Friday, February 13, 2015

3 comments Roundup of Crazy Hall of Fame Voting From Baseball Hall of Fame Voters

I guess I shouldn't call it "crazy" since everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just be consistent and don't have a stupid opinion, that's all that I ask. I usually do a few posts about Hall of Fame voting and may end up doing a few more before it's all said and done, but felt the need to try my best to condense the crazy voting into as few posts as possible. I will probably fail in doing so. As always, Jon Heyman will probably deserve his very own post. He seems like a nice guy in real life, but his ballot is always very vexing to me. He's a shill for Scott Boras and tends to use bad reasoning for his Hall of Fame selections.

So I will start first with Dan Shaughnessy's Hall of Fame ballot. Dan is the type of Hall of Fame voter who won't vote for players accused or suspected (by him) of using PED's. If I'm going to be nice, I will say it is refreshing that at least he just states he won't vote for these players because he thinks they used PED's rather than pussy foot around the matter as if there is some new information he's waiting to see revealed. It's interesting who he thinks the steroid taint (giggles) has touched and who it hasn't.

Wednesday my ballot will be mailed with boxes checked next to the names of Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell.

Six votes. I think it’s a personal high.

A personal high for me would be if Dan Shaughnessy didn't get the opportunity to troll his readers anymore.

This means I am not voting for (among others on the ballot), Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Lee Smith, Carlos Delgado, and Nomar Garciaparra. Oh, and I also am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Gary Sheffield, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell.

I'm going to try and keep my blood pressure down about Bagwell being thrown in with Clemens, Sosa, Bonds and McGwire. Let's just say I think that's extremely uncalled for and overly-presumptive.

Yikes. Imagine going into a seven-game series with a roster of the guys I’m not voting for: Piazza behind the plate. An infield of McGwire, Biggio, Nomar, and Bagwell. An outfield of Bonds, Sosa, and Sheffield. Edgar at DH. Clemens on the mound. Lee Smith in the bullpen. Mussina ready to pitch Game 2. Who wouldn’t take their chances with that team against any team?

It's almost like these are some of the best players in the history of baseball and if there were an honor these players should receive for being the best players in baseball then they could perhaps receive that honor.

So let it rip. Bring on the hate. Bring on the humiliation. Bring on the blogboy outrage. Bring on the analytic arrogance. Bring on the PED Hall Pass. It’s a tradition like no other.

Dan needs to be hated. It allows him to get pageviews by writing columns that troll his readers and further irritate them. Hey, it beats actually taking the time to write a good column.

So don’t expect Pedro to be unanimous. His win total of 219 (accompanied by a mere 100 losses) will put off some voters, but Pedro (three Cy Young awards) should come in well north of 90 percent. Johnson is a 300-game winner (always Hall-worthy, unless you cheated),

How does Dan know that Randy Johnson didn't cheat? Because he was skinny? He was also 6'10". Writers love to talk about hitters who still hit well later in their careers being PED users, how about Johnson having 300+ strikeouts each season from the age of 35-38? That's 1999-2002, right in the middle of the Steroid Era. He has 290 strikeouts at the age of 40, but in 2003 he started to struggle a little bit more and his strikeouts per 9 innings dipped, as did his ERA rise. If Randy Johnson were Mike Piazza then the steroid stigma would be all over him, but he was skinny, so he definitely didn't use steroids. Right? Even though his career decline was at the same time baseball started testing for steroids. Of course, his decline could also be due to his age, but if that's not good enough reasoning for Mike Piazza's decline then why is it good enough to explain Randy Johnson's decline?

Biggio missed by only two votes last year. He has 3,000 hits, four gold gloves, and almost 300 homers. I would put him in the Hall of Very Good (only one 200-hit season),

Raines was a rare combination of power (170 homers) and speed (808 steals). He had six 100-run seasons. Trammell is going to be off the ballot soon, and won’t make the Hall with the BBWAA, but there’s lots of value in a shortstop who hit .300 seven times, won four Gold Gloves, and should have been MVP (he lost to George Bell) in 1987. 

Where's the Hall of Very Good for them? Raines had zero 200-hit seasons and Trammell had one 200-hit seasons.

Raines and Trammell are problematic and I am guilty of inconsistency with their candidacies.

You don't say? This is another problem with the Hall of Fame voting, the inconsistency of the voters. Trammell and Raines get Dan's vote because they've been on the ballot a long time, while Biggio is held to the multiple 200-hit seasons standard that Raines or Trammell can't meet either. 

The Roids Boys are the greatest burden on voters. Some voters don’t care. Some cherry-pick the cheaters. Some turn away from anything that even looks dirty. Withholding votes for guys who cheated and guys who look like they cheated is unfortunate, sometimes unfair, and almost impossible to impose consistently.

It's not really impossible to impose consistently if you choose to impose it consistently. Is there proof that a player used PED's? If so, choose not to vote for them. If there is no proof, but only suspicion because the player looks like he used steroids, then vote for that player to enter the Hall of Fame. It can be imposed consistently.

The thinking becomes, “This was the era. They were all doing it.’’ Or, “Bonds and Clemens were already Hall of Famers before they started cheating.’’

Well, they WERE already Hall of Famers before they started cheating.

Sorry, I am not there. No votes for guys caught using. And worse — no votes for guys who just don’t look right. Bagwell and Piazza are the two players most penalized for this arbitrary crime. By any statistical measurement, Bagwell and Piazza are first-ballot Hall of Famers, yet their vote totals (62 percent for Piazza last year, 54 percent for Bagwell) remain considerably lower than their résumés merit. 

Just like I won't give a person credit for committing a crime and then confessing to it, I won't give Dan credit for being arbitrary in punishing Bagwell and Piazza. At least he can admit he's being arbitrary though. A lot of writers bullshit around Bagwell and Piazza (as you will see), rather than just say "I'm being the moral police and have no real reason for doing so."

Happily, none of the bad stuff ever touched Pedro.

Wait, what? None of that bad stuff ever touched Pedro? If Jeff Bagwell is guilty by association or by how he looked, then please keep in mind Pedro played on teams with Nomar Garciaparra, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Mike Piazza, Jeremy Giambi, and Paul Lo Duca. Every player who played in the Steroid Era is touched by steroids in some fashion. It's impossible to say this bad stuff never touched Pedro, because it's not true. He had plenty of teammates who were in the Mitchell Report or were suspended for using steroids. Of course it's just accepted by Dan that Pedro didn't use steroids, while "the bad stuff" is all over Jeff Bagwell because he was a big guy and hit for power. Pedro would have possibly played with Bagwell too if the Red Sox hadn't traded him to the Astros. "The bad stuff" touched nearly every player during the Steroid Era. Don't act like Pedro was immune.

Speaking of Pedro Martinez, Paul Hoynes wants us to know why he didn't vote for Pedro Martinez to enter the Hall of Fame. Don't worry, he thinks Pedro deserves it. It's just Paul couldn't be bothered to actually submit a Hall of Fame ballot this year. He forgot. Hey, shit happens. Sure, it's an honor to be able to vote for the Hall of Fame and many sportswriters would considered it be an achievement to have this honor, but what good is the privilege if you don't abuse it?

I didn't vote for this year's Hall of Fame class that will be enshrined in Cooperstown in July 26. It's the first time I've missed since I became eligible to vote in 1994.

I forgot to pay the mortgage this month and now I'm living on the street (not really). What's your punishment for abusing the privilege of being able to vote for the Hall of Fame? Nothing? Great, carry on.

Somehow, someway the ballot never got from my mailbox to my eager fingers. Between the curb and my desk, the ballot took a powder. By the time I realized it was really lost, there wasn't time to get a new one.

My bad. I didn't mean to indicate the privilege was abused. The privilege was just lost. That's so much better. Maybe I'm old school, but if I had a Hall of Fame ballot mailed to me then I would probably keep it in a safe place to where it wouldn't get lost. Of course I give a shit about the Hall of Fame and would consider it a privilege to vote, so maybe I'm out of line for believing this.

Well before the ballots were released, I was wrestling with the idea of voting for Pedro Martinez. As great a pitcher as he was, I thought he was punk on the mound.

I feel like every year Hall of Fame voters compete amongst themselves to come up with the most arbitrary reason to not vote for a player. Pedro was a "punk." You know who else was a punk at times? Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Nolan Ryan, Juan Marichal and I'm bored of typing now.

In Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox, Martinez threw behind Karim Garcia's head and hit him high in the back in the fourth inning. The players yelled at each other with Garcia eventually gaining revenge on a hard, spikes-up slide at second base.

Which, to be clear, was not a punk move and was simply retribution. I'm sure that's how Hoynes sees it.

In the bottom of the inning, Roger Clemens of the Yankees retaliated by throwing a pitch high in the strike zone to Manny Ramirez. The pitch wasn't as menacing as Martinez's, but Ramirez screamed at Clemens and the teams sprinted onto the field.
The late Don Zimmer, New York's bench coach, came out of the dugout and charged Martinez, standing a good distance from the melee. Martinez yanked Zimmer, 72 at the time, to the ground.

Juan Marichal bashed John Roseboro's head in with a baseball bat and he is in the Hall of Fame. Let's gain some perspective here. Baseball brawls happen.

Since we're having a come to Jesus moment here, I have to say those weren't the only reasons Martinez irritated me. He quite simply dominated the Indians. He was 11-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 16 games against some of the best lineups the Indians have ever fielded.

And that was just the regular season.

A Hall of Fame voter has to be devoid of emotion like this. It's just part of the deal. If a voter can't divorce his emotional feelings from a player from the player's performance through his career then that voter shouldn't have a Hall of Fame vote.

Was Martinez a great pitcher, yes. Would I have voted for him if I had taken proper care of my ballot, yes. Here's why.

He's one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history? 
In 2009, 10 years after Martinez eliminated the Indians in that postseason game, he was on his last legs. It was spring training and teams were trying to coax him into pitching one more year. I asked Mark Shapiro, Indians general manager at the time, if he was interested in signing Martinez.
Shapiro said that if he could sign Martinez to a one-year deal, he'd do it in a heartbeat. Now, Shapiro watched Martinez beat the Indians year after year just like I did. He'd seen Martinez's whole act.
But when he looked at him, he saw talent. I saw a punk.

So Hoynes would have voted for Pedro because he saw Pedro as a punk. I'm just glad he would have voted for him, had he remembered where he put his ballot of course.
Emotion had gotten in my way. It's hard to see clearly like that.

Yes, it is. Now if Paul Hoynes could just prevent forgetfulness from getting in the way of him actually submitting his Hall of Fame ballot.

Jeff Schultz of the AJC gives his yearly breakdown of his Hall of Fame ballot. 

I’ve been pretty consistent in my voting philosophy when it comes to the Hall of Fame. I won’t vote for players who used performance enhancing drugs, at least not before there’s some admission of guilt and clarity how it may have affected their numbers.

In the case of Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, Schultz wants them to admit to guilt for the use of PED's that they may not have even taken. Just admit that which you may not have done and Jeff Schultz will honor you with his Hall of Fame vote. If you can't make it all the way up to the pedestal to kneel before Schultz, he'll give you a hand so you can make it up there and hold yourself accountable for something you may not have done.

The Hall of Fame voting process has come under significant scrutiny in recent years, and for good reason. For the last few years, I’ve considered giving up my vote and may still do so if clearer guidelines are not given. 

Here's the thing though. What kind of "clearer guidelines" does there need to be? Does the BBWAA need to tell these Hall of Fame voters who to vote for? Isn't the purpose of having 538 voters that each one has their own criteria and opinion on which players should be inducted and which should not? The BBWAA isn't going to come out and say, "You can't vote for players suspected of using PED's." They can say they will have a PED wing and there will STILL be Hall of Fame voters who will grandstand and state they won't contribute a vote to a player entering this wing.

Those are the eight players I voted for: I consider all of them to have Hall of Fame credentials there also is no reason to believe they used performance enhancing drugs. The players: John Smoltz (first ballot), Randy Johnson (first pitcher), Pedro Martinez (first ballot). Craig Biggio, Fred McGriff, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell.

Fair enough. It seems Schultz has a pretty good idea for the criteria he will use to vote players into the Hall of Fame. His criteria and guidelines aren't consistent with the guidelines other voters use, but if the BBWAA takes away part of the voter's decision-making ability to vote for one player over another then they would be dictating how to vote. Even if the BBWAA attempted to clear up how to vote for PED users, which I wouldn't be against, it still won't unmuddy (not a word) the waters. You think if the BBWAA says they will have a PED wing that Mike Piazza will get Murray Chass's vote? Of course not. If the BBWAA says if a player has used PED's then that player can't be in the Hall of Fame, then don't you think this means Jeff Bagwell will be guilty by association? Of course he will. The guidelines are great, but it's still going to be up to each individual voter to choose to vote for a player or not.

Those with two players with HOF credentials I’m in holding pattern on: Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell. I may vote for them in the future but I’m using the full extent of the 10-year window allotted to a player’s eligibility on that chance more becomes of allegations  of PED use.

There probably won't be other information that involves provable allegations of PED use. Why not wait for every Hall of Famer's 10-year window to almost run out before voting for that player? Maybe Randy Johnson did use PED's, maybe he didn't. Let's wait and see if more evidence comes out one way or another. John Smoltz came back from Tommy John surgery throwing at a high velocity. Better make him wait 8-9 years to see if any allegations come out against him.

I don't know what makes sportswriters like Jeff Schultz the expert when it comes to determining which players used steroids and which didn't. I'm sure he had Jason Grimsley pegged as a PED user from the start of course. This whole "I'm waiting for new information" thing is just an excuse to push a decision into the future with the hopes some allegations will come out that makes his job as a voter easier. It's been five years (well, more than that) since Bagwell and Piazza retired. Judge their career on what you know now and don't arbitrarily pick players to suspect. If waiting for more allegations (or in the case of Bagwell, any allegations) before voting, then that's fine, just hold every player in the Steroid Era to that standard.

These are 19 other players on the ballot. Some are worthy of Hall consideration but didn’t make it onto my ballot this year: Rich Aurilla, Aaron Boone, Tony Clarke, Carlos Delgado, Jermaine Dye, Darin Erstad, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Mike Mussina, Troy Percival, Jason Schmidt, Lee Smith, Larry Walker.

But you could have voted for two more players. Why didn't you vote for them if they are worthy of Hall consideration? What is with all this waiting to vote for players? This is how players suddenly start to creep up in percentage every year. It's not like the career numbers for these players changed. It's that Hall of Fame voters don't want to elect too many players in one year, which is absurd. If Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer, then he's a Hall of Famer. How many other players in his Hall of Fame class there are should be irrelevant.

When the voice of reason is Bob Klapisch, the same guy who criticized A-Rod for trying to get into playing shape, then you know some part of the system is broken. I do disagree with a few of Klapisch's choices, but think he is reasonable in his explanations for the most part.

Here, then, is how I voted, broken down into three categories: the slam dunks, the gray-area candidates (who I said yes to) and the one who almost fell off my ballot (but didn’t).

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Mike Mussina, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens.

Murray Chass hates this ballot and will probably write a retort on his non-blog.

My feelings about Bagwell are similar to those about Bonds, Clemens and Piazza. The former-Astros slugger finished with a .297 career average and 449 home runs. Those numbers have to be viewed through the prism of the PED era, which delivers us to the doorstep of the third category.

Every player's numbers during the Steroid Era have to be viewed through the prism of the Steroid Era. It's not just Bagwell who should be judged by the Steroid Era. Pitchers used PED's too.
THE FINAL CUT: Bonds, Clemens, Piazza.

Last year, wrestling with the first-ever steroids era ballot, I decided I would never vote for a proven cheater. That means a permanent “no” on Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez. The ban applies to Andy Pettitte, too, as much as I like him personally.

I still believe that those who used (or use) PEDs gain an unfair advantage over those who follow the rules, whether it’s increased bat-speed or greater raw power or better velocity readings on the radar gun.

Well, this is awkward because Bonds and Clemens are as close to being proven to have used PED's as they could be without admitting it or being caught red-handed.

So why did I vote for Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza? Because, as I stated last year, it’s not my job to investigate or prosecute rule-breakers. Bud Selig took no action against the notorious duo, Bonds and Clemens, which is reason enough for me to stand down, as well. If the federal government couldn’t get a conviction against either one, then the matter is settled.

I don't remember the federal government getting a conviction against Mark McGwire either. Perhaps I'm misremembering.

As for Piazza, I voted for him last year and did so again because there is no proof he used steroids. Don’t ask me to sift through circumstantial evidence like late-career spikes in home run production or back acne. That’s a weak standard to keep someone out of the Hall.

cc: Murray Chass

LEFT IN THE DUST: Schilling, Alan Trammel, Edgar Martinez.

There’s no strong case to be made against Schilling, other than the ballot’s 10-man limit and my insistence that Mussina be included. It was one or the other this year, although I have no doubt Schilling will be elected by 2017 at the latest.

I'd probably vote for Schilling over Mussina personally. Otherwise, it seems that Bob Klapisch has a (fairly easy to understand) standard and that's how he votes. I'm not sure I would put Piazza in the group with Bonds and Clemens and I can't wait for Klapisch to change his mind about Andy Pettitte because Pettitte seemed so damn contrite.

Jerry Green has a reasonable Hall of Fame ballot and wants to remind others (um, Paul Hoynes) that voting for players to enter the Hall of Fame is serious business. Still, there are two things that stand out in this column that don't make sense to me.

It is super serious. I was not being frivolous that day nearly 30 years ago when I left Nelson Fox off my Hall of Fame ballot. I was exercising an opinion — an opinion that I ultimately changed.

It is how we vote — mostly by opinion. We vote, most of the 500-plus of us seasoned baseball writers, by knowledge, by experience, by observation, by conscience, by conversation with others.

Unfortunately, it seems some writers vote based on only their memory and on emotion. Jack Morris had a great game. It made me feel good! He gets my vote!

(looks at Jerry Green)

Our responsibility is to Baseball, the game itself. It is to the players, the best few of those athletes who played the game. But mostly our responsibility is to the fans, those citizens who love sports and who love baseball.

As much as Jerry has vexed me through the years, this is true. The Hall of Fame isn't a shrine or the moral center of the baseball universe. It's a museum for fans of baseball to view the best players who ever played the game.

My ballot consisted of 10 ballplayers I deemed worthy: Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Gary Sheffield and Alan Trammell.

I pretty much agree with this list here. It's a pretty good ballot, though I would vote Jeff Bagwell in before Gary Sheffield. Jerry Green voted for suspected and proven PED users it seems. There on his ballot is Clemens, McGwire, Piazza, Sheffield, and Barry Bonds.

(checks list again)

It must be a mistake. Let me copy and paste again.

My ballot consisted of 10 ballplayers I deemed worthy: Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Gary Sheffield and Alan Trammell.

For some reason the copy and paste function keeps leaving Barry Bonds' name out.

(counts up the players listed)

There are 10 players here and Jerry Green is voting for PED users, so the all-time home run king should be on the list. Maybe when writing "Gary Sheffield" Jerry Green meant "Barry Bonds." I mean, I love Alan Trammell, but Barry Bonds should be on any voters list before Trammell if that voter isn't concerned about PED use. So here's my question...HOW THE HELL DOES JERRY GREEN NOT VOTE FOR BARRY BONDS?

Here is the best part. There is no explanation given. Jerry Green includes PED users on his Hall of Fame ballot, but doesn't include Barry Bonds. It's unfathomable to me. The words "Barry" or "Bonds" don't even appear in this article. Jerry Green has erased Bonds from existence and I can't figure out why Bonds is different from Clemens and McGwire. 

Roger Clemens, with 354 victories and some unproven steroid allegations, has a miniscule shot because a multitude of voting writers consider themselves moralists with perfect lifestyles. Mark McGwire is destined to miss out for the same reason.

I chuckled at this because Hall of Fame voters do love themselves some moralizing.

Smoltz won 213 games, mostly as a starting pitcher, and saved 154 as a reliever for the Braves. Great stats.

Jack Morris had greater stats with 254 victories, mostly for the Tigers. He was a dominant pitcher in his World Series and playoffs starts. He pitched for four World Series winners.

Morris was rejected 15 times by the voters of the BBWAA, some of whom just didn't like him because he was too often abrasive to the media. My opinion. Not frivolous.

So if Jack Morris doesn't make the Hall of Fame then Jerry Green will be damned if John Smoltz is making it. Seems fair.

As happened with Nellie Fox, Jack Morris ultimately must be voted belatedly into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the codgers on the Veterans Committee.

The "codgers" on the Veterans Committee? Jerry Green has been working in the sports industry since 1956. That puts him as being at least 77 years old if he started right out of high school. That's like the Civil War pot calling the War of 1812 kettle "old and rusty."

Bill Madden joins Murray Chass in the great bacne conspiracy surrounding Mike Piazza. This has become a real thing.

On his stats alone —.308, 427 homers, .545 slugging percentage, six 100-RBI seasons, 12-time All-Star, most homers as a catcher (396) — Piazza should have been a slam-dunk first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Rob Parker disagrees. (Don't worry, I'M GETTING THERE!)

But even though he never failed a drug test or appeared in the Mitchell Report (as both Bonds and Clemens did), Piazza has been unable to shake the innuendo of having been a steroids user.

Maybe because sportswriters like Bill Madden keep writing columns about how Mike Piazza is under a cloud because of steroids. It's hard to shake the innuendo when those responsible for the innuendo keep bringing it up.

A big reason may be that Piazza’s career went downhill fast and he began being plagued with the kind of injuries often related to steroids in 2003, the year testing began.

Craig Calcaterra covers the retort to this same argument Bill Madden has made on repeated occasions better than I. Piazza was a catcher and any Hall of Fame voter worth a shit knows that catcher is the most physically demanding position on the baseball field. There is a reason that many catchers like Buster Posey end up having a "When he should move positions to first base?" discussion surrounding them. Piazza's career began to decline at the age of 34. No shit. Welcome to the club. Gary Carter started declining at the same time in his career. It happens to catchers who don't have the luxury of being the DH.

A similar case to Piazza is that of Jeff Bagwell, a singles hitter in the minors (six homers in 859 plate appearances) who bulked up when he got to the majors and went on to hit 449 homers with eight 100-RBI seasons and an MVP Award in 1994.

They are similar cases except Mike Piazza wasn't a singles hitter in the minors. So they are both white, right-handed hitters who are linked to steroids, but other than that, Piazza's minor league career does not mirror Bagwell's minor league career. Piazza hit 64 home runs in 1862 at-bats in the minors.

Bagwell also never failed a drug test or appeared in the Mitchell Report, but nevertheless has been widely suspected of being a steroids user. 

Is Bagwell widely suspected or is this just the case of those with the pulpit to saying "Hey! Bagwell is widely suspected of being a steroids user by people!" being the same ones who are the ones doing the suspecting? Could it be those with the megaphone are the ones yelling the loudest, giving the impression of wide suspicion?

And then there is poor Fred McGriff, a five-time All-Star who never had a hint of steroid association. Had he played in any other era, McGriff, with his overall numbers (.284, 493 homers, 1,550 RBI, .303, 10 HR, 37 RBI, .532 slugging in 50 postseason games) easily would have been elected to the Hall. Instead, with those numbers dwarfed by his cheater contemporaries, Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, McGriff is in danger of falling off the ballot, with just 11.7% support last year.

So McGriff gets the benefit of having no steroid suspicion, but his numbers will also be compared negatively to those who used steroids, even though most Hall of Fame voters think these are tainted numbers. So McGriff would have good enough numbers to make it if he weren't compared to those whose statistics are deemed to be elevated by PED use. Seems fair to hold McGriff to a standard most Hall of Fame voters deem to be artificially achieved while acknowledging McGriff didn't use PED's.

Amid all the controversy over steroids, and the continued presence of Bonds and Clemens on the ballot, a lot of the Baseball Writers are complaining about being limited to vote for only 10 candidates.

Mostly, however, these are the writers who vote for Bonds and Clemens, two guys who are never getting elected.

So who cares what these people think, right?

But as a result, two straight years of three no-brainers coming on the ballot has served to substantially stifle the vote totals of such candidates as Curt Schilling, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina in particular, who all can make a legitimate case for the Hall.

Jeff Kent? Eh...not sure.

Like every Hall-of-Fame election, this one does promise to stir raging debates, not to mention plenty of intrigue — none more so than with Piazza, who’s eventually going to get elected, but if it turns out to be this year and makes it an electorate of five, it would be the first time that many go in since the original Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner class in 1936.

Piazza didn't make it, but Bill Madden's bacne article gloating about this with the mention of bacne (of course) deserves it's very own post. I enjoy how Bill Madden writes an article about Mike Piazza's link to steroids while saying there is a lot of talk about Mike Piazza's link to steroids. It's almost like he is helping to create the news he reports on.

Speaking of Mike Piazza, Rob Parker wouldn't vote for Mike Piazza even while not caring about Piazza constantly being linked to steroids. This is just a crazy opinion that really doesn't deserve any real consideration. I will give it consideration anyway.

Here is Parker's ballot. Notice he thinks Lee Smith deserves induction but Mike Piazza does not.

Anyway, so this is what Rob Parker said about Mike Piazza.

PARKER: I just looked at his numbers, I thought they were very good. There's a lot of guys very good. Fred McGriff's not in the Hall of Fame, he's a few home runs away, three home runs away, from 500. He has way more RBIs than Piazza, he's not in the Hall of Fame.

Because if McGriff sticks around another year and takes 200 at-bats to hit three more home runs then all of a sudden he is a Hall of Famer. Incredibly logical line of thought. McGriff has 215 more RBI's than Mike Piazza. That's over 1846 more at-bats by the way. Remember that Rob Parker gets to vote for the Hall of Fame and these aren't things he has considered. He just derps it up and tries to talk about RBI's, while ignoring how many plate appearances it took each player to get to the RBI number they came to by the end of their career. Just stupid. Sandy Koufax didn't even have 30 RBI's in his career. HOW CAN YOU CONSIDER HIM TO BE A HALL OF FAMER?

So there are guys like him.

There are guys like Piazza. He has the 4th most RBI among catchers in MLB history. Two of those other catchers are in the Hall of Fame. He's 1st in HR among catchers, with the four guys below him all Hall of Famers. He's 6th in hits, with four Hall of Famers immediately below him. 1st all-time in slugging percentage and 2nd all-time in OPS. There are guys like him. They are guys who are in the Hall of Fame.

And I know, it's the catching position, and people want to give more credit because it's so hard to catch and play, but some of the defensive issues—not throwing out runners,

This is an incredibly vague statement, but Piazza had a 23% caught stealing percentage in his career. He is 94th all-time in runners caught stealing with 423. Sure, some of this is a product of teams running on him. Piazza was a historically great hitting catcher. That counts for more than being an average defensive catcher in the same way Ozzie Smith being a defensive wiz put him in the Hall of Fame even though he didn't put up Hall of Fame hitting numbers.

no Gold Gloves as a catcher, things like that—that bothered me. I thought he's a great hitter, he was a great hitter, batted over .300, but something told me he belongs in the Hall of Fame—or, Very Good, but not the Hall of Fame.

That something that told Rob Parker that Mike Piazza shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame? The voices in his head caused by insanity. I despise Piazza as a player, but anyone who thinks he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame is crazy.

Rick Telander says the Hall of Fame cheats are paying the price for their actions. I'm just kidding. He says they are paying the price for Bud Selig's inaction. I'm not a huge Bud Selig fan, but to blame him for players choosing to use PED's seems a little bit like moving the blame to where it shouldn't necessarily completely lie.

Oh, how fun were those days of bulging biceps, Flintstones vitamins and home runs that flew off bats like ball bearings off anvils.

They were the result of a sport run amok on performance-enhancing drugs. And as history informs us, once the conspiracy has been uncovered, somebody’s gonna take the fall. And it’s almost never someone at the top. Find a mid-level, overzealous, loud-mouthed worker. Get a grunt.

And of course, Bud Selig has decided (UNFAIRLY, Rick Telander believes) to have those players who actually took steroids and helped the sport run amok with PED's take the blame. In reality, he should be blaming himself 100%. After all, Selig is the one who was in the locker room everyday interviewing Sammy Sosa and other PED users seeing their bodies changing, noticing the Andro hanging out on the shelf, with their finger on the pulse of the team. Wait, that wasn't Bud Selig who was in the locker room everyday, that was the sports media. They are, of course, in no way to blame for the Steroid Era because it's their job to report the news as it happens with gleeful joy and not question anything they are writing. Look, sportswriters are just along for the ride and it's not their job to question the bulging biceps or Flintstones vitamins. They are certainly no way at fault nor is Sammy Sosa. The blame lies solely not with those in daily contact with the players or the players themselves, but with Bud Selig.

If there were a red ‘‘C’’ — for cheater — that could be hung around Sammy’s neck for all to see, it seems certain the Baseball Writers’ Association of America would do it.

He and his brother-in-arms, McGwire, who was named on only 10 percent of the ballots and also is plummeting toward the vanishing point, are two of the poster boys for the Steroid Era, which has quieted down but never will be clearly completed.

I don't think anyone in their right mind would say that Bud Selig is blameless in all of this. But I always find it funny when the same sportswriters who stood around in awe, wrote pieces about the greatness of these Steroid Era players, and had daily contact with these players are now saying, "HEY! Why didn't someone blow the whistle and stop this shit?"

I think Murray Chass and his bacne theory about Mike Piazza is kind of crazy given Piazza crouched down in a hot uniform all summer, but at least he wanted to write a story about it and his editor would not allow him to do so. Others, like Rick Telander, enjoyed the ride day after day and now wanted someone to step in and do something. Certainly not him though.

Sosa is the guy who just went too far. He rubbed our noses in it, changing from a slender outfielder to a bulging beast before our eyes.

Before your eyes, huh? Interesting how some sportswriters didn't want to point the finger at some of these players during the Steroid Era, but after these players retire, these same sportswriters don't mind accusing players who haven't been proven to use steroids as having used.

Sosa was slain by the law, the government and innuendo while commissioner Bud Selig dozed. Because, yes, Sosa changed shape before Selig’s eyes, too. That Selig did nothing about the obvious muscle madness going on in his leagues for more than a decade is the main reason we have reached the point where statistics mean so little and qualified Hall of Fame players are shunned.

Selig should have been more aware. This was a systematic failure and not just the failure of one person. Blaming Selig for Sammy Sosa using steroids is trying to find a fall guy for the Steroid Era, in the same article where Rick Telander accuses Bud Selig of finding a fall guy for the Steroid Era.

But he built it at the expense of integrity. That he didn’t do anything about rampant steroid use in the majors is a pity, even though the strongman tent show brought Selig’s game back from near irrelevance after the ugly 1994 strike.

If Selig didn’t know men such as Sosa were juicing, then shame on him. 

Right. Shame on Bud Selig. He should have unilaterally started a drug testing policy and forced the union to go along with it. This shouldn't take more than a day or two, right? 

Books, magazine articles, rumors, the drug corruption of the Olympics, bodybuilding freaks everywhere — the evidence was mind-boggling.

The evidence was so mind-boggling that Bud Selig should have stepped in immediately and stopped the madness. Of course, it wasn't so mind-boggling at that point in time that Rick Telander actually broached the subject of just how obvious it was that Sosa was juicing. Phil Rogers was fawning over Sosa after he won the 1998 MVP award and Telander apparently forgot to mention how obvious it was that Sosa was using steroids when he voted for Sosa as the 1998 NL MVP and then said he did it because Sosa was nicer than Mark McGwire. 17 years later it was SO obvious that both players were cheating, it's just that Sosa was being so nice to Rick he forgot to bring it up at the time. He totally thought Sosa was cheating at the time though, I mean how could he not? The evidence was mind-boggling.

Maybe Rick's mind was so boggled by Sosa's politeness and the chase for the home run crown that he didn't feel it was right to bring up steroids as an issue. If so, he's as bad as Bud Selig.

But how convenient to reap the benefits, then let over-egoed simpletons take the rap.

Fall guys. We need them. We find them.


Writing Tuesday in USA Today, baseball columnist Bob Nightengale said we voters — and I am one — should get over the Steroid Era and vote anybody in who deserves it.
We never will know for sure who was clean and who was dirty the last 30 years, Nightengale wrote, ‘‘so wake up and knock off this absurdity.’’

Not me. It’s not absurd to me. I’ll never vote for players I have judged to be cheaters.

Way to uphold a tough standard that you refused to do 17 years ago. It's good to see a real tough guy beat up on the players for cheating nearly two decades later when you didn't have the foresight and guts to say anything at the time. 

Uncle Bud and the players’ union did nothing to stop cheating for years, so I am forced to do what is unfair.

Yep, Uncle Bud, the players' union, and every sportswriter covering the Cubs, Cardinals and every other MLB team during the Steroid Era did nothing. That includes you, Rick. Get off your high horse.


Snarf said...

The late Don Zimmer, New York's bench coach, came out of the dugout and charged Martinez, standing a good distance from the melee. Martinez yanked Zimmer, 72 at the time, to the ground.

I feel like Pedro is always made out to be the villain in this incident. Zimmer charged at Pedro. Pedro could have rocked the old man. Instead he redirected Zimmer (the aggressor) to the ground and effectively ended the fight with no harm. What was he supposed to do? Why doesn't Zimmer get more shit for trying to attack a player as a member of the opposing coaching staff?

Since we're having a come to Jesus moment here, I have to say those weren't the only reasons Martinez irritated me. He quite simply dominated the Indians. He was 11-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 16 games against some of the best lineups the Indians have ever fielded.

And that was just the regular season.

A Hall of Fame voter has to be devoid of emotion like this. It's just part of the deal. If a voter can't divorce his emotional feelings from a player from the player's performance through his career then that voter shouldn't have a Hall of Fame vote.

Shouldn't one's level of hatred for an opposing player who dominates his team be a point in favor of induction? As a Ravens fan, I never got worked up about facing shitty Pittsburgh O-linemen, but I hated the Polamalus of the world. He was a great player, so the fact that I remember him being a thorn in my team's side should be positive evidence of his quality as a player.

Eric C said...

I'd visit the "Hall of Very Good". It sounds more interesting than the Hall of Fame.

Slag-King said...

Good idea. Simple solution for the waffling of the Baseball HOF voters: put all the known cheaters and suspected cheaters in the Hall of the Very Good. I would visit this in a heartbeat.

For all the "cheaters" I enjoyed the McGwire-Sosa HR chase. It was entertaining. Should be a showstopper at the HOVG.