ESPN's Jim Caple, in his latest Off Base column, reminds us of the upcoming Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., this weekend. He mainly reminds us of the fact that, because of concerns over performance-enhancing drugs, a would-be, on paper, stellar class of candidates, including first-time eligibles Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, linked together in PEDing infamy, and deserving first-time candidates Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio and second-timer Jeff Bagwell, that nobody's getting in. Period.
Well, not quite true. Nobody living, off the normal players' ballot is getting in. An apparently racist owner, Jacob Ruppert, is getting in. So are two dead-baller players, Hank O'Day and Deacon White.
It's too late to vote out the likes of Cobb, but that doesn't mean we have to vote Ruppert in. Did he do anything game-changing as an owner, other than fork over enough cash to buy Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox? Arguably not.
That said, Caple does O'Day wrong. He was voted in as an ump first, not a player. If he's a deserving ump, or on the borderline with a "bump" for being a player, let him in. And White? Decent dead-ball stats, especially for a catcher. I won't complain about him.
And, I disagree more with Caple, who's a "big hall" fluffer, that owners, umpires and broadcasters shouldn't go in the Hall. I think we should have discriminating standards, but from the man who thinks a 10-person ballot for players is too small, this is ridiculous.
Anyway, back to the fact that nobody living will be inducted.
What's the big boo-hoo? I, as I've said before, have some regrets for the non-roiders who got excluded, and hope they get in next year. On that blog post, I've got links to the top candidates from this year, with individualized assessments.
But, on the non-roiders who didn't make it, Baggs didn't have 500 HRs, and half of the catchers now in the Hall had to wait at least one year. Curt Schilling has kind of low counting stats and Tim Raines is still in Rickey Henderson's shadow, among other things.
On the roiders?
Especially in light of Ryan Braun's recent plea bargain, I'm glad Bonds, Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire will continue to cool their heels; I'm definitely not a Cardinal homer on Big Mac.
On other non-roiders? At least we won't be seeing Jack Morris getting inducted. Only one more year to keep him out, and with another stat-heavy (and roiding-heavy?) list of initial eligibles in 2014, people like me may succeed in keeping him out.
So, let's be glad the roiders didn't get in. Let's hope that deserving non-roiders get in, and sooner rather than later. (And, unless we used the HOF version of multiple voting, Caple's idea of expanding the ballot could hurt, rather than help.)
And, what about those who managed roiders?
Theoretically, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre will be on next year's veterans committee ballot. I don't believe either one's told us all he knew about some of his players. I say keep them out too. See the poll at right. Or below.