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Maddux doubters have some explaining to do

  • Greg Maddux should have been a unanimous Hall of Fame selection.
Greg Maddux should have been a unanimous Hall of Fame selection. (Phil Velasquez / Chicago…)
January 08, 2014|RedEye

It's the sports equivalent of that hot girl/guy finally calling you.

As of Wednesday, Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux are done waiting for that moment: The Chicago legends were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The inductions are July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Maddux, who began his 23-year career with the Cubs, finished with 97.2 percent of the vote by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. 

We asked Cubs fanatic Julie DiCaro to tell us why voters still came up short on this one.

THE VOTING'S FLAWED, BUT GREG MADDUX ISN'T

By Julie DiCaro

The voting process for baseball's Hall of Fame is broken. First, we learned that the Miami Herald's Dan Le Batard sold his ballot to Deadspin (whose readers put together a significantly more intelligent ballot than most of America's baseball writers). If that wasn't bad enough, we now know that 15 voters failed to include Greg Maddux on their ballot.

For a brief moment, the more optimistic among us believed Maddux, who led all candidates with 97.2 percent of the vote, had a chance to be the first player inducted unanimously. That dream was shattered Tuesday, when Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick revealed he'd voted only for Jack Morris.

While Gurnick gave a marginally defensible explanation, stating he won't vote for anyone who played during the steroid era, we have yet to hear why 14 others failed to vote for the most dominant pitcher of the 1990s. While fans will never know with certainty who used performance-enhancing drugs, it seemed fairly obvious it wasn't the guy with the body of a 45-year-old real estate agent when he was a 26-year-old Cy Young winner.

All of which begs questions: If a 300-game winner with a lifetime ERA of 3.16 and the adoration of baseball fans everywhere can't get unanimously elected, who can?Are there really 14 people in America who don't believe Maddux belongs in Cooperstown? And if you write about baseball for a living, is leaving Maddux off your ballot grounds for dismissal?

While Cubs and Braves fans are justifiably giddy that Maddux will be enshrined among baseball's greats, he deserved so much better. In an era of players who put their personal gain above the purity of the game, Maddux stood (kind of) tall as one of the few whose skill and integrity were indisputable. It's a shame that 100 percent of the voters failed to recognize that.

Julie DiCaro is a RedEye special contributor.

THE NUMBERS

>> 355 career wins (8th all time)

>> 3.16 career ERA

>> 3,371 career strikeouts

>> 18 Gold Gloves

>> 4 Cy Young awards

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