The CHB today whines about how the Hall of Fame was "more fun when it was all about baseball. Comparing Player A to Player B."
Our question: When did it stop being about that?
If anything, comparing what actually happened on, you know, the field, is more than ever about what took place between the white lines, since understanding the effects -- if any -- of what took place outside them isn't possible. But since Shank is stuck in the gravity of his own id, there's no other way to took at it.
On with the nitpicking!
On the subject of new candidate Trevor Hoffman, Shank says "saves are overrated, especially in the era in which Hoffman pitched." Give him Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers, he says.
Except he didn't vote for Gossage, but he did for one-inning marvel Dennis Eckersley.
As for saves, if they were overrated then, they have always been overrated, since getting five or six outs really isn't that much harder than getting three. It'd be great to know whether Shank voted for Rollie Fingers in the 1981 MVP race, given he pitched all of 78 innings that year. Given who finished runner-up, I'll bet he did.
That said, saves are overrated, which makes some of the other arguments The CHB attempts even more nonsensical. Such as: "woe is [he who] values things like wins." He promptly insists he won't vote for Mike Mussina despite his 270 wins because "he always pitched for good teams."
Except that he didn't. I looked it up.
Mussina pitched for the Orioles for 10 seasons, from 1991 - 2000. During that time, Moose went 147-81 (a 65% winning percentage). The Orioles as a team were 926-812 (53%). Perhaps Shank stopped to consider that maybe the reason the O's were good was because they had Mussina? As for "always good teams," consider that in those 10 seasons, the O's finished below .500 five times. Nice try, though!
Moreover, his entire premise is a clear admission that wins are a byproduct of something far bigger than just "I pitched good." None of that kept him from voting for Jack Morris, a far inferior pitcher to Mussina, of course.
Moving on. Shank says he's not going to vote for players who he "thinks" cheated, yet he voted for Paul Molitor, who was a drug user.
He calls Alan Trammell a "PED backlash vote," which is downright comical given that Trammell was better than at least a dozen other shortstops who are in the Hall.
Here's the best part (isn't it always?): When he resorts to name-calling. Per usual, it's a shot at those who understand math (the "Bill James Blog Boys"); those guys who actually studied in class and went on to make some serious coin while also doing on the side what The CHB does for a living -- and doing it better than he ever could have dreamed.
Finally, the gist of the column was written in 2009:
2009: "It is one of the great privileges of being a baseball writer.
2015: "It’s still the greatest honor of membership in the vaunted Baseball Writers’ Association of America."
2009: "[Voting] has become a tremendous pain in the posterior."
2015: "Voting for the Hall of Fame ... was more fun when it was all about baseball."
The names may change, but the words remain the same.