Sunday, January 13

Baseball Hall of Fame, Part 1: The 2008 Voting

The voting is in for the 2008 Baseball Hall of Fame class, and Cooperstown will have just one new member this year: relief pitcher Rich "Goose" Gossage.

I'm alright with this. Gossage is widely considered to be a worthy entrant, both by writers whose opinions and analysis I respect, as well as members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the people who actually get to vote on the players. Click that link to their website one time and tell me if you would trust those fellows' judgment on anything, ever again. I didn't think so.

While Gossage earned entry, there were as always a few notable players who did not get in, such as Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines, and Jack Morris. From what I have gleaned of these gentlemen and their careers, Rice is borderline at best, Dawson no way, Morris no way, Blyleven legitimate, and you could make a good case for Raines. In other words, no real glaring mistakes, despite what a few oddballs might argue (especially in Morris' case).

The thing I have enjoyed the most about the Hall balloting is the plethora of material it has given the wonderful site to write about. It seems like every two-bit sportswriter who cast a ballot has since written a column in their local daily where they sheepishly/brazenly defend the obviously stupid decisions they've made. Older writers tend to be worse at this - voting for guys based on "grit" and fond memories rather than actual qualification. It's amazing - these men are professionals, and they are fully aware that they're selecting players for stupid reasons (playing on bad knees, having a good W-L record, being friends with the writer, etc.), and yet they keep on doing it and then writing lengthy pieces semi-explaining their dumb decisions. Many of them seem either incapable of or disinclined to do any research whatsoever, relying almost entirely on gut feeling. Here's a new idea: vote for only qualified candidates, then defend your well-reasoned selections and omissions with facts and analysis. No one in the BBWAA seems interested in this approach, and that's why FJM has had such a feast over the past week. I urge you to take a look at some of their articles carving up bad baseball writers making stupid HOF arguments.

While I'm at it, let's take a look at the complete balloting for the 2008 class. Who the hell voted for Todd Stottlemyre? Shawon Dunston? Travis Fryman? If they're going to bother to have this election process, and I still think they should, these voters should be held accountable for such inane decisions. It is not an exaggeration to say that I could do a better job than many BBWAA members.

Finally, anyone who doesn't vote for Rickey Henderson next year is going to have to answer to me. And Rickey.


Anonymous said...

the fact that someone actually thinks that Shawon Dunston belongs in the Hall of Fame literally disgusts me. Rodd Beck? so everyone that dies deserves to be in the Hall? unreal.

Anonymous said...

Ive only ever had one problem with hall voting and its the writers who hold personal vendettas against players that may have not wanted to give interviews when they played and other petty things. It seems that writers cant get past that and deny a worthy guy of getting in. I really think that this has been the case with rice for so many years now. It seems that the old writers dont like him personally(i dont know this for sure but ive heard from others who remember the time that rice was never well liked) and the new writers dont remember him when he played to get the votes he needs, because if it based on stats alone(which i know its not) Rice is a derserving player.

- Wingy