Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Congratulations to Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar for their much deserved election to the Hall of Fame. I was surprised, last year, when Alomar wasn't elected his first year on the ballot. With a lifetime 300 batting average and the sure hands of one of the greatest defensive second basemen of all time he seemed like a lock to me. I grew up in western Pennsylvania and had the privilege of seeing Bill Mazeroski play, and Alomar was every bit as good as Maz in the field and a far better hitter. If Maz deserved election (And I believe he did) for his defensive skills, as important a part of the game as batting, then Roberto deserved it more.
Bert Blyleven played for several teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates which always earns the benefit of the doubt with me, but how the Baseball Writers could wait 14 years to put him in the hall...well, it's all part of the lunacy of the writers. 287 wins, and had he played for better teams, he would have easily gone over 300. But it's being in the top ten in both strikeouts and shut-outs that's really amazing. I would love it if he went into the Hall as a Pirate, but I'm sure he'll go in as a Twin.
Now let's get into the hypocrisy of baseball. There is no way in hell that management didn't know about PED use. Baseball players get multiple physicals every year. Teams have training staffs that monitor fitness every day of the season, and those trainers report to management. Baseball didn't care about steroids until congress came snooping around the game looking for illegal steroid use. So why are players like Rafael Palmeiro not getting their due? We know that Palmeiro used steroids toward the end of his career, and might have used them earlier as well. Probably did, as a matter of fact. But, he was facing pitchers who were also juicing, and he did hit over 500 home runs and over 3,000 base hits. He should have been a first year lock. Mark McGwire is a far more problematic choice even if he had been clean and needle free. Big Mac did hit 500 + HR's, but beyond that...a good though not great fielder, oft injured, and a not very good batting average. I wouldn't have any problem one way or the other with McGwire. Great power, but a one dimensional player.
There are a number of deserving players that have survived to be on the ballot another year, but I'd like to signal out two who I feel should get in. Fred McGriff with 493 home runs. Come on, are we going to keep the guy out because he was seven short of 500? And Tim Raines...great all around player with no personality.

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