Do I vote for suspected steroid users, particularly a couple included in the Mitchell report on Thursday, or do I automatically dismiss their candidacy?
Up to you. There is a "character" clause in the HOF voting rules, but hell, Ty Cobb is in, so go nuts.
Do I vote for guys I personally like, or is that not being objective?
...That's the definition of "not being objective," dummy. Vote for them if they're good enough. This is not the Woody Paige Memorial Day Bar-B-Q Jamboree Invite List.
Do I vote for a creep or a man who committed suicide? Do I check 10 players, the maximum allowed, or keep it to one or two? Do I go with pitcher Tommy John because they named a surgical procedure after him?
These are pretty much up to you, but off the top of my head: (a) if he is good enough to get in, (b) up to you, (c) no.
Here are my thoughts about the votes, although you can influence my final decision:
Gossage — During a visit to Yankee Stadium in the late 1970s, I wanted to talk to Goose but was told he was cruel and gruff to reporters. I sheepishly introduced myself and said I was from Colorado, his home state, and he talked pleasantly for 30 minutes. We've been good friends since. I would vote for him even if he wasn't deserving. [...]
Whoops! You're not supposed to say things like that, Woody. It kind of means you're a terrible journalist.
Let's just look at those voting guidelines one more time:
Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
Let's see...just going to scan it one more time...nope. Don't see anything about talking pleasantly with people, or journalist-player home state connection.
Knoblauch, McGwire and Justice — I won't vote for them because of the swirl of steroid and human growth hormone accusations, and I also won't vote for them because I don't think they're worthy. Justice had a career batting average of .279 (with 305 home runs and 1,017 RBIs). His teams did win two World Series, but I don't feel it.
Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played, and whether Woody Paige "feels it." (Emphasis mine.)
Knoblauch was a very good second baseman, but this is not the Hall of Very Good.
What a classic fucking strawman. "You seem like a nice guy. I hate nice guys!!!!"
McGwire had 583 homers but a career .263 average.
Reggie Jackson had 563 homers but a career .262 average. There are a lot of arguments against Mac in the HOF. This is not one of them.
The drug suspicions, and his appearance at a Washington hearing examining drug use, haunt him.
This is sort of one of them. But the last one was so dumb I can't even give you partial credit.
(Dale) Murphy — Got my vote, but he won't get in. He was two short of 400 home runs and hit only .265, but he won back-to-back MVP awards, made seven all-star teams and earned five Gold Gloves.
He played 26 games for the Rockies in their first season, 1993, before retiring. I vote for Rockies. He was who a ballplayer should be. And he always remembers my name. I'm a sap.
Holy shit, are those bad arguments. Those aren't even arguments. Those aren't anything. That's not even English. That is a collection of glyphs scrawled on a cave in Lascaux. You will vote for Murphy because he was a Rockie? And he always remembers your name? Are you kidding me?
If this were politics, and you were a congressman, and you were talking about why you would or would not vote on a certain bill, and you were this frank in admitting your (a) lack of qualifications and (b) absurdly low ethical standards, not to mention (c) how easily you can be bought, you might be impeached. I know baseball is just a game, but jeez, man. Have a little self-respect.
Andre Dawson and Tim Raines — I'm voting for them. Both are borderline. But I was amazed by, and wrote columns about, Dawson and Raines when they played for the Denver Bears. Dawson passed through in 1976 on his way to the Montreal Expos, and Raines was the 1980 minor-league player of the year as the Bears' second baseman. (Raines did have a cocaine addiction problem but overcame it.)
Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played, and whether Woody Paige "feels it." Also, you can chuck the "character" thing out the window if the payer in question ever played for a fucking minor league team in Denver, because somehow that makes up for it. In fact, if the dude ever played in or near the Denver-metro area, at any level, just stamp a big ol' "yes" on the form and go about your business. (Emphasis mine.)
Jim Rice — He has been shut out for 13 years, mainly because he primarily was a DH. That doesn't bother me, but his overall numbers are just shy. Yet, he was an MVP, in the top five in the MVP five other times and made eight all-star teams in 16 seasons. Why not? I'll check his name.
Well, his playing career doesn't really warrant it. But on the other hand, his playing career kinda warrants it. So, okay.
Again, I know these aren't exactly world-changing policy decisions, but Jiminy Christmas, friend. Spend a little time. Do some analysis. Think it over. I mean, did you even research whether Jim Rice has ever visited Denver? Or whether he was ever polite to you?
Don Mattingly — Another former player, now a coach, who I became friends with, so I'm prejudiced.
I am getting to like the flatness with which he describes his own corruption.
I like voting for friends, especially when they hit .307 lifetime, won an MVP, made six consecutive all-star teams and won a Gold Glove nine times in 14 seasons. Class act.
Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played, and whether Woody Paige "feels it." Also, you can chuck the "character" thing out the window if the payer in question ever played for a fucking minor league team in Denver, because somehow that makes up for it. In fact, if the dude ever played in or near the Denver-metro area, at any level, just stamp a big ol' "yes" on the form and go about your business. Oh -- also, if Woody Paige is friends with him, and if Paige at anytime describes him as a "class act," then pretty much go ahead and let him in. (Emphasis mine.)
Bert Blyleven (287-250) and Tommy John (288-231) — Also on my list. I will give a vote as a salute to Dave Concepcion, in his final year on the ballot.
A vote for Davey C. Yet another thing you and Joe Morgan have in common.
My nine. Your turn.
Well, I have met and spoken with the following baseball players in my lifetime:
So, I'll be voting for them. Also, I will vote for anyone who has ever visited, mentioned, or some within 100 miles of Partridge, KS. And finally, I will vote for anyone who has a name that is similar to, or an anagram of, my name. Because that is what I have learned from you, Woody. Vote crazy!
04.05 05.05 06.05 07.05 08.05 09.05 10.05 11.05 12.05 01.06 02.06 03.06 04.06 05.06 06.06 07.06 08.06 09.06 10.06 11.06 12.06 01.07 02.07 03.07 04.07 05.07 06.07 07.07 08.07 09.07 10.07 11.07 12.07 01.08 02.08 03.08 04.08 05.08 06.08 07.08 08.08 09.08 10.08 11.08