How the Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Should Work

Monday  January 9th, 2012

Daniel Aubain (Guest Writer @DJAubain):  When it comes to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, there seems to be two schools of thought on which players are deserving of induction; those who see it as an inclusive process, and those who see it as an exclusive process.

I’ll let you know right off the bat which group I fall into…the inclusives. Just look at the official name of the place again. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. AND MUSEUM. Their website lists “Preserving History”, “Honoring Excellence” and “Connecting Generations” as what can only be described as the core values or mission statement of the Hall itself.

A lot of people want to point to Section 5 of the BBWAA Election Rules which states, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played”, as an instant ban for not only proven PEDs users but also those suspected to probably have used (but no proof was ever discovered).

Give me a break. Let’s stop talking about a player’s “character” and “integrity”, as the Hall’s first inductee was Ty Cobb. Or that we’ve left the voting to a group, the writers, of whom only 77.5% felt Jackie Robinson was Hall worthy. You know, THE Jackie Robinson who has an award named after him, an entire day dedicated to celebrating his career accomplishments and the only player to have his uniform number unilaterally retired by all teams.  In fact, there has NEVER been a unanimous selection into Cooperstown.  Not Babe Ruth. Not Cal Ripken. Not Hank Aaron.  How is that possible?

This is the same group of individuals who regularly use the phrase, “[Player X] is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” What the heck does that even mean? Either a player is “hall worthy” or he isn’t. It shouldn’t have to take an internet-based campaign by so-dubbed “statheads” to convince baseball writers that a player like Bert Blyleven belongs in the Hall.

Baseball has well-defined “eras” such as the “Deadball Era”, “Expansion Era” and now the “Steroid Era”. Players should be judged against the players they played against rather than against the greatest of all time. There are no Babe Ruths and Cy Youngs playing these days and there probably never will be again. They set the standards for players of their respective eras because they accomplished things no one had ever done prior to them. So for that, I refuse to weigh whether a player’s accomplishments of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s compares to a player of the 1940s, 1950s and such.

Okay. So now that you know my opinion of what the Hall should be, here is my 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. But first, section 4.B of the BBWAA Election Rules states, “Electors may vote for as few as zero (0) and as many as ten (10) eligible candidates deemed worthy of election.” As such, I will be using all 10 of my votes today and will rank them in order of worthiness, in my eyes. I found this chart on Baseball-Reference.com to be very helpful in weighing my decisions.

  1. Jeff Bagwell
  2. Barry Larkin
  3. Edgar Martinez
  4. Tim Raines
  5. Larry Walker
  6. Alan Trammel
  7. Dale Murphy
  8. Rafael Palmeiro
  9. Mark McGwire
  10. Don Mattingly

I don’t think I need to go into the individual numbers of each player’s career accomplishments. But as you can tell, I am NOT keeping out PED users (proven or suspected) or a “DH-only” player. I’m voting with my eyes for the first nine players on my ballot and the last one with my heart. I’m okay living in a world where the “Hall of the Elite” exists.

I’m okay if we celebrate players who had human flaws just like you and me (Pete Rose, Joe Jackson, Palmeiro, McGwire, Barry Bonds, etc.) After all, it’s not like any of these guys ever killed a man. Right, Ty Cobb? Right?

Thanks to the great folks at MLB reports for allowing me the opportunity to share my voice with their audience. I truly appreciate it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for updates on what the future has in store for me and all other guest posting articles I’ll be doing this offseason.

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Posted on January 9, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The baseball Hall of Fame is a study in extremes. Let’s be honest, it is REALLY hard to get into the BBHoF. Most likely harder than it should be. By comparison, another professional sports HoF, the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHoF) is way too easy to get into. As such, it is a study in extremes at the opposite end of the BBHoF. There simply HAS to be a middle ground, after all.

    I think you make a great point when you state that the first 9 picks on your ballot were done with your eyes and the last with your heart. It should be a combination of things that goes into a player’s consideration for the HoF after all, correct?

    Nice work.

  2. My ballot is indentical minus Murphy and Mattingly.

    One quick question: Why Mattingly over McGriff?

  3. I voted Mattingly over McGriff because growing up in Brooklyn in the 80’s, I wanted to be Mattingly. I liked McGriff and Jack Morris, too. Just ran out of slots.

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