Why the title? Let’s face it. Their names are forever linked.
According to Bert Blyleven: “It’s been 14 years of praying and waiting.”
Really? If it were me, I’d have a 14 full cuss jars sitting in a room by now. Can you imagine the combination of excitement and relief? Just watch the reactions of the latest round of electees some time. You’d swear they’d just been knighted or something. 70-somethings suddenly look like they could circle the bases one more time at full gallop, and the most stoic of gentlemen break out into the widest of grins. It’s like Christmas times 100. Let’s be clear about something here. I wrote a blog piece that generated a lot of impassioned reactions, and I stand by what I wrote. Please don’t mistake that for anything other than an opinion about who belongs and who does not belong in the Hall of Fame. It’s nothing personal against the people I don’t think should be inducted, and I have no personal stake in any candidate seeking approval.
I have no issue at all with anybody who gets voted into the HOF by the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) from this point forward, and I’m as happy for any of them as I can possibly be for a total stranger who I’ll likely never meet. There’s no ego involved. If the BBWAA vote matches my ballot, then that’s great. If the BBWAA vote does not match my ballot, then that’s great as well. We don’t have to be of like minds on this or any other issue, because there is nothing wrong with celebrating out differences as long as we celebrate our shared love of the game of baseball.
That said, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance did manage to agree on Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, and it’s great to see that the BBWAA chose them as well. Blyleven received support on 79.7% of the ballots cast, and Alomar received support from 90.0%. Congratulations to both.
For the record, I also voted for Jeff Bagwell (41.7%), Larry Walker (20.3%), and Rafael Palmeiro (11.0%). It’s the first time on the ballot for all 3, so I didn’t expect anything specific in terms of voting percentages, except I never believed for an instant that any of them would get in on the first try. Bagwell and Palmeiro have to get past the “steroid era” cloud that is hanging over them as well as many of their contemporaries, and Walker has to convince people that the “Coors Effect” is simply the result of drinking too many of the “Banquet Beers” and falling asleep on your sofa.
In my ballot post, I did specifically say “no” on Edgar Martinez, Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff, Tim Raines, and Mark McGwire. I’m a little surprised that Martinez dropped from 36.2% to 32.9% support, and I don’t think that bodes well for his candidacy, even though he’ll be on the ballot again next year. The same might be said of McGriff who dropped from 21.5% to 17.9%. Larkin made a nice jump from 51.6% to 62.1%, and he may just need to hit a “sweet spot” year with a weak HOF class to get in, and I wouldn’t mind that at all. Raines also surged from 30.4% to 37.5%, but that’s only halfway to the mark, and he’s going to need to pick up some momentum along the way. As for McGwire, he lost some ground as he dropped from 23.7% to 19.8%, but I think he’ll benefit greatly from being back in baseball. Exposure to media through travel may help his cause, and he may eventually choose to talk about the past. If he stays engaged in the game for a few more years, he might just win over a few skeptics…..even me.
TIDBIT: I may have lied about celebrating our differences. I just noticed that Bret Boone received 1 vote, and B. J. Surhoff received 2 votes. B. J. Surhoff? Really? I think he had maybe 1 really, really good season out of 19.
Like the vote? Wish Al Leiter had received more than 4 votes? Let me know on Twitter!