Now that we know Roy Halladay, Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina will be entering the Baseball Hall of Fame, I can give my final Hall thoughts (which are never final) and then get back to wondering why Manny Machado isn’t a Yankee yet. In no particular order:
No Bonds, no Clemens…again.
Every year I have to go through the ritual of defending Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, which isn’t something I enjoy. But the reality is Barry Bonds is one of the top 4 position players of all time – maybe the best – and Clemens is one of the best 5 pitchers of all time, and neither is in the Hall of Fame.
I’ve given my thoughts about the “PED” era and players numerous times so I’m not going to re-hash, but I’ll use Mo’s induction to remind you that no matter what you think of Bonds or Clemens, you have no idea if Mariano Rivera or Edgar Martinez played “clean”.
Edgar had his best seasons in the middle of the Selig no look era and was one of the best offensive players in baseball at age 40. Mo had his best 5 season stretch from ages 38 through 42.
To be clear, I’m not saying they were doing or using anything illicit. I’m saying you and the Hall voters don’t know that they were not, and that ignorance shouldn’t be taken out on Bonds and Clemens.
And for the record, this conversation isn’t limited to the aforementioned players. Manny Ramirez is one of the best hitters of all time and is not in the Hall. Harold Baines – who had one of his best seasons at age 40 in the PED era – is not one of the best hitters of all time and is a Hall member.
The unanimous selection of Mariano Rivera isn’t just a great thing for Mo and Yankee fans, it’s great for all level headed baseball fans, because (cue Bob Dylan) the times they are a-changin’ – for the better. Anytime we get further distance from the archaic simple-mindedness of the “not on the first ballot” non-voting philosophy, the better off we are. Of course, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Randy Johnson and dozens of other players should have had the same honor as Mariano. But given Rivera’s pitching record, performance, impact on the game and the universal respect he has among anyone even remotely involved in baseball makes him a great choice to be the first player voted in unanimously.
Bob Dylan also says…
The inductions of Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina are also huge steps in the right direction for the thinking crowd and are cause for fist bumps among many baseball fans who watched as they were criminally underrated by both the media and the fans for decades. We know more about baseball now than we did a few decades ago, and the induction of Edgar and Moose is an indication that our knowledge is being put to good use.
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