To the ballot, then, and a dilemma. Several players I have voted for in the past (Jeff Bagwell, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker) remain in play, yet are not necessarily among the 10 most qualified current candidates. And since 10 is the maximum, I must decide: Am I pot committed? Or is it not my fault that those players could be digested by the process?
My conclusion: Mark the ballot in front of me. That’s it. Vote for the 10 most qualified players on this ballot. Do not punish anyone to continue some warped tradition that no one enters the Hall unanimously the first time. Don’t penalize players for being rude, either in the clubhouse or in front of autograph-seeking kids in parking lots. Don’t consider last year’s ballot, or next year’s. Just this one. So these are the names I will submit for 2013 induction: Rose at the top, followed alphabetically by Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, McGwire, Morris, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Trammell. Why? They were the most deserving, if not statistically, then in my eyes. And that’s why the balloting was willed to baseball writers, not trusted to a printout. It is a feel, a perspective … a collection of individual standards.
So that’s my standard: Reward players who tried to win. Reject those who insulted baseball. Fair or foul, safe or out, ball or strike, in or out. It’s how the game will always work. It is the only way it can.
Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:26 PM | 14 comment(s)
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