Yesterday, the BBWAA voted Andre Dawson into Baseball's Hall of Fame.
It's not that I disagree with Dawson being included in the Hall. I do, but I think some kind of case can be made for him. But if you take away his 1987 MVP year or merely replace it with what he did the year before or after 1987 and he probably would have dropped off the ballot years ago.
No, it's that Roberto Alomar in his 1st year on the ballot and Bert Blyleven in his 13th year didn't get inducted. That's something that bothers me. Well, Tim Raines and maybe Edgar Martinez too. Honestly I just don't know what these voters were looking at. I have a feeling that many of the voters use the old "I know it when I see it" method of determining greatness, and that just doesn't cut it. Then there are probably the old-school voters who will vote for Alomar next year but not his first year on the ballot. That's reserved for legends of the game. ::cough, cough, bullshit, cough, cough:: I hate that argument with a passion!
But I'm not going to sit here and make the case for Alomar, Blyleven, Raines, Martinez or Barry Larkin. Smarter men than I have already done so eloquently. Nor am I going to go on about why Dawson doesn't belong in the Hall.
No. But I do have something to say about those voters who either didn't vote at all or threw away votes on players that obviously weren't deserving. Five voters didn't turn in a ballot at all. I find it hard to believe that any five voters could look at the talent on this year's ballot and not see one single player who they believe could be a Hall of Famer. I think it is more likely that five voters simply couldn't be bothered with doing the research that goes along with having the privilege to vote for membership into the Hall of Fame.
Then there are the voters who gave votes to players who were obviously not Hall of Fame caliber players. For those of you who don't know, anyone who has played 10 seasons in the major leagues and is five years out of the majors is eligible for the Hall. They automatically go on the ballot. Players get dropped from the ballot if they don't recieve at least 5% of the vote in any year or after 15 years of not receiving 75% of the vote.
This year the following players were on the ballot for the first time and received less than 5% of the vote:
- Andres Galarraga - 22 votes (4.1%)
- Robin Ventura - 7 votes (1.3%)
- Ellis Burks - 2 votes (0.4%)
- Eric Karros - 2 votes (0.4%)
- Kevin Appier - 1 vote (0.2%)
- Pat Hentgen - 1 vote (0.2%)
- David Segui - 1 vote (0.2%)
- Mike Jackson, Ray Lankford, Shane Reynolds, Todd Ziele - 0 votes (0.0%)
But Robin Ventura? 7 votes? Really? Now, I happen to think Robin Ventura was an underrated player. He was as solid as they come in the 1990's and from 1991 to 2002 he averaged 22 HR, 86 RBI, 74 Runs all while compiling a .271 BA, a .368 OBP, a .460 SLG and an OPS+ of 119. All very good numbers. But no where near what it should take to get a vote for the Hall of Fame! The only time he led the league in anything was when he was intentionally walked 15 times in 1998 as a member of the White Sox. That's it! Now if it was the Hall of Getting Your Ass Kicked by Nolan Ryan, well then yeah...he'd be a first ballot guy.
And Ellis Burks? 2 votes? Really? He had a great year in 1996 while playing for the Rockies when he hit 40 HR, had 32 SB, scored 142 Runs and led the league with a .639 SLG. But his numbers that year and in his other years in Colorado are tainted by playing in the most hitter friendly ballpark that the major leagues have ever known. Oh, and he had a handful of fine years in San Francisco and Cleveland near the end of his career where he was productive. But he never fully realized the power and speed potential that he initially had when he first came up with Boston. I think you can make a better case for him than you can for Ventura, but either way neither should be in the conversation in the first place.
Eric Karros was another solid player for a number of years. You could count on him for around 30 HR and 100 RBI every year to go along with mediocre BA and OBP numbers. But you have to remember that he did all this while playing in a high run-scoring era and while playing first base. His career OPS+ was 107. Solid and above average, but not outstanding. And no where near the level of a Hall of Fame player.
Kevin Appier and Pat Hentgen were both fine starting pitchers in their day. Appier averaged 12 wins a season with a 3.60 ERA and a 126 ERA+ from 1990 to 2002. And he had a great year in 1993 pitching for the lowly Royals when he won 18 games and led the AL in ERA. Pat Hentgen averaged 14 wins a season with a 4.18 ERA and a 112 ERA+ from 1993 to 2000. And he had two great years in Toronto in 1993 and 1996. The latter of which won him a Cy Young award when he went 20-10 with a 3.22 ERA. But he only won 131 games over his career. And Kevin Appier only won 167 over his. Sure, Sandy Koufax only won 165 games over his short career and he was a slam-dunk for the Hall of Fame, but neither of these guys is Sandy Koufax. Neither of them could sniff his jock.
And then there is David Segui. One voter out there actually checked his name on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Wow. Just wow. He was a respectable player who garnered respectable BA, OBP and SLG numbers in his career. But his career line? 1412 Hits, 683 Runs, 139 HR (!!!), 684 RBI with a .291 BA, a .359 OBP, a .443 SLG and an OPS+ of 110. Probably better than his counting stats show, but nonetheless he is the very definition of an average ML player. And he played most of his games at 1B. A position where you normally play your best or one of your best hitters. And David Segui wasn't that. Far and away, his best year was 2000 when he hit 42 doubles and had 103 RBI while batting .334. But that was his only year that he played at least 150 games in a season, and he was probably only the 11th best first baseman in the AL that year. There are only 14 teams in the AL, by the way. Not very inspiring, is it?
So for those voters who couldn't be bothered with filling out a ballot? Shame on you! Or if you had your reasons, that's fine even if I don't get it. But for those voters who gave Robin Ventura, Ellis Burks, Eric Karros, Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen and David Segui votes? They should immediately have their credentials taken away from them.
Because they clearly have no idea what the Hall of Fame is all about.
Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Did anyone actually read all of this?