Hall of Fame


Pedro Martinez, in the midst of doing what he did.

Pedro Martinez, in the midst of doing what he did.

If I glance to my left from my desk at work, I can see various things taped up: concert setlists, band photos, album covers, little trinkets to keep me motivated and feeling like I’m at home. One of them is a Pedro Martinez baseball card, circa 2003. He’s pumping his fist, probably after another strikeout.

Thanks to a quick decline in baseball card quality the past couple of seasons, the collecting bug that I rekindled around 2010 has flamed out again, leading me back to the occasional, nostalgic purchase. I still seek out individual Red Sox each year, and I pick up stray cards of players I like on the cheap. In terms of space and money spent, it’s a much more affordable existence.

This weekend, I was tooling around again for the first time in a few months, and sort of instinctively started looking for Pedro cards. Soon enough, I found a 10-card lot of ones I mostly didn’t have, priced around $3 total, and took the plunge. The entire exercise probably took around 10 minutes.

Tomorrow afternoon, there’s a very good chance that Pedro is going to be announced as a 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, along with Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and maybe a couple of others (John Smoltz? Mike Piazza?). It’s a feather in the cap of an incredible career, and it feels nice to know that he’s being acknowledged for his work. But that’s not what I was thinking about when I went searching for those cards, because I don’t think much about the Hall of Fame anymore. (more…)

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Luis Tiant long ago earnd a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ron Santo, the great Chicago Cubs third baseman of the 1960s and ‘70s, had the title of “Greatest Baseball Player Not in the Hall of Fame” removed from beside his name this week, when the Veterans Committee elected him into Cooperstown, as part of their “Golden Era” ballot.

This is an event that should be celebrated. Santo, long a great ambassador of the game, was one of the best players to man third base, an under-represented position in the Hall. He was the heart of the Cubs for more than a decade, hit with power, played with grace and performed at a high level while keeping his diabetes in check in an era that wasn’t as kind to sufferers of the disease, both in perception and treatment.

Of course, this is also an event to be ridiculed. Santo was first eligible for induction in 1980, and won’t be able to enjoy his induction in person — he died last year.

Why he was kept out for so many years, and why the voters suddenly saw him eligible after he left the Earth, is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of flaws with the election system and debate over what makes a player worthy of enshrinement. Some say they can just “feel” it, that they know a Hall of Famer when they see one, and don’t need to think about it. Others hold firm to statistical evidence, coldly drawing a line in the mathematical sand — per position, this guy is in, this guy is out, and there’s no debate. (more…)