Wednesday, January 05, 2011
10 thoughts about the 2011 Hall of Fame vote
Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are Hall of Famers. The election results are in and this wonderful day on the baseball calendar will no doubt have the columnists and bloggers typing all night long.
So why not chime in my own self?
I predicted than only Blyleven and Alomar would get in despite many other worthy candidates. But I have some other thoughts on these matters.
1. ALOMAR SHOULD BECOME THE FIRST HALL OF FAMER WITH A BLUE JAYS HAT ON THE PLAQUE
Only Rickey Henderson, Phil Niekro, Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield even played in Toronto and got elected to Cooperstown. (And Molitor was the only one to stay for more than a year.)
Alomar was a Blue Jay for five seasons. Not exactly a lifer with any one team, he should have the sideways bird engraved for all time. (The Blue Jay... NOT the Oriole).
2. BLYLEVEN SCORES ONE FOR "THE FAM-A-LEE"
An interesting thing happens when a player plays as long as Bert Blyleven did and has to wait almost as long to get elected. You find yourself celebrating teams that played generations ago.
Bert Blyleven wasn't the biggest star on the 1979 Pirates (the late Willie Stargell was) but he now joins Pops in the Hall of Fame. And while Bert will probably go in as a Minnesota Twin, his time in Pittsburgh (where he threw the complete game win to clinch the NLCS and came out of the bullpen to win Game 5 of the World Series) should be saluted.
I have a mild obsession with the 1979 Pirates and hope that SOMEONE will cue up the Sister Sledge this summer in Cooperstown.
3. ALAS FELLOW "FAM-A-LEE" MEMBER DAVE PARKER WON'T BE JOINING HIM
On the 1979 Pirates, Dave Parker was a much more imposing figure than Blyleven. And I supported the Cobra's Hall of Fame candidacy. But after 15 attempts it didn't happen.
Maybe the Veterans Committee will take another look at him. Short of that, being the bad ass 1978 National League MVP and having two World Series rings might have to suffice.
4. HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO LEFT THEIR BALLOTS BLANK LAST YEAR VOTED FOR ALOMAR AND BLYLEVEN THIS YEAR?
Last year five writers left their ballots blank. And last year Blyleven and Alomar missed being elected by just a few votes. Those blank ballots could have been the difference.
If you left them blank last year and voted for Robbie and Bert this year, you should have your voting rights taken away.
Also if there were no Alomar nor Blyleven on the ballot, would there have been more support for Barry Larkin or other returning players? We'll never know.
5. GET TO WORK ON YOUR SPEECH, BARRY LARKIN
It is going to happen. People like Barry Larkin. There is no cloud of doubt hanging over Barry Larkin. AND he got 62.1% of the vote this year.
Next year the player with the best Hall of Fame resume being put on the ballot if Bernie Williams. Terrific player. Not a Hall of Famer. He'll get the votes next year to get in.
6. IT LOOKS LIKE THE 1984 TIGERS WON'T HAVE A HALL OF FAMER ON THEIR ROSTER
Sparky Anderson's passing recently shone attention back onto his wonderful 1984 World Champion Tiger team. It certainly FELT like a star studded super star team back then. But Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish never got the Hall of Fame support and now it looks more and more like Jack Morris and Alan Trammell's vote tallies are not going to cut it.
Therefore the only Hall of Famer from the 1984 Tigers would be Sparky.
7. IT DOESN'T LOOK GOOD FOR MANY STARS OF THE 1980s
Don Mattingly's support is stagnant. Dale Murphy's isn't getting better. Lee Smith can't get over the hump after nine attempts. And poor Harold Baines is off the ballot after 5 tries. If Baines ONLY got those extra seven hits a year.
The 80s, the decade I grew up on, is struggling to put its superstars in the Hall!
8. WHY NO LOVE FOR TIM RAINES?
Staying with 1980s stars not getting love from the voters, the most perplexing is the lack of support for Tim Raines. In his fourth attempt he got less than 40% of the vote. It can't be just because he played in Montreal.
It can't be because of his drug problems.
I think people haven't looked at his stats. Well here they are. Read them and vote! (Jim Rice had less than 40% of the vote too at one point and he got in, so there is hope.)
9. UM... MARQUIS GRISSOM GOT 4 VOTES?
As I wrote in my Jay Bell - Hall of Famer post a few years ago, I get it when a guy gets a stray vote. A sports writer may want to throw a bone to a player they liked and make sure they didn't come and go without a single vote. It's when a player gets more than one sympathy vote that I start to wonder "Did I see the wrong player?"
I've got nothing against Marquis Grissom... a good solid baseball lifer. But FOUR voters used their ballot to say "He should be immortalized!" Imagine if 460 did. They'd be carving a plaque for him. As for B.J. Surhoff... this article kind of says it all.
10. THE NEXT 15 SOME ODD YEARS ARE NOT GOING TO FUN IN TERMS OF HALL OF FAME VOTING
Kevin Brown is mercifully off the ballot... but Juan Gonzalez somehow will stick around for next year. And Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro can't bust 20% of the vote but will be debated next winter as well.
The 'roids talk influenced the Jeff Bagwell vote and it isn't going to get prettier as the dreaded 2013 election looms... and Bonds and Clemens are eligible.
Be prepared for years and years of the tainted names on the ballot and lots of debate. Which is GREAT news for candidates like Barry Larkin and Rock Raines who will get more support from writers who don't want to send in blank ballots.