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Andre Dawson was the first ballplayer I’d ever met, and he was friendly and personable to this 8-year-old. So while I’m not quite convinced his career was of Hall of Fame quality (he has the lowest OBP in the Hall for an outfielder by 20 points), I’m not going to vociferously object to his good news.
The percentages of the guys behind him are interesting. Normally, this would be a “good” year, at least for the people I think deserve induction:
- Bert Blyleven: 74.2
- Roberto Alomar: 73.7
- Barry Larkin: 51.6
- Edgar Martinez: 36.2
- Tim Raines: 30.4
Blyleven and Alomar will get in next year, Larkin’s well on pace, and Martinez made a good dent for a DH. Raines is the only one lagging behind pace, but he’s got the thinnest case out of the bunch. Overall, it’s good progress for the most deserving, which would usually be all that could be asked of the process.
This year, the reaction is a little different — which is great. It’s not just us blog types venting about the BBWAA’s wrongdoings — BBWAA members are flagellating the greater organization:
- Jon Heyman: how can roberto alomar not make the hall of fame on any ballot? the baseball writers dont look very good on this one.
- Peter Abraham: More BBWAA embarrassment . Our system is broken. Too many dopes who don’t really cover the game vote.
- Tom Verducci: It’s stunning that one of the five best second basemen to ever play the game missed election by eight votes.
And, no stranger to brainless votes:
- Joe Cowley: The baseball writers continue to show how inept they are, blowing the Hall of Fame vote by leaving Robbie Alomar out.
It’s hard for one year to transform a monolithic organization, but maybe this one-two punch of snubs will spark a way of revising the process. You have the worst of both worlds. For one, you have a no-doubt Hall of Famer who didn’t get in the first time because some voters seem to think first-ballot HOFers have their plaques in a separate wing. Joining Alomar on the doorstep is Blyleven, who everybody knows is going to get in next year. That doesn’t stop the writers from putting him through the entire 15-year wringer for the hell of it, taking the chance that he’ll still be around in one year to enjoy it.
Then you have a wild card — a mouth-breather with a Hall of Fame vote that refuses to use it because, well, he’s a mouth-breather. And thanks to Baseball Ink, I can continue my practice of never linking to him. He’ s “begging” to be thrown out of the BBWAA, and here’s hoping they’ll call his bluff just like the Sun-Times did. It could be perfect timing, with a bunch of high-profile, still-active writers openly criticizing their organization while a non-active, uninterested, bottom-feeding ballot owner flaunts his negligence.
I doubt anything will change, because the organization is both too fraternal and too unwieldy to make effective, sweeping reforms. But it’s fun to pretend, because it’d be great to live in a world in which writers don’t drag their feet for no good reason.
And hey, Harold Baines is still on the ballot, which is great. Another year, another occasion to talk about his very good career.
*Buddy Bell reviews two notable White Sox prospects and a Dave Wilder present:
- Dayan Viciedo: Who will be making a gradual transition to first base, as was expected.
- Jared Mitchell: Won’t be rushed as he makes the transition from two sports to one.
- Juan Viciedo: Has had his age corrected and is too big for a middle infield position. Thanks, Dave!
*Phil Rogers ranked his top 10 prospects at Baseball America, which isn’t a bad list. He might have Trayce Thompson too high, but it’s nice to see him take a chance on a high ceiling. The box to the right should probably be ignored. It’s strange to see Dan Hudson considered to have the best slider, because it lacked bite when we saw him late last season, and his scouting report (which is behind the paywall) says as much. Clevelan Santeliz, a Rogers favorite, is said to have a better one, so that’s a strange omission.
It’s nice to see that Rogers at least has a sense of humor:
Jeff (England): We all know you have a man crush on John Ely, so where would he have ranked if he wasn’t traded, and does he still have the best change-up on the planet?
Phil Rogers: I had Ely as No. 12 but my peeps at BA dropped him down a little once they got their hands on the list. He will be in the Sox Top 30 because the book had “closed” when Kenny made the Pierre trade. Quite a changeup, yes. But I might give Johan Santana a slight edge.
A few assorted notes from his chat:
- Dan Remenowsky is comparable to Joe Borowski, which is good in terms of value for an undrafted guy, and bad in terms of a margin for error.
- The Sox are impressed with Josh Phegley’s improvement behind the plate. That’s surprising to me, as when I saw him, he looked very raw. At times, he may have been better off blocking pitches with a piece of plywood.
- Hitters hate facing Santos Rodriguez, but he’ll need to show he can handle a full season of work now that he’s 22.
- Charles Leesman is the best candidate to be fast-tracked of all low-minor arms.
- Sergio Santos is out of options, so he’ll need to show serious strike-throwing ability in the spring to be a factor.
- Jose Martinez is about ready to come off his knee injury that’s cost him the last one and a half years, and will start the year in Kannapolis.
- Ryan Buch is a sleeper with a big fastball.