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Digging into the Hall votes

Jan 6, 2010, 2:52 PM EDT

Trammell.jpgStill reeling from the exclusion of Roberto Alomar.  In the meantime, let’s look down the ballot a bit, shall we?

Bert Blyleven: He received 400 votes. 405 votes were required this year. Five voters submitted blank ballots. I’m hoping they out themselves soon so they can be pilloried all right and proper.  My pique in the last post — saying that maybe Bert would never make it — may be a bit much, but at some point doesn’t opposition harden? Doesn’t a backlash to his much-publicized candidacy start to develop?  He probably makes it next year. He should have made it several years ago.

Roberto Alomar:  He received 73.7 percent of the needed 75.  Obviously he’ll make it, probably next year. For now, the “he’s no first ballot Hall of Famer” crowd can declare victory. Now if only the Hall voting rules made a distinction between first ballot and non-first ballot candidates . . .

Jack Morris:  52.3%.  Last year he got 44%.  He looks like he’s on a slow but steady climb.  Given all the squawking about him, however, I would have assumed he would have received more.

Barry Larkin: 51.6.  Not a bad showing for a first year candidate. I think he deserves to get in, and at least a majority of writers do too.  Guys who crack 50% in their first year tend to make it eventually.

Edgar Martinez: 36.2%. I wrote earlier that I won’t think it the end of the world if Martinez didn’t make it this year, and I am not crying that he didn’t. Still, 36.2% for a hitter of his caliber seems awfully low.  Are there that many writers out there who view a DH as unqualified for the Hall?

Mark McGwire and Alan Trammell: Each inched up only a tad — Trammell 17% to 22%, McGwire 22% to 23%.  More than even Blyleven and Alomar, the low vote totals for Trammell are something to be ashamed of. I understand the opposition to McGwire. I had thought he’d jump much higher than this based on several writers saying that they have changed their mind on him.  He may never make it. If there is to be any movement on his candidacy, it will be because he’s a nice, honest and approachable hitting coach who likes to talk about the past.

Tim Raines: 30.4%  A seven percent jump from last year.  He’s going to be a 12-15 year candidate I suppose.  Lump him in with Trammell as players’ whose treatment by the BBWAA is shameful.

Others of note:  Fred McGriff’s 21.5% in his debut is less than promising, but at least he hangs around for another year.  Don Mattingly and Dave Parker only received incremental gains, and don’t look to have any momentum.  Lee Smith ticked up a bit to 47%, but it’s a lukewarm reception. Probably should be too.  Dale Murphy actually slid down a percentage point.  Harold Baines remains above the 5% cutoff by the skin of his teeth.  Andres Gallaraga only got 4.1% and will be gone henceforth.

WTF? Seven voters thought Robin Ventura was a Hall of Famer. Maybe they mistook their ballot for the Hall of People Who Got Their Ass Handed To Them By Nolan Ryan That One Time. Ellis Burks and Eric Karros had multiple (read: 2) supporters.  Kevin Appier only had one vote. He struck me as at least a 4 vote man. No, 5.  Two people thought that Pat Hentgen and David Sequi were worth a vote.

David Sequi? I take that, more than anything listed above, as proof positive that the BBWAA should be disbanded and its remains dispatched via horseback to the four corners of the empire.

  1. Bill@TDS - Jan 6, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    The 7 votes for Ventura were far more defensible than the 282 for Morris. Ventura was a seriously underrated player (not that I’d have voted for him).
    I seem to be alone here, but I really don’t mind throwing the courtesy vote to a Kevin Appier or Pat Hentgen (mine would’ve been Ray Lankford) if you don’t think there are ten truly worthy candidates.

  2. Matt in Toledo - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Whenever I see one vote for somebody, I always think of the guy on the Simpsons with the Droopy voice saying, “I was saying Boo-urns”.

  3. Flipsy - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Actually I don’t mind the courtesy vote for someone like Hentgen either. You know, these guys that will be on the ballot for one year and had a solid career and are the top 5 or 10 of their respective franchises. You covered them for many years, give them the token vote. No one gets hurt. It’s not like voting for Dawson but not Alomar or Raines.

  4. Moses Green - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    That’s it. First Phil Rizzuto gets in, now this? This is the last straw. It’s time for the SABR to start its own actual Hall of Fame. It should be constructed loosely on the Bill Simmons Pyramid principle, and a boycott should be organized for Cooperstown. Robby Alomar can’t go in on the first vote? Really BBWAA? Robby frickin Alomar?? They don’t get it, they never will. Time to go.
    A new HOF, with Pete Rose IN with a description of exactly how his gambling on baseball and denials brought shame to himself and baseball. Alongside his hit-leader stats and the chip on his shoulder, warts and all.
    Follow me to freedom!!!

  5. MDS - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    sympathy votes for robin

  6. Tom - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    I think you are referring to this:
    Craig, I think you are seriously slighting Robin Ventura. Was he any worse than Andre Dawson ( WAR list says yes, BP has Ventura being more valuable).

  7. Old Gator - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Why reel at the exclusion of “Spitting Bobby” Alomar? Sure he had great stats, but so what? His level of sportsmanship was just a notch better than Stagolee’s. I could care less if he sinks into statistical oblivion and stays there.

  8. MarkH - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    My thoughts: Many BBWAA members love the power they wield, and don’t particular care how they wield it. For example, they have the power to give Mo Vaughn a vote for the Hall of Fame. They have the power to keep someone *out* of the Hall by denying them a vote, and they will gladly do it. If they write a column explaining all this, and get a million comments calling him a moron, well guess what — a million people read the column. He’s not “wrong” — he’s *popular.* That’s how it works.
    I still cling to the notion that election to the HoF is a great honor. But the process of being elected by fools who abuse their powers to make political points is so corrupt that it’s beginning to taint my admiration for the entire system. It’s still an honor, but if I were Blyleven for example, I might be thinking the 12, 13, 14 year long process of being humiliated by having this carrot dangled in front of you might not be worth it.

  9. Old Gator - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    Damn that “send” button – combine it with one of these stinking touchpads and oops!
    As for Blyleven, he probably shot himself in the foot with his own campaigning. Five votes? He keeps to himself and stops jumping up and down and waving his arms around like that, he probably makes it. Just my guess. His bleating article about why he deserved to be in there last week annoyed me, and I don’t even vote.

  10. Old Gator - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Damn that “send” button – combine it with one of these stinking touchpads and oops!
    As for Blyleven, he probably shot himself in the foot with his own campaigning. Five votes? He keeps to himself and stops jumping up and down and waving his arms around like that, he probably makes it. Just my guess. His bleating article about why he deserved to be in there last week annoyed me, and I don’t even vote.

  11. markfd - Jan 6, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    What ashame, Blyleven, Trammell, Larkin, Morris and Alomar get excluded, all are deserving of the Hall. Heck, if you are going to put Dawson in you have to put Raines in too IMHO. I think the writers saw what a sorry group of candidates there are next year and figured these guys could wait another year! 😦

  12. Michael - Jan 6, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    This really demonstrates the irrelevance of the average sportswriter.
    There’s a pack mentality and level of, quite frankly, willful ignorance that is not helping newspapers to escape doom – if we can get BETTER information and analysis at the click of a button, why buy a paper?

  13. paddy - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    How much longer until you get to vote?

  14. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Ten years after they let me into the BBWAA. When they’ll let me into the BBWAA is anyone’s guess.
    Maybe I’ll ask Heyman or Shaughnessy if they’ll sponsor me . . .

  15. johnrb39 - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    I thought Andre Dawson was a very good player, but hall of fame? Why does someone have to be elected every year. The Hall of Fame implies to me the “Best of the Best”. I don’t see that in any of the names on the ballot. A “Derek Jeter” type player I can see. A true team leader, terrific fielder, and a great CLUTCH hitter. Some players have some attributes (Roberto Alomar) but lack the mental discipline or self control of a leader. I am not knocking these guys I just don’t see in them all the qualifications I think are required to be in the hall.

  16. YANKEES1996 - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    They had nerve enough to vote for David Sequi, Kevin Appier, Robin Ventura and Harold Baines, but they could not see their way clear to vote for Bert Blyleven, Edgar Martinez and Jack Morris. Disbanded and sent to the four corners of the empire is too good for those idiots. If we think really hard we can come up with something much better than that!!

  17. TC - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    Part of me wonders if the single vote getters weren’t just post-career compliments from admiring sportswriters. As in, some guy writing for the Palooka Times votes for Segui not because he thinks Segui will get in nor even deserves to be in, necessarily, but just wanted to give a little nod in the guy’s direction.
    If that’s the case, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. If someone out there really wants Segui in the Hall of Fame, well, that’s another story.

  18. SYH - Jan 6, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    “Derek Jeter” and “Terrific Fielder” do not ever belong in the same sentence together

  19. Paul - Jan 6, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    You say “they” as if they all voted the same way. TWO people voted for Segui. 400 voted for Blyleven. Who’s to say those two weren’t part of the 400? When you are talking about hundreds of votes, there is hardly a “they” to speak of when comparing two candidates.

  20. Omega in Colorado - Jan 6, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Ok, let’s travel to the land of make believe.
    Robin Ventura actually gets voted into the HoF, and let’s be genorous since this is make believe, he makes it First Ballott! wow! way to go Robin.
    Now at his induction ceremony, Nolan Ryan struts up to the podium, puts him in a headlock and whoops the tar out of him again.
    They could probably play it over and over again on PPV and make a fortune!

  21. The Rabbit - Jan 6, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Sorry to disillusion you; however, if you research the players who are enshrined in the Hall, you’ll find a great many who do not fit your criteria. It would also be a very small HOF.
    As evidenced by the votes, there are clearly many subjective factors that enter into the BBWAA members’ ballots.
    I’m sure you’ll be glad I don’t have a vote. Even though I’m old, I tend to be more of a SABR person and I must admit I value quirkiness and individuality over the other subjective value, “team leadership”.

  22. The D - Jan 7, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    This (sympathy votes) works for me too (especially for Robin Ventura – the White Sox were in my top 3 in the early 90s for no real reason), as long as Writer X votes for all the people who belong too.
    Like his ballot should be:

  23. Skiddy - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Never ceases to amaze me. How do you get to be one of the voters? Evidently, just say you are a baseball “expert.” I know most of them probably take this responsibility very seriously, but some are obviously idiots, and shouldn’t be allowed to vote. These are the ones who make a sham of this every year.

  24. ssweeps - Jan 7, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    I’ll guarantee you that there are some ***hole (writers) voters who never saw Blyleven play in the early part of his career, so that is why he didn’t make it. I think I should get a vote for responding in writing to this post! LOL! At least my choices would be better! And players like Appier and Segui wouldn’t even be allowed to be on the ballot.

  25. pajomaca - Jan 7, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    Trammell is treated shamefully? He’s a very nice player, but I think most would agree is a bit shy of HoF. Are some writers supposed to vote for him just to give him a higher total, as long as it’s not 75%? – how do those writers know who they are? (Personally, though, I think Parker’s treatment could be called shameful, since he should be viewed as at least borderline).

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