Here’s my column that ran in Thursday’s Pocono Record on how broken the voting is for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Enjoy.
Congratulations, Baseball Writers Association of America members. You screwed up the Hall of Fame vote. Again.
I guess nothing should surprise me when it comes to who makes the Hall of Fame and who is left out in the cold, but to not have Craig Biggio as a member is just ridiculous. For a second straight year.
I’ve argued, against the grain mostly, that a Hall of Fame without home run king Barry Bonds or seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens isn’t a Hall of Fame at all. Pete Rose, who has 4,256 career hits, should be in, too, but my argument is with the writers who left Biggio, who in his second year of eligibility got 74.8 percent of the vote and missed induction by two measly votes Tuesday, off their 10-pick ballot.
Biggio’s candidacy begins and ends with this — he is the ONLY player in Major League Baseball history with at least 3,000 hits (3,060), 600 doubles (668), 400 stolen bases (414) and 200 home runs (291). For baseball, which resolves so much around statistics, to not have a player with those career numbers in the Hall of Fame goes against everything sustained greatness means. Biggio has more extra base hits than Mickey Mantle, more doubles than any right-handed hitter in history and more hits than Rod Carew, Wade Boggs and Babe Ruth.
While Biggio isn’t a unanimous choice (his career OPS is under .800, he only had one season of at least 200 hits and he only drove in at least 80 runs twice), he certainly deserves at least the required 75 percent to be enshrined. He should have had it in 2013 and definitely should have had it this year.
Biggio deserves it more than Lee Smith (171 votes, 29.9 percent) Alan Trammell (119, 20.8) or Fred McGriff (67, 11.7), who got votes from ESPN’s Pedro Gomez. Biggio is a better candidate than Jack Morris, who failed for a 15th and final time to get the necessary 75 percent despite support from MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, who only voted for Morris and no one else who played primarily after 1992. Biggio has never been linked to performance-enhancing drugs like drug-cheat Rafael Palmeiro, who is now off the ballot after not getting five percent of the vote despite appearing on the ballot of the Associated Press’ Rob Maaddi.
And this is where the Hall of Fame vote really becomes a joke.
Armando Benitez, Jacque Jones and Kenny Rogers all got one vote. It’s unknown if the writers who voted for those average-at-best players voted for Biggio, but anyone who put those three on their ballots should have their votes stripped immediately.
There are others who were snubbed Tuesday — Mike Piazza (the best offensive catcher ever), Tim Raines (he reached base more than voted-in members Lou Brock, Tony Gwynn and Honus Wagner), Jeff Kent (he hit more home runs than any other second baseman, and was the only second baseman with nine straight 60 extra-base-hit seasons and six straight 100-RBI seasons) and Mike Mussina (he pitched in the AL East his whole career and has a lower ERA+ than Tom Glavine, who got more than 71 percent more votes than Mussina on Tuesday).
But it’s Biggio exclusion that reveals just how broken, and embarrassing, the voting process has become.