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Saturday, October 1st, 2016

HALL OF FAME NONSENSE

5

It’s an annual event. I can’t help but point out the ludicrous ballots of those privileged enough to vote for Baseball’s Hall of Fame. It’s even easier when they list them for you, as the Chicago Tribune has done.

Oh, I know it really doesn’t mean anything. But I can’t help myself. A really quick way to ensure that the proper players get enshrined is for those filling out ballots to remember it is a place for great players, not those that were very good. Or those that you liked. Or made your job as a sportswriter easier.

So while I have a soft spot in my heart for Harold Baines and Mark Grace, there is no possible scenario in which either are worthy for the Hall. Here’s how Phil Rogers–who may have some sort of gas leak in his house–mustered up his explanation for voting for Grace:

“In the end, he gets in on the tie-breaking standard I use: performance in big games. He was 11-for-17 with five extra-base hits in the five-game series against San Francisco in 1989. He singled off Mariano Rivera to start Arizona’s ninth-inning rally in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. He gets the benefit of the doubt.”

Here’s the thing about the Hall of Fame: if there is any doubt than the player should not be enshrined. Mark Grace was a very good player for a very long time. But if he’s a Hall of Famer than Zoner Sports will eventually win a Pulitzer.

Trib writer Paul Sullivan spends the first part of his column explaining how Jim Rice was: “Solid home run hitter? Of course. Yet he finished with only 382 career homers and a .298 average. Good, not great.” Then, remarkably, Sullivan writes that “My other votes went to local (and personal) favorites: Tim Raines, fifth in career steals; Lee Smith, third on the career saves list; and Harold Baines, one of the best DHs in history and 25th in career RBIs.” What was that about ‘good, not great’?

This is not the All-Star game, nor the People’s Choice awards. This is supposed to be considered the most prestigious honor in baseball. It’s not about local or personal favorites. It’s about greatness. Is that really so hard to grasp?

  • Schmidty

    Zoner, if I could vote for the Pulitzer, I’d defintely put you on my ballot, especially if Gracie gets into the Hall. I’m a HUGE Grace fan. But alas, you’d certainly correct in that he doesn’t have the credentials. I think the Trib’s voters pretty much show you where he’ll land in the balloting. But, by their vote, this year’s class will be Rickey Henderson and the Hawk. Can it FINALLY be his year?!?!

  • dhaab

    Andre Dawson DEFINITELY deserves to be in the HOF. He should get in this year along with Rickey Henderson. I loved both of these players growing up.

    Quick story. When Hawk was still playing for the Expos back in the early 80′s, I happened to see him play at Wrigley Field while sitting in the right field bleachers with my dad. I distinctly remember turning to my old man at one point in the game and saying “Dad, can you imagine what kind of numbers this guy would put up if he played here 80 games a year?” What can I say? I have psychic abilities. :)

    As for Grace being in the HOF, please. Phil Rogers continues to show how ridiculously stupid he is as a baseball journalist. The city of Chicago certainly deserves someone much better than him as their main baseball writer.

  • http://pastthepylon.blogspot.com/ JM Van Horn

    Solid write up and I agree with you. Sometime we, as fans, are blinded by those stars who we have soft spots for.

  • Schmidty

    OK, so I’m going to play devil’s advocate (also known as Jay Mariotti). What if you take 25 of Mark Grace’s hits each year…any type of hits…and replace them with home runs. Who’s he become? Frank Thomas with a better glove, doesn’t DH, is actually a team leader, and never spent a significant amount of time on the DH. Factor in his ROY, playoff performances, and World Series ring. Thomas should be a first-ballot HOFer while Gracie will be lucky to get enough votes to stay on the ballot next year. Interesting how much we value the dinger, isn’t it?

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Well there is good reason for that. You’d be adding anywhere from 25-75 total bases, another possible 25 runs score, who knows how many RBI, etc. Frank Thomas couldn’t field but he was also a much better hitter than Grace and he hit for more power.

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