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!