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.
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.
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.