Regular Articles

 

Hello, I am long-time Los Angeles Dodgers MLB.com beat reporter Ken Gurnick. I take pride in my Hall of Fame vote, and I would like to discuss my 2014 ballot. The following is not a typo: I only voted for pitcher Jack Morris on this year’s ballot.

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 Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them.

All right, I’m back to being Jim Mancari. The above paragraph is Gurnick’s defense of his ballot that ran Jan. 7 on MLB.com.

I have only a brief response to Mr. Gurnick: You’ve really got to be kidding me!

I’ll admit, I never saw Jack Morris pitch, other than video clips. I certainly do not have the pedigree to determine whether Morris should have been voted into the Hall of Fame in this his final year on the ballot.

But I did see Greg Maddux pitch, and it’s a shame that Gurnick would vote for Morris over Maddux -- and Tom Glavine for that matter.


Greg Maddux's Braves Hall of Fame Plaque
Photo by Wally G, used under creative commons license.
You get up to 10 votes, Gurnick; why not utilize this sacred privilege properly?

Gurnick claims that he won’t vote for anyone who played during the Steroid Era. I will be the first to acknowledge that Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine did in fact pitch during this era.

But to think Maddux and Glavine are juicers just because of the era they played in is completely irresponsible. It’s not like these two were throwing the ball as hard as alleged PED user Roger Clemens.

Maddux and Glavine relied on finesse and painting the corners. Unless steroids puts more spin on the ball, these guys are 100 percent clean.

The personal agendas of some baseball writers, including Gurnick, have turned the Hall of Fame voting process into a disgrace for the game. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

I understand keeping guys like Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro out of Cooperstown. The writing is on the wall for these guys, whether through positive tests or through enough tangible evidence pointing to PED use.

Even so though, let’s go back to innocent until proven guilty. Show me a positive test on Bonds. Show me a positive test on Clemens.

You can’t. Still I’m not sold on enshrining these players, again given the evidence. But how can anyone not vote for Maddux and Glavine?

Both players received over 90 percent of the vote, so that just makes Gurnick look even worse.

If Gurnick is still skeptical about players like Frank Thomas (also voted in), Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff and Larry Walker, I can at least respect that somewhat, since these guys put up huge offensive numbers during the Steroid Era.

But two guys that often barely reached 90-mph on the radar gun? That’s why this whole process has become a farce.