Domo Arigato, Mr. Roberto
I’m not one to get all fired up in these “Who belongs in the Hall of Fame” arguments, because frankly I don’t care who’s in and who isn’t. After reading this book over the summer, I’m convinced the door is already wide open to too many people and there’s no chance it’s ever closing again. If it were up to me, there would be about 50 players in there. Right now there are 237 players, including Negro Leaguers.
Anyway, if a guy was a great baseball player, he comes up in conversation. I’m talking about your true giants of the game… Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, etc. You know the caliber I’m talking about. But let’s talk under the current system’s logic.
There’s one guy who should’ve gotten in this year who didn’t, and it’s Roberto Alomar. Look at the numbers, the awards, etc. He was the best player at his position for over a decade (hence the 12 All-Star Games and 10 Gold Gloves and 4 Silver Sluggers). He was one of the best players on good teams (7 seasons in the playoffs, 2 World Series titles).
I could see some writers holding the “Loogie Heard ‘Round the World” (and his comments after the game) against Alomar. I know I did, since he wasn’t suspended for the rest of that playoff series against my Indians and the Orioles ended up winning. But Jim Caple of ESPN says that comparatively speaking, Alomar’s spit isn’t any worse than some things other Hall of Famers did… You know, like the time Babe Ruth punched an ump.
Of course, this all pales in comparison to allegations of athletes spitting on fans.
In any case, I think Alomar will get in sooner than later. He had over 73% of the votes (you need 75% to get in) this year and it was only his first year on the ballot.
Moving on, Randy Johnson retired. There’s a first-ballot guy. That guy would make my Hall of Fame. I guess I didn’t realize it until I looked at the numbers, but he struck out 300 in six different seasons. That’s THREE ZERO ZERO. Strikeouts. Tim Lincecum struck out 261 last year and people reacted as if he’d just penned one of the great artistic works of all time. Randy Johnson beat that total NINE times. He had the second-most strikeouts of all-time (to some Nolan Ryan character… sounds made up). He won five Cy Young Awards. The only guy to win more of those was Roger Clemens (7). Most importantly, he was the guy who you prayed your team wouldn’t face in a big playoff game (I remember going ballistic when the Indians beat him in a series-clinching ALCS game in 1995). Nearly as importantly, Randy Johnson sported a mullet for the entirety of his career, including the baby-mullet he had to wear when he went to the Yankees, who frown upon fun. Sticking it to the Yankees? Good enough for me.
I think between now and Friday I’ll make some sort of Fake Baseball Hall of Fame of the people I’d let in. That’ll be my Friday post.
That’s it for now! Take care!