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Before the Hall of Fame results are in: a small dose of perspective

Jan 8, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT


We hear who gets into the Hall of Fame at 2pm Eastern time. No matter what happens, there are and still will be flaws with the voting system and the voters’ choices. That’s the nature of the Hall of Fame and the increasingly large and crazy conversation which surrounds it.

But it is probably worth noting that today will represent a bit of history. Something notable, anyway. Unless something crazy happens, three guys — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas — are definitely getting in. A fourth — Craig Biggio — has a decent shot. If it’s even three, though, it’s a pretty big deal.

Why? Because the last time as many as three men were elected to the Hall of Fame by the baseball writers, it was 1999, when George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount made it. That’s a long time ago. The last time as many as four made it via the writers’ ballot was 1955, when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Dazzy Vance and Ted Lyons made it in. Simply put, the Hall of Fame does not elect a lot of people at once. If, as I suspect, they do this year, it’ll be a pretty big deal.

That doesn’t mean that this year’s vote shouldn’t be criticized. After all, even if four get in, there will be anywhere from six to ten or even more who are deserving but are getting the shaft for various reasons, many specious, and that’s sad. But getting the farkakte group of baseball writers who comprise the electorate to agree on three or four guys is worth mentioning and worth being happy about.

  1. jarathen - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Three is good. Four is better. It’s not what I’d prefer (I think there are ten easy that should go in this year), but three beats the pants off of ZERO. So it’s progress.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      close down the HOF.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Sure, but it’s really hard to keep pants on a zero without suspenders.

  2. cardinalcrazy - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Just makes me wonder how many of the existing Hall of Famer’s would be voted in today if they were on the ballet. I just can’t see Gabby Hartnett or Dazzy Vance making the hall if they finished their career five years ago. Personally, players such as Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, and even those players associated with PED’s (i.e. Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc.) should all be voted in. Enough is enough.

  3. sdelmonte - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Football, which tends to be a “big hall” sort of HoF, has never inducted less than four players, and often has seven or eight. And it doesn’t seem to be killing that place.

    Then again, they ignore steroid questions. And have a much smaller group of voters. And have a nomination process. And yet, whatever controversy there is, is manageable.

    Football is not baseball, of course. But sometimes, you can learn something from football even from the land of the round white ball.

    • ochospantalones - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      Interestingly, in football four is actually the minimum number of inductees. There is an 80% voting threshold for admission, but if there are not four candidates with more than 80% of the vote they induct the top four candidates to the Hall regardless. Also, the maximum is seven inductees, even if an eighth has over 80% of the vote.

      If anything, football’s Hall of Fame process is too secretive and limited to too few voters. There are 46 voters, so theoretically 10 of them could get together and keep someone from ever reaching 80%.

      Those quirks notwithstanding, yes, I do agree it is a better system than baseball’s. At least by limiting it to active writers/reporters you don’t have these old cranks making absurd claims.

      • kevinbnyc - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Agreed on the secrecy. I don’t know that I find anything more frustrating about either HOF voting process than the general anonymity.

        Though I feel like 10 voters getting together to block a guy’s HOF candidacy is better than idiots turning in a blank ballot on general principle.

  4. nymets05 - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Not sure that Glavine deserves entry in his
    first year of eligibility.Always felt that he was a third wheel to Maddux and Smoltz.

    • cardinalcrazy - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      Are you insane? That’s a rhetorical question. He has 305 wins, plus his other peripheral stats are extremely good, and you think he’s not worthy of entry to the hall of fame? I would say Glavine would be an ace on a lot of teams during his team. That’s just how great the Braves were having him and Maddux and Smoltz.

      I personally think people are to hard on letting people into the hall. There certainly a lot of players that are in the hall that wouldn’t be if they finished their career five years ago.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      are you the cabbie who slammed the brakes and cause Tom
      to hit the partition and lose his front tooth?

    • Paul Zummo - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Glavine may not have been quite as good as a couple of guys who will be left out (Schilling and Mussina), but he is deserving on his own merits. Second, the distinction between first ballot and non-first ballot is nonsense. You’re either a Hall of Famer or you’re not, and Glavine clearly is.

      • frank433 - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        I’m with you about first ballot/non-first ballot nonsense. Is there a different wing for the first ballot players? Is their display any bigger? Does it have better lighting? Better location? Or, are all Hall of Famers equal in the Hall?

        I feel that if a player deserves to go in, vote for him. The multi-year eligibility rule helps in a year like this where there are so many worth players.

        In the long run, I doubt I will ever go to the Hall, so I guess it doesn’t matter to me personally if a player is in or not.

  5. tomgallagher76 - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    If anyone gets in ahead of Mike Piazza it’s just flat out wrong.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      they say the acne on his back will keep him out.
      but Ty Cobb the racists is in there.

    • tomgallagher76 - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      He admitted in an interview having done andro briefly (when it was still an allowed substance in MLB) but abandoning it when he felt he didn’t see results. A reporter claims to have seen him with acne on his back in the clubhouse. He was a power hitter in the 90’s, when several other players around MLB were found to be on PEDs. These are the crimes that are keeping the greatest offensive catcher in the history of the game out of the Hall of Fame.

  6. Paul Zummo - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I’m sorry if this has been covered before, but when was the last time (if ever) two teammates were elected on the same day? I’m not talking about guys who played together for a few years, but guys who will both wear the same cap come induction day?

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      are you saying Glavine is going in as a Met, just like Piazza……
      holy sheet!

  7. magicrat13 - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    ahhh…more debate over the Hall of Fame versus the Hall of Very Good….

    i prefer a Hall of Fame… that gets complicated when more and more players get added to the pool…..i just think the HOF should be for the elite players in the game….what determines elite?…well, that is why we have all these wonderful discussion boards…lol

    • Paul Zummo - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Elite is someone vaguely familiar with the shift key on his keyboard and who can form sentences without exclusively using ellipses.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        uh…… the grammar police is here……keep it correct folks……..
        thank you for you wonderful contribution…… did you get bullied in school too?………

      • magicrat13 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        thank you for the advice…and condescension…feel better about yourself now?

  8. antiphillysports - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    To beat a dead horse…the BBWA has to go… Its an embarassment what they do… Here’s my solution to fix it… Each eligable player has 1 year of eligability… This forces the writers to choose whether or not the player is a Hall of Famer or not… none of this 1st ballot/2nd ballot garbage.

    There’s no reason why a player shouldn’t make it one year, but make it another… not like the athlete did anything to better his case. You shouldn’t compare whether a player gets in based off the other players in his class… instead how that player ranks amongst those of all time…

    Call me bias, but Mike Piazza deserves to be in the Hall no doubt… According to baseball reference Piazza ranks as the 6th best catcher (WAR) of all time and his WAR7 (not the best factor, but still…) is 5th all time… #ComeOnMan!

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      sounds good, this will never get done,
      nice work anyway.

    • frank433 - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      I think being on the ballot for multiple years is a good thing in the sense that a year like this there are so many players worthy that some will be overlooked. Even if you remove the 10 player limit per voter, players who deserve to go in will miss out because of the large ballot.

      • antiphillysports - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        In theory not if you remove the 10 voting limit… it removes the safety net of a BBWA knowing that they can just vote next year, or in 5 years just to make a statement… if they feel someone is a hall of famer, then they only have once chance to get them in… Some players may get omitted, but I feel less than currently.

  9. yordo - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    How do I formally protest the results ahead of time?

  10. ireportyoudecide - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    What exactly is the hall of fame. It’s not a place to remember the greatest players to have ever played the game because if it was you would see Bonds, Clemons, and Rose. So what is it, it’s a museum of baseball writers favorite players, that really is all it is at this point. So can we please quit talking about the hall of fame as this great place that every player needs to make to complete their legacy. Jack Morris is the exact same player whether he is in the hall of not, and by the same token I don’t need some baseball writer to tell me that Barry Bonds is or isn’t a great player.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      it’s a museum of baseball writers favorite players, that really is all it is at this point.

      It’s a room in a museum. The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is a hell of a lot more than just the plaque room.

  11. bigtrav425 - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Maddux and Glavine need Asterix next to their name … It would’ve been interesting to see how good they actually would of been if MLB and umpires didn’t give them 4 to 6 inches off the plate….that to me is another form of cheating so why should they get in?

    • scyankee64 - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      I wish I could thumbs up this 100 times.

    • zzalapski - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      What does a French comic book character have to do with Maddux and Glavine?

    • cohnjusack - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Same with Babe Ruth. Umps would call close pitches balls, that cheating and totally unfair, so kick his ass out of the Hall.

      • cohnjusack - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        On a more serious note: On many umpires do you think called their balls and strikes? That has to be some kind of astounding conspiracy for all the umps to get together and say “Hey guys. I know this will give us zero benefit, but let’s call outside pitches strikes for Maddux and Glavine. Gee golly, they’re so handsome it’s worthwhile just to give their careers a boost!”

      • stex52 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Don’t mess with our conspiracy theories, man! if we don’t have those we have to deal honestly with our own inadequacies! I can’t handle that on a Wednesday.

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