Hard to take Hall seriously when Bichette gets votes
Posted: Monday January 15, 2007 2:56PM; Updated: Monday January 15, 2007 8:44PM
Three Hall of Fame voters think Dante Bichette is worthy of Cooperstown.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The real story of last week's National Baseball Hall of Fame voting is not that Mark McGwire only got 128 votes -- it's that Dante Bichette received three. I didn't realize that the Bichettes were voting this year.
Bichette has always been vocal about his belief in both God and Jesus. Even if the two of them voted, that still doesn't explain the third ballot.
Dante Bichette was a solid player. The Angel, Brewer, Rockie, Red, and Red Sox once finished second in the MVP balloting, and made four All-Star teams in five years. Over a 14 year career, he hit.299 and averaged 26 home runs over a 162 game span. But that's barely enough to make the 1990s Baseball Hall of Fame. Heck that's barely enough to make my fantasy team.
Bichette's statistics are diminished further when you look at how he played outside of Colorado. He hit .269 the years he played for teams closer to sea-level, while averaging just 17 home runs per season (which is coincidentally pretty C-level). And even the years he was a Rockie, the home and away difference is astounding. In Bichette's almost-MVP season, he hit 77 points higher at home and 31 of his 40 home runs came while he was wearing white.
Maybe that's why Rockies play better at home -- there's less purple involved. I will admit that Bichette is a tough man. Not only is he named "Dante" and "Bichette" but he also wore purple on a regular basis.
I don't want to belittle the man's accomplishments, but Dante Bichette deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame as much Ashlee Simpson deserves a record deal.
Some of the other players who have inexplicably received at least one vote in the last few years include the marginal Terry Steinbach, automatic strike-out Juan Samuel, and light-hitting Hal Morris. Morris actually got five votes. Five! More than 500 ballots are sent out each year. If you vote for someone who receives less than five other votes, you ought to lose your voting privileges. Or at least have to wrestle Dante Bichette.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame should not be taken as lightly as Hal Morris' hitting. The Hall is a shrine to the best who have ever played the game. Years from now, I don't want to take a child to Cooperstown to show him Ruth, Aaron, and Steinbach.
"Who was Terry Steinbach? Just about the greatest catcher to play in the American League West in the early 1990s. Just about."
Bichette's three votes are part of a larger problem. To say that some Hall of Fame voters are taking liberties with their ballots would be like saying that Mark McGwire took some liberties with nutritional supplements. The Hall of Fame is becoming nothing more than a yearly All-Star team.
Major League Baseball has a rule that every team must be represented in the All-Star Game. Dante Bichette could tell you that -- in 1994, he was Colorado's lone rep. Similarly, some Hall of Fame voters think that each year is supposed to have at least one inductee. But what if there's no one worthy on the ballot? Do you vote for the best of the rest? Sure, if it was The National Baseball Hall of Fame As Compared To Who Else Was Eligible In A Specific Year And Museum.
People are already talking about how Goose Gossage is going to make it in next year because it's a weak class and he doesn't have much competition. I'm not debating Gossage's worthiness, but his competition lies in Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers, not in Tim Raines and Chuck Finley.
Bruce Sutter is a great example. Sutter's plaque may not have existed if Cal Ripken or Tony Gwynn had retired a year earlier. And that's not right -- regardless of whether or not you think Sutter is deserving, those in the Hall should not be there because there was no better option.
A lot of people are upset that neither Ripken or Gwynn was unanimous, as they are both clearly first ballot Hall of Famers. Paul Ladewski of the Daily Southtown is the one writer to come forward and admit that he didn't cast a ballot for anyone, claiming he doesn't want to vote for any player of the steroid era. That's great Paul, but this is Ripken and Gwynn, not Canseco and Palmiero.
At first I was livid -- Ripken and Gwynn's frames were obviously not built on steroids, and Ladewski doesn't even write for a newspaper I've heard of. But at least Ladewski had the courage to explain himself, and I can also count on him not to vote for a candidate just because he's the best choice at the time. Ladewski actually takes his responsibility seriously.
Plus I know he didn't vote for Bichette.
Steve Hofstetter is a nationally touring comedian whose column appears every Monday on si.com. Tell him why Dante Bichette is the man at livevideo.com/sportsminute.