Why This Reporter Sent In Blank Ballot

Posted: January 08, 1992

Only five people didn't vote for Tom Seaver in this year's Hall of Fame balloting.

I was one of them.

In fact, I didn't vote for anybody. And here's why:

Tom Seaver and Rollie Fingers deserve to be inducted at Cooperstown. I'm glad they're in. I voted for Fingers last year. I would have voted for Seaver this year, and Tony Perez, too.

But this is the year that Pete Rose was supposed to be on the ballot for the first time.

Rose, of course, wasn't, because baseball people were scared silly that he might get voted in even though he is currently banned from the game. So, in a heavy-handed move last year, the rules were suddenly changed to keep anybody on the permanently ineligible list from even appearing on the ballot.

To me, that was a slap in the face to the Baseball Writers Association of America, which has done the voting (with distinction, in my opinion) for more than 50 years.

So, to make that point, I sent in a signed, blank ballot. So did Bob Hertzel, of The Pittsburgh Press, and free-lance writer Bob Hunter.

Forty-one other writers wrote Rose in, although write-in votes do not count. I thought about that, but that indicates the voter thinks Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. I'm not sure. Hall of Fame president Ed Stack says it's ''incongruous" to imagine a banned player being elected. He's right. It's almost as incongruous as having baseball's all-time hits leader not even on the ballot.

In the end, the gesture amounted to little. Seaver was voted in with a record percentage. And he wouldn't have been the first unanimous pick anyway,

because two other voters cast ballots for players but left Seaver off. No candidates missed making it by a handful of votes.

The BBWAA is currently polling its members to see if we should continue to vote for the Hall of Fame. If we do, I'm sure I'll vote for worthy candidates next year.

But not this time.

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