By Drew Olson Special to Published Dec 19, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, the pre-holiday edition. Time is tight. Let's get to it.

Tough calls: Some of my college-age relatives and friends just finished final exams and turned in semester projects and felt a mixture of emotions including relief (it's finally over), anxiety (did I do OK?), frustration (why did I wait so long to get started?) and dread (I've got another one of these looming on the horizon).

I feel the same way every time I turn in my Hall of Fame ballot.

As a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, I'm privileged to fill out the ballot that comes each year. No matter what you think of the results of our work, I can tell you that everyone in this fraternity takes the duty very, very seriously.

The process is fascinating on so many levels because there are no right or wrong answers. The voting is subjective and each person has his or her own standards and principles and -- much to the chagrin of many outside observers -- those standards and principles can change from year to year.

At the outset, let me state that I'm not going to bog this discussion down with a bunch of stats and number-crunching, because you can find those in a million other places ( is a personal favorite) and you'll find reasoned discourse from many people much smarter than I am.

I'll stick to a more general argument.

My personal philosophy centers on my belief that the Baseball Hall of Fame is special in the world of sports. It is an exclusive enclave for the best of the best and the standard for admission should be strict.

Generally speaking, if I'm on the fence about a player's candidacy, I opt to leave him off my ballot. Many of my colleagues are much more liberal, opting to vote for close to the maximum 10 allowed on the ballot. Some colleagues vote for players so that they'll stay on the ballot for future consideration (players have to be named on five percent of ballots to be carried over). That's fine. In my case, however, I think quality is more important than quantity.

Before getting into this year's ballot, I need to discuss an inductee from last year in order to give you a window into why one voter's opinion can change from year to year.

Jim Rice went into the Hall of Fame last summer without my vote. I crunched the numbers and considered the arguments in his favor (many of them were compelling) and after many hours of agonizing, I determined that Rice didn't make the grade.

One of the primary reasons that I didn't vote for Rice is that I considered his case inferior to that of Andre Dawson, who also fell a tick below my standard. (Allow this brief statistical detour: I voted "no" on Dawson because his on-base percentage of .323 was nine points below the average player during his career and would be the lowest in the Hall of Fame. On-base percentage is emphasized much more today than it was a generation ago, but I can't get past that).

Admittedly, part of my decision on Dawson came to the internal monologue -- "If I vote for him, how can I not vote for Rice...? or Dave Parker...? or Dale Murphy...? and how come Dwight Evans isn't mentioned in this debate?

Now that Rice is in the Hall of Fame, the questions change.

Do I stick to my admittedly rigid standards and consider Rice's inclusion a mistake by my peers? Or, do I vote for Dawson to "right the wrong" on my personal ledger and spare him from what could be an unjust exclusion?

There is a similar question on this year's ballot with Barry Larkin. I consider him to be a fantastic candidate, but at present I lean toward a "no" vote. One of the reasons for this is that I've previously voted "no" on Alan Trammell. I consider their cases to be similar. If Trammell was in the Hall already, Larkin might breeze through. If Larkin makes it in his first year of eligibility, it may make people reconsider Trammell's case.

These are the kinds of mental gymnastics that some voters, myself included, encounter. In some cases, it's like arguing which shade of blue is "the best."

Last week, I talked with Hall of Famer Robin Yount about the ballot. While he admits he's not "a stats guy," Yount shared his insight into the players he faced and was floored by the difficult decisions presented on the ballot. As our much-too-brief discussion closed, he hit me with a quote that I'll never forget.

"There are a lot of great players who aren't in the Hall of Fame," he said.

He's right. Guys like Dawson, Larkin, Trammell and others who came before or will come after them are incredible players. None of them would diminish the Hall of Fame and you can make compelling cases as to why some or all of them should or shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.

With a few days left to deliberate, my Hall of Fame ballot looks like this:

Roberto Alomar
Bert Blyleven
Tim Raines

Those guys aren't going to fall off. If you ask me two days from now, there may be one, two or three more names on the ballot as I continue to consider Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith, Jack Morris and the rest. We have until Dec. 31 to get them in, and I plan on wrestling with it for a few more days.

Larry King Lounge: There are no moral victories in the NBA, but you have to be amazed that the Bucks almost forced overtime during their loss Friday night in Cleveland despite the fact that Andrew Bogut had more fouls than points (5 to 4), Brandon Jennings made 5 of 20 shots and Michael Redd didn't do much other than hit a jumper at the first-quarter buzzer.... Prediction: Jeronne Maymon will regret his decision to leave Marquette more than the Golden Eagles will regret losing him.... I liked Buzz Williams' quote about the situation: "As I've told everybody here, we don't play by positions. Guys have to be able to pass, handle and shoot. We want to play the toughest guys. We want to play the guys that can defend. I think J-May was getting to that point."... Lovelace Ackah, Greg Howes, Tony Pierce, George Pastor and longtime radio announcer Tom Wynn are among the nominees for the Wave's Hall of Fame. The new class will be honored Jan. 23.... With their new two-year contracts, former Brewers Jason Kendall and Mike Cameron will push their career earnings to $83 million and $75 million, respectively... UW-Whitewater's championship game against Mount Union was postponed to 3 p.m. due to heavy snow in Virginia.... Tonight's Bucks-Kings game will be a showdown between Rookie of the Year candidates Jennings and Tyreke Evans.... If backup catcher Matt Treanor makes the Brewers' roster, they're going to have a great volleyball team for the co-ed cookout circuit. Treanor's wife, Misty May, is an Olympic champ.


Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.