Hall of Fame process continues to be a joke

By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The list of things I will never see in my lifetime jumped by one on Wednesday when Greg Maddux failed to become baseball's first unanimous Hall of Fame selection.

And like a New York Jets Super Bowl title or a Knicks championship, there will probably never be one in my lifetime.

First of all, congratulations to the 2014 class of Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. As flawed as baseball's Hall of Fame election process is, the Baseball Writers' Association of America ultimately got it right this year.

How could the writers not, though? These were three no-brainers.

Now Craig Biggio also would have been on my ballot, but he missed by just two votes, and that snub will be rectified a year from now.

Thanks to MLB.com writer Ken Gurnick, we kind of knew Maddux wasn't going to be unanimous, as he admitted to leaving him off the ballot entirely. Gurnick was lambasted, and rightfully so by the way, but we learned on Wednesday that he wasn't alone, as Maddux was omitted on 16 ballots, one of which submitted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America's finest was blank.


How is that even possible? If you don't think Maddux is a Hall of Famer, you really need to reassess your profession. This won't be the last time this topic comes up, either. Mariano Rivera will be up for election in five years, and you can bet your bottom dollar that some voter has an issue with naming a reliever.

Maddux' 97.2-percent of the vote was good enough for eighth all-time. Rivera likely won't even approach that. And that is what's wrong with the voting process.

It's clear that some of these writers could care less, like a guy like Dan Le Batard who allowed Deadspin to fill out his ballot. Or the writers like Gurnick and blogger Murray Chass who make the ballot their own personal soapbox.

Chass has already stated that he would never vote for Biggio because he "thinks" he used steroids. He's made similar claims about Mike Piazza by the way. In fact, he only voted for Jack Morris this year. Nice job, Murray.

And, by the way, Chass and Gurnick are far from the only ones who make this ballot all about themselves. In fact, as moronic as Chass' baseless accusations are, he does know more than a good portion of the 571 who actually voted.

It may not be my much, but I am going to say that even with his flaws Chass is a better voter than the guy who gave a vote to Armando Benitez.

But what point is the writer who did not even fill out a ballot making? That he is lazy?

We all know it's a flawed process. Can it be fixed? Of course, but don't expect the illuminati of the BBWAA to buckle under anytime soon.

The writers should still have a say. Perhaps give them a heavy percentage of the vote to go along with ballots case by living members in the Hall. Heaven forbid the fans should have a say. But if you take a look at Deadspin's voting, which was done entirely by fans, they seemed to nail it.

I'm so tired of talking about performance-enhancing drugs, but even more telling than Maddux failing to get 100 percent of the vote is the fact that both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens went down in the voting.

It's becoming more and more apparent that Bonds, the seven-time MVP and all- time home run leader, and Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and arguably the best right-handed pitcher of all-time, are deemed not good enough by this group.

The same group who chose to give Benitez and Jacque Jones a Hall of Fame vote are the ones who decided to keep Bonds and Clemens out.

Gurnick's reason for not voting Maddux or anyone else in the "steroid era" is because he doesn't know who was clean. Gurnick did, though, cast a vote for Jack Morris, despite the fact the Mitchell Report flat out started that as far back as 1973 PED use in baseball was "alarming."

And Gurnick is right. We don't really know who was using and who wasn't. But to penalize a guy like Biggio or Piazza is just wrong.

You want to keep Mark McGwire out. Fine. I've stated in the past that he is not a Hall of Famer in my opinion. He was a one-trick pony. And the reason he was so good at that one trick was because of steroids.

If you want to put in on their plaque that these players played in an era when players took PEDs, fine, but, the Hall of Fame loses credibility every year that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get overlooked.


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