Sneaking a Peek at the 2011 Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee Ballot
The newly revised Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans’ Committee ballot was announced earlier this week and contained the names of a dozen former players, owners, and executives who will be considered for election to the Hall in 2011.
The primary change to the VC process was to break down the history of baseball into three categories; Expansion (1973-present), Golden Era (1947-1972), and pre-integration (1871-1946), with consideratin given to ALL eligible candidates whose main contribution to the sport came during a respective era. Under the previous VC process, four seperate Committees considered candidates seperately; one for players, one for Executives, etc.
The ballot, which will be voted upon during the upcoming December Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida, is made up of eight former players, three executives and one manager. Any candidate receiving a minimum of 75% of the vote from the sixteen member voting panel will be announced publicly on December sixth and enshrined along with any BBWAA electee during Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in July, 2011.
The 16 member voting panel is made up of a number of Hall of Fame players Johnny Bench, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson, Whitey Herzog, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith, Tony Perez and Jim Palmer; major league executives Bill Giles, Andy MacPhail, David Glass and Jerry Reinsdorf, and veteran media members Tom Verducci, Bob Elliott, Ross Newhan and Tim Kirkjian.
Vida Blue: A seventeen year veteran who posted a 209-161 record with the A’s, Royals, and Giants, 1971 AL MVP and Cy Young winner, won 18 or more games five times and was a six time All-Star. Spent just four seasons on the BBWAA ballot, receiving a high vote total of 8.7% in his second year.
Blue’s 1971 season was one of the more dominant by a pitcher I can remember. Like Dwight Gooden a decade later, Blue exemplifies “what could have been”, with drug use and other off-field problems derailing what SHOULD have been a Hall of Fame career. My vote: No
Dave Concepcion: Spent his entire 19 year career at shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds and their “Big Red Machine”, won two Silver Sluggers, five Gold Gloves and was named to nine National League All-Star teams. spent 19 seasons as the Cincinnati Reds shortstop, compiling a .267 average with 2,326 hits, 321 stolen bases and two Silver Slugger Awards, along five Gold Glove Awards and nine All-Star Game selections. Spent the maximum fifteen years on the BBWAA ballot, receiving a high of 16.9% of the vote in his fourth year of eligibility.
Dave Concepcion is the Ron Santo of the 1970’s; a good player on some good teams overshadowed by more than one Hall of Fame teammate. My vote: No
Steve Garvey: Played nineteen seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, posting a career .294 average with 2599 hits and being named to ten All-Star teeams. Posted a lifetime split of .338/11/31 in eleven postseason series, was named the NLCS MVP twice and played an NL record 1,207 consecutive games. Spent the maximum fifteen seasons on the BBWAA ballot, three times receiving more than 40% of the vote, with a high of 42.6% in his third year.
According to Baseball Reference’s career and season comparison, the most similar player to Garvey is Garrett Anderson. Enough said. My vote: No
Ron Guidry: Posted a 170-91 record over fourteen seasons, all with the New York Yankees. AL Cy Young winner in 1978 after posting one of the great pitching seasons of all-time with a 25-3 record and an ERA of 1.74 and an AL record for lefthanded pitchers nine shutouts. Spent nine years on the BBWAA ballot, receiving a high vote of 8.8%.
Knowing Yankees owner George Steinbrenner essentially blackballed Guidry for almost six years, not believing a 160 pound pitcher could throw 100 mph or could consistently win in the major leagues cost Guidry a minimum fifty wins, a total which would have him already in Cooperstown. By the way, his closest career comp on Baseball Reference? Roy Halladay. My vote: Yes.
Tommy John: Pitched 26 seasons for the Indians, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels and A’s, winning 288 games and ranking eighth on the list of career starts with 700. Despite the length of his career is likely more known today for the ligament transplant surgery which bears his name.
While the story of his surgery and comeback might someday make a good Hollywood movie, it isn’t enough to warrant HOF election. Spent the max fifteen seasons on the BBWAA ballot, receiving a high vote total of 31.7% during his final year of eligibility. My vote: No.
Al Oliver: Amassed 2,743 hits in 18 seasons while posting a .303 lifetime average playing for seven different teams. Posted career totals of 529 doubles 1,326 RBI, 1,189 runs scored, hit .300 or better ten times, including nine straight seasons from 1976-1984, a stretch made more impressive when considering he played for four different teams and saw action both leagues. Oliver was a nine time All-Star and had top five MVP finishes as an outfielder and first baseman. Spent just one season on the BBWAA ballot, receiving just 4.3% of the vote.
Why is Al Oliver on this list and Dave Parker isn’t? My vote: No
Ted Simmons: One of the more underrated and underappreciated player ever. Played twenty one seasons, posted a lifetime .285/248/1389 split, made eight All Star teams and had more RBI than Johnny Bench, scored more runs than Gary Carter, and had more hits than Yogi Berra or Carlton Fisk. Embarrassingly off the ballot with a 4.3% total after just one year on the BBWAA ballot.
One of the more egregious oversights in voting history. If it is the point of the Veteran’s Committee to right the wrongs perpetrated by the BBWAA, then Ted Simmons should be the poster child. My vote: A resounding yes.
Rusty Staub: Played twenty three seasons with several teams, including a three year stint as the marquee player for the expansion Montreal Expos from 1969-1971. Compiled 2,716 hits with a .279 average, 292 home runs, 1,466 RBI and six All-Star Game selections. His total of 2,951 big league games played ranks twelfth all time. On the BBWAA ballot seven times, with a high of 7.9%.
Staub used to come into my restaurant in Connecticut on occasion, and I got to know him a little bit. Because of that, I used to think he was HOF worthy, but, obviously, personal opinion shouldn’t matter when voting for the Hall of Fame, although someone ought to tell that to the moron who voted for David Segui last year. My vote: No.
Pat Gillick: A General Manager for twenty seven seasons, with stops in Toronto, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Seattle. His teams posted winning records in 20 of his 27 seasons and won three World Series titles.
While I believe Gillick and Marvin Miller are both worthy of consideration, with Boss George on the ballot there just aren’t enough votes to go around. My vote: No.
Marvin Miller: Served sixteen years as the top dog of the MLBPA, within ten seasons had secured free agency for the players and was running arguably the most powerful union not only in sports but in business. With Miller at the helm, player salaries rose ten fold from when he took over and also created additional revenue streams for the owners through merchandising and advertising spots featuring players and logos.
Miller, I understand, is in failing health and possibly won’t live another four years to see his name on the ballot again, so, with that, I vote Yes.
Billy Martin: Spent sixteen seasons as a manager and eleven as a player. Managed five teams and took four of them to the postseason. Martin’s only World Series title as manager was with the 1977 Yankees, although he did win four rings as a player, also with the Yanks.
Martin’s off the field antics, both with his players and with the on again, off again, on again train ride with the Yankees was an embarrassment and in the long run did more to tarnish his name than his accomplishments as a manager enhanced it. My vote: No.
George Steinbrenner: Principal owner of the Yankees from 1973 until his recent passing earlier this year. Initially running the Yankees with the same iron fist he ran his shipbuilding company and other businesses, Steinbrenner eventually learned to put baseball people in baseball jobs and to step back and let them do their thing. Never shy about spending money and making changes when he saw fit, both on the field and elsewhere in the organization, Steinbrenner turned the Yankees into a billion dollar organization, with every other team in major league baseball benefitting financially, either directly or indirectly. During his tenure, the Yankees won eleven American League pennants and seven World Series titles. My vote: Biggest no-brainer in the history of earth, absolutely Yes.