Quick Hall of Fame Thoughts
I am second to none in my approval of Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn being voted into the Hall of Fame. Heck, if possible, I would have enshrined Ripken the summer after his retirement.
Some players are terrific and deserve to be in the Hall given their accomplishments, like Gwynn.
Some transcend the game and come to represent all of baseball and Ripken did that with his record setting consecutive games streak. He also was a terrific international representative of the game who did so with dignity at a time most looked unfavorably on the players in the wake of the 1994 strike.
He wasn’t alone in bringing respect and excitement back to the game. Joining him was Mark McGwire, who bashed his way into the record books but did so in an appealing way.
His 23.5% vote yesterday showed that people put his post-game activity ahead of those accomplishments and to me, that’s wrong.
McGwire was his own worst enemy at the 2005 hearings. He knew what was expected of him when he appeared and he took a cowardly way out. On the other hand, he admitted to using Ando back when it was allowed. He’s been a lot straighter about what he’s put into his body than most players.
The Sports Writers have turned the Hall election process into a popularity contest rather than recognition of a player’s skills. Tony Gwynn was absolutely right: McGwire’s on field efforts are what matter. And on the field, he excelled. He was also a great ambassador for the game during his home run chase and how he handled breaking Maris’ record.
It’s been forgotten and it’s a shame.
I was also pleased to see how close Goose Gossage got to the Hall and have faith he’ll make it next year. David Justice in 2008? Please.