Wednesday, January 6, 2016
A Travesty In Cooperstown
I have no problem with electing Ken Griffey Jr. He hit 630 home runs. Only 3 men have ever hit more honestly: Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. And that's before we get into his defense, frequently good, sometimes magnificent. If not for injuries, he might have had more home runs than anyone, ever, honest or otherwise.
But they didn't elect Tim Raines, who stole over 800 bases, and won 2 World Series with the Yankees.
They didn't elect Jeff Bagwell, one of the best hitters of his generation, and a man who's never been seriously connected to performance-enhancing drugs.
They didn't elect Mike Mussina, who won 270 games while pitching in the 5-man rotation era. If 5/4 = 1.2, then 270 x 1.2 = 324. That should be much more than enough to get in. He did this despite being a righthanded pitcher, pitching his home games in Camden Yards in Baltimore and the old Yankee Stadium, both with short porches in right field that made them very friendly to lefthanded hitters, thus unfriendly to righthanded pitchers.
They didn't elect Trevor Hoffman, the former all-time leader in saves, and still the all-time leader among National League pitchers.
Now, I come to the elephant in the room: Those players who have been accused of performance-enhancing drugs.
The names include Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield... and Roger Clemens. One day, when they're eligible, they will also include Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. (I'm not including Jason Giambi, because, even with PEDs, he doesn't have the numbers to get in. Nor does Luis Gonzalez.)
Only one has ever had his day in court and beaten the rap: Clemens.
Clemens, as anyone over the age of 20 remembers, has a history with Mike Piazza, the other man elected today along with Griffey.
I will not defend Clemens having hit Piazza in the head with a pitch. I will, however, use it to remind everyone that, when Roger Clemens was trying to throw an object at someone, he actually hit that person.
Roger Clemens did not throw a broken piece of a bat at Mike Piazza in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series. Anybody who says he did is a liar. Including, in that clip, notorious Yankee Haters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. If Clemens had truly meant to throw it at Piazza, Piazza would have been hit. Even McCarver said it was only "near Piazza," and Buck admitted it was "two feet away." It was not "a blatant act."
It was Piazza who freaked out (or should that be "froke out"?), Piazza who exhibited "roid rage." It was Clemens who kept his cool and then got Piazza out, much as he would do 3 years later to outed steroid user Ramirez after that disgusting display by the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series.
Roger Clemens was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. He denied it. He was indicted. His accuser didn't have the goods.
Piazza has been accused, and, indeed, has confessed. And this is from a pro-Mets blog.
I understand voting for Piazza -- if you also vote for Clemens. I understand denying Clemens your vote -- if you do the same for Piazza. And I understand voting for Clemens, who has the stats to get in, and not for Piazza, who is, at best, a borderline case.
You cannot vote for Piazza and not Clemens, and remain intellectually honest. If Piazza belongs, all of the accused belong, including Clemens. But if Clemens doesn't belong, none of them do, including Piazza.
Of course, the Yankee Doodle Double Standard will continue. Someday, Ortiz will be elected, and A-Rod will be denied. Possibly in the same election. (UPDATE: Now we know that they will both become eligible in the election of January 2022.)
God only knows if they'll elect Manny, who angered many people with his shoving an old man. But then, in the same contretemps where Manny challenged Clemens, Pedro Martinez actually grabbed an old man by the head, and threw him to the ground, and he's in. I guess the voters think it's okay to do anything, as long as it's the Yankees who get hurt.
Mike Piazza does not belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame until Roger Clemens is in. Simple as that, baby.
Therefore, this vote, both for Piazza, and against Clemens -- and against Bagwell, against whom the accusations aren't even remotely serious; and against Raines, Mussina and Hoffman, 3 men against whom there has never been a PED charge -- is a travesty.
And who are the 3 voters -- he got 437 out of 440 -- who voted against Griffey? And why? Did they think he was using PEDs? They need to stand up and speak.