Corky Simpson: I ‘simply goofed’ on Rickey-less ballot

The reality of a Reds trade
Open Thread: All-Free Agent Team

When last we visited with Corky Simpson, the septuagenarian was taking a beating for inexplicably leaving Rickey Henderson off of his Hall of Fame ballot. After facing mountains of Internet abuse, Simpson recanted yesterday. His apology, however, reeks to me of a half-hearted and back-stabbing attempt to make online ends meet.

Simpson’s mea culpa arose from an interview Carl Steward, columnist for the Oakland Tribune. Steward and Simpson talked about the controversial ballot, and Simpson offered up his excuse and an apology. “Rickey deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and if I had my ballot back, he’d have a shot at unanimity — and I wouldn’t be hated by quite so many people,” Simpson said.

Had he stopped there, Simpson would have offered a nice shot at reconciliation, but as he kept talking, his responses grew more sarcastic and less sincere:

“I’ll bet it was worse than when 98 people failed to vote for Catfish Hunter some 22 years ago,” he added. “The blogosphere would have exploded if it had been around when 43 people failed to vote for Mickey Mantle, 23 for Willie Mays, 36 for Jackie Robinson, nine for Hank Aaron, 31 for Roberto Clemente, 57 for Yogi Berra, 23 for Stan Musial, 20 for Ted Williams and 28 for Joe DiMaggio.”

Green Valley News sportswriter Nick Prevenas said he warned Simpson about leaving Henderson off his ballot when he filed the column, but Simpson told him he “wasn’t a Rickey guy and that he would vote for him next time.”


Simpson is now well aware of the controversy he stirred but regrets that it happened. “If I had properly researched the situation, I would have voted for Rickey Henderson if for no other reason than he played for nine ball teams,” he said. “Imagine that. He’ll be the first Hall of Famer to have a bronze bust with nine caps stacked on his head. Seriously, he was a wonderful player and I simply goofed. I voted for eight deserving men. I could have picked two more — and I wish to heck I had.”

I don’t buy it, not one bit. Simpson clearly doesn’t like Rickey Henderson. Why else would he have told one of his colleagues in Arizona that he “wasn’t a Rickey guy”? It’s also really easy to tell someone you’d vote a player the next time when he’s bound to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Meanwhile, Simpson is going after a straw man argument. It doesn’t matter if other deserving players weren’t picked on the first ballot. If a player is Hall of Fame-worthy, he should be voted in on someone’s ballot no matter what everyone else is or isn’t doing. It is also dismaying to learn that a Hall of Fame voter had not “properly researched the situation.” Again, I would seriously consider removing Simpson’s voting privilege if I were in charge of the BBWAA.

But then again, what should we expect from an organization which saw three of its members try to vote non-rookie Edinson Volquez as Rookie of the Year this year?

The reality of a Reds trade
Open Thread: All-Free Agent Team
  • Manimal

    Someone who did not “properly research” each eligible member shouldn’t even get a vote.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    “The blogosphere would have exploded if it had been around when 43 people failed to vote for Mickey Mantle, 23 for Willie Mays, 36 for Jackie Robinson, nine for Hank Aaron, 31 for Roberto Clemente, 57 for Yogi Berra, 23 for Stan Musial, 20 for Ted Williams and 28 for Joe DiMaggio.”

    In Corky’s defense, he’s right about all of the above.

    • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don

      Yeah. I am not saying this guy is a great guy or something but he is getting more abuse than he deserves. There are many bad and uninformed sports writers. And everybody is bad sometimes, and is uninformed on certain things.

      I am not of the belief that a guy should not get in or get in on the first try because of any other reason than being Hall worthy. But what is Hall worthy? Who is? Most agree that Rickey should be in (as I do), but really this is not the big deal the blogging generation makes it out to be.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Yeah. I am not saying this guy is a great guy or something but he is getting more abuse than he deserves.”

        Actually, no, I’m not with you. I was kidding. The fact that I would have freaked out if someone didn’t vote for Mickey Mantle for the HOF doesn’t lessen the idiocy of Simpson’s leaving Henderson off of his ballot.

        I do agree with you to a certain extent regarding how big a deal people make out of this stuff. The way I see it, the entire concept is kind of silly (since the voting mechanism lacks integrity), so I’m not surprised nor do I care much about incidents like Corky’s ballot. I think it’s unfair to lay this at the feet of the “blogging generation” though (whatever the “blogging generation” is, I have no idea). I think it’s great that people are more educated and aware of these things today.

        • Mister Delaware

          Simpson is basically whining that “bloggers” are holding him accountable for an action he can’t explain away. If the HoF is to be held in any esteem among modern fans, the voters will need to start taking it a bit more seriously. There is no argument against Henderson and Simpson more or less acknowledges that. Yet … no vote. Things would be a lot better if voters had to write yes or no then even one sentence on why not. “Career too short” or whatever, something so they have to explain why certain guys aren’t getting votes beyond the BS “if Ruth wasn’t unanimous” logic.

    • Mister Delaware

      All except Hunter, that is.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Actually, I intentionally left his comment about Hunter out of my comment for that reason.

        • Mister Delaware

          Then kudos and I agree. High five.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime


    • huuz

      “The blogosphere would have exploded if it had been around when 43 people failed to vote for Mickey Mantle, 23 for Willie Mays, 36 for Jackie Robinson, nine for Hank Aaron, 31 for Roberto Clemente, 57 for Yogi Berra, 23 for Stan Musial, 20 for Ted Williams and 28 for Joe DiMaggio.”

      i’m sure people were just as miffed back then…but what were they going to do…? write a letter to the editor…?

      this is the beauty of the web, anyone can get their voice out there and be heard. if they are an idiot, they’ll get ignored. if they bring intelligent discussion, they’ll get noticed.

      newspapers have had a monopoly on distributing information in the world quite for some time. now that power is quickly eroding and they don’t like it. the web and blogging are bring a free market spirit to the information/news industry that has operated under communism for decades.

    • Doles

      There’s no defense to it at all. He’s not qualified to vote..period.

  • GG

    In order to honor the Babe, nobody will ever be unaminously voted in I heard; while I assume a lot of you guys probablly have heard that as well, it creates an interesting question. How does a voter know if he is that guy who should leave someone off their ballot…If everyone just assumed someone else left a guy off, we could accidentally wind up with the first unaminous vote getter which wouldnt be good. Firm believer if the Babe was unaminous nobody should be.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “Firm believer if the Babe was unaminous nobody should be.”

      I assume you mean that since Ruth was not voted in unanimously, nobody should be. Mind if I ask why? Just ’cause?

      • GG

        yes, than that guy goes down in history as “the first player unaminously voted into the HOF.” I think that the player with that title should be Babe Ruth and nobody will ever get that title since he didnt. I didnt make it up and I do think it makes sense. Greg Maddux would be deserving IF anybody when he is up but I doubt he will get it for that reason.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Meh, I knew the answer and there was no point in asking the question, I don’t even care enough to respond. My bad. Agree to disagree.

        • Doles

          It makes no sense. Rickey Henderson, along with dozens of other players, should have been unanimous votes. Nobody fills out a ballot worrying that they’ll be the vote that makes it unanimous…that’s just idiotic.

    • Ben K.

      So because a bunch of people seventy years ago didn’t see fit to honor the Babe unanimously you would hold people responsible for that today? That seems rather short-sighted to me.

      If today’s crop of voters were voting for the Babe, you can be sure they would vote unanimously. And if Rickey, or others, are sure-fire first balloters, then everyone should be voting for him, and no one should follow this “I’m not voting for him because Babe Ruth wasn’t voted in unanimously” reasoning.

    • Jamal G.

      Firm believer if the Babe was unaminous nobody should be.

      Dude, I know it’s your opinion and all, but that’s a lot of bullshit. I couldn’t care less about who a bunch of dumb-ass reporters did or did not vote for. As it stands now, Greg Maddux, Albert Pujols, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez are all deserving of unanimous entries (I just picked the first few names that came to me). Just because Babe Ruth did not get in should have zero bearing on the future.

  • E-ROC

    This member is a joke. That wasn’t an apology. That crap was just a wordy statement made for him to look good. He even took a dig at Rickey Henderson when mentioning he played for nine teams, at least that’s the way I interpreted it.

  • pat

    I feel like an idiot for defending this kook a few das ago. Never again shall I show the elderly compassion. NEVER!!!!!!!!!

  • Reggie C.

    Ricky don’t know Corky. Ricky don’t care.

    • whozat

      PLEASE let him deliver his entire speech in the third person. PLEASE.

      • Mike Pop

        Ricky Henderson accepts this great honor. Ricky was the best in the game and best in history of the earth. Ricky says thank you.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Honestly, I kind of wonder why they don’t do an anonymous vote.

    Unless it already is anonymous and I just don’t know what I’m talking about. In which case I apologize.

    • leo

      They’re private(ish) until you publicize them, which he and a lot of other writers do.

      • Rebecca-Optimist Prime


        I’m all for narcissism and all that, but isn’t there more integrity to it when it’s a secret ballot?

  • Dave

    We should start a petition on this blog to have his BBWAA privelages revoked and submit it to whoever cares enough to do something.

    • Old Ranger

      Therein lies the problem, a lot of those guys are so arrogant and inept they could care less what you or anyone thinks…because, “We are the elite press…you peasants show your betters some respect!”
      The quote is the attitude of my college journalism professor, that was many decades ago. Whenever he was challenged by one of us, he would puff up and dive into a diatribe on the freedoms of the press, and the leadership we must give to the masses……….descending into redundant, predictability.

  • leo

    The difference is the 98 people who didn’t vote for Catfish were probably right instead of forgetful.

  • Jamal G.

    Apparently, Corky Simpson and Keith Law swapped e-mails about the topic:

    Eric (NYC): So Henderson wont be unanimous, but the voter who omitted Henderson DID vote for Raines.

    SportsNation Keith Law: I’ve been swapping emails with the voter (Corky Simpson), and I get the impression that 1) he’s a big-Hall guy and 2) he figured Henderson didn’t need his vote anyway. He said Rickey is absolutely a HoFer. Now, I wouldn’t roll like that, but there’s some merit in the argument – I’d like to see a unanimous selection as much as anyone, but you don’t get a bigger plaque for that, and he voted for three of my causes – Blyleven, Raines, and Trammell.

    Now, that does make it less egregious, but come on guy, must you be that lazy?

  • huuz

    43 people didn’t vote for Mantle!!??


    at the time he retired, there were 2 guys in MLB history w/ more career homeruns than Mantle. two.


    that is it.

  • DanElmaleh

    I would have more respect for him if he just said: Rickey was an ass. He did not always hustle. I consider character part of a first ballot guy. I will vote for him next time.

    If I had a ballot, that is what I would say; but I still may have voted for Rickey. When Rickey played for the Yanks in the 80s I hoped he would not be a first ballot guy; just because he was an ass. However, today I think he should. He was that good — it cancels out the other crap — including the fake injuries.

    • Doles

      If you have to think whether you would have voted for Rickey, then you are not qualified to vote. Whether anyone likes him or not….he is a 100%, no brainer, hall of fame player. Whether he was an ass has nothing to do with it.

  • Andrew

    I would suspect that Corky, being as ignorant as he sounds, might not even know who Ricky Henderson is. What does anyone expect from a guy named “Corky”???

  • Pingback: If Rickey Henderson Could Have Voted for Rickey Henderson, Rest Assured, Rickey Henderson Most Certainly Would Have Voted for Rickey Henderson « this is the city line.

  • Mr Furious

    Apparently the time Corky didn’t spend “properly researching” Henderson was spent researching his bullshit excuse. He knows exactly how many votes short everyone over the last seventy years was, but didn’t know enough to judge Henderson’s qualifications?

    Take away his ballot.

  • steve

    There must be a few hundred more than him who don’t do any research.

    Because if Bert Blyleven would have have gotten average run support in his games he would have gotten 340 career wins.