The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2014 inductees on Wednesday, and several players have a chance to be inducted on their first time on the ballot.
Former Atlanta Brave and Chicago Cub great Greg Maddux seems to be a shoe-in after winning 355 games, four Cy Youngs and 18 Gold Glove Awards.
However, he’s not going to get 100 percent of the vote. Why? Because some baseball writers are stupid petty pricks.
With Maddux on the ballot, I figured I’d go back in the archives and find my blog from the 2007 Hall of Fame voting when Cal Ripken Jr. should have been a unanimous choice. Instead, he was left off eight ballots, giving him 98.5 percent of the induction votes.
As you can see, I was fired up about this topic, and remain so to this day.
The Class of 2007 for the baseball hall of fame is announced Tuesday afternoon. Before I go into my rant, read this story.
I’ve been intrigued by this year’s hall of fame vote for the last five years. Not because of the McGwire steroid issue which really didn’t develop until two years ago. Instead, I was curious to see how close Cal Ripken Jr. would get to 100 percent of the vote.
As you read from the link I provided, one writer has already said he didn’t vote for Ripken. I’m sure he’s not the only one.
In my opinion Paul Ladewski and whichever other writers do not vote for Ripken should never be allowed to vote for the HOF again. Here’s why:
I’ve heard the debate by a few writers when Ripken first retired that they weren’t going to vote him in on the first ballot, because no one ever received 100 percent. Ladewski admitted that was a reason he left Ripken off his ballot this year.
“What makes Gwynn and Ripken so special that they deserve to be unanimous selections?” he wrote. “Walter Johnson, Cy Young and Honus Wagner didn’t receive such Hall passes. Neither did Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. In fact, nobody has in the history of the game. Based on the standards set by the Hall of Fame voters decades ago, is there a neutral observer out there who can honestly say Gwynn and Ripken should be afforded an unprecedented honor?”
Really? That’s your excuse for not voting for Ripken in the HOF? That’s ridiculous!
Here’s Ripken’s career numbers: .276 Avg., 3,184 H, 431 HR, 1,695 RBI, 2 GG, 1 ROY, 2 MVP.
The big number is the career hits. Everyone agrees 3,000 hits is an automatic milestone for the HOF, unless you name is Rafael Palmeiro (proven steroid user).
But you also have to throw in Ripken’s consecutive games streak, which may never be broken in baseball history. With the tainting of the home run record, the consecutive games streak record is probably the most prestigious in the game.
None of this matters to Ladewski. Instead, he’s too worried that Babe Ruth didn’t get 100 percent of the vote. So instead of giving Ripken the honor he deserves as the first 100 percent player (it should have happened long before now), he’s taken it in his own hands to deny Ripken of it.
But then, Ladewski makes matters even worse, by punishing Ripken because he just happened to play in the steroid era.
“At this point, I don’t have nearly enough information to make a value judgment of this magnitude. In particular, that concerns any player in the Steroids Era, which I consider to be the 1993-2004 period, give or a take a season,” Ladewski wrote.
Guilty until proven innocent for Ladewski I guess.
Let me give an example why this is such a stupid local. Suppose a writer at the Daily Southtown somehow gets away with writing an editorial in the paper, where they make a comment that is taken as a racial slur. According to Ladewski’s logic, he should be known as a racist for the rest of his career, just because another person at his paper made a racially insensitive comment. I bet Ladewski wouldn’t like that very much!
Look, I understand the people not wanting to vote for McGwire. After all, there has been written articles connecting McGwire to steroids, along with his embarrassment on Capitol Hill. But to lump Ripken and Gwynn in there with the rest of the steroid users is not right.
Sometimes sports writers tend to forget the line between reporting the news and making the news. The Associated Press released this a few years ago, when suspicious voting by some writers put Texas in the Rose Bowl and left a deserving Cal team out. After the fiasco, they dropped out of the BCS standings, a move which was obviously necessary.
While not an exact comparison, this is a very similar situation. As a HOF voter, it is Ladewski’s job to vote for those deserving to be in the Hall. Instead, he’s used his vote to make a statement about steroids and past voting numbers. That is not his job.
I just don’t see how anyone can make a rational argument (with proof if you are making drug accusations) to not vote for Ripken on the first ballot. By not doing so, you are not doing your job as a HOF voter.
I know it will never happen, but the writers that don’t vote for Ripken should lose their voting privileges forever. If they can’t take this process seriously, then they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
Playing the role of Ladewski this year is MLB.com Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick.
As with Ripken, my feeling is that anyone who doesn’t vote for Maddux on the first ballot deserves to lose their vote. There is no good excuse you can give for leaving one of the most dominant pitchers in history off of a HOF ballot. None.
My 2014 ballot
Here’s my ballot that I would turn in if I had a vote.
Maddux – To go along with his major awards, the Bulldog also had a career 3.16 ERA, a 3.37 K/BB Ratio, and 35 career shutouts.
Curt Schilling – I’ve been a bit surprised that Schilling isn’t considered more of a first ballot guy. Yes, he never won a Cy Young, but he had a career ERA of 3.46, 4.38 K/BB, 8.6 K/9 (2nd best ratio all time) and a WHIP of 1.137. He also won two World Series titles, including Boston’s curse-ending title in 2004.
The only two things I think are going against Schilling on his 216 career wins and his abrasive personality. As modern stats have shown, pitching wins are practically worthless, but the “old school” baseball writers refuse to understand that. Plus, as I’ve established earlier, baseball writers can be petty pricks, so Schilling’s personality will have a major effect on the voting.
Craig Biggio – He should have gotten in last year, but saw his chance ruined by petty pricks that wanted to make blanket statements about the Steroid Era.
The 3,000 hits should make him a shoe-in. Adding in his career marks of 668 doubles (fifth all-time), 1,844 runs (15th all-time) and five Gold Gloves should be more than enough to get him into the HOF.
Frank Thomas – The facts are too good to ignore: two-time MVP, .419 OBP, .555 SLG, .974 OPS, 1,704 RBIs and a .301 average. Yes, he was just a DH and was injury prone once he hit his mid-30s. But he’s a definite HOFer.
Mike Piazza – The reason Piazza didn’t make it into the HOF last year, and probably won’t this year, is strictly because of PED rumors. Never mind he’s the best power hitting catcher of all time – someone knew someone’s cousin who said Piazza may have used steroids, so the BBWAA are going to hold that against him. Ridiculous.
Give me Piazza’s career marks of .308 average, .545 SLG, .922 OPS, and 427 home runs as reasons he should be inducted.
Tom Glavine – To be honest, I’m not the biggest Glavine fan, but if you are looking at his performance during his prime, there weren’t many pitchers better than him. The 305 wins are largely due to career longevity I think, but he also won two Cy Young Awards and was the model of consistency during the ’90s.
Jeff Bagwell – Like Glavine, I’m not a big Bagwell fan, but I can’t deny him a spot in the HOF. Of all of the PED rumors, I’d probably believe the ones on him above most other, but that is no reason to leave a guy off the ballot.
Bagwell’s career OPS mark of .948 is 21st all time. He won an MVP and hit .297 with 449 home runs in his career. Those are HOF numbers.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds – Though neither has admitted it, the facts are there to show Clemens and Bonds were PED users. So why give them a vote? Because they were still the best players of their era.
It’s become universally accepted that the majority of baseball players were on steroids in the late ’90s and early 2000s. It’s sad, but it also still shows that Clemens and Bonds were the best.
If PEDs make everyone super human, than why weren’t handfuls of players putting him the same numbers these two were?
I also look at the stats before their probable steroid use. If Bonds’ career ended after the 1998 season (before he reportedly began using in 1999), he would be a HOFer. If Clemens’ career ended before getting traded to Toronto in 1997, he would be a HOFer.
Yes, these two guys had a faulty moral compass. But you still can’t deny their dominance in an era that was overrun by cheaters.
All of that said, Clemens and Bonds have zero chance of being voted in by the writers. Their best hope is to have the Veterans Committee vote them in years from now, which I think is likely to happen.
That’s my ballot – now let me hear yours.
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!