Blog Entry

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 5:33 am
 
Bert Blyleven This year's Hall of Fame vote signals the end of the great Bert Blyleven debate, as the right-hander finally got in to the Hall of Fame.

It was long a debate that had grown old and, thankfully for Blyleven, ended in what is his rightful place in Cooperstown.

Blyleven's case shows the power of the internet and its influence on what is a membership slow to movement, the BBWAA electorate. Blyleven started with 17 percent of the vote in his first year of the vote and 15 percent in the second, all the way to more than the required 75 percent this season, his 14th year on the ballot.

Maybe that's a bit of hope for the likes of Barry Larkin, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell, but the "was he good enough" debate has officially become passé.

With the exclusion of Jeff Bagwell and Rafael Palmeiro, the BBWAA voters are now voting on morality over baseball.

I'm as big of a supporter of the BBWAA and its election as anyone you'll find without a vote. In its defense, I offer only the Gold Gloves (voted on by coaches and managers), All-Star starters (fans) and the Veteran's Committee for the Hall of Fame which has kept Marvin Miller out. But on this latest test, the BBWAA voters have failed.

Jeff Bagwell has no-doubt Hall of Fame numbers, he also has the aura so many ask for in their voting. When he was at the plate, he didn't look out of place in Cooperstown. Instead, he's on the outside because of suspicions, not facts. As journalists, we are supposed to write what we can prove. Nobody has been able to prove anything about Bagwell other than what he produced on the field.

Jeff Bagwell For too many writers, the voting is based too much on their own insecurities for how they did their job. They wish they'd been able to break the big story -- or even look good in retrospect by throwing out a suspicion -- and are using that to now stand a ground, despite having no ground on which to stand.

Things will get even more interesting next year, as those focused on the Blyleven case will shift their focus to the suspected steroid users. There's no real compelling first-year eligible players next season (Bernie Williams, who will not be elected, is the biggest new name on the ballot), so it seems like the year that Larkin will be enshrined and we could even see great gains by the likes of Trammell and Raines. But that won't be the story.

Instead, we'll be looking at Palmeiro and Bagwell as test cases for the 2013 first-year nominees in Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa. If this year's voting is a guide, the Hall of Fame will be without some of its greatest players in the next 20 years. Bonds and Clemens, in the discussion for the greatest of all time, could be left in the cold with Pete Rose signing autographs outside the Hall of Fame instead of having their picture hanging in it.

As Rose has found, a simple admission of guilt won't do. The voters want to serve as judge and jury, sentencing some of the best players of all time to a future without the Hall of Fame. Mark McGwire was judged for the first time since he admitted his steroid use last January. He went from 128 votes (23.5 percent) of the votes in his first year of eligibility in 2007 to 128 votes (23.7 percent) last season. This year his vote total went down, to 19.8 percent. Palmeiro -- one of just four players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs -- garnered just 11 percent of the vote, while "whispers" kept Bagwell to 41.7 percent.

As tiresome as the Blyleven/Jack Morris debate had become it's about to get more contentious.

Here's the final voting
Name Votes Pct.
Roberto Alomar 523 90.0%
Bert Blyleven 463 79.7%
Barry Larkin 361 62.1%
Jack Morris 311 53.5%
Lee Smith 263 45.3%
Jeff Bagwell 242 41.7%
Tim Raines 218 37.5%
Edgar Martinez 191 32.9%
Alan Trammell 141 24.3%
Larry Walker 118 20.3%
Mark McGwire 115 19.8%
Fred McGriff 104 17.9%
Dave Parker 89 15.3%
Don Mattingly 79 13.6%
Dale Murphy 73 12.6%
Rafael Palmeiro 64 11.0%
Juan Gonzalez 30 5.2%
Harold Baines 28 4.8%
John Franco 27 4.6%
Kevin Brown 12 2.1%
Tino Martinez 6 1.0%
Marquis Grissom 4 0.7%
Al Leiter 4 0.7%
John Olerud 4 0.7%
B.J. Surhoff 2 0.3%
Bret Boone 1 0.2%
Benito Santiago 1 0.2%
Carlos Baerga 0 0.0%
Lenny Harris 0 0.0%
Bobby Higginson 0 0.0%
Charles Johnson 0 0.0%
Raul Mondesi 0 0.0%
Kirk Rueter 0 0.0%



-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Comments

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:51 am
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Bob Gibson ... and Bert Blyleven.  How embarrassing for the Hall of Fame.  How insulting to the truly great players for whom it was established.  How degrading for the game of baseball.  Someone who was considered good enough to be in the All-Star game exactly twice in his career is now a *Hall of Famer*.  Are there any standards left?
Funny that Blyleven had a higher wins against replacement than half those pitchers names and more wins as well.  To deny Blyleven a spot in Cooperstown is to not understand baseball (or math).



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:43 am
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Bob Gibson ... and Bert Blyleven.  How embarrassing for the Hall of Fame.  How insulting to the truly great players for whom it was established.  How degrading for the game of baseball.  Someone who was considered good enough to be in the All-Star game exactly twice in his career is now a *Hall of Famer*.  Are there any standards left?



Since: Jul 12, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:42 am
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

The Hall of Fame Voting is Joke...end of story. 

waaaaa....this one used Steroids - even though he also competed against those using steroids

waaaaa....this one bet on baseball

waaaaa....

Jerk offs



Since: Oct 23, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2011 9:58 am
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

I just want to know who voted for Bret Boone and how is he still allowed a vote
.



Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2011 7:13 pm
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

242 complete games in 685 career starts in his career, and with teams that were "below average".  287 career wins and he also had 99 losses in "quality starts" (6 innings pitched and 3 or less runs).  That is a workhorse who deserves the call.  Congrats Bert. 



Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2011 6:20 pm
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Just two words: about time....



Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Blyleven should have been in the hall 14 years ago, he has the numbers to prove it. When he was handed the ball, he wanted it for 9 innings, now a starting pitcher goes 5 innings and it's considered a success.  Bert Blyleven had 242 complete games! Thats something we'll never see again. Not to mention 3701 strikeouts....Congrats Bert, it's long overdue.    Smile



Since: Nov 29, 2010
Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:15 pm
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

The sad tragedy of Barry Bonds' career is that he would have still been one of the best players ever if he hadn't started juicing. He would probably have never broken the home run records, but his career would have been more fondly remembered. The man was already a great player, he didn't need the help of modern chemistry.

Such a waste.




Since: Nov 29, 2010
Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

Palmiero I can understand but how in the hell do you snub Jeff Bagwell? He was only one of the best players at his position in the entire league for his entire career! He should not be screwed out of the hall of fame just because a few sportswriters want to be on the right side of the steroid issue, especially since the Hall is filled with cheaters, drunks, racists, amphetamine users and crooked owners. Suddenly we're denying players their rightful place in Cooperstown because of what they MIGHT have done without any proof or an admission to the same?

Give me a break.




Since: Nov 3, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:01 pm
 

Blyleven debate ended with trip to HOF

If the steroid problem keeps voters from voting for one of the ten best players ever in Bonds, they should just judge him on his career from 1987-98 when he was still the best player in baseball and supposedly drug free at the time.



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