While Chelsea is still sick, I've decided to diversify the type of topics covered in her blog. Since the latest selections of Maddux, Glavine, Larussa, and Cox, the baseball Hall of Fame is a topic that has been on my mind a few times recently. As you may notice, I've chosen to exclude any names associated with steroids or HGH.
5. Craig Biggio- I'm no Astros fan, but Biggio was a great, throwback baseball player. He would've been one of the best in any era. We're talking about a guy that had over 3,000 career hits and 291 home runs while playing catcher, second base, and center field at a high quality level. This last year was only his second on the ballot, and he only missed induction by 2 votes, so it's likely that Biggio will be elected next year. Otherwise, he would've been much higher on the list.
4. Tim Raines- Raines was a fantastic lead-off hitter that just happened to play in the same era as the greatest lead-off hitter in baseball history: Rickey Henderson. Tim Raines had an on-base percentage of .385 for his career and ranks 5th all-time in stolen bases. Just because he was overshadowed by Henderson during his playing career doesn't mean that it should hurt his chances for Cooperstown.
3. Mike Piazza- Admittedly, Mike Piazza's defensive skills were far from elite, but his offensive weapons were historically potent. He is possibly hurt by playing in the steroid era, but no real accusations have ever been made. In reality, it's criminal that arguably the best-hitting catcher in baseball history would be left of the ballot. His 427 home runs and lifetime .308 batting average, as a catcher, should easily be reason enough.
2. Jack Morris- If Morris ever gets into Cooperstown, and he likely will, it won't be through the Baseball Writers of America ballot. After 14 years, 2014 was his last year to be eligible. Jack deserves to be in the hall for two reasons: his consistency and World Series performances. He tied the record for 14 consecutive opening day starts. That means, for 14 years straight, Morris was considered the "ace" on his staff and healthy enough to make his first start. He also made 5 all-star appearances, 4 World Series titles, and one World Series MVP. That's quite a bit of hardware.
1. Pete Rose- In case you didn't already know, Pete Rose is kind of a sketchy individual. He has been accused of, and admitted to, illegally betting on baseball, tax evasion, and forcefully shoving an MLB umpire during an argument. However, he also might be the greatest player, outside of Babe Ruth, to ever touch a baseball. He is the all-time Major League leader in hits and won 3 World Series titles, 1 MVP award, 2 Golden Gloves, and made 17(!) All-Star appearances. He did all of this without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs. So, Major League baseball is in a bit of a conundrum. One of the very best players in the history of the game can never be enshrined in its Hall of Fame because he's currently serving a lifetime ban for illegal gambling. My case for his pardon is based on the history of two other great players: Ty Cobb and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Ty Cobb was actually quite similar to the player in question. Like Rose, he was known for his tenacity, hitting ability, and hustle. Off the field, Cobb had his own issues. He infamously climbed into the stands one day to physically attack a heckler who happened to only have one hand. "Shoeless" Joe, on the other hand, was known to be a good guy, both on the field and off. However, he was caught up in a gambling scandal with several players on his team, resulting in a thrown World Series. Like Rose, Jackson was given a "lifetime" ban, but it was eventually lifted. In fact, both Cobb and Jackson can be found enshrined at Cooperstown. In short, I think it's time for "Charlie Hustle" to join them.
P.S. Just in case this post wasn't the manliest thing ever written on Chelsea's blog, here's a little something to push it over the top.