Sitrep: Hall of Fame voting is complete. Congratulations to Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Pudge Rodriguez for a much deserved call to the Hall. However, two of the best players you ever saw play baseball still didn't make the cut.
As detailed in last week’s podcast, I would have voted both Clemens and Bonds in before they hung up their spikes. The reason why this bothers me is the same reason why I don’t focus on stats in baseball, even though as an engineer, I am by nature a numbers guy (call me if you want to talk aerospace electronics, orbital slots or SPC - I can do "nerd" with anyone). To me, Hall of Fame voting emphasizes how little joy baseball writers take in watching baseball. They hone in on numbers, historical context or personality. None of these elements influence me in buying tickets to a game, or subscribing to MLB.TV. I'm not investing my time in baseball for a moral compass, history lesson or stats-immersion experience. I'm in it to see athletic greatness.
When you evaluate the worthiness of Bonds and Clemens, you don’t need the numbers or the off-field case studies. Just watch the tape. Pop in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS, and tell me if the barrel-chested righty in Yankee gray isn’t the best pitcher you’ve ever seen.
Side note: how many all-star strikeout victims did you catch in that firework show?
Oh yea, and the other guy basically filled McCovey cove with Rawlings leather and reminded us that the bases-loaded-intentional-walk was actually an option.
Feel better? Good.
If the Hall is about capturing greatness, I don’t know how it’s taking so long for these two to get an invite. Here's hoping for next year.
Also, isn’t it universally hated when home plate umpires try to steal the spotlight during a game?
Couldn’t we say the same about baseball writers in the Hall of Fame voting process?
Last note: Writers were suspicious of Bagwell's 6 foot - 200 lb frame hitting bashing 30 homers a year, but no one flinches at Pudge, at mighty 5'9"-205 lb, averaging 27+ homers per season from '99 to '01. I don't get it.