Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Jays of Fame

Today it was announced that Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July. With the 3rd and 7th highest percentages ever recorded for an induction ballot, their entrance was pretty much guaranteed. Again, there were worthy candidates left to see if they would ever be considered good enough to attain this immortality. The fact that players like Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, "Goose" Gossage and Bert Blyleven are not considered worthy is beyond my comprehension. It seems to me that, despite getting Gwynn and Ripken right, the Baseball Writers Association of America is a gaggle of grumpy old white men, squeezing whatever power they can out of their assigned "responsibility."
Lost in the hubbub of those that got in and those that got close, was the fact that there were two players eligible that likely would have gone in as Blue Jays: Devon White and Tony Fernandez. Now, while it's neither robbery nor an upset that neither one was elected to the Hall, it is disconcerting that neither one even garnered the 5% necessary to stay on the ballot for next year. (Fernandez got a total of 4 votes on the 545 ballots, White not a single one.) Dave Winfield (big hit in Game 6 of the 1992 Series) and Paul Molitor (MVP of the 1993 Series) have both been inducted in recent years, but neither as a Blue Jay. (And rightly so.) Who, then, from the core of those Championship teams, will represent the Blue Jays in the Hall of Fame? The two most recognizable faces from those teams are Joe Carter (who has already been eliminated) and Roberto Alomar, who had an unfortunate altercation with an umpire that seemed to outrage America. Alomar, probably the most worthy of all Blue Jays, will likely be hurt by what the writers see as Character Flaws. To wit: we don't like him and we won't give him admittance to a place he deserves to go because of it.
The answer, then, is no one. There is no one else on those teams that has the stats to make it into the Hall, and certainly no one else that would be considered a Blue Jay first and foremost. It may be 30 years before we see a Blue Jay elected to the Hall of Fame. After all, we're still trying to elect the best players from the 70s.

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