No Hall of Fame vote for Rickey … why?

January, 7, 2009
Well, now we know for sure: Rickey Henderson won't be elected to the Hall of Fame unanimously, because Corky Simpson didn't vote for him.

One oddity: Simpson didn't vote for Henderson but did vote for Tim Raines. Now, you know how I feel about Tim Raines. But you also know that Raines, as great as he was, wasn't nearly as great as Rickey Henderson.

Another oddity: Simpson couldn't be bothered to explain his non-vote for the greatest leadoff man ever. Here's the only mention:

Ri-i-i-i-ght. Rickey Henderson = Greg Vaughn.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Corky Simpson takes his Hall of Fame ballot personally rather than professionally. Which is of course his prerogative, and of course there's only so much damage that one voter can do. But what is one to make of the credibility of someone who votes for Tim Raines but not Rickey Henderson? Or someone who writes this:

    Of those I didn't vote for but wish I could have, Mark McGwire tops the list. One of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Big Mac broke Roger Maris' record with 70 home runs in 1998 and accumulated an astounding 583 for his career. But there is doubt about whether McGwire's career was chemically enhanced and unless -- and until -- that matter is taken care of, this voter won't mark the ballot for Mark.

There's actually not much doubt about it, and reasonable people certainly can disagree about what that should mean for McGwire's Hall of Fame candidacy. But here's our next oddity: Simpson voted for Matt Williams. He writes: "Matty played 17 seasons for the Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks. Nobody ever played the game with more intensity, nor with more reverence for the sport."

Why is that odd? I mean, besides the fact that nobody else believes Williams belongs in Cooperstown? Because as Richie Rich points out, Matt Williams' career was almost certainly "chemically enhanced," too. From the Tucson Citizen:

    Retired Diamondbacks player Matt Williams was named in the long-awaited Mitchell Report on Thursday, along with current stars such as Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada.


    Williams, who is retired, allegedly bought human growth hormone, steroids, syringes, and other drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center in 2002, when he was playing with the Diamondbacks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The orders reportedly were sent to Williams at a business address in Scottsdale, Arizona. The article reported that "Williams' prescriptions were written by the same dentist who prescribed [human] growth hormone for [Paul] Byrd and [Jose] Guillen."

I don't like to attempt the divination of someone else's motives; I've got a hard enough time divining my own. But a Hall of Fame ballot like Corky Simpson's … well, it's just odd, that's all.


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