In October, I wrote that "Rickey Henderson Should be the First Unanimous Hall of Famer." His credentials are impeccable, finishing his long career with 1,406 stolen bases, far and away the most ever, and 2,295 runs scored, an all time major league record. Along the way, he also tallied 3,055 hits, 297 home runs, 81 of them leading off a game, and won World Series with both the A's and the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a ten-time All Star, and the MVP in 1990. Rickey loved the game and played until he was 44 years old.
I posited three months ago that there was no conceivable reason that any Hall of Fame voter could possibly submit their ballot without the name "Rickey Henderson" selected.
Any writer who knowingly casts a ballot that does not include Rickey should be banned from ever voting again in the future, and they should be openly mocked, for they do not know this game.
Yet, shockingly, it looks like we have already found a voter who didn't choose Rickey Henderson when it came time to enter his ballot. As mentioned in the DLD, Corky Simpson of the Green Valley News and Sun skipped over Rickey, in favor of such luminaries as Matt Williams, Jim Rice, and Allen Trammel. In his story explaining his ballot, he suggests other names might be elected, including elite players like Jesse Orosco, Dan Plesac and Greg Vaughn. (Kid you not - look it up.) He includes Rickey in that same category, of "Others honored with nomination this year and who may well be voted into the Hall of Fame".
Will Rickey make into the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. As he once said, after swiping base #939 and breaking Lou Brock's record, he was "the greatest of all time". But this kind of tomfoolery has me incensed. I cannot fathom how a voter can conclude that Matt Williams was a legitimate Hall of Famer, and Rickey was not... that Rickey's name could be bandied about with such pedestrian colleagues as Plesac and Orosco. It is an insult to the player and it is an insult to the game.
We may never again have a man like Rickey, and as I see his exploits replayed on the new MLB Network, I am reminded how much he transcended every game. In my lifetime, I have seen some amazing players who will never take the field again: Cal Ripken, Nolan Ryan, Rickey, for starters, all of whom should have been in the Hall unanimously. They say it doesn't matter - that the plaque is the same size, regardless of the vote - but shame on you, Corky Simpson, and shame on any other voter who knowingly, willingly commits what can only be seen as voter ineptitude bordering on fraud.
His answer, delivered after his idiocy was discovered: "I screwed up on the Henderson nonvote. You get to vote on 10 and I only picked eight. I probably did it too quickly." Really? You think? Take this guy's vote away. He has tarnished the game.
See also: Home Run Derby: Corky Simpson: The writer who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson, where the author highlight's Corky's other lofty achievements... or the Mercury News: Rickey Henderson won't be unanimous to Hall of Fame.