Dear Baseball Writers!
Recently, something profound happened in the world of baseball. The baseball writers association of America voted no one into the Hall of Fame this year. It seems even the pure of heart and natural strength of the likes of Craig Biggio and Jack Morris could not even crack their obnoxious unwritten code of worthiness.
The big elephant in the room is the pesky steroid issue. Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose is also always brought up around this time of year. Then, the issue of moral pride seeps into the longwinded conversation. To that I say simply one word, “seriously?” If you look to athletes for moral support and guidance, you are going to be, for the most part extremely let down. There are some good guys and they are celebrated for their morality (Tim Tebow.) I am a monstrous sports fan, but I know and understand the sacrifices that many athletes make to reach the top. Families are broken and burdens are far from few. Athletes are going to handle this differently depending their background and the determination they use outside of their sporting life. Sports are no different than corporate Americana. The so-called “corporate ladder” is full of creeps and cretins who have stepped on the hearts of colleagues and split up their own families in search of power.
Now let’s talk about steroids. Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens are the names most affiliated with the steroid era because of their historical statistical significance. The vast problem ran extremely rabid during the late 90’s all the way into 2007 when the Mitchell report was thrown in our faces. Hence, the MLB crackdown. The thing to remember about steroids is it appears that 3/4 of baseball was injecting. Pitchers to big/pigheaded outfielders were on the juice. So what? Does it matter that much if everyone was using? The numbers historically speaking took a hit, yes. However, numbers/records are made to be broken. I hate to use clichés, but seriously folks, don’t be so surprised. I don’t like Bonds either, but if he is elected to the Hall of Fame will all the milk in the world spoil? Baseball blackballed him when he last became a free agent, so his peers have spoken. NFL players live their post playing career lives in constant pain. What is Bonds going to look like in another ten years off the juice? He will probably have a shrunken head and wrinkles abound. That is his choice, and his sacrifice to be the best.
If you want to think that Hank Aaron is the homer king, then think that nobody can tell you your opinion is wrong. If you think that bigot, and all around terrible human being, Ty Cobb (who was one the first Hall of Famers elected), should not yield his hits record to Pete Rose, okay?
It has been said that the McGwire/Sosa homer derby that was the 1998 season revived baseball post Expo killing strike. You know what it did. You know you watched it and you even teared up when McGwire hit number 62. Finally, you shook your head when number 70 sailed into the bleachers as if that record would was going to last for 50 years.
I mentioned earlier, very briefly, the names Craig Biggio and Jack Morris. Those two are the real snubs in my eyes. The great Bill James touts Biggio has a little stats juggernaut. Mainly because in 1997 Biggio was hit by 34 pitches. That same year he also did not ground into a double play. Lost in the juicer were the 3,060 hits that Biggio amassed. Only 28 Major Leaguers have ever reached the 3,000 hits plateau. He also swiped 414, bags and scored 1,844 runs (14th all time.) Craig is also fifth all time in doubles with 668, that’s three more then George Brett. Biggio was good a clean guy. He started and thrived at three different positions in the field. He was a team player with a motor that was always idling.
Jack Morris pitched arguably the best World Series performance ever in 1991. It was game seven, and he tossed 10 innings of shutout baseball. If one game alone can automatically punch a ticket to Cooperstown, that has to be it. Morris did win 254 games, and he holds a career ERA of 3.90. He also struck out 2,478 batters: is that good enough? Oh yeah, I don’t have a vote.
Other notables include Fred “long arms” McGriff, Don Mattingly, Jeff Bagwell, Tim “Rock” Raines, Lee Smith, Curt Schilling and Mike Piazza. Bernie Williams has also now been rendered ineligible since he garnered less than five percent of the vote. Dale Murphy is also now ineligible because his 15-year window has passed. I guess, in my mind these players listed in this paragraph are all Hall of Famers. McGriff has 493 careers bombs 1,550 RBI’s and 2,490 hits. He has 100 more RBI’s than Mark McGwire and his career batting average is higher .284 compared to .263 for McGwire.
Lee Smith retired as the all time save leader but he might be a victim of circumstance since his career started in 1980 eleven years after the save was made an official stat.
Mattingly’s career batting average of .307 and 2,153 hits always seemed worthy to me. Although, his numbers are very similar to Dale Murphy’s totals. Murphy did many more homers (398) compared to “Donnie Baseball’s” 222 career jacks. The other big difference is Murphy’s career batting average of .263. They both finished with a respectable OPS: Murphy’s (.815) and Mattingly’s (.830). The rest of the stats are drastically similar; that’s why I believe Mattingly who only has two years left to get in enshrined will probably not.
Jack Morris has one year left and this was Craig Biggio’s first year, so he has 14 more to go. I hope Biggio remembers that it took Joe DiMaggio three years to get in.
- MLB’s Big Post Steroid Problem (koppettstown.com)
Categories: FOR THE FUN OF IT!