Monday, July 18, 2011

HOF Process Of Elimination

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Now that Roger Clemens perjury trial resulted in a mistrial, does that mean this clears the way for him to make it to Baseball's Hall of Fame?

Despite his reprieve, don't look for Clemens to make any induction speeches in Cooperstown, NY. I have a feeling that the Baseball Writers will make him wait for a long time because they're convinced he used performance enhancing drugs.

But Roger, you're not alone. There are four other players listed in this story that will shake their heads every January that will say we made the millions, All-Star Teams, and compiled the numbers but in the end, won't have a reason to make the trip to Upstate New York.

Meanwhile, there are three other players that should get consideration for the Hall of Fame. Will they get in? After looking at vote totals, there numbers won't make the grade, but as this "Process Of Elimination" gets rid of the sure future Hall of Famers that the Steroid Era eliminated, the three players listed here should at least be discussed.

Starting with the Big 5, we'll move to the Unfortunate 3. Let the debate and discussion continue.

1) Sammy Sosa has 609 HR, was a seven-time All-Star, amassed 2,408 hits and had 1,667 RBI. He made the Cubs fun to watch and rescued baseball from the 1994 strike, but in the end none of that will matter.

2) Barry Bonds is the All-Time Home Run King with 762 but we all know that number deserves an asterisk. He was a 14-time All Star, who had 2,935 hits and 1,996 RBI. Justice was served to not see this Fraud reach 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBI. Bonds did have 514 stolen bases in his 22-year career. In his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates he had 251 while in his final 15 with the San Francisco Giants, Bonds swiped 263. Some things are all too obvious. In the latter part of his career, as he got bigger and slower, his power numbers increased and his speed decreased thanks to steroids.

3) Mark McGwire slammed 583 HR, was a 12-time All-Star with 1,414 RBI and 1,626 hits. Like Sosa, he rescued baseball from the 1994 strike when both were in their season long home run chase to pass Roger Maris 61. But in the end, that chase amounts to nothing in the history books because of steroids. Yet, his long bombs were fun to watch and the St. Louis Cardinals made extra money off of him at the concession and souvenir stands as fans went to games early to watch him hit his long home runs during batting practice.

4) Rafael Palmeiro appears to be the only player in the 3,000 hit club that won't make it to the Hall of Fame. He hit 569 HR, was a four-time All-Star with 3,020 hits and 1,835 RBI.

5) Roger Clemens will go down as the best modern day pitcher that I've ever seen and now he's added a new word to my vocabulary and that's "Misremembers." Despite his mistrial, it won't won't matter for a long while. I doubt the Baseball Writers will recognize his 354-184 record with a 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts, six Cy Young Awards and being an 11-time All-Star.

Baseball is a game of numbers and while the late Kirby Puckett didn't have Hall of Fame Numbers, the Baseball Writers loved him enough to vote him on the first ballot in 2001. He spent his entire 12-year career with the Minnesota Twins leading them to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.  He had a lifetime batting average of .318, 207 HR was a 10-time All-Star, amassed 2,304 hits and 1,085 RBI.

These next three players compare to Puckett in numbers and why they're not in the Hall of Fame is anyone's guess. By eliminating five, hopefully these three will get closer to Cooperstown, NY.

1) Fred McGriff fell short of the 500 HR Club with 493 but he was a five-time All-Star, compiled 2,490 hits and 1,550 RBI.

2) Don Mattingly played his entire career for the New York Yankees from 1982-1995. He played in the postseason once in his 14-year career in his final season. Despite playing in only five playoff games, Mattingly was a lifetime .307 hitter and hit over .300 in seven years. Mattingly amassed 222 HR, was a six-time All-Star, compiled 2,153 hits, with 1,099 RBI.

There is no better way to talk about tough luck except when you compare Mattingly and future Hall of Famer and current Yankees legend Derek Jeter. In his only playoff appearance in 1995, a series which the Yankees lost 3-2 to the Seattle Mariners, Mattingly hit .417 in five games and had 10 hits which included one home run in 24 at bats plus one walk.

This was Jeter's rookie season and he would go on to win five World Series titles and make it to the 3,000 hit club. Five World Series titles compared to five playoff games. Go figure. Whether Mattingly reaches the Baseball Hall of Fame remains to be seen, but having his number retired with the Yankees and being in "Monument Park" is a good consolation prize.

3) Alan Trammell played all 20-years with the Detroit Tigers and his Hall of Fame Vote totals continue to increase slightly. In 2010 he was at 22.4 % while in 2011 he reached 24.3%. His numbers compare to Puckett's. He won a World Series in 1984 for a Tigers team that started 35-5 and defeated the San Diego Padres in the "Fall Classic." Trammell hit .285 with 185 HR, 2,365 hits, 1003 RBI and was a six-time All-Star playing a demanding shortstop position.

This year, justice will be served now that former Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven will finally be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He earned 79.7% of the vote in his 14th year of eligibility.

Time will tell if the "Process of Elimination" of these mega superstars paves the way for McGriff, Mattingly and Trammell. But these guys deserve to be in the Hall of Fame! Now the only question is, will justice ever be served in all three cases? I hope so!

They made their contributions to the game and they did it very clean without the help of performance enhancing drugs. That speaks volumes in itself.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

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