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Who the heck is Barry Stanton?

Jan 4, 2011, 5:17 PM EDT

mystery man

Since that ESPN ballot started making the rounds, complete with a guy named Barry Stanton voting for B.J. Surhoff and Tino Martinez of all people, the most frequent question populating my email box and Twitter feed is “who the heck is Barry Stanton?”

Some folks over on this BTF thread did some Googling, and it was discovered that Barry Stanton spent 25 years or so writing for the Journal-News of Westchester, New York, just outside of New York City.

The fact that he’s from Westchester is a possible explanation for his vote for Surhoff, who was a Westchester prep star.  The fact that he likely got his BBWAA ticket covering the Yankees or the Mets might explain the Tino Martinez vote. I’m sentimental sometimes myself, so I guess I understand it even if I don’t approve.

Oh, and then there’s this.  Seems Stanton left his job eight years ago after he was caught plagiarizing a Posnanski column. Ouch.

To be clear: I don’t link it to slam the guy or to discredit his ballot on that basis. The guy lost his job and I assume learned his lesson. There are few mistakes in life that people should be expected to pay for forever, and lifting some prose is not one of them. And hey: given the nature of his Hall of Fame ballot, one thing we know for sure about Stanton is that, in this instance, he’s not copying anyone.

That said, a lot of people marvel at the breadth of the BBWAA’s Hall of Fame electorate.  There are guys voting there who haven’t covered baseball for years.  One is a political cartoonist in Montreal. Another is a college football writer.  This one was found to have committed journalism’s greatest sin. In light of all of that, is it crazy to ask whether it’s worth the BBWAA’s time to reconsider who gets a vote and who doesn’t?

The BBWAA is hyper-selective at who gets to vote for awards: only 28 or 30 guys each, all actively baseball writers.  They get it right for the most part too.  The Hall of Fame has hundreds of voters from all over the place, and they’re increasingly screwing the pooch.  Isn’t there a happy medium to be found? Is it time to look for one?

  1. usuomojinga - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Just wondering … is it possible to collect the ballots of the awards voters (assuming they’re all HOF voters, too) and see if those make more sense than the entire BBWAA vote?

    • okobojicat - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      They’re private as well. They have to publish them.

      I think…otherwise B-R would have them

  2. Joe Tetreault - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    I figured that his sentimentality was Tar Heel related, as Surhoff was the most famous UNC baseball product for many years.

  3. paperlions - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Who is Barry Stanton?
    He’s a guy that will be taking his HOF ballot much more seriously next year.

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    To clarify, Westchester is the county. I believe he’s from Rye…

    Also, the Journal-News is now recognized better amongst baseball fans as Formerly the home of PeteAbe. Now manned by Chad Jennings.

  5. Adam - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    I think the HOF should take away anyone’s vote who does not vote for a player who receives more than 90% of the vote. That will weed out some of the jerks.

    • Glenn - Jan 4, 2011 at 7:24 PM

      So the 10% would be removed forever in your scenario? Something seems wrong with that, but I’d guess we’d see the first unanimous votes.

    • usuomojinga - Jan 4, 2011 at 7:41 PM

      Seems like that will just lead to a lot of guessing over who will hit 90%, and they’ll get extra votes for fear of getting kicked off.

  6. IdahoMariner - Jan 4, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    at least he had the good sense to steal prose from a good (great, actually) writer….I always love when one hack steals from another hack. Like, what was the point of that?!

  7. baseballisboring - Jan 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Maybe if we reduced the number of voters, to say, 100, and have them actually be qualified, we wouldn’t get ballots like this. If people actually thought their votes counted instead of just being one of god knows how many, would they take the process more seriously? For fear of backlash? Just a thought.

  8. Old Gator - Jan 4, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    I’m going to swim against the salmon ladder and persist in not giving a flying fark at a rolling doughnut who Barry Stanton is. Producing an idiotic Hall of Fame ballot is hardly enough man bites dog to qualify a cretin for celebrity.

  9. Barry Stanton - Jan 5, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    I also believe that Two and Half Men is a phenomenal television show. What of it?

  10. spindervish - Jan 5, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    First of all, I’m pretty surprised this guy still has a job in the industry when it seems it’s not in dispute that he was caught plagiarizing, let alone an editor gig. Secondly, I’m surprised you’re not more surprised about it, given that you’re on the fringe of the sports journalism business yourself.

    No, plagiarism is not a crime that anyone “should be expected to pay for forever,” but that doesn’t mean it makes sense to give him another journalism gig. I hesitantly reference Michael Vick here: though there’s no real argument for denying him a chance to return to the NFL and make a living, providing the world’s dogs with a lifetime restraining order is certainly a defensible position and a fair response to Vick’s behavior.

    Similarly, though one bad act probably shouldn’t be held against the guy for the rest of his life, a known plagiarist is probably not the best choice for a position of journalistic authority. You yourself called it “journalism’s greatest sin.” Some actions have necessary and irrevocable consequences.

  11. nctaxpro - Jan 5, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Come on guys; it’s one ballot out of 500 or so. It’s not the end of the world.

    It seems to me that Mr. Stanton takes the HoF injunction to consider the player’s character seriously. One could make a not-entirely-unreasonable argument that neither Alomar nor Blyleven demonstrated the type of character required of HoF members; Alomar did, after all, spit on an umpire and Blyleven did, after all, walk away from his team in 1980 because he didn’t like the way that his manager was using him. If Mr. Stanton gives the character issue more weight that you or I would, so be it; it’s a valid point of view.

  12. leez34 - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best.

  13. bballfan34 - Jan 5, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Hmm….Stanton was fired from his previous job for plagiarizing a Joe Posnanski column. Joey Pos is now considered one of the foremost voices on HOF voting, particularly from the sabermetrics/not totally blackballing steroid guys perspective. Check out Stanton’s votes ( vs. Joe’s votes /”near misses” ( and

    STANTON: Morris, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Mattingly, Surhoff
    POSNANSKI: Alomar, Bagwell, Blyleven, Larkin, Edgar Martinez, McGwire, Raines, Trammell, Murphy, Walker, plus Kevin Brown, McGriff and Palmeiro as “close calls.”

    Note that the ONLY player in common between the two is Edgar Martinez. Very, very odd. Is this some attempt to vote against the guy whose column he was accused of plagiarizing? To show that he’s not at all like THAT guy? I just think it smells pretty darn weird.

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