Chris Carter In, But Hall of Fame Voting Still Needs Checks And Balances

Congrats to Chris Carter finally getting voted into the NFL Hall Of fame. Here is something I wrote in 2009, as my opinion on the voting process has not changed.

Cris Carter was thought to be a Hall of Fame lock.

Apparently not.

Amazing numbers. Great leader. Elite career. One of the greatest possession receivers of all time. Kind of scary to think that he has more catches than EVERY player in the NFL Hall of Fame (Jerry Rice isn’t eligible until 2010). Yet for the second consecutive year, Carter was passed over for the Hall of Fame, a distinction that he should have earned quite easily with his stellar numbers and gentlemanly conduct during latter of his career.

For a reason the HOF Board of Selectors aka the NFL Cosa Nostra are not sharing, Chris Carter will not be joining Bruce Smith or Rod Woodson at the induction ceremony. What’s even more frightening is that the 44 sports writers that have a vote do not have to give one. It is time for accountability. These voters seem to be more clueless than a boxing judge during a heavyweight fight, and we all know how that sport is perceived. There seems to be no logic behind the selection process for the NFL or MLB Halls of Fame. For years the understanding is if a player was not cordial to the media, then voters would punish them by not putting them in the Hall of Fame. And they certainly stick to that credo for fear of losing player interview availability. Don’t believe it. Ask Jim Rice. He’s had been trying to get in since Miley Cyrus was born. And don’t forget players like Albert Belle, who garnered only 19 votes in 2007 yet he had 10 straight dominating years in which he posted better seasons than the likes of Andrew Dawson, Harold Baines and the rest of the HOF waiting list. So they weren’t great guys to interview in the clubhouse. This isn’t supposed to be a popularity contest. Did I mention someone voted for Jesse Orosco this year? What credentials does this voter have? Was that a fraternity prank? Talk about voter fraud. Oddly enough, the man who received the most votes for the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame class in 1936 was Ty Cobb, one of the most despised players in sports history.

Go figure.

So let’s play Hall of Fame voter. Cris Carter’s name comes up. Let’s look at some stats.

Most receptions in a season – Chris Carter is tied for third at 122.

Most receptions of all-time – Carter is in third at 1102. All-time receiving yards – Carter is seventh with almost 14,000.

All-time receiving touchdowns – Carter is fourth with 130.

More stats can easily surface. Only four players have ever caught more touchdowns in one season. He is the only player in NFL to ever catch over 120 balls twice. Eight Pro Bowls. 1990 All-Decade team.

He never had Joe Montana or Dan Marino throwing him the ball his entire career. Instead he Wade Wilson and Brad Johnson, plus a slew of others. Steve Largent has the best statistics of any receiver currently in the Hall of Fame. Carter has him bested in receptions, yards and touchdowns. I’m still waiting for the argument from the Board of Selectors. Sadly, it will never come.

I’m sure Carter will get in eventually. But his statistics will not change. Nothing will make him more worthy, since he will be just another year removed from his career and writers will less likely remember his fantastic catches and sure-fire hands. Some writers will argue that only elite athletes deserve to get in on the first and second ballot. Fair enough. I wonder what Joe DiMaggio has to say about that, since he was denied entry during his first year of eligibility. That’s right. Joltin’ Joe was told No. Someone actually had the audacity to vote against his induction, as if he wasn’t good enough for Cooperstown. Throw DiMaggio’s statistics into a HOF voting computer and you get 3 MVPs + only player to be an All-Star ever year of his career (13) + 56 hit streak + nine World Series rings + .325 career batting average = 44 percent of the vote in 1953 and 69 percent of the vote in 1954. He was punished not for his play, just his hesitation to speak to the media and his yearning for privacy. The HOF selectors ended his punishment in 1955 by giving him 88 percent of the vote.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has existed for almost 75 years. And we’ve yet to have one ball player unanimously voted in. Someone actually voted against Babe Ruth and his 714 homeruns. He was a true sports phenomenon who is unparallel in stature. Maybe the only man for famous than him in this country’s history were George Washington and Elvis. Maybe…it would be close.

“Did a voter look at Ruth’s stats and say ‘you know what, he’s not what we’re really looking for,’” a buddy of mine joked during Super Bowl Sunday.

Snobby, arrogant sports writers should get away with this travesty no longer. Everything in this country has checks and balances, why shouldn’t sports’ most prestigious honor. Like a lawyer on the Supreme Court, a HOF voter should have to draft a dissenting opinion after the results are tallied on the top 10 vote getters every year and draft a concurring opinion about everyone that they did vote for. They should then hand them to the commissioner, and make them available for fans to read on MLB and NFL.com

You didn’t vote for Cris Carter? Tell me why. You didn’t think Joe DiMaggio did enough to make it into the Hall of Fame? Please explain. Oh, you voted for Jesse Orosco? And your logic was what exactly? Did you fill in the wrong number on the Scantron sheet?

I’d probably accept that answer before any others. I’ve visited Cooperstown during my college days. But that was before I knew better. I’ll never go back until there is some accountability held to these voters. And you’ve just read my dissenting opinion as to why.

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