In a few days, we’ll know the results of this year’s elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In a post a few weeks ago , I “elected” Ken “Junior ” Griffey unanimously and Mike Piazza (left) to finally creep over the minimum 75% required for election. As with many others, I ignored all of the steroid tainted candidates. You can view all of the candidates on the ballot this year (here) as supplied by Baseball Reference.
Arguments will continue to prevail among baseball affectionados as to who belongs and who doesn’t merit membership in this exclusive club……..but honestly I don’t see the need to overthink anything. In fact, if you have to think about it then the player in question doesn’t bear election to the Hall of Fame……….it’s really that simple. So with that in mind, let’s take another look at this year’s ballot…………
Obviously, you can’t go back and “unelect” someone but for purposes of illustration consider the inclusion of players like Bill Mazeroski (right) and Pee Wee Reese (left). Both would qualify as better than average……. very good ……..maybe even very very good……..but great? The only thing I recall about Mazeroski is that he hit that home run to beat the Yankees in the 1960 World Series. Seriously, can you cite anything else about his career? By that measurement, Joe Carter and Kirk Gibson should be shoo-ins as well.
Now, let’s look more closely at this year’s ballot and in particular at the players who are appearing for the first time. Using Mazeroski and Reese as a barometer, Garret Anderson (below) , Jim Edmunds (left), and Jason Kendall (right) should all be a lock for first ballot election to the Hall. And the comparative stats aren’t even close. They all have more career hits, a much higher on-base percentage, and better power numbers than either player. In fact, Edmunds nearly reached 400 home runs and drove in 400 more runs than either Mazeroski or Reese.
There’s not a chance that any of these three players will achieve election, much less election on the first ballot (Junior will though)……..nor should they. They were very good players. But they’re not great players. If you didn’t see their names on the ballot, would you even think to put them on the ballot. Probably not. The Hall of Fame should be reserved strictly for the no brainers…….the ones like Griffey and Randy Johnson last year and Derek Jeter in a few years.
As mentioned before, you can’t go back. But let’s not add insult to injury by entertaining the election of any new candidate on the ballot this year- except for Griffey who’s in a class all by himself……which is what the Hall of Fame is supposed to be…………..