Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goose Gets The Call For The Hall

Congrats to Rich "Goose" Gossage on being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The honor is well-deserved. I just want to know why it took so long?
Here's what I don't get. Gossage missed out on being elected last year by 21 votes. This year his vote total jumped significantly. What changed? I don't get why it takes a guy so long to be elected. To me, you're a Hall Of Famer the day you retire. It shouldn't take someone 15 years to figure it out. Jim Rice is the perfect example of this. He has one year of eligibility left on the writer's ballot and it looks like he'll finally gain election. I don't get why it takes 15 years for the writer's to get it right.
It's painfully obvious that the whole voting process needs to be reevaluated. It's apparent that writer's withhold votes based on who is on the ballot. Why else would there have been such a significant jump in the vote totals that a lot of these guys received this year? It's pretty clear that the writers wanted Ripken and Gwynn to be the only guys elected last year. It's ridiculous. It's also ridiculous that some writers won't cast votes for people to be a first-ballot HOFer. It's also ridiculous that sure-fire HOFers don't get 100% of the vote. How does a guy like Ripken not go in as a unanimous selection? It'll be interesting to see if anyone ever gets 100% of the vote.
And why is it that only writers get to cast votes? Why don't broadcasters or analysts get the honor of voting? You mean to tell me that Vin Scully doesn't know enough about the game to have any input? Ridiculous. Most baseball writers, to my knowledge, only cover 1 team. No different than a broadcaster. Most writers rarely, if ever, see many of these guys play, and when they do, I don't think it's often enough to make the best call. At most you'd see a "visiting" team 19 times. Some teams maybe 3 times every 3-4 years? I understand they're a lot closer to the game than the average fan as they have access to a lot more, but what's the real difference between a beat writer and a fan who watches every game on TV, and peruses the box scores and newspaper articles daily and watches all the highlight shows? To me, there is none. We're both watching the same thing, day in and day out. There definitely needs to be a larger pool of voters and it shouldn't be limited to just writers.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like this process will ever change. I'm not sure how many of you have visited this blog since it started almost 2 years ago. In the 11th post I ever wrote I talked about an interview I heard on XM that Charley Steiner did with Furman Bisher, baseball writer for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Bisher spoke out against allowing non-BBWAA members to cast HOF votes, citing that they'd be too inclined to vote for people they covered because they "work for the team." At the close of the interview, when asked who he voted for, Bisher replied that he voted for Dale Murphy, "because he was an Atlanta Brave." What a doosh. I'm glad Steiner called him out on it but the segment ended so Bisher didn't get to justify his response. The other bit of ridiculousness (is that even a word) to spew from Bisher's mouth in that interview is that he'd never cast a vote for a reliever because he didn't feel that it's a valid position. I ranted about this 2 years ago and it still ticks me off to this day.
If you look at this year's voting results you have to wonder what game some of these guys are watching. How does anyone cast a vote, or in some instances 2 votes, for Rod Beck, Travis Fryman, Shawon Dunston, Chuck Finley, Dave Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, and Todd Stottlemyre?? They're kidding right? There is no justifiable reason whatsoever to cast a vote for any of those guys. The BBWAA should be embarrassed. Ridiculous.
I can only hope that next year they get it right and induct those that are deserving. If I had a vote, in addition to the obvious choice in Rickey Henderson, I'd cast votes for Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven and Andre Dawson. I'd also take a good hard look at Tommy John and Lee Smith. They were HOFers the day they retired. There's no reason to keep them out.
Let these guys enjoy being part of the fraternity that is being a HOFer and quit with all the BS. Set aside the personal agendas and do what's right. There was a writer last year (the name escapes me) who didn't cast 1 vote because he didn't know that everyone on the ballot was clean because of the "steroid era." Here's what I want to know: 1) Did he cast any votes the year before and if so what caused you not to vote for them again? and 2)How do you not vote for Ripken and/or Gwynn or any other candidate that the majority of your brethren feel are worthy? It doesn't make sense to me.
I know not all writers deserve this criticism. But it's the writers like Furman Bisher, the unnamed writer who didn't cast a vote last year, and all the guys that vote for non-deserving scrubs like Walt Weiss and Travis Fryman, that do nothing but make the BBWAA look like a collective bunch of A-holes.