Although Major League Baseball’s 2014 Hall of Fame class members will not be announced until Wednesday, it was predicted, even expected, by most that pitcher Greg Maddux would be the first unanimous HOF selection in MLB history. Maddux considered one of the greatest, if not the best pitcher of all time, had been tracking at 100 percent according to The Baseball Think Factory, where they have been keeping track of votes that have been released to the public early. That is until today.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, who covers the Los Angeles Dodgers, voted for only one player – five-time All-Star Jack Norris. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) are allowed to vote for the top ten players on the ballot they deem worthy to enter MLB’s HOF. Gurnick’s public release of his ballot has left many wonder what happened? And some would even ask does this guy have any idea what he is doing?
According to Gurnick’s ballot he voted only for pitcher Jack Morris who has been on the ballot since 2000. Morris has never received more than 67 percent of the 75 percent needed to be inducted into Cooperstown and in some years he received as little as 30 percent of the vote. His case has been a divisive one among the writers over the years as his numbers can be seen as questionable. In the 1980s he gave up the most hits, home runs and earned runs of any other pitcher. On the other hand, he was a five-time All Star who played on four World Series Championship teams. Here is Gurnick’s reasoning on voting for only Morris:
Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Players votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.
Any player, he writes, “who played during the period of PED use”? So that means anyone who happened to be born during a certain time period and who had the audacity to be good enough to want to play Major League Baseball should be punished because of the actions of a few? Morris pitched from 1977-1994. Some of his contemporaries are admitted PED users like Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, but how does that constitute ruling out what would literally mean decades of players?
And what about now? Even with the new PED policies put forth by the MLB, there are still players out there using. And more specifically when does the “PED period” he is talking about end, if ever? Also to be considered are the use of amphetamines, which were used as performance enhancing drugs beginning in the 1960′s. They are now banned by MLB (without a prescription). If the use of banned steriods is considered cheating then the use of banned amphetamines should be considered cheating too. There are players already in the HOF who were known amphetamine users. Do you remove them from the Hall?
Basically, Gurnick’s logic on going against, what could have been a monumental and historic decision by the BBWAA, just doesn’t add up. Unfortunately for Greg Maddux, who is the only player to win 15 games in 17 straight seasons and is the first of only two players (Randy Johnson) to win the Cy Young Award four times consecutively (1992-1995), he will not be the first player unanimously given baseball’s highest honor. Maddux will certainly get in on this, his first, HOF ballot but not in the historic fashion that was expected.