your power, much less your accuracy. So what’s it doing? Helping you heal faster, maybe making injuries less likely or common? Giving you more energy to work out longer or harder, say? That doesn’t seem like cheating; that seems like health care.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

        Well, then, if that is the source of your anxiety, you may vote for them with a clear conscience.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


        Please point to the evidence. If you want to make that argument, make that argument. But don’t imply that you could make that argument and then not make it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:


        It’s not even clear, from what I can tell, that it can have that much of a direct effect on your power, much less your accuracy.

        Interesting enough, this is pretty much exactly an argument Bonds made when he was accused of using steroids (well, the content anyway). He said something to the effect that PEDs increase bat speed and power and healing, but don’t improve hand-eye coordination.Report

  5. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    There is one player who isn’t being mentioned in the debate, despite getting 27.0% percent of the vote this year, and a high-water mark of 36.5% in 2012.

    This player is Edgar Martinez. Why does he belong? Because in 1995, he was a Yankee killer. He also was 11-for-19 lifetime against Mariano Rivera. This is the highest batting average against number 42 in his career and the highest batting average he had against any pitcher in his career (among opponents with at least 18 plate apperances).

    Yes, I understand that this form of reasoning is why people hate Yankee fans.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to ScarletNumbers says:

      That seemed weird, and I eventually realized why: this, from Joe Posnanski:

      Pedro Martinez called [Edgar] Martinez the toughest hitter he ever faced. Facts do not back this up; Edgar hit .120 with 0 homers, 0 RBIs and 11 strikeouts in 33 plate appearances against Pedro. But it was a nice thing for Pedro to say.

      You are familiar with the term “small sample”?Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Yes, but I wouldn’t necessarily call 11-for-19 a “small sample”. 2-for-3? Yes

        When I was a kid Posnanski wrote for Beckett Baseball Card Monthly while he was an undergrad at UNCC. In one article he ranked the top right fielders currently in baseball (as of 1987). One of them was Dave Parker. I remember this quote from way back when. Posnanski said of Parker’s years from 1980-1984: Off the field, he still looked like Dave Parker, but on the field he looked like Parker Stevenson.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Yes, but I wouldn’t necessarily call 11-for-19 a “small sample”.

        You should, It’s a few days worth of at-bats in decades-long careers.Report

  6. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    Keith Olbermann stating the following fact on his show today about Gil Hodges, which I found so unbelieveable that I had to look it up: when he retired he had the third most home runs of all time in MLB history among right-handed hitters.

    Foxx 534
    Mays 406 (and counting)
    Hodges 370Report

  7. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Barry Bonds, if he had retired instead of signing w/ the Giants, he would’ve had a higher WAR than 42 position players in the Hall.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      And if he’d retired after his injury-plagued 1999 season, instead of rehabbing by using the same stuff that had made two far inferior players the saviors of baseball, he would have had 103 WAR (3rd best among LFs), batted for a career .288/,409/.559, won 3 MVPs, 9 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers, 445 HRs, 460 SBs, and quite possibly not been considered a first-round hall-of-famer, since he didn’t hit .300, or reach 500 HR, 1500 RBI, or 3000 hits.Report

      • @mike-schilling I think you are being a bit melancholic here… I think there would have been an extremely good chance he’d have made the HOF on the first ballot even retiring in ’99/’00 with those numbers.

        But, we don’t have to assume he retires at age 34, just that his performance declines in relative proportion to his age. In fact, his 2006/7 years are probably the sort of years we would have seen (at a minimum). Excellent production in the range of OPS .900, OPS+ 160 and WAR 4.0… All-star caliber seasons, easily enough to permanently solidify his position as among the best of the best – ever.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American sportswriter.Report