One of the biggest sluggers in baseball’s recent memory was Gary Sheffield and he deserves more respect among Hall of Fame voters.
What if I told you there was going to be a player that bested Barry Bonds and Willie Mays in strikeout to RBI ratio? How about a player who enjoyed more seasons with 25+ homers (11) than he did with 60 or more strikeouts (10)? All this information retrieved by the U.S. Marine, sports wizard known as Ryan Spaeder on Twitter. If you tried to guess who that player would be, you wouldn’t be able to because the media would never make the information available. That player is none other than my father, Gary Sheffield. I invite you here to watch me dig into the core ten vote limit issue that the Hall of Fame currently has.
Gary Sheffield had more seasons with at least 25 home runs (11) than he did seasons with 60 or more strikeouts (10). He never struck out more than 83 times in any season. That’s a Hall of Famer.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) November 21, 2019
Personally, I think it’s lazy to only attack the writers for their stance on steroids because we should only ask that the writers maintain consistency. When we see a ballot with a check next to Barry Bonds’ name, we should be able to assume that particular voter will not hold that against any other player on his ballot. The issue presents itself when you have a single vote left and the vote is between two clear Hall of Famers that only differentiate themselves on whether or not they were listed in the Mitchell Report.
A simplified version of what I just said is that the voters are forced to care about steroids at different points during their ballot.
The current state of the voting encourages writers to create reasoning like claiming that Larry Walker playing at a higher altitude is a sufficient way to pick between fellow fringe candidates. If we could find a way to influence the Hall of Fame into a voting that better answered the question of whether a guy should be there, we would juggle far less variables or what I like to call them …excuses.
The current state of the voting literally births incompetency when we have to ask ourselves if Derek Jeter is a unanimous Hall of Famer. The only reason we spend months predicting these results is because voters understand they can only say yes to ten guys. I would assume unanimous status will allude Jeter only because those responsible for the voting are saving their votes for other guys they know need the help. These guys don’t need to be sacrificed for because they aren’t elite players, but because the voters ran out of votes.
What do you do if Derek Jeter is a clear Hall of Famer, but there are ten deserving guys left? This is precisely when personality, playing outside of Coors Field, or steroid allegations have voters giving the nod to players they would like to see in the Hall of Fame rather than the guys they know should be there.
Understand that a big part of why Gary Sheffield, Scott Rolen, or Larry Walker remain on the fringe has nothing to do with being borderline Hall of Famers. The home they found outside baseball immortality is a product of a flawed system designed to give ultimate control to old-school writers over the way players conduct themselves off the field. The human element exposes itself during this sham of a process that tries to convince me a defensive specialist in Omar Vizquel (37%) is more deserving than my father, Gary Sheffield, at 11%.
My goal is for everyone to understand we are trying to help the writers grasp the fact the vote is for the Hall of Fame, not prom king or queen. There is no objective reasoning your local high school quarterback won prom king, everyone just admired the kid.
Hopefully, we start to walk closer to watching a career like Larry Walker and Gary Sheffield objectively so they can go to their rightful home in Cooperstown, New York.