Pat Hickey is a hockey columnist for the Montreal Gazette. So, of course he has a vote in the National Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. And of course he takes that vote very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he informs his readers in the very first paragraph of his latest piece, that:

If you’re doing it right, it should take three to four hours to fill out a ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While this might lead one to question the efficiency of Mr. Hickey’s judgment, he quickly offers his readers an explanation for the lengthy process. It seems as though some practical joker has been sending false ballots to Hickey that must be far more complicated than the genuine articles that are sent to the more than 580 writers who decide such things.

How else do we rationalize this piece of justification from Mr. Hickey?

Pete Rose was ignored by a majority of voters for the 15 years he was on the ballot.

Rose, rather well-reportedly, has never appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot. Ever. So, considering that Mr. Hickey brags of spending three to four hours going over his ballot, the only reasonable explanation is that he’s receiving counterfeit ballots from some devious trickster.

Such conniving behavior is only matched by Mr. Hickey himself, who hints at his own future reversal.

I didn’t vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa. That’s not to say I won’t vote for them in the future — as long as they receive a minimum number of votes the players remain on the ballot for 15 years — but they’re not getting my nod on the first ballot.

Or perhaps Mr. Hickey’s bogus ballot also includes moving goal posts when it comes to Hall of Fame standards, as well. How else is he able to justify inconsistencies in his final judgment on a player’s career that goes unchanged after retirement?

I suppose there’s one other explanation: He’s entirely full of shit, and particularly attached to the idea that he’s capable of sending a malformed message to Bonds and his like that sports writers will always remain the pettiest human beings alive. In that case, I’d call his column a rousing success.

Comments (38)

  1. The HOF is bullshit. Either you are worthy the first time, or you’re not. Has any player got better after retiring?

    • I agree, but I think you can make a case for Blyleven, where maybe his contributions weren’t appreciated at the time as much as we’ve learned they should’ve been appreciated. But for the most part, I totally agree.

      • I see the argument that maybe the measuring stick moves over time, or as you say the players’ accomplishments are not fully appreciated at time, but the voters, who are supposed to follow the game very closely, should be above that. I think your piece identifies a lot of the problems. The voters.

        • I was using Ellen as a measuring stick to show my dislike for Cheryl Crow.

        • In quasi-fairness to the voters (who are still completely full of moralistic shit on too many occasions) the special status bestowed on “first-ballot Hall-of-Famers” is a systemic flaw. It’s hard to fault the voters for considering this when voting for HOF candidates, when it’s built into the accolades given to the players.

          If all HOFers were considered equal, then sure, the “you are or you aren’t” argument is valid. But as long as the Hall itself differentiates based on how quickly you get voted in, then the voters can’t be held responsible for making it part of their decision process.

    • I don’t agree.

      I don’t necessarily feel the same about everything today as I did five years ago, and certainly not as I felt about things 15 years ago. Perspectives change. New and better information arises. Stances soften… It makes sense to keep players on the ballot (who received the requisite minimum number of votes) for an extended period of time to account for those things.

      • That’s a good point. I can agree with that. I just don’t think that’s the intent behind a lot of these guys who aren’t voting for players the first time they’re on the ballot. I’d also argue that there’s a limitation to just how much perspective can change when it comes to what should be/shouldn’t be judged.

      • I think HOF credentials should be based on the era in which they played. That doesn’t change. A potential HOF player should be judged against his contemporaries. He was either better than most everyone, or he wasn’t

        • Good luck convincing any of these holier than thou authors to give up their votes just because they stopped writing years ago.

  2. Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb. (Him not you)

  3. Good read, good laugh. Sad at the same time…

  4. I’m actully with Hickey on this one. If Bonds, Sosa and Big Mac have huge years this year i may also have to re-evaluate whether they are HOF worthy.

    F*king moron!

  5. Hickey still has a ballot because he probably was a BBWAA member from when he covered the Expos (I’m assuming he used to have the Expos beat). I think they let all those writers keep their ballots after the team moved.

    That said, wow.

  6. It sounds like these idiot Hall of Fame voters have “chick flick” syndrome.

    If the “average” girl hangs around the cute guy long enough – he will eventually choose her…..but it takes time to realize how great she really is

  7. Good thing he’s not a member of the BBWAA or we’d have to actually take what he wrote seriously.

  8. Next you are going to tell us that you have to actually watch baseball to vote

  9. While I applaud the BBWAA’s attempts to be more inclusive by adding web writers like Keith Law to the fold, could they spend a little time disposing of the guys who don’t even write about baseball any more?

  10. Voters should have to pass tests for their votes to count (no not breathalyzers, cause then there would be no votes counted). Just simple questions about the stats of the players (which are on the ballot i believe but I bet some would still get wrong)

  11. ^^^ Agree. Make it a yearly interview process.

    1. What are your reasons for wanting a ballot this year?

    “Don’t say revenge…don’t say revenge…”

  12. There are few professions that I detest more than print sports writers.

  13. Are you going to trot this routine out every time a print journalist does anything non-progressive? You have more to contribute to this site.

  14. Hickey needs to fuck off. Barry has had his ass kissed his whole career, let him reap what he`s sown already.

  15. He voted for Piazza and Biggio. Compare their numbers with Bonds and Sosa for instance. Wow.

  16. HoF Criteria 101:

    1. How many taters
    2. How many saves
    3. How many wins
    4. Does he play for a large market team
    5. How accommodating were they to my interview requests
    6. Did his team make the playoffs
    7. How is everyone else voting
    8. How many ribbies
    9. Can I employ my voting privileges to appear morally superior to the candidate
    10. # of world series rings

  17. 11. Can I equate my bias to nebulous, unquantifiable terms like heart, grit and spunk
    12. Am I jealous of the candidate in any way
    13. How many stolen bases
    14. Do young people with computers feel I should vote for this candidate
    15. How racist am I
    16. Has the candidate abused women, and if so, am I a misogynist
    17. What was their batting average
    18. Did they play the game the right way (i.e. do I find the candidate physically attractive)
    19. Do I reject society
    20. Does my employer pay me by the pageview

    • Y’know, the truth potentially embedded in 20. is frightening. However, “was he a ‘big game guy’ ” should find a top 20 spot. “Big game guy’s” are huge. It only takes a couple of big games to keep you on the ballot for years.

  18. 21. How good was his moustache?

  19. #22 – Did he autograph my ticket stub when I was 9?

  20. #23. Is he a gamer, i.e in no way latino?

    #24. Is he a TRUE YANKEE?

  21. Pete Rose should be in the hall of fame as a player. No one expects the Rosé man to be inducted or included on the greatest coaches ballot.

  22. Part of the problem as well is that only so many get in per ballot, and the rest carry over. Sometimes ballots are so stacked that hall of gamers that everyone thinks should get in end up having to wait a few years until they are on weaker ballots. This is stupid. They should just put in everyone that’s worthy and then not vote on them again. Some years they would induct 10 people and some years 2. What’s so bad about that? It would get rid of all this first ballot crap.

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