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Shepkowski: Gimmick Keeps Maddux From Being Unanimous

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Greg Maddux.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Greg Maddux. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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By Nick Shepkowski-

(CBS) Congratulations, Ken Gurnick. I now know your name. It’s only because of your asinine Hall of Fame ballot, but at least now I know who you are.

And thanks for doing me a favor in letting me never having to give a care about your baseball thoughts from this day forward.

For those who missed it, Gurnick, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat writer for MLB.com decided to keep Greg Maddux off of his Hall of Fame ballot this year because he couldn’t vote for anyone who played during the “Steroid Era.” So it wasn’t just Maddux but Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and everyone else that didn’t receive a vote from Gurnick.

Except Jack Morris. Yes, the same Jack Morris that finished in the top-5 in pitchers WAR just twice in his 18 year big-league career.

I could argue against Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame credentials but I’ll save that for another day. The reasoning behind Gurnick voting for Morris while leaving Maddux, Glavine and everyone else off of his ballot is what has me riled up today.

Sure, Morris is most known as a member of the Detroit Tigers that helped lead them to a World Series championship in 1984. Seven years later he helped Minnesota lock down their second World Series crown after putting up 10 scoreless innings in Game 7 of that memorable fall classic.

But Morris went on to pitch until 1994. Sure, that’s four years before Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captured the attention of a nation during their 1998 home run race but am I supposed to believe that steroids and PED’s weren’t used in Major League Baseball before that?

Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire helped lead the Oakland Athletics to three straight appearances in the World Series between 1988 and 1990. Both Canseco and McGwire would go on to admit PED use after their playing careers were over. In Gurnick’s eyes though, we’re all supposed to just overlook this and say the actual “Steroid Era” didn’t start for a few more years.

I didn’t expect Maddux or anyone else to receive 100% of the vote this year because my expectations for the BBWAA are far from high. I knew someone would keep Maddux off their ballot, just like members of the BBWAA have kept Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Nolan Ryan off in years past.

Ken Gurnick tried to validate his reasoning behind turning in one of the most unfortunate Hall of Fame ballots any of us have ever seen but instead he showed us he’s naïve enough to miss facts that are right in front of his face. Hopefully Gurnick enjoys his name getting mentioned more than ever the next 24 hours because to me and I’m sure many others, his baseball credibility is gone.

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