Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MLB Hall of Fame Time: Why is it the Most Miserable Time of the Year?

Finding out which players, executives, announcers, etc. were elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame used to be one of the most exciting, highly anticipated days of the year. Then the Internet and social media took off and suddenly a day that should be joyous for a number of people became overshadowed by the disdain nominees, fans, and media - specifically the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) had for one another.

With the announcement coming up tomorrow, Wednesday, the fury has already gotten off to a great start thanks to MLB.com beat writer Ken Gurnick. As part of this year's process, all of the MLB.com writers made their ballots public on Tuesday which put a bullseye right on Gurnick's back due to this statement by the Dodgers' beat writer:
"(Jack) Morris has flaws -- a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them."
With that simple act Gurnick threw the baby out with the bathwater. It means he completely ignored legitimate candidates like pitcher Greg Maddux and slugger Frank Thomas. It also means there will still be no unanimous electee to the Hall. It's also an embarrassment to the game and to those are tasked with the privilege of electing the Hall entrants.

While I agree that players that were caught or admitted using performance enhancing drugs should not gain entrance to the Hall, you cannot lump other players (i.e. Jeff Bagwell) that you believe were PED users in with the "bad guys". And you certainly shouldn't be leaving out those, like Thomas, who have been anti-PED activists.

This year's election process also became farcicle when one voter sold a ballot to Deadspin.com, which then allowed its readers to fill out the ballot. Deadspin is trying to make a point of how much the process has degraded over the years, but the anonymous seller of the ballot should be permanently stripped of the honor of being part of the vote.

My ballot, if I had a vote, would look like this:

Greg Maddux
Frank Thomas
Jack Morris
Craig Biggio
Jeff Bagwell
Mike Piazza
Tom Glavine

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