Finding Mudville: Who gets in the HOF?
Major League Baseballís Hall of Fame ballots came out this week.
Tainted home run king Barry Bonds, stained 600-homer club member Sammy Sosa (who also got caught using a corked bat), Rafael Palmeiro of the 3,000 hits and 500-plus home runs, and Roger Clemens are all on the ballot.
Until now, entry into baseballís hallowed hall has been largely stat based, and shy on the whole character and integrity portion of the nomination consideration. This year the pendulum may swing the other way and those with less than impressive Hall of Fame stats might garner more votes than Bonds and his blasphemous brethren.
Guys like Dale Murphy or Fred McGriff or Don Mattingly, or maybe Jack Morris, might finally get a better look.
Craig Biggio is a shoo-in. A 3,000-hits man and an all-star at three positions, he went the Cal Ripken and Chipper Jones route by playing his entire career with one team, the Houston Astros.
Mark McGwire is on the ballot again but in his four previous tries heís never reached the 25-percentile in vote accumulation. He tallied 19 percent in 2011. I donít see a sudden groundswell of affection for Big Mac any time soon. I donít expect much for Bonds, Sosa, Palmeiro or Clemens either.
The Rocket may make this a moot point if he continues his big league comeback effort in 2013. If he pitches an inning in the big leagues heís ineligible for another five seasons, which actually might be the smart move. Who knows what the baseball worldís attitude might be in 2017?
Biggio might be the only one picked this year, though Iíd like to see Morris and Murphy get the nod. Jack Morris was the ďAbbottĒ to Bert Blylevenís ďCostelloĒ in terms of Hall of Fame near misses, and Blyleven finally got in.
Maybe this is Jackís year.
But it begs asking the eternal question, how do you keep your all-time home run king in Bonds and your all-time hits king in Pete Rose out of the Hall of Fame? Thatís like trying to perform a wedding without the groom and best man. You have two empty spaces where Bonds and Rose, characteristically deserving or not, statistically should be.
They are number one.
How can you not vote them in?
I worry for Pete Rose. Heís in his 70s now and all bets are off at this point. He could live to be 90 or he could die tomorrow, and if youíre not going to grant him entry into Cooperstown while heís alive, donít do it once heís passed on.
You need to look no further than Ron Santo to see what kind of travesty that would turn out to be.
Next year Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Bobby Cox appear on the ballot for the first time. They should negate any sentiment for the Roids Gallery in that it would be a stretch to think all three would make it in on the first ballot.
I hope they do.
For now, the BBWAA voters have a conundrum on their hands. For whom do you vote?
I say if you vote one in they all should go in. Or leave them all out.
Iím afraid, for Pete Roseís sake, the pendulum favors the latter.
Maybe somebody might finally wise up and forgive Shoeless Joe Jackson. Nope Ö sorry, reindeer will fly first.
And thatís a shame.