There are few subjects in the Baseball World that I am more passionate about than the vote for The Hall of Fame. I cannot get past the fact that a player’s fate remains in the hands of Sports writers. I firmly believe a change NEEDS to happen and fast. TAKE THE VOTE AWAY from the “writers” and do it NOW.
Recently I had a brief back and forth with ESPN’s Buster Olney on Twitter. I answered a tweet and made clear that the Baseball writers make their vote personal and therefore shouldn’t have that vote. Mr. Olney took exception.
@Buster_ESPN Nope. And Sports writers shouldn't have a vote. Have a select HOF committee. You guys make the vote personal too often. Period.— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) November 15, 2015
@Buster_ESPN sorry that it doesn't compute, Buster. Sports writers deciding who is worthy and who is not is ridiculous. I enjoy your...— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) November 15, 2015
@Buster_ESPN coverage of the game, but don't feel any of "you guys" should hold sway on a player's road to Cooperstown. Just my opinion.— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) November 15, 2015
He didn’t like being lumped in with all writers. I was wrong to make a sweeping statement. Maybe Buster is completely on the level. Maybe he is truly an exception to what I STRONGLY feel is becoming the rule. I can’t know for sure. When he challenged me to pick one of the votes he cast for personal reasons, I couldn’t…but is that to say he never has had a bias in who he believes is Cooperstown worthy?@Buster_ESPN and if you are convinced that there are baseball writers that don't vote with personal bias...well, agree to disagree. Thanks.— Mike O'Hara (@mikeyoh21) November 15, 2015
You don’t have to look hard to see the “US vs. THEM” feeling in the player/writer dynamic. More and more writers seek their own sad, celebrity status. They seem to have desperate need to rival the players in terms of notoriety. They aren’t writers any longer they are “Insiders” or “Experts”. And as ALL KNOWING MASTERS OF THE BASEBALL UNIVERSE they get to decide who is celebrated and who is not. With all do respect to those who still cover and love the game, it’s time to knock these guys down a few pegs. Take away the Hall vote.
I feel that the best way to protect the Hall of Fame and the induction process is to select a committee comprised of former managers, Hall of Fame players and even distinguished umpires. (Example: Joe Torre, Mike Schmidt, Rod Carew and Jim Joyce). Only players, managers and umps KNOW the game and all it’s aspects. We need those who truly see the numbers, the clutch performances as well as the intangibles.
Take a player like Jim Thome. In my opinion he is a class act and a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. He hit 600 dingers (clean), played the game the right way and respected his teammates and opponents alike. THAT is who should be in Cooperstown. However, Baseball writers will find every reason under the sun to hold Jim back a few times. Is it for the right reasons? NO WAY IN HELL if you ask me.
Think about Greg Maddux. There are actually writers out there that will not vote for him. GREG MADDUX!! Jeter and Mariano also will fall short of 100%. Why? Because the writers will say Mo only closed out 1 or 2 innings. That isn’t as hard as it was for the guys who closed 3 to 4 innings…which is nonsense in the grand scheme.
And Jeter…well, there are actually grown men that won’t vote for him because he was a lousy sound bite or simply because they still live in a “High School World”. Derek is the popular jock that dates the prom queen…of course they’ll find some number that they say proves he wasn’t that good. It’s total Bovine waste.
Once again, I fully admit that tossing Buster in the bind with every writer was a mistake. I was wrong and often am (See my Plate of Crow with a side of Humble Pie on Tex’s season). But to think that writers don’t bring all sorts of personal baggage to their vote is silly. Some look down on the players as idiotic thugs below their educated minds. Others see a big ol’ Texas fireballer, who hunts and prays and see them through socio-political glasses. And still others are self-righteous, and believe they drive on the “High Road”. If there is a hint of a player being near the Juiced up days of the late 1990’s they are out of the running. It doesn’t matter if there is solid proof…like in Mike Piazza’s case.
I’m not the Commissioner. I have no way of fixing the problems I see. All I can do is write down my opinion…and it is just that, an opinion. I root for players. Their stories and the work they put in to play the game at the highest possible level. The sacrifices they, and their families, made to get where they are. Baseball is a living thing. By that I mean it cannot be taken on numbers alone. Yes, a player MUST put up great stats to be a candidate for the Hall, but there is more to it than that. Players understand that…writers don’t. For them the Hall of Fame Vote is pretentious Country Club. For a growing number of Baseball writers the vote is not about the game or the men who play it, it’s about them. It’s about grabbing a headline or a bit of spotlight. They abuse the PRIVILEGE and it’s time to take it away and do it differently…in my opinion.
** My buddy Frank Turner. I STILL BELIEVE **
--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store! Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook! Also, don't forget to check out the BYB Hub!