Class of 2016: The Results Are In

This past December, For Baseball Junkies celebrated its fifth birthday.  The blog has always been a passion for Hersh, Mc and I.  It started as a mechanism for us to memorialize some of our daily conversations while creating a forum for us to connect with other self proclaimed baseball junkies.  Some personal highlights have been connecting with "The Baseball Collector," Zack Hample before he became "the guy who held A-Rod's 3,000 hit for ransom."  Befriending Shawn Anderson, creator of the "Hall of Very Good," and getting a "Like" on our Facebook page from Billy Sample.

Today, as the baseball world officially welcomed a new class to the Hall of Fame, we are pleased and excited to introduce a new contributor to our page, Ben Reese.  Ben is a lifelong baseball fan who has covered high school sports in the greater Philadelphia region for more than 40 years.  He kept his hand in writing as a contributor at and we are honored to have him share some of his thoughts with you.  Enjoy!

The Baseball Writers of America have spoken.

They have cast their votes and decided that Ken Griffey Jr. And Mike Piazza were worthy of addition to the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is no argument from this quarter as to their worthiness for that honor.

However, there is room for argument about several other candidates on this year's ballot. And there is also some disagreement with the restrictions imposed by the Hall of Fame on that ballot.

First, let's touch on Griffey and Piazza. Griffey has been ticketed for the Hall ever since his first Major League game.  He had the bloodlines from his Major League father. He also had the experience in professional clubhouses from the time he could walk.  

Obviously, he didn't disappoint. His 636 homers and sometimes unbelievable defense ensured his selection.

Just an of note here: three voters did not put Griffey on their ballot. They will be hunted out and dunned for their reason.  

Leave them alone. They certainly had their own reasons which are irrelevant.

Really, there are only two reasons that matter. One is that they, however misguided, felt that no one deserves to be unanimous.  The other should be more obvious. With the reduction of voters and with the remaining voters allowed to only select 10 names from the list of eligible players, those three voters left Griffey off in order to give another player a vote.

After all, as was seen with his 437 votes, Griffey didn't need those three votes to get in. But someone like Alan Trammel, in his final chance as election, did.

Piazza, a 62nd-round selection in the draft, couldn't have been thinking about the Hall of Fame when he got drafted by the Dodgers. He really was just a bow to his godfather Tommy Lasorda when Los Angeles selected him.

He proved how astute the Dodgers were with his play throughout his career. No other catcher in the history of the game have ever hit as many home runs as he did.  With his lowly beginnings, he more than earned his trip to Cooperstown.

Now for the rest of them.

The jump in percentage of votes received by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens demonstrates that the now-reduced voting group is younger and more forgiving than the 100 or so voters who were cut from the list. Whether that is right or wrong, only time will tell.

Another PED-tainted player, Mark McGwire, in his final year on the ballot, didn't make it. And Sammy Sosa, who has his accusers, got only seven percent of the vote.

If Bonds and/or Clemens ever are elected, then something should be done for Pete Rose. As many have said, the Hall of Fame is a museum, not Heaven.

Certainly, Rose sinned against baseball. He bet on games while a working member of the professional baseball fraternity.  But he also had more hits than anyone before or after his career. That should be honored or at least given the opportunity to be honored.  If he is ever on the ballot and selected, put on his plaque that he was banned from baseball for betting on games. And leave it at that.

Many of the talking heads on the MLB Network have been calling for an expanded ballot in the future. Allow the writers to vote for 12 or 15 players.  That might be a good idea. But it will also allow more controversy.

But, then again, that's what the off-season is all about.

Ben R.

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