We learned that Greg Maddux will not, in fact, be voted into baseball's Hall of Fame unanimously. This is a definite bummer and I disagree with Ken Gurnick's decision. However, before I try and comb through some of the reasons as to why I think Gurnick did what he did, let me first say (seriously, with no underlying joke) that he's entitled to his opinion (unfortunately). Everyone is, really. We shouldn't attack the man. However his opinions are fair game in my eyes.
His vote, Jack Morris, was one hell of a pitcher whose stats were arguably skewed in the last four years of his MLB career. Morris also arguably pitched one of the best performances in a World Series of 1984 for the Tigers. He was no doubt a great ball player. He's also on the final year of candidacy into The Hall, and he's just on the cusp of getting in. That being said...
It doesn't make sense to me why you wouldn't include Maddux. Because of this, I've come up with some possible reasons for Gurnick's decision. I only want to understand.
- Reason 1: Ken Gurnick doesn't know who Greg Maddux is. This is a little hard to comprehend. But maybe Gurnick simply doesn't realize Greg Maddux is a person who existed and is living today. He's in trouble if this is the case. Someone (Gurnick) will have egg on their face, huh!
- Reason 2: Ken Gurnick thinks Greg Maddux is a hitter. Greg Maddux played in the National league for his entire 23 seasons. This means that he had to hold a bat and also swing that bat. His numbers after swinging this bat are not good. He posted a .171 average, .191 OBP, and 5 HR in his career. Man, that's really not good and certainly these aren't HOF numbers. Luckily, Maddux was a pitcher so it doesn't matter. But perhaps there was some confusion on the correct stat lines.
- Reason 3: Ken Gurnick confused Greg Maddux with Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. This one is totally possible. There's a big list of names on the ballot this year. And at least two of those names are associated with PED use during their time: McGwire and Sosa. Maybe there was some confusion on Gurnick's part for who is who. This would explain his reasoning for picking Jack Morris:
"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."
- Reason 4: Ken Gurnick didn't realize that Greg Maddux is one of two pitchers to win the Cy Young Award four years in a row: Hey guys, we all make mistakes. I forgot to mail a thank you note the other day. Stuff happens. [Serious aside: Gurnick notes that Morris only received Cy Young votes in seven sears. Do Maddux's four mean nothing? Ugh]
- Reason 5: Ken Gurnick is a "troll": For those unfamiliar with this rather newer internet term, a "troll" is someone who causes trouble on message boards, social media sites, etc. by saying very controversial things with the intent of drawing a strong reaction. An example would be for me to post on BleacherNation with something like "Jeff Samardzija sucks at baseball and the Cubs should trade him for a bat rack." Gurnick may be looking to drum up publicity for his own brand. This is one way to do it. Any press is good press!
The last reason is the most likely answer to this quandary. But to be honest, it would be a waste of time to get truly angry by Gurnick's decision. Maddux will most likely go into the hall with at least 90% of the vote on his first attempt, which is still a hell of an accomplishment. Still, it's fun to make fun of this simply because the reasoning behind it is almost as ridiculous as the decision itself. I think the best quote related to Gurnick's reasoning comes from Mike Axisa from CBS Sports in this article.
In fact, his career and Maddux's career overlap by nine years (1986-94). If we're assuming 1995 is the start of the Steroid Era, well Maddux had 131 wins, three Cy Youngs and 40.7 WAR before then. Morris retired with 43.8 WAR.
Oh well. A pre-congratulations to you anyway, Mad Dog.
P.S. My favorite tweet about this ordeal was found on a CBS New York article.
Check it out here.