How baseball writers ruined my birthday

When I saw the Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees were going to be announced on Jan 8, I thought this is it.  My favorite player, Mike Piazza, is going in.  This was my birthday wish.

As the day drew closer, I had my doubts but ‘Ya Gotta Believe’ I told myself.  At 1:55pm, I hung up on my friend, who kindly called to wish me a happy birthday, because I needed to prepare.  My phone was ready – the number for the bed and breakfast I had booked for last year’s HOF induction (which I had to cancel because Piazza wasn’t named) was programmed in.  My finger hovered over the “Call” button.

The moment Mr. Idelson said 3 players were elected I knew Mike was not one of them.

My friend Bill and I have many conversations regarding the hall of fame.  Bill and I are “old school” – we go to games and keep score; we have conversations about scoring decisions and manager decisions regularly .

We have strict criteria for induction.  You have to be great.  Not very good; not good over a twenty year career (I’m talking to the writers who voted for Mussina here).  I don’t believe there are any gold standards for stats anymore.  The stats that worked 20 years ago don’t apply anymore.  There aren’t going to be anymore pitchers with 300 wins.  And home runs don’t mean what they used to because of PED use and smaller ballparks.  I go to Bill’s criteria based on comparison of your stats to your peers during your career (Top 5 for HRs, avg, ERA, etc) for choosing who is great enough to be in the Hall.  Jayson Stark said it best- the Hall is a privilege, not a right.

I hope Bill will post his criteria here because the Baseball writers needs to see it.  Some of them obviously need some help in voting.  (WHO voted for Armando Benitez?  Kenny Rogers?  Are you kidding me?  His/her vote should be taken away)

If you want to improve my day, buy my book.  “Gone But Not Missed”, A mystery set in Long Beach, NY.  Lillian, one of the main characters, is a Mets fan.  It’s on sale now – amazon.com/author/arkennedy; Special birthday price of 99cents for the ebook.

Thank you for reading my rant 🙂  I think it’s amazing I’ve had a blog for almost 2 months and this is my first baseball rant.

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3 thoughts on “How baseball writers ruined my birthday

  1. Criteria for Hall of Fame Consideration:

    POSITION PLAYERS:

    Batting Average:
    A career batting average of .300 or higher, plus 5 seasons of hitting .320 or higher or leading the league in batting average 3 or more times (applies only to seasons in which the player had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title).

    Home Runs:
    A career total of 500 or more, plus 5 seasons of 40 or more home runs or leading the league in home runs 3 or more times.

    Runs Batted In:
    A career total of 1500 or more, plus 5 seasons of 110 or more RBIs or leading the league in RBIs 3 or more times.

    Hits:
    A career total of 3000 or more, plus 5 seasons of 180 or more hits or leading the league in hits 3 or more times.

    Runs Scored
    A career total of 1600 or more, plus 5 seasons of 105 or more runs scored or leading the league in runs scored 3 or more times.

    Stolen Bases
    A career total of 500 or more, plus 5 seasons of 40 or more stolen bases or leading the league in stolen bases 3 or more times.

    PITCHERS;

    Wins:
    A career total of 275 or more, plus 5 seasons of 17 or more wins or leading the league in wins 3 or more times.

    Strikeouts:
    A career total of 2500 or more, plus 5 seasons of 200 or more strikeouts or leading the league in strikeouts 3 or more times.

    Earned Run Average:
    A career ERA of 3.00 or less, plus 5 seasons with an ERA of 3.00 or less or leading the league in ERA 3 or more times (applies only to seasons in which the pitcher had enough innings pitched to qualify for the ERA title).

    Winning Percentage:
    A career winning percentage of .640 or higher, plus 5 seasons with a winning percentage of .680 or higher or leading the league in winning percentage 3 or more times (applies only to seasons in which the pitcher had one decision for every ten games played by his team).

    Saves:
    A career total of 300 or more, plus 5 seasons of 37 or more saves or leading the league in saves 3 or more times.

    Awards:
    Most Valuable Player: 2 or more.
    Cy Young Award: 2 or more.
    Gold Glove: 6 or more
    Silver Slugger: 4 or more

    Criteria for Ineligibility for the Hall of Fame:
    1. Any player who tests positive for steroids or performance enhancing drugs.
    2. Any player who admits using steroids or performance enhancing drugs.
    3. Any player that was determined to have used steroids or performance enhancing drugs by any official investigation conducted by Major League Baseball (the Mitchell Report, the Biogenesis Investigation, etc).
    4. Any player arrested for a crime relating to steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

  2. I view induction into the Hall of Fame as the highest honor that can be given to a player. As such, the honor should be reserved for “all time greats”, not the “very good”. I would rather exclude someone who maybe should be in, than include someone who should probably not be in. My general rule is, if you have to think about whether or not someone is a Hall of Famer, he is probably not a Hall of Famer.

    It doesn’t make sense to me to give a player the highest honor possible if that player dishonored the game by cheating. For that reason I think players who have been proven to have used steroids or performance enhancing drugs should be permanently ineligible for induction into the Hall of Fame. Their names should not even be on the ballot.

    What constitutes “proven to have used steroids or performance enhancing drugs”? Good question. There has to be some objective criteria that is applied to all players. The criteria the “McComb System” uses (in summary) is the following: positive test, admission, a finding in an official MLB investigation, or an arrest. Speculation is not enough. Gossip is not enough. “Back acne” is not enough.

    Will any criteria that you use catch all the cheaters? Of course not. That’s not fair, but that’s life. Sometimes people get away with things.

    Is the use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs the only way players cheat? Of course not, although I think that steroids/PED are particularly distasteful because they so grossly distorted the “numbers” (statistical milestones). More so than most sports, baseball cherishes it’s “numbers”, so if a player messes with that, the penalty should be harsh.

    I would limit the number of players on the ballot. I would only nominate those players who have achieved certain statistical milestones over the course of a career as well as during individual seasons. For example, a player who has at least 500 career homeruns as well as 5 seasons of 40 or more homeruns or leading the league in homeruns 3 or more time. Thise statistical milestones need to be periodically reviewed and adjusted as necessary. For example, at one point 300 wins was considered the milestone for starting pitchers. However, the use of starting pitchers has changed significantly over the years and 300 wins is no longer a realistic goal for most starting pitchers. That is why the McComb system uses 275 wins as the milestone for starting pitchers.

    I would expand the people who vote to include TV and radio broadcasters as well as writers. The voters would be periodically reviewed, and those voters who have their own agenda would be eliminated. I would also make public every voter’s ballot.

    I would allow voters to vote for as many players as the wanted from the list of nominees.

    I would require a nominee to get 90% of the vote in order to get elected.

    I would only allow a nominee to remain on the ballot for three years, and only if they received at least 75% of the vote every year they are not elected.

  3. Pingback: All I want for my birthday… | ARKennedy blog

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