Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn elected to baseball Hall of Fame
The Baseball Writers Association of America announced the players selected for inductions to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cal Ripken received 98.5% of the vote and Tony Gwynn was named on 97.6 percent of the ballots. Congratulations to both men on a well deserved honor. However, the talking heads at ESPN are more concerned with a player who received 23 percent (Mark McGwire). If they want to discuss players who should have gotten more support from the voters I would recommend they consider Goose Gossage and Bert Blyleven. Gossage received the most votes amongst players not elected. After the writers last year selected a contemporary of Gossage's who was not as good a pitcher I was sure he would pick up enough votes this year. Blyleven's omission was not as surprising. Despite having the fifth most career strikeouts and 60 shutouts (11 more than any pitcher whose carrer started in 1970 or later) the writers never saw Blyleven as particularly dominating. Historically, the writers have foolishly tended to mainly concentrate on win total when evaluating starting pitchers. While a starting pitcher has a lot to do with whether his team wins, there are obviously other factors that come into play such as run support and whether the bullpen holds the lead. Inexplicably, Blyleven actually lost support from last years election falling from 53% to 47%.
Former Indian Albert Belle falls off the ballot after receiving less than the 5% of votes necessary to remain on the ballot. Belle is obviously suffering for his boorish behavior. I'm not arguing that Belle should be in the HoF, but he was one the the most feared hitters of the 1990 and had a much better career than many who got more votes. Last I heard Belle was in prison for stalking some woman so I guess he has more important things to worry about than the Hall of Fame.