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. Mariners will skip Felix Hernandez’s start on Monday

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Getty Images

    Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wants to keep Felix Hernandez fresh through the end of the season, so he’ll skip his ace’s start on Monday.

  2. Indians will activate Gavin Floyd from the disabled list on Tuesday

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    Gavin Floyd Gavin Floyd

    Gavin Floyd will pitch out of the bullpen for the Indians when he is activated on Tuesday.

  3. Francisco Rodriguez was claimed on waivers, but the Brewers pulled him back

    Aug 29, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT

    francisco rodriguez getty Getty Images

    The Brewers pulled Francisco Rodriguez back after he was claimed on revocable waivers last week.

  4. Mets acquire Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    Addison Reed Addison Reed

    The Mets have bolstered their bullpen, acquiring Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks.

  5. Lance Lynn exits Saturday’s start with an ankle injury

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Lance Lynn Lance Lynn

    Lance Lynn hurt his right ankle in the eighth inning of Saturday’s start versus the Giants.

  6. Astros place Jason Castro on the disabled list, promote Max Stassi

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Max Stassi Max Stassi

    Max Stassi will return to the majors as Jason Castro was placed on the disabled list on Saturday.

  7. Vin Scully says 2016 will be his last season of broadcasting

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    vin scully getty Getty Images

    2016 will be Vin Scully’s last season behind the mic.

  8. Report: Mets claim Marc Rzepczynski on revocable waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT

    MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 06: Marc Rzepczynski #45 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 06, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rzepczynski was just acquired by the Padres last month, but he could soon be on the move again.

  9. Edwin Encarnacion slugs three home runs as Blue Jays thrash Tigers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion rounds the bases following a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT AP

    Encarnacion extended his hitting steak to 24 games and also drove in a career-high nine runs.

  10. Report: The Padres pulled Craig Kimbrel back off waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel pumps his fist as he watches the final out in the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) AP

    Kimbrel won’t be traded this season.

  11. Anthony Gose forgets how many outs there after catching fly ball, run scores from second base

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTRlMDNlNmY2MWJkMTQ0Y2NhM2I0YmQzNjcxNTNmN2Y0 Getty Images

    Gose had a costly brain camp this afternoon against the Blue Jays.

  12. Important: There will be a Meeting of the Mookies this afternoon

    Aug 29, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04:  Mookie Wilson formerly of the New York Mets waves to the fans before throwing out the first pitch for a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the National League Division Series at Shea Stadium on October 4, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Mookie Betts and Mookie Wilson will meet Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

  13. Terry Francona says he won’t use opt-out clause with Indians for “leverage”

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Indians manager Terry Francona has the ability to opt out of his contract if team president Mark Shapiro or general manager Chris Antonetti were to leave the organization.

  14. Out since May with concussion symptoms, Justin Morneau begins minor league rehab assignment

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:36 AM EDT

    Injured Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, left, talks with teammate Carlos Gonzalez who he heads to the plate to face the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Denver. The Rockies won 5-0. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

    Morneau has been out since May 13 with a concussion symptoms and a cervical neck strain.

  15. Video: Catwalk at Tropicana Field leaves Kevin Kiermaier hanging

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    kiermaier

    The catwalk at Tropicana Field strikes again. After it robbed Twins rookie Miguel Sano of a home run on Thursday night, it fooled Rays outfield Kevin Kiermaier on this two-run homer from Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales last night.

  16. Mark Teixeira says he’s having “serious pain” when he tries to run

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT

    on August 9, 2015 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images

    Teixeira fouled a ball of his right leg on August 17 and hasn’t seen much in the way of improvement.

  17. Video: Jonny Gomes pitched for the Braves last night

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    Atlanta Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, who was pitching in relief, tips his cap as New York Yankees' Chris Young rounds the bases after a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    With the Braves getting blown out by the Yankees last night, outfielder Jonny Gomes got an opportunity to pitch the top of the ninth inning. As you might expect, it was pretty entertaining.

  18. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Aug 29, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT

    Texas Rangers' Elvis Andrus, left, dunks Cole Hamels, right, as Hamels participates in a post game interview after their 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-1. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) AP

    A quick recap from a busy Friday around MLB, including a dominant outing from Cole Hamels.

  19. Ike Davis expected to be ready for spring training

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:40 PM EDT

    Ike Davis Ike Davis

    Ike Davis recently underwent hip surgery, but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training next year.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2995)
  2. D. Span (2544)
  3. G. Stanton (2483)
  4. J. Fernandez (2446)
  5. G. Springer (2437)
  1. Y. Puig (2337)
  2. F. Rodney (2218)
  3. M. Teixeira (2198)
  4. G. Perkins (2081)
  5. H. Olivera (1961)