Nobody. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
The BBWAA decided yesterday that nobody was worthy of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. For the first time in a long time, they may have actually gotten it right. I didn’t do this before the election, so why not do it now. How did I feel about the candidates?
For the sake of this part of the entry, let’s just pretend we have never heard of the word PED. It’s just easier for now. We can break the candidates into a few different categories.
The one and dones. Really can’t argue with not electing the nineteen players who were taken off the ballot. They’re former major league players. That’s just going to have to be good enough.
The before my times. There were five or six players on the list who I wouldn’t have voted for…but would be willing to let someone who is older than me say they really do deserve it. Those guys are Morris, Raines, Smith, Trammell, Murphy, and maybe Mattingly. I wouldn’t give any of them my vote. But, if someone who was big into baseball from 83-88 wants to tell me that Tim Raines was a superstar just like Rickey Henderson, I’d defer to that judgment.
The Hall-of-Very-Goods. There were ten of those. Nothing wrong with being not quite good enough for the Hall of Fame. But, they’re not quite legends. Rafael Palmeiro never entered any conversations I ever had discussing the greatest players in the game. I never said, “Boy, you have to see that guy Biggio play…what a talent!” Sosa’s great years were too short. Mark McGwire was Dave Kingman with more power. McGriff and Bagwell were great players…but is anyone mistaking them for Jimmy Foxx? Edgar Martinez was a great, consistent hitter. But, other than being the best DH, does he find himself atop any lists? Piazza too. Can you go into the Hall as a great hitting catcher, if you can’t catch? What if David Ortiz played shortstop? If he made 35 errors every year and had range almost as bad as Jeter. But, he hit 50 home runs. Does that make him a Hall-of-Fame shortstop? If I ever heard anyone refer to Piazza as a “great hitter” instead of a “great hitting catcher” it would be different. If Carlos Delgado stayed behind the plate, does that make him a legend? And, sorry Curt Schilling. Thanks for 2004. And 2007. But, when Schilling was on the mound I thought to myself that the Sox had a good chance to win the game. When Pedro was on the mound, I thought to myself that the Sox already had the game won. That’s the difference.
Legends. That leaves Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. The only two players on the ballot who would get my vote if PED wasn’t a word.
But, PED is a word. So, what does that do to Clemens and Bonds? Well, I can certainly see punishing them by not voting for them the first year. I probably would have made them wait too. Would I ever vote for them? I’m going to take my cue from Mark McGwire. I’m not here to talk about the future.
I’m just here to say the writers got it right.