Wednesday, January 14, 2009

HOF thoughts

The election of Rickey Henderson into the baseball Hall of Fame was a no-brainer. He is the all-time leader in steals and runs and with his mix of speed and power he changed the way the game he played in materialized.

I enjoyed seeing Henderson play in New York with the Yankees and few things were as exciting as seeing him stand on first base. It was always a guessing game of when he would run -- not if -- and if he;d steal one base or two.

Why he received only 94 percent of the vote makes no sense. I don't believe, like some writers do, that only a very select few deserve a first-ballot induction. If the guy's a Hall of Famer, he's a Hall of Famer. Just vote him in. The player's numbers don't change. Maybe how they stack up historically changces, but that would take most of a player's 15 years of eligibility and something like a steroid scandal to do so.

Speaking of 15 years of eligibility, Jim Rice needed every one to get in.

To be frank, I'm not totally sold on him. I also can't make a strong enough argument against him. I never saw him in his prime, just his last few years. The things I heard were, "You don't want to face Jim Rice with runners on base" or "Jim Rice has always hurt the (insert team)." That should really tell you something.

He was feared and he produced. Are there guys with better numbers? Yes. And almost every one is Cooperstown.

Good for Rice, and I think it's good for baseball. It took a while, but the voters got it right eventually.

Now if they could only get Andre Dawson elected.

Next year's ballot includes Barry Larkin (not getting in), Roberto Alomar (eventually will get in), Fred McGriff (not getting in) and Edgar Martinez (eventually will get in as the first-ever DH in the Hall).