The National Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome four new members next summer. Well-deserved congratulations go to:
- Roy Halladay
- Edgar Martinez
- Mike Mussina
- Mariano Rivera
I have no objections whatsoever to any of these four honorees; I have been an Edgar Martinez advocate for most of the last decade. Over and above that, I think the voters – members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) – demonstrated a shift in thinking here when it comes to evaluating Hall of Fame nominees. If I am correct in thinking that a change is coming, I approve of that change.
Fifteen to twenty years ago, players who spent the entirety of their careers as relief pitchers had a difficult time getting the necessary votes for Hall of Fame induction. Back then, a player like Edgar Martinez who spent 11 of his 18 years in MLB as a designated hitter would not have gotten into the Hall.
Let me be clear:
- I do not like the DH rule; were it my decision alone, I would remove it from baseball in a nanosecond.
- Nonetheless, there are players in MLB who are playing by the rules and playing as designated hitters and some of them are doing it so well that they belong in the Hall of Fame.
- I hope the BBWAA takes this vote as “precedent” and continues to recognize the truly top-shelf players who are DHs. [Hint: David Ortiz will be eligible in a few years…]
I am also glad to see that someone finally got a unanimous vote to get into the Hall of Fame. Putting the nonsensical “maintenance of tradition” by having someone vote against a player obviously worthy of induction is a tradition best consigned to history’s trashbin.
In other baseball news unrelated to games on the field, Marty Brennaman said that he will retire as the Cincy Reds’ play-by-play announcer at the end of the 2019 season. Brennaman is already in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and in the Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame; he has been the voice of Reds’ baseball since 1974. I had to travel to the Cincy area more than a couple of times in the late 1970s and I would tune in to hear Reds’ games when I was there. Marty Brennaman was excellent behind the mic then, and by all reports, he got even better as the years went by.
Bonne chance, Marty Brennaman…
[Aside: When Brennaman took over the Reds’ play-by-play duties, he replaced a guy you may have heard of – – Al Michaels.]
Greg Cote had this comment in the Miami Herald last week; it tells me all I want to know about this subject:
“Manny Pacquiao won his first match since turning 40 Saturday night in Las Vegas, beating Adrien Broner unanimously, and now is seeking a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Fight fans around the world responded by saying, ‘NOOOOO!’”
Regular readers here know that I like to have fun with players’ names. As I have begun to watch more college basketball games now that the conference schedules have kicked in, I have run across a few interesting ones:
- Tacko Fall (UCF): He is 7’6” tall; he has a long way to fall…
- Luke Major (Oklahoma St.): If he went to UTEP, Major would be a Miner.
- Remy Martin (Arizona St.): Clearly a top-shelf player.
- Unique McLean (UMass): What would they call his clone?
- Immanuel Quickley (Kentucky): His mom was in labor for only 15 minutes?
- Fatts Russell (Rhode Island): No Jenny Craig endorsement opportunities here.
- Admiral Schofield (Tennessee): Why is he not playing for Navy?
Soon after UCLA fired coach Steve Alford, Bill Walton opined that Alford’s replacement should be – hold your breath here – Barack Obama. Someone must have felt compelled to find a logical basis for that opinion and pointed out that President Obama’s brother-in-law was the coach at Oregon St. and is now with the Knicks in the NBA. While that is 100% accurate, it is also irrelevant; that sort of logic would lead one to conclude that Yoko Ono was a Beatle. She was not.
Bill Walton is a colorful and likeable character who frequently says things that are noteworthy because they are just a tad off-center. I suspect that Brad Rock of the Deseret News also sees Walton as a source of interesting commentary as shown by these two entries in Professor Rock’s column:
“Bill Walton claims the obvious replacement for Steve Alford at UCLA should be Barack Obama.
What, Gene Hackman was busy?”
“During the ESPN broadcast of the Maui Classic, Bill Walton delivered a classic of his own.
‘When everybody thinks alike,’ he said, ‘nobody thinks.’
“Good point but isn’t thinking alike the same as ‘being on the same page?’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………