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Dan Shaughnessy clearly doesn’t give a crap about his Hall of Fame ballot

Dec 30, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT

dan shaughnessy

As I’ve noted several times, my Hall of Fame thing isn’t necessarily voters getting “the right ballot.” It’s just about having an actual coherent philosophy and approach and maintaining some level of intellectual consistency about yourself. For example, Ken Rosenthal and I differ sharply about PED users in the Hall of Fame, but his Hall of Fame ballot is still rigorous and defensible and consistent with his stated beliefs despite looking pretty different from my hypothetical ballot. I’m accused of being Hall of Fame Thought Police, but all I really ask is that you not be a blithering idiot about it.

Here’s a good example of how that all works: Noted idiot Dan Shaughnessy blithered his Hall of Fame ballot over the weekend. My stomach is not strong enough to get into it blow-by-blow, but Jason Collette gave it a good going-over. It’s worth your time, if for no other reason than the insane level of slapdashery on display.

This year Shaugnessy voted for Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux. That leaves five empty slots, suggesting that he does not believe anyone else on the ballot is worthy. Which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that, as Collette notes, Shaughnessy voted for┬áJack Morris, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, and Curt Schilling last year.

Why no Raines and Trammell this year? It’s not because they got crowded out — there’s plenty of room left on Shaughnessy’s ballot — it’s because Shaugnessy doesn’t give enough of a crap about his vote to even look at what he did last year or to maintain even a shred of intellectual consistency about it. For all of the stuff we hear from writers about the honor and responsibility of a Hall of Fame vote and for all of the stuff we hear about how much they agonize over such an important task, one of the most noted sportswriters of the past 30 years dashes his ballot the hell off in about five minutes.

What a process.

133 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. paperlions - Dec 30, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    It is customary for knowledge to precede an opinion. If you can not succinctly and definitively state the basis of an opinion while maintaining logical consistency, then the opinion is not worth having (i.e. if you don’t know why you think something, you probably shouldn’t think it or at the very least you should re-examine why you think it).

    All opinions or judgments are not equal, but have only as much value as their underlying basis. Shaghnessy clearly has no logical or information-based construct to support his vote. Approaches like this are far worse that the voter that sold their ballot to Deadspin.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      maybe it is time to look @ the writer and his integrity now, HOF vote
      is now a joke and an embarrassment to baseball and the HOF.
      the fan and players are getting screwed!

    • bigharold - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      “It is customary for knowledge to precede an opinion. ”

      While it’s preferable it is neither customary nor the norm. It’s been my experience that when discussing baseball, things like knowledge, logic and reason are so rare they are practically super powers. I myself have occasionally been accused of rendering an opinion devoid of all three. Those occasions were usually slander but hey, .. everybody has a right to their opinion.

    • aceshigh11 - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Whoa, whoa, whoa…

      Pull that bus over to the side of the pretentiousness turnpike! I want everybody off the bus! I want the shiny people over here, and I want the happy people over here, okay?

      I represent angry, gun-toting, meat-eating bleeping people, okay? Sit down and shut the bleep up, Michael!

  2. themagicfanguy - Dec 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    @kyletexas If you think Maddux doesn’t deserve to be in then you don’t know a damned thing about baseball, period.

  3. tcclark - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    what if his philosophy is to vote for the 5 most deserving players every year. if he limits himself to 5 every year and sticks to it wouldnt that be a calculated sytem like you were looking for?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Except Morris isn’t one of the fifteen deserving candidates, let alone top five, and yet CHB voted for him.

      • fanofevilempire - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        I disagree, Jack Morris is a HOF’er, the sad part is now he doesn’t even care about HOF, just like a lot of fans.

      • paperlions - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        Wrong on 2 counts. Morris is nothing like a HOF pitcher. There are dozens and dozens of better pitchers that have never sniffed the HOF….and Morris deeply cares, which is why he has regularly lobbied for himself, showing neither humility nor a great understanding of how good he actually was (or wasn’t).

      • metroplexsouthsider - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Exactly. Leaving players like Mussina … who is arguably better than Glavine … off the ballot and still voting for the One Game Wonder is ridiculous.

  4. djpostl - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    It’ll be amusing watching him defend voting for PED boy Big Sloppy, despite refusign to do so for others with the PED stigma and far better resumes.

    Such a Bahstun homer.

    • jrobitaille23 - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      The difference between Big Papi (who supposedly tested for something though he has denied and there is no proof) and other suspected PED users is that since all this went down, with testing, testifying in front of Congress, BALCO, etc..i.e The Steroid Era…he is the ONE suspected guy whose numbers have remained great. He hasn’t suffered a massive drop in numbers, he hasn’t missed parts of multiple seasons with injury, he doesn’t look different. I am not saying he is innocent and I believe he is tainted due to the era he played in and the supposed failed test. He has passed the eye test, his numbers have been there before and after, and he has been instrumental in those Boston W.S. championships. He will have a hard time getting in but a couple more seasons with good numbers it will be hard to justify keeping him off. Because the list of players in this era who have similar numbers before and after steroid testing went into effect is small. He is proving each year that either he is great at passing tests despite being on something or that he never was on anything to begin with.

  5. sabatimus - Dec 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    I bet Shaughnessy simply forgot and resubmitted last year’s ballot. He’ll blame it on the Curse that he invented.

    • edsox - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:17 PM


      Shaughnessy invented the curse?????? Please.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        If he didn’t invent it, he sure revived and promoted the hell out of it to sell books.

  6. packhawk04 - Dec 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Someone slept with craigs wife, and it wasnt me.

  7. negaduck - Dec 30, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Trammel was a good choice for the Hall of Fame last year, but do you know how many home runs he has hit since then?

    Then answer is zero..

    Do you know how many bases he stole since then? Also zero.

    In fact, Trammel has batted a pathetic .000 since last years Hall of Fame voting.

    These are clearly not the numbers of a Hall of Fame baseball player, and I, for one, applaud our curly haired baseball writing overlords for refusing to cave in a vote in a player like this.

  8. hardballlifer - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Baseball has been my life since I was a toddler. I started playing at age 4, and caught for 23 seasons. I started umpiring at age 19 and just retired after 24 seasons. I was blessed enough to catch a perfect game at the varsity high school level and win a state title as a high school coach. I was able to umpire from the pee-wees up to — and including — Minor League Baseball. Overall, I’ve spent 39 consecutive years on the diamond. Outside of being a dad, nothing has given me more joy than baseball. The game and the people around the game have made me a better person. I have been truly blessed by baseball.

    I left umpiring to pursue the craft of writing in baseball. As a 43 year-old rookie, I don’t expect it to come easy. I have to fight like a starving dog — just like any other new writer — to get noticed and to get column space.

    It saddens me to even hear of the THOUGHT of anyone not caring about their Hall of Fame ballot. I’m trying to write within the sport with the DREAM of being in the BBWAA and having even one HOF ballot in my lifetime. I have played, umpired, studied, coached, and studied more baseball than most current writers have. I was using Sabermetrics before the name was thought of. I love the game and KNOW the game.

    Mr. Shaughnessy, if this article is at all true, and you are apathetic about your ballot, please allow me the honor of filling it in for you. You have my word that I’ll give it the attention and respect it deserves.

    Just so you understand my seriousness, sir, Also, so you know that I’m real, I watched the Packers win the NFC North……AGAIN, yeaterday!

    • ottercardinal - Dec 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      His vote.. His call. Because you don’t agree with his vote doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Typical liberal view. Maybe he reevaluated Trammell and Raines or even realized he made a mistake in the past. Who are you to say he doesn’t give a crap! Maybe you don’t give a crap supporting a guy like Biggio or Bagwell??? Sure you wouldn’t like people saying that.

    • cur68 - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      Just so that “ottercardinal” there isn’y the only reply you get, let me say good luck with the writing career and staying in baseball in some way. You’ve already shown yourself to be a better baseball guy than Shaughnessy, who doesn’t appear to give a crap. And don’t let the people like “ottercardinal ” stop you, either. People like that dislike anyone chasing a dream or an ideal. They’re generally afraid to do the same for themselves so they like to slam others who have the guts to go for it. Once again, good luck.

      • yahmule - Dec 31, 2013 at 2:10 AM

        What he said.

      • hardballlifer - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        @cur68: Thanks much.

        @ottercardinal: Discussing, on point, I agree that it’s Shaughnessy’s vote and his call. Please understand that I’m not debating the names that he puts on his ballot. My comment had nothing to do with the individuals named or not named on the ballot.

        If you read my post a second time, you’ll see that I’m not even accusing him of not giving a crap — the article’s author already did that.

        My point is that IF Shaughnessy is at all apathetic about his vote, I genuinely feel that it’s a sad thing and I’d love to have the privilege of handling that responsibility. If Shaughnessy does care about his ballot — contrary to the author’s allegations — then rock on.

        As for as Shaughnessy’s writing is concerned, I have agreed with many of his commentaries and have disagreed with many more. That being said, his writing skills are top shelf and the writing quality is certainly there. Whether a person agrees or not is a completely different discussion.

      • ottercardinal - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        I have no problem with Craig wanting to be a good writer and a good baseball guy…..shouldn’t thst be his goal? My issue is with his constant worry about what everyone else is doing. Worry about writing good quality stories and less about accusing others and you will have a good following and a level or respect.

        @cur68 where did I discourage Craig from following his dream? Continue your great work of putting words in others mouths….

  9. braxtonrob - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    It disgusts me to know that not just Shaughnessy but others just like him have ballots each and every year.
    I’m not saying the voting should become machine-like and just a formality, but can we please find a way (Cooperstown!) to eradicate the mentally-unhealthy and senile?

  10. phillyphannnn83 - Dec 31, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    Those of you who are new here clearly don’t understand one very essential piece of the HBT historical pie as it relates to this topic…Craig does this every year. For at least a 2 week stretch, we MIGHT get lucky and have 1 or 2 posts break up his constant whining and crying about those who have a vote and what they do with it. Its sad, pathetic, annoying, and it happens like clockwork…year after year after year.

    Here’s something to ponder there CC…those who have a vote have EARNED that vote, and along with that comes the right too do with it what you want and no amount of bitching by you or any other non credentialed baseball writer will change that. Deal with it and stop posting this garbage every single year.

  11. deadrabbit79 - Dec 31, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    Anyone else find it strange that the “Sportswriters” decide who gets into the BASEBALL Hall of Fame????

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