Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Andre Dawson...and ONLY Andre Dawson

So Andre Dawson is the newest Hall of Famer, joining Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey in July. Veteran New York Daily News writer Bill Madden was named the winner of the Spink Award, and we'll learn who won the Frick Award in February.

Congratulations to one and all.

But...only Andre Dawson? I mean, don't get me wrong, I like "The Hawk" and he was a fine ballplayer, but that's the best the writers could come up with? A career .279 hitter? He was an all-star, brilliant defensively, but did he dominate? Is this what the Hall has come to?

Still he was one of the hallmark players of the 1980's, winning the NL MVP with the last place Cubs in 1987.

OK, so fine. I'm content to have Dawson in. But how...HOW...did Roberto Alomar not make it? If one person - ONE - gives me that "spitting" crap about Alomar, they should be destined to a life of listening to something. I'm struggling to come up with a proper punishment.

The world must be spinning weirdly when I'm defending Robbie Alomar!

I'm not in that solid Bert Blyleven camp, but you knew that. I'd almost be content to see both he and Jack Morris go in together, or not at all. And I'd also be just fine if they - and Curt Schilling - never got in. As we all know, this is not the Hall of Really Good to Arguably Great. These players should be icons - legends - and we - no - the writers and the vets committee, have watered down the greatness.

What we've come to know is personality goes a long way (see Puckett, Kirby). So does longevity - bringing us to the likes of Carlton Fisk (ducks out of the way of Bostonians trying to stampede) and, of course, Don Sutton.

Yet I look at Blyleven's strikeout total (3701) and his similarity score from Baseball Reference and it sways me. Who does Blyleven compare the closest to? Don Sutton! I can't deny that the among the 10 pitchers he compares to, eight of them are in the Hall, and other two (Tommy John and Jim Kaat) aren't exactly slouches.

You can make the argument, and goodness knows we all have, that Thurman Munson was as good if not better than Fisk. Yet Fisk hits the big, famous home run in '75 and outlives Munson. I mean, let's be honest! All ol' Thurm did was win an MVP in '76, have the undying respect of the Big Red Machine for his performance in the '76 series, hit a home run in the '77 ALCS that might have just landed, and sadly die in 1979 at the age of 32.

And thus, no Hall of Fame.

Since I've brought up Kirby Puckett, you might think I will head down Mattingly Lane. We went there on "The Press Box" today. Their numbers are scary similar. Puckett was Mr. Sunshine and won two rings. "Donnie Baseball" was a Yankee with a bum back who hit over .400 in his only postseason appearance, and has no rings.

It's that easy.

So back to the class of 2010, or lack thereof. I believe in the sanctity of the First Ballot Hall of Famer, and think Roberto Alomar was worthy of that. Even Barry Larkin would have been a fine choice. But the voters remain unswayed. That's their call, of course.

Oh, and what's the deal with the lack of the respect for Tim Raines? I'd like an answer on that one as well.

The good news is that the 2011 candidates don't look that great, so maybe Alomar, Blyleven, Larkin, Raines, and others will get their shot next year.

Briefly, a moment on the Fick Award. From the Hall of Fame's website:
The 10 finalists for the 2010 Frick Award are: Billy Berroa, Skip Caray, Tom Cheek, Jacques Doucet, Lanny Frattare, Graham McNamee, Jon Miller, Joe Nuxhall, Herb Score and Dave Van Horne. The winner of the 2010 Frick Award will be announced Feb. 1 and honored during the July 23-26 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Cooperstown.
My choice would be Graham McNamee. He was the first superstar of sports play-by-play for NBC in the 20's and 30's. He won't win it, but he is my choice.

I think it might be Tom Cheek, the late "voice" of the Blue Jays. Maybe there's a big push for Skip Caray, that would be Chip's father. We will find out soon enough.

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