I spent some time this morning on the Hall of Fame site looking for some info. In the process, I stumbled across the names of the players newly eligible for the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot. There are 27 names on it, a couple of which made me go “Who?” A couple of them were people I didn’t realize had been retired five years. John Olerud was one of those. It seems like he’s just stepped aside from playing. Another is Raul Mondesi, who I thought was going to be a great player and wasn’t. Then there’s Jose Offerman who I thought was still playing somewhere (probably with Julio Franco) deep on the bench of some team in last place or something, but still toiling away in the Major Leagues. There’s also Ugueth Urbina. I wonder if he’s out of prison yet.
I’m not going through the entire list, it’s 27 names long and is available at the Hall of Fame site. Add to it the 14 players retained from the 2010 ballot and the list will be long (41 names). I know a lot of them will be gone after the first balloting. Guys like Steve Reed (who?) and Dan Wilson, who I also didn’t know was gone, have no chance but I like the idea of their names appearing on at least one Hall of Fame ballot. It sort of validates their career by reminding the voters (and the rest of us) that they were good enough to play 10 years at the highest level of baseball.
The rule is that a voter can choose up to 10 names. You can vote for none, but you can’t vote for more than 10. I heard an old-time sportswriter once say that “They give me ten votes, I’m gonna take ‘em.” I kind of like that idea because it allows some of the guys at the bottom of the list to get at least a token vote for the Hall. I don’t like the policy of voting for none. If the writer doesn’t think anyone is worthy of election then I’d prefer he simply not turn in a ballot rather than turn in a blank one. It effects percentages and screws guys.
I’m currently looking over the two lists, trying to determine who I’d vote for induction. I’ll be picking ten because it’s a way to honor someone who I particularly liked. I won’t be picking any of the steroid guys, but the rest I’m not sure of in total. Meaning I’m sure of about five, but not about the others. That means I probably don’t really think the other five are true Hall of Famers, but I remember them and want to tell them “Guy, I thought you were good.” That may not be the best way to look at the Hall vote, but it’s my way.