December 21, 2010

Baseball Hall of Fame voting

Like baseball’s yearly awards, Hall of Fame voting standards are vague. Jon Heyman revealed the world his Hall of Fame standards in an article yesterday, and I’m a big fan of what he had to say. This is the key:

In filling out my ballot, I go more by impact than career numbers.

Heyman details how the Internet community will base its vote purely by stats, making Bert Blyleven a shoo-in. But in Heyman’s 14 years of voting, not once has he voted yes. After reading his article, Blyleven doesn’t sound like a Hall of Famer to me.

Blyleven certainly is a borderline Hall of Famer, he just falls on the wrong side in Heyman’s book. I agree with Heyman’s vote because Blyleven’s impact on the game wasn’t high enough for the Hall.

Some players exceed their statistics, while others are overvalued by their statistics. Blyleven has the stats, but where are the accolades? He only received votes for the Cy Young four times in his 22-year career, and he didn’t place higher than third. He was elected to just two All-Star games.

I’m just realizing this now, because Heyman neglected this fact in his article, but Blyleven won two World Series rings. However, judging by his stats in those two seasons, it doesn’t seem like he was the team leader.

Another part of Heyman’s argument against Blyleven I didn’t like was this:

He had a terrific career and his case is very close, and he would not be the worst pitcher in the Hall of Fame.

If Blyleven is better than even just one pitcher in the Hall, how is it fair to him to not give him your vote? I think voters need to adapt their Hall of Fame criteria based on the players who have been elected.

Last year Blyleven and Roberto Alomar fell just short of the 75 percent required to be inducted. Both certainly will reach the percentage needed this year.

My thoughts: I can’t vote on either player. I think any writer who didn’t live to see a player’s career should not be given the opportunity to vote on that player. How can one judge a player’s fame if he didn’t experience it for himself?

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