Hall of Fame voting and the JOKE that it is

January 09, 2010 | Paul Hoke

On behalf of sports fans everywhere, I just want to take a moment and thank the sports writers and those who have a voting interest for those who do, or don’t gain entry into the Hall of Fame for both Major League Baseball and the National Football League. I thank you for once again proving that you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

Let’s start with baseball. If you have a vote for who goes into the Hall, and you did not vote for either Robbie Alomar or Bert Blyleven, you are an idiot. You obviously do not understand the game of baseball and fall victim to the usual media bias of letting your own personal feelings interfere with doing your job. Impartial? Unbiased? Look, I’m not a journalist, but I know what those words mean. I also know that if you are in the business of reporting or writing on the news, sports, etc., then those words are words to live by. If you are a professional. If you did not vote for one of the greatest second baseman in the history of the game because in the heat of the playoff chase in 1996 he spit in the face of an umpire…then you are an idiot. That Hall is full of players, owners, and broadcasters who have done wayyyyyy worse things then Alomar. I provide you with a few:

— Ty Cobb: considered by many to be one of the top 3 greatest players to ever play the game. Also, one of the most nasty, despicable men you would ever not want to meet. A fervent racist, he once said he would never play with a black player, and a notorious dirty player. If today’s players did some of the things Ol’ Tyrus did, they would most certainly never play the game again…and he’s in the Hall of Fame.
— Mickey Mantle: Yankee centerfielder who replaced Joe Dimaggio and one of the most feared hitters of the 50’s and 60’s. Also, a raging alcoholic who lived his life with no regard for himself, his team mates, or rules of decency…he’s in the Hall of Fame.
— Juan Marichal: one of the most intimidating pitchers of his era. Also took a baseball bat to the head of Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro when he came to bat in the 1965 season. Not once, not twice, but three times. Look, I don’t know John Hircshbeck, but I feel pretty confident in saying that he would probably prefer a spit in the face as opposed to a Louisville slugger to the head. Marichal’s in the Hall.
— Reggie Jackson: one of the game’s all-time greatest personalities and feared hitter. Hit over 500 homeruns and was the self acclaimed “straw that stirred the drink” on the Yankee world championship teams of the 1970’s. And a terrible team mate, an insubordinate player who once went after his manager during a game, and an all around World Class JERK! He’s in Cooperstown.

Look, I could go on all day, baseball history is littered with these guys. But they’re also filled with the good guys, of which Robbie is one. He was a great player who had one bad 5 minute stretch in 1996. He’s made amends. When he was with the Toronto Blue Jays in their hey day, he was their Derek Jeter. The player who hated, only because he wore the wrong uniform. But you know that the only reason he didn’t get the mandatory 75% of the vote, was because idiotic baseball writers can’t put their own personal feelings aside, which they are supposed to do, and forget what Robbie did up at Skydome.

Next, is Bert Blyleven. This guy has to be sitting at home wondering if he needs to lace up his spikes and go out and win 13 more games to get to 300. 287 career wins. 3.31 career ERA. 23 major league seasons and a model of consistency. Not good enough, apparently, in the minds of baseball writers. At least not this year. Next year, who knows. I’m not entirely sure what it is that would make him worthy in 2011, that kept him out in 2010, but then again, I’m just a fan. I use common sense, something today’s media is in need of in vast quantities. Some will contend that he lost too many games (250) to be in the Hall. He pitched almost 700 freaking games. Completed almost 250 of them. Let’s see any of today’s candy-ass pitchers complete even 10 games in their career. Yes, Erik Bedard, I’m speaking about the likes of you. And while we’re on the topic, Jack Morris belongs in Cooperstown as well. He was the best big game pitcher of the 80’s and early 90’s. He won 254 games in his career, and won 15 games or more 11 times. Not to mention, was the MVP of the 1991 World Series when he and Kirby Puckett pretty much single handedly beat Atlanta. But not good enough, according to fat white men, many of whom I’m sure never played the game, to be a Hall of Famer.

Now, we move to the NFL. I love the NFL. I love football. I love my Baltimore Ravens. I HATE the fact that Art Modell, once again, has been shunned by the Hall of Fame voters. Give me a freaking break. The man is responsible for the success that the NFL has become. Every person earning a paycheck in the NFL today should be kneeling down and kissing the feet of Art Modell. Instead, they re-pay him be allowing, year after year, a few bitter, overpaid zealots keep him from what he earned in his 40+ year career as an NFL owner and executive….enshrinement in Canton. The Hall of Fame was made for people like Mr. Modell. And yet, year in and year out, he’s considered an outcast in the league he helped build. We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this is how the Hall of Fame treats anything Baltimore related. Just ask Indianapolis Colt hall of famer Raymond Berry. The NFL Hall of Fame really is a joke, but Art belongs there anyway. The story of his moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore has been told and re-told so many times, I’m not going to get into that here. But if not for that move, which saved football in Cleveland, and returned it to one of the greatest football cities in NFL history, Art would have been elected 10 years ago. As I did with baseball, let me point out a few members of the Hall who aren’t half the men Mr. Modell was, and is:

— Al Davis: owner of the Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders who fought NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle throughout the entire decade of the 1960’s leading up to the NFL-AFL merger. Moved his team twice, and over the course of the past 8 years has helped destroy what once was a proud Raider franchise…he’s in the Hall.
— Gene Upshaw: one of the more feared players of his era. And as head of the player’s union, completely turned his back on the needs of players who helped build the NFL. Basically gave a big middle finger to guys like John Mackey. Former NFL greats who can’t get adequate compensation for duty related injuries. He’s in the Hall.
— Dan Dierdorff: current analyst for CBS and one of the dirtiest football players in his day. Not sure who was worse, Dandy-Dan, or Conrad Dobler. Either way, he’s a pain to listen to on Sunday’s especially when he covers Steeler games. This clown is in Canton.

Once again, I could go on, but I’ve drug this out long enough. The bottom line is, there needs to be a new system put into place. I’m not saying that we take the votes out of the hands of the sports writers completely, but there needs to be other voices, or at least another scale. Ok, so a guy doesn’t get the necessary 75% to go into Cooperstown from the baseball writers. Depending on his percentage, there should be a second tool used. I don’t know what, but a healthy debate wouldn’t hurt. Something has to be done. Because the only ones, other then the players themselves, who get screwed, are the fans. Who wouldn’t love to see Art Modell sitting on stage in his gold jacket, or listen as Robbie recounts his glory days in Toronto and Baltimore during induction.

The Hall of Fame was built, in both sports, for people like the ones snubbed this year. And as long as the writers continue to let that trend continue, the more of a joke this thing becomes.

GO RAVENS!!!!! It’s playoff time, and it’s time to hunt. Thank you Mr. Modell for giving me this weekend. And that beautiful trophy back in 2001.