I wanted to write about this yesterday but I just ran out of time, so instead I’ll give you my insight on the voting, the process and how absolutely ridiculous it has become.
Yesterday was one of those days that help me get through the cold, long winter. Between Hall Of Fame election day, Truck Day(Feb. 8th), pitchers and catchers(Feb. 15) and spring training games these are my little glimmers of light and hope. Yesterday, the voters almost got it all right. In fact, theycamethisclose to nailing it. At least it’s good to know that Craig Biggio will get in next year more than likely, but to come up two votes short has got to be a killer. Hey, on the plus side Armando Benitiez and Jacque Jones and Kenny Rogers each got one vote.
There is no argument that Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are all more than deserving of these HOF nominations. Maddux was the best pitcher of his generation, Glavine the 2nd best lefty and Thomas the best right-handed hitter. I think all baseball fans know what these three have done so there is no need to rehash their credentials.
This year the voters missed on Biggio. He’s a HOF player and if you look at his numbers he was a model of consistency. Some of the players he is most similar too are Robin Yount, Jeter, joe Morgan, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar; all HOF’ers. He played his entire career for one organization and played 5 positions(C, 2B and all 3 OF positions) at a high, all-star caliber level.
I think what irritates me the most about the results and the process is the lack of respect for the new numbers in the game. We all get that if you win 300 games or have 3,000 hits you are getting in to the hall. What drives me nuts is those players who don’t have those #’s and may never see their name enshrined. Players like Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, Jack Morris, Jeff Kent and Edgar Martinez. Jack Morris may never get in now that his 15 yrs of eligibility is up. The man was one of the best pitchers of the 80’s. He was an old school kind of hurler who had 175 complete games in 18 yrs. 1,000 more punchouts then walks. Over 3800 innings pitched and one of the best big game pitchers of any generation. I get it that he had a higher ERA and only had a .577 win percentage but my eye test always told me something different. It just always felt like I was watching a HOF pitcher.
I feel that Curt Schilling will not get the love that he fully deserves. If you compare Glavine’s numbers to Schilling’s stats the raw numbers don’t necessarily compare. Glavine was more wins, more innings pitched anda better win percentage. Lets not forget that Schilling pitched on some awful Philly teams in the late 90’s that really hurt his cause. Schilling has more complete games, he gave up less than a hit per inning, he had 2300 more k’s then walks. 2300!!! That’s unheard of. The man walked only 711 hitters in 3260 innings. He had a 4:1 k to bb ratio. Lets also not forget what he did to the Yankees in 2001 for Arizona and in 2004 for the Red Sox. The man was a winner, a gamer and maybe the best control outside Greg Maddux. He had a better WAR and a much better post season record. In fact, Schilling can stake a claim to having some of the best post season stats ever. What I’m saying is, if Glavine received 90% of the vote his 1st year eligible, then Schilling is just as worthy a candidate and the voters need to get him in next year.
Jeff Kent and Edgar Martinez I’m worried are going to get lost in the steroid era. Both players have .290+ BA, 300+ HR’s. Kent had 1500 RBI’s and an OPS of .855. Martinez had more walks then K’s and an OPS of .933 (which is just crazy). In an age when getting on base was higly regarded, Edgar was the poster child. Kent may go down as the most undervalued player of his era nd he just happens to be one of the best 2nd basemen ever. I hope that the addition of Thomas who spent a good chunk of his time as a DH can clear the path for Edgar who has a DH almost his entire career.
Finally, Tim Raines. The poor man’s Rickey Henderson. All the numbers, none of the flash. A great OPS, good average, more BB’s then K’s. 800+ stolen bases. Triple digits in 2B’s, 3B’s and HR’s and if he stayed a full time player, probably would have gotten to 3000 hits. Raines is a long shot but I think a worthy HOF candidate. You want guys that are anti-steroid, Raines, Biggio, Schilling are your guys.
Next year could be a very interesting vote. Pedro, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz are all eligible for votes. All three are worthy and all three represent the cream of the crop of steroid era pitchers. Those three and plus the five I mentioned along with a players like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza who seem to be moving closer to the Hall and could make this vote these next few years very interesting.
I think that the voting is as antiquated as the members of the BBWA are. Open the whole thing up. Let voters vote for whoever. Don’t limit the number of votes to just ten. If a writer thinks 15 should get votes, let them vote that way. It’s also sad that some voters have written less about baseball in the past years then I have. They simply renew their membership just to keep the vote. A lot of these voters skew the direction of the vote. Many are anti-steroid era guys. With guys like these voting, players like Clemens and Bonds may never get in, and frankly they should. MLB has done a great job cleaning up the game, now its time for the Hall to clean up it’s process.