I know we’re in a countdown toward the Ravens’ first-round playoff game against the New England Patriots.
But we have to flip back to Major League Baseball for a day.
Wednesday’s Hall of Fame vote was just too interesting to avoid. Plus, as the local chairman of the Baseball Writers Association of America, I guess I might have to defend some of my brethren. At least a little bit.
I don’t have a Hall of Fame vote yet, so I can’t be held responsible for how the vote ended up this year. But let me say this: There isn’t a voter I have spoken to – and I know a bunch – who doesn’t take the responsibility seriously.
(Remember, to become a voter you have to have 10 years in the association, which means, in most cases, you have had to spend at least 10 years traveling around this country covering baseball for as much as nine months at a time. It may sound like fun, and it certainly can be, but it is also a heck of a grind. Trust me.)
For the most part, A LOT of thought goes into the voting process. No one I know takes it lightly. That said, some don’t make good decisions – in my opinion anyway.
For instance, I find it incomprehensible that five voters sent in an empty ballot this year. I don’t see how you can look at that group, headlined by Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin, and not see at least one deserving candidate.
I also think those that penalized Roberto Alomar for his spitting incident in 1996 are being shortsighted. Terrible moment in a great career.
If I had a ballot, Alomar would have been on it. And from what you people told me last month, he would have been on most of yours as well. So his failure to get 75 percent (he garnered 73.7 percent) is unfortunate.
To me, though, his was not the biggest snub this year. (Most surprising, but not biggest.) I cannot understand why Bert Blyleven fell short (only by five votes) again this year, his 13th on the ballot. He only has two more shots – and I really hope voters wise up by next year. You’d hate to have that class guy and great pitcher sweat out his final year of eligibility in 2012.
Of the guys currently eligible, I think Blyleven is the biggest snub, followed closely by Alomar. But, potentially anyway, there are others: Jack Morris, Larkin, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly, Harold Baines, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy and, of course, Mark McGwire, who has been passed over for obvious reasons.
Former Chicago Cub Ron Santo is considered the all-time Hall snub (if you don’t count Pete Rose, who was never placed on the ballot, so don’t blame the writers on that one), but Santo is no longer eligible. So let’s keep this discussion to those who were on the ballot in 2009.
Daily Think Special: Who was this year’s biggest Hall of Fame snub and why?