Beyond Golf — 06 January 2015 by Kirby Arnold
HOF: Ten make the list; no PEDs

List the players I selected on my Hall of Fame ballot? Are you kidding me?

After what happened last year when a well-known national baseball voice used the three writers on this web site as one example of what’s wrong with the Hall of Fame electorate?

He wrote that system is clearly broken when three GOLF writers are allowed to vote on baseball’s highest honor. He didn’t question our votes, only the injustice that golf writers are allowed to vote for baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Had he done a slight bit of research (like reading the bios of the three writers on this site) and some simple math, he’d have seen that we have a combined 126 years of sportswriting experience, 63 of those years covering major league baseball. Every minute of it loving, honoring and immersing ourselves into the game.

And yet we get slammed for being “golf” writers. (If anyone has a gripe, it would be golfers wondering why they’re being covered by three baseball writers.)

I will say this: My stance on PED users has not changed from my previous ballots. If a player has tested positive or admitted to PED use, he didn’t get my vote. And if the cloud of PED suspicion surrounding a player is so great that it casts a considerable cloud over his career, even without absolute proof, I’m not yet prepared to vote for him.

With that, I did not vote this year for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa.

I’ll also say that this was another difficult ballot for me, with more than 10 solid candidates even after I ruled out the PED group.

So yes, I voted for 10. And that includes two Martinezes– Edgar Martinez and Pedro Martinez. Edgar is among five who I also voted for last year, along with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling.

Oh, and when someone looks at the voting results and wonders who refused to vote for Randy Johnson, don’t look at me. Best left-handed pitcher I’d ever witnessed, and an automatic vote.

I don’t believe in the first-ballot theory — withholding a vote for a first-timer on the ballot unless he’s an elite of the elite. If he’s a Hall of Famer to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s his first year or 15th year, I’m going to vote for him as long as he’s one of the 10 best on the ballot.

That’s why John Smoltz, a first-timer this year, got my vote. Same for a couple who’ve been on the ballot a few years, Lee Smith and Larry Walker.

So there you have it, the Hall of Fame choices of a “golf” writer. A golf writer, that is, who happened to cover baseball a big part of his 42-year newspaper career, including the final 13 years covering the Seattle Mariners on a daily basis.

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Kirby Arnold

Kirby was 10 years old when he played his first round of golf with his grandmother on the sand greens of the Versailles Country Club in Missouri, and his love of the game has never wavered. Only one thing stood between Kirby and a single-digit handicap: his job. Kirby worked 42 years as a sports writer and editor at newspapers in Missouri and Washington. He started while a high school sophomore at the Rolla Daily News in Missouri and covered a variety of events, including his own high school basketball games (he made sure his name was spelled right). He was a sports writer and editor for 10 years at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, covering Southwest Missouri State University football and basketball, Missouri University football and basketball, and numerous motorsports events including the Indianapolis 500 during the 1970s and 1980s. He moved to the Seattle area in 1984, becoming assistant sports editor at The Herald in Everett, Wa., then executive sports editor from 1987-1998, a time when The Herald's sports coverage was recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as being among the best in the nation for newspapers its size. Kirby returned to the press box in 1999, taking over The Herald's coverage of the Seattle Mariners. He covered the Mariners/baseball beat the next 13 seasons and in 2007 wrote his first book, Tales from the Seattle Mariners Dugout. While Kirby pursued a rewarding newspaper career, one of his lifelong goals remained unfulfilled: breaking 80 on a consistent basis. Kirby left The Herald at the end of 2011, moved to Phoenix and immediately began spending more time at the golf course. His only excuse now is a 12 on the stimpmeter.

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