After this year’s real Hall of Fame inductees were announced, I asked the Zisk bullpen of writers to compile their own list of Hall candidates. But for our ballots, writers could list up to 10 players, umpires, owners and/or personalities who should be elected to the Hall. Their picks could be from anytime and any team, not necessarily as restricted as the “official” voting (which meant Joe Jackson and Pete Rose were eligible). While Zisk writers had a lot to say, they had no clear idea on who the mighty halls of Cooperstown should induct next. This jibes with the recent Veterans committee vote (for no one…again) and forecasts an interesting 2008 hall vote (no overwhelming favorite in contrast to the no brainer induction of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn this year) by the “real” baseball writers. Also, there was not one vote for Mark McGwire, so it seems his boneheaded testimony in front of congress in 2005 has stuck in the minds of our voters too. I'm sure that our esteemed publisher will score the writing staff actual invites to vote for the real deal, as soon as we hit ten years of baseball writing experience. [Ed note—Ha! Not bloody likely.] But until then, here’s are our most definitely unscientific results from eight members of the Zisk writing team:
Three VotesJim Rice
Two VotesLee Smith
One VoteHarold Baines
Parisian Bob Caruthers
...and “The Doctor who invented Tommy John Surgery”
Now I’ve met one of the authors of Out By a Step, so I know that there are easily hundreds of ballplayers who were as good as some of the players in the Hall of Fame. But if we follow that rule that a player needs to be named on 75% of the ballots—six votes in this case—then no one would get in during our election. Could this be because of general voter dissatisfaction or something far goofier going on in the halls of Zisk? It’s hard to tell. As for our top vote getters, Charlie Hustle won’t likely get in, but perhaps our unscientific vote bodes well for Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, and hopefully the late Buck O’Neil.
(On a personal note, I was honored to have gotten a chance to meet Buck in 1999 at the All-Star Fan fest. And I was in the audience at the Field of Dreams in 2006 for what should have been his induction. The man had class and grace beyond than 99% of people involved in baseball today, and it’s a shame he hasn’t been enshrined in the hall yet. Let’s hope this gets rectified soon.)
Frank D'Urso is a Member of SABR and makes the pilgrimage to Cooperstown each year with Team Galco for the induction ceremony.