Jan. 12 -- Hall of Fame voting results

3:06 PM

(2) Comments

No real surprise -- Rickey Henderson gets in easily and Jim Rice barely (by eight votes!). I'm on record on Rice (see post below), and I agree with what Joe Sheehan just said on ESPN -- that this opens the door for other corner outfielders in the future to say, "I was as good as that guy; I should be in too."

Andre Dawson and Dave Parker can make that case right now, and maybe Dale Murphy. Had any of those three had a PR campaign behind them with the strength of the one Rice had for the past decade, they'd probably be in right now. But that's the way it goes, and while I disagree with the decision, it's not my business to tell anybody they shouldn't have voted the way they did.

I'm surprised Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines didn't show more improvement. Blyleven picked up two votes from last year and Raines lost 10. But overall, the whole ballot remained pretty steady. Here are the 2008 totals vs. the 2009 totals for some key guys:

Player 08 09 =/-
Rice 392 412 (+20)
Dawson 358 361 (+3)
Blyleven 336 338 (+2)
Lee Smith 235 240 (+5)
Jack Morris 233 237 (+4)
Tommy John 158 171 (+13)
Raines 132 122 (-10)
McGwire 128 118 (-10)

Rice and John both got that "boost" you hear about in their final years on the ballot. For Rice, it was enough. For John, not even close. But very little movement on those other guys. Dawson and Blyleven are currently in the percentage range of guys who will eventually get in, but they have to be wondering why they stalled out this year.

As for Raines, I really thought he'd pick up some votes this year. There's been a lot of attention on his candidacy, mainly because the stat-head sector favors him strongly. (I am with them on this, incidentally.) But maybe the voting reflects a backlash against the statistical evaluators and their expanding platform. After all, they don't like the Rice pick, and his number improved each of the past few years. And knowing a little bit about the way the BBWAA voting base and the statistics crowd do their business, I don't think the possibility of a backlash is farfetched.

Anyway, I remember two years ago, when Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn went in as no-brainer slections. As always, there was much attention paid to who didn't get in and why. (That was McGwire's first year on the ballot, for instance.) But in the end, that year's election and ceremony became about the greatness of those two players, which was nice. This one should evolve into a celebration of the quirky brilliance of Rickey Henderson, who stands as one of the greatest players ever to play the game. Neither the presence of Rice, who doesn't belong, nor the absence of Blyleven and Raines, who do, should detract from that.


2 Responses to "Jan. 12 -- Hall of Fame voting results"

Rick said :
January 12, 2009 at 9:51 PM
Perhaps the stat-heads would have preferred Tim Raines over Jim Rice, but in their primes there is no GM who'd have traded Raines for Rice. Not even close.
Rick said :
January 12, 2009 at 9:59 PM
Make that "no GM would have traded Rice for Raines." Rice's numbers .298, .352, 502 were superior to Raines .294, .385, 425. Rice won one MVP was in the Top Five of the MVP voting SIX times. Raines never won the MVP and had exactly ONE Top Five finish in the MVP race.

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