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One Hall of Fame voter will keep his votes secret from now on

Jan 3, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT

Voting booth

Hall of Fame voters are under no obligation to share their ballots with the public. FanHouse’s Ed Price has, in the past, done so. He will not do so anymore:

Unlike the annual BBWAA awards, Hall of Fame voting is by secret ballot. And while in the past I have published my vote, I no longer believe I should.

And that’s because I don’t believe it’s fair to publicly accuse someone of using PEDs without some evidence. If I reveal my ballot, and it doesn’t include an obvious choice, then I am, in effect, accusing that player because I have made it known I will not vote for a player if I believe there was a reasonable chance he used PEDs. … But for now, I feel I’m following the instructions given me. And I’m not ashamed of my stance. I’ll get plenty of backlash, and I hope for reasoned debate rather than name-calling. Throw all the numbers you want at me—and I like to look at all the numbers—but I abhor cheating, and that takes precedence over all.

Ed can do what he wants. And while I favor public ballots, if I had to choose, I suppose I would prefer it if writers said nothing rather than make public accusations of ballplayers for which there is no evidence.

I have to ask, however: if your rationale for not voting for someone for the Hall of Fame is something you would consider “unfair” to make public, how is it any more fair when private? It’s less rude, I suppose. But it’s just as unfair.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Well since he’s not sharing his opinions I will likewise withhold mine.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      Not sharing your opinion? Who are you? And what have you done with Mr. Jason “El Bravo” Heyward?

  2. Jonny 5 - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I can respect his decision on both counts. Steroids are bad MMMkay children…. And because every year his decision not to include known or suspected steroid users will be torn apart by the likes of “Kaiser Soze”. And afterall it is his decision, which we must accept even if we can’t respect it. Honestly I’d keep out the known users, but not suspected users. To keep out guys because they gained weight and power during a certain era is just off the wall and seriously unfair. Many ball players gained weight and power over their careers since the game began. yeah, I don’t agree with doing that, but who am I to tell people they’re wrong? Maybe they aren’t?

  3. Matt - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    I wonder…is he really withholding his vote so as to not accuse publicly? Or is he really withholding it so that when he votes for someone that is later shown to have used he doesn’t have to deal with the backlash of his hypocracy?

  4. Jonny 5 - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    This is probably the wrong thread for this but…..

    I’m getting sick of the same picture of Burt Blyleven used on HBT posts. I hereby request this become the new official Burt picture from here on out. Sure it may not help his HOF case, but it’s priceless, really.

    http://static.sportressofblogitude.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/bert-blyleven.jpg

    • Panda Claus - Jan 4, 2011 at 7:37 AM

      I’m with you on this Jonny5. Great photo, however, Craig might need to “colorize” it before using it 10 times over the next week.

  5. lessick - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    While I disagree with his stance, I’m going to give him credit for not being rude, especially in light of the Heyman resolutions piece.

    • professorperry - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      co-sign.

  6. drunkenhooliganism - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    The hall of fame vote column is probably one of every sportswriter’s most-read pieces every year. a good idiotic take like Heyman’s bit on Blyleven can drive 1000x more traffic than an article about what he thinks the Royals need to do to rebuild their team. So if I was his boss i’d ask the dude from fanhouse to rethink his position, and I’d send Heyman to interview cows and pigs in siberia.

    The HOF vote article is also how the writer reminds readers that he has a vote, so he MUST be a good writer. If he doesn’t list his choices, he’ll have to remind us in other ways that he’s a HOF voter.

  7. sammillerocr - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Just so long as Corky Simpson keeps sharing his ballot, I’m happy.

  8. rynev - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    “I will not vote for a player if I believe there was a reasonable chance he used PEDs”

    I would love to hear his definition of reasonable chance. Given some of the estimates that we’ve heard that almost 50% of players may have used PEDs, wouldn’t you think that there would be a “reasonable chance” almost any player in the so-called steroid era used PEDs at some point?

    • rrrii - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM

      This comment really illustrates the complexity for HOF voters these days. Whether we like it or not, the “Steroid Era” just isn’t far enough in our rear view to be able to clearly judge it and the players’ accomplishments. It takes time to sort things out that challenge our moral and value systems and it’s not unexpected that almost every writer has a different standard.

  9. JM Lattanzi - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    I am sort of torn on this public vs. private ballot – on the one hand, it is technically a secret ballot, and thus any revelation is entirely up to the writer in question. On the other hand, and this especially applies to those who consider themselves to be the, ahem, ‘custodians of the game’s history’, they should have some sort of obligation to reveal their votes.

    • iammaxa - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:11 PM

      My understanding of secret ballots is that they are meant to protect voters from reprisal. So for instance, if a Hall-of-Fame voter believed that angry fans might harass him or his family if they learned of his decision, he would have reason to maintain secrecy. But that’s obviously not what’s going on here. Ed Price isn’t claiming any right of self-protection–what he’s saying is that his candid opinion, if made public, might unjustly tarnish the reputation of certain ballplayers. As Craig points out, though, it makes little sense to say that while airing such an opinion may be unjust, actually voting in accordance with it is okay.

      If Price has good reason to vote in accordance with his take on PEDs, he should also be willing to openly discuss and defend his position. So it seems that Price is either confused about the role of secret ballots, or is simply attempting to shield his vote from unwanted scrutiny.

  10. paperlions - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    I suppose amphetamines must not be cheating then….or those with this view would just return a blank ballot.

  11. bigcatasroma - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Um, attn: Ed and every other dum6a$$ writer out there — there ARE cheaters in the freakin Hall of Fame — from St. Babe himself through Venerable Gaylord and all of the stars before and since. If your reason for not voting for someone is because they “cheated” with steroids, you $uck. It’s just as much my game as yours, and each year that goes by makes me less likely to visit Cooperstown for the first time. And that really bothers me, as someone who is starting to creep through his 30s and is planning on starting a family. I’d much rather talk about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll to a young kid than explain why there are people out there who judge and ridicule others without any God-given right to do so. So p00p on you, Ed Price.

    • pwf207 - Jan 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM

      absolutely correct bigcat. to call steroids cheating but not amphetamines is arbitrary and illogical. there is no definitive answer as to what, if any advantage is gained in baseball by steroid use. and we are under no obligation to accept the illogical choices of decision makers just because they currently occupy the positions of decision maker. we should continue to criticize and point out flaws of logic and reason; as has been said by many recently, facts are not subject to opinion and willful ignorance or denial of facts does not remove one from their influence.

  12. crisisjunky - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    IF secret balloting was enforced, there would be no reason (or platform for that matter,) for writers
    endowed with the scepter, to blog,twit,tweet, text,bloviate,patronize,condescend, spiral, or otherwise agendize.
    Wait…..wait a sec… just had a visualization of Heyman wearing a clothespin on his lips….

  13. iftheshoefits2 - Jan 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    Nice logic. Its the equivalent to:

    “I won’t call you a slur in public, because, you know, that would be inappropriate. But I won’t let you in my country club because, you are one of *those people*.”

    I will now go shoot myself for invoking racial/ religious parallels where they have no place. But Craig already took the Communism angle, so I’m left with weak analogies….

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