It’s never too early to start griping about something, so let’s get this one out of the way early. Here at PH8, I’m all about berating confusing eviscerating educating baseball fans by collecting information and making it even less palatable than it was in its original form. With that in mind, here’s the 2012 baseball Hall of Fame ballot that the BBWAA writers may potentially botch but will hopefully get right on the money (courtesy of baseball-reference.com).
Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Bernie Williams, Vinny Castilla, Javy Lopez, Ruben Sierra, Jeff Nelson, Jeromy Burnitz, Tim Salmon, Mike Matheny, Edgardo Alfonzo, Danny Graves, Tony Womack, Scott Erickson, Jeff Fassero, Phil Nevin, Carl Everett, Brian Jordan, Eric Young, Tim Worrell, Bill Mueller, Joe Randa, Jose Lima, Matt Lawton, Terry Mulholland, Brad Radke, Rick Helling, Felix Rodriguez, and Mike Remlinger.
Larkin received 62.1% of the vote this year, and I’m going on record right now as prognosticating that he’ll get in next time around. Of the remaining names, I maintain that Bagwell, Walker, and Palmeiro have the best stats and deserve inclusion. Yeah, they played during what I’m now calling the “B12 Bobblehead Era“, but that’s not my problem and shouldn’t be theirs either. Their numbers are still in the record books. I checked. If MLB isn’t going to remove their numbers, then I think voters should vote based on those numbers. The gatekeepers and truth-seekers had their chances to grill these guys for years, and I don’t recall a lot of them doing so. I do recall a lot of them writing copious amounts of words about the accomplishments of these men and reporting about 60+ hr seasons.
I’m not vilifying anybody in the media for not pushing these guys on PED’s by any means. I’m just saying that now is a lousy time to get religion about the subject. Up until recently I was ready to be one of the first casters of stones, but even I’ve seen the light. What’s done is done. Cooperstown isn’t the baseball “Hall of Honor and Righteousness”, and it’s not exactly filled with choir boys. It’s a museum with a strict permanent membership requirement policy. The permanent members are supposed to be the best players ever to play the game. It’s not that difficult to make the distinction between the “best” and the “not best”. Barry Larkin was one of the best, and he has the stats and possibly millions of witnesses to back up that claim.
On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Matheny was not one of the best to ever play the game. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, and that’s by no means in insult. He played major league baseball for 13 years. That’s exactly 13years longer than I played, and it’s a darn impressive accomplishment in its own right. Try to put that into perspective. Matheny was probably a full-time catcher for almost 10 of those 13 years. That means that for a decade, he was possibly one of maybe the 40 best catchers in the entire world (at worst). He did win 4 Gold Gloves, so it’s more likely that he was ranked a lot higher than just the top 40. Imagine being among the very best 40 in the world at something. Forget the HOF. Just being considered elite at something would be amazing.
As it stands, there is almost a whole year before the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) will ask its members to fill out a ballot. By that time, I’ll probably go back and forth on some of these names, but rest assured that I’ll still be in favor of Larkin, Bagwell, Walker, and Palmeiro. I’m still giving thought to McGwire. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to give him the nod as well. There simply aren’t a lot of 12-time All-Stars with 583 home runs who don’t get into the HOF. Actually, he’s the only one. He did a phenomenal amount of damage in only 7660 plate appearances, and he walked 1317 times. Yeah, he had a pretty decent batting eye, but some pitchers simply preferred to throw 4 to the screen than pitch to him. If his peers respected him that much, then so should I. Let’s give the guy a hall pass.
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