Thanks to your input, the Deadspin HOF vote—revealed earlier this month—was generally agreed to be pretty decent. That might be letting some of you off the hook a little easy, though. We've given MVP voters plenty of crap for their homer votes; who, among our readership, turned out to be the biggest homers in our HOF election?
As it turns out, Poll Daddy recorded the IP addresses of every reader who participated. Surprise! We ran these IPs through a geocoder to convert them to latitude and longitude (just a rough estimate, chill)*, mapped them out to see which votes were cast from which cities, and then calculated the voting boost that the HOF candidates received in cities in which they played. In case you can't tell from the timing of this post, this took longer than we expected.
An example: 96 percent of readers in the greater Seattle area voted "yes" on lifetime Mariner Edgar Martinez, compared to just 68 percent of readers outside of Seattle**, giving Martinez a "homer vote" of +28 percentage points. You can take a look at the results here; I only looked at cities in which the candidate played for at least four seasons. (Players that received near-universal support nationwide have shitty "homer" scores, so don't take it too hard, Greg Maddux.)
The maps below show the homer vote each player got from their home cities:
In bittersweet fashion, our Montreal readers were the biggest homers, narrowly beating out Detroit. Here are the nine players who got a homer voting bump of at least 20 percentage points:
- Larry Walker, Montreal: +43 percentage points (83.8 percent in Montreal, 40.6 percent out)
- Alan Trammel, Detroit: +39 points (76.7 percent in, 37.9 percent out)
- Tim Raines, Montreal: +34 points (91.7 percent in, 57.4 percent out)
- Jack Morris, Detroit: +31 points (72.5 percent in, 41.2 percent out)
- Moises Alou, Montreal: +29 points (45.2 percent in, 16.4 percent out)
- Edgar Martinez, Seattle: +28 points (96.1 percent in, 68.2 percent out)
- Lee Smith, St. Louis: +21 points (54.1 percent in, 33.0 percent out)
- Jeff Bagwell, Houston: +20 points (86.6 percent in, 66.2 percent out)
- Sean Casey, Cincinnati: +20 points (25.3 percent in, 5.3 percent out)
Raines—the Expos career leader in runs, walks, and stolen bases—carried Montreal through the '80s, while Walker and Alou anchored the early '90s squad that went 255-183 (.582) from 1992-94 before everything went to shit. Trammell and Morris were both long-time Tigers and serious HOF candidates nearing the end of their 15 years on the ballot; Detroit should be more ashamed of giving +13 points to Todd Jones. Cincinnati homers get an honorable mention for giving +20 points to the forgettable Sean Casey.
On thing we found, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that large cities with multiple teams were less likely to coalesce around individual players. New York actually had three hometown players—Mattingly, Glavine, and Clemens—perform worse within the city than outside of it. Mattingly caught us off guard; the lifelong Yankee got 51.3 percent in our poll compared to just 8.2 percent in the final HOF tally, which we attributed to our large New York readership. Chicago, SF/Oakland, and LA/Anaheim were similarly split.
All of this is the wisdom of the crowd at work—when a lot of people vote on a thing, favoritism tends to get averaged out. A single BBWAA voter was able to leave his bullshit mark with a vote for Jacque Jones, but—in our poll—Minneapolis was only able to muster 19.6 percent for the Twins outfielder. Lee Smith got 171 BBWAA votes, but, despite a big boost from St. Louis, he only got 33 percent in our poll.
Neither player got the Deadspin vote, as neither should have. In fact, only two players on that top 10 homer vote list—Edgar Martinez and Jeff Bagwell—made the Deadspin ballot, and they didn't need Seattle or Houston's help. Fan voting has its faults—just look at Kobe Bryant and the NBA All-Star game—but, more often than not, it turns out you can trust the wisdom of the crowd.
** I wanted urban areas that were as broad as possible without overlapping, so I used combined statistical areas when possible, and narrower metro areas when necessary. None of the 36 candidates played four seasons in San Diego, Miami, Kansas City, or Washington.