The results of this year’s MLB Hall of Fame voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America will be revealed on Wednesday. Some will get in and rightfully so. Others will fall short of election, it may not be because they’re undeserving, but rather because of the thought process of some of the voters.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez tweeted Monday, “Anyone with a problem with HOF voting should contact the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. They’re the ones who made and set the rules.” Just because somebody can legally do something, doesn’t mean they should.
What I’m talking about is why, or why not, a player may get a writer’s vote. How come Craig Biggio fell short of election last year? There are some out there who have extraordinarily high standards for the Hall of Fame and only the greatest of the great should get in, but man was Biggio good.
It seems almost certain Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are going to get elected on Wednesday. Other pitchers, such as Curt Schilling and first timer Mike Mussina, are probably going to have to wait at least another year. To some voters, Maddux and Glavine are Hall of Famers, while Schilling and Mussina are not. Though I disagree and think all four should be in, I can at least respect said person’s opinion if they legitimately don’t think Schilling and Mussina did enough to earn a plaque in Cooperstown.
The thing I cannot respect, is if Schilling and Mussina were left off a ballot despite being deserving. For some reason, several members of the BWAA have a theory that players should have to wait. In the case of Mussina, he may have some who think he should be in, but don’t think he should get in on the first ballot. I don’t get this. If someone belongs, they should get in. Similarly, I can also understand if someone is left off a ballot because they can only vote for ten, though they’d vote for more.
I wrote Dec. 2, 2013 on isportsweb what my ballot would look like if I had one. I left off Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker. Not because I thought they didn’t deserve it, but realistically, if I actually had a vote, I could only vote for 10. That, too, is understandable.
No one is obligated to fill up their entire ballot, but if they don’t, hopefully it’s for a legitimate reason. If I were part of the BBWAA, I would leave anybody who has been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs because I don’t believe there’s a place for that in the Hall. If someone else disagrees, fine, but if they don’t think a steroid user should get in, or they have a certain criteria for what makes a Hall of Famer, that is acceptable.
A player’s character also should not come into it. Some critics may say Schilling said things in his career that didn’t portray him in the greatest light, and I don’t necessarily condone some of the things he has said or the opinions he holds, though I agree with him that PED users shouldn’t get in. But I’m not about to deny him his otherwise rightful place among the game’s greats because not everyone may like some of the stuff that came out of his mouth. To snub someone because they didn’t treat reporters well in their careers is wrong in my opinion.
Another example is the mentality that because no one else got 100 percent of the HOF vote, that said player is left off a voter’s ballot. I think I’m going to have a very hard time finding someone, if anyone, who truly thinks Maddux wasn’t a Hall of Famer. However, if they legitimately feel that way, so be it. My problem is if a person leaves Maddux off the ballot only because they don’t want him getting 100 percent of the vote, but if everybody had that same mentality, Maddux wouldn’t get in.
On the flip side, former second baseman Ray Durham is eligible for the first time. No disrespect to Durham, but I don’t think he was a Hall of Famer. That doesn’t mean, if, for some reason, one of, or some of the voters thought he was. What I wouldn’t appreciate is if Durham got votes because he was nice or good to a reporter, or if he did a journalist a favor or two. I don’t think that would do anybody a favor. I think that would be completely unfair to both Durham himself and the other players, and voters would be cheating those on the ballot.
Journalists are supposed to be fair and unbiased, and with the politics of the voting, I’m not sure if every voter upholds their journalistic integrity. They may vote for anyone they want if they honestly think that person should be in. The writers can vote for someone if they don’t have a problem with steroid users because they don’t want to leave them off. Conversely, they may leave someone off if they think their standards are high and legitimately don’t think that person did enough, or they could only vote for 10.
However, voting for the Hall of Fame should be a privilege, and not a right. It would be one thing if a fan made a ballot for fun and did whatever they wanted with it. The actual voters, however, have a job to do and they are entrusted to do the right thing with their vote. It would be totally inappropriate to retaliate at an otherwise deserving player. Anybody who is caught abusing these privileges should be stripped of their vote. No questions asked.