Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

Pedro Martinez and the Silly Sanctity of the Baseball Hall of Fame Vote

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The BBWAA makes this too easy.

Former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez will indeed be announced among the latest class of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. when voting results are announced Tuesday. This despite the pretentious carping of a few, select members of the election committee who seem intent on shining the spotlight on their own agendas rather than doing their simple part in order to create a viable baseball museum.

Yet despite the overblown sanctity with which some members of the Baseball Writers Association of America treat their vote, there are also some who have declared the process flawed. Perhaps most notably, ESPN’s Buster Olney abstained from voting this year, taking a stance on the 10-player limit that voters are limited to by the Hall.

Ten. And yet, the reason why there may be more than 10 worthy candidates on this year’s ballot is because of the majority of the BBWAA’s ridiculous stance that players of the steroid era should be punished like bratty children over the years, with a duo of slam-dunks (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens) gumming up the works. Even then, are there really 10 players on the ballot who should be Hall of Famers?

If I had a vote: Bonds, Jeff Bagwell, Clemens, Pedro, Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, and Curt Schilling. That’s 10 of the 34 names on the ballot and I wouldn’t be too upset about leaving too many names off. Larry Walker and Alan Trammell would be just shy. Jason Schmidt and Rich Aurilia can at least frame the sheet that proves that they were actually on the ballot to begin with.

Was that so difficult? Yet the way some BBWAA members maintain they sweat over their vote, you might think it’s the difference between a peace treaty or another round of aerial bombing.

That, of course, leads to our annual slate of “look at me” voters, who either refuse to give first-time candidates their due, or choose to make their own stance at the expense of simply just doing the job they’ve been bestowed with. I mean, a vote is a vote, but let’s still try and put this in the simplest terms: Any BBWAA member who refused to vote for Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson in their first years of eligibility is either a codgy relic who pays daily tribute to the shrine of Babe Ruth, or has an agenda he or she wants debated in a public forum.

So, you win, Mike Berardino.

Let’s set aside the fact that the Minnesota Twins beat writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press is creating yet another headache of embarrassment for the BBWAA, an organization that tends to breed arrogant incompetence. Berardino’s job here is simple; vote for the most worthy candidates how you see fit. Frankly, the public should have more respect for Olney and his stance rather than Berardino’s tweaking of the process in order to vote two players who are borderline Hall of Famers anyway.

Then there’s this: On last year’s ballot, Berardino voted for Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, and Trammell.


Maddux (97.2 percent of the vote), Glavine (91.9 percent), and Thomas (83.7 percent) certainly didn’t need his help a year ago to amass the 75 percent needed for election. Trammell received only 143 other votes, 20.8 percent of the total. Not sure Bernardino himself can make up that cavernous difference.

On the other hand, Larry Walker only received 58 votes last year, 10.2 percent of the vote. Berardino's was not among those.

A year has passed and all of a sudden the guy figures that the former slugger now needs his help? I must have missed the moment when Walker became a better candidate than he was at last December’s voting deadline.

According to the latest roundup of votes collected by the Baseball Think Factory, Johnson already has around 99.3 percent of the votes collected, Martinez 98 percent. Smoltz (87.3 percent), Biggio (82.7 percent), and Piazza (76.7 percent) also look like they’re destined for induction. That’s a big class, and indicative of how many worthy candidates there indeed are on the ballot, tainted with the smell of suspicion or not.

The fact that Clemens and Bonds won’t be among them is a joke that doesn’t seem ripe for rectification quite yet. If the BBWAA wants to play judge and jury with history, it might have helped if they had all the facts on every member they’ve elected since performance-enhancing drugs became a part of the sporting vernacular. If Bonds and Clemens are being held out due to a lack of cleanliness, where’s the proof that other darlings of the organization’s votes weren’t just as dirty?

Those sort of debates aren’t going away any time soon, but admittedly, on the whole, the BBWAA came through without too many dents in this year’s results. Save for Bernardino’s soapbox, 2015 was a good showing.

Oh, also, Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin left Pedro off his nine-player ballot, but did vote for Don Mattingly, who received 8.2 percent of the vote last year. We’ll just leave that there for you to ponder.

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