January 07, 2009
The totals won't be announced until Monday, but Home Run Derby has already confirmed that Rickey Henderson will not become the first player to be unanimously voted into Cooperstown.
But Rickey wants to know something about Rickey: How does the incomparable Rich over at Home Run Derby know for sure?
Well, as is his annual custom, Rich is painstakingly compiling every ballot that has already been published via newspaper. He's putting together his findings via the 2009 HOF Vote Tracker, which I guess would be the equivalent of finding your Christmas presents on Dec. 14., but darned if it isn't great fun to peek at.
With 31 ballots already in, Jim Rice is tracking at 64.5 percent, short of the 75 percent he'll need to get in on his last year on the writer's ballot. Also of note: Bert Blyleven and Andre Dawson have the same percentage as Rice. Meanwhile, David Cone, Mark Grace and Matt Williams have already all received one vote in their first appearance.
That brings us to Rickey. He's been named on 98.6 percent of the published ballots with only one writer — Corky Simpson of the Green Valley News and Sun in Arizona — leaving the best leadoff man in baseball history off his ballot.
As Rich points out, Simpson built up some previous cache by being known as the dude who voted Alabama No. 1 on every ballot during the '92 college football season, a stance that eventually paid off when the Tide rolled over Miami in the Sugar Bowl.
But even that brilliant piece of prescience doesn't quite defense the illogical routes that Simpson takes in filling out his ballot, which includes eight names, none of which are Rickey Henderson. You'll have to click over to read Rich's complete FJM-treatment, which includes wondering why Simpson would vote for Matt Williams (yup, that's his one vote) after stating that he couldn't vote for Mark McGwire as long as the suspicion of drug use remained.
Williams, of course, was named in the Mitchell Report in 2007.