A new Hall of Fame voter considers his ballot

22 Comments

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe has been a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America for ten years now.  As a result, he just received his first-ever Hall of Fame ballot.  He has a column up today in which he talks about his approach.  He doesn’t name his picks yet — he’s still working on it — but he does lay out his criteria:

1. If a player is a Hall of Famer in my estimation, he’ll get my vote the first time he’s eligible. I see no point in having a waiting period. Nobody is getting any better or worse at this point.

2. It’s not my job to correct the mistakes of the past. Just because the Veterans Committee put Phil Rizzuto in doesn’t mean I need to vote for middle infielders who had a career OPS+ of 93.

3. I’ll be judicious in selecting players. The Hall of Fame should not be the Hall of Very Good. Cooperstown needs to be a special place.

4. I’ll solicit opinion and information from many sources when I have doubts or questions. If you feel strongly for or against somebody, feel free send me an e-mail with your reasons.

I get the sense that, if I had the vote, I’d be a bit more lenient than Pete — I think I’d be a “medium-sized Hall” guy as opposed to a small-hall guy — but I think he articulates a great way to approach it.

There’s no reason to withhold a first-year vote for someone you know to be a Hall of Famer simply because Babe Ruth or whoever wasn’t unanimous. If he’s worthy, vote him in.  Likewise, just because Frankie Frisch perverted the Veteran’s Committee into a way to reward his mediocre old buddies back in the day doesn’t mean that we must now elect mediocre players. And I love that Pete is soliciting reader opinions.  Even if someone in Pete’s position does know more about baseball than almost anyone, that doesn’t mean he has a monopoly on wisdom.

Good luck, Pete.  And make sure you include Blyleven and Raines!

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
4 Comments

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.