Jeff Bagwell: Mark McGwire, listed further down, kicked off the consideration of what is called, for better or worse, the "Steroid Era." And on this ballot, we're really starting to get into the heart of it.
There's concern that we're going to honor every hitter fortunate enough to go deep a few times over the last 20 years or so. I don't view it that way. Thanks to comparable stats like WAR and OPS+, we can measure players against their contemporaries and act accordingly.
And compared to his contemporaries, Bagwell kicks some major tail. He put up an excellent rookie year and just kept getting better. If you look, he didn't revert back to his rookie year (1991) value until 2002, and that was because his defense - very good for the bulk of his career - started to slip, according to the metrics used by baseball-reference.com.
So he's a Yes.
Practically speaking, we can't put all the great first basemen of the last 30 years into the Hall of Fame. There are just too damned many of them (in addition to those mentioned already, we've also got Keith Hernandez and Todd Helton).
I just happen to think Bagwell was the best of them. My guess, though, is that he doesn't get named on more than 50 percent of the ballots in this, his first try.
OK, this is the part where I strenuously object to relying solely on WAR when evaluating a player's Hall of Fame candidacy.
Pavano...told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in an e-mail that he believes McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame: "I enjoyed watching him change the game," wrote Pavano, who now pitches for the Twins.
Here’s what I mean: From 1967-72, the Detroit Tigers won a World Series and a division championship. They won 90-plus games four times. They were obviously very good. But the only Hall of Fame semi-regular on those teams was the aging Al Kaline, who was obviously still great but never played more than 133 games in any season. And it’s not like those teams did not have Hall of Fame candidates. . . .
OK. Now, from 1983 to 1988, the Tigers won a World Series, a division title, and won 87 or more games five times. They were obviously very good. There is not one Tigers player on those teams who is in the Hall of Fame or is likely to get there any time soon (unless the Jack Morris wave starts to crest). . . .
My point is: Do the voters have something against Detroit?
John Stockton, the NBA career leader in assists and steals who spent his entire 19-year career with the Utah Jazz, will be named as a new member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.
The official announcement about the Class of 2009 will be made in Detroit, in conjunction with the Final Four.
The Tribune has learned, however, that Stockton received at least 18 votes from the Hall of Fame's 24-member honors committee and will be inducted in September.
Television is the medium of show and tell. The show, meaning the fighters, are the most important by far. I’m just one of the tellers and I am deeply honored to be a footnote of all the great fighters that are in the Hall of Fame.
The antiunion bias of the powers who control the hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining. As former executive director (retired since 1983) of the players’ union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged veterans committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering the pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce.