Later this month, the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot will be released. For traditionalists like me who think the HOF is already overcrowded with marginal players, next year’s offerings are slim pickings and, hopefully, will not produce any new inductees.
The popular Jack Morris’ 254 wins are overshadowed by his 3.90 ERA and his 206 career wild pitches. Despite being at best a slightly above average pitcher, Morris’ support has steadily increased to 52 percent of voters last year. Morris has been on the ballot since 2000. One of the biggest flaws in Hall voting is that so-so candidates like Morris stick around for way too long.
Relief pitcher Lee Smith has also been around forever. In 17 years (1980-1997), Smith pitched a mere 1,300 innings and never more than 75 after 1990. Smith is third on the career saves list(478) but that statistic was manufactured (by sportswriter and later MLB historian Jerome Holtzman) and hyped out of proportion by the media. If you are impressed by save totals, let me remind you that in 2007 when the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 30-3 reliever Wes Littleton earned a save.
I take my cue from Rogers Hornsby who once said: “The big trouble is not really who isn’t in the Hall of Fame but who is. It was established for a select few.”
Williams’ inductees are what the Hall of Fame should be: a consensus among players and historians that those included are without argument the greatest ever.
Here’s Williams’ list: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, Stan Musial, Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Greenberg, Tris Speaker, Al Simmons, Johnny Mize, Mel Ott, Harry Heilmann, Ralph Kiner, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, and Hornsby.