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Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013
The voters never get it rightPosted Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at 9:51 AM
Ah, yesterday was a day full of news.
George W. Bush spoke to reporters for the final time during his eight-year tenure as president.
Indianapolis Colts' coach Tony Dungy announced his retirement.
And two former players were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But in reality, only one of them deserved it.
Players have to receive at least 75 percent of the voting in order to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
On Monday, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were both elected.
Henderson, one of baseball's greatest players ever, earned 94.8 percent of the vote (511 votes), while Rice tallied 76.4 percent (412 votes).
Two other players received at least 60 percent of the vote (Andre Dawson, 67 percent, and Bert Blyleven, 62.7 percent).
In his 25 seasons, Henderson finished with 3,055 hits, 297 home runs, 1,115 runs batted in and 1,406 stolen bases.
He hit .279 for his career.
Henderson will be considered arguably the greatest leadoff hitter the game ever saw.
His numbers alone speak volumes that he was deserving of the Hall of Fame. He is baseball's all-time leader in thefts, for example, and he hit the most leadoff home runs of any player in baseball history.
Let's take a look at Rice.
In 16 seasons, Rice hit .298, with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBI.
What about Dawson? In 21 seasons, the "Hawk" finished with a .279 average while smacking 438 homers and driving in 1,591 RBI. Dawson also stole 314 bases and finished with 2,774 hits.
Blyleven? Twenty-two seasons, 287 wins, 3,701 strikeouts and 60 shutouts.
Lee Smith, who finished fifth in the voting this year? Well, prior to Trevor Hoffman breaking the record, Smith's 478 career save mark was baseball's all-time number.
What about Terre Haute's own Tommy John, who placed seventh in the voting this year? John played 26 seasons in MLB, posting 288 wins and 46 shutouts.
The point here is for years, Rice was considered a marginal player by most who vote for induction into the Hall of Fame.
But, in his final year of eligibility, he was granted entrance.
There is a player that received votes on this list this year that had a similar career to Rice and has always been near the bottom regarding Hall of Fame voting.
Dale Murphy played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball. In those 18 years, he tallied 398 home runs and 1,266 RBI.
Murphy was an all-star seven times in his career and won the National League MVP twice.
In contrast, Rice was an all-star eight times but won the American League MVP only one time.
For years, I have argued that baseball writers should not hold their grudge against Blyleven, John and Jim Kaat, all of which posted more than 280 wins in their career.
All pitchers in baseball history with more than 280 wins, with the exception of these three, are in the Hall of Fame.
What makes Blyleven, John and Kaat different? Who knows.
But now, these Hall of Fame voters have opened a door I hoped would never open.
The door of mediocrity.
Rice was a great player. He played as well as anyone in the league for quite a while.
But his time of dominance was just as long as Murphy. And Murphy played on much worse teams while posting similar numbers.
Rice benefited from having the likes of Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk, Dwight Evans and Carl Yastrzemski (to a certain degree, as his career was coming to a close) in the lineup.
Murphy? In 1983, Murphy's second MVP season, he was joined in the field by the likes of Rafael Ramirez, Bob Horner, Chris Chambliss, just to name a few.
Players eligible for the Hall of Fame have to receive at least 5 percent of the vote to stay on the ballot.
Gone this year are Mark Grace, David Cone, Matt Williams, Mo Vaughn, Jay Bell, Jesse Orosco, Ron Gant, Dan Plesac and Greg Vaughn.
However, voting in 2010 will feature new candidates, including Roberto Alomar, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez.
Add to that list the likes of Dawson, Blyleven, Smith, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Mark McGwire, Alan Trammell, Don Mattingly, Murphy and Harold Baines, among others.
John, on the other hand, used up his final year of eligibility and now has to wait for the Veterans Committee to elect him if at all.
As stated above, Rice was also in his final year of eligibility. He should have joined John as well waiting in the wings of the Veterans Committee.
Honestly, the people who vote players into the Hall of Fame are now making a mockery of the institution.
Marginal players don't belong.
But that door is open. So let Murphy in. Put Dave Parker in. What about some of these others?
Who knows what they're thinking.
But they've got some 'splaining to do.
By the way, here's who I would have voted for and in order:
* Rickey Henderson
* Bert Blyleven,
* Andre Dawson,
* Lee Smith,
* Tommy John,
* Tim Raines,
* Harold Baines,
* Dale Murphy.
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