There is the brink of insanity, then there is the abyss.
I've been paying a little less attention to the Hall of Fame balloting this year because I was convinced that Jim Rice was going to get the final snub and I'd just be annoyed. I'm pleasantly surprised and happy to report that Mr. Rice has finally gotten into the Hall of Fame in this his 15th year on the ballot.
It's a shame that the pleasant little ember burning in my heart is dampened because I looked at the vote tally for Rickey Henderson.
First let's looks at the teams he's played for...
He began in Oakland. Then on to the Yankees, back to Oakland in mid '89 until 1995—with half a season or so in Toronto in '93. A season and a half in San Diego, a half season in Anaheim, back to Oakland in 1998. Next, a season and a half with the Mets and a half with Seattle, a little time with the Sea Dogs (huh?), another half in a Padre's uni, then 2002 in Boston. His last shot in the majors ended in a short stint in Dodger blue in 2003, sandwiched between some minor league work.
Finally, after 2005, he finally retired. Whew! This earned him 511 votes for the Hall of Fame?
You always hear a lot about his stats. Henderson was just shy of 11,000 at-bats in the maors and played in over 3000 major league games.
He holds the AL and overall records for most steals in a career, having led the AL in stolden bases 13 times, including 130 in 1982. He is also the all-time leader in runs scored and second in total walks. He earned 10 All-Star selections and one MVP in his 26-year major league career.
He finished in the top five for AL batting average three times. He's fourth on the all-time list for plate appearances. He was in the top 10 for on-base percentage 16 times (twice in the NL) coming in at No. 1 in 1990.
In 1979, he was the eighth youngest player in the AL. From 1998 through 2003 he was one of the 10 oldest, maxing out as the elder statesman in 2002 for the AL. His highest salary was in 1994 when he made $4.8 million.
This guy gets 94.8 percent of the vote?
That leaves me with one burning question: Where in hell are those other 28 or so votes? What exactly were these individuals thinking when they decided that Rickey Henderson was not Hall of Fame worthy?
So we'll listen to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, and the new MLB Network debate ad naseum about whether Mike Mussina or Curt Schilling have the numbers. They'll go in incessantly about if Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, or Roger Clemens will ever get in?
As many have pointed out to me (some seen below), no one has ever been voted in unanimously. No one! What does that tell you?
There'll be millions of conversations about thousands of players, but none of those "no" voters will ever explain what more they would have liked to see from Henderson.
The best part is, no one cares.
Congrats, Mr. Henderson.