In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box, leading to the Reds taking seven of the eight starting positions for that year’s National League All-Star Team. Only Stan Musial was able to survive the Cincinnati wave.
Commissioner Ford Frick would have none of it. He demoted Gus Bell to a reserve and replaced him and Wally Post with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron (Post wouldn’t have played in the All-Star Game anyway, as he was injured). And, to make sure this kind of thing never happened again, he took away the right to vote from the fans of Major League Baseball. They wouldn’t get it back until 1970.
Now, of course, it is a cliche to complain about the All-Star voting. But I’m going to rather talk about one particular battle ground: David Wright vs. Pablo Sandoval. Going by numbers, Wright is the better candidate. But, that’s not why the Mets are trying everything within their power to get him as a starter. Nope, it’s because, well, he’d be the starter in his home ballpark, and they still are angry about the fact a late get-out-the-vote campaign by San Francisco took Wright out of a starting spot last season.
So, they are doing drastic measures: they tried to get cougars to vote for him, there were reports on Twitter of employees literally stuffing the ballots with Wright’s name, and it’s gotten so bad that Wright has even asked them to tone it down a bit. The Giants, no doubt, are trying to do similar things to ensure that the Kung Fu Panda maintains his lead.
But I wonder: as these get-out-the-vote campaigns continue to escalate, are we risking that one day we may have another 1957 moment where the fans so screw up the voting that fan suffrage will be imperiled?
What do you think?