Correction - was wrong about not one, but SEVERAL of the people eligible for next year. God, I'm sucking wind today.
From Roger Allaway:
The "concede retirement" clause would presumably also apply to Meola and Chastain. Adjust expectations accordingly. So theoretically, there's room next year. But where will the votes come from? Voters will have to change their minds, and if myself and other voters of my acquaintance are any indication, that won't be done without significant brainwashing and bloodshed.
Original post begins.......now:
Ho-lee crap. After all that, the only guys who are happy with the Hall of Fame announcement are Anson Dorrance, Hugo Perez, and Bill Archer.
Well, let's try to crunch the numbers a little bit, see what happened. I'm genuinely astonished. My frontrunner, Earnie Stewart, finished seventh.
Instead of posting them, I'll puppy-dog it and link you here. Promise to come back?
To the eleven other people who appreciated Robin Fraser's greatness, I salute you. The rest of you 110 so-called experts can book passage on the USS Eat Me. Not even ten percent? Just wait how obnoxiously strident I'm going to be next year. I'm on a mission here. (EDIT - yes, I suppose I could also get on the case of the people who didn't vote for Stewart. But having the high moral ground and an unassailable logical position is for WIMPS.)
I just don't get the soccer media anymore, I really don't. Not just with Fraser, but with the whole ballot. My initial theory was that the expansion of the Hall of Fame franchise is increasing mutually hostile voting blocs (NASL, MLS, Yaks partisans, Naks partisans, indoor Calvinball crusaders, etc.) - except there were fewer voters this year, 128 down from 141 last year. However. There were 113 voters in 2006, the Lalas and Overbeck class, so it's still trending upwards, and Mia-mania explains the blip. Fifteen voters doesn't sound like very much, but for Preki and Joy Fawcett, it was pretty crucial.
The drop in voters from last year to this was, apparently, almost all from the women's soccer media. Joy Fawcett's percentage held nearly steady, down to 67.19 from 67.38. But Fawcett's total number of votes went down from 95 to 86. Had the Mia fans stuck around, they would have corrected an injustice. Now, it looks as if she won't get in for a long, long time. Good job, women's soccer media.
Here's the other thing - voters aren't changing their minds about people. Thomas Dooley's total votes for the last three years? 71, 73, 71. The percentages fluctuate, but he's neither gaining nor losing fans. Could be worse - Marco Etcheverry dropped from 82 total votes to 68. Carlos Valderrama probably had some hope, but this year's ballot tells a brutal tale. Pibe's last three votes? 56, 66, 40. Joe-Max Moore? 68 to 55. Either a lot of Mia Hamm fans were also Diablo, Valderrama and JMM fans, or when people reconsider, they revise downward.
Unlike with baseball, we don't yet have people getting in on second ballots. Since the new rules were instituted, you either get in on the first ballot, or you cool your heels and wait for the Veterans.
I don't see it getting any easier. Next year, the new names will include Tiffeny Milbrett, John O'Brien, Carlos Llamosa, Ronald Cerritos, and Chris Henderson. Fine players, but if Earnie Stewart isn't getting a sniff, these guys certainly won't. But what they certainly will do is siphon off votes from people like, to pick a couple of examples at random, Preki and Fawcett.
I'm not sure whether Meola retreating indoors will be factored in...if not, then even this crop of voters won't keep Meola out, and he might be a one-man class. And can you induct a man into the Hall of Fame against his will? Meola and Brandi Chastain would be awesome. Their speeches would be "I'M NOT GOD-DAMNED RETIRED! GET THIS JACKET OFF OF ME!"
It's going to get worse in the medium term, too. In two years, Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope, Jason Kreis and Chris Armas are going to arrive on the ballot. Kreis and Armas will just take votes away from other MLS candidates - they're worthy, but with the soccer media this mulish, they may not do much except start arguments. Jones and Pope are IN. Unless the soccer media is even dumber than I thought. There just isn't going to be room for anyone currently on the ballot.
Now, having said all this, I'm not saying the system isn't working. I'd rather keep out the worthy then include the unworthy, and I'm receptive to the idea that if you can make any kind of rational argument to keep a player out, then that player shouldn't be in. Let's see what happens with Cobi, Pope and Meola before we start tinkering again.
Yes, it's not optimum marketing that the Hall of Fame, desperate for publicity, is looking at a couple of years or so where the big name is Hugo Perez. But strict standards pay off in the long run.
Hey, speaking of Hugo Perez and Anson Dorrance, let's take a look at those votes real quick. This post is already longer than the Tropic of Capricorn, so it's not as if we have better things to do, obviously.
Perez won in a landslide. 28 out of 58 may not seem like much, but the last few Vets ballots have been one-man affairs, with the winner JUST squeaking in at 50%. There is a lot of love for the 1990-era team among the Veterans. The only baffling thing to me is why Bruce Murray only got 16 votes. I'm not sure how many players the Veterans can name on their ballots, so I can't explain why twelve Hall of Famers thought Perez was a lock and Murray wasn't. Murray may be the beneficiary next year, otherwise, it will probably be Kyle Rote. I'm not willing yet to accept the possibility that Desmond Armstrong is going to get into the Hall of Fame. Who's next, Mike Burns?....actually, yes, next probably will be Mike Burns.
This is the first time that the Hall has published Builder ballots that I can recall, and I think Dorrance should credit Bill Archer in his acceptance speech. Not only was Dorrance elected, but Chuck Blazer finished fourth. I think Archer swung the vote, myself. (He sure did a better job for his guys than I did for Cienfuegos and Fraser.) If Bruce Arena gets in, it will be by exactly 50%, 50.001% tops. But until Arena and Gansler and other active coaches stop applying for jobs, I'm not sure if they belong being inducted. I'm sure this complaint will weigh extremely heavily with the Hall, and they will correct this next year.