Saturday, December 29, 2007
Just a week or so away from the voting for the 2008 Hall of Fame and a lot of attention falls around Mark McGwire, and if he will get in after failing to make it in his first year of eligibility. As someone who was drawn into baseball by that 1998 homerun chase, I do feel like he captivated the eyes of many, but the fact that we are still in the middle of this steroid controversy, I do not think it is his time, or should ever be his time. I am one of those people who think if you cheated, you do not deserve the recognition, even if it was before it became illegal.
It is hard not look at McGwire's 583 career homeruns, but his .263 career average and just 1,626 hits makes him borderline at best. Yes, he did have an OBP of .394 but he combined over three hundred walks in late 1990's that bumped that up big time. And with reporters voting, it doesn't help that McGwire was not friendly with the media, and hurt his case even more at the Congressional Hearings.
Now some may argue that pitchers like Gaylord Perry were cheaters back in the day, but we are passed that era, and must focus on this one. I think that pitchers who used a spit ball are looked at differently than hitters. A pitcher did not throw a spit ball every pitch, while a hitter on steroids used it in every swing. You have to look at McGwire's numbers between 1996-1999 and think wow, he hit 30 less homeruns than Roger Maris did in his whole career. Does this mean Roger Clemens is not a shoe in? Yes, at least until his case gets cleared out. I have to admit, I was a little naive in the sense that it never crossed my mind that Clemens might have used. Looking at Clemens' numbers, it makes sense that he used. He was a .500 pitcher up till those couple years with the Blue Jays when he won the Cy Young twice. I look at him and McGwire and Bonds as different cases, so we will have to wait and see.
If Roger Maris gets into the Hall of Fame, how can someone like Andre Dawson not get in. Dawson has a .279 career average with 438 homeruns and 2,774 hits. He was a eight time All-Star, won the ROY, and the MVP, and was a fan favorite of the Cubs, and even some teams on the road. Ryne Sandberg said of Dawson that, "No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson," Sandberg said of the "The Hawk." Sandberg continued, "He's the best I've ever seen. I watched him win an MVP for a last-place team in 1987, and it was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in baseball." Sandberg concluded with, "He did it the right way, the natural way, and he did it in the field and on the bases and in every way, and I hope he will stand up here someday."
I know many think differently of McGwire at this point, but I still would vote him no until all this gets sorted out. I think a lot of people deserve some recognition before their time runs out. I know Lee Smith lost some steam after his all time saves record was taken by Trevor Hoffman, but he should be recognized as being the player who revolutionized the role. And what about Tim Raines? Or Jim Rice? Leave me a comment on whether you think McGwire should be in the Hall or not, and if you want, leave a prediction for this years inductees.