The New York Times‘ Dan Rosenheck calls for the abolition of the rule that bounces dudes off the Hall of Fame ballot if they don’t receive 5% of the vote in their first year. The reason: the writers are starting to (slowly) get smarter about what makes a Hall of Famer, and many of the thinking man’s favorites have been (or may be) dropped from the ballots before their value is truly appreciated:
As mainstream baseball reporters have become more familiar with the sophisticated quantitative tools now available to assess players’ value, their collective judgment has evolved. As a result, some players whose skills have been underappreciated would probably benefit from strong campaigns of support today. Unfortunately, many have been dropped from the ballot, and their omissions are no less glaring than the current statistical causes célèbre of Blyleven, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines.
The usual suspects are mentioned: Bobby Grich, Ted Simmons, Lou Whitaker.
I’m all for it, though I’ll admit having a high-profile paper like the New York Times stumping for these guys is a bit disconcerting. After all, arguing for guys like Grich, Whitaker and Simmons has always been one of my favorite attention-grabbing affectations. This is the baseball equivalent of that article in the USA Today profiling your favorite indie band. Kind of kills it, you know?
Looks like I’ll have to start stumping for some less obvious guys. For example, did you know that Jack Clark walked more times in his career than all but 41 guys, and that the majority of those ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame?
OK, I’ll work on it some more.