I’m nursing a bit of a broken heart right now (and that’s as much as I’ll ever say on this subject again), so if I’m all over the place, well that’s the way it goes. 🙂
About Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame…setting aside the home runs and the steroids for a moment, in 16 seasons the guy was a lifetime .263 hitter.
My man Jim Rice? 16 seasons, .298 lifetime average.
Hell, Tony Gwynn played 20 seasons and averaged . 324.
Now, before all the stat-heads (Who I love. I’m a stat-head at heart.) Start telling me how a player’s batting average is no longer the best way to judge a hitter’s talent, keep in mind that the majority of writers voting for the HoF don’t even know what stats like VORP or Win Shares are, let alone apply them to their thinking when they’re voting. So for this argument, I’m going with the old standbys.
Heck, even Yankee favorite and ultimate crybaby Paul O’Neill pulled a lifetime average of .288 in 17 seasons.
Paul O’Neill – Winner of the 1994 AL batting title and 5-time all-star – along with 5 World Series rings.
Tony Gwynn – Winner of 8 batting titles and 15-time all-star – along with 5 Gold Gloves and 7 Silver Sluggers. (And two trips to the World Series)
Jim Rice – 1978 AL MVP and 8-time all-star along with 2 Silver Sluggers and a trip to the World Series.
Mark McGwire – 12-time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 3 Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove along with 3 trips to the World Series, including one Series win.
He also had two season where his slugging percentage was highest in the league. One season where he led the league in RBI, 4 seasons of being the home run leader and four where he led the league in slugging.
I’m looking over all these stats tonight and thinking that the batting average doesn’t tell the entire story. 🙂
I’m also wondering where the writers all get off supposedly taking the high road by saying they won’t vote McGwire into the Hall of Fame.
Listen, I’m one of those people who absolutely believes McGwire juiced. His refusal to speak at the Senate hearings stung like a sharp slap across the face. I wanted him to use that opportunity to come clean (so to speak) and possibly help others…but that didn’t happen. So, do I have any respect for Mark McGwire the man? None at all. Do I still consider Roger Maris the home run king? You bet I do. (Hey, Lou Gehrig is still the Iron Man to me!) But, unfortunately, McGwire has never been proven to have used steroids. (Andro doesn’t count. When he used it, it wasn’t banned and he even kept it out in the open…never hiding it.) Show me the proof. Write me a book like "Game of Shadows" detailing his use. Then I’ll say the writers are doing the right thing by not voting him in.
But let me ask you this. How many writers knew about the steroids being used throughout MLB? If you believe them…none of them. But we know what kind of access a lot of beat writers have. How many of them saw what was going on and sat on it? Let it alone for whatever reasons? Today, these same guys would sell a body part for proof that David Ortiz keeps a syringe in his locker. A lot of the writers are just as guilty as the players and the rest of MLB for keeping this a secret and to see them now all claiming high ground by vowing to not vote for McGwire…well it’s laughable to me.
Jose Canseco likes to take credit for ‘saving’ baseball. Hooey. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa brought the fans back in 1998. Sadly, most of us believe that season is now completely tainted, but in the moment it was pure fun. Watching two men having FUN with their competition. I remember where I was the night McGwire hit number 62. One of my cousins had a baby girl that night and I remember joking to someone that if it were my baby I’d name her "McGuire". It was that big a deal. ’98 was a crappy year and Sammy and Big Mac made it fun again. I still remember that feeling, but the importance of it has been lost since it seems so fake now.
So it’s with a heavy heart that I admit if I had a HoF vote, McGwire would get one.
And you all expected my Hall of Fame post to be a rant about how Jim Ed should get in this year, huh? 🙂
(That one is coming soon!)