Los Angeles, California– Every year as spring training approaches, the voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), for induction into the Hall of Fame (HOF), in Cooperstown, NY takes place. For a number of years now, we have seen really, really good baseball players be enshrined into this home to the greatest who ever played the game.
The HOF is a place for us to revisit their greatness by seeing the amazing artifacts on display throughout the museum in that sleepy town in upstate New York. It has always been one of my favorite trips.
Here is my problem. We go there to see the names of great ballplayers, not really, really good ones. The other thing is, why are there 10 years of eligibility for voting a player in? What changes in a player’s stats or ability in those 10 years that makes him better and therefore voted in?
It is impossible to compare stats from players who were elected just 20 years ago to today’s players. 300 wins and complete games pitched, are no longer a judging point for pitchers who will be up for the HOF anymore. There are great pitchers out there who will never get to 300 wins, who are nearing retirement, such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Adam Wainwright.
All three will be sure shot Hall of Famers. None of them will end up with 300 wins. Scherzer does have 3,193 strikeouts, 204 wins, and 12 complete games pitched in 14 years. Verlander has 3198 strikeouts, 244 wins, and 26 complete games pitched in 17 years.
Both have two more years to play with the Mets, so those numbers will grow. That is greatness without 300 wins.
There are some years where there just aren’t enough great players up for election. We have seen that a number of times where no one is elected and that is okay. Yet we have also seen where great players have had to wait far too long to be recognized.
Case in point, Gil Hodges, inducted last year after 52 years of waiting by his family, and Fred McGriff this year, having to wait 23 years.
That being said, this whole process every year emphasizes how amazingly interesting this game of baseball is. It isn’t perfect. To me it is perfectly imperfect. We can agree to disagree on so many things in this game.
From a close play at second base to who is worthy of entering the HOF, and that is all free for the asking. We don’t have to buy a ticket to have these discussions, just a love for the game.
Congratulations to Scott Rolen: 17 years with a BA .281/HR 316/2,077 Hits. The latest HOF inductee. Really, really good player.
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