NEW YORK — Once a year during the prime of summer, fans and spectators from across the globe travel to upstate New York to witness their favorite all-time big-leaguers get enshrined and cemented into the pantheon of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Last Tuesday, Baseball Writers Association of America secretary, and Bayside, Queens resident, Jack O’Connell called former Texas Rangers third baseman Adrián Beltré, ex-Twins catcher Joe Mauer, and the greatest player in Colorado Rockies history, first baseman Todd Helton, that they were the newest inductees in the National Baseball Hall of Fame located in Cooperstown, New York.
Billy Wagner, the terrific relief pitcher who was the Mets closer from 2006 through 2009, did not get the congratulatory phone call from O’Connell, as he fell five votes short of the necessary 75% mark of the ballots cast by BBWAA members. He finished with 73.9% support. Wagner will be going into his last year of eligibility next year. It is a safe assumption he will get past the 75% threshold. BBWAA members are known for being tough, but the vast majority are not heartless.
Carlos Beltrán, the best center fielder in Mets history, and who is currently an assistant general manager with the club, continued his positive voting momentum as he garnered 57% in voting support.
Beltrán would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame by now had he not been involved with the 2017 Houston Astros signal stealing controversy. My guess is he needs to serve another two years of penance before he gets a call from Jack O’Connell.
David Wright, one of the most popular players in Mets history, received 6.3% of the vote in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot. The good news for him is he gets to remain on the ballot for another year as he surpassed the minimum 5% mark. His longtime teammate, shortstop Jose Reyes, was shut out in the voting in his first year on the ballot.
Mets fans should not get their hopes up for a Wright plaque in Cooperstown. Former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who had a longer career than Wright; was a former National League Most Valuable Player and was an integral member of the 2008 World Series-winning Phillies, did not even muster 15% support on this year’s ballot. That is a travesty.
Rollins was a player Mets fans loved to hate because he would always say how the Phillies were better than the Mets, and they would back it up on the field. Rollins could talk the talk, but he also walked the walk, meaning he always delivered the goods.
Some baseball purists were upset Todd Helton is entering Cooperstown because they believe his offensive stats were inflated because of the Denver thin air. While there is truth to that, Helton should not be punished for being a Rockies player for seventeen years.
Todd Helton’s election should help the cases of Keith Hernandez and Don Mattingly, legendary first basemen for the Mets and Yankees respectively, with the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee for reconsideration.
Former Yankees ace CC Sabathia and longtime Seattle Mariners slugger Ichiro Suzuki will make their first appearances on next year’s Hall of Fame ballot. They are both likely to be elected in 2025.
Former Phillie Rhys Hoskins signs two-year deal with Brewers
It is surprising the Mets did not make an offer to former Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins who just signed a two-year, $34 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets desperately need a designated hitter.
In addition, Hoskins is a first baseman. He can provide insurance in case Pete Alonso leaves the Mets after the 2024 season. Alonso is slated to be a free agent as the upcoming season ends.
WWE on Netflix?
In a big win for the streaming world over cable television, Netflix will be paying World Wrestling Entertainment $50 million per annum for the next ten years for the exclusive rights to “Monday Night Raw” which currently airs on the USA Network. The changeover will take place next January.
Tune in to “Keep It in the Ring” with Rich Mancuso
Fans of both wrestling and boxing are recommended to catch veteran New York sports journalist Rich Mancuso’s podcast “Keep It in the Ring.” New episodes are posted on YouTube every Thursday.
“The UnderDoggs” starring Snoop Dogg out on Prime Video
Hip-hop legend and actor Snoop Dogg is starring in a new film on Prime Video called “The UnderDoggs.” As the title indicates, this was an entertainment vehicle especially designed for him. Snoop plays a burned-out pro football coach named Jaycen Jennings who must coach a pee-wee football team as part of community service. Think of this movie as a pigskin version of “The Bad News Bears” or “The Mighty Ducks.”
“Dumb Money” now airing on Netflix
“Dumb Money,” a film about the 2021 stock market battle between hedge fund billionaires who were shorting GameStop stock, and individual video gamers who loved the company and wanted it to survive by buying up shares, had a brief theatrical run this past fall and is now airing on Netflix.
Mets CEO Steve Cohen was a confidante of Gabe Plotkin, the hedge fund guru who lost billions shorting GameStop, and is a character in the film. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Cohen warns Plotkin (portrayed by Seth Rogen in a rare straight man role for him) not to take such a risky financial position on the volatile stock. In the movie, Steve Cohen is always seen wearing a Mets baseball cap, and is followed around his Greenwich mansion by his pet pig, Romeo. I wonder what the real-life Steve Cohen thinks of his celluloid portrayal.
Remembering and Paying Tribute to Melanie Safka
Pop music lost another legend last week with the passing of Astoria native Melanie Safka, better known to everyone simply by her first name. Melanie performed at 1969’s Woodstock festival, and she always projected a hippie image with upbeat, sunny songs as “Beautiful People,” “Brand New Key,” “Peace Will Come,” and “Lay Down Candles.”
She did have a serious side as well. “What They Have Done to My Song, Ma” covered the same ground as Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” in warning of the dangers of unchecked technological progress. She was ahead of the curve on that one.
My favorite Melanie tune was “The Nickel Song,” in which she sang the lyric, “They put in a nickel, but they want a dollar song!” It reminded me of my days of working for accounting firms.
Rest in peace, Melanie.
You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.
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