The annual Hall of Fame fracas is finally over, and so is the Jack Morris fight—15 rounds and a knockout. There’s an easy measuring stick to determine who’s a Hall of Famer—the original five inductees—consisting of two outfielders, an infielder, and two pitchers: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. If a player doesn’t roughly match up to these guys, he should not get a vote.
“But, Chris,” you might say, ‘who the hell would get in if he had to match up those guys?” I answer with: Lajoie, Alexander, Hornsby, Foxx, Simmons, Greenberg, Grove, DiMaggio, Feller, Bell, Paige, Robinson, Williams, Musial, Mays, Mantle, Mathews, Aaron, Clemente, Spahn, Berra, Bench, Yastrzemski, Koufax, Brett, Schmidt, Morgan, Gwynn, and Ripken, among many others. Jack Morris? He was a really good pitcher.
In a recent post I offered a case for Mike Mussina, arguing that he pitched his entire career in the abominable DH era, in the steroid era, in the era of the five-man rotation, and in the AL East, all of which kept him from more 20-win seasons and probably 300 wins. Despite all that, he finished his brilliant career 117 games over .500 (270-153).
So, as a one-year member of the imaginary Baseball Bloggers of America (with a readership in the mid-single digit range), here is my 2014 Hall of Fame vote: Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine, and Craig Biggio. What? No Frank Thomas?
Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas, in his first full 10 years in the majors, is in the same league as the great Albert Pujols in his first 10. Both were outstanding. Here are their 162 game averages. Thomas: .301 BA; 36 HR; 119 RBI. Pujols: .321; 41; 124. Thomas finished with 521 homers, but he hit only 260 of them as a complete ball player; the rest were hit as a designated hitter, so he doesn’t get my vote. It’s a shame, I know, but I didn’t made the DH rule.