Here’s an unofficial count of some results from journalists who posted their 2008 Hall of Fame ballots online, in newspapers, or during interviews. As I predicted, it looks like Rickey Henderson will be elected, and Jim Rice will squeak in on his last chance on the ballot. (The Veterans Committee elected Joe Gordon this year.)
95 Rickey Henderson *
77 Jim Rice
62 Andre Dawson
60 Bert Blyleven
46 Lee Smith
41 Jack Morris
38 Tommy John
29 Tim Raines
27 Mark McGwire
19 Alan Trammell
15 Don Mattingly
14 Dave Parker
12 Mark Grace *
11 Dale Murphy
9 David Cone *
7 Harold Baines
5 Mo Vaughn *
4 Matt Williams *
3 Jesse Orosco *
3 Greg Vaughn *
2 Ron Gant *
2 Jay Bell *
1 Dan Plesac *
*incomplete ballot revealed
And here are thoughts from Tony Vahl:
How is Matt Williams behind Mo Vaughn and Harold Baines?
How did Jay Bell get a vote?
I think the fact that Jim Rice and Dawson are ahead of Bert Blyleven, along with other inequities (like Lee Smith, Jack Morris, and Tim Raines) prove that something needs to be done about the HoF voting system.
One step in the right direction would be opening up the voting to include sports broadcasters. Talk radio guys like Francessa should have a vote.
This would punish the baseball writers by stripping away their exclusive voting rights.
I also think a statistical element should be introduced, and be included in the voting percentage (ala the BCS in college football). That would eliminate some of the human element that skews the results year after year, and give the statheads their due for their contribution to the game. I think Bill James HoF monitoring stats could be used for this purpose.
As for veterans committee (since we’re on the topic), I think fans should have a say in that voting process, along with the players. The current veterans committee is too picky — let’s see more old-timers get in before passing away due to old age.
I agree that fans need to have some sort of vote. And the problem with the New Veterans Committee is that there are too many names on it, and it’s done via mail instead of having seminars or campaigns like Ted Williams used to do with the Vets.
Another major problem with the sportswriters Hall of Fame voters occurs when they refuse to vote for someone because “he’s not a 1st ballot Hall of Famer”.
This happens with every candidate and sometimes deserving candidates have to wait a number of years before getting inducted because his name isn’t Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb. If every journalist thought like that, a deserving candidate could potentially get permanently dropped off the ballot due to stupidity.
A separate issue is the alleged steroid/HGH/PED users. Things are going to get OUT OF HAND when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, and others will be languishing on the ballot together year after year. Sportswriters need to get off their high moral horse and stop punishing select players (I think it’s pretty obvious that Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell got a Free Pass ™ from the MEDIA when it came to questioning their physiques and HRs.) In other words, if McGwire is going to be punished year after year, so should “Future Hall of Famer” Pudge Rodriquez- whom Jose Canseco had listed, who played with those crazy 1990′s Texas teams, and whose physique and stats changed since testing was performed.
On the plus side, 95% of deserving players do get in eventually, and for the first time some Internet writers have ballot rights.
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