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 I recently read an article by Hal Bodley regarding the differential in voting for Roberto Alomar in years 1 and 2 of his eligibility. He openly wondered at the difference and noted that the prospects for Barry Larkin and Jeff Bagwell will be so much better due to this quick change of heart from the voters from one year to the next. In my view, so many writers believed that Alomar was hall worthy, but apparently his spitting incident left them with such a foul taste that they disqualified him from being one of the elite few who have been inducted in their first year.

   Is this a sign of the judgment that can be expected from other character issue candidates? We already have a baseline for Mark McGwire (19.8%), who didnít do steroids against the rules of major league baseball, and Rafael Palmeiro (11%)who allegedly took steroids due to Miguel Batistaís switch of a needle from vitamin B12 to performance enhancers.

  How good was Alomar as a 2B in regards to history? Alomar was the 6th best second baseman of all-time, behind Collins, Hornsby, Frisch, Morgan and LaJoie. Should he have been a first time ballot selection? You be the judge. How did he compare against his contemporaries? He was the best second baseman of his era, ahead of both Biggio and Kent. Did one incident deserve to cost him his lifetime status? Alomar has said it was humbling and that he had to move on from it, but was that necessary? The voters seem to forget that ballplayers are human and that striving for perfection on the diamond may result in being successful 1 in 3 times for a great player, but it is still far from perfect. Perhaps we should leave the judgment for what the ballplayers did on the field.

 What about Blyleven? Why did a person with 60 shutouts and 3700 strikeouts have to wait 14 years to be elected? There is a real problem with the process when someone as dominant as this pitcher was has to wait an agonizing amount of time because some people may have thought he should have deserved more all-star game appearances. Is that really the way we measure a player? Thatís a popularity contest. Blyeleven was 6th in his era behind Carlton, Ryan, Seaver, Palmer, and Sutton. In the entirety of all baseball history, Blyleven was the 17th best starting pitcher ahead of Sandy Koufax and Lefty Grove. Striking a player out, or keeping an entire team scoreless for 9 innings is the strongest measure of dominance short of a no-hitter or perfect game. To do it 60 times is remarkable! What a travesty that it took this long! Maybe we can start judging the writers on how long it takes them to get it right. The weird position I find myself inÖis that I have to continue to say the system works, they got it right because Blyleven did get in. The problem as I see it, is that these people have to wait so long to enjoy it that many donít even live to receive the accolades.

   Stubborn voters who hold out a vote (74% to 90%) in one year, or Blyleven (top 17 pitcher all-time), to drag it out, begs the question is there a better way? Those that do change their positions like this cause many to fall off the ballot, because they hope that enough voters will vote for them to keep them on the ballot to receive the 5% minimum to stay on the ballot. Look at David Cone, one and doneÖwas that fair? He was a fantastic player, maybe even a great one as measured by his peak years. Did he deserve a better fate than say Lenny Harris, who was a great pinch hitter, but they get the same footnote in history. On the ballot one year. Perhaps a ranking system of the players on the ballot and averaging out the 500+votes to allow for only the top 10 to be eligible to be selected and then they go on to a run-off election to ensure that some worthy players donít go by the wayside. Iím not saying my way is the best way, but I do think we need to rethink how many players fall off the ballot each year due to tampered voting. I.E., not a first ballot hall of famer, but perhaps a 14th year hall of famer. Thatís crazy logic, as there arenít different wings in Cooperstown for the greatest, the great, and the really good that played a long time.

 

 

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