Earlier today, ESPN released information on how their employees with Hall of fame ballots voted. This is a good move – increases transparency, gives readers a look behind the scenes, etc. And overall, the sampling of 18 ballots played out quite a bit like the overall voting – Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were the only two to clear 75 percent, Barry Larkin and Jack Morris were the next two highest vote-getters, etc.
But there was one exception. One glaring, aberrant exception – the ballot of ESPN news editor Barry Stanton. This man did not let things like “reality” or “the slightest semblance of sanity” interfere with his voting procedure. This guy did what he wanted – and he wanted some crazy, crazy stuff. I don’t usually sit there and mutter obscenities to myself about what I’m reading, but Stanton’s ballot made me do exactly that.
He did not vote for Alomar. He did not vote for Blyleven. He did vote for Morris. Morris over Blyleven is bad enough, but for Stanton, it’s just the beginning. He voted for Edgar Martinez. (OK, fine, that vote was pretty good.) He voted for not just Don Mattingly but also Tino Martinez, who were both fine players in their heyday, but considering Stanton was the only person of the 18 ESPN listed to vote for either…well, it suggests a pro-Yankees slant to the point that I’m intrigued at what would have happened if Scott Kamieniecki was on the ballot.
If you stop reading right now, you’d think, “Wow, that guy had a pretty crazy ballot.” I’d agree, of course. But Stanton’s crowning achievement, the crazy cherry on top of his crazy sundae of craziness, is his vote for B.J. Surhoff. Surhoff had some decent years. He was a serviceable major league player for nearly two decades, which of course is a whole lot more than most people – even most major leaguers – can say. If this had been a vote for the Hall of Adequacy, I’d be all for it.
But it wasn’t. Stanton, in addition to all the other nutty choices he made, voted for B.J. Surhoff to go to the Hall of Fame. My guess is that even Surhoff himself would, while thanking Stanton for his support, wonder exactly why he voted for him.
Honestly, I’d like to thank Stanton myself – for the entertainment his ballot provided me. Sure, at first there were those obscenities I mentioned earlier, but like Tommy Craggs at Deadspin, I’ve learned to love this ballot’s utter batshittedness. Stanton could have blindly pointed at random names and come up with something that made more sense than what he turned in. For that, on a day when so much of the fun is debating what voters got right and wrong, I thank Barry Stanton for something no one can argue…his Hall of Fame choices were absolutely insane.