Final thoughts on HOF vote
I typically keep my Hall of Fame thoughts to myself, for two reasons: 1) Despite the fact that I'm a voting-eligible, 10-year member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, my employer doesn't let me vote, and 2) every writer who makes his ballot public alienates someone, but mine would alienate almost everyone.
Those of you who have read me for awhile know my general stance on the Hall: I'm an unabashed elitist. If you weren't a transcendent player -- best at your position in your era, or darn close to it -- you don't get my support. Heck, if it were up to me, I'd kick about two dozen players out of Cooperstown before I voted one more in. I think sometimes Hall voters mistake a very good player -- Andre Dawson, for example -- for a transcendent one. There's no shame in being a very good player. And it's no knock on a guy to say he wasn't transcendent. Very few players are. And that's the whole point of having a Hall of Fame in the first place.
For what it's worth, my ballot, had I been permitted to submit one, would have included Roberto Alomar and Mark McGwire. The best second baseman of his era and the best home run hitter of his era. Transcendent players. Period.
Andre Dawson: very good player. Bert Blyleven: very good pitcher. But not transcendent.
(McGwire, perhaps, requires a bit of an explanation, so here it is: After much soul-searching on the issue, and after looking ahead to what is looming on the ballot in the coming years, I have decided to remove the steroids question from my reasoning. If you're going to eliminate suspected steroids users, you have to first determine what is the threshold for determining who used and who didn't. Positive tests? Congressional testimony? Hearsay? A solid hunch? And then: Do you need to be 99 percent sure someone used, in order to keep them out? Or 75 percent sure? Or 50 percent? Or 10 percent -- in which case you would have to eliminate just about everyone who played in that era? It just gets too sticky. I don't want to be judge and jury of the steroids era.)
*I'm not a big proponent of the argument that goes: "Well, So-and-so got in, so how in the world can So-and-so not be in?" It sort of goes against my personal Hall-of-Fame criterion. But I'm going to do it today, because a player dear to my heart keeps getting shortchanged. Here are Player A and B (hint: they played the same position):
.............................. Player A.......... Player B
MVP awards......................... 2 ...................... 1
Seasons of 35+ HRs............. 5 ....................... 1
Seasons of .900+ OPS.......... 4 .......................1
Seasons of 140+ OPS+......... 5 .......................2
You may or may not have guessed that Player A is Dale Murphy, my childhood idol and a player who has barely gotten a whiff of Cooperstown love (11.7 percent this year). Player B is Andre Dawson, Murphy's contemporary and fellow center fielder. Other than Dawson's longevity (and a couple more Gold Gloves), it looks to me like Murphy was twice the player. Not that I'm biased or anything.
*I alluded above to the next few ballots, which contain a handful of delicate (and not-so-delicate) steroids questions. Here is a look at some of the biggest names on future ballots: 2011: Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, John Olerud, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzalez, John Franco, Tino Martinez. 2012: Javy Lopez, Bernie Williams. 2013: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, David Wells. 2014: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas.
*I believe what I believe about the Hall of Fame, but I have no problem with voters who see things differently. (Nor do I have a problem with Andre Dawson, a prince of a man and, well, a very good player.) It's a democratic process, and the bar is set extremely high for election, and I find it tiresome to read all the criticism of the results, the voting process and the many individual voters who revealed their votes. You're not an idiot (at least I hope not) if you failed to vote for Bert Blyleven, and it's not an "epic fail" that he didn't get in. Remember, 74 percent of voters -- a vast majority -- felt he is worthy of being a Hall-of-Famer.
*OK, whoever voted for David Segui and Kevin Appier -- they're idiots.
Posted by: chrisduckworth | January 7, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse
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