Baseball Today …

The voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is in.  One player, Scott Rolen, received the requisite 75% of the votes to be one-half of the “Class of ‘23” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this summer.  About a month ago, the Veterans’ Committee voted Fred McGriff into the Hall of Fame so this summer’s ceremonies will be in honor of two former players.  Congratulations to both Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff.

Rolen’s vote total was just high enough for admission; the rules require 75% of the votes cast to be for a player and this year the cutoff line was 292 votes.  Rolen received 297 votes in his sixth year on the ballot and now he is “in the Hall”.

Two names on this year’s ballot and their vote totals are interesting to me:

  1. Carlos Beltran received 181 votes.  Beltran was a central figure in the “Astros’ trash can scandal” several years ago.  I would not say that he should have been a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, but absent that scandal, I suspect his vote total would have been higher.
  2. Alex Rodriguez received 139 votes – – less than half the votes needed to make it to the Hall.  A-Rod has the significant “PED hurdle” to overcome if he is ever to be in the Hall of Fame.  A-Rod’s stats say he should have been in on his first ballot; but then again, that was also the case for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens…

So, of course, that news got me thinking about active players who might realistically aspire to induction into the Hall of Fame once their playing days are over.  Obviously, coming up with such a list requires projection and assumptions about injuries that affect on-field performance and about off-field activities that might put a stain on a player’s reputation.  Nevertheless, here are the players that came to mind this morning.  I am sure I have left worthy candidates off the list.

First there are five mortal locks to make it to the Hall of Fame:

  1. Miguel Cabrera
  2. Clayton Kershaw
  3. Max Scherzer
  4. Mike Trout – – even if the Angels never make the playoffs.
  5. Justin Verlander

Here are nine players with an excellent chance:

  1. Jose Altuve – – keep an eye on how Beltran’s vote totals are trending.
  2. Nolan Arenado
  3. Jacob deGrom
  4. Freddie Freeman
  5. Paul Goldschmidt
  6. Bryce Harper
  7. Aaron Judge 
  8. Manny Machado
  9. Joey Votto

And here are some very young players who have shown brief flashes in their careers which – if sustained – could get them into the Hall of fame 20 years from now:

  • Ronald Acuna, Jr.
  • Kris Bryant
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.
  • Francisco Lindor
  • Adley Rutschman
  • Corey Seager
  • Juan Soto
  • Fernando Tatis, Jr.

And there is one player – – a unicorn – – who ought to be in the Hall of Fame because of his unique performance.  I refer to Shohei Ohtani.  Unless the idea of a hybrid starting pitcher/designated hitter becomes commonplace, I think he should be in the Hall of Fame for no other reason.

In one other baseball-related issue, the Angels are no longer up for sale.  About 6 months ago, Angels’ owner Arte Moreno hired a financial company to seek out potential buyers for the team.  Yesterday, Moreno thanked his financial advisors and various groups he met with about a potential sale of the team and took the team off the market.  Here is part of the statement that made that announcement:

“However, as discussions advanced and began to crystallize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players, and our employees.”

You can decide for yourself if you think it was the “emotional linkage to the team” or if you think the price was not right that led to the Angels coming off the market.  So, now there is only one MLB team up for sale – – the Washington Nationals.

Finally, since today dealt with baseball, let me close with this observation by Corporal Max Klinger from the TV show M*A*S*H:

“A good cigar is like a beautiful chick with a great body who also knows the American League scores.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………