Every January, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America casts their votes to induct the newest members of the baseball Hall of Fame. After this year’s vote, it is clear that the voting process needs to be changed.
Let me preface this by saying that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas are all deserving candidates. However, the BBWAA clearly has too many voters that don’t know anything about the game of baseball.
Maddux won 355 games in his 23-year career, posting a 3.16 ERA and punching out 3,371 batters. He won four Cy Young awards and won 18 gold gloves in his career. Yet 16 voters decided to leave Maddux off of their ballot entirely.
This isn’t one guy who made a mistake and left Maddux off by accident. There are actually guys that vote for the most prestigious Hall of Fame in sports that don’t think he belongs in Cooperstown.
Now on to the man with a statue erected in his honor in front of Minute Maid Park: Craig Biggio. The only man in baseball history to make an All-Star Game as a catcher, second baseman and outfielder fell just two votes short of being elected to the Hall of Fame. Biggio won six Silver Slugger awards, hit 668 doubles, stole 414 bases and had 3,060 hits. But he isn’t worthy of the Hall of Fame? Give me a break.
Of course he will get in next year, or at least that’s what the writers say. But there is no reason he should have missed out on every kid’s lifelong dream twice because these jokers never watched an Astros game.
Mike Piazza also got hosed. I won’t run through the numbers for him too, but for goodness’ sake he may be the best hitting catcher ever. Piazza is on the outside looking in by 74 votes. That is utterly asinine.
Meanwhile, Jacque Jones and Armando Benitez got a vote each. J.T. Snow got two votes. The first person to email me with the teams that those guys played for will get $10. I am sure they had very nice careers and were able to support their families and make a great living, but they are not Hall of Famers.
Currently, a player needs to be voted for in 75 percent of the ballots cast by the BBWAA writers in order to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Voters are allowed to vote for a maximum of 10 players a year, but are not required to vote for anyone. Players that receive at least 5 percent of the votes are eligible to remain on the ballot for another year, for as many as 15 years before they are removed.
All of this criteria is fine with me. However, there needs to be more rules to hold the writers accountable.
A committee of former players and managers that know and love the game should be assembled to keep these writers accountable. Men such as Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Nolan Ryan and Jim Leyland would make up the committee.
The committee would be in charge of going through each ballot that is cast and deciding if the person that submitted the ballot still deserves a vote the following year.
For example, if some schmuck votes for Jacque Jones and not Tom Glavine, his vote is immediately revoked forever if the committee deems it necessary. If someone submits a blank ballot because “guys that used steroids are listed as options,” the committee banishes the writer from even looking at another Hall of Fame ballot.
The baseball Hall of Fame is a museum that tells the story of America’s Pastime, and changes to the voting process need to be made so that story can be told correctly.