While the title could easily lead to another Harding basketball post, this one’s actually about the Baseball Hall of Fame, which will announce its latest inductees today. Hat tip to ME for the idea. I already posted my case for certain players over on his site, so I’m just yanking the comment and putting it here:
Lots of baseball folks don’t like the HOF debates, and although I can understand why, I think they’re fun.
My ballot would of course include locks like Gwynn and Ripken, but it’s hard to say who’s in after that.
Gossage is an interesting name on the ESPN list because most relievers don’t pitch enough innings to be truly valuable to their teams, even the best ones. Would he even have been an average starter? I guess if Sutter is in, Goose has to be, but I wouldn’t have voted for either one.
If you make the case for Murphy and Dawson, I don’t think you can leave out Jim Rice, who was arguably better than both. Even as a Braves fan, I think Murphy’s career leaves him a bit short. The other two probably should be in, though.
I’m not a Jack Morris backer, since he pitched most of his good years in the gaping hole that was Tiger Stadium and still only had a 3.90 career ERA. I do have to mention Blyleven, though. He has had the case made on his behalf all over the internets. Sure, his self-promotion is a little off-putting, but he should be in. The fact that 8 of the ESPN guys voted for Morris and only 7 voted for Blyleven is disconcerting.
I’d vote for McGwire, too. Maybe one day we’ll have the steroid issue sorted out, and maybe we won’t. Until then, he should be in.
The ESPN writers put their ballots online, and I think I agree most with Sean McAdam, who voted only for Gwynn, Ripken, Dawson, and Rice. He was also the only one to leave Gossage off his list, which is a move I can support. I would add McGwire and Blyleven to his list for the reasons stated above, and I might even think about leaving Dawson off.
UPDATE: This was obviously supposed to be posted before the announcement this afternoon, but I decided to post it now anyway. I was waiting for the above comment to show up on ME’s Lame-O Blog so I wouldn’t have to type it all again.
4 thoughts on “Getting a Hall Pass”
Although I hardly remember him on the field, I’m rooting for Murphy to get in. Most of my reasoning is biased though. The stats can point to both directions, some stats say he’s in, other stats say he’s out. (Does MVP count as a stat? ha ha). Baseball-reference’s most similar players puts him in pretty good company. I like him cuz he was one of the most dominating players in the 80s. But the messup is comparing him to players of the 90s, where he becomes average at best. I’d bet that if he was on the ballot in 1995 he’d be in. But there is no way he’d have a chance being on the same ballot being compared to Ripken and Gwynn.
One last thought (even though it pains me to say it in regards to murphy) I believe the Hall of Fame should be reserved for the Games elite players, not the games above average players.
Yeah, it’s hard not to root for Murphy to get in someday. He’s kind of a fringe player for the HOF, although I think I was reading somewhere that no two-time MVP has not been elected (I haven’t checked that out). He was basically the best player in the league for 6 years, starting with his ’82 MVP season, so there are some great arguments for him.
There are a couple of schools of thought on the HOF, where some people support players who were more dominant over shorter careers (the Murphy camp), while others prefer more sustained “good” play and support only the Andre Dawson/Dave Winfield types among fringe guys. I’d be content leaving out most of both categories, and like you said, leave it for only the elite guys.
What are chances of a “suspicious” steroid case like McGwire, Sosa, or Bonds coming clean now with a “mea culpa” and admitting steroid use, crying in front of the cameras and then getting into the HOF? I wonder if the hall voters are waiting for something like that from McGwire.
Do you think baseballdom when through all this when they voted Ty Cobb into the HOF with the first class in 1936. No, because everyone was scared to death of him.
I think that scenario is certainly conceivable, since it has applied to Pete Rose for so long. I’m not sure what this says about baseball fans, but I think all three would get in if they came clean on this suspicion.
The problem, of course, with all of this, is that we don’t actually know who was and who wasn’t on steroids. Even the players that the media portrayed as good guys could be suspicious. We simply don’t have the evidence, so I’m in the camp that we ought to be letting in the guys who would otherwise be worthy of inclusion. That doesn’t mean I like them. It just means I’m not willing to condemn them just yet.
Having said all that, coverage of this year’s HOF induction will hopefully take a turn toward celebrating the careers of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken. We can revisit the steroid issue again if we ever know something.
As for Ty Cobb, it’s a shame that a real jerk was also gifted enough to be one of the best baseball players of all time. You’re probably right about everyone being scared of him, both on and off the playing field.