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Hall voting is tough, but not as tough as Bill Conlin makes it

Jan 7, 2010, 10:54 PM EDT

You know how every few years you have to go to the DMV to renew your driver’s license? They check your vision and take a new photo and make sure your stats are up to date?

I’ve always thought that at a certain age – much older than my own, of course – you should also have to re-take the driver’s test to make sure you are still fit to operate a motor vehicle. After reading this story, I think the same idea should be employed for Hall of Fame voters. (Jay Mariotti might flunk the test on purpose, but that wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

Take it away, Bill Conlin:

I voted for Tim Raines his first year of eligibility. But when he failed to get 25 percent of the vote, he was moved to the back burner. Sorry, that’s just the way it has to be. Maybe more eligible ballwriters should have measured the Rock’s career numbers in all phases against those of analog basestealer and first-ballot inductee Lou Brock. Try it, you’ll be amazed.

Good news for Raines, however. Yesterday, in one of the most bizarre elections in a bizarre process, he collected 30 percent and is now back on my radar.

I agree that it’s a bizarre process and could probably use an overhaul. Thank you, Bill, for making everything clear and sensible. You vote for Raines, then stop when not enough other people do. Now you’re back on the wagon (or is it off the wagon?) Way to stick to your guns.

Speaking of being on the wagon, I, like many of our readers, like beer. If I’m out with some people and no one is drinking beer, I might have one anyway. The fact that the people around me don’t like beer doesn’t change my feeling about beer at all, and I am still going to vote to induct said alcohol into my belly. But maybe that’s just me.

In an earlier column, Conlin wrote that he voted for Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Roberto Alomar, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez and Andre Dawson. That’s six players. Remember that voters are allowed to vote for up to 10 players, and Conlin likes Tim Raines. So why not make Raines No. 7 on your ballot?

You can only vote for a maximum of 10 players. I checked six names on my ballot and have never voted for more than six.

*Author momentarily blacks out.*

OK, so you can’t vote for Raines until you have an opening amongst your self-imposed limit of six choices, even though the rules say you can pick 10. Furthermore, you don’t think Raines can crack a top six that includes Jack Morris and Fred McGriff. I guess thinking Raines isn’t more deserving than Morris and McGriff is your opinion, and that’s fine. But remember, you like Raines and you can pick seven.

Let’s revisit the beer analogy. Remember that I like beer? I usually buy a six-pack when I’m at the store. But let’s say the store has a deal: Buy one six-pack, get a second free. Am I going to buy one six-pack, then just leave the second on the shelf? Am I going to take the second six-pack and pour it down the sink? No, because I like beer – even more than I like Tim Raines – and the store’s rules say I can have the second one for free. I am going to vote for more beer, because I can.

Voting for the Hall of Fame is a difficult process, I’m sure, but don’t make it tougher than it has to be. If you like Raines, vote for him. If you don’t like him, leave the box unchecked. And while you’re at it, you might think about not answering your phone. The DMV might call, asking for your license back.

(Huge thanks to UmpBump)

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks.

  1. bobmac - Jan 7, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    That’s just Bill being Bill.

  2. ochocinco - Jan 8, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Dudes are ‘tardeded…

  3. ThatsSoTaguchi - Jan 8, 2010 at 2:53 AM

    That was kind of incredibly sad, but at the same time interesting. I look forward to more of this Bob Harkins.

  4. Stone - Jan 8, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    In Arizona, your license doesn’t expire until you are 65.

  5. Moses Green - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:50 AM

    In Arizona you can also take your loaded .44 Magnum to the bar and drink your beers in public.

  6. Charles Gates - Jan 8, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    Moral of the story: the HOF voting process drives you to drink. ‘K. We’re in the same boat.

  7. Ryan - Jan 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Thank you BBWAA for making a sacred memorial into your personal soapboxes.

  8. bottle opener on the wall - Jan 14, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Recently, I had a wall beer opener installed in my kitchen. And, while I am not ready to give up my regular bottle opener. However, it’s very nice having it as a safety net in case I lose my portable opener.

  9. Shoe Lifts - Jan 15, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    exemplary work. You have gained a new subscriber. Please keep up the good work and I await more of your interesting posts.

  10. Jabalong - Jan 17, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    Great column Bob. There apparently is no shortage of stupidity when it comes to how individual baseball writers fill out their Hall of Fame ballots. Time to change the process and/or revoke certain writers’ voting privileges.

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