2016 MLB HOF Thoughts

[In what is an annual tradition, the BBWAA once again screwed up their most important duty: faithfully electing qualified MLB players to the game’s ultimate shrine – Cooperstown. This year’s balloting went along better than most years, as only 3 writers chose to get *cute* by leaving Ken Griffey, Jr. off of their ballots. I will not give any credence to those writers, nor will I entertain any arguments as to why they might have done it.

It was idiotic, moronic, and selfish for those three to deny Griffey a unanimous vote as the BBWAA has done to every player who has so far been enshrined1There are arguments made by others that voters simply aren’t allowed enough votes [they’re allotted 10 per election.] Others will excuse writers by saying ‘Well, if Babe Ruth wasn’t good enough to earn 100%, and he’s the Greatest player ever, then no one should earn 100%. Of course, that’s an idiotic argument on multiple fronts.

First, when the Babe was elected, it was against every single player who had ever stepped on the field up to that point, including active players, that were eligible. Secondly, just because writers of previous generations were morons does not excuse writers of ensuing generations. Should the Babe have been elected unanimously? Of course. Is the fact that he was not more excusable than Griffey, Jr. not being? Of course. There were at best 8 players who should have been considered for a HOF vote this year. It’s simply not an excuse.. This year, I was privileged enough to be asked to participate in Tribe Time’s HOF balloting. I am pleased to announce that unlike the BBWAA, we were able to come to a unanimous decision on Ken Griffey, Jr. Nearly as important to me, at least, is that we also shut out Mike Piazza (though he did garner nearly 71% of the vote.), something that the BBWAA could not do. I touched on my reasoning for leaving Piazza out of the HOF last year, and nothing has changed in my opinion.

His connection with PEDs may not be as strong as some of the big guys, but given there were more than rumblings throughout his time with the Mets, he did not earn a vote from me this year. On to my ballot, which is only fair, as I intend to further castigate the BBWAA. As I lay this out, I must once again lay out my apologies to Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez. Last year, I left them off of my ballot because I used up my 10 slots before I got to them. I said at the time:

I would then send out notes of apology to Lee Smith and Edgar Martinez, with promises that they would get my vote in 2016.

I forgot to vote for them this year. I selected Griffey, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Joe Jackson (write-in), and Pete Rose (write-in.) Reading them back, the most glaring omission besides Smith and Martinez is Mike Mussina. I voted for him in each previous iteration of my ballot, but forgot to punch his name off this year. Of course Mussina should be a HOFer, and the fact that only 43% of BBWAA voters cast a ballot for him this year is an embarrassment I must share. I won’t forget him next year.

Both Raines and Schilling made substantial gains with the BBWAA crowd this year, even if both only hovered around the 50% mark with the Tribe Town vote. Schilling jumped 14% this year, and actually garnered the 6th most votes for ballots cast. With 6 years of eligibility left, there is still hope that he might get elected. Tim Raines not being in the HOF is an embarrassment for the BBWAA. He is 5th on the all-time list for SBs in a career, and he also ranks in the top-13 for career percentage.

Suffice it to say, none of the players above him have anywhere near the amount of stolen bases that he has. If Ricky Henderson unretired and stole 400 consecutive bases without being caught, he’d still have to steal another 48 bases without being caught to reach Raines’ 84.696 success rate. Add to that his .294 batting average, his 1,571 runs scored, .385 OBP, and his 2 World Series rings earned with the Yankees, and it is really hard to figure out why he hasn’t already been elected.

He had a big jump in popularity with the voters this year, but has only one year of eligibility left. BBWAA – correct your previous wrongs and elect the man. Alan Trammell was in his last year of eligibility, and not even that was enough to push him anywhere near the conversation of election, which is a shame. He did manage 40.9%, an improvement of nearly 16% from his 2015 performance, but it was not nearly enough.

At a future time he will get the Honor that he rightly deserves, but that time is not now, unfortunately. Other players who had a much stronger showing in 2016 than 2015 include two PED Cheats, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Like Schilling, both were in their 4th year of eligibility, and both made the jump in to the mid-40 percent area. These gains are something that concerns me greatly, because it may lead to their eventual election to Cooperstown, which would be a travesty.

If that were to occur, I would lay the blame squarely at the feet of the N.Y. Yankees. In the end, it was an up and down type of ballot for the BBWAA. By not selecting Griffey as the first unanimous player, it all but guarantees that Derek Jeter will be the first player who is unanimously elected2If someone doesn’t leave him off, I may give up on the BBWAA. to the HOF. It’s not that he’s not worthy of the Honor, but by no means is he deserving of being the first to receive it.

The ultimate solution to that, as I and many others have called for over the years is for all ballots to be made public. Until such time, there will be voters who will not vote for deserving candidates simply because they can, or in order to increase their perceived importance. Persons with attitudes such as those should not be allowed the privilege of deciding who receives the highest Honor a MLB player may achieve.

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1. There are arguments made by others that voters simply aren’t allowed enough votes [they’re allotted 10 per election.] Others will excuse writers by saying ‘Well, if Babe Ruth wasn’t good enough to earn 100%, and he’s the Greatest player ever, then no one should earn 100%. Of course, that’s an idiotic argument on multiple fronts.

First, when the Babe was elected, it was against every single player who had ever stepped on the field up to that point, including active players, that were eligible. Secondly, just because writers of previous generations were morons does not excuse writers of ensuing generations. Should the Babe have been elected unanimously? Of course. Is the fact that he was not more excusable than Griffey, Jr. not being? Of course. There were at best 8 players who should have been considered for a HOF vote this year. It’s simply not an excuse.

2. If someone doesn’t leave him off, I may give up on the BBWAA.