Dubuque: Why do Hall of Fame voters love relievers?

From Patrick Dubuque at Baseball Prospectus on January 19, 2017:

As the public ballots have run past our vision like newspapers off the press in the montage of an 80s movie, there’s one trend that catches the eye: the Lee Smith/Trevor Hoffman combination. Seventy-two voters as of this writing have publicly given a final show of support for Lee Smith, former saves record-holder. And 68 of those spent a second vote on the man who surpassed him, Trevor Hoffman.

This equals the amount who also voted for Tim Raines, who has better than 15 percent more support overall and exceeds the 63 votes for Jeff Bagwell, the other clear winner from this year’s class. Forget that in terms of specialization, they put designated hitters to shame: People who like closers really, really want there to be more closers in the Hall of Fame.

One could argue that Smith’s waning support comes from a shift in the electorate, or alternately that he’s been the victim of the 10-man limit. One could also argue, just as easily, that if not for the 15-year rule he’d be getting the same 30-40 percent until the fall of civilization.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30996

Originally published: January 19, 2017. Last Updated: January 19, 2017.