TITLE: Unclear on the Concept, or How Ken Griffey, Jr., is like James Monroe AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: December 28, 2016 1:01 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Today I read an article on faithless electors, those members of the Electoral College who over the years did not vote for the candidate they were pledged. One story from 1820 made me think of baseball's Hall of Fame!
William Plummer, Sr. was pledged to vote for Democratic-Republican candidate James Monroe. Instead, he cast his vote for John Quincy Adams, also of the Democratic-Republican Party, although Adams was not a candidate in the 1820 election.
Supposedly, Plummer did not feel that the Electoral College should unanimously elect any president other than George Washington.
There are many Hall of Fame voters each year who practice Mr. Plummer's ostentatious electoral purity. They don't vote for anyone on his first ballot, preserving "the legacy of their predecessors", none of whom -- neither Cobb nor Ruth, Mays nor Aaron -- were elected unanimously. (Some leave a great off the ballot for a more admirable reason: to use the vote to support a player they believe deserves entry but who does not receive many other votes. They hope to give such a player more time to attract a sufficient body of voters. I cut these voters a lot more slack than I cut the Plummers of the world.) It was a silly idea in the case of President Monroe, whose unanimous election would have done nothing to diminish Washington's greatness or legacy, and it's a silly idea in the case of baseball greats like Ken Griffey, Junior. -----