Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning was one of the members of the Veterans Committee this past December. The Veterans Committee which selected no players or executives for the Hall of Fame. Bunning opened up about the process to Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News. Short version: he was disgusted by the process and the result:
“I felt useless,” Bunning seethed the other day, his voice crackling with anger. “It was the most disappointing 3 days I’ve ever spent in my life!” . . . To me, it was a wasted weekend. We were there to pick someone for the Hall of Fame. We didn’t accomplish anything. OK, maybe Allen and Oliva will be at the top of the list in 3 years when they come up again. But who will be on the committee of voters? What will the rules be? Things have to change!”
His ire is mostly about former teammate Dick Allen not making it and the fact that there were several writers on the committee, one of whom — Phil Pepe — he singled out for submitting a blank ballot back in 1988 when Bunning was up for election and, whom he believes, cost him his election that year. He was also critical of the balance of the committee, noting that there were “two Tigers guys” in Al Kaline and Dave Dombrowski on the committee. Bunning, of course, played for the Tigers too, but obviously feels more like a Phillies guy.
I dunno, it’s Bunning. He’s never been shy to complain about things. Sometimes he’s full of it, sometimes he makes decent points. I see both of those qualities present in his full rant here, which you should go read.
I mean, yes, having a VC in which everyone submits full ballots but by which no players are elected is sort of a structural problem. And the makeup of the committee is always fair game. At the same time, Bunning says he made a sharp argument for Murray Wills, and Wills ain’t exactly the Platonic ideal of a Hall of Famer.