The Week That Was in Baseball: December 28, 2009-January 3, 2010
Who, If Anyone, Will be Voted into the Hall of Fame This Year?
The Argument For and Against Jason Bay • Mob Scene: Behind the Building of Citi Field
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The Bay Watch Begins
Like Superstar, Like Common Player
Will It Play in San Fran?
Pity Those Poor People I See Through My Tinted Luxury Car Window
Will the Third Time be the Charm?
Will the Second Time be the Charm?
The New York Post reported this past weekend that the Mets’ new ballpark, Citi Field, was partially built by contractors with ties to the mob, labor corruption or bribery. Of the $91 million in public money given to the Mets to build the facility, more than half ($51 million) went to contractors run by folks who recently ran afoul of the law for their questionable ties. If anything else, the Post article is good viewing for its composite image of Mr. Met dressed up like a machine gun-wielding gangster.
We Ought to Tell You: Our All-Decade Awards
A Chat With Baseball's Biggest Communist Fan
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Hall of Fame 2010: Will Anyone Get In?
Here’s a breakdown of those vying for Hall of Fame glory and their chances of getting in.
Roberto Alomar. A .300 career average, 2,724 career hits and sparkling defense makes him the most promising of the first-year candidates. But will he get in? We believe he’s a 50-50 bet at best. There might be a few voters who’ll deny Alomar by evoking his infamous spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck in 1996, though most voters have forgiven Alomar by now and realize that bizarre moment and aftermath was but a standalone mental glitch.
Barry Larkin. A popular shortstop who, in Cincinnati where he played his entire career, will be given the key to the city and then somebut beyond the city limits, he’ll face tougher scrutiny from nationwide voters who won’t look at his total body of work as legendary. His case will be a good test to see far love goes in the polls.
Edgar Martinez. A hitting machine with a career .312 average, solid power and a terrific knack for driving them home. But Martinez will suffer in the vote because he spent the majority of his career exclusively as a designated hitter. If he gets in, they should reopen Buzz Arlett’s file.
Fred McGriff. As steady a power hitter as they came during the last three decades, McGriff finished his 19-year career just seven home runs short of 500and that’s a failed milestone that may cost him Cooperstown votes. Even had McGriff topped 500, he still probably wouldn’t get in for the same reason that Rafael Palmeiro (steroids notwithstanding) won’t earn a Cooperstown bust; he seldom if ever achieved a dominant, superstar-like reputation, seldom got a plethora of All-Star votes, etc.and that’s not greatness.
Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks. Two players who had inconsistent fits of greatnessand often had them in Denver, where big numbers come easy. They may remain eligible for a few years, but their overall chances are not good.
Kevin Appier, Pat Hentgen, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile. For this group of first-time eligibles, just getting 5% of the vote to make it to next year’s ballot will be a victory.
Andy Ashby, Dave Burba, Mike Jackson, Mark McLemore, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Fernando Vina. Please.
Among those returning on the ballot:
Andre Dawson. Will the ninth time be the charm for Dawson? He came closest among those who didn’t get in last year (67% of the vote; 75% needed) and some now feel that since Jim Rice is in, so should he. But Rice was dominant when he thrived; Dawson was usually just a gear away. Very good does not equal great.
Dave Parker. The Cobra’s eligibility is drying up; it’s this year and next, and then he’ll have to lean on the Veteran’s Committee down the line. Parker, like Rice, was dominant, but only for a short time; that he threw what should have been the prime of his career away on drugs still turns off a lot of voters.
Dale Murphy. See Parker abovejust throw out the bit about the drugs, which this clean-shaved Mormon never touched.
Bert Blyleven. Only Tommy John has more wins among those eligible for the Hall of Fame who aren’t in. (And John has just one more victory than Blyleven.) The 22-year veteran piled up an abundance of numbers (many negative ones, too) but never held that aura of greatness. Blyleven’s also shamefully lobbying to get in, which in our opinion is a no-no; after all, let your career do the talking. (He’s likely selling himself for the money as much as for the prestige; having “Hall of Fame” tied to your name is said to be worth an extra $100,000 per year in public appearances, etc.)
Lee Smith. The 18-year closer may have been the all-time saves leader for a decade before Trevor Hoffman, but he blew quite a few more save opportunities than others (Hoffman, Mariano Rivera) who are the cream of this craft. Kind of hard to bring a guy into the Hall when he didn’t inspire a ton of confidence in his fans.
Jack Morris. An innings eater who three times won 20 games and pieced together one of the game’s great postseason performances with a ten-inning, Game Seven shutout in the 1991 World Series for Minnesota. That said, it’s remarkable that his ERA never went south of 3.00. (His career mark, in fact, is an okay 3.90.) That’s why he’ll probably have to wait until the Veterans Committee takes up his case.
Mark McGwire. In its simplest form, a vote for Big Mac is a vote for steroids, and a vote against him is…What McGwire, the new St. Louis hitting coach, will have to say about his past should he choose to do so could improve his odds of getting into Cooperstown, but for now he’s stuck with the 20% of voters who think he’s worthy in spite of his likely use of performance enhancement drugs.