Actually, I don’t know if that’s a fact, but I seriously doubt any player has ever had a contract as large as the one Arenas has, canceled. Including the remainder of this season, Arenas is owed approximately $88.25 million until the end of 2014.
For Arenas sake let’s hope that he has some money in the bank because it sounds like he’s going to need it.
We’ll dive back into the Arenas mess later. For now the fact that just one player was elected into the baseball Hall of Fame casts even more bad pub on a broken system in which the BBWAA presides. Those guys could mess up a one-car parade.
There, I said it.
Regardless, it seems as if the biggest issues regarding Hall of Fame election are handing out the label of “first-ballot” Hall of Famer, which underscores certain biases members of the BBWAA possess. As I wrote earlier, there has never been a unanimous election to the Hall. In fact, the highest percentage of the vote ever received is 98.8 percent for Nolan Ryan in 1999 and Tom Seaver in 1992. That’s as close as anyone (including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Connie Mack, etc.) has ever come to getting 100 percent.
The truth is some guys don’t get votes because of negligence. For instance, last year a guy named Corky Simpson in Arizona left Rickey Henderson off his ballot because… well, who knows why. However, Corky had no trouble voting for Matt Williams. Corky wrote about how he did not include Mark McGwire because of questions regarding steroids, but still voted for Williams despite his inclusion on the Mitchell Report and the investigation into steroid use in baseball.
Chances are Corky got a few good quotes from Williams when he made the trip to the ballpark, which, sadly, matters.
There is some sort of cachet to being a first-ballot Hall of Famer not amongst those enshrined, but by the writers that vote. Frankly, that’s just stupid. How can a guy not be Hall-of-Fame worthy one year, but good enough the next?
A Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer. You mean to say Joe DiMaggio, the proclaimed “greatest living ballplayer,” (when he was living, of course) was less of a Hall of Famer because he did not get in on the first ballot?
Either way, Andre Dawson deserved to have some company when he is inducted to the Hall of Fame next summer. In his ninth time on the ballot, Dawson cleared the needed 75 percent of the vote by just a handful. Meanwhile, Roberto Alomar, the best second baseman I’ve ever seen and the best in the Majors since Joe Morgan, came five votes away from getting in on the first ballot. In fact, so sure that Alomar would be elected, the MLB Network set up a camera and sent a production crew to the Alomar homestead to record his reaction when the inevitable good news came.
It never came.
In falling five votes short, Alomar was denied in an election in which five voters sent back blank ballots while admitted steroid user David Segui, pitchers Pat Hentgen and Kevin Appier, as well as first baseman-turned-broadcaster, Eric Karros, combined for five votes. That’s 10 wasted votes and does not include the nine votes spent on Ellis Burks and Robin Ventura.
All of those guys were nice players, but there isn’t a Hall of Famer in the bunch and if the people who voted for them don’t know that, they should not vote.
So with those 19 votes that were spent on making a point, silly politics, vendettas, or drunken dares, very easily could have been spread out so that worthy candidates like Alomar and Bert Blyleven could join Dawson.
Apparently there were several instances where the unfortunate incident where Alomar spit on umpire John Hirschbeck. Writers are holding this mistake against Alomar despite the fact that Hirschbeck and Alomar have buried the hatchet and become friends. This protest vote was made despite the fact that Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Cap Anson, and Juan Marichal are Hall of Famers. Among those names are men who attacked a crippled fan, punched an umpire, beat an opponent on the head with a bat, and helped foster nearly a half-century of institutional racism.
Some say without Cap Anson, baseball never would have been a sport that denied the inclusion of some because of the color of their skin.
But, you know, Alomar spit at a guy...
Oh, but we’ll go through all this again next year. It will be the same ridiculous song and dance only with a few new names on the list like Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker, both of whom are worthy.
So here’s my 2010 list:
• Jeff Bagwell
• Larry Walker
• Roberto Alomar
• Bert Blyleven
• Tim Raines
• Jack Morris
• Fred McGriff
• Barry Larkin
• Edgar Martinez
• Lee Smith
Certainly the numbers matter, but for me something Billy Wagner told me about Bagwell carries much more weight—Bagwell was the best teammate Wagner ever had, he said. Just like with Dawson, the respect Bagwell’s peers had for him matter much more than the results celebrated from an anachronistic organization.