Congratulations to the newest inductees of Major League Baseball’s HOF, ((as diagnosed by the patronizing Baseball Writers of America (BBWA – isn’t baseball just one word – thus making it BWA – Ballers with Attitude)), Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio. A worthy class and the largest inducted since 1955 and only for the 3rd time ever; and there is no denying the first two on this list, you could argue for many more on the ballot – you have to congratulate them all and say what an accomplishment that the peccary of the BWA got it right two years in a row.
But let us further examine the inequities and the gyrating pantomime of voters – no debate about the Big Unit or Pedro – John Smoltz? Deserving in my mind and was better than Glavine; you could also say that he was the anchor of that Braves pitching staff – Maddux the surgeon, Smoltzie the General, Glavine the…uh…nice leftie. He’s in, so congratulations to a staff with more failures than rings – looking at you Wohlers.
The beauty of deliberation is the topic and beef you might have and I do have a slight beef regarding Biggio. Craig Biggio; a good player, played a long time, but tell me that singular moment that stands out – you have several with Randy, including killing a bird in mid pitch – you have several with Pedro – You have a several with Smoltz – but Bigg’s? Sure he’s got 3,000+ hits, but it took him 20yrs to get it. Sure he started off as a catcher and played center-field and played mostly at second, but was he the Astro you feared? – “Hey Bagwell, widen you’re stance!” – Good, but to me, not great.
As an example, let’s look at Bigg’s versus Kent, (all stats from those on the ballot here). One is being recognized for his longevity, while another is being shunned for his asshole-y-ness. Bigg’s played 3 more years than Kent, got 2,000 more AB’s and liked the leather more (4 gold gloves). But Kent was a MVP, has a higher batting average, more HR’s, more RBI, higher slugging%, higher OPS and OPS+ and the same JAWS by position, (combination of career and 7yr peak WAR by position) as Bigg’s, but got 377 fewer votes – (huh?). Jeff Kent was a better 2nd baseman power-wise and could be one of the better hitting 2nd baseman to ever play – and we are talking about 2nd baseman, the TE of baseball – nice if you got one, great if you got one that scores touchdowns (HR). In addition, how the hell do 400 “writers” not vote for Trammell, but one dope votes for Darin Erstad – are you kidding me?!! Is Trammell caught in the Coors Field effect for his era? Alan Trammell did not play much in the live ball era that Biggio played in; but his WAR is better, his batting average is better, he played the same amount of years, won a title, better defensively, but did play in 500+ fewer games – so again it seems we are rewarding a good player for playing a long time and being reliable.
If you saw any of the ballot-eers play, you come back to who made you cheer and who you saw that was great and when does Biggio ever come to mind. More fond-examples are; Mike Piazza the greatest hitting catcher ever, Larry Walker was amazing, (when he played, of which was not much) – he avg’d 117 games a year – Fred McGriff, Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield all stand out – (not Darin Erstad, CRIPES), Craig Biggio does not. Consider that Don Mattingly is no longer on the ballot and neither is two-time MVP Dale Murphy – and both are no longer in the conversation for the Hall?!! Craig has the numbers, has the longevity and was a good ball-player, I am not taking anything away from him – I would have loved for him to be on my team too – This entire rant is directed at the voters. Those editors, general assignments writers, and the plethora of people that no longer cover the sport actively are my targets. Those that have spent DECADES not covering the sport and yet are still card-carrying members, are my targets.
So many other smart, insightful people are not participating in the process, people like; Vin Scully, Jon Miller, or Joe Buck, and that’s only because they aren’t in the twit-fraternity of writers. Mirthfully, in 1998 there were 473 voters and just last year there was 573 – did we fashion another 100 more writers from Uranus that conveniently spent 10(consecutive)yrs covering baseball – to only have 549 scribes this year take part, and who are the 24 schmo’s that did not vote? – but beyond the idiot-ocracy of the writers – I want to point out their hypocrisy!
They choose numbers as a criteria when it suits them, then they choose subjective criteria to devalue a player whenever it fits-like-a-glove. Take Pedro Gomez who tweeted that his vote is not journalism, it’s a vote and the reason he left off Piazza and Bagwell is because of the decisions they made – what decisions? What journalism have you done to uncover those decisions? Are you journalistically implying the possible connection to steroids? Today is not the forum to blather about the role steroids may or may not have played and how we judge it – Today we deliberate about these dramatists who failed in their contributory duties and now elect morality.
I don’t know how steroids or other muscle enhancing drugs help you hit a baseball – you are either born with the hand-eye coordination to hit a round ball with a round bat, or you are not – nor have I seen science validate the corollary on steroids doing just that. I have read that amphetamines – like speed, or greenies as they were known in the biz – do help and have been a longer, much larger problem in baseball history (Ball Four anyone?)
PED’s are also not singular to baseball. All major sports have and will continue to have issues, (will it be reported?). Examine the changes and the challenges sports will have with the growing evolution of human improvement.
However, what is singular to baseball is the size of the brush used by these arrogant pundits, (who never got to sip enough jockstrap tea apparently) to encompass an entire era; too then supplement the “decisions” some of these players made with their own silence, neglecting substantial-journalistic proof. So, instead justice hides under the umbrella of the fourth-estate to assert cheating, yet have no remorse about voting in a promoted con-artist of the game – his own auto-biography was titled, Me and the Spitter – Does Gaylord Perry (265 losses, 3rd ballot HOFer, seen here getting caught at the 1:05 mark) deserve to be in the HOF more than the scarlet-lettered-greatest-hitting-catcher-of-all-time? Lord-willing, but maybe I’ll act like a baseball iconoclast and just suspect those numbers were doctored.