Skip to content

Bob Ryan’s curious Hall of Fame column

Dec 17, 2012, 9:02 AM EDT

jack morris-thumb-250x375-4861

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe actually has a pretty good Hall of Fame ballot. He leaves off Bonds, Clemens and Sosa — lots of people will be doing that — but then gives the nod to Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, and Curt Schilling.

I am against Morris but it’s probably inevitable that he gets in so I’m not gonna waste too much effort fighting that fight anymore (though I’ll expend a modicum of effort below). I don’t know what I think about Schilling. If I were a voter I’d probably have decided by now, but as it is I’m on the fence. It wouldn’t bother me too much if he got in, but I think he’s a harder sell than others. I’m all for Bagwell, Biggio, Martinez, Piazza and Raines, and I applaud anyone who has them on their ballot, even if I think they’ll fall short this year.

But even if Ryan gets to a good place in the results, the path he takes to get there is a bit curious.  In talking about Bonds, Clemens and Sosa:

It’s easy for a few voters. They believe Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa are innocent of all charges.

Ryan says that there aren’t many who believe that, but I defy him to name me one, and I can’t believe such a beast exists. On Piazza and Bagwell who, again, he supports:

I am speaking, of course, of Mike Piazza, who may very well be the greatest hitting catcher of all time, but who, despite the lack of any concrete evidence, is regarded as a cheater by some because he flunked the Eyeball Test. See? This is why the drug issue is so insidious … Jeff Bagwell’s résumé is similarly persuasive but, he, too, failed to pass the Eyeball Test.

Actually, it’s not “the drug issue” that’s insidious. It’s the people who tar guys like Bagwell and Piazza without evidence or cause. If one supports Bagwell and Piazza despite being opposed to allowing PED users in the Hall — as Ryan does — one necessarily rejects that awful approach. Yet Ryan declines to criticize those he believes are being irrational and unfair. How much better it would be if someone of Ryan’s tremendous stature in the industry were to shame those who traffic in baseless accusations rather than to simply throw his hands up and say “oh well, it’s insidious!” But I guess that would make BBWAA dinners awkward.

But just in case his actual, reasonable votes rankle his crusty colleagues a bit, he covers himself with some de rigueur stathead hate:

The Morris candidacy has become extremely controversial, his advocates being old-line baseball sorts who view him as the quintessential gun-slinging Ace of the Staff (14 Opening Day starts) and his detractors being Sabermetric zealots who decry a 3.90 career ERA that would be the highest ever to be so enshrined, and who discredit the notion that he pitched to the score, thus accounting for an inflated ERA.

Lots of fun packed into one lengthy sentence:

  • A shoutout to “Opening Day starts,” which is a statistic that was never once mentioned before people started trying to justify Morris’ candidacy and will never be used again because, outside the context of Jack Morris, everyone knows it’s meaningless;
  • “Sabermetric zealots” is a good phrase! Too bad the word zealotry — which means a fanatical devotion — is far more apt for Morris supporters than detractors. The statheads merely believe Morris’ numbers aren’t good enough. The Morris supporters have deified Morris as both a pitcher and a human being and have a far greater opinion of him now than the people who covered him or watched him pitch ever had back in the day.
  • That said, we zealots do not “discredit” the idea that Morris pitched to the score. To “discredit,” in the present tense, is to harm the good reputation of something or to refuse to believe something. The zealots no more “discredit” the idea that Jack Morris pitched to the score than doctors discredit bleeding with leeches or paleontologists discredit Piltdown Man. Rather, the notion has been unequivocally rejected as fantasy. Statheads don’t discredit that Morris pitched to the score. Those who believe he pitched to the score discredit reality.

All very clever, Ryan. Cover yourself with enough silly old school writer ignorance and verbiage, slam the statheads, give a free pass to those who smear certain ballplayers and then submit a ballot that looks a lot like one a stathead would submit anyway.  I don’t know what your end game here is, but it may just be genius.

Latest Posts
  1. Athletics designate Eric O’Flaherty for assignment

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Eric O'Flaherty Eric O'Flaherty

    Struggling lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Saturday.

  2. Chad Billingsley heading back to L.A. to have his elbow examined

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:05 PM EDT

    Chad Billingsley Chad Billingsley

    Chad Billingsley will meet with a doctor in L.A. He’s dealing with more elbow problems.

  3. Lucas Duda’s last eight hits have been home runs

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    Lucas Duda Lucas Duda

    Lucas Duda doesn’t want to run the bases.

  4. Steven Souza, Jr. will go on the disabled list with a broken hand

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:02 PM EDT

    Steven Souza, Jr. Steven Souza, Jr.

    Steven Souza, Jr. was hit by a pitch and suffered a broken hand, so he’ll hit the disabled list for a spell.

  5. Rays to demote struggling lefty Matt Moore to Triple-A

    Aug 1, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Matt Moore Matt Moore

    Rays lefty Matt Moore will try to fix himself in a low-pressure environment, as the Rays will demote him following Saturday’s poor start against the Red Sox.

  6. Joe Maddon: Kyle Schwarber stays when Miguel Montero returns

    Aug 1, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Kyle Schwarber Kyle Schwarber

    Kyle Schwarber is staying in the big leagues when Miguel Montero returns, which is bad news for opposing pitchers.

  7. Report: Larry Lucchino stepping down as president and CEO of the Red Sox

    Aug 1, 2015, 7:19 PM EDT

    Larry Lucchino Larry Lucchino

    There’s a shakeup in the Red Sox front office, as Larry Lucchino is stepping down from his role as president and CEO.

  8. Clayton Kershaw blanks the Angels over eight innings, runs consecutive scoreless innings streak to 37

    Aug 1, 2015, 6:56 PM EDT

    Clayton Kershaw AP

    Clayton Kershaw is good at baseball, the lefty confirmed on Saturday.

  9. Phillies pitcher Matt Harrison diagnosed with hypothyroidism

    Aug 1, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Matt Harrison Matt Harrison

    Matt Harrison has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The diagnosis, he hopes, allows him to deal with his various issues, including his back problems.

  10. David Wright could begin minor league rehab assignment next week

    Aug 1, 2015, 5:29 PM EDT

    SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 2:  David Wright #5 of the New York Mets looks out from the dugout before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park June 2, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The second-place Mets have been without Wright since mid-April.

  11. Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout make MLB history in Saturday’s matchup

    Aug 1, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 07: A behind the scenes photograph of Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during a photo shoot before the game on August 7, 2014 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Saturday’s game marks the first time in MLB history that two reigning MVPs have squared off against each other.

  12. Wade Davis gives up his first home run in nearly two years

    Aug 1, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN- JUNE 09: Wade Davis #17 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Minnesota Twins on June 9, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Royals defeated the Twins 2-0. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Davis hadn’t allowed a home run since August 24, 2013.

  13. Esmil Rogers signs with the Hanwha Eagles in Korea

    Aug 1, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT

    KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 17:  Esmil Rogers #53 of the New York Yankees throws in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on May 17, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rogers made 18 appearances with the Yankees earlier this season, but now he’s headed to the Korea Baseball Organization.

  14. Video: Ben Revere makes leaping catch in debut with Blue Jays

    Aug 1, 2015, 2:41 PM EDT

    ben revere

    The speedy outfielder has made a good first impression in his Blue Jays debut.

  15. Matt Williams on Bryce Harper’s ejection: “He needs to stay in the baseball game”

    Aug 1, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    MIAMI, FL - JULY 28:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was ejected from Friday’s game against the Mets in the top of the 11th inning after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Jerry Meals.

  16. UPDATE: C.J. Wilson needs elbow surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season

    Aug 1, 2015, 1:42 PM EDT

    HOUSTON, TX - JULY 28:  C.J. Wilson #33 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch in the third inning during their game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 28, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Wilson has a 3.89 ERA and 110/46 K/BB ratio in 132 innings over 21 starts this season, but the Angels will likely have to make due without him the rest of the way.

  17. Zack Wheeler called Mets GM Sandy Alderson to express his desire to stay with the team

    Aug 1, 2015, 1:19 PM EDT

    Zack Wheeler Getty Getty Images

    Wheeler, who was part of Wednesday’s failed Carlos Gomez deal, reached out to Mets GM Sandy Alderson to express his desire to stay with the team.

  18. Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before making start

    Aug 1, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT

    MIAMI, FL - JULY 31:  Ian Kennedy #22 of the San Diego Padres pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on July 31, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kennedy pitched seven innings against the Marlins after watching the birth of his daughter.

  19. Blue Jays designate Danny Valencia for assignment

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:41 AM EDT

    TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 2: Danny Valencia #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays circles the bases after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on July 2, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Danny Valencia is batting .296/.331/.506 with seven home runs and 29 RBI over 58 games this season, but the Blue Jays cut him loose Saturday.

  20. Corey Dickerson lands on disabled list with fractured ribs

    Aug 1, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT

    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 11: Corey Dickerson #6 of the Colorado Rockies runs to first base during the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 11, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dickerson has already been on the disabled list twice this season due to nagging plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Hamels (5810)
  2. C. Gomez (5423)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (4659)
  4. J. Cueto (4303)
  5. M. Trout (4204)
  1. Y. Cespedes (3936)
  2. D. Price (3716)
  3. A. Rodriguez (3654)
  4. T. Clippard (3376)
  5. J. Bruce (3356)