BBWAA: Baseball Writers Are Airheads

Or big meanies.

Since there’s no objective, statistical criteria for induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame (which is odd, since baseball is a game that lives by stats), there is no other conclusion as to why they chose to skip over Jim Rice…again! (Personally, every time I hear his name, I hear my dad yelling, “Oh [expletive]! Here comes Mister Double Play again!”, but that’s beside the point.)

They chose Bruce Sutter, instead of the scariest relief pitcher ever: Goose Gossage.

Um. No.

It’s not bad enough that Sutter is a faint shadow of Gossage (the only 2 relievers who I can think of that might have been better than Gossage were Eckersley and Fingers, already HoF members), but to have Sutter as the only pick when you have a list that includes Rice, Gossage, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Alan Trammell… that’s just silly.

Who should have gotten in? Well, according to the Hall of Fame Career Standards test, Blyleven is the only one with the score of 50 that supposedly designates an “average” hall-of-famer.

Of the top 200 hitters, the highest ranking eligible player who isn’t in (not counting the banned Pete Rose or the pre-1901 players) is “Indian Bob” Johnson. He is followed by Ted Simmons (who for some dumb reason didn’t get enough votes to stay on the ballot after his first appearance in 1994), Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans (a personal favorite, eliminated in 1999), then Rice. None of them have the score of 50 needed to be the “average Hall of Famer”, but they rank higher than Ryne Sandberg, Gary Carter, Tony Perez, Kirby Puckett, and a host of others.

I don’t know what to do with the relievers. You can’t count saves, because the value of the save is different now than it was through history, and it never really mattered that much to begin with. If saves were that important, then Lee Smith, the all-time leader, should be a lock. But saves are not the be-all-and-end-all of pitching. There have been tons of different attempts to come up with some other way to rank relievers, and at least one of them agrees with me that Gossage is the best and that Sutter belongs behind the likes of Smith, Dan Quisenberry (eliminated in 1996), Kent Tekulve (eliminated in 1995), Tom Henke (eliminated in 2001), Doug Jones (eliminated this year), John Wetteland (eliminated this year), and Sparky Lyle (eliminated in 1991).

In any case, while I’m not terribly offended by the election of Bruce Sutter to the Hall of Fame, it really is just plain mean to leave off Blyleven, Dawson, Rice and Gossage.

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5 Responses to BBWAA: Baseball Writers Are Airheads

  1. Ric The Schmuck says:

    I’m with you, Solly. (‘cept I’m waffling on Dawson…)

    And oddly enough, I used to echo your dad’s sentiments on Jim Ed. He sure seemed to hit into an awful lot of double-plays…. but when you look at the body of his work, he really was something.

    Problem is that Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn are eligible next year, as well as Mark McGuire. (THAT ought to provide some interesting debate!) So Rice, Blyleven, and Gossage most likely will get pushed back even further than they are now…. and that’s sad.

  2. Chari says:

    Not that I have a clue or give a crap, but I’m with you as well, Solonor!

  3. Dale says:

    I like Sutter in the Hall because I think he pioneered the split-finger fastball, which everyone uses now. I think guys that change the game in some signifigant way like that, should be shew-ins for the Hall. Bob Gibson was so over-powering from the mound that baseball lowered the mound! So he needed to get in the Hall even if his numbers didn’t back it up (which obviously they did). I can’t site other spicifics and don’t have time to research, but somebody invented the suicide squeeze, we didn’t always have that. Someone years ago figured out that the 2nd baseman was as important a fielder as the shortstop (he used to just stand on his bag for force-outs like a 1B), and whatever 2B worked that out and convinced his manager, should be in the Hall. The new thing these days is the cut fastball or “cutter.” If it’s as much a part of the game in a few years as the split-finger is now, then whoever came up with it should be in the Hall. Methinks, anyway.

  4. Solonor says:

    Well, that’s another thing. Sutter didn’t invent the split-finger fastball, Roger Craig did!!

  5. Linkmeister says:

    I suspect it was John McGraw who invented the suicide squeeze back in 189_ when he was with the Baltimore Orioles (the old ones, not the recycled St. Louis Browns).

    I had Sutter on my non-existent ballot, but I had quite a few more. (Hey, I’m a liberal, whaddya expect?)

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