The snooze-fest continues this off-season but the quasi big news item of the day is the Hall of Fame as ballots are being sent in for the mid-summer induction and this is a very boring class if you ask me. Yes, Raines should get in and Gossage should get in with Blyleven missing again and Trammell missing out again. However, are any of these guys players to get all that excited about? I love Raines who is Rickey Henderson-lite, which is not an insult.
Bill James said that if you cut Henderson in half, you would have two Hall of Famers and Raines is certainly worth more than half of Rickey and a welcome addition to the Hall of Fame, though he will not get in on the first ballot because you know...they have to wait for a player of his ilk since he cannot possible be a first ballot Hall of Famer. If he is a Hall of Famer, who cares? Vote the guy in.
The mild debate of the day would be whether or not Jim Rice gets in. Neyer puts together a nice piece on why he should not be voted in. It is hard to not agree with him because if you have to start pointing to unquantifiable stats as to reasons he should be inducted, he probably should not be.
Actually, I don't believe the Morris Test even applies to Rice, because I don't believe he has two prime Hall of Fame credentials. Nobody cites his 382 career homers, because 382 is paltry for a player whose best-known attribute was power. He wasn't a "dominant power hitter" (as Shaughnessy says); he did lead the American League in home runs three times, but finished in the top five in his league only twice more. Mike Schmidt led the National League in home runs eight times. That's dominant. Yes, Rice hit 46 homers in a season. This was not an exceptional figure in his time. The year before Rice hit 46, George Foster hit 52. The year after Rice hit 46, Dave Kingman hit 48. Rice never hit as many as 40 home runs in another season.
Nobody cites his other career stats, because by the standards of Hall of Fame outfielders they're nothing special.
Turns out Rice has one credential: As Shaughnessy and so many others have said over the years, he was "the most feared hitter of his day" ... but was he, really? I'm still waiting for someone, anybody.
Shaughnessy cites intentional walks: "Managers thought about intentionally walking him when he came to the plate with the bases loaded." Well, that's an interesting bit of untestable trivia, but for the moment let's ignore all those imaginary intentional walks and talk about the real ones. Because yes, a great number of intentional walks would suggest that a player really was feared.
Overall I think the Hall of Fame is watered down and many of us already do not care what happens in relation to the Hall of Fame. However, when it comes around again, I cannot help but get mildly interested and the absence of any 'wow' names is just lessening my already waning interest. This entire process would be more exciting if changes were made. Changes like getting more internet writers and stat-heads involved which would certainly add a lot more credibility to Hall of Fame by getting a fresh perspective, but we all know we are a long ways away from that.
Now the Yankees are making noise about not even parting with Hughes and you have a dried up market....not that I believe the Yankees at all, but if they truly wanted him, a deal would have been done. Rest assured Omar is still working hard at getting something done.
As for Chuck Ragan, he is from Hot Water Music and put out a folk album which is spectacular. It has a hint of old school punk which certainly gives his folk a bit more of an edge and great for children of all ages.
As for my New Year's resolution, I will no longer assume Omar knows what he is doing.