The exclusivity of the National Baseball Hall of Fame is what makes it great, but at times can be one of its worst qualities.
I love that the baseball HOF actually matters. It means something to get elected. It's Cooperstown. Maaaybe Canton has an argument for name recognition? But it's sure as shit beats basketball the whore of HOFs in everything. For a long time there were certain milestones in a career that were considered tickets to the Hall of Fame; 3,000 hits, or 500 HRs for hitters. 300 wins, 3000 strikeouts for pitchers. Modern baseball changed that, now it's a WAR above 65 or leading the league in strikeouts as a batter.
The stuffy, self-righteous attitude of "old-baseball" has been beaten to death, but man is it true here because there are so many stupid rules that ruin the Hall's legitimacy in my eyes. You cannot exclude the fucking Hit King, or Shoeless Joe. I'm sorry, not to go full Peter King, but their actions don't even come close to Darren Shaper!! The Steroid Era definitely had it's negative consequences, but there are players of that era who are HOFers in any era. To completely turn a blind eye to a generation of players that saved baseball just rubs me the wrong way. If you want to have some sort of asterisk, or mention of allegations on the plaque I'll have the conversation. Clemens and Bonds have to be in IMO.
Luckily, baseball knows and appreciates how time changes the way people are remembered. With an analytical eye guys like Alan Trammell are more appreciated. That is what is great about this vote. With ≥ 12 of 16 these men can right the wrongs of baseball writers past. The 2020 Modern Baseball Era includes greats of the 70's and 80's like Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey and the late Thurman Munson.
This is essentially me paraphrasing Wikipedia, but in 2016 the Veterans Committee changed the way they elect members. Instead of the Veterans Committee elect-ees tending to be guys who played, managed, or executed (lol) in an era where players needed second jobs and those jobs were things like cobblers, chimney sweeps and HR at Ellis Island. This change shifted towards an emphasis on the contemporary players who slipped through the Cooperstown cracks. There are two divisions focusing on the time frame where the players made their greatest contribution to baseball. "Modern Baseball: 1970-1987" and "Today's Game: 1988 and later" . The vote rotates yearly. Tiger greats Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected via the Modern Era Committee in 2018.
I saw an article about Dwight Evans having a chance at the Hall on facebook. That's what inspired this tweet (and eventually this blog!)
Last year Harold Baines was elected via Today's Game and may have ruined this for everybody. While I know my school of thought is not the law, I do think it's fair. WAR is important; that's Wins Above Replacement for anybody reading with no clue wtf that means. It's a new age baseball stat that basically shows your value over an average player. It is important, but is not the end all be all. I think counting stats still matter, and as a narrative guy you better fucking believe I think the postseason carries HEAVY HOF weight. It's exactly why I have zero issue with Morris who IMO is a Hall of very good player over the top. Harold Baines is a joke in my eyes.
I'm gonna be honest with you basically everybody on the ballot has a legit case to be in but these are fiveish I feel most passionate about.
No American League player hit more home runs in the 1980's. 8 time gold glove winner. Has one of the most iconic catches in World Series history; hit .300 with 3 HR and 14 RBI is 14 career World Series games.
Obviously some bias as a Red Sox, but he has a HOF WAR and some great little nuggets that look great on a plaque in Cooperstown. As someone who watched him play for years firsthand Dewey was one of the best defensive outfielders of all time.
Dewey's career numbers:
After circumcision and c-section is there another more famous surgical procedure than Tommy John? That alone should get the man in but if not 286 wins, and career 3.34 ERA over TWENTY SIX SEASONS is good enough for me. 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA in the postseason over 14 appearances (13 starts) to boot.
TJ's career numbers:
I'm a union man.
Not quite Carlton Fisk, but the heart and soul of the 70's scumbag Yankees. 7 time all star. 3 gold gloves. 1970 ROY. 1976 AL MVP. Really made his numbers count in October.
Kind of fucked up he isn't already in TBH. Sorry the dude died in a fucking plane crash that tragically put his career average at .292 and not a perfect .300.
Munson's career numbers:
Dude was on the We Are Family Pirates and Bash Bro A's. NARRATIVE! While his career WAR is only 40.1 Dave Parker still hit 339 HR which is extra cool considering he was number 39, batted .290 over 19 years, won two rings, 7 time all star, 3 time gold glover, and a 2 time batting champ. Legacy matters when it comes to the Hall and Dave Parker has a legacy.
Parker's career numbers:
Steve Garvey and Don Mattingly
Basically the same guy. Legendary first basemen for arguably the game's two biggest franchises with numbers that are just a tad away from being sure things. Garvey's got the post season numbers/opportunities. 2x NLCS MVP, 1981 WS champ. Mattingly has the stigma of greatest Yankee to never win a World Series.
Neither were huge power guys but good, if not great in Mattingly's case defensive first basemen. 9 GG for Mattingly, 4 for Garvey. Mattingly is a career .307 hitter.
Both won an MVP during their career and received a ton more MVP votes. Each made a pop culture impact at one point. Borderline and not nearly as passionate about these two as the rest but gun to my head they should be in.
Garvey's career numbers:
Mattingly's career numbers: