Greg Maddux won't be the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection after all. At least one voter didn't put him on a ballot for the 2014 class. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, who covers the Los Angeles Dodgers, voted only for Jack Morris.
The Hall of Fame announcement comes Wednesday, but voters have been making their choices public periodically. Maddux had been tracking at 100 percent, according to the count at the Baseball Think Factory. Maddux might not be the best pitcher ever (although it's reasonable to think so) but he would seem like a natural unanimous pick, which has never happened in history. Nope. Here's Gurnick's reasoning for going against the crowd on Maddux:
Morris has flaws -- a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Players votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them.
"The period of PED use," he writes. As if players don't use PEDs anymore, or didn't when Morris pitched, from 1977-1994. Among Morris' contemporaries: Jose Canseco, an admitted PED user. Of course, Maddux also played in Morris' time. Gurnick's reasoning is beyond flawed. Gurnick's opinion simply makes no sense — and we're not even getting into the details of performance-enhancing amphetamines, which were rampant from the 1960s going forward. If steroids are cheating, so are amphetamines, which are now banned (without a prescription) by MLB.
Voting for nobody because of PEDs would be one thing, but voting for Morris — a particularly divisive case because of his "meh" results when compared to pitchers like Maddux — makes Gurnick look like a troll, out only to antagonize.
Because he works for MLB.com, Gurnick is not a current member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the voting body responsible for electing most of the former players in the Hall. (MLB.com reporters, among others, are excluded from the BBWAA.) But Gurnick had a BBWAA card for at least 10 years before, which gives him lifetime voting privileges for the Hall of Fame. That's a shame.
UPDATE: Gurnick told MLB Network Radio that he won't be voting in future elections for the Hall of Fame.
So, it turns out that Chipper Jones was right. Somebody did something dumb and omitted Maddux from a ballot. But it wasn't so Maddux wouldn't be "unanimous." It, apparently, was to send a message to PED users. Gurnick simply missed the mark.
Maddux is still a safe bet to make the Hall — 75 percent is the threshold for admittance — and he might even eclipse Tom Seaver's record percentage. One stained ballot can't stop either.
Big BLS H/N: @GambleOscar on Twitter
- - - - - - -