What do Mike Jackson, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Lenny Harris and Kirk Rueter have in common?
The answer is their names have appeared on the official Hall of Fame ballot. They’re also former players that, in my view, are inferior to Port Hope, Ont., native Paul Quantrill, whose name was left off this year’s ballot by a Hall of Fame screening committee.
I do realize that if Quantrill’s name was on the ballot, he wouldn’t garner enough support to be elected, but that’s not the point. The workhorse right-hander was one of the best middle relievers in the big leagues over the course of his 14-year career, and he has earned the honour of having his name included on a ballot alongside the names of the elite of his era. And frankly, it’s an insult to Quantrill that Lenny Harris – a pinch hitter with a .349 career slugging percentage – was deemed worthy of a spot on the ballot over him.
An American League all-star in 2001, Quantrill pitched in a league-leading 80 games and finished with an 11-2 record that season. The rubber-armed Canuck also topped the National League in appearances twice (2002, 2003) and led the American League in appearances again in 2004. He also holds Canadian records for most pitching appearances (841) and most single-season pitching appearances (89).
The Hall of Fame website indicates that their screening committee consists of six baseball writers.
“The duty of the Screening Committee shall be to prepare a ballot listing in alphabetical order eligible candidates who (1) received a vote on a minimum of five percent (5%) of the ballots cast in the preceding election or (2) are eligible for the first time and are nominated by any two of the six members of the BBWAA Screening Committee,” states the Hall’s site.
Quantrill obviously didn’t receive support from two of the six screening committee members. This seems like an oversight when you consider that Rueter, Harris, Charles Johnson and Bobby Higginson – players definitely not superior to Quantrill – were all included on this year’s ballot.
I’m under no illusion that Quantrill would’ve received enough votes for a plaque in Cooperstown. But in a year when the Canuck right-hander was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, he also deserved some sort of recognition from the ball hall south of the border.