As we mentioned last week David Eckstein, got two Hall of Fame votes. One of his voters, honorary BBWAA member Chaz Scoggins, late of the Lowell Sun, made his ballot public so we knew he was one. Today he explains himself in a column.
Scoggins is on record as a guy who has no problem voting for PED players and otherwise voted for eight worthy candidates (Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Griffey, Hoffman, McGwire, Piazza, Raines and Schilling). As he did not vote a full ten, it seems as though he didn’t bump someone he thought worthy in order to give the Eckstein shoutout. And, of course, no one fell a vote short of anything, meaning that he didn’t tip any results which mattered, so there is no cause for outrage here.
There is cause for some eye rolling, however. Eye rolling because Scoggins traffics in the baloney in which a lot of people who extoll lesser players traffic, saying that “Eckstein wasn’t blessed with God-given talent.” Which is crazy. He was a major leaguer for ten years. By definition he had supreme talent. Think of the best guy on your high school team. Then realize that he couldn’t make most minor league teams. Then realize that the vast majority of the minor leaguers couldn’t make the majors. Then realize that most guys who make the majors don’t stick for ten years and collect 1,500 hits. Was Eckstein a hard worker? Absolutely. But don’t for one minute tell me he wasn’t blessed with incredible talent. Anyone who does what he did is, and to say otherwise is an insult to him even if it’s meant as a compliment.
That’s what gets me with this kind of thing. Eckstein may have been a great story, but he was more than a story. He was more than a guy for whom, in Scoggins’ words, it was “hard to find a scout who believed he was a major-league prospect.” Which, by the way, I find dubious as it normally takes a scout to tell a club that some dude down on the farm should be promoted anyway. That doesn’t make him a Hall of Famer or even worthy of a single vote, but it makes him more worthy than to get this sort of symbolic vote, which says way more about the voter and the lens through which he views baseball than it says about Eckstein.
Again, the vote for Eckstein was harmless here. And I will not join the crowd of people who argue that people like Scoggins should have their vote stripped or what have you. But let us be clear what is going on with votes like these. Let us not pretend that they say nothing, even if they don’t do any actual damage. They say “I, a voter, believe certain things and want those beliefs validated.” And that’s really not a great justification for a Hall of Fame vote.