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Henderson & Rice elected to Hall of Fame

Rickey Henderson cruised in with 94.8% of the vote and Jim Rice sqeaked by with 76.4%.  Here's a link to an article with all the vote totals and quotes from some of the voters on who they picked and why: MLB.com voters share Hall thoughts

My first reaction to the voting is that there were no surprises - Rickey was a no brainer and Rice was about as borderline as it gets.  So no big complaints.  I know a lot of Cardinals fans would like to see Big Mac in the Hall but that's clearly not going to happen any time soon.  Lee Smith is probably deserving but has time to gather nostalgia votes and may be enshrined in a few years.  Blyleven and Dawson are marginal HOFers at best and I doubt anyone other than Twins and Cubs fans (respectively) care very much about them.  (Though Bill James once made a strong case for Blyleven - I couldn't find a link to it but here is a blog post that gives you the gist)

My second reaction was that 5.2% of the voters should be banned from future elections (the ones who didn't vote for Rickey, in case that wasn't obvious).  I simply can't imagine a plausible reason that Henderson doesn't deserve to be in Cooperstown.  I don't think I need to go into the numbers but he's the career leader in Runs (what the game is all about) and Steals (exciting) and second only to Barry Bonds in walks.  Apparently some voters think there should never be a unanimous vote and left Rickey off for that reason.  I think that attitude makes a mockery of the system - it is an honor to be able to vote for the HOF and those who do should take it seriously and vote for players who deserve it.  Does anyone out there have any ideas about 1) why Rickey didn't deserve the Hall or 2) how the voting system can be improved?

My final thought is that maybe the Rickey vote is a good thing, leaving open the possibility that, sometime around 2030, Albert Pujols could be the first unanimous inductee.

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