Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Question of the Week

Paul, Sacramento, CA
Subj: Hall Of Fame
Has there ever been a person voted into the baseball hall of fame by 100% of the voters? If not, why?

Not yet, Paul, although several players have come tantalizingly close. Ty Cobb got the ball rolling back in 1936 when he came within four votes of being named a unanimous selection. Since then, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver, George Brett, Nolan Ryan, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. have all been ushered into Cooperstown with the support of at least 97% of voters. So, why is it so difficult to become a unanimous selection? In some cases it’s just a matter of bad timing. Just look at Babe Ruth. The Bambino received only 95.13% percent of the vote because he had the misfortune of sharing the ballot with Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner. Snobbery is also another big issue. Many voters relish the fact that no one has been elected unanimously and believe that doing so would tarnish the legacies of other legendary players. In their opinion, a player like Wade Boggs shouldn’t merit 100% of the vote if exalted figures like Ted Williams and Cy Young both received less than 94% during their respective years. Finally, some players have received fewer votes than they deserved because they never endeared themselves to the journalists who constitute the Hall of Fame’s voting pool. Given these three mitigating factors, it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see a player swept into Cooperstown with unanimous support.