Baseball Hall of Fame All Wrong
Before I even delve into the topic of who belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame and who doesn’t, I need to address a decades old sore point. Who it is that votes for the baseball Hall of Fame–the BBWAA–The Baseball Writers Association of America. Not Hall of Fame members, not executives in Major League Baseball, not current players – but members of the Baseball Writers union. In who’s nightmare did this seem like a good idea 90 years ago? Now I’m not saying that baseball writers don’t know if a baseball is blown up or stuffed, many of them eat and breath the game. But in a sports world where the media is often viewed as a necessary evil, why would the powers of MLB put complete control of their holiest of places into the hands of said media?
Talk about out of touch with the times. Sure in 1943 all you had were writers covering the games, but in the 50’s and 60’s baseball burst into television sets across the country. Hell, Vin Scully has probably seen more baseball games than anyone in the universe but does he get to vote for the Hall of Fame? NO. There were 571 votes cast for this year’s Hall of Fame class. All of those union guys aren’t covering the 30 major league teams, so you have guys in Des Moines and Fresno getting a vote. How about the broadcast field? Why just writers? Don’t you think Eric Nadal might have a pretty good idea who has dominated in the past 30 years? It’s archaic and needs to be changed.
It also puts a players personality into play. He might be a home run king, multiple MVP winner but a real horse’s ass. If he doesn’t like the media and presumably they don’t like him, it’s a pretty strong weapon for the writer to hold over that players head. You don’t think a writer who got repeatedly dissed by Barry Bonds wouldn’t love to leave him off his ballot?
The one thing about the Baseball Hall of Fame that I’ve always admired is that don’t have a minimum number of players who have to make it each year. Like last year, no one reached the magic 75% and so no one went in. I was at the induction of Nolan Ryan in 1999, my partner with ScoreBoardTX, Tom Fireoved was at the induction of Ron Santo (veterans committee), in 2012. It is a very cool place and a lot smaller than you’d think. There are less than 300 players in there. That’s amazing for a sport that goes back to a time when you could still smell the smoke from the Civil War.
The steroid era also continues to affect voting and will so every year for the next 10 or so I believe. Those players continue to be eligible and the Hall needs to get updated with new blood doing the voting and decide what the real criteria is (there is no actual defined criteria). It will be awfully strange explaining to your grandson in 25 years why a guy with the most homers in history, or 7 Cy Young’s, or 3,000 hits and 583 homers aren’t in the Hall. And those guys keep getting fewer votes every year. Soon they’ll all be totally off the ballot.
By the way, no argument with Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine getting in this year, but one more piece of proof that the voting system is seriously flawed…16 writers DIDN’T vote for Maddox, one of the top 5 pitchers of the past 75 years. I’m pretty sure just because they don’t want anyone to be unanimous. Good for them.