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MLB

MLB Hall of Fame: Change is Needed, But Will Never Come

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is America’s pastime. From little league to college to the pros, we love to emulate our favorite hitters, pitchers and do everything like they did. Chipper Jones, an MLB legend, talked about how he would emulate the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup in his backyard as a child, which contributed to why he became one of the best switch hitters in baseball history for the Atlanta Braves. Needless to say, baseball is a sport everyone can get into and enjoy. It’s easy to follow, the stats are addicting and the conversations are polarizing. It’s all of these factors that make the Baseball Hall of Fame voting system all the more pathetic and sickening.

The Hall of Fame has become a festering, puss-filled wound on the face of baseball today. It has become littered with older, crotchety writers who care more about their own interests than the good of the game, which can only explain votes that were doled out to Jacque Jones, Armando Benitez and J.T. Snow, three good players, but nowhere near deserving of any Hall of Fame recognition.

Hall of Fame voters tend to also ignore the sabermetric side of things, which is probably to blame for Jack Morris falling off the ballot after 15 consecutive years of not making the vote. The voting system is tainted and pathetic, and it needs to be reconfigured.

First off, can the ridiculous 15-year limit be done away with. Why should a limit be put upon a player when they need to make a specific percentage of votes to stay on the ballot? If a player is unable to get five percent of ballots, there is never going to be a year they make it in. So, two limits, one of quantity and one of longevity, is both unnecessary and idiotic.

Second, the fact that there has never been a unanimously voted in player is also insane, especially when the likes of Tom Seaver and Greg Maddux have come so close. What makes these writers so special that they don’t have to follow the crowd, especially when the argument is so compelling, and there is zero counterargument.

Third, if a player is suspected–but never actually discovered or admitted–of using performance enhancing drugs, then there is no reason for that player to be kept out of the Hall of Fame.

The system also needs to be changed because baseball is always changing. The free agent market changes in how it is used, teams change how they believe a winner should be built and means of evaluation change as well.

In an age of advanced statistics, there are sabermetricians, and there is everyone else. What sabermetricians like to do–and do so incorrectly–is dismiss all visible evidence of a player’s greatness, and hide behind their calculators and computer screens. What these people do not realize is that combining advanced metrics and what we see from a player can actually lead to a more wholesome analysis of a player.

Going back to Morris, who won four World Series titles with three different teams, he had 14 double digit win seasons, pitched at least 250 innings six times, had 175 complete games and was a five-time All-Star. On paper, Morris should be a lock for the Hall of Fame, as he was a solid pitcher for many years and was lights out in the playoffs.

A sabermetrician would scoff at these numbers, which is more than enough evidence to make Morris a Hall of Famer, and would look at something like WAR. Morris’ highest WAR season was 5.8. Maddux, who got in with 97 percent of votes, had WARs of 9.7, 9.2, 8.5 and 7.8 respectively. Maddux won three less World Series titles than Morris. If Maddux was so much better than Morris, how could Morris have won three more World Series titles, completed 66 more games and had two less seasons of over 250 innings pitched.

By no means am I trying to imply that Maddux should not be in the Hall of Fame, however, it is pretty easy to point out that Morris stands up to one of the best pitchers of all time. Also, watching Morris pitch would be another way to see why his numbers aren’t as gaudy as his peers. Morris pitched to what his team needed, which should mean more than any number. Sadly, the BBWAA does not listen to logic, and the system will never change. Pathetic, really.