What makes a Hall of Famer?

Fortunately, not Reggie Jackson‘s opinion. I’m not talking about players involved with the steroid scandal, but guys who are already enshrined in Cooperstown. Jackson said the following to a Sports Illustrated reporter:

I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.

So you have a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Puckett, a catcher who is considered by many to be among the best ever in Carter, and two pitchers who reached the 300 win and 3000 strikeout plateaus in Sutton and Niekro, and none of them are Hall of Famers? This isn’t a discussion of who isn’t in that should be (Don Mattingly says hello), but of who is in that shouldn’t be, according to Mr. October himself. And that even includes the pitcher who is in fifth place on the all-time strikeouts list, Bert Blyleven. Reggie says, “No. No, no, no, no. Blyleven wasn’t even the dominant pitcher of his era, it was Jack Morris.” Alright, I’ll agree that Morris belongs, but his omission should not distract from Blyleven’s accomplishments.

While the voting process isn’t perfect, requiring a 75% consensus is a pretty lofty standard and one that is hard to achieve. For the most part, the BBWAA has done a pretty good job on their end of keeping the riff raff out of the Hall. The Veterans Committee hasn’t done so splendidly, but most of their choices can at least be rationalized to some extent. If the BBWAA has failed at all, it has failed by its omissions (see also: Tony Oliva, Minnie Minoso). Reggie is simply wrong on this point.

About JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. 911 dispatcher. Baseball fan. Horror nut. Music nerd. Bookworm. Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.

Posted on July 10, 2012, in baseball and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Who is a Hall of Famer? Whoever is voted into the Hall of Fame. Period. End of story.

    Honestly, I am sick to death of who should be/who shouldn’t be Hall of Fame arguments. Give it a rest, Reggie and everyone else. The guys who are in the Hall are pretty darn good. That’s good enough for me. And it’s better for your blood pressure if you think that way.

    But if you want to keep up with the arguing and debating, I’ll just say this …


    • For me, if it weren’t for Hall of Fame debates, I would care less about baseball. It’s all about history to me, the characters that make up the game as a whole. I’m glad Votto is having a great year and that he is an All-Star, but it will get really good when his career is over and we can look at all he accomplished and start talking about his Hall of Fame credentials.

      I also believe the Hall of Fame debate helps educate fans, especially new fans, of the players who were not deemed quite good enough by the BBWAA. Their names are brought up annually around ballot time because of crazy people like me who get all up in arms about Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, and others who “should be in” but for whatever reason the BBWAA said no.

      In other words, take your fingers out o’ yer ears and have a little fun, Greg! 🙂

  2. It’d be fun if people didn’t take it so seriously. They get way too crazy about it. And, frankly, it’s boring now.

  3. JT, you may be onto something. Bert Blyleven and the others deserve to be in the Hall. I wrote to SI after Reggie spoke. Seems that maybe sour grapes were involved. Maybe he forgot how Blyleven, Don Sutton, and Phil Niekro dominated him. Maybe he’s jealous as to how much Jim Rice, Gary Carter, and Kirby Puckett are beloved by fans.

  4. I agree that Mattingly and Morris belong, but what about Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell?

    • I think Biggio will go in first ballot when he is eligible (next year?) and Bagwell will eventually get in. Raines should start gaining some support soon, but Trammell will probably have to wait for the Veteran’s Committee.

    • I don’t see Mattingly ever getting in…and I loved Donnie Baseball. Steroid suspicion will keep Bagwell out, and I have no idea why Tim Raines isn’t already in. I’d hate to think that it was the cocaine usage. Trammell isn’t a Hall of Famer. Biggio MAY be a first ballot guy…though I suspect he did PEDs along with Bagwell and Caminiti.

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