Junk it. Fix it. At the very least, put all of this on a shelf for a while and let it breathe.
Maybe the whole system needs to be blown up. Maybe the voting populace needs to be redefined, or at least shrunk to a more workable size (enough to fit into small boardroom).
Maybe the powers of baseball and the Hall of Fame can issue some sort of declaration like, “This is what qualifies as cheating. That is what doesn’t.”
Or, “Frankly, we don’t care who did what.”
But right now the system stinks. It’s broken. When Craig Biggio gets more than three times as many votes as Fred McGriff, it’s totally broken. Something needs to change or everything needs to change. The only certainty is that whatever needs to be fixed won’t be done before 2014 ballots being mailed out.
So take a year off from elections. Maybe two years. Let it breathe — not like a fine wine, more like an old meat locker that needs disinfecting.
The only people who really would be upset about such a move would be those who are becoming eligible and obviously deserve to be honored, including Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine 2014 and John Smoltz in 2015.
They can wait. They’ll have their day. This is more important.
The results of this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame election were unveiled Wednesday. Nobody got in. The only winner was the U.S. postal service. Junk mail has had more impact than the 569 ballots that were mailed in.
Nobody can agree on Barry Bonds, who received 36.2 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, less than half the amount needed (75 percent). Nobody can agree on Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or anybody else associated with performance-enhancing drugs to varying degrees.
Nobody, inexplicably, can agree on guys like McGriff, Jack Morris or Tim Raines, all of whom were checked on my ballot, but not enough.
Too few (18.6 percent) again checked the box next to Dale Murphy, despite the consecutive MVP awards and the fact he was fueled on nothing stronger than milk and Froot Loops.
Murphy was typically classy Wednesday. He thanked family members, fans and some media members for support. He was grateful for this year’s voting “bump.” But even he cracked, “Maybe I should’ve retired after 1988 — I would’ve had a better chance. But I played through some injuries. I could’ve gone to the American League as a DH, but I wasn’t thinking about the Hall of Fame, I was thinking about winning.”
If the Veteran’s Committee ever votes Murphy in, he should get his own wing.
The top vote-getter this year was Craig Biggio. Craig … Biggio.
How many times did anybody watch Craig Biggio play and think, “Now there goes one of the all-time greats”? How is he named on 388 ballots and McGriff on 118?
We need more time to let the PED issue play out. We need clarity on the voting process and the criteria. It’s clear that 569 voters were on 569 different pages.
If the Cooperstown gatekeepers seek to take the vote away from the baseball writers association, I’m completely OK with that. The media’s job should be to provide coverage and perspective on news, not be the news. It’s why most major newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, no longer allow writers to vote in college football polls or season awards. The Hall of Fame has been an exception because it’s a post-career honor. Besides, what’s Dale Murphy going to buy my vote with — a cheeseburger and fries?
Between suspected steroids-users Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire and (to a lesser degree) Jeff Bagwell, Hall voters rejected winners of eight MVP awards, seven Cy Youngs and eight home run champions. Bonds (1), Sosa (8), McGwire (10) and Rafael Palmeiro (12) rank among career home run leaders.
Michael Weiner, the players union’s executive director, reacted as you would expect a shill would: “To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens is hard to justify. To penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings … is simply unfair.”
Not really. If they cheated the game, all bets are off. That’s my opinion. Obviously some disagree. We need a uniform set of criteria. We need better than what have. And there should be no rush to get to the next vote.
By Jeff Schultz