The IBWAA Hall of Fame vote: Here’s mine . . .

I-Rod: in by the BBWAA and in by the IBWAA . . .

I-Rod: in by the BBWAA and in by the IBWAA . . .

Now, about the Hall of Fame: Speaking for myself alone it’s about damn time Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines were elected to Cooperstown, and congratulations to Ivan Rodriguez for making it first ballot. But it’s a shame Vladimir Guerrero missed in his first try. Not to worry, he’s going to make it, perhaps next year.

But so far as the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America is concerned, it was a dead heat between Guerrero and Rodriguez as our picks for Hall of Famers. They both got 84.54 percent of the IBWAA vote—including mine—while Mike Mussina came one vote short of his needed 75 percent and Trevor Hoffman fell short by three.

Watch these folks this spring . . .

Some other people to watch closely, very closely, as spring training begins rounding into serious shape:

Can the Pirates' Searage repair the Bard?

Can the Pirates’ Searage repair the Bard?

THE BARD OF PITTSBURGH—Daniel Bard was one of baseball’s best pen men with the 2009-11 Red Sox. Then Terry Francona quit before he could be canned, Bobby Valentine was brought in to man the bridge, Bard was turned into a starting pitcher—and became a mess of his own in the middle of the Valentine nightmare. He signed a minor league deal with the 2014 Cubs and never got out of extended spring training. He signed with the 2014 Rangers and disappeared again. He’s signed a minor league deal with this year’s Pirates. The hope is that Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage—who’s repaired such fractured pitchers as Francisco Liriano, J.A. Happ, and Edinson Volquez—can repair the Bard.

How I voted in the IBWAA Hall of Fame election, again

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and MuseumIf only the Internet Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s balloting counted for the real thing, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza would be joined by Edgar Martinez at the Cooperstown podium come July. The IBWAA’s annual exercise voted for Piazza two years ago and for Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines last year, so they weren’t on this year’s IBWAA ballot.

But Griffey and Martinez were on the ballot. I’d have been very hard pressed to see my fellow IBWAA writers not vote Griffey in, though we did something the Baseball Writers Association of America couldn’t quite do for Junior—we voted him yes unanimously, after all.

HOF ballot: The holdovers . . .

The holdover Hall of Fame ballot entrants are both an interesting and a troublesome group, largely because the recent rule changes limiting a Baseball Writers Association of America candidate to ten years on the ballot—and limiting voters to ten players per ballot—push a few right up against the exit door if they don’t make it this time. And in a few cases that just doesn’t seem right.

Let’s review the holdovers’ candidacies. Much of what I’ve written of some of these players in the past still holds, so I’ll include what I wrote of those:

 

THE HOLDOVERS

The IBWAA ballot; or, how I voted for the Hall of Fame

National Baseball Hall of FameSince I wrote purely from an observer’s position, I was content to let my previous writings on this season’s Hall of Fame voting stand for themselves. But in the interim I was made a life member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, which conducts its own Hall of Fame ballot every year. My membership came just in time to have such a vote myself.

This vote, of course, is purely symbolic outside the IBWAA itself. Even if there are those in the mainstream press who actually pay attention to the balloting, sometimes using those results as one barometer toward gauging how the Baseball Writers Association of America vote might result. The day may come when the IBWAA vote is included in the ultimate tally that elects Hall of Famers. May.

HOF Vote: On the BBWAA plantation, privilege is in the eye of the beholder

Dan Le Batard, sent to bed without his supper for saying Big Daddy's been foolish . . .

Dan Le Batard, sent to bed without his supper for saying Big Daddy’s been foolish . . .

I can admit when I’m wrong. I thought the Hall of Fame-voting writer who turned his ballot over to Deadspin, vowing to cast his ballot according to how Deadspin readers voted, might have opened the proverbial can of worms. A can at least as putrid as that which surrounds the farce of most years’ All-Star Game voting, where fans can vote multiple times and often use the game for the Hall of Fame’s purpose, a kind of lifetime achievement award even if the players for whom they vote are not having All-Star worthy seasons.

Does baseball need its own First Amendment?

Karen Eidem wearing the T-shirt that offended Miller Park security . . .

Karen Eidem wearing the T-shirt that offended Miller Park security . . .

Let’s see. A harmless Milwaukee Brewers fan disgusted over Ryan Braun shows up at Miller Park last Wednesday. She shows her contempt for Braun’s duplicitous behaviour by wearing a T-shirt replica of Braun’s uniform jersey—with “F” and “D” replacing “B” and “N” in Braun’s name above the familiar number 8. And Miller Park security offers a choice between turning the shirt inside-out or leaving the ballpark.

They had a Hall election and nobody’s coming

Was it nobody's fault, really, that Biggio doesn't make it on the first try?

Was it nobody’s fault, really, that Biggio doesn’t make it on the first try?

I had the feeling it might turn out this way. Not since Bill Clinton looked his second presidential election campaign in the eye have the Baseball Writers Association of America ended up electing nobody to the Hall of Fame. And I’m not sure which, among factors gaining serious discussion as the voting commenced and, at last, the results came in, may prove the most controversial of them all:

Eddie Yost, RIP: The Walking Man’s Time

Eddie Yost, stroll master . . .

The Walking Man has walked home at 86.

Eddie Yost as a player could hit a little bit, sometimes with power, usually early in the order, but had one of the most remarkable facilities for wringing first base on the house out of opposing pitchers. At his death Tuesday he sat number eleven on the all-time pass list, having led his league in walks six times, and having averaged 124 walks per 162 games in his eighteen-season playing career.