Tony Gwynn and 5 Writers

January 9, 2007 at 8:10 pm (Sports thoughts)

Major League Baseball announced (to no ones surprise) that Cal Ripken Jr and Tony Gwynn would be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 29th in Cooperstown New York. Out of 545 votes Ripken received 537 and Gwynn received 532. This is a problem. Though both of those are among the top ten percentages of anyone ever to be elected into the HOF it seems to me that the five individuals who voted for Ripken and NOT for Gwynn ought to have their votes removed. Let me explain why.

It is well understood that there are some members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who refuse to elect someone to the Hall on their first year of eligibility. Though I think that is ridiculous I will at least allow those 8 individuals off the hook for sticking to their guns. The real atrocity comes into play when you realize that there are 5 writers who think that Tony Gwynn is somehow less deserving of this honor than Cal Ripken Jr.

There are, as far as I can tell, three or four reasons for their blatant bias and I would love to hear from those writers which of these 4 judgmenets is the reason why they failed to include Tony Gwynn on their ballot.

1. Tony Gwynn played for the San Diego Padres.

The average baseball fan might not think it’s that big of a deal where a player plays, especially providing he plays consistently, plays hard and plays well. If a writer wants to think less of a player who can’t remain with a team for more than 2 seasons I think I could understand that, but to punish a player for being on a team with relatively little success? To me that would be absurd but indicative of what is a very clear malady of sports journalism known as the, “east coast bias”. The three hours that separate California from New York are enough to so blur the perspective of a sports journalist that they can literally be blinded to greatness.

2. Tony Gwynn hit for average not power.

Tony Gwynn has a career batting average of .338, but he only hit 135 Home Runs. Cal Ripken Jr hit 431 Homers but had a career average of just .276. In fact he hit over .300 just 6 times in his 21 year career while Gwynn did it 19 times in his 20 year career. WOW! Currently one of the most popular stats in measuring a players productivity is known as his OBPS, this stat combines a players on base percentage with his slugging percentage. Gwynn’s Career? .847, Ripkens? .788

If Home Runs really influence the balloting that much then why isn’t Big Mac going in with these two?

3. Tony Gwynn never won a World Series

I seriously doubt this could swing any votes one way or another, but it is a fact. The Padres as a team have never won a WS, Cal Ripken’s team, the Baltimore Orioles did win one in 1983.

4. Tony Gwynn is black.

I am not one to play the race card and I usually frown on those who do, but racism is still a genuine issue in America especially in a group like the BBWAA, which is made up of a bunch of old timers who actually saw Jackie Robinson play and probably booed him. The idea that there is even one individual who would use the color of Gwynn’s skin against him is despicable but quite possible.

I don’t know what these men were thinking when they left Gwynn of the ballot but they ought to be ashamed of themselves, because none of these reasons is tolerable at all.

Nevertheless don’t let 5 idiots ruin the beauty of the wonderful game of baseball.

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8 Comments

  1. Aaron said,

    I couldn’t agree more with these comments-they were my first reaction after hearing the vote tallies.

    Of course, the main thing is that the greatest Padre of all-time is going to Cooperstown and for that we should all rejoice. Mr.Gwynn had the most beautiful swing I have ever seen and did everything with a passion for the game that made me proud to be a baseball fan every time I saw him play.

    Thanks, Tony.

  2. Albino Hayford said,

    5. Tony Gwynn is fat.

    You will never know the pride and joy Tony brought to fat men everywhere. His legacy will stand in the hall of fame for all of us super-sized athletes.

  3. danielbalc said,

    Albino, I did consider that as part of the bias against Mr Padre but excluded it based on the fact that he wasn’t fat throughout his career (just the better part of it). Today has been like Tony Gwynn day in Poway. For the past two weeks I have seen hundreds of lightning bolts all over the place but today all of a sudden I see Padres banners being hung from houses and flags flying from car windows. It’s pretty exciting I am really really tempted to plan my vacation for July 29th in New York. Aaron you’re within a 4 hour drive of there aren’t you? Are you planning on attending?

  4. Albino Hayford said,

    Shawn and Kathy Clark live in Jersey, a short train ride from the city. We may be with them this week, if Oprah doesn’t invite us to appear on her show.

  5. danielbalc said,

    What’s going on here? The past 2 days I’ve had over 30 search engine hits on Tony Gwynn being fat.

    Why are so many people googling that? If you’re one of those searchers let me know what the buzz is all about.

  6. pokerforprofit said,

    Probably because they never see him like we do in San Diego and now that he was doing the Yankee series on TV everyone in America is getting to see “the new Tony”

  7. danielbalc said,

    Probably.

    They never noticed him while he was playing the game so it probably is quite a shock to see that this guy whose numbers Derek Jeter could only DREAM of putting up (;-)), weighs more than a house.

  8. danielbalc said,

    I’m a little disgusted again today as the HOF votes come in.

    Rickey Henderson got in on his first year of eligibility as he should have, but he only got 94.8 percent. or 511 of 539.

    Again Tony Gwynn got 532 of 545 and Cal Jr got 537 of 545.
    How could Rickey be less deserving than those two?

    Rickey was undeniably the greatest lead-off hitter of all time. Highlights of his career include:
    He won the World Series twice
    MVP once
    MLB career records in 3 categories, stolen bases, runs scored and lead-off homeruns
    3,055 hits
    10 times an all star
    3 times a silver slugger
    130 stolen bases in a season (record)
    1 gold glove

    That’s hardware that no one will ever match. And yet still there were 28 individuals who didn’t think rickey was hall worthy.

    With Gwynn getting 5 fewer votes than Ripken i determined there were only a few possible reasons and listed them at the top of this post.

    lets see if Rickey meets any of those excuses…
    1. Tony played his whole career for the Padres. Rickey played a little bit for the Padres and then he played for every other team in the league. In fact Rickey has the stolen base record for 2 different teams (Oakland and New York Yankees). It’s tough to say there was an east coast bias against Rickey but there MAY have been a bias against the fact that he played for so many teams.

    2. Tony hit for average not power. Rickey didn’t have a high average but at .279 it was higher than cal. He also hit nearly 300 homers.

    3. Tony Gwynn never won a World Series. Cal won 1 but Rickey won 2! This can’t be the problem Also the MVP question. Tony never won one, Cal did but so did Rickey.

    4. Tony Gwynn is black. And so is Rickey. And I’m afraid that is clearly the problem here. The BWAA has some genuine racists in it’s ranks and they need to be weeded out. This is after all the game that retired Jackie Robinson’s number throughout all teams. Racism has no place in this great game and these idiots who are allowing it to blind their HOF voting need to get kicked out.

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