They’re going to announce the inductees shortly. For what it’s worth, I will be happy to see Rickey make it, I’d be happy to see Blyleven make it — even if I can’t bring myself to characterize his exclusion thus far as a grave injustice like so many have — and I’m realistic enough to know that Trammell won’t, probably ever. I figure Rice will make it, and that will make me frown a bit, but I’m simply not going to get worked up over it like so many have in the past year or so. I don’t figure Jack Morris will make it either, and I feel pretty much the same about him as a I do Jim Rice. Blah if they’re in there, but it’s not going to keep me awake at night if they are.
The reason for my lack of strong feelings in either direction comes from the realization that the Hall of Fame is not perfect, never was, and never will be. From Sam Mellinger’s latest article:
Whatever, there are all-time greats who need to buy a ticket like the rest of us to get in — 21 men who made eight or more All-Star Games and are eligible for induction are not in. There are guys who won multiple MVP and Cy Young awards who remain unelected, some barely getting a look.
Bill Freehan made 11 All-Star teams, won five Gold Gloves and was second in MVP voting the year his Tigers won the World Series in 1968. He received just two votes for the Hall of Fame and was dropped from the ballot.
“I would’ve loved to get more consideration,” Freehan says now. “Everybody looks at offense and nobody looks at defense. My concentration was always defense.”
How much stock can we place in an institution that casts Bill Freehan out with just two votes? Not a lot, so forgive me if I am reluctant to engage in an argument over the reasonableness or lack of reasonableness of a vote in either direction. Great for Rickey, sad for Alan, but at the end of the day they loom no less large in my consciousness based on what some scribe thought of them five years or more after they quit playing.
I have a Hall of Fame in my head. Everyone in it belongs there, including Bill Freehan. Everyone who isn’t does not, and I tolerate no lobbying whatsoever. It’s pretty simple, really.