Rickey Henderson Was Left Off Of Corky Simpson's Hall Of Fame Ballot

Matt Williams, Hall Of Famer. Rickey Henderson? Not Quite. At Least, According To HOF Voter Corky Simpson.

1/7/09 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5135 respect

It can be argued that Rickey Henderson is the greatest player ever to play the game of baseball. It's a bit of a stretch, for sure. But he was a 10-time All Star, and MVP, a gold glove winner, a 3 time Silver Slugger, was baseball's best power hitter ever from the leadoff position and baseball's all-time leader in runs and stolen bases.

While his all-time place among the greats most likely depends on how much you value speed vs power, there's no denying that Rickey Henderson is more than deserving of a place in Cooperstown, and will receive that honor this year after Hall of Fame votes are tabulated and the honors are given out.

While I realize that we may never see a player voted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, I still think it's important to note that the current system is dreadfully flawed.

How is this, you ask? It's simple. For starters, Corky Simpson has a Hall of Fame vote.

If you're wondering what's wrong with Corky, just take a look at his article in which he explains his reasoning behind his Hall of Fame ballot. Homer Derby pointed this out as something they discovered while filling in their Hall of Fame Vote Tracker, an outstanding compilation of all of the ballots which have already been made available to the public.

On Corky's list of players he deems worthy of induction: Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Alan Trammell and Matt Williams.

Conspicuously omitted: Rickey Henderson.

Simpson didn't forget about Henderson. He mentioned him in the article, in his list of "Others honored with nomination this year and who may well be voted into the Hall of Fame".

Is there anything wrong with not including a player on your Hall of Fame ballot? No, there really isn't. Just like there's nothing wrong with an umpire having a tight strike zone. As long as he's consistent, that is. What's true for umpires is true for Hall of Fame voters. By all means, be picky. Hall of Fame voters are like the bouncers at one of the most exclusive clubs in America.
If someone doesn't meet your standards, then don't let them in. It's better to be safe than sorry, and I would much rather see them allow only the best of the best to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

So where the hell does Matt Williams fit in? How does Alan Trammell make the list over Henderson? As an unabashed Red Sox homer, I'd love to see Jim Rice get in, as well. But certainly not over the likes of Rickey Henderson.

As HRD already pointed out, Simpson's justification for Tim Raines sounded surprisingly familiar to anyone knowledgeable about Henderson's career.

"Tim Raines, a seven-time All-Star outfielder, 1986 National League batting champion and four-time base-stealing champ."

While Rickey never was a batting champ, he had 3 seasons in the top 5. Incidentally, Raines was also in the top 5 three times. Henderson was a 10 time all star, and was a four-time base-stealing champ before his 25th birthday. By the end of his career, Rickey led the league in steals 12 times, and was in the top 10 an additional 9 times. He dwarfs Raines in everything that Simpson mentioned, yet Henderson got snubbed.

I don't even think we need to start talking about guys like Matt Williams and Alan Trammell, or even the rest of the players on his ballot, ALL of whom are less deserving than Rickey Henderson.

If you're going to keep out a guy like Rickey Henderson, that's fine. Corky Simpson (and every other voter) most certainly has the right to do that. But can we please see some consistency? Much like the BCS, a system in which people vote to decide the worth of various athletic acheivements is proving to be a huge failure once again.


Corky Simpson: The writer who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson [Homer Derby]
2009 Baseball Hall of Fame BBWAA Vote Tracker [Homer Derby]
Along the Way: One man’s ballot for baseball’s Hall of Fame [Corky Simpson]
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1/9/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

News of note... Simpson now admits it was a mistake not to have Henderson on his ballot.  And if he could take it back he would. 

For whatever that's worth...

1/9/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

snbslugger wrote:
Well, you're right, I'm not a fan of those who are alleged to have used steroids or HGH.  Mark McGwire was one of my favorite players growing up, and his sputtering nonsense during that hearing cut pretty deep.  But like I said before, I wouldn't deny him, Bonds*, or Sosa Hall of Fame consideration because they operated within the parameters of MLB at the time.

MLB chose to ignore, or perhaps even cover up the problem.  Sosa and McGwire brought baseball back from the brink and made a lot of old men in suits very wealthy.  The same goes for Bonds, who filled a brand new ballpark to capacity and generated much-needed revenue for the San Francisco Giants.  Because these men were essentially used to prop up MLB's dying image after the strike, I don't blame them.

Hiring a commissioner that wasn't totally incompetent would go a long way, too. 

That "problem" existed since the Uberoth administration.  If not before.  Do you blame him, Bart Giamatti AND Fay Vincent too?

I agree it is an issue to deal with.  But MLB has much bigger issues that I feel have a much higher priority.  Like correcting a few mistakes made by the incompetent Bud Selig.

Last thing...  It's too bad that you let the utterances in that worthless dog & pony show by congress affect your feelings for a player.  I honestly do not care what anyone said there.  It was a circus that meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.

1/9/09   |   snbslugger

ML31 wrote:
That is the first I heard about Brock aiding in the writing of Rickey's comment.  I say comment because it was more a statement than a speech.  Even if Rickey regretted the comment later, (something else I have never stumbled upon) such a thing is still completely withing Rickey's character.  I think he may have mellowed some in his old age when he was hanging on and hanging on to keep playing baseball for a living when it was VERY obvious no one wanted him and his skills deteriorated to nothing.  He actually became a figure to be pitied. 

I don't care for Henderson but at least I am not going to take pick up gossip and lies about him and run with it.  Bonds has never cheated any more than any other player on the field or any player in the Hall of Fame.  He never beat anyone as far as anyone besides him knows.  (The same could be said for any player)  I suppose he could be a racist.  But just because he has said some crazy things doesn't make him one.  He often said goofball things on purpose just to screw with the media.  Who he did not like.  Even though he COULD be I would not go out and label him as such without some sort of hard evidence.  And, let me clarify that my impression of Bonds is that he is a first class jerk as well.  Similar to Henderson.  But I wouldn't let that get in the way.  I am judging these guys as baseball players.  Not as human beings.

It sounds to me like you just don't like anyone who is alleged to use steroids or HGH.  Which I guess is fine, but I wouldn't hold that sort of thing against any player.  ALL players are looking for edges.  Something else will come along in the future that players THINK gives them an edge.  And IT will become the flavor of the week. 

Well, you're right, I'm not a fan of those who are alleged to have used steroids or HGH.  Mark McGwire was one of my favorite players growing up, and his sputtering nonsense during that hearing cut pretty deep.  But like I said before, I wouldn't deny him, Bonds*, or Sosa Hall of Fame consideration because they operated within the parameters of MLB at the time.

MLB chose to ignore, or perhaps even cover up the problem.  Sosa and McGwire brought baseball back from the brink and made a lot of old men in suits very wealthy.  The same goes for Bonds, who filled a brand new ballpark to capacity and generated much-needed revenue for the San Francisco Giants.  Because these men were essentially used to prop up MLB's dying image after the strike, I don't blame them.

Hiring a commissioner that wasn't totally incompetent would go a long way, too. 

1/9/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

jjh8857 wrote:
Actually he won with Toronto as well. 

My mistake.  I had forgotten about how the A's loaned him to the Jays for a few games in '93.

1/9/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

snbslugger wrote:
The Lou Brock speech was a complete misunderstanding.  Brock was on the field when Henderson gave the speech.  Henderson himself said Lou Brock helped him write it, but he caught so much grief from what was perceived as a slap at Brock he regrets ever giving the speech.  As far as his antics in 1982, well, it's not good, but like I said, guys have done worse.

I'm not suggesting the character issue keeps guys out.  Hell, you have Ty Cobb, and Enos Slaughter in there, both against integration and considered dirty players in their day.  That's why I don't oppose Bonds* going in.  He may be a cheater, a woman beater, and a racist, but his numbers were earned within the parameters of the game at the time.  I hate the guy.  I think he's walking excrement, but on his stats, he has to be in.  The same goes for McGwire and Sosa, who were essentially used by MLB to dig themselves out of the hole the 1994 strike left them in financially.

Calling Rickey borderline just feels odd to me.  I mean even when stolen bases started to become a lesser role in the game, he still remained one of the league's most feared leadoff hitters.  Then again, your choices in the HoF poll show you to be pretty hard line about who gets in, so I guess I understand your point of view.

That is the first I heard about Brock aiding in the writing of Rickey's comment.  I say comment because it was more a statement than a speech.  Even if Rickey regretted the comment later, (something else I have never stumbled upon) such a thing is still completely withing Rickey's character.  I think he may have mellowed some in his old age when he was hanging on and hanging on to keep playing baseball for a living when it was VERY obvious no one wanted him and his skills deteriorated to nothing.  He actually became a figure to be pitied. 

I don't care for Henderson but at least I am not going to take pick up gossip and lies about him and run with it.  Bonds has never cheated any more than any other player on the field or any player in the Hall of Fame.  He never beat anyone as far as anyone besides him knows.  (The same could be said for any player)  I suppose he could be a racist.  But just because he has said some crazy things doesn't make him one.  He often said goofball things on purpose just to screw with the media.  Who he did not like.  Even though he COULD be I would not go out and label him as such without some sort of hard evidence.  And, let me clarify that my impression of Bonds is that he is a first class jerk as well.  Similar to Henderson.  But I wouldn't let that get in the way.  I am judging these guys as baseball players.  Not as human beings.

It sounds to me like you just don't like anyone who is alleged to use steroids or HGH.  Which I guess is fine, but I wouldn't hold that sort of thing against any player.  ALL players are looking for edges.  Something else will come along in the future that players THINK gives them an edge.  And IT will become the flavor of the week. 

1/9/09   |   jjh8857   |   315 respect

ML31 wrote:
Rickey was on a team that won the World Series one season.  I promise you.  The A's didn't win that series because of him.  DAVE Henderson did more for that team than RICKEY ever did.  So did the pitching staff and their manager.
It is possible to be talented, playing to pad your own stats AND be on a team that wins the World Series.  Rickey isn't the first to do it.

Actually he won with Toronto as well. 

1/9/09   |   snbslugger

ML31 wrote:
If character is a strong issue with you then Rickey is NOT your guy.  He performed what I deem to be the most crass action I have ever seen on a baseball field.  Remember when I broke Brock's career SB record?  He stopped and picked up the base and held it aloft.  Then he walked around with it.  It was his way of saying, "dig me.  Aren't I great?"  Then, when it was obvious he had little interest in continuing the game, the A's sent a guy with a field mic out to him.  Then he went on to actually say to the crowd...  With Lou Brock in attendance mind you...  "Lou Brock was a good base stealer.  But  I  am the greatest!
It was sweet justice that Nolan Ryan happened to throw his 7th career no hitter that night and shove Rickey off the front of the sports pages.  Even in the Bay Area Rickey was relegated to the bottom half of the page.
Mind you, in 1982 when he was going for the single season SB record, he said before the season started that was his goal.  And he took off nearly every time he was at first or even 2nd.  Guess what?  He set another record that season.  Getting CAUGHT stealing the most in one season.  Sure, the A's were not that good that year.  But they were coming off a playoff season.  He should have been thinking about stealing for the benefit of the team.  Not his own personal numbers.

If that is great character for you, be my guest.

Sure, Bonds is a jerk.  That doesn't change the fact that he was the best hitter of his era.  No one even came close. 
Pujols right now was better than Rickey ever was.  I do not know why Clemens would be a tough sell.  After Maddux, he was the next best pitcher of his era too.  He is an absolute no brainer.  Sure, he is kind of a jerk too.  But the talent was there. 
The character issue has NEVER kept good players out.  All it has done was help borderline players get in. (Pucket, for example)

Besides, it's not like I have ever said Rickey shouldn't be in the Hall.  He does.  I just consider him borderline.  The one and only one reason he is getting in is his prowess on the bases.  If character were taken into consideration, he wouldn't stand a chance.

The Lou Brock speech was a complete misunderstanding.  Brock was on the field when Henderson gave the speech.  Henderson himself said Lou Brock helped him write it, but he caught so much grief from what was perceived as a slap at Brock he regrets ever giving the speech.  As far as his antics in 1982, well, it's not good, but like I said, guys have done worse.

I'm not suggesting the character issue keeps guys out.  Hell, you have Ty Cobb, and Enos Slaughter in there, both against integration and considered dirty players in their day.  That's why I don't oppose Bonds* going in.  He may be a cheater, a woman beater, and a racist, but his numbers were earned within the parameters of the game at the time.  I hate the guy.  I think he's walking excrement, but on his stats, he has to be in.  The same goes for McGwire and Sosa, who were essentially used by MLB to dig themselves out of the hole the 1994 strike left them in financially.

Calling Rickey borderline just feels odd to me.  I mean even when stolen bases started to become a lesser role in the game, he still remained one of the league's most feared leadoff hitters.  Then again, your choices in the HoF poll show you to be pretty hard line about who gets in, so I guess I understand your point of view.

1/9/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

jjh8857 wrote:
Again what's with the self entitlement of fans.  For someone who didn't play to win those 2 WS Rings look real nice. 

Rickey was on a team that won the World Series one season.  I promise you.  The A's didn't win that series because of him.  DAVE Henderson did more for that team than RICKEY ever did.  So did the pitching staff and their manager.
It is possible to be talented, playing to pad your own stats AND be on a team that wins the World Series.  Rickey isn't the first to do it.

1/9/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

snbslugger wrote:
I've got to respect a guy who's willing to go play in the Class-A Golden Baseball bush leagues, after he's made all his millions, just for a taste of the game.  If that's selfish, then that's OK with me.  Bonds* will never top my list.  I require a some character along with great numbers.  In a game that's rapidly having its magic sucked out of it, it's all I got.

Think of all the diva baseball players that refuse to go down to the minors for rehab assignments after injury.  Rickey's healthy and plays for teams like the Newark Bears and the San Diego Surf Dawgs.  What players nowadays would start all over just to get back into the big leagues?  Instead they're leaving spring training games early, or having locker rooms with custom massage chairs installed for them, or the use of a private plane to go home to Japan 5-6 times a year. 

I can't argue with Maddux.  Clemens will be a tough sell.  Pujols is on his way but it's still too soon to discuss.  Bonds* should be allowed in and then we can create a racists wing of the Hall of Fame with him, Ty Cobb, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and Cap Anson.

If character is a strong issue with you then Rickey is NOT your guy.  He performed what I deem to be the most crass action I have ever seen on a baseball field.  Remember when I broke Brock's career SB record?  He stopped and picked up the base and held it aloft.  Then he walked around with it.  It was his way of saying, "dig me.  Aren't I great?"  Then, when it was obvious he had little interest in continuing the game, the A's sent a guy with a field mic out to him.  Then he went on to actually say to the crowd...  With Lou Brock in attendance mind you...  "Lou Brock was a good base stealer.  But  I  am the greatest!
It was sweet justice that Nolan Ryan happened to throw his 7th career no hitter that night and shove Rickey off the front of the sports pages.  Even in the Bay Area Rickey was relegated to the bottom half of the page.
Mind you, in 1982 when he was going for the single season SB record, he said before the season started that was his goal.  And he took off nearly every time he was at first or even 2nd.  Guess what?  He set another record that season.  Getting CAUGHT stealing the most in one season.  Sure, the A's were not that good that year.  But they were coming off a playoff season.  He should have been thinking about stealing for the benefit of the team.  Not his own personal numbers.

If that is great character for you, be my guest.

Sure, Bonds is a jerk.  That doesn't change the fact that he was the best hitter of his era.  No one even came close. 
Pujols right now was better than Rickey ever was.  I do not know why Clemens would be a tough sell.  After Maddux, he was the next best pitcher of his era too.  He is an absolute no brainer.  Sure, he is kind of a jerk too.  But the talent was there. 
The character issue has NEVER kept good players out.  All it has done was help borderline players get in. (Pucket, for example)

Besides, it's not like I have ever said Rickey shouldn't be in the Hall.  He does.  I just consider him borderline.  The one and only one reason he is getting in is his prowess on the bases.  If character were taken into consideration, he wouldn't stand a chance.

1/8/09   |   jjh8857   |   315 respect

Again what's with the self entitlement of fans.  For someone who didn't play to win those 2 WS Rings look real nice. 

1/8/09   |   snbslugger

I've got to respect a guy who's willing to go play in the Class-A Golden Baseball bush leagues, after he's made all his millions, just for a taste of the game.  If that's selfish, then that's OK with me.  Bonds* will never top my list.  I require a some character along with great numbers.  In a game that's rapidly having its magic sucked out of it, it's all I got.

Think of all the diva baseball players that refuse to go down to the minors for rehab assignments after injury.  Rickey's healthy and plays for teams like the Newark Bears and the San Diego Surf Dawgs.  What players nowadays would start all over just to get back into the big leagues?  Instead they're leaving spring training games early, or having locker rooms with custom massage chairs installed for them, or the use of a private plane to go home to Japan 5-6 times a year. 

I can't argue with Maddux.  Clemens will be a tough sell.  Pujols is on his way but it's still too soon to discuss.  Bonds* should be allowed in and then we can create a racists wing of the Hall of Fame with him, Ty Cobb, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and Cap Anson.

1/8/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

snbslugger wrote:
You use that word overrated, but I don't think it means what you think it means.

10x All-Star, 2 World Series rings, Gold Glove in 1981, AL MVP in 1990, All-time leader in stolen bases by almost 500, runs scored, leadoff home runs, and walks until Bonds* broke that record not long ago.  He has the single-season record for stolen bases which will probably never be threatened again.  He has over 3000 hits, 297 home runs and 1100 RBI for primarily a leadoff hitter.

As far as I'm concerned, the line for modern "great" baseball players since 1980 forms behind Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and Rickey Henderson.

I watched him play with the A's.  He was talented, yes.  But he was also selfish.  Rarely played to win.  Often played for his own personal stats.  The gold glove was a joke.  He had an iron glove.  Mostly because he never really cared about D.

Great players after 1980?  Bonds tops the list.  Then you get Maddux, Pujols, and Clemens.  All of whom were/are better than Rickey.

1/8/09   |   snbslugger

ML31 wrote:
Yep.  Many a writer felt he was God's gift to baseball.  And apparently Rickey agreed.  He was good, but come on, he wasn't even close to the Babe Ruth's, Ty Cobbs, Willie Mays' and Barry Bonds' of the baseball world.

You use that word overrated, but I don't think it means what you think it means.

10x All-Star, 2 World Series rings, Gold Glove in 1981, AL MVP in 1990, All-time leader in stolen bases by almost 500, runs scored, leadoff home runs, and walks until Bonds* broke that record not long ago.  He has the single-season record for stolen bases which will probably never be threatened again.  He has over 3000 hits, 297 home runs and 1100 RBI for primarily a leadoff hitter.

As far as I'm concerned, the line for modern "great" baseball players since 1980 forms behind Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and Rickey Henderson.

1/8/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

jjh8857 wrote:
Rickey Henderson was overrated huh?  Interesting. 

Yep.  Many a writer felt he was God's gift to baseball.  And apparently Rickey agreed.  He was good, but come on, he wasn't even close to the Babe Ruth's, Ty Cobbs, Willie Mays' and Barry Bonds' of the baseball world.

1/8/09   |   jjh8857   |   315 respect

ML31 wrote:
I am not a fan of Henderson.  He's kind of a jerk.  I also feel that he was one of the most overrated players in baseball when he played.  That being said, I'd still vote him into the Hall.

Matt Williams was one of my favorite players.  That said, he is NOT a Hall of Fame player.
(Edited by jjh8857)

Rickey Henderson was overrated huh?  Interesting. 

1/8/09   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

I am not a fan of Henderson.  He's kind of a jerk.  I also feel that he was one of the most overrated players in baseball when he played.  That being said, I'd still vote him into the Hall.

Matt Williams was one of my favorite players.  That said, he is NOT a Hall of Fame player.

1/8/09   |   abbiabigai

fun

1/7/09   |   Pat   |   5135 respect

raptrbreth wrote:
I never understood why writers, no offense Pat, are involved.

No offense to me, but I agree completely.

1/7/09   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

Rickey knows Rickey will be in the Hall of Fame.

1/7/09   |   jesse_nychen

life goes on.....

1/7/09   |   raptrbreth   |   19 respect

I never understood why writers, no offense Pat, are involved.

1/7/09   |   frenchy62   |   3 respect

Nobody has come out and said it, so I will -- Corky Simpson is a complete moron. Plain and simple.

1/7/09   |   jjh8857   |   315 respect

Yeah Baseball HOF guys drive me crazy.  Really symptomatic of what's wrong with baseball to me.  I remember when Tony Gwynn & Cal Ripken went in & only got 98% of the vote & those old codgers like Simpson said 'If Babe Ruth doesn't get 100% of the vote then no one else should either.'

1/7/09   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The posters at Baseball Think Factory are speculating that Corky might have flat out missed Henderson's name on the ballot. This apparently happened with one guy and Tom Seaver. If that were true, the dbag charge can (temporarily) come off, but obviously that brings a whole new set of issues in play.

1/7/09   |   snbslugger

wrote:


to funny ....

I remember watching that show growing up.  That Kelli Martin had a balcony you could do Shakespeare from.

1/7/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

I am giddy to see that Harold Baines is still over the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot.

1/7/09   |   Keeter   |   92 respect

C'Mon Corky.....no love for Dan Plesac ??!!

Matt Williams over Dan Plesac ????

1/7/09   |   mk_donley   |   2554 respect

Ricky Henderson a HOF on the FIRST BALLOT; He is too dadburncottonpickin good to be left out; awesome even. Henderson a HOF period!

1/7/09   |     |   1 respect

primo wrote:
wasn't corky the slow brother on Life Goes On? who let him write articles?



to funny ....

1/7/09   |   Pat   |   5135 respect

wrote:
It's one ballot. Henderson will be in the HOF.

All this does is ensure that he, along with every other member, is not a unanimous choice.

I also have no problems with who he voted for. All were great players.

Matt Williams was a "great player"?

The other funny part is that he declined to vote for Mark McGwire for the following reasons:

"Of those I didn’t vote for but wish I could have, Mark McGwire tops the list. One of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Big Mac broke Roger Maris’ record with 70 home runs in 1998 and accumulated an astounding 583 for his career. But there is doubt about whether McGwire’s career was chemically enhanced and unless — and until — that matter is taken care of, this voter won’t mark the ballot for Mark."

That's funny... because guess who was named in the Mitchell Report... Yup... you guessed it... Matt Williams.

1/7/09   |   snbslugger

The BBWAA really needs to get off their high horse and stop enjoying the smell of their own farts so much.  The idea that "No man is ever unanimously voted in" is utter nonsense.  Voted in is voted in, period.  The arrogance of these smug and angry old men is astonishing to me.  There's always a couple of jags who abstain or don't vote for a guy to get their name in the paper and score some pub for being a tool.  Nobody is interested in your grandstanding.

I don't think writers should get to vote at all for player inductions.  It should be the current living Hall of Famers, current and former players, coaches, managers and umpires.  No fans. No writers.

1/7/09   |   primo   |   1 respect

wasn't corky the slow brother on Life Goes On? who let him write articles?