The 2009 Hall of Fame voting is in. Congratulations to Rickey Henderson, who received 94.8% of the votes in his first year of eligibility and especially to Jim Rice, who just made it across the 75% line in his 15th and final year of eligibility at 76.4% of the vote. The former Red Sox star had fallen just 16 votes short last year. I’ll leave it to others to argue whether Rice was very good or truly great, however.
C’mon, what were the other 28 writers thinking that didn’t vote for Rickey? I’ve said it many times before and I will continue to repeat that Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) members just damage their own organization’s credibility when they cast dissenting ballots for no-brainer picks like Henderson just to uphold a stupid tradition of no ex-player scoring 100%. Those 28 non-voters are lemmings at best.
Former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire, coming off yet another year of silence and seclusion following his botched 2005 Congressional testimony, isn’t improving his Hall chances. This time around, Mac received ten fewer votes than in 2008 and 2007 and in the process, dropped a couple of percentage points down to 21.9% support.
McGwire seemed to hold firm in ninth place, but that really means others are passing him, since five have now been inducted since he first joined the eligibles in 2007. They are Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn (2007) plus Goose Gossage (2008) and now to be joined by Henderson and Rice.
While he is in no danger of dropping off the ballot, the stark reality is that Big Mac is closer to that insult than he is to joining Henderson and Rice up on the stage in Cooperstown. It is no one’s fault but his own that he has become such a polarizing figure and remains on the outside looking in.
Rather than repeat an earlier rant, I will simply link to my earlier articles:
“Giambi Is What McGwire Isn’t: Honest” (2007)
And in a more positive note, two years ago, we at Scout.com voted McGwire the 22nd greatest Cardinals player of all time. Despite the cloud, I personally voted Big Mac # 19. In an indication of the diversity of opinion, one of our panel refused to vote for McGwire.