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Reason #15,654 To Take The Hall Vote Away From The BBWAA

Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander didn't vote this year. That's right -- unlike Paul Ladewski of the Daily Southtown, who sent back a blank ballot in a misguided protest last year, Telander didn't even return his.

And why is this?

The Steroid Era has taken the wind out of my sail.

I am weary of the constant insult brought on by doping and stupidity and head-in-the-sand-ism and Bonds-ish arrogance and Clemens-ian tape-recording and duplicity of all manner and the way this has chipped away at the edifice of the wondrous American sport of baseball.

Great, Rick. So are all of us. But then he continues:

I didn't frivolously not vote.

I take this role seriously. Voting is an honor bequeathed by the BBWAA for at least 10 years of baseball writing.

I read the biographies of the 25 candidates in detail, studying numbers as intensely as an accountant.

Rich Gossage -- nine All-Star teams, 310 saves, 2.36 World Series ERA. I'm delighted Goose was voted in Tuesday.

He deserved it.

I voted for him in 2007.

But I couldn't be a part of it this year.

Well, that's where I lose this line of logic. If you're disgusted, register your disgust some other way. How is it that Gossage was Hall-qualified per Telander a year ago, but not now? This makes no sense -- even as a protest, because Telander continues with absolute nonsense:

Do I know for a fact, say, that the slender, knee-ravaged, integrity-laced Dawson didn't 'roid up?

I'd bet my life Hawk didn't.

No, I wouldn't.

Not anymore. Not for anyone.

What if Tommy John made his comeback from that tendon grafting because of HGH?

Such is the ripple damage caused by the conveniently naive owners and hand-wringing commissioner Selig and a know-nothing players union led by the devilish Donald Fehr.

He's right about Selig and Fehr -- but to accuse Dawson of using PED's? Tommy John? Ridiculous.

Look, Rick, if you want to make a protest, resign from the BBWAA or tell them you want to be taken off the balloting list, because that would reduce the number of eligible voters and those who actually think hard about the subject of the Hall of Fame would have their votes count more -- both Jim Rice and Andre Dawson's percentages would have been higher, and since Rice missed by only nine votes, who knows? He might have made it this year, because how many other eligible BBWAA voters might have done what Telander did?

I'd like to have respect for the Hall of Fame, its selection process and who is enshrined there. But the institution and its process are broken -- not irretrievably so; there are many ways to fix this, including the suggestion made by Bill James years ago in his book "The Politics of Glory" (in a later edition retitled "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?"), to have voting done by three groups: writers, a panel of baseball people (players, execs, managers, coaches, scouts) and a third group of fans which would somehow be related to SABR's work.

That isn't perfect either, but it's a far better way than the current way. And don't even get me started about the Veterans Committee, which has either fallen down on the job by enshrining no one, looked bad by voting in an undeserving old crony like Phil Rizzuto, or snubbing someone who really did do something for baseball, Buck O'Neil.

Fix this, Hall of Fame. You can do it unilaterally, right now. Otherwise your enshrinement of future players is going to be rendered nearly meaningless.