The Experts’ Division
The voters for the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame’s Experts’ division failed to reach a consensus on who belongs in the Hall of Fame. The division is the territory of those whose pro playing careers have been over for 21 years and who have not coached or managed in the past six months.
The Experts’ Division panel of voters is made up of journalists who have covered baseball for 30 years, the journalists who manage but don’t vote in the Players’ division election, and living Hall of Famers. The candidates are still considered competitors by the Hall’s definition.
The outspoken Experts’ Division voter is Hall of Famer Tatsturo Hirooka. The former Giants shortstop and hard-ass manager last year said that virtually no one on either of the competitors division was worthy of induction. He said that while saying it was ridiculous that Atsushi Nagaike, who is still languishing in the Experts’ division ballot, was not already enshrined, an opinion I agree with.
Here’s a quick look at this year’s results. Despite being older than a lot of the guys who vote in the Experts’ division, I don’t get a vote there, so I have a little less vitriol for them.
Because a player will be removed permanently from his division’s ballot if he fails to get 3 percent of the voters to name him on a ballot, some worthy candidates are sometimes held off the ballot if organizers think news unrelated to their candidacies, such as scandal or legal trouble, would prevent them from receiving the necessary 3 percent.
Evaluating the current candidates
The Experts’ division is harder to evaluate because some of the guys on the ballot are there because they bolstered their profile by contributing as coaches, managers and executives.
Chief among those guys on the current ballot is Keiji Osawa, a fringe player, who three times took struggling teams and made them competitive. This guy is now the dean of the media analysts and will end up in the Hall sooner or later, either through this division or as a Special Committee selection.
An explanation of the numbers in the tables below can be found in HOF 2021 Day 2, so I won’t rehash it here. If I got four votes in this division, they would go to Masayuki Kakefu, Randy Bass, Taira Fujita, and then Nagaike. Fujita was back on the ballot this year, and people must really dislike him. Otherwise, I can’t account for his poor record in the voting.
|Name||Pos||2021||2020||Bat Eye||Career||5 Peak||3 Best|
|Name||2021||2020||P Eye||Career||5 Peak||3 Best|