Alvin Richardson, Columnist
That Greg Maddux went into the Hall of Fame in an avalanche of votes was certainly no surprise. That he didn’t get everyone’s vote still perplexes me worse than trig did in high school. Both topics are as dark and mysterious as the Amazon rain forest so I’m sitting here trying to think of what the voters’ criteria might have been.
Out of 571 senior members of the Baseball Writers Association of America there were sixteen individuals who didn’t vote for Mad Dog. Really dude? Are you taking your meds? What’s it take to get in? Did you vote yes on any ballot or has the door to the venerable Hall been permanently slammed shut in your mind?
I understand that there are those who consider going in on the first ballot is the Holy Grail of entry – that only those with preeminent credentials need apply which brings me back to my original premise – what does it take? So I’m sitting here studying your methodology and have come up with what must have been going through your mind. OK, got my ballot here.
Who’s up this year? Oh yeah, Maddux. Let’s check him out. Shoot, he’s only eighth on the all-time list for wins. He couldn’t even win more games than Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Pud Galvin, Warren Spahn or even Kid Nichols. Eighth – not very impressive.
Well he does have more wins than any other starter in the live ball era but hey, eighth is eighth. What about strikeouts? Uh oh – barely cracked the top ten. He’s way behind Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton, Burt Blyleven, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry and Walter Johnson.
Of course his fast ball was never clocked at over 91 mph and he didn’t spit on the ball much but that’s his problem. He did manage to do pretty well during the steroid era when bat speeds approached that of a runaway Porsche on the Autobahn.
He also did alright at a time when balls were juiced up to fly out of ball parks at an altitude and distance that required a stewardess but hey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. All right, let’s look at his ERA to add some clarity to the picture.
That does it – 227 all-time is not going to make the cut. Of course I can’t really find anyone above him who was a starter after they started making balls that jumped off bats like flubber. No matter. I’m not voting for anyone who is that far down the list even if he did pitch over 5000 innings.
He had plenty of chances to improve it. Besides he’s only 13th on all-time list for innings pitched. (We now return to your regular programming which is hopefully in the real world and not some parallel universe where old curmudgeons and misguided baseball wisdom prevail.)
So having taken a long look at your astute baseball writer mentality I believe we can clearly see where you’re coming from. As it turns out I’m pretty sure that place is another planet that I would guess is somewhere in the vicinity of Uranus. Not voting for Greg Maddux to go into the Hall of Fame – Really?