I intended to write about Randy Johnson’s retirement today, that is until the Baseball Writers Association of America flubbed yet another Hall of Fame vote.
Let me begin by saying congratulations to Andre “The Hawk” Dawson. He was a deserving candidate and one of the greatest players of the 1980s. I’m not some stats geek who thinks On Base Percentage is the only number that matters. Dawson’s career .323 OBP will be the lowest of any Hall member, but to concentrate only on that number overlooks the home runs, RBI, Gold Gloves and MVP award (as well as 2 second place finishes).
If there was one player on this year’s ballot that is a sure fire no doubt about it Hall of Famer it’s Robbie Alomar. By any reasonable measure Alomar is the greatest second basemen of the last 40 years, if not all time. He doesn’t have the offensive stats of Rogers Hornsby, but Robbie does have 10 Gold Gloves, 12 All Star appearances, 2 World Series rings and a highlight reel of defensive wizardry to rival Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel. Alomar will no doubt be elected next year, but if he’s a hall of famer next year then he should be one this year.
The failure to elect Barry Larkin and Tim Raines was another oversight by the BBWAA. Larkin played second fiddle to Ozzie Smith as the NL’s premier shortstop for far too long and I think it may have hurt his candidacy. It shouldn’t. Larkin has 12 All Star appearances, 9 Silver Slugger awards, 3 Gold Gloves and an MVP to go with the World Series he won with the 1990 Reds. If Phil Rizzuto, and his 1588 hits, is a HOFer then so is Barry Larkin.
The biggest and most inexplicable snub is Tim Raines. Much like Larkin being overshadowed by Smith I think Raines may be hurt by playing in the same era as Rickey Henderson. Rickey was the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, and Raines was arguably the second best. Henderson was the greatest base stealer of all time, Raines was the fifth best. Also, much like Henderson, Raines probably held on a bit too long. Raines played until he was 42 and probably should have retired after his age 38 season with the Yankees in 1998. Here’s the bottom line on Raines: 7 time All Star, 2605 hits, 808 stolen bases, 1571 Runs scored
Perhaps the most alarming news that came out of the Hall of Fame vote is that 5 of these idiot writers handed in blank ballots. Bert Blyleven missed election by 4 votes. If a writer thinks he’s above the HOF vote or feels the need to protest the HOF because of the “Steroid Era” that’s fine, but don’t chicken out and hand in a blank ballot. Those 5 writers should have the decency to remove themselves from the voting process. If that doesn’t happen then the BBWAA should revoke their right to vote for HOF and prevent skewing future elections.