Monday, January 12, 2009

Rickey Henderson Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

I started this blog over one year ago, for this one specific post, announcing that almost 30 years after he played his game first game with the Oakland A's in 1979, Rickey Henderson has been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame! Jim Rice, who was on the ballot for the final year, also received enough votes for induction.

I had been holding out hope that he would be the first player ever to be inducted unanimously, but we found out last week that it was not going to happen. The only question remaining was just how many sportswriters would fail to include Rickey on their ballot. It was definitely a surprising result!

Rickey was included on the ballots of 511 of the 539 BBWAA members to submit votes for this year's election. I'm still confused by the fact that he received only 94.8% of the vote, and that 28 voters failed to include his name on the ballot. I have no idea what the motives/rationale were behind the 28 who failed to vote for Rickey, but even if they did try and back up their decisions, the reasons would probably be illogical.

Here's a list of the Top 10 inductees into the Hall of Fame, based on percentage of votes received:

1. Tom Seaver, 1992, 98.84%
2. Nolan Ryan, 1999, 98.79%
3. Cal Ripken, 2007, 98.53%
4. Ty Cobb, 1936, 98.23%
5. George Brett, 1999, 98.19%
6. Hank Aaron, 1982, 97.83%
7. Tony Gwynn, 2007, 97.61%
8. Mike Schmidt, 1995, 96.52%
9. Johnny Bench, 1989, 96.42%
10. Steve Carlton, 1994, 95.82%

13. Rickey Henderson, 2009, 94.81%

Here's a similar list of the Top 10 players inducted into the Hall of Fame, based not on percentage of votes received, but on total votes missed:

1. Ty Cobb, 1936, 4 missed votes (222 of 226)
2. Tom Seaver, 1992, 5 missed votes (425 of 430)
3. Nolan Ryan, 1999, 6 missed votes (491 of 497)
4. Cal Ripken, 2007, 8 missed votes (537 of 545)
5. George Brett, 1999, 9 missed votes (488 of 497)
6. Hank Aaron, 1982, 9 missed votes (406 of 415)
7. Bob Feller, 1962, 10 missed votes (150 of 160)
8. (tie) Babe Ruth, 1936, 11 missed votes (215 of 226)
8. tie) Honus Wagner, 1936, 11 missed votes (215 of 226)
10. Tony Gwynn, 2007, 13 missed votes (532 of 545)

Rickey Henderson, 2009, 28 missed votes (511 of 539)

Now that he has been officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, it's time for the real fun to begin! The induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY are a little over 6 months away, and they couldn't come soon enough! I know every sportswriter out there is drooling over the sound bites they will get from Rickey's acceptance speech. It should be a lot of fun.

There's also the outstanding questions of what hat he'll wear on his plaque (it HAS to be the A's), as well as who he will have introducing him during induction. Rickey has been around baseball quite a long time, so it will be interesting to see who he chooses to precede him on a day I know he's been looking forward to for quite a few years.

As you've probably noticed, today's post has been illustrated with cards "foreshadowing" Rickey's imminent induction into the Hall. This past year (2008), was the first since 1980 that not a single baseball card of Rickey was produced. I'm hoping that will change in 2009, now that he's the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame!


night owl said...

I'm sure you've had this post planned out for a long time!

Congratulations to your blog's reason for being. Well-deserved.

And Henderson should be in that top 10 of percentage of votes. He changed the game, and you can't say that about all of those guys in the top 10.

Anonymous said...

94.8% is a travesty.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Brad!!! There should be some sweet Rickey cards for you to chase the rest of this year.

Adding to what you said, I wish the HOF and MLB would force the BBWAA to justify why they didn't vote for the players who get in each year. I'm sure it would all be BS, but it would be an interesting read never the less.

ManOfSteal said...

I have had this posted "planned" for awhile, and as you can probably tell, the 28 people who left Rickey off of their ballots really threw a wrench in it. I was supposed to be able to add Rickey's name near the top of both of these Top 10 lists, not include him at the bottom.

I would like to see all of the BBWAA justify voting the way that they did, but I doubt anything productive would come out of it. Two voters this year actually turned in their ballots blank, which is just ridiculous!

Wax Heaven said...

AWESOME cards! Congrats on your player making it in.

Anonymous said...

They turned them in blank??!!!! Wow.

At least Corky tried....ugh.

Dave said...

Congrats on Rickey's induction. He's truly one of the all-time greats. And the 28 idiots who didn't vote for him should have their voting privileges revoked immediately. If you don't understand that Rickey Henderson is a Hall of Famer, then you don't know what a Hall of Famer is - end of story!

TikiBird said...

Happy day, for you and Rickey!

I'm sorry that he didn't get even more of the votes, but I'll try to give you an analogy to cheer you up (however, this involves both baseball AND math, so I'm sure I'll do something wrong, but hopefully you'll get my drift): If Rickey's HOF votes were like at bats, he'd be averaging .948!

Anyway, it seems to me that if you turn in your ballot blank, you don't get to vote the next time.

Anonymous said...

Congrats!!! Your blog was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news today.

All the best,
Justin P.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is CONGRATULATIONS Ricky it has been to long of time coming. It has been known for years Ricky would be Inducted into the Hall of Fame and finally it is time. Way To Go!!