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January 21, 2014

Changing Speeds

The 2014 Hall of Famously Weak Arguments, Part One

by Ken Funck


One of the enduring joys of baseball fandom is the ability to engage in spirited debates on baseball topics both great and small—award voting, lineup construction, in-game strategies, anything and everything that makes up the game we all love. Baseball fandom without arguments would be like baseball without keeping score—aesthetically pleasing, but devoid of the passion that makes it worth paying attention to.

However, not all arguments are born equal. Sometimes you’ll hear or read otherwise reasonable people taking positions that are so demonstrably false, so allergic to reason, that they make you throw up your arms, or even your lunch, in despair. And if there’s one time of year that provides ideal growing conditions for a bumper crop of head-scratching opinions, it’s Hall of Fame Voting Season. This year was no different, as the Twitter-verse came alive with impassioned deconstructions of Ken Gurnick’s ballot, a new episode of “$#*! Murray Chass Says,” and all manner of outrage at the decision-making process used by HOF voters that dared to reveal their votes. It wasn’t pretty.

In the hopes of helping to channel all that negativity into something a little more positive (but not much, since it’s still pretty snarky), I present to you this year’s nominees for the Hall of Famously Weak Arguments. Two seasons ago I granted all BP readers membership in the BBWAA (Baseball Weak Argument Arbiters) and listed 15 misguided chestnuts for readers to vote on. Five of them were elected to the Hall’s foundational class, as listed in a blog post here. It’s time to provide them with some company.

In the space below you will find seven nominees for your consideration; I’ll list seven more in another article soon to follow. These 14 include six holdovers from the last vote and eight more nominated by BP readers and staff members over the last week. If you’re game, give them a read and determine which ones irk you the most and are thus most deserving of enshrinement. Part Two will provide information on how to send in your vote.

For each nominee, I’ll describe when that particular weak argument is most frequently heard, why it’s weak, and (in the interest of the fairness) when it might actually be correct.

1. “Yeah, but still.”

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