The 2019 Hall of Famers

I was overjoyed, but not surprised, yesterday when Roy Halladay was honored by Major League Baseball and its writers, winning induction into the Hall of Fame on his first try. Presumably, the late great “Doc” will be the second player to go into Cooperstown representing the Blue Jays. I say congrats to him, and of course, his wife Brandy and his sons, seeing the love and respect their husband/father commanded in the sport.

Congratulations as well to the other trio announced as being Hall of Famers yesterday – Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez. All rightful recipients.

I made the numeric case for Halladay’s induction here before (here’s yet one more bit of trivia to back his status as a Hall of Famer: since 2009, Roy leads MLB in complete games.Yeah, the deceased guy who hasn’t pitched since 2013has tossed more CGs over the past ten years than guys who have been at it through the whole period!). Rivera is a no-brainer; the best “closer” in baseball history who somehow got better when the pressure was on in the post season. Mussina is overdue, with 270 career wins, 5 All Star Games, over 3500 innings pitched and a remarkable 17 straight years after his rookie campaign, of winning double-digits. That’s consistency! Often overlooked with “Moose”too, his 7 Gold Gloves. Having him out on the mound was almost like adding a defensive infielder.

I’m glad Martinez made it in, but a little surprised. The knock on him had always been he was mostly only a designated hitter. True he didn’t add much “D” to his team but his hitting…. in another class. .312 career average, 309 HR, .418 career OBP, two batting titles, 7 time All Star, 6 100+ RBI years (including a league high 145 in 2000). Martinez wasn’t the flashiest hitter of the ’90s and early-’00s, but he might have been the best one in the AL at least. Or at least the best one not tainted by PEDS.

So the questions left behind are interesting. Will Mussina go in as an Oriole or a Yankee? He had great runs with both, and I have to admit when I hear his name I instantly think “New York.” But he did 10 years in Baltimore to 8 in NY; won more games with the O’s (147) than Yanks (123) and most surprising, was never an All Star with New York. He should have an orange bird on his Cooperstown plaque.

The other big question is will next year’s prime inductee candidate, Derek Jeter, be unanimous? His teammate, Mariano Rivera just made history by being the first unanimous selection. This was a surprise to me. No argument whatsoever that he should have been in there unanimously, but I’m surprised since nobody else had ever floated in that easily. I expected, somewhere some writer would leave him off the ballot because either A) they were a diehard and dumb Red Sox fan and vowed never to vote for an enemy operative, or B) they were tyring to make a point that he was good but not that good. I’m glad I was wrong, and expect Jeter will follow in his footsteps next winter.

Which leads to one final question: what the hell were the writers who didn’t vote for Babe Ruth back in the day thinking? Mr. Baseball. Career 162 WAR. 714 home runs, a record that would hold for some 40+ seasons. .690 slugging percentage … can you name a player playing now who had a .690 for one year… let alone a whole career. And then there was that 94-46 record with a 2.28 ERA as a pitcher on top of that. Yet somehow, only 95% of voters picked him in the 1936 ballot! He wasn’t even the leading vote-getter that year. Bottom line – players might not be getting better these days in baseball, but the credited writers certainly are!

9 comments

  1. badfinger20

    I’m happy that Mike Mussina finally got in. I think he deserved in earlier he went out on top also.
    I never understood …oh he is not a first round Hall of Famer??? I mean what difference does it make first or tenth try? If you are a Hall of Famer…you are one. This is where the unanimous comes in. Some writers would wait until their third time to vote for someone so it would not be unanimous… You are right…what about Hank or Willie Mays? How do you not vote for them?
    I have no problem this year with the inductees. They all deserve it. I think Roy getting in helped Mike.

    • Dave

      Me too. With a few possible odd exceptions (the ones where a writer overlooks a player and the next year the player or his agent do a big PR campaign which helps him be seen in a different light), I think a player is a Hall of Famer or isn’t. there isn’t a hierarchy at Cooperstown where you enter and see giant statues of the “frist rounders” , then go to a “Second year” room and end up in the basement with little baseball cards glued to the wall of those who made it in on their final ballot.

      • badfinger20

        “basement with little baseball cards glued to the wall of those who made it in on their final ballot.” thats classic…
        I think Pete Rose would take that!

      • Dave

        LOL, probably so. Rose, there’s a topic in its own right… I think he should weigh on the minds of the voters looking at Bonds, Canseco, Manny Ramirez etc down the road

      • badfinger20

        With Rose… I see both sides but… ban him from mlb alright… I get it but the HoF is not MLB…. same with Shoeless Joe for that matter.
        The steroids stuff I go back and forth because it affected field play and with Roses problem it didn’t… but I think in time Bonds and company will be in because… who did and who didn’t?

      • Dave

        You may be right. I can see both sides. On one hand, they flagrantly broke rules. On other hand, MLB chose to look away for years. A lot were guilty but Bonds, Ramirez, A-rod were clearly great players. Clemens, extraordinary. No way do I believe he didn’ t use steroids, but real proof is lacking so the ornery cuss should be in. Cooperstown.

      • badfinger20

        You know what is sad Dave? They didn’t need to take them. A middle minor league infielder…ok I see that…but when you are great and still take them…that is greed.

      • Dave

        Yep. I wonder what kind of career A-Rod would have had without them (or any of the others for that matter)? He and Manny Ramirez were flat out the two best hitters I ever saw over an extended period (Bonds probably would be too but I seldom saw SF games) … I think both would have been hall of fame calibers without any enhancement

      • badfinger20

        All of them would have made it. Bonds was being called the best of his gneration before the mutation begun.
        Bonds would not have hit 700 homeruns…my guess would have put him in the high 500s and he possibly could have hung around being a DH and made 600.
        You are right Manny and A-Rod were two of the best right handed hitters I’ve seen.

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