2008 Baseball Hall of Fame Post
Goose Gossage: Makes the Hall in his ninth year of eligibility. A fine player; the standards for relief pitchers are still in flux.
Jim Rice: Misses and has just one more chance before going into the veterans' pool. Clearly one of the great sluggers of his era, and one of the rare players from the 1970s who combined power with batting average. Bill James coined the term "Hall of Fame Season" for sluggers who hit 30 homers, batted .300 and knocked in 100 runs. Although these years are commonplace in today's game, they were rare a generation ago. Rice compiled Hall of Fame seasons in 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1983. He should get in next year.
Andre Dawson: A tougher case. Dawson had some great years, but never anything quite like the peaks that Rice had, although he had a much longer career.
Bert Blyleven: Should probably go; 287 wins is pretty compelling. On the other hand, he was only 37 games above .500, only pitched in two all-star games, and never won a Cy Young award.
Lee Smith: As I said earlier, the standards for relief pitchers are still in flux. Fine player, probably should go.
Jack Morris: The premiere starting pitcher of the 1980s, and a much better player than Blyleven, Morris was the ace pitcher on three World Series championship teams. Something of a hothead, which may be what's hurting him with the writers, but his performance in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, a 10-inning shutout, should get him over the hump eventually.
Tommy John: Had his big years in New York and Los Angeles, which should help. His career was long and productive, but not very unique. None of the top ten most similar pitchers is in the Hall of Fame (although John Smoltz may go eventually), and the list is littered with names like Ron Reed, Larry Jackson, Guy Bush and Mike McCormick. Solid ballplayers to be sure, but nobody's idea of a Hall of Famer.
Tim Raines: Terrific lead-off man, a unique and valuable player. He was injured a lot and didn't have any power, so his career high in RBI is only 71. Played on a couple of championship teams for the Yankees late in his career. Very much a borderline candidate.
Mark McGwire: Would be in easily if not for the steroids issue. I'm surprised he didn't pick up any votes in 2008, compared to 2007. I would not vote for him, and I'm now of the opinion that he probably won't make it.
Alan Trammell: One of the finest hitting shortstops to play the game when he retired, Trammell has been hurt by the emergence of the slugging shortstops of the current generation (A-Rod, Jeter, Tejada, etc.). Both Trammell and his double-play partner Lou Whitaker (who washed out in his first chance on the ballot) should go, but they may have to wait for the Veteran's Committee.
Don Mattingly: His seasons from 1984-1987 scream Hall of Famer, but he had a short career, and 222 homers.
Dave Parker: His lost weekend from 1979-84 is what's keeping him out. If you fill in those years with 30 homers, 100 RBI and .300 (seasons that Parker was capable of achieving), he'd be in.
Labels: Baseball, Hall of Fame