Answers to Hall questions, but still no Minnie
A few items bubble up today, spurred by emails from readers inquisitive (among other descriptions) about the Hall of Fame voting procedure.
For instance, one wondered how there are 203 former players in the baseball Hall of Fame, among the 292 total members, but only 109 who have been voted in by the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The answer is the dreaded veterans’ committee, which has actually enshrined far more men in Cooperstown (157) than have the writers. The veterans’ group has put in almost all of the marginal guys, too, operating on an old-boys network as few decades back that seemed intent on adding the entire 1924 Washington Senators team, before it was throttled back.
The veterans’ committee has selected 94 players, 26 executives, 19 managers, nine Negro Leaguers and nine umpires. The other 26 HoFers came from the Committee on Negro Leaugers, which elected nine men from 1971 to 1977, and the 2006 Special Committee on Negro Leaguers, who added 17 – but didn’t, damn, it, add Minnie Minoso, in this estimation still the greatest omission from Cooperstown. Other than Pete Rose, of course.
Other emailers wonder, with gusts to outrage, about the five blank ballots returned. Yet those are perfectly legitimate expressions; if you think none of the players on the ballot is worthy of the Hall, you leave the sheet blank and return it. You are allowed to vote for any number from zero to 10 and there is no minimum. The fewest I have ever voted for is three men in any year, but there are obviously tougher markers.
The addition of Andre Dawson as a single electee brings to 25 the number of times the voters have chosen one man. On 24 occasions two men have been added, eight times the call went to three players and four men were called on two occasions. There were five original inductees in 1936. There also have been seven times, the last in 1996, when no one was inducted.
It’s a tough Hall to crack, one more reason it’s so special when someone gets there.
There are plenty of laments about Roberto Alomar and how his spitting in the face of John Hirschbeck cost him his first-ballot induction, but as it said here a couple of weeks ago, when the call was made that he likely would be elected in his second try rather than his first, the greater obstacle to Alomar’s immediacy is the number of New York and Chicago voters. When he played for the Mets and White Sox toward the tail of his abruptly-ending career he was very ordinary and that’s the freshest memory for a lot of those voters. In Toronto, we tend to remember primarily his on-field greatness, because we saw little else out of him.
While we're up, Pat Burns tells friends he is mortified by the way his Tiger Woods "revelations" took off. He was merely repeating Internet gossip and claims he was joking when he said everything came from police sources in Florida. It would be the last thing he needs, to be swept up in this tawdry mess.