Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Response from Mr. Corky Simpson!

After hearing about Rickey being left off of a Corky Simpsons' Hall of Fame ballot (which is discussed in detail on my previous post), I went to try and locate Mr. Simpson's contact information, so that I could get his side of the story. After receiving his e-mail address from someone at the Green Valley News & Sun, I sent him the following e-mail.

Mr. Simpson,

I'm sure you are being inundated with requests for your time, since it was released that you had left Rickey Henderson off of your Hall of Fame ballot. But, I would really appreciate it if you could take some time to answer a few of my questions.

I have run a Rickey Henderson focused blog for the past year titled Rickey Henderson Collectibles. After reading the article describing the 8 ballplayers who you had voted for, I am intrigued by the fact that Rickey was not included on that list, and was relegated to the list of "others" that might be also inducted. You do not make any mention of your exclusion of Rickey, and I would really be interested (and so would the readers of my blog) in learning your reasoning behind voting the way that you did.

I understand that everyone has the right to vote in the way that they deem appropriate, but I would love to receive further insight inside your Hall of Fame selection process / criteria. I really hope to hear back from you soon, and look forward to talking with you. Thanks for your time, and your understanding of my interest in this subject.

Thanks again,


No less than 30 minutes later, I received the following response from Mr. Simpson (with his permission to publish his comments on my blog):

Brad: I can't think of any good reason I didn't vote for Rickey Henderson. The eight men I did vote for are all very deserving. Rickey is, too. So, if it is essential that he should enter the Hall of Fame on a unanimous ballot, then I goofed things up.

Some day some historian will attempt to find out why 11 voters failed to give Babe Ruth unanimity when he was elected to the Hall of Fame. In that same class of '36, Ty Cobb missed unanimity by four votes, Honus Wagner 11, Walter Johnson 37 and Christy Mathewson 23. Why did Willie Mays miss by 23, Mickey Mantle 43, Jackie Robinson 36 and Cal Ripken Jr. by eight?

When I was a kid, there were three giants who walked the earth: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Stan Musial. None made it to the Hall of Fame unanimously. Joe missed by 28 votes, Ted Williams by 20 and Musial 23.

Why? Well, a bunch of people goofed up.

Rickey made about $41 million in his career, I think, and he'll be in the Hall of Fame. What a wonderful life he has had.

Hope I've helped you, Brad.-- Corky Simpson

I really appreciate the fact that he responded to my request, considering the news story that this has become, with mentions in ESPN, USA Today, and the San Francisco Chronicle to name a few. I'm don't agree with his rationale, but at least attempted to back up his decision.


Nachos Grande said...

It's amazing how a simple response makes a guy like Mr. Corky Simpson go from "clueless voter" to "somewhat honest if not misguided voter". Kudos to Mr. Simpson for taking the time to reply to a blogger as well...

I sent an email to Topps the other day (with a promised 24 hour response time according to their website)...and they still haven't bothered to respond. It doesn't take much to at least act like you care. Mr. Simpson gets it, Topps doesn't.

Anonymous said...

That was his response? Ummm....OH MY GOD. Wow.

I think I'm actually angrier now. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

TikiBird said...

Brad, I think it's very gracious of Mr. Simpson to respond to your questions, and I appreciate that he did that for a fellow baseball fan. But I am still confused by his response.

Does he think that he goofed up in general by omitting Rickey, or just that he goofed up the unanimous vote? Or, by listing the other famous ballplayers who also weren't inducted unanimously, is he saying that's his reasoning (that no one should be inducted unanimously)?

I think it's great that you were able to ask him, and that he formed a pleasant response (even though it is still confusing me). Because of your blog, I've been continually impressed by how friendly the baseball collecting community is, and even when there's a big difference of opinion, everyone is still pretty nice to each other.

TikiBird said...

Rickey939, I just saw your link. Thanks for including that (

From the article:
"Corky Simpson, a retired Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen columnist, told the Bay Area News Group Thursday that unlike the bold stand he took in the 1992 AP college football poll, he ``simply goofed'' leaving Henderson off his Hall of Fame ballot and wishes he had a chance to do it all over again.

``Rickey deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and if I had my ballot back, he'd have a shot at unanimity -- and I wouldn't be hated by quite so many people,'' Simpson said."

But sorry, Brad:
"In early data compiled by of eligible BBWAA members who have disclosed their ballots in print or online, Simpson is the only one of 38 who didn't vote for Henderson -- 97 percent"

tastelikedirt said...

So he just "forgot"? Does he have any resposibility as a voter?
His response kinda sounds like if the other guys were not unanimous than nobody should be.
I think it will be a long time before someone is anywhere near as qualified to go in "unanimous".

Anonymous said...

yeah im still not a fan of Corky Simpson.. dude is making excuses, he knew he left Rickey off the ballot. From the same link that TikiBird posted, the article says:

"Green Valley News staff sportswriter Nick Prevenas said he warned Simpson about leaving Henderson off his ballot when he filed the column, but that Simpson told him he ``wasn't a Rickey guy and that he would vote for him next time.'"

He also goes on to say ''If I had properly researched the situation, I would have voted for Rickey Henderson if for no other reason than he played for nine ball teams,'' he said. ``Imagine that. He'll be the first Hall of Famer to have a bronze bust with nine caps stacked on his head.

Clayton Lust said...

FanofReds - you had it right the first time with clueless. Corky stated in his comment that Henderson is a Hall of Famer, and he yet he still didn't vote for him. Whatever the rationale, that is clueless. I have less respect for Corky than I do for Bill Conlin - at least Conlin had a performance based (and a truly misguided) rationale for not voting for Nolan Ryan.

Anonymous said...

While his response was fine, it was his closing comments "Rickey made about $41 million in his career, I think, and he'll be in the Hall of Fame. What a wonderful life he has had." which really explains the reason.

Corky is simply biter and I wouldn't put it past the other voters either. In fact, it's rumored that quite a few might be racist too.