MLB.com’s Hal Bodley repeats a bit of nonsense you tend to hear at Hall of Fame voting time, and that’s that some players are “first ballot Hall of Famers” and some aren’t:
I’m wrestling with whether to check Roberto Alomar’s box.
Alomar’s the most likely of those being considered for the first time
to make it, but does he really deserve to be in the select company of
the 44 players chosen by the BBWAA in their first year of eligibility? That’s the question I keep asking myself and so far cannot answer.
Probably because it’s a dumb question. Players are either worthy of being voted into the Hall of Fame or they are not. There is nothing in the Hall of Fame voting rules which provides that those getting votes in their first year of eligibility must meet some heightened criteria. The concept of “first ballot Hall of Famer” is a retrospective thing that simply means that there weren’t as many people on the fence about a guy’s qualifications. It is not some pre-ordained honor against which voters should judge current candidates.
If a voter simply can’t decide whether Alomar is Hall of Fame worthy in an absolute sense, fine, he shouldn’t vote for him. The 15 year window of eligibility is to give people time to change their minds.
But Bodley isn’t doing that. He says “I feel certain he’ll be a Hall of Famer some day, but I’m not convinced it should happen from this ballot.” In this, Bodley is basically acknowledging that Alomar is worthy, but that he simply doesn’t want to make him one of those magical “first timers.” By adding that extra hurdle, I believe he’s abusing his voting privileges.