MLB Hall of Fame Voting Broken but Not for the Reason You Think

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MLB Hall of Fame Voting Broken but Not for the Reason You Think
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The Baseball Writers' Association of America website has the official 2014 MLB Hall of Fame voting results posted on its homepage.

There has been a lot of controversy in the wake of these results. Many high-profile writers and voters are upset, with good reason. However, fans and voters alike are upset for the wrong reason.

They should not be upset about Dan Le Batard giving his vote away to Deadspin.

Le Batard chose to make a stand for something he believes in dearly. Perhaps his decision was incorrect, but his reasons were not.

Folks should not be upset about the PED users either.

People shouldn't even be that upset about the lack of a unanimous Hall member.

A few voters did not vote for Greg Maddux for the Hall of Fame. This is obviously ludicrous, but there is some level of reasoning behind this decision. Since all votes are not made public, we do not know the voters' basis for their opinions. But the possibility exists that they have a reason for leaving out Maddux or Frank Thomas, whether that reason is mistaken or not.

If they feel strongly about the steroid era ruining baseball, then maybe they refuse to vote for any player who played between certain years just because we don't know who's innocent and who's guilty. This is silly, but it's a plausible reason for leaving Maddux off a ballot.

But none of these things is what points to the Hall of Fame voting being broken. All of these points have arguments for and against them or logic behind them, whether you personally agree with the logic or not.

Bring up the final Hall voting again. Now scroll down to the bottom of the list, the part most people ignore.

The following players received votes for the Hall of Fame: Kenny Rogers, Jacque Jones, Armando Benitez and J.T. Snow.

Do we all understand what that means? There are Hall of Fame voters who believe these players are Hall of Famers. How can that possibly be true? How can someone who thinks Jacque Jones is a Hall of Famer be allowed to vote for the Hall of Fame? Not even Jacque Jones thinks Jacque Jones is a Hall of Fame player.

There is something instinctively wrong with these results. The fact that they are not made public makes it all seem even more sinister and conniving. There are only two possibilities for why these votes would occur.

  1. The voter in question actually believes one (or all) of these players is worthy of induction in the Hall of Fame.
  2. The voter in question wants to acknowledge one (or all) of these players by giving them a vote, knowing the player will not make the 75 percent requirement and knowing they only have 10 precious votes to dole out.

So what's better, that a voter is stupid (possibility No. 1) or that a voter is making a sham of the whole system (possibility No. 2)?

Either way, the votes for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux are not evidence that the system is broken. The votes for Jones and Benitez and Snow are.

 

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