Monday, January 13, 2014

The BBWAA needs to figure out the Hall of Fame Voting Process

The process of voting people into the MLB Hall of Fame has become worse than an absolute joke. We had a voter give his vote to, we had voters decide that they would not vote for anyone that was in their first year of eligibility, we had voters decide that they knew who had used PEDs and who hadn't, we had voters say that they weren't voting for anybody in the performance enhancing era, and we had voters who voted for Hideo Nomo. Let's start arguing against what this voting has become.

But before we do that, let's congratulate what the BBWAA did right. All three men that were voted into the hall of fame should have been. Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas all were good enough and put up the statistics to be Hall of Famers. Glavine was a 305 Game winner, 2 Cy Youngs and was an All-Star 10 times. Maddux was even more spectacular with his stats. 355 Wins, 4 Cy Youngs and 18 Gold Gloves. Thomas was a Back-to-back MVP of tha AL and blasted 521 Home Runs. OK, since we have that good out of the way, let's start talking about the bad.

First thing: the giving of Dan LeBatard's Hall of Fame ballot to I am all for the BBWAA stripping LeBatard of his vote. In fact, I applaud it. If you are given a task of saying who you believe should be a Hall of Famer, then that person should take that responsibility seriously. Personally, I would kick LeBatard out of the organization. Never to return. But the problem is that the organization has allowed it to come to this point. We have had other voters in past years allow trading of votes, leaving people off of their ballot due to personal grudges and then bragging about it. I am sure that other voters have done the same thing that LeBatard did, but LeBatard was honest and forthright about it. One of the solutions to this problem has been in the news in the past couple of days. That is revising the rules of how you consider the candidates for the Hall of Fame. I would change the rules to considering what the candidates did on the field and what things can be proven as to the character and trustworthiness of the candidate. Another way to do this is to have actual baseball writers be the voting population. While I am sure that Dan LeBatard was a good baseball writer, I don't think he does that now. He has a radio show on ESPN, a TV show on ESPN, and makes fill-in appearances on ESPN. None of those qualify you as a baseball writer. Since he is no longer on the Marlins beat, he should get his vote taken away.

Second thing: Those voters who will not vote for anybody in their first year of eligibility. This one is easy. If there is a voter who believes that they cannot under any circumstance that they can vote for a person on the ballot for the 1st time, they are stripped of their Hall of Fame voting privileges.  And it is easy to keep track of. If a member doesn't have a first time Hall of Famer in 10 years on their ballot, they get stripped.  It might help keep people involved in covering the sport and let them know what is going on.

Third thing: I want to meet these baseball writers that know exactly who did performance enhancing drugs and how they know it. These Nostradamus wannabes are causing havoc on the voting system. Let's take the 2 Houston Astros that are up for the Hall of Fame, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. Biggio came two votes short of induction this year. And that is the way the system is set up. And normally I would not be upset, because you have next year where he is almost certainly going to get in. However, there are more than two voters that left the man off of their roster because he may have been involved in steroids. Well, they must have proof then or otherwise they would have voted for him. The proof that they have linked Biggio in their minds to steroids is one person: Ken Caminiti. Biggio and Caminiti were friends on the Astros and since Caminiti admitted to steroids use during his MVP season in 1996 with the San Diego Padres, Biggio had to have been involved somehow in this mindset that some of these voters have. Well, where is the proof, besides that a person admitted to doing steroids after leaving the Astros. There is none. So, the voters are damning a guy just because of whatever they want. Now to Bagwell. This is a freaking shame. You want to admire the work ethic of Thomas, Glavine, and Maddux? Well, take a look at Bags. The man was interviewed many times and his workouts were also published many times. He worked all the time on his swing and his batting technique. And yes, he did bulk up. So did Thomas. So did Piazza (another HOF candidate getting shafted). How about Pujols? How about Jeff Kent? Where did their magic muscles come from? Bagwell is getting the double shaft. He is being pointed out that he bulked up after coming from that Astros in a trade from the Red Sox. Well, he did become the 1st baseman which all teams expect massive power from. And it is pointed out that he was also close friends with Ken Caminiti. Great. But where is the proof that he did it? From everything that I have seen and heard, the whispers are out there that he might have used, but he wasn't in the Mitchell report. He wasn't named in the baseline drug test screening like David Ortiz was. He was never called in front of congress to testify. And the man has almost the exact numbers as Frank Thomas. He just wasn't outspoken like Thomas was and he toiled in Houston where there is not lots of publicity nationally for the Astros.

Games Plate App. AB    R    H  2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB  SO  BA   OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
   162         711      587  114 174 37   2   34  115  15   6  106 117 .297  .408 .540 .948  149   317
   162         703      572  104 172 35  1    36  119   2    2  116  97  .301  .419 .555 .974  156   317

The top line is Bagwell's average for his career playing 162 games a season. The 2nd line is Thomas. Don't tell me that there is a major difference in the stat lines. So there is something that the voters are holding against Bagwell. Tell us what it is. And if it is steroids, then bring out the proof. And not just on Bagwell, bring it out against each and every player that you believe did roids. And if you have the proof, then they are no longer Hall eligible. And then let's say that anybody that did Amphetamines in the 60's and 70's need to be kicked out of the Hall. After all, that allowed you to speed your metabolism up and gave you more energy. Hell, let's go back to the 1890's and eject anybody that tried to get monkey testosterone to help them play better in baseball. And that brings me to point number 4.

Fourth Thing: They aren't voting for anybody in the performance enhancing era. Well, there are at least 16 of them out there. And they screwed that up. Jack Morris pitched during that era. So did the 3 Hall of Famers that are inducted in 2014. Performing enhancing products have been there since the start of baseball. And they will be out there when we are all dead and buried. And if Baseball was so scared about PEDs, then why are there so many players out there that are still doing them and the only reason that they are found out is because of records being kept and then leaking out into the open. So why is it that the sport of baseball isn't that worried about PEDs, but the voters of the BBWAA are? Could it be that the writers are just a bunch of stuck-up assholes?

The Baseball Hall of Fame should be the most revered sports Hall in existence. But the voters of the BBWAA have screwed it all up. Through stupidity, grudges, and just plain wackiness we have a system that does not showcase the best players, only the ones that made the writer's jobs easy. You want to keep the cheaters out? Then what was the rational thought process that allowed Gaylord Perry into the Hall? The man cheated every time he took the Hill. But we will allow that to pass and keep people that we think might have cheated through some real shady circumstantial evidence out of the Hall? Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez will propbably not make the Hall because of steroids.

But you cannot tell the story of baseball without those three along with Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and others that have been banished from having a bust in Cooperstown. The BBWAA is doing the game a disservice by not allowing the future fans of the game to know the history of the best players. And if they need to put a special room in the Hall with busts of the men that would have been Hall of Famers but did wrong, then do so. Make it the cheater's row or something. But until the BBWAA figures out that what they are doing currently is hurting the game, baseball and it's popularity will continue to take hits each and every year.


The Huntress said...

Great piece! I agree with you on all points. LeBetard and others like him have no business voting.

The voters who won't vote for someone in their first year of eligibility should be stripped of their votes.

Biggio and Bagwell should be in the HoF, and they have nothing to do with Caminiti. Cammy was definitely on something when he was here in San Diego. No way you get DC Comics superhero big without a little help.

Tony Gwynn allegedly had a thing for Doritos in his peak years, but as far as I know that cheese dust doesn't make your muscles bigger.

Zebster said...

Outstanding piece, Brent. I think the writers have always looked at themselves as the last bastion of purity in baseball but they've taken it way too far and quite inconsistently over the years. I've gotten to the point where, like I think you are, they should let them all in. No one will ever convince me that 'roids helps you hit a baseball. More power, strength, speed, etc? Absolutely. As I said somewhere on the msg brd, if you're certain so-and-so did 'roids, take even 25% off their power numbers. If they're not a HOFer after that, don't vote; but if they are, vote 'em in. There's no easy answer but you're absolutely right, it can be handled a helluva lot better than currently.

Brent said...

Thanks guys. I think I could have done better with the post. Had some drama issues in my life and I think it had some effect on the writing.

R.J. said...

I'm just testing out OpenID to see if it works.