Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bert, The Hawk, Yount and McGuire

I know this is supposed to be a blog of our beloved Twins, but there are so many articles right now about Hall of Fame voting and whether or not the 2007 class will/should include McGuire. Rob Neyer of ESPN.com recently sent out a survey to a bunch of sports writers about this subject and commented on the results. I find the most interesting piece to be the comments left by those who returned the survey. Some good points (see Hoynes & Nightengale comments) and some bad points ("if not for the HR's, he wouldn't be HOF callaber" & "if you're not good enough for 1st ballot, why are you good enough for the 5th?"). Here's Smitty's take on it all:

HOF voting is like whether Courtney Olson or Anna Siebert is more attractive or whether a freshman should start at quarterback, popularity and politics. Whether or not McGuire took juice is not a good enough reason to keep him from consideration. If we assume he took steriods, we should also assume pitchers took steroids. Isn't that fair? Therefore doesn't that level the "playing field"? Why aren't more people questioning why 35 plus year old pitchers are dominating (Clemens), wearing blood socks (Schilling) and still way better then average (Mussina, Johnson and Rivera)?

One comment in particular made me call BS, "he was only an HR guy". Sure, that is what he was more known for, but let's look at some other all-time greats. Robin Yount is in the Hall. His numbers ant that spectacular. 250 HR, 1400 RBI, .285 BA but he has the hits. He was only a hit guy, only hit over .300 6 times in 20 seasons. Pete Rose was only a hit & run guy. Career average .285 (that would be higher if he didn't hold on for so long), he only stole 198 bases in 24 seasons, and hit 198 HR. Let's look at some similar players, McCovey and Killabrew. McCovey (22 seasons - .270, 521 HR, 1555 RBI, 1345 BB, 1229 runs) & Killabrew (22 seasons - .256, 573 HR, 1584 RBI, 1559 BB, 1283 runs) stats are very similar to McGuire's (16 seasons - .263, 583 HR, 1414 RBI, 1317 BB, 1167 runs).

To sound like the great Gammons: Look, my issue is not IF he should be in the hall, it's the rationale behind it. I don't think it's fair to punish McGurie for all the false comings of baseball, the owners and his peers. If so many players took steroids, including pitchers mind you, why not compare him to the rest of the players in his era? He surely was one of the more feared hitters in his day, was really a good fielder (over .990 for most of his career) and deserves serious thought. Neyer points out that there is no uniform opinion on the rules during this time and that fault belongs to baseball, the owners and The Players Association's. They should shoulder as much if not more blame for this mockery of the game.

To the person(s) who comment that "if not a 1st ballot, then never" I say do your homework and formulate your own opinions then players like Bert and Dawson so they won't be left off the HOF for so long. All they did was produce, produce HOF numbers and do it through out their career with class. If Yount, Gary Carter, Ryan Sandberg, Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton deserve to be in the Hall, the writers need to stop with the popular vote, do the homework and see these too need to be in the Hall. Oh, Anna and Courtney are equally as hot, I voted for Courtney. She plays volleyball.


Hops said...

What is it fair to punish McGuire for, then? You can blame baseball all you want for creating an era that produced stats and accomplishments that are outside of its own historical reference. But, by all accounts but his own, Mark McGuire took an illegal substance to enhance his performance...isn't that a punishable offense?

Smitty said...

Illegal assuming he took steroids. If he took creatin, HGH or OTC drugs that weren't illegal in the US I think that changes the discussion. Can make the arguement "innocent until proven guilty" which will be hard to prove unless they admit. Again, I'm not saying he should be in or what he may have done, just think the dismissal of McGuire is too easy.

Hops said...

Why aren't you? Knowing what we know...from your own perspective...should he be in?

Your point about pitchers is spot-on. McGuire will be compared to hitters of his generation, and I think shennanigans will be called on ALL of them. However, the pitchers of the same generation haven't...thus far...been given anything close to the same treatment.

Smitty said...

Comparing him to players in his era, yes I think he should be in. Since the integrity of baseball stats have been compromised (Tim Kirkchin did a really good piece on Baseball Tonight a while back on this point), it's hard to vote yes and feel really good about it. Guess I'm trying to separate heart from head.

crystal said...

Seriously? The high school hot girl and the hall of fame? That's a new one. Impressive. (And hi from Deephaven.)