This column is inspired by Joe Posnanski’s famous Willie Mays Hall of Fame column.
It’s time for some reductive thinking.
Every time our friend Ryan Thibodaux posts a new ballot on Twitter, his mentions fill up with some of the hottest takes on the internet (Examples 1, 2, and 3). The most common theme is a voter should “lose their HOF vote” because of the way they voted. I want to examine this thinking to determine who should actually be voting for the Hall of Fame.
The way Patrick and I see it, a voter who falls into one of the following categories should lose their vote.
Not Voting for a Consensus Candidate
This is where the push for unanimity goes from eye-rolly to flat out ridiculous. Rivera is the greatest reliever ever, and one of the greatest pitchers ever, and even so there was nothing so special about him that anyone should lose their vote over going another way. https://t.co/lP82b7M0ma
— Benjamin Hoffman (@BenHoffmanNYT) December 27, 2018
If you don’t vote for a player who is a consensus candidate you should lose your vote. The three people who didn’t vote for Griffey Jr. should be gone. The 15 lost souls who didn’t want Greg Maddux in the HOF? Gone. If someone dares to leave Mariano Rivera off this year or (god-forbid) Derek Jeter next year, should be immediately purged.
We don’t have voting for people can disagree with each other.
Voters Who Cast a Courtesy Ballot for a Player
Someone actually voted for Livan Hernandez for the HOF (Eric Gregg?). Edgar Renteria got two votes in 2016 and David Eckstein somehow got two in 2015. Steve Sax got two HOF votes, one can assume based solely on his performance on The Simpsons. Brade Radke also got two votes a few years ago. In 2014, Jacque Jones (11.6 career bWAR) got a vote. The voters who cast these ballots should be purged.
Just because the HOF puts a player’s name on their ballot does not mean a voter should actually choose to vote for them.
Leaving Spots Open
One of the most egregious of voting sins.
Last year, there was an average of more than eight votes per ballot. Despite this, 24 voters actually voted for five or fewer players. Another 20 only voted for six players. Everyone on Twitter knows there are multiple HOF worthy players on the current ballot and ballot congestion has been an issue for last few years.
These voters should immediately lose their ballot because they have a different view of the HOF than most people.
Voting for One Player but not a Similar One
Voting for Larry Walker, but not his teammate Todd Helton as 55 lost souls have done this year? Purge them!
Voting for Gary Sheffield, but not Manny Ramirez? Gone!
Did you choose Trevor Hoffman but not Billy Wagner? Got out of here with that garbage.
Did you vote for Vizquel because of his defense but forget that Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen had more gold gloves? See ya!
Mussina but not Schilling (or vice versa)? Good. Bye.
For splitting hairs between players with similar career numbers, voters should lose their vote.
Not Voting for Curt Schilling Because #Politics
Curt Schilling earned 58.5% of the vote in 2016. Then he went full MAGA and dropped to 50.3% in 2017 when 35 voters removed him from their ballots.
Anyone who doesn’t vote for Schilling or removes him from their ballot feels that way because of politics. Politics has no place in baseball and those with strong political ties have never been a part of the HOF.
If you don’t vote for a candidate because they say incendiary things you should have your vote stripped away.
Some writers don’t vote because they don’t like the 10-person ballot. Buster Olney has written about this and a few other voters have followed his lead.
Abstaining from voting is unAmerican. If BBWAA writers won’t vote, then someone else should.
Voting for Players Caught Using PEDs
Have you heard that Manny Ramirez was caught using PEDs? The 93 voters who voted for him last year should immediately be stripped of their voting rights.
Anyone who speculates about an Alex Rodriguez vote should be removed from the voting rolls.
The ten people who choose to forgive Andy Pettitte’s mistake? Who are you to play God? Be gone.
There are no cheaters in the baseball HOF and certainly no one who benefited from the baseball’s steroid era.
Voting for Players Alleged to Have Used PEDs
The big one.
As I mentioned above, there are no cheaters in Cooperstown’s halls. If you voted for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens or Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa or Gary Sheffield you should lose your vote.
Just because players are on the ballot does not give you the right to vote for them.
With this purge, Patrick and I feel confident we will have a voting body we can rely on to make the right decisions.