Random Comments on the Latest Hall of Fame Voting

So it’s over and the most important vote of the year is done (Who cares about those idiot votes in DC?). Congratulations to Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven. Here’s some thoughts on the election:

1. On a personal level I did pretty well. Several posts back I weighed in on the 10 people I’d vote for. Nine of them made the top ten. I missed Lee Smith and added Don Mattingly. I was sorry to leave off Smith, but I’m not backing down on Mattingly as someone whose career is short, but powerful and, thus, deserves to be in Cooperstown. I also think that Trevor Hoffman’s 600 saves and Mariano Rivera’s pending move into the same sphere are going to hurt Smith’s chances. I am most surprised (and gratified) by the amount of support Larry Walker received. It wasn’t all that great, but honestly I didn’t expect it to be that good.

2. I think the election of Blyleven is more important than the election of Alomar. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say that Alomar didn’t belong. What I mean is that it has been forever since the writers elected a starting pitcher with less than 300 wins (Fergie Jenkins). If you’re not going to let in a guy with 280 plus wins, how are you going to justify letting in someone with only 220 or so wins? That means it would be difficult to let in Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, David Wells, Mike Mussina, Jaime Moyer, and Kenny Rogers when the time comes. I’m not saying they all (or any) should be enshrined, but that the failure to elect someone with 280 wins and 3700 strikeouts can doom any of them. With Blyleven now in, the “Well, Blyleven isn’t in, why should Martinez be in?” argument goes out the door. And the “You can’t vote for anyone without 300 wins,” theory is also gone. I think it will now be easier for some of the people listed above to make it through the front door without a ticket. And yes I know Jim Kaat and Tommy John both have Blyleven-like win totals, but both have already dropped off the ballot.

3. Apparently the spitting incident really hurt Alomar. I can think of no other reason for him going from just over 70% all the way to 90% in one shot.

4. The steroid guys got clobbered. Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Raffy Palmeiro did terribly. I think that bodes poorly for Bonds, Sosa, Clemens and company. I also think it hurt Bagwell and that’s a shame.

5. Two of my favorites, Tino Martinez and John Olerud fell of the list entirely, as did Harold Baines. Too bad. I think both Martinez and Olerud should have stayed around for a least another couple of chances. I never expected either to make the Hall.  As for Baines, I’m a little surprised it took this long for him to fall off.

6. ESPN published a list of the guys eligible for the first time in 2012, 2013, and 2014. It’s an interesting list. The 2012 group isn’t particularly strong with guys like Brian Jordan, Bernie Williams, Brad Radke, and Ruben Sierra being among the highlights. That bodes well for holdovers like Larkin, Bagwell, and company to get a good shot in 2012. Of the new group in 2012, I’ll be most interested to see how Bernie Williams does. He has four rings, won a batting title, played a good center field, and hit clean up for the Yankees. Having said that, I never saw him as an elite player, so it will be very interesting to see how he does.

7. The 2013 group includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, David Wells, Kenny Lofton, Julio Franco, Jeff Conine, and Mike Stanton. Interesting here will be to see how Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa do, particularly in light of how Palmeiro, McGwire, and Gonzalez have done. I’ll find it almost funny if Craig Biggio gets in before Barry Bonds. And I wonder if Bagwell will be held so that he and Biggio can go in together.  Then there’s Julio Franco. I will be very interested to see how he does. Remember he went to Japan for a few years, then returned and played until he was 108. The failure to get 3000 hits can be attributed to the interlude in Japan. I wonder what the writers will do with that. My guess is he doesn’t do all that well. The guy I most want to see how he does is Mike Stanton. He may be the finest set-up man ever. I want to see how much respect a set-up man will command from the voters. My guess is that he won’t get much support, but I’ll still be interested to see how it goes.

8. Finally, the 2014 group has Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jim Edmonds, Mark Grudzielanek, Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez, Mike Mussina, Kenny Rogers, and Hideo Nomo among others. Although I presume Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas are in, I’m going to be interested in how Edmonds, Gonzalez, Kent, and Mussina do. But I’m going to be most interested in Nomo. I don’t think his numbers are Hall quality, but his significance to the game is absolutely critical in getting Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese players involved at the Major League level. In that way he compares with players like Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as pioneers and I want to see how that translates. Additionally, we may get to see and hear a debate about how much a  Japanese League career will add to or detract from players who enter the Major Leagues after years in a significant foreign league.

So there ya go. Again, congratulations to Alomar and Blyleven. I hope they give great speeches at Cooperstown. Your own thoughts on the matter?

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2 Responses to “Random Comments on the Latest Hall of Fame Voting”

  1. William Miller Says:

    I agree with you that next year’s class of first-time eligible players might give Larkin the opportunity to get voted into Cooperstown. But Bagwell’s relatively poor showing this year might mean it’ll take a long time to get him in. I’d love to see him go in with Biggio, though.
    Good point about Nomo and how his impact as far as opening the door a bit wider to Asian players is significant.
    The 2014 group looks especially strong. I, like you, am very interested to see how Jim Edmonds and Mike Mussina will do.
    Now that Blyleven is in, it’ll take a while before the voters reach any kind of consensus on what constitutes a HOF caliber pitcher. Maddux and Randy Johnson are easy. Pedro and Glavine seem obvious, too. Smoltz is, to me, a good candidate. But what about Pettitte, Rogers, Wells, and so many other similar candidates?
    Guess we’ll find out in a few years.
    Good read, Bill

  2. Chris Ross Says:

    Nice article, I really enjoyed the read. Roberto Alomar really did deserve the Hall of Fame and as a Toronto Blue Jays fans I’m so glad they put him in this year, especially with a close to unanimous vote. If the only thing stopping him was the spitting incident, which it seemed to be, then there should have been no reason for them to keep him out. I was also happy to see the steroid guys not receiving too much of the vote because I think there is a great difference between those guys and guys like Alomar with character issues. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/musings-on-the-2011-hall-of-fame-class/

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