January 11, 2013

#Stlcards fans - should La Russa be kept out of Hall of Fame?

Now that the dust has settled from no living baseball players being elected to Cooperstown this year, as the black cloud of roiding really started to hit home with the candidacies of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, et al.

Well, the 2014 ballot will have many great, "clean" players. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, are all legit first-year entries for the Hall, and I think we'd recognize them all as PED-free.

But there's a twist. In 2014, the Veterans Committee returns to the "modern" era. And Joe Torre and Tony La Russa will be on the ballot as managers.

And, in Oakland, TLR managed the two most notorious known, admitted users in Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Re Big Mac, TLR has claimed he didn't notice anything, didn't know anything. He's been more circumspect about Canseco. And, per sportswriter Thomas Boswell, via Wezen-Ball, TLR probably DID know "something" was up, already in 1988.)

The fact that La Russa wanted to ink Bonds to a Cardinal contract when he was a free agent after 2007 also points to his total lack of innocence on this issue.

That's why I'd love a, say, Ken Rosenthal to put both of them, La Russa and Canseco, in the same interview room at the same time.

After all, although La Russa wasn't his manager, Canseco then went to Texas. We know about Rafael Palmeiro and PED use, and there's been a lot of suspicion about Ivan Rodriguez.

 Here's my thoughts on likely roiders among players. It applies to La Russa, too. (To riff on Ricky Ricardo, you got some 'splaining to do, and some apologizing, along with the players union, management, and now, I would say, at least one field manager.)

We can make some sort of guesstimate as to how your managerial career might have panned out without the "help." And, making it to three straight World Series in Oakland, then having a juiced Mac welcome a trade to St. Louis, to break Roger Maris' record, might not have happened, either.

(On the players side, with my best guesstimates, Bonds was already a first-round HOFer, Clemens a possible to likely first-rounder, but not guaranteed first rounder, Pudge was a possible HOFer Raffy was not, McGwire was not.)

A friend of mine asked me, What about Torre and his Yankee years? I said Clemens was juicing before that, Andy Pettitte has apologized, and that Torre was probably not aware of Andy. Whether he should have been aware of "Muchie Peachie" and others (Jason Giambi, pre- or post-apology) is a different question. 

That said, Torre might not deserve a 100 percent pass, either.

So, not quite a year from now, we're going to find out how well the Veterans Committee has studied this issue and how much it concerns them. 

And, no, this is not a snarky attack on the BBWAA or anything similar. It's a legitimate issue, I think.

And, managing roiding players aside, how do we judge "borderline" managers? See here for my cry for a WAR for managers.

And, what good is a post like this without a poll?

Free polls from Pollhost.com
Should Veterans voters treat La Russa, Torre like BBWAA voters on alleged roiders?

Yes   No   Uncertain     



MaCo said...

Torre managed more players on the Mitchel list than any other manager by far. Now some of that may be due to the close proximity of the investigation, but if TLR is "punished", Torre HAS to be too. The number of known juicers under Torre's ginormous and apparently oblivious schnozz is mind-blowing.

For the record, I am not in favor of keeping wither out.

Gadfly said...

Maco, you're probably right on Torre managing the most players on the Mitchell list, but, as I said, TLR's Oakland was ground zero. I'm in favor of the same standards for managers who presumably knew they had presumed users as the presumed users themselves.