You hear the phrase tossed around all the time about players, “He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer.” It’s not so much that the phrase is wrong. It’s more like it shouldn’t be used, or should be said differently.
Greg Maddux for example. To me, I prefer “no-brainer Hall of Famer.” That is really what people are trying to say when they say “first ballot HOF.” They are saying, “no debate on this guy, we all agree, he’s one of the best ever to do it.”
So the reason I bring this up? It annoys me that some people who vote make this saying into a thing. Like there is an attempt to distinguish between Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.
Is Maddux better? Yes. Does that mean he should get your vote and Glavine shouldn’t? Of course not. If you think Tom Glavine is a Hall of Famer, then you should vote him in. Period.
The Hall of Fame doesn’t rank players. It doesn’t separate Babe Ruth from Reggie Jackson from Jim Rice. We can argue about who is better, but that’s for us to do. The HOF is ONE group. There are not wings dividing players into tiers of greatness. The question is only: Are you in, or aren’t you?
It doesn’t mean a voter can’t decide Tom Glavine isn’t good enough. It means he/she shouldn’t not put him in just because it’s his first year on the ballot.
The anger someone like myself has over this idea of “first ballot Hall of Famer” doesn’t tie directly to the Tom Glavine’s of the world. No. It has more to do with the reality that while the all-time greats usually are elected on their first attempt, no player in the history of the sport has been unanimous. That is the most absurd thing ever.
Not Babe Ruth. Not Bob Gibson. Not Hank Aaron. Not Willie Mays. Not Sandy Koufax. Not Ted Williams. No player. Ever.
Why is that? Because some voters believe no player is ever worthy of that supposed honor. Those voters are the highest level of idiots.
MLB should not put a limit on the number of players a voter can vote for (currently it’s 10). They should vote for whoever they think is good enough to be in.
No player good enough to be in the HOF should be left off a ballot purposefully because it’s their first chance. And no player so obviously great that no rational human being could argue against it should be left off because of an idiotic tradition.