Last night, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza would be inducted this summer as the Class of 2016.
Griffey set a new record, appearing on 437 of the 440 ballots cast. (The old record was held by Tom Seaver – our first Mets representative in Cooperstown – who received 98.84 percent of the vote in 1992.)
It took four years, but Piazza finally crossed the 75 percent threshold in this year’s election. And while I can’t figure out how a man who’s been retired from baseball since 2007 managed to do anything that “made him a Hall of Famer” since the last election, I’d rather celebrate the voters getting something right.
While Pedro Martinez will be remembered by most for his achievements with the Boston Red Sox, my strongest memory comes from one of about a dozen games I went to at Shea Stadium in 2005.
While we were settling in to watch the start of the game, Pedro quickly retired the first two Arizona Diamondbacks batters. Then, with Luis Gonzalez at the plate, all of the sprinklers on the infield suddenly turned on!
Many pitchers would have let something like that throw them off of their routine. Not Pedro. On the Diamondvision board, you could see Pedro smiling and laughing about the ridiculous situation. While the other players left the field during the delay, Pedro stayed out there. Once order was restored, he struck out Gonzalez and went on to pitch eight innings of one-run ball as the Mets won 6-1.
After the game, Pedro told reporters, “Water is a blessing, I believe. So I got wet.”
I hope the Mets invite Pedro Martinez out to Citi Field sometime this summer to honor him and give fans one more chance to applaud.
Tomorrow’s the day of baseball’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the biggest event on the museum’s calendar.
So of course they put out a press release announcing a dumb voting rules change this morning.
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors today announced changes to the rules for election for recently retired players, reducing the length of stay on the ballot for players from a maximum of 15 to 10 years, while installing a new balloting and registration process for Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting members. (read the full press release at the Hall of Fame’s website)
In an era where ballots are already getting clogged with players who deserve Hall of Fame consideration, let’s reduce the length of time they can appear on the ballot. Way to make a flawed voting process worse, folks.
But then again, museum board chair Jane Forbes Clark thinks the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) has been doing a great job.
“We believe the BBWAA has done an excellent job of honoring the criteria advanced by the Hall of Fame – player’s record, contributions to the teams on which the player played, character, sportsmanship and integrity – to determine individuals who belong in the Hall of Fame by the highest threshold, a 75 percent majority. The Board believes these changes are necessary to ensure the integrity of the voting process moving forward.”
Members of the BBWAA will have to register to vote in 2015 and future elections, and they will have to sign an unspecified “code of conduct.”