HALL OF FAME NONSENSE
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?