I think many of us in the sabermetrically-inclined crowd tend to discredit older sportswriters as less likely to consider strong statistical arguments and more likely to use specious reasoning to justify their award or Hall votes. I haven’t found that to be true while collecting Hall ballots, and here’s some proof that younger sportswriters can be just as specious:
1. [Tim Raines] admitted sliding headfirst the year he used because he kept coke in his uniform pocket and didn’t want it to fall out â€” which is an act as disrespectful of the game as you can imagine.
I presume Buscema will be leading the “recall Mickey Mantle” campaign, since we know Mantle showed up drunk for games on multiple occasions. And, of course, his last phrase is pure hyperbole, since I can imagine many more disrespectful acts, like throwing games for money. Except I don’t have to imagine it at all.
Raines had an addiction. He admitted it, sought treatment, has been clean for something like twenty years, and became a model citizen and good clubhouse guy for the second half of his career. His cocaine problem is a non-factor in discussing his Hall candidacy.
2. As a player whose key Hall of Fame attribute was his speed, I want to examine a little further whether the use of a stimulant could have enhanced his performance whether he used it for that purpose or not.
That’s just pathetic. Cocaine is now a performance-enhancing drug? Perhaps cops should take a sniff of coke before setting off to chase down suspects on foot. The perps wouldn’t stand a chance against those juiced-up cops!
And how is Buscema going to examine this further? Will he review the peer-reviewed studies on the effects of cocaine usage on athletes?
3. He wasn’t a surefire Hall of Famer without that issue by any means; in fact, I had only seriously considered him after several compelling columns turned my head.
This is perhaps as damning to me as the first point. Here we have a first-time Hall voter who, at certain points in his article (such as explaining why he didn’t vote for Dawson), shows awareness of stats like OBP. And yet when presented with Raines, whose .385 career OBP sits comfortably aside Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn’s (.388) and eventual Hall of Famer Derek Jeter (.388), Buscema needed other writers to point out to him that Raines is a surefire Hall of Famer … and still isn’t convinced.
When you only use statistics that support the point you already wanted to make, or you weigh statistics that support that point more heavily than those that don’t …
Bert Blyleven … but ultimately I still would have liked to have seen at least a little better winning percentage and/or more Cy Young votes, an ERA title and more than one 20-win season in 22 years.
… you raise a question, at least to me, of whether you understand the statistics at all. If we’re still talking about Blyleven’s win total – and acting as if that’s unconnected to Cy Young votes – then we’re still running uphill.
One ballot doesn’t prove the point that we may be discriminating a bit too much by age when talking about voter tendencies, but based on the 80-odd ballots I’ve got, I haven’t seen anything to convince me that the voter’s age is a major factor in affecting his Hall choices. Buscema was just kind enough to display his logic in public.