35 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report
81 – Number of days until Opening Day
7 – Number of days until Opening Day of the California Winter League
California Winter League News & Notes
Baseball Hall of Fame Inductions 2013
Who is Hall of Fame (HOF) bound in 2013? That is the big question today as this year more than any other year is mostly about players that are directly linked to the use of steroids. The argument here is about the authenticity of their baseball achievements. The players clearly in question that are on the ballot this year are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa. These three players join Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire as players that will not get in to the Hall of Fame because each of them has been directly linked to steroids. In 2012, Palmeiro received 12.6% of the vote. Meanwhile, McGwire only received 19.5% of the vote. Based on statistics alone, all five of these players are no doubt first ballot Hall of Fame status. The Baseball Hall of Fame states that a player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character & contribution to the team(s) on which the player played for are necessary criteria needed to be admitted into the Hall of Fame. All five of these players don't begin to reach these necessary requirements. Palmeiro failed a drug test in 2005, McGwire admitted to it, Clemens was named in the Mitchell Report, Sosa failed a test in 2003 according to the New York Times, and the dirty laundry surrounding Bonds is more than I care to dive into today.
Being a major league baseball player is an honor and with that comes great responsibility. The HOF is about sportsmanship and showing integrity for the game. The advantage a person gains by taking steroids makes the game an uneven playing field. I don't buy the argument for one second that Bonds or Clemens were HOF status before 1998. Both players were not thinking about the HOF when they decided to cheat the game. Both took drugs to make themselves better and both of them should be penalized for their actions. Some of the players that are eligible for the HOF will never get in because they don't have the numbers. They don't have the numbers because in most cases, their body gave out. Baseball is a game of endurance. By August, players look for a lighter bat, skip batting practice, and a pitcher may skip a start or two. The point simply is that players that did not cheat were unable to produce at a high level . Yet, Bonds and Clemens were able to produce numbers in the later part of their careers that we never thought possible.
Three players that are absolutely worthy of the HOF are:
Craig Biggio was a terrific all-around player, versatile, and fully deserving of first-ballot Hall of Fame status. For five or six years, Biggio could have arguable been the best player in the National League. He is one of the 50 best players of all-time, a 7-time all star, 4 gold gloves, 5th all-time in doubles, and 21st all-time in hits (3,060). Keep in mind that Biggio played three different positions (catcher, second base, and center field) during his career.
Lee Smith was the reigning saves champion for 13 years with 25 or more saves in a season. It was not until Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera passed Smith did he lose his spot at the all-times saves category.
Jack Morris was a true ace as he dominated a generation. During the 1980's, Morris had 162 wins (1st), 2,443.2 IP (1st), and 133 complete games (1st). He was the ace for three World Series teams and even though he was not a first-ballot HOF, he is a HOF.
This debate will go on for years. Everyone seems to have their own opinion and now you know mine. The greatest crime today will be if nobody gets in to the Baseball Hall of Fame because we certainly have some worthy candidates.