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Bryant: Hall of Fame voting has always sucked. Why mess with tradition?

Jan 8, 2010, 3:55 PM EDT

ESPN’s Howard Bryant is outraged at all the outrage over the Hall of Fame voting. His argument boils down to this:

  • Baseball used to ignore its history and poop on the fans before the strike, and now they care about honoring people and milestones; God, that sucks;
  • The sabermetricians and their fellow travelers in the blogosphere intimidate — and yes, he used the word “intimidate” — the poor BBWAA writers into voting for guys who never would have gotten consideration in the past, so pardon them for missing out on one or two of the statboys’ favorite sons for once; and
  • Baseball was just fine screwing up its Hall of Fame balloting for
    decades, so why are we all upset when they mess up honoring people now?

There are some good points in the piece — I don’t like the fact that we stop games for every milestone now either — but it’s mostly a “two wrongs make a right” kind of argument, and I hate those.  Why should we settle for a stupid Hall of Fame voting process now just because it’s always been stupid?

Bryant did give me a laugh though when he said he’d rather start a team with Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Stan Musial than Edgar Martinez.  Man, I’d take Martinez every day. He’s only 47. Musial is gonna be 90 this year and the other three are dead!

Or am I missing all of his points?

  1. D-Luxxx - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I’ll take Ted’s head. I’d use his genes to create a team of super clones to take down the Evil Empire. You have to wonder what kind of rights you’d have to those players though. I mean, if you paid all that money to clone them, how much would it suck to have them all sign with the Yankee’s after thier contracts were up?

  2. Rob - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    It’s probably apocryphal, but there’s an exchange attributed to either Musial or Williams and a reporter (I’ll go with Stan).
    Reporter: Stan, the game sure has changed. How do you think you’d hit these days?
    Stan: Probably around .300.
    Reporter: Only .300?
    Stan: Well, I’m almost 60 years old!

  3. michael standish - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    If Howard Bryant is going to wax nostalgic, do we not get to ask how old he is (did he ever SEE any of his heroes?)?

  4. Chipmaker - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Cloning technology means that we’ll have assorted versions of Commissioner Selig for the next seven, eight decades, until the reproduced gene sequences degrade too much to continue propagating.
    December 5, 2037 — Commissioner of Baseball Bud cloneSelig.4 announced today that his prime, Allen “Bud” Selig, who served as commissioner from 1992 through his death at the hands of outraged Royals fans in 2019 when he announced that the team was being sold to the New York Yankees as a AAAA level farm team, was elected to the Hall Of Fame by the Veterans Committee In Charge Of Electing Unworthy Executives. cloneSelig.4 said that he, his retired predecessor cloneSelig.3, and presumed successor cloneSelig.5, are all pleased by this development.

  5. Dan - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    I don’t think Bryant’s piece is so bad, honestly, especially when you compare it to his ballot (yes on Dawson and Blyleven, no otherwise). He’s just a “first-time-ballot” guy who is more exclusive about induction (Dawson notwithstanding, I guess). His point about Harmon Killebrew was good — 573 homers, 4th ballot — and given my thesis, his line about comparing Edgar to Musial et al isn’t at all misplaced.
    The big problems with his piece is that he inexplicably takes a pot shot at us youngins who can’t seem to stay off his lawn (yet I can’t help but wonder when did he first cast a ballot for Blyleven?), and that entirely strange and misplaced part about Sosa hugging McGwire. If you take that stuff out, it’s actually a pretty good defense of the first-ballot HOFer sect.

  6. YX - Jan 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Don’t worry, his Yankee-hating gene will be cloned as well.

  7. Chris - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Are we seriously going to measure every HOF candidate against Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Stan Musial? Talk about your small-Hall proponents.
    That said, I did enjoy the image of dangerous sabermetricians crawling from their mothers’ basements to menace the BBWAA members while they sleep.

  8. ssweeps - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    I want the Ted clone—and I will pay dearly for the rights to it so the Yankees won’t get it first.
    Can you imagine the gall of the Williams family holding Ted’s body hostage and making the BoSox PAY BIG BUCKS for the right to clone him? LOL!
    I can see my kids applying for a job with the BoSox as a scientist to help make sure the cloning is done right the first time. LOL!

  9. GBSimons - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    “He’s only 47. Musial is gonna be 90 this year and the other three are dead!”
    Great stuff, Craig. Even my wife laughed.

  10. Moses Green - Jan 8, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Hey Howard – you know what ancient curmudgeons said that about? Indoor plumbing. We’ve got slop buckets and outhouses and we like it. So what if bad sanitation encourages bubonic plague, it’s always been this way.
    Special thanks to ESPN for proving that no matter how much money you spend, you can’t have that much content and still have it be high quality. Anyone who read that article is now 10% stupider. I personally will be doing math and logic puzzles all night to try and get some of it back.

  11. scatterbrian - Jan 8, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    I’ve heard of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but never “it’s always been broke, so why fix it?”

  12. Bo the Wolf - Jan 8, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    The HOF will never be legitimate until they induct relievers too.
    ANY player who is the best at his position deserves a shot at the HOF. The fact that Lee Smith isn’t in is sickening. Trevor Hoffman will be likewise snubbed. And what about the middle reliever who year in and year out fills a valuable set up role that allows wins and saves to happen?
    Apparently the MLB HOF thinks they are trash.
    The Football HOF is very similar in that they have no punters in. Was Ray Guy dog meat, did he not help his team win Super Bowls!?!?
    Both of America’s major sports HOF induction processes need to take a serious look at themselves.

  13. Ron - Jan 9, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    That was actually Ty Cobb.

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