The Votes Are In
The votes have been tallied and a most deserving Goose Gossage will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer. Nobody else will be going in with him. Here is how the votes broke down, with players who received less than 5% of votes not listed (don't worry, there are two BBWAA writers out there who saw fit to throw their support behind Travis Fryman).
Smith, L. 43.3
Immediately leaping off the page to me is the outfield vote. Consider these five players, and tell me how 72.2% of voters can give the nod to one of them and just 13.8% to another.
PA AVG OBP SLG OPS+ RC/G
Rice 9,058 .298 .352 .502 128 6.0
Dawson 10,769 .279 .323 .482 119 5.4
Raines 10,359 .294 .385 .425 123 6.6
Parker 10,184 .290 .339 .471 121 5.5
Murphy 9,040 .265 .346 .469 121 5.7
To my eye, these guys look pretty comparable. Tim Raines was by far the greatest offensive force of the bunch and as Rich Lederer and others have pointed out, should have been a slam-dunk first ballot selection.
While Jim Rice has the next best offensive resume, it seems that the defensive contributions of Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy and Dave Parker - all Gold Glove level outfielders - have been far too heavily discounted by the electorate. I am not sure that Parker's case is as strong as Rice's, but Murphy's and Dawson's are. It's just too bad people don't fear solid hitting center fielders who can shag fly balls and don't play with a wall in left field that's just a knock-down sandwedge away (remember, Rice hit .277/.330/.459 away from Fenway). I will spare readers further snark and just point to Joe Posnanski to help address Rice's candidacy once and for all. Here he addresses the "dominantest hitter ever for 12-years" Rice crowd:
For instance, what (if) I told you there was a player who, over a 12-year period, led all of baseball in home runs and RBIs? I’m talking all of baseball. Even Rice did not do that. And what if I further told you this guy played center field for much of his career, he stole more than 200 bases (31 in his best season) and hit one of the three most famous home runs in baseball history. That guy would be a SURE Hall of Famer, wouldn’t he?
Joe Carter (1984-1995 — that’s 12 years for you)
Homers (327), 1st in baseball
RBIs (1172), 1st in baseball
Carter was so highly thought of by voters that he couldn't even muster 4% of the vote in his one and only year on the ballot. Meanwhile, Rice looks like he is going to get in, which is fine I guess. But boy are there a lot of other players who should be in there before him.
Bert Blyleven is up to 61.9% and on the right track. Hat tip to Rich, there.
Poor Alan Trammell.
- A career 110 OPS+, good for 11th all time amongst shortstops with 6,000 PA's through 2002.
- A career .333/.404/.588 hitter in the post-season and the 1984 World Series MVP.
- Four gold gloves
- Should have run away with the 1987 MVP award, when he hit .343/.402/.551. Showing there is something of a longstanding tradition of BBWAA, um, confusion, George Bell won the award that season (RBI's are the best!).
The following link is definitely parody, but have a look and decide for yourself if the divergences in logic between this spoof piece and the general electorate are all that vast.
Check out Art Garfamudis's ballot.
Update: Here's exhibit A for what's wrong with the current voting system: Dan Shaughnessy, in one of his more odious pieces of blatant deceit in quite some time, chimes in on what a travesty it is that Rice was not elected. A snippet for you:
He hasn't cried about racism or favoritism (he'd probably already be in Cooperstown if he'd had the disposition of Kirby Puckett or Gary Carter), but he knows he was a better hitter than former teammates Perez and Wade Boggs and he suffers in silence while inching excruciatingly close to election.