We got a letter to the editor for Sports Collectors Digest the other day essentially asking me why I was so “angry” about Marvin Miller falling short of election by the Veterans Committee in the recent vote. His letter will appear in the Jan. 21 issue of SCD; I note merely that I would quibble about his choice of words. I would substitute “passionate” for “angry,” but it’s not my letter, it’s his.
(Clemens original artwork by Paul Madden; www.maddenart.com)
I am, and hope I remain, passionate about the results of the Hall of Fame voting: that’s what makes the process so much fun. If the award were the equivalent of a Rotary Club “Man of the Year” designation then such passion might be ill directed, but it’s the culmination of a life’s work for an already-elite group of talented athletes. In short, it’s a big deal and thus worthy of our passion.
Not surprisingly, the passion is not evenly distributed. I am assuming that both Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar will be on the podium for induction next summer, but for me that’s more a nod to inevitability than enthusiasm. While I concede that Alomar probably should have gone in on the first ballot, I wasn’t all that worked up about it that he hadn’t. There’s no precedent for somebody who got as close to BBWAA election as Blyleven (five votes) not getting in eventually, but I have so much trouble drawing a distinction between his credentials and so many others on the outside – Luis Tiant, Jack Morris, Tommy John, et al. – that I don’t get all lathered up about it either way.
I also assume that they will be the only two voted in by the writers, leaving a boatload of worthy names out in the cold. Lee Smith’s 22,538 career saves don’t seem to be enough to grab anyone’s attention, and if the guy that the designated hitter award is named after – Edgar Martinez – can’t be voted in, does that mean that no DH will ever be allowed alongside Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb and Co.?
Jeff Bagwell might have had a better crack at it in a year when there weren’t two guys just a handful of votes short of 75 percent from the previous year, and Rafael Palmeiro will have to reconcile his goofy HOF numbers against that enduring image of him testify in front of the Congressional knuckleheads. And just around the corner comes Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, to name a few.
I think I’m giving myself a headache.