January 12, 2012

Bernie Williams should join Kirby Puckett in the Hall of Fame?

If two players are similar enough, they should be honored similarly, too.

We've had five years to contemplate Bernie Williams' similarities to Kirby Puckett, who was elected to the Hall of Fame with 82.1 percent of the vote on his first ballot in 2001.

Williams received 9.6 percent of the vote, as announced in Monday's Hall of Fame balloting results, and frankly that appalls me. Puckett and Williams are very comparable players, but 72.5 percent of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America disagree. How can this be?

YES Network's Steven Goldman made insightful comparisons of the two center fielders in this post, and I wish every voter would give it a read for the sake of the Hall of Fame. Not including Williams in Cooperstown would be a shame.
Takeaways from Goldman's article:
  • Through their age-35 seasons, it's a virtual tie: Williams (.301 AVG/.388 OBP/.488 SLG, 1,804 games) vs. Puckett (.318/.360/.477, 1,783).
  • Unlike Williams, Puckett didn't have a decline phase because he had glaucoma.
  • The Metrodome was a hitters' park, contributing to Puckett's high batting average.
  • Both were Gold Glovers, won a single batting title and are remembered for their postseason play.
There's really not much to add for Williams's case, but this should be more than enough for voters to elect him.

Now, can you believe that there was a 72.5 percent difference among the voters for these two players' first ballot results? Neither can I. And, unfortunately, with the title wave of first-ballot Hall of Famers coming to the ballots in the next few years, Williams doesn't stand a chance. As long as he can garner at least five percent of the vote in the next few years, he's a player that I see getting elected in his 15th and final year on the ballot. At least I hope so.

Is it too early to start using #VoteBernie on Twitter?

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