In this week’s Sports Illustrated, the magazine is doing their annual “Where Are They Now?” series and one of the former athletes they’re featuring is Hall of Fame baseball legend Reggie Jackson.
In the piece, Jackson has some choice words about the current selection process into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.” What about Bert Blyleven? “No. No, no, no, no,” Jackson says. “Blyleven wasn’t even the dominant pitcher of his era — it was Jack Morris.”
Jackson is right. Some guys like Blyleven and Rice in my opinion weren’t Hall of Famers. They had nice numbers but I don’t know if it’s Hall of Fame worthy. But then again, I am not so sure that any of this could be avoided due to the way the voting system is set up.
It just seems to me that the players that are kind of in the middle just get on the ballot gathering 5% more votes every year. Then finally when the class isn’t as strong, they get in. It just feels more of an afterthought than anything.
It’s an old school way of approaching the Hall of Fame with voting and percentages, but I feel that the process can be changed up a little. Guys like Carter and Puckett may not have nice looking baseball cards compared to others, but their impact to the baseball communities they played for is Hall of Fame worthy.
In a sense, Jackson is right that the voting process has allowed some players some questionable entrants into the Hall of Fame. But regardless, these players were great to the game. My biggest issue really is the state of the Hall itself. With confusion of how to handle the steroid users and all that, there’s a bigger issue to handled with the Hall.