A new Hall of Fame voter considers his ballot

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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!

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.