All of the outrage on Twitter this early afternoon centered around Los Angeles Dodgers‘ beat writer Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) putting only one name on his Hall of Fame ballot. That name was not that of seemingly unanimous First-Ballot nominee Greg Maddux, but of last-chance nominee Jack Morris. While Gurnick’s vote, or lack thereof, will most certainly NOT prohibit Maddux from being inducted in his first year on the ballot, his reasoning for leaving the pitching icon’s name off seems flawed. As MLB.com publicized their beat writers’ ballots, Gurnick summed up his vote in one simple sentence.
As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.
Several websites, both national and personal, have pointed out the flaws in logic in this statement, items ranging from Cal Ripken, Jr. playing during this “era” and the fact that Jack Morris himself played during what was considered this era, to the fact that Gurnick already HAS voted for players that played during this era, and it has been known that he has NOT voted for Morris in the past. Gurnick took to MLB Network Radio to explain his rationale.
On not voting for Maddux: “It won’t be an explanation that too many people will accept. It’s just my feeling about the steroid era and all the players in it. I can’t tell who did and who didn’t, so I don’t feel I can vote for any of the players in that era.”
On when the Steroid Era was: “Roughly early 90s, 92, 93 is when I really feel it got widespread.”
On Morris: “Well yeah, that was at the end of it (Morris winning 20+ games). Yeah, he was a real tough call for me because of that, and if he hadn’t the kind of career he had leading up to that, I probably wouldn’t have voted for him…I just feel that Jack Morris was deserving of the Hall of Fame, and I know this is his last try, and I voted for him.”
On his future: “My plan is to abstain from voting in the future…I feel for the sake of the Hall of Fame, it would just be better if I don’t vote…It’s something I’ve thought about for years and now I just feel that’s the right move…I’m not going to cast an empty ballot, that would hurt everybody. I’m going to cast NO ballot.”
On the Era itself: “It’s not about Maddux or any individual person. It’s about an era, a generation.”
On flip-flopping his vote over the years: “I changed on McGriff, I changed on Morris, I also changed on Burt Blylevin…no, it was not [related to the era]. In fact, the ballot I cast this year is the same ballot that I cast last year.”
On his vote: “My vote is my vote…it doesn’t make me right. It’s just my honest belief…I have one vote out of 400-something votes.”
On the backlash: “I’m not enjoying the attention, believe me.”
On what he would say to Greg Maddux: “It is that era. It’s an era where people used performance enhancing drugs…It’s not a personal thing, it’s not an accusation against him or any one player…it’s just the frustration of not knowing who did and who didn’t. It’s that simple.”
On if he would vote in Mariano Rivera: “I don’t think it’s any different than Greg Maddux, really. This isn’t about the individual, it’s about the era. No, I wouldn’t [vote him in], and I think that’s why it’s best if I abstain from future votes.”