Baseball Hall of Fame system flawedPublished Jan 22, 2013 at 12:01 am (Updated Jan 18, 2013 at 9:59 am)
The fact that the Baseball Writers of America didn’t vote anyone into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum this year has apparently upset some fans.
But the problem doesn’t lie with this generation of writers; the system has been flawed since the get-go in 1936. And today’s voters are merely perpetuating the imbecility of their predecessors.
Cy Young – winner of 511 games, the most in major league history – had been retired for 25 years by 1936 but wasn’t a member of the first class!
A partial list of other players the lords of the BBWA didn’t deem worthy of being inducted in their first year of eligibility includes: Yogi Berra, Bert Blyleven, Lou Boudreau, Jim Bunning, Gary Carter, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Ford, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Frisch, Hank Greenberg, Harry Heilmann, Rogers Hornsby, Ferguson Jenkins, Harmon Killebrew, Juan Marichal, Eddie Mathews, Bill Mazeroski, Robin Roberts, Red Ruffing, Ryne Sandburg, George Sisler, Tris Speaker, Pie Traynor and Paul Waner.
Five pitchers who won 300 or more games didn’t make it in their first year of eligibility: Lefty Grove, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton and Early Wynn.
Bert Blyleven, winner of 287 games, fifth on the all-time strikeout list and ninth on the all-time shutout list had to be voted in my the veterans committee after years of being snubbed.
Indeed, one Pittsburgh member of the BBWA said he didn’t think Blyleven belonged in the Hall of Fame. And who could forget the loon who voted for Dock Ellis? (Mercifully, it was a secret ballot!)
After 77 years of blatant incompetence by the BBWA, the people in charge of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Commissioner Bud Selig have to change the way they do business. Why not have players selected by managers, coaches, teammates, owners ... even fans? The writers have demonstrated for more than three-quarters of a century that they are not capable of doing it.
Ross A. Matlack Jr.