The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) announced that no one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Former Met Aaron Sele received only 0.2% of the vote — falling far short of the 5% necessary to remain on the ballot next year. A travesty.
Remarkably, Sele received only one stinking vote. ONE. What the hey? Was Sele not a first-round draft choice? Did he not finish his illustrious 15-year career with an abundantly winning record (148-112 / .569)– quite a feat in the era he pitched? Did he not finish with a WHIP under 1.50 (1.49)? Did he not strike out nearly 6 batters per 9 innings in his career (5.9)? Did he not almost win 20 games in 1998, a.k.a. The Year That Steroid-infused Sluggers Destroyed Pitching And Saved Baseball?
Sure, some of Sele’s numbers look a little bloated compared to other pitchers in The Hall. But Sele pitched during The Steroid Era, and when starting pitchers weren’t expected to finish what they began. Further, he pitched at a time when wins and losses were ignored by anyone who respected sabermetrics. His high ERA (4.61) was likely
the result of someone who “pitched to the scoreboard” — i.e., like C.C. Sabathia, he pitched just well enough to win (as opposed to pitching just well enough to lose).
Despite all this, Sele received one lousy vote. He’ll never again be seen on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Maybe the writers thought Sele’s vast accomplishments came thanks to illegal PEDs. But, Sele never failed a test, and never was the subject of rumors related to PEDs. NO ONE EVER EVEN REPORTED ON THE EXISTENCE OR NON-EXISTENCE OF BACK HAIR NOR BACK ACNE.
So tell me, please, how the heck was Aaron Sele denied entry to the Hall of Fame?
Sele wasn’t the only former Met denied by the BBWAA. Roberto Hernandez, Shawn Green, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Jeff Conine, Mike Stanton, and Julio Franco were also eliminated from the ballot forever. (Maybe Stanton should have let the BBWAA know that he changed his name to Giancarlo Stanton — that might’ve helped his chances.) Mike Piazza gets another shot, but like the others, also denied entrance.
In all seriousness, I’m content with the BBWAA’s decision — or, perhaps it should be called indecision. They’re several years too late for this universal snubbing — steroids entered baseball before the 1990s — but at least they’ve finally come to their senses. Well, that’s not exactly true, considering that obvious ‘roiders such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa received significant amounts of votes. But I expect as much from people who have only watched, and never played, a competitive sport. For those unaware, it ain’t cool to take a PED when running a race against someone else. Or throwing a baseball against someone with a stick. Or wielding a stick against someone throwing a baseball to you. It’s simply unfair, and unsportsmanlike.
For those who haven’t played competitive sports, it’s kind of like this: imagine if you were taking the SATs, GMATs, bar exam, or similar test. You studied your butt off, but some of the others taking the test were given the answer key the day before the test. How would that make you feel? Times it by ten, and try to imagine you having that feeling as you took the test every single day, for, say, 162 games over 6 months.
I don’t feel bad for the players who were denied access the Baseball Hall of Fame — they made their bed, they made their hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, and now they can lie on their cash-stuffed beds. I do, however, feel bad for the kids, and further, for the parents who have to explain to the kids the reality of greed and unsportsmanlike conduct — it has to be similar to “the talk” about Santa Claus.
Thank you, Bud Selig, Gene Orza, Donald Fehr, the silent players, coaches, owners, and writers, and the many, many others who felt it more important to generate and protect revenues over the short-term, rather than protect the sanctity of sport. And congratulations on succeeding in transforming baseball into another form of entertainment — no different from NFL football, NBA basketball, the WWF, or a Hollywood movie. As John Lennon once sang, “Instant Karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you right on your head.” This year’s HoF non-election got you. The rest of us will all shine on.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.