The Class of 2017: Some Thoughts

So we now know who is and who isn’t in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Here’s a few notes on the results. As usual, in honor of a nine inning game, there are nine of them.

1. Congratulations to all five winners. My list might have been different, but this is a solid slate of inductees.

2. I feel a little sorry for both Trevor Hoffman and Vlad Guerrero. Both managed to pick up 70% plus in the voting (Hoffman missed the class by four votes) but failed election. It must be tough to get that close and not make it. But it bodes well for both next year.

3. The steroid boys ended up a mixed bag. Both Clemens and Bonds are rising. Neither Sheffield nor Sosa are doing well. Ramirez did not debut particularly high (apparently “Manny being Manny” wasn’t a big enough draw). It seems that the writers still haven’t made up their mind about the issue, although it’s possible that the pre-steroid careers of Clemens and Bonds have more weight than do the pre-steroid careers of the others. All this mimics “conventional wisdom” about if and when the five of them started using the stuff, not my own opinion (which is strictly my own).

4. I’m surprised Jorge Posada dropped off the list after one vote. He was, after all, part of the “Core Four,” the greatest single combination of baseball talent together on one field since Abner Doubleday (or maybe not). Seriously, I thought he’d do better because of the positive press he and his team had gotten over the years. He was an important member of the multi-pennant winning team that played in New York and that got him a lot of recognition. I never expected he’d make a run on the first ballot, but I didn’t expect him to fall off entirely. Shows what I know.

5. There are a lot of allegations about PED use by Ivan Rodriguez. His election, along with Bud Selig’s, now makes it easier for others to reach Cooperstown. Again, I make no comment on whether the allegations are true.

6. They tell me that the openness of the balloting this year, and the publishing of the complete balloting next year is changing the vote. OK, maybe. But I see no actual proof of that. It’s possible that removing the “dead weight” after last year’s voting may be making more changes than the new “openness.” We’ll see in a year or so.

7. Edgar Martinez made a big move. Hooray. Come on, people, DH is a position like first base is a position. So they’re played differently. First base and second base are played differently. So are second and shortstop.¬†At some point baseball is going to have to deal with the DH being a position that is no longer merely the refuge of old guys who can’t run the bases anymore. The Hall came close with Paul Molitor, so now it’s time to deal with it with Martinez.

8. Mike Mussina is doing better. Curt Shilling isn’t. I have no idea how much Shilling’s politics is involved in that trend. It shouldn’t be at all.

9. It seems the gap between traditional stats and the newer ones is narrowing when it comes to election to the Hall of Fame. I have no idea it that’s good, bad, or indifferent.


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4 Responses to “The Class of 2017: Some Thoughts”

  1. Miller Says:

    Wise thoughts as always. A few of my own:

    4. Bernie dropped off too. I like Posada a shade better, but this crowded ballot, where he might have been 15th best (if you don’t like closers), doomed him.

    7. Absolutely agreed on Edgar. Yes, DH is a position. It’s in the rule book. It’s been a position for over 40 years. I think it was Tom Verducci talked about not electing players who sit on their butts for half the game. I guess that would explain why AL pitchers who do just that 20% of the time and do nothing the other 80% of the time are having trouble getting elected.

    On a related note, closer is a role, not a position.

    8. While I don’t know how much Schilling’s political views play a role, we know they do to a degree. Writers admit it. Whether you agree or disagree with Schilling, I agree with you; there’s no way his thought processes should have any impact on how we view his playing career.

    Thanks again! Great stuff!

    • verdun2 Says:

      The way it’s used, I see how closer can be looked at as a position (just difference in semantics, I think). Hopefully the 2016 World Series will change that. I saw the Page, Face, Fingers, Gossage type as more role than position. You’re right about Bernie Williams falling off quickly (second time, maybe?). I’d forgotten. Looks like it will be viewed as Torre, Rivera, and Jeter’s team. And excellent point about AL pitchers.

  2. wkkortas Says:

    I think some members of the BBWAA are using the “character clause” as an excuse to exercise a dislike of Schilling.

    /takes a moment to climb upon soapbox

    My view is this as far as the steroid/character thing goes, as those notions seem to be more intertwined with each ballot–did the player’s action cause harm to the game itself. In the case of Bonds, Clemens et al, I think the answer is “Yes, considerably.” If I had a ballot, Bonds and Clemens and Ramirez do not get my vote. As for Schilling, while he is a jackwad of the highest order, his idiocy has been a) post-career and b) damaging to himself but not the game. Those writers who are using their votes to punish Schilling for his political and social views are misusing their privilege.

    • Miller Says:

      “Those writers who are using their votes to punish Schilling for his political and social views are misusing their privilege.”

      Perfectly stated, in my opinion.

      I’m a Bonds, etc. supporter and a Schilling super-critic, but the non-votes of some writers are a ridiculous bastardization of the character clause.

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