ESPN.com reported that only Craig Biggio was likely to be voted into Cooperstown when the ballots were official on Wednesday. Like all ESPN information, they used their own voters, all 18 of them, to determine how the other 560-plus voters would feel, using their small sample size to create a great generalization. Biggio missed out in 2013 and there won’t be any players voted in for the 2013 season after the Hall of Fame vote became public at 2 PM on January 9.
I am not a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and I am not sure that I will ever be; however, if I eventually get there, I know that I will fight to make a point with my vote: to vote for players who are worthy for enshrinement based on their accomplishments, not a vendetta. Each member of the BBWAA receives a ballot, on which, they can vote for up to 10 players each year. If I had a 2013 ballot, I would have voted for:
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Craig Biggio
- Mike Piazza
- Jeff Bagwell
- Alan Trammell
- Rafael Palmeiro
- Dale Murphy
- Tim Raines
- Mark McGwire
I don’t feel as though I need to make a case for any of the players above. If you don’t know who they are or what they did, click on the hyperlink to view their statistics at Baseball Reference. I have made cases for both Dale Murphy and Alan Trammell previously, so you can read further there.
Furthermore, I wanted to vent…
How can a player be unworthy of a vote one season and worth one the next? In 2011, Jeff Bagwell received 41.7 percent of the vote. In 2012, Bagwell received 56 percent of the vote with 59.6 percent in 2013. Jeff Bagwell’s accomplishments never changed. The number of voters who turned in ballots may have, but how can a player not receive your vote one season and they get it the next. Understandably, a player like Kenny Lofton or Fred McGriff may miss votes on the current ballot due to the presence of so many quality players on the ballot this year. Is that the reason for a 15 percent increase in Bagwell’s numbers, or is it the “I-refuse-to-vote-for-someone-in-their-first-year-of-eligibility-because-no-one-has-ever-had-100-percent-of-the-vote” mentality?
What if one-third of the voters took that approach? No one would ever get in!
John Fay, of the Cincinnati Enquirer, decided to not turn in a ballot in 2013. Why? Because he didn’t want to “play judge and jury this year.” Unfortunately, every year that a member, or the members, of the BBWAA turn in a ballot, that is what they are doing. Their votes are and have been the deciding factor in who gets enshrined in Cooperstown. Basing this on the rule that “voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played,” as Fay has is a total cop-out.
The Hall of Fame is littered with racists and bigots (Ty Cobb), adulterers (Babe Ruth), drunks (Mickey Mantle), and potential drug addicts. The 1960’s and 1970’s were dominated by players who could have used “greenies” or amphetamines to keep themselves up for an entire season. When you don’t test for drugs or steroids, whether they are illegal in the “real world” or not, then you are open to players abusing the system, and character flaws have been overlooked since voting for the Hall of Fame began.
While Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have been tied to steroid use, baseball wasn’t testing for it and the game was recovering from the 1994 strike, basking in the glory of the long-ball to draw fans. As baseballs sailed into the Pacific Ocean beyond right field in San Francisco and out onto the streets of Chicago, Bud Selig was not upset as stadiums were filled with people again. Should the Steroid Era players be put in for their accomplishments AND the contributions that they made in saving the game?
Baseball is a game of statistics. Why is the sport held to a gentleman expectation? While there have been several unwritten rules, there just isn’t room for the greatest players, cheaters or not (hello Gaylord Perry!), to be withheld from being recognized as the greatest players ever due to a moral vendetta, especially when so many players are included who had greater personal flaws.
As the BBWAA completed their vote and it was announced, we sit here with so many players sitting at home for another season, waiting for their opportunity to travel to Cooperstown as an elected member of the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, some of those players will be “good enough” next year. There are so many things wrong with the voting process for baseball’s greatest museum, and the writers proved their point today.
The players are the people who fans want to see. Fans DO NOT care about the writers. Do your job and vote for the greats, otherwise, it is all a sham.