Hall of Fame reaction

The only surprising movement in this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame voting was the lack of movement.

Rickey Henderson easily got voted in, while to no surprise Jim Rice picked up the handful of votes he needed to get in.

I was more surprised to see absolutely no big gains made by borderline players who seemed to be picking up steam: Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven.

Both Dawson and Blyleven got over 60 percent of the votes again, falling short of the 75 percent needed. Neither player made a big jump in voting this year.

Only one player, Gil Hodges, has received 60 percent of the votes and not eventually made it to the Hall of Fame.*

*By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with Hodges’ career, check it out here. This guy really put up some amazing numbers. I saw one of his old World Series games on iTunes a couple months ago and looked up his stats. He had some REALLY, REALLY impressive years. You wonder if the veterans’ committee won’t eventually select him.

And while Dawson still has many years left on the ballot and will likely be picked, I think Blyleven has a pretty fair chance of joining Hodges. Blyleven has only three years (I think) left on the ballot, so he needs to start to gain some ground real soon.

Of course, the other player I thought would gain momentum was Tim Raines, who actually DROPPED a bit. It seems many writers are surprised by the drop. He’s got 22.6 percent of the votes.

I wonder if Raines isn’t hurt by the fact that he played too long. If he had retired after the 1995 season rather than hang around until 2002, maybe voters would have fonder memories of him. I just think his numbers are worthy of the Hall. Here’s a few of his accomplishments:

  • He ranks fifth in career stolen bases, ranking in the top seven in steals for 11 seasons of his career.
  • He is the most efficient base stealer of all-time, having posted the best stealing-to-caught stealing ratio in major league history.
  • He was in the top 10 in triples for nine seasons.
  • Seven-time All-Star.
  • .385 OBP for his career.
  • He is 41st all-time in times on base, ranking just ahead of Tony Gwynn. The only Hall-eligible player ahead of him who is not in the Hall if Rusty Staub, who unlike Raines DID NOT steal 800 bases in his career.
  • He is tied with Gwynn for 53rd on the career runs created list. No Hall-eligible player above Raines is not in the Hall of Fame.
  • According to his Wikipedia page, he has two kids: Tim Jr. (known as "Little Rock") and Andre (known as "Little Hawk" as a tribute to Dawson). How can you not like that?

Let’s face it: Raines could be the best leadoff hitter in National League history. That’s a league that’s been around for nearly 140 years, folks.

Raines still has a lot of time left on the ballot. Rice certainly put up some low totals during some of his voting years, so a comeback can be made.

Seattle P-I is struggling

I saw this a couple days ago but never got around to posting anything about it.

The Hearst Corp., which owns the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, says it’s putting the P-I up for sale, and if it’s not sold within 60 days the newspaper will cease any print operations, moving to Internet only or halting all operations entirely.

Steven Swartz, who is the president of Hearst Corp, added this nugget:

"One thing is clear: At the end of the sale process, we do not see ourselves publishing in print," Swartz told employees gathered in the newsroom overlooking Elliott Bay. "Since 2000, the P-I has lost money each year, and the losses have escalated and continue to escalate in 2009. We have had to make a very tough decision."

Obviously, as someone who works in the newspaper industry, it’s tough to read news like this, especially when you’re talking about a well-designed and well-written newspaper like the P-I. But the newspaper lost $14 million last year alone, which is an extraordinary number. And it doesn’t help that the city has another major newspaper in the Seattle Times which serves as competition to the P-I.

My hope is that society will always seek quality reporting, whether it’s Internet-only or in whatever form it takes. I just hope many of the great journalists out there are still around after the industry is done weathering the storm.