Tag Archives: Hall of Fame

Why isn’t this guy in the MLB Hall of Fame?

I can’t believe I’m thinking of this, but I am and I feel the need to state my piece.

Bill Buckner died this week at the age of 69. He crafted a stellar Major League Baseball career that ended in 1990. He collected more than 2,700 hits; he compiled a .289 batting average; he won the National League batting title in 1980; he batted more than .300 in seven of his years playing in the big leagues. Buckner appeared in several All-Star Games. He played for more than 22 years in both the American and National leagues.

Oh, but he is known to most baseball fans for one play. It occurred in the 1986 World between the Boston Red Sox (Buckner’s team at the time) and the New York Mets. In the sixth game of the series, Mookie Wilson of the Mets hit a “routine” ground ball to Buckner, who was playing first base. Buckner bent down to catch the ball — and then watched it scoot between his feet under his glove.

Error on Buckner! The Mets scored the winning run and went on to win the World Series.

For that play, Buckner was vilified, scorned, ridiculed, hassled and harassed for the rest of his career and beyond. The Red Sox eventually brought him back to honor him. The fans who once booed at the sound of his name stood and cheered him that day.

Which brings me to my central point: Is that single play responsible for this fine player being denied enshrinement in baseball’s Hall of Fame?

Players with far less impressive stats are in the hall. I think, for instance, of Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski, a second baseman who — in my view — is in the HoF because of one hit: a Game 7 walk-off home run to win the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees.

Buckner’s window for induction into the HoF induction has been closed for a long time. The old-timers committee cannot even let him in.

It’s a shame. The guy could hit a baseball. Absent that one play in the 1986 Fall Classic, he could field his position, too.

For what it’s worth, I think he deserved induction into the Hall of Fame . . . right along with Bill Mazeroski.

Resounding ‘no!’ on Rose for the Hall of Fame

One of those “like and share” memes showed up on my Facebook feed this morning; it pitches the idea that former Major League Baseball star Pete Rose deserves induction into the baseball Hall of Fame.

I want to “share” this view: Absolutely not! There is no way Rose should be inducted into MLB’s hallowed shrine.

OK, I get that “Charlie Hustle” is the all-time hit leader. I realize he won three batting titles during his career playing for the Cincinnati Reds, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Montreal Expos. He was one of the leaders of the Big Red Machine in the early 1970s. Yeah, the guy was a serious overachiever on the baseball field. Rose wasn’t blessed with great natural talent, but he worked his a** off to achieve excellence on the baseball field.

He also had a gambling problem. He bet on baseball games. Rose got caught doing it.

The baseball rulebook has a significant penalty attached to those who are caught gambling on baseball games. It calls for a “lifetime” ban from the game. That means, as I have interpreted it, that he can never be brought back into the game. Thus, he cannot be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Second chance? Forget about it!

Criminal defendants get sentenced to lifetime prison terms “with no possibility of parole.” I am not equating what Rose did with criminals who commit crimes such as murder or sexual assault, but the baseball rulebook does not stipulate a provision for a suspension of the “lifetime” ban from baseball.

You may accuse me of being a harda** if you wish. My love for the game of baseball is intact. Pete Rose sullied his on-the-field accomplishments by succumbing to his off-the-field weakness.

He doesn’t belong in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

RIP, Willie McCovey

Oh, man. This saddens me.

Willie McCovey has died at the age of 80. He was a first-ballot member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. He led the National League twice in home runs.

He was considered at the peak of his career to be the “most dangerous hitter” in baseball. The term “dangerous,” I reckon, had something to do with how hard he could hit a baseball.

I want to share a brief Willie McCovey story here, just to let you know, I suppose, that I have been able to get around during my life.

In August 1964, I ventured to San Francisco after winning a trip by selling subscriptions to my hometown newspaper, the Portland Oregonian. I wasn’t yet 15 years of age.

We got to attend a baseball game on that trip at Candlestick Park, where the San Francisco Giants played hardball. They played the Cincinnati Reds that day. I got to see two other Hall of Famers that day: Willie Mays for the Giants and Frank Robinson for the Reds.

Willie McCovey, though, did something quite impressive that day. Candlestick Park was known as a place where the wind howled in from San Francisco Bay. The outfield was exposed to that wind, and it was blowing that day briskly into the stadium.

McCovey, who hit left-handed, managed to blast a home run out of Candlestick Park, over the right-field fence, straight into that hideous wind and into the bay, which came to be known as McCovey Cove.

It was quite a thrill to see McCovey hit a home run that day. If memory serves, it gave the Giants the only run they scored that day; the Reds won the game, with Robinson hitting three home runs into the left field seats.

But … this tribute is about Willie McCovey. Yeah, he could hit a baseball. He could hit it hard.

May he rest in peace.

Still enjoy waiting for baseball to begin

I don’t follow big-league baseball with nearly the fervor I did when I was a kid.

Free agency managed to wreck it for me in the late 1960s, allowing big leaguers to sell their talents to the highest bidder. Players have switched teams, causing some upset to those of us who long associated players with teams.

Mickey Mantle: New York Yankees; Ted Williams: Boston Red Sox; Stan Musial: St. Louis Cardinals.

Sure, some post-free agency players stayed with the same teams throughout their careers: Tony Gwynn: San Diego Padres; Cal Ripken: Baltimore Orioles; George Brett: Kansas City Royals.

All six of those guys are first-ballot Hall of Famers.

OK, now that I’ve stipulated that I don’t follow Major League Baseball the way I used to follow it, I remain anxious as we get ready for the first pitch to be tossed out. I still like old-fashioned hardball. It remains in my mind and heart the National Pastime.

I don’t await the start of pro basketball or pro football with this kind of anticipation. Pro hockey? Umm. Not even close.

Baseball is still a bit different for me.

I follow a couple of players more than the rest of ’em. By fave at the moment plays for the Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols, who’ll enter the Hall of Fame on the first ballot when his time comes up. Pujols is set to get his 3,000th hit this season. He’ll get his share of home runs to add to his ninth-best career total of 614. My hope is that he can put together at least one more career year to match the seasons he piled up in St. Louis before he decided to shop his skills around before he ended up in LA.

So, with that I’ll await the 2018 MLB season with some enthusiasm. I’m no longer a kid. Baseball no longer is quite the same as it was in those days.

They still play good hardball and, brother, they get paid lots of money to play a kid’s game.

Yes, they should ‘fear’ CTE

Terrell Davis used to be a great football player.

The newly inducted Hall of Fame running back for the Denver Broncos now says he lives in fear — along with other former football players — of a disease he might get later on in life. It’s called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Davis has reason to be very afraid.

The young man took a battering while carrying a football for the Broncos. He took many hits to the head, as did so many other professional football players. Indeed, studies have revealed recently that more than 80 percent of former NFL players are — or will be — afflicted by CTE, which ultimately diminishes cognitive ability.

“We’re concerned because we don’t know what the future holds. When I’m at home and I do something, if I forget something I have to stop to think, ‘Is this because I’m getting older or I’m just not using my brain, or is this an effect of playing football? I don’t know that.”

Read more about Davis’s comments here.

What does the NFL do about this? It already has taken steps to penalize players who hit other athletes on what they call “helmet-to-helmet contact.” The league has been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to players afflicted by CTE.

The NFL is now dealing almost daily with reports of athletes becoming afflicted with CTE at various stages of its progression.

The term CTE only recently has become part of every-day language, sort of like HIV/AIDS and ALS have become over the years.

Do these grown men stop doing what they do? Do we make football an illegal activity? Must the NFL resort to retooling the game into a two-hand touch football game? No, no and no.

But I surely can understand the fear that Terrell Davis and other former football players are expressing as they advance in years toward elderly status.

I suppose it would be imperative that the NFL do all it can to (a) protect the players on the field with improvements in the equipment they wear and (b) spend whatever it takes to care for those who are permanently damaged by the sport they choose to play.

Rose in the Hall of Fame? No way


Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is a man after my own heart.

He has told Pete Rose categorically this: No matter how great you were on the field of play, you do not deserve reinstatement in the game you dominated for so many years.

I totally agree with Manfred.

It’s been speculated that Manfred’s edict might open the door — if only slightly — for Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I hope that isn’t the case, either. Most experts, though, say that Manfred’s decision slams the Hall of Fame door shut — forever.

Look, I am as big a baseball fan as any red-blooded American male. I used to love watching Rose play hardball. He got more out of his fairly limited natural athletic ability than any 10 players who ever donned a uniform. Rose played hard and he played to win.

Even in all-star games. Who can forget when he bowled catcher Ray Fosse over in the 1970 all-star game, injuring Fosse so severely that the Cleveland Indians star never recovered fully?

That said, he also violated one of MLB’s cardinal rules. He bet on the game. The rule book stipulates clearly: violation of the no-betting rule shall result in a lifetime ban from the game.

As others have noted, MLB instituted the rule as a reaction to the 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” betting scandal that has kept Shoeless Joe Jackson — another Hall of Fame-quality player — out of the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine.

I also am acutely aware that the Hall of Fame is full of assorted scoundrels; they are drunks, racists, womanizers, drug users … you name it, they’ve done it and are still in the Hall of Fame.

The Grand Old Game doesn’t stipulate — in writing — that holding racist views or bar-hopping the night before a big game disqualifies you from having anything to do with the game.

It does with betting.

Pete Rose bet on baseball. As Manfred said, Rose “has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing … or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent eligibility in 1989.”

Greed, selfishness? Not with this superstar

I used to watch baseball religiously. I don’t do so much any longer.

Free agency kind of took a lot of the fun out of the game for me. Athletes are getting paid a lot of money to play a game. Many of them behave badly when they get those millions of bucks. They move around from team to team, looking to play for the outfit that offers them the most money.

Many others of them keep it all in perspective.

One player I do enjoy watching is a future Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols. Yes, Pujols looked for a fat contract after playing many years in St. Louis. He’s now a first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels. His best years likely are behind him.

He also has maintained his reputation as a thoroughly decent human being.


This link is about Pujols meeting a young man with Down syndrome, something about which Pujols has intimate knowledge: His eldest daughter, Isabella, also has the disease.

This story is heartwarming in the extreme and it illustrates that goodness does reside even inside ballplayers who often are tempted to look the other way when given a chance to demonstrate an act of kindness toward those who follow their athletic exploits.

Well done, Albert.


My vote on Pete Rose for Hall? No

Mike Downey has written a column for CNN.com in which he argues Pete Rose should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I now will write that Rose doesn’t belong there. Not ever.


Pete Rose got more hits than anyone else in baseball history. He got more plate appearances and at-bats, too, than anyone else. He played in six World Series. He won three National League batting titles. He was a hell of a ballplayer.

He also broke a cardinal rule in baseball. It’s in the rulebook. The punishment is a lifetime ban from the game. Period. End of story.

Rose bet on baseball while he was still active in the game. He didn’t bet on his team to lose. Still, Downey knows that the rulebook is as clear as possible about betting on baseball. You bet on a game and get caught … you’re out!

Downey offers up the lame excuse that other baseball greats have gotten into the Hall of Fame while carousing late at night. Downey writes: “They say gambling is a sickness, an addiction, like liquor or drugs. They tell us gamblers need help. In the same breath, they tell us funny stories about the Hall of Fame baseball greats who bar-hopped all night, came to the park drunk, played with a hangover, hahaha, what a guy. Oh, that Babe. Oh, that Mickey.”

I get all that. The rulebook, though, doesn’t have a moral turpitude clause in it. Baseball players are allowed to be a lot of unflattering things: drunks, womanizers, racists. Men who fit all those descriptions are in the Hall of Fame.

Those who bet on the game? No can do.

Sorry, Pete. You were a great player. You got more out of your skills than almost anyone who ever swung a bat.

It’s that gambling thing that should keep you out of the Hall of Fame.

Rose in the Hall of Fame? No way

Gosh, I hate disagreeing with a pal of mine, but I can’t let this one go.

Lance Lahnert, sports editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, said in his weekly “My 2 Cents” column today that Pete Rose belongs in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Umm, I don’t believe so, Lance.

“I saw that Sports Illustrated put Pete Rose on its magazine cover since it’s been 25 years since his banning from baseball,” Lahnert writes. “It’s a tired issue if Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame or not. Rose didn’t bet on baseball as a player setting the all-time hit record. He belongs in the Hall of Fame as a player.”

There you have it. That’s what my buddy said about Rose.

Why do I disagree with him?

Well, for starters I’m kind of a fuddy-duddy about some things — such as rules and regulations. I believe they ought to be obeyed to the letter.

Big league baseball has this clause in its rulebook that says that betting on baseball shall result in a lifetime ban from the game. By definition that means the offender doesn’t qualify for the Hall of Fame, no matter how prodigious his statistics.

Rose’s stats are impressive, starting with him being the all-time career leader in base hits.

He had a stellar career with the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos. I do no deny that he played the game with unbridled verve and enthusiasm that more than likely made up for whatever pure athletic skill he lacked. He was a gamer.

But while managing the Reds he bet on games involving his team. That darn rule book stipulates in black and white that betting on baseball games while being active in the game is a no-no. It doesn’t say that doing it as a manager but not a player somehow shades the infraction enough to allow Hall of Fame induction as a player; indeed, Rose compiled only a so-so record as a manager.

It pains me to insist that MLB continue to ban one of the game’s true stars from the Hall of Fame. However, the guy committed a major violation. The punishment is clear. He’s banned for life. Save the Hall of Fame for the players — and managers — who followed the rules.