Last winter, just before the Hall of Fame voting results, Matthew did a good comp of Curt Schilling, John Smoltz and Mike Mussina, finding that all three of them had fantastic Hall of Fame cases. Mussina’s, however, was probably the strongest and, among the three, Smoltz’s probably the weakest, even if only mildly so.
So of course it seems like the three of them have Hall of Fame voting results that are the opposite of that. Smoltz is in and Schilling has more support than Mussina. Viva democracy, I guess.
Today Graham Womack of The Sporting News talks about Mussina and why his case, at least from the perspective of armchair analysis of voters, is so tough:
There’s a school of thought that if one needs to think about whether a player is a Hall of Famer, they probably are not one. By this kind of simple gut analysis that many voters seem to still favor, Mussina is no easy selection. That he pitched in an era that boasted several elite pitchers — Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Pedro Martinez coming quickly to mind — hasn’t helped his cause either.
I get it, at least on some vague level. Not that much hardware or any one trait — apart from consistent greatness, which apparently doesn’t matter too much to a lot of voters — that sticks out like Smoltz’s save totals and presence on those Braves teams of the 90s and Schilling’s World Series heroics. Of course that saying Womack quotes about “needing to think about it” is the dumbest thing ever, even if it flows nicely with the majority of sports analysis you see. Why think when you can just react, right?