Hall of Heathers

Hey, Bruce Arena. You suck.

You too, Gansler.

Oh, by the way, Francisco Marcos? Why don't you take your minor league to a downtown stadium in Brownsville?

DiCicco? Tony DiCicco? What has he ever accomplished?

Kyle Rote? Superstar? You're not as good as they say you are.

....what? It's not me saying this. It's the members of the Soccer Hall of Fame. Hope nobody besides Goose and Fawcett were practicing any speeches, because the Veterans and Builders ballots came up "No Sale."

Let's look at the numbers, and put them in context.

This year's cup of nothing for the Veterans:

Kyle Rote, Jr., 25 votes, 44.64%
Glenn Myernick, 23 votes, 41.07%
George Best, 21 votes, 37.50%
Teofilo ‘Nene’ Cubillas, 20 votes, 36.71%
Shep Messing, 19 votes, 33.93%

Compared to 2006:
Al Trost, 29 votes, 50.88%
George Best, 25 votes, 43.86%
Linda Hamilton, 25 votes, 43.86%
Bobby Smith, 23 votes, 40.35%
Brian Quinn, 20 votes, 35.09%
Kyle Rote, Jr., 20 votes, 35.09%
Bill McPherson, 18 votes, 31.58%
Hubert Birkenmeier, 17 votes, 29.82%
Boris Bandov, 16 votes, 28.07%
Teofilo Cubillas, 14 votes, 24.56%

2007:
Bobby Smith, 26 votes, 50.00%
Hugo Perez, 25 votes, 48.08%
Kyle Rote, 24 votes, 46.15%
Bruce Murray, 23 votes, 44.23%
Desmond Armstrong, 22 votes, 42.31%
Linda Hamilton, 21 votes, 40.38%

...and 2008:
Hugo Perez, 28 votes, 58.33%
Kyle Rote, Jr., 22 votes, 45.83%
Desmond Armstrong, 21 votes, 43.75%
Glenn 'Mooch' Myernick, 21 votes, 43.75%
Linda Hamilton, 19 votes, 39.58%
Bruce Murray, 16 votes, 33.33%
Teofilo 'Nene' Cubillas, 12 votes, 25.00%
John 'Harp' O'Connell, 12 votes, 25.00%
Bob Rigby, 11 votes, 22.92%
George Best, 10 votes, 20.83%
Steve David, 9 votes, 18.75%
Bill McPherson, 9 votes, 18.75%
Hubert Birkenmeier, 8 votes, 16.67%
John Kerr, Jr., 7 votes, 14.58%
Barry Barto, 4 votes, 8.33%

Now. Notice any trends?

You DO? Well, then, let me know what the hell they are. Because it looks like the current members of the Soccer Hall of Fame are all suffering from acute personality disorder.

I can't criticize too much. Unlike the media, the Veterans and Builders are voted on by current Hall members. It's their party. But if the number fluctuations this year that saw Jeff Agoos leapfrog over Joy Fawcett and Preki were odd, the Veterans ballots are unfathomable.

There shouldn't be that much variation, because according to the Hall, the Veterans ballots are a lot like the media ballots - the voters can pick up to ten players on a single ballot. Smaller sample size among Hall of Famers, of course - 56 voters, up from 48 from last year. That's a huge change, and it showed in the differences between the ballots. Desmond Armstrong lost at least two votes (we don't have the full ballot yet), which means either there was a greater turnover than eight additional voters, or else Armstrong pissed off a couple of Hall of Famers over the past year. Bruce Murray, who I thought would be one of the favorites with the election of Hugo Perez last year, didn't crack the top five, either. Linda Hamilton dropped out of the top five.

The real gainers were Nene Cubillas, who gained eight out of eight new voters - and George Best, who gained eleven out of eight. Good work.

Oh, and Shep Messing. Messing cracked the top five for the first time ever after missing the top ten last year, gaining, at the very least, sixteen votes.

So what's the complication? The new voters this year were serious NASL partisans, and they didn't think much of the players of the 90's.

Except...why would Mooch Myernick only gain two votes? Okay, Mooch wasn't exactly a superstar. But Rote was, and he only gained three votes. What does that mean? The Hall voting pool had an attack of Eurosnobbery, or something?

Now the general wisdom is that Messing was all of a sudden better than Bob Rigby? Whether or not you believe this to be the case, and I'm open to all sides, it didn't BECOME true over the past year, now, did it?

And Messing was the beneficiary of the voters who liked Hugo Perez, and had an extra vote to spare? Not Murray or Armstrong?

Bad craziness.

This isn't anything the Hall could or should do something about - this is probably the purest voting pool you could ask for. It's just that, they're about as consistent as a "Lost" storyline.

As for the Builders...well, there's more consistency here.

This year's Builder crapout:

Bruce Arena, 32 votes, 47.76%
Bob Gansler, 31 votes, 46.27%
Francisco Marcos, 26 votes, 38.81%
Tony DiCicco, 24 votes, 35.82%
Robert Kraft, 22 votes, 32.84%

Compared to 2008:
Anson Dorrance, 28 votes, 53.85%
Bruce Arena, 25, 48.08%
Bob Gansler, 23, 44.23%
Chuck Blazer, 22, 42.31%
Francisco Marcos, 17, 32.69%
Bob Contiguglia, 14, 26.92%
Kevin Payne, 14, 26.92%
Robert Kraft, 13, 25.00%
Esse Baharmast, 12, 23.08%
Gino D'Ippolito, 11, 21.15%
Fritz Marth, 11, 21.15%

There were 67 voters this year (HoF administrators also get Builder votes, if like me you were curious about the discrepancy between the Builder and Veteran voter numbers), up from 52 last year. If one assumes Tony DiCicco took the lion's share of Dorrance's voter pool, there wasn't a huge shift to speak of. If anything, the new voters diluted their ballots. This is more possible in the Builder ballot, since, while the list of nominees is shorter - fifteen this year - the voters could only vote for five at a time.

The only thing the new voters agreed on was Chuck Blazer - apparently none of them voted for him. They must not like his blog.