Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HOF Voting Opinions from a BBWAA member

Tuesday morning, I was driving home from work and the local sports station, KTCK 1310 The Ticket, was playing commercials so I switched over to the ESPN station. They run network programming part of the day and Mike and Mike is on in the morning. Mike and Mike were talking to Buster Olney, a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, about Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame. Someone posted a copy of an article Buster wrote about writers and the HOF vote on an ETopps forum. That is here. The article echoes the same things Buster was saying on the radio.

Basically, Buster, a voting member of the BBWAA, doesn't think writers should have the responsibility of voting for the Hall of Fame nominees. His primary reason is that he thinks writers are supposed to be covering the news, not making it. He also doesn't think the writers should be the morality police for the HOF. I agree with that. He mentioned he has voted for Mark McGwire to be in the HOF because until all the facts and names are made public, he doesn't feel PED use should disqualify someone from entry into the HOF. He's voting based on numbers not other factors. I can respect that position, even if I don't agree with it, not only because he has been consistent, but because he isn't afraid to voice his opinion. He isn't hiding. He thinks the HOF needs to come up with some kind of committee to vote for the HOF nominees. In the article he lists some of the "transgressions" of players that are already in the HOF. Perhaps those players wouldn't be in the HOF if the writers of today were voting.

Buster also mentioned that MLB has no real controlling authority over the Hall of Fame because the HOF is a separate entity from MLB. However, the writers abide by MLB's ruling that Pete Rose is not going to be in the HOF because MLB controls who is on the ballot. That was a little confusing, but he made it sound like the writers could band together and vote Pete in regardless of the ballot, but I don't know if that is really what he meant. Buster also said that if the HOF or MLB said no player who admitted using PED's was supposed to be in the HOF, then he would stop voting for players like McGwire. He said as long as the BBWAA was tasked with the voting, he would continue to vote. But he would rather it be on someone else's shoulders. I said in a previous post I didn't know who else there is to do it. Maybe the writers get the task because of the lack of a better option. Or maybe, just maybe, Buster hit the nail on the head when he says that the HOF likes the publicity it gets every year, and throughout the year, from the writers who write about the controversy and votes that they themselves are a part of. I don't the controversy about who gets in, when they get in and who is voting them in is going away anytime soon.


  1. This sort of touches on what I've been saying as far as those who criticize who gets in and who doesn't get in:

    The writers aren't to blame. The Hall and the Hall voting process is to blame. Fix that and people will be happier with the writers or whoever else is voting.

  2. Re: Pete Rose, as I understand it, noone who is banned from baseball by MLB is eligible to be on the Ballot. This applies to Rose and also Shoeless Joe. And Yes HOF and MLB are not tied *except* for this banning connection. HOF has sort of passed the buck here to MLB. IF MLB would say PED candidates were banned then I would expect HOF to follow suit. Also The HOF could untie themselves from the MLB entirely and say that Pete Rose (and Joe Jackson) could be allowed on the ballot.

    It's a subtle distinction but I think it is important. And the HOF and MLB saying they are not tied is not entirely true in this instance - it's like one points at the other and says hey talk to them.

    regardless - I actually like the process - it's a lot of politicking but so what. If Pete ROse or Harold Baines or Carlos Ruiz is a Hall of Famer in your view of baseball that is all that is important to you.

  3. Agreed that HOF debates provide a lot of free Cooperstown marketing throughout the year. Each year, the process itself seems as significant as who gets elected. Reminds me of how politicians usually make more headlines with their speeches than their congressional voting records...

  4. MLB marketing/licensing bull is ahhh. don't get me started!!