Commentary

Alomar worthy of Hall call, Blyleven not

Robbie belonged in Cooperstown last year, Bert didn't 15 years ago -- and still doesn't

Updated: January 6, 2011, 4:31 AM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

As a Hall of Fame voter, I both love and hate this day, especially lately.

My brothers in the Baseball Writers Association of America have taken too many liberties the past few years instead of simply voting for the best players in the game. That should always be the goal of Hall voters, not playing moral police and making personal statements.

Roberto Alomar was elected Wednesday with 90 percent of the vote and deserved it. In fact, it should have happened last year. The writers had no right making a bona fide first-try Hall of Famer -- a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner -- wait a year to get in over one stupid moment with an umpire. For sure, the spitting incident was foul, but he paid for his sin and didn't do it again. People have to get over it.

[+] EnlargeRoberto Alomar
AP Photo/Moe DoironHis Spitgate incident with umpire John Hirschbeck shouldn't have kept Roberto Alomar out of the Hall of Fame last year.

• For Mets fans, it's no big deal that Alomar is now in the Hall. No one in NYC got goose bumps from the announcement that he'll be joining the exclusive club come July. He only played in Queens for a season and a half. He was a Hall of Famer with the Indians and Blue Jays, not the Mets. Many were disappointed in his time here. And rightfully so; he was just plain lousy wearing Mets royal blue and orange.

• Bert Blyleven finally got in after what seems like decades on the ballot. This time, he got about 80 percent of the vote.

I didn't vote for Blyleven. I don't believe you can be a Hall of Famer after nearly 15 years on the ballot. Jim Rice didn't deserve it last year, either. These are now sympathy votes. Writers are now trying to fill spots and punish players from the steroid era. It's all wrong. If you're not a Hall of Famer the first year, you're not one 15 years later. The numbers and standards haven't changed. This trend is disappointing to me. It simply makes no sense. Either you're a Hall of Famer or you're not.

• I voted for Mark McGwire, but not Rafael Palmeiro -- both got less than 20 percent of the vote.

Both careers are tainted by steroids. But here's the reason why I voted for McGwire, who got 19.8 percent. There was never any testing going on when he was doing it and playing. There simply were no rules on baseball's books about steroid use -- whether we liked it or not.

In Palmeiro's case, he was busted after baseball took steps to clean up the game and put tough penalties in place for violators. Hence, there should be a punishment for breaking clear-cut rules. And it's a hard pill to swallow because Palmeiro -- who got just 11 percent of the vote -- had both 3,000-plus hits and 500-plus home runs. Both are normally automatic entry to the Hall by themselves.

Although each writer is able to vote for up to 10 players, I voted for just three. Sorry, everybody is not great. It's a special place, not the Hall of Very Good.

• By the way, my other vote went to Lee Smith, who was the all-time saves leader when he first appeared on the ballot. I voted for him his first year and will continue to vote for him until his name is removed.

Rob Parker, a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com, has had his BBWAA card since 1990 and has voted for the Hall of Fame the past 11 years.

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