Last Monday, the MLB announced its inductees to the Hall of Fame. Like every other year, there are two categories that are heavily discussed. The first is who got in and the second is who should have gotten in the snubs. For better or for worse, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America has spoken and now the fun begins.

The easy place to start is who got in. The headliner was Rickey Henderson a no-brainer. The only question was what the Hall would put on his plaque. The only surprise was that 28 of the writers did not vote for him.

Henderson’s numbers speak for themselves. He is the all-time leader in steals with 1,406 and in runs scored with 2,295. What’s more, he amassed 3,055 hits in his career. Henderson is also second all-time in walks with 2,190.

The other elected player waited a long time. On his 15th and final ballot, Jim Rice was finally elected. While Rice’s numbers are not nearly as impressive as Henderson’s, they are still excellent.

Since he played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, he was no stranger to Fenway Park, which turned many of his potential home runs into doubles high off the famed ‘Green Monster.”

For many years, Rice has been considered Hall-worthy but did not get elected because he had a poor relationship with the Boston press. Many of the writers who he did not get along with are members of the BBWAA, and they therefore refused to vote for him.
Now we come to the snubs or at least players who have a compelling argument but have not been elected yet.

The first is Andre Dawson, who saw his votes increase to 67 percent but still fell short of the 75 percent needed for election into the Hall of Fame.

Among his accolades and statistics, Dawson’s claims are his eight Golden Glove Awards, 1,591 RBIs (34th all-time, which is more than Hall of Fame inductee Jim Rice) and the fact that he is one of only three players with 400 HRs and 300 steals.

One must also consider the era in which an athlete played. Dawson is a perfect example. His numbers do not match up well with current players of the most recent era. However, he was one of the most dominant players of his time and that makes him worthy of careful consideration.

The other big snub was pitcher Bert Blyleven. Blyleven won 287 games in his career, which places him 27th on the all-time list. He amassed 3,701 strikeouts, good for fifth all-time. His 60 shutouts rank ninth all-time, and he is the only pitcher on the Top-20 list of shutouts who is not in the Hall of Fame.

The strongest case against him is the number of losses. The problem with looking at a statistic is that one must bear in mind the the team for which a particular athlete played. Blyleven played for some teams that simply were not that good. It is logical to assume that he would have lost fewer games and won more games on a better team.

So there we have it. This year’s election is done for. It will be interesting to see if either of the two snubs gets in. As for those who did get in, both were, to say the least, deserving. Rice was a long overdue entry and Henderson… well, let’s just say that it was a forgone conclusion.

As we roll toward the next election, the discussion will continue to heat up and the debate on the worthiness of the players who did not make it in will surely continue.

Gillenson is a member of the class of 2010.



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