I'm not happy that Jim Rice got in while Dale Murphy's still on the outside looking in, but I can't really begrudge Rice his spot in the limelight. Congratulations to him, and I hope that his induction allows writers to start looking much more seriously at Murphy, much as the election of Bruce Sutter gave a serious assist to Goose Gossage's HOF campaign.
Rickey, of course, was already a Hall of Famer by around 1992 or so. Athletics Nation
has already anointed him the greatest Oakland Athletic ever, and it'd be hard to disagree -- as Bill James famously said, "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall-of-Famers." He's the greatest leadoff hitter in history (the greatest basestealer ever and, arguably, the greatest walker ever -- he's second only to Barry, and Barry's chemically enhanced career SLG is nearly 200 points higher). He's a guy the Hall was made for.
Here's one little record that'll never ever be broken: he had at least 22 steals in 23 straight seasons.
It's too late now, but here's who I would have put on my ballot:
You were allowed to vote for up to ten of the following. Who would you have voted for?
Tommy John (this year was his final ballot, he will not be on the ballot next year)
the following players received less than 5% of the vote and dropped off the ballot:
(There are some people who advocate voting for a guy whom you know won't make it just to give him respect for having had a good career. I've posted this elsewhere, but I don't really believe in this practice. As the years have gone by, I have become more ready to vote for guys who aren't clear inner-circle HOFers, but just as I don't think you should refuse to vote for a guy out of a belief that no one should be a unanimous inductee, I don't think you should vote for someone whom you don't believe deserves to be in there. All of the members of the BBWAA are writers: if they want to advocate a guy they don't think should be in the Hall, they should write about him, not cheapen the vote by voting for him. There are plenty of columns you could write about Jesse Orosco, but I don't think there are too many that could effectively argue for his enshrinement.)