Skip to content

Two votes short: who killed Craig Biggio’s Hall of Fame candidacy?

Jan 8, 2014, 2:43 PM EST

Craig Biggio AP

There’s a Bob Dylan song called “Who Killed Davey Moore” about a boxer who died in the ring. It’s a true story, and the song seeks to find the person responsible for Moore’s death. The answer, after several verses, is that many contributed to it, even if no one person was culpable in a criminal sense. That blame is best laid at the feet of many who, however innocent themselves, worked in concert with others, however unwittingly, to allow a tragedy to occur.

Craig Biggio not making the Hall of Fame — missing by just two votes — is, by no stretch of the imagination, as serious as a boxer dying in the ring. But the blame dynamic is the same. You want to blame someone or point a finger but, in reality, many people’s mistakes and ignorance and the simple unfortunate arrangements of rules and incentives worked against him. If I were Llewyn Davis or someone I feel like I could write a similar, albeit far, far worse, song about it than Dylan did about Moore.

Who killed Craig Biggio’s chances at a Hall of Fame induction this year? A year in which he fell two votes short? Take your pick:

  • The one voter, according to the BBWAA website, who submitted a blank ballot has some responsibility. Not submitting a ballot at all doesn’t hurt candidates, as the ballot is not added to the denominator when percentages are figured. But a blank ballot does. Someone out there, in the interests of making a point, made the hurdle for Biggio higher.
  • Ken Gurnick and Murray Chass helped. The former’s “Jack Morris and no one else” ballot and Chass’ belief that everyone besides Morris, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine took roids worked as votes against Biggio too. Obviously, it’s possible that these guys would not have voted for Biggio even if they weren’t tilting at their particular windmills. Maybe they do not think Biggio took PEDs (well, Chass does) and maybe they just think 3,000 hits and everything else Biggio did was not good enough. But I’m guessing, absent the protest, they have a hard time explaining leaving Biggio off his ballot.
  • The novelty voters are fun to look at. Here are some players who received votes: Eric Gagne, J.T. Snow, Armando Benetiz and Jacque Jones. Snow and Gagne got two each! I hope against hope those votes didn’t come from guys who otherwise filled their ballots. The idea that crazy votes like that precluded a the two votes Biggio needed for induction is horrifying.
  • Deadspin? I think their buying a vote for pranking/criticism purposes and allowing their readers to vote was kind of inspired, but I do hope that (a) the Deadspin readers picked Biggio; and (b) the person who sold their vote wouldn’t have voted for him if they did not. UPDATE: WHEW! Deadspin revealed their voter: ESPN and the Miami Herald’s Dan LeBatard. The Deadspin voters did vote for Biggio.
  • The ten-vote limit: this is a bigger thing, of course. There are many voters who filled out ballots, 1-10 but would have but Biggio on it if they had, say, 11 or 15 votes to give. There really is no rational reason for a ten-vote limit, and the fact that there is one does nothing to elevate the Hall of Fame and everything to do harm.

But really, this is a Davey Moore situation. No one wants to screw Craig Biggio, I presume. But the rules, the vendettas, the ignorance that is encouraged and in some cases venerated and many other factors lead us to a situation in which a player who stands head and shoulders above many others already in the Hall of Fame must stand on the outside looking in for at least another year.

It’s not tragic like Davey Moore, but it’s still kinda sad.

133 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. coachjac30 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    OK hopefully this is my final comment on this matter. I feel as though I have proven that Biggio is not as deserving as Alomar, so that puts him 2nd or 3rd of his era, depending on where you put him versus Kent. So does that put him in or should you then look at guys like Sweet Lou or Bobby Grich first? If you compare Biggio’s numbers to Whittaker’s, you could argue either way..But then do you put both in, which now means you are starting to make it a much bigger hall…Is that really what the Hall of Fame deserves, to open door after door after door?

    If you aren’t the best of your era, do you deserve a spot over say the 3rd/4th of the previous one? Even if the previous one might be stronger at your position?

    What did Whittaker get, 2.9% of the vote? Compare that to Biggio who’s numbers are very comparable and he Is probably going to get in next year? Does that seem fair? Now I know most of you think Whittaker should be in, but do you see what I am getting at? If you start putting these guys in, where do you draw the line? Eventually if you go based off these ways you will have far too many 2nd basemen, and players in general, in a spot that is designed for the BEST OF THE BEST, not the very very good, 2nd or 3rd best.

    Cue the thumbs downs!!

    • cohnjusack - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      OK hopefully this is my final comment on this matter. I feel as though I have proven that Biggio is not as deserving as Alomar,

      No, you haven’t. You continue to cite “average”, discounting the fact that Biggio’s “averages” were dragged down by his later years…years which Alomar didn’t even have because he would out of baseball.

      This has, literally been the most amazing HBT argument ever. You have proven yourself willing to be intellectually dishonest, intentionally distort what others are saying and be incomprehensibly obtuse at any given moment. I’m either arguing with a child, a mental defect or politician. I’m not sure which.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Gonzalez (2001)
  2. D. Ross (1943)
  3. J. Grilli (1908)
  4. M. Scutaro (1846)
  5. A. Pierzynski (1805)
  1. D. Haren (1780)
  2. W. Myers (1775)
  3. D. Young (1759)
  4. T. Stauffer (1750)
  5. S. Smith (1713)