Jan 7, 2010

Hall of Fame Shame Game

Disclaimer: The following is a 1,300+ word post on this year's baseball Hall of Fame voting.  Feel free to ignore and move directly on to porn. - Earl

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:
OK.  I can almost buy someone casting a vote for Andres Galarraga.  Almost.   He was a fine player who led the league in HR once, Hiits once, BA once and RBI twice.  He played forever and he even came back to the majors after missing a year due to lymphoma.  As the Hall of Fame goes, though, he's close but no cigar.  A very good player, but not a legendary one.

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?


savannah said...

no, but i did see the footer on my reader, so i thought i'd drop and let y'all know that i hand't actually read any of this. xoxoxox

savannah said...

damn, i meant drop by... note to self: do not read blogs at 0521 in the damndarkmorning.

badgerdaddy said...

I read most of it. Didn't understand a lot of it, but I read it.

Paticus said...

Okay, so I'm here to defend my vote for David Segui...Just kidding.
Wasn't Segui the first guy to admit steroid use or get caught or something ?
Burks was always a guy that seemed to have more potential than he ever showed.
And I am definitely with you on the "not on the first ballot" bullshit. if someone deserves to be in, then vote him in! that's always maddening to me,too.

sybil law said...

There was no porn!!!!!!!!!!

RW said...

I'm a White Sox fan and still can't believe anyone would think Robin Ventura but not the Cubs' Ron Santo. That's just weird.

Unknown said...

Alomar didn't get in because he spit in John Hirschbeck's face. I'll guarantee that a few old codgers decided to leave him off the ballot the first time to "punish" him, but he'll be in next year.

To me the bigger crime is Blyleven. The guy one 288 games playing for some pretty crappy teams, had a decent if unspectacular ERA and for quite awhile was #3 all time in strikeouts. I think he's still top ten even after Clemens and Randy Johnson have shot up the ranks. And we know how Clemens did it.

Anyone voting for Segui, Karros, Hentgen, et al should be dragged out and shot.


Slyde said...

one day i'll come back here and read this..

no i wont.

Verdant Earl said...

Savannah - At least you read the footer.

badger - It might help you out on Tuesday trivia this month.

Paticus - Yeah, Segui used HGH and anabolic steroids. Admitted to both. He had a doctor's prescription for the HGH to counteract a known deficiency and he never really had a power spike. Still...

Sybil - It's a big internet. You mean you can't find it on your own? ;)

RW - I only saw Santo play at the very end of his career. Seems like he has a good case for the Hall considering the dearth of third basemen elected thus far.

Limpy - those old codgers should be shot along with those who voted for the feebs. If someone belongs in the Hall, they belong in it. Period. None of this second-year bullshit.

Slyde - No...you won't.

Mrs. Hall said...

I read this and yes that does score me some points in the crazy blogging world.

It's a shame that inducting hall of famers doesn't follow stricter criteria. I mean, politics and pr plays some role in any hall of fame type institution, but average players with crazy PR shouldn't win out over quality and consistancy.

ok good. ;)

wait, was their porn?

Verdant Earl said...

Holly - there is always porn. You just have to know where to look for it. ;)

white rabbit said...

Earl - I've looked. there's none here...

9 on UK stuff today btw :D

Only fouled up on Blackadder question because I thought right answer was too obvious. Heigh- ho...

hello haha narf said...

*clearly* they have no idea what the hof is all about! now where is the promised porn?

(i read the disclaimer and last line. totally counts.)

Artie Lange said...

This post made me want to stab myself.

Verdant Earl said...

Wabbit - I knew you and badger would do well this month on Thursdays. I guessed on 9 out of 10 today and it showed.

Becky - I understand the confusion. I just meant folks should move on to the abundant porn that is readily available on the interwebs. My bad. Next time I'll hide a link in there somewheres.

Artie/Doggie - What? Ya couldn't hit a major organ or artery? Quitter!

justsomethoughts... said...

there is so much to say that i cant even begin. so i wont. the whole thing isan embarassment. really. i dont dislike dawson, but the ones that didnt get in, and the ones that actually got votes? amazing. and not in a good way. very well articulated earl. really good reading and well put.
thank you.

RW said...

I watched Ventura his whole career. He was my team's 3rd baseman for years. What he was was one of these guys who you don't *get* the value of unless you see him every day. There's tons of guys like that in baseball. Put him on my roster if I need dependable guys? Yes! But HOF? No. No way.

Mrs. Hall said...

yeah, um. i clicked like seven of the links.

none porn.

must be looking in the wrong places.

tee hee hee

Kevin McKeever said...

I'd be interested in your argument for Raines. I've heard others lobby for him and while very good I don't think he is HOF caliber.

And I would have voted for Todd Zeile over Segui.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

one name:

Robbie Alomar?

Word Veri: "couga"
How did you know?

Verdant Earl said...

El Duderino - Same with me. I don't dislike Dawson. In fact, I was a fan. But he was probably the 10th best hitter in the NL in 1987 when he won his MVP, but he had gaudy HR and RBI totals. Whatchagonnado.

RW - That's exactly how I feel about Ventura. Great team guy and he was a Yankee for a little while too. Played some great 3B for us. But he's far short of the HoF.

Holly - I'll try to correct that tomorrow. :)

Uncool - Oh, I have lots to say about Raines, but I don't think anyone else wants to hear it. I'll email you.

Candy - ARe you saying Alomar should be in or out? I think he is a slam-dunk. Even with spitting on an umpire. Hell...I might vote him in JUST for that! And I didn't know you were a couga, but Blogger did! ;)