Baseball Hall of Fame voting is screwed up, steroids or not

10 01 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame voting is even more screwed up than voting in real elections.

OK, I get why Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa didn’t make the Hall of Fame. There’s the drug thing (though a jury actually acquitted Clemens of perjury when he denied use).

Jayson Stark wrote a good piece for ESPN about how baseball needs to come to terms with the steroid era and how that should be represented in the Hall of Fame. But I think yesterday’s vote showed how screwed up Hall of Fame voting is, period. Even the votes on people not tainted with drug suspicion make no sense.

The Baseball Writers Association of America and veterans committees have made the Hall of Fame selection a laughingstock for generations. The football and basketball Hall of Fame selections always make more sense (though there’s always room for argument in any such voting). But baseball voting is a head-shaker every year.

For this post, we’ll set aside Bonds, Clemens and Sosa, along with Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. Whether you agree or not, everyone understands why baseball writers vote against people who are tainted with suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs. If the voting did make sense, you could certainly understand a few years of “no” votes for suspected cheaters (character and integrity are among the voting criteria).

And, for this post at least, we’ll mostly set aside my own usual rants about the voters’ prejudice against Yankees. Other than Clemens and the usual dissing of Don Mattingly (13 percent this year), players who played their great years for the Yankees don’t figure in this year’s voting. So I’ll note the ridiculous votes on other candidates who fell short of the 75-percent vote needed for induction (all stats from Baseball Reference): Read the rest of this entry »