Principled stand or an idiotic one?

The Hall of Fame election results will be announced tomorrow. The Dodgers’ beat writer, Ken Gurnick, has a ballot. Here’s how he voted and why:


Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.

Personally, I think that’s blackballing, tarring with a broad brush, and being sanctimonious as hell. There has never been any suggestion that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas or Craig Biggio used PEDs that I’m aware of, and there have only been unsubstantiated rumors about Jeff Bagwell.

Gurnick can leave Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire and the other confirmed steroid users off his ballot and get no argument from me, but his “none of the above” stance is too sweeping as far as I’m concerned.

Update: Cliff Corcoran has even stronger words for Gurnick in his column at

Update: ESPN has released the votes of all 17 of its employees who have them.

  • Bob_Hendley

    I think the very absurdity of his stance helps to draw attention with the difficult situation facing the HOF, so, in a way, I applaud it. (Maddux is in regardless). Voters are faced with an absurd situation, where they won’t be voting on the performance of the players per se, but likely as regards the amount of evidence available regarding their use of PEDS, much of it heresy. That said, I am not certain what can be done about it.

    • package206

      After todays results, It looks like it is all downhill for Bonds and others associated with Peds. Good Deal.

  • dalegribel

    He’s pinning these players with guilt by generational association. Way to broad of a brush for my taste. Maddux on PEDs? I can’t buy that one no matter the sales effort.
    That said, he’s entitled to his views; he just can’t expect everyone to be supportive of them. It will test his mettle as these views start to be discussed more and more.

  • John_from_Aus

    More on what I said last post,
    Link, thanks for keeping this together, I think that there is enough of us around on your blog to keep it worthwhile, quite intimate and more personal.
    In other words I will look to insider for quick access facts, but here for worthwhile chat

    • Thanks, John. I hope the community finds this place and enjoys itself here.

  • Go_Bears

    Gurnick didn’t vote for Greg Maddux, the greatest pitcher he will see in his lifetime? He should be stripped of his vote. Supercilious twit.

    • Bumsrap

      Maybe Ken thought Maddux got too many called strikes for pitches that were 6 inches wide of the strike zone.

      • Go_Bears

        Ha! Fair enough. It is true that Maddux thrived in the Eric Gregg era, but he also thrived after MLB reined the umps in. Glavine was the guy (I thought) who needed the wide strike zone.

    • foul tip

      Agreed that Gurnick has given ample reason to be stripped of his vote.

      But jury still out whether Maddux is the greatest he will see in his lifetime.

      A certain Dodger lefty might earn that status in a few years.

      Another Dodger lefty from years gone by might wish to dispute this also, along with a former Dodger righty stupidly traded away.

  • package206

    Don’t forget, whether you like or don’t like what Ken did he also stated in the radio interview that he would not vote for the hall of fame again. I do understand his frustration with the hall of fame. Who used? Who did not?

    • He shouldn’t vote again. Not if he’s that uncertain or ambivalent.

      • Bob_Hendley

        But how can one be certain? Obviously one can convince oneself in certain cases, but is that what the writers should be doing? Shifting through the various claims and evidence as regards PED use, rather than focusing on performance? This is what it has come down to. That’s my take away, at least. Its an extreme stance which helps to highlight the dilemma facing baseball and which it needs to come to grips with.

        • package206

          I can understand why folks are down on Ken but in my view, the guys who are accused of PED use should not be on the ballot but some of the so called experts choose to vote for them. I say they are cheaters and their stats are bogus.

          • Bob_Hendley

            But accusations are just that.

          • package206

            Barry Bonds is not an accusation but rather a fact. Just like Arod

          • Bonds wasn’t convicted of anything but obstruction, in fact. We may all agree he used, but it wasn’t proven

          • WBBsAs

            It’s enough that he’s a convicted felon.

  • Bumsrap

    Congratulations to Donnie Baseball who hopefully will make the HOF after he adds a very successful Manager to his resume. Considering he didn’t manage in the lower leagues and got most of his training as an understudy of Joe Torre who was not a great tactician, Donnie is still learning how to win a tough battle to go with his existing ability to win the war. We will see if Donnie and Tim Wallach can team to be good in-game strategists / tacticians in 2014.

  • Bumsrap

    Can the Dodgers construct a championship team that could play together for 10 years? Beginning in 2016 I think they could do it. When might they start making trades to create that team? They should try to win it all in 2014 and then gamble a little in 2015 by mixing in a few of those 10 year players before committing to the 2016 10 year team.

  • dalegribel
  • New update above re: ESPN’s voters and their ballots.

  • Go_Bears

    If I had a HOF vote, I would ignore the PED issue. Seriously. It was pervasive. As many pitchers as hitters used, and we know that it was not a temporary condition but went back to the 70s at least. The fault for this lies with major league baseball. They did not care for many years, were complicit in covering it up once others started to care, and only came around to making and trying to enforce rules very late. I do not believe that there was ever a time that PEDs were being used and MLB had no earthly idea it was happening. Players will do whatever they can to get an edge, and MLB’s laissez-faire attitude put PEDs squarely into the realm of available options. With the celebration of McGwire and Sosa, I’d say “available” might even be too weak a word. “Encouraged” is probably more like it.

    Guys like Bonds and Clemens and A-Rod were the best players of their era, given the de jure and de facto standards of their era. If we want to put a mental asterisk next to their accomplishments, fine. Maris got 8 extra games to pass Ruth. Gibson’s best-ever ERA was from a higher mound. There was a dead-ball era, and probably an overly-live-ball era. Many old-timers thrived in a racially segregated market, where they might not have against all of the best potential competition. All manner of training, nutrition, and financial benefits are available to improve the performance of modern players that were unavailable to even stars of past eras who had to find off-season jobs just to get by.

    Banning these guys now is a classic case of ex post facto justice, and there’s a reason that’s unconstitutional in legal settings. If it wasn’t a violation of baseball rules when it happened, and wasn’t effectively one as long as MLB looked the other way, then it is wrong to punish players for doing it after the fact. And going one step further, and banning all players by association, because we’re unable to apply even ex post facto justice when we don’t really know who did what, is even more unjust.

    The identification of HGH as evil and cortison injections as totally fine is a social construction. Just like the social construction that says that alcohol is legal and marijuana is beyond the pale (at least until recently in a few places). Watch last night’s Daily Show for an
    effective send-up of that hypocrisy.

    Most importantly, baseball is a game. It’s entertainment. To my mind, the HoF should be a reliquary of the history of the game, with all of its greatest performers, and let the public apply their own tastes and standards to whether some of the top performers were cheaters, and which sorts of cheating should be condemned and which simply laughed off as “the culture of the time.” Don’t hide the things that you have recently decided are warts. Celebrate the full scope of what baseball was, and is, in all its dimensions.

  • Bumsrap

    If Mattingley were to manage the Dodgers another 19 or 20 years he would come close to equaling Walter Alston’s record of games managed.

  • WBBsAs

    I don’t need confirmed PED tests to exclude B*nds. I don’t convicted felons belong in the HOF.

  • foul tip

    From the Failed Basic Math Dept.–

    The 3 HOF inductees, asked to sum up themselves with one word, responded this way:

    Maddux: Overachiever

    Glavine: Dependable or Durable

    Thomas: Consistent & Driven

    Well, at least Maddux can count.
    Also, wonder if Maddux couldn’t work out a bit and then go out right now and be effective, given his mental edge, knowledge, and knowledge of pitching…

  • foul tip

    Have seen the Dodger brass comment on signing Tanaka as interested, and if it works out it works out, but content to go with what they have.

    Probably the ideal public negotiating position. But hard to stick to in private if the team is seriously interested.

    Reality is Tanaka likely to go where he wants. He’s seen as a make-room player, despite Dice-K levels of early workload in Japan.

    Dodgers probably are the only interested team that really would have to make room, given the depth of starting pitching.

    Some teams’ thinking seems to be that even if the miles on him diminish him toward the end of whatever contract he signs, in his first couple years he might be enough to push a contender over the top. Then any latter year decline wouldn’t matter as much.

    Does that qualify as strategic thinking, or more the wishful variety?

    Whoever the starting 5 are out of ST, let’s hope there’s no repeat of 2013 and they’re all still pitching in June.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Ha! Didn’t we come out of the gate with 7 SPs and Teddy Lilly in the wings.

  • foul tip

    07:31 AM ET 01.10 | After two incidents of reckless driving in eight months, Yasiel Puig
    made a more mature decision this week. Puig has decided to relinquish the steering wheel.

    Los Angeles Dodgers president Stan Kasten said he spoke with Puig on Thursday, and the 23-year-old outfielder told him he has hired a cousin to drive him around for the time being. “I give him credit for taking that step if nothing else,” Kasten said during a radio appearance on ESPNLA 710.

    In April, Puig was clocked going 97 mph in a 50 mph zone in Tennessee, but he had those reckless driving and speeding charges dismissed after serving 12 hours of community service. Puig was charged with reckless driving again last month for allegedly driving 110 mph in a 70 mph zone in Florida.

    –ESPN Los Angeles

    I still maintain he plans to race in NASCAR after baseball and is just getting in a little early practice. So what’s the big deal? He’s just planning for his future, as he’s been advised. ;-])

    • Or maybe Formula One.

      • Go_Bears

        He’s WA-AY too big to fit in a Formula One car.

    • WBBsAs
      • foul tip

        Tragic consequences there.

        I think most pro athlete contracts these days prohibit doing anything this risky, tho for Puig just plain driving may qualify as hazardous.

        Puig’s situation kinda reminds me of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, commenting on two similar excessive speeding tickets gotten by his star defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney.

        He said it looked like maybe Clowney needed to go to driving school, but at least in a few days he’d have the money to pay his tickets (when drafted in the NFL first round).

        Puig already didn’t have any concern about how to pay.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Not driving seems drastic. How about just not speeding?

      • WBBsAs

        To my mind, it’s unsurprising that a young man like Puig, having spent his childhood and adolescence in a regimented society, might think anything goes at this point. It’s perhaps explainable, but still not acceptable.

        • Bob_Hendley

          I guess he played out his freedom on the field,(where there was less regimentation?). I don’t want him to stop trying to throw runners out, but just pick his spots and be able to hit the cutoff man as needed.

  • foul tip

    Lost the link to this story. It’s somewhere at Anyway, interesting….

    Statistical background work by David Golbiewski of Baseball Analytics shows that Tanaka was better over the past three seasons in Japan than Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma were before they came to the U.S., and all those two pitchers did last year was finish second and third in the American League Cy Young vote.

  • foul tip

    Latest on Tanaka seems to be that Angels, Dodgers, and NYY lead the parade.

    Probably playing into that are reports his wife prefers the West Coast so as to face shorter flight times back to Japan. Along with, no doubt, the large Japanese community in LA and other advantages LA enjoys. No brainer that they’ve talked with Nomo and Kuroda, who both did well in LA.

    And, you know how it is…..if Momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

    If reports are accurate, Angels or Dodgers should lead, with the Angels having greater actual need.

    • Bumsrap

      As I remember Tanaka and Kershaw have the same agent. Maybe that contributes to Kershaw’s time table for an extension.

      • Bob_Hendley

        I think there is a general pause in SP signings that goes beyond particular agents, as buyers and sellers want see who gets him and for how much.

        • Bumsrap

          The biggest question is years more than dollars I would guess. I would like to see kershaw take the lead and accept three year guaranteed $90MM with 7 additional years with a guaranteed $5MM annually plus $5MM each year he pitches 100 innings plus $5MM for each increment of 20 innings thereafter not to exceed $30MM annually.

          • Bob_Hendley

            Interesting to me (but would it be so for him?). Any financial wizards out there?

  • john galt

    Olney is reporting that the Kershaw Extension is at the 1 or 2 yard line, should be settled very shortly…

  • john galt

    Supposedly done! $215MM over 7 years with a 5 year out clause.

  • See next post.