With the Hall of Fame announcement just being handed down, it is now time to move on and focus on the upcoming season. Don’t misunderstand me, I look forward to the HOF announcement as much as anyone-for no other reason than it fills a void in the baseball off-season calendar. That being said, we are only about a month from P&C reporting day.
The truth is P&C’s reporting is tantamount to Kicker’s and Punter’s reporting early in the NFL. The pitcher throws 78MPH fastballs, to a catcher with the number 93 on his back for two days, and then Baseball Tonight does a live remote from Phillie’s camp for the first morning of Pitcher’s Fielding Practice. None the less, it is exciting. Certainly we wouldn’t tune into to watch Robbie Gould nail 25 yard attempts for two days, but in baseball it symbolizes a new beginning. Baseball provides the ultimate rebirth and a chance to succeed.
So even though the 2009 HOF class has been finalized, today really symbolizes the end of the 2008 season. In many ways today is about moving forward and focusing on what is about to happen. I know that’s how I look at today, and my enthusiasm for next month will only grow!
Since tomorrow is going to be the most important day in the professional lives of at least one or two people, perhaps tonight dedicating a bit of prose to the Hall of Fame ballot is in order. Certainly Rickey Henderson is going to be going in, and rightfully so (even though he has yet to actually formally retire). Those of us who read blogs-on any topic-are at least reasonably informed on the goings on in the particular area, so it is not worth any of our time to discuss him.
Going beyond the obvious though, there are certainly some interesting candidates. A number of people will make the case for Jim Rice and Andre Dawson, both of whom could hit for power and came up with timely hitting more than most. A few are going to push Tim Raines, who put together about as ood a 7 year stretch as there was during the Montreal days. And of course with relief pitchers getting in the past few years, certainly the case can be made for Lee Smith who was the best player at his position for a number of years.
I choose to take up my annual cause as well, and that is seeking to gain admission for Bert Blyleven. It seems to me, that there is way to much weight being placed on the magic number of 300 wins when a pitcher like BB is not allowed in the HOF. There are more important numbers than just wins and losses, but if we must focus on that, than make a case for 287 wins not being enough? More than just his 287 wins, BB faced more hitters than all but 12 others, had 60 shutouts-leading the league 3 times, has 242 complete games, nearly 5000 IP, and more than 3700 strikeouts. And friends if that is not enough, he was nearly perfect in 6 post-season decisions, helping win 2 World Series. I do not expect BB to get elected to the HOF, but clearly the case is worth fighting for!
Unfortunately for all those reading, this post is not quit done, as I am also going to make a case-well not make a case, but raise a valid argument-for Mark Grace. Let me be clear, Mark Grace will not be an HOF member this year, or any time soon. But if I do my math right (and by all means correct me if I didn’t) Mark Grace led the 1990’s in hits. This may not sound like much until you realize every player who has led a decade in hits, AND is eligible for the HOF, has been voted in. That doesn’t automatically qualify Grace, but it clearly is worth looking into.
<<EDITOR’S NOTE: I am tire, ergo I am skipping final proof…sorry!>>