The debate about baseball's Hall of Fame is starting to become a lot more about the voters than the players, so we decided to change the conversation and get away from character clauses, who might have taken PEDs and what impact those PEDs might have had.
Simply put, we asked our panel of experts to rank the top 100 players in history based entirely on performance on the field.
Unlike the Hall of Fame debates, which tend to focus on steroids or players on the fringe, we decided to create a body where the discussion would have nothing to do with drugs and be more about debating Mantle vs. Mays as opposed to Rice vs. Dawson.
Ranking the top 100 players in baseball history is no easy feat, and including active players -- which we did -- adds another layer of complication. In order to figure out which active players to include, we decided to build our ballot based on statistics and asked voters to go from there.
• When we first created the Hall of 100, in 2013, we had our panelists vote on every player in baseball history who met the following criteria: In the Hall of Fame, on the ballot, or among the top 150 hitters or pitchers in greatness above replacement (GAR) -- a combination of career and peak wins above replacement. While the metric is not perfect, a ballot based on Baseball Reference's WAR leaders with more than 300 names that includes every Hall of Famer is not going to leave off anyone in the discussion of the top 100 players of all time. (GAR is a metric developed by Dan Szymborski, and you can read more about it if you scroll to the bottom.)
• For this year -- and all years going forward -- we only asked our panelists to vote on active players who ranked in the top 150 as a pitcher or a hitter, and you can see the 17 names who qualified for this year's ballot, as well as the results, by clicking here. Unlike the Hall of Fame, we don't want to judge retired players year after year, so we will only vote on those who are still playing. And yes, the ranking for active players will change from year to year, depending on how they perform.
• We asked our panel of 30-plus experts -- including Jayson Stark, David Schoenfield, Tim Kurkjian and Jerry Crasnick -- to give each player a score of zero to 100.
0-20: A fine player, but he should not be in the discussion of the top 100 of all time
21-40: Great, but not great enough
41-60: I can live with him being in the top 100, but I don't agree
61-80: Definitely a case for the 100
81-100: This person is definitely in the top 100
• When grading active players, we asked them to grade based on how you would if their career ended today. (We plan to revisit this in years to come yet will keep the body limited to 100. So if someone moves in, everyone gets bumped down and possibly out.)
• We asked them to judge these players based purely on their on-field performance and only consider their performance in MLB. And because we based our ballot purely on stats in the American League or National League, we did not consider players who only played abroad or in the Negro Leagues.