Monday, January 12, 2009

Corner OF's Henderson and Rice voted into Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Rickey Henderson for being elected to the Hall of Fame. Rickey is one of the greatest players of all time and he garnered 94.8% of the vote (but should've had 100%). To be elected, a player must appear on 75% of all ballots.

Congratulations to Jim Rice for being wrongfully elected to the Hall of Fame on his 15th and final year of eligibility with 76.4% of the vote. Apologies to the following OF's, who are as good or better than Rice as all around players and will never be elected:

- Dwight Evans
- Frank Howard
- Dave Parker
- Albert Belle
- Reggie Smith
- Roy White
- Brian Downing

Rice may have been the 3rd best OF on his own team during much of his career (behind Evans and Fred Lynn) and he makes the Hall. Meanwhile Bert Blyleven garners 62.7%, Tim Raines 22.6% and Alan Trammell 17.4%. Whatever. I came across a great quote from Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus:

"Bill James once wrote that the further removed you got from a player’s career, the more that career became about the player’s numbers. In Rice’s case, the exact opposite effect occurred. As we looked more and more at the numbers and realized that Rice had a short career, and a short peak, and didn’t hit all that well outside of Fenway Park, and his peak was more about counting stats built in a great lineup than what he did himself, and that he didn’t contribute very much outside of the batter’s box…his vote totals grew."

The members of the BBWAA (who vote on the HOF, and postseason awards like MVP and Cy Young) continue to embarrass themselves with these results. A total of 28 voters left Henderson off their ballots. Let me write that again: 28 current or former professional baseball writers do not think that Rickey Henderson, the all time leader in runs scored and stolen bases, the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, is worthy of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame. To quote ESPN's Jayson Stark: "Stupefying. Embarrassing. Inexcusable."

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