Hall of Fame day in baseball, which means only this: Barely a handful of questions will be asked to the honorees before the subject of performance-enhancing drugs will be brought up. Such are the times in which we live.
In 2008, there was only one electee by the Baseball Writers Association of America, and Rich “Goose” Gossage was more than gracious when, after only three questions, the inevitable came up. That’s not surprising: Goose is one of the best people in the game to deal with.
Would’ve loved to have heard Jim Rice’s response to such questions (Goose was asked if he had any advice for the voting members of the BBWAA in how they should determine who from the Steroid Era deserves votes), but the Red Sox legend was 16 votes short. He’s got one more year left on the ballot.
I have not served on the BBWAA long enough to earn a Hall of Fame vote —- you must have 10 uninterrupted seasons as a member, and I need four more —- so to critique the the final results as to whether they were right or wrong would be unfair, in my opinion. It’s an imperfect process for an imperfect place, and it’s worked pretty well since before I was hanging out in my mother’s tummy. So I’ll say what I say every year; the voters got it right.
Here are some of my individual thoughts on some of the players on the ballot:
—- Gossage: It’s about time.
—- Rice: His numbers become less impressive when juxtaposed against those of the Steroid Era, but he was a dominant force in his day, and his 1978 season was one of the most impressive you’ll ever see. He also was legendary for treating members of the media as if they were sub-human, and that could be coming back to hurt him now.
— Andre Dawson: I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think Hall of Famer when I think of Andre Dawson. Maybe because he played a lot of his career in Montreal, and perhaps because some of his best seasons for the Cubs came when Chicago was losing.
— Bert Blyleven: Played on so many lousy teams that his won-loss record suffered, and that may forever be his Achillies’ heel. In my eyes, he was never the dominant starter on his own staff, and that’s more telling than his 3,701 strikeouts.
— Jack Morris: He received only 42.9 percent of the vote, so he’s got an uphill climb. For my money, no pitcher in the 1980s or early 1990s was better in a big game, and that should be worthy of something.