So here’s the deal…you’re a voting member of the BBWAA and instead of checking off one name on your ballot (you can do up to ten), you choose to do none.
Never before has the baseball world been more upset in the five writers not completing their ballot than with this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. I know, I know, by NOT voting for anyone…they voted.
Let’s jump into the re-cap of who got in (Andre Dawson) and who didn’t (25 other dudes).
Andre Dawson (77.9% this year, 67.0% in 2009)
“The Hawk” was destined to make it in given he was the closest last year and at 67% in 2009, his 10% jump was no real surprise. I have no issues with Dawson making it in given Cooperstown opened its doors to Jim Rice last season. For what its worth (and I know the Dan Shaughnessy haters will blast me on this one)…he always struck me as a Hall of Famer.
Which brings me to…
Bert Blyleven (74.2%, 62.7%)
I’ve called Blyleven plenty in the last couple of months. A “compiler”, “not worthy”…the list goes on and on. Battles have been waged, but my opinion never wavered. That being said, the dude got screwed. But why? Did he fall five votes short of 75% because of the cowards who sent in blank ballots? Not sure. Did he fall short because of his own endless campaigning? Who knows. I know this...Bert will be back on the ballot next year and his supporters will be all the more vocal.
Roberto Alomar (73.7%, first year on ballot)
I’ve been huge on Alomar for a while now. Still am. How a player of his stature can be left out in the cold is beyond me. Are there that many Mariottis out there that feel as though they are better than the game by not purposely NOT putting someone in on their first ballot? I know the argument about “a Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer…doesn’t matter when he gets in”, but Alomar was the most deserving cat on the ballot.
Jack Morris (52.3%, 44.0%) and Lee Smith (47.3%, 44.5%)
Like Dawson and Blyleven, both Morris and Smith saw increases in their totals. While I am a fan and supporter of both…I do see the arguments against. That being said, it appears as though the Hall is starting to open its doors for some of my heroes growing up. As a child of the 80s…I ate, drank, breathed 80s baseball and Morris and Smith were a big part of it.
Tim Raines (30.4%, 22.6%)
I’m going to be honest…it sure would’ve been nice for Raines and Dawson to have gone in together. After the time they spent tolling in Montreal, the pair would have been quite a site together on that stage in front of the baseball world. As it is, “Rock” is now three years in to what will surely be a long stay on the ballot.
Alan Trammell (22.4%, 17.4%), Don Mattingly (16.1%, 11.9%), Dave Parker (15.2%, 15.0%) and Dale Murphy (11.7%, 11.5%)
Cases can be, and have been made for these four guys. At times, each one represented the best of the best at the respective positions. All four will stay around for the duration of their maximum 15 years on the ballot, but as I’ve said numerous times in the past…I think only the iconic Yankee Mattingly will sniff Cooperstown. At only 16% now, his vote totals haven’t gotten near the 75% needed, but I am predicting that when it is all said and done, the Veterans Committee will recognize his achievements in New York pinstripes.
Harold Baines (6.1%, 5.9%)
I love the fact that Baines can’t do better than six percent, yet won’t dip below five. I’ve always been a fan of the guy and as long as he is continuing to linger on the ballot…I will continue to pimp his cause. My hope is that the BBWAA won’t disappoint (as they proved they can this year), and keep throwing votes Baines’ way. 30-40 votes a year…that’s all I’m asking for. Less than that means he’s likely off the ballot.
Barry Larkin (51.6%, first year), Edgar Martinez (36.2%, first year) and Fred McGriff (21.5%, first year)
While Alomar surprised me…the totals for these three first timers did not. With more than half of the votes, Larkin is positioned to eventually get in (I’m looking your way, Class of 2015) and when he does…I’ll lead the slow clap. Regarding Martinez and McGriff, honestly, I could go either way. Put them in or don’t…I really have no issues either way.
Eleven guys (Andres Galarraga, Robin Ventura, Ellis Burks, Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, David Segui, Mike Jackson, Ray Lankford, Shane Reynolds and Todd Zeile) got less than the five percent necessary to stick around next year. Suffice it to say…these guys won’t be missed come 2011.
In a year where it appears as though almost everyone increased their vote totals, I am beside myself that Mark McGwire (23.7%, 21.9%) still can’t get a third of the votes necessary to become a Hall of Famer. While I would never put him in the Hall…a lot of mainstream writers appeared to be changing their tune on the big redhead. With the latest revelations regarding performance enhancing drugs that have been unearthed in the last couple of years…“Big Mac” still doesn’t have any tangible evidence being pointed in his direction. My guess is that the writers are waiting to see if or when McGwire gets cleared of using PEDs before they make a realistic push to getting him enshrined…or, they’re hoping his time on the ballot ends quickly so they don’t have to make the decision to tick his box.
***Following the BBWAA's omission of everyone BUT Dawson, I posed the question, "Who else should have gotten the Cooperstown call?" This is how you answered: Alomar (71%), Blyleven (62%), Larkin (38%), Raines (26%), McGwire (25%), Morris (24%), Smith (21%), Martinez (14%) and Other (3%).***