Monday, January 12, 2009

Congrats to Rice and Henderson

Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson were just elected to the Hall of Fame, so they deserve congratulations. Here are some random thoughts:

- It's a travesty that Henderson received not quite 95% of the vote. If he's not a guaranteed unanimous selection, then no one is. Those 5% of voters who didn't include Henderson should be ashamed of themselves.

- Rice was a very good player, even great for a couple of seasons. But his induction opens the floodgates for outfielders/DHs with solid but flawed credentials. I mean, how can you say yes to Rice (.298 BA, .352 OBP, .502 SLG, 128 OPS+, 382 HR) but no to these guys:

* Dale Murphy (121 OPS+, 398 HR)
* Andre Dawson (119 OPS+, 438 HR)
* Dave Parker (121 OPS+, 339 HR)
* Fred Lynn (129 OPS+, 306 HR)
* Albert Belle (143 OPS+, 381 HR)
* Dick Allen (156 OPS+, 351 HR)
* Reggie Smith (137 OPS+, 314 HR)

And when these guys come up for the honor, how can you say no:

* Andres Galarraga (118 OPS+, 399 HR)
* Ellis Burks (126 OPS+, 352 HR)
* Fred McGriff (134 OPS+, 493 HR)
* Juan Gonzalez (132 OPS+, 434 HR)

Will they all make it? No, but they all have a solid case now that that Rice is in. Of course, Hall voting is totally inconsistent and unpredictable. For borderline cases like these, it usually requires some passionate advocates in the media to beat the drums for them. Rice has the powerful Boston media behind him, so that really helped. These other guys don't seem to have the advocacy. Check out Joe Posnanski's post about Dale Murphy for his take.

- Bert Blyleven and Tommy John got screwed again this year. Blyleven still has a few years left on the writers' ballot, but now it's up to the Veterans Committee to take up John's cause. Talk about inconsistent voting patterns. If they follow their usual brilliant timing, they'll wait until after John is dead before realizing he should be inducted.

- Mark McGwire. When he retired, he was talked about as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Now he struggles to get 25% of the vote. I wonder what he has to do to rehabilitate his image. Maybe if he admits taking steroids, explains why, and starts campaigning against steroid use, that might do it. But so far, he seems content to keep quiet and let the cloud hang above him. Maybe the Hall of Fame just doesn't mean much to him, which is fine by me. But it is interesting to watch.

- Tim Raines. I loved watching him play and I hope he makes the Hall someday. He was a great player and deserves it.

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