This is a column I put together every year, and I relish it. Voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame generates a level of fervor and outrage that is foreign to that we see with other Halls of Fame across sports. Yet, each year, the outrage continues and, if anything, gets louder.
This year, the BBWAA got it right. Four players – Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Craig Biggio – were elected this year, following the induction of three players by the BBWAA and three managers by the Veteran’s Committee last year. Common sense is prevailing!
Well…maybe. Seven fantastic players were elected over the past two years, but there are plenty of fantastic players still on the ballot, languishing under the 75% threshold. And despite the multiple inductees this year, there were still plenty of depressing ballots that writers turned in, complete with backwards logic. Here are the worst of the worst, and keep in mind, not all ballots are public. The fools who gave Aaron Boone, Tom Gordon, and Darin Erstad votes this year are free to hide in anonymity.
Dave Ammenhauser, The Tennessean. Ammenhauer’s column is bizarre. He claims he takes voting “very seriously”, and can “make very good cases” for Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, and Lee Smith. All seven of those players could have joined Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz on his ballot, but instead, he chose just Raines and Schilling. That’s a little backwards.
Howard Bryant, ESPN. A three-man ballot, considering how stacked the 2015 ballot was, was ridiculous. But that didn’t stop Bryant from only dishing out three votes – Johnson, Martinez, and Raines. Hey, he gave votes to two out of the four players that got elected!
Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia Inquirer. On the surface, this isn’t a bad ballot. Bagwell, Biggio, Johnson, Martinez, Fred McGriff, Piazza, Schilling, Smith, Smoltz…and a write-in vote for Pete Rose. Write-in votes don’t count.
Brian Heyman. Another small Hall guy, went with Biggio, Johnson, Martinez, and Mike Piazza. Welp.
Mark Kreider. Biggio, Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz. On the bright side, he nailed all four inductees. On the dark side, it’s not exactly a badge of honor to say you voted for the four players that got in this year and no one else.
Steven Marcus, Newsday. Biggio, Johnson, Martinez, with no real explanations given for any player. Don’t be afraid to expand upon your thoughts a little bit!
Jack McCaffery, Delaware County Daily Times. Same situation as Carchidi – a solid ballot (Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Johnson, Martinez, McGwire, Piazza, Smoltz, Alan Trammell) with a worthless write-in vote for Rose. Stop this crap – Rose isn’t eligible, and even if he ever was eligible, his 15 year eligibility period (now ten, but that’s beside the point) would be long gone.
Wayne Monroe, Montana Standard. Small Hall guy who went with Biggio, Johnson, Martinez, Piazza, and Smoltz. He also didn’t vote for Bonds and Clemens after voting for them last year because he felt like it would be a waste of a vote. So…vote for more than five people then?
Marty Noble, MLB.com. Noble voted for Johnson, Martinez, and Smoltz, and then bragged about not researching any other candidates and excluding players he has PED suspicions (however unfounded) about. Nothing like lumping Biggio and Piazza into the same class as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens!
Mark Purdy. Purdy claims to only vote for the “best of the best”, and then turns in a ballot with Biggio, Johnson, Martinez, Raines and…Smith. Of course.
Barry Stanton, ESPN. I have no idea who Barry Stanton is, and why his ballot is being grouped with ESPN. He has one byline on ESPN.com since 2003. He only rolled out four names on his ballot – Johnson, Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Smoltz. You know the limit is ten men, not four, right Barry?
Juan Vene. We close with the annual Juan Vene ballot, which is always a trip. He went with six names: Carlos Delgado (who dropped off the ballot after just one year), Johnson, Martinez, McGriff, Smith, and Smoltz. Last year, Vene didn’t vote for McGriff, despite his being eligible.
On the bright side, noted blogger Murray Chass kept his word and didn’t submit a ballot last year. We’re getting there, folks.