Ken Gurnick: Professional Asshole

I'm not going to link it, because that would be giving him publicity he doesn't deserve. Instead, I'll just copy and paste Gurnick's "reasoning" behind his HOF ballot.

KEN GURNICK, Dodgers beat reporter

Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Players votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them.

Let that ballot sink in for a second. Let the stupidity wash over you like a tsunami. 59 words, each stupider than the last. This crime against intelligence is going to be observed by alien civilizations, likely, as the apex of human stupidity. Let's dive into it. First, let's note who Mr. Gurnick left off. To start with, we have the admitted steroid users. You can make arguments to keep people that were actually caught using steroids off the list. Some of those arguments hold more water than others. To that end, I can buy the argument on keeping Mssrs. Bonds and Clemens off the ballot. However, how on Earth do you exclude Greg Maddux? "As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them." What a piece of shit. This isn't even guilty until proven innocent – this is just guilty even if innocent. The only thing this proves is that Ken Gurnick is an asshole.

So, Gurnick won't vote for anyone who played after 1998 (note, however, that his courageous stand against even the innocent players of the PED era did NOT extend to him refusing to write about the sport for the MLB). Who will he vote for, then? Let's assume that Raines is the last player he is eligible to vote for (and in that case, hopefully Gurnick will turn in his voting rights in 8 years when he'll be eligible to vote for nobody). That leaves 5 people he could vote for:

Jack Morris (67.7% last year)
Tim Raines (52.2%)
Lee Smith (47.8%)
Alan Trammell (33.6%)
Don Mattingly (13.2%)

The insane criteria for Gurnick's vote are simple: Cy Young votes when applicable (7 times, woo), MVP votes, and a "decade of ace performance with 20 wins". Let's see who qualifies under that criteria.

Tim Raines had 7 years in which he garnered MVP consideration, with a 5th place, 6th place, and 7th place finish. From '83 to '92, he had 51.6 WAR (an average of 5.2 a year), which is definitive "ace" performance. Wins are a meaningless stat, but they are a way that pitchers are measured. SB work as a relatively misleading substitute; Raines led the league 4 consecutive years. He also had 30+ doubles for 6 consecutive years. He also had more MVP shares (0.99) than Morris has Cy shares (0.73) By Gurnick's criteria, Raines is at least as accomplished as Morris is. 

Alan Trammell had 7 years in which he garnered MVP consideration, with a 2nd place and 7th place finish among them. From '83 to '93, he had 54.9 WAR (an average of 4.9 a year), which is borderline "ace" performance. Even though he played shortstop, Trammell had plenty of pop, hitting 185 HR in his 20 years, including 105 during his age-25 to age-30 seasons. He has a good hitter at a premium defensive position, and he was a very good defender as well. I might also mention his 1.300 OPS during the 1984 World Series, or his 1.318 OPS during the 1984 ALCS. He also has more MVP shares (1.22) than Morris has Cy shares (0.73). By Gurnick's criteria, Trammell is at least as accomplished as Morris is.

Lee Smith had…well, we'll move right along (though I might note that Smith's career ERA+ is 132 and Morris' is 105).

Don Mattingly…this is where the full idiocy of Ken Gurnick really shines. Mattingly was an MVP candidate 7 times. He actually won the MVP in one of those seasons. He led the league in meaningful stats like doubles and SLG. He was a great hitter. Donnie Baseball is more or less what Jack Morris' candidacy would be like if Morris wasn't on good teams. While I'll agree that Mattingly didn't have the prolonged dominance that a traditional MVP had, you actually can't find a stretch of X years were Mattingly was worse than Morris. Mattingly is not a HOF-caliber player, and he's probably a better choice than Morris, even by Gurnick's criteria.

Let's wrap it up. Ken Gurnick takes the immoral, un-American, and frankly idiotic stance to exclude any player who played after 1998 (even ones that could presumably be PROVED INNOCENT, which of course can never happen). That then leaves him with 5 choices, and he selects a single player that would by his own metrics be a worse choice than we'd expect if he just chose one at random. We are left only with the conclusion that Ken Gurnick is a professional asshole.