Like the swallows of Capistrano, you can reliably predict that each year some thoroughly undeserving player will receive a Hall of Fame vote(s). Last year, it was David Segui, Pat Hentgen, Kevin Appier amongts others that picked a small smattering of votes. This year, it was Bill Mueller, Brad Radke, Javy Lopez, and Eric Young. Just as predictable as votes for some lesser-worthies is the hand wringing and complaining that follows. Though I’ve never expressed it in written format, I used to join in and complain. The typical refrains are, “If they can’t take the vote seriously, they should lose their votes” or “If he voted for [crappy player] how did he not vote for [clearly HOF worthy player]?”
This year, however, I’ve come to a realization…so what? So what if Brad Radke got 2 votes? So what if Tony Fernandez and his ridiculous leg kick once garnered 4 votes? What does it matter? It doesn’t harm anyone if these lesser lights receive votes. It’s not as though a single vote ensures qualification and permanent enshrinement in Cooperstown. If anything, it probably just shows that the player had a long and distinguished career, and that there is some writer out there that appreciated said player. Maybe the appreciation was solely based on on-field performance, but maybe it had something to do with the player’s off the field demeanor. Maybe Eric Young was a great interview and always helped reporters fill out their articles with interesting quotes. Maybe Javy Lopez saved a writer’s sickly daughter from a burning building, who knows? Honestly, who cares?
Yes, there will be loads of handwringing on the Internet but it will be all forgotten in mere weeks, if not days. Quick, name a player that undeservedly got a HOF vote in 2007. You and I both have no idea because it just doesn’t matter. The only people that remember are the writer’s that cast the votes and the players who received them. At the end of the day, it’s a nice gesture, the guys who get one or two votes have affirmation that somebody appreciated what they did with their careers. In the grand scheme of things, is that really so bad?