Breaking News:

Keep up with So Much Sports on Twitter @SoMuchSports

Baseball HOF voting process is a joke

John Smoltz was undoubtedly worthy of being enshrined forever in the Hall of Fame as one of the all-time greats.

John Smoltz was undoubtedly worthy of being enshrined forever in the Hall of Fame as one of the all-time greats.

I should be sitting here writing something celebrating the great careers of the four newest Baseball Hall of Famers. I should be listing the great accomplishments of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. I should be acknowledging how it’s a great day that some of the greatest players in the history of the game will forever be enshrined and remembers as such.

But the big story wasn’t who got in the Hall, it was who didn’t get in and how the voting process has just become a mockery and something that baseball fans and writers should be ashamed of.

The fact that it is a big deal that four players make up the biggest class in modern era voting is something that’s being celebrated is a joke in itself. There are more than just four guys from this latest ballot deserving to be in the Hall of Fame but for some reason a simple “Yes” or “No” question has become so incredible hard for writers to answer consistently.

I can understand how their can be a backlog of players in the NFL since the rules only allow a certain number of guys to be put in the Hall of Fame each year, but there is no rule like that in baseball; all it requires is that 75-percent of the voters say “you’re worthy.” Every single player on the ballot could theoretically get elected if they deserved it. Voters just have the restriction of only being allowed to vote for 10 players on the ballot.

But while Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz and Biggio celebrate their day, greats like Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina have to keep waiting while Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have to see if any voters are willing to put them in, even with an asterisk.

The best offensive catcher of all time had somebody choose not to vote for him because they suspected he used steroids, despite their never being any proof or allegations that he ever had.

The best offensive catcher of all time had somebody choose not to vote for him because they suspected he used steroids, despite their never being any proof or allegations that he ever had.

When I watched the announcement on ESPN one thing that stood out was when Tim Kurkjian said he felt Piazza needed to make up too many votes from last year, so he’ll have to wait until next year to get in. Um…excuse me? I’m not exactly sure how that makes more sense. If he never gets in the Hall of Fame, whether I believe he should or not, so be it, but how does another year of not being an active player in baseball make him more of a Hall of Famer? Either the best offensive catcher in the history of the game is worthy or he’s not.

And what about Bill Madden, a New York Daily News writer and member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, able to vote for the Hall of Fame. He came out an said he did not vote for Piazza and explained why with a horrible slanderous statement: that he suspects that Piazza used steroids even though he admits that there is no proof, he had never tested positive nor did he appear on the Mitchell Report. So apparently, just because a guy was stocky and hit home runs during an era when many players did use steroids, he must have done it as well. I wonder if he withholds his vote for Ken Griffey Jr. when he first appears on the ballot for the first time next year even though he has never, ever been linked to steroids at any point in his career.

Sorry Bill Madden, you are a terrible excuse for a sports writer. You of all people should understand what slander and libel are. Sure, you preface your statements by saying there is no proof but you go on an continue to say you’re so sure of it that you choose not to vote for him and wrote an article in a public forum about it when your votes never would have been known.

But my biggest argument about the voting process revolves around the situation in which Bert Blyleven got in. I get a lot of flack from my friends who love Blyleven but I’ll say my stance again, my argument has nothing to with whether Blyleven is worthy of being in the Hall of Fame or not. Honestly, I don’t even think I’m qualified to have a stance since he retired when I was three years old and I never saw the man play compared to the men of his era. My argument was about the broken process to get him in.

So, 380 voters decided that Bert Blyleven was more worthy of being in the Hall of Fame 19 years after he retired than five years after he retired.

So, 380 voters decided that Bert Blyleven was more worthy of being in the Hall of Fame 19 years after he retired than five years after he retired.

It took Blyleven over 14 years on the ballot, which equated to 19 years of inactivity on diamond to have 380 voters change their mind to decide he had a Hall of Fame career. Sure, there are new voters and numerous debates to help change minds but should it really take nearly a decade and a half to decide whether a person is a Hall of Famer? In Blyleven’s first season he received only 83 votes and the ballot required 355 to get enshrined. By the time he actually got voted in 463 voters said yes. That’s a pretty huge swing.

Enough about Blyleven. The reason I bring him up is because writers don’t need to vote for guys for them to eventually get in the Hall of Fame. Maybe Schilling and Mussina should never get in the Hall of Fame because their careers just weren’t good enough and maybe the dopers like Clemens and Bonds and McGwire and Sosa should not be allowed in because they cheated. But either they are Hall of Famers or they aren’t. Many say Mussina will eventually end up in the Hall way down the line but on his second ballot he received only 24.6-percent of the necessary votes (more than Blyleven had at that time), how will years of inactivity make him greater than he is right now?

Currently, it takes requires five-percent of voters to say you’re worthy to remain on the ballot. If they increase the number to 50-percent, it might seriously make it a more credible process and would require many voters to take a stand and say “yes” or “no”. There will be more more of this not caring enough to vote for a guy and “we’ll just deal with him next year” going on.

My other problem with the voting is the inconsistency in arguments and lack of respect for the process.

Some voters notably refuse to vote because either they think everybody in the steroid era cheated so none of them deserve to get in, which is a debate for a different day, while some simply didn’t feel like they needed to spend their 10 minutes checking off names because they knew Johnson and Martinez were going to get in anyway, and some refuse to vote because Babe Ruth wasn’t unanimous.

The 15 voters who did not vote for Johnson, maybe the greatest left-handed pitcher in history and arguably one of the top five pitchers ever to step on the mound, should all have their votes taken away because clearly, they just don’t understand what a Hall of Famer is. So what, Babe Ruth wasn’t voted in unanimously but the 4.9-percent of the voters who didn’t vote for him were idiots too, same goes for the 1.8-percent of the voters that didn’t think Ty Cobb was a Hall of Famer in 1936.

All-time greats like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were denied unanimous selections because many writers feel there should be incredible exclusivity in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But then Darin Erstad gets a vote that even he had to question the validity of.

All-time greats like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were denied unanimous selections because many writers feel there should be incredible exclusivity in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But then Darin Erstad gets a vote that even he had to question.

Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr, not a single one of them were voted in unanimously because if Ruth wasn’t nobody should be. Right…I don’t know what to say to that, like I really don’t. I just know it’s moronic and those people shouldn’t be allowed to vote for baseball, a crusty traditionalist sport that cries so much about integrity as it is.

And here comes the hypocrisy. Last year, Biggio was two votes short of getting in the Hall of Fame and while we all knew it was only going to take one year before he actually did make it in, many said that they didn’t think he should get in because the Hall of Fame should only be for the very, very, very best of the best of the best (sir! With Honors… – sorry, some people will get the reference though).

I’ll actually take that argument against Biggio and accept it. He was a great player but he wasn’t necessarily an all-time great. I can get behind somebody for having that be their stance. But if that’s the case…WHO THE FRIG VOTED FOR DARIN ERSTAD! Even Darin Erstad thought it was crazy that he got a vote. And what two people through Aaron Boone or Tom Gordon were worthy of being in the Hall of Fame? Carlos Delgado got 21 votes? Really? I’m surprised 65 people actually think Larry Walker is worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.

I mean come on, if a team built their teams around any of those players, they were probably the worst team in the league. Jermaine Dye, who actually helped lead the White Sox to a World Series and won a World Series MVP was more deserving of getting a vote than Darin Erstad. That guys vote should be taken away too because clearly, his idea of what a Hall of Famer is, is really lose.

All Hall of Fames, not just the Baseball Hall of Fame, have issues with their voting process, it’s not just exclusive to baseball, but yesterday’s announcement just reminded us how terrible the system there is.

The following two tabs change content below.

Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

Comments are closed.