Thoughts on the 2018 Modern Game Ballot

Albert Belle and bat

A couple of days ago I posted the names from the Modern Game Veteran’s Committee ballot. I promised to make some comments later. Knowing how much you were dying to read them, I decided to carry out that promise.

The first two thoughts are both sides of the same issue. It wouldn’t hurt me if any one of the listed players (Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Joe Carter, Orel Hershiser, Lee Smith) made the Hall of Fame. It also wouldn’t make me jump for joy. It’s not a bad list. It also isn’t an inspiring one.

I look at Baines and Carter as solid players, excellent contributors to their teams and to the game, but I can say that about hundreds of players. Belle was a superior power hitter, arguably the most feared slugger in the game. Clark was a good and sometimes great players who helped his team. So did both pitchers. And so did a lot of other players.

For the managers (Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, Lou Piniella) my problem lies in the fact that their are other managers equally qualified for the Hall of Fame (Danny Murtaugh and Jim Leyland come to mind). All three have rings and both Johnson and Piniella also have rings as players (two in Piniella’s case). But as I read the rules the committee is allowed to consider only their managerial record.

Which brings me to George Steinbrenner, the only executive on the list. He was probably the most controversial man in baseball for much of his career as owner of the New York Yankees. Some of the controversy was overblown, much justified, much of his own making. He was abrasive, overbearing, and dedicated to winning. Apparently so was Sam Breadon of the Cardinals.

And much of my problem is that when I see this list, I see a hundred other players, fifty other managers, a dozen other executives and ask “why this list?” It seems to me if you have to ask why you probably don’t have a lot of genuine Hall of Famers on the list.

The Hall gives committee members five votes. This time I’ll use only one. I’ll hold my nose and vote for Steinbrenner. I think his contributions to the revival and continued excellence of the Yanks is both notable and worthy.

And as a guess, and it’s strictly a guess, I think the committee adds two new Hall of Famers: Steinbrenner and Smith.

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3 Responses to “Thoughts on the 2018 Modern Game Ballot”

  1. glenrussellslater Says:

    I’ve been for Lee Smith for the Hall of Fame all along.

    As for Davey Johnson, I think he’s vastly overrated. I never liked him. A very arrogant person.

    No. He doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

    Danny Murtaugh does, and it’s ridiculous that he’s not in there yet.

    I’ve got a question for you, V. This has always perplexed me. Why was Dave Johnson always known as Dave Johnson as a player, but suddenly, when he re-emerged as manager of the Mets, he was Davey Johnson? Seems strange, don’t you think? And do you agree, V? I never, not even once, recall him being referred to (at least not on baseball cards or on baseball telecasts) as “Davey” Johnson. Any clue?


  2. keithosaunders Says:

    Say it so, V! Please reconsider your vote for Big Stein. I won’t be able to take the razzing from my Crankee fan friends.

  3. keithosaunders Says:

    Also: Much of the credit for the Yankees revitalization in the mid 90s should go to Stick Michael, who was running the team while Steinbrenner was serving his suspension. Michael allowed talent such as Bernie Williams, Jeter, and Mariano Riviera to ripen, whereas George may have traded one of them for a big name player.

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