Friday, January 10, 2014

The Hall of Fame Voting Consternation

On Tuesday, the voting results were announced for this year's Hall of Fame class for Cooperstown.  Three very worthy candidates were selected -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas, all 1st timers on the ballot.

In theory, Maddux should have been elected unanimously, but there are 579 voters and you can't get 579 people to agree on anything, let alone 579 curmudgeonly baseball writers, so that doesn't irk me as much as some.  For the record, Maddux was left off the ballot of 16 writers.  That's right, 16 voters didn't think his 355 wins (8th all time, the other 7 are all old-timeys back when pitching 400+ innings was routine) and myriad other accomplishments (4 straight Cy Youngs, 5 other top five finishes) were good enough.

Craig Biggio got 74.8% of the votes in his 2nd year on the ballot.  He fell short by 2 votes, including at least one known person who turned in a blank ballot to protest the Steroid Era.  Biggio should legally be allowed to drive to that person's house and punch him once in the face.

There were plenty of other worthy candidates (no, not you Jack Morris) on the ballot, but unfortunately they could for the most part be separated into two categories:

Known PED Cheat
Suspected PED Cheat Because Look at His Stats and Everyone Else Was Doing It

In the Suspected category, you have Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza.  Piazza was the greatest offensive catcher of all time, more than making up for his less-than-stellar reputation behind the plate.  He should have been in last year, let alone this year when he got 62.2%.  He'll get in, but he's going to have to wait longer than he should, all because he had some back acne, which can be a sign of steroid use.  Bagwell gets tagged with the "ripped physique", "never hit for power in the minors", "knew Ken Caminiti" cloud of tags, but he was never named on any report that has been published.

And then there's the Big 5 of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, and Palmeiro.  On stats alone, Bonds and Clemens are total no-brainer, inner circle Hall of Famers.  But all five of these guys tested positive AND lied about it, which for me is why I would never vote for any of them.  McGwire, Sosa, and Palmeiro all run different parts of the HOF worthiness spectrum for me, anyway.  Palmeiro infamous finger-wagging spectacle while under oath before Congress on PED use is a total game breaker for me.  Sosa forgetting how to speak English while before the same panel, likewise.  Bonds should be doing time in jail for perjury before a grand jury.

Andy Pettitte is going to be a borderline HOF candidate.  He tested positive for PED's and admitted he made a mistake.  For that reason, I would forgive him and consider him for the HOF.  The cover up is sometimes worse than the crime.

So what would my theoretical ballot have looked like?  Well when the BBWWA admits me for voting purpose in never years, I'll be able to vote for sure.  Here's what it would have been this year:


Eight out of ten ballot spots taken.  I can't vote Biggio in until Kent gets in, as Kent was a far better offensive player and not as much of a compiler towards the end of his career.  I can't believe Trammell isn't in yet.

With all 1st ballot going in, none of the backlog has been reduced for next year's ballot.  The 2015 ballot has some huge names coming on with Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield.  It's hard to see more than one or two backlogged guys getting through them, so the crowding on the ballots will continue for the foreseeable future.

No comments:

Post a Comment