BRONX, NY – This afternoon, the Baseball Writers Association of America (aka, a bunch of old farts who were never even remotely good at baseball) will announce the 2016 induction class for the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are 32 names on the ballot and it takes 75% of the vote to get in and 5% to stay on the ballot and blah, blah, blah, blah. Enough of this slop already. Here’s a rundown of the pretenders and contenders.
No way in hell. Brad Ausmus, David Eckstein, Mike Sweeney, Mark Grudzielanek, Mike Lowell, Garret Anderson, Randy Winn, Luis Castillo (bwahahaha!), Mike Hampton, Troy Glaus, Jason Kendall, Jim Edmonds, No-Mah Garciaparra, and Billy Wagner. Comments: I like Edmonds but, nah. Why do they go through the motions with some of these names? They should just throw on a blooper reel of these guys before the ceremony. That would be a nice touch. One last look at Castillo’s dropped can of corn at Yankee Stadium. And screw all of the Billy Wagner lobbyists. You’ll never convince me!
Don’t think so. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Alan Trammell, and Lee Smith. Comments: Not sure why McGwire gets more of the vote than Sosa, especially since they are eternally linked and Sosa’s career numbers are better. Is it because McGwire mustered some English, albeit stupid English, before congress? I think Lee Smith belongs, but he suffers the same way old NFL receivers suffer. Like pass receptions, save stats are through the roof in today’s game. Alan Trammell should get in for a stellar career and for appearing with Lou Whitaker on an episode of Magnum P.I.
Mike Piazza. Why he’ll get in: He’s the greatest hitting/slugging catcher in the history of baseball. Why he won’t get in: Bad case of back acne and constant steroid whispers. Oh, and he was too metrosexual (eyebrow tweezing, blonde hair highlights, etc.) for some.
Jeff Bagwell. Why he’ll get in: He got over 55% of the vote last year and many think he’ll make it. Why he won’t get in: He has under 450 home runs, just over 1,500 rbis, and a career average under .300. What’s so special?
Tim Raines. Why he’ll get in: Because he should. Seriously. He should be in. Why he won’t get in: He played for the Expos, a team that some of these old farts on the committee can no longer remember.
Curt Schilling. Why he’ll get in: Huge big-game pitcher with 11-2 postseason record. Played on 3 World Series Champions. Why he won’t get in: Never won a Cy Young award. A tad insufferable. Named son, Gehrig.
Roger Clemens. Why he’ll get in: He’s the most dominant pitcher of his generation. Why he won’t get in: He’s a jerk.
Barry Bonds. Why he’ll get in: All-time home run king who was a great player with or without steroids. Why he won’t get in: See Clemens (above).
Edgar Martinez. Why he’ll get in: Terrific pure hitter with a career .312 average. The Hall needs a DH. Why he won’t get in: He’s a DH and his numbers are very good but not great.
Mike Mussina. Why he’ll get in: 270 career wins. Very consistent and durable starter with only two losing seasons. Why he won’t get in: No Cy Youngs and dull as dishwater.
Jeff Kent. Why he’ll get in: Offensively, best second baseman ever. Why he won’t get in: Playing in San Francisco during height of PED use can’t help, but what hurts more was the perception that he was an emotionless malcontent who didn’t care for the game. Reports to the contrary don’t seem to help.
Fred McGriff. Why he’ll get in: He’s waited long enough. Came 7 home runs shy of 500, hit a healthy .284, well-liked, etc. Why he won’t get in: He toiled in semi-obscurity in places like Toronto, San Diego, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay.
Trevor Hoffman. Why he’ll get in: 856 career saves, 2.87 era, and “Hells Bells.” Why he won’t get in: Mariano Rivera made every other reliever look mediocre or good or very good or very, very good, but not great.
Ken Griffey Jr. Why he’ll get in: For well over a decade was the most dynamic and exciting player in the game. Finished with 630 home runs. Why he won’t get in: He’s getting in. A sure thing. The only question is which a-hole writers don’t give him the vote. I doubt he’ll surpass Tom Seaver’s vote total. Guess we’ll see.
My guess is that Griffey Jr. and Piazza both make it this year, but that’s it. Those two names in Cooperstown in July should draw record numbers. Just what baseball wants… and needs. Why water it down with others, though I’d like to see Raines or Trammell or one of the older guys make it. Piazza’s nomination should help (rightly) pave the way for others “under suspicion” and well as a handful of the PED convicted.