Thursday, January 19, 2017

Congratulations to Bagwell, Raines, and Rodriquez

The 2017 class of baseball Hall of Famers is now official: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriquez. All of them are highly deserving candidates, especially Raines -- it was a minor crime that it took the writers 10 years to elect the second greatest lead-off hitter of all time. He had a rough time because of admitted cocaine use and, of course, playing in the shadow of the greatest lead-off hitter of all time, Ricky Henderson.

Bagwell never made much impression on me, mostly because he played for the small market Houston Astros, but Pudge Rodriquez had one of the most amazing arms for a catcher I've ever seen.

Bonds and Clemens both fell short (because of the steroids, obviously), but this year both climbed over the 50% mark -- 75% needed for election. Clearly, they deserve in, and the allegations of steroid use never phased me a bit in regards to their monster stat lines.

Curt Schilling looks like he had a rough day, though, dipping below 50%. His stats are clearly Hall-worthy, but his recent tweets about lynching journalists, even more than his outspoken political views, have hurt him. Now, I always thought Schilling a loudmouth (and I laughed and laughed when he, in all seriousness, started talking about running against Elizabeth Warren for senator), but any baseball writer is clearly abusing his/her duty by invoking the "character clause" to justify not voting for Schilling. Not only do Schilling's stats bear up to scrutiny, but he won loads of various character-based awards during his playing days. About as hard-working a pitcher as you could imagine, just like Clemens.

It does seem as if, for some, expressing a few disrespectable opinion is a bigger "character" flaw than traditional virtues such as hard work, thrift, dedication, and doggedness. And then I think of Mark McGuire, who might not get into the Hall because of his steroid usage, but who was also the humblest, most self-effacing, and most dedicated baseball player I ever saw. If I had a kid, I wouldn't mind him growing up to be like Mark McGuire, PED-usage or no.

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