We’ve Been Goosed

For twenty-five previous Major League Baseball players today was a day where they would sit by the phone in hopes of getting a phone call from the Hall of Fame welcoming them to an exclusive club and validating their playing career. Each of the candidates had a unique story that validated them being included on the ballot. It must be very frustrating for these players though. For perhaps the first time in their career they are not in control of the outcome. When on the field their hard work and talent was something they could manage and hopefully impress the manager and coaching staff that they deserved an opportunity to play. Now their playing days are over and their fate of entering the Hall of Fame is in the hands of the baseball writers. This year another former Arizona Diamondback player was included on the ballot. Todd Stottlemyre who played in Arizona from 1999 – 2001 was placed on the ballot. Todd was the first Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher to win a play-off game when he beat the New York Mets during the 1999 Divisional play-offs in game 2 at Bank One Ballpark. That of course was not the crowning jewel of his career just an interesting piece of Diamondbacks trivia. Stottlemyre unfortunately did not garner the support necessary to be elected being named on only one ballot by the writers. To be honest the writers were relatively sparse with their support naming only one player to the Hall of Fame this year.

Rich “Goose” Gossage has been patiently waiting to be recognized. The 2008 ballot marked the tenth ballot where his name had appeared. Many thought Goose would be elected in 2007 but he found himself outside looking in a mere 21 votes short from the necessary 75 percent needed. This year Gossage saw his popularity among baseball writers increase to 466 votes out of a possible 543 giving him a 85.8 percent or nearly 11 percent more than is necessary. That is a tremendous turn around by the voters making you wonder what happened. It is not as if Goose Gossage found another 6 miles per hour on his fastball or suddenly saved another 50 games or something. He hadn’t donned a uniform nor was there a new pitch named after him; so why the change?

How could the baseball writers when provided the same statistics from Gossage’s career for 10 years straight suddenly in 2008 come to the realization that “hey these numbers are pretty good”? To compound the confusion is the comments that are now surrounding Jim Rice who barely missed entering the Hall of Fame by a mere 16 votes. The baseball press is now stating that Rice will be a shoo-in for inclusion in 2009. Andre Dawson who saw his vote rise to 65.9 percent is now being talked about as a good potential candidate for 2010. I don’t understand this at all. If these players are Hall of Fame caliber why not vote for them now rather than prolonging this out up to 2 years? Neither Rice nor Dawson are getting any younger nor do either plan on taking any more at-bats or fielding any more fly balls. It is this type of inconsistency that drives the normal fan crazy.

This is also the day every year that I lament the lack of support for Atlanta Braves outfielder Dale Murphy. This year Murphy was named on 75 ballots for a 13.8 percentage. Well below the 75 percent necessary for enshrinement. This is too bad because during his era Dale Murphy was about as feared a hitter as there was. His back-to-back MVP seasons were at the time unheard of. While his overall numbers may not measure up to standards; he ended his career 2 home runs short of 400 Murphy was a force that made teams change the way they approached that team. He was a selfless teammate that made those around him better. From a character perspective Dale Murphy has very few peers. During his prime Murphy was talked of as a no-brainer Hall of Fame inductee yet somehow he seems to be forgotten every year. This is an unfortunate oversight to one of the great players of a bygone era.

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