I’m one week into my JAWS-flavored profiles of the 35 candidates on the BBWAA’s 2019 Hall of Fame ballot, and figured it would be worth laying out a tentative schedule for the series as well as providing a clearinghouse for a bit of business, including a very cool new feature that was put together by developer Sean Dolinar. That’s the sexy stuff, so let’s get to it first.
In the spirit of what we do with our annual free agent contract crowdsourcing, FanGraphs invites registered users to fill out their own virtual Hall of Fame ballots. You must be signed in to vote, and you may only vote once. To replicate the actual voting process, you may vote for anywhere from zero to 10 players; ballots with more than 10 won’t be counted. You may change your ballot until the deadline, which is December 31, 2018, the same as that of the actual BBWAA voters, who have to schlep their paper ballot to the mailbox.
The ballot is here and contains all 35 candidates. There are no write-ins, for those of you fixated on Pete Rose. I’ll write up the crowdsourcing results sometime in early January, when we’re all jonesing for Hall news in advance of the announcement of the official results on January 22.
As for the schedule, here it is below, broken into five-day weeks, as we’re not planning to publish these on weekends. Please keep in mind that the schedule is tentative and subject to change, particularly when it comes to the new profiles (denoted with asterisks), which take time to do justice. There’s also the chance that I’ll want to weigh in on current events, which is still part of my job here (hence the all-rerun week coinciding with the Winter Meetings).
Dec. 31: My Virtual Ballot
Jan. 1: Happy New Year
Jan. 2: One-and-Dones, Part 2
Jan. 3: One-and-Dones, Part 3
As for those One-and-Dones — the candidates with no real shot at election or even making it to next year’s ballot — since I started the JAWS project with the 2004 ballot, I’ve covered every single BBWAA candidate, at least in brief, and I’m not about to miss any now. It used to be that I wrote up every candidate within 20 JAWS points of the standard, but in recent years I’ve made exceptions due to scheduling, and this year is tight enough that I may have to do so again.
Finally, some thanks are due. First, to my former colleagues at Sports Illustrated — namely SI editorial director Chris Stone, assistant managing editor Stefanie Kaufman, and SI.com managing editor Ryan Hunt — who worked with us to find a satisfactory solution that allowed me to continue revising profiles written during my Sports Illustrated tenure (they still own the copyright). Second, to the aforementioned Mr. Dolinar for putting together the crowdsource ballot and carving out some real estate for Hall stuff on the FanGraphs home page, and David Appelman for accommodating all of this. And finally, to our new managing editor Meg Rowley, who’s charged with the task of wrangling this series of epic posts while dealing with my excessive quantity of em-dashes, liberal use of semicolons, and wavering commitment to serial commas. Cheers all around!
Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe.