Part 2: HOF 2009
Congrats to Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson. Well deserved. Following Part 1, here is Part 2 of our Hall of Fame talk …
Tommy John – Discussion: Wow, how do you win 288 games and strikeout less than 5 per 9? Never realized his career was that long and he threw that many innings. Explains the Tommy John Surgery! Even more, didn’t have a 2-1 BB/K ratio, more hits than IP, and still managed to win 55 percent of his games. That’s pretty impressive. Another pitcher who was really really good.
Jay Bell – Discussion: First Jay Bell memory … I think it was 1986, instructional league in Florida and this shortstop for the Indians is supposedly really good. We play them one day, the next day he gets called up from IL to the big leagues and hits a HR. That got me to thinking I was always one day away from being in the show. A great teammate and all around great guy. I loved Jay because I thought he was a position player that might actually run slower than me:) Jay played fundamental baseball as well as anyone I ever played with.
Don Mattingly – Discussion: Faced him two times, to the tune of about 1000 feet worth of home runs. Gets my vote! Kidding. I always remembered this guy as a pure force on offense. Looking at his career I think it’s clear that he’s a first ballot lock HOF’er if he wouldn’t have had the back injury. He was a nightmare to watch. I never liked the Yanks growing up (due to being a Pirate fan) but I loved to watch Donnie Baseball hit. Seemed like a very quiet guy who just showed up and played his ass off. Even with the back problems the latter half of his career he put up awesome numbers for the time he was healthy.
Mark McGwire – Discussion: Dreaded this one. Mark is one of the kindest and nicest men I’ve ever known. Both he and Sammy put baseball back on the map after the ugliness of 1994-95. That being said I couldn’t do it. Had he stood in front of Congress and flat out denied ever using steroids/HGH then I think I’d feel vastly different. The fact that he didn’t gave me an answer in and of itself. I think the world of the guy and his massive amounts of work off the field speak as much about him as anything else.
For the rest of the list – Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Lee Smith, and Mo Vaughn – I’ll have to get back to you on. Until then I’ll refer you to WEEI.com’s Kirk Minihane’s list for a pretty good reference.