Unanimous Hall of Fame Entrant?

Unanimous Hall of Fame Entrant?

Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson

Not long ago Kman and I had a discussion about Greg Maddux’s career.  I argued that Maddux was a candidate to be the first ever player inducted to the Hall of Fame with a unanimous vote.  Surprisingly, this has never happened before – not even Cal Ripken received votes from 100% of the BBWAA.

This year legendary base-stealer Rickey Henderson is on the ballot for the first time. His credentials are spectacular.  Not only does he have the all time record in SB, but he is the greatest run scorer to have ever played the game.  Furthermore his 2190 walks are second only to Barry Bonds’ 2558 all time.  Add in an MVP award, 10 all star selections and 2 World Series rings (one with Toronto) and you have a lock for the hall. But unanimous?

Normally I would say yes, Rickey has a great chance to be the first unanimous first ballot hall of famer. But lets remember – the BBWAA is rife with hacks (save for a few of course).
First, let’s look at this year’s MVP award for the National League.  It basically came down to Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols. One BBWAA listed Pujol’s as 7th on his list, behind part-time NL’r CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder.  Yes, you guessed it – it was Milwaukee writer Tom Hardicort.  One writer left Ryan Howard off the ballot ENTIRELY.  That was Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star writer Rich Campbell, who covers the Nationals.

Ok, forget about the NL MVP for a moment. Let’s try NL Rookie of the Year.  Geovany Soto won it, which is all well and good as he had a very impressive year.  The problem is that Edinson Volquez appeared on 3 ballots, finishing in 4th just ahead of Cincinatti’s Jay Bruce.  I know, I know – Volquez had a great season! The only difficulty with having him on 3 ballots is that he was not eligible to be a rookie.  Prior to 2008, Edinson Volquez threw 80 innings. The cutoff for ROY consideration is 50. You would think a member of the BBWAA would know this, no?

In any case, as the Kman would say, the BBWAA’s track record in voting for things has left me “disenfranchised”.  I predict that more than 1 writer will leave Rickey off their ballot just because he was “mean” to them and in the future, Maddux will be penalized for wearing ugly looking glasses.

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has written for Mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Callum on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (@callumhughson)

  • The media perception plays a big role in the voting process. If a media darling like Ripken can’t receive the 100% then there is no way Rickey will. Maddux may have a shot but for some reason the voters are against giving anyone a 100% rate. When Babe Ruth only gets 95.1% something is up.

  • Something is up. Do these guys not take their jobs seriously? How do they even get to be where they are? When you are paid to cover a sport as an “expert” and that job is your livelihood, should you not know that Edinson Volquez is not eligible to be a rookie? Not only 1, but 3 of them didn’t even know. And these guy’s are responsible for electing players to the Hall? Sad to say it tarnishes the Hall itself and it is an atrocity that Buck O’Neil missed out by 1 vote, especially since these guys obviously don’t take their jobs seriously. /rant

  • This post ties in well with the sports blogger vs “professional” sports writer post from a month or so back.

  • What you guys are missing is that all of this is not in a vacuum. The sportswriter/voters rub elbows with the players every day from spring training through the World Series, year after year. Some great players are good guys, some are jerks, and some are miserable sobs, and the sportswriter/voters fall into these categories as well.

    Voters for the Hall of Fame and for MVP, Cy Young, etc. let their personal feelings about players color their votes, and if a Ricky Henderson or Ryan Howard had a disagreement, or heaven forbid, a long-running feud, with a sportswriter/voter, that guy will think twice before voting Ricky to the Hof or Howard MVP, especially over the writer’s chummy local guy, who maybe didn’t really deserve that vote.

    It was a long time ago, but Ted Williams’ lack of MVP votes was directly tied to his abusive behavior toward sportswriters, and there have been similar problem players – star and journeyman alike, ever since.

  • I don’t think thats what we are missing at all… in fact it is the whole point of the article. The BBWAA is a farce and it smacks of unprofessionalism that they are unable to do what is asked of them because of personal vendettas.

  • Pingback: Henderson Hall Update()

  • daperman

    What is the alternative???????

    In any type of voting political sports social clubs personal bias comes out. It doesnt make the organization a farce but rather the individuals who are part of the group. As long as there is an appropriate number of participants, they will for the most part get it right.

  • mark

    yah lou gehrig was a unanimous hall of famer so check your facts jack.

  • Lou Gehrig is a special case since they waived the waiting period so that he would be elected before he actually passed away. What do you think would have happened to one of the writers had they not voted for Gehrig in that special election? Would he have been unanimous today with a few writers saying that they would never vote for a player for the Hall on his first year of eligibility?

  • yah lou gehrig was a unanimous hall of famer so check your facts jack.
    thanks..

  • Patrick Mackin

    There are three other categories that need looking at in addition to the fact that no player has ever been unanimously elected to the hall of fame (special exception-Lou Gehrig)

    1. the number of great players who were not
    even nominated; never appeared on any year’s ballot

    2. the number of baseball icons who were not
    elected in their first year of eligibility

    3. How many of the members of the BBWAA who vote on admission to the Hall are not rife with bias, prejudice, and stupidity.

  • yah lou gehrig was a unanimous hall of famer so check your facts jack.

  • This post ties in well with the sports blogger vs “professional” sports writer post from a month or so back.

  • There are three other categories that need looking at in addition to the fact that no player has ever been unanimously elected to the hall of fame (special exception-Lou Gehrig)

  • professional sports writer post from a month or so back.