Fixing Baseball Part 4: Award Voting
I am a big critic of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). I believe they have too much power in deciding who gets into the Hall of Fame and who wins awards at the end of the season. I also believe they are inadequate at that job. The list of BWAA’s failures is endless. The only failures that truly bother me are the ones that effect a players legacy. Here are two prime examples of why the BBWAA may not be the best people tp vote on season awards.
In my opinion, Pedro Martinez is the greatest pitcher in baseball history. I hope this article helps people recognize that even more. Pedro's numbers are among the best ever. However, accomplishing these momentous feats in the steroid era is what sets him apart. Ten years after his retirement, Martinez's legacy is strong. He is known as one of the best despite the BBWAA's epic failures.
Martinez’s 1999 season has become legendary.Twenty years later and people still talk about it. He achieved the rare pitching triple crown in 1999. His 23 wins were the most in the American League, his Earned Run Average was full run lower ERA than the next best in the league. Despite missing four starts due to injury, Martinez recorded 113 more strike outs than anyone else in baseball. Even crazier, Pedro’s WAR was 50% better than the second best pitchers WAR. Insanity.
Pedro was obviously the best pitcher in baseball in 1999. The influence he had on his team was also massive. Boston was 24-5 when Pedro pitched 70-63 otherwise. He is the reason they made playoffs. A pitcher was so valuable to a team that he is why they made the postseason. That is rare.
Two BBWAA writers left Martinez off their MVP ballot. Their reasoning is pitchers do not deserve the MVP award. That is what the Cy Young is for. The BBWAA clearly states in their MVP voting rules “Anybody that cannot vote for a pitcher, we replace them.” They flat out ignored their own rule. They robbed Pedro of the honor of being one f the few pitchers to win an MVP. Unacceptable. They screwed robbed Martinez again three years later.
2002 Cy Young
In 2002 Pedro Martinez lost the Cy Young to Barry Zito. Pedro had a lower ERA walked less batters and struck out more batters. The reasoning is he pitched 30 less innings due to injury and giving up his final start to give rookie Josh Hancock an opportunity. Yes, innings pitched is important but he had MORE strike outs than anybody in baseball in LESS innings. Martinez was without a doubt the best pitcher in baseball in 2002. The numbers do not lie.
He was robbed of a fourth Cy Young award which would have tied him for second most with greats Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux.
The only person to win more Cy Young Awards? Roger Clemens. Whether Clemens's steroid accusations should taint his legacy is up to the individual reader. The point is the current system prevented Pedro from getting the same accolades as the greatest of all time have. Baseball can not fix that mistake but they can learn from it.
Dwight Evans 1981 MVP Snub
The 1981 MVP should have been Dwight Evans. The BBWAA snubbed him giving the award to Athletics closer Rollie Fingers. Evans winning an MVP could have boosted his Hall of Fame chances. We remember a players accolades and accomplishments. Dwight Evans belongs in Cooperstown. Did a silly little vote by the BBWAA cost him of that? No. It did hurt his chances though. Evans not being in the Hall of Fame is one of the biggest injustices in baseball. To learn more about this click the link below.
I question if writers should vote on season awards. Are they most qualified? Would current/ former players be better? Executives? What is the best system? The current one is broken. I urge baseball to try and fix or replace it.