My ballot for the Cooperstown Class of 2020
With so many worthy candidates making it through the clutter and earning enshrinement in recent years, this year’s ballot featured fewer names that I considered Cooperstown-worthy. So I found myself coloring in fewer boxes.
For those who’ve been following along, you may recall my three-step process:
The holdovers from my last ballot are Billy Wagner, Larry Walker and Curt Schilling. (Explanations can be found in previous emails.)
With apologies to fans of Chone Figgins, J.J. Putz and Jose Valverde, my only first-timer is Derek Jeter.
Then came sorting through the rest of the candidates.
I found no new compelling arguments to change my stance against Bonds and Clemens (see past emails). I also wasn’t swayed by the ESPN columnist who wrote in January that all holdouts on Bonds and Clemens are out-of-touch old-timers; one, he derisively noted, even works for the American Heart Association. I found that quite funny. So did an AHA supporter who ended up befriending me and is now on this distribution list.
I took another long look at Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield and Omar Vizquel. Good cases can be made for all of them. But that’s the thing – only good cases, not great. Not enough to earn my support.
While some HOF voters believe in maxing out their allotment and supporting 10 players, or close to it, I disagree. The caliber of candidates should decide how many boxes you fill in. To me, only four made the cut this year. (I’m reminded of a line I heard while in Cooperstown that I’ve probably mentioned before: Every ballplayer thinks there should be more people in the Hall … until they get in, then they think it should be more exclusive.)
Jeter alone will likely draw a record-setting crowd to Cooperstown on July 26. I look forward to learning who’ll be joining him when selections are announced on Jan. 21.
One more calendar item worth mentioning: May 12, the release date for “One Tough Out,” the memoir I helped Rod Carew write. (The Amazon link is rudimentary because the cover remains under design.) Consider yourself warned that you’ll likely receive another email about it in early May.
PS - This is my 17th year of voting. The privilege continues for two more years.