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2010s All-Decade Team + HOF Monitor Updates

12th May 2020

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010s All-Decade Team was announced a while back, and Pro Football Reference now lists the team in its Awards section, as well as in the Awards table on player pages for those who were selected. This year's All-Decade team had the peculiarity of being released without a first-team/second-team distinction, the first time that's happened since the 1960s All-Decade team. With that, our Hall of Fame Monitor also made a small change to its methodology to accommodate this; you can read the formula used for that here.

Here's a look at some of the more interesting impacts All-Decade selections might have on Hall of Fame cases:

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore were already on their way to Canton, but All-Decade selections greatly help LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch and Darren Sproles' future cases. McCoy's HOFm score is now at 80.76, moving him ahead of current top eligible RB Roger Craig. Lynch's score is now 68.94, which puts him just below the lowest-scoring HOFers who played in the 1980s or later. Sproles took a major jump to 64.4 thanks to making the All-Decade team on offense and special teams, and now finds himself in the range of borderliners Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander.

Wide Receiver: This position is a little more scattered in terms of predicting who ends up making it in, but Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown will appreciate having their names in here. Considering his off-the-field meltdown, Brown is the strangest HOF case, but on paper his HOFm score is now at 89.12, which puts him right next to HOFer Art Monk and within sniffing distance of Michael Irvin.

Offensive Line: Jason Peters gets a healthy boost as he approaches the end of his career, his new HOFm score putting him inbetween HOFers Rayfield Wright and Orlando Pace, as well as right next to perennial finalist Tony Boselli. Jahri Evans and Marshal Yanda also got elevated into the mix of HOF guards with this selection.

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell gets some help for his HOF case with this selection, putting himself in the range of the highest borderline defensive ends like L.C. Greenwood and Neil Smith.

We hope you enjoy this addition and use it as a reference in friendly debates to come. Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Features, Hall of Fame, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com | No Comments »

Introducing the PFR HOF Monitor

19th December 2019

Baseball-Reference tracks various Hall of Fame predictor statistics such as Bill James' Hall of Fame Monitor and Jay Jaffe's WAR Score System. Basketball Reference also has a Hall of Fame Probability formula that we display on player pages and gives people a brief glance at where players stand based on their statistical case.

With the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020 being debated this winter, we figured it was time to work up a Hall of Fame predicting formula for the NFL. We have devised a new HOF Monitor metric that we are deploying for Pro Football Reference beginning today! Here's a link to the quarterback HOF Monitor page, which also includes links to the other positions. Links to these tables will also appear under the Leaderboards and Awards section of player pages.

The base formula uses weighted Approximate Value (which is 100% of the player's peak year, 95% of their second-best year, 90% of their third-best, and so on) as a starting point. Bonuses are added for Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade selections, MVP awards, Defensive Player of the Year awards, first-team AP All-Pro selections, Super Bowls/titles, and Pro Bowls, in descending weights.

In addition, bonuses are added if a player has earned first-team All-Pro in over 33% of their seasons. This reflects the reputation boost afforded to players who led the league in short careers like Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis. For players not yet inducted, small bonuses are also added for semi-finalist and finalist appearances on previous HOF ballots, since that indicates that they've already been seriously considered.

On top of the base formula, there are statistical bonuses given depending on the position. For quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends there are different thresholds depending on the era they played in so as to narrow the gap between the depressed passing stats before 1980 and the explosion after that. For the full methodology, check out our PFR HOF Monitor explainer page here.

Similar to JAWS, a score of 100 is around the average modern-era HOF inductee for each position. All eligible players with a score over 120 got into the Hall of Fame fairly quickly, save for a few exceptions such as Willie Wood. A score of 150 would be a first ballot lock (sole exception of Alan Page who had to wait a year).

A score of 80 or above means they're a good candidate to eventually get in, or they’re the highest-profile borderline candidates. The absolute lowest score for HOF inductees would be 40, although most of these lower scoring Hall of Famers are courtesy of senior committee selections.

To get a sense of what absolute HOF locks look like in this system, here's a look at the highest HOFm scores:

Player Pos HOFm
Jerry Rice WR 311.81
Peyton Manning QB 258.00
Reggie White DE 238.23
Tom Brady QB 225.94
Lawrence Taylor OLB 215.68
Walter Payton RB 214.91
Bruce Smith DE 211.35
Ray Lewis ILB 197.85
Tony Gonzalez TE 196.33
Jim Brown RB 190.29

As for the Centennial Class of 2020, here's how the HOF Monitor judged the modern-era semifinalists on the ballot, with this year's inductees marked with an asterisk:

Player Pos HOFm
Alan Faneca G 141.93
Steve Hutchinson* G 118.53
Zach Thomas ILB 112.20
Reggie Wayne WR 107.01
Torry Holt WR 104.27
Isaac Bruce* WR 99.81
Edgerrin James* RB 99.58
Richard Seymour DE 96.65
Troy Polamalu* DB 95.73
Patrick Willis ILB 89.60
Leroy Butler DB 89.28
Steve Atwater* DB 85.13
Tony Boselli T 84.83
Ronde Barber DB 83.58
Hines Ward WR 72.90
John Lynch DB 71.30
Bryant Young DT 65.43
Ricky Watters RB 64.77
Darren Woodson DB 60.53
Sam Mills ILB 57.33
Simeon Rice DE 53.35
Clay Matthews OLB 52.30
Fred Taylor RB 52.13
Carl Banks OLB 51.50
Steve Tasker WR/ST 14.88

We want to stress that this is especially meant to judge a player's chances of getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and not necessarily for "who is the best middle linebacker" debates. Many analysts agree that championships won reveal little to nothing about a player's individual skill, but it's certainly a factor that's taken into consideration by Hall of Fame voters. With that caveat out of the way, we're eager to hear feedback on the formula. Particularly, if you're interested in testing out your own tweaks, feel free to reach out to us via our feedback form and we can share the player data used to test out this system.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Features, General, Hall of Fame, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 24 Comments »

The 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot is Going to Be Lit

26th January 2017

While the National Baseball Hall of Fame voters didn't agree that there were at least 12 candidates worthy of election this year, they did go ahead and vote in three very deserving candidates. It will be beyond thrilling to watch Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez, three of the greatest to ever play the game, take their rightful places in Cooperstown this summer.

However, time marches onward and, with this year's voting in the books, it seems like a good time for an early peek at what lies ahead for voters. In short, it looks like the 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot is going to be as exciting, unpredictable, and infuriating as the 2017 voting. I don't envy the voters who face another agonizing year of paring a list of many worthy candidates down to just ten or fewer. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Hall of Fame | 7 Comments »

The 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 3

13th January 2017

Welcome to Part Three of our look at the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot. If you're just joining us, make sure to go back and read Part One, which was about the 13 players that I think are easy Nos, and Part Two, about four players who were automatic Yes votes.

In our final installment, we'll be getting into the real meat of the issue. There are 17 players left to review and, with a few exceptions, all of them are plausible Hall of Famers. However, they all have flaws that could keep them out for a couple of years, or perhaps permanently. If you've been waiting for takes on DHs, closers, Coors Field, and more, this is the part for you. So let's dig in. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Hall of Fame | 11 Comments »

The 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 2

12th January 2017

Welcome to Part Two of our look at the Hall of Fame Ballot! If you missed Part One, detailing 13 players on this year's ballot who were easy Nos, click here to read it.

For today's post, I get to do something a lot more fun: talk about four people who ruled at baseball. If, when all is said and done, these people aren't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, we should probably change the name to something else. And yet, all of them have been on the ballot for multiple years. In fact, part of the reason this year's Hall of Fame ballot is so loaded is that these four are still hanging around.

So, without further ado, here are the four players who would absolutely, no-doubt get a vote from me if I had one to give. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Hall of Fame | 3 Comments »

The 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

11th January 2017

One of my favorite things about baseball is how relaxing I find the game. The gentle rhythm and deliberate pace make it perfect for unwinding after a long summer day. In fact, only two baseball things really get me riled up. One is when my favorite team plays postseason baseball, at which point the game transforms into a stomach-churning three hour descent into a nightmare realm where nothing makes sense. The other is the Baseball Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Hall of Fame | 5 Comments »

Inside the (Underrated?) Hall of Fame Class of 2016

4th August 2016

There's no shortage of big names in the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class, as legends like Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison, and Tony Dungy head to Canton. But despite the star power, statistically and historically, this year's crop of Hall of Famers can seem a little lacking.

Favre's best season was 60th all-time in passing yards, behind predecessors like Dan Marino, contemporaries like Drew Bledsoe, and, of course, the next generation of star quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Harrison's game lacked the electricity of Randy Moss or the showmanship of Terrell Owens. Dungy always seemed to be outfoxed by his rival, Bill Belichick. Since 1990, 40 defensive players have made more All-Pro First Teams than Kevin Greene.

The game has changed at such a rapid pace that it's diminished some of the raw statistics by this year's Hall of Fame class. But make no mistake, these are some of the greatest players of all-time. Perhaps even better than you remember. Let's take a look. Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Hall of Fame, Pro-Football-Reference.com | Comments Off on Inside the (Underrated?) Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Remembering Mike Piazza’s 8 Amazing Days with the Florida Marlins

21st July 2016

With the announcement of Mike Piazza's induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame, everyone's attention turned to one question: What logo would appear on Piazza's cap on his plaque? Would he select the team that famously drafted him in the 62nd round, the Los Angeles Dodgers? Or would it be the team he went to in 1998 and led to the 2000 World Series, the New York Mets?

One team that likely did not receive consideration: the then-Florida Marlins. While the idea of Piazza wearing a Marlins logo in the Hall may seem as outlandish as him in a Braves or Phillies cap, it wasn't totally out of the realm of possibility. That's because, for eight glorious days in 1998, Mike Piazza was a member of the Marlins, playing 5 games before moving on to the Mets. Though it's now a largely forgotten mini-chapter in his Hall of Fame career, Piazza may never have been a Met were it not for the Marlins.  Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Hall of Fame | 3 Comments »

The Hall of Fame Hunger Games

24th July 2015

Over the course of their Major League careers, Craig Biggio, Randy JohnsonPedro Martinez, and John Smoltz were involved in over 55,000 plate appearances spread over most of three decades. Today, to join in this weekend's festivities, we're going to look at 228 of those -- the rare moments in baseball history where two members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 saw their careers intersect.

Craig Biggio vs John Smoltz

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1989 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
1990 10 10 6 1 0 0 1 0 1 .600 .600 .700 1.300 0 0 0 0 1
1991 14 12 2 0 0 1 1 2 2 .167 .286 .417 .702 0 0 0 0 0
1992 19 16 3 0 0 0 0 2 5 .188 .316 .188 .503 0 0 0 1 0
1993 11 9 1 0 0 1 2 1 1 .111 .182 .444 .626 0 1 0 0 0
1994 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .667 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
1995 12 11 1 0 0 0 1 1 6 .091 .167 .091 .258 0 0 0 0 0
1996 14 14 4 1 0 0 2 0 1 .286 .286 .357 .643 0 0 0 0 0
1997 11 11 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .273 .273 .273 .545 0 0 0 0 0
1998 10 7 2 0 0 0 0 3 3 .286 .500 .286 .786 0 0 0 0 0
1999 4 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
2002 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0 0 0
2003 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
2004 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
2005 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Post 1997 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Post 1999 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Post 2004 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Post 2005 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0 0 0
RegSeason 115 104 27 3 0 2 7 9 26 .260 .322 .346 .668 0 1 0 1 1
with Post 128 117 28 3 0 2 7 9 29 .239 .297 .316 .613 0 1 0 1 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2015.

 

When John Smoltz and Craig Biggio made their Major League debuts in 1988, the Braves and Astros were still in the same division and both were on the precipice of long runs of relevance. As a result, these two squared off a lot. John Smoltz was Craig Biggio's 2nd most-faced pitcher, behind Greg Maddux, but he was the hitter that Smoltz saw the most of. Unlike Maddux, against whom Biggio battled as evenly as one could reasonably expect to battle Greg Maddux, Smoltz got the slight upper hand. Biggio's OBP was 40 points lower and his batting average was 20 points lower than his career averages, looking at just their regular season matchups. But where Smoltz truly dominated him was in the postseason. In four postseason games and 13 plate appearances, Biggio managed only one hit and no walks. And despite striking out 14% of the time over his career, Biggio was fanned on over 21% of his postseason plate appearances against Smoltz and 22.6% of all plate appearances vs Smoltz in both the regular season and postseason.

It's probably random, but the Braves also happened to win all 4 postseason games where Smoltz pitched against Biggio, including two series clinching victories in 1997 and 1999 (as a Braves fan, I'd rather not get into what ultimately happened in the 2004 or 2005 series). But, because Biggio is still an all-time great, he still managed to inflict some damage on Smoltz.

Craig Biggio vs. Randy Johnson

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
2000 7 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .286 .000 .286 0 0 0 0 0
2001 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
2002 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
RegSeason 16 14 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 .000 .125 .000 .125 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2015.

 

Here we have a more modest, but more clearly one-sided battle. Though Johnson also debuted in the NL in 1988, the Big Unit never pitched to Biggio before being shipped off to Seattle. Johnson retured to the National League in 1998 as Biggio's teammate in Houston, and ultimately wouldn't pitch to him until 2000, Johnson's second year on the Diamondbacks. By that point, Biggio had begun his decline, posting a 1.4 WAR season and hitting a light .268 (he would bounceback in 2001 with a 3.2 WAR season, his only 3+ WAR season in the 21st Century), but 2000 was the only year he managed to have any success at all against Johnson. Johnson, of course, was in the midst of his early 2000s run of complete dominance. Over the 3 years that these 16 plate appearances occured, Randy Johnson was worth 29.1 WAR, pitched 758 1/3 innings, and struck out 1053 batters (including Biggio in 5 of the 16 times he pitched to him). The strikeout totals and WAR are the highest by any pitcher in their age 36-38 seasons in MLB history.

It's a shame that a prime Craig Biggio never got the chance to hit against Randy Johnson, but keep in mind, not only did that they debuted the same year, but Biggio was two years younger. If nothing else, the total one-sidedness of this contest shows just how impressive and rare Randy Johnson's performance in his late-30s was.

Craig Biggio vs. Pedro Martinez

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1993 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 .333 .600 .333 .933 0 0 0 0 0
1995 12 10 5 4 0 0 0 2 1 .500 .583 .900 1.483 0 0 0 0 0
1996 9 7 3 1 1 0 2 2 2 .429 .556 .857 1.413 0 0 0 0 0
1997 14 13 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 .231 .286 .308 .593 0 0 0 1 0
2005 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
2007 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
RegSeason 50 43 13 6 1 0 2 6 7 .302 .400 .488 .888 0 0 0 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2015.

 

Of course, you don't need me to tell you what was going on in Boston while Randy Johnson was finding the Fountain of Youth in Phoenix. Pedro Martinez never faced Craig Biggio during his electrifying stint in Fenway, but he did pitch to Biggio in three of the four uniforms he wore as a National Leaguer, in what turned out to be a back-and-forth battle. Their first showdowns came when Biggio was entering his prime, while Martinez was just getting started. However, Pedro was still a 3 win pitcher in 1993, and a 4 win pitcher in 95 and 96. It's just that Biggio was out of his mind. Things took a course correction in 1997, Pedro's last year as an Expo and the true start of his era of domination. In 1997, Pedro would post his 2nd best career ERA, his 3rd best career ERA+, and his 2nd highest strikeout total. However, 1997 was also Biggio's best year by WAR (9.4) and OBP (.415). While 1997 is a clear loss for Biggio, it is worth noting that he managed to post just a single strikeout in 14 plate appearances against one of the most dominant strikeout pitchers of all time. In total, Biggio's strikeout rate against Martinez, 14%, was more than 13 points lower than Pedro's career rate of 27.7%.

Biggio's matchups show that even an all time great hitter can be victimized by great pitching and a small sample size. But what about people who are somewhat less talented as hitters? Since all three pitching inductees spent time in the NL, we wanted to see how they fared against each other. Unfortunately, Randy Johnson actually never faced Martinez or Smoltz. But, before moving on, I wanted to show one pitcher we found that he actually kind of owned.

Randy Johnson vs. Adam Eaton

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
2008 4 3 1 1 0 0 3 1 1 .333 .500 .667 1.167 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2015.

 

Yes, for two games in 2008, Randy Johnson posed a question that Adam Eaton simply couldn't answer. In their first matchup, Eaton walked Unit in the bottom of the 4th with the bases loaded. In their second game, Johnson slugged a double deep into LF, scoring two more.

John Smoltz vs. Pedro Martinez

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1993 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
1994 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .500 .000 .500 0 0 0 0 0
2005 9 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 .111 .111 .111 .222 0 0 0 0 0
2006 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 1 0 0 0 0
RegSeason 15 13 2 0 0 0 0 1 7 .154 .214 .154 .368 1 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2015.

 

Now this is what we came here to see: two NL East rivals who went head to head a combined 30 times. Smoltz never even put a ball in play against Pedro when the latter was an Expo, striking out 3 times and walking once. Pedro changed leagues for a while and, upon his return, joined the Mets. In 2005, as Smoltz and Pedro were both making late career All-Star runs (Smoltz at age 38!), the two squared off in 19 plate appearances (counting Pedro's in the chart below) over four games. 2005 was probably the last year Pedro was still dominant, posting games like a 9 strikeout, 1 run complete game masterpiece in Atlanta. Two of the strikeouts came against Smoltz, one of which is actually online in its entirety, albeit in somewhat low quality video. We apologize for that, and for the crimes against batting that you're about to witness.

To be fair to Smoltz, he actually does a decent job of battling back after going down 0-2, but this is what happens when a career .159 hitter faces a pitcher who would finish his career with over 3100 Ks. Speaking of Smoltz's hitting, he finished his career a .159/.226/.207 hitter in over 1100 PAs, meaning his totals against Pedro are actually not as far below his career averages as you might think. Those numbers are helped, though, by the game they played in 2006, when Smoltz scored a sacrifice bunt and a single off of a clearly declining Martinez. Pedro would make an All-Star team again in 2006 and post a 2.57 ERA in 2007, but after 2005, he never posted a WAR above 1.0.

But if Smoltz did about as expected, Pedro did...well, take a look

Pedro Martinez vs. John Smoltz

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1994 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0 0 0 0
2005 10 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0 0 0 0
2006 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
RegSeason 15 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .000 .000 .000 .000 2 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2015.

 

That's right, in 15 plate appearances vs Smoltz, Pedro never reached base. That includes their one matchup in 2006, Smoltz's payback game for 2005, where he struck out 10 batters over 7 innings, including Martinez 3 times. In total, Smoltz is the pitcher that Martinez faced the most as a batter. Of course, the bulk of their matchups came after Martinez's stint in the AL, so is it possible whatever hitting skills he did have simply decayed? Well, in LA and Montreal, he hit .102/.145/.130 in 299 PA and on his return, he was a .107/.127/.124 hitter in 198 PA (as a member of the Red Sox, Pedro actually reached base twice, once on a walk in a 2002 interleague game and again on a walk in the 2004 World Series).

So what did we learn from this, besides the fact that weird things can happen in small sample size and pitchers are bad at hitting? Despite joining the Hall of Fame at the same time, these players very rarely crossed paths at their true peaks. Despite 33 All-Star game appearances between them, only 4 of the matchups (Biggio vs Smoltz in 92, Biggio vs Martinez in 96 and 97, and Smoltz vs Martinez in 05) happened in years when both players all All-Stars. Even for the most talented athletes among us, it seems, true greatness is fleeting.

How We Found This

You can find any batter or pitcher's entire matchup history in the Play Index. Just type their name in the box and select "Batter vs. Pitcher" or "Pitcher vs. Batter". From there, you'll get the history of every matchup for that player.

Posted in Baseball-Reference.com, Hall of Fame, History | Comments Off on The Hall of Fame Hunger Games

2015 Hall of Fame Features

6th January 2015

With the announcement of the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class this afternoon, here are some useful links from around the site:

Please enjoy these features as you debate with your friends today.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Hall of Fame | 13 Comments »