It seems like anymore the BBWAA Hall of Fame results are decided well in advance of today. Writers resolve to vote for guys for whom others make a big push – and it’s often the guys who came close but missed the year before, which is what happened with Goose Gossage in 2008 and Jim Rice in 2009. This year, Bert Blyleven, in particular, wasn’t going to be denied. He came so close last year (5 votes shy) he’s running out of time and the consensus is how can you keep him out with that many strikeouts. And Roberto Alomar was right there last year as well, just 8 votes shy. And his numbers clearly merit Hall of Fame enshrinement in his second year on the ballot.
Everything I read beforehand said to expect a modest bump for Barry Larkin – who got 51.6 percent of the vote last year, his first on the ballot – but that he’ll likely have to wait another year. And sure enough, Barry finished third with 62.1 percent. So while I was very disappointed, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Hopefully next year.
Was Barry deserving of getting in on his first or second ballot? Absolutely. No question. But Larkin’s not the only one who got robbed. I don’t see any reason why Jeff Bagwell shouldn’t have gotten in as a first-timer. Is it really fair to assume a guy was juicing when there’s no proof, no failed drug test, no one who has ever said he saw him use steroids? C’mon. And you can’t argue with those numbers. Tyler Kepner wrote a great column, by the way, about how Bagwell’s rejection presumes guilt over innocence, and how sad that is.
Also on the ballot were former Reds Dave Parker, Bret Boone, Lenny Harris and Benito Santiago. We’ve previously made it clear that Parker deserves to be in the Hall, and in case you missed it, John Erardi wrote a strong piece just recently to that effect. Worth a read if you haven’t already. We say give Cobra his due. (He only got 15.3 percent.) Finished in the top 5 in MVP voting in five different seasons (and got robbed in 1985). One of the most feared hitters of both the late ’70s and mid ’80s. No reason he shouldn’t be in.
Blyleven and Alomar will join general manager Pat Gillick – elected by a post-expansion Veterans Committee last month – for the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown on July 24.
Meanwhile, consolation for Larkin fans? There’s a tricky, 15-question Larkin quiz that just got posted earlier this week on Cincinnati.Com. Enjoy.