The Case of the Missing Votes – Solved!

Murray Chass wonders why so many players who received Hall of Fame votes last year saw their vote totals drop this year:

How does a writer put an ‘x’ in the box next to a player’s name last year, silently saying he belongs in the Hall, and then this year declaring with an empty box this player was not a Hall of Famer?

He then documents vote drops for Lee Smith and 15 other players. Yet Chass misses what is probably the biggest cause: the limit that voters can choose only 10 players.

To test this theory, I took a look at the data leokitty collected on public ballots for 2013 and 2014. For each writer in that dataset who voted both years, I counted the players who were dropped, and the players who were added. I matched 126 voters in both years in her data, 91 of whom dropped at least one player from their 2014 ballot. 74 of those voters used all 10 slots on their 2014 ballot, which means that they did not have room for any of the players they dropped. Two of the four voters using 9 slots dropped more than one player, so while they might have kept one vote from the prior year, they didn’t have room for all of them. And three of the four voters who used 8 slots had dropped more than two players. So just 12 voters in the public sample who dropped players had room to vote for all those they voted for last year.

As Lewie Pollis has shown, voters who make their ballots public do act somewhat differently than those whose ballots are private. Still, these 126 voters are 22% of all voters. In this sample, 87% of voters who dropped a player didn’t have room for all the players they voted for last year, and 81% of them didn’t have room for any of the dropped players because of the 10 player limit.

Of the 91 ballots which dropped a player, a total of 244 players were dropped, but 359 players were added. The ballots that dropped players had only 35 total empty spots, so thre wasn’t any room for 209 of the 244 players dropped (86%). Not surprisingly Greg Maddux was added by all 91 voters who dropped someone, while Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were added by 86 voters each. Alan Trammell was the player most often dropped, by 28 voters, followed by Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez (22 each).

My full data is after the jump.

Voter Num Dropped Added
Adam Rubin 10 Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Andrew Baggarly 10 Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Barry Bloom 10 Mark McGwire, Alan Trammell, Rafael Palmeiro, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Jeff Bagwell, Tom Glavine
Barry Rozner 10 Mike Piazza Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Jack Morris, Tom Glavine
Barry Stanton 8 Alan Trammell, Mike Piazza, Bernie Williams, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Bill Windler 10 Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Bob Elliot 10 Craig Biggio, Alan Trammell, Mike Piazza, Dale Murphy Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Bob Herzog 10 Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Bob Klapisch 10 Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Bob Nightengale 10 Alan Trammell, Rafael Palmeiro, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Bob Sansevere 10 Mark McGwire, Craig Biggio, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Brendan Roberts 10 Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Bruce Miles 10 Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Buster Olney 10 Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Carl Steward 10 Mark McGwire, Alan Trammell, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Charley Waters 6 Jeff Bagwell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux
Chaz Scoggins 10 Tim Raines, Dale Murphy, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Chris Haft 10 Edgar Martinez, Dale Murphy Alan Trammell, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Dan Graziano 8 Alan Trammell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Dan Shaughnessy 5 Alan Trammell, Tim Raines Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Dave Perkins 10 Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Rafael Palmeiro Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
David Lennon 10 Jack Morris Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Evan Grant 10 Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Dale Murphy, Lee Smith, Jack Morris Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Gene Myers 10 Mike Piazza, Dale Murphy, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Gerry Fraley 10 Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez, Lee Smith, Larry Walker Alan Trammell, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Gordon Edes 10 Craig Biggio, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Tom Glavine
Hal Bodley 4 Craig Biggio, Fred McGriff Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Henry Schulman 10 Dale Murphy, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Jack Morris Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Howard Bryant 4 Jeff Bagwell, Sandy Alomar Jr Frank Thomas, Jack Morris, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Ian O’Connor 10 Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux
Jack Curry 10 Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Jack Magruder 10 Alan Trammell, Tim Raines Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux
Jack McCaffery 9 Alan Trammell, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Jay Dunn 10 Alan Trammell, Bernie Williams, Jack Morris Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Lee Smith, Tom Glavine
Jayson Stark 10 Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Dale Murphy, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Jeff Blair 9 Larry Walker Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Tom Glavine
Jeff Fletcher 10 Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Jerry Crasnick 10 Barry Bonds, Fred McGriff, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Dale Murphy, Jack Morris Frank Thomas, Tim Raines, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Jerry Green 10 Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez, Greg Maddux, Lee Smith, Tom Glavine
Jim Caple 10 Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Jim Ingraham 10 Kenny Lofton Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Joe Christensen 10 Mark McGwire, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Joe Henderson 10 Edgar Martinez Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Tom Glavine
Joe Posnanski 10 Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
John Delcos 10 Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
John Perrotto 10 Alan Trammell, Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Palmeiro Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
John Shea 10 Alan Trammell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Jack Morris, Tom Glavine
John Tomase 10 Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Dale Murphy Mark McGwire, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Jon Becker 10 Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Jon Heyman 10 Dale Murphy Craig Biggio, Alan Trammell, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Jose de Jesus Ortiz 10 Tim Raines, Dale Murphy, Lee Smith, Jack Morris, Sammy Sosa Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Juan C Rodriguez 10 Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Ken Davidoff 10 Craig Biggio, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Kenny Lofton Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Ken Rosenthal 10 Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, Fred McGriff Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Kirby Arnold 10 Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Larry Stone 10 Alan Trammell, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Lyle Spencer 10 Dale Murphy Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Lynn Henning 10 Edgar Martinez Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Marc Maturo 10 Rafael Palmeiro, Dale Murphy Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Mark Hale 10 Mark McGwire, Edgar Martinez, Kenny Lofton, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Mark Purdy 4 Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza Frank Thomas, Lee Smith, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Mark Saxon 10 Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Mike Hart 8 Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Tom Glavine
Mike Imrem 10 Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Kenny Lofton Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Mike Lefkow 10 Rafael Palmeiro Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Mike Shalin 10 Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Monte Poole 10 Mike Piazza Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Nick Cafardo 10 Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Pete Abraham 10 Alan Trammell, Barry Bonds Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Peter Botte 10 Edgar Martinez Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Peter Gammons 10 Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Peter Pascarelli 9 Alan Trammell Frank Thomas, Tim Raines, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Richard Justice 10 Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Dale Murphy Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Rob Biertempfel 6 Curt Schilling, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Roch Kubatko 10 Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Roger Mooney 10 Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Scott Miller 10 Dale Murphy Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine
Steve Buckley 10 Fred McGriff Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Steven Goldman 10 Fred McGriff, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Tom Glavine
Steven Marcus 3 Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux
TR Sullivan 10 Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Sammy Sosa Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Terrence Moore 5 Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza Frank Thomas, Fred McGriff, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Tim Brown 10 Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Tim Cowlishaw 10 Mark McGwire Craig Biggio, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux
Tim Kawakami 10 Dale Murphy Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Tim Kurkijan 10 Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Tom Haudricourt 9 Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Tom Powers 4 Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux
Tom Singer 8 Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Larry Walker Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine
Tracy Ringolsby 10 Tim Raines, Dale Murphy Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Troy Renck 10 Jack Morris Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine
Added Player
91 Greg Maddux
86 Tom Glavine
86 Frank Thomas
28 Mike Mussina
17 Jeff Kent
9 Mike Piazza
7 Craig Biggio
7 Jack Morris
5 Curt Schilling
4 Jeff Bagwell
4 Lee Smith
3 Alan Trammell
3 Tim Raines
2 Barry Bonds
2 Roger Clemens
2 Mark McGwire
2 Edgar Martinez
1 Fred McGriff
Dropped Player
28 Alan Trammell
22 Lee Smith
22 Edgar Martinez
20 Dale Murphy
18 Jeff Bagwell
17 Tim Raines
12 Curt Schilling
12 Larry Walker
12 Mike Piazza
11 Sammy Sosa
10 Craig Biggio
9 Barry Bonds
9 Roger Clemens
9 Fred McGriff
9 Jack Morris
8 Rafael Palmeiro
8 Mark McGwire
4 Kenny Lofton
2 Bernie Williams
1 Sandy Alomar Jr
1 Don Mattingly

About Geoff

Dad, hacker, fantasy sports entrepreneur.
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