How do we change Hall of Fame process?
The Hall of Fame vote has been announced. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.
■ Big congrats to Glavine, a Billerica guy who had to choose between hockey and baseball. It will be a long time (probably never) before we see another young man from the Merrimack Valley grow up to win 300 games in the major leagues.
■ Sixteen of 571 voters did not vote for Maddux. These are 16 people who will not concede that Friday traditionally follows Thursday. They will dispute that penicillin was a good discovery for civilization. You know the thinking: two wrongs make a right. “Willie Mays wasn’t unanimous? I’ll be damned if I vote for Greg Maddux on the first ballot.”
■ Craig Biggio missed by two votes. He was named on 74.8 percent of the ballots. Thank God he missed by two votes, and not one. I did not vote for Biggio and it would have been tough to sleep at night knowing a single non-vote kept a guy out of Cooperstown.
Biggio no doubt will gain entry soon — he’s eligible for another 13 years on the writers ballot — but he’ll have to wait at least a year. He’s a 3,000-hit guy, but he falls a little short on my ballot because he reached 200 hits only once in 20 big league seasons. He was a top 10 MVP guy only three times in 20 seasons, never higher than fourth.
Did anyone ever watch Biggio and think “greatest of all time”? He was very, very good, but not dominant at his position in his time. Roberto Alomar is an example of a second baseman who was dominant at his position in his time. Biggio . . . not so much.
■ The Roid Guys are going in the wrong direction with the voters. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro all went backward from 2013 to 2014. Palmeiro dropped below 5 percent and will be bounced from the ballot. Wow.
One of the popular notions of HOF voting is that older voters will be replaced by younger voters who don’t care as much about the “character” clause. This school of thought promotes the idea that the Steroid Boys gradually will climb and ultimately gain entry to Cooperstown. It didn’t work that way this year.
■ Jack Morris is gone from the ballot. Morris was the poster child for old-school voters. He’s a 1980s star who had a high ERA (3.90) but still won 254 games, pitched 175 complete games, and was a World Series MVP. He is hereby turned over to the Veterans Committee. This makes the Stat Pack very happy.
■ The vitriol in the Hall of Fame debate is officially off the charts. It’s way past, “You’re fat, you’re ugly.’’ Today the emboldened fanboys want votes stripped from those who disagree with Basement Nation. It’s not enough to disagree. It’s no longer, “I like Morris, you like Mussina.” It’s, “Vote the way I vote, or please die.’’ Truly an uncivil climate.
■ Sanctimonious? Out of touch? “Get Off My Lawn!’’ Thy name is BBWAA. No group is more easily ridiculed. That said, it would be nice if the legion of critics would come forward with solutions.
What is the answer to this flawed voting process? We can all agree that the process could use some change. Many want the 10-vote limit abolished. Fifty percent of this year’s voters checked 10 boxes on the ballot and many clamored for abolishing the limit. The 10-vote cap certainly kept Biggio out of Cooperstown this year.
Another solution would be to put folks on the ballot for one time only. This would eliminate the artificial “first ballot” stigma, and the hideous climb of a player like Jim Rice, who went from 29 percent to more than 75 percent. A big problem for this reform would be where to draw a line and start over.
Elimination of the “character” clause also would make lives easier. It this happens, Joe Jackson and Pete Rose would have to be enshrined immediately.
■ I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again. Not voting for a guy for Cooperstown is not an insult. The Hall is supposed to be reserved for the very best. It seems like more and more voters want to vote for everybody. Keeps everybody happy, right? Please.
Saying that Johnny Pesky or Dwight Evans is not quite Hall-worthy does not diminish the greatness of their respective talents and deeds. I loved Pesky. Just didn’t think he was quite Cooperstown-worthy.
■ The wildly talented Dan Le Batard of ESPN turns out to be the voter who chose to mock the system by turning over his vote to a website that exists solely for the purpose of embarrassing people.
A lot of hard-working men and women have been involved in this process for 75 years, and like the rest of us, Le Batard was fortunate to be included in the process.
Effecting change from within is difficult. Anonymous betrayal and ridicule is easy. A stand-up guy would have recused himself.