Thursday, January 07, 2010

2010 Baseball HOF

I don't think I've written anything about the Baseball Hall of Fame since I lobbied for Goose Gossage, who finally made it in 2008.  This year, Andre Dawson made it in, and I find myself annoyed.  His numbers were good, but not legendary.

I wonder if our priorities have been messed up by the steroids era.  We don't want clear superstars like Mark McGwire (and Rafael Palmeiro, who has seriously good numbers, is coming up soon but is also tainted) because they took drugs.  Fair enough, though debatable (check out old posts by economist JC Bradbury for a very interesting take on the actual performance effect of steroids).  But should this mean we accept otherwise "very good" players of the so-called but ill-defined "steroid era" as HOF material?  Other recent outfielder who became HOFers were Tony Gwynn and Rickey Henderson, and Dawson is not in their league.

Rob Neyer's take on future HOF picks is also worth reading.


Anonymous,  7:18 AM  

The HoF criteria and voting procedure basically is a relic of the Holy Roman Empire. As Napoleon said, neither holy, Roman nor an empire.

I say yes to Dawson, Raines and Alomar. Dawson was not merely a good player. Speed, defense, and power. Dawson and Raines suffered from playing for Montreal. Alomar was the best at his position for a generation. Period.

No to Blyleven, Palmeiro, Martinez and McGwire. Blylevin and Palmeiro have great stats. However their actual impact and perceived value while playing were not Hall of Fame level. They never were the best at what they did for an extended stretch (5+ years). Longetivity is not a substitute for greatness. I get stuck on this argument with Alan Trammel but not with these two. I would tilt towards Trammel on his couple of really great years and great shortstops are evaluated differently than first basemen and starting pitchers.

If there is a morals/conduct clause the steroid freaks should have to come clean first. I know, Ty Cobb...but we expect more in 2010. It is an insult to our intelligence to suggest they go in with the records that are tainted and no explanatory context.

Secondly, if voters start creeping towards allowing Bonds, McGwire, Clemens into the H of F incrementally, "punishing" them for steroid use, they are showing how ridiculous the voting system actually is. I can live with three arguments about these guys, but each is a slam dunk w/o the drug issue. Therefore it is either yes in first year, or not until there is a public recanting, or never. The idea that secretive slippery journalists change their criteria for steroid use (based on its perceived frequency) every year is silly.

Maybe voters should have to make their ballots public. I want the names for who decided suddenly that McGwire was more fit this year than last. What changed? Also, the voters who left Alomar short 10 votes or so should have their voting privileges suspended for incompetence.

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