Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is It Any Wonder, I Reject You First?

Last week’s Baseball Weekly included a discussion of which current players have the best chance to make the Hall of Fame after they retire. Most of it was devoted to the steroids debate (understandable). However, the folks at BW also ran an internal poll of their five writers (Paul White, Bob Nightengale, Hal Bodley, Mel Antonen, and Jorge L. Ortiz) on a bunch of active players.

The caveat on this poll: the writers vote on the players’ Hall-worthiness assuming their careers ended today.

Except for veterans at the very end of their careers, this kind of “What If?” game is fraught with peril. Who knows how the careers of the hottest young players will pan out? How can you tell that “proven” veteran well on his way to Cooperstown after nine years won’t just flame out after the tenth?

Be that as it may, these brave writers voted on several players in the twilight of their careers, players that we can reasonably start to debate their Hall merits.

Some of them are no-brainers. Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, David Wells, and Curt Schilling, to name five of them (with unanimous results for all five – the first three for, the last two against).

Ken Griffey Jr. gained a 5-0 thumbs up, as did Frank Thomas. Ditto for A-Rod and Jeter (although it might be a bit premature for that pair).

But the one vote that caught my eye was for Craig Biggio. Biggio has said he would retire at the end of the year, so we’re not jumping the gun with this discussion.

However, BW’s panel actually voted Biggio down, by a 4-1 margin.

Great googaly moogaly! I know conventional wisdom has it that the juice, smaller ballparks, and expansion have led to an erosion of milestone batting accomplishments. But 3,000 hits are still a hell of a lot of hits. Especially coming from a catcher who worked hard enough to become a solid defensive second baseman and center fielder.

I don’t understand this vote. I hope the four guys who voted no take the next five years to reconsider their position…

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