January 12, 2009

Hall of Fame Voting

No surprise that Rickey "The Eternal 3rd Person" Henderson is going to Cooperstown. And good for Jim Rice. I grew up in the tail end of his career, so can't judge his impact properly. But enough people bemoaned his exclusion every year so I'm glad we won't have to hear from them anymore. I'd love if Andre "The Hawk" Dawson, Jack Morris and Bert Blyleven get in some day as well. They could be the last great "old school" players that get in before we enter the glut of steroid era candidates. I was a little surprised to see Mattingly only get 64 votes. There's not more New York voters who've been drinking the Yankee Kool-Aid that think the 'stache belongs in the Hall? I would've thought he'd get at least 100 votes just for wearing pin stripes.

As for the rest of the nominees, it cracks me up to no end to see some of the names that garner votes every year, let alone make the final ballot. Is it really necessary to include Ron Gant, Greg Vaughn and Dan Plesac to tempt a voter to cast a vote? The list can't be pared down to eliminate the obvious hall rejects? So there's 539 ballots cast from the 10-year veterans of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Of those, two voters think the following stats deserve a bust in one of the most prestigious halls in America:

Runs - 1123
Hits - 1963
2B - 394
3B - 67
HR - 195
RBI - 860
Avg. - .265
OBP - .343
Slg - .416
SB - 91
CS - 60

On baseballreference.com this "Hall of Famer in their eyes" compares favorably to the likes of Ray Durham, Benito Santiago and Devon White. Who is this man who somehow couldn't drum up enough support from the rest of the writers? The spectacled one, Jay Bell. Did anything about Jay Bell's career EVER give you pause to think, "Geez, if strings together another few above-average years like this, he might be heading to the Hall of Fame?" His name isn't even HOF material. Jay Bell was lucky enough to make 2 All-Star games, 1 Silver Slugger and 1 Gold Glove. The closest he ever came in any MVP race was 12th. His Hall of Fame Monitor and HOF Batting Standards fall well below the cusp. Maybe the voters were enamored with how he led the majors in sacrifice hits back-to-back years in 1990-91.

I'm puzzled at this, but not quite as puzzled as the lone ranger voting for Jesse Orosco's "Hall of Fame" career. Did this lunatic lose a bet? Is the voter Orosco's crazy uncle? Orosco also went to 2 All-Star games over his 24 major league seasons. I'm surprised he went to any. Was the fact that Orosco pitched in more games than anyone in history a stat that jumps off the page at you? Or that Jesse was the oldest man in the big leagues five years running too much to ignore? Just because the man's arm was capable of getting 1-3 outs 60 times a season longer than anyone in the sport doesn't imply that what he did when he was on the field was Hall of Fame worthy.

All three of these voters should be stripped of their duties and never allowed to vote again. What business do they have wasting their time honestly checking the box next to Jay Bell and Jesse Orosco's names? At least make them sit out a year or two to sober up. That's ridiculous.


Matt said...

One of the two Jay Bell votes was from none other than Pedro Gomez.


He also voted for Dave Parker! Apparently, he is distraught that he is not the lead story on Sportscenter every night with a story on Barry Bonds from San Fran. So he decided to mix things up with his vote to get his name out there.

How the heck does Pedro Gomez have a HOF vote anyway? I can only imagine he is counting down the days until Barry Bonds is eligible. He's probably the one out there pumping up these 'Bonds isn't retired' stories so that he can regain his fame.

Doug said...

I was barely even alive when Jim Rice was in his prime, so I have absolutely no opinion on Jim Rice as a Hall of Famer. I agree that I'd rather just see him get in so we don't have to hear about him anymore. Rickey Henderson is a little more contemporary, but even his best years occurred in the mid to late 80s when I was just a kid. I don't have much of a connection to him for whatever reason.

I think the bigger story is that Mark McGwire only got 21% of the vote. He is actually DECLINING in votes. Look, I know people are upset about the steroid thing, but he's Mark freaking McGwire!! He hit 70 bombs in a year and has 500+ homers. In terms of his career (it is the Hall of FAME after all), he's one of the 5 most famous baseball players of the last 25 years. I could care less if he doesn't ever get into the Hall, but I do think that it's strange how little attention there is about how small his vote total has been. If McGwire never gets into the Hall, that's the equivalent of Pete Rose not being in the Hall of Fame (which I am also perfectly fine with).

I'm more interested in the Hall of Fame when we start getting more guys who I grew up watching. I believe that Fred McGriff and Barry Larkin are on the ballot next year. WOW. I have strong opinions on both those guys, and I could probably write 2500 words on this blog in support of either one of them (and probably will). Plus, we know the arguments that can be made against them. We saw them play and know what they were like in their primes.

I don't know how guys like Jay Bell get on the ballot. I kind of like it to be honest just because it's funny to hear those names again. Dan Plesac...when would we ever hear that name again?

Jimmy said...

The steroid era should be treated as such, what with the ballooned stats: whatever percentage of MLB players have gotten in from each generation or era, the steroids era should get the same amount. No more, no less. Baseball would be admitting far too much guilt if it bars players who were considered or alleged to have used performance enhancing substances. The game profited from it, we all know. So take the absolute cream of the crop from them and move on. Guys like Jim Thome, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Delgado, even Palmeiro should be passed over without a second thought. You cannot say that those guys were "the best" in the game for any stretch, let alone hands down the best player on their teams. The numbers are inflated and should only be compared against their contemporaries. The fact that other clear non-HOFers like Shawn Green, Luis Gonzalez, Jeff Kent, Moises Alou all have somewhat comparable numbers should affect their credentials.

Is it me or does football do a much better job of judging a player's career in the context of his era and not compared to other eras.

Matt said...

The fact that Mark McGuire apparently will not get into the Hall of Fame is a flat out joke. Is Barry Bonds, one of the 10 best players in the history of the game, going to get ignored as well. Probably. These holier than thou sportswriters/voters need to get over themselves.

I dislike Bonds as much as the next guy, and have no strong feelings one way or the other regarding McGuire. But you can't ignore what those guys did on the field. What if Griffey(or any player universally accepted to have been clean) gets voted in and then 10 years later it comes out he used roids too. Will he be kicked out?

You have to just accept the steroids era for what it was and elect the best players from that era just like the Deadball Era and such.

I could go on for hours about this. To me, the baseball Hall of Fame is the only sacred hall, by far superior to basketball and even football. I just don't see how you can have a Hall of Fame and not put in a guy like McGuire and eventually Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Jeremy said...

Enough people all over the blogosphere have weighed in on Jim Rice that there's no need to say anything more. His candidacy and the way it played out over the course of the last 10 or so years is extremely interesting though, to say the least.

I completely agree with Matt on the steroid era. Any Hall of Fame that excludes Barry Bonds, the greatest player of our generation, cannot be considered an accurate representation of the best players to play the game. Bonds was great without steroids, he was probably even better with them. But he did things on a baseball field (even beyond the HRs) that no one else will ever do.

Its a damn shame that steroids had to infect the game of baseball, but it happened and its time to move past it. I can only hope that injecting guys from Baseball Prospectus (ie, Will Carroll), Neyer, Law, Posnanski into the BBWAA will bring those basketcases to their senses.