January 09, 2007

Baseball Hall of Fame Voting is Sadly, Broken

Today should have been an historic day in baseball, with the elections of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn to the storied halls of Cooperstown, after both set marks for consistent greatness through the 1980s and 1990s. Yet, issues with steroid allegations against other players, and general snobbishness of untalented sports writer hacks combined to snub a myriad of other elite players who may never make the Hall of Fame.

While most of the pre-vote hype was around whether or not disgraced former Oakland A and St. Louis Cardinal first baseman Mark McGwire would be elected, somewhat forgotten were the stories of decades gone by - the dominant closing from Rich "Goose" Gossage, the batting heroics of Dale Murphy and Jim Rice, and top-notch career of Bert Blyleven, to name a few. Where anywhere from 5-10 players on the ballot warranted election, instead, we got two. Where we should have unanimity, we instead got holdouts who embarrassed the sport by, for who knows what reason, leaving Gwynn and Ripken off the ballot.

I'm not calling for a more democratic fan-based voting system. It's bad enough they have input into the All-Star game itself. But the idea that to gain Hall of Fame entry is anything approaching heroics is gone. Instead, we know that its a crapshoot set off by a myriad of ink-stained, yellowed wretches who couldn't run to first without clutching their left side and pulling up lame.

Were I to have voted, and turned in a ballot, I would have been much more liberal, not just issuing a vote for Ripken and Gwynn, but also Gossage, Rice, Blyleven, McGwire, Murphy, Dave Parker and Lee Smith.

As more storied players approach future ballots, I hope baseball writers come to their senses and recognize elite dominance of a sport. Unanimity should be a certainty with stolen base champ Rickey Henderson, and hurlers Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux, to name a few. But my belief in the system is badly shaken.

Listening to ''Jakata'', by Andrew K. presents Junk Science (Play Count: 4)

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