My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
I wasn’t surprised that Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. I was shocked, however, to see Alomar’s vote totals jump almost 17 per cent. It seems some baseball writers sentenced Alomar to a year in Hall of Fame purgatory for spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck on September 27, 1996. I didn’t like what he did either, but I don’t agree with the scribes that withheld their vote. Alomar is a Hall of Famer and he should’ve been elected in his first year of eligibility.
For the record, Blyleven made 21 starts against the Blue Jays during his 22-year career and recorded an 8-10 record and a 3.82 ERA.
During his tenure with the National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates from 1978 to 1980, Blyleven started 15 contests against the Montreal Expos, posting a 7-5 record and a 2.65 ERA.
Blyleven would like to forget the only regular season game in which he faced Alomar. On July 4, 1992 at the SkyDome, Alomar recorded a triple and a walk in three plate appearances against Blyleven. The durable right-hander was chased from that game in the fifth inning after allowing six earned runs in an 8-6 Angels’ loss.
Little known fact: Blyleven started two games for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate Edmonton Trappers in 1992, pitching 11-2/3 innings and recording wins in both contests.
Call me the eternal optimist, but I’m encouraged that Larry Walker was named on 20.3 per cent of writers’ ballots in the Hall of Fame voting. Yes, that’s a long way from the 75 per cent needed for enshrinement, but remember Blyleven was tabbed on just 17.5 per cent of ballots in his first year of eligibility.
It’s also encouraging that Tim Raines’s vote total rose by 7.1 per cent. Arguably the second-best leadoff hitter in big league history, the longtime Expo deserves to be recognized in Cooperstown.
I wouldn’t have voted for either Mark McGwire or Rafael Palmeiro, but if I had to choose between the two, I would’ve supported Palmeiro. The smooth-swinging first baseman was a better all-around player than McGwire. Unfortunately due to their steroid links, Palmeiro (11 per cent) and “Big Mac” (19.8 per cent) fell well short of the requisite 75 per cent to be inducted.
It was disheartening to see Fred McGriff’s vote totals drop by three per cent. The Crime Dog’s 493 steroid-free home runs should be enough to earn him election. For more reasons why McGriff should have a plaque in Cooperstown, click on this link: http://is.gd/keBPx
Things that make you go hmmm … one writer believes that Benito Santiago should be in the Hall of Fame.
Here’s a list of former Jays and Expos that didn’t garner the requisite five per cent to stay on the ballot for another year: Marquis Grissom, Al Leiter, John Olerud, Santiago, Kirk Rueter and Raul Mondesi.