An inexplicable Rickey-less ballot

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Meet Corky Simpson. He is a member of the Arizona Associated Press Sports Hall of Fame and once made a name for himself when he was the sole AP voter to tab Alabama for the top slot of the NCAA poll every week during the 1992 season.

He is not, apparently, a firm believe in taking his responsibilities as a sports writer too serious. “If that year,” he once said about 1992, “proved anything to me, it was the fallacy of the polls. They’re a lot of fun, but they mean nothing. It’s fun to follow the teams, but they’re not that important.”

Now, during the Winter Meetings in December, Simpson, now retired from the Tucson Citizen but a lifetime honorary voting member of the BBWAA, unveiled his Hall of Fame ballot in the Green Valley News & Sun. This ballot languished in the Arizona community newspaper Website until Rob Neyer got wind of it, and boy, is it creating a stir.

Corky, you see, voted for Matt Williams. And Don Mattingly. And Tommy John. And Tim Raines. And Jim Rice. And not Rickey Henderson.

I’ll let that sink in for a second. Corky Simpson, a lifetime honorary member of the BBWAA, did not vote for Rickey Henderson for the Hall of Fan.

Now, there’s even some irony, as Neyer points out, in Simpson’s argument. He claims not to have voted for Mark McGwire because of the steroid scandal but opted for Matt Williams, a career .268/.317/.489 hitter with 378 lifetime HRs and a place in the Mitchell Report, because “nobody ever played the game with more intensity, nor with more reverence for the sport.” I guess reverence included cheating.

Now, Corky’s only 70. He’s not that old. But this ballot is a pure embarrassment, and it does nothing to help the reputation of baseball or the Hall of Fame. I would commend Simpson for making this thing public, but if the BBWAA had any common sense, they would strip him of that honorary lifetime title. He doesn’t deserve it.

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  • andrew

    Things like this annoy me, but what can we do…

  • Ryan K

    Now I know it’s not quite on the same scale, but this reminds of a the 2006 MVP when one writer placed Jeter 5th on his ballot when I don’t think he ever fell below 3 on anybody else’s ballot (and he should’ve won the award!)

    • steve (different one)

      i believe that guy had his vote taken away.

      if i remember correctly he was a Chicago writer and he had AJ Pierzynski on his ballot and Jeter 6th.

  • Old Ranger

    Most of the voters for the Hall are bias one way or another. Some won’t vote for a relief pitcher, others will not vote for a DH or pinch hitter…it goes on and on.
    They all have their hang-ups, believe it or not a few of them will not vote for a hitter unless he has a life time avg. of .300 or more…or a pitcher unless he has 300 wins.
    Some of them are a joke and should be replaced…”ain’t never gona happen”.

    • andrew

      Similar to how Berroa beat out Matsui for ROY because some voters didn’t think Matsui should be considered a rookie.
      By definition, he was a rookie. If you don’t like how the MLB defines a rookie, then don’t vote.

      • RollingWave

        to be fair, the 03 ROY isn’t really THAT dumb. that year Matsui was worth 91 runs created (or 5.1 per) and Angel was 87 at 5.2 per, so they were roughly equal with the bat, and given the positional difference, going with Angel made sense. their later career development non-withstanding. Mark Teixiera and Jody Gerut both had higher OPS than both of them.

        The main problem was that Berroa was an epic bust after his rookie year. shit happens. ROY is pointless.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Berroa getting it over Matsui is much, much less monumentally stupid than leaving Rickey off your ballot.

          The only way Corky Simpson can justify not voting for Rickey Henderson is if he turned in an empty ballot with no names on it. Because, of this class of candidates, Rickey Henderson is the greatest baseball player amongst them, and there’s virtually no possible rational debate against that. He’s first, all the others are in a list behind him in some order.

  • Bruno

    Volquez ROY

  • E-ROC

    That is just disgusting. How in the hell do you leave Ricky Henderson off your ballot? Damn Alzheimer’s Disease! Always screwing shit up!

    • Old Ranger

      I understand the last sentence was a joke but…..

      I wouldn’t even let that be a reason for them being (as you said) disgusting.

      Other then some of them having a bias, one way or another…I would even suggest some are to damn old. They look at things differently. Trying to compare a player of this era to Ted W.’s era for example…not good!

  • Mike Pop
    • The Third Yip-Yip

      f’n LOL

    • Baseballnation

      lmfao, that is just wrong. Seriously though, If Ricky doesn’t get a vote over some of these other guys than i is a travesty.

  • Marc

    I am a displaced Yankees fan currently living in Tucson, AZ. I am sad to hear that a writer in Tucson could be as stupid as to leave Rickey Henderson off his ballot. Unfortunately, the papers in Tucson suck ass. Don’t judge a crappy writer for a crappy paper too harshly, although he should never even have a vote to begin with. Matt Williams…Seriously?!?! Please make a big stink about this, as the more publicity that this receives, the better the chance he loses his ballot. Personally, I believe that no Tucson sportswriter deserves a right to vote in the ballot. I mean the nearest baseball team is 100 miles away, and they have only been around for 10 years, and they suck ass!

    • Marc

      One last note, Green Valley(the town of the newspaper he wrote his article in), is a retirement community of less than ~100,000 people. The paper is a wash and no one that matters really reads it.

      • Manimal

        hahaha no one that matters reads it. Good to know considering it is awful how dumb he is.

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    What do you expect from a guy named “Corky”?

  • Manimal


  • p

    He didn’t do it because he forgot, or because he didn’t think ricky was good enough. He did it because guys like hank aaron, willie mays, and babe ruth were not unanimous decisions. If some of the greatest baseball players there were or ever will be were not unanimously inducted into the HOF then nobody should be. Cal ripken wasn’t unanimouse for the same reason. Ricky was a lock for the hall with our without his one vote. Corky leaving him off was symbolic not stupid, and frankly, I don’t blame him for it I’d do the same thing.

    • pat

      ug posting from my phone sucks. drop the e from unanimous.

    • Colombo

      So what happens a few years from now when Maddux is on the ballot? He is the greatest pitcher of this generation, and should be a unanimous Hall of Famer, but bc Ripken or the Babe weren’t unanimous, you support someone leaving him off the ballot? That, like leaving Ricky off the ballot this year, is absurd.

      And seeing how you are posting on a yankee fan blog, lets take it deeper. Mo’s contract is up after the 2010 season. So, in 2015, people should leave him off the ballot just because?

      • pat

        Like I said, ricky was not left off the ballot because ol corky is a racist or hates stolen bases. He was left off because if BABE RUTH, arguably the greatest baseball player to ever walk the earth, was not a unanimous vote then nobody should be. Rickys not jim rice. Ricky doesnt need every single vote ricky can get because there is no way ricky is not a first ballot hall of famer. It’s the principle of the matter, a unanimous vote for ricky, mo, or maddux would in a way, be an admission that they were more deserving of the hall of fame than the babe. cy young, walter johnson, etc. In fact there has NEVER been a player unanimously voted into the hall for that reason. And yes as a yankee fan I would have absolutely no problem with mariano only receiving 98% of the HOF votes. Baseball, more than any other sport, is a game steeped in tradition, history and reverence for the legends that played it. This is one of those things thats always gonna happen and I have no problem with it.

        • Ben K.

          This is 100 percent speculation on your point. At no time in that article does Simpson claim that, and I honestly think you’re giving him way too much credit.

          • pat

            Yes you are correct he does not come out and give any sort of mention to ricky at all. But what do you think is the likely case? Do you think he’s thinks ricky is undeserving or is it more likely that hes one of those oldschool “protecting the integrity” guys? Ye’s i’m speculating but I think as a former sportswriter of the year in the 80’s he still knows a few things about rickey. Anyway yes, it is a pretty stupid thing to get heated about and it puts too much subjectivity in the hands of the voters but call me old fashioned I think its pretty cool. For me at least, its one of those little nuanced things that makes baseball so interesting, it’s a little tip of the cap to the guys who played the game before you. But then again as I ofen say, What do I know maybe his old ass just overlooked Ricky, or didnt like him personally or whatever.

        • Mike P

          So because some idiot didn’t vote Ruth in all those years ago, it would be smart for someone to leave Henderson off the ballot just in case he gets a unanimous vote and some idiots think he must therefore have been better than Ruth was?

          That’s seriously flawed logic. Let’s all compensate for stupidity by repeating it for equality’s sake! And what happens if enough writers volunteer to be the ‘smart guy’ in the above scenario and symbolically decline to vote for Henderson, such that he doesn’t get in first ballot? I understand your argument, but its completely flawed.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          All of this lunacy is reason, yet again, why the HoF voting body is populated my lunatic asstards.

          I said before the “first ballot” HoF thing is stupid and retarded. Well, the “unanimous” selection thing is stupid and retarded as well.

          Say that the first year Cal Ripken was on the ballot, every single voter said, “You know what? Cal Ripken is a Hall of Famer. I’m going to vote for him.” BAM! Cal Ripken is a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer. Does that make him better than Babe Ruth, who was not a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer? Of course not. Would any sane person with a working frontal lobe ever think that? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. But, because some other schmuck 70 years ago left Babe Ruth off his ballot, we now have to compensate for that assclown’s ignorance into perpetuity by intentionally condoning and requesting willful ignorance on the part of every other individual, in a stupidly ignorant attempt to prevent stupid ignorant fools from having quasi-validation for their stupid ignorant quasi-comparisons that they’re not even really making in the first place? That’s insanity.

          Look, NOBODY REALLY CARES about “first-ballot” or “unanimous” except for unthinking morons who look to other people to give them their opinions. In 1920, Warren G. Harding had the biggest electoral victory in the history of the country at the time; did that make him the greatest president ever? Of course not. NOBODY EVALUATES SHIT LIKE THIS IN THIS MANNER. So stop trying to “protect the integrity” of the Hall of Fame by literally shitting all over the integrity of the Hall of Fame voting process.

          Morons. All of them. I hope to never hear the phrases “first ballot” or “unanimous” ever again.

          If he’s worthy, vote for him. If he’s not, don’t.

  • Jake H

    That’s pretty crazy. I love Donnie but Ricky is a sure fire HOF and should be voted in on the first ballot.

  • Januz

    The issue of some guy not voting Ricky Henderson into Cooperstown is no big deal, there are people who did not vote for another number 24 who played in NY and the Bay Area……Willie Mays. The point is, Ricky will stll be elected first ballot. The bigger issue is some of the guys who still have not been elected starting with Bert Blyleven and his 60 shutouts. Jim Rice is another. Although it looks like he will finally make it………… after 14 tries. Rice is on my all-time “Yankee Killer” list (Guys I actually saw), trailing only Manny, Griffey Jr, and maybe George Brett. It took way too long in my opinion. This guy was a sick hitter, who although his career was short, he was dominating, and he put up those numbers in the pre-steroid era.

    • steve (different one)

      i’m not going to get into whether or not Rice is a HoFer, but i will say this: he’s no where even close to a slam dunk case.

      not even close.

      he’s going to get in this year, which is fine.

      but he is on the border.

      • Old Ranger


    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The issue of some guy not voting Ricky Henderson into Cooperstown is no big deal, there are people who did not vote for another number 24 who played in NY and the Bay Area……Willie Mays.

      Prior egregiously stupid actions should never validate present or future egregiously stupid actions.

  • Januz

    Here is an interesting article from Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe which does an excellent job of explaining the history of Hall Of Fame voting, and vote totals of certain Hall Of Famers (The Mays and Williams numbers shocked me). Here is the link.

  • Bo

    The baseball writers are a joke.

    Remember these are the same morons who voted Volquez ROY. How they didn’t strip those guys of their qualifications is beyond me.

  • Ace

    Ridiculous. This guy and the guy who voted Jeter 7th in MVP voting in 2006 should be removed from their respective positions.

    ps Smoltz to the Sox? Great signing by Theo if it goes through.

  • Jeremy

    Read Simpson’s article if you can and let me know your opinion on his thought process. It’s baffling.

    He notes that he did not vote for Henderson, but only by including Henderson in a list of all the candidates he didn’t vote for. He makes no attempt to explain his decision not to vote for Henderson. If he wanted to prevent Henderson from being a unanimous pick, he doesn’t say so.

    How could he leave Henderson off his ballot, write a piece about his ballot that doesn’t explain his decision, and not expect anyone to demand his rationale?

    As for the eight players he did voted for, he seemingly picked his votes at random. (As others have pointed out, how can he vote for Raines but not Henderson?)

    I have no knowledge of Simpson aside from this article. But based on his ballot and what he wrote about it, I think the guy is senile.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      “how can he vote for Raines but not Henderson”

      That is really what he needs to explain. Really all else is another thing, but you nailed it that is the head scratcher.

      • Jeremy

        The ironic thing about his ballot is that he does vote for two players who I believe deserve induction but probably won’t get in: Raines and Blyleven.

        • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

          Raines I think should get it, I vote no on Blyleven. So he has two guys in Donnie and Raines that I think should get it but will not anytime soon.

          • Mike P

            You think Mattingly should be voted in?

  • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

    Big ups to Corky for that Donnie Baseball vote!


    Matt Williams over Rickey though? I would like to hear what Rickey thinks of it. Rickey is the best who ever lived. Rickey thinks Rickey might be upset. I would like a televised debate between a 70 year old dude named Corky and Rickey. That would be great tv.

    • steve (different one)

      Hello Rickey, pick up the phone. It’s Me, You.

      • shades

        and that’s the rickey henderson bit

  • Old Ranger

    I always thought that was the most ostentatious way of talking of one self. I remember doing a double take on that. He was a very good player and deserved the vote…unlike Rice.
    Rice was very good and a Yankee killer but, so was Ken Singleton (spelling)…if Rice makes it fine, if not fine. There are other more deserving then he…Bert (as mentioned) is one of many.

    • Jeremy

      I think it would be a shame if Rice makes it but Raines doesn’t. It would be a triumph of reputation (“feared hitter”) over ability (Rice being an above-average power hitter, Raines being second only to Henderson as all-time great leadoff man).

      • Januz

        There is little doubt that Tim Raines is heading for Cooperstown, and it will take a fewer number of years then it took Jim Rice. I also believe that Raines teammate Andre Dawson, and Blyleven (If he is not elected this year) should be elected in either 2010 or 2011, because of the poor quality of eligible players coming up.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I also believe that Raines teammate Andre Dawson, and Blyleven (If he is not elected this year) should be elected in either 2010 or 2011, because of the poor quality of eligible players coming up.

          Exhibit #12,437,682,823,843,854 that Hall of Fame voters are idiots:

          Players getting votes simply because fewer good players are on the ballot that year.


          “Hey, none of these guys are really good, but I should vote for someone, right? Let’s vote for Andre Dawson, he’s only slightly worse than Dante Bichette…

          Sincerely, Corky Simpson, Lifetime BBWAA member

          • Januz

            TSJC, they are not being idiots trust me, it is more like self preservation. There is one thing that the baseball writters fear………… having their vote taken away from them. I remember the year when Jim Bunning was voted in by the Veterans, that same year, the writters elected no one. In 2009-2010, the Veterans do not have the opportunity to vote any player in (Even if they wanted to), so the writters have to vote someone in. It SHOULD be Barry Larkin (A 12 time all-star and league MVP), it could be Robbie Alomar, it could be Bert Blyleven, it could be Andre Dawson, it could be Tim Raines, or it could be some combination of them. But there is no way that you will see a year with no induction ceremony, that will not only make them change the rules,and cost the Hall tons of money.

  • Count Zero

    I was a never a fan of Rickey and his pompous third-person self-references, but even I will admit that this guy was quite likely the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. How anyone could leave him off a ballot is beyond me — how anyone could put Matt Williams ahead of him is just stupefying.

  • Joseph M

    The voting rules should be amended to include what I’d call a “competency clause”. A voter who does not vote for a player who receives 95% of the vote or more should have their entire ballot invalidated and the voter should be banned from any further participation in the process.

    This has to be treated as a serious activity, if someone choses to make a joke out of it, or make some kind of political point, that voter loses the privilege (and that’s the word, it’s not a right) of voting.

  • the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusiness

    Leaving Rickey off the list is obviously weapons-grade stupidity but overall, I’m happy Corky cast this ballot. Rickey’s getting in this year regardless of what Corky Simpson thinks. Life Goes On. Bert Blyleven, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell are deserving players who are not sure things and each one gets the nod from Corky. I’m resigned to the idea that Jim Rice is probably getting in this year, so Corky’s vote for him is worth Raines, Blyleven and Trammell getting a vote each. Is Corky Simpson a horribly misguided fool? Obviously, but his ballot actually increases the likelihood of the deserving players making it. Simpson’s non-vote for Rickey and vote for Matt Williams won’t have any impact. His votes for Raines, Blyleven and Trammell might.

  • Andy M’ski

    Ben, you have obviously failed your undergraduate stats course or you were never taught the meaning of a sampling distibution. Way to go… making news out of news… that’s true journalism.

    • Ben K.

      What does sampling distribution have to do with this?

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