Sorry, Only Best of the Best Are Worthy of the Hall of Fame


January 7, 2010

Sorry, Only Best of the Best Are Worthy of the Hall of Fame Let's get this right out in the open: Baseball Hall of Fame voting is a joke.

How is it that some voters from the esteemed Baseball Writers Association of America treat the filling out of their annual ballots like they're the game's Illuminati, protecting the virtues and best interests of the game they're sworn to protect ? while others take their duties seriously enough to cast a vote for David Segui?

Seriously, David Segui earned one Hall of Fame vote this year.

I'm sure he's a delightful guy, and I don't mean to make an example of him, but really? David Segui?

In 15 major league seasons spent with seven different teams, Segui hit .291 with 139 homers and 684 RBIs. Not exactly Hall of Fame caliber where I come from. And the kicker? He admitted to using both HGH and anabolic steroids during his already non-Hall of Fame career. So given the current voters' distaste for players implicated or rumored to be a part of the recent steroid wave, Segui's got his non-induction covered on all bases.

As NESN insider Tony Massarotti suggested Wednesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub, the Hall of Fame voting, like any election, is far from a perfect science, that it's largely subjective. But still, who voted for David Segui? A relative?

There were 539 writers who voted for the Hall this year. And they're no doubt a diverse crowd. But how is it that two of them actually believe that Ellis Burks is worthy of sharing an eternal baseball honor with the likes of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams?

Furthermore, how is it that this year's lone nominee, Andre Dawson, got in on this, his ninth year on the ballot? He wasn't deemed a Hall of Famer by the writers his first eight years — falling just 44 votes short of the necessary 75 percent in 2009 — but, all of a sudden, this time around, he's Hall-worthy?  (A similar situation took place with last year's honoree, a fellow outfielder by the name of Jim Rice — who, I'd argue, deserved to get in years ago.) Did his lifetime stats improve all of a sudden? Did the writers suddenly come out of an eight-year haze and realize, "Hey, this guy is one of the all-time great players!"?

"If you're a Hall of Famer," Dawson told The Associated Press on Wednesday, "eventually you're going to get in, no matter how long it takes."

No, Andre. If you're a Hall of Famer, you should get in the first time around. There should be no debate, no reservations, no questions asked.

Twelve-time All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar didn't make it in this time around, his first year of eligibility, missing out by eight votes.

"I feel disappointed, but next year hopefully I make it in," Alomar told "At least I was close."

"Hopefully, next year will be my time," journeyman pitcher Bert Blyleven, he of 287 career wins and 3,701 strikeouts, said on the MLB Network. He was a measly five votes short this year. Bummer.

If I had a ballot, I would have voted for Alomar and balked at Dawson and Blyleven. I don't have a ballot, though, and I respect the opinions of most writers who do. Everyone has their own criteria, and that's fine. That's the way it should be.

But if a player doesn't get in on the first ballot, he really shouldn't get in at all.

What spurred this hard-line approach to Hall of Fame balloting? Two words: Randy Johnson.

The 6-foot-10 lefty announced his retirement from the game on Tuesday and he's the one who gave the issue some clarity in my mind.

Why? Because Randy Johnson is a Hall of Famer.

Sure, he was a 10-time All-Star and accumulated 303 wins, 4,875 strikeouts (the second-best total of all time behind only Nolan Ryan) and five Cy Young Awards over his 22 years in the game.

But you don't need to pore over the numbers to know that the Big Unit will be, five years from now, a Hall of Famer. He's a no-doubter, one of the best, most dominant, most frightening pitchers in the history of the game.

And that is what makes a Hall of Famer in my book. There should be no question about their credentials, their legitimacy or their legacy.

Everyone in there should be a no-doubter. That's why it's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Pretty Darned Good.

Other recent examples that come to mind? Rickey Henderson (94.8 percent of the vote), Cal Ripken (98.5), Tony Gwynn (97.6), Wade Boggs (91.9) ? now those guys are Hall of Famers.

Andre Dawson was a terrific major league player, undoubtedly one of the best of his era. But he's not in the same class as Henderson, Ripken, Gwynn or Boggs. And based on my criteria, no, he doesn't deserve to be in the Hall.

David Segui on the other hand ?

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