In two editorials I posted this past week (click here and here) concerning the deficiency of the Hall of Fame selection process, I scathed the writers and the system pretty harshly. I make no apologies, I only wish to pour gasoline onto the flame that I ignited by calling for an end to voting entirely.
One of the ordinances in the selection system allows a retiree to be on the ballot for 15 years providing he garners five percent of the votes. I want to talk about that for a moment. Firstly, why should a player remain on a ballot for a decade and a half? Should the voter’s opinion of him warm as he simmers on the back burner? Do his career numbers accrue interest over the years? I have never understood that.
Jim Rice was elected in 2009 after marinading for those said 15 years. Well actually 14 since he was taken in the eleventh hour. What happened to make him unacceptable for oh so many years, and then with public outcry and media sentiments he is suddenly HOF material? Did he get to be a better player? Do his highlight reels seem more, I don’t know…Hall of Famey? Of course not.
How about the poor bast**ds who get thrown under the bus after the first ballot, second ballot or whenever? Do their numbers decrease in value?
Another sticking point I have with the system is that a voter can pull the lever on only 10 men. Why 10? Why not the entire ballot if he deems them worthy? There is so much wrong with such an electorate as this. It is ridiculous on so many levels.
These are just some of the problems that are associated with voting, procedures and popular opinion. The only thing that should matter, providing a player has not been banned from the game (Sorry Pete, Shoeless Joe), is what their numbers say about their career. End of story.
Baselines or benchmarks, if you will, need to be determined (and I don’t mean just using a player’s WAR) using several different statistics. Contradictory to what Sabrmetricians say, one stat or metric can not justify an entire career. For example, Bobby Grich has a higher WAR than Barry Larkin, Ryne Sandburg, Manny Ramirez and Eddie Murray, and other great players. Was he better? That was a rhetorical question.
Until the ship is righted, the entire voting process is a sham and a disgrace to the Hall of Fame.