LOS ANGELES – The newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced tomorrow.
But don’t expect him to be unanimous like his former teammate Mariano Rivera.
Last year, the star closer was the first to get every single vote en route to his entrance into Cooperstown. He was a special case. Clearly, Rivera was the greatest closer who ever pitched in baseball.
There will also be the big reveal to see if Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens – both clouded by MLB’s PED scandal – have inched closer to the Hall or fallen back. If it’s the latter, it could mean both are now in jeopardy of not getting there before their 10 years on the ballot runs out.
I’m still among the writers that vote for Bonds and Clemens yearly. Both were great players and are Hall-worthy. This punishment, if you will, is dumb and stupid. Some writers are withholding their votes from them just because they want to make them sweat.
Meanwhile, other players linked or rumored to have engaged in PED use, have gotten in, including Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez, and Jeff Bagwell.
As most know, I’m a proud member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. I’m one of about 500 voters, one of less than 20 African Americans with the privilege to vote on the greatest baseball players of all time. It’s my most prized possession in life. I take the vote very seriously.
Sadly, it’s not the case for some in the BBWAA.
Somehow, some writers vote for a player one year and then not the next. It makes no sense. That player’s numbers haven’t changed.
The other mistake a lot of voters engage in is the bogus first ballot stuff. They won’t vote for a player the first time he appears on the ballot, but then will vote for him his second or third year.
Either you’re a Hall of Fame or you’re not. So simple.
And if I vote for you the first time, I vote for you every year you’re on the ballot. If I don’t vote for you the first time your name appears on the ballot, you will never get my vote.
All voting members get 10 votes. Some use all 10 votes. Again, it’s silly. You should only use votes on legitimate HOFers. There have been years when I’ve only cast two or three votes.
If a player has one of these magic numbers – 3,000 hits, 500 home runs or 300 wins – he automatically gets my vote. The benchmarks are a solid barometer to getting into The Hall.
Sadly, of late, my brethren, have really lowered the standards. It’s not the Hall of Very Good. Or the Hall of Sympathy. Last year, Edgar Martinez made it in on his 10th and final year on the ballot.
If he wasn’t a Hall of Fame the first nine years, what changed in his final year.
Expect the same treatment for Larry Walker. This was his final year on the ballot. Somehow, BBWAA will vote him in, too. There’s no consistency.
Here is my ballot for this coming Hall of Fame Class:
- Jeter – 3,000 hits. Has a magic number.
- Bonds – All-time HR king. Period.
- Clemens – Seven Cy Young’s, most ever won by a pitcher.
- Sammy Sosa – Over 600 homers. Has a magic number.
- Garry Sheffield- Over 500 homers. Has a magic number.