Friday, January 11, 2013

Is It the Voters or the Voting?

From the desk of Dan Levy, lead writer for the National, were some noteworthy comments on an article he titled "Baseball Hall of Fame: If You Can't Fix the Voters, Fix the Voting."

"There are egos everywhere, and it has grown out of control. It's nearly impossible to discuss who the best players in the game are without focusing just as much attention on who gets to decide what "best" even means."

He goes on to say that it is about the vote, not the voters. In doing so, he brings up former writer Murray Chass. He explains that Chass used to be a popular baseball writer before he took a buyout when his newspaper need to get rid of old, 'and presumably, overpaid writers.' Chass gets a seat for games because Major League baseball still credentials it to him. And evidently, in a blog he wrote, Chass admitted that voting for the Hall of Fame is more about about him than any of the players who deserve to be in Cooperstown.

Chass is also known for claiming Mike Piazza, while with the New York Mets, had backne.

I, personally, don't know the man. But a fellow writer says as much. I figure Levy can't say anything he pleases for fear of being held libel.

Levy then brings up the name of T.J. Quinn of ESPN. How Quinn wrote a post why he quit voting. Said Levy: "In a nutshell, he admitted he like to vote because it was 'cool' to be a Hall of Fame voter, but with the presentation of candidates who have more complicatred resumes, he decided he has, 'come to the conclusion that it isn't my mess to solve, and I wouldn't be qualified to solve it even if it were.'"

Levy: "On one hand, we should applaud Quinn for admitting that he can't make sense of what to do and that the pressure of being a gatekeeper for the history of the game should go to someone else, not him."

"On the other hand, it's complete and utter malarkey that Quinn would allow himself to vote for the Hall of Fame when it was easy to figure out who should or shouldn't be enshrined, but now the vote is complicated, Quinn thinks it's time to give up and let someone else deal with the mess. In other words, now that the game needs a judging body to look at the last 20 years with the kind of perspective the gatekeepers of the game should be able to provide."

Levy discusses the 'first ballot nonsense.' 'the big issue is this notion that letting people into Cooperstown is a privilege, not a right. Essentially, the voters get to decide who has that privilege, and when.'

Just thinking about that last paragraph really stinks out loud!

Then a small graphic that reads: NOTABLE FIRST BALLOT INDUCTEES is shown that Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Willie McCovey, Jackie Robinson, and Robert "Lefty" Grove. And what catches your eyes is that Sandy Koufax got 344 out of 396 ballots. Willie McCovey received 346 out of 425 ballots. Who could possibly think these two were not Hall of Famers? But wait, there are even more unbelievable ballots not filled out for stars of the game.

In 1979, when it was time to vote the "Say Hey" kid in, (a.k.a. Willie Mays) 23 voters did not vote for him. Are you kidding me? This is where Tom Tolbert's cry for making the voters accountable comes in to play. I would definitely want to know who did not vote for Willie Mays and that person gets his voting privileges removed on-the-spot, baby! Same with Ted Williams, of the 322 voters, 302 selected the "Splendid Splinter" leaving 20 misguided souls feeling better about themselves because ole Teddy Ballgame, more than likely, told them what to do with their newspaper. To these voters I've got to go Dick Vitale on them. With that ringing voice, Dicky V would probably give 'em a, "You are outta here!"

Then there was a list of players who entered Cooperstown with 90% of the vote,or higher. But really, what you have to notice hear is how some rated higher than others. Take Cal Ripken, Jr., please. He had a higher percentage than Mays, Hank Aaron, Honus Wagner, Johnny Bench, Babe Ruth, Rickey Henderson, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson, Rod Carew and Christy Mathewson.

No way was Cal Ripken, Jr. a better fielder, hitter, overall player than Brooks Calbert Robinson. Babe Ruth at 95.1% vs Nolan Ryan at 98.8% proves that this like every form of voting has a tendency to be more of a popularity contest than anything else. That the Babe was a bit of a rogue was probably used against him by some short-sighted,jealous voter who used his privilege to show the Babe who was really the boss.

Thanks to the aforementioned article. Here is the website if you'd like to check it out yourself.(

Kevin Marquez