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Biggio – Skunked Again


Skunked Again by Brian Todd

MLB.com writer Hal Bodley said, in defense of his idiotic ballot for the Hall of Fame (Bodley voted for Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and … Jack Morris, and no one else) he was “not ready to vote for Biggio.”

Really? Hoping he hits another double to increase his historic total? After all, Biggio has more doubles than any right-handed hitter in the game. Not that that would matter really. Biggio and Cal Ripken Jr. are the only middle infielders—of just 13 total players overall—to collect 3,000 hits and 1,000 extra-base hits. That whole list—if eligible—is in the Hall.

Another MLB writer, Ken Gurnick, voted ONLY for Morris.

Personally, I don’t think Morris belongs in the Hall of Fame. He gets way too much credit for pitching one World Series game. If that’s the criteria, let Don Larson in. But Gurnick held his vote to Morris because, he said, “As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.”

None, Ken?

Over at Baseball Think Factory, every year they tabulate the published ballots on something called the Hall of Fame Ballot Collecting Gizmo. I follow it every year to see who looks like they’re going in, and who is getting shut out. Gurnick had the distinction of being the first recorded voter not to mark an X next to Greg Maddux’s name. You know, because skinny pitchers whose fastballs top out at 93 MPH, they’re the ones juicing and rubbing “The Cream” and “The Clear” all over themselves.

I don’t know a better way to select Hall of Famers. Fans aren’t the answer. If they were, we’d see stuffed ballot boxes for the likes of Dale Murphy and, well, Jack Morris. A committee of ex-players and managers sounds good. Until you realize that’s what the Veterans Committee is made up of. Their track record isn’t exactly stellar.

And I don’t think it should be handed over to computers or SABR guys. The Hall of Fame is more than just WAR and whether a guy’s best years were tainted by a high BABIP. And if you need to look up those acronyms, I think I’ve made my point.

I won’t even get into Bagwell, who, despite not having the cool 3,000 hits, I think was a better player. But that’s splitting hairs. That’s like saying I like chocolate cake more than chocolate chip cookies. Really, there’s room for both.

But for too many Hall of Fame voters, there’s not room for either. And I just don’t get it. I didn’t get it last year and for Bagwell the previous couple of years.

So congratulations to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. You three survived the gauntlet of stupidity that is the BBWAA voters. For that great feat, you deserve to be called Hall of Famers.

Two Votes – Too Idiotic for Words by Dan Peschong

It is a sad irony that in Brian’s post above (that he wrote before the results came out) – he highlighted the idiocy of 2 voters who published their votes. And those votes did not include Craig Biggio. Because as folks know by now – the great Craig Biggio fell two votes short in the balloting for Cooperstown.

At least I will give Mr. Bodley and Mr. Gurnick this much credit – they at least made public their super-secret ballots and the reasons (no matter how feeble) for not including Bidge on their ballots. We do not know the thinking (or lack thereof) for the other 140+ writers who did not include him on their ballots.

Let me throw out some quick reasons why he should have been elected – first vs. other players already in the Hall who spent the majority of their careers at 2B.

  • More runs scored than any other 2B – more than Rogers Hornsby, Nap Lajoie, Joe Morgan and all others
  • 3rd  most hits – only behind Lajoie and Eddie Collins
  • 2nd most HRs – only behind Hornsby
  • More doubles than any other 2B
  • More extra base hits than any other 2B
  • More hit by pitch than any other 2B
  • 2nd in times on base – only trailing Collins

Then vs. players at other positions that are in the Hall

Of all the people who ever played the game he is 16th in total games, 12th in at bats, 33rd in total bases, 33rd in runs created, and of course 2nd in hit by pitch.

Even though he was only at 2nd base for about 70% of his total games he is still 17th in assists by a second baseman and 19th in double plays turned by a 2B.

They don’t count such things, but he has always been great to kids especially the ones with disabilities and serious illnesses.

He will get in next season – but only through stupidity and negligence did he fall short in 2014.

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

39 comments on “Biggio – Skunked Again

  1. Steven
    January 8, 2014

    My first thought is there is the proof in the pudding of national bias against Houston athletes. Almost why I hold out hope against hope that the Texans draft Manziel instead of Bridgewater – you can’t ignore Johnny Football, the good, the bad and the ugly.

    I think what hurts Craig is that he was rarely thought of as a MVP candidate or even a top 10 player sans a year or two. Combine that with playing for a mediocre franchise that rarely contends, and when they do they don’t do it for long, it hurts his exposure.

    I felt like he was a first ballot guy. Apparently writers know something I don’t, or maybe they don’t know something I do.

    Here is to next year.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 8, 2014

      Good points all – if he was a NY Yanks 2B with three stats he would have been in last year not next year.

      Like

  2. Brian_T
    January 8, 2014

    Well said, Dan.

    The whole thing makes me angry. I’ve been watching the Gizmo over at Baseball Think Factory since Christmas Day when it went up. I really thought Biggio was in. For a while, he was polling at close to 82 percent.

    But the Idiot Brigade came through. And we’ll have another crowded ballot next year with The Big Unit, Pedro and John Smoltz. Plus all the holdovers and PED users from this year.

    Shame, you writers of the BBWAA. Shame.

    Like

  3. Brian_T
    January 8, 2014

    Lost in Biggio’s near miss is the fact that Bagwell’s percentage went down. Again, shame on you.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 8, 2014

      And I don’t say put Biggio instead of Thomas – but they can vote for up to 10 players. My God – Eric Gagne got two votes. Bad system. Nothing to be done but complain.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        January 8, 2014

        Jacque Jones and Armando Beneitez getting a vote each makes me shake my head in shame.

        And not to put this too mildly…Jack Morris is NOT a hall of famer. Anybody who voted for him to get in should lose their rights to vote for the hall (or for anything in general). Someone whose ERA was close to 4.00 (and in fact never dipped below 3.00 in his entire career) does not belong in the hall, unless they have a crazy K/9 number. All he did was pitch a lot of innings.

        Like

      • peschdan
        January 8, 2014

        Billy C – makes no sense for a guy like Brian T pointed out to vote for Jack Morris and not for Biggio.

        Like

  4. CDVCardsFan
    January 8, 2014

    I’m a 30-year-old Cardinals fan, so I saw Biggio a ton. That’s not really relevant, though, because I also know how to read a flipping stat sheet. The guy’s got 3,000+ hits, 650+ doubles, 1,800+ runs, and 400+ steals. He also was a catcher who won 4 Gold Gloves as a second baseman. These is OBJECTIVE information. It’s asinine subjectivity that keeps these self-important imbeciles from putting Biggio in the HOF where he belongs.

    Like

  5. Bo Weaver
    January 8, 2014

    What!!!?! It’s gotta be Crane’s fault.

    Just kidding.

    Seriously though, how does Frank Thomas get in and not Bagwell? Their career numbers are almost exactly the same. And Bagwell was a much better baserunner, and slightly better glove man.

    And don’t get me started on Biggio…

    Take heart y’all. There is no way on earth they both don’t elected in due time. I bet the writers will see the error of their ways and bring Bidgewell in together.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 8, 2014

      Bo – I think the only reason Thomas went in before Bagwell was because of his 500+ Homers (though for some reason Bidge’s 3000 hits did not carry the same weight).
      Thomas could not hold Bags glove – in fact he was the dreaded DH for a long time during which he did not hold his own glove. Bags was one of the best right handed 1B’s I ever saw and he was such an intelligent baserunner – stealing tons of bases without great speed.

      Like

      • rj1953
        January 8, 2014

        Bagwell was also a leader and a presence in the clubhouse. Intangibles along with the good base running, fielding and heads up play that dont seem to get any weight from these writers. The way he charged bunts unnerved some hitters and they didnt bunt well. Never saw a first baseman field a bunt on the 3rd base side of the mound till Bagwell.

        Like

      • peschdan
        January 8, 2014

        rj – when I think of Bagwell – I picture two things. One was that ridiculous spread out batting stance. The other was that bunt defense – he was fearless, but as you said put fear into the hearts of the batters.
        I thought that for the time he was the hitting coach he got some good results out of the team. He is a talented person but troubled.

        Like

  6. Bo Weaver
    January 8, 2014

    PS — notice how Glavine and Maddux were elected together?

    Like

    • BrianT
      January 8, 2014

      Biggio (hopefully) goes in next year. It’ll be three more years minimum for Bagwell.

      Like

      • peschdan
        January 8, 2014

        Probably true – but unfortunate…

        Like

    • peschdan
      January 8, 2014

      That was a nice and deserved touch for Glavine and Maddux and they should also put in all the umps that called strikes on balls a foot outside. (OK that was a cheap shot) However – I’m betting Biggio gets in next year and Bags does not since he lost votes this year. It would be sweet to have them go in together.

      Like

  7. Astro45
    January 8, 2014

    Last year at this time, I wrote (I think) that the Hall of Fame was off my bucket list. This year I will stop even reading about this joke. This is worse than Fantasy Baseball. Bags can’t go in because of steroids, but Thomas is the exact same age. Biggio can’t go in because — Well he just can’t. And no one short of Cobb or Ruth can go in on the first ballot because they have to be SPECIAL but Thomas can go in on first ballot. Many ball players may or may not have been on PEDs but a bunch of these voting yahoos have to be on crack. None of this voting makes any sense to a vertically walking person.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 8, 2014

      Yes – Thomas was “big” to begin with so he couldn’t be roiding according to the wags (not our wag – but baseball wags).
      Because Bagwell bulked up and he was buddies with Caminiti – well he is a suspect.
      I do not understand this other than to think that the Hall has lost control of the process.

      Like

  8. peschdan
    January 8, 2014

    I did also want to say to Brian T – some fine writing their Mr. Todd – it said so much and so well.

    Like

    • Astro45
      January 8, 2014

      Ditto BT, fine writing on such a tacky subject. I don’t want to knock anyone that was elected this year or any prior year. But it boggles the mine when Biggio was accused of staying past his prime just to pad his stats, and it took Thomas 3 years to hit his last 16 home runs and in that 3 year period he played less than a 150 games total.

      Like

      • peschdan
        January 8, 2014

        Great point Astro45 – the biggest problem is this type of hypocrisy. Too many of the writers decide who they want to vote for and then they explain why they did not vote for someone without seeing if they voted for someone with the same faults.
        I have no problem with who got in – just who was left out.

        Like

  9. Brian_T
    January 8, 2014

    Thanks, Dan and 45. I was inspired by the stupidity.

    Good points about Thomas. Calling him a lock when Bagwell is arguably (and without much difficulty) a better overall ballplayer.

    Like

  10. devin_
    January 8, 2014

    I have to wonder how much Drayton and Crane hurt Biggio’s election chances. I’m serious here – if they hadn’t bottomed the franchise out do you think at least two more voters would have voted for Biggio? The fact of the matter is that perception is reality…not the stats showing where he ranks. The national perception is that the Astros are a joke and destined for another 100 losses. How deserving could Biggio be if he played for this joke of a franchise his entire career?

    As for Frank Thomas, I don’t have any problem with his election. You have to wonder if a lot of voters were chomping at the bit to choose him over the known roid users like McGwire, Sosa, etc. We can’t say for certain, but my memory says Thomas was clean.

    Bagwell is my favorite ballplayer of all time. There are guys in the HOF who are less deserving. I hope he’ll get some momentum back and eventually get the call.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 9, 2014

      Now come on Devin – are you really Bo Weaver writing this….
      But when it is this close every little bit may affect things. I do know this – if Bidge was former Red Sox or Yank with 3000+ hits, gritty player, All Star at catcher and 2B, top 10 to top 30 all time in so many categories – we would not be having this discussion.

      Like

      • Bo Weaver
        January 9, 2014

        Hey Devin knows what time it is…

        Like

    • peschdan
      January 9, 2014

      I think the thing about Frank Thomas (probably similar for Jim Thome) is that he is pictured as always a big guy – so there is no way a big guy who does not have a significant body change is going to use steroids. Of course Andy Pettitte did not go through a significant body change admitted he roided to accelerate healing from an injury. Truth be known – we will never know the answer to this question fully and it makes the Hall of Fame vote a sticky mess for the foreseeable future.

      Like

  11. peschdan
    January 9, 2014

    Got an email from my son, Adam – I especially like his uniform idea.

    Hey Dad,

    Good articles. I was disappointed to hear that he didn’t make it. I mean, if people are avoiding steroid era players, surely Frank Thomas shouldn’t be in before him.

    Honestly, the three that made it are great players and all deserve to get in, but somebody that only voted for one person, shouldn’t get a vote. Anyway, one more year Biggio. He should wear a jersey with dirt all down the front when he accepts it next year.

    Like

  12. Steven
    January 9, 2014

    Bagwell is fringe hall of fame. The big stats for him, HR/RBI numbers, are matched by dozens of players, Biggio is a guy that has that magic mark of 3000 hits that only 20 something others have ever matched. He is the only 3000 hit player ever to not be a first ballot guy. Listening to Chris Russo, who I concede is on radio because he has a big mouth and not for being a great sports mind, and he made it clear that he wouldn’t vote for Biggio, and it just told me all I needed to know about the national media’s perception.

    It’s amazing to me that writers are given up to 10 votes, and yet most will not use more than 2 or 3.

    My opinion is the system should be revamped, extended out to 20 years, minimum time in the league to receive votes should be 7 years (down from 10), and the “cool-off” period should be dropped to 3 years. Once you do that, tell writers the minimum number of votes on a ballot is 5, maximum is 7 and up the percentage to 80%. I don’t know that this fixes it, because some writers intentionally vote for dumb, obviously bad candidates on purpose in order to mock the system, which is how Armando Benetiz, Jacques Jones, and JT Snow get votes.

    It would also help if the BBWAA forced itself to have equal representation across markets. Russo demonstrates that most northeast guys, or in Russo’s case a California guy and avid Giants fan, just isn’t going to respect mid west and southern teams. I am sure in his eyes that Derek Jeter is a first ballot hall of famer, but Biggio was a better defender at 2B for most of his career, has more doubles, similar in triples, more homeruns, similar runs scored, more walks, more stolen bases. The biggest difference is Jeter’s much higher career batting average. In almost every other facet of the game Biggio was better.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 9, 2014

      Just look at Biggio vs. Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg had a slight advantage in BA – .285 vs. ,281. Biggio had almost 900 more hits and more than 500 more runs scored. The difference to me is that Sandberg played in the hey day of WGN – where there were not hundreds of cable choices and he was seen by tons of people across the country. I think Sandberg with absolutely inferior numbers to Biggio went in on his 3rd try – why the heck is Biggio not a slam dunk on his first or second shot?

      Like

  13. daveb
    January 9, 2014

    Just because a guy has a job as a baseball writer does not automatically qualify him as a baseball expert. I’d venture a guess that most of those guys never put a glove on. While perhaps good journalists, many would not understand the significance of an MLB All Star catcher going on to win several Gold Gloves at second base, all the while putting up offensive numbers unmatched by most.

    Guys like Gurnick serve only to draw attention to themselves (after all, the guy does not even rate a mention in Wikipedia) and as a result, take the credibility out of the voting process.

    It’ll never happen, but I’d prefer to see a much smaller group made up of distinguished baseball writers, national broadcasters, players and managers, GM’s and maybe even an umpire or two. A committee that would serve only for 3 to 5 years, rotating out, especially the on field members of the group, so that some of the votes would come from players and managers who were actually on the field with the players being considered.

    Biggio will get in. But Dan, you’re right. Bagwell going backwards is not a good indication of a future for him in the Hall.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 9, 2014

      I’m not sure there is a great way of doing this – thoughts:
      – Some folks are complaining that once writers are voters – they never give it up even if they stop covering baseball. Intuitively you would say take them out of the voting bloc, but…. there is a good chance that they saw a bigger chunk of some of the players who are eligible.
      – You could do like the NFL does – they have a finite set of voters – I think it is in the 30’s or 40’s and they meet (I think it is the weekend of the Hall of Fame game itself) and work out who gets in – face to face. Maybe a better idea, but….different writers will present on behalf of those who have been shortlisted to be considered. Someone may get in just because they have the best presemter.
      – You could start tossing out those who do things like turn in a blank ballot or other goofy attention getting actions, but….who gets to decide and what is the criteria.
      – I personally would be interested in a two tiered system – where they first vote to knock out the noise – knock the list of eligibles down to 10 or 12 names. This would allow those with agenda to get it out of their system. Then have another vote on those 10 or 12 players who made the first cut using the 75% criteria. Just a thought.

      Like

  14. becky
    January 9, 2014

    You’ve heard the saying “cussing a blue streak”? My entire house
    is NEON blue. I’m so angry about this it’s not funny…..not because Biggio was my favorite player, but turning in a blank voting card, or
    only voting for one guy, is NOT the way this is supposed to work. The three that got in yesterday were well deserved, BUT they can NOT diss Biggio just because “he heard something from someone about Biggio”. My mother always taught me
    “don’t believe everything you hear, and only HALF what you see”.
    It’s time to revamp the rules on this, and poll those writers who have a
    “grudge” to grind……..and relieve those guys from their votes.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 9, 2014

      Becky –
      That is the weird thing – if there was a rule that only 3 could get in – then I think there could (and I emphasize could) be real reasons why Biggio was not included. But there is no reason under this format that 3/4 of the writers did not include him.
      These “message” ballots only hurt others and do not help whatever cause or agenda the voters think they are sending.
      I hate to make someone so deserving have to wait another year. Life is way too short and uncertain.

      Like

  15. JSSS
    January 9, 2014

    What’s even worse is Bodley voted for Biggio last year. Want to get really bad? Listen to what Bodley said last year, after having voted for Biggio: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/move-from-behind-plate-paves-way-for-craig-biggio?ymd=20140107&content_id=66371000&vkey=news_mlb

    Like

  16. becky
    January 9, 2014

    I’m done trying to understand ANYTHING MLB does anymore……….but
    I can tell you guys Mark Appel’s delivery is nearly IDENTICAL to Roy Oswalt! DANG………I can NOT wait to see this kid in person! With this warmer weather…..I can almost smell the grass and smell the leather gloves!! SIX more weeks!

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 9, 2014

      That would be a good guy to emulate. Hard to picture that delivery on a much bigger guy – but your base thought is right on – bring on spring training.

      Like

  17. becky
    January 10, 2014

    How about a “Free blog weekend”!!!!

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 10, 2014

      Becky – I’ll see if I can pop one together and get Chip to post it. He has been traveling a lot – so I will try and catch him on the fly. .

      Like

  18. devin_
    January 11, 2014

    Good thing the Astros didn’t trade for Alex Rodriguez

    Like

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