The small town of Cooperstown in New York with a population of just over 2,000 gets bombarded late every July because of Hall of Fame weekend.
The class of 2011 not only included players Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, but GM Pat Gillick, sportswriter Bill Conlin and broadcaster Dave Van Horne.
In case you didn’t know about the voting process, eligible players are voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWA). A player must receive 75-percent of the vote to be elected.
There are other nuances, but that’s the gist of it.
While it is the highest honor to be voted into the Hall of Fame, it’s a political and bias process.
Some baseball writers have personal vendettas against players for not being respectful towards them during their playing careers.
Some baseball writers penalize for inappropriate conduct.
It’s why we’ve never seen an unanimous vote. Tom Seaver is the closest; he received 98.7-percent of the vote.
It’s why 16 writers didn’t vote for Mike Schmidt on his first ballot.
It’s why Eddie Murray didn’t get more first-ballot votes.
It’s why Roberto Alomar wasn’t a first-ballot inductee, he received 73.7-percent of the vote. (I’ll get into why during my slideshow). He got 90-percent of the vote in his second go-round.
13. Roberto Alomar
What happened on September 27, 1996 is why Roberto Alomar wasn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
During the top of the first inning in a game pitting Baltimore and Toronto, umpire John Hirschbeck rung up Alomar. The ten-time gold glover argued the call and Hirschbeck tossed him.
Things escalated from there.
For reasons still unknown (Alomar stated after the game that he uttered a racial slur) Alomar spat in Hirschbeck’s face.
Crew chief Jim McKean commented on the incident…
“We’ve had bumpings, we’ve had fights, but I’ve never really seen a ballplayer try and directly spit in an umpire’s face. Only animals spit in people’s faces.”
To add fuel the fire, Alomar had this to say about the incident in the press conference after the game…
“He (Hirschbeck) had a problem with his family when his son died–I know that’s something real tough in life–but after that he just changed, personality-wise. He just got real bitter.”
This enraged Hirschbeck who had to be restrained the following day. He was forced to sit out the game.
Meanwhile, Alomar received just a five-game suspension.
He appealed, which allowed him to play the following day. His go-ahead home run in the 10th inning not only won the game, but clinched the wildcard for the Orioles.
Alomar played in the postseason, and served his suspension during the first five games of the 1997 season.
12. Ted Williams
Ted Williams was very ill-tempered during his playing days with the media and the fans.
He disliked the media when they discussed his personal life and upbringing.
Williams stopped showing approval towards the Boston faithful when he committed two fielding errors during a double-header in 1950.
Whenever the Boston fans asked for a curtain call, Williams always refused.
11. Jim Rice
It took him 15-years, but on his final year of eligibility Jim Rice got enough votes to garner himself a spot in the Hall of Fame.
He had a strained relationship with the media. Rice often clashed with reporters in the 1970′s and 1980′s.
Nonetheless, those same reporters finally, but narrowly, with 76.4-percent of the vote in 2009 got Rice into Cooperstown.
10. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth loved his teammates and adored children, but there was a dark side.
He was a drunk who dabbled with women even though he was married.
Ruth’s the greatest player who ever lived in my opinion, but off the field, he was a raging alcoholic.
9. Juan Marichal
A game pitted between the Dodgers and Giants on August 22, 1965 Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax squared off in an anticipated pitchers dual.
The game was overshadowed by a 14-minute brawl.
Twice within the first three frames, Marichal threw near the head of Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro.
With Marichal batting in the third inning, Roseboro threw the ball back to Koufax which grazed Marichal’s ear. Words were exchanged, and Marichal used his bat as a weapon as he struck Roseboro several times in the head with his lumber.
Roseboro needed 14 stitches, and filed a lawsuit. They settled on an amount out of court, and have since become friends.
8. Tommy Lasorda
In a June 4 1976 game against the Dodgers, New York Mets slugger Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in eight runs en route to an 11-0 Mets win.
In the postgame press conference, Lasorda was asked of Kingman’s performance…
“What’s my opinion of Kingman’s performance!? What the f— do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was f—— horse s—! Put that in, I don’t f—— care. Opinion of his performance? Jesus Christ, he beat us with three f—— home runs! What the f— do you mean, ‘What is my opinion of his performance?’ How could you ask me a question like that, ‘What is my opinion of his performance?’ Jesus Christ, he hit three home runs! Jesus Christ! I’m f—— pissed off to lose the f—— game. And you ask me my opinion of his performance! Jesus Christ. That’s a tough question to ask me, isn’t it? ‘What is my opinion of his performance?”
7. Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson loved the game of baseball, but always had a me-first attitude.
He’s a character who always talked in the third person, it rubbed people the wrong way.
After breaking Lou Brock’s stolen base record, he’s famously know for stating “”Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing, but today, I’m the greatest of all time, thank you.”
6. Reggie Jackson
Once Reggie Jackson got to New York the team chemistry was in shambles.
Thurman Munson hated him and manager Billy Martin despised him.
Although the Bronx burnt down in 1977, the Yankees still managed to win a World Series despite all of the clubhouse chaos. There’s a reason why his nickname is Mr. October.
In my opinion, he has the biggest ego in the history of baseball.
5. Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby never got along with his teammates, he was always critical towards them.
If you didn’t read my article from last week, I’ll reiterate Hornsby’s thoughts about Roger Maris during his single-season home run chase to surpass Babe Ruth.
Hornsby stated it would be a disgrace for a lifetime .270 hitter to hold the record.
4. Cap Anson
Jackie Robinson integrated the game of baseball when he debuted in 1947, but he isn’t the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues.
Prior to 1890, baseball allowed black players.
Cap Anson planned to organize a strike in 1885 which sent several African Americans packing.
In 1887, he refused to play in a game because George Stovey, an African-American was scheduled to start. Stovey didn’t pitch and Anson played.
His actions towards umpires were vile. Fines became ordinary as he often cursed at umpires when a call didn’t go his way.
3. John McGraw
John McGraw was a decent third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants, but he’s recognized for his 30-years as manager of the Giants. His 2,763 wins rank second only to Connie Mack.
During McGraw’s playing days, only one umpire was used during games. When the umpire looked away while a runner ran the bases, McGraw routinely tripped his opponents
As a manager he got into heated exchanges with his teammates regularly, and constantly argued with umpires. He was ejected a record 118 times during his tenure.
“McGraw eats gunpowder every morning for breakfast and washes it down with warm blood,” Giants coach Arlie Latham said.
2. Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Kenesaw Mountain Landis served as the first MLB commissioner from 1920 until his death in 1944.
After the famous 1919 “Black Sox” scandal he banned every single member for life, although Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver are presumed to be innocent. During that World Series, Jackson hit .375, while Weaver hit .324.
Landis was the main reason why baseball was segregated.
In 1943, Landis blocked the sale of the Phillies to Bill Veeck because he wanted to stock the team with negro players.
It’s not a coincidence that Jackie Robinson made his debut in 1947, three years after Landis’ passing.
1. Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb stole 892 career bases.
He sharpened his cleats on a regular bases. Quite frankly, he stole a lot of those bases by gauging the legs of his opponents by jumping in, spikes way up high.
During a May 5, 1912 game against the Yankees Cobb and a gentleman by the name of Claude Lueker went at it for several innings. It climaxed when Lueker called Cobb a half-n@gger, referencing the color of his mother’s skin.
In the sixth inning, a la Ron Artest, Cobb went into the stands and attacked the heckler who had one hand and three fingers missing on the other.
The fans told him to stop, Cobb replied, “I don’t care if he got no feet.”
About the Author
Written by Adrian Fedkiw
I currently work for the Sports Network. It's the best job ever! I am a 2010 graduate of Temple University where I majored in broadcast journalism, I LOVE SPORTS! That's why I am here. I have a vast knowledge and want to share my athletic intelligence with the world. Some people like to spend their time shooting down aliens in Halo; I like to spend my time watching sports, current and old. It's my passion! I got asked one time how I can watch a game over again when I already know the outcome. 5 minutes later, he's watching Happy Gilmore reciting all of the lines from the movie. Hypocrite! As for my favorite sports teams, I've been a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan. My favorite athlete is Allen Iverson. He didn't like practice that much, but when it came to gametime, no one let it all out on the floor like Iverson. He is absolutely beloved in the city of Brotherly Love. For college athletics, obviously I pay close attention to Temple. (Yes, football too) Even before I stepped foot on Temple's campus for the 1st time in 2005, I was a fan. Oh the good old days of John Chaney! Some other tidbits about myself, I love cheesesteaks, I hydrate myself with Welch's Grape Juice and Snapple. I love the HBO show Entourage. Also, when is Kenny Powers making his much anticipated return in Eastbound and Down!