Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The BBWAA and their typical typicalness

You know me. You know I care deeply about the Baseball Hall of Fame, so everything you think is wrong with the Baseball Hall of Fame is actually what is wrong with the BBWAA.

Take, for instance, the current BBWAA hand-wringing over the maximum of ten names per ballot, as prescribed by the rules established in 1936: it didn't have to be this way. If you take a look at the ballot for voting to be announced in January 2014, you see the following realistic candidates for the Hall of Fame:

Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.

That's 21 names right off the top of the ballot that have at least half a chance to get into the Hall of Fame. Should all 21 make it? Debatable. But of this list Bagwell, Clemens, Martinez, McGriff, McGwire, Morris, Raines, Schilling, Smith, Trammell, and Walker have been on more than one ballot. I can understand it if some BBWAA voters don't think some of the above are not Hall of Famers - but I want to speak to those who do think the above should, at some point, be Hall of Famers, but are making a statement with their decision to make those players wait.

It's not like the official BBWAA ballot is a surprise. The only qualifications of being on the ballot are that you (a) play for ten years, (b) be retired for five calendar years, and (c) don't be Pete Rose or Joe Jackson. So basically, once a ten-year veteran retires, the BBWAA knows that five years down the road they'll be asked to decide if that player is or isn't a Hall of Famer. In 2008, the BBWAA knew that, for the 2014 Induction, they would have to vote on Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, and Frank Thomas.

Maybe if those who were "making a statement" by withholding their vote and are currently moaning about (sic) "TO MANY HAUL OF FAMERZ" should have thought more than 15 minutes ahead and realized what was coming down the pike in 2014. Am I biased? Of course. Of the above, on my *2013* ballot would be: Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Martinez, Piazza, Raines, Schilling, and Sosa. I'll be happy to explain it to you, if you like.

And why would I have voted for them, because it would then free up the room on my 2014 ballot to vote for: Glavine, Kent, Maddux, Mussina, and Thomas. There would be no first-year logjam for me, because I am capable of complex thought - something, sadly, the collective BBWAA is unable to do. It's not the Hall of Fame's fault the BBWAA can't figure this out, it's their own.

If anything needs to be fixed, it's the BBWAA - not the Hall of Fame.