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Rickey Henderson: Unanimous Selection?

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  • Rickey Henderson: Unanimous Selection?

    I know, I know, Rickey's not yet retired but these are the kind of things I like to think about during these cruel last 2 weeks before spring training.

    Ok, so maybe the BBWAA's politics will prevent Henderson from getting 100% of the votes, but how close will he come? 98%? 95%?

    He's got some pretty incredible numbers, the best this side of Rose, Cobb, or Aaron in some categories:

    Career leader:
    Walks-2179 (though he may no longer have this when he's on the ballot)
    Stolen Baes- 1403

    2nd in Power/Speed Number - 487.5
    3rd in Times on Base - 5316
    4th in Games - 3051
    10th in At Bats - 10889
    21st in Hits - 3040

    1990 AL MVP
    Top 10 MVP voting 5 other times
    10-time all star

    10 Most similar comps:
    HOFers Brock, Morgan, Kaline, Yount, B.Robinson, Winfield.
    Molitor, Raines, Staub, and Pinson.

    And he does very well on the HOF tests:
    Black Ink: Batting - 50 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
    Gray Ink: Batting - 143 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
    HOF Standards: Batting - 52.5 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
    HOF Monitor: Batting - 194.0 (Likely HOFer > 100)

    Ok, so shoot me down...why won't BBWAA members vote for Henderson?
    First Ballot, with 95% or more of the vote
    First Ballot, with 85%-95% of the vote
    First Ballot with 75%-85% of the vote
    Won't go in until after his first year of eligibilty
    I often remain high in the stadium, looking down on the men moving over the earth, dark as ants, each sodding, cutting, watering, shaping. Occasionally the moon finds a knife blade as it trims the sod or slices away a chunk of artificial turf, and tosses the reflection skyward like a bright ball.
    --W.P. Kinsella "The Thrill of the Grass"

  • #2
    First ballot with 85-95% of the vote.
    "...The one constant through the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard. Rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again..."

    Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones)
    from "Field of Dreams."


    • #3
      I selected 85-95% although I would not be surprised to see him fall short of 85% depending on who else is on the ballot that year. Not that Henderson doesn't deserve a very high percentage, but he has had some "issues" from time to time throughout his career and I'm sure some voters will hold those against him. Based on the numbers on the field, however, he is a sure first ballot (not that the ballot matters) HOFer.
      Never doubt the Ram Man


      • #4
        first ballot 75-85%. there will be 5% right off the bat who will say no, not first time. then you will probably get another 10% or so who will want him to wait a year cuz he's Rickey.


        • #5
          There's no dispute that Rickey Henderson will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He currently holds three major league career records (Stolen bases, runs, walks) along with many others.The stolen base career and single season record was shattered by him and will stand the test of time.
          "Nice guys finish last" Leo Durocher


          • #6
            No one will ever be unanimous. Simply because writers will turn in blank ballots just because. Rickey will clear 90% and Rickey will celebrate because Rickey am one of the greatest.
            Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
            Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
            Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
            Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
            Robin Bill Ernie JEDI


            • #7
              Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose
              No one will ever be unanimous......

              If the Babe couldn't get in unanimously nobody should!!

              Rickey will get in first ballot with between 85 and 95%.
              RIP - HGF [1937-2009]


              • #8
                I got to agree with BrewCrew82, if the Babe wasn't unamimous, no one should. But, I think he deserves the first ballot and should get between 85 - 95%... Don't be surprise if he gets more, if you break the HOF voters down by region, I see him cleaning up on the East and West Coast.
                Baseball Fever's 2000 member..


                • #9
                  It's nice to see that no one's voted that he won't get in his first year of eligibility. I'd have to send my goons to break their legs . Some call me a cynic...
                  2016 World Series Champions


                  • #10
                    I picked 85-95% because Henderson is such a snob and there are the people that think that no-one should go in first ballot. His career was quite astounding though


                    • #11
                      Wait, you can you not like Rickey? I mean, he Rickey! Rickey just love bein' Rickey!

                      Personally, I don't see an argument not putting him in first ballot. Even the ace-in-the-hole argument, Joe DiMaggio, doesn't hold that much water here.

                      But yes, Rickey just be Rickey and some writers can't see past that. Shame on them if that's their reasoning.



                      • #12
                        Rickey should be unanimous, because it's virtually impossible to imagine a HOF without a man with his achievements in it.

                        BUT...his BA is now below .280 at's been dropping like a stone as he's turned in sub-.250 BA every season since 1996, except for his stunning 1999 with the Mets.

                        That fact along will scare off some of the old guard and knock him below 95%


                        • #13
                          Re: Rickey Henderson: Unanimous Selection?

                          Originally posted by jhwinfrey
                          ...why won't BBWAA members vote for Henderson?
                          Any number of reasons...the most prominent of which is likely to be Henderson's perceived personality/ego.

                          Some writers may attribute his career totals solely to his longevity.

                          Some writers may seriously deflate the value of a stolen base.

                          Some writers may not think anyone should be elected on the first ballot if his name isn't Ruth, Cobb, etc.

                          Some writers may have a hard time recognizing greatness in a player who switched teams 11 times (and counting).

                          Some writers may refuse to vote for anyone they didn't see much of (as one writer mentioned about his ballot last month - he didn't cover the NL so he couldn't vote for Sandberg because he'd never watched him play much).

                          Voters are required only to have been BBWAA members for 10 years. Rickey will be retired 5 years before he's eligible. Assuming he retires without playing any more games (which is, I think, a big assumption, actually), you're looking at some voters who will be judging a Rickey Henderson that they only saw play from 1998-2002.

                          Think of his quiet career in the 1990s after being crowned the stolen base king. That's another 5+ years of writers who will be voting then who weren't writing baseball stories for a newspaper when Henderson was in his prime.

                          Some writers might not believe a leadoff hitter belongs - no matter if he's the best ever or not.

                          Others will think that Rickey had fewer than 300 career home runs. I can picture it now "He should have had more in such a homer-happy era like the late 1990s."

                          Yeah...there's all kinds of reasons some idiot voter might decide not to give Henderson his vote - perhaps a personal grudge of some kind? (Like the axe the late Earl Lawson liked to grind over the head of one-time candidate Vada Pinson.)

                          Maybe a voter will have already filled in a few names and doesn't believe he should vote for more than 3 players? Or 5?

                          Maybe he prioritizes some shmuck like Steve Garvey or Tommy John over Henderson because those guys are on their final ballot and, if they don't get in then, they "never" will?

                          Who knows?

                          Like I matter how much failure to cast a vote for Henderson will fly in the face of common sense, that won't stop at least one writer.

                          It hasn't in the past.
                          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe


                          • #14
                            Is the Hall of Fame a popularity contest?

                            Despite Rickey's career numbers, I could easily see Cal Ripken, Jr., or Mark McGwire voted in by a higher % than our pal Rickey be Rickey....

                            For evidence of how the BBWAA weighs career numbers vs. popularity/name recognition just look at past ballots:
                            (good career numbers & low popularity)
                            Eddie Murray--only 85%

                            compared to:
                            (borderline career numbers & high popularity)
                            Ozzie Smith -- first ballot at 92%
                            Kirby Puckett -- first ballot at 82%
                            I often remain high in the stadium, looking down on the men moving over the earth, dark as ants, each sodding, cutting, watering, shaping. Occasionally the moon finds a knife blade as it trims the sod or slices away a chunk of artificial turf, and tosses the reflection skyward like a bright ball.
                            --W.P. Kinsella "The Thrill of the Grass"


                            • #15
                              I suspect there are some writers who have NEVER voted for ANY PLAYER on his first ballot. (Any way to check on this??)

                              Still others may leave him off just to be sure that Henderson isn't the first UNANIMOUS choice.

                              But he is the best lead-off hitter of all time -- as well as the career record-holder for stolen bases, runs and walks -- so who could honestly say that Rickey Henderson doesn't belong?


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