Monday, December 29, 2003

Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

The Baseball Writers Association of America is casting its ballots this week for the 2004 Hall of Fame inductions. Once again Pete Rose is not even eligible for consideration which makes the whole exercise a sham in my opinion.
The Wall Street Journal’s Allen St. John wrote his predictions on Friday, Dec. 26 (not online) where he notes that Paul Molitor is considered to be a lock for induction this year. Why? Because he is No. 10 on the all-time hits list with 3,319 dingers during his career. That and I suppose because he must be pure as the driven snow in his personal life which we all know is today the most important consideration for Hall of Fame nominees.
I don’t have anything against Molitor, but did I mention that Pete Rose is No. 1 on the all-time hits list with 4,256 hits? It is true that Rose played for four more years than Molitor. But Rose had far exceeded Molitor’s career total by his 16th season in the majors.

Molitor’s career ran from 1978-98 during which time he had a .306 batting average; played in 2,683 games; and had 10,835 at bats to achieve 3,319 hits.

In 24 seasons, Rose had a career batting average of .303; played in 3,562 games; had 14,053 at bats and collected 4,256 hits.

St. John believes that in addition to Molitor, pitcher Dennis Eckersley should be a lock for induction this coming year while former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg and Red Sox slugger Jim Rice are on the bubble.

You can go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame web site for a sample ballot and details on all the eligible nominees. You can vote for up to 10 people. I tend to be pretty liberal in who I think should be in the Hall and would like to see more people get in than are likely to.

Here is how I would cast my sample ballot:

Pete Rose (write-in)
Paul Molitor
Ryne Sandberg
Dave Concepcion (because I’d like to see all the players from the Big Red Machine era get inducted)
Dennis Eckersley
Bert Blyleven
Lee Smith
Steve Garvey
Rich (Goose) Gossage
Jim Rice


Former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent has an Op-Ed in the NYTimes today titled “The Confessions of Pete Rose” in which he offers further conditions he thinks should be met before the All-Time Hit King should be readmitted by Major League Baseball.

Vincent arbitrarily proposes a two-year transistion period for Rose’s reinstatement for no other reason than to limit Rose’s chances for induction to the Hall of Fame via the Baseball Writers Association to just one shot. During the transistion period, Rose would be forced to travel about the country wearing a Scarlet ‘G’ on his breast and confessing his sins to anyone who will listen.

Vincent’s spiteful article is filled with disparaging remarks and insults if not outright slander directed at Rose. Vincent compares him unfavorably with Saint Augustine who wrote a confessional and comes to the shocking conclusion that Rose is NOT a saint. It seems that Rose has not been remorsefull enough to suit Vincent.

Excuse me, Mr. Vincent. I know I’ve made this point many times before but let me say it one more time. It is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Saints that we are talking about here.

Furthermore, as someone whose career in baseball was somewhat less than exemplary (Vincent was forced to step down as commissioner after just three years when he received a vote of no confidence from the baseball owners) one might think he would be a bit more forgiving of someone else’s faults.

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