The Week That Was in Baseball: December 26, 2011-January 1, 2012
Does Anyone Warrant a Ticket to Cooperstown? • Oakland Raises the White Flag
R.J. Dickey's Walk to the Clouds • Goodbye, Don Mueller
Whoif Anyoneis Next For the Hall of Fame?
Mixing in returning applicants and those new to the list, this year’s ballot should give voters almost no reason to select anyoneunless, they feel compelled to opt for someone simply for the sake of opting someone in, to make sure the Hall doesn’t come away empty-handed. Anyone who does that should have his or her BBWAA membership revoked immediately. Voting for a player you didn’t select the year before just to fill in a void makes no sense whatsoever, and suggests quotas over the genuine right to earn. For those writers worried that the induction podium will be vacant this summer, heyTim McCarver got voted into the broadcasting wing, and you know he can weave two hours of storytelling with little effort.
This year, we’ve broken down the ballot into various categories of players based on their standing and their chances:
The Best of the New Batch. Of the first-timers on the ballot, former New York Yankee Bernie Williams seems to have the best shot at accruing the highest percentage of checkmarksjust not enough for enshrinement. A very good player at times, the popular Williams lacked the greatness to be truly considered for the Hall, from our view. California-Anaheim-Los Angeles of Anaheim favorite Tim Salmon is also on the list, and he, too, will gather in some votes; while a lock for any future Angel Hall of Fame, he doesn’t stand a chance for Cooperstown. Vinny Castilla? Terrific numbers in Colorado, blasé numbers elsewhere; as Larry Walker is finding out and Todd Helton will soon discover, linkage to Coors Field is almost as poisonous as linkage to steroids. Ruben Sierra? A few great years, but he bounced around too often and his defense left much to be desired.
The Returning Favorites. For many of those who came close to induction last year, this may be their lucky day. Yes, we’re talking about Barry Larkin, the talented Cincinnati shortstop who gathered in 62% of the vote in 2011 and may get a bump from those just looking to pick someone, anyone this year; we have a sneaky suspicion he’ll get in. Jack Morris? Jumping from 53% to the required 75% in one year may be too ambitious. Lee Smith? C’mon, was he really that dominant a closer? (He did get 45% of the vote last year.) Jeff Bagwell? Until voters get a complete look at that 2003 list of players testing positive for steroids, he won’t get the benefit of a doubt. Edgar Martinez? Sorry, 75% of the voters don’t believe designated hitters should be electable. Mark McGwire? No one will let him in now that he’s admitted to steroids. Rafael Palmeiro? No one will let him in because he keeps denying it.
One and Done. To Jeromy Burnitz, Brian Jordan, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland and Phil Nevin: Enjoy the vote. It will be your only one.
The Coming Tsunami. Next year’s ballot will be as exciting as this year’s is apathetic. Scheduled to be included: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and David Wells. (Our early prediction: Biggio and Schilling.)
Don Mueller, 1927-2011
Coming Soon to TGG
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
A Scribble for How Much?
An Imbalance of Fiscal Insanity?
You Had Us at TexasBut Lost Us at Pittsburgh
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