A fraction of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America have identified their Hall of Fame votes, which earlier this week sent Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas to Cooperstown.
So, of the folks identified, here are the worst ballots filed (non-Ken Gurnick division) in descending order:
4. Barry Rozner, Chicago Daily Herald and William Center, San Diego Union Tribune
The folks they included weren’t odd – it was a name they excluded that strikes us as weird and earned the tie. Both writers gave Barry Bonds a Hall of Fame vote but NOT Roger Clemens. How is that possible? Isn’t the pair inextricably linked in history? Both were highly-suspected of performance-enhancing drug use, both had high-profile trials, both posted incredible statistics.
We give Rozner a slight pass here since he filled his ballot up to the limit of 10 candidates. Perhaps he would have placed Clemens 11th had he been given the chance.
But Center? He only voted for eight.
3. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle
Killion voted for Maddux, Thomas, Tim Raines – all good so far – and LEE SMITH?
Why didn’t she vote for Glavine? Because “Glavine wasn’t nearly as great (as Maddux), which is why I voted for Maddux and decided Glavine could wait.”
But clearly Smith in his 12th year of eligibility (you get 15) couldn’t wait. Smith has a 3.03 ERA and 478 saves. Which is fine. But if you’re given 10 spots for the Hall of Fame, and you only use four, and within those four you list Smith and not Glavine, you deserve some ire.
2. Joseph E. Hoppel, honorary
Hoppel voted for Maddux, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Curt Schilling.
Which means no Thomas, no Glavine and no…well…a lot of other folks. To be fair, even if you disagree with the four folks he DID vote for, each is a respectable, defensible choice taken on their own.
But as a whole?
You can’t say Hoppel doesn’t vote for players on their first ballot since he voted in Maddux. You can’t say he’s biased against big players who played during the “steroid era” since he voted for Piazza and Bagwell. You can’t say it’s all about wins since he voted for Schilling.
1. Lawrence Rocca, honorary
This. One. Is. Just. Weird.
Rocca voted for Jack Morris, Raines, Alan Trammell and Hideo Nomo.
Let’s first say that we at least respect that Rocca released his vote. He’s the only one of six voters that cast a ballot for Nomo who actually identified themselves. Let’s also stipulate that, while it isn’t necessarily compelling, there is certainly an argument to be made in favor of Nomo, who was a culturally significant player and helped pave the way for future Japanese stars.
Now that that’s out of the way.
How do you vote for those four and not these four: Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, Biggio?
Remember, Kings Park native Craig Biggio lost out on election by two votes. He wasn’t listed on any of the top three ballots here.
Rocca clearly doesn’t hold anything against first-timers on the ballot, since he cast a vote for Nomo.
We just can’t explain this one.