Bleacher Bits: Is there a key to Hall of Fame?
It was comedian Groucho Marx who quipped, "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member ." The quote seemed ironically appropriate coming from him, because the Baseball Writers' Association of America this week showed that the voting process for electing players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become a big joke.
First, I'd like to say I'm in total agreement that none of the players linked to use of steroids came close to reaching the 75 percent of the votes needed for enshrinement. At least they got that right.
Which brings me to the Houston Astros' Craig Biggio. His falling short of the required percentage of votes, even in his first year of eligibility, is a huge swing and a miss.
All Biggio did in his 20-year career - all of which was spent playing for the Houston Astros - was amass 3,060 hits, drive in 1,175 runs, hit 291 home runs and steal 414 bases. He was also a seven-time All Star, won four Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger Awards.
But apparently he fell short because he failed to bring peace to the Middle East.
Baseball is a sport of numbers, and there have always been numbers that were almost a guarantee that a player would make it into baseball's hallowed hall. Surpassing the 500 home run mark has been regarded as one benchmark, and while Biggio fell far short of reaching the mark, not everybody hits for that kind of power.
Collecting 3,000 hits used to be another induction-worthy mark, but not every player who has gotten at least 3,000 hits is in the Hall of Fame, but slap an asterisk on that one - Pete Rose was barred from baseball for betting on games and Rafael Palmeiro is one of the names synonymous with the steroid scandal.
But Biggio's isn't. There have been players selected in their first year of eligibility, and Biggio deserved to join that club.
Aaron Sele didn't, nor will he even make the Hall of Fame, but he got a vote.
Yes, the same Aaron Sele who went 148-112 as a pitcher in his 15-year career that he finished with a 4.61 ERA and 1,407 strikeouts. For pitchers, 20-win seasons are good to have on your resume, and Sele has, let's see...none. In fact, he only had five seasons in which he even won 10 games.
Yet one of the writers saw fit to burn a vote on him.
The mystery surrounding who it was who voted for Sele may become a cold case, because voters are not required to make their votes public.
I'll never be asked to become a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and that's just fine with me. I wouldn't want to belong to any club where I could throw a dart at a list of former big leaguers and make a better choice for who goes into the hall.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.