The Rotisserie Hall of Fame – A Reboot

In the earlier part of this decade, I embarked on a pet project to create a Baseball Hall of Fame based solely on fantasy league merit.

This is different from the BBWAA process that leads to a plaque in Cooperstown. The BBWAA awards reverence based on objective performance criteria, but also subjective criteria like “character.” They tell us that the only thing that matters is wins and losses, but then they evaluate careers based on character? I hate having to evaluate character.

Fantasy baseball is only about the stats, so we shouldn’t really care about bad behavior so long as a player helps us win our leagues. Admit it, it’s true.

So I started this Rotisserie Hall of Fame that awards distinction based on stats and stats alone. Players make the cut if their career numbers clear some bars based on average annual Rotisserie dollar earnings, average peak period earnings and number of times ranked within the top 15 batters or pitchers in a given year. Starting in the Rotisserie era (circa 1980), we’ve inducted about 100 players so far and have been adding 3-5 new players each year.

But as I scanned the list, I realized that some of the inductees didn’t pass the smell test. Although I battle-tested the criteria when this exercise first started, there were some lesser players who have snuck in. Sure, maybe you can make a case for a Frank Viola or a Robb Nen, but really not when compared to a Johan Santana or a Billy Wagner. And yes, no system is going to be perfect, but it turned out that just some small tweaks could clean things up.

So, the new criteria for induction into the Roto Hall are:

BATTERS must meet all of these criteria:

  • Minimum of 10 seasons in the Majors.
  • Career earnings of at least $250.
  • Minimum of $20 average annual earnings over the course of his career.
  • Minimum of $25 average annual earnings during his peak 10 years.
  • Ranked among the annual top 15 of all batters at least once.

 PITCHERS must meet all of these criteria:

  • Minimum of 10 seasons in the Majors.
  • Career earnings of at least $200.
  • Minimum of $15 average annual earnings over the course of his career.
  • Minimum of $20 average annual earnings during his peak 7 years.
  • Ranked among the annual top 15 of all pitchers at least once.

What changed? I added the career earnings piece and forced candidates to meet all the criteria (rather than just some).

There is one exception to the above list. If a player falls no more than $1 short on one earnings benchmark but has a lifetime level of $300 or more, they get a pass and gain entry. Clearing the $300 bar is a big deal. Frankly, I added this because I could not see keeping players like Tom Glavine, Barry Larkin and Jim Thome out of the Hall. All three were $300-plus earners who fell a dollar short on annual earnings, but exceeded the benchmarks everywhere else.

The fallout from transitioning to these new criteria was the removal of 10 previous Roto Hall-of-Famers from the rolls. The following players were removed for falling short of the $250 (batters) or $200 (pitchers) thresholds: Cliff Lee, Joe Nathan, Robb Nen, Roy Oswalt, Fernando Valenzuela, Frank Viola and John Wetteland. The following three players fell short on one criteria but also fell short of $300 lifetime earnings: Eric Davis, Orel Hershiser and Bret Saberhagen. Davis actually earned $291, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

Here are the revised lists of Rotisserie Hall of Famers

PDF | Excel (so you can have fun sorting)

Inaugural Class: These 22 players began their careers before the beginning of the Rotisserie Era (1984-) but amassed most of their value during the 1980s. They are evaluated for induction based on their average annual earnings, peak earnings and Top 15 ranking only during the post-1980 period of their respective careers.

Gold Class: This is an elite group of inductees who have spent their entire careers during the Rotisserie Era and far exceeded the induction criteria. There are currently only nine players in the group that meets all these criteria:

BATTERS

  • Minimum of 15 years in the Majors.
  • Minimum of $25 average annual earnings over the course of his career.
  • Minimum of $30 average annual earnings during his peak 10 years.
  • Must have finished ranked among the annual top 15 of all batters at least 5 times.

PITCHERS

  • Minimum of 15 years in the Majors.
  • Minimum of $20 average annual earnings over the course of his career.
  • Minimum of $25 average annual earnings during his peak 7 years.
  • Must have finished ranked among the annual top 15 of all pitchers at least 5 times

Everyone Else: These are the rest of the players in the Roto Hall, sorted by lifetime earnings.

Five new inductees into the Hall will be announced next month.

5 thoughts on “The Rotisserie Hall of Fame – A Reboot

  1. Chris Mitchell

    Interesting that with the new changes you only eliminated 1 hitter.

    Could you include the info for the 10 removed players.
    Saberhagen and Wetteland feel like fantasy HoF’ers.

    A fun look at history as someone who has played fantasy baseball since 1987.

    1. shandler Post author
      							Peak Season	Career
      CUTS		yrs	Avg	Pk	T15	Consec  $$	Year	$$
      Davis,Eric	17	$18	$27	4	4	$43	1986	$291
      Hershiser,O	18	$12	$20	4	3	$30	1988	$213
      Lee,Cliff	13	$14	$22	4	2	$33	2011	$180
      Nathan,Joe	16	$12	$22	5	3	$26	2006	$191
      Nen,Robb	10	$17	$17	4	1	$27	1998	$170
      Oswalt,Roy	13	$15	$22	5	3	$26	05, 06	$195
      Saberhagen,B	16	$13	$22	4	1	$33	1989	$213
      Valenzuela,F	17	$11	$23	5	3	$34	1981	$182
      Viola,Frank	15	$10	$20	4	2	$28	1990	$174
      Wetteland,J	12	$16	$21	2	2	$30	1993	$186
  2. Chris Mitchell

    As a side note, it is a crime that Dale Murphy is not in Cooperstown.

    I am a lifelong Dodgers fan and in the 80’s he was the most feared hitter in the NL and as my memory ages it feels like he owned LA.

    1. Merv

      With all due respect to the Murph, he was a class act and put up good numbers, but nowhere near HOF material. .265 avg, barely 2000 hits and not even 400 HRs. He was great for about a 7 year period, but tallied off badly at age 32. If he was close, I’d give it to him on his squeaky clean reputation, but not close in my opinion.

  3. Kurt Read

    Thanks for this Ron. Always fun to play around with sorts. Living in both Boston and Dallas over the years gave me the opportunity to watch both Raffy Palmiero and Dwight Evans, both in the the top 15 sorted by average roto $ earnings. I was a huge fan of Evans growing up and hoped that one day he might make the HOF.

Leave a Reply

Menu Title