A Reasonably Crazy Take On the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

Baseball-Hall-of-Fame-imageThe 2014 Hall of Fame inductees were announced yesterday. Once again Mike Piazza was not elected. We addressed Piazza when he was left off the ballot last year, I can’t think of anything else to say on him. However, unlike the 2013 total snub, three players were elected yesterday, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine. Others can feel free to cheer that, but for me personally I can’t think of a less inspiring group of candidates. When the induction ceremony begins I don’t know where I will be, but it sure won’t be Cooperstown.

Logically I have no reason to have any problem with Frank Thomas. And mostly I am over Frank ThomasFrank. But anyone who knew me when Thomas played knows that I found him frustrating. The production numbers are all there for us to see, Frank Thomas is a Hall of Fame hitter. But when I watched him all I could focus on was this mammoth man taking 3-1 fastballs down the middle. It drove me nuts. People then would tell me that this is why he was great, which made me even crazier. As a stubborn guy, I still submit that it was because he was a great hitter, who could turn around and clobber a tougher pitch at 3-2. A rare talent. And as evidence I submit Lucas Duda, our current mammoth man who apes Frank’s style. That style is not leading to the Hall of Fame for Lucas. But overall, yes I know, I’m being dumb about Frank, even I have grown some over twenty years. Now take your bow and go away.

Maddux, of course is certainly a Hall of Famer by any standards. I’m not arguing that at all. And of these three candidates I respected him the most. But this guy played for the Braves, and the Braves stood in the way and blocked some very good Mets fans of the chance to be very special. Considering how good those Mets teams were that creates vivid memories of the Braves. They are not good ones, and I never relish any reminders.

But what makes this ceremony unbearable is Tom Glavine. A guy who gets in because all the years he pitched for the Braves he threw the ball in the dugout and umpires called it a strike. Then, he signed with the Mets, the National League instituted a system called QuesTec to keep the umpires honest and Glavine had to throw his pitches in the vicinity of the batters. From that day on Glavine went from a “great” pitcher to a good one. So when it comes to Tom Glavine I don’t get it. If PED users can’t get in to the Hall of Fame, or Pete Rose, I don’t know why we are honoring a player who benefited from a dishonest strike zone.

Tom Glavine, ugh. He signs with the Mets for big money and then spends the entire time making it painfully obvious he did it as some type of tour of duty. Ugh. All that time pining away for his old friends with his precious Braves. Tom Glavine was Richie Hebner with more talent. I’m not interested in celebrating that. Tom Glavine? I was sitting there at Shea on September 30, 2007. If any Mets fan wants to forgive and forget with Glavine, they are a better man than I am. Tom Glavine in the Hall of Fame. Ugh. Who is next, Roberto Alomar? Wait, what?

Roberto+Alomar+National+Baseball+Hall+Fame+4eMamOKClfsl

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. If anyone wants an intelligent logical post about these inductees they have come to the wrong place. Being a fan includes an emotional component and this year’s inductees strike a nerve with me.

The best thing about it for me is it means I haven’t had to watch any of them for five years. Good riddance.

 

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12 comments

  1. RAFF says:

    Truly one of the finest “Passed Over & Pissed Off” missives I have ever read! ;-)

  2. Michael Geus says:

    One bright side of Piazza not getting in this year is with Maddux, Glavine and Cox going in together the entire weekend is going to be a Braves lovefest.

    Mike deserves his own time in the sun. Let Frank Thomas be the 2014 afterthought.

    See, I can always find that silver lining.

  3. Crusty the clown says:

    Ah!

    Happy new year, old thing! I just had to check in to see how you were dealing with the induction of FrankThomas into the Hall. Not that I find his entry so distasteful meself, but your stance on the Big Statue over the years was pretty generally known, as you mentioned. As such I admire your fortitude or something, for muting your response.

    Regarding Mike Piazza’s not making the Hall, I console myself with the thought that an organization that continually degrades it’s standards will eventually become irrelevant or worse; examples like IBM, which used to own the computer industry, the US auto industry in the 1960’s and 1970’s, or the US dollar today, spring to mind. The erosion rate for awards and the awarding bodies is probably less certain, but the public having to endure enough of incidents like the Hall waiving the five year waiting period so that Tommy Lasorda won’t throw a hissy fit when the Dodgers decide to move on without him, will not exactly strengthen the structure. This most recent voting outcome will only hasten the process. I mean, I know at this point that I do not care one whit who might win the next Nobel Peace Prize.

    I believe the Hall of Fame’s failure to honor so many great players this time around degrades the Hall. In fact I think they should rename the joint to the Hall of Murray Chass and be done with it. Think it’ll draw a crowd then?

    • Michael Geus says:

      I just heard an interview on the radio with Valentine, he sounded as impressed with year’s crop as me. He also spoke for some time about Glavines preferential treatment on balls and strikes.

      That can be my comfort, I guess, that I am equally crazy to Bobby V.

      Ha.

  4. Eric says:

    Every day that Mike Piazza Spent in the Major Leagues, you looked at him on the Field and Thought, “FIRST BALLOT HALL OF FAMER”.

    It started with the Dodgers, as in “Some Day, THAT GUY will be a First Ballot Hall of Famer”…… and it continued to the point in history when you would declare it as a Matter of FACT.

    I would Choose Johnny Bench as the Greatest Catcher I’ve seen— he may be the best Player I’ve seen. If we were choosing sides and it came to my choice of a Catcher, Piazza would be my choice. I didn’t see Campy, Yogi or Dickey…. Piazza’s one of the top 5 Catchers of all time…. no apologies to Mssr’.s Carter, Pudge, etc….and THEY need not hang their heads.

    The HOF Writers/Voters—They SHOULD hang their heads.

  5. Eric says:

    above…small point— Piazza would be my choice if Bench was already chosen

  6. Dave says:

    This is the problem with the PED era…Until 1990, there were clear, objective standards and a few “magic numbers”. 3000 hits, 300 wins, 400 HRs (unless your name was Dave Kingman) you were a hall of famer. Some voters were hard graders, some easy, but there was a general consensus about who should be in. The HOF was a meritocracy.

    Now we (and the voters) assess HOF candidates in a subjective fog, where whispers/speculation can ruin a great player’s reputation. For the time being, it appears rumor alone will keep deserving players like Piazza and Bagwell out. In a few years, “rumor only” guys will probably get in the HOF, but other statistically worthy players will not (admitted users, positive testers, sworn witness testimony against them, etc.). The whole thing is frustrating and depressing.

  7. Alan K. says:

    It’s frustrating because of all the hypocrisy. Selig, the owners, the union and the media all looked the other way in the late 1990’s because it was benefitting all of them in different ways. It took Jose Canseco and Congress to get everyone’s attention. The same writers who looked the other way in 1998 are now the pious judges protecting baseball’s integrity.This is not only unfair to Piazza and Bagwell, but also Bonds and Clemens who clearly had HOF worthy numbers long before they started using.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      Logically, you are correct and the writers seem to want to know wash their conscience by way of revising their role.

      I think for Bonds, most writers want simply and admission and then maybe they get over it for him, because I certainly think 75% can look and see that there was very little be suspicious about prior to the year 2000.

      I think you can see the same lines for most of these guys. I heard Colin Cowherd yesterday opine for about the thousandth time that you can’t, but frankly that simply is not believable to me.

      Sammy Sosa, it is freaking obvious when that began. A couple of guys leave harder trails, like ARod.

      I don’t buy into the line that it shouldn’t matter at all though and it should simply be bygones are bygones.

      Which is why parsing through this stuff is going to continue to be challenging.

      I used to buy into the notion that steroids didn’t make Barry Bonds a great hitter, but it is more complicated than that. Certainly in his mid to late 30s it did. At a time when your body, muscles, eyes as an athlete begin to turn on you, he most certainly got better.

      The gauge of the lift is what terrified me about the notion of going after a Ryan Braun. Just how much of his ability came from a lab? Is he going to go drop to a low .800s OPS guy without the juice, or is was it really just a small crutch for him. Only time with tell. But when you look at a guy like Sosa, it is frightening. He went from above average, to all world.

  8. RAFF says:

    I think what has to happen is that the BBWA adopt a “standard” that just judges the players on merit, regardless of the suspicion, innuendo, and even well correlated “circumstantial” PED cases. Additionally, I would hope that they invoke their right to convey HOF merit to players who have historically “HOF correct” statistics- Those players who they think are “clean” who may not have the elevated stats of their PED era contemporaries, but whose Stats represent historically “correct” HOF numbers. Otherwise, we’re left with a decade or more of injustice to the fans, the game, and the great players who play it.

  9. Raff says:

    Further- this whole thing is compounded by the whole fact that there is a large and growing “Cottage Industry” amongst BBWA voters of submitting “weird” ballots. A sort of Can You Top this mentality. There’s always been a small fringe of rebellious writers, mostly those who may have held a grudge against a certain player, who routinely left the object of their scorn off their ballot- otherwise, how do you explain anyone with even a scintilla of baseball sense NOT voting for a Seaver, Mays, Maddux etc.? And from time to time Writers wote for a Personal “fave: just to keep his percentage in the range to qualify for future inclusion on the ballot. But now- this has grown exponentially- It’s like the writers think THEY’RE THE GAME- They’re the “stars”- and they gain instant notoriety by submitting provocative ballots consisting of a single player (such as a ballot containing ONLY Jack Morris, or Hideo Nomo), or completely EMPTY ballots.

  10. […] Also, I did think he was pretty good to begin with. I guess I didn’t want to paint Lucas with my old Frank Thomas brush and assume he needed to be an aggressive hitter just because he was a big guy. In my own way, I was […]

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