I would imagine that was the general thought passing around most baseball television studios and chat rooms and radio programs where the ‘experts’ were discussing the HOF election results.
Because no one saw that coming.
With ‘surefire’ ‘locks’ and ‘automatics’ like Robbie Alomar, Barry Larkin and Bert Blylevin (on his 13th ballot) awaiting their calls to to the Hall, only one person was so fortunate and he was just barely a blip on this year’s radar… ‘The Hawk’ Andre Dawson.
And a controversial pick he appears to be. But, really, how controversial can OBP be? The fact he was the key item in that little collusion case the owners lost back in the 1986-1987 era is far more important. The fact that he surpassed Blylevin ( who missed by like what.. 6 tenths of a percent?) and Alomar is the real controversy here. Bert ‘should‘ be getting the call next year, as will Alomar if his scant percentage points tell anything… but the bigger question should be Why?
Reportedly four ballots were returned blank. Blank… meaning no one was worthy of a vote. Dawson skated by on the few percentage points Alomar missed. But again, why? Is it a statement that he shouldn’t have been a first ballot HOF’er like Ricky last year or a Ted Williams? Sure it took Joe D. a few times but the landscape was different then. Some believe it may be retaliation for the Hirschbeck incident, although I can’t really see the BBWAA standing up for an umpire in such grand fashion. Either way, the ‘experts’ have concluded that the next two HOF classes will be short on entries, so anyone needing to make the push should be doing so now. Look for Bert, Robbie and Barry to step in next year or 2012 before Bonds and Clemens hit the ballot. Those falling shorter, could be making greater strides towards a higher percentage of votes (like Mattingly and so on) over the next two years.
All the talk of Edgar Martinez as the first DH in the Hall was for not as he fell rather short on his first ballot, which may ring ditto for Big Papi in the future. The lack of showing for Juan Gonzalez and Raffi Palmero combined with Big Mac’s meager progress up the ladder gives us more evidence that proven and suspected PED users are not going anywhere. Could make the 2013 Ballot of Bonds and The Rocket that much more interesting, nevermind Sammy Sosa and the eventual Manny Ramirez (again, ditto Big Papi).
Anyone looking for a good read on the history of the beloved Hall should pick up Zev Chafets’ Cooperstown Confidential, a great little escape into the convoluted, controversial and rather interesting history of not only the Hall, the caretakers and their evolution, but the hamlet of Cooperstown as well. Chafet gives us not only the norm historical blurbs on inductees but backgrounds to how the voting process was ‘refined’ and reasonings as to why the Veteran’s Committee isn’t as objective as they perhaps should be. It may also answer some longtime questions you have, such as “Why the hell is that guy in there in not this guy?” Of course, there are the usual insights on such themes as The Negro Leagues (or lack thereof), murderers such as Ty Cobb and the biggest HOF enigma this side of Babe Ruth’s ghost… Pete Rose. But italso touches base with some guys such as Steve Garvey, a deserving player who made poor personal choices and was caught but still hasn’t been a Veteran’s Committee pick… hmmm.
Again, congrats to the Hawk.
Oh yeah, that news flash from St. Louis came in. Holliday is staying put. Imagine that.