Thome In ’18, And Other Hall Of Fame Thoughts

A year from now, Cleveland Indians’ fans will be waiting for the results of the Baseball Hall of Fame voting with great anticipation.

Jim Thome will be eligible for the first time and with over 600 home runs in his career and not even any anecdotal connection to performance enhancing drugs, he should be a strong candidate to get elected next year.

He would be the first player to play the majority of his career in a Cleveland uniform since Larry Doby was inducted in 1998, and we believe he would be the first Indians to be elected by the baseball writers since Lou Boudreau in 1970.

It says a lot about the state of the franchise from 1960-1994 that it has been 46 years since the Tribe had a Hall of Famer that played to the Indians in the prime of his career.

Thome played 55% of his games with Cleveland, and coincidentally hit 55% of his 612 home runs in an Indians’ uniform.  He also played every one of his games with the Tribe through age 31.

He belted 200 more long balls with the Indians than he did with any other team.

Omar Vizquel will also be eligible for the first time, although he likely will not get in on his first year on the ballot.

The shortstop, best known for his defense, won 11 Gold Gloves and managed to get 2877 hits in his long career.  He was a solid offensive player through age 39 with the Giants when he hit .295 with a 749 OPS.

With Trevor Hoffman and Vlad Guerrero just missing enshrinement this year and Chipper Jones being eligible for the first time along with Thome, it may be tough for all four to make it into the Hall.

That makes it doubly tough for Vizquel in 2018.

As for yesterday’s results, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens received over 50% of the vote for the first time, and only three players who attained that level did not finally get into Cooperstown.

Many experts are saying the increase is due to younger voters, who didn’t cover the game in the “Steroid Era”.

Our opinion is they should talk to the writers who did cover the sport then and talk about what happened.  This is a situation where the statistics do not tell the entire story.

We weren’t alive when Lincoln was assassinated, but we know what happened.  Not doing the research is not doing your due diligence.

Those players blatantly cheated, and we understand some players who used may already be enshrined, like Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell.  We would not have voted for Pudge, who was mentioned in Jose Canseco’s book.

There is nothing that concrete on Bagwell.

After watching the last installment of Ken Burns’ documentary on the game, which addresses the best hitter and pitcher of that generation using PEDs, we can’t understand how anyone could vote for either after watching.

And yes, they were great players before they took performance enhancers, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook that they used.

What they did wasn’t fair to the players who didn’t use, and their accomplishments have hindered the candidacies of players like Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, and Mike Mussina.

Hopefully, a year from now, we will have cause to celebrate Jim Thome, the first true Tribe player in a generation to make the Hall of Fame.

Another thing many of us have never seen in our lifetime.

MW

 

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