“In cases like Craig Biggio’s (74.8% of the vote) should the Hall of Fame round up to the required 75%?” asked an ESPN poll of its readers. And as you may have guessed, a big majority of 69% said yes. Which only proves that 69% of people who vote on baseball matters on the ESPN website are nitwits.

You can see the feeling: the poor guy came so close, why not let him in? and rounding provides the legitimation for doing so. But any standard, especially a standard of excellence, needs to draw a clear line between those who make it and those who don’t. Of course some people will qualify who shouldn’t and some people won’t who should. That’s life.

You have, as the expression goes, to draw the line somewhere. So the Hall of Fame draws it at 75% of the sportswriters voting. Let’s round up, over two-thirds of fans suggest, ‘cause it’s just not fair that the guy comes that close and doesn’t get in. But what does this rounding up mean? It means that someone who got 74.5% of the vote gets into the Hall of Fame and someone who got 74.49% of the vote doesn’t. Well, that’s not fair, so why not round up from .49 to .5? If 74.8 can become 75, 74.49 can become 74.5. By this logic you can put anyone in the Hall of Fame who gets one vote.

And another thing, Greg Maddux, by any measure one of the greatest pitchers ever, got only 555 of the 571 votes cast, which means that 16 of the voters are idiots.

Articles by David Mills

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