Two simple changes to the Hall of Fame ballot

16 Comments

We usually reserve all of our Hall of Fame arguing for late December and early January when we can devote sufficient time to the obnoxiousness that requires, but any time is a good time really.

Today Jim Caple has a suggestion to improve the process:  (1) eliminate the 15-years-on-the-ballot rule; and (2) eliminate the if-you-don’t-get-five-percent-of-the-vote-you’re-dropped rule.

I’m definitely in favor of the second one, as I’ve never understood its purpose.  If we can see players go from very little support in the early years of their candidacy to ultimately being elected, why does it matter how low their vote total is in the early years?  If they simply have no support, they won’t be clogging anyone’s ballot for multiple years and eventually even the hardcore voters will stop voting for lost causes.  Make it like, a bunch of years with sub-five percent before doing it.  Who knows what make us reevaluate someone’s candidacy over time?  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to talk about Lou Whitaker now?

I’m not as sure on the 15-year thing, because it can prevent someone getting moderate though not overwhelming support from clogging things up.  We’ll see this more in the coming years when half the voters refuse to vote for the steroid guys and gridlock results.  Still, I’m not adamant in opposing such a thing and could be persuaded because there still is an arbitrary feeling to the rule.

This would all be fun to debate.  Too bad the folks that run the Hall of Fame never seem all that interested in joining in that debate.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
5 Comments

There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).