Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cooperstown Class of 2010

For the second year in a row, a very borderline candidate was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's not that I think that Jim Rice and Andre Dawson are completely undeserving, but I just feel that both of them fall a little short of Hall of Fame status. However, this post isn't going to be about making a case for or against any particular candidates. Instead, I'm just going to share how I feel about this year's inductees, as well as a few who came up short.

Andre Dawson
Like I said, I wouldn't have voted for him, but Hawk had some great years, and he seems to be a class act. So, as a huge fan of the Hall of Fame, I'll welcome him with open arms.

Whitey Herzog
Herzog is one of those managers who, when I recalled his career, it seemed hard to believe that he took almost twice as long as Earl Weaver to get elected. But, then I looked at his credentials, which included a .532 career winning percentage (1281-1125) and only one World Series title in 18 years, and I understood why.

Doug Harvey
I met Harvey in 1994, less than two years after he retired, when he paid a visit to my class at Brinkman/Froemming Umpire School. I was lucky enough to get him to sign an official National League baseball, which I still have. Since I have no idea what I did with the piece of paper I got Dave Winfield to sign when I ran into him in a Fort Myers restaurant in the spring of 1993, this makes Harvey's the only Hall of Famer's autograph I possess.

Roberto Alomar
Alomar fell just short in his first year on the ballot, so he'll almost definitely get in next year. Although his career flamed out early, he is undoubtedly a deserving Hall of Famer. I wonder how much the John Hirschbeck incident was held against him by the voters? Regardless, it's not going to prevent him from getting in, likely sooner rather than later.

Bert Blyleven
A huge jump in support—from 62.7% last year to 74.2% this year—has Blyleven on the verge of election. Next year appears to be a good bet. I'm pulling for him, although I'll admit that it's taken me a little while to be convinced of his candidacy. He started 685 games and finished 242, an astounding 35% of them, and is 9th all-time in shutouts. Among the top 20 in the latter category, he's the only non-Hall of Famer.

Barry Larkin
I'm really surprised and disappointed that Larkin barely received 50% of the vote in his first year on the ballot. I didn't necessarily expect him to be a first-ballot inductee, but I really don't understand why not.

Tim Raines
I've already made it pretty clear in this blog as to how I feel about the Hall of Fame credentials of Raines. His support increased from 22.6% to 30.4% this year, in his third year of eligibility, so he still has a long way to go. But, that's a big jump, so maybe there's hope for him after all. Andre Dawson and Jim Rice could certainly preach to him the importance of remaining patient.


  1. Next year's new choices are McGwire, Rafe Plmeiro and Larry Walker. I think Alomar and Blyleven get in next year.

  2. McGwire's been on the ballot for four years now, and is yet to receive even 25% of the vote. So, Palmeiro will probably suffer the same fate.

    Jeff Bagwell is the best new candidate next year. He'll probably get the Alomar treatment and be forced to wait until his second or third year to get elected.

    So, I think you're right, Johngy, that Alomar and Blyleven will get in next year, and probably be the only players the writers elect.