The Baseball Hall of Fame released its Expansion Era ballot on Monday, and one name is noticeably absent — Keith Hernandez. Six players and six managers/executives are on the ballot, but not the best fielding first baseman of all time.
This was Hernandez’s first time qualifying for this ballot, which represents men who played in the expansion era from 1973-present. A player has to be retired for 21 years; Hernandez just missed qualifying for the 2010 ballot by one year.
It never should have come down to the Veterans Committee — Hernandez should already be in the Hall. If Bill Mazeroski, Ozzie Smith and Brooks Robinson, considered the best fielders at their respective infield positions, are enshrined, then so should Hernandez.
The players who made the ballot are all very good — Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons. But come on, Keith Hernandez is more deserving than all of them. Those guys were not the best at their position at anything, while Hernandez certainly was.
Of course, Mets fans are biased towards Hernandez because of the role he played in 1986 and his continued role with the team today as a broadcaster. But putting that bias aside, Keith Hernandez should be in the Hall of Fame.
By the way, the rest of the ballot contains Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Bill Martin, George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller. Torre, LaRussa and Cox will all likely get in.
The Expansion Era ballot rolls around again in another three years. Perhaps Keith Hernandez will get some respect then.