In an unnecessary move made no doubt to ingratiate himself to people that he thinks highly of in baseball, Bud Selig has again deconstructed the manner in which the Veteran’s Committee votes for individuals for admission into the Hall of fame.
As of July 26, 2010, all individuals eligible for induction but not eligible for BBWAA consideration will now be considered on a single ballot, grouped in areas of three different time frames: Pre-Integration (1871-1946); Golden (sickeningly presumptuous, isn’t it?) (1947-1972); and Expansion (1973 and later). What this means is that players, managers, broadcasters, execs, etc all get thrown into the pot for the era they contributed in. The voting for each era rotates so that each “era” is voted on once every three years on a rotating basis.
This year, a committee of 16 players, writers, execs, etc from the “Expansion” era will vote on 12 individuals that contributed form 1973 to present. Thats right, guys from your era vote on you. No more pesky “downers” like Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bowie Kuhn etc, around to screw up your chances. The results are to be announce tomorrow. Without further ado:
Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Pat Gillick, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons, Rusty Staub (I’m not kidding), Marvin Miller, and George Steinbrenner. These individuals were selected by what was quite sensibly named the “Historical Oversight Committee”.
Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith, Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail, Jerry Reinsdorf, Bob Elliot, Tim Kurkjian, Ross Newhan, and Tom Verducci.
Well, if you’re like me your seeing problems already. Firstly, I believe that we should be removing guys from the Hall of Fame, not adding any. As it is, Cooperstown is littered with undeserved and ill considered members and, while I understand we can’t extract any of them, I would sure like baseball to take some steps to choke off the flow of more coming in. That said, when I reviewed this whole new apparatus, I came to the following conclusions:
1. Players who don’t get in the first time around should never be considered again (In bold). Most of the aforementioned nominees were on the ballot for fifteen years, got voted on, and didn’t get in. As far as I’m concerned, thats the end of the story unless you did something really great after your fifteen years elapsed. What’s so “oversight…uh…ful” about a guy that had fifteen years to grab enough votes to get in but couldn’t? Nothing. he didn’t get enough votes because he wasn’t good enough and the voters were probably right.
2. The voting pool is comprised mostly of guys that played with you or covered you. At first blush, one might surmise that there would be no one better to vote on these players than the other guys that were on the field with them? Firstly, do you really think that all the other Veteran’s Committee members that have been excluded from this vote are so clueless that they could not fully grasp the impact of a particular player even though they didn’t sit in the same dugout with them? Well, if they are then they should be thrown out as voters, period. I predict that this method will make for rampant “croneyism”. I fear that some voters, many of whom have personal relationships with the guys they are being asked to vote for, will set their objectivity aside and give one of their pals the nudge they need to get in. I know that if I’m Davey Concepcion, I’ve already been on the phone with Johnny Bench and Tony Perez for a little exercise in lobbying. The bottom line: The perceived fairness of having contemporaries vote for one another be subjugated to the concern the lack of subjectivity one might encounter when buddies are ask to vote for each other. Prospective members should be voted on by a fair cross section of Hall of Fame voters, not exclusively by their peers.
3. The “Tommy John” question. Yes, he was a real good pitcher who pitched for good teams. A little addition: If you added up the number of Tommy John’s World Series winning teams plus the number of times he won the CY Young Award plus the times he led the league in either wins, era, or strikeouts, then you would get a number of precisely zero. Nice career but lets face it, the only reason he his on this ballot is because he was the first guy to have the Frank Jobe surgery. Thats said, lets induct Dr. Frank Jobe, and I’m so not kidding.
4. Who will get in: Concepcion, Garvey, John, Miller If you construct a panel of sixteen people and ask them to vote they’re not going to choose no one. Thats part of the screwy nature of the process. When a voter gets a list of candidates, its inherent that those asking you to vote are suggesting that you vote for someone. And that’s my theory.
5. Who should get in: Marvin Miller. If this little ad hoc crew really wanted to get it right, this would be their one and only choice. Im am not pro-union or pro management, but before Miller showed up as head of the first players union, these players were slaves. A true Hall of Famer and a long time coming.
In summation, in his inexorable march towards fixing everything in baseball that’s not broken, the Bud Selig, or his proxies, have installed a stupid and skewed new process that no doubt will bug a lot of people. I just hope not too much damage is done between now and the next time its changed.